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More States Put Reopenings on Hold; Trump's Daily Briefing Had Intel About Russia Bounties; New Law Expected to Fuel Protests in Hong Kong; Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Law. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 30, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Slamming the brakes. More cases putting reopenings on hold. One CDC official says we're not even beginning to be over this.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And a warning about Russia paying to target U.S. forces was in the president's written daily briefing.

Plus, former top aides believe his calls with former top leaders make the president a danger to national security.

JARRETT: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

SANCHEZ: Good morning. I'm Boris Sanchez, in for Christine Romans. A pleasure to be with you, as always, Laura. It's Tuesday, June 30th, 18 weeks, 126 days until the election. Five a.m. on the East Coast.

And we start with some grim news on coronavirus.

JARRETT: Yes. Reopenings all across the United States coming to a grinding halt this morning. At least 16 states have paused or rolled back reopening plans amid a big surge in the virus. A top CDC official warns the virus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly to bring it under control.

And this map tells you everything you need to know right now. Only two states, two, are heading in the right direction. Thirty-six, including nine of the ten most populous seeing cases spike in the last week. On Memorial Day, it was half that many.

SANCHEZ: And with July 4th approaching, officials want to avoid repeating these scenes we saw on Memorial Day. Thousands ignored warnings and flocked to beaches, bars and parties.

One of the most drastic roll backs happening is in Arizona. Bars, gyms, movie theaters, other businesses now closed for at least 30 days. Events with more than 50 people are banned. Hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases spiking to record highs.

The rate of positive tests in Arizona has climbed to five per 100 to an astounding 40 percent in just one month.


GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R), ARIZONA: It will take several weeks for the mitigations that we have put in place and are putting in place to take effect.

We will have to persevere and it's going to be for some time into the future.


JARRETT: Beaches are being closed on both coasts. Los Angeles shutting down its famous beaches for the holiday weekend. L.A. has only enough hospital beds for a few weeks. ICUs in neighboring Riverside County are at 90 percent capacity.

And Florida is closing more beaches. Monroe, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, basically the entire Southeast coast shut down for the holiday.

Meanwhile, in Texas, long lines for COVID testing in Austin. To the east, Houston's mayor says the COVID positive rate has gone from 3 percent in April and May, to 13 percent today.


DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CDC: When you look at who's been hit hardest today, you know, black Americans, Latino Americans, low income workers, essential workers will have to go back to work. You know, in places like Florida and Texas, where you're just seeing these overall, you know, statewide numbers, I think in some communities, it's far worse than what we're seeing overall.


SANCHEZ: And Jacksonville, Florida, is now requiring facemasks where social distancing is not possible. Remember, President Trump is set to accept the Republican nomination there in less than two months. A roomful of people wearing masks probably not the visual he wants.

There are troubling trends across the country. In West Virginia, more than 200 people are being advised to quarantine after possible exposure at a gym, and more than 100 cases linked to a bar in East Lansing, Michigan. Those people no doubt had contact with other people likely spreading the virus undetected further.

A worsening national picture forcing changes in states where things are better. New York now considering delaying the restart of indoor dining. New Jersey, one of the two states reducing cases already taking that step.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: The carelessness of one establishment can completely undo the good work of many others. We will not tolerate outlier bars and restaurants. So, unfortunately, the national situation, compounded by instances of knucklehead behavior here at home are requiring us to hit pause on the restart of indoor dining for the foreseeable future.


JARRETT: Industries that lie on big crowds are in big trouble. Cirque du Soleil, which stages those high flying acrobatic shows has filed for bankruptcy and cut 3,500 jobs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The spirit is evident. Something holds you back.


JARRETT: The AMC theater chain is postponing reopening by two weeks after studios pushed back two summer blockbusters that could be key to persuading audiences to return to theaters.


And Broadway will remain dark for the rest of the year at least, all 41 theaters have been closed since March 12th.

SANCHEZ: New overnight, it turns out intelligence about a Russian effort to pay the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers was included in one of President Trump's daily written briefings. That's according to a U.S. official with direct knowledge. "The New York Times" reports the intel was included in a written version of the daily brief in late February. Officials are looking at possible ties to an April 2019 car bombing that killed three U.S. marines.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Why would he not be briefed? Were they afraid to approach him on the subject of Russia? And were they concerned that if they did tell him, that he would tell Putin?


JARRETT: President Trump was consistently unprepared in classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, oftentimes outmaneuvered by autocrats and abusive towards our allies. Multiple White House and intel officials tell CNN's Carl Bernstein that president's repeated lapses convinced his former secretaries of state and defense along with two national security advisers and his longest serving chief of staff that he posed a danger to U.S. national security.

Several Republicans were briefed about the intelligence on Russia on Monday. Democrats will get a briefing later today.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from London now.

Nick, are you hearing about this? NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, it seems

increasingly confusing exactly what the picture is now, that there was a Russian military intelligence plot to pay Taliban militants to target U.S. troops.

Now, I heard from U.S. official yesterday with knowledge of this intelligence earlier in the year, but at that time, the U.S. intelligence was looking at the possibility of links between American fatalities in Afghanistan and this Russian plot.

Now, the official expert who didn't know what the conclusion of the examining of those links had been, but it does appear now that the White House is coming forward and saying, in fact, the damage done about the leak about this intelligence is in fact more damaging potentially maybe even the pause itself. They're going to get down to the bottom of what really happened here because the story is to speak out.

So, fascinatingly confusing picture frankly from the White House's response and that they have initially said, well, we don't dispute the intelligence itself but seemed more focused on "The New York Times" reporting whether or not the president had been briefed about it as "The New York Times" first reported. Now it does appear it was in his presidential daily brief as a document he's presented.

We know from national security adviser John Bolton's book that apparently many of these presidential briefings were in fact President Trump talking himself rather than being talked to. So it's entirely possible this was put in front of him but he simply didn't pay attention to it. That's one possible explanation for the last 72 hours worth of confusion here.

But at the highlight of all of this, intense peace talks where you're seeing ongoing between the U.S. and Taliban, there does appear to be a Russian plot to pay Taliban militants that may have led to an American loss of life. But the jury is still out in intelligence circles on that, a startling few days in terms of U.S. intelligence with Russia, and exactly what goes on inside the Oval Office.

Back to you.

JARRETT: Yes, all of the explanations really troubling and no strong statement from the White House about the substance of the report, and the U.S. troops that were killed.

All right. Nick, thank you so much for all of your reporting as usual.

SANCHEZ: Breaking overnight, Hong Kong media reporting that Beijing has just passed a wide-ranging national security law. Many in Hong Kong fear the new law could be used to further erode the city's civil and political freedoms. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. will now stop sending certain kinds of military equipment to Hong Kong.

CNN's Will Ripley is there. He joins us now with the latest.

Will, what's the reaction on the ground?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, China is vowing retaliatory action against the United States, Boris, after the Trump administration is beginning to take steps to strip away the special relationship that Hong Kong and the U.S. have enjoyed because the fact that the U.S. no longer believes Hong Kong enjoys a high level of autonomy from mainland China.

And we were at the China liaison office where just a short time ago, Hong Kong lawmaker came out and briefed us some of the details of this national security law, because it's in effect for Hong Kong and yet the people have not seen it. Hong Kong's government is completely in the dark about the contents of this law.

It was passed without even consulting with them. They were sidelined. Beijing fed up with months of unrest decided to pass this law, put it into effect and they haven't even told the people who live here what exactly is in it.

What we do know from a Hong Kong lawmaker who spoke with us is that it is not retroactive. So people who did things in the past can't be persecuted under this new law.


There might be some cases where there's no jury, in which case they'll have three judges hearing the cases, and people who do things like what we saw last year when protesters were painting anti-China slogan, saying Hong Kong is not a part of China, or things like destroy the China Communist Party, they could face trial under this law in mainland China, and they could face up to life in prison.

And that is actually good news for people here in Hong Kong because in China, they have the death penalty and some of these cases is under Chinese law may qualify for the death penalty, the kinds of things that would have resulted in just minor penalties a short time ago.

No surprise, Boris, we've been out here on Hong Kong all day. Despite calls for protests of this law, we would have seen people packing the streets this time last year. The streets have been empty, protests have been silent today.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Well, the major fear here is that China is going to use this new security law to crack down on the dissidents in Hong Kong.

Will Ripley reporting from there, thank you so much.

JARRETT: All right. Coming up, social media gets a lot of flak these days for not tackling hate speech. But now, more and more sites are showing willingness to crack down, including on the Trump campaign.



JARRETT: Welcome back. Major social media sites are taking increasingly stronger steps

against hate speech, and in more and more cases, that means President Trump.

Twitch, a video streaming service popular with online gamers, has suspended the Trump campaign's account, saying hateful conduct is not allowed. The company pointed to a rebroadcast of Trump's 2015 campaign speech where he called Mexicans rapists and criminals as well as comments he recently made at his rally in Tulsa.

Reddit has also banned 2,000 accounts, including the pro-Trump forum, "The Donald", as a part of a policy change blocking forums and users that the site says promote hate.

Meanwhile, more and more big names have joined the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, pulling their ads from Facebook now. The boycott has started to rattle investors, but is it actually hurting Facebook's business? Its stock is down 7.6 percent since the boycott started. Only about 6 percent of Facebook revenue comes from the biggest companies who would likely take tens of thousands of small and medium- sized businesses acting to put a big dent in Facebook's bottom line.

SANCHEZ: The long awaited price tag for the only emergency drug authorized to treat coronavirus has just been revealed. And it turns out remdesivir will not remain cheap. Questions remain over how its makers going to choose who will get the first doses of the millions it is set to turn?

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explains.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Laura, Boris, remdesivir is the only drug approved in the United States to treat COVID-19. And so far, the company that makes it, Gilead, has been donating it. They've been giving it away for free.

But now, they've set a price. Let's take a look at what that price is: $2,340 for a five-day treatment which is the typical amount of time a person takes it. For private patients, it's higher, $3,120.

This price was lower than expected but still some said it was too high. Taxpayers gave a considerable amount of support to develop this drug and some said that Gilead should have given a lower price point -- Laura, Boris.


JARRETT: Elizabeth, thank you for that update.

Well, the Supreme Court pinning a very big win to advocates of abortion rights but there could still be a way for states to restrict access in some cases.

CNN is at the Supreme Court, next.



JARRETT: An investigation is being launched in how the mayor of Louisville handled the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March. The Louisville Metro Council plans to file a bipartisan resolution to start probe of Mayor Greg Fischer.

The council says the public is demanding and it has a right to know what happened in the case. Taylor was shot and killed by police who came into her apartment to serve a no-knock warrant. The suspect, who police were looking for, was already in custody.

SANCHEZ: The trial of four former police officers charged in the death of George Floyd could be moved out of Minneapolis. At a hearing on Monday, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill admonished the prosecution and defense for speaking out about the case. He stopped short of issuing a gag order, but warned further public comments could make it hard to find an impartial jury and lead to a change of venue.

The trial could start as soon as March 2021.

JARRETT: A victory for supporters of abortion rights at the Supreme Court. On Monday, Chief Justice John Roberts siding with four of the more liberal justices to strike down a Louisiana law that advocates could have left the state with only one abortion clinic. The decision is a blow to conservatives who were counting on the high court's newly expanded conservative majority to chip away at abortion rights, but Roberts may have also left the door open to more limits on abortion.

CNN's Jessica Schneider has more from the court.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Laura and Boris, a big win for abortion rights advocates here at the Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the majority, including the Chief Justice John Roberts striking down a Louisiana abortion law. This is a law would have required doctors performing abortions to gain admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of where the abortion was performed. But now, that law has been blocked.

And abortion rights advocates have Chief Justice Roberts to thank. He was the deciding vote. It's interesting and important here because before this vote, Chief Justice Roberts had actually never voted to block an abortion restriction.

In a sense, the chief justice saying his hands were tied in this case. That's because in 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a nearly identical Texas law. So, the chief justice saying he had no choice in this case but to strike it down.

Now, the White House sort of sniping at the chief justice along with those liberal justices in this 5-4 decision. The Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany releasing this statement, saying: Instead of valuing fundamental democratic principles, unelected justices have intruded on the sovereign prerogatives of state governments by imposing their own policy preference in favor of abortion to override legitimate abortion safety regulations.

But in fact, what's notable here is that Chief Justice John Roberts, he did leave the door open somewhat to other states that might try to pass similar restrictions. He said that in different circumstances, it's possible that restrictions like this could pass muster.


So, for now, this Louisiana abortion law, it remains blocked but there could be opportunity for other states to pass similar restrictions and then they would get their day in court to determine exactly what happens in those cases -- Laura and Boris.


SANCHEZ: Jessica, thank you for that reporting.

It's important to keep in mind the Supreme Court ruling on abortion could play a critical role in the balance of power in the Senate this fall. In Maine, Senator Susan Collins is coming under fire from the state's house speaker for voting to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh. You'll remember during his hearing, she asked him specifically whether he support supported overturning Roe versus Wade.

He said that it was established law. Collins, of course, seeking a fifth term in a state that President Trump lost by three points in 2016. Last night, she insisted that Kavanaugh gave no indication he supports overturning Roe versus Wade even though he voted to uphold Louisiana's abortion law.

JARRETT: Well, a harsh reality check from a top CDC official. Coronavirus is spreading too wide, and too fast to bring it under control right now. More states forced to close up shop so soon after reopening.