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The Growing Coronavirus Pandemic; Wear a Mask Says Vice President Mike Pence; Florida Reverses Reopening Plans; California Closes Bars; E.U. to Likely Ban U.S. Travelers; President Trump Denies Briefing Regarding Intel on Russian Bounty; Pakistan Stock Exchange Attacked. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 29, 2020 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Michael Holmes and coming up here on "CNN Newsroom."

The coronavirus death tolls soars across the globe. Now only two U.S. states is seeing a decline in new cases. And health experts are warning there will likely be another epicenter coming.

Plus, Russian military intelligence is accused of paying bounties for the killing of U.S. Troops. What President Trump says about the report? And more advertisers pulling out of Facebook saying the social media company isn't doing enough to stop the spread of hate and misinformation.

Ten million people, that's how many people around the world have now tested positive for the coronavirus. Even more overwhelming, according to Johns Hopkins, as of Sunday, more than 500,000 have died. Let that sink in, more than half a million people have lost their lives just in the past few months to this virus.

However, there is evidence that wearing a face mask not only helps to protect other people, that it may also help keep the wearer from getting infected as well. That's according to Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of U.S. President Donald Trump's task force on the virus. Another task force member, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says he is not surprised cases here are surging.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What has happened, I guess, understandably, but nonetheless, regrettably, that people took the attitude in some places of either all or none. Either you lock down or you just let it fly and you just ignore many of the guidelines of physical distancing, wearing a mask, shaking hands, avoiding -- I mean not shaking hands -- avoiding crowds. And what happened is you see pictures on the TV of the fact that even in states that are telling their citizens to do it correctly, they're doing that. There are crowds, they are not physical distancing and they are not wearing masks. That's a recipe for disaster.

It's something I spoke about time and again. We do need to open up again, no doubt about it, we want to get the economy back, but you got to do it in a measured way. And now, we are seeing the consequences of community spread, which is even more difficult to contain than spread in a well-known physical location like a prison or a nursing home or a meatpacking place.

When you have community spread, it's insidious because there are so many people in the community who are infected, but asymptomatic. That makes it extremely problematic to do efficient contact tracing, because most of the people who are infected don't even know they are infected. So, how do you do contact tracing when someone doesn't have any symptoms?


HOLMES: And Dr. Fauci told CNN that even once a vaccine is developed, if it's not 100 percent effective, it is unlikely that enough people will get it, actually, except getting vaccinated. And that will not allow us to reach the level needed for immunity.

Right now, only two states are seeing the number of cases decline, which is all very depressing. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence though seems to be getting on message with the doctors on his task force when it comes to masks. He is finally saying wear one in public.

But he is couching it by saying listen to local authorities. Now, those words as 36 states are reporting a rise in new cases that's well more than half of the country. Texas, one of the hardest hit, and that is where the vice president, Mike Pence, spent Sunday, at a campaign rally. Alexandra Field reports.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Vice President Mike Pence touched down in the hard-hit state of Texas over the weekend. He got off the plane wearing a mask and he was greeted by Texas governor, Greg Abbott, also wearing a mask.

He then went on to a campaign event that put some 2,200 people inside a church, masks were encouraged, but a choir of about 100 people sang loudly throughout the rally, without their masks on.


Still, Vice President Pence took time, while in Texas to re-affirm the importance of wearing masks, saying that they are effective in helping to stem the spread of this virus, a particularly pressing (ph) message in Texas where we have seen cases spike day after day, where hospitalization rates have been going up for some two weeks now, and where local officials have warned that the hospitals could be overwhelmed in just a matter of weeks. All of that said, there is not a statewide mandate that requires

individuals in Texas to wear a mask. Instead, the governor has recently agreed that local governments can require businesses to require their customers to wear masks. That's as far as the mask mandate goes here. In Houston, Alexander Field, CNN.

HOLMES: Now, Florida is another state where the virus is surging. On Saturday, Florida had almost as many new cases as New York did at the height of its outbreak. Officials in Florida blaming the spike partly on people getting together to socialize. Well, now they say the party is over. Randi Kaye with that.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The state of Florida, breathing a sigh of relief, as the case numbers have gone down for one day, after a record high on Saturday of 9,500 cases. Sunday saw 8,500 cases. The governor, once again, attributing that to higher positivity levels and also more testing and a backlogs of testing.

Those positivity levels he says are really because of the younger people. He says they've been going to graduation parties and socializing, and it's mainly the 18 to 44-year-olds he says that are coming back with these positive results.

Still, he has closed bars in the state of Florida to make sure that you can't consume alcohol in the premises where younger people might congregate. He has not closed the beaches, although Miami-Dade and Broward have decided to close the beaches for the July 4th weekend on their own.

And also, the governor still has not mandated masks around the state, although many people have said that they would like to see that because they think it's selfish for people to not be wearing a mask in order to protect others that they come into contact with.

Meanwhile, IHME which does the modeling for the fatality rate in this coronavirus pandemic says that if 95 percent of Floridians wore masks, by October 1st, you would see half the number of fatalities that they are now predicting you will see if those people aren't wearing masks. Randi Kaye, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.

HOLMES: California's governor has ordered bars to close in seven counties due to a recent spike in the virus. The virus has seen a steady rise in California, you can see there, since March. Now, the state has more than 214,000 infections.

The governor, also recommending bars close in eight other counties as well. A statement from the California department of health identifies bars as one of the highest risk nonessential businesses. Officials say they can lead to disregard for social distancing and face coverings, of course, and make contact tracing more difficult as well.

Joining me now is Dr. Darragh O'Carroll. He is an emergency physician from Honolulu in Hawaii. Good to see you again doctor. I mean, there are some stunning increases in a lot of cases, I mean really, just a couple of places where it's stabilizing or dropping. What are you seeing in the numbers and what should be the immediate priority in dealing with this?

DARRAGH O'CARROLL, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: Yes, it is definitely concerning and knowing that the incubation time and the time that we, you know, really get to know what these numbers exactly are is lagging, that these numbers are really kind of the tip of the iceberg and that so large of a percentage of people are actually asymptomatic.

You could estimate that these numbers were seeing are only 10 to 20 percent of the actual numbers that will come to light in the next couple of weeks. And so it's really concerning here in Hawaii, you know, our state is categorized as increasing numbers, but you can't get much lower than the 10 to 15 that we've already had or a week or two a couple of weeks ago where we're having zero cases.

So, Hawaii is managing thus far and, you know, we've implemented a, you know, before anybody gets on a plane to get to Hawaii from the domestic continental United States, they need to get a negative PCR tests within 72 hours. So, we're going to continue to manage or watch this very carefully.

HOLMES: Yes. I mean, the American 4th of July weekend is just days away, traditionally, you know, it's not that far away. It's coming up. I mean, you know, fireworks, gatherings, a lot of those planned gatherings are still planning including the official celebration in Washington. Are you concerned about that when you're talking about gatherings?

O'CARROLL: Yes, absolutely. Hopefully, you know -- it's still going to happen. It's, you know, our nation's birthday and there are still going to be large amount of gatherings even though, you know, people are going to try and detract from it.


Hopefully, the fact that most of these gatherings, if they do happen, are going to be outdoors, will help quell the virus. Hopefully, the fact that most people would be wearing masks, and I would actually argue that people do a BYO everything, so bring your own everything.

So don't share any utensils, don't share any drinks, don't share any food, and maintain the physical distancing. And, you know, social distancing is sometimes a bit of a misnomer, but the physical distancing and the hand hygiene that we need to continue to combat the spread of this virus.

HOLMES: What do you make about the messaging at the moment? I mean, the vice president, unusually sort of saying wear a mask, but at the same time, he was at a church gathering on Sunday and, you know, he was wearing a mask, but you had dozens of people in the choir singing their hearts out with no masks.

And of course, choirs have literally been linked to spreading events. What do you think of the messaging and the optics?

O'CARROLL: Yes, it's concerning in that I'm really happy that Vice President Pence was wearing a mask. It's a change I think in a lot of things we've seen in the public and we do need to lead from the top. All of our public health officials, you know, Dr. Fauci and the heads of the CDC, FDA, had been wearing masks in public, and we do know that these work.

We know that masks, you know, there's a study that came out of the National Academy of Sciences that just wearing masks alone prevented 66,000 infections in New York in the month of April to May. So we know they do work.

And so we need to continue to harp on our elected officials to lead from the top down and I'm happy that Michael Pence was wearing it there. But, with regards to the choir, here in Honolulu, our mayor has only just allowed singing inside of a -- public singing space, and to do so, you need to have plexi-glass in front of the artist.

And so you need to maintain the exact amount of distance, you know, the more distance that you have in between the artist, the better. But, those choir members were all within 6 feet of each other and all belting out and while it sounded beautiful, they're putting all of each other at risk and their families at risk as well.

HOLMES: It was interesting when they sat down, they all put on masks, which is a bit like, you know, putting on your seatbelt only when you're in the driveway. You had Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on Sunday, he said he thinks it would help if President Donald Trump wore a mask because it would sort of, you know, lessen this sort of political stigma around wearing it that we've seen more and more.

For whatever reason though, he does not do that. Do you think the president's actions or inactions on this has an effect, a correlation with the wearing of masks and, you know, cases?

O'CARROLL: I can't speak for all of his, you know, staunch supporters, but I think when every single one of our public health officials are recommending wearing masks and are, you know, the top leader in our country is not, I think it does trickle down to the people who are going to follow and not wear masks just because he isn't.

And so, I'm concerned and I really think that he should reconsider looking at the evidence and all the evidence is supporting that masks are going to prevent this virus from transferring to other people and even possibly prevent you from contracting the virus. So, it's something that he really needs to look at.

HOLMES: Yes. Dr. Birx saying, you know, that there is now evidence that, you know, wearing one helps you not spread it, but it also, there's evidence now that it helps you not catch it. Dr. Darragh O'Carroll, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time.

O'CARROLL: Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

HOLMES: Sorry, you can't come in. That is expected to be the message to American travelers from the European Union. E.U. ambassadors are meeting in the coming hours as the continent prepares to re-open its doors to tourism this week. And the U.S. isn't likely to make the list of safe countries, thanks to all of those surging COVID numbers.

Salma Abdelaziz joins us now from London. I mean, if it's an embarrassing moment as we've discussed over the last couple of days for the U.S. and the president, you can't come here, at least for now. And that's what's likely to happen, right?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: That's right, Michael. And it's going to be a very humbling message for Washington to receive, and that message is essentially, we are doing much better than you. The rate of infection in the United States is six to seven times higher than that of the European Union's.

And that will be the top of the list when these criteria are discussed today in Brussels, the 27 member states will be meeting over the weekend. Each E.U. ambassador took the draft list to their respective countries to review some of those countries like France for example have made their less public.


And just to give you an idea, France's list only had 14 countries that would be allowed in. This is a very exclusive group here, but it is for good reason. This is a hard one battle for the European Union to fight the coronavirus. Tens of thousands of lives have been lost. Millions of dollars in businesses lost, people under lockdown for months.

They are simply not willing to put all of these sacrifices at risk. This is a health decision. E.U. diplomats tell us and regardless of how it will be received in Washington, it will not be a political decision, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. It used to be the U.S. turning other countries away. Now, that's being flipped on its head. I mean, how often will the list of banned countries be reassessed? I mean, what does the U.S. have to do to get off it?

ABDELAZIZ: Well, E.U. diplomats say they will be look at this list every couple of weeks. They will be assessing per 100,000 cases what the coronavirus rate is per 100,000 people in 14-day period. They'll also be looking at other indicators such as testing and tracing abilities, reliability of data in a country.

But it's going to be a while before the United States can get its house in order enough for it to be welcome back into Europe. And there's another factor here, which is reciprocity. You have to remember that about three months ago when the European Union was the epicenter of the pandemic, the United States banned E.U. travelers from the U.S.

So there's an expectation that the U.S. needs to respond in turn, needs to update its banned list of countries as well. But again, with the U.S. having a quarter of coronavirus cases right now in the world, it is unlikely that this is going to change anytime soon, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, good point. A lot of people are annoyed they cannot get in -- from Europe as well to the U.S. Good point. Salma, good to see you. Salma Abdelaziz there in London.

We're going to take a quick break here on the program. When we come back, a firm denial from President Trump. Coming up, his claims about whether he was ever told about allegations of Russian plots to pay the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers. We'll be right back.



HOLMES: Welcome back. President Trump says that he was not briefed about Russians attempting to pay the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The story first reported by "The New York Times" and since reported by several other news organizations.

In a tweet, Mr. Trump said, "Intel told him they didn't find the report credible and so they didn't report it to him or the vice president." CNN's Nick Paton Walsh with more.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, a European intelligence official told me about this Russian military intelligence plot to pay Taliban fighters to attack American and other coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. And the basis of that scheme has now being confirmed by a U.S. official with knowledge of the intelligence to my colleague, Barbara Starr, in Washington.

Essentially, both these officials agree on the original premise of this plot that money seems to have been passed to the Taliban at some point. The European official I spoke to was unclear as to precisely when the supposed casualties that occurred because of these payments actually happen, their number or nationality or nature, as well.

That the U.S. official we've spoken to does appear to believe money did change hands, although the precise verification of those payments is something that is a little unclear. It appears that these reports began emerging earlier on this year.

Now, for their part, the Taliban had been clear they had nothing to do with this as has the Russian embassy in Washington using the hashtag, #BlameRussia. The White House itself hasn't disputed the original intelligence report in an earlier statement, but have, in fact, suggested that "The New York Times" who first reported this plot, was wrong to suggest, in fact, have been part of a briefing given to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

President Trump himself has cast down to the validity of the original "New York Times" report suggesting they should release their sources, but it's a very confusing picture with one simple very clear allegation at the heart of this, that Russian military intelligence, the GRU did try or possibly succeed in paying money to the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers or coalition allies as well.

As I say, my European intelligence official I've spoken to is clear that harm was caused most likely because of these payments, but details are still unclear. And it is, frankly, another chilling moment for the U.S. longest war in Afghanistan and many were asking exactly why these Russian intelligence officials will be motivated to do this.

The European intelligence officials I spoke to said that the Russian motivation was "bewildering," but described their actions callous, reprehensible, and shocking. Much more detail needs to emerge on that certainly, but one of the original conclusions is as much confusion among analysts as to exactly why Donald Trump was not briefed about this as the White House in fact claims given it's such a severe allegation.

But another troubling departure from the U.S. objective at this point, to get out of Afghanistan, the Trump administration has been absolutely clear about that. They're involved in peace talks that seem, even as we speak, to be trying to keep their momentum alive, stall briefly over prisoner exchange.

The real question being, if Moscow did order this, were they trying to expedite the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan or is this some smaller level unit operating on its own?

The European official I spoke to said, in fact, it was the same unit that was accused of being behind the poisoning of the Skripal father and daughter ins Salisbury in the U.K. in early 2018 that were behind this.

A lot of detail here, a lot of detail is missing as well, but as I say, at the heart of this, a stark and chilling allegation about Russian bids to pay Taliban to kill and target Americans and their allies in Afghanistan. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


HOLMES: Now, again, it would seem the intelligence about the Russian bounties had been gathered months ago. I spoke with CNN's national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd, about the implications of the silence until now.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Keeping this intel kind of close hold within a close circle really signals to me that there is an effort to drag U.S. feet when it comes to protecting Americans. And that really opens up American troops to current threats, right now.

If we have ant imposed costs, why would Putin slow down? He has no reason to take his foot off the gas when it comes to targeting Americans, and that means, that there may be a live threat to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and frankly, anywhere else that Putin can pay proxies to target us.

HOLMES: What would be Russia's motivation? I mean, especially with Donald Trump openly running to the Afghan exit door, you know. And what does that say about Putin's long term goal when it comes to the U.S.?

VINOGRAD: Well, Putin has reportedly been providing arms and other support to the Taliban for a longer period of time than this intelligence reporting may cover. The intelligence reporting is an escalation in terms of Putin support for the Taliban, but most likely, his motivation is to inflict harm on the United States.

He's doing that in cyberspace and the information warfare attacks. And now we have conventional attacks to add to the Putin to do list. So, it's to inflict harm in the United States and to push the Americans out of Afghanistan.

The unfortunate thing is that the administration is continuing to draw down in Afghanistan despite the fact that the Taliban has not lived up to their commitments. The Taliban, which I mentioned, Putin has been accused of supporting.

The Taliban hasn't lived up to their commitments, and we know that clearly Putin doesn't want to surround in Afghanistan. It's a geopolitical win for him if we are, seemingly, forced into retreat.

HOLMES: Now, the "Washington Post" reports that the bounties are believe to have resulted in the death of several U.S. service members. It's unclear how many assessments are still going on.

And there is some breaking news to bring you, gunmen have attacked the Pakistan stock exchange building in Karachi. An official with a local charity tell CNN at least five people have been killed. Police and security officials among them.

The attack reportedly happening in a highly secured area where a number of banks are also headquartered. We're told rescue and paramilitary forces are on the scene. The operation is ongoing, and, we are working to bring you a live update on this as soon as we can. We will be right back.



HOLMES: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes. The U.S. health secretary Alex Azar says the window is closing to bring the Coronavirus pandemic under control. This of course as Johns Hopkins University reports now more than 10 million cases worldwide, more than half a million people have now died.

The U.S. continues to lead the world in both the number of cases and deaths. More than two and a half million cases confirmed here. A number of states seeing a surge and even closing parts of the economy that they've been opening back up.

Health authorities say masks help slow the spread of the Coronavirus and that widespread usage will curb transmission rates. But across the U.S. mask requirements are inconsistent, and even sometimes contradictory. Experts say the confusion is putting lives at risk. Here's Brian Todd


BRIAN TODD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Across America, protests and pushback to requirements for people to wear face masks in public.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that it is our body our choice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a violation of my constitutional rights and my civil rights.

TODD: In Florida, the state where that outburst occurred at a grocery store in May, masks are not required for everyone to wear in public. Some counties and cities in Florida have mandated it. Personal care employees have to wear them. Businesses are encouraged to require them. But the governor says it wouldn't be a good use of state resources to try to enforce a rule for everyone to wear them.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Ultimately, we've got to trust people to make good decisions.

JONATHAN REINER, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: What he should have said to the people of Florida is I put you before anything else. Everyone who goes out in public must wear a mask.

TODD: But Governor DeSantis isn't alone. According to CNN research, 31 states do not have requirements for everyone to wear masks in public all the time. 19 states in Washington D.C. do require them for everyone. In states that don't, the rules go all over the place. Restaurant, retail, and personal services employees have to wear masks, but other people don't.

In Texas where there's no statewide requirement, Dallas County makes businesses require customers and employees to wear masks or be fined. $500. Experts say these varied confusing rules could be lethal.

THOMAS INGLESBY, DIRECTOR, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: Certainly, it's likely that that absence of face coverings is contributing to disease spread in this country. It makes no sense that the policy is so inconsistent around the country.

TODD: In three states which don't require everyone to wear masks in public all the time, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, there are massive spikes in new Coronavirus cases. California which is also experiencing a huge spike made the mandatory in public a week ago.

Experts say it's time for mask-wearing to be mandated across the country, for it to be normalized, and for that message to come from the president who has resisted it.

WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: We're not getting clear communication and clear modeling from the highest office, and that's really something that we need.

TODD: But what about the argument many Americans make that it's their constitutional right not to wear a mask in public?

INGLESBY: It's not your right to drive 100 miles per hour on a local road where a school -- where kids are crossing the street.

REINER: Going out in public without a mask is like driving drunk. Even if you don't get hurt, you might kill somebody else. TODD: Medical experts acknowledged much of the overall information on this virus is confusing and the information often changes. But they say the pure health information on masks is clear. They'll save lives during this pandemic. And they say it's not just on the president and the governors to get that message out, church leaders, principals, school presidents, and other community leaders all have to get in on this. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


[02:35: 06]

HOLMES: Brazil's President is one of several prominent leaders who have refused to wear a mask. And over the weekend, he once again appeared in public without one despite his country's growing outbreak. On Sunday health officials, they accounted another 30,000 cases from the virus.

Overall, Brazil has confirmed more than 1.3 million infections, making it the second-worst country in the world after the U.S. Other Latin American countries including Peru, Chile, and Mexico have also reported some of the highest case totals.

And in nearby Colombia, the infection rate also rising fast. It has now confirmed more cases than the original epicenter of the outbreak as CNN's Stefano Pozzebon reports.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN JOURNALIST: Columbia has now registered more Coronavirus cases than the whole of China. And this comes at the end of a week where Colombia has registered new daily increase records for three days. It's perhaps a sign of how much inwards Coronavirus is getting not only in Colombia but all across the region.

And this puts intense pressure on the Colombian government who since the beginning of June had somehow partially allowed a reopening of the economy, increasing the numbers of business allowed to be open up to 43 categories is now under the pressure to have to return to a strict lockdown to prevent further increase in the Coronavirus cases.

The situation is particularly critical here in Bogota, the capital where the intensive care units occupancy rate is almost getting to 70 percent. And the authorities are very careful and afraid that in a few days, there won't be enough hospital beds to treat all these Coronavirus patients.

So there's increased pressure on the Colombian government to return to a strict lockdown the way it was in April and May, and of course, increased pressure in these thin game between the health crisis and the economic crisis.

The IMF is projecting that Coronavirus will toggle an economic crisis unseen in South America in recent times, even worse than the end of the commodity boom in the 2010. And so, there is pressure and a situation that is evolving by the minute. For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


HOLMES: Iran's president says facemask will soon be mandatory for the area's most at risk of Coronavirus infection as the country fights a new wave of cases. Sam Kiley covering this for us from Abu Dhabi. What is the plan and what's behind the reasons for it?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, in short, the reason for it is that Iran, which has suffered the early stages of infection, one of the worst-hit countries after China at the beginning of this pandemic, is now seeing a very clear second wave with over 100 people being recorded dead, 144 the most recent figure every day. It was way down two months ago, but it's been sustained period now of a high number of deaths.

And as a result of that, President Rouhani is beginning to dial back on previous lifting of restrictions and demanding that people put masks on and restrict in other locations around the country. This is what he said.


HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT, IRAN (through translator): People must observe health protocols to fight coronavirus, and we have no second choice. No cure or vaccine for Coronavirus has been found yet, so we must observe the health protocols.


KILEY: Now, the President also said that this has been a disastrous year for Iran because it's facing the double whammy of the COVID pandemic, but also American sanctions that have been posed by the Trump administration since they unilaterally -- as the Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear deal intended to restrict Iran's capacity to develop a nuclear weapon.

As a consequence of that, Iran is really struggling very hard to meet its needs to import essential medicines. The banking system is almost unusable to it internationally because of the trade in the dollar and restrictions in the federal bank. The economy is due to shrink by about 10 percent this year, 35 percent unemployment. All of this, the Iranians have said in the past, amounts to American imposed health terrorism as they call it. Michael?

HOLMES: Sam, thanks for that. Sam Kiley in Abu Dhabi, I appreciate it. We're going to take a quick break now. A growing list of companies are unfriending Facebook. The corporate fight against hate speech coming up after the break.



HOLMES: Welcome back. Asian markets fell sharply on Monday. Investor concerns over the rising Coronavirus cases keeping numbers in the red. U.S. futures also down. There were deep declines on Friday as some states had to pause their reopening.

Meanwhile, Facebook under increasing pressure to do more to stop hate speech and misinformation on its platform. The list of companies joining an advertising boycott is increasing, among them now, Starbucks and the makers of Jim Beam bourbon. CNN's John Defterios is in Abu Dhabi with more on this.

Yes, what's overlooked I suppose is the speed at which this boycott is moving. It's really going a pace, isn't it?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes, things are moving fast and the momentum is really strong. And I think what has changed over the last 72 hours in particular, Michael, is the profile that companies now who are joining the boycott that started with outdoor apparel companies and Ben and Jerry's, which are progressive companies. Everybody knows that.

But now, we move to a completely different level if you look at the names. Starbucks, of course, you know, Hershey's, Honda, Unilever, which makes the household products that we're all familiar with, Coca Cola. They don't get more high profile than this.

And the company is trying to nuance its response saying it has to take re responsibility for the actions, but it's trying to find the right balance. This is Nick Clegg, who's the vice president of global communications, for Facebook.


NICK CLEGG, VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS, FACEBOOK: We're not going to pretend that we're going to get rid of everything that people, you know, react negatively, to not least, as you will very well know, politically. There are folks on the right who think that we take down too much content, folks on the left who think we don't take down enough.

We'll continue to do what we think is the only sensible way forward, to have clear rules to bear down very aggressively on hate speech, in particular, remove it from our platform, where we identify, which we now do with greater speed, greater velocity, and a greater quantity than any other social media company.

We understand this is a very fraught intense time in the nation. And we will continue to demonstrate our sincerity in dealing with this problem with the responsibility that we clearly do bear.



DEFTERIOS: And that brings us to Mark Zuckerberg who is the CEO of Facebook. He's perceived, Michael, not to take it too seriously or fast enough. He had a phone call with Donald Trump exactly a month ago, and that proceeded a virtual town hall with his staff. And many walked out virtually because they think that he's been lagging behind others in Silicon Valley, most notably, the smaller competitor, Jack Dorsey of Twitter.

So you hear the language, we take it seriously. They even say they're moving more aggressively than everyone else. That's not the perception, and the major advertisers are speaking out.

HOLMES: Yes, exactly. You know, Facebook is a $70 billion company in terms of revenue. How Reliant is it on advertising? Can this hurt them?

DEFTERIOS: Yes, it's very interesting you bring that up, because it's like this symbiotic relationship between the global advertisers and Facebook, because it is a behemoth that has 2.6 billion active monthly users, right. That's a third of the global population. So it's almost too big to fail, and it's too big for companies to avoid it.

But 90 percent of the chief marketing officers use the platform in one way or the other, or the other company had bought back in 2012, which is Instagram. But what does that mean for Facebook's bottom line, Michael? It means it's over-dependent on advertising. Better than 90 percent of his revenues come from advertising.

Now, right now, we don't know the total dollar amounts, but we know that Starbucks, for example, spent $95 million on Facebook last year. And it's starting to see the language change. This is supposed to be a one-month campaign or boycott in the month of July. Some are suggesting it'll extend beyond the month and some are saying it's not going to be limited to Facebook, and Instagram.

This is Black Lives Matter. The brands are saying, our supporters, our consumers want us to take action. We're taking action. You better listen.

HOLMES: Yes, a lot of people feel that this is a sea-change moment. Let's see how that plays out. Fascinating stuff. John, thank you. John Defterios in Abu Dhabi.


HOLMES: And let's update our breaking news out of Karachi where several gunmen have attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange building. The director of the exchange tells CNN there were at least four attackers, all of whom have now been killed. Five police and security officials also among the dead.

The director says the attackers appeared to be wearing police uniforms or uniforms that looked like police ones, and use guns and grenades in the attack. We are told the situation is now under control. We'll bring you further updates as they come in.

Well, from hate speech on Facebook to promoting white power on Twitter. The U.S. president retweets and then deletes eventually a racist message, but not quickly enough to avoid an uproar. We'll have that when we come back.



HOLMES: The former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd's killing are expected in court on Monday. Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes, well, he's going to appear via video link. He's charged with second-degree murder.

The other three accused, accused of aiding and abetting and Mr. Floyd's death, they're going to be appearing in person. The hearing comes more than a month after George Floyd was killed in police custody. That incident, of course, caught on video, sparking weeks of protests against racial injustice in the U.S. and around the world.

And the last state in the U.S. with a flag featuring the Confederate battle emblem is one step closer to removing it. Mississippi's House of Representatives and Senate both passed the bill on Sunday that would get rid of the controversial emblem, and the governor has said he will sign it.

The legislation would establish a commission to develop a new design without the emblem, of course. And you see it there in the corner of the 126-year-old flag. Mississippi voters would then vote on the new design. That should happen around November.

The U.S. President once again accused the fueling racial tensions this time due to a video he retweeted showing a supporter shouting "white power," which the President eventually deleted. It took him hours to do so. Jeremy Diamond has details on that and the White House's response.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on Sunday amplifying a video in which one of his supporters can be heard saying, "White power. White power." The President posting a retweet of that video and also adding this comment saying, "Thank you to the great people of the Villages." That is a location in Florida where this video was reportedly shot.

Now, the President did delete that tweet after it was online for more than three hours. And the White House says that the President simply did not hear that message before he posted that tweet. The White House's Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere saying in a statement, "President Trump is a big fan of the Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters."

Now, this of course is not an isolated incident. It is the latest in a string of examples where we have seen President Trump amplifying hateful or racist messages. We saw the president of course, after that white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, say that there were many fine people among those at that rally.


TRUMP: Very fine people on both sides. DIAMOND: We've also seen the president retweet anti-Muslim videos and many other examples exist as well. And particularly this is striking because President Trump has really struggled to address issues of systemic racism and racism broadly in America amid these protests since the death of George Floyd. He has not in a comprehensive manner address that. Instead, what we have seen is him fanning the flames and this was really just the latest example.

Now, while the President did delete that tweet, ultimately, after more than three hours, what he didn't do was apologize for posting it in the first place, nor did he condemn the Trump supporter who said, "white power." Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.


HOLMES: Backlash as you might have imagined that retweet has been loud and swift. The head of the civil rights group, the NAACP, says President Trump is deepening racial division.


DERRICK JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, NAACP: This president has normalized a white supremacy, racial hatred to a level where it is dangerous. This is the very thing that we're fighting against with Facebook. This is the very thing that in Mississippi of all places, were celebrating the taking down of a flag that had embedded in the corner of the Confederate emblem.

We are a nation that are -- we are on the brink. We have to decide what direction would we like to go? Well, we like to go to the future where we have a civil discourse around tax policy or to the past where we're arguing about racial superiority. This is the presidency I've said before. He's a racist. He's allowed racism to germinate from the White House. And it's a dangerous place for us to be in.


HOLMES: The likely Democratic presidential nominee also comparing the tweet to President Trump's comments on Charlottesville. Joe Biden tweeting, "We're in a battle for the soul of the nation, and the President has picked aside. But make no mistake, it is a battle we will win."

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes. I appreciate you spending part of your day with me. It's about to get better because Rosemary Church will pick it up from here.