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Health Experts Looking at Brazil's Spike in Cases; Birx Reminds Public to Wear Face Masks; U.S. Deaths Approach 99K; Protests Erupt in Hong Kong amid Pandemic; Trump Mocks Democratic Rival For Wearing A Mask; Joe Biden Holds First Face-To-Face Interview Since Coronavirus Pandemic Upended Campaign; Floor Trading Resumes At New York Stock Exchange. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 27, 2020 - 02:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): At this hour, Brazil seems to be the new epicenter for the global epidemic.

Hello and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, I am Robyn Curnow.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: These are those who have died and have tested positive for coronavirus while these graves, staggeringly, well, they are the ones that they suspect may have died of the disease.

CURNOW (voice-over): The coronavirus is killing more people there than anywhere else in the world right now, even as Brazil's president dismisses the disease.


CURNOW (voice-over): Then here in the U.S.


TRUMP: I thought it was very unusual he had one on.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: On Twitter, he retweeted a photo of you wearing. He is trying to belittle you for wearing a mask.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is a fool, an absolute fool for talking that way.


CURNOW (voice-over): Donald Trump takes his war on masks to a new height. We hear from his Democratic rival in an exclusive CNN interview.

Then, out in force: police in Hong Kong braced for massive protests. People there tell Beijing to keep their hands out of the city.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: So the big, big focus right now, the world's 2 major COVID19 hotspots, Brazil and the United States. Brazil has now overtaken the U.S. on the number of daily coronavirus deaths. It has recorded more than 1,800 so far this week alone, compared to about 1,200 in the U.S. in that same stretch.

Brazil's true count is much likely higher, largely due to the shortage of testing. The surge of infections is only part of the reason Latin America appears to be the new epicenter of this pandemic.

Mexico just reported its biggest single day increase in cases and deaths. And we are also seeing spikes in Peru, as you can see from this heat map. The U.S., in the meantime, is moving closer and closer to that grim milestone of 100,000 deaths. It could get there in the coming day.

And we are hearing antibody tests may not be that accurate. They are used to determine if people have been infected with the virus in the past. The U.S. CDC says they could be wrong up to half of the time.

The worsening situation in Brazil leads our coverage tonight. As Nick Paton Walsh now reports, the official numbers do not tell the full story.


WALSH (voice-over): This is a landing of last resort, seeking salvation in a coronavirus hotbed. Tiny planes bring the sickest COVID patients from hundreds of miles away, deep in the Amazon to Manaus, Brazil's worst hit city and to a hospital bed, a journey most make alone, from which some won't go home.

This is what doing well looks like on these flights, moving. The woman on board, struggling, motionless. Once they had to intubate a patient in midair.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very hard. You carry a weight that you don't see. Every time I carry this weight, I feel like I carry this weight.


WALSH: They arrive in a city mired not only in death, but also fury. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made light of the virus and called the mayor here a piece of excrement for digging these mass graves. They had little choice here when the bodies started piling up.

This month, they buried 103 in one day, digging at night. Even in two hours, five come, one by one, laid in the trench. Many mourners say there's aren't coronavirus deaths, but it's hard to know here.

The official numbers in Brazil don't tell the whole picture, partly because there isn't enough testing. You can see that here. These are those who have died and have tested positive for coronavirus. But these graves, staggeringly, well, they are the ones that they suspect may have died of the disease. The mass burial itself distressing.


PEDRO CHAVES, MANAUS RESIDENT: I just want to put my mom there and finish this. We don't need this. My family doesn't need this.


WALSH: We asked the gravediggers who thinks fewer would have died here if the president had kept quiet.

"No one listens to Bolsonaro," one says. "He is not there for the people," said another. "He should have asked us what was going on."

But still, the hospitals here receive a daily stream of new patients, these from outlying villages where local tribes live, badly hit.


WALSH (voice-over): The ICU, which avoids ventilators where possible, using less invasive means, is frenetic. And even the patients have heard what the president said.

"The mayor is just trying to save lives," says Raimondo (Ph), "and the president is against that."

Inside, a local indigenous leader visits, newly adopting the role from his father killed by the virus two weeks ago.

"I took my father into hospital where he was intubated for five days," he says. "Now, we have 300 people with symptoms. Politically, the president forgot us and it's killing the indigenous people."

Bolsonaro insists he is for economic growth and safety, but the virus is still tearing through the poor here. Their remote way of life was no protection from this modern plague. It just put help further away -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Manaus, Brazil.


CURNOW: Thanks to Nick for that report.

Now the U.S. has recorded nearly 99,000 deaths from the virus and as more states reopen, that number is only increasing. So this new warning from the former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under President Trump.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: We now see a trend in an uptick in hospitalizations. It's a small uptick but it is an uptick and its unmistakable and it is probably a result of reopening.


CURNOW: CNN's Nick Watt now shows us what is happening across the country.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We're nearing 100,000 dead and we're reopening. While the rate of new cases still climbs in 17 states, including California.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We are walking into the unknown, the untested, literally and figuratively and we have to be guided by the data.

WATT: Among the 20 states seeing new case numbers fall, New York. Some traders today back on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It's been more than two months.

JONATHAN CORPINA, SENIOR MANAGING PARTNER, MERIDIAN EQUITY PARTNERS: It's a great sign. It's a great symbol of our economy getting back in motion.

WATT: Mandatory masks everyone must sign a waiver stating they know the risks.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): They wanted to get back to business, but they wanted to be smart and they're doing it in a way that keeps people safe.

WATT: Long island starts to reopen tomorrow. New Rochelle, that early New York hotspot, starts today.

MAYOR NOAM BRAMSON (D-NY), NEW ROCHELLE: I think the people of New Rochelle take special satisfaction in reaching this milestone and we are cautiously optimistic.

WATT: Will there be a fallout from that now infamous Memorial Day party in the Ozarks?

Well, we'll find out in a week or two.

DR. SAM PAGE, COUNTY EXECUTIVE, ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI: The responsible thing to do now is to self-quarantine, don't put others at risk, don't put your loved ones at risk and make better decisions moving forward.

WATT: Neighboring Arkansas, a month after reopening began, now suffering a sharp spike in cases.

KAREN LEE, VISITING HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS: I could get killed by COVID today or I could get hit by a bus or a car tomorrow.

WATT: The governor says some of us might need to learn a lesson the hard way. GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): It's disappointing when we have a lack of discipline by a few outliers. How do you remedy that? Part of it is re-education and part of it is experience.

WATT: Meanwhile, in Vernon, California, more than 150 workers at this meat processing plant have tested positive. Outbreaks reported at eight other facilities in the city. The union wants the plant closed for cleaning.

JOHN GRANT, PRESIDENT, UFCW LOCAL 770: The spikes keep coming and it's sort of like Amity Island. There's an invisible, insidious, deadly shark out there and it's time to get people out of the water to figure out what's going on.

WATT: CDC numbers show nearly 80 percent of COVID deaths are among the 65 and older, but interestingly, nearly 80 percent of cases are in the under-65s. A tenth potential vaccine is now moving into human trials and today, Merck announced it's also entering the race, but an effective vaccine is still far from guaranteed.


We're not driving this tiger, we're riding it. For all the suffering, pain, death and so forth, we've had so far, only about 5 percent of the U.S. citizens have been infected and this virus is not going to rest at all until it gets to 60 or 70 percent.

WATT (on camera): In most of California, you can now get a haircut again. I say most because the reopening here is regional. The governor says that we are walking into the unknown, using the data as our guide -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


CURNOW: So matter where you are in the, world the message cannot be repeated enough, wear a face mask in public. U.S. officials in the fight against the virus say the same thing on multiple times. Do it to protect others.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: As the country begins to reopen, don't forget to wear a cloth face covering when in public.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We have the scientific evidence of how important mask wearing is.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Go out, wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from anyone.

BIRX: A mask does prevent droplets from reaching others. FAUCI: As long as you are not in a crowd and you are not in a

situation where you can physically transmit the virus and that is what a mask is for.

ADAMS: Remember, I wear my face covering to protect you and you wear yours to protect me.

BIRX: And out of respect for each other, as Americans that care for each other, we need to be wearing masks in public when we cannot social distance.

ADAMS: We are all in this together.


CURNOW: Joining me now is Dr. Carlos Del Rio, a professor of medicine and global health in epidemiology at the world-renowned Emory University right here in Atlanta.

Doctor, great to see you. Thank you for being here. We have seen a lot of people recently in many parts of the country gathering together, no social distancing, no masks.

How are you, as a doctor, concerned about that?

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EMORY UNIVERSITY: I am concerned, because this virus is still here. It has not gone away. It is a silent killer and I think if people get infected and a lot of people get infected and don't have a major problem but some people will end up in the hospital.

Today, the CDC told us that 65 percent of people in the U.S. to get infected, 80 percent of people who get infected under the age of 65 but 80 percent of those that die are over the age of 65. You could, say I am young. I don't have a problem. Then you go home for the weekend to be with your grandmother and then your grandmother will be in the ICU. I worry that we will see an uptick in the number of cases in many states as a result.

CURNOW: The CDC is also saying that antibody tests are probably wrong. About 50 percent of the time they are wrong.

If we can't get that information accurate, how does this impact our ability to send people back to work and children back to school?

DEL RIO: Again, I think the antibody test, we, at most, in places like New York, 20 percent of the population are infected. In most of the country, it's about 25 percent. The test will be wrong not because it's wrong but because when you have a low prevalence of disease, the test is more likely to be a false positive.

The issue is which test you are using. There are many antibody tests. Some are better than others. I think there needs to be a better regulation and needs to be a better decision on which antibody test is used. Many of them are wrong, not because the test is, wrong but because they are not being used appropriately. CURNOW: You talk about the wild west, not a lot of regulations when

it comes to antibody tests. It has been a wild west in the way the U.S. has opened up each state, each region doing their own thing, going their own way.

How much of that behavior has been added to or at least led, by the president?

In particular, the last day or two, we have seen him mocking Joe Biden for the use of a mask.

How does that all play into the way that people behave?

DEL RIO: I think it's unfortunate, because I have always thought about the Republican Party as a party of individual responsibility. And wearing a mask is about individual responsibility. So if you want to be responsible, you ought to be wearing a mask.

This is not an issue of being liberal or being conservative. This is an issue of wanting to take care of others. And I think that all of us should be willing to do that. As Joe Biden said and I agree with him, wearing a mask, the president wearing a mask, is about leadership. It's not about being macho or being conservative or being liberal.

I would love to get away from these labels. We need to wear masks because it's the right thing to do from a public health standpoint. It's the right thing to do to take care of ourselves and our fellow citizens.

CURNOW: We are also hearing from the CDC and they have been pretty busy but they are giving practical advice on how to ride public transport or how to rideshare, how to share transportation. A lot of it is pretty practical, try not to touch as many things as you can, wash your hands.

What do you make of that?

Any advice you can give his people try to get back to life ordinary life?

DEL RIO: I think this is good. I think all of us, whether it's individuals, whether it's companies, whether it is schools, we all need recommendations about what to do. What I hear is I want to get back but I want to do it safely. And I need recommendations. We can get back to work.

We can get back to activating the economy. We won't get back to normal but we can get back to this new normal and get out of our shelter in place but we need to do it in a safe way.


DEL RIO: I think the issue is how do we activate the economy and minimize the number of infections and deaths. I think if we can do, I think we all can do it. I appreciate the CDC and many other organizations telling us how to do it. CURNOW: Thank you very, much doctor. I appreciate you joining us here

on CNN.

DEL RIO: My pleasure.

CURNOW: After a 2 month hiatus, traders returned to the floor of the New York stock exchange, with new measures to keep people safe.

Plus, protesters in Hong Kong threatened to disrupt a legislative council meeting. We are live in the city with the latest on that.




CURNOW: In Hong Kong, protests have erupted in the heart of the city's financial center. Police have reportedly fired pepper pellets,, dispersed the crowd. It comes as the legislative council is debating another controversial bill from Beijing.

This one seeks to criminalize insults against China's national anthem. I want to get you to events happening there on the ground. Anna Coren is there.

Anna, describe what is happening right now.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, we have moved to the CBD here in Central. This is the financial district of Hong Kong. There were scuffles earlier, 15 minutes ago. Police were moving protesters.

Really, the protesters are people who have come down from their lunch break and have taken to the streets. They were chanting slogans like, "Independence for Hong Kong, it's the only way out."

That, in itself, was angering police and they were trying to disperse the crowd. (INAUDIBLE) were fired, people ran. And now it is a lot of people standing around. You can see from the walkway up there, shoppers are looking on. No people are dressed in black. Any of the protesters planning to get going today, it just did not happen. There is such a heavy police presence here in Hong Kong, right across the city.

Protests are here in Central, as well as in Causeway Bay. We understand a bunch of young Hong Kongers have been detained.


COREN: We don't know if they have been arrested. Police said a couple hours ago they arrested up to 16 people. There is such a heavy police presence. Protesters are having a hard time today gathering any traction.

But the police basically wanting everybody to move on. They wanted people not to be standing by, watching these scenes unfold. It is one of those very fluid situations, Robyn. People here are obviously furious about not just the national anthem bill that is currently being debated but the national security law. That's the main concern.

They fear that this is now China's Hong Kong. "One Country, Two Systems" has just been completely demolished. People are very fearful about what lies ahead and the opportunity to protest is getting harder and harder.

CURNOW: It certainly is. That police presence very clearly is heavy on the streets. Keep us posted if anything else happens. Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Thanks, Anna.

We are sticking with this story. The last British governor of Hong Kong says the U.K. should stand up to China. He hopes the country will raise the question of Hong Kong at the G7 meeting next month. Have a listen to how he described this current situation.


CHRIS PATTEN, FORMER HONG KONG GOVERNOR: Well, there are a lot of things that trouble me. First of all, China, which has broken its word or rather the Communist Party of China which has broken its word about so many international agreements, is driving a coach and horse through the international agreement that it reached with Britain, a treaty lodged with the United Nations to safeguard Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, its rule of law and its freedom for 50 years after 1997. And it is simply tearing that agreement up.


CURNOW: Let's get straight to Professor Albert Chen. He's a constitutional law expert at the University of Hong Kong. He sits on Hong Kong basic law consultative committee. He joins me now from Hong Kong.

You heard Chris Patten and our reporter on the ground.

Has China now ripped up the basic law?

ALBERT CHEN, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: No. I don't think there is any act or behavior which can be regarded as in violation of either the basic law of Hong Kong or the (INAUDIBLE) declaration of (INAUDIBLE).

It is controversial to propose to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong. But I don't think it's a question of validating the basic law or the joint declaration. There are other issues which we can discuss.

Essentially what we are seeing here is China making a pretty aggressive move and as Anna Coren, said people are fearful that the one country, two systems is not going to play out. In many of the drafts of this national security law, we know there is a suggestion that the PLA and Chinese secret police will be arresting people who subvert this law.

Does that not concern you? CHEN: No, there is no provision in any part of the NPC decision which will be passed tomorrow.


CURNOW: It's in paragraph four, from what I understand.

CHEN: Yes, but there is nothing saying that the national security personnel can exercise any powers such as power of arrest. It's not saying that because this decision is only the first step of a legislative process which will take place in the next few months leading to the making of a national security law for Hong Kong.

The law has not been made, not even a draft of the law has been published. So we don't actually know what it is going to contain, except that we know it is going to deal with four subject matters, namely secession or Hong Kong independence.

And then subversion, that is overthrowing the Chinese regime. And then certainly terrorism and fourthly, so-called foreign interference with Hong Kong affairs.

So the NPC decision that will be passed tomorrow says that the NPC, which is also a part of Chinese legislature, should make a law to safeguard national security in Hong Kong. And that law should deal with the 4 measures I just mentioned.


CURNOW: That's what concerns people. If we pick them apart, the foreign entities. What is the impact for journalists?

For aid workers?

For business people?

They could potentially be targets under this.

CHEN: I can understand people's concerns but the point is, the law has not yet been drafted. So we don't actually know whether it will be --


CURNOW: One political commentator said it will be awful. We just don't know how awful.

Is that what you were saying?

CHEN: I am saying that we don't know. The law can be draconian but it can be relatively mild. At the, moment there is no sign, no evidence, no indication as to whether the law will indeed be draconian or moderate or mild, et cetera.

CURNOW: But people are raising concerns. We are seeing images now of heavy police presence on the streets of Hong Kong. Is there concern, constitutionally, for Hong Kong's rule of law?

CHEN: Yes, there are concerns, because, depending on what the law says, it may have a significant impact on Hong Kong's judicial and legal system and the protection of human rights and civil liberties and so on. It all depends on what the law is going to say.

CURNOW: I want to go back to the issue of the secret police. You are a constitutional lawyer. I understand you certainly have a lot of caveats here because this needs to be written down in front of you. Give me some sense of why there is this concern.

There is a worry that China's secret police will be able to work within Hong Kong under a lot of this information that we are getting. That essentially creates a parallel system within Hong Kong.

The other question is, what does that mean for people in Hong Kong?

Will they be taken back to the mainland, for example?

CHEN: There is no indication in this draft decision of the NPC that the police in Mainland China can exercise any powers in Hong Kong. But as I just said, it all depends on what the national security says when it is made.

At the moment, there are 3 organs from Beijing which have set up offices in Hong Kong. They are namely the foreign ministry. They have the office of the foreign ministry in Hong Kong. Then there is the troops in Hong Kong, the Chinese military in Hong Kong. third, there is the officers. There are these 3 organs. What the NPC decision is saying is that in the future, there will be a fourth one which is these people responsible for national security. They will also be able to set up an office in Hong Kong.

CURNOW: Either way, certainly changes, perhaps, coming from Hong Kong. Let's see what happens. CNN will continue to cover this.

We appreciate you joining us, Professor Albert Chen, constitutional law expert. Thank you for your time, sir.

CHEN: Thank you.

CURNOW: Time now for a short. Break when we come, back U.S. presidential hopeful Joe Biden has his first interview since the pandemic. Here what he had to say about President Trump's leadership policies and judgment.




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Biden can wear a mask but he was standing outside with his wife, perfect conditions perfect weather, then inside they don't wear masks, and so I thought it was very unusual that he had one on, but I thought that was fine. I wasn't criticizing him at all. Why would I ever do a thing like that? And your second question was? I couldn't hear you.


TRUMP: Can you take it off because I cannot hear you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll just speak louder, sir.

TRUMP: OK, because you want to be politically correct. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. I just want to wear the mask.

TRUMP: Go ahead. Go ahead.


CURNOW: Well, that was U.S. President Donald Trump mocking Democratic rival Joe Biden for wearing a face mask. The former vice president is now hitting back. In an interview with CNN, he insulted Mr. Trump's intelligence and accused him of promoting a culture that is certainly costing lives. Dana Bash began by asking if he plans to return to the campaign trails soon.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer is yes, but I think you got to -- the president is supposed to lead by example. And I watched -- I watched the President yesterday wear no mask, you know, and some making fun of the fact that I wore a mask. The truth of the matter is that I think he's supposed to lead by example.

And one of the things our governor has said, he wants to make -- keep social distancing. Stay at home has been the order until June one of this year. And so I think it's important that -- look 100,000 deaths, 100,000 deaths, and at least 35,000 to 50,000 were avoidable. But for lack of attention and ego, I think -- and just so -- you know me, I'm usually the last one to leave an event. I like interacting with people, but I hope to be able to do more. But we're going to do it by the numbers, because I think it's important because this is not over.

BASH: You mentioned the mask, that you wear a mask yesterday. President Trump went to a Memorial Day service, he did not wear a mask. In fact, there are some people making fun of you. He did. He did it on Twitter. He retweeted a photo of you wearing it. He's trying to belittle you for wearing a mask, making it seem like it's a sign of weakness. Is it?

BIDEN: He's a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way. I mean, every leading doc in the world is saying we should wear a mask when you're in a crowd. And especially when you know you're going to be in a position where you're going to inadvertently get closer than 12 feet to somebody. I know we're 12 feet apart, I get that.

But it's just absolutely this macho stuff for a guy -- I shouldn't get gone but it just -- it's cost people's lives. It's costing people's lives. And like I said, we're almost 100,000 dead today, 100,000 people. Columbia studies showing that we could have -- if you just started a week earlier, we're going to save thousands of lives. I mean, these are -- this is a tragedy.

BASH: But wearing a mask has become a cultural and political flashpoint. The President is involved in that, even stoking that.

BIDEN: Sure, he is. And look, he's stoking deaths. It's not going to increase the likelihood that people are going to be better off.

BASH: So do you think wearing a mask projects strength or weakness?

BIDEN: Leadership. It presents and projects his leadership. Presidents are supposed to lead, not engaged in folly and be falsely masculine. It reminds me of the guys that I grew up with playing ball. They walk around with a ball in their hand, but they didn't like to hit very much.

BASH: Let's talk about the fact that nearly 100,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus. If you were president right now, what would you do differently? How would you balance people's well-being medically and in terms of their health versus their economic well- being?

BIDEN: I don't know how you separate the two. I don't how you separate it. If you're dead, you have no economic well-being, your family has no economic well-being. So first of all, I'd listened to the scientist. I tell that truth -- tell the truth.

There are ways to reopen certain areas and rationally with distancing, wearing masks, making sure that you don't congregate with too many people in one spot, making sure you're in a situation where you don't spread. You, in fact, inhibit the prospect of a spreading of this disease. This is a ubiquitous disease.


And the President doesn't seem to me to be prepared. We should be testing and tracing before we can fully open. We should be in a position where we're able to make sure that people have all the protective gear that are needed to first responders and the like. They still don't have all that.

We should be in a position where we're able to make sure that people are -- if he cares about people reopening, start lending the money to small businesses, not one more penny to a major corporation. Put people in a position where they don't have to risk their lives, to be able to make a living.

BASH: Speaking of making a living, if you win, you could be in some really severe economic challenges. President Trump's senior economic adviser told me on Sunday that the unemployment rate could be in double digits in November. And I realized that when your vice president, you had to deal with the financial collapse. This is different, though. How would -- how would you address that? BIDEN: Well, two ways. It depends on how irresponsible he remains between now and November if and when we went, because things could get worse, or they could get marginally better, number one. Number two, if he in fact is prepared the nation for a rebound of this disease, this COVID-19, then, in fact, we may be in a position where we're able to handle what happens.

BASH: One more question on the economy. The flip side of the first question I asked about the very poor economy, some prominent Democratic economists, I'm sure you've heard about this, they're saying that there's a real possibility that the economy could surge right before the election, and the President could use that as a talking point for his re-election. How do you deal with that?

BIDEN: Well, surge is relative. So if you're losing tens of millions of jobs, and we're well over 30 -- millions and millions of jobs. And you gain back, a quarter of that or half of that, it's going to look like there's real growth. But you're still going to end up as all the economists say, with an incredibly high unemployment rate, and a lot of people in real trouble.

BASH: I want to ask you about the remark you made last week on The Breakfast Club. You said, if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or for Trump, you not black.

BIDEN: Well --

BASH: Now, you've since said that you shouldn't have been so cavalier. But during the same interview, you said the NAACP has endorsed me every time I've run, which isn't true. So my question for you is about what some supporters say they're worried about, which is that all of this could end up hurting the enthusiasm that you really need to win among black voters.

BIDEN: Well, first of all, you know, it was a mistake, number one. And I was smiling when he asked me the question. I was -- you know, I shouldn't have been such a wise guy. He was being a wise guy and I responded in kind. I shouldn't have done that. It was a mistake. I have never taken the African American community for granted. Never, never, never once.

And I've had overwhelming support in my state and have overwhelming support from the African American community my whole career, but I have never taken them for granted. I work like the devil for it and I have to earn it every single time. Nobody's vote should be taken for granted. That's what it conveyed my response and I've never done that.

And if you notice, you know, this -- all the time we're talking about in the primary, well, Biden can't win because look what he did, he didn't -- he didn't -- he came in 99th or something in Iowa and you know, and New Hampshire. And I said, wait till we get to a representative state. I've had overwhelming support from the African American community my whole career. O

BASH: And they're going to be out there for you in the same number -- BIDEN: Well, no. Only if I earn it. I've got -- I've got to make it

clear why I think I deserve their look, why I deserve a look. And not just in comparison to him, but in comparison to anybody else -- anybody else running, anybody would be running.

And I've had -- I've had -- look, the state you're sitting in here is over, you know, it's the eighth largest black population in America, so a percent of vote of population, and I've got overwhelming support every time I run.

But I've worked like hell because I work in East Side, I work and all the things I care about. I work about the African American agenda, dealing with everything from making sure their houses are as valuable as the same white person's house in a white neighborhood. I'm making sure that they -- we're working on education. I've been arguing it for years that it's not fair. So I, you know, have to earn it.

BASH: You did make an effort to clean up that comment pretty quickly. It still got a lot of attention. President Trump says offensive things. He never apologizes for it. Is there a double standard here and if so, is there a lesson for you and how to compete with him?


BIDEN: No, I'm never going to stoop to where he is. I'm not going to do it. He does. He says so many outrageous things. And to usually divide, separate the things he said about African Americans and women across the board, Asians across the board, you know, and he says so many of them -- that I was talking to a friend of mine today, a leader in the African American community, and I said, why is he going after Barack? He said, because it stirs up his base. Barack is a black man.

I don't know why that's a read, but all of a sudden, Barack, the most popular guy out there and he's attacking Barack? What's that all about?

BASH: Well, you know, I'm sure you've seen, some Democrats have said, Mr. Vice President, stop apologizing. You're going to say dumb things. Don't apologize because that's not the world we're living in.

BIDEN: Well, no. When I say something that is understandable in retrospect, offensive to someone, and legitimately offensive, making it look like they're taken for granted, I should apologize. I don't apologize for every mistake I make, because a lot of them don't have any consequences. It's just to, you know, beat up. Well, Joe said there were three rungs on that fence. Well, no, there are two rungs on that fence. I will not apologize for that.

But my generic point is, you know, look, the good news and the bad news, the vast majority of people on all the data in my experience and polling data, they think they know me. That's the good news. The bad news is they know me. So the hard part is I have real faults, everybody does. They know my faults. It's going to be hard, though, I think, as the data is showing now, to try to turn something they know to be my strength and my honor, into a liability. BASH: So I want to move on to another topic, but real quick, the

president spends a lot of time especially this past week weekend tweeting some pretty outlandish comments, retweeting others, things like conspiracy theories, suggesting his critics committed murder. Do you think social media companies like Twitter should take action against the president?

BIDEN: I'm of the view that social media companies have to re-examine whether or not -- for example, if you put something out saying that same outlandish thing that the President thinks a talk show host on a cable committed murder. I mean, you'd say there's no evidence for that at all, zero.

BASH: So should Twitter do something? Should they take action?

BIDEN: Yes. I think they should. I think they should say when things are patently not true, they should say so.

BASH: You told me in the last debate that you would pick a woman as a running mate.


BASH: Will that woman be a woman of color?

BIDEN: Look, I'm not going to go get into that now because we haven't gotten there yet. There are women of color under consideration, and there are women from every part of the country under consideration because a lot of really qualified women that are ready to be president.

But I'm not making that commitment. I'm going to make that judgment after, in fact, this group goes through interviewing all these people, then they do the background checks, which you know, take six weeks or so to be done, and then for me to narrow down and --

BASH: Are background checks happening already?

BIDEN: Not yet.

BASH: Has the vetting started formally?

BIDEN: Well, I'm not going to get into the detail but let me put it this way. The four-person commission that I put in charge, they have interviewed a lot of these people already.

BASH: After your interview with The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne told CNN that he thinks a black woman as a running mate is necessary.

BIDEN: Charlamagne is really entitled his own opinion.


BIDEN: There's others -- for example, I just was -- Jim Clyburn was just in The View. He said is not necessary. So, you know, it's -- I'm going to pick the best person that I -- look, you've watched me and you've covered me as vice president.

I think the two most important things are you got to pick someone who's compatible with you both in terms of your style and my style. And Barack's is very different, but they're compatible. They work with one another. And someone who, in fact, you would want to be the last person in the room when you're making a tough decision and who will be loyal in the sense that whatever disagreements you have are between you and the president at that moment. And so that's the process is underway.

BASH: The President is stepping up his attacks on mail-in voting. How confident are you that the election in November is going to be safe, secure, and fair?

BIDEN: It depends a lot on whether or not the president follows through with his threats, President Trump. For example, cutting off money for the Post Office and for mail-in ballots. This is the guy who sits in the Oval Office fills out his absentee mail-in ballot and sends it to Florida to vote in a primary.

Now, why is that not something that is susceptible to fraud or he thought -- there's no evidence at all. There's no reason why we can't have an honest decent vote. And the President is always lying about voting. I heard him again. He's talking about how all those thousands of people in California went and vote two and three and four times. I mean, it's just bizarre.


BASH: Your political opponents are trying -- the president is trying to paint a picture of you as somebody who's too old to be president and that you're missing a step. How are you going to combat that?

BIDEN: Watch me. Look, I mean, talk about a guy who's missing a step is missing something. I don't want to get down into giving him nicknames and -- but this is a fellow who looks like he's having trouble controlling his own emotions. What worries me is you know, all this stuff about Biden is hiding. You know, the fact of the matter is it's working pretty well so far doing the rules. He's behind in almost every state.

It doesn't mean it's going to be that way come November, but the idea that he seems to get more erratic, the more he feels like he's behind the curve.

BASH: Last thing. We are coming up on five years since your son Bo passed away. And we're in a moment in this country where families across the country are grieving their loved ones. What's your message to them?

BIDEN: My message is son, daughter, husband, wife, mom, dad you lost, they're still part of your soul. And focus on -- focus on how the wonderful parts of the relationship and try to find a purpose. For example, if you're left behind children, you can find purpose in helping the children or a brother or a sister or a mom or a dad or a husband or wife. And I found for me, it never -- it never totally goes and goes away, you know.


CURNOW: Emotional ending there, too, quite a powerful interview. Thanks to Danna Bash there speaking to former Vice President Joe Biden. And he kind of touched -- Dana asked him, but it's now actually getting easier to tell if U.S. President Donald Trump is actually making false claims. For the first time, his favorite platform Twitter is highlighting some of the President's tweets as potentially misleading.

Two of them which falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would result in widespread voter fraud were flagged on Tuesday. Below the tweets link to get the facts about mail-in ballots as you can see here on the screen. While President Trump is clearly unhappy about the additional context, tweeting, Twitter is completely stifling free speech and I as president will not allow that to happen.

So next on CNN, a return to the trading floor and the new normal at the New York Stock Exchange.



CURNOW: That's something you haven't heard in a while is it? New York Governor Andrew Cuomo there rang in the opening bell Tuesday as floor trading resumed at the New York Stock Exchange after a two-month break. Stocks rallied with all three indices up. That rally has carried over to U.S. Futures as well as you can see from the screen here, arrows across the board, green narrows.

Well john Defterios joins me now from Abu Dhabi with more on all of this. Hi, John. Good to see you. American markets are -- how is -- how is that playing across the world, those images that we've seen and those green arrows?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, the images are pretty powerful because although there's social distancing on the floor for the traders, they are back on the job here in limited numbers, I should add. But these U.S. markets almost have a life of their own, Robyn, because of the rally here. And most taking the view that the U.S. recovery will be a strong one.

So as you suggested, we see the S&P 500 knocking on the door of 3,000. If you look at the futures numbers, it should break that today if this rally holds. The Dow Industrials were just shy of 25,000, again, going through a benchmark if the if the rally continues here.

And the idea is with consumer confidence higher, home sales are improving. And even the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon suggested that the recovery in the second half should be strong if the vaccines hit the market in a timely fashion, and this is the major unknown.

And that's why we saw a more subdued reaction in Asia with the exception of the Nikkei index rallying on a $300 billion-plus stimulus package. The other markets are very concerned about what is perceived as an overreach by Beijing going into Hong Kong, the influence it will have on that city state as a financial center, and the ongoing concerns between the U.S. and China.

The President is working on perhaps dressed up sanctions against China because of what it did in Hong Kong. Some would suggest that's a distraction because of the elections coming forward. And he needs an enemy. And the second-largest economy China and the debate about the coronavirus is a good target for him.

CURNOW: OK. And on another note as well, I know we spoke about it before, but -- and you reported from the airport there in Abu Dhabi, but I mean, we're hearing about these tremendous debts that airlines are taking on. I mean, is that survivable for the industry here?

DEFTERIOS: Well, you know, what I find fascinating about this, Robyn, is that I was at the, you know, Dubai Airport and looking at Emirates trying to open up here. And then we have a case where the totality of the debt is extraordinary. The real numbers are on the table. The IATA trade body for the airline industry is saying it'll be over a half a trillion dollars, $550 billion, with a debt rising 28 percent in this year alone.

And we saw that the cause of it all now, we see bankruptcies coming into place because it could take two and the Emirates' position down the road in Dubai is it could take three years to get back to where we were prior to COVID-19. So this is a struggle. We saw LATAM of Chile go bankrupt joining the other carrier Avianca of Colombia in the last month alone.

CURNOW: Yes. And certainly valid fears, I mean, unless you have to nominate people are going to want to be traveling in the foreseeable future. That's for sure. John Defterios, good to see you. Thank you.

So British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to face senior MPs over his handling over the pandemic. This amid growing calls for his key advisor to resign. We report live from London just ahead.



CURNOW: The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be grilled by lawmakers in the coming hours after refusing to sack his top adviser Dominic Cummings. Now, Cummings' decision to travel outside of London during the Coronavirus lockdown has kicked off a political firestorm as you can see from these front pages of the newspapers. He says, he isn't stepping down despite calls, growing calls for his resignation.

Well, Nic Robertson joins me now from London. So we've -- so far, the damage control has not worked. There's going to be some pretty tough questions for Boris Johnson hours ahead.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Sure. It's a 90- minute questioning. The liaison committee saw the heads of all the committees that normally function will be doing this virtual questioning of the Prime Minister. Only 20 minutes of it set aside for questioning about the Dominic Cummings issue.

You know, the government -- if the government's looking at the same figures as everyone else, which presumably they are, they'll have their own polling, of course, but they're looking at, you know, one in seven people in the U.K. saying that Dominic Cummings did break the lock down regulations. And they'll be looking at their own MPs and seeing one in 10 of their own MPs has criticized the Prime Minister's handling of it and majority of those thinking that Cummings should step down or offer to step down.

So there's a real deficit, you know, of support for the Prime Minister here. You also have seen the poll numbers across the country dropped, a very significant drop over the last few days of support for the government, nine percentage points on how the government is doing. But will the prime minister in his assessment think that today is enough? Maybe so.

CURNOW: OK, Nic Robertson, thanks so much. I appreciate you joining us. So, you've been watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Robyn Curnow. The news continues with my colleague Rosemary Church after the break. See you same time, same place tomorrow.