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Trump Holding Rally in NC with No Social Distancing, Few Masks Despite Statewide Order to Wear One; AstraZeneca Pauses Coronavirus Vaccine Trial After Unexplained Illness in Participant; Trump Distressed by Fallout Over Report Alleging He Privately Disparaged Soldiers Killed in Battle. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 8, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, playing with fire. The President about to hold a rally in North Carolina. Few masks, no social distancing in the crowd as you see as top vaccine makers make an unprecedented pledge to rebuke and review President Trump.

Plus, Trump visibly distressed over the fallout from claims he disparaged American troops. What do service members in a major swing states think of him? We've got new reporting ahead.

And a black man on a jog, detained by police who say he fit the description of a burglary suspect. The police have admitted they made a mistake and offered him a job. He's my guest. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, reckless. The President is about to hold a rally in North Carolina. Infection rate there right now topping what is considered safe for reopening and this is the scene. Almost no one, you see it, this is live, no masks, there is no social distancing and there are hundreds of people all packed together.

They are following the example, of course, set by the President who's about to appear before them. A president who will not wear a mask himself and even mocks those who do so.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're going to have to take that off, please. You can take it off. Your health, how many feet are you away?


TRUMP: Well, if you don't take it off, you're very muffled, so if you would take it off, it would be a lot easier.

MASON: I'll just speak a lot louder, is that better.

TRUMP: It's better, yes. It's better. But did you ever see a man that likes a mask as much as him? And then

he makes a speech and he always has it, not always, but a lot of times he has it hanging down. Because you know what? It gives him a feeling of security. If I were a psychiatrist, right? No, I'd say, "This guy's got some big issues."


BURNETT: The President there talk about Vice President Joe Biden with those absurd comments, I'm not going to get into who has issues with masks psychologically. Look, the reality is masks are not the only thing that actually can mean life and death that Trump has made all about politics when it comes to coronavirus, he's done the same about a vaccine.

And today that led to a rebuke from the pharmaceutical companies, the ones that are actually out there doing the research and responsible for putting a vaccine on the market. They are now formally and publicly pledging that they will not let politics dictate when a vaccine is ready. This is an unprecedented thing to do. We have a bunch of CEOs have to come out and say that they're not going to release a vaccine to be political.

I mean, it is unprecedented. I just have to emphasize that. And it's only necessary because Trump has made it clear that a vaccine is best scheduled to help him win a reelection, not when it's deemed safe and effective.


TRUMP: I'm rushing it. I am. I'm pushing everybody. If you had another president, other than me, you wouldn't be talking vaccines for two years.

GERALDO RIVERA, IHEARTRADIO HOST: So what's the earliest we could see that, a vaccine?

TRUMP: Sooner than the end of the year. Could be much sooner. These companies are fantastic.

RIVERA: Sooner than November 3rd?

TRUMP: I think in some cases, yes, it's possible before, but right around that time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will that help you in the election?

TRUMP: It wouldn't hurt. It wouldn't hurt.

We're going to have a vaccine very soon, maybe even before a very special date. You know what date I'm talking about.


BURNETT: Yes, we do. We all know that special date. Trump linking a vaccine to his reelection which has forced not just those CEOs all come out and make a statement saying that they won't yield to politics, but it's also forced his top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to speak out.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We've got to regain the trust of the community about when we say something is safe and effective, they can be confident that it is safe and effective. And that's the reason why we have to be very transparent with the data as well as what it is that goes into the decision making process about approving a vaccine.


BURNETT: Nick Watt begins coverage tonight OUTFRONT in Los Angeles. And Nick, when we talk about vaccines, safe and effective, the President has kind of given this impression that everything is just going so amazingly that it's all going to be ready months ahead of what anyone said it would.

So in that context, you have these CEOs coming out and now just moments ago, some news from one of the most promising vaccine trials tonight, AstraZeneca, they say they're pausing their trials. What is happening there?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Erin, AstraZeneca is one of three companies currently involved in phase three trials here in the United States, so this is a big one. Now, that they have just paused all of their testing worldwide after an unexplained illness in one volunteer in Britain.

Now, they say that this is a standard precaution. We will keep an eye on it.

Meanwhile, Erin, we are now up over 6.3 million confirmed cases in this country and now amongst children in this country more than half a million cases.



WATT(voice over): Millions of students back in school today, but most aren't actually in school. They're online only.


FAUCI: If you're in the red zone, you really better be very careful before you bring the children back, because you don't want to create a situation where you have a hyper spreading event as you might have in the school.


WATT(voice over): Hartford, Connecticut planned a hybrid model, but a cyber attack just forced a delay. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR LUKE BRONIN, (D) HARTFORD, CT: As difficult as that was in this year when so much work has gone into preparing for the first day of school.


WATT(voice over): Tens of thousands of confirmed cases now at colleges, West Virginia University just suspended nearly all in-person teaching at one campus for two weeks. Friday night, a COVID positive frat member told to isolate went to a party anyway. Nationally, case counts are still headed in the right direction for now.


DR. TOM INGLESBY, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: But we are beginning to do things that haven't done since the start of the pandemic.


WATT(voice over): Like opening some schools and colleges and moving indoors in colder weather. In New York, sheriff's deputies will now stop buses arriving from a staggering 33 states and territories.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D) NEW YORK: They will be pulling over buses before they arrive and they'll be giving out those traveler health forms to get people right away to sign up so we can make sure they quarantine.


WATT(voice over): Eleven states are right now seeing a rise in average case counts. Arizona and Florida success stories of the late summer taking up again.


FAUCI: We need to hang in there together. This will end and it will end even sooner if we continue to go by the public health measures that have been recommended time and again for so many months.


WATT(voice over): A new study of cellphone data suggests people staying home in the spring did slow the spread of this virus. They saved lives. But the President thinks shutdowns are ridiculous, claims Democrats are using them just to hurt him.


WATT: And the President also likes to talk down testing. He seems to think that testing creates cases rather than just uncovering them. Anyway, today, the directors of the National Institutes of Health reiterated once more that testing as many people as possible is key if we're going to control this pandemic.


WATT: Erin.

BURNETT: Stop it from getting to those who can get so sick. All right. Thank you so much, Nick.

And I want to go now to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

So Sanjay, I wanted to start with the news that Nick was reporting there, AstraZeneca pausing its vaccine trial because of an unexplained illness in one participant. Obviously, this is a significant vaccine. We've talked to Dr. Adrian Hill from Oxford, one of the leaders of it, they're in late stage, phase three trials, including here in the U.S.

So you look at this, you have an unexplained illness in one person, that might make a lot of people afraid, it might make some people say you're going to stop the whole thing because of an illness in one person. I mean, what do you see in this? Does it give you caution?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, well, it tells me a couple things. First of all, this is in part how it should work, you have an unexplained illness. It sounds like it was a serious illness in one volunteer. This is what should happen.

They haven't stopped it as much as paused this trial and they're going to try and figure out what this illness is, is it related to the vaccine. It may not even be related to the vaccine. They got to figure this out. But this is in part making the case as to why you do phase three clinical trials, you're trying to prove that this thing works. You already have some idea that this trial is worth pursuing, but now you want to see if you find any of these unusual side effects.

And look, Erin, scale matters here. If you think about it, you give this to 100 million people, if 0.1 percent of them developed some sort of side effect, that's a hundred thousand people. So everything counts here when you're looking at these adverse effects and they're going to try and figure out if this one is related to the vaccine or not.

BURNETT: Right. And to your point, I know we're all assuming there will be multiple vaccine candidates at some point, but you are talking about numbers like that in terms of people who would need to be vaccinated.

So Dr. Jha, on this point about vaccines, we've never seen, and I was in business reporting for a long time, I've never seen a bunch of CEOs get together and put out a statement saying that what they do for their business isn't going to be motivated by politics. I mean, it was a stunning thing that the drug companies did today, nine vaccine makers pledging not to bow to politics when it comes to a vaccine, I'm sorry, I'm going to ask Dr. Jha that question, Sanjay. We appear to have lost his shot for a second. How significant, Sanjay, is this that they all got together and did

something like this?

GUPTA: I think this is pretty significant. I followed even pre COVID followed stories like this for some time and there's a competitiveness to these pharmaceutical companies, no doubt.


But the idea that they're collaborating like this, they're sort of reading the audience if you will, understanding that there is a significant lack of trust right now and making a move like this I think is significant. They also will police each others in some way, not necessarily poring over each other's data, but sort of holding each other accountable to make sure that they are not going to even request approval or emergency use authorization before they have significant phase three data.

So we'll see if they hold up to that, but I thought this was a very significant move actually.

BURNETT: And Dr. Jha, it also comes, as I pointed out, you have the President making the comments that the vaccine would come by the very special day of November 3rd and all those things. And then, of course, mocking Joe Biden saying he has some kind of a psychological issue of a dependency of wearing a mask, which is just appalling thing to say, as I pointed out.

I said in North Carolina where the President is right now, he has hundreds of people gathered, there's no social distance, there were no masks. Now, and this is very interesting, and by the way the governor in that state has an executive order saying you have to wear a mask.

But behind the President now where he's speaking, some people, they started giving them out mask quickly, to put them on for the cameras. I mean, I don't know, what do you read into that? Is that - you can see, right, they put Trump and MAGA masks on, not even all of them, but there were none. Then, when the cameras went on, they started putting them on. What does it say to you?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: So we're pretty far along in this pandemic, Erin, and the fact that we're having to do these kinds of shenanigans, just is a little frustrating. I mean, first of all, I'd rather have it on them than not, I'd rather have them on for cameras than not, right?

Because again this symbol of people are wearing masks, but we should just all wear masks like this is not that hard and it would actually make a big difference. And it is disappointing to see that we have to go through this much effort to get the President and his folks to start wearing masks on a regular basis.

BURNETT: So Sanjay, according to The Washington Post, the White House has a plan to convince the public a vaccine is safe and you're talking about that very issue. I mean, I think it was Dr. Haseltine that was saying the other day, it took seven years to get the public to fully accept a smallpox vaccine and that was before all this completely debunked ridiculous stuff like about autism and vaccines.

So there is skepticism out there about them, but the plan they get people to take the vaccine or The Washington Post by the White House involves you. The Post says, "The White House plan would stress to the public that a vaccine went through the 'traditional FDA rigor', as well as seek validation from throughout the scientific community, in medical journals and from medical professionals with large media platforms such as CNN's Sanjay Gupta."

So what does that even mean that their plan would stress the public and have someone like you involved? What does that mean and what would you be able to even do?

GUPTA: Well, I don't know. I mean, no one's reached out to me from the White House. I think that they're, in part, sort of recognizing that there is a trust problem right now and so they want to make sure that they're reaching out to medical professionals from all of these various disciplines in the big medical journals.

Frankly, I think everyone, I mean, this is a pandemic. I think, full transparency is key here. Everyone should be able to have access to this data. That's either authorizing or approving a vaccine. I think it's really important.

So if I were to look at it, if they brought me into the tent and I were to look at it, it would be the same things, frankly, that we've been talking about for months. Is there evidence of any of these potential rare side effects that might be magnified as you're giving this to hundreds of millions of people and does this actually work.

I mean, as we've talked about before, Erin, half the group gets the vaccine, half of the group gets a placebo. In some ways, you're counting on a lot of people in this placebo group getting infected to actually have some evidence that the vaccination is working. Is that the case? Is there enough evidence there? I mean, those are the basic questions I'd want to know.

BURNETT: Well, part of the reason there's a confidence issue, Dr. Jha, is not just because the President contradicts his own scientific advisors constantly. It's because that has percolated into the institutions and Americans' distrust, frankly, of some of these institutions.

So the NIH, 11 directors from across the NIH, now say you got to test as many people as possible and that's what you need to do. They said, today they put out a statement, if you have no symptoms, but you think you were in contact with anybody, you got to isolate and get a test, period, get a test.

The recent CDC guidance changed because the President doesn't like testing. They now say you don't need to get a test if you're in contact with someone who's infected. So now Americans are being told one thing from the CDC, which changed after the President's complaints, and the opposite from the NIH. So what are you supposed to do? JHA: Yes. This is really handicapping our own pandemic response. The

scientific community is very clear about the role for testing of asymptomatic individuals, high risk individuals like people who've been in contact with somebody who's infected. There's not much scientific discord on this and everybody kind of agrees.


What has happened, and I had never thought I would sort of live through this, that we have now gotten to a point where the CDC and the FDA have both been politicized enough that we can't just take their word for it anymore. And again I feel surprised that I'm even saying these words, but that's where we are. And so we do have to really look to other sources and the NIH directors are the leading scientists of our country and they're speaking out because they know there is a credibility gap between what we hear from the leadership of CDC and FDA and what the science tells us.

BURNETT: All right. Dr. Jha, thank you very much. Dr. Gupta, thank you.

And next, the White House on defense tonight as Trump is said to be visibly distressed over the fallout. The backlash from reports that he disparaged Americans killed in war.

Plus, New York's Governor tonight with a stunning accusation.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: Trump is actively trying to kill New York City. It is personal.


BURNETT: And a black jogger stopped by police and handcuffs because police say he fit the vague description of a burglar. He's my guest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... had a white tank top, black shorts and they said he had a beard.




BURNETT: Tonight, the President visibly distressed over the fallout from The Atlantic report in which he's quoted as calling dead service members losers and suckers. Distressed out of fear that this could hurt his support with the military.

This comes as his chief of staff tried to clean up Trump's comments that top military commanders don't want to end wars and lose money from defense contractors. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Those comments are not directed specifically at them as much as it is what we all know happens in Washington, D.C. So that comment was more directed about the military industrial complex.


BURNETT: So he says it's a military industrial complex that wants wars, trying to say didn't say that about the people who run the wars.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT. Kaitlan, you broke the story about Trump's state of mind, sorry, over The Atlantic reporting. So what more are you learning? He's obviously visibly distressed over the fallout, over how people are responding.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He basically spent the whole weekend talking about this story, denying that he had made those comments and touting what he's done for the military. But people said the story really resonated with the President and Erin basically he was worried that it could erode his support within the military. And on the public-facing front it had been a pretty quiet weekend at the White House until the President decided to hold that press conference yesterday where he made the comment about top military leaders being beholden to defense contractors he said.

And that was just when he thought the story was starting to quiet down, the story from last Thursday, and then the President makes that comment which some saw as a response, because he said that he did not think he was getting enough support from leaders at the military in the wake of that story. You notice that they had been pretty quiet about those allegations, except for that statement from the Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who, of course, we should note is a former top lobbyist for Raytheon.

So when the President makes that comment, that's why I think you saw the Chief of Staff Mark Meadows trying to clarify that he wasn't talking about Esper, given that he is someone who is a former top lobbyists, which is the connection that the President was making there.

And so the question is where does this story go from here whether or not the President continues to lean into it. But making this comment about the leaders at the Pentagon is certainly not a way for the President to try to bolster his support with him when they are the ones that he needs to be coming out and defending his record when it comes to the military, according to people who work inside the White House.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. Obviously, Secretary of Defense Esper would be the definition of the military industrial complex according to what the President is trying to say.

OUTFRONT now, Michael Kruse, Senior Staff Writer at Politico. So Michael, I really appreciate your time and I want everyone to know you're coming to me from Davidson, North Carolina. You're based in the state, your state where the President has this rally tonight is home to more than 100,000 active duty service members, which is the fourth highest in this country. A crucial state and the President, again, there with that crowd tonight. How big of an effect could this reporting that Trump made these disparaging remarks, losers and suckers, about fallen U.S. service members have in your state?

MICHAEL KRUSE, SENIOR STAFF WRITER, POLITICO: The fact that this is even a question, even a conversation is a problem potentially for the President. As you alluded to, a significant active military population here, particularly out in the eastern half of the state with Fort Bragg in camp 1920 [00:03:12].

Also, nearly 700,000 veterans live here in North Carolina, so if the President is worried about bleeding support from the military portion of the electorate here, it is a problem. He needs to be worried and he is worried about bleeding support from the suburbs of Charlotte and Raleigh. That is the problem for him here.

The margins are thin and if he can't win North Carolina, he can't win reelection. So the fact that we're even talking about military support is a problem. A couple of things though to keep in mind, this is something that - and he is trying to explain it away by essentially discrediting The Atlantic reporting and all of the reporting that has confirmed this as well.

But the effort to discredit the reporting is something that is resonating with other people. OK. Point you to the western part of the state, Madison Cawthorn, his race and CD-11. The other night in the debate when he was asked about this, he says, I just don't believe that and I think that is probably in line with what most of his supporters think at this point.

BURNETT: OK. So that's a really interesting point. It doesn't matter that the reporting and even the kinds of comments that he made, Fox News were confirming that that was consistent with comments he made. So people believe what they want to believe.

But the point you just made about the suburbs, OK, and I'm just thinking here coming from New York and you had a lot of people come to places like North Carolina and South Carolina, maybe some of them are going to vote, there are people who are going to move to those suburbs. Right now, white suburban women you have written about this are so crucial in your state and President Trump targeted that demographic today, again, ahead of his rally tweets, "Joe Biden has pledged to ABOLISH Suburban Communities as they currently exist," which is a drumbeat that he has been hitting for months. Here he is, Michael.



TRUMP: He's going to destroy our suburbs. Women and men living in the suburbs, they want security and they want safety.

Suburbia will be no longer, as we know it.


BURNETT: OK. It's a clear message. Is it resonating in your state?

KRUSE: So yes and no. In my reporting talking to Democrats in independence women around where I live here in the suburb of Charlotte, what I hear is no, we are not afraid of angry mob showing up on our well-manicured lawns. What I do have a sense though about is that it's not so much a literal fear of that happening, it isn't more atmospheric ambient anxiety about the suburbs changing, about frankly more color and more socio economic diversity coming up from Charlotte to the northern Mecklenburg suburbs and frankly the same thing is at play in Raleigh.

From my reporting from Republican consultants and Republican pollsters in focus groups, they are hearing that is starting to (inaudible) question is going to be, of course, the margins. It is the only thing up for grabs in North Carolina. Those close-in suburbs and those unaffiliated in particular women.

If there's any movement away from what the President got in terms of support in 2016, it's going to be much, much harder for him to win here in North Carolina. This is going to be a slim race. It is the swingingest of swing states.


KRUSE: In addition, of course, to Florida and some others, but it is a (inaudible) win and he needs to win in the suburbs and so that's ...

BURNETT: All right. Well, Michael, thank you so much. I think it's fascinating that from your reporting that what you just said that you do hear that it is starting, at least, from an ambient point of view to matter. That is hugely significant, so I appreciate your time and I thank you.

And next, a stunning accusation from New York's governor about Trump.


CUOMO: He is trying to kill New York City.


BURNETT: And a warning tonight from the President's former fixer about what Trump will do to win reelection.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I believe that he would even go so far as to start a war in order to prevent himself from being removed.



BURNETT: Tonight, the president is, quote, trying to kill New York City. That is the new accusation from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tonight.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Not only did he tell New York City to drop dead, Trump is actively trying to kill New York City. It is personal. I think it's psychological.

He is trying to kill New York City. Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York. Donald Trump and his incompetent CDC and his incompetent NIH and his incompetent Department of Homeland Security.


BURNETT: Pretty incredible accusation. Sure, the governor of New York is a political operator, but those are incredible things to say.

Trump taking aim at the governor, tweeting: New York state is a mess, no money, high taxes and crime. Everyone fleeing. November 3rd, we can fix it.

OUTFRONT now, Dan Alexander, senior editor at "Forbes", author of "White House, Inc.: How Donald Trump Turned the Presidency into a Business." And David Cay Johnston, author of "It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America."

David, let me start with you.

You have covered the president for more than 30 years. Cuomo and he are in a deep, deep psychological duel. But you heard Cuomo say that this is personal for the president. How personal is it for Trump?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING HAS COVERED TRUMP FOR 30+ YEARS: Oh, I think this is very personal for Trump. Donald, remember denounced New York as he declared he was changing his residence to Florida. He lost not only New York state but his own voting precinct by a significant margin.

And so, it's not surprising that Donald wants to distance himself from New York. And, of course, use New York as code for urban or what's bad, as Donald often uses code.

BURNETT: So, Dan, you just did a new study of the president's wealth. Now, when it comes to this whole issue with New York, right, not bailing it out and everyone fleeing, OK, he's right that people are fleeing and he's right that taxes are a problem and he's right that crime is a problem.

Now, according to your analysis, though, the biggest most important part of the portfolio is New York City real estate. So, by not doing more, by not bailing out New York, is he actually going against his own self-interest this time? DAN ALEXANDER, AUTHOR, "WHITE HOUSE INC.: HOW DONALD TRUMP TURNED THE

PRESIDENTCY INTO A BUSINESS": He sure is. This is an interesting question because people often wonder, what does Donald Trump care most about? Is it money or power? In this case, he cares more about power, and he criticizes New York and goes after Cuomo because he's a Democrat. But if he cares more about money, the best thing he could do for his fortune is to send as much money as possible to New York.

He's worth $2.5 billion, $1.2 billion of that is still invested in New York City, despite all the branding and all the golf and all that stuff. New York City real estate assets remains the core of his fortune.

BURNETT: And obviously taking a crushing when it comes to what is happening to real estate in New York.

So, David, the president said he is going to put New York in play. And, you know, what he's saying now obviously plays into that, right? He's trying to play off of people's fear of crime and, you know, urban racial diversity. Hillary Clinton, though, won New York state by more than 22 points and New York state has not voted for a Republican since 1984. That was Ronald Reagan.

Do you think Trump actually believes that he can win New York?

JOHNSTON: Well, Donald creates his own reality. If he says something to him that makes it true, it doesn't matter how ludicrous it is.


And that's at the core of this. Donald knows he's going to lose his hometown again. He's going to lose the Trump Towers again. So, he's real defensive about this.

And he's also trying to score points in states where he has a chance of winning by attacking New York and attacking the policies of Governor Cuomo. And, of course, he's are very different man, Erin. Governor Cuomo is a very detail-oriented micromanager. Donald is the exact opposite of that.

BURNETT: All right. So, Dan, that Trump adviser tells CNN, that the president -- you just went through his wealth and numbers, right? That he has talked about spending as much as $100 million of his own money in his campaign to win re-election. I remember last time, you know, he talked about all his money he was spending, right, but then it all got reimbursed by donor money last time.

So, when you look at how much money he has and how he spends it, do you think he'll spend anywhere close to that much on his own re- election?

ALEXANDER: No, I don't. Remember that in 2016, he said that he was going to pay for his entire election campaign, ended up putting in a lot of money, $66 million, but nowhere near the entire thing. This time so far he hasn't put in a cent. He's got a lot of money, but he's not all that liquid. He has $2.5

billion, that's a cash pile estimated at $160 million. So, if you were to take $100 million and put that into the campaign, particularly at a time where he's likely to be covering losses for his hotel which is dealing with pandemic stuff, that would really, really strain his business, and I don't see him doing it.

BURNETT: Well, and there it is. That's where money talks. He may say one thing, but making it pretty clear not the reality.

Thank you both so very much. I appreciate your time.

And next, chaos on election night. What if no winner is declared and it does take weeks and then there are accusations from Trump of voter fraud, right, as he likes to do? A special report ahead.

Plus, police stop and detain a black man who is out running.


POLICE OFFICER: There's a burglary that happened. You kind of fit the description.




BURNETT: The president at his rally in North Carolina moments ago sowing doubt about the election results saying, quote, got to be careful with those ballots, watch those ballots.

This as Trump's former personal attorney and self-described fixer currently in home confident for tax evasion, lying to Congress and other crimes, is offering a stark warning about his former boss just eight weeks before Election Day.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Donald Trump will do anything and everything within which to win, and I believe that includes manipulating the ballots. I believe that he would even go so far as to start a war in order to prevent himself from being removed from office.


BURNETT: Pretty incredible accusations. And they come amid growing concern that Trump may not leave office if he loses in November.

Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the final sprint to Election Day is on.

But this year, it's not just campaigning that looks different. Already, the incumbent in the White House is laying the groundwork almost daily for chaos, even encouraging voting twice, which is illegal.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, let them send it in and let them go vote. And if their system is as good as they say it is, then, obviously, they won't be able to vote.

BROWN: That prompted strong resistance from even Republican election officials.

FRANK LAROSE, OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: Don't test our board of elections. They're good at this. Go ahead and submit your ballot once.

BROWN: On Monday, Trump once again railed on mail-in ballots.

TRUMP: Just sending 80 million ballots all over the country, 80 million ballots, non-requested.

BROWN: Trump is referring to the nine states plus Washington, D.C. that will soon be mailing out ballots to every registered voter, a change this career in some places in response to the pandemic.

The president is undermining mail-in ballot voting in states where it could hurt him and encouraging it in states where it could help him. Earlier this year, he admitted why.

TRUMP: The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it, you would never have a Republican elected in this country again.

BROWN: While the president and his allies claim without evidence that the increase in mail-in ballots will increase widespread voter fraud, there is evidence of widespread rejection of mail-in ballots because of human error. In this year's primary, more than half a million ballots were reportedly thrown out for simple mistakes such as signatures not matching the state's records, a missing signature, envelope problems and ballots arriving after the deadline.

NILS GILMAN, TRANSITION INTEGRITY PROJECT: You have to go through the process to verify the ballot is legitimate. And, of course, you know, human beings being human sometimes make mistakes.

BROWN: Election experts say one likely scenario is what is known as the blue shift. With Trump head winning on election night in the rural states where he has more supporters, and Biden pulling in front winning after election night after mail-in ballots. Counting of the ballots don't begin in key battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania until Election Day.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Barack Obama, 47 years old. Donald Trump wins the presidency.

BROWN: Meaning a declared winner on election night is highly unlikely.

GILMAN: In some swing states, Trump is plus-40 among voters who plan on voting on election day, whose votes will be counted election night, and minus 60 among voters planning to vote absentee or by mail.

BROWN: The Transition Integrity Center who has played out these scenarios in mock elections says if the election count is close, every scenario that is gamed out shows a political crisis and street violence will ensue.

GILMAN: You have two totally different narratives being promoted by different media ecosystems and people are living with really different factual understandings of what took place on Election Day.



BROWN: And, of course, Erin, Election Day is on November 3rd, but in North Carolina, you can already vote by mail. Early voting starts very soon in several key states like Pennsylvania.

And election experts say just as you would plan ahead to go to the grocery store during a pandemic, you should also plan ahead to vote. And they say, if you are voting by mail, read those instructions carefully to make sure your ballot counts -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you so much.

And I want to bring in now the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

Chairwoman, I really appreciate your time.

So, you know, we just heard Pamela Brown laying out these election scenarios. That group basically saying that, you know, every single outcome here, because it's going to take a while to count, could end up with street violence. And you don't get a declared winner on election night and you have all kinds of ballots rejected due to error, never mind fraud.

Do you think any of this or all of this is likely to happen?

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: Well, you have to be prepared for everything. So, you have to be prepared. You just start by passing my bill that passed the House and the Senate that would fully fund the post office so that they can perform their duty and it would also stop the harmful steps that Postmaster General DeJoy took to literally slow down the mail.

So, you can -- and a number of states have taken steps to reform or make their processes more clear. The best way is to vote as soon as you possibly can. If it's going to be a mail-in ballot, they're many -- predicting that 75 percent of our population due to the coronavirus will be voting absentee. Vote early to make sure the post office has times to stamp it and process it and get it to the board of elections to be counted.

BURNETT: Right. So, you mentioned the post office and the postmaster general. And your committee now, I know, Chairwoman, is launching investigation into Louis DeJoy following accusations that as a business man, he actually wanted his employees to make political donations to Republicans, so much so that he would reimburse them.

Now, obviously, if this occurred, it would be at the least appalling. The long time former HR director to DeJoy's business told "The Washington Post," and I want to quote for you chairwoman, quote, Louis was a national fund-raiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money, we gave him money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses.

Now, when Trump was asked about the accusations against DeJoy, Chairwoman, here's what he said yesterday.


REPORTER: If proven to be a campaign finance scheme, do you think he should lose his job?

TRUMP: Yeah, if something can be proven that he did something wrong, always.


BURNETT: Do you have any question at this point as to whether he did anything wrong?

MALONEY: Well, that's the purpose of our subpoena. That's the purpose of our investigation. We issued a subpoena. The documents on the delays are due September 16th. He's already started complying with that.

We also wrote a letter to the board of governors that hired him in the first place. Personally I don't think he should have been hired in the first place for their vetting process and how this process took place. Their documents are due on September 16th, and now, we're launching a new investigation on the allegations that are very serious and are really felonies if what these former employees are saying are true.

It's called straw donating (ph). It's against the law. It's a felony. It's a way to get around your limits as you now are limited in what we can give in primaries and generals. And it's a way to really give more and make sure that it gets there through other ways and it's illegal.

BURNETT: Right. I mean --

MALONEY: So, we're conducting investigation on that, and we've started that.

BURNETT: So, when you say, you know, it's a felony -- and I hear your point. This should have been known before. It should have come up in vetting. And it's your job to find out if it happened, right? It's a felony. But when the White House chief of staff today, Mark Meadows, was asked

about your investigation into DeJoy, here's what he said.


MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Never underestimate Congress' ability to ratchet up investigation 60 days out from presidential election.


BURNETT: So, they're saying you're going after the postmaster general amidst all this ballot stuff eight weeks before the election, that you're the one playing politics. What do you say?

MALONEY: I'd say that the post office should be non-partisan. It should be bipartisan.

It's a pillar of our democracy. It's enshrined in our Constitution. It's beloved by the American people. And he's the one who started the political acts by slowing down the delivery of mail intentionally. We know that from internal documents that we received during our investigation.

And my legislation stopped it. And we're in the process of reversing it and making sure that people get their medications in the mail that they rely on.


So, if there's been any politics, I would say appointing a postmaster general that -- whose qualification is a mega donor to President Trump and the Republican Party's held major, major positions and fundraising responsibility --- he was in charge of raising the money for the Republican convention --


MALONEY: -- before picking this assignment and his wife is a former ambassador to Trinidad and on the list to become the ambassador to Canada.

So, he's clearly the most political, partisan postmaster general. And there's also, Erin, an I.G. investigation taking place now on conflicts of interest in his financial dealings, investing in the competitors for the post office. Historically, they've always supported the post office.


MALONEY: So I'd say -- and I would add I introduced a bill to bring politics out of the postmaster general's appointment. It should be someone who serves everyone regardless of party. It should be above politics. And it's just (AUDIO GAP)

BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman, I appreciate your time. Chairwoman Maloney, thank you so much.

MALONEY: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, a black man goes out for a jog to exercise and detained by police because they say he fits the description of a burglary. They were wrong and they ended up offering him a job. He's OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Tonight, a black man in a predominantly white neighborhood, he goes out for a job. Officers stop him.


They say he matches a description of a suspect in a burglary. Quote, a black man with a beard and well, then the man who had just gone for a jog, right, decides to start recording.


POLICE OFFICER: Hey, buddy. You're not in any trouble or anything. There is a burglary that happened. You kind of fit the description.

Let me just make -- let me just make sure that you're not him. Literally they said white tank top, black shorts and a beard. All right?


BURNETT: OK. Moments later, you can see them handcuffing him.


POLICE OFFICER: For now, I'm going to detain you but you're not under arrest. I'm detaining you right now because you fit the description, OK? OK?



BURNETT: He's handcuffed for 14 minutes and you see him now, Joseph Griffin, the man in that video.

And, look, Joseph, I really appreciate you taking the time.

I mean, you go out for a jog. You know, I should note two days after you had a new baby. You're out for a jog. You're trying to get some exercise. They pull you aside.

You're just right by your home. Fourteen minutes in handcuffs, seven patrol cars, your neighbors are all watching which I know must have been awful and humiliating in so many ways. I mean, what was going through your head? GRIFFIN: Well, just everything. I wasn't initially sure what was

going on. So, definitely confused. Also, a little nervous and scared honestly -- very scared with everything going on in the news today.

BURNETT: Now, I want to play a little bit more of the video that showed what happened that you took. Here it is, Joseph.


POLICE OFFICER: Listen. Bear with me, OK?. You fit the description, I'm not saying you're guilty.

GRIFFIN: I know.

POLICE OFFICER: My sergeant is telling me to detain you. That's my sergeant.

GRIFFIN: I got you. I just had a daughter born two days ago, so I have this on live.

POLICE OFFICER: Do you mind turning it down here?


POLICE OFFICER: OK? Look, I'll do it for you. For now, I'm going to detain you.

GRIFFIN: Seven cop cars. Everything going on is a little scary.

POLICE OFFICER: It was a burglary. It's a burglary. It's serious. It's not a joke.

POLICE OFFICER: We don't know that for sure. See it through us. See it through our eyes.

We appreciate you being corporative. Other people --

GRIFFIN: I'm not trying to get shot over this.



MADDOW: So, I mean, look, it's just such a real interaction. Obviously, it didn't escalate. Officers didn't use force.

But it was tense. And, you know, you're having to deal with the fact that because you're a black guy running down the street, they think that, you know, you're -- you're the suspect. I mean, how do you feel you were treated?

GRIFFIN: Honestly, overall, there were a few things I didn't agree with, but overall, I was okay with the situation. He did a few things such as keeping the live recording for me. Actually had another officer hold the camera for me. So, that made me feel a little more safe that my family and friends were watching. And I did understand the fact that they had to do their job but nobody likes being put in cuffs.

BURNETT: No. I mean, the actual suspect, you know, that was described in the affidavit, white colored tank top, black baseball cap, dark- colored shorts and black flip-flops.

Now, you fit some of that, but not a lot of that, right? You're out running. You have running shoes on. You don't have flip-flops, you know?

You're then questioning police in the video about this, right? You went straight to the heart of the matter here about race. Here is that exchange.


GRIFFIN: So, if I was white, I wouldn't have fit the description?

POLICE OFFICER: If the guy was white, a white tank top and black shorts, yes, you would. Same thing. Wouldn't have changed the story.

Let's avoid that race card because it ain't here. I promise you that.


BURNETT: Did race play a role, do you think, Joseph?

GRIFFIN: It did because the first part of the description is black male. So that's always going to be the first part of any description what color you are. But no, I don't believe they just stopped me because I'm black. No, there was a description.

The scary thing is witness descriptions are just never 100 percent accurate. And to have your future and the life of that not accurate witness description is very scary.

BURNETT: Yeah. And, you know, again, I want people to understand. You're running in your own neighborhood. This is where you live. This is a predominantly white neighborhood and this happens.

I mean, you know, so you're cleared, obviously. The sheriff offers you a job and asks you to come in and train the officers. Tell me about how that happened.

GRIFFIN: Yes, the sheriff reached out to me. He did extend a job opportunity to me. I was told him I was happy with my management position in the ICU currently, but he did also offer me the chance to come, actually talk with the sheriffs and help train -- as far as racial bias training, I believe.

So it's a big opportunity that I think could help change the relationship between policing and the community on both sides.

BURNETT: Yeah. I mean, perhaps something good, you know, can come out of this.

I really appreciate your taking the time and telling your story, Joseph, and congratulations on the baby. The moment of joy you were out taking a brief break from when this happened. Thank you so much.

GRIFFIN: Thank you for having me.

BURNETT: And thanks so much to all of you for joining us. Anderson starts now.