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Long Island Reopens Today After Two-Month Shutdown; Trump Wages War on Masks Despite Evidence It Saves Lives; Police, Protestors Clash Over Death of George Floyd; Former Vice President Joe Biden is Interviewed about COVID-19, Presidential Race. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired May 27, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trajectory of what's going to happen with the pandemic in each state, is really very much in the hands of the people in those states.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please wear the masks. The masks are absolutely critical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The CDC is saying that those antibody tests are wrong maybe half of the time.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: We still have a long way of going to get to where we need to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man in the video pleading for his life.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): This was not a sudden mistake or a procedure gone bad. This was over a period of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can no longer just stand idly by and think it's going to go away because it's not.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, May 27, 6 a.m. here in New York. I'm told it's a very foggy sunrise and that the skyline is shrouded in fog. Look at that, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Wow. Wow. I think there's something mystical that's about to happen today, as I gaze into your eyes and at the fog -- look at that. The fog over New York City.

CAMEROTA: OK. But our message is crystal-clear this morning on NEW DAY. We won't let the fog impact our show. Because we start with our lead story. And that is that President Trump

continues to wage war on face masks, turning them into a political statement. The president continues to mock Joe Biden for wearing one in public.

The former vice president now responding in an exclusive interview with CNN.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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.


CAMEROTA: We'll bring you the full interview with the presumptive Democratic nominee in just a few moments.

BERMAN: Also breaking overnight, calls for justice in Minneapolis. Hundreds of protesters clashing with police -- police over the death of George Floyd.

Video shows Floyd pleading over and over again that he couldn't breathe as a police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to his neck for several minutes. Floyd died.

The four officers involved have now been fired. This morning, we do have new video of the interaction between Floyd and police that began this deadly encounter. We'll get to that in a moment.

First, though, continued steps towards reopening in the hardest-hit parts of the country from coronavirus. CNN's Brynn Gingras in Long Island here in New York, where the reopening process begins this morning -- Brynn.


Yes, next to New York City, these two counties -- Nassau and Suffolk counties -- were the hardest hit areas in the entire state. There have been nearly 80,000 cases on Long Island alone.

So this is a pretty significant step to be moving forward into this phase one. But local officials here on Long Island are saying move forward with caution. Take precautions so as not to see the spikes that we are seeing in other parts of the country.


GINGRAS (voice-over): In New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo helped ring in the stock exchange for the first time in two months. It's the only part of the state he says is not yet ready to be open this morning.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): So it had the worst problem in the nation. One of the worst problems on the globe. And we're now going to focus on reopening New York City.

And, again, we do it smartly. We have data. We have tests. We can focus on the new cases in New York City. Where are those infections still coming from?

GINGRAS: That message echoed in some of the hardest-hit states, like Michigan, where new coronavirus cases are decreasing as the state begins to reopen businesses like retail stores.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Let's not, us here in Michigan, have made this sacrifice in vein and see our numbers start to rise again.

We have to learn to live with this virus for the time being. That means masks and distancing and hand washing.

GINGRAS: This as the CDC warns antibody tests should not be a deciding factor on whether employees return to work, saying they could be inaccurate as much as half the time.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There was this rush to get tests out there. Now they're dialing that back and trying to go back and validate some of these tests. You don't want to tell people they have the antibodies and they don't, because they'll have this false sense of security.

GINGRAS: The number of new coronavirus cases is rising in at least 14 states. But in Georgia, one of the first states to roll back restrictions, it appears that new cases are mostly holding steady. Atlanta's mayor says it's too early to be content.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA: We're not quite out of the woods. But it does concern me that we are seeing people disregard social distancing guidelines.

GINGRAS: As President Trump continues to make wearing face coverings a political issue from the White House, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine sending this message instead.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): You're supposed to love your fellow man and woman. And that's what we're really doing. I think that's the message. That you're not wearing it so much for yourself as you are wearing it for that person that you're going to come in contact with.

GINGRAS: Meanwhile, in most of California, hair salons and barber shops can now open, using new safety guidelines, including face coverings for staff and clients. But residents of Los Angeles and San Francisco will have to wait to use these services again.

MAYOR LONDON BREED (D), SAN FRANCISCO: We know that people are getting anxious. They want services, and also people are anxious about getting back to work. But we want to make sure we do so responsibly.


GINGRAS: Now, this is an area where one in 20 people filed for unemployment last month. So getting into this phase one is welcome news, starting up that curbside retail, construction, manufacturing. Now, New York City, John, is the only area in the state that hasn't yet entered a phase, and the mayor says we're likely a couple of weeks away from that -- John.

BERMAN: Brynn, I have to say, it is amazing seeing you stand there. Long Island has come so far from the depth of this pandemic a month or so ago. It is great news to see you there and to see that part of the state begin to reopen.


Joining me now is Dr. Howard Koh. He's the former assistant secretary of health and human services under President Obama. Also with us, CNN senior national security analyst, Lisa Monaco. She was a homeland security advisor to President Obama. And we should note that Lisa does serve on Joe Biden's vice-presidential vetting committee and his pandemic advisory group.

I want to put up on the screen so people can see it. And I don't think either of you can see it, so I'm going to describe it in detail. The map of trends in the United States of where cases are.

The red and orange parts are where the number of new cases is still increasing, in some cases, increasing by a lot in Arkansas and Alabama.

The beige is where the number of new cases holding steady. And the green you can see where the cases are dropping.

It is interesting that the cases are dropping in the areas that were hardest hit, namely New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut. But also in Texas.

And where the cases are rising, it seems to be largely in the south, also California.

So Dr. Koh, when we let this map sink in, what does that tell you about where the country is going, or what does it mean that certain parts are going up and certain parts are down?

DR. HOWARD KOH, FORMER HHS ASSISTANT SECRETARY: Well, as we move into the next critical phase of this pandemic, we cannot take our good health for granted.

We are very pleased that we're seeing cases and deaths decline in key parts of the country like New York. But we're very careful and cautious about potential hotspots in the south like Alabama and parts of Florida and Texas. And central states like Wisconsin. We're very concerned about the rural areas, because that's where hospital capacity and ICU capacity is not where we see what we see in the rest of the country.

So we need to continue to be careful and cautious, practice good hand hygiene, social distancing, mask wearing. That should be the standard preventative measures until a vaccine and therapeutics are available. BERMAN: So Doctor, I think I have model fatigue, along with a lot of

Americans, in terms of what the models project will happen. I'm much more interested in what actually is happening.

But that said, the model that's received the most attention out of the University of Washington. Professor Ali Mokdad last night explained why it has been revised downward in terms of the projected deaths by August, 8 percent downward.

What he told us is, "Thus far, rising mobility" -- in other words, people moving around, the relaxation of stay-at-home orders -- "rising mobility is not generating the expected increase in cases, though IHME is examining this factor closely, as well as surveys on people wearing masks."

Why do you think that increased mobility as people start to move about, that it has an increased number of new cases?

KOH: We have to track these trends carefully over time. We're still very early in the reopening.

As people move around, they may be practicing social distancing wearing the masks -- masks as recommended. And so we also respect how businesses and schools are looking at reopening decisions very, very carefully and following CDC guidelines.

So we appreciate the caution of the American people, and we have to practice prevention in public health the best we can over the long- term. We do have a fall now where a second wave may come on top of seasonal flu, so we have to continue to be very cautious.

BERMAN: So Lisa, as we watch different parts of the country reopen at different paces, admittedly, like Long Island this morning opening up. What is the safest way to transition to being more open safely?

LISA MONACO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, look, John, I think what we're seeing really is a patchwork approach here. And I think the first thing to say is that we shouldn't think about reopening. That that's kind of a misnomer. Reopening connotes a binary position. You were closed; now you're open.

And that's really not what we're experiencing. What we're experiencing and should be seeing is kind of a gradual widening of the aperture of the risk that we take as we go about our daily lives.

And that's got to be informed by data, by science, by the public health expertise. So those, I think, ought to be the principles we're applying.

And then what we really need is three things: clarity, transparency and, frankly, leadership. We need clarity in the guidelines and the targets from the government that -- that localities and states and cities should be shooting for. Right? What are the -- what are the targets they should be trying to hit? We haven't seen a lot of clarity and specific guidance from the federal government on that score. On transparency, we really need to see -- and New York, frankly, has

been doing a good job about this, being very transparent about how various counties are doing in terms of hitting very clear metrics that the governor has laid out, based on public health expertise and based on science. So we need that transparency.


So people and families and leaders of organizations can know what is the right risk to adopt. What are the right behaviors to adopt as you try and go about your daily life.

And then finally, we need leadership, John. It is leadership 101 that you should model the behavior that you want to see in the people that you're working with or that you're leading.

So that means wearing masks. That means being very clear about what the public health guidance is and being kind of unrelenting and consistent in that messaging.

So we hear the surgeon general say we should be wearing a mask as we go about our Memorial Day activities just a few days ago. But unfortunately, we've had some very mixed messaging, to say the least, on that.

BERMAN: And we should note, as we did note, that you are working for the Biden campaign on this.

But mask wearing, it shouldn't be a political activity. I'm not quite sure how it became political now when the CDC and doctors are saying we should wear masks. Not when, frankly, the vast majority of Americans say they would like masks to be required.

So Lisa, why is it even a debate?

MONACO: It shouldn't be, John. And look, you noted, it's right, I am -- I'm working on the vice president's public health advisory committee. It's a group of five physicians and myself. As a former homeland security adviser, I had experience managing a public health epidemic with regard to Ebola and other crises.

And the lesson I learned when I served as homeland security adviser during public health crises is that you need to be guided by science and by public health expertise. And very importantly, it should be the doctors and the public health experts giving that guidance, and they should be the ones speaking to it.

And look, wearing a mask, although it's become a kind of social and political flash point, at the end of the day, it's really public health advice. It's medical advice. It's what public health experts have told us is going to keep those around you more safe, and it's what you can do to help those around you, particularly vulnerable populations.

So at the end of the day, this is medical advice. This is public health guidance, and it shouldn't be political. And it shouldn't be partisan in any way.

BERMAN: Lisa Monaco, Dr. Koh, thank you both for being with us this morning. Stay safe.

KOH: Thank you.

BERMAN: And you can all join Sanjay and Anderson Cooper for a new coronavirus town hall tomorrow night at 8 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

Overnight, we were watching huge protests in Minneapolis. This after the deadly police encounter that killed George Floyd. He was pleading for his life with an officer's knee on his chest, saying, "I can't breathe." We have new video of the moment that preceded that, next.



CAMEROTA: Breaking overnight, protesters clashing with police in Minneapolis, demanding justice after the death of George Floyd. Video shows a police officer pinning Floyd to the ground with a knee to Floyd's neck for several minutes. Floyd repeatedly says he cannot breathe.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in Minneapolis with all of the breaking details. What's happening, Omar?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, the four police officers involved were fired within 24 hours of this happening. But even still, our crews at this very location last night as Minnesotans took to the street, demanding more answers and accountability and as the family now says it's going to take more than just these officers being fired.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): Protests intensifying overnight in Minneapolis. Four police officers were fired after their involvement in the death of George Floyd.

Police lined the streets, throwing tear gas and nonlethal projectiles to disperse crowds after thousands flooded the streets Tuesday. Anger boiling over in the community when a cell phone video was shot Monday night, showing a police officer with his knee to Floyd's neck while he's on the ground, handcuffed.

For several long minutes, George Floyd told the officer he couldn't breathe as bystanders pleaded with officers that Floyd was struggling.


JIMENEZ: And protesters echoed Floyd's words in the pouring rain last night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't breathe! I can't breathe! UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't breathe! I can't breathe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't breathe! I can't breathe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody in the world needs to be watching this. The world, please watch this.

JIMENEZ: The officers say they were responding to an alleged forgery in progress and were initially told the suspect was sitting on a car, seemingly under the influence. Police said Floyd physically resisted, and they placed him under arrest.

FLOYD: My stomach hurts. My leg hurts, Everything hurts.

JIMENEZ: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey supporting the decision to fire the officers.

MAYOR JACOB FREY (D), MINNEAPOLIS: For five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic human sense.


JIMENEZ: CNN has obtained new surveillance video from a nearby restaurant that shows two police officers crossing the street and approaching the car at 8:33 p.m. Monday night.

The officers are talking to the passengers in the car for a few minutes before two passengers emerge from the car. George is then taken from the car by one of the officers and is handcuffed.

Floyd is sitting against the exterior of the building on the sidewalk while another police car arrives. Eventually, two cops pull George up from the ground and walk back across the street. Floyd's family saying they want the officers charged with murder.

PHILONESE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: He screamed, "Mama, mama, I can't breathe, I can't breathe." And they -- they treated him worse than they treat animals. And I (AUDIO GAP) an animal like that. They took a life. Now they deserve life. I don't feel sorry for them. They hurt me, and they hurt my family.

JIMENEZ: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar calling on an outside investigation to be conducted to explore possible criminal charges against the officers.

KLOBUCHAR: This was not a sudden mistake or a procedure gone bad. This was over a period of time. You've got to look at all the evidence. But to me, this evidence is just crying out for some kind of a charge.


JIMENEZ: Now, on the investigative side, we've seen the cell phone video. We've seen some surveillance video. But we also know that these officers' body cameras were rolling throughout this. While we haven't seen that footage, it is footage that is likely going to inform the investigations currently going on at the FBI, state and local levels, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Omar, thank you very much for that report.

Now to this. Joe Biden responding to President Trump's refusal to wear a face mask and for mocking Biden for wearing one.


BIDEN: He's a fool. An absolute fool to talk that way.


CAMEROTA: What does Joe Biden have to say about a potential running mate? CNN's exclusive interview with Joe Biden, next.



BERMAN: So this morning, as you can see on your screen, the United States is about to reach a horrific milestone: 100,000 confirmed American deaths from coronavirus. This as President Trump has openly mocked journalists, political leaders who wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is responding in an exclusive interview with CNN.


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 the 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 going. But it just is -- it's cost people's lives. It's costing people's lives.


BERMAN: This interview was chockfull of news. The former vice president also weighed in on his search for a running mate. Dana Bash, who did the interview, the exclusive interview, joins us now with much more.

Good morning, Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. And there was a lot to talk about, considering the fact that this was the first in-person interview that the former vice president has done in more than two months.

One of the big things that he is dealing with now in a very, very odd world is trying to figure out who his running mate will be. We talked about that. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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


BASH: Will that woman be a woman of color?

BIDEN: Look, I'm not going to 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 there's 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 takes six weeks or so to be done. And then for me to narrow down and --

BASH: But the background checks happening already?

BIDEN: Not yet.

BASH: Has the vetting started formally?

BIDEN: Well, I'm not going to get into detail. But let me put it this way. The -- the four-person commission that I've 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: Well, Charlamagne is really entitled to his own opinion.


BIDEN: There's others, for example, I just was -- Jim Clyburn was just on "The View," and he said it's 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've got to pick someone who's compatible with you, both in terms of your style -- and my style and Barack's are very different, but they were compatible. They worked 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 a process that's 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 for mail-in ballots. T

his is a 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 as he talked? 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 going to 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.