Return to Transcripts main page
Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Stay-at-Home Order; Ousted Vaccine Chief: U.S. Faces 'Darkest Winter in Modern History'; L.A. Times: FBI Seizes Sen. Burr's Cell Phone in Stock Sale Probe; Arbery Shooting Suspect Confronted Black Male Weeks Earlier; States Forced to Ration Only FDA-Approved Virus Treatment. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired May 14, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturning the state's mandate to stay at home.
GOV. TONY EVERS (D-WI): This will cause us to have spikes across the state. There's no question about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Rick Bright is giving fair warning. Without more action, the year 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: The idea of having treatments available to facilitate the reentry of students would be a bit of a bridge too far.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To me, it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump questioning the accuracy of the coronavirus death toll in the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number of deaths we have right now is not the right number. It is higher.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, May 14, 6 a.m. here in New York.
Breaking overnight, chaos in Wisconsin. After the state's Supreme Court strikes down the governor's stay-at-home order, some bars immediately reopened, leading to scenes like this. Large crowds, reveling in their freedom but not socially distancing, not wearing masks. The governor likening this situation to the Wild West, saying the state has no plan and no protection for its residents now. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And just hours from what could be electric
testimony on Capitol Hill. The housted [SIC] -- ousted head of the department overseeing vaccine research is expected to testify about missed signals and opportunities that he saw to confront the pandemic in the United States in January and February. And he will issue a new dire warning that the darkest winter in modern history lies ahead if the federal coronavirus response is not accelerated immediately.
We want to get right to CNN's Omar Jimenez, who's covering the breaking news for us about what's going on in Wisconsin -- Omar.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, at this point, to put in place any new measure statewide in Wisconsin, the Democratic governor, Tony Evers, would have to work to try to get a plan in place. Given their working history over the course of this pandemic may prove to be difficult and the situation now the governor is describing as a bad day for Wisconsin.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): Wisconsin is no longer under stay-at-home orders this morning after the state Supreme Court overturned Governor Tony Evers' extension until May 26 by a 4-3 vote, calling the move, quote, "unlawful, invalid and unenforceable."
GOV. TONY EVERS (D-WI): Now we have no plan, and we have no protections for the people of Wisconsin. This will cause the -- us to have spikes across the state. There's no question about it.
JIMENEZ: The state Senate majority leader says each resident can weigh their own risks.
SEN. SCOTT FITZGERALD (R-WI): Now, the onus is on the individual. If you don't feel comfortable going into a restaurant or into a church, then don't go. It's definitely a possibility that you could have hotspots that emerge, just like we've seen in other states throughout the nation.
JIMENEZ; Near Milwaukee, one bar owner says she immediately reopened as soon as she heard the news, and patrons say they were eager to return.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that the risk presents any higher than me going to a grocery store.
While most states undergo a phased relaxing of restrictions, defiance is growing in some areas as a number of people become impatient, despite warnings from top health officials about reopening the country too soon.
FAUCI: I feel if that occurs, there is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control which, in fact, paradoxically, will set you back. Not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided.
JIMENEZ; Some business owners deciding to welcome back patrons anyway, saying they're willing to accept citations.
DAN CRONAUER, DEFYING PENNSYLVANIA STAY-AT-HOME ORDER: Our decision came from the people. It got really hard for us to -- to close the doors, because people look at us, like, I'm so glad you're doing this for me. And they're thrilled.
JIMENEZ: And take a look at this Colorado restaurant, packed with customers Sunday after it allowed dine-in service without following state rules about social distancing. They lost their license the next day.
GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): The type of behavior that we saw modeled there, that risky behavior, if that's occurring on a large scale, this is going to take a turn for the worse in our entire country.
JIMENEZ: Now, in Wisconsin, despite the statewide order being struck down, we're now seeing local jurisdictions either keep their safer at home orders in place, like in Milwaukee or in Green Bay or the state's capital of Madison. They've put in place new safer-at-home orders, again, on the local level.
But this is obviously a continually evolving situation for a pandemic response that just seems to have gotten a little bit more complicated -- John.
BERMAN: Yes, Omar. We're waiting to see what happens today in Wisconsin. Large parts of Wisconsin when more and more people find out that these orders no longer exist in their communities.
Omar, thanks for being there.
Later this morning, we will hear from the ousted head of the federal agency in charge of vaccine research. Dr. Rick Bright is expected to issue a dire warning to Americans. CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with a preview.
Dr. Bright, Joe, does not paint a flattering picture of the administration's response to coronavirus.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He doesn't, and he certainly has a way with words, doesn't he? Dr. Rick Bright is expected to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee later today.
And I just want to read you a bit of that stern warning he's expected to issue. We got an advance copy of the text of his prepared remarks. He says, "Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities without clear planning and implementation that I and other experts have outlined. 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history."
[06:05:09] Now, you'll remember, Dr. Rick Bright was removed from his job in the vaccine office here in the United States because, he says, among other things, he did not sign on to full development and sending out of hydroxychloroquine. That, of course, is the malaria drug that, for the while, the president of the United States himself was doing a real hard sell on during the briefings here at the White House.
Of course, the Office of Special Counsel has said that there is evidence that Rick Bright was retaliated against. They've recommended he get his job back.
The president himself has essentially suggested that Rick Bright is a disgruntled employee. Of course, Rick Bright has also said he thinks there are a number of steps that need to be taken, including more education about prevention and a national testing strategy.
Alisyn, back to you.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, we will be talking to Dr. Bright's attorney coming up in the program. Thank you very much.
Now, let's start with Wisconsin. Joining us now, we have CNN political analyst John Avlon and Dr. Manisha Juthani. She's an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine. Great to see both of you.
So John, wow. I mean, what happened in Wisconsin last night is just a fascinating experiment for all of us to see what happens when you immediately sort of open the flood gates.
The Wisconsin state Supreme Court decided that the stay-at-home orders were to end immediately, and you see people reveling in their freedom. They are not practicing social distancing.
And you know, the Wisconsin Supreme Court was sort of divided down party lines, with the conservatives voting one way, the liberals voting one way. Here is what one of the conservative judges said about the decision: "This comprehensive claim to control virtually every aspect of a person's life is something we normally associate with a prison, not a free society governed by the rule of law."
What do you see here?
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Pandemics don't care about partisan politics. But partisan politics really make us stupid to the extent that we start ignoring science. This shouldn't be dividing along partisan lines. Good people can disagree. Regions should have different standards in place.
But you've got Republicans and conservative justices denying, effectively, not just the legitimacy of a Democratic governor, but the advice of public health and science. That's dangerous. People are going to get hurt. And they can use all the rhetoric of freedom they want, and one justice even compared this to Japanese internment camps, which is insane. This is really an issue about public health and trying to protect
people. And more people will get sick and die if people start clustering together. That's what we've seen. The Wild West, that's not a good situation when it comes to dealing with a pandemic.
BERMAN: You know, Dr. Juthani, the challenge is this. If you look at the curve in Wisconsin, the number of new cases every day has bent downwards. There are fewer new cases every day in Wisconsin. You can see that chart right there. It just started happening.
And in fact, if you look at the United States, it's a similar situation. The number of new cases reported every day is bending downward. You can see it in that curve. Even as testing goes up, we're seeing fewer cases. So that's happening.
But -- but doctor, when you see the pictures, like the people sitting at that bar, side by side, no masks, shouting, you know, drinking all over each other, what are your concerns?
DR. MANISHA JUTHANI, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND EPIDEMIOLOGY, YALE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: When we talk about reopening America, we're talking about doing it in a phased way. And there are things that are less risky, like walking in parks on trails where people are not necessarily all over each other.
But things like bars doesn't seem to me to be the right next step, even if a curve is going down. So we know in places in Asia who really had their numbers controlled, that there have been outbreaks at nightclubs or bars, you know, where 25 people in one specific place all got the virus, and they didn't really -- nobody was sick before that.
So I think that it is concerning to me that this is really the next step that is happening in some of these areas. And I am concerned for the public health of people. And I just hope that people who see these things -- I understand that many people feel like they're suffering and they're maybe immune to this or it's not going to affect them as badly as it might affect somebody else.
But I think that's -- we don't know that's -- to be the case. I mean, we've seen things happening in younger people, as well. And so I think that to just jump to going to events like this is not wise.
CAMEROTA: We'll be keeping an eye, obviously, on Wisconsin all morning. We're also keeping an eye on what's going to happen on Capitol Hill, and that is where Dr. Rick Bright, who is -- he considers himself a whistle-blower in terms of what was going on inside the administration with hydroxychloroquine and the response to the pandemic, he's going to be testifying.
And John, one of the things that has gotten a lot of people's attention, is in his prepared remarks he says that he fears that 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history if we don't clamp down on some of this stuff. So that's ominous. What should we be looking for? AVLON: Yes, winter is coming.
AVLON: Well, look, I think that -- what you want to listen for is not simply somebody who says they were fired because of politicization of science in the administration but is warning that the response has been fundamentally compromised the safety and public health of the United States. That the CDC guidelines that were discarded by the administration really called for a far more stringent process of reopening.
And the path that seems to be, is not just the administration versus science but the president and his people trying to look out for the president's political benefit rather than the public health of the United States.
So real detail, real science, look at the forward-looking implications of what he says, not just the backward-looking implications for his own career.
BERMAN: But John, it's interesting. Is it the backward-looking implications -- or the CNN symbol that used to be John Avlon.
I'll ask this to you, Dr. Juthani. It is interesting in that you are going to have someone who was there, who was there at the beginning of this administration's pandemic response and is going to testify as to what he saw.
JUTHANI: I think what he's really going to highlight -- and he's a scientist. He's going to focus on the science. I would hope that, you know, that's the vantage point that he's coming from.
And I think what his concern is -- and I think many of us share the concern -- is that when this all started, it was in, you know, the end of February, beginning of March here in the states, which is when flu season was winding down. And we had a pretty bad flu season, but as everybody knows, flu season really picks up as we get to October.
And if we don't have measures in place, which by the way, will help for both, for flu and for coronavirus, that if we don't have those measures really in place to help the spread of the respiratory virus like this, that we could be looking at something we haven't even encountered yet, which is, potentially, COVID-19 coming back with a vengeance and with a bad flu season.
And so we just got the tail end of the flu season with COVID-19 this time around. But going into the winter, I think that's the concern. And I -- I share his concern. I mean we've all -- I hope not. I think that's what we've all been hoping for. But I think that seeing what the response is going to be like is really going to help determine that.
CAMEROTA: John Avlon, you are back. We are relieved. All parents are waiting to hear what's going to happen in the fall with school. And the answer probably is, we just don't know yet. Obviously, some universities are beginning to say that their campuses
will be shut, in California, at least. But President Trump very much wants schools to open. And it seems as though this is causing a rift between he and Dr. Fauci.
Dr. Fauci is just basically saying, We need to proceed with caution because we are seeing sickness crop up in children, not to a huge degree but to an alarming -- I mean, obviously, any case is alarming -- and that he just wants to pump the brakes a little bit.
AVLON: Right. And what -- you know, he's looking at is the fact that we still don't have -- there's so many unanswered questions about this disease. And so caution does make sense.
But the president is projecting everything through his political prism. He wants to put bunting around the press releases and sort of even questioning whether the number of deaths has been inflated.
That kind of an imposition of political self-interest over science gets to the heart of the problem of the administration. The fact that he and so many of his allies are targeting Dr. Fauci, who's somebody who's really, with Deborah Birx, helped saved the administration's response. Because they have credibility with the American people. That speaks to the larger fault lines here.
We don't know yet what's going to happen in the fall. If, as expected, this comes back in the fall, that places opening up schools -- makes it vastly more complicated.
So the president may want a campaign press release. He's going to get science from people like Dr. Fauci. He may not like that. That's about being at war with reality.
CAMEROTA: John Avlon, Dr. Juthani, thank you both very much.
All right. So coming up, we have developments on two major stories. The cell phone of a prominent Republican senator has reportedly been seized by the FBI. So we'll tell you what that's about.
And there is a new 911 call that points to an earlier confrontation days before the Ahmaud Arbery case, before he was shot to death. So we have live reports on both developments, next.
CAMEROTA: Now to a developing story. "The Los Angeles Times" reports that the FBI has seized a cell phone belonging to Sen. Richard Burr. This is part of a Justice Department investigation into a stock sale the senator made in the early stages of the pandemic.
CNN's Lauren Fox is live in Washington with details.
What do we know, Lauren?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Obviously, Alisyn, this is a significant development in this investigation. But I want to set up the timeline for you.
Back in February, Sen. Richard Burr, who's the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, was getting regular briefings around the spread of coronavirus around the world.
Now, at that time, on February 13, he made more than 30 transactions, sales of up to $1.7 million in stocks. And he wasn't the only senator who made sales in stocks during that time.
But what is so important to remember about this is Sen. Richard Burr has said that he made this decision to sell these stocks based off of public information. But this is the key question, because the 2012 Stock Act forbids any member of Congress or their staff from making trades or sales on stocks that could benefit them, based on any information they learned in the course of their official work.
Now, again, Sen. Burr has said that he made these decisions to sell these stocks based off of publicly-available information. But since that development last night, we have reached out to Sen. Burr, the Department of Justice, Sen. Burr's lawyer and the FBI. We are still awaiting comment, Alisyn.
BERMAN: All right. I'll take it, Lauren. Lauren Fox, thank you very much. Obviously, a very high bar to get a search warrant on a sitting U.S. senator.
Another major development this morning, this time in the Ahmaud Arbery shooting. Less than two weeks before he was fatally shot, CNN has learned that one of the suspects charged with his murder had a separate confrontation with an unidentified black man who entered a neighbor's house under construction.
CNN's Martin Savidge live in Georgia with the latest developments.
Martin, what are you learning?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
Yes, this is video that many people have not seen before, and it's definitely a new 911 call. It's coming from the same neighborhood where Ahmaud Arbery died, but it's coming 12 days before his death. And it involves another name many have already heard before.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The new video and new 911 call depict an altercation from the same neighborhood less than two weeks before Ahmaud Arbery's death.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Nine-one-one. What is the address of your emergency?
TRAVIS MCMICHAEL, SUSPECT IN AHMAUD ARBERY SHOOTING (via phone): We've had a string of burglaries. I was leaving the neighborhood, and I just caught a guy running into a house being built.
SAVIDGE: The video obtained by CNN is captured by one of eight security cameras set up in and around the house that's under construction in a community outside Brunswick, Georgia. It is the same home where Arbery was seen looking around on the day he died.
Unlike that day, the new video is at night, between 7 and 8 p.m., according to the homeowner's attorney, and depicts an unidentified individual walking in from the left side of the camera's view. The person slowly seems to circle the room and then goes out of the camera's view. But the microphone continues to hear the sound of footsteps.
According to the homeowner's attorney, nothing was taken or disturbed in the house, which is so open headlights can be seen from traffic on the street.
The same night as this video was taken, Larry English, the homeowner, who lives an hour and a half away, receives a text message from a neighbor two doors down from the house under construction, describing a confrontation involving someone named Travis and a young man on or near the property.
The attorney shared a transcript of the message English received, describing the altercation with the unidentified person. Quote, "The police showed up, and we all searched for a good while. I think he got spooked and ran after Travis confronted him. Travis says the guy ran into the house," the neighbor reports.
It was Travis McMichael's call that night that summons police to the scene. McMichael tells the authorities he spotted the individual going into the home. McMichael is gasping for breath, so much so it worries the 911 operator.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you OK?
MCMICHAEL: Yes. Yes, it just startled me. When I turned around and saw him and backed up, he reached into his pocket and ran into the house. So I don't know if he's armed or not. But he looked like he was acting like he was.
SAVIDGE: Police arrive on scene a short time later but find no one. Nothing more is said about the incident, and the homeowner says he has no idea who was in the house that night.
But the encounter is not forgotten.
Two weeks later, as Ahmaud Arbery lay dead on the ground, killed by three shotgun blasts from Travis McMichael's gun, Gregory McMichael tells the authorities he thought Arbery was that suspect from 12 days before.
SAVIDGE: John, we should stress that there is nothing in this new 911 call or in the video that, in any way, says that Ahmaud Arbery was there on the night of February 11. But it is an interesting development, nonetheless -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Martin Savidge for us, following all of these breaking developments. We appreciate it.
So the White House is relying on a certain kind of coronavirus test to keep those in the West Wing safe and healthy. But can these rapid tests be trusted? An alarming new study, next.
CAMEROTA: New concerns this morning about the rapid coronavirus test that's being used by the White House after a new study finds that it frequently misses positive cases. And there are new developments also about the rationing of the only FDA-approved drug.
CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us with more. What do we know, Elizabeth?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, good morning. What we know is that two weeks ago, the federal government said Remdesivir works. This anti-viral drug works. And by now, all 50 states are supposed to have received shipments of the drug. But the problem is, the amounts per state are quite small.
COHEN (voice-over): This may be the most sought-after drug on our pandemic-ridden planet. Remdesivir, the only drug shown to work against coronavirus and be authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
And now the state of California, in guidance to hospitals, says they can consider having a lottery to decide which patients will get it. That's because there's not nearly enough Remdesivir to go around.
Take San Francisco, for example. They have around 70 patients in the hospital with confirmed coronavirus infections. But so far, they've only been allocated enough Remdesivir for about four patients for the entire city.
Dr. Annie Luetkemeyer is an infectious disease specialist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
DR. ANNIE LUETKEMEYER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, ZUCKERBERG SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL HOSPITAL: Having such limited supplies is challenging.
COHEN: She knows she will have to tell some patients no.
LUETKEMEYER: It's not what we all went into medicine to do. We would like to be able to provide Remdesivir for everyone in whom we think it would benefit. And we're clearly just not in that place yet. And that -- and that part is really heartbreaking.
COHEN (on camera): How did you feel when you saw that just a handful of patients in all of San Francisco would be able to get this medicine?
LUETKEMEYER: We understand that some really difficult decisions are going to have to be made.
COHEN (voice-over): And not just in San Francisco. In Texas, for example, they have nearly 1,700 coronavirus patients in the hospital.