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Trump, Fox News Tout Potentially Deadly Drug; FBI Concerned About Potential For Anti-Chinese Hate Crimes. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired April 22, 2020 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: CNN's Kaitlan Collins live for us at the White House. Kaitlan, so the President tweets and his aides say, uh-oh, and get to work.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is a pattern we've seen throughout the Trump presidency. But it did happen just again strikingly the last few days, because this has been something that the President and his aide started discussing last week that he wanted to go after this broader immigration ban. But it was still very much in the works.

And the President announced it in that late night tweet on Monday. And basically what we've gathered since then is that it sent people who were working on this scrambling. And so the legal team was going over this yesterday basically looking at what legal authority the President could use to do this, because while he does have broad immigration power, the questions are, what can he use during the time of this pandemic, as we've seen him try that time and time again, and even the scope of it has changed to where the President was now, clarifying yesterday at that briefing that it was only going to go after those people seeking permanent residency, not those with temporary visas, which of course was a big cause of concern.

But also, John, the scope of it and how long it was going to last. And initially, they've been talking about having this go in place for 90 days. The President said yesterday he was settling on 60. But we're really still waiting to see what the final text of this executive order that we're expecting to get today is going to look like because you really don't know until the President has signed it. And you've seen the final copy.

KING: Until the President has signed it and seen the final copy. And until the lawyers tell the President, Sir, you can't do that. Kaitlan Collins at the White House, really appreciate it. Thank you very much. And we'll see the actual fine print when we get it later today.

Coming up, some very big new questions today about the drug, the President repeatedly promoted as a coronavirus game changer.


[12:36:19] KING: Red flags now for the malaria drug. President Trump has repeatedly touted to treat the coronavirus, a new study linking that drug, hydroxychloroquine to a higher death rate among patients. The drug has been approved for coronavirus in limited cases. Medical professionals have repeatedly urged caution saying, let's wait for more studies, more data. But the President and his allies at "Fox News" aren't known for patience or for caution.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The FDA also gave emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine. We're having some very good things happening with it. It's shown very encouraging, very, very encouraging early results.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This drug that you and I have talked about hydroxychloroquine and talked about it with Dr. Grace is already being used and one patient was described as Lazarus getting up after, after he was he was like on death's door. They started getting a protocol of hydroxychloroquine at Lenox Hill and it's suddenly like Lazarus up from the grave. I mean, that's an actual case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watching people in the media talk down a potentially lifesaving medicine because a politician they don't like has endorsed it is probably the most shameful thing I assume has done this for 20 years I've ever seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hydroxychloroquine is a very safe drug. It has been given to tens of millions of individuals in the world since its approval.

TRUMP: We have purchased and we have stockpiled 29 million pills of the hydroxychloroquine, 29 million. A lot of drugstores have them by prescription and also and then not expensive. Also, we're sending them to various labs. Our military were sending them to the hospitals. We're sending them all over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In their protocols, doctors have protocols for doing certain things. They don't even mentioned complications from hydroxychloroquine because they're so uncommon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On their webpage, the FDA is offering generic guidance to manufacturers on how to produce hydroxychloroquine.

TRUMP: So the hydroxychloroquine is something that I have been pushing very hard. I got the very early approval from the FDA.

If things don't go as planned, it's not going to kill anybody. It will be wonderful. It'll be so beautiful. It'll be a gift from heaven. And it works.

If some other person put it forward and say, oh, let's go with it. You know, what do you have to lose?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of stuff floating around about the hydroxychloroquine. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the media seems to be almost rooting for it not to work.

TRUMP: Things are happening. It's -- I haven't seen bad. And I've not seen bad. And one thing that we do see is that people are not going to die from it. So if somebody is in trouble, you take it, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And is being used worldwide. Yes, and it's being used worldwide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This study done by reputable centers, double blind randomized trial showed that there was an improvement and outcomes in patients who took the hydroxychloroquine. It's not a panacea, but you have to respect data.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In my open I put in a sound of the woman who was a Democrat from Detroit to how a Michigan representative who said, you know, thank God for Donald Trump even mentioning this. And once I got on the hydroxychloroquine -- hydroxy, I was fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you're opening a spot on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there something else in the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's politicized. No, it's just come on. It's like never Trumpers. It's like, oh, if he's four, we got to be again in.

TRUMP: I've seen things that I sort of like so what do I know? I'm not a doctor. I'm not a doctor, but I have common sense.



KING: Joining me now to discuss, CNN chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter and cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner.

Doctor, I want to start with you in about this study. Now this is one study. And if my understanding is right, it has not been peer reviewed. But if nothing else, it should tell us. We should not try to play doctor on T.V., whether we're the President of United States or we work at another network that we should wait and study data. What is your takeaway from what you've seen?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST: Well, the problem is that we don't have randomized clinical trial data. This country has a long history of approving drugs only when the data in that comes from trials, which are designed in very careful ways to provide reliable information show that there's substantial evidence of both safety and efficacy, and we don't have it for this drug.

Look, I desperately want this drug to work. It would be fabulous. And the President obviously is interested in a quick fix here. But medicine doesn't lend itself to quick fixes. We rely on data and data where we randomized people to either receive a placebo or the active drug. And we don't have that.

The V.A. studies, a small study, it does suggest harm in one of the hydroxychloroquine arms, and really no evidence of benefit, but it's not randomized, only had men, relatively older age group. So it's not a great study, but none of the studies are great.

So we really have no significant data set that really shows us whether this drug is effective and quite a bit of circumstantial data that points in the opposite direction.

KING: Points in the opposite direction. And Brian Stelter, that's the point about the responsibility of our business and the President but we can only speak -- I guess I can only speak for our business. I don't speak for him in that as the doctor notes, we need more data. We need more evidence. But in anxious times, people sometimes do look to people they trust for guidance. And we know there was a run on this drug.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And the millions of Americans who use this drug for approved purposes, including my wife, people have autoimmune issues and need this drug became worried they wouldn't be able to get it because of the drug pushing that was happening on "Fox News" and from the White House podium.

You know, we've -- the President yesterday was asked about this new study, and he said he hadn't seen the report. And that may be because "Fox News" is barely talking about it, because it doesn't fit the narrative that was being promoted in late March and early April.

But recently, "Fox" has moved on. They've stopped talking about this drug in the hope that it could be beneficial. They've moved on to other quick fixes and other pro Trump narratives. You know, this network, these stars, they think they're helping the President, but they're actually hurting him when they push these narratives.

And ultimately, they're misleading their viewers. And that's why it is so troubling. Why would we ever think a "Fox News" star or any President should be promoting a drug? It's outlandish.

KING: Right. It is outlandish. To be fair though, Dr. Reiner, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, did say let's give this a try. The Federal Government sent him some an inventory of hydroxychloroquine. And New York did a limited study. And then they've sent the results now that some patients like compassionate care, I think is if a doctor is having trouble with a patient, you ask the patient, nothing else is working. Do you want to try this? And it's up to the patient to do it.

And they have sent data to the FDA now in the CDC, because that was taxpayer funded. Eventually we have to see that, right?

REINER: Yes. And we will see it. There are several really good clinical trials that will answer the question and probably pretty quickly, but there are all kinds of ways to use the drug. Do you use it early on in disease? Do you wait till people get sick? Do you use it in young people or old people which patients can you use it in? So these are answers that we have to have and we'll have them eventually, but we need the data before we recommend the use of the stroke widely.

KING: We'll have them eventually. But stick with the medical opinion for a second. Doctor, so you're in a situation like this. A lot of things are being tested. How long? It takes months, correct, to know?

REINER: Yes, yes, absolutely. Look, I have a colleague who spoke to me from New York last week. And he told me about a patient who was sick, actually another physician, who was treated with hydroxychloroquine, as well as remdesivir and convalescent plasma and the patient pulled through.

And that's -- which is fabulous. But how do you know which of these agents or which agents that in combination were responsible? The only way to know that is to trial them, and we have to do that. This virus is going to come back. And when it comes back, we want to be armed with weapons that we know work. Now is the time to get that data.

KING: Right now is the time to get that data. And to your point, do the patient just recovered? Do these drugs help them? Was it this one, was it the other? But Brian, we know in the President's case, sometimes he says things and "Fox" picks up the ball. But often it's "Fox" that says things and then the President picks up the ball.


STELTER: Yes. That's absolutely right. We've seen that several times during this coronavirus crisis. The idea about the cure being worse than the disease, we need to reopen right away. These are narratives that have mostly started in right wing media and then made their way to the President. And he was certainly influenced by all the talk about this drug on "Fox News" as well.

But like I said, they then move on to different narratives on different days, just trying to keep the audience's attention for one more day, I suppose. What would be more responsible is for "Fox News" stars and for the President's other media allies to emphasize what are Dr. Harris saying? This is going to take time. We all have to be patient, no matter how hard that is.

KING: Well, I hope as quickly as they can, they released the data that New York sent them. It's a bigger group. We'll see if we get that as well. Dr. Reiner and Brian Stelter very much appreciate your insights.

Moving to the international focus now on coronavirus, the U.K. today kicking off its attempt at digital democracy, take a peek the first virtual parliament session only 50 members of the House of Commons allowed in the Chamber because of social distancing rules, up to 120 MPs can take part in the debate. You see them there using the Zoom app and monitors in the chamber.

Our international correspondents now with more on some of today's big global developments.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in London the government is coming under fire for its mishandling of the coronavirus crisis and particularly the lack of PPE for healthcare workers and the failure to significantly boost the amount of testing being done daily.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is currently deputizing for Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced some tough questions today. He said that the government will meet its target of testing 100,000 people every day by the end of the month currently, though, as of Tuesday, fewer than 20,000 people were being tested per day.

In the meantime tomorrow, human trials begin on a vaccine that is being developed by Oxford University against the coronavirus, also across the globe, more than 70 other vaccines currently under development.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, London.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Tokyo, eight infants have tested positive for novel coronavirus, all of them orphans being cared for by a nurse who also tested positive. There was a group of 29 infants that this nurse was looking after. And the hospital tells CNN in a statement that 21 of those infants did test negative, the other eight are positive, and they're in good condition right now but they are being monitored for COVID-19 symptoms.

Meanwhile, the number of cases continues to climb here in Japan. It has now exceeded 12,000 nationwide that is counting pastors from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship. And despite increasingly dire warnings from the government, that hundreds of thousands of people could die without social distancing measures, some people are ignoring the state of emergency nationwide, still packing public transportation even going to gambling parlors or the beach, despite warnings that if they don't change their behavior, a lot of people could end up in the hospitals that are already being pushed to the brink.

Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Mexico, President Lopez Obrador has chastised drug gangs in this country saying they should stop handing out aid packages and instead should stop their criminal activity.

There have been reports for weeks now seemingly confirmed by the president, that drug gang members in states like Jalisco and Sinaloa have been handing out what are essentially care packages to ordinary citizens filled with everything from food to cleaning supplies.

But the president who has taken a less combative approach during his tenure against drug cartels said quote, these criminal organizations that have been seen distributing the packages, this isn't helpful. What helps is them stopping their bad deeds. But what is clear is that ordinary citizens in Mexico are going to need help during this pandemic, as Mexico is already struggling economy is expected to take a major hit during this outbreak.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City. FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Germany, European automakers are once again ramping up their production. Now Volkswagen, which is Europe's largest automaker is leading the charge. The plant here in Passau it's one of the ones that are being ramped up just this week alone.

Now the workers who come here have to work under extremely strict health and hygiene regulations to make sure that the coronavirus does not spread here. Germany says that it managed to get the pandemic under control too very early and very extensive testing.

And over the past couple of days, the number of new infections in this country has remained fairly low. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned people to adhere to the physical distancing measures or risk a spike in new cases.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Passau, Germany.



KING: Coming up for us a warning from the FBI to police around the country, be on the lookout for coronavirus hate crimes.


KING: Some troubling coronavirus related news. Now CNN has obtained an FBI memo sent to law enforcement agencies around the country warning the coronavirus pandemic could lead to hate crimes against minorities. And there's evidence this is already happening.


Researchers at the network Contagion Institute, Research Institute say, there has been a surge in xenophobic or anti-Chinese sentiments, especially online.

Our CNN security correspondent, Josh Campbell, has this reporting for us. Josh, what exactly does the FBI Director Christopher Wray outline in this memo? And what are police departments around the country supposed to do with this information?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Well, as public officials focus on stopping the spread of the deadly coronavirus, law enforcement officers are focusing on stopping the spread of hate in this letter that was sent to police officials around the country.

The FBI director laying out a number of priorities for his agency, including cybercrime and fraud schemes, but also focusing on an issue that is targeted Asian-Americans in the United States and that is the rise in abusive rhetoric associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

The FBI director writing in this letter that he remains concerned about the potential for hate crimes by individuals and groups targeting minority populations in the United States, who they believe are responsible for the spread of the virus.

Now this comes as we've seen in the recent weeks, a number of incidents where Asian-Americans were targeted by let's not mince words, suspected racists in New York City. Four people were charged after assaulting a woman on a bus. It's alleged that they made anti- Asian statements towards her, blamed her for the spread of the pandemic and assaulted her, hitting her on the head, that injury requiring stitches.

Here in Los Angeles, a woman was berated on a subway by a man who singled her out allegedly because she appeared Asian. He indicated that this spread started in China that all diseases started in China. And his words to this woman saying the Chinese people are disgusting, just truly despicable incidents that are occurring across the country, John.

As you mentioned, this comes as outside experts are looking at the rise in online hate speech and rhetoric targeting Asian-Americans as well. One Institute writing that one conspiracy theory that has been gaining steam on these online forums is the notion that the pandemic, the coronavirus, was a bio weapon created by the Chinese government and then spread by Chinese people.

For law enforcement, John, for public outside, experts as well looking at this issue, this remains of critical concern. In their words, they're concerned that these conspiracy theories are now becoming mainstream.

KING: Josh Campbell, appreciate that crises bring out the best and in some of us bring out the worst. Josh Campbell, appreciate that reporting for us from California.

Checking couple other top stories today in the first of its kind lawsuit, the State of Missouri now suing China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the suit is filed by Missouri's Republican Attorney General says, Chinese officials did not do enough to stop the spread of the virus despite having knowledge of its disastrous consequences.

The state is asking for civil penalties, restitution, punitive damages and more. China of course is protected by sovereign immunity. So it's not clear if this lawsuit will have any standing or impact.

The most vulnerable and honorable population is being hard hit by this coronavirus pandemic. Now a Massachusetts Veterans Home under investigation after 16 residents died from the virus just the last few days. The total number of soldier deaths in just that home now at 63. And then a neighboring soldier home and long term facility an additional 16 veterans dying from the coronavirus.

According to state officials between the two homes, there are also 133 staff members who have tested positive. And amid some sustained tensions with Iran, President Trump announcing on Twitter, I don't know if this is an official order, the President instructing the U.S. Navy to quote, shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats that harass U.S. ships. You may remember last week, the Navy released this video. It says Iranian boat conducting a dangerous harassing approaches against U.S. vessels. Again, it is unclear if that President's tweet is an official standing order, and whether the U.S. Central Command would fire upon an Iranian boat. CNN has reached out to the Pentagon and the White House for more context and information.

Circle May 1st on your political calendar. By that date, the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, says he expects to announce the formation of his vice presidential selection panel. Biden adds it is his quote, guest that the field will be narrowed by sometime in July.

Biden is previously promised his vice presidential choice will be a woman. A number of women likely to be considered including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and California Senator Kamala Harris as well.

Some big news in the sports world, we will close with the staff making me do this one because it's painful to me. The former New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski is coming out of retirement to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The move will reunite the three times Super Bowl winner with quarterback Tom Brady, who also left the Patriots to sign with the Bucs after playing 20 seasons in New England. Gronkowski last played in the NFL during the 2018 season. Staff every now and then gets to cause me pain.


Good luck to the Gronk, good luck to the goat in Tampa. We wish you the best. Thanks for joining us today. Anderson Cooper picks up our coverage right now. Have a good afternoon.