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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Moore: Arrest Michigan Governor Snyder; In New Film, Moore Steals Ideas From Other Countries; New Film On 2008 Financial Crisis With A-List Cast. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired January 27, 2016 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:31:30]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

The national lead now, sounding the alarm. The U.S. just added the U.S. Virgin Islands to the list of 24 places where women who are pregnant are advised not to visit, for fear of contracting the Zika virus, linked to potentially deadly birth defects.

President Obama is now calling for more research and more funding. The concerns, keeping isolated cases in the U.S. just that, isolated. There's no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat the virus.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now.

Sanjay, it wouldn't take much for this virus to spread in the U.S., one imagines.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the virus will show up in the United States, but my suspicion is that it won't spread like we have seen it spread in other countries.

I mean, little things, Jake, make a difference. Having screens on windows, having air conditioned places makes it harder for this virus to actually take hold. Take a look, Jake, at where this all starts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA (voice-over): So this is the bloodsucker everyone is after, the female Aedes aegypti mosquito.

She's the main carrier of several dangerous viruses that have spread around the world, including yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and now Zika.

Zika is actively spreading in many top vacation spots, such as Caribbean, Mexico and Brazil, which is also the site of this summer's Olympic Games. Unlike other mosquito-borne diseases, Zika has become of particular concern to pregnant women because Brazil is now the epicenter of a Zika epidemic linked to babies born with microcephaly.

It's a devastating neurological condition where the baby's head and brain don't develop. Brazilian health officials say nearly 4,200 babies have been born with this condition since October. That's compared to 146 in all of 2014; 51 of those babies have died. Women living in Brazil, El Salvador, Colombia and Jamaica are now being told not to get pregnant at this time.

And in the United States, the CDC is also sounding the alarm.

DR. BETH BELL, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Pregnant women should consider deferring travel to areas where Zika virus is circulating.

GUPTA: Also, if you traveled to these destinations while pregnant, get tested, because 80 percent of those infected have no symptoms. Babies should also be screened after birth.

BELL: It's important for them to go in because we really don't know right now whether having symptoms or not having symptoms with Zika virus infection has any impact on the possibility that there will be a birth defect in the child.

GUPTA: One baby was born with microcephaly in Hawaii. His mom had traveled to Brazil during her pregnancy. Other states are also reporting confirmed cases of Zika, but officials stress they did not get the virus here.

Instead, all had recently traveled to countries where Zika is circulating. But if or when Zika is locally transmitted, for those who are not expecting, the virus is usually mild and not a danger to future births.

BELL: They will resolve the infection and they will have immunity. And should they plan to get pregnant in years in the future, in a few years or whatever, there really is absolutely no cause for concern.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUPTA: And, Jake, I should mention the whole connection between Zika virus and microcephaly, scientists are still trying to unravel this.

But, again, if you think about other diseases caused by these types of similar mosquitoes, dengue, for example, you do get cases of dengue in the United States, but not widespread like in other countries.

[16:35:01]

GUPTA: So this may come here, but likely not become widespread, as we are seeing in South and Central America.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

Joining me now, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He's the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Fauci, thanks for joining us.

You met with President Obama and briefed him on this Zika outbreak. How concerned are you and health officials about this virus? DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND

INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, we certainly are taking it very seriously.

This is something that clearly is an ongoing pandemic in the making in South America and in the Caribbean. There has been this association both temporally and geographically with some very serious sequelae in babies born from infected mothers.

And so this is something that we really need to get on and study very, very carefully, but also we need to have a preparation, which we are starting now in a very aggressive way, for things like better diagnostics, working on a vaccine, screening for therapeutics and also talking about understanding better the natural history of this particular issue, because it really is brand-new.

Remember, Zika was a fundamentally inconsequential virus until it now swept into an area, namely the Western Hemisphere and the Americas, in which we have not had this before. So we are putting what I call a full-court press in multiple departments. The CDC, the NIH and other agencies of government are being involved with this.

TAPPER: Right.

Dr. Fauci, a lot of Americans travel to these affected areas with an outbreak itself, Brazil obviously the epicenter. Thousands are going to travel there in a few months for the Olympics. Do you think the United States should ban travel until the...

FAUCI: No.

TAPPER: How about for pregnant women?

FAUCI: No, you don't want to do travel bans. I think the CDC has taken a very prudent approach.

They have made recommendations that women who are pregnant, or who are planning to be pregnant or who might be pregnant should be advised that they would only travel to those regions unless it's absolutely necessary and that they should consult their physician about how they should react in a certain situation like this.

So, right now, it's recommended that unless you absolutely have to travel if you're pregnant, that you don't travel to those areas until we can figure out a little bit more about what is going on, because this is still something that's evolving. So I would recommend to the American public to follow closely the CDC recommendations. They're very clear.

If you want to do it, you just go to CDC.gov, go on, click Zika, and you will see what the recommendations are.

TAPPER: And just to be clear, Dr. Fauci, even though there are cases in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii, that does not mean that there is Zika being carried by mosquitoes. It's still OK for women who are pregnant and want to get pregnant or planning to get pregnant to go to Hawaii or the Virgin Islands? FAUCI: Well, again, the Virgin Islands is one of the places now

that's in the group of areas that the CDC is recommending among the 22 areas that have had what we call...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: OK. So they should not go. They should not go there.

FAUCI: Right, exactly.

TAPPER: OK.

FAUCI: And I think what people need to understand is that there are a lot of people who will be coming back who are going to be developing this, that that doesn't mean that there's Zika in the United States that's locally transmitted.

We have had that experience with dengue and with chikungunya in which there have been very, very minor locally transmitted cases that have been well-controlled. But because there's a case of someone who comes back to the United States and you hear a report of someone who came back that has Zika, that doesn't mean that there's Zika locally transmitted in the United States. And that needs to be clarified for people.

TAPPER: OK. So, Hawaii OK, U.S. Virgin Islands not OK if you're a pregnant woman, that's the bottom line when it comes to U.S. territories?

FAUCI: Yes. What you need to do is look at the list of countries on the CDC Web site in which they say should not be traveled.

TAPPER: OK. Got it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you so much for clearing that up.

FAUCI: Right.

TAPPER: Coming up next, he's from Flint, Michigan. And filmmaker Michael Moore says the poisoned water is about more than just a local and state government failure. It's really about racism. He joins me to explain next.

Plus, he's the brain behind huge hit comedies like "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights." Now he's being called America's most powerful political filmmaker. The Oscar-nominated director of "The Big Short" will join me ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:43:39]

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

In our national lead today, the toxic water in Flint, Michigan, continues to provoke outrage and anger. Governor Rick Snyder today announced the appointment of experts to find a long-term solution to the water crisis.

He noted how angry many people are at him. Those experts included two of the individuals who helped bring the crisis to light. But Governor Snyder didn't say the two words many of his critics really want to hear, namely, "I resign."

And now a group of advocates led by the ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit urging the city and the state to replace all lead pipes in the city at no cost to local residents and to improve water quality in Flint.

Let's talk about this all with Flint native, filmmaker Michael Moore. He's out with a new film called "Where to Invade Next."

Michael, thanks so much for joining me. Really appreciate it.

Want to talk about the documentary in a second, but first I have to ask you about Flint, because, obviously, it's a subject so near and dear to your heart.

Just a few minutes ago, CNN's Poppy Harlow sat down with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Let's play a clip from that exclusive interview and then I will get your response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK SNYDER (R), MICHIGAN: We are complying with every investigation in terms of being open. We will follow the appropriate legal processes for subpoenas and other legal matters.

With respect to releasing my e-mails, I did that. This is an extraordinary case. This is not a normal case. And the reason I did '14 and '15 is, is the press in particular, everybody wanted to know, when did I find something out?

So, I released the relevant e-mails, my e-mails that addressed that issue for the relevant time period.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of them were redacted. And I'm wondering if you will release all of them having to do with Flint water back to 2011. Have you made that decision yet?

SNYDER: Again, I released the ones that were most relevant. When you say redacted, there were a couple that got redacted in terms of they were legal matters that didn't relate directly to water at all in Flint.

HARLOW: So just so I'm clear, it hasn't been decided yet if you'll release them back to 2011?

SNYDER: No. I'm confident we did '14 and '15. We answered the question that was asked and now we're complying with all the lawsuits and investigations fully.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: You've been very critical of Governor Snyder. What's your response to that?

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMMAKER: Well, obviously he's trying to be well coached by the New York crisis management PR firm that he's hired. These e-mails, as Poppy said, have been redacted. That means lots of things blacked out. This is not a national security issue.

I think we can read the e-mails. He's only released them for a short period of time, not the entire time since 2011 when he appointed the emergency manager for Flint. So this is really not the right -- he is covering up -- the people of Flint know this.

The fact that he hasn't replaced a single lead pipe, not a single lead pipe since this came to light. He's known about this since last February. Why wouldn't you know that there's a possibility that there's lead in the water? Would you allow the people to keep drinking the water?

This causes permanent brain damage. That brain damage is irreversible. There is no medicine. There's nothing to help the children that have had their brains permanently damaged by a decision or non-decision that he made.

But he's known about this for some time. He's trying to PR this thing right now. He's trying to blame civil servants for causing this or whatever. This is squarely in his lap. He removed the mayor of Flint.

He appointed a crony to run Flint and then that crony said, you know we can save $15 million by having these people drink from the Flint River. He goes, wow, that's great. Let's do it.

And now because they didn't test it, because they didn't put the right chemicals in it to treat it, now it's possibly a $1.5 billion repair.

TAPPER: Let me ask you, you wrote in "Time" magazine, quote, "Let me not mince words, this is a racial crime. If it were happening in another country, we'd call it ethnic cleansing." Explain what you mean.

MOORE: Flint is a majority black city. This is a very poor city.

TAPPER: They weren't trying to hurt them. I'm just saying in terms of ethnic cleansing.

MOORE: I don't believe there was a conference where they sat around the table and said what should we do, let's poison Flint? What they did do is made a decision, just like the car companies and lots of people where what's going to cost us more, putting a $7 part in the car or the lawsuits we're going to get from the accidents it's going to cause.

Lawsuits will cost us less so they don't fix the car. How many times have we heard that story? Same thing here. They made a decision a year ago to ignore this and to cover it up. And worse, Jake, they doctored the evidence. There's actually -- we know this now from the documents.

We can see where they have crossed off the actual number of lead that was in the water, changed the number before they sent it off to the federal government. This is a cover-up. It's fraud. It's a version of manslaughter now because we have ten people that have died from Legionnaire's disease, 87 cases.

The doctors now are saying, yes, it's connected to this Flint River water. I mean, it's just -- they could have done -- they could have fixed this at any point in time. Once they saw they made the mistake, I think like a lot of politicians they figured these people are poor.

They didn't vote for us. They don't have any political power, and so, you know, we'll see what we can do. Because his first statements when this first got revealed, he said well, you know, lead is seasonal.

That was one of his first lines. Nobody knew what that meant. Well, you get lead from paint and this or that. He tried to cover it up, change the subject. Again, here we are sitting still talking about this.

Flint doesn't need bottled water sent to it. We need those pipes replaced. Not a single pipe has been replaced since they discovered lead in the water.

TAPPER: I do want to talk about your film because I know you put so much of your heart and soul in that, "Where To Invade Next." You go to different countries and you see what they have, ideas to bring back to the U.S., like healthy gourmet lunches in schools in France or vacation time in Italy, eight weeks of it paid so workers are healthier and more productive. Why don't we do those sorts of things here you think?

MOORE: That's a good question because we are still the richest country on earth. We have the ability to have paid maternity leave. We have the money to do that. We still have 29 million people that aren't covered by universal health care. We could do these things if we wanted to do them. Why don't we do them?

TAPPER: Why? I'm asking.

MOORE: I think --

TAPPER: Solve our problems right now, please.

MOORE: I can do that. Do we have 30 seconds? In these other countries, they operate with a concept of we. We operate with a concept of me.

[16:50:02]Jake, you got your problems, I've got my problems. I'll take care of mine, you take care of yours. That is in our American mentality.

We need to have a little more of, hey, it does matter what's happening to the other person down the street or in other city or in a poor place like Flint. If they're hurt, we're hurt. That's the way we have to feel. That's the way we should be enacting public policy. That's what they do in these other countries.

They think, you know what, let's not have cruel punishment in prisons, let's actually have rehabilitation. That's why in a country like Norway, 20 percent recidivism rate.

Here within five years after getting out of prison, 80 percent are back in the criminal justice system. Why would we want that system?

TAPPER: Michael Moore, thank you so much. Best of luck with the film and best of luck more importantly with Flint.

MOORE: Thank you for bringing up Flint. It means a lot to everybody there. Really appreciate your coverage of it.

TAPPER: You can catch the full exclusive interview with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder tonight on "AC 360." That's tonight at 8 p.m. on CNN.

Coming up, he's kind of a big deal, many leather-bound book. From "Anchorman" to the Halls of Capitol Hill, why the Oscar-nominated director of "The Big Short" is paying a visit to the nation's capital this week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now our Pop Culture Lead. He's best known as the brain behind comedy hits such as "Anchorman."

(VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: But Adam McKay's latest project takes a more serious turn. He takes on Wall Street corruption with an A-list cast in the new film "The Big Short." He's now being called America's most powerful political filmmaker.

America's most powerful political filmmaker, boy, that escalated quickly. Adam McKay joined me to talk about the deadly serious message of his very engaging new film.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: First of all, congratulations. "The Big Short" is being called the film to beat this year. Five Academy Award nominations, including best director and best picture.

ADAM MCKAY, DIRECTOR, "THE BIG SHORT": Well, thank you very much. Yes, we are quite excited.

TAPPER: Of course, your background is mostly in comedy, some of the all-time greats. "Anchorman," "Talladega Nights" and "Funny or Die." The topic of the financial crisis not a funny topic, but you brought humor into it. Why was that important?

MCKAY: You know, I read this book and I just couldn't put it down. Like all tragedies, in the beginning part the characters don't know they're a part of a tragedy so there's actually funny parts, there's ironic parts, and, you know, it's true life. And true life doesn't always fit into a genre.

TAPPER: "The Washington Post" called you America's most powerful political filmmaker. How are you hoping to use this political spotlight?

MCKAY: You know, I think the message of this movie is quite simple, which is that I want people not to be intimidated by the subjects. Every person in this country has a right to question the banks and more importantly, question our government.

TAPPER: As somebody who obviously watches the political machinations very closely, what are you hearing about the financial crisis of 2007- 2008 or what are you not hearing?

MCKAY: Well, that was part of the reason we made the movie was that we felt like the discussion had kind of gone quiet. You know, there was some fines paid by the banks, yet no one went to jail. You know, capital requirements are still really low in these banks.

We just thought like where's the discussion. It seems to have woken up a little bit. We're hearing about it in the Democratic debates, but still the Republicans are shockingly quiet about it.

TAPPER: In fact during the last Republican debate, one of the moderators referred to the financial crisis as if it had started under President Obama.

MCKAY: I love how they do that, by the way. There is -- I think there was some poll that showed a disproportionate amount of Americans thought that Obama had actually done the bailout, when of course it was George W. Bush.

But I won't let Obama off the hook. He did not prosecute bankers and that was not cool either. But it just shows the amount of misinformation that's out there about what happened in 2007-2008.

TAPPER: What do you think could have prevented the financial crisis?

MCKAY: I think if we had had an aggressive clearinghouse right from the beginning for these derivatives, higher capital requirements, I also personally think Glass-Stegall being repealed was a big mistake under the Clinton administration.

I think it increased all the volatility of the banking system that was working for decades. We got rid of all the regulations and, boom, there's been several collapses.

TAPPER: It must have been tough for you as a filmmaker to look at this and not think, boy, the fix is in because no matter what these guys on Wall Street do, the politicians in D.C., whether Democrats or Republican, are going to protect them.

MCKAY: Yes. Really the message that we've kind of distilled to is if you see your representative taking money from banks, oil companies or weirdo billionaires, don't vote for him.

And there's no way these companies are paying out billions of dollars or, you know, in the case of the presidential election literally billions of dollars to these people unless they expect something in return.

So I actually think it's quite easy. We've just got to get over this right wing/left wing thing and just start targeting people that take money and we don't vote for them.

TAPPER: Maybe your film will be the start of that revolution. Adam McKay, thank you so much. Appreciate your time, and best of luck.

MCKAY: Thank you so much, Jake. Thanks for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Finally from us today, a lot of ugly things came out of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, but moments of beauty and altruism came as well. Readers of my book about Afghanistan outpost, about the men and women who served at ill-fated combat outpost Keating might recognize the name Dave Roller, the first lieutenant with 191 CAF.

Last night, Dave and his wife, Megan, welcomed Camden Alexander Roller. He is named after the town that Dave and his fellow troops sacrificed so much to try to help. Best of luck little one.

That's it from us. I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."