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Storms form in the Atlantic; Lawmakers Lash Out at Tech CEOs; Trump Withdrawing Troops from Germany; Coronavirus Pandemic Update from Around the World; New 2020 Presidential Race Polls; Two Senators Under Fire for Campaign Ads. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 30, 2020 - 06:30   ET



CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Heavy rainfall coming down in Puerto Rico right now. They have been in a significant drought. They had been water rationing in Puerto Rico. But you don't want all this water all at the same time. Certainly flash flooding is possible when it comes down this hard.

So there are your tropical storm warnings right now, still posted, even into the Turks and Caicos. This storm has one problem, it has to get over the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has mountains that are 10,000 feet tall. That is going to stir the storm up, tear it up a little bit, and then it's going to get back into the water around Turks and Caicos.

What it does after that, we know it's going to head towards the U.S. Will it get stronger? At least not yet. It will make an awful lot of rainfall possible for Florida, but the Hurricane Center says 70 miles per hour, at least for now.

Could this get stronger? Yes. Did Hanna get stronger quickly? Yes. We have a lot of work to do here yet.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chad, thank you very much for watching that for us.

So, overnight, protesters and federal officers clashing in Portland again, despite a withdrawal agreement between the Trump administration and Oregon's governor. The Department of Homeland Security says it will stay in the city until it believes federal locations are secure. Oregon's governor responding on CNN last night.


GOV. KATE BROWN (D-OR): There's certainly a lot of bluster coming out of Washington, D.C. This was clearly a political strategy. It was about -- it was about political theater and scoring points with their base. It had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with public safety.

Trump's troops are leaving the city of Portland. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: CNN is monitoring the situation in Portland. We will bring you live updates.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is resting comfortably in a New York City hospital after undergoing a non-surgical medical procedure. The 87-year-old justice had a bile duct stent replaced. This is the justice's second hospital stay this month. It comes a little less than two weeks after she announced her cancer had returned. The court says that procedure is routine and she's expected to be released by the end of the week.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my goodness.

The most powerful leaders of the tech world got a grilling from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Democrats accusing them of anti- competitive behavior. Republicans focused on bias.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Big tech's out to get conservatives. That's not a suspicion, that's not a hunch, that's a fact. July 20, 2020, Google removes the home pages of "Breitbart" and "The Daily Caller." Just last night we've learned Google has censored "Breitbart" so much traffic has declined 99 percent.

SUNDAR PICHAI, CEO, GOOGLE: There's nothing in the algorithm which has anything to do with political ideology, and, you know, we -- we -- we do get complaints across the aisle.


CAMEROTA: CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more.

Quite a day yesterday.


Yes, as you heard there, lots of questions from Republicans about perceived anti-conservative bias, but this was an anti-trust hearing and now lots of new questions being raised about FaceBook's 2012 acquisition of Instagram. Yesterday's hearing was only part of a months-long investigation by this committee. And as part of that, the committee obtained millions of internal documents from these companies and the lawmakers did not hold back on using those documents as evidence yesterday.

And Jerry Nadler, Representative Jerry Nadler, accusing FaceBook of buying Instagram because they saw it as a threat and rather than compete with it, that they wanted to buy it and take control of it.

And perhaps to give you an insight into the thinking in FaceBook in 2012, Nadler confronted Zuckerberg with his own words, an internal e- mail that Zuckerberg sent saying, we can likely always just buy any competitive start-up, but it would be a while before we can buy Google.

Now, when he was confronted with that, Alisyn, Zuckerberg said that he didn't remember sending the e-mail, but to him it sounded like a joke.

CAMEROTA: And so, Donie, you have a new story on about the history of disinformation online. So give us a preview.

O'SULLIVAN: That's right. I mean we'll all remember that in 2016, Russia set up fake personas, fake websites, fake front organizations, planted fake stories online in their effort to meddle with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But these are really just old tactics that are being used on new platforms, on social media. And I spoke to Jack Barsky, a former KGB agent, who spied undercover here in the U.S. for decades and here's what he had to say.


JACK BARSKY, FORMER KGB SPY: In those days, you know, it was pretty hard to disseminate this kind of information. It took a lot of work, and you really had to focus on -- on who do you want to do damage to with the resources that you had?

Nowadays, it's so much easier. You know, social media makes that possible.


O'SULLIVAN: Social media makes it possible. And that just really underlines, you know, the challenge and the importance here that Silicon Valley has ahead of November's election to get this right.


And, remember, this is not just open to Russia now. This is open to anybody. This playbook, social media makes it possible for anyone to run these sorts of campaigns.


CAMEROTA: Social media doing the KGB's job for them. That's incredible.

Donie, thank you very much. Everybody should go read your article.

Seventeen million people around the world infected by coronavirus. Brazil and Mexico setting single-day records for new cases and deaths. We bring you the latest from around the globe, next.


CAMEROTA: This morning, bipartisan condemnation of President Trump's decision to pull 12,000 U.S. troops out of Germany. The withdrawal will take years and will cost billions of dollars.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is live in Berlin with the reaction there.

What are you hearing, Fred?


Well, President Trump justified his pulling out of American troops here from Germany, about 12,000 of them, in a tweet last night where he said that he believes that the Germans buy too much Russian gas and spends too little on common defense.


However, a lot of Germans here are saying, look, first of all, almost all European countries buy gas from Russia and the countries that President Trump wants to move those troops to, namely Italy and Belgium, they actually spend even less on defense than the Germans do. So the Germans, in general, are saying they don't believe that this move makes any sort of military sense. They believe it will hurt German/American relations, will hurt NATO, will hurt European security and, ultimately, will hurt American security as well.

I want to read you a tweet from the head of the German Foreign Affairs Committee, who's a staunch ally of Angela Merkel and is a big proponent, actually, of German/American relations. And he says, quote, in withdrawing 12,000 soldiers from Germany, the USA achieved the exact opposite from what Esper outlined, instead of strengthening NATO, it is going to weaken the alliance. The U.S. military clout will not increase, but decrease in relation to Russia and the near and Middle East.

Of course, one of the things the German are saying is that while this move won't hurt them economically with these troops moving out, they are very sad to see the American soldiers leave. American soldiers extremely popular here in Germany. One entity, guys, however, that does seem to be quite happy is actually the Kremlin. The Kremlin spokesman came out just a couple of minutes ago and says that the Russians believe the fewer American troops there are in Europe, the calmer Europe is, John.

BERMAN: That's really, really interesting. The Russians literally came out to praise the move that President Trump just made.

Frederik Pleitgen in Berlin, thanks so much for being with us.

So, overnight, Brazil broke its single-day record for new coronavirus cases and deaths. We have reporters covering the pandemic there and all around the world.



And despite skepticism around Russia's vaccine, Russian officials tell me at least 20 countries have now expressed interest in it, including Brazil and India, nations with some of the highest numbers of coronavirus infections. Russian officials earlier telling CNN that they intend to approve their vaccine by August the 10th. Critics say it's unclear if the Russian vaccine will be effective or even safe as human trials have not been completed and results not made public.

But given the global pandemic, that appears to be a risk that countries like Russia and others are willing to take.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I'm Nick Paton Walsh in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where there have been some shocking record figures for Brazilians to listen to in the past 24 hours. The first ending Wednesday, reported in a 24-hour period, a record number of new cases, 69,075 and that joined by another deeply troubling record of deaths in the same period, 1,595.

Now, as Brazil hears those numbers, possibly contributed to by a reporting lag over the weekend from the mega city of Sao Paolo, but still records in themselves, Brazil's government responded perhaps, or certainly was ignorant of the timing, when it announced it would permit foreigners into the country though air travel effective immediately. They had been banned for the past weeks during the pandemic. A remarkable move. It shows perhaps how the government wants to prioritize the economy, but certainly how they're shutting the global trend for restricting movement as cases surge.


BERMAN: All right, our thanks to our reporters all around the world.

So it's been almost 30 years since a Democrat won in Georgia in a presidential race, but is that state back in play? A new poll raising that question, next.



BERMAN: This morning, a brand-new poll raising questions about whether Georgia will be in play for Democrats in November. The Monmouth University poll shows President Trump in a dead heat against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Joining us now, CNN's senior politics writer and analyst Harry Enten.

Harry, if Georgia's in play, that's not a good sign for the president.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: No, I would not think it's a good sign for the president. I mean just look at the history of how Georgia has voted in the past couple of presidential elections. What you see is that Georgia has not voted for a Democratic nominee for president since 1992. The last time President Trump won it by five points. So this is just one of the many signs that we're seeing that the map seems to be moving away from President Trump. This is not a state that would be competitive unless Joe Biden was doing reasonably well nationwide.

BERMAN: I'm glad you brought up the nationwide point, because states don't happen in a vacuum, right, Harry? It's not just Georgia that's moving. What you're seeing here is an overall shift, yes? ENTEN: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean just take a look at this.

This is the electoral map if all of the polling averages were perfectly correct in predicting or suggesting who is going to win. Obviously, we still have about 100 days to go, so this map may change. But the fact is, this looks a lot like the map we looked at last week with Joe Biden winning 353 electoral votes to Donald Trump's just 185. And that, of course, would be a very large margin, significantly larger than the margin that Trump won by, for instances, in 2016.

BERMAN: All right. Up until this point, the economy has been something of a lifeline for President Trump. Despite sagging numbers elsewhere, he's always been able to point to good numbers on the economy. But is that changing too?

ENTEN: Yes, I mean, this, I think, is one of the biggest warning signs for President Trump so far. So if you go back to January, for instance, his economic approval rating, get this, was in the mid-50s. It was in the mid-50s, 56 percent on a Fox News poll.

Now go to July, look at that, it's dropped nearly double digits, down to 47 percent. He's now just breaking even on the economy. And this, of course, was supposed to be his core strength, so it does seem, in fact, that the sagging economy that we've been seeing nationwide over the last few months is, in fact, penetrating itself down in the poll numbers. And, right now, the economy not necessarily a strength for President Trump.

BERMAN: So in the issues or on the issues that Americans say are most important to them right now, where do things stand?

ENTEN: Yes, you know, so, look, here are what the most important issues are right now, right? Obviously, the coronavirus is number one. You know, in a recent Fox News poll, 29 percent. The economy, 15 percent say that's the most important issue. Race relation, 10 percent.


And on those three top issues, the only three that break 10 percent, look at this, the match-up between President Trump and Joe Biden on who voters trust most. Look at that. President Trump does not lead on a single issue. He's getting blown out by double digits on coronavirus and race relations, but even on the economy, Joe Biden's basically breaking even with President Trump. It's a one-point lead, as you see on your screen right now. But that basically, you know, is within the statistical margin of error.

But, John, I've got to be honest with you, you know, you look back through history and you look at the most important issues before an election, whoever's leading on the most important issues tend to win, and right now President Trump is not leading on a single one of those, including even the economy.

BERMAN: Look, it's been interesting to me the last few days because, look, we have a long time to go until Election Day, and there have been a number of people writing, it's not over! President Trump can still win! Of course he can. Of course he can. But that's not the story that we're seeing in the polls today. What the polls are telling us is where things stand right now and how much things have moved. And the answer to that is a lot.

ENTEN: That's exactly right. Look, I'm not Miss Cleo, I can't tell you necessarily what's going to happen, you know, 95, 100 days from now. But what I can tell you is that the current environment that we're in is not a good one for an incumbent. It has shifted tremendously over the past three months, in large part due to the coronavirus, which obviously has had a major effect on the economy. And I will say this, unless the political environment changes over the next 95 days, President Trump will almost certainly be a one-term president.

BERMAN: Harry Enten, a pleasure to have you with us. Thank you for joining us with your many leather-bound books behind you.

ENTEN: You know what, these books aren't mine, but the dirty pile of clothing to my right, which you can't see off screen, that is definitely mine.

BERMAN: No doubt.

All right, Harry, thanks very much.

ENTEN: Thank you, sir.

BERMAN: Two Republicans senators under fire for racist and anti- Semitic stereotypes in their campaign ads. That story next.



CAMEROTA: Two Republican senators are under fire for using racist and anti-Semitic imagery in their campaign ads.

CNN's Athena Jones has more.

So what are they saying?


Well, look, trying to make your opponent look bad is often the point of political ads. But one of the reasons these racially and culturally insensitive cues, some called them dog whistles, one of the reasons they're so insidious is that they play to stereotypes and prejudices that people may not even realize they have. It's also the reason these ads can be quite effective in motivating certain voters.


JONES (voice over): Amid a national reckoning on racism and prejudice in America, two Republicans are facing backlash for playing up racist stereotypes or peddling anti-Semitic tropes in campaign ads.

Georgia Senator David Perdue took down this FaceBook ad featuring a doctored photo that appeared to enlarge the nose of his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish, after a report in "The Forward," a Jewish publication.

JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC SENATE CANDIDATE: For my opponent to stoop to this kind of incredibly divisive, inappropriate, offensive tactic is really disturbing. And it's unbecoming of a sitting U.S. senator.

JONES: Perdue's campaign saying in a statement, the altered image was obviously accidental. And anybody who implies that this was anything other than an inadvertent error is intentionally misrepresenting Senator Perdue's strong and consistent record of standing firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate. The University of Pennsylvania's Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who wrote a book on "Dirty Politics," said the pairing of Ossoff and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is also Jewish, with a caption referencing "money," is important.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON, COMMUNICATIONS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: When a candidate alters the image of an opponent and also in the same add uses words that tied to that image elicit a stereotype, you can assume that they're trying to evoke the stereotype, whether the audience is aware of it or not.

JONES: In South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham is under fire for this digitally altered FaceBook ad that darkens the skin of his Democratic opponent, Jamie Harrison. The image drawing outrage online, including from Harrison, who tweeted, it's time for Lindsey Graham to wake up to the new south, bold, inclusive, and diverse.

The Graham campaign was defiant, saying in a statement, the artistic effect used, the same one that was used on Senator Graham just two days before in a video, is a non-story.

Campaigns have been accused of using racial and ethnic cues for decades, like in the famous Willie Horton ad, a PAC supporting George H.W. Bush, ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He allowed first degree murderers to have weekend passes from prison. One was Willie Horton, who murdered a boy in a robbery, stabbing him 19 times.

JONES: Or this 2018 ad from President Donald Trump supporting GOP candidates in the midterm election, playing to some voters' fears about undocumented immigrants.


JONES: And it hasn't just been an issue for the GOP. Last year, Democratic Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was forced to apologize after this tweet, later deleted, suggesting politicians who criticized her comments about Israel were influenced by American supporters of Israel.

Jamieson says that in the current climate, candidates whose ads are perceived as offensive are taking a risk. JAMIESON: The risk is that that image attached to those words elicits

a backlash.


JONES: And one more thing about risk and backlash. Professor Jamieson pointed out that in light of this cultural moment we're in, with a heightened moment of racism and all kinds of prejudice, ad makers and the campaigns they represent can avoid media scrutiny through micro targeting these ads, directing them to ever more specific slices of the population. And, of course, that can make it harder for the rest of us to see all the ways voters may be being manipulated.


CAMEROTA: It's just so fascinating, Athena. It's the -- one of the oldest, most grotesque tricks in the political playbook and the idea that it is still around and hasn't been retired, it is remarkable.

Thank you very much for showing us all of that.

CAMEROTA: And NEW DAY continues right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. just suffered the deadliest day of the summer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't do something to change our course, we will have multiple hundreds of thousands.