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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Supreme Court Rules on Trump Tax Returns; Growing Pandemic. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired July 9, 2020 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: That is the message from Dr. Anthony Fauci, as states across the South and the West continue to break records, California and Florida today reporting a record number of coronavirus deaths, Florida seeing a huge spike in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus there, the positivity rate now more than 18 percent.
So, to put that into context for you, the CDC initially recommended that states with more than 20 percent positivity rates stay shut down. At least a dozen states are seeing hospitalized -- most hospitalized coronavirus patients since the pandemic began.
And as intensive care units fill up and PPE shortages are reported yet again, an E.R. doctor tell CNN the scary part is that it's only going to get worse.
As CNN's Erica Hill reports, more than 10 percent of the new infections have come just in the last 10 days.
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida continuing to break records.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: For the people who expected to see a sharp decline in the number of cases as the weather became warm and moist, I think we're seeing that that's absolutely not the case.
HILL: Exhibit A, the Sunshine State, which just recorded nearly 9,000 new cases and 120 COVID-19 related deaths, a single-day high.
DR. ROSS GOLDBERG, PRESIDENT, ARIZONA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: We all hoped for a flattening and a stabilization. We haven't seen it yet.
HILL: Arizona one of nearly a dozen states seeing an uptick in hospitalizations.
FAUCI: Any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down.
HILL: In Kentucky, new cases jumped 40 percent in the last week. In Oklahoma, they're up 45 percent, across the country, 33 states moving in the wrong direction. DR. OGECHIKA ALOZIE, TEXAS MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: There's no immediate
fix to this. So, we're going to have to really put in the work to get ahead of this epidemic.
HILL: "The New York Times" reporting PPE could soon become a concern again, noting doctors in Houston have been told to reuse N95 masks, echoing the vice president's request on Wednesday.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're encouraging health care 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.
HILL: Even in states holding steady, like Maryland, officials remain cautious.
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Look, we're very concerned about what's happening around the country. And I don't want to take any kind of a victory lap.
HILL: The state seeing a spike in cases among those under 35. Michigan reporting one in five COVID patients is between 25 and 34 years old.
Meantime, in New York state, the early epicenter, less than 1 percent of tests are now positive for the virus, a sliver of hope amid grim numbers in the new hot spots, positivity rates skyrocketing in Arizona, Texas and Florida.
DR. ALI KHAN, FORMER CDC OFFICIAL: This is an outbreak that's uncontained, in freefall.
HILL: And just want to ask today you on some numbers, Pamela, that we're just getting in from the state of California, California reporting its highest single-day death toll, 149 COVID-related deaths.
And Governor Newsom saying -- quote -- "The mortality rates are still front and center and should be in your consciousness."
We have been hearing from a number of officials. Of course, we know that the death toll does lag behind cases and hospitalizations. And there is concern that we will continue to see an uptick.
BROWN: We will be keeping an eye on those numbers. Thank you so much, Erica Hill.
And joining me now is CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Good to see you, Dr. Gupta.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Pamela.
BROWN: There's so much to discuss here. You heard Dr. Fauci say today that any state that is having a serious
problem should look at shutting down, but then he cautioned he hopes that it's not necessary and that pausing reopenings should be the way to go. What do you think? Is that sufficient? What was your takeaway?
GUPTA: Well, I mean, Pamela, that the takeaway is that the status quo is obviously not working, right?
So, pausing reopening alone is the status quo, I mean, because they're not reopening. So you just put a halt on those plans. That's not going to work in some of these states. I mean, clearly, the numbers are growing significantly, as Erica was just -- Erica Hill was just talking about.
So if it is pausing reopening with real diligence about these measures in the public, such as mask wearing, which we know can work -- we have real evidence now from other countries -- then perhaps.
But there's no question we're in a more serious situation now. So, if this were a patient, Pamela, I would say, earlier, you could have used a less aggressive treatment. But now you have more virus, you have obviously more spread, you may need more aggressive treatment.
BROWN: And what do you make of, the more virus, the more spread? Is that just because, in your view, people just let their guard down, that states opened too soon?
GUPTA: Yes, I think you could -- yes, those two things, for sure.
But I think you could trace it back even a little further. I mean, I think what strikes me now, just having covered this for several months, is that, in the beginning, I don't think there was a seriousness about this, which would have manifested in terms of real widespread available testing, to get your arms around it, get eyes on this early on.
And I think, as a result of that, we had significant community spread. Started off on the West Coast and the East Coast, and then has gradually made its way further and further into the country.
So, I think it's been there. This has been happening for some time, and then get exacerbated by closing too late, got exacerbated by opening too soon, people not wearing masks, all those things you layer into it.
But I think it was that lack of seriousness up front that's really driving this.
BROWN: And then you look at the numbers, the data coming out today, 33 states, Dr. Gupta, are seeing an increase in cases. Hospitalizations are wrapping at least a dozen and deaths are increasing in seven.
Does there need to be more of a national approach to be dealing with this spike? Because when you hear from the White House, there is still this message coming out from the president, from the very top, saying, look, things are -- things are getting under control now, schools should reopen, and the states should decide what to do in terms of the messaging on coronavirus.
No, Pamela, I think there has to be a national plan. And I think perhaps that's obvious to people from a public health perspective. But, as I talk to people in different states around the country, you do hear different things in terms of their approach.
And I think it makes it confusing. One state is going to approach it this way. Another state is going to approach it this way. I mean, we all travel around between these states. Are you sort of following the new state's guidelines when you travel? It gets confusing.
Second of all, yes, just because people do travel -- I mean, these states are not bubbles. So how are you going to sort of handle that without a national plan?
The countries that have had the most success have had a national plan. It doesn't mean that something has to last forever, some sort of new national plan, but it has to be in part -- in place for a little length of time still.
BROWN: Yes, it was interesting that the president said, look at these other countries, their schools are reopening.
But those countries actually followed a national plan. And Dr. Fauci today said that he's concerned too about the neighboring states, to your point, about, it's not just an isolated state. People travel across state lines.
BROWN: So that's an issue.
And then you look at the long lines for testing, and nurses and doctors are sharing their stories of PPE shortages. When you look at this, do you feel like we're back to where we were in March?
GUPTA: I really do. I remember having conversations with people back then about how difficult it was to get tested, and that -- even for health care workers at that time.
As it turns out, Pamela, my wife and three daughters, they had -- who you met. They had to get tested recently. They decided to get tested. And it was almost four-and-a-half-hours of waiting in their car.
And then somebody came out, ultimately, with a -- with PPE on and did the swabs. But it's a long time. And I remember she was telling me, a lot of people just were leaving. They couldn't possibly wait that long. They had the rest of their lives.
So, I think with regard to testing, that has been surprising to me that, at this point, as my kids are thinking about, are they going to go to school in the fall, are people thinking about their businesses, are you going to go into the office, Pamela, how -- where does testing fall into this?
I know that there's a lot of back and forth about all sorts of different things. But if we had a quick, reliable, widely available test that you could know that you're not carrying the virus, that the people that you're going to work with today are not carrying the virus, that my kids' schoolmates are not carrying the virus, and so on, it would have gone a long way.
But we're still not there yet. And it's possible, but we're not there yet.
BROWN: So it's possible. So what's missing here?
GUPTA: What is missing?
BROWN: Why isn't this happening? I mean, we're five months in to combating this.
GUPTA: Well, I mean, look, it -- I don't know, is the answer.
BROWN: OK. And that's a fine answer, but it...
GUPTA: But let me just say, Pamela, I think there's been a de- emphasis on testing for a long time. And I think it's manifesting itself in all these different ways.
We have heard, I mean, it's no secret, this idea of, if you don't test, you won't find the cases, and that's a good thing. That's obviously not true from a public health standpoint, but it may have manifested into the -- we still don't have widely available, reliable, accurate testing that people can get in order to return to their lives.
We still don't have it.
BROWN: And the president is dismissing the CDC guidance on reopening schools.
Then you had the CDC director saying that the agency would not revise those guidelines, after the vice president said they would. As you mentioned, you're not only a doctor. You are a parent. What message does that send?
GUPTA: Yes, I think the parent hat is more important on this question, right?
Because I think every parent wants to make sure their kid's school is as safe as possible. I mean, we're not asking for brand-new technologies here. You're talking about doing things to basically make it harder for this virus to jump from person to person, distance, masks, basic hygiene, no congregated gatherings within the school, all those things that probably are common sense to most people by now. But I think, Pamela, you're right. I mean, as a parent, I think
everybody wants their school to be as safe as possible. Why would you think about dialing back guidelines in the middle of a pandemic? These are important things that you don't find too onerous, again, spacing the desks six feet apart, wearing masks, hand hygiene, all the things that I think people would assume anyways.
BROWN: But then there's the practicality. Some classrooms can't do that. They don't have the space.
I mean, there's -- it's not -- it appears to not be a one-size-fits- all approach here.
I want to really quickly get your reaction to the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, talking about Florida's decision to reopen all the schools there. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): If you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools. I want our kids to be able to minimize this education gap that I think has developed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And as -- he is saying this as Florida is seeing a single-day record of 120 deaths, as you see on your screen.
I mean, what is your reaction to that?
GUPTA: Well, I mean, I think, as a parent, I want my kids to go to school in the fall, absolutely. And if that can happen in as safe a possible way, then I would like that to happen.
The problem where I live, the problem in Florida, as you're mentioning, is that there's a lot of virus spreading there right now. There was this great study, Pamela. It basically said, take all these things, closing theaters, closing stadium concerts, businesses, whatever. What's the impact of all these things on the overall spread?
And they said that closing down schools, according to this one study, was somewhere between 2 and 4 percent. OK, it's not a huge impact, but it is an impact.
But if you have 10,000 people who are getting newly infected every day, 2 to 4 percent turns out to be a huge impact then, right? If the numbers were down to a couple hundred a day, then you would think, we have a lot less to lose by opening schools in terms of its impact on the community.
BROWN: Do you think that's a fair comparison, though, very quickly, running an errand and going to Home Depot, and sending your kids to school? What do you think about that comparison? GUPTA: No. No, it's not.
I mean, just for -- again, from a public health standpoint, you're next to each other for periods of time. You have longer duration. Stores and things like that, there's a risk there, obviously, but it's a much different environment in those situations.
So, schools is part of your life. Those are occasional trips.
BROWN: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, really great discussion with you. Thanks for coming on. Great to see you.
GUPTA: You got it, Pamela. You too.
BROWN: And be sure to tune in tonight for a CNN global town hall, "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears," hosted by Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper. That's right here on CNN at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Well, President Trump and his money, the Supreme Court today ruling against the president, but the White House says it's a victory. We will explain.
Plus, a normally healthy 16-year-old girl, teenager, now in the hospital battling coronavirus. Her aunt joins me ahead with a message you need to hear.
BROWN: Turning to our politics lead now, the president is not above the law. That is the bottom line from two major rulings from the Supreme Court today. At the center of it, President Trump's financial records and his tax returns. The court ruled against President Trump in both cases 7-2.
On the first case, the justice has said New York prosecutors can subpoena his financial records even while he is in office but a lower court needs to make that decision. And then the other case, Congress wanted to subpoena Trump's financial documents. That is going back to a lower court, too. And Congress will need to give more specifics including why it wants those documents.
Conservative leaning chief justice John Roberts and Trump appointed Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch all siding against the president on this ruling.
Joining me now to discuss is CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, former assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, Elliot Williams, and White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
Thanks for coming on.
Jeffrey, first to you. Bottom line, what does this mean for the president and the office of the presidency? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it means from a
practical sense that for a second time, Donald Trump will face the voters without disclosing his tax returns, because even though the court legally ruled against the president, as a practical matter, they sent the case back for further pleadings, which will certainly take more than the few months left before the election. So, in a cynical way, the president had its way.
He is now facing the virtual certainty that the district attorney in Manhattan will eventually get his records as a part of a criminal investigation. That's an unnerve thing. I don't know if the president committed a crime, but if there's evidence of crimes in those documents, they will soon be in the hands of prosecutors but will happen all after Election Day.
BROWN: And then, Elliot, what does that mean in terms of what the public can see, fax returns, financial documents and what Congress can get from the president?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Again, I think either party, the public and congress, aren't going to see any documents any time soon just as Jeffrey said. Look, big picture, just to use a legal term, let's not forget and use a legal term here, the president got spanked today by the Supreme Court. This was a resounding legal defeat from the president. Any attempt to spin this, because it will take a long time before Congress and the public will see his tax returns doesn't change the fact that now for the third time in American history, first with Richard Nixon, then with Bill Clinton, you have a president where the Supreme Court ruled against them, noting that, you know, the president is not above the law and ultimately the president is subject to the same legal process as any other citizen.
But again, there's legal questions -- as Jeffrey said, legal questions and political ones and the public just won't -- the president was able to be elected in 2016 without his tax information made available to the public, and he will face election in 2020 with that likely being the same case.
Now, again, that's a question for the voters and to some extent that's not a question for the Supreme Court to resolve but it's an unfortunate quirk and where our political process is now today, as a result of this precedent, where the president can just get away with concealing, in effect, his financial information from the scrutiny of voters.
BROWN: And the White House press secretary --
WILLIAMS: And Congress.
BROWN: Oh, go ahead. I thought you were saying --
WILLIAMS: And Congress, too.
BROWN: And, you know, the White House press secretary, she was pressed on all of this today and here's what she said about the ruling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was a win for the president. The justices did not rule against him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And then moments after that, this is what the president said about the decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLPI)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: From a certain point, I'm satisfied. From another point, I'm not satisfied because, frankly, this is a political witch hunt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, Kaitlan, is this a win for the president, is he not satisfied? Did he take it personally two of the justices he appointed ruled against him?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president didn't answer our questions on that. We were actually trying to ask him that after he gave us his first reactions. And so, he wouldn't tell you how he felt about it. He used them as his justices.
And so, what you heard from the president, though, saying, you know, some parts I'm satisfied, some parts I'm not. You know, his Twitter tells a different story, obviously, Pam. He clearly is not happy with the decision.
And his attorney Jay Sekulow who argued this case before the Supreme Court is viewing it as really a temporary victory. And he's right the president can make no objections to what's happening in New York but they overall ruled against the president's main argument which is a sitting president is immune from this kind of investigation. And so, today, we asked, you know, does the president agree with that from the White House? And they said that he still maintains his position which is that he has immunity while he's in office which the Supreme Court roundly rejected today.
BROWN: That's absolutely right, they did. And when you look at how the justices came down, let's look at that list. You have Chief Justice Roberts, along with conservative Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch all siding with the majority. And as we just talked about, Jeffrey Toobin, Trump appointed Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. Was this a surprise to you? What do you think?
TOOBIN: Not really, because the president's claim was so outrageous and so outside the traditions of American law. You know, when you had the Supreme Court unanimously say that President Nixon had to turn over the White House tapes in 1974 and unanimously say in 1998 that Bill Clinton had to sit for the civil deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, the idea that the president could not be subpoenaed at all was just completely ridiculous.
And even the two justices who voted for him, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, they didn't buy that argument either.
So, you know, the court did say that the president is not above the law, but the law is going to work slowly and that will probably work to the president's political advantages.
BROWN: It appears that way.
All right. Jeffrey Toobin, Elliot Williams, thank you. Kaitlan, stick around.
Well, Dr. Fauci says division among Americans is hurting efforts to get coronavirus under control, and now there is a new, very public division between the president and his health officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: One of the problems we're facing is that in the middle of trying to fight an unprecedented, historic pandemic, there is still divisiveness. There's divisiveness politically. We can see that when we look at the different viewpoints that people take towards this. We are all in this together, and we can get through this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: In our politics lead, Dr. Anthony Fauci pleading with Americans to unite in the fight against coronavirus, as President Trump continues to publicly clash with his own health experts.
And as Kaitlan Collins reports, the president's recent attack on the CDC back to school guidelines is the latest example of Trump bucking science and playing politics with the pandemic.
COLLINS (voice-over): With only weeks before some schools are scheduled to reopen, more confusion is emerging from the CDC today.
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: The guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities that are trying to reopen K through 12.
COLLINS: CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield, now says his agency won't change his guidance on reopening schools after President Trump criticized it but will release additional information instead.
REDFIELD: It's not a revision of the guidelines. It's just to be -- provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance that we put forward. COLLINS: Yesterday, Trump said the guidance was too tough and
expensive. But officials have struggled to say exactly what Trump has a problem with.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Which guidelines are too tough? Which guidelines are impractical?
REDFIELD: I think it's important, George, to realize when you use the word "guidelines." That's what CDC has done. They provide guidances. They're not requirements.
COLLINS: With the president and CDC on different pages, Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan says it's Trump who's mixed up.