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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Israelis Over Age 50 Told to Get Third COVID Vaccine Dose; School Mask Debate Grows Heated Nationwide; U.S. to Deploy 3,000 Troops to Afghanistan; Father Kills His Two Children Over QAnon Conspiracy Theory; National Debate on Possible Link Between Bail and Crime Rates. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 12, 2021 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening again. Chris is off. In this hour of 360 the confrontations over kids and masking, that and the reality with classes starting, the Delta variant sending more and more kids to the hospital, that masking works, we'll talk about the facts tonight as well as the political voices trying to shout over the evidence.
There is breaking news as well. Israel tomorrow lowering the age for a third dose of a COVID from 60 to 50. The announcement coming as the CDC Advisory Panel prepares for a possible vote tomorrow on third doses for millions of immunocompromised Americans.
Earlier tonight I spoke to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and President Biden's chief medical adviser, and I asked him what would prompt U.S. authorities to do what Israel just did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We in this country are collecting data from multiple cohorts, both domestic and international. The domestic cohorts are being followed literally on a daily and weekly basis by the CDC. We are assuming that sooner or later we're going to have to give boosters, so what we're doing, right now the decision is we don't need to do it right now. It's not imminent.
But we're preparing as if it will be imminent. So we're going to be ready to do it whenever the data shows that the protection has gone below a certain level because of a combination of the durability of protection and the special effect you're seeing with the Delta variant.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now is Andy Slavitt, the president's former senior adviser for COVID response and author of "Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response." Also CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, we just talked to Fauci, he talked about how tomorrow the FDA is expected to announce authorizing a third vaccine dose for immunocompromised. What do you make of what he said about boosters and third doses for the general population? Do you think the U.S. should be more aggressive in this?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I think it makes sense for the immunocompromised right now for some of the reasons Dr. Fauci was talking about. You know that people who are immunocompromised and who've been vaccinated in the past, we know besides having lower antibody levels, they're also far more likely to get sick, 485 times more likely to be hospitalized. So it's not just that they have fewer antibodies, is that that means something. They're actually getting sicker as a result.
Let me show you something here from the "New England Journal of Medicine," the study came out yesterday, it was published yesterday. It basically shows in transplant recipients, people who would be considered immunocompromised, after the first two shots they had lower antibody levels. But importantly, after they got that third shot, which wasn't really a booster, it was a third shot, those antibody levels went way up.
So for the two reasons, Anderson, that they had lower antibody levels and they were getting sicker, this makes sense. For the rest of us, you know, we're not seeing people who are vaccinated who are not immunocompromised really developing serious illness yet. So maybe that happens in the future. Hopefully not. But that would be the signal, I think, you'd look for.
COOPER: Andy, does Israel -- I mean, I know they have -- I don't know if it's better data collection but they have certainly a lot of data collection because of the way they got the vaccines with Pfizer, the deal they made. But is what they're doing there, what we will be doing here and should be doing here?
ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER BIDEN WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER FOR COVID RESPONSE: Well, Anderson, recall that Israel began their vaccination process a little bit ahead of us, so I think in many respects we've been looking to them and to a certain extent the U.K. for what we can expect as well as the people who participated in the original clinical trials of the vaccines in 2020. And those three things together generally speaking give us a sense of what to predict for the future.
And I think -- you know, I talked with Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director. She's talking regularly with the people in Israel. Our sense is that the good source of data and generally speaking as a rule of thumb, we can assume what's happening there today, you know, we're probably a month or two from things that will be under strong consideration here at that point in time.
COOPER: And Sanjay, how do you see that working? I mean, is that something people would go to their doctors for, go to CVS or pharmacies for, or would they reopen mass vaccination centers?
GUPTA: I don't think probably the mass vaccination centers. Andy would know better than me, but you're not going -- you're going to have these cohorts of people who may, you know, need these third shots, immunocompromised now, maybe it's health care workers or elderly for the reasons that Andy is talking about, they were vaccinated earlier, and their protection is wearing down. But I don't think you'd have the single rush. Probably doctor's offices and pharmacies, and be able to make it part of the medical record.
COOPER: Andy, is that what you're thinking?
SLAVITT: I think that's exactly right. I think we're going to probably start after with immunocompromised, as in Sanjay probably would guess the same way. Yes, you wouldn't want to get too far into late fall and winter without having people in nursing homes completely boosted. So you start with 85-year-olds and 75-year-olds which largely are the nursing home population. Then I think you probably go to 60 or 65. And depending on where the data takes you, you know, down to 50 and then beyond that.
So I think it'll be much more orderly. The good news is these booster shots look exactly like the vaccines we've already been given, so the vaccines that are sitting in Walgreens today and in CVS today are the same exact ones that will be ready to go into our arms, and the U.S. government has gone ahead and purchased enough vaccines just in case this needs to happen.
COOPER: Andy, lately, I think like a lot of people, I've sort of felt like I had a whiplash earlier in the summer, I was thinking, oh, look, things are really opening up, everything is great, and now I'm wearing a mask again indoors and when I go outside or to places. And I'm reluctant to even, you know, eat in a restaurant inside now.
Where do you think -- and I know people hate this question because it's impossible to say accurately. But, I mean, what is the future of this? A year from now, are we still talking about this every day? A year from now, is this a thing like the flu where it's just something that's always out there and there's enough people who are vaccinated or who have already gotten COVID and therefore have antibodies that it has calmed down, that it's not spreading as much?
SLAVITT: Well, a lot of us does for sure (INAUDIBLE) what's going to happen for the future, but it's worth kind of imagining a scenario like this. You know, when it rains, Anderson, you know, we could take an umbrella, if it's raining lightly, and that umbrella, which would be a vaccination, will protect us.
If the rain gets heavy or the rain gets slanty or it's windy, which is I think what we're seeing with the Delta variant, then you need to put on a raincoat, like we're doing with -- by putting on masks when you go indoors and being more careful. Because if you truly want to stay dry, you know, in a big storm, it's not going to cut it to just have an umbrella. So, you know, I think we're going to experience things like this where
it's going to get a little bit worse during certain periods of time until more people are protected. And then, you know, at times it will get much, much, much better. I think what will influence where we'll be in a year really are a couple of things. Number one, how good a job have we done vaccinating the pockets of this country that haven't been vaccinated yet because they've been resistant? Number two, how good of a job have we done vaccinating the globe?
And then number three I'd throw in is, do we have an oral antiviral, which people are actively working on, that you can take if you get exposed to COVID? Those three things we've got to do anyway. We've got to do them well. They're the top priorities. And if we do them well, then I think it's going to be much lighter rain if you let me follow that metaphor in a year from now than it is today and then it will be ongoing.
COOPER: Sanjay, I mean, I wanted your vision on this, but I mean, when I think about that -- so I'm thinking, you know, I'm a big fan of "Blade Runner," the original movie, and it's raining constantly and it's very chaotic outside. And it's pretty miserable. So is it raining constantly where it's just lighter some days and better some days, Sanjay?
GUPTA: Yes, I think you could say that. I mean, you know, the virus is so insidious like this. You can't see it, you can't feel it, you can't taste it, can't hear it. It's undetectable. You know, if it was rain, it'd be much easier in some ways because you'd know when it was raining. But I think we're always been showered in viruses. Right now there's a ton of viral transmission, so it's sort of torrential rainfall right now.
Two things will happen. As Andy said, it won't be so torrential after a while, but we're also going to have thicker gear on ourselves. The vaccines now in combination with the natural immunity that's occurred, even with additional variants that may occur, that gear is still going to be protective. And ultimately your question was, will this become like the flu? Yes, I think in some ways it will. I mean, the flu that's around today is a great, great, great, great descendant of the 1918 flu. So it never really went away. And that may be the same with COVID.
COOPER: Yes. And we're all going to have masks, maybe we're not wearing them all the time, but we're going to have them in our pockets or accessible if we need it.
GUPTA: Like an umbrella.
COOPER: Like an umbrella. All right. Andy, appreciate it. Andy Slavitt. Sanjay as well. Thank you so much.
Many of the unvaccinated kids in America obviously have no choice, ineligible to get the shots under age 12 right now. That's why this fight is now so centered around them. A look at growing mask wars in schools ahead.
Plus, as more cities fall to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the U.S. is sending thousands of troops back in not to fight the fight. It's all about the embassy. A big announcement from the Pentagon ahead.
COOPER: And keeping children safe in the pandemic is obviously a national priority, but a lot of people are simply politicizing measures to protect them as noted by our president today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there are a lot of people out there trying to turn a public safety measure, that is, children wearing masks in school so they can be safe, into a political dispute. And this isn't about politics. It's about keeping our children safe.
To the mayors, school superintendents, educators, local leaders who are standing up to the governors politicizing mask protection for our kids, thank you.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Randi Kaye has been closely following the mask wars in schools and has the latest.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Cobb County, Georgia, this afternoon parents face off on the issue of masks.
KAYE: In this school district, masks are optional.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our children, our choice. Our children, our choice. Kids are dying right ow from COVID.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't be vaccinated. Mask up.
KAYE: Despite the science that supports the efficacy of masks this protester believes they are dangerous for children.
CHRIS GREGORY, GRANDMOTHER AGAINST MASK MANDATE: The germs that they're just having to breathe in and out, day in and day out, from the masks, to me is more harmful than the mask, you know, of not having the mask on.
KAYE: This was the scene recently in Warren County, Kentucky, where masks are required in school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, I've got a grandson that I have custody of and that is my choice.
JEG MILLER, PARENT AGAINST MASKING KIDS: Kids don't need to breathe carbon dioxide all day. Kids need to learn about facial recognition, how to communicate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think children should wear a mask also.
KAYE: In Williamson County, Tennessee, outside of Nashville --
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: We'll not comply. We'll not comply.
KAYE: Parents clashed at a recent protest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can leave freely, but we will find you and we know who you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will never be allowed in public again.
KAYE: It got so heated police stepped in.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
KAYE: At the school board meeting Wednesday night, masks were debated for hours, with board members becoming the target.
DANIEL JORDAN, PARENT: Actions have consequences. If you vote for this, we will come for you in a nonviolent way.
KAYE: In the end, the Board of Ed approved a temporary mask requirement.
And in Broward County, Florida's second largest school district, protests were also heated. Here, masks are mandatory, allowing parents to opt out only for medical reasons.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My child is not coming to school masked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to bully him into wearing your mask?
KAYE: Even with the mandate in place, those opposed to it aren't giving up.
HEATHER TANNER, PARENT: Would you show us a clinical trial that is peer reviewed that masks actually do work?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your job is not to make medical decisions for our children. I believe my wife and I are doing a fine job of that, and we don't need your help, nor do we ask for it.
COOPER: Randi joins us now. What do you know about the hundreds of students who are now quarantining not far from where you are in Florida?
KAYE: Yes, Anderson, it's happening right here in Palm Beach County after just the second day of school. 440 students are in quarantine after COVID was detected. According to the online dashboard for the Palm Beach County School District, they say that more than 50 cases have been confirmed among students and teachers. They are spread across 20 schools. At one high school there are seven students who tested positive, one elementary school. There are four students who tested positive.
Now Palm Beach County is the state's tenth largest school district. They do have a mask mandate, but parents are allowed to opt out for any reason, but this is exactly why you saw scenes like what you saw on our story playing out across the country. Parents are very concerned about the masks. Many of them fighting to get those masks in place so it doesn't happen -- what they're seeing here in Palm Beach County doesn't happen in their school districts and to their children.
But here in Florida, certainly, Anderson, it is an uphill battle, because as you know, the governor issued the executive order banning mask mandates in schools. He wants parents to have a choice. He wants them to be able to opt out, and the CDC, of course, wants universal masking for students K-12. But again, you see those scenes playing out across the country. It's certainly a battle -- Anderson.
COOPER: Randi, thanks.
For more on the threat posed to kids by the Delta variant surge, want to bring in CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, author of "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health."
So, Dr. Wen, you heard some of the parents in Randi's piece question whether masks actually work. Last night I spoke to one of the researchers from Duke University who studied more than a million students and staff in North Carolina. And according to him, the bottom line is there's less than a 1 percent chance of in-school COVID-19 transmission when universal masking is in place. Logically that's hard to push back on.
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Right. And at this point we have so many data points, so many studies that show that masks are one of the few tools, actually, that we have to protect our unvaccinated young kids. For older kids, for adults, we have the vaccine, which is a very powerful tool. But for younger kids, we don't have that much. And so actually it's so frustrating to see that we as a society are failing in our basic duty to protect our kids.
And in fact, we failed them all along this pandemic. Last summer we opened bars instead of schools. We as adults did not get vaccinated in large enough numbers, and that's why we're having the surge of the Delta variant.
And now we're taking away one of the few tools available to protect our children. I mean, it defies logic and common sense. And ultimately we really should be united in our goal, which is to keep our schools open so that parents can also go to work, so our economy can thrive, and ultimately to protect our children's health also.
COOPER: You know the argument from those who do not want kids wearing a mask in schools for a variety of reasons. They will say, well, look, it's not that bad in kids. Yes, you know, we're hearing from nurses and doctors in various hospital wards that pediatric -- you know, emergency rooms are full or ICUs with kids this time around with the Delta variant. But still the numbers are relatively low compared to, you know, COVID in unvaccinated adults, and, therefore, the harm done by mask mandates and kids, you know, not communicating with each other in the way and the strain it puts on, it's not worth it. What do you say?
WEN: I would say that this is not about an individual choice. I mean, an individual parent could look at those numbers and say, well, I'm not that worried about my child getting COVID. In a sense, it's their right to feel that way if this were not a communicable disease, as in parents can choose what their kids eat and maybe we shouldn't be bothered by that. But this is very different because by saying that your child is not going to wear a mask, that's also going to impact my child, that's also going to impact the ability of all of us to move on from this pandemic.
And so I think this becomes a false argument because we're dealing with a potentially fatal illness that is highly transmissible and is the reason why there are already schools that are being shut down because there are not mask mandates in place.
COOPER: The transmissibility of it, I think, is a really important point to just focus on for briefly. Because I think with the Delta variant, and correct me if I'm wrong here, it's far more -- a person who is positive and unvaccinated with the Delta variant will pass it on to far more people than they would have if it wasn't the Delta variant, if it was the earlier, you know, the original form of COVID, that I think was passed on to, like, two people by one person.
But this can be passed on to many more people, right? So a kid going to school who can't be vaccinated, is not being tested every day, who has COVID and may be asymptomatic, they could potentially pass this on to an entire classroom of people.
WEN: Right. And in the same way, a child can contract COVID from somebody in class and then bring it back to their parents, to immunocompromised grandparents and so forth. And this is the reason why masking indoors remained so important, and I would just say I think there are a lot of parents who are wondering, too, well, what I can I do? As in, there's a lot that's outside of my control, maybe if the school is not requiring masks, what should I do? Well, wearing a high-quality mask for the child still really matters,
and so at least an N95 or at least a three-ply surgical mask. But ideally if the child can tolerate it, an N95 or KN95. Talking to other parents will help as well because there are other parents who are going to feel the same way as you and maybe you can all decide as parents in a class that all of your kids are going to be wearing masks.
That's something that will protect everybody and help to set the norm. And I do think that there's a lot of power that parents have in, for example, insisting that there's testing or insisting that people also know about when cases come up, and parents should get together and not seize power at this point.
COOPER: Yes. Dr. Wen, appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up next, the latest on the troops heading to Afghanistan as Taliban forces gain more ground and a question, how after 20 years did it get to this point so quickly? Former Defense secretary William Cohen joins us.
COOPER: About 3,000 American soldiers and Marines are heading to Afghanistan. Their mission in so many words is to keep the drawdown of U.S. and Afghan personnel from Kabul from turning into something even worse. This came as the Taliban took Herat, the third largest city in Afghanistan and one of 12 provisional capitals to fall. Another, Ghazni, sits on the strategic Kandahar-Kabul highway and is just 100 miles from the nation's capital.
Joining us for more on all of this is CNN's Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon.
What more is the Pentagon saying about troops being sent in?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the key point that the Pentagon was making is that it's now time to essentially make sure that U.S. embassy staff there can get out as part of a partial drawdown of the embassy staff. And they serve another purpose in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport, which is effectively the international gateway in and out of the country, especially now with the surge of the Taliban.
They will also be there to assist in the secure withdrawal and removal of Afghan interpreters who helped the U.S. as well as their families to get out of the country, a process that is rapidly accelerating very much with some urgency here on the part of the Biden administration with the advance of the Taliban. And that the momentum they have doesn't show any signs of slowing down.
COOPER: So the U.S. embassy in Kabul is urging American citizens to leave the country immediately. We have teams on the ground there. What are Americans' options for getting out? There are still some commercial flights and Turkish troops control the airport now.
LIEBERMANN: Turkish troops are in charge of security at the airport. There are some U.S. troops that are there as well. You're absolutely right, Anderson. There are some commercial flights there, but the Pentagon also says look, it's aware that it may have to come in and operate in an airlift role as part of this. So there could be aircraft moving people. That's not part of the plan at this point, that is to get the civilians out, the American citizens out, but it certainly could become part of this plan as the Pentagon watches the situation deteriorate and deteriorate quickly.
COOPER: How organized is the removal of Afghans who have worked closely with the United States?
I mean, there are hundreds, if not thousands who work at the embassy itself. There's certainly many more who have worked on bases all across Afghanistan over the last 20 years.
LIEBERMANN: Well, not nearly as organized as it should be, only because of the numbers here. Right? A small fraction have gotten out. About 1200 or so at this point. But that leaves thousands, more than 10,000, in fact, Afghan interpreters and those who have helped U.S. forces as well as their families, which is tens of thousands more that now have to be gotten out on an accelerated timeline.
In addition to the 3,000 forces that will go in to help in that withdrawal, that drawdown, there will be another 3500 soldiers in Kuwait on standby in case they're needed to be brought in for security, as well as 1,000 soldiers and airmen in Qatar to assist in the visa application process for those Afghans who are trying to get out of the country.
And the last point I'll make, Anderson, the U.S. is using words like drawdown and withdrawal and reduction. The Afghans see this as evacuation and abandonment, a severe blow to their morale and the morale of the Afghan military that is quickly losing ground to the Taliban.
COOPER: Yes, you can call it whatever you want, America is leaving.
Oren Liebermann, appreciate it. Thank you.
Perspective now from William Cohen who served as Defense secretary during the Clinton administration.
Secretary Cohen, thanks so much for being with us. It is difficult obviously to watch regardless what one thinks about whether or not the U.S. should be there. Does it surprise you what's gotten -- that cities around the country have fallen so quickly? And do you think Kabul itself will fall?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, the rapidity of which the provinces have fallen I think only confirms President Biden's decision to say that our time there has come to an end. What I would disagree with is ever setting a time certain.
I think that that has worked to the disadvantage of the United States and to the great advantage of the Taliban. So I think now we're faced with a situation in which I believe there had to be an intelligence failure somewhere along the way, that we're now coping and trying to reinforce our forces there to save our personnel in the capital.
I find it hard to believe that we have been reduced to a point now where we're asking the Taliban not to attack our embassy.
COHEN: I can't imagine the world's most powerful military nation begging Taliban to say don't touch our embassy personnel, that's our kind of sovereign territory. I can't imagine any other country would tolerate that notion that they would attack us.
But in any event, I think the president made the right decision to get more troops in there to get us out as quickly and safely as we can, not only us, but as you just talked about, those who have helped us. And if we don't, that will have a major impact upon our decisions in the future and asking people to support us in the future. And if we don't take care of them, we can bet that they'll never take care of us in the future because they won't trust us.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, we've seen this in Iraq, we've seen this in Vietnam, you know, failing the people who helped us. Let me ask you, though, just on a large -- the larger issue is obviously the Taliban has received foreign support as well. But not the extent of training and resources and equipment. I mean, tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars over the years that have gone into trying to build up the Afghan National Army going back to -- when the U.S. first got involved in Afghanistan after 9/11.
I remember going, watching special forces training Afghan National Army troops in 2002 and I think in May or June. And that was supposedly the U.S.' top priority. How is it that with all of that they're not standing up and fighting? Is it just complete lack of confidence in the Afghan state to back them up?
COHEN: I think that's part of it. I think that the Afghan government doesn't have the support, obviously, of the Afghan people. And with the assault taking place by the Taliban, those who are surviving in the field or in the cities are saying, I'm trying to save my head and I'm going to turn and fight with those who are coming in rather than risk being beheaded by the Taliban. But if it really comes back to this notion of how did we get here?
If you go back and look at all of the positive, optimistic reports that were filed on the part of the Pentagon and the White House over the years, saying, that gee, we're really making progress, the Afghan army is really doing well, we expect them to be a fighting force within so many years, go back and look at what General McCaffrey, who was retired at that point and went and did an assessment.
He said it was all a sham in terms of the support that the Afghan government had because of corruption and other activities, and there was no real military fighting force on the part of the Afghan army and police. And he said that back in 2006. And presciently, he said if there are any hope of ever training others this country to be able to sustain itself, it will take at least until 2020.
And that was said in 2006, so I think Congress is going to go back and look at all of the intel that was communicated to those in decision- making positions to say what was the basis of your optimism? Why didn't you tell us what was going on that others could see that you failed to see?
COOPER: Yes. William Cohen, I appreciate your time and expertise. Thank you very much.
Still to come a truly devastating story of a father whom authorities say murdered his two children, and the reason he cited QAnon theories about why he did it. He believed they were going to become lizard people according to the FBI. We'll have this story.
Later, a major new development in the case of Britney Spears and her conservatorship 13 years coming. Details just ahead.
COOPER: Well, the QAnon conspiracy theory, which is an anti-Semitic theory, fueled in part by the former president and certain Republicans, has been devastating for this country, it also destroyed families in the process, and it continues to. And in one case in California, it may have resulted in the most tragic consequences possible.
We want to warn you the very first words of this report are very hard to take. The rest are not any easier.
CNN's Josh Campbell has details.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two small children stabbed in the heart with a spear fishing gun, their own father allegedly leaving their bodies in a ditch in Mexico. Mexican authorities describe in difficult details.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Under the bushes, they found the lifeless bodies of two children, one female, one male.
CAMPBELL: Authorities say 40-year-old surf instructor Matthew Taylor Coleman from Santa Barbara, California, confessed to murdering his 2- year-old son and 10-month-old daughter this week in Mexico, telling the FBI he was driven to the killings after being enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories. Police and federal agents were called in after the children were
reported missing by their mother. Authorities tracking Coleman's cell phone to Mexico. Surveillance video images released by authorities show Coleman checking into a hotel with his children August 7th. Just before 3:00 a.m. on August 9th, he packs them up and leaves the hotel. Returning hours later alone. He was stopped by border officials while returning to the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers finding what appeared to be blood on the vehicle's registration paperwork but no children. The FBI soon learned from Mexican authorities that the bodies of two children were found overnight, along with the murder weapon, bloody clothes, and a baby's blanket. According to the criminal complaint, Coleman allegedly told authorities he was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife possessed serpent DNA and had passed it onto his children.
Coleman also allegedly telling the FBI he was saving the world from monsters. He was arrested and charged with the foreign murder of U.S. nationals.
EVAN BUELL, NEIGHBOR OF MATTHEW TAYLOR COLEMAN: Just a horrific, tragic loss.
CAMPBELL: Coleman's neighbors back in Santa Barbara, stunned.
BUELL: Just shocked, frankly. Immensely tragic and having known the two kids and the family -- it's just awful.
COOPER: That's Josh Campbell reporting. We'll get some perspective now from Mia Bloom, a professor at the Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group at Georgia State University, author of the recent book, "Pastels and Pedophiles: Inside Mind of QAnon."
Mia, I mean, I was so sickened when I heard this story. And at the same time, you know, not surprised because this whole thing of lizard people, which is apparently, according to the FBI report, what this guy was believing his children were going to be turned into or were turning into, has been around for a while. And I've had QAnon believers talk to me -- tell me about it. I mean, where does this even come from? It's been around for a long while.
MIA BLOOM, EVIDENCE-BASED CYBERSECURITY RESEARCH GROUP, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: So since about 1999, there's a British -- I guess he's an ex-soccer player and BBC News presenter named David Icke or Icke. He has been producing books about lizard people since 1999. He's produced about 20 books and he's on this, you know, sort of the talk circuit where he gives talks to these very large groups of paying customers.
And basically it's anti-Semitic. They talk about a cabal controlling things led by the Rothchild family. So a lot of what Icke has been saying for the last 20 plus years fits very well with the QAnon conspiracy. COOPER: I mean, it's an important point, I was talking to author
Daniel Silva about this recently that this is -- this is just age-old anti-Semitic tropes, this is, you know, the blood libel, the idea of the Illuminati, the idea of like, you know, the Nazis says that Jews were drinking the blood of children, you know, QAnon people claim that celebrities and Democrats and others are drinking the blood of children for, you know, some bizarre chemical.
What are they saying? You've been following I know QAnon channels since the news of this father murdering his children. What are they saying about it? They're saying it's like a false flag? Do they -- what is it?
BLOOM: So basically I went through with your producer the QAnon channels. And there was only one channel that even mentioned it because they were referencing a FOX News show. And they said it's a false flag. But we have such a short memory. There have been at least half a dozen instances of parents, mostly women, killing their children in the last four months alone. In Los Angeles, in fact, just this last April, there was a woman who killed her three children also claiming because she was inspired by QAnon to protect them from the global cabal.
COOPER: You know, people think that this is just something that's gone away with the man in Mar-a-Lago, but it hasn't. And the idea that, you know, people really believe this is the point where -- you know, are these -- I mean, clearly some of these people have issues, mental health issues before this.
And this gives them a justification perhaps? Or -- I mean, would they have done these without these QAnon beliefs?
BLOOM: I mean, one of the things that my coauthor Sophia Moskalenko found -- and she is a board certified clinical and social psychologist -- was that if the average rate of mental illness in the country is around 17 percent, 18 percent, among the people who've been arrested associated either before January 6th or as a result of the failed insurrection, QAnon people have a 68 percent indication of mental health problems, which is much higher than 18 percent.
So part of it is, are they mentally ill and that's what attracted them to QAnon or is being part of QAnon causing this? Because it's very traumatic to consume the material that QAnon keeps putting out there.
COOPER: Yes. And obviously we should point out mental illness does not lead to violence. Most people who have mental health issues, it doesn't end up in violence like this sickening crime.
Mia Bloom, I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Just ahead, the police chief in Chicago has linked the death of one of his officers to what law enforcement authorities say are lax bail reform laws. We'll have the debate on that and what the evidence says when we continue. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Chicago police superintendent calls it a, quote, "outrage" that a man authorities say is responsible for the purchase of a firearm used in the murder of a police officer is back on the street on an unsecured bond. David Brown says the judicial system is too lax with violent offenders. One reason he says for the city's flood of illegal firearms and violence.
CNN's Omar Jimenez has more.
LAVETTE MAYES, JAILED FOR OVER A YEAR AWAIT TRIAL: I have to fight when I got out of jail for my kids. I lost my house, I lost my business.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These were all things that you couldn't keep up with because you were physically behind bars.
MAYES: Jail is not free.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): LaVette Mayes spent more than a year in Cook County Jail in Chicago over a family altercation back in 2015. Before any trial, and because she says she didn't have money for bond.
MAYES: I wasn't in jail because of my charges, I was in jail because I couldn't afford to pay the bond.
JIMENEZ: The county has since made it easier to bond out, but is it leading to a rise in violent crime? The data nationwide says not really. Out of the 66 largest police jurisdictions across the country, 63 saw an increase in at least one category of violent crime in 2020, according to the Major Cities Chiefs Association. But the vast majority of those cities had not passed reforms eliminating bail.
JODY ARMOUR, USC CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROFESSOR: You can't pin cash bail to the spike in violent crime because for one thing cash bail affects mainly low-level, nonviolent offenders.
JIMENEZ: In Chicago, police are in part blaming those being released on electronic monitoring. Late July data from the Cook County Sheriff's Office shows roughly 3 percent of those on EM are accused murderers.
SUPT. DAVID BROWN, CHICAGO POLICE: Can the court hold people in jail who are violent, who have been arrested, who have been charged with murder? Murder.
JIMENEZ: Lamenting the same dynamic a week later.
BROWN: It's frustrating to the officers to have this revolving door in our courts for any and all crimes but especially murder. JIMENEZ: But data compiled by the Cook County State Attorney's office
showed of the more than 3900 people on average on electronic monitoring, about 80 percent were not rearrested. Of the 705 who were 104 of them were for gun crimes, nine for murder. In a 2020 Loyola University study looking at data from 2013 to 2019, found 97 percent of those on pretrial release were not charged with a new violent offense, roughly the same as before the county made it easier to bond out in 2017.
SHARONE MITCHELL JR, COOK COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER: There are folks out there that are trying to get other folks to believe that if judges just did their job, then we wouldn't have the violence that we see today and that's just not true. But when we keep on pointing to the bail system, things that aren't contributing significantly to violence, we distract from making decisions that we need to make to keep our community safer.
JIMENEZ: For Mayes, it's all connected.
MAYES: Why can't you bring parents and the kids to the schools in the community and then see what parents need, housing, shelter, food. Then you could have a hand on what's happening. But to say arrest them and put them in jail and build another jail, the violence can be stopped. These are our kids.
JIMENEZ: And the kids are the stakes. Now, as for how common it is that those charged with a violent offense or a gun related offense are actually released pretrial they make up about 72 percent of the current electronic monitoring population, 3 percent of them accused of murder. And for comparison, back in 2016 that first number was around 20 percent with less than 1 percent accused of murder.
And that's the dynamic the police superintendent is arguing at the very least is contributing to an environment of lawlessness. All that said, the question still comes to, are these people then going out and recommitting offenses? It happens, but it doesn't seem to be the main driver of the surge in violence we've seen last year into this year -- Anderson.
COOPER: Omar Jimenez, I appreciate it. Thanks.
Some big news tonight in Britney Spears' long fight to end her father's control over her life. She's been battling in court with emotional pleas and there's now a major development. That's next.
COOPER: After months of public pressure by the so-called "Free Britney Movement" and Britney Spears' emotional pleas to a judge to remove her father as conservator of her estate, the singer's dad has signaled tonight that he intends to step down. In the legal response, her father Jamie Spears, the attorney for the
father writes, "When this conservatorship was initiated 13 years ago Britney Jean Spears was in crisis desperately in need of help. Mr. Spears has always done what he believes was in his daughter's best interest. No one knew Miss Spears better and no one loved her as much as a parent could. Every step along the way, Mr. Spears has offered his daughter love, support and encouragement, both as her conservator and as her father."
Britney Spears has argued otherwise. Her lawyer calls Jamie Spears' intention to step aside, quote, "vindication" for Britney, and says, they, quote, "look forward to continuing our vigorous investigations to the conduct of Mr. Spears and others over the past 13 years."
This pandemic is far from over. New York City has come certainly a long way in the fight. Still a long way to go. Something uplifting for everyone, "We Love NYC," the homecoming concert, is next Saturday, August 21st in New York. It features musical superstar like Springsteen, Paul Simon, Journey, LL cool J, Barry Manilow, many more. You'll see it here only on CNN. Again, that's next Saturday, August 21st.
The news continues right now. Let's turn things over to Don and Don Lemon Tonight.