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EARLY START

Trump Ramps Up Campaign Stops Despite Pandemic; Big Tech Fights Immigration Order; Major League Baseball Aims to Play 60-Game Season; Second Wave of Coronavirus Underway in South Korea. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 23, 2020 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:20]

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: A dangerous spike in coronavirus won't keep the president out of Arizona. He'll speak to thousands of people today, but masks not expected to be enforced.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Let skilled workers in. Big tech fighting back after the president restricts immigration until after the election.

JARRETT: And it looks like there will be a baseball season after all. How? When? And where the teams will finally hit the field.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: Good morning. Nice to see you. I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, June 23rd. It is 5:00 a.m. exactly in New York.

We begin with presidential politics on a collision course with coronavirus today. President Trump heads to Arizona for several stops, including remarks at a Students for Trump event. The state is one of the country's hot spots right now reporting more than 2,000 cases per day or six of the seven last days. Eighty-four percent of Arizona's intensive care hospital beds are in use right now.

The state's governor says this was expected.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R), ARIZONA: We knew when we lifted the stay at home order we would have an increase in cases. The objective has always been so that we can slow the virus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Meanwhile, the president only adding more confusion on this issue of testing for the virus. At his rally on Saturday, Trump told supporters he ordered them to slow down testing because it results in finding more cases.

Well, the White House tried to say he was only kidding. Then yesterday he said this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INTERVIEWER: Just to clear up, there wasn't a direct order, if you will, for staff to stop the testing?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, but I think we put ourselves at a disadvantage. So, you hear about all of these cases. Instead of doing 25 million tests, let's say we did 10 million tests, we'd look like we're doing much better because we would have far fewer cases, you understand that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: To be clear, people are dying of this disease, 120,402 deaths because of COVID-19.

The president's return to the campaign trail, it was intended to demonstrate strength and enthusiasm but that Tulsa rally showed a limited strategy leaning on old grievances about race, the virus, monuments and more.

The president has said he's planning visits to Florida and Texas. Those are two other states hit hard by the virus. But now, aides are debating what his signature rallies will look like going forward.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is in Phoenix.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, President Trump comes here to Phoenix, Arizona, today. He's going to speak to a group called Students for Trump. This is an independent group not associated with the campaign or with the White House of young conservatives aimed at getting out the vote for President Trump. And this will be the first big event the president's held since that rally in Tulsa which fell well short of expectations.

We're getting some idea as to what to expect here tonight. This is a smaller venue than he was at in Tulsa. Only about 3,000 people can fit into the auditorium, which is going to take place at a local megachurch. And right now, organizers are expressing ways to maybe employ some social distancing techniques to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Now, they do plan to hand out masks, but there is some uncertainty whether those masks are going to be required. We don't expect President Trump to wear a mask and the mayor of Phoenix is telling CNN that they are not going to cite the president if he doesn't wear a mask, but they hope he would lead by example.

So, there's a lot on the line tonight for the president, hoping for enthusiastic crowd as he enters into the next phase of his campaign -- Laura and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JARRETT: All right. Ryan Nobles, thank you so much for that.

Well, half the country, that's 25 states heading in the wrong direction today. Florida, and Texas, and there are 50 million residents a big area of concern.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the U.S. is stuck playing catch up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: We are still reacting. We're not ahead of it. The only way to get ahead of the virus is to way tamp down the cases in any area and then test like crazy when a case appears, contact trace and make sure you quarantine. We can't do that yet because we're still finding all kinds of people who have the virus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: With more people out in public, new types of outbreaks are emerging, at bars, churches, and other venues. In Texas, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have nearly doubled over the past month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas. If we were to experience another doubling of those numbers over the next month, that would mean that we are in an urgent situation where tougher actions will be required to make sure that we do contain the spread of COVID-19.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: In Florida, the Department of Health has now issued an advisory that masks should be worn by everyone across the state but the governor has not made it mandatory. Some workers at Disneyworld have launched a petition to reconsider plans for a July reopening. Days of record case numbers have pushed the statewide total past 100,000. In Louisiana where the numbers are following, the governor says the state will not re-enter phase 3 for a month after a spike in the last week.

JARRETT: Well, a change of venue in the works for one of the planned presidential debates. "The New York Times" reporting this morning the University of Michigan is pulling out of hosting the October 15th presidential debate. Two sources tell "The Times" the university is concerned about throngs of media and campaign officials crowding on to the Ann Harbor campus in the middle of this pandemic. The paper says the debate is being moved to Miami's Performing Art Center. Officials in Florida have shown less resistance to big gatherings despite the pandemic.

ROMANS: Former President Barack Obama is looking to big boost to his former vice president, will hold his first virtual fundraiser today for Joe Biden. In a Biden campaign statement, Obama says this is a critical moment in our history urging people to, quote, join together and fight to create a more just, more generous, more democratic America.

JARRETT: Another night of angry protests near the White House. Protesters clashing with police after they tried to take down the 15- ton statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park there. The letters "BHAZ" for black house autonomous zone were spray painted onto the historic St. John's Church pillars where President Trump held up the bible in that photo-op earlier this month.

The escalation of the park lead several members of the press at the White House, including CNN being asked to leave the White House grounds, a highly unusual move. Overnight, the Secret Service said four members of the media were, quote, misdirected.

President Trump also weighing in, tweeting a random, unverified video with no real conduct -- context, but stoking racial animus.

ROMANS: All right. In Seattle, social justice protesters occupying a six-block area are being asked to wind down their nighttime activity. The mayor says police will be gradually moving back into the precinct they abandon after nearly two weeks now of sustained protest. The urgency to restore public safety escalated after three shootings in the protest area this weekend. One person died.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR JENNY DURKAN (D), SEATTLE: The gun violence unfolding at night is not only wrong, it also is undermining and distracting from the message for change that we are hearing in the street and in so many of the peaceful protests.

The message that's being delivered on Capitol Hill is it's time for people to go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Seattle's police chief seemed to pin blame for the violence on the city council which last week banned police's use of tear gas. The chief called it hasty legislation.

JARRETT: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is planning to subpoena Attorney General Bill Barr. Barr led a sudden weekend shakeup effort to remove the top prosecutor in Manhattan's U.S. Attorney's Office which has been leading several key investigations connected to President Trump. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman initially refused Barr's request to step down, leading the president to fire him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Subpoenas are supposed to be respected obviously but the corruption of the attorney general, of Barr, may lead him to try to defy it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Congressman Nadler says impeaching Barr over the move will be a, quote, waste of time. Instead, his committee will look at withholding $50 million from the Justice Department budget.

The White House on Monday admitted President Trump was involved in Berman's firing after the president had tried to distance himself from the move.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Why did the president say he wasn't involved in the firing of Geoff Berman when the attorney general said the president said was the one who fired him?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Because the attorney general was taking the lead on this matter. He did come to the president and report to him.

REPORTER: So, he was involved in it then?

MCENANY: He was involved in the signoff capacity. He was not -- A.G. Barr was leading the way, but in a signoff capacity, yes, the president was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Yet, still, no one in this administration has provided any coherent explanation as to why Berman was fired just months before the November election.

ROMANS: All right. Silicon Valley pushing back against President Trump's latest immigration restrictions. Trump signed an executive order blocking thousands of workers from coming to the U.S. until at least January. The White House argues limiting visas will help Americans looking for work during the pandemic.

Two of the programs, the L-1 visa, that allows companies to transfer employees from overseas, and the H-1B program for skilled workers and specialty occupations.

[05:10:04]

These are popular with U.S. tech companies.

Silicon Valley quickly condemned the order, saying it will hurt the economy. Twitter's had a public policy and philanthropy and said, quote: Unnecessarily stifling America's attractiveness to global high skilled talent, is shortsighted and deeply damaging to the economic strength of the United States. The Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he was disappointed by the order and Google will continue to stand with immigrants.

The Internet Association, a major trade groups that represents large tech platforms, says all industries benefit from the visa system that allows companies to bring in top talent. The new restrictions take effect Thursday.

JARRETT: Well, still ahead, a major get out the vote effort in Kentucky after the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. More than 95 percent of in-person polling places are closed. So the big question is, will black voters be left on the sidelines again?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:15:05]

JARRETT: Today is primary day in two states, New York and Kentucky. The number of in-person polling locations in Kentucky has been sharply reduced due to coronavirus from 3,700 to just 170. Potential nightmare scenario looms in the major cities with hours long lines, potentially disenfranchising black voters in a state still reeling from fatal police shooting of a black EMT in her own home.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STATE REP. CHARLES BOOKER (D), SENATE CANDIDATE, KENTUCKY: This is happening in Kentucky right now. We are in a moment, y'all. We are in a moment.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sleepy Senate primary race suddenly electrified in Kentucky.

BOOKER: This time has to be different. For my cousins, for my loved ones, for y'all, this has to be different. For Breonna, for Mr. McAtee, for everybody that's a hashtag.

ZELENY: A national reckoning on racism and police brutality is resonating loudly here where a Louisville police killed 26-year-old Brianna Taylor, an EMT in March, and David McAtee, the owner of a barbecue restaurant in June. Weeks of protests have injected fresh uncertainty into the campaign over who Democrats will choose in today's election, to take on Senate Majority Mitch McConnell in November.

AD ANNOUNCER: She's Kentucky's best chance to move on from Mitch McConnell.

ZELENY: Amy McGrath, a former Marine pilot, is the handpicked choice of party leaders in Washington. Her primary victory was seen as a foregone conclusion. But State Representative Charles Booker is now riding a wave of momentum.

(CHANTING)

ZELENY (on camera): You've said that you are campaigning from the hood to the holler. Explain that.

BOOKER: Well, I'm trying to build a movement here by speaking to our common bonds and there's a reality that there are so many souls in the hood that you would see in the places of the hollers of eastern Kentucky and the mountains, that if we realize our common bonds, we can change the world.

ZELENY (voice-over): With a political awakening underway, McGrath has struggled to find her footing. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you been on the ground in Louisville with

the protesters the last three days, or in Lexington or elsewhere, Ms. McGrath?

AMY MCGRATH (D), KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I have not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why?

MCGRATH: Well, I've been with my family and I've had some family things going on this past weekend but I've been following the news and, you know, watching.

ZELENY: Booker turned that moment into a TV ad.

While she's dramatically outspending him, $14 million to his $1 million on advertising alone, the closing momentum on his side. The race is playing out here in Trump country, where the president won the state four years ago by nearly 30 points.

AD ANNOUNCER: President Trump and Mitch McConnell delivering for Kentucky.

ZELENY: From the streets of Louisville to small towns like Campbellsville, Booker is making the case for progressive change. His policies closely aligned with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom have endorsed him.

BOOKER: We've got to be that change. We've got to bend that arc.

ZELENY (on camera): Do you wonder if he's too progressive for Kentucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes I think about that, but it's time for a change. Everything is evolving, man.

ZELNEY: A more urgent test is the mechanics of voting. While more than 500,000 have voted early, only one polling place is open today in Louisville with precincts consolidated because of coronavirus.

BOOKER: It's been hard to vote in Kentucky for a lot of us for a long time, and what we're seeing now is really a continuation of that. It's just naturally going to disenfranchise people and that is concerning.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JARRETT: Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much for all of your reporting there.

Neither Kentucky nor New York are expected to have complete reports tonight. Absentee ballots are not due for several days.

ROMANS: All right. NASCAR star Bubba Wallace gets a major show of support from his fellow competitors yesterday at Talladega.

Andy Scholes has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy. ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, good morning , Christine.

Yes, Bubba Wallace is the only black driver in NASCAR's top division, following the discovery of a noose in his garage area on Sunday, all the drivers, pit crews and staff, they wanted to show Wallace that they were 100 percent behind him and that's exactly what they did. The infield at Talladega painted with the #IStandWithBubba, and before the race they pushed Wallace's number 43 car to the front of pit row.

He was overcome with emotion as he stepped out of the car and hugged his car owner, 82-year-old Richard Petty. He then hugged several other drivers before taking a really, really cool group selfie shot. After finishing 14th in the race, Wallace went to greet a group of race fans, several of which were wearing Black Lives Matter shirts.

And Wallace said it's a day he's never going to forget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUBBA WALLACE, DRIVER, RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS: The sport is changing. The deal that happened yesterday, sorry I'm not wearing my mask, but I wanted to show whoever it was you're not going to take away my smile. I'm going to keep on going. All in all, we won today.

[05:20:00]

The pre-race deal -- the pre-race deal was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to witness in my life. This is truly incredible and I'm proud to be part of this sport.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: All right. The FBI is joining in on the search for the person who put the noose in Wallace's garage stall on Sunday. NASCAR says the incident only strengthens their resolve to make the sport more welcoming.

All right. Well, the players and owners never agreed on terms but we are going to have a baseball season. Commissioner Rob Manfred is going to implement a schedule. A source familiar with the talks tells CNN the league is aiming for a 60-game regular season provided the players consent to the health and safety protocols and that they can report to their team's city by July 1st.

And since the two sides never agreed on a deal that means, no expanded postseason. The Reds Trevor Bauer sounding off on how these negotiations went, tweeting: It's absolute death for this industry to keep acting as it has been. Both sides were driving the bus straight off a cliff. How is this good for anyone? COVID-19 already presented a lose-lose situation and we've somehow found a way to make it worse. Incredible.

And, Christine, you know, a lot of baseball fans have been frustrated during this whole ordeal of these negotiations and fighting over how many games to play and how much money the players should be paid. At least it's over. We're going to be getting some games coming into July, but, man, what a disaster it's been.

ROMANS: Yes, let's just play ball.

All right. Andy Scholes, thanks for that.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: Well, a country that weathered coronavirus now officially says a second wave has begun. We'll tell you where. CNN has reports around the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The auto sector faces an uncertain future, but there might be a bright spot: electric vehicles. International Energy Agency predicts 2.3 million could be sold in 2020, slightly more than last year.

That's good news for the environment as the adoption of more electric cars is needed to drive down CO-2 emissions and air pollution.

CHRISTIAN BOLD, HEAD OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, BMW: This is a decisive one to push electric mobility.

DEFTERIOS: There's growing pressure on governments to feature green energy initiatives in any coronavirus economic recovery packages.

TIMUR GUL, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY: The electric car market will need the sustained and committed support by policymakers.

DEFTERIOS: The coronavirus pandemic will prompt challenge for most of the world. An opportunity for electric vehicles to drive a new chapter and our global energy transition is taking shape.

John Defterios, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:28:00]

ROMANS: Welcome back.

Saudi Arabia is sharply limiting the Hajj pilgrimage to limit coronavirus transmission. And South Korea says a second wave is now underway.

CNN has reporters around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paula Hancocks in Seoul. South Korea says it is now officially in its second wave of

coronavirus, this according to Korea's CDC. They say that they believe the first wave was from February to April when mass testing and contact tracing managed to stop numbers significantly. But officials say that after the May holidays, there was then a significant increase in infections. And they believe this is the second wave. Right now, officials are looking at whether or not more stringent social distancing needs to be reintroduced.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sam Kiley in Abu Dhabi where there is disappointment but no great surprise that the South Arabian authorities have announced that the annual Hajj pilgrimage usually attended by tens or hundreds of thousands of pilgrims will be severely restricted as a result of their continuing efforts to control the coronavirus which has been spreading inside the kingdom.

This year, only residents of Saudi Arabia albeit foreign residents will be able to attend. The numbers will be very, very restricted and that is because the Saudi authorities are saying that they are very anxious to control this virus, particularly at a moment when in the Middle East there are deep fears of a second wave of infections.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred Pleitgen in Berlin where the German Center for Disease Control says the reproduction number for the novel coronavirus has been soaring. Now, they say in large part that's due to localized but very large outbreaks specifically in Germany's meat processing industry. There's one meat processing plant here in this country where more than 1,300 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. And German authorities say they're trying to get that situation under control.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers in Mexico City.

Brazilian health officials reported more than 21,000 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus. That brings the overall total there to more than 1.1 million cases.

END