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CNN TONIGHT

Coronavirus Soars in the Midwest; President Trump Sowing Doubt; Rushing Re-openings Have Consequences; Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) Was Interviewed About the Surge of Cases; President Trump Portrays the Best POTUS. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 31, 2020 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00]

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: It's coming back.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I was just watching you saying what is happening with that hair. You're starting to look like.

CUOMO: I look like Cesar Romero he was the joker.

LEMON: Like Mr. Furley.

CUOMO: Batman.

LEMON: Mr. Furley from Three's Company.

CUOMO: Listen, I'll take it. I just want coverage. I just want a coverage. Hey, the hair is the second thing to go.

CUOMO: What's the first one?

LEMON: Eyesight.

CUOMO: What did you say?

LEMON: Eyesight.

CUOMO: See, that's a play that my hearing is gone. Never mind.

LEMON: Hearing. No, that's why I need the -- I can't see anything without it. I can't see anything anymore. It's crazy.

CUOMO: I think you just like glasses.

LEMON: No.

CUOMO: I think you're one of those.

LEMON: No, no, no. These are real. Look at that, you can see they're real. See.

CUOMO: Jesus. You look at that, you look like Mr. Magoo.

LEMON: No, I can't see anything, like I wake up in the morning on my phone and I'm like this.

CUOMO: Maybe that's explaining why the boat is all knocked up. Let your nephew drive it.

LEMON: Yes. I know. Right. You're such a -

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I love when it sinks in.

LEMON: I almost said that bad word. So. But serious talk.

CUOMO: Yes, sir.

LEMON: Let's talk about the phone call and the monuments. And you know, this isn't -- this is not about politics anymore. It's not even about the bigotry. It is, I guess it is about that. This is about common sense.

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: It's just common sense. And anyone who is standing up for and promoting, you know, confederate statues and monuments in high school names, it's, come on.

CUOMO: It's not cancel culture.

LEMON: It's not cancel culture

CUOMO: You know, I mean, I get it. The president almost had me, you know.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: You want to talk about cancel culture, you want to talk about political correctness and sometimes how we put too much value on words and not deeds --

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: All right, I'm ready for a conversation.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: But, no. These are people who fought for the right to enslave other human beings.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Right. They were treasonous.

CUOMO: They lost.

LEMON: They fought against the United States.

CUOMO: Yes. And even Robert E. Lee thought it was a bad idea -- LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: -- to do this.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: So, the idea of protecting his name -- and the worst part of it for me is, Don, and again, even though Mary Trump move on this, all right, you and I have had this discussion many times. I see what he does is demagoguery, but I hold and reserve the idea that he is just a flat-out bigot.

Mary Trump says no, I'm wrong. She's heard him, the father, everybody, I'm wrong. They were bigots. OK. But you know he doesn't have any strong feelings.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: How many times did I say that?

CUOMO: Many times. many times.

LEMON: OK.

CUOMO: But I give people the benefit of the doubt as long as I can.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: It's one of the explanations for our friendship. The thing I can get though is, I know that he doesn't give a dam about confederate names and statues and what the names of the base are. And so, he is playing with something that is so hurtful to so many people and he's doing it just out of political advantage.

LEMON: Do you do you know what else he doesn't give a damn about? A lot of the people who show up at his rallies, you ever see them at a Trump hotel or property? Do you ever see him hanging out with him before he was president?

CUOMO: He didn't even shake hands before he was president.

LEMON: No way. He's writing in his limo, looking at those people out there.

CUOMO: Hey, how could he care -- how could he care about you if you come to see him in Florida and he sees you without a mask, packed into a place where the virus is everywhere.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And he doesn't say anything to you about it.

LEMON: And that's what we're going to talk about. You have a great weekend. I'm sure I'll see you.

CUOMO: D. Lemon, I love you. LEMON: I can't wait for you to buy lunch.

CUOMO: Bring your wallet -- I was just going to say bring your wallet this weekend.

LEMON: No, I lost it, I can't find it. I'll figured out.

CUOMO: I love you, buddy.

LEMON: My wallet says, Christopher Cuomo.

CUOMO: Make your witness.

LEMON: Yes. I'll see you. Have a good one.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

On the day this that country passes 153,000 coronavirus deaths, and as a case is really soared, they are soaring now over four and a half million, four and a half million cases. Think about this. Remember during Ebola, two people died. Four and a half million cases. We have what, a 153,000 people were dead. Just to put it into perspective.

This president is doing what he has been doing for the past six months. He is downplaying and he is deflecting. Downplaying, deflecting, while Americans are getting sick and Americans are dying.

The University of Washington, here's what the University of Washington is saying tonight. The death toll could be almost a quarter of a million they say, by November. And the president? Well, he just keeps it moving. Keeps pushing. Taking his coronavirus hot spot to where, to Florida, Florida, of all places, which set a new record for coronavirus deaths today for the fourth straight day, fourth day in a row.

Yet the president is holding a campaign event, with no mask, no social distancing. If you don't believe me, there's -- look at the pictures.

[22:05:02]

And then he goes on to downplay the virus that around table with officials. He is asked about the number of deaths in Florida in the past few days, this is what the president said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

It's a tribute to your governor and government, the job they've done. You've done a really great job, and you have a great nursing home population you've done a fantastic job. So, I think we're doing really well in Florida.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Doing really well. Doing really well. Doing really well. The president is nothing to say about Florida setting new records for coronavirus deaths. But he started his day with what maybe the -- his favorite false claim about the virus. He is insisting that if we had no testing, that we would have fewer cases. And his own experts like Dr. Fauci, well they contradicted him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Fauci, do you agree with the president's statement or do you stand by your previous answer that the difference is caused by multiple factors including the fact that some states did not do a good job of reopening?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I stand by my previous statement that the increase in cases was done -- was due to a number of factors. One of which was that in the attempt to reopen, that in some situations, states did not abide strictly by the guidelines that the task force and the White House had put out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: But just listen to the president, doubling down on his outlandish claims in this interview. This is his interview with Jonathan Swan on Axios and HBO.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There are those that say, you can test too much, you do know that.

JONATHAN SWAN, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Who says that?

TRUMP: Just Read the manuals. Read the books.

SWAN: The manuals?

TRUMP: Read the books.

SWAN: What manuals?

TRUMP: Read the books.

SWAN: What books?

TRUMP: Wait a minute, let me explain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I think we'll all be really interested to hear about those manuals the president claims to have been reading, the ones that say that you can test too much. That's just not reality.

But this president lives in his own coronavirus unreality bubble, one where even the death of one of his allies from the virus just doesn't seem to get through to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will miss Herman Cain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you worried he caught COVID in Tulsa?

TRUMP: No, I don't think he did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. So here, this is a fact. We don't know where Herman Cain was exposed to the coronavirus. But he did attend the president's Tulsa campaign rally, where multiple Trump campaign staffers and Secret Service agents tested positive. That rally for sure, it certainly put him at risk.

The president is not the only one ignoring the reality of the virus that has killed more than 153,000 Americans and is just decimated our economy. Remember when Jared Kushner said this back in April?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: May will be a transition month, you'll see a lot of states starting to phase in the different reopening based on the safety guidelines that President Trump outlined on May -- on April 19th. I think you will see by June a lot of the country should be back to normal and the hope is that by July, the country is really rocking again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I remember when he said that, rocking. Rocking by July. OK, well, it's July, or August, just a couple of hours. The country is not rocking. It's almost hard to imagine just how bad things have gotten.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The death toll in the United States is now more than 150,000 Americans, 150,000 mothers, daughters, husbands, grandfathers. Imagine the death toll of 9/11, then multiply that times 50.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the downward spiral in the U.S. economy in GDP recording a historic drop. And first-time jobless claims, they are rising too.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The number of cases here in the United States surging above four and a half million, just a little while ago. As 20 states now see a rise in infections at this moment, nearly 153,000 Americans have died in the pandemic. And a new forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects about 20,000 more deaths in the United States in the next three weeks alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Perhaps that's what Mr. Kushner meant by rocking. Maybe? I guess? Death and destruction? A decimated economy, maybe that's what he meant.

[22:10:02]

Like I said, this president is downplaying, and he is deflecting. What was he really upset about today? I will give you one guess. It's easy. The man who lived rent free in his head, that's former President Barack Obama, who not at all coincidentally slammed the current president in his eulogy for Congressman John Lewis just yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well he did a bad job for minorities. I did much more for minorities than he did. And if you look at our numbers prior to the play coming in, those numbers will soon be back. You'll see I did a much better job than Obama did by for, for African Americans, for Asian-Americans, for women. For any group you look at, far better than Obama did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. We all know that's ridiculous, right? All right, just checking. Because this president loves to talk about how well the economy is doing, was doing before the coronavirus. That is, the economy he inherited from President Barack Obama. I will say that again, the economy he inherited from President Barack Obama.

But what the former president was talking about in his eulogy for John Lewis was voting rights. The voting rights this president called into question again today with the outrageous and evidence free claim that foreign countries will mass produce fake ballots.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This is going to be the greatest election disaster in history. By the way, you guys like to talk about Russia and China and other places. They'll be able to forge ballots, they'll forge them, they'll do whatever they have to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Like you see, you see that this is -- he is grasping, right? You guys -- if you can't see that, then OK. You would think that the president who seems to care an awful lot about fake election interference would care about real election interference by Russia in 2016. What do you think that? But I digress.

The president's own intelligence officials contradicting him just today in a closed-door briefing on the hill. A source telling CNN officials dismissed even the possibility of foreign countries being able to produce fake mail-in ballots on a mass scale.

Deflection, spinning, desperation. But listen to what a senior Trump campaign lawyer told Fox News. This was last night, about mail-in voting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNA ELLIS RIVES, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ATTORNEY: They are trying to undermine our vote and the sanctity of our election, and our franchise through universal vote by mail, which is a complete disaster. We are already seeing the results and it's only the Democrats that want to remove election safeguards and they want to push out this universal vote by mail, under the auspices of the coronavirus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: If you talk like fast enough and keep saying it, people will believe that it's true. You would think that someone who thinks voting by mail is so terrible, wouldn't actually vote by mail herself. That's hypocrisy in all of this.

[00:03:29]

That official, Jenna Ellis, actually voted by mail in Colorado in 2012, in 2013, in 2014, that is according to public records obtained by CNN's K-File. She told CNN, I live in Colorado. And unfortunately, my state is one of only five that are universal vote by mail states.

Even though President Trump and I agree it is a flawed method of running an election, and I will continue to work to change it, I won't let that discourage me from exercising my right to vote.

That last part you got right. The right to vote even if it's by mail. You know who else hasn't been voting in person? The president. He voted absentee in New York in 2018, Florida's primary in March just this year. And you have got to see this. OK? On a Friday night, you're sitting there having a drink, whatever you doing, relaxing, looking at the TV.

This is what happened when he tried to vote in 2004 and was turned away from one polling place after another. This is Access Hollywood video. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Right. Do I have to go to a different place, actually?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a little drama at the polling booth.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Do me a favor, double check.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the paperwork.

TRUMP: Double check.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me see what's that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm calling my lawyer right now.

TRUMP: Go ahead. Work on it.

Wherever you want us to go. Where do we go?

[22:15:01]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five twenty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five twenty.

TRUMP: Five Twenty Park Avenue. OK. I like that location better.

Hi, folks. How are you doing? Make sure there's no cheating here, right. They don't have any area (Ph). Can you believe this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't have it in this book either.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Check this up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's not in, he's not in, he's not in my book neither.

TRUMP: All right. So, it's not here, right?

Hi, fellas. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

TRUMP: Do you have my name here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His name is not on these rolls. There will be a huge combustion in here.

TRUMP: Well, I'm going to fill out the absentee ballot.

And I've just voted. At least you can say the Trump stir doesn't give up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

TRUMP: Right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, the president who says that he wants voters to go to a polling place in the middle of a pandemic, like he has been doing for years, hasn't. He claims absentee ballots, which he has been using for years, are different from mail-in ballots, they aren't.

Experts tell CNN that they are largely the same thing. You request a ballot, you get it, you vote. You send it in. He's not the only one in this administration to go by the old, do as I say, not as I do rule.

The Washington Post is reporting that the question the Attorney General Bill Barr voted absentee in 2019 and in 2012. Vice President Mike Pence did the same thing in 2018. And according to Business Insider, mailed in a ballot for this year's Indiana primary. The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany voted by mail in

Florida 11 times. Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale voted by mail in 2018. Ivanka Trump tried to mail in her vote for New York mayor in 2017, but sent it in too late.

Jared Kushner requested an absentee ballot for the same election, but did not return it. Melania Trump tried to vote absentee in that election, but didn't sign the envelope.

Maybe it's just that they're not good at this voting by mail whole thing, right?

The Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar voted absentee in 2018. The Commerce Secretary Wilbur ross voted absentee in Florida 15 times. The Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, has permanent absentee status in Michigan. Kellyanne Conway voted absentee in New Jersey in 2018.

I would keep going, but I need to get to the rest of the show, there is a lot to cover. It goes on and on. Hypocrisy, much? You are being played, people. This administration really doesn't want you to be able to mail in your ballot even in the middle of a pandemic.

And the president has already told you why, and I quote, "it doesn't work out well for Republicans." He said the quiet part out loud.

Parties, crowds of people on the Jersey shore. Well, they have the governor warning that we will not tolerate it anymore. Governor Phil Murphy joins me next.

[22:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The CDC's ensemble forecast projecting more than 173,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths by August 22nd. Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Washington, and New Jersey among the states that the CDC says could see an increase in deaths over the next four weeks.

Let's discuss now, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is here. Governor, I appreciate you joining us. I know it's a busy time for you.

Let's talk about this. The CDC's forecast --

(CROSSTALK)

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Good to be with you, Don.

LEMON: Absolutely. the CDC's forecast warning about New Jersey. No deaths today. But daily new cases are ticking up, you say the alarms are going off. What is your concern level right now? What's your concern?

MURPHY: Concern level is high, Don. I'd be lying to you if I said otherwise. We have lived through hell. We have almost 14,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, another almost 2,000 likely or probable. Please, God, we're doing everything we can and live through this hell

again. We think -- you're absolutely right, there is a big uptick over the past week. We think it's coming from indoor closely congregated gatherings. House parties, for the most part. We think that's the big culprit. And we are looking at steps as we speak to try to push back on that as hard and as fast as we can.

LEMON: Governor, the president is pushing for schools to reopen. He's using what you have told him to validate his false claim that children are almost immune to the virus. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The governor was telling me that only one, Phil Murphy, only one died under the age of 18. That's incredible. With thousands of people that died in the state of New Jersey, one made an impact. One died under the age of 18. Children are at the lowest risk of any age group from the virus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What's your response to that?

MURPHY: Well, in fact, when I had that conversation, there was one fatality under 18, what the president there -- there are now two. I might add, both of them had extreme comorbidities, bless their souls, each of them.

But as I mentioned a minute ago, we want to get schools open, we put out 105-page directives, we're allowing our school districts just as when we closed, to write their plans for closure, we're asking them to write their plans for opening with some pretty specific parameters.

But again, we don't know all that -- any of us, by the way, not just here in New Jersey, anywhere in the world, how this virus could transmit itself from a healthy young person to an older educator or administrator, which is why we've got a big emphasis on flexibility, including giving the option to learn from home.

[22:25:08]

A big emphasis on capacity management, social distancing, mandatory face coverings. We want to get schools back in session, but we've got to do it responsibly.

Our three principles are health, education, equity. And that's another point that has to be made. There are a lot of families in our state who don't have a choice. They rely far more on the in-person school reality, we've got to take that into account.

LEMON: Listen, I know you want to open schools. And everybody wants -- people wants things to get back to normal. But they want it to be, not to be done at the risk of harming children or teachers or staff, or anyone who is at the school.

So, I know you want schools to be opened but do you think that is feasible? Do you think it's a smart thing? Do you think it will happen? September is creeping fast.

MURPHY: It is creeping fast. I think it will happen, Don, but it probably looks a lot different depending on what district you're in a New Jersey. Just being very simple about it, rural, suburban, urban. Those three categories, by the way, within those categories, there are lots of different nuances. I suspect the school experience looks different depending on which district around. And we are going to do it responsibly.

As I say, its health, education, equity. We've got to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect people's lives. And we're going to -- this is going to have to be iterative. So here we are on July 31st, predicting what the Tuesday after Labor Day will look like, when we know five or six weeks ago, we probably could have predicted where we are today. So, we've got to stay on this, not just put the plans in place. But stay on the edge of our seat.

LEMON: Let's talk about getting people who are in dire need of money. Right? Because some people don't know how they are going to pay their bills. That extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit expiring at midnight. The Senate is out for a long weekend. Both sides are pointing fingers at each other. Have millions of Americans been left out to dry, governor?

MURPHY: They sure have. But I don't think there's any finger-pointing here, Don. Mitch McConnell is the leader of the Senate, he chose to adjourn for a quote, unquote, "long weekend." Leaving millions of Americans hanging by a thread.

I think it's the height of irresponsibility, I would plead with Senator, Leader McConnell to get the Senate back in as fast as possible. Take the action that's needed. And by the way, it is certainly the extending unemployment but it is also help for small businesses, for hospital systems, long term care, transit for states, states that are both red and blue.

This is no longer hey, it's a blue New York/New Jersey thing, it's states across the country, both sides of the aisle, this is a health challenge unlike any we've ever faced. It's a fiscal, economic challenge unlike any we've ever faced.

The federal government plays an existential, unique role and we need Congress to act. We need Senator McConnell to bring that Senate back together, find common ground, the president to sign that bill that is so desperately needed to give people a lifeline. And we need it to happen fast.

LEMON: You're right. I'm not sure -- we'll have an idea, but how this become so political. But this virus is not political. Getting people paid should not be political. We should all be helping out each other, I agree with you 100 percent on that.

You have been named the Democratic National Convention co-chair. The coronavirus has made Milwaukee's convention next month mostly virtual. How do you plan to get the most out of this unconventional convention, this unconventional situation and build the momentum going into November?

MURPHY: Listen, I'm incredibly humbled. My late mother would say you're known by the company you keep, and you look at the stars from the Senate, the House, the mayor's, I'm incredibly humbled to represent the Democratic governors in our state.

By the way, we've seen over the past number of months, governors have never mattered more. Listen, I think we come together, whether it's yes, it's virtual, yes, it's unusual, it's an uncon -- unconventional convention. But our job is to get Joe Biden elected president of the United States and to get Democrats winning up and down the ballot.

This is an extraordinary moment in our nation's history. We'll have to do it in ways that are unusual, unconventionable (Ph) -- unconventional, but we will come together and we will do just that.

LEMON: Speaking of unconventional, I would be remiss in my duties as a journalist if I didn't ask you about the president's tweet on saying that he wants to move or the election should be moved. How do you feel about that?

MURPHY: I don't feel very good about it. I think there is a myth growing, especially around vote by mail, which has nothing to do with the reality. I think we have to call that out. I think his call was based on that.

The fact of the matter is, we just ran a hybrid primary. We postponed it from June 2nd to July 7th, and we gave folks the option to vote by mail, and we were aggressive with that or in limited circumstances, to vote in person.

[22:30:04]

So, we are trying to balance that sacred right of democracy to vote, with public health and personal health. And it worked. Turnout was, for this cycle, compared to any other cycle an all-time high. We had very few issues.

I think the last thing we need to do right now is to create a myth around something where the problem just doesn't exist. I think we can find a way to again exercise that sacred right to vote at the center of what democracy means and at the same time keep people healthy.

LEMON: Governor, thank you so much. Be safe please.

MURPHY: You too, Don, thanks for having me.

LEMON: Four and a half million Americans have been infected with coronavirus, over 153,000 dead. My next guest says we need to, we need a restart on the whole approach. But is our politics getting in the way of public health? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:34:57] LEMON: The U.S. is now topped four and a half million coronavirus cases in six months. Half a million cases reported in just the last eight days. That's how fast this virus is now spreading.

Let's discuss now with Dr. Tom Inglesby. He is the director of Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. And he joins me now. Good evening, doctor. Thank you so much. I appreciate you joining.

THOMAS INGELSBY, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Good to be here, Don.

LEMON: So, let's talk about this, 4.5 million Americans now have been infected with the virus. The CDC, the IHME models both being revised up in terms of death. As a public health expert this has to have you concerned? What do you say about it?

INGELSBY: Yes, I mean, who would imagine we would be in this position back in May or June. I think if we're looking the numbers were coming down, week to week. The country kind of seemed to be feeling like we're moving forward. But we reopened too quickly in many places around the country and I think we didn't -- we haven't been unified. We haven't been consistent in our messages. And now we see where we are.

With cases up 65 to 70,000 cases a day, 1,100 deaths a day. It's a terrible situation for our country to be in. And it didn't need to be this way. And it doesn't need to stay this way. I think we can change direction.

LEMON: You took the words right out of my mouth. I was just going to say and it didn't have to be this way.

Admiral Brett Giroir, the testing czar testified today that having test results back in two or three days is not, is not a possible benchmark. We've known about this virus since January. How is testing still this massive problem?

INGELSBY: It's difficult to know because there's not -- there's no real national dash board that describes exactly what's going on. The numbers of tests have gone up pretty substantially since the start of the pandemic.

So, we're up to nearly 800,000 tests in a day. But the time delays are longer and longer because we have more disease around the country. People are getting tested because we have more and more disease. And it's like a virtual loop going in the wrong direction. So, we have to get the numbers down and we have to do a better job understanding why the delays are happening.

Reagent shortages, swab shortages. Time to -- test delays within laboratories. We got to work out all of those problems.

LEMON: Doctor, you came out with a new report this week saying that the U.S. needs to reset its response to COVID-19 with policy actions. My question is what needs to happen to get this virus under control? INGELSBY: We put 10 things down in the plan and many were most will be

familiar to Americans. The first is the fundamentals. We shouldn't -- wearing a mask is not a personal choice. It's a social -- it's a society and social responsibility. And having large gatherings should not be an option right now when our country is having this kind of crisis problem with COVID.

We should be limiting gatherings in places where it's really severe in this country to 10 people or less, or in other places where it's moving towards crisis, 25 or less. We can't be having these large gatherings. We know that's where things are spreading.

And then the rest of the recommendations follow. They are basically, consider reclosing in places -- reclosing high-risk gatherings. Potentially stay-at-home orders for places that really can't make progress despite reclosing and getting a handle on diagnostics, our Personal protective equipment. Learning from the states that are doing very well and understanding what their practices are. We can do better than what we're doing. And other countries around the world have done much better and we can learn from them.

LEMON: Yes. We need more buy in, a national plan and a buy in from most Americans.

Thank you very much. I appreciate it, doctor. Have a good weekend.

INGELSBY: Thanks so much.

LEMON: The president is making claims about mail-in voting that just aren't true. They're so false that his own intelligence officials are contradicting him. What they're saying behind closed doors. That's next.

[22:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump continuing to make unfounded claims about mail- in voting in the lead up to the November elections.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This is going to be the greatest election disaster in history. By the way, you guys like to talk about Russia and China and other places. They'll be able to forge ballots, they'll forge them, they'll do whatever they have to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well now U.S. intelligence officials are contradicting the president's claims that mail-in voting poses a significant threat to the election security.

Let's discuss now. CNN's Alex Marquardt is here. Alex, good evening to you. So, this president repeatedly claims --

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don.

LEMON: -- that foreign adversaries could forge ballots and change votes. Now intelligence officials are discounting his claims. What are they saying?

MARQUARDT: Yes. It's almost as if one hand isn't talking to the other. You have the president there and that was the perfect clip. He was talking about the possibility of massive amounts of forgeries of fake ballots are being sent in to count towards the U.S. election that would result it in being completely rigged.

And then on the other side you have elections officials and intelligence officials who say not only is that unlikely but it's extremely difficult, extraordinarily difficult in the words of the most senior intelligence official on election security to do that kind of thing.

So, they are all but dismissing it out of hand. It is not something that they regularly bring up in their briefings to Congress. We had an example of that today.

Bill Evanina who is that most senior official who does election security for the intelligence community, he was up on Capitol Hill briefing the House with a bunch of other senior intelligence officials. They didn't even bring it up. It did come up in the briefing because our lawmakers asked about it but it was all but dismissed.

What intelligence officials are focused on is the hacking into campaigns, into the election infrastructure, and disinformation campaigns from the likes of China, Russia, Iran and elsewhere. Don?

[22:45:02]

LEMON: Alex Marquardt giving us the truth about what's going on. Thank you, Alex. I appreciate it.

And next, we have to talk about another claim from President Trump today. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I did a much better job than Obama by far for African Americans, for Asian-Americans, for women. For any group you look at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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LEMON: Just months away, from the election, and President Trump still talking about his predecessor who, let's remember, hasn't been in office for nearly four years. Trump is trying to stoke racial division bragging to white suburban voters about rescinding Obama's fair housing rule, which aims to combat housing discrimination.

[22:50:03] Now he is making this claim about the performer president. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He did a bad job for minorities. I did much more for minorities than he did. And if you look at our numbers prior to the plague coming in, that those numbers will soon be back, you'll see I did a much better job than Obama by far, for African-Americans, for Asian- Americans, for women, for any group you look at. For better than Obama did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: April Ryan is here, CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio networks. Tara Setmayer is here as well, CNN political commentator and senior adviser for the Lincoln Project.

Hello to both of you. Good to see you.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Hello.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good to be here.

LEMON:

LEMON: I haven't seen in person -- this is -- I can't wait to see you guys in person. We're going to --

(CROSSTALK)

SETMAYER: You miss us.

LEMON: -- when we finally can, it's going be a party. So, Tara, first of all, what is your reaction to that? To what the president is saying about the former president?

SETMAYER: It's like the biggest eye roll in history. You know, how many times do we have to hear him repeat this nonsense over and over and over again.

Listen, I had my differences with Barack Obama on a myriad of economic issues, but to say, for Donald Trump to continue to say this off of one simple metric because the unemployment rate is was low, not now, but it was low, is not the only thing by which you can measure whether people are better off.

There are so many other nuances here and plus he was just riding the trend, the downward trend already that started under the Obama administration.

LEMON: But don't say that. You're going to make him mad.

SETMAYER: I don't care. The truth hurts, and too bad. OK? That's what I do. I speak honestly, right? You know, he was riding the coattails of Obama's economic -- you know, the trends of economic success from Obama after the Great Recession.

And yes, the tax cuts are helpful. That's great. But let's just be honest here. The median income for black Americans was higher in 2000 than it is now. The wealth gap is increasing. They are -- just because you have a job, like Donald Trump thinks because, you know, black folks are employed now, you should thank me.

It's insulting, the attitude the way that he derives people as if, you know, people of color are supposed to say, thank you so much because you helped us to get jobs. That's just the attitude behind him that is so annoying. It's like a fig leaf for him behind -- to hide behind all the other ways the stuff that he does. It's a fig leaf for white Americans to feel comfortable with him like he's not a racist.

LEMON: And that's part of his job is to look out for all Americans. April, listen, I know you have a lot to say. So what's your response to the president's claim?

RYAN: Well, you know, he has done more for African Americans than any other president. He has made African Americans realize and the world realize that there is racism and it's prevalent in this nation at this moment.

And he's also created an enthusiasm for voting that we have not seen since then President Barack Obama's first run for the Oval Office. The marginalized and disenfranchised are sick and tired of being sick and tired, quoting Fannie Lou Hamer, they're sick and tired of the liar in chief, the racist in chief, and the spreader in chief.

So, what this president has done than any other president for African Americans is opened their eyes.

LEMON: Well, there you go. Tara, this pandemic is disproportionately affecting minorities. We've talked about this. We've discussed it a lot on this program and on CNN. It really highlights the disparities in our country with healthcare, and employment, and housing, and April alluded to just moments ago. But we don't hear a lot about that from the White House, do we?

SETMAYER: Well of course not because they don't care. They are just throwing out a simple statistic like the employment rate because it's a simple metric that people understanding and relate to. But they don't tell you about anything else.

Sometimes he'll say criminal justice reform which Jared Kushner had to push him into doing. It's been reported that he regretted it because black folks are going to push it to have enough so why did I bother. He talks about opportunity zones.

Well, yes, opportunity zones are great in theory. But the jury is still out about whether they actually help the low-income folks and minorities in the neighborhoods that they are put into. It helps the developers and the people with money but it isn't helping the people in the neighborhoods.

So, there is, again, the metrics are still out about what's actually successful and what hasn't been with this president. But you know what else this president has done that Barack Obama didn't? One hundred fifty-two thousand Americans are dead including a lot more minorities disproportionately than anybody else. Yes, he's done that better than Barack.

LEMON: April, listen, the president continues to mourn the loss of -- and I quote here -- "beautiful statues and monuments of Robert E. Lee and other confederate generals and slave owners."

[22:55:04]

After all, listen, all these change that we have seen this spring He doesn't really get it, does he?

RYAN: No, he doesn't get it because he is rallying the basement of his base. He is focused on racism. He is trying to gin up what his politics began with. His politics began with racism. His politics began with trying to delegitimatize the first black president of the United States.

This president can care less about the racial strife that's going on in this nation. He cares about the racist white Americans that are supporting him and the others that they come along that's OK.

But the end of the day, the black community is still hurting and understanding we're in the midst of a pandemic where African-Americans and brown Americans have the highest numbers, disproportionate numbers of deaths, contractions of the disease and then we're in the midst of this black lives matter move want, and to do this, is a slap in the face.

And you have to still remember in 2020, Don, the black community is still a community with the highest numbers of negatives in almost every category. And as the President of the United States who he is supposed to serve everyone, all he can do is deal with issues of slavery and confederacy and support a war -- and a group of people that lost the war? That's on him.

LEMON: Yes.

RYAN: But at the end of the day, he is the racist in chief and November will prove that America does not want that anymore.

LEMON: I've got -- that's got to be the last word. Thank you. And all I have to say is we have a pandemic, we have to deal with race, and now we have a hurricane coming. So, what's next? I don't know. Locusts, who knows?

Thank you both. We'll be right back. We'll discuss that hurricane.

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