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CNN NEWSROOM

Oklahoma Set for Trump Rally; FaceBook and Twitter Take Action on Trump's Posts; States Lift Eviction Freezes; Spike in Covid Cases. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 19, 2020 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:30:00]

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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 campaign people letters, actually putting it in writing, what's the security measures. And here's the response from the Trump campaign. They say, we've received a letter from the arena management and we're reviewing it. We take safety seriously, which is why we are doing temperature checks and everyone attending is provided masks and hand sanitizer. This will be a Trump rally which means a big, boisterous and excited crowd.

And that is the worst scenario health officials can envision. Twenty thousand people packed elbow to elbow, in there for hours, without taking any precautions.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

SAVIDGE: Loudly cheering, open mouth with coronavirus right there with them.

Poppy.

HARLOW: Wow.

Martin, thank you very much.

With me now is Kevin Hassett, senior adviser to the president, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers at the White House.

Kevin, it's so good to have you. Thank you for being here.

KEVIN HASSETT, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: Well, thanks, Poppy. Good morning.

HARLOW: Look, your role is on the economy, so we're going to stick to that.

HASSETT: Sure.

HARLOW: But this ties into the economy, it certainly does, because the unemployment rate, according to BLS in Oklahoma is 13.7 percent. That's a historically high for them. You've got this huge rally gathering that -- tomorrow for the president, that Martin just outlined, that could lead to a jump in cases. That's what science tells us. That could lead to more of a shutdown in Oklahoma. We'll see. And that could lead to higher unemployment.

Is the White House thinking about that?

HASSETT: I think that what we do every day, Poppy, as you know, we've talked about this, is that we get a complete readout of all the data for every state in the U.S., you know, and -- and D.C. And if you look at the bigger picture, you see that there are about 18 states right now where the positivity rates are going up, which means that if the cases are going up, it's not just because you're doing more testing. So it's absolutely correct that there are places that are of concern.

There are some mitigating factors, though, that suggest that we've learned a lot about the virus.

HARLOW: Yes.

HASSETT: One of them is that the increase in cases is -- is way sharper than the increase in hospitalizations or deaths.

And the other thing that we're seeing in the data that we get every day is, let me -- let me say two things. One is that the average age of positive cases is declining, and so what's going on is that younger folks who feel safer because they think the symptoms won't be so bad if they get them are going out more than the older folks. And so that's it.

And then the -- the final point is that the spikes aren't necessarily correlated where we're seeing less social distancing and more economic activity.

HARLOW: Well, OK --

HASSETT: And so, for example, there's a concern in Hawaii and in Oregon and they're still pretty shut, those states.

HARLOW: OK.

HASSETT: So, of course, we're -- you know, we want to scramble health resources to them as well, but it's not necessarily correlated with opening up. In fact, last point, Indiana -- is opening up. Their credit card sales are actually above where they were last year by 3 percent, but they're not seeing a spike, I think, because in Indiana they're being super aggressive about following the guidelines.

HARLOW: OK. Well, following the guidelines, you're a mask wearer.

HASSETT: Sure.

HARLOW: You wore a mask and have been wearing a mask in the White House. So, you know, I wonder if you think that everyone at that rally tomorrow should wear a mask, just like your friend Larry Kudlow said. HASSETT: That's what -- you know, I -- if I were at the rally, I would

wear a mask.

HARLOW: OK.

HASSETT: If I wondered about it, I would ask my doctor for advice.

HARLOW: All right.

HASSETT: Yes, if you --

HARLOW: OK, you would wear a mask at the rally tomorrow.

HASSETT: I would definitely do it, yes.

HARLOW: You said yourself this week there are a number of states that give you pause. You mentioned some positive signs, but you've got one in six Covid cases in the state of Florida that has aggressively opened up that are now hospitalizations. And when it comes to the economy, you told me a few weeks ago, if there is a quote/unquote second wave, quote, the economy is going to take another hit for sure.

Is the White House prepared for another economic downturn?

HASSETT: Right. As, you know, we've been talking about for about three months now that I've been back, you know, we have absolutely done scenario analysis for everything that might happen. And, in fact, it's one of the reasons why the president wants to have the face forward negotiations at the end of July rather than right now because we're learning so much every day. And so if there is a second flare-up that's, you know, bigger than what we've seen and the economy does have to move towards more shutdown --

HARLOW: Yes.

HASSETT: Then, of course, we need a bigger stimulus bill.

HARLOW: OK, so --

HASSETT: And so I think absolutely we're doing scenario planning.

HARLOW: All right. I ask you about that because the unemployment benefits that are now going to 46 million plus Americans, which is just remarkable to see that much suffering and pain out there, they're topped off by an extra $600 a week, as you know. But that ends at the end of July.

HASSETT: Right, at the end of July. That's right.

HARLOW: Should -- should those American families expect that money to be extended or is that it?

HASSETT: Oh, absolutely it will be part of the negotiations. We've got a number of plans that we -- actually I met with Chief Meadows and Secretary Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow and we --

HARLOW: But do you favor extending -- do you think they need additional help?

HASSETT: I think the unemployment -- yes, I --

HARLOW: Do you favor extending this $600 a week top-off?

HASSETT: You know, that's a negotiation that we're going to have with Congress, but it's very normal for there to be bipartisan support for higher benefits at times of extremely high distress and high unemployment.

[09:35:06]

HARLOW: Yes. Well --

HASSETT: And I think it's very unlikely that the unemployment rates going to get back to the historic lows of January between now and the end of the year.

HARLOW: Huh.

What do you think the unemployment rate, Kevin, is going to be on Election Day?

HASSETT: You know, I think that -- let's just talk about October, because I'm not an election forecaster. The thing it that right now it came in at 13 percent. And as you know, I thought it would be about 20. And so what's happening is that we have the biggest negative shock followed by the biggest positive stimulus ever and economists are really puzzled about it. I think when we see the June number, if it goes back up toward the higher number that I thought we were going to see in May, then I'm going to have a much different picture. So right now I think the first thing is, there's so much uncertainty.

But I would guess that we should continue to see a -- like June should go down and I would say --

HARLOW: But you told Dana -- but you told Dana Bash, I remember a few weeks ago, that it could be around 20 percent unemployment in November, around the election. You have not taken that off the table?

HASSETT: I think that's highly unlikely now because things were so surprising. Right, the average economist missed May by 10 million people. And when you make a missed -- and -- and I was about the average economist with that number, as you know, I spoke with Dana on the show saying about what the consensus forecast was.

And so right now I think economists need to be humble and recognize that when we've got so many states -- I think 17 states where credit card spending is above where it was last year already, that it suggests that this -- this economy is really, really coming back way faster than I thought.

HARLOW: Yes.

HASSETT: Even before I came back to the White House I remember being on your show and talking about how negative the outlook was. HARLOW: Well, except you hope it's people -- except you hope it's

people buying things on credit cards they can pay for and not going into debt because they don't have the cash to -- to pay for things. That could also be the case.

Two more quick questions for you.

HASSETT: Sure.

HARLOW: On the issue of extending those unemployment benefits and the $600 top-off. I thought it was important what Fed Chair Jerome Powell testified before the Senate this week when Senator Elizabeth Warren asked him which groups will suffer most if Congress lets that enhanced benefit expire in July? Here's what the Fed chair said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): If Congress lets unemployment insurance benefits expire, which families are going to find it hardest to pay their bills, to make rent or to afford groceries?

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: Well, the unemployed, which consists -- the people who have lost their jobs lately here are minorities are well over represented in that group, as are women.

WARREN: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: So minorities and women. What is the White House doing about that?

HASSETT: Right. Well, absolutely, that's one reason why we've developed a number of options to continue, you know, some kind of expanded unemployment insurance benefit in the face for a deal with the president. And so absolutely Jay is right. It's a very sad but accurate, historic pattern that when there are layoffs, that minorities are disproportionately laid off and we're seeing that right now at this time too.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes. All right, let's end on China.

HASSETT: OK.

HARLOW: The president gave a wide-ranging interview to "The Wall Street Journal." And I wonder if you share his view that China may have intentionally allowed -- intentionally allowed Covid to spread beyond its border for economic reasons. The president saying, quote, there's a chance it was intentional.

Do you have any reason to believe that?

HASSETT: Well, the president gets, you know, far more detailed briefings about things like that than I do. The one thing I can say is that it's undeniable that the economic harm has been very, very high and that it's been -- disproportionately has fallen on the U.S. and western Europe. And so those are true.

HARLOW: But you haven't seen any evidence, Kevin? Just because, you know, you're always based in fact, which I appreciate.

HASSETT: No, I --

HARLOW: You haven't seen any evidence of that?

HASSETT: That's right. Yes, I'm not saying it doesn't exist. You know, the -- sometimes things in the national security area are on a need to know basis and -- and I'm about the least necessary guy to tell stuff like that too. I'm an economist.

HARLOW: Kevin Hassett, thank you and good luck to your team as you are grappling with all of this.

HASSETT: Thank you.

HARLOW: We appreciate your time.

HASSETT: Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: All right.

In the past 24 hours, Twitter and FaceBook have taken action against the president's use of social media. It's significant. We'll talk about it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:43:26]

HARLOW: Over the past 24 hours, FaceBook and Twitter have both flagged or removed posts from the president because they say they violate their rules. FaceBook removed a Trump campaign ad featuring an upside down triangle similar to a symbol used by the Nazi and Twitter labeled the video tweeted by the president, this video you see here, the way that the president tweeted it as manipulated media.

Our Donie O'Sullivan joins us now.

Let's start with what Twitter did. This is the third time in a month that they have flagged one of the president's posts. Why this one?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Poppy. A lot of us will remember, of course, this heartwarming video from last year of two toddlers excitedly running towards each other to give each other a hug. And CNN at time -- at the time covered that video for what it was, a heart-warming video. The parents said that they posted it, you know, with one of the kids being black, one of the kids being white as a -- as a message perhaps and a lesson to us adults amid all the racism in the world is what the parents said at the time.

Now, last night, Trump posted a version of that video, along with some fake CNN graphics, suggesting that CNN would spin a video like this to make it look like the kids were running away from each other, rather than running towards one another. Of course, that is false.

So Twitter labeled that video as manipulated media. This is a new policy they have for deep fakes and misleading pictures and videos.

I should note, however, that that video is still on FaceBook and FaceBook as not done anything about it.

As soon as Twitter labeled this, Trump supporters online immediately began to (INAUDIBLE) saying it was a parody, satire, and that we all need to have a better sense of humor.

[09:45:04]

HARLOW: Well, and they didn't take it down either. They're just labelling it.

What about FaceBook taking action on the campaign ad from the president saying it violates their policies against hate?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. So, that's right, yesterday there was this ad from -- from the Trump campaign attacking left wing groups ANTIFA. When the ad started circulating, the Anti-Defamation League, the ADL, which tracks hate here in the U.S., said the red triangle that's in the ad was practically identical to those used by the Nazis regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps and FaceBook essentially agreed with that assessment and they said in a statement that they had removed the ads for violating their policy against organized hate and their policy prohibits a use of a banned hate group symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.

Again, the Trump campaign says they did nothing wrong. They were not gas-lighting. They even said that ANTIFA uses this symbol, although ADL pushed back on that and said that that -- really it's not a common symbol used by ANTIFA.

HARLOW: Donie, thank you, on both fronts. Appreciate the reporting.

Well, today, a very significant day for this country. It is Juneteenth, the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. You're looking at live pictures, these are out of Atlanta, of a rally there. All of this as the president prepares for his rally tomorrow in Tulsa, a city with quite a history of racial violence. Tulsa residents demanding justice for one of the worst acts of racial violence in the history of this country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:51:01]

HARLOW: As states are reopening, freezes on people having to pay rent and evictions not happening. Those freezes are beginning to expire, and many who have lost their jobs will now be faced with repaying months of rent all at once.

Our Vanessa Yurkevich reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Kianah Ashley is being evicted and a nightmare is unfolding for her and her five-year- old son Nazir (ph).

KIANAH ASHLEY, RENTER FACING EVICTION: That's something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy because not knowing where you're going to rest your head at for the next day, that's not good.

YURKEVICH: Up to 23 million Americans are at risk of eviction by the end of September. It's a housing crisis in the making.

ASHLEY: There's not really many options out here for us, you know, when it comes to trying to find a place during this pandemic.

YURKEVICH: Renters in 42 states have been protected under eviction moratoriums, postponing rent payments as the economy stutters due to Covid-19. But 40 percent of those moratoriums have lifted, and more than 45 million Americans are still without a job.

EMILY BENFER, DIRECTOR, HEALTH JUSTICE ADVOCACY CLINIC, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL: The United States can expect an avalanche of evictions that will impact the entire community and have a cascade of additional losses, everything from financial well-being, to health, to housing opportunities across the country.

YURKEVICH: Ashley has a section eight voucher, making her search for affordable housing more difficult. She's one of 50 million people who live in rentals in the U.S., experiencing job or income loss because of the pandemic, with people of color taking the brunt of it.

BENFER: Eviction disproportionately affects communities of color and women with children at the highest levels.

Black households are more than twice as likely to be evicted as white households. So it's a significant impact that we're going to have here.

YURKEVICH: And that could lead to record homelessness. The Coalition for the Homeless in New York City says its mobile soup kitchens have seen a 100 percent increase in need.

DAVE GIFFEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS: We've never seen anything like this. And, again, we know that this isn't the end. It's not even the middle. This is only the beginning of the crisis to come.

YURKEVICH: The Heroes Act, passed by the House, but stalled in the Senate, would provide $100 billion in rental relief, including a national moratorium on evictions, keeping people like Ashley out of shelters.

She's been there before with her son and doesn't want to have to go back. ASHLEY: No child deserves to have to go through an experience like

that, but it's a -- that's a very big fear of mine because just going through the process of a loop -- a loophole of being denied and not knowing where you're going, it's not a good feeling.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: Not at all.

Vanessa Yurkevich reporting. Thank you, Vanessa.

Coronavirus cases are spiking in a number of states across the country as the CDC forecasts 17,000 more deaths in the coming weeks. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:58:21]

HARLOW: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

The numbers do not lie. Twenty-three states are seeing an upward trend in infections from Covid-19. Right now eight of them seeing their highest weekly averages since the crisis began. And because President Trump says the pandemic is dying out, it now falls on state and local officials to take action.

Let's talk about Oklahoma, a state that just saw its largest single day increase in cases since this pandemic began and a state where the president tomorrow will pack an arena with nearly 20,000 people for a rally. No mandatory masks, no social distancing. In short, according to the president's own health officials, it is the perfect plan for spreading the disease.

The rally tomorrow was moved after originally being scheduled for today, which, of course, is Juneteenth, the oldest national celebration of the end of slavery, a celebration that takes on new meaning as this country grapples with the racism that very much still exist in America.

We'll have much more on that ahead.

Let's begin, though, with the spike we're seeing in Covid cases and infections and hospitalizations.

Rosa Flores is in Miami for us this morning.

What is the situation in Florida right now?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Poppy, local leaders are very concerned. They're worried. Here in Miami-Dade, of course, the epicenter of this crisis in this state accounts for about 30 percent of the more than 85,000 cases in the state of Florida. They are concerned. They are thinking about imposing restrictions.

Just to give you an idea, Jackson Health, where I am right now, reports a 46 percent increase in hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients in just the last ten days.

[10:00:03]

Process that for just a moment.

Now, some local mayors already taking action.