Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
New Model Predicts Nearly 180,000 Americans Will Die By October 1; New York, New Jersey, Connecticut Require Travelers From Coronavirus Hotspots To Self-Quarantine For 14 Days; Fauci: Forget The Politics And Wear A Mask; Trump Falsely Suggests Pandemic Is Over As U.S. Death Toll Climbs Past 121,000; Texas Sets New Record For Most Cases In One Day; Trump Blasts Dems For Blocking Police Reform Bill; Three Suspects Indicted For Murder Of GA Jogger Ahmaud Arbery. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 24, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, perhaps that dream of an American getaway in Europe this summer is really over just yet. Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. Our thanks to Nic Robertson for that reporting. Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks for watching.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM we're following breaking news.
The coronavirus death toll here in the United States has now climbed past 121,000 people with a record new cases in both California and Florida. And a new model predicts nearly 180,000 Americans will die by October 1, unless, unless 95 percent of the American public were mask in public.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci is not urging people to forget all the politics and start covering their faces. President Trump who refuses to wear a mask falsely suggested the pandemic is over during a meeting with a Polish president today at the White House, his first foreign visitor in months.
Let's go straight to CNN's Nick Watt. He's joining us from Los Angeles.
Nick, it's been a record breaking day for new coronavirus cases in at least those two states, Florida and where you are in California.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Listen, Wolf, yesterday I told you California had just set a new record more than 5000 cases. They just smashed that record. Today, more than 7000 cases and the governor is now saying he might withhold funding from counties that do not enforce health orders.
You also mentioned that model is the University of Washington modelers who we quote so often, they are saying that if 95 percent of us wore masks, we could save 30,000 American lives by the end of the summer.
And meanwhile, another stunning development on the East Coast, domestic travel restrictions here in the United States.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: We're announcing today a joint travel advisory. People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days.
WATT (voice-over): So from midnight three northeastern states once our epicenter won't let anyone in from these nine southern and western states unless they quarantine.
In Arizona, another record COVID-19 death toll.
WILL HUMBLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARIZONA PUBLIC HEALTH ASSN: Within days we're going to be over capacity in dealing with a hospital crisis in my opinion.
WATT: In Florida, more new cases today than ever before. One hospital system says they're seeing more young patients
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: And if that's spreading the infection to older people, people with chronic diseases right now will see an increase in death potentially two weeks from now.
WATT: Another new record case came today in Texas. And for 11 days straight, Texas has set new records for the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital.
SARAH ECKHARDT, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO TRAVIS COUNTY JUDGE SAM BISCOE: I am not confident that we will be able to reverse this trajectory. But we know the effective measures that work and we're not deploying them.
WATT: Nationwide and more than half our state's new case cams just aren't going down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically, we're back to where New York was back in March. Except that this time, I don't think that there is the political will and the public support to have these shutdowns to be able to control the spirals from really surging out of control.
WATT: Baseball despite even more players testing positive will be back late July for a shortened season.
The European Union is now mulling a travel ban that would include all Americans. Here's their curve, flattened. Here's ours, rising again. In part, because many places there's just too much of this too soon.
LT. ANTHONY ALMOJERA, FDNY EMT: We just went through hell trying to revive and take care of people. And we don't want to go through it again. So, let's see it. It's really, you know, wear mask. Let's wear mask.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WATT: And Dr. Anthony Fauci says that wearing a mask just should not be a political issue. We need to get past that, he says.
But meanwhile, the Democratic governor of North Carolina has now made masks mandatory across his state. The Republican governor of Florida has said that he won't. He said that enforcement is an issue and he says, ultimately, we have to trust people to make good decisions. Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Nick, thank you. Nick Watt on California for us.
Let's go to CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She's over at the White House for us.
Kaitlan, the President suggested today that the coronavirus pandemic is behind us even as these new cases are surging.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes Wolf, we're in a two month high of cases. And the President decided now was the time to welcome his first foreign leader to the White House in months. They had suspended those visits given what was going on.
And even though the President weighed having the idea of having the G7 happening right now. Other world leaders, remember, we're not excited or enthusiastic about traveling during what's going on but the Polish president did he decided to come. And Wolf, it's not only unusual timing because of what's going on with coronavirus here in the United States, but also because the Polish president has an election coming up, a tight one in the next four days.
COLLINS (voice-over): Tonight, there was face to face diplomacy resuming at the White House as President Trump welcome his first foreign visitor in months.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think we've ever been closer to Poland than we are right now.
COLLINS: Sitting next to Polish President Duda in the Oval Office four days ahead of Duda's next level Trump marked the occasion but didn't comment on how cases or the highest they've been since April.
Why did you decide now is a good time to have the first foreign leader since all the shutdown?
TRUMP: Well, I think it's a great honor. And frankly, Poland's a country we have a tremendous relationship with. And I have a very good personal relationship with the President. So this is the first after COVID after the start of the plague, as I call it.
COLLINS: Trump didn't echo the sobering concern his top health experts voiced yesterday. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: In other areas of the country, we're now seeing a disturbing surge of infections. Bottom line, Mr. Chairman, it's a mixed bag. Some good and some now we have a problem with
COLLINS: But Trump may not be hearing what Dr. Anthony Fauci and his other health experts have to say. Three of his four top officials said it's been weeks since they spoke to him and the CDC director wouldn't answer.
REP. NANETTE BARRAGAN, (D) CALIFORNIA: When was the last time you spoke to the President about the country's response to this pandemic?
FAUCI: About two and a half weeks ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was about two and a half weeks ago as well, maybe three weeks ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been some time since I spoke about the pandemic response.
COLLINS: Four months before Election Day, Trump's poll numbers aren't very promising. A new poll of registered voters by the "New York Times" showed that the President was down 14 points to Vice President Joe Biden.
And Trump's response to the coronavirus isn't sitting well with voters either. The poll found 58 percent disapprove of his handling.
Americans aren't the only ones questioning Trump's response. The European Union is considering banning travel from the U.S. because it hasn't been able to control the virus, meaning the U.S. would be frozen out alongside countries like Russia and Brazil, a concern that the Secretary of State addressed today.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We certainly don't want to reopen a play that jeopardizes the United States from people traveling here and we certainly don't want to cause problems anyplace else.
COLLINS: In Arizona yesterday, Trump again referred to the coronavirus with this racially insensitive phrase.
TRUMP: What I said the other night there's never been anything with I have so many names. I could give you 19 or 20 names for that, right? It's got all different names Wuhan.
Wuhan was catching on coronavirus, right?
COLLINS: That's a term even his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway once said was offensive after a reporter said a White House official used it but did not name them.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Now, I don't know. I don't know how these conversations go. And that's highly offensive. So you should tell us all who it is
COLLINS: Today when she was asked about the president using it twice. Conway said this.
CONWAY: While the President is saying it, he's also saying this virus came from China. China is responsible.
COLLINS: One Republican senator said he didn't approve of the President's language, but he didn't criticize him over it.
SEN. MIKE BRAUN, (R) INDIANA: I would not use that terminology myself. But President Trump has his own way of communicating and I don't think it's going to change.
COLLINS: Now Wolf, in the Rose Garden just now, during that press conference, the President did not address coronavirus, but he did claim that unnamed forces are now trying to tear down statues of Jesus Christ. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think many of the people that are knocking down these statues don't even have any idea what the statue is, what it means who it is, when they knocked down grant, when they want to knock down grant. But when they look at it, now they're looking at Jesus Christ. They're looking at George Washington, they're looking at Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, not going to happen, not going to have not as long as I'm here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now, of course, Wolf, there have been calls to tear down some statues of Abraham Lincoln. I don't haven't seen any widespread reports about ones about Jesus.
We should note though, the President said he's going to sign that executive order he was talking about, about the removal of the statues and of these monuments and the calls that they've seen later on this week.
BLITZER: All right, Kaitlan, thank you very much. Kaitlan Collins over at the White House.
Today the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, they all announced the travelers from certain states with significant community spread of the virus will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they go into those three states.
The Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Governor, thank you so much for joining us. I want to get to that in a moment. But I also want to discuss, get your thoughts about some new self-quarantine policy. I want to get to that.
But I want to begin with this breaking news that we've just been reporting this influential coronavirus model from the University of Washington now projects nearly 180,000 Americans will die from coronavirus by October 1. Right now it's about 121,000 who are dead from coronavirus.
But the model forecasts get this that the number of deaths would drop to 146,000 if nearly all Americans wore masks in public. What's your response to these numbers?
GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): Hi, Wolf. I think I believe that. I can tell you than here in Connecticut, and thankfully our neighbors, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, all much more likely to wear the mask than they are in other parts of the country. It's made a difference. That's why our positivity rate is so much lower. And that's why we're cautious.
And so there was between the number of fatalities as they're projected out. We have a lot to do about that, we can really bring that curve down again.
BLITZER: Yes. Wear a mask, it's simple, but a lot of folks don't want to do it.
Let's get to the announcement that you and the other two governors made today, New York and New Jersey. You've described this new self- quarantine protocol in the tri state area as urgent guidance. What led you to join your nearby governors and requiring visitors from hotspots like Florida for example, to self-quarantine upon arriving in Connecticut?
LAMONT: Yes, Wolf. We look at states like Florida and Texas and Arizona and a number of others where you've seen the rate of infection go up dramatically.
And as you pointed out, you know, it's not targeted at a nursing home or correction facility. It's now community spread in certain regions of those states where you can have 25 percent, 35 percent of the people infected, young people 18 to 35 infected, maybe not showing symptoms, and they're the type of folks that get on an airplane, they get off at Bradley Airport in Connecticut. And that's how you could have but a potential flare up here.
Or down below 2 percent, we're working like heck to keep it that way so we can continue to cautiously open our economy.
BLITZER: In New York State anyone found to be violating their self- quarantine rule, this 14-day self-quarantine rule will be subject to a judicial order mandatory quarantine and a potential fine of up to $10,000 if they cause harm, how will you enforce this new guidance in your state of Connecticut?
LAMONT: So we're reaching out to all the travel agents. We're going to the hotels making sure they note that anybody comes from one of these very infected areas. They know that they have to either show that they were tested and they tested negative and demonstrate that or they have to quarantine.
We're going to the travel agents. So before people fly up to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, they know what the rules are, and make sure that they can be enforced.
BLITZER: Which states specifically are you most concerned about?
LAMONT: Well, rather than pick on different states, I'm looking at the positivity rates. But I think you've been able to demonstrate those states especially in the south, where you've had a big ramp up and infections over a really a short period of time.
I think Arizona has gone from 2 percent or 3 percent up to 15 percent or 20 percent. So, those are the areas. And even, you know, you talked about Phoenix or Tucson where it's much more severe there than it is in other parts of that state.
BLITZER: Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut good luck to you, good luck to all the folks in Connecticut right now. These are very, very sensitive and potentially extremely dangerous times as we all know. Appreciate it very much.
LAMONT: Nice to see it, Wolf. Thanks.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Coming up, an influential new coronavirus model that predicts that nearly 180,000 deaths here in the United States by October unless, unless 95 percent of the American public wear masks when they go out. Standby, we have expert analysis.
And later, my interview with a former National Security Adviser John Bolton will discuss his bombshell new book and a whole lot more. Stay with us. There's lots of news right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news on the coronavirus pandemic record new cases in at least two states as President Trump suggests the crisis is really behind us.
Let's get analysis from our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.
Sanjay, let's get to this new modeling from the University of Washington, which now projects what nearly 180,000 Americans will die from coronavirus by October 1. But they say that the number of deaths would drop to about 146,000 if nearly all Americans were mass in public, does that strike you as an accurate depiction of the potential life-saving ability of these masks?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no, no question, Wolf. I think that the -- that evidence has become clear, I think over the last couple of months. Keep in mind at the beginning of this before we recognize the impact of asymptomatic transmission, the idea that someone may not have any symptoms and still be able to spread the virus. The idea that wearing a mask to decrease spread was more of an open question mark.
Now that asymptomatic transmission is very clear there's plenty of evidence of it and we have evidence that -- early evidence that masks can reduce transmission, even up to six fold. I think it's clear that they can save lives.
I'll just remind you, I've done this a couple times before, South Korea, Wolf, they never went into a lockdown mode, a full sort of lockdown mode. What do they do? They tested early and they wore masks out in public, and they've had fewer than 300 people who've died even though their first patient was confirmed on the same day, the first patient was confirmed here in the United States.
BLITZER: Yes. And it's amazing when you think about those numbers.
And Gloria, Dr. Fauci says, wearing masks not at all be a political issue. And yet the President of the United States won't be seen in public wearing one. Is he contributing to the politicization of mask wearing?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's as if the wearing of a mask has become a cultural touchstone here, a wedge issue all most, the President refuses to wear one. People at his rallies are haphazard about -- at best about whether they will wear one.
And what Dr. Fauci said today is, and I'm quoting him, he said get past it. People need to wear masks.
And the "New York Times" poll today said that over 50 percent of the people say that they polled say that they do wear masks when they know that they are going to be with other people. And that is something that over half now the American public is doing. And the President is still not modeling the behavior that his own Task Force recommends, constantly and that governors now are recommending and I've recommended in the past, it's just a mystery to me.
BLITZER: You know, Sanjay, the President today described his meeting with the visiting Polish president, President Duda, as first after COVID, but the U.S. just saw the third highest number of new cases in one day since April. It's an alarming number, indeed. That certainly doesn't seem to indicate this pandemic is ending by any means, does it?
GUPTA: No. And there's no indication that this is ending, certainly not in the United States.
Let me let me show you the graph. We looked at just how significant, how high the numbers have been. Over time. And remember, you know, again, we went into sort of stay at home mode in the middle of March. The numbers are still rising at that point, April 9, and April 21st. Those are those first two dates on the left side of the screen there, 34, 36,000 number, those are the peaks, Wolf.
Then you see it start to go down, dropped as low as 17,000 by June 1. Again, in that sort of relationship to the stay at home orders, it takes a while to see the impact of that. And now things have been reopening. You see that the numbers have gone up, as you say to the third highest. They're going to keep going up, Wolf.
Starting off at a higher baseline, things are reopening, people are more mobile, this is the concern. I think there's no question they're going to go up.
BLITZER: Yes, it's really worrisome.
Gloria, the number not only of cases, but hospitalizations and deaths in the United States certainly doesn't support the President's proclamation that were, "after COVID." So what does it tell you that the President is taking that stance so publicly?
BORGER: Well, it's political, Wolf. He wants it gone. He doesn't want to talk about it. He wants to talk of the world post pandemic. He wants to talk about, as he calls it, transition to greatness.
He wants to he wants to move forward. But that is living in an alternate universe right now. He is in complete election mode.
And his COVID Task Force people they're not very visible right now. Tony Fauci is willing to talk to anybody who wants to ask serious questions about this. But the routine Task Force meetings, the routine public briefings about this have all but disappeared, Wolf, as if the pandemic has disappeared, as if the virus is gone. Well, it's not gone. But what's going on is an election.
And the President doesn't want to talk about the pandemic anymore. So it's an alternate universe right now.
BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, Sanjay, because on the topic of vaccines and therapeutics, now the President today predicted there will be, in his words, "a beautiful surprise sooner than anybody would think," that's a quote. One of the latest developments on vaccine testing potential, for example.
GUPTA: Well, you know, I mean, vaccine development is in progress, Wolf, you know, there are some that are moved along at a pretty rapid pace.
You know, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Hahn talked about this quite a bit yesterday during those hearings. But you know, he's still talking at the end of the year, potentially beginning of next year, where there might be a vaccine that is, you know, either being manufactured, you're starting to get good trial results hopefully back in and you know, that's still a while away.
So I don't know what sort of imminent beautiful surprise the President was referring to. You know, we're keeping very close tabs on several of these different vaccines.
One thing I will say as well, Wolf, and you know, we'll talk about this more and more over the next several weeks is that we're still not seeing a lot of data. You know, we're middle end of June now, there's only been one published peer reviewed study around vaccine trials.
That was a study that came out of China. We've seen press releases, we've seen preprints, but not the peer reviewed published data that we want to be looking at. In order for me to be optimistic with you and the viewers, you know, I, everyone else needs to see that data.
BLITZER: Yes, we can only hope that would be great if it happens. That's easier said than done.
Sanjay, Gloria, guys, thank you very much.
Coming up, a closer look at the increasingly dire situation right now in Texas, which is setting records for new coronavirus cases. I'll speak with the head of one of Houston's major hospitals.
And right at the top of the hour, the former National Security Advisor John Bolton, he will join me live right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We've got lots, lots to discuss. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: This week, Texas has been setting records for new coronavirus cases. Yesterday's estimate 5,000 plus new cases, is the state's highest number of the entire pandemic.
Joining us now Dr. Marc Boom, the President and CEO of Houston Methodist Hospital.
Dr. Boom, thank you so much for joining us. The mayor of Houston says that 97 percent of intensive care unit beds in your city are now filled. Just how dire is the situation there right now from your perspective?
DR. MARC BOOM, CEO & PRESIDENT, HOUSTON METHODIST HOSPITAL: Well, I wouldn't use the word dire. We went to keep those numbers in perspective. We're still caring for many, many patients who do not have COVID and using ICU capacity for those people who need that care. So, COVID patients are representing about 24 percent of the ICU capacity of Houston.
We have many levers at our disposal. The first of which is we will start self-delaying some elective surgeries that require ICU usage. And we also have surge capacity. We can open up very sustainable additional ICU beds that we can run for quite some time during a surge. And then on top of that, we have some surge capacity that would be an emergency level that we could put in place if need be.
So, you know, while it is correct that we're up in the mid-90s across the system, there are things we can do to mitigate that as we have more COVID patients come in and as we perhaps delay some other surgeries. And we bring new beds online.
BLITZER: Well as Texas, Doctor, continues to set coronavirus records including yesterday's record for new cases, more than 5,000, is your state poised to do exactly what you're saying right now to take those emergency steps in order to deal with patients who need to go into intensive care unit room?
BOOM: You know, yes. I mean, our hospital system, it's what we're focused on, you know, every day is how do we care for the citizens of Houston without COVID. How do we care for the citizens of Houston with COVID? We will manage that.
The issue is when we project out two to three to four weeks, if we don't start to change the behaviors in the city, that's where we start to really get into a crunch. So the key message is that we can do this, we can flatten this curve. But it takes millions of people across the greater Houston area to all do the right things, to mask, to do their hand hygiene, to socially distance, to stay home whenever possible for vulnerable populations to big time, you know, stay home and stay sheltered. To eliminate large gatherings.
All of those things we know work. We've been bringing people to the hospital for months now, whether they're patients needing care or whether it's our own employees. And we do that very safely. It can be done but it requires everybody working together. And so we're really rallying the city trying to make sure we get everybody on the same page doing all the things that matter.
BLITZER: And even as we're speaking, I'm just being told, Dr. Boom, that Texas has just reported 5,551 new, new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day number so far since this pandemic erupted in February and March here in the United States. And the numbers look like they're going up. Are folks in Houston right now, do they understand how critically important it is to wear those masks? Because the pictures I've been seeing, a lot of folks, they think they don't need to.
BOOM: Yes. I mean, that's the fundamental challenge right now. I mean, as a physician, I got to tell you, it gets me very frustrated because we've been talking about this for months. We know that we all really have a social obligation and contract to protect each other. And we can do that. And, unfortunately, it's not happening as widespread and as uniformly as it needs to. So we're urging everybody to make sure they do that trying to get out very consistent messages so that we can flatten this curve.
We have a new masking order that went into place a couple days ago. And businesses were hopeful that that will impact things. But we need to really enforce the other restrictions that are in place. And everybody's got to do their part.
BLITZER: They certainly do. Let's hope they do. Dr. Boom, good luck to everyone in Houston. Appreciate you joining us.
BOOM: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Coming up, I just -- thank you -- despite weeks of demonstrations demanding action, the U.S. Senate can't even get enough votes to start a real debate over police reform. Is there any hope for action right now?
And right at the top of the hour, the Former National Security Adviser to President Trump, John Bolton, he is standing by live. He will join me here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll discuss his new book, the allegations in his new book and a whole lot more. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Breaking news, during his White House news conference with Poland's President Duda this afternoon, President Trump went off on a tangent blasting Senate Democrats for blocking a Republican police reform bill. Listen to what the President said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Democrats don't want to do it because they want to weaken our police. They want to take away immunity. They want to do other things that you know about as well as anybody in this beautiful field that we sit.
They want to take away a lot of the strength from our police and from law enforcement generally. And we can't live with that. We can't live with that. This is a great bill, strongly endorsed by, as you know, Tim Scott, who's terrific, who is a terrific man, great senator, South Carolina.
And Mitch wants it to happen. I would like to see it happen. But we won't sacrifice. We won't do that. We don't do anything that's going to hurt our police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Let's bring in attorney and former South Carolina state lawmaker, Bakari Sellers. He's the author of a brand new book entitled "My Vanishing Country: A Memoir". Also with us, the former Philadelphia Police Commissioner and Former D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey.
Bakari, what's your response to what we just heard from President Trump as he places the blame directly on Democrats as the Senate police reform bill that the Republicans have put forward fails to move on to a formal debate?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I'm going to ignore the President of the United States for one second and just talk about my friend and former colleague Tim Scott. You know, the bill that he has drafted isn't worth the paper that it's written on, to be completely honest with you. One of the biggest problems that we have doesn't do anything by limiting qualified immunity. It doesn't allow for -- law enforcement federally when you talk about federal civil rights, criminal offenses.
And without those two things, without those two deterrent, Tim Scott is a friend but, again, his bill isn't worth the paper that it's written on. And not only that, Wolf, but they want to ignore the process. They don't want to go through the Judiciary Committee and mark this bill up and actually have a debate. They want to take it right to the floor. So I don't have faith in this process and I'm disappointed in this bill.
BLITZER: Chief Ramsey, what's your reaction to the Senate right now failing to rise to the challenge of this specific potentially very historic moment in our country and get going and try to pass significant police reform legislation?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, what I see in Washington right now I can only describe as being pitiful, although I'm not surprised at all. Listen, I'm not a politician, I don't understand all these parliamentary procedures. My understanding is that, you know, a vote would have brought this to the floor for debate. You need debate. You need discussion and amendments.
The same thing's going to happen when the House bill hits the Senate. Only it'll be the Republicans that refuse to vote in favor of that. And what do we wind up with? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
The only place that reform is going to happen in this country is going to be at the state or local level. Our federal government is almost useless when it comes to doing anything meaningful. And if they can't do it in this climate, believe me, they are not going to be able to do it at all. So, it depends on the state and locals. I think mayors are going to have to take the bulls by the horn -- the bull by the horn and so will governors.
BLITZER: We'll see if they do. Chief Ramsey, we're also learning just a little while ago that three men have now been indicted by a grand jury in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old who was shot while simply jogging in Georgia. They're facing charges of malice, felony murder. Do these charges based on what you've seen so far fit the crime?
RAMSEY: Yes, absolutely. Listen, I was so glad to hear that they were indicted. This is a case that needs to go to trial. From everything I've seen, obviously, you know, being on the outside, I don't have all the facts in front of me, don't understand everything going on, but there was no reason for that man to die that day at all.
And so I was very pleased that they were indicted because I'm going to tell you, not all that long ago they would have gotten away with this probably. But thank God that this is not a case that's going to just go away with no one being held accountable.
BLITZER: Well, Bakari, I know you've been closely following this case as a lot of us have been. Do you see this potentially as a step towards justice?
SELLERS: I'm afraid to give out participation trophies when we're talking about things like this, Wolf. Justice is not an arrest. Justice is not an indictment. I want to be extremely clear.
And recall, Wolf, that there were two prosecutors, not one but two prosecutors who saw the same video that we saw, who declined to prosecute this case. And so if you can find two prosecutors, two people with law degrees, two people who supposedly supposed to have some good sense and they didn't charge this case. Then I'm pretty sure you can probably find jurors in Brunswick County that find these boys not guilty. So I'm terrified until we actually get a jury verdict, Wolf. I'm not there yet.
BLITZER: We'll see what happens. All right, Bakari, thank you. Chief Ramsey, as usual, thanks to you as well.
Coming up, the United States is clearly struggling to tamp down a new surge in coronavirus cases in big chunks of the country. So what can the U.S. learn from countries that have successfully contained this pandemic?
Plus, stand by for my interview with the Former National Security Adviser John Bolton. He will be joining me live here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll talk about dramatic new details in his brand new book about working in the Trump White House. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Even as the coronavirus pandemic is surging here in the United States right now, many other countries have managed to get a real handle on the crisis. CNN's Brian Todd is working in this part of the story for us. Brian, looks like the U.S. simply has a lot to learn.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. does, Wolf, and experts say America can learn from countries which have been hit just as hard. In fact, in some ways, America's response to the pandemic has been a lesson in what not to do.
TODD (voice-over): Tonight, the coronavirus crisis in America has reached such disturbing levels that the European Union could soon block Americans from traveling to Europe. According to officials, one diplomat telling CNN, Europe will be looking to keep out visitors from countries where the virus is circulating most actively. And by that measure, experts say, the U.S. doesn't stack up well.
PROF. WILLIAM HANAGE, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: The United States has not responded in a coherent, organized fashion which is capable of doing anything serious to really stand in the way of this virus.
TODD (voice-over): The United States is returning to the high infection rates of the outbreaks early days while the European Union has pushed its rate down and seems to be keeping it down. In Europe, even in places like Italy, which was devastated by the virus early on, longer lockdowns, aggressive testing and contact tracing have proven effective. While states like Florida, Texas, Arizona and California are seeing enormous new spikes tonight.
DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: The U.S. response is just lagging. We're not doing what we need to do to keep physically distant. We're not across the country scaling up contact tracing as effectively as needed so we can prevent cases from exploding into clusters and outbreaks.
TODD (voice-over): South Korea like the U.S. has big cities with dense populations vulnerable to coronavirus, but has had dramatically fewer cases and deaths than the U.S. What tactics made the South Koreans more successful?
HANAGE: South Korea they have an extraordinarily very smart testing program which enables them to rapidly identify cases, rapidly inform the context of those cases, and then rapidly isolate them.
FRIEDEN: If you had moved to South Korea on January 20th, when each of our countries had its first case, you would have been 70 times less likely to be killed by this virus.
TODD (voice-over): Experts say another big reason the U.S. has fallen behind other countries in the handling of the pandemic is because the federal government allowed individual states to take the lead and make their own decisions of when and how to reopen. As a result, many states reopened much too quickly. While states hit hard early on like New York didn't.
HANAGE: They held it over a period of weeks, two months, they wrestled the pandemic to the ground to the point where now they're more worried about there being new introductions from states where it's taking off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open your business now.
TODD (voice-over): Experts say one other problem the U.S. has had which most other nations have not, the politicization of the response. Leaders like President Trump, Vice President Pence openly shunning guidelines on wearing masks. Trump on Fox radio, even making fun of Joe Biden, who's worn them.
TRUMP: He started speaking through the mask again. He feels comfortable with a mask on I think, and even though there was nobody anywhere near him,
TODD: But President Trump and other Republicans are not the only ones being criticized for politicizing the response to coronavirus. Experts say not only did some Democratic governors not call out or prevent people from staging mass protests against police brutality recently, clearly a risky venture during the pandemic, but a couple of them joined the protests breaking their own lockdown orders. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right, Brian, thank you very much. Brian Todd reporting.
Coming up, the Former National Security Adviser to President Trump, John Bolton, he'll join me live here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We have a lot to discuss, including stunning revelations about President Trump from his new book, that's just ahead.
BLITZER: We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. This hour, we have an in-depth interview with the Former National Security Adviser John Bolton. He makes powerful allegations about President Trump and his brand new book entitled, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir". There's the book cover right there.
And Ambassador Bolton is joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
Ambassador, thanks so much for coming in.
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Glad to be with you.
BLITZER: We've got a lot to discuss. I want to start out with some questions involving critically important news of the day. First, the U.S., as you probably know by now has just recorded its third highest day of new coronavirus cases.