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EU Considers Banning U.S. Travelers; Beijing's Biggest Testing Sites; Bowman Makes Push to Oust Engel; Primary Race in Kentucky Yet to be Called; Newcomer Beats Trump's Pick in North Carolina; Wallace Not Target of Hate Crime; MLB Returns Next Month. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired June 24, 2020 - 09:30   ET

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


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[09:32:09]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: As coronavirus cases are surging here in the United States, the European Union is now considering keeping Americans out, which, Jim, would be remarkable.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: It is remarkable. I mean basically the U.S. in a category now with Brazil and Russia in terms of its response.

CNN business editor at large Richard Quest joins us now.

So, Richard, can the EU do this and how would they do it?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: They can absolutely do it, in the same way that the United States banned travel from Europe at the middle of March. So, yes, they have the power to do it. Will they do it? The latest thinking is, yes, they will. And the reason is because of the numbers.

The EU is using the trend of new cases, the 14-day trend of new cases. And countries have to be at the same level as the EU or better.

Now, if you look -- as you look at that chart, according to diplomats, the EU has roughly six to eight per hundred thousand population. The United States has over 100 per 100,000 of the population. And as the chart makes clear, it's actually rising in the U.S.

So the EU is basically saying, why would we let travelers from the United States come to Europe when we know that the situation in the U.S. is getting worse, not better? Will some European countries, like Spain or Italy or Greece and France that have large-scale U.S. tourism, they might negotiate around this.

But the EU has suffered too much pain over this to simply fritter it away, is my understanding, and they'll hold firm. It seems to be the U.S. will be told that it's not on the list of countries eligible to travel to the EU, but it will be reviewed every 14 days.

SCIUTTO: That's truly remarkable. And, listen, they're not doing it punitively, they're doing it because they don't want to have it spike back up in their own countries.

QUEST: Yes.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Richard Quest, thanks very much.

Well, Beijing is reporting its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since it shut down a food market linked to an outbreak earlier this month. Just seven new infections were reported in China's capital on Tuesday, a dozen across the main land. I mean minuscule numbers although, of course, China has had questions about how well they report their numbers in the past.

HARLOW: For sure. This comes as China is says that it has conducted over 90 million tests for Covid since the pandemic started.

CNN's David Culver gives us a first-hand look at one of Beijing's biggest testing sites.

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DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in China, you're looking at one of many mass testing sites that have been set up, particularly within Beijing.

[09:35:01]

This is following the wholesale food cluster outbreak that happened more than a week ago. They say it's now under control, but they are continuing testing in massive numbers.

And you've got here 19 rows set up. This is for 19 different communities that feed into this one mass testing site. Once people have registered, they're taken across this little way here into these lines. And let me show you where they end up. It's almost like getting in rides at an amusement park. They're getting in line there, if you will.

I'll show you. Follow me over here. And this is where the actual testing is done. It takes about 30 seconds. You've got about 100 staff members that work on two-hour shifts. And there they do the throat swab. They then then take that sample and they'll put it in a refrigerator. And then move on to the next person. Usually it takes just a few days' time to get the results back and most people are only notified if they have a positive result.

You can see over here, this is where the staff will take off all of their PPE. All of their protective equipment. And they'll throw it away. It's kept in a safe, separate area.

And the other staff that are about ready to come on shift, they get changed, suited up and go through a sanitation procedure in a separate facility to then keep this going really from 9:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night. In three days' time that this has been operating, they've done about 20,000 tests. This was built overnight, so they pop up relatively quickly.

They will keep it going for as long as they need to here within Beijing. And they say, as of now, they feel like they're on a good path in keeping this most recent cluster outbreak under control. But they are saying complacency is what they're trying to avoid with all of this.

David Culver, CNN, Beijing.

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HARLOW: David, thank you very much.

A Democratic congressman who has served for more than 30 years is facing a fresh challenge. Could a political newcomer oust long-time New York Congressman Eliot Engel? We're live with that story, next.

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[09:41:18]

SCIUTTO: It's the day after primary day in some key states and still some primary races yet to be called. New York and Kentucky, many votes, including mail-in ballots, yet to be counted. New York Congressman Eliot Engel, who has served in the House for more than 30 years, he's fighting for his political future against a progressive newcomer. Perhaps, Poppy, a sign of the times.

HARLOW: Totally. And the recent protests surrounding police brutality shook up the Democratic Senate primary race in Kentucky.

Let's bring in our political correspondent, MJ Lee, and senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny.

MJ, let me begin with you.

Eliot Engel, you know, 30 plus years, serving, obviously, chair of a very important committee, fighting for his political career.

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And, you know if Engel does end up losing to Jamaal Bowman, I think the big narrative coming out of this race is going to be that the New Yorkers in the 16th Congressional Direct wanted to vote for change.

You know, I spent some time with Congressman Engel and Jamaal Bowman last week as they were doing their last-minute campaigning and spending time with Bowman, it was noticeable that he often said to votes, it is time for a change.

You know, Poppy, as you noted, Congressman Engel is somebody who has been in Congress for 31 years. He is in his 16th term right now. He is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. So, obviously, has a lot of seniority and experience.

However, what he has gotten heat for recently is the fact that he wasn't in his home district particularly when Covid-19 was really ravaging his district. Remember, his district includes New Rochelle. This is where we saw sort of that first hot spot in New York.

And when I asked him last week, why did you spend that time in your Maryland home instead of being home in New York, he said, you know, this is a phony issue. Why does it matter where I am? I was quarantining in my Maryland home because it's bigger and because this is where my wife and I could quarantine together. Voters don't care about this.

Well, actually, it turns out some voters do care about where their congressman is and just feeling like they don't take their seat for granted and feeling like they are very engaged. And I think this is why we have seen some parallels being made in this race to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and when she ousted Congressman Joe Crowley. Obviously, she said at the time, when she was running against him, he is more Washington than New York.

SCIUTTO: All right, Jeff Zeleny in Kentucky, this is a remarkable rate, right, because the Democratic Party highly recruited Amy McGrath specifically to challenge Mitch McConnell. Thought they had everything they wanted, needed there. Raised $14 million, as you noted yesterday. And now you have Representative Charles Booker, I mean, running neck and neck the day after the primary vote.

What happened there and where does it stand?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not that it's too close to call. We don't know that yet. The ballots are still being counted. And, again, this race, like the one MJ was talking about in New York, also deeply influenced by the coronavirus. First and foremost, had this election been underway on May 19th, when it was scheduled, Amy McGrath almost certainly would have won. But this race has changed dramatically in the last month because of protests. And we've seen nationwide protests.

But here in Louisville, a police officer was just fired overnight because of the killing of Breonna Taylor. This has been a central issue to this race. And it is something that Charles Booker talked about again and again. And Amy McGrath was the hand-picked favorite of the Democratic establishment. She still is. But she stumbled over her reaction to protests.

So what we have now is Amy McGrath is leading with the votes that were counted so far, but those are largely in rural Kentucky. So the cities here in Louisville, as well as in Lexington, that is what is going to be key here in terms of absentee and vote by mail. So we may not know the results of this election until next week.

[09:45:03]

One thing is clear, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, he, of course, won handily last night. He's trying to win his seventh (ph) seat. What he doesn't know this morning is who he'll be running against.

Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes.

And before we go, I'd be remiss not to mention, MJ, North Carolina and the 24-year-old newcomer, Madison Cawthorn, defeating Lynda Bennett, someone who had been endorsed not only by the president, but by Mark Meadows as well. Tell us about him. I mean he has a remarkable story.

LEE: He does. And, as you said, you know, the reason this is sort of a nationally fascinating story is because Lynda Bennett had gotten President Trump's endorsement, Mark Meadows' endorsement.

But he does have a very compelling personal story. He was in a very serious car accident a few years ago. He is paralyzed from the waist down. He is in a wheelchair. And he is incredibly young. You know, he is only going to be 25 years old at the time that he takes office, if he does win. And this is going to be interesting nationally because President Trump so far had a very good track record in the candidates that he endorsed, winning in this cycle. So, in this case, that was not -- that was not what we saw last night.

SCIUTTO: MJ Lee, Jeff Zeleny, thanks to both of you. I know we'll come back to you as we learn more.

Other story we're following, Nascar driver Bubba Wallace, he has spoken to CNN, this after the FBI investigated and they say the noose found in his garage stall this weekend was actually not left for him.

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[09:51:00]

SCIUTTO: So, the FBI investigated. They determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime and now the Nascar driver is speaking out.

HARLOW: Yes. A powerful interview from him this morning. Federal investigators say while the rope that was found in his garage stall was a noose, they say it -- they -- was not a noose, they say it was there for months and it was used as a garage pull.

Let's go to our Nick Valencia. He joins us from Talladega in Lincoln, Alabama.

HARLOW: You know, I do think it's notable, you know, because there's been a lot of -- a lot of people weighing in with opinions on this. You know, it was the head of Nascar, Nick, that came to Bubba Wallace, right, and said, look, we found this. The head of Nascar was in tears over it. It, you know, just for facts base there.

SCIUTTO: Right.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Bubba Wallace says, in his own words, that he's pissed because some in the American public are questioning his integrity. Some going so far as to say that he manufactured this hoax. And the DOJ and FBI saying that no hate crime occurred. But Bubba Wallace released a statement only after the Nascar president told him that he was the victim of a hate crime. And we should also be clear, and Bubba Wallace was very clear in his

interview this morning on "NEW DAY" that he never saw the noose. In fact, it was a member of his team that saw it and was so concerned that they brought it to the attention of Nascar.

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BUBBA WALLACE, NASCAR DRIVER: I have never seen a noose personally in my life. I've seen a lot of garage pulls. We've had a lot of garages growing up, racing out of and we simply had a tiny knot at the bottom of it to pull and nowadays you just press a button and the garage goes down. But, yes, it was, in fact, a noose, as a garage pull. So there are two sides of it and both are true and correct.

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VALENCIA: Video posted on YouTube in 2019 shows a picture of that noose, as it's described by Bubba Wallace, in the same garage that he used and Nascar saying that there's no way anyone could have known that he was going to use that garage number four when he showed here at Talladega to race.

We should mention very quickly there, Jim and Poppy, that Nascar has been criticized for what people say are jumping the gun in this hyper- charged environment. They are speaking out as well this morning saying that they are committed to providing an inclusive environment not just for their fans but also for their drivers.

Jim. Poppy.

HARLOW: Nick, thanks a lot.

The boys of summer will start playing later this summer. Major League Baseball says a shortened season will begin in one month.

Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes, CNN's Coy Wire joins us now to explain.

Listen, ugly negotiations, no question. Still -- still lingering questions about what would happen if there's another outbreak on a team or a number of teams.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's a great question, Jim. Also, how are your Mets going to do? Twenty-two to one odds to win the World Series.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

WIRE: The Minnesota Twin, Poppy, 15-1.

HARLOW: Thank you.

WIRE: A sign that we might actually have baseball back.

But, yes, players, Jim and Poppy, set to report to their hometown team facilities for camp by July 1st, one week from today. Many seem to be very excited about this. MLB and the Players Association agreeing to their extensive health and safety protocols for a return to play plan last night. Those include things like pitchers carrying wet rags so they don't have to lick their fingers, no spitting on the field, and a separate coronavirus injured list for players who test positive.

And will there be -- there will be just 60 regular season games and they're going to start, as Poppy mentioned, July 23rd or 24th according to league commissioner, Rob Manfred, with teams looking to be one of the 10 who make the playoffs.

Now, that's not a lot of games compared to the normal 162 that they get to reach playoff form. Keep in mind, the champion Washington Nationals last year had the third worst record in the national league after just 60 games.

But the threat of coronavirus still remains. To Jim's point, the Phillies saying that two more players and two more staff members have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of positive tests for the team to 12. And three Colorado Rockies players testing positive for the coronavirus last week according to multiple reports.

[09:55:06]

Several Rockies players have been taking batting practice and working out at the team's stadium in Denver this month according to "The Denver Post." So, yes, great news for fans to have baseball set to return, but can teams effectively contain positive cases to prevent an outbreak?

SCIUTTO: Yes.

WIRE: Remember, the Orlando Pride, Jim and Poppy, announced Monday that they're withdrawing for the National Women's Soccer League month- long tournament after too many of the members on their team tested positive for coronavirus.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and do some athletes say it's not worth the risk, right? I mean, you know, the risk of getting sick. Do they sit out the season?

Well, listen, we hope they play and we hope the Mets and the Twins are in the World Series.

Thank you, Coy Wire.

HARLOW: No doubt about who would win that one.

Thanks, Coy.

Coming up, states across the country continue to see spikes in Covid cases. The lead infectious disease doctor on this, Anthony Fauci, says the next two weeks are critical, next.

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