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Pompeo Calls Bolton a Traitor for Lies About Trump; Adam Schiff Blasts Bolton's Sheer Nerve; Book Shines A Spotlight on Trump- China Relationship; Twitter Labels Tweeted Trump Video Manipulated Media; Portugal Finding Success Using Steroid Treatment; Is American Football's Season in Jeopardy. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 19, 2020 - 04:30   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and of course all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church live from CNN's world headquarters here in Atlanta.

Well the fallout from John Bolton's bombshell new book is showing no sign of slowing down. Bolton was President Trump's national security advisor for more than a year and has made numerous allegations about his time at the White House.

And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now firing back saying, John Bolton is spreading a number of lies fully spun half-truths and outright falsehoods. It is both sad and dangerous that John Bolton's final public role is that of traitor who damaged America by violating his sacred trust with its people.

Well for his part Bolton is accusing the White House of attempting to censor him from sharing embarrassing facts about Mr. Trump in an election year. He has asked a federal court to dismiss the Department of Justice's attempt to stop the book's release.

Saying: It is difficult to conceive of speech that is closer to the core of the First Amendment than speech concerning presidential actions in office. And it is difficult to conceive of a greater attack on attack on the First Amendment than the suppression of that speech in the service of a reelection campaign.

John Bolton hasn't just angered the White House though. Democrats are also furious that he refused to testify to the House during the impeachment hearings. Adam Schiff was the top impeachment manager for the Democrats. Speaking to CNN's Erin Burnett, he criticized Bolton's sheer nerve. Saying Democrats are beginning to discuss what to do next.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Yes, we have just begun discussions with leadership about what next steps are appropriate to find out more about what John Bolton experienced, saw, witnessed in terms of the President's wrongdoing. You know, I think it's worth making sure we understand just how he has exposed and undermined the country, but how we do that we're still in the process of discussing.


CHURCH: And some of the most significant allegations Bolton makes in his book concern Mr. Trump and China and its President, Xi Jinping. Ivan Watson has that part of the story from Hong Kong.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hong Kong protests indoctrination camps for Uyghur Muslims in China. The U. S./China trade war all flash points in the tense U.S./China relationship.


WATSON: All areas where a Former Trump insider alleges the U. S. President's public message doesn't match his private statements.


Beijing is bristling condemning a new law signed Wednesday by Trump. The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 threatens sanctions against those accused of the mass incarceration of hundreds of thousands of mostly Uyghur Muslims in China's Xinjiang region.

CNN interviewed dozens of Uyghurs over the last 2 years. Some say they survived would be described as modern-day concentration camps. Others say loved ones disappeared into the sprawling prison system. In his yet to be published book obtained by CNN, Former National Security Adviser John Bolton alleges Chinese President Xi Jinping, quote, explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang -- at a G-20 meeting in Osaka in June 2019.

At the meeting in Osaka Bolton writes, quote, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, adding that it was exactly the right thing to do.

Beijing routinely defends its network of so-called reeducation camps arguing they're necessary to combat violent extremism.

On June 9th, 2019 more than a million people in Hong Kong marched through the streets protesting against a proposed law that would allow suspected criminals to be extradited to mainland China. Three days later Bolton claims Trump told him I don't want to get involved. We have human rights problems too.

Finally during trade negotiations with Xi in Osaka last June Bolton alleges that Trump turns the conversation to the coming U. S. presidential election alluding to China's economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win to the increased Chinese purchase of U.S. soybeans and wheat. That account now rejected by a top White House official. ROBERT LIGHTHIZER, U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Absolutely untrue. It never happened. I was there. I have no recollection of that ever happen. I don't believe it's true. I don't believe it ever happened.

WATSON: Trump meanwhile accuses Bolton of being both a liar and a criminal.

TRUMP: He broke the law. It is very simple I mean that as much as it's going to be broken. This is highly classified that's the highest stage. It's highly classified information that he did not have approval.

WATSON: Asked about Bolton's claim that Trump asked China for help to get reelected, a Chinese government spokesman responded Thursday saying China does not interfere in U.S. internal affairs and elections.

But Trump's relationship with China will likely is a pivotal issue in the run up to November's Presidential Election.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


CHURCH: A disturbing symbol has prompted Facebook to ban several ads the Trump reelection campaign is running. Facebook says the ads violate its rules on hate speech. The ads feature an upside down triangle. Anti-hate groups say that symbol is similar to one the Nazis used to mark political prisoners in concentration camps. But the Trump campaign insists the triangle is a signal of Antifa and that Facebook should not have removed the ads.

And another social media giant is also cracking down on President Trump's posts. On Thursday Twitter labeled a video that Mr. Trump tweeted as manipulated media. The video starts with a portion of a viral video showing a black child running from a white child, a totally fake CNN graphic was added reading terrified toddler runs from racist baby. The video claims in the quote, America is not the problem, fake news is. It's the third time in a month that Twitter has taken action against Mr. Trump's postings.

Well Portugal has emerged as an example of what countries can do to combat coronavirus. Coming up we will take you to Lisbon to find out more about a potential breakthrough treatment Portugal is using to help COVID-19 patients. Back with that in a moment.



CHURCH: A cluster of coronavirus cases in Beijing is growing. There have been more than 2 dozen new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours. The outbreak is centered around a food market in the capital. Chinese health officials say they have the outbreak under control and more than 350,000 people links to the market have been tested. In Russia, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the health workers.

The head of the country's health agency says 489 medical personnel have died from the disease. Doctors, nurses and ambulance crews often have complained of a shortage of protective gear. Overall Russia reports well over a half million coronavirus cases and more than 7,600 deaths.

Brazil is getting closer to 1 million confirmed cases as it reports almost 23,000 new infections on Thursday alone. The death toll in the country from the virus is almost 50,000 making it the world's number two hot spot after the United States. Meantime senior officials leading Brazil's response to the crisis have insisted the outbreak is under control.

Well, Portugal has one of the lowest death tolls for coronavirus in all of Europe. The country tested massively after locking down and for months it has taken an approach in Oxford study calls a breakthrough using steroids to treat patients.

CNN senior international correspondent, Frederick Pleitgen, is in Lisbon. He joins us now live. Good to see you, Fred. So this pandemic has put all nations to the test and some have surprised us with their success. Portugal being one of them. How did they do it?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they did a lot of things. They certainly did do that mass testing and they also shut down their borders pretty quickly as well, Rosemary. And those are also things where they say they believe that was part of the success. And the interesting thing is with that Oxford study that found that steroids could be effective in helping people stay alive who were on ventilators.

The Portuguese weren't even part of that study. It's just something that made common sense to them. And so it's something that they did. And they believe that was something that was part of the reason among others why they managed to keep people alive and also why they managed to get people to come out of ICUs fairly quickly and to get better. Here's what we found out.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Francisco Fonseca is doing some heavy lifting, building his new beach bar. A miracle, he believes, since he only recently recovered from coronavirus, including seven days on a ventilator in a medically induced coma.


FRANCISCO FONSECA, COVID-19 SURVIVOR: It was really painful. Not the breathing itself, but the skin. And I knew it was not the skin itself, it was like in the lungs.

PLEITGEN: Portugal seem set up to be devastated by COVID-19 with among the fewest intensive care beds per capita in the entire European Union. But so far, the opposite is true. (on camera): Portugal is seen as having been very successful in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and they say key points of their strategy where they closed down very, very early, and then they also did mass testing to try and mitigate the pressure on their medical system.

(voice-over): One possible reason doctors and coronavirus wards like here at Lisbon Central University Hospital, have, for months, been treating patients with steroids to combat inflammation in the lungs. The head of the ICU, Dr. Nuno Germano tells me.

DR. NUNO GERMANO, HEAD OF ICU, LISBON CENTRAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL CENTER (through translator): What we've seen with cortical therapy is that we are able to reduce the inflammation and greatly improve the respiratory function of the patient.

PLEITGEN: About 60 percent of ventilated patients here are treated with steroids, including this 63-year-old woman who was able to leave the ICU just one day after we filmed.

A new Oxford study has now found this type of treatment can reduce the risk of death for hospitalized patients. The World Health Organization calls it a potential breakthrough.

Dr. Germano says it's an effective tool that's helped keep the death toll for ICU patients at around 16 percent. But that's not all they're doing.

GERMANO (through translator): We have a team that does outreach, that goes out of the ICU and observes patients, and what we do is we do early intubation and ventilation to the patients. So, any patient which has signs of difficulty breathing and criteria that needs ventilation, we don't delay the intubation and ventilation of the patient and we admit them early to the ICU.

PLEITGEN: While some other experts around the world say patients should only be placed on ventilators as a last resort, the medical professionals here say early ventilation in certain circumstances has been working.

And it certainly worked for Francisco Fonseca who hopes that now that his health has come back, tourists will come back to Portugal as well and help him jump-start his business.


PLEITGEN: And, Rosemary, of course tourism extremely important not just for that gentleman but for the country as a whole. The Portuguese are saying the fact that they had this lockdown very early, very harsh and that mass testing is now helping them to open up and actually bring tourists back. And they hope and they believe they can bring them back in a safe way.

However, they're also saying that sense they've opened up, there is a bit of a rise in new coronavirus cases specifically here in the Lisbon area. So that's certainly also something that this country has an eye on as well. Where of course they want to open up the economy but the last thing they want just like every other country in Europe and of course, around the world will be another spike in new coronavirus infections -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Still an impressive story, nonetheless. Frederick Pleitgen bringing us that live from Lisbon in Portugal. Many thanks. And we'll be right back.



CHURCH: Well, one person often mentioned as a possible running mate for Joe Biden has withdrawn from consideration for that role. Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar called the former Vice President to say she didn't want him to pick her.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): This is a historic moment and America must seize on this moment and I truly believe, as I actually told the Vice President last night when I called him, that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.


CHURCH: Biden tweeted his appreciation. He said in part, from the moment you announced you were running for president in a snowstorm, it wasn't hard to see you had the grit and determination to do anything you set your mind to.

Well, American football is, to put it mildly, a contact sport. Not exactly ideal in this era of social distancing. Our Brian Todd takes a look at how COVID-19 is shaping up to be a formidable opponent for the National Football League and putting the upcoming season in real jeopardy.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America's top voice on coronavirus is casting doubts on whether one of America's favorite sports can return this season.

Dr. Anthony Fauci telling our Sanjay Gupta, unless players are essentially in a bubble, insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day, it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall -- a prospect that millions of fans don't even want to think about.

JERRY BREWER, SPORTS COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: It's going to be absolutely devastating for sports fan. And this is for a higher percentage of sports fans the league and the sport that they cannot do without.

TODD: The NBA is planning to put players in a so-called bubble, resuming its schedule with all teams and no fans at a Disney resort in Orlando later this summer. Will the NFL consider that?

Responding to CNN, an NFL spokesperson said, no. We have been preparing for all contingencies and we'll continue to make decisions based on the latest guidance from medical experts.

The league said separately, it's got a comprehensive testing plan in place but hasn't said if it will test players every day as Dr. Fauci recommends. The NFL still says it plans to play the 2020 season as scheduled. The commissioner giving no detail, telling ESPN of stepped up safety measures.

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: The protocols are stringent. They're designed to be that because they're protecting the safety of our players and our personnel, including coaches.

TODD: According to the NFL network, several players from the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans recently tested positive for coronavirus. The reports said both teams followed proper health protocols, but experts say football carries even more risk of coronavirus transmission than other contact sports like basketball or hockey.


DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: It's hard to imagine an activity that is more likely to spread coronavirus than the muscular and intense clashes that you see in football. The taking off of a helmet and putting it on, the exchange of people who are really almost at war with each other, yelling at each other. All of these things spread the virus a lot more than other sports.

TODD: It's still unclear whether the NFL will allow fans in its stadiums, if and when it starts the season. Even without them, epidemiologist Larry Brilliant worries about what can happen if the league doesn't plan things out in detail.

BRILLIANT: I think the most dangerous thing that could go wrong if football resumes too soon are the incremental increase in the number of people who would show up. There's trainers, then there's the friends of the football players, then there's the owners in the owner's box, and then there's their friends. And soon, this idea of there will only be players on the field becomes 10-more-thousand people who show up.

TODD (on camera): Then there's the timing of the season. Dr. Sanjay Gupta worries that when the season begins in September there could be an uptick in coronavirus cases. And he says flu season begins in late September or early October which could worsen things. So a tough decision in for a league that doesn't let us in on many of its plans.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: And thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. "EARLY START" begins right after this. Stay with us.