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Senate Takes Long Weekend as Unemployment Relief Expires for Millions; Man Who Lost Mother to COVID-19 Has Message for Those Refusing to Wear Masks; The 37 Times Trump Has Been Soft on Russia. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired July 31, 2020 - 13:30   ET



LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: The fear is because there's so much emphasis on this $600 benefit, the fear is that, if you let this go as a standalone bill, you lose leverage in future negotiations.

So this is not going to be any comfort to the people who depend on this money.

In fact, I talked to one Republican yesterday, Senator Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota. He said, quote, "If you are a person deciding today what bill to pay, I wouldn't trust us."

And that just gives you a sense of how not confident lawmakers are right now that this is going to be worked out over this weekend.

Of course, like you noted, the Senate has already left town -- Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: That is something. Thank you for sharing what he said with us.

Lauren Fox, thank you.

A man who lost his mother to coronavirus has a message for those refusing to wear masks.

Plus, Conservative criticize President Obama's eulogy at John Lewis' funeral. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was there, will join me live to respond.

New CNN reporting that Joe Biden's running mate pick is essentially narrowed down to three people. We'll tell you who they are.



KEILAR: Masks save lives, tens of thousands of them, according to a model that the White House uses. But as a political war on masks continues to be waged in this country, one man in Michigan is putting the message where his mask is. Aaron Burch lost his mother to COVID-19 last month. Cheryl Burch was

just 61 years old, a wife, a mother and a grandmother. And Aaron believes that she could have been saved if everyone was wearing a mask.

Now he wears a mask that says, "My mom died, that's why I'm like this."

He is joining us now.

Aaron, thank you for being with us.

I lost my mom myself a few years ago at the same age as your mom so it is with pain in my heart that I have you here to talk about this.

First, can you just tell us about your mom? Tell us what she meant to you.

AARON BURCH, LOST MOTHER TO COVID-19 AND NOW WEARS A MASK: First of all, thank you so much for reaching out to me. I'm humbled for the opportunity to speak about my story and about my mom.

My mom was singly the most kind and loving woman I've met in my life. She was just a radiating beacon of warmth and love. I have confided in her with just about every single issue that I had.

She was just such a kind and loving and wonderful person. And my life is forever changed without her in it. You know?

I was -- I was privileged enough to give her a couple of grandchildren that she was able to enjoy. And we have a third child on the way that, before we even talked about having another having, she said that this one was going to be a boy.

And the image of seeing my mom on a ventilator is forever burned into my mind when I had to tell her that she was going to have a grandson.

KEILAR: Aaron, I am so sorry that she will not be able to meet her grandson. I'm so sorry that that is something you know she would have enjoyed so much.

BURCH: She absolutely would.

KEILAR: Tell us about the mask that you wear. Tell us about where you got it. And why you wear it.

BURCH: So I saw this mask on -- after I had -- after my mom had passed away, I searched out a couple of COVID loss support groups, particularly remembering the lives affected by COVID-19.

And somebody had posted a link to this store. I believe it was called Bonfire and the seller had these masks.

When I saw it, I knew that I wanted to have written across my face why I was doing what I was doing and why I wanted -- and why it's so important, to mask up. And we want -


BURCH: Go ahead. I'm sorry.

KEILAR: Oh, no, no, no. You said you want. Please go ahead.

BURCH: You know, we've had kind of a contentious policy as far as masks here in America and especially since they're not designed to protect ourselves. They're designed to protect other people.

And our self-preservation instinct kicks in when we're told that this doesn't protect you. So we automatically assume that it's not, you know, not worth having.

But we need to think bigger about not just ourselves but everyone around us and everyone around them.

This is -- this is just like a pyramid scheme that, when you are asked to join, you have no choice but to say yes, and you don't know who's selling.

So that's what happened to my mom. My father owns an essential business. He kept that running. And somebody had gone into a store that was either asymptomatic or not feeling well. And he passed COVID- 19 to my dad.


In which, you know, by that point in time, my mom and my dad had -- were following CDC guidelines and not living in the same areas of the house they had lived in since 1984. They got married in that house.

And the most interaction they saw with each other is he would look upstairs at her and wish her a good day as he went off to work. And he passed it to her, inadvertently.

She went in the hospital on April 15th with an initial diagnosis of pneumonia and then the worst happened. We got a positive COVID-19 result.

And she fought for 51 days, 51 days. That we -- you know, that she was just fighting and holding on to every single fiber of her body.

People often say that their mom or their father is the most strong -- strongest person they know. My mom is the strongest person I've ever met because she held on for so long.

And before she even went in there, she was managing and living a healthy and happy life, in spite of having COPD, diabetes, Lupus, Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. She was happy. She was healthy.

KEILAR: And she was fighting.

BURCH: She was fighting.

KEILAR: And she was certainly fighting to be there for you and the whole family.

And you know, I think --

BURCH: Absolutely.

KEILAR: -- one of the very natural things, when we lose someone, is to wonder what we could have been done to change this. I think that's something everyone goes through, unfortunately.

And when you were thinking about, if it had just been a mask, if this is something that could have saved my mom's life, why are people so resistant to doing this.


KEILAR: What do you think about that?

BURCH: I find it abhorrent that wearing a mask has become a political issue. This is a humanitarian crisis. We are not the enemy. You know?

It doesn't matter what political affiliation you are, Democrat, Republican. It doesn't matter. We need to come together on this. We need to look out for each other.

I have been tagging my social media posts regarding COVID with four words: " I won't lose you." Because I've lost one too many people to COVID.


BURCH: I guarantee you, even if we haven't talked in years, even if I see you every day, and everyone, if we'll never meet, I won't lose you. I can't. I refuse. I won't lose you.

KEILAR: Aaron, I appreciate your voice so much. Coming on our show and talking about what this means.

BURCH: Thank you.

KEILAR: You said it. Life will never be the same.

BURCH: Absolutely.

KEILAR: Life will never be the same. You have suffered a tremendous loss.

And we appreciate you coming on to talk about it.

BURCH: Thank you so much. I'm truly humbled that I had the opportunity to share my story.

KEILAR: People need to hear it.

Aaron Burch, thank you again.

And coming up, I'll be joined by the speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. What she claims the Trump White House is withholding from Americans about the upcoming election.


Plus, the 37 times, yes, 37, that the president was soft on Russia, including denying his own U.S. intelligence reports about Russian bounties on U.S. troops.


KEILAR: The president is refusing to condemn or even acknowledge reports that Russia put bounties on American troops. Yet, he claims to be tough on the Russian government. That's just not true.

CNN's Marshall Cohen noted 37 times that the president has been soft on Russia and we are illustrating this for you.

So let's start with Vladimir Putin, The president is seemingly smitten with the Russian president. He cannot stop praising him.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he's done a really a great job of outsmarting our country.

He could not have been nicer. He was so nice.

He is really very much of a leader.

He said nice things about me.

I like him because he called me a genius.

Putin did call me a genius and said I'm the future of the Republican Party.


TRUMP: He's a strong leader, I can tell you that, unlike what we have.

Run by a smart cookie, much more smarter, much more cunning than our president.


KEILAR: Trump refused to say that Putin is a killer. And he tried equating the Russian's actions with the U.S.'s.


TRUMP: A lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. You think our country is so innocent? You think our country is so innocent?

BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: I don't know of any government leaders that are killers in America.

TRUMP: Well, take a look at what we have done, too.


KEILAR: He congratulated Putin on winning re-election, giving his sham election legitimacy. He considered visiting Putin on Russian soil, despite the fact that Russia attacked the U.S. election.

And he gave Putin a P.R. victory on coronavirus by accepting a large delivery of medical supplies, in what was regarded as a stunt by Moscow.

He pleases Putin and over and over again, constantly criticizing NATO to this day. Putin wants to weaken the alliance.


And speaking of the alliance, the president asked allies to let Russia back into the G-7. They refused.

He also invited Moscow to the G-7 summit. Again, allies rejected him.

It's not just Putin. The president has praised far-right European political leaders aligned with Putin.

He also likes to tell Moscow secrets. Four months into to his presidency, the president gave classified intelligence to the Russians inside the Oval Office.

And speaking of intelligence, he directed the CIA to share more with Russia, according to two former CIA officials, even though the U.S. received nothing in return.

The Trump administration considered returning two diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland to Russia after they were seized for spying.

And the lovefest goes back before taking the oath of office. To run his campaign, the president hired Paul Manafort, who spent a decade working for pro-Russian politicians and parties in Ukraine.

Breaking with U.S. policy, then-citizen Trump praised Russia for annexing Crimea and then Candidate Trump repeated a Kremlin talking point in 2016.


TRUMP: You know, the people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.


KEILAR: The president's campaign made the party's platform friendlier to Russia, blocking language that called on the U.S. to send lethal weapons to Ukraine. During the campaign, the president made light of hacking, casting doubt on the U.S. assessment that Russia was responsible for hacking the DNC.

In fact, the president and his campaign capitalized on interference as the Mueller report described how the Trump campaign expected to benefit from the Russian attacks.

But the president has dismissed that Russians interfered, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. And he's even sided with Putin against his own intel agencies in front of the world.


TRUMP: All I can do is ask the question.

I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.


KEILAR: After the election, the Trump transition team asked Russia not to retaliate against new U.S. sanctions by the Obama administration, sanctions designed to punish Russia for interfering in the election.

And then, just before Trump's inauguration, the president said he was open to lifting Russian sanctions.

He goes a step further, proposing a cyber unit with Russia, the country that had just attacked the U.S. And, I quote, "An impenetrable cybersecurity unit so that election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded."

The president was reluctant to sign Russian sanctions, despite the Houses voting 419-3 and the Senate voting 98-2.

The president eased them on a Russian oligarch and companies linked to him.

After Putin kicked out U.S. diplomats to retaliate against sanctions, the president thanked him.


TRUMP: I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down our payroll. I'm very thankful that he let go of a very large number of people. We'll save a lot of money.


KEILAR: And he complained about sanctions to punish Russia for poisoning one its former spies, according to John Bolton.

Bolton also says the president blocked a statement on the 10th anniversary of the Russia/Georgia War.

He also refused to publicly condemn a Russian attack against Ukrainian military vessels in November 2018.

And in January of last year, the president defended the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.


TRUMP: The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They had a right to be there.


KEILAR: Now, last year, the president abandoned allied fighters by withdrawing from northern Syria, allowing Russia to expand its influence there.

After that withdrawal, the president repeated Kremlin talking points about ISIS, saying that Russia hates ISIS as much as the United States does.

And during his impeachment, the president spread lies and myths about Ukraine that, surprise, conformed to Russian talking points.

And as the impeachment revealed, he temporarily froze U.S. aid for Ukraine, which was used for fighting Russian proxies.

He also privately and publicly smeared the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, eventually leading to her ouster.

This year, he ignored warnings of Russian bounties on American troops, after being repeatedly told in person and in written intelligence briefings. He still has not acted or condemned those reports. Instead, he has dismissed that story as a hoax.

And he also never raised the issue with Putin himself, even though even though he's had several opportunities to do so.

Finally, yesterday, he ordered U.S. troops out of Germany, which compromises Europe-based defenses against Russia.

So, has the president been soft on Russia? Well, the answer is yes. At least 37 times, yes.


Up next, breaking news about the virus and you children.

And what a study revealed about its spread throughout a Georgia overnight summer camp.

And who should enforce mask wearing in public places? I'll talk to a union leader who says it's not the job of store employees.