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Trump Calls Russia Bounty Allegations a "Hoax" Despite Sources Saying It was Included in His Daily Briefing; Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) is Interviewed About Him Calling Trump's Handling of Russia Bounty Intel "Treasonous"; 19 States Pause Reopening as Coronavirus Surges. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired July 1, 2020 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The state's Democratic governor now reimplementing restrictions.

CNN's Nick Watt is in Los Angeles for us.

Nick, indoor activities will be closed for 19 counties in the state?


And these are not 19 small counties. These are some of the big ones, including Los Angeles, home to 10 million people, neighboring Orange County, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Sacramento. This is big news.

He is hitting pause and rolling back a little. He is also sending strike teams into those 19 counties where he sees a particular issue.

Jake, California has got a problem.


WATT (voice-over): Nearly 10,000 new cases reported across California today, smashing the record. So, every state beach parking lot in Southern California and the Bay Area will now be closed for the Fourth of July weekend.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): A weekend that has raised a lot of concern.

WATT: Bars, dine-in restaurants and movie theaters will also now close again in 19 Californian counties for at least three weeks.

And, today, a daily death toll in this state like we haven't seen since April.

NEWSOM: Do not take your guard down. Please do not believe those somehow want to manipulate the reality.

WATT: Over in Florida, 10,000 new cases logged in Miami-Dade in just the past weekend, record numbers now hospitalized in Arizona.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know we will get through this.

WATT: Where the vice president just touched down to meet with the Republican governor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure what more we can do, with -- short of a total shutdown.

WATT: Record high hospitalizations also in Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We moved out too fast before we had testing and tracing fully in place. While we opened in phases, we went from one phase to the next phase to the next phase too quickly, so we weren't able to see the data.

WATT: He's echoing Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the most respected voices on this virus, but no longer respected by all.

LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R-TX): He doesn't know what he's talking about. We haven't skipped over anything. The only thing I'm skipping over is listening to him. He has been wrong every time on every issue. I don't need his advice anymore.

WATT: Across the country, the average number of new cases every day has nearly doubled in just the past two weeks; 37 states are seeing their case counts climb, 19 of them now pausing or rolling back reopening.

New York City was due to open indoor dining Monday. Not anymore.

BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, NY: We started out outdoor dining on a vast scale a few weeks ago. It is going great. It is much safer. So we're going to double down in that direction.

WATT: And a new warning from the federal official in charge of testing: Now testing alone will not be enough.

ADM. BRETT GIROIR, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Testing is critical, but we cannot test our way out of the current outbreaks. We must be disciplined about our own personal behavior, especially around the July 4 holiday, and especially among the young adults.


WATT: Now, of course, a vaccine would be the game-changer.

Some positive news from Pfizer today about the one that they are working on. But, listen, even if we get a vaccine by January, as many people hope we will, it could then take many months after that to get it distributed and to get enough people vaccinated to make a difference -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Nick Watt in Los Angeles, thank you so much.

Joining us now, CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, take a look at the rapidly rising number of cases in

California. California was one of the first states to lock down. And, still, it's dealing with record infections, a more than 40 percent increase in hospitalizations. They have been aggressive from the beginning. Why is it not working for them? What's going wrong?


Well, first of all, Jake, the virus doesn't lie. And the statistics don't lie, right? I mean, that's one thing. We're dealing with numbers here. I think, sometimes, people come and call the numbers into question. They are what they are. And so then it's important to try and figure out why this might be.

And when you're dealing with a large population of people, that can be hard to figure out. I mean, people could be having large private family gatherings with extended family and neighbors. That's one of the things Governor Newsom has been particularly worried about, because those are harder to track.

And then people go back to their own homes, and this starts to spread. So I think that that's one of the concerns here.

Also, Jake, you get an idea of what explosive growth means. You hear that term a lot, but it's like that old childhood sort of thing, I give you a penny today, two pennies tomorrow, four pennies the next day, would you rather have that or a million dollars at the end of the month?

And the answer is the pennies, because it would be worth five million at the end of the month. My point is that if you start to double every so often, the numbers can grow significantly.


And in a place like California, L.A. specifically, that's what we're seeing.

TAPPER: The other thing that you and I have talked about is that you and Fauci have both noted that there's not one state that opened according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force plans. Not one of them waited until they had the 14 days in a row of reduction, et cetera, et cetera.

None of them have the kind of contact tracing that is needed, and yet all of them -- and, yes, there was pressure from President Trump and from the business community and others -- all of them opened early, including California.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, they did.

I mean, the criteria were laid out. We reported on those criteria at the time, explained why the gating criteria existed. The first thing, you wanted to see this 14-day downward trend. And the reason that exists is not just an arbitrary thing. If you get 14 days in a row of downward trend, first of all, you're probably getting to a really low number, number one.

But, number two, whatever it is, you have a much better way of getting your arms around it, to actually track and trace all the people who are testing positive.

If the number is too high, as we're seeing in many states, it just -- it's nearly an impossible task to actually go and trace and complete the other part of this public health tool.

TAPPER: You heard the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, saying he doesn't need to hear anything more from Dr. Fauci, Fauci doesn't know what he's talking about.

Obviously, Fauci knows quite a bit, a lot more than Lieutenant Governor Patrick. Texas is obviously seeing a major surge in infections and hospitalizations. What do you think when you hear Lieutenant Governor Patrick bashing Anthony Fauci?

GUPTA: Well, I don't know what specifically the lieutenant governor is referring to.

I mean, he came out and said, look, we followed every, met every criteria.

We can show -- let's show this, the Texas case count. And, keep in mind, Texas was slow to close down the state and quick to open. That's the hospitalization one. We have another one that actually shows the case count in the two weeks before they opened up, OK?

So take a look there, Jake. They opened up on May 1. That was always their intent. Supposed to have a 14-day downward trend. I mean, look, as I said earlier, the data doesn't lie.

They had one of their highest days the day before they opened. The concern when you do that is that you could be basically creating momentum around new infections, and it might start to spiral out of control. That's not the time to reopen. That's why the criteria exists.

So he says they followed every single criteria. Well, this is the first criteria, 14-day downward trend. Jake, again, these are the two weeks leading up to when they opened. It's not a 14-day downward trend.


A new study in "The Journal of the American Medical Association," "JAMA," finds that the number of deaths from coronavirus could actually be 28 percent higher than the effect initial count, which is closing in on 130,000.


TAPPER: How do they even determine that?

GUPTA: Well, they go back, and they actually will start to look at death certificates and look at something known as excess deaths.

I don't mean to sound too grim here, but this is how that sort of work is done. And what they found, that there were about 120 or so excess -- 120,000 -- excuse me -- excess deaths during this time period where the study was done.

Now, they also recognize that there wasn't a lot of testing, as you know, initially, and still isn't. So it was hard to confirm people who had died of coronavirus, but also people were dying from things that weren't traditional sort of respiratory issues.

You may remember, Jake, people had strokes, people had pulmonary embolisms. There were people having heart attacks. And then when you go back and sort of look at that data, you start to realize that many of those deaths may have in fact been attributable to COVID.

TAPPER: The number of deaths per day has declined precipitously in the U.S. over the last several weeks. That's something we haven't been covering much because the number of cases is going up.

We keep hearing that young people are making up a significant portion of new cases in the U.S. Is that why you think the death rate has dropped? And are you expecting that death rate to go back up, given the explosion of new cases?

GUPTA: Yes, I think there's two things.

One is exactly what you mentioned. And I was spending some time with some experts, some of my sources today on this very issue. As you start to do more what we call surveillance testing, so you're testing out in the community, and you're testing people who are asymptomatic, these younger people, you are likely to see more infections, but fewer deaths.

That's good. And I think, overall, if you look at the numbers on the right side of the screen, that would suggest a 5 percent fatality rate. We know it's lower than that. We know there's a lot more people out there who have the infection who have not been officially counted.

The other thing, I think -- and this is an optimistic thing -- is that we have gotten better at treating patients. It was all about ventilators first. But, again, this isn't a typical respiratory illness.


So, ventilators in some cases proved to be harmful. We have a few therapeutics now, which could potentially be beneficial.

But, unfortunately, Jake, I think it's that second point that you're making, which I think deaths, sadly, is a lagging indicator. There will be more deaths with more infections, because people will start to spread this to other vulnerable people.

That's what we have seen in countries around the world. And that's what we have seen here in this country just a couple of months ago. TAPPER: Yes, it usually comes increase in cases, then increase in

hospitalizations, then increase in deaths.

We're somewhere in between point one and two now. We're seeing increased hospitalizations in different parts around the country.

GUPTA: Right.

TAPPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for your time today.

GUPTA: You got it.

TAPPER: A former Marine and current congressman says that Trump has been displaying treasonous behavior, slamming the president's handling of intelligence on Russian bounties.

Congressman Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, will join me next.

Plus: Vladimir Putin could soon be able to stay in power for another 15 years -- how President Trump might be making it easier, easier for Putin to tighten this grip on power.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics today, President Trump today making an absurd allegation on Twitter, saying that intelligence reports about Russia offering Taliban bounties to kill American service members are all a hoax made up by the media, he says. Not true.

The president also called street paintings of the words "Black Lives Matter" a, quote, symbol of hate. The president also suggested the only way to save the heritage of the United States is to re-elect him in November.

You may recall the words of Trump's first secretary of defense, Marine General Jim Mattis, quote, Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people, does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us, unquote.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports for us now.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): as the U.S. reports record highs of new coronavirus cases, President Trump repeated his claim that the pandemic will soon disappear.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that at some point that is going to sort of just disappear I hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You still believe so. TRUMP: Well, I do, I do. Yes, sure, at some point. I think we'll have

a vaccine very soon, too.

COLLINS: Lately, Trump has ignored grim assessments from his own health officials and focused on stoking cultural battles. After New York slashed the police budget by a billion dollars, Trump rebuked the city's plan to paint "Black Lives Matter" on Fifth Avenue, calling it a symbol of hate that would denigrate the luxury street and further antagonize New York's Finest.

The city's mayor confirmed it's partially a message to the president.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY, NY: We're going to make it really clear to the president. It is going to be right outside his door step.

We want the president to hear it because he has never shown respect for those three words.

COLLINS: The last task force Trump created focused on coronavirus but today, the Department of Homeland Security formed another on protecting monuments, memorials, and statutes as Trump has vowed they won't be removed on his watch.

Trump is even positioning himself for a fight with Congress over the matter, threatening to veto a defense spending act because it includes a provision to rename military bases named for Confederate leaders. Though the bill includes raising soldiers' pay, the press secretary has said Trump is serious about his threat.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president will not be signing legislation that renames America's forts.

COLLINS: Trump's political advisers fear he is distracted from the health crisis facing the country as he continued to insist today the reports of Russians offering to pay the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers are fake news.

TRUMP: I agree with the intelligence people. I think frankly many of the intelligence people didn't think it was something that even happened.

COLLINS: But he didn't explain why his national security adviser drew up plans in case they weren't.

ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Here at the White House when we had this raw intelligence, we started an interagency process to look at options so that if the intelligence turned out to be verified, if it could be corroborated, then we'd have options to go to the president with to address the Russian situation.


COLLINS: And, Jake, lawmakers have been calling for more information about what the intelligence agencies know and some of them will get it tomorrow when it is going to be the highest level briefing yet on what's been going on. That is going to be for the Gang of Eight, those congressional leaders from both parties, and the heads of the intelligence committees, and it's going to be given by some of the intelligence officers they've been asking to hear from -- the CIA director, the director of the National Security Agency, and the president's director of national intelligence will also be there tomorrow during this briefing about 11:30 on Capitol Hill.

TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us, as always, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Joining us now Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts who served in Iraq as a platoon leader with the U.S. Marines.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

You said today that the way President Trump has handled this entire controversy is, quote, treasonous. Obviously, treason is one of the worst crimes anyone can commit against their country. How is this treasonous?

REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): It's aiding and abetting our enemy. Russia is our enemy. The Taliban is an enemy of the United States.

And what the president has done with his complicit silence, with his undebatable dereliction of duty in refusing to take action to protect our troops is absolutely aiding our enemy.

TAPPER: So you also said that American kids are dead because of the president's inaction.

As I understand it, intelligence is still investigating whether or not these bounties can be pinpointed on any specific attack though there is an April 2019 attack that killed three marines that they are looking at.

Are you confident placing that level of blame on intelligence that is not yet verified?


MOULTON: I'm confident with everything we know. Jake, intelligence is never a hundred percent. OK?

We didn't have a hundred percent certainty that Osama Bin Laden was in that -- was in that compound in Pakistan when President Obama made the command decision to take him out.

If I as a platoon commander received a report that my platoon might get ambushed, that perhaps we would get blown up by a mine, and I failed to say, well, you know, we should take mine resistant vehicles. Perhaps I said, it's not a hundred percent, so we're just going to go out on foot, and my platoon got blown up, I wouldn't be on Twitter defending myself. I would be in prison because that is the basic level of command responsibility expected of the most junior officers in our military.

And so, for Trump to deny that as commander-in-chief is the ultimate dereliction of duty.

TAPPER: I have a lot of friends in the military, nothing like you of course who served but one of the first reactions I got was from a mom whose son has served in Afghanistan and she was just so distressed that President Trump's -- well, A, at the news although Russians meaning us ill is not exactly new, but at President Trump's reaction, which was most about passing the buck. I didn't get briefed. I don't know anything about it. We still have yet to hear anything. He is attacking the "New York Times" and not attacking at all Putin or the GRU which allegedly did this.

MOULTON: I mean, thank God Trump reads "The New York Times" because he doesn't seem to read his intelligence briefings. Thank God that "New York Times" made this story public so our troops would know because the commander-in-chief and his team refused to take action.

I mean, we also heard today Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, trying to say oh, this wasn't verified. He knows better than that. And we ought to be asking what did Mike Pompeo know? What did the Secretary of Defense Esper know? What did Vice President Pence know and yet refused to take action to protect our troops?

Because every mother or father with a son or daughter on the front lines today has to be concerned, has to be concerned that people at the highest level of our chain of command are not doing everything they can to protect our troops.

You know, it reminds me, when I was in Iraq, George W. Bush was my commander-in-chief. OK? I didn't vote for him twice. I disagreed with his war even though I was fighting in it.

But I never imagined that George W. Bush would refuse to take action on intelligence that he had in the Oval Office to keep me and my marines safe. This is truly a new low for the president.

TAPPER: I want to get reaction -- I want to get your reaction to a claim President Trump just made during comments he made at Fox Business. Take a listen.


TRUMP: From what I hear, and I hear it pretty good, the intelligence people didn't even -- many of them didn't believe it happened at all. I think it's a hoax. I think it's a hoax by the newspapers and the Democrats.


TAPPER: Your response, sir?

MOULTON: It's just absurd. It doesn't matter how many people believe it or not. It doesn't matter if it is a hundred percent verified.

You're the commander-in-chief. You're responsible for the lives of young Americans. You do everything in your power to keep them safe and this president did nothing. Why? Because he is more concerned about his liability with Russia.

He is more concerned about his political future than the lives of our American troops, of our American heroes. Not draft dodgers like him but the people who are volunteering to say -- to put their lives on the line for our country, for our Constitution, and our values.

I think every American, including every Republican who's still out there trying to deflect or defend the president here needs to think about what that means on this 4th of July.

TAPPER: Democratic congressman and marine veteran, Seth Moulton, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it.

MOULTON: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up, he just wrote a book about America and race and he has now recovered from coronavirus. Comedian D.L. Hughley joins me next.

Stay with us.


TAPPER: In just the last 24 hours, President Trump has taken to Twitter to further seek to divide American people. He talked about saving the nation's, quote, American heritage which is a nod to those who defend the legacy of the Confederacy. He called Black Lives Matter a symbol of hate.

He threatened to veto a bipartisan military spending bill because of one provision that allows the military to remove the names of Confederate generals from 10 Army bases. He came out against the federal housing law that is aimed at combating segregation, calling it devastating.

Again, this is all just since our show yesterday.

My next guest is out with a new book on America's reckoning with race. Comedian D.L. Hughley joins me now. His book is titled "Surrender White People!: Our Unconditional Terms for Peace."