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Trump Pushes Schools To Reopen; Interview With Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D); U.S. Tops Three Million Cases, More Than 132,000 Deaths; NFL Star Apologizes For Anti-Semitic Social Media Posts; New Body Camera Transcripts Describe Struggle Between Officers And George Floyd Before His Death. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 8, 2020 - 18:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We're following breaking news this hour. The United States has now passed three million confirmed coronavirus cases. More than 132,000 Americans have lost their lives since the pandemic began.

And more than 1,100 Americans died just yesterday from the coronavirus. The rising death toll is especially concerning in hot spots like Florida, Arizona, and Texas, as at least seven states are now reporting record hospitalizations.

Amid the surging crisis, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, refused to directly answer whether or not the president has confidence in the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The White House is also pushing ahead with a pressure campaign to reopen schools all across the country. Vice President Pence announced that the CDC will be revising its guidelines for schools after President Trump complained on Twitter that those guidelines were very tough and expensive.

Let's begin our coverage this hour with CNN's Erica Hill. She's got more on today's coronavirus developments.

Erica, Los Angeles County, for example, is now warning residents the coronavirus is surging to levels not seen there since the initial peak of the pandemic back in April. Update our viewers.


Hospitalizations, as you just said, are at levels not seen since April. The public health director said that is because of community spread. Cases, infections, and hospitalization rates all on the rise. She says there has been a slight uptick in deaths as well and she fears that there could be more death to come, because, as we know, those numbers lag behind. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILL (voice-over): These classrooms need students, according to the administration.

BETSY DEVOS, U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY: They must fully open, and they must be fully operational.

HILL: The American Academy of Pediatrics says in-person learning is best, if it can be done safely.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We really believe that every state has the ability to do that. But for those individual communities that may be seeing outbreaks, we will work with them.

HILL: Despite a statewide mandate to open schools in Florida, Miami- Dade and Broward counties won't send kids back if they're still in phase one.

CARLOS GIMENEZ (R), MAYOR OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: We will see what happens in August.

HILL: In Georgia, which just topped 100,000 confirmed cases, the state's largest school district pushed its start date back by a week. Texas will let parents choose where their kids learn. The nation's largest school district, New York City, will use split schedules for its more than one million students.

RICHARD CARRANZA, CHANCELLOR, NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: We know that we cannot maintain proper physical distancing and have 100 percent of our students in school buildings five days a week.

HILL: Mask requirements, new cleaning protocols, and flexibility all part of the new curriculum.

As cases surge across the Sunbelt, the White House Task Force is advising hot spots to buckle down.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: It's really 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, and decreasing those gatherings back down to our phase one recommendation, which was 10 or less.

HILL: In less than a month, the United States has added a million new cases. There are now more than three million nationwide, the country averaging an additional 51,000 a day. In the past week, 14 states posted their highest seven-day averages.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: The cases don't really tell the true tragedy of this, that the patients are piling now into hospitals, into ICUs.

HILL: Forty-two hospital ICUs in Florida are now full. More than 50 have just 10 percent of their beds available. In Miami-Dade County, where the positivity rate just hit 28 percent, the number of patients on ventilators is up more than 100 percent. Arizona has just 145 ICU beds remaining. Hospitalizations in California are up more than 40 percent.

DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: The best that we could hope for now is to put out these multiple fires around the country and get to a point of a slow burn, where there is a steady rate of infections and, unfortunately, deaths.

DR. ANDREW PASTEWSKI, JACKSON SOUTH MEDICAL CENTER: These aren't 80- year-olds that should die. These aren't 80-year-olds that were going to die next week. These are 80-year-olds that contracted a virus because a group of people just didn't want to wear a mask and they had to go out and have fun.

I had a mom and grandmother drive themselves into my hospital, and only one drove home.


HILL: We have heard from officials in multiple states about their concern when it comes to young people, especially asymptomatic young people, spreading the virus.

And that has played into decisions made by colleges. We just learned the Ivy League, those eight schools that make up the Ivy League, the Ivy League is going to pause its sports this fall, noting in a statement that they have a responsibility to make decisions in the best interest of the students, as well as the faculty and staff, calling them extremely difficult.


They will be looking at further protocols and guidelines, perhaps even for practices, moving forward, but, as of now, that fall sports season on hold -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, that's an important development, indeed.

All right, Erica, thank you very much.

Let's get some more from our White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins.

Kaitlan, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, he was nowhere to be seen at today's Coronavirus Task Force briefing. Tell us about that.


That briefing was held at the Department of Education about a mile- and-a-half down the road from the White House, which is where Dr. Fauci was attending that meeting via tele -- excuse me -- videoconference. That is what he was asked to do this morning, instead of coming to the Department of Education for that meeting, which means, of course, he could not attend the briefing that happened shortly thereafter.

And when the White House was asked today, they said it is up to the task force to decide who attends the meetings and those briefings in person, of course, meaning the vice president's office.

But when Kayleigh McEnany was asked if the president still has confidence in Dr. Fauci, Wolf, this is how she answered:


QUESTION: Does the president still have confidence in Dr. Fauci?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has confidence in the conclusions of our medical experts, but it's up to him to determine what to do with that information and to take what we hear from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and others, and take what he values in their opinion and come to the ultimate consensus that's best for this country.


COLLINS: So, that is not a, yes, he does still have confidence in Dr. Fauci, obviously, Wolf.

And it comes as just today the president was feuding with another one of his top health officials, the CDC director, over that guidance on reopening schools.


COLLINS (voice-over): The CDC director on defense, after President Trump publicly attacked his agency's guidance on reopening schools.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: I want to make it very clear that what is not the intent of CDC's guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed.

COLLINS: Dr. Robert Redfield sought to defend the guidance, but hours after President Trump publicly complained that it was too tough, Vice President Mike Pence said that's why the CDC will issue new guidance next week.

PENCE: The president said today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough. And that is the reason why next week CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.

COLLINS: The original guidelines include refitting classrooms so students can social distance, closing shared spaces, and updating ventilation systems, though it is not clear what Trump disagreed with.

Asked if he was changing the guidance to appease the president, the CDC director said this:

QUESTION: So are you going to change that guidance because the president said he does not like it? REDFIELD: We will continue to develop and evolve our guidance to meet

the needs of the schools and the states that we continue to provide that assistance to.

COLLINS: The president has said publicly that he will pressure governors to put kids back in classrooms this fall. And, today, he threatened to cut funding if they don't.

The vice president described that as a sign of leadership.

(on camera): Can you explain why the president is threatening to cut funding from schools, at a time when educators are saying they need more so they can safely reopen?

PENCE: Kaitlan, first and foremost, it's -- what you heard from the president was just a determination to provide the kind of leadership from the federal level that says we are going to get our kids back to school, because that is where they belong.

COLLINS (voice-over): While Trump has little control over the majority of school budgets, the federal government could withhold emergency relief funding that educators have said they desperately need to safely reopen. The education secretary said she agrees with the president.

DEVOS: They must fully open, and they must be fully operational.

COLLINS: The administration has said it is up to schools and local governments to decide how they reopen. But they struggled to explain why that doesn't also include when.

PENCE: It's just as the president said earlier in this pandemic, that he wanted to get our places of worship back open again.

COLLINS: New York City's mayor appeared to ignore Trump's threat today and announced that the nation's largest school district won't fully reopen this fall.

New York's governor said Trump's threats have no legal basis.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): And you are not going to bully New Yorkers. That is not going to happen. Right? Threaten me, threaten me, threaten me. How many times have we been through this? I'm still here, right?

COLLINS: At the second task force briefing in months, Dr. Fauci was noticeably absent. Yesterday, Trump openly criticized Fauci during an interview.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Dr. Fauci said, don't wear masks, and now he says, wear them. And he said numerous things. Don't close off China. Don't ban China. And I did it anyway. I sort of didn't listen to my experts, and I banned China. We would have been in much worse shape.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: Now, Wolf, I also asked the press secretary, what exactly was it in the CDC guidance the president didn't like so much that he publicly attacked it?

They only listed one thing, and that was this guidance that all students should bring their lunch to school, noting that they didn't think that was feasible, given that so many kids rely on schools to get their lunches.


But they did not list anything else that it was the president didn't like, as they insisted he is on the same page as the same CDC whose guidance he was criticizing this morning.

BLITZER: Kaitlan Collins reporting from the White House -- Kaitlan, thank you very much.

Let's discuss all the late-breaking developments with the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Mayor, thank you so much for joining us.

Before we get to some of the substance, tell us how you are feeling. I know just the other day you told all of us that you have tested positive for the coronavirus.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Well, thank you for having me, Wolf.

I have a runny nose. I had a scratchy throat and headache yesterday, everything that I would consider to be symptoms of my seasonal allergies. And so I have been asymptomatic, by and large. My husband is the one who is catching it, or -- he has -- his symptoms are a whole lot worse than mine.

BLITZER: Well, what kind of symptoms does he have?

BOTTOMS: He's been sleeping nonstop. I have never seen a person sleep this much.

He literally has been asleep since Thursday. He wakes up for very small periods of time. I just went to check on him just before joining you. He has a low-grade fever today, just very fatigued.

BLITZER: We have spoken in the past. I know you and your husband, you have four children. And you have told us here in THE SITUATION ROOM that they have some underlying health issues as well.

How are the kids doing?

BOTTOMS: Well, one has tested positive, which is very concerning. But, thankfully, that child is asymptomatic.

But what is most troubling, we have had a series of COVID tests, just getting tested regularly, and I had one after I had recently attended a funeral and decided to test the whole family. It took eight days for those results to come back.

And had we gotten those results back, we would have known we had an asymptomatic child in the house. At that point, my husband and I were negative. We were tested again on Monday of this week, and all three of us were positive.

And I think that really speaks to the problem that we're having across America. People are asymptomatic. They don't know that they are infecting others. It is taking so long for us to get test results back. And had we known, perhaps my husband and I could have avoided contracting COVID-19 and putting the rest of our children at risk.

BLITZER: Not just your kids and your husband, but you have also said that you spent time with your mom just on Sunday, before you knew for sure you had coronavirus. Is that right?

BOTTOMS: Spent time with my mom. Spent time at our police headquarters.

I went inside City Hall and had a meeting with my senior staff. So I have been around a number of people. Probably, this is -- has been a more active week for me, because I'm not usually out and about that much.

But, thankfully, I was able to go back and contact everyone that I have been -- that I knew of that I have been in contact with. But this is why we can't get to the other side of COVID-19. Other countries have gotten to the other side of it because there has been decisive leadership from the top, and they have been very intentional about testing and making sure that people were wearing masks, all of the things we are not doing.

So, when I hear this president say he wants to get the economy going again and he wants kids back in school, then maybe we should look to other countries and look at the things that they have done to get to the other side of COVID-19.

We're going to keep going around this -- in this circle, and we're still going to be here next year at this rate.

BLITZER: It's hard to believe it took the mayor of Atlanta, what, eight days to get the results of that coronavirus test.

How is your mother doing?

BOTTOMS: Thankfully, my mother was negative, and my two -- my other two children -- three children have tested negative as well. So I am very grateful for that. She pulled up last night.

They didn't even say goodbye. They literally ran out the house with their iPads, toothbrushes, and favorite blankets. No clothes. They just left when they got their results without saying goodbye. So they are all happy.

BLITZER: Well, let's hope everybody is going to be fine. We wish, of course, all of you only, only the best. I know, Mayor, that you're taking some specific steps to mandate masks

in Atlanta. Tell us what exactly you want to do. What led you to make this decision?

BOTTOMS: Well, we have looked at other cities across our state.

And, Wolf, you have heard me say before, sometimes, leading is as much about leading as it is following. So, we saw what Mayor Van Johnson did in Savannah. We have seen other cities in Georgia mandate masks.


And we decided to give it a moment just to see what the governor and the state's response would be to these other cities mandating masks. And I am signing an order today to do the same in Atlanta. When I look at our COVID numbers, they are going through the roof. Our hospitals are filling up very, very quickly.

All of the experts that I'm hearing from are saying that to help slow the spread, we need to mandate masks. And that is what we're going to do in Atlanta, and hopefully it will help some.

BLITZER: Before I let you go, Mayor -- and we are grateful for the time you're spending with us -- let me turn to the really important issue of violence in Atlanta that we have seen over these past few days.

What do you think is leading to this uptick in violence, in not just the past few days, but recent weeks? And do you fear police may be less active because of the rather tense climate that has developed right now, specifically calls to defund police?

BOTTOMS: I think that it is a really bad combination of things, Wolf.

And I was giving this some thought today, and I thought about when I was a magistrate judge. And when people would come into court, primarily African-American men, I would say roughly 99 percent of them didn't have high school diplomas, which meant quite often they didn't quite often have jobs.

And when people don't have jobs, and they don't have hope, they often don't care about themselves. When they don't care about themselves, they don't care about others. I think there are systemic causes to what we are seeing, but I think in this moment in time we're seeing this combination of COVID and anxiety and angst related to that.

We are seeing unemployment rates. We are seeing the challenges we're having with injustices that we have seen as it relates to George Floyd and so many others. And I think it is boiling over in our streets.

So, we had a really bad weekend in Atlanta. We have not had a weekend like that in recent memory. And it is happening across the country. And so our police force is responding. We didn't have sick-outs this weekend. We had the officers on the street.

But there were so many factors at play and so many incidents that it was a very challenging weekend for us. And it is quite disturbing that this is happening across our country. We have got to deal with the systemic issues, but immediately respond to the needs of our communities, and that's to provide protection for our citizens.

BLITZER: Well said.

The mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, good luck to you. Good luck to your whole family. We hope all of you have a very, very speedy recovery. Thanks so much for joining us.

BOTTOMS: Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead: Dr. Deborah Birx is urging states with surging cases to roll back their reopening plans. Will new stay-at-home orders follow?

Much more coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: We're following the breaking news.

The coronavirus death toll here in the United States has now passed 132,000. More than three million Americans have been confirmed -- have confirmed cases of the disease.

Let's discuss with the former acting U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak.

Dr. Lushniak, thanks so much for joining us.

More than three million confirmed coronavirus cases. More than 1,100 Americans died from coronavirus just yesterday alone, just yesterday alone. Is it time to consider more drastic action, rolling back reopening efforts, for example, much more strict -- stricter mask mandates? What do you think?

DR. BORIS LUSHNIAK, FORMER ACTING U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Well, I think, again, the parameters that are out there are showing that we're heading in the wrong direction.

Guess what? There was a plan, a plan put out several weeks ago. Look at It talked about reopening America. A key feature of the plan was, if the numbers don't look good, if certain areas are still being affected, there is this mandate within that plan to roll back, to go back and be able to reassess what we're doing from a public health measures perspective to prevent further disease, to prevent further death, and to stop this spread of COVID-19.

The plan is there. Let's follow it.

BLITZER: We should.

The vice president, Mike Pence, says the CDC will be issuing new guidelines on reopening schools after the president publicly complained today that the current guidelines were simply too tough. You're the former acting surgeon general of the United States. How dangerous is it for the CDC to start changing its guidance following political pressure?

LUSHNIAK: Come on. This is a public health crisis right before our very eyes.

And for the vice president to come out and say, oh, it's too tough, go back and redo this...


BLITZER: The president said it was too tough, not necessarily the vice president. The president said it.

LUSHNIAK: The president said it.

But the reality is that we are now sort of, again, telling CDC to do what? Just change the science, to change the world, to change the recommendations? Public health knows what needs to get done. Allow this work to unfold. Right?

I can understand us reevaluating. We always have to reevaluate. I will emphasize again, Wolf, that this is a novel virus. We have never dealt with this before. We are always learning.

But guess what? We are right now at a stage where things are heading in the wrong direction, and now is not the time to make things easier. Now is the time to realize that, in the next eight weeks, we have the opening of schools taking place. It's not going to be a normal school year.


That's the truth.

BLITZER: Yes, that's absolutely the truth.

Did you hear any solutions, Dr. Lushniak, from the White House Coronavirus Task Force today about how they will protect, for example, teachers, especially those who are in a higher-risk age group or have underlying health conditions, and the students, for that matter, who may have preexisting conditions at the same time?

LUSHNIAK: Well, you know, this is a big struggle.

I'm the dean at the University of Maryland at the School of Public Health. We're going through the same dilemma right now, which is reopening. And how do I protect students? How do I protect staff? How do I protect my faculty?

This is not an easy tasking. We try to implement the public health measures, physical distancing, the use of the masks, trying to limit the number of people congregating indoors. This is part of the plan that needs to be put into place. BLITZER: Dr. Boris Lushniak, as usual, thank you so much for joining


LUSHNIAK: Always a pleasure, Wolf. Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead: President Trump is threatening to cut off funding to schools that don't reopen in the fall. I will discuss this and more with the Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer.

There you see her. She's joining us live.



BLITZER: As coronavirus cases surge past 3 million confirmed cases here in the United States, President Trump is ramping up a pressure campaign to reopen all schools in the United States in the fall.

Let's discuss this and more with the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer. Governor, thank you so much for joining us.

The vice president earlier today pointed to your state, Michigan, as a success story in the fight against this virus. You're currently though, I understand, seeing an uptick in cases. What do you make of the federal government using Michigan to say mitigation efforts are actually working?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): I think if we're learning a lesson from Michigan is that you listen to your epidemiologist, not politicians, not Twitter feeds, not protests even. You listen to your epidemiologists. We've pushed our curve down. We've seen success. But, of course, the longer this goes on the harder it is to stay disciplined. And that's why the mask up campaign is critical.

We know that if everyone would simply wear a mask, we could bring this virus to a sputtering halt and, yet, it's become a political issue. And that is why, if the administration is going to spend energy anywhere, it would be wonderful if they spent it on encouraging people to wear masks and ramping up testing and tracing.

These fundamentals still are woefully under where they should be by now. And so this is where they really could be spending energy that would help and help make sure that we're in a safer position to actually engage our schools in the fall.

BLITZER: It would save a lot of lives in the weeks and months to come. As you know, the president, speaking of schools, is threatening to cut off funding for schools across the country if they don't reopen in the fall. Some schools are supposed to open in early or mid or end of August, early September. Are you prepared to lose federal funding in Michigan if you determine that it's not safe, completely safe to reopen some school districts in your state?

WHITMER: I'm not sending kids and our educational workforce into our schools unless it is safe. It's that simple. The reason that Michigan has been able to push our curve down is because we're listening to scientists, not threats, not politicians. We've got to make decisions based on keeping people safe. And we've got to ask everyone to continue to do their part.

We've had some success but there are concerning trends all across this nation. And the last thing I want in Michigan is to see an outbreak that keeps us from moving forward getting kids in school. And in order to keep that from happening, we have to take this masking up campaign seriously.

BLITZER: We certainly do. At this point, Governor, do you think you'll be able to safely send the kids, the students, the teachers, back to the classrooms for the fall semester?

WHITMER: Well, I'm concerned. You know, I've got -- I'm a parent of a child in public schools and another child that is supposed to be off to the freshman year in college. I am very concerned. We're eight weeks out and we know that the trends nationwide are not good. We know that the supply of reagents and swabs are not where they need to be. We know that tracing. But we've done some good work here. We know that that is not happening across the country and that is precisely why we have to get this fundamentals right, right now.

Eight weeks will go by very quickly and if we don't get a handle on the fundamentals, it is going to be very risky to debate whether we send kids back into their classrooms. And that's the last thing anyone wants. As a parent, as a governor, I want to get our kids back in in- person instruction but we can't do it if it is not safe to. And that's why the actions today really matter and determine whether or not we're going to be in a position to do that this fall.

BLITZER: The vice president, Mike Pence, said today that the CDC will be issuing new guidelines on reopening schools after the president earlier in the day publicly complained that the guidelines from the CDC were simply too tough.

You've said repeatedly over the weeks and months you won't let politics dictate your response to this deadly pandemic. How dangerous though is it, Governor, to see the CDC potentially be influenced on a political basis by the president's words?

WHITMER: I hope that they don't get corrupted by the political pressure. It is hard to fight that. But we've got to listen to the best scientists in the world.


The CDC has an important fiduciary duty to all Americans to promulgate best practices based on science and medicine. And I hope, I like to believe but we will see, that they are -- I hope that they're strong enough not to be corrupted by someone's political agenda. We've got to get this right.

Politics is not going to fix this problem. Public health experts are. And the quicker we get to it, the shorter amount of time it will impact our economy, the sooner we can get our kids back in school and the sooner that we can resume some normalcy. But the fact to the matter is, politicians going in and middling with protocols and CDC practices is a recipe for disaster.

BLITZER: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, good luck to you, good luck to everyone in Michigan. We'll clearly stay in close touch. Thanks so much for joining us.

WHITMER: Thank you.

BLITZER: All right. Just ahead, NFL star DeSean Jackson is apologizing now after sharing anti-Semitic posts on social media. We'll have more on that and all the other news after a quick break.



BLITZER: The Philadelphia Eagles Star DeSean Jackson is apologizing after sharing an anti-Semitic quotation falsely attributed to Hitler on social media. The team and the NFL swiftly condemned the post. But tonight, there is new controversy surrounding the comments.

CNN' s Brian Todd is following all of this for us. Brian, what is the latest?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, DeSean Jackson is on the defensive. His team is trying to figure out what to do with him. Jewish leaders are outraged. And many observers are saying this really could not have come at a more combustible time.


He's been one of the NFL's most dazzling and best known players for more than a decade. But tonight, DeSean Jackson is desperately trying to salvage his reputation. The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver in recent days posted on Instagram quotes that are falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler. The director of Philadelphia's chapter of the Anti- defamation League says, the fact that it's not a real quote from Hitler isn't the point.

SHIRA GOODMAN, PHILADELPHIA REGIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: So to see that on Instagram from a sports figure is so jarring and hurtful and offensive, and that's what we want DeSean Jackson to understand, what his spreading of that kind of message, what the impact is that has.

TODD: The Eagles, whose owner and general manager are Jewish, issued a statement calling Jackson's posts absolutely appalling. The NFL called them highly inappropriate, offensive, and divisive. Jackson issued an initial apology, saying, anyone who feels I have hate toward the Jewish community took my posts the wrong way. I have no hatred in my heart toward no one. But then another apology saying my intention was to uplift, unite and encourage our culture with positivity and light. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I unintentionally hurt the Jewish community in the process, and for that I am sorry. DESEAN JACKSON, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES WIDE RECEIVER: I just want you guys to understand that it never was intended to be -- you know, to put any race down or any religion down.

TODD: But according to The Washington Post, Jackson had also posted an image on Instagram of nation of Islam leader Louis Farakhan, calling Farakhan powerful.

GOODMAN: He is a powerful speaker. The problem is that he has been known for decades to spew hate against the Jews and others and amplifying his messages is very dangerous.

TODD: The fallout from Jackson's postings probably couldn't come at a more sensitive time. Just weeks after several prominent black athletes sent powerful messages against racism during the George Floyd protest movement.

MIKE FREEMAN, COLUMNIST: If you're a member of the African-American community, and you want respect from people, you have to give that same respect. You can't tell people that we should be treated like human beings, which is obvious, and then go and demean another group of people.

TODD: But adding to this controversy was a posting from Steven Jackson, the former NBA player, who was an inspiring voice during the George Floyd protests. Steven Jackson seemed to support DeSean Jackson's now deleted postings about Jews. Columnist Mike Freeman says, so much for the good will Steven Jackson created over the past few weeks.

FREEMAN: And he said some really passionate, smart things and was a really good almost spokesperson for what's happening. And then now, I think this destroys it all. It obliterates it all.


TODD: Now, Steven Jackson is now saying he was not agreeing with DeSean Jackson's post, he was agreeing with something from a conversation before getting online about handling the fallout from DeSean Jackson's posts.

As for DeSean Jackson himself, NBC Sports Philadelphia is reporting that he has reached out to a prominent rabbi in the Philadelphia area to seek guidance on anti-Semitism. but will the Eagles discipline DeSean Jackson or cut him as some Jewish leaders and sports columnists are calling for? We have reached out to the Philadelphia Eagles for the moment at least, they are not answering that question. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Brian Todd, reporting for us. Brian, thank you very much. Let's bring in CNN Sports Analyst Christine Brennan.

Christine, is DeSean Jackson going to face discipline from the team or the NFL for that matter for those anti-Semitic posts?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Wolf, yes, I believe he will. My sources are telling me that there's great concern not only in the NFL, of course, the league at large but within the Eagles. The range of punishment could be a suspension, could be a fine, and obviously they could also get rid of him.


I don't see that happening. But Jackson is 33 years old. You know, he should know better. The power of social media and, of course, the hate he was writing and putting out there quoting, fake quotes I guess of Adolph Hitler. Nonetheless just reprehensible behavior and the last thing the NFL wants right now. So, I do expect there will be some kind of punishment.

BLITZER: What do you make of some of the other players who are weighing in on this?

BRENNAN: Well, I think everyone should probably stop tweeting and get off of Instagram. As Brian said in his piece, Wolf, this is a time that is so fraught with anger, with emotion, obviously Black Lives Matter, all of the things we're dealing with and the NFL is dealing with. A big apology a few weeks ago from Roger Goodell for the way they've handled things including Colin Kaepernick.

And to have this flare up now is the worst possible thing that could be happening within the league and within the Philadelphia Eagles.

BLITZER: Do sports leagues whether baseball, football, basketball, hockey, any of the leagues, do they have clear policies to deal with these types of situations?

BRENNAN: In a word, no. It is ever changing. For example with domestic violence it was a two-game suspension, then a six-game suspension. That was back in 2014. With the awful Ray Rice punch we all remember.

So, yes, there is a lot of leeway here which is good on one level but, no, there is nothing definitive written other than of course just a player conduct and those, again, that can be at the discretion of the team, probably more than the league at this point. I don't think Roger Goodell wants to get involved with this unless he absolutely has to.

BLITZER: All right. Christine Brennan helping us appreciate what is going on -- Christine, thank you very much.

BRENNAN: Thanks.

And just ahead more breaking news. We've just received new transcripts in the George Floyd case. They have just been released. We'll have a live report when we come back.



BLITZER: We're getting some breaking news. New transcripts from body cameras worn by the officers now facing charges for the death of George Floyd. CNN's Omar Jimenez is joining us. He's got details.

Omar, so what are we learning from these transcripts?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're learning a lot about the moments leading up to what we saw play out on that cell phone video, of course, that was distributed a little over a month ago now and seen in places all across the world. We know there's an existence of actual body camera footage but we're working on getting that released. So, for right now, we have the transcripts.

And you look at the exchange. This is specifically the exchange for Officer Thomas Lane who's among the four officers involved in George Floyd's death. You see there are a lot of moments that strike you in this transcript.

Specifically there's a moment where Lane and the officers are trying to get George Floyd to get into the police vehicle to which Floyd is scared of saying he is claustrophobic and does not want to be in there. So, they are arguing back and forth.

And there seems to be a struggle going on based on the transcript here. At one point, he says, y'all, I'm going to die in here, I'm going to die, man. And that seemed to be the desperation with which Floyd was literally fighting for his life, it appears in that moment.

And then there's another exchange as you go on further into the transcript. Again, they are trying to -- this is all happening before that cell phone video, by the way, just as a reminder. This is a moment where, again, they are trying to put Floyd into the car.

There was a struggle it seems at least verbally back and forth, where Floyd says, I'm not trying to get -- I'm not trying to win, I'll get on the ground, anything. I can't stand this, man. I know it. I'll get on the ground. I'll do what you want. And then the struggle continues.

So, all this is basically, again, giving insight into the moments into what we saw on cell phone video. It's a lot -- about 82 pages of body camera transcripts and about a 60-page transcript in interview with Officer Lane that was released. So, a lot to go through there.

Body camera footage also released from another officer in this, Officer Kang. So, all of this obviously playing into the investigation or the court proceedings that we are seeing. But, again, we do know there's existence of the body camera footage but it seems that the courts are working on permission it seems based on communications we've had with them to actually have that footage released.

BLITZER: What are Thomas Lane's attorneys trying to argue with these transcripts?

JIMENEZ: Well, Thomas Lane's attorneys are trying to argue that their client, Thomas Lane, did not know that Officer Derek Chauvin was committing a crime in his actions. In fact, as part of the basis of these transcripts coming out was that the defense attorney filed a motion to dismiss the charges against his client and this was all that came out through it.

He argues that at one point, he saw was Chauvin was doing but deferred to Chauvin's judgment and then -- because he was a senior officer, let him -- let that situation continue to play out, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Omar, thank you very much. Omar Jimenez joining us now from Chicago.

We'll have more news right after this.


BLITZER: Finally tonight, our nightly tribute to some of the lives cut short by the coronavirus.

Joe Lewinger of New York was only 42 years old, a loving father of three children, educator of 20 years. His wife Laura says he wrote her love letters every morning.

In his final moments, she played their wedding song over the phone when they had to say good-bye virtually.

Ellyn Schreiner of Ohio was 68 years old, an educator, mentor, and hospice nurse for 45 years. She was a matriarch of her family with a passion for scrapbooking and NASCAR. Her sister, Nancy, tells us Ellyn was always smiling and made others feel so very special.

May they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing.

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.