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Brazil's President Tests Positive For Coronavirus; Federal Government Commits $1 Billion To COVID-19 Vaccine Maker Novavax; EPA Approves Two Lysol Products To Kill Coronavirus On Surfaces; CNN Obtains Copy Of Book Written By Trump's Niece, Mary; Michael Hinojosa, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent, Discusses White House Ideas On How To Safely Reopen Schools. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 7, 2020 - 11:30   ET



BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But Sao Paulo opening yesterday. We saw people elbow to elbow in a shopping district. A lot of masks out there.

But the president has no doubt set a tone -- sort of dismissive tone toward COVID-19 even as the numbers have mounted now.

But now we'll see how he fares now that he actually has that disease -- Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I must say, it is striking where you are, where you're reporting from right now, Bill. There's no question about the seriousness of the crisis in Brazil when you see what you are standing amongst right there.

Bu the fact -- remind me and remind our viewers -- the president, there was some reporting that he had gone in for a lung scan. That's one of the things that he had gone in for that kind of prompted this test and, obviously, now we know that he has it.

WEIR: Yes. We've seen video of him, and it's become somewhat of a -- of a -- a crowd-sourced effort to watch how many videos you can find of President Bolsonaro coughing when he's out in public, deliberately sort of louting the social distancing rules that he resists for economic reasons.

So, yes, you would say he was asymptomatic. He probably had a bad cough. He went into to check his lungs out. While he was there, they gave this test.

The ambassador to Brazil from the United States had lunch on Independence Day, so he will have to be tested and everybody else in that entourage probably as well.

But it was inevitable. This is the thing that all of his top health advisors have been warning against. If you go into a crowd of people without a mask, you're gambling with their lives and you own.

He fired his first Dr. Fauci of Brazil, his health minister. The second one didn't last a month. And now a general is running things rights now.

But, again, to give you the scope of what's happening down here, I met a grave digger here, the biggest cemetery In Latin America, who has been working here for 25 years. He says, I've never seen anything like it.

They are digging these graves as fast as they can. And because there's such a constant demand, the government has said that visitation, basically your funeral for family members, Kate, can last no more than 10 minutes. It's almost grief on an industrial scale.

And so many people are so fascinated to see if the president's diagnosis now will shift his approach to trying to flatten the curse in Brazil.


Bill, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

As we continue to follow this breaking news, let me bring in CNN medical analyst, Dr. Kent Sepkowitz.

Doctor, just your reaction. There's very little we know about -- about the Brazilian president's condition.

I'm just looking at some notes that were just sent to me. He did go in -- he was showing symptoms consistent with COVID, including a temperature of 100 degrees. That's what they had said yesterday. But they also say today that his temperature is back to normal.

Just your reaction to this diagnosis.

DR. KENT SEPKOWITZ, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I think he's certainly someone who has not taken precautions and has actually advised this country to not take precautions so he may well have it.

I think he's an older man. I don't know his medical history in terms of the likelihood he'll have a severe outcome. The presence of fever - we don't much else -- makes me think if, indeed, he has it, it may well be mild. But that's all speculative.



SEPKOWITZ: It is a bit concerning.

BOLDUAN: I'm sorry. I was going to say he's 65 years old so he's on the low end of the high-risk kind of category for people who have COVID, again, not knowing exactly the extent of his medical history.

SEPKOWITZ: His weight does not seem a problem. Between age and weight, those are probably the two largest risks outside of lung disease. So he may well be OK. But some people with his risks don't do well.

We obviously wish him well. I hope that this will mean something to him personally in terms of how he projects what is the best thing to do to prevent others getting what he sounds like he's developed. So I hope that there will be a good public health consequence of this.

BOLDUAN: Yes, I think that is a very -- what you pose is very important going forward, wat the President Bolsonaro says when he speaks about the coronavirus during this crisis going forward now that he himself


BOLDUAN: has tested positive.

Dr. Sepkowitz, thank you very much. I really appreciate it.


We're continue following the breaking news out of Brazil.

We have much more ahead. We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: This morning a big announcement in the government's quest to find a coronavirus vaccine. Committing this morning more than $1 billion to the company Novavax and its trials under way for a possible coronavirus vaccine. This is the largest federal contract yet given for a COVID vaccine.

CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins me now with the details.

Elizabeth, what do we know about the vaccine candidate?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, one thing that we know about it, Kate, is that it's different. It works differently than the three that have gotten federal funding for large- scale trials from the federal government.

That's good. You want to have as much variety as you can get because some of these might not work and you might want to increase your shots on goal, so to speak.

Right now, Novavax is studying this. Just 131 patients, that's a preliminary trial.

I asked the CEO of the company, when will you move on to the large 30,000-person large-scale clinical trials.


STANLEY ERCK, CEO, NOVAVAX: I think in the fourth quarter. We don't have a date set yet. But hopefully, as early in the fourth quarter as possible. Maybe, if we're lucky, we can start phase three in the late third quarter. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: Now Mr. Erck, the CEO, he told me that he thinks they could have their vaccine on the market by the first quarter of next year -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: And the EPA also just approved two disinfectant products that kill COVID on surfaces. What does that mean?

COHEN: So these two products are both by Lysol. They've been approved. It says it kills it on non-porous surfaces. It doesn't mean other products don't. There's lots of good products out there. They have applied to the FDA or told the FDA what their products can do, but these two have the official EPA stamp of approval that it will kill the virus.

BOLDUAN: Elizabeth, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

We also have this just into CNN. The much-awaited tell-all book from President Trump's niece, Mary Trump, will hit bookstores two weeks earlier than expected. And the Trump family had sued to stop to the publication. Now CNN has seen a copy.

But let me bring in CNN's Sara Murray.

Sara, what did can you tell us about this?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we did a copy of the book. It's a pretty slim 14-chapter read but it's an indictment of President Trump from a member of his family.

We haven't heard a lot from the direct members of the Trump family. This is a book coming from Mary Trump who is his niece and a book that one of the president's siblings actually tried to block from publishing. But the publisher got the release to go forward.

We're looking through some of these things. And in it, you see Mary Trump writing about the hubris of her uncle. She writes about how she didn't actually think that he was taking his presidential election seriously.

And she even had lunch at one point with Maryanne Trump, Maryanne Barry Trump, who was a federal judge, and they are discussing Donald Trump running for president. This is back in 2016.

And it recounts the conversation in which Maryanne Trump says, he's a clown. This is what the book says. "He's a clown. My Aunt Maryanne said during one our regular lunches at the time. This will never happen."

Mary Trump has had a very fraught history with other members of her family. There was a big fight after the patriarch of this family died over Donald Trump and his siblings trying to cut Mary Trump and her brother out of the will. So there's been bad blood in this family for a long time. She also makes it very clear in the book that she was no fan of her uncle winning the presidency. She says she got invited to Donald Trump's election night party and turned down the invitation because she thought it would be rude if she was out there celebrating Hillary Clinton's victory. That's not how it panned out.

She writes in the book that she stayed silent for a long time when Donald Trump won the presidency and when he's been in office. But she just felt like she was sitting by and watching her uncle ruin the country. And she writes in her book that she could not stand by and be silent any longer.

Now there's a reason that this book is coming from Simon & Schuster and you're not seeing Mary Trump on television doing a bunch of interviews. That's because, as of right now, there's a temporary restraining order against Mary Trump that's blocking her from talking about her own book. The restraining order against the publisher was lifted and that's why we're seeing the copies come out -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: You were hitting on it right there. But a big question in everyone's mind is, how much detail does she go into, into her relationship with Donald Trump but also why she is writing -- why she's writing this book, what she wants to come out of it?

MURRAY: Right. Of course, the team at CNN is still reading through it.


Got our hands on this morning. It's a quick read but it's hard for one person to digest all at once.

I think there are a couple of things going on here. One, there's certainly bad blood within the ranks of the Trump family as there was with this lawsuit to years ago, this litigation that happened over the will of Fred Trump.


You know, the other thing is she writes in her book that she's really offended by the way that President Trump invoked her father's memory. Her father was named Fred Trump, and he died, and he suffered with alcoholism.

And she said she watched the way Donald Trump used her father's story to relate to people who are dealing the opioid crisis. And she just felt that her father's memory was being used for political purposes.

She writes in the book that Maryanne Trump Barry, again, the former federal judge, also agreed with that and also agreed with that assessment.

And she makes it very clear she did not want Donald Trump to win the presidency. She was an avid Hillary Clinton supporter.

And she writes she was sort of felt she stayed silent long enough and has watched the things a have happened throughout her uncle's presidency and she felt she had to come forward and speak up.

This may be the first time we're seeing her put her a face and name to these words, but we have heard from her without realizing before.

You know, she writes in her book and confirms that she was a source for that big "New York Times" investigation into the Trump family taxes that really sort of alleged that a lot of what they were doing was not up to par and that they, you know, may have misstated things in their finances over the years and may have even committed fraud.

It's interesting because now her lawyers are using that as a reason she should not be silenced. They are saying, look, this settlement agreement she signed 20 years ago was all based on fraudulent information, she you throw it out the window.

BOLDUAN: That still continues.

Sara, continue reading stay with me. Thanks for bringing that to us.

Now let me bring in Brian Stelter on this.

Brian, you were just reporting because of demand that this publishing date was moved up.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": That's right. That's why these copies are starting to leak out.

Here's one of the money copies that have already been shipped out to brook stores. This book is essentially an anti-Trump campaign book, Kate, from my initial read of it.

Joe Biden couldn't have written a more effective book against the president of the United State.

But you say that, you know. I say that, I say it's like an anti-Trump campaign book but it's coming from inside the family. There's never been anything like this in modern political history to have the niece of a president write a scathing tell-all.

Let me read a couple of parts that stand out to me from the very end of the book, talking about the president's cruelty. Saying that cruelty is the point, which is a quote from "The Atlantic" writer, Adam Sewear (ph). It's meant to distract the rest of us from himself.

And she said, "We must dispense with the idea of Donald being a strategical person, understanding media and politics. He doesn't have a strategy," Mary says. "He never has."

She said, "it was a fluke he won the election." She says she never thought he was going to win. And he takes these rebukes and challenges and doubles down on his behavior because of these problems in his family that she describes in detail, as Sara just mentioned.

At the end of the book, Kate, what you hear from Mary Trump is, you know, it's a lifetime of failures by the president of the United States.

She says, "The lies may become true in his mind as soon as he utters them, but they are still lies. It's just another way for him to see what he can get away with. And so far he's gotten away with everything."

This is the ultimate disappointed relative, you know. You think about any family drama, you times it by a thousand, and that's what you get with this book by Mary Trump.

BOLDUAN: But you hit on it. We'll continue to go through, of course. And everyone will read the quotes and we'll, of course, wait to hear how the president responds if he does and all of that.

But just to sit for a second and absorb the fact that this is a scathing rebuke, hitting at all of the major sensitivity points that we know of from Donald Trump.


BOLDUAN: And it's coming from his own family.

STELTER: It's sad.

BOLDUAN: Coming from his niece that is how he's a clown, is how he's described. And, as you say, failures, and the fact he didn't have a strategy and a fluke, it is sad to see.


STELTER: The reason I say sad, page 202, "Donald continues to exist in the dark space between the fear of indifference and the fear of failure that led to his brother's destruction."

She goes on to say that, "Every time you hear Donald talking about how something is the greatest, the best, the biggest, the most tremendous, you have to remember that the man speaking is still, in essential ways, the same little boy who was desperately worried that he, like his older brother, is inadequate and that he, too, will be destroyed for his inadequacy."

"At a very deep level -- this is Mary Trump -- "his bragging and false bravado is not directed at the audience in front of him but at his audience of one, his long death father."


STELTER: So ultimately, Mary Trump is saying it all comes back to those daddy issues, challenges.



STELTER: And I think, frankly, many people can relative to the, Kate. Many people have their own family issues. But to see it in a book about the president is astonishing.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. So many people in conversation about what the president is doing and why, say, I can't get into the president's head. From what you just read to mem it sounds like the president's niece may be --


BOLDUAN: -- trying to do exactly that in this book.

Brian, thank you.

Sara, and the whole team, reading through, thank you. We'll have much more on that obviously.

Coming up, still ahead for us, President Trump is demanding that schools reopen in the fall. I'm going to talk to a superintendent of Dallas, Texas, schools about what that could look like and can they do it when you know what is going on in Texas and the coronavirus surge?

We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: Just a few hours, the White House is turning attention to reopening schools in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. But the president has already made his thoughts very clear as you can see there in all caps. He wants schools open.

But what does that mean for the state and local officials who have to make that happen and responsible for the health and safety of students, teachers and staff?

Joining me is Michael Hinojosa, the superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District.

Thank you so much for coming in. It's been quite some time. And so much has happened since we last spoke two months ago.

Back then, you were talking about all of the plans that you were putting into place with the anticipation of trying to reopen. Where do the plans stand now, Michael?

MICHAEL HINOJOSA, SUPERINTENDENT, DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: They have shifted significantly. Two weeks ago, we surveyed the parents and 20 percent said they did not feel comfortable sending the kids to school. They wanted to have at-home learning. That shifted from 20 percent to 50 percent.

And I bet if we surveyed them again in a couple of more weeks, that will be probably be up to 75 percent who do not want to come to a school building.

BOLDUAN: Wow. HINOJOSA: You cannot legislate behavior but, obviously, that's how the

parents are feeling right now.

BOLDUAN: That is an important -- that's an important litmus of what your plans will look like.

What are you waiting for to make a decision? You need to hear from the governor but I've also -- we are hearing -- CNN is reporting that the CDC is planning on putting out more guidance about safe school reopening.

Are you looking for that? Would that be helpful in making this decision about what school will look like?

HINOJOSA: Therein lies the problem. We have mixed messages from the fed, state and local officials. We are going to have social distancing, masks, face shields, Plexiglass in the classrooms. And we're told we won't get funding for at-home learning unless we have a building open physically like you have reported in this hour of what Florida is requiring to have bricks and mortar. So we are still waiting for that.

Our parents are frustrated and the board because we can't make a decision and we're getting mixed messages as we go along. We have to make a decision and move forward with it.

BOLDUAN: This is -- school is last -- I saw schools set to be opening mid-August. It is time to start making some plans for you, for staff, for families, for everyone.

The governor has completely reversed course on when it comes to wearing a mask in the state of Texas. What do you think that means for schools? First, it was not having masks in schools. You always said you plan on people wearing masks in the schools. What would that look like?

HINOJOSA: I think that's a hopeful change. You have to respond to the data.

And I do applaud the governor for making a pivot once the data is clear and there's no way to school safely without the protocols. And we don't need to be second guessed with the safety measures and then someone says, you can't do it that way, or you want funding, you have to do it some other way.

I think we need direction because the families are impatient. We need to get the schools open only if the families and the teachers and the staff feel safe that they can safely operate a school in that environment.

BOLDUAN: Look, you have hit the most important part about it. If you survey families and they come back and they say only 50 percent of them are comfortable having the kids in the classroom, it doesn't matter what the governor or president says.

If you open a school and no one's showing up, you need to figure out a way to teach those kids.

HINOJOSA: Precisely. That's why we have to have options and we need some funding flexibility. We can have parameters but you've got to give local governments some flexibility as to how you implement the parameters.

And if we are given that, we think we can pull it off safely and in some kind of virtual format and in-person format.

BOLDUAN: You have been thoughtful about this all along. And I hope the state officials are listening to you on this on this, in needing flexibility to try to get kids in the classroom, if it's possible, but get them learning at the very least again starting next month.

Michael, thank you very much. We'll check back in.

HINOJOSA: Thank you very much, Kate. Thank you for having me.


BOLDUAN: It is the top of the hour. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you all so much for sticking with me. We have a lot of breaking news to get to.