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Canada to Keep Border with U.S. Closed Through June 21st; Live Coverage of Donald Trump Press Conference; Trump Breaks Former Presidents' Protocols. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired May 19, 2020 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:00]

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: -- the pandemic. The NYPD says they removed everyone and that they shut the building down.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores in Miami, where the iconic Miami Beach and the city of Miami plan to begin reopening tomorrow morning. Both cities, allowing retail stores to reopen at 50 percent capacity.

Barber shops will also reopen. Restrictions like wearing face coverings and social distancing will apply. Restaurants will not reopen until next week. The city of Miami will also reopen 26 parks for walking, jogging and cycling. In Miami Beach, museums will reopen at 50 percent capacity with hand sanitizers being installed at entry points. The area's popular beaches remain closed.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Stephanie Elam in Los Angeles. California is growing an army of contact tracers. Currently there's 3,000; they plan on having 13,000 by the end of the month.

They're training current state and county employees to call people who have tested positive for COVID-19. They're able to then find out the names and numbers of other people that these sick people have been around, to call them and make sure that all of these people are able to isolate and quarantine as necessary. The idea here is to stop any further outbreaks of the virus.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar. This is CNN's special live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. As all 50 states reopen, more than 90,000 Americans have lost their lives. And cases in the U.S. have surpassed 1.5 million. Still, New York's governor, driving home the point today that the drastic measures taken to protect people are working.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Long Island, we were losing about 100 residents per day. We're now down to about 13 per day. When someone asks, well, why did we go through all this pain for two months, three months? Because we saved lives, that's why. Because we saved lives.

And if we didn't do what we did, that number of 100 per day would have kept going up. That's why we did what we did.

Did it work? You're darn right it worked. We've saved many, many lives. And you look at the curve in New York versus the rest of the nation, we're going down --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Also today, the Treasury secretary, warning lawmakers of permanent damage if the economy does not reopen, but pushing back on suggestions that the federal government is willing to risk lives to boost the GDP. We'll have much more on that heated exchange, later.

But first, to the latest on the nation's reopening. The big picture, showing the country's broken down into thirds here. About a third of states are seeing new cases go down. Then about a third are seeing no change, and then the final third, they're seeing a trend of more new infections than they saw the previous week.

CNN's Erica Hill is joining me now on this.

So, Erica, states, they're starting to reopen, people are trying to make summer plans and we have some new details that they should take Canada off their destination list for now?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, possibly. So what we heard today is that the border will remain closed with Canada for all nonessential travel through June 21st. So it's now been extended another 30 days.

And Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, listen, it could be that when we reopen the border to nonessential travel, there may also be temperature checks, there may be other measures in place for visitors coming from the U.S. That of course is a ways out, but we'll continue to follow that.

As you point out, so many people trying to plan for the summer, especially when it comes to their children. We know that child care has reopened in Texas, summer camps can come back at the end --

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: Erica, I'm so sorry, if you can just pardon me for a moment, let's listen to Donald Trump, live on Capitol Hill.

[14:03:53]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're doing very well in every way. Do you have any questions?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last night, Nancy -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called you morbidly obese. I just wanted to know what you had to say in response.

TRUMP: Oh, I don't -- I don't respond to her. I think she's a waste of time.

QUESTION: Mr. President, what are your priorities? What did you tell the senators are your priorities for ...

TRUMP: Well we have a lot of priorities. A priority we have is a priority for the country and bringing it back. I -- I use the expression "transition to greatness." We're going to have a really good third quarter -- it's already happening, you see it, you see what's going on. We're opening up, the states are opening up, numbers are going down as they open. Look at Georgia, look at Florida, look at others.

We have states that are opening up and the numbers are going down but it's a transition to greatness. It's the third quarter then it's going into the fourth quarter. I think the fourth quarter's going to be really good but I think that above all, next year you're going to have a tremendous year.

TRUMP: Now, with all of that being said, to lose lives over this that could've been stopped by China, it should've been stopped by China, is terrible, that a thing like this could've happened to the world. Long beyond us, you're going to lose millions of people. We're talking about the world -- the whole world is being affected by this. It's a terrible thing, a terrible, terrible, terrible (ph)...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: What's your -- Mr. President, what's your timeline?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: The FDA had -- the FDA warned that hydroxychloroquine could cause serious side effects, especially (inaudible) with the heart -- with the heart (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Yeah, yeah.

QUESTION: Why is it OK for you to promote the use of this drug when...

TRUMP: OK...

QUESTION: ... you're not a doctor and health experts are warning (ph)...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, I've worked with doctors. And if you look at the one survey, the only bad survey, they were giving it to people that were in very bad shape, they were very old, almost dead. It was a Trump enemy statement.

Now, if you look at some of the reports that came out from Italy, that came out from France, that came out from other -- a lot of our front- line workers take it because it possibly -- and I think it does, but you know, people are going to have to make up their own mind. Plus, it doesn't hurt people. It's been out on the market for 60 or 65 years for malaria, lupus and other things.

I think it gives you an additional level of safety, but you could ask -- many doctors are in favor of it. Many front-line workers won't go there unless they have the hydroxy. And so, again, this is an individual decision to make. But it's had a great reputation. And if was somebody else other than me, people would say, gee, isn't that smart.

But we are working on a lot of other things. We have -- I'll tell you what, the great medical companies that we have, if you look at what they're doing therapeutically, cure-wise and the vaccine itself. And the vaccine, I think, is less important than some of the things they're working on. They're working on a cure -- and we have more than one doing it, and very advanced -- they're working on therapeutics, and they're working on vaccine.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: There's been -- there's been tremendous progress -- really, tremendous progress on that.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Mr. President, have you talked to senators much about the reforms you'd like to see to FISA so Americans aren't surveilled?

TRUMP: Yeah, they have a lot of views on FISA. I didn't get involved. I purposely said to Mitch, you go do what you want, we'll take a look, we're going to look at FISA.

But nobody's been abused by FISA like the president of the United States. Because what the Democrats did -- and the dirty cops, they're dirty cops. The FBI people are great. I'll bet you go in there, they like Donald Trump. But the top of the FBI, they were dirty cops, they were crooked. Bad people. And nobody's been abused more than Trump.

But you look at General Flynn, you look at so many others. Not just that, not just us. Take a look at so many others, look at what they've done, how they've abused FISA. So I'm going to be studying it very much. But the FISA process has done awry. It was used by very dishonest people, it was used illegally.

And frankly, the judges on the FISA court should do something about it. And maybe they will.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Mr. President, (inaudible) firing of the I.G...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Mr. President, (inaudible) how Republican senators have -- have responded on the Flynn case and on the origins of the Russian investigation? TRUMP: Well, I think on the swing states you said?

QUESTION: No, the Flynn case.

TRUMP: Oh, on the Flynn case? General Flynn is a man of great respect. I was with General Milley, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the other day.

I said, do you know General Flynn?

He said, yes, I do, he's a fine man, I've known him for 20 years. He's a fine man and a great soldier.

General Flynn was treated horribly. General Flynn was treated illegally. These people, they broke the law, they broke the law. What they've done to General Flynn should never happen. What they've done the to the presidency and what they've done to this country can never be allowed to happen again to our country.

And despite all of that has been done, everything that's been done, we've had one of the greatest presidencies ever. We have never -- I don't think anybody -- Mitch, I think we can say it with assurity, nobody's accomplished what we've accomplished in a relatively short period of time, a three-year period of time. Nobody's been able to do that.

When you look at rebuilding our military, regulations at a level that nobody's come close to, we've cut regulations, the biggest tax decrease in history. You look at all of the things that we've done, all of the things we've done on health care, with the individual mandate, with pre-existing conditions, nobody's done anywhere close to what we've done.

But despite that -- if you look, despite an illegal witch hunt -- and that's what it was, it was a hoax, it was a witch hunt. The Russian thing was a made-up, fabricated story. Just like they went to Congresswoman Kelsey (sic) Gabbard. I don't know her at all. And they said, you're a Russian agent. I don't know her, but I know she's not a Russian agent.

Then they went to Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party. They said, she's a Russian agent. I don't know her at all, I know she's not a Russian agent.

These people are sick. Pelosi is a sick woman. She's got a lot of problems, a lot of mental problems. We're dealing with people that have to get their act together for the good of the country.

OK, thank you very much.

[14:10:00]

KEILAR: All right, the president there on Capitol Hill, where he's meeting with Senate Republicans. Again, not wearing a mask, as you can see. And he basically said the U.S. is reopening. He blamed China. And then he was asked about the fact that he's taking a drug, unproven for preventing COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine. He said that obviously, he things that it has benefits. Although it's important to point out that the FDA and his own White House coronavirus task force has urged caution, the FDA, telling patients and doctors, do not use it for COVID-19. And yet the president is still using it and standing by it.

We've been seeing this, right? Distraction, deflection, deception as Americans are losing their lives here. I want to discuss now with Gloria Borger and Kate Andersen Brower.

Gloria, to you first. I mean, what on earth is with his obsession with hydroxychloroquine? It kind of reminds me of, like, I don't know, like, one of those supplements that his former aide, Sebastian Gorka, hawks on TV that is -- you know, makes you go, like, what kind of snake oil is that?

But what is he talking about? Because we had this expert on in the last hour who said this is something that shouldn't be taken outside of a, like, clinical trial setting.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you just heard what he said, that he believes that one of the studies were done by people who don't like him, right? He said that.

He is somebody who says, I'm going to do what I want to do. And it's (ph) a show of strength, he believes. So I'm not going to let the deep state science community -- if you will -- tell me what I'm going to do. He always talks about his great intuition.

He says he believes that frontline workers take it, so therefore he should take it. And I think we should then ask, of course, what exactly was the level of his exposure to COVID? We really don't know the answer to that.

And so, you know, he raised this yesterday as a way to deflect and a way to distract. But I will also add, what he did was step on his own message about how the economy is going to have a great comeback. Because, of course, everybody wanted to know about hydroxychloroquine.

So this is a president who says I'm going to go my own way, I'm not going to wear a mask and I'm going to take a drug that a lot of doctors shouldn't take, but I'm going to find one or two who say I can, and therefore I'm going to do it. Because I know more.

KEILAR: And let's bring in Elizabeth Cohen here, our medical correspondent, who can talk a little bit about this. This argument that he's making, just fact-check this for us. He says, you know, some frontline workers basically won't even do their jobs without taking this thing. What do you say to that?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Where is he getting that from? Where is he getting that from --

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: I don't know, I thought you might know.

COHEN: -- President Trump?

BORGER: Right.

COHEN: Sometimes I wish he were a college term paper that came with footnotes, because he says these things --

KEILAR: Yes.

COHEN: -- and where is he getting this from? There is no study that I have heard of -- and I have talked to the researchers in this area -- that says frontline workers are taking this prophylactically, and it works. There's -- it's not there.

Are there frontline workers who are taking it? Sure, it's absolutely possible. Are there frontline workers who might be taking, for example, famotidine, which is the ingredient in Pepcid which has shown some promise in some studies? Sure, there might be. But that's not a reason to take it.

It is -- it was studied in hospitalized patients. Not only didn't it work, it made some of them sick. And these were not, as President Trump said, elderly people who are, you know, close to death. These were just hospitalized patients, and it didn't work.

There is no reason to think that it could work prophylactically, preventatively. If he wants to think that, that's fine. And it's not hard to find doctors to prescribe you whatever, and apparently he did. But there is no reason to think that it works, and I am -- I am dumbfounded as to why he chose to take this rather than something else. All sorts of things are being studied, why take this one?

KEILAR: Because he personally has been obsessed with it, as we've seen. But -- fact-check one other thing for us. He said, when he was talking about that, that study -- in particular, you know, he talked on and on and on for a long time about hydroxychloroquine. And then it came out that, oh, it's looking like actually it can do harm, not good. And the FDA is saying, patients, doctors, don't take it. Then we hear him say less about tit until now.

But he said that study, I think he referred to it as a Trump enemy statement. Are these Trump enemies who are studying this thing, Elizabeth?

COHEN: No. This is the University at Albany School of Public Health, this is a Veterans Administration study, this is Columbia University. These are the people who are paying attention to the science.

They -- hydroxychloroquine became a very popular thing to give hospitalized COVID patients -- frankly, much because of President Trump's enthusiasm, so a lot of doctors were giving it. So researchers did the right thing, and they said, well, if a lot of people are taking it, let's look backwards and see how they did. And they saw that it didn't help these people, and sometimes it gave them heart problems. [14:15:20]

So these are not enemies, no one is out to get President Trump. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite. They heard him be a cheerleader and they said, we're going to invest money into researching whether he's right. They invested the money, and they found out that he wasn't.

KEILAR: Yes. So actually, it's Trump administration statement, maybe we should say, since it's a V.A.-affiliated study there.

Kate, you're watching the president. I mean, he's up there on Capitol Hill, which -- I mean, this is a place where there's so many people, you could just see int hose pictures, everyone's wearing a mask. He's still refusing to wear a mask.

And he's going into lunches, right? He's going into this lunch with Senate Republicans who are elderly, right? They are in this sort of risk category, as is the president. And I just -- I wonder what you think about his continued refusal to take the precautions that his very task force is recommending?

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I interviewed President Trump for my new book about the former presidents. And watching him today reminded me of some of what he said in our interview, which is that he does go his own way, you know? And he does think that he's accomplished more than any of the presidents who came before him. And so I think this is really in keeping with the way that he operates. He doesn't want to follow any instructions.

And, you know, I was just fascinated that he didn't say anything about Obama. I guess he wasn't asked about it today. But he's been, you know, routinely coming out and using Obama as a way, I think, to distract us from what's going on with the coronavirus.

KEILAR: No, he definitely has. He did -- because he was asked about the speaker, Gloria, he did talk about Nancy Pelosi. He called her a waste of time, says he doesn't respond to her.

I mean, certainly, she said -- she said something, raising questions about why he's taking hydroxychloroquine, raising questions about his health. But she described him, I believe, as -- what, morbidly obese? Which certainly she knew was not going to --

BORGER: Yes.

KEILAR: -- go over well. But just we're in the middle of all of this, and you have the speaker of the House and the president, and they're not even communicating. It's pretty stunning, we're in the middle of a crisis.

BORGER: Well, it is pretty stunning and I'm not so sure that Mitch McConnell is talking an awful lot to Chuck Schumer these days either. And I think, you know, it's set at the top.

And I think, look, Donald Trump, after impeachment, decided very definitely who were enemies, and he hasn't changed from that list. And Nancy Pelosi is enemy number one for him.

And by the way, to what Elizabeth was talking about, scientists can be enemies too. People who disagree, people who say, you know, that is really wrong, you should not be doing that. People who disagree with him, when he says, I know more than anyone about a whole host of things, become enemies.

So former presidents talking about that, George W. Bush put out a beautiful video about the country and unity in a time of crisis, and he was criticized by this president. And Barack Obama was there before. You have to have someone to blame, and this is where it comes from. You always have to have someone to blame.

So you're going to blame China -- rightly or wrongly, obviously there are a lot of problems with China, but -- you're going to blame the Democrats, whom he says don't want to open the country because they want to keep people from freedom, having their own freedom. And so he's going to say those Democratic governors are bad. And then of course, Nancy Pelosi is the leader of the Democrats.

KEILAR: Yes. Look, I mean, China did some things that were wrong, but nothing was going to stop this getting out to China --

BORGER: Of course.

KEILAR: -- the president's travel ban was for foreigners, it wasn't for all of the Americans who travel from China, right?

BORGER: Exactly.

KEILAR: This was -- this die was cast a long time before the president took action.

Elizabeth, I want to ask you about the members of the World Health Organization who have unanimously passed a resolution that's calling for a probe of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is an inquiry that's coming as President Trump launches a new threat against the health organization, and that's significant because the U.S. is the major funder here. He says the U.S. could pull funding permanently if the WHO doesn't make major improvements.

So in this -- in a letter that he sent the organization, he accuses the WHO of ignoring credible reports of the virus spreading in Wuhan in early December of 2019, and he cited a study from the prestigious medical journal "The Lancet."

Well, that prompted "The Lancet" to come out and say, actually, no, there was nothing, there were no warnings about this until late January from Chinese scientists. What else are the editors saying here?

[14:20:08]

COHEN: Right, so those warnings actually came in late December. It was December 31st that the Chinese -- KEILAR: Late December?

COHEN: -- reported these mysterious cases of pneumonia. And so December 31st is when those reports were made.

So, right, "The Lancet" -- so President Trump says, hey, WHO, you ignored publications in "The Lancet." And "The Lancet" said there were no such publications, we don't know what you're talking about.

You know, sometimes with Trump there are nuances and kernels of truth. But when he says, You ignored publications in this time frame by "The Lancet," and "The Lancet" says, we didn't make any publications in that time frame, that is pretty black-and-white. Either those publications exist or they don't, and they don't.

KEILAR: And, Gloria, I mean, he's lying about something that's so easily provable. I know there's this part of us that says, oh, we've --

BORGER: Sure.

KEILAR: -- watched this before, right? So it's almost like we're not surprised. But I also think that there's a problem in somehow, like, becoming numb to it and not pointing out how just nuts this is --

BORGER: Well --

KEILAR: -- that he would lie about this in a letter when it's so easily provable.

BORGER: Well, what's so stunning is you lie when you don't have to lie. Because if you want to look for any kind of backup and criticism of China and the way China did not share information and how they behaved during this, there's plenty to back you up. His problem is that he was praising China at the time, that he was praising President Xi's transparency, and saying they're doing a good job handling this at the time.

So there were plenty -- you know, there are plenty of people since then who have criticized China, but he has to look at himself. And what he was saying at that time about China and its transparency, and that's where it becomes problematic for him.

KEILAR: So, Kate, you have a new book. And it's about -- in part about Trump and his relationship with past presidents. You're a great author, I will say. I think we all know, having read your stuff, you really pull the curtain back and kind of give us that, like, inside look at what's going on.

One of the things that's going on right now is that ever first-term president hosts his predecessor for their official portrait unveiling. This is like a -- it's a tradition, right? And we're learning today this isn't happening between the president and President Obama. And all of this, happening as the president is pushing what you mentioned before, some baseless conspiracy theories about President Obama. What do you make of all this? ANDERSEN BROWER: As you say, it's very easy to get lost in the chaos of just the day-to-day. And one of the things I think we can tend to overlook is how deeply he's damaged the president's club, and then of what we've expected of former presidents, the fact that after the tsunami in Asia, after Hurricane Katrina, you know, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, they always came together and there was a basic sense of decency and respect even though, you know, Clinton and Bush had a very tough campaign in 1992.

And now, with this other, you know, thing that we expect to happen -- the presidential portrait unveiling, and I did ask Trump if he would go to Barack Obama's presidential library opening someday, and he said, no, why would he even invite me? And it just kind of surprised me. And now we're hearing about the portrait unveiling, that Obama wouldn't be invited,

It just is a very stark contrast to what happened in 2012, when the Obamas invited the Bushes to their portrait unveiling, and they had 14 members of the Bush family there, in the Red Room of the White House, a beautiful meal together, they met the resident staff who they had grown to love over those eight years that they lived in the White House.

And Michelle Obama said, you know, we need to make this the most perfect moment for the Bush family. And here, we have a sitting president who will not invite the Obamas back to the White House.

And it shows this real break with protocol that I think Trump is very proud of, but I think it's really damaging to our country and our democracy, and we see it play out during this pandemic, it's like this tension has been boiling and simmering and it's coming -- it's coming to the surface now, and we're seeing Obama come out and criticize Trump.

KEILAR: Yes. And you talk about some of these themes in your book --

BORGER: Can I just add --

KEILAR: -- in your book, "Team of Five," Kate, so we'll certainly be looking forward to that.

Yes, Gloria?

BORGER: I was just going to say, you know, I just want to add on to what Kate's saying. Is that presidents are supposed to grow in office, they're supposed to get larger, not smaller and petty. And what we see here is very petty, small behavior. And we see a president who resents everybody who came before him, because he thinks none of them have suffered the way that he's suffered.

And former presidents are supposed to share the burden of office, because nobody else knows what it's like to sit in that Oval Office. And instead, this president, by blaming everyone else, has segregated himself and said, you guys didn't know what you were doing, I'm doing it much better, nobody's had a better economy and therefore you guys were all terrible at your jobs. [14:25:08]

KEILAR: That's a very interesting point you make, Gloria, they're supposed to -- they generally get larger, not smaller, in all of this. Gloria Borger, Elizabeth Cohen, Kate Andersen Brower, thank you so much.

Next, those tense moments on Capitol Hill as the Treasury secretary took some tough questions from lawmakers about loans to small businesses.

Plus, graduations, block parties, beaches: the risk that these events pose as we start to see more crowds.

And then later, the story behind the sudden firing of the woman who built Florida's hailed, esteemed COVID-19 website.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:30:03]

KEILAR: All 50 states are moving to reopen in some form or fashion by this weekend. I want to get back now to --