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Coronaviruses Cases Spike; Bolton's New Book Allegations; Iceland Opens Borders; Trump Softens Stance on Kaepernick. Aired 6:30- 7a ET

Aired June 18, 2020 - 06:30   ET



DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: So here in the Texas Medical Center, in Houston, which is the world's largest medical center, we still have only about half capacity for ICU beds (INAUDIBLE). We have (INAUDIBLE) ICU beds in our Texas Medical Center. But we don't want to start seeing a continuing climb. And I guess my point is, sharing this with our community and (INAUDIBLE) docs, not only in Texas, but across the south is, what makes people think these numbers are going to go down by themselves?

We -- we've -- we're -- we have no precedent for that. And we're clearly not seeing effects of sunlight or weather or higher humidity. That's not happening here. It's not happening in Brazil. So what other tools do we have? We won't have a vaccine until next year at the earliest and we're trying to accelerate a vaccine as well. So all we have is social distancing, masks and contact tracing. And if we're not going to use those options, what else do you -- what else do you do?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Dr. Hotez, I want to ask you because it is known that if you have more opening, cases are going to go up. I mean that's just a fact. Cases rising, of course, different from hospitalizations rising, or death tolls rising.

I mean how can you judge what level of reopening is manageable, right, because of course you don't want cases to jump off the charts. On the other hand, I mean, is the option staying at home until there's a vaccine, right? I mean how do you judge the middle ground there that's acceptable?

HOTEZ: Yes, that's a great question. So the middle ground is this. The models told us back in the spring that we needed to extend that stay- at-home throughout the month of May, and then we would have been in what's called containment mode, meaning it's in one new case (INAUDIBLE) residence per day. And then our public health system could manage that through the contact tracing and all the things that we've been talking about, (INAUDIBLE) surveillance, monitoring rises in fever cases. Nobody was prepared to do that. And so things opened up prematurely.

And the problem was, there was not a substantial effort to put a public health system in place that was commensurate with the economic recovery. And so there was no mechanism to really monitor those new cases, to have mask orders in place and all of the tools at our disposal. And now we don't see any option other than to start re- implementing significant levels of social distancing once again. We're not (INAUDIBLE) yet in (INAUDIBLE) but I think that's what we have to move towards.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you very much for giving us the concerning status report right now.

Great to talk to you.

HOTEZ: Great talking with you.

SCIUTTO: No question.

A quick programming note from our end. Join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a new coronavirus town hall. It answers all your questions with facts tonight, 8:00 Eastern Time, only on CNN.

President Trump, do you remember this, was impeached exactly six months ago. But John Bolton now accuses President Trump of a number of things, including begging China for help in the upcoming election. China. And offering favors to other dictators. More of the remarkable revelations in his new book. That's next.



CAMEROTA: There are explosive new accusations this morning from President Trump's former national security adviser and a longtime Fox News contributor, John Bolton. In his upcoming book, Bolton calls President Trump, quote, erratic, and stunningly uninformed. He also accuses the president of requesting election help from China's president. Bolton writes, he then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China's economic capability to affect the ongoing campaign, pleading with President Xi to ensure that President Trump would win. He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.

Joining us now, CNN political commentator Mitch Landrieu.

Oh, boy. Mayor, great to see you.

This is not just another book. This is -- this goes further than the other books. This is more explicit than the other books. This was the president's national security adviser.


CAMEROTA: And he was there. I mean the book is called "In the Room Where it Happened." He was there listening to these conversations. He also says that when President Trump asked President Xi to help him win re-election coming up in 2020, that there was a translator and that he would have included that whole transcript, verbatim, but that was spiked during the vetting process by the White House or, I guess, by the State Department. This is in a different category than somebody, it sounds like, with just an axe to grind.

MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that, you know, if you back up a bit, you've had General Mattis, you've had Rex Tillerson, you've had John Kelly, and now you have had John Bolton, all appointed by the president -- these aren't Democratic talking points -- that have confirmed a pattern and practice of a president who doesn't tell the truth, who abuses his power, who obstructs justice all for his own personal gain. I mean what's shocking about it is that it's not shocking at all except for the intensity and the depth and the repetition of it. And, you know, I'm hoping that the senators are listening and paying attention to what is going on because John Bolton just confirmed what the House alleged some time ago.


Mitch, we want to play some sound here that just came across of John Bolton talking about his book and going explicitly to that question of competence. Have a listen and I want to get your reaction.



JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don't think he's fit for office. I -- I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job.


There really isn't any guiding principle that I was able to discern, other than what's good for Donald Trump's re-election.


SCIUTTO: Two allegations there, not fit, but also that he's running the office of the presidency and making decisions purely for his own interests. Your reaction?

LANDRIEU: Well, my reaction is this, every time somebody criticizes the president, he and his team talk about Democratic talking points. This is John Bolton. This is a guy that many people in this country disagree with philosophically on the Democratic side, and yet he continues to repeat what other people who have been close to the president have repeated. I don't know what it's going to take for the Republicans in the Senate to listen to what is being said.


LANDRIEU: He has said that he's incompetent, he doesn't listen, and he uses every -- his power for his own personal use. And that was that's what was alleged in the impeachment allegations.


CAMEROTA: It gets worse, Mayor. According to John -- LANDRIEU: Can it?

CAMEROTA: It does. It actually does.


CAMEROTA: Because according to John Bolton, President Trump was in favor of concentration camps for the Uighur Muslims. So when President Xi was saying that he was considering doing this, imprisoning them, President Trump appeared to give his endorsement. Here's this part of the book. At the opening dinner of the Osaka G-20 meeting in June 2019, with only interpreters present, President Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps. According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.

And so, I mean, Mayor, he's in favor of concentration camps. Bolton says that he is easily duped by foreign dictators, like Putin. That he falls for the things that they present him with. He asked China for help with the upcoming election. You know, as you know, lawmakers have already impeached him. What are they supposed to do now with all of this information?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, that's outrageous that the president did that. That is antithetical to everything that America stands for and he should be ashamed of himself for doing it.

Secondly, the House did file articles of impeachment and the -- and the number of senators did not respond, notwithstanding the fact that they had overwhelming evidence. John Bolton should have testified during that hearing. And I'm not happy and America should be -- shouldn't be -- should not be happy that he didn't.

But this book now reveals that, again, we only have one more chance, and that is to take the power back and we're going to have to do that through the ballot box. I hope again that American citizens are listening to the people that Donald Trump himself appointed, who have clearly stated time and time again, this is a man that does not tell the truth. He abuses the power of the presidency and he does it for his own personal gain.


LANDRIEU: That is the book. That's the story. And "In the Room Where it Happens," that's exactly what has been heard time and time again by everyone that has worked for him.

SCIUTTO: Yes. A consistent story. I want - I want to ask you about the election here because he asked China for help to be re-elected, specifically China to buy agricultural products from swing states. The president negotiated a phase one trade deal, as he called it, where China did exactly that, at least it promised to, $200 billion in purchases.

I just wonder, can you argue that that corrupts the coming election or -- in that the president asked -- made that request and then China seemed to follow through? We don't -- we don't know what he gave China in return.

LANDRIEU: I don't know that, but the president of the United States should not be working with a foreign government to interfere with or to manipulate American elections. That is against the law. And it's wrong.

And, of course, this isn't the first time that allegation was made. And it's not only about China.

And so, again, John Bolton confirms patterns and practices that we've seen from this president since almost the day he walked into office. And so the American people are the ones who are going to have to decide. That is the only thing that is left in terms of whether or not we want to take power back that the president has obviously abused for his own personal interests. And it's clear, and the case, as far as I'm concerned is shut. Now it's just time to vote and to exercise our power to regain America's place in the world.


CAMEROTA: Mayor Mitch Landrieu, we really appreciate you coming in with your perspective on all of this.

LANDRIEU: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

LANDRIEU: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So tourists are returning to Iceland after the country effectively beat coronavirus. How did they do it? Well, Max Foster is in one of the most beautiful locations for us, next.



SCIUTTO: Iceland is one country that has now reopened its borders, welcoming back tourists from around the world. This despite a high rate of coronavirus infections. Iceland, though, has one of the lowest death rates. They have not only flattened the curve, but virtually eliminated it.

CNN's Max Foster is live in Iceland with more.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, tourists can now come in and take in incredible scenes like this. And the reason they're able to do that comes down to some quite sophisticated science, but actually most of it just feels like common sense.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breath in your nose slowly.

FOSTER (voice over): Iceland's latest visitor experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breathe out slowly and just try to relax.

FOSTER: A virus testing station for incoming air passengers.

FOSTER (on camera): While not the most comfortable welcome I've had at an airport, but it was either that or go into quarantine for 14 days here.

FOSTER (voice over): It may be a remote and sparsely populated volcanic island, but Iceland had a high virus infection rate. That didn't translate into a high death rate, though. In fact, it had one of the lowest in the world.

The country didn't go into a full lockdown. The restaurants stayed open, faces uncovered. When someone tested positive, a rigorous contact tracing system kicked in.


KRISTIN YR GUNNARSDOTTIR, RECOVERED FROM COVID-19: I got a call and I was told that I was -- I had been around a person that tested positive for Covid. And it was a waiter at the place where I had lunch with my co-workers. The tracing team told me that I needed to go to self- isolation.

FOSTER: This is the lab where all the test samples are sent. I got my result by text a few hours after landing.

FOSTER (on camera): Here it is. You have not been diagnosed with Covid-19.

FOSTER (voice over): They don't just test for the virus here, but also its mutations. That allows them to map which countries the latest infections came from and how they spread through Iceland.

KARI STEFANSSON, CEO FO DECODE GENETICS: Since we sequenced the virus of everyone infected in Iceland, we can first of all determine where the mutation came from and then we can follow it as it is spreading in society.

FOSTER: Kari Stefansson, who runs the lab, is baffled that other countries aren't using the same system.

STEFANSSON: And I insist that what has happened in the United States, what has happened in Great Britain is that because of lack of screening, because of a lack of an attempt to understand what is really going on, it has been really difficult to contain the infection.

FOSTER: But scientists had a big advantage here. Politicians, including the prime minister, stood back and allowed them to lead on the pandemic and front the public response.

KATRIN JAKOBSDOTTIR, PRIME MINISTER OF ICELAND: This crisis is not economy (ph) and it was very important not to politicize this crises.

FOSTER: Now they've pretty much beaten the virus, the government is pushing to reopen the country for business.

JAKOBSDOTTIR: In Iceland we were faced with very high unemployment rates right now. We are not very used to high unemployment rates. So the main -- you know, our guideline I -- now in the government will be how to lower that number and have more people working again.

FOSTER: So as the government reopens tourist sites like the Blue Lagoon, visitors will return and refill these pools. Inevitably, there will be risks, but the government feels now is the right time to restart the economy.


CAMEROTA: Best stand-up ever, Max. I mean on a larger note, you've done something really right, I feel, with your career and we should -- Jim and I will be following suit on that, that you have a fantastic boondoggle.

But I guess on the more important point, you know, Iceland is tiny, right? So they've managed to get their arms around coronavirus. The United States is big. Are there -- is there a model that the U.S. could be following that Iceland presents?

FOSTER: Well, it's true, you know, less than 400,000 people. But, actually, the scientist I was speaking to there said that America could be doing a lot better. He was actually baffled by the fact that American universities do have the talent and there are the facilities in America to be sequencing the mutations, so then you can understand how the virus moves through the country and you can understand how useful that is for health authorities trying to track the virus and see who's been affected.

So, for example, you might assume that a virus came in from Italy, but if you sequence it, you can work out that it came in from Australia, for example. And that would affect how it moves through the country and who you contact and try to track down.

CAMEROTA: Max, thank you very much for this great report. Now you can get back to swimming in the Blue Lagoon. We really appreciate you.

That was awesome.

There may be a baseball season after all. We have details for you in the "Bleacher Report," next.



CAMEROTA: President Trump appears to be softening his stance on Colin Kaepernick, saying that he would support a comeback if Kaepernick can still play.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."


So this is certainly a change. You know, back in 2016, when President Trump was campaigning, he said Kaepernick, quote, should find another country that works better for him. And then in 2017, at a rally, you know, Trump infamously said, owners that see players kneel for the anthem should say, get those SOBs off the field, you're fired.

But in an interview with CNN affiliate, WJLA, this is what Trump is now saying about Kaepernick getting another chance.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If he deserves it, he should. If he has the playing ability. His playing isn't up to snuff. The answer is, absolutely, I would. As far as kneeling, I would love to see him get another shot, but obviously he has to be able to play well. If he can't play well, I think it would be very unfair.


SCHOLES: All right, Kaepernick hasn't played since the 2016 season.

All right, we may finally be getting closer to a baseball season. After meeting in Arizona, Commissioner Rob Manfred says MLB and union head Tony Clark have the framework for a deal to return to play. According to ESPN, "The Athletic," the league's latest proposal calls for a 60-game season starting around July 19th with players getting their full prorated salaries. It was also -- it would also include an expanded playoff field of 16 teams. But multiple reports this morning say the players are still not happy and want more games on that schedule.

And, Alisyn, this has been like a roller coaster. Yesterday it seemed like, wow, we're finally going to get a baseball season, they're going to make a deal. And now it seems like there may be more fighting. Here's hoping cooler heads prevail and we get a baseball season sooner than later.

CAMEROTA: I'm sure tomorrow you will have entirely new information to report on this for us. So, Andy, thank you very much.


CAMEROTA: NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A felony murder charge for former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot and killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shocking, new details that officers kicked Brooks and stood on his body after he was shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We commend the D.A.'s office. But that's just step one. Step two is convictions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coronavirus cases are surging in several states that reopened swiftly are without sufficient precautions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The truth is that the pandemic is still very.