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U.S. Nears 128,000 Deaths As Trump Predicts Virus Will "Disappear"; Trump Tries To Save Face By Saying He's "All For Masks"; Georgia, Arizona, California, Texas Set New Case Records; Top Pandemic Official Says To People Under 35 Driving Outbreaks: "Please Avoid Mass Gatherings, Wear Face Coverings;" White House: Trump Deleting "White Power" Video "Speaks for Itself"; Trump Calls Intel On Russian Bounty Plot To Kill U.S. Troops "A Hoax." Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 1, 2020 - 19:00   ET


JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: And may their memories be a blessing. I'm Jim Acosta.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, as coronavirus cases surge, the President now claims he's fine with masks. He says his administration has done everything right in the pandemic and the virus will just disappear, his words. What world is he living in?

Plus, officials pleading with young adults to avoid crowded areas especially bars. I'm going to speak to one 30-year-old who got the virus after going to a crowded bar. He was then hospitalized for a week. He's coming on tonight because he wants you to know something important.

And the President calls Black Lives Matter a symbol of hate. Tonight, the White House defending those comments. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, 127,970 Americans are dead from coronavirus. President Trump today says the virus will 'just disappear'. Thirty- seven states are reporting increases in cases in the past week, 22 states have paused or roll back plans to reopen because of a surge in spread.

But tonight, the President is trying to save face now insisting that he's behind masks 100 percent.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm all for masks. I think masks are good. If I were in a group of people and I was close ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would wear one.

TRUMP: Oh, I would. I would. Oh, I have. I mean, people have seen me wearing one. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. That is just too much to take, OK? He says people have seen him wearing one. What people? Certainly not the American people. In fact, he has gone out of his way, as we all know, anyone who watches television in the past three months know to make sure that the American people never see him in a mask.


TRUMP: I don't see it for myself.

I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.


BURNETT: OK. So now he says he's fine with masks. Well, it's note as he said that he still did not wear one, not leading on this. So why is he even changing his verbal tune at all? Well, a poll did find two- thirds of Americans believe the President should wear a mask in public. There's that. We know he cares about polls. And then there's this, his closest allies on this have just absolutely deserted him.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: I think they work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the right thing to do.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We must have no stigma, none, not about wearing mask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, for my home state, I do believe in wearing masks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that if the President wore one, it would just set a good example. He'd be a good role model.


BURNETT: OK. Steve Doocy stating the obvious, that's the reality. The President has been on the wrong side of this and it is a fact. So he's trying to get away now with saying he's fine with masks finally without wearing one. He's hoping history will forget how he handled this very important issue and he's hoping that people will take this also at face value.


TRUMP: I think we did it all right. We did a great job. We're credited with doing a great job.


BURNETT: Well, first of all, they didn't do it all right. I mean, let's just start with the fact that the test didn't work at the beginning and I don't even need to go through all of that. I'll just give you this, the United States has 4 percent of the world's population but one third of the world's known coronavirus deaths. So that's an average of 1,033 people in this country dying every single day from the virus since the first known death in February, OK?

That's not something to say is a great job. But Trump is signed to sell Americans on a good story. He's a great salesman, but this story is not rooted in reality.


TRUMP: I think we're going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that's going to sort of just disappear, I hope.


BURNETT: OK, just disappear. He's still saying he hopes it's just going to disappear. Well, we have heard that before from him.


TRUMP: It looks like by April, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.

Just stay calm, it will go away.

It's going to go away. This is going to go away.

Eventually, it's going to be gone. It's going to be gone.

It's going away.


BURNETT: Remember when the 15 were going to go to zero, the cases. This was months ago. Of course, we all know it's not going away and nor the growing calls for the President to wear a mask, which is why the President is trying to save face.


TRUMP: I had a mask on. I sort of like the way I looked, OK? I thought it was OK. It was a dark, black mask and I thought it looked OK. I looked like the Lone Ranger. But, no, I have no problem with it.


BURNETT: I mean, it is just so bizarre to even be talking like that after everything he said and he still doesn't put the thing in his face.

Kaitlan is OUTFRONT outside the White House for us tonight. And Kaitlan, you have some new reporting, I know, on discussions inside the White House on the President's response here. What have you learned? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, we're

picking up on this split happening inside the White House over how to approach what's happening right now as - it's July and this is not what the White House expected with these record numbers of cases every day.


And so basically that divide looks like should they approach it how they did the last time where you saw all of this dramatic national emergency style press conferences every day kind of approach or should they keep it as the President has wanted to and some of his economic advisors have wanted him to which is focused on reopening and how to best redo that and/or how to best move forward with that.

But, of course, something that's throwing a kink in those plans is the fact that you're seeing several states start to either halt their reopening or even scale them back, because you heard people like the Texas Governor today then talking about maybe they made certain moves too quickly. And so that's something that's facing the White House now.

But, Erin, what the really the big concern over not only just with the White House approach is going to be is the President himself because Vice President Mike Pence goes to Arizona. He goes to these places where cases are surging, yet the President himself has really remained disengaged on this.

He had not talked about it. Maybe I think he had one tweet yesterday. He had not been talking about it this morning, instead focusing on stoking those cultural battles and the only reason he was asked about it as he was doing those interviews today where he is repeating sentiments like saying coronavirus is going to disappear. A sentiment he first echoed back at the end of February and, of course, that approach and that wishful thinking has not worked like his health experts said it would.

So the question is does he get concerned enough about his reelection chances like his advisors are that he starts to course correct.

BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you.

And I want to go now to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Jonathan Reiner who was with the White House medical team for eight years and, of course, now at Cardiac Cath in GW.

So Sanjay, the President says today, "I think we did it all right. We did a great job." I guess we can just start with the very basic here use of the past tense with something that is still raging. In fact, we now are having more cases than we've ever had before. We have a 4 percent of the world's cases, we have a third of the world's deaths and yet he said that he's hopes it will just disappear, just disappear is in quotes. Does that leave your jaw on the floor at this point?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No doubt. I mean, somebody asked me the other day what have we gotten right here and I really had to stop and think about it and scratch my head and try and figure that out. I mean, I think the unifying problem has been that this has been minimized, since the very start. At a minimum, it's been minimized, it may be even worse than that.

We didn't get testing right. We're not even in really a position to be able to trace right. Those are the bread and butter public health things. The gating criteria by which states should open and was released by the White House task force itself were not followed in any state. There was no real follow through on that. And then, obviously, this issue of masks.

I mean, the one bright spot, I guess, in all of this is that there's been a lot of progress with regard to a potential vaccine and potential therapeutics, but we're still waiting on some of that. So it's hard to - certainly you can't say we got it all right by no means.

BURNETT: I mean, Dr. Reiner, certainly at this point that is just blatantly clear. Look, this thing is going to keep spreading around the world. You can't keep it anywhere. But if you look at what other countries succeeded in doing all the curves go up and then they come down and then ours goes up and down and then surges up again, it doesn't look like anybody else's and it's in all the worst ways.

And now, his Press Secretary today described what we are seeing in states where you're seeing records in hospitalization surge and now you're starting to see deaths tick up as 'embers', embers. What do you make of that?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, DIRECTOR OF CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION LABORATORY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Six hundred to 800 Americans per day are dying because of those embers, 600 to 800 Americans per day. So let me ask you this, if 600 to 800 American soldiers were being killed every day on the battlefield with the President of the United States say one day this is just going to end, it'll go away by itself, I hope.

No, we would put that down. We would go on the offensive and we have the ability to do that. What we have to do now is get every American to wear a mask, get every American to social distance, to cancel all outdoor mass gatherings and to ramp up our testing like crazy and then in places where the Press Secretary's embers are burning brightly, we need to actually shutdown.

That's what we can do. We have the ability to do this and let's go on the offensive, 600 to 800 Americans are dying every single day because of this kind of supine activity, supine leadership by the President of the United States.

BURNETT: Yes. And, I mean, embers is just a - it's an offensive word to use, offensive and inaccurate.

So Sanjay, the President today and I played part of it, right, he repeated his claim that the virus is going to 'just disappear' and I want to play more of that.


TRUMP: I think that at some point that's going to sort of just disappear, I hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You still believe so, disappear ...

TRUMP: Well, I do. I do. Yes, sure.


BURNETT: Sometimes, Sanjay, it's just a basic question. You still believe so disappear and just the I do, I do, yes, sure, just the nonchalance, the blatant competence, just no reticence or hesitant.

GUPTA: We've been reporting on this for a long time, right, Erin? And so if you take a little bit of a look behind the curtain here, the reality is that back - I remember doing an interview back in February 13th with the Director of the CDC, Dr. Redfield, and asked this specific question, is this thing likely to just wither away?

He said, no. It's not going to wither away. In fact, it's likely to be here into next year and maybe into the foreseeable future. I bring that up only to say, Erin, that this is the taskforce, these are the people who are telling the President this. So even if you say, hey, look, there was a lot that we didn't know scientifically about this. There are viruses in the past that have withered away. Maybe the President thought that.

He was being told by the coronavirus task force what the science was showing. There was no evidence this was going to go away. It was too contagious and too embedded in many places around the world.

BURNETT: So Dr. Reiner, the President here wasn't even honest about whether he's worn a mask publicly, right? There was a time he visited a Ford plant publicly, he did not wear the mask behind closed doors. He did briefly and then he came out and said, well, I would never give anyone the satisfaction of actually seeing me wear one, right? That was actually what he said, didn't want the media pictures of it.

So what do you make that he's now trying to say he's all for masks, as if it doesn't matter that he isn't wearing one and that he's repeatedly said that it's not for him?

REINER: I think Republican leadership all around the country is finally getting into his ear. But this is what the American public needs to hear unequivocally from the President of the United States. He needs to come before the public and say this.

My fellow Americans, everyone in this country above the age of two who goes out in public must wear a mask. The First Lady and I are going to model that behavior. This is how we're going to get back to normal. Everyone is going to wear a mask, period. That's what he needs to say. Period.

BURNETT: And he needs to do it, which obviously is, for some reason, incredibly difficult for him. REINER: Right.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, California taking drastic measures as it is getting hit with a new wave of cases. New York City also putting some major reopening plans on hold. The former CDC Director Tom Frieden is my guest.

Plus, I'll speak to a 30-year-old who got coronavirus at a crowded bar. He then spent a week in the hospital. And he has a message to the millions of young adults who are going to bars now.

And he's getting death threats and being called the N word for mandating masks in his city. The Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Breaking tonight, record numbers of new coronavirus cases reported in four states; California, Arizona, Texas and Georgia. The Governor of California taking drastic measures to try to turn things around now ordering 75 percent of the date, almost 75 percent to close all indoor businesses. Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.



GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D) CALIFORNIA: Bottom line is the spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice over): California's Governor, Gavin Newsom, announcing new restrictions this afternoon, halting all indoor activities in businesses, including restaurants, museums, zoos and movie theaters in 19 counties, which represents 72 percent of the state's population.


NEWSOM: We are now requiring to close their indoor operations due to the spread of the virus.


CARROLL (voice over): Thirty-seven states seeing a surge over the past week and now results of a new study say the actual us death count might be higher than the official numbers show. Research published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine says the number of excess U.S. deaths from March to May was 28 percent higher than what was attributed to COVID-19.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: There are storm clouds on the horizon.


CARROLL (voice over): The alarming rise in cases nationwide, prompting New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, to stop restaurants in New York City from opening indoor dining next week. Cuomo warned if people do not comply, the state which has seen its numbers moving in the right direction could end up back where it was two months ago.


CUOMO: We're back to the mountain. That is what is going to happen.


CARROLL (voice over): Troubling numbers continue coming in from Texas, Arizona and Florida where that state's Department of Health reported more than 6,500 additional COVID cases today. The Governor continues to push back on critics who say he reopened too soon and should by now have had a state mandate to wear a mask.

In Texas, 8,076 new cases reported today are record high and topping yesterday's total by more than 1,000 cases. In the face of those numbers, the state's Lieutenant Governor says he will stop listening to recommendations from the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who cautions States against skipping over CDC guidelines when reopening.


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.



CARROLL: And late today, Arizona's Governor reached out and says that he's going to need 500 additional medical personnel to help deal with the spread there. Hospital beds in the State of Arizona at 85 percent capacity, ICU beds, Erin, at 88 percent capacity.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jason.

And I want to go now that the former CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden, who was the CDC Director under President Obama. So Dr. Frieden, you just heard the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, a State where, of course, there's a major surge in cases, hospitals reaching capacity says he is not listening to Dr. Anthony Fauci anymore. What's your reaction to that?

DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: Erin, we work in my organization with governments and communities around the world and around the U.S. What we find is that places that are guided by public health and that fully support public health do better.


They have fewer cases, fewer deaths and less economic devastation.

We do not have an enemy here among people. We have an enemy here that's a virus. If we do things like opening up bars, we're opening up the door to the virus. If we work together, we can control it. But that means working together, having discipline, recognizing we are all in it together. If all of us wear masks when we're indoors, all of us are safer.

Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance and we have to (inaudible) ...

BURNETT: How dangerous can comments like that be though? How dangerous can comments like that be from a public official?

FRIEDEN: Well, I think we have to look at what people do and the fact is that most Americans understand that this is a very serious pandemic and want to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities. That's why when you actually asked most people are wearing a mask, but we need more consistent messaging and we also need to ramp up the services that other countries do, that parts of this country do so we can quickly pinpoint when cases arise and stop them from exploding.

One of the things that's very clear is that large crowds indoors, including in bars is something that's driving this in many places.

BURNETT: So in California, which is the most populous state in the United States and in fact if it were country would be fifth to seventh largest economy, depending how you look at it. Announcing drastic measures, they are shutting down indoor businesses for three quarters of the state, restaurants, museums, zoos, movie theaters, restricting beach access over the holiday weekend, closing bars that don't serve food. So will that will that do it? And how long would they need to do it for to even know?

FRIEDEN: Well, unfortunately, the answer here is a tough answer, because if you look at New York City, when it got really out of hand, it took a couple of months to quiet down again to get to the level of where we are now. If you take one step forward too quickly, you're going to have to take two or three or four steps backwards. That's why it's so important that we follow the science. We protect ourselves and one another and we move forward carefully.

BURNETT: So I want to play something that Admiral Brett Giroir said, the Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS. There was a telephone briefing today about testing and here's what he said.


ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR, HHS ASSISTANT FOR HEALTH: 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 4th holiday, and especially among the young adults.


BURNETT: What more does this administration need to do right now? Sure, they can say personal behavior, but we all know that. What needs to be done specifically?

FRIEDEN: Well, I think every state, every community should have standard information so that all of us can see exactly what's going on with COVID in our community and exactly what's going on with COVID control measures in our community and then we can be on the same page trying to make progress against the virus. Right now, the virus has the upper hand.

And one thing that was correct in what Dr. Giroir said is this isn't just about testing, that hasn't always been understood. It's important to test strategically and make sure that we're doing the right thing with those results. Looking at the present positivity increasing in many states around the U.S. and very high in parts of the south tells you that they have an explosive outbreak there, it's going to continue to get worse.

We need to test strategically. That means people with symptoms, especially those in nursing homes, homeless shelters, jails, prisons, factories where it can spread widely contacts of patience. If we test strategically, follow up. We can control the virus instead of the virus forcing us indoors.

BURNETT: So you say the virus has the upper hand right now. The President today, of course, said that he hopes it will just disappear. When you hear that, what do you think?

FRIEDEN: Hope is not a plan. We need a plan to move forward together as a country and that means looking at the most important things about where this virus is spreading, learning how we can keep it at bay while we recover our economy, because that's also critically important. And maybe above everything, doing a much better job protecting our healthcare workers.

The fact that more than 400 of our doctors and nurses have been killed by COVID-19 is just an outrage. We need to do better protecting the people on the front lines and we need to do better protecting the most vulnerable among us, including in nursing homes and people with underlying health conditions.

BURNETT: Many of whom, of course, don't know they have them. Thank you very much, Dr. Frieden, and I appreciate your time.

FRIEDEN: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, I'm going to speak to a young man who didn't think he could get coronavirus. All of that changed after he went to a crowded bar last month. He was hospitalized for a week. There are many in this country who want to hear what he has to say.

And the Mayor of Kansas City now the target of death threats and racist messages, because he mandated masks. He's my guest.




BURNETT: Tonight, please, please, please, those are the words from a top federal official to young Americans who haven't been taking this virus seriously.


GIROIR: We must be disciplined about our own personal behavior, especially around the July 4th holiday, and especially among the young adults - and I mean 35 and under who are driving the current outbreaks in many states. Please, please, please, avoid mass gatherings, wear face coverings, use hygiene.


BURNETT: This as states across this country now report the number of young people make up at least half of their cases. And, of course, the deep fear that young people once it starts spreading like wildfire there, it spreads to older people and the vulnerable.

OUTFRONT now Jimmy Flores. He contracted coronavirus after going to a crowded bar in Scottsdale, Arizona early last month. And Jimmy, look, I want to give you credit for coming on because you, I know, have some really important things that you want to tell people. But I wanted to start with that night when you went out to the bar, did it occur to you that that you shouldn't go or there was a risk in going to a bar with your friends?


JIMMY FLORES, WAS HOSPITALIZED WITH CORONAVIRUS AFTER GOING TO A BAR: At that moment in time, I didn't really concern myself with my own health. COVID to us was foreign. No one really knew about it. And our mistake was just a lack of knowledge and just awareness of that, of this disease.

So, no, COVID was on the last thing in our mind. We were on the verge of reopening. And we didn't really care about COVID to be honest with

BURNETT: So describe the scene, you go into the bar, what happened that night. I mean, just explain what it was like, how many people, the whole scene, because, obviously, the context for our viewers to know is, you know, two days later, you got sick.

So, tell me about the night.

FLORES: Sure. So, the night was pretty busy. We were drinking, me and my buddy went to this (INAUDIBLE) bar, and we went ahead and just had a good time, you know, like you would do at a bar, restaurant, club. It was pretty packed. I think there were about maybe, you know, 300 to 500 people there. I was there with other friends, we had a table and, you know, we were enjoying our life during nighttime.

And I guess one of the things that was an issue with that particular place was the lack of cups. I mean, we were impatient. We wanted to drink, and, you know, we did share some drinks there because we wanted to drink and have a good time. So that's probably one of the per curiam (ph) causes of how I got this thing.

BURNETT: Right, it could be, although, who knows, 300 to 500 people all hanging out. I mean, you know, you'll never -- you'll never probably know.

FLORES: No, yes.

BURNETT: OK. So, then, two days later, you get sick. So, what happened? When did you realize that something was really wrong?

FLORES: Oh, I mean, I woke up that Monday morning at 2:00 am with 103 fever, body chills and body sores. It was pretty bad, I knew that something was wrong. So I immediately went and scheduled a test for COVID on that Tuesday and I got my results Thursday with a positive result.

BURNETT: OK. So, I know the big picture here is what you said, you know, it was the last thing on your list. You didn't think it is a problem for you. There is -- that's a belief, Jimmy, that a lot of young people in this country share. They just think that if they get coronavirus, it's going to be a mild case, you know, so they just don't -- they don't care.

So, you're 30, you're young, you end up in the hospital for a week. So tell me about that. That is scary and serious. You're 30 years old.

FLORES: Listen, I am an active person, I go to the gym. I'm not a big smoker really at all. Yes, I drink, but I drink socially, and I don't have pre-existing conditions.

So, to me, I'm like, hey, you know what, I'm not around my family. I'm not around older people that could get this thing. Everyone around me is enjoying their lives, so, you know, I'm going to live my life.

And I would have never imagined in a million years that I would have gotten this virus in the way that I did.

You know, on the sixth to seventh day when I was sick, I started getting a cough issue, and it was very light to where if I took a breath, I would go ahead and have a cough. Within 24 hours, it turned into a cough attack where I couldn't take a small breath without fearing for my life.

On that Monday, where I decided to go to the hospital, I was literally laying in my bed in a position to just breathe like a person that smoke for 50 years. It was very scary. I feared for my life, and when I decided to go to the hospital I also decided to make the message public, because I know I made a mistake, I knew that I didn't take it seriously, and I wanted other people to experience my experience, because that's how I knew other people would get this message, is through a personal experience with someone they probably knew and they can relate to it.

BURNETT: Yes. Look, I have to say, I give you credit for doing it, you know, because there are some people who are probably watching who are mad at you, but there's a lot more, Jimmy, who are saying, wait a minute that was, me or that is me.

You know, what do you say to young people right now who are sort of saying, whatever, I'm going to go to a bar, who cares, I'm not going to be around old people? What do you say to them?

FLORES: Sure. I mean, listen, how -- I can't really say too much because I was that person. However, I'll say this, you know, why rush yourself into a hospital, why rush yourself into getting sick. If I would have gotten sick two and a half weeks prior to this time, I would have never gotten the treatment that I got, which was the (INAUDIBLE) treatment. That treatment was one of the reasons I was able to leave the hospital in a timely manner.

I can only imagine if we are patient, if we were a mask, and the mask is just to protect your own health, the health of your family and the health of your community, you know, you won't want to overload our hospitals.

If you wear a mask and you can somehow delay the sickness, because no matter what -- I think that the sickness is pretty contagious, you're going to probably get it. You probably won't stay days in a hospital. You probably won't even go to a hospital. You probably get way better treatment and you'll be in a better position to handle the terrible virus.

You know what? I went to a hospital. I did my thing over there. I was on a breathing tube, and it's probably not going to be you. However, why take your chances?



You were in a breathing tube, and you were in a hospital, and you are intubated, you were there for a week. Look, I hope people heed what you have to say, Jimmy. We're glad you're better, and I hope people are going to listen to you. Thank you.

FLORES: Thanks for the opportunity.

BURNETT: All right. And next, the mayor of the Kansas City received death threats, called the N-word after he mandated masks. He's OUTFRONT.

Plus, President Trump calling "Black Lives Matter" a symbol of hate, and the White House tonight defending those comments.


BURNETT: Tonight, the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, receiving a death threat, and been called the N-word. Why? Well, people who say it say that's because he mandated masks in his city.

And he's OUTFRONT now, the Democratic Mayor of Kansas City, Quinton Lucas.

Mayor Lucas, I appreciate your time. You announced your order mandating masks on Friday. And it was a mandate. And then you received texts from a person calling you the N-word, saying you should, quote, swing from a tree.

This is -- this is a text. You screen grabbed it. And you are choosing to share them.

I mean, what was your reaction when you saw these messages, Mayor?

MAYOR QUINTON LUCAS (D), KANSAS CITY, MO: You know, I as a mayor get a lot of negative messages, it's part of the job particularly during the COVID era.


But I have to admit I was taken aback. You don't see racial slurs all the time, but sometime -- but the "swing from a tree" line was something that really just shocked me almost to no end.

And it was a local number. It wasn't just some troll or bot from Russia. It was somebody who lives in this area who felt the need I think to try to escalate it in the craziest way possible. And on something like a mask requirement, it seemed absolutely ridiculous.

BURNETT: I mean, well, yes, of course, unfortunately, masks have become political which is just a tragedy. But how many negative -- I mean, how often are you getting negative comments like this about your mask order? And how much of it comes from this false concept that masks are linked to liberty?

LUCAS: Yes. You know, I think it has, unfortunately, the negative messages have increased pretty tremendously as we've gone through the COVID crisis. And so, the stay-at-home orders were one thing. But I think because probably the president initially supported them to some extent, we didn't hear that too much, but as the months have gone on, now each thing that we do relates to some a violation of the people's, you know, their liberties.

And with the latest mask order, I've had a decent number of people who have either sent me messages about how flawed our medical advice is, that we're basically distorting the truth, how we're killing people, how we continuing to kill the economy. Unfortunately, a lot of people have tried to turn this into a true culture war, and there is just this vitriol and I do think that it starts from Washington, that it's part of this discussion, that is really unnecessarily, keeping people healthy. BURNETT: So, so, you know, what do you say to people who have this

emotional reaction about this and are saying it's about liberty when it isn't? I mean, how do you -- how do you try to reason -- obviously, not with someone who sent such a horrific text like you shared before, but with others who are angry? But you're trying to reason with them and get them to do the right thing to save lives.

LUCAS: You know, I think it's the same thing we tried to say out here on seatbelts, motorcycle helmets, all of that, which is that this is really just a thing that's meant to make you healthy.

I have no interest in restricting anyone's freedom. I have no interest in telling them what they can and can't do. But we do have an interest in saving lives.

And the important thing is that it's not a question about you as the individual, that's the tough part. It's about everyone around you, your friends, your family, anyone you bump into, and keeping all of them safe. And that's the area where I've probably had the greatest concern, because, you know, as we all know, wearing a mask isn't necessarily about you staying healthy, it's everyone else. And I think that's being missed right now in this kind of discussion of these political issues which just don't have to be the case.

You know, one thing I try to tell people is I don't like wearing masks, but I do it because I can make other people healthier. None of us are used to wearing masks every day. And so, that's what we tried to share most.

BURNETT: Right, right, right. It's not comfortable. No one likes the fogged glasses. We all get it. You do it because it's the right thing.

All right. Mayor Quinton Lucas, I appreciate your time. I thank you.

LUCAS: Thank you.

BURNETT: All right. And next, the White House tries to explain why the president hasn't denounced a video he tweeted with a supporter chanting "white power".


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president took down the video, the deletion speaks strongly.


BURNETT: Plus, Trump calls reports of Russia offering bounties to kill U.S. troops a hoax, despite top officials on the National Security Council getting briefed.



BURNETT: Breaking news, the White House defending President Trump, calling black Lives Matter, quote, a symbol of hate.


MCENANY: All black lives do matter. He agrees with that sentiment. But what he doesn't agree with is an organization that chants "pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon" about our police officers, our valiant heroes. He's talking about the organization.


BURNETT: That's not what the president said, though, in his tweet about plans to paint the words outside Trump Tower. He said, quote: NYC is cutting police dollars by one billion dollars, and yet the New York City mayor is going to paint a big, expensive yellow Black Lives Matter sign on 5th Avenue denigrating this luxury avenue. Maybe our great police have been neutralized and scorned by a man who hates and disrespect them won't let the symbol of hate be effects to New York's greatest street.

OUTFRONT now, Ben Jealous, former president of the NCAAP and president of People for the American Way.

Ben, what's your reaction, the president calls Black Lives Matter, the organization, in his own words, a symbol of hate, says that it would denigrate the luxury avenue of New York's greatest street and the White House defends it?

BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT, PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY AND FOUNDATION: This president is increasingly desperate and he is really doubling down on his base. You would expect the president and these times to try and rise above the fray to unite the country, to pull people together, to heal old wounds.

This president is doing precisely the opposite. He seems to think it might make him win. It seems to be, frankly, driving many people who voted for him four years ago to think about voting for somebody else this time.

BURNETT: So, his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, saw her there, was asked today why the president has failed to specifically denounce the video that he shared. He re-tweeted and set up for 3 hours because he wasn't on his phone, then he finally deleted it. A supporter chanting white power.

There is no way he didn't hear it. She said the video but didn't hear it. That's not true, if you watch the video, you heard it.

Here's part of the exchange.

JEALOUS: It's the first three seconds.



MCENANY: The president took down that video. That deletion speaks strongly, and I would note the president has repeatedly condemned hate.

REPORTER: But why hasn't he denounced that specific video and said that that is hateful language, that is used in it?

MCENANY: He deleted it.


The deletion speaks for itself. His repeated condemnations of hate speak for themselves.


BURNETT: Deleting the video speaks for itself is what she says. What do you say?

JEALOUS: So does tweeting it.

You know, this president has been coy with white supremacists again and again. He did around the Ku Klux Klan early on. He did it with Charlottesville. There's good people on both sides.

And now, you see him doing it here again. And again, it seems to be part of his attempt to dog-whistle, to play to his base. He's running like George Wallace, he's running like Lester Maddox. You know, he has the RNC scheduled for him to speak on Ax Handle Saturday.

I mean, it's -- it's a mess. And that's just -- these are his instincts. This is a guy, the Central Park Five, what the world has known their innocence for 20 years, but he still insist that they're guilty. When it comes to race, he has a real problem.

BURNETT: Yes. I mean, they just -- as I said, they said he watched that video. If you watch that video, you heard white power. You heard it repeatedly. I don't know, you know, for me that was incredibly shocking that that could've happened.

You had op-ed today, Ben, urging cities with a largest African- American populations in this country go ahead on their own -- with police reform, and, you know, the president tweet referenced the NYPD budget being cut by billion dollars. Now, I just want to be clear, a lot of that was sleight of hand. They just took money, they put on the Department of Education budget. They said they're going to cut some training classes, some new hires.

When you look at that, is that reform?

JEALOUS: You know, five years ago in New York, excuse, me seven years ago in New York, we passed something called the Community Safety Act. Part of what it did is it shifted money from NYPD to fund violence -- violence interrupters. I'm sorry, stuttering a bit tonight.

These are guys that are formerly gang affiliated who have proven themselves over the last seven years to be super effective at stopping homicides of the most dangerous parts of the city. Back then, Trump and his types bashed it and the reality is, we see seven years later, that shift in resources from the cops frankly, in this case the former gang members, actually has worked better to drive down homicides in the city.

And so, yes, this is a time to think deeply, to act with courage, but here is the main point. We can't wait on the federal government to do it and that's why I have said we've got to start at the city level. We got to start at the county level. If we're smart, we can cover half the black folks in the country just with passing laws in 20 metro areas.

If we get to 100 metro areas, that 75 percent of the black folks in the country, and, of course, that helps millions and millions, and millions of folks of all colors quite frankly who are concerned about what's happening in their community, and the need to transform public safety now.

BURNETT: That's interesting. The facts can be done without the federal government.

Thank you so much, Ben. Good to see you.

JEALOUS: Thank you. Take care. It's good to see you.

BURNETT: And next, the potential Russian plot to pay Taliban militants to kill U.S. troops. Trump's explanation, not adding up with his national security advisers.



BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump calling reports on intelligence that Russia was offering bounty payments to kill U.S. troops, quote, a hoax, while his own handpicked national security adviser admits that response plans were actually being prepared.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's a hoax. I think it's a hoax by the newspapers and the Democrats.

ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: If it turned out to be true, we had options ready to go and the president was ready to take strong action.


BURNETT: Alex Marquardt is OUTFRONT.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Trump administration today scrambling to answer why the White House had the intelligence as far back as early last year that Russia was offering bounties to the Taliban to kill American forces. The president, they claimed, wasn't told about it. That decision was made by the presidents intelligence briefer

according to the official in charge of making sure the president here's what he needs to, the National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien.

O'BRIEN: She made that decision because she didn't have confidence in the intelligence that came up. Knowing the facts that I know now, I stand behind that call.

MARQUARDT: But the concern over the intelligence was serious enough that it was briefed to top officials on the National Security Council, including former national security adviser John Bolton who declined to comment.

Then, early this year, according to a U.S. official, as new intelligence surfaced, it was in the written version of the president's daily brief, which officials had told CNN the president is not known to fully or regularly read. The White House insisting though that the president does read his intelligence reports.

MCENANY: The president does read, and he also consumers intelligence verbally. This president, I'll tell you, is the most informed person on the planet earth when it comes to the threats that we faced.

MARQUARDT: The daily brief also goes to top cabinet officials, like Robert O'Brien and others across the administration. Meaning, they didn't bring up the Russian plot with the president either. Something that President Barack Obama former intelligence briefer, Robert Cardillo, called incomprehensible.

ROBERT CARDILLO, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATOINAL GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: It just was too important if and when you confirmed to not give the president a heads up.

MARQUARDT: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today insisted that the reports were handled correctly.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: When the threat is sufficiently serious, the scale of the threat is of such importance that there is an action that I think that the president needs to be aware of, and the information I see a sufficiently incredible, then we make sure that the present is aware of that.

MARQUARDT: The president himself dismissed the stunning revelations on Twitter just as another hoax. A U.S. official however told CNN that the intelligence assessment was based on several pieces of information. That information for eavesdropping, interrogation of Taliban fighters, and financial transfers from Russia to the Taliban all pointed to Russian military intelligence, GRU, wanting to see Americans killed by the Taliban.

CARDILLO: Just the substance of it exceeds the threshold of what we call duty to warn, meaning lives are at risk.

MARQUARDT: Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us.

Anderson starts now.