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Two Schools Decide Online-Only for Fall; Heat Grips Southern U.S.; Trump Boasts About Pardoning Loyalists; Coronavirus Update from Around the World; Carlson Addresses Racist Posts. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 14, 2020 - 08:30   ET



CINDY MARTEN, SUPERINTENDENT, SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT: We've got to make smart plans and we have to keep our community safe.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And correct me if I'm wrong, but as recently as late last week, San Diego, the official -- the educators in San Diego, the officials, you yourself, were planning on a five day a week in-person plan. And so what changed over the weekend?

MARTEN: You know, we -- those are still our plans. The first day of school in San Diego is August 31st. And we made this announcement yesterday with Los Angeles Unified, the two largest districts in California, because it's in line with our belief system around keeping our community safe and things are changing. That's infection rates are sky rocketing in California. Just yesterday our governor did announce what's happening in California for indoor gatherings. Schools, by nature, are indoor gatherings.

And, yes, you're right, our plans are to open with five days a week in-person learning. And we have to do two things at the same time. We have to plan for the in-person return to school that we all want. We all know how important that is for our students and our families. And we're putting the measures in place. Just this weekend we authorized $11 million in spending for the personal protective equipment that's needed for the in-person return to school, because that's going to happen. That needs to happen for our children.

But the current state in California and the current state that we have right now, we're learning from other countries. The countries that managed to safely reopen schools, they have done so with declining infection rates, not rising infection rates.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean --

MARTEN: And they (INAUDIBLE) on-demand testing available. California has neither of those.

CAMEROTA: Do you worry -- I mean I hear you that this is how it has to be right now, but do you, as an educator, worry that some kids, it just won't work for. Online learning doesn't work for every kid. And some kids are falling through the cracks. MARTEN: So, let's talk about that because that's -- that's core of who I am as a lifelong educator and my service to students and why public education exists.

When we made the decision four months ago, on March 13th, the very difficult decision to close our schools, and we did that because there were big announcements to do that, there was not an order to do that, two things were critical, how do we provide for continuity of learning for our students because education and learning matters, and how do we provide for continuity of food and nutrition services for our most vulnerable students who rely on schools for their nutrition and for their education.

So right after closing, we immediately put up ten days' worth of instruction that we could send our kids home, to get to learning for those first 10 days, and then we put our plans in place in San Diego Unified School District to distribute over 53,000 Chromebook computers, to close the digital divide, making sure our students, even homeless youth in shelters, had Internet access so they could continue their learning. We had 16,000 hours of professional development for our teachers and very quickly pivot to change to teach in an online environment. And to date we've served 3 million meals to our students.

Our food service is continuing through the summer with breakfast and lunch programs. We moved into supper and weekend programs even to make sure that nutrition would continue. So that continuity of learning is at the core of every decision that I make. And when I make a decision, we think about our students with disabilities, our English learners, and how to support our teachers and entire staff to be able to meet our students.

We are changing how we deliver instruction, but what we do does not change. Our core mission and what public education exists for is still crystal clear and needed now more than ever. As superintendents, we must design ways to reach our students and we're going to start that with an online environment and many lessons learned from the spring to be able to improve upon what we learned in the spring online environment. And as we launch our online learn on August 31st, we'll put those lessons in place and move to in-person instruction as soon as it's safe to do so. The plans are underway for that to happen.

CAMEROTA: Superintendent of San Diego United School District, Cindy Marten, we know there will be challenging days ahead. Thank you for outlining it for us.

MARTEN: Thank you so much.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, a heat wave will grip millions of Americans across a dozen states in the southern U.S. with triple digit temperatures.

CNN's meteorologist Chad Myers with the forecast.

Chad. CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: John, when they put out excessive heat warnings in places that are already supposed to be hot, you know that we're going to be pushing some records here. Forty million people under some type of watch, warning or advisory today.

This weather is brought to you by the Shark VacMop, a complete all in one disposable pad.

So the heat is on. It's going to be on for the next I would say seven to ten days. It's not going anywhere. We are going to see very hot weather all the way through the middle part of the week next week.


This is the same weather that was over Phoenix really a couple of days ago. 101 in Dallas for today and it will certainly feel warmer when you add in any humidity here and there certainly will be. That humidity will mix in with a front. That front will cause the potential for some severe weather. Certainly there will be some hail, some wind damage, maybe even a tornado or two. This is what the radar is going to look like here, all the way through about 11:00 tonight. We will see big, big storms there.

If you're flying today, keep your seatbelt on through the Midwest because it will be a bumpy ride. Planes can't fly over a 55,000 foot tall thunderstorm. They're going to have to go around it. And although New York City, you're really in a good place, in the 70s and the low 80s. The rest of the country certainly still warmer -- warmer than we should be by about ten degrees.


BERMAN: We blame you, Chad. Thank you very much, nevertheless.

MYERS: Yes, yes, I know. That's OK.

BERMAN: Appreciate it.

So the president, overnight, once again claiming he is about law and order. Well, that's unless you happen to be a close friend of his or have worked for the campaign in the past. Then, you could be a convicted felon and walk off scot-free. A must-see "Reality Check," next.



BERMAN: So, President Trump has made it a matter of policy to pardon his close friends and allies. Most recently commuting the sentence of long-time political operative Roger Stone while his long-time fixer, Michael Cohen, heading back to jail.

John Avlon with a "Reality Check."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The Trump orbit has far more than its fair share of felons. Many of them out of prison only after sucking up to the president. Now, there is one notable exception. But first, the tale of the tape.

Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort is a felon. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a felon. Political Adviser Roger Stone is a felon, and just the latest beneficiary of Trump's presidential gift to loyalists, a commutation of his 40-month sentence.

Even though one of his prosecutors testified they'd been pressured to go easy on Stone because of his relationship with Trump. Stone lied to Congress, tampered with witnesses, was the campaign's primary conduit to WikiLeaks and said he hoped to be rewarded for not rolling over on Trump. Not even Nixon rewarded his henchman this way. But sucking up to Trump has proven to be an effective way of getting the president to spring you early. From Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to Eddie Gallagher, the Navy SEAL court-martialed for killing civilians, Governor Rod Blagojevich, to Dinesh D'Souza, who subsequently made a movie comparing Trump to Abraham Lincoln, which is bonkers.

But right now, of all of Trump's felons, only one is still actually in prison. That would be Michael Cohen. And what makes him different? Well, he spoke out against Trump after years of being his ruthless enforcer and now, after a furlough, he's back in prison.

Why? Now, some thing it was this photo of him eating outdoors violating his house arrest. But that's not it. According to Cohen's lawyers, it's to stop him from publishing a tell-all book about Trump before the election. Now, Cohen was suddenly sent back to prison after refusing to sign a document requiring no engagement of any kind with the media, including print, TV, film, and books.

Now, you might think this is normal procedure. But it's not. Not by a long shot. In fact, a long list of constitutional scholars were interviewed by the website Just Security and they described it as patently unconstitutional and an obvious violation of Cohen's First Amendment rights.

Now, Cohen eventually said he'd sign, but it was apparently too late. He was not only shipped back to prison, but put into solitary confinement, officially over Covid concerns.

This is a clear attempt to suppress speech about the president, says Professor Jane Kirtley. A violation of the right of the public to learn what he has to say, much like the Trump family trying to stop the publication of his niece, Mary Trump's book, and John Bolton's book.

This is what authoritarian regimes do, stop the free speech of dissidents or people the ruler deems disloyal. In the case of Cohen, it's being pressed through the Bureau of Prisons, which reports to AG Bill Barr, who will only say that Cohen declined to agree to the terms of home confinement.

Look, Michael Cohen made a lot of mistakes and he's owned up to many of them, but this is bigger than Michael Cohen. It's bigger than partisan politics. If you claim to be a constitutional conservative, then you ought to be outraged about the muzzling of Michael Cohen because this is an assault on the First Amendment, freedom of speech. And if you accept, ignore or normalize it, then you're reinforcing a culture of fear in the name of partisan loyalty, a culture that frees felons as long as they protect and defend the president.

And that's your "Reality Check."

CAMEROTA: Thanks to John Avlon there.

Masks are about to be mandatory in the U.K. and France celebrates heroes of the pandemic on Bastille Day.

CNN reporters cover the developments around the world.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm David Culver in China, where the World Health Organization has two experts that have just arrived here and will be taking part in a source tracing study. Essentially they're considering this to be a listening and learning tour. However, they may not be doing much touring around China. In fact, they're currently in quarantine according to the WHO and they're likely to just be meeting with several different agencies to better understand the origins of this virus, which, as we know, has become increasingly politicized.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Anna Stewart in England, where in just ten days' time it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in shops, as well as on public transport. England follows in the footsteps of many other countries, including its own neighbor, Scotland, in this rule. It's a total about turn for the British government.


Early on in the crisis, in March, one of its chief medical advisers had said that actually wearing face coverings could help spread the virus by encouraging people to touch their face. Tick (ph) up on wearing face masks and coverings has been low in England compared to other countries, but a new police fine of up to $125 may encourage more to wear them, at least in shops.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN I ANCHOR: I'm Cyril Vanier in Paris, and that is the (INAUDIBLE), the highlight of the Bastille Day military ceremony. This flyover is dedicated to health care workers. The entire ceremony has been a tribute to those who fought the virus. The military medical personnel who set up a field hospital, the military aircraft who air lifted patients and medical personnel civilians, doctors and nurses are, of course, the guests of honor of the president this year, as are neighboring countries who took in French patients when French hospitals were nearly overwhelmed. And even cashiers, teachers and other workers who helped the country stay afloat during weeks of confinement are being celebrated today.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN: Some sad news this morning. Authorities in southern California have located the body of "Glee" actress Naya Rivera. The discovery in a lake where she vanished during a boating trip with her son last week. Rivera's body was found after a six-day search in Lake Piru. Police say Rivera likely saved her four-year-old son's life before she drowned.


SHERIFF WILLIAM AYUB, VENTURA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: The idea perhaps being that the boat started drifting. It was unanchored. And that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself.


BERMAN: Authorities say there was no indication of foul play or that this was a suicide. Monday also marked the seventh anniversary of the death of another "Glee" co-star, Cory Monty.

So, a firestorm involving one of the top personalities on Fox. Really a non-apology from Tucker Carlson following his now former writers' racist posts. That's next.



CAMEROTA: Fox host Tucker Carlson addressing the resignation of his head writer who used a pseudonym for years to write vile, racist and misogynistic posts online.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX HOST: What Blake wrote anonymously was wrong. We don't endorse those words. They have no connection to the show. It is wrong to attack people for qualities they cannot control.

We should also point out to the ghouls now beating their chests in triumph for the destruction of a young man, that self-righteousness also has its costs. We are all human. When we pretend we are holy, we are lying.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is CNN's senior media reporter Oliver Darcy, who broke this story that led to that writer resigning.

Oliver, great reporting. I mean you just did a super deep dive and you had to read all of this. I mean it's so vile it turns your stomach the stuff that this guy wrote for years. And it really shows a deep depravity. Something was deeply wrong with this guy. This wasn't your just garden variety, vile racism. This is misogynistic, racist stuff. It's so vile.

And, you know, the Fox bosses have said they didn't know anything about it and the second they did they took his resignation. Did Tucker, last night, address whether he was aware of what this guy was doing?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Well, I -- Tucker Carlson says he's not aware of what this writer on his show -- his top writer was doing secretly online. But a couple of things were missing from the way he addressed this last night. And you played that clip. The most notable thing, of course, missing was an actual apology to his audience that his show, his monologues, have been written in part by someone who has been expressing theses racist attitudes online.

But a couple other things missing as well. He never explained to the audience, for instance, exactly what the posts were that got this kid in trouble. He didn't explain that they were racist. He never -- he never gave him any insight into why this person was ashamed and resigned from their post.

And he also was a little misleading. He says in his apology or non- apology that there was no connection between what this person was writing online and what was on his show. And as you know, in our story we laid out actually a few connections. You know, this writer had snuck in an Easter egg once into Tucker Carlson's script to -- to show off to this board (ph) online and there was some overlap between what he saw on this forum and what ended up in Tucker Carlson's scripts. So the idea that there was no connection here just, you know, is misleading at best.

BERMAN: What he said last night was a sham, Oliver. That was a sham. That's not an apology at all. At all.

What the hell does he mean you shouldn't attack people for qualities they can't control? Tucker Carlson can't make himself say racist, right?

DARCY: Right.

BERMAN: Say the word. Racist. What this guy did was racist and misogynistic. Attack people for qualities they can't control? You know, that sounds coded to me.

DARCY: It seems --

BERMAN: What does that mean? You know, I -- I can't control being white or black or Jewish or Gentile? What the hell does that mean? I can't believe -- actually I can believe that Tucker went on and did this last night. And then to set up being holy as the opposite of being racist. Like, Oliver, it's your fault, it's your fault for doing this reporting on this guy who wrote stuff for Tucker.

DARCY: It seemed that he was more angry actually at the reporting than he was at his writer's racist conduct. And, you know, there's -- it should be pointed out, the outside -- the, you know, the way he expressed himself, this person, on the forum, the general ideas behind these what he was writing are often expressed on Tucker Carlson's show.


You know, he's called -- he said immigrants make this country dirtier. He's called the idea of white supremacy a hoax. You know, these are ideas that Tucker Carlson has said on his actual Fox News show.

So while, you know, the -- the writer might have been more explicit online, secretly writing on this forum, there is some general overlap between what he was writing and what Tucker Carlson has said on his Fox News show.

CAMEROTA: I mean and people should all read your reporting because you just spell it out, how the vile content from what he was writing on these posts did bleed into Tucker's show and Tucker's monologue. And you just connect the dots right there for everybody. And if they can stomach it, they should read the -- you know, all the depraved posts.

Oliver Darcy, thanks for your reporting.

BERMAN: It was terrific reporting.

DARCY: Thank you.

BERMAN: There's a lot of new in the pandemic with news cases and news reasons for concern out of Florida. Our coverage continues after this.