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New Day Saturday

Democrats Vote This Morning On Bill To Prevent Interference With Election Mail; More Than Two Dozen Cases Of Coronavirus In Three States Linked To Motorcycle Rally; FDA Approves Saliva Test Developed At University Of Illinois; Tropical Storms Laura And Marco Threaten Gulf Coast, Could Simultaneously Become Hurricanes In An Unprecedented Event; Postmaster General Refuses To Commit To Restoring Mail Sorting Machines Recently Taken Out Of Service; Georgia Teacher' Back To School Rap Video Goes Viral. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired August 22, 2020 - 08:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it is a great story for us. It is a great story of partnership with our Chinese colleagues. And it is a demonstration of how zoos in general can contribute to conservation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No doubt. Steve Minford (ph), thank you so much. Congratulations to all of you there. We're very happy for you. I know it takes a village for something like this. We're very happy for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Thank you, so much.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Next hour of "New Day" starts right now.


LOUIS DEJOY, U.S. POSTMASTER GENERAL: I think the American public should be able to vote by mail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Postmaster General DeJoy did not commit to transparency.

DEJOY: And in Postal Service will support, I guess that's yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did not clearly understand what he did.

DEJOY: We'll be bringing back any mail sorting machines? There is no intention to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to hold his feet to the fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The futures here is not pre-ordained. These models are based on our behaviors today.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: New modeling in the University of Washington projecting nearly 310,000 COVID fatalities by December 1st.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It means that if we do everything that we can we can actually reduce the number of deaths.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In everything that we do my administration is fighting for the American people and delivering one victory after another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "New Day Weekend" with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.


BLACKWELL: Top of the hour now. Good morning to you. A live look at the Capitol where some work is going to get done today, yes. Members of the House get back in Washington to vote on a relief bill for the Postal Service. Now, this would inject $25 billion into the USPS and trying to stop changes that critics say could endanger mail-in voting ahead of the November election.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Also concerning developments today in the Caribbean not one, take a look at that two, tropical storms winding their way toward the Gulf Coast both could make land fall this week. And--

BLACKWELL: Somebody on my team called this school house rap. I'm down with that. From two Georgia teachers, this video now went viral hit. We'll find out how they came up with this? We're going to talk to one of the teachers about this message to get back in the Coronavirus era.

PAUL: That's serious talent there.


PAUL: I would not mind having her as a teacher. All right, let's go to CNN's Sunlen Serfaty she is live on Capitol Hill for us right now. Sunlen good to see you this morning, we know the president is already threatening to veto this bill before the first vote is cast. What have you learned this morning so far?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi, a big veto threat coming from the White House last night. They say that this bill spends money in their words arbitrarily without tying that money to a Coronavirus relief package that we all know negotiators have been trying unsuccessfully to work out.

Now Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says she wants this bill very narrowly focused just on USPS. Now, it would lock organizational and operational changes to the USPS through next year, past the election in November.

And it would also give $25 billion in funding that Democrats, of course, say is so essential to making sure that mail delivery is on time. Now Republican leaders, they are instructing their members to vote against this bill, so very likely later today and in just a few hours when they vote, we'll see this vote down party lines.

It will likely pass through the House with, of course, Democrats being in the majority in the House. But it has absolutely no path forward after that. Over in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he essentially has no interest in passing a stand-alone bill just focused on USPS.

And, of course, that big threat coming from the White House last night means that this bill that members are coming back to Washington, D.C. for, in the middle of their summer recess, has no path forward after today.

BLACKWELL: Sunlen Serfaty thanks so much there on Capitol Hill. Coming up next hour we're going to talk with Michigan Representative Debbie Dingell. We're going to talk of course about this bill, trying to talk about the DNC and this larger stimulus relief bill that is stalling the talks at least. I like to talk about Debbie Dingell in the next half of the show.

PAUL: The President Trump's campaign is accusing Democrats of pushing conspiracy theories about the post office. Facts first, here, of course, you have to get these facts checked that the president promotes conspiracy theories himself about mail-in voting.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to Sarah Westwood at the White House for us. Sarah, what is the White House saying, first, about the vote and also about, I'm not the conspiracy theorist, you are?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi. Yes, the White House is saying that they will veto the bill that Sunlen just described. It provides $25 billion for USPS and blocks some of these operational changes if it were to make it to the president's desk.

As we just heard, that's unlikely because Republicans are also not supporting it. But it just shows that there is still no solution on the table right now. No workable solution to fix USPS at the moment.


PAUL: The White House wants more strings attached to that funding. They want it to be directed solely COVID purpose, sole for election purposes. They just don't want to put an influx of wash into the post office.

And as you mentioned the Trump Campaign and the Republican National Committee are firing back at Democrats over their scrutiny of USPS. And they're framing their concerns as conspiracy theories. They're saying that the issue with this election is not going to be the operation of the post office.

It's going to be the rapid expansion of mail-in voting. And they're arguing that the focus on USPS that is the conspiracy. And they say the problems at the postal service has predated the Trump Administration and they also cite a figure in talking points distributed to supporters that the post office has lost $78 billion since 2007.

So they are really not taking the blame for some of the problems facing the USPS. Again, pointing to the spot that the states may try to ramp up mail-in voting too quickly ahead of November is what will be the cause of those issues.

But as you mentioned what's really important to not to lose sight of is that President Trump himself has criticized his opposition to more funding for the USPS as a way to stop universal mail-in voting. So that is not a conspiracy theory. That is something Trump himself has said and the USPS this week worked to clear up the misinformation.

It tweeted despite expected increases mail-in voting we anticipate election mail will account for less than 2 percent of all mail volume from mid-September until Election Day. And USPS, the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump supporter, has also worked on Capitol Hill - of the concerns about the operational changes, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us at the White House. Thank you, Sarah.

PAUL: There's a new projection from a key model that's often cited by the White House that says did the death toll in the U.S. from the Coronavirus pandemic could lead to more than 300,000 by the beginning of December.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Polo Sandoval has best case and worst case. He looks around the country. Polo, up for us this morning, the W.H.O. says that the hope is that this will be over in under two years but the numbers are not going in the right direction in a lot of places.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, consider this, Coronavirus cases in certain parts of the country, they are dropping. But the thing is that the death rate is not. It remains persistent in many parts of the country here, and that is what really worries health officials, especially those at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

We could potentially see up to 310,000 people die by the time we get to December. However, there is some hope here. Researchers at that same institution saying if mask wearing goes from 53 percent up to 95 percent we could see up to 70,000 lives be saved.

A new model released Friday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicting daily deaths in the United States from COVID-19 which now number about 1,000 a day will decrease slowly in September then rise to nearly 2,000 a day by the start of December it also raised its estimate of how many people will die by December.


DR. CHRIS MURPHY, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: We have a worse scenario in what we release and that's many, many more deaths. In fact, by the time December rolls around, if we don't do anything at all, the daily death toll in the U.S. would be much higher than the sort of 2,000 deaths a day we would expect by December. It could be as high as 6,000 deaths a day. So it really depends what we do both as individuals and what governments do?

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANDOVAL: The CDC released new guidelines for schools Friday as children and teachers across the country are returning to the classroom. Rather than shut everything down immediately for a long period of time, the guidelines suggests one option is an initial short-term class suspension and cancellation of events and after- school activities. The guidelines also recommending schools offer counseling and ensure mental health services.


DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFINER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASES DIVISION, VANDERBIT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Opening schools is a risky business. We're doing it all over the country in various ways, trying to do it carefully, but we all know, in effect, we're doing an experiment. We'll have to see what happens. And we must have a plan to respond if there are cases.


SANDOVAL: Among the largest, 101 school districts in the U.S., 65 are starting the school year online. And as university campuses welcome students into dorms, college across at least 15 states have reported COVID cases, tracking back to athletics, street life or off-campus gathering.

In rural areas, super spreading events have been especially important in helping drive the pandemic. Researchers in Georgia said this week, super spreading events like parties, conferences and large gatherings have been cautioned against by leaders throughout country.

Earlier this month, experts raised concern about a motorcycle rally in a small South Dakota town which was expected to bring tens of thousands of visitors. This week health officials said at least seven COVID-19 cases in Nebraska's Panhandle region have tied to the rally.


SANDOVAL: Some good news Friday, Coronavirus hospitalizations in Los Angeles are down to the lowest level since April, according to the Mayor. Back in the City of Illinois, we have seen at least 20 counties already reached warning levels and much of that according to officials Victor and Christi it's because of those mass gatherings.

That's precisely why come the 2020 football season here you will not see fans in the stands at the football field at soldier field for Chicago games. Authorities were thinking about possibly allowing a limited number but at this point they say it's just too unsafe.

PAUL: All right, Paolo Sandoval, thank you so much for keeping updated there. And you know as the pandemic continues, we know you may be struggling with your bills and we want to make sure that we help you out here. So every Saturday, we're highlighting local cities across the U.S. with resources to aid those of you who are really in need.

BLACKWELL: So right now, you can grab your phone, grab your pen, something to take this information down for someone that you think might need it. This week, we start with Arkansas. Today, the Longley Baptist Church in Little Rock will give food away to 500 families.

They'll also hand out backpacks and school supplies for children. This starts at 9:00 local time. According to a report for Arkansas advocates for children and families, more than 150,000 Arkansans are estimated to be newly food insecure since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

PAUL: Let's got to California now because there is a drive through food giveaway happening this morning in Baldwin Park that's just outside Los Angeles. It's at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, individuals and families who have been impacted by Coronavirus; you're all encouraged to stop by. So this food drive runs from 9:00 am until noon or while supplies lasts.

BLACKWELL: And to Colorado, the Bienvenidos Food Bank in Denver is opened every Thursday in addition to food they also provide diapers and personal hygiene items to help connect families and children and pregnant women with services for mental, dental, vision, and all types of medical health.

PAUL: And listen, please call these places prior to your visits for more details. Next Saturday, we're going to feature three new states. We just - you to remember that you're alone here we can get through these times, we can only do it together and we want to be part of that we want you to be okay.

BLACKWELL: Well, more colleges are reporting COVID-19 outbreaks within their student bodies. And a new Coronavirus test, though, is being touted as you've probably heard this before, a game-changer. One of the developers of that test joins us live to share why this is different and how it's being used on campus?

PAUL: Also, he committed dozens of evil acts decades ago. Now, justice is finally handed down to victims, their families and survivors of the man who is known as the golden state killer.



BLACKWELL: Break overnight, the Department of Justice says that a Former Army Green Beret has been arrested and charged with espionage. They say he leaked U.S. national defense secrets to Russian agents.

PAUL: Now prosecutors say Peter Devens met with Russian operatives on a multiple occasion from 1996 to 2011. If he is convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. We'll continue obviously to follow this story. We'll bring you the very latest on the details as we learn them.

All right, now to what the Governor of Illinois is calling a potential game-changer in the efforts to contain the Coronavirus pandemic here. The FDA has given emergency authorization to a saliva test developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign now researchers say it is quicker, it is cheaper, it is easier to use.

Let's talk to Dr. Martin Burke he is one of the developers at the saliva based test and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign there. Dr. Burke, thank you so much for being with us. What's different about this test?

DR. MARTIN BURKE, PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS URBANA-CHAMPAIGN: Hi, Christi. Thanks. The test removes many of the supply chain and time-causing problems associated with the current test. This makes it faster and scalable and we think applicable to doing surveillance testing to help protect communities and get back to many of the things that we're aiming for as a society here and now.

PAUL: So, with that said, we're all aiming to get back to some sort of normalcy, what kind of effect have you seen this have on campus?

BURKE: Over the summer, we ran a pilot with our faculty students and staff who were here. In over the course of July, we were able to watch our positivity rate drop from 19. 5 percent all the way down below 0.2 percent. So we feel very hopeful based on our experience thus far that this has a real chance of working.

PAUL: So how does that work? How often are faculty and student tested?

BURKE: Great, so all of our faculty, students and staff are going to be tested twice per week and our modeling predicts that if we do that with fast frequent testing we can catch most of those infections and get people safely isolated quickly and about thereby help stop the spread of the disease.

Also, I want to point out it's critical that this be done in concert with wearing masks, social distancing and washing our hands and it is that full package working together that gives us the best chance of making this work.

PAUL: Okay, it's not one; it's in context with many different practices. Let's listen to Governor Pritzker what he had to say about this.


GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): Illinois' saliva test is less expensive, faster and requires significantly less raw materials than traditional testing.


PAUL: So, when we say inexpensive, that can mean different things to different people, especially right now when there are people who are unemployed. How much does it cost and who is paying for it?

BURKE: Right now, the test costs about $10 per test. It's been fully funded thus far by our University of Illinois leadership. And we're hopeful that we can gain more support for the testing as we move forward not only here at the University of Illinois but we're working very closely with Governor Pritzker, Senator Durbin and now Admiral Brett Giroir to work to try to bring this testing capability to our state and then to the country.


PAUL: Expedited results have been very problematic. They've been hard to come by for a lot of these tests. How quickly, what's the turnaround time for this test? And how do you navigate that? Is there a lab right there on site?

BURKE: Yes. So, we transformed our veterinary diagnostic lab into a human COVID-19 testing facility. And this allows us to get our test results back in hours, as opposed to days. This is critical because then safely isolating individuals quickly is the most important thing we can do to stop them from spreading the disease to others.

PAUL: So I think there are probably a lot of people listening to this, Dr. Burke, and wondering okay, how can we make this happen where we are because we to see where we can go with models that actually seem to show some version of success? So how easily replicated and accessed can this be by other schools?

BURKE: We think our model can be used by others to achieve the same. And we are working very closely with many partners including those that I mentioned to figure how to do that as fast as possible.

We think there's real potential here again when you combine a comprehensive program of fast, frequent testing with wearing masks and staying distanced, we think we can get back to the things that we're hungry to return to. So we think this as a real short of working. We're committed to doing everything we can to help spread our model to others.

PAUL: So if there are schools right now watching I mean, wondering how to implement something like this, what would they need, first and foremost, to make this happen? You mentioned there's a lab there onsite. So just to give them some sort of idea of the resources they would have to have available?

BURKE: So, what's really exciting is that the back end of our test is the same equipment that's used in many different labs all across the country to perform Coronavirus testing. The difference here really is on the front end.

So rather than the nasal fringier swab and all of the kind of bottlenecks in between, this is going directly from saliva into the same PCR machines that are already in the lab. So we think there's a real opportunity to kind of convert many of the infrastructure that currently exists into saliva-based testing which could be much faster and cheaper and therefore we think much more effective.

PAUL: All right. Dr. Martin Burke, we appreciate the development. We appreciate you're being so cognizant of what's happening and trying to find a way to help us get through it. Thank you so much.

BURKE: Thank you.

PAUL: We've got a pandemic, a heat wave and now hundreds of wildfires. We're going to get you the latest from California and the Governor who is now asking for help. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BLACKWELL: Let's head west now, after these massive wildfires, thousands of people having to evacuate their homes and the Governor of California is asking other states for help.

PAUL: Yes, in fact, firefighters are struggling to contain, this is a new number now for us this morning, more than 500 raging wildfires in that state. Two of them are among the state's largest in recorded history. Many of these burns were started by lightning strikes and so far, it's destroyed nearly a million acres of land. And we have to remember we know at least four people have died.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and let's go to CNN's Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. So we've got the fires on the West Coast and the East Coast and Golf you got two storms that are getting stronger that could make landfall on the same day within days of one and another, map it out for us Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, likely within 48 hours at this point. But again, a lot of stuff can change. So let's a look what we've got, you've got Marco here positioned basically right around the Yucatan Peninsula. Then we've got Laura which is hovering basically right over Puerto Rico.

Now we just got an update at the top of the hour. So let's give you the basic statistics here. For Marco, still a tropical storm winds have now increased up to 50 miles per hour gusting to 60. Forward speed at 12 miles per hour that is still the same which is a little bit slower than Laura is moving because that is to the west at about 21 miles an hour which where tropical storms that may not seem fast but that is for tropical systems.

Laura sustained winds are at 40 miles per hour right now gusting to 50. You're already starting to see some of those outer bands beginning to push into Puerto Rico. But the rain is going to get heavier as we go through the day and those wind gusts are going to start to increase as well.

So the question becomes, where does it go from here? Here's a look at Laura. Again notice right now landfall can be anywhere from Texas to Florida. That's a pretty wide swath there. There's some question of why?

When you look at Marco, basically, they're thinking between Texas or Louisiana so why the discrepancy when you're dealing with these two, because normally speaking, tropical systems want to go north. They spread heat from the equator towards the poles.

So again why isn't it going towards Florida which would be the normal path that the system like this would take? And the answer to that is this high-pressure system is effectively blocking Laura from doing so and steering it essentially into the Gulf. But then the next question becomes okay, where in the Gulf because this is where Marco comes into play. Because it can't go too far west because that is where Marco is especially when you look at the timing. So here's Marco once we get to late Sunday, Marco is already well established into the Gulf of Mexico.

Laura is still kind of hovering around Cuba. So again, it has to kind of almost follow where Marco goes to a certain extent and then go from there. It's because Marco is going to make landfall first, likely somewhere in Texas or Louisiana on Tuesday as of now. And then about 24 hours, maybe 36 hours later, then we finally get Laura to make landfall.


CHINCHAR: But, again, exactly where, Victor and Christi, Marco goes that will be a determining factor to a certain extent of where Laura ends up going so that's why there's going to be a lot of fluctuation in the models over the next couple of days.

PAUL: We're glad you're on it, Allison Chinchar thank you.


BLACKWELL: House members are back in Washington today. The Democrats are saying that they're there to stop what they call a crisis with the postal service. We're going to speak with Michigan Representative Debbie Dingell coming up.



PAUL: Well, the Former California police officer known as the golden state killer is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. 74- year-old Joseph DeAngelo terrorized his victims in the 1970s and '80s and confessed to raping more than 50 women and murdering 13 people.

Well, his sentencing yesterday he apologized, "Everyone I hurt". The judge said DeAngelo "Deserves no mercy" and it said he was moved by statements from victims and their families ahead of this ruling. Statements like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He raped me. He stole my innocence, my security, threatened my life, threatened the lives of my family. I was 13 years old. No 13-year-old should have to find out what a rape kit is.


PAUL: DeAngelo was arrested back in 2018 after a free ancestry database helped investigators finally break the cold case.

BLACKWELL: Members of Congress are back in Washington. The House is expected to vote along party lines on a relief bill for the Postal Service. Now, this would immediately send $25 billion to the USPS the funding it to stop some of the changes implemented by the Postmaster General including the removal of mail sorting machines and mail collection boxes.

With me now is Democratic Representative Michigan Debbie Dingell. Congresswoman, thank you so much for being with us. Let me starts here, so the House gets the Postmaster General on Monday, I believe, he testified yesterday before the Senate. You accused the administration of corrupting and sabotaging the Postal Service. Did you hear anything yesterday that assuages those concerns?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): No, absolutely not. What concerns me the most is that he was very clear that he is not going to replace or put anything back in that has backed up the mail in our post offices? I want to tell you one thing. I know of approximately 20 Republicans at least that will be voting for this bill.

One of my colleagues from Michigan has visited his post office, Republican, and seen the same things that we have. Postal workers are being threatened about speaking to us. Even after the Postmaster said that he was going to put on hold plans. They pulled out sorting machines in Grand Rapids on Wednesday and are destroying them.

So even when we pass legislation that says we have to stop this, those machines cannot be put back in. They're being destroyed. So there is nothing to replace them with.

BLACKWELL: So, your expectation is this will be a bipartisan vote for this bill. Where does it go then? Do you expect there will be any support, any movement in the Senate? The White House has already said that they plan to veto it.

DINGELL: So, I know that Senators are at home hearing the same thing that we are. I've been working in the post office much longer than the last two or three weeks. I had a town hall two years ago with more than 500 people who were concerned about what was happening.

And for Senators, it's not just about the ballots, though that's what people are focused on right now, but it's the veterans who aren't getting their medicines. Who had problems before, but now they're not getting it, period, it's takes two or three weeks behind?

Postal workers who I have gotten to know because I have been working on this tell us that their over time has been cut how badly backed up the post offices are. I'm quietly visiting the post offices in my district not wanting to - they are not protected by the Whistle-Blower Act.

And they are scared to death to talk to us. But they also want us to know people aren't getting their mail. And that's not who they are. And they want to deliver.

BLACKWELL: So, what's your response to what we heard from the Postmaster General yesterday, when he said that some of these changes are routine, that, yes, 700 boxes had been removed over the last several months, but on average, 35 are removed every year and then thousands, tens of thousands, over the last ten years. This is not specifically driven toward the election; it's something that happens every year.

DINGELL: So, this is what I'm going to say to you, as I said, this is not new to me. I have been meeting with our post office leaders in my district for two years every other week. And a monthly call with the broader group.

The fact of the matter is, in the last two to three weeks, there has become a very significant backlog in post offices throughout my district and throughout the State of Michigan that were not there six months ago, or two months ago.

They have cut back deliberately on overtime. They are pulling out sorting machines. We haven't seen this happen before. And they're doing it in distribution centers around our state and in other key states. I don't - I haven't been in rooms.

I don't know what the discussions are, but there is objective information that shows that we now have backlogs in post offices that were not there were not there two months ago even when we were working on issues already in terms of mail delivery.


BLACKWELL: Are you going as far as some of your colleagues to call for DeJoy's resignation?

DINGELL: I did call for it. I did sign that letter. Because of the simple reason, that he's lost trust and the credibility of people. I don't know what - I'm not going to talk about any conversations he's had between the president and himself because I don't know what they are.

But I can tell you, the post office is royally blank, blanked up, and we need to get it fixed. And I have no confidence in him as Postmaster General.

BLACKWELL: You know, one of the reasons that at least Senate Republicans say that they are not going to support this bill, is because they - at least leadership says that they don't want to sign, or pass just a bill focused on the post office, to be part of a larger piece of legislation.

Where are those talks for stimulus relief - stimulus or relief for Coronavirus? It's been quite a while since Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer has been in a room with Mitch McConnell/Meadows from the White House. What is happening?

DINGELL: Not enough. I'm going to tell you every single day I think we should be passing a bill today. I am in Washington today but I'll be back home tonight. I'm out, I'm at the farmers markets in - I'm out side of everything. People are scared. They feel like they're going to go over the edge.

They want help and they need it now. It's not just anymore but how they're going to live? What the president did isn't helping people on the fear of evictions? They don't know how they're going to pay their rent, mortgage? The food insecurity we have in this country, our food banks have doubled in demand since over a year ago. People are hungry and don't know--

BLACKWELL: Congresswoman, let me interject here, because we know the issues, I think.


BLACKWELL: I think there are people who are really dealing with these issues better than we are, who don't know if they can keep the car or keep their home or buy the food.


BLACKWELL: Why is there no negotiation? Where is Nancy Pelosi? Where is Chuck Schumer? Where is leader Hoyer? Why aren't these people in a room with Republicans? We know the problems. Where's the solution. I've got this letter from 21 blue dog Democrats saying inaction is not an option. Where is the action?

DINGELL: So, there have been discussions, I have weighed in with my colleagues that I think that we need to do something. But I do agree on the one point that we need to do something for state and local governments, when we do pass this bill.

And the Senate Republicans are simply refusing to do that. We need to stay at the table. Their leadership is listening to all of these members and this is a day-by-day thing. You'll see, like we all dropped everything and came back today, we will do the exact thing.

You have to have somebody to negotiate with. And Republicans in the Senate and the president have simply been unwilling to even do reasonable negotiations. We have come down in what we have said needs to happen. But you got to have somebody to negotiate with.

BLACKWELL: People are losing their homes and waiting for something.

DINGELL: I agree.

BLACKWELL: I know you agree, and we all identify the problem day after day. No one has identified a solution. Thank you for your time, Representative Debbie Dingell from Michigan. Thank you so much.

DINGELL: Thank you.

PAUL: Good conversation here. So, here is another one, a Georgia teacher is going to tell us why she remade Jack Harlow's hit "Big Pop" and look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wanted to do something that to motivate the kids as well as the teachers.


PAUL: There it is she nails it. Miss Audrianna Williams is with us next.



PAUL: All right, now, that is how to get your students excited about a new school year, especially this virtual.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it is. This video has gone viral, Missy Elliott liked it. Trevor Noah re-tweeted it. Here with us is Audrianna Williams, she teaches at Monroe Comprehensive High School in Albany. Ms. William, I call you Miss Williams, like you're my teacher. Ms. Williams, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: Listen, I was watching this video and my face was balled up. I mean, your bars in this track are amazing. What inspired you to do this?

WILLIAMS: Well, three years ago, was my first year of teaching and I actually did an end of school year rap instead of a back-to-school rap. Just to celebrate my first year teaching. And the following year, Mrs. Evans joined me at Monroe, we were already friends prior. When I asked her she wouldn't mind doing a back-to-school rap with me.

Every year since then, we have done them, but we have never gotten as much love as we did this year. It feels amazing.

PAUL: Audri, so you can't help us smile and kind of tap your toes and move a little bit when you're watching this. Are those your students behind you?

WILLIAMS: Yes, those are ours. Those are students of Monroe High School. Those are our cheerleaders in the back. Without them, I don't know what we would have done without those bad moves.

BLACKWELL: One, I can hear Christi in another studio snapping, because that's what she does all the time, I just want to point that out. There's also an amazing video production. We got to shut that out as well because that is really quality.


WILLIAMS: Yes, please.

BLACKWELL: They just--

WILLIAMS: Yes - over street media services and he did phenomenal. We tried to record this in a week-span. I let him know what day we wanted to record, he came in and he killed it. Both videos, he did amazing. BLACKWELL: Callie Evans is the other person you were talking about. I want to make we mention her specifically because she is in this video as well. Your school is going virtual if I understand this correctly what does that look like for you? Will you be in the building and the students will be at home or will you be at home as well?

WILLAIMS: Yes, we're actually inside the building so we are teaching from our classrooms. So our student's just login virtually from the comfort of their own homes, they just login and get ready for virtual learning.

PAUL: So you did this in the spring, right, the virtual learning to some degree?

WILLIAMS: Yes. The last day of our school was March 13th, and we kind of went to remote learning then. So, by the time the school year came around and they said we were going to stick to virtual learning; our kids were already acclimated to virtual learning so we already started in March.

PAUL: So it won't be wholly new to but I have to say when you've got late night host Trevor Noah re-tweeting that video and Rapper Missy Elliott talking about it, are you ready for another career? Because I'm thinking you could have another career. You know, maybe spend your summers doing this if you really want to keep teaching.

WILLIAMS: Yes, of course, I love my job teaching. But, of course, whatever happens happens and I'll be thankful for it all most definitely going to continue doing our rap. But who knows what is in our future.

BLACKWELL: Before we wrap it up, how do you keep the kids motivated? You know, not everybody is going to be able to do this. Not every teacher is as creative as you are here. How do you keep them invested during this difficult time?

WILLIAMS: Well, it's all about relationships and relationship- building. Because I promise you, I wouldn't have been able to get the cheerleaders involved if we did not have the relationship with them that we do so, just continuing to uplift them, especially during this pandemic because a lot of kids are going through a lot of things, as well as teachers.

You know, losing loved ones, being sick themselves. So, we wanted to just find a way to boost the morale of our students, our community, the teachers as well. Because we needed them for the school year so, most definitely wanted to get everyone excited and we had to get creative in order to do this.

PAUL: Yes, we know you want to be with your students.


PAUL: And they want to be with you too.

WILLIAMS: Yes. BLACKWELL: Brand-new school year locked in. Audrianna Williams, thank you. Good luck with the school year. Thanks so much for being with us.

PAUL: Thank you for everything you do.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

PAUL: CNN Series represented celebrates the - by highlighting modern change makers, today, we're meeting one of the Co-Founders of Black Lives Matter Movement who help turn a hashtag into a global rally against racism.


PATRISSE KAHN-CULLORS, BLACK LIVES MATTER, CO-FOUNDER: When we started Black Lives Matter, - and I - we really started it in response to the killing of Trayvon Martin and then the acquittal of George Zimmerman. We were disturbed. We were dissatisfied.

We were angry. We were wanting more for black people in general. Alicia Garza wrote a love note to black folks. I responded with the #Black Lives Matter on Facebook. And then within the next 48 hours we were creating this online community.

Mike Brown's murder I think would make Black Lives Matter go viral for the first time. There's been a long history of black people rising up against our deaths our tragedies with George Floyd's death, people witnessed him die until front of their eyes.

People across the globe have shown up. It's not just talk about police violence, but the racist monuments that have been taken down. Despite what we're in, it isn't sole focused on black people dying. The mission of Black Lives Matter is affirming black life, and fighting for black people to be thriving in their lives divesting from militarization and policing and investing into black communities.


PAUL: Be sure to watch CNN's Special Report "Women Represented this 100 year battle for equality." It is tonight at 10:00 pm eastern.

BLACKWELL: Well, thank you for watching this morning. We've got much more ahead for you today.

PAUL: "Smerconish" is next. We'll see you in an hour.



MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: The team shields the statesman. I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. The Democratic National Convention received high marks for its adaptability, glitch-free presentation and conveyance of a cohesive message that masked any divide between its nominee and more extreme members of the party.