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CNN NEWSROOM

Mexico's COVID Cases About To Make It World's No. 3; Expert Forecasts On Coronavirus Come True; Russian Vaccine In Demand; Trump Campaign Recruits Doctors And Opinion Makers; Many Brazilians Believe Unproven Drug Can Treat Virus; How Italy is Turning Masks into Fashion Statements; Tech Leaders Face Lawmakers' Pointed Antitrust Questions: Minneapolis Police Identify Man They Think Incited Riots. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 30, 2020 - 01:00   ET

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


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Ahead this hour. "Hit the reset button." U.S. health officials demand a do-over with the country's coronavirus death toll topping 150,000.

Fear, chaos and uncertainty. Midwives for a growing number of conspiracy theories spreading faster than the pandemic.

And the world's most powerful CEOs grilled by lawmakers on Capitol Hill over their dominance of the tech economy.

CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

When the coronavirus infection started to surge in the U.S. over the past month, experts predicted a spike in the death toll would follow. And now, it's happening.

The U.S. has surpassed 150,000 fatalities.

The nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says midwestern states need to get ahead of the curve right now before their case numbers are out of control.

A new report from Johns Hopkins University urging the U.S. to reset its virus response. With mask mandates, stay-at-home orders, and federal leadership to improve testing.

Meantime, the World Health Organization says very few countries were ready for the scale of this global emergency.

One senior official is calling for governments to work on being better prepared and to work together the next time.

Here in the U.S., California, Texas and Florida have once again broken records for most deaths in a single day.

CNN's Erica Hill has more headlines now from across the United States. ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Masks, social distancing, good hygiene. The tools are there but the virus just keeps spreading.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Dr. ROB DAVIDSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: It's like whack-a-mole. With hotspots all over this country, it's just going to keep popping up if we don't do something nationally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: That lack of a national plan could result in hundreds of thousands of additional deaths, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, which released a road map Wednesday for a coordinated response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROSS MCKINNEY, JR., CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES: Having common standards sort of sets expectation, provides some consistency. So that we don't get these continuous waves of infection that have followed our premature reopening so far.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: While the president is urging governors to reopen, his own administration is warning the 21 states in red on this map, they may need stronger restrictions. The yellow states also being watched closely.

Dr. Deborah Birx noting young adults are fueling the spread in those areas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR (VOICE OVER): "Remember the majority of those are asymptomatic. So if you expect to see hospitalizations, by the time you see hospitalizations, your community spread is so widespread that you've into flipped into a red state incredibly quickly."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Indiana one of those yellow states closing beaches in Gary today for at least two weeks, as cases continue to rise.

Indoor gatherings also causing concern across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. PHIL MURPHY, (D-N.J.): We simply can't continue to have crowded house parties. They are not safe. Period.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: Deaths are rising in 29 states. California and North Carolina posting new daily highs on Wednesday. Florida reporting record numbers for the second day in a row.

The governor focusing on the new school year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FLA): And I would absolutely have my kids in school because I do think that it's safe to do so. I believe that this is something that's very low risk for kids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: The governor also noting his kids aren't yet old enough for school.

Meantime, a new study finds statewide school closures last spring helped to reduce the number of infections and deaths.

As Dr. Anthony Fauci offers this blunt warning to teachers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: So in many respects, unfortunately, though this might sound a little scary and harsh -- I don't mean it to be that way -- is that you're going to be actually part of the experiment of the learning curve of what we need to know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: We did learn on Wednesday Miami Dade County which is still in phase one will begin the year later than planned starting school on August 31st. And they'll begin with remote learning.

Denver public schools will also start with virtual learning. And that is expected to go through at least October.

In New York, I'm Erica Hill. CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: New records in daily case counts are being set around the world. Japan saw more than 1,200 new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic.

It's also the first time Japan recorded more than 1,000 new infections in one day.

For a second day, China has reported more than 100 new cases. Most were locally transmitted in the western province of Xinjiang.

Also, 21 new asymptomatic infections were recorded.

CNN's Will Ripley live this hour in Hong Kong. [01:05:00]

So just -- there is a difference here too. When we're talking about the locally transmitted cases and the asymptomatic cases as well -- because it's those asymptomatic cases, I think, which have the authorities really concerned.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Because a lot of people who don't have symptoms might not necessarily have a reason to go in and get tested.

That's certainly a phenomenon that we're seeing here in Hong Kong as well.

And this is a city that, for at least eight days, has been reporting triple-digit increases in the number of COVID-19 cases.

China, as you mentioned, just the last two days, they have 1.4 billion people there, we have seven million people here.

Either location, the numbers are enviable, certainly by U.S. and many other countries' standards. But they are huge cause for concern here.

American, Steven Hightower [ph], has been living in Hong Kong for seven years. The Alabama native was teaching gymnastics until the city's third wave of COVID-19 shut down all the gyms. Again.

Hightower came down with a mild fever and sore throat last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HIGHTOWER: So I decided to get the test done. And then, lo and behold I was -- I tested positive.

RIPLEY: Do you have any idea how you got it?

HIGHTOWER: Zero idea. I backtracked to everyone I had been in contact with; no one had any sympathies, no one feels ill.

RIPLEY: He's been isolating ever since. Waiting for days to go into government quarantine.

HIGHTOWER: The hardest part of this experience has been the not knowing. We don't know what's coming next.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: This could be what's next for patients like him. People with mild symptoms.

This Expo Center near the airport is the future site of a COVID-19 field hospital, like one in Wuhan. In fact, China has even agreed to help build it.

The goal? To ease the strain on Hong Kong hospitals. Even though the city has far fewer cases than most, the numbers are rising fast. Ivan Law [ph] is a nurse in one of Hong Kong's most crowded COVID-19 wards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IVAN LAW: You get another patient to leave, another patient will come in.

RIPLEY: And it's just over and over again, new patients coming in.

LAW: Yes. Over and over again. You have to keep working. You don't have -- you cannot see when it ends.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: A survey from the Hong Kong Nursing Association says nearly 90 percent of medical staff don't think the hospital authority is prepared for the third wave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: Do you think that Hong Kong could have or should have done more during the period of time when there was no community spread?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That obviously is a "yes." Health experts and also health professionals also press the government to do more testing and screening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: Hong Kong's chief secretary defends the city's approach.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW CHEUNG, CHIEF SECRETARY, HONG KONG: I think we've been adopting the right approach all along. Approach is lift and suppress. On the basis of scientific evidence, on the basis of expert advice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: Just this month, Hong Kong began contracting with private companies to conduct mass testing of restaurant workers, taxi drivers and elderly caregivers. All groups with recent clusters of infections.

Hong Kong biotech, Prenetics, aims to eventually test up to 20,000 people a day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: If Hong Kong sees an explosion in numbers like other places, is this city prepared to deal with that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No country is prepared, right? To be quite honest, right? No country is prepared because, again, the virus is so new. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HIGHTOWER: Anyone can catch it. And even if you're doing everything that you feel you possibly can, it's probably not enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: A lesson Hong Kong learned the hard way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Now the big question being asked here in Hong Kong is should the legislative council elections go on as planned in September? There is a lot of talk right now.

And it's being widely reported in local media that many lawmakers on the pro-Beijing side are pushing for the election to be postponed by a year.

They're citing health reasons because of the pandemic. Their political opponents say it has everything to do with the fact that all indications are they will get trounced in the election because the pro-Beijing side has been so unpopular amongst the electorate.

So we'll wait in the coming days to see what happens with that.

But it does -- again, it's so interesting, John. That you see such huge numbers in other places like the U.S. and here where you still have -- you had numbers over 100 but they're not really exploding, and yet the city has essentially been shut down in terms of dining and restaurants, going to the beach, gathering in groups larger than two. Everybody has to wear a mask outside.

It is extraordinary how seriously it's being taken here even though the numbers remain low.

They say the health care system being overburdened is the big reason for that.

VAUSE: Yes. You've got to keep that pressure on if those numbers are going to stay low. I guess that's the point. And that's the hard part.

But, Will, thank you. Will Ripley live for us in Hong Kong.

Brazil has ended a four-month long travel ban reopening the country to foreign visitors arriving by plane despite another record spike in new coronavirus cases.

Almost 70,000 on Wednesday. It also recorded 1,500 deaths.

With more than two-and-a-half million cases, Brazil has the highest number of confirmed cases in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mexico has the second highest number and the crisis there is showing little signs of improving.

The death toll rose past 45,000 on Wednesday after hundreds more died on that day.

CNN's Matt Rivers has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in Mexico there continues to be really nothing but bad news when it comes to this pandemic.

It was Wednesday night that health officials reported nearly 500 newly-confirmed deaths. That pushes the country's overall death total to more than 45,000 for the first time.

And with that, it is very likely that in the next few days we're going to see Mexico's death toll overtake the United Kingdom's. And when that happens, Mexico's death toll will be third highest in the world, trailing only the United States and Brazil.

And the reason why that death toll keeps going up is because the number of newly-reported deaths each day is not going down.

And if you look at the numbers, throughout the entire month of July it's hovered right around 600 deaths per day. And with each week that goes by, we're just not seeing that number get any lower.

But it's not just human life that is being affected by this outbreak.

We've also done a lot of reporting on domestic violence and the effect of the economic shutdown here, that it's had on the country's women.

And today, we got some data to back our reporting. Which has shown that many women who were in abusive situations, things were getting worse for them as a result of the country's lockdown because they were trapped with their abusers.

It was today that Mexico's government reported that 9-1-1 calls related to violence against women increased by nearly 46 percent during the first half of this year. As compared to the same time period from January to June back in 2019.

And that gives you some evidence there that this outbreak has had a brutal effect on victims of domestic violence, as evidenced by those numbers.

So this outbreak just having such an effect on all aspects of society here Mexico.

Matt Rivers, CNN. In Tijuana, Mexico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Spain has recorded its highest number of daily infections since early May. More than 1,100 on Wednesday. New cases are linked to younger people which explains the lower death

and hospitalization rates. More than 280,000 people have now been infected across Spain.

Similar situation occurring in France reporting nearly 1,400 new infections on Wednesday, the highest daily increase in more than a month. Fifteen more people died.

The country's health agency says hospitalizations are steadily decreasing; the infection rate, though, steadily rising.

Conspiracy theories about the coronavirus are running rampant. We'll talk about some of the dangerous and disproven ideas and why they seem to thrive during this time of crisis.

That's next.

Also we'll take you to Italy where masks are not political statements, they're fashion statements. Just as they should be.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:15:00]

VAUSE: Well, Russia claims demand is already growing for their coronavirus vaccine which they say should be approved early next month.

That's if it's safe and effective. And the vaccine would be the world's first.

Russia plans mass production in September despite some very serious concerns over its safety and effectiveness.

Matthew Chance picks up the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SNR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there might be widespread criticism around this Russian vaccine. But Russian officials now say at least 20 countries are expressing their interest on getting their hands on it.

A sign, they say, of how much demand there is in the world for a solution to this global pandemic.

Officials of the Russian direct investment fund tell that nations including India, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia are among those talking to Russia about getting the vaccine once its approved.

Russian officials, of course, earlier telling CNN they intend to approve their vaccine by August 10th. And will mass produce it, according to the health ministry, by September.

Critics say conventions on human trials in Russia have been ignored amid pressure from the Kremlin to get the vaccine approved. Russian officials telling CNN the crucial phase three trials will take place while the vaccine is being administered to high-risk groups like frontline medical staff.

It's risky, of course. Fueling concerns about the effectiveness and the safety of this vaccine.

But, given the acute coronavirus problem in Russia -- it has the fourth highest number of infections in the world -- it's a risk the authorities here, and apparently some other nations around the globe too -- are willing to take.

Matthew Chance. CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: The U.S. president traveled to the hard-hit state of Texas on Wednesday. But not to talk about the pandemic but rather brag about America's energy independence.

Also holding a campaign fund-raiser. No one on the stage there wore a mask, there was no social distancing.

And Texas congressman, Louie Gohmert, who was meant to travel with the president stayed behind after testing positive for the coronavirus.

He says he'll take the unproven drug, hydroxychloroquine, which the president is once again sprouting from the Oval Office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I want to do is save lives. I don't care if it's hydroxy, or anything else. All I want to do is save lives. If we can save lives, that's great.

Now one thing. We're doing very well on vaccines and very well on therapeutics. So that's very important.

But I happen to be a believer in hydroxy, I used it. I had no problem. I happen to be a believer. Many, many people agree with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Donald Trump once said he's not a doctor. And that is true. But he has been at odds with medical experts on the coronavirus many times.

We hear more from CNN's Ryan Nobles.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: As president of the U.S., Donald Trump has direct access to some of the most talented and respected medical minds anywhere in the world.

But instead of relying on the experts, many from his own administration, the president is spreading bogus claims from doctors like this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. STELLA IMMANUEL: Right now, they're using all kinds of DNA, even alien DNA, to treat people. Mixing human beings with demons. Nephilims exist these days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Dr. Stella Immanuel, much like Trump, is passionate about hydroxychloroquine. A drug studies have shown to not be effective in treating coronavirus.

She's also said some gynecological problems are the result of sex with demons and witches.

Still, Trump has stood by her coronavirus claims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I was very impressed with her and other doctors that stood with her. I think she made sense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: She's not the only doctor whose questionable views are regularly retweeted and amplified by the president.

A collection of these pro-Trump doctors met with Vice President Mike Pence just yesterday.

Among them was Dr. Simone Gold who has downplayed the importance of wearing masks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SIMONE GOLD: Does it make people feel better? So we scientists know that the masks are really quite foolish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Meanwhile Trump regularly works to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Dr. Fauci at the beginning said this will pass, don't worry about it. This will pass. He was wrong.

Dr. Fauci said don't ban China, don't ban China. I did. He then admitted that I was right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Trump's desire to find physicians who consistently praise him or tell him he is right is a pattern. During his campaign for president, he went to his long-time doctor who signed off on a letter the doctor says Trump dictated himself with a glowing recommendation of his health.

And today, the president appeared with former White House physician, Ronny Jackson, who's now a candidate for Congress. And went out of his way to tout the president's stamina after his physical in 2018.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADM. RONNY JACKSON, FMR. PHYSICIAN TO THE PRESIDENT: He might live to be 200 years old, I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Jackson, who's now both politician and physician, has said that wearing a mask should be a "personal choice." Even though the science is clear, it can slow down the spread of the virus.

And the president's desire to lean into baseless opinions from doctors has real-world consequences.

His insistence to promote hydroxychloroquine has left some of his supporters with a false impression.

[01:20:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INTERVIEWER: Even if you got it, you're not worried about it?

TRUMP SUPPORTER: No. And even if I did get sick from it, there's so many positive studies with hydroxychloroquine. And zinc [ph].

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: And the president's campaign fully supports his approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, a few weeks ago, they went in search of doctors who would publicly back the president and his approach to the pandemic.

In fact, one of those doctors appeared on the campaign's nightly livestream talking about her support for the president and his approach to the virus.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Professor Joe Pierre from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California is with us from Los Angeles.

Professor, good to see you. Thank you for taking the time.

JOE PIERRE, CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF HEALTH SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES: Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: OK. There seems to be this common thread of denialism. Which starts with denying that this virus is more deadly and more dangerous than the seasonal flu.

That then moves on to refusing to believe experts who say there's no miracle cure. And there's a few other steps in there as well but it brings us to the big one of all; and that's just sort of denying that a mask is effective and refusing to wear one.

Donald Trump shoulders a lot of the blame for this. But that doesn't explain why so many people, especially in this country, are willing to believe this reality TV star turned president who has a decades-long history of documented lying and fraud?

PIERRE: Yes, absolutely. So you're really touching on the topic of misinformation. And I would say that misinformation is rampant these days, especially in the era of the Internet.

It's very easy to find so-called "alternative facts" to virtually any topic these days.

And so it's a real problem in terms of belief and misinformation.

VAUSE: But you have to have a certain mindset to go searching for the alternative -- alternative facts which are just basically, they're not true, it's garbage. Which confirms your point of view. It's not science, it's not fact.

PIERRE: Well, that's right. And my area of academic work really centers around belief in conspiracy theories.

And for belief in conspiracy theories, I like to think of it as really consisting of two parts.

And the first part is mistrust in authoritative sources of information. And so when we mistrust authoritative sources, we tend to then be vulnerable to misinformation.

And, in fact, we seek out -- when we seek out alternative explanations we then succumb to false information.

VAUSE: Now we have "Congressman COVID," Louie Gohmert from Texas on the front lines of refusing to wear a mask. He was diagnosed with COVID-19.

And of course, he blames the masks for the infection.

Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, (R-TEXAS): I can't help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place that -- if I might have put some germs, some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Can you explain this thought process? It's beyond cognitive dissonance, really.

PIERRE: Well, I'm glad you mentioned cognitive dissonance. Because I think it is a flavor of cognitive dissonance, if you will.

I always liked this quote by C.S. Lewis that says that experience is the most brutal of teachers but by God, you learn.

But (inaudible) find an example where experience didn't really result in teaching a lesson.

And so I think cognitive dissonance does help to explain that.

If we're so rigid in terms of what we believe in then really no matter what evidence is presented, we can often turn away from that.

So another psychological explanation of that is really confirmation bias. That we tend to gravitate to evidence that we think supports what we believe. And then evidence that doesn't support it, well, we reject that out of hand.

VAUSE: They say there's no cure for stupid, it can't be quarantined either and it can be found everywhere.

Entertainer Madonna. She's about as far away from Louie Gohmert as you'd possibly get in every way, but on Instagram which was -- a post on Instagram, rather, which was taken down -- she claimed a vaccine had already been developed but not released because --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- "they would rather let fear control the people and let the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: I wouldn't have said [ph]. Michael Porter Jnr, with the NBA believing --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

"Personally I think I think the coronavirus is being used obviously for a bigger agenda."

He went on to say it's being used for population control

-- "in just terms of being able to control the masses of people."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And again, this is lunatic stuff. But there are people who genuinely are committed to this belief. This is the conspiracy theory stuff. PIERRE: Right. And I always like to say that the idea that human beings think rationally and are only logical in the way they think is just a myth. That's just not true.

These days we do see a lot of politicization of different kinds of beliefs.

So we kind of think of conspiracy theories these days as more associated with conservatives. And to an extent, that's probably true at the moment. But historically, that's not necessarily true.

What I'm saying is that, really, we all share a vulnerability to misinformation and even belief in conspiracies.

[01:25:00]

But right now, a lot of what's going on really has to do, I think, with mistrust.

And there's a lot of legitimate reasons why people might be mistrustful right now during COVID.

For one thing, things just take time.

This is a new pandemic, scientists are trying to figure things out on the fly.

Sometimes information comes out. A month later, maybe it's revised. And so it's hard for people to grab onto something that's reliable in uncertain times like this.

VAUSE: Just very, very quickly. We're almost out of time -- in fact, we are out of time.

But I'm just curious. People who have had these sort of misconceptions, these beliefs in conspiracy theories, whatever, do they ever get to that point where they go, oh, I was wrong?

PIERRE: Sometimes they do. As I said, sometimes coming up against experience you do see people change their mind.

In fact, there are a couple of cases over the past couple of months of people who eventually died who had called coronavirus a hoax. And virtually on their deathbeds, they admitted that they were wrong.

That said, as you mentioned, there are people who are very entrenched and just never give up that belief.

VAUSE: Wow. OK. Thank you so much, Professor Joe Pierre. We want to also mention that you write about these issues on your blog @psychologytoday." It's well worth a look.

So thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it.

PIERRE: Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: Well, President Trump claims no one, no one, has been tougher on Russia than he.

During a recent interview with "Axios," though, he said he'd never discussed U.S. intelligence with the Russian president which indicated that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN SWAN, REPORTER "AXIOS": You had a phone call with Vladimir Putin on July 23rd. Did you bring up this issue?

TRUMP: No. That was a phone call to discuss other things. And frankly, that's an issue that many people said was fake news. That it was (inaudible).

SWAN: Who said it was fake news?

TRUMP: I think a lot of people. If you look at some of the wonderful folks from the Bush Administration, some of them -- not any friends of mine -- were saying that it's a fake issue.

But a lot of people said it's a fake issue.

SWAN: There was dispute within (inaudible).

TRUMP: We had a call, we had a call talking about nuclear proliferation.

SWAN: Right.

TRUMP: Which is a very big subject where they would like to do something. And so would I.

We discussed a number of things. We did not discuss that, no.

SWAN: And you've never discussed it with him?

TRUMP: I have never discussed it with him. No.

SWAN: (Inaudible).

TRUMP: I would. I'd have no problem with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And it's not like he hasn't had a chance to talk about it. Apparently there's been at least seven phone calls between Trump and Putin in recent months.

And during the conversation with "Axios," Trump also tried to draw a moral equivalency between those bounties being offered by the Russians to kill American troops, an American campaign to aid anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan providing the Muja din with weapons during the 1980s.

Also under heavy scrutiny is Donald Trump's decision to withdraw nearly 12,000 U.S. forces from Germany.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney tweets that the move is a gift to Putin after reports of bounties in killing American troops.

He goes on to say the move's --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- "consequences will be lasting and harmful to American interests."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Mr. Trump insists he's removing the troops because Germany is not paying all of its NATO dues. There are no NATO dues.

There's also widespread disapproval from experts who say it will cost taxpayers in the U.S. billions and downgrade the country's national security.

Still to come. As coronavirus cases soar in Brazil, the president accused of promoting false hope as he continues to promote, oh, an unproven treatment. What could it be?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:30:51]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

The coronavirus death toll here in the U.S. has topped 150,000 with California, Texas, and Florida setting new daily records. Experts from Johns Hopkins University are urging a policy reset including mask mandates, stay-at-home orders and improved testing.

Japan just topped 1,000 new cases in a single day for the first time since the pandemic began. Some of the country's largest cities like Tokyo and Osaka are being hit hardest.

Brazil is now allowing foreign travelers into the country by air even though its outbreak is yet to peak. The country reported almost 70,000 new infections on Wednesday along with 1,500 fatalities -- both a new daily record.

When Brazil's president recovered from the coronavirus, he claimed the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine had cured him even though almost every major study has shown it's not effective for COVID-19. The president's supporters are now buying in to his hype.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Leaders are meant to give hope but not this false. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his favorite miracle prop, whether he is with exotic birds or announcing he has recovered from coronavirus, it's the drug hydroxychloroquine.

In crestfallen, hard-hit Brazil it's government-recommended even for mild cases and pregnant women. And an easy sell to these supporters who just want to see him even though security want them quiet.

"President answer", he shouts. "Are you telling us to shut up?" "He tested negative," one said. "So today is a day to celebrate."

He said since March he used the drug. He then launches into a passionate but unproven explanation of how it works and sells.

Here Brazil's suffering and confusion is something Bolsonaro often speeds past.

No matter how powerful the person advocating for the drug, study after study has shown the hydroxychloroquine is not medically effective in fighting the coronavirus. It may even be harmful.

But its use here has become an act of worship almost. This evangelical church follows science and social distancing and its seating plan as they offer a prayer for the president's health.

"I want us to pray for the country and him. Can we do that now," he says. But science steps aside for belief when it comes to the drug.

"We're a congregation of 3,000 people," the pastor says and we have no deaths. None. People are infected, some of them have followed the hydroxychloroquine protocol with azithromycin.

Medicine isn't our focus, however here in the church we have some doctors and other doctors too today who agree with that protocol that the president speaks about guided by a doctor."

Faith can only go so far though. In the cemetery the COVID funerals pile up, eight in a day. Two of the people whose relatives say they were using hydroxychloroquine, it's unclear if it hurt but it didn't help enough.

The honor guard is for one 58-year-old police sergeant Jonas Mendonza (ph) who went in three weeks from healthy to suddenly dying Tuesday in hospital.

"Yesterday the doctor was smiling, says he was getting better but at 1:00 a.m. I got the call."

"The hospital gave him antibiotics, adrenaline and the hydroxychloroquine protocol. However, I'm also using hydroxychloroquine with other drugs, Ivermectin (ph), and Azithromycin. And I am here. Friends have too and did very well. Sometimes another issue causes the serious situation.

The stark fact it didn't work for Jonas is so sadly clear before them. But still in this dark slum for Brazil, false hope seems better than none.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN -- Brasilia, Brazil.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: The CEO of Heathrow Airport is urging the British government to introduce a new testing system (ph) to reduce quarantine time for travelers, which in turn could boost air travel.

[01:34:55]

VAUSE: But the culture minister says, "There is not a silver bullet of testing immediately at the border. We want to keep our economy open, we want to keep the disease under control -- we have to take these measures."

Travelers arriving from Spain, for example, takes 14 days in quarantine.

As Italy adjusts to a new world filled with masks, it comes as no surprise the Italians being one of the world's global fashion hubs are turning these masks into stylish fashion accessories.

Barbie Nadeau has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: As fears of a second wave of COVID-19 grip Europe, Italians are doing their best to mitigate the spread by putting their best face forward with masks.

Almost from the beginning of the pandemic here in Italy, the first epicenter outside of China, face coverings have been the norm. But before Italy started to open up after its strict draconian lockdown, the Italian president Sergio Mattarella led the way by wearing a mask even when it wasn't required.

Now face coverings are part of daily life and no one leaves home without one. Italians carry them anyway they can so they'll always be ready.

Allegra Cardin who runs a Roma vintage boutique in central Rome tells me that customers are not using them not as political statements but as fashion statements.

She tells me that at the beginning the people didn't like them at all. They resisted, but out of necessity they have become part of daily life so people want them for summer, for dinners out, for all occasions.

So now she offers these with sequins and glitter. She says they have something for everyone. Even the performers at Rome's summer opera are wearing them on stage to help send a message.

But not all face masks are created equal. Luca d'Elia is the co- founder of Tuma Studio (ph) which is a design studio and digital fabrication lab. Here they use 3D printers to make masks for the masses. Their specialty -- masks for events where people want to look trendy and stay safe.

LUCA D'ELIA, CO-FOUNDER, TUMA STUDIO: This mask (INAUDIBLE) has a product that has fashionable appeal for customers. That can help people to accept masks as a medical device so that has be worn in public spaces. And especially these masks are for people that have to go to events or to public spaces for late night, for example.

NADEAU: After the initial outbreak, Italy has so far has been successful at keeping COVID-19 away. And the country's health minister Roberto Esperanza continues to emphasize face mask use and says they will stay an essential rule even as the moves out of the pandemic.

And at the height of a brutally human Roman summer. Italians are respecting the rules, and as expected, doing it in style.

But masks aren't just trendy here. You cannot enter any public space without one. They are the law indoors and you must wear them outdoors when you cannot socially distance. No mask, no service.

And it is working. Italy has gone from worst-case scenario to leading by example. Italians are fighting the pandemic head on.

By now wearing face coverings has just become part of everyday life. And everyone h a mask for every occasion. The very secure mask, the less secure mask, the dental mask, the advertising mask, the night out mask, and the mask just for fun.

Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN -- Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Stylish.

Well could big tech face a big shake-up? U.S. lawmakers take sharp aim at four CEOs in an antitrust hearing. Details in a moment.

[01:38:35]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Four student activists in Hong Kong have been arrested, accused of inciting secession in what appears to be the first known police operation under a new national security law.

The students are aged from 16 to 21. Their supporters say all have been denied bail. Police claim they were advocating for Hong Kong's independence on social media. China's director for Human Rights Watch calls the arrest a gross misuse of a draconian law.

For five hours on Capitol Hill, four of the world's most powerful CEOs did what they rarely do, sat quietly, as they were berated, questioned and accused of wrongdoing and abused their dominance of the tech economy.

Brian Fung reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN FUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Congress is not happy with big tech. Lawmakers spent roughly five hours grilling some of the most powerful CEOs in the world. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Apple's Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai each of them argued that their companies have created millions of jobs, and helped small businesses grow.

But some members of Congress came away unconvinced. Congressman David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, chairs the panel that interrogated the CEOs.

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: This hearing has made one fact clear to me. These companies that exist today have monopoly power. Some need to be broken up. All need to be properly regulated, and held accountable.

FUNG: The question covered a wide range of material from Facebook strategy in acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp to the way Amazon allegedly uses sellers' own data against them to gain an unfair advantage.

Amazon has denied the allegations, but before Congress today, Bezos said he couldn't rule out whether employees may have violated the rule designed to prevent that from happening.

Meanwhile, some Republican lawmakers singled out Google over claims the company is biased against conservative use, a notion that Pichai rejected.

SUNDAR PICHAI, CEO, GOOGLE: There's nothing in the algorithm that has anything to do with political ideology.

FUNG: Zuckerberg was pressed on a video that went viral this week that contained misleading claims about the coronavirus. The video is taken down, but only after racking up millions of views.

Asked whether the video proves Facebook can't manage its own platform, Zuckerberg claimed the company has had quote, "a relatively good track record of fighting misinformation."

It was the first hearing of its kind since 1998, when Bill Gates went before Congress to defend Microsoft from anti-trust allegations. But unlike then, Wednesday's hearing involved a bit more technology. Before CEOs testified remotely via Cisco Webex, leading at some points to technical glitches.

"Mr. Bezos, I believe you are on mute," one lawmaker had to say. It turns out, that sometimes, tech CEOs need tech support.

Brian Fung, CNN -- Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Nicholas Thompson is the editor in chief of Wired. He is with us this hour from (INAUDIBLE) in upstate New York. Nick, thank you for taking the time.

NICHOLAS THOMPSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, WIRED: Thank you so much for having me here.

VAUSE: Ok. So, the U.S. Congress gets this rare moment, four of the most powerful CEOs in the known galaxy willing to be questioned, maybe even answer them as well. So what did lawmakers do? Did they focus on consumers or political grievances? Roll the tape. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Big tech is out to get conservatives. That's not a suspicion, that's not a hunch, that's a fact.

July 20th, 2020, Google moves the home pages of Breitbart and "The Daily Caller". Just last night we learned Google has censored Breitbart so much, traffic has declined 99 percent. June 16th, 2020 Google threatens to demonetize and ban "The Federalist". April 19th, 2020 Google and YouTube announce a policy, censoring the content that conflicts with recommendations of the World Health Organization.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know, the Democrats, to be fair, they complained it was too to a lesser degree. And we'll talk politics and bias on social media in a moment. But big picture here, at the end of a year-long antitrust investigation, do you think Congress is likely to agree on any kind of overhaul, or new regulations for big tech?

THOMPSON: I actually do, because when you watch the whole five hours, there are two representatives, Gordan and Gaetz who are, you know, just off their space cadets talking about conservative bias, exactly the clips you showed. Stuff that's important to them, but not really germane to anti-Trump.

[01:45:00]

THOMPSON: But most everybody else, including some of the Republicans are focused on similar questions about antitrust, and whether the large tech companies are misusing their power to crush smaller competitors in a way that hurts the economy, so I, unlike all of people who left those hearings, a little bit optimistic that we'll get smart action.

VAUSE: Optimism is a good thing these days.

It's pretty quiet in Washington at the moment, not a lot going on. So the President had plenty of time to weigh in via a tweet which had not been flagged for false information.

He tweeted, "If Congress doesn't bring fairness to big tech, which they should have done years ago, I will do it myself with executive orders. In Washington, it has been all talk and no action for years. And the people of our country are sick and tired of it.

Last year, "The Economy Journalism Review" reported the myth of social media anti conservative bias refuse to die. Clearly they were right. Why is that?

THOMPSON: Well, I think that everybody in every political party, things that if they put pressure on the tech companies, they will get more out of them. It's like working the refs. If you complain about the refs before your sports team plays, you think you'll get better calls, right.

The Republicans know they thrive on social media. Donald Trump could not govern without Twitter, would not have been elected without Facebook. But he thinks that he will get the algorithms to work more in his favor if he puts this kind of pressure on them.

The unfortunate thing is that there are really important issues about the American economy, I mean much better for the whole congressional hearing and the President's twitter feed, be devoted to that.

VAUSE: Right. Good point. What I've noticed there wasn't really sort of an a-ha moment in the five hour. No one really got pinned for anything in a major way. Even when the example of a new monopoly was fairly stark, like Apples app store. And here's how CEO Tim Cook sort of dispensed with that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM COOK, CEO, APPLE: We don't have a dominant share in any market or in any product category where we do business. If Apple is a gatekeeper, what we've done is open the gate wider. We want to get every app we can on the store not keep them off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Is it fair to say that they kind of came up with this argument that, yes they are big, yes they are dominant but hey, that's a really good thing because being big and dominant means that, you know, consumers have advantages in terms of, you know, they can develop shiny new products?

THOMPSON: Yes. I mean it was interesting, if you listen to Cook's answer there, it is emblematic of two arguments that the CEOs made throughout the day.

The first is, we are not as big as you think we are. We are actually a little bit meek. And for Amazon, we are threatened by Kroger's. Or Apple, we don't have a dominant share in any category. So really playing down their strength.

And then as Cook just said, and as you rightly pointed out, suggesting that to the extent they are huge, it helps everybody else. Those were the arguments that they made, and they were a little bit disingenuous.

If you look at the way the tech CEO talk in any other context, they are much more aggressive about promoting their size and power. It's in congressional antitrust hearings where they downplay it all.

VAUSE: Yes. Well, Jeff Bezos though from Amazon has been like babysitting in the corner. He was seen eating lunch, he had a cup of coffee, he was kind of left there by himself for a few hours.

One reporter from the "New York Times" noted, "Jeff Bezos, sitting there doing nothing, just made maybe $300 million or so." Why the kid gloves for him? What, first-time is get off easy?

THOMPSON: Well, I think what happened to Bezos is he got off easy for the first hour. We went into the first break, and he hasn't said a thing. And then he got pummeled, right?

One of -- if you're to pick sort of five signature moments that could actually carry on, and that we may remember, it's when Bezos is called out, and confronted with documents showing that he used a tool called predatory pricing to drive diapers.com, basically, out of the market. What he said, and what we saw on the documents is, we, Amazon, have a short term competitive threat from Diapers, so therefore, when you drop our prices so low that we are going to lose lots of money, but that's ok because it will drive our competitor to ruin and then we can either drive them out of business or acquire them, right?

And that's not entirely legal. It is perhaps directly illegal. So getting hit there was pretty tough. And then, a couple other points, and here I was very interested to see Congress pushing Bezos. And Bezos not being able to answer.

Specifically, he was asked, do, you know, people have to use real names and addresses when they set up seller accounts. He didn't know the answer. How does Jeff Bezos not know the answer? I thought Jeff Bezos was a superhuman who knew everything about Amazon. So, he was totally treated with kid gloves for a while, and then it got a little tougher.

VAUSE: Ok. I guess the end result will be what they come up with, and that's always a way.

But Nick, great to have you with us. Really appreciate your insights.

[01:50:00]

THOMPSON: It was so much fun to talk to you. Thanks for having me on tonight.

VAUSE: It's a pleasure, thank you.

His actions might have changed everything, a man with an umbrella and a hammer believed to have set off the violence and looting in Minneapolis back in May. Now finally, police say they know who he is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: U.S. government agents will be leaving the downtown area of Portland, Oregon after an agreement was reached between the Trump administration and the Democratic governor. For two months protesters had been demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality.

And where there had been violent clashes in the early stages, enthusiasm and momentum was fading among demonstrators. That is, until the federal agents arrived about two weeks ago.

President Trump praised the efforts of these unidentified federal police force which had been sent to protect federal property.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All you have to do is look at Portland, look at the agitators, look at the anarchists in Portland. And our people have done a great job in protecting our courthouse. And I told my people a little while ago, if they don't solve that problem locally, very soon, we are going to send in the National Guard to get it solved very quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The Department of Homeland Security though says as a presence of federal agents will remain in Portland until federal property is secure.

Well, the Portland protests have been going since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. Police there now say they know who helped incite the riots which left parts of the city in ruins.

Here's CNN's Sara Sidner.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For weeks, no one could figure out who the man dressed in black was until now. A police investigator believes the man helped initiate the riot and destruction in Minneapolis during the George Floyd protest.

It turns out he is associated with a prison gang, police say, which the Anti-Defamation League identifies as white supremacist.

The man was caught on a live stream, smashing in the windows of the Auto Zone. Brad Svenson shot the video.

BRAD SVENSON, LIVESTREAMED DURING MINNEAPOLIS PROTESTS: All I saw really was a hammer hitting glass.

SIDNER: Police also blame the man for spray painting graffiti on the building. The man in black, holding an umbrella, is confronted by a protester in a pink shirt and later another protester.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED)

SVENSON: Immediately, they wanted him to stop, but afterwards, they wanted to know who he was, and why he was doing what he was doing.

SIDNER: His video and others went viral. Then protesters at Online Flute (ph) began a furious search to identify the man they dubbed "umbrella man".

First, social media seized on that, misidentifying him as a state police officer. The police department responded, "It's sad that people would post and share this untrue information, adding more confusion to an already painful time in our community."

This week, a Minneapolis police arson investigator says she finally identified the man whose name we are not publishing because he has not been charged. In a warrant filed, the officer says a tipster emailed police, identifying the man and saying he wanted to sow discord and racial unrest.

And using the video, the officer discovered he is a full fledged member of The Hell's Angels, and is a known associate of the Aryan Cowboys.

Who are the Aryan Cowboys?

[01:54:59]

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFASMATION LEAGUE: The Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood was formed in a Minnesota prison, as a small white supremacist prison gang. The founder of the ACB now is part of The Hells Angels, as we understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is, as you believe, scary.

SIDNER: As mostly peaceful daytime protests turned into violent nighttime unrest, the mayor and governor blamed white supremacists in part for playing a role.

Now, weeks later, this investigator's search warrant notes, "The work of a man fitting that description appears to have helped fuel the destruction, looting and fires". She writes, "In a short time after the front windows are broken out in the Auto Zone, looting started. Within a short time after the looting started, the Auto Zone was set on fire. This was the first fire that set off a string of fires and looting throughout the precinct and rest of the city."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A third precinct appears to be on fire at this time.

SIDNER: In the end, the neighborhood suffered massive destruction at the hands of many. Community organizers who tried to calm the chaos say the revelations, though, in a search warrant come as no surprise.

SHANENE HERBERT, CORCORAN NEIGHBORHOOD COMMUNITY ORGANIZER: I think it's confirmation of what everybody knew already, of the threat of white supremacy coming into our town to wreak havoc and kind of monopolize on the situation that was happening here at the time. So, it was just confirmation.

ALICIA SMITH, CORCORAN NEIGHBORHOOD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Certainly, I think that it was an opportunity to take advantage of the rage, the hurt, right? The deep pain. We are talking about deep hurt and deep pain that we are all experiencing. SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN -- Minneapolis.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Former U.S. president Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy for Congressman John Lewis. The civil rights leader has been lying in state at the Capitol in Atlanta. In the coming hours, his funeral will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will attend.

A spokesperson for former president Jimmy Carter says, "Right now Mr. Carter is not traveling, but sends his condolences."

Six days of ceremonies have traced the path Lewis took from civil rights leading those marches in Alabama where he was brutally beaten, to the halls of Congress where he served for more than 30 years.

Well, I'm John Vause.

Please stay with us. I will be back with another hour -- yes, more to go -- of CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment.

[01:57:16]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Hello, welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, with the death toll surging in the right states, health experts are urging for a reset.

END