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Plan to Start 2020 Baseball Season; Coronavirus Update From around the U.S.; Tesla Factory Reopens Despite California Orders; Supreme Court to Hear Trump Tax Return Case; Pandemic Changes Classrooms. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 12, 2020 - 06:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, baseball fans everywhere, listen up, Major League Baseball owners reportedly have approved a plan to start the 2020 season in July. The commissioner is expected to present this proposal to the players today.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is live at Wrigley Field in Chicago with the details.

What do we know, Omar?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, the MLB plan -- or the MLB tells CNN, I should say, that they plan to present a proposal to the Major League Baseball Players Association today. And according to multiple reports, owners have finalized a plan to restart the season as early as Fourth of July weekend.

Now, the season would not look like any season we have seen in recent memory. It was supposed to start back on March 26th. And basically this plan would pick things up midway through. So, for starters, we would not see a full 162 game season. Instead, we'd see an 82 game season, much like a typical NBA season, for example. And it would start again in early July, according to reports. There wouldn't be fans. Spring training would be in the summer, in June.

And on how the game is played, we'd have a designated hitter in both the National and American League, as opposed to just in the American League. Plus, we'd see some expanded rosters.

Now, on the financial side of things, the two sides, the Players Association and the league, struck an agreement back in March basically giving advances in player salaries to the players if they agreed, the Players Association, agreed not to challenge any losses that would come from the 2020 season canceled all together or if they played a partial season.

Now, the excerpt from that agreement, provided to CNN, says that if games weren't able to be played in home stadiums in front of fans, they would discuss the economic feasibility of doing it without fans, which seems to be where we are right now. The major snag could be the MLB says those discussions could include further salary reductions while the Players Association says the economic part of this negotiation is over, we're focused on getting back to the field, as sports fans are all across the country if it can be done safely, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, look, it's just the beginning of the discussions. We're watching it very closely.

Omar Jimenez, thanks very much for being with us.

This morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo believes his state is on the other side of the mountain in the fighting against coronavirus. We also have new details about deaths at U.S. meat packing facilities. Our reporters are covering these stories all around the country.



When compared to other states, Florida's Covid-19 response has resulted in lower per capita infection and death rates. Experts analyze data that tracks people's movements and credits Floridians for staying home before politicians issued safer at home orders. Floridians, experts say, most likely reacted early because they watched the news.

Other factors that helped Florida, per experts, Governor Ron DeSantis's decision to impose restrictions on nursing homes, Florida's robust public health system, which has responded to disasters, like hurricane, the state's overall low population density, less use of public transportation, and also a little luck.


The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union is once again calling for the White House to make those CDC guidelines mandatory and enforceable. This comes after 14 plants have reopened since the president announced his executive order. The UFCW says that 30 meat packing workers have died since the pandemic began and more than 10,000 have either been exposed to or infected by Covid-19.


CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Cristina Alesci in New York, where the state is racing to build one of the biggest contact tracings programs in the country.

DR. JOSHUA SHARFSTEIN, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: If you don't get contact tracing right, then there's the risk that the virus continues to spread.

ALESCI: A team at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health developed this training course. Ideally, tracers will convince Covid patients to isolate and find others who may have been in contact with the patient using this app. Tracers would then have to get those people to quarantine. Finding and isolating even just a few contacts helps reduce the spread.

DR. EMILY GURLEY, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: It's the best defense we have right now against Covid-19.

ALESCI: That defense is backed by $10.5 million from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


BERMAN: Yes, watch this space on the contact tracing. That is one of the major components to getting this country back on its feet.

So, this morning, Tesla's Elon Musk defying California officials to restart production. The latest on this escalating conflict, next.



CAMEROTA: Elon Musk is escalating his confrontation with local officials in California by defying stay-at-home orders to reopen Tesla's California factory.

CNN's Dan Simon is live at that Tesla facility in Fremont, California, with more.

So, what's this about, Dan?


Well, this has turned into a very nasty public spat between Elon Musk and county health officials. That is the Tesla factory behind me. You have employees back on the line after Musk said he was reopening in defiance of county health officials.


SIMON (voice over): A packed parking lot at Tesla's assembly plant in Fremont, California, as employees headed back to work at the direction of their CEO. Elon Musk tweeting on Monday, Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.

ELON MUSK, CEO, TESLA: I present to you the cyber truck.

SIMON: Musk has been fiercely critical of the stay-at-home orders, calling them fascist and, over the weekend, in another tweet, said Tesla will now move its headquarters and future programs to Texas or Nevada immediately. If we retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will depend on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in California.

In response, one state lawmaker saying, "f" Elon Musk.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): First of all, I appreciate Elon. SIMON: Governor Gavin Newsom praised Musk in April after the CEO said he'd help secure more than 1,000 ventilators, though the gift become a subject for contention as some hospitals reported receiving different devices that help with sleep apnea. On Monday, Newsom tried to strike a delicate balance in the latest dustup. After all, Tesla employs more than 10,000 workers at the plant.

NEWSOM: Manufacturing broadly throughout the state of California is no longer restricted with modifications.

SIMON: But Newsom also acknowledging that counties have the ability to make independent decisions.

Musk filed suit Saturday against Alameda County after the automaker was warned bringing workers back would violate its rules. Alameda County says it is working with Tesla to implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting workers.

MUSK: If you don't make stuff, there's no stuff.

SIMON: Musk telling podcaster Joe Rogan last week that in order to get product on the shelves, in his case, cars in the showroom, the economy has to open up.

MUSK: My (INAUDIBLE) is if, if somebody wants to stay home, they should stay home. If somebody doesn't want to stay home, they should not be compelled to stay home. That's my opinion.

SIMON: And as Tesla employees now leave their homes to go back to work, Musk is getting support from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: He's one of the biggest employers and manufacturers in California, and California should prioritize doing whatever they need to do to solve those health issues so that he can open quickly and safely, where they're going to find, as he's threatened, he's moving his production to a different state.


SIMON: Well, the best case scenario in all of this is that the two sides come to some sort of agreement, they both declare victory and move on. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. We'll also see, Alisyn, whether or not all of these employees, again, we're talking about 10,000 of them, we'll see if they return back to the line.


CAMEROTA: Yes, we will. Dan Simon in position early for us. Thank you very much for that reporting.

So the Supreme Court will hear arguments this morning about President Trump's tax returns. Up next, we'll speak with someone who has seen President Trump's tax returns, about what they could reveal.


BERMAN: In just a few hours, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the year's long battle over President Trump's tax return. So, could the high court order the president's financial records finally be made public, or at least released to the entities looking for them, and what would they reveal?

Joining me now, someone who's actually seen the president's tax returns, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien.

Tim, great to see you. You saw them in a court case years ago after you wrote a book and the president sued you. Just to be clear, so people know, you can't tell us exactly what you saw, correct?

TIM O'BRIEN, SENIOR COLUMNIST, "BLOOMBERG OPINION": Right. The tax returns were -- were produced during discovery, John, and there was a court order sealing them. They were given to my attorneys and we reviewed them at a -- in a conference room at their law offices. So they were never part of a public filing.

BERMAN: But the bigger question you perhaps can answer, which is, why do you think, big picture, the president has fought so hard to keep them secret? What largely would they show us?

O'BRIEN: Well, on a very narrow basis I think the tax returns would show that his businesses aren't as robust as he has claimed they've been. And it would also reveal foreign sources of income. And, obviously, those things, you know, how robust his businesses have been has been an issue of concern to him for decades.

The issue of foreign sources of income, I think, is of greater concern to him now as president because this is one of the things that Congress has looked at and it's one of the reasons, I think, they want to get his financial records.

BERMAN: There are actually two separate cases today that look at this from two separate angles. One, can Congress get a hold of them through the president's banks and accounting firms for what they say are legislative purposes. Do you think that holds muster? Do you think they want his tax returns for some legislative reason?

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, it's for -- it's for a classic constitutional reason, which is, is checks and balances. It's the Congress' right to oversee the activities of the executive branch. I think one of the things that's defined the Trump presidency and is unusual about it is, he's maintained close ties to his businesses. He hasn't disclosed his taxes. He's broken tradition with previous presidents around that. And there's not transparency for the American public on to whether or not his financial dealings are overlapping with public policy making.


The Congress wants to streamline ethics and disclosure rules. So this is part of that effort. The Congress is also looking at foreign intrusion in the 2020 election

and trying to avert what happened in 2016. This is also part of what they're doing. But as you note, that's also a separate effort from what's going on in New York with the Manhattan district attorney.

BERMAN: And that's fascinating too. I mean the case out of Manhattan has to do with whether a president can be investigated, not whether the president can be charged with a crime, but whether he can be investigated. And that will be a whole different angle.

And one of the things that's really interesting, maybe ironic, with coronavirus is, we're actually going to get to hear these arguments in real time and hear the questions from the Supreme Court justices.

What will you be listening for today as we hear these historic arguments?

O'BRIEN: Well, as you just put your finger on, this issue of whether or not a sitting president can be investigated, I think, has already been settled. It was settled in U.S. v. Nixon when he was required to turn over the smoking gun tape.

The issue isn't whether or not a president can be investigated order subpoenaed, I believe, it's whether or not a sitting president can be prosecuted. But that's not what's in play here. This is really whether or not the president, in a very broad way, is above the law if the president's records can't be subpoenaed. And I think that's obviously one of the things the court is going to be looking at here. And every lower court has thrown out Trump's -- his attorneys and the Justice Department's arguments that the president's immunity is so sweeping that he can't even be subpoenaed. And that will be in front of the court today and it will be interesting how some of the individual justices look at this. Particularly, I think, Justice Kavanaugh.

BERMAN: Right. That's the understatement of the century. It will be interesting to hear how Justice Kavanaugh approaches this given what he said about presidential privilege before.


BERMAN: Tim O'Brien, great to have you on. Great to see you.

O'BRIEN: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: I hope you and your family are well.

O'BRIEN: Thank you so much.

BERMAN: So what can your kids expect to see when schools reopen? Coming up, our first look at the significant changes that are likely in store.


[06:56:16] CAMEROTA: This morning we're getting our first glimpse at the new normal that students could expect once schools start to reopen. Thousands of elementary school kids in Canada are back in the classroom and CNN's Paula Newton has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys notice what you're stepping on.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): After two months of home schooling, the Brown family is getting a whole new education in a different kind of distance learning. For some kids in Canada, these were clearly tentative steps into a new reality. Hundreds of thousands of kids in kindergarten to grade six were invited back to class in the province of Quebec this week. It was voluntary and some schools put out videos to let kids know what to expect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, kids. Don't be alarmed, this is what we're going to look like when you return back.

NEWTON: And it's not just the teachers who will look a little different. Six feet between desks in all classrooms, no sharing school supplies, play structures are off limits and --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gym, library, MPR, cafeteria, all are closed.

NEWTON: Posted on YouTube just last week, this school video has already been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, measure of the curiosity and apprehensions some are feeling about a return to school.

MELANIE PRIMEAU, PRINCIPAL, HOWICK ELEMENTARY: It's like the first day of school with new rules and we need to show them those new rules and make -- make it that they're as happy as possible so that they can learn.

NEWTON: This mother says it was a nerve racking decision to come back, but --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: September is coming and I said, you know what, let's try and get things going, to get them back into reality, get them back into somewhat of a routine and to realize what is going to be the new reality.

NEWTON: And this exhausted parent said she'd had enough of the home schooling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a -- we're dairy farmers as well, so that hasn't stopped at all. The cows don't know that there's a pandemic going on.

NEWTON: And as the pandemic continues, for now, this is what a Covid classroom will look like.

NEWTON (on camera): Fewer than half of the student showed up for school. Parents are still quite reluctant. In fact, in Canada, most schools remain closed. Still, this offered a first glimpse into the future of education

during this pandemic.

Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to Paula.

Meanwhile, the nation's top health experts will testify this morning.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Anthony Fauci, he will be telling the Senate that Americans would experience needless suffering and death if the country opens up prematurely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's singing a song that all of us in infectious diseases are harmonizing with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody who needs a test can get a test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reality on the ground is that many people who need a test can't get one today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is this a global competition to you?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Maybe that's a question you should ask China.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had multiple questions. He had not called on CNN yet. And the president just refused to take those questions.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And a stark warning overnight from Dr. Anthony Fauci about needless suffering and death. Later this morning he will testify under oath before Congress and he sent "The New York Times" a preview. A preview that is a stark tonal difference than what we're hearing from the White House.

Reopening the country too quickly, Dr. Fauci says, will cause, quote, needless suffering and death. He will also say it would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.

Now, the majority of states are already easing restrictions, even though none of them meet the White House guidelines for reopening. CNN has a new national poll just out moments ago.


It shows the majority of Americans believe the federal government is doing a poor job with this pandemic and they are overwhelmingly afraid or concerned about a second wave of the virus.