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CNN Poll: Trump's Approval Falls To 38 Percent Amid Pandemic, Protests; White House Considers A Trump Speech To The Nation On Race & Unity; A.G. Barr: No Systemic Racism In Policing; Trump Mocks Romney For Joining Black Lives Matter Protest; Dr. Peter Hotez Discusses Experts Fear Trump May Release Vaccine Too Early To Help Campaign; Military Spouses March In Support Of Black Lives Matter. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 8, 2020 - 14:30   ET



DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And on the protests, look at the movement in the country, 84 percent of Americans, 84 percent don't agree on anything. But they agree the peaceful protests are justified. So, that's a movement on the move.

Now, I'll turn to the 2020 races. Joe Biden, clear advantage. This is just a snapshot. But right now, significant advantage for Joe Biden, 55 percent to 41 percent. That is nothing to sneeze at.

And if you look inside the numbers on the horse race a little bit, what you see, I think, captures this moment in politics. And 60 percent of Biden supporters in our poll say their vote is more a vote against Trump. Only 37 percent say it's a vote for Biden.

Something we see in an incumbent election where the challenger is motivated by those who want to get the incumbent out.

But Donald Trump, 70 percent of his supporters are casting more as a vote for Trump, than against Biden.

So, Biden is not a motivating force, negatively. It's more loyalty to the president. Whereas, the anti-Trump on the left is driving Joe Biden to this big advantage at this moment.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm so glad you highlighted that. Because it's such an interesting nuance of the numbers.

David Chalian, thank you so much.

CHALIAN: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: We're now learning the White House is considering having President Trump address the nation sometime this week on race and national unity.

I want to discuss this with Yusef Salaam, one of the "Exonerated Five." He spent more than six years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Yusef, President Trump, as a private citizen, took out a full-page ad.

He called for the death penalty, in your case. He has so far refused to apologize for that, still.

Is there anything he could say in this speech that would convince you he takes the racial divisions and inequity and justice in this country seriously?

YUSEF SALAAM, EXONERATED "CENTRAL PARK FIVE" MEMBER: Absolutely not. I think his past performance says what we need to know about how the future performance is going to be. That's the scary part. We have a clear connection with Donald Trump, 31 years now. And we would have been hanging from trees in Central Park.

KEILAR: What do you see the point of this speech being? You're skeptical he's trying to change the minds of black Americans. What do you think he's doing?

We're talking about parlor tricks, as opposed to policies. The worst thing we can experience is someone telling us they're promising something and then we elect them and get nothing.

I think what we've seen, especially in America, has been so troubling is because we would think that experiences with a brother that just passed away. Big Floyd they call him in the streets, right? We would have thought that would have happened a century ago, 50 years ago. That's happening today. That's happening today.

And the worst part is there are countless other voices of people who have been similarly run over by the spike roads of justice, that we don't even know their names.

KEILAR: You wonder how many names are there, right? In our new CNN poll, two-thirds of Americans call race a big problem in America. That's up from 49 percent who said that in 2015. We're seeing a shift. The question is do you think this is a lasting shift and why?

SALAAM: I think something is happening in the world, something powerful and impactful is happening.

Unfortunately there, are bodies in the street because of what happened. We're talking about white supremacy, white male dominance. This has been the number-one thing in America we've been fighting against. The same thing that says we are true citizens, that we deserve an equal share.

Of course, every time we make advancements, they send us to the back of the line.

KEILAR: Yusef, the housing secretary, Ben Carson, who, you know, he's an African-American member of the president's cabinet. And the president really not surrounded by any people of color. He told CNN this weekend that the country should reserve judgment until the president speaks. And says systemic racism doesn't exist anymore.

Which is something we heard from the attorney general. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think there's racism in the United States still. But I don't think the law enforcement system is systemically racist. I understand the distrust of the African-American community, given the history in this country.


KEILAR: What do you think, Yusef, of that answer?


SALAAM: One of the things I really dislike is being used as a pawn, to siphon from the structure of people that have been so damaged, to believing this fantasy that we could somehow be counted as equal.

We're in the streets because of what's a been happening to us as a people. We're in the streets because we're still crying, as someone said, because of slavery in America. We're out there because of redlining. We're out there because of unfair practices.

This is why we are saying what we're saying. This is what has to be seen and understood, the fullness of it.

KEILAR: Did you see Republican Senator Mitt Romney this weekend? He was the only Republican Senator we saw who was out protesting, right? He tweeted photos of himself marching for the Black Lives Matter movement this weekend. What do you think about that?

SALAAM: I like that we're getting a lot more attention, especially from the people in the top places of society. That says a lot. That says a whole lot. I don't want that.

However, to just be a photo-op? I want them to put their heart in the movement, of true freedom, justice and equality for us as a people. That will say more than standing with the marchers.

KEILAR: What does that look like when you're talking about Mitt Romney, who has, at times, stood alone. And I think there are other Republican Senators who may agree with his thought, even if they haven't said it out loud. What would that look like?

SALAAM: We're talking about policy change. We're talking about sign nothing to law true equality for us all as a people. We're not talking about just -- I mean, it's great to have your voice being added to the overall struggle. That's important. Because it tells us where you're aligning yourself with.

But one of the things I continuously think about in our experience as Africans in America is we're constantly told that's what we'll get. He said give us your vote. What do you have to lose? We have everything to lose. We've had everything to lose. There are bodies in the streets.

KEILAR: Yusef Salaam, it is always such a good conversation with you and so illuminating.

Thank you for joining us.

SALAAM: My pleasure. And thank you.

KEILAR: We have more breaking news. And we're learning the identity of the driver who rammed protesters in Virginia this weekend. It was a KKK member, in fact.

The governor of New York taking a ride on the subway today as the city entered phase one of the reopening during the pandemic.

And as cases rise in several states across America, a new warning from health experts. Why they're worried Trump will release a vaccine too quickly to help his campaign.



KEILAR: According to a CNN analysis, four states, California, Texas, Florida and Illinois, are all outpacing New York state in averages of daily new coronavirus cases. California saw the most new cases per day, more than 2,000 ending the week of June 7th.

One the epicenter of the pandemic, New York has seen a decrease in amount of cases, which is good news as New York City begins phase one of reopening.

New York governor, Cuomo, kicked off his week with a ride on the subway as the MTA resumes it regular weekday service.

Phase one allows non-essential workers in construction and manufacturing to go back to work. Retail stores can set up curb-side or in-store pick up. Not in person. The governor says it's a good first step.


ANDREW CUOMO, (D), NEW YORK GOVERNOR; We said thank you yesterday. We lit up all the city and state landmarks with colors of the state to say thank you. Because we're not out of the woods but we are on the other side, certainly.


KEILAR: Now, the need for a coronavirus vaccine is as urgent as ever. But medical experts worry the president will seize upon that needs and release a vaccine too quickly in an effort to boost his campaign.

In a new op-ed published in the "New York Times" on Monday, University of Pennsylvania Professor Ezekiel Emmanuel and Dr. Paul Offit write this, quote, "Thousands of Americans have already died as Donald Trump has perpetually postponed effective public health interventions and made poor therapeutic recommendations." "We must be on alert to prevent him from corrupting the rigorous

effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in order to pull an October's surprise to try and win re-election."

I want to bring in Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor and dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. And working on a vaccine as well.

Dr. Hotez, I wonder is this possible? Would it be even fathomable the president could get this done by October as a campaign tool?


Yes, I think it's fathomable but could potentially be reckless. We know that there's going to be five or six candidates entering into what we call phase three clinical trials.

These are very large 25,000/30,000-person trials that are controlled with a placebo. Meaning some patients get a placebo and others will be randomized to get the vaccine. Each vaccine will have its own independent trial. These will probably last a period of a year. The first will be in July and the others will follow.


So, some time by I would say second or third quarter of 2021 we'll have a fair bit of data in terms of whether any of these vaccines are working or protecting against COVID-19 and/or also a safe.

So, that's why you have that extended trial with 30,000 people because you want to know, not only that it's working, but it's not showing any safety flair or signal.

So, if the phase three trials are starting in July, it's hard to imagine a scenario where you'd have meaningful data to release a vaccine, certainly not under a license but under this emergency use authorization, which I don't know what that means for a vaccine.

I know what that means for a ventilator, but I've never heard of a vaccine being released under those type of circumstances.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail and we'll have some promising vaccines sometime next year.

KEILAR: I guess never say never though, right? As we watch what happens here. A health Department official says the last shipment of the supply of a drug proven to maybe shave about four days off of a coronavirus hospital stay is going to run out at the end of the month. How concerning is that when we're talking about hospital capacity?

HOTEL: Remember, we don't have a lot of treatments for COVID-19. Remdesivir is one of the few shown to make a difference, reducing hospital stays to 11 days. So, it's not a miracle cure but it is certainly havening an impact. And there will be new antibody therapies that I'm optimistic about

that will roll out in the coming months and the convalescent serum, the plasma from recovered patients is showing promise. You would like to have Remdesivir in your armament.

It's not the easiest to synthesize. Takes 20 or 30 steps to make the drug. So, hopefully, Gilead can ramp that up so we won't have that gap, won't have that shortage because that would be unfortunate. We still don't have a lot of other treatments to fall back on.

As I mentioned, the vaccine, I don't see being available until well into 2021.

KEILAR: Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you so much. Always great to see you.

HOTEZ: Great to see you.

KEILAR: Moments ago, we got our first image of Joe Biden during his private meeting with the George Floyd family on a day when the public is also able to pay their respects in Houston.

Plus, bail has been set at more than a million for the first officer charged in the case. We'll take you live to the courthouse in Minneapolis ahead.



KEILAR: Just into CNN, the National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the coronavirus recession began in February. It normally takes up to a year for the group to officially recognize the start of a downturn but the economy collapsed so rapidly that the declaration came quickly this time.

More than 42 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. Major companies, including JCPenney and J. Crew and Hertz have filed for bankruptcy and there was an annualized rate of 40 percent during the second quarter.

Today on "HOME FRONT," our television and digital column, we're telling the story of military spouses who are organizing and marching in support of Black Lives Matter. They're getting pushback from critics within the military community. But the numbers of the spouses supporting the movement are strong and they are growing.

Many of them were spurred to action after seeing National Guard involved in the forcible removal of peaceful protesters near the White House. Some of them opposed to the mobilization of active-duty military in the middle of this time.

CNN "HOME FRONT" interviewed 11 military spouses married to servicemembers in all five branches, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. These are people who are black, white, Hispanic, men and women, spouses ever both enlisted and the Officer Corp. And some are veterans themselves. Many of have them biracial children. And we granted them anonymity to protect the personal safety of their families and the career of spouses. These are spouses who uniformly condemn the use of military force within the United States. And they describe being stunned and horrified by the images that came out of Lafayette Square last Monday.

"I was screaming at the television," is what one black Navy spouse told us as she watched peaceful protesters running from law enforcement officers who were advancing on them near the White House.

Another said, "We don't serve this country to fight our own."

Now some also worry that the diversity of future generations of military recruits is at stake as some Americans may see the military as the tool of one party or one leader and they may decide they want nothing to do with it.

You could read more about the military spouses who are mobilizing and marching for the Black Lives Matter movement at And send us feedback at homefront@


Speaking of Lafayette Square, congressional Democrats are demanding the president remove the additional barriers around that Square.

We're back in a moment.



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi, there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thank you for being here.