Return to Transcripts main page


China Orders Consulate Closure; Passengers Injured on Iranian Plane; GOP Stimulus Talks Stall; AOC Admonishes GOP Congressman; Fauci Opens MLB Season. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 24, 2020 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Relationship continues to trend down.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deteriorating with each passing day, John, no question. The Chinese said they were going to retaliate. This is it. their response to the U.S. shutting down their Houston consulate is shutting down the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. It's reported by state media that the staff there has until about Monday morning to move out, local time.

Now, what we're also hearing about this is this is really an area within central China. I mean this is not, probably, if you look at the worst-case scenario diplomatically for the U.S., it's not that. I mean it's not Shanghai, it's not Hong Kong or even Gaungo (ph). But, still, Chengdu is located right alongside with Tibet. It handles that region of China. And the Chinese foreign ministry goes a step further to say that what was happening there was American personnel essentially conducting a center of intelligence. They were essentially saying that it's going to harm China's national security.

They're obviously trying to equate it to what the U.S. has said what was going on in the Houston consulate, considering it to be essentially a front for spying. If you think it stops here, take a listen to what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had to say on Thursday.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: President Reagan said that he dealt with the Soviet Union on the basis of trust but verify. When it comes to the CCP, I say we must distrust and verify. We must induce China to change in more creative and assertive ways because Beijing's actions threaten our people and our prosperity.


CULVER: Did you hear that, he says, distrust but verify. That's how they're approaching the Chinese Communist Party now. It's with a clearly adversarial tone that you heard there.

And, Alisyn, you note the backdrop, as well. I mean that's the Nixon Presidential Library. The president who nearly a half century ago started to normalize relations between the U.S. and China by making an historic visit here.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Very interesting, David. Thank you very much for all of your reporting from the scene.

Developing this morning, tensions between Iran and the United States escalating after reports of a very close encounter between an American fighter yet and an Iranian passenger plane in Syrian air space. Iranian state television aired this video from inside the commercial flight.

(VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Iran says several passengers were injured. The U.S. insists it was conducting a routine air mission and a standard visual inspection.

CNN's Sam Kiley joins us now with the latest developments.

That does look scary inside the cabin.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, very frightening for the passengers. But according to the authorities at Beirut International Airport, there were no injuries, but one man was hospitalized as a result of his reaction to this, a man who suffered from high blood pressure.

But given the international pressure that is on airlines in this area, a terrifying moment, recalling, of course, the accidental downing of the Ukrainian airlines by Iranian missiles a few months ago. Just last Friday, last week, the black box was delivered from Iran to French investigators in Paris. These issues will be top of the people's minds.

And also, Alisyn and John, bear in mind that this aircraft was flying very close, according to the Pentagon, to the al-Tanf Base. That is a U.S./U.K./Jordanian special forces base in southeastern Syria, one that has no doubt a job for monitoring aircraft moving through that area, not least because it is the civilian airliners out of Iran that have been accused by the U.N. and the coalition of delivering men and material and funding to the regime in Damascus and indeed to Hezbollah fighters there.

This aircraft was flying from Damascus to Beirut. It did land safely and then flew on, we understand, according to the Iranian authorities, back to Tehran. The Iranians are saying that they're going to take this up in the various international courts and areas where they could prosecute or try to try to make more of this. But from the American perspective, this was a pretty routine inspection intercept.


BERMAN: Still, Sam, a dangerous moment, a dangerous geography, and dangerous history there on top of all of it.

Sam Kiley with that story, thanks very much.

This morning, the ACLU is filing a lawsuit alleging abuse of protesters in Portland, Oregon. The suit claims local and federal officials violated the rights of four people, including two medics who were shown in a video being pushed and shoved and allegedly hit repeatedly with a baton.




BERMAN: Now, it's not clear if the officers were federal agents or local police. CNN has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals on both the lawsuit and the video for comment, but we have not heard back.

So a remarkable moment on the House floor. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denouncing the vile, misogynistic insult hurled at her from a Republican congressman. He reportedly called her an f'ing b. Her response, next.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The administration has requested additional time to review the fine details, but we will be laying down this proposal early next week.


BERMAN: Yes, early next week is not now. Something went wrong. Negotiations between Senate Republicans and the White House over this new coronavirus stimulus package have stalled. Just one of the key sticking points the extension of a $600 weekly unemployment benefit.

CNN's Phil Mattingly live on Capitol Hill.

This was not what they wanted one bit, Phil.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, no question about it. John, they went into this week, Senate Republicans, the White House, and Democrats who had already passed their own proposal in the House, $3 trillion proposal back in May, assuming that this would be the first week of real negotiations, across party lines, across chambers, trying to get something done. And the reason why is the urgency. You mentioned those federal unemployment benefits set to lapse at the end of next week -- or, sorry, at the end of next week, but a lot of those checks will start changing at the end of this week due to the state systems. There is a real deadline and real deadline pressure, and yet Republicans can't agree with themselves at this point in terms of the next steps.

Now, this is something we've seen really throughout the course of this week, disputing spilling into public view. Senate Republican versus senate Republican. Senate Republicans versus the White House. And those have continued. And each time people involved in this process tell me they thought they had closed issues out with the White House. Those issues seem to open back up.

In fact, there are several open issues, I'm told, that are still being worked through. Technical issues, broader issues, lawmakers and the White House trying to add things into the initial proposal that they don't think, necessarily, applies to what they're trying to do here.

If you listen to that sound you just played from the Senate majority leader, he is not loose with his words. And he made very clear, the administration has requested more time to consider this proposal. What he's saying right there is Senate Republicans were ready to go. Senate Republicans had a plan to roll out their proposal in pieces yesterday because there's an acknowledgement, this isn't going to be the final proposal. This is essentially a starting point. And, yet, they couldn't figure out a way to get together.

There's a deadline pressure. There's still negotiations to go. And, right now, nobody is really sure if Republicans can get it together, even though they say they'll introduce a proposal on Monday, guys.

CAMEROTA: Well, tick-tock. I mean rent is due soon. So, Phil, thank you very much for explaining all of that.

CAMEROTA: A stunning moment on the House floor. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivering an explicit rebuke to Republican Congressman Ted Yoho, who reportedly called her an f'ing b in front of the Capitol this week.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Representative Yoho put his finger in my face, he called me disgusting, he called me crazy, he called me out of my mind.

And in front of reporters, Representative Yoho called me, and I quote, (INAUDIBLE).

I do not need Representative Yoho to apologize to me. Clearly he does not want to. Clearly, when given the opportunity, he will not. And I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women.

But what I do have issue with is using women, our wives and daughters, as shields and excuses for poor behavior.

Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho's youngest daughter. I am someone's daughter, too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho's disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television. And I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men. In using that language in front of the press, he gave permission to

use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and I am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip.

Abby, tell us about the significance of that moment, the fact that she made that passionate speech and the fact that she explicitly said the words f'ing b on the floor of the House.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean it is so powerful. And I think that, you know, AOC is a political figure who really, for Republicans, is such a lightning rod. And, in some cases, it's not really related really too much of what is going on. She represents a lot for them.

But I think what she did on the floor in that moment was, she said, this is not about partisanship, this is about decency. And I think that a lot of women watching that moment recognize themselves in her, recognize their daughters in her, you know, recognize their friends, their mothers, their sisters, and they understand how humiliating it is to be a woman, a professional woman, and to be disrespected like that in really disgusting language and terms in the House of Representatives of the United States.


I think it -- that -- that speech is -- it is a non-partisan statement of values and decency. And I do think that it ought to compel Congressman Yoho to think about what an apology really looks like. What he said to her was, I'm sorry if maybe you were offended, effectively. That's not an apology. And I think that he would have -- he would probably require something more than that if that kind of language had been directed at his wife and his daughters. And I think that was the point of what she said in that speech yesterday.

BERMAN: Yes, he didn't apologize. Come on.


BERMAN: I mean it was -- it was not an apology at all, and then he tried to play it off on passion.


BERMAN: It was misogyny. And to see Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez speak the words out loud I think gives voice and maybe it's a generational thing. Maybe it's proof that this is a new moment. But, again, away from partisanship, it felt like that was someone standing up and saying, enough. Enough.

PHILLIP: Yes. Yes. And you can easily see in another era, right, something like that happening, maybe it wasn't witnessed by a reporter, and the woman staying silent, being afraid to speak up for themselves, in that powerful chamber against a man, a male congressman. She didn't stay silent. She was public about it when it happened. She acknowledged what happened. And I do think that that is actually an important moment for where we are as a society, that, you know, you can't stay silent when things like this happen, and she did not. And not only did she speak up, but she didn't shy away from the language, she didn't try to excuse it, she didn't try to mince words about it. And none of us should either. It was awful. And as you said, John, misogynistic.

And I do think it is really a sad statement about where we are as a country that -- that it is OK for him to -- to say that, apparently, because I don't hear a lot of Republican colleagues condemning what happened. I do think that that's notable. We -- we should hear really pretty universal condemnation for that kind of behavior. And really what you hear is silence, which is telling in and of itself.

CAMEROTA: Well, Congressman Yoho says that he didn't use that, although a reporter heard him say that term, the f'ing b term. But he's not disputing the rest of the story, which is that he called her disgusting, out of her mind, and crazy.


CAMEROTA: He calls that his abrupt manner of conversation. And those things are just as personal and offensive, those terms, that he's -- that he doesn't dispute.

So, in any event, Abby, thank you for explaining to us the significance.


BERMAN: So, this morning, the late congressman -- we learned that the late congressman, John Lewis, will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol next week. It will be an invitation-only viewing on Monday followed by the public paying respects outdoors the Capitol's east front steps. That's due to some coronavirus restrictions. The 80-year-old civil rights icon died last week after a battle with cancer. A week-long celebration of his life begins this weekend in Alabama. A military honor guard will accompany Lewis across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where he helped lead the 1965 march for voting rights.

Meantime, and this is just a Seminole moment, I think, in U.S. history. The Fairfax County School Board in Virginia announced they will rename Robert E. Lee High School after Congressman Lewis. It's a big moment in history there.

Dr. Anthony Fauci opens the baseball season with a ceremonial first pitch and an implicit plea for social distancing, even in the way he throws, next.



BERMAN: So there was actual baseball last night. Actual real-life regular season baseball, which was wonderful to see, even if the Yankees had to be involved.

Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report" this morning.

Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Spoken like a true Red Sox fan.

Good morning, John.

There have been so many concerns, right, about whether this season would, could, or even should be played during this global pandemic. So it was only fitting to have Dr. Anthony Fauci there leading the way on opening day, throwing out that first pitch, giving America that much- needed dose of normalcy.

The Nationals super fan, he trotted out there. Nerves may have gotten to him a bit because he rushed the pitch and it was just a bit outside. Now, he said he practiced all week. He'd been throwing at an elementary school in D.C. there with his wife. He -- one person tweeting that this was the perfect pitch, because Dr. Fauci didn't want anyone to catch anything.

Now, before the game, the teams listened to a pre-recorded speech about social justice, narrated by Morgan Freeman. And every player took a knee there and you can see them joined together by a black ribbon as part of a Black Lives Matter tribute. And the players then stood up for the national anthem.

In the game, Giancarlo Stanton helping to lead the Yankees with this monster home run. A 4-1 win for the Yankees before the game was eventually called in the sixth due to rain.

Now, in tonight's second game in L.A., the Dodgers' star Mookie Betts and some members of the San Francisco Giants, including their manager, Gabe Kapler, continued to kneel during the anthem. The Dodgers went on to win 8-1 in their home opener.

Now, every U.S. president, for the past 110 years, starting with William Howard Taft in 1910, has thrown out a ceremonial first pitch, either on opening day, the all-star game or the World Series, except for President Trump. But he says that's going to change August 15th when he throws the first pitch at Yankee Stadium. He says there is one thing he doesn't want to see.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope everyone's standing. I hope they're not going to be kneeling when the flag is raised. I don't like to see that. That would hurt -- that would hurt a lot of people in our country. They don't want to see that with the NFL or baseball or basketball or anything else. We want to -- there are plenty of places you can protest. You don't have to protest on the raising of our flag.



WIRE: Now, President Trump has thrown out one first pitch before, 2006 at Fenway Park there, John. And good luck to your Red Sox, who will be playing there in Fenway as one of 14 MLB games taking action today.

BERMAN: It's interesting, the president speaks out in favor of free speech when it comes to the confederate flag, but not kneeling during the national anthem.

One other point, it's a good thing it's throwing the first pitch and maybe not catching it for the president, as long as Anthony Fauci's being made fun of for his throw. This was the president last night at the White House playing catch with little leaguers and Mariano Rivera. No word if the ball landed in the glove, Coy.

WIRE: That catch kind of on par with Dr. Fauci's pitch.

BERMAN: Exactly. Exactly.

WIRE: It will be interesting to see if President Trump feels the pressure to match or better Dr. Fauci's throw because you know people will be waiting.

BERMAN: It won't be hard. It won't be hard.

WIRE: Yes.

BERMAN: All right, Coy, thanks very much.

WIRE: All right. '

BERMAN: All right, this morning, coronavirus is winning and the president is in retreat. A stunning turn of events. We'll discuss, next.