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Sixteenth Day Of Protests Underway As A Trump Economic Adviser Says, I Don't Believe Nowadays We Have Systemic Racism; Trump Won't Consider Removing Confederate Names From Military Bases; Texas District Atty. Vows To Bring Case Of Black Man Who Died During Arrest To Grand Jury For Possible Criminal Charges; Top Harvard Doctor Predicts Another 100,000 Deaths By September; Trump Rejects Removing Confederate Names From Bases. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 10, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: It was raining. It's just a terrible situation. Let's hope they fix it by November. Abby, thank you very much.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, see no evil. Another White House official denying systemic racism as protests grow for the 16th day in a row and George Floyd's brother pleads.

Plus, a black man dies in police custody after saying he couldn't breathe, tonight no charges against the police there.

And a grim new warning, a prominent doctor warning another 100,000 Americans will die from Coronavirus by September as a dozen states are seeing spikes in hospitalizations.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, tone deaf as protests grow for the 16th day in this country. The President's top economic adviser had this to say when he was asked about systemic racism in the United States.


LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I don't believe there's systemic racism in the U.S. I'm not going to go into a long riff on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At all in the U.S.?

KUDLOW: I do not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: you don't think there's any systemic racism against African-Americans in the United States?

KUDLOW: I will say it again, I do not.


BURNETT: Kudlow clear on how he feels. He says it's not an issue this despite the massive protests that have been taking place every night across the country now for more than two weeks. Again, tonight, live pictures. This is New York that you happen to be looking at here. But here's what we've seen, protests people motivated to go out in every state from coast to coast, red states, blue states, cities, towns, look at these pictures.

Americans, making it clear that systemic racism is an issue that they feel needs to be addressed and yet Trump and his team are out of touch with that.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think there's racism in the United States still, but I don't think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist.

CHAD WOLF, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I do not think that we have a systemic racism problem with law enforcement officers across this country.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Do you think systemic racism is a problem in law enforcement agencies in the United States?

BEN CARSON, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Let's say this, I grew up at a time when there was real systemic racism.


BURNETT: Denials from team Trump even as the Republicans point person on this, who happens to be the only African-American GOP senator also says it is an issue. An issue that cannot be fixed just by talking up economic news like Kudlow tried doing.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Having a job is certainly one of the paths forward for racial justice. I think it doesn't solve the problem of racism. That is a far more complicated, far more layered problem because it starts with the heart, it starts with fear and a sense of low self esteem by those people who are racist.


BURNETT: Sen. Scott wants to address the deep, real and nuanced issue here even though President Trump does not. I mean, just today, Trump refused to engage in a conversation over renaming 10 military bases which bear the name of confederate middle military leaders.

The President tweeting, "The monumental and very powerful basis have become part of a great American heritage and a history of winning victory and freedom. Therefore, my administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military installations. Our history as the greatest nation in the world will not be tampered with. Respect our military."

First of all, these are names and when we talk about winning victory and freedom, this was the side that fought to enslave people and deprive them of freedom to state the obvious, and of course they did not win. But also this is not about respecting the military, as the President says, because on the same day, the President tweeted his support for keeping the names of confederate generals on U.S. military bases, NASCAR, with its conservative fan base that Trump spends time wooing announced that it was banning confederate flags at events because, "The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that creates it is what makes our fans and sport special."

Shimon Prokupecz is OUTFRONT live in New York City among the protesters in this city tonight. And Shimon, what are you seeing?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, Erin, I have to tell you this is about as energized as I have seen these protests here the past several days at night. If anyone thinks that this is ending anytime soon. I think when you look around, I'm going to have Frederick (ph) show you just behind us there are people thousands here at this point, probably about 2,000 people.

It's hot here in New York City. We've been walking for miles and this crowd is energized. They are organized and they are ready to keep going. Of course, we keep feeding the same thing from this crowd.


They want change. They want change with the police and really just social change and better quality of life and the diversity of this crowd. I mean, we've seen some very young kids, a five-year-old here with her mother. We've seen other parents bringing their kids out. But this just shows you, we're now at Bryant Park, we're under entering the park here.

The police are nowhere around them. They're allowing them to walk the streets, do as they want as long as it remains peaceful. It is organized. They are energized. And for the two weeks, two plus weeks that we've been doing this, I have to say it doesn't seem like this crowd and the people here in New York City are going to stop doing this anytime soon, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. And meanwhile across the nation, the issue of police reform is at the forefront today both in Minneapolis but also on Capitol Hill. Lucy Kafanov is OUTFRONT.



MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE CHIEF: Race is inextricably a part of the American policing system. We will never evolve in this profession if we do not address it head on.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo in the harsh national spotlight tonight laying out a plan to reform his department in the wake of the death of George Floyd.


ARRADONDO: History is being written now and I'm determined to make sure that we're on the right side of history.


KAFANOV(voice over): The first move, withdrawing from police union contract negotiations. Calling for new policies on disciplining officers. The use of force and other matters he suggested the union contract has prevented from changing in the past.

The chief is also launching a warning system to weed out bad police officers early on.


ARRADONDO: So for the first time in the history of policing, we here in Minneapolis will have an opportunity to use real time data and automation to intervene with officers who are engaged in problematic behavior.

GEORGE FLOYD: I can't breathe.


KAFANOV(voice over): Also tonight, revelations that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, seen with his knee on George Floyd's neck was negotiating a possible plea deal with prosecutors before he was arrested and charged. But the Hennepin prosecutor's office did not say why. That plea deal ultimately fell through for reasons unknown.

This as protests continue to spread across the nation with calls for police reform now leading to action. At least 12 cities and municipalities moving to ban police from using neck restraints or choke holes. The technique is controversial long before Floyd's death.


CROWD: I can't breathe.


KAFANOV(voice over): And on Capitol Hill, a blunt reminder from George Floyd's brother of what triggered the call to police that cost George Floyd his life.


PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: He didn't deserve to die over $20. Is that what a black man's worth, $20? This is 2020. Enough is enough.


KAFANOV(voice over): Leaving lawmakers with this emotional plea.


FLOYD: I'm here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired. George called for help and he was ignored. Please listen to the call I'm making to you now to the calls of our family and the calls ringing out the streets across the world.



KAFANOV: Erin, we've just learned that the former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane was released from county jail on $750,000 bond. The other three former officers remain behind bars. Lane was new to the police force and his attorney says that's one of the reasons he didn't intervene in Chauvin's sitting on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.

The Police Chief today dismissing that excuse. He said that it regardless of how long an officer was on the police force, Floyd was expecting humanity that day and he did not get it. Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Lucy, thank you very much. And I want to go now to Van Jones, former Special Adviser to President Obama and our Political Commentator, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the Democratic former Mayor of Baltimore and Cedric Alexander, the former Chief of Police for DeKalb County, Georgia and the former President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Thanks very much to all of you. Van, let me just start with what Larry Kudlow said. He was very clear he didn't mince words and he didn't want to be misunderstood. He said there is no systemic racism against African-Americans in the United States. What's your response?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's very unfortunate that he said that. I mean, honestly we're in the middle of a great awakening across the world on this issue. A continent of common ground has materialized in almost a miraculous way, where you have people saying, including 10s of millions of white Americans saying for the first time, no racism is real. There's something wrong with our criminal justice system and our policing system and what can I do about it.

I've never seen before in my life 10s maybe hundreds of millions of white people coming to the same conclusion and somehow Kudlow manages to fall off of this continent that's just emerged.


It is really, really unfortunate because this is the time when great conservatives like Tim Scott, you can be conservative and still believe in limited government and individual rights and dignity. But face facts, Tim Scott is a strong conservative. You can be more conservative than he is. He's willing to address the issue head on.

Jack Kemp was willing to address the issue head on. There's going to have to now be a reckoning inside the Republican Party. Some of their policies have been actually good for African-Americans, but their rhetoric has not all too often and their understanding is sometimes too shallow. I think that the Tim Scotts and the people and the legacy of Jack Kemp need to get a lot louder in the Republican Party and people like Kudlow maybe could listen to that.

BURNETT: So Mayor Rawlings-Blake, when you hear what this administration is saying about systemic racism and, of course, it was Kudlow, and it was Bill Barr and it was Ben Carson, they're saying there is none, Trump doesn't want to drop confederate names from military bases. That's what's happening now, even as NASCAR is banning the confederate flag at events.

And you've got these protests across the country. It looks like we just lost the Mayor's shot. So Chief Alexander, let me ask you, what do you think the disconnect is here?

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, FORMER PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT EXECUTIVES: Well, the disconnect there is being in denial as it relates to the question around race and is there racism in America. And the answer to that is yes and everybody knows that it is and even though we may be shamed about it, it does exist and it exists in every institution in this country.

But we're in a place as Van has just suggested and indicated that we're in a great place to begin to do something about it. There is a movement going on in this country that's moving against racism, so we need to acknowledge it, it's just like COVID-19. It's out there and it can be asymptomatic, meaning that we can't see it, but it still hurts people are it can be very symptomatic and very in your face.

So we got two diseases here, we'll fight it and this racism disease is one in which I think we're in a route to trying to find a cure for, if you will, in a metaphoric sense. But yes, it does exist.

BURNETT: And Mayor Rawlings-Blake, of course, there's the great irony not only that so many former military chiefs have spoken out in an unprecedented fashion against how the President used the military in Lafayette Square for his photo op, but also the words that he chose to conflate the names of bases named after - with somehow the acts, the bravery of the people who are on those bases now that he's trying to say that those names are equated with winning victory and freedom. When those were the people who fought to have slavery be the law of this land.

STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE, (D) FORMER MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: The President has shown over and over again he is not confined to facts. He's not confined to history. Once he charge, of course, he is on that course whether it is right or wrong and he's decided that his base wants to keep the names of the confederate generals in place and that is it. That is the beginning and the end of the story. And it's unfortunate because I think there's such a huge opportunity

for the President to lead at this moment. And just as Van said, you can be conservative and still believe that there's racism in this in this country. He's missing a huge opportunity to unify this country, a huge opportunity to leave and a huge opportunity if you really truly want it to make America great again, you would not turn a deaf ear to all of the cries of Americans all over the country who want us to do better by black Americans.

BURNETT: Van there seems to me to be a pretty obvious statement here coming from NASCAR as the President is tweeting this on this day for that NASCAR to say the president has made a big show of trying to woo NASCAR supporters, that that's been something he's been doing for several years and yet, today, NASCAR said very clearly, they stand on the opposite side of this.

JONES: It was stunning. It was stunning. I was on a Zoom call, I guess we all now live on Zoom calls and I looked down at my phone, and it said that NASCAR is going to get rid of the confederate flags. Well, I literally did a double take. And I'm like am I awake? Is this real? I mean that NASCAR is confederate flag friendly, I'll put it that way, most of the time.

Good folks, hardworking folks, but it's not a bastion of racial justice or agitation by any stretch. And yet something has touched the conscience of the human species when you see a lynching and that's what that was, that we've been lynched for 400 years here.


But nobody - it was at no point could a billion people see it at the same time on their cell phones and something has touched the conscience of the nation of the human species. And NASCAR says we don't want to aid and abet any of the ugly history in present. We want to move in a different direction.

When NASCAR is saying that, I think Kudlow might reconsider his position. There must be something really wrong in America for this many people to be now coming together around a painful table to have a new discussion. I'd like it for Kudlow to be a part of the discussion than to be denying the basis of it.

BURNETT: Chief Alexander, I want to give you the final word. What do you say to police officers across this country who are confused, some of them afraid, most of them trying to do the right thing, not sure what to do right now, what do you tell them?

ALEXANDER: Here's what I say to the good officers that are out there. And there's a lot of men and women out there serving right now at this very moment, putting their life on the line, doing their jobs, doing it constitutionally, doing it by the policies that are written there for the good of the people. And I will say to them, keep your heads up, keep yourself safe, work with your communities that are out there, get to know people, allow them to get to know you and stay true to the oath that you took. Because all people want to be right now is treated fairly, treated

differently and treated constitutionally. And to the police officers and all of those in the public safety community in this country, 700,000 men and women who serve every day in state, local, tribal and federal law enforcement, keep your heads up. Let's act constitutional. Let's help our communities and let's work with them genuinely, genuinely and let this be in for the long haul and not for the short- term. We got a great future ahead of us to build these relationships again.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate all of you taking the time, as always. I appreciate your time.

And next, he died in police custody after telling officers he couldn't breathe and no officers in this case have been charged. I'm going to speak to the mother of Javier Ambler's children. How does she explained what happened to their dad?

Plus, breaking news, coronavirus hospitalizations spike in a dozen states. As a top Harvard doctor warns another 100,000 Americans will die from coronavirus by the end of August.

And the Trump campaign demanding CNN apologized for a poll that shows him trailing Joe Biden by 14 points. Our network has a response and you will hear it. It is not an apology.



BURNETT: Tonight, a case with haunting similarities to George Floyd. A black man dying while being arrested by officers in Texas after he says I can't breathe. The Austin Police Department releasing body camera footage of this arrest and a warning that some of the video that we're about to show you is disturbing to me.

So you see here, March 28, 2019 deputies tried to pull over Javier Ambler, 40 years old. The Sheriff's report says that Ambler had not dimmed his headlights as he drove past the deputy. Authority say Ambler then led them on a 22 minute chase before crashing his car. The report says Ambler got out of his car with his hands up but resisted attempts to handcuff them.

He can be heard telling deputies he has a heart condition and can't breathe.


JAVIER AMBLER: I have congestive heart failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop resisting.

AMBLER: I can't breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop resisting.

AMBLER: Sir, I'm not resisting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop resisting.


BURNETT: Thirty seconds after he's handcuffed officers appear to realize Ambler is unresponsive and perform CPR. Medical units arrive on the scene. Amber was pronounced dead less than an hour later. It is hard to watch this and I can't imagine how hard it is for those who loved this man.

OUTFRONT now Bre Gamble, Javier's his ex-girlfriend. She raised two sons with him and one of them, Deavion Gamble, their oldest son. I am so sorry to both of you to have to show that to our viewers so they understand what happened. I'm sorry to have you on.

Bre, I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to hear this. What was your reaction when you first saw it?

BRE GAMBLE, MOTHER Of JAVIER AMBLER'S TWO SONS: I tried to avoid it at all costs. But once it went viral and went national, there was no avoiding it. It ripped my heart out and that's why I wanted to speak and have my son speak to know, to let the world know exactly how much pain this type of thing brings on to a family.

BURNETT: Deavion Gamble, if you're able to talk, what do you want the world to know about your dad?

DEAVION GAMBLE, SON OF JAVIER AMBLER: This whole situation, it takes a toll - this situation changed my life and our life. It's made me look at the world way different. It takes a huge toll on people and the absence of my father - I just really want justice for my (inaudible) for my dad.

BURNETT: Bre, as a mother of two boys, how does that make you feel right now, when you think about what happened to their father and you're now raising two boys, two African-American boys in this world?

B GAMBLE: It makes me feel empty. They were not a statistic before. The stereotype is that black men aren't around and the State of Texas has allowed Williamson County to go on like this for so long and they have made my children statistics now.


And that's an empty feeling. He was a good dad. All he did revolved around those kids and I tip my hat to his father and his mother because they raised an exceptional man. And it's very rare that you see this in the black community where parents split up and there's great, great energy and it's a great relationship. We've never had any drama, 20 plus years, we've never had the drama.

He's always been there for us. He's always been there for these boys and we've always been great close friends. Family, we've lost a loved one. He was the glue. You could always call on him. And to see the change in my sons and them kind of spiral downward. They've never had issues in school with grades or anything.

My son is a senior this year. He had difficulties focusing. He had difficulties with school due to this and it's a traumatic experience.

BURNETT: Deavion, what has this done so far in terms of your view of how this world is for you? And I guess I'm asking you about how you see police but also just how you feel about yourself.

D GAMBLE: It's not only how I see police, it is now how see the world, it's now how I see things that went on like I can't even see a white Honda Pilot. (Inaudible) a breakdown to stay and wait. I can't see a white officer in a uniform the same way. I can't see anything that was caused in my father's situation the same way. It makes me look at everything different, everything that was involved different. It takes a mental turn on anybody.

I don't wish nobody - I don't wish this on nobody to lose their parent. It basically takes me - I'm at a loss of word. I'm at a loss of word.

BURNETT: Bre, the Austin district attorney is investigating but obviously the Office of Professional Standards at the County Sheriff Department had concluded deputies acted in accordance with department policies. But as I said, district attorney investigating and said she will present this case to a grand jury this summer. What do you want to happen here?

B GAMBLE: Justice. We want justice. It's not a pacifiers with a settlement or anything like that. We want justice. They took his last breath. He was in distress, clearly, his face, his voice. He was losing his breath and anybody that was on that same physically, if they couldn't hear it and see it, and we saw it and heard it on a video, why are they on the force?

For him to arrogantly say how he broke his finger, that man said that in a way that he did not care. He did not care about the life, he didn't care about the limbs or anything. And at that moment, it looked as though Javier's body was limped and he was already probably unconscious or deceased when he arrogantly said how he broke his finger.

So the DA needs to go for the highest of charges, not a slap on the wrist. We're tired of seeing a slap on the wrist. That's all these officers get, manslaughter with two years in prison and they go out even - if they even go to prison. This is why it's continuing to happen, because we're not getting any justice. We're not getting anybody who's getting made an example.

It was a it was a black officer that accidentally shot a Caucasian lady and he got sentenced to 12 years. But this young lady in Dallas goes into a gentleman's apartment and she has 10 years, but she's probably only going to serve a year or two. So that type of difference, treat them all the same when they take a life and especially when someone is begging for their life. His last words were please save me. So may God have mercy.

D GAMBLE: (Inaudible) building up a hatred.

B GAMBLE: Well, you don't need to do that.


D GAMBLE: My dad can't even see me graduate. It was hard to graduate. It was hard to graduate. (INAUDIBLE)

B. GAMBLE: This is what they did.

D. GAMBLE: Now, I can't -- I can't see me in my cap and gown. I can't see me -- I can't, you know --

B. GAMBLE: This is the type of pain that they cause when they do this. When they do unjustifiable murders, this is the pain they cause. My 15-year-old son can barely talk on the phone sometimes.

He couldn't sleep. He couldn't even sleep in the same -- in the room anymore because he was seeing his father.

You know, this is the mental trauma that you are causing on our black children. Do you all understand that? I need them to hear that.

Stop portraying these guys as suspects. Stop portraying them as horrible people. Same with the George Floyd situation and Arbery, they always want to make them a suspect. They always want them to look like the bad guy.

Hey, every black guy, every black man, every black woman, we're not all bad. Every race has a bad apple, but you cannot go about this like this anymore.

We need justice. We need equality. And we need solidarity. What's hard about that?

BURNETT: Bre, I thank you.

B. GAMBLE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And, Deavion, thank you so much.

D. GAMBLE: Thank you.

BURNETT: I'm so, so sorry to both of you, and, of course, to your brother, your son for your incalculable loss.

B. GAMBLE: I'm always going to root (ph) for you, Javier. We love you and we're going to keep it going.

This isn't going to stop. This isn't the last stop. We're going to keep his name alive. We're going to keep his memory alive.

And we're going to stay in their face to show them this. What they leave us behind with, what they leave young black men behind. This is -- you know, he's entering life. They're going to enter life. They have no father to call when they need advice, you know? Think

about that. Your children could still pick up the phone and speak with you. Your children do not mean more than my children.

Thank you so much, CNN. Thank you, Erin. Thank you.

BURNETT: I thank you and our viewers thank you both too.

And next, a new warning from a top Harvard doctor, at least a dozen states are now seeing an increase in hospitalizations due to coronavirus.

Plus, just how close did Defense Secretary Mark Esper come to resigning? We have new details on that story tonight.

We'll be right back.



BURNETT: Tonight, a new warning about how many deaths we could see from the coronavirus. A familiar face to OUTFRONT, Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Institute, warning today the U.S. could see 100,000 coronavirus deaths by September, and it comes as at least a dozen states have seen increase in hospitalizations since Memorial Day weekend.

Nick Watt is OUTFRONT.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This morning, Miami's beaches reopened. In New Jersey, up to 100 people can now gather outdoors. And this weekend, NASCAR will allow some fans back in the stands.

Nationally, our daily new case count is falling, but is the devil in the detail?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: If you're going to get into trouble, you'll see it in the numbers. You'll see them starting to increase. And as we sit here today, states are getting into trouble.

WATT: Hospitalizations are up in at least a dozen states since Memorial Day and in 19 states, the average daily new case count is rising as is concern that this coronavirus is making a come back.

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: We're going to get another 100,000 deaths by September. That's what we have to try to prevent. And we really do have to try to figure out how to bring the case loads down from these scary levels in some states.

WATT: In Arizona's Maricopa County, county officials must now wear masks. DR. REBECCA SUNESHINE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, MARICOPA COUNTY DISEASE

CONTROL DIVISION: We're getting reports of almost 600 cases per day in comparison to just an average of 200 cases per day about two weeks ago.

WATT: Hospitals across the state now being told if they haven't already to fully activate your facility emergency plan.

WILL HUMBLE, FORMER ARIZONA STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR: It is prudent to start looking at the surge capacity because unless there's an intervention that comes in the next few days, I think we're on a railroad to overcapacity in early July.

WATT: In North Carolina, there are now more people in the hospital with COVID-19 than at any time since this pandemic began.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You still need to wash your hands as often as you possibly can and avoid congregation in large numbers.

WATT: The D.C. National Guard deployed to quell protests sparked by George Floyd's killing said some members have since tested positive.

FAUCI: The report of the National Guardsmen being infected is certainly disturbing but is not surprising. It's the kind of things that we were concerned about and unfortunately we're seeing it come true right now.


WATT: And right now, Arkansas is basically a microcosm of the problems we're going to face moving forward. Hospitalizations there are spiking, but unemployment is also running at over 10 percent. They are pushing ahead with reopening.

Today, the governor said Americans are back on the move and they cannot be restrained. But, he said, we are not out of the woods. In fact, we are still in the heart of those woods -- Erin.

BURNETT: Nick, thank you.

And I want to go now to John Ioannidis, epidemiologist at Stanford University, and Dr. Jonathan Reiner who advised the White House medical team under George W. Bush currently at the cardiac cath lab at G.W.

So, Dr. Reiner, so Dr. Jha is now saying 200,000 deaths by September. A key forecast cited by the White House is still at less than 150,000.

So, do you think 200,000 is possible? And I just want to be direct about it because this is the question everyone's having around this country -- is it because of the protests?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, DIRECTOR OF CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION LABORATORY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Well, let me just say that our death rate has sort of leveled off at about 1,000 deaths per day. And until we start to see that drop, yeah, I think 200,000 is quite possible.

Look, the human in me was really thrilled to see maybe change coming to the United States and the power of so many people coming out into the streets. But the doctor in me was really horrified because if you are going to reignite a pandemic, you would bring thousands of people out into the streets, you would introduce chemical irritants to make them cough and rub their eyes, you would bring police in without masks and troops in without masks, and you pack them all tightly together. That's how you would reignite a pandemic, and that's what we have.

BURNETT: Right, of course.

REINER: So, I think that, you know, we have about another week and then we'll start to see some surges in cities around the country.

BURNETT: And, obviously, you know, we all saw in some places masks and social distancing were more prevalent than others but as you point out, not uniform by any stretch.

And this -- you're looking live here at New York, one of the most masked places in the country. But people I know point back to Philadelphia obviously in 1918.

Dr. Ioannidis, at least a dozen states that do track hospitalizations which seems to be a better measure than cases because cases may reflect simply increased testing as opposed to hospitalizations. They've seen an increase since Memorial Day weekend. Does that tell you anything?

DR. JOHN IOANNIDIS, EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND RESEARCHER, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: I think this is a worse sign and we need to be vigilant. We need to be very cautious.

Reopening is an experiment. Lockdown is an experiment. Reopening is a double experiment.

We have never had any prior experience with this virus in terms of what might be doing in terms of a second wave, how quickly it might come, how overwhelming it might be.

I want to be optimistic, but optimism alone does not suffice. You know, protests, for example, were very important. We had a major trauma in our national psyche, and we need to fight against injustice and all the sense of violence and racism surrounding us.

And the same time, we need to maintain precautions very vigilantly. And it's very likely that even though the first epidemic wave has waned, if you look across the country, there's probably still several sites (ph) that have a substantial number of infected people, not infected and recovered but also infected. It could range anywhere from one in a thousand to perhaps close to 1 percent in some cases. We just don't know because our testing is not as complete as it should be.

BURNETT: Which is incredible that we're saying that even now.

So, Dr. Reiner, it also comes as we're all being told certain things we were told are no longer true and actually, no, they are true, and I'm talking about whether you can get it by touching something, I'm talking about whether asymptomatic people can spread it.

The WHO has been coming out and saying things that are completely contradictory to what we've been told. On Monday, they said asymptomatic spread is rare, you know? And then they kind of tried to walk that back.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci and the U.S. came out taking the WHO to task for those comments point blank. Here's what he said.


FAUCI: The evidence that we have given the percentage of people, which is about 25 percent, 45 percent of the totality of infected people, likely, are without symptoms. And we know from epidemiological studies that they can transmit to someone who is uninfected even when they're without symptoms. So, to make a statement, to say that's a rare event, was not correct.


BURNETT: OK. But that statement came from the World Health Organization, Dr. Reiner, and we all saw it. And a lot of people were texting me saying, OK, wait a minute, they just completely changed, do any of these people know what they're talking about?

How big of a problem is it that that was coming from the WHO?

REINER: All this disinformation, you know, really erodes the message that we've been trying to propagate over the last few months.

The World Health Organization has been wrong about a lot, and they're wrong about this. We know that about 40 percent -- up to about 40 percent of people with the virus may have very little or no symptoms at all, and there's really some very solid data out of places like Italy that have shown that people who are asymptomatic have substantial viral loads and do indeed transmit the virus.

So, I think that was unfortunate, incorrect, and I'm glad Dr. Fauci corrected the record.


BURNETT: Dr. Ioannidis, you know, we have the latest numbers from the CDC, and, of course, this changes and it can change. But they're now saying they estimate a deadliness here of about .4 of 1 percent. Dr. Fauci earlier, you know, a couple of months ago, thought it could be 1 percent. He testified to Congress, you know, ten times greater than the flu could be 1 percent. And I say this to make the point we don't know but that the numbers have come down.

You made a big splash early on when you said the numbers could be exceedingly low, in fact so low we wouldn't be able to beat this because it would be everywhere and it wouldn't be that deadly. Point four percent is right within your range. You said .025 to .625 percent.

So, do you feel at all vindicated or would that be the wrong way to describe it?

IOANNIDIS: I think that when it comes to such a serious problem, any sort of vindication or proving right or proving wrong is really a very minor detail. What matters here is to save lives. And I think that science has made a lot of progress since these early estimates were circulated and all of us were struggling to come up with some estimates.

What we know now is that it is a serious problem. We know that it can spread very widely. We know it can create very rapid epidemic waves. And we know also that its -- infection rate can vary a lot depending on how we deal with it.

If we manage to avoid massacres in nursing homes, in hospitals, in deprived populations, in disadvantaged populations, then probably we can do pretty well. If conversely we don't get to protect people who are at high risk, it can be a complete disaster.

So, we're still learning. I think that we have some reason to be optimistic but also enough to be cognizant of the need to remain vigilant.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Dr. Ioannidis, Dr. Reiner as well.

And I also make the point to everyone, you know, even if you're looking at .4 percent if you want to see that lower than forecasted, you still have to couple that with up to 200,000 Americans being dead with that by the end of August.

OUTFRONT next, new details about how close Secretary Esper was close to resigning on the crackdown on protesters for the president's photo- op. General Joseph Votel who served under President Obama and President Trump responds.

And Trump's campaign demanding CNN apologize for a poll, the poll happened to show him trailing Joe Biden by 14 points and you'll want to hear our network's response.



BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump dismissing any discussion to rename U.S. military bases bearing the names of Confederate soldiers. Trump tweeting: My administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military institutions, saying that they stood for winning victory and freedom.

This comes as defense and army secretaries say they're open to having a conversation.

OUTFRONT now, General Joseph Votel. He is a retired four star general. He served as the head of U.S. Central Command under both Presidents Obama and President Trump.

And, General, I very much appreciate you taking the time to be with us tonight.

When we knew you were coming on and that was before the president made these comments and that's how it goes. So, now, I know you've been stationed at two of those bases, Forts Bragg and Benning, at different points over your career.

Do you think that there should be a discussion at least about renaming them?


Yes, I do think there is. I don't have an emotional attachment to the names of those bases.

But what I do have an emotional attachment to is to the units that I served in while I was there and the people that I served with, and the communities that are surrounding them. You know, Fort Benning has Columbus and -- Columbus, Georgia, and Phenix City, Alabama, are great American communities. And at Fort Bragg, you have Fayetteville and Southern Pines and Pinehurst, Bragg (ph), you have other great communities right there that are just very, very supportive of the military, and I do have an emotional attachment to that.

BURNETT: Which makes sense, right? I mean, it's about the people and their bravery. It's not about the names or the history.

I mean, so, you know, we're reporting tonight, General, that Secretary Esper consider resigning following his obviously very public now disagreement with the president over using active duty military to crack down on protesters. What's your reaction to that?

VOTEL: Erin, I don't have any unique insight into what might have gone on behind the scenes there. I -- I would just say that I remain confident in our military leadership. I think they're focused on their -- on their North Star and serving the country and making sure we're ready and prepared for the challenges that we face, and I think that is where we've got -- we've got to focus our efforts.

BURNETT: And, General Votel, you wrote an op-ed last week and I just want to quote part of it for our viewers. You know, you said, and I quote you: Recent events at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., have been a stark reminder of how easily the public's trust in its military can be lost, and in so doing, they have renewed the public's focus on the need for an apolitical military.

So, how much do you think the events of the last couple of weeks or how do you think this week has played into public trust in the military?

VOTEL: Well, I think it's -- I think, as I mentioned in my article, I think it's brought it to the attention of the public here (ph). And it's brought it into our public discussion, and I think -- I think our nation has been extraordinarily well-served by an apolitical military and I think as you look back in our -- in our history and certainly the founders and the writers of our Constitution, I think they -- they looked at it this way and they were very careful to guard and make sure we did not have an army or a military that would be in a position to trample on the rights of our citizens.

So, this is -- this has been safeguarded in our -- in our Constitution and in our laws. And the Posse Comitatus Act that you've heard frequently talk about really makes the presumption that, you know, military shouldn't play a leading role in local law enforcement. Congress, of course, has passed the Insurrection Act that provides an exemption, in exceptional circumstances, as I think our secretary of defense said last week.


VOTEL: It's a last resort. You know, perhaps we should consider that.

BURNETT: But, General, you and so many of your colleagues have now had to speak out and I know you don't -- I know you don't like to do it. I know you're not looking to come out and make headlines on things.


But yet you feel it was important -- you feel it was important to come out and say this. That this was a moment that was worthy of that. Why?

VOTEL: Well, in my particular -- I'll speak for myself. In my particular case, I was -- I was invited to speak out by the Center of Ethics and Rule of Law at University of Pennsylvania, and they made their blog available to me. And I agreed to do it, but I had some stipulations.

I didn't want to do any personal attacks. I did not want to critique my former colleagues. I didn't want to make things harder for them to do things, and I wanted to my -- I wanted to have my focus be on providing information and creating understanding and clarity for what's been a very, very -- very, very complex, I think, topic here. And so, that was my -- that was my reason for writing.

BURNETT: Well, General Votel, I appreciate your taking the time and being with us. Thank you.

VOTEL: Great to be with you.

BURNETT: And also new tonight, CNN rejecting a request from the Trump campaign to retract and apologize for a recent poll which showed Joe Biden leading President Trump. The poll showed Biden leading Trump by 14 percentage points, 55-41. Also showed Trump's approval rating at 38, compared to 57 percent disapprove, which is roughly on par with approval ratings for one-term presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush at this point in their re-election years.

Now responding to the Trump campaign's cease and desist letter, which is what CNN received, our general counsel, David Vigilante, says in part, quote: To my knowledge, this is the first time in its 40-year history that CNN has been threatened with legal action because an American politician or campaign did not like CNN's polling results. To the extent we have received legal threats from political leaders in the past, they have typically come from countries like Venezuela or other regimes where there is little or no respect for free and independent media.

Your letter is factually and legally baseless. It is yet another bad faith attempt by the campaign to threaten litigation to muzzle speech it doesn't want voters to read or hear. Your allegations and demands are rejected in their entirety.

OUTFRONT now, CNN senior political analyst, John Avlon.

John, let's start with -- have you ever seen a campaign demand a retraction, an apology like this over --


BURNETT: -- over a poll?

AVLON: Absolutely not. And certainly not a president, and that's because it's absurd on its face. It's silly. It's sad. It's desperate. And it's not a little pathetic but it's consistent with the president's impulse.

You know, in February 2017, he tweeted out any negative polls you see are fake news.

And so, this is his impulse. He's railing against data he doesn't like and his subservient staff is trying to please the boss. It's pathetic.

BURNETT: And, you know, then candidate Donald Trump said, quote, you know I'm a poll maven, which he is, that's why this letter came, the cease-and-desist letter, because he cares so deeply. Really, it's one poll, who should care, there is a new one every day.

He also said, I believe in polls, but only, I guess, in so far as this, from March 4th, 2016.


DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I love those polls when they're good. Now if they're no good, I don't report them.

And "The Los Angeles Time" has us six points up nationwide. Good poll. If they weren't, I wouldn't be telling you about it, I promise.

If we're doing badly, I don't know. No, it's true. When we do badly, I don't know about polls, right? But when we're doing well, I know about polls.


BURNETT: So, now you get this reaction now. A cease-and-desist letter which, you know, obviously, you know, he's doing it, he thinks it plays to certain people and it probably does, but he's also doing it -- and this is a person that, you know, I've covered for a very long time because deeply matters to him. He's deeply upset. Why?

AVLON: Because it makes him look bad. Because there is no credible polling that shows him beating Joe Biden at this point.

We're a long way out. Polls are not determinative. The only poll that counts is on election day.

But to take this step, I think what the president is trying to show he can be tough. He doesn't really care about the First Amendment implications to the president.

But think about this. The president is ordering his staffers to do this because he is furious, because he's thin-skinned, so his lawyers and his pollsters go out and try to yes him to death and go do it.

But guess what, Mr. President, they're laughing at you. They're laughing at you behind your back because they know it's absurd. They think it might work. You're the client. You're the audience of one.

But it's a sign of weakness, not strength that he's doing this today.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, just to make the obvious point -- sending a cease and desist letter over a poll is an absurd thing, and the lawyers who wrote that letter know that. They're not clueless or unintelligent people to state the obvious, right?

AVLON: That's right. It's going to show he's not a war with media, he's not at war with journalism. He's at war with reality.

BURNETT: All right. John Avlon, thank you very much. I appreciate it, as always. Great to see you at this time of the day.

And thanks so much to all of you as always for being with us this hour.

"AC360" with Anderson Cooper begins right now.