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CUOMO PRIME TIME

L.A. Schools Launch Testing And Tracing Program For All Students And Staff; Trump Pushes Misleading Claim On "Unsolicited" Mail Ballots; Louisville Agrees To Pay Breonna Taylor's Family $12 Million And Enact Police Reforms In Historic Settlement. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 15, 2020 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[21:00:00]

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "RAGE": It's only one of the scary truths in this book.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes.

WOODWARD: But I -- it's -- it was very and, it has been very, unsettling to me to travel this road and stare down what I heard and saw and verified and went back.

And my wife, Elsa, who edited this book, six times, and is my counselor, and would come to me, and say, "Well this is a good section, but you're not saying what you mean," which, of course, is the dreaded verdict to any reader.

COOPER: Yes.

WOODWARD: But she was right, and she helped me and she -- and so we're struggling, the two of us, with this, not just peering into the White House and Trump and so forth.

COOPER: Yes.

WOODWARD: Peering into America.

COOPER: And I think a lot of people, across the country, are wrestling with that as well, peering into the country, and themselves, and this President.

Bob Woodward, thank you very much.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: So, Anderson, to hear Bob Woodward go through the agonizing of whether or not he should have written what he did, at the end of the book, is a little bit of a metaphor for just what a trying time this is, for journalists and everybody processing, our politics and, frankly, our culture.

All that he told you tonight, I listened every moment. What shocks you most about this dynamic of this book, and what was said and what was heard?

COOPER: I'm not sure that -- to me, the -- it just -- it confirms a lot of stuff that we have been covering for a great deal of time in a very, to hear the President's own voice, sort of confirming all this stuff that we have been covering, the downplaying of the virus.

And then, tonight, to have him, on a Town Hall, at ABC, I think it was, saying, "Oh, no, I never downplayed the virus, if anything, I up- played it," I mean these are things we've all reported on, and seen in real-time. But to have the kind of level of detail that Bob has, in the book, from all these different people, but from the President itself, I think it's -- that to me is what's -- was most compelling.

CUOMO: Compelling is a good word. I wonder how compelling Woodward's book is. Now, that's a -- question is going to have two premises, right?

One is well can anybody be compelled? And if you have people who have open minds, is what they heard come out of the President's own mouth going to be suggestive of something different than they thought going into it?

COOPER: I don't know the answer to that. I mean I think -- the lines seem pretty clearly drawn for a lot of people in this country. So, I'm not sure how many people there are on a fence to be swayed one way or another.

But I think it's fascinating to have the information out there. And look, we're in this business. We believe in getting as much -- as many facts out there and on all sides of an issue, and letting viewers make up their own minds about what they want to do with those facts.

CUOMO: Yes. He mentioned Carl Bernstein obviously, his famous reporting partner.

We were going through our own reporting exercise here once, and I was saying to him, "You know, we have all the facts here, Carl, but I don't know whether or not this is -- this is going to be enough for people when they're hearing this."

He said, "That's not the job. You can tell people what's true. You cannot make them believe what is true. People will believe what they want to believe," and that's exactly what this President is banking on.

I got to tell you, Anderson, this was helpful tonight. You did your job, in beautiful fashion, for our audience, and I appreciate it. It was helpful to me. Thank you, brother.

COOPER: Sorry, I ran over a minute into your show.

CUOMO: Please! You should have taken the whole show. What matters more than this? I can't get enough of you. Get home to Wyatt.

COOPER: All right.

CUOMO: I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

We now have two hard truths to deal with.

The first, we just heard Anderson with Bob Woodward. He made it clear.

The President is aware and has always been aware of what is going on with this pandemic, the danger, how quickly it could spread. And he is only really concerned with his own political fate, not yours. He wants credit for a situation that was made worse by his inaction.

[21:05:00]

He up-played it, he just said, he didn't downplay it. It matters that he screwed up even the language. There is no up-playing. There is playing it up. Also what? He can't even make up an answer that makes sense. That's why I point out the distinction.

Stopping travel to China still allowed over 40,000 people into this country from China. And the point is, the virus had already moved to Europe by then, and was coming here by then, OK, by the time he made the move.

Now look, if you need to hear this, hear it. Doing the restriction with China, doing the restriction with Europe, by most metrics, and most people involved, made sense. They were good moves. Some on the Left didn't like it, saw it as xenophobia.

Now, I don't believe that's fair criticism of Biden. I don't think he was speaking specifically about the moves when you look at the record. But he'll have to explain that for himself.

So, they were good moves, but they weren't enough, and they did not mean he didn't have to do what was needed here, specifically with testing. It's the only way we know what's happening with the virus.

It did not make it OK, the China and Europe move, for him to tell people, "Forget the masks, go out, eat, live your life, reject your governors, all their pleas to stay home for a while, forget it."

He knew better. His inaction and his action helped make cases increase. His job is to protect us. He's protecting himself. "How? How does that protect him?"

Because he didn't want the pandemic to be a reality that would push down the economy. That's why he said to Bob Woodward, "You really think the pandemic supersedes the economy?" That's your answer.

He will play down a pandemic because he wants to keep what is good for him, in your mind, even though it had already been brought down by it. They're connected.

"Yes, a little bit. No, more than a little bit. Yes, you're right," that's Trump, "Yes, you're right." He knows it's right. He wants 200,000 dead to be seen as a success. My simple suggestion is the same every time he says that. Tell the victims' families that 200,000 dead is a success. Here's our second hard truth. We got to see the real picture of what's happening, and where this virus is and where it isn't.

I mean we all talk about the virus all the time. You probably have a pretty decent sense of how many cases there are, maybe even a good ballpark on deaths. I just told you, it's about 200,000.

But you don't really know where it is, and where it isn't, and who it is, and where and why. This matters. We don't deal with the reality. You want the reality? Here it is. Look -- look at the map. It's not all red anymore.

What does that mean? It means that only a handful of states are getting worse. Good, reality is good.

No. No, it's not good, and here's why, and this is what isn't told to you enough. It's not burning around because it has mostly leveled out. But think about what that means, plateauing at a certain case flow.

If water is still coming into a boat, but it is slowing down at the rate it's coming in, are you not sinking anymore? We're still sinking.

You'll notice on this map, keep it up, please, only a few states are actually coming down. I mean that's what has to happen. Cases have to come down for us to be able to live the way we want to. How much? I'll get to that in a second.

The idea that almost 35,000 people testing positive since yesterday, like when you hear that, "It's pretty good news, it's less than it was," I'm telling you that's more about us getting tired of the reality than the reality getting better.

In late July, we were up around 60,000 a day. So, is that better? Yes, but we're still sinking. Would we ever say that about death, 772 American deaths a day? "Well that's better, better than it was."

Tell the families. They die of a virus that you can control by staying home and with a mask? All these other countries that have none of our resources, none of our supposed national resolve, our strength, our character, they did it better?

The reality is we've just hit another plateau. We're not actually bringing cases down. That's the reality, and why? "Trump!" No, this is not going to be settled by Left and Right. It's going to be about what's reasonable.

[21:10:00]

The real area -- look, here's the hard truth. The reason we plateau is you and me, depending on where we live, depending on what we've been asked. Too many of us are not doing what we were asked as long as we were asked to do it.

We're still around, take a look, 60 percent of those asked to mask up complying. So, if you're only at 60 percent, what do you think is going to happen? You're only going to get at best 60 percent of what you wanted, right?

Now, it's not apples-to-apples like that. It's more complicated. In fact, you'd have to be up at 100 percent really just to help yourself in any real way for cases to go down. And none of these moves were ever meant to be permanent. Nobody would stand for that.

If communities stepped up, cases came down they got to start doing things again. In the places where restrictions have lingered is because the percentage of positive cases has stayed up. That's what I want you to think about.

I used to tell you, "Hospitalizations! Hospitalizations!" Yes, obviously, you're in the hospital, I mean, you're sick. I mean how sick do you have to be to get to the hospital? I was pretty sick. I never even had to go to the hospital, thank God.

The percentage of positive cases, that's what you have to pay attention to, because that's the main metric that's going to control our future.

So, I said earlier, but how low does it have to be? We're never going to get to zero, right? I mean what makes sense? That's the right question. And we don't really know. The WHO sets the threshold at 5 percent.

Can you do that slower? Can that move slower, or do it again? All right, it could move the way it wants to be.

But I want you -- these are the rates for positive test percentages, all right? We're at 8 percent. All those other countries were much lower, right, percentage of the tests that you do that are positive. So, what will they do?

They play with the testing. That's why they've always messed with the testing. That's why I've always been all over the testing because that's the way to keep the truth from you. That's the way to control the reality.

On a state-by-state basis, only half of our country is below the mark we need to meet. Four states are triple that benchmark. I'm telling you, they are lying to you about the reality in this country, and they're doing it for political advantage.

The whole way we talk about where this disease is needs to change. We used to do it in an easy and obvious way, regions, right, because they were on fire one by one.

It was in the Northwest, California, Oregon, Washington, then it flew to the Northeast, New York, New Jersey, was easy, in the summer, the Midwest, "Oh now, it's hitting the South." And that makes you think that once it bounces around everywhere, "Good."

No. No. Now that the virus has done what it does, which is spread, right, anywhere, anyway, it's less about regions. It's more about specific communities or events that are going to exacerbate a situation and cause problems for a community. "Like what?" Like Sturgis. I mean, come on! Look, I love it. I love

the cultural event of it. I love everything about it, not everything, but I love most things about it. But what do you think is going to happen when you have something like this?

And look, look how they celebrate Trump at a place like that? He is the mascot for disobeying what you're told to do about this virus. Large indoor campaign rally, I mean, masks, socially distance, wash your hands, don't do anything you don't need to. Trump!

College campuses, kids will be kids. If you put them there, they're going to do what they do. That's why we call them minors.

But the reality is, from Ohio State to South Carolina, Iowa, Texas Tech, University of Wisconsin, we're talking about 60,000 new cases since August, and that's only looking at about a quarter of all colleges.

And who knows how honest they're going to be. We rely on it. But look, institutions protect themselves. Power protects itself.

So, let's look at just kids, OK, because this is another one that I think we're getting played on. And it wound up with a school situation that I personally find unacceptable, OK?

Kids, what's the good news? They do not die like the rest of us from this virus, thankfully. We don't know why, but it's not happening. We know of 377 deaths for those 24 and younger.

Look, my heart goes out in ways I can't even tell you, for any family who's had a kid suffer with this, let alone pass from it. I am so sorry. I am in no way trying to minimize your pain. One is absolutely too many. Any parent who sees a child go is something that I don't even know how you survive.

[21:15:00]

But we take way too much solace in the number. Death is not the measure of the problem. A lot of kids are getting sick. Kids can be asymptomatic and still transfer, be contagious to other people, who are in danger.

I was never near death, thank God, nor my wife, for real, thank God, or my son. But I'll tell you what. He was really sick on and off, for a long time, weird days, of sleeping, we thought "Oh, it's just because he's a teen." Doctors couldn't give us any answers. There's no medicine. There's nothing to do for him. He didn't feel right. He was an odd color. With time, he's gotten better.

So, how do you look at these things? That's not -- that's not a way you want to see your kid. You saw that parent last night with his little son, Eli, the genius. The kid has a 100 fever for weeks?

So now, where do we get it, because we're all afraid of our kids, right? You and I would go back to work. I mean I came back to work. I have been sick. I have the antibodies. I

don't believe the antibodies mean I can't get sick again. I tell people that all the time. I don't believe it. The science is not completely there. It's suggestive, but not dispositive. I come into the job, why, the job matters, the job matters. I'm an

adult. I'll make my own decisions. My kids? You got me with my kids. I'm not letting my kids do anything that I think is risky.

So now we got messed up with school, because I can't, in good conscience, have my kids go to school when I know they don't know what the hell they're doing. They don't have enough cases to test. They can't really monitor. They can't really control. And I don't trust them to be honest.

We can't trust anybody to be honest in this situation, it seems. They keep lying to us. So because we didn't jump on testing, we didn't do what we needed to do, now, our kids are screwed. Some of the kids are back in school, but not enough.

And a single case of COVID in a school is going to set this ripple effect of disruption. Why? Because they don't really know how to measure it in real-time.

K to 12, I can't even give you accurate numbers about what everything -- what's going on. How with our kids? "It's all about the kids. Kids are our future. We care about them the most. We do everything for them." No, we didn't.

Here's one thing that everybody agrees with.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'd like to see the schools open.

They have to open.

Yes, I think schools have to open.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Every time our President said this, I said the same thing, one word, "How?" Show them how? Give them the help with the testing. You have the CDC. You have the Defense Production Act, emergency power. You have the pocket. You have the power.

"No, school's a local thing." This is an emergency! But they don't know how to track how many schools are having to close because of kids or teachers testing positive. We don't even know how to measure the failure.

How did we -- how did we get to here? This isn't two weeks. All these big shots, all this money, all this talking, all this media, we can't even get our kids back in school. I don't even know, as a matter of science, that the kids shouldn't all be back in school. I could show you data and research from people around the world, who say, "Look, you know what, based on this study and this and this, the kids are in there, they'll get sick, but it's not that bad. They can -- you have to be careful about who's at home and how that works, but you can figure it out. It's not going to be that much worse."

I don't know that I believe that. But they're not giving us anything better here and you know it. There's no way our kids can get back in school, and we can get back to anything close to normal, if we can't tell who has this damn thing in any kind of small window of time.

Even when you account for population differences, and the real-time infection rates in each state, as a nation, we're only doing a little over of 60 percent of the number of tests that we need.

And we both know you're never going to be able to test everybody all the time. You got to test smart. But we're not doing that either.

Only 11 states meet the target for how many tests they need to be doing. 11! Most of them are in the Northeast. You got Michigan, New Mexico and Alaska in there. That's the other states they see. Just so happens to line up pretty neatly with the places where the Harvard Global Health Institute says it's safe to start reopening schools, OK?

Now, when you compare the United States to the rest of the world, the best we can say, and this is so embarrassing, "We're not the worst." "Yes, we got the most cases. Yes, we got the most deaths."

But when you adjust that number for population, there are 10 countries in worse shape than us. You see them there? Is that who, you see yourself, being in company with when you talk about American excellence, America first? Is that the group you want to be in? A lot are in better shape than we are.

[21:20:00]

And by the way, no disrespect to those countries, I'm talking about resources. I'm talking about capabilities. We have the best healthcare system capabilities in the world, not how much we charge for it, not how much you get for your buck, not access.

But our mortality rate is around middle of the pack, in large part, because we have extraordinary ability with our first responders, to keep people alive here, who would die somewhere else. Our positivity rate is at 14. That's the response. We're not all in.

The next part of the equation is medicine. Look, let's bring in Chief Doctor Sanjay Gupta with us.

The President said something tonight, brother that is correct. He has pushed the vaccine at a rate of acceleration we have never seen.

You and I both have sources on Operation Warp Speed. They say, "This is the all-star team. We couldn't ask for better than this. We're getting everything we want. They threw money at us to go into production with this. And we feel pretty good about it." Now, that's all a fair assessment, is it not?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no question. I mean I think the pace of medical innovation around this has been faster than anything I've seen before.

CUOMO: Now, he is probably wrong, according to my sources, about when the people working on the vaccine will feel good about it, getting out of Phase 3, especially with this little setback they just had, I don't know that it's a little setback, but they have people who were getting sick in a way that they have to figure out why.

So, let's say he's wrong about when it comes out, because he wants to time it to the election. Of course, he does. He wants everything about this to be geared to his advantage.

A vaccine doesn't stop this virus for us. Even if we got the vaccine today, Sanjay, give me a hypothetical, we all have access to the vaccine today, all of us, have access, what's the timeline look like?

GUPTA: Well, first of all, that hypothetical is not -- that's not going to happen. Even under the best-scenario--

CUOMO: That's why it's called a hypothetical.

GUPTA: --there'd be tens of millions of -- I understand. But tens of millions of doses maybe by the end of the year, I think it's relevant because--

CUOMO: But I'm giving him the best case.

GUPTA: If you had a single shot that you were given today, and then probably need another shot, in a month, you would probably start to develop significant immunity a few months after that. We don't know, as you pointed out earlier, how long that immunity lasts.

So, it's not going to be the flip of a switch when people get this vaccine. It's some -- for a period of time, people are still going to need to probably wear masks, physically distance. There may be some sense of being able to open up things that you wouldn't have otherwise opened up. But it's not -- it's not the flip of a switch.

And I get that it's a hypothetical again. But I just -- I just want to really be clear that the idea, people say the vaccine is ready this fall. But I think what I've learned, just talking to people, over the last few weeks, is that the general public really is not going to have access to this vaccine until the middle of next year.

I just think it's important to set expectations clearly on this because so many people just keep -- it's like the Purple Pill ad you see on television. "I'll just take the Purple Pill. That will take care of all my problems."

This is not the Purple Pill. This is something that we are understandably should wait for it, to make sure it's safe and effective. And even then, it may take time. There may be more than one shot. We may need to get it seasonally.

And there's a lot that goes into this. 600 million syringes, Chris, right? You're given two shots, 300 million people. That's 600 million syringes. That sounds like a small part of the equation. We got stymied by nasal swabs in this country. We've got to make sure that all those various components actually work as well.

CUOMO: Now -- and look, and here is the point. Everything Sanjay says is right. I'm giving him a hard time because I want to push the argument because I want to make this point crystal-clear to you.

The vaccine is not the answer. It does not end the virus. The pandemic will not just go away. This is not a movie. So, it is not acceptable as an answer for the President, because, "At the end of the day, I got the biggest thing right. We got the vaccine." It's not the biggest thing.

But now where I'm confused is this, Doc, masks. I just told people, we're at about 60 percent of those who were asked stepping up and doing it. That's a problem. We have been told by Fauci several times that a national mask mandate would help. The IHME says that--

GUPTA: Yes.

CUOMO: --we flat-lined at about that 60 percent. We need to be at 95 percent. But now, Fauci says "I don't know that a national mask mandate would work." What's going on here?

GUPTA: Well I think what he's saying is that -- this is not questioning the efficacy of masks. He's basically saying that unless the will of the people is in lockstep with the authorities, it's just not going to work.

I mean how do you -- how are you going to enforce this?

CUOMO: Right.

GUPTA: How much are you going to fine them? What are you going to do?

[21:25:00]

I mean that's, I think, ultimately what he's saying is that, I think there was the belief, going back to July, and even more recently, when you say "Hey look, you get to be a part of a movement that saves 100,000 lives. All you do is put a couple of ear loops on, and you get to save lives."

And I think people were surprised, including Fauci that a significant percentage of people said "I ain't going to do it. I'm still not going to do it."

CUOMO: Right.

GUPTA: "I don't want to be a part of that movement that saves lives." So, I think his point is you got to have the will of the people and the authoritative action sort of in lockstep here. CUOMO: Sanjay, I love you. Thank you for helping us understand the reality. I appreciate it.

GUPTA: Right back at you.

CUOMO: All right.

GUPTA: You got it.

CUOMO: I want to wait for Sanjay to leave, here's why. We know why people are resistant to masks in this country. It makes no sense for people to be resistant to masks, if they think it could help them and help them help other people.

There's one reason. And it's the President telling them it was a "Joke. It's a hoax. This is the Left. This is what they're trying to do."

Do you remember how it started? Him saying, "They're putting a mask on you to control your freedom of speech," think how stupid an idea that is. And yet, that's what he was pushing.

And now, all the sudden, we have a country like no other that is fighting masks on the basis of political principle. And you think he has nothing to do with that? He's the only one that has something to do with it. Why do you think he makes fun of Joe Biden's mask?

Look, the vaccine is not the answer. This show, from now, until November, is not going to be your daily check of who's going to win and who isn't. A lot of that is bullshit, all right? It just is. It's prognostication based on numbers that are a snapshot of a suggestion of a moment in time.

The person that's going to win this race is the one who gets more people who believe in their message to the polls. That's the answer.

What I want to give you here is the reality of what we're dealing with every damn day. Now, a big part of it's going to be testing. Our kids are not going to get back into schools until we start being able to read the right kinds of data.

I have an expert who had to set up exactly that kind of system, who's looking at exactly what we need now, and what isn't there, and what the difference between the two things will mean for you, and for me, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:30:00]

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: Fact, too many of our kids are not in school, and too many of us are dealing with this suck of home-school Zooming, which gives you a chance to be back in school.

The second largest school district in America says it has a plan to fix that. What's the plan? What do you think? Regular testing and tracing for all 700,000 students and 75,000 employees and their families.

That's always been the only way we were going to get back there. If we don't know, we can't trust. If we can't trust, we're not putting our kids in that situation. We both know it. Not if we can avoid it.

Austin Beutner is the L.A. Superintendent. We have Mr. Beutner and we have Andy Slavitt here to help us figure out how their approach can help other schools.

Gentlemen, thank you.

Superintendent, just quickly, I am not in any way trying to be disrespectful here, but we've always known that if you couldn't test the kids on a regular basis, you weren't going to be able to have any degree of confidence. Why didn't that message resonate up to create an urgency to help you scale testing from the top-down?

AUSTIN BEUTNER, SUPERINTENDENT, LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT: Well, Chris, the message has been there since March, the Head of the World Health Organization gave us the answer, "Test! Test! Test!" as you said so eloquently.

And we've put together a plan with three parts. The first is health practices, the cleaning, the social distancing, keeping students in small cohorts, and all of the state-of-the-art health practices at schools, and we will test for the virus, and we'll be able to trace and follow up in the school community.

And to do that, we put together three world-class research universities, Stanford, Johns Hopkins and UCLA, three health partners, Anthem, Health Net, Cedars-Sinai, world-class hospital, two innovative labs, the tech giant, Microsoft and Part Two (ph).

We brought together the best team possible to do this at schools, because as you said, we have to be able to provide information to people, so that we can control and isolate the virus. That's the only way back to schools. We all want students and teachers back in schools in the safest way possible. And this is that way.

CUOMO: Andy, you've been saying this in one way or another, the entire time we've been dealing with this, every time the issue of schools and, frankly, any community activity comes up.

Why is it taking so long?

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES, AUTHOR, "PREVENTABLE": Well, we use the testing capacity that we've created that we should have been using for schools for people going to bars, for people getting sick, for people doing the activities they wanted to do over the summer. And we didn't make the sacrifice, and the Task Force took about a month and a half off.

So, if we had actually decided "You know what? We're going to prioritize schools," do what the Superintendent wants to do, as the most important thing, and we chose that, then we would -- and we would have been able to have enough testing, so that we would have been able to open on time much more safely.

CUOMO: But that would have required us not allowing people to get back to places of business, which would have forced a lot of economic pain.

SLAVITT: Sometimes, in a pandemic, you have to choose the least bad option. No one ever promises we can have everything we wanted.

The debate we could have had was what are the things that can be open? And I think we know small businesses can be open. I think we know that certain offices can be open, people can be outside.

But certain things like bars create hotspots. And I think there was a very much of a trade-off that we were unwilling to make, or at least, unwilling to discuss that if we'd chosen differently, and we should choose differently now, we'd get better results for schools.

CUOMO: Or if we'd all been on the same page, from the beginning, that you're going to stay home, you're going to mask up when you go out, you're going to be hygiene-crazy for this amount of weeks, then we would have been in a different case flow situation. There's a lot of research out there to suggest just that.

So Superintendent, what will it mean now for you? If you get all the testing capacity that you want, will kids be able to go back to school five days a week, full-time?

[21:35:00]

BEUTNER: So, what we're doing -- and we wish, at the federal level, the tools and resources were provided. We've had to provide for ourselves.

We have secured testing capacity. We brought in the experts. What this will do is get us back in the safest manner possible and, as importantly, keep students in school, because we have the ability to isolate a case were to occur.

We've all seen the examples, in Indiana, somewhere, a middle school, someone's identified with the virus, nobody knows who, where, how, or where it come from, or who else in the school might have it. By lunchtime, everybody's gone home, and the school becomes a haunted house. So, it's not just a question of how we get back. It's a question, how

we keep students and teachers and schools in the safest manner possible and this program will allow us to do that.

CUOMO: Well Superintendent, thank you very much. We'll keep up with you, find out what's working, what isn't because, frankly, we're lost on this. This is not a pocketed problem. You're going to have economic opportunity and you're going to have education opportunity gaps expand because of this.

But Slavitt, me, you, we're all in the same bucket in this. Nobody's kids are where they want them to be. We're not with any degree of confidence.

Superintendent Beutner, good luck. Andy Slavitt, I got to hand it to you.

BEUTNER: Thank you.

CUOMO: You've been saying testing and tracing, if we don't expand the capacity, if the federal government doesn't do what it could do, to coax these companies, into doing it, we're going to be stuck, and here we are.

Gentlemen, thank you for helping us frame the reality. We'll be right back.

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CUOMO: All right, reality, OK? That's where we're going through tonight about this. The testing isn't there, that's why our kids aren't in school. We got to stay on it. We got to do better, because kids are going to lose too much time. I don't know how they get that back.

This election, what matters to me, is will it be a fair process. The President is hitting with -- you with something that I can disprove to you right now, OK? He says "80 million unsolicited ballots" are going to be sent out. He has warned about it at least 20 times this month.

That 80 million number is actually the number of voters, across 41 states, who must request their ballot by mail, and are expected to do so. In several of those states, you still need an acceptable non-COVID excuse. That's that number. Not what he said. It is the opposite of unsolicited. It must be solicited.

Nine states plus Washington D.C. do send unsolicited ballots. That adds up to some 43 million voters, half the number POTUS claims.

Now, where could the President's campaign of dissuasion lead you? Who better to ask than top Republican Election Lawyer, Ben Ginsberg? Sound familiar? Represented George W. Bush in the famous/infamous 2000 Florida recount.

Counselor, good to see you.

BEN GINSBERG, VETERAN REPUBLICAN ELECTION LAWYER, CHIEF LEGAL COUNSEL FOR G.W. BUSH IN 2000 FL RECOUNT: Good to see you, Chris.

CUOMO: You know this stuff. What's your concern of the rhetoric and the reality?

GINSBERG: The rhetoric is the problem. We've never had a President of the United States who has called our elections rigged and fraudulent.

I've been working precincts and national Election Day operations, 38 years. And the evidence to back up a claim that our elections are rigged or fraudulent simply is not there. And that has a pernicious influence on people accepting the credibility of the results.

Popular acceptance of the results is a pillar, the bedrock of the democracy, so it's dangerous to make sweeping allegations like that without evidence.

CUOMO: One step sideways, and then I want to ask you about the concerns of the process specifically. Do you think that we will have a prediction of a winner on November 3rd?

I say a prediction, because Ben knows this, but just to make you aware at home, we never know the winner on election night. That doesn't happen until a couple of weeks after, when the electors go and make their count. We do a prediction based on what we know from the exit polls.

Do you think we will have that this election on November 3rd?

GINSBERG: Only under some circumstances.

The number of absentee ballots, the 80 million that are going to come in, means that the count will be delayed in most states. But there are some bellwether states who will get results, historically have gotten results pretty quickly on election night.

If Joe Biden is winning Florida, and Florida is one of those states that does process its absentee ballots quickly, then you're going to have a pretty clear outcome on election night.

If Donald Trump is winning New Hampshire or Minnesota or Nevada, the states that Hillary Clinton won narrowly, then that's a pretty good indicator of what the final results will be.

CUOMO: But it's going to be so tight, Ben, I don't think it's going to be good enough. But I take your counsel on it, obviously.

GINSBERG: Right.

CUOMO: And that's why I asked you the question.

The process, Trump's main salvo and his supporters' or surrogates' is, "Man, mail-in ballot, how do you know who even sent it in? How do you even know? I mean it's so easy to cheat. And then you can just show up at the ballot, and vote a second time, and maybe you'll even try that because the President told you to, but it's hard to secure it this way."

GINSBERG: Yes, it is. But the states have all worked out mechanisms on their votes.

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Again, we Republicans and the Democrats have well -- as well have been looking for fraudulent and rigged elections for the last 40 years. And the evidence is simply not there that absentee ballotings aren't accurate.

A number of the states that use universal ballots actually have minimal instances of reported fraud. So again, if you're going to make these sweeping allegations, you have to have the evidence and the evidence isn't there for that.

CUOMO: You worried that Republicans won't vote by mail-in ballot because just like with masks, the President has kind of made them taboo?

GINSBERG: Yes, I -- it's sort of a self-defeating strategy, really. I mean, Republican voters look to be about a third as likely to submit absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are a wildly political operative's dream. They're votes in the bag.

In normal circumstances, you want your people to participate through absentee ballots because then there's less of a turnout operation on Election Day. It's why you see a number of Republican state parties and campaigns sort of countermanding the President's rhetoric and telling their supporters to actually vote by absentee.

CUOMO: Ben Ginsberg, I'd love to have you back because this is becoming an issue to watch, all the way through, if for no other reason, then toxic suggestion from the top, so we have to keep the facts and the reality straight for people. I would very much appreciate your help in doing so. And good luck to you and the family.

GINSBERG: Happy to do it. Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Stay healthy. I'll speak to you soon.

GINSBERG: Thank you. CUOMO: All right, let's take a quick break.

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CUOMO: An historic legal settlement in the wrongful death of Breonna Taylor. The 26-year-old EMT was killed in March, you may remember, during a botched police raid at her apartment.

So, what's the settlement? Settlement's about money in one part. The City is going to pay her family $12 million. Louisville will also launch sweeping police reforms.

But the question becomes, what does this mean in terms of what is solved? Listen.

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TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: As significant as today is, it's only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna.

It's time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more. Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground. So, please continue to say her name.

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CUOMO: Ben Crump, Lonita Baker are the Taylor family's attorneys.

Counselors, good to see you.

LONITA BAKER, ATTORNEY FOR BREONNA TAYLOR'S FAMILY: Good to see you.

BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR BREONNA TAYLOR'S FAMILY: Thank you, yes.

CUOMO: Counselor Baker, what today -- does today mean tell the audience that this civil settlement does not preclude criminal action. But what is your concern?

BAKER: It is. It's important that people know that while we resolved the wrongful death lawsuit, which included sweeping reform that was very important to Breonna Taylor's family, it's also equally important that the officers are held liable.

And in Kentucky, there isn't sufficient evidence for this Grand Jury to return an indictment for nothing less than second degree manslaughter. And I say nothing less but counter maybe (ph) evidence that I've not been privy to that warrants a higher charge that there is a higher charge with mandates (ph) but at a minimum what the public has been had access to, there is sufficient evidence for a Grand Jury to return an indictment for the reckless behavior of the officers that isn't on (ph) and that is second-degree manslaughter.

CUOMO: Counselor Crump, as we both know, there is nothing in this settlement of any admission of wrongdoing, even though it's a wrongful death suit by the police. It is a settlement, meaning we're not going to say we did anything wrong, but let's settle it.

It is unusual for a civil settlement to come after -- to come before a prosecution of any kind. This is a little unusual in terms of timing. What does this mean to you, Counselor Crump?

CRUMP: Well Chris, I think this was a landmark step towards getting justice for Breonna Taylor.

It's not just about the $12 million historic settlement, which I believe is one of the highest ever paid out for a Black woman in a wrongful death police shooting in America. And it helps the precedence to say that Black women's life matter too. And that's very important, Chris.

But it's equally important about the reform because Breonna Taylor's mother really wanted this settlement to be about trying to prevent another Breonna Taylor by happening in the future, because you cannot talk too much about this pandemic that we live in, in Black America, where the police are killing Black people unjustifiably.

CUOMO: Counselor Baker, reforms. Reform is a word that on its face means nothing. It's all about what it is and how it will be.

There's a little bit of an irony here that police reform led to the type of targeting of different neighborhoods and targets that led police to target where Breonna Taylor was. So, reform isn't always a remedy.

What will be reformed here and do you believe it is a remedy?

BAKER: It is definitely not sufficient. It's sufficient for what we wanted to do here today. But we definitely recognize that additional reform for its -- our criminal justice system is necessary, is still needed, and we intend to continue to work towards that reform.

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But the reforms that we were able to get in this case included community policing initiatives, encouraging police officers to live within the communities that they patrol, also dispatching social workers when responding to mental health crisis, so that we don't have police officers responding to situations, where mental health professionals are needed.

We also have accountability reform measures, so looking at early warning systems that will then -- they expect -- Office of the Inspector General, which is being created (ph), be able to identify officers with red flags, officers who maybe a detriment to our community and taken action in regards to those early warning systems.

And we also did a sweeping overhaul of the way that search warrants are approved. They seek judicial approve -- judicial approval as well and the way that they are executed, so that we don't have another situation that happened on March 13th--

CUOMO: And one of the reforms, I'm not sure--

BAKER: --of the shooting of Breonna Taylor.

CUOMO: --if you said it because I know you guys are in a restaurant. You're going to be with the Taylor family. And I appreciate you taking time out in that venue, and we're hearing you just fine, so thank you very much.

But one of them -- of the reforms is the City must track police use- of-force incidents and citizen complaints. It is mind-boggling that we really don't even track this kind of activity in so many different places, let alone the local level. That may prove to be very meaningful.

Thank you very much for taking the time, on, as Benjamin Crump points out, an historic occasion--

BAKER: Thanks.

CRUMP: Thanks.

CUOMO: --in terms of what this settlement may mean for women of color, who found themselves at this end of policing.

But it's not the end. And it is unusual to have a civil settlement come before you got resolution on the criminal side. What will that mean about what does or does not happen going forward? We'll stay on it.

Thank you to Ben Crump, and Lonita Baker. We'll be right back.

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