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Rise in New Coronavirus Cases; Retail Sales Jump for May; Charges over Bolton's Tell-All Book; Cruz and Perlman Twitter War. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 16, 2020 - 08:30   ET



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think -- I think there were two things. And we've been following this -- this model closely. First of all, they were only modeling up until recently, until August 4th. So they just recently increased the model trajectory to October 1st.

The second thing is that, you know, we're reopening. So they've been tracking a lot of mobility data, trying to figure out, with reopening, how much more mobile are people becoming, how much more are they actually moving around. They use cell phone data for that, to try and track that mobility and then try and overlay people's behavior on it. They're moving around. Are people also wearing masks? When they started to add all those different factors in, the numbers did not look good. They increased.

Now, I will tell you as well that this same model, you may remember, because we've been following this for several months now, originally, you know, they had August 4th, they predicted that some 60,000 people would die by August 4th. That -- that was the model for some time. And, obviously, you can look at the right side of the screen and we're in the middle of June and that's almost double that already.

My point is, that these models are just that, they're just models. And, you know, sadly, I think this 200,000 number may be an under prediction based on what we're starting to see in several states around the country.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Goodness. Sobering to hear. I wonder because, as you say, reopening is certainly a factor here. And we've seen the pictures across the country, people feel kind of liberated now, right, and many going out without simple protections.

From a policy perspective, does this necessitate reclosing in some circumstances, in a place like New York? I mean Andrew Cuomo has talked -- has talked about that. Is that going to be necessary?

GUPTA: I mean, it's possible. I think there's a few things to sort of look at here. And I spent most of yesterday sort of talking to experts about this exact point.

We have this graph sort of showing how the United States has sort of progressed since, you know, early March, late February until now. I don't know if we can put up that graph. But you'll see that sort of things sort of peaked in early April there.

So what happened after that? We started to come down. Why was that? It was in large part because of these stay at home orders.

What we've learned along the way is that there's a couple things. The stay at home orders clearly worked. That number would have -- that peek would have continued to go straight up. You see that March 23rd, it would have just kept going on up. People predicted it could have reached possibly tragically, you know, a million people may have died. But it came down and -- or started to plateau, at least.

We also have learned that masks make a big difference. You know, there was a lot of back and forth on this. But, right now, if you were to ask the question, I have the coronavirus, how likely am I to spread it to you if you're within six feet of me? What's the answer to that question? We still don't know for sure, but early evidence suggest it's around 17 to 20 percent, 17 to 20 percent. If you wear a mask, it drops down to about 3 percent. So about a six fold decrease in mitigation. A six fold mitigation decrease in terms of the likelihood of spread. That's significant. It's not perfect.

But my point is that, you may not need to shut things down again if you can have a sense of trying to decrease spread as much as possible in the environment. We're not doing that right now, and that's part of the problem. I think that's why we're starting to see this uptick in places around the country.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay, as you know, President Trump is holding a rally this weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So let's take a look at where the numbers are in Oklahoma, because I think that that's one of the cities -- states that is seeing a rise and a spike.

GUPTA: It is.

CAMEROTA: So if we can pull that up there. What do you see there in those numbers?

GUPTA: Well, you know, and the numbers are going up. And this is an important point, Alisyn, because whenever you look at communities and you're thinking about reopening, you have to look at how the virus is spreading within that -- that locality as well as the country. There's certain places that are going to be doing better than others. This is clearly not a place where, you know, things are looking like they're receding by any means.

So if you're in a situation where the virus is clearly not only spreading but increasing in spread, the scenario that is being described where you have tens -- I think 20,000 people potentially, maybe more now, I guess they're opening up another part of the theater or another part of the auditorium, they are going to have a lot of people in the indoor space, not necessarily mandating wearing masks, where you know the virus is spreading and increasing in that spread. That is the worst case scenario.

If you had to describe a worst case scenario to increase the likelihood of spread of the virus --


GUPTA: That would be it. In a community where the virus is spreading robustly, putting a lot of people together from different municipalities, not necessarily wearing masks, and then having them go back to their homes, possibly spreading it even more, that is the sort of super spreader event possibility that everyone is trying to avoid. So that's a -- that's a huge problem.

CAMEROTA: Maybe everybody will listen and wear masks for their own protection as they go into that rally. We'll see what happens this weekend.

GUPTA: We'll see.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, thank you very much. Great to talk to you.

GUPTA: You got it.

CAMEROTA: OK, there's been a big jump in retail sales as America's economy tries to restart.


So we discuss what the numbers are, next.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

We do have some breaking news right now. Stronger than expected retail sales in May as American consumers spend more and ease restrictions.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans has the numbers for us.

How does retail look?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, this was a bigger than expected jump here, 17.7 percent was the jump in the month in terms of retail sales. We've never seen a number like that. But, remember, we've never seen a number like the prior two months either, and those were down. Retail sales down sharply.

So you don't have pre-pandemic level of activity here for the consumer by any stretch of the imagination, but a bigger than expected jump. And so what you're hearing people say is, this is more evidence that maybe the worst is behind us here for the consumer.

Two and a half million jobs were created, of course, in May, so that means people may have felt a little more confident about spending some money, spending in all kinds of different categories, furniture and clothing and the like.

But I think this is a good reminder of how far down we have gone in terms of the economy and now we're starting to see these, as they're called green shoots, where things are getting a little bit better again.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, many stores weren't even open.

ROMANS: You're right.

CAMEROTA: And so is this online sales for May?

ROMANS: It's online sales, it's some sales in stores, it's some sales in gas stations, for example, and the kinds of things you need to buy. But some stores were beginning to open. You know, we saw Macy's begin to open again. We saw some of the big Simon Properties, the big malls were starting to open in certain states. So there were physical places to go. Foot traffic is down dramatically, of course.


We've never seen a time like this before. But just that 17.7 percent number, it's almost double what economists have been expecting. So this shows a resiliency in the consumer, I think, that caught a lot of people by surprise.

CAMEROTA: Let's bring in CNN anchor Julia Chatterley for a look at how the markets are responding.

What are you seeing, Julia?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is interesting for me.

Good morning, guys.

There was pent-up demand in this number, first, before we look at market reaction. Remember people weren't spending in March and April, to Christine's point. We had stimulus checks. We had the $600 bump on a weekly basis in these unemployment benefits. So for the people that didn't lose jobs or that weren't hoarding money, this was the first opportunity for months to get out there and spend. And I think that's important. You are going to see big numbers on the bounce-back.

The question is when those numbers then filter out at the end of this month, if we don't see Congress agree on another stimulus check, for example, what happens to the ongoing recovery in spending? This is key. The positivity that you're seeing in markets this morning all comes down to talk about potentially seeing some kind of infrastructure spending bill. Bloomberg was reporting that earlier.

We saw Jay Powell, the Federal Reserve, throwing more stimulus at the market yesterday too. This comes down to support in stimulus. More still is needed despite this better than expected retail sales number today.

CAMEROTA: Up 840 points at the moment in terms of Dow futures. Julia Chatterley, Christine Romans, thank you both very much.

OK, so coming up, there's a messy fight between a Hollywood actor and Senator Ted Cruz that is playing out on Twitter. What's that about?

But first, coronavirus has been especially devastating for the elderly. While social distancing can protect them physically, it can also be, of Couse, emotionally isolating. So in this week's "Impact Your World," we look at a New York non-profit matching young volunteers with seniors virtually.


ROBERT BRAJER, WIDOWER: It's a good feeling that you don't feel alone.

BOB GOLDSTEIN, VOLUNTEER, DOROT: It's good to see you. I haven't seen you in a minute.

BRAJER: I miss you. I'd like to hug you. You still look like you haven't had enough sleep.

Bob is a sweet kid.

GOLDSTEIN: We talk about our lives and, you know, music, and politics, and movies. And it's really just like a nice time that we have together.

BRAJER: A good friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For many of the older adults, their partners and spouses are no longer living or, in some cases, they never married. And so, as a result, as their social circles have diminished greatly, it's really the friendly visitor that plays such a meaningful role. And for younger people, studies have shown that when they engage with older adults, they also have an increased sense of self.

BRAJER: The biggest sadness I have is there's no library.

GOLDSTEIN: Well, Bob (ph) actually kind of worked in the music industry, which I'm in.

BRAJER: And I worked as a manager in the record department.

GOLDSTEIN: The walls of his apartment are just covered with old records. And I think he kind of gets a kick out of me telling him stories from the road. It's really nice to be able to get advice from him.

BRAJER: I think he deserves a medal.




SCIUTTO: President Trump's former national security adviser, John Bolton, is moving ahead with plans to publish a tell-all book next week about his time in the administration, despite White House threats that doing so could open him, says the president, to criminal charges. Joining us now, CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE

SOURCES," Brian Stelter.

And seeing that event yesterday, Brian, was remarkable because it's hard to sort through all the misleading and false claims by -- by Trump and Barr. I mean Trump says every conversation with him is classified. Just not true.


SCIUTTO: But, Barr, the attorney general, you know, claiming that he's never seen a book published about a sitting president by a former adviser while that president's still in office. I mean Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, there are numerous presidents.

STELTER: Yes. There are many examples of this in the past. From the Bush years, from the Obama years. But there's the attorney general flatly making a false statement, claiming this has never happened before. More importantly, the president is claiming Bolton's going to have criminal problems if this book comes out.

Well, memo to the White House, this book is out. It's already been printed. It's already been sent to distributors across the country. ABC News reporters have already read it because they've already interviewed Bolton about it for a special this weekend. This book is coming out. And even if the president does try to take legal action, which right now he's implying he will do, there's nothing that can stop this from coming out.

So the question then becomes, why is Trump so afraid of the book? Well, because Bolton is alleging Ukraine-like misconduct all around the world. What we spent months talking about with the impeachment trial, Bolton says it happened all over the place. So this book will be a very big deal when it comes out actually this time next week, next Tuesday.

CAMEROTA: Brian, wasn't it already waylaid? Wasn't the whole point that they had to vet it for classified information?


CAMEROTA: And has that now happened?


CAMEROTA: Has that process happened?

STELTER: Right. The book was delayed a couple of times, March, and then May, now it's June. And it was delayed because there was this review of material in the book. Just like, you know, any -- any kind of former government official who -- who had access to classified material, you've got to submit your manuscript, make sure there's nothing classified in it.

[08:50:03] Usually that's a pretty easy process for the government, but sometimes it is slowed down. Sometimes there are attempts to -- to make it more complicated. And that's what -- this has happened to Bolton. His lawyers, however, say he has cleared that process. There is nothing classified in the book. And we will all be able to judge for ourselves soon.

SCIUTTO: Brian Stelter, remarkable resignations, are they not, at the Voice of America, an organization with an illustrious history in this country of spreading the word of America around the world, but as a reputable news organization. What's happening there now and why did these two senior executives resign?

STELTER: Yes, the book about Bolton is about Trump and his power. This is also about Trump and his power. He's been trying for years to appoint his leader of Voice of America and the rest of the federally funded international broadcasting arms of the United States. You know, Radio Free (ph) Europe, all of these sorts of news outlets that broadcast, not in the U.S. but elsewhere in the world. President Trump has attacked Voice of America, claimed it promotes Chinese propaganda and he has desperately wanted his nominee, Michael Pack, to take over all of these media companies.

Well, now, Pack is been -- he is in charge. He has been confirmed by the Senate. He's taking over. And that's why these two leaders of VOA stepped down yesterday. They resigned. They said, hey, the new guy can bring in whoever he wants. But there's a lot of fear inside VOA that this is going to be an attempt to turn the news operation into a Trump mouthpiece, into a Trump propaganda machine. That's the fear among journalists. Pack swears he's not going to do that, but that's the fear among journalists. And yesterday our colleague, Jim Acosta, reported that Sebastian Gorka is being talked about as a possible board member. Sebastian Gorka, the Trump loyalist, the radio host, former White House aide. If that is what happens, if we see Voice of America populated by Trump loyalists, that is very concerning about the future of this operation.

CAMEROTA: Brian, let's talk about what's happening in Oklahoma state. One of the football players really did not like the t-shirt that his coach was wearing.

STELTER: This is wild, yes.

CAMEROTA: It was -- it is wild. It was for OAN, you know, one of these cockamamie news -- alleged news sites. And so what happened?

STELTER: I was wondering what -- how you were going to describe One American News.

CAMEROTA: I know. So was I.

STELTER: It is this very small, but influential, right wing channel. Influential because President Trump watches it. That's where he got that crazy idea last week about that peace activist in Buffalo being an ANTIFA member. Some kind of scheme or something like that. You know, this channel broadcasts, you know, kind of plain vanilla news and then mixes in conspiracy theory poison. And so I respect why this player at Oklahoma State said, whoa, coach, you know, what are you doing wearing this shirt? You know, you're promoting this brand that does not align with any of our values, that promotes conspiracy theories, that confuses the president.

Now, by the end of the day, the coach and the player did have a conversation. They seemed to work it out. But I think that's an interesting example of players using their power. We're seeing this all over the place, the NFL and other places where players are using their power as athletes to effect change.

SCIUTTO: OAN also accused of channeling Russian disinformation, which we should note that.

STELTER: Disinformation. Yes.

SCIUTTO: Final question.

Why is Senator Ted Cruz getting in a social media battle with an actor? I mean I -- so many times I feel like I have to shield my children from silly language and behavior by adults. What's happening?

STELTER: And that's what's happening here. But, you know, Ted Cruz is in this battle only days after saying that he doesn't read tweets on Twitter. You know, that was his excuse when the president put up that post about ANTIFA last week, he doesn't actually read what's on Twitter. And yet then you see a senator getting in a Twitter spat.

You know, it's this sort of hypocrisy that makes people want to pull (ph) out of politics. Makes people want to know the whole (INAUDIBLE) thing is a joke. There's such attempts to avoid discussing the president, discussing what he is says on Twitter. And Cruz jumps through (INAUDIBLE) these rhetorical hoops and fails while doing it.

By the way, guys, happy five year anniversary. Five years ago today President Trump went down the escalator and entered the race. I feel like we'll never forget this day five years ago.

CAMEROTA: And I don't even know. Time has lost all meaning. I mean I don't even know if it was five years ago or five minutes ago or five decades ago.

STELTER: Five years ago today. I remember exactly where I was.


STELTER: Actually, I was at a bar. It was 11:00 in the morning. Maybe that was symbolic.

CAMEROTA: That says more about you, I feel, Brian Stelter.


STELTER: Then I'm walking down the street and I see it on -- I see CNN's on. I'm walking down the street. I see CNN's on. And Trump is speaking. And I didn't think he was actually going to run. I have to admit, I didn't think he was going to run. So I walked inside, turned up the volume and now the rest is history.

CAMEROTA: And here we are five years -- five years later.

I'm sorry, I just have one more question about this spat between Ted Cruz and this actor, Ron Perlman.


CAMEROTA: Maybe we -- maybe we have a picture that we can put up of Ron Perlman because he is challenging Ted Cruz to the wrestling match, right? I mean, so -- OK, hold on, we don't have that, but I do have the -- we do have the Twitter exchange where he says to Ted Cruz, this is the actor, you talk a good game but when you've got Hollywood -- oh, no, sorry, this is Ted Cruz talking to the actor. Listen, hell boy, you talk a good game when you've got Hollywood makeup and stunt men, but I'll bet you 10,000 to the non-political charity of your choice that you couldn't last five minutes in the wrestling ring with Jim Jordan without getting pinned.


You up for it? Or does your publicist say it's too risky? Then the actor says, tell you what, Teddy boy, since mentioning Jim Jordan and wrestling is problematic, why don't we say blank him and just make it you and me. I'll give $50,000 to Black Lives Matter and you can keep all the taxpayer money you were thinking of spending.


Is that -- is this really going to happen?

STELTER: I was afraid you were going to ask me that.

Let me say this, President Trump's not the only one that maybe should put down the Twitter device once in a while, right? The world doesn't always like this. Five, ten years ago, you didn't have senators getting in fights and offering to get into the rings with actors. What -- what happened? What went wrong? What went right? I don't know.

CAMEROTA: On that note --


CAMEROTA: On that philosophical note, Brian, thank you very much.

STELTER: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.

Jim, thank you very much. I shall see you manana.

SCIUTTO: Oh, promise to be here. Always good to be with you.

CAMEROTA: Fantastic.

CNN's coverage continues after this break.