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Interview With Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY); Interview With Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA); Deadly Nashville Tornado; Nine Coronavirus Deaths Now Confirmed in Washington State; Super Tuesday. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired March 3, 2020 - 15:00   ET




STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: So, first of all, let me just comment.

REP. BILL PASCRELL JR. (D-NJ): No, I asked a question, Mr. Secretary.

MNUCHIN: No, I'm commenting, because I find it offensive that you're telling me that I'm breaking the law and staggering lies.


MNUCHIN: I relied upon--


PASCRELL: I asked you to tell me why you're not breaking the law. There's the law right there.

MNUCHIN: Again, just to be clear, there's a third branch of government, and there are courts that interpret things. This is in the courts, and the courts will deal with it.

So that's your interpretation of the law. I'm relying upon legal counsel on what is our interpretation of the law.

So, in all due respect, I am not breaking the law. You have a different interpretation. You're not a judge, and this will be determined by a--

PASCRELL: Neither are you.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: So there you go.

And the Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the president's taxes by June.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: We continue on here on this Tuesday. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We do have breaking news on this coronavirus outbreak.

Just in the last few minutes, this has changed, the death toll from the virus now reaching nine here in the United States, and all of those deaths happening in Washington state, which is really considered the epicenter of the outbreak.

Washington state also announcing seven additional cases of the virus, bringing the state's total to 21. This is coming as the number of coronavirus cases continues to spread here in the United States.

A second case has now been confirmed in New York. Georgia has confirmed two new cases, and there are now more than 100 coronavirus cases in the United States spread across at least a dozen states. Some public officials are now warning the public against attending large public events.

So let's go straight to Washington state to our correspondent there, Stephanie Elam live in Kirkland, Washington.

So, Stephanie, in the course of my sitting in this seat, the last hour, there was an eighth death and now a ninth all in Washington state. What do you know?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. It's a lot of numbers to keep up with.

But this is exactly what officials said would be happening, Brooke, that we would see these numbers continue to rise.

And so here's where we stand right now, according to state health officials. They are saying that, right now, they have confirmed 27 cases of coronavirus in Washington state. Of that now, the death toll now rising to nine.

And that includes a person who was actually admitted into Harborview Hospital in Seattle on February 24, and then died on February 26. It was after that that the testing was done that they were able to confirm that this person had coronavirus.

We also know that this person has some underlying health concerns as well. But here's the other noteworthy information. This person also came from Life Care Center of Kirkland, which is where we're standing in front of right now, which, according to my math now, that puts at least five of these deaths out of the eight that happened in King County coming from this Life Care facility.

They were residents actually here. So that is why that's important for us to take a look at. The other part of this information that is worth noting is that what they're saying now, these officials are saying that, at Harborview, at this hospital, that when that one person came in that we're now just learning about, that that person could have exposed people who work at the hospital to coronavirus. So they're saying that this could have happened in the intensive care

unit. They do not believe that any other patients were exposed to this person. But, at this point, those hospital workers are being monitored daily. They're checking on them to see if they're OK.

But, overall, the big news here now is that there are nine deaths in Washington state, and that is the -- also the same number of deaths that we have across the country.

This is the ground zero right now. And this is why we're also hearing that federal officials are making their way here to help out with the care of the people who do have coronavirus that are in the local hospital here in Kirkland to work on containing this.

This is also why we're hearing that officials here are looking to buy a motel this week and have that set up as a place where people can heal and get over having this virus, that -- moving them away from general population, but obviously big numbers here right now, Brooke.

BALDWIN: No, big numbers right there.

And, also, let me just underscore one of the deaths you just reported it out coming at the end of February. So this would have happened about a week ago. And the question is, who are all the various people that these individuals would have come in contact with?

Stephanie Elam, I'm going to let you continue to do some digging and do some reporting on your end. Thank you in Washington state.

In Washington, D.C., Vice President Mike Pence briefed Senate Democrats today on the administration's response to coronavirus.

And for that, let's go to our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, on the Hill.

And so, Manu, what have you found?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Vice President Mike Pence just met with Senate Democrats over lunch.

And Democrats emerged not satisfied with the U.S. response. Several came out and said that, frankly, they don't believe the U.S. is prepared, doing enough to provide test kits to localities in order for them to test their citizens, test the constituents about whether or not they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Those two Washington state senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both started off the briefing raising concerns about the lack of test kits in their states. Others echoed those concerns.


There were also concerns that were raised about if undocumented immigrants got the coronavirus, concerns that they may have in potentially getting deported and trying to go forward, and reporting that they have also been infected by the disease. That, Vice President Mike Pence, according to Democratic senators, he listened to those concerns, said he would take those concerns under advisement.

But Democrats came out saying they believe that more needs to be done. Now, what also is being done right now, Brooke, there is negotiations that are happening rather rapidly to push forward on a multibillion- dollar spending package, potentially upwards of close to $8 billion, between $7 billion and $8 billion.

There are some final stumbling blocks they're trying to iron out. But Congress could pass that sweeping spending package by the end of the week. So it shows just how much concern there is in Washington that more needs to be done -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Understandably so.

Manu, thank you for that. There's the financial piece of all of this. The Federal Reserve is making changes amid the coronavirus outbreak, cutting interest rates by half-a-point. It's an emergency move aimed at thwarting the economic impact of the virus.

It is the first unscheduled cut since the 2008 financial crisis, a move the president has been pressing the Fed to make. The Dow jumped right after the announcement, but it's been falling again, down about 640 points here with about an hour of the trading day to go.

Catherine Rampell is an opinion columnist for "The Washington Post" and a CNN political commentator.

And, Catherine, when we talk about the biggest rate cut since 2008, was yesterday in the market just a blip? Like, why is it down? Why is it reacting that way?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, one way to interpret what happened yesterday is that markets were anticipating that this cut would happen. And so they priced it in.

But I think the real -- the real way to get think about what happened today with the Fed doing this emergency rate cut, and the reason why it hasn't had that big bang for the buck is that the Fed just has limited firepower to deal with something like a potential pandemic, not only because, as Chairman Powell said, they can't obviously limit the spread of the illness itself.

They're not public health people, but because interest rates are already low. And beyond that, cutting interest rates is only going to do so much to contain some of the economic fallout that comes from a possible epidemic or pandemic.

The reason why is that cutting interest rates basically loosens credit. And maybe it can boost confidence on the margins. But it can't really deal with a supply side shock. And what I mean by that is, maybe it's cheaper for you to get a loan, but either the factory that makes the parts you need in China is open, or it's closed. And so they can't unclog those supply chains. They can't suddenly

allow flights to come here that would not have otherwise -- that were planning on coming here that are now canceled.


RAMPELL: So they can't unclog the supply chain. They can't -- you know, reverse travel restrictions, things like that.

What the Fed is hoping that it can do, however, is to keep the fallout from this from spiraling into some sort of recession, because maybe everybody looks around at everybody else and says, well, they're freaking out. Maybe that means I should freak out and stop spending money.

I shouldn't buy the car that I was planning on buying, or, if I'm a business, maybe I won't make the expansion or the investment that I was planning on doing otherwise.

So the Fed can try to control the second-order effects, the demand side effects, but those supply side effects, which are really the root of all of this, they just don't have a lot of control over.

BALDWIN: What about just the broader implications of the fact that officials are now urging the public, don't go to large crowded events?

I mean, I think, instantly -- and it's on -- but South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, right? There's a group, a massive group of people signing this petition. They want that festival to be yanked because of coronavirus.

You think of all of the hotel rooms, restaurants, flights--

RAMPELL: Basketball games, March Madness.


BALDWIN: Would be -- that's a massive impact.


And so, again, the Fed doesn't really have the tools to deal with those kinds of concerns, very valid concerns, people not wanting to go out to eat at a restaurant or go to a basketball game or to a big event like South by Southwest because they don't want to get sick.

BALDWIN: You know, that's one argument potentially for some more targeted fiscal tools, things that Congress could do, maybe in conjunction with the White House, things like more automatic stabilizers, beefing up unemployment insurance, helping people get paid for staying home if they're sick, right?

A lot of people -- a lot of low-income workers, in particular, don't have paid sick leave. So there are some sort of more targeted fiscal side policies, congressionally determined policies that might be more helpful, at least in controlling some of these first-order effects, so that people don't lose out on the income.

They're not -- at least they're not worried about losing out on the income if they start to show some signs -- potential signs of the virus. They say, I got to go to work. I have to go to that hotel and clean a room or go to my food service job and prepare food, potentially infecting other people?



RAMPELL: So there are some tools that are still available.


RAMPELL: But, obviously, the main issue is as a public health one. And the public health one will affect the economy, but you got to control the public health one first.

BALDWIN: Catherine, Thank you, Catherine Rampell.

We're also following the deadly devastation out of Nashville and across the state of Tennessee today; 22 people have lost their lives after this horrifying series of tornadoes and severe weather hit several counties overnight. The deaths are concentrated really in these four counties in the central part of Tennessee.

Officials fear there may be people trapped inside damaged homes and in buildings. Urban search-and-rescue teams are being called in.

And let me just show you one image here. You can see that the damage at Nashville's airport. People in the area surrounding Nashville describe the utter and complete devastation. Look at that.

President Trump has spoken with the governor, says he will visit Nashville Friday, all of this as folks in Tennessee are casting their votes today, Super Tuesday.

Brett Withers is a Nashville City Council member. And he joins me.

And, Brett, I am so sorry about what has happened, especially the worst time, the overnight hours, when so many people were asleep. At least kids weren't in school. You tell me, though -- 22 fatalities overall, is that the number that you guys have still?

BRETT WITHERS, NASHVILLE METRO COUNCILMAN: The number has been increasing all day. But that's the latest number that I have received.

There were two in the city of Nashville, and both of those were in the district that I represent, actually. So it's very tragic to have that.

One thing, if I may add to your comments -- and I appreciate your sympathy for that -- is that the Five Points area that I represent is actually a very vibrant entertainment district. And so the area was very populated at night with patrons at bars and

restaurants in that area. And to have the devastation that we did right in that spot, and to have only two deaths is miraculous that we didn't have more. So I'm very grateful that we did not have more destruction.

BALDWIN: I appreciate the perspective, yes,.

The two deaths, do you know, can you share anything about the victims, presuming their families have been notified?

WITHERS: Well, I can't give the identity yet.

But one of the persons was a young lady who was a pedestrian who we assume had been out at an event at a local music venue, and she was struck by debris from a building that exploded next to her. Another gentleman died not too far away from where she was located. And his seemed to be more of a cardiac arrest, or he underwent such stress from experiencing that terror that he went through, that he expired, unfortunately.

BALDWIN: Awful, awful.

And I'm also thinking of the first responders, right, the men and the women who are having to go into these various damaged buildings, not knowing who they might find. I'm assuming that's one of the reasons why the death toll continues to rise, because, daybreak and beyond, that's when these first responders are finding bodies.

Can you tell us how that effort is progressing?

WITHERS: It's progressing pretty well. As you mentioned, the tornado struck between 12:40 and 1:00 a.m.

We did have a lot of folks who were out. But it was so difficult to see what was going on. And as we -- as daylight began to dawn, the emergency response teams began to do search-and-rescue when more light was visible.

And in one case at least that I know of early this morning, they were able to rescue a person who had gone into an enclosed room in the house, but the house had collapsed on that room, and the person was unable to get out of it.

So, so far, mostly, we have been finding people alive, which is miraculous, again.


WITHERS: We're grateful for that.

But it is an ongoing effort. And right now, we're overwhelmed by volunteerism, and Tennessee being the Volunteer State. We're really asking people to kind of stay out of the way and let those emergency response, search-and-rescue teams do their jobs to meet life safety needs first, and we can deal with the trees and the buildings a little bit later.

BALDWIN: Thinking about you all in Nashville and beyond.

Brett Withers, thank you so much for jumping on TV. I really appreciate it. I know it's a busy day for you.

WITHERS: Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: On to Super Tuesday. Millions of Americans across 14 states, by the way, including Tennessee, hitting the polls in the biggest day yet in the 2020 race. Former Vice President Joe Biden has the momentum. Will it be enough?

Plus, Senator Elizabeth Warren under growing pressure to drop out and support Senator Bernie Sanders, after a series of disappointing results. So let's talk about that.

And this new case of the coronavirus here in New York and the mad dash to track down all of this family's contacts, and now one of his children is apparently showing symptoms of this virus.

You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We will be right back.



BALDWIN: Will Senator Bernie Sanders move closer to wrapping up the Democratic presidential nomination?

Or could Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg keep it out of his reach and push the party toward a brokered convention?

We could know the answers to both questions little later this evening once the results from Super Tuesday start pouring in. Some 1,300 delegates are at stake, California and Texas offering the biggest share of that total tonight.

CNN's Brian Todd is in Falls Church, Virginia, a state with an open primary.

And, Brian, what are you seeing there?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, lots of voter energy here in Falls Church, Virginia, as there is throughout the region of Northern Virginia.


Voters here have a keen sense of how important their votes are throughout Northern Virginia because of the enormous population density in Northern Virginia. How this region goes often determines how the state plays out.

And we have had a steady stream of voters here in this precinct all day long, a pretty high voter turnout. People are coming in here and registering. This family here registering. This lady brought her daughter here.

This is what we love to show, because people have been bringing their kids in here all day long. This lady over here with her young daughter.

It's been a family affair here in this precinct all day long. They come in, and this process here has been very efficient. It takes an average voter here less than two minutes to get through the entire thing. So they have been able to process people all day very quickly.

They put their ballots in the tabulator right here. That's going to be the key later on tonight. When the polls closed, they're going to read out the tape.

We have been talking to close to 100 voters who have come outside and talked to us about how they have voted. And what we can tell you is we have clearly noticed a lot of support, Brooke, for Joe Biden. And a lot of these people have come over from Pete Buttigieg, who dropped out, from Amy Klobuchar, who dropped out.

And they're buoyed by Biden's victory in South Carolina. So, at least what we have noticed here, lots of support for Joe Biden. It's kind of late in support over the weekend. We're going to see if that plays out throughout the state. He needs the momentum. He may get it here in Northern Virginia.

BALDWIN: Speaking of Joe Biden -- and, Brian, thank you -- Joe Biden picked up California Congressman Tony Cardenas' endorsement back in December.

The congressman said then that the former vice president is his choice because -- quote -- "He will help bring stability back to the country."

And Congressman Cardenas is with me now.

Welcome, sir.

REP. TONY CARDENAS (D-CA): Thank you, Brooke. Glad to be here.

BALDWIN: It has been quite the past 24 hours for Joe Biden. I mean, how significant do you think these last-minute endorsements, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, O'Rourke, are in the minds of voters today?

CARDENAS: They're very important, because they brought their own brand to the debates and to their own campaigns.

And for them to continuously get behind one candidate, Joe Biden, who is a unifier -- and that's a perfect example of unification. Joe Biden can connect with the regular folk, and also connect with the people who are actually up here getting their hands into the policy, trying to make good things happen for all Americans.

So I think it's good momentum, and it's a perfect example of who Joe Biden is. He unifies people.

BALDWIN: Well, listen to what Senator Elizabeth Warren said about your candidate.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No matter how many Washington insiders tell you to support him, nominating fellow Washington insider will not meet this moment.


WARREN: Nominating a man who says we do not need any fundamental change in this country will not meet this moment.


WARREN: And nominating someone who wants to restore the world before Donald Trump, when the status quo has been leaving more and more people behind for decades, is a big risk for our party and for our country.


BALDWIN: Congressman, care to respond to that?


CARDENAS: Yes. Like I said, Joe Biden unifies. Elizabeth Warren's comments there, I don't know what context the entire speech was, but those are certain comments that she was just really poking at one particular individual, somebody she's actually running against.

So I discount some of her comments by the fact that she's talking about an opponent.

But let's get back to the fact of the matter is, a lot of people are excited about Joe Biden. One of your folks out there just mentioned earlier in Virginia that he talked to a lot of people today, a lot of Joe Biden supporters. And it was touching to hear that one woman brought one of her children with her.

My mom was the -- one of the two parents in my family who was an American citizen. She used to take one of us kids with her all the time to teach us the value and the importance of being involved in a democracy.

So I'm very excited about today. Fourteen states of going to speak today. I think Joe Biden is going to do an amazing job.

BALDWIN: I remember being a little girl, and my mom brought me. It's such an important thing to teach your children, no matter who you're voting for, but just to bring them and to show them the importance of the vote.

Congressman Tony Cardenas, thank you so much for being on.

CARDENAS: Thank you, Brooke. BALDWIN: I want to get everyone back now to the coronavirus, as the

death toll has risen to nine, and the number of confirmed cases continues to grow nationwide.

Now there's this mad dash in New York to track down the contacts of a man who now has the virus.

We will talk to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo next.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

New York has confirmed a Westchester County man, he is the state's second case of coronavirus, and could be the very first case of community spread. Authorities don't know how he got it, but they say he is seriously ill. He's currently hospitalized in a New York City hospital.

And his family, which includes two children who are students in New York City, are self-quarantined in the family home.

With me now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Governor, thank you so much for being with me.

And tell me about this -- this man, because it's my understanding he hasn't traveled to any hot spots.