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Trump's Poll Numbers; Former Presidents Honor Lewis; Unsealed Documents involving Epstein; Coronavirus Deaths Overwhelm Funeral Homes; NBA Returns to Court. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 31, 2020 - 06:30   ET

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


[06:30:00]

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Actually, when you're -- when you're looking at polls, look at the strong support and strong opposed. With Trump they're almost two to one. But he's fluctuated between a quarter and a third of the country on his strong support. He's whittling down to that because of his actions on the coronavirus, other questions they ask about Russia and his handling of protests.

The other thing that's really driving it down isn't just that he's cratering among independents. But now, in this poll, a quarter to 20 percent of Republicans say they oppose and disapprove of his actions on these key three areas, coronavirus response, protest response, and Russia. That is a real problem for President Trump and maybe why he's so (INAUDIBLE).

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, John, let's talk about John Lewis' funeral, Congressman John Lewis' funeral yesterday.

AVLON: Yes.

CAMEROTA: President Trump didn't want to go. He skipped it. And it was just -- I mean it threw everything into such stark relief when you see the other, you know, previous three presidents. Jimmy Carter stayed home for health reasons. But they were there. Everyone across the board in government, you see them sitting there honoring his life, this civil rights icon. And President Trump decided to bow out and not be part of that tradition and history in the U.S.

Here is how the other three former presidents framed it without mentioning him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: John and I had our disagreements, of course. But in the America John Lewis fought for and the America I believe in, differences of opinion are inevitable elements and evidence of democracy in action.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: He's gone up yonder and left us with marching orders. I suggest, since he's close enough to God to keep his eye on the sparrow and us, we salute, suit up, and march on. BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: George Wallace may be gone, but

we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators.

We may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a ballot, but even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election that's going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don't get sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: And from the sublime to the ridiculous, here is the cover of "The Daily News" this morning. They framed it as three men and a baby, because President Trump decided to skip it.

Why did he do that, John?

AVLON: You've got to love a good tabloid headline.

Look, the president refused to even go to the viewing at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

AVLON: When the president's club gets together, it's always worth watching and listening. And there's been this persistent respect, despite disagreement on all kinds of policies, right? It's this idea that even Thomas Jefferson articulated, every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle, except in the case of President Trump, because you can feel the tension and the, frankly, the disrespect between Trump and the former presidents. And that's in part because I think the ex-presidents don't necessarily believe Trump is holding up to the highest standards of the office. Think issues of character.

President Trump's rejection, his refusal to honor John Lewis is in some ways consistent of the way he's governed and running this election. As President Obama said in really pointed remarks, there's a pattern of trying to suppress the vote, which is what John Lewis fought for his whole life.

But, you know, in order to get respect, you've got to give respect. And that's one of the crucial things that's missing.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

AVLON: You have a celebration of a great American life that's brought almost everyone together, but not Donald Trump, because he doesn't have the ability to empathize across lines.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: John Avlon, great to see you. Thank you very much for all of the analysis.

AVLON: Great to see you guys. Good morning (ph).

CAMEROTA: OK, we have some new details in the Jeffrey Epstein investigation. What we are learning now from a just unsealed deposition.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:38:34]

CAMEROTA: Developing overnight, newly unsealed documents describe new details about Ghislaine Maxwell's role in Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring. The documents are from 2016 and they're from a deposition of the -- one of the Epstein accusers, Virginia Giuffre.

CNN's Kara Scannell has more details.

So what's in these?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, good morning, Alisyn.

What we got last night was about more than 40 documents that were unsealed from that civil lawsuit. And in these documents included a deposition from Virginia Giuffre. She's one of the women that has accused Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell with abusing her.

And in these documents in the deposition, Giuffre describes how she was recruited by Maxwell while she was working at Mar-a-Lago as just a teenager. She was brought into Epstein's web initially to give him -- massage his back. That turned, she says, into sexual abuse.

Giuffre described how Epstein directed her to have -- to give these massages to some of his famous friends. And when pressed by her attorneys during the deposition, she described how it had taken a psychological toll on her, saying, look, I've given you what I know right now. I'm sorry. This is very hard for me and very frustrating to have to go over this. I don't -- I don't recall all of the people. There was a large amount of people that I was sent to.

Now, some of those people are some famous names. They have denied that they had any sexual involvement with Virginia Giuffre.

But what we also learned from these documents is that Ghislaine Maxwell has been in contact with Jeffrey Epstein more recently than what her lawyers had initially told the judge when she was arrested earlier this month.

[06:40:09]

He said they hadn't been in touch in a decade. But what we're seeing in these documents is that there was an e-mail between Maxwell and Epstein. Epstein was complaining to her that he had been receiving so much negative attention and he advised Maxwell to keep her head up.

Alisyn. CAMEROTA: Well, some of the famous names mentioned in this are Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton. Does it go into details or specifics about what happened?

SCANNELL: You know, in this, she doesn't go into any detail. She describes Bill Clinton as being someone that she had seen at Jeffrey Epstein's Caribbean Island, describing how he was there, how she was told by Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell that he was there because Epstein had owed him -- I'm sorry, that Clinton had owed Epstein some favors, specifically this is -- these are the words of Virginia Giuffre. She says, Ghislaine told me that she flew Bill Clinton in and Ghislaine likes to talk a lot of stuff that sounds fantastical. I remember asking Jeffrey, what's Bill Clinton doing here kind of thing, and he laughed it off and said, well, he owes me a favor.

Now, Giuffre said in this deposition that she never knew if they were kidding or if there was any truth to that, but Bill Clinton has denied ever being on that island.

She also had mentioned Prince Andrew in these depositions. That is someone that she has accused publicly for years of having abused her in London. The prosecutors who are investigating and bringing a case against Ghislaine Maxwell have said repeatedly that they would like to speak to the prince. He has said that he doesn't know why -- he's bewildered about why they would want to talk to them.

There was one other colorful detail in here. You know, this -- there was this famous photo of Giuffre and the prince that was taken years ago in London and Giuffre said in the -- in the documents that were unsealed that it was Jeffrey Epstein who took that photo using her little yellow Kodak camera.

Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Kara Scannell, thank you very much for going through all of that for us.

OK, the coronavirus pandemic is quickly becoming a crisis in Texas. So we're going to speak to a funeral home director who is trying to cope with the crushing death toll.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:46:09]

SCIUTTO: Deaths from coronavirus are spiking in south Texas. Hidalgo County, on the U.S.-Mexico border, has recorded nearly 600 deaths. And one funeral home there is so overwhelmed it now uses a refrigerated tractor-trailer to temporarily handle the volume of victims.

Joining me now is Ron Rivera. He's the owner of the Rivera Funeral Home in McAllen, Texas.

Mr. Rivera, it's good to have you on this morning. And I know you have such a unique and sobering vision into all this because you're -- you're dealing face to face not with the victims but the victims' families. And I wonder -- I wonder how you handle it, right, because it's the loss, but it's also the danger, sadly, of the events to mark that loss as well.

RON RIVERA, OWNER/DIRECTOR, RIVERA FUNERAL HOME: Yes, Jim, that -- that's a -- that's something that -- that we're overwhelmed with at this time. You know, trying to deal with families that have lost their loved ones, and yet trying to -- trying to give them the service that they deserve at this time. It's hard because some of these families that we're talking to are infected themselves. So although we try to do a lot of arrangements and things through these media ways and Skype and Zoom and things, but still some families can't do that and they don't know how to use it, that media. So every day we're -- we're -- we're speaking to families that -- that could be infected themselves.

SCIUTTO: That's the point you make, right, because it's really about families interacting there. Nothing to do with the person who's passed away, but do they spread the infection among themselves.

RIVERA: Well, that's what I -- what I tell every family, every day that I meet with them, is I tell them, look, once the body has been prepared or embalmed, there's really no danger in the body spreading the virus. It's a -- it's the loved ones, the families that come in to give their condolences to the family, that's where the danger is. And you get all sorts of people coming in at one time and that's what really makes these families vulnerable to -- to having this -- this disease spread amongst -- amongst the living, not -- not -- not actually the dead.

SCIUTTO: Heartbreaking to see what you have to do in the -- in the face of a wave of so many deaths, getting a tractor-trailer. You know, and I -- you know, having lost family members myself, it is all about making these moments as personal as possible. Of course so difficult when you have to take steps like this.

Tell us how you handle that. Tell us how you handle families when they -- they've already gone through loss, right, but they have to go through loss in the midst of this.

RIVERA: Yes. And you know what -- what's hard is that a lot of these families had their loved ones walk into the hospital with -- with chest pains, with, you know -- I mean they walked in and then they stay in the hospital and then they don't allow them to see their loved ones in the hospital, then they pass away and -- and then they're being told that they can't see them again, that they have to be cremated.

Well, I'm trying my best to -- to meet the family's needs and having them -- allow -- or allowing them visitation with their loved one so at least they can have some sort of closure. It's important for them to -- to be able to see them once final -- one final time and have some closure. So, yes, that -- it's very difficult every day.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

You told a story of one family member, they lost their mom. They delayed the viewing because their father was ill. Then they lost their father. Goodness. Tell us more about that family.

RIVERA: Actually, I'm -- I'm meeting with them today. We were supposed to have the funeral for her -- for her mom on -- on Monday. This coming Monday. And she called me two days ago and said, Mr. Rivera, she goes, I'd like to delay the funeral for my mom because my -- my -- my dad is not feeling well. She says, and I'd like for him to get a little bit better before he can go and -- and visit with the -- with my mom.

[06:50:02]

Actually -- they've been married for going on 50 years. And I said, no problem. I said, we'll go ahead and call the cemetery to try to see if we can reschedule the date.

Well, she called me yesterday that her dad had passed away and she was -- she was devastated. And, for me, it's a -- it's a shock because we're seeing these situations, Jim, more and more. Families are -- they get ill and -- and -- and they -- they succumb to this virus right away, you know? And -- and it's -- it's a terrible disease. It's a -- it's an invisible enemy that we have is what I tell the families.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

RIVERA: And everybody that we speak to, we have to assume that they're infected. And that's -- that's the point that we're at. Otherwise -- otherwise, if we just trust people and each other, it's never going to stop.

SCIUTTO: Have you noticed a change in how seriously people in your community are taking this over the last several weeks and months as the death toll has risen?

RIVERA: Well, they are taking it very seriously except that sometimes what we're seeing now is that a lot of families aren't -- a lot of people aren't seeing the truth if they're infected. I had a gentleman last week that came -- I was talking to him on the telephone and he told me he was infected and his mother had passed away. Then he said he was infected. And so I'm -- I'm -- I come into the office the next day and I see him in the lobby. And I ask him, you know, I say, hey, what are you doing here? He goes, well, he goes, I'm infected, he goes, but I needed to see my mom before -- she was buried. I said, well, you really shouldn't be out in the community. Well, I feel -- I feel good, he says. I've got no symptoms. I said, well, that's the thing that you might feel good, but that -- you just might spread that virus to somebody who's very vulnerable and you're actually going to kill that person, you know?

SCIUTTO: Yes.

RIVERA: It's as easy as that.

So people need to be more responsible, I believe. But -- but they're -- they're -- they're -- they're not saying the truth because if they say the truth, then they're confined to the house and -- and that's -- that's just not -- that's just right. It's not -- it's not helpful in any way.

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, you know, you're -- you're on the front lines of this in a way that few people are. Thank you for what you're doing. We wish you luck and please pass on our best to the families who have lost so many loved ones.

RIVERA: Thank you so much, Jim. Thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: Take care.

Ron Rivera.

RIVERA: Thank -- thank you.

CAMEROTA: Now we want to remember some of the more than 152,000 Americans lost to coronavirus.

One Arizona family suffered a devastating blow when three older siblings all died of coronavirus within a week of each other. Rita and Chico Haro (ph) and Nellie Johnson were three of 20 brothers and sisters. Their great nephew says their lives revolved around the delicious food they made and the Mexican telenovelas (ph) they'd watch huddled around their 13-inch TV in their kitchen.

Forty-eight-year-old John Eric Swing (ph) swerved as a U.S. Marine reservist. He was executive director of a Los Angeles non-profit for Filipino Americans. His organization started a food delivery project to help others during the pandemic. He leaves behind six children and his wife Ellen (ph).

Patrick Ellis (ph) was a legend in Washington, D.C. radio. He hosted a Sunday morning gospel show on Howard University's WHUR for more than 40 years, the longest tenure of anyone on the air in Washington. He'll be remembered by a wife, two daughters, and a city full of gospel lovers.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:57:49]

CAMEROTA: Basketball is back. The NBA returning to action nearly five months after suspending its season because of the pandemic.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

So how's this going to work, Andy?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, I'll tell you what, it's working great so far. So good to have the NBA back. And it's been 141 days since we had a meaningful NBA game. You got 22 teams now battling it out in the bubble there in Disney World. And a big part of resuming this season was the continued fight for social justice. And all four teams that were in action last night, kneeling together out there on the court to continue to protest systemic racism. This was during the national anthem. Commissioner Adam Silver, in a statement, saying he respects the peaceful protests. He's not going to enforce the league's rule to stand during the anthem. And LeBron says he hopes to keep the focus on the Black Lives Matter movement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: In the past, when we've seen progress, we've let our foot off the gas a little bit. We can't do -- we can't do that. You know, we want to continue to keep our foot on the gas, continue to push forward, you know, continue to spread love throughout America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Now these games in Orlando have a much different look. Of course, no fans in the stands, but they do have virtual fans tuning in from their homes that are then put on the giant video board right there behind the court. It's a pretty cool look.

Players and coaches also now sit in the socially distanced bench areas. And the scorers table, if you're watching the game, you'll notice is completely covered by Plexiglas.

Now, as for the action, LeBron coming up big for the Lakers against the Clippers. Time winding down in this game. LeBron follows his own shot, puts it back in. That bucket would put the Lakers up for good. They beat the Clippers 103-101.

And in the other game, Jazz center Rudy Gobert, whose positive test shut down the sports world back in March, he scored the very first points of the restart. He also scored the Jazz's last points to secure the win over the Pelicans. And, Alisyn, after the game, Gobert said, well, you know, life works in mysterious ways.

CAMEROTA: Let's hope all these measures keep everybody safe.

Andy, thank you very much for the update.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: All right, we have breaking news to get to.

[07:00:01]

And NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: All right, we want to welcome our viewers in the United States

END