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Federal Judge's Family Attacked; California Coronavirus Surge; Interview With Miami, Florida, Mayor Francis Suarez. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 20, 2020 - 16:30   ET



FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MAYOR OF MIAMI, FLORIDA: And I was the first city in the state of Florida to issue a stay-at-home order.

We had full employment, 3 percent unemployment. We had a federal safety net of PPP and unemployment. And we don't have any of that now. Now we have 11 percent unemployment. So, it's a very difficult decision.

Obviously, we're consulting with our hospital administrators. And we put in a set of remedial measures that have shown some diminishment of the increase curve over the last week, and we're waiting to see how much diminishment we're going to get from that, from those remedial measures that we have implemented.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Obviously, these decisions are very difficult. They have a lot -- there's lots of competing imperatives.

When there was a stay-at-home order in April, the situation was just empirically better in Florida health-wise. On May 4, when that stay- at-home order expired, there were 819 new cases reported. Today, that number is more than 10,00, 12 times the amount of new cases.

So what is taking so long to put in place a new stay-at-home order, at the very least in your city, which, if your city is the epicenter of a state that is now the epicenter, it would seem like now would be the time, if you're going to do it.

SUAREZ: Yes, and we may do it over the next couple of days.

And there are some people in that business council meeting that you referred to that do think that now is the best time, because we are in the summer. The school has not begun yet. And, obviously, for Miami, which is a very tourist-based economy, the sort of high season is later on in the year.

And there are others that don't agree. We're working with our hospital system and with our experts and epidemiologists. And our hospital administrators have told us that we have put in place a variety of remediation measures, some of the ones you have discussed, and that our -- what we should be doing now is focusing on enforcement.

And that's why we're -- this week, we have eliminated the warnings for mask in public, for not having a mask in public. So we're immediately going to be finding people $50 for the first occurrence, $150 for the second and $500 for the third.

And we're hoping that that heavy enforcement will help us more dramatically reduced the curve, and from what we have been seeing over the last 10 days.

TAPPER: Miami-Dade County is the hardest-hit area in this hardest-hit state.

The percentage of people testing positive in May was 13 percent. On Friday, it's 27 percent. So obviously, it's spreading. Are you able to do contact tracing and figure out how people are getting the virus, and then tell people, so that the virus can be isolated? Or is it just out of control?

SUAREZ: Well, I can tell you that the contact tracing that's been done by the Department of Health has been woefully insufficient.

We have been helping them. And, , it shouldn't be up to the mayors to necessarily help the Department of Health provide adequate contact tracing. But it is not sufficient at this particular moment.

We have been getting some interesting information which indicates to us that over 30 percent of the people that are getting sick are people from the age range of 18 to 34. Over 28 percent of the people are getting sick at home. And 71 percent of those people are reporting that more than one family member in the household is sick.

So it becomes apparent that people -- obviously, once they get home, they stopped practicing social distancing. They're not wearing their mask. Hopefully, they wash their hands, but in some cases they don't. And so we're seeing a tremendous amount of spread within the home from one person to a more than one person within a home.

And so that's something that we're seeing that is causing, I think, some of this exponential growth that we're seeing.

TAPPER: It's spreading out of control. A health expert I spoke with said that what this country needs is a Manhattan Project, where President Trump puts all the resources of the government to encourage everyone to wear a mask in public and then to do an aggressive nationwide testing and contact tracing program, so that the virus can be isolated from the rest of the community.

Would you like to see something like that? Would Miami benefit from that?

SUAREZ: Absolutely, 100 percent. There's no doubt about it. I have been calling for a federal mask in public rule, and a statewide mask in public rule.

I do think that robust contact tracing and isolation is essential. We just got from the state of Florida 400 isolation hotel room beds that we're working with Miami-Dade County to implement. And we -- like I said at the beginning, our contact tracing is nowhere near where it needs to be in order to be effective.

And we're dealing -- we're talking to the state of New York, as well as other areas, to see what they're doing to improve our contact tracing, or at least help the Department of Health improve its contact tracing, so we get better information and better isolation of the virus.

TAPPER: it is just -- it's a tragedy. We're six months into this pandemic. And people like you, Mayor Suarez, are being left basically to your own devices to try to help the good citizens of Miami.

We will be thinking about you and your citizens as you try to keep everyone safe.


Please stay in touch with us. Let us know what you need and what we can bring attention to.


TAPPER: On the other side of the country, California is seeing a second surge and a new record.

Coming up next: why one specific group of Californians is bearing the brunt more than others.

Stay with us.


TAPPER: Breaking news in our national lead.


For the fourth worth time in a week, Los Angeles County has set a new record for daily coronavirus hospitalizations. There are now more than 2,200 COVID patients in the hospital in L.A. It's part of an alarming trend across the state of California.

And CNN's Sara Sidner got access to one hospital so overwhelmed with new coronavirus patients, the Air Force is now helping out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you're sleeping around, you're on your belly? OK. Good.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The staff at this California hospital is nearing exhaustion.

CATHERINE DAVIS, NURSE, EISENHOWER HEALTH: Every breathing minute, I think about COVID-19.

SIDNER: In a video diary from inside Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage, nurse Catherine Davis says she's used to seeing one death a year in her unit. With 700 COVID patients treated here so far, she's now seen 40 deaths.

DAVIS: We would ensure that a patient did not die alone. So we would take turns spending time with them and holding their hand and talking to them.

SIDNER: Doctors knew they had the beds to treat the surge, but not the staff.

DR. ANIL PERUMBETI, EISENHOWER HEALTH: When we heard that the next wave of relief might come in, in two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, that's when things become a little bit desperate.

SIDNER: They asked the federal government for help, and it arrived. An Air Force medical team of about 20 helps shoulder the unending load. The stress here repeated all over California.

So, how did we get here? The state was the first to announce a stay- at-home order. That was March 19.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This is a moment we need to make tough decisions.

SIDNER: Seven weeks later, the governor reopened the state on May 8.

NEWSOM: You have bent the curve.

SIDNER: But that wasn't to be. By early June, the seven-day average for new daily coronavirus cases was more than 2,600. By July 11, it peaked at more than 9,400, more than a 250 percent increase.

Anne Rimoin, you are renowned epidemiologist. What went wrong in California.

DR. ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA EPIDEMIOLOGIST: We opened up too soon. We didn't have the virus totally under control.

SIDNER: Experts agree, residents and local governments got complacent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be back on the field now.

SIDNER: Case in point, three suburban counties near L.A. all lifted their mask requirements, under heavy pressure from angry residents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None of this is based on science, but, rather, a nefarious political agenda to silence the people and strip freedoms from hardworking Americans.

SIDNER: Now hardworking Americans in all three counties are seeing a COVID surge, and hospital beds are filling up.

DAVIS: And that's frightening, because where do we go from there?

SIDNER (on camera): Are patients telling you how they might have gotten it?

DAVIS: Yes. Well, some of them are partiers. Some of them have gone out and gone to parties, no masks.

SIDNER (voice-over): But Los Angeles County did and still does have strict mask requirements. Tickets are even being issued if you don't comply, and yet it's still the epicenter of the California surge.

TAPPER: How much worse does it have to get in Los Angeles before you feel compelled to issue another stay-at-home order?

ERIC GARCETTI (D), MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: Well, I think we're on the brink of that.

RIMOIN: People are not following the rules. They're not wearing masks. They're not social distancing.

SIDNER: Among them, California's 40-and-under, who make up more than half of the state's new cases.

Also hard-hit, the Latino community, which makes up a third of the state's population, but more than half of COVID infections.

DAVIS: Sometimes, it's mom and dad's work experience that has brought them into contact with it. And then it goes through the whole family.

SIDNER: Experts say, fixing all this comes only one way.

RIMOIN: You have to just shut down for now. I think that that is our only way out.


SIDNER: And that is not what people want to hear, of course, especially those who are extremely worried about the economy, like we all are.

But Dr. Perumbeti and nurse Davis have both said they are seeing the results of younger people getting coronavirus in the hospital; 20- and 30-year-olds now regularly are in the hospital, some of them so sick, they can't even turn themselves over because they're in so much pain.

They are begging people, wear your masks, self-distance. We have to do this so we can get back to normal -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Sidner, thank you so much.

A rare and terrifying story. A gunman dressed as a FedEx delivery man opens fire on a federal judge's family. Coming up next: the mysterious item they found in the suspect's car.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: We have breaking news just into CNN. We now know the name of the suspected gunman who shot and killed a

federal judge's 20-year-old son and injured her husband. Police say the man killed himself just a day after reportedly dressing as a FedEx delivery driver knocking on the door of Judge Esther Salas' New Jersey home and opening fire.

Judge Salas was inside during the attack. She was not injured.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now live from North Brunswick, New Jersey, the town where the shooting took place.

Alex, tell us what you know about the gunman.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, authorities are now naming the suspects as Roy Den Hollander. We have learned that he is an attorney who had a case in front of Judge Salas back in 2015, in which he was arguing against the military's all-male draft.

But at this point, investigators have not pointed to what may have specifically motivated the suspect to open fire at the house behind me.


FIELD (voice-over): Daniel Anderl, a 20-year-old college student killed in a hail of bullets, his father, defense attorney Mark Anderl, badly injured standing behind him in their doorway.

His mother, U.S. Federal Judge Esther Salas, was inside their house at the time. Authorities now say the shooter, who came to the doorstep dressed as a FedEx worker, later killed himself. His body was found in Liberty, New York. Investigators also found a FedEx package addressed to the judge in a car.


JUDGE ESTHER SALAS, U.S. DISTRICT COURT: I took an oath, and I stand by that oath.

FIELD: Judge Salas, the U.S. district court judge for the district of New Jersey since 2011, has presided over a string of high-profile cases.

She'd recently been assigned to a class-action lawsuit against Deutsche Bank, investors alleging the bank failed to properly monitor high-risk customers, including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

She presided over the financial fraud case involving "Real Housewives of New Jersey" stars Teresa and Joe Giudice, and handled the 2018 sentencing of Farad Roland, leader of one of New York's most violent street gangs, on federal racketeering charges.

SALAS: So help me God.

FIELD: She became New Jersey's first Latina U.S. district federal court judge following her nomination by former President Barack Obama, her family at the time beaming by her side.

SALAS: My son, Daniel Mark, who's really excited, he wanted me to make sure that -- Madam Chairwoman, that you knew that he got permission from his principal to be here, Sister Mary Louise, so he's not going to get in trouble.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): That's excellent. We wouldn't want him here any other way. And I can tell he's very proud of you. He has a big smile on his face.

FIELD: As a young man, her only son, Daniel, planned to follow his parents' path toward the law.


FIELD: Mark Anderl is in the hospital, having been operated on two days in a row now. He is said to be aware of what happened and of the death of his son -- Jake.

TAPPER: Such a horrible story.

Alexandra Field in North Brunswick, thank you so much.

Clashes between federal agents and protesters in Portland, Oregon, seem to be escalating. Federal agents used tear gas on protesters overnight, some of whom broke through a fence and tried to set fire to the federal courthouse.

A 53-year-old Navy veteran says agents beat him with batons and sprayed him with tear gas. You see that going on in this video right now. He said he was just trying to talk to the agents over the weekend.

Protests in Portland have gone on for more than 50 consecutive days. The mayor told me yesterday that the protests and the intensity have escalated since the Trump administration began sending in those federal agents.

Mayors of five major cities sent a joint letter to President Trump and Attorney General Barr today calling for the removal of federal officers from their cities, saying -- quote -- "The unilateral deployment of these forces into American cities is unprecedented and violates fundamental constitutional protections and tenets of federalism" -- unquote.

This after President Trump today announced that he's going to send even more agents into cities run by Democrats. He specifically listed Philadelphia, Oakland, Detroit, and Baltimore as places where he may send federal law enforcement agents.

The political context of this, of course, cannot be ignored. The president is sinking in polls less than four months before the presidential election, and he seems eager, if not desperate, to find any issue to run on.

CNN national security analyst Carrie Cordero joins us now to discuss. Carrie, what's your reaction to this push from President Trump to send federal agents into cities where the mayors say they don't want them? Is this responding to a real threat, or is this just politics?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what I'm worried about, Jake, is that he's stepping on -- his political influence onto the Department of Homeland Security to use this big law enforcement force to go beyond the scope of what their normal activities are to do.

So DHS should be protecting. They have a role to protect the federal facilities there. What they should not be doing is going out into the streets of Portland or any other street to enforce criminal law.

TAPPER: Are there any legal actions that these mayors or any governors can take, beyond just sending the president a letter?

CORDERO: Well, I think what they need to do, first, is, they need to be speaking directly.

The federal government, the Department of Homeland Security, and the attorney general needs to engage. They need to be talking directly to local state officials in Oregon and in Portland to determine who has the proper lanes of the road.

And then they need to -- also, there has been a referral from the U.S. attorney -- the U.S. attorney in Portland about potential civil rights violations that these DHS officers may have engaged in.

So there's a potential legal avenue there when it comes to infringement on civil rights, but, really, they need to talk to each other. This non-dialogue, we're not going to talk to each other, is ridiculous. It's not any way to run a city.

And the state and locals need to say, here's what we're going to do to provide security, and then DHS needs to back down and get their Border Patrol officers outside of the interior of the country.

Finally, Congress is probably going to need to step in to look at the oversight and accountability within the Department of Homeland Security more generally.

TAPPER: Carrie Cordero, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We're going to take a quick break. We will be right back.


TAPPER: Finally, we want to take time today to remember one of the 140,000 lives so far lost in this country to coronavirus.

Patrick Ellis was a legend in Washington, D.C., radio.


PATRICK ELLIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Good morning. You're listening to "Gospel Spirit" with me, your host, Patrick Ellis. (END AUDIO CLIP)

TAPPER: Ellis hosted that Sunday morning gospel show for more than 40 years here in D.C. on Howard University's WHUR. He was the longest- running on-air personality in the D.C. area.

Even during the pandemic listeners tuned in weekly to hear his church announcements, along with birthday greetings and anniversary shout- outs. Ellis had a calm (AUDIO GAP) and a helping hand.

He was always pitching in on food drives, raising money for domestic violence shelters.

Ellis went into the hospital last Monday. His family hoped that he'd be back on the airwaves soon. Sadly, he died Thursday at the age of 77.

To the Ellis family and all his listeners, we offer our deepest condolences. May his memory be a blessing.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks for watching.