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As Pandemic Worsens, Trump Says "We've Done A Great Job"; U.S. Sees Record Number Of New Coronavirus Cases; Interview With Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist (D); Biden's Economic Playbook; Supreme Court Wraps Up A Term Like No Other. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired July 12, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST (voice-over): The pandemic hits the president --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have dramatically reduced mortality rates, done a great job --
MATTINGLY: -- against reality.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in free fall, with no end in sight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're stretched so thin. We're at the point of compromising patient safety.
MATTINGLY: Plus, keeping students safe, now the latest flashpoint.
TRUMP: Open our schools. Stop this nonsense.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're talking about putting children, their families and their teachers at risk.
MATTINGLY: The economic pitch Joe Biden hopes will unify his party.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump has been singularly focused on the stock market. I'll be laser-focused on working families.
MATTINGLY: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Phil Mattingly. John King is off today.
A crisis situation this morning in states all across the South and West. The coronavirus is burning through that part of the country, infecting tens of thousands of people every day. The death count here in the United States stands at nearly 135,000 as of this morning. The CDC says we could bury 25,000 more of our fellow Americans by the end of the month.
Here's the math: 33 states seeing their daily case counts up from a week ago. The number of cases serious enough to require hospitalizations has nearly doubled in just the past three weeks. States like Arizona, Texas, and Florida, are running low on hospital beds and yet here is the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're on track to produce a vaccine in record time and very, very soon. It is going to be announced I believe very, very soon. We have among the lowest mortality rate anywhere in the world. Done a great job. Whether it is ventilators or anything you want to look at, testing, we test so many people, we have more cases, everybody says we have so many cases, that's because we test so many people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: That's not true. The case count is rising because the virus is spreading. And the daily death toll now is starting to rise as well. Republican governors in the hardest states are not afraid to correct the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: I think the numbers are going to look worse as we go into next week and we need to make sure there is going to be plenty of hospital beds available in the Houston area.
GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R), ARIZONA: I think Arizona's time of maximum challenge is right now.
GOV. TATE REEVES (R), MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi is in a fight for our lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: The American people are weighing in as well. Poll out last week showed two-thirds of Americans disapproved of the president's handling of the pandemic.
Joining me now with their insight and analysis, Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast", Perry Bacon of FiveThirtyEight, and Catherine Lucy of "The Wall Street Journal."
And, guys, I want to start, we're all paying attention to masks, we're paying attention to hot spots, let me take out the wall and take a look at a couple of states in particular. Take a look at Florida.
Where you see the dark red in these counties, these are areas where at least 1 percent of the residents in the counties have tested positive. You got Florida, you got Arizona, move up to Georgia, even North Carolina you're starting to see a bump as well.
What is important about all of these states besides the fact there say significant increase in positive tests? They're also all battleground states.
And, I guess, Catherine, I start with you. You obviously talk to the White House pretty regularly in close contact with them. There was a sense a couple of weeks ago that you just need to live with it, right? You just got to push through this.
Have we missed that moment? Is there in other option now for the White House but to try and address this head on?
CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes, certainly, the White House a few weeks ago and throughout this has been look for where they can turn away from the virus, declare there is progress made, focus on economic reopening, they see trying to get economy back on track as the biggest argument for re-election and spikes have imperiled this.
The president was in Florida on Friday. So, he's trying to figure out ways to get into some of the states, talk about some of the issues, but they have not -- they have not shifted to the message in terms of a -- sort of a crisis message, he's still trying to argue the U.S. has a handle on this, that the cases are rising, he is as we saw his opening remarks, he's talking about testing as one of the reasons we're seeing more of that, which, of course, it is more complicated than he's saying.
And it creates a real issue for the president right now because he has a limited amount of time between now and election day to make his case. They want to show they're making progress on this.
They want to focus on the economy, one of the things that we start to talk about a lot this week, reopening schools. They see that as another argument, if schools reopen, that they -- the economy will be boosted by that. They also think that there are voters who are looking for that, might be sympathetic to that.
So, we are seeing them struggle with how to message this, with how to deal with these explosions of cases, and politically, it creates a lot of headaches. He also has difficulty getting out into these states. Can't go to a rally in a state with surging cases with restrictions and rules about gatherings.
And so, he is limited in what to do and how he can do it.
MATTINGLY: Yes, it is extremely difficult situation from a campaign logistics perspective, from White House logistics perspective.
I want to get to schools in a minute. But, first, I want to -- Joe Biden said something this week, when you look at the poll numbers, when you look at what's happening around the country, for all the hemming and hawing about what his message should be inside the Democratic Party, and what he should be focused on, it struck me as maybe this is the only message he may need at this point. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: After months of doing nothing other than predicting the virus would disappear or maybe drink bleach and you'll be okay, Trump has simply given up. He's waved the white flag. He's walked away. His failures come with a terrible human cost and deep economic toll.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And, Perry, we're going to dig in on the Biden campaign a little bit later in the show. It is worth noting the president still holds an advantage on economic numbers and just about every poll that is out right now.
Is this the only message that Democrats need or do they need to expand a little bit given what is going on right now?
PERRY BACON, SENIOR WRITER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: Joe Biden is a ten-point lead in the average of the polls, 538 does. I'm not sure I can critique his strategy too much. It seems like whatever -- I would say the message he needs -- I'm not sure he needs a message now.
I think people are watching how the president is handling this crisis, they don't like it, he's cited the poll and I've seen a lot of polls showing his approval rating overall is going down, Trump's ratings on handling the virus are going down really sharply as well. So, I think that people are watching what they're seeing and they don't like it.
I would note it looks like maybe the president is adjusting himself a little bit, I saw him wear a mask yesterday, that was notable to me. He hasn't done that a lot. And I think that's important as we talk about how to deal with the coronavirus a lot of states, and Republican ones now, are trying to get people to wear masks, they're hinting at mandating it, some states are, and one barrier to mask wearing I think is the president seems to be opposed to that until fairly recently.
So, if he's going to wear a mask some, maybe perhaps not vocally oppose mask wearing, I think that it maybes it easier for a Republican governor to mandate masks or push mask wearing if it doesn't seem like Trump is opposed to that.
MATTINGLY: Yes, you're seeing the video now, the president visiting Walter Reed Medical Center last night wearing a mask, bizarre you have to send out a news alert that the president is wearing a mask his administration recommended for months on end, but here we are. Look, it's good, it's what the medical professionals are asking. Perhaps this has a wide ranging effect you see them move heavy on this issue as well.
Jackie, I want to get to the issue of education, because you talk about the politicization of what is going on now, mask wearing, shutdowns, whatever it is, this has become politicized. We're talking about it before the show. This is not a political issue. If you want the economy to reopen if you want things to function in this country, kids have to go back to school for parents to be able -- so I understand the president's perspective on this, very much it needs to reopen, it needs to reopen now, although you have some teachers saying we also need safety.
I guess the question is, how do you decouple this from the politics and actually reach a place, a bipartisan place where the resources are there to reopen schools in the full, given what's going on right now?
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, in normal times, the answer would be listen to the medical professionals and listen to the CDC. But the president found himself at odds with his own CDC's recommendations about the reopening of schools. Last week, and they decided not to change them and, you know, keep on with what they were messaging to schools.
You know, the president has fixated on this because they the campaign has polling that this plays well with the suburban women that are leaving the Trump campaign or leaving -- supporting Trump in droves. However, I don't know how you square that with threatening to pull federal funding from schools that don't comply with the president saying everything needs to reopen.
Balancing safety and kids going back is, you know, the most important thing, I think, to suburban moms and parents. Also noted the president doesn't really have the authority to do that, we should say that, but I think without Congress.
But, so, his push to have this done quickly is at odds with pretty much everyone else, governors, scientists saying that we need to do this in steps to make sure everyone is safe.
MATTINGLY: Yes, it is complicated. It is hard. That means people need to get together and trying figure this out, which seems to be something we're incapable of at times in this country.
Catherine, I want to close with this, and it's amazing that we're closing a block, as opposed to leading a block, but the president granting clemency to one of his top allies and friends for a long period o time. You wrote about this.
I was struck with something the folks over at "Lawfare" put together. They basically put together a calculation. Thirty-one of 36 pardons and commutations for the president have had personal connections, whether you saw it on Fox News, whether with his supporters, whether it was a donor, whether a person happened to know Kim Kardashian West -- I guess when it happened, it is, like, here, we knew this was coming and then you think about it like, man, this is wild, right?
Like if any other president fill in the blank, what was your sense of this whole thing as it played out?
LUCEY: Certainly, the president has focused his clemency acts on people with personal connections in some way or personal appeal made to them. This one is notable because it is not just that Roger Stone was a personal friend and adviser, but he was directly connected to an investigation of the president's campaign. It was directly connected to the president.
While I don't think it was a huge surprise to a lot of people this was coming, the president had been signaling it in ways, Stone was signaling it, it still is the politics of the moment are intentionally very damaging for the president, because obviously this raises questions again about his power, is he undermining law, Democrats down on this very hard, and some Republicans did over the weekend.
And it comes as he is down in the polls, he's struggling to move his campaign, trying to land on a message that targets Joe Biden, brings back some of the voters that have really moved away between (AUDIO GAP) and racial climate and so it is a really tough moment for the president and (INAUDIBLE).
MATTINGLY: Yes, it's -- I don't know what the upside is other than rewarding loyalty and also calling Senator Pat Toomey, one of the two republicans who spoke out against Senator RINO, seems to underscore not knowing a lot of the history of Pat Toomey and his position inside the Republican Party and conservatives.
All right. We're going to get back to you guys in a little bit.
Up next, with the state running low on hospital beds, Arizona's COVID crisis may be the most dire in the country. We'll talk with an ER doctor at ground zero with that outbreak. -
MATTINGLY: Doctors and local officials across the country are scrambling to contain the spread of coronavirus. The U.S. reported more than 60,000 new cases yet again yesterday. In the past week, at least 22 states saw their highest daily counts since the pandemic began.
Arizona is seeing the most cases per capita in the country. Its daily case count skyrocketed nearly 900 percent. Hospitalizations, those have jumped nearly 380 percent. That increase is stretching the state's hospital systems to its limit. 90 percent of Arizona's ICU beds are in use, leaving fewer than 200 available in the state. Message from local leadership is clear. Arizona needs help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KATE GALLEGO (D), PHOENIX: Our medical professionals are already feeling exhausted, asking for reinforcements and they tell me the worst is yet to come.
Phoenix is literally the per capita hot spot, we need our federal government to partner with us, our medical professionals don't have the resources they need and so they are being asked to make difficult decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Dr. Murtaza Akhter joins us live. He's an emergency physician in Phoenix. And also, joining us, Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency room physician with Brown University in Rhode Island.
And, Dr. Akhter, I want to start with you, you're on the ground in Arizona, in a large hospital system, tell me what you're seeing right now at this moment as you go to work every day.
DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN IN PHOENIX: Yes, thanks for having us. You know, it almost feels like the new normal, which is not a good new normal to have. I've been saying for a couple of weeks now that our positivity rate, the amount of tests that come back positive is to high, so hard to get a negative test, that was a harbinger of bad things to come.
And I just was hoping it was anecdotal. You know, as researcher, as well as a physician, I don't want to use one person's or one hospital's data to speak for the state, but, boy, the state's data caught up, almost -- we're the highest positivity rate in the whole country. We have the most cases per capita in the country by far and in the world, as was just mentioned. And we're getting lots of patients coming to the emergency department and running out of beds already.
And, remember, the sickest people don't get sick until a week or two after they get diagnosed with coronavirus. That's why we're concerned, if it's already bad, what is it going to look like in a week or two, that's just really concerning to us.
MATINGLY: Yes. On that point, I want to play something the president said and ask you, you're on the ground kind of -- what you're seeing, take a listen to what the president said about cases and the actual ability to get better.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: They talk about cases, all the time, cases. And those cases get better, and they -- in most cases and almost -- literally in most cases, they automatically cure. They automatically get better.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Look, I get, there is asymptomatic cases, you can't necessarily be sure what the president is trying to go for, what he's referencing there. But can you tell me, when you see patients in the emergency room, this process, you talk about weeks before it really starts to bite to some degree, what is the process of going through the coronavirus if you have to be admitted to the emergency room?
AKHTER: You know, it is funny, seems like there is a large chunk of the country that literally doesn't know what literally means. People who get coronavirus can get very, very sick very quickly. But the real concern is, OK, so yes, there is some younger people are getting sick now.
For one, we have been taking care of young sick patients for a long, long time. We have seen them come in very sick. On top of that, it can spread very easily to the elderly.
Listen, we're not hermits. We live in a society, so young people spread to other young people, they spread it to elderly, they spread to the immuno-compromised and those patients develop a cough, fever, shortness of breath, when we see them initially, that's what they look like. But the sickest patients I see are the ones who knew they had COVID, five days ago, tens as ago, they're struggling to breathe, they're hypoxic.
I mean, to say that it literally gets better, when we're having to intubate patients like this just yesterday, who was gurgling and couldn't talk to me, I mean, these are scary, scary things to be happening. I don't know why we decided for a significant chunk of America gets sick and dies, they're that they're getting better, it is a preposterous thought.
MATTINGLY: Dr. Ranney, I want to ask -- we talked about this last week, I want to ask again, because it feels like it's gotten progressively worse over the course of the week, and that's the availability of PPE, the availability of supplies, things the country is suppose to be building kind of a mass reservoir of -- over the course of the last three months.
You know a lot about this. Where is the country right now on the availability of actually having the equipment to deal with what is happening right now?
DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, LIFESPAN/BROWN UNIVERSITY: Phil, in these hot spots across the country, folks are literally running out. And for those of us that had been working on and talking about this pandemic since the beginning, particularly those of us in New England, it is just heartrending to see our colleagues in Arizona and Texas and Florida in the same situation that we were in, in March and April.
They're running out of masks, gowns and gloves, they are running out of beds, they are running out of other essential equipment and critically important medications that are used to sedate and take way from the pain from those patients, this is all so predictable, we should have been prepared for it back in April, fine, we missed the boat there. We should have been building up stocks to be ready for it now and even more so to be ready for what is inevitably going to come in the fall. It is heart rending to see ourselves in this situation again.
MATTINGLY: And, Dr. Ranney, I want to pick up on something I was talking about with Dr. Akhter, which is the long-term effect. I'm going to play some sound of a COVID survivor talking about the long- term effect of the disease. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHELSEA ALIONAR, CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: Lose of hearing and difficulty breathing, COVID brain where I really -- I can't recall. Short-term memory is gone, general feeling throughout my body like I just drank an espresso, rapid heart rate. Insomnia is another symptom that I have.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTINGLY: I guess one of the big questions is what do we know about what happens weeks and months after you have survived, after you're testing negative, after testing positive. What do we know about what happens to the human body?
RANNEY: So, we still don't know a lot about what happens in the weeks and months after a positive test. We're starting to know the course for those people who do get really, really sick. Remember, the virus is only been around for about six and a half, seven months. So, we're just starting to track people's long-term outcomes.
But there are increasing reports that 30 percent to 50 percent of people who survive COVID-19 have long-term symptoms including neurological dysfunction, brain dysfunction, breathing trouble, and there are some reports that the percent may be even higher than that. This virus is not something to shake your head at, to think it is a hoax. It is serious. And it is serious even if you don't die. It can cause these long-term effects that can change your life forever.
MATTINGLY: Right. Well, people need to be aware of that and pay attention and stay safe.
Dr. Megan Ranney, Dr. Murtaza Akhter, guys, thank you so much. I know you're extremely busy. Stay safe. Stay mentally healthy. Stay physically healthy, we appreciate your time.
All right. Up next, President Trump demanding states start reopening schools or else. Some teachers say they still don't feel safe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRACY MERLIN, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER: When I started teaching, we were worried about kids passing notes in school, we were worried about kids chewing gum. Now we're dealing with pandemics walking into our classroom and shooters.
This is a very harsh reality for teachers across the country. And unfortunately without the leadership that is needed, we're not getting the money, we're not getting the specifics, and there is no guarantee that we're going to be safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Michigan was one of the hardest hit states in the first stage of the COVID crisis, but it managed to flatten its curve, only after the deaths of more than 6,000 people.
Now, though, a recent spike in cases shows the virus is far from done with the Great Lakes state. You can see on this chart that the seven- day moving average of new cases appears to be headed in the wrong direction, even as cases continue to mount, hospitalizations rates, though, are holding steady, for now. Joining us now, the lieutenant governor of Michigan, Garlin Gilchrist.
Mr. Lieutenant Governor, thank you very much for you time. And I want to start with that because we have seen this kind of spin in the wrong direction for states that appeared to have things under control initially. What's your sense? How concerned are you right now in the direction of the data that you've seen trending?
LT. GOV. GARLIN GILCHRIST (D), MICHIGAN: Well, first of all, thank you for having me here with you this morning and for your viewers.
We do have some concerns about what we're seeing in the state of Michigan right now. We're proud that the people of Michigan stepped up in the beginning and really did what they needed to do to be able to slow the growth of our curve, that we were able to help our hospital systems get out ahead of the virus.
And that was a good thing. And it enabled us to be able to reengage some activities very carefully. But as these cases tick up, we're concerned about what we have been seeing. You know, we have been seeing these individual events that have led to the spread happening in preventable ways.
We saw a bar in east Lansing, Michigan that led to hundreds of people getting cases. We saw a Little League coach go and coach a team in another state and then come back and, you know, infect people with the virus. And so people really need to be careful and vigilant and remain so the way they were in the beginning.
So because of that, you know, we need to continue to take action to make sure that our healthcare system can handle the spike. We've seen what this looks like in other states. You know, they may not have handled it as well as we did in the beginning and now they're seeing thousands of cases a day. We're at 600 and we want to slow that as quickly and as effectively as possible.
MATTINGLY: Lieutenant Governor, I want to play some sound from Dr. Fauci and get your kind of response to things on the other side. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It is not for me to say because each state is different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Now, Dr. Fauci was not specifying any state and I don't he would group Michigan in with some of the states that we're looking at in the south and the west. But do you guys have metrics? Do you know at what point when you're looking at numbers or hospitalizations or death counts you say ok, we've got to go backwards and fast, based on whatever our reopening process was? GILCHRIST: Well, we've been transparent in terms of what our numbers
are and what the trends are. I mean we have a whole road map that's been listed on our state Web site and we've been communicating about it from the beginning. We have always said that as the data and the facts and the evidence show that our numbers are improving, we'll re- engage activities. But if they go in the wrong direction, we may have to take a step back.
And that's exactly what's been happening now. We have seen these large gatherings and people congregating and so we took a step back on indoor dining. We have taken a step up in mandating that people are wearing masks when they leave their homes and they go to public indoor places of accommodation.
So we're always going to make sure our policy is responsive to the reality because our job as policymakers is to protect public health and to protect public safety here for the people of Michigan. That's what we're always going to do: put people first, put our kids first, pout our schools first ahead of any other considerations.
MATTINGLY: I want to get to that last point about putting kids first. Schools has become obviously a very politically charged issue over the course of the last couple of weeks. What I want to know I think from state officials is what do you need to be able to reopen schools in the fall? You know, do you need money? Do you need -- as Congress is about to address another stimulus package, what does the state of Michigan need to allow teachers and students to safely come back into the classrooms?
GILCHRIST: First of all, the politization of schools during the coronavirus really disgusts me. I mean as a parent of twin six-year- olds who will be entering the second grade in the fall, I want my kids to be safe and I want every child in the state of Michigan and frankly the country to be safe.
In order to make that happen, we need people to do their part individually. That means wearing their masks, that means practicing social distancing, that means limiting the trips outside the home. And we need the federal government to step up with the resources to enable our schools to start.
I mean the truth is the Department of Education at the federal level has been an abysmal failure in terms of masking those resources available instead of putting out this blanket mandate for schools to start, you know.
We have allocated resources about $256 million here at the state level but we're going to need a lot more because our education professionals deserve to be safe when they go into schools to educate our children. Our children deserve to know that the adults in their lives are thinking about their safety, to make sure that everyone can actually get back to learning.
Distance learning is hard. We don't know if we can to try to get kids Internet access but we need help on that as well to make sure that every kid can learn and we can deal with the learning losses (ph) and experience this year.
MATTINGLY: Yes, obviously something extremely important in the weeks ahead.
I want to get to something that you were working on a task force and a new executive order, talking about training for implicit bias. I want to kind of big picture that for a minute, pull up a chart of deaths by race in the state of Michigan. You see 40 percent of the deaths are black, African-American which only make up 14 percent of the state's population.
MATTINGLY: And I think my bigger question is not so micro on this, but what is the long-term effect in the black community, with the effects of this virus so disproportionate on it, amidst everything else that's going on right now? What is your view on how this is going to affect thing in the future longer term for black Americans or black Michiganders?
GILCHRIST: This has shown a light on the fact that there have been racial health disparities in our communities across the state and across the country for generations. And they need to be addressed. Our administration tried to start doing that before COVID.
But once we started collecting the data in the very beginning about how this was impacting different people of different races and ethnicities, we knew we had to act at the states. That's why we created this task force that's made up of professionals who run the gamut of educational professionals, medical professionals, infectious diseases experts, labor leaders, et cetera.
And we're working to reduce the increased risk of infection and exposure that comes by being a person of color, that comes by living in poverty, that comes because you're relying on public transportation, that comes because you need to get tested and unfortunately implicit medical bias may have played a role in people not being able to get tested because of our lack of a failure of a national strategy in the beginning to have enough tests.
So we had families like the (INAUDIBLE) family in Detroit, the Bradley family in Grand Rapids who went to hospitals begging for tests they couldn't get in the beginning.
We worked to increase that capacity and we're making sure now that going forward, we're investing in the things that actually lead to better health outcomes because unfortunately if you get COVID I think as your last segment showed, there can be long-term negative health impacts and people having, you know, compromised respiratory for example in Michigan is really dangerous in places like southwest Detroit where we already have a high presence of respiratory disease, infections due to air pollution.
And so we need to invest in those kinds of things because we're seeing that our people are more vulnerable and we need to make sure that our policies are more responsive to people who are more vulnerable because that will ultimately make our overall public health response stronger.
MATTINGLY: Yes. So many different things to focus on, so many different story lines for something that this scale of a crisis but the disproportionate effect on minority communities is something that just simply cannot be ignored.
Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, thank you so much for your time, for your perspective. We really appreciate it.
GILCHRIST: Thank you. Stay safe, everyone.
MATTINGLY: Up next, voters still say they prefer President Trump over the Democrats on the economy. Joe Biden thinks he has a plan to change that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Big businesses, the wealthy, Trump's cronies and pals -- they have been the big winners.
If I'm fortunate enough to be elected president, I'll be laser-focused on working families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Joe Biden is hoping that's an economic message voters will like enough to send President Trump packing and appears he can count on at least one thing Hillary Clinton couldn't, full party unity.
Last week his campaign released 110-page list of policy proposals from a quote, "unity committee" that included supporters of his mor liberal primary rivals. The report includes ideas like a $15-an-hour minimum wage, 12 weeks of paid family leave, investments in clean energy, a promise to eliminate power plant pollution, healthcare public option and lower Medicare eligibility age. And universal pre-k and college tuition assistance.
However, what's not mentioned: liberal priorities like a Green New Deal, Medicare for all, free college for everyone or marijuana legalization. Still, Bernie Sanders says it is good enough for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: People are represented. The progressive movement had a different perspective on things than with Biden's people. And I think the compromise that they came up with, if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Our panel of great political reporters is back with us. Senator Sanders has a point. This is in terms of actual policies, you look where it actually sits, it is far more progressive than any major candidate Democrats have had certainly in recent history.
Perry, I want to start with you. We spent I feel like a large part of the primary with the Dems in disarray, and when's everybody going to get -- you have the Dems in disarray every single primary, I think.
But I guess the question becomes now does any of it matter anymore because President Trump is in the Oval Office?
PERRY BACON, SENIOR WRITER, FIVETHIRTY EIGHT: I think it does mainly -- if Biden, you know, is ahead by ten points. So I think it is worth thinking about there is a world in which Biden might be president. I think it's a world we have a really strong chance of seeing.
So in that sense, you know, this (INAUDIBLE) pattern happens is you run the primary, you run to the left and then -- or you run to the left, you run to the right, depending on which primary you're in. You run to the extremes, then in the general election you move to the center.
What Biden has done has been interesting is in that he has -- he won the primary in the center and in some ways he's moved left. And that's because the left wing of the party is strong enough to have pushed him there. The Bernie wing, the Warren wing.
And also because I think in some ways reality has looked -- Biden has been is saying this, you know, the coronavirus has exposed these deep inequalities in our culture that we had. And Biden has been saying look, on some issues I'm moving left because I think the problems are deeper than I realized.
So this unusual thing we're seeing where the nominee has moved in a more sort of political extreme direction, and I think that is a sign that the Bernie people have succeeded in the primary process or in the electoral process, next year when -- if there is governing happening, that's a much harder thing because then you have to work with the Senate, the House, the President, and the public.
MATTINGLY: Yes. One step at a time, Perry. One step at a time.
Jackie, Perry makes an interesting point because they're moving left more or less on the policy side of things and yet, you know, J-Mart over at "The New York Times", a good friend of the show Jonathan Martin has this piece where states around the country that are traditionally not Democratic battlegrounds are pleading with the Biden campaign to come in and play. Whether it's Texas, whether it's obviously we've seen Georgia and Arizona. Sherrod Brown is pushing to really refocus on Ohio.
MATTINGLY: I feel like I've watched this movie to some degree. I was on the plane with Secretary of State Clinton when they decided they're going to go big on Arizona in the last two weeks of the campaign. They ended up losing by 3.5 points.
Are they getting greedy right now or are there real opportunities in different places in the map?
KUCINICH: So I think the Democratic Party, you know, by and large, the scars of 2016 are quite deep. And that's what you're hearing -- and you can't discount that. I mean remember in the run-up even to the 2018 midterms, Democrats saying, yes, it looks good. But everything could still go wrong.
That is -- winning first is driving the Biden campaign, making sure those states, the -- you know, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin -- making sure those are locked down. And when you -- when you are already hearing from members of Congress in Michigan -- Elissa Slotkin, Debbie Dingell -- saying Michigan isn't.
They're not -- so there is no making sure that those states are put to bed before you expand the map is the more prudent step that you're hearing from the Biden campaign. But of course you're going to get these pressures from places like Texas, like Georgia.
And you know, Biden's campaign manager worked for Beto O'Rourke. She knows Texas. There is -- I'm sure at some point they're going to be looking at that. But there is a difference between a reached goal (ph) per se and something that you know that you might actually be able to land.
MATTINGLY: Yes. A reached goal (ph) I would say that Jackie would I think agree with me that as Ohioans we believe that you should focus the campaign on Ohio so we can just hang out at Columbus more often, especially if there is football in the fall. Please let there be football in the fall.
KUCINICH: A girl can dream.
MATTINGLY: Guys -- we're short on time. Catherine, Perry, Jackie -- thank you as always for hanging out, even remotely. We really appreciate it.
Up next, how John Roberts navigated the most complicated and impactful Supreme Court term in recent memory.
MATTINGLY: The Supreme Court wrapped up its historic term last week with two blockbuster decisions regarding the President's efforts to keep his financial records hidden.
In the pair of 7-2 rulings, the justices temporarily blocked House Democrats from accessing Trump's records. But also reaffirmed that he is not immune from a subpoena by New York prosecutors.
Writing for the majority in that case, Chief Justice John Roberts said, "200 years ago a great jurist of our court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding. We reaffirm that principle today."
Now the President, as he often does, took to Twitter to rail against the decisions complaining that, quote, "Courts in the past have given broad deference, but not me."
All right. CNN Legal and Supreme Court Analyst, our SCOTUS ace herself, Joan Biskupic joins me now. She quite literally wrote the book on the Roberts court entitled "The Chief".
And Joan, I want to start with those two decisions about the financial records because I think a lot of us saw the initial headlines and assumed one thing. But there's a lot of nuance here.
What's your read on what these decisions actually mean?
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL AND SUPREME COURT ANALYST: You're right, Phil. There are two things going on here.
First of all the Chief Justice laid down some very broad principles about the power of the President and the subpoena power of the House and of districts attorney and said the extreme position that the Trump administration had taken here and that Donald Trump's personal lawyers have taken that he would be absolutely immune from any kind of criminal proceeding while he was a sitting president, that's just wrong, absolutely wrong.
But, at the same time, the Supreme Court gave Donald Trump more avenues to pursue, both in the House and in the Manhattan grand jury situation. So he's bought some time here to make some other claims and to, frankly, Phil, keep all those documents secret until after the election, if they even come out then.
MATTINGLY: Yes. Definitely not -- doesn't seem like we're going to see anything before November.
I want to get to -- often, and this isn't certainly the right way, it's certainly not the way you're supposed to look at the court but everybody seems to think red team, blue team at this point in time.
And Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch in a concurring opinion on the New York tax case wrote, "In our system of government, as this court has often stated, no one is above the law. That principle, of course, applies to a president."
Now, you mentioned the absolute immunity argument that the White House had been making. They haven't backed off that. Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary, saying this past week that they still held to it. Does this essentially kind of drop the anvil on the head of said argument?
BISKUPIC: Yes. Yes. It was an extreme position, a position that no president had taken before. So, it tells you how much the Roberts court is pushing back against the Trump administration, you know, increasingly it's gotten impatient with the sorts of positions that it's taken.
But as I said, there are other things that the Trump lawyers can do here. But it cannot -- they cannot not claim that the President is absolutely immune.
But then the other thing you should know is that even if down the road his tax returns are turned over to the grand jury, that's a secret process. And Chief Justice Roberts took pains to talk about how they shouldn't be released.
And then you also mentioned the fact that Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joined the opinion with a caveat, which is think of what Chief Justice Roberts pulled off here, getting those two Trump appointees to join the judgment with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, our iconic liberal, the notorious RBC who herself has publicly complained about the fact that Trump has kept his tax records secret.
MATTINGLY: Yes. It's a good point. People -- there's an assumption that this was all just going to be released all of a sudden. It's not. There's a process. And in both these cases, there's a process.
But you tee me up perfectly for what I really wanted to ask you about and that's the Roberts court. Obviously, we always pay attention to the last day, but it seemed like over the course of the last month, we've just had a series of huge cases.
And you look at Justice Roberts over the course of this entire term. I think he was in 96 percent of kind of the majority opinions throughout this. You look at listing some of the big cases that he was in on.
What's your read on John Roberts as the person who's written the book on the Roberts court after this term?
BISKUPIC: Well, what's crucial to remember is that even though he has been Chief Justice for 15 years, only since 2018 when Anthony Kennedy retired has he been at the ideological center of this court. Whatever he says, however he votes becomes the law of the land. And we saw that so clearly here, Phil, this term, when he cast the fifth vote to preserve abortion rights and to ensure that a tough Louisiana abortion regulation wasn't revived.
BISKUPIC: We saw him cast the fifth vote with the liberals also to reject the Trump administration's attempt to phase out an Obama-era program that shielded young, undocumented immigrants.
And here he separated himself from the Trump appointees again joining with the four liberals to say as robustly as possible that the President is not above the law and the President isn't even subject to saying that he has to have some sort of -- that the Manhattan D.A. has to meet some sort of heightened standard before the grand jury is able to get materials.
So, the Chief asserted the independence of the Supreme Court in his entirety and asserted his own personal independence inching to the left in some cases.
But the one thing I want to caution everyone about the Chief is that he has not lost his conservative stripes. He still was with the right wing on religion. He still was with them on voting rights this term. Also in terms of the independence of federal agencies, he took the side of the Trump administration to give President Donald Trump more power to fire people.
So, you know, it's not just a single line that he's doing beyond asserting the independence and integrity of this Supreme Court in the face of many Trump challenges, Phil.
MATTINGLY: Yes. Or, as you put it in a really great piece on CNN.com, he gave everyone something to call a win. Quite fascinating watching the roller coaster of conservative advocates, watching Roberts' decisions over the course of the last couple of weeks.
Joan Biskupic, as always, thank you for making us all so much smarter about the Supreme Court.
And that's it for INSIDE POLITICS.
Up next, "STATE OF THE UNION" with Dana Bash. Her guests include Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Thanks again for sharing your Sunday morning with us.