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The Search Has Been Called Off For Seven Marines And One Sailer Who Are Feared Dead; Microsoft Confirms That They Are Discussing To Buy TikTok; Dr. Harvey Risch Talks About How And Why He Supports Hydroxychloroquine. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 3, 2020 - 07:30   ET



DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Like, hey, this is not a crisis, let's learn to live with the virus in a different way. When -- when you -- it's so vital and so many Republicans are for finding a way to live with the virus and getting back to work. You've got to sure up state governments, you've got to help small businesses get people back to work.

So many businesses are simply facing an existential crisis, which is, can we get through this year, can we get through the next few months. And I'm with you, I mean, the politics of this are rather simple. There's a lot of follow-up to be dealt with from a budget point of view, do the easy thing here politically.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Well to your point too, Neil Kashkari from -- from the Minneapolis Fed actually looked at that too and said -- suggested if there was four to six weeks of a really strict lockdown what that could ultimately bring you is less pain in the long-run, but when you're having this stop, start across the country it's just going to prolong the pain, specifically for small businesses.

GREGORY: Right, and that's -- you know -- again, it's just -- there are so many levels of pain and I think in our work-from-home reality how detached we are from each other it's sometimes very difficult to see where that pain, that prolonged pain is.

But we all know it from our own families, from people we know, from different people we interact with, just how -- how deep the hole is right now.

And this the -- government really is the only actor here that can help with this problem, whether it's state government or federal government. They're the only ones who have the scale to deal with a problem this big.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So David, I feel comfortable asking you this, because you've recused yourself from the vice presidential search committee for -- for former Vice President Joe Biden. You will not be selected.

It does seem that the leading contenders are, based on CNN's reporting, Senator Kamala Harris of California, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, California Congresswoman Karen Bass and Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.

For Harris, Rice and to an extent Bass as well, there's been a very public vetting over the last few days and a very public leaking of sometimes concerns and sometimes publically supportive of these candidates for Joe Biden.

What do you see as being the issues, the main issues right now for Joe Biden and where do you see this heading?

GREGORY: You know, you and I had covered a lot of these before and there's a huge vacuum as we wait for a decision, so it's -- it's a target of opportunity for people to analyze and critique and -- and endlessly strategize about what a particular pick means for Joe Biden, means for his chances.

It ultimately, I think, there's a couple of different ways the former Vice President's going to go. I think in either case he wants a kind of quite choice. He doesn't want someone who's going to create such a news storm that it becomes an opportunity for critics to pounce.

I think Kamala Harris would be something of conventional wisdom, would be not much of a surprise and, yes, he'll take flack for anybody, but he could go that route. Or, as he suggested, does he want someone who has apparently no political aspirations of her own who will be in lock step with the administration, who would also be kind of acquired choice.

I think that he doesn't want a big splash, he wants to do enough here for the base. And I think the other thing that's interesting is what is it that the candidate needs here? He doesn't need his experience shored up here as say Barak Obama did choosing Joe Biden, he needs something different and he's going to make that decision about what that is.

BERMAN: And of course if anyone knows what it takes to be vice president, it would be Joe Biden, had the job.

GREGORY: Exactly.

BERMAN: All right, David Gregory, great to see you this morning. Thanks so much for being with us.

GREGORY: Thanks. Thanks John, yes.

BERMAN: So, this morning the search has been called off for seven Marines and one sailor who are feared dead after a training accident off the coast of southern California.

Sixteen people were onboard an amphibious assault vehicle when they reported taking on water near San Clemente Island last Thursday. Five crew members were rescued before the vehicle sank. According to the U.S. military all the Marine victims were under 23-years-old. Just horrible.

So what happened to President Trump's repeated promise to deliver a new healthcare plan by yesterday? A CNN reality check next.




BERMAN: All right, developing this morning, Microsoft confirms that it's in discussions to buy TikTok, the Chinese owned video app that President Trump is threatening to ban in the United States.

Hadas Gold live with the very latest developments. Hadas, there are a bunch of different levels to this.

HADAS GOLD, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes John, I mean just in the past 24 hours there's been a lot of news. In a statement yesterday Microsoft said, following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States.

Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the president's concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the U.S. Treasury.

They also say that they plan to complete these discussions by September 15, so not too far away and they would also run the app not just in the U.S., but also Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and most importantly all of the American data would stay in the United States.

Now this is key, because this is what a lot of U.S. official's security concerns are around the app as it stands now. Because it's a Chinese owned company there's a law in China that requires that any Chinese company could be compelled to share data or cooperate with the Chinese government if asked.

Now TikTok has always said, never has and never will share data with the Chinese government. Its parent company put out a statement yesterday saying it's facing all kind so of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including intense international political environment, but they have not specifically addressed this sale straight on.

Now, I'm sure lots of people are also wondering, can President Trump actually outright ban TikTok.


Now the short answer is, yes, technically, but it would sort of be unprecedented. And the more likely scenario is the one we're actually seeing play out right now, this is where the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., this is a committee that looks at national security concerns around acquisitions, has actually already been looking into TikTok's parent company ByteDance and they're the ones that could force ByteDance to do a spin-off of TikTok and this is something that actually this committee has done, not to in the recent past with other Chinese apps.

But the question is now on the price, how much is Microsoft going to pay for TikTok? How valuable is TikTok? We know it's very valuable to hundreds of millions of users, especially a lot of those teens out there. And then if -- if this deal does actually work, will it be enough for the White House and for President Trump? John.

BERMAN: All right, Hadas Gold covering this for us. Interesting to see where this goes. Erica?

HILL: All right, John, in the middle of this historic pandemic President Trump promised to release a new healthcare plan. He said we would see it in two weeks. Well, that deadline has now come and gone.

Here's John Avalon for the reality check.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Universal healthcare.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am going to take care of everybody.

Far less expensive and far better.

We are going to be submitting in a couple of weeks a great healthcare plan.


AVALON: That was candidate and freshly minted President Trump vowing to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a miracle healthcare plan in his magical --


TRUMP: Couple of weeks.


AVALON: Well, here we are more than three years into the Trump presidency, six months into a pandemic and here's the plan.

But in fairness to the president he has managed to get something done, dismantling key provisions of Obamacare in the courts, namely the individual mandate. And now he's marshalling his justice department to try to kill the whole thing.

Just as America is suffering through a pandemic that's killed more than 150,000 of our fellow Americans and infected millions more, all while the second quarter GDP number was the worst on record, nearly 33 percent in the red if were extended to the whole year. So, no wonder the president keeps promising that his mission to kill the Affordable Care Act won't actually remove one of the things that people really like about it.


TRUMP: Pre-existing conditions will be totally protected. Pre- existing conditions --


AVALON: OK, so that claim received the covenant bottomless Pinocchio Award from the "Washington Post" because covering pre-existing conditions is something only Obamacare does right now, a provision that polls really strong, even among Republicans, because it turns out that having a pre-existing health condition occurs across partisan lines.

Not to mention, President Trump has no answer for the fact that since the Affordable Care Act was passed, upwards of 20 million Americans who weren't insured before now are.

So, this is the old arsonist as a firefighter routine with possible your life on the line. But wait, now we're in an election year, so you might have heard something like this.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Show that this healthcare president is the one that is governing. This healthcare president started out with transparency and that's what we're focused on, that the healthcare president continued to deliver for America.


AVALON: But remember that Kellyanne Conway is the person who famously said, you don't take an oath to tell the truth before you go on TV.

But, where's the plan that this alleged healthcare president told Chris Wallace would be released again within those magical --


TRUMP: Within two weeks, a full and complete healthcare plan.


AVALON: We've heard all this before. And even if there were a plan, there's virtually no chance it would get put into place before Election Day. Look, good people can disagree over the details of healthcare, it's complicated.

Whether it's the ACA, the Public Option, Medicare for All or a more free market plan that has some evidence that it might lower costs.

But, we can't ignore the fact that a decade after Obamacare's passage and endless demonization by the GOP, there still isn't a serious Republican plan for replacement. It's all repeal, all the time, even in a pandemic. No matter how many people might get hurt all for short-term political gain all bolstered by apparent ignorance.


TRUMP: Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated.


AVALON: Yes, Mr. President, we pretty much all did. But, in a time when so many people are suffering it would be nice if you remembered the Hippocratic Oath. First, do no harm. And that's your reality check.

BERMAN: Yes, it doesn't seem the president's sweating the details, pun intended based on that Chris Wallace interview.

Look, you could talk about the president's knowledge of healthcare over the course of the four years since he is campaigning to now, it is always striking to me that he issued that rock-solid promise to Chris Wallace, I'm signing something within two weeks.

He's signing something, well, what was he going sign first of all? And that time has come and gone. It was just B.S., pure B.S. I mean, so that alone, no matter what it was about healthcare or anything else, he was never signing anything. It was made up out of thin air.

HILL: The one thing we can say though is that it's consistent. Right John? I mean, we hear these promises all the time. Not only is it going to be bigger and better than anything we've seen before, but it's coming, it's going to be here in a couple of weeks, it's going to be signed.


And to your point, it has yet to materialize like so many other things. Maybe we'll get infrastructure (inaudible) before then, who knows.

A top Trump Administration health official says it is time to actually move on from the idea of Hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment. At least one doctor at Yale though say, not yet. We'll ask him why next.




ADMIRAL BRETT GIOIR; ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HEALTH: -- not show any benefit to Hydroxychloroquine, we need to move on from that and talk about what is effective.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: So joining us now is Dr. Harvey Risch, Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. He wrote a controversial op-ed in support of Hydroxychloroquine.

Dr. Risch, thanks so much for being with us this morning, I do appreciate your time. Why is it that you think Admiral Gioir, who you just heard right there, not to mention Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx are wrong about what they're saying on Hydroxychloroquine?


So, as of now there are 12 studies that show that Hydroxychloroquine plus zinc and other companion medications when used early in high-risk outpatients convey significant and a substantial benefit in reducing the risk of hospitalization and mortality.

That's a very precise statement which has very precise conditions for who are the people that need to be treated and how.

BERMAN: Let me just jump here so people know what you're talking about, because when you wrote in the -- the "Newsweek" op-ed it was seven now it's 12. None of those studies that you just cited are random placebo controlled trials. What Dr. Fauci refers to as the gold standard.

Listen to Dr. Fauci.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: Any and all of the randomized placebo controlled trials, which is the gold standard of determining if something is effective, none of them had shown any efficacy for Hydroxychloroquine.


BERMAN: The random placebo controlled trials, none of them have shown efficacy, correct?

RISCH: That's not actually correct. The problem with those randomized controlled trials is they were trials done on the wrong people. They were trials done on low-risk people who have very, very low risks of hospitalization and mortality.

So, you don't do a study of prostate cancer in women to prevent prostate cancer in women, because nobody's going to get the outcome. And that's what those studies did. The Bullword (ph) studies and the Muja (ph) studies in Catalonia, they were all on very low-risk people who are not going to get it and have are hospitalized -- you know -- or die by and large, and you would -- we don't treat those people, we treat high-risk people.

BERMAN: Well -- well look, OK, to that argument, again, you're paper in "Newsweek" goes on to suggest the problem is they're not begin tested, Hydroxy's not being tested on out-patient people, not hospitalized people, so a little shift in your argument there from what you wrote in "Newsweek" already. The fact of the matter is --

RISCH: No I didn't -- I'm sorry, I did -- that's a mistake. I think that's a mistake in what I said.

BERMAN: The fact -- the fact of the matter is -- the fact of the matter is, there are studies out, these random placebo controlled trials, including the one just published in JAMA or the one that was published in JAMA before from the University of Albany and there was one published just a few days ago that comes out of the University of Minnesota, it's -- it's tested on people early on in the process, correct? Which is the same type of trial that you were citing as proving benefits.

Again, there are no random placebo controlled trials that show a benefit, correct?

RISCH: No, you're -- you're misstating what I said. I said, it had to be in high-risk people. In fact, in my "Newsweek" paper, as well as my "American Journal of Epidemiology" papers I said, out-patients, high-risk, people over 60 with obesity or diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, those are the people who get treated.

Young people with no conditions don't need to be treated by and large unless in rare cases they present with shortness of breath. They don't need to be treated. But, those were the people who were studied in the Bullword (ph) Minnesota trials and in the Spain trials and so on.

So, as I've said, you have to treat the right people and you have to study the right people. Those studies did not study the right people, period. That's the bottom line.

BERMAN: The study published in JAMA published a wide range of ages in people in different situations and they were given the drug over different times.

Again, the question is, why haven't any random placebo controlled trials showed benefit? And isn't that a problem for an epidemiologist?

RISCH: No. In fact, the FDA has a huge history of drugs going into widespread use in the medical community for decades that have not been established on the basis of randomized controlled trials.

Half of the chemotherapy drugs used in cancer were used without randomized controlled trials. The -- the antibiotics -- so Amoxicillin, for example, that parents use with their children all the time, day-in, day-you, was never established with a randomized controlled trial before it was used. We have a whole vast medical literature that that was not the standard, so why is it suddenly the standard now when there's other reasons.

BERMAN: I don't think it is suddenly the standard. That is the way the FDA operates. It's the way that Dr. Fauci operates and I, speaking to a number of epidemiologists over the last few days who also are frankly shocked that you've moved the bar so much on random -- these randomized placebo control trials.

Let me just read something, what someone wrote me.


He said, while I can't dismiss this out of hand, in other words he can't dismiss out of hand that maybe there is some benefit to some subgroup, for you to discuss is irresponsible at this point without the public evidence provided by a random placebo controlled trial.

RISCH: OK, so in the "New England Journal of Medicine," the previous Head of the CDC Tom Frieden discussed at length evidence beyond randomized controlled trials. Randomized controlled trials in the real world are not gold standards. That is a theoretical idea that does not play out in the real world.

For example, in Sepsis studies nobody uses randomized controlled trials for medications to treat Sepsis, that's standard and the whole field knows that.

The -- Dr. Frieden explained that all real world evidence goes into understanding the benefits and harms of medications and that is a standard that scientists use. Relying on a so-called theoretical randomized controlled trial is (inaudible) because that is not the way the FDA works, it is not the way the scientists work, it is not the way anybody works in real world.

BERMAN: The benefit to these random placebo controlled trials, as you well know, is that there is a built-in bias or can be in any trial that's not random, because why? Because the people administering the test know -- they know what the person is getting and they may treat that patient differently.

In the Henry Ford study, for instance, the patients who received Hydroxychloroquine were hand picked and they tended to be healthier. They were also twice as likely to receive steroids, which are proven to have a benefit, that's why randomized placebo control trials, which Dr. Fauci does refer to as the gold standard, are so useful.

And I know you know that, and that is also what epidemiologists --

RISCH: No, don't -- please don't speak for me.

BERMAN: No, well that's what the epidemiologists in --

RISCH: Please don't speak for me.

BERMAN: -- including the one's I've spoken to say, is simply the standard for the FDA. And also, again, the issue here isn't -- I'm not disputing it, you have cited these other studies --

RISCH: Yes you are. And I think you should --

BERMAN: -- I'm not disputing you -- you've cited these studies which show a benefit in subgroups, but the problem is --

RISCH: No, this is not a subgroup.

BERMAN: -- when put up against -- when put up -- when put up against the random placebo controlled trials, none of which have shown a benefit, there is a conflict there which has caused the FDA pause.

RISCH: I'm sorry, but you have actually four -- or three or four wrong statements in what you said.

First of all, all of those randomized control trials were not blinded. The people knew which medications they were taking, because it was stamped on the pills, so it -- to say that there's no bias in those trials, it's all read (ph) and the people self-reported their symptoms.

So, to say that those were -- were gold standard trials is just nonsense, because there were -- the same bias was present in those as in any other kind of potential biases in any other kind of study.

BERMAN: They were selected randomly.

RISCH: No, that's not enough. That's not enough. You -- randomization does not make the subgroups perfect. It can push in that direction, but there can be residual non-randomization in studies, especially ones as small as the ones in the Minnesota study.

Randomization is a theoretical goal, in real world it does not work perfectly and there can easily be confounding by lack of adequate randomization. You need tens of thousands of people in order to have randomization that works. In a few hundred people it does not work.

BERMAN: OK, again, the issue here is the conflict between the studies you're citing, some of which people need to know are a little sketchy. For instance, there's --

RISCH: None of them are sketchy.

BERMAN: There's a Liko (ph) study, which you know is a Google Doc basically more than it is a study right now, and again, it doesn't meet the rigorous scientific standards that most people look into to. And again, the issue here is that there's a conflict between the studies you say and the random placebo controlled studies.

All the epidemiologists I speak to and Dr. Fauci say, if there is a large randomized study, which does show a benefit they will change their view. But, up until this point it doesn't make exist.

RISCH: That, as I said, the FDA does not stand -- that is not the FDA's behavior.

BERMAN: But, up until this point none of those studies show that, which gets to the point of safety. Now, you write about this, it's interesting, because you -- you don't dismiss the safety concerns, which there have been proven side effects of taking Hydroxychlorquine, even for people --

RISCH: No, there have not been proven side effects. BERMAN: Well -- well, that's not true, you know people with Lupus and other things, there are known side effects. The issue that you write about is because you say --

RISCH: They're rare.

BERMAN: -- because you say there's a benefit it's worth the risk. Well, but if there's no benefit, what the FDA is saying, it's not worth the risk.

RISCH: First of all, there is a lot of evidence, which you haven't even let me discuss. Secondly, the FDA has no evidence, what so ever, for out-patient use of Hydroxychloroquine of any adverse events.

The FDA in its website have black letter warnings saying not to use it for out-patients and just below that it says that it only has data for use in in-patients, which is a totally different disease.

So, the FDA has no data on out-patient use, and yet it put a black letter warning against it. That to me is just unconscionable that they could do that and allow 45,000 deaths in the month of July alone.