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Beach Town Mayors Address 4th of July Safety Concerns; President Trump to Host July 4th Celebrations as Coronavirus Cases Soar; Longtime Jeffrey Epstein Associate Ghislaine Maxwell Arrested. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 3, 2020 - 07:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: This morning, if you're in charge of a vacation in a Summer hot spot, you are faced with some tough decisions with coronavirus cases surging right at the 4th of July holiday weekend.

Joining me are the mayors of two very popular beach towns. Mayor Joe McComb of Corpus Christi, Texas and Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey Mayor Paul Kanitra. Mayor McComb, you guys are both obviously mayors of two cities in two states in different moments in terms of this pandemic.

So Mayor McComb, first to you on the news, I just want to get a sense of how things are in Corpus Christi?

MAYOR JOE MCCOMB, CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS: Well, we're experiencing a big explosion right now of numbers, of positive cases, which is a great concern, which has caused us to take the actions that we've taken in eliminating vehicular traffic started about 30 minutes ago, our time, 6:00 a.m. today, and we'll be running through July the 7th, at 6:00 a.m., to try to keep people from just crowding on the beach, that it's just unbelievable, the number of people that can get on there.

We've -- our experience has been that the beach is not the problem. It's the fact that you get somewhere around 100,000 people here, and it's after they go to the beach that they're going into the grocery stores, the convenience stores, hardware stores, sports shops, and that's where the spread, we feel like is, is when people get together and let their guard --

BERMAN: Yes --

MCCOMB: Down and they don't wear their masks, and so we just felt like it's in the best interests of our people to keep everybody safe and healthy, is that just to eliminate the ability to gather in huge crowds like that.

BERMAN: So Mayor McComb, just to be clear, Corpus Christi, you are seeing an explosion of cases. You haven't closed the beaches, you've just made it so cars can't go on there. You've made it harder to get to the beach, basically, yes?

MCCOMB: That's right. And we've got -- where we are, we have about 90 miles of beach-front on the Gulf of Mexico. That runs from porter ends of jetties to porter ends for the jetties, and that includes the -- our job on national seashore. And you can -- you can drive your car pretty much along that 90 miles of beach. And you can imagine how many people can crowd into that. And most of the time, you've got three to four, five people in a car going out there.

So you just multiply those numbers. And so we've just -- we closed it to vehicular traffic. Now, somebody --

BERMAN: Yes --

MCCOMB: Wants to park and haul all their equipment somewhere -- it's really inconvenient, unless you're just going out there to jog or maybe you've got a fishing pole that you want to go fish.

BERMAN: Yes --

MCCOMB: But a normal day at the beach, you take a carload of stuff out there, and you know, you're there for the day and barbecue pits and all that. That's just --

BERMAN: Right --

MCCOMB: We just can't allow that to happen --

BERMAN: Right --


MCCOMB: To reduce the crowd.

BERMAN: Beautiful place to watch birds also by the way. The Corpus Christi beaches are simply lovely. Mayor Kanitra, you've had some experience, some ups and downs in terms of the beaches being open in Point Pleasant Beach over the last few weeks. Tell us how it has been, what you have seen and what you've learned about the right way to do it?

MAYOR PAUL KANITRA, POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NEW JERSEY: Hey John, great to be back. And you hit the nail on the head, I think. There's a stark contrast between what's going on in New Jersey right now and what's going on in Texas. And we were really in opposite situations just a couple of months ago. As everybody knows, you know, the tri-state area was really the epicenter for a long period of time. We had a huge peak. Coronavirus was everywhere.

We were the first municipality to shut down our boardwalk here in Point Pleasant Beach, and we took really proactive measures early on to shut things down, make things safe for our tourists and make things safe for our residents. But now we're sitting in a situation where everything is kind of reversed. I think the other day, Texas had 8,000 new confirmed cases and New Jersey only had about 500. So we're going in the opposite direction, and that shows that a one-

size-fits-all solution doesn't work for the country or for beach towns in general. And we're starting to open things up more and more. In fact, we actually opened our rides and our amusements here at the Jersey Shore on the 2nd. And obviously, there's a lot of protocols, a lot of things that we've learned from our earlier -- our earlier troubles.

Right now, they're sanitizing the rides in between usage, the capacity is cut down by 50 percent. We brought on additional police officers here, additional code enforcement personnel, and we're trying to take all the steps necessary to keep Point Pleasant Beach that family- friendly, safe destination that everybody knows about.

BERMAN: Now, obviously, things are better today in New Jersey than they are in Texas. Let's hope they stay that way, right? Let's hope Texas gets better. The point is, to keep things from getting worse than they are in either case, you have had some experience that despite the rules that you've put in place, they haven't always been respected. There's video that some people have seen over the last few weeks that people simply crowding the beaches at Point Pleasant Beach.

Here's some of that video. How will you enforce social distancing? What are the rules and how will they be enforced so people aren't on top of each other?

KANITRA: Of course, the enforcement is the most difficult component for a seasonal beach town like Point Pleasant Beach, because, you know, our full-time police force is only 24 officers. We bring in a tremendous amount of seasonal officers during the off-season, and their training was stalled and in some cases canceled. So we're trying to really play catch up in a lot of ways.

We finally have gotten to where we have the manpower to be able to handle things accordingly. But, again, people are still out there, acting rather cavalier and disrespectful of others. You know, from our standpoint, we want people to go out, we want people to enjoy themselves. But we want them to also take into account that other people can be immunocompromised, that other people have worries, and that they need to be wearing masks a little bit more.

And distancing themselves appropriately on the beaches. So we have patrols that are going to be going up and down the beaches. We have social distancing ambassadors on our boardwalk. They're going to be educating the public. And if we find that people are putting themselves and-or others at risk, we're going to be asking them to leave this weekend.

BERMAN: Mayor McComb --

MCCOMB: Yes --

BERMAN: Governor Greg Abbott of Texas just instituted a mask order for about 70 percent of the state. Your county is part of that. Your reaction to that? And your feelings about the direction that things are heading in Texas right now. MCCOMB: Well, we were glad to see the governor do that because it

gives some consistency to the orders. It's one of those orders that you open you have public acceptance and compliance. You can't force somebody to do it. But I think when they realize the importance of it and the numbers show that masks do work, there's -- I know there's a big debate whether they do or they don't, but I would rather err on the side of caution and wear the mask to protect other people as well as myself.

But we're glad the governor did it. We're stressing it in all of our press conferences and other communications with the public, and more and more people are buying into it, I think. There will be those that never will, and that's unfortunate. But we think that, you know, if we have compliance, we keep the beaches closed through this big holiday season, we should be able to hopefully, we'll start seeing a downturn on our numbers pretty quickly. We've -- yesterday was --

BERMAN: Right --

MCCOMB: Fewer cases than the day before. But we've got a long way to go. It's -- we were so low for so long, I think we just got rather relaxed in trying to pay attention and it caught us.


We have dispelled one myth, that is that the virus, you know, doesn't survive in heat and humidity. I can assure you, we've got plenty of heat and plenty of humidity down here and it seems to grow instead of die.

BERMAN: Listen. Mayor McComb, we appreciate you being with us. We wish you the best of luck going forward. Mayor Kanitra, a pleasure to see you again. Thank you from coming on, good luck to you. You're both going to have your hands full this weekend. So we appreciate it.

MCCOMB: Thank you very much.

KANITRA: Thanks for having us.

BERMAN: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accuses the White House of putting on a con while the president's former national security adviser says he has scars from bringing up Russia with the president. We'll discuss, next.


ERICA HILL, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: President Trump moving forward with hosting a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore tonight at a 4th of July celebration on the National Mall tomorrow, despite at least one health expert warning that the holiday weekend could be a perfect storm for a spike.


Let's bring in Susan Glasser; staff writer at "The New Yorker" and a CNN global affairs analyst. Good to see you this morning. We know the president is ready for this big celebration, the pump, the circumstance, he wants it all. Bring in the fireworks. And maybe the fireworks, because at this point for the president, the virus is really not a concern because it's been taken care of, take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The crisis is being handled. We have some areas where we're putting out the flames or the fires, and that's working out well. Now, we're opening it up and it's opening up far faster than anybody thought even possible and more successfully.


HILL: It, of course, is not handled. Reopening probably not successful foreseeing all of these cases. Sometimes technology is not successful, either. We just lost Susan Glasser there, but we're going to try -- we're going to try to get her back.

BERMAN: I can answer questions.

HILL: Yes --

BERMAN: What do you want to know?

HILL: Yes, God, I have so many questions for you, John. I've never called you, John, I always call you Berman, that was very strange actually, just for the record. In all -- in all seriousness though, as we look at this, I mean, there really are -- it's a tale of -- I don't want to say it's two countries, it's just two different stories. There's the reality of what we're seeing, and we've been saying this for months, right? There's the reality of the science and the data.

And for a long time, instead of the data the focus for some officials including the president, it was on dates. Whether it was Easter Sunday or Memorial Day or now July 4th. And Susan Glasser back with us now. Susan, we were just about to ask you about the president saying that this is handled, right? That the company is reopening successfully. And as we know, that is not the reality.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that's right. It's an excellent point. Just this morning, again, he was tweeting about how it was really good news that there were more cases in the United States and claiming that deaths are down. Now, of course, deaths sadly and terribly are a lagging indicator every day, almost this week, we've had a record number of cases. And most assuredly, as you heard from the mayors just a few minutes ago on this program, they don't think the situation is under control.

And it really -- the gap between reality and sort of Trump speak has never been wider. And right now, what's interesting is that it seems so self-defeating from a political point of view for the president as well. So that's really notable, I think, as we head into this weekend. He's determined to have a sort of July 4th as normal in a country and a world that is anything but -- BERMAN: It was really interesting to hear the mayor of Corpus

Christi, Texas, matter-of-factly, just talk about the explosion of cases in his city. How concerned he is. He doesn't want cars on the beaches, trying to shut things down there. There is a different reality in the president's head, apparently, than the one in the rest of the United States of America.

Susan Glasser, the issue of the intelligence surrounding Russian bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Now, we still don't know the minute details of that intelligence, but we do know how the president continues to respond to it, which is not to respond to it, more or less. And we also know the reporting from Jim Sciutto that people in the intelligence community did not want to brief the president on Russia in general.

They were reluctant to do so, because they knew he didn't want to hear it. That's Jim Sciutto's reporting. Now, Jake Tapper talked to John Bolton about this, and Bolton more or less confirmed Jim's reporting. Listen.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think I have enough scars from bringing up things about Russia that he probably didn't want to hear that I can say I agree with that. I do think that everybody understood the nature of Russia's activities, with the possible exception of the president. And so a lot of activity went on, as you might expect it would.

And we just -- we tried to inform the president, tried to get his reaction. Steps were taken, I think, importantly, to deal with Russian threats. But usually, as the president grumbled and complained along the way.


BERMAN: It's really interesting to hear from John Bolton in so many ways, it's the margins of John Bolton's book tour where he's been saying the most interesting thing. But for him to basically just admit, yes, I didn't want to talk to the president about Russia, that's something.

GLASSER: Well, that's right. It's very notable. I think this has been true since the beginning of the administration. You know, President Trump has spent the week instead of addressing this major security threat to the United States, arguing over a story and when and whether and how he was told about it by his briefers in a way that suggests he has no interest in suppressing this threat from the Taliban, have long had connections to the Russians.

Let's be clear that the Russians have been extremely active in Afghanistan ever since their own disastrous war there. They view this as a part of their own security zone, essentially. It's in their part of the world, it's in their region. They have maintained ties to the Taliban throughout this conflict as well as to the leaders of Afghanistan in Kabul. [07:50:00]

And I think what you're seeing now is something that while we're still trying to confirm the intelligence, what's notable is that Russia is a big believer -- President Putin has always been into politics of zero- sum diplomacy. If you don't do something, you're essentially giving him a green light to do it. He thinks that for every action, there must be a reaction.

The lack of reaction is notable and striking in that respect. And let's not forget that it was just this week that Vladimir Putin held a referendum in Russia to extend his tenure essentially for life. You haven't heard anything about that from the president of the United States either, and that is not something that in any other circumstance, whether Republican or Democrat, you would leave unmentioned.

So you know, you really have a situation right now where President Trump is, you know, ever more willfully in a bubble of his own creation I think.

HILL: The silence -- the silence says a lot in many cases, and this may be one of them. Susan Glasser, good to see you. Thank you.

GLASSER: Thank you.

BERMAN: So this morning, we want to remember some of the nearly 129,000 Americans lost to coronavirus. Twenty nine-year-old Allie Guidry was 25 weeks pregnant when she died from coronavirus complications at a hospital in Louisiana. Her mother tells CNN affiliate "WBRZ" that, baby Madeleine survived an emergency C-section weighing just 2 pounds, and is now in an ICU.

Donald Goodland(ph) was a maintenance worker at a York Pennsylvania brickyard before his retirement. His daughter Tina tells "The York Daily Record", he was a regular at a local softball tournaments and loved sprint car races. He was 82 years old. Costa Stanzos(ph) grew up in Athens, Greece, moving to United States in 1971 to work as a master carpenter in Pennsylvania. His son tells "The York Daily Record", he grew his own contracting business and later owned a bar. He was married to his wife for 57 years until his death last month. We'll be right back.



BERMAN: This morning, a long-time associate and alleged accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein is in custody. Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday. She faces six criminal counts for her alleged role in recruiting and abusing young girls as part of Epstein's sex trafficking ring. CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now live with the latest. This is a major development to say the least.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, John. It is a huge development in this investigation. One that many of the victims of Jeffrey Epstein thought would end with his death last year in prison. But yesterday, prosecutors announced a six-count indictment against Ghislaine Maxwell, accusing her of working with Jeffrey Epstein, helping to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse girls, some as young as 14 years olds old.

And prosecutors say that this conduct began in 1994. That's even earlier than had previously been alleged. Now Maxwell has not addressed these charges, but she did have her first initial court appearance in New Hampshire yesterday. She's in the custody of U.S. Marshal Service where she will be transported back here to New York to face these charges.

There will be a detention hearing in the future, and prosecutors intend to ask that she'd be detained, saying she's an extreme flight risk. Now, Maxwell again has not entered a plea yet. That will come again in one of these future hearings. Prosecutors though say that they are asking for any witnesses or other victims to come forward. They say they also want to speak with Prince Andrew.

One of the victims has accused him of abusing her and Prince Andrew has been a long-time friend of Ghislaine Maxwell, so prosecutors have various reasons why they might want to speak with him. Now, he's not been accused of any wrongdoing by authorities. And Prince Andrew's team says that they're bewildered about why prosecutors would want to speak with him.

Prosecutors refuse to say how they consider him in this investigation, but he is someone that they do want to speak with. John?

BERMAN: There are so many strands to this, Kara. So many new interesting new angles. What does she know? What will she say? The royal family. Thank you so much. We know you're all over this story. We appreciate you being with us. NEW DAY continues right now.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: They're setting records practically every day of new cases. Clearly it's not the right direction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This country is seeing its highest single day of new coronavirus cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida hit a record high, 10,000 new positive cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now people understand this thing doesn't just go away.

JIM SCIUTTO, ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: The CDC projects nearly 148,000 fatalities by the 25th of this month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this epidemic doesn't get under control, we're talking about a million deaths over the next year. This is deadly serious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This weekend, I hope we don't have a reprise of what happened on Memorial Day.


BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY, Alisyn is off, Erica Hill joins me this morning. This is the beginning of a holiday weekend, Erica, for a lot of people.

HILL: It is. Happy Friday.

BERMAN: You too. So, in the words of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States is heading in the wrong direction. Overnight, a record number of new coronavirus cases in the United States, beating the previous record, a record that lasted a whopping one day. New case records in six states, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Montana and South Carolina.

Record hospitalizations, which is a really important statistic in six states, including Texas and California, Democratic and Republican governors are taking actions they never have before to fight this. The president's reaction overnight was to lie. He says the rise in cases is because of testing. That is just a lie, and this is what the admiral who was in charge of testing for the Trump administration says about that.


BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH: There is no question that the more testing you get, the more you will uncover. But we do believe this is a real increase in cases because of the percent positivity are going up.


BERMAN: The percent positivity are going up. There is an increase in people.