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Hopes And Fears As Georgia School Reopens Its Doors; Florida Braces For Hurricane Amid COVID-19 Surge; Source: Trump's Own Intelligence Officials Contradict His Claims Of Mail-In Voting Fraud; Joe Lockhart: Biden Shouldn't Even Debate Trump; Trump Warns He Will Ban Video App TikTok From U.S.; Vindman Begins Retirement With Scathing Rebuke Of Trump; Nine-Year-Old Boy Killed In Shooting In Chicago. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired August 1, 2020 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: We're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

As if a pandemic weren't enough to deal with, the people of Florida are now bracing for a hurricane.


A federal disaster declaration has been issued for the state as Hurricane Isaias gets closer and closer to the coastline. We're live from Palm Beach in just a moment.

And breaking news from Capitol Hill, another member of Congress testing positive for the coronavirus. Arizona Democrat Raul Grijalva is self-quarantining now at his home in Washington, D.C. Grijalva was in a hearing just a few days ago with Texas Republican Louie Gohmert who also tested positive this week after he repeatedly refused to wear a mask.

In the meantime, the CDC is now predicting at least 20,000 more people in the United States will die of COVID-19 in the next three weeks, possibly as many as 30,000. New cases and deaths are on the rise nationwide this weekend, despite most states readjusting their back to business plans.

And we just learned a short time ago that California recorded 219 COVID-related deaths in the past 24 hours. That is the most reported deaths in a single day in that state.

And from the world of sports, reports that tonight's game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers has been postponed after more Cardinals tested positive. It comes a day after the Major League Baseball commissioner warned the shortened season could be shut down altogether.

First to in Florida, though, the current epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic where at least 7 million people could be now in the path of Hurricane Isaias, easy for me to say. Randi Kaye is standing by in Palm Beach County, but let's get the

forecast first with meteorologist Chad Myers in the CNN Weather Center.

Chad, what can we expect from Isaias?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, so far, it has been the underachiever of the lifetime where Hanna was so big and bad so quickly, this thing has run into dry air and it has really fallen apart. That's the good news.

We're going to get a new update at 5:00 p.m. to see what the hurricane hunter finds under that, even though the satellite picture looks horrible, doesn't mean the radar isn't going, and the storm isn't reading. Still have some winds out here in Nassau, had some peopling running up and down the beach in Ft. Lauderdale when the first squall hit this morning. They all run for cover.

I've been listening to some scanners up and down the beach, they're saying tens of thousands of people are still on these beaches. It looks like the Fourth of July out there. Well, you need to get away from those beaches at some point in time, maybe not tonight but certainly tomorrow.

Here come the first squalls into Ft. Lauderdale into Miami. We will see winds somewhere around 70 miles per hour. That's where hurricane up and down the East Coast, even though it may be a 65-mile-per-hour storm right now, it's headed into the gulf stream, and the gulf stream is the warm water that comes out of the Gulf of Mexico and it could be right up to 100 -- I would say, easy, 80-mile-per-hour storm with 100- mile-per-hour gusts by 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. If it gets into in warm water and it takes over, it really energizes it. So, that's where our Randi Kaye will be somewhere tomorrow morning.

Now, if this thing goes to the left a little bit, I don't think an 8:00 a.m. approach to the coast, I think maybe like a 5:00 a.m. approach to the coast. And that would be significantly farther south than where Randi is right now and that would be somewhere in the Miami-Dade area, you know, Broward County, if it continues to kind of slide to the left and all the models, Ana, are sliding to the left.

CABRERA: OK, Chad, keep us posted. Thank you.

MYERS: Uh-huh.

CABRERA: Now to Randi Kaye in rainy Palm Beach County, Florida.

The state already struggling to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Now they're facing this hurricane.

Randi, bring us up to speed. What's happening there?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are in Palm Beach County, as you said, one of 12 counties in the state of Florida under a state of emergency. And just a couple hours ago, Ana, we were on the same beach, there

were people sunning themselves. If you take a look now at the water over there, if you pan off and take a look, you can see how rough the seas have gotten. You can see that the high tide is certainly coming in. There isn't really anybody on the beach except for a couple of surfers that are now packing up.

But in Palm Beach County, they knew this was coming, so they quickly opened some emergency shelters this morning, six emergency shelters. In fact, we got some video of some people who were arriving there this morning. Those shelters are in high schools. They're hoping that people can safely social distance.

Last time, the last hurricane here, they had 17,000 people go to shelters. They're not sure what to expect this time around. But with COVID, of course, the governor is saying that he hopes to open up some hotel rooms for people who are symptomatic so they don't have to go to the regular shelters. They can safely quarantine in some hotel rooms.

And the division of emergency management is also saying that they would like to see no more than 50 people in shelters in these conditions and they also want temperature checks, they want 60 square feet per person.

But of course, with these winds and these rains that are now starting to come through here, I mean, it is definitely getting bad. We know that we're expecting some power outages as well. Florida Power and Light is saying that they expect widespread outages.


In fact, they have about 10,000 personnel working this. They've brought in some people from Texas and Georgia, in fact, but they know that it's going to take some delays because we're going to have to withstand some delays because they have to still sanitize equipment, they will have to do temperature checks for the workers as well. So it's definitely going to take some time if we lose power.

The other concern is the nursing homes and the long-term care facilities. The governor is saying that the state is prepared for them, that they all have generators, because you may recall back in 2017, Ana, during Hurricane Irma, we had 14 people die in a nursing home here in Southern Florida, and 12 of them, the medical examiner said, was from heat exposure. So that is certainly a concern and good news that we have the generators at these nursing homes.

But the conditions starting to worsen here, Ana. Back to you.

CABRERA: OK, Randi Kaye, do stay safe. Thank you for your report.

Chad Myers, our thanks to you.

Joining us now, CNN Medical Analyst and Public Health Specialist, Dr. Saju Mathew.

And, Dr. Mathew, we know testing sites in Florida are having to close down. They're going to be closed through at least Tuesday if not longer because of this impending storm.

How might that complicate the already dire situation in that state?

DR. SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's so tough for Floridians right now, Ana, it's bad enough to experience this high positivity rates of between 18 percent and 20 percent and now we're talking about this bad weather, which will close or definitely halt some of the testing.

Listen, ultimately, we talk about how important testing is, especially in a state like Florida. I also worry about shelters where people are going to be accumulating in tight spaces. I think about the two keys when I think about close spaces, Ana, which is proximity and prolonged contact. And I think about the filtration, the air system in these shelters.

So, hopefully, everybody will be given a mask and they will limit the number of people as our reporter mentioned in these shelters.

CABRERA: We know the governor in the state department of emergency management is sending 10,000 PPE kits to those shelters. Hopefully that gets there in time. You and other doctors, I know, have been very eager to see test results come back to people much faster but Admiral Giroir, the Trump administration testing czar testified yesterday that having results back in two or three days is just not a possible benchmark right now.

We've all known about this virus since January. What is keeping this country from getting testing right?

MATHEW: Lack of a national strategy. Ana, I can't help but think that a few months ago, South Korea and the United States had the same number of deaths. They have 300 today, and we have over 150,000 deaths and counting.

We never started this whole strategy correctly, and unfortunately, without the whole national strategy of testing, and mandating masks, something that is so simple, we know that if people, 95 percent of Americans wear masks, within a couple of weeks, we can really cut down the viral load.

Also, social distancing. We know that within two to three weeks, if everybody socially distanced, we can really work on getting this virus down even without a vaccine.

CABRERA: Tried and true solutions there.

The CDC says a COVID-19 outbreak at a Georgia sleep away camp is a warning for what could happen when schools reopen. We have learned more than 200 of the 600 attendees got sick over a period of just days, even after taking the state's recommended measures to operate, including demanding proof that the children had tested negative prior to the arrival at this camp.

What is the biggest takeaway here for you? MATHEW: Two big takeaways. Number one, we know that with 600 kids and

over 50 percent of kids between ages 6 and 10 turning positive, we know how transmissible this virus is amongst kids. We also have studies to show that kids can transmit the virus to adults.

So, really, ultimately, I think we have enough data here, Ana, to know that kids really should be treated like adults. We all transmit the virus, just think about the cold and flu season, one kid can infect an entire class within hours or days.

So, really, schools should really take this as a big question mark and pause and really decide, is this the right time, especially in a state like Georgia, Ana, where I am, where the viral count is so high and the positivity rate is greater than 10 percent.

CABRERA: Vaccine trials are moving into the final testing phase, thank goodness. Here's Dr. Fauci with a very optimistic message on Friday, saying he doesn't think it's a dream that a vaccine could be ready by the end of this year or early 2021. Listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I believe it will occur. I know, to some people, this seems like it is so fast that there might be compromising of safety and in scientific integrity and I can tell you that is absolutely not the case. The rapidity with which we're doing it is as a result of very different technologies.



CABRERA: Doctor, do you share that confidence in the timeline? And if so, how effective should we expect this vaccine to be?

MATHEW: So, those are the big questions that we will find out now that we're moving into phase three. A couple of vaccines are now starting. This is crunch time, 30,000 people. We're going to be looking at people between 18 and 65.

And we've got a whole bunch of questions that we have to answer at the end of this two-year, if you will, trial, which is number one, will bit safe in the elderly? Can, like, my parents take this vaccine safely? How long will it last? Is this a vaccine where we have to get a shot like the flu vaccine every single year?

We do know that from the earlier trials, that antibodies, the good antibodies, the neutralizing antibodies were produced. They were not at a high level, Ana, but enough to where the body is mounting a response.

So yes, I share the optimism, like Dr. Fauci, I'm going to go one step further, Ana, and hope that we might even get more than one vaccine that works.

CABRERA: Me too. I share your hope for that. That's for sure.

There's also some new research that I want to get your take on. It suggests some people might have some immunity to COVID-19 even if they have never been exposed to the virus.

How does that work?

MATHEW: Really interesting study, Ana, I'm always excited when I can talk about something a little happier than the typical news that we're reporting on, on COVID-19.

So, here is the deal. Coronavirus is a family of viruses. COVID is one of them. The common cold is one of them. The thought is, if we have been exposed to other coronaviruses, that we have probably developed some immunity in the form of T-cells.

T-cells are helper cells. They remember when you get an infection and when you get infected again by members of that same family, the T- cells help fight that infection. So that's one of the theories in that even if you were not exposed to COVID-19, if you were exposed to one of its cousins, if you will, that perhaps we have some T-cell activity which can help us with immunity.

CABRERA: I think a lot of parents are thinking, gosh, I've been hit so hard by all the germs and bugs my kids have brought home from schools and day cares over the last several years, maybe this will apply to me. So, some reasons to be hopeful.

Dr. Saju Mathew, good to have you here. Thank you for being with us and for what you do.

MATHEW: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Coming up, CNN's Gary Tuchman takes us to the first day of school at a district in Georgia which decided to open its doors without a firm mask mandate and despite the concerns of parents and children. And the emotions get very raw and real.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tell me why it's scary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I don't want to go because I'm scared of getting it, and --




CABRERA: As we mentioned before the break, a new report from the CDC underscores just how easily a coronavirus outbreak can happen when children and adults mix. Three quarters of the children and staff that were tested at a Georgia summer camp caught the virus in a matter of days. And that story is sure to weigh heavy on parents in nearby school district that just reopened its doors.

Here's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) isn't sure of sending her son back to school is a good idea. But 11 year old Christopher says he's ready to start sixth grade and to do it in person. So when the school bus arrived here in the small Georgia town of Jefferson, he boarded with his books on his back and his mask on his face, and prepared to start his middle school career in this most unusual of times.

(on-camera): Are you sad?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Christopher's mother tells me Yes, I am sad and worried about my son going to school.

As the bus pulls away, there was at least one student not on it, Christopher sister Sherelle (ph). She was going to start eighth grade, but at the last minute was too frightened to go.

(on-camera): Tell me why it's scary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I don't want to go because I'm scared of getting it and --

TUCHMAN: It's OK, lots of children are scared. It's OK. I think you'll be OK, tomorrow or next week. Maybe it's OK. And your mom's nice to let you stay home. Do you agree?

Your brother went to school today. He'll tell you how it is, right? So we wish you the best.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Just up the road at the high school, students gathering and hugging like they would any year on the first day, many of them wearing masks, but just as many if not more, not wearing any face coverings. At the elementary school, parents dropping off their children, most of whom seem to have masks, but not all.

The f act is while masks are mandated on the district school buses for students and drivers, there is no mandate for mask wearing in the actual schools for students or teachers. The Jefferson City Board of Education has many guidelines in place designed to keep the students safer and mask are handed out, but actually wearing them is not required, only strongly recommended. We talked to high school seniors Hope Terhune and Rylee Meadows before they returned to school.

HOPE TERHUNE, STUDENT: I'm ready to be back like in person learning but it is kind of scary like not knowing where it's really going to be like. RYLEE MEADOWS, STUDENT: I think I would feel better about it if we had strong recommendations in our school system to keep us safe, we need to.

TUCHMAN: So they started an online petition asking their board of education to mandate masks.

MEADOWS: I'm scared for not just myself but for other teachers that are at our school, elderly and pregnant and then the people that you could be bringing home to some people live with their grandparents or people that are at high risk if they got the virus.

BRETT KELLEY, STUDENT: Our country was built on freedom.

TUCHMAN: In response to that petition, sophomore Brett Kelly started his own with the support of his older High School sister and his father.


His petition declaring mask wearing should be a choice.

KELLEY: I think it's a freedom issue because we're slowly taking our rights away.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): And you're right, not to wear a mask?

KELLEY: Yes, sir.

TUCHMAN: Would you feel less if I was standing here talking to you without my mask on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we're outside and --

TUCHMAN (on-camera): But what if we were inside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'll probably be OK. Yes.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The District Superintendent did not want to talk on camera. But Donna McMullan told us in a written statement they are confident in their plans. And regarding masks, we are following the guidelines established by the CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health in recommending the use of face coverings as one effective measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Yolanda Payne is not going to let her fourth grade son go back to school right now. They are part of the roughly 5 percent of Jefferson school families who have chosen to learn remotely. She says her father passed away from COVID two months ago, and her son Josh has asthma.

YOLANDA PAYNE, PARENT: I can't take the risk of sending him back to school and getting COVID.

TUCHMAN: A worrisome school year now beginning.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Jefferson, Georgia.


CABRERA: Every parent wants a great school for their kids, but W. Kamau Bell uncovers why that's not possible for some. Go inside the public school system on all new "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" tomorrow night at 10:00 here on CNN.

Coming up, the president is making claims about mail-in voting that just aren't true. They are so false, his own intelligence officials are contradicting him. What they're saying behind closed doors, next.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is going to be the greatest election disaster in history.




CABRERA: President Trump continues to push his unfounded claims about mail-in voting.


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.


CABRERA: But in a closed door house briefing yesterday, the president's own intelligence officials contradicted him, a source telling CNN that senior intelligence officials dismissed the possibility of foreign powers being able to interfere on a mass scale to produce and send fake ballots to voters and election authorities.

Joining us now is CNN Political Commentator and former Clinton White House Advisor, Paul Begala.

And I should note, we are now 94 days away from Election Day, Paul, just how dangerous are the president's comments?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, they're very dangerous because they strike at the heart of the ability to have an election, to have people's right to vote.

He was musing earlier this week about postponing the election entirely. You know, this is the way, of course, the week we laid John Lewis to rest. The Voting Rights Act was written with his blood. It was written because he was beaten almost to death in the Edmund Pettus Bridge. So, the right to vote is sacred. It's the most sacred thing in our democracy. And, by the way, voting by mail is perfectly safe. It is immune from fraud.

Just -- Caitlin Huey-Burns did a great story on this. In Colorado, where they do all their voting by mail, Jefferson County, Denver, the biggest county, has 500 different styles of ballots. So just to affect one county, the Russians would have to forge 500 different styles of ballots, then each ballot has a unique identifying number, and a computer bar code that can only be read by the county's computer system and a security sleeve and a signature. I mean, it's absolutely foolproof. It's the safest way to vote. People need to vote. People should try to vote early and by mail if they can for their own health.

And for the president, who's supposed to be leading a democracy, to be at war with democracy is a pretty awful thing.

CABRERA: There has been some significant data collection and studies done on this issue of voter fraud when it comes to mail-in ballots or absentee ballots. You know, those two words being interchangeable, essentially, but I just think it's worth pointing out that according to the comprehensive studies of public records, detailing voter fraud and all U.S. elections, between 2000 to 2012, for example, there were just 491 prosecutions for absentee ballot fraud. That tells us how rare it really is.

Paul, some Republicans are now downplaying the president's tweet this week, suggesting the election should be delayed. In fact, we're learning that this is how one person responded. This is Senator John Cornyn of Texas. And he said: I think it's a joke. Obviously, he doesn't have the power to do that.

We've heard the president hint at this before, though, so let's listen.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Are you suggesting that you might not accept the results of the election?

TRUMP: I have to see. I'm not just going to say yes. I'm not going to say no. And I didn't last time either.


CABRERA: Paul, the hypocrisy is the president has voted absentee himself in past elections, so have members of his own family and you just have to see this. This is what happened when he tried to vote in 2004, he was turned away from one polling place after another in this "Access Hollywood" video.


TRUMP: Why? Do I have to go to a different place actually?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a little drama at the polling booth. We like that.

TRUMP: Do me a favor. Double check. Double check.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the paperwork.

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?


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


Hi, folks, how you doing? Make sure there's no cheating here, right?


TRUMP: They don't have -- can you believe this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't have it at this location.

TRUMP: He's not in my book either.

It's not here, right?

Hi, fellows, how are you? You have my name here?

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

TRUMP: I'm going to fill out the absentee ballot. And I've just voted. At least you can say the Trumpster doesn't give up.


TRUMP: Right?


CABRERA: Fast forward to today, the president claimed absentee ballots, which he has been using for years, are different from mail-in ballots. They aren't. So, what's the confusion here?

BEGALA: Well, I can't see into his soul. I don't really know his motives. But if you look at the polling, he's losing. And it's not even close.

And I do fear that looking at a potential defeat instead of accepting it like a strong, decent person, he's wimping out and saying, well, we shouldn't have an election at all. Remember when President Xi Jinping, the Communist leader of Communist

China, was named president for life. Our president of the freest society in the world said, that would be great. I would like to have that here.

This is a guy who is at war with democracy. It's OK for him to be in political combat with Democrats. That's his job as a partisan politician. But not with democracy.

And people need to know this. Vote by mail is safe. It is perfectly ethical. It is the best way to do this, to protect yourself, particularly if you're, particularly if you're vulnerable to COVID. I guess we all are.

I saw Gary's heartbreaking report from Atlanta. Mr. Trump is trying to encourage people to risk their health.

And here's the political problem with it. Democrats aren't going to listen to him. They're still going to vote and vote by mail and vote safely and protect their health.

It's his own supporters whose health and lives he's endangering. His supporters tend to be older than Biden's, actually, too, and so his voters are even more.

So if you're a Trump voter, I want you to vote anyway. I want everyone to do it. And vote by mail is the safest way to do it.

CABRERA: It's hard to believe we are so close to an election, Paul. Your fellow CNN political commentator and former Clinton White House press secretary, Joe Lockhart, says he doesn't think Joe Biden should even debate Trump.

And he writes, "Debating Trump is giving him hours of primetime audience to spin his conspiracy theories and lie repeatedly. Biden doesn't need the circus of Trump's sickness. He lowers himself, stepping on the stage with him."

What do you think?

BEGALA: I love Joe. I love him. Lockhart and I have been through a lot together. We're brothers. I disagree on this one, though. Strongly. Vehemently.

First off, Trump can get airtime any time he wants. He's the most powerful famous person on earth.

Second, when you pick -- when you fire a president -- we've only fired four presidents in the last hundred years. And I helped Bill Clinton do that in 1929.

So, and it's not like the last election, which is an open seat. It's A or B, Hillary or Trump. It's two different elections. The first is a referendum on, do we keep the president. Trump's losing that referendum. Voters are ready to fire him. But the second referendum. Is the person against him up for the job? I

saw this with Clinton. People were ready to fire Bush but they weren't sure the young governor of a small state was up to it.

The debates pushed it over the top. The same was true for Ronald Reagan. He ended up winning a landslide against Jimmy Carter, though he trailed going into the debate. So I think it's essential.

By the way, Joe's a perfectly good debater. He held his own with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, who are much better debaters than Trump.

And Hillary Clinton, by the way, won all three debates with Trump. I looked it up. The Gallup poll after the first debate was 61-27, people said Hillary won. The second debate, 53-35. The third debate, 60-31.

So if Mr. Trump is watching, and I know he's addicted to CNN, you got beat by a girl three times


BEGALA: And you're going to get beat by Joe. He should -- well, he did. He has all these misogynistic comments and, yet, he couldn't defeat Hillary in the debates or in the popular vote.

CABRERA: Nobody should be surprised that a girl can win. That was my hey.


CABRERA: But, Paul Begala, I get what you're saying now.

Thank you. Thank you for joining us. Good to have you here.

BEGALA: I'm trying to get under his skin a little bit, Ana.

CABRERA: OK. Got you.

BEGALA: Thank you.

CABRERA: Talk to you later, Paul.


We'll be right back.


CABRERA: TikTok users, enjoy the app while you can because, as soon as today, sometime today, it may be banned in the U.S. President Trump says he'll make it happen by using his executive order powers.

At issue, critics have long warned data from American users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. President Trump's threat comes as we learn Microsoft could be in talks to buy the Chinese-owned video app. CNN's Jeremy Diamond joins us at the White House.

And so, Jeremy, does the president have the power to ban this app?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The short answer, Ana, is yes. It appears that the president does have the authority.

The question is, what exactly -- what mechanism will the president use in order to ban TikTok from the United States. And whether he'll actually need to do it or if, perhaps, a sale could avert that possibility altogether.

You know, there are several different mechanisms so far that it appears the president could use, from a straight-up executive order to using some international economic emergency powers that the president also has.

What we do know, Ana, is that there has been this ongoing national security investigation into TikTok and its Chinese owner.

Of course, there are these reports that Microsoft is in talks to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok. That appeared to be where things were headed yesterday with the president potentially signing an order that would force the sale of TikTok, of the U.S. operations of TikTok, to an American company.

But the president, last night, said, straight-up, that he wants TikTok to be banned. And he expressed some concerns and really didn't seem to be quite pleased about the possibility of Microsoft buying this company. So, it really appears quite uncertain as to where things are headed at this point.


Now, the president suggested yesterday that he might do an executive order as early as today. Of course, as of now, nearly 5:00, the president has yet to actually do that. We haven't heard any word from the White House on whether the president is going to move forward with that.

Now, TikTok, for its part, has tried to dismiss those concerns from the United States about the safety of user data being in the hands of a Chinese-owned company.

And they say in a statement, "TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S. with strict controls on employee access. TikTok's biggest investors come from the U.S. We are committed to protecting our users' privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform."

Ana, all of this has to be considered in the broader context. The president has recently taken a much more hawkish stance toward China amid this coronavirus pandemic.

Of course, this virus did originate in China, something that the president has been using politically to his benefit as he tries to deflect concerns from how he has handled the pandemic here in the United States.

And of course, there's a broader U.S.-China fight, particularly in the technology space that has existed for several years.

CABRERA: Jeremy, let me ask you about this op-ed in the "Washington Post" today from Colonel Alexander Vindman, that critical witness from President Trump's impeachment hearing. What's the takeaway?

DIAMOND: That's right. Remember, Ana, Alex Vindman was a staffer at the National Security Council, who was on the call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president where President Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.

Alex Vindman actually raised concerns at the time about that call, believing it was inappropriate.

In this op ed, I'll read what Alexander Vindman says, as he officially takes his retirement from the Army today.

He writes, "At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation's values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment. Our national government, during the past few years, has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devoted my life to serving."

And what is he exactly going to do about it? It's not clear. But Ana, he does seem to suggest that he is going to be more involved in the public sphere here, specifically around the idea of defeating Donald Trump in November -- Ana?

CABRERA: Jeremy Diamond, at the White House for us, thanks.

Coming up, a CNN exclusive inside-the operation sending federal agents to major cities in the U.S. to deal with protesters.



CABRERA: Whether local officials want them or not, hundreds of federal agents are being deployed to several U.S. cities where violence is surging this summer. It's being called "Operation Legend." And Chicago is one of those cities seeing an influx of those federal agents amid a spike in gun violence.

Let's bring in CNN's Ryan Young in Chicago for us.

And, Ryan, you got an exclusive look at what Operation Legend will look like there.

But first, a tragic shooting to report on. Bring it to us.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN: Yes, absolutely. It's pretty tough to talk about. And if you think about this, we are less than half a block away from where the shooting happened. In fact, this 9-year-old boy was killed. In fact, take a look at his picture. It's very tough. We talked to his father just a short time ago. He was telling us about the fact that his son loved basketball. He loved playing "Fortnite." And he was running over to a friend's house to grab a controller so he could play some more video games and that's when someone opened fire.

Take a listen to his father.

RAYMOND RICKS, FATHER OF JANARI RICKS: All kids around. Sports, anything. He could tell you stats from back in the day about everything, man. Just a genius.

YOUNG: Janari Ricks was just 9 years old. And, so far, police have not been able to catch whoever was able to open fire on him. They don't believe, of course, he was the intended target.

But this is why federal resources are now surging into this city. There's plenty of people, there are plenty of neighborhoods that are asking for help.


YOUNG (voice-over): A battle of words about Chicago as violence in the city explodes.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Chicago is a disaster. People are dying in Chicago and other cities and we can solve the problem.

LORI LIGHTFOOT, (D), CHICAGO MAYOR: I've drawn a very hard line. We will not allow federal troops in our city.

YOUNG: More than 100 federal agents are surging into the city as part of Operation Legend.

(on camera): Do you think this operation will make a difference?

JOHN LAUSCH, U.S. STATES ATTORNEY, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS: Yes. I do. I do. I think adding more federal resources to help on this, it can only help.

YOUNG (voice-over): John Lausch, the United States attorney for the Northern District, is leading the federal effort to cut violence in the city. He understands people's concerns about the influx of agents.

LAUSCH: The people coming in for Operation Legend, they will not be doing patrol. They are not out there, you know, in uniforms like the Chicago police officers.

But they will certainly be there in the background. They will be working with the police officers in the background to help on various kinds of cases, whether they're gun cases or drug cases.

YOUNG: Agents have brought in cutting-edge technology to help process critical evidence faster.

KRISTEN DE TINEO, SPECIAL IN CHARGE, ATF, CHICAGO FIELD DIVISION: The vehicle that you see behind us, this is the crime gun intelligence mobile command vehicle, mobile command center. It is the only one of its type.

YOUNG: Inside, agents showed me guns pulled off the streets just days ago. One of the guns, agents tell me, has been illegally modified, making it fully automatic with just a switch.

Inside this mobile lab unit, you can see a gun that was taken from the streets, fired, and then examined within hours.

DE TINEO: Each firearm leaves a unique imprint on the casing. So, like fingerprints, it takes an expert to take a look at that and match those.


YOUNG: Any bit of evidence helps to connect crimes and maybe even offenders.

In Chicago, law enforcement is dealing with a staggering amount of violence.

LAUSCH: So far, this year, in July 2020, we had more murders in the city of Chicago than we had in all of 2014. It's just staggering.

YOUNG: Over the last 28 days, murders in Chicago are up 152 percent and shootings are up 62 percent in Chicago compared to last year.

The gun violence here, cruel. Through July 26th, 212 of these shooting victims have been kids. And 36 kids have lost their lives to violence.

Federal agents working with the Chicago police have made several arrests so far. But each day, the stakes seem to be getting higher.

LAUSCH: Well, there's never going to be a mission accomplished as long as there are people who are being killed in the streets of Chicago.


YOUNG: As you can imagine, it was a painful day. They are going to have a vigil for this young man. You can see his face right there. A 9-year-old. His uncle actually told me he had a killer crossover. He wanted to play basketball. He loved basketball. That's something else he was looking forward to.

And you think about the story, 36 kids have been killed in the streets of Chicago. Now it's 37 with this latest young man who lost his life at 6:45 on a Friday afternoon, who was just trying to grab a controller.

That's why so many people keep telling me, they want more resource. They want more help.

CABRERA: My heart hurts so much for that family and that little boy.

Ryan Young, thank you. Coming up, the season just started last week, but it might not make it

through another week. What the head of major league baseball says needs to change to avoid another shutdown.



CABRERA: It has been just nine days since Dr. Fauci threw out the first pitch, kicking off the 2020 Major League Baseball season. And already, there are questions if the season will continue.

The Cardinals game tonight has been postponed after another positive test. That comes a day after ESPN reported the commissioner warned he may shut down the shortened baseball season if the league and players don't do better with safety protocols.

I'm going to bring in CNN's Coy Wire.

Coy, what are the teams doing? How are they trying to manage these outbreaks?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: My, goodness. Hi, Ana.

MLB had to bolster their safety protocols even further this past week after that COVID outbreak within the Miami Marlins organization became the first of several stumbling blocks for this week's schedule.

Just about an hour ago, the St. Louis Cardinals game against the Brewers in Milwaukee postponed just hours before they were supposed to play. That makes 20 percent of the league's teams who have had their schedules compromised by COVID.

MLB issued a statement saying that the Cardinals' entire team was tested in Milwaukee yesterday using a rapid COVID-19 test. The test indicated that one additional player and multiple staffers may be positive. That's in addition to the two confirmed players that had already tested positive.

Ana, just about two hours before that statement, Brewers star, Lorenzo Cain, opted out of playing the rest of the season. He was hitting at Miller park just yesterday. Today, he says, I'm done. He has a wife and three children.

Cain's teammate, six-time all-star, Ryan Braun, said earlier this week, he didn't feel comfortable with the way things were saying, quote, "There's real fear and anxiety for all of us," unquote.

So, Ana, Cain was reportedly set to make nearly $6 million in pro- rated salary in this shortened 60-game season but he chose instead to walk away.

CABRERA: Your health, your life is more important.

Coy, different sports certainly have had different protocols. Some do seem to be working better than others. What have we learned? What are the big takeaways?

WIRE: The bubble seems to be the key. The National Women's Soccer League already successfully completed a month-long tournament. MLS, WNBA and the NBA have all had success working within bubble set-ups so far.

Now, amid this pandemic and social distancing, social change also still very much on the minds of these athletes. Last night, more NBA players shining light on racial and social injustices in America.

And the Orlando Magic's Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand for the national anthem since the league's restart. He did not wear a Black Lives Matter shirt either but says that he supports the movement.

The 22-year-old is an ordained minister. He won his team's Community Service Award last year. He said afterwards that black lives are supported through the Gospel.

Now, Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich, and assistant, Becky Hammon, also standing for the -- before their win over the Kings. Popovich has been one of the NBA's strongest advocates for racial equality, Ana. He said it was a personal decision and the Spurs players supported those decisions.

CABRERA: OK. Thank you very much. Coy Wire, good to see you.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CABRERA: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Thank you so much for staying with me.


Our breaking news this hour, amid a surge of coronavirus cases, Florida is bracing for yet another blow. This one, from severe weather.