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tv   New Day With John Berman and Brianna Keilar  CNN  July 9, 2021 2:59am-4:00am PDT

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data options. available now for comcast business internet customers with no line-activation fees or term contract required. see if you can save by switching today. comcast business. powering possibilities. ♪ i'm brianna keilar alongside john berman and good morning to viewers here in the united states and around the world. it is friday, july 9th. we're beginning with a heavy dose of covid confusion. pfizer says it's planning to develop a booster shot after signs that immunity from its vaccine weakens over time, but
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the cdc and the fda say not so fast. they issued a rare joint statement that says if you're fully vaccinated you don't currently need a covid booster shot. >> much of the country may be ready to move on from coronavirus, but it remains a real and in many places a growing risk. the hypertransmissible delta variant is driving cases up in nearly half the country. the states you see in red where cases are rising the fastest. and they're the same states where vaccination rates are the lowest. cnn's elizabeth cohen joins us now. elizabeth, give us the information here about the booster shot. what do people need to know about whether they need it or not? >> right now i can just tell you that most people who are listening to this do not need a booster shot. that's very clear from a statement that the cdc and the fda put out. so let's talk about these boosters for a minute. first of all, so pfizer says that they're going to apply for authorization from the fda for a booster shot next month.
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i got to tell you i think surprised pretty much everybody. what? we have been talking about boosters but a booster next month? it sounds like people need it when, in fact, there's lots of evidence that they don't. the booster, by the way, would just be a third shot of what's already out there. so let's take a look. pfizer said -- didn't offer any new data. didn't say we did studies that show why we need do this but just point to israeli data. that data says that the shot is only 64% or the two shots are only 64% effective at preventing infection but 93% effective at preventing hospitalization and severe disease. 93% is an amazing number. why do you need a booster? as for the 64%, the israeli officials didn't really offer up a whole lot of explanation for how they got to that 64%. experts are saying we need more because that 64% is very different than what british authorities have had. so, all of that leads to confusion. let me give you the bottom line,
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the fda and the cdc did something very unusual. they really don't do this very often. they put out a statement that was about as simple as you could get. it said americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. now, i want to give one caveat here, there are millions of people who are immune compromised because they take certain drugs, maybe had an organ transplant, for example, they may benefit from a third shot. that is a possibility, but for the rest of us, the vast majority of us, there is no indication that we need a booster shot. in fact, criticism that pfizer kind of really messed up here because one third of eligible american adults have chosen not even to get the first two shots so it makes you wonder did they read the room? a third of americans don't want to get the first two and now they're saying you need a third shot. it's not inspiring confidence when you say you need a booster and a third of americans don't want the first two. >> it's a very good point.
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what about people who have actually had covid? what about their immunity because it seems like there's some evidence how long it lasts? >> the evidence has gone back and forth on this. but having covid certainly gives you a level of immunity but it's a little confusing because part might depend on how severely ill you were. one thing is clear is that the vaccines give great immunity. that's why people who had covid it's still recommended that they get vaccinated. >> very interesting. elizabeth cohen, thank you so much. >> thanks. president biden forcefully defending his decision to end the war in afghanistan, insisting that no amount of sustained american presence there could resolve the country's problems and that the mission of the war was not to nation build. >> nearly 20 years of experience has shown us that the current security situation only confirms that just one more year fighting in afghanistan is not a solution. but a recipe for being there indefinitely. i will not send another
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generation of americans to war in afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome. >> biden bringing an end to the war after a long 20 years in which more than -- which 2,448 u.s. service members lost their lives and nearly 21,000 were injured. here is is a look at the u.s.'s 20-year long war in afghanistan. >> on my orders, the united states military has begun strikes against al qaeda terrorist training camps and military instillations of the taliban regime in afghanistan. >> in a speech unimaginable less than a month ago the president of the united states, george w. bush has formally told the country that an attack has been launched on both terrorist camps inside afghanistan and military instillations in that country as well. >> dramatic turn of events here in the afghan capital kabul. the city behind me was, of course, the stronghold of the
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taliban. now those forces have completely abandoned it. leaving it open for the forces of the opposition of the northern alliance to move in and take over. >> donald rumsfeld declared the end of combat in afghanistan. >> we're at a point where we clearly moved from major combat activity to a period of stability and stabilization and reconstruction. >> the taliban have really resurged or at least insurgence associated with them have resurged over the last year or so, particular pli in the south of the country. they started using roadside bombs, suicide bombs, tactics that vnts been used here before. >> telling cnn president obama now approved the concept of a significant u.s. troop increase in afghanistan that will eventually potentially double the size of the u.s. force there. >> president of the united states making the dramatic, historic announcement that's all official now. bin laden is dead. >> president obama announcing
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the end of america's longest war. the president's latest attempt to end the afghan war includes keeping 9,800 troops on the ground next year and pulling all but 1,000 out of the country by 2016. >> i think americans have learned that it's harder to end wars than it is to begin them. >> 1,000 more u.s. troops will be remaining in afghanistan into next year, 10,800 instead of the originally 9,800 to help secure the place in a country that secretary said is still very dangerous place. >> president trump laid out a new plan for u.s. efforts in afghanistan and south asa. >> conditions on the ground not arbitrary timetables will guide our strategy from now on. >> there is a real hope here that this is a pathway for peace. it's not a peace deal in itself, it's an agreement solely between the united states and the taliban, commits the united states to withdrawing all its forces over 14 months. >> the taliban just this morning
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reiterated its call for all u.s. troops to be out by may 1st, 16 days from now. joe biden said they would start withdrawing on that date. >> the taliban rapidly gaining ground across afghanistan, u.s. president joe biden defended his decision to end america's longest war saying it was overdue. >> i will not send another generation of americans to war in afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome. >> 20 years of u.s. involvement in afghanistan. i want to bring in jeremy butler, ceo of iraq and veterans in america. amazing to look at the fwiss and turns and how in some ways things never changed even as there were developments here and there. you heard president biden yesterday say the decision to withdraw is overdue. i wonder what you think about that? >> i think he's right. you know, the president also made a comment yesterday that i thought was really interesting is that after the u.s. killed
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osama bin laden in 2011, discussions, hey, maybe we'll be out of afghanistan in another year and that got extended and that got extended. i think it really is, we reached a point where we achieved the missions that the u.s. intended when they went into afghanistan. but we've stayed there much longer than that. and so i think it is a challenging decision for the president in the sense that he knew he would face blow back from this, but it was something set in place by president trump and he's following through on that and i think ultimately it's a good thing. >> one of the things he mentioned is that the afghan troops outnumber the taliban. so he suggested he doesn't think it's a given that the taliban will overrun the country. is that an overrosy outlook? >> it's a somewhat rosy outlook. he's absolutely correct that the afghan troops and the national police definitely outnumber the taliban, but you have to look at what's happening in the provin shall areas where the taliban are overrunning outposts. you have a large number of afghan forces, but the question
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is how well trained are they? how dedicated are they and frankly how well re-enforced are they? >> if the taliban does take over, which is a real possibility, i'm not saying it's a given but a possibility, the veterans for the tens and hundreds of thousands who served there, how will they look at the 20-year conflict? will you look at it and say, hey, it was worth it, the taliban -- even if the taliban is back there now? >> i don't think there's any doubt about that. everyone will say it was worth it. everyone should be proud of the service they provided over there. everyone that was sent over did the mission that we were sent to do. the question is did we set the stage to allow the afghans to govern themselves going forward? that's the real focus now and that's what the president was addressing yesterday. a key thing we have to look at is how well will we support their air force moving forward. the afghan government doesn't have a strong air force, they'll have a really hard time maintaining the gains that have been made up until now. >> now, he made -- i don't want to say vague promise, he promised that he would take care
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of the interpreters and the afghans who worked with u.s. troops and u.s. personnel over the last 20 years. is that enough? what more could he do? >> i think a lot more needs to be done. for me personally if there was a disappointing part of the president's address yesterday, it was that we didn't get more details on that and that he also said something that will come to a surprise of a lot of people which is that he stated that congress needs to change the law if we're going to do an evacuation of those afghan interpreters and those that supported the allies. that's going to be a big surprise to congress. we have been talking about this for a long time and i don't think that's been brought up right now. we also need to move faster and get more of them out quickly. i don't think we saw the sense of urgency from the president that we wanted to see. >> seems to me this is an issue of weeks. >> exactly. exactly. no, it absolutely is. this is something we have been pushing on for a long time and i always make this point the siv progress, the process to get visas to those that supported us, this isn't something new. so it's been a flawed process from the beginning and we're well overdue to move quickly.
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>> always great to speak to you. to look back at the 20 years, it really is remarkable. >> it is, absolutely. i joined the navy in 1999. thought i would do four years and be out and 2001 changed that forever. it is incredible just to see that brief recap of the over the last 20 years. a new twist in the assassination of haiti's president. why officials say there are two americans who were involved in the hit. plus, the tragedy in surfside is now among the worst mass casualty events since 9/11 crews find more victims each day. new book reveals that mike pence lost it at donald trump when the former president threw a piece of paper at him. we'll have details on "new day." oh! are you using liberty mutual's coverage customizer tool? so you only pay for what you need. sorry? limu, you're an animal! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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four more victims were recovered yesterday, bringing the number of confirmed deaths to 64. but officials advise that this is now a recovery mission. and that means that the 76 people that remain unaccounted for are presumed to have also died in the collapse. and that brings the total death toll now to 140. one of the biggest mass casualty events since 9/11. cnn correspondent tom formen joins us now. i know you've been looking at this, so tell us i think this is what strikes so many people about surfside, by the way, just how many people died. tell us how this compared to other events that also affected us similarly. >> it's a terrible thing because the truth is they never compare. they're all uniquely terrible for the people involved. uniquely terrible for the communities. but in terms of sheer numbers, it is interesting to look at. in terms of mass casualty events since 9/11, start off by talking about the plane crash off queens in 2001. 265 people killed, including 5 on the ground, american airlines
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right after takeoff went down there. then in 2003, you'll remember the concert fire in rhode island, the great white playing on stage, so many trapped trying to get out of the exits. 140 people died there. 49 killed in the pulse nightclub shooting down in florida also, which again, it's just terrible this litany of horrible things that have happened and yet this is the world that we have lived in for quite a while now and 58 killed in the las vegas concert shooting, which i know we covered so much of at the time. >> the biggest losses of life since 9/11, they've been connected to natural disasters. >> yeah. natural disasters, they always have this way of just being so explosive, hurricane katrina all along the gulf coast, never forget that. more than 1800 people died in that. 158 were killed in 2011 in a tornado in missouri.
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that went through joplin, more than a mile wide at some points. and that came after a month in which we had like 300 people killed in a string of tornadoes around the southeast. 72 people died on the east coast in superstorm sandy. 68 killed in hurricane harvey, remember when that hit the texas coast and then moved across and dumped just biblical amounts of water on houston, just unbelievable what that storm did. and then you remember hurricane maria in puerto rico, official estimates was that the death toll was really fairly small, that was revised after people got in and started looking at this. almost 3,000 people died in that. and then the campfire out in california in 2018, 85 killed in the fires there. so, you know, we look at this, brianna, if you put it all together, again, every one of these in its own way is a unique and terrible, terrible thing. this is the world we live in these days, though. a lot of people in this country
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between mass casualties caused by humans and those that are natural, really tremendous number of losses out there. although, i have to say this one right now is still somewhere in a gray zone. we don't really know, will we find out eventually that there was some kind of erosion happening that was completely a natural thing that nobody knew about or something that was human based or did they all come together in some way. we'll find out eventually and sadly we will know where that fits into these lists. >> because the lesson from all of these things is that you want to at least learn from them and prevent them. we talk about the years having pasted by for the people affected by them, hardly any time has passed. thank you so much. we want to remember some of those who died in the surfside collapse. bonnie david epstein, 56 and 58. grew up in northeast philadelphia but spent the past several years between brooklyn, miami and new jersey. their son jonathan said it's been comforting to relive the
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joy of their lives through the testimony of friends and loved ones. >> i'm thinking of what i'm going to say at the funeral now. and i just want to emphasize they were so cool. people would -- when i was younger my friends would come over and i felt like they were coming over to hang out with my parents. >> they were so cool. >> 7-year-old stella and her mother were in the condo with three other family members when it collapsed. stella's baby sitter said she was a quiet girl who was very close with her mother. stella's father is a miami firefighter. her grandparents also died in the collapse. michael altman was a selfless man who had a love for life, racketball and his family, according to his son nick, who says his father wasn't just his dad but also his best friend. michael altman came to the united states from costa rica when he was 4 years old. the condo had been in the family since it was built in the 1980s. as wolf likes to say, may their memories be a blessing.
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texas republicans mounting a new push to restrict voting rights in the state. is there anything democrats can do to stop them? plus, two americans arrested in connection to the assassination of haiti's president. we are live from port-au-prince next.
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from prom dresses to workouts and new adventures you hope the more you give the less they'll miss. but even if your teen was vaccinated against meningitis in the past they may be missing vaccination for meningitis b. although uncommon, up to 1 in 5 survivors of meningitis will have long term consequences. now as you're thinking about all the vaccines your teen might need make sure you ask your doctor if your teen is missing meningitis b vaccination.
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♪ this morning the situation in haiti growing more chaotic after the assassination of president jovenel moise. the two u.s. citizens are among the 17 people arrested so far. the others are colombian. the search is on for at least eight more suspects. authorities are calling the hit the work of professional killers but so far they say the motive is a mystery. cnn's matt rivers live in port-au-prince this morning. a sense of chaos and really confusion over what happened and who did this.
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what's the latest on what you're learning? >> reporter: john, there are so many questions. it seems like as we're watching all this develop yesterday, as we got here late last night, things are changing hour by hour. the latest information we have is coming from a press conference that was given by haitian authorities here in port-au-prince on thursday evening. and we're learning more about the suspects that haitian authorities believed are involved in all this. like you said, there are at least 17 people detained at this point. we say at least because this number continually has been fluctuating. we know at least three people have been killed, three suspects have been killed at that point. we know at least another eight people remain at large at this point. all of the people detained, according to the numbers that we have so far, are foreign nationals. of the numbers of suspects that have been identified, this isn't broken down necessarily just between detained and at large,
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authorities just saying of all the suspects that they have, 26 of those 28 suspects are colombian nationals. we actually heard from the colombian defense ministry on thursday evening who told us that some of those colombians are actually former members of colombia's military. the other two people that are not colombians are haitian americans. that is what we know at this point. however, there is still so much to be learned because what we haven't heard, john, from the authorities is who is behind all this. what is the motive of this? why did all of these foreign nationals come here to haiti and kill this country's president? that is the answer that we do not have yet. and furthermore, were they assisted in some way? was this some sort of inside job? because the presidential residence here in port-au-prince normally has a very robust security presence and yet these armed men were able to get inside that residence and kill
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the president and gravely wound his wife and yet as far as we can tell no presidential security forces were injured in some sort of shootout. so there remains a lot of questions at this point here. we're going to try to get to the bottom of it here, john, here in port-au-prince in the next hours, days and maybe weeks. >> matt rivers, great to have you there. please, you and your team stay safe. the fbi infiltrating a, quote, bible study group that was discussing the possibility of a second civil war. we'll break down how these types of operations work. plus, richard bronson heading to space this weekend beating jeff bezos by nine days. we'll have the latest on bronson's trip coming up. scientific clean here. and you need it here. and here. and here. which is why the scientific expertise that helps
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♪ developing this morning, unsealed court records show that after the attack on the capitol,
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the fbi infiltrated a bible group in northern virginia where members discussed surveilling the capitol after the attack, testing homemade bombs and waging a second american civil war. under cover agents were also able to gain access to group's encrypted group chat and at least one member of the group was allegedly planning to build and test explosives has been arrested. joining us now is retired fbi special agent tom o'conner. he served on the joint terrorism task force and ran fbi infiltration and undercover cases and now works as a principal with security firm fed squared consulting. thank you so much for being with us, tom. you're really a person uniquely situated to give us some insight here. i just wonder when you look at this timing, at this moment when federal authorities decided this is the moment where we are going to go in, what does this tell you about where the threat level was? >> well, thanks for having me
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brianna and john. i appreciate that. when you're talking about undercover operations or human sources infiltrating criminal organizations, when you're talking about domestic extremists you have to be extremely careful because you have to have a nexus of criminal activity to actually work in here and clearly in this case from the court reportings there was that criminal nexus. and just by being involved at that capitol, that brought the ability for the fbi and law enforcement to use that technique of undercover operations. and i mean, it's a game of when is it going to be that person going from flash to bang. i think that the fbi did an unbelievably good job here in getting in front of potential violence. you can't wait until something happens and then use your undercover operations. this has to be done beforehand. but you have to have the authorities. it's a tool in the tool box that gets you to the point where you
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can make the arrests that they've made in this case. >> so, how do you get to this point because the fbi was actually able to get access. there was an agent, i believe, added to this encrypted group chat. they had obviously an undercover agent who was working on this. how do they get to that point? is that something that would have been in place pre-january 6th? >> no, doubtful. from reading the court records, the person involved here actually met with undercover officers or informants at the location and that led to the ability to work the undercover case. so, it was a post-january 6th event, it appears. but they were able to get in there. and then these are very professional undercover operative agents who have a lot of training and they will build a communications with these
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people and that's how they're allowed to be invited into the encrypted chat which is enormous because it's an encrypted chat and it's very difficult to get into something like that. so that's a major win in dismantling something that could have been another event taking place down the road. and that's the whole jd to get in front of this stuff. with domestic terrorism, again, it's very difficult because you're not going to try to infiltrate a bible study group because if there's no criminal activity that's first amendment protected activity and the fbi is very, very cognizant that it's the violence used to intimidate or koe hearse a civilian population or influence a government that meets the definition of domestic terrorism. and actually the most difficult part i see is that there is no actual penalties attached to the definition of domestic terrorism and i think that's something that congress can come together and actually make a criminal
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charge for domestic terrorism. i personally don't think that we need to make a group that are have extreme thought that they should be illegal like isis and al qaeda. that's the first amendment. it's the violence that the fbi looks for, it's the violence they need to get in front of and they're very good at doing so. undercover activities have been used for decades in dismantling the mafia and dismantling criminal organizations, drug organizations, computer and cyber crimes. it is a tool that once you get the authorities to do that, and there's a lot of check boxes, it is very effective way of dismantling an organization. >> and look, january 6th revealed who was willing to take it from free speech to action, right? that's what we saw in this case there. so tom, thank you so much for being with us this morning. tom o'conner. >> thank you very much. have a great day. >> you, too. the olympics, they're a mess right now.
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state of emergency, no fans, covid infections and controversies involving american athletes. we're going to speak with greg, olympian coming up. >> and you basically taught him swimming at your local pool? >> that is not -- i just followed his diving career from a young age. >> all right. plus, unearthing part of america's buried past. a new investigation into the history of native american boarding schools. think wearing less makeup means no need for a wipe? think again. neutrogena® makeup remover wipes remove the 30% of makeup ordinary cleansers can leave behind. your skin will thank you. neutrogena®. for people with skin.
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150 years tore native children from their families and culture, many never returned. most americans have no knowledge of this dark history, even as most native americans still live in its horrific legacy as cnn's martin savidge found. >> reporter: on the rose bud sioux reservation in south dakota, america's nearly two century effort to eradicate native languages and cultures continues to traumatize. was it a hard day? >> yes, it was. >> reporter: in 2015, mallory arrow went to washington, d.c. with a tribe's youth council. they stopped at a former native american boarding school in pennsylvania. >> getting there, i didn't feel anything. i didn't -- like i felt like i was supposed to feel getting to the school. but it wasn't until we got to the grave sites. >> reporter: they found graves
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of native children their age from their very own lakota tribe taken from their very reservation more than 100 years ago. >> we all started crying. like we all felt that energy there. >> it's like mourning a relative you didn't know you had. >> reporter: they left with one question. >> why don't we bring them home? we didn't have an answer. >> reporter: during the 19th and much of the 20th century, generations of indigenous children were run by religious organizations or the federal government, part of a campaign to assimilate them into white christian culture. >> save the child and take the indian out was the talk back then. >> reporter: many suffered sexual, physical, abuse, mall nourishment and disease. no one is really sure how many died. the more than 900 unmarked grave sites found near just two canadian schools is a grim
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indicator of what could be found in the u.s. >> if you look at the numbers here from the united states, we had twice as many schools. you can basically just estimate that our numbers will be double what they found in canada. >> reporter: many tribal leaders believe the generational trauma from erasing people's identity directly relates to the chronic issues poverty, addiction, suicide. >> no one went untouched. >> no one went untouched. no family went untouched. we need to find out the truth. >> reporter: finding that truth is what the federal investigation is all about. but it's likely to be uncomfortable. as for those children, mallory and her friends found in the graveyard years ago, they are coming home. in the largest repatriation of its kind the remains of nine lakota children from the former pennsylvania boarding school will begin the journey back next week. >> we saw a change that we needed. so we became the change. >> reporter: the young plan to escort the children home.
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christopher may sing to them in their own language, something the boarding school would have forbidden. ♪ is it the end of something or really just the beginning? >> it's the beginning. there's so much more boarding schools that we have yet. this is just the start. >> reporter: they know much more needs to be done. many more children need to be found. >> you look at it as why do these schools with, you know, a lot of the white children got to attend schools with playgrounds. our children had to attend schools with graveyards. and it should be a wakeup call now. ♪ >> reporter: this is the veteran's cemetery and the rose bud sioux reservation in south dakota, a place of honor. and it is where those children will finally be laid to rest, each one dressed in a buffalo robe in the lakota tradition.
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as for that investigation, many native leaders are for it but they fear a lot of those records were lost or destroyed long ago and also worry it will stop short, it will only identify potential grave sites unidentified positions all across the country, hundreds of them but won't bring the children home, which is what the tribes and the nations most dearly want. john? >> martin, such an important story to tell. such important history to learn and so much important truth still to discover here. thank you so much for doing this for us. this morning, confusion after pfizer says immunity to coronavirus is waning and booster shots may be needed very soon. the cdc and fda say not true. what you need to know next. [footsteps] so, are you gonna buy the car?
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the phoenix suns now just two wins away from their first nba title. coy wire has more in the bleacher report. they're rolling, coy. >> rolling, john. good to see you. it's been 28 years since phoenix has been in the nba finals and they're playing up like their making up for the lost time. the suns, the hottest thing in that arizona desert in july right now. devin booker had 31 points in this one, 7 three-pointers. and the bucks played really well, phoenix just shot down any of their hopes from beyond that arc. a playoff franchise record 20 three-pointers. milwaukee's antekun poe scoring a playoff career high 42 points. the rest of the starters scored 43 combined.
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suns win. series now going to milwaukee for game three on sunday. stanley cup champion lightning will celebrate their second boat parade in tampa on monday, but the big question this time, are the players going to throw the stanley cup from boat to boat. you remember tom brady and the bucks tossing that lombardi trophy they won the super bowl in february. twitter feed giving a warning to brady saying, for your information, it's too heavy to throw, tom. well, brady responds, i don't know. everything feels a bit lighter after some tequila. if tom brady talking tequila shots doesn't say happy friday, i don't know what does. >> everything about that was true. everything about that exchange was exactly right. do you think the bucks can turn this around, coy? >> it will be really tough. chris paul is a man on a mission, future hall of famer, first nba finals and he has that young core nucleus playing with so much energy and confidence. a great leader and i think it's
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showing. >> giannis scored 43 points and the bucks still lose. not sure what else they can do. so for most of us the words are enough to make our heads explode. last night 11 young word wizards competing in the finals for the scripps national spelling bee and the last was a teenager from louisiana. m-u-r-r-a-y-a. >> that is correct! [ cheers and applause ]. >> that is 14-year-old zaila avant-garde the first african-american contestant to win the spelling bee. spelling is just a hobby. her real talent, it seems, is basketball or i should say another talent. i think she's good at everything. she is an amazing player and holds several guinness world records for dribbling. this teenager who i think can do
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absolutely everything will join us on "new day" later in the show. i mean, is there anything she can't do? >> i know. >> i also wonder are these skills somehow interrelated? how does this work that she can manage all of these things, all of these words, all of these basketballs? i just want to know how that works. she's unbelievable. >> and she's ridiculous good at math. i don't think there's anything she's not good at. >> awesome. can't wait to speak with her. this weekend richard branson is set to travel to space aboard rocket powered space plane. he beat out fellow billionaires and rachel crane spoke with branson about this. she's with us now. wow, rachel. he is on the precipes of something just amazing here. how is he feeling? >> reporter: that's right, brianna. we are just days away from this hotly anticipated space flight. and nobody is more excited than branson himself. now, this is a flight that is nearly two decades in the making
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that's because branson bought the technology to spaceship one back in 2004. spaceship one was the winner of the x prize which challenged non-government entity to fly to space twice in two week. he bought that technology in 2004 and since then spent over a billion dollars on this program, hundreds of engineers have innovated on spaceship one to create spaceship two. you see a mockup behind me. branson just days away from taking flight very excited. take a listen to what he had to say. okay. richard, you are finally going to space in a matter of days. tell me, how do you feel? >> well, i've managed to avoid getting excited for 17 years since we started building spaceships and motherships and space boards and all these things. and had to get through the test
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programs and then yesterday i finally got the call from chief engineers saying that every single box had been ticked on the safety aspect and that i was -- would i like to go to space. and i hit the roof. i was so excited. and obviously, yeah, never been more excited in my life. and wonderful team coming up with me are equally so. >> you talk about excitement, but tell me, are you nervous at all? >> i'm not nervous. i'm obviously always nervous of letting the rest of the team down. i'm going up as someone there to test the customer experience. and i'm just going to enjoy every single minute of it. it's something that i think millions and millions of people out there would want to take my seat. and i'm going to enjoy every second from the beginning to the end. and so excited that this is the start for thousands of people
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who could become astronauts in future years. and yeah, looking forward to seeing a lot of these people off in future years to come. >> reporter: now, brianna, richard branson has been on site with his fellow mission specialists and the pilots going through training the past couple days here at space port america. and i want to tell you a little bit about the flight he is going to experience on sunday. vss unity, the spaceship will be mated to the mothership which is called eve. mothership will transport the spaceship to 40,000 feet aboveground, that's when the spaceship will be released and literally dropped right before the rocket -- the rocket motor ignites, transporting branson more than 50 miles above earth. that's when he'll get those astronaut wings experience a few minutes of precious weightlessness before gliding back down to earth. brianna? >> very cool. very cool. rachel crane, live for us from new mexico. "new day" continues right now.
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♪ i'm john berman with brianna keilar on this "new day." so, pfizer suggests you might soon need a covid vaccine booster shot. the government says not so fast. so what's going on here? and we have some breaking news, the taliban gaining ground in afghanistan as the u.s. pulls out troops there. we will go live to the pentagon. new this morning, republicans in arizona keeping up the big lie, promising yet another recount. i'm talking about a new one after the audit in the presidential election. and some new reporting just in to cnn is house minority leader kevin mccarthy losing control of his own conference? ♪ welcome to our viewers in the united states and all around the world, it is friday, july
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9th. so this morning, debate over the issue of whether there is waning immunity to coronavirus from the vaccines. pfizer says it has seen immunity from its two dose shot weaken over time and it is applying for authorization for a covid booster shot. to that, both the cdc and fda say not necessary, not now. they say americans who are fully vaccinated do not need boosters right now. their joint statement adds, i should say, it is not up to companies alone to decide when boosters might be needed. >> so this follows news from the israeli government this week that the effectiveness of the pfizer vaccine dropped from about 95% to 64%. we're not talking about serious illness here. we're talking about the actual catching of coronavirus. and that this drop has happened as the delta variant has spread. right now covid cases ar

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