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President Trump Claims He's Negative for COVID As He Returns to Campaigning; Trump Campaign Pushing to have Second Debate Reinstated; Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing Begins. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 12, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: President Trump holds his first campaign rally tonight since being diagnosed with coronavirus.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: And in only a few hours, Senate confirmation hearings begin for Trump's pick to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. We'll have a preview. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, this is EARLY START, I'm Boris Sanchez in for Christine Romans.

JARRETT: Always great to have you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Thank you, Laura.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett, it's Monday, October 12th, it's 5:00 a.m. here in New York, just 22 days until election day. But we begin this morning with President Trump headed back on the campaign trail today with serious questions still remaining about his health. With the time line of his infection still murky, Trump told his supporters, Sunday, he's tested quote, "totally negative" for the virus, but yet, neither he nor his doctor have provided any evidence to back that up. Instead, he's misrepresenting his chances of re-infection and underplaying the risk of spreading COVID to anyone else. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's like, I'm immune. So, I can go way out of a basement to which I would have done anyway, and which I did, because you have to run a country. You have to get out of the basement, and it looks like I'm immune for -- I don't know, maybe a long time or maybe a short time. It could be a lifetime. Nobody really knows, but I'm immune, so the president is in very good shape.


JARRETT: Today, the president stages his first rally since being diagnosed in the coronavirus hot spot state of Florida. We get more now from White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Laura and Boris. President Trump is heading back to the campaign trail, hitting a trio of battleground states, beginning today in Florida. Tomorrow, the president is going to go to the battleground state of Pennsylvania before heading to Iowa on Wednesday. Now, President Trump heading back on to the campaign trail after the president's physician says that he has recovered from the coronavirus.

Also saying that the president is no longer infectious. Now, the president himself claimed that he had gotten a negative test for coronavirus, but the president's physician, Dr. Sean Conley didn't exactly say that. Instead he said simply that the president's latest molecular test for coronavirus showed that he is no longer infectious, that he can't infect other people. But he did not say that the president had tested negative for the virus. But nonetheless, the president and his campaign are seizing on the letter from Dr. Sean Conley to say that, that second debate that had been cancelled by the Commission on Presidential Debates after President Trump withdrew from that second debate.

The president's campaign are calling for that to be reinstated, saying the president should be able to participate after he's been cleared by his doctor to resume public activity. But another controversy is hitting the president and his team on Sunday. Dr. Anthony Fauci putting out a statement to CNN after the Trump campaign aired this misleading ad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump tackled the virus head on as leaders should.



DIAMOND: Now, Dr. Fauci saying in a statement to CNN, "in my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate. The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials." Now, it is clear from looking at that interview which was taped all the way back in March in the early months of this pandemic, that Dr. Fauci was indeed referring to the members of the coronavirus taskforce and other public health officials. But nonetheless, the president and his campaign standing by the ad.

The president noting that these are Dr. Fauci's own words. Of course, what is notable here is that the president and his re-election campaign seem to realize that the president is getting bad marks on his handling of the coronavirus. Nearly, six in ten Americans have said in recent polls that they disapprove of the president's handling of the virus, and what's also clear is that the campaign is using Dr. Fauci's image and his words here because Fauci is far more trusted by the public on this issue of coronavirus than the president is himself. Laura, Boris. SANCHEZ: Jeremy Diamond, thank you for that. In Florida, where

President Trump is set to hold that rally tonight, 5,000 new coronavirus were reported over the weekend, meantime, at least, nine people who attended a crowded Trump rally in Minnesota last month have since tested positive for the virus. Right now, more than 30 states across the country are seeing cases spike. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro has more.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura and Boris, fears of a new coronavirus peak in the United States are growing in some corners as new cases are on the rise in 30 states. This country has now reported 50,000 new cases for four consecutive days. The first time that's happened since August. The former CDC Director Tom Frieden told CNN over the weekend that a second wave is not inevitable, but he added that the new cases mean a lot of tragedy is coming in the next few weeks.


THOMAS FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: The only thing that's really inevitable is what's going to happen in the next couple of weeks, and from the infections that have already occurred, we will see something like 20,000 deaths by the end of the month. Additional deaths. Anytime we ignore, minimize or underestimate this virus, we do so at our peril, and the peril of people whose lives depend on us. We still have within ourselves, within our communities, within our society, the ability to turn this around. And if you look around the world, the parts of the world and even the parts of the U.S. that have been guided by public health and have supported public health have done better.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Frieden's words about the urgent need for people to follow infection mitigation guidelines ring especially true here in New York City. This was once the worst place in America for the pandemic. But in recent months, it's seeing those numbers come way down, and the picture has been pretty good, until recent weeks, that is. Numbers are now on the rise in several New York City neighborhoods. The infection rate in those areas is now six times the overall state number. That number is concerning. Boris and Laura.

JARRETT: Evan, thank you for that report. The effort to fast-track President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett officially begins in earnest later today as her Senate confirmation hearing gets underway. If Barrett is confirmed to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she would cement the court's conservative majority for generations to come. CNN's Lauren Fox has more on what we can expect today on Capitol Hill.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Laura and Boris, this is the opening day of Amy Coney Barrett's nomination hearing on Capitol Hill, and it's really the first time that Democrats are going to have to be able to grill the nominee. Now, the first day of hearings is really all about lawmakers setting the table, making those opening statements. We expect that Senator Lindsay Graham, the chairman will set off this hearing with his own statement, followed by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee. Then every member of the Judiciary Committee will have ten minutes to make an opening statement.

After that, Amy Coney Barrett will be introduced, sworn in, and then we expect that she will make a statement, which CNN has obtained. She'll say in part, quote, "there is a tendency in our profession to treat the practice of law as all-consuming, while losing sight of everything else, but that makes for a shallow and unfulfilling life. I worked hard as a lawyer and as a professor. I owed that to my clients, my students, and myself. But I never let the law define my identity or crowd out the rest of my life." Now, overshadowing these hearings of course have been questions about who will actually show up in person.

That's because two members of this committee, two members of the Judiciary Committee, both Republican Thom Tillis and Mike Lee of Utah both tested positive for coronavirus more than a week ago. We know that Senator Lee is expected to announce today whether or not he plans to attend this hearing in person. Today and the rest of the week, we also expect that Thom Tillis will be signing in virtually, however, he said last week, he planned to attend the hearing in person on Thursday. That is a critical day because that's the day that Senator Lindsey Graham needs a quorum, meaning he can't have both Lee and Tillis absent for a critical vote. If those members are missing, it puts into jeopardy whether or not Republicans will be able to push this nomination forward before election day. Laura and Boris.

SANCHEZ: All right, Laura, thank you for that. The confirmation hearings begin at 9:00 a.m., you won't want to miss them here on CNN. Speaking of the Supreme Court, the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sticking by his refusal to say whether he would seek to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court so he could appoint a few of his own, also known as court packing. Biden's unstated stance drawing outrage from Republicans.


RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: His refusing to answer about whether he's going to pack the Supreme Court, upending 150 years of our judicial standards, and he's saying I'll tell you after the election, this is egregious that this candidate is getting away with this.


SANCHEZ: Our political reporter Arlette Saenz has more from Washington.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Boris and Laura, Joe Biden and his campaign continue to deflect on the question of whether the former vice president supports adding more justices to the Supreme Court. This comes as Republicans and President Trump are trying to make this into a campaign issue heading into November.


Now, on Sunday, deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield appeared on CNN and called this line of attack a distraction from the Trump campaign. Take a listen.


KATE BEDINGFIELD, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR BIDEN 2020 CAMPAIGN: This is a distraction that they want to throw out, this is a hypothetical that they want to throw out right now to distract from the fact that they are trying to ram through a nominee who, as I said, is going to change the makeup of the court against the will of the American people. They don't want to talk about that. So, they're trying to create a distraction and, you know, send folks down a rabbit hole talking about this.


SAENZ: Now, during the Democratic primary, Joe Biden opposed packing the Supreme Court. And there has not been any public indication just yet that his mind has changed on that position. But Biden has insisted that he will not answer this question until after the election, calling it a distraction from the issues at hand. Now, later today, Joe Biden is heading to the battleground state of Ohio where recent polls have shown a tight race between President Trump and Joe Biden. This comes just four years after President Trump won Ohio by about 8 points. And Biden is seeking to make that state competitive as he gets closer to the November election. Laura and Boris.

JARRETT: Arlette, thank you so much. Stimulus negotiations in Washington still at a standstill. Democrats and Republicans agree on one thing, more is needed to help struggling Americans, but many at this point think a deal won't happen until after the November election. Over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed President Trump's $1.8 trillion proposal. But White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow believes there's still hope for another package with a price tag closer to what Pelosi has proposed.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Secretary Mnuchin is up to $1.8 trillion. So, the bid and the offer is narrowing somewhat between the two sides. President Trump actually has always said -- I mean, I've heard him say it in the Oval, as far as the key elements are concerned, the checks, the unemployment assistance, the small business assistance, we've got to help airlines out, he would go further. He's always said that.


JARRETT: One of the problems here is that Senate Republicans who say that they're worried about spiraling debt are pushing back on spending more money. Multiple sources say while the general feeling is that talks with Pelosi should continue, it's clear that the White House plan has virtually no chance of passing the Senate. Meanwhile, in a letter to colleagues, Pelosi called the White House's offer grossly inadequate, adding quote, "it's hard to understand who is shaping their approach which to date has been miserable and a deadly failure." Kudlow said negotiations would continue this week.

SANCHEZ: A deadly shooting and near dueling protests in Denver, we're going to break down what happened next.



SANCHEZ: The suspect in a deadly shooting during clashes between protesters in Denver this weekend is being held without bail on suspicion of first-degree murder. Police say 30-year-old Matthew Dolloff was not a licensed private security guard despite having identified himself as one. CNN's Natasha Chen has more.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As two rival protests in Denver's civic center park were about to end on Saturday afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's important to be able to show our free speech rights.

CHEN: CNN affiliate, "KMGH" says this gunshot was heard in the middle of their interview. The station's footage then shows police running towards someone on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I turned around and I saw the two, the victim and the suspect facing each other very close range like 2 feet or arm's distance, and he already had his arms up at the moment I turned around.

CHEN: Police say 30-year-old Matthew Dolloff was taken into custody and another man was shot, later pronounced dead at the hospital. Police say Dolloff was being held on investigation of first-degree murder. Another CNN affiliate, "KUSA 9 News" says the person taken into custody was a private security guard contracted by the station. A "9 News" story on this incident says, quote, "it has been the practice of "9 News" for a number of months to contract private security to accompany staff at protests."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wondering what possible explanation. There didn't seem to be an altercation. There wasn't any yelling coming from that way.

CHEN: But Denver police say there was a verbal altercation.

JOE MONTOYA, DIVISION CHIEF OF INVESTIGATIONS, DENVER POLICE DEPARTMENT: A firearm was discharged. Individual was shot and later pronounced deceased. There were two guns recovered at the scene.

CHEN: Along with a canister of pepper spray. Denver police have since confirmed on Twitter that the person in custody is a security guard, not affiliated with Antifa. MONTOYA: We don't want any erroneous information going out, any

speculation because that's really what hurts us, and that's what gets everybody angry and motivated to commit more violence, and that's what we're trying to prevent.

CHEN: Denver police had the help of at least three sheriff's departments on Saturday, and said they went to great lengths to separate the Patriot rally from the counter protest which organizers called a BLM, Antifa soup drive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rally was supposed to be about basically understanding what was happening with the police brutality within the United States of America. And now it resolved in this, this is -- this is not OK.

CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.


JARRETT: Natasha, thank you so much for that. Well, LeBron James is celebrating his fourth NBA title this morning. We've got the "BLEACHER REPORT" for you next.



SANCHEZ: It's nearly a full calendar year, but the Los Angeles Lakers is celebrating their first championship in a decade. Carolyn Manno has this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT", and Carolyn, you might call me a sore loser or a salty Miami Heat fan, but I saw a lot of Lakers fans not social distancing last night outside the Staples Center.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Oh, boo Boris, come on. Even the Heat fan --

SANCHEZ: I'm going to boo during these highlights --


MANNO: Even the Heat fans can congratulate what the Lakers had done. You mentioned it, it's been crazy, 350 days and more since the season began, and now the Lakers, sorry, Boris, punched, are waving a historic year in style. A 17 franchise title that ties with Los and Celtics for the most in league history. Miami put up a great fight, they were like -- credit to Jimmy Butler, but LeBron James and company robbing the Heat by 13 in game six.

James earning the finals MVP title in his first championship with the Lakers. His fourth title overall. You know, he missed the Playoffs in his first season with L.A., he's won a bit of a chip on his shoulder after some have questioned whether the aging star is still the best player in the league. But after the game, he sent a message to those who have wondered whether he and General Manager Rob Pelinka had coach Frank Vogel and the rest of the team would get this done.



LEBRON JAMES, FORWARD, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: We just want our respect, Rob wants his respect, coach Vogel wants his respect, our organization want their respect, Laker nation want their respect, and I want my damn respect too.


MANNO: The victory, bittersweet, coming nearly nine months after Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter Gianna and seven others. Kobe very much on the minds of fans as they took to the streets of L.A. chanting his name. And you know, while the NBA's bubble was largely considered a success, coronavirus rules in the NFL continues. Positive tests for the Patriots and the Titans wreaking havoc on the schedule at this point, they're nearly five weeks in the season, eight games have been rescheduled and really bad news for Dallas fans last night.

This was tough to watch, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott underwent surgery last night after suffering a gruesome ankle injury against the Giants. Prescott who has never missed a game in his five-year career fighting back tears when he was taken off the field on a cart. He is in the final year of his contract, hoping to sign one of those mega deals like the one Patrick Mahomes signed for half a billion dollars. While Prescott's road to recovery is just beginning here, this moment for Alex Smith is a long-time coming and some didn't even think it would happen.

After two years of recovery and 17 surgeries on his broken leg, the Washington quarterback made his return to the field on Sunday, relieving starter Kyle Allen just before half-time. Doctors feared Smith wouldn't even walk again, but he is back playing in the NFL, a very emotional moment for him and his family who gave him a standing ovation from the stands. Washington falling to the Rams by 20. Meantime, a second NFL head coach has been fired. The Falcons dismissing Dan Quinn along with GM Thomas Dimitroff after Sunday's home-loss to the Panthers, left the team winless on the season so far. The move coming less than four years after the Falcons had a 28 lead in the Super Bowl. They lost that to the Patriots, and it has been downhill for that organization ever since.

And Rafael Nadal making history Sunday, in Paris, winning the French Open for the 13th time, Rafael Nadal with 23 in slam titles, tying him with Roger Federer for the most ever. It was Nadal's 100th win at Roland-Garros. He has only lost there twice. And Laura, that is truly one of the greatest achievements in sports if you think about it, something that Roger Federer noted as such when he congratulated him after. So a very busy weekend in sports.

JARRETT: Yes, definitely, we're celebrating for Nadal. All right, great to see you this morning, Carolyn, thanks so much. Appreciate it. All right, down in the polls, President Trump can't resist getting back on the campaign trail. He's claiming he's now totally recovered from coronavirus, but can he dig himself out of this hole he's created with voters? We're going to break it all down next.