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Roger Stone Pleads with Judge Not to Send Him to Prison; Trump Is Looking to Pardon Stone; Trump Says He Aced a Cognitive Test; Goya Foods CEO Praises Trump, Sparks Outcry for Boycott; "Things I wish I Knew Before I Started Talking", Tomorrow; Goya CEO Claims Double Standard Over His Praise for Trump; Amazon Employees Ordered to Delete TikTok From Phones Amid Security Concerns; Arizona Reduces Dining Capacity as Cases Soar; Dallas Superintendent Says High School Football Unlikely in Texas. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 10, 2020 - 15:30   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Roger Stone is a convicted criminal who is now asking a federal judge not to send him to prison what Stone calls a, quote-unquote, hail Mary appeal.

Stone says the coronavirus poses a mortal threat to him and publicly says the only real chance he has at avoiding jail is a pardon. At least half a dozen people close to the President tell CNN they expect the President to do precisely that, Pardon Stone. The only real question is when. This morning on his way to Florida the President said he is thinking on it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be looking at it. I think Roger Stone was very unfairly treated as were many people. And in the meantime Comey and all of these guys are walking around, including Biden and Obama because we caught them spying on my campaign. Who would have believed that one?


BALDWIN: CNN's Michael Smerconish is with me now. And Michael first of all it's been a minute that I've got to have you on so it's great to see you. Welcome.


BALDWIN: And thank you. And then as far as Roger Stone is concerned, do you anticipate the President will pardon him and if so, how do you think that plays politically?

SMERCONISH: I think it's a function of when, not if. I don't know if it's today, I don't know if it's tomorrow. Maybe it's November 4, the day after the election. Maybe it is January 19, the day before the inauguration.

I never bought into the idea that they were on the outs. Remember, this relationship has been an up and down relationship and through it all I've interviewed Roger even when he claimed they were on the outs. I never bought into it. I always thought it was a shtick. This is a 40-year relationship between the two. And I think that it happens, I think frankly if the President's numbers were stronger than they are right now, it would already have happened.

BALDWIN: OK. We'll see what he ends up doing. I want to ask you about these new poll numbers. They show overwhelming disapproval of the President's handling of both the coronavirus pandemic and also the racial crisis in this country.

But this is how "The Washington Post" frames the President's mindset. This is according to people talking to him in recent days.

Quote, the President has cast himself in the starring role of the blameless victim of a deadly pandemic, of a stalled economy, of deep- seated racial unrest all of which happened to him rather than the country.

Happened to him rather than the country, just repeating that. Is it possible to sell the whole blameless victim bit to a country deciding whether or not to reelect you?

SMERCONISH: To his fans, he is resolute. To others he's stubborn. He's on the wrong side of both of these issues, right. Continuing to refer to Black Lives Matter as a hate group and also his refusal even to wear a mask. The pandemic, not because Joe Biden wants it to be, but it's helping Joe Biden. It's helping Joe Biden because the President, I think is his own worst enemy in dealing thus far with these crises.


And it gives Biden reason not to be out in the public constantly and with a microphone on him. So, you know, Joe Biden thus far doesn't offer what Hillary Clinton offered the President, which was someone that the President could pillory, at least not successfully. So, the President needs to change his approach.

BALDWIN: Well, the President continues to critique Joe Biden. He's already doing it down in Florida. The President routinely questioning his -- Joe Biden's fitness for office. Until last night in this interview on Fox News Trump talked about his own. Here's the clip.


TRUMP: I actually took one when I very recently, when I was, you know, the radical left was saying, is he all there, is he all there. And I proved I was all there because I aced it. I aced the test. So, I took it at Walter Reed Medical Center. In front of doctors and they were very surprised. They said that's an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anybody do what you just did.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Aced it. Do we have an idea what "aced it" means, Michael?

SMERCONISH: He's laying a predicate. He's laying a predicate so if there is a gaff by the former Vice President, he can continue to question Joe Biden's fitness, Joe Biden's competency.

It's a risky proposition, Brooke, for this reason. There will be three debates in the fall. That bar will be lowered. Every time the President questions Joe Biden's fitness, such that if Biden escapes from those debates without having made a mistake, people having heard all of the charges about his fitness will say, well, geez, he did pretty well, didn't he?

BALDWIN: How fascinating will these debates be. I can already see you with your yellow notepad, with your lists that you make. I remember it all from four years ago. We'll talk again then.

Here is my last question. This is all about you. You are kind of a big deal, Michael Smerconish, to be having this documentary, you know, premiering tomorrow night on your 30-year career in talk radio and television and so let me just play a clip.


SMERCONISH: I am so fortunate. My political, my media work, my interests, they've given me a very rich life. I met Ronald Reagan as a newly minted 18-year-old. I worked in the George Herbert Walker Bush administration when I was just 29.

I once had a 7-hour dinner with Fidel Castro at his house. I got to take former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to vote with me at my suburban Philadelphia polling place.

I confronted the living members of Led Zeppelin with a demand that they unite. You can watch it on YouTube. It didn't go so well.

I worked for and befriended Pennsylvania's longest serving United States Senator Arlen Specter.

I drank champagne from the Stanley Cup. And I even have my portrait painted at a fundraiser in front of a live audience by famed artist, Nelson Shanks.


BALDWIN: Oh my gosh. When I grow up can I be Michael Smerconish. I mean that is the coolest -- that is the coolest, coolest career. I know the film is called, "Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking."

Fidel Castro for seven hours at his house. We're have to have a conversation about that. But is there anything in your career that you could point to that you can look back and say, that explains our current moment in our politics?

SMERCONISH: No doubt about it. I mean I'm going to reminisce tomorrow night and thank you for referencing it. But there is a serious message. And the serious message is about the negative impact that a polarized media has had on our political discourse.

The 30 years I've been doing what I've been doing is the exact same time period in which the nation's been driven into a partisan ditch and divide. And I don't see correlation. I see causation between the tone in the media and what goes on in Washington and state capitals. So I hope you'll have a couple of laughs. I hope you'll reminisce with me but stick around for the serious message at the end.

BALDWIN: We will and congratulations, congratulations, Michael. Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll join Michael tomorrow night as CNN presents "Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking" at 10:00 Eastern here on CNN.

Calls to boycott Latin food giant Goya gaining steam after the company's CEO praised President Trump while at the White House and that CEO is not apologizing. That's next.



BALDWIN: A big backlash today, a campaign to boycott Goya Foods after their CEO praised the President.


ROBERT UNANUE, CEO, GOYA FOODS: We're all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder and that's what my grandfather did. He came to this country to build, to grow, to prosper. And so, we have an incredible builder and we pray, we pray for our leadership, our President, and we pray for our country that we will continue to prosper and to grow.


BALDWIN: Well, as a result of that moment, today #goyaway is trending on Twitter.

Some prominent Democrats getting in on the campaign.

Julian Castro, quote, Americans should think twice before buying their products.

And this from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, oh look, it's the sound of me Googling how to make your own adobo.

So, joining me now, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, and Ana Navarro, you are never one to mince words, you say.


Mr. Unanue, he is acting as, quote, a prop for a guy who puts brown children in cages. Tell me more.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right, look. First of all, I think Goya is great family immigrant story. I've known them to be good corporate citizens.

But this really strikes at a wound. This is pouring salt into the wound of a Latino community that is his consumer base. That is most of his customers. And it's a -- you know, most Latinos, not all, particularly here in Miami, not all, but most Latinos feel that we have been harassed, discriminated, made a target of division, made a target of demonization by this administration.

Brown children have been put in cages. The deaths of Puerto Ricans have been denied. He threw paper towels at them. He called Mexicans criminals and rapists. He said people from El Salvador were coming from ass holes.

So, it's been one thing after the other. So when most of your consumer base is that Latino community, that the majority of feel, you know, accosted and harassed and discriminated by Trump, and you go and call this and say, God bless this guy and bless us for having this builder. Builder of what? Builder of a wall?

Now, by the same token, I will tell you, I believe in freedom of expression. I believe in political freedom. I think Mr. Unanue has all of the right in the world to his political preference and his political expression.

BALDWIN: Well, let me jump in. Hold that thought. Hold on because I do want to get this in. That is what he said because he's not backing down, right. So

this is what he said this morning on Fox News. Let me roll this.


UNANUE: It's suppression of speech. You're allowed to talk good or to praise one President but you're not allowed, when I was called to be part of this commission, to aid in economic and educational prosperity, and you make a positive comment, all of a sudden that's not acceptable.

You were called by the President of the United States and you're going to say, no, I'm sorry, I'm busy, no thank you. And I didn't say that to the Obamas, and I didn't say that to President Trump.


BALDWIN: He is saying that because he was invited by Mrs. Obama, you know, as part of her health initiative to come to the Obama White House and he's making the point, you know, you heard him. It's President Trump now. Does he have a point?

NAVARRO: Not all Latinos are the same, and not all Presidents are the same. I think he could have said that about George W. Bush or George Herbert Walker Bush or Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. I don't remember any of them calling migrants coming from the Southern hemisphere and the Western hemisphere, calling them invaders. I don't remember the demonization of migrants the same way.

So, it is not apples-to-apples. It is not, you know, tomato to tomato. These are very different things. And look, one thing, in the same -- because people say he's got a right to his opinion. And I believe that. I strongly believe that. But if you believe he's got a right to his opinion and to politically express himself, you have also got to believe that his consumers have the same exact right.

So do not expect a community that feels victimized by Donald Trump and attacked by Donald Trump constantly and that is your loyal consumer base not to react and feel hurt when they see you praising that person. It's I mean, you know, actions have consequences. He's free to take those actions. Those actions have consequences. And he's just got to accept them.

One thing I want to say, you know, I've seen in social media a lot of people throwing away Goya products. Look, there's a lot of food uncertainty in this country right now, there's a lot of people hungry, there's a lot people unemployed, there's a lot of kids out of school not getting that meal. If you don't want to use those products, it's your right. You have every right not to. But please donate them, donate them to a food bank, donate them to a church, donate them to a homeless shelter. Do not throw them away.

BALDWIN: Give it to someone who will eat it. Give it to someone in need.

NAVARRO: And listen.


NAVARRO: There is a ton of alternative brands, OK. Goya might be the biggest fish in the pond, but it's not the only fish in the pond. And so, if anybody wants, you know, we are all free to do with our frijoles as we wish.

BALDWIN: Ana Navarro, thank you.

NAVARRO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: For all of that, thank you.

The latest development in the ongoing backlash against the video app TikTok. Amazon has instructed of its employees to immediately delete the app from their phones citing security risks according to a person familiar with the matter. This follows claims from the Trump administration that the app could undermine national security and earlier this week the White House said it's considering banning the app entirely.

CNN tech reporter Brian Fung is with me now. And Brian, what is TikTok saying?

BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECH REPORTER: Well, TikTok is claiming to be confused.


It's saying that it doesn't understand the reasons why Amazon is making its decision but it's asking for a dialogue with the company to address it concerns. Now of course, the big fear here that many have identified is the possibility that TikTok's data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. TikTok is of course owned by ByteDance which is a Chinese company. Though TikTok says it stores the data of U.S. in servers based in the United States.

But of course, a number of critics are worried that it could still end up having that data being transferred somehow to Beijing based on the national security laws that Beijing has over Chinese companies such as ByteDance.

Now cyber security experts say, you know, the type of data that's at stake here, you know, TikTok collects. Things like IP addresses, your location, your unique device identifiers, all of that information could potentially be a risk to security if it falls into the wrong hands. For example, if it, you know, reveals the locations of troops or information about the behavior of intelligence officials, and all of that could -- has led the U.S. Army and Navy to ban TikTok from the military.

And some policymakers like Senator Josh Hawley have recommended that the U.S. government ban TikTok from government devices entirely. That's said, cyber security experts have said it's a much more complicated situation than TikTok 's critics make it sound.

Of course, a lot of the same information that TikTok collects is also collected by a U.S. company such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. And of course, you know, that information would also be potentially threatening to national security if Chinese hackers were able to get access to that as well.

And cyber security experts say, you know, this just really just ultimately shows how the U.S. lacks comprehensive national privacy and data protections for all Americans -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: It does. We've talked so much about that. This underscores that doesn't it? Brian Fung on TikTok, thank you very much, Brian.

Arizona is dialing back some of its re-opening measures as cases there continue to spike and hospitalizations soar. That's next.

But first, when his summer tour was canceled because of coronavirus, rock super star Jon Bon Jovi put his guitar down to help a community in need. And now he's become an all-star dishwasher.


JON BON JOVI, ROCK STAR: The COVID-19 epidemic has affected everybody. For me it slowed the world down. Record releases are trivial. So, this is the JVJ Soul Kitchen, one of three that we have here in New Jersey.

There's an in-need population here who depend on us. Our doors remain open for takeout. Anyone who needs a meal knows we'll provide them with that nutritious meal.

We're unable to have our volunteers, hence, the all-star hall of fame dishwasher is back in business. And I'm here helping out five days a week. And my wife, Dorothea, took a picture of me washing dishes. She said, well, what's the caption? And I said, do what you can.


BALDWIN: For more information on the Jon Bon Jovi kitchen, you can go to



BALDWIN: This just in. An estimated 8,000 inmates in California are being released early because of the coronavirus pandemic. They could be released by the end of August. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation already reduced the prison population by 10,000 as a way to reduce transmission within its facilities. So, for more on the pandemic, let's check in with my colleagues across the country.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Evan McMorris-Santoro in Arizona. Restaurants like these in Scottsdale are open again today but under strict new rules. A 50 percent cap on indoor dining. The governor says the new rule is enough to help to bend the curve of the pandemic here. But public health officials worry it's not enough.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kyung Lah in El Centro, California where the governor in of this state is facing mounting pressure after outbreaks in the state prison system. At San Quentin State Prison, that has become a major hotspot. Seven prisoners have died from coronavirus. San Quentin so far has released 500 detainees early. But the families say the prison needs to do more to contain the outbreak.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Coy Wire in Atlanta. High school football is as important to the state of Texas as any state in the country. But there are even more concerns that football won't be played there at all this fall. After the Dallas School Superintendent Michael Hinojosa told MSNBC he has serious doubts about playing a contact sport with coronavirus cases on the rise in his area.

One state title game played in Dallas last season had 47,000 fans. More than two thirds of all college bowl games last season. The University Interscholastic League which governs high school sports in Texas pushed back on Hinojosa's comments telling local media that at this time football will go on.

Just yesterday New Mexico announced that it has already postponed its fall contact sports. We'll see if Texas is forced to follow suit.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BALDWIN: All right. Thanks to all of you. And thank you so much for being with me on this Friday. Have a wonderful weekend. Stay right here. THE LEAD starts right now.