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California, Texas and Florida Hit Highest One-Day Spikes; EU May Ban American Travelers as It Reopens Borders; Eiffel Tower Reopens After Longest Closure Since World War II; New "New York Times" Poll Shows Double-Digit Lead for Biden Over Trump; Russians Begin Voting on Putin's Controversial Reforms; Tattoo Artists Help cover Hate Symbols for Free. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 25, 2020 - 04:30   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Updating the surge in coronavirus cases in the U.S., more than 34,000 new infections were reported Tuesday. That's the third highest number in one day since the pandemic began. The three most populous states, California, Texas, and Florida all set one-day records. Those three states account for more than 1/4 of the U.S. population. CNN's Kyung Lah filed this report from Los Angeles.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Summer in Los Angeles, packed patios and high anxiety.

MYKI LEE, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: Not seeing too many people keeping their social distancing measures and I'm a little worried to be honest.

LAH: Doctors say he should worry. California reported more than 7,000 COVID-19 infections today, another new record. After weeks of keeping the spread largely in check, new infections have shot up, shattering records on multiple days. California Governor Gavin Newsom is sounding the alarm.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: We cannot continue to do what we have done over the last number of weeks.

LAH: This is a major step back for a state that attacked the virus aggressively. California was the first state to shut down. After about two months of closures, numbers stabilized. But unemployment shot up.

Protests grew angry and the state moved forward in phases to restart the economy.

ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA FIELDING SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Just because we had flattened the curve here in California early on does not mean we are out of the woods. LAH: COVID never disappeared says epidemiologist Anne Rimoin. Infections in nursing homes and the prison population continued but the main driver, says Rimoin, the reopening of California. People fed up with social distancing and masks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This mask mandate is ridiculous.

LAH: The governor and county health official say days of protests over the death of George Floyd where we saw masks but little social distancing may have been a factor.

NEWSOM: Californians --

LAH: California's governor with the help of previous governors is now urging on multiple platforms for people to wear masks, a statewide mandate he's already put into place.


NEWSOM: Don't let COVID win. Wear a mask.


RIMOIN: We are not safer today than we were before. In fact, we were safer when everybody was home. Now, we are reaching a point where we are much less safe and we need to be even more careful.

LAH (on camera): Well, this is Dodger Stadium which is now a drive-up testing site for coronavirus. California's governor says testing is indeed up. But so is the percentage of people who are testing positive. And this county, Los Angeles County, now has more people who have tested positive than any other county in the entire country.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: President Trump's former national security advisor has been making the rounds plugging his new bombshell book to the media and slamming the President. John Bolton told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday he has no confidence in Mr. Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis. Take a listen.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP 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 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 coverup of the virus in China or its potential effect on the China trade deal that he wants 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 re-election.


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.


CHURCH: Bolton also discussed the increase in racial tensions across the U.S. and said Trump should act to improve race relations.

Well, the European Union is considering blocking Americans from traveling to Europe over concerns that the U.S. has failed to control the coronavirus. As you can imagine that news isn't sitting well with the Trump administration. Here is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's reaction.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We certainly don't want to reopen and jeopardizes the United States from people traveling here and we certainly don't want to cause problems anywhere else. I'm very confident in the coming weeks we'll figure that out as between not only the United States and the EU but the United States and other parts of the world, too.


CHURCH: And CNN's Nic Robertson joins us with more from London with more reaction. Good to see you, Nic. The EU still considering this as we say, but given the data, how inevitable is it?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well there's an inevitability about what the EU is going to say. Because there are three standard criteria on reciprocity. Does the other country actually allow citizens of the European Union into that country, the case is in the United States the answer is no. So that strike one right there. The other is air -- one of the other conditions is about air travel and how that's managed. That seems to be something that could certainly be agreed upon.

And then the other difficult thing is the testing. And, you know, the European Union is setting a threshold of 50 deaths per 100,000 people. Right now the European Union is way below that at 15 per 100,000 and the United States is way above at 106.7 per 100,000. For example, Brazil is at 183 per hundred thousand and Russia is about 83 -- 79 per hundred thousand. So that gives you an idea.

So yes, right now it looks like the U.S. inevitably is going to fall under those criteria. But one of the saving points for the United States might be that individual European countries can take this guidance, these criteria and the guidance that the European Union offers but it's still up to them what they do within their own national borders. So for example, Portugal right now allows citizens to come in from Brazil. So it is possible individual nations could choose to allow U.S. citizens in. But with the spikes that we're seeing in the U.S. at the moment that just seems so unlikely. Any diplomats working on this was saying this is not a political thing, it is all about protecting the health of EU citizens, half a billion of them, and that's their priority here -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, and U.S. numbers are just not very good. I mean, they are the worst in the world. Nic Robertson, many thanks to you bringing us up to date from London.

Gustaf's Eiffel's iron masterpiece was back in business today. The Eiffel Tower in Paris had been closed for three months because of the COVID crisis. The longest the landmark has shut down since World War II. But for tourists there will be changes.

CNN Cyril Vanier just visited the magnificent tower. He is of course in the city of light and joins us now live. Good to see you, Cyril. So talk to us about how your visit went, the changes they've made and whether the tourists will come and climb all those stairs.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary, the Eiffel Tower has been closed for three months, one week and four days. As you said, the longest closure since World War II. Reopened just a short while ago and I can see crowds of visitors forming at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. They're expecting 4 to 5,000 people which is less than 1/4 the number of daily visitors they would normally get at the same time of year.

But that is just going to have to be the reality for a lot of monuments, not just in France but across the world really when international travel is down. You were speaking with Nic earlier about the visitors. It's likely that there won't be U.S. visitors or from other parts of the world for a while to come.

Now the visitors that can come, well, they get a slightly different Eiffel Tower experience from what you would normally get. You have the new normal, of course. You have to wear a facemask. You have the and gel. You have the floor signage directing the flow of visitors. That has become fairly standard I think in many parts of the world, many monuments. What is specific to the Eiffel Tower, is that many people would normally choose to take a lift from the ground floor to go up to the first and second levels, that is not going to be possible over the next few days in order to avoid crowds in a confined space.

So if you want that view, Rosemary, visitors are going to have to earn it. It's 745 steps to the top, 15 to 20 minutes. The thing is, there is punishing heat in Paris at the moment. So there's an added degree of difficulty if you want that view.


CHURCH: A great challenge for some people who like the exercise. Cyril Vanier, many thanks to you for joining us. Appreciate it.

And still to come, a new poll gives Republicans a reason to worry as Joe Biden surges ahead. The details just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: The U.S. Presidential election is a little more than four months away. A new national poll has presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a double-digit lead over President Trump. 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 poll there, that shows Biden up 49 percent to Trump's 41 percent, representing an 8 percent 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 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, a noteworthy there. We'll see how things develop as the summer goes on.

Jessica Dean, CNN, Washington.



CHURCH: In Russia voting has begun in a controversial referendum on constitutional changes that could pave the way for President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. CNN's Matthew Chance is in London. He joins us now live. Good to see you, Matthew. Is this vote pretty much a done deal?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it probably is, but we'll have to wait until July 1st to find out. Because that's when the main polling day is taking place. What's happening now though is that the central election commission have opened up some polling booths early because of the pandemic. Some of the voting booths outside as well. Because this vote is of course, taking place at the height of that coronavirus outbreak in Russia and there are concerns that it shouldn't have gone ahead at all. Because of the potential risk that it poses with so many people voting on a single day.

The bigger controversy though is about what this constitutional change would mean. First of all, it would mean that the current president, Vladimir Putin, would be able to serve a third of two consecutive presidential terms which means that in theory he could stay in power until 2036. Remember, you know, it's already been the case that he's been in power since 1999. And so there's a lot of criticism coming in from various circles inside of Russia that this gives Vladimir Putin too much power. A man that his detractors say has already been in office for way too long -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, Matthew Chance reporting there live from London. Many thanks.

U.S. President Donald Trump met the Polish President at the White House Wednesday. It was Mr. Trump's first visit from a foreign leader since the pandemic began. They discussed a defense cooperation agreement and Mr. Trump said some U.S. troops he plans to withdraw from Germany may head to Poland and that Warsaw would pay for them. Mr. Trump then slammed Germany. He claims it hasn't paid its share of NATO costs.

Coming up, some tattoo parlors are offering free services to help people get rid of racist tattoos. I spoke to one artist who's had a huge response. That's next.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well as people grow and change, often their views do too for the better, thankfully. And some tattoo artists across the U.S. are helping folks who have inked themselves with hate symbols like these and now want them gone.


CHURCH: I want to speak now to Matt Barkley. He joins us. Thank you so much for talking with us.


So you are one of a number of tattoo artists offering these free cover ups of hateful and racist tattoos. Why did you decide you needed to do this, to be part of this?

Well a friend of mine has been doing it for a few years. His name is Billy White. He's in Sayville, Ohio. There's actually a little documentary about it called "Beneath the Ink." And he just happened to be a friend of mine. And I thought about it with everything going on in the world, a lot of civil unrest and especially state side here, you know? I wanted to get involved and somehow, some way, use my talents to make some sort of positive impact on my community.

CHURCH: Oh, wonderful. So you feel you're doing your part here. And we do have some images of a woman who came to see you wanting her swastika tattoo covered up with a very large sunflower. How did that all play out? Because it's extraordinary watching the process as you do cover this up. What did she say to you?

BARTLEY: Well basically, I think we didn't go into super, super specifics, but essentially, she was in an abusive relationship with a white supremacist. And, you know, this led to that. I don't know if it was, you know, fear on her part going along with it. And she said that, you know, she was inebriated when it happened and, you know, that she's never really felt that way in her heart. But she's in a relationship with somebody who is deeply involved in that, you know, that mindset and, you know, that culture. And, you know, she had it and she had it for a number of years and she's wanted it covered up for a really long time. And you know, she got it done today. And she seems super, super, super happy.

CHURCH: That's great. And talk to us about what other hateful symbols you've covered up so far or have had people come to show you that you will intend to cover up in the future.

A lot of like the SS or lightning bolts if you will. Swastikas, white power type tattoos. Quite a few confederate flags and one guy has Mein Kampf on his back, and I intend to cover that for him, too. The swastika and the confederate flag are probably the most common that I've seen so far.

CHURCH: And Matt, why do you think that these people are coming to you now, saying we've had enough of these tattoos and what they represent, we want them covered up?

BARTLEY: Well, I mean, with a lot of social unrest, and I think people are having, you know, conversations about these kinds of things now. And it's in the spotlight. You know, a lot of people are not aware, you know, of certain things, you know. It's everywhere you look now it seems to be, especially if you're involved in social media in any shape, form or fashion you're bound to see it. You know, people are on the lookout for these kinds of things.


And you know, I live in an economically depressed area. Tattoos are a luxury item, you know. You don't really -- you know, with COVID-19 going on, a lot of people out of work, it's created a lot of financial hardships for people. And you know, what better time to offer a free service like this.

CHURCH: How many people are coming to you saying they want their tattoo covered up? And what about your friends as well, are you seeing that there are just so many more people wanting this service now?

BARTLEY: Absolutely. I think -- I made the post -- it's been probably a week and a half ago. I've already done I think five or six cover ups, but I probably have around 25 to 30 more people lined up in my schedule.

CHURCH: You're doing a great thing there, Matt Barkley. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.


CHURCH: Well, an art collector in Spain has been left distinctly unimpressed with the restoration job of one of his paintings. The owner of this copy of Murillo's Immaculate Conception says he paid more than $1,300 to have it restored. But as you can see the furniture restorer, he hired to clean the painting botched the job. And then in an attempt to fix that, well arguably made it even worse. Conservation experts in Spain say it highlights the need to regulate the restoration business. It's a pity there, isn't it?

Well thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. "EARLY START" is up next. You're watching CNN. Have yourselves a great day.