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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Twitter Dispute Escalates; CDC Predicts 23,000 Additional COVID-19 Deaths in Next Three Weeks; Interview with Minnesota Star Tribune Video Journalist. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 29, 2020 - 10:30   ET

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


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[10:32:37]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: The president, defiant this morning, threatening violence against protestors. Twitter, slapping his first tweet with a warning label, saying it glorified violence. So what happened next? The White House put out the same language on their official Twitter handle. Twitter issues (ph) another warning -- Jim.

TEXT: This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.

The White House: "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yes, two official statements from the president and the White House. The president's tweet called protestors in Minneapolis "thugs," and used what -- historically, and there's a lot of history behind this -- is an infamous quote. "When the looting starts, the shooting stars." This goes back to the protest era in the '60s, Civil Rights protest era. It has meaning, folks.

CNN's Joe Johns joins us now from the White House. Joe, explain to us, if you can, what the president's goal is here with this.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Clearly, the president is upset with social media, Twitter in particular. He wanted to go after them, but he also wanted to send a message to the people who were burning things down in Minnesota.

And early this morning, he tweeted out those infamous words that we've heard from the 1960s: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." That comes from the police chief down there during days of unrest.

Now, that's disturbing on at least a couple levels. Probably the most important thing is in the United States, we simply do not use deadly force to protect property, but it's also important to point out that that assertion came from the president of the United States, not the kind of language you normally hear from the occupant of the White House.

So then we see a chess game between the president, the White House and Twitter. Twitter decides to flag the tweet because they say it violates their policies on glorifying violence. And then the White House official account puts it back up to try to get rid of the flag. And just a little while ago, we're told, Twitter has now attached their flag to that. So some back and forth.

And as you know, Jim, the president signed, just yesterday, an executive order to try to exert more control over social media, not clear at all that that's going to work -- back to you.

HARLOW: And, Joe, we're just seeing that the White House, subsequent to what you've just reported on, has now put this out on their official White House Twitter channel:

[10:35:05]

"The president did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it. @Jack" -- he's talking to the founder of Twitter -- "and Twitter's biased, bad-faith 'fact-checkers'" -- parenthetically, "fact- checkers," right? There he has it in quotes actually -- have made it clear: Twitter is a publisher, not a platform."

So the fight escalates. We will keep you posted. Joe, thanks very much.

Obviously, this is all happening, Jim, in the middle of --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: -- a national crisis that continues also, which is this coronavirus pandemic. And we're learning from the CDC, there could be another 20,000 coronavirus deaths in the next three weeks. We'll talk about that latest forecast, ahead.

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[10:40:23]

SCIUTTO: The CDC is now predicting that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus will pass 123,000 Americans by June 20th, that is another 20,000 deaths in just the next three weeks. That forecast comes from combining models averaging them out from 15 different experts and models.

HARLOW: Wow. I mean, not just one source. This is significant, and quite an uptick expected. Let's bring in our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Good morning, Sanjay. Help us understand why this is happening. Because an additional 20,000 deaths in three weeks projected, is shocking in all of this, to me at least.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: And no question. I mean, all of this is shocking, and I hope people sort of just let this settle in a little bit, in terms of these numbers. Because you do see a lot of numbers on-screen. But so many stories, so many people.

I think, you know, there's a couple of things that are happening. And this is not, I think, entirely surprising. If you look at states -- and we have this map now, showing where the numbers of people who are becoming infected are growing the most -- the states that have had 50 percent growth, really, in the numbers of cases over this past couple of weeks, are states that typically -- that have reopened early. Four out of the five states that are showing the most growth reopened early.

So I think you have to put that, you know, high on the list as to what's driving that. And that was to be expected. As you start to reopen, people are coming in greater contact with each other. And as a result, you're going to see more infections.

I think there's two questions, now, at this point. Is it going to go up to a higher level of infections and just sort of stay at a higher baseline? Or is it potentially going to go into exponential growth and, you know --

HARLOW: Yes.

GUPTA: -- creating these outbreaks around the country, that's the concern.

And I think the second question is, if that happens, what are you going to do about it? Are we going to have this sort of stutter-start where, you know, states may have to go back into stay-at-home sort of mode for a while? We don't know. I mean, this is playing out real- time.

SCIUTTO: Sanjay, looking at New York for a moment, which of course has been the epicenter, the worst-hit in the country here, the numbers, well down from those just horrific peaks we saw just a few weeks ago --

GUPTA: Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- dozens of cases as opposed to thousands per day. Is there evidence in the good news category, that New York -- city in particular, because it was most defined there -- has gotten this under control?

GUPTA: It seems that they've certainly -- looks that way, Jim. I'm always a little hesitant because, you know, the virus is still out there, and the virus is still very contagious, so I want to be careful. But you know, you do have evidence in New York, and you do have evidence in other countries around the world. So I think as gloomy as the picture is at times, people should remember there is evidence of success in the United States, evidence of success around the world.

I also think that, you know, we're sort of really getting this idea that open and closed is not too distinct things. I mean, it's not truly bifurcated like that. You can be open, but if people as opposed to the policies are wearing their masks, if they're keeping physical distance, it goes a long way.

I mean, you look at these other countries that have had hundreds of deaths, not thousands, certainly not hundreds of thousands, what did they have that we didn't have? They tested early, they isolated early and they practiced these same measures, they didn't have a medicine or a vaccine. So it can work, as long as people are actually adopting these policies.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: It absolutely can.

If we could just speak about rural America just for a moment? Because Montgomery, which is a city in Alabama, obviously, but they're really worried about the influx from rural parts of the states. The mayor there told Jim and myself yesterday, they only have two ICU beds remaining. They're really worried.

GUPTA: Yes, you know, it's interesting, Poppy, you have obviously a question of can these smaller communities handle surge capacity, as we call it. And people a couple of months ago became really knowledgeable about this term "flattening the curve," and that was all about flatten the curve so that you don't have as many people arriving in the hospital at the same time.

But behind that was always the belief that people would still get infected ultimately, it would just happen more slowly over time. And that's -- you know, that's a little bit what we're seeing. And then these smaller communities, because they don't have as much surge capacity, they -- you know, hospitals are not built to have redundancy in their system -- they can start to go over that curve more quickly again, and that's going to be a constant concern in places around the country.

SCIUTTO: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, always good to have you on, your wise --

GUPTA: Thanks.

SCIUTTO: -- calm voice through all of this.

HARLOW: Yes. Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thank you, sir. Thanks, Poppy.

[10:44:58]

SCIUTTO: Well, looking at the images of Minneapolis -- there's one of them -- is painful. What about for those who live and work there? This is home. We'll have more.

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HARLOW: Violence once again overnight in Minneapolis -- looting, fires, tear gas -- upending the city, total unrest. This follows the death of George Floyd while handcuffed in police custody. SCIUTTO: Now, the video you're watching was shot by Mark Vancleave,

he's a video journalist for the "Star Tribune." And Mark joins us now to discuss. And we should be clear: Burning stuff down -- police stations, stores -- not acceptable by any means.

[10:50:07]

You say as well that you witnessed protestors lighting off fireworks towards police. Tell us what you witnessed on the ground there.

MARK VANCLEAVE, VIDEO JOURNALIST, STAR TRIBUNE: It's true. It feels like a war zone in parts of Minneapolis. There's a lot of anger and a lot of rage, and it's being directed at pretty much anything and everyone right now.

HARLOW: I think, you know, Mark, you're from there, you grew up there, you work there, it's your home, it's my home. And could you just give us more background? Because this is, yes, reaction to that, the heinous death, what happened to George Floyd. But there's a lot more there.

VANCLEAVE: There is, there is. You -- we all watched the video of what happened, and I think we all feel horror when we see that. And you know, we feel the anger of the community right now, and that's something that's existed here for a long time, it's been simmering. And I think this was the match that ignited the powder keg. And the explosion is (INAUDIBLE) the heart of our city.

SCIUTTO: Who make up the protestors? As you've been amongst them, all folks from the community? Tell us what you've seen among the different kinds of people who are taking part.

VANCLEAVE: It's a huge cross-section of people. It's -- looks like the people that live in my neighborhood, it looks like the people that live in other neighborhoods in Minneapolis and our surrounding communities. It's the community.

HARLOW: What are they asking for? Because I know a major, major question mark for many of them and many people is, why have these officers not been arrested, why have there been no charges yet. Is that their main demand right now that you're hearing?

VANCLEAVE: Yes. The primary demand of most of the protests going on right now is that all four Minneapolis police officers that were involved in the incident be charged. We're a little bit vague on what they might be charged with at this point, but people are certainly hoping that they're brought to justice through the criminal justice system.

SCIUTTO: Tell us what the outside rhetoric has meant to folks there. When they hear the president's comments or tweets -- and others, what they hear from the governor of Minnesota, et cetera. What is the reaction to that? Is it helping or hurting?

VANCLEAVE: I don't think anything's helping at this point. I think we've heard a lot of rhetoric. And so far, I don't think there's been anything that's helped to quell (ph) the flames of anger that we're seeing right now. I don't know what can fix that.

HARLOW: Mark, finally, there has -- there's a relatively new police chief there. And there's been new training over the last few years, but this still happened. And I just wonder if you could leave us with some insight into how much just hasn't changed?

SCIUTTO: Yes. I think what we've been hearing is that institutions and governments and our other public institutions, they're described as like a ship, and they're hard to change. A lot of these officers have worked there for decades, and there are entrenched ideas, both in the police department and also our communities, of what that relationship looks like. And I don't know when we're going to see the results (ph) change (ph).

HARLOW: Mark Vancleave, thank you not only for being here -- I know you've been up all night -- but for those images that you took. They are so important --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: -- and powerful, and will certainly go down in history as we see this unfold. Thank you, Mark.

VANCLEAVE: Thanks for having me.

[10:53:56]

HARLOW: Well, in moments, you're going to hear -- Jim just brought up Minnesota's governor, Tim Walz, who's apologized to CNN for the arrest of our friend and colleague. He's going to address that and all the violence in Minneapolis and the killing of George Floyd. That is going to air live, you'll see it right here in just a few minutes.

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(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALICIA KEYS, SINGER: -- good job, you're doing a good job, a good job --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, my name is Dr. Zaveri (ph) from Brooklyn, New York. I wanted to thank all the residents, the nurses and doctors who came, helped hold the front line --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to thank Doctors Brian Bosworth and Kathy Hochman --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very thankful to my wife, Nicki (ph), for her role as a local pharmacist --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- I'm sure neither of them slept very much in this pandemic, just making sure that our response was coordinated, safe and patient-centered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- all these health care professionals, they knew that this virus was dangerous, it could affect their lives, the lives of their loved ones --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- community pharmacies have been pretty much open throughout the pandemic, and pharmacists remain as one of the more accessible health care professionals --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- from the bottom of all our hearts, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- thank you from Brooklyn, from New York and from the U.S. You're amazing.

KEYS: You're doing a good job, don't get too down. The world needs you now --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: Well, something to feel good about this morning. I think we need it.

[11:00:00]

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Please do tell us about your heroes. All you've got to do is use the hashtag #GoodJobChallenge.

HARLOW: Thank you all for being with us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.