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NEW DAY SATURDAY

GA Governor And Atlanta Mayor At Odds Over Coronavirus Guidelines; U.S. Sees Record Day Of New COVID-19 Cases; Trump Continues To Ignore Pandemic During Trip To Florida Hotspot; Trump Says U.S. Conducted Cyberattack Against Russia In 2018; Trump Ignores Data, Says 'We're Getting Back On Track, ' Pushing Schools To Reopen; President Trump Commutes Roger Stone's Sentence; FL Gov Wants To Reopen Schools. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired July 11, 2020 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: And coming up, we'll talk to the superintendent of Florida's Broward County Public Schools about his plan for schools there in the fall.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.

[08:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: United States is in the middle, right now, even as we speak, in a very serious problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. added more than 66,000 cases in just one day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the numbers are going to look worse as we go into next week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is exhausted and patients here are very sick--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems to be this lack of understanding that we are in one of the most extraordinary public health crises that our nation has ever faced.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The fact is that the President has been a failure in every way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump commuting the prison sentence of Roger Stone, a longtime associate, who was convicted of seven felonies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was convicted of lying to Congress in order to protect President Donald Trump and then President Trump turns around and commutes Roger Stone's sentence. This is what corruption looks like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Good morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

PHILLIP: Good Saturday morning. I'm Abby Phillip in for Christi Paul today

BLACKWELL: So this is another day when the numbers related to coronavirus are all headed in the wrong direction. The number of new cases setting a record across the U.S. More than 66,000 cases reported yesterday. The seventh time in 11 days that the U.S. has broken that record.

PHILLIP: Florida is now the epicenter and President Trump was there yesterday, but not for events related to the coronavirus response. Florida recorded more than 11,000 new cases and 93 deaths on Friday alone. And for the first time, the state is now releasing that coronavirus hospitalization data that people have been asking for.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to Texas now where hospitals are filling. State data shows that more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients are in hospitals right now. Governor Greg Abbott says that after rolling back reopening, the next step is a lockdown.

PHILLIP: And in Georgia, the governor is reactivating a field hospital at a convention center in Atlanta. And Atlanta's Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she is rolling back reopening to essential travel only, and restaurants are being asked to close for dine-in service. But Governor Kemp says that order cannot be legally enforced.

BLACKWELL: Let's start with CNN's Polo Sandoval with all the latest in New York for us this morning. Polo, good morning to you.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Abby, good morning to you. Before we give you a national look, let's stay in Atlanta for a quick second. The mayor they're taking residents back to phase 1, really with that say at home order. The mayor saying that the states as a whole had opened in a "reckless manner."

As for the Republican Governor of the state firing back, saying that that is certainly not a binding action that was done by the mayor, also something that is not enforceable. But Georgia is certainly not alone.

Also facing some serious issues, California, Texas, and certainly Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: I would advise him--

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci telling the world that the U.S. is at a historic point in the COVID pandemic.

FAUCI: As you can see, from this slide here, my own country, the United States, as I'm sure we'll be able to discuss a little bit more, is in the middle right now, even as we speak, in a very serious problem.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Fauci issued the blunt new warning during this year's International AIDS Conference that the coronavirus crisis rages on. Amid ongoing reopening, Florida continues to grapple with skyrocketing daily COVID numbers and hospitalizations.

In Hot Zone Miami-Dade County the test positivity rate surpassed 33 percent this week.

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: We have 1,800 people - COVID patients now, that's the highest by many multiples. We have almost 400 people in intensive care and we're about to hit an all-time high in ventilators.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Despite the apparent height in Florida's pandemic--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We look forward to seeing you soon--

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Two Disneyland parks are open again this weekend, amid criticism from one employee union.

Aggressive testing happening in parts of Texas, some regions working with the military to keep up with demand. In other signs the pandemic is tightening its grip on the Lone Star State, some hospitals are turning to tents and other spaces to treat the overflow of COVID patients.

WESLEY ROBINSON, SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH: Conference rooms, shelf spaces and currently we have ICU patients that are on medical surgical floors that honestly really need closer monitoring, need equipment, but those are things that we just simply do not have at this time.

PABLO LOREDO, SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH: Everyone is exhausted and the patients here are very sick.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): California also taking steps to relieve the pressure from record COVID numbers. The state's Department of Corrections plans to release at least 8,000 pre-selected prisoners from correctional facilities across the state. The movement to allow for more social distancing behind bars.

As death tolls climb, a troubling new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about how COVID is disproportionately killing Black and Brown Americans. The fresh CDC data showing, on average, those minority groups are dying from the virus at a younger age when compared to white patients.

[08:05:00]

One likely factor, many of them filling essential and service jobs, allowing little room for social distancing or for staying at home.

DR. UCHE BLACKSTOCK, CEO ADVANCING HEALTH EQUITY: And what we need right now in the short term are an equitable allocation of resources to Black and Brown communities. So targeting testing, contact tracing, PPE, ensuring that the healthcare institutions in those communities are adequately resourced.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Staying fully stocked, that's a big challenge for some hospitals across the country with a virus showing no signs of slowing down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: That high demand for supply in states like Florida will be getting some backup now with medical personnel, but also medical equipment. In fact, today that state receiving a shipment of Remdesivir, the only drug right now that's been approved to treat coronavirus. That shipment coming from right here from New York, which was once the epicenter of virus. Abby, Victor back to you.

PHILLIP: Polo, thank you for that.

President Trump is scheduled to visit troops at Walter Reed Medical Center today. It'll be another opportunity for him to address the coronavirus pandemic, after downplaying its severity yesterday when he was in Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the United States, at least before the COVID came to us, the flu, the virus, the China virus, whatever you'd like to call it, it's got many different names. But before it hit, we were doing really well. We're still doing very well, but now we're getting back on track.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: CNN's Sarah Westwood is live from the White House. We can, obviously, notice from that shot from the President yesterday. Sarah, he was the "the person" in the room without a mask. That might change today.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Victor and Abby. Good morning. And today we could see from the President a shift in his approach to wearing a mask.

Obviously, as you guys mentioned, while the President was in Florida, one of the nation's leading hotspots in COVID cases, he didn't have a whole lot to say about Coronavirus. Although he did speak a little bit more about the pandemic yesterday during an interview that he gave to Telemundo.

But the President said in that interview that he considers it appropriate to wear a face covering while in a hospital setting. He will be going to Walter Reed Military Medical Center to visit wounded service members and suggested that he could allow himself even to be photographed while wearing a mask today. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Is it difficult for you to put on a mask? TRUMP: No, it's not difficult at all. In fact, I'll be going to Walter Reed, I believe, tomorrow and I think when you're in a hospital, you should definitely wear a mask. That wouldn't be difficult at all for me.

I think, hopefully, I'll look good in a mask. But I've had masks on. And I think you have pictures of me with masks. No, I think in certain settings like a hospital, I'm going in to see some of our troops. I'm going into see some of our COVID workers, people that have done an incredible job. I'm going tomorrow night sometime, and I'll be wearing a mask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, sources tell CNN that this is a deliberate move by President Trump. That came after more than a week of pleading from aides and advisors for the President to put on a mask when he's in public and allow himself to be photographed wearing that mask.

Recall, that in May, he visited a Ford plant in Michigan, and he did wear the mask out of view of the cameras. He said he didn't want to give the media the pleasure of seeing him wearing a face covering. He's also ridiculed his rival Joe Biden for wearing a mask. So this is a significant shift for the President.

And it comes amid mounting pressure for him to do so with these case surges that we're seeing. And because prominent republicans from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to Vice President Mike Pence have been fully endorsing the mask wearing. Ordinances that we've seen in these states and they have themselves been seen wearing masks, Abby and Victor.

PHILLIP: Yes, it's hard not to notice the President fixated on what he looks like in the mask. But, Sarah, on another topic, President Trump said yesterday that the U.S. conducted a cyberattack against Russia back in 2018. What are we learning about that?

WESTWOOD: Well, Abby, the President appeared to confirm for the first time yesterday that that cyberattack in 2018 did take place. The administration carried out that attack against the internet research agency. It's a Russian troll farm, that's bankrolled by an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And there were concerns, "The Washington Post" reported at the time, that the internet research agency could be involved in efforts to meddle in the 2018 midterms. So that's why the administration carried out the attack.

It's something that "The Washington Post" had reported in 2018, but had not been confirmed by the White House or by the President, nearly - as directly as the President did yesterday when he was speaking to a reporter from "The Washington Post." The President characterized it as part of this ongoing argument we've heard from him that his administration has been tough on Russia amid criticism that they've been insufficiently hard on Putin, Abby.

BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us at the White House. Sarah, thank you so much.

[08:10:00]

Let's bring in now CNN Contributor, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, an epidemiologist and public health expert. Dr. good morning to you and let's start here with testing. So many months in, we're at, you say, only 39 percent of the testing needed to mitigate the virus. What should the daily numbers look like? And what does mitigation look like when you're approaching 67,000 positive cases a day? Does it look different than when, say, we were at 17,000 cases a day?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Victor, look, the thing that I want listeners to understand is that when you are talking about the growth of a virus that can spread exponentially, you need to get ahead of that spread.

And so, every day that we see increases in growth, what that's telling us is what happens seven days ago. In order to get ahead of it today, we're going to need to mount that kind of response. And so that 39 percent number is actually probably old. We're probably well behind.

And so we've got a responsibility to massively ramp up testing. I mean, we just spent the last several minutes talking about whether or not a 74-year-old man looks good in the mask. We've got a responsibility to get that guy to decide that he is going to enact his presidential powers to use the Defense Production Act to get testing on board in our major cities, in our states with the fastest growing cases. This is the focus that the President ought to have right now. And instead he decides to talk about whether or not he thinks he looks good in a mask. This is absurd.

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, the President described this past week, what we're seeing here as putting out fires. That's how he described it. It's almost as if the administration is expecting to play whack a mole with these outbreaks as they pop up in different states. Do you think that there is ever going to be the political will to have a more robust response? Or could we be living with these kinds of ups and downs in different regions of the country for perhaps another year?

EL-SAYED: Well, I'll tell you this, it's pretty clear that under this leadership we have not had and very likely will not have the political focus on this that is needed. We have needed, for the past five to six months, to mount in all-out response.

The fact of the matter is, it's not little fires. This is a four alarm inferno that has been burning in our society for a very long time. And what the numbers do up and down does not change the fact that we have not had the testing, the contact tracing and the political will to talk about things like masks in earnest as the public health intervention that they are to be able to create the space where we actually take this viral transmission down and keep it down.

We are the only high income country in the world that continues to struggle with increasing case transmission. In almost every other country in the world. They figured out how to deal with this because they mounted an all-out response and we need that here. This is not little fires. This needs a national response to take this thing on and keep it down.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to Florida now. We're at the top of the hour about 45 minutes away. The reopening of Disney World and they say they have implemented plenty of precautions, requirements of face masks, intensified cleaning, a lot of signage, Plexiglas for the queues for the rides. What's your thoughts on the amusement parks reopening in Florida of all places?

EL-SAYED: Look, Florida right now is dealing with one of the country's worst outbreaks. I'm a father of a toddler and I can't imagine trying to take my two-year-old to enjoy her time at a place where Mickey Mouse is off-limits because of the virus. There are armed guards making sure that people keep their masks on.

Like, this is sort of a dystopia. And the idea that Walt Disney World thinks that it's going to open up and they're going to have the same kind of experience that they offer children and their parents the same kind of opportunity to just have a good time and forget the fact that we're in the middle of a pandemic, it's just absurd.

And the bigger picture here is, why the rush to open up a theme park? That is completely unnecessary. In a place where you have one of the country's worst outbreaks, I just don't understand it. It speaks to the fact that there has been this rush to open up economic opportunity as if somehow we can have our economy or public health.

But when opening up, it puts people at risk, all we are doing is delaying the kind of opening up that we really want. One where we don't have to worry about being encumbered by this virus anymore, and that requires us to put focusing on the virus and taking it on first.

PHILLIP: Yes, we've been talking on the show this morning a lot about schools, which is another kind of thorny issue. And, as a public health expert, there's no zero risk situation. And as a parent, I'm sure you have this issue with figuring out what to do with your kids.

But what do you think is the best case scenario for schools and school districts to figure out how to safely bring kids back potentially or allow kids to learn without causing huge outbreaks of this virus in their communities?

[08:15:00]

EL-SAYED: Yes, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Anthony Fauci on this this question yesterday for my podcast America Dissected, and he laid it out pretty well. And there's a framework that's quite simple here. Not every community is the same. If you're talking about a heavily hit community in Florida versus a rural area in Wyoming, those are going to be two very different experiences.

The safety and wellbeing of our kids and the people who interact with them has to come first, and measured against the real need to put kids back in school. I do think, though, that when we think about an all or nothing approach, we're thinking about it backwards.

The all or nothing approach should be the national approach to taking on this virus in the first place, not forcing kids to go back into school, in communities where they may not be able to do so safely.

And so as we think about this question, let's remember that we have between now and the end of August to bring down viral transmission, which allows us to send our kids back to school safely. We should not be making that decision right now. We should be preparing for the worst and fighting to get to the best.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And this is coming from you just days after we hear from state officials in Florida that all schools should prepare to reopen, even as the numbers climb across that state. Dr. Abdul El- Sayed, thanks so much for your insight, as always.

EL-SAYED: I appreciate you. Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right. Up next, President Trump commutes the sentence of his friend and political ally, Roger Stone, who lied to protect him.

PHILLIP: Plus, schools resume in just weeks, but it is really - is it really safe to go back as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spike across the nation. A breakdown of the CDC guidelines for parents and schools up ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:20:00]

PHILLIP: President Trump has commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend and political ally Roger Stone. Stone was scheduled to begin serving his 40-month sentence next week.

BLACKWELL: He was convicted last year of lying to Congress, witness tampering and other charges related to the Russia investigation. CNN Sara Murray has more from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on Friday night commuted the sentence of his longtime friend and political adviser Roger Stone. Stone had been convicted of crimes including lying to Congress, in part to protect the president.

He was set to report to prison next week to kick off his three-year sentence. Now, Stone was pleading publicly for the President to intervene. He said reporting to prison during the pandemic was a candidate to a death sentence, because he is 67 years old. Ultimately, the President did intervene on Friday. And here's Stone describing his conversation with Trump.

ROGER STONE, LONGTIME TRUMP FRIEND & FORMER ADVISER: He said you understand I have the option. I have the authority to either grant a pardon or commute your sentence. He said you should understand that a pardon would be final. And that in accepting a pardon, you are actually accepting guilt. And I would rather see you fight this out, which is why I'm commuting your sentence. MURRAY: Now, President Trump and Roger Stone are insistent that Stone did not get a fair shake at trial. But even Attorney General Bill Barr has said the prosecution was righteous. As for Democrats, they are pointing to the President intervening in this case as an indication that he has no respect for the justice system. Sarah Murray, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Sara. And we just got this reaction in from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. He told NBC about the commutation this morning. "If you lie for the President, you get a pass." Here's what else he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, if you lie for the president, if you cover up for the president, if you withhold incriminating evidence for the president, you get a pass from Donald Trump. That's the message that the President has always wanted to convey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: And joining us now to discuss this is criminal defense and constitutional attorney Page Pate. Page, this situation, I guess, is not entirely surprising that's been signaled for some time. But what is different about this is that, I think, a lot of people were expecting a pardon here. Roger Stone says he wanted his sentence commuted, because he didn't want to admit guilt. What is the significance of that?

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Abby, that's a good point, and I don't think anyone's really discussed it fully yet. I am certain that Mr. Stone and his lawyers would have preferred a full pardon.

But I expect that the White House compromised here and Trump said, Look, I'm not going to wipe away the conviction entirely. I'm going to get too much backlash from Department of Justice, prosecutors, the people who are on the front lines, so I'm just going to commute the sentence.

Now the idea that Mr. Stone can still appeal his conviction, that's true, but there is nothing about that conviction that I can see that will be successful on appeal and result in a new trial. So I think it was a compromise by the White House.

BLACKWELL: We heard at the top of this conversation from House Committee Intelligence Chair there, Adam Schiff. I want you to listen to what Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker said about limiting the President's pardoning power. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): There ought to be a law, and I'm recommending that we pass a law that presidents cannot issue a pardon if the crime that the person is in jail for is one that is caused by protecting the president, which this was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Probably slim chances of that actually becoming a law, but reconcile that with the constitution and what it would take to get it done.

PATE: Yes, Victor, that would be an unconstitutional law if it ever passed, because the constitution clearly gives full pardon power to the President. It's completely unchecked. And there were some objections about that when it was put into the constitution. But James Madison said, look, it's not a problem. If a president ever tried to pardon anyone he may have been connected with in the commission of a crime, he would be immediately impeached.

[08:25:00]

Well, obviously, that's not going to happen in this environment. So the idea that there would be a check on the pardon power in the constitution never made it. So to change the pardon power, we're going to have to amend the constitution and that is a huge effort, and I don't see that happening.

PHILLIP: It's interesting that - we - that ship of impeachment has already sailed for President Trump, so it seems like that threat is not even operable in this moment. But there's something that Roger Stone said yesterday.

He said, he knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. And he said, it would have eased my situation considerably. It really suggested to a lot of people that Stone had something to say that could have incriminated the President. Is there - are there any potential consequences down the road to that acknowledgement from Stone this week?

PATE: It appears not. I mean, I think it's clear despite the statement from the White House about all these reasons for the commutation. That the sole reason that the President did it was because he was a friend of Trump. Stone had protected Trump.

I mean, the things that they've put in the statement, it was a process crime, it was unfair, he may get sick in jail. Well, that applies to a bunch of people who are in federal prison right now, but they don't know the President.

So I think it's clear that was the relationship here. And the fact that he lied to cover up something that ultimately protected the President, that's why he's not going to prison.

BLACKWELL: Page Pate, always good to have you. Thank you so much, sir.

PATE: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And a big question right now, how do you bring millions of kids back to school safely. A school superintendent making those tough decisions in one of the epicenters of the outbreak will join us next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:30:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Just go back to school, we can do that. And you can social distance, you can get your temperature taken, you can be tested, you can have distance saying. Come on, it's not that hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: It's not that hard, its White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow. Millions of families, teachers, near schools starting amid deadly pandemic, they're trying to figure out how to do it. But it is - it's not easy. As COVID-19 cases rise, a new report shows that almost one in four, 1.5 million teachers are at a higher risk of getting seriously ill.

PHILLIP: Yes, not easy at all. And there is also the concern over spread. A summer camp in Missouri just had to shut down after 80 kids and staffers tested positive. Kids can also get seriously sick and even die in rare cases.

BLACKWELL: So researchers are warning that parents should know the symptoms of coronavirus in children. And they should know that they're little different than those that we see in adults.

PHILLIP: CNN Health Reporter Jacqueline Howard will explain what we need to know about how children are affected.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Victor and Abby, here's what we know. So kids appear not to be at a higher risk of COVID than the rest of us. But a new study from an American Academy of Pediatrics Journal suggests that their symptoms might be slightly different.

Now, this study was on 22 children with coronavirus who were admitted to the hospital. It found only 41 percent of them had respiratory symptoms. And some of the cases, even when overlooked, because they did not meet the then recommended coronavirus testing criteria.

Here the numbers 15 of those kids had a fever, nine had respiratory symptoms, six reported fatigue, two had seizures, one had a headache, and 16 had no known contact with someone who had COVID.

Now, there's still much left to learn here. Researchers are still learning more about how COVID impacts kids who already have underlying health conditions and COVID may be linked to brain swelling. That needs more study.

Also, you may have heard of this, some children with COVID have developed a rare condition called multi system inflammatory syndrome. And information about that is limited. But for now, most COVID cases in children appear to be mild. And there's a lot you can do to keep your kid healthy.

We all know the drill. Remind them to wash their hands, have them sneeze and cough into a tissue, and definitely take time to really disinfect surfaces and disinfect their toys. And don't forget their stuffed animals too. Victor, Abby.

PHILLIP: Thanks, Jacqueline. And here's what the official government guidance says on opening schools. It's called the K-12 Schools: Readiness and Planning Tool, and it's nine pages of documents and checklists.

On the first page there are three guiding principles indicating the level of risk. The lowest risk; classes and activities and events that are virtual, online only. Small, in-person classes, activities and events will pose more risk. And at the highest level of risk it involves full-sized in-person classes and activities and events with no social distancing.

BLACKWELL: Yes, these are the CDC's considerations for schools. It's a list of ways to protect students and teachers and staff. They say wear masks, keep desk six feet apart. Stay home when appropriate. Stagger arrival and dismissal times, cancel field trips and large gatherings. Close communal spaces and have backup staffing plans.

Let's go to South Florida now we're doctors say the crisis is really dire. But the state's Department of Education is requiring all schools to be open five days a week and there's this from the governor.

(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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[08:35:00]

BLACKWELL: Let's bring it now Robert Runcie, Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools. Sir, good morning to you. What do you make of that assessment?

ROBERT RUNCIE, SUPERINTENDENT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Well, I don't think we should be comparing our schools to Walmart and other commercial entities. I think if we've learned anything over the past few months, is how valuable and essential our schools are.

And we also recognized how difficult the work of our teachers, what they do each and every day. Our parents have realized that, our communities have realized that, so we cannot continue to devalue the importance of education.

I'll also say when you go to the grocery store and you go to Walmart, they limit the number of people that can come in and they have requirements for how folks can come into their stores and establishment.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and so--

RUNCIE: So when you apply that to - yes.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead, finish your thought.

RUNCIE: Yes. So if you start applying those kind of logistical challenges and requirements to school systems, you can't just cavalierly open up schools, right. So our schools live in our communities. So the current environment around us, what's happening here in South Florida, is going to dictate our ability to open schools. We don't exist in a separate world from that. So--

BLACKWELL: Yes, let me let me jump in here, because when you talk about the world around the schools, which metrics will you be using, independent of the ability to social distance and to provide masks and close communal spaces? What will you be looking at in Broward County and what are the thresholds you're considering?

RUNCIE: Well, number one is where's our county overall in terms of infection, cases. We're currently at phase 1. We also meet periodically with our local public health officials, medical experts. We're also leaning on some national experts. You've mentioned the CDC guidelines. Those metrics are part of our strategy for reopening schools.

And so given out where we are in our environment, we could transition from possibly 100 percent e-learning, to fully opening and everything in between, which could be some type of hybrid scenario within a district.

We're currently serving our parents to see what their preference is. And I know our parents are frustrated. They've got lots of challenges they've been dealing with. And so our teachers are also frustrated. They want to be with their kids, but they don't want to compromise their safety. And we will never compromise the safety of our students, our teachers and our staff.

BLACKWELL: Let me put the numbers up from the latest, and there we are, they're kind of tiny on the screen. Did not expect them to be that small. 27 percent of those surveyed thus far prefer online education; 36 percent, hybrid model; 33 percent prefer in-school. I don't know if there's enough difference there to influence a decision.

But I want you to listen to education secretary Betsy DeVos on the call for schools to be fully operational in classes five days a week, and how that impacts funding. Let's watch.

RUNCIE: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETSY DEVOS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: If schools aren't going to reopen, we're not suggesting pulling funding from education, but instead allowing families take - let the families take that money and figure out where their kids can get educated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Yes. The President threatened to pull funding of schools who weren't fully open. Do you know how that would work, and how would that impact public schools in Broward County?

RUNCIE: It would certainly have an impact on us. But I'll just tell you generally. The federal funding around education is only about 10 percent of the budget. What's more important is that we desperately need resources and financial support to accomplish everything that we need to put in place, so our teachers, our staff and our families have confidence to return to our campuses.

I've worked with organizations such as the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents about 70 of the largest districts in the nation. So we've asked Congress to allocate at least $250 billion to our nation's public schools, which serve about 50 million children. Those resources are needed to cover the financial losses that we're going to be seeing that are going to hit our property tax collections and our state budgets. We also need that to pay for PPE and other things that we need to make our teachers staff and students safe.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about staffing. Let me ask you about staffing. We're running low on time and I've got two specifics I want to get here, if we can too quickly. I've read, and correct me if I'm wrong. That more than 100 of the schools in your district don't have a registered school nurse there.

Will these schools, if they reopen, have a qualified medical professional at every campus to make these determinations on if a student or a teacher needs medical attention or test or needs to be quarantined.

[08:40:00]

RUNCIE: Yes, that is our plan. All of our schools have health technicians. Not all of them actually have nurses. Our plan is to move to get nurses into each and every one of our schools. But, obviously, it becomes enormously difficult to do that when you don't have the financial resources. So--

BLACKWELL: And last question here. So let's say a student test positive at Western High School in Pembroke Pines, what's the plan? Does that entire class need to be a quarantined, does the whole school shut down? And then what's the threshold to bring people back with the delays on testing?

RUNCIE: Well, yes. So at a minimum, yes, we would - we have protocols in place that we work through with our local health department to actually figure out if we need to essentially shut down that class. If there are other cases in the school, we may actually have to close the school.

We continue to do deep cleaning as part of our protocols. But we've got to look at those things on a case by case basis, working with our public health officials in order to determine if and when we can open the school back up. BLACKWELL: All right.

RUNCIE: You know, I - yes...

BLACKWELL: We've got to wrap there.

RUNCIE: Well, I was going to say--

BLACKWELL: Very quickly.

RUNCIE: Yes. Yes, and I was going to say, I share that need that everyone has to get our kids back to school. I know about the fact that our schools provide social and emotional development, we provide food, mental health supports lots of other services.

But we can't lose sight of the fact that it is this nation's moral imperative to provide access to help healthcare, deal with food insecurity, the mental health challenges that we have in our communities, affordable housing for our families. All of those issues existed before coronavirus, and we see them exposed at this moment.

And bringing our kids back to school, yes, it'll help those children, but it's not going to solve the problem that they face when they go home--

BLACKWELL: Understood.

RUNCIE: --every day. So we need a national plan around these issues--

BLACKWELL: Understood.

RUNCIE: --and we need a national plan, yes.

BLACKWELL: We got to wrap it there. Superintendent Robert Runcie there of Broward County Schools there in South Florida. Thank you so much. Quick break and we will be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:45:00]

BLACKWELL: In San Diego there is now an investigation after officers shot and killed a man who was discovered to have set this pellet gun at them.

PHILLIP: Authorities released this new video of the incident on Friday. The shooting happened the day before. And in that video the officers confront a man who had allegedly pointed a gun at two women. They can be heard repeatedly shouted commands at the suspect to drop the weapon. But we should warn you this video is disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER: Walk away. Let's go. Stop fixing your gun and walk--

OFFICER: (inaudible) is still not obeying commands. The gun is on the ground right in front of me.

13 SAM (ph) we're trying to get it right now.

OFFICER: We're working on it.

OFFICER: Walk away from the gun, bro! C'mon! Don't want to hurt you!

OFFICER: Josh keep talking.

OFFICER: Walk away from the gun.

OFFICER: Put it down.

OFFICER: Hey drop the gun (bleep)

OFFICER: (bleep) shoot him.

OFFICER: He's on the ground.

OFFICER: He's on the ground.

OFFICER: Settle down, settle down, settle down.

OFFICER: He's not moving.

OFFICER: Settle down, settle down. Settle down.

OFFICER: (inaudible) can you see the gun?

OFFICER: Yes, it's right there in front of me.

OFFICER: We're going to sit tight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So that man died. His name - the names of the officers, those have not yet been released. San Diego police say that the officers were only able to determine that that was a pellet gun after they got close enough to touch it and examine it themselves.

All right later this morning on CNN NEWSROOM, everyone agrees that getting kids back to school is important. How you do it, that's what everyone is disagreeing over. And when is the right time to send them back, especially considering that cases are rising in dozens of states.

PHILLIP: And at 10:00 am Arne Duncan, the former Education Secretary under President Obama will join us to talk about that and more. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:00]

BLACKWELL: A landmark in Michigan, gone. A few minutes ago, crews demolish the Palace of Auburn Hills. PHILLIP: The arena was home to the Detroit Pistons from 1988 until 2017. Before today, much of the arena had been gutted already, but there were - there are now plans to turn the arena into offices for research and technology companies.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks for watching.

PHILLIP: "SMERCONISH" is next and we'll see you again in one hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:55:00]

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Intellectual food fight. I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. So what happens when more than 100 intellectuals make a bid to defend free speech in the face of cancel culture? They get canceled, of course, proving the existence of exactly the sentiments about which they were complaining.

This week, a letter was published online by Harper's Magazine under the headline, "A letter on justice, and open debate." It bore signatures from people all over the political landscape like Malcolm Gladwell, David Brooks, neo-con Francis Fukuyama, leftist Noam Chomsky, Margaret Atwood and CNN's own Fareed Zakaria.

After acknowledging this important cultural moment of racial and social justice, it said this. "This needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity.