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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Blue Origin's New Shepard Makes First Human Flight; Jeff Bezos Donates $100 Million Each To CNN Contributor, Van Jones And Chef Jose Andres; Study: J&J Vaccine May Need Second Dose To Fight Variants; Combative Exchange During Senate Testimony Between Sen. Rand Paul And Dr. Anthony Fauci; Former Trump Adviser Tom Barrack Arrested, Accused Of Acting As Foreign Agent. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 20, 2021 - 20:00 ET
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"AC360" begins now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening from Blue Origin's Launch Site One in the West Texas desert. In a moment, my conversation with Jeff and Mark Bezos after their flight into space which began on that launch pad behind me about three miles from here.
They are following the path that Alan Shepard took 60 years ago this May, and they, along with two other history-making companions flew a spacecraft bearing his name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four -- commencing start. Two, one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lift off and the clock has started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It was a picture perfect liftoff for Blue Origin's new Shepard. Onboard, Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, and two others making history of their own in different ways. Eighty-two-year-old Wally Funk, who was turned away by NASA in the 1960s because they had no room at the time for the notion that a woman could be a stellar pilot, which is exactly what she became.
Today, she added oldest person in space to her remarkable aviation resume, eclipsing John Glenn; and 18-year-old, Oliver Daemen, who is now the youngest. For two and a half minutes, they felt the pressure of three G's on their bodies, and then there was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is MECO, main engine cut off. A beautiful shot down the New Shepard rocket. Look at that view. Unreal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A few seconds later, after booster separation, the four unbuckled their harnesses and felt what every cloud ever has, but few people ever will.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just relax.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's do it, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. Oh wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh wow. That's incredible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it everything you thought it would be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fantastic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey look, Oliver.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, that's great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move your head just a little. Can you move your head a little?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes. I love it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh wow. Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the blackness of space.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: As they played their ride into space, the New Shepard booster returned home to Earth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There we see engine relays, that sonic boom.
And booster touchdown. Welcome back New Shepard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was a major technological achievement for them, and that sonic boom may not have sounded very loud on television. But I can tell you, even from three miles away here, it was very loud indeed.
Three minutes later, the astronauts came home. Three chutes lowering them to a rocket cushion touchdown not so far from where their flight began, but all the same, a world beyond.
A short time after they landed, I spoke with Jeff and Mark Bezos inside a training capsule virtually identical to the one that carried them into space.
COOPER: You've been dreaming space your whole life. You spent summers on your granddad's ranch in South Texas, I imagine looking up at the sky and the stars.
JEFF BEZOS, FOUNDER, BLUE ORIGIN: Absolutely.
COOPER: What do you think your grandfather would think about you and Mark today?
J. BEZOS: So, we called him "pop" and he was a gigantic figure in our lives. We spent a lot of time with him. I think he would have been -- if he were here, he would have been the most proud, most excited of all the people present.
So, he had this curiosity about him, and this wonder. When we knew him, he was a rancher, but before that, he had, you know, done a lot of -- he worked for DARPA, at one point and did other things.
So, he had all this, you know, exploration in him.
COOPER: He might have been in the vehicle with you.
J. BEZOS: He would have. I mean, there's a long line of people trying to stow in our vehicle this morning, including our dad.
MARK BEZOS, BROTHER OF JEFF BEZOS: Yes, we had to check the back --
COOPER: You've called this the most -- you've called Blue Origin the most important thing that you will do in your entire career. I mean, you built Amazon. That's pretty huge. You employed half a million people.
How can Blue Origin be bigger?
J. BEZOS: Well --
COOPER: Or more important?
J. BEZOS: Well, I think -- yes, I think that the way to think about this is, you know, we need to build a road to space. I mean, build infrastructure, reusable space vehicles, and so on, so that the next generations can build the future.
COOPER: You talked about the infrastructure you already had in place when you started doing Amazon. You had the Postal Service you had --
J. BEZOS: Exactly. So you know, when I started Amazon, it was -- you know, a young guy. It was his 20s, so almost 30 years ago, and I didn't have to build a package delivery system, it existed. It was called the Postal Service and UPS and Roll Mail and Deutsche Post and so on, that would have been hundreds of billions of dollars in capital expense to build.
COOPER: So, if some smart kid in a dorm room right now has a dream for space. They can't do it.
J. BEZOS: They can't do it. That's exactly right. And -- but if we can lay that infrastructure, then do that hard work, then they will be able to be a bunch of entrepreneurs, maybe that the young guy, Oliver, who flew with us today, maybe he will be one of them.
COOPER: What does that look like, though? And what does this road look like? I mean, you've talked about a human presence on the moon.
J. BEZOS: Yes.
COOPER: Obviously, you know, Elon Musk is talking about Mars. What does it look like?
J. BEZOS: There are a couple things. One of the things is that it's really about moving heavy industry. I know this sounds fantastical, and it is fantastical. But remember, if you went back to the Kitty Hawk era and showed them a 787, they would think that's fantastical.
But we really have to move heavy industry and polluting industry off Earth. The Earth is too small and too fragile.
COOPER: So, move nuclear power plants.
J. BEZOS: Everything.
COOPER: Coal plants.
J. BEZOS: We need to beam the energy down to Earth. We will make it in space with probably solar, we will beam it down. When we make chips and microchips and everything else, that -- all that dirty polluting stuff, we will make it in space, and do those activities in space. It will be much better.
This planet is so precious, Anderson and you can see it. What we saw today, we got up there, we looked out, we see when we're on the ground, we think the atmosphere is big. But really, the atmosphere is tiny. It's this tiny, little fragile, thin layer and we all depend upon it for our lives and we've got to stop polluting it.
So, that is something -- but that can't be done today. If you try to move heavy industry off Earth today, that's just crazy.
COOPER: So what is the timeline for something like that?
J. BEZOS: Decades, multiple decades. It won't be done in my lifetime. But what I can do, and what we, the whole Blue Origin team can do is lay the foundation for that work. That's what we mean when we say build a road to space, because then there'll be other people driving on that road, and they'll do much greater things than we will do.
COOPER: Why do you want to have people on the moon? J. BEZOS: Thee moon is a great place for resources. It is close, which
is a big advantage. So, one of the great things about the moon is it has very low gravity, you know, one-sixth gravity. It takes 27 times less energy to lift a pound of material off the moon than it does to lift a pound of material off the Earth.
And so, if you want to build big structures in space, you want to go get materials from the moon.
COOPER: Obviously, you've stepped down as CEO of Amazon. You'll have a little more time on your hands. Are you going to focus more on Blue Origin? And how much more -- I know, you've been liquidating like a billion dollars' worth of Amazon stock every year to fund it. Are you going to do more than that?
J. BEZOS: I don't know. We'll have to wait and see about that. I'm also using a lot of Amazon stock for the Bezos Service Fund. So, the two big initiatives that I know of right now that I'm going to focus on are Blue Origin the and Bezos Service Fund, which is all about sustainability, climate change, you know, protecting the natural world, those things that -- we have to work on the here and now of that, too.
So, you know Blue Origin is working on the future, but we have to work on the here and now of that as well.
COOPER: Elon Musk told "The Washington Post," your newspaper that if Blue Origin is to be successful, you should run it full time and he hopes you do that.
J. BEZOS: Well, Bob Smith is the CEO of Blue Origin, and he is running it amazingly well. He has been here only a few years, he is doing a great job. I'm not taking Bob's job, but I am going to spend more time on it.
I'm going to have the time to spend on it. So, I'm going to be right in there, you know, rolling up my sleeves deep in it.
COOPER: Did you -- did you know what to expect? I mean, intellectually you can know about spaceflight but to actually go up and experience it.
M. BEZOS: We went through about two and a half days of training and, you know, we were prepared for you know, basically, you know, what a nominal mission should -- what the experience should be like, but, you know, watching a PowerPoint and watching some videos and experiencing it are very different things.
I was not prepared for, you know, what the actual G forces felt like on liftoff and while we were accelerating. You know, when the crew capsule separated from the booster, you know, that -- we knew what sound to expect, but that sort of jump as the springs released and then you know, just experiencing Zero G, you know, it was remarkable.
[20:10:03] COOPER: When you were all sitting there together before you entered
the capsule, what did you talk about? What did you -- I mean, it's, you know, there's danger, there's -- a million things must be going around in your mind?
J. BEZOS: Well, we kept asking, "What's taking so long?" That's how you get to be Wally. You're impatient. You're like -- in a very healthy great way. So yes, we were talking about -- she's like, there is a six-minute delay. Why? What's going on? We are supposed to be out there.
So that was part of it. You know, we told each other, we love each other. It's emotional, too. We left this morning, when we left the house, we left at the crack of dawn -- well, way before the crack of dawn and all of our family was there and we gave each other big hugs. It was a very emotional morning.
M. BEZOS: There was also -- there was a moment while we were all sitting on the launch pad before we took off, and Jeff sort of spoke to the crew. He's like, guys, you know, before we go, if I could just, you know, ask you a favor. And he said, you know, what we're about to do is going to be extremely fun and extremely exciting.
He goes, but you know, I would also encourage you, if you will, while you're up there while you're taking in these views to understand how important what we're about to do is. And he was able to say, look, you know, I know what something big looks like when it was small, right? And he has that credibility from you know, starting Amazon nearly 30 years ago, right. E-commerce was nothing back then.
COOPER: And you have the same idea about Blue Origin.
J. BEZOS: The sense is that --
M. BEZOS: This is how it starts. This is how something big starts, I know what it feels like. And this feels exactly the same.
J. BEZOS: It's the beginning, and you can feel it.
M. BEZOS: Take it in. And so that was -- that was really moving for all of us.
COOPER: But to get to the point you're talking about, you need a ton more companies coming up with new ideas, new ways to build rockets and everything.
M. BEZOS: Yes.
J. BEZOS: Anderson, that's exactly right. Great industries and great change is not ever made by a single company. It's made by a whole ecosystem of companies and organizations and government organizations, everything all working as part of an ecosystem.
So, that's what's going to happen. That's what has to happen.
But those first steps, sometimes, you can just feel that, you know, big things start small, they always do. And this -- you can just tell, this is what we did today. People can say, oh, it's a tourism mission. It's suborbital, but it is an operational commercial vehicle that we can use to practice over and over and over, take people up, over and over, and get really good at doing space travel.
And it is like the barnstorming days. You know, that's where we are right now and that eventually leads to the 787.
COOPER: There are a couple of progressive Democrats who tweeted out today saying this is basically a boondoggle. It's a waste of money. There are more important things. To that, what do you say?
I mean, you gave an answer and the money, you gave $200 million away today. But what is the importance of this?
J. BEZOS: What I would say is, first and foremost, we have to do both. So, we have to, for example, we have lots of problems on Earth. And we have poverty, we have hunger, we have all kinds of problems. We have climate disasters, we have pollution.
We have to work on the here and now, and we have to look to the future. And we, as a society, as a civilization, as humanity, we have always done that. We've never just focused on the present or just focused on the future.
COOPER: And what happens if we don't do this? Exploration in space?
J. BEZOS: If you don't focus on the future, then you don't have explorers. You don't have progress. You know what if you said to Wilbur and Orville Wright, you know, hey, guys, you know, why don't you work on something a little more practical? You're smart guys. Surely, you could use your brains to do something a little more practical.
But that's what exploration is. It's a kind of wandering, and all research and development and all small things have that characteristic that they're not obvious how they're going to work out. But that's what exploration is.
COOPER: Do you have mom written on your hand?
J. BEZOS: Yes. We did. He's got "Hi" on his. It's almost washed off now. But we did -- when we were up in Zero G. Yes, well, it'll say "Wow" like this.
COOPER: All right.
J. BEZOS: But it says -- but that's because I flipped upside down, and when we were in Zero G and I put my hand, so there, so I was like this. And we got -- we got that photo. We weren't sure --
M. BEZOS: We weren't -- we rehearsed it a few times.
J. BEZOS: By the way, rehearsing that on Earth is challenging.
COOPER: It's nice to know that you're still mama's boys. J. BEZOS: Oh, for sure.
COOPER: All right, congratulations.
M. BEZOS: Thank you very much.
COOPER: Jeff Bezos and his brother, Mark talking about their mom who was here along with their dad to witness what they did today.
With me here, CNN's space and defense correspondent, Kristin Fisher who is the child of two astronauts, by the way.
Also, joining us, legendary astronaut Chris Hadfield. He's made history himself as the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station. He's also the author of several books including "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" and the new thriller "The Apollo Murders," which is due out in October.
COOPER: So, welcome to all of you. Kristin, you know, it is fascinating to hear Jeff Bezos, whenever you think about, you know, how he is spending money, about this today, and billionaires in space, his vision for what space could potentially be and building the infrastructure for that, it's a fascinating concept.
KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: It's a fascinating concept and you know, what really stands out to me is the timing of all of these private space companies launching humans into space, all within you know, about a year and a half of one another after nearly a decade of no humans, no Americans launching into space from U.S. soil.
First, you had SpaceX with those astronauts going up to the International Space Station, then Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and now Blue Origin's New Shepard reusable rocket system.
So, take it all together, the timing of it all happening within just a year and a half of itself. And it really represents the end of the government's monopoly on human space travel.
COOPER: Even though a lot of the contracts that SpaceX and Bezos and others are going for are government contracts. Colonel Hadfield, Bezos was framing this as building a road to space, building infrastructure that, you know, a few generations from now, kids in a dorm room who have some, you know, idea like they would have about the internet today can actually build on that infrastructure and make their idea possible.
With reusable space vehicles, that's, I mean, obviously critical to any kind of road into space. So, I'm wondering what your reaction is to that idea overall? CHRIS HADFIELD, FORMER COMMANDER, INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION: Well,
space up to this point has been fairly sacrosanct, just because it's so hard to get to it. As you said, it takes an entire nation in order to pay for an organized -- and do the science.
So you know, July the 20th, is a day of small steps and giant leaps. You know, 52 years ago, when those guys walked on the moon, that was incredible, but to be able now to build on that technology, and to decrease the cost of the access to space. And sure, this is a small step, suborbital taking four people up, but the technology that's behind it is scalable.
And being able to cheaply access not just Earth orbit, but the incredible resources that exist on the moon and beyond, you know, that's where we're getting into right now. And it's easy to get all focused, I think, on the short term or the immediate events of today.
But I also see the big picture, and I think that's the real historic achievement that this was part of in the launch that Jeff and his brother and the other two were on today.
COOPER: I think that's such an important point that you're saying, and Kristin, the idea that, you know, why did they choose to have a booster rocket that comes back and lands vertically. They could have done it other ways that would have been probably easier.
But as Bezos said earlier in the day, this is scalable, that when you have bigger rockets, when you have, you know, huge payloads, when you're trying to scale this up to build that infrastructure, you need practice, and that's why they're starting this way.
FISHER: Yes. And I mean, how much sense would it make if every time you flew on an airplane, you just got rid of it right after a single flight? I mean, that's why what Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin did with these reusable rockets is so critical because they make spaceflight more accessible, more affordable, and not just Jeff Bezos now, you have Elon Musk doing this with actual orbital rockets.
And, you know, I think the thing that really stands out watching, we got to see this booster land, just how slowly it came down, one to two miles per hour.
COOPER: It was incredible to watch that.
COOPER: And the capsule itself, you know, while it's going -- hitting almost five and a half G's on the way down, it's landing around one or two miles an hour as well.
You know, Commander, obviously, you know, most people cannot afford space tourism flights and -- but with all that's going to be happening in the next couple of years, who do you see it becoming more and more affordable, potentially a reality for more people when --
You know, when aviation first started after the Wright brothers, you know, the idea that people could fly across the world and have that as an economic possibility that seemed impossible to imagine.
HADFIELD: Yes, up until December of 1903, powered flight was impossible. And then it was crazy dangerous for a long time. But because of the way world politics happened, World War I was suddenly a recognition that aviation could be a big part of that, and so there was huge government investment.
And suddenly, a hundred years ago in the early 20s, there was this new technology and people were trying to figure out what can we do with this? Can we make tourism? Can we have an airline that could fly people around?
HADFIELD: Charles Lindbergh, 24 years after the Wright brothers managed to win the Orteig Prize and go across the Atlantic and it kind of shifted everybody's perception of what was coming now. You know, what was the future going to look like?
And now we look around at sort of the absolutely for granted safety and freedom that global air travel gives us. None of that came easy. And it originally took a tremendous amount of investment. Most of the early companies went broke trying to do it.
But it took those folks with guts and vision and willingness to invest a lot to get us to where we are today. And that's where I see us with this sort of summer happening in in early suborbital spaceflight. We're just at that same sort of stage, but instead of just two dimensions, but all the way up in three.
COOPER: Chris Hadfield, it was a real pleasure and an honor to have you with us earlier today during the launch to have your expertise, walking us all through it. Kristin Fisher, yours as well. Thank you so much.
FISHER: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up next. You know, there's a lot of focus on the four people who flew today and how they had a life changing experience today. Well, we're about to introduce you two other people who have had a most likely a life changing experience today as well. We're talking about Van Jones and Chef Jose Andres.
They have made helping the community a central part of their lives, communities all around the world. They got a remarkable surprise that we learned about today from Jeff Bezos, both men awarded $100 million each to further their work.
They're here with me. We'll talk to them.
And later, a different kinds of surprise. Breaking news, as one of the former President's one time friends is arrested on Federal felony charges.
COOPER: So, after returning from his quick trip to space, Jeff Bezos had two other big surprises in store for people today. He made charitable donations in the amount of $100 million each to two people, two friends of this program that the moneys are to be used, as they see fit.
There is CNN political commentator and former Special Adviser to President Obama, Van Jones; and Chef Jose Andres, founder and driving force behind World Central Kitchen, which serve millions of meals to disaster survivors around the globe. And on this program, we've interviewed him from Houston and San Juan, and I can't even remember how many other places.
But both of you have just done extraordinary work. We talked to you earlier in the day, you got the call, was it Saturday?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, just walking on a path and the phone rang and it is Jeff Bezos saying that he felt that we needed to do something to support people who are trying to bring people together across racial lines, political lines, and he wanted to be supportive.
And then Lauren, his partner said, we want to give you $100 million to do it, and I literally lost the ability to speak.
COOPER: Sort of burying the lid. When did you find out?
CHEF JOSE ANDRES, FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Yes, around the same time, I mean, they said go and the theme was this, it is like, what can we do to try to start investing in how to change the world one plate at a time? And he told me, Jose, I want to ask, with this money to start finding ways to say that hunger finally once and for all is going to be a problem of the past. We need to be both. And the moment that we do both -- is now.
COOPER: You know, I was thinking about you today, I mean, both of you. But you know, I remember you in Houston, on like an early scouting mission to sort of see what your role could be in disasters? And you'd already been doing it for years at that point. I mean, you got involved in India and a lot of places.
To see what you have created thus far, and to think about what $100 million can do for you or for others, do you have a sense of what you want to do with it?
ANDRES: Yes, well, on relief and emergencies, I can still not claim I'm an expert. I still keep going with the theme at World Central Kitchen to keep learning, how can we do it better? What this $100 million can do is -- how can we make every dollar to multiply, planting the seed, in coming with simple better ways with boots on the ground in emergencies to be next to the people when they need it the most, which is after the hurricane, the fire, the tornado hits. Being next to the people now.
And beyond that, how we're going to be doing reconstruction? To make sure that the money we put forward is not thrown into the problem, but invested into the solutions. Again, we can do better, we must do better. And for this, it is great pathway to build a better future.
COOPER: And Van, I mean, anybody who has seen you on CNN, even if they don't know what you do outside of CNN has heard you talk about grassroots organizations over and over again. I feel like every time you run your naming groups I've never heard of who are doing work in small communities and big communities. Do you know what you're going to do with this money?
JONES: Well, what I do know -- I don't know. I mean, we really we just found out and so we're going to --
COOPER: You're going to have a few people giving you some ideas.
JONES: I have a few ideas, but what I do want to say is that I've been a part of bringing people together across political lines to get people out of prison.
COOPER: You've gotten criticized for that.
JONES: I've gotten criticized but not by the people who got out of prison, 22 bipartisan criminal justice bills in the past three years in states like Georgia and Mississippi, tough places where we've been able to get red and blue, black, white and brown together to get stuff done.
I think Jeff Bezos saw that and said, listen, if you can actually get people together, maybe these problems get solved. And so the key is to believe that ordinary people are a lot smarter than the folks who get paid to yell at each other on TV or in Washington, D.C. and to empower them with the ability to solve their own problems is what we're going to.
COOPER: The award, he has named it, it is Courage and Civility. And it's an interesting combination, because there's a lot of folks who pretend they have courage who are on cable news or yelling and shoving their opinions down people's throats and telling people what to do, who to vote for how to think. And then there's a lot of people who are just listening to other people's ideas and seeing what works and trying to bring people together. And that's something both of you have always done.
ANDRES: I always say that we need to build longer tables, not higher walls. We saw through this pandemic, that the man and woman that was sent to a kitchen with many ships across the country, and volunteers, we put together almost 3000 restaurants, to tackle the issues that we were facing, hospitals that had no food, shelters, elderly.
We got almost a bill through Congress called the Feed Act, we were able to bring back then Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Tim Scott. We were able to rank the build out of the House, House on both parties together to support a bill that was pragmatic, that was smart that was bringing people together avoid solving a problem. This is the type of things that America wants to see.
Food brings America and the world together. More than 87% of Americans believe that every American should be entitled to a plate of food. You see, food is the way we can be building a better America, be building a better tomorrow.
COOPER: There's a lot of people were watching today, some of them were amazed, encouraged, excited about the future space, some were thinking, you know, this man could spend his money in other ways for people who are, you know, suffering right now. You talked about that in your talk today, when you were named as a recipient of this. Can you just talk about what you say to those who say, look, you know, is space exploration something that we really need?
JONES: Well, listen, I mean, the last time we got the space race, we got something called solar panels, which may actually wind up saving the earth itself. So I'm pro innovation, I'm pro entrepreneurship, I just want everybody get a chance to play.
But I will say this, when this guy has lifted the ceiling off of bunch of people's dreams, you know, somebody is reaching for the heavens, there's a lot more heaven to reach for it. We should be inspired by that. And by the way, it's not either or, you see these also, you know, investing on stuff on the ground.
Listen, that bipartisan cross racial work got 20,000 people home out of federal prisons in the past two years 70,000 out of State and Federal. People even don't know that, people don't know that people are working together and actually freeing people and bringing people home. More people will know that if you do hard work, and if you are kind, you just might get help.
You know, you get help if you scream and yell and act like an idiot because you got a trend. You got it. You got to get the radio, you got to get the eyeballs. But you can get real help now from people who've got the means and resources if you do it the right way like (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: Van Jones, Chef Jose Andres, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Congratulations. Incredible.
Yes. Do you think -- do you see this as life changing or work changing?
ANDRES: Yes. I think is the beginning.
ANDRES: In my case, you know, I'm not going to be ending hunger tomorrow with 100 million. But this a way to start making bold decisions. The recipes of the past to fit humanity are proven that are not technically working. We must change the recipe, we must find better ways where governments, citizens and U.S. private business together.
We can finally once and for all with solutions, we can end many of the problems that humanity faces. We need to stop giving long speeches and putting people with boots on the ground next to the people that need. This is the way we're going to improve the world.
COOPER: All right, you're both forces in nature. So I have confidence you're going to do great things. Van Jones, Jose Andres.
Just ahead. Breaking news about the efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against several variants including that Delta variant which is fueling obviously the surge of new cases in the country.
Also, fireworks on Capitol Hill today, like always from Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci meet (ph).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly. And I want to say that officially, you do not know what you were talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There's breaking news tonight. A new study questioning how effective the Johnson & Johnson one shot vaccine against several of these new variants including the Delta variant, just as that strain of the coronavirus is fueling a rising number of cases in this country.
The number of caveats now to the -- to this study, it results first of all are based on data from a lab, not the real world and it has not been peer reviewed, nor published in a scientific journal, both of which are very important step.
Still, it suggests that recipients of the one shot vaccine may need a second dose, possibly one of the other two vaccines. And we'll have more on that in a moment.
Because first there was an escalation today in the fight between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul, during Senate testimony, the two engaged in a shouting match, including back and forth accusations of lying, all of it about National Institutes of Health funding for a controversial coronavirus research lab in Wuhan, China that obviously you've heard about. For the next few minutes, we're going to present their exchange this morning with a discussion afterwards. Here now are Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Dr. Fauci, knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress. Do you wish to retract your statement of May 11, where you claimed that the NIH never funded gain of function research and move on?
FAUCI: Senator Paul, I have never lied (INAUDIBLE) -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Microphone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your microphone.
FAUCI: Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress. And I do not retract that statement. This paper that you're referring to was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain of function. So what was --
FAUCI: -- let me finish.
PAUL: (INAUDIBLE) animal virus and you increase the ability to humans.
PAUL: You're saying that's not getting (INAUDIBLE)?
FAUCI: Yes, that is correct. And Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly. And I want to say that officially, you do not know what you are talking about. Like --
FAUCI: -- you get one person --
PAUL: This is your definition that you guys wrote. It says, that scientific research that increases the transmissibility -- of transmissibility among mammals is gain of function. They took animal viruses that only occur in animals and they increase their transmissibility to humans. How you can say that is not gain (INAUDIBLE) --
FAUCI: It is not.
PAUL: It's a dance and you're dancing around this because you're trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And let's listen to Dr. Fauci.
FAUCI: I have to -- well, now you're getting into something. If the point that you were making is that the grant that was funded as a sub award from EcoHealth to Wuhan created SARS-CoV-2, that's where you are getting. Let me finish.
PAUL: We don't know.
FAUCI: Well, wait a minute --
(CROSSTALK) PAUL: But all the evidence is pointing that it came from the lab.
PAUL: And there will be responsibility for those who funded the lab, including yourself.
FAUCI: I totally --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This committee will allow the witness to (INAUDIBLE).
FAUCI: I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, Senator, because if you look at the viruses that were used in the experiments that were given in the annual reports that were published in the literature, it is molecularly impossible --
PAUL: No ones saying those virus cause it.
FAUCI: It is --
PAUL: Those virus cause the pandemic. What we're alleging is the gain of function research was going on in that lab, and NIH funded it.
FAUCI: That is not --
PAUL: You're not going to get away from it. It meets your definition and you are obfuscating escaping the truth.
FAUCI: I'm not obfuscating the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Paul's time is expired, but I will allow the witness to --
FAUCI: Let me just finish. I want everyone to understand that if you look at those viruses, and that's judged by qualified virologist and evolutionary biologists, those viruses are molecularly impossible --
PAUL: No ones saying they are.
FAUCI: -- to result a SARS-CoV-2.
PAUL: No ones saying those virus cause the pandemic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Paul --
PAUL: We're saying they are gain of function viruses because they were animal --
PAUL: -- viruses that became more transmissible in human and you funded it.
FAUCI: And you --
PAUL: (INAUDIBLE) met the truth.
FAUCI: And you implying --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Paul, your time has expired, and I will allow witnesses who come before this committee to respond. Dr. Fauci.
FAUCI: And you are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individual. I totally resent that.
PAUL: And it could have been.
FAUCI: And if anybody was lying here, Senator, it is you.
COOPER: Well, I'm joined now by Dr. Leana Wen, former Health Commissioner from Baltimore and a CNN medical analyst. She's also the author of the soon to be released Lifelines And Doctors Journey In The Fight For Public Health, which is now available for pre-order.
So Dr. Wen, can you just kind of decipher the argument for, you know, in layman's terms that Senator Paul is making?
LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, first point, I've just distinguish between gain of function and what is actually be discussed here. Gain of function actually is a type of research that commonly occurs because we're talking about for example, if you have bacterium that you're trying to make to digest plastics better, that's also gaining a new property, gaining a new function.
In this case, what we're referring to COVID-19 the allegation here is Senator Paul is saying that somehow the NIH provided funding to this lab in Wuhan, which is -- it is true that the funding was provided, but he's specifically alleging the funding was to create a virus that is going to be more transmissible and more lethal, and actually led to COVID-19 that somehow also leaked from the lab, whether intentionally or not, that then led to a global pandemic that's killed millions of people.
And so, the implication actually by Senator Paul is something really nefarious and incredibly insulting to Dr. Fauci because it's saying that, first Dr. Fauci is lying, and that the actions that Dr. Fauci took directly led to millions of people around the world dying from COVID-19. I mean, obviously, that's false. It's misleading. It's postrous. And I can imagine why Dr. Fauci became so upset in that exchange.
COOPER: OK. So, I mentioned that researchers at NYU said they found evidence that the Delta and the Lambda variants may evade the single dose J&J, vaccines, Johnson & Johnson. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine might benefit from a booster dose to better protect them from the new variants. You were part of the Johnson & Johnson two dose trial, you received a placebo. How concerning is this news for you? How concerned should others be? WEN: I mean, I do think that it is concerning because there is contradictory evidence here. We had data coming out from Johnson & Johnson themselves saying that the vaccine the windows vaccine is protective against the Delta variant. Now we have another study, not your peer reviewed, but from a reputable group of researchers saying that it may not be very effective.
And so, I think we're really operating in this gray zone here. We just don't have evidence saying that somebody who got the windows Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster dose. We don't know really what happens, although scientific common sense tells us that the booster dose probably gives you better immunity. We just don't have the data to tell us. And so, I would say that we as clinicians are used to operating in that gray zone.
So I would advise for example, my patients who are elderly, who have chronic medical conditions or who have very high likelihood of exposure to COVID-19. For example, if they live at home with an unvaccinated family member who is not taking precautions, I would recommend for those people if they got the windows Johnson & Johnson to get a booster with an mRNA, one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna now.
However, for otherwise healthy individuals who don't have other risks, they may want to weigh their own risks and benefits and see the unknown risk of getting the booster as perhaps not worth the benefit at this time. So I myself, for example, am not getting the booster even though I got the one dose (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: How can people get a second as a booster? I mean, can anybody just go to where they're giving vaccinations and ask for a booster?
WEN: I think it depends on the state that you're in and the regulations of that state. I mean right now all over the country, we have far more vaccine than we have demand. And so, it's something that can be done, and certainly for other individuals, including people who got the two dose of Pfizer or Moderna but who are severely immunocompromised, some of those individuals are also being recommended by their clinicians to get a third booster dose.
Again, I think we're operating in this gray zone where there aren't clear answers. The patients should talk to their doctors about their specific clinical medical circumstance.
COOPER: All right. Dr. Wen, appreciate your time. Thank you.
Up next, we have more breaking news tonight. The federal government bringing a seven count indictment against Tom Barrack, a one time adviser of the former president. You may recognize him he spoke at their convention. The first convention is on television a lot defending the former president, but the indictment alleges when we return.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:50:21]
COOPER: Well we have more breaking news tonight. Tom Barrack, once an advisor to the former president is facing several federal crimes tonight. Charges of prosecutors say that Barrack illegally lobbied on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. Barrack was chairman of the former president's Inaugural Committee. And while some of the accusations he's facing concern the presidential transition, the seven candidate diamond doesn't appear related to that role.
CNN's Paula Reid joins us now. So, what more do we know about these allegations and charges against Tom Barrack?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Barrack is the latest person in or near Trump's inner circle to be facing federal criminal charges. Now prosecutors allege that he used his close ties to the Trump campaign, and then the Trump White House to advance the interests of the UAE.
Now lobbying on behalf of a foreign government in and of itself is not a crime. But prosecutors allege that he did not properly disclose that he was working on behalf of a foreign government. And then on top of that, when the FBI asked him about it, he lied. And that is, of course, a felony.
COOPER: And is there any sense of how close Barrack and the former President still are? I mean, he spoke in 2016 at the convention. He was on television a lot early on in the administration, kind of explaining the president to reporters and to the public. I mean, you know, whether this indictment comes as -- does it come as a huge surprise to those in the Trump orbit? Do we know?
REID: So for the past two years, there have been reports that Barrack was under investigation, it does not appear that the former president are as close as they once wore, we have to remember while it should have maybe set off some red flags, that he was lobbying so aggressively, on behalf of the UAE, in the context of Trump world, into the Trump administration during the Trump campaign, we have to remember there were a lot of top officials who were eventually investigated as some pleaded guilty to working on behalf of foreign governments, which remember Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Mike Flynn, Rudy Giuliani also investigated for possibly working on behalf of foreign countries.
So while you think that this would set off some alarms in the context of that world, it appears that it really did not. The prosecutors say that it was actually the former president is the one who is truly betrayed here by Barrack.
COOPER: And what is Barrack's lawyer saying?
REID: His spokesman released a statement saying that he has been voluntarily making himself available to investigators from the beginning. They say he's not guilty, and he will plead not guilty. But he has been ordered to remain behind bars until Monday when they will have another bail hearing. So, again, just another person in the Trump world in the federal criminal justice system.
COOPER: So I mean, they're keeping -- so they think he's a flight risk?
REID: There were concerns that he is a flight risk. This is a guy who has extensive contacts and enormous network, particularly in the Middle East. All this work he's done, and he has almost unlimited financial resources. So, there's absolutely a concern that he is a flight risk. I mean, the nature of these charges don't necessarily make you a threat to society or someone who should remain behind bars. But there is a concern that he's a flight risk and there's already at least one person in this case, who has been accused of fleeing when they realize they were under scrutiny.
COOPER: Yes. Paula Reid, fascinating. Appreciate it.
Perspective now from Elie Honig, CNN senior legal analyst and a former assistant U.S. attorney. He's also the author of Hatchet Man How Bill Barr Broke The Prosecutors Code And Corrupted The Justice Department, a new book.
So Elie, I mean, obstruction of justice making false statements to authorities illegal foreign lobbying. What do you -- I mean, it's not surprising, I guess, given what we've seen in Trump world and the people around the former president. But Tom Barrack always sort of set himself up as a legitimate person, kind of a go between, between the public and the president and sort of, you know, smoothing out some of the former president's rough edges early on in his presidency.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, Barrack is now facing a really serious array of charges that appear to be based on the indictment exceptionally well supported by the evidence. He's charged, first of all with lobbying the U.S. government, specifically the president directly on behalf of a foreign country UAE, without disclosing.
That makes him a secret foreign agent. The reason that's a crime is because we've decided it's dangerous to have people lobbying our government on behalf of foreign countries when we don't know about it.
On top of that he's charged with obstruction of justice, that just ups the ante here. So Barrack is looking at really two different layers of legal problems.
COOPER: And do we know how much, I mean what was his -- what was he getting out of it?
HONIG: He was getting money presumably from the UAE in order to represent them and by not disclosing that he was working for this foreign country. That's where he breaks the law. And the evidence here, Anderson is really strong. It includes and the indictment lays out dozens of texts and e-mails sent by Barrack and his co-defendants to one another. And that can be really powerful evidence for prosecutors in trying to prove their case. So Barrack's in a tight spot now.
COOPER: And given that the charges allegedly relate to Barrack status as a senior outside advisor, then candidate Trump and then to President-elect Trump and later to President Trump. Would that have impacted the way the prosecutors went about putting this case together? I mean they surely knew it was going to get a lot of attention. And again, we should say Tom Barrack's lawyers since he's not guilty.
HONIG: In theory, Anderson, it should make no difference. Prosecutors should look at every case the same, be careful about what they charge and who they charge. In reality, prosecutors know who he is. They know Barrack is a wealthy person, a powerful person who is charged here, not just with dealing with the government, but directly with President Trump.
So, if I'm prosecuting this case, I am not rolling out these charges until I am absolutely certain I have the evidence locked in and the indictment does seem to support that.
COOPER: If you were somewhat involved in the Trump inauguration, which has already been under investigation for possible financial improprieties, how concerned would you be that Tom Barrack might one day try to give authorities damaging information in exchange for some kind of leniency?
HONIG: Oh, I'd absolutely be worried if I was in that position. Let's reset here. Tom Barrack is 74 years old. These are federal charges. These are not state charges. The feds almost always get convictions. If you look at this indictment, it's based on Tom Barrack's own words, oftentimes e-mails and text that he sent.
The only way the best way Tom Barrack is going to be able to protect himself is by cooperating with the feds and the way that works in the federal system is you have to give up everybody you know, everything they've done wrong and you have to be willing to testify about it. So other people around Barrack have reason to be worried here.
COOPER: It is incredible the track record of the people around the former president. It's just -- I mean, it says a lot about the former president and the company he keeps.
Elie Honig, appreciate it. Thank you.
A second hour of "360" just ahead. We'll talk more about that study on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and what it means for those who received it, with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and an advisor on COVID President Biden during the transition.