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Outbreak Response Sparks Confusion About Who's In Charge; Bernie Sanders Drops Out Of 2020 Race; Update On Impact Of Pandemic Across The Globe; China Lifts Lockdown Restrictions In Wuhan; Mnuchin Asks Congress For $250 Billion To Boost Small Business Loan Program. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 8, 2020 - 14:30   ET



LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, we heard him talking about that last week, at a White House briefing. He talked about how President Trump heard that the New York public health system was running out of N-95 masks. He made a call to the admiral and made sure the supplies got to the hospitals that needed them in New York.

And while some have praised Kushner for that effort and accomplishment, there are many who are saying, what about the guys that don't have a direct line to President Trump, that don't have a direct line to the son-in-law and senior adviser of President Trump, Jared Kushner.

He is taking a more prominent role, being in and out of the NRCC. That's sort of the hub of where the logistics team is working out of in responding to the coronavirus crisis.

But that's sort of a praise and a criticism at the same time that he may get certain things done, but if you don't have a direct line, if you don't have a connection, if you are not like the state official I spoke to in Louisiana that is trying to go the route that they know, going through FEMA region six and not getting clear guidance, then you may not be as lucky as the one person who called, the president.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Leyla Santiago, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Still ahead, a stunning Bernie Sanders announcement today, decision to drop out of the 2020 primary. Still going to stay on the ballot though to add power at the convention. How Biden is reaching out to Sanders supporters.



COOPER: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders dropping out of the 2020 presidential race. Sanders making the announcement and clearing a path for his Democratic rival, the former Vice President Joe Biden.

Here's what the Senator said to his supporters. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I know there may be some in our movement who disagree with this decision, who would like us to fight on to the last ballot cast at the Democratic convention. I understand that position.

But as I see the crisis gripping the nation, exacerbated by a president unwilling or unable to provide any kind of credible leadership and the work that needs to be done to protect people in this most desperate hour, I cannot in good conscience continue to mount the campaign that cannot win.


COOPER: Joining me now, CNN Political Director, David Chalian.

How do you see, David, the relationship between former Vice President Biden and Sanders going forward?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It's a critical one. The fact that there's a foundation to it, Anderson, is enormously helpful.


CHALIAN: -- between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Four years ago, yes. They have a relationship. And it is critical, as I was saying, going forward, because, obviously, Joe Biden is going to need, now the presumptive Democratic nominee the Sanders wing of the party.

Not just on board with him but actually enthusiastic, show up, turn out for him come November, if, indeed, this combined Democratic Party is going to have a chance at defeating Donald Trump in November. It cannot leave a portion of it out.

So the bringing together of those factions is going to be critical work. Obviously both Biden and Sanders have a role to play in it, but it will have to meet those leadership roles as well.

COOPER: Biden tweeted out, saying, calling Sanders a powerful voice for change tweeting, quote, "We know how hard this is. You put the interest of the nation and the need to defeat Donald Trump above all else and, for that, we're grateful."

Senator Sanders endorsing Biden, ultimately, though he said he's staying on the ballot because he wants to have influence at the convention. And even campaigning for him, that's one thing. Getting Sanders supporters to follow suit is another thing entirely.

CHALIAN: And it's not going to happen, Anderson, with just praising Bernie Sanders, the person. That's why you saw, in the last several weeks -- much of this work has been going on behind the scenes, both on the Sanders side and the Biden side. But you saw in advance of the last debate when the two of them were at

CNN studios in Washington, Joe Biden already adopted some of Elizabeth Warren's positions, had taken a liking to some of what Bernie Sanders had put forth during the campaign, not the most iconic Sanders proposal of Medicare For All -- Biden will not embrace that -- but a lot of the economic proposals and student debt proposals.

These are things that are on the table for Joe Biden to start thinking about. So it will be in the policies that will help bring along a lot of the folks in the Sanders movement to the Biden equation.

And of course, it will also be Donald Trump, as a common enemy, that the Biden campaign hoping does a lot of the work as well.

COOPER: David Chalian, appreciate it. Thanks, David.


Still ahead, just as soon as there's good news of stabilization from one country abroad, the worst news from another. The latest from France where they're just experiencing their largest daily increase in deaths now totaling more than 10,000.


COOPER: British officials say the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is sitting up in bed and engaging with the clinical team at the hospital just days after being admitted to the ICU with coronavirus. They also add his situation is improving.

Let's go to our CNN correspondents around the world for an update on the pandemic's global impact.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I'm Nick Paton Walsh, in London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks set to spend a fourth night in intensive care in hospital. A spokesperson saying his condition is stable and he is responding to treatment, essentially, the best they can say to suggest nothing has really improved or changed in his condition.

Stepping in for him is the U.K. foreign secretary, Dominic Raab. While he was being described as deputizing, quote, "when necessary," it's now said he's been deputizing across a broad amount of matters since Boris Johnson went into intensive care on Monday evening. A grave situation here with the U.K. enter into its darkest peak phase in the days ahead.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ben Wedeman, in Rome. Authorities here investigating the high number of deaths in nursing homes in northern Italy, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. At one such home in Milan, 63 of the 150 residents died in March alone.

[14:45:10] Mayors in northern Italy believe the death toll is far higher than the official statistics because only those who died in hospital after having tested positive for coronavirus are reported. Many of those who died in nursing homes were simply never tested.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Scott McLean, in Madrid. The death toll here ticked up here over the past two days. But officials say this is a momentary blip on a curve that has flattened substantially over the past week. Case in point, the increase in active confirmed cases was the smallest that it's been in almost a month.

Now the stay-at-home order will likely be in place until at least late April. But the government is promising non-essential workers will be allowed to go back to their jobs on Monday. This applies to sectors like manufacturing and construction, but not to shops or restaurants.


COOPER: After 76 days under lockdown, people in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, are their leaving homes for the first time. Lockdown restrictions were lifted this morning.

Thousands of people rushed to aboard flights and trains and highway entrances were reopened. Even as Wuhan prepares to return to some sense of normalcy, some restrictions in place.

CNN's David Culver have more on how the threat of a further infection remains far from over.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in many ways this feels like a trial period. China attempted to get back this business but there's still an uneasiness here that, with the easing of restrictions to people moving back around again, and that the outbreak could then resurface.


CULVER (voice-over): Counting down the moments, like the start of a new year, Chinese media documenting a dramatic midnight reopening of Wuhan.


CULVER: Officials rushing to push aside highway barriers, traffic flowing once again. For 76 days, this city, with a population larger than New York City, was walled off from the rest of Mainland China.

Today, the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus no longer on lockdown.

A water cannon salute for the first commercial aircraft returning to Wuhan's airport.


CULVER: Inside the city train stations, an unusual sight: crowds of people, passengers going through security and screenings. Only those

with a clean bill of health allowed to leave. Railway officials say about 55,000 tickets were sold for outbound travel on Wednesday alone. Row after

row of trains were at the ready.

Just before the January 23rd lockdown took effect, CNN traveled to Wuhan. We took you to the suspected source of the outbreak, the seafood market. We met locals, who, like us, were unaware of the unprecedented lockdown that loomed.

(on camera): Behind me, this is one of a few hospitals here.

(voice-over): A few hours after filing our report, we, like so many here, got word of plans to shut down Wuhan. We then boarded a train back to Beijing to begin our quarantine but relied on video chats to keep in touch with those inside the lockdown, like Iris Yu, stuck in her apartment for more than two months.

As of Wednesday morning, she was on a board a train fully protected, headed to Southern China.

IRIS YU, WUHAN RESIDENT: After 80 straight days in quarantine, I finally came out today. Now I'm on the train to Shenzhen now.

CULVER: As for the Wuhan she's leaving behind --

YU: Though it is not fully operational. But it indeed is recovering.

CULVER: Even officials caution, this is far from back to normal.

CHRISTOPHER SUZANNE, WUHAN RESIDENT: We receive daily text messages from the government, saying, hey, don't be complacent, be cognizant that there may be a second wave.

CULVER: A possible second wave. It is for that reason that Wuhan residents, like American Christopher Suzanne, are not allowed to roam freely within the city. Neighborhood committees are monitoring people as they enter and leave their homes and enforcing quarantine if necessary.

SUZANNE: I have a special ticket. It's a red piece of paper. It allows me outside for two hours per day. But only one person, per family, per day, two hours. So my wife, she doesn't go outside. She is still, you know, scared.

CULVER: While some stores are back open, other businesses will stay closed, unable to weather the economic pressures of the harsh shutdown.


CULVER: Following subdued Lunar New Year celebrations in late January, state media marking this moment as a new beginning of sorts. But the unknowns linger over a city still haunted by this devastating virus.


CULVER: With images like that, there's an obvious attempt by Chinese state media to portray this as a celebratory moment. It is significant, 76 days, the lockdown restrictions now easing, there are still in the city of Wuhan these local community committees, the HOA or condo association equivalent, if you will, that limit people going outside.


So I characterize this more as more as faved freedom, Anderson. And perhaps this is what Europe and those in the U.S. will express as you begin to slowly emerge from these lockdowns. But that may be weeks or months away -- Anderson?

COOPER: David Culver. David, thank you very much.

Up next, the race to help small business owners now includes a request for another $250 billion, on top of an already unprecedented assistance program. Coming up, what the proposal may mean for lenders and loan applicants.



COOPER: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking congressional leaders to commit to an additional $250 billion to boost the small business program overwhelmed by demand. That's in addition to the existing $349 billion loan program for small businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

CNN Congressional Correspondent, Phil Mattingly, has the latest on what is being done to get more money to struggling Americans.


STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: We need to get money to small businesses and American workers and that's what we're doing.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's the backbone program of the largest economic rescue package in U.S. history.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My administration will continue to take the boldest action in history to bring immediate relief to the small businesses.

MATTINGLY: And $350 billion for small businesses to save their employees amid the avalanche of layoffs nationwide. But despite the need and the president's effusive praise --

TRUMP: Great loans for the banks and they're great loans for small business. People are loving it. They're really loving it.

MATTINGLY: -- it's rollout has been plagued by glitches, technical failures and confusion.

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: We got off to a bad start last Friday.

MATTINGLY: Accelerating the anxiety for millions of small businesses on the precipice of collapse.

Administration officials and lawmakers say the issues are to be expected.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Any time you design a program that applies to 90 percent of the companies in America and spend $345 billion and you have six days to do it, you're going to have glitches.

MATTINGLY: The scale of the program is more than 10 times what the Small Business Administration guaranteed just one year ago. And government officials had just seven days to turn legislation --


MATTINGLY: -- into an economy-saving program.

MNUCHIN (voice-over): The whole point of this program is to keep 50 percent of America back at work so that small businesses can reopen quickly.

MATTINGLY: One that would provide loans of up to $10 million to businesses with under 500 employees. But more than that, those loans would be forgiven, essentially turned into grants, if that money was used to pay salaries, payroll expenses or business costs, like mortgages and rent.

But the exceedingly tight timeline left many of the details too open- ended for some lenders to even get online in its initial days, multiple bank executives told CNN.

The largest community bank trade group firing off a Saturday night letter, noting, quote, "Community bankers remain frustrated with a myriad of unanswered questions and the lack of clear instruction on how to complete loans through the SBA."

And when guidance was provided, it came just hours before the program was set to launch.

The largest banks initially put limits on which customers they would serve, infuriating some business owners. While others repeatedly ran into notices like this, "Web sites going down or under maintenance due to the sheer volume of applications."

All as lenders face the government's own technological issues as the SBA's system for processing loans was down for hours at a time, several sources told CNN.

The rocky start, something Trump himself tried to look past.

TRUMP: I mean, it's only been going for a couple of days. It's really been performing well. Couple of little glitches, minor glitches, that have already been taken care of.

MATTINGLY: Yet, there has been some progress in the days since the initial launch.

TRUMP: As of today, SBA has processed over $70 billion in guaranteed loans.

MATTINGLY: And each day, administration officials, lenders and small businesses say the process is starting to smooth out. And lawmakers are already considering adding another $250 billion to the program, underscoring both the urgency and volume the crisis for small businesses, but also their faith that the problems will be worked out.

Even the participants say some of the current optimism --

TRUMP: It has become so popular.

And it's really a tribute to government, really well-run government.

MATTINGLY: -- isn't merited --

TRUMP: Congratulations on this success.

MATTINGLY: -- just yet.


MATTINGLY: And, Anderson, just a short while ago, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told House Democrats on a conference call with their caucus that $90 billion of loans have been approved. Money is being approved. Not as much is going out.

But to underscore how the process is moving right now, Anderson, just about five minutes ago, the Treasury Department sent out new guidelines to banks trying to clear up a lot of the unanswered questions.

As one source told me earlier in the week, we're essentially building the spaceship as it rockets to Mars and we don't have a blueprint right now. That is still ongoing. But so is the need for the money and the need for this program to work -- Anderson?

COOPER: Phil Mattingly, thank you very much. Appreciate it.


Our special coverage continues now with Kate Baldwin. I'll see you later tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.