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Trump Demotes Campaign Manager Amid Sinking Polls; Biden Leads Trump by Double-Digit in New Polls; How Can Schools Reopen Safely? Trump Lawyers Renew Efforts to Block Access to his Taxes. Aired 7:30- 8a ET

Aired July 16, 2020 - 07:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, President Trump shaking up his re-election campaign. Brad Parscale, out as campaign manager. This, as President Trump's poll numbers take a nosedive.

Joining us now is CNN political director, David Chalian. Hi, David.


CAMEROTA: President Trump appears to be understandably upset after that Tulsa rally didn't meet expectations. And now, these poll numbers, which we'll get to in a second. So, how significant is this shake up?

CHALIAN: Well, I mean, getting rid of your campaign manager, swapping them out for something else, that's always a significant development in a campaign. I think it's not a very surprising development. As you noted, since the Tulsa rally, there has been conversation about Brad Parscale's fate. And you mentioned the polls, Alisyn. I'll just say, candidates don't get rid of campaign managers that are winning campaigns. So, to me, it's just yet another clear indication. I think we get many of them, almost on a daily basis now, from President Trump, about where we see his standing in this race.

CAMEROTA: OK. Let's dive into the polls. There are some of note because they show double digit -- a double-digit lead for Joe Biden. So, here is NBC/Wall Street Journal, Joe Biden at 51 percent, Donald Trump at 40 percent. These are national polls. Quinnipiac, it's even bigger, Joe Biden, 52 percent, Donald Trump, 37. What do you see?

CHALIAN: Yes. Two national polls, both coming out yesterday, both showing double-digit national leads for Joe Biden. It's significant, we're three and a half months away from the election. It is still a snapshot in time. This is not necessarily what the polls will look like in November. But it shows what a deficit Donald Trump is in right now.

And honestly, Alisyn, I think when you go inside these numbers of what's underneath them. You see how the coronavirus issue and Donald Trump's perceived lack of leadership, perceived failure from the American people on the issue is what's driving his numbers down. Even in the Quinnipiac Poll, we see, you know, a rough split among core parts of his base.


Rural voters, white non-college voters. Half of them are saying he's actually hurting the spread of the virus with what he's doing, not helping. Of his core base voters, there's a split reaction on that. So, I do think what we see here in his overall job approval as well is the coronavirus issue is the issue of this election and it's really weighing the president down.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, let's dive into some of that. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll asked the respondents. Do you think the country is on the right track or the wrong track? What did they find?

CHALIAN: 72 percent say the country is on the wrong track. But look at the movement, Alisyn, since March. You see there, 56 percent in March, said the country was on the wrong track. That's now up 16 points since March.

Well, what's been going on since March? This perceived failure in leadership on the handling of the coronavirus. Take a look also about views of the economy and reopening. I thought this was really interesting in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

People are looking for a candidate who is the one focusing on controlling the spread of the virus. 57 percent. That's a big size of a majority there. Only 25 percent prefer the candidate who's focusing more on reopening the economy. As you know, again, I just think what you see here is that where Donald Trump has been focusing on is actually, as this number indicates, out of step with where the priorities of the American people are.

CAMEROTA: I think that one is really fascinating, as you said, David, because he is so focused on the economy. And anytime we talk to you know Peter Navarro, that's the message, you know? The economy must open, the economy must open. But obviously, voters are not feeling as bullish about all of this or as confident that they can get back to their old lives right now, because they want the virus in check first.

So, now, what's happened with Biden? What's happening with his poll numbers? Do we have any insight into that?

CHALIAN: Well, as you see, he has these double-digit leads. By the way, we also saw it in a key battleground state of Pennsylvania yesterday. There was a poll that had him with a double-digit lead. He is dealing with an uptick in this NBC/Wall Street Journal poll in his negativity rating. I see this more as sort of him being in the arena now. We know the Trump campaign is focusing more of its fire on Joe Biden, trying to make this a choice election, even though all of the data is indicating right now it is a referendum on Donald Trump at the moment.

But this is something that the Biden campaign will have to be aware of. I'll just say, they're running against Donald Trump, who has higher negative ratings. And by the way, more passion behind those negative ratings. So, people -- when they say they feel sort of negatively about Biden, 33 percent say very negative, right?

When people say they feel negatively about Donald Trump, you see the 54 there, but 48 percent of that say very negatively. So, there is this passion that is also running against Donald Trump that for the folks that who do - who do feel negatively feel so very strongly, which could be a vote motivator.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting, David Chalian, thank you very much for all of the insight into this.

Well, some major city school districts defying President Trump's demand to get all kids back in the classroom. What you need to know, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Schools in Houston and San Francisco are the latest to announce they'll begin classes in the fall online. No kids in the classroom right away. Many more are faced with tough decisions about how to reopen safely.

Joining us now, CNN contributor Erin Bromage. He's a Biology professor at UMass Dartmouth. And, Professor, you have an op-ed on which addresses what is actually the important issue, which is how to open safely. Which is what people should be talking about. Not, do it now! Which has seems to be the mandate from the administration. But how to do it safely and on your list is lower community transmission, invest in school infrastructure, while community infections continue, masks need to be mandatory, and invest in faculty and staff safety.

The number one issue there, that's a huge gate to get through for a lot of places in the country right now.

ERIN BROMAGE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I mean, without having community transmission very low, it needs to be at least below 1 percent of all tests coming back positive. You really cannot open these schools safely given the conditions that we have in schools and the inability to physically distance the children in school.

CAMEROTA: Professor, I want to dive into some of -- your points. Because you've crunched the numbers and sort of spelled out specifically what we need to see. So, in terms of that first one, lower community transmission. You've figured out that roughly 576 students on average go to every public school. If they were to open next month or September, how many of those 576, based on the current numbers we have, would have an active infection when they walk through those doors?

BROMAGE: So, that's obviously very regional dependent. If we're in upstate Maine where we've got towns and cities where they have had one or two cases throughout this whole pandemic, then it's quite safe. But if we start looking at hotspot areas, where they're testing 5, 10 percent of all cases being positive or we just saw in Florida, 30 percent of all children are testing positive in some regions in Florida. You do the math with that, 30 percent of roughly 600 makes a big number of students that are walking around school with an active infection.

If we go to more traditional areas, say in Massachusetts, where we're sitting at about 2 percent, again, you're looking at quite a few students somewhere in the vicinity of 7 to 15 students will actually be infected at school at any given time.


BERMAN: What do these schools need to do? If they're going to reopen, if they're going to get past that first gating criteria, which is that you can't have community spread like we have in a big chunk of the country right now. But if they do open physically, what do you have to do?

BROMAGE: Well, we have to fix the physical infrastructure first. They cannot be the concept of putting kids in basement classrooms that have no windows and no way to exchange air in any satisfactory way. We need to make sure that we're actually looking after the physical infrastructure. We're getting good air exchange from outside and great air filtration so that we can actually make the indoor air environment safer. So, we don't end up with one of those super spreading events, where a single student, even if it's just one.

Remember, one person in a classroom can infect everybody in the classroom if you're not looking after the air. So, we have to make sure that we have invested in the physical infrastructure of those schools to make sure we can bring that air from the outside in and get the air from the inside out. And in the absence of that, make sure that we've got very good air filtration.

CAMEROTA: Your third point is that if schools are going to open safely, all kids would have to wear masks to class inside. And so, I know that you think that there's a difference for kindergartners masks and high schoolers masks. I mean, what do parents need to know about that?

BROMAGE: Yes. There's a clear difference that we're seeing between school-aged children from 4 years old up to about 12 to 13 years old. They definitely can be infected. And they have a little bit of a harder time infecting others, and they don't really seem to be the ones that are moving the virus around through the classroom or through the community.

So, we have sort of a goldilocks zone again with this virus with that age. So, what we're really looking for there is comfortable masks that they don't touch very much so comfort becomes important when you're young, because the more uncomfortable it is, the more often the hands come on it. And when the hands come on it, they start touching surfaces as well and we start creating other problems. So, comfort is the most important thing for those younger children. But when we start getting up to 13, 14, 15, they start to behave much more like adults in regard to infection and transmission. And so, we then need to look at better quality masks to make sure that what they're breathing out is not building up in the air, is not landing on others. But then also providing them a little bit of protection when their breathing in through that mask, so it's filtering what others are doing.

So there needs to be adjustments in those safety equipment, in those personal protective equipment that kids are wearing depending on the risks that they face and the role in the dynamics of transmission through the population.

BERMAN: Professor Erin Bromage, thank you so much for being with us. I want people to read your piece because you get into how frustrating it is for you as a parent. You want your kids to be doing as much as they possibly can. You want them at soccer practice which you coach, you want them in school, if they can be there, but you've got to take it as a whole and measure all of it with science. So, thanks so much for laying it out for us.

BROMAGE: Thank you, John.

CAMEROTA: We want to take a moment now to remember some of the more than 137,000 Americans killed by coronavirus.

11-year-old Daequan Wimberly of Miami-Dade is the youngest person to die in the state of Florida. His father, who has also tested positive, described Daequan as full of life and active in church. His son had severe underlying health conditions.

Master police officer Robert Hall served for more than three decades in the Columbia, South Carolina police department. He was a valuable member of the special events unit, assisting with traffic control and security during special events and most recently during protests. Officer Hall was 57.

And Danh Tran was planning to marry his fiance, Jessica, but they had to reschedule because of the pandemic, then he got sick. The 34-year- old Vancouver man had no underlying conditions. His family describes him as a respected, fun-loving, and friendly person whose smile never failed to light up a room.

We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: Lawyers for President Trump are expected to challenge a subpoena from the Manhattan D.A. this morning over Donald Trump's tax records. One week ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the president does not have immunity against a state grand jury investigation.

Joining us now is David Enrich. He's the business investigations editor at "The New York Times" and the author of "Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction."

David, thank you so much for being here.


CAMEROTA: So, if the Supreme Court already ruled that the president is not immune from a grand jury investigation or subpoena, what exactly are President Trump's lawyers trying to do today?

ENRICH: Well, the Supreme Court also ruled that the Trump family could try and fight this in other ways back in the lower court. So, that's exactly what the Trump family is about to do. And this really is not so much an effort to quash these subpoenas as much as it's an effort to just buy some time. It really delays the day at which Trump's tax returns are handed over to prosecutors.

And so, really this is a play for time. I think they're trying to get the tax returns out of everyone's hands at least until after the election.

CAMEROTA: So, you think it's a fait accompli that at some point, a grand jury will see these tax records?

ENRICH: I mean, I wouldn't go quite that far. But I think that's the overwhelming probability. At this point, the arguments that it sounds like that Trump is going - or Trump's lawyers will make today is basically that this investigation by Cy Vance, the district attorney, is politically motivated. And therefore, legally invalid which strikes to me as a pretty big stretch.


CAMEROTA: Well, Cy Vance has a different argument. Basically, that the clock is ticking. I'll read you what their court filing said yesterday.

"Given the age of many of the transactions at issue in the grand jury's investigation, issues could arise in the near future concerning the applicable statutes of limitations."

So, when do those run out?

ENRICH: You know, I'm actually not exactly sure when the statute of limitations run out. I think the reality is that this is an investigation that has been going on for well over a year now. The subpoena is more than a year old. And the Trump family is really just trying to buy time for itself.

And I think that is fairly clear and the question is - and I think this is going to be the question in court today is how quickly does the judge force these arguments to be made and how quickly are they dispensed with. Because at that point the Trump family likely is going to try to appeal this right back up through the federal court system all the way to the Supreme Court again. CAMEROTA: Well, that's interesting. I mean it -- I thought Supreme Court had already ruled on it. How do they get to go back up the flagpole with this?

ENRICH: Well, the court has ruled that clearly the district attorney has a right to criminally investigate the president but there are sorts of other questions that the Trump family can make. What they are planning to argue is that this is not a valid investigation, not because the D.A. doesn't have the right to investigate the president, but because the motives for the investigation are politically tinged and therefore illegitimate.

And so, that -- if assuming that argument gets made and the district court judge says no, I disagree with that, the Trump family has a right to appeal that to the appeals court. The appeals court is under no obligation to accept that and maybe they'll just say no thanks we're not going to hear this. But it does open the possibility that there could be months more legal wrangling and that the Trump family can very easily I think - not very easily but could - there's a real possibility that those appeals could stretch out way beyond the election.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, that's all interesting process stuff. And thank you for explaining it.

Let's talk about the substance. What exactly is the Manhattan D.A. -- what specific information is he looking for in these?

ENRICH: Well, the D.A.'s investigation stems from the hush money investigation that was going on at the federal level into the payments that the Trump campaign, Trump and his personal lawyer made to Stormy Daniels, to keep her alleged affair with the president quiet. And so, the investigation by the D.A. is looking at whether those payments were improper and violated New York state law and - but it sounds like as part of that investigation, the D.A. has been casting a much wider net, looking at the proprietary of a whole range of transactions and practices that were going on inside the Trump organization.

And so, Trump's personal and business tax returns could be really valuable for the D.A. in trying to get a real clear look at the inner workings of Trump and his companies.

CAMEROTA: We have only 10 seconds left. Do you think that American voters will ever see Donald Trump's tax returns?

ENRICH: You know, I don't know if they ever will. I certainly don't think they will before the 2020 election.

CAMEROTA: David Enrich, thank you very much for sharing all of your expertise on this with us.

ENRICH: Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I believe we need to almost push the reset button. Let's stop this nonsense and figure out how can we get our control over this now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More theme parks opened up in Florida. ICUs are already full in 54 Florida hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are doing extremely poorly. It's a very dangerous situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundreds and thousands of people are dying in America today because we are distracted by issues that are not the central ones to controlling this virus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really up to everyone who is out there. We all want to get back to our lives, but it requires that we all cooperate.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

Much of the United States is now near a breaking point with the pandemic. At least 12 states and Puerto Rico reporting record hospitalizations. Yesterday, Florida's Miami-Dade County ran out of ICU beds. Texas and two other states recording their highest single day death tolls. In San Antonio, refrigerated trailers have been brought in to store bodies as hospital morgues fill up with victims.

Texas and Florida both reporting more than 10,000 new cases on Wednesday. Their cases are -- if you look at the map on your screen, they are increasing in 39 states. School districts in Houston and San Francisco, announcing they will begin the new school year online. Alabama will now enforce a mask mandate, but high-risk states like Georgia, Florida and Arizona continue to resist any mask mandate.