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Thirteen States Saw Highest Seven-Day Averages For New Daily Cases Sunday; Testing Czar: Turnaround Times Are Still Too Long In The U.S.; Rep. John Lewis' Brother Remembers His Swearing In Ceremony; John Lewis Motorcade Makes Its Way To U.S. Capitol; Senate GOP To Unveil Relief Bill With Scaled-Back Unemployment Aid. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 27, 2020 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The challenge is to push it down this much higher in terms of a daily case counts than we were back in March and April. When we are at hope we were at the peak back then.

One of the concerns even if Florida gets a bit better, Texas gets a bit better and California gets a bit better, will it cycle back? You look, go back to July 1st this is Maryland and Virginia. If you go back to July 1st, these states were reopening, they thought they were in better shape you do see a slight uptick in Maryland.

You do see an uptick here steady, a chunky uptick here in the state of Virginia. The Maryland Governor Larry Hogan says he's worried about the resurgence in his state and he says, he is Chairman of the National Governor's Association, he says you go around the country we are still very much in crisis mode.


GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): On the one hand we are doing a better job in doing more testing but the processing time has slowed down. It is starting to feel like it did back in March and April where everybody was overwhelmed although we have started to make some progress.

And now it's - we are getting behind again and talking with Governors and across the country, there's a big lack of reagents which is one of the kind of nine steps in the testing process and we've got to get the federal government's help on that as well.


KING: Starting to feel like its March and April he says. Let's bring into our conversation, Dr. Larry Brilliant he joins us as well. An Epidemiologist, CNN Medical Analyst. It just sets me back in the chair Dr. Brilliant to hear those words starting to feel like it did back in March and April. Is that your assessment when you look at these numbers? And you look again you might see evidence of a plateau but wow it is a plateau at a high level if that's the case.

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: John, it is my assessment that we're back in March or April. But if I might just say a word and add some praise to John Lewis. When I was a teenager in 1963, he was the leader of the march in Washington as part of the big six and SNCC. And I participated in that march and I joined SNCC and watching all the coverage I just remember sitting on lunch counters in Woolworth in Detroit, Michigan.

When the SNCC nonviolent activists would come up behind us and hit us to remind us that if we were going to be an activist we needed to gracefully fall off that stool because it wouldn't kick us, it would just hit us while we were on the stool.

KING: Let's brings things full circle. I appreciate you're adding it to the programming. And just for our viewers you see the plain on the right that's joint based Andrews. Congressman Lewis's casket has arrived and it is now on a - make its way to Washington soon.

Dr. Brilliant as we talk about this - the sendoff here being conducted in the middle of a pandemic. John Lewis is receiving significant and well deserved tributes, probably not exactly as it would be if we lived in more normal times so let's come back to that if you will.

When you look at California, Texas and Florida, if you talk to Dr. Deborah Birx says publicly she believes she's seeing some evidence of a plateau, Arizona started to go down last week and then over the weekend it jumped back up. Governor Hogan and you say you agree with him, we're back at where we were in March and April then what needs to be done now?

DR. BRILLIANT: What I see is the tail end of the effect of the fourth of July. And soon we'll be at Labor Day and that will give us another bump and then soon we'll in flu season and that will give us another bump. If we are unwise in the way that we open schools, if we do it carelessly and do it without regard to the viral load in the neighborhood of those schools, we are in for a very bumpy autumn.

I would just say one more thing. America's always been the indispensable nation. But right now we're not indispensable in this outbreak except as a source of disease. We're not the leader. In fact, we have more deaths and cases than the next two or three countries in the world combined.

This is a very challenging time for the world. It's doubly challenging because the United States has been the indispensable helper in every single pandemic in my lifetime until now.

KING: And so, to that point, there's accountability for what has happened up to this point and then there is the challenge of the moment. I want you to listen here. This is one of the President's top deputies. This is Admiral Giroir talking yesterday saying, yes, we still have a testing problem in America but we'll be on top of it, listen.


ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, HHS: I'm never going to be happy until we have this under control and we're going to continue to push every single day to improve the testing, the type of testing that we have in the rapidity of turnaround.

I'm highly confident that turnaround will decrease this week with all the steps we're doing like surge testing, point of care testing, nursing home testing, the EUAs, Emergency Use Authorizations for pooling. Again we are middle of the crisis, it's a pandemic. And we're working with every tool that we have every authority we have.



KING: Help me and please, please, I would love to be wrong on this point but we could go back into the library and find the Admiral two weeks ago and then two weeks before that and then two weeks before that saying we got this. We're going to get on top of it. We're in the middle of a pandemic.

Dr. Birx is traveling this week to several cities she is identified. She talks when you listen to her, she is says we see the positivity rate it's at 3 percent then it is at 3.5 percent. We call the Governors. We give them a report every Monday. If they have all this data, where is the breakdown? Is it at the federal level? Is it at the Mayors and Governors? Is it everybody?

DR. BRILLIANT: You know when you get a little perspective for an investment it says past performance is no guarantee future performance. But actually, we look to the past and we see a terrible run of bad decisions by the White House. We have no national strategy.

The White House has disempowered CDC. It's disempowered the FDA. When you are a destructor in chief and you come in and you disable the institutions that have kept us safe and then in the midst of a pandemic you require from them heroic activities, we're not getting it.

No, I'm not at all happy, the position that we are in. I am concerned as we head into what might be a three-month period of acceleration of viral spread that we remain unprepared. We need a national strategy. All states have got to work in harmony.

What you have described earlier, John, you think about it. It is whack-a-mole. It's playing ping pocking back and forth between the states. That will continue for years if we don't have a singular national strategy all in marching to the tune of the same drummer and that drummer should be wearing a mask.

KING: That we are having a conversation about whack-a-mole six months in is depressing to say the least. But Dr. Larry Brilliant as always, I appreciate your expertise and your insights and your historical perspective on the other big story we're tracking today that of course being the day of tribute there.

You see on your right of the screen there the procession carrying the body of the Late Congressman John Lewis that motorcade making its way now to the national's Capital. Members of Congress, members of Congressional Black Caucus will begin to gather shortly for the special day of tribute, back to that in just a moment.



KING: This is a day of celebration and remembrance here in the nation's Capitol. You see the motorcade there carrying the Late Congressman Civil Rights hero, American Icon John Lewis from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to Washington D.C. nearby that then for a procession through the streets of the nation's Capitol and passing by several monuments and museums that were very close to the Late Congressman's heart.

That would include the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, a tribute to his mentor of course. The African-American History Museum also one of the stops it might not even be there if it weren't for the persistence of Congressman Lewis as a Member of the House of the Representatives. His colleagues call him the conscious of the Congress.

At the end of the journey today it will end at the Capitol Building. Lewis worked there for more than 30 years and he will lie in state as an American hero. Among those paying tribute in the early hours will be members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Capitol Rotunda to honor their colleague, their friend, their hero, their mentor, their leader Congressman John Lewis. CNN's Dana Bash is part of our coverage. She is up on Capitol Hill with a special guest.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. I'm joined by Congresswoman Terri Sewell on who is the Representative of Selma, Alabama. We were talking before, there are so many stories. I met you in Selma or met you before that but spent time with you there a couple of years ago when I would be honored to be on the pilgrimage. You co-hosted ten pilgrimages and met him as a teenager coming through Selma over and over again, talk about that.

REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-AL): Yes. You know, I have so many great memories of John Lewis. This is - it's been a treat of a lifetime. If you have been on that pilgrimage as you were to have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of John Lewis with John Lewis? It doesn't get any better than that.

And I got a chance growing up as a little girl in Selma, Alabama, and as not only a daughter of Selma but a member of Brown Chapel AME Church to sit in the pew to the left that my parents always sat in and witness so many amazing foot soldiers come back year after year, you know, everyone from Coretta Scott King to CT Vivian, Joseph Lowery and, of course, John Lewis and so many of them are gone now.

What a heavenly crew that must be up there freedom crusaders in heaven. But John was such an amazing mentor and friend and it's not often you get a chance to really meet your real life American hero and I got to meet him and more importantly got to befriend him and he became such a mentor to me.

I have so many wonderful memories of Co-Hosting those pilgrimages, ten times. Only John would be so willing to give and share a platform and to put a spotlight on the importance of the next generation. John was so giving.

BASH: And that was so key. You are the first African-American woman to represent Alabama in congress. And he - he took special interest in a lot of people but really you. Because of your connection to Selma, because of his obvious connection to Selma, but the two of you grew very, very close and he really walked the walk with you and teaching the next generation. What did you learn? Can you even articulate what you learned from him?

SEWELL: I can't Dana. You said you weren't going to make me cry. But I shared a very special relationship with John partly because of - well, definitely because of our connection to Selma.


SEWELL: I couldn't be in a room where he was talking about voting rights or in the Capitol when we were trying to restore the voting rights. If he saw me, if I was anywhere in the room, he would say and, and, and Terri Sewell represents Selma today and he would pull me up and grab my hand and make sure I was standing beside him or right behind him.

And it is going to be cold in that shadow of John trying to fight to restore the voting rights. But I know that I - there's a whole army of disciples of John, people that John has poured his heart out into. He sowed seeds of hope and inspiration into so many people.

And I do know that now is a time for us to pick up the baton and to continue his march towards making sure the full protections of the Voting Rights Act are restored that's John's legacy that's John's life. We have to also remember to vote in every election. State, federal, local, all elections are important.

And John would have wanted us to continue that fight. He gave us the road map. Every speech he gave he said it. He said never give up. Never give in. Keep the faith. Keep your eyes on the prize. We have to do that.

I'm just so honored to have gotten a chance to know him and just more blessed that I got to know him as a friend and as a mentor. He would - he would call me the girl from Selma. I would laugh and call him the boy from Troy and he would echo back well the girl from Selma.

And we would marvel at how far our state has come, our nation has come. And I would say, but we have so much more to do. And John in his infinite optimism always said, it will happen. We are in search, a march for that beloved community.

People want to do right. He really had this way about him that only John and this is a man who's bludgeoned on a bridge, for him to still have such faith in humanity, it was infectious.

BASH: I want to ask about that bridge which is in your district the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge. There is a lot of talk about renaming it, maybe everyone after John Lewis. You and John Lewis not that long ago released a statement saying it should not be renamed. Why? SEWELL: You know, five years ago John and I did an op-ed piece about it because John felt and I did, too, that that name had been transcended by the movement on that bridge. And that you couldn't cover revisionist history but I called John right after the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd and there was a big movement to really get rid of confederate naming--

BASH: And I wish to say Edmund Pettus was a grand wizard of the KKK.

SEWELL: And a U.S. Senator from the Alabama. Yes, he was. And I think as I evolve on this, my feeling is that we have to be unequivocal. All confederates naming are offensive, they're offensive and they go against the quality and justice that this America is out for.

So seems to me what we should be doing is, you know, everything has to be on the table including the bridge when we're talking about these confederate naming. I feel - growing up in Selma that Selmians people from Selma should decide what it should be called?

I personally would call it the John Lewis Bridge but I also know that so many from Selma fought and marched with John and shed a little blood on that bridge. I think the best tribute we can give to John is renaming HR-4, the Voting Rights Act for the John Robert Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020. That's what we can do--

BASH: Sounds like--

SEWELL: --in Congress. I do believe symbols have their place but legislation impactful legislation is really what is called for.

BASH: --sounds like that at least is going to happen. Thank you for sharing your memories with your dear friend and mentor. Appreciate it.


KING: Dana Bash, please thank the Congresswoman very important prospective and memories there. And on the right of your screen you are watching the hearse there carrying the casket of the Late Congressman Civil Rights Icon John Lewis. That's a Suitland Parkway coming in from Joint Base Andrews about to pass into the District of Columbia this is just a short drive.

We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll continue this procession through some landmarks here in Washington. Over the weekend, his brother recalling the day John Lewis became Congressman Lewis.


HENRY GRANT LEWIS, BROTHER OF REP. JOHN LEWIS: When John was first sworn in to Congress, I think I got my year right, in 1986. I was there and during the swearing-in ceremony, right before the swearing- in ceremony he looked up.

He knew where I was sitting and he looked up and he gave me the thumbs up. And I gave him the thumbs up back. I said, John, what were you thinking when you gave me the thumbs up? He said, I was thinking this is a long way from the cotton fields of Alabama.




KING: Live pictures here the motorcade carrying the casket, the body of the Late Congressman American Civil Rights Hero John Lewis now in Washington D.C. making its way. There will be several stops for this important procession today.

The first one the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial down near the nation's mall that is the first stop of many for the Congressman as you see the procession come in and this is an important day of tribute.


KING: From there he'll pass the Justice Department, he will also pass the African-American Museum of history which he was so important in getting passed into law. And you see it's been heartwarming, small crowds but people on the side of the roads first in Suitland, Maryland where the motorcade began.

Now we're in Anne, Chateauesque (ph) Section of District of Columbia. You see people young and old on the street, their cell phones out taking pictures of this historic day. The Civil Rights Icon John Lewis as this procession continues.

He will end up at the United States Capitol where he of course will lie in state in the rotunda tributes throughout the day the Former Vice President Joe Biden planning to visit today, the current Vice President Mike Pence, as well.

There is as we watch this procession and as our special coverage continues throughout this day there is also important work happening at the Capitol today. Senate Republicans expected to unveil a $1 trillion stimulus plan that part of the Coronavirus relief package as benefits were set to expire, some of those benefits set to expire at the end of this week.

The big sticking point is unemployment. At the 11th hour, White House officials now pushing back on renewing that $600 weekly payment instead they suggest some sort of a sliding scale based on earnings.

The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will not support that. She wants Republicans to meet for more negotiations. As you see her statement right there saying if Republicans care about working families, this won't take long. That's her view.

Let's get to CNN's Phil Mattingly live up on Capitol Hill. Phil, a lot of finger pointing and a lot of negotiating any progress?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Progress in some sense of that is the Republicans today are finally going to release their opening offer and I think some people would look at last week when they were supposed to introduce their opening offer and think that that's not much progress at all particularly since Republicans and Democrats actually have to come together and reconcile these proposals.

But it is the reality of this moment. White House negotiators Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were up here on the Capitol, at the Capitol, meeting with staff throughout the course of the weekend trying to hammer through this now belated proposal and were told at least at this point they do expect to release it at 4:30 this afternoon.

Now here kind of the basic components of this proposal, it will include about $105 billion for education, split between K-12 and colleges and universities, some of that money will go to schools that are able to reopen based on what's happening on the ground with the Coronavirus, trying to spur that effort along if you will?

There will be a second round of stimulus checks. You remember that from round one. A second round of more targeted loans for small businesses, forgivable loans for the Paycheck Protection Program but the big issue that the White House and Senate Republicans were working on throughout most of the weekend was as you noted that unemployment insurance.

It is a federal enhancement on top of the state system, that enhancement was set in March at $600. A flat rate and part of the reason it was set at a flat rate at that level is because they couldn't figure out a better way to do it or perhaps more accurate way to do it because so many states have antiquated systems.

They don't have the technology to implement things on top of their state benefits. Republicans are going to try and pull that off this time around at least with their proposal. Here is what we know at the moment, they're going to propose dropping the $600 flat rate down to $200 or flat rate over the course of a transition period at which point they believe states will be able to implement something that will give approximately about 70 percent of wages from unemployed workers, their past wages.

That's what they want to hit, and the issue Republicans have had not just the White House but also Senate Republicans and House Republicans as well is that that $600 flat rate was for some individuals giving them more money than they were earning they were hearing from small businesses that may be those individuals weren't willing to come back to work, that's what they want to address.

I think the issue right now John is kind of gets back to what I was talking about at the beginning. This is their opening bid and its one that Democrats simply won't accept, Democrats who control the House, Democrats who have to have votes to get anything passed through the Senate.

So given that state of play, given where things are right now I think the big question when you realize that most people got their last federal enhancement checks last weekend, the official end of the program is July 31st on Friday, how quickly can they move given the dynamics here?

One wild card that's been put in place White House officials over the course of the weekend proposed perhaps narrowing down a proposal going slimmer, trying to move that forward with some urgency. Democrats were said this is a package deal. You have to do everything together and we'll see how this plays out? But as we start this, John, just start these negotiations things seem pretty far apart.

KING: Things do seem far apart and a couple of clocks ticking. Number one, thus expiring benefits, number two an election 99 days away. Phil Mattingly up on Capitol Hill, keep us posted if there are any developments throughout the day.

And stay with us we're going to take a quick break now but we'll continue to follow what you are seeing there, very important day, the procession carrying the Late Congressman John Lewis through Washington, D.C. among the stops, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This monument will serve as a reminder to each of us that it is better to love and not to hate. It is better to reconcile and not to divide. It is better to build and not to tear down.