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Trump Demotes Campaign Manager; Journalists View Police Bodycam Video of Floyd's Death; Dangerous Storms Target Central U.S.; Hackers Target Twitter. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 16, 2020 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, a major shake-up in the Trump campaign. Brad Parscale out as campaign manager. Deputy campaign manager Bill Stepien, evaluated now to the top position. Parscale was blamed for overhyping the crowd side at the president's Tulsa rally.

But there's much more going on here, including new polls overnight which show the president way behind Joe Biden.

Joining us now, CNN political analyst Margaret Talev. She's a politics and White House editor at "Axios."

Margaret, let's just throw up those polls so people can see the current state of the race.

An NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll which has the president down 11. Quinnipiac University, the president down 15. Joe Biden over 50 percent in both. You can fire Brad Parscale, but I don't think these margins are all because of Brad Parscale, now, Margaret.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, John, that's right. And that -- and this is in large part what the president is reacting to are these poll numbers he's getting briefed on the state of the campaign and this Quinnipiac number shows him at his lowest point with the biggest gap now so far in this race. That's just not where he wants to be at this point. Almost -- we're closing in on, about a week away now, 100 days out from Election Day.

CAMEROTA: So I guess he has seen those polls. Sometimes he suggests that in the polling he's way up. But I guess this move suggests that all is not well behind the scenes.

TALEV: Yes, Alisyn, there's this constant sort of juggling inside the White House and by the campaign to figure out how much to tell the president, how to dress it up when it comes to this stuff. But, as we all know, he is a prolific morning television watcher. And if you are engaged in consuming media, you cannot help. And this affects the president, too. Turn on the TV, you're going to see these poll numbers. These poll numbers are everywhere and the reality is that the

president, in large part because of his own response to the virus, and in large part because of how the economy has responded to a pandemic, is in a really deteriorated position from where he was only a few months ago. And the momentum is not going his way right now.

BERMAN: It's a great point because oftentimes polls come out and people search, what's driving these numbers? This is just abundantly obvious with 137,000 Americans dead, both polls asked for opinions on the president's handling of the pandemic, which is the overwhelming issue facing so many Americans, and these poll numbers are clearly decisive.

Quinnipiac, the president's at 35 percent approval, 62 percent disapproval. That's nearly two to one disapproval for the pandemic. And in the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, it's 37 percent approve, 59 percent disapprove.

One of the polls asked, is the president hurting more than he's helping? People think the president's actually making it worse, which is an extraordinary thing during a national crisis, Margaret.

TALEV: Yes. And, you know, we're seeing two things. One is that we're beginning to see just individual Americans, including Republican voters, adopt their own rules on mask use and social distancing and restrictions. And the other is that we're seeing corporate America, schools, major institutions just go ahead and move on with decisions that generally are airing on the side of risk aversion rather than waiting to take their cues from the administration.

And when you see the president's political battle with Anthony Fauci, which has really been in the spotlight in the last few days, you know, when you hear Fauci say things like, well, I think I'm doing a pretty good job or I think I have, you know, people's respect, what he's talking about is that the way that people are moving now on their own has been away from the president's kind of stand up to the virus, let's you know, let's show the virus how strong America is, and this shift towards the science and towards the public health officials. And I just think it should be noted, that's not -- it's not like Brad Parscale's policy was, you know, to not wear a mask or to decide to act tough against the virus. These are the president's political instincts about how to respond to the virus and how to keep Americans feeling good about the economy and feeling strong. And it's the president's cues that have backfired politically.


But somebody had to take the hit. And because Parscale has made a lot of money, because he's become a celebrity of sorts who sometimes competes for President Trump's attention, because of the low turnout in that Tulsa rally and just because of these mounting frustrations, the president wants to figure out who's at fault here, who has steered him wrong, and how can he pivot?

And so that's -- these are kind of all the components of how these decisions happen. But at the helm you still have a president who's always made his own political calls based on instinct and kind of off -- you know, off the cuff response. He'll go off script when he wants to, because he's the boss, but it is many of those off script moments that have helped take him to this position.

CAMEROTA: OK. So enter Bill Stepien, seasoned political hand. Worked on John McCain's campaign 2008, was part of Chris Christie's political inner circle.

So what does he bring to the table and what difference will we see? I mean what visibly will change in the president's style or message?

TALEV: Yes, those are two really different questions. The answer to the second question is, probably not that much. But Bill Stepien is a much lower-profile figure. He tends to stay out of the spotlight, out of the limelight. Much lower profile. And because he has been at the White House for the last few years, already has all those pre-existing relationships, including with the president, including with Jared Kushner, because he had already moved over to the campaign, because he already had been evaluated to deputy campaign manager, he's been preparing to step into this role for a few weeks now.

And when you add to that the return of Jason Miller, who did coms for the campaign in 2016, and has never been that far from the White House, although he couldn't go inside for personal reasons. But Jason Miller has been back at the campaign. And so I think you have a fairly seamless transition. Brad Parscale, of course, remains at the campaign doing the digital strategy and Jared Kushner and the president remain at the White House calling the shots.

BERMAN: Yes, Jared Kushner still very much still doing what he was doing and not, apparently, taking any of the blame for the things that went wrong, nor is the president. The important question there, and I think Alisyn was so right to ask it is, what is going to change? You know, maybe the answer is, not a single bean in this case, right? The president put out, so proudly, this picture of himself in the Oval Office at the Resolute Desk with the Goya beans in front of him. This is as 137,000 Americans are dying. And everyone knows why he's doing this. It has to do with the guy who was in charge of Goya saying nice things about him and the president wants to support Goya as other people are boycotting it.

But, again, there are 137,000 Americans dead and the president's smiling with beans. Not sure that's a campaign platform, Margaret.

TALEV: He's operating on his political instinct. And his political instinct says, there's a certain amount of time every day that you have to dedicate to just the raw sport of politics, even when you're governing. And the problem is that, you know, that worked in 2016 when he wasn't yet the president. When you are the president, you have to balance governing. And the pandemic has taken over everyone's attention, everyone's priority.

Look at the news cycle. Look at the business cycles. Look at how we're dealing with sending our children to school or not. Look at what's happening in hospitals right now with ICUs filling up in major cities again and rates increasing in states. So the national priority overwhelmingly and clearly is dealing with the health aspects of the virus first, the economic aspects of the virus second, and everything else third. This is the challenge for the president.

BERMAN: It's a challenge for America, frankly, as this pandemic keeps on getting worse.

Margaret Talev, thank you for being with us this morning. Great to see you.

TALEV: Thank, guys, you too.

BERMAN: Important developments out of Minnesota. Journalists finally got a chance to see the police body camera video of the encounter that left George Floyd dead. Officers kneeling on his neck. Our reporter who watched the video reveals what he saw, next.



CAMEROTA: Minneapolis Police allowing journalists to view the body camera video of the officers involved in the deadly encounter that killed George Floyd.

CNN's Omar Jimenez watched this video. He is live in Minneapolis with more.

So tell us about this, Omar.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, for starters, we were given an hour to go through what was over an hour of footage from the body cameras of former officers Jay Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. And, personally, I can say, watching this video added a lot of emotion to the words that we had already seen come out in the transcripts and gave new insight to the speed with which things escalated.


JIMENEZ (voice over): New body camera video, shown to CNN but not shared with the general public, is providing critical, new context into the moments leading up to George Floyd's death. The call for officers began over a fake bill being used at a store in Minneapolis. Less than 40 seconds after finishing conversation with the store employee, the officers are at the door of this car Floyd was in. Officer Thomas Lane, with his gun drawn, yelling to put your f'ing hands up, following an initial knock on the window with the flashlight.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: This is a crisis in black America, a public health crisis.

JIMENEZ: After repeated asks to get out of the car, Floyd is seen on Lane's camera sobbing with his head on the steering wheel at one point saying he's sorry according to video reviewed by CNN. Please don't shoot me, Mr. Officer. Please don't shoot me, man. Please. Can you not shoot me, man. Lane, step out and face away. I'm not shooting. Step out and face


It's at that point Floyd is forcefully pulled from the car as both Officer Lane and Officer Jay Alexander Kueng struggled to handcuff him. Shortly after, a big struggle to get Floyd into the squad car parked across the street, as Floyd says he's claustrophobic and refuses to get in.

At this point, according to video viewed by CNN, Floyd is being pushed into the police vehicle from one side by Kueng and pulled in from the other by Lane.


I can't breathe. I can't breathe, Floyd says, all the while flailing in cuffs as both officers are on top of him.

Get him on the ground, Lane says.

Let go of me, man. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

At one point, Floyd just letting out a desperate scream for at least three seconds straight, according to video reviewed by CNN.

About 30 seconds later, the other officers, Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin, are in sight of Lane's body camera and everybody falls to the infamously familiar position seen in this cell phone video, with Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck. An already restrained Floyd calls out for his mom.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up and get in the car.

JIMENEZ: As Chauvin appears to increase pressure on Floyd's neck, curling down from his initial upright position, according to body camera video viewed by CNN.

About four minutes later, still cuffed and under the knee of Chauvin, Floyd says, please, please, please, each plea seemingly weaker than the one before, according to video reviewed.

Lane says, should we roll him on his side?

Chauvin, no, he's staying put where we got him.

Those are the last words listed in the transcript, but audio heard by CNN shows that seconds later Floyd says --

FLOYD: Please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're (EXPLETIVE DELETED) stopping his breathing right there, bro.

FLOYD: Yes, I can't breathe. JIMENEZ: Those would be his final words.


JIMENEZ: Now, all of the officers in this are continuing to await trial on charges as high as second degree murder for Derek Chauvin, whose attorney declined to comment Wednesday.

Separately, the Floyd family is now filing a federal civil lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis, saying, and these four officers, citing a reckless disregard for Floyd's constitutional right.


CAMEROTA: Omar, it doesn't get any easier to watch that hideous video. And, in fact, with all of your new information and what is revealed, it gets harder each time.

Omar, thank you very much for watching that and bringing it to us.

Well, on a positive note, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg released from the hospital. We have an update on her condition.



CAMEROTA: Developing this morning, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is home from the hospital, earlier than expected, and reportedly doing well. The 87-year-old Supreme Court justice was taken to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Tuesday after experiencing fever and chills. She underwent a procedure to clean out a stent from a previous procedure. Ginsburg is the oldest member of the Supreme Court and the anchor of its liberal wing.

BERMAN: Potentially dangerous storms targeting the central and eastern United States as the east braces for hot, humid, moist air.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers with the forecast.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's coming, John. You know, the northeast has been very, very mild the past couple of days, but the heat will be on. We're going to run you all the way up to 96 by Monday in New York City.

There are the storms in the central part of the country. We are going to see a little bit of wind damage. I think that will be the main threat today.

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

So it's a cold front. It's going to come by. It's going to try to fire some storms. But along the south end of this is where the heat is going to run on up toward the northeast. That's the real area of any real threat today. The yellow areas around Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Wyoming valley. You're going to see a couple chances of showers.

There you see the storms moving you ahead all the way to 11:00. They're not that widespread. They're not what we had over the past couple of days in the plains. They're just normal, general thunderstorms. But just stay out of the way of the lightning.

Ninety today in D.C., 77 in New York City, but forget about that for the weekend. Look where we run you. New York City, 96. Boston, 92. You've been so nice in New England the past couple of days. The party's over.


BERMAN: The party's over. Stay out of the way of the lightning. Shrewd advice.

MYERS: True.

BERMAN: Chad Myers, as always, thank you very much.

So what on earth happened to Twitter? An unbelievable hack affecting all those people you see on the screen right now. What does it tell you that Twitter can be broken into like that? What does it mean for online security? What does it mean for the election? What will Twitter do about it? That's next.



CAMEROTA: Developing this morning, Twitter is investigating a massive hack that compromised the accounts of dozens of the site's most famous users.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joins us with details.

What happened?


Yes, some of the most famous people in the world had their Twitter accounts compromised yesterday. Former Vice President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg. The list goes on. And also some of the world's biggest companies, including Apple and Uber.

Now, all of these accounts, all of their accounts posted to hundreds of millions of followers, links to a bitcoin, a cryptocurrency scam telling followers to transfer money to a specific bitcoin account, a bitcoin wallet. This led Twitter to shut off tweeting for most celebrities and well-known personalities for a couple of hours all across the world.

Now, late last night, Twitter came out with a statement. Obviously they are investigating this. They are saying that the hackers used a method called social engineering to target employees at Twitter and then they used this access to take control of many highly visible, including verified accounts and tweet on their behalf. Twitter says it's looking into what other malicious activity they may have conducted or information they may have accessed and will share more as they have it.

Now, what Twitter means here by social engineering is that at least one of its employees had been tricked or in some way convinced to give access to Twitter's internal systems to the hackers. This is an extremely serious security incident, definitely the most visible security incident in the company's history.

Now, I will say that if we are lucky, this is what it appears to be ostensibly, right, a bitcoin scam, a hack. But these hackers really had the keys to the kingdom here. They had access -- they had compromised some of the world's most famous people's accounts. So while we don't know who is behind this, Twitter has a lot of serious questions to answer, including how these accounts were breached, whose accounts -- were there other famous people's accounts breached? What sort of information did hackers have access to? Were they able to access private messages that are on Twitter's system?

You know, the president's account was not hit, but, you know, Twitter, I think, shouldn't tell us if people, world leaders, have additional security on their accounts. I mean, you know, it was potentially these hackers could have tweeted from President Trump's account.

So this is a major incident. All of it, of course, in (INAUDIBLE) being -- account being hit in an election year.


CAMEROTA: Donie, thank you very much.


Please keep us posted when you learn anything more about this massive hack.

All right. NEW DAY continues right now.