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Trump Shares Manipulated Video With Anti-Police Anthem; Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) Discusses Trump's Promises But Failure To Deliver Health Care Plan, Dems Concerned Trump Will Declare Victory Before Votes Tallied; Wade Crowfoot, California's Secretary For Natural Resources, Discusses Confronting Trump Over Refusal To Believe Climate Science Regarding Wildfires. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired September 16, 2020 - 13:30   ET



DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Obviously, with rules coming like that, technology making rules like that in the context of an election in the United States of America in 2020 is quite stark, surreal and bleak -- Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I mean, what else can they do, I guess that's the question. What other recourse does Twitter have, do other social media outlets have?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. I mean, I think the criticism we see time and time again with these companies is that, if they catch the misinformation, they either camp it too late, they don't catch it at all.

And when they do catch it, they either don't take it down, they label it in sort of an insufficient way where it's not clear that it is misinformation. Or else they just leave it up there and it goes viral.

Comparatively, I guess, Twitter has been seen to be tougher on President Trump than Facebook. Facebook, of course, has a policy of allowing politicians to lie in political ads.

Vice President nominee, Kamala Harris, actually, when a primary candidate, called for Twitter to ban President Trump.

I don't think any major technology company in the United States would like the idea of banning the leader of the free world from their platform.

But you know, there are certainly those calls in Democratic circles.

But you know, I think the argument from Facebook and Twitter and others in Silicon Valley is they want more speech, rather than less speech, even if that speech is full of false and misleading information.

KEILAR: Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much.

We have some breaking news. The spokesman for HHS is going to take a leave of absence after pushing conspiracy theories about the nation's doctors and scientists. We'll have that next.



KEILAR: We have some breaking news. The spokesman for HHS is going to take a leave of absence after pushing conspiracy theories about the nation's doctors and scientists.

Michael Caputo went on Facebook Live saying, among other things, that doctors and scientists are out to get the president and that those CDC scientists want Americans to suffer from the coronavirus. He ended up apologizing to his peers.

Keep in mind, this is the spokesman, the mouthpiece for the Health and Human Services Department.

And now to a claim we've heard before from the president that he will protect people with preexisting conditions. But Trump's actions don't match his words.

In July, he promised a health care plan within two weeks. It's now September and we are -- haven't heard anything of this. Just listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're signing a health care plan within two weeks, a full and complete health care plan that the Supreme Court decision on DACA gave me the right to do.

So we're going to solve, we're going to sign an immigration plan, a health care plan and various other plans. And nobody will have done what I'm doing in the next four weeks.

I do want to say we're going to be introducing a tremendous health care plan sometime prior -- hopefully prior to the end of the month. It's just about completed now.

Over the next two weeks, I'll be pursuing a major executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions for all customers. That's a big thing.


KEILAR: President Trump claims Joe Biden will destroy protections for people with preexisting conditions. That is simply not true.

The reality is this, Obamacare, which was created while Biden was vice president, protects these people. Biden has vowed to preserve and strengthen Obamacare if elected.

In the meantime, Trump is still working to weaken these protections through multiple bills as well as lawsuits.

Trump continues to attack his opponent's plan. But the bottom line is we don't know what the president's plan looks like. Today is September 16th, and we still haven't seen the president's plan he promised back in July.

Just a short time ago, Trump administration officials were asked about this timeline.


UNIDENTIFIED SENATOR: The president said repeatedly that he has a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.

As head of the agency's responsible for dealing with such public health undertaking, I would like to ask you, does a replacement plan exist that you are aware of? Any of you? Yes or no?


ADM. BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I'm not -- I'm not involved in the replacement plan. I don't know what that is. I supply public health advice as much as I can for whatever that plan to be --


UNIDENTIFIED SENATOR: Dr. Kadlec, are you aware of such a replacement plan?

DR. ROBERT KADLEC, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Sir, it's not in my portfolio. And I'm so busy with other things, I have no awareness of that.


UNIDENTIFIED SENATOR: Dr. Redfield, are you aware of a replacement plan.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: Again, it's not in my main lane but I'm not aware of one.


KEILAR: It doesn't appear to be in anyone's lane.

I'm joined now by Democratic Senator from Hawaii, Mazie Hirono.

Senator, thank you for being with us.


KEILAR: No doubt -- aloha -- this is going to be an issue here in the presidential debates --


KEILAR: -- among many others. Right now, two weeks away from the first one.

We've learned the moderators, of course, have already said they're not going to fact-check candidates, that is not their role in this.

I wonder what you think Joe Biden should do when we hear the president making false claims about a number of issues, including this one.


HIRONO: I came to the conclusion, whatever comes out of the president's mouth cannot be trusted. He lies all the time.

And, in fact, Jared Kushner provided, in Bob Woodward's book, a reason for lying. And so that is their modus operandi.

As for Joe Biden, yes, he's going to be a uniter. He's going to gain control of this virus, which, by the way, he will take control that the president doesn't.

So I hope Joe will put dispense with the president's lie as opposed to countering every single one because we should live so long as to counter every single one.

And I hope that Joe will put forward what he intends to do when he becomes president.

But at the same time, here we are. Health care was always an issue for our country. And the president, you know, is attacking the Affordable Care Act. He wants the whole thing to go away.

So now, in the middle of a pandemic, it's even more crucial that people have health care. And so he promises all kinds of things.

But You know what? Basically they have nothing. They have zero. Nada. Nil. So that's where we are.

And this is why it is so important in this election to -- to make a decision based on who actually is going to tell us the truth, who actually who will bring integrity and rule of law to the presidency.

And it certainly is not the president, because we've seen four years of him behaving the way he does.

You know, people will have a choice come November. At the same time --


HIRONO: I'm sorry.

KEILAR: I was going to say, it sounds like you are saying that this is the challenge during the debate, which is to try to quickly dispense with lies, if President Trump tells them.

But then, for former Vice President Joe Biden to try to put out his own vision? Right? To communicate his own ideas.

And to that end, I wonder, considering this is -- this is unique, President Trump is a unique president, a unique candidate in his relationship with the truth. HIRONO: Yes. None.

KEILAR: Do you think the rules of the debate should be different?

HIRONO: I think that there should be fact-checking. There should be some -- some line going on the bottom like, this is a lie and all of that. I think that serves to provide the public with the factual information.

But I'm really saddened and distressed, in fact, there will not be on- time fact-checking. So the president will continue to lie to his heart's content.

I would hope that -- that the debate would not be mired in trying to counter the president's lies, because let's just say that everything -- I think we're safe saying everything that comes out of his mouth is either an exaggeration or it's a lie. That's it.

So --

KEILAR: If I could ask you about this idea of they are being -- look, you've heard the former vice president say he would love for there to be kind of a ticker-tape chyron of fact-checking.

HIRONO: Yes. Exactly.

KEILAR: But You know that would be seen as being -- considering Joe Biden is there to defend himself and the truth is, as he sees it and the instances and he would want to challenge it.

Isn't it up to him to set the record straight? He is the candidate opposing Donald Trump. Isn't that essential that he does that role?

HIRONO: I think much of the time taken will be taken up by the president lying. And then, of course, to the extent he will portray the Joe Biden in a way that is solely wrong and lying, Joe Biden has to respond to it.

But I think he should not be taking his entire time trying to counter all of the lies the president will shell out.

This is why I think that those that can be objectively checked -- much of what the president says can be objectively checked.

We're not talking about trying to put the thumb on one candidate's weights or anything like that. But since that's not going to happen, the -- Joe has to do the best he can to counter and defend himself and then put forward his own vision of what an America would like.

As he said, one of the first things will be, he will be a president for all of America, not just for his small base of supporters, which is exactly what Trump is doing.

And even as we speak, of course, you know that his entire posture has been to talk to his base, scaring the heck out of them. And all of those kinds of conspiracy theories, et cetera, that he is pushing out that certainly shores up his base.

But I don't think the president is expanding his base at all with this kind of lies and rhetoric and attacks.

That is my hope that our country is smart enough to figure that out with regard to this president at this point.

KEILAR: On the topic's election security, Senators Schumer and Sanders have written a letter asking for a bipartisan committee. Some of your colleagues are concerned that the president could declare victory before votes can be tallied.



KEILAR: What are your specific concerns about how this election could go?

HIRONO: First of all, I would want to make sure that the U.S. Postal Service is -- not in a situation where they are overtly engaging in delays so the delivery of mail, -- which is exactly what was happening with DeJoy, whereas, my friend said, no joy.

And we hope that he stopped removing post boxes, mailboxes, and removing sorting machines.

But you never know. Because frankly, it's hard to trust the veracity or truth coming out of any Trump appointee, especially somebody like DeJoy, whose only claim to fame is that he's a big million-dollar Trump contributor.

But I would want to make sure, first and foremost, our postal as much as they are able to deliver the mail, not only the mail, of course, but medications, Social Security checks, et cetera.

Which is why it is really important that we pass legislation that would give money, provide funds, to the postal service so they can continue to provide these services.

That was in the HEROES Act that was passed over four months by the House and which Mitch McConnell has sat on the last four months.

KEILAR: Senator Hirono, thank you for joining us.

HIRONO: Thank you. Aloha.

KEILAR: A California couple was packed and ready to evacuate the wildfires, but they changed their minds based on wrong information. And this may have cost them their lives.

Plus, a California official confronts the president over his refusal to believe that climate change has made wildfire worse. We'll have that official with us just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: Much-needed rain could bring relief to thousands of firefighters out west working tirelessly to contain the country's worst and biggest wildfires on record. These deadly fires are fueled by weeks of dry, hot weather.

But President Trump is scoffing at the idea that climate change is responsible, instead insisting the unprecedented wildfires are happening because of exploding trees. Listen.


TRUMP: When trees fall down, after a short period of time, about 18 months, they become very dry. They become really, like a matchstick. And they get up -- you know, there's no more water pouring through. And they become very, very -- they just explode.

I was talking to a head of a major country, and he said, we're a forest nation, we consider ourselves a forest nation. This was in Europe. I said, that's a beautiful term.

He said, we have trees that are far more explosive. He meant explosive in terms of fire. But we have trees that are far more explosive than they have in California, and we don't have any problem because we manage our forests.


So we have to do that in California, too.


KEILAR: On Monday, during the president's briefing on the wildfires, Wade Crowfoot, California's secretary for natural resources, urged Trump to acknowledge climate change and the harm that it's doing.


WADE CROWFOOT (D), CALIFORNIA SECRETARY FOR NATURAL RESOURCES: We want to work with you to recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests and actually work together with that science. That science is going to be key.

If we ignore that science and put our head in the sand and think it's all about vegetation management, we're not going to succeed together protecting California.

TRUMP: It will start getting cooler. You just watch.


CROWFOOT: I wish science agreed with you.

TRUMP: Well, I don't think science knows, actually.


KEILAR: And Secretary Crowfoot is with us now.

Secretary, what did you think of that response to what the president was saying? It's going to get cooler, he said.

CROWFOOT: Well, it's just not based on any facts that we have here in California.

You anyone knows, who is living in California, this last several years, we've seen increased catastrophic fire danger. We've seen increased summer temperatures, including record-breaking temperatures this summer, over 120 degrees in parts of greater Los Angeles.

We've seen parts of the state burn with massive fires that have never burned like that before, including our coastal redwood forests.

We've seen a fire so hot it's generating a smoke cloud 50,000 feet high.

All of the facts, whether it's temperature readings, climate readings, all of the science points to the fact that this is becoming a bigger challenge.

So that's what we wanted to confront and share with the president this week.

KEILAR: Did you find him receptive at all to what you're saying?

CROWFOOT: Well, I appreciated the opportunity to be 10 or 15 feet from the president to be able to share what is -- what are the facts on the ground.

And I was appreciative that he listened. But I can't say that I expect it changed his perspective.

KEILAR: Secretary Crowfoot, thank you so much for talking with us.

CROWFOOT: Thank you very much.

We have more of our breaking news. The head of the CDC saying that the general public will not have access to the coronavirus vaccine until next summer.

Plus, the spokesman for HHS is going to take a leave of absence after pushing conspiracy theories about the nation's doctors and scientists.



KEILAR: This week, CNN has been bringing you inspiring stories of average people doing extraordinary things in our "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE" series.

Today, we visit an innovative champion in Wyoming. We went there before the pandemic to see how she grows succulent tomatoes, crisp lettuce and bright microgreens in the dead of winter. This changemaker has figured out how to do it successfully with a

remarkable group of vertical farmers.


NONA YEHIA, CEO, VERTICAL HARVEST: Jackson Hole exists at 6,200 feet. We're surrounded by Yellow Stone National Park and Teton National Park. There are not many farmers in this region. So, there's a real need for good, quality produce in our town.

We came together to look for an out-of-the-box solution. We wanted to grow as much food as possible in our town, employ as many people as possible, and do both year-round.

And that's where the idea to grow up came from.

Vertical Harvest is really an evolution. None of us set out to be vertical farmers.

I'm an architect by trade. And I've always believed in the power of architecture to be a vehicle for social change.

On a 10th of an acre, we grow the equivalent of 10 acres worth of food. We grow tomatoes, lettuces, microgreens.

We serve four different grocery stores in our town and over 40 restaurants.

BEN WESTENBURG, CHEF: It's a very snowy, cold place, which poses a lot of problems for getting fresh produce. The way Nona has approached it is by bringing something unique to those chefs that they can use and feature all year-round.

YEHIA: Creating a local source of produce was the inception of the project.

But as we came together, we realized there was also a big problem. People with physical and intellectual disabilities in our town, who want to work, find consistent and meaningful work, were not able to do so.

I have a brother with disabilities. And I think I've been an advocate before I understood what the word meant.

We're pairing with n an underserved population. We created a sea change of perception of what this population is able to do. And we created an amazing committed loyal crew of unexpected farmers.

JOHNNY FIFLES, EMPLOYEE, VERTICAL HARVEST: I'm a microgreen grower. I take some seeds and I lay them on the medium, one layer. No more, no less.

YEHIA: Johnny is a graduate of the University of Wyoming. And we count on him to accurately seed every type of microgreen. He's the person we trust most.

SEAN STONE, EMPLOYEE, VERTICAL HARVEST: I'm grateful for Nona for hiring me so I can work at this job and help grow produce.

YEHIA: Sean washed dishes for most of his career. And the thing is that Sean never had an opportunity to really show to his employer what he can do.

Sean is incredibly unique in that he knows how to make this ecosystem run. And while before, he had a job, now he has a purpose.


We can empower the most underserved in our communities just by giving them a chance. Everybody here is a champion and everyone here is dedicated to change. And everyone here has shown their shown ability to change things in their community.