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Trial Participant Speaks Out; Lewis to Lie in State at the U.S. Capitol; Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is Interviewed about Reopening Schools, Presidential Election, Coronavirus Stimulus and John Lewis. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 27, 2020 - 08:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But you weren't eligible? I mean why are you eligible for phase three?

ELISSA GREENE, PHASE THREE VACCINE TRIAL PARTICIPANT: Well, in phase two they had stricter requirements and I have a mild case of asthma, and because of that I wasn't eligible for phase two. So I started harassing the folks here at Meridian as soon as I heard there was going to be a phase three trial available and I'm going to be one of the first few people and I'm really excited. I could barely sleep last night.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Look, I think everyone's excited in the sense that this is one great hope. We all hope that this works. We're all watching, to an extent, what will happen with you and we hope it works for you. What's the process going to be like? What do you know? After you -- you get a shot today, then you get a shot some time from now, and then what? How often are you monitored? How many checkups will you have?

GREENE: Well, there are -- in this study there are seven in-office visits, assuming that you don't get Covid. And there's also a machine that you take home so that you can monitor your symptoms and your vaccine reaction and your temperature on a daily basis. And then there are, I think -- I forget how many, there's a lot of phone visits, you know, where they check in on you and make sure you're doing OK.

CAMEROTA: What symptoms have they told you to be on the lookout for?

GREENE: Oh, there's a huge list. I mean the more we know about Covid -- you know, Covid virus attaches to ace one inhibitors and there are ace one inhibitors all over the body. So the more we know, the more symptoms there are. So, you know, I don't remember everything on the list. Of course fever, cough, loss of taste and smell, GI symptoms would be some of the top ones. Fatigue.

BERMAN: I go back to my first question, which is, you're not going to know if you have the vaccine or the placebo. That would make me crazy not knowing. Something that big or something that important. And you don't find that unnerving at all, or it won't affect your daily life? GREENE: Well, to be perfectly honest, I think that I will have a

fairly good idea whether I get the vaccine or the placebo based on whether I have a reaction. But I won't know for sure. And I'm OK with not knowing. You know, in reality, there's a lot of things that we don't know. Who knew that this would be happening, you know, a year ago.

So, you know, I'm older and I've just kind of gotten used to going with the flow.

CAMEROTA: I mean, you're -- I agree with you, you're a nurse. You probably will know if you've gotten the vaccine because maybe you'll sense some sort of change. But who knows. We won't know for a few seconds until we let you go and you go inside that building behind you and get the shot.

And so, Elissa, thanks so much. We're going to follow you and your journey and we'll check back in with you because we do want to know how you're feeling.

So thanks so much for taking time to talk to us.

GREENE: Thank you so much for having me.

CAMEROTA: And you did great on your first TV appearance.

GREENE: Thank you! Thank you very much. I'm so excited.

BERMAN: Yes, better than I think that either of us would do getting a shot.

GREENE: I'm a fan.

CAMEROTA: Oh, thank you. It's mutual.

BERMAN: Best of luck, obviously.


BERMAN: And thanks for being willing to do it.

GREENE: Thank you.

BERMAN: Look, it's a big deal for all of us that there are people willing to be part of this trial so that hopefully we can find something that helps.

All right, civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, his body is about to be flown from Alabama to Washington. We'll take you live to the U.S. Capitol for today's public farewell.



CAMEROTA: Moments ago, the casket of Congressman John Lewis was loaded onto a U.S. military plane in Alabama. It will head to Washington, D.C., where the civil rights icon will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.

You're looking at live pictures right now.

Crowds cheered Lewis in Selma yesterday as his casket was led across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where Lewis helped lead the famous march for voting rights in 1965.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is live on Capitol Hill with more.

Just, you know, pretty majestic and, you know, stirring photos this morning.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's a beautiful, sunny morning here, Alisyn, as the nation awaits, the nation's capital waiting for its conscience of Congress to arrive here. It is quiet, but we anticipate there will be a lot of people here on Capitol Hill, as well as following this motorcade throughout the city.

And what we saw was really just the beginning of the celebration of Congressman Lewis' life over the weekend. As you had mentioned, it began in Alabama, Troy, Alabama, his birth place but really that historic, symbolic moment when we saw the casket pulled by those two black horses and carriage crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, that coffin draped with the U.S. flag being pulled across what a bridge was once blood stained. Well, now it was -- had rose petals that were covered 55 years ago marking when Lewis was beaten across that bridge with protesters fighting for voting rights and how important that was, Bloody Sunday.

We anticipate today that the casket will arrive at Joint Base Andrews about 11:00 this morning. It will make its way through several different very historic landmarks, important places that signify his life, including the Lincoln Memorial, the Black Lives Matter Plaza, as well as the African-American Museum, the Supreme Court, the Justice Department, before the hearse makes its way, the motorcade making its way here to the U.S. Capitol.

A formal ceremony will begin at about 1:30 this afternoon. Invited guests only. And it is basically the leadership and friends of John Lewis that will be gathered here before it is open to the public later this evening for a public viewing right here outside on the east Capitol.


Suzanne Malveaux, thank you very much for all of that.


And this morning we also remember TV legend Regis Philbin. Philbin died Friday of natural causes at the age of 88. Americans welcomed Regis into their homes more frequently than anyone else who has ever appeared on TV. Listen to this. According to the Guinness World Records, he spent nearly 17,000 hours on the air. And this moment from "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" was one of the most memorable.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't really need your help, I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to win the million dollars.

REGIS PHILBIN, HOST, "WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE": Well, my gosh, what can I say except, (INAUDIBLE), you're going to Paris and this is the final answer heard all around the world. He's won a million dollars!


CAMEROTA: Kathie Lee Gifford, Regis' long-time co-host on "Live," said there has never been anyone like him and there never will be.

BERMAN: Look, there has never been anyone so comfortable being on television before. And what you saw was what you got. He was the same on camera as he was off camera. Just a guy who was so easy to talk to, so easy to connect with there, and there was a certain charm and twinkle that I think was just pervasive. And I just want to send my personal love to his family, who I know is grieving his loss this morning.

CAMEROTA: You're so right, John. I mean a natural-born broadcaster because he had that impeccable timing, you know. He had impeccable timing with where to insert a zinger, you know, or a punch line or pause for something poignant. And he just -- he was born to do it.

BERMAN: Also genuinely self-deprecating. And by that I mean it wasn't false. I mean he was perfectly willing to make fun of himself, which was also incredibly charming.

CAMEROTA: All right, we're thinking of his family this morning.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party out with a blistering new ad taking aim at President Trump's handling of coronavirus. We have more on that, next.



BERMAN: Moments ago, former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee released a new campaign ad focusing on President Trump's coronavirus response and his push to reopen schools.

Here is part of that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But to reopen schools because he thinks it will save his re-election.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Critical shortage of PPE.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Threatening their funding.

TRUMP: When they don't open their schools, we're not going to fund them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ignoring how the virus spreads, risking teachers' and parents' lives, going against the advice of experts.

TRUMP: It's had very little impact on young people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you trust him to do what's best for our children? Because this is not a test. Trump is failing.

TRUMP: I aced it. I aced the test.


BERMAN: I'm joined now by Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.

Senator Duckworth, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

Look, I have 13-year-old twin boys. I'm living the debate over reopening schools. And I know you are as well. You've got a two-year- old, a five-year-old. You've got an older mother living at home. How has this discussion or issue impacted you personally?

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Well, this discussion has been something that's been tearing me up and tearing up all the moms in my mom group. You know, we talk to each other, we want our kids to go back to school. Believe me, I need my daughter back in school because she needs trained educators, not a -- not a politician trying to teach her to read. I'm not trained to do this.

But on the other hand, I don't want her getting sick and potentially dying, or even if it doesn't really affect her, her bringing home a virus that will affect my 79-year-old mom. You know, I have a whole household, or her two and a half year old baby sister. This is a hot topic. I want my daughter to go back to school, of course, but not if there's not enough PPE, not if there's not enough testing, not if we don't know, you know, what the protocols are for schools, none of that has been provided by the Trump administration.

BERMAN: We had Zeke Emmanuel (ph) on a short time ago on this show, who obviously advised the Obama administration on healthcare issues, and Zeke told us he does think there are schools that should reopen and are OK to reopen if they do it the right way. Now, don't you think that there are some schools that could reopen safely in a few weeks?

DUCKWORTH: Well, I think that those schools tend to be very affluent schools that are private, that most Americans can't afford to send their kids to. Schools that have just a few hundred children that have the resources, the money, the endowment. So, again, it's going to come down to a question of haves and have nots.

Our public schools are severely underfunded as it is. Even my daughter's public school that she was supposed to start this year has kids still in temporary classrooms. They don't have the money to buy PPE at these high prices. They don't have the space to keep the kids separate. You know, yes, there's some schools that can open, but they're probably going to be the most elite, most prestigious schools that most Americans can't afford.

BERMAN: Well, New York City -- the New York City Public School System, Mayor de Blasio would like to open schools at least part-time, so you do think there are at least some public schools that could, in theory, reopen safely soon?

DUCKWORTH: Well, I don't know what their protocols are and what Mayor de Blasio is going to decide to do. But right now what I can tell you is the Trump administration has not provided clear guidelines to schools on what they should do, he's not provided funding to schools for the work that they need to do already, let alone how they're going to conduct classes online -- I mean in person. And he does not -- widespread testing that's free or nearly free.

You know, and it's not just about the kids and our families, but what about the folks, the janitors or the cleaning the school, the cafeteria workers and the teachers, all the folks that are going to also be exposed. This is potentially, you know, a major second wave of the pandemic or third wave in this case of the pandemic happening.


And we can't afford that in this country right now.

BERMAN: I want to ask you one question -- one more question about the ad we just saw from the Biden campaign and the DNC. At the very end of the commercial it had a little dig on President Trump talking about his -- the cognitive test that he took. He said he aced that cognitive test there. How much of an issue is that to you?

DUCKWORTH: Well, he's -- he's already shown that he's a failed leader, right? He won't take responsibility for his failures and he won't even look at any type of data that shows that he's -- that he needs to do better for the country. And when it came time to leave, he refused to lead (INAUDIBLE) this pandemic. So his whole cognitive thing, I don't know where he is, whether he's in -- whether or not he's in cognitive decline, but I can tell you this, he's not done his job as president so far. Even if he aced every single test out there, he's the guy who said that the virus would disappear by April magically. I don't need a president who has -- who believes in magical thinking. I need a president who's going to lead us. And that's why Joe Biden is the right person to take over come November.

BERMAN: All right, you day job is as a U.S. senator. And later today the Republicans in the Senate are going to release their plan for a new round of stimulus. Reportedly it does not include the full $600 a week unemployment benefit that currently exists for unemployed Americans and is set to expire this week.

Would you vote for anything less than that full $600 a week benefit that people are getting right now?

DUCKWORTH: Well, in order for me to vote for something like that, I need to see what else is in that package. I can't tell you whether or not I'm going to vote for this package because I don't know what's in it. I mean the Republicans can't seem to get on the same page. I don't think Mitch McConnell can even try the notebook at this point. They're arguing within their own caucus to what should be in this package.

So I'm looking forward to seeing it. From what I hear, it's nowhere near enough for working families. And that $600 extra a week, by the way, barely covers health insurance. If you're unemployed right now, you're probably paying for your own health insurance, especially in the middle of a pandemic, that's $400 to $800 a month easily.

BERMAN: I want to ask you about some of the demonstrations that have turned violent in a few cities across the country lately, including Portland, Oregon.

There was an interesting op-ed written by the leader of the NAACP in Portland, who essentially is saying to the protesters, you might be doing us a disservice. You might be doing a disservice to the original Black Lives Matter protests that began after the death of George Floyd.

The head of the Portland NAACP wrote, quote, this is a moment of serious action to once again take up the mantle in the civil rights era by summoning the same conviction and determination our forebears did. We welcome our white brothers and sisters in this struggle. In fact, we need them. But I ask them to remain humbly attuned to the opportunity of this moment and reflect on whether any actions they take will truly help establish justice or whether they are simply for show.

And this gets to something that we are hearing. Some people are arguing that these protesters, however they began, are now doing a disservice. They've turned violent. They're sending the wrong message. Perhaps they're giving an opportunity, a political opportunity to the president.

What do you make of that?

DUCKWORTH: Well, I think that any protester who turns violent is doing a disservice to the message that they're trying to send. Today I'm going to go to the viewing of the great John Lewis, my former colleague in the House, and one I actually did some good trouble with sitting on the floor of the House of Representatives, arguing and fighting for an end to gun violence and asking for universal background check law. I think the great John Lewis and all of the leaders in the civil rights movement will always say it's -- violence doesn't work. Violence does not get your message across and violence turns off people and violence gives the other side an opportunity to be violent as well.

And so I think the best thing to do is to look at the NAACP has said in this case, to the leaders -- the great leaders of the civil rights movement, it's about expressing your opinion, it's about expressing your freedom of speech, but let's -- let's do it in a non-violent way. And violence never helps.

BERMAN: I don't think it will be a surprise to you that I'm going to ask you about the vice president selection process. You are on the short list for Vice President Biden reportedly. When was the last time you were in contact with the Biden campaign about this process?

DUCKWORTH: I mean, it's been a long time since I spoke with the vice president. It was probably -- I mean it's been several weeks since I spoke with him, but we did -- we did an event together. That process is moving on its own. I'm just going to let them go on their way. And let's be clear, Vice President Biden knows better than most who he needs to serve alongside him. He's going to have so many challenges. And this country needs a leader in Joe Biden who is going to have empathy, he is going to have the leadership skills, the experience to lead, and he'll choose the right person for him.

So let that -- let that process go and don't let that distract you from the real issue at hand, which is that we have a president right now in the White House who has allowed 150,000 Americans to die because he's failed to respond to this global pandemic.


And, by the way, the bounty's on our troops' heads in Afghanistan supposedly is still out there. He's confronted the Russians or called a single gold star family yet? I don't think so.

BERMAN: He was not asked about that in any of the interviews that he has done recently. That much is true. And I understand you don't want to focus on it, but we'd be remiss not to at least raise it, if not you, and I'm not going to make you pick one person, but if it's not you, do you have two favorites who you think maybe would be good choices?

DUCKWORTH: Oh, my gosh, you're asking me to like choose between my children.

Listen, we have any number of well-qualified women in the Democratic Party that could serve very ably alongside Joe Biden. And I will support him whoever he picks because I truly believe Joe Biden's the leader this country needs. And that's what I'm on, I'm on team Biden. Whatever it takes to get America back on our her feet again.

BERMAN: Senator Tammy Duckworth, we appreciate you being with us. Thank you so much for your time.

DUCKWORTH: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, we've got a lot going on this morning.

CNN's coverage continues right after this.