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New Day Saturday

U.S. Postal Service Warns States of Potential Mail-in Ballot Delays; Trump Refuses to Answer Question About QAnon While Backing Candidate who Promotes its Baseless Theories; U.S. Recorded 64,201 new COVID-19 Cases, 1,336 Related Deaths on Friday; Kamala Harris' Former Howard Classmate Reacts to Joe Biden's VP Pick; Expert Says Human Challenge Trials "Unethical" and Treat People "Like Laboratory Animals"; Expert Says Human Challenge Trials "Unethical" And Treat People "Like Laboratory Animals"; Study: Extreme Workouts Could Make You More Susceptible to COVID-19; Millions of Americans Remain Unemployed Amid COVID-19 Crisis. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 15, 2020 - 06:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a 31-year postal employee. I've never seen these type of tests (ph) being put in place.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now is not the time to be cutting back services.

TRUMP: But if they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's undemocratic, it's un-American and it's Donald Trump's fault. He's trying to do everything he can to tilt the election into his favor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New potentially promising developments in the search for a coronavirus vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A challenge trial is where you intentionally put the virus literally up their noses and you see how well the vaccine works.

WILLIAM HASELTINE, FMR. PROFESSOR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL AND HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: I consider it to be unnecessary, uninformative and unethical. Basically it's treating people like laboratory animals.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul. VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Live look at the White House this morning. Good Saturday morning to you. Let's start this morning with the uncertainty as we head closer to the presidential election. The U.S. Postal Service says that in most states, nearly all states mail- in ballots may not make it in time to be counted, but as it faces the pressure over cutbacks, the Post Office has agreed to stop removing mailboxes in western states.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And this morning in the fight against the coronavirus, more than 1,300 Americans died yesterday and now the American Heart Association is saying COVID related heart damage is worse than they thought.

BLACKWELL: And there's this rebuke from a former Harvard Med School professor. He calls the vaccine challenge trial the government is considering -- you're going to hear more about that in just a moment -- unnecessary, uninformative and unethical.

PAUL: We want to start with the threat to the U.S. Postal Service across the country this morning, though. Last night, the Post Office agreed that it would stop removing boxes in 16 western states and part of two others until after the election.

BLACKWELL: But boxes have already been removed in New York and Oregon and Montana and Indiana and the Post Service says that workers, or at least told workers, in four other states it will be cutting hours of retail operation. Here's CNN's Jessica Schneider.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: When Florida holds its primary election on Tuesday, President Trump and the first lady will be voting by mail, The couple requesting ballots as President Trump has repeatedly claimed mail-in voting leads to widespread voter fraud.

TRUMP: I said it will end up being fraudulent because if you look at what's happened over the last few weeks, just look at the few instances where this has happened, it's turned out to be fraudulent.

SCHNEIDER: But CNN's fact-checking team has consistently debunked that claim. More states are adopting universal mail-in balloting where ballots are automatically mailed to every registered voter. New Jersey is just the latest state. That makes nine states plus Washington D.C. that will now give all voters the option to vote by mail and most also have in-person voting, known as a hybrid model.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Everybody gets a ballot. So we're going to have a hybrid model in November.

SCHNEIDER: Meanwhile, some voters in Virginia, New Hampshire and D.C. say they are increasingly confused by election information they're receiving in the mail. In D.C., there were erroneous instructions and in New Hampshire and Virginia, the mailers contained errors in the return address.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans race to turn over evidence that proves their claims of mail-in voter fraud in the state's primaries. It will be a pivotal point in a critical battleground state. The Trump campaign has sued to demand changes to Pennsylvania's mail-in balloting process, but now a judge is making them prove there are problems, Democrats saying Republicans should not be permitted to raise such spectacular fraud related claims, particularly in this national climate.

This as the fight over funding at the U.S. Postal Service continues with a new letter from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy obtained by CNN showing the Trump appointee and long-time Republican donor acknowledging some of the recent changes have had unintended consequences impacting the level of service, but DeJoy says the cuts are necessary since the UPSP's financial condition is dire.

TRUMP: People will have to go to the polls and vote like the old days.

SCHNEIDER: CNN has learned the president met with Postmaster DeJoy last week at the height of funding talks as he opposed widespread vote-by-mail.

JENA GRISWOLD, COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE: President Trump is lying about vote-by-mail. he is lying about mail ballots. Colorado has a very clean history of running great elections with vote-by-mail.



SCHNEIDER: We've learned that the internal watchdog for the Postal Service will now review the recent changes made by the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. They include elimination of overtime as well as service slowdowns. The inspector general will also look into whether DeJoy has complied with the federal ethics rules.

Now, this comes after lawmakers from both parties have sounded the alarms on these recent changes, calling them disruptive, but DeJoy has repeatedly denied that the changes are meant to disrupt service, instead saying that the cuts are necessary because of the financial situation the Postal Service is in. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

PAUL: And Jessica, thank you to you. Want to go to White House correspondent Sarah Westwood right now because the president isn't -- president isn't just questioning the security of mail-in voting. So Sarah, we know he's also refused to distance himself from this candidate who's pushing conspiracy theories of her own. What are you hearing this morning? And good morning.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Christi and Victor. And yes, yesterday the president praising Marjorie Taylor Greene, this candidate from Georgia, this Republican candidate who won her congressional primary in Georgia this week. She has openly embraced these QAnon conspiracy theories that have been percolating on the internet, but the president was really focused yesterday on her primary victory and on her popularity in Georgia and when he was pressed on whether he supports the same conspiracy theories that she does, he moved on to another reporter, declined to answer that question.

I want you to take a listen to that exchange from yesterday.


TRUMP: Well, she did very well in the election. She won by a lot. She was very popular. She comes from a great state and she had a tremendous victory, so absolutely I did congratulate her. Please go ahead. Go ahead, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: QAnon in person (ph) and to embrace that conspiracy theory. Do you agree with her on that? That was the question.

TRUMP: Go ahead, please.


WESTWOOD: Now, Greene has said that QAnon conspiracy theories are worth paying attention to, that they're worth listening to and I just want to walk you through some of the things that the QAnon conspiracy theory has embraced. it includes allegations, baseless ones, that high profile people have participated in child sex rings, that the deep state has been trying to sabotage Trump's presidency, there's been conspiracies about mass shootings, about elections and also that 5G is somehow spreading coronavirus.

Again, there's no basis to any of those conspiracy theories, but that's the kind of thing that Marjorie Taylor Greene says is worth paying attention to and that the president had declined to disavow. Of course it's not the first time that the president has openly embraced baseless conspiracy theories. He's done so with birtherism, with a number of other ones.

And also, Greene has become a polarizing figure on capitol hill. Back in the summer when some of her racist comments had resurfaced in media reports, Republican leadership had condemned that kind of rhetoric, but they went ahead and congratulated her on her primary victory. That's a deep red district, so she's very likely to end up representing it on Capitol Hill in November, but some Republicans have been tweeting, disavowing themselves the QAnon conspiracy theory. So she is sure to be a polarizing figure if she does end up in Washington after this election, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, thank you for breaking it down for us this morning.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Sarah. The CDC says that people who have recovered from coronavirus do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to three months.

PAUL: Now, more than 1,300 Americans, as we said, died from the virus just yesterday. CNN's Brynn Gingras is following the very latest. So Brynn, I know the death toll here, the people that have died in the U.S., they topped more than 1,000. I have to use the word "again" behind that as well. BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's a disheartening number, Christi and Victor. Good morning. As you can imagine, the number of deaths that the CDC, other agencies are projecting for the near future, well, those numbers are only going up. The CDC also releasing information about hot spot areas, saying Latino and black communities are being hit the hardest by this virus. This as the White House Task Force's testing expert says the country is doing all it can when it comes to testing.


GINGRAS: The U.S. averaging more than 1,000 deaths a day not for one week or two, but for almost three weeks and now the CDC forecasting by September 5th the country may reach a death toll of nearly 189,000.

BRETT GIROIR, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TESTING CZAR: If there is a good idea, I want to hear it.

GINGRAS: The administration's testing czar Brett Giroir appearing on CNN Friday after health experts challenged his earlier statements ...


GINGRAS: ... that the country is doing an appropriate amount of testing.

ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Right now, we're testing 700,000, 800,000 people, a fraction of the number we need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you say enough has been done, enough has been done to make sure that everyone who needs a test gets a test in this -- in this country?

GIROIR: Everything that can possibly be done has been done. I spend every day trying to increase testing. What I want people to understand, though, is that testing is not the panacea, it is not the answer.


GINGRAS: In Georgia where the state reached its highest death toll this week, the governor is praising his state's testing efforts despite "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" reporting that recommendations from the White House Task Force urged the governor to boost mitigation measures since the state's infection rate is nearly double the national average.

WILLIAM BODDIE (D), GEORGIA STATE HOUSE: You're going to tell me that the data that the governor is looking at and examining is the right data? Because if it is, we wouldn't be in the top five with other states that are twice, three times and four times the size of the state of Georgia.

GINGRAS: California now at a disheartening milestone after taking a one-two punch from the virus, the state recording more cases than any other state in the country, more than 600,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not out of the woods.

GINGRAS: For 53 straight days, Florida counting more than 4,000 new cases daily. There are growing concerns in Illinois which is reporting its highest number of cases since May. One potentially promising note, hospitalizations across the country are declining.

DR. TOM INGELSBY, DIR., CENTER FOR HEALTH SEC., JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: This virus hasn't changed. It's the same as it was before and it's doing very substantial damage to the country. I think we really have to be very focused on mask use, avoiding large gatherings, social distancing, hand hygiene. This plateau we're in now, it's fragile. It could go back in the other direction if people begin to relax.

GINGRAS: This week, the CDC's director told Americans to expect the worst fall we've ever had. It's why many parents and teachers are still grappling with tough decisions when it comes to schools.

MATT CHICCI, ARIZONA TEACHER WHO RESIGNED OVER COVID-19 CONCERNS: So I've got a member of my family that, you know, is at high risk and so if I'm put into a classroom of 30 or more kids, it's a small room, there's one exit, the ventilation isn't all that great for schools.

GINGRAS: In Georgia, one district saw 80 cases of COVID-19 just this week, resulting in the quarantine of more than 1,100 teachers and students, parents there calling on the governor to reevaluate the reopening of schools.


GINGRAS: And new CDC guidance to pediatricians shows that the rate of cases among children, well, it's steadily increasing across this country, which of course possibly tied to, likely tied to more schools reopening. That same guidance shows that kids can get very sick from this virus. In fact, it says if you look at the population of kids, of those hospitalized, one in three are likely to end up in the intensive care unit which, guys, is the same as adults, Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Brynn Gingras for us there in New York. Thank you so much, Brynn. Coming up, the testing of the potential coronavirus, a former Harvard Medical School professor says that these human challenge trials, as they're called, they're known as the controlled infection trials, are unethical and they treat people like laboratory animals. You'll hear more and we'll discuss.

PAUL: Also, Kamala Harris' former classmate at Howard says she saw something in Senator Harris back then that we're going to see as the election plays out now. That classmate's with us next to tell us more about the VP candidate and what to expect from her.





SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESUMPTIVE VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Joe Biden had the audacity to choose a black woman to be his running mate. How incredible is that and what a statement about Joe Biden that he decided that he was going to do that thing that was about breaking one of the most substantial barriers that has existed in our country and that he made that decision with whatever risk that brings. I think as much as anything, it's a statement about the character of the man that we're going to elect as the next president of the United States.


PAUL: There was Senator Kamala Harris obviously in her first interview as the presumptive Democratic vice-presidential nominee, praising there Joe Biden's decision to select her, as such. If elected, she would make history as the first woman, the first African American and Asian-American woman I should say and the first graduate of an historically black university to serve as vice president. She is no stranger to smashing records here. She's been breaking barriers since the 1980s during her time at Howard University.

Harris' classmate and mentor, says she can still see that confidence that she had on the debate team years ago. That former classmate at Howard University, Lita Rosario, is with us now. Good morning, Professor. So good to see you. Thanks for taking time for us this early in the morning. She's an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia. I know it's early.


PAUL: Thank you.

ROSARIO: Pleasure to be here.

PAUL: So glad to have you. I know that you recruited and mentored Senator Harris to join the debate team which was very male dominated at the time.


PAUL: What did you see at her -- in her at that time that you say -- that you said we need to have her on our team?

ROSARIO: Well, I could see -- and I was one of the only women on the team at the time and I could see that she had the ability to stand up to men in particular in the PunchOut. In the Howard University student center, we had a gathering place called the PunchOut where we would gather to eat lunch or out on the yard and there were lots of issues of the day, political issues that were being debated among the students, issues about apartheid, issues about the Martin Luther King holiday.

And I just saw, in Kamala, this strength of conviction and her cogent arguments and her ability to stick in there even when -- you know, men sometimes use their physical, you know, dominance or whatever in a conversation to try to make their point and I saw that she could stand up to that and I think we see that when she's in the Senate Judiciary hearings or other hearings. You can see the tenaciousness that she has and how she'll stick to the point and get to where she needs to go very cogently.


PAUL: Yes. I think you said earlier that men use their physicalness as -- I want to -- I want to get this right ...


PAUL: ... and this was, quote, "Physicalness to make their point" ...


PAUL: ... and because she didn't back down, what does that mean for what we will see from her in the -- in the debate that's coming up with Vice President Pence, that same spirit that you talk about?

ROSARIO: Yes. I think that it means that she's going to stand her ground and she'll be able to use her intelligence and her wit and her knowledge, her intelligence to debate and whatever kind of strength that comes in from him being a male or from him actually being the vice president now isn't going to shake her in her conviction. She will get her points across. I have no doubt about that whatsoever.

PAUL: So I want to read something to you that was written in "The Washington Post" this week saying that, "Harris' selection, without question, will resonate in the homes of hundreds of thousands of HBCU graduates across the country. For most of them, Election Day is now no longer just a critical political event. With Harris on the ticket, it will be a Cause." Notice Cause with a capital C there.

Now, Harris told "The Washington Post" last year, she said, "I became an adult at Howard University. Howard was very directly influenced and reinforced equally important my sense of being and meaning and reasons for being." So she's been very transparent, very proud of what Howard University means to her. What does she mean to Howard and to other HBCUs now in this position?

ROSARIO: Yes. Well, I mean, it's an extreme point of pride. You know, we do have Thurgood Marshall who was on the Supreme Court of the United States and I think it's interesting to note that Kamala and I actually are the children of desegregation. In the early '70s, we were both bussed. I was in a voluntary busing program that my grandmother was affiliated with, but Kamala was likewise in a busing program and we can see the fruits of that.

And all of that stems from Howard University in the beginning from Charles Hamilton Houston training Thurgood Marshall and when you're at Howard, there's a constant stream of speakers that come through. Jesse Jackson was running for president back then, all different types of people, Stokely Carmichael, Toni Morrison, some other graduates and others, Randall Robinson of TransAfrica in the fight against apartheid. They would all come to the university and speak and we would listen and we would take in what they were saying.

Our professors as well would give us a strong sense of what our duty was to the greater society in the context of civil rights and human rights in general. So it created a real nurturing environment to create strong leaders I think. I couldn't even begin to name all of the Howard University graduates who are elected officials across this country from state and local positions to judges all the way up to -- Rushern Baker was the county executive for Prince George's County in Maryland and ran for the governorship of Maryland.

So the first black governor from Virginia, his daughter went to Howard. Desmond Tutu's daughter was at Howard when we were there. So we had this incredible incubator, I would say, for the development of strong leadership at Howard University and at most HBCUs. I mean, we had a strong sense altogether and a strong camaraderie. And then of course we have the sororities and fraternities that provide another link and that transcends just obviously HBCUs to the greater universities and so many African-Americans, whether, you know, they went to college or not or whether they went to majority colleges or HBCUs, we all find a connection and we all find an extreme level of joy in Kamala's nomination for the Democratic party as vice president.

PAUL: Well, Professor Lita Rosario, we so appreciate you being part of this conversation. Thank you for your voice. Take good care.

ROSARIO: Thank you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Howard University certainly is a special place.

PAUL: Oh, who else went to Howard, Victor?

BLACKWELL: I did indeed. The Capstone. Dr. Anthony Fauci, he calls this -- let me get his words right here -- "Absolutely far out contingency," but as we know that scientists across the country are working to develop a coronavirus vaccine, some experts are pushing back on an idea to start these human challenge trials.


HASELTINE: Basically it's treating people like laboratory animals.





BLACKWELL: Welcome back. Twenty-eight minutes after the hour now. So scientists are trying to develop this coronavirus vaccine and Dr. Anthony Fauci says that work has already begun on what he calls Plan D. Scientists in the U.S. are creating a strain of the virus that could -- emphasis on could here -- be used to intentionally infect people who have a dose of the experimental vaccine.

PAUL: Yes. Dr. Fauci says it's an, "Absolutely far out contingency," his words there. He doesn't think that it will ever be used, but the fact is, most experts don't necessarily support the idea.


HASELTINE: Basically it's treating people like laboratory animals. To do it properly, you'd have to do what you do for the monkey trials. That is one group gets infected with the live virus that can cause disease and the other -- without a vaccine and the other group is vaccinated and gets infected with the same virus. That's how you do it in animals, lab animals. Are we really ready to infect people with live virus that can kill them?



PAUL: CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has more on human challenge trials and whether they're likely to ever be used.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, let's talk a little bit about what Challenge Trials are. The way the trials are being done now, these are not Challenge Trials. Right now, we're recruiting people to come in to get an injection, and then they go live their lives and maybe they run into the virus in their daily life and maybe they don't. In a Challenge Trial, you do something very different. What you do is you vaccinate someone with an experimental vaccine and then you intentionally put the virus into their nose, and that way you see if the vaccine works.

Obviously, it's a very direct way of doing that. There have been a few voices calling for Challenge Trials in the United States, but frankly, not that many and the National Institutes of Health has made it very clear that we are not doing Challenge Trials in the United States. But here's the news. The NIH is contracting, is doing a contract with a company to make a strain of the virus that could be used in Challenge Trials. Dr. Fauci tells me that this is a preliminary, very contingency plan. He does not think we're ever going to use this.

He does not think we're ever going to do Challenge Trials. But he said, look, there's been a lot of pressure to be prepared for these trials, so why not create a strain, stick it in the freezer, we don't think we're ever going to need it. Christi, Victor?

BLACKWELL: Elizabeth, thanks so much. Let's bring in Dr. Saju Matthew, a primary care physician, public health specialist and CNN medical analyst. Doctor, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: OK, so we're not going to use it. Far-out contingency, but we're going to pay you to create this strain anyway. Dr. William Haseltine who we heard from before Elizabeth, said that these human challenge trials are unnecessary, uninformative and unethical. First, do you agree, and second, by skipping them, omitting them, not doing them, what do we lose potentially as we try to create this vaccine?

MATTHEW: You know, when I studied for my masters in public health right here locally at Emory University, we used to have debates specifically on Challenge Trials. And the reason is, this actually has been utilized before in the study of vaccines when it came to measles and influenza. Granted, measles and influenza is not as lethal and contagious as COVID-19 is. But really, what we're trying to do here is to be prepared for all possibilities. Typically a Challenge Trial is conducted when a virus is not raging through the community.

Well, we don't have that problem in the U.S. So I don't think we are going to use it for COVID-19. But as Dr. Fauci mentioned, we're just putting it back there just in case we need to be prepared to do that, and one last thing, Victor, about that is remember, yes, while a lot of doctors think that it's like treating people like laboratory animals, you are getting the consent of young patients who otherwise would probably do well even if they got infected with COVID-19. So lots of issues to talk about with Challenge Trials.

BLACKWELL: And so, let me understand this, because this is the first time I'm hearing about these Challenge Trials. You know, Dr. Fauci said that the hope is that there would be a 75 percent effective vaccine, but 50 percent or 60 percent would be acceptable. Without these Challenge Trials, and I understand you are putting people, volunteers in a position where they could lose their life. No one wants of course wants to do that. But without this, if I take the vaccine, I'd go back to my normal life, I have to just then figure out if I get the virus or not, if I'm on the right side or wrong side of that 50 percent efficacy?

MATTHEW: Right. So, when it comes to actually these vaccine trials which started by the way right here in Atlanta, so half the people get the placebo, which means you don't get the vaccine, half the people get the vaccine. And the hope is, especially in a state like Georgia where the positivity rate is so high, that you will naturally be exposed to the virus, and we can then at that point decide, is the vaccine, if you got the vaccine, will the vaccine work to protect you against the virus?

So it's not like a challenge vaccine, Victor, where you are specifically challenging a known group of people to try to get them to develop the infection and then see if the vaccine works.

BLACKWELL: Let me end here. We've talked a lot over the last couple of months about how exercise can be helpful. You know, getting out, getting 30 minutes, 60 minutes a day. But the doctors at American College of Sports Medicine say -- and this is from their new report out just late this week, "participating in an unusually high exercise workloads with the associated psychological stress is linked to transient immune dysfunction and an elevated acute respiratory illness risk."


People want to come out of their quarantine better than they went in. What is too much? Is it a bad idea to push themselves and work out? MATTHEW: So with respect to that specific study, the biggest topic

right now, the biggest hot topic right now is, are athletes ready to come back to the field and play sports? We know that there's a condition called myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle, and we're finding out that a lot of COVID patients are affected, their heart is directly affected especially patients that are in the ICU. We also find out that a lot of athletes are developing myocarditis after being -- after testing positive for COVID-19. What myocarditis does is it basically causes a scar tissue and increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.

So, to answer your question, Victor, a lot of athletes are performing at a very high level already. That's why they're athletes. And if they have COVID-19, they could be putting their heart at risk for sudden cardiac death.

BLACKWELL: But does this -- I guess, according to the study, pushing it really hard could make you more susceptible to getting coronavirus?

MATTHEW: Just period, the fact that high intense exercise can cause your immune system to go into a hyper active mode, can put you in a condition where you possibly could be susceptible to COVID-19. But this study is not suggesting that people -- forget about athletes, even people like say myself. If I push myself to do these high intense training exercises, will I be at risk of COVID-19? That's not necessarily what the article is suggesting. It's just saying that people who are participating in consistent, intense exercises that also get COVID-19 that they could be at risk for these cardiac conditions.

BLACKWELL: All right, Dr. Saju Matthew, thanks so much.

MATTHEW: Thank you, Victor.

PAUL: So I know it's a pretty frightening time right now, a lot of people out of work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. More and more people are talking about money scams. You know these chain letters. You've probably seen the e-mails claiming that you can earn tons of money. Michelle Singletary is with us, she has a lot to say about this, stay close.



BLACKWELL: Millions of people are out of work. A lot of them can't pay their bills, and some of them are looking for some quick ways to make some money.

PAUL: Yes, and last week, we talked about this with personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary who had this to say about these illegal chain letter pyramid schemes because they are growing in popularity. Take a look here.


beginning of this pyramiding, you actually make money because that's how they bring people in -- oh, I made money. But then eventually these pyramids collapse and it causes grief for people down the line. So even if somehow, you walk away with money, you are harming people. And then you have a bunch of friends and family in there, there's no full proof way to make that kind of money that is not illegal or very risky. So someone comes to you about a sou-sou or messing loom or gifting circle --


SINGLETARY: You need to run, in fact, report them to the authorities.


BLACKWELL: Yes, I wasn't going to do it last weekend, I'm not going to do it this weekend after someone invited me to one. But after those comments, Michelle was called the N-word, she says, a traitor to her race. She's claiming that the schemes further in her latest column and the headline here, structural racism help schemers attract blacks to fake sou-sou scams. We got Michelle back this weekend. Michelle, good morning to you.

And my inbox, my DMs were from people from the Caribbean and Somalia and Ethiopia saying that these work and they had used them to pay bills and start businesses. Tell us, you know, what you have received, the push-back and reaction you've gotten, and we're going to get into these sou-sous and giving looms.

SINGLETARY: You know, well, there are definitely legit sou-sous or savings clubs, often as you mentioned in the Caribbean, West Africa and other ethnic communities as well. But the difference is they are not scams. Those sou-sous or saving clubs involve a smaller group of people. They know each other. It's a set amount of money. And you do not get back more than you put in. And so the scammers or the pyramid promoters are misappropriating the sou-sou tradition to sell their pyramid scam, their scheme.

PAUL: And I know that they look so attractive right now because when you look at the numbers, the black community has been disproportionately affected with unemployment and by the pandemic. So there is a reason that you get pulled into these, yes?

SINGLETARY: There is. I mean, they are using racism, the promoters, the pyramid promoters are using racism and things that happen to black people to say, listen, these folks over here have taken away what you should be yours.


You know, you can't get a business loan or you know, you're not paid as much as assembly experienced white person. But here's a way for you to get that American dream, except that American dream turns into a nightmare for a lot of people down the line who end up losing their money. And please, don't fall for that. I mean, I've listened to these presentations, they sound so motivational, and we black people are going to rise up and we're going to build wealth in our community. And it's not going to happen that way. It's actually re-victimizing people who have already been victimized by structural racism.

BLACKWELL: What's the tax element here? Because you touched on this last week, and I want you to pull that thread about, you know, people who get this, you put in 500 -- so, the one I was invited to, was you put in $500 and then you bring two people in behind you to put in $500, and then you've got to go through -- I think you go through fire and then eventually you get to water, which is the week that you get your $4,000 pay out. What's the tax --


BLACKWELL: Liability there?

SINGLETARY: Well, first of all, eventually, you're going to drown in that water. What -- you know, so what the promoters will tell people is like, oh, we know the IRS says these gift tax rules so that if you give people -- you can't give anybody more than $15,000, so as long as we're under that $15,000 limit, it's just so -- it's ridiculous. It has nothing to do with the tax gift law. So if you are expecting money back because that's why you joined in, then that's income, even if it's illegal income, and the IRS tax is all income, legal and illegal.

And if you do this and you don't report this income, then you are committing tax fraud, tax evasion, and the authorities have gone after promoters and people have been in these pyramid schemes for not paying the taxes on the illegal gains. So, don't believe that, arguably, it's just not true. And it's a way to entice you into make you think that this thing is legitimate. Again, good sou-sou, small group of people, you pay money regularly, you get back exactly what you put in. No more, no less. Illegal, you have to recruit people behind you.

You get like 800 return which is just like -- I mean, come on people, you can't make that kind of money in four weeks, and they try to tell you that it's not taxable. If all of those things are over here, it is illegal pyramid scheme. I don't care what message it comes through, I don't care if they, quote, Martin Luther King Jr., it is not legal, it's not right, you should not be a part of it.

PAUL: I'm just --

BLACKWELL: All right --

PAUL: Laughing that you have to clarify to people that if you make money illegally, you have to claim it as taxes. If they're making it illegally, I don't know that they're going to claim --

BLACKWELL: Yes, they're not paying their taxes --

PAUL: I'm just saying -- Michelle Singletary, we appreciate you, thank you.

SINGLETARY: You're welcome.

BLACKWELL: Coco Gauff is now getting ready for the U.S. Open. How she can make history at one of tennis' biggest tournaments.



PAUL: There's some breaking news from the sports world overnight. A Cincinnati Reds player has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.

BLACKWELL: Coy Wire is with us now. Coy, there had been some good news on that front.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, Victor and Christi, good morning to you. The league, they seemed to, you know, be turning this corner after dozens of games were postponed due to COVID. MLB released its latest testing results yesterday and just two players and two staff from a single club tested positive, .03 percent positivity rate across the league. And there's supposed to be a full slated games for the first time since opening weekend three weeks ago, but now, the Athletic and "ESPN" citing sources report that a Reds player's test came back positive after their game against the Pirates last night.

Now, there's no word about whether that will impact tonight's game, but past cases have forced MLB to postpone. We reached out to the team this morning but have not heard back. The St. Louis Cardinals know all too well how positive cases can affect the schedule. They're set to play the White Sox today for their first game since July 29th. And being extra cautious, everyone drove to Chicago separately, 41 cars in all. The Cardinals are back after their -- to the games after their games rather were postponed 19 times. Ten players, eight staff members testing positive in all.

But the team will be without long-time player, trainer-Coach Willie McGee who opted out yesterday, saying he never tested positive, but he's 61 years old and he has high blood pressure. All right, let's get you some highlights, an overtime thriller in Stanley Cup Playoffs, defending champs, St. Louis finding themselves down 3-2 to Vancouver with just 8 seconds to go. But Alex Pietrangelo shot there deflected by David Perron, goes in for the goal, tying it up, keeping the Blues alive. But in overtime, Quinn Hughes with this incredible pass to Bo Horvat ends up scoring on the break away. The Canucks win 4-3, taking a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference there, but don't count the Blues out.

The past two times a defending Stanley Cup champ went down two zip in the first-round, they came back to win the series. And fun fact, each time it happened against The Blues. U.S. Open in just two weeks, and teen sensation Coco Gauff is heating up. Down early, the 8th seed on the board, the top seed opening in Lexington, the 16-year-old comes roaring back, winning 10 over the last 11 games, advancing to just her second career WTA semi-final, she'll now face fellow American Jennifer Brady tomorrow. Serena Williams though lost her quarterfinal match after beating her sister Venus in round of 16.

Christi, Victor, with some top players choosing not to play in the U.S. Open this year, it might give Coco an opening for her first grand slam title, and if she does, she becomes the youngest U.S. champ ever. So, it'd be something fun to keep an eye on.


BLACKWELL: Certainly will, Coy Wire, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Coy.

BLACKWELL: Next hour of your NEW DAY starts after a break.



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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They want $25 billion, billion for the Post Office.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (D-ME): Now is not the time to be cutting back services.

TRUMP: But if they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's undemocratic, it's un-American and it's Donald Trump's fault. He's trying to do everything he can to tilt the election into his favor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New potentially promising developments in the search for a coronavirus vaccine.