Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. In New Phase Of Pandemic And Hydroxychloroquine Not A Treatment; Speaker Pelosi Has No Confidence Towards Dr. Deborah Birx; Tropical Storm Isaias Heads Towards Florida And The Carolinas; NASA Astronauts Safely Returns To Earth; Jared Kushner's Secret Plan On National Testing Scrapped; Pres. Trump Suggests Delaying Election; Pentagon Releases UFO Encounter Reports. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 2, 2020 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York and we begin this evening with a dire warning from one of the top members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The United States has reached a new phase of the pandemic.


DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: But I want to be very clear. What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas.

And to everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus. And that's why we keep saying, no matter where you live in America, you need to wear a mask and socially distance.


CABRERA: Quote, no matter where you live in America. But what if you live in the White House? The president of the United States acts as though this doesn't apply to him. We see him holding maskless rallies. We see him playing maskless rounds of golf.

And as far as the pandemic is concerned, that's not the only way he dangerously contradicts experts within his own administration. This morning the White House coronavirus task force member in charge of testing said the record straight on hydroxychloroquine.


BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AT HHS: From a public health standpoint, at first, hydroxychloroquine looked promising. There were not the definitive studies. At this point in time there's been five randomized controlled, placebo-controlled trials that do not show any benefit to hydroxychloroquine. So, at this point in time, we don't recommend that as a treatment. There's no evidence to show that it is.


CABRERA: Despite that lack of evidence, here's Trump earlier this week, clinging to the idea that the treatment works, citing a doctor who has claimed alien DNA was used in medical treatments.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She was making a statement about hydroxychloroquine with other doctors that swear by it. They think it's great. I happen to be a believer in hydroxyl -- I used it, I had no problem. I happen to be a believer. Many, many people agree with me.


CABRERA: The optics and misinformation, frankly come at a cost. Congressman Louis Gohmert, a Texas Republican who frequently refused to wear a mask tested positive for coronavirus this week. He told Fox News, he would start taking hydroxychloroquine in the coming days.

And Trump's ally, Herman Cain, he is gone, taken by COVID-19. Although we don't know where he contracted the virus, we do know he was at Trump's Tulsa rally where multiple campaign staffers and Secret Service members tested positive.

Yet, this nothing to see here attitude from the president persists as July saw 10 days with more than 1,000 American deaths. At least six of those days just this past week.

And as we reach a new phase of the pandemic in Dr. Birx's words, let's begin our coverage at the White House with CNN's Jeremy Diamond. Jeremy, today the House Speaker today said in no uncertain terms she does not have confidence in that top White House coronavirus expert, Dr. Deborah Birx.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. And just a few days ago, Speaker Pelosi reportedly told White House officials in a closed door meeting that she believed Dr. Birx was spreading disinformation and made clear that she did not have confidence in her. Now, today Speaker Pelosi was asked to respond to that report and Dr. Birx also responding. Listen.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think the president is spreading disinformation about the virus and she is his appointee. So, I don't have confidence there, no.

BIRX: I have tremendous respect for the speaker. I mean, I have tremendous respect for her long dedication to the American people. I have never been called pollyannaish or non-scientific or non-data driven. And I will stake my 40-year career on those fundamental principles of utilizing data to really implement better programs to save more lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DIAMOND: Now, we should know there is no evidence to back up Speaker

Pelosi's claims that Dr. Birx has spread disinformation about coronavirus. In fact, she has been one of those officials who has come out in these briefings and tried to provide the facts, even though we have seen the president offer disinformation and really falsehoods about the situation in this country. Today Dr. Birx was talking about the fact that we are entering a new phase of this virus, that it is more spread than ever before.

But Dr. Birx, you know, part of this criticism it seems from Nancy Pelosi may have stemmed from this "New York Times" article, which describes the fact that Dr. Birx seemed to have been overly optimistic in some of her projections about the direction of this virus, not taking enough into account the extent to which the White House's rhetoric on reopening might have a negative impact on the virus's spread across the country.


The "New York Times" did not, we should not, use the word pollyannaish in its article in reference to Dr. Birx as Dr. Birx claims this morning. And also, Dr. Birx said the "New York Times" had not reached out to comment to her. The "New York Times" said that it did.

CABRERA: Okay, Jeremy Diamond, thank you for the update, at the White House.

Joining us now is Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He is a CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University. He was also a White House medical adviser in the Bush administration. Dr. Reiner, you just heard Speaker Pelosi express no confidence in Dr. Birx. Do you share that sentiment?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I actually don't share that sentiment. Dr. Birx has had a very distinguished career, but I think one has to remember that she has an impossible boss. And she has to walk a very tight line.

I know she has a great deal of dedication to her job and she must feel that, in order to satisfy her boss and remain most effective, she has to be very careful with her words. You know, having said that, I don't share the Speaker's feeling about her.

CABRERA: The White House testing czar was pressed this morning on the use of hydroxychloroquine. I want you to watch this.


GIROIR: At this point in time, there's been five randomized control, placebo-controlled trials that do not show any benefit to hydroxychloroquine. So, at this point in time, we don't recommend that as a treatement. And the evidence just doesn't show that hydroxychloroquine is effective right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: So that is the view from the White House task force, and yet the president and his allies continue to praise this drug. In fact, Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert as we mentioned, says he's taking it right now after he tested positive. Why can't the president and his own task force get on the same page on this issue?

REINER: Well, the president refuses to admit when he's wrong. The president embraced this months ago because it was a quick fix, it was almost magical thinking. It was a way for the president to think that we can get out of this pandemic quickly with the least amount of pain, but it doesn't work that way.

And we know from at least four well-done randomized clinical trials, one from the World Health Organization, another one from the U.K., another one from the NIH, and most recently one from Brazil, none of those randomized well done clinical trials show the drug works in hospitalized patients sick with the virus, so the drug doesn't work.

And we've had all of the coronavirus task force members, the head of the CDC, Dr. Tony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Birx and the FDA commissioner, Stephen Hahn, all say the drug doesn't work.

In fact, the FDA removed the emergency use authorization for the drug. You know, if you get your treatment recommendations, you know, from Louis Gohmert or Peter Navarro, good luck to you. You know, for me, I'll go with the recommendations from the task force leaders. The drug doesn't work, it shouldn't be used.

CABRERA: We heard from the governor of Arkansas toady argue that bars and restaurants should stay open at limited capacity. Here he is making his case.


ASA HUTCHINSON (R), GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: Our bars and restaurants are at a limited capacity. And so restaurants are at two-thirds capacity, bars are similar and we're doing a lot of enforcement there. And if we need to take more -- put in more restrictions, we will. But so far, we have not seen any correlation between an increase in cases and lifting of restrictions.


CABRERA: We've heard Dr. Fauci say closing bars is one of the top five things needed to get this virus under control. What's your take? What would you say to the governor's argument?

REINER: He's wrong, and again, he has to be willing to do the difficult things. In places in the country where the virus is ascendant, we need to close down restaurants and bars, any kind of place where the virus we know spreads rapidly.

Wearing face masks and social distancing is important, but it's impossible to social distance in a bar or in a restaurant. Our quickest way to economic recovery in places like Arkansas and around the country, is to put the virus down now, to take austere measures, to do it now. This is the quickest way to get back to a full economic recovery, but it's going to hurt and we have to be willing to do it now. The governor is wrong.

CABRERA: We keep hearing from this administration that it's about personal responsibilities, so Dr. Birx had this message for Americans who are on vacation in hot spots right now.



BIRX: I can tell you across America right now people are on the move. And I think it's our job as public health officials to be able to get a message to each American that says, if you have chosen to go on vacation into a hot spot, you really need to come back and protect those with comorbidities and assume you're infected.


CABRERA: More than 154,000 Americans have died from this virus. Is a warning like that enough or does action need to be taken at the federal level?

REINER: Action needs to be taken at the federal level. Look, in the District of Columbia now, the mayor of D.C. has announced that if you visit one of about two dozen hot spots in the United States, states without a control COVID rates that you must quarantine for 14 days upon return to the district.

But that's, you know, one mayor doing a responsible thing in one place. There is no federal guidance for this. To the contrary, the president has really encouraged places to open up, having the sort of wrong-feel sense that his quickest way to recovery -- to recover his political standing would be economic recovery, not realizing that the inability to put the virus down would just prolong the economic agony in this country.

So we really need a coordinated federal response, giving governors and mayors not just the guidance, but the political cover to do these hard things. The mayor of D.C. has it right. The governors of other states have put in similar restrictions, but it's a patchwork, sort of a crazy quilt patchwork around the United States without any kind of consistency.

CABRERA: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, as always, thank you for your expertise and your perspective.

REINER: My pleasure.

CABRERA: Now to the southeastern U.S. where states are facing two dangerous crisis. As areas work to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Tropical Storm Isaias is turning toward some of the regions hardest hit by the virus bringing dangerous storm surges, heavy rainfall, high winds. So it's a double threat proving especially challenging for emergency officials who are now planning storm responses while attempting to mitigate the spread of a very contagious virus.

With us now is meteorologist Tom Sater in the CNN Weather Center, and CNN's Natasha Chen who is in Daytona Beach, Florida. So first to you, Tom, what areas are in this storm's path at this point?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we have some good news, Ana, and some not so good news. Most of Florida today is going to miss out on the brunt of the severe weather. The heavy rain is offshore. The storm surge dropped from a two to four-foot surge down to one to three as the system looks like it will not make landfall and stay at tropical storm status, but not for long.

Here we go, in blue, tropical storm warnings all the way up to coastal areas of Florida and towards South Carolina, but what we have here new in pink is a hurricane watch. That is now just been issued in the latest advisories. And that's from South Santee River, South Carolina up to Surf City, North Carolina.

This is where we expect a possible landfall tomorrow night. Could it being a hurricane? Absolutely. In fact, now we've got tropical storm watches which include the Chesapeake Bay, the Tidal Potomac, Delaware bay, all the way up to coastal Rhode Island. So this is a multi-day event.

When you look at this infrared satellite imagery, the color of white, notice how it's to the north, northeastern flank. We've had winds coming out of the southwest, a sheer, and it's been pushing all this severe weather and keeping it in this quadrant. So it's keeping it away from areas of coastal Florida.

However, we are still getting some squalls, nothing like we had yesterday when we had winds over 50 miles per hour and some power outages, some downed power lines and trees. This is going to remain the story for the next -- some period, overnight tonight and into tomorrow.

But what we've got to watch now, notice the surge, one to three, that was reduced as mentioned, but what we're going to find here is we've got 30 hours, Ana, for this storm to soak up this very warm water in the Gulf Stream.

If we get this convection wrapping around this circle, which is only 45 mile from Cape Canaveral, we're looking at a hurricane making landfall at high tide between 9:00, 10:00 right to the east the Charleston. This area has been inundated with heavy rainfall for the season.

We've had 41 inches in areas such as around Florida and South Carolina. So, flash flooding a big concern. The storm surge as well. So we're going to continue to keep you updated because it's not over with yet. Florida getting a little bit of a break, but the Carolinas will not.

CABRERA: Okay, so nobody should have a false sense of security at this point.

SATER: Right.

CABRERA: Tom, standby. Natasha, you're on the ground there in Daytona Beach, Florida. What are people doing there to prepare for this storm amid a pandemic?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, like Tom was saying, Florida is getting kind of a break today for the moment even though more of the severity of the storm is likely to hit this area overnight. Right now, things are pretty calm. We're actually seeing some people even lounged by the pool.


But we do know that some people yesterday especially, have been taking precautions, filling up sand bags because they do know that there are certain parts of this area prone to flooding. Right this moment, there is not any voluntary evacuation order according to the Volusia County emergency management.

They actually closed the shelters that were opened this morning because no one really came to use them -- very few people I should say. But we can show you just how people are thinking about this storm in the midst of COVID-19.

Like you said, there are two threats going on here, and we met someone who was filling up sandbags yesterday while wearing his mask. Here's what he said.


BRAD CLEMENS, RESIDENT OF DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA: A lot of precautions have been taken up to this point. And as you can see, I have my mask on. And that's not just for me, but those around me, trying to set the right example for people. And I just want to make sure that we can stay as safe as possible. Certainly it's a double threat.


CHEN: And as I mentioned, there were some shelters that had closed after being opened this morning, but they had made extra plans because of this pandemic. There were about 30, 32 schools on tap in case they needed extra shelters throughout this hurricane season, knowing that each one would have a reduced capacity because they're giving each family more space.

Typically, you get 20 square feet -- during the pandemic, it gets 60 square feet, and of course, that emergency management operation, Ana, right now looks pretty empty in a war room that would typically be filled with people. They're all handling this virtually.

CABRERA: OK, Natasha Chen, Tom Sater, thank you both for your reporting.

Coming up, mission to Earth. Two NASA astronauts getting a big homecoming and a place in the history books.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you can see on your screen we have --



CABRERA: Mission to Earth complete. A short time ago, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, completed a successful splash landing in the SpaceX "Crew Dragon" capsule off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.

So they are back now from the International Space Station. This trip was huge. It marked the first crewed mission from U.S. soil in almost 10 years. Now, I want to bring in CNN business innovation and space correspondent Rachel Crane, joining us from Los Angeles. Rachel, this is just the beginning, right?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN BUSINESS INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Ana. This is just the beginning because as hard as it is to believe, this was just a test mission. You know, this was intended to certify "Crew Dragon" for later operational missions, the earliest of which will happen at the end of September for Crew-1, where four astronauts will be on board headed to the International Space Station.

But you know, Bob and Doug were really the guinea pigs here to help get that certification process along and get "Crew Dragon" certified for those operational missions, six of which that NASA has contracted SpaceX to run.

So, you know, the fact that they made this historic journey, the historic launch two months ago, spent two months on board station and you know, did those four space walks and over a hundred hours of science and research that was really extra here.

The primary mission was to get this space ship certified for future operational missions. And the culmination of that was the splashdown. Today was an essential piece of getting that certification.

And as we saw, it really went off beautifully, only with one minor hiccup at the very end when some fuel vapors were detected, and the astronauts had to stay on board for a little bit longer than expected, but they're making in their way right now to Johnson Space Center to be reunited with their families, Ana.

But you know, this handing over of lower Earth orbit and these ferrying mission back and forth to the International Space Station to the commercial sector, it's really the beginning of a new dawn of space exploration.

That's because this enables NASA to focus on those deep space missions, going back to the moon and Mars and beyond. They no longer, you know, they've mastered lower Earth orbit. So they passed the torch to SpaceX and others. Ana?

CABRERA: Right. This was the first time in history a commercial aerospace company took humans into space. And so it certainly, you know, gives us a taste for what the future may hold and certainly wets the appetite for exploration coming up. Thank you so much Rachel Crane for bringing it to us and walking us through as that moment happen live on our air. Also, that was just so exciting.

All right. Still ahead for us, a report that Jared Kushner once had a team working on a national testing plan, but it just went "poof into thin air." Why? Did it all come down to politics? The reporter who broke this story is my guest, next. Don't go anywhere.



CABRERA: An extraordinary new report in "Vanity Fair" says the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner was working on a secret project back in the spring, putting together a team to come up with an aggressive national testing plan as the coronavirus spread across the U.S.

Now, they worked day and night. They came up with a strategy, one where states wouldn't have to fight each other for supplies or deal with the regulatory roadblocks. They even wanted to setup a national surveillance system to understand the risks and the hot spots.

One thing is, once they came up with this plan, it was mysteriously shelved. Now, this article quoting one participant as saying it was just "poof into thin hair."

Joining us now is the "Vanity Fair" investigative reporter who broke the story, Katherine Eban. And Katherine, this is just phenomenal. It was so fascinating. You described how the people there on Kushner's team really thought this plan was going to be shared with the president and then announced to the country by the White House, and yet it didn't happen. What happened?

KATHERINE EBAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, VANITY FAIR: Thanks, Ana. It's great to be with you. So what happened is, the participant that we interviewed said they were expecting the plan to be announced by President Trump. They were told that it was essentially a go, and then the plan disappeared.

And in fact, the plan that the Trump administration ended rolling out essentially left each state on its own to figure out testing sites, to figure out lab capacity.


Our reporting indicates that the plan hit changing sentiment at the White House, which is that the virus was likely on its way out, that it was subsiding, this was in early April, but also that it was primarily affecting blue states. And that the political folks looked at this and thought, well, you know, if we need a political response, we can blame Democratic governors so, we're not going to go through this whole effort to stand up a national plan.

And the reason that is significant, Ana, is because of where we are today, which is that we have Americans waiting a week plus for testing results, which is totally ineffective. So we, right now, have a diagnostic testing system that is essentially crippled.

CABRERA: The White House press secretary said of your article, "The premise of this article is entirely false. The article consistently misstates and misrepresents. Further, the article is completely incorrect in its assertion that any plan was stopped for political or other reasons."

Now, you say the people on Kushner's team who devised this plan, they weren't public health experts. They weren't doctors or scientist. Instead, they were bankers and billionaires as you described them including Kushner's old roommate. How many people were you able to talk to about what happened with this team?

EBAN: Well, you know, we interviewed a number of people and, you know, the article was obviously multi-sourced, but what's very clear is that Jared Kushner's team began with a sort of his inner circle of people that he handpicked. They started consulting billionaires.

But what was consequential is that they then reached out to experts within the diagnostic testing industry. As a group, they cobbled together a plan that would have created sort of national unity around the testing effort, which is what every other country that has managed to flatten its curve has done.

CABRERA: Right. And so you're right, that the U.S. finds itself today in this massive testing crisis, and that this summer has really illustrated the human and the economic cost of not launching a system of national testing which almost every other industrialized nation has done. You say South Korea serves as the gold standard. What does that gold standard look like?

EBAN: That gold standard looks like everybody who needs a test can get a test. They can get results back within 24 hours. And if those results are positive, then there is a system for quarantine whereby their needs are met, their food is delivered.

That is significantly different than the situation we are now facing here. And the reason it's so important is because you can't fight what you can't see. So as one expert put it to me, it would be like imagine we're at war, forces of the enemy are invading and we have no idea where they are. That is the situation we now find ourselves in.

CABRERA: Well, I encourage everybody to read her piece. It's in "Vanity Fair" again, entitled "How Jared Kushner's Secret Testing Plan Went Poof, Into Thin Air." Katherine Eban, as always, thank you for joining us and for sharing your investigative reporting.

EBAN: Thanks. Such a pleasure to speak with you again.

CABRERA: Back at you. Coming up, sowing doubt, Republicans balk as President Trump floats the idea of delaying the election. But will his efforts undermine the public trust?



CABRERA: The House Majority Whip, James Clyburn, did not mince words when he was asked about President Trump floating the idea of delaying the election.


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): With that, I feel very strongly that this man has taken on a strong-arm tactics. And I feel very strongly that he is Mussolini, Putin, is Hitler. I said that back then, and I believe that. I believe very strongly that this guy never had an idea about being want to peacefully transfer power.

I don't think he had plans to leave the White House. He doesn't plan to have fair and unfettered elections. I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue to hold on to office. And that's why the American people had better wake up.


CABRERA: Now, the president drew widespread condemnation this week for pushing unfounded claims about mail-in voting as a reason to postpone the election.


TRUMP: Everyone knows mail-in ballots are a disaster. You just have to take a look at the last recent -- take a look at New York City. Look at New York, they're still counting your ballots, Pat? Do you know that? They had a race, a small race, by comparison, by comparison, tiny.

It's so messed up, they have no idea there are ballots missing. Thousands and thousands of ballots are missing. They think they're going to send hundreds of millions of ballots all over the United States and it's going to come out.

You won't know the election results for weeks, months, maybe years after. Maybe you'll never know the election result and that's what I'm concerned with. It will be fixed, it will be rigged. People ought to get smart.


CABRERA: Let's bring in CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Network April Ryan and Bill Kristol, director of Defending Democracy Together. Bill, very strong words from Congressman Clyburn we just played whereas you have Republicans like Senator John Cornyn who have said the president is just joking. What say you?


BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: I say it's one of the jokes you should take seriously because it's one of the tactics they could well use over the next three months. It's not just a one- shot thing, right. You could imagine September, October, some Republican somewhere says, gee, I asked for a mail-in ballot, I didn't get it, I think the whole system is kind of a fraud here in this state.

And what if there's a friendly Republican governor who says, yes, maybe we should cancel -- I'm afraid, so sorry we have to do this. We're just not going to be able to count the mail-in ballots in this particular area, which perhaps is a Democratic area.

Luckily, there are Democratic governors in some of the swing states, but not all, and there are republican county commissioners and so forth and so I think the degree to which the president is laying the predicate for a whole bunch of efforts to not have an election in which everyone can vote safely and securely and everyone's votes could be reliably counted.

That can't be, you know, we shouldn't underestimate how important that is. And think of the federal funding, a tiny bit of money, could $3.5 billion out of the trillions that they're now spending in the final coronavirus package, for election to help officials at the local and state levels, Democrats and Republicans and nonpartisan officials make sure we can conduct the election, have enough polling places, enough mail-in ballots, enough security for the mail-in ballots, and the Republicans are opposing that.

Why conceivably do you oppose a couple of billion dollars for local and state officials unless you're sort of thinking that the shenanigans in September and October may help you?

CABRERA: Yes. April, I mean, that's a good question. If Republicans, if this president is concerned about the security of this election and the integrity of this election, why aren't they investing more to make sure that it is secure and can go forward without a hitch?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all there's hypocrisy here because this president has already used mail-in voting himself. He wasn't complaining then. So, everyone sees what this is about. This president is imploring and channeling a pre-Malcolm X with the words "by any means necessary."

He's trying to create doubt. He's now trying to go along on the bandwagon of voter suppression, something he never wanted to deal with before. He was talking voter fraud when we all were raising questions about issues of voter suppression.

Now, he's on that bandwagon. It's a little too late right now to do that. And going back to the issue of January 20th by the president not leaving, Maya Angelou said, if they show you who they are, believe them. The president has said before in many tweets that he wasn't going. He said it months ago.

Joe Biden even acknowledged it at (inaudible). There's going to be a split screen on January 20, 2021. If Joe Biden is now going to be the 46th president of the United States, you will have him being inaugurated and watching police and armed forces trying to pull Donald Trump out of the White House. I cannot wait for that split screen.

CABRERA: I just want you to listen to what one of the president's top advisers told Fox News about mail-in voting.


STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISER: Nobody who mails-in a ballot has their identity confirmed. Nobody checks to see if they're even a U.S. citizen. Think about that. It's a simple principle. One citizen, one vote. Emphasis on the word citizen. Universal mail-in ballots are an attempt to dilute the vote of your viewers.


CABRERA: First of all, historically voting by mail has not led to massive voter fraud. There have been comprehensive studies on this. And CNN's own review of data from half a dozen recent primaries found there are much fewer examples of people fraudulently casting multiple ballots than there are cases of eligible voters who didn't receive their mail ballots on time. Now, when he says dilute the vote, April, does that sound like a dog whistle to you?

RYAN: It sounds more like racism, point-blank. They know, the Republican Party and this president in particular, knows that there is an enthusiasm right now about not necessarily Joe Biden, but about the fact that they want Donald Trump gone.

And Donald Trump, president of the United States, understands that people are willing to go to the polls and willing to vote at home. We saw the lines in Georgia, Ana. People waited in line for 12, 13 hours. They waited like their lives depended on it, and it did.

Look at what happened in Mitch McConnell's state of Kentucky. People were banging on the doors trying to get in. There's an enthusiasm that this president and the Republican Party wants to damp down and it's not going anywhere.

So at the end of the day, he's looking at his poll numbers, his internal poll numbers, listening to Karl Rove, everyone at Fox. Everyone knows that this is Joe Biden's race to win or lose.

So they're trying to do whatever they can to change the mindset, to get people to not vote, whether it's in person or by mail because they know either way it's a losing scenario. And they know that people will definitely try to vote by mail just to get him out of office.

CABRERA: Well, you know the old saying, there's a tweet for everything?

[17:45:00] Well, the president told us way back in April why he doesn't want people to mail-in their ballots. He tweeted this, "Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it, tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn't work out well for Republicans."

Doesn't work out well for Republicans he says. The data shows Democrats actually don't have an inherent advantage with mail-in voting. I mean, just look at California. There was that special election and the Republican won. There was a lot of mail-in voting in that case just this year.

But is there a genuine concern that this election might come down to who has the better lawyers?

KRISTOL: Yes, it is a concern and it's -- I don't even -- I wish it were at least lawyers arguing at court, but it could also be intimidation of voters. Look, it's just not true what the Trump aid said. They know -- they do check your vote when you mail-in.

Trump's would have mailed-in votes. There's a barcode on the envelope. They make sure you are who you are, a registered voter. How else do they know where the votes are coming from when you think about when you watch the returns, right?

This congressional district, it's coming in. Someone else opens the envelope and sees who you voted for, but they check the votes by mail just the way they check the votes when you go to your local school or community center and they look you up and they make sure you're at the address you say and so forth.

So, it's just false that there's not security for mail-in ballots. There could be a little more. There also could be more manpower and woman power and technology to help process all these ballots, whereas (ph) there is going to more than this year.

And that's what the federal funds are for. So, it really is -- it's dishonest. It is a kind of nativist dog whistle, obviously. It's going to dilute your votes, what does that mean?

And actually what the Trump people think deep down is their voters will vote, you know, they have a lot of money and know how to get out the vote operation. Their voters will be motivated. It'll be safer to vote in rural areas.

But you know, if it's a little tough for those inner city people in Milwaukee to vote if some of the polling are closed, like no one is paying the postage on the mail, if there is some burdensome requirements, if it's confusing.

If they kind of think maybe their vote is going to be too late so they won't put it in the mail. Well, too bad. That's okay is some interested if people don't vote. So it's a very cynical, very partisan effort on the part not just of Trump, but of all the Republicans who are now supporting his false attacks on mail-in voting and his attempts to stop so many people from voting as possible. CABRERA: Bill Kristol and April Ryan, thanks so much for the

conversation. We'll be right back.



CABRERA: With all the dominating headlines, the pandemic, efforts to sow doubt in the upcoming election, a new recession, what normally would be front page news has fallen on to page D-15, but it's pretty significant.

The Pentagon does not talk about mysterious UFO sightings, but soon government findings will be available for public view. Here's Tom Foreman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa! Got it! Whoo hoo!

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When military officials released three videos this spring of Navy pilots encountering UFO's in 2004 and 2015, it seemed out of this world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at thing! It's rotating.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But now the Pentagon's Unidentified Aerieal Phenomenon Task Force is expected to start releasing more information about such encounters prompting unusual questions for some elected leaders.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Are we alone?

FOREMAN (voice-over): Florida Senator Marco Rubio, acting chair of the Senate Committee on Intelligence says there are mysterious craft of unknown origin flying over U.S. military installations and that requires action.

RANDY QUAID, ACTOR: All right you alien (BLEEP).

FOREMAN (voice-over): Not quite like what we saw on the hit movie "Independence Day" but at least genuine investigation into what they are and where they are coming from.

RUBIO: I would say that frankly, that if it's something outside this planet that might actually be better than that fact that we've seen some technological leap on behalf of the Chinese and the Russians or some other adversary that allows them to conduct this sort of activity.

FOREMAN (voice-over): That's the real worry, that these UFO's might be advanced military airplanes, spaceships or weapons capable of astonishing things. As a retired Navy pilot told CNN in 2017.

DAVID FRAVOR, RETIRED U.S. NAVY PILOT: As I got close it, it rapidly accelerated to the south and disappeared in less than two seconds. FOREMAN (voice-over): The president has been told about such things.

TRUMP: The people are saying this, saying UFO's. Do I believe it? Not particularly.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Still, Virginia Senator Mark Warner was briefed on UFO reports last year and despite all the conspiracy theories about Roswell, Area 51, and the alien abductions, he says --

SEN. MARC WARNER (D-VA): One of the key takeaways I'd have is that the military and others are taking this issue seriously, which in previous generations may not have been the case.

FOREMAN (on camera): For many years, government investigations into these close encounters were shrouded in secrecy. Now, the curtain may be lifted a bit, but that still won't answer the basic question just who is out there and what do they want? Tome Foreman, CNN, Washington.


CABRERA: If there is one thing that' been laid bare by the closing of schools, it's that gaping inequities still exist in public education. And on tonight's brand new episode of "United Shades of America," W. Kamau Bell looks at why there is such a wide achievement gap between African-American and white students.



W. KAMUA BELL, HOST, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: Lunch time in the senior lounge where the smell of school lunch mixes with pheromones and awkward. I don't miss it.

What's your name?


BELL: Are you having a good time?


BELL: Do you know who I am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I looked you up five seconds ago.

BELL: Oh, okay. Are you a senior because you're on the senior lounge?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm a senior.

BELL: Well, yes, you can't be here unless you are a senior.


BELL: That's a "Friends" shirt you are wearing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I really like old TV shows.

BELL: You like old TV shows.


BELL: Like those old classics?


CABRERA: A brand new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" airs tonight at 10:00 right here on CNN. We'll be right back.