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White House Officials Have Serious Concerns About Trump's Health; GOP Senators Tillis And Lee Test Positive For COVID-19, Both Attended Rose Garden Event Last Weekend; Biden Campaign Is Taking Down All Negative Ads Following Trump's COVID Diagnosis; Regeneron CEO On Trump Taking Antibody Cocktail After COVID-19 Diagnosis; With Trump Hospitalized, More COVID-19 Cases Emerge In White House And Campaign; Trump Illness Raises National Security Concerns As Pentagon Looks To Reassure Public. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 03, 2020 - 07:00   ET





DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I think I'm doing very well.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is not a matter of politics. It's a bracey reminder to all of us: we have to take this virus seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President dealing with mild symptoms, received an experimental, Regeneron, antibody cocktail treatment on Friday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a patient who was at risk, and they felt that they wanted to tilt the odds a little bit more in his favor by potentially using our drug.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is important to show our allies and our adversaries around the world that this President is still in charge. But it's also why this White House has to give us some more information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most secure American in this country gets this virus. None of us is safe.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour, a look at the White House there. Good morning to you. We have viewers from around the world with us this hour. Let's now -- let's to get to Walter Reed Medical Center. I believe we have a shot there as well as where President Trump spent the night after being hospitalized with COVID- 19. CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And we're learning more this morning about the President's condition and his treatment. Sources tell us, the White House officials have serious concerns about the President's health right now, and we'll learn he's having some trouble breathing this morning and is fatigued.

BLACKWELL: Overnight, the President's team said that he's being treated with Remdesivir, that's a drug that's shown to shorten the amount of time the patient is hospitalized with coronavirus. The President was also given an experimental antibody cocktail from the drug maker, Regeneron. Listen, we've got every angle of the breaking news covered. We've got our reporters and correspondents standing by to bring you the latest information this morning.

PAUL: For more on the President's condition, first of all, we want to get to CNN Boris Sanchez. He's outside Walter Reed Medical Center. Boris, what have you learned this morning thus far?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. From what we understand, according to the White House physician President Trump is doing well. He's in good spirits, but he's experiencing some shortness of breath related to the congestion, mild symptom of the coronavirus. Further, the President is experiencing a low-grade fever as well, as he noted, fatigue and exhaustion.

The White House making clear that the President's trip here to Walter Reed Medical Center is out of an abundance of caution. Despite that, what we've heard privately from sources close to the president is that he was spooked by this diagnosis and the rapid onset of symptoms. The president actually filmed the message on Twitter yesterday, shortly before being transported to Walter Reed. I want to play it for you now, listen.


TRUMP: I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I'm moving to Walter Reed Hospital. I think I'm doing very well. But we're going to make sure that things work out. The First Lady is doing very well. So, thank you very much. I appreciate it. I will never forget it. Thank you.


SANCHEZ: You hear the President; they're giving an update on First Lady Melania Trump as well saying that she is doing fine. From what we understand, she's experienced a mild cough, nothing really compared to what the President is feeling. Notably, he also sent out a tweet late last night, very different tone than what we typically hear from President Trump when he's up late tweeting, take a look at this. He writes: "Going well, I think. Thank you to all LOVE!!!," in all caps.

Notably, we are just one month from Election Day and the President is not only in Walter Reed Medical Center being observed by doctors, but he's essentially having to answer for comments that he's made throughout this campaign about coronavirus and the United States rounding the corner and being close to the end of it. And further, what he told Bob Woodward back in April that he was not concerned, not really concerned about catching coronavirus.

The Trump campaign of course, suspending or postponing all events that the President had scheduled for the next few days. We're told that aides close to the president are very concerned about this because of how rapidly this virus can become something potentially lethal.

We saw what happened with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, just days after testing positive for COVID-19. He went from having mild symptoms to being in the intensive care unit. So, obviously, a lot of concern over President Trump right now at Walter Reed Medical Center. A lot of eyes on the president right now. Victor and Christi.

PAUL: No doubt. Boris Sanchez, we appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So, the White House has shared little, too little information about the decision to move the President to Walter Reed. The White House said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution but according to the Washington Post, this is their reporting: The White House wanted to move the president while he could still walk to Marine One on his own.


PAUL: And there are still questions about how many people who have spent time with the President have contracted COVID-19.

BLACKWELL: Ryan Nobles is up on that angle. Let's bring them in now overnight. Two more people in the president circle are working there at the White House tested positive for the virus. Go through the list. It's growing.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is Victor and Christi. And it seems that list grows by the hour. A long list of folks that have been near the president over the past couple of days who have now been diagnosed with a positive case of coronavirus. Take a look at this. Hope Hicks, she, of course, the original aide -- she was the first to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

Two Senators, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, the Reverend John Jenkins from Notre Dame who was at that event on Saturday where Amy Coney Barrett was announced as president's a nominee to the Supreme Court, Ronna McDaniel, the RNC Chairwoman, of course the First Lady and unnamed White House staffer, three journalists, and Kellyanne Conway, a former Trump Aide and Bill Stepien, the Trump Campaign Manager. And there are two events that we are looking at very closely.

First was that event with a large group of people where the President announced Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court nominee, a number of people now subsequently diagnosed with coronavirus, and then there was the President's debate prep. There was a small number of people that were with the president not wearing masks.

Many of them have been diagnosed with coronavirus. Bill Stepien, Kellyanne Conway among them, there are others like Chris Christie, the former Governor of New Jersey, who was also part of that debate prep. He took a test yesterday and is expected to get those results sometime today.

Now, the business of the government continues. There will be no invoking of the 25th amendment, at least not at this point. That means President Trump is still in charge, but Vice President Mike Pence will take on a bigger role. Today, he's expected to head up a meeting of the Coronavirus Task Force. This is a job that he's had from the very beginning, but the White House was putting less and less of a focus on the Coronavirus Task Force.

They were meeting less frequently as the White House and this administration were attempting to move on from the coronavirus -- something that's impossible to do right now. And then, there's the political angle of all of this. As Boris mentioned, the President no longer expected to be holding those big huge rallies where his supporters were packed in, shoulder to shoulder, many not wearing masks as he is of course, being hospitalized right now.

But there is a debate scheduled for Wednesday. That's the second-tier debate, debate between the two vice presidential candidates, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. That is expected to take place in Salt Lake City. They are making accommodations, the two candidates will be further away from each other on the debate stage, going from seven feet to 12 feet. So, this already having real world impacts not just on the business of government, but on the campaign as well.

BLACKWELL: And I'm sure that throughout the day, we're going to hear more about the impacts as adjustments will have to be made. Ryan Nobles for us there at the White House. Thanks so much. Let's talk about these two GOP senators that were on that graphic that Ryan just brought us. They have tested positive for coronavirus, and maybe this could have some impact on the confirmation of Supreme Court Nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

PAUL: Yes, CNN Congressional Correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty is with us from Washington now with more on that. So, that is supposed to happen October 12th. Are we getting any word as to whether they believe a postponement will be an order?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Republicans are saying it's still full steam ahead on her nomination as scheduled. The Republican chairman of the committee, Senator Lindsey Graham, he says that the committee hearing will start on October 12th, as was scheduled, he says that those Republican senators: Senators Tillis, Senator Mike Lee, who are both sick with COVID.

Right now, both Republicans on that committee, he says that they can participate remotely even cast their vote in the committee by proxy. But this potentially becomes a much, much larger issue for Republicans if and likely when her nomination moves from the committee to the full floor of the U.S. Senate. Now, that is where senators actually have to show up, actually have to cast their vote in person.

So, of course, the health of these two Republican senators very much an issue because Republicans already have really no margin error; they need their votes in the full U.S. floor of the Senate when and when her nomination moves over to the floor vote. Now, Democrats are already calling for her hearings to be delayed. The Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says that it's irresponsible and dangerous to move forward.

But again, all of these shines such a bright spotlight than on the fact that Capitol Hill does not have protocols in place to deal with an outbreak of COVID. They have no contact tracing, they have no temperature checks, no, no protocols in place, no testing, so this is something that members in recent months have been angry for about and have exactly more anxiety folding in given these new diagnoses of these senators, Christi.


PAUL: All right. Sunlen Serfaty, appreciate the update. Thank you so much. I want to go to Morgan Chalfant, she's a reporter with The Hill, and she was on Air Force One with the President, Tuesday, going into the debate. Thank you so much for being with us, Morgan. We appreciate seeing you. I understand that you are in self-quarantine right now. First of all, how are you? Are you OK?

MORGAN CHALFANT, REPORTER, THE HILL: Yes, I'm good. I got tested on Thursday, actually, for another reason. I was supposed to take a trip this weekend that I had to cancel once I found out all the news, but I'm waiting awaiting those results, but I feel fine.

PAUL: You feel fine. OK. I'm glad to hear it. So, so let's talk about, first of all this news this morning that President Trump's Campaign Manager, Bill Stepien has tested positive. You obviously saw a lot of the people now that we're hearing who have tested positive here, we know Kelly Conway, a couple of Republican Senators Mike Lee, Thom Tillis. Did you see them on Tuesday and help us understand the proximity with which they were together?

CHALFANT: So, I didn't see Kellyanne Conway or any of the senators on Tuesday, but I did see Bill Stepien. He was on Air Force One. And I actually saw him getting out of the van with Hope Hicks, who obviously was diagnosed on Thursday. We learned that news on Thursday night. So, he you know, now is positive. So, they were in interacting pretty closely together.

Most of the Trump administration officials, campaign aides were not wearing masks, I didn't see any mask usage on Air Force One or at the debate. And you know, they're, they're close together. And obviously, you know, on a plane, people are pretty close together.

PAUL: So, take us back to Air Force One with you on Tuesday. Now, knowing what you know, now, other than the fact that you didn't see a lot of mask wearing, is there any particular moment that stands out to you?

CHALFANT: Not particularly. So, normally, on these trips, you'll get visits from administration officials, we actually didn't get many during this trip, the only person that came back and spoke to us was Mark Meadows shortly before we departed. He obviously has tested negative up to this point, but there were no visits from the president, which does happen sometimes on these trips. PAUL: So, I understand that you were going to request a press credential for the Rose Garden event, and you changed your mind at the last minute. Why did you change your mind?

CHALFANT: Well, I was considering it, because I was covering the event. I think that sometimes there's just a risk factor with all of these events, most of the White House events that are occurring of large numbers of people, obviously, we saw the Republican National Convention event at the White House have, you know, 2000 people not wearing masks very close together. So, I think the risk is considered and also sometimes it's easier to do my job when you can live stream from your house rather than actually be at the event.

PAUL: So, when you initially heard that President Trump tested positive, what was your reaction knowing that you were close to many of the people in his circle over the last week?

CHALFANT: I was surprised and concerned. I think that I was I was concerned, particularly when I heard about Hope Hicks' diagnosis, because I knew that she was on the Air Force One flight. What does give me a bit of comfort is that we weren't really close to people. A lot of the administration officials were pretty far away from us during that trip. And I took precautions, I wear a mask, and we were all tested that day. But obviously, all of these situations show that the testing strategy itself is not infallible.

PAUL: So, do you anticipate that there may be a modification of messaging after this when it comes to COVID? Because we know that that's a -- that is something that the President hasn't necessarily wanted to focus on so much in this campaign, but it's certainly been the central narrative for Joe Biden.

CHALFANT: Right, and this, you know, really makes it even more of a central narrative that the President now has coronavirus. So, it's going to be what we're talking about for several weeks. It's completely affecting the campaign even more than it has before.

I'm not sure how they're going to be messaging this going forward, but obviously, there's a lot of focus on the President's condition. And in the coming days, you know, what he's going to do, how his schedule is going to be adjusted and also how this will affect the coming debates with Joe Biden.

PAUL: Morgan Chalfant, I am, I am wishing you a negative test. I hope that you continue to feel well. Thank you so much for sharing with us and be well.

CHALFANT: Thanks so much.

PAUL: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: Morgan talks about how this is impacting the campaign. Well, the Biden campaign is changing its strategy since the President's diagnosis. We'll tell you how Biden is reacting and what the campaign is changing based on what's coming out of the White House. [07:15:03]

PAUL: Also, how does the President's diagnosis affect the country's national security? There's one expert calling this a code red for the U.S. government. We'll talk to her.


BLACKWELL: Former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris will be campaigning today.

PAUL: Yes, as well, the Former Vice President's Wife, Jill Biden, both of them have tested negative yesterday, before returning to the campaign trail. CNN's Jason Carroll is with us right now. And Jason, I think a lot of people look at this. They first and foremost want the President and the First Lady to be well along with everybody on their team. They also noticed that we are just one month, officially one month from November 3rd, today from this election. How has this reshaped everything in the past couple of days?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, really, we're in uncharted territory right now. I mean, that's very clear. So, a couple of things, first things first, the Biden campaign made a decision to pull all negative ads going forward. They made that decision before they knew that the President was heading to Walter Reed.

And there were also some questions as you guys know about whether or not the Vice President would even attend that event yesterday in Michigan, they went on ahead and did that with the Vice President. I spoke to a campaign official about the decision making going into that, and there were several reasons for that. A couple of them being that first of all, Biden had tested negative twice on Friday.

In addition to that, when he was on the campaign stage, with the President on Tuesday, they had no physical contact, they were separated, they did not shake hands, not do an elbow bump. And also, vice president, Former Vice President Pence -- Biden, also has this, this history, a strict history of wearing masks.

He spoke about that, he spoke about that yesterday, said it's the patriotic thing to do, also saying yesterday when he was speaking, that it's about protecting yourself and protecting loved ones. But also, first things first, he wanted to make sure that he sent out best wishes to the President, and to the First Lady.


BIDEN: My wife, Jill, and I pray that they'll make a quick and full recovery. This is not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously.


CARROLL: And also, yesterday, there was supposed to be two events there in Michigan, as you guys know, he only ended up doing one event, not two. And so, looking ahead some questions about what the campaign will look like, well, it's going to look very much like it has in the past.

This campaign is going to be doing what they've always been doing, following the science keeping a small footprint when they're out on the ground. No large crowds, no large rallies, of course, and later today, for example, Pence -- Biden, will be holding a virtual Town Hall. He'll be doing that with union leaders here today. And so, it's going to be small footprints on the ground, following the signs going forward, guys.

BLACKWELL: Jason Carroll for us there in Wilmington. Thank you so much, Jason.

PAUL: Thank you, Jason. So, the President waking up this morning at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after testing positive for COVID. Coming up, why the first days of treatment will be so critical to his recovery.



BLACKWELL: Twenty-six minutes after the hour now. President Trump is at Walter Reed Army Medical Center receiving treatment for COVID-19. White House doctor says the president completed the first dose of antibody cocktail and a dose of Remdesivir. It's an antiviral drug used to fight Ebola and he says the President's doing very well, and is not required any supplemental oxygen.

PAUL: That's good to hear. Sources tell CNN the president is however having some trouble breathing is very tired, very fatigued and congested there. The number of people in the President's inner circle who've come, who've contracted the virus, that is also growing. Last night, we learned his campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and his former top aide, Kellyanne Conway, also tested positive. Both attended prep sessions for Tuesday's debate, we know.

The White House says President Trump has received this experimental antibody therapy to treat his coronavirus. The company is Regeneron, and it's only started testing the cocktail back in June. So far, it has been shown to be safe.


LEONARD SCHLEIFER, CEO, REGENERON: He's not seriously ill now. He's not on a respirator. His life is not threatened. From what we know from the from the outside and I hear the same news that you hear. But he is a patient who was at risk, and they felt that they wanted to tilt the odds a little bit more in his favor by potentially using our drug.

What we found is that we can help the patient's immune system win the race by basically giving them an immune response in a vial. We're given actual antibodies and, and I was listening, Sanjay had it almost right, and he's fabulous and he covered so many different areas. This is -- these are proteins and cells were giving. They're monoclonal antibodies; they're proteins whose job it is in a very specific way, to glom on to that virus and help your body win the race.


BLACKWELL: Let's bring it now. CNN Political Commentator Dr. Abdul el- Sayed, Epidemiologist, Public Health Expert on this. Doctor, good morning to you. Let me start with the medical (INAUDIBLE) before we get to the political element. This, as we learned from the White House, single eight-gram dose of the polyclonal antibody cocktail experimental on a compassionate use. And then, late last night right before midnight, confirmation of the beginning of the Remdesivir therapy. Your thoughts on the treatment for the president over the last 24 hours?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's quite clear. He's the president of the United States and the health care that he's gotten is, is the best in the world. He has access to that, that, that antibody cocktail that is still in phase three that you really can't get access to outside of very, very special circumstances.

And the Remdesivir, we know, got an emergency use authorization back in the summer and in clinical studies has shown to reduce the time of hospitalization. And so, he's getting the best possible treatment.

And, you know, the big question and open question right now is what does the choice to hospitalized the president mean for what they thought of his potential course, and also how that plays in terms of the optics if you're a president in the middle of re-election campaign. You never want to be in a situation where you're being taken out on a gurney from the White House. And so, the choice may be was to take him to the hospital preemptively, but he's certainly getting the best care anyone could possibly get.


BLACKWELL: So, let's talk about -- you talked about the decision to take him to the hospital. Yesterday, the first news we got after the tweet from the president was that he was doing well, mild symptoms, and then, he -- the wife, the first lady would convalesce at the White House. To the antibody cocktail, then, checking into Walter Reed, then the remdesivir therapy.

I mean, what do you glean from the pretty quick succession and the progression of what happened on Friday?

EL-SAYED: We step back from the fact that this is the president, and you told me that this was a 74-year-old man with a history of obesity, and, and, and, and a couple of other risk factors for heart disease.

I would tell you that the probability of having a bad course is, somewhat high. And the fact that the nature of the course of this disease is that, you know, the first week tends to be these mild symptoms, and then, they have what's called a second-week crash.

And we don't actually know when the president was exposed to the coronavirus, when he actually picked it up. And so, it's hard to really say where he is in his course. But we do know that this is about the time if he's starting to get symptoms since those usually come in about five days, hospitalization tends to happen at 10 to 12 days for the CDC.

And so, this is about the time where we're going to see what happens with this course. And I think the fact that there were choices to take him to the hospital to treat him with both an experimental drug and also, remdesivir suggests that he may be feeling worse than he may be letting on.

Of course, there's, you know, every indication that his incentives is to make sure that everything is a-OK, but, you know, if you look at the nature of the treatment and the decisions that have been made, it may be that his symptoms are a little bit more severe than they're letting on.

BLACKWELL: Our Boris Sanchez, outside the Walter Reed, said that the reporting is the president was spoofed by the progression of the symptoms throughout the day.

Let's turn to the vice president now. The campaign says that we know that Vice President Pence has tested negative for COVID thus far. But he will continue campaigning with these in-person events, despite the close contact with not only the president but the other people who've tested positive.

The V.P. debate, they are moving the podiums from seven feet apart to 12 feet apart. OK.

As a health professional, would you advise the continuation of in- person events being on a stage in this venue with other people even though he's tested negative?

EL-SAYED: I'll say a couple of things about this. They need to be testing him every day because we know -- we don't know exactly when an exposure might have been, of course, he's probably in very constant contact or was in constant contact with people who are both exposed and came down positive.

And so, he needs to be tested every day and they need to be very transparent with what that testing shows.

Second, you know, the Biden team has shown that you can do this safely. But the problem is, is that the Trump team has done it in exactly the ways that everyone has said is not safe. In large indoor gatherings, nobody wearing masks.

So, whatever they choose to do, I sure hope that the vice president chooses to wear a mask and that everyone around him is wearing a mask, because it is absolutely critical to protecting you and everyone else from this extremely dangerous deadly disease.

So, you know, I think that they can continue, but they'll need to be very transparent and very thoughtful about how to protect him. And more importantly, potentially, how to protect everyone else, because this is -- this is what happens when you ignore the science in the middle of a pandemic. BLACKWELL: You mentioned how the campaign has happened for the president with these huge events. Let's put up the video. This is the Wednesday rally. Thousands of people together, very few masks. You know, we are focused in -- on the Rose Garden event because we know the faces and we know the names of the people who have been exposed and those who have contracted the virus. But you point out something important that there are multiples of the Rose Garden event, weekly, when the president goes out and holds these rallies, and all these people come together.

It's important to point out that not just Kellyanne Conway and Tom Tillis and Mike Lee. But the people whose names we do not know, face the same exposure night after night at these rallies, and they have been for months.

EL-SAYED: You're absolutely right, Victor. Right. We know the answers to the questions we're asking. How many people who may have been exposed at this Rose Garden event actually got sick? But we don't know the answers to the questions we're not yet asking. How many people at that Bedminster event got sick? How many people at the Minnesota rally got sick?

And the fact is, is that we're not tracking them because people don't really pay attention to the answers of those questions. But every one of those people is as important as the president of the United States. Maybe not to the future of the country, but they are a person with loved ones, and people who care about them.

And we need to be asking, what is the overall consequence of dangerous behavior in the midst of a pandemic? And I think, you know, now that we are paying attention because of the illness of the president, and of course, we wish him and his wife and everyone around him a speedy recovery.


EL-SAYED: We do have to hold that team accountable to what has happened. Why he got sick, and why many people, unfortunately, are liable to have gotten sick because of these exposures.

BLACKWELL: Let's end with the medicine where we started. Let's put the graphic of the people we know who have tested positive for COVID-19. Still a lot of outstanding results. We're waiting in Chris Christie on that list as well. What should the next 10 to 14 days look like for these people?

EL-SAYED: Well, for folks who have gotten sick, wait -- there going to have to watch their course and we wish them all no symptoms at all, and if symptoms, then mild symptoms, and a speedy recovery. But they're going to have to be quarantining for up to 14 days or beyond.

And for folks who have been exposed, they really ought to be isolating as well. Because they've been exposed, and they need to be tested regularly.

I'll be honest with you, right even when you think about Vice President Pence, I recognize the political need to be out there. But, you know, this is someone who has been exposed to sick people and really ought to be isolating in the circumstance.

And so, this really will have reverberating consequences because, of course, these are chains of transmission, right?

So, you now know the group of people who have been affected. But each one of them has a whole chain of contacts that themselves may have been exposed if that person ends up having contracted the disease.

And so, this really could have ripples into the upper echelons of American government in American politics.

BLACKWELL: All right, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. And we've not yet heard from the president since that late-night tweet and that 18-second video. But hopefully, we'll get more from the president or from the administration about his condition.

Thanks so much.

EL-SAYED: Thank you.

PAUL: So, the Trump administration, says the president is staying in power while he battles coronavirus as he's at Walter Reed Medical Center. How could this affect ties with world allies? A lot of people are asking that and asking about national security. Well, our expert in that field is next, and she says, it's not good.



PAUL: 41 minutes past the hour. The president and several members of his administration have now tested positive for coronavirus, and this could get worse. So far, we know that the president's former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager Bill Stepien, and senior aide Hope Hicks, all are positive.

What happens if higher members of his Cabinet get sick? What does that do to the national security of this country? CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd is with us now. She also served, by the way, on President Barack Obama's National Security Council from 2009 to 2013.

Samantha, good to see you. Glad that you're here.



PAUL: I know that you wrote an op-ed for this morning, and it is called, this is a code red moment for the U.S. government. I also know that you worked through H1N1 with President Obama. What does that experience tell you about what's going on behind the scenes right now?

VINOGRAD: Well, Christi, this is a highly vulnerable moment for U.S. National Security even if other members of President Trump's administration don't become stick. It is never a good thing when world leaders and world media are questioning the stability of the U.S. government. Not to mention the presidential succession lineup that really begs the question of how credible the United States is as a global leader on strategic issues.

And at a tactical level, Christi, it is no secret that we are in a resource-constrained environment from a national security perspective. Critical resources are being diverted just to try to contain and mitigate the outbreak within the inner sanctums of the West Wing and the White House.

Those resources should be devoted elsewhere to do business as usual and to monitor threats to the homeland.

Concurrently, from a strategic macro perspective, the whole notion that the United States can credibly lead the world on confronting any global threat -- whether it's a transnational pandemic like H1N1 or Ebola, or just any other global issue is severely undermined by the fact that a deadly pandemic got within breathing room ostensibly of a U.S. President.

Our credibility on the world stage is tarnished and at the same time, it is likely that our enemies are looking at vulnerabilities in our national security apparatus and may try to take advantage of them.

PAUL: There's no doubt this virus is huge. I mean, even Boris Johnson in the U.K. was affected by it as well. He was in ICU, in fact, just days after he started to show some symptoms.

But former national security adviser to President Trump, John Bolton had this to say last night. He said, "I would say, this is an all hands on deck situation in terms of making sure we're completely up to date on events around the world, even in conflicts that may not seem important in the U.S."

And then he mentioned Armenia and Azerbaijan just as an example there. How confident are you that the U.S. knows what's happening in the world is speaking to our allies, and aware of any pockets of vulnerability?

VINOGRAD: Well, it's impossible to have all hands on deck when you're trying to mitigate an outbreak within the West Wing, potentially, with other -- within departments and agencies. This is a resource- constrained environment.


VINOGRAD: But based upon my experience during H1N1 and other crises, a critical part of mitigating national security risks right now is publicly and privately messaging that business is happening as usual.

So, for example, we saw the NSC tweet yesterday about the ongoing work with the national security adviser. We've had statements from the Pentagon indicating that the military is operating as usual. That we are not in an enhanced readiness posture. Again, this is all the signal that the resources that are available are doing their day jobs. Behind the scenes, I would expect that Secretary of State Pompeo and other Cabinet members are phoning their counterparts and trying to reassure them that the U.S. government is operating on stable footing.

The intelligence community is also key here, Christi. The intelligence community has to be looking at whether there are enhanced threats to the homeland, and whether adversaries are trying to take advantage of this moment.

For example, that could include enhanced influence operations trying to undercut the stability of the U.S. government. As well as potentially other physical threats to the homeland.

PAUL: OK, yes, we wondered if there would be an opportunity here that some might see to do something nefarious against the U.S. I know that you had questions about the timeline that we've seen here so far, in terms of the president getting ill and what happened yesterday, as he was on Marine One on his way to Walter Reed. What stands out to you?

VINOGRAD: Christi, I just don't buy this timeline. I traveled on Air Force One. It is a larger plane than others, but it is not a huge space. The notion that Hope Hicks would be quarantined on Air Force One, and that the president wouldn't be made aware of that situation is really suspect to me.

At the same time, White House physicians, staff, travel on Air Force One. They would ostensibly update the White House chief of staff. And I would think the NSC chief of staff -- that a member of the traveling delegation was feeling ill and needed testing.

At that point, standard operating procedure would be to send a notice to staff on the confines of the White House compound, indicating that there was a potential threat to their well-being. These alerts, these internal communications are sent out.

Again, standard operating procedure about suspicious packages, trespassers, drones. The fact that there wasn't some kind of widespread communication about an outbreak within the White House compound is really troubling to me. And it just doesn't seem usual or plausible that the president wasn't immediately made aware that a senior aide on his team was sick, when Hope Hicks found out, according to reporting that we've seen on Thursday morning about her condition.

PAUL: All right, Samantha Vinograd, always appreciate having your expertise with us and your thoughts. Thank you.

VINOGRAD: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: President Trump is, at least, the sixth world leader to be diagnosed with coronavirus. You'll hear what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's experience. It may tell us about what's next for the president and his administration.


BLACKWELL: Leaders from around the world are sending their well wishes to President Trump and to the first lady after their COVID-19 diagnosis.

PAUL: Yes, we want to get you some of those. You can see how the world's reacting. We want to begin in London with CNN's International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The British prime minister here, wishing the president and the first lady a speedy recovery. And he, of course, Boris Johnson has had his own terrible tangle with COVID-19.

In his own words in April this year, he almost died in hospital. Seven days in hospital, three days in ICU. The big takeaways in the U.K. spin from his back office at 10 Downing Street that he was doing better than he actually was.

The surge in support for the prime minister when people realized he was very sick. That translated into a bump in the polls that fell away quickly after he left hospital. And when he left hospital, it took him another two weeks before he could get back to work properly.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matthew Chance in Moscow, where Vladimir Putin has sent President Trump a telegram, wishing him and the first lady a speedy recovery.

Putin said, their "inherent vitality, good spirits, and optimism would help them cope." But, of course, it's more than just those qualities that the Russian leader has depended on to defend himself against COVID-19.

Unlike Trump, Putin has spent much of the pandemic in a virtual bubble. Usually speaking to his officials by video conference. Canceling all foreign trips, according to the Kremlin. And working mainly from his residence outside of Moscow, where disinfectant tunnels that spray visitors down as they pass through have been installed.

The growing club of world leaders with COVID-19 is when the Russian president seems at pains, not to join.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers in Mexico City. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has already gone through what President Trump is going through right now. Bolsonaro tested positive for the virus back in July, he had a mild case, and ultimately, quickly recovered.

Bolsonaro has long been a coronavirus skeptic. At times, just calling it a little flu, and actually used his experience with a mild case of the virus to bolster his argument that the true threat to Brazil is not the virus, but the economic shutdowns that have hurt the economy there. This despite the fact that roughly 150,000 Brazilians have lost their lives from this virus. At times Trump and Bolsonaro have mirrored each other in their skepticism of the threat posed by this virus, and so, the question becomes, if President Trump has a mild case? And if he recovers quickly as all of us hope that he does, does he emerge from the White House with a similar narrative to Bolsonaro that all of this really isn't that bad? For that answer, we'll have to wait and see.


PAUL: And do stay with us. The next hour of your NEW DAY, starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I think I'm doing very well.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This is not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously.