Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

The Measures to Protect Trump from Coronavirus; Northeast States Plan School Reopenings; Rising COVID-19 Infections in U.S. Youth Causing Concerns; Coronavirus Shows No Signs of Slowing in Latin America; U.S. Travelers Unlikely to be Allowed into E.U.; COVID-19 Causing Cities across the Globe to Adapt; As Pandemic Situation Worsens, Pence Paints Deceptively Rosy Picture; White House Recommends Supreme Court Overturn ObamaCare; F1 Star Lewis Hamilton Launches Commission on Motorsport Inequality; Russia Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops; Trump Administration Has No Plans To Expedite Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 27, 2020 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The truth is, we did slow the spread. We flattened the curve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Complete and utter denial: coronavirus cases, surging through the U.S., as local officials race towards a plan B.

But what is it?

New details about the virus' startling effect on young people. Experts say reopening is to blame.

Plus, Americans may soon be barred from entering most of the countries in Europe. We're live for you, in London.

Hello and welcome to our viewers, here, in the United States and all around the world. I am Michael Holmes and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HOLMES: Welcome, everyone. Consider this. The White House says the coronavirus pandemic is under control. Crowded political rallies, well, they're fine. And the U.S. president would not dare be seen wearing a mask.

But CNN has learned the president is now insisting on extra steps to protect himself when he travels, concerned how it would look if he became infected. For example, the venue is inspected for contagion by advance medical teams. Restrooms, designated for the president's use, are scrubbed and sanitized before he arrives. And those expected to be close to the president, well, they're tested for the virus.

And then, there was the first Coronavirus Task Force briefing, in nearly two months, on Friday. The vice president Mike Pence said the U.S. had flattened the curve and is in a much better place. And has made, in his words, made remarkable progress in moving our nation forward. Problem is, that stuff's just not true.

You heard something completely different from the medical experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist, saying that this is something we have never faced before, pleading with young people to be part of the solution and not the problem and also, saying, for goodness sakes, avoid crowds and wear masks.

Now that as the U.S., once again, sees its highest daily number of new cases. More than 45,000, on Friday alone. And the U.S., surpassing 125,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Now the three most populous states in the U.S., Florida, California and Texas, all three, seeing alarming spikes in cases. The governor of Texas, now second guessing one of his major decisions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars. Now seeing in the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting. And, you know, a bar setting in reality just doesn't work with a pandemic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Well, at least five states are now reporting their single highest daily numbers of new cases as a number of states roll back some of their reopening measures. CNN's Erica Hill reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUDGE LINA HIDALGO, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS: Today, we find ourselves careening toward a catastrophic and unsustainable situation.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harris County, Texas, elevating its public threat level to red, the highest level, urging people to stay home, banning large outdoor gatherings.

HIDALGO: The outbreaks are worsening. Our public health capacity is strained or exceeded. Healthcare surge is not only likely but is already in progress.

HILL (voice-over): Governor Greg Abbott pausing the state's reopening, closing bars and cutting restaurants back to 50 percent occupancy as new cases continue to surge.

Staggering numbers in Florida. Nearly 9,000 new cases reported on Friday. Governor Ron DeSantis says the spike is simply a result of more testing.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Really, nothing has changed in the past week.

HILL (voice-over): The state banning onsite alcohol consumption at bars Friday. One of at least 11 states now rolling back or pausing reopening plans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will see, with the death rates, they're lagging.

HILL (voice-over): The vice president painting a much different picture.

PENCE: We're in a much stronger place. The truth is we did slow the spread. We flattened the curve.

HILL (voice-over): The curve is, actually, going up.

[03:05:00]

HILL (voice-over): Nearly, 40,000 new cases recorded on Thursday, an all-time high and a new peak, 32 states moving in the wrong direction over the past week.

MAYOR REGINA ROMERO (D-AZ), TUCSON: It's 20 percent positivity in tests taken in Arizona.

HILL (voice-over): Just 12 percent of Arizona's ICU beds were available on Thursday. Of those in use, nearly 40 percent occupied by COVID-19 patients.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we don't extinguish the outbreak, sooner or later, even ones that are doing well are going to be vulnerable to the spread.

HILL (voice-over): The White House Task Force now considering pool testing, combining multiple samples to find and isolate infections more quickly because, in the words of Dr. Anthony Fauci, something's not working.

While no state is in the clear, it's a sharply different story in the Northeast, where plans for in-person learning are now on the table in several states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The maximum number of kids who can be in school, that is a goal.

HILL (voice-over): As officials cautiously watch the spread.

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MA): For anybody who thinks this is over, I would just ask them to take a look at the data coming out of a lot of the states in the South and the Southwest.

HILL: One of those states, South Carolina, reporting its highest day for hospitalizations and second highest day for new case counts on Friday. Hospitals are currently at 75 percent capacity in South Carolina. Once they hit 80 percent, the governor says that's when they need to move into surge capacity.

In terms of who is getting infected, the governor says it's been mostly people under 40, particularly, the 30- to 35-year-old age group. The state's public health director urging anyone who's been to the beach to get tested.

But on the question of masks, do not look for a mandate in that state. The governor saying a statewide mandate would not only be impractical, but it is too tough to enforce -- Erica Hill, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: I got some perspective on all of this a little earlier from Dr. Neha Nanda in Los Angeles. She is the medical director of infection prevention at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. I asked her what had to be done to change the trajectory of this virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. NEHA NANDA, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MEDICAL SCHOOL: We all know what needs to be done. And in fact, we, today, are in a better position than we were a few weeks back, when we didn't know so much about the virus, which we do know today.

Science has given us facts and things that I think we all know, there has to be widespread testing. We have different types of tests available.

But what about the access, right?

Contact tracing, it has to be spot-on.

And why is masking a political issue?

It's supposed to be a simple intervention, which we know has proven to be effective. And physical distancing, we know what needs to be done. And now, we are in a position to even have the scientific knowledge backing us. So, it's kind of incumbent on us to take all this together and do simple things right.

Why can't we?

I think we can. We just have to be motivated enough to keep doing it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Well, the rising rate of infection among young Americans is an especially troubling aspect of this new spike in cases. Many experts say it is due to the lack of social distancing at places like bars and clubs, as you can see there. Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about the uptick at Friday's briefing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: It's a paradigm shift because we are dealing with young people, people who are going to be asymptomatic and people who are getting infected in a community setting, not an outbreak setting, where you know who to identify, isolate and contact trace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Brian Todd takes a closer look at this growing concern and talks to young patients who say they now regret hanging out at bars.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Trump rally in Tulsa, an air of confidence over coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that I am fully taking on the risk of possibly encountering, you know, or being exposed to it. But as an American, that's my right.

TODD (voice-over): At this Irish pub in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Erika Crisp and more than a dozen other women gathered for a night out recently. None of them wore masks and 16 people in the group tested positive for coronavirus.

ERIKA CRISP, COVID-19 PATIENT: I think at the time it was more out of sight, out of mind. We hadn't known anybody who had it personally. Governor, mayor, everybody says it's fine. We go out, it's a friend's birthday. It was a mistake.

KAT LAYTON, COVID-19 PATIENT: My experience, definitely, of course we're regretful. We do feel foolish for standing there in front of all of those people. We knew we were pushing it.

TODD (voice-over): In New York City, young people have been seen crowding outside bars recently, several not wearing masks. Now the price for those risks is coming into focus.

[03:10:00]

TODD (voice-over): The CDC says more younger people in the U.S. are becoming infected.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I also, want to appeal to the Millennials and those that are under 40. It's really important that this group really commit themselves to these practices, to protect those at risk.

TODD (voice-over): Infection among young people is especially acute in states that are now experiencing huge spikes.

In Arizona, people age 20 to 44 account for almost half of all cases. Young people make up the majority of new cases in urban areas of Texas, according to "The New York Times."

And, in Florida, according to state officials, the median age for people testing positive has dropped way down to between 33 and 35 years old. Experts say a key factor, younger people are much more willing to take risks, as those states have reopened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the activities that they may partake in, going to parties, going to bars, it's very hard to social distance. So, you are seeing transmission in many places linked to attending bars.

TODD (voice-over): Overall death rates could go down as a result of more younger people getting infected. But experts are still critical of remarks made by vice president Pence on that front.

PENCE: Younger Americans are less susceptible to serious outcomes of the coronavirus. And the fact that we are finding more younger Americans who have contracted the coronavirus is a good thing.

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I don't want young people to hear the vice president's comments and get from that a false sense of security that, for them, this infection is a walk in the park.

TODD (voice-over): Pence did warn young Americans about something that medical experts are also sounding an alarm about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can then transmit that to vulnerable individuals. And in states where hospitalizations are rising, that's likely what's happening, that these young people are serving as links in a transmission chain.

TODD: And there are other warnings for America's young people. CNN medical analyst Dr. Seema Yasmin says some younger coronavirus victims are staying sick longer and it's not clear why.

And, she warns, contracting the virus when they are young can expose people to some people to getting chronic fatigue syndrome, which can stay with them for life -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Human trials for Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine have started now in Brazil. They are happening there because, of course, Brazil has one of the worst outbreaks right now. And, across that region, the Pan American Health Organization says there are more than 2 million cases of COVID-19 in Latin America.

As CNN's Matt Rivers reports, infections are showing no signs of slowing down.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the World Health Organization first called Latin America and the Caribbean the world's new epicenter, its 33 countries counted a little under 700,000 cases. But just over a month later, that number has more than tripled, now at 2.3 million cases and counting.

DR. MICHAEL RYAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The pandemic for many countries and the Americas has not peaked.

RIVERS (voice-over): The exponential growth has been fueled by horrific outbreaks in the region's largest countries, none of them worse than Brazil. Its number of cases have doubled since the end of May, now at more than 1.2 million, second in the world, behind only the United States.

At Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach, protesters dug a symbolic cemetery to acknowledge the more than 55,000 so far who have died from COVID-19.

And you could call President Jair Bolsonaro Brazil's skeptic in chief as he has routinely downplayed the virus' threat and ignored its human cost. But on Thursday, a rare moment during the president's Facebook Live.

He asked the head of his tourism agency to play "Ave Maria" on his accordion to acknowledge those who died from the virus.

He went on to say he thinks he might actually have had the coronavirus and that he might do another test for the disease.

And a test is something Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador should probably consider after his finance minister tested positive for the virus. On Monday, the president tweeted this video, in which he is standing right next to that minister, not socially distanced, not wearing a mask.

He hasn't said if he will now get a coronavirus test and he's never worn a mask in public. But it might be a good example to set in a country where cases have more than doubled since June 1st.

Mexico's death toll, now at more than 25,000, will almost certainly surpass Spain's in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the virus is relatively under control in places like Belize, Uruguay and Paraguay. But there's a lot more bad news than good. Peru and Chile now have more than 500,000 combined cases. And the Honduras president has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in the hospital being treated for pneumonia.

Plus, health experts say the virus could be around for a while.

[03:15:00]

DR. CARISSA F. ETIENNE, PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION: In the absence of effective treatments or a widely available vaccine, we expect that, over the next two years, in the region of the Americas, we will experience recurring COVID-19 outbreaks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERS (voice-over): In the nearer term, the International Monetary Fund said the combined GDP in Latin America and the Caribbean could shrink nearly 10 percent this year. And a University of Washington model now predicts that, by October, the region-wide death toll will be nearly 440,000 -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: When it comes to international travel, the tables have turned. Diplomats say the E.U. is moving to ban most travelers from the U.S. in the coming days. There might be other countries involved as well. We'll talk about that when we come back.

Also, the changing landscape of cities around the world transforming their streets because of the coronavirus. Some say they hope the changes will be permanent. We'll show you why.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HOLMES: Welcome back.

Americans hoping to take a post-lockdown holiday in Europe this summer might end up disappointed.

[03:20:00]

HOLMES: Diplomats telling CNN travelers from the U.S. are unlikely to be allowed into the European Union even as the bloc opens up to international travel. The problem, of course, America's high COVID infection rate.

As we've been reporting, the U.S. posting its biggest single day rise in cases on Friday. The U.S. State Department says it appreciates the E.U.'s transparency and is working with Europe to find the best way to reopen international travel.

To tell us all about it, CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is standing by in London.

Just seems an extraordinary thing, the E.U., perhaps, banning the U.S. and that would be an incredible embarrassment to Donald Trump.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: It's absolutely extraordinary, Michael. But it is to be expected in some ways. The 27 member states have been meeting this week to set up plans for reopening, for easing travel restrictions.

Remember, this has to be a coordinated effort because, of course, within the Schengen region, borders have to reopen. But at the top of that checklist, rate of infection. If the rate of infection of a country is better than the E.U. or equivalent to, they will be allowed to travel to the European Union. If it is worse, as in the case of the United States, they will be banned from entry. It's that simple.

And we actually have heard from one E.U. diplomat. Let me read you his statement because it's so strong.

"U.S. chances are close to zero; with their infection rates, not even they can believe in that possibility."

Very strong words. And you alluded to that State Department reaction to this news where they, essentially, say they appreciate the transparency from the E.U. And they hope to -- look forward to working together on reopening efforts. They seem to indicate, there, that the door is open to negotiations.

But this is not a negotiation, Michael. This is a matter of science and data and figures. And the European Union has been emphasizing, this is not a political decision. This is a health decision. This is about protecting the European Union community.

But -- and there will simply be no exceptions. But when you have an American president who, very much, believes in American exceptionalism, this very well may be interpreted as a political decision, although it isn't one, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, he could easily take it personally.

What are the potential economic implications, though, of a decision like this?

ABDELAZIZ: There are huge economic implications, Michael, potentially out of this. And secretary of state Mike Pompeo did allude to this earlier this week, saying it's important for the European Union to fully reconnect with the American economy.

And he is right. The E.U. -- one of the E.U.'s largest trading partners, rather, is the United States. They rely very heavily on tourism money from the United States. Look at Spain, 50 percent of its GDP is based on tourism; France, 10 percent of its GDP based on tourism. So, there are big financial implications here.

But the bottom line is, the E.U. is unwilling to risk lives for financial gain, that this is a matter, again, of a health decision, of what is best for the E.U. at large. And what is best for the E.U. at large is to follow this -- is to follow this checklist, to make sure these criteria are set in place. If you don't tick the boxes, you simply will be banned from entry -- Michael.

HOLMES: Interesting to see how this unfolds. Salma Abdelaziz, thanks so much there in London for us.

Those E.U. travel restrictions were on the agenda during a closed-door meeting on Friday between the U.S. vice president Mike Pence and airline industry executives. But the main focus of that was the airlines' plan for contact tracing.

The airlines have objected the to government's demand that they contact trace their passengers. But on Friday, both sides reached a compromise. They will use a third-party app and website that collects information from passengers themselves.

The coronavirus isn't just altering the way we work, go to school, shop and socialize. It's reshaping the lay of the land, in cities across the globe. Nic Robertson hits the pavement and takes to the tube to see how the pandemic is changing London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Our cities everywhere are changing.

They're getting breathing space, quite literally, here in London, more space for cyclists and for pedestrians, less for cars, a new world made for social distancing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a win-win situation. It's a win for the pedestrian. It's a win-win for two-wheelers. It's a win-win for the drivers. So let's see what's going to happen.

ROBERTSON: COVID-19 is causing cities across the globe to adapt in similar ways, from Paris to Bogota, from New York to Buenos Aires. But will the transformation last forever?

WILL NORMAN, LONDON WALKING AND CYCLING COMMISSIONER: Here in London, if we have approximately, probably eight million journeys that need to be made by the most.

[03:25:00]

NORMAN: If a fraction of those end up on -- in cars on our roads, we're going to end up with gridlock, which is exactly why we need to enable people to take those cleaner, greener, more sustainable journeys now. And I hope that, as they get used to it, that's behavior that sticks.

ROBERTSON: A quick mid-morning journey on London's previously overstuffed underground wearing a now mandatory face covering a rapid reminder of how strange the world of confined spaces now feels.

The question is, when the pandemic recedes, will people go back to their old ways and cram onto the crowded public transport again?

To help answer that, I asked John Dales, who designs people-friendly streets. We meet at one of London's highly touted new bike lanes.

JOHN DALES, TRAFFIC ENGINEER: Take what is currently these bus stops, move the bus stops out, possibly make this a cycle lane. There's no need for more walking space probably here. But you can see, over there, there's -- basically, where you can see the hatching --

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTSON: Authorities are cutting planning time and investing. The British government has set aside $300 million. But this being London, not everyone is happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just won't work. London will come to a standstill.

ROBERTSON: Roy has been a cabbie 40 years, seen it all, he says. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just a novelty, like shut the roads off, have a bike day and everyone's out there. It's not Amsterdam. This is London, a busy city.

MATT WINFIELD, SUSTRANS: What the local authority have done is put these in the roads stop cars being able to drive through the road.

ROBERTSON: Matt Winfield runs a national organization keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe.

WINFIELD: When there are no cars or few cars on the road and people feel comfortable, they will cycle in huge number. So, hundreds and thousands of

people across the country have had the experience of cycling in a really present environment and we need to kind of make sure that that sort of change in behavior is locked in.

ROBERTSON: As he talks, a lady calls for our attention. She has bad asthma, has been sheltering in place, windows shut until the traffic blocked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's lowered the pollution. You can -- I can open a window right now.

WINFIELD: There seems to be an acceptance that change is necessary in a variety of different ways. We have accepted it for this emergency. We still seem a little nervous, broadly speaking, to accept that there's a climate emergency as well. But the fact that it can be different is something we are all seeing.

ROBERTSON: What to do is going to be a decision coming to all of us soon enough.

Ultimately, governments want us back at work and soon, but as long as public transport remains problematic, then we have to change our travel habits.

London, like so many other cities across the world, is at a potential turning point?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, they can stay there forever. You can have more bollards all over the place, mate. I'll be happy with that.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you.

ROBERTSON: Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Change is afoot.

Well, the U.S. president is used to riling up his base with tweets and rallies. But even his own advisers worry he risks alienating the rest of the country if he keeps on with his race-baiting rhetoric. We'll discuss, when we come back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers, here, in the United States and all around the world. I am Michael Holmes. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

Now the White House Coronavirus Task Force, stepping out in public again for the first time in months. Friday's briefing was full of trademark mixed messaging, with the vice president Pence saying the Trump administration -- well, it's handling things very well.

And then you had the health experts giving a more darker message. Now the last time the task force addressed the public was back in late April. And cases and deaths in the United States have, of course, spiked since then. Jim Acosta with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With COVID-19 sweeping across the South and out West, the administration's Coronavirus Task Force finally reemerged, but Vice President Mike Pence appeared to be looking at the soaring number of cases through rose-colored glasses.

PENCE: All 50 states and territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly. We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives.

ACOSTA: But that's not quite true, as a surprising spike in coronavirus cases is spreading from Florida to Southern California, forcing some states to pause their reopening.

Task force Dr. Anthony Fauci tried to add a dose of reality, gently putting his finger on some of the nation's missteps.

FAUCI: Everything from maybe opening a little bit too early on some, to opening at the right time, but not actually following the steps in an orderly fashion, to actually trying to follow the steps in an orderly fashion, but the citizenry did not feel that they wanted to do that, for a number of reasons.

ACOSTA: Fauci tried to make an appeal to individual Americans to do more.

FAUCI: You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a societal responsibility.

ACOSTA: It was the first task force news conference in nearly two months, with a change of scenery, as officials addressed the pandemic at the Department of Health and Human Services instead of at the White House.

TRUMP: And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute.

ACOSTA: Where the briefings came to a screeching halt back in April, when the president suggested that Americans inject themselves with disinfectants to kill the virus.

As for the wisdom of holding crowded campaign events like the president's rally in Tulsa last weekend, Pence tried to dance around the question.

PENCE: We still want to give people the freedom to participate in the political process.

QUESTION: So, how can you say that the campaign is not part of the problem?

PENCE: Even in a health crisis, the American people don't forfeit our constitutional rights.

ACOSTA: Pence also declined to give a full-throated endorsement for masks, despite wearing one in public the day before.

PENCE: The first principle is that people ought to listen to their state and local authorities.

ACOSTA: Former Vice President Joe Biden said he would try to mandate masks.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESUMTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask. Anyone to reopen would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks.

ACOSTA: The administration is considering a new approach to halting community spread with something called pool testing that would have health officials testing batches of samples from people in groups.

If the batch is positive, individuals in that group need to be tested. If a pool is negative, that means the whole group is likely safe.

TRUMP: If we didn't do testing, we would have no cases.

[03:35:00]

ACOSTA: Even as the president continues to downplay testing, he is struggling to lay out what he would do if he won reelection, never really answering the question on FOX.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: What are your top priority items for a second term?

TRUMP: Well, one of the things that will be really great, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I have always said that. ACOSTA: "The Wall Street Journal" argued, Mr. Trump "still has no second term message, beyond his own grievances and may soon need a new nickname for sleepy Joe Biden. How does president-elect sound?"

While Mr. Trump attacked Biden's occasional gaffes, he had one of his own, appearing to say the former vice president would win the race.

TRUMP: But, I mean, the man can't speak and he's going to be president because some people don't love me maybe and all I'm doing is doing my job.

ACOSTA: Even in the middle of a pandemic and a recession, the Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to overturn ObamaCare, that's despite the fact that nearly a half million Americans who lost their health insurance during the pandemic were able to obtain coverage through ObamaCare.

The president has not yet explained what he would do to replace ObamaCare if it's overturned -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Now earlier, I spoke with CNN political analyst Sabrina Siddiqui and asked why she thinks the president is using so much divisive rhetoric this close to the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think we certainly see the president return to the very same playbook that worked to his success in 2016, especially as we've seen the nationwide unrest stemming from the killing of George Floyd in police custody.

In Minneapolis, the president trying to kind of side with police, attacking protesters and getting into the race baiting, as you mentioned, those culture wars. But at the same time, he is overseeing a pandemic, where cases continue to rise in the United States, recording its highest number of new cases in a single day this week, up from the previous record in April.

And so, you know, I think because he's been kind of handed two crises, one over this reckoning of social justice and, separately, his handling of the pandemic, he is failing to see that the buck now stops with him.

He's not simply a candidate anymore; he is the incumbent president. And so when he complains about a lot of the problems in front of him, the obvious question on the minds of lots of voters is, OK, well, what have you done about it?

And that's what's going to be very different about November, is, this time, he is on the ballot, himself. He's not just running as a hypothetical.

HOLMES: And the thing is, you know, what's going to be the political cost of that? I mean, what -- what -- what is he going to say when coronavirus keeps surging, as it is through those Sunbelt states that he must win to get re-elected?

He already alienated the suburbs in many ways, in trouble in Arizona and Florida.

Could there be a coronavirus cost in some pretty crucial states?

SIDDIQUI: There absolutely can be, not just because of the frustration, which has been manifested in polling when it comes to Americans' perceptions of how he, as president, has handled this pandemic but also because of the very drastic effects on the economy as well as on people's day-to-day lives.

This is very tangible for people. They can't go to work. They cannot send their children to school. They cannot travel. They are losing their jobs. Unemployment claims, continuously, on the rise.

So absolutely, I think you have seen his approval ratings dip, in a way that could very well have bearing in November. It's always hard to say what we'll be talking about a few months from now, when we barely know what we are going to be talking about tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: A federal judge has ruled the U.S. government must release migrant children from family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. That ruling part of an effort to deal with immigrants, who are considered particularly susceptible to coronavirus.

At last count, earlier this month, there were more than 120 of these children in custody. The order says they must be released to their parents or, quote, "available suitable sponsors," by mid-July. About 750 detainees in custody have tested positive for the virus.

When we come back on the program Lewis Hamilton condemns what Bernie Ecclestone said in a CNN interview. Why the six-time world champion says the former F1 boss' comments were "ignorant and uneducated." We'll be right back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:40:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HOLMES: Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton says he is sad and disappointed to have read the comments made to CNN by former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone on the subject of racism and equality.

The six-time world champion posted on Instagram that he acknowledged seeing CNN's interview with Ecclestone and that the former F1 boss represents a different generation who are, in his words, "ignorant and uneducated" about race equality.

Here is some of Amanda Davies' conversation with the former Formula 1 boss that begins with him responding to Amanda asking whether F1 should have done more to tackle racism.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERNIE ECCLESTONE, FORMER FORMULA 1 CHIEF EXECUTIVE: I don't think anyone bothered about it before. They were too busy trying to win races or find sponsors or something, as I said, really other things of little, if any, interest.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, what impact do you think what Lewis has launched, the Hamilton Commission, what impact do you think that's going to have in real terms for Formula 1?

ECCLESTONE: I don't think it's going to do anything bad or good for Formula 1. It will make people think which is more important. I think that's the same for everybody.

People ought to think a little bit and say, what the hell, somebody is not the same -- same as white people. They're black people. They should think the same thing about white people. Because in a lot of cases, black people are more racist than what white people are.

DAVIES: What makes you say that?

ECCLESTONE: Well, I think over the years I have noticed that there -- and there's no need for it.

DAVIES: Is that not a case of fighting for equality and fighting against injustice for such a long time?

ECCLESTONE: Well, against injustice for anyone, whatever color they are. It's important to do something about it to stop. But I mean, I don't think you're going to easily change people's attitude. I think they need to start being taught at school to -- grow up, not think about these things.

[03:45:00]

ECCLESTONE: I think it's completely stupid taking the statues down. They should have left them there, take the kids from school to say look and talk about how wrong it was what they did.

DAVIES: As somebody who was so integral to making Formula 1 what it is today, do you not want to see it as a sport leading the way and changing attitudes and portraying society as it is?

ECCLESTONE: Well, I suppose the people that -- they need to have their views. For the number of people directly involved in sport, such a small number of people who can do very little. I'm surprised if anyone in Formula 1, certainly the teams and the promoters have any concern about this. I think it's the public at large that have to start thinking.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Hamilton is the first and only black driver to compete in the sport. He reacted on Instagram. Here's part of what he said.

Quote, "So sad and disappointing to read these comments. Bernie is out of the sport and a different generation. But this is exactly what is wrong. Ignorant and uneducated comments would show us how far, as a society, we need to go before real equality can happen."

Now earlier on Friday, Formula 1 reacted to our interview with Ecclestone by issuing a statement of its own, saying, quote, "At a time when unity is needed to tackle racism and inequality, we completely disagree with Bernie Ecclestone's comments that have no place in Formula 1 or society.

"Mr. Ecclestone has played no role in Formula 1 since he left our organization in 2017. His title, chairman emeritus, being honorific, expired in January 2020."

The Trump administration has yet to respond to a report from U.S. intelligence that Russian units offered Taliban-linked militants bounties to kill U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. This is according to a report in "The New York Times." Extraordinary stuff.

The paper's senior writer, Eric Schmitt, is one of the authors of the report. Our Jim Sciutto asked him whether there's any proof that the bounties were actually paid and resulted in the deaths of American soldiers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC SCHMITT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": There is evidence that some of the moneys have been paid. It's unclear, however, how many of the deaths, if any of the 20 or so American deaths last fall, last year, in Afghanistan, may have been attributed to this program. We're still digging into that now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Do we know what options were given to the president to respond to this, that he did not take up?

SCHMITT: Well, again, the option, so far, it is our understanding, as it had been laid out to the president from his advisers, are everything from a strong letter of reprimand, condemnation of this, basically, urging Moscow to stop an escalatory ladder, going up to sanctions, increasing sanctions against Moscow if they don't cease and desist this activity on the ground, which is a striking expansion of Russian aggression.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: According to "The New York Times," this would be the first time a Russian spy unit was known to have orchestrated attacks on Western troops.

An abolitionist and civil rights legend was set to grace U.S. currency this year. Just ahead, why you won't see Harriet Tubman's portrait on the $20 bill anytime soon. We'll be right back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:50:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HOLMES: The Trump administration is in no rush to change the $20 bill, which features Andrew Jackson's image. Under an Obama era decision, abolitionist Harriet Tubman's picture would have been on one side of the currency by 2020. CNN's Laura Coates with an update.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (voice-over): It's a name the president often invokes, when talking about American heroes.

TRUMP: Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman.

COATES (voice-over): But the president has stopped short of memorializing her heroism by replacing Andrew Jackson on the front of one of our most widely circulated currency notes, the $20 bill.

TRUMP: I think it's pure, political correctness. Andrew Jackson had a great history and I think it's very rough when you take somebody off the bill.

COATES (voice-over): First, speaking of history, president Andrew Jackson was a slaveholder and signed legislation removing Native Americans from their land. Nevertheless, Trump has long admired Jackson, visiting his home in Nashville.

TRUMP: I'm a fan. I'm a big fan.

COATES (voice-over): And moving his portrait to the Oval Office, where he even hosted a group of Navajo veterans right in front of that painting.

TRUMP: You were here long before any of us were here.

COATES (voice-over): Second, no one sought to remove Andrew Jackson from the bill entirely. A redesigned bill simply moves him to the back of the bill and features Harriet Tubman on the front.

This decision came during the Obama administration, a decision that was also voted on by Americans, initiating a timeline to unveil the bill's redesign in 2020, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.

Four years later, the plans for release have been pushed back a decade. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin telling reporters earlier this month, this is something that is in the distant future. But the new bill wouldn't be released until 2030.

So what accounts for the delay?

Mnuchin claims it's security concerns.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: This is a nonpolitical situation, where the primary objective of changing the currency is to stop counterfeiting.

[03:55:00]

COATES (voice-over): But, when pressed, Mnuchin couldn't explain why the imagery would still be delayed.

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA), MAJORITY MEMBER, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM: So yes or no, will you meet what was originally the 2020 redesign deadline?

MNUCHIN: We will meet the security feature redesign in 2020. The imagery feature will not be an issue that comes up until, most likely, 2026.

COATES (voice-over): Protesters have accelerated the discussion, making clear which images they believe fully represent America's heritage and which do not.

In Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee's statue was covered with the projected image of Harriet Tubman.

COATES: But here, at Lafayette Park across from the White House, Andrew Jackson's remains protected. Protesters tried to topple it but then these fences went up. The president now saying they are going to increase protection of these statues, saying, we shouldn't erase our heritage.

But whose heritage?

And why shouldn't Harriet Tubman be included in it?

ELIZABETH COBBS, AUTHOR: She is our most outstanding female patriot.

COATES (voice-over): And symbolically, what does it say when there is reluctance for now to even allow her to share the bill?

COBBS: It is so sad, this idea that by even sharing a little bit of that historical real estate, that somehow the insecure folks will feel that their story is lost.

COATES (voice-over): At a time when the nation is searching for its moral compass, the image of one woman, guided by the North Star, would speak volumes and in a language all Americans understand. After all, money talks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: That was Laura Coates reporting for us there.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I am Michael Holmes. Do stay with us, though. Things are going to get better because Natalie Allen picks it up from here. See you tomorrow.