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New Day Saturday

Trump Jokes About Not Leaving Office, Staying Past Two Terms; 2020 Election: Trump, Biden Preparing For First Presidential Debate On Tuesday; Sources: Trump Intends To Nominate Amy Coney Barrett To Supreme Court Today; Fauci: Vaccinations Could Start In November Or December; Coronavirus Cases In U.S. Pass Seven Million, Most In The World; SEC Football Season Kicks Off. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired September 26, 2020 - 08:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Only way we are going to lose is if there is mischief. We do want a very friendly transition, but we don't want to be cheated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to keep hearing this unless Trump actually wins the election.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: By the time you get enough people vaccinated so that you can feel you've had an impact enough on the outbreak, that very likely as I and others have said would be maybe the third quarter or so of 2021.

The availability and starting vaccination could very likely start in November or December.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump intends to nominate judge Amy Coney Barrett to be the new Supreme Court justice.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: If Amy Coney Barrett is announced on Saturday and is confirmed, she could be on the bench for more than a generation.


PAUL: Beautiful morning there in Washington, D.C., a little cloudy. That's OK. Nice temperatures as we head into fall. I know that we're all excited about that. I've heard from a lot of people who said, finally fall. Temperature is at least here, sadly, as we just saw from Allison, not in the West Coast. But we do want to wish you a very good morning. And thank you so much for making us a part of it. I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in today for Victor Blackwell. Live shot there of the U.S. Supreme Court, we are expecting some major news on that front later today.

We're talking about, of course, the announcement that is going to name the new - what we presume to be nominee of the U.S. Supreme Court. And it comes at a time when the president is raising a lot of questions about the legitimacy of the election.

In fact, he has been quoted as saying, that the only way he will lose that election is if it is rigged.

PAUL: CNN'S Sarah Westwood is live from the White House with us.

Well, it's been a week of attacks on mail-in voting and his refusal to commit to a peaceful transition. What are you hearing from the White House this morning, Sarah?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Martin and Christi. And that's right, President Trump this weekend into last night going further in his efforts to undermine his opponent's confidence in the election results, suggesting to them at his rally in Newport News, Virginia last night that the only scenario in which they should trust the outcome of the election is if the results reflect a victory for him.

In all the others, he suggested that there will be fraud and there's just absolutely no evidence that fraud will play any role in deciding the outcome. But all of this comes after a week in which the president injured considerable controversy that he stirred up when he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election in November.

He doubled down on that, even after his Republican allies on Capitol Hill, many of them came out condemning the president's words and his inflammatory position.

Last night, the president suggested he might be open to a friendly transfer of power, but only if he feels he wasn't cheated.


TRUMP: That's the only way we're going to lose is if there's mischief, mischief. And it will have to be on a big scale. So be careful. And we do want a very friendly transition, but we don't want to be cheated and be stupid.


WESTWOOD: Now at that rally, the president peddled a number of debunked conspiracy theories related to mail-in voting and also some misleading information about mail-in voting. And that came days after the president seized on an announcement from the Department of Justice that they had opened an investigation into nine improperly discarded ballots in Pennsylvania.

Some of those had indeed been filled out for Trump, but that announcement drew allegations of politicization from the DOJ because not only do they announce details of an ongoing investigation, but they also violated some pretty serious standards of ballot secrecy.

And nonetheless, the White House tried to couch the president's words later this week by saying that he would agree to a peaceful transition of power if he believed it was a free and fair election. But it's clear from the president's comments last night that he wants to be the one to dictate what is a free and fair election. And he has also been suggesting that he doesn't believe a free or fair election is possible, if mail-in voting is expanded.

In another appearance yesterday in Atlanta, the president made jokes about clinging to his office even after two terms.


TRUMP: Let's say, will we be president in 10 years? Only if we had a couple of terms. Now we have a story. There is your breaking news. I told you, he's a dictator. We've been saying. He will not give up power.


WESTWOOD: The president will obviously be announcing his Supreme Court nominee to fill that vacancy here at the White House later today. That's significant for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that the president acknowledged this week that the results of the election could end up being decided by the Supreme Court.


So if he successfully gets this nominee confirmed before Election Day, that means a third of the justices sitting on the bench if that happens will have been appointed by Trump, Martin and Christi.

SAVIDGE: Sarah Westwood at the White House for us. Thanks very much for that.

PAUL: So Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is dismissing the president's latest attacks on the election process.

SAVIDGE: CNN's Arlette Saenz joins us. So Arlette, Biden says that the Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power is a distraction.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Marty and Christi, Joe Biden says that the president's comments relating to a peaceful transition of power not committing to one is a distraction from the issues at hand. Said that he is avoiding talking about things like the economy and the public health crisis in the wake of COVID-19.

And Biden also, once again, criticized the president for casting doubt on the election and calling into question the integrity of mail-in voting. That's something that we've heard repeatedly from the president.

Take a listen to what Joe Biden had to say in an interview yesterday.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The American people aren't going to be shut down in this election. They're going to vote, they are going to vote in large numbers, and they're just not going to be denied.

I'm confident all the irresponsible outrageous attacks on voting will have an election in this country as we always have had and he'll leave.


SAENZ: So Joe Biden there, ultimately believing that if the president does not win reelection that he will go peacefully.

Now we are heading in now to a critical weekend when it comes to the debate. We are now just three days away from President Trump and Joe Biden facing off for the first time on that debate stage. Biden told reporters that he started heavily focusing on his debate prep on Thursday. We know that he is preparing for possible attacks from President Trump.

Biden said in an interview that he believes that the debate will be straight attacks from the president, that he expects the president to go personal. Now, his campaign has said that he's not necessarily going to fact-check the president on every single claim.

They believe that the fact-checking should be left to the moderator. But they are preparing for these attacks from President Trump and the president on his part is also setting the possible lines of attack that Joe Biden could aim his way as they're going to face off for the first time in that debate.

Now we're going to see Joe Biden a little bit later today. Taking a little bit of a break from that debate prep, he's expected to do over the coming days, he will be addressing a conference of the nation's mayors. And one thing we'll be looking to see is whether he talks about the Supreme Court vacancy just hours before the president is expected to name judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court pick.

Biden, for the most part, has kind of stayed away from talking about this vacancy. Instead, he has been talking about healthcare, trying to frame this campaign as a critical one relating to healthcare as we get closer to the November election, Marty and Christi.

PAUL: Arlette Saenz. Great information to know. Thank you so much, Arlette.

SAVIDGE: This morning President Trump begins, of course, his push to get a third justice on the Supreme Court. Sources tell CNN that the president intends to nominate a name we've heard a lot this morning, conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Barrett is currently a federal appeals court judge and a former clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia. If nominated, the power to confirm Barrett

lies within the Senate, where Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that the president's pick will receive a vote this year.

Joining me now is Amy Howe, she is a co-founder of the SCOTUSblog. Good morning to you, Amy.

AMY HOWE, CO-FOUNDER, SCOTUSBLOG: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

SAVIDGE: Sure. Let me start with just your thoughts on what now appears to be the nominee, Amy Judge Barrett. What do you know about her?

HOWE: So we know that the late Justice Antonin Scalia for whom she clerked, she is what's known as an originalist. She believes that you should interpret the Constitution according to what the words meant when the Constitution was drafted back in the late 1780s.

And just to give you an example, when as a judge on the court of appeals, she was a judge on a gun rights case and the challenge to a federal law that takes away the gun rights for people who are convicted of felonies. And the majority on that case upheld the statute that was - the challenge was by the owner of a footwear company, who was convicted of mail fraud and Amy Coney Barrett dissented from that ruling.

She said, back when the Constitution was drafted, states didn't take away gun rights just because someone was convicted of a crime, you looked at whether or not someone was dangerous.


SAVIDGE: Do you anticipate that she will have any difficulty getting the position?

HOWE: Yes, it seems fairly unlikely. The Republicans have a majority in the Senate. She is, without a doubt, well qualified. When she was nominated to the seventh circuit and she had bipartisan support, for example, from her colleagues at Notre Dame, from the folks who clerked with her on the Supreme Court. From her students at Notre Dame and with the clerks and the students, they said we don't always agree with her views but we think she's brilliant.

And I'm not a political reporter, I'm a Supreme Court expert, to the extent that I'm an expert at anything. But it really seems like the battle in her confirmation is more about, whether or not the seat should be filled, rather - more than the qualifications of the nominee itself.

SAVIDGE: Well, and that brings me to the next question I have, which is this issue or thought that has been brought forward, primarily by Democrats, that she should recuse herself if she makes it onto the Supreme Court. And if, somehow, a contested election ends up in the U.S. Supreme Court, as many think it might, what do you think of this idea of her recusing herself from that?

HOWE: Yes, I think that - well, certainly it's going to come up at the Supreme Court at her confirmation hearings. She will not want to say anything about it other than that she would follow, I think in all likelihood, the code of recusal for justices.

The Supreme Court really leaves the decision, whether to recuse up to individual justices. And it's hard to see that the fact that someone has appointed you, how that carries over into a decision in a case even when it's a fairly significant case. But I think it's certainly going to be an issue that Democrats are going to bring up. We'll see how it plays out.

SAVIDGE: Right. I mean, I think that's a fear that some have that she would - and this is putting it in crass terms, but sort of repay a favor to the president. And in doing so, cast her vote as it work in the president's favor, if there were contested election. And is that likely, do you think?

HOWE: We don't know much about her vote on election laws. I mean, we don't know what the issue would be if it came up to the court as a contested election. I do think we're going to hear a lot about it. I don't know - at confirmation hearings, you don't learn much about the nominees views that you didn't already know.


HOWE: And I'm not sure we're going to learn much about her views on this at the confirmation hearing either.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Well, we're going to follow your blog, because you certainly know and have great insight. We appreciate you joining us this morning. Amy Howe, thank you.

PAUL: So new predictions for how quickly we could see the availability of the first coronavirus vaccinations. And a new prediction on how long it may be before we see a return to pre-pandemic routines.

SAVIDGE: And the fallout continues over grand jury decision with the Breonna Taylor case. Still ahead, how sisters of other police shooting victims have joined forces to demand the federal police reform.



SAVIDGE: If you think back to February when this all, sort of, began in the U.S., well, now we are at the 7 million coronavirus case mark. Vaccines, of course, remain the biggest hope for how to try to get back someway to our pre-pandemic routines. And as we wait for a vaccine to be approved, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that vaccinations could very likely start maybe November, December.

PAUL: Now he's making it clear when we might actually see an impact from those vaccinations as well, should that timeline, that he just talked about, hold up.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is following that for us. Polo, good morning to you.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Martin, Christi, good morning to you. Dr. Anthony Fauci offering a promising prediction yesterday that we could possibly see up to 700 million doses of a COVID vaccine available by next spring, that we could see vaccinations start before the end of the year. But at the same time, also offering a reality check that we may not be back in pre-Covid-19 normalcy until late next year.


SANDOVAL: Dr. Anthony Fauci now says vaccinations could start before the end of the year.

FAUCI: In reality, by the time you get enough people vaccinated so that you can feel you've had an impact enough on the outbreak, so that you can start thinking about maybe getting a little bit more towards normality. That very likely, as I and others have said, would be maybe the third quarter or so of 2021, maybe even into the fourth quarter. But the availability and starting vaccination could very likely start in November or December.

SANDOVAL: Fauci's comments come as the U.S. pass 7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 203,000 people have now been killed by the virus. Dr. Fauci also raising concerns about fighting COVID as we head into the fall and winter.

FAUCI: If you look at some of the superspreading type things that have occurred, almost all of them have occurred in indoor situations. You're going to have to do a lot of things indoors at a necessity of the temperature. And I'm afraid, with that being the case, if we don't carefully follow the guidelines, the other guidelines, the masking, the distance, the crowds, then we may see another surge.

SANDOVAL: Case-wise, California is the first state to surpass 800,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. Despite the state's rising infections, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says, the state was moving into Phase 3 of reopening, allowing restaurants and bars to fully reopen.

DeSantis also said that he expects the state to host a full Super Bowl by this February.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I also want to be able to show, we're going to be able to host the Super Bowl in February. We expect to do a full Super Bowl and we're going to show that we're going to be able to do that.

SANDOVAL: Meantime, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city's outdoor dining will be permanent, allowing restaurants to keep using sidewalks and streets for seating. New York Deputy Mayor for Operations, Laura Anglin, crediting it with saving jobs and called it a lifeline for the struggling restaurant industry.

About 12 states are now seeing mask usage rates above 50 percent, according to researchers, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The IHME also said more than 95,000 lives could be saved by January if 95 percent of Americans wore masks.


SANDOVAL: Back here in New York, though, that test positivity rate remains at less than 1 percent. New York City health officials are highlighting what they're describing as an extremely concerning uptick in two neighborhoods, one is South Brooklyn, and another one in Queens here. The concern is that could lead to more potential spread here in the actual city itself.

So health officials warning that if they continue to see some of those indicators trend up throughout the weekend, Christi and Martin, then they could implement stricter measures like limiting gatherings, finding people who are not wearing masks, and maybe even closing non- essential businesses.

As one health expert in New York here said yesterday, New Yorkers are facing perhaps what is one of the most precarious moments since it emerged from the lockdown.

SAVIDGE: Yes, these are difficult times. Polo Sandoval, thanks very much for the update. Good to see you.

PAUL: Some of you are aware of this, but more and more people are growing their own food since the pandemic. And in this week's Impact Your World, a nonprofit shares seeds, compost and knowledge in a Milwaukee neighborhood.


LAVONDA WILDER, NEW GARDENER: We were all under quarantine, so it was hard for us to get to the store. We didn't really feel safe going out. That really helped the decision making of grow it in your backyard.

I first heard about Victory Garden, they had a seed giveaway at the beginning of the season. They gave away these big bags that you can go and sift your own compost, picking the greens and seeing a tomato sprout and just knowing that I started literally from nothing. Started from my son sifting compost and now we're growing okra and kale and lettuce. We did that.

CHRISTINE KUHN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VICTORY GARDEN INITIATIVE: Victory Garden Initiative is a non-profit based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Anywhere you can put a garden, we will build one, and provide education, seeds, compost, all the resources that we can as well as mentorship. We've had many more families reach out to us this year than in previous years. We've now built over 5,000 garden beds across Milwaukee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm already contemplating on next year. I feel like it's brought our family closer together. It's empowered us. Financially, we're not going back and forth to the stores anymore and it's therapeutic for me, like you're watching life happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: That family is so right, aren't they? What a great thing to do

with your kids too. So for more information, go to

SAVIDGE: Still ahead an unprecedented challenge for American democracy. Our U.S. President that's trying to sow doubt that there will be free and fair elections this year. What kind of damage is that doing? We'll get some context and perspective from a presidential historian, and we'll get that next.



PAUL: Seems like one of the tactics the president is using right now is trying to chip away at confidence in the 2020 election for voters. Just last night, he again said the only way that he'll lose the election is if there is, "mischief" on a big scale. That's questioning the integrity of the election. That's a pattern that we've seen from this president.

Here are some of the other examples.


TRUMP: We want to make sure the election is honest and I'm not sure that it can be.

We're going to have to see what happens. You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster, and--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand that, but people are rioting. Do you commit to making sure that there's a peaceful transferal of power?

TRUMP: No, we want to have get rid of the ballots and we will have a very peaceful - there won't be a transfer, frankly, there will be a continuation. The ballots are out of control, you know it.

The Democrats are trying to rig this election, because it's the only way they're going to win.

So this is just a way they're trying to steal the election and everybody knows it, because the only way they're going to win is by a rigged election.

We are going to win four more years and then after that we'll go for another four years, because you know what, they spied on my campaign, we should get a redo of four years.


PAUL: Let's get some historical perspective here.

CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley is with us now. Douglas, so good to see you. I want to point out something that you told "The New York Times" on the president's election doubts, quote that he has been putting out there as we've just seen. Your quote is, "This may be the most damaging thing he's ever done to American democracy". How so?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, because our great export in the United States is our free and fair elections. So we tell the rest of the world how to hold them. And now here we are in 2020, mayhem about to happen, President of the United States talking about fraudulent ballots, rigged elections, I may not leave even if I lose. It makes us look ridiculous the world over.


BRINKLEY: We've lost our franchise on free and fair elections. You almost feel like we need a group of nations to monitor our own election instead of the other way around. So it's a sad sight to watch a president of the United States be that paranoid and insecure, because he's down in the polls by ten points, nine points.

Doesn't seem to be getting any momentum to resort to just trashing the whole democratic electoral system.

PAUL: Douglas, has there been a point in history where there were serious questions about the legitimacy of an election and how might these two events coincide, or compare to each other?

BRINKLEY: Certainly, in early American history this happened. I mean, we had the so-called corrupt bargains where electorates would do last- minute trading to get somebody into becoming president. But in modern times, we haven't seen anything like this. We have not seen, I think two high water marks of leadership were when Richard M. Nixon lost in 1960 to John F. Kennedy by the slimmest of margins. There was every reason to do a recount and Nixon said, "No, I'm going to let Kennedy have the presidency, because this would be disruptive to our democracy".

And likewise Al Gore in 2000 lost by a dangling chad or two in Florida, to George W. Bush. It went to the Supreme Court, they gave a 5-4 ruling on it and Gore stepped down and said, "Look, the most important thing is the peaceful transfer of power". And so Donald Trump's intransigence, his remarks, goes against the grain of modern U.S. history. And it tends to be the language of somebody who does, indeed, have an authoritarian or a dictatorial bent.

PAUL: When people listen to the president, saying that he won't accept the election results, if he does not believe them to be fair and free, there are a lot of images that go through your mind about what that might look like if he does not step down.

Let's listen to what Errol Louis said to me earlier today.


ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I wouldn't be too certain that being dragged out kicking and screaming is off the table. We simply don't know what is going to happen. I'd say that the outer limit, the date to keep in mind is January 21, where by order of the Constitution his term will end.


PAUL: What's your reaction to what he's saying there?

BRINKLEY: That if it's close that we're not going to have a winner on November 3, it's going to be a long, legalistic November and even into December. But eventually, if it gets to be the Supreme Court has to decide on the irregularity of counting in Pennsylvania or this went wrong in Florida and it's too close, if this election gets really too close to call and Supreme Court decides and Trump loses that decision he will leave.

But the very notion that we might have to drag a president physically out of the White House as even a one-tenth of a 1 percent chance is disturbing. But in the end, if Donald Trump loses, he will go and our democracy will continue and a lot of people will say good riddance.

PAUL: Hey, and you just said what Vice President Joe Biden said. His, of course, opponent for the candidacy of the president, he said "He'll leave" simply. We will see.

Doug Brinkley, always appreciate your insight, sir. Thank you.


SAVIDGE: California election officials are sounding the alarm on a false report that's been circulating on social media about mail-in ballots.

On Friday, right-wing media figures posted photos claiming to show thousands of mail-in ballots in a dumpster.

PAUL: A spokesperson from Sonoma County told CNN that the images we're looking at here actually showed empty ballot envelopes used in previous elections that were thrown away after use.

SAVIDGE: There's been a third night of protest in Louisville over the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Demonstrators also marched in places like Los Angeles and Boston.

Breonna Taylor was killed in March after three plain-clothed officers broke down her door, searching for her ex-boyfriend who wasn't there. A grand jury has decided not to directly charge any officers in Taylor's death.

A group of women who have all lost loved ones to police violence have joined together to launch an organization to push for more legalization on policing reforms. And I'm joined now by one of those women, Tiffany Crutcher, the sister of Terrence Crutcher and Vice President of Sisters of the Movement.

Good morning to you. Thank you for joining us today.


TIFFANY CRUTCHER, VICE PRESIDENT, SISTERS OF THE MOVEMENT: Good morning, Mark. Thank you for having me.

SAVIDGE: Let me ask you, first of all, your reaction to the grand jury's decision in the Breonna Taylor case.

CRUTCHER: Completely outraged, Mark. I couldn't even sleep that night. I had to get in my car, take a drive. It's just a true miscarriage of justice and I believe that everyone who cares about justice, felt that same way on this past Wednesday.

SAVIDGE: And I'm sorry, I misspoke at the beginning saying you're pushing for legalization, it's legislation. And I know you have been working very hard on that. You're involved in attempting to reform the police department there in Tulsa, Oklahoma after the loss of your brother.

After four years now of making or working for these changes, have you seen them go into effect?

CRUTCHER: Well, to be quite frank, not one policy has changed that would prevent what happened to my twin brother, Terrence, from happening again. And I've been on the front lines. I've been at city hall, I've been in the streets, and nothing has changed. And quite frankly, it's exhausting.

SAVIDGE: What do you think it will take then, to bring about the kind of change you want to see? I mean, I think we all realize that there needs to be reform, and yet you're saying after four years, after the loss of your brother, it's not happening. So what more needs to be done?

CRUTCHER: Well, first and foremost we're going to have to keep doing what we're doing right now, taking it to the streets. Power concedes nothing without a demand. And we're going to have to get to the ballot box, because Breonna Taylor's blood is on that ballot box. Terrence's blood is on that ballot box. And so we're going to have to up the pressure and really continue to push. I mean, that's all we have left is our voice.

SAVIDGE: Do you think that there should be a federal investigation into the death of Breonna Taylor? And what I mean by this, as a civil rights investigation, do you think it's warranted here?

CRUTCHER: Absolutely. We need a federal investigation, because what happened here with the grand jury is just asinine. We're demanding right now that the Attorney General, that he release the transcripts because it's just baffling to think that there's no justice for Breonna, a woman who was sleeping in her bed and for this wanton indictment, and for a bullet, the same bullet that went through a wall to get an indictment, and for the bullets that hit Breonna Taylor not to get that same indictment. Something is drastically wrong and we need transparency.

And so we're going to keep taking it to the streets. We have people from Oklahoma right now on ground standing in solidarity with all of the other protesters, but, yes, we're hoping that the FBI, that investigation will bring some type of justice for Breonna and her family.

SAVIDGE: You and your organization have been meeting with lawmakers. And I'm wondering, do you feel they listen? Do you feel that they genuinely are hearing you when you speak? What's the experience been like?

CRUTCHER: Well, I'm grateful that they do take the time to at least take our call, but we had a great conversation with Biden and his senior campaign team and the empathy was there. They promised to really make police accountability a priority, if elected to the next administration. But after talking to Senator Tim Scott, it's just politics as usual.

The bill that he introduced over on the Senate side just didn't have enough teeth to prevent police officers from committing legal murder. And so he heard us. He took the time with us, but that's just not enough. And he made one statement, he said that the Democrats can't have everything that they want.

And for me as a family member, I'm tired of negotiating if we live or die, it's not about politics for us. It's not too much to ask for us to have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Isn't that the American way and that's what I shared with Senator Tim Scott. And we're still at a gridlock.

SAVIDGE: Yes. That is so well put.

Tiffany Crutcher, we are so sorry as we come to the anniversary of your brother Terrence's death at the hands of police in Oklahoma. Thank you very much for joining us this morning.

CRUTCHER: Thank you so much for having me.

PAUL: So the SEC is kicking off later today. There will be fans there. There are also questions about COVID, particularly after comments by the defending champs' head coach.

We're live with you from LSU's campus next.



SAVIDGE: Another big day for college football. The SEC kicking off today after delaying the start of the season due to, of course, COVID.

PAUL: Andy Scholes is live from Baton Rouge, home of the defending champion, LSU Tigers.

Good to see you out and about, Andy. I bet it feels good.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It certainly feels good to be at big time sporting events, Christi and Martin, but they definitely have a different look and feel to it.

[08:45:00] SCHOLES: Recently the MAC said, that they are going to be playing football now in the fall, as did the Pac-12 and Big Ten. So coming November, we're going to have every single football conference playing college football. And there's a lot of excited fans here today in Baton Rouge as the SEC is set to kick off their season. And all the games in the SEC today will have fans in the stance.

Here at Tiger Stadium, they're expecting around 25,000 for their opener against Mississippi state over in College Station Texas A&M also going to have around 25,000 fans.

And take a look at this map. Here are all of the SEC games that are taking place today, all of the stadiums will be at a reduced capacity.

Now the Tigers here in Baton Rouge, they're the defending champs and this has certainly been a different off-season for the team. Coach Ed Orgeron revealing earlier this month that the majority of his players have already had coronavirus, and he says it's certainly been a challenge to get to today.


ED ORGERON, HEAD COACH, LSU TIGERS: My football team has been working hard under extreme pressure, hearing they are going to play, they are not going to play, and we got to believe the culture we play in. We are going to compete to play and they practice, they never skip the practice, because of too many COVID guys out, nothing like that. We always kept on marching through and now these guys are ready.


SCHOLES: Now all of the fans that will be here that are going to be going into the stadium we will be required to wear a mask. And before you come to the stadium, you have to fill out a COVID questionnaire on your smartphone. There are questions like, are you sick? Have you been around anyone that has been sick? What is your current temperature? And if you pass the questionnaire, you're then given this QR code that they're going to scan before they scan your ticket to enter the stadium, guys.

So that's one of the precautions they're taking right now as they try to start the season amid the pandemic.

PAUL: All right. Andy, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

SAVIDGE: Great to see you out there, Andy.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign for voting is in Atlanta today. And people won't even have to get out of the car.



SAVIDGE: For today's champion of change, a teenager in San Diego wanted to help the homeless work toward a better way of life. So he started paying them to clean up the community.

PAUL: Yes, and just three years later he's helping thousands of people. Meet Kevin Barber.


KEVIN BARBER, CO-FOUNDER, WHEELS OF CHANGE: I think homelessness is just such a big issue that you can't try to tackle it all at once. This program is very specific. It pays and empowers the homeless and that's it.

We're on track to employ about 5,200 homeless individuals this year. We employ 20 people a day to make $52 at the end of their 4-hour shift.

EDWARD BIDWELL, HOMELESS WORKER, WHEELS OF CHANGE: Everything you see here that I'm wearing is purchased. This is not donations. I bought it with the money from Wheels of Change. The hat, the shirt, everything, shoes by working for a living and having the stipend to give us dignity.

K. BARBER: Now the biggest part of our program is the homeless peer- to-peer outreach aspect. Our homeless employees go out to other homeless on the street and they offer them services such as rehab, shelter, permanent housing.

DR. CAROLYN BARBER, CO-FOUNDER, WHEELS OF CHANGE: I'm an emergency physician. I've been working here in San Diego for the last 25 years. In the ER, we see a lot of homeless population and you are just always trying to figure out, is there something more you can do.

When Kevin came to me with this idea, I kind of thought it was a knucklehead idea. I wasn't quite sure what we were doing. The nonprofit we have running, the program is called Alpha Project and they have 35 different programs.

BOB MCELROY, CEO, ALPHA PROJECT: WHEELS OF CHANGE: People come in pitch to us all the time. Kevin, this youngster, and he was three years younger, and so I met about, what, 14. I don't know.

K. BARBER: So I was 15 when I came up with the idea, and I was 16 when we actually got the wheels rolling. And now I'm a sophomore at Santa Clara University.

MCELROY: I'm cynical, I'm a cynical old guy, but they were sincere about it and persistent. It fits in with what Alpha Project does perfectly.

K. BARBER: So before the coronavirus pandemic, we were running our two vans five days a week and going all across the city and county to different hot spots of trash that needed help. Now we're working out of the convention center where around 700 homeless individuals are being housed and they are walking all throughout the neighborhood and still cleaning up downtown San Diego.

I definitely love to challenge the conventional thinking that we see around, especially having a lot of people who don't really tend to engage with our communities.

CHERYL LOZANO, HOMELESS WORKER, WHEELS OF CHANGE: Just because we're homeless, doesn't mean that we don't want to work, but that we can work.

KENNETH "K.B." ALLEN, SUPERVISOR, WHEELS OF CHANGE: Change is in anybody. We got to give people another opportunities, another chance. I'm a fine example. Drug addict, I got to change my life around. Homeless, and look at me now. I got a beautiful family, three kids. This is pretty much what my miracle (inaudible)

You all did a good job.

MCELROY: People are coming out with pizzas, sodas, water. Thank you guys for being here. God bless you. We're so proud of you. I mean that self-esteem goes through the roof. The best medication I have for our mental health issues down here is accolades from the community.

MAYOR KEVIN FAULCONER, SAN DIEGO: Not only helping the individual, it's helping to clean up the community. We have had a lot of other cities who want to come and see how it works in San Diego, so they can emulate it and help people across the country.

ALLEN: Pretty much from homeless to a home.

MCELROY: This was a true win-win.


PAUL: Don't you think there's something you can't do. In that something, be sure to watch "Champions for Change". It's tonight at 10:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

SAVIDGE: Yes, that's so true Christi.

Well, there's a new public service announcement that features Americans who have volunteered for COVID-19 vaccine trials and they are hoping to recruit more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a flight attendant with American Airlines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I work at a grocery store and I want people to safely get their food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to see again visible smiles.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost half a million Americans have volunteered so far and stepped up to help fight COVID-19 by being a part of the vaccine clinical trials.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAVIDGE: You might recognize that voice. It's Harrison Ford. The actor

who partnered with the National Institutes of Health to narrate this new PSA.

PAUL: Well, do stay with us. We are going to have news throughout the day as we wait for President Trump to announce his nominee for the Supreme Court.

"SMERCONISH" goes up next. We will see you again at 10:00 Eastern.

SAVIDGE: See you then.