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Trump Claims A "Great Job" As Coronavirus Cases Hit New Record; Trump's Resistance Led To Fewer Briefings On Russia; Hong Kong Chilled By China's National Security Law. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 2, 2020 - 05:30   ET





DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we did it all right. We did a great job. We're credited with doing a great job.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Not in reality. A new record number of new coronavirus cases. Hospitals preparing for another surge as the president fails to face the facts.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And never lead with Russia. Why the president's national security team shied away from briefings on threats from a major adversary.

Good morning, this is EARLY START. Nice to see you all. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: Great to have you back, Christine. I'm Laura Jarrett. It's 30 minutes past the hour here in New York.

The president loves to talk about numbers, crowd sizes, ratings, the stock market, the most powerful, the greatest, the biggest numbers of all time, he says. This is not what he had in mind. The U.S. setting a new single-day record on Wednesday with more than 50,000 new cases of Covid-19.

Yet, here's how President Trump sees things.


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.


ROMANS: He has said that for months and he's wrong. Sources tell CNN there's a split in the White House over whether he

should turn back to the pandemic that has killed 128,000 Americans or he should continue to focus on reopening the economy. Now, the president's focus has not been on the pandemic. It's been on monuments, Black Lives Matter, Joe Biden, military base names, white power, T.V. ratings, and more.

JARRETT: The president has been following a familiar playbook all week, complaining about names on buildings, fair housing rules, and calling Black Lives Matter a symbol of hate. Literally, a movement about equality -- a non-stop barrage -- retreating to his safe space because he knows his support is fading.

With the Fourth of July coming this weekend it's once again up to the states to decide how to beat the kind of rapid spread of the virus we've seen after Memorial Day. Cases per day have almost doubled since then.


DR. JOSHUA BAROCAS, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PHYSICIAN, BOSTON MEDICAL CENTER: It's set up a perfect storm. The combination of travel, the combination of opening -- reopening -- perhaps, in some cases, too early -- and the combination of people not necessarily following some of these preventive guidelines.


ROMANS: Now, some states are taking new action.

California, the first state to lock down, is now reimposing many of those same restrictions. The governor shutting down all indoor activities in counties on the state's coronavirus watch list. That affects 28 million people.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: In restaurants, wineries, and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment (broadly defined by guidelines that we have previously put out), zoos, museums, and card rooms in the state.


JARRETT: Other parts of the country are taking their own steps as well. Miami-Dade County is limiting pool hours and alcohol sales at hotels for the holiday weekend. New York City delaying the return of indoor dining. In Texas, where there are still long lines to get tested for Covid, the governor has already scaled back reopening.

But some states like Florida, where the vice president will be later today, refusing to take action statewide. Hospitals, both there and in Texas, stretched for beds and critical supplies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIN BROMAGE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, UMASS DARTMOUTH: The dimmer switch approach works when you have case numbers under control. When you get into Arizona numbers, Texas numbers, Florida numbers, that tiny adjustment that you make is not going to have the effect on turning those new infections around fast enough. You've got to come in with more of a hammer rather than a switch to control this now.


ROMANS: Governors, who Trump pressured to reopen, are now being forced to retreat. Twenty-three states are rolling back reopening.

Top medical officials overseeing the government's response say they have not spoken to the president in weeks.

After days of Republicans saying the obvious -- wear a mask -- the president now gives masks a lukewarm endorsement.


TRUMP: Well, I don't know if you need mandatory because you have many places in the country where people stay very long distance. I'm all for masks. I think masks are good.

I would wear -- if I were in a group of people and I was close --


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


JARRETT: The fact is, this is just not an issue where he's led by example. We've seen him wear a mask only once because he was asked to and because a photographer captured the moment.


Now, coronavirus cases in the military have more than doubled in the last three weeks. The president has had nothing to say about that either. As commander in chief, he's responsible for the lives of vulnerable service members at home and abroad.

ROMANS: The Republican Party he reshaped in his image is now embracing more fringe ideology.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top health officials are being targeted because they gave medical advice some Republicans just don't want to hear, like not reopening while cases were climbing.


LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R), TEXAS: Fauci said today that he's concerned about states like Texas that skipped over certain things. 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.


ROMANS: Now with Mr. Trump's reelection on the line, Covid cases, unemployment, racial tension are all sky-high. Only his poll numbers are down. So, how does the president view his own performance?


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


JARRETT: A record daily number of cases and he calls it a great job, but barely a word about the pandemic he's convinced is over but the nation knows is just not.

CNN has reporters covering this pandemic across the country.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Lucy Kafanov in Houston, Texas.

The state breaking another single-day record -- more than 8,000 new coronavirus cases reported. This, as Texas sees its second-deadliest day since this pandemic began.

Hospitals, for now, able to deal with the current crisis but they are worried that they won't be able to cope if these trends aren't reversed.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Evan McMorris-Santoro in Scottsdale, Arizona.

We are inside of the debate over the pandemic in Arizona. This is one of 18 locations of the Mountainside Fitness gym chain, which is currently suing the state over new regulations calling for gyms to shut down as cases and deaths rise in Arizona.

People, as you can see, are still working out and the gym is remaining open despite an order from the governor that gyms, movie theaters, and other gathering places shut down as the state tries to deal with a resurgent pandemic.


And this is the start of what would typically be one of the busiest holiday weekends for air travel, but the TSA had to close part of security at the world's busiest airport in Atlanta.

Security at the main domestic terminal closed for deep cleaning after a worker there tested positive for coronavirus. TSA numbers show that more than 860 TSA workers have tested positive for coronavirus since this pandemic began. The head of the TSA says the agency is opening more lanes at all airports across the country to keep wait times low and to limit exposure.


New Jersey casinos are set to reopen today. New Jersey's governor says that the casinos will self-monitor, also adding there are, quote, "enormous amounts of protocols being put into place, including social distancing, sanitization, and hygienic barriers. Face coverings required by people entering. Anyone not wearing one will not be allowed inside."

Some of the other spots set to reopen include amusement parks, bowling alleys, and water parks.


ROMANS: All right, great reporting there. Thanks, everybody.

CNN has learned President Trump's resistance to intelligence warnings about Russia has led his national security team to brief him orally on Russia-related threats less often.

The White House denies the president was briefed orally about Russia offering Taliban proxies -- bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. CNN has confirmed that intel was included in his written daily briefing this spring.

A former senior intelligence official tells CNN the president's briefers had one simple rule, never lead with Russia. But the real question is why? What's behind the president's persistent reluctance to stand up to Russia?

JARRETT: Multiple sources say early in his term, officials realized that when the oral briefing included unfavorable intel on Russia, the president would blow up at them and often question the intel, itself. Again, the question is why?

Yesterday, top aides defended the way Trump's intel is handled.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: When the threat is sufficiently serious -- the scale of the threat is of such importance that there's an action that I think that the president needs to be aware of and the information that I've seen is sufficiently credible, then we make sure that the president is aware of that.

ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We brief him on everything that he needs to know to keep the country safe. So any thought that we wouldn't brief him on something because it would anger him is just -- I don't even know how to respond to that question.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: The House Intelligence Committee will be briefed later today on the Russian bounty intelligence issue. That's on top of a Gang of Eight briefing delayed from yesterday.

ROMANS: All right.

Advertisers have Facebook's attention. Hundreds of companies have pulled ads over the last few weeks over their concerns about misinformation on Facebook and hate speech.


So what do these companies want? Some answers this morning. They want broad changes touching almost every aspect of how Facebook operates. That includes the ads allowed to run, the makeup of Facebook leadership, how Facebook polices content on the platform.

Supporters of the boycott also demand Facebook hire a top executive with deep civil rights experience. Mark Zuckerberg has now agreed to meet with the civil rights organizers behind the boycott

Even though household names have joined -- have joined this high- profile Facebook boycott, a CNN business analysis reveals most of the 100-biggest Facebook ad spenders haven't changed course. Of the 25 largest spenders last year, only three -- Microsoft, Starbucks, and Pfizer -- have publicly confirmed they paused marketing on Facebook.

JARRETT: A potentially deadly weather pattern is developing in parts of the central and southern U.S. for the holiday weekend. Here's meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Laura and Christine, good morning, guys.

Let's show you what's happening here because big-time heat, the story. And, of course, we know for early July, a pretty impressive run of heat, too, across parts of Oklahoma, Texas, on into Arkansas, and along the Gulf Coast as well. That's where heat indices are around 105 to 110 degrees for a large area.

About 20 million people underneath heat advisories. And you'll notice Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City -- we're talking 107 to 108 in some of these regions -- what it will feel like into the afternoon hours.

Now, they're not alone in the excessive heat. Miami climbing up to 98 degrees on the final day of June. That tied an all-time record for the entire month of June. And what's most impressive is what's at the bottom of that screen here, is that the last 10 consecutive days, heat indices or what it feels like have all exceeded 100 degrees across that region.

Now, heat is the deadliest weather element. A lot of people give attention to tornados and hurricanes, and rightfully so when it comes to destruction, but heat -- that kills nearly twice as many people as tornados and three times as many, nearly, as hurricanes.

It's certainly a serious situation developing across a large area of the country. In Chicago, and even to the north, you're not excluded.

Look at the low temperatures this time next week, into the middle-70s with highs climbing up into the middle-90s at this time next week -- guys.


ROMANS: All right, careful there with that heat. Pedram, thank you so much.

One of the most inspiring things you will ever see. A 5-year-old raises serious cash for a hospital that saved his life.

And, it's a Fourth of July like no other -- an evening of fireworks and an all-star musical lineup. Don Lemon and Dana Bash host CNN's "FOURTH OF JULY IN AMERICA," live, starting at 8:00 eastern Saturday.

We'll be right back.



ROMANS: There is a chill of fear over Hong Kong. Police wasted no time enforcing China's new national security law, arresting protesters for crimes that didn't exist a day earlier. The new rules have people questioning their future -- what's allowed, what's not.

CNN's Will Ripley live in Hong Kong. And we know what the goal of the law is for sure.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is totally uncharted legal territory for the people who were arrested under this law yesterday, Christine -- the first round of arrests. You know, considering how small the protests were compared to last year, 370 arrests is a lot.

Hong Kong police were out. They seemed to be emboldened by this new law and any time that a small protest popped up they surrounded it, they shut off the neighborhood.

And even so much as being in possession of a banner saying "Hong Kong Independence" is enough to land you arrested and potentially imprisoned for life under this new national security law. One of the first arrests, a 15-year-old girl who had a banner and some other materials that are deemed to be a national security threat to China.

I had a chance to sit down with the only Hong Kong citizen who had a vote -- the only Hong Kong representative at the National People's Congress Standing Committee -- and I asked him about these arrests.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TAM YIU-CHUNG, HONG KONG DELEGATE, NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS STANDING COMMITTEE (through translator): It might be because some people intentionally challenge the law. Also, it might be because they did not understand the content of the law.

RIPLEY: How is a 15-year-old girl in possession of a Hong Kong independence banner -- or anyone, for that matter -- a threat to the national security of China simply for possessing such a banner?

YIU-CHUNG (through translator): We feel very sad that some youths and teenagers have violated the law. We really don't want to see such cases but unfortunately, in the last year, many youths and teenagers violated the law.


RIPLEY: China says it's not social inequality here in Hong Kong fueling these protests. They believe it is a foreign-fueled plot. They think the U.S. and Taiwan are influencing these young people. And so, part of this law is also to try to reeducate Hong Kong youth, which raises questions -- could professors be arrested?

You know, if someone's arrested, they take away your phone. They can go through all your social media electronic footprint and anything that you posted, even if it was years ago, could be used to build a case against you.

That's why a lot of activists are deleting their accounts. Some organizations are already disbanding. You have professors, you have activists all questioning their future -- whether they will be able to say anything in opposition of China moving forward or if this law could effectively suppress freedom of speech here in Hong Kong.

ROMANS: And that certainly is the goal. Just chilling -- really chilling.

Will Ripley in Hong Kong for us. Thanks, Will.

JARRETT: Well, a New York Appeals Court potentially clearing the way for a tell-all book by the president's niece, Mary Trump. The court has lifted a temporary restraining order against the publisher, Simon & Schuster, allowing them to move forward with printing copies of the book and shipping them to retailers. There's a court hearing later this month on this.

Meanwhile, Robert Trump, the president's brother, is trying to block this publication. He argues Mary Trump is breaching a confidentiality agreement.


ROMANS: A soldier suspected in the disappearance of Fort Hood Army Private Vanessa Guillen killed himself after being confronted by police in Killeen, Texas. A second suspect, the estranged wife of a former soldier from Fort Hood, is in custody. This all happened hours after investigators discovered remains of a body near the Texas army base. The woman's family believes the remains are hers. The 20-year-old was last seen in the parking lot of her barracks on April 22nd.

JARRETT: Boeing kept federal regulators in the dark about the 737 MAX computer system behind two deadly crashes. A federal watchdog report also faults the FAA for turning over the vast majority of its certification responsibilities to Boeing. The report says Boeing downplayed the computer updates as a modification when it was far more involved in the actual flight of the aircraft.

The company claims it has made substantial changes to the plane and its corporate structure. It's now conducting 737 MAX test flights, a key step in the government's reevaluation of the plane.

ROMANS: A high-speed police chase through a California neighborhood ends with the suspect driving off a cliff and into the Pacific Ocean. Police say the driver hijacked the vehicle, driving more than 100 miles an hour and refused to pull over. The driver survived the crash, remarkably without injury, and was arrested.

JARRETT: It's amazing.

Well, sleep problems in early childhood may be linked to mental health disorders in adolescents. That's according to a new study of over 7,000 children in the U.K. Researchers found waking up frequently during the night and irregular sleep routines as babies and toddlers can cause psychotic episodes in children 12 and 13 years old and lead to borderline personality disorder.

You've got to get that sleep.

A huge drug bust in Italy. Police confiscating over 15 tons of amphetamines, they say was produced in Syria by ISIS. Officers tracked three shipping containers to the Port of Salerno and found 84 million pills valued at more than $1 billion. Investigators there claim it's the largest drug haul in history in terms of both value and quantity.

ROMANS: All right, let's take a look at markets this Thursday morning. After a record day in the Nasdaq yesterday, gains around the world. You can see Asian shares closed higher. European shares have opened higher as well.

On Wall Street, futures pointing to a higher open again if this holds.

It was a mixed day Wednesday. The Dow down, but the S&P and the Nasdaq up. The Nasdaq hitting a record high. Blue-chip stocks stalling a little bit after their best quarter in two decades.

Critical information about the coronavirus recession due in just a few hours. The June jobs report is expected to show record jobs growth, while the latest jobless claims likely to show more than a million workers filed for first-time unemployment benefits.

The Business Roundtable is calling on Congress to take action on police reform before its August recess. The trade group represents the CEOs of the nation's biggest companies and it urged bipartisan consensus on community engagement, data collection, transparency, accountability, minimum national policing standards, and training.

AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson said corporate America cannot sit this one out. CEOs are leaning forward and saying we have a problem. AT&T, of course, is the parent of CNN.

Tesla is now more valuable than almost every company in the S&P 500, including some iconic American brands. Tesla's market cap is nearly $210 billion. It makes it the most valuable auto company on the planet -- more valuable than Toyota, Disney, or Coke.

Tesla hasn't been consistently profitable enough to join the S&P 500 but it may be closing in on that milestone. That stock is up 167 percent this year.

JARRETT: All right, pull out the tissues, Christine. An assisted living community in North Carolina is tapping into the power of social media to keep everyone connected.

After nearly four months of not having visitors because of the pandemic, residents at the Victorian Senior Care community smiled for pictures while holding signs with their names and their interests. Staffers then shared the images on Facebook. And since last week, cards, letters, and packages for the residents have been pouring in from all over -- these pen pals -- including from places as far as Germany, Africa, and New Zealand.

ROMANS: Oh, I'm so glad people care -- people helping people. Will you be my pen pal?

JARRETT: Yes, just craving --

ROMANS: I know.

JARRETT: -- craving some connection.

ROMANS: All right.

Finally, stories don't get much more inspiring than this one. Tony Hudgell, a 5-year-old with two prosthetic legs, has raised more than $1 million for the London hospital that saved his life. He did it by walking six miles over the past month.

Tony lost both legs as a newborn, suffering abuse from his biological parents that left him on life support. He only recently learned to walk on crutches.

This week, Tony completed his amazing challenge, cheered on by supporters, including his adoptive family.


Good for you. Oh, wow.


ROMANS: Ok, that's it for us. Thanks for joining us this morning. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have now, in a single day, seen the highest number of cases -- more than 50,000.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If your state's going up in numbers for five days in a row, they'd need to go into some sort of stay-at-home mode again.

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.

LEON PANETTA, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: This president has essentially gone AWOL from the job of leadership.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bars, dine-in restaurants, and movie theaters will also now close again in 19 Californian counties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not take your guard down.