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White House Seeks To Discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci; Trump Trailing Behind Biden In Polls; President Trump Wearing Mask For The First Time; Fire And Explosion Onboard USS Bonhomme Richard; NBA Adjusting To The NBA Bubble; Florida Sets Single-Day Record Of New Coronavirus Cases; Safety Of Students And Teachers For School Reopening; LA Country DA Target Of Black Lives Matter. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 12, 2020 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:01]

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Do what you can. To learn more about Jon Bon Jovi's "Do What You Can" efforts and hear the song he and his fans are performing to lift spirits around the world, just go to CNNheroes.com.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks so much for staying with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Breaking news this hour, a battle being fought at the highest level of the U.S. government, is over who to believe.

With more than 130,000 Americans dead of the coronavirus and a staggering number of new infections emerging every day, the Trump White House reportedly is working to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the straight-talking infectious disease expert who has served six U.S. presidents.

A senior White House official telling CNN that certain people in the White House don't trust Dr. Fauci anymore and accuse him of not having the president's best interests at heart. The president only yesterday wore a mask in public for the first time. Something most Americans have been doing for months. Largely because of sound advice from scientists like Dr. Anthony Fauci.

So, who to believe? A globally-respected scientist and public health authority or the man in the White House, whose message over and over has been, don't worry, the coronavirus is going to disappear? CNN's Kristen Holmes is at the White House for us and Kristen, what else have we learned now about this growing rift between Dr. Fauci and the president?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, a White House working to discredit one of the nation's top health official would be extraordinary in any circumstance. But given that this is happening in the middle of a pandemic when we're seeing these cases surge, it's really striking.

Now, I reached out to the White House to talk about their relationship with Dr. Fauci -- President Trump and Dr. Fauci, and I received a statement from a White House official that said that several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things, and then they included a list of things that he said early on in the pandemic that were later debunked.

They also linked two of these articles. This looks akin to opposition research and this again is about one of the nation's top health experts, someone who was supposedly an adviser to President Trump and a member of the Coronavirus Task Force.

Now, we have watched this tension build up really through the media over the last several weeks between President Trump and Dr. Fauci. Fauci really speaking his mind on certain things not holding his tongue and often disagreeing with the president.

And that is where that comes in what you said earlier about the distrust, the not having the president's back. This official said that several people believed that he's not really have the interest of the president if he's going to go and speak out and disagree with the president in the media.

But I want to point out a couple of things that we've seen go back and forth. One of them is President Trump over and over his line since the beginning of this pandemic was that the government's response was impeccable. They are doing everything they can. Even as the cases surged he has continued to say that the government's response was beautiful.

We know he's called that at times. This is what Dr. Fauci had to say in an interview this week about the U.S. government's response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When you compare us to other countries, I don't think you can say we're doing great. I mean, we're just not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: That's pretty strong wording there. We're just not going great, when he knows that the president has said repeatedly that the government's response has been, again, beautiful, perfect, ideal. So, it doesn't end there, though.

At one point we saw in an interview Fauci saying he wasn't sure where President Trump was getting certain information from. Then we saw President Trump being interviewed on Fox News and saying that Fauci was a nice man but he had made a lot of mistakes.

Now it appears they are making it official, that they are saying that several White House officials are concerned about these mistakes and they are giving those mistakes out, handing them out as though it is opposition research against Dr. Fauci.

CABRERA: Kristin Holmes at the White House for us. Thank you.

I want to bring in CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon and CNN Political Commentator and host of PBS "Firing Line" Margaret Hoover. Good to have both of you here. So nice to see you. It's been a while.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Ana.

CABRERA: Margaret, let me start with you. Fauci has served six presidents of both parties, Republicans and Democrats. He is the top expert on this virus right now and the idea that the White House is raising questions about him just because he's willing to openly disagree with the president when science matters, what's your reaction to that?

HOOVER: I mean, the reaction is that this is a partisan president who -- by the way, partisanship is not the problem. The problem, this is a president who is more interested in his own political re-election than he is in solving this crisis.

Remember, this president wanted this virus to go away. He said there were 15 cases in February, the end of February and March and soon there would be none.

[17:05:00]

This is a president who advisers were afraid to raise the issue of the coronavirus with early on in order to have a full government response in a way that might have contained this virus because they knew that he so believed this would undermine his re-election prospects.

So, come along a scientist who has hard facts and hard truths about how the United States has responded to this. What can President Trump do? Well, he can't fire him with a tweet, but he can go to every end possible to discredit him, and that's what we're seeing.

CABRERA: John, what are your thoughts on this?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, that's a Republican talking. Look, you know, Donald Trump, the fact that the White House is doing opposition research and issuing (inaudible) undercut the leading scientist who Americans have more confidence in than the president on the issue of this pandemic, killing over 130,000 of our fellow Americans is so nuts that we can't begin to slip into a new normalization of just another bad day.

In fact, the White House is saying they don't think that Dr. Fauci has Donald Trump's best interests at heart. He's not supposed to. That's not his job. His job is to have the American people's interest at heart. It's also, by the way, is supposed to what the president does, but he is incapable of thinking about anything other than himself.

This is disgusting, this is pathetic, this is sad, but it's all more of the same that we've seen from this White House, petty whey they should be focusing on combating a pandemic.

CABRERA: Well, the president sees things as we know, based on a reporting through what's best for him and his re-election. So let's talk about the impact this could have on the election. And poll after poll, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is beating President Trump nationally by up to 14 percentage points.

But according to a new CBS poll, that national gap isn't necessarily reflected in three key states that are some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Biden's leading Trump in Florida by six points. While in Arizona they're basically tied. Same in Texas, no clear leader there or in either of those last two states.

When you think about these states and the coronavirus surging in all three of these states, Margaret, would you expect Biden to be polling better than he is?

HOOVER: I would expect given that there are 25-plus million Americans out of work that the coronavirus has created this residual economic collapse, that the president, who was running on a booming economy, the best of any president in his lifetime, would be taking a hit in the polls. That is to be expected.

What is also to be expected, look, we're early here. I mean, I really hesitate to -- I think it's very interesting to mark these polls but they are but one data point in a moment of time. At this point in the election in 2016, Hillary Clinton was also leading Donald Trump and we know that we haven't quite fixed the modeling problems that caused pollsters to believe that Hillary Clinton would run away with the election in 2016.

Bottom line, this election is going to be about the economy. The states that are hit worst by the coronavirus in combination with how the coronavirus has impacted their economies are going to suffer and that is what is going to be everything about Donald Trump's election process.

AVLON: Right, but these polls, Ana, are as you know, this is not simply horse race, you know, polling coverage. This is about three specific states, Arizona, Texas and Florida. Only one of those states, Florida, is typically considered a swing state. A Republican president should not have to be spending money. If you want to find the truth, follow the money.

If he's running ads in these states, he's in trouble. He's running ads in Arizona. He's neck and neck in Texas. That's a stunner. Republicans haven't had to worry about Texas in forever. Florida, six points significant in part because Biden's doing well among senior citizens and that's a real difference from past candidates Republican and Democrats we've seen.

But Martha McSally is in real trouble in Arizona. Texas, neck and neck. It's not why isn't Biden doing better. It's that that's the campaign Trump campaign taking on water in states they shouldn't have to fight for.

CABRERA: Right. It's good to remind our viewers that voters pick Trump in all three of those states in the last election, in 2016. John, we saw Joe Biden roll out an economic message this week. Biden's new slogan is "Build Back Better." Is that the best he can do?

AVLON: Well, slogans -- Donald Trump's great strength is marketing and branding and slogans. Democrat have had a much harder time with that historically. It is important to emphasize that he has an economic vision that will resonate with middle class folks and working class voters who voted for Donald Trump last time around.

And to actually get things done in the vein (ph) of infrastructure which should have been a no-brainer for this this president but he couldn't find a way to work across the aisle. But, no, the branding and marketing is not going to be Joe Biden's strong suit.

His strong suit is going to be we know Joe. The idea that voters know who he is, that he cares about middle class folks and working-class folks. He's got a long history going back to his 1988 presidential campaign of doing it and that he's going to have the momentum and the policy chops to make work again for those who folks who feel left out maybe even from the last recovery before this one.

HOOVER: Look, in very --

CABRERA: Martha --

[17:10:01]

HOOVER: Just really quickly I would just say, look, in every single one of these polls when you look as the cross-tabs and you look at the only place where Donald Trump outperforms Joe Biden is when it comes to his handling of the economy.

And even admits the coronavirus and pandemic and economic fallout, Biden polls below Donald Trump when it comes to handling the economy and how voters think each candidate would handle the economy. But that is where Donald Trump excels.

This election is not going to come down to whether you know Joe or whether he has a better slogan or a worse slogan, which is likely. It is going to come down to how the economy is looking and how voters feel about -- it is a referendum on Donald Trump's handling of the economy, even amidst the pandemic, period.

CABRERA: Margaret, let me pick up on something that John mentioned regarding Trump's ability to market and to brand. We saw the president finally wear a mask yesterday publicly when he visited Walter Reed Medical Center. First Lady Melania Trump also posted a video of her wearing a mask during a visit to a women's center in the past week.

Do you think we're going to start seeing the president now take a different position on masks than try to use them to his advantage? Are we going to see MAGA masks on his website?

AVLON: Yes.

HOOVER: I'm shocked if we don't go there right now and see them already. Look, I sure hope so. Honest to god, you know, the politics aside, masks save lives. And the administration -- and by the way, Dr. Fauci have had very mixed messaging on masks from the beginning, and what we know from looking at the countries who have handled this pandemic successfully is that -- and we all know the science is there.

Masks are going to reduce the numbers, reduce the spread, and so every single person in this country including the president should wear them and wear them proudly because they are serving others when they do it.

AVLON: Yes. But there's no cure for the kind of stupid that politicized masks in the first place. The fact that the president has dragged his heels on this, has tried to politicize mask-wearing during a pandemic is just criminal negligence in terms of national leadership.

It's great to see him show up late but really the message he and Melania have been sending, is that Melania jacket that she wore so many months and years ago, I don't really care. Do you? Because that's the message he's been sending by refusing to wear a mask and try to make it a political talk (ph), it's not. It's responsibility to fellow citizens during a pandemic for god sakes.

CABRERA: Well, guy, it's been a fun conversation. Has anybody ever told you've got -- you have great chemistry? You're really good together on-air.

AVLON: Should we do this for a living?

CABRERA: Let's do this again sometime. Thank you.

AVLON: Anytime.

HOOVER: Thanks, Ana. Have a great weekend.

CABRERA: Have a great rest of the weekend.

We are getting some new information now on another developing story this hour. At least 18 sailors, we've learned, are injured following fire and explosion onboard this navy ship and you can see in these live images it is still burning. We will take you live to California, next. Stay with us. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:15:00]

CABRERA: We are following more breaking news this afternoon. Firefighters are battling a huge fir following an explosion onboard a navy warship in San Diego. And right now we're told at least 18 sailors are hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, but it is still burning.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is following the story for us and Paul, we have learned the entire crew is off the ship and accounted for, but do we know what caused this fire and this explosion?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CN CORRESPONDENT: Too early to tell, Ana. And what we understand now is you've got firefighters, federal firefighters, city of San Diego firefighters, National City firefighters trying to put this out. We've seen at least three fire boats trying to get to this.

A Defense Department official has told us they believe the fire started near the well deck. So let me try to describe what is in that part of the ship, I've been on it. The well deck is in a sense, the back end of the Trojan horse. There is a door that opens up in the back of it.

And out of it comes a landing craft air cushion or an LCAC that can carry six tanks or a couple of tanks and four other vehicles. When we launched out of that back end we suddenly found ourselves on the shore at Camp Pendleton in no time as this air cushion, the LCAC, went flying through there.

So did any of that sort of material get damaged in the fire? Unknown yet. When will this fire be put out, that's unknown, but we heard from an expert in firefighting from the city of New York, a former commissioner, let's hear what he has to say.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

THOMAS VON ESSEN, FORMER FDNY COMMISSIONER (via telephone): It looks like maybe the oil isn't burning, but now who knows what the heck is burning down there. They've got an awful lot of material like the admiral talks about.

You're in there for maintenance. They could have all kinds of equipment down there to do maintenance. They could have been doing well and they could be removing partitions. They could be -- just so many things that could be burning at this point. It's going to be a while and there'll be a tremendous amount of damage that could have been avoided if they were able to get in there quickly and put it out.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN: And just checking in with a navy spokesman, he was on the ground, about 1,000 yards away from the fire. He just couldn't see anything. The smoke still so thick, can be seen throughout San Diego County. Back to you now, Ana.

CABRERA: And Paul, have officials voiced any concern about this fire spreading to other areas, other ships in that area, perhaps with the fuel that may be involved here?

VERCAMMEN: We're not hearing a lot of concern about that fuel. They think it's contained, and this ship has many, many decks, and that makes it a different fire fight from your standard, let's say, structure fire. There are these metal ladders that go up and down and you certainly couldn't send firefighters down there with hoses to put it out.

We're not hearing that, but we have heard and you've heard this too, Ana, that they are concerned about that toxic plume of smoke. Who knows what sort of witches' brew of chemicals could be going up into the air?

CABRERA: Okay, Paul Vercammen, we know you're going to continue to follow this for us. Thank you.

And now you're looking at NBA champion and hall famer Isiah Thomas. He is ready for the NBA's return later this month.

[17:20:00] But with the entire league descending on Florida and more than 15,000 new cases, will the return to basketball work? We'll discuss live in the "CNN Newsroom." Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Basketball is back on. The NBA bringing teams to Florida this week even as that state has become the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic here in the U.S. Players, coaches and staff will all be confined to the so-called NBA bubble at an isolated campus in Orlando for what is a modified season.

[17:24:57]

Philadelphia 76ers player, Joel Embiid, taking extra precautions just to get there. Look at that suit. And here's what he had to say about this bubble.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL EMBIID, NBA PLAYER: I'm not a big fan of the idea but every day we know I got to do my job. I'm not going to let the city down. You know, I'm going to go represent my city. That's what I've always done, my family and my teammates. So, just got to -- the monster doesn't change. I mean, it doesn't matter the fact that no one liked that idea and I still believe the league and I don't think it's going to be safe enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: He's worried about his safety. Let's talk about this with NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. Also an NBA TV TNT sports commentator. So great to have you here. It's an honor. How does the league reassure a player like Joel Embiid who doesn't feel safe in Florida, a state that just reported more than 15,000 new cases of coronavirus in a single day?

ISIAH THOMAS, NBA HALL OF FAMER: You know, it's extremely difficult to guarantee or to reassure the players that their safety is the utmost important thing. And all the NBA and NBA Players Association can do is provide the testing and also make sure that from a health standpoint that they're giving them all the information that's possible.

The world is going through a pandemic. And not only the players are worried about their safety, but everyone is worried about their safety, individually and also worried for the players.

CABRERA: Yes. And in the 1988 championship, you, famously scored 25 points in one quarter against the Lakers, hobbling around on seemingly one leg with a badly sprained ankle.

So, I share that story, because one aspect that's going to be so strange in this new normal is if a player in the playoff wakes up with a slight fever he's going to be expected to take himself out or risk taking out the whole team, right? How opposite is this experience going to be from how elite athletes are taught to overcome injury to win at all costs?

THOMAS: You know, this is where, you know -- this is a great question, because this is where the athlete always has to depend on his medical advisers, and also family and even public perception because we at those times need help in terms of protecting ourselves from ourselves, so to speak.

And, you know, if you get a fever or what have you, I know that athlete is going to want to continue to play because they're all there to win the championship. But it's going to be so critical and so important for the medical staff and also the general public to be able to give that athlete forgiveness if he or she has to sit out.

CABRERA: What can you tell us about what life is like for players inside the bubble?

THOMAS: It sounds like it's the most unique experience ever. I mean, in Florida, we know the pandemic and the numbers are spiking, and Florida recorded it's, you know, its heaviest day of the virus in terms of infection.

But inside the bubble it appears to be probably the safest place in Florida to be right now. They have all the medical tests. They have all the equipment. They have the social distancing. They have everything that you would require for them to be successful in this experiment.

So, what life is like there, it's probably safer there, but at the same time, you're definitely restricted in terms of what you're normally everyday routine would be.

CABRERA: That's got to feel so foreign in many, many ways. Finally, Isiah, I want to ask you about Lebron James who says he will not be wearing one of the NBA's approved social justice messages on his jersey this year. The NBA pre-approved 29 different messages, not just equality and black lives matter for players to choose from for their jerseys that they would like to. Take a listen to King James.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: It's just something that didn't really, you know, seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal. I would have loved to have a say-so on what went on the back of my jersey. I had a couple of things in mind, but I wasn't a part of that process, which is okay. I'm absolutely okay with that.

So, what I will continue to do, you know, off the floor and when I'm talking to you guys and when I'm, you know, everything that I do has a purpose, it has a meaning. So, I don't need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I'm about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:30:00] CABRERA: He has so much influence, we know, not just within the sport of basketball but around the country in many different ways. What do you make of James snubbing the league on this social justice messaging effort?

THOMAS: Well, I'm hearing two things. The first thing is that he wanted to be involved in the process and he wasn't involved in the process and consequently he felt like whatever the messaging is on the back of the jersey, his body of work outside of the playing field has and will stand the test of time.

So he can always point to his body of work outside of the playing field in terms of what he stood for and what he stands for. And he is saying he doesn't need the message on the back of the jersey to reflect what his true intentions are in terms of his heart.

But I think, you know, the league definitely -- if anyone should have been involved in that process, it definitely should have been him because he's been the leader out front in a lot of these issues and the league definitely, you know, made a mistake by not involving him in the process.

CABRERA: Isiah Thomas, thank you so much for the conversation. A pleasure.

THOMAS: Thank you. And stay safe.

CABRERA: Please stay safe as well. Thank you for that. As Florida continues to set new records in the worst way, we are going to talk to a doctor on the front lines there who's already fallen ill himself while trying to save the lives of others. Stay with me. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:35:00]

CABRERA: Turning to the staggering numbers coming out of Florida today, more than 15,000 new coronavirus infections have been reported marking a new single day high not just for Florida but for any state including New York at the height of its outbreak. My next guest has been on front lines of this crisis in Florida and while treating infected patients he himself fell ill along with his entire family.

Dr. Andrew Pastewski is an ICU physician at Jackson South Medical Center in Miami and joins us now. Dr. , first of all, I'm glad to hear that you have come through this and are feeling better yourself. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. The numbers coming from Florida sound awful. What are you seeing and experiencing there on the ground?

ANDREW PASTEWSKI, ICU PHYSICIAN, JACKSON SOUTH MEDICAL CENTER: So, it's not just about more testing. We have a lot more patients. In the Jackson system, we have 387 patients with COVID right now across three hospitals. That is the most we've ever had. In my hospital I have 80 COVID patients. That is more than double the highest number we had back in March.

So these increased numbers are being seen in the hospital and it is stressing the hospital. We are fortunately getting 100 nurses from the government and my hospital system has hired an additional 80 so we've got another 180 boots on the ground helping. But at the end of the day, it's the beds that continue to get filled up, that continue to be the problem.

CABRERA: And when you talk about 80 patients in your hospital alone, what more can you tell us about those patients without obviously giving up any privacy information, but can you tell us about the types of symptoms, how sick they are, their demographics?

PASTEWSKI: So, we get I'd say one of three different types of patients. We get the really sick ones. The ones who are on high amounts of oxygen or intubated or require non-invasive ventilation. And of the 80, I would say approximately 25 of them are those really sick ones.

Then we have another half, another 25 or so patients who have mild symptoms, just need a little bit of oxygen. And then we've got the small subset of patients that we find the COVID accidentally. I've had ankle fractures. A guy walking down the block fell, tripped, and then his COVID comes back.

The really scary part about that is his COVID doesn't come back right away. We don't have ability to do one-hour testing on every patient so that patient goes to a regular floor and 24 or 36 hours later we find out that the ankle fracture has actually COVID.

CABRERA: Wow. It's so amazing to learn all of this. We know Miami-Dade County accounts for almost one quarter of all cases in Florida right now. Do you have what you need? Do you have enough beds? Do you have enough personnel? Do you have enough remdesivir to help with the surge?

PASTEWSKI: We actually did run out of remdesivir a few days ago, but Jackson was able to secure a cachet from Gilead. So, we have been able to resume remdesivir on the sick patients that require it. Beds, we are stressing and straining, but we still have it.

We have plans -- we've gone from one COVID unit to two, three, four, five, now into a sixth area and we've got areas plans to move on as needed. And eventually we're going to be doubling up patients, (inaudible) patients in private rooms to two patients to a room.

CABRERA: What about PPE? Is that an issue at all?

PASTEWSKI: It hasn't been for the Jackson system. We have not had any problems with PPE. I have heard down here in Miami from some of my other friends who are intensivist at other hospitals that their nurses are being told you get one gallon a day.

We have not had any of those restrictions in the Jackson system. We use the bunny suits sparingly. Only in the procedures that would really generate a lot of virus like intubation or extubating the patient. The rest of the time they're just wearing gowns, masks, face shields and gloves and goggles, but we have not had to struggle. We have not had to limit.

[17:40:00]

There has been the needed PPE at least in our system.

CABRERA: Well that is some good news. Dr. Andrew Pastewski, I'd love to keep in touch with you as we continue through the journey. Thank you for taking the time and thank you for all you do.

PASTEWSKI: Sure. Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Coming up, so many parents desperate to send their kids back to school this fall, but teachers are worried. One superintendent CNN spoke to says they would need the space of five pentagons essentially in order to space out students safely. Much more, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:44:58]

CABRERA: It's safe to say parents want their children to go back to school this fall. But the question is, can it be done safely? CNN's Dana Bash visited one of the largest school districts in the country to find out if that's possible.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCOTT BRABRAND, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA: As you come in, you can start to see the science that we're putting into our schools about six foot social distancing.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mantua Elementary in Fairfax County, Virginia, prepping for back-to-school in the age of COVID-19.

BRABRAND: We're going to have plexiglass.

BASH (on camera): This is new. This was not here before?

BRABRAND: This is new.

BASH (voice-over): And limited. Just two days a week in-person learning. The rest, virtual. Parents also have the option to keep their kids home entirely.

BRABRABD: So you're in a classroom now where we've spaced apart desks at six feet. We're going to have PPE for all of our teachers and students and we're going to have a return to school in a new normal.

BASH (voice-over): Scott Brabrand is the superintendent for Fairfax County public schools in Northern Virginia, a D.C. suburb which Education Secretary Betsy Devos recently singled out criticizing its return to school plan. BETSY DEVOS, EDUCATION SECRETARY: One of the most well-funded, I would

call it an elite public school system in America, offered families a so-called choice for this fall.

BASH (on camera): Her argument is that there is no excuse for you all not being able to figure out how to get kids back to school full-time?

BRABRAND: Well, COVID doesn't discriminate based on wealth or poverty. COVID hits all of us. And the guidelines for six-feet social distancing simply mean that you can't put every kid back in a school with the existing square footage footprint. It's just that simple.

BASH (voice-over): Fairfax County is one of the largest school districts in the country. More than 188,000 students from pre-K through 12th grade.

BRABRAND: We're the size of five Pentagons. You would need another five Pentagons of space to be able to safely accommodate all of the students in Fairfax County public schools.

BASH (on camera): It doesn't sound very feasible.

BRABRAND: It doesn't sound very feasible.

BASH (voice-over): Fairfax County parent, Miriam Aguila says she hopes the best they can do looks a lot better that it did in the spring for daughter a rising kindergartener and her third grade son.

BASH (on camera): How did virtual learning go at the end of the school year? It's hard.

MIRIAM AGUILA, FAIRFAX COUNTY PARENT: It was. Getting him logged on, the technical difficulties. Just being there, you know, I felt like an I.T. person which I.T. is not my field. So, it was crazy.

BASH (voice-over): She says the school uses multiple online platforms which made it confusing.

AGULA: This generation of kids are very technology-savvy so they should be able to do this on their own, but they can't, because it's got like, you know, different links to different things.

BASH (voice-over): She's a single mom, but considers herself lucky. She can work from home and has help, including her own mother who lives with them.

AGUILA: Even, you know, my mom being here. Even with that help, sometimes, you know, you've got to be like, quiet, you know, I'm on a call. Sometimes I'd be up until to 2:00, 3:00 in the morning just because like when the house is quiet I can focus. And then, you know, you have to be up in the morning trying to do the best you can.

BASH (on camera): Two full-time jobs?

AGUILA: Basically. BASH (voice-over): Despite all that, she plans to choose full-time

virtual learning for several reasons including protecting her 71-year- old mother.

AGUILA: I don't want to put her in a position where my kids are going back and forth from school. You know, we can all be very cautious, but you never know.

BASH (voice-over): Her plea to the superintendent, make virtual learning a lot smoother for her and her kids.

(on camera): What's your response to that and how have you worked to fix it?

BRABRAND: We had to weeks where we struggled, and then we had two months where we soared. I wish we were able to do that right out of the gate. We have lessons learned and we are using those lessons to help us be ready to have a successful fall.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Our thanks to Dana Bash for that reporting. More now on some breaking news we brought to you earlier this hour. We just got another update from the U.S. Navy, that in fact 17 sailors, 4 civilians are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries after an explosion and fire aboard the "USS Bonhomme Richard."

Now, that ship docked in San Diego at the time, we are told there were 160 sailors onboard. All have been accounted for. We will continue to follow this story. We'll bring you the latest information as soon as we get it. Quick break. We'll be right back.

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[17:50:00]

CABRERA: The Black Lives Matter Movement is continuing to protest calling for reform and it's not just police they are taking to task, but also those they say helped perpetuate the status quo. In Los Angeles, that led to protests against what some may see as a surprising target. The county's black district attorney. CNN's Stephanie Elam reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the nation grapples with changing how law enforcement treats black people more protests are honing in on elected leadership and who's policing the police.

[17:55:00]

In Los Angeles, Black Lives Matter has been demonstrating for two and a half years. Their target -- a black woman, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

MELINAH ABDULLAH, CO-FOUNDER, BLCAK LIVES MATTER LOS ANGELES: As a black woman I would rather be celebrating other black women and I do. It's not a matter of emotion. It's a matter of struggling for justice for our people

ELAM (voice-over): Protesters recasting the November D.A.'s race calling out front-runner, incumbent Lacy, for what they see as an unwillingness to prosecute police officers for deadly shootings.

ELAM (on camera): How does it feel to hear Black Lives Matter target you?

JACKIE LACEY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: It's surreal, right? I look and I think, oh, they're treating me like "I'm the man." But if they only knew that I'm the girl from the neighborhood. I'm the first African-American woman to hold this job in 150 years, and here I get in here and the most vocal group who wants to take me out is a group known as Black Lives Matter.

ELAM (voice-over): Now in her second term, Lacey is up for re-election in November. A seat she nearly won outright in the primary gaining just shy of 50 percent of the vote. But that vote was before George Floyd's death, before the nation even amid the pandemic turned its attention to the checkered relationship between the law and people of color.

In June, congressman Adam Schiff pulling his support saying in a tweet he feels his endorsement a year ago of the district attorney no longer has the same meaning.

LACEY: I don't know a lot about why he pulled his support, but I do know and I have heard from electives that they're being threatened via e-mails.

ELAM (voice-over): With a list of what they call Jackie Lacey's seven deadly sins, BLM Los Angeles argues Lacey cares more about her law enforcement ties and the old guard establishment than she does about people of color.

Lacey counters that she has led by the law and says only a fraction of police shooting cases brought to her since she took office involved unarmed individuals.

LACEY: You may look at a shooting by an officer and say, oh, they could have shot him in the leg. That's not the test under California law. The test is, was somebody's life endangered?

ELAM (voice-over): The division between Lacey and Black Lives Matter reaching a boiling point in March.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So let's invite her out to the community meeting that she committed to.

ELAM (voice-over): -- when protesters showed up at Lacey's home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off of my porch. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to shoot me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will shoot you. Get off of my porch.

ELAM (voice-over): That's Lacey's husband point a gun at protesters on the front porch of their house. The district attorney did apologize for her husband's actions, but that wasn't enough for Black Lives Matter.

ABDULLAH: I think it also speaks volumes that David Lacey was not charged in that act.

LACEY: I especially don't agree that you ought to be able to come on their property. I think that crosses the line.

ELAM (on camera): For your husband, was that crossing the line for him?

LACEY: I think so. It was just the two of us in there and, you know, it was a scary event.

ELAM (voice-over): Ironically, Lacey's opponent is former LAPD Officer George Gascon who more recently was San Francisco's D.A.

Black Lives Matter doesn't make endorsements but promises to take whoever wins to task.

ABDULLAH: No matter who occupies the office there's going to be a problem with the office itself and so we're going to have to hold accountable whoever occupies the office.

ELAM (on camera): If you were to win your third term, does it look differently than where you are now?

LACEY: My next term will be my last term. I want to continue to use the bully pulpit of the district attorney's office to push for change because I don't want it to end like this, right. That as the first African-American to hold this job and protesters ran around, that doesn't seem like a just ending.

ELAM (voice-over): Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: W. Kamau Bell is taking on injustice and inequality across America as part of an all new season of "United Shades of America" which premieres next Sunday at 10:00 right here on CNN.

Thanks for staying with me. You are live in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. The coronavirus is winning. Tonight, people are dying. And instead of a plan, what is the administration doing? They are raising questions about their top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. A man who has served six presidents.

One senior administration official tell CNN that some officials within the White House do not trust Dr. Fauci. According to this source, those officials think Dr. Fauci is more out for himself and ignores the best interests of the president when he openly disagrees with President Trump.

[17:00:00]

To be clear, Dr. Fauci has openly disagreed with the president to inform Americans what the science actually says.