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Coronavirus Infections Rise In 23 States; Marches Mark Juneteenth Amid Racial Reckoning; Mayor Initiate Firing of Officer Tied to Breonna Taylor's Death; Hotels, Bars & Bowling Alleys Are Among Florida's Top 5 Places With Biggest Increase Foot Traffic Since June; President Trump Says Mail-In Voting Is Biggest Treat To His Re- election. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired June 19, 2020 - 12:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing this busy news day with us. It is Juneteenth and this key historical moment in the struggle for black freedom playing out this year amid a racial reckoning.

You're seeing live pictures here this is in Atlanta. That's New York, I see the bridge there sorry my mistake. A moment of silence protesters are taking a knee, one of many, many, many ceremonies and marches around the country on this important day. Lawyers for the former police officer who pulled the trigger in the Rayshard Brooks shooting one week ago they are due in court any moment.

Garrett Rolfe facing felony murder charges for shooting Brooks in the back after a mostly common counter escalated when Rolfe and another officer tried to arrest Mr. Brooks and he decided he would try to flee. President says Brooke should not have resisted arrest.

There is also important Coronavirus news this day. Washington D.C. moving into the next phase of its reopening on Monday the World Health Organization reporting 150,000 plus new cases as the highest single day total over the course of this pandemic.

The President prefers you forget or ignore the pandemic, but the numbers and the facts remind us this virus is resilient and progress in some places is often then matched by setbacks in others. Infections for example now rising in 23 states Florida just yesterday recording nearly 4000 new infections that another single day record.

The nation's top expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says this morning the best way to protect yourself is to avoid crowds. But the President is again ignoring the experts and listening to his ego. You see lines forming already in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The President tomorrow night makes his campaign rally return planning to pack some 19000 people or more into an arena despite the obvious risks.

And despite the fact that Oklahoma's daily case count is setting records in the wrong direction. Let's begin the hour in Tulsa and CNN's with CNN's Martin Savidge, Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. You know it was today that supposedly the President originally a plan to have his rally here in Tulsa but of course due to the pushback over Juneteenth, the campaign then decided to move it till tomorrow.

So in many ways this campaign and this event play into what's going on across the country? The unrest it's also the pandemic and then of course the politics that's going on here. So to those numbers you just spoke up Oklahoma yesterday set a record high as far as increased numbers of Coronavirus cases said in the last 24 hours high as they've ever had.

And then on top of that the county of Tulsa where we are which incorporates the City of Tulsa for the third time this week set a new record of 24 hour increase of those cases that have been tested for. So it just shows you that this state is in the middle of a pandemic moment which it has not seen before.

And at that time you introduced now what are anticipated to be 100,000 supporters coming in 20,000 of which are going to be overflowing inside the Okay Center which is the arena the President now is going to use for his rally.

And even though the campaign says that they will be handing out masks and hand sanitizer it doesn't mean that the people are going to use them. Let me just give you a little bit of a statement that was put out by the Trump campaign because now the management of that arena is sort of pushing back and saying hey we want in writing what are the safety measures you're going to do to protect the crowd?

And so the response from the Trump Campaign has been we've received a letter from the arena management and we are reviewing it. We take safety seriously which is why we're doing temperature checks for everyone attending and providing masks and hand sanitizer but here's the part that scares the health officials.

This will be a Trump rally which means a big boisterous excited crowd. So in other words you're going to have people shoulder to shoulder in there many probably not observing social distancing many probably not wearing masks full throated yelling, cheering, celebrating. That is just for the minds of the Health Department here at the perfect, perfect mix for spreading this pandemic and they are gravely concerned about it John.

KING: Understand that concern, quite understandable Martin Savidge on the ground for us. Importantly in Tulsa as we wait to see this rally and the protests and then get the ramifications Martin thank you so much.

Today marches underway across the country to mark Juneteenth. Juneteenth traces back to 1865 when word belatedly reach slaves and Galveston, Texas that they were free. The marches today mark that history but also of course highlight the here and now the nationwide debate over race and policing.

Again with some marches across the country let's go to Pete Muntean, he's right here walking the streets of Washington D.C. Pete?


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, this is Constitution Avenue. We're going right by the National Museum of African American history and culture and this group is so interesting a confluence in a minute here of dozens of groups across the District of Columbia meeting at the Martin Luther King Junior Memorial.

This group is so interesting because it is led by pro athletes and players from the Washington Wizards and "The Washington Mystics" who want to use their platform to try and affect real substantive change against racial injustice, racial inequity and police violence here in the country.

In front of the group there is Natasha Cloud, she's a Mystics player in National Championship Team by the way. And here in Washington these players are heroes they they're revered and she says you know they are people first and players second.

She spoke earlier and essentially said that now was the time to really shift the conversation she hasn't been able to think about basketball for 2 weeks she says. She says you know as a player how to remove my jersey I can't remove the fact that I'm black.

It's a very political discussion here as well. Natasha said that you know she was talking about how folks need to get out and vote on November 3rd and made a direct jab at President Trump here in the seat of power?

But of these 22 straight days of marches in the Nation's Capital it's the first time that one has started at a basketball stadium 18,000 people. 200 Days a year in Capital one arena that's where this kicked off we're not a halfway mark through this march on our way to Martin Luther King Junior Memorial on this Juneteenth, a crucial holiday at a crucial time for this conversation, John.

KING: Pete Muntean, I appreciate you're keeping pace with the march there as we go through the streets of D.C. One of many important Juneteenth demonstrations marches, some of them will be protests across the country today. Pete, thank you so much.

Let's come back to the other crisis facing America right now, the Coronavirus Florida just last hour reporting its largest number of Coronavirus infections in one day nearly 4000. Now we're also learning the global impact here.

The World Health Organization also reporting its largest single day case total since the pandemic began. Let's get straight to CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. She's live with us now to break this down. Elizabeth, what is the WHO reporting? And where are these cases coming from?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So John, let's take a look at these numbers. The WHO again as you said 150,000 cases reported to them in one day that is the most they've ever seen. Almost half of them are in North and South America. We have become one of the epicenters of this outbreak also large numbers in the Middle East and Asia.

Now let's look specifically at the U. S. we have hundreds of cases every day. The rates are up in 23 states. Rates are more than 50 percent up. They went up more than 50 percent in one week in 8 states. So John we hear President Trump saying, oh this is dying out there just embers these are not embrace.

Hundreds of people dying a day or not ambers and it are insulting for him to speak of it this way. Imagine if one of your loved ones was one of those hundreds of people this is not an outbreak dying out. This is an outbreak in half the states that is building up John.

KING: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for that important update. The numbers are still heading in the wrong direction not only here but around the world. Elizabeth, I appreciate that now to some other important breaking news.

More than 3 months, more than 3 months since Kentucky EMT Breonna Taylor shot to death by police, we're now learning an officer apparently is about to be fired. CNN's Drew Griffin is here with the details Joey Jackson our Legal Analyst with us as well. But let's start with you Drew, what do we know?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as the investigation continues into Breonna Taylor said shooting and death at the police. We knew that one police officer involved in that no-knock warrant John, is going to be fired.

This is according to the Mayor of Louisville Greg Fisher who announced today that Officer Bret Hankinson who was one of three officers who broke down the apartment of Breonna Taylor that night back in March and eventually led to the killing of Breonna Taylor as she jumped up in bed and was struck 8 times by police force.

The officer has been fired. What is key here John as we just don't know why the Mayor making a statement along the Police Chief says unfortunately this is a quote due to a provision in state law that I very much would like to see changed.

Both the Chief and I are precluded from talking about what brought us to this moment or even the timing of this decision. But again we know that this officer was involved. He was one of three officers involved in that shooting.

We can tell you based on our own investigation into this officer. He does have a track record of compliance against him. Three complaints, two unsubstantiated and one that is still pending. He was accused of allegations of theft, allegations of sexual assault in the course of his duties.


GRIFFIN: Unsubstantiated in both of those and he has an officer involved in shooting case that is still pending. This by no means gives us any kind of clue as to what the actual investigation is going on in terms of how the police handled the Breonna Taylor case?

We know the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that - you know the police should not have even been at her door let alone done a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night. So big development today although with minor details one of 3 officers involved in that raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor has now been fired, John.

KING: Important report and Drew Griffin I appreciate that. And Joey, let me bring you into the conversation. And it's hard to have the conversation because of the vague nature of the details here. The Attorney General saying just yesterday that he's investigating people should please have patience.

Now as drew reports the Mayor initiating a firing of one of the officers but saying I'm sorry, I can't tell you about it. What's your take on that?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. Well you know, let me say this John. We are obviously in a new era of accountability where people in positions of authority think that they need to do more and should be doing more. And so there are various provisions and they vary from state to state right we're a big country and every state has its own legislature has its own set of rules and priorities at cetera.

However, at the end of the day I think what we're looking for is we're looking for more transparency right? That is the public at large with regard to what police are doing with regard to their backgrounds and their records with regard to what would happen if anything if they transgress the law?

And so I think you do have certain provisions in place in different jurisdictions whether it be that an officer cannot be fired immediately because of due process concerns right? They have requirements internally administratively that have to be followed, whether that is that that you have to refrain from comments based upon those due process and not violating those various protocols?

But what we do know also is that that is spark that is Breonna Taylor's killing has sparked a question regarding something very important John. And that is no-knock warrants right? We saw that and we see that as it relates to the Senate Republicans in the press conference they had about whether they'll support that whether they won't?

We know the house bill limiting chokeholds, no-knock warrants would be gone and so whatever it is in the basis why the Mayor cannot talk now? We will know and we should know shortly specifically what they did and what they concluded to terminate the officer final appointments at this.

At the end of the day I think what we're seeing is reforms across the country. We're seeing various states that are taking up the cause of police reform and that is not to suggest that all officers are bad and to the contrary office is serving us with distinction.

We salute them and they do their best every day to keep us all safe. But to those who transgressed the law, those who engage in aggression and those who missed that they need to be held accountable and I think that's what the Mayor is doing here.

KING: Important insights, Joey Jackson I appreciate that. Drew Griffin I appreciate the reporting. We'll continue to try to get more details and to Joey's point we have to respect due process. We have to respect rules that are in place in such cases. And we also try to get you as much information as we can.

We get an important development one of the officers involved in that shooting back on March 13th of Breonna Taylor at our Louisville apartment, one of them at least the Mayor initiating the procedure to fire that officer. We'll bring you more as soon as we can learn.

When we come back as we told you a bit earlier in the program, the case count is exploding in Florida. We go inside some of the numbers, some of the reopening details to show you what might be responsible?



KING: 23 of the 50 states right now seeing increases in new Coronavirus cases including several states reporting record highs in the day to day counts. Experts are warning watch Florida. they believe that state could be the next Coronavirus epicenter here in the United State.

Let's walk through some of the numbers as we look. We just want to say why is this happening? Well, we know these economies are reopening, so Safe Graph is an organization that uses anonymous cell phone data to track movements. And this over the last month from May 15th to June 14th you see in Arizona also reporting record highs, it's a 21 percent increase in foot traffic.

Texas 21 percent increase in foot traffic, Florida which broke another record today at 30 percent increase in foot traffic over that month, what that means? States are reopened, people are going out to work, they're going out to restaurants, they are moving around.

Let's take a look more close at it here just in the case of Florida, this is what has happened in recent days which is why the Governor says it is fine, the Governor says they have plenty of hospital beds, but you have to be concerned when you see a case count going up this much? Doesn't include today which is even higher way up here above of 3500 approaching 4,000 today.

As you look at the foot traffic in Florida, this is the half of this month, 22 percent increase here. Hotels 23 percent to hospitals, medical places, alcohol establishment, places you can go out and get a drink, 26 percent.

Look at this 36 percent increase in bowling centers families can go out and be entertained as well also college universities and professional schools, people getting back to campuses back to occasional training. That's the responsibilities as the economy reopens this is what is response thought for that foot traffic we're talking about.

And you look at entertainment in Florida, this is the old normal. The lineup here, this is the old normal the way things used to be pre- pandemic. This is the depth, when people were staying home right here. As you see restaurants and bars getting back up just down 18 percent now from the old normal from restaurants just down 21 percent people are trying to go get back to the way things used to be.

With that case count going up, people deciding it is time to get out and about, listen here my colleague Alisyn Camerota asking a member of the Palm Beach County Commission how do you get the Florida case line to go down?


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And are people wearing masks?

MELISSA MCKINLAY, PALM BEACH COUNTY COMMISSIONER: I would say in my experience it is about 50/50 right now. It might be virus fatigue, pandemic fatigue that we're dealing with.


MCKINLAY: Florida opened up very quickly and even worse I think people thought that that was a return to normal. I don't think we can scale back how we've opened but we can simply slow down how we move forward?


KING: Let's discuss Epidemiologist Caitlin Rivers Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Thank you so much for being with us. Part of this is inevitable and we've talked about it before. States are going to reopen you can't keep an economy fully shut down then you see people starting to move about. They're going back to vocational schools.

They are going to the bar. They're going out to eat. They're taking the family bowling. All that we expected is when you see 3500 yesterday 3800 today in terms of new cases in Florida does that tell you manageable what to expect? Or does that tell you problem?

CAITLIN RIVERS, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Florida is headed in the wrong direction and that does concern me because but we don't want is to recreate the conditions of March and April when health systems were under threat and we're concerned about being overwhelmed?

Now if that is your goal to prevent health systems from being overwhelmed it matters how many of those new cases go on to be hospitalized? Now Michael is a public health professional it's a limit transmission overall but it does make a difference that it is that is getting affected in terms of the health care system?

KING: Right, and Caitlin one of the things the Governor says is look, you should not be so worried about this. We've ramped up testing we're doing a much better job testing. It's a very big populous state and sure we're doing more testing, you going to find more results. But I just want to show you we have some testing graphics here.

Number one Florida is testing more people than it was a couple months ago and that's a good thing for any state. You see the test count going up but here's what strikes me is the percentage of new tests that are positive. Please correct me if I'm wrong but in listening to the experts over the past several months.

You want to get to a point if you're managing the virus that as you start testing more people your positivity rate starts to drop that means you're slowing the spread. But if we show the percentage of new tested positive in Florida if we could show that number it's actually going up at the moment is that troubling?

RIVERS: It is troubling. It is true that the more tests you administer the more cases you'll find. That's the point and so that's not always by itself a concerning indicator. But when you see a percent of tests that are positive either be high or go up and when you see the number of new hospitalizations rise those are sure signs of trouble. And states when I see those indicators together going up they do - it does concern me.

KING: And so we try. We're at this moment where we have 50 states 50 different experiments if you will in re opening, that's both the magic and sometimes - part of the United States of America. As you try to watch this play out.

I just want to show you, we showed you foot traffic in Arizona, Florida and I want to show you here for traffic in Illinois and New York because it is also up. In Illinois and New York we could show foot traffic and people are also getting out those states have reopened as well.

And you see that traffic going up here but then take a look at Illinois when it comes to cases. Yes, 33 percent increase in foot traffic but look at the case - the case count there is going down. It's the opposite of what you see in Florida where if yes, foot traffic is up which is inevitable when you reopen but what's the difference why is the Illinois curve going down and the Florida curve going up?

RIVERS: I suspect it's because how people are going about activities in the community? If people are maintaining social distancing even when spending time in the community wearing those non medical fabric face masks and being really careful about hand hygiene. Those are all the kinds of behaviors that can reduce your risk of transmission.

And so people who are choosing to spend more time doing these activities those are really the interventions that I recommend. It will help to keep you and other safer.

KING: Caitlin Rivers, I appreciate your time today and I hope people will listen. I know public health experts like yourself saying this for a long time. But clearly there's something afoot in other places where numbers heading in the wrong direction. I really appreciate your insights here. Up next for us the President of the United States in a democracy thinks if more of you vote it could cost him a second term. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


KING: President Trump remarkably quite open about what he sees as the biggest threat to his re-election, it would be in his view more Americans exercising their right to vote. Get that. States nationwide are working to expand mail-in voting because of Coronavirus safety concerns.

And the President and his campaign are suing to fight many of those efforts. Here is what the President of the United State told "POLITICO". my biggest risk is that we don't win lawsuits. We have many lawsuits going all over and if we don't win those lawsuits, I think it puts the election at risk.

Let's discuss it with someone who has a very different and a factual view about mail-in voting. The author of what you need to know about voting and why, the Attorney and Law Professor Kimberly Wehle. Kim thanks for being with us today.

I want to read from your book because you do have a very different opinion than the President and you actually base your book on facts about voting. Here is what you write. You are more likely to be struck by lightning or devoured by a shock than have a fraudulent voter darken your precincts door.

The fact that voter fraud is no big deal makes logical sense why because criminal laws put you in prison for five years if you cast a fake vote. Well, put, very well put in the book what is it about the President, why does he fear more Americans voting?

KIM WEHLE, LAW PROFESSOR: Well, presumably because he is in a position with so much chaos and so many problems with the economy and people dying, et cetera, et cetera, that he is having a hard time attracting new voters to his campaign.