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Coronavirus Crisis; President Trump Still In Denial, Saying Administration Did Right On Coronavirus; Georgia, Arizona, California, Texas Set Case Record In Last 24 Hours; California Governor Orders Almost 75 Percent Of State Back To Near-Shutdown. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 1, 2020 - 18:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: But President Trump is still in denial, claiming his administration did it all right on the virus, and clinging to his false hope that the virus will -- quote -- "sort of just disappear."

We begin with CNN's Nick Watt in Los Angeles.

Nick, for nearly three-quarters of Californians, life is about to look like it did during the lockdown. Give us the latest.


Not quite. You will still be able to get a hair cut, which is one thing.

But 19 counties in this state -- and they are big counties -- we're talking L.A., Orange County, Ventura, Santa Barbara -- are all on the governor's watch list right now. He says he is sending strike teams into those counties, and he is rolling back some reopening.

California has got a problem.


WATT (voice-over): 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.

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 that somehow want to manipulate the reality.

WATT: And record numbers now hospitalized in Arizona.

JOHN GILES (R), MAYOR OF MESA, ARIZONA: I'm not sure what more we can do, with -- short of a total shutdown.

WATT: Record high hospitalizations also in Texas and long lines to be tested.

STEVE ADLER (D), MAYOR OF AUSTIN, TEXAS: 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 is 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.

WATT: Thirty-seven states are seeing their case counts climb, at least 22 of them now pausing or rolling back reopening.

New York City was due to open indoor dining Monday. Not anymore. And a warning from the governor for the complacent and the scofflaws.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We're back to the mountain. That is what is going to happen. And that is an inarguable fact.

WATT: And a new warning from the federal official in charge of testing. Those under 35 are driving outbreaks right now, and testing alone will not be enough to stop them.

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: A vaccine would, of course, be the game-changer. Some promising data from Pfizer today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have an effective vaccine that is proven on January 1, this thing does not end January 2. It's going to be another six months, nine months, could be a year before we get it distributed in enough shoulders to make a meaningful difference.


WATT: Now the official death toll right now in the U.S. from COVID-19 is 127,681.

A study out today, though, suggests that that could be a significant undercount, maybe by as much as 30 percent. What these researchers did is, they took how many people died in the U.S. between March and May this year and last year, and then they factored in the COVID deaths, and there is still a gap.

There are still other deaths they believe may well be connected to COVID. We are still learning so much about what we're going through right now -- Jim. ACOSTA: Learning while going in reverse.

Nick Watt, thank you very much.

WATT: Yes.

ACOSTA: We appreciate it.

Also just in, Texas just reported a single-day record of more than 8,000 new coronavirus cases.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov is standing by for us in Houston.

Lucy, despite the dramatic surge there, the state's lieutenant governor says, Texas did not skip over reopening guidelines? But that's not true, right?


In fact, the White House guidelines for reopening include the total number of coronavirus cases going down over a period of two weeks or a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of overall tests. Texas does not meet either guideline.

In fact, since Memorial Day, we saw the state break record after record in terms of hospitalizations, as well as new cases. So it is puzzling that the lieutenant governor would say he doesn't need the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, as his own state struggles with these record-breaking numbers, and also saw the highest fatality numbers since the pandemic began.


The fact of the matter is, we haven't seen any new statewide measures announced since yesterday. We spoke briefly about how the governor extended four more counties where elective surgeries are temporarily halted to make more space in hospitals.

But there is no, for example, statewide mask mandate. And that puts the onus on local officials to try to protect their populations. Harris County, home to Houston, where we are right now, extending the disaster declaration to August 26. And that means, for example, businesses will have to require their employees and patrons to wear masks.

But, again, it is a patchwork approach, county by county, city by city. And testing is another issue. This location is closed for now, but we saw lines of cars snaking around the corner for miles, people struggling to get tested.

At locations like this one, the -- it takes 10 days to get those critical test results. So this thing could get a lot worse before it gets better, especially as we head into that Fourth of July holiday weekend, Jim.

ACOSTA: OK. Lucy Kafanov, thanks for staying on top of that. We appreciate it.

Let's turn to some medical experts for more analysis.

We're joined by our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as well as Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor and dean of tropical medicine at Baylor.

Thank you, gentlemen, both of you, for what you do.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, let me start with you first.

California has largely been seen as a state that was doing everything right. People were patting California on the back. Now it is heading back into near lockdown as cases surge. What does that demonstrate about how quickly this virus can get out of control and become a resurgence in this country?


I mean, it reminds us, Jim, this is a very contagious virus. There's no question about it. And the data doesn't lie. The numbers are going up there. So, obviously, there were significant events where the virus spread.

I think Governor Newsom talked a little bit yesterday and today about private gatherings, in-home large gatherings that could be driving this, not even necessarily public, although that was contributing as well.

But all the -- you know, if you look at -- put this all together, it has clearly led to the significant rise in cases. And when we talk about exponential growth and the idea of doubling rates, how quickly something doubles, Jim, it is kind of like that thing you learned as a kid.

You get one penny today, two pennies tomorrow, four pennies the next day, after 30 days, it'll be worth some $5 million. Point is, they can grow very quickly as people continue to spread the virus.

ACOSTA: And, Dr. Hotez, the governor of California is taking steps to address the surge, including stopping indoor activities in 19 counties.

Will that be enough to slow the spread of this virus, or are they going to have to hunker down for a while?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yes, I mean, these numbers are really accelerating.

And here in Texas, it is even -- it's just as bad or worse. We just heard 8,000 cases today. Just to give you a perspective of what that means, if you remember, Dr. Fauci said yesterday -- he gave this dire prediction that we could reach 100,000 cases per day in the United States.

Well, when you extrapolate times the population of Texas, that would be 10,000 cases a day. Guess what? We're almost there. So, the apocalyptic numbers that Dr. Fauci predicted, we're there in Texas and probably in Arizona and Florida.

So, this thing is spiraling out of control, and we will have to take more aggressive measures. I have not seen evidence that the surgical strike methods proposed are going to be adequate, unfortunately.

And some of the models are really dire in terms of the predictive models that we're starting to see come out of the University of Pennsylvania. We're looking at doubling or tripling even beyond what we have right now in Houston.

ACOSTA: And, Sanjay, California is one of 37 states currently seeing surges.

When you look at this comparison of new cases in our country one month ago compared to where we are today, how concerned are you about this trajectory? Dr. Hotez was just describing it as spiraling out of control.

How do you see it?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think it creates a situation now where, you know, maybe before, it was sort of more localized focal areas.

And you look at that, and it is hard to think about any place on the map that is not vulnerable as a result of this. It is an infection,. It is spreading.

I often use the metaphor as thinking of the country as a human body. And before, maybe the infection was sort of localized in a few areas, but now it is clearly all over the place.

And you heard Governor Cuomo sort of talking about New York being held up as an example of how things could go well there, but even they're concerned now at this point. They can't let their guard down over there.

ACOSTA: And, Dr. Hotez, earlier today, you told some of my colleagues here that -- quote -- "There is not a dark enough color on that map to accommodate what is to come."

That is an ominous warning. What do you fear lies ahead for this country, but also for your city of Houston?


HOTEZ: Well, as I say, the numbers are going to continue to accelerate very aggressively.

And the piece of this that not a lot of people are talking about, but I have been trying to sound the alarm about, I think a lot of this is occurring in the low-income neighborhoods, where it is harder to do the social distancing. So I am really worried about African-American, Latinx population here in Texas and Arizona and elsewhere, Native American populations. They have often higher underlying rates of comorbidities. I think

those are the ones who are piling into hospitals and ICUs. And that is why I'm trying to be as vocal about this as I can to stop it. I'm calling it a humanitarian tragedy.

We can't do this to vulnerable populations. We are going to have to relook at this, and very soon, throughout the southern half of the United States. We can't allow business as usual.

We need a national road map, a national strategy. This is the time we need federal leadership. This idea of leaving it to the states and providing extra measures, like PPE and FEMA and that sort of stuff, it is not going to work.

This is clearly where we need federal leadership. We need a really strong, empowered CDC, at the very minimum, telling us what needs to be done and giving us that guidance.

ACOSTA: I think we're starting to see what happens when you leave it to the states, and not all of the states are on board with doing everything as forcefully as others.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you very much. We appreciate that. It's a wakeup call, no question about it. Thank you.

Just ahead: President Trump claims he is all for masks, but still say they shouldn't be mandatory.

I will talk more about that with author and columnist Thomas Friedman. That's coming up in just a few moments.

And, later, we will go inside the surging pandemic in Arizona. The mayor of Tucson is standing by to answer questions.



ACOSTA: Breaking news tonight.

There's -- sources are telling CNN there is a growing divide inside the White House over whether the president should confront the coronavirus head on more or keep his focus on reopening the economy.

And sources tell me and my colleagues Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak the president and his top aides are increasingly worried about the pandemic's impacts on Mr. Trump's reelection chances. President Trump has been nearly silent on the resurgence of the virus in recent days, instead turning to Twitter to stoke racial and cultural divisions.

But others, like Vice President Pence, are urging Americans to wear masks and socially distance.

For more on that now, let's go to CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond.

Jeremy, give us the latest.


Sources are telling us this evening that there is this divide inside the president's inner circle focused on this issue of whether the president should be focusing on the pandemic once again or whether he should continue with what he is doing now, which is largely ignoring it and focusing instead on reopening the economy.

The breakdown, Jim, as we're being told this evening, is that Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, Jared Kushner, the senior adviser and son-in-law to the president, they are on the side of stay the course and continue to kind of focus more on the economy than on this public health emergency.

But the vice president and trade adviser Peter Navarro are on the other end of this. Regardless, Jim, what is clear is that there is this concerted effort inside the White House to really downplay this second surge that we're seeing of this virus, to portray it very differently from the way that they did when there was this first surge of major cases in the United States.

Part of that is White House aides and their efforts, but another part of it is really just the president downplaying this. And that is something that he is continuing to do today, Jim.

The president once again going with this kind of wishful thinking, saying that these efforts are -- that the virus is going to simply disappear.



TRUMP: I think we are going to be very good with the coronavirus.

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

DIAMOND (voice-over): Tonight, President Trump betting on wishful thinking to stop the alarming surge of coronavirus across the country.


TRUMP: Well, I do. I do. Yes, sure, at some point.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is confident that it will disappear. He is confident that he has put together a revolutionary first-class team that is going to break through bureaucracy and get us a vaccine.

DIAMOND: With coronavirus cases trending upward in 37 states, and his own public health experts calling for swift action, Trump, who once called himself a wartime president in the face of a pandemic, now appears to be taking a backseat. He hasn't appeared at a briefing along side health experts in weeks, and he undermined CDC guidelines by rallying thousands of people at an indoor arena last month. But today:

TRUMP: I'm all for masks. I think masks are good.

DIAMOND: The president, who has found himself increasingly isolated over the issue of wearing masks, now saying this:

BURMAN: You would wear one?

TRUMP: Oh, I would. I would. Oh, I have. I mean, people have seen me wearing one.

If I'm in a group of people where we're not, you know, 10 feet away, and -- but, usually, I'm not in that position. And everyone's tested.

Actually, I had a mask on. I sort of liked the way I looked, OK?I looked like the Lone Ranger.

DIAMOND: But the president is still resisting calls for a national mandate.

TRUMP: Well, I don't know if you need mandatory, because you have many places in the country. People feel good about it, they should do it.

DIAMOND: Trump's comments coming after a slew of Republicans have stepped up their calls for Americans to wear masks, while also resisting instituting a requirement.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We shouldn't have to require a mandate for people to wear masks. It's the right thing to do. I trust people that they're going to do that if we ask them.


DIAMOND: Vice President Pence also stepping up his calls for mask wearing, if local officials agree.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We believe that Americans should wear a mask whenever state and local authorities indicate that it is appropriate.

DIAMOND: The president's campaign, meanwhile, finding a fall guy for the president's Tulsa campaign rally, reassigning its chief operating officer to a new role, after Trump privately fumed, not about the lack of health precautions, but because the arena was not packed to the brim.

And then there's the culture wars, Trump keeping up his defense of monuments to the Confederacy and threatening to veto a military funding bill because it would strike the names of Confederate generals from military bases.

He is also attacking New York's mayor for plans to paint Black Lives Matter in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, calling the slogan a symbol of hate, and suggesting police officers should block the painting. The White House press secretary claiming Trump was referring to the organization, accusing it of being hateful toward police.

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 them like bacon" about our police officers.

DIAMOND: Amid mounting evidence that Russia tried to pay Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops, the president stepping up his attacks on those reports, discrediting the intelligence as just another hoax, even as his administration prepares to brief the congressional Gang of Eight on the issue tomorrow.

TRUMP: This didn't rise to the occasion. And 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.


DIAMOND: Jim, a senior administration official tells me tonight that we will see the president focus more on the virus next week, but not necessarily talking about the alarming rise in cases, instead, focusing on what his administration is doing, essentially giving the message that, while there are these outbreaks across the country, that the administration is better prepared to handle them now.

But that, of course, Jim, is a question of whether the president actually sticks to the messaging that his aides want him to follow.

ACOSTA: And we're hearing from an adviser close to the president, Jeremy, that the president and his top aides, that they have a fair amount of concern inside the White House right now that this pandemic is doing grave damage to the president's reelection prospects as well.

Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much for that.

Let's discuss today's top stories with "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman. He is the author of "Thank You for Being Late."

Thomas, thank you so much for joining us. Great talking to you.

Tell me, Tom. The president is again repeating the claim that this virus will sort of just disappear. He made this comment earlier today in an interview with FOX.

How is this denial working out for the president? We have heard him say it repeatedly throughout this pandemic.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, you know, obviously, it is not going to just disappear.

The president is up against a foe he's never been up against, Jim. He's up against Mother Nature. You can't sue her. You can't seduce her. Can't sweet-talk her. She is just going to do whatever she is going to do.

And what she is going to do with a virus is, no matter what Trump says, she is going to spread it mercilessly, silently, and exponentially.

Let's put this in really simple terms that people can understand, Jim. Let's say that you're a money lender and you charge 25 percent interest if I wanted to borrow money from you. And I came to you, Jim, and I said I want to borrow $1.

I take that dollar from you. You charge me 25 percent interest every day. And I don't do anything for 40 days. I just sit around. After 40 days, I owe you $7,500. Jim, if I just wait three more weeks and still do nothing, I owe you almost a million dollars.

That's what it means to be in an exponential. Just like that dollar grew to a million dollars, the virus grows exponentially the same way, no matter what Trump says, believes, or desires.

ACOSTA: Right. He can't talk his way out of this one, no question about it.

And, Tom, the president now says he thinks masks are good, but he won't mandate wearing them. He won't wear them himself. Does any of this make sense to you?

FRIEDMAN: You really have to step back and say, just look around the world. Nobody else is doing this. This is like Dark Ages stuff. Nobody else is...


ACOSTA: Well, Putin is not wearing a mask.


I'm not talking about leaders. I'm talking about other countries...

ACOSTA: Right.


We're up against Mother Nature. When you're up against Mother Nature, she does not reward the smartest. She doesn't reward the strongest. She rewards the most adaptive.

And she basically asks three things of you when she throws one of her fastballs like a virus at you. She asks, first, are you humble? Do you respect my virus? Because if you don't, it'll hurt you or someone you love.


Second, she asks, are you coordinated? Because I evolved my virus over millennia to find any crack in your immune system. And, lastly, she , are you building your adaptation response to my virus on chemistry, biology, and physics? Because that's all I am. OK?

That's all she asks, because, if you're building your adaptation response on politics, ideology, and your election campaign, she will hurt you or someone you love.

ACOSTA: And, Tom, you write in your new column about the U.S. response to the coronavirus. And we can put this up on screen.

"This embrace of conspiracy theories, this undermining of truth and data by our president and vice president, this is not happening in other countries. This is a form of American exceptionalism that we never imagined possible. We're not leading. We're not following. We're lost."

Can you think of another crisis in American history that has met with a similar lack of attention from the president? We do understand, from looking at our history, that Woodrow Wilson did not really keep his eye on the Spanish Flu of 1918.

I suppose we are in a similar situation right now.

FRIEDMAN: Yes, I think the important thing, Jim -- I have been listening to the news on your show for the last 20 minutes or so -- is to remember, no matter what Trump says, no matter what the deputy governor of Texas says, the fact is, if the vast majority of Texans or Americans are worried that they -- if they go out, they're going to contract the coronavirus, if they go back to work, they go back to a bar, they go to a stadium, they get on an airplane, they're not going to do it.

So, this idea that they're sitting in the White House saying, gee, should we talk about masks or should we talk about the economy, if this virus continues to explode exponentially, each individual citizen is going to do what they're going to do to protect themselves, ultimately.

And that is why -- what is so crazy, Jim, is Trump, in the eyes of history, I think you could argue he won't be judged for what he didn't do early on, on this virus, when it was hard, when it was uncertain, when it was widely debated.

But history will damn him for not acting now, when the solution is clear, it's obvious, and it's easy. Wear masks. Social distance. Test, track, and trace.

ACOSTA: And you also write that -- you come up with the phrase that should appear on Joe Biden's bumper stickers: Respect science. You write, respect nature, respect each other.

Why do you think that that is becoming a winning message for the vice president? He seems to be doing that, basically, in principle. He wears the mask out in public. He is not holding a lot of events. Why is this working for him?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I'm proposing that should be his bumper sticker, respect science, respect nature, respect each other, because I think it really touches what so many Americans want out of a current president and certainly will want out of the next president.

We want someone who believes in science and doesn't bop around from one crazy quack miracle cure to another. We want someone who is ready to -- who respects nature, respects the power of nature, but also respects the next looming pandemic, which could be climate change.

And most of all, in this moment in our history of Black Lives Matter, and so many social protests of black and brown people asking for their rights and opportunities, let's respect each other. Let's talk to each other in a respectful way.

And that begins with the president not using the bully pulpit of the presidency as a platform to insult and denigrate people.

You know, I was listening to Kayleigh McEnany, the White House spokeswoman, explaining Trump's latest, that Black Lives Matter is some giant insult. It must be like this incredible, creative writing exercise that goes on there every day as they try to normalize whatever bizarre denigration he has uttered that morning.

She should teach creative writing when she is done as White House spokesman, because I am just amazed at the way they -- the words and formulations they come up with to normalize what are racist, vile, and denigrating statements.

ACOSTA: And we know she is performing for an audience of one.

Tom Friedman, thank you very much for that. We appreciate it. Great talking to you, sir.

And just ahead: record new coronavirus numbers in Arizona. The mayor of Tucson is standing by to join us live.

Plus: a closer look at what went wrong in California, leading the governor to put almost 75 percent of the population back into near shutdown.



ACOSTA: Arizona is one of several states reporting record new coronavirus cases prompting the governor to shut down many businesses, including gyms.

CNN'S Evan McMorris-Santoro is joining us. Evan, you're inside one of the gyms defying a new order to shutdown. What's the latest?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. I'm wearing my mask right now because I'm inside a gym that the governor of Arizona wants to be closed. This is one of 18 locations of the Mountain Side Fitness chain which is a chain that is currently suing the governor over the new rules set forth this week to shutdown things, like movie theaters, gyms, large gathering places, once again to deal with what is a rising pandemic here.

Now, you can see there aren't that many people in here right now but we've been at Mountain Side locations throughout the day.


And people are out working out. I spoke to one person, at another location earlier this morning and asked, why are you coming to the gym? You know the governor wants it closed. And the guy told me, look, the gym is open, I want to work out, so I'm going to do it.

And that's exactly the kind of thing that the governor is concerned about. But people here at mountainside say, look, we're wiping things down, we're calling for social distancing inside the building. But, obviously, public health officials are concerned about people being inside in groups during this pandemic.

And here at Mountain Side masks are not required. They do have them available for people who want to use them. Some people are using them and most people we've seen working out are not. So it's just -- that's the battle here in Arizona right now where the governor is saying, we need to close these gyms down and the gyms are saying we need to stay open. Jim?

ACOSTA: All right. And we know you'll stay on top of that. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you very much for that.

And let's discuss the growing crisis in Arizona with the Mayor of Tucson, Regina Romero. Mayor Romero, thanks for joining us very much.

Arizona is reporting a record high coronavirus cases right now and deaths today. Why is your state being hit especially hard right now?

MAYOR REGINA ROMERO (D), TUCSON, AZ: The rise in COVID cases are directly correlated with the opening of the state by Governor Doug Ducey. We were in a space at the beginning of May where we were seeing daily here -- at least here in the city of Tucson, in Pima County, we were seeing 20, we were at a plateau of 20 cases a day.

Just yesterday, we had 460 cases in Pima County alone. And today, we are hearing a record setting 4,800 cases throughout the state. It is very devastating and Governor Ducey took a step too quickly. He went from opening the state from zero to 60. And now, they're seeing the consequences of those actions.

ACOSTA: And, as a matter of fact, you clashed with the governor of Arizona when he refused to mandate masks in your state and would not give you the power to do so to have that kind of mandate in Tucson. He is now embracing the practice. Do you think this crisis would have become as severe had the governor mandated this sooner?

ROMERO: Well, he still has the opportunity. When he signed his executive order back in March, he preempted cities, towns and counties from doing any steps to help prevent the spread with his executive order.

And so we really had our hands tied. We pressured and pressured for the governor to untie our hands and pass our own mandatory mask ordinances. But I believe now is the time for the governor to push ahead and enact a mandatory mask executive order throughout the State of Arizona because the virus just can't tell from one town to the next city whether they can step over, whether the virus can step over that particular jurisdiction.

It's happening throughout the state. The crisis is everywhere. And we need swift action by Governor Ducey.

ACOSTA: Do you feel like saying, I told you so?

ROMERO: No. This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. This is science. This is something that medical professional and public health experts give us advice on. And I've been really listening to the public health experts.

It is not about really putting it in his face and telling him I told him so. It's about saving lives. And so it's important that he takes swift action, that he'd do everything he possibly can to protect the lives of Arizonans in our state. That's all I'm wanting and that's all I'm advocating for.

ACOSTA: And Governor Ducey is rolling back some reopening plans, closing bars, night clubs, gyms and more. Would further action at the state level help you get a handle on the surge and do you need more help out of Washington?

ROMERO: Yes. Unfortunately, what we're seeing here in Arizona is a microcosm of what's happening with the lack of leadership in the federal government. Here in Arizona, cities and towns and counties throughout the state have had to do what we need to --

ACOSTA: Do you mean the president there when you say that? Do you say -- you mean the president or the federal government?

ROMERO: Yes, I do. I mean, the president has expressed very little care about having an organized approach to attacking this crisis and this pandemic. The same thing is happening here in Arizona with Governor Ducey. I do thank him for taking extra steps this week to help curve, bend the curve down.


But we really do need him to take additional steps. It is a state of crisis. Arizona is one of the hot spots not only in the country but the world.

And so right now is the time for Governor Ducey to take swift action. The additional step he can take is instituting a statewide mandatory mask executive order. That has proven to protect residents and people by 80 percent. So it's one additional step that public health experts throughout this state are asking for, as I am.

ACOSTA: All right. Mayor Regina Romero, thank you very much for joining us. Stay safe. Good luck to you there in Tucson. We appreciate it.

ROMERO: Thank you so much. ACOSTA: And just ahead, what went wrong in California after avoiding the worst of the pandemic in the spring, the state has emerged as a hot spot. We'll take a closer look.

And, plus, new details on President Trump's resistance to the intelligence community's warnings about Russia.

Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.



ACOSTA: Tonight, despite implementing some of the strictest restrictions in the country, California is reporting alarming coronavirus numbers. The state's governors ordering 72 percent of residents into a near lockdown, shuttering indoor activities like bars, restaurants, museums, and movie theaters. This as the state hits a single day record for infections, shattering the previous high.

All of this has experts asking what went wrong.

CNN's Senior National Correspondent, Kyung Lah reports.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To understand why California is losing the battle against COVID-19, meet Manhattan Beach. At restaurants, partitions are up. Tables sit empty for social distancing.

Talk to the residents?

JONATHAN SMITH, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: I mean, I don't want to swear too loudly but I want to go to the beach. It sucks. I mean, this is not the same situation we're dealing with where people from all over the world are partying on a beach in Miami.

ROCK JACOBS, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: I don't agree with being told we can't do anything especially on a holiday that this country is supposed to be celebrating independence.

LAH: Call it COVID exhaustion. And it's showing up in the numbers.

After early signs of success controlling the outbreak, California is now bending the wrong way, with little sign of slowing.

JEFF BYRON, MANAGER, THE KETTLE RESTAURANT: I suspect there will be plenty of people walking around not social distancing themselves, not wearing their masks. We see it quite a bit.

LAH: Los Angeles County alone has more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases. That's higher than all of these states in the U.S. with the exception of the top seven. Governor Gavin Newsom ordered indoor restaurants, movie theaters, and museums closed in 19 counties and warned all residents to not gather in large groups on the 4th of July. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): You have 40 million people in the state of

California and if 40 million people turn their backs on these guidelines and common sense, that is not something we can enforce.

DR. ROBERT WACHTER, UCSF CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE: I'm pretty gloomy and a little bit angry and sad.

LAH: Despite how Dr. Robert Wachter feels watching California slide backwards, he does credit Governor Newsom for shutting the state down early. Most of the governors and states seeing a resurgence of COVID cases are Republicans. California is an exception and that's the public health lesson here says Wachter.

WACHTER: I think the problem is less about governance and more about human nature. And if enough of them say, all right, the rules are beginning to loosen up, and I am just going to get together with friends and I'm going to stay a couple feet apart, then it really doesn't matter what the rules are. The virus says I see an opportunity and I'm going to pounce.

LAH: Another big test this weekend as the 4th of July looms in the Golden State.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


ACOSTA: CNN's Kyung Lah, thank you very much.

Just ahead, how President Trump's resistance to intelligence warnings about Russia led to fewer briefings about Russian threats. New details, next.



ACOSTA: We're getting new information about President Trump's disdain for warnings about Russia.

Let's bring in CNN Chief National Security Correspondent, Jim Sciutto, and author of the upcoming book, "The Madman Theory".

Jim, what are you learning?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're learning that early in his term, Trump's intelligence briefers discovered that when his oral briefing included intelligence related to Russia's malign activities against the U.S., including for instance evidence of its interference in U.S. politics, Trump would often blowup at them, demanding to know why they kept focusing on Russia in his view and even questioning the intelligence itself.

I should note, this is based on accounts of multiple former Trump administration officials who briefed Trump, were present for his briefings and also who prepared documents for those briefings and who I spoke with, as you mentioned, for the book, "The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World".

Here is a quote from one of those officials. The official said: The president has created an environment that dissuades if not prohibits the mentioning of any intelligence that isn't favorable to Russia, this from a former senior member of Trump's national security staff.

One former senior intelligence official who served under Trump explained that if the president was obsessed with just one threat, he wouldn't listen to intelligence on other threats and a key line of information, Jim, between the agencies and the commander-in-chief would be damaged.

ACOSTA: And so, the officials just stopped including intelligence related to Russia in the briefings? That's incredible.

SCIUTTO: Not entirely, but less often, frankly. They reduced the amount of Russia-related intelligence they included in those briefings, according to one former senior intelligence official. And this is remarkable -- the president's briefers had one simple rule with Trump, and that is never lead with Russia.

Instead what they would do is they would often place that intel only in his written briefing book, but as briefers discovered over time that he often did not read that book.


We had accounts of that this week relating to the Taliban intelligence and that left him unaware of crucial information.

Another official said the following: it creates a self fulfilling prophecy where he hears less and less of what he doesn't want to hear and therefore starts to believe more and more that the Russians aren't doing anything bad. This from someone who served on Trump's NSC.

I should note that when asked about this reporting, the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told CNN, this a quote: This is totally false.

I should note as well that Ratcliffe, of course, took his job just in May this year.

ACOSTA: All right. CNN's Jim Sciutto, thank you very much.

More news just ahead.


ACOSTA: Finally tonight, we share more stories of people who died from the coronavirus.

Guillermina Lucia Naranjo of New York was 89 years old. She was a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother with a strong work ethic that she instilled in her family. Her daughter says the family was preparing to celebrate her 90th birthday last month.

Timothy "Olan" Montgomery of New York was 56. He worked as a photographer and artist before transitioning into acting.

May they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing.

I'm Jim Acosta.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.