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Coronavirus Cases Continue to Increase in State across U.S.; California Governor Newsom Threatens to Reissue Stay-at-Home Orders in Face of Increasing Coronavirus Cases; Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) is Interviewed About the Coronavirus Pandemic; Sources: Senior Officials Concluded Trump Was a Danger to National Security After Phone Calls with World Leaders. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 30, 2020 - 08:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New cases reported yesterday alone, the curve rising. And at this moment 36 states are seeing an increase in new cases. Only two states, those two states you can barely see in green, showing a decrease.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: And of course, as we're watching all of that, there are also new developments this morning when it comes to the intel involving Russian offering bounties for killing U.S. troops. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demanding details. CNN has learned the intelligence was included in the president's daily brief this past spring. President Trump, of course, has claimed he was never briefed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually suggesting the information may have been shielded from the president over concerns he would tell Vladimir Putin.

And separately, CNN has exclusive new reporting on how President Trump was so woefully unprepared for conversations with world leaders that he was considered a national security threat by senior officials.

BERMAN: Joining us right now, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Richard Besser, he's the former acting director of the CDC. And Sanjay, even in the course of this show over the last two hours, we've had these discussions with a doctor on the front lines in Houston who said the patients are coming in 10 times sicker than he was seeing, with Juliette Kayyem, our security analyst, whose job it is to speak to local and city governments around the country, state governments, and give them her assessment. She says she is writing off 2020. The pandemic numbers she says she is seeing indicates to her that we are not winning at this point. Is that a fair assessment?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think, sadly, that is true. I think there was always concern that there was going to be, initially there was going to this second wave in the fall, the virus as the weather started to cool, as people were starting to go inside more, and then you compound that on top of flu season, that there was going to be this second wave. The problem is, as a lot of people can see when you look at those

trends, you look at the map, is that there was never a lull, and it doesn't look like there's going to be a lull here. So it's going to be a constant pace of infection. And I'm really worried now, as I have been saying for a couple of weeks and many have as well, I know Richard has, as well, that I don't think there's a part of the country right now that isn't vulnerable, because we are the United States of America. And as a result, you know, even as you see the hot spots around the country, it does impact the country as a whole.

If you were to use this metaphorically as a human body, previously there may have been some localized disease which you could sort of target hopefully, more surgically even, but now I think this has becoming really widespread, and it's very concerning. It's going to require aggressive treatment.

HILL: So Dr. Besser, looking at this, what is the treatment at this point? Looking at the transmission that we're seeing, looking at the positivity rates, the hospitalizations, what do we do?

DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CDC: You know, the future isn't written in stone. When you look at the trend lines from Europe, that is something that possible in the United States. But the problem we have here is that we have this clash of messages. We have from the public health community a universal message that this is early days, we have to take this seriously. This is a deadly disease, and we can really have impact if we wear masks and social distance and stay home when we're sick, and ensure that everyone can do the right thing.

But on the political side we're hearing a mixed message. We're hearing some political leaders say there's nothing to worry about, get back to work and get back to your social life. And that's what happens. There are states that have turned the curve that are seeing declines, and so it's not monolithic across the United States. And what the states that are seeing the big increases can do is learn from those states that are seeing benefits to the lockdown and to a much, much, much slower pace of return to economic activity.

BERMAN: Rich, it sounds like your medical prescription to much of the country is basically get over yourself.

BESSER: I understand people are tired. This is a really grueling thing that people are going through. And it's not universal. All communities are hit, but some groups are being hit really hard. Essential workers, those people who have to go back to work this summer, with unemployment supplements going away and protections on evictions and moratoriums going away, more and more people are going to have to go back to work unless the federal government steps up with more benefits. And as that happens people are going to get hurt. If those who are going out and about don't change their behaviors, start wearing masks, keep social distancing, and understand that what you do can help protect yourself and can help protect those around you.

HILL: I think the part that's so frustrating for a lot of people -- and Sanjay, I'm going to put you in this category just because in talking to you and watching to you report on this over the last several months, it feels like a broken record, right? You need to be concerned about other people in your community. And that message for some reason is really difficult to get across.


GUPTA: Yes, it is difficult to get across. And I think to Dr. Besser's point, there's been some whiplash, I think, with the messaging as well. I think flatten the curve became the metric of success, and the metric of success was not about just, hey, let's not redline the hospitals. That shouldn't have been the only metric of success. It should have been, hey, we can actually do what they've done in South Korea. We can actually do what we know see they've been able to do in the European Union.

Once we establish just flatten the curve as the metric of success, once we started to reopen, the prevailing message I think in many places -- not everywhere, again, to Richard's point, but in many places was, hey, we're through this. We're on the other side of this. It's time to reopen and go back to normalcy.

And I get it. I'm dealing with that in my own household. I have three preteen and teenage girls in my household. But the reality is that we're not through it. And how do you convey that without being the bad guy? No one likes to see me or hear me on television anymore because I represent something they don't want to hear. I get it. But it doesn't mean that the message shouldn't be heard.

BERMAN: We always want to see you on television, Sanjay, always.

HILL: Always, I'll second that.

BERMAN: One little side note here, Sanjay. I want to address this because I think a lot people woke up to this news and your email box was overflowing this morning with this new strain of swine flu in China, and the words are it has pandemic potential. What's going on here?

GUPTA: Yes, this is interesting, and obviously Rich knows swine flu better than anybody probably in the world, and they have been doing surveillance in China, and these surveillance programs go on in several places around the world. But they've been swabbing these pigs over the last several years in China, basically seeing, are there any new viruses that are emerging? Mostly there wasn't, but there is this one strain called G4 which seems to be consistent. It's really persistent in these pigs over the last several years. They then looked at people who are working with pigs, humans, and they found that in about 10 percent of these workers this virus was present there as well.

So here is a virus that, again, this is going to sound like a familiar story, started off in animals, made the jump to humans. That's why people are keeping an eye on it. That's the bad news. The good news is, so far it does not appear that it has -- it's not spreading human to human as of yet. So that would be the good news. So people are saying don't freak out about this. People keeping an eye on this for sure. But here is another example of what the virus hunters are doing behind the scenes to try and prevent what just happened from happening again.

HILL: And thank goodness they are. Dr. Besser, do you just want to weigh in on at all given your expertise in this area?

BESSER: Well, Sanjay hit the critical point. You want to always be looking, because this is how pandemics occur when a virus jumps species from animals to humans. But that last critical piece, it has to be able to spread easily from person to person. That's what made coronavirus -- this coronavirus 19 so significant, because it jumped species, and it was easy to spread person to person.

But the overarching point is really important, that we're part of a global community. What happens around the world matters here. Doing this kind of work, this surveillance, requires us to be active participants in the global community, and working to ensure that wherever a disease arises, we're there with our expertise to help contain it there, to wipe it out there, so that it doesn't spread around the world.

BERMAN: Sanjay, if we can just look at the map very quickly again, we have about 30 seconds left, where cases are rising and falling here, because one thing people have been asking is, in these places like Texas and Florida and Arizona that seem to be worst hit right now, they weren't hit as badly before. Is there any sense that the places that were hit badly we have seen a resurgence yet, or is this mostly -- are the outbreaks in somewhat virgin territory?

GUPTA: I think probably more the latter, John. But let me say that I think we have to widen the aperture a little bit on the timeframe by which we look at these things. We're tending to treat it like the Dow Jones Industrial, looking at it day to day. The reality is it's not going to be perfect. It may spread a little bit less in some places initially, and we don't exactly know why. We saw Governor DeSantis a few weeks ago saying, hey, you guys were all waxing poetic, Florida is just totally fine, and now we see what's happening in Florida, right. So it's not a perfect sort of thing.

The reality is, the one thing that we know for sure is the virus is out there, it's contagious, and it is spreading more rapidly than we realize. So I look at that same map, John, and I say that there is no place that I would not consider vulnerable still at this point given how much virus there is in the environment.

And let me say one other thing, I think we should be talking about the future going forward. There's going to be a lot of time for retrospectives. But masking we know makes a difference. We may need to go into stay-at-home mode in several places.


And frankly, with Rich Besser here, I would ask where is the CDC? The CDC are some of the best epidemiologist, infectious disease doctors in the world. I would give them the keys to the kingdom for a little bit and say help get us out of this mess right now. Guys, do what you do.

BERMAN: We will hear from Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, he will testify before the Senate later this morning.

Dr. Rich Besser, thanks so much for being with us. Sanjay, as always, we appreciate you.

GUPTA: You got it.

HILL: California may roll back its reopening plans even further as coronavirus cases continue to soar in that state. We're going to speak with a California lawmaker next.


BERMAN: Alarming new infection rates out of Los Angeles County in California. Health officials there say that one in 140 people are infected. That's huge increase. It was one in 400 people just last week. And that number could reach one in 70 people by next week. It comes as Governor Gavin Newsom is threatening to reinstate stay-at- home orders.

Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. Her district includes parts of Los Angeles and Orange County. Congresswoman, thank you so much for being with us today. I know there are steps being taken. I know that beaches will be closed over the Fourth of July weekend in Los Angeles. I know bars are being closed in certain counties. Is that enough? I don't know that there's this enormous increase in cases over the last few weeks just because bars have been open.


REP. LINDA SANCHEZ (D-CA): Well, it's a combination of things. It's the easing and the opening/reopening of certain businesses, but it's also individuals for some reason when they heard that the economy was reopening thought that they were going back to pre-COVID normal, which is not the case. So, people have not been wearing face masks, they have not been social distancing.

I've been alarmed when I've been walking around just running errands to see the number of people that are not taking this seriously. And I don't know why, but for some reason, wearing a face mask has become political.

To me, wearing a face mask is like wearing sunscreen. It's protection. And everybody should be doing it.

BERMAN: There is a face mask order in California. People are supposed to wear them in your state. But there is no national order or mandate.

What difference do you think that would make?

SANCHEZ: Yes. Clearly, the lack of leadership at the national level from our president has caused confusion and misunderstanding among people.

If the president were to wear a face mask and be seen doing that and encourage that, I think that these mixed messages would be less confusing for people. But clearly, the president failed at the national response to have a coordinated plan, to put pieces in place, and to have a consistent message from health officials.

You know, it should be -- the decision should be driven by data and science and the president has stumbled and fallen badly on that. And that is what is creating this confusion for folks who think that if the president is not wearing a face mask, why should I have to do it?

BERMAN: What's your opinion on what role the protests that took place three weeks ago -- 3 1/2 weeks ago, enormous numbers of young people on the streets, what role that may have played in the increase in cases?

SANCHEZ: Well, clearly, whenever you have large groups of people gathering, you have careful. Many of the protests that I saw folks had face masks, they were trying to social distance. So, yes, they were out and they were gathered, but they were at least trying to take those precautions which we know can be effective.

Contrast that with political rallies that the president is doing where people are not wearing face masks and not social distancing, you know, and it's a very stark contrast. Personally, I just think that individuals with the lack of a federal -- a consistent federal message need to just understand COVID is still very much with us and we have to protect ourselves.

BERMAN: Do you think that California, that Governor Newsom needs to consider a statewide, new stay-at-home order?

SANCHEZ: Well, if cases continue to go up at the rate they are and hospitalizations continue to rise, unfortunately, that may have to happen. And that would erase months of folks sacrificing and staying home and doing all of the right things.

It only takes a small group of people to ruin it for the rest of the state. And that's what I've been telling people all along. When you wear a mask, it's not necessarily to protect yourself, it's to protect everyone around you.

And people who refuse to wear masks are very selfish in that regard. They are contributing to this spread of this disease.

BERMAN: This disease, the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color, in minority communities. You yourself have said we're all in the same storm, but we're not in the same boat.

What do you mean by that?

SANCHEZ: That's correct. Communities of color and low income communities oftentimes have overcrowded living situations. Many of the -- of black and brown workers work as essential workers so they can't work from home, which is why I have introduced a piece of legislation with the colleague of mine, Representative Cartwright, Coronavirus Frontline Worker Fair Pay Act that would compensate them for the extra risk that they're taking, going out every day and doing their jobs that are essential. But we didn't have testing sites in those communities quickly enough.

We didn't have informational campaigns in languages that were appropriate for some of those communities. And we are seeing unfortunately the disparities that already exist in our health care system magnified because of COVID-19.

BERMAN: Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, we appreciate your time this morning. Thanks so much for being with us. Stay safe, stay healthy.

SANCHEZ: My pleasure. You too. Be well.

BERMAN: All right. From pandering to Vladimir Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, sources say President Trump's phone calls with world leaders convinced some senior U.S. officials that the president was a danger to national security. Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein joins with a CNN exclusive reporting, next.



ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Consistently unprepared, abusive, delusional -- that's how White House and intelligence officials who spoke to CNN are describing President Trump's phone calls with world leaders. The calls helped convince some senior U.S. officials that the president himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States.

Joining us to discuss is CNN political analyst and legendary Watergate journalist, Carl Bernstein, who broke the story last night.

Carl, good to see you this morning.


HILL: The adjectives are one thing, but that the assessment is that President Trump has put national security in danger. That is certainly the headline there.

Why do they say we're at this point?

BERNSTEIN: First, it's not just he endangered the national security of the United States, but who it is that has come to that conclusion, which are the closest national security aides to the president himself in his administration -- his former secretary of state, his former chiefs of staff, his former secretary of defense, his former secretary of state.


And why is that these people are saying he endangered the national security? In part because in hundreds of phone calls with foreign heads of state, the president of the United States was unable to conduct foreign relations in a competent way and rather gave in and slavishly in the term (ph) -- in approaching Putin of Russia. Erdogan of Turkey, sought their approval, caved in in their conversations to their desires rather than to establish the United States policy. On top of which, he berated and bullied America's allies, particularly

women heads of state, in such a way that if those people in the Congress of the United States, I'm told, heard these recordings that existed of his conversations, and saw the transcripts of them, that they would be horrified and it might result in the president having real trouble remaining in office.

BERMAN: And this reporting that you put out last night encompasses four months of work in conversations that you've had, Carl, and it's rich, as you just described right there, there's a lot of different facets to it. One of the facets and this to an extent is a theme that we have seen play out before our eyes, is the president being solicitous of strong men around the world.

What's new and I hadn't seen specific reporting on is the strong men knowing this and taking advantage of it. So, Erdogan of Turkey figured out how to game according to your reporting the president. Explain.

BERNSTEIN: Well, one of the things that -- he called as often as twice a week, and there were standing orders from President Trump that Erdogan's calls should be put through directly to the president, without his briefers around him, and often, Erdogan and the Turkish security services in Washington apparently in the judgment of the White House officials were able to know when the president would be available, like when he might be on the golf course, for instance.

And by following the president's schedule, getting his daily activities list somehow, and Erdogan would call and reach the president off and on the golf course and be put right through. But it's really the substance of those conversations that are so troubling, according to people who are familiar with them.

And the substance is, as one of those sources said that Erdogan in those conversations, that he won the store. That Trump gave away the store and the biggest example of it is in Syria, where the United States, at Trump's direction, pulled out its troops just as Erdogan wanted, just as Putin of Russia wanted, and the result being leaving the Kurds, our allies in Syria, open to slaughter.

And that probably is the most egregious evidence of all of the tapes -- not tapes, but all of the conversations according to my sources that occur in these hundreds of conversations.

HILL: It really does give you pause, especially that specific example. You know, what we also see in your reporting here as you talked about a little bit off the top is not just his treatment of those strongmen but his treatment of other world leaders, right, that the president thought that he could bully them, that he could, you know, somehow use his charm to get what he wanted, but not when it came to women. With women, it was all about the bullying and the berating.

BERNSTEIN: Well, it's -- the women -- the best examples of it are Theresa May, the prime minister in the United Kingdom, and Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, whom he not only berated, he called them stupid. In the case of Angela Merkel, said she was in the pocket of Russians.

The calls were described to me as almost sadistic.

In the terms of Theresa May, called her a fool, went after her because of the way she had put together a plan to execute Brexit. One of the themes of the conversations is Trump's grievances about our closest Western European allies, Canada, Australia, not supposedly paying their fair share of supporting NATO.

But instead of going about it as a matter of normal diplomacy, he attacks these foreign leaders but particularly the women in very personal terms. You can see in the story where the people in the German government have responded to this story and in the case of Merkel in saying that it was extraordinary the way that the president of the United States aggressively attacked her. That they have to isolate in the records of the calls so it would not become well known.