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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  July 9, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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sitcom" premiers on sunday only on cnn. >> you can watch the entire interview with bob is get on the lead's twitter page. our coverage continues now. happening now, new vaccine confusion. top health officials and regulators appear to disagree with pfizer about how soon covid booster shots will be needed. also, president biden confronts vladimir putin about cyberattacks, urging russia to crack down on ransomware criminals or else. cnn goes inside the sister building of the collapsed condo with investigators scrambling to make sure it's safe. we're standing by for a live
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briefing in surf sside. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." tonight government health experts and the maker of one of the most widely used covid-19 vaccines here in the united states are at odds over whether americans who received the pfizer vaccine need a booster shot. cnn's senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen is joining us now. elizabeth, there seem to be mixed messages about whether a booster shot is necessary. what's the latest? >> reporter: the mixed messages are incredible. pfizer says oh, immunity is waning. we think people need the booster. the fda, cdc and every expert we talked to say this isn't true. late yesterday pfizer very unexpectedly said we're asking
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the fda for emergency use authorization. we intend to ask next month, which is soon. we think immunity is waning to just two shots. they were almost in some ways denigrating their own product. they put out a statement. they didn't say based on a new study. they pointed to some israeli data put out. it's based on a relatively small number of cases. it's not been published. nobody is sure of the science behind it. the israeli minister of health saying the two shots are 64% effective against infection and 93% effective against severe illness. 93% against protecting you against severe illness. how does that produce waning immunity? nobody is sure. the cdc and fda stepped in and
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said jointly, americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. again, that is the bottom line. what you see on the screen there, do not need a third booster. that's the bottom line. pfizer also being criticized for kind of not reading the room here. the main problem, really the only problem with the u.s. vaccine rollout, is that one third of americans who are eligible to get the vaccine don't want it. they're not getting it. for pfizer to come out and say, oh, we think our two shots -- there's waning immunity, that gives those people the opportunity to say i told you the shot wasn't so good. i told you this didn't work. that's the opposite of what we want to be doing. >> the shot really does work. elizabeth, the cdc issued updated guidance for schools in the united states. this is key as schools and parents are preparing to fully return to in-person learning
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coming up in the next couple months. give us the latest. >> reporter: in some parts of the south schools are starting in a matter of weeks. the cdc says the priority is in-person learning. let's take a look at what the cdc is suggesting. first of all, they say if not everyone is vaccinated in the school, which is most likely the case, practice physical distancing if possible. children under 12 can't even get vaccinated. if you're not vaccinated, student, staff member or teacher, wear a mask indoors. also, they're encouraging schools to offer weekly testing for unvaccinated people. if you're a student, teacher, staff, there should be weekly screenings happening. now, if covid numbers go down in your community and maybe children don't need to be screened for it, but the screening is important. that's how you detect outbreaks
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before they happen. wolf? >> thank you so much, elizabeth cohen. let's get more from an emergency room physician and dr. jha. dr. wren, pfizer plans to apply for emergency use authorization next month for a third booster shot. the cdc and the fda both say a booster shot isn't necessary at this time. how do people sift through this mixed messaging? >> yeah, i think there is a lot of confusion right now. this is how i would understand it, i think actually all this confusion is based on a process misunderstanding. what pfizer is saying is they want to apply for emergency use authorization for a third dose, for a booster, if and when a booster is needed. they've yet to supply their
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data. i say, fine, let them apply. let's look at the data. the cdc and fda, that's their job to sift through the data and see if we need a booster shot. right now, a third dose is not necessary. the most important thing is to get vaccinated to protect yourself. there may be certain individuals, people who are immuno compromised, who may benefit from a third vaccine. the two doses of pfizer and moderna and the one dose johnson & johnson protect you very well. >> dr. jha, how worried are you that this could play into vaccine hesitancy as we heard from elizabeth cohen's report and discourage people from getting vaccinated? >> you know, i hope that doesn't happen. as dr. wren said, we have to be guided by evidence and science.
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the evidence and science is very clear that two shots is incredibly protective. we're seeing the infection rip through unvaccinated communities. those are people ending up in the hospital and often dying. the key here, don't be distracted by boosters or third shots. get two shots and you'll be protected. >> you certainly will be. dr. wren, clearly experts want more data on whether the vaccines are losing efficacy. boosters down the road aren't out of the question, are they? >> no. we do need more data. this is something i wish the cdc will do more of, which is to collect data on breakthrough infections, infections that occur in people fully vaccinated. they're only collecting data on people who are severely ill or dying. even for mild illness, how often are they occurring? if you see an uptick after nine months or twelve months, maybe
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you should think about a booster at that time. for the delta variant, if people had breakthrough infections with the delta variant, are they able to transmit the virus others? that's a question we don't have the answer to. it's really important to determine recommendations going forward. >> dr. jha, pfizer is planning on publishing this data soon. what will you be looking for? >> it's great they'll publish it. i want to look at breakthrough infections, who is it happening in and how long after they were fully vaccinated. if we see certain groups of people, the elderly who might be after six or nine months, then we might want to think about the booster for that group. it's all got to be driven by the d data. it's about infections, breakthrough infections, that's what we care about. >> dr. wren, let's get to the other big news today.
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the cdc put out updated back to school guidance. the priority is getting kids back in person in the classroom. beyond that it seems like the guidance sort of varies widely. what do you think? >> i was pleasantly surprised by the guidance in a good way. i think they have a difficult balancing act. i believe it's really important to get kids back in school full time, 100% come the fall. i think the cdc did a good job of saying we need to have mitigation measures in place like indoor mask mandates for children unvaccinated and also really ramping up testing. if we're not going to be able to keep six-foot distancing, you have to replace that with something. they're replacing that with testing. i have a concern which is they're saying if you're vaccinated you can take off your mask. how are we going to verify if someone is vaccinated? that's the big mistake of the
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biden administration so far to not get behind vaccine verification in some way. >> what do you think, dr. jha, about the guidance for kids going back to school? >> i liked it. i agree with dr. wren and the cdc recommendations. kids need to be back in school full time. we know how to do that safely. one of the areas where there was not information is on the issue of masking. one of the questions that will come up is what if your infection numbers are incredibly low. what if you're vermont with almost no infection in the area? there will have to be localization of some of these rules. you need some guidance. that's exactly right. >> dr. jha and dr. wren, thank
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you very, very much. an important note for our viewers, at the top of the next hour dr. anthony fauci will join us here in the situation room. we have lots to discuss with him as well. dr. fauci coming up. also coming up, we're standing by for a news conference out of surfside, florida on the deadly collapse. we'll have live coverage. also, the justice department in washington just released new video from the riot, the capitol riot, on january 6th. we'll share that with you. president biden's new warning to vladimir putin. we have details about their one hour long discussion today about the new cyberattacks coming out of russia. supplement insurance plan from unitedhealthcare. medicare supplement plans help by paying some of what medicare doesn't... and let you see any doctor. any specialist. anywhere in the u.s. who accepts medicare patients. so if you have this...
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we have breaking news coming into the situation room. the u.s. justice department here in washington has just released new videos from the january 6th riot at the u.s. capitol. let's go to ryan noble. ryan, tell us what we're seeing. >> reporter: it seems with each passing day the department of justice releasing video more shocking than video we've already seen from january 6th. this particular video shows a police officer who actually had gone into the mob to try and help a woman who had died of an apparent drug overdose. he was going to try to retrieve that woman. as he went in to aid this woman in distress, he was attacked by the mob. this video shows him lying on the ground as he's kicked and punched by the rioters on that day. this video released as part of an ongoing criminal trial of one of the accused rioters. that officer did suffer a
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concussion. what's even remarkable about that, we're not sure if it occurred during this particular incident or a second incident where he was attacked later in the day. this disturbing video goes to show how serious the security situation is here on capitol hill. the final remnant of the security structure put in place after that violent mob on january 6th is finally coming down today. workers have begun the process of taking down the fencing that surrounds capitol square. as they take that fencing down and it's expected to be completely removed by monday morning, there's an open question about funding for some of these security agencies that are in charge of protecting the capitol. capitol police are concerned their funding could run out by the end of august. there's a back and forth between
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senate republicans and democrats today over the status of that funding. senate democrats pushing for a comprehensive security supplemental, an almost $2 billion package passed by the house. republicans are offering up a counter proposal that would just allow the funding for capitol police and the national guard. the sum total of this is that there's a stalemate and we're running out of time before the capitol police and national guard are running out of money they need. >> thank you, ryan. very disturbing video. we're follow important developments at the white house. president biden spoke with russian president vladimir putin today about the latest cyberattacks originated from inside russia. let's go to our chief white house correspondent kaitlan collins. >> reporter: this call came three weeks after you saw president biden and president putin meet face-to-face in
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geneva. it was prompted by another ransomware attack and led to another warning to president putin from president biden. president biden delivering a new warning to russian president vladimir putin tonight. >> the united states expects when ransomware operations are coming from his soil, even though it's not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act. >> reporter: during an hour-long call, biden urged putin to take action to disrupt ransomware groups operating out of russia. >> it went well. i'm optimistic. >> reporter: biden warning the u.s. has the right to respond if the assaults don't stop, a similar message to the one he delivered in geneva.
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>> i told president putin we need basic rules of the road. >> reporter: the president is under pressure to act after a russian-based cyber gang carried out an attack on a small florida company paralyzing hundreds of businesses. >> we don't have information saying the russian government directed these attacks. >> reporter: the white house not attributing blame after hackers breached a contractor for the republican national committee. >> this is consistent with the president's view that diplomacy views working together where there's opportunity and gr agreement and being clear and forthright when there is disagreement. >> reporter: the white house is declining to say how putin responded. >> that's not appropriate. i can convey and read to you what role president biden played and what message he delivered. >> reporter: pressed on whether
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the u.s. would go on offense, biden offered a one-word response. >> does it make sense for the u.s. to take it up a notch and attack the servers used? >> yes. >> reporter: wolf, earlierier genjen sake said they won't respond on what vladimir putin said. the kremlin said in a series of reports about the cyberattacks, putin said there have been no appeals on this issues and have been made by competent u.s. agencies. by the white house we're being told the conversations they've been touting as progress given there's some dialogue happening on these cyber issues is set to happen next week.
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what if actually comes out of that remains to be seen. >> the conversation between putin and biden today very significant. joining me now is new jersey congressman -- congressman, thank you for joining us. i want to get to the new video released from the u.s. justice department which shows how violence it got on january 6th. now the fencing around the capitol is coming down later today. do you believe there's been enough done to beef up security to meet potential threats? is it smart to be taking down these barriers? >> of course i trust the guidance we're receiving from our intelligence agencies and capitol police about the appropriate steps. i would say, and you mentioned this earlier, we need more resources to fortify and ensure
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there are no attacks on our democracy like we faced on january 6th. those pictures you see, just feels like you get punched in the gut every time i see a new one. there's action we must take. it's good news we can take the fencing down. the troubling news is we have a lot of work to do tackling these threats. >> these were not peaceful tourists who had just come to washington. >> no. >> let's turn to russian aggression, alleged russian aggression. the white house says president biden will take any necessary action to defend americans and critical infrastructure. what will it take to stop these cyberattacks coming from inside russia? >> the president was right to draw a line in the sand today and reiterate what he said several weeks ago overseas. these continued cyberattacks, these ransomware attacks as we
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saw this past weekend and we saw on the pipeline, we know they come from russia, russian actors. they have to be stopped. we have to be aggressive to stop them. i don't think we should hold back and the president intimated today he'll take action and the country will take action where necessary. i think the fact that he stood up so strong to president putin is an indication of just how serious these attacks are and how serious we mean as a country when we say they have to stop. >> president biden, as you remember, just delivered that warning face-to-face with putin in geneva. i was there covering that summit. was it a mistake to sit down with the russian president as these attacks continue unabated? >> i trust the president to lead on foreign policy here and engagement with actors around the world. i think dialogue is important. you can't have diplomacy without
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strong dialogue. i think it's essential. president biden has a long history and knowledge on these issues. it's a huge asset for us. he knows when to be firm and stand up. he did that today as he did a few weeks ago. now it has to be clear these attacks are unacceptable. we will take action if president putin doesn't immediately order these attacks to stop and take action himself. i think it's given what our country is facing on this front. it's essential we stand up to these attacks. >> the stakes clearly are enormous. congressman, thank you so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me. we expect to hear from top officials in surfside, florida, updating us on the recovery operations. we're going to bring it to you live. that's coming up fairly soon we're told.
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we're standing by for a news conference on the deadly condo collapse in surfside, florida, where the death toll has risen to 78 with the recovery of 24 more victims. 62 still listed as missing. cnn's layla santiago is on the scene for us. >> reporter: we've really seen that death toll rise rapidly in the last few days. it speaks to how fast this
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recovery mission is going, how hard these recovery crews are working. you know, even just being here today i can tell you we've seen a lot of dust in the air as they continue to go through that debris pile. this, as the push continues to ensure the safety of all buildings here. tonight officials scrambling to ensure the safety of other buildings not far from champlain towers south that collapsed in surfside. drilling is under way at champlain tower north, just a block away. engineers are taking samples of concrete for analysis to compare to concrete from the rubble. the city of surfside is using ground penetrating radar to analyze structure safety. >> have you seen anything that's worried you? >> no, ma'am. i can't see through concrete. that's why the gpr is important for me to understand. >> you'll see the building and
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it looks like a normal building. >> reporter: in north miami beach residents of crewview towers had 15 minutes to grab belongings from their home after their building was deemed unsafe. >> 15 minutes is nothing. it's not enough, but we have something. >> reporter: newly released video shows the parking deck in july of 2020 from champlain towers south. cnn asked two engineers to review it. both noted the corrosion, but found it difficult to say it meant anything. >> there has been significant progress in transporting ev evidence from the debris pile. they deployed a scientist from the physics measurement lab in washington to assist with analysis.
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>> reporter: as the investigation into the cause of the collapse continues, teams now on a recovery mission continue to search for victims and retrieve their personal belongings hoping to bring closure to families as soon as. >> the pile that originally was approximately four or five stories is now almost at ground level. everything you can imagine has been rekocovered and processedmt t processedment. >> reporter: i've spoke to an organization helping the families who survived transition into new homes. they told me they are right now in need of basic things, things like putting down a deposit for a new home, a laptop, they had donations of laptops. it made you think about those moving forward and how it will mean to establish a new life. >> our hearts go out to them.
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layla, thank you very much. we want you to stand by. let's discuss what's going on with florida's state cfo jimmy petronis. thank you for joining us. we have several important issues to discuss. what's your reaction to the tour of the champlain towers north, the sister building. is enough being done to make sure you don't have to respond to another disaster? >> the first responders and the search and rescue teams have been using champlain towers north as a template for the life-saving services they've been administering. at the same time there's also been a lot of work put towards looking at the investigative reports that happened on south, comparing it to north. i've advised them to pull the minutes of champlain towers north board over the last 40 years and compare to the minutes
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of south and see if both boards have made the same investments over the last 40 years. we're -- the details will come out. >> both buildings built around the same time by the same d developer. let's get to the operation at the site that's ongoing. 14 more victims were found overnight. 78 bodies have been recovered. 62 people still missing. what's happening on this pile that's allowing more and more of these recoveries? >> now you've got teams working on it from all four sides. in addition to that, the heavy equipment is now -- because the threat of the deterioration of the building that was standing is no longer a threat, you're able to get heavier equipment down into the area in the parking garage to move the large pieces of concrete which before
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had to be cut up by hand. the tools to do the job are easier to access. that's why speed has been more enh enhanced. >> a firefighter told cnn, the mission remains the same, reunite families with these victims. he said teams may not be tacking as much of a risk than they were at the beginning of the operation when there was hope of reaching survivors alive. how much has the calculation changed, jimmy, at this stage? >> one thing i can assure you is the dogs are still on the site. the infrared equipment is still being used. the task forces here from pennsylvania, ohio, new jersey, indiana, virginia, they're the same level of skills that were here with fema task forces. the skill sets, the paramedic skills, they're all still
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working. what's happening right now is no different than five days ago. >> last night the miami-dade mayor told me that the death toll could be as high as 140. they're doing an audit of the people missing. are you operating under the same assumption as well? >> well, here's a perfect example. i heard a story earlier today where you had a couple of friends staying in the condo. loved ones didn't know that one was staying with the other. again, that's why it's so important we mine this data and build a database. we create a manifest of what could be in that building. we've been exploiting every element of state resources that we can to ensure we get the best data possible because at the end of the day there may be insurance claims that take place. i want to make sure families get closure on the emotional side of
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it and those surviving get their closure on the financial side. >> this horrible development in surfside has restauraonated wit folks around the country and around the world. so many want to help. you're warning that you're discovering fraudulent gofundme websites out there. what can you tell me about that? >> gofundme is an incredible platform to donate. over 71 different countries have donated, about $1.6 million. when i give money to gofundme, there's no way to verify that dollar is going to help anybody. again, i've been -- my plea to gofundme is create more transparency. you're doing an amazing job, but gofundme is not verifying the
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dollars are not going to those who need it. they admitted they closed 21 fraudulent accounts. that's concerning. if they're closing 21, just the rule of numbers, there's some bad characters using gofundme for nefarious reasons. >> jimmy, hold on, the mayor is speaking. >> search and recovery proceeded full steam. we recovered another victim. the total number of confirmed deaths is now 79. we've also made more identifications since our last briefing. 53 victims have now been identified and 51 next of kin notifications have been made. 200 people are accounted for. 61 people potentially
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unaccounted for. the team has continued to verify all accounts, cross-referencing names against the u.s. postal service lists, drivers license lists, the building roster. we want to get this right. the hard work and the hongoing audit has continued. these numbers will continue to change. after 16 long and extremely difficult days, i'm happy to be able to share a small piece of good news. binx a cat living on the ninth floor of champlain towers south was recently found at the site. a few hours ago he was reunited
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with his family. thank you from the bottom of my heart and all of us who are so happy to have played a role in returning binx with his family. i'm glad this small miracle brought some light to a family today and provide a bright spot for our community in the light of this tragedy. we're so very grateful for our community and the world who have continued to keep us in your prayers. starting tomorrow our press briefing will be once per day, 10:00 a.m. going forward. i hope to see you tomorrow at 10:00. [speaking foreign language] >> there you have the mayor of miami-dade county with the latest numbers. 79 confirmed dead.
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61 people still unaccounted for. that total remains 140 people all together. these have been 16 very long, very extremely difficult days she says. she said a small miracle developed. they found a cat from the ninth floor. that cat has been reunited with family members. a cat did survived these 16 days. we'll continue to stay on top of the story. much more coming up in the next hour. we'll speak with the mayor of surfside. let's take a quick break. we'll be right back.
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we're getting new details about the shocking assassination of haiti's president. matt rivers is joining us now. the white house says that fbi and homeland security officials will be arriving in haiti to help with the investigation. what's the situation there on
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the ground? >> reporter: there's a lot of investigating left to be done with haitian officials seemingly in the very beginning stages of figuring out what happened here. what we're learning so far is more than two dozen suspects have been identified. about 17 people, maybe 18 people detained. of all the suspects, 26 of them are columbian nationals according to haitian authorities. two others are haitian americans. that's about all we know. we don't know the motive, the financing or the mastermind behind this. we don't know how they made their way to where i am right now. down this road is where the attackers, the assailants came up. they came here to this police checkpoint. that was staffed and they made their way past that one.
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if you come up this way, up here there's a parking lot right down that road. it's about 100 meters down the road. that's the beginning of the presidential residential compound here in porta prince. there was a whole bunch of security inside there. yet the only people that we know definitively that were injured in all this were the president who ultimately lost his life and the first lady of haiti who is currently fighting for her life in a miami hospital. so far no public injuries known to any of the security forces at this point. how did some two dozen professional mercenaries, as they're described by the haitian government, get past one checkpoint with the police, second checkpoint and a bunch of professional people around the president? it's led to a lot of questions
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as to who is responsible. not only foreign nationals, but haitians as well. when those government agencies get down there, they have their work cut out for them to figure out how this could happen. >> matt, stay safe. matt rivers reporting. coming up, richard branson poised to win the battle of the billionaires to be the first to travel into space. . people everywhere living with type 2 diabetes are waking up to what's possible
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this sunday, richard branson is poised to boldly go where no billionaire has gone before.
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let's get some more from cnnaerospace analyst, the kor upon dent for the pbs news hour. this flight is set to last, what, an hour and a half. is this a new approach to reaching space? >> it is, wolf, in the sense that, first of all, the occupant, obviously, carrying a billionaire to space is a new idea. although, a lot of well heeled space tourists have gone. seven to be exact. so this is a new way to do it in the sense also, wolf, that he's being carried aloft by a carrier craft. the rocket will separate from the carrier craft at 50,00 to feet. they light the rocket and they will fly almost vertically straight up to the edge of space. they will be able to unbuckle, get a few minutes of weightlessness, zero gravity, take a look at the earth and then come back down. >> we'll watch the whole thing.
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what is the risk factor here for branson and his team? >> well, any time you are pushing 2,200, 2,300 miles an hour and lighting off rockets, you are engaging in a risky endeavor. richard branson has a history of doing risky things. hot air ballooning. in both cases he has to be plucked out of the water by rescue folks, so he knows a little bit about what risk is about and he does enjoy the adrenaline that comes with it. but he doesn't have a crew escape system there. so we will watch this and we will be watching this very closely. >> we certainly will, miles. thanks for joining us. coming up, mixed messages on the need for a booster shot for those that received the pfizer covid-19 vaccine. dr. anthony fauci is standing by live. we'll discuss. treat our own mom, with care and respect. to us, the little things are the big things.
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happening now, breaking news, horrifying new images of police dragged during the capitol attack as the justice department here in washington warns of the potential for new pro-trump violence provoked by the former president. also this hour, new questions about covid vaccine booster shots as pfizer and the feds prepare to send mixed messages. and president biden calls out vladimir putin over cyber attacks threatening to take any action to protect the united states. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in th


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