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AT THIS HOUR
NIH Director Anthony Fauci Discusses Concerns over Coronavirus; Trump Denies Reports That Mulvaney Is on the Outs; Reports That Vindman Will Be Shifted from NSC to Defense Department; Appeals Court Tosses Democrats' Emoluments Lawsuit against Trump; Trump Touts Economy as 225,000 Jobs Added in January, Beating Expectations; Soon, Deadline for Candidates to Ask for Iowa Caucus Review. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET
Aired February 7, 2020 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, concerns over the coronavirus are growing this morning as passengers on a second cruise ship are being tested. The ship docked on American shores.
The ship is a Royal Caribbean cruise liner called "Anthem of the Seas." And it docked in New Jersey this morning. The latest from the Centers for Disease Control is that they're now assessing passengers for the virus.
New Jersey's governor says that 27 people on board, who had been to mainland China recently, had been screened and all but four now have been cleared.
This, as another cruise ship in Japan saw its number of confirmed corona cases triple overnight. At least 61 people onboard the ship, called, "Diamond Princess," have tested positive. That includes 11 Americans who are among the more than 3700 people quarantined on that ship.
What is the very latest?
Let's get to the man who would know. Joining me right now, Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Fauci, it's great to see you. Thank you for being here.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: Good to be with you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
Have you gotten a read on the situation in New Jersey? Is it -- is this an abundance of caution situation or signals that the passengers could have the virus?
FAUCI: The situation is, I think, as you describe. Whenever you have a situation where you have potential exposures, you want to make sure that if a person is exposed and is a high risk, you want to do further screening of the individual. And I think at least a few of those passengers were taken off the ship for further screening at a local hospital.
The idea about quarantining depends upon the risk of exposure. And those are the kinds of decisions that are made by the CDC based upon the risk of exposure. These are the kind of things that we are seeing now and will continue to see.
What you do is the best medical practices. A person who has been exposed and at risk and is not in need of care, you can quarantine them. Those who you feel may be at a higher risk and possibly infected, you put them in a more closed situation. And those who actually do get sick, you take care of them. And that's what the CDC is doing with this particular ship.
BOLDUAN: The head of the World Health Organization is now saying there's a global shortage on personal protective equipment, like masks and gloves and the such. How big of a problem is that? How concerned should folks be about this?
FAUCI: Well, you know, it obviously is a problem if when you're in a situation the way they are in China, where they really do need the personal protective equipment and the masks.
The issues with the masks are a little bit different than the personal protective equipment that someone who is actually taking care of a sick patient would need.
A lot of people feel that they need to be wearing masks, even though, unless you are right in the middle of a situation where there's a lot of people coughing and sneezing, that really we don't recommend routinely that people wear masks. But a lot of people are wearing masks that don't need them.
The situation of a health care provider needing personal protective equipment is another more serious issue than masks for everybody.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Where are -- look, folks are scared. This is a scary situation. There are a ton of unknowns, right now.
BOLDUAN: Two important questions I would like to get from you. Do you trust the information that is coming out of China? And from the U.S. side, clearly a very different question, where are things in terms of getting a drug to fight this?
FAUCI: OK, so first of all, China. With regard to the scientists themselves, people who we have known for years and decades, we have collaborated with, we can trust what they're telling us about what they know on an individual basis.
I'm not saying we don't trust the Chinese. But, you know, we don't have the first-hand information, which is one of the reasons why we would like to be part of the broader WHO team that, hopefully, will get permission to go to China so that we can, in real time, look at what's going on.
For the most part, the Chinese have been transparent. But we can't guarantee that every bit of information is getting to us.
Second part, about drugs. Right now, there are clinical trials that are being done and implemented in China by people who we know, our colleagues, Chinese colleagues, to determine if some drugs, which have given us a suggestion of working, either in a test tube or in an animal model, to try and determine if they work. And, hopefully we'll get an answer within a reasonable period of time.
BOLDUAN: What is reasonable?
FAUCI: A couple of months.
BOLDUAN: Oh, geez. I know that's like lightning speed in terms of infectious disease but it feels like forever when it comes to dealing with this.
FAUCI: I know. It always seems that when you're dealing with an emergency situation, that something that would normally take three years to get an answer, when you say we're going to get an answer in four weeks to a month, it seems like it is too long. That's a natural reflex reaction but that's just the reality of it. You're not going to get an answer tomorrow as to what drug works or not.
BOLDUAN: Dr. Fauci, thank you so much. Really appreciate the update.
FAUCI: Good to be with you.
BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back. Happening moments ago, President Trump was speaking on the White House lawn, talking about quite a few things, including his relationship with acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, amid new reports of a potential shake-up in the West Wing post- impeachment.
CNN's John Harwood is there and joins me now.
John, what is the president saying? JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, as you know,
we reported that the president may soon make a change in his chief of staff, replacing Mick Mulvaney with potentially Mark Meadows, the Congressman from North Carolina, Eric Ueland, Marc Short, a couple of other aides in the administration.
But the president denied today that Mick Mulvaney was on the outs with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a great relationship with Mick. I have a great relationship with Marc. And it is false.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARWOOD: Note that's not a denial that he's going to have a new chief of staff, but he denied he was on the outs.
He spoke about Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who testified about the quid pro quo in the impeachment hearings. There are reports that Vindman is going to be shifted from the NSC to the Defense Department.
Here's what the president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
TRUMP: Well, I'm not happy with him. You think I'm supposed to be happy with him? I'm not. They'll make that decision. You'll be hearing. They'll make a decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARWOOD: And, of course, the other thing that the president did was boast about a legal victory he's gotten on an emoluments case brought by Democratic members of Congress alleging he profited from the presidency, Kate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Won the big emoluments case. I think it was unanimous decision. This was brought by Nancy Pelosi and her group. Just came out a few minutes ago. So I'll be reading it on the helicopter. But it was a total win.
This was brought by 230 Democrats in Congress on emoluments. It was another phony case. And we won it three to nothing We won it unanimously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:45:07] HARWOOD: So, Kate, in addition to that, in addition to the acquittal by the Senate, the president also got very good news from his jobs report today, 225,000 new jobs added.
So he's off to North Carolina feeling very bullish about his prospects.
BOLDUAN: All right, John, thanks so much. Really appreciate you bringing it to us. Really appreciate it.
Coming up for us, as John just mentioned, President Trump is ending a big week with stronger-than-expected numbers on the economy. So what does that mean for his re-election?
BOLDUAN: President Trump is making the economy the centerpiece of his re-election pitch. Look no further, of course, than his State of the Union address.
This morning, he received more good news. The January jobs report just out showing companies added 225,000 jobs last month.
So what could that mean for President Trump's re-election?
Joining me right now, senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein. He's a senior editor at "The Atlantic."
Ron, thanks for being here.
You've been doing some really interesting reporting on --
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, Kate.
BOLDUAN: -- on this, the impact of the economy on the presidency and re-election. Traditionally, a good economy is good for the guy in office, good for the president in office. The good numbers out this morning, though, what do they mean for this president?
BROWNSTEIN: A good economy is good for any president, but this president is getting less benefit from a good economy than a president typically gets.
If you go back and look at 2004 and 2012, about 90 percent of the people who described the economy as excellent or good voted for the incumbent each time, Bush in 2004, Obama in '12.
Trump is only been polling around 55 percent among people who describe the economy as excellent or good, against Biden.
So he's not -- all of these other issues, the friction created by the way he comports himself as president, is real. And the cost he's paying is that he's not getting as much support among economically satisfied voters as usual. But, as you can see the "but" in there, most people who are satisfied
with his management of the economy, even though he is underperforming other presidents, do say they are going to vote for him and do say they approve of him.
So as his economy approval rating has been going up, it's been dragging up his overall approval rating and putting him in a more competition position.
Of course, the key question -- you know, real quick, another point. The State of the Union really shows, though, what is the economic debate going to be about. Is it going to be about jobs and the stock market --
BROWNSTEIN: -- where he's looking really strong, or is it going to be about health care costs --
BOLDUAN: Health care, yes.
BROWNSTEIN: -- where he seems much more vulnerable.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Exactly.
BOLDUAN: And that seems to be --
BOLDUAN: And it's a big difference for him, right?
BROWNSTEIN: Exactly. It's a big difference. If you go back to 2018, even in 2018, two-thirds of the people who voted described the economy as excellent or good. Yet, Republicans still lost 40 seats. And a lot of that is Trump, personal, his behavior.
From an issue point of view, the most important issue was health care, particularly, protecting people with pre-existing conditions and prescription drug costs.
If you look at the polling, Trump's approval rating on the economy has been rising pretty steadily. It's been 50 percent on just about all the polls. But his approval on health care hasn't really changed. It's stuck under 40 percent.
And when Kaiser looked at more specific issues, like protecting people with pre-existing conditions or controlling prescription drug costs, he was down even lower, in the mid to low 30s.
And I think you can -- the mendacity betrays the anxiety, I think, as I put it in my story.
You know, on the economy, he exaggerated a little bit here and there, but I don't think he was telling any big whoppers. On health care, he just flat-out lied about his record repeatedly
during the State of the Union. And I think that reflects the uncertainty they feel about taking that record into the general election.
BOLDUAN: That's a good take, Ron.
It's great to see you. Have fun in New Hampshire, my friend.
Coming up still, 100 percent of the results from the Iowa caucuses are in. But many questions still remain. Will any of the campaigns be requesting a recanvassing by today's 1:00 p.m. deadline? If so, what would that actually mean? We're going to go there, next.
BOLDUAN: The Democratic candidates are up against a deadline today. They have until 1:00 p.m. Eastern to file a request for a view of the Iowa caucus, if they want it, that is.
This, as Pete Buttigieg holds a razor-thin lead over Bernie Sanders -- there's the results again -- with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden to follow. But it's still not being called.
CNN's own analysis of the numbers revealed errors and inconsistencies in the results reporting. The head of the Democratic National Committee, for one, is calling for a recanvass.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny is on the ground in Des Moines.
I have a million questions, Jeff. But first and foremost, is this going to happen?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Kate, that's a great question. As of now, we've not heard of any candidate or campaign call for a recanvass, but there's time to do that.
We saw last night in New Hampshire both Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg said they want to move on to New Hampshire. But their campaigns have not ruled out definitively calling out that recanvass. So we're in a wait-and-see mode here. They are looking into it. They're thinking about it.
The reason they might is because of a delegate fight. One thing is clear, this Democratic presidential candidate -- this nominating contest is going to be a fight for delegates, likely all the way to the convention. So every delegate matters. So we'll see if they call for a recanvass.
One thing the state party could also do is hold a canvass of their own. They could go back through the numbers, check them again and see.
But one thing is clear. It is going to be essentially a wash. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, regardless of the order, Pete Buttigieg on top right now by just a hair. They're basically --
ZELENY: -- going to split these delegates, so.
BOLDUAN: Let's say they do a reconvass. Could it change the results we're looking at here?
ZELENY: Sure, it could change the results, because the mathematics of the satellite locations and other locations certainly could change. But, Kate, it won't change the overall results of the order of this.
It's still, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders led the way in Iowa. Elizabeth Warren and certainly Joe Biden did not. His fourth-place finish will remain the same. And perhaps that is the biggest Iowa takeaway -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Good to see you, Jeff. Thank you so much. Stay warm, buddy.
Thanks so much for joining me, you guys.