Return to Transcripts main page


Nadler in Car Accident; MLB to Continue Season; China's Spike in Covid-19 Cases; Germany Sees Rise in Cases; Brazil Coronavirus Vaccine Trials; National Guard Major Disputes Administration. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired July 28, 2020 - 09:30   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: We do have breaking news just in to CNN, just ahead of this major hearing from the Judiciary Committee with the attorney general, Bill Barr.

It appears the chair of the committee, Jerry Nadler, has been in a car accident.

Manu Raju joins us on The Hill with the latest.

What do we know? Is he OK?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He is OK according to a spokesman. Yes, he was in a car accident this morning on his way into -- on Capitol Hill. He was not driving at the time, but his vehicle was in an accident with another vehicle and, as a result, this hearing that's about to kick off, this -- in the 10:00 hour will be delayed. Now, we'll see exactly the timing of when it starts, but we do expect now that to be delayed.

Now, again, he is OK. He was in this car accident. Someone else was driving. We'll see who else -- if anyone else was injured in this accident. But this occurred ahead of this very high-stakes hearing. This is the first time that Bill Barr has come before the House Judiciary Committee.

Democrats have a long list of grievances that they want to air with the attorney general. They believe he has taken the Justice Department to work as essentially in tandem with the president, trying to protect the president on a variety of issues. And they plan to press him on all of that.


The attorney general himself has put out his own opening statement accusing the Democrats of trying to discredit him as he tries to investigate how the Russia probe took place. So expect a very contentious, long day of back and forth between the two sides. But at the moment, that hearing has been delayed for some time. We'll see how -- when exactly it takes place.

We do expect it to happen today. It will happen throughout the course of the day because Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, was in that -- was in a car accident on his way to the Capital. Again, he is OK according to a spokesman, but, of course, that appears to have delayed the beginning of these proceedings, guys.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A relief to hear he's OK. We wish him the best.

Manu Raju, thanks very much.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said that he is confident the season can continue, this despite games having to be postponed, multiple games now, due to a big outbreak on the Miami Marlins team.

HARLOW: That's right.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report" this morning.

I mean, Andy, it seems like a lot is changing very quickly, whether it's baseball or the preseason for the NFL. I mean the virus is changing things for these leagues.


And, you know, there's two ways that, you know, sports leagues are operating right now. On one end you've got, you know, the NBA, WNBA, NHL, MLS conducting all of their games at one site in a bubble and, you know, by all accounts that seems to be working rather well right now.

On the other side of things, you've got baseball and what the NFL is planning to do, which is having, you know, their players live at home and then travel from city to city to play their games. And just one weekend in, baseball's facing some big problems. Eleven players and two coaches for the Miami Marlins reportedly testing positive for coronavirus, leading Major League Baseball to postpone three games and really raising some questions about the future of this season.

And in an interview with MLB Network, Commissioner Rob Manfred said he believes the safety protocols the league has in place are adequate to keep the players safe.


ROB MANFRED, MLB COMMISSIONER: I don't put this in the nightmare category. I mean, obviously, we don't want any player to get exposed. It's not a positive thing. But I don't see it as a nightmare. We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That's why we have the expanded rosters. That's why we have the pool of additional players. And we think we can keep people safe and continue to play.


SCHOLES: Now, Manfred also adding that he didn't discuss canceling the season with the owners, but did say if the virus left a team completely non-competitive, they would have to make a decision about shutting down part or all of the season.

Now, the outbreak amongst the Marlins has definitely created an uneasy feeling around baseball and really the entire sports world. And Washington Nationals Manager Dave Martinez, he missed three games last season after undergoing a heart procedure and he became emotional during a video call with reporters yesterday.


DAVE MARTINEZ, WASHINGTON NATIONALS MANAGER: I'm going to be honest with you, I'm scared. I mean I really am, you know? So, right now, you don't know if, you know, because of my heart condition what happens, you know, to me if I do get it. So I've got to be extra careful.

My level of concern went from about an eight to a 12. I mean this thing really can -- you know, it hits home now that, you know, you seen, you know, half a team, you know, get infected and go from one city to another.

I'm not going to lie. I'm not going to sugar coat it. To see those guys go down like that, you know, it's not good for them, it's not good for anybody.


SCHOLES: Now, the Nationals are scheduled to play in Miami against the Marlins on Friday.

Now, meanwhile, NFL players report to training camp today. They are going to be tested three of the next four days. And already this morning we have another high profile player opting out of this season. According to Adam Schefter, Patriot's linebacker Dont'a Hightower has decided not to play this season. Hightower had his first child earlier this month. He was scheduled to make $8 million this season. He's the fourth Patriots player now to opt out of playing this season.

And, you know, we know, guys, you know, the NFL season is going to look very different. Roger Goodell sending a letter out to fans yesterday saying, you know, there's going to be no pre-season games. Things are going to look much different. And he said, quote, you know, adaptability and flexibility are going to be what the NFL is about moving forward.

HARLOW: Wow. Wow. Andy, thanks for the reporting on all those fronts.

A rise in Covid cases has Chinese officials concerned there. Coming up, we're tracking the pandemic around the world.


HARLOW: Welcome back.

Health officials in China right now on alert after seeing a spike in new locally transmitted coronavirus cases.

SCIUTTO: Yes, it's a real challenge because a lot of places that seemed to have gotten this under control, they see it come back.

David Culver joins us now live.

So, David, of course you covered them, strict lockdowns there, particularly in Wuhan, other parts of the country.


SCIUTTO: What's happening now and in response to these new outbreaks, how far is China going with renewed shutdowns?

CULVER: Well, when you hear the number, Jim and Poppy, 68 new reported cases as of Monday, it's laughable to some folks who are dealing with hundreds if not thousands of new cases, even in the U.S.

But what you see here is a very quick and fearful response in some places and a return to those Wuhan-style lockdowns. So here in Chengdu, for example, life is pretty normal and people have even stopped wearing face masks on the street corners and crowded into places and getting more and more at ease.

However, in other places, like Chenjong (ph), in the far western part of China, they now have a cluster outbreak. So they have the majority of these new cases that have been reported. The have now communities sealed off. People are inside their homes, like we saw in Wuhan going back to February and March.


And they cannot leave. Basic necessities come to them. And so this is the pattern that we're seeing here. This is the new reality in this pandemic world that we're living in.

Here in China, a place that touts its success and control over the virus has to react now in this compartmentalized fashion. And it happens in major cities like Beijing. We saw it last month, Jim and Poppy, but they're able to lock down portions of the city and allow life to continue outside of that.

SCIUTTO: It's a key point, right, because what you're saying there is that they are locking down where the isolated outbreak took place as opposed to the whole country.

CULVER: That's right.

SCIUTTO: But, of course, the prevalence of the disease right now far smaller than it is here in the U.S. David Culver there in Chengdu, thanks very much.

Let's go to Germany now. Our Fred Pleitgen is there. That country, another one, who had a handle on this early on has reported 3,000 new cases over just the past seven days.

Fred, a top German health officials says that rise could be the beginning of the second wave. I mean that's notable because it sounds like they're treating this as something that's not isolated.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's absolutely right, Jim, they're say that for the first time in a very long time, they're seeing it in broad parts of this country with new coronavirus cases coming up.

But again there also, to put that into perspective, the German Center for Disease Control held an emergency press conference, and urgent one, earlier today saying the situation needs to be gotten under control because they recorded around 800 new coronavirus cases on subsequent days at the end of last week. And essentially what they're saying is that they say Germany needs to get this situation under control again before things deteriorate to the point where it is like the situation in the United States, with tens of thousands of new cases every day.

Now essentially what the German government is saying is they believe that some people have gotten lax with some of the measures that are in place. Physical distancing, wearing masks, but then sanitizing as well and they're urgently calling on people to continue to do that and do that in the very stringent way.

But the other thing that's also happened here, and it's really the case across Europe, Jim, is that travel has become restrictive here on the continent and so the Germans are saying that some people have come back from travel abroad and brought the coronavirus with them and they are not mandating that as of Monday, those people who come back from what they call high-risk areas are going to have to take a coronavirus test.

That test is free of charge. And, again, that test is meant to insure that people don't spread the coronavirus here in this country and, again, that you don't get a situation like you guys are seeing over there in the U.S.


HARLOW: Can I ask you, Fred, because, A, it's key that it's free, right?


HARLOW: And I wonder how quickly people get those test results in Germany because, you know what we're facing here in the United States, which is days and days, if not weeks of delays.

PLEITGEN: Yes. And that's a very important point you make and I think it's also one that actually the German government made a key point of as well. First of all, those mandatory tests that people need to take, who come back from high risk areas, places like the U.S., if a German comes back from there, has to take a test. That test is free. But if you come back from a European country, you're also going to be able to take a test voluntarily. That test is free as well.

Now, the German government came out yesterday and clearly made a statement saying that they believe that the persons' pocket book should not decide whether or not they get a test. So there's a lot of testing that is available here.

I took a test about -- I'd say about two weeks ago and I got the results within one day, guys.

HARLOW: That's everything. Fred Pleitgen, thanks very much.

SCIUTTO: Way different here.

HARLOW: Way different.

SCIUTTO: Way different here.

HARLOW: From Berlin.

Let's go to Nick Paton Walsh. He joins us in Brazil, where a top official says if trials there go well there, a coronavirus vaccine there could be available by January.

Good morning, Nick.

What else can you share with us?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's the governor of Sao Paulo, an opponent of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and someone who's allowing three separate vaccine trials to take place along with federal support in the mega city, a hot spot here, where there are so many cases reported. The Chinese trial controversial, we saw ourselves in recent days, because of a sort of xenophobia amongst right wing fringe here in Brazil against China per say, blaming them for the virus.

Oxford University and also the U.S.-backed Pfizer are also doing trials in the area. Sao Paulo's governor hoping that the Chinese model will be successful fast enough to get it across the country by January. That is, I have to say, a pretty optimistic assessment of things.

At the same time, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has emerged now negative from his coronavirus two week infection and been saying when he meets supporters that his role is to get employment back rolling again. He's always said the economy should come first over the lockdown and blaming his opponents, local officials in major cities, for imposing lockdowns, saying that they tried to kill off employment. His job is to bring it back.

When he meets those supporters, he says he won't shake hands because -- and he doesn't offer -- he wears a masks at times too, partially he says because he'd be criticized in the media if he did so, rather than telling people that essentially that keeps them safe.

You heard numbers there in China and Germany that are very small here. Frankly, we've seen 24,000 cases reported just yesterday in the 24 hours and last week they were getting 50,000 cases a day. That's just a bit of the picture because testing is comparatively hard to come by.


You need a lot of symptoms to get one. Brazil surging out of control with a president, frankly, who's had it and still continues to downplay it.

Jim. Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Well, you're standing there in front of the results of this, right, a graveyard there marking just some of the many, many deaths.

WALSH: Indeed. Indeed.

SCIUTTO: Nick Paton Walsh, thanks so much for staying on top of it and thank you.

We'll be right back.


HARLOW: Welcome back.

The attorney general preparing to testify in less than an hour on Capitol Hill. While that happens, a National Guard official will challenge Bill Barr's account of the decision and the way in which they cleared protesters in Lafayette Square last month.


SCIUTTO: CNN national security correspondent -- senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt joins us now.

So you have a clear contradiction here between the attorney general claims this was all peaceful, deployment of forces here, and a member of the National Guard who contradicts him.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And what you're also going to hear is a clear contradiction on the peacefulness of those protesters.

What we're going to be hearing today from Major Adam DeMarco, who was the senior officer from the D.C. National Guard in Lafayette Park on June 1st, the night of that crackdown, is a direct contradiction to what Attorney General Bill Barr and other senior officials have said in terms of whether the protesters were behaving peacefully.

From Major DeMarco you're also going to hear a contradiction on the use of tear gas. He says that there was tear gas used and that he has experience with it. He's also going to say that the warning that was given to those protesters to clear out before the curfew mind you was not loud enough.

What he is going to say, Jim and Poppy, is that the response, the violent crackdown on these protesters was unprovoked.

I want to read you part of his prepared statement that he's going to present to the committee in the next hour. He will say, from my observation, those demonstrators, our fellow American citizens, were engaged in the peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights yet they were subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force.

Jim. Poppy.

SCIUTTO: We'll be watching that hearing. Hard questions need to be answered there.

Alex Marquardt, thanks very much.

HARLOW: And the Bill Barr hearing will begin in just a few minutes.

Stay right here.

We'll be right back.