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There Is Cure For COVID-19?; School Reopening, An Experiment; Trump Whines Over Poll Ratings; A.G. Bill Barr Testifies To Lawmakers; President Trump Touts A Great Economy. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 28, 2020 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don "Good Trouble" Lemon starts now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: No closing argument. No American, no nothing. Just me. Straight up on me.

CUOMO: What's better than you as you always say?

LEMON: Well, as you know so well.

CUOMO: Facts is facts. So, your friend President Trump finally told everybody what he's been letting people like you and me know privately for a long time.

LEMON: Which is?

CUOMO: If you don't say nice things about him, if he isn't liked, he will attack.

LEMON: Yes. Well, of course.

CUOMO: Even if it's Dr. Fauci. Someone who, one second he says is his top guy, he's a great guy, who's working so intimately with us. He's our guy.


CUOMO: Then he trashes him using doctors who have completely no pedigree and no proof behind their assertions.

LEMON: I'm just going to say, where have you been? He's been doing that -- he's been doing that with you. What are you -- are you actually shocked --


CUOMO: With me it's OK. I can go either way on you and me. I can make the case either way.

LEMON: You know, this is -- CUOMO: But not with Tony Fauci.

LEMON: This is my issue. And we talked about this. We have, you know, we have had issues -- issue -- issues with crime in American cities forever, for decades. He talks about these cities -- because I'm just talking about the mayor of Portland you had on earlier.

He talks about the cities and the Democrat or he says Democrat cities, it should be Democratic cities, but he doesn't mention those cities that are in red states or red cities, so to speak, who have trouble, who are at the top of the list many times like St. Louis in a red state and Birmingham, Alabama, another red state.

He doesn't talk about those cities and he doesn't want to send troops or military personnel to those cities. He just uses these bigger cities as these are Democratic cities, as a talking political point.


LEMON: Yes, they are a problem.

CUOMO: Yes. And I'll tell you what. I'll give it to him.

LEMON: Portland is --


CUOMO: I'll give it to him.

LEMON: But listen to me, Portland is a couple of blocks. It's not good what's happening. But you would think the entire city of Portland is on fire. It is not. But go on.

CUOMO: But the point is you are right 100 percent. But I'll give him his argument. The bigger cities in this country tend to be run by Democrats and he can put them up there as cities with a lot of crime. Fine. And he says I'm going to help even if they don't ask me. Fine.

Why doesn't he apply the same mentality to states with COVID?


CUOMO: They are asking him for help.

LEMON: And he won't help.

CUOMO: And he will not help.


CUOMO: Why? Why is that so important --


CUOMO: -- when there are more people getting hurt from COVID than there are with the increases of crime? LEMON: Because it does not help him politically.


CUOMO: There you go, Don Lemon.

LEMON: That's it. That's right. It does not help him politically.

CUOMO: I knew you weren't just good looking.

LEMON: And that's not to say when they take the sound bite out of -- out of context when they say, Don Lemon is reporting violence and -- I'm not at all. No one should be attacking or looting or raiding or drawing symbols on any kind of building. That should not be happening.

But I'm saying the -- it's proportionality. Right? It is context. It is nuance. None of that should be happening. But most of the -- most cities are not completely on fire. Yes, there is a -- there's a surge in crime in big cities.

We're trying to figure out why. We have been discussing it. But most cities are not on fire and don't -- they don't look like the pictures that you see on state run media.

CUOMO: And why would he suggest that they will be? Why would he ferment when he is supposed to be --


LEMON: He shouldn't be because it's happening on his watch.

CUOMO: That's right. And why doesn't he apply the same thing. If you want to send 75,000 --


CUOMO: -- men and women around the country. Why not for COVID? You got hospitals over running all over the place.


LEMON: It doesn't help him politically.

CUOMO: You got people who need tracing and contacting, contract tracing and dealing with processing of tests. Where's the urgency there?

LEMON: It's because it doesn't exist, downplaying. And remember, wearing one of these did not help his case. Because it's right in your face that it's actually happening so he didn't want people to wear them. So --

CUOMO: I like the American flag on the mask.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

CUOMO: It should have been bigger and in the middle.

LEMON: Thank you. Well, you tell Rhobac there who send it to me. I will tell those guys.

CUOMO: I brought you something. You want to know what it is?

LEMON: What?

CUOMO: It's not a bad joke.


CUOMO: A buddy of mine, who you know, makes flag art that is beautiful. Now some people will say but the flag is in pieces. It's beautiful. And I bought us each one.

LEMON: Really?

CUOMO: Yes. I'll bring it to the house.

LEMON: All right. I know them. Is it Peter?

CUOMO: Nope.


CUOMO: Buff.


CUOMO: Andrew.

LEMON: I got it. Joe. OK.

CUOMO: Not joe. That's big Joe you're thinking of. I'm talking about Andrew the chef.

LEMON: Got it. OK. Got it.

CUOMO: He also makes art.

LEMON: OK. Thank you. I have to go because my producer is like go, move. We've got to go.

CUOMO: It's the best part of the show. I love you, Don Lemon.

LEMON: I love you more. Did I send you the tweet about us?


LEMON: Someone made like a TV show thing. I'll send it to you.

CUOMO: Thank you.

LEMON: In the commercial break. See you later. Have a good night.


This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

So, let me let you in on a little secret. OK? Are you listening? It's a little secret. There is no pivot. There is no new tone. There is no turning over a new leaf. No turning over a new leaf. Everyone, here's the -- there is a -- here's the secret. There is one Donald Trump and he never changes. Do not get it twisted.

This is a president who even with almost 150,000 Americans dead, can't even stay on script to save American lives or his own political skin, which is what he really cares about. Let's just be honest. That's what he cares about. He just cannot do it because this is Donald Trump we're talking about and who we have been talking about for the last five years or so.

The latest example continuing to push an unproven drug even though multiple studies the latest just last week, those studies find that hydroxychloroquine or as he calls it hydroxy for short, right, or his apologies hydroxy, it doesn't help coronavirus patients and it may lead to unusual heart rhythms.

But none of that matters to this president who last night retweeted a video that his son Donald Trump, Jr. also thought was totally awesome, featuring a group of doctors saying hydroxychloroquine which the president loves to promote against medical advice, is a cure.

That video was removed by Facebook, by Twitter and YouTube for pushing false and misleading claims.

But I'm going to show you part of it to you, OK? So that you can see how the president calls -- who the president, I should say, calls an impressive, important voice on this deadly pandemic. Roll it.


STELLA IMMANUEL, PHYSICIAN & PASTOR: I came here to Washington, D.C. to tell America nobody needs to get sick. This virus has a cure. It is called hydroxychloroquine Zinc Azithromycin. I know you want to talk about masks. hello. You don't need mask. There is a cure.


LEMON: I love her accent. Those are beautiful, beautiful accent. So, who is this president listening to in Twitter videos while he disregards Dr. Anthony Fauci on this question? Well, I will let Kaitlan Collins tell you. Here it is.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, the woman that you said was a great doctor in that video that you retweeted last night said that masks don't work and there is a cure for COVID-19. Both of which health experts say is not true. She's also made videos saying that doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens and that they are trying to create a vaccine to make you immune from becoming religious. So --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, maybe it's the same, maybe it's not. But I can -- I can tell you this. She was on air along with many other doctors. They were big fans of hydroxychloroquine. And I thought she was very impressive in the sense that from where she came, I don't know which country she comes from. But she said that she's had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. And I thought her voice was an important voice. But I know nothing about her.

COLLINS: Last week you said that's --


TRUMP: Go ahead.

COLLINS: Last week you said that's --


TRUMP: OK. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.


LEMON: Didn't like that. So, he left. Right? Maybe it's the same, maybe it's not. I don't know what that meant in that answer. But he said he didn't, you know, I don't know anything about her. Well, I know something about her. OK? She believes that demons and witches cause medical problems when they have nighttime dream sex with humans.


IMMANUEL: It's what we call astral sex. That means this person is not really a demon or Nephilim. It's just a human being that's a witch. And they astral project and sleep with people.


LEMON: Yes. Very impressive. The one who also says this.


IMMANUEL: We have a lady, right here. She was sitting right there. She had been fantasizing about one of the movie stars. When she came to deliverance ground, during prayer, she started screaming. Her stomach was full, she was pregnant. She started screaming. She was tearing off her clothes. She was screaming and screaming, like she was in labor. And she said, this thing came out of me. Her stomach deflated, right here, real life.


LEMON: Wow. I was just having flash backs from Reagan and the exorcist. Huh. [22:10:05]

So, I just -- let me play the president again after he was asked about this.


TRUMP: I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her.


LEMON: That is probably the most Donald Trump thing ever. Important voice, I know nothing about her. I know nothing. And after saying that, the president walks off. But he left us with something else from that briefing. A clue as to why he is listening to the doctor who believes in demon sperm.

I can't believe I actually said that on TV. I never thought I would say that. I never thought I would say demon sperm on international television. But anyway, why he believes in the doctor who talks about demon sperm over the top epidemiologist in the country, and that Dr. Anthony Fauci? Why he is desperate to find someone to tell him he is right no matter who it is?


TRUMP: And he's got this high approval rating. So, why don't I have a high approval rating with respect -- and the administration with respect to the virus? We should have a very high. Because what we've done in terms of -- we're reading off about the masks and the gowns and the ventilators and numbers that nobody has seen and the testing at 55 million tests. We tested more than anybody in the world. I have a graph and I'd love to show. Perhaps you've seen it.

Where we're up here and the rest of the world is down at a level. That's just a tiny fraction of what we've done in terms of testing. So, it's sort of curious. A man works for us, with us very closely, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Birx, also highly thought of. And yet, they are highly thought of but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That's all.


LEMON: Mommy always liked you more than me, demon sperm. That is -- that is sad. It's just sad because there's an answer by the way -- you don't have a high approval rating because you have completely botched the handling of this virus. Denying and downplaying.


TRUMP: It's one person coming in from China. And we have it under control. It's going to be just fine.


LEMON: Pushing the country to open too soon.


TRUMP: I'd love to have it open by Easter. OK.


TRUMP: I would love to have it open it by Easter. I will tell you that right now. I would love to have that -- it's such an important day for other reasons. But I'll make it important for this too. I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.


LEMON: OK. Encouraging people to ingest disinfectants.


TRUMP: I said supposing you brought the light inside the body in which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you're going to test that too? It sounds interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll get the right folks who could.

TRUMP: Right. And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning because you see it gets in the lungs.


LEMON: Sir? Mr. Trump? Mr. President? That's why you're not popular since that is what you seem to care about because you failed when the country needed you the most and because there is no pivot because there is no new tone because there is no turned page. You still don't get it. Case in point.


TRUMP: We're seeing improvement across the major metro areas and most hot spots. You can look at large portions of our country it's corona free. But we are watching very carefully California, Arizona and Texas and most of Florida.

It's starting to head down in the right direction. And I think you'll see it rapidly head down very soon. But if you look, California, Arizona, Texas and for the most part most of Florida starting to head down.


LEMON: Corona free, except for the biggest states in the country. California, Texas, and Florida. Top three along with Arizona. That's more than 97,264,000 people. And he calls large portions of the country corona free.


Every single state, every single state has reported new cases of coronavirus in the past week, the president's need to be grandiose to promote to prevaricate. It means that he is not capable of grasping reality. That is a feature, people. Not a bug.

Former Vice President Joe Biden on the attack today saying people are losing faith in what this president says.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People are losing faith in what the president says. Think about it. What the words of a president matter significantly. They can, as I said before, take us to war, they can bring peace, they can rise or cause a market to rise, they can do good thing.

But people listen to what a president says. And if a president repeatedly says things that are not true, and then it comes a time when they say I have something that I think can cure you but it could really hurt you. You're not going to listen to the guy who says that's been lying to you a long way.


LEMON: Joe Biden today. Mark this on your calendar, everyone, demon sperm.

Our White House correspondent is Kaitlan Collins who joins us now live at the White House. Good evening, Kaitlan.

President clearly not happy that you pressed him on that doctor's credibility.

COLLINS: I mean, Don, it wasn't clear that he knew what she had said in the past. Because when he even asked by a previous reporter, you know, he talked about what an impressive doctor she was. He said he was confused why that video was taken down off of YouTube and twitter and Facebook.

But when I brought up the things that she said in the past and I didn't even get into the half of it really, that's when the president said that he still found her to be an important voice but then he said I don't know her. And that's often something you hear from the president when he is confronted with something, they've said that could be problematic as, including when it's a pandemic and he is promoting something she said to 84 million followers.

That's when he seems to start to backed off a bit. But he had defended retweeting this sentiment that contradicted things that he had even said, talking about wearing a mask, things of that nature. Of course, what really this doctor had said in this video did not go with anything that any of his own health experts have said.

And so that's when you know it comes to this question of who is the president listening to, and the White House has pushes back on that and says he is listening to all of his medical experts.

Well, he's also listening to random people on Twitter who he doesn't even know their background and he's amplifying what they're saying. And so that's why the question is, you know, where is the president getting this information from?

LEMON: Kaitlan Collins, that's a good question. Where? Thank you, Kaitlan. I appreciate that.

Each day gets more surreal, more unbelievable than the last. This is where we are. Dr. Fauci in the meantime with some tough talk tonight about reopening schools. And parents and teachers may have a lot of questions about what he says. I'm going to ask the former CDC director, Dr. Thomas Frieden. He is next.



LEMON: So, the president is still pushing hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the coronavirus even though multiple studies including one from the FDA and the National Institute of Health, they show it isn't effective in treating the virus and it could even be harmful. '

So, joining me now is the former CDC director, Dr. Thomas Frieden. Doctor, I really appreciate you being on. Thank you so much.

As a public health expert please talk about what we are seeing and hearing the president and who the voices are who seem to have his ear right now.

THOMAS FRIEDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Well, I can't comment on that, Don. But I can tell you that the virus has the upper hand. And we have to focus on what the virus is doing because it's not going to stop on its own. It's going to stop if we get together and stay apart if we wear masks. If we change the way we are structuring society so that it doesn't explode.

And that means no gatherings in places where it's spreading wildly. You're seeing parts of the northeast like New York, Vermont and some other states having it pretty well under control. Not completely under control. Not out of the woods yet. Have to be really careful just as it's being done.

But in other parts of the country you're seeing huge numbers of cases and even though there hasn't been a slight decrease in a place like Arizona, it's a decrease to a really high level. So, we need to do much better to stop the virus with what I call the three w's. Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance.

LEMON: All right. Nicely said. Thank you for answering that.

Listen, I want you to take a listen to what Dr. Fauci said about opening schools tonight. Here it is.


DISEASES: In many respects unfortunately, though this may sound a little scary and harsh, I don't mean it to be that way, is that you'll be actually part of the experiment of the learning curve of what we need to know. We don't know the full impact. We don't have the total database of knowing what there is to expect.


LEMON: So, listen, part of the experiment. How are parents are -- how are parents supposed to interpret those comments?

FRIEDEN: Well, in parts of the country where you have lots of COVID, really that's unchartered territory in terms of opening schools. Any community can open a school and any environment the challenge is keep them open. We all hope kid will be able to learn and learn in person.


But that's going to be really difficult unless we control the virus. And that means places around the U.S. have a choice. You can close bars and indoor dining now. Or your kids are probably not going to be able to go to school in the fall. That's a choice you're going to have to make.

If you try to go to school when you have lots of COVID spreading. You will have cases in the school, you will have cases where teachers are concerned and may not come in. Parents may not want to send their kids.

So, opening the schools and keeping them open means two things. Controlling COVID and doing lots of things in the school to make it as safe as possible for everyone in the school community.

LEMON: Let's see on my list here. I want to talk to you about Major League Baseball. OK? Postponing multiple games after at least 17 players and coaches on the Miami Marlins tested positive, doctor. They have unlimited resources for testing and safety protocols. But they are still having issues. What does that mean for the rest of the country, especially as a White House is pushing to reopen schools, right?

If you look at Major League Baseball, all kinds of money. What does that say for us, for everybody else?

FRIEDEN: This shows really how readily this virus spreads. We have to take it really seriously. Young people usually don't get severely ill. But some do. Older people and people with diabetes or heart disease, kidney diseases, lung disease can get seriously ill or die from it.

And interestingly, a study just back last week showed that a third of all people and a fifth of young people who weren't terribly sick didn't feel better even weeks later.

So, even for people who have relatively mild disease, this is no picnic. And we're going to have to make sure that we control it. Testing people regularly may help you find it sooner but that doesn't prevent the spread. The test is useless if it doesn't come back quickly and get acted on quickly. And we can't think of testing as a substitution for preventing exposure.

LEMON: And we don't know long term effects either. Right? For -- we don't know even if you have a mild case what that -- what happens to you in the future because it has not been long enough. You want to comment on that before I go to the next thing?

FRIEDEN: Well, there's a tremendous range of illness here with COVID from people who never really feel anything and are fine to people who die and everything in between. So, there's a lot we still have to learn about it. But one thing we shouldn't do is underestimate this virus.

LEMON: Doctor, thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.

FRIEDEN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

This country nearing 150,000 deaths from the coronavirus. And this is what's on the president's mind.


TRUMP: Nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That's all.




LEMON: President Trump engaging in some self-pity in the White House briefing room, questioning why Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx have high approval ratings while his are so low.


TRUMP: And he's got this high approval rating. So, why don't I have a high approval rating with respect -- and the administration with respect to the virus? We should have a very high. Because what we've done in terms of -- we're reading off about the masks and the gowns and the ventilators and numbers that nobody has seen and the testing at 55 million tests. We tested more than anybody in the world. I have a graph and I'd love to show. Perhaps you've seen it.

Where we're up here and the rest of the world is down at a level. That's just a tiny fraction of what we've done in terms of testing. So, it's sort of curious. A man works for us, with us very closely, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Birx, also highly thought of. And yet, they are highly thought of but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That's all.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Let's discuss now with Dr. Dan McAdams, psychology professor at Northwestern University, the author of the upcoming book, "The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump: A Psychological Reckoning."

Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.


LEMON: So, Dan, you explain -- can you please explain to me why this man, the President of the United States is up there whining about why nobody likes him in the middle of a deadly pandemic, a 150,000 or so people dead.

MCADAMS: He is what I call the episodic man. Mr. Trump wakes up every morning and he is ready to do battle in a new scene, and it's completely disconnected from what happened yesterday. And so, today, Anthony Fauci gets good ratings, people like him and so forth, he's got to win today. He's got to take on the battle today like a boxer in the ring. And then he fights it.

And then he is done with that one and he'll move on tomorrow and he will be forgotten about this little scene that we're talking about right now.

LEMON: You say the president, again, this is what you're saying. The president is more like a persona than a person. Why is that important especially at this time?

MCADAMS: Well, he actually sees himself badly. I mean, Mr. Trump doesn't really see himself as a normal person. He sees himself as a kind of superhero who on the one hand is more than a person with superhuman skills and talents and, you know, that stable genius thing.

But at the same time, less than a person too. Because we expect people to have internal conflicts and agendas and motivational concerns and so forth. Mr. Trump is never made a mistake, he'll tell you. He is just a different kind of being.

And in seeing himself that way he wakes up, again, every morning taking on these new scenes like a superhero, one episode after a time. After one -- one after another. But they just don't -- they don't add up. They don't, like there is nothing in the past in his mind. There is nothing in the future. It's all right here now.

LEMON: OK, interesting. So, this is coming after an administration official telling CNN that the president's announcement that he was throwing the first pitch at the Yankees game, surprised even his staff.


This is what the New York Times is reporting. And I quote. It says, "Mr. Trump had been so annoyed by Dr. Fauci's turn in the limelight, and an official familiar with his reaction said, that he had directed his aides to call Yankees official and make good on a long-time standing offer from Mr. Levine to throw out an opening pitch. No date was ever finalized."

And you say, that this is all about President Trump winning back the moment. Explain that.

MCADAMS: It's in his mind. So, I mean, I can't -- every day is a battle. And he's got to find something to take on that particular day. With respect to the Yankees, I mean, Mr. Trump probably feels they should've called him. I mean. And so, for him, and for many of his supporters, I believe, what becomes true is what should be the case.

So, indeed, in his mind, the Yankees should've called the President of the United States, the most important man in the world, to throw the first pitch and not this second-rate guy named Fauci. They should have picked him. And yet, they didn't. But in his mind, well, they should have. So they did, and I turned it down because I was too busy or whatever. I win that moment and then I forget about it and move on to the next.

One after another after another. He's lived his whole life this way. I mean, it would be an exhausting thing for you or me, but I suspect Mr. Trump is energized every morning like a boxer again ready to fight.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, he is a New Yorker or at least was, so he would want the Yankees to do it. But yes, he doesn't want to live here. But, by the way, it was the Nationals who, you know, who called Dr. Fauci.

But it's interesting because, I mean, the most important person right now I would think is Dr. Anthony Fauci, whether the president likes it or not. And that's who everyone is listening to for advice right now and following -- and following his lead.

I want to -- I want to -- let me read something about Mary Trump, his niece, said in her book. OK? She said, Donald is not simply weak, his ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be.

Listen, I know that she is family and she -- but that's not shocking really to a lot of people, especially people who know him here in New York and they know his reputation. But do you agree with that?

MCADAMS: Yes, I think I do for the most part. I think, though, Mary Trump, I mean, the book is wonderful. I love what she wrote and so forth. But I think she doesn't quite get what it's like to be him in terms of the fighting part of it.

I mean, he -- I'm not sure he knows he is nothing. The thing is he doesn't know anything because it's as if the past doesn't exist and the future doesn't exist. He is just right now. So, he has to re-up every day.

He has to convince everybody in the world that he is the greatest every day, not because deep down he doesn't think he is, but because he doesn't remember because it's all new now. It's a brand-new episode and I've got to fight this one and win this one and then move on to the next. LEMON: Imagine how exhausting that is. I would -- one think. But

anyway. Thank you, Dan McAdams. I appreciate your time and your perspective. Thanks so much. We're back right after this break.



LEMON: The president boasting about the economy as the extra $600 unemployment benefit is set to expire this week for millions of Americans.


TRUMP: We are looking at a very powerful year next year economically. The job numbers are looking outstanding to put it mildly, set records. The numbers on retail, retail sales, they came in two weeks ago at the highest number in the history of our country. So, we look like we're heading to some very, very good economic times.


LEMON: So, let's talk about this. Paul Krugman is a columnist for the New York Times, he joins me now. He is also the author of "Arguing With Zombies: Economics, Politics and the Fight for a Better Future." Paul, good to have you on. Thank you so much.

It kind of, escaped you that the president went out to the briefing today thinking that he was going to be able to tout a belated plan to have Kodak manufacturer supplies to fight the pandemic and create a few hundred new jobs. And he ended up whining that no one likes him and promoting beyond dubious medical perspectives.

PAUL KRUGMAN, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I mean, I have no idea what he knows. But I suspect even, even his economic advisers are aware that all of those economic numbers he is citing are, you know, they are well in the past now. The job numbers we have are actually well over a month out of date. And every indicator we have says that the recovery has stalled.

That the -- you know, basically the best we got was early July and then the explosion of pandemic, the explosion of new cases, the sharp rise of deaths has also brought the economy to a sharp halt.

LEMON: Yes. Let's dig in a little bit more, because the second quarter GDP is expected to be the worst quarter on record.


LEMON: Last week unemployment benefits rose again for the first time in four months. Is the president's rosy economic outlook is it at this point just magical thinking?

KRUGMAN: Yes. I mean, he's --

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Maybe it's a -- maybe wishful thinking is a better, but go on.

Sorry to interrupt.

KRUGMAN: Wishful. I mean, but the delusions are easier in a way because we live in COVID time. Things change very fast. So, we had the most horrific downturn in the history of the United States early this year, then we had two months in which we bounce back about a third of the way. And those are the numbers, the official numbers.


But those are, it turns out that a job number for June is actually a job number for the second week of June. And everything since mid-June has been pretty bad. And so, he's living -- I have really no idea whether that anyone around him is telling him that, you know, the next job number is not going to be good and in fact, states are hurting.

And of course, the states that opened up fastest and were now where deaths from COVID-19 are exploding are the ones where the economy is going backwards.

LEMON: Well, I'm glad you said that, because he is still -- there's no consistency. Right? Because he'll tout like, you know, this is -- this is great in this state. That's great in that state. And then when the number of cases go, you know, become bad, then he doesn't want to take responsibility for it.

He is still pressuring governors to reopen states against the advice of his own medical advisers and even though opening early has led to disaster in our biggest states. Right?



LEMON: In California, Texas, and Florida. What's the long-term damage to the economy if that happens again, Paul? Sorry to cut you off. We have a delay, but go on.

KRUGMAN: Yes. I mean, the thing is that for a while we said how do we turn this extremely severe recession into a depression? Into something where we have double digit unemployment for a very long period of time. And the answer is to do exactly what we did, which is to reopen recklessly before we've got the thing under control, to reject mask wearing and all of the precautionary things. So that -- it doesn't even matter at a certain point what the policy is.

If you say to people it's OK, go back to work. But in fact, everybody knows there's a plague out there. People will not go out shopping. They will not go to, you know, they will not engage in business as usual. And that's basically what we've gotten to. We squandered the chance to actually bring this thing under control.

And now, one way or another, the economy is going to lock down again. It's going to lock down because governors and hopefully the president finally says OK, we screwed it up, we need to do it over again or just because people are too afraid.

LEMON: You know, as you know Congress is scrambling right now to come up with another economic response to this virus, the $600 weekly boost to unemployment benefits about to expire for millions of Americans. Republicans want to cut that to $200. Will that hurt the recovery even further? What will that do?

KRUGMAN: Sure. I mean, one of the things that we manage to avoid so far is a sort of second round of recession. So, you have 20 million people put out of work because they have to be put out of work because of the virus. But then what happens? If all those people are not earning wages, they have to cut spending and they could in fact have millions more jobs lost because they can't spend.

So, we have a sort of standard conventional recession on top of the pandemic recession. We avoided that largely thanks to those unemployment benefits because House Democrats ran through this extra unemployment benefit. We sustained people's income and we sort of sterilized, I guess it's the appropriate word, sterilize the effect of the pandemic on the broader economy.

But now that has expired. I mean, basically the last checks to almost everybody went out last weekend. And Republicans are now talking about reducing that to a tiny sum compared to what we're getting before. Which means that you are sucking -- basically, I mean, 3 percent of the GDP is the number, which is bigger by far than the Obama stimulus ever was as a share of the economy.

We're just sucking that much purchasing power out by cutting off these unemployment checks. And nothing takes us place. And we've already missed the window. This is the most predictable thing. We've been warning for two months.

Hey, you know, this thing is about to expire and we're not ready for it to expire. but they did -- Republicans did nothing. They did nothing. And then when the deadline hit, they came up with a proposal which is completely inadequate to the needs of the nation.

LEMON: Yes. Paul, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir. Have a good night.

KRUGMAN: Take care. Have a good night.

LEMON: Yes. We'll be right back.



LEMON: So, I want to take this. Attorney General Bill Barr joins the Trump administration in claiming there is no systemic racism in law enforcement in the United States.


REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Does the Trump Justice Department seek to end systemic racism, and racism in law enforcement? I just need a yes or no answer.

WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: To the extent there is racism in any of our institutions in this country and the police, then obviously, this administration is will fully enforce --


LEE: So, you agree that there is systemic racism?

BARR: To the extent -- in where?

LEE: Let me continue my line of questioning.

BARR: I don't agree that there is systemic racism in the police department.


LEE: Specifically --

BARR: Generally, in this country.


LEMON: So, remember, OK, black men are almost three times more likely to die at the hands of the police than white, according to the American Journal of Public Health. The NAACP found that even though African-Americans and whites use drugs at similar rates, blacks are imprisoned at a six-times higher -- six-time higher rate.

But what happened to the attorney general on this issue? Because just weeks ago he said this.


BARR: I do think that it is a widespread phenomenon that African- American males particularly are treated with extra suspicion and maybe not given the benefit of the doubt.


LEMON: A widespread phenomenon of being treated differently and unfairly. Doesn't that sound like systemic racism? It sounds like it to me. Let's hear more.



BARR: While the vast majority of police officers do their job bravely and righteously, it is undeniable that many African-Americans lack confidence in our American criminal justice system. This must change.


LEMON: Black people lack confidence in the system and we must have equal protection under the law for all. If you can't have confidence and that equal protection in the criminal justice system, it might be because of systemic racism.

It's almost as if he was just paying lip service to those ideals during a time of great strife only to end up toeing the Trump party line in the end.

Remember, last week A.G. Barr was saying the -- just last week, they are saying the reaction to George Floyd's death was, quote, "extreme." But what's really extreme is not recognizing a problem that is right in front of your face.