Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump Contradicts CDC Chief, Claims He's "Confused" on Masks, Vaccine and "He Misunderstood the Questions" from Congress; Trump: CDC Chief Made a "Mistake" for Saying Today Vaccine Won't be Widely Available in U.S. for Up to a Year from Now; Gov. Tim Walz (D) Minnesota Discusses About President Trump's Comment About Blue States' High Coronavirus Death Toll. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 16, 2020 - 19:00   ET

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


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

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, President Trump calling is CDC Director confused and mistaken on not just one major issue of science but two; vaccines and masks. Is it because the CDC Director's comments don't fit the President's political agenda?

Plus, Minnesota's governor pleading with the Trump campaign, follow the rules. They say wear masks and social distance to hold a rally. Will trump listen? The Minnesota Governor is my guest.

And the President retweeted a doctored video of Biden incorrectly showing him playing a song denigrating the police, why? Well, I'm going to ask the Trump campaign spokesman.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, President Trump taking on his CDC Director, calling him confused and mistaken on two issues central to stopping the spread of the virus masks and vaccines. Let's start with this, Trump after Dr. Robert Redfield, Head of the CDC, said it would be up to a year before a vaccine is available to the general public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think he made a mistake when he said that. It's just incorrect information. And I called him and he didn't tell me that and I think he got the message, maybe confused. I saw the statement, I called him and I said, "What did you mean by that?" And I think he just made a mistake.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So you had the call, you said that you told him that he made a mistake. What was his response (inaudible) ...

TRUMP: No, I didn't tell him anything. I said what happened? And I got the impression that he didn't realize he said what he might have said, I didn't see him say it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. Well, let's let you hear him say it. Here is Dr. Redfield today under oath.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I think there will be vaccine and initially be available sometime between November and December, but very limited supply and will have to be prioritized. If you're asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we're probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. That is sobering, late second quarter, third quarter. That's the end of the summer of the fall of next year. It is a year away and it is long after election day 2020. That was his honest, clear scientific assessment. President didn't like it.

And then the president continued to suggest that Dr. Redfield got it wrong today when he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REDFIELD: We have clear scientific evidence they work and they are our best defense. I might even go so far as to say that this facemask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The irony that the President of the United States keep saying he wants a vaccine by election day to help him actually has one in his hands and refuses to have his own supporters wear them at his rallies, that is pretty incredible. But here's the President, again, publicly rebuking his CDC Director.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I called him about that, those were the two things I discussed with him. And I believe that if you ask him, he would probably say that he didn't understand the question, because I said to him - I asked him those two questions, the one question which we've covered and the mask question. When I called up Robert today, I said to him, "What's with the mask?" He said, "I think I answered that question incorrectly." I think maybe he had misunderstood it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That's absurd. He didn't misunderstand it and it was very clear what he said. He wasn't confused. And by the way, it's not just that he said it today that held up and said that about the vaccines and that it's the most effective thing we have. He's actually repeatedly said the same thing. The mask work. It's not even the first time that he has compared their effectiveness to that of vaccines. Here he is in July.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REDFIELD: We're not powerless. We don't have to wait for a vaccine, although I think we're going to be successful sooner than many people think. We have the most powerful weapon in our hands right now. I mean, it's an enormously powerful weapon. It's just a simple, flimsy mask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Consistency. Well, the President's words are not things the CDC Director can ignore tonight and just hope they go away. They are a direct assault on him and they are a direct assault on the widely proven science. Trump's HHS Spokesperson Michael Caputo is actually now in a leave of absence for the kind of talk that the President put out there so cavalierly today.

Trump though, of course, isn't going anywhere. He's not a little guy down the totem pole like Caputo. And tonight the CDC Director has been forced to respond releasing a statement moments ago saying, "I 100 percent believe in the importance of vaccines and the importance in particular of a COVID-19 vaccine.

[19:05:07]

A COVID-19 vaccine is the thing that will get Americans back to normal, everyday life. The best defense we currently have against this virus are the important mitigation effects of wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing, and being careful about crowds."

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live outside the White House. Kaitlan, a stunning rebuke by the President of the United States against his own CDC Director and the science that the CDC Director was discussing under oath and the CDC Director tonight now forced to respond.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The President said, Erin, that he had confidence in Dr. Redfield, but it sure didn't sound like when he was pushing back on two of the biggest headlines from his testimony today. Of course, the number one, one being a vaccine. And you played what Redfield said earlier, this wasn't a question that he was asked really quickly and answered very fast.

He took his time, he answered in a methodical way and basically he said even if vaccine was ready tomorrow, it would take about six to nine months to fully get it out to the American population where there is a widespread immunity situation. He was talking about how long it would take and logistically how that would work. That is something that lines up with what we have heard from all of the other health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, and others in this administration.

But, of course, we saw how the president felt about that. He clearly gave Redfield an earful after that testimony, not only on the vaccine, but also what he said about a mask being almost as important as a vaccine as far as it goes to protect you.

And so we do have the CDC Director now responding to the President. He just tweeted a few moments ago, Erin, and he's not pushing back on the way the President characterize their conversation. Instead, he's talking about how important a vaccine is. He tweeted, "I 100 percent believe in the importance of vaccines and the importance in particular of a COVID-19 vaccine."

But he doesn't really push back on what he said about the timeline there or he doesn't say that the President was right and he doesn't stand by what he's saying testifying earlier today. That's something that seems pretty important for the CDC Director to do one way or another. Say that the President is right, that a vaccine will happen much sooner or say that he does stand by his timeline.

Now, on a mask, he does also tweet the best defense we currently have against this virus is right now the mitigation efforts of social distancing, washing your hands, but also wearing a mask. So he is standing by how important a mask is to him, Erin, but this really does - this is another instance where we're seeing Dr. Redfield put in a position where he is openly at odds with the President.

BURNETT: Openly at odds with the President. And I mean, on something just so core and basic, and the President sort of calling him confused. I mean, it was obviously pejorative in his description as well. And then, in this press conference, Kaitlan, just watching the President seemed to confirm, I'm actually looking for his wording here right now, but seemed to confirm another positive case of the virus at the White House.

In fact, his wording was, "Last night I heard about it for the first time and it's a small number of cases," plural, maybe it's not even cases, so what's going on here?

COLLINS: Not a lot of clarity. But what we had heard there had been rumblings this morning that someone at the White House had tested positive for coronavirus. And the Chief of Staff and the Press Secretary refused to answer that question from reporters twice today.

But then the President confirmed that, yes, a staffer has tested positive and he said staffers. But then Kayleigh McEnany was seated there in the briefing room, she weighed in and said it was one staffer who tested positive last night at the event. I'm assuming that means the President's town hall he did. That was the only event on his schedule in Philadelphia last night.

But they didn't offer any more clarity than that. They keep saying they want to protect people's personal information. You don't have to say the person's name, but the question is, of course, who were they around, what was their interactions with people.

They did say they did not interact with the President or with the press. But, Erin, that is really all the clarity we've got right now. But it does go to show someone else has tested positive as the White House and the Trump campaign has been holding these events with very few mask and very little social distancing as well.

BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, I thank you. And I want to go now to Dr. Jonathan Reiner, medical advisor for the

George W. Bush White House, along with William Haseltine, a groundbreaking HIV/AIDS researcher, also former Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health and Nia Malika Henderson, our Senior Political Reporter.

Dr. Reiner, the President publicly rebuking a CDC Director not once, but twice, calling him confused and mistaken. And obviously, he was not confused nor was he mistaken. And he was very thoughtful and considered in both cases. Have you seen anything like this before?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No. I think that was stunning. This is not the first time the President has rebuked Dr. Redfield. He did it earlier this year when the CDC Director warned against a double shot of a bad flu season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. And he made him come back the next day to walk back those comments.

But what Dr. Redfield said today made complete sense. It was common sense. What he said was, it's going to take a very long time to vaccinate the United States.

[19:10:06]

We're only going to have maybe at the outset if both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are approved, maybe about 45 million doses. That's 22.5 million people. That's 6 percent of the population until more vaccine can be manufactured or other vaccines are approved and that's going to take a very long time.

Plus, these vaccines require very complex distribution channels, requiring ultra cold storage with the Pfizer vaccine down to minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, stable in a refrigerator for only a day or two. It's going to make administering a vaccine very complex.

BURNETT: Yes.

REINER: The bottom line is we need to do everything that Dr. Redfield said which is to remain masked up until large numbers in the country can get the vaccine, which will take many, many months. It's just simple common sense.

BURNETT: So Professor Haseltine, a senior official at the CDC in reaction to this tell CNN that Dr. Redfield 'was a convenient punching bag for the President'. Tonight, another senior official just gives out a huge sigh when called and presented with what the President said about Dr. Redfield.

How concerning is this that this is even occurring? Dr. Redfield goes under oath. By the way, you don't need to go under oath to say that masks work, but he was under oath, just to be clear, and he's laying it out and he's saying that they are as effective or more effective than a vaccine, something he said before and the President just says it's inaccurately covered. He's confused. He's mistaken.

WILLIAM HASELTINE, CHAIR AND PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL: Well, there's a document that the CDC issued recently, which is a document that lays out their plans and the plans that the nation should follow should a vaccine be proven to be at least partially safe and partially effective soon. And it's very clear in that document, in black and white, that there won't be enough vaccine to vaccinate very many people.

There is going to be a prioritization and the CDC lays out very clearly how they are going to recommend that prioritization to take place. So that's an official government document. It's out there for everyone to read. They have three or four phases in which the vaccine will be rolled out. And it won't be till, as Dr. Redfield said, late in 2021, whether if a vaccine is available.

BURNETT: Yes.

HASELTINE: The second point is about effectiveness of vaccines. The criteria that the CDC is going to or the FDA has stated is the vaccine only has to prevent half of the people exposed from getting sick. That's half. What Dr. Redfield was saying is absolutely accurate, a mask, a good mask can do better than that.

BURNETT: Which is a pretty incredible thing. And as I said, Nia, just the irony of that, that the President actually has the thing that could be the best thing of getting things back to normal and chooses day in and day out to not avail himself of it or his supporters. There is such a deep irony in this.

The CDC Spokesperson just said something a moment ago that, Nia, I want to give you a chance to hear this, saying in today's hearing Dr. Redfield was answering a question he thought was in regard to the time period in which all Americans would have completed their COVID vaccination. And his estimate was by the second or third quarter of 2021. He was not referring to the time period when COVID-19 vaccine doses would be made available to all Americans.

That's a deeply confusing statement. That is a statement of what, Nia? I mean is that someone who's trying to - I stand by what Dr. Redfield said, but Mr. President, you're right too, what the heck is that? I mean, I'm not sure what that is.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. This is deeply confusing to the American public at this dire time where about a thousand people are dying every day of COVID, of coronavirus. And you see this in the polling back in the spring. You had something like 70 percent of Americans really believing in a vaccine, saying they would get a vaccine.

And since then, you've seen that really, really decline. It's something like 50 percent, 60 percent. Now, depending on the poll you look at and you see today why that is, because there's so much confusion out of this administration.

The President there contradicting a doctor who was under oath and testifying, not confused at all by those very simple questions. Some of them posed by Republicans, so it's not like he was getting trick questions. They were very simple questions that he answered very clearly. BURNETT: Yes.

HENDERSON: And I would say very accurately. So now he has to go and put out this very confusing statement and it's just more sort of obfuscation from this White House on very critical issues. Americans want information. They want science based information.

And from this White House, you just get a lot of confusion and contradiction from this president that really wants Americans to live on Fantasy Island when it comes to the vaccine.

BURNETT: So Dr. Haseltine, what do you make to such a nonsensical statement? We stand by what he said, it won't be available till the end of the second quarter or the third quarter next year, but we're not talking about when it's widely available. What does that even mean?

[19:15:07]

HASELTINE: It is confusing. And I think it's very clear what the CDC has laid out. There was a stepwise program to help deal with what is anticipated to be a very limited supply, if the vaccine is proved to be partially safe and partially effective and it will take a good many months for that to occur. There are many other questions about which Dr. Reiner referred to which is the cold chain integrity, how do we know who's going to be giving it.

When I look and I've been reading carefully the playbook, it's the same situation as testing.

BURNETT: Yes.

HASELTINE: It's all up to the States. It's all up to the States. And there are two kinds of states that are laid out. Those that are centrally organized and those that are regionally organized. And in the regionally organized states is up exactly to these regions, not even the state.

So I think we're setting ourselves up for a deeper confusion on how these programs are going to be administered, what their consistency is, then we have even for testing. It would be a mess.

BURNETT: I think also you a raise a really key point that a lot of people don't realize, which is that if the vaccine is OK, if it has a one in two chance of succeeding, but the mask has a better than a one in two chance even with imperfections of people wearing them in perfectly or touching their face or whatever it might be.

Dr. Reiner, to that point, Dr. Redfield was very clear today, "It is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine." He held up a face mask, OK, couldn't be more clear, couldn't have been more succinct. The President then comes out and says, "There's a lot of problems with masks." Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: The mask is a mixed bag. There are some people professionals,

Scott, you would know a lot of them, but there's some people that don't like the mask because of the touchiness and the touching and then you're touching everything else. They felt that masks set problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Yes, they do have some problems, Dr. Reiner, but all-in still more effective than a vaccine according to the Director of the CDC. What do you say to the President?

REINER: There are no professionals who have problems with the masks. They are extraordinarily effective. We know this from countries that have massively embraced wearing masks like Taiwan and South Korea, Japan. We know it from U.S. states like Vermont that has instituted a mask wearing almost 85 percent of the population.

We know it from hospitals like Columbia, where despite being in basically the hot zone in the middle of the pandemic, the incidence of coronavirus was lower and its hospital employees were universally masked than out in New York City as a whole and we know it from barbershops. A famous study recently where a hairdresser was COVID positive, but she wore a mask and all her clients wore masks and none of them became infected.

BURNETT: Yes.

REINER: So masks work. Dr. Redfield is hundred percent right.

BURNETT: All right. I thank you all. Thank you.

And next, Trump's baffling defense over America's failure to contain the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If you take the blue states out, we're at a level that I don't think anybody in the world would be at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: We are one country.

Plus, Trump tweeting doctored and offensive videos this time of Joe Biden. His campaign responds.

And alarming new details tonight about the serious symptoms one woman suffered while taking part in a coronavirus vaccine trial.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:22:20]

BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump suggesting the United States would be doing much better with coronavirus if we just took out the death numbers from blue states.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The blue states had tremendous death rates. If you take the blue states out, we're at a level that I don't think anybody in the world would be at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, you cannot take the blue states out. We are one country. Right now the United States has a total of more than 196,000 Americans dead. The five highest so called blue states for deaths are on the screen there. They account for about 81,000 deaths. And that's just about four percent of the country's grim total. It's kind of insane to break it down that way, considering we are one country.

OUTFRONT now the Democratic Governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz. He has endorsed Joe Biden for president. And Governor, I appreciate your time. I just want to start by giving you a chance to respond to this. You just heard President Trump, nearly 2,000 people in your state have died so far from coronavirus, when he says just take those numbers out and things are gonna look a whole lot better. What's your response?

GOV. TIM WALZ (D) MINNESOTA: Well, I think their families would think differently. To be honest, Erin, I do not know the political affiliation of my 1,900 neighbors who died. I know that it's my responsibility to do all I can do to mitigate that risk and keep them alive. And it's just unfortunate, but I think we've seen this pattern that the President has said he takes no responsibility and he left it up to governors to do that and that's what we're trying to do here in Minnesota and we'll continue to do exactly that.

BURNETT: So tonight, President Trump has slammed the CDC Director on two issues; masks and vaccines, saying he's confused, mistaken. Dr. Redfield very clearly laid out that masks are the best option that we've got and may continue to be the best option that we've got and that a vaccine will not be widely available to the American public until mid to late next year.

Those are the facts he laid out very clearly under oath. The President came out and contradicted them. Do you have any doubts in the CDC Director?

WALZ: No, none. Maybe many of your viewers may know we're home to the Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota. We have a proud tradition of following science, scientists in a belief system, it just is. And Dr. Redfield is correct. We have a statewide mask mandate and we have surrounding states that do not in their case, positivity rates are higher.

But what I would say to that is, this is not a competition with the surrounding states, because our citizens visit back and forth and the lack of a federal - national response has really complicated this.

[19:24:58]

But no, I do not disagree with him and we're one of four pilot states that are looking in what it's going to take to deliver a vaccine because your previous guest is exactly right, the whole hype (ph) or coldness of this, the supply chain issues need to be looked at. I think he's right on, on his timeline from everything we see.

BURNETT: So Governor, Joe Biden and President Trump are visiting your state on Friday for campaign events. You've asked both of them to follow your rules, all right, and your rules include and I want you to please correct me if I'm wrong, because his campaign is going to be on few moments after you.

The gatherings cannot exceed 250 people, social distancing of six feet must be maintained. Mandatory face masks for indoor events and outdoor events strongly encouraged for mask wearing. The President's event is going to be at an airport hangar, half open, people likely forced to be crowded together.

We've certainly seen that in recent days. He has not honored mask requirements in other states. We've seen this again and again, as our viewers see on the screen, packed, no mask, no social distancing, far exceeding 250 people. Do you expect him to listen to you and respect your rules?

WALZ: Well, before I did this job, I'm a public school teacher, so I am the eternal optimist. I certainly hope he does. We send it to both campaigns. And what you said, all of those things are correct, Erin. And that's what's allowed us to open back up our businesses and keep them open. It's what's allowed us to get a lot of our kids back into school. It's what's allowed us to return to somewhat of normalcy because we are doing those things that the CDC, the World Health Organization, the Mayo Clinic and everyone else is saying makes a difference.

So if you're going to come to Minnesota and ask for people's votes, prove to us you care about us and partner with us to beat this thing and that's all we're asking them.

BURNETT: So in just a few moments, as I mentioned, I'm going to be talking to a top member of the Trump campaign. If he's listening right now, what would you like to tell him?

WALZ: Well, Minnesotans are proud. I encourage people - proud of our political involvement. We always rank first in voter turnout. I encourage people to get involved and I certainly have a preference in Vice President Biden. But if you want to do this, then do it the right way.

The President has said that governors need to be in charge. Our policies are working. They're making a difference and I would just ask them, certainly we want you to come. We want you to try and get your message out, but do so in a manner that doesn't put people at risk and certainly don't flaunt the idea.

Deborah Birx was just out here, the President's advisor on coronavirus. She praised us on our mitigation measures, but told us the upper Midwest is in danger of seeing a spike in these cases. So just - also I'm asking for is be our partner in keeping Minnesotans safe.

BURNETT: So before we go, Big Ten College Football is coming back, obviously, significant for your state. It is something the President aggressively pushed for. He took a victory lap over in tonight's briefing. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I want to congratulate Big Ten Football. It's back. I called the commissioner a couple of weeks ago and we started really putting a lot of pressure on frankly because there was no reason for it not to come back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He says he was doing a lot of putting the pressure on, calling the commissioner, does he deserve the credit here?

WALZ: Well, I would certainly hope that the people making this decision and again I say this as a football coach who - my proud accomplishments are state championship. I care about this deeply. I care about Big Ten Football. But these decisions are being made by the people in the best interests of those student athletes.

And I do think it's right what we know about COVID now to reassess where we're at, to see if we can keep folks safe. But again, when you're in a leadership position, you don't just get a claim credit for the good things. You have to take responsibility for those that aren't working so great.

So if we want to play Big Ten football, I would tell President Trump, wear a mask when you're here Friday. Have your supporters wear a mask, so we can cheer on the gophers when they go over beat Penn State. Those are the things that I want to see happen.

BURNETT: All right. Well, we will see OUTFRONT next, I will be talking to his campaign manager. Thank you so much. I appreciate your time, Gov. Walz.

And next, the White House has a new health care plan that will be out in weeks. So why does no one seems to know anything about it?

Plus, we're learning new details about the serious symptoms a previously healthy woman came down with after getting the second dose of the vaccine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:33:05]

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, the president again teasing a new health care plan, something he has been doing for months. Realizing Election Day is coming, he has promised a plan. He promised it would be signed and sealed years ago. But now, obviously, we are just weeks away from Election Day and he says it is ready to go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can do new health care.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: But you've been promising a new health care plan. I interviewed you in June of last year. You said the health care plan would come in two weeks. You told Chris Wallace this summer it would come in three weeks. You promised an executive order --

TRUMP: I have it already, I have it already.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you've been trying to strike down preexisting conditions.

TRUMP: It doesn't matter. I have it already, and it's a much better plan for you and it's a much better plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: When asked exactly what the plan is that he says is much better, the president did not offer any details. And today, three of the administration's senior health officials say they do not know either.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADM. BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, DHS: I'm not involved in the replacement plan. I don't know what that is.

DR. BOB KADLEC, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE, DHS: It's not in my portfolio. I've been so busy with the other things, I have no awareness of that.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: It's really not in my main lane, but I'm not aware of one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Trump campaign communications director, Tim Murtaugh.

And I appreciate your time. Thank you so much, Tim.

So, the president, you know, keeps saying his health care plan is coming out. It's better than anything else out there. His chief of staff says it will be rolled out before the election.

Obviously, this has been promised since day one and we still don't have any specifics. He was asked in the town hall last night, did not provide any.

Is this real or just an empty campaign promise?

TIM MURTAUGH, TRUMP CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Of course, it's real. And thank you very much for having me on, Erin, first of all.

But let's remember, we were all told as Americans that Obamacare had fixed everything and that if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, and if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. That was ruled the lie of the year by PolitiFact. And what happened? Premiums keep rising. People's plans got cancelled and they lost their doctors.

President Trump has a real record of actually improving things with health care.

[19:35:03]

He has lowered prescription drug prices. He has introduced competition in the marketplace. And actually Obamacare premiums have come down over the course of the last two years for the first time, and he got rid of the hated individual mandate which, by the way, Joe Biden says he would put back on.

So, I'm not going to get ahead of the White House and their plans for the announcement. I think you heard the chief of staff say today -- I don't know why anybody would trust Congress to be able to get to anything done. They can't even pass the latest coronavirus relief package.

So, there's indication that the president would be doing things with executive powers to do that. So, there's every indication that it is ready to go, and I will defer to White House on that.

I would also point out, Erin, that Joe Biden's health care plan, acknowledgment that health care never really work. His is a march towards socialized medicine and would, in fact, ultimately eliminate the private health insurance for 180 million Americans in rural hospitals risk of bankruptcy.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: The only thing I'm going to say -- I understand you don't like the plan.

MURTAUGH: It's a question of --

BURNETT: Tim, I'm merely pointing out that you don't have a plan. The president has said for three years, he's going have to a plan. It's going to be better.

I understand the criticisms of Obamacare. We've all heard them. We've all dealt with it. But, you know, you got rid of it and there's been no plan to replace it and no specifics.

Why is it taking so long? Why is it now going to come right before Election Day?

MURTAUGH: Well, I mean, again, I have to defer to the White House on the details of the plan and when it's coming out. But the president's record he has already established in offering lower insulin for low income -- lower priced insulin for lower income people, and EpiPens for people in low income brackets, driving down the price of prescription drugs, allowing prescription drugs to be imported from other countries, driving down Obamacare premiums, and getting rid of the individual mandate which was unconstitutional, forcing people to buy a product they didn't want or perhaps didn't need.

All of those things build a much better health care record than anything Joe Biden can offer. He was there when Obamacare was created. It was obviously a failure. And now, his plan is a march towards taking away the private health care for 180 million people. That's not the direction we want to go.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Again, I just point out, you may be -- you may be correct about that, but at least Joe Biden has a plan out there. President Trump has promised one for three years. If there was a plan, we would have seen it by now. I mean, pretty obvious, right?

MURTAUGH: I mean, I think we've gone over this question a couple of times now and I'm not going to get ahead of the White House. The president has already built a health care record that is leaps and bounds better than Joe Biden's because he was there and helped build Obamacare, which we know was a failure. And now, he is proposing a march toward socialism.

Look at what his health care plan would do to rural hospitals because of Medicare reimbursement rates --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I'm merely going to say I don't think it's fair to the conversation when you say his plan is bad when you don't have your own to defend. So, as you said, we've talked about this a couple of times --

(CROSSTALK)

MURTAUGH: I'm telling you the president's record already is on health care. He already has a very strong record --

BURNETT: And you did layout -- I know the point you wanted to make on that.

I want to ask you about something you are intimately involved in which is the president heading to Minnesota on Friday for a campaign event. I don't know if you heard but we just spoke to the governor there, Governor Walz, and he was very clear. He said: I get a message for you, he said, I would tell the president to wear a mask, have your supporters to wear a mask. That is the regulation in his state, of course, gathering to not exceed 250 people, masks six feet, social distancing.

Are you going to comply with those regulations?

MURTAUGH: At every one of the president's events, we conduct a temperature check for everyone who goes in. We hand out masks, encourage people to wear them, and we have hand sanitizer more than any group of people could ever possibly use.

But I would point out that it's dangerous when you're picking and choosing whose First Amendment rights are protected. Governor Walz had no problem with the people protesting in the streets of Minneapolis and elsewhere in Minnesota, and didn't express concern about social distancing or masks at that time.

And also I would point out that people burning down the buildings and small businesses in Minneapolis I suspect were not social distancing at the time. And so if people can protest in the streets by the tens of thousands, if people can riot, if people can gamble in casinos, then certainly, they can gather peaceably under the First Amendment to hear from the president of the United States.

BURNETT: So --

MURTAUGH: And this event coming up in Minnesota is in an airplane hangar, as I saw you mentioned.

BURNETT: Yeah.

MURTAUGH: It's going to be largely outdoors, and we take great health and safety precautions for the people who attend.

But the people who attend President Trump's rally also have First Amendment rights.

BURNETT: So, one thing that's frustrated about this, and I understand the point you make about hypocrisy and there was -- there was plenty of it going around at the time. But one thing is how do multiple wrongs ever add up to a right? We know the science.

[19:40:01]

We know that masks work. We know it, right? It isn't -- so just because somebody else jumped off a bridge doesn't mean that you should too.

The CDC director's been so loud and clear about this, again even today. Here's what he said, Tim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REDFIELD: We have clear scientific evidence they work and they are our best defense. I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: How can you hear that and not beg your supporters to wear them?

MURTAUGH: Well, the president has encouraged Americans to wear masks. He's done it many times from the very White House press briefing room where you saw him speaking earlier. And as well we were talking about the vaccine, the president wants the

vaccine out for the health and safety of Americans as quickly as possible. There's no question of that.

I'll tell you what is reckless is when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris purposefully try to scare people away from taking the vaccine, by casting doubt on its safety and, in fact, targeting minority communities for that misinformation, telling black people and Latino who is we know are at greater risk through the coronavirus crisis, telling them they should be afraid of a vaccine, they themselves never actually answering a question would you take the vaccine?

BURNETT: Well, Joe Biden has said he trusts the vaccine, that he would take the vaccine. He said that.

MURTAUGH: Joe Biden has made this into a political issue and has purposefully tried to scare people away from the vaccine. That is extremely reckless behavior to try to convince Americans that they should be suspicious of the vaccine that all of the doctors involved say has never been the subject of any political pressure.

It is Joe Biden who has turned this into a political issue and is trying to frighten people away from a potentially life-saving vaccine. It's reckless and he's only doing it because he believes it helps him politically.

BURNETT: OK. Let me ask you one other thing that I want to try to give you a chance to respond to, and that is what the president did today on Twitter. He shared a fake video which Twitter labeled it, manipulated. The video actually, Tim, I know if you've seen it, but it appears to show Joe Biden listen to the NWA song "F the Police." In the real video, Biden was not listening to that song at all. He was listening to the song "Despacito".

He also, then the president retweeted another video of Biden with the #pedobiden, which is playing off a QAnon conspiracy about pedophilia.

How is this appropriate for either of these things to happen, to share a fake video that's just blatantly wrong and a conspiracy theory involving pedophilia?

MURTAUGH: You call it a fake video. What it is, it's an Internet meme. And he was trying to make the point. You know, we know that Joe Biden --

BURNETT: Well, I mean, Biden didn't do it. It may be a meme, but it's not what he did.

MURTAUGH: It's an Internet -- it's an Internet meme. And, you know, those are very frequently done to make a political point. And in this case, it is that Joe Biden is a prisoner of the extreme antipolice wing of the Democrat Party. We know that.

He has sided with the rioters and against the police many times and in fact blame police for inciting the violence in Portland. And so, as you said, the title of the song is "F the Police." That is

exactly what these left wing protesters have been chanting in the streets, in cities all across America, and it's those same protesters --

BURNETT: Tim --

MURTAUGH: -- who, for example, were blocking the driveway to a hotel in Los Angeles, saying that they hope that the L.A. sheriff's deputies who were shot out there and ambushed, we hope they die.

BURNETT: OK. That is horrific. That is horrific. But for you to -- that is a horrific thing and we all agree on that. But for you to equate that with Joe Biden I think is deeply unfair. I mean, I have a quote from him in June, no, I don't support defunding the police. No, I don't support defunding the police. That's very clear.

(CROSSTALK)

MURTAUGH: Joe Biden -- Joe Biden admitted -- he admitted to a liberal activists that, yes, he would support it. He actually said yes, absolutely, I would support redirecting funding away from the police to other government programs.

He has not been able to stand up to the antipolice wing of his party. He has never called out the violence for what it is -- left wing protesters who are aligned with the most extreme elements of his party. These are the people who are in the streets chanting "F the police". That is the point of that video, and it's one that the president retweeted.

And the biggest problem is for Joe Biden. Why does he represent a party that has so many people who are in charge of the party and driving decision making in his party, why are those people out in the streets chanting, F the police? This is an issue -- I'm glad you bring this happy to talk about this all day long. Joe Biden represents the antipolice wing --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: No, Joe Biden has said he doesn't support defunding the police. And if you want to make an equation the way you're making one, if you want to judge him by people who are chanting we hope they die, then you would judge the people by the people accusing him of being a pedophile. I mean, you have -- that's absurd to put anybody by their pool (ph).

[19:45:01]

OK. So, that's the only thing that --

MURTAUGH: No, when Joe Biden is asked the direct question, can't we agree that we would redirect funding away from police, and he says, yes, absolutely, then he absolutely owns that position. This is not something that's vague or that we're trying to somehow sideways attach to Joe Biden. He answered the question directly on videotape by a liberal activist who, by the way, spoke at the Democratic National Convention. That's how much they think of this person's involvement in their party.

And nowhere, nowhere during the entire Democratic National Convention did anyone condemn the rioting. All we've heard from Joe Biden is he calls the rioters in this city or that peaceful protesters and he blamed federal law enforcement officers --

BURNETT: Joe Biden has condemned the violence. He has condemned the violence.

MURTAUGH: A blanket condemnation of violence, which of course everyone agrees with. He has never identified the people causing the violence as left wing violent mob, which is what they are. We know that.

There are a lot -- you think those are Trump supporters setting fires to buildings in Portland, Oregon, seriously?

BURNETT: All right. Tim, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

MURTAUGH: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, troubling new details emerging tonight about what happened to one woman taking part in a coronavirus vaccine trial. And a story you don't want to miss about what one man is doing amid what is quickly becoming a deadly side effect of the pandemic.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, new details about the illness that halted a key vaccine trial in its final stage before approval. CNN obtaining an internal document from AstraZeneca that confirms a previously healthy woman in her 30s was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder after her second dose of the vaccine.

Elizabeth Cohen has the details OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has obtained an internal document from vaccine maker AstraZeneca detailing why the pharmaceutical giant paused its worldwide clinical trial for their COVID vaccine last week. At first, all we knew was a study participant had a spinal cord problem.

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: With an abundance of caution, at a time like this, you put a clinical hold, investigate carefully to see if anyone else might have had had a similar finding of a spinal cord problem.

COHEN: But now, this internal AstraZeneca document shows more was known about the illness than was said at the time.

After the pause was announced, "The New York Times" reported that a trial participant had been diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disorder that can cause muscle weakness and even paralysis.

As that news reported, the AstraZeneca CEO said in an investors call that the participant had symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis.

[19:50:01]

AstraZeneca then called reports of confirmed traverse myelitis incorrect and said there was no final diagnosis.

But AstraZeneca's own internal initial safety report obtained by CNN says the participant had, quote, experienced confirmed transverse myelitis and, quote, symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis.

The report describes how the participant, a 37-year-old woman in the U.K., was previously healthy. She had two doses of the coronavirus vaccine about 2-1/2 months apart. Then on September 2nd, 13 days after that second dose, while running, she had a trip, not a fall with a jolt, according to the report. The next day she experienced symptoms including difficulty walking, pain and weakness in her arms.

On September 5th, she was hospitalized and a neurologist noted her symptoms were improving. Citing patients confidentiality, AstraZeneca declined to provide more details about the woman's case, so did the University of Oxford, which is running the trials in the U.K.

On September 11th, AstraZeneca distributed report to doctors involved with the study. That same day the University of Oxford updated this online patient information sheet that says volunteer the trial developed unexplained neurological symptoms including changed sensation or limb weakness. It does not mention myelitis.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: We're not being provided any details. This is creating a lot of confusion.

COHEN: On Saturday, AstraZeneca announced clinical trials had resumed in the U.K. But in the United States the clinical trial remains on hold and under preview.

Dr. Anthony Fauci tells CNN it's a matter of time before trials restart in the U.S. and when they do, investigators need to be careful and watch out for similar symptoms. AstraZeneca says it's committed to the safety of trial participants and highest standards of conduct in their studies, telling CNN: The company will continue to work with health authorities across the world, including the FDA and the U.S., and be guided when other clinical trials can resume.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COHEN: Now, I spoke with Dr. Fauci yesterday. He considers this a one off this woman's illness but he said if does happen again among the study participants, that's an entirely different situation -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Elizabeth.

And next, how the pandemic is fueling the opioid crisis and what one man is trying to do to save those suffering. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:55:35]

BURNETT: The American Medical Association warning that opioid deaths are up in more than 40 states since the pandemic began and a crisis one man has taken on by transforming his school by those battling addiction. He's tonight's champion for change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOUG NASELROAD, DIRECTOR, APPALACHIAN SCHOOL OF LUTHIERY: There's a lot of beauty in southeastern Kentucky. We have a saying around here that every holer (ph) is a home to someone's weary soul. Troublesome Creek got its name for the most obvious reasons. In rainy times, it tears up bridges and roads when it gets really, really angry.

Well, it's a pretty good metaphor at the downturn of the coal industry, taking away the good jobs and, of course, the opioid epidemic.

I am a master luthier. Luthiery is the art of string instrument- making. Hindman, Knott County, Kentucky, is considered by many to be the birthplace of the mountain dulcimer. When I first came down to establish the Appalachian school of Luthiery in 2012, and then came Earl.

EARL MOORE, INSPIRED CULTURE OF RECOVERY PROGRAM: When I did my first OxyContin, I felt like it would ease the pain and make it easier for me. The pain from failures, not believing in myself, I was in jail for nine months. I've been through five different drug treatment facilities.

I had a love for woodwork and I never had a love for guitars.

NASELROAD: He said, I need you to teach me how to make guitars. I said, well, that's no problem. That's what we do.

He said you don't understand, I need to come and do this.

MOORE: I was probably headed for the death that time. How many more chances did you get in life?

NASELROAD: There was come discussion about the wisdom of bringing people of addiction into our studios.

MOORE: He's like we're going to give you a chance. Don't let us down.

What was supposed to be a one-year residence turned into a six-year relationship.

I built over 70 instruments at this point.

Art releases something deep inside of you you don't know you have and woodworking, I was able to see the flaws and turn them into features. I grew my self-confidence and I'm still sober eight years later. NASELROAD: We actually took our experience with Earl and used that as

a spring line. The staff of the Appalachian Artisan Center created the culture of recovery program which was designed to host people in recovery in our studios, our blacksmith, pottery and luthiery studios.

We don't do the difficult work recovery centers do. We don't take people in that need to go through detox. They do that, and heroically. What we do is except people into our studios when they've phased into a place where that's useful to them.

ANTHONY CARTER, STUDENT, CULTURE OF RECOVERY PROGRAM: I've never really completed anything before in my life, and it's actually turned out to be a pretty nice piece of the artwork.

JUDGE KIMBERLEY CHILDERS, KENTUCKY CIRCUIT COURT: With my drug court clients that participate in the program, the recidivism rate is very low, I would consider it to be 10 percent or less. They are learning skills, they're learning patience, they're building relationships and they're going to have a finished product in their hand.

NASELROAD: Troublesome Creek String Company is an extension of our school to allow us to bring people from the recovery community into full-time employment.

MOORE: My life today is bigger than I ever dreamed imaginable. I went back and got a master's degree in network security -- from an addict to director of information technology.

So, today, I get to work with addicts. It's amazing to see people's lives change.

Doug believed in me. He was able to show me a lot of things that I couldn't see in myself. I feel like God put Doug in this town.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And don't miss CNN's one-hour "Champions for Change" special. It is Saturday night at 10:00 Eastern with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

Thanks so much to all of you for joining us.

"AC360" with Anderson starts now.