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Top WH Task Force Experts Have Not Spoken To Trump In Weeks; Baseball To Start 60-Game Season In Late July; Senate Dems Block Debate On GOP Police Reform Bill. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 24, 2020 - 12:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Manu Raju on the Hill let us know when we have a final tally here. But as you know, to this one, it looks like it's going to stall for now. We'll see if they can revive it. Manu, appreciate the reporting.

We've been telling you all throughout the day, coronavirus cases are trending up in 26 states. As that happens, Dr. Anthony Fauci says he's very concerned about what he calls a disturbing surge of infections. Members of the Coronavirus Task Force testifying just yesterday, some of them say it has been weeks since they last spoke to the President.

With me now to discuss, our CNN White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins. And Kaitlan, I want to start with that, I want to play some of the sound yesterday because 26 states heading in the wrong direction right now. Florida, very important to the President heading upward had another record, Texas very important to President setting records, Arizona the state he was in yesterday, setting daily case records.

But listen here to members of his leadership team on coronavirus. Hey, when's the last time you talked to the pandemic affecting the country with the President of the United States?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Fauci, when is the last time you spoke to the President?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Admiral Giroir, when is the last time you spoke to the President?

ADM. BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, HHS: It was a about two and a half weeks ago as well, maybe three weeks ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honorable Hahn, when is the last time you spoke to the President about the pandemics response -- and the response? DR. STEPHEN HAHN, FDA COMMISSIONER: It's been some time since I spoke about the pandemic response.


KING: How do they explain that at the White House, that the President of the United States doesn't talk to his experts about a pandemic that continues to have a devastating impact on the country he leads and the country he's trying to lead for four more years?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And John, what you didn't see there, the CDC director, who was also testifying wouldn't even say, when was the last time he had spoken directly to the President.

And while Dr. Fauci did say he speaks to the Vice President Mike Pence that got a taskforce meeting happening today, with those members you saw there, the fact that they're not talking to the President is the cause for concern here because the question is, you know, who was he getting his information from? Is he getting the complete picture? And how is that affecting the decisions he's making to travel, to welcome his first foreign visitor, his first foreign leader here today at the White House since March.

All of these things are the President is seemingly putting the pandemic in the rearview mirror and moving forward trying to get back to this normalized schedule as his own health officials are saying, the virus isn't dying out like the President claims. Actually you're seeing these disturbing surges of cases happening here in over 20 states.

KING: Margaret Talev of Axios and CNN political analyst joins the conversation as well. Margaret, I guess I'm just -- I know the answer. But how can they defend anytime for particularly in an election year, the fact that the President is just he's lost interest. There's a pandemic sweeping the country. In many states, it's going up dramatically right now, that doesn't mean it can't be managed, it doesn't mean catastrophe. But it does mean concern. And he just like, whatever.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, hi, John. It's great to be with you.

And yes, like the President signaled weeks ago that he really wanted to pivot back to the economy and stop talking about infection rates every day. And that's what he's been doing. And we've seen him with these rallies trying to get everyone to refocus.

But, you know, we do this regular polling with episodes every week to understand how America is feeling about the pandemic. And we found a really interesting result this week. We asked our pollsters to overlay the states with the fastest growth in infection rates. So we're talking about like Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, and to overlay that against how people are feeling and found that in those states, these are mostly red states, right, Georgia, South Carolina. In those states, once that spike came, and it's not the second wave, it's the first wave for a lot of these places. Once that spike came, people began modifying their behavior. We're seeing 85 percent of the country say that they are afraid of a second wave. Eight-five percent is not a partisan number. That is a bipartisan number.

And the risk for the President is that there are enough Republicans or Independents who are potential swing voters who just don't think that he's managing this competently or seriously enough.

KING: And you get to a number that high that is a climate for -- if people want something different. They don't like what they have.

I want you to listen here, Kaitlan. One of the issues you just Dr. Fauci, among those saying, you know, he hadn't talked to the President in a while, former President Obama weighing in this yesterday and an event for Joe Biden, saying, you know, well, let's just listen to him here in has empathy, I'll call it, for Dr. Fauci.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unlike our current President, we recognize that we have a public health crisis going on. And we have to listen to public health experts. And for Dr. Fauci, you know, who's having to, you know, testify and then see his advice flouted by the person he's working for.


KING: I want to say for the record, Dr. Fauci did say in a podcast that the White House listens to him they -- when he wants to say things. But we also know just in the President in that church in Arizona yesterday, the President of that rally in Oklahoma over the weekend, he is not doing what Dr. Fauci recommends because Dr. Fauci says the single most important thing you could do right now is to stay away from crowds and wear a mask.


COLLINS: Yes. And the President is inviting crowds. He was upset that there weren't that many people as he was expecting on Saturday night, who saw how closely packed in the people were in Arizona yesterday as the President was addressing that room. And the President is also not wearing a mask ever.

So those are two things that Dr. Fauci and his other experts have said, wearing a mask when you're in public is the thing to do and do not go into big crowds if you can avoid them. The President is doing neither of those. So maybe they are listening to Fauci when he makes recommendations about what to say to certain governors, how to handle certain things when it comes to testing.

But in those instances, the President is not. And you saw, of course, President Obama pretty bluntly saying how he sees how the President has been handling this. But the real concern for President Trump is going to be these polls that are showing that voters do not approve of the way that the President is handling this.

Now, it's not just one poll. It is several major national polls, a CNN poll, a "New York Times" poll, a "Fox News" poll, all of these polls saying that most -- the majority of voters do not approve of the President's handling of the pandemic. And you're seeing Joe Biden benefit from that and sometimes get double digit leads over the President.

And so the concern for the President's political advisors is that he isn't handling this and other aspects, of course, in the right way. And they're concerned that is there's not that much time before the election. They say, you know, anything could happen in the next four months. But also, maybe it won't -- the landscape won't change that much in the next four months. And that's their concern.

KING: We'll see if the numbers change.

TALEV: I think it's sad to say that these things some -- for Dr. Fauci bumper stickers not too distant future among Biden fans as well.

KING: There's some people do try to make a little, I don't know, if comedy is the right word, but light of the situation. Margaret and Kaitlan, thanks for your time today.

Quick break, we'll be right back.



KING: The international coronavirus headlines now from our correspondents around the world.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: I'm Alex Thomas in London. America's Tennis Association insists it is still on track to stage the U.S. Open at the end of August despite the uproar caused by Novak Djokovic testing positive for coronavirus.

More than half a dozen players and coaches have now caught the disease after taking part in the world number one's exhibition event in Croatia last week. The tournament seemed to have few coronavirus safety measures in place. Players shook hands and hugged and even dance together in a nightclub.

And on Tuesday on a statement, Djokovic, admitted he was wrong. And it was too soon. He and the other competitors have received intense criticism, as more and more positive tests have been announced. Controversial Australian player, Nick Kyrgios, called them boneheaded.

But Britain's Andy Murray says it shouldn't impact the U.S. Open because those organizers, the U.S. Tennis Association, are putting in place very different protocols for the New York event in just over two months time. The one big change, of course, will be no fans at the venue. DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Beijing following the most recent cluster outbreak in a wholesale food market, instead of mass testing sites like this one. I'll show you how it's organized. You've got 19 rows here, that's 19 different communities, you come in, you register, then you make your way through this line over here.

You can see a group of people doing just that following the time. Then over here is where the testing is done. It takes about 30 seconds each person. You can see they sit down there. They do their testing. You've got the staff in full protective suits. In all, they've done about 20,000 people in three days time.

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.

Female: Here in Brazil, a judge has ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask in public, after the coronavirus skeptic appeared at many rallies without one.

The judge said, Bolsonaro would face a fine of up to about $380 a day if he refuse to use one while in public in the country's capital, Brasilia. The government is seeking to overturn the ruling. Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the virus insisting the economic fallout from social isolation measures would be worse than COVID-19.

He rarely puts on a mask for public events or when he joins his supporters and rallies, shaking hands, and embracing crowds. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. Brazil reported nearly 40,000 new infections on Tuesday and more than 1,300 additional deaths.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Mexico, it was another record day on Tuesday in terms of newly confirmed cases with health officials on Tuesday evening reporting more than 6,000 newly confirmed cases in a 24-hour period for the first time.

But perhaps more concerning than that, health officials have also reported more than 2,500 deaths over just the last three days, and those are the kind of figures that are backing up what we're seeing on the ground here anecdotally speaking. It was earlier this week that we spent our day with a worker at a public crematorium, just outside of Mexico City.

He said that he has never been busier. He said his furnaces have not stopped firing. And that the majority of bodies that had been brought to him are COVID related deaths. And that is why he says that he's nervous about the fact that Mexico is reopening its economy, more people are out in the streets. And that worker tells us that he is concerned. He says, it is too early to return to normal life.


Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.


KING: Major League Baseball finally coming back, the how, the when, and the where, next.



KING: There's some good news today for baseball fans, owners and players finally agreed on a plan to start the season. That start will be next month. Now it'll be different than anything we've seen before just 60 games and regional schedules to limit team travel. But it is baseball.

CNN sports Coy Wire joins me now. That's nice words to say, Coy, baseball is coming back.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes. That's exactly right. St. Louis Cardinals star, Matt Carpenter, he tweeted baseball is back. I could cry. Players are going to report for camp July 1st, one week from today with many teams reporting in their home facilities. A lot of players, John, really excited.

MLB and the Players Association agreeing to extensive health and safety protocols for a return to play plan last night. Those include things like no high fives, pitchers carrying a wet rag 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.

Now, with just 60 regular season games instead of the normal 162 which will begin July 23rd or 24th according to the League Commissioner Rob Manfred. Teams do not have a lot of time, John, to solidify themselves as one of the 10 playoff teams. Keep in mind the reigning champs, the Washington Nationals had the third worst record in the National League after 60 games last year.

But the threat of coronavirus still remains. The Philadelphia Phillies saying that two more players and two more staff members testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number for the team to 12 and the three Colorado Rockies players tested positive for coronavirus last week according to multiple reports.

So as games returned, John, how are teams going to respond to a potential rise in the number of new positive tests. MLB plans to have players traveling to play in other cities unlike the NBA's and the NHL's bubble environment plans. So will teams be able to effectively prevent a potential outbreak, John? Those are just some other questions that still remain.

KING: It's going to be an experiment playing out. It's good to hear the words baseball back. But you're right, many challenges as they try to pull it off. Coy Wire, very much appreciate the reporting there.

Another important sports related story, investigators now say that news hanging in Bubba Wallace's garage at the guard stall at the racetrack in Talladega was not aimed at NASCAR's only African-American driver instead, they say it had been hanging there since last year.

CNN's Nick Valencia is at the track at Talladega to take us inside the story. Nick?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bubba Wallace is angry. He says that his integrity is being drawn into question that he is being accused of manufacturing this hoax. In fact, in his own words, he says that he's pissed.

He said that he never saw the news. In fact, it was a member of his team that first spotted it, so troubled by it that he brought it to the attention of NASCAR officials. This is what Bubba Wallace had to say earlier on CNN's New Day.


BUBBA WALLACE, NASCAR DRIVER: 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.

I was just, I would say an innocent bystander, but people won't buy that and that's OK. I know what's true in my heart and into my mind, and the people around me know that that's the truth.


VALENCIA: And just very quickly, John, NASCAR also facing backlash from its fans, some of their fans, I should say, who've accused him of jumping the gun here in a hyper charged environment, NASCAR standing by their statements saying that it's their priority to create an inclusive environment for everyone. John?

KING: Appreciate that important update. Nick Valencia, thanks so much.


Still ahead for us, the European Union now considering banning travelers from the United States because of the rising coronavirus case count here.


KING: Bringing up the speed on several breaking news stories this hour. One is the Attorney General of the United States Bill Barr has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. The Justice Department is just tweeting out that the Attorney General will testify on July 28th. House Democrats have been threatening to issue a subpoena. They want to ask the Attorney General a number of questions because they believe he has put the President's political interests ahead of the facts and the law in several cases.

So the Attorney General of the United States will be up on Capitol Hill on that side at the end of July, July 28th, the agreement now to testify before the Judiciary Committee.

And just moments ago on the Senate side of the Capitol, Democrats successfully blocking debate on a big Republican police reform bill. Let's go back up to Capitol Hill live to Manu Raju for the details on that. Manu?

RAJU: Yes, 55-45 was the vote tally. There were Democrats who did vote to open up debate. Those Democrats include Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a frequent swing vote, Doug Jones of Alabama, someone who's in a difficult reelection race, and also Angus King and Independent of Maine who caucuses with Democrats.

But they needed 60 votes to open up debate and they fell short. In fact, they are technically to be 56 votes. Mitch McConnell switched his vote for procedural reasons. So the Republicans are four votes shy. And what does that mean going forward? That means it's likely that there'll probably no police reform measure enacted this year because Democrats say that the Republican bill is unsalvageable in their view.

They believe there need to be national mandates to be much stricter on how the police deal with these issues, to deal with what we've seen and all these brutal cases across the country. Nevertheless, John, Mitch McConnell says it's noncommittal about making taking up this action, taking up this bill again.

But they're expected to move on to other matters before they head to July 4th recess after next week, John.


KING: The protests as well in action. We will see if Washington answers it, not today.