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CNN TONIGHT

Three Former U.S. Presidents Honoring John Lewis' Legacy; President Trump Tries To Delegitimize 2020 Election; U.S. Coronavirus Cases Near 4.5 Million With 152,000 Plus Deaths; Lack Of Social Distancing And Masks At Trump Events; NBA Players Restarted the Season by Kneeling During the National Anthem; President Trump Floats Delaying the Election Despite No Authority To Do So; President Trump Wants Schools to Open in Fall, But Can't Assure Safety Amid Pandemic. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired July 30, 2020 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight, I'm Don Lemon. It is 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. We have your top stories for you right now.

The coronavirus death toll in this country just passing, get this, 152,000 people. And a key model now predicts another 80,000 Americans will die by November.

Also tonight, dismal economic news. The worst GDP drop on record. The U.S. Economy shrinking at an annual rate of 32.9 percent between April and June. And for the second week in a row, the number of Americans filing for first time unemployment benefits increased.

Today was also the day that this nation said its final goodbye to civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, Former Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama all paying tribute to his remarkable life and legacy.

But instead of honoring Lewis on the day of his funeral or trying to deal with the crisis that's killing more than 1,000 Americans a day and leaving others sick or without a job, the current president is focusing on scare tactics. He is trying sought doubt in the integrity of our elections. Just like he did 2016. His claims are lies and they are dangerous. And with this president, that seems to be the point.

Let's discuss now. White House correspondent John Hardwood is here. Also, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, the director of the Cardiac Catheterization Program at George Washington University Hospital. Gentlemen, hello to you.

John Harwood, the U.S. economy posted its worst drop on record. Jobless claims are up, more than 1,000 Americans died of coronavirus just today, right? The president is trying to delegitimize the election and all the former presidents were together being presidential on live television. I mean, this was quite a day. Even by Trump's standards, don't you think? JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was. And I think, Don

that is why we saw a president looking so defeated when he came in to the White House briefing room this afternoon for that press conference. The economic numbers were terrible. They were not a surprise, because they were a clarification of what we knew had happened on the second quarter of the year.

But what is so dispiriting for the White House is that now that the virus has resurges, the economic recovery he was hoping on when he pushed prematurely to reopen is now slowing down and maybe even going into reverse. We are going to get jobs numbers next week which may be pretty ugly for the administration. They've been -- the president was bragging today about all the jobs created in the last couple of months.

But looking forward, it's a kind of a mess, spending and slowing down, so the virus is back. The economy is slowing down. He was smack down by Mitch McConnell and other Republicans on this idea of delaying the election.

He was smacked down by President Obama for the racism that he's displayed in his campaign and he looked like somebody who the weight of accumulated blows had really gotten to him and we'll see what he's like tomorrow. But that was an unhappy president who appeared before us today.

LEMON: He looked defeated in that moment. He looked defeated. You're right on. Dr. Reiner, listen there's no way to sugar coat it as you know, John just said. But we already lost more than 152,000 Americans in coronavirus. Tonight the University of Washington is predicting almost 231,000 deaths by November? The president says he is not shutting anything down, wishy-washy on mass at this point. Are we doomed to repeat this cycle until we get a vaccine?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I think we're doomed to repeat the cycle until we have a change in leadership in this country. I have been thinking about this a lot over the last couple of days and I just don't see this administration under this leadership changing.

They had the opportunity to do that and I think now the best help is for the national government's association to get together and to put in best practices. We're not going to see it from the government. This president is incapable of doing it.

There is some good news though. Looking at the hardest hits states, Florida, Texas, Arizona, we're starting to see the number of new cases and hospitalizations start to look like they peaked and they're on the way down.

[23:05:11]

If it takes as long for the curves to come down as they did to go up, that is another two months. It took two months to get to where we are now. It will take two months at the same rate to come down to the bottom. And that is what takes us down to November, and that is -- a death rate of 1,000 cases a day that is how you get another 80,000 or so deaths.

It didn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to be this way going forward. If everyone masks up, if we get governors to do the smart thing which is to shutdown selected places at selected times.

If we continue to ramp up testing, there are over 800,000 tests today. We can bite into this. But we are not going to get the leadership from Washington. And we are wasting our breath every night when we talk about that. It is what it is. He's incapable of doing it.

LEMON: I want you -- you guys take a listen to what the president said about children today. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can you assure people that schools will be safe when reopened?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, can you assure anybody of anything? I do say, again, young people are almost immune to this disease. The younger, the better, I guess they are stronger, they are stronger. They have a stronger immune system. It's an incredible thing. Nobody has ever seen this before. Various types of flu will hurt young people more than older people. But young people are almost immune. If you look at the percentage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Doctor, almost immune. Please give us the reality.

REINER: So, children are not immune to it. The vast majority of children who do get the infection will not die from this virus. The president -- if that's what he means. That's correct, but they are not immune. They will contract the virus. The big concern obviously is not how sick the children will get. A few children will get sick and die.

But the big concern is that the children will infect their parents and their grandparents and the other kids in the class will do the same to their parents and their grandparents and the teachers.

So, a lot of the teachers in this country, you know, fall into vulnerable categories. So the president uses a selective kernel of truth to create an overall untruth. And the truth is that kids can infect and will infect other people and propagate the virus.

LEMON: Right. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. Thank you. Did you want to say something?

HARWOOD: Don, can I just add one thing.

LEMON: Yes, sure, sure go on.

HARWOOD: Yes. What I want to say is that moment, when the president said can you really assure anybody of anything, is the quintessential note that he struck today that told me that he was beaten back and beaten down by events. Remember, this was also a day when his ally, Herman Cain, who had gone to that controversial event in Tulsa, who had mock the idea of requiring masks later acquired COVID. And he died this morning.

I think that is a -- that was a dramatic and an emotional gut punch that told the president that he is not in control of events and you can see it on his face.

LEMON: Do you think the Herman Cain thing hit him that hard, John?

HARWOOD: I think the general idea that he's not in control, that all -- that his election's not going well. He knows that. That's why he's talking about -- complaining about mail-in votes, that's not somebody who thinks he's winning the election, he knows he's losing the election right now.

The economy is struggling, we are struggling with the coronavirus and this ally who had stood with him and came out at this event where multiple people contracted the coronavirus. But the fact that Herman Cain passed away today, I think that is something that -- I think that is tough for him to take.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you. I appreciate it. I will see you all and be safe. Considering what we just discussed.

I want to get now to CNN's presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. Doug, thank you so much. You can put this please, put this day in to context for us. We have you know, former president paying tribute to Congressman John Lewis and then we have our current president questioning the legitimately of the 2020 election, and then saying, well, you can assure -- you heard what John just said. The stark difference between this presidents.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes, I mean, John Lewis is the symbol, the patron saint of the right to vote, and on the day of his, Ebenezer Baptist memorial service, Donald Trump is busy tweeting that we might need to postpone the presidential election, something we don't do in U.S. history? It was just another bad Donald Trump moment.

But it was glorious there in Atlanta, Barack Obama gave one of the most brilliant eulogies. It was sort of a -- you know, like, he gave one for the 50th anniversary of Selma in 2015, and this is like a bookend to it.

[23:10:06]

And the fact that Barack Obama called for statehood in Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., talked about Election Day should be a national holiday. There was meat in that speech, not just emotion. And then Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were very moving in their own ways.

So, I thought it was really remarkable watching the service in Atlanta and having Donald Trump today try to talk about not having a -- or having a postponement this November. It was just surreal.

LEMON: Yes, I have heard some people criticizing the former President Obama for talking about voting rights and what should happen when it comes to voting in America. And saying, it's inappropriate. As you said, John Lewis was the patron saint of voting rights. And if you're not going to do it at his eulogy, when are you going to do it. That is what he would want.

BRINKLEY: Absolutely. Everything Barack Obama said, John Lewis would be cheering from heaven. It was a brilliant Obama speech. And this is the time to talk about. You know, Barack Obama's big line is, you know, don't boo, vote. And here he is, you know, trying to tell people to get out there, that is what John Lewis would want. Not just the John Lewis act, you know, to repair the civil rights that got damaged in 2013, but then you expand it later.

And then as I said to expand, you know, state hood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. It was one of Barack Obama's great speeches. Not just as ex- president, that one is one of his best eulogy speeches he's ever delivered.

LEMON: A master class in eulogies. You know, in makes me think that -- you know, about this president not being invited to John McCain's funeral. Wasn't really welcomed to the former first lady Barbara Bush's funeral. Though he did attend her husband's funeral. He wasn't invited to George Floyd's funeral. He didn't attend the funeral of John Lewis today. These are big galvanizing events and when they take place, the president is a practically a (inaudible).

BRINKLEY: He is a (inaudible), nobody wants to be in a photo-op, nobody wanted him there in Atlanta. He wasn't miss. He could have come and sat there and not even giving a eulogy and just sent a healing message, but we know he's in the season of dividing the country on race, not trying to do something that might heal us.

You know, John Lewis was proven right when he decided not to attend Donald Trump's inauguration, because of what's happened in the Trump presidency is just been bigotry and prejudice. I knew John Lewis quite well, I wrote a forward to one of his memoirs that he asked me to. And I would go to Selma with (inaudible) in politics, Don, yearly with Congressman Lewis, and it was hurting him physically what Donald Trump was doing to the country.

Because John Lewis was a healer, and Donald Trump likes to disunite. And being there at Ebenezer Baptist would have been wrong. But nobody seems to want Donald Trump around to have the last word.

LEMON: Yes. You know, one of those things, Doug, before I let you go, that you -- I'm not sure -- I think I did the right thing but I'm not sure that I did. Because, you know, I contacted his -- John Lewis's family, or his people. And I wanted to send something to him. Because I heard he wasn't doing well. And then COVID happened, right?

And I spoke with my fiance, and I said, we probably shouldn't send something since he's sick. And you know, and we never send like flowers or a basket, or something, be you just didn't know him. You didn't want to harm him. And now I'm having this regret, like, maybe should I have sent it. You know what I'm saying? So, you never know. BRINKLEY: Of course I do. But, Don, he knows how much you loved him.

It's clear to everybody. What a symbiotic relationship you had with him.

LEMON: I did a legends thing with him where he was telling me -- with civil rights leaders and he was telling me how proud he was of me, and I am like, what? What are you talking about? You're John Lewis, man.

BRINKLEY: Yes. Absolutely and I heard you talking with Andrew Young the other night, and then Andrew Young's wife chimed in, how amazing you were. You are part of that Atlanta hierarchy, and John Lewis knew that you were a foot soldier with him.

LEMON: I was on just their shoulders, and I hope to do one tenth of the job that they did for this country. But I do my part, whatever I can, I try.

BRINKLEY: You do every night.

LEMON: Thank you, thank you very much. And John Lewis, of course, will be missed and our condolences. Douglas, thank you. Always a pleasure. We'll see you soon.

BRINKLEY: Yes, bye.

LEMON: Coronavirus death toll in this country passing 152,000 tonight, and experts fear the vacation season may be spreading the virus.

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[23:15:00]

LEMON: The U.S. nearing 4.5 million cases of coronavirus, the death toll rising to over 152,000 deaths and tonight, a key model is predicting more than 230,000 total deaths by November. Nick Watt has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sun Belt surge is seeping north.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: So now we see the virus probably because of vacations and other reasons and travel moving up.

WATT: Michigan just closed a lot of bars again. When a percentage of tests coming back positive in the state climbs, that is the danger sign.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are starting to see that in some of the states now, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio.

WATT: Ohio just reported the most cases in a day, Illinois, the most cases since late May. Mayra Ramirez from Chicago, just 28 years old. Fell ill in April. She is one the first COVID-19 patients to receive a double lung transplant.

[23:20:04]

MAYRA RAMIREZ, DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT: I wasn't aware that I had receive a lung transplant. When I awoke, it wasn't until weeks later that I had the ability to, you know, think to myself, there's a family out there that's grieving their loved one. I have that person's lungs, and how lucky I was to have received it.

WATT: Yesterday, across this country, 1,403 lives reported lost to COVID-19. Highest number in nine weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really a travesty that we are where we are today. I'm worried about the future. I'm worried that unless we make some significant changes in our response, this death rate is going to continue to rise.

WATT: The NBA season restarted tonight in a bio bubble in Orlando. This weekend's Phillies Blue Jay series is off after two Phillies staffers tested positive. The NFL, watching and learning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are working our tails off to familiarize ourselves and adhere to the called protocol.

WATT: If we all do that, there is a way out.

BIRX: We believe if the Governors and mayors of every locality right now, would mandate masks for their communities and every American would wear a mask and socially distance, we can really get control of this virus and drive down cases as Arizona has done.

WATT: Some Arizona cities begun mandating masks June 19th and look at what happened two or three weeks later. The average number of new cases in the state everyday started to fall. Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Nick Watt, thank you very much for that. I want to bring in now Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. Doctor, it's a pleasure. Thank you for joining.

DR. AMESH ADALJA, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Thank you for having me.

LEMON: This week, we have seen President Trump in events where we is not wearing a mask. Here he is in Midland, Texas, yesterday for a fundraiser, where people in the crowd weren't distancing. Several officials gathered around the president. No masks. It was a similar scene today at an event with the Vice President, crowds gathered before he spoke in Pennsylvania. Minimal distancing there. Is it a good idea to be having these kinds of events right now?

ADALJA: If you're not doing the social distancing, if you are not being an example of how you should act in public right now, I don't think you should have these events. You can have an event but you have to put in place certain measures that are going to decrease transmission. And I think that is something that is simply that is not happening in many of these political rallies and it sends a mixed message. We are in the middle of a pandemic and there are simple measures we can take to reduce the harm of this virus causes, but only if we take them.

LEMON: There are still so much we don't know about this virus. Is masking up, staying apart the best ways to keep this under control?

ADALJA: What we know is that the virus can't magically teleport from one person to another. If you are six feet apart from somebody, the virus doesn't have a pathway to get from one person to another. If you are closer than six feet and there are many people out there that have symptoms that they don't even realize are part of the coronavirus or there may be pre-symptomatic just before they get symptoms and they are contagious.

So, if they are wearing a face covering, even if one of the party is doing a face covering that is going to likely decrease the ability of that virus to get from one person to another. Because there are so many people out there that are contagious. And that is why we are seeing what we're seeing in many of the states where the virus is now kind of spiraled out of control.

LEMON: I think, and also, the heat and being outdoors, being outdoors is the best, and the heat and humidity also tend to -- well, I know the humidity does, push the droplets down, right? But you still should wear a mask and you should still social distance, go on.

ADALJA: You're right. We don't see full seasonality yet. Because there's just so many people that are susceptible to this and the fact is there is so many people out there with the infection. But it is true, when it is hotter, when it is more sunny, when it is more humid, the virus finds it less conducive to get from person to person. And that's why if you can have an event, if you have to have a political rally, it's much better for it to be outdoor versus indoor.

LEMON: So, doctor, some states still don't have a statewide mask mandate like Florida, one of the worst hot spots right now. You know, but doctor -- Professor Haseltine was on earlier saying it's some good news is getting better. But we do need a national mandate, don't we?

ADALJA: What we need to do is really give people the tools to live with this virus. And I do think that face covering are part of that tool kit. Because it is one thing that you can use along with social distancing, along with hand hygiene, along with scaling up testing and getting people the ability to know their status very quickly.

All of that is part of it. And so I do think we need a kind of a whole suite of types of tools that a person can use to reduce the harm from this virus. And we haven't have that from the beginning of this pandemic and that is why we're in the situation that we're in.

LEMON: Doctor, I appreciate you coming on, thank you for your time. Thanks so much.

ADALJA: Thank you.

LEMON: The NBA starting back up just hours ago, and the players are starting the season with a statement. That statement is, black lives matter more. That next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:25:00]

LEMON: After a 20-week coronavirus hiatus, the NBA is back. Play resuming tonight in Orlando where all games are taking place in a bubble in hopes of preventing the spread of the virus. And the fight against racial injustice is not taking a backseat. Superstar LeBron James and his entire Lakers squad took a knee alongside their cross town rivals the Clippers while a video of the Compton kids club performing the national anthem was played before tipoff.

[23:30:00]

And during the anthem of the early game, every member of the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans took a knee.

So let's discuss now. Shams Charania is here, the senior NBA Insider at Stadium and The Athletic. So, thank you so much, sir. You came on and broke news in the beginning of this pandemic about one of the first players getting COVID.

And now, here, you're back 20 weeks or so after they're all back on the court. All these teams are playing tonight, issuing statements or tweets supporting these demonstrations.

This is what the commissioner, Adam Silver, is lining. He is saying, "I respect our teams' unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem."

It is almost unfathomable to think that the NBA could punish these players. You know, there would be an absolute uproar, don't you think, Shams?

SHAMS CHARANIA, SENIOR NBA INSIDER, STADIUM AND THE ATHLETIC: Yeah, Adam Silver wouldn't do that. You know, the league office made it clear to people, privately, over the last month after the death of George Floyd, which sparked social injustice concerns across the country, and among NBA players.

You know, all of the players banded together and make sure that if we were to play again this season, we would play for social injustices and creating, you know, trying to make stands and make sure that the league addresses this issue. And so that was a major concern for the NBA players, for the league, to make that they address this issue.

And so the NBA isn't going to find anyone -- there are a lot of players that are going to kneel today, tomorrow, over the next slate of games. There is not going to be any fines. Players are wearing shirts and apparel that have no NBA approval. But the league understands the moment.

At the end of the day, each player will have to make his own decision. Do you want to kneel with the rest or do you want to go about however else you want to demonstrate yourself. Dwight Howard was among a couple players until tonight that decided not to participate in the kneeling and instead went back into the locker room area during the national anthem.

And so every player has his right and any staffer has his or her right to determine how they want to address social justice, whether they want to kneel, whether they don't want to kneel.

LEMON: I mean, it is remarkable, it is extraordinary considering just from last season to this and even before COVID to this, Shams, to see, you know, all of these players, every single person out there kneeling, because you did not have that unity even, you know, 20 or so weeks ago.

Players are wearing social justice messages on their backs, on the backs of their jerseys. So many people were fired up about the death of George Floyd, about Breonna Taylor. What happens now? I know that you said for, you know, the next couple games you can see people doing this. But what happens if these protests continue all season, Shams?

CHARANIA: I mean there is a very strong possibility of that. I think the NBA, the NBPA, the National Basketball Players Association, are prepared for that possibility. This is the players' league. The NBA has always been player-driven, superstar-driven.

For Lebron James and the rest of star players across the NBA tonight, to make that stand, it sends a message. It could last a handful of games. It could last the entire season.

LEMON: But you don't think they will get fine?

CHARANIA: -- around the league. The NBA is prepared for that.

LEMON: Yeah.

CHARANIA: No. The NBA is going to allow players to demonstrate themselves in a peaceful manner, no matter how they --

LEMON: Let me ask you. Do you think this is going to trickle over or that the same thing will happen with the NFL?

CHARANIA: It could. At the end of the day, it is going to be the NFL players. Obviously, their league hasn't been as progressive as the NBA. The NBA has taken the mantle. The NBA and the players are working on a fund, millions and millions of dollars to try to empower people in communities, minority communities. You know, they have always been at the forefront of social injustice. I don't think that has changed.

LEMON: I think it's interesting, you first came on to talk to us about Rudy Gobert, the first player to test positive, with the whole microphone thing. I know that you said that he may actually have saved lives because that is when they shut it down. He played tonight, scored the first point and the winning -- I have to go but tell me what he did real quickly.

CHARANIA: He had the first points of the game, the first bucket, and the final three points of the game after testing positive. He received a lot of hate messages, you know, after testing positive for coronavirus and really was part of the reason why the NBA shut down and then the entire country.

And now, the NBA is back. Rudy Gobert is back, fought through the adversity of different hate messages. Different people are trying to blame him for what happened with the NBA. But he is back, he is healthy, he looks good.

LEMON: Thank you, Shams. I appreciate it. See you soon.

[23:35:00]

LEMON: The president is suggesting the election be postponed, even though he has no power to do that and even his own party flat out rejecting that idea. Why he said it and what he is saying now, that is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump pushing the idea of delaying November's election as he again repeats his false claim that mail-in ballots lead to voter fraud.

[23:40:04]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to delay. I want to have the election. But I also don't want to have to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing and the election doesn't mean anything. I don't want to see a crooked election. This election will be the most rigged election in history, if that happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So that after the president tweeted this earlier in the day, "Delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote?"

Question mark, OK, whatever. Joining me now is CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. Ron, I hate to -- good evening. I hate to be so flippant, but I mean -- my goodness. Let's just get it out of the way. The president can't move the election. So, what is this about?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The president can't move the election, and he knows that. What I think this is about is he is testing the water to see how far he can go and keep Republicans in Congress with him as he tries to delegitimize the election and, potentially, as you saw even more explicitly in that press conference, contest the results after. You know, it is striking, Don, that while Republicans today said, obviously, you know, they kind of acknowledge the sky is blue, he can't not delay the election, I did not any of them say this is dangerous, this this is undemocratic, this is ominous, stop it. They all just kind of said it is wrong, he is wrong, but he is right to be worried about fraud.

We all know that voting by mail does not have an issue. John Cornyn even said, he is joking. So I think the president is testing how far he can bring the party along with him. Based on the first three and a half years, you would say probably pretty far.

LEMON: Does he actually know though that he can't do it? I don't know --

(LAUGHTER)

BROWNSTEIN: I think somebody knows. I mean, somebody around --

LEMON: Somebody knows, but does he actually know? I'm not so sure about that.

BROWNSTEIN: Even Bill Barr yesterday, you know, wouldn't say he can't do it. You know what else is really striking about this? I mean, look at the contrast today. I mean, Donald Trump talked about one of the most un-Democrat, small D democratic utterances ever by an American president on the same day that Barack Obama said that expanding access to the vote,

expanding the right to vote, reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act that was eviscerated by John Roberts in the Shelby County decision 2013, was important enough that it might justify ending the filibuster if Democrats get unified control in 2021.

And Don, that is the most important thing to happen. That was a marker in the ground. I have written that I think that voting rights is the issue that is going to put the maximum pressure on Democrats to end the filibuster if they get unified control.

And Barack Obama, going out on that, before Joe Biden reminded me -- Joe Biden going out before Barack Obama on gay marriage --

LEMON: Yeah.

BROWNSTEIN: -- it may be the equivalent of that moment if Biden becomes president.

LEMON: Interesting. Well put. Thank you for saying that. This is the reason, Washington Post-ABC News poll saying that a majority of Democrats would prefer to vote by mail while 79 percent of Republicans want to vote in person. Would Democrats be more disenfranchised by these logistical issues, do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first, 2016, the same share of Republicans and Democrats roughly voted by mail. And what we have seen so far, as you've reported on, is that in these primaries, Democrats are using vote by mail far more than Republicans are. Largely because President Trump is succeeding in discrediting the idea of voting by mail to his own base and you have alarms raised by all sorts of Republicans, consultants, and county officials. There are even, you know, Republicans in Michigan who are burning their absentee ballot applications as if somehow that was kind of, you know, like not wearing a mask. It was a statement of defiance.

Look, there are no Democrats -- I do not know of any Democrats who won the entire city, entire country move to a vote by mail. In particular, the African American community has always been more oriented towards early voting than vote by mail.

There is a lot of suspicion about whether your vote gets counted by mail. Democrats want to preserve early voting, which is important for them. But historically, it has been Republicans who are focused more on vote by mail, older white constituency.

In this election, though, Trump does seem to be raising doubts among Republican partisans, and we will see how that plays out. There is potential that this could end up backfiring in areas where voters don't feel safe going out to vote. Republicans haven't taken the steps they need to vote by mail.

LEMON: Yeah, and he suppresses his own vote. We will see.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah.

LEMON: Thank you very much, Ron. Appreciate it.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

LEMON: The president is pushing schools to open, but communities across the country have different ideas about what to do and different means -- different means, I should say, of doing it. W. Kamau Bell --

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: -- weighs in, next.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:45:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Right now, at least 29 states are pausing or rolling back their reopening plans for schools this fall amid coronavirus concerns, right? Yet President Trump continues to push for schools to reopen, even though he can't assure them that it will be safe. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can you assure people that schools will be safe when reopened? D. TRUMP: So, can you assure anybody of anything? I do say, again, young people are almost immune to this disease. The younger, the better. I guess they're stronger. They're stronger. They have a stronger immune system. It's an incredible thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. So, W. Kamau Bell is here, host of CNN's "United Shades of America."

(LAUGHTER)

[23:49:58]

LEMON: When someone says, can you really assure anybody of anything, what does that say to you, W. Kamau Bell?

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: They don't know what they're talking about it.

LEMON: Yeah.

BELL: Every teacher in America right now knows what it is to send kids back to school more than the president of the United States. They all know what is at stake if they go back to school right now.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen. This is really highlighting the differences between how much money people get for poor school districts, rich school districts, white and black school districts, what have you, and you show this in your episodes, right? Do you talk about this?

BELL: Yeah. I mean, we talk about how schools are funded. You know, also, we talk about -- so there is unequal funding often between different public schools and public schools in white areas and black areas. But also, no matter how well a school is funded in a black area, there is still the achievement gap, which means that there are certain societal pulls on black students than are on white students.

LEMON: Yeah. Let's play a clip. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BELL (voice-over): To understand where students are going, you have to know where they come from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. I want to know what does it mean that a zip code can tell you so much more about where a child is going to end up than any other fact that you can learn about that child. We need to make sure that we understand not just the differences between students' test scores and all that kind of stuff, we need to understand how inequality works and how it is localized within neighborhoods and schools.

I was admitted to George Washington Carver Middle School. An assistant principal saw me fooling around with two of my best friends. She walked up to me and said, you don't have a potential to be a Carverite (ph).

BELL: It's not what you say to a kid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. What was funny about that is that they created an award for the best student in the school, my eight grade year, because of the things I did, and she had to hand it to me.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Biggest factors. For my podcast, we researched schools. It's amazing to, you know, who you vote for, housing values, taxes, all of that. All these big factors go in to the gap between white and black and achievement, right?

BELL: Yeah, and it's also about like where the parent -- where they are in their own life. So a white parent who sends a kid to a public school may make more money, so they can actually invest in that school and put money at school that the school doesn't have.

But a lot of times, black parents are just getting by and cannot put further money into the school to make up for what the school doesn't have.

LEMON: I'll mention my podcast again. I know we are talking about "United Shades." But in my last episode of "Silence is Not an Option," I spoke with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka about the push for police reform and what he's been implementing in the city since taking office in 2014. Listen to this and then we'll talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (voice-over): As a Black mayor, did you see the problem more clearly than perhaps a white mayor?

MAYOR RAS BARAKA, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY (voice-over): Yes. And the fact that I was born and raised in Newark and I had problems with the police myself as a young man growing up in the city, being stopped, searched, even abused, beaten, you know. So, when people say that this is happening, it's not like a surprise to me. I'm not like, oh, is this really going on? This is, you know, it's not fictitious. I think that is real and that we need to address it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Do we need more mayors like Mayor Baraka who understand what is happening in the streets with law enforcement and people of color?

BELL: If we want systemic change, which is what I want, I think that's what you want, if we want the system to really own up to the inequities and the injustices in the system, we need elected officials who actually have dealt with the inequities in the system, because clearly, what we have now is not working.

LEMON: Yeah. It is interesting, when I talked to him about the difference of him when he was just an activist and now he's the mayor, so he actually has to work with the police department, and, you know, it was fascinating to hear how he conducts himself now that he is a mayor instead of just an activist.

The president is struggling in the polls with suburban voters. So, he's turned to race-baiting now, fearmongering. I just want to read a couple --

BELL: Wait. He turned to it? When did he turn to it?

LEMON: No, he is turning again, I should say. How is that?

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Is that sufficient? Are you happy with that?

BELL: OK.

LEMON: All right. Here is what he says. "I'm happy to inform all of the people living their suburban lifestyle dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood. Your housing prices will go up based on the market and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH rule. Enjoy."

BELL: This is again (Inaudible) about. What he doesn't understand is, actually, a lot of the suburbs, black people have fled to the suburbs because they have been priced out of the city. And a lot of white people have returned to the city because they decided they want to be closer to where they work and things like that.

So, he has no basic understanding of how America works on any level, including the suburbs.

LEMON: What if the black family is like the rich family on the street? I mean --

BELL: Oh, yeah.

LEMON: Does he ever think about that?

BELL: There's some pretty -- I know some pretty, rich black folks in New Jersey who --

(LAUGHTER)

BELL: Jay-Z may have some questions about that.

[23:55:02]

LEMON: Oh, my gosh. Oh, so ridiculous. Anyway, thank you, sir. I always love having you on. I love watching your shows. So thank you for appearing. Make sure you tune in on an all-new episode of "United Shades of America." It airs Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Make sure you watch it, only on CNN.

Thanks for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)