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List of Disloyal Government Officials; Coronavirus Cases Surge in Italy; Trump's First Trip to India as President; Sanders Surging in Polls; Sotomayor Issues Scathing Dissent of the Court. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired February 24, 2020 - 06:30   ET

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


[06:30:00]

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: To really keep track of. But one is that these people, to a large degree, are political appointees of the president in the first place. They are people who the president and his aides felt served him well until he was convinced that they didn't. So that's one thing to watch.

And the other is just that this is a group that is fueling the president's already-existing tendencies to look for someone to blame when he feels wronged and to try to shore up the notion that there can be loyalists in the government whose instinct is always to support him, even if their job description is not that but is to support, you know, crucial aspects of national security policy or economic policy. So it just -- it just compounds and I think offers a little bit of nuance and context to what we've been watching play out since the president's acquittal.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Look, exactly. And I think that there's a quote in "The Washington Post," it was a week and a half ago, from Steve Bannon that sums this up, which is, now he understands how to use the full powers of the presidency. The pearl clutchers better get used to it.

TALEV: Yes.

BERMAN: Kaitlan, I think this is all part of this largest situation where the president now is really, you know, feeling he knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. He is using his powers with impunity.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you are seeing a different mark in this presidency since he was acquitted where the president is going after people who testified, of course, in the impeachment inquiry. We saw that with the firing of Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman, his own EU ambassador, who had given a million dollars to his administration. It doesn't really seem that anyone is safe from this or the president.

But also it does go to those -- that -- this paranoia that the president has about these people working against him where he says we are finding the leakers inside the administration. We know who they are. That's really actually been something they've been doing since the first year of his presidency, though very few people have actually been fired for them believing them to be leakers or having found any evidence of that.

But it does seem to go to what the president has been fearing the most, these tendencies he has about the people that are working for him. And the question is, are we going to see it on a really large scale? Are they actually going to be moving people out of these departments that they believe are against the president's agenda? I think the Jessie Liu example is one of the starkest examples of this because she is someone who a lot of people believe actually was doing what the president wanted and her nomination for a top Treasury job, something the Treasury secretary wanted her in that job, got pulled because of this outside influence on the president.

So the question is, how big is that outside influence? And we're going to really see that play out over the next few weeks, I think.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Margaret Talev, Kaitlan Collins demonstrating her powers of concentration there as scores of people run around her up and downstairs.

COLLINS: We love it here.

TALEV: (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: Thank you. Thank you, both, very much.

And we will speak with the Axios reporting, Jonathan Swan, who broke this story about these White House personnel black list memos coming up in our next hour.

BERMAN: All right, a major new moment in the coronavirus outbreak. It is now in Europe. The number of cases in European countries exploding, and it's sending shockwaves throughout the global markets. We'll have the latest coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:37:10]

BERMAN: All right, the breaking news, U.S. stock futures plummeting this morning, dragged down by global fears of coronavirus now spreading in Europe. Dow futures, at one point, were down nearly 800 points. Actually, they're still down nearly 800 points. They were down more than 800 points for a while.

Officials in Italy now say that five people have died from the virus there. The number of cases in that country has risen to 219 very quickly.

CNN's Melissa Bell is live in Venice with what they're trying to do at this point to contain the spread.

Melissa. MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, I think you put your finger on it. That's what's really worrying is how quickly this has exploded. We've gone from like less than five cases at the end of last week to these 219 confirmed just now of which five people have died already. Some ten towns at the very least are under this quarantine with 50,000 people here in northern Italy essentially trapped inside their towns and villages.

Now, what authorities here are saying is that that quarantine system that they've put in place very quickly means that it is still safe to travel to cities like this, Venice, where I am now. But we've been really surprised to see how many tourists are still milling about and how few of them are wearing protective masks.

And another extremely worrying thing for authorities here is that they still haven't identified, John, who patient zero is, which means that they don't know how it got here, they don't know how it's spreading, nor how quickly it's likely to spread, nor even how widely it may have spread already.

And you have to bear in mind that here in Europe, the open borders situation means that other countries like France, Austria are keeping a very close eye on what's happening here in Italy. It is also the first test, really, for a liberal western democracy at keeping people essentially pinned into their homes.

Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Melissa, not comforting that they know so little at the moment.

Thank you very much for all of your reporting from Italy.

Now to a CNN exclusive.

An American couple separated by coronavirus when their getaway on a cruise turned into that quarantine off the coast of Japan. She tested positive and is in the hospital. He just got off the ship. And now he worries he may not be fully in the clear.

CNN's Will Ripley has their story from Tokyo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Roaming the halls of a ghost ship. The quarantined Diamond Princess is nearly empty Saturday when American Kent Frasure is allowed to disembark.

KENT FRASURE: I feel like the lost passenger at times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Room number. C409 (ph).

RIPLEY: Seven hours of waiting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.S. -- U.S. citizen?

K. FRASURE: Yes. USA.

RIPLEY: Japanese health authorities finally process his paperwork.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you are not infectious. You are negative.

RIPLEY: First he's told he's going to a new quarantine.

[06:40:00]

Then, plans change. It's a Tokyo hotel. They give him this letter saying he poses no risk of infection of novel coronavirus. He steps foot on dry land for the first time in weeks. On a rainy, cold, windy Saturday night.

K. FRASURE: Nightmare is over. Really hope Rebecca gets out.

RIPLEY: Kent's wife, Rebecca Frasure, tested positive for the virus more than two weeks ago. Follow up tests have also come back positive. She's under quarantine in a Tokyo hospital.

The next morning, he's on his way to visit, making a pit stop at the local combin (ph), a Japanese convenience store.

RIPLEY (on camera): And then you've got boneless fried chicken here.

RIPLEY (voice over): Stocking up on Rebecca's favorite snacks.

RIPLEY (on camera): It's like Christmas. Christmas in February.

K. FRASURE: Yes. Yes.

RIPLEY (voice over): He's allowed into the hospital to drop off his delivery.

K. FRASURE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

RIPLEY: This is as far as he can go. Rebecca's room is sealed off. So, like Romeo and Juliet, he finds his way to her window.

REBECCA FRASURE: I can see you.

K. FRASURE: I know.

R. FRASURE: You're alive.

K. FRASURE: Hopefully you get out soon.

RIPLEY: It's the longest they've ever been apart.

R. FRASURE: How was your first night in freedom?

K. FRASURE: It was nice. Yes. I had a hamburger and --

R. FRASURE: And it's so good. It's like spicy. Delicious. Yum. RIPLEY: Rebecca hopes to join her husband in his Tokyo hotel before

they both go home to Oregon. But first, she must test negative twice. Each test, 24 hours apart.

Rebecca continues showing no symptoms of the virus. Kent also tested negative twice earlier this month. He gives daily updates to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

K. FRASURE: So, 37.7. That's about what I've been running. So I have to send these twice a day.

RIPLEY: His temperature is 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit, slightly above normal. After we finish shooting, Kent sees a news report. He's shaken. The Japanese government says 23 people disembarked from the cruise ship without being retested for the virus.

K. FRASURE: I'm not one of those 23, but I also wasn't tested right before coming off the ship.

RIPLEY: He says his last throat swab was February 8th, more than two weeks ago. Two weeks of sitting in the cabin he shared with Rebecca. Kent's left second guessing, wondering if he's putting other people's health at risk.

K. FRASURE: I don't have any symptoms or anything. I don't have a fever. But neither does my wife.

RIPLEY: He contacted the CDC immediately and got this e-mail telling him to keep taking the usual precautions, limit contact with others, cover his coughs and sneezes, regular hand washing, monitor his symptoms.

K. FRASURE: So I just wonder how many folks out there are in the same situation as me.

RIPLEY: Let go and free to roam around Tokyo.

RIPLEY (on camera): What's your impression overall of how the Japanese government has handled this?

K. FRASURE: Completely unprepared.

RIPLEY (voice over): Now, he's left to worry and wonder, what's next? When will this all be over? When will they finally go home?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY: After we spent the day with Kent and he thought that maybe there had been a mistake and that he should have been tested and he wasn't, he was mortified. He was shaking as he was talking to us on video because he thought he might have put us at risk, everybody around him at risk. But the Japanese health ministry has assured us overnight that, in fact, it was not an oversight. They say he was tested during his quarantine period, which is exactly what needed to happen. But, John, Alisyn, this just underscores the fear and the uncertainty

that is with these people even after they get off the ship. And these are mental scars that are going to stick with them for a long time.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Will. And just watching, I mean your Romeo and Juliet analogy is so poignant. That's as close as they have gotten to each other in however many days and they won't know what's next and when they'll see each other.

RIPLEY: Weeks.

BERMAN: No. And I've got to say, this is a situation that could be playing out around the world as we're seeing this now spread to Italy, number of cases exploding there overnight. There's a case in South Korea with someone with connections to the U.S. military. There is great concern this morning even newer than before.

All right, Will, thank you very much.

All right, President Trump and the first lady, they just arrived at the Taj Mahal. You're looking, I think, at live pictures as they tour that historic and beautiful site. A closer look at this visit, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:48:26]

CAMEROTA: President Trump is feeling the love on his first official trip to India. The president and first lady there, they're visiting India's famed Taj Mahal at this hour for that beautiful photo op in front of the beautiful building. Earlier he addressed a crowd of more than 100,000 people at the world's largest cricket stadium. And his next stop is New Delhi. And that's where we find CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She joins us to tell us what the reception has been like there.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, for a president who loves crowd sizes, India really does know its audience because ever since the president first got here, that is what he's been seeing as he's driven through the streets of India. He's been going to several different states here. He went to Prime Minister Modi's home state earlier. Now he's visiting the Taj Mahal. So when the president says he's never big (ph). You know, he had that namesake after -- in Atlantic City, that casino, but he's never actually been to visit it. And that's where you see him and the first -- he and the first lady right now as they are there where, you know, typically this is crowded with tourists, but they have it cleared off just for them and staffers who are there visiting it.

But this comes after earlier the president arrived here. He had this motorcade through the city where people were lining the streets, waving at him, waving banners. There were dancers, singers, and, of course, the Prime Minister Modi greeting the president before they went to this rally. Something really striking to see as someone who's been to a lot of the president's own rallies back in the United States. We were seeing this rally here in this cricket stadium that seats 100,000 people. And it was really notable because as the president was arriving here, we heard them play the play list that they play at his own rallies that he holds there.

[06:50:03]

So really trying to make the president feel comfortable as they were both up there speaking. Both he and Modi making remarks with his own children, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner seated in the front row.

And, of course, the question though is, we're going to get down to the nitty-gritty tomorrow as they are, you know, these chummy friends on this, you know, superior level -- on this surface level, rather. But, of course, there are questions that are underlying here like trade, religious freedom, a potential defense agreement that the president was seeming to forecast earlier as he was talking about, but saying, you know, he really doesn't think they are going to get to any kind of a trade deal while the president is visiting here. So those are the things we're watching as he is visiting the Taj Mahal right now.

BERMAN: Very conscious, I think, of the photo opportunities as we're watching what's going on there on the screen.

Kaitlan Collins, thank you very much for your reporting. We'll check back in with you on this trip.

So here's a hypothetical. What would happen if nobody wins enough electoral votes to capture the presidency this November? We'll take a look at that wild scenario and who gets the tie-breaking vote, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Senator Bernie Sanders, he won big in Nevada. Really big.

[06:55:01]

And now, with South Carolina on Saturday and Super Tuesday next Tuesday, this could all potentially be wrapped up very quickly. Then what?

Harry Enten here with "The Forecast."

Sir, Bernie Sanders doing well. How well?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: He's doing very, very well. So, I mean, just like this is my delegate odds chance of winning the most delegates, I'll not that's a plurality, not a majority.

But, folks, this is really, really real. Sanders with a seven in 10 shot now, according to my projections, of winning the most amount of delegates. Going into Milwaukee with the most amount of delegates.

Biden, Bloomberg, back at one in 10. Warren 0.5 in 10. Buttigieg, really, at this point, not necessarily doing so well.

And I'm just going to give you an indication of why, you know, Bernie -- why I think Bernie has the best shot of winning this nomination by far. Look at the national polling average right now. Look at this. Bernie way up, double digit lead. And this is likely to get larger after the Nevada results. We've seen bumps for him in the past.

And then look at South Carolina, right? This is supposed to be Joe Biden's firewall. And Bernie is right behind him here. And let me tell you this, if Joe Biden doesn't win in South Carolina, I'm not sure exactly where he can win. And that would probably be the ultimate knockout punch.

CAMEROTA: But what if he does win in South Carolina? That's where things get even more complicated, right?

ENTEN: I mean things will definitely get much more complicated.

And, remember, just three days -- three days after South Carolina, 34 percent of the delegates are awarded on Super Tuesday. So if you're going to be able to stop Bernie Sanders, you got to stop him in South Carolina because the truth is, given the national polling numbers, given how much Super Tuesday looks like the nation in terms of the demographics of the states that are voting, the large delegate prize is in Texas and California. If you can't slow his momentum in South Carolina, the truth is, he's going to run all over the field on Super Tuesday.

BERMAN: All right. So you have some Democrats in a near panic this morning over Bernie Sanders winning the nomination because they say he can't beat Donald Trump. This is what you are hearing. I'm not saying this. This is what some Democrats are saying.

ENTEN: Right.

BERMAN: So what are his chances against Donald Trump?

ENTEN: You know, I think a thing that is -- you know, we had these swing state polls. Remember last week, Quinnipiac University, 2020, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, these are three states that voted for Barack Obama in 2012, flipped over in 2016 to vote for Donald Trump. Michigan, Sanders ahead close. Pennsylvania, Sanders ahead close. Trump in this poll was up in Wisconsin by seven points. Other polls (INAUDIBLE) it's close. But I will say it's really, really close.

But another thing that I'll sort of point out, and you'll see why I'm talking about this in a second. I'm also keeping my eye on the second congressional district in Nebraska. Of course Maine and Nebraska award their electoral votes to the winner of each congressional district. That was a really, really tight race.

And why is that? Because if we end up with Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin going the way that Quinnipiac shows, and Nebraska flipping, look at this, we end up with a 269-269 tie in the Electoral College. This is not fantasy world. Look, it's not the highest probability in the world, but this isn't fantasy world. This could really happen.

CAMEROTA: That is fascinating because, I mean, we're just talking about a contested convention at the point, but you're saying that even beyond that things can be complicated.

ENTEN: Things could be really, really complicated.

And let me just tell you, if we end up with a 269-269 tie, my goodness gracious, my blood starts rushing. Look, the president then is chosen by the U.S. House. You need a majority of state U.S. House delegations. It's not just the majority of the members. It's the majority of the U.S. House delegations. And right now the GOP currently controls 26 of the 50 delegations. Of course it's possible that they may fall just short of a majority because three of these 26 are only by a seat and they might flip in 2020, Alaska, Florida, and Montana. And if no president is chosen by the U.S. House, if they can't agree on someone, then the vice president's selected by a majority of the Senate, becomes the acting president.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. You've just given me a three-month migraine. Thank you.

ENTEN: So a contested convention, Electoral College ties, this year, it is all on the board.

BERMAN: I will tell you, most Democrats think if it goes to the House, the Republicans will control more delegations.

ENTEN: Probably. Yes.

BERMAN: So Republicans end up with the presidency.

ENTEN: As they are right now.

BERMAN: Yes.

Harry, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks a lot, Harry, for all of that.

Meanwhile, listen to this. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issuing a blistering dissent against her conservative colleagues on the court for being too eager to side with the Trump administration.

CNN's Supreme Court reporter, Ariane de Vogue, live in Washington with more.

What did she say, Ariane?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: This was a strong dissent from the liberal justice. She called out the government for coming too often to the Supreme Court with these emergency requests to allow these policies to go into effect. But then she also called out her own conservative colleagues for too often granting these requests. Basically she said her colleagues were lowering the bar too much in these instances for the government. She wrote, it's hard to say what is more troubling that the government would seek this extraordinary relief, seemingly as a matter of course, or that the court would grant it. And, of course, this comes after a 5-4 ruling that made it tougher for

immigrants who are seeking legal status to do so if they rely on public benefits.

[07:00:08]

Sotomayor said one other thing --