'This Week' Transcript 10-24-21: Dr. Anthony Fauci

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, October 24.

ByABC News
October 24, 2021, 9:59 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, October 24, 2021 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.

ANNOUNCER: "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" starts right now.



SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We're talking.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): We're talking.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Democrats try to unify on President Biden's investment plans.

QUESTION: You feel like a deal is close?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think it's very possible.

SANDERS: The American people want us to act. And I think we're going to have to aggressively come together to do that.

MANCHIN: We have got a lot of action going on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As the price tag shrinks, what's in, what's out? The latest on the negotiations.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: We now have booster recommendations for all three authorized COVID-19 vaccines.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The CDC green-lights mixing boosters. The FDA finds vaccines for children safe and effective. Dr. Anthony Fauci joins us live.

Plus: the growing threat of China.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want a cold war with China. I just want to make China understand we are not going to step back.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And high stakes on the campaign trail.

GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: This race has got the full attention of the entire United States of America.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: So what is this race going to say about the midterms?

FMR. GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D-VA): I think this race is going to set the tone, I hope, for the Democratic Party.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jonathan Karl reports from Virginia. And our powerhouse roundtable weighs in on all the week's politics.


ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week."

Here now, George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."

It was an intense one on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail. Democrats worked behind closed doors to find a compromise on President Biden's Build Back Better agenda and voted overwhelmingly to hold top Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt for failing to testify on the January 6 insurrection.

And, in Virginia, the governor's race now a dead heat. How that turns out, a key signal for both the president and his predecessor. We're going to cover it all this morning with our roundtable.

And we begin with congressional correspondent Rachel Scott tracking all the week's developments on Capitol Hill.


RACHEL SCOTT, ABC NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With his economic agenda on the line and his credibility on the world stage at stake, this week, the president told his party, it's time to get it done.

BIDEN: We can afford to do this. We can't afford not to do it.

SCOTT: After months of party infighting, stalled negotiations and missed deadlines, a new sense of urgency from the president, now setting clear expectations.

BIDEN: You all never believed from the beginning we would ever get anything done. I think we will get a deal.

SCOTT: That deal will be far from what he wanted or promised. Faced with Republican opposition and a split within the Democratic Party, the president was forced to abandon proposals he campaigned on, tuition-free community college likely dropped. Paid family leave could be cut down from 12 weeks to four weeks.

And the $300 monthly child tax credit may only be extended for an additional year.

(on camera): Is that enough to you?

REP. RITCHIE TORRES (D-NY): As far as I'm concerned, a one-year expansion is a death sentence for the child tax credit.

SCOTT (voice-over): The total price tag of the bill would also be lowered from $3.5 trillion to just under $2 trillion.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Everyone is going to have to compromise if we're going to find that legislative sweet spot we can all get behind. Nobody will get everything they want.

SCOTT: President Biden pulling back the curtain on the sensitive negotiations, detailing the resistance from two moderate holdouts, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

BIDEN: When you're in the United States Senate, and you're president of the United States, and you have 50 Democrats, every one is a president.

SCOTT: Manchin at odds with the party over how to tackle climate change, a central focus of the president's foreign trip in the coming days, and Sinema rejecting Biden's proposals to pay for the sweeping new programs.

BIDEN: She says she will not raise a single penny in taxes on the corporate side and/or on wealthy people.

SCOTT: Her opposition frustrating progressives.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Let's just at least restore the tax rate to what it was before Donald Trump did his tax cuts. To me, it's just ridiculous.

SCOTT: And leaving the White House scrambling for other alternatives.

(on camera): Can this package be paid for without a corporate tax increase?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, absolutely. We can also close loopholes for high-income Americans. And we can crack down on wealthy tax cheats.

SCOTT (voice-over): Democrats hope a framework on the social spending bill will give them enough votes in the House to move forward this week on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

(on camera): The nation's crumbling infrastructure hitting farmers hard here in the Mississippi Delta. They say, for too long, too many bridges like this one have been closed down.

What is your message to lawmakers about funding bridges like these to be repaired?

JEFFERY MITCHELL, SOYBEAN AND CORN FARMER: We just need a steady stream of funding.

SCOTT: And can this issue wait?

MITCHELL: No. I mean, we have already waited.

SCOTT (voice-over): But with Democrats' all-or-nothing strategy, any federal funding to help rebuild the nation's roads and bridges will have to wait until they strike a deal on the entire agenda.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to Rachel for that.

So, that's where things stand on Capitol Hill. Now the campaign trail and this year’s marquee matchup in Virginia.

Where former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is vying for a comeback against first time GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin. Donald Trump and Joe Biden looming over the race. Our chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl took a deep dive into the contest this week. He joins us from Charlottesville.

Good morning, Jon.


The eyes of the political world are on Virginia where the Democratic candidate is trying to win with some help from President Joe Biden, and the Republican candidate is trying to win by staying away from Donald Trump.




KARL (VOICE OVER): It's crunch time in the Virginia governor's race. Joe Biden won this state by 10 points, but with just over a week until Election Day, this race is a toss-up.

CROWD: Terry! Terry! Terry!

KARL (VOICE OVER): Terry McAuliffe, a fixture of national Democratic politics for decades and Virginia’s former governor is facing off against Republican Glenn Youngkin, former top executive at the Carlisle Group who has never run for political office before.



GLENN YOUNGKIN, REPUBLICAN NOMINEE VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION: Do you want tired old recycled policies from a tired politician or do you want to embrace someone new?


KARL (VOICE OVER): Virginia was once a solidly conservative state, but no more. It's been 12 years since Republicans won any statewide office here at all.

Over the summer though, polls showed McAuliffe with a narrow lead, and polls now consistently show the race statistically tied.

KARL (ON CAMERA): This race is about more than just Virginia. It's a key test of the current president's agenda, the shadow cast by the former president, and the first major indication of what lies ahead for the midterm elections.

KARL (VOICE OVER): From Joe Biden to Barack Obama, who campaigned for McAuliffe in Richmond yesterday, McAuliffe has tapped the biggest names in the Democratic Party to give his campaign some much needed energy.


KARL (ON CAMERA): We've got Stacey Abrams in here, two visits by the president, a visit by the Former President Obama, a visit by the first lady, a visit by the vice president. Why all the -- why do you need all the help?

MCAULIFFE: Well, we did this last time. I mean, we did the same thing in '13. I mean, we always bring them in. This is what -- this is the biggest race in America. Who doesn't want to be here?


KARL (VOICE OVER): For the most part, Glenn Youngkin is keeping prominent Republicans on the sidelines. He has Donald Trump's endorsement, but he hasn't done a single campaign event with Trump and rarely talks about him. Not surprising given Trump is deeply unpopular in Virginia.

But Youngkin hasn't been able to avoid Trump entirely. The former president called into a recent Virginia Republican event.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope Glenn gets in there, and he'll straiten out Virginia, lower taxes, do all of the things that we want a governor to do.


KARL (VOICE OVER): It was an event that bizarrely included a Pledge of Allegiance to a flag said to be on display during the January 6th rally before the Capitol riot. McAuliffe of course, pounced.


MCAULIFFE: They did the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag that was used to bring down the democracy that that American flag symbolizes.


KARL (VOICE OVER): Youngkin wasn't at the event and denounced the January 6th pledge.


YOUNGKIN: I wasn't involved in that at all. That's the whole idea of the flag thing seems kind of weird to me and is wrong.


KARL (VOICE OVER): Youngkin turned down repeated requests over the past several weeks for an interview with “This Week.” His campaign says he is doing no national interviews, although he has been a regular on one news outlet, Fox News.

McAuliffe has repeatedly and relentlessly portrayed Youngkin as a clone of Donald Trump.


MCAULIFFE: He's a total wannabe Donald Trump. He's been endorsed by Donald Trump four times.

YOUNGKIN: Terry, you just made folks in las Vegas a lot of money. There's an over/under tonight on how many times you're going to say Donald Trump, and it was ten, and you just busted through it. You’re running against Glenn Youngkin.



KARL (ON CAMERA): He’s not Donald Trump, right? I mean, you're not running against Donald Trump. You're running against Glenn Youngkin.

MCAULIFFE: No, but I'm running against Trump's divisive culture wars, his device of politics. I am running against Trump policies, you bet I am. Glenn Youngkin has adopted every one of Donald Trump’s device of politics.

This election here in Virginia, I think, sets the tone for the state for the next decade and I think it's a really important message for this country.


KARL (VOICE OVER): McAuliffe has suggested his struggles to put up a big lead are a reflection of Joe Biden’s struggles.


MCAULIFFE: We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know. The president is unpopular today, unfortunately here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through.


KARL (VOICE OVER): But McAuliffe caused some of his own troubles in a recent debate on the issue of education when he defended his decision as governor to keep parents from pulling books some deemed sexually explicit out of school libraries by saying this.


MCAULIFFE: And I'm not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions. I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.


KARL (VOICE OVER): That last line quickly made its way into a Youngkin ad.


FEMALE: And Terry went on the attack against parents.


KARL (VOICE OVER): With just days to go, there's no race in the country right now political leaders in both parties are paying more attention to than Virginia's.

What is this race going to say about the midterms?

MCAULIFFE: I think this race is going to set the tone, I hope, for the Democratic Party.

KARL: So if you lose, it's a bad, bad sign for Democrats?

MCAULIFFE: Well, listen, we're not going to lose, Jonathan. Who thinks like that?


KARL (on camera): The biggest challenge for Terry McAuliffe is energizing Democratic voters. Polls have consistently shown that Republicans are more enthusiastic about this race than Republicans. That's a big reason why you saw Barack Obama here campaigning with McAuliffe yesterday. And, George, today you will see the Dave Matthews Band performing a concert at a McAuliffe event here in Charlottesville.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, bringing that. John, how's the pandemic playing out in this race?

KARL: Well, McAuliffe has made it a big issue. You know, Youngkin is opposed to vaccine mandates. McAuliffe has used that to portray him as being anti-vaccine. Youngkin says that is not the case, but interestingly in a recent poll, the most recent poll here in Virginia, the pandemic came in third among issues far outpacing the pandemic was concerns about the economy and jobs and education in schools

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon Karl, thanks very much.

KARL: Let's talk about this now on our roundtable, joined by Chris Christie, Donna Brazile, Jane Coaston, host of “The New York Times” podcast “The Argument”, and Sara Isgur, veteran of the Trump Justice Department, now political analyst for “The Dispatch”.

Thank you all for joining us.

Chris, you’re a veteran for races like this. New Jersey and Virginia, always these off-year elections. How do you read this one?

CHRISTIE: Well, look. I think Virginia is very close. I think the Republican Governors Association, is spending a lot of money. They make decisions based on what they think they can win or lose. So, when you see them spending a lot of money in Virginia, I think that gives you an indication they think it's winnable.

New Jersey is now down to a single digit race. The latest poll I’ve seen has it at six points.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not as close as Virginia.

CHRISTIE: Not as close as Virginia, but a trend, George. Two weeks ago, it was at 15, and now it's at 6. So it's trending.

Now, whether there will be enough time between now and the Election Day for that to happen in New Jersey. But either way, what you’re seeing I think, are national headwinds created by Joe Biden and the congressional Democrats causing problems, and you heard McAuliffe say it himself, he's blaming Biden. So, you know, I think that's what you are seeing here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna, these races -- these off races often are tough for the party that won the presidential race the year before.

BRAZILE: Right. And, Terry, as you all know has bucked that trend before, and I think he'll buck it again. We saw his turnout in Virginia both in 2017, 2018, of course, for the midterms, 2019, but Trump was president.

I think what Terry is doing in the closing days of his campaign is he's increasing the level of enthusiasm. He's really focused like a laser on jobs, but he's also doing something that I think is important, and that is he's saying to national Democrats, congressional Democrats, let's wrap it up so that we can get back to creating jobs and doing what the American people want us to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, he wants the accomplishment right there.

Sara, you saw Glenn Youngkin make that remark in the debate about how many times Terry McAuliffe is going to talk about Donald Trump. How is Youngkin walking that tight rope?

ISGUR: Yeah, we've certainly seen Republicans have to walk this before. In some ways, look at just 2020 Susan Collins' race in Maine. That was a race where the Democrats tried very hard to tie Susan Collins to Donald Trump, failed to do so, Susan Collins won re-election. You know, Youngkin needs Trump supporters to come vote for him, and he also needs those northern Virginia D.C. suburbs that are most interested in the school issue for instance that have been turned up to pretty hard blue Democratic areas to scoot back just a little for him to win this race.

And so, that's the tightrope, is the lower part of the state getting, you know, not alienating them by pushing Trump too far away, but in no way tying himself to Trump for the top part of the state with what we've seen as really the school board parents. They're the new soccer moms in a lot of ways that could really change this election.

STEPHANOPOULOS: School board parents and, of course, McAuliffe got in some hot water by talking about parents shouldn't be dictating the curriculum for their students.

COASTON: I don’t know. I’m just getting real Ed Gillespie vibes. I just keep thinking back to previous gubernatorial elections in Virginia, where it was going to be monuments that were going to swing the election, and now we’re hearing that the new thing is, you know, the trouble that starts with a capital "T," and that rhymes with P, and somehow that stands for critical race theory.

Like we are in this moment where I looked back at some of the polling numbers and like the polling in Virginia has actually been remarkably steady. The lead for McAuliffe on August 31st was about 2.8 percent, and on October 19th, it was 2.9 percent, and I think it's a pretty steady race.

And I think that one of the challenges we have is that we're having is we're going to want to use this as a bellwether for the nation. Not every state is like Virginia where you have a northern Virginia area that is incredibly diverse and very different from other parts of the state, Blacksburg, Virginia Beach. They're going to look a little bit different politically.

But I do think that there's a sense here where we're -- we see Republicans that are just going to keep trying something.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if -- I mean, Ed Gillespie, of course lost his -- his race.


STEPHANOPOULOS: But if -- if this state, which had been trending blue for the last several elections, actually goes Republican, that is a signal, isn't it?

COASTON: I mean, I think it's a signal of what this means for Virginia and especially how to win a race in Virginia. But as we've seen time and time again, what wins in Virginia or what wins in Texas or what wins in California might not necessarily work outside of those areas. I think the nationalization of politics does not mean that state politics doesn't still matter.

CHRISTIE: But here -- George, here's where it's national, though. Where it's national is, Joe Biden's numbers are bad, and -- and there's no denying that. And I don't care whether you're --

STEPHANOPOULOS: He's been on a pretty steady slide so far.

CHRISTIE: A pretty steady slide down. And he's creating headwinds for these candidates.

Look, if New Jersey is a six-point race right now, there is no way New Jersey should be a six-point race. There's 1.1 --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, six-points in a governor's race isn't that close. I could turn (ph) --

CHRISTIE: George, 1.1 million more Democrats than Republicans. Joe Biden won a year ago in New Jersey by 17 points. So, come on. Like, my point to you is that, that's telling you something. And what it's telling you is not what New Jersey is going to do and how they're going to be governed. It's telling you what even New Jersey thinks of Joe Biden. Even in New Jersey, Joe Biden is now upside down.

BRAZILE: Well, let me just say this --

ISGUR: I think that --


BRAZILE: Joe Biden is going to New Jersey. So, welcome to the garden state.

CHRISTIE: Thank you. Please, can you come four times next week? Please.

BRAZILE: And -- and, by the way, Chris, he's going back to Virginia.


BRAZILE: And while --


BRAZILE: While he may not be as popular as he was back on August 1st, he's a hell of a lot more popular than Donald Trump, who is as popular as a root canal in most of the country. So, look, here's a -- here --

CHRISTIE: I -- I know -- Donna, I know you love this could be about Donald Trump --

BRAZILE: Of course I love -- I love -- I --

CHRISTIE: But Joe Biden's the president.

BRAZILE: No, no, Joe Biden is the president.


BRAZILE: But you know who the elephant is in the room in Virginia and New Jersey? It's Donald Trump, because he's not only dialing in, he is calling in the shots for the Republican.

CHRISTIE: He has --

ISGUR: But I also think that --

BRAZILE: And that's why you have all of these cultural wars. You have abortion and now same sex marriage.

COASTON: We're thinking about this as an energy question. Like, we are seeing a lot of Democrats -- this isn't like Democrats being disappointed with Joe Biden. This is Democrats saying, oh, thank God I don't have to think about politics right now. You're seeing that for a lot of people who have been incredibly plugged in for the last four years, they are disconnected.

ISGUR: Republicans are getting (ph) very connected.

COASTON: Republicans are more plugged in because they're in opposition. Like, Republicans love being in opposition.

ISGUR: And even if McAuliffe wins --

COASTON: It's kind of like if --

ISGUR: If McAuliffe wins by 2.9 points, let's say --


ISGUR: This will still be seen as a rebuke of the progressives who have not figured out that they do not speak for the vast majority of Americans. And, in fact, most Americans, when they hear them speak think, oh my, that's not even the language that I'm talking about.

You know, David Shor, the former Obama data guru, had incredible stuff and interviews and data that he had this week just showing again and again why Democrats are losing this when they shouldn't be. So even if McAuliffe wins, still seen as really bad for that left wing shift that the Democratic Party is seeing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna -- and, Donna, that study has gotten a lot of -- it's gotten a lot of attention this week. And that is, it seems to be driving the forces on Capitol Hill towards a deal.

That -- you sort of had the most optimism among Democrats for having a deal this week than you've had all year.

BRAZILE: Look, the plane is about to land. So, go ahead and buckle your seat belt. Make sure that you put your tray table away because the Democrats are really focused on getting this job creating future ready proposal across the finish line.

It may have taken a long time, and we didn't like what the sausage looked like in the making, but it's going be appetizing for a country that really want to be competitive in the future.

So, let me just say this -- and I love it when Republicans talk about Democrats. I live with a lot of them. And God knows they're not bad people, especially progressives, because what progressives are arguing for, they're arguing for climate change. That's a reality that we have to face. They're arguing for access to health care. That's a reality we must face.

I don't find anything that the progressives are arguing for in this big, massive bill, which I've reduced to this, and I even have colors, this is not bad for America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As -- as long as it doesn't kill the deal.

BRAZILE: Oh, of course. Of course. And that's why I think the president today is going to be on the phone. He's going to try to get those last two or three moderates over the finish line. And, by the way, the vice president, this week, was making sure that we get the progressives. So we have a healthy Democratic Party and a healthy democratic process.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let me bring that to Chris.

If the Democrats do get this done, is that enough to start to bring Biden back?

CHRISTIE: No, it's not, George, because when people start to figure out the specifics of all this, despite Donna's color-coded form over there, what they're going to see is they're going to see red. This is not what the majority of the American people want. They're going to be angry. They're going to see red. They're not going to --


CHRISTIE: This is not what the majority of the American people want.

CHRISTIE: It's just not.


And so I don't -- I don't think it matters now -- and, by the way, now they're moving to -- and you can always tell where the president's moving next because you read the New York Times on the way in here. And now they're saying, even if Biden gets $2 trillion, that that's a failure of compromise, and what he needs to do now is kill the filibuster to prove to progressives that he's really serious.

I love this conversation. Keep it going.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jane, take the question I just gave to Chris.

COASTON: I mean, I think that, for one thing, it's interesting because the American people voted for Joe Biden, and Joe Biden talked a lot about infrastructure during the campaign. And I think that what this deal means -- it's interesting because voters are complicated. I think that that's something that we always forget. Voters will vote for increasing the mandatory minimum wage and they will also vote to support Donald Trump because, again, voters are people and people are complicated.

And so I think that one of the most important things here will be that what does this bill actually end up being? What does this actually mean?

I mean, I think we saw this numerous times with people getting stimulus checks last year. We've seen this, when government does a thing, and the thing results in something for the American people...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, that gets to...

COASTON: I think that -- but we need to stop thinking about sausage and politics and horse race and think about...

ISGUR: ... the Biden administration with those checks, and I think the -- the biggest thing that people are looking at right now, things are costing more when they go to the grocery store, or anywhere for that matter, and they blame Joe Biden for it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's going to be the question. If this bill ends up improving the economy next year, then it could change...

ISGUR: It will increase inflation. You can't spend $2 trillion and have no effect on the underlying...


BRAZILE: Sarah, yours spent over $5 trillion. So you want to talk red?

ISGUR: Yes...

BRAZILE: We saw red...


BRAZILE: ... the last administration. We saw red coming into this administration, $5 trillion to deal with this pandemic. Things are costing more because we know the disruption that the pandemic has cost.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to take a break. You guys are going to come back later. Dr. Anthony Fauci is up next.



SHAUNA MARKES-WILSON, WALGREENS HEALTH CARE SPECIALITY SUPERVISOR: There can be a lot of confusion about what vaccine to get. You have the additional dose, and you have the booster shots.

There is some confusion with our patients between the additional pills for immunocompromised and the booster shot. Now you add to that the availability of three additional vaccines.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Some confusion over boosters this week.

Let's talk about that with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Fauci, thanks for joining us again this morning.

There has been a lot of news about boosters this week, fair amount of confusion. All three are now approved. And the CDC has signed off on mixing and matching vaccines. Explain who can get them now and your best guidance on which booster people should get?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, first of all, it's a level playing field now, George, because all three of the products that are available to the American public, the mRNAs from Moderna and from Pfizer, as well as the J&J.

And first we had the Pfizer approval, which means that people 65 years of age or older and those who have underlying conditions that put them at a higher risk, and 18 up to 64 of people who either live in or work in a circumstance that put them at higher risk.

The criteria for Moderna are the same as the criteria for Pfizer. Most recently, the J&J authorization means that anybody 18 years of age or older, who's received their primary shot within the past two months can get it.

So it really shouldn't be confusing. All three products -- the mix and match means that, under the situation, if you were originally vaccinated with one product, could you and would it be appropriate and safe and effective to get boosted in the third shot for the mRNA and the second shot for J&J by another product?

And the answer is, it's perfectly fine. We would hope that people, if available, would get the boost from the original product. But, if not, there's the flexibility of what we're calling mixing and matching, in other words, getting something other than the time of the first shot.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can I press you on that? Because I have read some studies that suggest that it's actually better to mix.

Like, say, if you got the Johnson & Johnson the first time around, it's better to get Moderna the second time.

FAUCI: Well, George, if you look at the level of antibodies that are induced, in fact, you do, if you originally had J&J, and you get, for example, a Moderna or a Pfizer, the level of antibodies, namely, the proteins that you would predict would protect you, those levels go up higher with the Moderna boost to J&J than the J&J boost.

However, it's a little bit more complicated, because, in the clinical trial that J&J did, the clinical effect of the second dose of J&J was quite substantial. So, it really becomes an issue of, what's the most convenient? What do you feel is best for you?

If you have any question about it, you consult your physician. I think the good news about this, George, is that it allows a considerable degree of flexibility for people to get what we hope they will get, namely, a booster that will increase and optimize their protection.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about kids.

Pfizer reported on Friday that its vaccine is safe and effective for the younger children ages 5 to 11. FDA is meeting next week. So should we expect kids to start getting vaccinated in November?

FAUCI: I would think so, George.

You never want to get ahead of the FDA and their regulatory decisions, nor do you want to get ahead of the CDC and their advisers on what the recommended would be. But if you look at the data that's been made public and announced by the company, the data look good as to the efficacy and the safety.

The FDA and their advisory committee will be meeting next week on October the 26th. And then their regulatory decision will be handed over to the CDC, likely November 2 or 3.

So, if all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval and the recommendation from the CDC, it's entirely possible, if not very likely, that vaccines will be available for children from 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The controversy over whether the U.S. was funding risky COVID research in Wuhan was kicked up again this week when the NIH released a letter about that research which showed that the subcontractor had not disclosed some results in a timely manner.

Now, some critics and analysts have seized on that to say you and others have misled the public about U.S. funding of this so-called gain-of-function research. The NIH says that's false. Our medical unit backs that up.

But Senator Rand Paul stepped up that criticism in a new interview with "Axios on HBO."

Let's play it.



QUESTION: ... Dr. Fauci should be fired?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Absolutely.

QUESTION: By the president?

PAUL: Yes, absolutely.

The thing is, is just for lack of judgment, if nothing else. He's probably never going to admit that he lied. He's going to continue to dissemble and try to work around the truth and massage the truth.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to give you the opportunity to respond to Senator Paul, but also --

FAUCI: Yeah.

STEPHANOPOULOS: --- explain, what was the United States funding? What wasn’t it funding? And why that’s important?

FAUCI: Well, I obviously totally disagree with Senator Paul. He's absolutely incorrect. Neither I nor Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the NIH lied or misled about what we’ve done.

The framework under which we have guidance about the conduct of research that we fund, the funding at the Wuhan Institute was to be able to determine what is out there in the environment, in bat viruses in China. And the research was very strictly under what we call a framework of oversight of the type of research.

And under those conditions which we have explained very, very clearly, does not constitute research of gain of function of concern.

There are people who interpret it that way, but when you look at the framework under which the guidance is, that is not the case.

So I have to respectfully disagree with Senator Paul. He is not correct that we lied or misled the Congress. It's just not correct, George. I’m sorry.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That -- right. It showed that what was being researched was very far from the COVID -- the SARS-COVID virus.

FAUCI: Yeah.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it did show that the subcontractor (ph) did not release some results in a timely manner.

What did learn from the letter? Does it show that some of the research we were finding was riskier than we know?

FAUCI: No, it isn't. We knew what the risk was, and what the oversight is. Certainly, they should have put their progress report in a timely manner. No denial of that, and there will be administrative consequences of that.

But one of the things that gets mixed up in this, George, and it really needs to be made clear to the American public. There’s all of this concern about what's gain of function or what's not, with the implication that that research led to SARS-CoV-2, and COVID-19, which, George, unequivocally anything that knows anything about viral biology and phylogeny of viruses know that it is molecularly impossible for those viruses that were worked on to turn into SARS-CoV-2 because they were distant enough molecularly that no matter what you did to them, they could never, ever become SARS-CoV-2.

And yet when people talk about gain of function, they make that implication which I think is unconscionable to do, to say, well, maybe that research led to SARS-CoV-2.

You can ask any person of good faith who’s a virologist, and they will tell you, absolutely clearly, that that would be molecularly impossible.

So, things are getting conflated, George, that should not be conflated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Fauci, thanks as always for your time and your information.

FAUCI: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, a closer look at the growing tensions between the United States and China.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, a closer look at the growing tensions between the United States and China.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, you hear people saying, Biden wants to start a new cold war with China. I don't want a cold war with China. I just want to make China understand that we are not going to step back, we are not going to change any of our views.

ANDERSON COOPER, MODERATOR: So are you saying that -- that the United States would come to Taiwan's defense if China attacked?

BIDEN: Yes. Yes, we have a commitment to do that.


STEPHANOPOULOS: There is President Biden on Thursday vowing to defend Taiwan as tensions mount between the United States and China.

We're going to discuss that now with Steve Ganyard, a veteran of the Pentagon and State Department, and Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia Program at the Germany Marshall Fund.

Bonnie, let me begin with you.

President Biden's team, including the defense secretary, walked back that comment, saying that the United States policy of not explicitly saying we would defend Taiwan, which is known as "strategic ambiguity," has not changed. But President Biden said something very similar to me back in August, in our August interview.

Is there more going on here than meets the eye?

GLASER: Well, I think that President Biden personally feels quite strongly about avoiding a Chinese attack on Taiwan, and it is quite interesting that he keeps saying that he would come to Taiwan's defense.

That said, U.S. policy is to sell Taiwan weapons to defend itself, but the United States will not say in advance whether or not it would come to Taiwan's defense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you don't think that's changed?

GLASER: No. I have talked to people in -- in the administration who say that U.S. policy has not changed. They want neither side of the strait to make unilateral changes in the status quo. They want peaceful resolution of disputes. But the fact that the president comes out and personally says that he would defend Taiwan is an important signal to Beijing and perhaps might strengthen deterrence; it might make Xi Jinping think twice about whether or not he should use force against Taiwan.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Steve, you know, Richard Haass, the chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, says this strategic ambiguity is an antiquated policy, that we need something that he calls strategic clarity, that China should know the consequences if it tries to take over Taiwan.

Does he have a point?

GANYARD: Well, George, getting away from strategic ambiguity means that the U.S. has to commit to the defense of Taiwan now. The whole idea behind strategic ambiguity is to make the Chinese think two or three times, "Will the U.S. commit the 7th Fleet, the 5th Air Force? Will it get to a nuclear exchange? Will they trade, says, Topeka for Taipei?"

So the real question here is how do you keep the Chinese from attacking?

When might that happen?

Most conventional military estimates say that's three to five years out. But the Chinese also noted what the Russians did in the annexation of Crimea, put these little green men, people without uniforms, and use cyber-hacking and take out critical infrastructure.

It was almost a bloodless annexation of the Crimea, and that is very appealing. We may see that rather than a conventional attack.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Steve, I was struck by you saying when, not whether. So you think it's inevitable...

GANYARD: Yeah...

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... that China at some point takes over Taiwan?

GANYARD: George, Xi Jinping has publicly said that he has a solemn commitment to what he calls the reunification of Taiwan and the mainland China. This is not a question of if. It's a question of when. And so this is why the U.S. needs to think now about what the responses would be. It will be, maybe, one year. It may be three years. It may be five years. But it will happen.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Bonnie, I want to get to your...

GLASER: So, George...

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... your weigh-in on that. Go ahead, yeah. Do you agree?

GLASER: I very much want to weigh in on that because I disagree. I think that it is a question of whether.

In fact, we had our chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Milley, in testimony to Congress earlier this year saying that we have to focus not just on capabilities but also on intent.

Everything that Xi Jinping really has said about Taiwan and the inevitability of reunification has been said by prior Chinese leaders. What has really changed is that China increasingly, and they already have the capabilities to actually seize and control Taiwan.

But in terms of intent, I think Xi Jinping has a lot on his plate. In the next year, it's the run-up to the 20th Party Congress, where he will get an unprecedented third five-year term in office, and then he's going to have to deal with a slow-down of the Chinese economy.

What he wants to avoid is independence of Taiwan. But reunification? I think that he is -- is not willing to take the risk of a possible action against Taiwan that could fail and then threaten his leadership and the stability in leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Steve, this is also against the backdrop of an increasingly contentious U.S. relationship with China. At his confirmation hearings this week, the president's nominee for ambassador, Nick Burns, warned that China poses, quote, "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world."

I know President Biden said he doesn't want a new Cold War with China. But are we in one?

GANYARD: I think we are, George. But the interesting thing, it's a very different Cold War than what we had with the Russians. With the Russians, it was primarily a military Cold War. The Russians used proxies against the U.S.

We don't see that out of China, at least yet. With China, it's much more of a -- of an economic competition. And the other problem here is that the U.S. and China's economies are inextricably entwined, and China remains the second largest economy in the world.

So I think it's a Cold War. It's a fairly hot Cold War, which we're coming to that realization, but it's a very different one, in some ways more dangerous.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Bonnie, is this virtual summit that the president and President Xi are going to have, I think, coming up in December, is this an opportunity to lessen those tensions? Is that what you expect?

GLASER: Yes, I do. The Chinese have been reluctant in the first 10 months of the Biden administration to engage other than phone calls. They have resisted holding a high-level meeting. But now they are interested. And I think the intention on both sides is to put a floor under this relationship.

As I said, Xi Jinping is in the run-up to taking over -- getting his next -- his next five-year term. He wants stability. Indeed he just said in a speech about two weeks ago that China needs a stable domestic and international environment in order to achieve its national rejuvenation. The goal -- that goal was supposed to be achieved by 2049.

So I think, in this particular period, Xi Jinping does want to have stability. And I think that the two governments are going to put in place what some officials in the Biden administration call guardrails, risk reduction measures, maybe some confidence-building measures. The two militaries need to re-engage. They have not been really engaging at high levels in this administration yet.

But I think we will see that following the virtual summit.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Bonnie Glaser, Steve Ganyard, thanks very much.

Up next, the roundtable is back.

Plus, Nate Silver analyzes Donald Trump's chances if he runs again.



STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I now want to, in whatever way I can, educate the public about the behaviors within the White House, because it does look like he's going to try to run in 2024.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You believe he will?

GRISHAM: I didn't at first, but I'm starting to believe he will.

I want to just warn people that, once he takes office, if he were to win, he doesn't have to worry about reelection anymore. He will be about revenge.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Former Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, one of many convinced that Donald Trump is going to run again in 2024, as a striking new poll finds more than three-quarters of Republicans want that to happen, up 12 points from May.

So, we asked FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver for his take on Trump's chances.


NATE SILVER, ABC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Betting markets give former President Trump around a 40 percent chance of being the GOP nominee in 2024. And, frankly, I think that's a bit low.

There's lots of polling to show that Republican voters still love the 45th president. A Quinnipiac poll this week, for example, found that 78 percent of GOP voters want Trump to run for president again.

And a Morning Consult poll earlier this month found that Trump would get 47 percent of the vote in a hypothetical Republican primary, well ahead of former Vice President Mike Pence at 13 percent and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 12.

At the same time, there aren't a lot of historical examples of a party nominating a losing candidate again four years later. The last time the party immediately renominated a candidate who had lost the prior election, the Democrats did it with Adlai Stevenson in 1956. His second try wasn't any better than his first. And he lost again to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

And the last time a one-term president was renominated after losing was Grover Cleveland in 1892, although Cleveland did win a second nonconsecutive term.

Of course, in 2024, a GOP primary is complicated by the fact that 66 percent of Republican voters believe Trump’s baseless claims about election fraud, according to an August YouGov poll.

Nonetheless, presidential primaries are wild affairs and we should be careful about declaring anybody inevitable.

Hillary Clinton was thought of as a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination in 2008, which he then, of course, lost to Barack Obama. She also had plenty of trouble against the then-largely-unknown Bernie Sanders eight years later.

So, where does that leave us? Well, I think if Trump seeks a renomination, he’s a favorite against the field, meaning somewhere above 50 percent. But we believe in probabilities here at FiveThirtyEight, and I don't quite buy that he is inevitable.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Nate Silver, thanks very much.

Let's talk about this on our roundtable.

Sarah Isgur, I’m pretty sure you're one of the 22 percent that doesn't want Donald Trump to run again. But, A, do you think he will? And, B, how do you explain the 78 percent?

ISGUR: At this point, I think you have to think he is planning to run again. Something would have to change for that to not be the case. I think that it is -- you just look at the Ohio Senate race for instance. You have three candidates sort of at the top of that pack all vying to bear the mantle of Trump now running $1 million worth of ads against one of the other candidates all about how he's not really sufficiently loyal to Donald Trump. You have Donald Trump launching a social media company which will be an interesting -- interesting to see if that succeeds, and if the Republicans, that 78 percent --

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he’s succeeded in quadrupling the stock price --

ISGUR: He’s certainly on that, and so I think this is -- this is the decision for the Republican Party. Is it going to be the Republican Party or is it going to be the Donald Trump party? Because Donald Trump based on his previous statement said, you know, if they don't fix the 2020 election fraud, you shouldn't vote in '22. You shouldn't vote in '24.


ISGUR: That’s not a political party .That’s a single person.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna, you were talking about Joe Biden, Donald Trump’s poll numbers. It does show -- right now at least, Donald Trump is running much better against Joe Biden than he did the last time around.

BRAZILE: Well, look, Donald Trump is still hugely unpopular with independents and of course, Democrats. While he's very popular with Republicans, Chris, I have another chart here.

And here's the problem, Chris. I don't see your name among those who might be running in 2024. My God.

CHRISTIE: I know you’re concerned, Dana.

BRAZILE: At least I could tell people that I knew you’d win.

CHRISTIE: That's right.

BRAZILE: Look, Donald Trump is right now controlling the Republican Party. He's controlling the nominees and all of these House and Senate races, and he is also bringing in the money for the Republican Party.

This is a dilemma that the Republicans must resolve, but here's what we as Americans must resolve. Do we really want someone as divisive and as uncompromising and revengeful as Donald Trump to return to the White House? That's the decision the American people must make.

CHRISTIE: Look. I said this to Sarah when we were off air. Today, it's just barely nine months since Donald Trump left office. Just barely nine months. I am so weary of our instant gratification society and stuff we just saw from Nate.

So, it's nine months afterwards. We expect the whole world to have changed inside the Republican Party. The guy was the nominee in '16, and he was the president for four years. I don't expect things are going to change, especially when Republicans are resistant to what Joe Biden is trying to do now.

It's a vacuum. He's the only name. No one has declared themselves for president. No one else is yet seen as the president by people in the Republican Party.

We haven't hit midterms yet. So, I think all the stuff is quite frankly, no offense to our show, wasted air, because it doesn't matter.


CHRISTIE: It doesn't matter right now, and this is the inevitable answer you get.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here’s one way where it could matter, and I’ll bring this to Jane. If Donald Trump stays out there, it could actually kill the field, freeze the field, prevent others from getting in.

COASTON: I think that that's true. I think that you will see, especially because you're right. Like, Donald Trump will attack literally all of the people who are currently vying for his favor. Ron DeSantis can get on bended knee for Donald Trump, and Donald Trump will call him something vaguely obscene. Like we know this will happen.

But I agree with Chris, like it’s very -- we’re doing -- I feel like we're doing what they do in, like, college sports where you announce the AP poll before the season starts and it's January and the season starts in September and you're, like, who are these people? What's going on?

It is so early to be thinking about this, especially when you are hearing from people within kind of the upper echelons of conservatives that were talking about, what would Trump's message be? Currently his message is, until you make me president again before you shouldn't vote. Like this is not --

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's not too early for Donald Trump to be thinking about running --


CHRISTIE: And, George, let me say this, anybody -- you talk about freezing the field -- anybody who thinks they're good enough to be president who is going to be frozen out by Donald Trump maybe running doesn't deserve to be president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And then that does get to the question, Sarah, is -- does he -- does he survive the first contact with an actual opponent who's taking him on? But there are going to be an awful lot of intervening events. We saw another development this week. Steve Bannon held in contempt by the Congress. We're going to have the January 6th committees --

ISGUR: That helps him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That helps him?

ISGUR: That only (ph) helps him.

Yes, I mean, this makes Donald Trump, right, the fighter, the hero. An d all these people trying to take him down. The Lilliputians fighting Gulliver. I think --

COASTON: For Steve Bannon? Like, Steve Bannon, like, the -- the Goldman Sachs thought that Jeffrey Epstein was a spy? I guy who wears a lot of shirts?


COASTON: Like, I just keep seeing this and I'm just like, for Steve Bannon? Really?

ISGUR: Here's the problem. Here's why this is relevant, and why you guys are wrong, because the Democratic Party has this great opportunity to take 22 percent of Republican voters, or some number like that, and win them over to at least become independents, to vote for them. And, instead, what they've spent the last nine months doing is the exact opposite, alienating those people and pushing them back to Donald Trump, pushing them back to the Republicans. It is a mind-blowing, political calculation by the Democrats, Donna.

STEPHANOPOULOS: All right, Donna, how does -- how does focusing on a -- I'll -- I guess I'll put this to Donna, which is not quite fair, and then you can answer it, how does focusing on January 6th hurt the Democrats?

BRAZILE: It doesn't hurt the Democrats because I think we are focused on preserving and protecting and strengthening our democracy. And that's what the January 6th commission, or study group, or select committee is doing.

Look, I want to go back to Donald Trump. His political arguments -- his -- his --

CHRISTIE: Of course, you do.

BRAZILE: Of course, Chris, come on. I know his name, OK.

CHRISTIE: Of course, you do. I want to go back to Jimmy Carter. How about that?

BRAZILE: Well, go ahead, and wish him a happy belated birthday.

But, look, here's the point, Donald Trump's business empire is under criminal indictments here in New York City. Just this past week, in West Chester County, his -- his property -- another one of his golf courses is under some kind of legal --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Investigation.

ISGUR: It's all seen as political.

BRAZILE: Yes, but -- but, still, he has to fight these back.

ISGUR: That --

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is going to be the last word. I'm sorry. We are out of time.

We'll be right back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT," and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."