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Agreement on Virus Testing in a New Aid Bill; Biden Says Trump is First Racist President; China Rebukes Spying Claims; Protests in Israel; Coronavirus Pandemic Update from Around the World; Tropical Depression Forms in the Gulf of Mexico; Opening Day for the MLB. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 23, 2020 - 06:30   ET



LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Get kids back to school. That includes K-12 education, early education, as well as colleges and universities. We also know that some of that money is going to be tied to whether or not you are actually physically reopening classrooms. We also know that this bill is going to include $16 billion more in testing. And that's a little bit short of what Republicans initially wanted. They were hoping for $25 billion, but it's sort of a compromise because there's still about $9 billion left at HHS that the White House is insisting gets used before they appropriate more money for this issue. So that gives you sort of a baseline.

What we don't know is there are still disagreements between the White House and Senate Republicans about whether to include this payroll tax cut that the president has been insisting on. We also don't know, what are they going to do about that $600 in extra unemployment benefits that run out at the end of the month? Republicans have been grappling with how to deal with that issue. They still have not made a final decision.

We expect to see more proposals unveiled today by key committee chairman in their own jurisdictions, but what we don't know is whether or not McConnell is going to be able to unite all of his Republican senators. Remember, he's got members who believe that maybe they don't even need another stimulus.

Alisyn and John.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So about that $600, obviously so many people rely on that to pay for their rent, et cetera. It's going to run out this month. So is there talk of lowering that or just doing away with it altogether?

FOX: Well, essentially, that is what Republicans are trying to figure out, can you bring that extra unemployment benefit down to another number so that there's still an extra benefit to unemployment insurance? Perhaps it's just not as high as $600.

There's also questions -- and Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, has, you know, floated this idea of, what if you pay people to go back to work? Is that another way to incentivize people to go back on the job? Because Republicans have been arguing that essentially this amount of money has kept some people from going back to work. Now, Democrats would argue that this is an essential amount of money, but that's the debate that's playing out right now, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Lauren, thank you very much for all of the breaking information on that.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So lawmakers in the House approved legislation to remove confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol. Seventy-two Republicans joined every House Democrat to pass the measure. The Senate will now take it up. Republicans in that chamber, some, have pushed back on efforts to remove confederate statues, saying states should be able to make the decision. Each state gets to choose which statues it sends to the Capitol.

CAMEROTA: President Trump firing back at Joe Biden after the presumptive Democratic nominee accused the president of being a racist.


JOE BIDEN, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What President Trump has done in going -- his -- his spreading of racism, the way he deals with -- with -- with people --


BIDEN: Based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they're from, is absolutely sickening.


BIDEN: No sitting president has ever done this. Never, never, never. No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president. We've had racists and they've existed and they've tried to get elected president. And he's the first one that has.


CAMEROTA: CNN's Arlette Saenz is live in Washington with more.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, we've heard Joe Biden talk about how President Trump is divisive and he's accused him of fanning the flames of white supremacy, but this appears to be the first time that Biden has actually used the term "racist" to describe President Trump.

Now, this exchange came during a town hall with union workers, when a health care worker who emigrated from South Korea told Biden that she's recently been racially profiled by white Americans while in the supermarket. Biden shared some of her concerns about the president using the term "China virus" to describe the coronavirus and talked about how he believes the president is spreading racism. Now, the Trump campaign has pushed back on Biden's comments, saying

that the president loves all Americans and that no one should be taking lectures on racial justice from Joe Biden.

And, yesterday, President Trump was directly asked about these comments from Biden. And while he didn't address that exact label that Biden is now using for him, he did offer up this defense.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So you look at employment, you look at opportunity zones, and maybe most importantly of all you look at criminal justice reform. You look at prison reform. I've done things that nobody else -- and I've said this and I say it openly and not a lot of people dispute it, I've done more for black Americans that anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.


SAENZ: Now, one thing that Joe Biden's comments do ignore is that the U.S. has elected about a dozen presidents who owned slaves and many others who have made racist remarks in public and in private.


The Biden campaign later acknowledged that there have been racist presidents in the past, but they argued that President Trump is different because they say he's made racism central to his campaign.


CAMEROTA: Arlette Saenz, thank you very much for that report.

So there are huge protests in Israel as frustration grows over the spread of coronavirus and the government's hand of it. We have a live report, next.


BERMAN: Developing overnight, China's foreign ministry responded to the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, calling the U.S. claim that they were spying, quote, malicious slander. China's spokesperson also attacked the U.S. over accusations that China is harboring a fugitive scientist with leaks to the Chinese military at its consulate in San Francisco.

CNN's David Culver live in Beijing with the very latest on a relationship that seems to be heading steeply downward.



And a short time ago, China's foreign minister spokesperson delivering more harsh words, saying that this action by the U.S. demolishes the bridge of friendship between Chinese and Americans.


China now vowing to retaliate. But for now, all we've been hearing is just tough rhetoric. There's no details as to what China might do in response to the U.S. shutting down the Chinese consulate in Houston.

But let me show you what's at stake for the U.S. We can show you a map of China here and the U.S. consulates and embassy. The U.S. has scaled back its diplomatic staffing since the pandemic, but it has six consulates in China, including Hong Kong, plus the embassy right here in Beijing. While Reuters is reporting that the Chinese might go after the U.S. consulate in Wuhan, state media is out with an editorial essentially suggesting China should shut down the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong, claiming it's been used as an intelligence center. Now, that's obviously echoing what U.S. officials have said about the Chinese Houston consulate, basically saying it's a front for spying.

But there's now focus, as we show you a map here of the U.S. and the Chinese consulates, on another Chinese consulate in the U.S. This is where the focus is shifting. It's the one in San Francisco. Why? Well, it's there that the FBI claims that a Chinese biology researcher has been hiding out for about a month. Federal officials claim that the woman lied on her visa application by not disclosing her ties to the Chinese military. This follows the U.S. accusing two Chinese nationals of hacking and trying to steal U.S. Covid-19 research.

Now, the foreign ministry, I'll read you a part of what they are saying about that today. They say that this is blatant, political persecution. We urge the U.S. to stop using any excuses to limit and to crack down on Chinese scholars and students in the U.S. China will use necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and safety of Chinese citizens in the U.S.

But state media shifting its attention from all of this today, focusing instead on some national pride. China's seemingly successful launch, six hours ago, of its first Mars exploration mission.

Alisyn, if the rising tensions that we have seen over recent months aren't reminiscent enough of the Cold War, add to it now this new space race.


David, the echoes are really interesting. Thank you for explaining all of that to us.


CAMEROTA: All right, huge protests in Israel over the government's handling of coronavirus there. Some are calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign. Israel reporting a record increase in new cases since they reopened schools in May.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is live in Jerusalem with more.

So is that the connection, they think, Oren?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, that's been what some health experts here have said was the cause and one of the drivers of this sudden surge in cases, the reopening of schools too quickly and without enough precautionary measures. That, however, seems like the distant past as Israel now has to come to grips with the numbers we're seeing now.

A few weeks ago, the health minister has suggested 2,000 new cases was the benchmark at which Israel would have to consider a second general lockdown. Another had been some numbers close to that earlier in the week and last week Israel officially crossed 2,000 new cases on Wednesday with 2,032 new cases. That number continuing to trend in the wrong direction.

Crucially, the number of severe cases is also on the rise, nearly quadrupling since the beginning of the months. So we will certainly keep an eye on those.

Now, four to five months after Israel saw its first case of coronavirus here, the country, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have finally appointed a coronavirus czar to lead the country through the coronavirus crisis. A number of candidates had turned down the position, worried that they would be given no real responsibility and instead would just be scapegoats for the blame.

And that gets at the other thing that's growing here, the protests. Public frustration and the lack of public trust in the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis has plummeted. And as we've seen that number drop, we've seen the protests grow. Protest outside the prime minister's residents in Jerusalem have become pretty much commonplace. We saw one on Tuesday night. There was one scheduled for tonight, as well as tomorrow night, and the night after. This is becoming most of the week we're seeing these protests.

And whereas protests on anti-corruption, anti-Bibi were fairly common even before coronavirus, now the anger on the streets and the public frustration with the government has fueled these protests.

John, it's now, of course, still the anti-Bibi, anti-corruption, but now there are economic protesters worried about their financial future. There's been a social work protest in the past. Restaurant owners have protested. So at least for Netanyahu, the protests and the coronavirus very much going in the wrong direction.

BERMAN: Yes, controlling this virus has major implications for leaders all around the world.

Oren Liebermann, please keep us posted. Thank you very much.

This morning, the coronavirus pandemic could have a dramatic impact on the political boundaries in Europe.

CNN has reporters covering developments all around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I'm Nic Robertson in Scotland, where today the British prime minister is visiting to try to save the union, because perceptions are growing that Scottish independence is becoming more popular because Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is perceived as doing a better job fighting coronavirus than Boris Johnson.


That despite the fact England and Scotland both have a very similar death rates. The prime minister's message will be that London government is doing everything to help Scotland.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Will Ripley in Hong Kong, where new, drastic steps are being taken to try to stop what city officials call a third wave of Covid-19 that is on the verge of becoming a major outbreak in this densely populated city. People now have to wear masks, not only while riding public transportation, but in all indoor public spaces, as well as bus terminals.

Also, people who are flying into Hong Kong from nine high-risk countries, including the U.S., are now required to submit negative Covid-19 tests before they can even get on a flight.


One year to go until Tokyo hosts the Olympics and the question everyone is asking is whether the games can and should go ahead. Although Japan has done better than most countries in containing the coronavirus, nearly 800 new cases were reported in the country on Thursday, a record high. And as we head into a long holiday weekend here, the governor is saying, please, stay home.

Japan is still not allowing spectators in at full capacity for the stadiums, a major obstacle as it prepares to host one of the biggest sporting events in the world.


BERMAN: Our thanks to our reporters all around the world.

We have some new developments about the huge Twitter hack that hit more than 100 celebrities and politicians, including, you can see it right there, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, the list goes on. CNN has learned that direct messages were also accessed. We have details, next.



CAMEROTA: The FBI is now linking the killing of a California lawyer to the man officials say ambushed a federal judge's family in New Jersey. Law enforcement sources say that the suspect, Roy Den Hollander, had a list of possible targets that included several judges. Authorities say Den Hollander shot and killed the judge's son and injured her husband last week before taking his own life.

BERMAN: New details this morning about the Twitter hack of high- profile celebrities and politicians, including Joe Biden. Twitter confirms the hackers not only posted messages promoting this bitcoin scam, but they also accessed as much as 36 user's direct messages, including one elected officials in the Netherlands. Cybersecurity experts worry that the bitcoin scam may have masked a much more troubling data breach involving the personal communications of some of the world's most powerful people. That's frightening.

CAMEROTA: A tropical depression has formed in the Gulf of Mexico. It's expected to impact Texas this weekend and there is more trouble in the tropics.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our forecast.

Hi, Chad.


It is that time of year when the tropics heat up, the water is very warm and the storms get big. What we have here in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico is a growing storm that will likely be Tropical Storm Hanna later on today and on its way towards Corpus Christi, really.

This weather is brought to you by Boost, the nutrition you need, the taste you deserve.

So where does it go from here? Well, this is just one of two. There's a Gonzalo out there in the Atlantic, but let's worry about this for now.

About a 45-mile-per-hour storm somewhere between south of Galveston and maybe all the way down to South Padre. That's the wide part right now. But as it gets closer, we'll know. This is just a developing storm at this point. And 45 miles per hour, maybe up to 50, will be the likely wind speeds here. But tropical storm watches are already posted. Our first ones here for parts of west Texas, all the way down toward the south part here.

It's tropical. Temperatures are warm. The humidity is in the air. The water is very warm in the Gulf of Mexico. Of course things are going to develop. This is what it's going to look like today. It's going to feel like 101 in D.C.

Now, yesterday, we had a little relief from the rain because the cold -- the hot here with the thunderstorms that roll on by. And we're going to see some thunderstorms today, but not like the storms that you saw in New York yesterday.

Wow, look at this video. And I hope you weren't on this boat that is down there on the bottom left. This is a lightning strike that hit the Statue of Liberty area here. And this weather went all the way up from the battery, all the way up through Soho and even into the northern section of Central Park. You couldn't get away from this thing if you were in the Palisades or all the way down to the Amboys (ph). A big storm, lasted a long time and even had flash flood warnings because it rained for so long, so very hard. Hundreds of lightning strikes across the (INAUDIBLE).


CAMEROTA: I mean we're looping this video, but we're not looping it that much. I mean it is staying in a sustained way near the Statue of Liberty like that.

MYERS: Right. Yes.

CAMEROTA: That was incredible. What a light show.

Chad, thank you very much for showing us that.

MYERS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: OK, it's opening day for Major League Baseball. So what can we expect? The "Bleacher Report" tells us, next.



BERMAN: So it's actually opening day for Major League Baseball. Just 119 days late. One team is still scrambling to find a new ballpark to call home.

Coy Wire with more in the "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Coy.


The Toronto Blue Jays were denied being able to play games at their home ballpark when Canadian officials said over the weekend that teams crossing that U.S./Canada border all season would not be safe. The team trying to make a deal with the Pirates to share Pittsburg's PNC Park, but they were denied by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and state health officials who cited an increase in Covid-19 cases in that part of the state.

So, for now, they're nomads. But Blue Jay's General Manager Ross Atkins says he's very confident the team will find a home field and he says they have, quote, well over five contingency plans, unquote. But the clock is ticking. Their home opener against the defending world series champion Nationals just six days away.

Speaking of the champs, they get things started tonight against the Yankees in D.C. without fans. But the Nats, they're looking to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Bronx Bombers did it 20 years ago. Nationals super fan Dr. Anthony Fauci throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Two-time all-star Ryan Zimmerman had to calm the doc's nerves down.

Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: And I'm quite nervous about it.

RYAN ZIMMERMAN, WASHINGTON NATIONALS: OK, well, don't worry about it. If you bounce it, there's nobody there to boo you. So you'll be good to go. You're fine. You're -- so this is the perfect first pitch. You're good.


WIRE: You've got this, Doc. And we've got John Berman, who may have some advice for you, because we found that he did throw out a ceremonial first pitch as well. The (INAUDIBLE). Look at that form, Doc. Just follow John's lead. You have everything you need.

Berman, what's your advice?

BERMAN: You have to aim high. The worst thing you can do is bounce it. There's nothing worse than bouncing the pitch. So, aim high. If you throw it over the catcher, that's fine. Aim high, Dr. Fauci.


WIRE: Yes. And I'm assuming this is before you had twins, you called this the ultimate achievement of your life, and before getting married (INAUDIBLE).