Return to Transcripts main page


Florida Governor Says Businesses to Stay Open Despite Rise in Coronavirus Cases; Texas Reports Record One-Day Spike in COVID-19 Cases; Hospitalizations Very High in Arizona; Interview with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine; Ex-Officer Charged With Murdering Brooks to Appear in Court Today; Oklahoma Sets Virus Record as Trump Gears Up for Rally. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired June 19, 2020 - 09:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It's Friday. I'm Poppy Harlow. Glad you're with us.

This morning pressure growing on state and local officials to act as coronavirus cases rise to record levels. 23 states are seeing an upward trend in infection right now. One of them in dark red right there, Oklahoma. And at a time when his own public health officials warned against large gatherings and most concerts and sporting events remain on hold for that reason, the president is planning to pack nearly 20,000 people into the rally in a Tulsa arena. Again, in Oklahoma, a state that just saw its largest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began.

The president's rally tomorrow moved after originally being scheduled for today. Obviously, today is a day with so much significant history in this country. It is Juneteenth. It marks the oldest nationwide celebration of the end of slavery, a day that takes on a new meaning as this country grapples with the racism that continues to exist in America.

Much more on that ahead. Let's begin, though, with the spike we are seeing across so many states in coronavirus infections. Our correspondent Rosa Flores starts us off in Miami.

Good morning, Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. As you mentioned, record number of coronavirus cases here in the state of Florida. Yesterday reporting 3,207 cases in just one day. Now, when we talk about hospitalizations, right now according to the state of Florida, there are 23 percent available beds at ICU units and 24 percent across the state of general hospital beds available.

Now, we have heard it from Governor Ron DeSantis in the past that he has doubled down, he is not shutting down the economy. His communications directors reiterating that today in a tweet saying this morning, quote, "Under Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida's public policy is aligned with business needs. The governor continues to lead prudently in collaboration with local leaders throughout the state to continue reopening safely and smartly."

We reached out to Dr. Eileen Marty. She's an infectious disease expert at FIU who's also giving advice to local leaders here in Miami-Dade. Here is her reaction to that. She said, quote, "To say that public health policy is aligned with business needs is very -- is a very unsafe perspective and it is self-defeating."

Let me share with you what local leaders have been doing, not so much focusing on business but focusing on health. They are sending out the police to businesses to make sure that business owners know that they're not playing around, Poppy, that people, both customers and employees, need to be social distancing and wearing masks -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Absolutely. Rosa, thanks very much for that.

Let's go to Ed Lavandera, he joins us in Dallas this morning. Texas, also breaking records this week as it experiences a spike in COVID cases. And not just because of testing, right, Ed? Not just cases but hospitalizations. What is the reaction from the governor?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. The rate of infection is exceeding the rates of testing being done here in this state and that's why the numbers that you're seeing out of Texas now terribly troubling, as we watch -- we're well over 100,000 cases over all now and more than 2100 deaths. And if you look at the trend over the last few days or over the last week, just look at the trajectory there of the number of new cases being reported.

You can see there in that graphic and that is an average of the number of new cases being reported over the last seven days. Just 2900 cases or hospitalizations -- more than 2900 hospitalizations reported on Thursday and those are the highest numbers we have seen throughout this entire pandemic here in Texas.

The governor, Greg Abbott, says there is still plenty of hospital beds space, some 15,000 beds more or less all across the state that are available, but if you look at some of the -- other underlying numbers, there's also a great concern. And that is one of the factors that the state officials here have been pointing to as one of the things that they would be monitoring and that is the positive daily infection rate. That is at 7.5 percent and that in the last three weeks has jumped almost 3 percent. And those are once again some of the troubling signs and the troubling numbers that we're seeing here.


You mix all of this data with the overwhelming sense of fatigue and complacency, we're talking about the coronavirus, and that is a troubling mixture here in Texas -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. Ed, thanks for the reporting from Dallas this morning.

Let's go to Scottsdale, Arizona, now. Our Kyung Lah is in Scottsdale.

Good morning, Kyung. You have hospitalizations hitting a record high in that state from COVID. The governor resisting calls as well to issue a statewide mandate like in California of mask wearing.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with those records, because what you're talking about are the numbers that have been very, very troubling coming out of Arizona. Multiple days this week, the new record has been set when it comes to new cases here in this state. So that is absolutely troubling. Hospital beds, 85 percent of ICU beds are currently in use. 84 percent of acute care beds currently in use.

So why is all of this happening? Well, when you go out here in Arizona, earlier in the week, especially before these records were really being publicized, we're really seeing a lot of people not using masks, especially younger people when you're out at the bars. We went to a bar that was almost completely full. Yes, outside, but no one except for the security guard was wearing a mask.

So this has been very troubling. Doctors here in Arizona, more than 3,000 of them, signed a letter urging the governor to order a statewide mandate on masks. That is something the governor says he will not do. He has now changed the guidance in the state so that local mayors can now order in their municipalities people to wear masks.

But, Poppy, as you see, there's all this uneven approach and doctors say that this effectively as far as effectiveness, not as good as the statewide mandate on masks -- Poppy.

HARLOW: OK. Kyung, appreciate that reporting. Thank you so much.

Joining me now is another governor dealing with a rise in his state, that is Republican Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio.

It's really nice to have you. Thanks so much for the time this morning.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): Thank you. Good to be with you. Thank you very much.

HARLOW: A high rise in cases in your state. You saw a big rise just yesterday and I think your question this morning is that an anomaly or is this a pattern that we're going to continue to see? You're setting up an additional PPE stockpile. You're moving the Ohio National Guard to assist with testing. So you're doing a lot.

I wonder if you agree with the president who said this week that coronavirus is, quote, "dying out"?

DEWINE: Well, let me tell you a little bit about what's going on in Ohio. We've had a plateau in hospitalizations, actually our cases have been going down. You're absolutely right, we saw a spike yesterday. Went up to 700 cases. We're going to have to watch that over the next few days. What we did -- what we do know and what our experts who are watching these numbers every day told us is we have a spike that we're worried about in five counties in southwest Ohio.

So it's the Dayton area and the Cincinnati area. We're working directly with the two mayors there and we're bringing in the guard to assist as far as actually swabbing and getting more testing. We've narrowed it down frankly to five or six zip codes and so we're going to focus on those.

HARLOW: Right. I'm so glad we have your voice this morning because you've been a leader on this. I mean, you closed your schools before almost everyone else, you've been outspoken about this. Again, the president's words are so important right now and him saying that it is, quote, "dying out," is that what you're seeing? Do you believe that is the case?

DEWINE: Well, as I said, we're not seeing it in southwest Ohio.


DEWINE: We're not seeing that. I can only report what we're seeing in Ohio.


DEWINE: And look, this virus -- we're going to have to learn to live with this. I think what we don't know is, you know, what help we get because of the summer. What we do know is we have a lot more moving around, as you can expect, in the summer. That what's we all do. So you know the exposure is certainly up. And, you know the opportunity for people to become infected.

But Ohioans have done well. They've kept their distance. We've gotten to where we are with that and we're now trying to do two things at once. Trying to open the economy and we've got it pretty much open.

HARLOW: I know.

DEWINE: But also stay safe.

HARLOW: So one way to really -- I'm sorry to step on you, Governor.

DEWINE: No, go ahead.

HARLOW: One way to really --


HARLOW: To really stay safe and reopen is mask wearing. We know that, the science tells us that. California yesterday mandating mask wearing, pretty much everywhere, indoors and outdoors with a few exceptions. Are you considering the same for Ohio?

DEWINE: Well, we have health orders every employee with very few exceptions wears a mask. If you go into the grocery store, everyone is wearing a mask. I was in a grocery store in South Charleston, Ohio, everybody had a mask on.


But what we are really urging people to do, if you go out in public, you go to a grocery store, wear a mask for the guy who's behind the counter or the woman who's behind the counter, because you wear a mask for other people. So it's a work in progress. We're going to continue to talk about the importance of the mask. We have not ordered them as far as people out in public. But it certainly is very, very, very important.

HARLOW: It sounds like you're not ruling it out if things get worse. We'll continue to watch that. What about potentially reversing course? I know you're still in phase one, eventually going to phase two. The governor of Florida has been so clear, Governor DeSantis, that no a matter how much the cases spike in Florida they're not going to reverse course, they're not going to back track, they're not going to shut down again. Are you also ruling out another shutdown for Ohio?

DEWINE: Well, we don't rule anything out, but I got that question yesterday at our press conference and what I said is, look, we have some tools we need to use first. And we're using them in southwest Ohio. We're moving in with a lot more testing. And a lot more tracing. And so that's a tool that we have. The other tool we have is the ability for me and the mayors and the health directors to communicate to people in the areas where we're starting to see a rise.

And those counties where I talked about, we're starting to see a rise. So we have to communicate that to people so they can make the right decision and that is to be careful.

HARLOW: Governor, what about schools? Again, you announced after just five cases of COVID in early March in your state, you said on March 12th you were going to shut the schools. You led the way. I know you say it's sort of school-by-school. How confident are you statewide schools are going to open, elementary, middle, high school, in the fall?

DEWINE: We told the schools to plan to reopen. We have also told them to come up with contingency plans if they have to go back to distance learning then, you know, let's say we hit in January or some time a huge resurgence or the so-called second wave and schools, you know, decide, hey, we can't do it, parents don't want to send their kids. They've got to be able to turn on a dime very, very quickly and get that distance learning.

The challenge with distance learning is that we have some areas in our cities, for example, where kids don't have the internet service they need. We have other areas in Appalachia, in Ohio, where whole areas don't have that kind of good service. So there's an un-equalness to the education when we have to go to that distance learning and that's why we're reluctant to do that.

But ultimately, schools just like school looks at -- we have schools every year in Ohio, we close for some time because of flu. The same thing. We're going to watch what's goes on and monitor what goes on in that school district, and that those zip codes and inform them and we don't just have to inform them, they'll know what's going on as well. And these schools then will be making these decisions.

But the goal is to go back to school and be in class, but the educators' already working on how do I keep the distance.


DEWINE: You know, all the things that we have to do. And it's not easy. But they're working on.

HARLOW: It's a huge --

DEWINE: They're doing a good job.

HARLOW: It's a huge challenge and we're grateful that they are and especially hope a lot of focus is on, as you said, getting that broadband access to the kids that need it the most in the rural parts of your state that just don't have equal learning if they don't have access.

Governor DeWine, good luck. We appreciate your time today.

DEWINE: Thank you. Good to be with you. Thanks.

HARLOW: Still to come, hours from now the ex-officer charged with the murder of Rayshard Brooks is expected to be in court for the first time today. We'll tell you what to expect from that. And just the past 24 hours, Twitter has slapped a manipulated media label on one of the president's tweets. Facebook has removed one of his campaign ads. That's a first. We'll talk about why.

And with coronavirus cases spiking around the country, could states decisions to reopen their economies early backfire like we were just talking about? We'll talk about the economics of all it with senior adviser to the president, Kevin Hassett.



POPPY HARLOW, ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Just a few hours from now, the former Atlanta police officer charged in the death of Rayshard Brooks will make his first appearance in court. Garrett Rolfe is being held without bond right now and law enforcement sources tells CNN he was moved Thursday from the Fulton County jail over to another facility over his security concerns.

He's facing 11 charges, one of them being felony murder for the killing of Brooks. Brooks was shot in the back last week after fighting with the police in a fast-food drive-through, and then turning there and running away. A second officer at the scene is facing aggravated assault charges. His death sparking huge protests across Atlanta. Let's take a look at where this goes from here with former federal prosecutor and CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates. Good morning Laura, thank you for being here.


HARLOW: It was interesting to watch --

COATES: Not under these circumstances, of course.

HARLOW: Yes, I know, exactly. But you're such an important mind on this. It was interesting to watch the Fulton County D.A. with Don Lemon last night, and Don pressed him on, you know, issues of 11 charges, are these all justified, he pressed him on, you know, any political motivations here, et cetera. Some of the criticism that has come towards the D.A. Can you talk to us about where this goes from here?

COATES: Well, today in a court appearance, the first thing they're going to reconcile is whether or not he will remain in jail until whatever trial date is set. Remember, the other officer was released on what's called a signature bond, meaning they could -- were able to come back on their own personal recognizance, saying I trust that you'll come back for any court appearances.

It will be a different scenario for the officer facing a higher charge. That although the death penalty according to the D.A. may be off the table in terms of their pursuit, it's still a very severe charge. And so the judge is going to have to say that his or herself, look, is this person pose a threat to the community, is there a specific threat, is there a general threat?


What's the person's background? Is there any reason to believe there are conditions that can be met that will keep this person in the jurisdiction and responsive to court, or do we have to keep this person here? And that's all on the back of safety concerns for an officer who would be in general population.

HARLOW: We actually heard from the other officer in this case who's been charged, officer Devin Brosnan, last night in an interview which I find interesting that he would even talk it at this point in time, and we hear from authorities that he is cooperating. Listen to what he said.


DEVIN BROSNAN, CHARGED IN DEATH OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: I have full faith in the criminal justice system. I think this is a tragic event and it's totally a total tragedy that a man had to lose his life that night. I felt he was friendly, he was -- he was respectful. I thought you know, he seemed like someone who casually needed my help and I was really just there to see what I could do, in fact, to make sure that he was safe.


HARLOW: What do you make of, "A", the fact that he's talking, and "B", the fact that the D.A. still maintains even though his lawyer is saying otherwise the D.A. says that he's going to be a state witness?

COATES: Well, first of all, because the D.A. actually planted the case in the court of public opinion, they didn't just make some charges, they didn't just file them, they had a presentation of evidence, in many respects, not only condemning one officer but the second one as well and enveloping him into the overall, you know, plan of the prosecution.

So, it's not surprising that when it's done initially in the court of public opinion, that you would then respond in the court of public opinion. As long as your attorney would like you to do so. And remember, he has much different charges, mostly violation of office, but also for standing on the shoulders of Mr. Brooks. And so part of what his motivation here is to establish not only and confirm -- look it was 41 minutes of cooperation and compliance.

His attorneys say that he was the one to apply anticoagulants to Mr. Brooks' body, to render aid, to remove his shirt, to try to assist him in some way. And so he's going to make the case in his defense that he should not have been charged. But of course, this is all going to be playing out unfortunately in the court of public opinion. And why that's unfortunate is because there's a jury pool that has to be considered right now.

And the idea of the competing evidence of things without a judge deciding what evidence should come in and probably most importantly here, Poppy, we have still not seen the video of either the kick or the aftermath that the D.A. --

HARLOW: Yes --

COATES: Has alluded to. And here, I believe is right now is saying, he's not intending to get releases. So he leaves room for the court --

HARLOW: Yes --

COATES: Of public opinion to beef up the defense.

HARLOW: That's true. And about the kick the officer's lawyer says it didn't happen, and we've only seen a still image. We haven't seen the video. Very quickly, Laura, when it comes to how different this is from the killing of George Floyd, yet, this moment in America, what does that tell you?

COATES: Well, the symbolism of a black man dying at the hands of a white police officer is the theme that goes throughout the two cases, of course. However, this is a very different case because unlike the George Floyd killing, a struggle did ensue between Mr. Rayshard Brooks and the officers. And so for that reason, you have to look at use of force in a way you didn't have to with George Floyd or with Breonna Taylor. And that debate in and of itself is problematic for any prosecution trying to have a case against the police officer.

HARLOW: Laura Coates, thank you very much.

COATES: Thank you.

HARLOW: I just mentioned Don's interview with the D.A. last night that you should watch, you should really start listening to this right now. Don has a new important podcast that just launched. His take and the hard conversations we need to be having about race in America right now, a new CNN podcast, "SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION", find it on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Thousands of people expected to gather at the president's rally tomorrow in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and that state is experiencing a spike in COVID cases. We'll take you there live next.



HARLOW: All right. This just in to CNN. The Fulton County chief magistrate says to CNN the former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe who is set to appear in court today has waived his right to appear, he will not be there, his attorneys will, we'll keep you posted on details.

Meantime, coronavirus cases are spiking in Oklahoma, and tomorrow, as many as 20,000 people will pack together at an arena for the president's rally. Our Martin Savidge is there. Good morning, Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. Let me show you. These are the dedicated -- of the most dedicated of Trump supporters. You can see that they're lined up on the sidewalk outside of the security perimeter that's now been established. Some of them have been waiting for more than a week for the opportunity to get in. I've talked to them, they're not concerned about coronavirus.

They don't think being inside the BOK center is going to be any more dangerous to them than everyday life, and many of them say they aren't going to be wearing masks. The security perimeter established, the streets are empty. Curfew at 10 O'clock tonight and tomorrow. It doesn't matter how much fencing or how long your curfew, it won't keep out what people in the health department here believe is going to be the most dangerous thing -- coronavirus.

There has been a spike in this area for the past three days almost. You have set records in Tulsa County for day-to-day transmission increase. And in the state of Oklahoma, they set a record yesterday for their biggest single 24-hour spike, 450 new cases. Into that comes all these people, a 100,000 expected in this city. The Health Department and specifically Dr. Bruce Stark believes it could be a super spread event.

There are concerns now by the management that run the BOK Center, and they're demanding from the Trump.