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Friends and Family Remember John Lewis; Heat Wave Grips Northeast; Stone Denies Using Racial Slur; Daycare Centers Model for Reopening; NFL Players Raise Concerns. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 20, 2020 - 06:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Friends and family remembering the life and legacy of civil rights icon John Lewis. The 17-term congressman died Friday night after battling pancreatic cancer. This morning, plans are in the works to memorialize him.

CNN's Lauren Fox is live on Capitol Hill with more.

So what will this look like, Lauren?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, Alisyn, of course, tributes are pouring in for a man who was known as the conscience as Capitol Hill. And I will tell you that the tributes are pouring in, not just from Democrats and those in his own party, but from Republicans as well. This was a man who was such a seminal part of the civil rights movement. He was the youngest speaker at the March of Washington in 1963 at just 23 years old. He was one of the original Freedom Riders. And, of course, he was present at the Edmund Pettus Bridge where they were attacked by Alabama state troopers. A video and moment that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

He was a man who has been remembered by every living president, including President Barack Obama, who wrote over the weekend in a statement, quote, he loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.

And, of course, over the weekend his family remembering their brother and a friend. His brother, Grant Lewis, saying this about his brother's life.


HENRY GRANT LEWIS, BROTHER OF JOHN LEWIS: While we grieve the loss of this legend, we are blessed to know that he touched so many people on every corner of the globe.


He fought until the very end. That was my big brother. He was a fighter with a tenacious spirit, but he was also gracious and kind- hearted.


FOX: And he never gave up on that activist spirit. When he came to Congress, he continued to fight. And in 2016, he led that sit-in when there was a Republican-controlled Congress to try to get a vote on gun legislation, Alisyn. And it was such an important moment for so many of the younger members in the Congress to follow his lead.

This is what Lewis said his philosophy was throughout his life.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA) (January 16, 2017): Never give up! Never give in! Stand up! Speak up! When you see something that is not right, and not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something, and not be quiet.


FOX: Of course, there are so many calls to give this man the memorial he deserves up here on Capitol Hill. Those discussions are underway. But what that memorial looks like is still an open question, Alisyn, because, of course, coronavirus is still raging across this country and visitors have not been allowed in the Capitol since March. So we're still continuing to ask questions and follow up on that story, an important one, as we remember the life of John Lewis.


CAMEROTA: He will be missed in so many corners.

Lauren, thank you very much for that reporting.

Well, first Roger Stone got a get out of jail free card. Then he promptly went on a radio show and reportedly made a racial slur. What he's saying now, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, developing this morning, brace yourselves. An extreme heat wave grips the northeastern United States.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers with the hot forecast.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: These are the days we warned you about last Thursday, John. Your car is going to turn into an Easy Bake Oven. Make sure that no pets, kids, or any adults are even left in a car today. It is going to be that hot.

Excessive heat warnings up and down the coast. Sixty-nine million people under those watches.

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

So how hot is it going to get? Well, as hot as we've seen the entire summer so far. Eighty-six right now in D.C.. So it didn't even cool off. Even if you open your windows right now trying to cool the house off, it's not going to get there. Ninety-eight will be the high in D.C. And it will feel over 100 in almost every single city, up and down the I-95, all the way down to Jacksonville, Montgomery, Little Rock, this red area here is where your body can't cool itself down.

Now, I know we add the heat and humidity together and try to make up a number, but it's a real number that your skin feels. But that number still doesn't take into account if you're standing in the sunshine. Make sure the pets have water outside, make sure they have shade. And, if you can, bring everything that's living, like the pets and all those things, inside today, at least for a little while. They need to cool off.

Temperatures are going to cool a little bit by the weekend. Only 88 on Friday in New York.



Thank you very much, Chad.



There's a new controversy surrounding Roger Stone. President Trump just commuted Stone's 40-month prison term for lying to Congress and witness tampering. Then Stone went on a radio show and revealed who he really is.

CNN's Brian Stelter joins us with more.

This transcript is stunning.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: It is. And it's even worse when you hear the audio. We are going to play the audio so people can hear in their own minds what Roger Stone said on this live L.A. radio show.

He is now denying using a variation of the n-word. But that denial make no sense when you hear Roger Stone, in his own words, say it to the radio host Mo'Kelly. This happened over the weekend on KFI Radio.

Here is the clip in question.


MO'KELLY, KFI RADIO: There are thousands of people treated unfairly daily. Hell, your number just happened to come up in the lottery. I'm guessing it was more than just luck, Roger, right?

ROGER STONE: (INAUDIBLE) arguing with this Negro.

MO'KELLY: I'm sorry, what was that?



I'm sorry, what did you say?

I'm sorry, you -- you're arguing with whom?

STONE: You're back. I don't know what happened.

You there?

MO'KELLY: Well, yes, I was --

STONE: Hello?

MO'KELLY: I was talking and you said something about Negro, so I wasn't exactly sure.

STONE: I did not!


STONE: You're out of your mind.

MO'KELLY: All right. I don't think so.

STONE: You're out of your mind.

MO'KELLY: I'm -- I'm -- well, OK. Well, we'll let the listeners decide.

STONE: Well, what --

MO'KELLY: Let me go to the next question then.

STONE: (INAUDIBLE) whatever.


STELTER: Gas lighting 101 by Roger Stone saying you didn't hear what you just heard come out of his mouth.

Stone later claimed that it was actually an audio engineer who said that word. Now, Mo'Kelly has described this as a diet version of the n-word. It has been an offensive term for decades. Everybody in America knows that. And yet Roger Stone said it and then denied he said it.

Here's part of his statement overnight. Roger Stone saying, Mr. O'Kelly needs a good peroxide cleaning of the wax in his ears because at no time did I call him that word. That's Roger Stone's statement.

And this is Roger Stone's playbook. He's actually very good at this in a very twisted and sick way. He will deny what he said. He's always on the attack. That's one of his so-called rules, attack, attack, attack. And it's a strategy that President Trump has also used.


I think what is lost in all this -- by the way, Stone has used racial slurs before. He has tweeted the same word before on his Twitter feed.

I think what is lost in all of this is a very important point that Mo'Kelly was making on the radio. He was saying, why did your number come up? Why did President Trump commute your sentence and not thousands of other people who are first-time offenders or who are languishing in prison right now? It's a very good question. But Roger Stone derailed the conversation with his use of a slur.

CAMEROTA: Yes, he couldn't answer a simple question. He immediately reverts to racist name calling. I mean that just tells us all you need to know in that little snippet about Roger Stone.

Brian, thank you very much.

STELTER: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: How do we get children back to school safely? We will take you to one child care center that could be a model for educators, next.


CAMEROTA: Schools in New York City and across the country are scrambling to figure out how to open safely in the fall. So they may want to look at some child care centers as models.

CNN's Laura Jarrett joins us now with more.

What did you find out, Laura?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Well, Alisyn, I went to a child care center in Queens. And I wasn't sure what I would find. But what they really show you is the art of the possible when it comes to sanitation and hygiene. But the kids also don't show up at the same time every day and attendance is limited there, making it very different from regular school.



JARRETT (voice over): PS-IS 128 has been closed since March, but every day, at 7:00 a.m., its doors open to over 130 kids in Queens, New York. It's now a child care center like others that have stayed open since the beginning of the pandemic for the kids of frontline workers. Everyone from corrections officers to nurses. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's basically been a godsend.

JARRETT: The YMCA local daycares and child care centers have managed to watch over tens of thousands of kids across the U.S. with schools closed, using strategies that could prove instructive for school districts now coming up with their own plans to keep kids safe in classrooms this fall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We worked in partnership with our communities to create this culture of safety.

JARRETT: The local Ys have used space to their advantage and gotten creative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We use hula hoops to distance ourselves.


JARRETT: At PS-IS 128, as soon as children walk in the door, their temperature is checked as they tell their parents good-bye.

Masks, once only worn by adults, are now required for everyone throughout the entire building. Classrooms are also limited in size to only nine kids at a time and sprayed down with an industrial strength cleaning solution.

JOSEPHINE RAMAGE, P.S. 128'S SITE SUPERVISOR: We taught the kids how to hand wash. As soon as they came in, they hand wash. Whenever they change activities, they hand wash. When they leave the classroom and come back from the gym or from the playground, they hand wash.

JARRETT: If a child becomes sick at some point later on in the day --

RAMAGE: Then we have isolation rooms where we put -- bring them immediately. They've given us Covid kits. And so the nurses will, you know, garb up in the gowns and the extra protection, we'll call home and the student will stay in that room until the parent comes and pick them up.

JARRETT: And, so far, their plan is working.

RAMAGE: We have not had one Covid case in the whole time that we've been here. Not one.

JARRETT: The model is working so well, it's led some school districts to turn to child care centers for guidance. But officials on the ground caution that getting kids back in classrooms for a regular school day comes with its own challenges.

RAMAGE: We had families coming at all different times. That doesn't happen in schools. They all come at the same time. So image the line that would be out the door trying to keep them distanced and checking their temperatures. So while the safety protocols are awesome, the cleaning products and just the procedures are a model, it's not the same as school.


JARRETT: Touring this center in Queens, the other thing you notice is the classroom monitors aren't necessarily teachers. And up until last month when the school year ended, many times they were simply monitoring the kids doing work on their tablets. So there isn't really nearly the same level of instruction that's required in schools.

But no question, the place is spotlessly clean and has proven to be a lifesaver for so many parents in New York, John.

BERMAN: A lot of the kids were wearing masks the way they were supposed to --


BERMAN: Which is a little different than some of the concerns we've been hearing. And I'm pretty -- I mean, look, younger kids will have a hard time with masks overall. That's why it was so interesting to see them there.

JARRETT: Yes, they really had no problem with it. At first, you know, the teachers said it took a little bit of adjustment, but everyone I saw had no problem doing it all day.

BERMAN: All right, really interesting report. Thanks so much, Laura. Appreciate it.

This morning, new questions over whether pro football will happen this year at all. NFL players launched this social media blitz over pandemic safety concerns, just as training camps are set to open.

Carolyn Manno with more in the "Bleacher Report."



Well, all rookies are expected to report to camp by tomorrow, but there are still a number of really important issues that need to be negotiated between the NFL and its Player's Association. And now you are seeing some of the port's biggest stars publicly addressing their concerns to ensure their safety. Things like testing and social distancing.

If you look on Twitter, you're going to see the hashtag, we want to play. That's what all these players have been using. They say they need time to get into football shape. The joint medical committee recommended a 21-day acclimation period for that, which was them shortened to accommodate pre-season games. The union believes that the two remaining pre-season games should be canceled altogether.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson writing, I'm concerned. My wife is pregnant. NFL training camp is about to start and there's still no clear plan on player health and family safety.

All players will be scheduled to report to camps by next Tuesday. The regular season still scheduled to start on September 10th, at least right now.

Elsewhere, we are getting our first look at baseball's new reality. Teams playing exhibition games in modified empty stadiums ahead of Thursday's season opener. The Blue Jays still searching for a stadium to call home, by the way. The Canadian federal government denied the team's request to playing Toronto citing safety concerns with players traveling to and from the United States. So the team looking at minor league stadiums or perhaps their spring training home in Florida.


The clock is ticking with the team's first home game set for July 29th.

And, John, the theme here is just that, it's the clock, it's the timing. The NFL no longer has the luxury of making some of these important decision ranging from player testing, is going to be daily, all the way to, will there be fans in some of these stadiums. And the Blue Jays need to find a home as well.

BERMAN: Yes. Buffalo. Maybe Buffalo. We shall see.

MANNO: Maybe Buffalo.

BERMAN: Carolyn Manno, thanks so much for being with us.

All right, we do have breaking news overnight. A gunman opened fire at the house of a federal judge in New Jersey. We have new updates on the victims and the suspect who's still on the run, next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI investigating after a gunman opens fire at the home of a federal judge in New Jersey, killing her son and injuring her husband.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Investigators say the gunman wore what appeared to be a FedEx uniform.