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NEW DAY SATURDAY

President Trump Moves Forward With Tulsa Rally Despite Health Concerns; Tulsa Grapples With Racist History Ahead Of Trump Rally; U.S. Attorney Refuses To Step Down After Barr Tries To Push Him Out; CDC Forecast Projects 135,461 U.S. Deaths By July 11; Local Leaders Mull Mask Mandates Amid COVID-19 Spikes; Florida Reports Record Single-Day Increase Of Nearly 4,000 New COVID-19 Cases. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired June 20, 2020 - 06:00   ET

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


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the midst of the greatest public health failure in American history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The World Health Organization warns we're in a, quote, "new and dangerous phase of the pandemic."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oklahoma also seeing a steady COVID climb as President Trump prepares to pack an indoor arena in Tulsa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the personal decision of Americans as to whether to go to the rally or whether not to go to the rally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just not a good situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frankly, it's a perfect storm that Tulsa can't afford.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.S. Attorney General William Barr has tried to make a late-night shake-up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Manhattan U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman is refusing to resign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Berman has investigated a number of President Trump's associates including Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Centennial Olympic Park and the big Ferris wheel lit up there because the Sun hasn't yet come up here in Atlanta. Good morning to you on this Saturday. We hope that you're doing well this morning as we talk about the country's ongoing racial and political tension, the coronavirus pandemic, the president's response to all of it, all of that converging this morning in Tulsa, Oklahoma. VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. That's where the president will hold his first rally in more than 100 days and health experts, they're worried. They believe that this could be a super spreader event. Tulsa County has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma and Oklahoma is one of almost a dozen states in which new cases are up more than 50 percent this week over the previous week.

PAUL: And breaking overnight, a standoff between Attorney General Bill Barr and a powerful U.S. Attorney. The Justice Department announced the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is stepping down, but that man, Geoffrey Berman, says he did not resign and he has no intention of doing so. Berman has investigated a number of the president's associates.

BLACKWELL: So we'll get you more on the breaking news. We want to start, though, with Sarah Westwood in Washington for more on the rally in Tulsa tonight. Sarah, good morning to you. The president says that he's using this to restart his reelection campaign.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi. And yes, the campaign definitely sees the rally today as the unofficial reboot of the president's campaign. It'll be his first one in more than three months and there's a recognition that the political landscape has shifted dramatically from the last time the president has been out on the road campaigning.

This is not only a way for the president to showcase what is likely to be his campaign message moving forward, which is that the country is coming back from the deep recession that it entered due to the shutdown from coronavirus, but also that the president himself is not afraid of the virus and this is something that the White House wants to showcase.

But of course the reality is that, as you mentioned, cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in Oklahoma and especially in the county where this event will take place where local officials say they expect as many as 100,000 people to convene tonight. Twenty thousand people can fit in the indoor arena where the president will be holding this rally and the president acknowledged this week in an interview with "The Wall Street Journal" that there could be some people who do contract the virus by attending his rally. I want to read you a part of that interview.

"The Wall Street Journal" asked, "What happens if your supporters get sick at one of these rallies?" and Trump replied, "Well, people have to know that, yes, you do, but it's tiny. You know, it's a very small percentage." So the president acknowledging there that it's a possibility, local officials say a near certainty, health experts do at least.

Now, the campaign is going to be handing out masks, doing temperature checks and providing hand sanitizer, but officials say that attendees will not be required to wear those masks and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said yesterday that she won't be. Take a listen.

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KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's a personal choice. I won't be wearing a mask. I can't speak for my colleagues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And why won't you wear a mask? Is it sort of a personal, political statement? Is it because the president would be disappointed in you if you don't wear a mask?

MCENANY: It's a personal -- it's a personal. I'm tested regularly. I feel that it's safe for me not to be wearing a mask and I'm in compliance with CDC guidelines which are recommended, but not required.

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WESTWOOD: Despite CDC recommendations that say people should be wearing a mask, particularly if they are indoors and can't stay more than six feet apart like at this rally, the President himself has also resisted wearing a mask in nearly all occasions that he's appeared in public. He'll be leaving the White House for Oklahoma later this afternoon, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us at the White House. Thank you.

PAUL: Sarah, thank you. So this morning, Tulsa obviously is a city divided. There are nearly 20,000 people that are expected to be preparing to pack this arena for the rally tonight.

BLACKWELL: And the director of Tulsa's health department, he says that this could be -- his words here -- the perfect storm of coronavirus transmission.

[06:05:04] Here's CNN's Abby Phillip from Tulsa.

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ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Tulsa's Black Wall Street now emblazoned with the words, "black lives matter."

NICOLE OGUNDARE, AUTHOR: This is a sign of hope and resilience. This is saying that we're here to stay and we're going to have to come together because that's the only way we'll survive.

PHILLIP: A city on edge, bracing for tens of thousands of pro and anti Trump supporters to converge here.

OGUNDARE: I'm just tense about everything.

PHILLIP: In Tulsa's Greenwood district, thousands gathered to celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday marking when some black slaves learned that they had been emancipated and a few blocks away, supporters of President Trump camped out for the first mass gathering of its kind in the country since the height of the coronavirus pandemic, but amid these large gatherings inside and out, the coronavirus pandemic looms.

BRUCE DART, DIRECTOR, TULSA HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Let me be clear, anyone planning to attend a large-scale gathering will face an increased risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.

PHILLIP: Oklahoma, one of eight states in the country seeing their highest seven-day averages of new cases, averaging 247 new cases per day in the last week. Tulsa County, the location of Trump's rally, leading that increase and outpacing more populous parts of the state.

The Trump campaign planning to hand out masks to the 19,000 people who will be packed into the BOK Arena for his rally on Saturday, but won't force rallygoers to wear them. White House officials at odds about whether they would wear masks.

MCENANY: It's a personal choice. I won't be wearing a mask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I were at the rally, I would wear a mask.

PHILLIP: Dr. Anthony Fauci more clear, telling "CBS News" simply avoid crowds and wear a mask. The officials in charge of the BOK Center still on edge about safety, now asking the Trump campaign to provide a written safety plan explaining how they will enforce social distancing, but the president appears more concerned about what will be happening outside, tweeting, "Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma, please understand you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle or Minneapolis." It will be a much different scene."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know what he means by that. Some people who wanted to come out and be peaceful protesters may be -- may have second thoughts about coming out.

PHILLIP: The White House defending Trump's tweet, claiming the president was not talking about peaceful protesters, but that tweet just the kind of provocation that appears to have prompted a high- ranking State Department official, Mary Elizabeth Taylor, to call it quits over Trump's handling of race relations and recent protests and Tulsa residents to dismiss the president's overtures on issues of race.

REGINA GOODWIN, (D) OKLAHOMA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I'm not going to go to an arsonist to put out a fire.

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PHILLIP: A lawsuit filed by Tulsa residents seeking to stop the Trump campaign rally from going forward on Saturday went all the way to the state Supreme Court, but the court ruled that they would reject that bid to stop the rally and it looks like things will be moving forward as planned, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Abby Phillip, thank you so much, there from Tulsa. So let's kind of focus in on the danger that is inside an event like this, thousands of people at this Tulsa rally.

PAUL: And they're all indoors, they're not all mandated to wear masks. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some thoughts about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Been a lot of questions lately about just how risky it is to gather people. In most states, as you know, states have limited gatherings to no more than 10 or 15 or 20 people, but now obviously we're hearing about lots more gatherings. There were -- there were concerns from a public health perspective when we saw those protests over the last couple of weeks, people not physically distancing, people obviously being in close proximity for periods of time.

Real concern and now additional concern about this rally that's taking place and let me explain why. If people are gathering, obviously the safest way to do it would be virtually, but the highest risk would be if you're doing it indoors, lots of people close together, no physical distancing, they're there for a long duration, for longer than 10 or 15 minutes and masks aren't mandatory, people shouting, a carnival- like atmosphere, putting a lot of virus into the air, the virus sort of gets suspended in that environment and people could become infected.

That's the real concern, but even then, how do you contextualize that risk for people? Take a look at this. With the help of Professor Bromage from Dartmouth, we put together this sort of way of looking at risk. At this rally, 20,000 people roughly. Predictions are if you look at the prevalence of the virus in the environment, about 100 people will arrive at that rally already infected. They may not know it. They may be totally asymptomatic.

There's this principle which says that about 20 percent of people typically are going to spread the virus to the 80 to 99 percent that is left over. Now, if you have 20 percent, that's 20 people and they are spreading in an environment like that with those risk factors, each person could spread it to 40 or 50 other people.

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Now, when you start doing the math, that means 800 to 1,000 people might become infected at an event like that. It's a lot of numbers, but keep in mind again, 20,000 people show up, an additional 1,000 people potentially become infected, they then go home and potentially infect others. That's the concern. That's the potential anatomy of an outbreak.

At a minimum, people who have any pre-existing conditions, people who are vulnerable, people who have symptoms obviously should stay home. Try and wear your mask. Make a big difference and if you go home, you've just done a high-risk thing, so try and quarantine yourself so at least you don't get your loved ones or other people in your community infected as well.

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PAUL: Sanjay, thank you so much. Stay with us because there is a growing number of local officials who are mandating the use of face masks as coronavirus cases, however, are rising in several states. There are some leaders who are reluctant. We'll talk about it. BLACKWELL: Also more on the breaking news. Attorney General Bill Barr is attempting to force out the U.S. attorney in New York who has investigated several of the president's associates. Coming up, you're going to hear from that U.S. attorney who is refusing to step down, what he sent out as a response to the Agree.

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PAUL: Want to get to our breaking news right now. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is refusing to step down after a statement was issued without his knowledge that he was resigning.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Attorney General Bill Barr announced Geoffrey Berman's resignation late last night. Now, Berman oversaw the prosecution of Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal attorney, Jeffrey Epstein, the investigation into Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney.

PAUL: CNN's Kara Scannell joins us. So Kara, good to see you. The latest dispute I know is happening as Barr faces accusations that he's politicized the Justice Department. Walk us through what's happened in the last 12 hours or so.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Sure. Good morning, Christi and Victor. I mean, this was really an extraordinary moment last night. At about 9:00 o'clock, the attorney general, through the Department of Justice, issued a statement saying that Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was stepping down. He said that the president had nominated someone else for his position and that Berman would be leaving the office on July 3rd.

Well, about two hours later, Geoffrey Berman issued an extraordinary statement in which he said he did not resign and he was not resigning. I'm going to read a portion of it. He said, "I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this office to pursue justice without fear or favor and intend to ensure that this office's important cases continue unimpeded."

So that statement there a little bit of a nod to this issue of political interference or is Bill Barr, you know, advancing the agenda of the president? You know, "The New York Times" noted in their reporting that the president had noted -- had discussed with aides recently that he wanted to remove Geoffrey Berman. Now, this is something that we have seen since Michael Cohen was charged and when he pled guilty and implicated the president in the campaign finance scheme.

So this has been brewing for awhile, this, you know, concern within the Justice Department that they don't know what the Southern District is doing, that Geoff Berman is too independent, he has that investigation into Rudy Giuliani. There were questions when Bill Barr was briefed about that at the time that perhaps that the Justice Department did not know how much that investigation was looking into Giuliani, who was Trump's personal attorney.

And then this -- you know, there has been a quiet period right now because of coronavirus pandemic which has slowed down, you know, investigations and it was during this quiet period now that we see Bill Barr and Donald Trump make this move late on a Friday night, you know, when the president has made some other significant changes to his administration, Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Kara Scannell, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Kara. Elie Honig is with us now, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and a CNN legal analyst. Elie, so good to see you this morning. So I want to talk about that, first and foremost, how this was rolled out at 9:00 P.M. at night. How unusual is it, particularly in the legal arena, that you would not be told prior to your being replaced, you wouldn't be told about that until you find out about it in a public announcement?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, everything about this, Christi, is suspicious and troubling, starting with the timing and manner of this announcement. I mean, you don't announce good news, you don't announce news that you're proud of after 9:00 P.M. on a Friday night. Not only that, William Barr, in the announcement, once again lied to the American public.

He told us Geoffrey Berman will be stepping down and about an hour later, Geoffrey Berman said oh no, I'm not, to which, as a Southern District alum, I just -- I wanted to stand and applaud Geoffrey Berman for taking that stand to protect the independence of the Southern District.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Few things that people are proud of happen after 9:30 on a Friday night, but Elie, let me ...

HONIG: Good point, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Let me take ...

PAUL: Victor, we have to have conversations later.

BLACKWELL: Let me take this angle though, Elie.

HONIG: Yes.

BLACKWELL: You know, the attorney general has announced that he's stepping down. Of course we know that Berman says he isn't. Could the AG just name an acting U.S. attorney come Monday morning, the guy walks in and takes the job?

HONIG: Right. So this much is clear, the attorney general does not seem to have that authority under federal law, but there's an open question that nobody knows the answer to as to whether the president can do just that. Now, Geoffrey Berman came into the job under weird circumstances.

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Normally, a U.S. attorney is nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate, but Berman, the president never did that for Berman or several other U.S. attorneys around the country. So the law says then it's up to the judges of that district. Now, Berman was still Trump's pick, but the judges confirmed him. So because of that, there's a way to look at the law that says he can only be replaced by a fully confirmed U.S. attorney, which will take weeks or months.

There's another way to look at a different section of the law that says well, but the president still has the authority to remove a U.S. attorney anytime. So we could actually see a legal battle over this.

PAUL: So when we talk about what Berman has overseen so far ...

HONIG: Yes.

PAUL: ... the investigations of Michael Cohen, of Rudy Giuliani, I think Rudy Giuliani the investigation, he says, is still green- lighted. The pedal is still on the metal -- or yes, the pedal is still being pushed on that one at this point. We know that there have been conversations about whether the SDNY will look into any investigations particularly of President Trump once he leaves office. Do you get the sense that this may be a way for the president to try to protect himself?

HONIG: A hundred percent, Christi. I mean, the SDNY is the biggest threat to Donald Trump. He has to recognize that. Start with the investigation of Rudy Giuliani and the prosecution of the indicted Lev Parnas. I mean, even if the president isn't a named party in those cases, you never know where a case is going to go. People cooperate, other information comes in. So start with that.

On top of that, remember the SDNY has the case involving Jeffrey Epstein's co-conspirators. Of course Epstein's dead, but there's other co-conspirators out there who I think need to be charged the case. The involving Deutsche Bank where the president has banked. Halkbank, which John Bolton wrote about, the president and the attorney general's reluctance to have that case go forward. There's too many cases with political implications that are too large to ignore here.

BLACKWELL: Does the sound of footsteps hasten any action in that office considering that now the president wants somebody else in this position, we need to move?

HONIG: Well, the good news is yes, people in that office are very much aware of what's happening in the world, but the bad news is ultimately because William Barr is attorney general, he has the ability, he has the final say. The SDNY is independent, but they're not separate and apart.

They are still part of the Justice Department and remember, a couple months ago, Bill Barr issued a new memo essentially taking even more control over potentially political investigations that may be coming out in the run-up to the election. So ultimately the SDNY is independent, but they're not completely on an island.

PAUL: Elie Honig, thank you so much for getting up early for us. We appreciate seeing you.

HONIG: Thanks. Anytime. All right. Thanks, Christi.

PAUL: Thank you, Elie. So grim predictions from the CDC this morning. Coronavirus cases spiking in several states. We're going to break down for you the headlines with an infectious disease specialist next.

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BLACKWELL: The CDC predicts that the U.S. will surpass 135,000 coronavirus deaths over the next three weeks and this morning cases, are rising in 24 states. At least four -- eight of them, I should say, are seeing their highest weekly averages of new cases per day since the beginning of the pandemic.

PAUL: A new model suggests Florida will be the next epicenter of the pandemic. According to officials there, less than 25 percent of ICU beds are available. CNN's Polo Sandoval following the very latest here as he's with us from New York. Hello. Good morning to you. Talk to us about the potential that a lot of people are looking at a second wave. Are we -- are we looking at that right now or are we still in the first round? Has that been determined?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is certainly a real possibility for the parts of the country here, Christi, especially when you look at the numbers. Here in New York, though, I can tell you that the city's preparing to look a little bit more like New York, particularly come on -- especially come on Monday as restaurants are preparing to reopen again to outdoor dining.

It might be a relatively small development when you consider other parts of the country that have already opened up, but when you think about it, this was at one point Ground Zero for the U.S. portion of this pandemic. So it certainly should at least offer some hope and promise to other parts of the country that are now nearing a dangerous new phase.

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SANDOVAL: From coast to coast, these are the states that seem to be going in the wrong direction. This week, they recorded their highest seven-day averages. New COVID cases in Texas, some local officials fear a rise in hospitalizations and death rates.

LINA HIDALGO, HARRIS COUNTY, TX JUDGE: The spike in our hospitalizations is real and it's more dangerous than it's ever been.

SANDOVAL: Oklahoma also seeing a steady COVID climb as President Trump prepares to pack an indoor arena in Tulsa that can hold up to 20,000 of his supporters. With masks only optional, there's concern that the rally will be a COVID super spreader as it violates nearly all the guidelines set out by the CDC, but some cities are making masks mandatory.

Starting today, Dallas is one of the latest Texas cities requiring face coverings at businesses. Violators risk up to a $500 fine. In the Houston area, local officials are pleading with people to put politics aside when it comes to covering up.

HIDALGO: The idea is not to politicize, to express faux outrage, to try and have a minute in the limelight. Let's work together. The evidence is clear -- face coverings prevent the spread of the disease.

SANDOVAL: Masks are also a must in Phoenix, Arizona. it's the city's response to a massive jump in COVID cases across the state. Just look at the stats.

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Arizona saw record-breaking numbers nearly every day of this week. And you look around the business district of the city of Tempe, there were plenty of exposed faces.

CHARLES GBEKIA, TEMPE, ARIZONA RESIDENT: I'm not wearing a mask. I think masks are good, but I think they kind of act as a placebo to some extent.

SANDOVAL: Another round of re-openings are expected in the days ahead, perhaps the most notable and anticipated will be in New York City. It enters phase two on Monday, allowing outdoor dining, the re-opening of salons and barbershops as well as some offices.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK STATE: If people are thinking about getting together with anyone they don't live under the same roof with, they need to really practice distancing.

SANDOVAL: There is, however, a retail giant taking a step back. Apple announced it's re-closing some stores in Florida, the Carolinas and Arizona, blamed the closures on the spike in coronavirus cases.

(on camera): Exactly what's behind these various spikes in other parts of the country, it really depends on who you ask. Where you hear from the governors of Texas, and in Florida, they believe that increased testing is likely a factor though, Victor and Christi, as we've heard repeatedly, especially from epidemiologists, that is certainly not the case. Back to you.

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PAUL: Polo Sandoval, we appreciate it so much, thank you. We'll talk with Dr. Paul Sax now, he's the clinical director of the division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham Women's Hospital in Boston. Dr. Sax, thank you for being with us, I want to jump on something that we were talking about there, regarding Florida.

Governor DeSantis also announced that the median age of those infected in Florida seems to be 37 years old, and it's trending younger. Which is in stark contrast to what happened when this first came out, and we were looking at the warnings for people in the age group of 65-plus. What do you make of what we're seeing there? Is there a sense that this virus is modifying somehow?

PAUL SAX, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, BRIGHAM WOMEN'S HOSPITAL: Well, on the contrary, in countries where they did extensive testing early on, the incidents of infection was actually highest in people who were young adults. You'd see the highest incidents in people in their 20s and 30s. The key determinant of the severity of COVID-19 is the age of the individual, but not the acquisition of the infection.

BLACKWELL: So we've said that -- and we found the map, 24 states are seeing an uptick in new cases. Is this specifically because states may be opening too quickly or how they open without mandatory masks or the personal contact businesses first? What's your assessment?

SAX: Well, my assessment is that the states that are now seeing a rise in cases, what has happened is that they have allowed the most dangerous activities which are indoor activities with crowding in particular in restaurants and bars. Before they really had a very effective testing and contact-tracing program in place. And if that happens, then you're going to have increased cases. This virus really doesn't care what state it's in. It will spread the same way no matter where you are.

PAUL: I want to ask you, doctor, about something you tweeted about this week. Dexamethasone, I know that's a treatment a lot of people have been talking about, it's affordable, it's widely available, it seems to be very promising. Do you see this as being a game-changer?

SAX: It's a game-changer for certain individuals. Unfortunately, as is widely reported, some people with COVID-19 become so critically ill that they're actually requiring oxygen or an intensive care requiring ventilatory support. And in that setting, a very important trial run out of Great Britain showed that people who received dexamethasone have actually less of a chance of dying, their survival improved.

That's very important. Now, we don't have all the information, it was just a press release by the clinical trials group that did the study, but it's very exciting and something that clinicians can act on now.

BLACKWELL: The next phase of re-opening for several states is how to get people back to potentially office work. And you suggest that companies will have to do more than recommend precautions. They possibly will have to get pretty tough with their employees.

SAX: Yes, I think it's very important that the -- so the things -- very low tech things like surveys done by people before they come back to work. Just the testing that they're well can help keep people out of jobs, and in home while they're sick. There's something called presentism, which is when people show up at work because they're sick. We need to have ways for people to feel comfortable staying at home, recovering from an illness. That's going to be especially important during flu season. PAUL: And with that said, there are a lot of parents sitting at home

and students wondering if they're going to be able to go back to school in the Fall. Whether it'd be an elementary local school or a college. For the school re-entry planning, I understand that, that is dependent in part on prevalent asymptomatic transmission and how that might be.

[06:35:00]

Do you feel that that is enough or that there is enough knowledge about this disease and about asymptomatic transmission to give us a very clear picture about what should happen in the Fall with schooling?

SAX: Asymptomatic transmission is important. And particular, what's called pre-symptomatic transmission. The people who have an illness from COVID-19 the days before. And that usually correlates very well with the number of new cases diagnosed. The other thing to mention about school opening is that children do appear to have less severe COVID-19, and also appear less likely to get it.

And it is so critically important that schools open in areas that are having -- for example, the northeast has a reduced number of cases, cautiously re-opening schools is something I favor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Dr. Sax, thank you so much for your expertise and insight this morning.

SAX: Thank you for inviting me.

PAUL: Thank you, sir. So businesses are looking to life post-pandemic, obviously. Some experts are saying there could be another financial hurdle that could force the U.S. Federal Reserve to make some pretty hard decisions, even buying stocks, in fact. We're going to talk about that next with our business financial expert. Stay close.

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[06:40:00]

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SCOTT MINERD, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, GUGGENHEIM PARTNERS: Swathing back into the 1600 area possibly just to the lows, I mean, we have to see it as we go. I'm going to expect it, to move forward the lows over the course of the next month or so. But you know, there's a point where the Federal Reserve is going to have to pull out a bazooka in order to maintain credit spreads. And I think the option of buying stocks on the part of the Fed is on the table.

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PAUL: That was Scott Minerd with Guggenheim Partners on why he believes the looming market collapse could force the U.S. Federal Reserve to buy up stocks. So if this is on the table, what does it mean for business owners? Talk with financial expert Ted Jenkin, he's with us now. Ted, good morning to you. First of all --

TED JENKIN, FINANCIAL EXPERT: Good morning, Christi.

PAUL: Good morning. Do you see a bazooka like the Fed starting to buy stocks a real viable option?

JENKIN: Well, let's talk about what the Fed can do and what they're currently doing right now, Christi, because the Fed generally sets interest rates, which means if they want to ease the money supply, they're going to lower interest rates, and if they want to tighten the money supply, they're going to raise interest rates. They also act as the central bank for the U.S. government, and they regulate and supervise banks.

But the big thing is, the Fed has only transacted an assets generally, that have a government guarantee. So, what the Fed has done thus far is they've done lots of quantitative easing. This is a fancy way to say print money. They've also bought a lot of dollars in the repo market, that's a fancy way to say inject money into the system.

And they also with the Fed's funds rate, they've made it near zero right now, which is a fancy way to make it cheap for Americans to borrow money. So that's what they've done thus far. They printed money, injected it into the system and made it cheap for Americans to buy, to basically borrow money.

PAUL: So for people sitting at home, going, am I going to have a job to go to? Am I going to have money in my 401k? For people who aren't even invested, and they want to make sure that they have a paycheck. What is the Fed doing or what might they do to keep everybody in place?

JENKIN: So, let's talk about the stocks because in short, in general, I wouldn't say, Christi, no, they could not buy stocks, they would have get congressional approval, and they would buy something like a stock-tracking index like the S&P 500, this way, managers out there would buy a wide array of stocks. But the Fed has kind of done an end around here.

They started buying corporate bonds, and this week, they said they would buy individual corporate bonds. And Christi, there have been governments like Japan that are buying stocks in their country for 10 years now. So, if the stock market drop 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, it's now that of a question that the Fed would get into the stock market.

What does it mean to Americans? The Fed is incentivizing you now to get the money out of your bank account. Either spend the money or invest the money in real estate or the stock market, and remember, money is dead cheap right now if you want to refinance or get a mortgage or you want to borrow money for your business. That's what they're doing right now, incentivizing you to borrow money and get it out of the bank.

PAUL: Yes, because they want you to spend it, exactly. So --

JENKIN: Yes!

PAUL: While I have you, so is the financial crisis following the pandemic, obviously small businesses, they've really been struggling. Some I know are calling for another stimulus package, how likely do you think that's going to be, and what do you want to say to small business owners right now?

JENKIN: Listen, the laws changed on June 5th, so really check your PPP loan if you got it because the laws have changed in your favor, and that money is still out there, Christi, and it's cheap. Five-year loans at 1 percent, the SPA's still has loans at 3.75 percent. And remember this, if you get money in your hands, try to store up a cash reserve in your bank for your business, for operating expenses, for 3 months to 6 months if you can.

Because we don't know if we're going to have a coronavirus part 2, or another lockdown, and you really need to prepare your business and have a contingency plan if it happens again here in the Fall.

PAUL: So what do you say, Ted, to people who are on unemployment right now? There's been a lot of talk about this extra $600 a week that they're getting. There are small businesses who are saying, I need employers to come back and help me run my business, and I can't get them to come back because they're sitting on this -- this extra unemployment money. What would you say to somebody who is taking that unemployment obviously, it makes sense to them to do so.

But might they be in trouble later on if there's no stimulus at that point, and then small businesses have dried up as well?

[06:45:00]

JENKIN: Yes, Christi, I mean, look, there's only about 6 weeks left in this extra $600 a week stipend, it's set to end on July 31st. So, if you're at home right now, and you're thinking that it's going to get extended, we don't know right now, so I would get prepared to try and go back to work. I do think there will be some sort of package here in the late Summer, maybe the early Fall, but I think the people need to get prepared to go back to work.

PAUL: Is there politics at play here, Ted? I mean, is this happening to get us up to November and the election?

JENKIN: Christi, this is one of the -- this phase four is one of the biggest political footballs that you see between the Democrats and Republicans right now because they are far apart about how they see the next stimulus package. So, it is absolutely a huge political football.

PAUL: Ted Jenkin, always so grateful to have you with us, Ted, thank you.

JENKIN: Thanks Christi.

BLACKWELL: So the road to getting pro and college sports back may have just gotten a little harder. The new coronavirus cases that are hitting teams across the country, we'll tell you about those and what impact that could have on getting back to play.

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[06:50:00]

BLACKWELL: So President Trump has dismissed Dr. Anthony Fauci's concerns about the possibility of football being played this year or not being played I should say because of a potential second wave of coronavirus. And then this became more, Christi, than just an academic conversation about the potential of more cases.

PAUL: And the NFL, it's about the MLB, NHL, college football, PGA tour, all of those arenas confirming new cases of COVID-19. Carolyn Manno is with us this morning. So, as I under it, there's at least one of those sports that is just at an all-time halt right now.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Right, good morning, Christi and Victor, there's a lot to get to this morning, but Major League Baseball is closing its Spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida. CNN has learned that that's because they need to do a deep clean, they need to disinfect everything and also that a negative test is now going to be required upon entering into those facilities once they've been cleaned.

This happened because of a variety of factors. We're learning that there were already a bunch of closures this week heading into the weekend. The decision coming after the Phillies, Astros, Blue Jays had already closed because of concerns about the virus. We aren't sure if there's even going to be a baseball to play after talks broke down again between the league and the Players Association on Friday.

The latest sticking point there is the length of the season. The union says it won't play more than 60 games. Meantime, the NHL is confirming 11 new cases of the virus since permitting clubs to open training facilities back on June 8th. Hundreds of players have been subjected to mandatory testing upon entering those facilities for voluntary training.

Tampa Bay Lightning shutting down their facilities on Friday after three of the team's players and additional staff members tested positive. That's important because the confirmed cases in Florida are a concern as the NBA and WNBA prepare for a resumption to their seasons in the state next month.

The NBA planning to host 22 teams and immediate staff in a bubble at Disney's Wide World of Sports for three-plus months. You have the women resuming play about a 100 miles down the road at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Nick Watney is the first confirmed case for the PGA Tour. Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage before the start of Friday's second round, tested negative upon arrival to the tournament. His playing partner Vaughn Taylor saying he was shocked when he found out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VAUGHN TAYLOR, GOLFER: Hearts are racing, get a little nervous, so you know, just hope Nick is doing well and you know we can get through this. We didn't shake hands right after the round, I washed my hands. Nick never coughed or sneezed. So, you know, I feel comfortable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MANNO: Student athletes also not immune from this. The Clemson Athletics Department confirming 28 positive tests, 23 of which are football players. Clemson's result is the latest in a multitude of positive tests from universities across the country since allowing student athletes to train on campus. CNN can confirm 16 schools reporting coronavirus cases including Alabama, Florida State, Iowa, Michigan and Texas, the list goes on and on.

And President Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci are sending different messages when it comes to the looming NFL season. On Thursday Dr. Fauci told Dr. Sanjay Gupta he would be very surprised to see football played this Fall. President Trump responding on Twitter by saying that Dr. Fauci has nothing to do with the NFL's plans, and that the league is planning on a very safe and controlled opening.

And not a lot of time there, Christi and Victor, as training camps for the NFL season are set to get under way just over a month from now. So sports across the country dealing with these inevitable cases and how to move forward.

BLACKWELL: Twenty eight players at Clemson or 23 people in the department, 23 players.

MANNO: Yes, 23 football players and 28 student athletes and it speaks --

BLACKWELL: Wow --

MANNO: To a larger problem, that is one of these groups of athletes get together, you're going to have more and more positive cases.

BLACKWELL: Carolyn, thank you so much for that report.

PAUL: Thanks Carolyn. So stay with us, we have more for you on the Manhattan U.S. attorney who is refusing to resign his position.

BLACKWELL: Yes, despite the late night attempt by the Attorney General Bill Barr and therefore, the White House to force him out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:55:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the midst of the greatest public health failure in American history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The World Health Organization warns we're in a quote, new and dangerous phase of a pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oklahoma also seeing a steady COVID climb as President Trump prepares to pack an indoor arena in Tulsa.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: It's the personal decision of Americans as to whether to go to the rally or whether not to go to the rally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just not a good situation!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frankly, it's a perfect storm that Tulsa can't afford.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. Attorney General William Barr has tried to make a late night shake-up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman is refusing to resign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Berman has investigated a number of President Trump's associates, including Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Live look at the White House this morning. Sun is up there in Washington D.C., we know that the president will be heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma this evening, and that's where we're starting today. The country's ongoing racial and political tension, the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 election. The president's response to it all. All coming to Tulsa.