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Trump Says He Downplayed the Virus to Avoid Panic; India Sets Global Record for Single Day Spike in COVID-19 Cases; Oregon Officials: 500,000 People Forced to Leave Homes; At Least 28 Fires Burning Across California; Huge Fire Erupts in Beirut Port, Weeks After Deadly Explosion; Thousands Without Shelter after Fire at Moria Refugee Camp; Microsoft: Foreign Hackers Targeting 2020 U.S. Election. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired September 11, 2020 - 00:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.


Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, Donald Trump holds yet another crowded rally with -- you see it there -- few masks in sight just one day after revelations that he purposely downplayed the coronavirus threat.

Fast-moving fires impacting multiple states now. We'll talk to an official who's dealing with the largest blaze in California's history.

And Beirut now dealing with yet another disaster just weeks after that deadly port explosion.

So U.S. President Donald Trump says he played down the threat of the coronavirus because he didn't want to frighten the American people. But just a few hours ago, at a campaign rally in Michigan, the president turned up the fear factor and how, claiming a Joe Biden presidency, would bring riots, arson, and anarchy.

Of course, creating fear has been the hallmark of the Trump presidency. You'll remember when he warned Americans about caravans of invaders on the border with Mexico, or Democrats coming to take your guns.

Now, few people in the Michigan crowd wore masks, as you can see there. Social distancing, again, as you can see for yourself, nonexistent. And the president made some fantastical comparisons about his handling of the pandemic.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America will prevail over the China virus. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." That's it. We're doing very well. As the British government advised the British people in the face of

World War II, keep calm and carry on. That's what I did. This whack job that wrote the book, he said, Well, Trump knew a little bit. They wanted me to come out and scream, People are dying, we're dying. No, no, we did it just the right way. We have to be calm. We don't want to be crazed lunatics.


NEWTON: Just the right way. One of the highest death rates in the world right now for the United States. And I'll remind you that that whack job, his words, not mine, that the president just mentioned is veteran journalist Bob Woodward. Now, he recorded Mr. Trump in early February admitting how deadly the coronavirus was, and now the president is trying to blame Woodward for not alerting the authorities. CNN's Jim Acosta has more.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One day after bombshell recordings revealed the president intentionally downplayed the COVID-19 threat, Mr. Trump is claiming it was all about keeping Americans from panicking.

TRUMP: I didn't lie. What I said is we have to be calm; we can't be panicked. I don't want to jump up and down and start screaming, Death! Death!

ACOSTA: The president is even trying to shift the blame to the journalist with the Trump tapes, Bob Woodward.

TRUMP: Certainly, if he thought that was a bad statement, he would have reported it, because he thinks that, you know, you don't want to have anybody that is going to suffer medically because of some fact.

If Bob Woodward thought what I said was bad, then he should have immediately, right after I said it, gone out to the authorities, so they can prepare and let them know. But he didn't think it was bad, and he said he didn't think it was bad. He actually said he didn't think it was bad. The only one that said --

ACOSTA: Democrats aren't buying it, with Joe Biden tweeting, "Donald Trump said he didn't want to tell the truth and create a panic. So he did nothing and created a disaster."

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He hid the facts and refused to take the threat seriously, leaving the entire country exposed and unprepared. He didn't want to cause a panic. Why? Because of the stock market?

ACOSTA: The president has used the pandemic excuse before, way back in March.

(on camera): What do you say to Americans who believe that you got this wrong?

TRUMP: I do want them to stay calm, and we are doing a great job. If you could ask a normal question. The statements I made are, I want

to keep the country calm. I don't want panic in the country. I could cause panic much better than even you.


ACOSTA (voice-over): But here's the problem. In February, the president warned Woodward the virus was deadly, but not the public.

TRUMP: It goes -- it goes through air, Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch you don't have to touch things, right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that's how it's passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than your -- you know, even your strenuous flus. This is more deadly --

ACOSTA: Even with Mr. Trump's admissions caught on tape --

TRUMP: I wanted to -- I wanted to always play down. I still like playing down.


Trump: Because I don't want to create a panic.

ACOSTA: -- top administration officials are trying to tell the public. don't believe your own ears.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I actually didn't sense the president was downplaying anything. We were giving the American people the facts as we knew them, as we learned them, every step of the way.

ACOSTA: The Woodward book has GOP senators running for cover, with Iowa's Joni Ernst telling CNN, "I haven't read it. I haven't seen it, so give me a chance to take a look."

And John Cornyn of Texas praising Mr. Trump, saying, "He's done as good a job as you can under the circumstances."

But there are other pressing questions for the president raised in the Woodward book, as of why Mr. Trump thought it was a good idea to tell the author about what sounds like a top-secret nuclear weapons system.

TRUMP: But I have built a nuclear -- a weapon. I have built a weapon system, weapons system that nobody has ever had in this country before. We have stuff that you haven't even seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before. There's nobody. What we have is incredible.

ACOSTA (on camera): During this rally in Michigan, the president and his campaign team were violating his administration's own coronavirus guidelines, as they packed in thousands of supporters who weren't practicing social distancing, and many were not wearing masks.

Jim Acosta, CNN, at the Saginaw Airport in Michigan. (END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Ron Brownstein is CNN's senior political analyst and the senior editor for "The Atlantic." He joins me now from Los Angeles.

Ron, here we are again. It seems almost absurd to me that you and I are speaking about this in political terms, right? A more material question: Did the president knowingly endanger lives? Or are you also seeing this through kind of a, you know, an echo chamber with the partisan bickering, as it normally is?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he endangered lives. I think it's unequivocal. And you know, his arguments fall apart from so many different directions that it's hard to keep count.

First, it wasn't only that he didn't tell people what he knew. He affirmatively told him the opposite, right? I mean, he told them that this was less deadly. This was no more deadly than the flu. He couldn't remain silent on the question. But he -- he deliberately put out misleading information because he was, from the very beginning, trying to sustain as much normalcy as possible, and we'll come back to that, regardless of the public health consequences.

And of course, the other thing is that, even if you didn't go out and tell the public everything you knew, having known that information, you might have gone out and done everything you could to prepare the country for what you were told was coming. He didn't do that either.

And so this idea that he was, like, kind of protecting the public and kind of, you know, getting us ready to deal with this is -- is just absurd.

And now here, you know, as we see in the rally, again, tonight, as we saw in multiple rallies in February, he continued to put his own supporters at risk while he knew it was an airborne, you know, risk. And it just kind of -- it just kind of keeps converging from every possible direction.

I will say I don't understand the political strategy in doing something like what he did tonight, because the unequivocal signal he is sending to Americans is that he will not take this seriously as long as he is in office. You will try at every opportunity, as I said, to project normalcy at all costs. And that extends to putting pressures on Republican governors to open schools, open colleges, open universities.

NEWTON: And we'll get to that Republican contingent in a second. I want to talk about John Bolton, though, and what he just said a few hours ago. Of course, former national security adviser, he said this. Take a listen.



JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: This is a very serious political problem for the president, which is what he understands it to be. It's not a matter of truth or falsity here for him. This is an existential threat to his reelection, which I think explains the vehemence of his response to it.


NEWTON: You know, Ron, I'm going to get emphatic with you right now. I was at this desk, Ron --


NEWTON: -- right after the "Access Hollywood" video aired. We were all wrong, you know. It didn't do much to his campaign in the end. Why is this different, or is a different?

BROWNSTEIN: I'm not sure it is that different, honestly. I mean, I think the voters who are with Trump at this point know what they are getting.


And they are with Trump largely because they believe he is, in effect, the human wall against all the changes in American life that they don't like: demographic change, cultural change, even economic change. There may be some erosion around the edge, but I would not expect that, you know, given that 60 percent of the country already says that he has mishandled this, I would not expect that number to go up very much.

The problem he's got, Paula, is that even if he holds everybody that he has, that is not quite enough to win. He has to add voters. And I think, for those who have moved away from him since 2016, including third-party voters, including some of those college-educated white voters that started moving away in 2018, all of this, not to mention last week's stories about him disrespecting military veterans, all of this is just confirmation of their doubts that he is personally fit by judgment, by morality, by scale, by experience, by values to sit in that big chair.

NEWTON: And Ron, I want to get a little bit more granular with you, because you're so good at this. We talk about the Republican Party, right, and we also talk about down-ballot races and things like that.

Do you see any wavering there at all, when they're going to start to worry about the suburban voters, they're going to start to worry about the swing states, and say to themselves, We need to speak up?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, so far, no. I mean, it really has been astonishing through the four years and they -- you know, they've reaped what they have sowed. Because so many of the things Trump has done, so many of the ways in which he has violated democratic norms and put them in the position of defending what is really the indefensible, have come because they have failed to check or constrain him in any way along the way.

2016, Paula, first time ever in American history, every Senate race went the same way as the presidential race in that state. So there is an incentive for them to stick with him.

But the reality is that, you know, in a number of these swing states, his position is very equivocal. Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Maine, he might win North Carolina out of those. He might not win any of those, and those are the four top Senate seats.

So, there is, you know -- there is a logic for the Republicans to try to separate themselves. I don't think they're going to go very far in that direction. And even if they do, I'm not sure how much it will matter. We're now at a point in American history where roughly 90 percent of the people who approve the president vote for his party's candidates in the Senate races, and over 90 percent who disapprove vote against, and it's very hard to change that very much.

NEWTON: Yes, the division could not be more profound. Ron Brownstein from Los Angeles, again, thanks so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

NEWTON: Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meantime, is now predicting up to 217,000 Americans will have died from the coronavirus by October 3, less than a month from now.

Right now, the U.S. death toll stands at about 191,000, meaning another 25,000 people could die within the next three weeks.

Meantime, the race for a vaccine is underway, with many drugs in their final clinical trials. Now earlier, during CNN's global town hall, "CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS," the director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health spoke on the safety and the potential for vaccines.


DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: We have now six vaccines that are either already in Phase 3 trials, or will be quite soon, each of those requiring 30,000 participants to be sure we have enough evidence to decide about safety and efficacy.

And it is moving forward at a pace that the world has never seen, but I will say, not in a fashion that allows cutting corners with safety. I want to make that really clear. We sped up this process in a variety of ways, but not to compromise safety. In fact, I would say these trials are more rigorous than almost any that have ever been done for vaccines.


NEWTON: And to India now, which is facing a grim reality as it continues to set global records for the number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day.

More than 96,000 new infections were reported on Thursday alone. Second only to the U.S., India now has 4.4 million confirmed cases nationwide. For more, we go live to New Delhi. CNN's Vedika Sud has been following

this story closely, of course. And there must be so much more anxiety as you see these these growth -- the growth in these numbers. Because it's the exponential growth here, really, which is so terrifying.

And yet, in India, as I understand it, the economy continues to reopen, because so many people have pointed out that getting that economy reopened is also a matter of life and death.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isn't it a dilemma, Paula? Like many other countries, that we've seen, where you have an exponential rise in cases, but you also have to deal with the economy. That's a similar situation here in India.

But before I go ahead, the numbers have just come out for today, for Friday morning. There are more than 96,500 new infections. Remember, on Thursday, India reached a global high of over 95,000 new infections, as far as the daily rise is concerned. Today, it's over 96,500.


This takes India to over 4.56 total million cases of COVID-19.

Coming back to your question, the government has, over and over said that it's time for India to coexist with COVID-19, and therefore, ever since June, the second week rather, we've seen the reopening of the economy.

With this reopening of the economy, we've also seen a surge in the number of cases. But what's really behind the surge is also the aggressive testing that has taken place. We've tested almost 53 million samples here in India, which is a huge number. And over the last two weeks, there's been over 30.3 million samples that are also being tested.

And now even states are testing much higher than before. Even Delhi saw an exponential rise in the last 48 hours. In fact, on Thursday, in the last 24 hours, from Thursday, they saw over 4,000 new infections. And chief minister of Delhi did mention that this is because of aggressive testing that is taking place.

The prime minister spoke on Thursday. He reached out to the people while he was at a function through video conference. And he said that we should not be taking COVID-19 lightly. He said until a vaccine is made available, social vaccine is the only alternative. And he once again reached out to people, asking them to maintain social distancing.

So this dilemma, whether it should be the economy regrowing, because it's been hit hard, as you know. Or should we only focus on COVID-19 and the restrictions, is a dilemma that India is going to face for weeks to come, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, if not months. And I want to thank you for bringing in those last-minute numbers to us, and also pointing out that there is aggressive testing, which is also a good thing for India.

Thanks so much, appreciate it.

Now, in France, new coronavirus infections are at a record high. The country reported nearly 10,000 new cases on Thursday. That's its largest daily increase since the pandemic began.

Now, these startling numbers have led government officials to reconsider the possibility of imposing local lockdowns. So far, more than 30,000 people have died from the virus in France. That's according to Johns Hopkins University.

Fast-moving wildfires still out of control in the western United States. Still to come, find out if firefighters are making any headway against those blazes.

Plus, a Beirut port is still recovering from the massive chemical fire over a month ago. Now, a new fire, billowing smoke for miles, as you see there. What's the cause of this one? We'll have details after the break.


NEWTON: U.S. President Donald Trump has now approved an emergency declaration for the Oregon wildfires. Now, officials in the state say a half million people there -- half million -- have been forced to leave their homes because of the fires. That's more than 10 percent of the state's population.



JULIO BRYAN FLORES, WILDFIRE SURVIVOR: Everything is gone. We tried to take as much as we could, but we didn't think it would get this devastating, so we left a lot behind, and we ended up losing more than we thought we could. I only managed to grab my family and my dog, and some supplies, but otherwise, it's awful. It's awful.


NEWTON: Now, you can see the residents obviously still in shock about what's going on.

The fires have nearly wiped out two cities in southern Oregon. CNN's Lucy Kafanov has an update from the firefight.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is an incredibly dangerous situation across the state of Oregon. We are in Clackamas County right now, Oregon's third most populous county, where a lot of the area has been affected by the fires.

This specific location, sort of this safety staging areas for the fire crews to be able to stay safe as they figure out the plan for where to go next, which area to target next.

But I can tell you the residential areas around here are under a mandatory level three evacuation order. That means get out. Don't risk your life.

This is a very agriculture area. There's a lot of farms with animals, so some folks are choosing to say back, to try to protect their homes and save their animals. But again, officials are warning people not to take any chances and to get out where they can.

Now, we heard from the governor, Kate Brown. She said that 900,000 acres have burned so far the past 72 hours. That number likely to rise.

Just to give you some context, 500,000 acres burn on average in an entire year. So this is an historic, unprecedented fire event. The governor predicting loss of life, loss of structures. The weather conditions that we've had so far, with very heavy winds and incredibly dry conditions, have made it difficult to begin to contain the fires.

Up until now, the focus has been on evacuating people and trying to protect structures, but officials are hoping for the weather conditions to change over the next few days so that they will be able to begin to start the process of containing the fires.

This is devastating to the state of Oregon. The resources here spread incredibly thin. The governor requesting help from the Defense Department as well as the Army Corps of Engineers. The National Guard has been activated, as well.

We know that a team is flying in from Utah to help the firefighters here, because not only this state, but neighboring Washington, as well as California, battling its own fires, as well.

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Clackamas County, Oregon.


NEWTON: And now to California, where at least 28 fires are burning right across the state. You see some of the main ones here on this map. Officials have issued evacuation orders and warnings in several areas now.

The number of fires and the extreme destruction is being described as historic. The California governor is pointing to climate change as a primary factor.

Now, the August Complex Fire in northern California has now grown into the largest in the state's history.

Terry Krasko is a U.S. Forest Service spokesperson who's dealing with that fire. He joins me now on the line from Willows, California.

And you know, the very first question is, it is impossible to really even imagine what's burning right now. Nearly half a million acres. What do you know about the conditions to come, and if they're going to improve for you?

TERRY KRASKO, U.S. FOREST SERVICE SPOKESPERSON (via phone): OK. Well, I will say this. We have seen, finally, a moderation of the winds. The last two days proved very difficult for our fighters (ph) on this particular conflict (ph), because they actually rotated 180 degrees. We were working on the western side of this fire, beginning to button it up very nicely. And then the winds just came, and 30- to 50-mile- an-hour winds blew the fire just past most of the control lines that we had built.

NEWTON: That has got to be so discouraging, and obviously, so dangerous, as well. How much relief will it take, though, especially given the intense temperatures as you guys have been suffering through?

Well, rain would be welcome, but we aren't seeing that on the radar screen yet. I believe our weather stations are showing some of these areas have not received rain for 160 days. So everything that's already live is now dead. It's available to burn. And everything is very, very combustible at this point.

NEWTON: And what is the situation, really, with the fight that you're engaging in, just in terms of resources? Your personnel on the line there have got to be absolutely at their wit's end with this. When you described 180 degree turnaround on the lines that they thought they had contained, it must be so discouraging.

It is, it's one of those things that we've learned over the years that you have to redouble your efforts, and you go back to a fallback position.

I will tell you that we are the recipients of 200 military firefighters on this complex, so we're very grateful for that. The Department of Defense has agreements with our national interagency fire center, so we have roughly 20 crews working with us on the lines here, along with contract and agency engines. Those are water tenders. We have nine helicopters.


But even having that air support has been very difficult, simply because it's so smoked in we cannot use the helicopters.

NEWTON: Yes, and we've seen some of the images in terms of being smoked in. I mean, it's apocalyptic, really, when you look at those pictures.

You know, finally, Terry, what's it going to take? You're saying that you see no rain on the radar.

KRASKO: That is correct. Well, we -- we fight fire with fire. We've heard that before, but what we do, is build contaminants ahead of the main blaze. And if we have to, we start that -- that line on fire and make it meet towards the main head of the fire.

And this theory is, of course, and it's most of the time true, when those fires reach other, the fuel is consumed, and we can stop it.

But once again, if we get another wind event, what we can experience is just that all over again. So we aren't seeing that directly on the radar with winds, but we don't see any rain in sight at this point either.

NEWTON: Well, we will continue to hope for, as you said, moderating winds and, obviously, at least temperatures, if not rain. Good luck to all of you there, and I really appreciate you taking the time. Terry Krasko there for us in Willows, California. I really appreciate it.

KRASKO: You're welcome. Thank you.

In the meantime, a huge fire broke out in Beirut's port on Thursday, creating massive plumes of smoke and waves and waves, as you can imagine, of panic. It was just last month that an explosion in the same port killed almost 200 people.

Now, anger is growing as many ask, how could this happen again?

CNN's Arwa Damon has the details.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No one knew what was happening as the smoke darkened the skies and the fire burned through what was left of Beirut's port.

Just a few days ago, four tons of ammonium nitrate were found in the port. All they could think was, another blast is coming. Flee!

"I live some 500 meters from this fire," Majid Hassanan (ph) says. "I had to take my wife and children out of Beirut because of this, since they are still living in fear after what happened before."

It's been barely a month since the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut's port, ripping through swaths of the city, taking lives and shredding homes.

"We saw the same thing happening again," Andrei Mulabais (ph) says. "We are definitely scared, and people are freaking out."

The trauma from that is still all too fresh, the anger at the government's incompetence too raw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a disaster. It's our (EXPLETIVE DELETED) they are doing.

No, no, no. Let me show -- let me show the truth, because this is the truth. We are working here in Beirut every day to help people. Where is the government?

DAMON: This area, just a short distance from the site of the deadly explosion in August, should have been secured. This should not be happening. How did cooking oil and tires go up in flames? We don't know what

caused this fire, just like we don't know what caused the initial fire that led to the ammonium nitrate's detonation back in August.

And this, this just adds to the deep despair among the population here. A choking reminder of all they have suffered, still so incomprehensible.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul.


NEWTON: Thousands of migrants have lost what little they had after a fire ripped through the largest refugee camp in Europe. Many have now taken shelter anywhere they can, including a cemetery. We will take you there next.

Plus, a warning from Microsoft about foreign hackers and the U.S. election. Find out which countries the company's worried about. Stay with us.



NEWTON: And I want to welcome everyone back to CNN NEWSROOM.

Thousands of migrants are now without shelter after the largest refugee camp in Europe was destroyed. Now, a fire broke out on Wednesday at the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both say they are working to try and welcome some of those refugees.

Mrs. Merkel is calling on other E.U. countries, though, to play their part. Take a listen.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I hope several other member states will do so as well because migration is not just the problem that the countries where people arrive, and it's not just Germany's problem. We hold the E.U. presidency (ph), and it must even more so become a European responsibility.


NEWTON: Now, dozens of families who lived in that camp have now found refuge at a nearby cemetery. Some of them say the conditions inside the camp were appalling, and that was even before the fire.

CNN's Melissa Bell was able to hear some of those stories.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By Thursday night, fires were still being let and put out. But on the outskirts of Moria, the only emergency that now matters is the humanitarian one.

Thousands of refugees still surrounded in by police, but now without any refuge at all.

(on camera): It is miles and miles of human misery stretched out along these roads, around what was the Moria migrant camp. Have a look over here, you can see families doing what they can to try and find shelter and keep themselves warm, because the evenings get quite cool here, even though the days are pretty hot.

You can see that people here, these women were told to queue because food would be brought. A truck then arrived, and everyone rushed down to try and get something.

(voice-over): For many, this was the first sign of help they'd had since the fire on Tuesday night deprived them of what little they owned. As they fled, made videos as their shelters went up in smoke. These images were shot by two teenage sisters, Mariam and Matab (ph), who with their family are now living among the dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We lost everything, like clothes and medicine, my medicines.

BELL: Like the others here, they tell us that they do not believe that the migrants were responsible for the fire, even as Greek authorities say it was lit by migrants angry with the COVID-19-related restrictions.

MARIAM, AFGHAN MIGRANT: I know it was the fascists, because the second time I saw that the Greek people, and on the motorcycle, that they're coming and they were around the camp. And they do that. They said the refugee do that, but it is not true, because refugee cannot do this.

BELL: An estimated 13,000 people had been living in Moria. Those who knew the camp say conditions inside were appalling.

FARIS AL-JAWAD, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: I was here in 2018, as well, to 2019, and I thought at that time that it couldn't really get much worse. And here now in 2020 and I was wrong. It's worse and the children, as well, we're talking about children who potentially have never known anything but war. And now their futures are, once again, being ripped away from them.

BELL: For now, it is their very immediate future that is of most concern. In Moria, they had food and water. Here in the cemetery, they have nothing at all.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Lesbos.


NEWTON: A warning from Microsoft about the U.S. presidential election. The company says hackers from Russia, China, and Iran are trying to interfere in the race. Are they succeeding?

[00:35:02] CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more on Microsoft's statement and what experts are saying about the hacking.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a lot to unpack here in this Microsoft announcement. Microsoft saying that the same Russian hacking group that's tied to Russian military intelligence that broke into Democratic Party here in the U.S. in 2016 has recently tried to hack both national and state parties here in the United States, as well as political consultants working with Republicans and Democrats.

Microsoft also saying that Chinese hackers targeted Vice President Joe Biden's campaign and at least one other person formerly associated with the Trump administration.

And when it comes to Iran, Microsoft is saying that in May and June, Iranian hackers try to log into the accounts of Trump administration officials and Trump campaign staff.

Now it is important to point out here that Microsoft is not saying that these attacks on the campaign specifically were successful, but it's also true that there is probably much more attempts happening on other services, beyond Microsoft.

But what Microsoft described as happening, it does somewhat match what the U.S. intelligence community said. Recently, when they put out a statement saying that Iran, Russia, and China were all seeking to interfere in the 2020 election.

Of course, one of the big fears here is that a situation might play like what happened in 2016, where Russian hackers broke into Democratic Party emails, Hillary Clinton campaign emails, and then distributed them across the Internet and caused chaos in the final weeks of the election campaign.

Back to you.


NEWTON: And that was Donie O'Sullivan for us. Thank you.

Now, the World Wildlife Fund has released few details. That's pardon me, new details about the planet's wildlife population. You're going to want to hear this.

The Living Planet Report 2020 looked at population declines in more than 4,000 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians between 1970 and 2016. Note the time period there.

They found that, in that time, species population sizes decreased an average of 68 percent. Latin America and the Caribbean were the worst- hit regions, with an average decline of 94 percent.

According to the report, these types of decreases are caused by human activity and haven't been seen for millions of years. The report says that continued ecosystem destruction threatens one million species of plants and animals, and we can expect more extinctions.

Now, it lasted centuries of wars, invasions, and even tourists, but it was the coronavirus pandemic that shut this ancient city down. CNN is there as the sacred place reopens to the public.



NEWTON: Now, an ancient city in Mexico has lasted 2,000 years, but it was the coronavirus pandemic that shut the tourist destination down. Matt Rivers is on the scene as this holy city reopened to the public.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Throughout its more than 2,000-year existence, centuries of wars, gods, empires, colonizers, tourists, something new this week at the ancient city of Teotihuacan, northeast of Mexico City. Maska, temperatures checks, and sanitizer.

EMILIANO CELIS, TOURIST: OK, the measures that they are taking.

RIVERS: One of Mexico's cultural touchstones reopened to the public Thursday after a COVID-19 base closure in March. Among the new rules, capacity capped at 3,000 visitors per day with safe distancing.

Tourist Carla Anandez (ph) says we're still not at 100 percent, but in open air, it's doable to go out and enjoy a bit.

(on camera): This reopening is about more than just giving tourists something to do. It's also a sign that Mexico is trying to jump-start its tourism sector.

Consider that, in 2018, nearly nine percent of Mexico's overall GDP came as a result of activity in the tourism industry.

(voice-over): An industry that has been decimated as of late. At the Mexico City and Cancun airports, the country's busiest, July international arrivals were down by 90 and 84 percent respectively. The IMS says Mexico's GDP might fall more than 10 percent this year.

There's hope that reopening might bring tourists, which might bring relief.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We feel like now is a good opportunity to start moving around. Just as long as, we know, keep our distance.


RIVERS: Ben, John and Gilberto are Americans on a Mexican road trip. their first vacation during the pandemic.

(on camera): And is it weird for you to kind of be out doing things again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it definitely is, to see people again. Yes, it's definitely not the same.

RIVERS: If it were the same, they could climb the fabled steps to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun, where it's said climbers receive special energy.

But Mexico has more than 650,000 coronavirus cases and counting. Safe distance and slim stairs don't match, so they're closed. Any spiritual enlightenment these days will have to come on the ground.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Teotihuacan, Mexico.


NEWTON: British actress Diana Rigg has died at the age of 82. Her daughter says she died peacefully in her sleep after being diagnosed with cancer in March.

Rigg's decades-long acting career spanned movies, television, and classical theater, earning her an Emmy, Tony, and two BAFTA afterwards.

Now, she captivated audiences in recent years with a role in one of television's most acclaimed series.




RIGG: And now the rains weep o'er our holes.


NEWTON: Rigg played Lady Olenna Tyrell in HBO's "Game of Thrones," but she's perhaps best known for her character in the 1960s TV series, "The Avengers."

Her role as crime-fighting character Emma Peel was nominated for two Emmys. In 1969, Rigg played a key love interest in that year's James Bond film.


RIGG: You sure, James?



NEWTON: Her character remains the only one to ever marry the secret agent in any one of the Bond movies.

Daniel Craig, the most recent actor to play Bond, says Rigg was one of the best Bond girls of all time. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton, and I'll be back at

the top of the hour. But first, WORLD SPORT. WORLD SPORT! Aren't we happy for WORLD SPORT? Patrick Snell will be right here. There's lots of sports to cover, and he'll have it all for you.