Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Hits Record New Cases Two Days in a Row; Florida Reports Record 10,000+ New Cases Thursday; COVID-19 Ravages U.S. as Developed Nations Reopen; Concerns Among NATO Members About U.S. Policy Under Trump; Ghislaine Maxwell Charged in Epstein Sex Abuse Case. Aired 4- 4:30a ET

Aired July 3, 2020 - 04:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: An alarming trend in the United States. Daily coronavirus cases set another new record. Still, President Trump says everything is under control.

Also this hour, CNN gets rare access to a hospital overwhelmed with patients forcing doctors to make life and death decisions. We'll show you the complications these frontline health workers face.

Also, cameras capture police officers engaging in shockingly bad behavior. The powerful force that keeps them on the job.

We're live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

4 a.m. here on the East Coast. Thank you for joining us.

For the second time in two days, the U.S. has recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases in a single day. More than 52,000 on Thursday alone. That means more than 100,000 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two days. Well one of the top health experts in the U.S. had this advice for young people who may not have any symptoms.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: If you participated in a large gathering in the last four weeks, we ask all of you to come forward and be tested because of the level of asymptomatic spread.


ALLEN: More than half of Thursday's new cases were in just three states, Florida, California and Texas. Almost two dozen states have now paused or rolled back their reopening ahead of the July fourth holiday. Texas and Kansas are the latest to require facemasks in public joining 17 other states plus Washington D.C. Despite the alarming surge, the U.S. President insists the pandemic is under control, but compare that with the glim assessment of America's top infectious disease expert.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're seeing very disturbing spikes in different individual states.


FAUCI: You've got to get that under control or we risk an even greater outbreak.

TRUMP: The crisis is being handled.

FAUCI: Only about 50 percent of the country locked down. That allows the perpetuation of the outbreak.

TRUMP: We did the right thing. We closed it up. And now we're opening it up. And it's opening up far faster than anybody thought even possible and more successful.


ALLEN: Cities and states are doing different things to try to curb the cases. Chicago, for example, is ordering travelers from 15 states arriving in that city to quarantine for two weeks. And in South Florida, Miami-Dade County will impose a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew to try to stop the spread. CNN's Nick Watt has more headlines from across the country now.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Masks now mandatory in every Texas county with more than 20 case. The governor finally gave in. In Austin they're contemplating a radical rewind.

STEVEN ADLER, AUSTIN, TEXAS MAYOR: One thing we may have to go to is to go back to a stay at home.

WATT: With an out date to ease the pain.

ADLER: Would they do it if they knew it was for 35 days?

WATT: Record death tolls in Arizona, and the biggest testing site in the state struggling to cope. That's now a nationwide fear.

JULIE KHANI, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CLINICAL LABORATORY ASSOCIATION: We're seeing steady and significant increases in demand for testing. We're concerned that that demand is going to exceed our current capacity.

WATT: In California they say 1 in 140 Angelinos are now infected.

ERIC GARCETTI, LOS ANGELES MAYOR: And as early as next week, as many as 1 in 100 or even 1 in 70. WATT: California one of 23 states now pausing or rolling back

reopening. But Florida is pushing forward despite more than 10,000 new cases today, a record.

RON DESANTIS, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I think kind of some of the just easy things that you can do I think fell by the wayside a little bit. Now people understand this thing doesn't just go away.

WATT: Maybe not everyone.

TRUMP: And 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.

WATT: The U.S. is now, now seeing all-time record numbers of new cases, around 50,000 a day.


More than many countries have suffered during the entirety of this pandemic in a day and it's not just more testing.


WATT: And now driven not by the elderly.

GIROIR: The current outbreak is primarily due to under 35s with a lot of gatherings, not appropriate protection like masks.

WATT: Take Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have seen over the last few weeks parties going on in the county.

WATT: Parties to purposefully spread the virus with a cash prize one city council member says.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think it's senseless, I think it's careless and it makes me mad as hell.

WATT: Meanwhile, in New York City, our one-time epicenter, today there is optimism.

BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I understand parents want answers. Here's some answers. Schools will be opening in September.

WATT (on camera): And Thursday afternoon, a fairly stark instruction from Dr. Deborah Birx to anyone in Florida under the age of 40 who has been in a crowd in the past four weeks. She says, even if you have no symptoms, you should now get a test. There's a lot of talk about Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, but obviously for a virus, state lines mean nothing. So this does not mean that the rest of the U.S. is in the clear.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: More now on Florida as the state once again hits a new daily high. It reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. The governor has paused reopening efforts for now but new restrictions such as curfews and mask mandates are being implemented only at the local level not statewide.

Joining me now is Nikki Fried. She's Florida's commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. Commissioner Fried, thanks for coming on.


ALLEN: I want to first get your reaction to this day, which was not a good one for Florida -- 10,000 cases in one day. We know that Miami is now under curfew for the holiday starting Friday evening. But there aren't just increases in Miami, it's now in central Florida. It's in the panhandle. First, what is your reaction to this startling number of cases?

FRIED: Yes, that number today of over 10,000 cases is astronomical. And the problem is that it's not just the amount of cases, it's also positivity rating is going through the roof as well. But that's also why I called on Governor DeSanctis to issue a statewide mask order. Kind of like what Governor Abbott did in Texas. And unfortunately, he just has not been inclined to do so.

And we had the Vice President here in Florida. And it's really astonishing that the Vice President had remarks today that he said that Florida is in such great condition because of the leadership of President Trump. Now if that is leadership, I certainly hate to see what failure is. But unfortunately both the President and the governor have their head in the sand. And even the Vice President remarked today that we don't have to choose between a reopening as well as health care. But that's exactly what they're doing.

It's really jeopardizing each of our citizens, the people that want to come here. But the reality is, this is a newsflash. And if we don't get this under control and try to actually beat this virus, people aren't going to come here to the state of Florida. Agriculture is the number two economic driver. We're doing our part. But tourism is number one. And until which time that we get this under control, people aren't going to come here.

ALLEN: Right, and even President Trump started talking just today, it's hard to believe, about the importance of masks. Why is it, you know, you talked about Greg Abbott of Texas now saying you got to wear a mask in public. Why is it the governor of Florida won't do the same? What's the reluctance?

FRIED: You know, I really don't know to be quite honest. It's unfortunately has become such a partisan issue. That Democrats are supposedly the ones who are forcing or that are asking for the mandates, while Republicans are not. This is a health crisis across our entire country. And we know that the masks are not going to stop the spread of the virus, but it's going to slow it down. So not wearing a mask for yourself, at least do it for your family, and for your friends and people that you may have encounters with.

So I really don't understand the reluctance of the governor to say so and to actually have an order. I've heard things that it be a colossal mistake, it be hard to enforce. But you know what, leadership comes from the top. And if our President and our governor are not willing to say we can wear masks then it really is allowing people to kind of have their own opinions about the importance of masks. And we all need to be in this together. We need to stand united. We need to fight this virus together and that's the only way that working to get through this.

ALLEN: How does Florida overcome this then? We know that the Republican national convention is scheduled for August in Jacksonville. That means more people will be flying into the state.


That means there will be a cluster of people, you know, who get a feel for what Florida is going through right now and how it gets ahead of this without more management from the state.

FRIED: Yes, it's actually, you know, it's very, you know, very nerve racking to think that we are potentially going to have 50,000 people that are going to ascend on to Jacksonville, Duvall County where we see numbers increasing their exponentially as well. The mayor there did in fact put a mandatory mask ordinance in place earlier this week. But the question is, will it remain in place right before the convention?

And the reality is this, is that if we don't work together, that means wearing masks, that means not congregating, that means continuing our social distancing and enforcement, that has been a really big problem. That when the governor started to reopen our state, he was very methodical on his actual reports and the plan making sure that it was data driven. That we are meeting certain benchmarks for phase one and then phase two and which of the different establishments were allowed to be open and at what capacities.

Unfortunately, he didn't even listen to his own advice and his own report. He just opened it up arbitrarily at a certain time and certain dates. And then added different times for establishments like gyms, increased capacity, WWE here to the state. And when you start seeing people, you know, seeing the governor react like this and just opening up in phase 1 and then going right to phase 2 without having these benchmarks met, people let down their guard. And everybody felt that we had gotten past it.

He went on a victory tour on Fox News claiming mission accomplished. We told you so, that we have this under control. And so, when you see that from our governor, everybody let down their guards and felt that we were in front of this at this point. People were not wearing masks. People were not adhering to the restrictions (INAUDIBLE) and no one knew exactly who was in charge of actually enforcing it. So we've got to go back to that and make sure that if there's a

capacity limitation, whether it's to restaurants, or to retail locations that we're enforcing it. And that's working with a lot of local governments who have stepped up during all of this. And huge kudos to all of our local mayors and county and city commissioners for really being the leadership that we needed here in the state because we just weren't seeing it from the governor.

ALLEN: And they're under a lot of pressure right now. Here we are looking at another national holiday and hopefully people will take heed and be more careful. Thank you so much, Commissioner Nicki Fried for us there in Tallahassee. We appreciate your input. Take good care.

FRIED: Thanks, Natalie, I appreciate it.

CHURCH: While coronavirus cases rise across the U.S., many other developed nations around the world are reopening. And some say the pandemic shows how under President Donald Trump, the U.S. has gone from respected partner to unreliable ally. For that I'm joined by international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson in London. Interesting to see how the world is looking on to the United States during this time when it's number one for cases.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I mean, it has everyone -- the pandemic has everyone's attention focused on the numbers. But I think also when viewing the United States at the moment and Donald Trump's presidency, he's been in office now for 3 1/2 years. But the worlds had a hard time keeping up with him. You know, he's been a bit of an outlier on global agreements, like the climate change agreement, pulling out of that earlier on.

But he's also been, you know, unreliable or changed his mind on so many things. You know, almost getting into a war with Iran, on North Korea, with Kim Jong-un. There have been many ways President Trump has made it hard for his allies to keep up with him. And that's in a way made him unreliable. But now with the pandemic, that's really pushed the situation to a very clear understanding that the United States is not the country it was when President Trump took over.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): America's COVID-19 infection rate is putting it on an exponential path to pariah. This week U.S. citizens barred entry from Europe. As a recent poll shows Europeans trust in Trump's America is tanking.

TRUMP: We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries.

ROBERTSON: From his inauguration, Trump's America first has accelerated the U.S. along the road from international respect to unreliable ally.

TRUMP: We've been talking about this for a long time.

ROBERTSON: Within days shunning global trade deals. Banning citizens of several Muslim majority nations and travel to the U.S. EU leaders in Malta soon after sounded the alarm. On his first overseas trip to NATO HQ a few months later, Trump bullied his peers, man handling one leader, yanking the hand of another.


Capping it all refusing to endorse NATO's founding principal, article 5, an attack on one, an attack on all.

(on camera): And now three years later concerns that NATO runs so deep that some senior officials fear that if President Trump is reelected it could render the transatlantic alliance irrelevant. But Trump's decision to pull 9,500 troops from Germany without telling Angela Merkel is emblematic of a bigger problem. That the United States is an unreliable ally and not just about NATO.

(voice-over) Whether on Syria, North Korea, trade or NATO, he is unpredictable, perhaps most so on China.

TRUMP: I think our relationship has never been better. We're very much involved with them on the virus that's going around.

ROBERTSON: In January he backed China. By April he wants them castigated by failing to contain COVID-19 and withholding information. At WHO's annual meeting in May, all of Trump's EU allies effectively sided with China.

Sweden's former PM, and experienced global diplomat, Carl Bildt tweeted, observing the post-American world. A confident and assertive China with a clear strategic approach. And EU trying to rescue what is left of global cooperation. And a disrupted U.S. more keen on fighting China than fighting COVID-19.

Worse, Trump's words on COVID-19, whether on ingesting bleach.

TRUMP: By injection inside or almost a cleaning.

ROBERTSON: Or use of the ineffective virus drug hydroxychloroquine have rendered his opinions almost worthless.

(on camera): If COVID-19 were Trump's only crisis, U.S. allies could be more for giving, but he has jangled so many nerves, threatening war with North Korea, almost starting one with Iran while apparently being in the thrall of dictators helping create an unstable global environment that they have seized upon.

(voice-over): On his watch, Russia's Putin has effectively become president for life. As has China's Xi, who has also flouted international norms, snatching control of Hong Kong.

This Independence Day the United States will be more alone than in decades as COVID-19 spikes from state to state. Old allies will be watching helpless and transfixed knowing their fate is still tied to Trump. Until the world's biggest economy recovers, everyone is at the mercy of the pandemic.


ROBERTSON: There's no doubt, Natalie, that the United States allies dearly want to see the United States back where it used to be in high global esteem and solid and reliable. That's absolutely the world order that its allies prefer. Of course, his enemies, the United States enemies do look for these divisions. Because that's how they take advantage. They exploit the cracks. We know President Putin like nothing better than to see NATO weak -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Understood, a very good story. Thank you so much. Nic Robertson for us there in London.

Next here, a year after the late Jeffrey Epstein's arrest for sex trafficking minors, his long-time friend Ghislaine Maxwell is under arrest herself. We'll tell you how she was found and the latest on the case.




WILLIAM SWEENEY JR., ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR IN CHARGE: We have been discretely keeping tabs of Maxwell's whereabouts as we work this investigation. And more recently we learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live a life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago.


ALLEN: Colorful language there from an FBI official about Thursday's arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell. The British socialite facing federal charges of conspiring to sexually abuse minors with the late financier, Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell made her initial court appearance from New Hampshire via teleconference. But she's being transferred to New York where the charges were filed. As Max Foster reports, the case is being watched around the world because of its connections to the rich, powerful and Royal.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is the figure that keeps reappearing in images associated with the Epstein scandal -- at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Party in 2000. On the front row at Chelsea Clinton's wedding. And here, right behind Prince Andrew, and a then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims in court documents, that Epstein kept her as a teenage sex slave, and that he was assisted in his efforts by a British woman, Ghislaine Maxwell.

In the court filings, Giuffre alleges she was forced to have sex with the Royal, under Epstein's instructions, including in Maxwell's London apartment and that she acted as a madam. All of these allegations against Andrew are being denied. Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors was dismissed by Buckingham Palace as categorically untrue.

No one in his right and left hands, Epstein described Maxwell in 2003, as his best friend, in this profile for Vanity Fair, not a colleague, or an employee. The revered daughter of the media baron, Robert Maxwell. She grew up in their vast country estate in the idyllic Oxfordshire countryside.

After her father's mysterious death at sea in 1991, falling from his luxury yacht, named in her honor, Maxwell reportedly moved to New York to start a new life. So, how did she go from highly educated and connected figure in British high society, to an accused figure in the background of investigation into underage sex trafficking?



FOSTER: Footage of her is as elusive as she is. Here, she is speaking on oceans sustainability at the United Nations in 2014. Under her role as founder of the The TerraMar Project, a nonprofit.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL, SOCIALITE: It's a pledge, there's no taxes by the way, it's all free. And know that you're signing is you love the ocean, that you will spread your love of the ocean, because we're a digital platform.

FOSTER: Out of public view though, Epstein's accusers claim Maxwell was sourcing teenage girls for him and directing them to have sex with Epstein and his friends. Unsealed court documents from a 2015 defamation case, refer to her as one of the main women, primary coconspirator, acting as a madam for Epstein. Assisted in internationally trafficking Giuffre, and numerous other young girls for sexual purposes.

Giuffre says, Maxwell recruited her when she was 15 years old. In her court deposition, Maxwell said Giuffre claims are untrue.

I know that Virginia is a liar, and I know what she testified is a lie. So, I can only testify to what I know to be a falsehood. I can categorically deny everything that she has said, I have no knowledge of anything else.

The case was settled in 2017. Maxwell hadn't been seen in public since August last year when she was spotted in Los Angeles. She hasn't responded to numerous requests for comment, over the past year. Now that she has been charged with enticement of minors though, prosecutors and alleged victims alike, hope to finally hear a fuller version of events, from a person most closely associated with Epstein and his alleged crimes.

Max Foster, CNN, Berkshire England.


ALLEN: As coronavirus cases surge across the U.S., health care workers are preparing for the worst. Just ahead, we take you inside one Texas hospital struggling to keep up.