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WH Won't Say Whether Trump Has Confidence In Fauci; Tulsa Sees Surge In Coronavirus Cases After Trump Rally; Arizona Has Highest Positive Test Rate In The U.S.; Trump Says "It's Time" To Reopen Schools As Teacher Organizations Claim It's Not Safe Due To Pandemic; Trump's Brother Tries Again To Stop Publication Of Niece's Book. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 8, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, three million coronavirus cases in the U.S. as the president sidelines Dr. Anthony Fauci and slams the CDC in this push to reopen schools.

Plus, breaking news, 500 new cases of coronavirus in Tulsa where Trump held that indoor rally. Was it because of that rally? The Tulsa Health Director tonight says connect the dots.

And who was the Trump friend who allegedly took Trump's SAT test for him? Well, we've got new details on that. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, overruling science. President Trump again saying he knows better than the CDC and if the last time that he did that is any guide, the lives of even more Americans may be at risk. Already tonight more than 3 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus. New cases today at a daily all time high and this vastly outpaces any increases in testing.

As of tonight, more than 132,000 Americans have died in the past few months from a virus we didn't even know anything about in January. And in much of this country, cases and deaths are still climbing. Yet today President Trump decided to slam the CDC over its scientific back to school guidelines tweeting, "I disagree with CDCgov on their very tough and expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them."

Three exclamation points. Well, the CDC right now is saying that schools need things like masks and ventilation systems. Some are incredibly cheap and obvious, some not so much, all doable if we want to have kids back and all laid out by scientists by professionals who the President just threatened I will be meeting with them with three exclamation points and the CDC seems to be on the brink of bending to the will of a president who routinely smear science and blatantly ignores basic realities like masks work.

In fact, soon after Trump slammed the CDC for being too tough on schools and said he'll be meeting with them, the Vice President announced that the CDC will be issuing new guidelines for reopening schools.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, the President said today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough.


BURNETT: They don't want it to be too tough. How about this, tough enough to keep schools open. Harvard's doctor Ashish Jha said today that, quote, the CDC guidelines are really basic and in fact, I think they should go further. He makes a really important point for all parents who want their kids back in school like I do.

He says if the U.S. does not do what the CDC recommends, the schools will end up closed by October and won't open for a really long time. That would be bad. So now all eyes are on the CDC and whether it will stand up for what the CDC believes is right, what the scientists there believe is right, what they put on their own page or whether they'll bend to Trump's political wishes.

So as the President slams the CDC scientists, let's remember the last time the President overruled the CDC recommendations, repeatedly telling states to reopen, even though they did not meet the CDC recommendations at that time to do so.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the governors have to start opening up. We now know the disease. We know the weaknesses and the strengths. I think that a lot of these states are going to, the ones that are sort of sticking to a certain very rigid pattern, I think they're going to stop. I don't think the people are going to stand for it.


BURNETT: Right. Well, many 10s of thousands of people have died since that day in this country from coronavirus and many of the states who followed the President's advice are in bad shape and that's where people are dying right now. Cases are growing faster in three states in the United States than in any country, that's right, any country in the world.

Take a look at this chart, New York Times put it together today. You can see it. Look at all of those states. There's a few countries on there, look Oman, Kazakhstan, but a whole bunch of U.S. states and the top ones in the world, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and then Bahrain.

And by the way in Oklahoma remember where Trump held that rally in defiance of what scientists said, the Tulsa health department tonight says they have seen nearly 500 new cases there in the past two days, two weeks after the President's visit. Contract tracers there, they say are 'inundated' as the city is hitting a new single day high of cases.

So when specifically asked if those cases are going up, because of the rally two weeks ago, here's what the Tulsa City County Health Department Director said.


DR. BRUCE DART, DIRECTOR, TULSA CITY COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT: In the past few days we've had almost 500 cases and we knew we had several large events a little over two weeks ago which is about right, so I guess we'll just connect the dots.


BURNETT: Connect the dots to Trump himself and that rally. The surges are not due to more testing as Trump says. They are due to spread. As my colleague, Chris Cillizza, points out today and just take a look at these numbers, this is since June 12.


Since that time there's been a 37 percent increase in testing for coronavirus. That's the testing increase. Look at the case increase, 152 percent. All of this as Dr. Fauci was notably absent from the coronavirus task force briefing today, just 24 hours after the President publicly slammed him and said he disagrees with Fauci's assessment that the United States is 'still knee-deep in the first wave' of this pandemic.

Jeremy Diamond is OUTFRONT near the White House to begin our coverage tonight. And Jeremy, where was Dr. Fauci today?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you said, Erin, Dr. Fauci noticeably absent from that task force briefing. We are told, however, that he did attend the task force meeting that happened beforehand, but he didn't attend it in person at the Department of Education where it was held.

Instead, we're told that Dr. Fauci was told to attend this meeting at the White House in the Situation Room. So attending this meeting remotely which essentially prevented him from being able to be at this briefing that happened thereafter. So very clear here that the Trump administration limiting Dr. Fauci's public exposure here as we know that the President and Dr. Fauci have been publicly clashing.

Fauci has really not mince words when it comes to this pandemic and where the United States currently stands while the President instead, Erin, has been trying to portray the situation as far rosier than it actually is. The White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, was asked why Dr. Fauci was not at this briefing and she said that that is a task force decision essentially passing the buck on that question. But she was also asked whether the President still has confidence in

Dr. Fauci and her answer is interesting. She said, "The President has confidence in the conclusions of our medical experts." But very notably there, Erin, she declined to say that the President still has confidence in Dr. Fauci, just one day after the President himself in an interview said he disagrees with Dr. Fauci, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. He disagrees and then went on to criticize him specifically for things he'd said and changed on. Thank you so much.

And I want to go now to Dr. Jonathan Reiner, cardiologist who advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush and Dr. William Schaffner, former CDC official now a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

So Dr. Schaffner, let me start with you. You work for the CDC, yet today the President says he knows better than the CDC. He's threatening them with this meeting. They say the guidelines are too tough and that they're going to come up with new ones. The White House says this of the CDC. Yesterday says he knows better than Dr. Fauci.

He's overruling science at every turn. How dangerous is this at this point?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIVISION, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Oh, Erin, it's very sad and it is dangerous. This country has been led in the past through epidemics and when there's threat of new infections such as Ebola and Zika and the CDC has done an absolutely stellar job.

It has the reputation of being the finest such agency in the world by far and it has been pushed aside and down by the political leadership in Washington and that's very sad. And there's terrific confusion out there, because the CDC is trying very hard to get a solid public health message out and there's a black editorial pen coming from the White House that interrupts that message and changes it often making it much milder, less direct and less useful. This is not a good thing for any of us.

BURNETT: And Dr. Reiner, the Tulsa Health Director I just pointed out, right, he said today connect the dots, 500 new cases in the past two days, two weeks after the President's rally. He says connect the dots to the those large scale events two weeks ago.

And at that rally, Dr. Reiner, I just want to make it clear, we saw staffers. We have them on tape removing social distancing signs so that people would sit every other seat. They remove them because they wanted it to look crowded. The President didn't wear a mask. His Press Secretary proudly said she would not wear a mask. She didn't wear a mask. How much responsibility do they bear?

JONATHAN REINER, DIRECTOR OF CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION LABORATORY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Very great responsibility. The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes said that science is the knowledge of consequences. But we have a president who apparently he doesn't believe in science and doesn't really care about the consequences. And time and time again, he has undermined the good work of some of the professionals that work for him.

His administration recommends facemasks. He says, not for me, I can't see. It's a double edged sword. His administration touts their success in increasing testing. And he says, testing is overrated. The CDC puts together, as you mentioned in the opening, of really measured plan to get the states back online. President completely undermines that urges the states to open rapidly.

And now you're seeing with this whole school business, again, the CDC putting together a very measured plan for getting schools up and running. President, got to get them open.


Apparently, the only thing that the President does believe in is the President. The only thing Donald Trump believes in is Donald Trump. He doesn't really care about the consequences.

BURNETT: And Dr. Schaffner, I want to show that chart again, the whole world where cases are growing, right? And as I already pointed out, testing in the U.S. is up 37 percent, new cases up 152 percent, right? So these increases in the U.S. are not due to increased testing.

The top three countries in the world in terms of increases are Arizona, Florida and South Carolina. They're states not countries, then Bahrain, then Louisiana, right, then two more countries in the Middle East, then Alabama, Nevada, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, in comes Panama, Tennessee, Kazakhstan, California.

I mean, this is terrible. I don't think that there's any American can look at this and say that this is acceptable. Are we anywhere close to having this under control?

SCHAFFNER: Oh, Erin, we're not. You know I'm a pretty optimistic fellow but I'm very, very sobered by these numbers. Tomorrow, we will release the information that in my own community we have the largest number of new cases that we've had. This virus is not under control. It's a tiger. We have it by the tail and we're running hard to keep up.

There's no semblance of control, because we don't have a national policy. If I perceive on national policy, it's to ignore it, to try to pretend it doesn't exist, to try to say goodbye and boy don't bother me. As though we're not there at all. We need a coherent national strategy so that we're all doing the same thing across this country.

This virus could get even worse this fall with flu. Yes, the second wave could be even worse than the first and that's from optimist.

BURNETT: Great. And I want to make a point as you say that, that the head of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, agrees with you and that's, of course, is not something the President want to hear that he has silenced that when he tried to get him to correct it, in fact, right? Remember when he brought him up to the podium and he refused to

correct it, he said what he said, it could be worse because of the flu and the fog, it'll be much worse than anything we've seen.

Dr. Reiner, you perform heart surgery on a regular basis in the hospital, PPE every day and here we are more than four months into the known part of this pandemic and America has not solved the PPE problem. In other words, we still don't have enough of it. I joined many Americans in saying how the hell could that be and I want to play what the Vice President said today about his solution for the PPE.


PENCE: PPE, we hear remains very strong, but we're encouraging healthcare workers to begin now to use some of the best practices that we learned in other parts of the country to preserve and to reuse the PPE supplies.


BURNETT: So Dr. Reiner, that shocks me as a citizen, right? I understand when you don't have a solution, something hits you in the face that you didn't expect hit you in the face, your best policy. How about the only policy would be to find a way to reuse it.

But to actually say that now with four months of warning that we haven't even been able to get the supplies we need and best policy is to reuse PPE, what do you say to that?

REINER: It makes my blood boil. Every doc I know has been reusing N95 masks and other PPE since the beginning because we've had no confidence in our ability to get resupplied. We've suspected that there was going to be a shortage.

This administration has touted their ability to build some ventilators. But we've had no update on what the national strategic stockpile has in terms of personal protective equipment. We've had months to build up our national inventory and where is it? Let's hear the Vice President answer that question. Where is the PPE?

BURNETT: Right. That's the answer we should have because the answer should be we've got it. We went and got it for you. We ramped it up and here it is.

REINER: Or manufacture it now.

BURNETT: But no, the answer is trying to say the best practices are to reuse PPE.

REINER: Right.

BURNETT: Yes. All right. Thank you both very much. I really appreciate your time. I'm sorry. It was a sobering conversation, but I hope that it was heard. Thank you both.

And next, coronavirus raging in Arizona. A record number of ER admissions today higher positive testing rates than any other state in the United States. We're going to talk to an ER doctor who just got off his shift.

Plus, Trump threatens to pull funding from schools as he pushes for them to reopen. In other words, if we don't reopen no funding. But the question is, is it safe for them to return and will schools stay open? I'll speak to a public health expert who says it is safe. A head of a teachers union who says not so fast.

And new clues about the mystery man alleged in a new book who have taken Trump's SATs for him. A famous tennis star says it wasn't her husband. I'll ask author Mary Trump's best friend who it is. She's my guest.




BURNETT: Tonight, Arizona seeing more than one in four coronavirus tests coming back positive. That is the highest of any state and it's a really bad number. You need those numbers to be 5 percent lower. It comes as the state also reports a one day record of people admitted to the emergency room. Nick Watt is OUTFRONT.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Today the Vice President was big on platitudes ...


PENCE: The American people are finding a way to do their part ...


WATT (voice over): ... but short on detail.


PENCE: Just keep doing what you're doing.


WATT (voice over): Even though yesterday we hit a new one day record for new cases again.


DR. PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT: Just a few days ago, we were aghast that we'd hit 50,000 without a national strategy and a roadmap we'll quickly accelerate to a hundred thousand cases.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATT (voice over): But the Vice President sees a silver lining.


PENCE: We're actually seeing early indications of a percent of positive testing flattening in Arizona, and Florida and Texas.


WATT (voice over): There that blue line is what he's talking about, flattening in Florida above a 15 percent positivity rate on tests. The WHO guideline is to flatten under 5 percent before reopening.


PENCE: In Arizona and Florida, we're beginning to see declining numbers of emergency room visits as well.


WATT (voice over): No mention of the full ICUs in 43 Florida hospitals or the just 145 ICU beds in Arizona currently unoccupied.



MAYOR KATE GALLEGO (D) PHOENIX, ARIZONA: Our medical professionals are already feeling exhausted, asking for reinforcements and they tell me the worst is yet to yet to come.


WATT (voice over): The U.S. has a little over 4 percent of the world's population yet right now a little over 24 percent of the world's COVID-19 deaths. But the Vice President is upbeat.


PENCE: We are encouraged that the average fatality rate continues to be low and steady.


WATT (voice over): Although the death toll is now starting to climb in Florida, Arizona and Texas, and in eight states from sea to shining city record numbers now of COVID-19 patients in hospitals. Today, Dr. Deborah Birx asked everyone in surgeon spots basically to return to strict phase one recommendations.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Asking the American people in those counties and in those states to not only use the face coverings not going to bars, not going to indoor dining, but really not gathering in homes either. (END VIDEO CLIP)


WATT (voice over): And you know now, Erin, more than five months into this we still haven't really got a handle on this whole testing thing. Today, the Mayor of Phoenix said that some people are waiting in their cars, have been waiting in their cars up to eight hours to get a test and by the way it was over a hundred degrees today in Phoenix.

The federal government this morning said they are now working to open a surge testing site in the west of that city, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Nick.

I want to go now to Dr. Murtaza Akhter, ER Doctor in Phoenix.

You know we've been talking with him as cases have surged. And Dr. Akhter, I know you look as exhausted as you must feel. You've had your shift, the record high number of ER admissions today. I know you're just stepping out briefly to be to talk with us, tell us what you're seeing.

DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, ER DOCTOR, VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER: Thanks for having me back, Erin. Yes, I don't really know what else to say that hasn't already been said so many times. The patients keep coming in. We continue to have a bunch of COVID cases even if the ER maybe gets slowed down for a day, that doesn't mean any of the inpatient patients are going home anytime soon.

Just a few minutes ago, my colleague and I were discussing how he got a negative test today. Imagine that when somebody gets a negative COVID test, we all talk about in the doc box because it's so rare. I've been saying this for weeks. Basically, everybody we test is positive. I thought the state's data probably hadn't caught up yet and it had time to catching up. You're hearing the news reports now. We in the ER notices a while ago, everybody was coming back positive and now you can see what's happening.

BURNETT: So I want to ask you what Dr. Birx said today at the coronavirus task force briefing when she was asked specifically about Arizona, here she is Dr. Akhter.


BIRX: The seven-day average is showing some flattening and then we find that encouraging, also equally encouraging at this point, because we know that the test positivity rate is the first thing to increase and we're hoping that it heralds a stability in Arizona of at least reaching a plateau in their curve.


BURNETT: What do you say to that? Do you see anything encouraging?

AKHTER: I'm not sure where she got that. She's a smart doctor, but we hit a record yesterday for positivity. You were mentioning the 5 percent threshold, Erin, we hit 32 percent yesterday, 32 percent of our test yesterday were positive. I mean, you don't need to be a math teacher to understand how to do the slope of a line. We aren't flattening and being flat at the worst place in the country isn't good anyway, even if we were flat, that'd be a terrible place to be flat at. Flatlining in a cardiac EKG means you're dead.

OK, so flat is bad as it is, but we're not flat. As a matter of fact, we hit a new record of positivity yesterday, so I have no idea where these phrases coming from.

BURNETT: So the entire State of Arizona if I'm right here on this stat, 91 percent of the ICU beds are in use right now. So my understanding is that means you have 145 beds left in your entire state, given what you're seeing, 32 percent positivity. Is there any way that's enough?

AKHTER: The short answer is I think it would take basically a miracle to be enough, at least a couple of weeks from now. Right now we're holding OK, because remember, if you're testing positive right now, that doesn't mean those patients are necessarily getting sick right now. The sickest patients I see are the ones who had COVID diagnosed five days ago, 10 days ago, two weeks ago.

So we've been surging and the real concern is when that spreads further to the elderly, the immunocompromised, and when those patients start getting sicker, how is it even possible to have enough beds. We're already struggling. We have a surge line in Arizona that can help with COVID admits, but if somebody doesn't have COVID, we'd have plenty of patients who need the ICU without COVID. We really struggle to find them a bed and that's right now. Imagine what it's going to be like as it's getting worse.


BURNETT: And I want to ask you because I know you've talked about how you're seeing so many young people and I've talked to ER doctors in Miami, they're seeing the same thing. We keep hearing the White House say, well, because more young people are getting sick, the death rates coming down and that's something to celebrate. What's your response to that and what are you seeing?

AKHTER: This is a classic example of Simpson's paradox. I mean, that's like saying my parachute worked halfway down. Let me just close it and fall to the ground. It's ridiculous.

Young people are less likely to die. Yes. We have a lot of elderly in Arizona, a lot of retirees and a lot of snowbirds, so if they magically never catch the disease, that'd be phenomenal. Are you telling me that the young people aren't going to infect the elderly because we know they've been in congregate settings. So young people can die and have been and older people can definitely die.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Dr. Akhter. As always and your honesty, thank you. I think people need to hear that especially when they heard something so different today from the task force. Thank you. Thank you.

AKHTER: Thanks for having me, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the Trump administration doubling down tonight on its push for schools to reopen stat. But is that the right thing to do and will teachers do it?

And who was Joe Shapiro? The man that Trump allegedly paid to take his SATs for him. That's the explosive claim in a new book written by Trump's niece and we've got some important details ahead.



BURNETT: New tonight, Vice President Pence saying there should be no debate, that kids need to return to school in the fall despite the coronavirus pandemic.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's time. It's time for us to get our kids back to school. This is not just simply about making sure our kids are learning and they're advancing academically but for their mental health, for their well being, for their physical health, for nutrition. We've got to get our kids back to school.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Joseph Allen, the director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. And Ross Moore, president of the El Paso chapter of the American Federation of Teachers which includes about 4,400 teachers as well as other school employees.

It's a topic I know so many viewers care deeply about, including myself as a mother to three children, two of whom are in public schools.

Ross, you just heard the vice president. Are you and your teachers ready for in-person classes, which literally would be in just a few weeks, right, when school begins across this country?

ROSS MOORE, PRESIDENT, EL PASO AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: I want to make this clear. Nobody wants to be back in the classroom with their students than my members do. But the caveat is when it's safe and regardless of what the vice president says, it's not safe. I would invite him to come down to our middle school which about 100 yards off the border and spend time in the classrooms there, instead of speaking of things that he doesn't know about.

It's not safe, and the conditions in El Paso and in Texas have continued to rapidly deteriorate as the numbers go up.

(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: And I want to make a point, yes, that 76 percent of the students in your district are economically disadvantaged. I would imagine you're dealing with many barriers here in terms of your classrooms, how many kids are in them, right?

MOORE: That is correct. And a lot of our facilities are old. I know something in the paper about having adequate ventilation, half my members report they have inadequate or no airflow through their classrooms. Add in this new twist to coronavirus where it can be an aerosol mist forming what I call a COVID cloud, that even increases the probability schools will become hotspots.

And children, the stats out here in El Paso and in Texas say the cases are going up and they are vulnerable to it. So, I urge you parents, don't bet your children's life on this.

BURNETT: So -- so, Joseph, you wrote your recent op-ed and you're dealing with a different school system, but that you would be comfortable sending your own children back to school. You made an interesting point. And that is if the standard is zero cases, then there isn't going to be any going back to school, right? And that's just the way it is, right? If zero is the standard, then we're not going to meet it.

I mean, what do you say to teachers like those that Mr. Ross represents that are -- that they're worried, they're scared?

JOSEPH ALLEN, WROTE OP-ED TITLED "YES, KIDS SHOULD BE GOING BACK IN THE FALL": Yeah, thanks for having me on. I understand the anxiety of teachers and parents. I have three kids of my own.

And right. There is no such thing as zero risk and certainly no such thing as zero risk during a pandemic. That said, the goal of course is to deep schools as safe as possible for kids and adults.

And I find Vice President Pence's comments totally irresponsible because much like everything this administration has done they blurt out a statement without supporting it with a plan for how to get it done.

The difference here what I'm saying is my Harvard Healthy Buildings program has put out a 60-page report with risk reduction strategies that every school can undertake that doesn't have to cost that much money. I want to be clear we have to account for the massive costs of keeping kids out of school. It's untenable to continue the effort for another year.

We have virtual drop outs. Kids are more sedentary. Many kids rely on schools for meals, 30 million plus, it's food security issues. There's issues of abuse, neglect, exploitation or violence.

On the flip side, they're less likely to catch the virus, they're less likely to suffer severe adverse consequences, and the early evidence suggests they're less likely to infect adults. We can also keep teachers and administrators safe too.

BURNETT: Ross, you're shaking your head.

MOORE: Yeah, first of all, the numbers are showing that kids are at risk. Right now in El Paso County, we've got 285 reported cases of kids under 12 years old and another 326 who were teenagers.

You know, I would point out -- my understanding is Harvard has decided to go to virtual across the board.


Some of the assumptions that were made from remote -- I guess you didn't talk to school districts -- both EPISD and kind of TOISD (ph) have/are doing twice-a-day feedings even during the summer to make sure our kids have nutrition. The virtual dropout rate, I question that too. And given --


ALLEN: Ten thousand high school students --

BURNETT: Go ahead.

ALLEN: Ten thousand high school students in Boston did not log in at all in May. In Philadelphia, 50 percent of elementary school kids are checking in. There are virtual dropouts. That's real.

I also want to say the medical community is behind reopening and reopening safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics --


ALLEN: -- has supported our position and that schools can reopen and reopen safely.

There's a big difference between cases and cases that translate into severe disease for kids.

I'm not minimizing the risk here. I want to be really clear. I take this seriously too. I think teachers and health experts have to work together.

There is a way to do it and we can deploy healthy building strategies if we're smart about it and invest in schools. We've underinvested in school infrastructure for decades and paying the price now. We can do a lot better and we still have some time to get it right.

BURNETT: Ross, you know, there was a study in France. And it was just -- you know, it's one study I was just saying put out there because it was there. They looked about 500 kids in six schools. They only got three cases and those cases did not lead to more infection of teachers.

And I know, obviously, you just gave the numbers. Two hundred and eighty five kids under 12, 326 teens.

Is it possible that you could put kids in if they're really not going to get very sick themselves and focus on protecting the teachers, and that you could do that safely and get school to start, right? You put plexiglass for the teachers. You protect the teachers who were older, is there a way to do that and open the schools?

MOORE: At this time, I don't think so.

Now, I looked at Mr. Johnson's seven steps, and I also talked with the two superintendents whose districts I represent, one of the board presidents. And bottom line is, they're not practical in the real world down here. They don't take into account kid behavior. And they don't take into account social behavior.

I would point out that the only way, the only way, that your seven steps -- and there are others besides that where your seven modest proposals would work is the HEROES Act is passed immediately.

If Vice President Pence and President Trump really want to do something that will actually help making opening school safer, they need to get on the phone with Mitch McConnell and tell him, get the HEROES Act passed. I want it on my desk for signature Monday morning at 10:00. He can do that.

BURNETT: Ross, you're the first.

Joseph, a quick response to you since he mentioned your point.

ALLEN: Yes, I want to say, too, our plan is detailed. I'm not sure the plan referring to. That's not ours. Encouraging people to look at the Harvard Healthy Buildings program, 60-page report on risk reduction strategies of school.

The most important one is this. We have to establish the culture of health, safety and shared responsibilities in schools. This is not just the superintendent's responsibility, the principals or the teachers. It's students and parents as well.

If we follow these steps, we can get kids back to school safely.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate both of your time very much. Thank you.

ALLEN: Thank you.

MOORE: Thank you very much.

BURNETT: All right.

MOORE: You guys have a great evening.

BURNETT: You too.

And next, Mary Trump cannot speak publicly about the bombshells she levels about her uncle, the president of the United States, but her best friend can, and her best friend will be OUTFRONT next. And I'm going to ask her, who is this person that Trump allegedly paid to take his SAT. And Trump's own son and daughter-in-law on robocalls urging

Republicans to vote by mail as the president rails against it saying it's full of fraud.


LARA TRUMP, TRUMP'S DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: Safely and securely vote for Mike Garcia by returning your mail-in ballot by May 12th.




BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump's brother making a last ditch effort to stop the niece's tell-all book from publishing. His lawyers asking the judge to continue a gag order against Mary Trump, saying that her personal stories aren't protected political free speech.

This comes as everyone is asking the big question, who is Joe Shapiro? The friend who Mary Trump says took the SAT test for Trump.

OUTFRONT now, Alice Frankston. She's Mary Trump's best friend. She's speaking out on Mary's behalf as Mary is under that gag order.

Mary wrote the book at your house, Alice. I know you were consulted throughout the process, so you know a lot about this.

So I want to start with this question because it's gotten a lot of people talking. The allegation in the book, in Mary's book, that Trump paid his friend, a man named Joe Shapiro, to take his SATs for him.

So, everyone's been talking about this Joe Shapiro, and they found this Joe Shapiro who went to University of Pennsylvania with Trump. And his wife, the former professional tennis player Pam Shriver says there's no way it was him. He, of course, has passed away.

Can you clear this up for us? Is that the Joe Shapiro that Mary is alleging did this? Or is it someone else?

ALICE FRANKSTON, FRIEND AND CONFIDANT OF MARY TRUMP: That's not the Joe Shapiro, and the media has kind of zeroed in on Pam Shriver's late husband. The timeline doesn't match up, and it wouldn't be logical because the incident would have happened when Mary's uncle was at Fordham. And this Joe Shapiro and Mary's uncle would have been at Penn at the same time. So, it doesn't really match up and that's not the one.

BURNETT: Right, so you're saying they hadn't met at this point.

FRANKSTON: Joe Shapiro is a very common name on the East Coast.


BURNETT: Yes, yes, it is, which I think is a fair point to make. It is.

So -- so, the White House says this claim is absurd, completely false. Those are their words.

Does Mary stand by this allegation of this -- this Joe Shapiro taking the SATs for Donald Trump?


FRANKSTON: Yes, absolutely. She wouldn't have written it otherwise. She -- these are her accounts, which, of course, it would be better if she could speak for herself but she's silenced in an unprecedented way.

She's a truthful person, always has been. These are her accounts that come from her conversations with sources including family members. So, yes, of course, she stands by it.

BURNETT: And is there anything more you can tell us about this person? And I know there is so much focus on it obviously because, you know, she's saying this sets up the kind of person that the president was and is, you know, his dishonesty and his lies and that it started at this point.

Is there anything more we're going to find out about the Joe Shapiro that she says did this and, you know, whether -- whether he's still alive?

FRANKSTON: I don't think that there's going to be more about it because really it's only part and parcel of what describes him and how he operates. I mean, there are so many other facets to what we see about him other than just this. There's, you know, he's politicized --


FRANKSTON: -- wearing a mask. There's the whole country is in unrest, and everybody's focusing on this one little thing that, yes, it's an accurate account of something that happened. But there's so much more going on that needs to be spoken about.

BURNETT: So, I want to ask you because, you know, you have been so important in this process for Mary, Alice. She writes about visiting Mar-A-Lago when she was 29. She said she showed up to lunch one day, she was wearing her bathing suit and a pair of shorts.

She writes in the book, quote: Donald who was wearing golf clothes looked up at me as I approached as if he'd never really seen me before. Quote: Holy S, Mary, you're stacked.

All right. Now, Alice, this is disturbing on many levels. And I -- I say that -- this is the man who talked about he'd date his own daughter if she wasn't his daughter on "The View", right? He talked about her in these terms with Howard Stern, which is also deeply disturbing and I would say at the least.

What was Mary's overall relationship like with Donald Trump? FRANKSTON: Well, that's, you know, something that is well-described in

the book. I do remember her telling me this story and others like it that are deeply disturbing. Not surprising, any of it, but, yeah, I do remember her discussing that story with me in particular. And she goes into more similar accounts in her book.

BURNETT: Well, Alice, I really appreciate your time. I know you've been a part of this with her. I hope that we will be able to hear from her. And I'm sure she appreciates and everyone appreciates you're being able to speak on her behalf. Thank you.

FRANKSTON: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the president says mail-in ballots are ripe with fraud but there's no way it should be allowed. So, why did his son urge voters to do this?


DONALD TRUMP, JR., SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: This is Donald Trump, Jr., calling from the Republican National Committee to remind you to return your ballot for the congressional special election in your district.




BURNETT: Tonight, Trump family hypocrisy as the president repeatedly rails against mail in voting. CNN's KFILE unearths this piece of tape from Trump's daughter-in-law in April.


L. TRUMP: You can safely and security vote for Mike Garcia by returning your mail in ballot by May 12th.


BURNETT: Abby Phillip is OUTFRONT.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump and his campaign saying one thing about mail in voting.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is tremendous evidence of fraud whenever you have mail in ballots.

PHILLIP: And doing another.

L. TRUMP: You can safely and securely vote for Mike Garcia by returning your mail in ballot by May 12th.

PHILLIP: That's the voice of President Trump's daughter-in-law Lara pushing Republicans to vote by mail in a hotly contested California special election in May.

L. TRUMP: Remember, your mail in ballot is arriving soon. Make your vote count.

PHILLIP: In at least three robocalls uncovered by CNN, Laura Trump, a top campaign official and her brother-in-law Donald Trump Jr. urging voters.

L. TRUMP: Return your ballot for Chris Jacobs.

TRUMP JR.: This is Donald Trump Jr. calling from the Republican National Committee to remind you to return your ballot for the congressional special election.

PHILLIP: Those pleas coming as the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee are fighting in court to restrict access to mail-in voting.

L. TRUMP: President Trump has been standing up very, very strong on this. He recently spoke out about the importance of voting in person. You said it. If we can stand in line at a grocery store and make sure we're safe, we can do it at a polling location.

PHILLIP: It's just the latest case of hypocrisy from Trump officials on voting. At least 16 Trump officials have voted by mail according to a "Washington Post" tally, including President Trump who voted by mail this year despite being at Mar-a-Lago minutes away from a West Palm Beach, Florida, voting location when he could have cast their ballot in person.

CNN has learned Vice President Mike Pence also cast his ballot in Indiana by mail.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, like her boss, also voting by mail in Florida.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He supports mail in voting for a reason, when you have a reason you're unable to be present.

PHILLIP: But Florida is one of many states that does not require an excuse to cast an absentee ballot. That list includes Pennsylvania where the Trump campaign blasted out these emails urging Republican voters to request their ballots and vote at home.

Attorney General Bill Barr backing up President Trump's unsupported claims of wide spread fraud with mail-in ballots.

BILL BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Could absolutely open the flood gates to fraud. Those are delivered into mailboxes. They can be taken out.

PHILLIP: But according to "The Washington Post", the attorney general himself has repeatedly voted by mail in Virginia, including most recently last year.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PHILLIP: Now, Erin, we should say multiple studies have confirmed that there is no evidence of widespread fraud with mail-in ballots. The RNC did say in a statement that what they oppose is expanding absentee voting to allow every eligible voter to receive a mail in ballot automatically.


But that's, of course, something very few states are opting to do. Many more states are simply asking voters to request a ballot for the November election -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Abby, thank you.

And next, an update, Brazil in even more turmoil after the country's president tests positive for coronavirus.


BURNETT: Brazil surpassed 1.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus today, deaths there now about 68,000. Only the United States has recorded more deaths.

And tonight, Brazilian journalists say they are suing President Bolsonaro who has coronavirus. They alleged that he did not keep a safe distance while infected, refusing to wear a mask around them. Government employees that came into contact with the president may not have the same legal recourse, though. The government says tonight that it will not remove them from their jobs and if they experience virus symptoms, they should just go get tested.

Thank you so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.