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CNN NEWSROOM

Arizona COVID-19 Infections Exceeding State Capacity; Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million For Epstein Dealings; Interview with Thomas Jefferson Descendants. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired July 7, 2020 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00]

WILL HUMBLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARIZONA PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION: That is really the percent positive rate for our testing that -- here in Arizona, so the number -- when you look at the percentage of tests that come back positive, it's about 25 percent now, which is way worse than any other part of the country.

You combine that with the fact that the intensive care bed capacity that's left is extremely limited, you put together those two things? The trends do not look good. And you know, the hospitals are in the middle of implementing their surge plans right now.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: There is no mask mandate in the state of Arizona. Texas has done this, right? Greg Abbott reversed course -- some say too late, but he did it. But not in Arizona.

I know that cities have their hands untied now, they can say -- you have to wear them in Phoenix, for example -- but what would a statewide mask mandate mean for Arizona in terms of being able to turn the page here?

HUMBLE: Well, it would be very helpful. Because as we know, in order for a mask-wearing or a face-covering mandate to work, you need between 80 and 90 percent of people to comply with it.

HARLOW: Yes.

HUMBLE: And so to get to that threshold, you've got to have a statewide mandate. And in order to do that, you've got to have some -- you know, some skin in the game. There's got to be some jurisdictions that are out there -- like Prescott and other places in the state -- to step up and do the right thing. But right now, as you mentioned, it's not statewide. It's spotty.

HARLOW: You've got the U.S. military sending 50 medical personnel to help in some parts of Texas because some of their hospitals are just overrun. Do you foresee that need in Arizona?

HUMBLE: Well, in fact, the vice president was here last week --

HARLOW: Yes. HUMBLE: -- and promised 500 personnel. Those are ICU nurses,

respiratory therapists and others. These COVID-19 patients are extremely labor-intensive. And so at the request of the governor here, they made that promise. Now, we'll see this week how that -- you know, how that shakes out, where those staff come from and where they'll be deployed. Hopefully that actually happens because we do need it.

HARLOW: I mean, you have, for example, I know you've heard this in Phoenix, the firefighters' union is saying, like, Only call us for help if you have severe symptoms. Because so many of their firefighters are getting infected, they think, from responding.

HUMBLE: Yes. Well, that's also part of what's really the big picture, happening here in Arizona. You know, we've seen 250 percent increase in COVID-19 admissions to our hospitals over the last three weeks --

HARLOW: Yes.

HUMBLE: -- but at the same time, hospital admissions total have only been up 20 percent. And the reason for that s that non-COVID patients are being triaged out of the hospital, so those folks that would have normally been admitted are no longer being admitted these days because the COVID patients are so acute.

HARLOW: So the two big companies that process COVID tests, which is Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp. Both say it's taking them longer than usual, you know, upwards of five days, for some to get these tests processed. You're very worried about that because we know that people don't stay at home for five days, waiting for their test results?

HUMBLE: Yes, I'm glad you brought that up because it's a critical thing. We hear so much about the importance of testing --

HARLOW: Right.

HUMBLE: -- but we don't hear as much about the importance of fast testing because the turnaround time --

HARLOW: Yes.

HUMBLE: -- is what you need to get the contact tracing in place so that you can get isolation and quarantine on your side. And without a fast turnaround, you'd lose that intervention, which is so critical.

HARLOW: Will Humble, thank you for your work -- obviously, helping the public, and for being with me this morning.

HUMBLE: Take care, thanks.

HARLOW: Well, this just in, Deutsche Bank has been fined $150 million for its relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. This is the first time that a regulator has fined a bank for dealings with Epstein.

The superintendent of New York State's Department of Financial Services wrote this: "Despite knowing Mr. Epstein's terrible criminal history, the bank inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions."

As for Deutsche Bank, they say they deeply regret their association with Epstein.

Matt Egan is with me, lead writer for CNN Business. This is really significant, Matt, because it's the first time that a bank has been fined in this way for, you know, allowing the money transfer that really allowed for a lot of this.

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: That's right, Poppy. As you know, banks are required to know who their customers are and to flag shady transactions. Now, New York regulators are saying Deutsche Bank failed to do its job here, with none other than Jeffrey Epstein. They failed to, apparently, flag some of these suspicious transactions.

Now, let me just give you a few examples that New York regulators have listed. They said that there were payments to individuals who had been publicly alleged to be Epstein's co-conspirators in sexually abusing young women. There were school tuition payments for several women, there were payments to Russian models, other (ph) payments. And so the regulators are saying that Deutsche Bank, they had a lot of mistakes, there was a lot of sloppiness.

[10:35:06]

Now, for their part, Deutsche Bank did put out a statement. They did acknowledge that they had some errors and some failures when they brought Epstein on as a client in 2013. They say that they hired hundreds of workers of new employees to their financial crime-fighting unit.

But clearly, Poppy, New York regulators are putting banks on notice that they must know --

HARLOW: Yes.

EGAN: -- who their clients and they must keep a careful eye for potentially shady transactions.

HARLOW: Matt Egan, thank you. It's a significant development. Appreciate the reporting.

The president of Mexico is set to visit the U.S. today, traveling not how you would expect for a head of state, especially in the middle of a pandemic. We'll explain.

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[10:40:20]

HARLOW: Mexico's president has tested negative for coronavirus -- this is ahead of his meeting scheduled with President Trump tomorrow. He's flying to Washington today, not on his presidential plane but on a commercial flight with a layover. Our Matt Rivers is live in Mexico City with more.

Do we know what flight? And more importantly, why?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, this is kind of his thing, Poppy. He's been doing this ever since he was campaigning back in 2018 for the presidency. We don't know exactly when he's going to fly, which flight. We do know he's going to the airport in the next few hours. They haven't released his exact itinerary.

But, look, this is something that he's done from the beginning of his presidency. This time he's going to Washington -- this is his first international trip, he's going to meet with President Trump to talk about the newly enacted USMCA. It's this new free trade deal, agreed upon between these three countries in North America that will replace NAFTA.

But he's flying to Washington, as you mentioned, commercial. Now, he does have a presidential plane. It was bought back in 2012 for more than $200 million. He's currently trying to sell it, it's sitting in an airfield right now in Los Angeles. He hasn't found any buyers as of yet.

And he's said, look, he doesn't want to take that plane because he thinks it's an example of presidential excess and corruption. And some people say, OK, fair enough, but why not take a Mexican air force plane? Because what he is doing here is putting his own security at risk.

And also, think about it, if you're a passenger who bought a ticket from Mexico City to Washington, D.C. today, you probably were not expecting to have a seatmate that is the president of the 10th most populous country in the world, and also a country that is plagued with historic levels of violence (ph).

So that's what critics are saying, they're just saying this is a cheap political stunt. But that is not stopping the Mexican president from flying commercial to Washington. He's expected to land this evening sometime -- Poppy.

HARLOW: OK, we wish him luck, obviously, and all the travelers. Matt, thanks very much.

So an important conversation ahead. Does the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. need to come down? Two direct descendants of the third president of the United States -- one who's black and one who's white -- both say yes, and they're with me, next.

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[10:46:55]

HARLOW: Well, Pentagon officials could soon be on a collision course with the president over the Confederate flag. Defense officials tell CNN, military lawyers are now reviewing a department-wide ban of the flag and a decision could come soon. It's not clear, Defense Secretary Mark Esper will seek the president's approval for the ban or not. The president has been clear in his support for not removing the Confederate flag and Confederate monuments.

Well, finally today, two direct descendants of former President Thomas Jefferson -- one white, one black -- both calling for public statues of their great-grandfather to come down. With me now is Lucian Truscott, a sixth generation descendant of Jefferson; and Shannon LaNier, a ninth generation descendant of Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings. Shannon will be there in just a minute, as we can get the connection up.

But thank you very much for being here, Lucian. You have a very powerful new piece in "The New York Times," and you call for the removal of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., something the National Park Service describes as a, quote, "shrine to freedom."

But here's what you write. Quote, "The memorial is a shrine to a man who during his lifetime owned more than 600 slaves and had at least six children with one of them... It's a shrine to a man who famously wrote that 'all men are created equal'... and yet never did much to make those words come true."

And you make the case that Monticello -- right? -- his estate, is a better representation of his life, and an almost-perfect memorial. Explain why.

LUCIAN TRUSCOTT, DESCENDANT OF PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON: It puts Jefferson in context. If you visit Monticello now, you'll take a tour and learn about slave life -- as much about slave life at Monticello as you do about Jefferson himself.

On any given day there, Monticello, when he moved there after leaving the presidency, there were about 125 slaves and one white guy, him. And sometimes his daughter, you know, his grandson would visit and so forth. But generally, it was Thomas Jefferson and his slaves.

Now, you get that history, they've uncovered Sally Hemings' bedroom, which is a cave-like structure under one of the wings of Monticello. My brother and I used to play in that room when we were boys. And they put it on display as part of the history of Monticello. This is where Sally Hemings lived, this is where the woman who had six of Jefferson's children lived.

And you can take tours that just explore slave life, so I think that it gives a picture of Jefferson in full, with his flaws and his greatness intact.

HARLOW: Your argument is that the Jefferson Memorial should come down because it doesn't do that. Let me bring in Shannon LaNier to this conversation as well.

Shannon, really, really good to have you. And for anyone who hasn't seen this video, I want them to just look at this as we discuss this well. You've got it on your Instagram, but it's you dressed just like your great-great-great-grandfather, the third president of the United States.

[10:50:08] And you say, Look, quote, "He owned people and now I'm here because of it. My ancestor had his dreams, and now it's all up to us, living in America today, to make sure that no one is excluded from the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." What does the Jefferson Memorial represent to you, as you argue for it to come down?

SHANNON LANIER, DESCENDANT OF PRESIDENT THOMAS JEFFERSON AND SALLY HEMINGS: Well, I think a lot of these public statues were put in place for the wrong reasons, and to glorify people who were flawed. I think we have to start looking at these people as human beings not gods not idols to be looked upon. And then we need to have representation of freedom, which, you know, they said the Jefferson Memorial is supposed to represent that, but yet he didn't do anything to help create a free and equal society for people.

So if they are going to keep the Jefferson Memorial, I think that they have to do what Lucian is saying that they're doing with Monticello, show the complete and entire story of who this man was. That, yes, people have been giving him a pass for years because he helped found this country, but he also helped do it on the backs of slaves, whether that was their blood, sweat and tears, that they had to put in to do it.

HARLOW: You are a descendant of -- you know, he had a number of children from relationships with slaves, you are a descendant of his slave Sally Hemings. You -- talk about who you think should go -- because it's fascinating -- in the place of the Jefferson Memorial? That it should be one of the founding mothers?

LANIER: Yes, you know, there are so many people that represent freedom more than Jefferson actually stood for. He said one thing, but he didn't practice that thing. So you could look at Harriet Tubman, you could look at Sally Hemings, you could look at many of the people that fought for the equal rights and freedom of people to be able to be free in this country and really stood for what it stands for. Or maybe you include all of them, and make it just an entire shrine to all these people.

But, I mean, the point is people are going to find flaws with people. People are flawed people, and we have to look at those people in their entirety, and that's what history is about. We're not erasing history, we're teaching the full story of what history is and what these people did to and for our country.

HARLOW: Lucian, you think Harriet Tubman?

TRUSCOTT: Yes, that's what I suggested in the "Times." Harriet Tubman, I call one of the founding mothers of this country. And I think we've paid enough attention to the founding fathers over the years, and it's time to celebrate some of the women that helped found this country.

And I describe Harriet Tubman as helping to found the America that came along after slavery. She fought to free slaves before the Civil War, she fought during the Civil War on the side of the Union as a spy and a scout. And then she fought for the rights of freed slaves after the Civil War. So I think it's time to honor her or someone like her in the place of Thomas Jefferson.

You know, you go to visit Washington, D.C., you see Jefferson everywhere. There's Jefferson Hotel, Jefferson Street, Jefferson Monument, all over the place. We've had enough of this.

HARLOW: OK, so --

LANIER: Now, why not a symbol of freedom and equality? Maybe it's not a person, maybe it's a symbol of unity, which this country is desperately needing right now, unity?

HARLOW: To both of you, I'd like you to address the argument being made by the president -- and to you first, Shannon -- I mean, he calls people who want to remove these statues. He says they are angry mobs and people who want to end America. You heard him say such a few days ago, right? At Mount Rushmore. What do you say?

LANIER: I don't agree with that at all. We're trying to equal the playing field to try to provide some context to the content that's out there. We can't just put up these statues and expect people to praise them, not knowing their history, not knowing all the bad that they've done.

Yes, they've done great things but they also have a tarnished history and a tarnished past, and we need to recognize all that they've done. And if these statues are demoralizing people, putting people down, then we should remove them so people can feel comfortable in the taxpaying environment that they're living in, not hail them in public squared where they're looking down upon, trying to put people in their place just by being there, which was some of the original intent for these statues.

HARLOW: Lucian, let me end on this and ask you something. My hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the county there, Hennepin County, Minnesota, just a few days ago -- of course, it's where George Floyd was murdered -- has declared racism a public health crisis. I wonder if you think that is something that we should see across the country in many municipalities, and if that would help move this conversation and action forward?

TRUSCOTT: I think it would. I think it's obvious what a health crisis racism is. We've just seen the figures -- I think today, or yesterday -- for how much African-Americans and Latinos and other minorities are affected by the COVID virus.

[10:55:13]

It's right there in front of us, what a threat racism is for this country. You know, what we need in this country is a reckoning. We need to confront the racist past of the country, we need to confront slavery in a way we've never done before. And I think that bringing down some of these statues -- like Thomas Jefferson -- is part of the way to do it.

And I don't know how you could describe me and my cousin Shannon as a mob, unless you think two people are a mob. HARLOW: Yes. Well, look --

TRUSCOTT: And we're hardly -- we're anything (INAUDIBLE) angry.

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: We have to leave it there, you've both written such important things. And I know you -- you know, you two have been friends now, not only relatives but friends for the last 20-plus years. It's a real pleasure to have both of you on, Shannon LaNier and Lucian Truscott. Thank you both so much.

We'll be right back.

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