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Dow Higher After Worst Week; American Evacuees under Quarantine to be Released; Early Voting Skyrockets in Texas; Supreme Court To Take up Obamacare; Questions over Historic Peace Deal; New York Governor Holds Briefing. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired March 2, 2020 - 09:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Wall Street hoping to bounce back. Look at that. Dow up 310 points. Obviously last week the worst week for the market since the financial crisis.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, the futures had shown down. It just shows how volatile this is.

Let's bring in CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

Christine, I always like to focus on the economics, not the market --


SCIUTTO: Because the markets can move up and down.

I mean, big picture, the concern here is, economic slowdown.


SCIUTTO: Flights not flying.


SCIUTTO: Ships not shipping, et cetera.

And what do we know about the extent of that?

ROMANS: We know that there are companies already making very big plans for keeping people at home, for canceling conferences, for restricting travel, for having people really kind of retrench. And retrenchment is something that, you know, will save some companies money, but it means there will be less economic activity. We know that Goldman Sachs put out a note this morning saying they're expecting zero economic growth in the second quarter, zero economic growth in the U.S.

SCIUTTO: Wow. ROMANS: We know the OECD has downgraded all of its expectations for global growth and said that already you had a weakened global situation because of political crisis and trade wars. And then you put this, a coronavirus, on top of it. It means that the economy is going to -- is going to feel this.

There's one economist this morning who -- who sent out to all of his clients, he said this. He said, there are now more Google searches for Lysol and face masks than the Kardashians. That tells you that the American public --

HARLOW: Is that truth?

ROMANS: The American public is retrenching because they want to know what this means for them. So there are really economic impacts.

I want to just talk about the number here. When I started watching futures on the open last night at 6:00 p.m., they went down by 400, 500, then they were up by 600. There's a 1,500 point swing in the Dow futures. And the reason is, it was such a big week last week.

A lot of investors, big money managers, don't exactly know what this week is going to look like. They think that we're going to hear about more cases, we're going to hear about ne places where it's spreading, and all of that is going to be problematic. They think the Fed is going to come in and cut interest rates.

HARLOW: Yes, well --

ROMANS: They don't have a lot of room.

HARLOW: Not a lot of room to do that.

ROMANS: They don't have a lot of room to do that.


ROMANS: So that could all of a sudden --

SCIUTTO: Well, when you cut -- when you cut into the boom --


SCIUTTO: You don't have the leeway when things go sour.

ROMANS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

HARLOW: Thanks, Romans. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: You're welcome.


SCIUTTO: Minutes from now, dozens of Americans who had been under quarantine at Travis Air Force Base in California will be released. HARLOW: That's right. Evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship

have been there held for 14 days. More than 300 Americans were trapped on that ship off the coast of Japan for two weeks before being allowed to return to the U.S.

Let's go to our Dan Simon. He joins us live this morning.

So what do we know about those being released?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy and Jim, I'm sure they're very anxious to get home. It's probably been a very long ordeal for these folks who have been basically holed up in a model here at the Travis Air Force Base for 14 days under this federally mandated quarantine.

From what we understand, some buses are going to come to the base. They're all going to load onto them. We understand there are approximately 200 or so passengers here. They'll go to some area airports and then hop on the flights and then hopefully reconnect with their friends and family at some point later today.

In the meantime, there's some fresh questions being raised about whether some of the workers here at the base were prepared to deal with some of these evacuees, especially in the early going. A whistleblower has raised concerns about whether some of the workers had the right protective gear, had the right training to deal with these evacuees.

And, as a result of that, there are fresh concerns about whether or not the virus was truly contained, if it somehow got into the community. As we know, the first community spread happened in the same area where this base is located.

Poppy and Jim.

SCIUTTO: Goodness. You know it's a challenge facing a lot of communities and a lot of people, two weeks is a long time to have to go through this --

HARLOW: That's -- and two weeks on that ship --

SCIUTTO: Exactly.

HARLOW: And then two weeks at the base.

SCIUTTO: Dan Simon, thanks so much for being there.

Well, you know the saying, everything is bigger in Texas. And that applies to just how important a win is in the state on Super Tuesday. So, who has the edge there?



HARLOW: Just in, early vote totals from the great state of Texas are in. And voters in the Democratic primary there have now exceeded 1 million in terms of early votes in. That greatly surpasses what we saw in 2016. What does that mean for the 228 delegates up for grabs? Here with me now is Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.

Sir, so nice to have you. Thank you for joining me.

Let's just begin there. I mean what do you -- who does that bode best for, a million early votes already in Texas?

GILBERTO HINOJOSA, CHAIRMAN, TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I think it bodes best for Texas Democrats. I mean these kinds of turnouts we've not seen from many years.

HARLOW: You know what I mean, which candidate.

HINOJOSA: It's hard to tell. It's hard to tell what this increase comes from, other than I think everybody's gearing up for November. You know, Donald Trump is more unpopular in this state than any other battleground state in the country. And a lot of voters are getting ready for November and they want to make sure that they start the process by participating in the primary, but some of them may have their candidates locally as well.

I mean we're challenging, for example, in Texas, 22 new state house seats in order to flip the house. We've got seven congressional seats that have been targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And so there's a lot of activity in the state just in local elections and congressional elections, not just a presidential election that's causing this increased turnout.

HARLOW: That's interesting.

One thing that we noted that is striking is how much better, at least in the polling, Bernie Sanders is doing this time around in the state of Texas, because, of course, he lost the state of Texas in the primary last time to Hillary Clinton by almost double. She had 65 percent of the vote there, he had 33 percent. Now he's just a few points away from Joe Biden in our numbers.

What does that tell you? Is he doing something differently this time around?

HINOJOSA: Well, I don't know what the total numbers or percentages are this year compared to 2016. Certainly, you know, he has always had a ground game in the state of Texas that never even went away for two years. It just -- or four years.

It just continued on because he's got a lot of support among young people and diehard progressive activists. So, you know, that may mean -- that may be part of that increased turnout. I suspect it's a product of the fact that you've got a lot of candidates and a lot of these local contested elections that are going on in this state.

HARLOW: You were quoted --

HINOJOSA: And Donald Trump.

HARLOW: You were quoted in that "New York Times" piece last week. It was sort of an autopsy of Biden's campaign in Texas and in California and how sort of far behind his ground game is in those key states. Are you concerned about Biden's ground game in the state of Texas, because you're quoted as saying, I haven't seen anything other than the events he's had in Texas.

HINOJOSA: Well, it's not that I'm concerned about any one candidate over the other. I was asked whether or not there was a -- he had a ground game here in Texas. I hadn't seen anything. And you've seen a lot more since then. You've seen, you know, we're being bombarded a lot more on FaceBook and texting and you're seeing also some advertising going on in Texas.

But in terms of, you know, field offices like you've seen with Bernie and Bloomberg and even Elizabeth Warren, you haven't seen that much in terms of Biden. All -- he may not need to do that. He's pretty well- known in this state. He's got a large following, just like Bernie does. And it could be that that's going to be enough for him. We'll find out today or tomorrow.

HARLOW: Finally, let's end quickly on Mike Bloomberg. You said his presence in your state -- and I assume you mean mainly on the airwaves -- has been ubiquitous and you've never seen anything like it before.


Will it work?

HINOJOSA: Well, I don't know if I used the word ubiquitous. I don't think I've ever used the word in my life. But, anyway, he's got a lot of --

HARLOW: It was -- it was a quote. Then you must have been -- you must have been misquoted, I apologize.

HINOJOSA: No, that's all right. But he has a lot of -- he's on the air constantly. I mean I don't watch TV too much except in the morning when I watch CNN --

HARLOW: Thanks.

HINOJOSA: And he comes out two or three times in the one hour that I'm on. And in the evenings, the short period of time that I'm on TV, watching TV, he's on there as well. I'm getting text messages constantly from him. His FaceBook postings are constant as well.

He's really, really put a lot of advertisement into the state of Texas and has a large presence in that regard. And I'm not sure how much of an effect it will be. But I do talk to a lot of voters out there and there's a lot of people who have historically not been so interested in any particular presidential candidate that are saying, well, I think I'm looking at this guy and I might consider him.

HARLOW: All right. HINOJOSA: So, it is -- it seems to be giving him some kind of presence in this election that he would not have had, had he not spent so much money in this campaign.

HARLOW: All right, well, money talks, right?

Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.


HARLOW: Nice to have you. Thanks very much.

HINOJOSA: Thank you.

HARLOW: Tonight, CNN will have exclusive one-on-one interviews with the Democratic presidential candidates. Don't miss those big interviews before the biggest day of the primaries, live from Washington starting at 8:00 Eastern only right here.

SCIUTTO: Yes, it's a real chance to hear the candidates challenged.

Another story we're following, just two days ago the U.S. signed an historic deal with the Taliban that could eventually end the war in Afghanistan. But already both sides are disagreeing over key parts of the deal.



SCIUTTO: This just in to CNN, the Supreme Court has announced this morning it will decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, sometime next term.

HARLOW: That is significant. It also means it will be post-election.

Sara Murray joins us with what we know.

So right after the election?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely is significant. And, like you said, you know, this is a huge deal. They've decided to take this, to decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act. But because the next term does not begin until October, it will likely not be decided until after the next election.

It does suggest, though, that there are justices on the court, perhaps the liberal justices, who want to remove the uncertainty surrounding this law, to decide the fate of the law. And obviously any decision on what happens to this is going to impact millions of Americans.

Yes, so we're waiting to see until next term what happens. In the meantime, of course, the law stays in effect.

SCIUTTO: Sara Murray, thanks very much. HARLOW: Major questions about a peace deal signed over the weekend between the U.S. and the Taliban and whether it will work, whether it will stick. The agreement does not require the Taliban to outright renounce al Qaeda, significant because the Taliban is responsible for the deaths of 2,000 soldiers since the war in Afghanistan began.

SCIUTTO: I mean the war started because the Taliban was giving cover to al Qaeda there as they planned 9/11. There's also major confusion over a prisoner swap. The U.S. believes thousands of Taliban prisoners will be released, but the Taliban says all 5,000 prisoners will be freed by that time. Afghanistan's president says they're not committed to that.

Joining us now, Cedric Leighton, now retired from the U.S. Air Force and a CNN military analyst.

First question here, U.S. military blames the Taliban for the deaths of some 2,000 soldiers there in Afghanistan. In fact, as recently as last month --


SCIUTTO: When they took credit for a car bomb that killed two U.S. soldiers. Why can the U.S. Trust the Taliban?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Jim, that really is the big question. I don't think they can trust the Taliban completely. Obviously we do want to get out of Afghanistan and to do it in a way in which the sacrifice of our soldiers, those 2,000 soldiers, has not been in vain. But the Taliban have a long way to go before we can really look at them with, you know, with any degree of trust at this point.

HARLOW: Colonel, two things this deal does not do. It does not call for the Taliban to explicitly denounce al Qaeda, right? They can't assist al Qaeda, but they don't have to denounce it. And it also doesn't deal with safe havens in Pakistan, for example.

So does this deal leave America safer?

LEIGHTON: I don't think so, Poppy. One of the real problems with this deal is it doesn't talk about those specific things. Those safe havens in Pakistan, as you point out, are not covered. We also don't have any way in which we have a guarantee of any intelligence assets being -- remaining -- being left there in Afghanistan. And that is a real problem. Originally we had thought that there would be about 8,000 troops left there. That apparently, after 14 months, is not going to be the case. And that's a real problem.

SCIUTTO: Yes, they're making the Afghans release thousands of Taliban prisoners, who killed, by the way, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and security forces.

Colonel Cedric Leighton, thanks so much.

We're going to break into some news here. This is the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, giving a press conference on response to the coronavirus.

Have a listen.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Respiratory illnesses. But her condition is mild. So she's at home. And she's not even hospitalized, even though she has tested positive for the virus. Her spouse is with her.


In general, there is no doubt that there will be more cases where we find people who test positive. We said early on, it wasn't a question of if, but when. This is New York. We're a gateway to the world. You see all these cases around the world, around the country. Of course we're going to have it here. And that's why the whole challenge is about containment of the number of people who become exposed and who become infected.

Our challenge now is to test as many people as you can. You're not going to eliminate the spread, but you can limit the spread. And testing is very important. And that's why the CDC, the federal government's now allowing us to test is a very big deal. And we'll make a -- have a dramatic eff on how quickly we can mobilize and respond.

We are coordinating with private hospitals, private labs around the state. We want to get our testing capacity as high as possible. I said to the people around this table that I would like to have a goal of 1,000 tests per day capacity within one week because, again, the more (INAUDIBLE) once you can test and find a test and find a person who's positive, then you can isolate that person so they don't infect additional people.

We'll be moving a piece of emergency legislation on the state side that will authorize an additional $40 million for additional staff, additional equipment. I want to make sure that the healthcare system has everything it needs.

We're going to be instituting new cleaning protocols in our schools, on public transportation, et cetera, where they will use a disinfectant, many will use bleach, which is a good protocol in the flu season anyway. So people smell -- it smells like bleach when you get on a bus or when a child goes to school, it's not bad cologne or perfume, it is bleach.

And, again, we're going to be focusing on our facilities that treat our senior citizens, debilitated people, or immune compromised people because those are the people who are most likely, most affected by this virus.

My last point is this, late last night my daughter called me. And I could hear in her voice that she was anxious.

SCIUTTO: We've been listening to the governor of New York there, Andrew Cuomo. The news from this at this point is that they suspect another positive test for coronavirus. This being the spouse of the woman in New York, who had already tested positive. But the governor there saying that as they test more, they do expect to find more.

HARLOW: They might find more. Yes.

SCIUTTO: And that's something we have to prepare ourselves for.


SCIUTTO: Please, stay with us.