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U.S. Coronavirus Cases Soar; Blame Game on Police Reform; David A. Thomas, Morehouse President, Offers Advice for Protesters; U.S. Coronavirus Numbers Continue to Grow; NYT Poll Shows Double-Digit Lead for Biden; Sailors Stuck at Sea as Borders Close; Eiffel Tower Reopens after Longest Closure Since World War II. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 25, 2020 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the daily count of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. soars to levels not seen since the days of the lockdown. The country's leading expert on infectious diseases pleads for everyone to wear a face mask.

In Washington, police reform stalls amid partisan politics in the Senate, perhaps they should listen to the advice of protesters, from the president of Morehouse College.

Also ahead, this.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think the Democrats were guilty of impeachment malpractice. They took this issue and drove it straight into a ditch.


VAUSE (voice-over): The man who knew too much but kept it all for his book, now lecturing the Democrats on how they blew the impeachment of Donald Trump.


VAUSE: The U.S. has seen its third biggest day ever for new cases of coronavirus. The numbers haven't been this bad since April, when states were being locked down and economies ground to a halt and officials were calling for stay-at-home orders.

According to Johns Hopkins University, nearly 35,000 people were infected nationwide on Tuesday and the three most populated states in the country, Texas, Florida, California all set records for new cases in a single day. Officials are expected hospitals in Arizona and Texas to soon reach capacity and that means intensive care units could be maxed out and with that mortality rates are set to rise. The man known as America's doctor is calling on federal and state governments to urgently resupply strategic stockpiles of PPE, medical equipment and other supplies which were emptied earlier this year. Dr. Anthony Fauci also has this advice to everyone else.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If you do congregate, wear a mask and keep the mask on all the time, because your tendency is, when you get animated and you start doing that, you pull the mask down.

Don't do that. It really does not only protect you but protects others in case you might have an infection that you don't even know about.


VAUSE: In the early days of the pandemic, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, 3 (INAUDIBLE) states, held the brunt of the coronavirus, tens of thousands died, hundreds of thousands were infected but now with the outbreak there under control, 3 governors have issued a travel ban of sorts for anyone coming from 8 states in particular where the virus appears to be out of control. CNN's Nick Watt has details.



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We're announcing today a joint travel advisory, people coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice over): So from midnight, three northeastern states, one sour 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 ASSOC.: Within days we're going to be overcapacity in dealing with hospital crisis in my opinion.


WATT (voice over): In Florida, more new cases today than ever before. One hospital system says they're seeing more young patients.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: And if they're spreading the infection to older people, people with chronic diseases right now, we'll see an increase in deaths potentially two weeks from now.


WATT (voice over): Another new record case count today in Texas.


ABBOTT: There is a massive outbreak of COVID-19 across the State of Texas today. We are making sure that the rules are enforced so we are going to be able to better contain the spread of COVID-19.


WATT (voice over): And for 11 days straight, Texas has set new records for the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. Nationwide and more than half our states new case counts just aren't going down.


DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: 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.


WATT (voice over): Dr. Anthony Fauci says we need to get past mask wearing being a political issue. The Democratic Governor of North Carolina just said he's making them mandatory and the Republican Governor of Florida just said, he won't.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We advise from the beginning of May, we advised if you can't social distance, wear the mask, but ultimately we've got to trust people to make good decisions.


WATT (voice over): And those well-known University of Washington modelers say, we would save more than 30,000 lives by the end of the summer if 95 percent of us wore masks, but right now, we aren't.


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. Wear a mask. Just wear a mask.


WATT: Here in California, they set a new record Tuesday, more than 5,000 new cases. Wednesday, they obliterated that record, more than 7,000 new cases. But there are still beds and hospitals to deal with these cases, according to state officials -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.



VAUSE: The coronavirus claimed nearly 1,000 lives in Mexico, the country's second highest daily death toll since the pandemic began. New infections have continued to rise at the rate of around 5,000 a day for the past two weeks.

The overall total has been brought closer to 200,000, one of the worst outbreaks in Latin America. Only Brazil and Peru have been hit harder. For 2 weeks now, both countries have reported new cases per capita than the United States. Details now from CNN's Shasta Darlington.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: COVID-19 cases in Latin America have tripled in the last month, surpassing two million infections. That's according to the Pan American Health Organization. The group's director warned that governments are now facing pressure to ease social isolation measures due to economic and political pressure, even though transmission is still increasing.

Brazil alone has registered well over a million cases, and on Wednesday, the health ministry reported more than 42, 000 new infections. The second highest daily increase on record.

Meanwhile, a judge has ordered Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask in public or face a fine worth about $380 a day. The coronavirus skeptic rarely puts on a mask for public events, or when he joins his supporters in rallies, shaking hands, and embracing crowds.

The government is seeking to overturn the ruling which applies to public appearances in the country's capital, Brasilia. Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the virus, calling it a little flu, and urging Brazilians to go back to work -- Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.


VAUSE: Dr. Jorge Rodriguez is an internal medicine and viral specialist, he joins us from Los Angeles.

Dr. Rodriguez, it's been a while, thank you for taking the time. Good to see you.


VAUSE: The difference in the course of this virus in the United States compared to Italy, Spain, Germany, is staggering. Here it is in the graphic. The blue line at the top dipped a little and then started going up

that is confirmed cases in the United States. The three lines at the bottom, those three European countries, where the virus did what it was expected to do, because they followed the advice of health experts and scientists.

Is the U.S. approaching the point where the economic loss would be for nothing?

RODRIGUEZ: I'm afraid so. If you look at the graph, the last few days or weeks of it is completely going up onward. And that I actually posted a graph on social media and said that we are in the land of the free and the home of the selfish in a way. Once opening, it appears that we have lost the will to follow recommendations.

I have good friends in Italy and when they were first hit with this horrible amount of death, they were very diligent in staying home. But the government was a lot more organized than here in the United States. If you felt bad, they brought you food. If you had to go out, you had to have proof that you were going through the grocery store.

It seemed rigid but, at the end of the day, it worked. They opened in a safe way and they're probably going to be able to stay open unlike here in the United States.

VAUSE: These numbers are just as bad as they were in April. President Trump talked about the decision and the advice that he was given at the time, on whether or not to issue guidelines for the shelter in place and social distancing. This is what he said.


TRUMP: A lot of people were saying maybe we shouldn't do anything, just ride it, they said ride it like a cowboy. Just ride. Ride that sucker right through.


VAUSE: Putting the potential death toll of 2 million aside if you can, there are a lot of people who think that's still a good plan. There's a lot we still don't know about the virus, we don't know about immunity. Just let it out, let it go.

RODRIGUEZ: First of all, saying something like that as a leader of a country is just ludicrous. But the great experiment of herd immunity in Sweden, for example, is failing. In order to have herd immunity a population needs at least 60 percent to 70 percent of the people to have antibodies, so that it probably doesn't spread as rapidly or is as lethal.

Sweden expected to have by May approximately 40 percent of the people in their capital to have antibodies. It's only 6 percent and now we're finding antibodies with this virus may not last more than two months. So we don't know everything about this at all.

[00:10:00] RODRIGUEZ: And listen, even if herd immunity worked, quick numbers, America has 30 million people, 70 percent get infected, that's 200 million people more or less infected. Let's say we have a death rate of 1 percent. That's 2 million people that will die with herd immunity. I don't think it's worth that.

VAUSE: What we do know is that wearing a face mask makes a significant difference and one of the best arguments I've heard for wearing a mask is this, listen to this.


DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Going out in public without a mask is like driving drunk. Even if you don't get hurt you might kill someone else. That's how I want people to think about not wearing a mask in public. It's like driving drunk.


VAUSE: Maybe we will start shaming people who don't wear masks.

RODRIGUEZ: I was driving here and I felt like rolling down my window and yelling out, wear your mask. But my receptionist today said, we have a sign that says you have to come in with a mask.

This person said I assure you I'm not positive. The receptionist said, how do you know I'm not?

The point is we don't know if the person next to us is positive or not or if we are, so we really do need to protect each other. We can't drive drunk. Great example.

VAUSE: In the states that are seeing this explosion in the number of cases, relatively untouched a few months ago, I want you to listen to the governor of Florida, he was talking last month, chewing out other reporters.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We have a lower death rate than the Acela (ph) corridor, D.C., everyone up there, lower than the Midwest, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio.

But even in our region, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida has the lower death rate and Iowa is the number one landing spot for tens of thousands of people leaving the number one hot spot in the world to come to my state.

So we succeeded and I think people don't want to recognize it because it challenges their narrative, it challenges their assumption so they have to try to find a bogeyman.


VAUSE: That's a good reminder of 2 things, pride comes before a fall, but also with this virus everything is OK until it's not. Things are extremely far away from OK.

RODRIGUEZ: I'm from Florida, John. I grew up in Miami and I still have family there. It's exploding. If he were to say that, he'd now have to say the past tense had.

You're right about the hubris of that, especially when it comes to human lives. There's a reason why they call it Flori-duh. Sometimes it's not just very smart and politics takes over common sense.

Remember, Florida's the first one that opened up the beaches even before Memorial Day so they wouldn't lose a few bucks with spring break. It's a shame that DeSantis is putting human lives second to political expediency.

VAUSE: You should never forget that they are not numbers, they are dead people. This is the tragedy. Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, as always, thank you.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, have a good night.

VAUSE: Thank you, sir.

Be sure to follow the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and around the world. Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta host a CNN global town hall, "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears," 8 pm Thursday in New York, 8 am Friday in Hong Kong. You'll see it only here on CNN.

At least 6,000 jobs will go with the Australian national carrier Qantas because of economic fallout of the pandemic. Another 15,000 will be furloughed for the next 12 months.

With a dramatic drop in air travel, 300 planes will be grounded for the next three years, cost savings of $10 billion. The International Monetary Fund says the global economic picture is much worse than expected.

The 2024 forecast predicting a 4.9 percent contraction, saying the labor market has taken a catastrophic hit, recovery is much slower than expected.

Surging numbers of COVID cases across the United States, with a possible new tariff on E.U. imports saw a stock plunge on Wednesday, Dow down 2.7 percent, SNP down 2.6 percent, Nasdaq down 2.2 percent after reporting its longest winning streak since December. It was the worst closing in almost two weeks for all three major indices.

We will take a short break, when we come back, the president at one of the most oldest and prestigious black colleges has a message for protesters.


VAUSE: Also to the surprise of absolutely no one, the Republican plan for police reform has collapsed in the U.S. Senate. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: 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. They want to take away a lot of our strength for law enforcement and we can't live with, that we can't live with that.




VAUSE: A grand jury in the U.S. state of Georgia has indicted three white men in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25 you black man who was shot while jogging.

Gregory and Travis McMichael and William Bryan were indicted on nine charges each, including murder and false imprisonment. Two suspects who allegedly killed Arbery say they thought he was behind a series of burglaries and were trying to make a citizen's arrest.

The third suspect recorded video of the incident.

Ahmaud Arbery was one of many shootings that sparked protests around the U.S. and the globe. For works, demonstrators have flooded the streets, denouncing violence against black people, demanding social reforms and toppling monuments of those linked to the oppression of minorities.


VAUSE: David A. Thomas is the president of Morehouse College here in Atlanta and he joins us now.

Sir, it's a privilege to have you with us. Thank you.

DAVID A. THOMAS, MOREHOUSE COLLEGE: Thank you for having me, John.

VAUSE: Well, history never looks like history when you are living through it and it seems the 45th president has been unable to grasp what this moment is all about and there was evidence once again during a news conference on Wednesday when he was asked about removing Confederate statues. I want you to listen to what he said.


TRUMP: I think many of the people that are knocking down the statues don't have any idea of what the statue is, what it means, who it is, when they knock down grant, when they want to knock down grant. But when they look at certain, now they are looking at Jesus Christ, they're looking at George Washington, they're looking at Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, not going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Yes, at this point, it seems Donald Trump is making inflammatory and ignorant just for the sake of it?

How do you see it?

THOMAS: Well, I see it as the president is resisting what this moment means and that most of the country has now come to the point of understanding that these are symbols that were designed to reinforce the dehumanization of black people and to celebrate the most negative part of our history.


THOMAS: Which is the history of slavery that we have yet to overcome. And most of these statues were actually created during a period of Jim Crow and not particularly post Civil War.

And they are really designed to be statements that support the notion of white supremacy, despite the fact that the North won the Civil War and slavery was abolished.

VAUSE: Yes. You wrote a great op-ed in "The Washington Post" I, think it was this week, earlier this week. Here's part of it. You have advice to young protesters.

"Use the vote to speak volumes. Demonstrate excellence in your profession or vocation; greatness brings authority to speak and effect change. Use your success to advance the causes of equity and equality."

It was a really fascinating op-ed piece, I enjoyed reading it. This advice, though. It reminded me also, at the same time, people that have to work twice as hard for half as much.

And I'm wondering, isn't that why at least in part why so many people are protesting in the streets because of that type of inequality where more is demanded of some than others?

THOMAS: I think that that's true, John. But one thing to keep in mind is that, as I was writing that article, who I had most in mind were my students here in Morehouse College.

And Morehouse College is 153 years old. And literally, since 1867, two years after the end of the Civil War, we have been dedicated to educating men to be excellent in their vacations and to lead lives of leadership and service.

And so when I wrote those words, I was really thinking about men like my students. And to them, we say, yes, we live in a society that, as long as African Americans have been here, has demanded more of us to get even close to the same level of reward.

But we still have to be committed to excellence and not let our anger about the double standard somehow diminish that. And so again, you know, I believe that the way that you have voice that requires people to listen to you is that, in whatever vocation you choose, you are excellent.


VAUSE: I'm sorry, continue, sorry, sir.

THOMAS: I was going to say one reason when people like Colin Kaepernick spoke out, people had to listen was because he was an excellent athlete. You know, the same is true for other African Americans who led the struggle.

The reason they had to be listened to -- Robert Smith is another great example, who is a great supporter of the college, Robert is able to have voice in this moment because he is an amazing investor, the best return in any investment fund on the planet.


VAUSE: -- in the op-ed, there is also this other part you wrote -- sorry for interrupting again -- here's part of it.

"The energy and determination of young people will be critical to this movement much as it was when the footsteps, arrests and bloodshed of Dr. King and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee members led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

I want you to listen to a young woman who was speaking at the president's political gathering in Phoenix on Tuesday.


REAGAN ESCUDE, TRUMP RALLY SPEAKER: Aunt Jemima was canceled. And if you didn't know, Nancy Green, the original first Aunt Jemima, she was a picture of the American dream. She was a freed slave who went on to be the face of the pancake syrup that we love and have in our pantries today.

She fought for equality and now the leftist mob is trying to erase her legacy. And might I mention how privileged we are as a nation, if our biggest concern is a bottle of pancake syrup.



VAUSE: Applause, laughing, from an audience of 3,000 young conservatives.

How do you educate that woman and those young people about the blatant racism of Aunt Jemima and that it obviously has nothing to do with pancake syrup?

THOMAS: Yes, I don't know that you...


THOMAS: Well, that's a clear indication of someone who has not studied the history of racism in this country and that the woman that she describes, she was a face of Aunt Jemima, could only get a position where she had to allow herself to be dehumanized to achieve a position that allowed her to have a livelihood.

And that's been the case for many black people, where we have had to subjugate ourselves in order to ensure our livelihood. But I would almost guarantee that that first face of Aunt Jemima understood that, in some way, she was allowing herself to be dehumanized in order to secure a living for her family, which is not new to black people.

VAUSE: Yes. That's a good point to finish on. Sir, thank you. David A. Thomas, Morehouse College president. Really appreciate your taking the time to speak to us, thank you.

THOMAS: All right, I appreciate it, thank you.

VAUSE: Have a good night.

The U.S. president Donald Trump is slamming Democrats for blocking a police reform bill in the Senate. They denied Republicans the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation. It was an inadequate response to nationwide protests against police misconduct and racial injustice. Leaders on both sides blamed each other.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: In the wake of the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, following weeks of passionate protests from coast to coast, the Senate was supposed to officially take up police reform on the floor today. Instead, our Democratic colleagues are poised to turn this routine step into a partisan impasse.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Who do you believe, America?

Civil Rights Conference or Mitch McConnell?

Who do you believe, America, NAACP or the Republican caucus?

Who do you believe, America, the lawyer, for the Taylor and Floyd families or Donald Trump?


VAUSE: House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, plan to vote on their own bill on Thursday.

You are listening to CNN NEWSROOM. When we come back the U.S. is doing a dismal job of flattening the coronavirus curve especially compared to Europe.

Also Donald Trump's former national security adviser speaks to CNN and tells us what he thinks about the president's handling of the pandemic. No surprise here; it is not flattering.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. An update now on the surging number of coronavirus cases in the U.S.


More than 3,400 new infections were reported on Tuesday. That's the third highest number in one day since the pandemic began. The three most populous states, California, Texas, Florida, all set new one-day records.

And take a look at this graphic. This is the number of cases appeared week-to-week in Italy, Spain, and Germany. They all seem nearly flat, compared to the United States, which dipped for a brief period and then started to climb back up.

So, how did other countries manage to get this virus under control, while the U.S. still hasn't really got a clue? CNN's Brian Todd has some answers.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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.

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: The United States is returning to the high infection rates of the outbreak's 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.

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 it can prevent cases from exploding into clusters and outbreaks.

TODD: 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: In South Korea they have an extraordinary, 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 20, when each of our countries had its first case, you would have been 70 times less likely to be killed by this virus.

TODD: 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 to 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: Experts say one 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.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via phone): 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 (on camera): But President Trump and other Republicans are not the only ones being criticized for politicizing the response to coronavirus. Experts point out 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.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Well, President Trump's former national security adviser and current bombshell-dropper, John Bolton, has been making the rounds plugging his new book.

On Wednesday Bolton had more unflattering words about the White House. He told CNN's Wolf Blitzer he has no confidence in the president's handling of the pandemic and said Mr. Trump looked at the other way at the beginning of the outbreak. The other way, I should say, at the beginning of the outbreak.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I am afraid that the erratic nature of the policies, as they've evolved since January, when the experts really began to sense that this problem might be out there, has characterized our response throughout. And I'm worried that it continues to -- to be the pattern that the president follows. It's not part of a comprehensive strategy.

I think there is an empty chair in the Oval Office, because the president did not want to hear bad news about Xi Jinping, his friend. He did not want to hear bad news about the cover-up of the virus in China or its potential effect on the China trade deal they want so much. And he didn't want to hear about the potential impact of a pandemic on the American economy and its effect on his reelection.

Turning a blind eye to all these early signs, I think, hampered the country's ability to deal with this and continues to do so.


VAUSE: Bolton also explained why he did not testify during the impeachment inquiry last year. In this book, he writes this about the episode that triggered the whole drama.

"The next morning, August 20, I took Trump's temperature on Ukraine security assistance, and he said he was not in favor of sending them anything until all the Russia-investigation materials related to Clinton and Biden had been turned over."

Bolton writes there were still more impeachable offences. So why did he not come forward and testify to Congress?


BOLTON: The Democrats in the House, by determining right from the get- go that they were going to focus only on the Ukraine situation and they were going to ram it through as fast as they could so it didn't affect the Democratic presidential nomination process, drove House Republicans who might have been open to a broader consideration, a less partisan consideration, they drove those Republicans into their partisan corner; and it had the same effect in the Senate.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: But should you have had the guts to do what John Dean did and testify before Congress? Any second thoughts?

BOLTON: No, I think the circumstances were completely different. That's why I think the Democrats were guilty of impeachment malpractice. They took this and drove it straight into that a ditch. And that's the problem.

I would say on the Democratic criticism, I'm sure they're unhappy. They failed. And not only did they fail, they misunderstood the impact and the consequences of their decisions.

The idea that the impeachment but failure to convict the president would inhibit the president was exactly the opposite of the effect it had. By taking this to trial in the Senate and seeing him acquitted, they empowered the president.


VAUSE: As for President Trump, he said Bolton is a wacko and his book is full of lies.

And in President Trump's world, COVID-19 is a part of history. He tried that one again while hosting Poland's president at the White House, the first foreign visitor there since lockdown started in the U.S. And the Polish president is up for reelection in a few days.

And when Donald Trump mentioned the coronavirus, it was to downplay the threat.


TRUMP: I mean, we had a lot of people who were saying, maybe we shouldn't do anything, just ride it. They say ride it like a cowboy. Just ride it, ride that sucker right through.


VAUSE: The U.S. presidential election a little more than four months away. A new national poll has the presumptive Democrat nominee, Joe Biden, significantly ahead.

CNN's Jessica Dean takes a closer look at the numbers.


JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Some new polling out on Wednesday gives us a good snapshot of where the presidential race stands in the middle of June.

Let's start first with a national poll put out by "The New York Times," this one showing Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump 50 percent to 36 percent.

This mirrors a CNN poll that came out earlier this month. And it also shows Biden growing his support among women, among non-white voters, and he's up double digits with independent voters.

Now when you look at a couple of battleground states, we also got some information out of there. Start first with Wisconsin and the Marquette University Law School polling there, that shows Biden up 49 percent to Trump's 41 percent, representing an 8-point lead there in Wisconsin, widening his lead since the last time we got polling out of Wisconsin.

And then also Ohio. If you take a look there, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Biden at 46, Trump at 45. So very, very very close there. What's important to know about Ohio -- of course, Wisconsin and Ohio both states that President Trump won in 2016 -- but Ohio has been considered reliably Republican. So to see Vice President Biden making a run at Ohio, noteworthy there. We'll see how things develop as the summer goes on.

Jessica Dean, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: And we head to Los Angeles now and CNN's senior political analyst and the senior editor for "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein. Good to see you again, Ron.


VAUSE: OK. So right now this pandemic in the U.S., it seems to be a red-state problem, as in Republican states. It was initially worse in the northeast, with three blue states, including New York, but it's under control there now.

And the three state governors now require 14 days of self-isolation for these people coming in from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, all Republican- controlled.

I mention this because, at the same time, Donald Trump's poll numbers have tanked, and Republicans are becoming increasingly concerned about his total failure to deal with the pandemic.


But then on Wednesday, Donald predicted yet again that salvation was nigh. Here he is.


TRUMP: As far as the joining with us on the vaccines and therapeutics, by the way, because the therapeutics to me, if they gave you a choice right now, probably therapeutically, maybe, I'd like that even better. But we're working very well on both. I think we're coming up with some great answers. I think you're going to have a big surprise, a beautiful surprise, sooner than anybody would think.


VAUSE: You know, that sort of puerile and sort of inane statement based on nothing but wishful thinking doesn't do the president a lot of favors right now.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, we are in a scenario, I think, that no one, no model predicted at the outset. I mean, there was talk of a second wave in the fall. But the idea that we would have a second spike in the first wave, in which today we set the record for the most cases in one day in the new U.S., where Texas and Florida combined for 11,000 cases in one day, and where Arizona is -- is burning with the virus, as well as California and North Carolina,

I mean, this is worse than the worst-case scenario. Remember, Jared Kushner was saying in April the country would be rocking by July. It's more that it's reeling by July at this point.

VAUSE: Yes. You know, what is interesting, though, is how, you know, Donald Trump continues to hold these campaign rallies. He has another one coming for Wyoming later in the week.

Six campaign workers who were the advance crew heading off to Oklahoma, they've tested positive for COVID-19. So, too, two Secret Service members. We still don't know what's happened after Phoenix. But "The Washington Post" is now reporting about how Joe Biden's

campaign is taking a very different approach --


VAUSE: -- to this year's convention. Democrats are asking the nearly 5,000 voting delegates to participate in Biden's nomination from home, removing the core audience from the convention floor.

All the official business of the convention, including votes on the party's platform and the nominees, will be handled remotely.

You know, so for Biden at least, it kind of seems like everything is coming together and that they really are making a stark contrast to Donald Trump.

BROWNSTEIN: It could not be a more stark contrast in every way.

You know, the interesting thing is that, you know, this is actually very revealing of the president's vision of how he wins. Because, you know, by going out and holding these rallies over the objections of public health officials, he is kind of, you know, returning to his identity of someone who doesn't follow the rules, who breaks -- you know, breaks windows in order to defend the interests of his voters.

But he is compounding his core problem, and he is running weaker than any modern Republican nominee among white-collar white suburbanites. Today in that "New York Times" poll you cited earlier, he's down almost 30 points among college-educated whites, which is an almost unimaginable number.

And one of the biggest problems he has with those voters throughout, but especially during the coronavirus is the sense that he disregards expertise, that he -- that he kind of makes things up as he goes, that he trusts his own judgment over those of the experts.

And each time he holds one of these rallies over the objections of local public health officials, when he doesn't wear a mask, when they don't require a mask, he is confirming those doubts and putting himself in a position where he simply has no other path to win but to turnout an unprecedented number of his voters who haven't voted before.

VAUSE: And with Donald Trump, you know, the wheels falling off his campaign to an extent, you know, the Biden campaign brought out the big guns, and that would be Barack Obama, for a virtual fundraiser. Here's part of it.


BARACK OBAMA (D), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am here to say that help is on the way if we do the work. Because there's nobody that I trust more to be able to heal this country and get it back on track than my dear friend, Joe Biden.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: All of this is putting Biden well in front. You know, we've mentioned the polls. Much like him and Hillary Clinton was in front of Donald Trump back in 2016 by a pretty wide margin and then you go all the way back to 1988. Michael Dukakis had a big lead over George H.W. Bush, as well. There was never a President Dukakis.

It would seem there is still time and opportunity for Biden to blow it and for the president to make a comeback, but that gets harder each day. Right?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, yes, obviously right. I mean, you know, there is not a precedent, I think, for an incumbent president to be this far behind, this late in the process. And come back and win. It doesn't mean Donald Trump can. I think there's almost no chance that he's going to win the popular vote.

It's another question whether he can get close enough in the popular vote that he can squeeze out another Electoral College victory, probably by holding Wisconsin, Arizona and Florida by very narrow margins.

But what you saw today is that swing states are not immune to the national trends, and in fact, if you look at polling that says Joe Biden is up one in Ohio, a state that Trump won by eight points last time, and Joe Biden is up eight in Wisconsin, a state that Trump won by a few thousand votes last time. Both are -- those results are consistent with a national number that is somewhere about 10 points or more of an advantage for Joe Biden.

And you are seeing the same groups move, John, in all of these states: an under performance for Trump relative to '16 among non-blue-collar white women, an underperformance relative to 2016 among white seniors, and then that big erosion that we saw in 2018 in the white-collar suburbs. And it just leaves him with a very narrow path at this point.


As you point out, things can change, but right now it feels a little bit like the cement is starting to harden.

VAUSE: I want to finish up with the attorney general, because there was an extraordinary revolt which was on display within the Department of Justice. This is before Congress on Wednesday.

The lead prosecutor in the Roger Stone case testified that there was pressure to go easy on Stone for his role in the Russian election meddling, because he was a friend of Donald Trump's.

But what was really telling was the testimony from the former deputy attorney general. This is Donald Ayer. It was jaw-dropping. Listen to this.


DONALD AYER, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I was privileged to serve in the Department of Justice under two Republican and one Democratic president, and I am here because I believe that William Barr poses the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law and to public trust in it.

That is because he does not believe in its core principle, that no person is above the law. Instead, since taking office, he has worked to advance his lifelong conviction that the president should hold virtually autocratic powers. That includes immunity from nearly all checks and balances and being able to accord special treatment to himself and his friends.

The system that Barr is working to tear down was put in place in the aftermath of the Watergate scandals.


VAUSE: The allegations are incredible, that basically, the attorney general punished the president's enemies, rewarded his friends. What happens now?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, well, the evidence is pretty overwhelming. Jerry Nadler -- look, I think in a different point in his presidency, that the House probably would move to impeach Bill Barr based on the things that were alleged today and other activity that he has -- that he had undertaken.

Obviously, at this point in the presidency, I don't think they are going to do that.

I have two observations about this testimony. One is it underscores the extent to which there are likely to be a broad range of Republicans, particularly from previous administrations, but some from this administration, who are going to come out explicitly against Donald Trump's reelection on the grounds not so much of policy but that they view him as a threat to the constitutional order.

I mean, you could imagine, John Bolton has already said he's voting for Joe Biden. And James Mattis. And when we - - I suspect we will hear from Cindy McCain, the widow of John McCain, before the election. And this testimony today, I think, was an indication of how broad that might be.

The other point, you know, if you look at the way Barr has behaved in the last few months, you have to agree with John Bolton that Donald Trump took from the vote of the Senate Republicans not to convict him or even to penalize him or sanction him in any way over his open extortion of the government of Ukraine as a kind of get-out-of-jail- free card.

And, you know, when Susan Collins famously said after the impeachment that Donald Trump had learned his lesson, in fact he did. The lesson he learned, though, is the opposite of what she said. It was that whatever he did, whatever window he breaks, the Senate Republicans will immediately break -- sweep up the glass.

And as a result, you've seen Barr go further and further in a direction that is ominous to these former officials. VAUSE: Yes, it's incredible what we heard in the testimony there at

Congress. But Ron, as always, thank you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks John.

VAUSE: Take a short break. Back in a moment, you're watching CNN.



VAUSE: Well, the global demand for international shipping has increased with the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the sailors bringing those items to you were having (ph) left stuck on board huge vessels as borders closed and flights were canceled.

Here's CNN's Ivan Watson.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The coronavirus pandemic may have emptied many of the world's airports, but the world's seaports appear as busy as ever.

In Hong Kong, colossal cargo ships arrive day and night, each carrying thousands of containers of goods.

(on camera): It's because of ships like this that you can then go to the store or order online and get a new shirt or a bottle of shampoo or a tube of toothpaste. This is what helps the goods of the world move around.

(voice-over): But these vital arteries of the global economy are under strain.

(on camera): How's everybody doing?

(voice-over): Because since the pandemic hit, hundreds of thousands of seafarers, the professional mariners who operate these enormous ships, have been stranded on these vessels, unable to go home.

(on camera): Okee Alba, this is Jungle Jane (ph). You copy?

(voice-over): I hailed the anchored cargo ship Okee Alba.


WATSON: The second officer, a Filipino father of three named Merwyn Lagan, answers.

(on camera): How long have you been at sea?

LAGAN: Now 11 months.

WATSON: You've been working for 11 months straight? LAGAN: Yes, I should be going home last March, but they start already

locking down their borders, so we have to stay.

WATSON (voice-over): Governments closed their borders and airlines canceled flights when the pandemic struck last winter. That's left seafarers stuck working on ships.

(on camera): When was the last time you stepped on dry land?


WATSON (voice-over): Priyanka is the first officer aboard an oil tanker now operating in the Gulf of Mexico. She says she was supposed to go back home to India when her contract ended two months ago.

PRIYANKA: Immigration authorities are not working right now, and so many airlines have stopped. So basically, there is no access and no passage for the seafarers.

WATSON (on camera): Do you have any idea when you will be able to go home again?

PRIYANKA: At present, it is very uncertain. We have no idea.

FRANK COLES, CEO, WALLEM GROUP: I'm worried about their mental welfare most of all.

WATSON (voice-over): Priyanka's boss is Frank Coles of the shipping company Wallem Group. He says 35 percent of his 7,000 employees' work contracts have expired, and he's struggling to get those people home.

COLES: Well, they feel imprisoned without any reason. They obviously, the stress becomes heightened. The depression sets in.

WATSON: The International Maritime Organization estimates there are more than 200,000 seafarers around the world waiting to be repatriated, people like my new radio friend, Merwyn Lagan.

(on camera): What do you want to tell people around the world about your job right now?

LAGAN: That the job of a seafarer is very hard. And we are also one of the frontliners to get the economy running.

WATSON (voice-over): After 11 months at sea, he says he still didn't doesn't know when he'll get to go home to see his family again.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


VAUSE: Well, the Eiffel Tower reopening this Thursday, but COVID-19, yes, means there will be measures in place to keep everybody safe. And to get a good view in Paris, tours will have to earn it.


VAUSE: The Eiffel Tower is about to reopen. COVID-19 was responsible for its longest closure since World War II. But everything will not be back to normal, at least not just yet. Tourists will have to convince themselves that it's no pain, no gain to go up, as CNN's Cyril Vanier is about to show us.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During the worst days of the coronavirus crisis, Paris's Iron Lady still played her part, with a simple message to healthcare workers from a grateful nation: Thank you.

The Eiffel Tower, visited by almost seven million tourists a year, shut down three months, one week and four days ago.

(on camera): I haven't been back to the Eiffel Tower in many years, and my first impression is that the ground level right here is an underrated vantage point of the tower itself. Just look up. This feels pretty special.

(voice-over): The first level, a reminder that the Eiffel Tower experience is now COVID compatible. Distancing, signage, face masks and hand gel the new normal.

The tower, keen to show it's even going a step further, regularly checking that services are well and truly disinfected.

(on camera): For now, the lifts are closed because of distancing rules. So if you want the view, well, you have to earn it. It's also more fun this way.

(voice-over): Seven hundred and forty-five steps to the second level. That's a 15-minute climb for an estimated four to 5,000 visitors expected on day one.

PATRICK BRANCO RUIVO, CEO, EIFFEL TOWER: This is familiar (ph), the best view that we can have from Paris. That's why it delivers a big emotion when you come just here.

VANIER: Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Sacre Coeur, the Arc de Triomphe all there if you know where to look.

(on camera): At the risk of sounding cliche, the view here truly is amazing. You feel like you're floating above the city and you have a direct line of sight to all the landmarks.

Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.


VAUSE: Well done, Cyril. Good for you.

OK. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. Another hour of CNN NEWSROOM is right after this.