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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

U.S. Placed On Britain's "Red List" Amid New Travel Rules; Kim Jong Un Claims North Korea Has No Coronavirus Cases, Calls His Handling of Pandemic "Shining Success"; Washington Redskins Launch "Thorough Review" of Team Name. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 3, 2020 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[16:32:38]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: In our world lead, first, the European Union banned Americans this week from entering their borders. Today, the United Kingdom sent a somewhat similar message. American can come, but we have to quarantine for 14 days.

CNN's Scott McLean is live for us from Downing Street in London.

Scott, what do travelers need to know if they're planning to go to the U.K.?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jake. So, as you mentioned, if they're coming from the U.S., they have to be prepared to quarantine for two weeks. The same goes for travelers from every other country with the exception of the 59 that the U.K. just announced would be exempt. That list includes countries like Spain, Italy, France and Germany, places that not that long ago were coronavirus hot spots.

The U.S. was obviously left off of the list, perhaps not surprising, though, considering the sky-high infection rate. For those who do, though, manage to make it to the U.K., great news. The pubs are going to be open tomorrow. The prime minister, though, is warning the British public, pleading with the British public not to blow it, not to undo the progress already made. He is emphasizing the importance of taking personal responsibility for keeping infection rates low, which is especially important considering that enforcement of the rules is quite lax.

Case in point, Jake, I just finished a mandatory two-week quarantine today. Not once in that time did I get a knock on the door or even a phone call from anyone to ensure that I was actually complying.

TAPPER: And we should note, it's not just commercial airline passengers who are being told that they need to quarantine or they're blocked from entering the European Union, some Americans were recently denied entry to Italy after flying in on a private jet. Tell us about that.

MCLEAN: That's right. So this happened on Wednesday. This was a private jet that flew directly from Colorado to the Italian island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean. There were five Americans on board and a handful of other foreigners as well.

The Italian authorities said that they tried to, quote, find a solution for the Americans but there was no way around the E.U. rules which allow travelers in from more than a dozen countries, just not the U.S. Ultimately, that plane was denied entry and it instead flew to the U.K. where, of course, everyone on board will have to quarantine for two weeks, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Scott McLean, thank you so much.

North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, just made his first public appearance in weeks.

[16:35:03]

He praised his own handling of the coronavirus pandemic as a, quote, shining success. Kim claims that the country has seen no cases. Of course, it's worth noting that, A, North Korea is right next to China where the virus originated. And B, you really can't trust anything the North Korean regime has to say.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, South Korea, for us right now.

And, Paula, North Korea has a less than desirable health care infrastructure. What do officials that you speak with think about this rather bizarre claim by Kim Jong-un?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, certainly you would be hard pressed to find anybody who believes that North Korea doesn't have a single case, but this is still what the country is claiming.

Now, the WHO, the World Health Organization representative for North Korea spoke to us just a few hours ago and said that North Korea is claiming they have been testing people. They have done 922 tests so far, so not very many for a suspected population of 25 million. But they say all of those tests came back negative.

Now, Kim Jong-un has claimed, as you say, it's a shining success the way his country has dealt with this, also warning against complacency.

Now, that warning from the North Korean leader came as we saw images of this meeting. Nobody appeared to be wearing a mask. There was very little, if any, social distancing. So that was something to note as well. Usually those around the leader at least are wearing masks to try and protect him -- Jake.

TAPPER: Paula, there were reports earlier this year that Kim Jong-un was in poor health, he hadn't been seen publicly in weeks. Do we know anything more about what happened and what his condition is?

HANCOCKS: Most people that I speak to here in South Korea never believed, Jake, that he was in ill health. It was a definite he is alive and well from the South Korean side. What most people do assume is that he is trying to protect himself

from the coronavirus. He's in his mid-30s. He is not in good shape for a man in his mid-30s. He certainly doesn't want to catch this virus.

So the assumption is that the reason we have seen so little of him, and when we saw him on Friday, that was the first time in about a month we have seen him publicly, is simply so that he can protect himself.

TAPPER: That makes sense. He's in one of the vulnerable groups being, I mean, morbidly obese.

Paula Hancocks in South Korea, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

It's the most controversial team name in the NFL and now, there are new demands from corporations for the Washington, D.C., area football team to change its name.

Could money talk this time?

Stay with us.

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[16:41:57]

TAPPER: Breaking news in our national lead today. Today, the Aurora, Colorado, police chief announced that she has fired three officers involved in photographs taken near the site of the killing of Elijah McClain, an unarmed black man. The photo seen here shows three police officers smiling and re-enacting a chokehold.

McClain lost consciousness after being put in a chokehold by police. Paramedics later administered ketamine in an effort they said to sedate McClain. The 2019 killing of Elijah McClain has gotten renewed attention in the reexamination of policing in America that we're going through.

The police chief says she apologizes to the family for the shocking photograph.

The sports lead now. After years of complaints and criticism, today's Washington, D.C., NFL franchise says it will do a thorough review of the team's name. That name, of course, is the Washington Redskins, considered by many Native Americans to be nothing less than a racist slur. This comes one day after FedEx, one of the team's biggest sponsors, asked for that name to change.

I want to bring in CNN sports analyst, Christine Brennan, and L.Z. Granderson, who's a sports and culture columnist for "The L.A. Times".

L.Z., let me start with you.

Today, franchise owner Dan Schneider said in a statement, quote, this process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the NFL and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field.

The team has always argued that pride and history are reasons to keep the name, but wouldn't the team be -- in your view, do you think that keeping the name is just racist?

L.Z. GRANDERSON, SPORTS AND CULTURE COLUMNIST, L.A. TIMES: Well, it's funny how Mr. Schneider wants to abbreviate the history of team. He wants to keep it into wins and losses, touchdowns and interceptions, et cetera.

Well, if you're going into the true history of the name of the team, then you know the person that named the team never said it was designed to honor Native Americans, that he was a racist, that his team was the last to integrate and it was forced by the federal government to do that. That's all part of the history.

So, if Mr. Schneider is proud of all of that, then talk on it, speak on it, and stop abbreviating that history so that you can white wash the true meaning of that slur.

TAPPER: And, Christine, Nike took Redskins merchandise off the Nike website. FedEx only made its name change request after pressure from investors who called the team name dehumanizing to Native Americans. The franchise has been hearing the same complaint literally for decades.

Is it different now because of the threat of losing cash?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Absolutely, Jake. You know, I covered the team back in the '80s when they actually won games and won Super Bowls for "The Washington Post." And I used the name all the time.

And about seven years ago, it just dawned on me, I was late to the game, but it just -- it was awful, as there was more reporting on this topic how racist the name is. L.Z. is completely correct, it's an awful name. You could never start a team now with that name. Try explaining that name to a 12-year-old, right?

And so I wrote I would never use it again. And I have said the Washington NFL team ever since.

[16:45:13]

This day, we're close. We're not there yet, Jake, but we're close to seeing this name change. And this is an incredibly historic moment. It is absolutely the right thing to do.

And let us all think of all of the Native leaders who have worked so hard over the decades for this to happen. But, yes, if it took corporate America to push them over the edge, I guess that that's just a reality of our time, and understandable in our society.

But the big news is, it looks like it's going to change, and that is a huge step in the right direction for the Washington NFL team.

TAPPER: Let me ask you, Christine.

Politics are going to be on display in NASCAR on Sunday, when driver Corey LaJoie sports a Trump 2020 logo on his car. This obviously comes after Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only black top-tier driver who raced with the Black Lives Matter logo on his car last month.

Have politics been a turnoff to NASCAR fans, or do people just take it in stride?

BRENNAN: Well, certainly a lot of the fans, NASCAR fans, Jake and L.Z., we know this from covering this over the years, they would be Trump fans.

So, no surprise, I guess. It's the pendulum swinging. I guess the old adage, shut up and dribble probably doesn't pertain here, right, because clearly he is injecting Trump and the 2020 election right into sports.

And, obviously, where we are as a society, they certainly have the right to do that. But I think NASCAR is going the way of the Washington NFL team and so many others in making steps for progress. Whether that means it's the progress or not to have Trump 2020 on the car, so be it. But it's only one. And I think we see NASCAR really trying to make efforts going more towards a more liberal, open-minded, less racist, less sexist society.

TAPPER: Well, they banned the Confederate Flag on the cars.

L.Z., let me ask you a question. A source tells CNN that the NFL is now planning to play, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which is often referred to as the black national anthem, before every game in week one, assuming there is a week one.

Acknowledging black pride obviously is one thing. But that doesn't really get at why so many African-American players were kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality.

GRANDERSON: You are absolutely right, Jake. And this is pandering 101.

And it's really embarrassing. I mean, this country has never had a problem with black people singing about our troubles. The black people have created genres of music specifically to sing about our problems. You think about the blues and hip-hop. So singing a song does absolutely nothing in terms of the struggle.

But what is a song if you have NFL owners who still refuse to say black lives matter? What is a song if you have owners who continue to support politicians who can't say black lives matter?

What's a freaking song if you have politicians giving money to politicians who says that Black Lives Matter is a hate group? So I understand that the NFL is trying to find different ways in which to try to insert itself late, but still insert itself in this conversation on the right side of history.

But don't give me a damn song. Like, lend your resources. Address the racism in your hiring process. And for heaven's sakes, stop encouraging this sort of playing both sides of the fence with your ownership group when it comes to philanthropy and political donations, because it really just undermines any efforts you're trying to make to try to have criminal justice reform, to try to have social justice.

TAPPER: L.Z. Granderson, Christine Brennan, thank you both. Happy Fourth of July to both of you. Really appreciate your time today.

BRENNAN: Thank you, Jake.

GRANDERSON: Thank you.

TAPPER: It is one of the worst attacks on U.S. troops in the war in Afghanistan.

Today, the movie depicting that fierce battle, "The Outpost," is out.

Coming up next, I'm going to talk to the last reporter to visit Combat Outpost Keating before everything there went horribly wrong.

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TAPPER: In our pop culture lead today, the film "The Outpost," based on my nonfiction book of the same name, opens in some theaters and on video on demand today, Apple and Amazon and the like.

The film tells the true story of the October 3, 2009, Taliban attack on Combat Outpost Keating. It was the deadliest day for the U.S. in Afghanistan that year. The battle was brutal, yet it prompted moments of true valor and selflessness and honor.

Every American killed there that day died in the service of his brothers at the output.

Now, long before I even heard the name Combat Outpost Keating, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, who was then with the U.K.'s Channel 4, had visited the real-life base before the attack.

I invited him to visit the set while making the film and to file this report about the finished product.

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NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice- over): Afghanistan, America's longest war, ongoing yet so far from our thoughts, it's already in pop culture history.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Welcome to the dark side of the moon, gentlemen.

WALSH: Friday sees the release of a movie about a landmark episode of the war's greatest bravery and futility combined, the story of Combat Outpost Keating, a remote, strategically pointless base stuck in the mountainous east.

[16:55:15]

It came under heavy planned attack in 2009. Eight Americans and dozens of Taliban assailants died. "The Outpost," based on a book by CNN's Jake Tapper, tells the story of the men who fought to save it and each other.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I need volunteers.

WALSH: It's just the only battle since Vietnam in which two living Americans were awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor for bravery.

They're played by Scott Eastwood...

SCOTT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: Every time they take a potshot at us, they're figuring us out.

WALSH: ... as Sergeant Clint Romesha, and Caleb Landry Jones...

CALEB LANDRY JONES, ACTOR: Everyone's worried about the new C.O.

WALSH: ... the movie's standout performance as the complex Ty Carter, who made five deadly runs across the base to resupply ammo.

Carter, in the green here, was one of three vets from the base working as advisers when the movie filmed in Bulgaria. There, Jones had seemed haunted, perhaps by his veteran brothers' injuries in Iraq.

JONES: When I received the script, my older brother was visiting for Thanksgiving, and I asked him to read it. He read it and he said, "You're doing this."

And I got to meet Ty. And now we're here. But...

WALSH (on camera): It looks like this has been hard work, emotionally as well.

JONES: Yes, but we're not even -- we're halfway done.

WALSH (voice-over): When we saw the film set, the mountains that sealed the base's fate, had yet to be CGIed in.

Now they impressively loom over the base, starkly reminiscent of the fish-in-a-barrel feeling I had there in 2009, the last reporter to see the base before the attack.

(on camera): Well, this is what that long and agonizing...

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(GUNFIRE)

WALSH: ... is about. The base is now under consistent heavy attack.

ORLANDO BLOOM, ACTOR: Is this everybody? WALSH (voice-over): The base was named after Lieutenant Ben Keating, played by Orlando Bloom.

BLOOM: Look, we're making great progress here in Kamdesh.

WALSH: One of many leaders killed in service to the base.

Over a decade later, it is breathtaking to be reminded of the thankless and isolated war these men fought as it is to see the insane geography of the base, where they could be shot just going for a pee.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Let me do this.

WALSH: An intense action movie, where the realistic madcap violence speaks of a sacrifice so few Americans knew of back when it happened, or speak of now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH: And it's startling, Jake, over 10 years since being in that valley, to see it recreated quite so vividly.

And I remember, in fact, it took me almost 10 years to work out that some of the soldiers we'd had the privilege to interview when we were in that valley had in fact died in the assault that you so detailed and eloquently wrote about later, startling, really, that that war is still going on, is still part of America's foreign deployment, but is so frequently -- infrequently mentioned, frankly, stateside -- Jake.

TAPPER: And, Nick, as you and I talk about all the time, the war in Afghanistan continues, even if a lot of Americans, including American leaders, talk as if the war is over.

What's the status right now of the peace talks? And what's going on for ordinary Afghans?

WALSH: Yes, I mean, the peace talks, as it stands, stalled.

There was an agreement between the United States and the Taliban that didn't involve the Afghan government. It stalled over prisoner exchanges that have got partially under way. There's been a renewed effort by the U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad to try and get the intra-Afghan -- that's between the Afghan government and the Taliban -- talks started again.

But the violence has begun to rise again. It leveled off earlier on this year, but we're still talking about 10,000 Afghans, on average, over the last six years being killed or injured, startlingly horrifying numbers.

U.S. casualties, there were some at the beginning of this year. They dropped when the forces locked down because of coronavirus. But make no mistake, Jake, this war feels like it's hobbling to a not particularly prestigious end for the United States.

There's little more they can do with the number of forces they have. They're clearly making plans to begin to drop those force numbers down, regardless of the outcome of those talks.

It seems it's clearly in Donald Trump's sights ahead of these new elections to try and get some kind of resolution. But the violence continues for ordinary Afghans. And you saw there one of the most horrifyingly violent periods that American soldiers endured there.

It still, frankly, brings chills to me to see that valley recreated quite so vividly again -- Jake.

TAPPER: Nick Paton Walsh, the last journalist to ever visit the real Combat Outpost Keating, thanks so much for doing that.

And if you will indulge me, "The Outpost" movie is in some theaters today and available on video on demand, on Apple, Amazon, DirecTV, other streaming platforms.

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