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Trump Cancels Jacksonville GOP Convention; Texas Reports 173 Deaths, 9,500+ New Cases in a Day; Trump Holds Briefing without Fauci for Third Day; Miscalculation by Police Led to the Death of Breonna Taylor. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 23, 2020 - 18:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So, they can use some of these funds to put safety precautions in place. But there's very little time for a lot of school districts around the country to do that.

And so, Wolf, there was a point during this briefing, as the president was opening up and announcing this news about the convention down in Jacksonville, where he sounded like he's coming to the reality of the situation that this pandemic is getting out of control in this country.

But yet, if he had been more serious about the virus months ago, this situation could be in better shape than where it is right now. He might even be able to have his nominating speech in Jacksonville or have a normal convention down in Charlotte, had he taken this seriously all along.

And so the president is finding himself to be a victim of his own leadership, his own lack of leadership throughout this pandemic. And the chickens are coming home to roost for this president.

He's also seeming much more irrelevant than we have seen perhaps throughout his presidency, as he's backpedaling on a convention, backpedaling on reopening schools somewhat, saying it's going to be up to governors and so on, also giving up on his wishes for a payroll tax cut, giving up on other items, so Republicans can get more coronavirus relief money out there to the rest of the country.

And so this is a president, because he has downplayed and diminished the threat of this virus, who has put himself in this very precarious political position, where his own party is going off and doing what it wants to do when it comes to coronavirus relief, and he's having to essentially backpedal on all of these lines in the sand that he's been drawing throughout this entire pandemic, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Yes, that's an important point.

And, Dana -- Dana Bash is with us as well.

We did hear the president say today stuff that he should have been saying months ago. We have to be vigilant, we have to be careful, we have to set an example, there has to be social distancing, everyone has to go out there and start wearing a mask.

All of this is critically important. I'm glad the president is saying it now. But, Dana, I think it's clear he should have been saying this for a long time.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, I have been talking to people who are familiar with the president's thinking for some time who are saying -- who were telling me over and over again that it was communicated to the president that his opponent is not Joe Biden, it is the coronavirus.

And in the past couple of days, he finally realized that the coronavirus is beating him and beating him badly. And there is nothing that he could do, except for change course tactically, rhetorically.

And I think that's the important thing to keep in mind here. What we heard and what we saw was a change in rhetoric, yes, some action, the fact that he is completely retreating on this big convention that he demanded, in the face of a lot of opposition from inside, and certainly from people even on the outer circle of the Trump orbit, that he had a big convention, that he wanted to have people there cheering, and to have that -- those optics.

But what happened was, last month, he got what he wanted, and it backfired in a very big way. And so his numbers started to decline. And now he is trying to build those numbers back up. That is why he is canceling the Jacksonville portion of his convention.

That is why -- and we should not lose sight of this -- he really also reversed himself in a big way on schools. He has been demanding that schools go back, no matter what. Find a way to go back. He was not saying that today. He said that local leaders, superintendents, and so forth, they have to make the decision based on what is happening in their areas, offering more money, as opposed to threatening to withhold money.

That's another very, very big retreat. And it all falls under the umbrella of the fact that his opponent is the coronavirus, the coronavirus is winning, and that it's largely because he completely mostly ignored it, and certainly didn't lead the federal government in trying to show leadership to fix it.

BLITZER: I think, Dana, you make a really important point, because the president clearly did say something he hasn't said before, that if cities and states, school districts, if they're in hot spots, and they think they can't reopen for in-class learning right away, they may need to delay, he said, for a few weeks.

We haven't heard that from the president before, and we hadn't heard, as I said, $105 billion proposed to help the schools around the country reopen.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us as well.

Sanjay, he did say that some of these schools may need, in response to a question, more money for testing and very rapid testing to help them deal with schools reopening. Explain what he was suggesting.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that this idea that we have never had enough testing in this country was true at the beginning, it was true in the middle, and remains true.


Even if you look at the CDC guidance right now, they say that universal testing with regard to schools is not recommended.

And I think, Wolf, what I think a lot of people in the public health world have been asking, they have been telling me all along is, look, are we not recommending universal testing because we don't think it's helpful, or are we not recommending it because we don't have enough testing?

It really seems to be the latter here. So, to your question, Wolf, I think this was the first time you sort of hear, look, we recognize the value of testing. I mean, at the White House, they test all the time. If you had significant testing, it's not to say that it's a panacea, it's going to solve all the problems.

But we -- it's another strategy, an important one, to start reopening places like this. People could get tested with some degree of regularity, they could have the physical and psychological confidence that they don't have the virus, and, perhaps as important, have that confidence that the people around them don't have the virus.

Wolf, I have got tell you, testing in this country still is kind of like in fireman mode. There's a hot spot there, there's a fire over there, there's a fire over there. That's what testing is really used for right now.

What it should be used for is being able to find people, isolate them, quarantine their contacts, and bring the numbers of new cases down. We're nowhere near that right now, Wolf.

BLITZER: And that would require -- that would absolutely demand that the results of the tests come forward not in a week or eight days or two weeks, but within a day or so, if you're going to engage, Sanjay, in any serious contact tracing to try to isolate what's going on.

GUPTA: I talk to colleagues in other countries around the world, I and can paint you a picture quickly of what it looks like.

Many places, you can get tested. First of all, you can get the test. You can get the results even before you leave the testing center. If you are positive, if you have the infection, you would then be told exactly what isolation looks like, and maybe even given some resources to help you isolate, because not everyone can isolate so easily.

As then, Wolf, as you say, you can start the process of contact tracing right there and then. You start asking them, who have you been in contact with over the last few days? If you wait several days, they say, if you wait longer than five days, it really doesn't have value anymore in terms of actually curbing the pandemic. So we can get to these places. But it does require a significant

investment of thought, of resources, of attention to really believe this is a significant problem.

We talked about having breakthroughs in testing two-and-a-half months ago. What happened? We never had those breakthroughs. I think it's time for that to happen.

BLITZER: I think you're right, absolutely right.

Daniel Dale is with us as well, our CNN reporter and fact-checker.

You were listening as closely as anyone to what the president was saying. What jumped out at you, Daniel?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Wolf, the president continues to paint a dishonestly rosy picture of the pandemic.

He's done this for months. Today, he said that most of the country has no problem. That's not true at all. No place is immune. He said that, in hot spots like Jacksonville, it goes away quickly once it arrives. It does not go away quickly. It does not go away at all without extensive efforts.

And he said that the country is doing well, unless you look South and West. And I think that comment fact-checks itself. He also continued to try to portray himself as the ventilator king, saying that ventilators were hard to come by before him.

In fact, the Department of Health told me that there have been 19,000 ventilators in the national stockpile for -- quote -- "many years."

Wolf, I also think it's important to point out the distinction between Trump reading from his script, as he did today, and the Trump who's just talking, as he has recently. So, Trump said today it's important to set an example by avoiding things like a packed hall at a convention.

Well, he held a campaign rally with no distancing in June, over the objections of health authorities, and subsequently has bashed Democratic governors for not letting him do more. Today, he talked about the need to surge testing to hot spots like Miami.

In an interview that aired on FOX just yesterday, he said again that testing is overrated and that he's OK with doing it because they say it's fine, but made clear he's not a big fan.

So, yes, we hear somewhat of a -- quote -- "new tone" from the president at the podium, but it's important to look at what he says when he's just being himself, as he is in interviews on Twitter, and so on.

BLITZER: All right, we have got a lot to report. There's a lot of breaking news unfolding right now.

Daniel, stand by. Everyone, stand by. We're going to take a quick break, assess what we just heard from the

president of the United States, much more on all the coronavirus pandemic developments right after this.



BLITZER: We're following more breaking news tonight, as the number of coronavirus cases here in the United States has now passed the four million mark. Those are confirmed cases.

Let's go to our national correspondent, Athena Jones.

Athena, as we cross yet another very disturbing milestone, what are we learning about mistakes that were made?


Well, look, this line of new research published in the medical journal "JAMA Network Open" pretty sums up what's been going wrong in America and what the problem is now.

The study's lead author, Dr. David Rubin, writing: "Our data revealed that if the United States had collectively waited longer, opened more slowly, and then kept our gathering sizes small, we might have reduced case counts, like Europe or Canada, and experienced a relatively normal summer free of extreme disease burden from COVID-19."

Unfortunately, that is not what happened, and here we are.


JONES (voice-over): Four million infections nationwide, a grim milestone, and perhaps the strongest signal yet the coronavirus is still raging out of control across much of the country, deaths nationwide topping 1,000 for the second straight day, with total hospitalizations back up to April levels, 15 states setting new records, half of them in the South.


The Center for Public Integrity reporting, White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warning state and local leaders in a private phone call that a dozen major cities where positivity rates for COVID tests are rising must take aggressive steps to halt the virus' spread.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: When you first see that increased test positivity, that is when to start the mitigation efforts. I know it may look small, and you may might say, well, that's only 5 to 5.5, and we're going to wait and see what happens. If you wait another three or four, even five days, you will start to see a dramatic increase in cases.

JONES: California and Florida both setting new records for deaths in a single day, the mayor of Miami stressing the challenges of halting community spread, when much of it is happening at home and offering this advice to residents:

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R-FL), MIAMI: If you have a multigenerational household, wearing masks indoors, at times, with their multigenerational residents and also respecting social distance when they're at home, because, again, we're seeing the largest center of spread being our house.

JONES: In Alaska, one of 12 states that saw its highest seven-day average for new daily cases on Wednesday, the mayor of Anchorage rolling back reopening, placing new limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

And the governor announcing that, starting today, people in state buildings will be required to wear face masks when they cannot stay six feet away from others.

GOV. MIKE DUNLEAVY (R-AK): We want to do everything we can, especially over the next two weeks, to see if we can kind of arrest this surge.

JONES: Meanwhile, school districts from Seattle to Maryland and universities like South Carolina's Clemson announcing plans to hold classes online in the fall.

In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey still mulling whether to open schools, while facing pressure from parents and teachers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to go back to work. We want to support our kids. We want to keep doing what we love doing, but we also want to feel safe. And we also have family to worry about.

JONES: One potentially bright spot, Major League Baseball, today starting an abbreviated season, with Dr. Anthony Fauci throwing out the first pitch in Washington.




JONES: And one more sign of the toll the coronavirus is taking on this country, statisticians at CDC say they now expect COVID-19 to be among the top 10 leading causes of death in this country this year.

BLITZER: Athena Jones reporting for us, thank you.

Joining us now, Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Dr. Jha, as usual, thanks so much for joining us.

And, as you just heard, the U.S. has just exceeded four million confirmed cases of coronavirus. And, remember, it took 99 days to reach one million cases and just 15 days to go from three million to four million cases.

How concerning is it to you, Dr. Jha, to see this exponential rise in cases, especially given what we know about the hospitalizations and the deaths that will follow?


So, obviously very concerning that we have got a million cases in just about two weeks or so. And the question is, when do we get to five million? And can we stretch that out? Can we slow things down?

There are a few silver linings, a few places where I do see some evidence that things are maybe slowing down a little, in Arizona and Florida. But they're still in really bad shape and we're going to have to keep plugging away at really slowing down this virus, or we're going to hit five million very soon, unfortunately.

BLITZER: The CDC now says that the coronavirus will end up as one of the top 10 leading causes of deaths in 2020.

How stunning is it to see a virus we weren't even aware of for much of 2019 become a leading cause of death in 2020?

JHA: Yes, it's very stunning and very disturbing.

And the most upsetting part about this, Wolf, is, this was all completely preventable. This did not need to happen; 145,000 Americans have died of this. That was largely unnecessary. We couldn't have gotten away with no deaths. We would have had some. It is a serious virus.

But, to me, the most frustrating part is, it ends up having a very large effect on the American people, when, largely, it was preventable.

BLITZER: I want you to listen to something Dr. Fauci told our political contributor David Axelrod about vaccine timing and when we should expect to return to some sort of normality.

Listen to this.


FAUCI: The timetable you suggested of getting into 2021, well into the year, then I can think, with a successful vaccine, if we can vaccinate the overwhelming majority of the population, we could start talking about real normality again. But it is going to be a gradual process.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's -- that's -- you're really talking about a year from now.

FAUCI: Yes. Yes, absolutely. Yes.



So, Dr. Jha, you agree with Dr. Fauci on that outlook?


JHA: Yes, you know, he's among the more optimistic people, but he's -- in terms of vaccines. But he's right.

I think there's all this talk of, we will have a vaccine later this year. Remember, I always sort of say, vaccines don't save lives, vaccinations save lives. There's a big step between getting a vaccine ready and getting it into the arms of people and enough people across America that we really bring the pandemic to a halt.

And that is, I do believe, it's -- and it's probably a year ago, nine to 12 months away.

BLITZER: A lot of people, unfortunately, are going to die in the course of these many, many months.

Dr. Ashish Jha, thank you so much for joining us.

And we have an important programming note for our viewers. Be sure to join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a new CNN global town hall, "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears." Their special guests include Bill Gates.

That's later tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern here, only here on CNN.

Just ahead, I will speak live with the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, about the worsening crisis that's unfolding right now in that state.



BLITZER: Unfortunately, another very grim record in Florida today; 173 people died from the virus. That's higher than any day since the start of the pandemic.

CNN's Randi Kaye is following all these developments for us.

Randi, you're there in Florida. The surge prompting the president, as you just heard, to cancel the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.


BLITZER: Yet schools are supposed to be opening in the state in just the next few weeks. First of all, what's the latest on that?

KAYE: It is amazing that they are supposed to open in a few weeks, the brick-and-mortar schools, although the governor has again the go-ahead to parents and teachers, if they want to continue to do distance learning, they certainly can. But if you look at the record number of cases here, we're looking at

10,249 new cases. That isn't a record, but certainly high, but the record number of deaths, 173 in the last 24 hours.

The statewide positivity rate, Wolf, still high, 18.6 percent. And statewide as well, we're looking at just 15 percent of ICU beds left. And in Broward County, just south of where I am in Palm Beach County, they have just about 9.8 percent of the ICU beds left.

Also, in Miami, they're issuing tickets, 115 tickets just this week for people not paying attention, not following the guidelines and keeping those masks on. So that's certainly a problem.

But, Wolf, I want to just tell you where I am. I'm at the FITTEAM Ballpark here in West Palm Beach. And this is where your favorite team plays for spring training, usually, the Washington Nationals. They had to close up shop here in early March. It was considered a nonessential business.

So, as you know, they had to train elsewhere. But the last game here, I should point out, it was a game between the Yankees and the Nationals. Sounds very familiar, doesn't it? And that was on March 12. And the Yankees won, Wolf, I hate to tell you, 6-3.

BLITZER: We will see what happens later tonight here in Washington. Yankees and the world champion Washington Nationals play again in the home opener.

All right, thank you very much, Randi Kaye, for that.

Let's go to Texas right now, where the state just reported 173 new deaths attributed to the virus, more than 9,500 new confirmed cases in just a day.

We're joined by the mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg.

Mayor Nirenberg, thank you so much for joining us.

And I quickly want to get your reaction to what we just heard from the president a few moments ago. He's asking Congress to provide $105 billion to school districts, to schools all over the country, but says he wants schools to reopen for in-class learning.

Are you concerned your schools in San Antonio, for example, may miss out on some of this federal funding, if you aren't able to open them as quickly as the president would like?


And it's egregious to force reopenings, when we know that the community spread of this virus and the close-contact transmission that people are seeing all over this state is encouraging increased infections.

The infections will get into schools because people are spreading it throughout the community if we don't allow that infection rate to come back down before we start opening schools in person dramatically.

BLITZER: Yes, he did say, the president, at one point that some cities, some states in hot spots -- Texas clearly a hot spot -- may need to delay school reopening for a few weeks.

But he says, if it goes on too long, he says, if schools do not reopen, then the money, the $105 billion, whatever was supposed to go to those districts that are not reopening in-class learning will simply go to parents who can send their kids to charter schools, private schools, parochial schools instead.

What's your reaction to that?

NIRENBERG: There's a tremendous burden on schools, regardless of whether they're operating in-person or not.

There's a lot of technology and distance learning taking place. We know that schools are nurturing environments, providing food, as well as other assistance to families all across this community. Whether or not they're conducting class in person is another matter.

But the resources that the school districts and the particular schools depend on is vital for our community' health.

BLITZER: Did today's briefing provide you with helpful guidance?

The president did say the CDC was about to issue some formal guidance for schools reopening. Have you seen that yet in your conversations with federal authorities?

NIRENBERG: We have not seen any uniformity to the school opening guidelines, not here at the state and certainly not at the federal level.


One thing that we have done a little bit better here locally though is providing some school -- our school districts and flexibility, but also allowing for local public health authorities here in town, here in San Antonio, for instance, the ability to make medically-based, science-based decisions.

Here in the cases in San Antonio, our local public health authority has ensured that we will not have in-person classes, in-person congregating in schools, until after at least Labor Day.

And before we begin to go back in school in any kind of number, there will be medically-based triggers reached, medically-based criteria before we begin to see that congregation in schools. That's for the benefit and the health and safety of our students, our teachers and the community in general.

BLITZER: Yes, which is priority number one. In Texas right now, we understand, Mayor, the coronavirus hospitalizations have sort of plateaued, but they've leveled off at the peak of this curve. When you take a look at these numbers, do you feel additional action right now is necessary? For example, are you considering a new stay-at-home order?

NIRENBERG: We are consistently asking the governor to roll back some of the exceptions that are in the current orders. For instance, we know that indoor gatherings are some of the most dangerous places for the infection to be transmitted. So we are urging the governor to reduce those exceptions, things like youth sports are also not advisable right now, water parks are open. So we need to continue to enhance what we have now, and, of course, we need to continue to enforce things like the mask-wearing as well as physical distancing.

We want to be targeted though. This infection got out of control. And so what we're seeing is a lot of in-house transmission, close-contact transmission that is really hard to stop unless people are very serious about this and we reduce some of those indoor gatherings and some of the congregation that we know is a hotbed for transmission.

BLITZER: Mayor Nirenberg, good luck to you and good luck to everyone in San Antonio. We'll stay in close touch. Thanks so much for joining us.

BLITZER: Just ahead, I'll speak with David Axelrod about the president's decision not to include any doctors in his coronavirus news media briefings.

And David's new interview today with Dr. Anthony Fauci, we'll have excerpts.



BLITZER: President Trump just held another coronavirus briefing for a third straight day without Dr. Anthony Fauci at his side, or even in the room, for that matter.

I want to bring in CNN Senior Political Commentator David Axelrod, who just interviewed Dr. Fauci.

David, Dr. Fauci, once again, not at the briefing today, but you spoke to him one-on-one. I want you and our viewers to listen to what he told you about his current relationship with the president. Listen to this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The one thing that's interesting that I think people don't appreciate is that I do have a very good relationship with the president in the sense of no animosity at all. In fact, it's quite a good relationship.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Did you mention to him that maybe it isn't helpful when the White House sends out opposition research documents to try and besmirch you or the trade adviser writes op-eds talking about trying to besmirch you?

FAUCI: Yes. Well, I don't like that. If I said here and tell you that's okay, it's not okay. I think that's really bad news to do that.

AXELROD: And have you mentioned that to the president?

FAUCI: I think it's pretty clear around the White House that that's the situation. I don't think in some respects the president is not happy about that either. I can tell you, he's not happy personally about that.


BLITZER: So what was your reaction, David, when you heard his answer about that, his relationship with the White House and the president?

AXELROD: Well, my sense was, Wolf, that he is trying mightily to stay in the game here so he can do his work. And he knows that frontal assaults on the White House are not necessarily helpful.

But it was interesting during the course of this conversation, there were numerous places, including whether the health professionals should be doing the briefing, on which Dr. Fauci separated himself from the president.

On schools, he urged a more nuanced approach to schools. On testing, he said, if we don't invest more in testing, we've got a big problem because tests where you have to wait seven days become irrelevant. And he said in the hotspots, in particular, we're facing those circumstances.

And then in terms of the vaccine, on which he's very active, he's very optimistic or cautiously optimistic, I would say, that there will be a vaccine by the end of the year. But the president keeps holding this out as the end of the story.

And what Fauci was very clear about is we're a year away from any kind of return to semi-normalcy, because it's going to take that long to vaccinate most of the country.

So, you know, Fauci is very -- he's survived in Washington for 40 years by knowing how to navigate difficult situations, and he's trying to navigate this one, giving the information that he thinks people need at the same time that he tries mightily not to frontally assault the president.

BLITZER: And we're totally grateful that he's still there in the mix because he's doing really important work.

AXELROD: Absolutely.

BLITZER: In response to your excellent questions, David, he did open up about, this is so worrisome to me, serious, disturbing threats he's been receiving out there.


How concerning is it to see a public servant like this dedicating his whole adult life to helping not only people in the U.S. but around the world receive this kind of backlash?

AXELROD: He was really passionate on this, Wolf. And he recalled, and you will recall, that back in the '80s, he was very controversial when he was working on HIV/AIDS and was a target of protests. And so he said it was nothing like this where he's getting really vile, vile threats and dangerous threats, not just to himself but to his family. And that has now required him to have security.

And he said, this is the reality of where we are in America, and he was very disturbed about it.

BLITZER: Yes. It's an awful, awful situation. David, thank you so much for doing this.

And I want our viewers to know, if they want to hear David's interview with Dr. Fauci, they can. It's very easy. Simply go to You'll be able to watch and it learn in the process. David, thank you so much, once again.

AXELROD: Thanks.

BLITZER: Also, Major League Baseball resumes amid the pandemic raging across so much of the United States. CNN's Brian Todd is working that part of the story for us.

Brian, fans are thrilled to see the return of baseball, but it's coming under extraordinary circumstances as dozens of players have already tested positive for coronavirus. Tell our viewers where you are and what a high wire act this has all become.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a huge high wire act, Wolf. We are at Nats Park, in the southeast entrance of the park. And I'm going to show you how surreal this is.

Normally in this entrance, thousands of fans would be streaming up this walkway, going to the gate over there. But here, look at this, you see nobody here. Of course, we know no fans are going to be in the stands. All you have are media positions for reporters and producers and photographers like us, but still an exciting night.

Because, look, this is the first event of the big four major sports leagues returning to action, in about 20 minutes it's all going to start again. You're talking the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA and the National Hockey League. This is the first event of any of those four leagues to start back, this event tonight with the Yankees playing the Nationals.

Part of the excitement, the fact that Dr. Anthony Fauci is throwing out the first pitch in a very short time from now. He had a funny exchange with Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman a short time ago, where Zimmerman was kind of prepping him for that first pitch. Take a listen to what they talked about.


RYAN ZIMMERMAN, WASHINGTON NATIONALS FIRST BASEMAN: Have you thrown a first pitch out before at a big league stadium?

FAUCI: I have not, Zimmerman. And I'm nervous about it.

ZIMMERMAN: Okay. Well, don't worry about it. If you bounce (ph) it, there's nobody there to boo you, so you'll be good to go. You're fine.


TODD: So, no one to boo Dr. Fauci tonight, but there will be a pretty large television audience. We mentioned the number of baseball players testing positive, more than 80 baseball players have tested positive, more than a dozen staffers tested positive.

Among the players testing positive, Nationals slugger Juan Soto just found out today he has tested positive for COVID-19. He's out indefinitely. He's got to test positive twice in the span of 24 hours to be back in action. That's a big blow for the Nats tonight. But, look, Wolf, the good part is sports is returning about 20 minutes from now. It's all going to get under way. It's an exciting time.

BLITZER: Normally, it would be a packed Nats Park. Unfortunately, no fans in the stadium right now. I'll leave you with these words, go Nats.

Much more news right after this.



BLITZER: Tonight, a CNN investigation into a high-profile case in the fight for racial justice in the United States.

Kentucky's attorney general is expected to announce any day whether he will seek charges against police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reports the operation was seriously flawed.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Breonna Taylor's family, the entire tragic story boils down to one question, why were police breaking down her door in the middle of the night?

BIANCA AUSTIN, BREONNA TAYLOR'S AUNT: They should have never been there in the first place. It should have never happened.

GRIFFIN: a CNN analysis finds key miscalculations, including using months-old information, led Louisville police to include Breonna Taylor in a high-risk operation targeting drug houses. Some facts are in dispute, these are not.

Police raided Taylor's apartment under the suspicion she was involved with handling money and drugs for an alleged Louisville drug dealer, her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover. When it was all over, police found no drugs, no money in her apartment.

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician who worked two jobs, who had never been convicted of a crime, was dead, shot five times by police.

OPERATOR: 911, Operator Harris, where's is your emergency?

KENNETH WALKER: I don't -- I don't know what's happened. Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.

GRIFFIN: To understand how this tragedy unfolded that night, you have to come here to the door where it began. Just before 1:00 a.m., March 13th, officers for the Louisville Police Department arrive with a no- knock warrant, but say they did knock anyway.

Sergeant John Mattingly, recorded in this police interview, admits he had limited information.

SGT. JONATHAN MATTINGLY: They said she was probably there alone.


So, we determined, predetermined to give her plenty of time to come to the door, banged on the door, no response. Banged on it again, no response. At that point, we started announcing ourselves, police, please come to the door. Police, we have a search warrant.

GRIFFIN: Inside, Breonna wasn't alone. She had just dozed off next to her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Walker telling police the knocking, banging at the door scared them, thinking it could be Taylor's ex- boyfriend breaking in.

KENNETH WALKER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S BOYFRIEND: She's like who is it? Loud, at the top of her lungs, no response. So, I'm like what the heck? So then I grab my gun, which is legal, like I'm licensed to carry, everything. I've never fired my gun outside of a range. I'm scared to death.

GRIFFIN: Walker said he never heard anyone say police. Neither did multiple neighbors who spoke with CNN, including a neighbor whose doors are just inches away. What they heard was shouting, banging, gunshots.

WALKER: The door, like, comes off the hinges. So, I just let off one shot, and then all of a sudden, there's a whole lot of shots. They're just shooting. We're both on the ground and then when all the shots stop, I'm like panicking. She's right there on the ground like bleeding.

GRIFFIN: Walker said he purposely aimed his gun towards the ground. Sergeant John Mattingly was struck in the leg and was one of three officers who returned fire.

MATTINGLY: As soon as the shot hit, I could feel the heat in my leg. I returned fire. I got four rounds off. And it was like simultaneous. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

GRIFFIN: Mattingly is on administrative reassignment along with a second officer who fired shots that night, Myles Cosgrove. The third police officer to fire his weapon, Detective Brett Hankison was standing outside and fired ten rounds through a closed and curtained patio door. He has been fired. He's appealing.

But according to Louisville's police chief, his blind shooting displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life which his lawyers denied.

RENEE PRUITT, NEIGHBOR: I mean, I was asleep and I woke up to gunshots and it scared me as soon as I woke up and they were just going off.

GRIFFIN: The gunshots whizzed through holes, windows, bedrooms, bullet holes were found everywhere, in the kitchen, bedrooms, in a neighbor's apartment with small children nearby. Multiple neighbors called 911 asking for police to find out later it was police.

One of the neighbors recorded this video of Taylor's boyfriend being arrested while pleading for police to help his girlfriend bleeding inside.

All charges against the boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, would be dropped.

JU'NIYAH PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S SISTER: You can tell it was brutal.

GRIFFIN: Breonna's sister Ju'niyah who police apparently did not know also lived in the apartment was out of town that night, returning to find her bedroom covered in bullets and a pool of her sister's blood.

PALMER: When we had to clean up, if I can show what it looked like in there, you would be like, wow, that is very horrific.

GRIFFIN: Attorneys for Breonna Taylor's family say the police mistakes began well before they knocked down her door.

LONITA BAKER, ATTORNEY FOR TAYLOR'S FAMILY: Sloppy intelligence, getting a no-knock warrant when it was not necessary to have a no- knock warrant.

GRIFFIN: Police got five warrants approved. Four were for suspected drug dealers and suspected drug houses, lumped into that with similar language was the warrant for Breonna Taylor's apartment.

According to a source, police told the judge Taylor was Jamarcus Glover's current girlfriend and the warrant suggests Glover was having drugs delivered to Taylor's apartment by mail, to be shuttled to crack houses.

Her family says the information police had on Taylor was outdated or incorrect. She hadn't dated Glover in months. A package police say they saw Glover picking up at Taylor's apartment was likely a pair of shoes, according to the family attorney. And despite what officers were told before the raid, Breonna Taylor certainly did not live alone. The family lawsuit against police summed it up as the incredibly stale

nature of this intelligence.

AUSTIN: We just want the truth to come out, and we don't want to rush anything. And we know it's complicated.

GRIFFIN: Circuit Court Judge Mary Shaw who signed the warrants tells CNN in a statement, she spent more than 30 minutes considering the warrant application and subsequently made the probable cause determination required of me by law.

Breonna Taylor's death was a tragedy, the judge told CNN. Her death will stay with me forever.

Taylor's family wants more than sympathy and understanding. They want police officers charged with murder.

(on camera): I'm sure your attorneys have told you that is hard to do in the United States.

AUSTIN: We don't expect it to be easy. We don't expect the truth to be easy to no one because it's not easy to us. But we know the truth. And we're willing, we are, we're going to fight this until the end, you know what I mean?


So, I mean, she's just -- Breonna Taylor to y'all but this is our family to us. This is our baby, and she's going to get the justice she deserves.


GRIFFIN: Wolf, just one of the officers involved responded to CNN. Sergeant John Mattingly through his attorney says he was just following orders, not involved in the planning, and at all times followed established police procedures.

Louisville, Wolf, remains on edge waiting to find out if any of these police officers will be charged with Breonna Taylor's death -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Drew Griffin, excellent reporting. Thank you so much for that.

We're going to have more news just ahead.


BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer. Stay with CNN for more breaking news on the coronavirus crisis. Thanks very much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.