Return to Transcripts main page


Florida Sees New Covid Cases; Bolton Hopes Trump's a One-Term President; Black-Owned Business Struggle in Pandemic; Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is Interviewed about Opening the City. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired June 22, 2020 - 09:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Would be -- would be no.

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI: Yes, it's not about who asks, it just about those things are not available.


SUAREZ: They're not open. They're not going to be open. So, you know, that -- that's not going to change for anyone.


SUAREZ: That's -- that's our policy and until the data shows that it's safe to open those kinds of facilities, we're not going to open them.

HARLOW: Fair enough.

Let's listen to this from the president on Saturday night during his rally about testing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.

They test and they test. We've got tests that people don't know what's going on.


HARLOW: Has the testing slowed down in Miami, Mayor?

SUAREZ: No, we haven't slowed down testing, nor have we ramped up testing dramatically either. The fact of the matter is, our percentage positives or the percentage of people that test, that become positive, has gone up dramatically. Last week it was at a -- hovering around 8 percent. This week, based on the data that I've just been given, it's at 14 percent. So it's almost doubled. So that's really nothing to do with an

increased amount of testing. It has to do with more people that are getting tested are coming out positive. And that's -- and that also sort of indicates the doubling of the new positive cases from about 500, which was very close to our high water mark, to 900, which is double that high water mark.

HARLOW: Thank you very much for your time. We'll let you get back on that call with the Department of Health. I know you guys have a lot of work ahead. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, thank you.

SUAREZ: Thank you, Poppy.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: National security adviser -- former National Security Adviser John Bolton sat down for an interview ahead of the release of his book tomorrow. Why he says he hopes President Trump will be a one-term president.



SCIUTTO: Former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton says that he cannot in good conscience vote for President Trump in November. Keep in mind, President Trump appointed him. In fact, Bolton, a longtime conservative Republican, does not want to see the president get re-elected.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I hope it will remember him as a one-term president who didn't plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral we cannot recall from. We can get over one term. Two terms I'm more troubled about.


SCIUTTO: With me now is Ambassador Richard Haass, he's president of the Council on Foreign Relations, served in the George W. Bush administration. His most recent book is "The World: A Brief Introduction." I've read it. It's a good read. You should pick it up.

Ambassador, always good to have you on.


SCIUTTO: You've served many years in government. Have you ever seen a former senior adviser to a sitting U.S. president so explicitly call that sitting president a threat to national security?

HAASS: I am hard-pressed to think of anything that quite competes with this. SCIUTTO: It's remarkable. To his testimony that never happened in the

impeachment inquiry, his book, his account, contradicts the two main GOP defenses. One was, there was no direct line to the president. Bolton says, in fact, the president ordered the aid hold. And, two, that this -- this was all just a difference over policy regarding Ukraine. Bolton makes the point that this was explicitly driven by the president's personal interest and part of a pattern. I mean he mentions China as well. The president asking for Chinese help in the election.

Would his testimony have mattered in the impeachment inquiry?

HAASS: No, I can't answer that. I really -- you're talking about a handful of Republicans. But the country was focused on this then. And he should have testified then. The idea of saving it for a book is, to me, you know, beyond the pale.

SCIUTTO: The president and his allies have focused their fire on Bolton himself, his credibility, of course, despite the fact that the president chose him for this very high profile and important role. He calls Bolton a liar, a wacko, among other things.

You worked with Bolton in the Bush administration. Does he have credibility?

HAASS: He's an extreme ideologue. He's -- but he's also smart. You know, we -- we agreed on very little. He played bureaucratic hardball. Again, I found him a unilateralist. A real maxilust (ph). He, you know, he rarely, you know, found a regime he didn't want to overthrow, hated arms control agreements that could be negotiated.

To me John was just an extremist. It's just odd that Trump would have hired them because other than their mutual, shared interest in acting unilaterally, I can't think of any area the two of them agreed. Trump wanted to pull America back from the world. John wanted to transform the world.

SCIUTTO: So those are disagreements on approach to the world, though. But Trump and his allies are saying, he's just a liar. He's making all this stuff up. Is he the guy of guy who would just make all this stuff up?

HAASS: I -- you know, again, based on my own experience, I -- I never know -- knew him to do that. He took awfully detailed notes. No, some of this could be open to interpretation. But the idea that he's a wholesale liar, that wasn't my experience. He was a wholesale ideologue.

SCIUTTO: One of the, of course, main focuses of President Trump's foreign policy has been North Korea, three face-to-face, high-profile summits, really nothing to show for it. John Bolton says that the threat from North Korea today is actually greater than when Trump took office. I wonder if you agree with that.

HAASS: Oh, a hundred percent. North Korea has far more nuclear material, far more nuclear weapons, and it has more and longer range ballistic missiles.


So there's, you know, essentially what we face with North Korea now, as a strategic threat, much greater than what we faced three and a half years ago.

SCIUTTO: Final question, the other criticism that Bolton levels, disturbing one, is that the president not only ponies up to authoritarians, despites such as Putin, Kim Jong-un and others, but that he gets played by them. He says that Putin plays Trump like a fiddle. Do you see evidence of that?

HAASS: Well, again, that's an up-close tactical thing. I would just say, if you're Vladimir Putin, you've got to be pretty pleased with the flow of history over the last three and a half years. You are -- you are where you are with Ukraine.

You're -- you played a powerful hand in the -- in the Middle East. And this president, you know, hasn't picked on you much for interfering in our elections and he wanted you back in what was the G-8. So if you're -- you're Putin, you've got to feel pretty good about how you've been -- how you've been treated despite everything you've done. So, sure.

SCIUTTO: Yes. We should note, of course, it's the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Putin wanted Trump to win the election, helped in his favor.

Ambassador Richard Haass, thank you.

His most recent book, "The World: A Brief Introduction." There's the cover. It is out now.


HARLOW: A great interview.

All right, many businesses -- many business owners struggling during this pandemic. You know that. The situation is particularly dire right now for black-owned businesses. We're going to examine that, next.



SCIUTTO: This is a story we followed closely on this show, the disproportionate effect of this pandemic on African-American communities. And it's alarming. Both physically and financially. Some of those businesses, they cannot even get access to the PPP loans meant to rescue businesses from this.

HARLOW: And now one of them, a business owned by four black women, is relying on their community to survive.

Watch this story from our Phil Mattingly.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): That is the sound the Jones sisters weren't sure they'd hear much longer, a customer buying their ice cream. For the owners of the Southwest Soda Pop Shop, the coming summer months were the heart of this business.

BRITTANY JONES, OWNER, SOUTHWEST SODA POP SHOP: We have, you know, sodas, but, you know, floats, milkshakes, ice creams, things like that.

MATTINGLY: Until the pandemic brought them on the brink of failure.

BRIANNA JONES, OWNER, SOUTHWEST SODA POP SHOP: Instead of the 30 customers or 50 customers that we usually have on a regular weekday, it went from maybe one or two, three or four, because people were scared.

MATTINGLY: But it wasn't a piece of the trillions in federal government assistance that kept them alive.

BRITTANY JONES: We just didn't qualify initially for those programs that were out there.

MATTINGLY: They were shut out of the largest small business rescue program in U.S. history, the Paycheck Protection Program, running headlong into the structural issues that have hindered black small owned businesses for decades that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Forty-one percent of black-owned small businesses shuttered between February and April, their white counterparts, less than 20 percent.

ASHLEY HARRINGTON, FEDERAL ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR RESPONSIBLE LENDING: This is just laying bare all of the cracks and issues that were already there in this foundation and that people of color have been experiencing every single day.

MATTINGLY: The PPP was structured in a way to quickly kick hundreds of billions of dollars out the door. That same structure unintentionally entrenched those pervasive disadvantages, from lack of bank relationships and disincentives for banks to prioritize smaller loans, to the fact that more than 95 percent of black owned small businesses are sole proprietorships, which limited the funds they could access.

QUBILAH HUDDLESTON, DC FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE: And a lot of it has to do with who has a seat at the table and who we think about in terms of who are the business owners that, you know, are at risk of closing doors.

MATTINGLY: The Small Business Administration's inspector general finding that contrary to law there was no initial prioritization for these underserved communities and that no demographic data was collected, making it impossible to, quote, determine the loan volume to the intended prioritized markets. Federal officials have recognized the shortcomings and have scrambled to address them, but that push would have been too late for the Southwest Soda Pop Shop were it not for their own inventive effort. BRIANNA JONES: The Go Fund Me was originally my dad's idea. So you can

imagine four, young independent black women. We're like, dad, a Go Fund Me? That's kind of like begging. It took a lot of pride to the side for us to even send out the Go Fund Mes.

MATTINGLY: And this viral tweet, with more than $25,000 raised, the business is alive, distanced, masked, but still delicious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is only the beginning for us.

MATTINGLY: But it's also a window into just how acute the longstanding hurdles faced by black-owned businesses have become for a nation in crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) saved -- saved Southwest Soda Pop Shop.

MATTINGLY (on camera): It wasn't -- it wasn't the government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it was not the government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was not the government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was our community.


MATTINGLY: And, guys, I think this issue here is just that, right, it's a story of perseverance at the Southwest Soda Pop Shop is both very much open and it's actually doing very well. Just yesterday I drove buy. There was a line 10, 20, 30 people deep, all distanced, all with masks. But they're doing well but they're more of the exception than the rule.

The reality is that the way these programs were structured works against many small black-owned businesses. And the other reality here is the fact that these programs were put in place without an acknowledgment of that just underscores how deep the issues are.

Now, I've talked to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They are very cognizant that this is an issue. Marco Rubio, the chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, told me last week that the next forthcoming aid package will be very targeted and this will be one of the issues that they're looking towards.


But, still, the fact of the matter is, too many businesses at this point in time, it's too late for that, guys.

SCIUTTO: Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.

HARLOW: At one point New York City was the epicenter of this pandemic. Now, it moves into phase two of reopening. It's a significant move for this city. It means bars and restaurants will be back open for outdoor dining. SCIUTTO: Retail stores, they're going to allow in-person shopping with

limited capacity though. And New Yorkers can finally go get a haircut.

We're joined now by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Governor, good to have you on this morning.

I know that people are impatient to get back to some semblance of normal life. All of us feel that way. But when you see New York, and New York had, as you know, really the worst experience of this outbreak in the country. And when you began to open the door, just a little bit in the last couple of weeks, I don't have to remind you of some of those images from downtown of folks out, out close, not abiding by social distancing, not wearing masks.

What do you say to people who are taking reopening as a message that it's all over?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Yes. I'm -- I say to them -- good morning. Thanks for having me.

I say to them they're wrong. And I've talked to them about it every day for the past three months. And they get it. Look, overall, New Yorkers get it. I understand. I have the same concern. Will people overreact now and think it's over. But people are, by and large, overwhelmingly being smart. And we see it in the numbers.

You know, in New York we did this differently than the other places. And you're seeing that it worked in New York. The other places basically did reopening as a political exercise. It was politicized by the White House and all -- some states ran to reopen and just forgot about the metrics and the science when you're dealing with a virus.

You're now seeing those states spike. New York, we did the exact opposite. We followed the science. We were a slave to the science. I look at the numbers every day, and we react by the numbers.

We did 57,000 tests just yesterday. Highest number of tests in the United States. And we had less than a 1 percent transmission rate yesterday. We went from the highest transmission rate in the United States to the lowest transmission rate. We only had ten deaths overnight. That's the lowest number since this started. We have about 1,000 people in our hospitals, lowest number since this started.

So we watch those numbers every day. I argue and urge and enforce compliance every day. If we see any tick in those numbers, we will respond. But, so far, as I said, the numbers yesterday were all good.

HARLOW: That's great news to hear, Governor, and thank you for your time this morning.

Are you still considering a potential quarantine for people that may come to New York from states where they are seeing a dramatic spike, like Florida, for example? And, if so, how would you enforce it because I know if you go back to March, you weren't happy with Rhode Island when they said that they were going to pull over every car with a New York license plate, right? You called it unconstitutional. So where is your head on that and how would it be enforced?

CUOMO: Yes. Well, what -- what they were talking about back then was Rhode Island targeting just New Yorkers. They pull you over by your license plate.


CUOMO: Which I thought was absurd.

Florida did put in a quarantine, which I think was more political than anything else.

But now we have a very real problem, Poppy. The greatest irony we they write the book in history, New York had the highest infection rate and all these other states were saying, well, we're going to blockade New York. The president was talking about blockading New York. You would have seen a civil war.

We now have the lowest infection rate. And I'm getting calls all day long, people from Florida, Texas, saying, we want to come to New York because we're afraid to be in Florida or Texas. That could actually increase our transmission rate.

HARLOW: Right.

CUOMO: So I'm talking to my -- my neighbors, Governor Murphy in New Jersey, Governor Lamont in Connecticut, about what we do about it.

I wouldn't target a specific state, but we know the transmission rate in every state in the United States.


CUOMO: It's a published piece of data. I would consider states with the highest transmission rate that if somebody comes from that state to New York --


CUOMO: There's a period of quarantine where they quarantine themselves to make sure they're not spreading it.

SCIUTTO: OK. And that's a -- that's a step that some countries have taken around the world as well, to put a hold on this.


SCIUTTO: I want to get to another topic, and that is the issue of police and police violence. As you know, an NYPD officer has now been suspended without pay after an apparent chokehold incident. As you know, Eric Garner, it's been six years since he died at the hands of police with a chokehold.


It was only, though, in the last couple of weeks that the state legislature passed a law banning the use of such a technique.

Why -- why did New York wait so long to address this issue?

CUOMO: Yes, look, I did -- I've taken a lot of measures by executive order over the years. I did by first state in the United States to have the attorney general's, a special prosecutor to investigate killings by police officers over unarmed people. But there is no doubt that the political mood has changed all across this nation. And I think it is a great thing.

Why didn't they say enough is enough after Eric Garner? I don't know. Why didn't they say enough is enough after Abner Louima (ph) and Ama Dou Diallo (ph) and Rodney King in Los Angeles 30 years ago? Why did it take so long? I don't know. But I think the George Floyd murder was the tipping point. And you've seen this outrage.

I actually think it's even related to Covid when you go back and look, that there's a feeling of unity and community that didn't exist before. But, for whatever reason, the political mood has changed. It's been an international swell of outrage.

I said, great. I said on day one, Poppy, I stand with the protesters. But the key is now going to be taking that outrage and actually putting it into action. You need to change the policies. You need to change the way we police. And it's not, are the police right, are the police wrong? Once the community stands up and says, we don't trust the police, we don't respect this type of policing, the game is over because it's a relationship. And the relationship is now breached.

And it only takes one side of the relationship to say this relationship doesn't work for me. And it doesn't matter to say, well, are you right or are you wrong, right? One side says I want a divorce, that's it, you have a problem in the relationship. And that's where we are.

But we now have to make change. So when I've said in New York is, every local government, every police department, I want a plan in nine months how you're going to reinvent your police. Do it as a collaboration with the community. But what is the budget?

What is the function? What is the staffing? How do you demilitarize? What do you mean by defund the police? Make every community sit down, come up with their own plan, make that relationship work. So this wasn't just another moment of outrage in society, it was a moment of real transformational change.


HARLOW: Governor, we hear that, and I -- I think we know this moment is different.

I think, to Jim's point, when you think back to why change didn't happen sooner, why do you think that was?

CUOMO: I think you didn't have the same expression of outrage.


CUOMO: I think to make fundamental changes, when you talk about changing this police in this United States, changing education in the United States, don't underestimate the obstacles to change and the strength of the status quo. You want to make a fundamental change on how we police and what police do. That's -- that requires a united, consistent voice of outrage. And this is the first time we've had it in this nation.

Now, it's not -- I think it's easier said than done. Don't dismiss, well, what will amounts to change. I would not -- the status quo is still strong. And the transition to actual change, that's still going to be a big deal. I'm fighting it in New York. I can tell you it's going to be a big deal.

SCIUTTO: There's an election coming up in November. You might be aware. Mail-in voting an issue particularly because of the ongoing fears of the pandemic. You have many people expressing an interest in voting by mail because of the risk of possibly going into -- into a voting station. The president's attacking it. Attorney General Bill Barr has said without offering investigation that it would open the floodgate for fraud, when there is, in fact, little evidence of that.

Are you concerned that the president, the attorney general, are creating a case to challenge the results of the election if -- if they were to lose?

CUOMO: Yes. Yes. I believe -- I believe this is a setup, my friend. Obviously, mail-in voting makes sense, right? You can buy something with a credit card over the Internet. Of course you can do mail-in voting. And, of course, in the middle of a pandemic, why do you want people getting in lines. We've seen it. It's absurd. It's counter to public health, et cetera.

No, I think this is a setup. I think they're going to lose the election. I think they're going to claim fraud and they're going to go back to these states with the mail-in voting and they're going to use that as an argument.


And I just hope they don't do that.