Return to Transcripts main page

New Day Saturday

Presidential Debate Officially Cancelled After Trump Refuses Virtual Format; President Trump Invites 2,000 People To Hear Him Speak From White House Balcony For First Time Since Contracting COVID-19; Delta Now A Tropical Storm As It Lashes Louisiana, Moves Into South; Rising COVID Cases Worldwide As U.S. Reports Most Daily Cases In Nearly Two Months And Europe Begins Putting Restrictions Back In Place; Six Men Arraigned Before Court In Plot To Kidnap Michigan Governor. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired October 10, 2020 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you think you got the virus?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They had some big events at the White House. Perhaps there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants to have another White House event after the last one became a super spreader event.

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He didn't take the necessary precautions to protect himself or others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The faces of the men facing charges in an alleged domestic terror plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two of the suspects discussed detonating explosive devices to divert police from the area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not a militia. It is a domestic terror organization.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hurricane Delta has slammed into the U.S. Gulf Coast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurricane This is the last thing that Southern Louisiana needs. Still blue tarps from the Hurricane Laura that came through not six weeks ago.


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

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful shot of the Capitol this morning as we welcome you to this Saturday at 6:00 A.M.. You're up early and we're grateful for it. Good morning. You know, as many as 2,000 people could be at the White House today. President Trump is hosting his first public event since being hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, we have to talk about what we do not know. The White House has not released the results of the President's most recent test. Now, he says he took it yesterday. You're going to hear more of how the President describes his health a little later this morning.

PAUL: And this morning, that second presidential debate you've been waiting for, it's officially been canceled, President Trump refusing to debate Joe Biden virtually. We're going to tell you what the two candidates are planning next.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Sarah Westwood is following all the developments from the White House. Sarah, 2,000 people expected there today. Dr. Anthony Fauci called the last White House gathering a super spreader event. Tell us about this one.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. Just a few weeks, Victor and Christi, after an event that public health experts believe was the genesis of this outbreak that we've seen that has sickened the President and more than a dozen aides and allies of the President who were at that Rose Garden event, now we're going to have potentially hundreds of people on the South Lawn of the White House today.

The President is set to deliver a speech from the balcony of the White House, so he may not be close to the crowd, but that crowd is going to be close to each other and the White House says that they are supposed to bring masks to those guests and that temperature checks will be performed, but that's the same sort of guidance that was given before the last event and obviously those measures proved unable to stop that from spreading.

Now, the President has been very upbeat about his health since returning from Walter Reed. He's been delivering a number of lengthy phone interviews since he's been in isolation here at the White House. He's also been working in the Oval Office, though, and potentially exposing more of his staff and again, as you mentioned, the White House physician and White House aides have been quiet about when the President's last test was and whether he is, at this point, testing negative for the virus.

On Monday, even though we don't know whether the President is still contagious, he is planning to go to Florida for a campaign rally. So hitting the trail, Victor and Christi, before we really know much about what the danger is to the people around him.

PAUL: You talk about some of the things President said last night. Has he said anything about where he believes he contracted the virus?

WESTWOOD: Well, Christi, we've heard the President speculate that perhaps where he contracted the virus was at an event honoring Gold Star families. There's been a lot of speculation about that, but again, CNN has reported that public health experts and including what we heard from Dr. Anthony Fauci have traced this outbreak back to the Rose Garden ceremony where the President nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett for that vacancy on the Supreme Court. So there's still a lot of unknowns and again, we have not heard much from the President's physician at the end of this week and we still really don't know a lot about the extent of this outbreak and where exactly the President may have contracted the virus.

PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, appreciate the update. Thank you.

WESTWOOD: Tthank you.

PAUL: So today, presidential candidate Joe Biden is heading to Erie, Pennsylvania for a campaign event. Last night in Las Vegas, though, he slammed President Trump over his plan to host thousands of people at the White House today as we've been talking about and he criticized the President's recent behavior.


BIDEN: His reckless personal conduct since his diagnosis, the destabilizing effect it's having on our government is unconscionable. He didn't take the necessary precautions to protect himself or others and the longer Donald Trump is president, the more reckless he gets. How can we trust him to protect this country?


PAUL: And as we said, the next presidential debate is canceled. The former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission told "The New York Times," quote, "In seven decades of televised ...



PAUL: ... presidential debates, this is the first debate to be canceled. The loser is the American voter."

BLACKWELL: With me now to talk about all this, CNN political commentator Errol Louis. He is a political anchor for "Spectrum News" and host of the "You Decide" podcast. Errol, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the debate in a moment, but first I want to start with this event that's happening today, up to 2,000 people at the White House. We know that there's a rally scheduled for Monday in Florida. I'm wondering -- I mean, we know the health risks already, but what's the political benefit? The people who show up at Trump rallies who may show up here at the White House, they really don't attract undecided voters. So what's the risk-reward analysis here on why the President is doing this?

LOUIS: Yes. The President likes these rallies. He likes in-person events. You can see him visibly drawing energy from it and that's his preferred way of campaigning. So there's just a comfort level that I think he wants. Also in this digital age, Victor, you have to keep in mind that whatever happens on the White House lawn will be tiny compared to all of the different ways that it gets pushed out through social media, through rebroadcasts, through videos and so forth and it's a wonderful, majestic setting and that's why the President has staged so many events at the White House, including the concluding speech of the Republican National Convention.

So he wants this sort of to be an image that is solidified in everybody's mind. We have not seen much of the President. He's done these phone interviews, but this is going to be a big pageant and of course CNN and every other news organization will have cameras there to show him from below on the balcony looking like the President of the United States. In the closing weeks for somebody who is stricken with coronavirus, that's a pretty good deal, Victor.

BLACKWELL: So Caitlyn Collins reports that the White House says that when the President tests negative, they will report that. The President told "Fox News" yesterday that he has had a test. They've not reported the results of that. Safe to assume that the result was positive. No news conference from the White House physician Dr. Conley, not even a vague paper statement.

I think it's important that we not kind of gloss over just how much is being concealed from the American people and the really lack of much useful information from that, quote, "medical evaluation" the President underwent yesterday.

LOUIS: Yes. Well, look, we're left to draw our own conclusions, but just from what you just described, I mean -- and we've seen this with Dr. Conley before where there'll be a pretty straightforward question, you know, did the President get oxygen? And then he'll say, well, he didn't get oxygen, you know, today or two days ago and then you have to sort of fill in the blanks, OK, he got oxygen yesterday.

It's a silly kind of a game that these folks play. It has nothing to do with transparency obviously. They're sort of half concealing information that is not theirs to conceal. This is public information. This is vitally important public information, as a matter of fact, not just for political purposes, but from the point of view of running the government.

So, you know, as long as they feel constrained to play these games, I would have to assume that it's the campaign leadership and/or the President himself who want to play these games. You know, don't say this, don't say that when, in fact, we can all sort of figure out that the President is a sick man and that he probably ought to be taking steps to get better.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk to the debate now. First one cancelled, first presidential televised debate cancelled since they started. If it's going to look like the first one, what really was lost? Of course, voters deserve to hear from the nominees of the party, but what do you see is the significance of the cancellation?

LOUIS: Well, to me, the significance is twofold. First, it means that the President didn't think that he would be able to pull off a successful debate under those circumstances, primarily because when you're remote, there are producers, there are others who can simply cut your volume, who can sort of curtail some of the antics that we saw from the President as far as interrupting and bickering and trying to shut down any kind of conversation or break the flow of his opponent when Joe Biden was trying to speak. So that's kind of the first thing.

The second, though, I think is that we don't know whether or not he's in any condition to do this. I mean, these audio interviews, these radio interviews we've seen over the last few days when he's calling into different news programs, you can hear him hacking, you can hear him coughing. He's clearly in need of some convalescence. He needs to sort of stand down for a minute and make sure that he can get himself better. I don't know that it was going to happen in time for that to be something that could be done even remotely.

So, you know, it's something that we're going to -- we're going to be talking about for a long, long time, but in the end, the President did not want a regular debate.

[06:10:00] He didn't want it in person, he doesn't want it remotely, he doesn't want something that he can't control. I guess that's, on some level, understandably politically -- understandable politically, but again, very unfortunate for the public.

BLACKWELL: Let's turn to the House now. Speaker Pelosi back in this creation of a commission to determine whether the President can perform his duties. This is going nowhere in the Senate. Is this about substantively anything more than really needling the President and what does this do to those Democrats who will be on the ballot or are on the ballot, the vote comes in just a little more than three weeks, in purple districts, red districts who are still having to defend no progress on the rescue bill for coronavirus?

LOUIS: Well, look, I think it happens to be, as is often the case with Nancy Pelosi, something that is arguably responsible from a governmental point of view that also happens to pack a solid pro- Democratic political punch. I don't think anybody would lose a single vote or suffer any political damage by saying we should have more clear guidelines about how to move forward when we have a president who is sick, not clearly incapacitated but, you know, arguably on his way there and taking therapies that might affect and impair his judgment.

So that's a responsible governmental function. On the other hand, look, we're three weeks out from election and everybody knows what Nancy Pelosi is doing here. She is, in fact, kind of needling the President a little bit, kind of sticking a knife in there. Will it help the folks who are in her conference? Of course, it will because they can always fall back on that first rationale and say, look, I'm just trying to do what's best for the country.

We cannot have a commander-in-chief, we cannot have somebody in charge of the nuclear codes who might be sick, who is on his way being sick, who's taking treatments that will, we know, possibly impair his judgment. Those are real serious questions. This is not, probably, the right time and the right way to deal with them ...


LOUIS: ... but at some point, we are going to have to deal with them, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Errol Louis, always good to have your insight. Thank you, sir.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: You know, of course, we're tracking Delta this morning as well, a tropical storm now. It's moving through Louisiana, heading into Mississippi and the south this morning. There is widespread heavy rain and flooding that is still a big threat there.

BLACKWELL: Almost 730,000 people are without power in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi. More than a half million people in Louisiana alone lost power. Delta is also adding to the damage that people in the region are still trying to recover from. You can see the wind blowing, debris around in some neighborhoods. It's the fourth named storm to hit Louisiana this hurricane season right after Laura six weeks ago.

PAUL: CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar has been watching this. What are you finding this morning, Allison? And good morning to you.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning to you both. Yes. The biggest threat going forward is going to be the rain and also the potential for tornadoes and we're not just talking along the Gulf Coast. Here's a look at where the storm is now. Tropical Storm Delta sustained winds of 45 miles per hour, starting to pick up speed ever so slightly to the northeast at just about 16 miles per hour, but it's no wonder, as Victor mentioned, the power outages.

Look at some of these wind gusts. Texas Point picking up a wind gust of 100 miles per hour, but the other threat is going to be tornadoes. This is a tornado watch that is valid until 1:00 P.M. Central time, 2:00 P.M. Eastern time. It encompasses portions of Florida, Mississippi as well as Alabama.

And that may actually spread out even more as we go through the day because this is the general threat area for both damaging winds and the potential for tornadoes today and that does include cities like Montgomery and Atlanta which are not on the coast, but it just goes to show you that's where the storm is going to go. It's going to continue to spread inland over the next several hours.

Even cities like Nashville, Louisville, Charlotte still likely to get some pretty decent amounts of rainfall out of this system. Widespread total's about two to four inches, but there will be some spots that could pick up six, even 10 inches of rain and for some of those areas, keep in mind it's on top of what they've already had.

Look at this. Iowa, Louisiana picking up 17 inches of rain already. Lake Charles picking up 15 inches of rain. So that's the other concern, too, is, folks, that it's going to be on top of what they've already had and that's going to be a big concern in terms of the flooding which is why you have that flash flood threat for multiple states here because, again, it's not only the rain that has already fallen, but now you have to factor, Victor and Christi, the rain that is on its way here that will pile up on top of that.

BLACKWELL: Piling up on top of it indeed. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much. We'll be checking in with Allison throughout the morning to get the latest on the effects of Hurricane, now Tropical Storm Delta. CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has been there in Louisiana. He joins us now from Delcambre. Derek, what is -- what's it looking like now? How was it overnight?


DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Victor, good morning to you. You know, we are in Delcambre, Louisiana in Vermilion Parish. This is a area, a town that is no stranger to flooding and storm surge. It is a regular thing. We reported from this location yesterday and it's nice to come back and follow up and actually see that this forecast did, in fact, verify for this region.

There are some homes that have clearly been retrofitted with stilts. They know that this area floods, but you can see just to my left that some of the homes, the older homes are inundated with some water at least into the first parts of their buildings there. So these people are all too familiar with these sites, especially when these stronger storms come in.

We looked at some of the observing sites from the National Weather Service near Vermilion Bay just to our south. They had between nine and 10 feet of storm surge recorded at the height of the storm. The surge is moving out, the tide is going down, but you can clearly see that the water is still inundating some of the roads in this local town across the area. Quite a night indeed here in Delcambre, Louisiana, but in the meantime, Victor, Christi, we'll send it back to you in the studio.

PAUL: All right. Derek Van Dam, glad you and the crew are OK. Hopefully everybody else there is too. Thank you.

So more than half the country right now is seeing a spike in coronavirus cases, more than 57,000 new cases, in fact, just reported yesterday alone and those field hospitals we used to see, they're back. The worry is that this is going to get worse.

BLACKWELL: Plus, the first group of men arrested in a plot to kidnap Michigan's governor and put her on trial make their appearance in court. We've got some new details about the case.




BLACKWELL: Twenty minutes after the hour. There are some new warnings this morning from health experts here in the U.S. after the country's daily new COVID cases jumped to more than 57,000. That was Friday. The highest level in almost two months.

PAUL: Yes. One infectious disease expert tells CNN Florida is, quote, "ripe for another large outbreak," unquote and there are alarming trends across the country in fact. Only two states, Maine and Nebraska, are reporting a decline in cases right now.

BLACKWELL: And now there's a worrying report from "The New York Times" that says that the White House blocked what would have been the toughest federal mandate on stopping the spread of the virus. According to the paper, two federal health officials said the CDC drafted an order to make masks compulsory on public transportation. It had the support of the secretary of health and human services, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force led by Vice President Mike Pence declined even to discuss it.

Polo Sandoval is in New York with the latest for this morning. It seems the more we learn about this, the more that there is this obvious political inflection, influence on what we're seeing from the scientists and HHS.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And even though we're seeing some of that influence play out there, Victor, we are still hearing from some of those experts who are pointing to many of those developments that you just broke down for our viewers that's prompting certain warnings from officials.

For example Dr. Deborah Birx, as you mentioned, the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, making it very clear in her warning yesterday that now is the time to take action and some of those actions should extend perhaps into people's homes as people are interacting with some of those close friends and loved ones. As Dr. Deborah Birx says, it is important to take that action now before, as she put it, the virus takes off again.


SANDOVAL: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is out with a new warning, drawing another link between young people and some of the nation's COVID-19 hot spots. The CDC found positive test results generally started rising among people under the age of 25 about a month before a region was designated a COVID-19 hot spot. With the study, researchers are underscoring the need to address young people helping spark outbreaks. A local survey in one Wisconsin county showed young people worried they would feel weird or get odd looks wearing a mask.

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH & POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: It starts out, first of all, with college students coming back to universities and colleges and we're seeing substantial transmission there which then is spilling over into the older adult population.

SANDOVAL: This week, the U.S. posted its highest number of single-day COVID cases in nearly two months. Only a few states, those in green, are reporting declines in new cases this week over last. In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine predicting a very rough winter with both hospitalizations and the average age of patients edging up.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE, (R) OHIO: Every single number is going the wrong way.

SANDOVAL: In the northeast, the moving average of new cases from September 8th to October 8th went up a staggering 91 percent. Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House's Coronavirus Task Force warns one possible reason is silent asymptomatic viral spread among families.

DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: The communities that are seeing upticks, please bring that same discipline that you're bringing to the public spaces into your household and really limit engagement with others outside of your immediate household.

SANDOVAL: In parts of New York City's Queens and Brooklyn boroughs, calls for compliance are growing amid an increase in COVID clusters. This week, members of orthodox Jewish neighborhoods protested recent restrictions put in place to curb COVID-19 spread. Though a virus vaccine is still in the works, one CDC official says formal plans to distribute it once it's available are on target to meet an October 16th deadline in some states and in D.C..


SANDOVAL: Here in New York City, some of those hot spot zip codes, as they're described here by health officials, seeing a test positivity rate about 5.4 percent compared to the statewide number, about 0.9 percent. That's excluding those hot spot regions.

[06:25:00] One of the main reasons why health officials this morning, Victor and Christi, are sending out almost 400,000 rapid response COVID tests to pharmacies, hospitals and other facilities as well. They know that obviously testing is key to try to keep that infection rate down.

PAUL: Yes. No doubt. Polo Sandoval, always grateful to see you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So Europe is now reporting more infectious -- infections, rather, than the U.S., India and China, the three worst hit countries in the world.

PAUL: CNN's international correspondents bring us up to date here.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Melissa Bell in Paris. Here in France, another grim record set on Friday night. More than 20,000 new coronavirus cases declared for the preceding 24-hour period. It comes as four extra cities beyond Paris and Marseille enter the maximum alert category this weekend with all the fresh restrictions that come with that.

Across Europe, it's a story that we've seen in several different countries. Fresh records set or at least fresh records since the spring and the first wave that hit Europe with fresh restrictions aimed at trying to drive those COVID-19 figures down and to give you an idea of how quickly things are moving, to take the positivity rate for instance here in France, it is now 10.4 percent. It was 5.4 percent just three weeks ago.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: I'm Salma Abdelaziz in London where the government is tackling a rise in coronavirus infections. In a single week, the number of cases more than doubled across England between September 25th and October 1st, this as the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson says they are considering their options and that a major announcement could come next week that could see tougher measures imposed, particularly in the north of the country which has been most impacted by the surge in cases.

Now, there's been no official announcement, but local media reports indicate that pubs and restaurants in the north of the country could be closed as early as next week. That government announcement is expected to come with some sort of economic relief for businesses, but for right now, the priority is to stem the rise in cases. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said the country is in a perilous moment and must act quickly if it is to avoid a second wave.

BLACKWELL: And be sure to join Fareed Zakaria for an in-depth look at President Trump's impact on the relationships between the U.S. and its allies. "HOW THE WORLD SEES AMERICA: A FAREED ZAKARIA SPECIAL" airs tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: Six men accused of being domestic terrorists make their first court appearance over a plot to kidnap Michigan's governor and start a civil war. See where investigators say the alleged ringleader was planning the attack and why the lawyer for another suspect says his client had nothing to do with it.



PAUL: Well, six of the 13 men charged in this terror plot to kidnap Michigan's governor have been arraigned on multiple state terrorism charges now.

BLACKWELL: Federal and state officials say, the alleged domestic terrorist were coming up with this plan, elaborate plan to start a civil war. But an attorney for one of the suspects told CNN his client was not involved.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: He was not proud about what he's connected to?

PARKER DOUGLAS, ATTORNEY: Well, he had some confusion, and he's certainly not happy to be connected with what he's connected to. But you know, even reading through the complaint, I'm not sure on like what he's connected to yet. He -- the only thing he said to me was that he's a person who likes his privacy and supports the Bill of Rights, and that he doesn't really find that he belongs in one party or the other. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So, the men who is suspected of being the leader of the group lived in the basement of his vacuum store. He also worked there. CNN National Correspondent, Sara Sidner spoke with the store's owner.


BRIANT TITUS, BUSINESS OWNER: I hate to say I love the kid, but I'm mad right now. I'm just shocked, man. You help somebody out and then they pull that stunt.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Briant Titus says one of the suspects in the alleged domestic terrorist plot was his employee.

(on camera): The owner of this vacuum shop says Adam Fox lived here for the last couple of weeks. He says he lived behind this door and down into the basement.

(voice-over): Down here with him, his dogs. One with an emotional support collar and a "don't tread on me" tag attached to it.

TITUS: He was in a militia and he got kicked out, so he started his own.

SIDNER: One of many things that you discussed, Titus says, he only became concerned when he noticed packages arriving for Fox. What was he getting from Amazon?

TITUS: Like MREs, food, stuff like that.

SIDNER: So, survival stuff that you'd like?

TITUS: Yes, you buying more like attachments for like an AR-15, and he was buying like food. And I'm not stupid. I was in the Marine Corps. So that, I told him he had to go.

SIDNER: But before he left, Fox and 12 others were arrested in FBI raids. We found several suspects ranting against the government online. One suspect calling President Trump an enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Trump is not your friend, dude.

SIDNER: Well, another had praise for the president, tweeting, "keep up the good work, chief. We the people love your work." The FBI says the alleged plot centered around a plan to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. These coronavirus restrictions have been railed against by armed groups at the Capitol. According to the complaint, they did surveillance on her vacation home. Two of the suspects discussed detonating explosive devices to divert police from the area. One suspect said in an encrypted chat, "the fear will be manifested through bullets." Fox allegedly responds, "copy that, boys, loud and clear."

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): These are the types of things you hear from groups like ISIS. This is not a militia. It is a domestic terror organization.

DANA NESSEL, MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: What we're seeing in Michigan right now is not just a Michigan problem, it's an American problem. And I think there's going to be more incidents to come.


SIDNER: A problem forewarned by Frank Meeink; a former neo-Nazi himself, convicted in the '90s for a politically-motivated kidnapping. I spoke to him days before the alleged Michigan plot was known to the public.

(on camera): What's a scenario in this election that would create what you're calling the potential of a race war.

FRANK MEEINK, FORMER NEO-NAZI: I am telling you, this is going to happen. States like Michigan, states like Wisconsin, the northern states that have some wilderness area, there have been militias from other states training up there. They are waiting and hoping that something does go wrong because they want to hold up in them hills. And they want to say we don't want the federal government up here no more.

SIDNER: He says President Donald Trump's rhetoric has emboldened extremists. Whitmer agrees.

WHITMER: Of course, we know every time that this White House identifies me or takes a shot at me, we see an increase in rhetoric online, of violent rhetoric. And so, there's always a connection, and certainly, it's something we've been watching, but this took it to a whole new level.

SIDNER: In a slew of tweets, President Trump said he does not tolerate any kind of extreme violence. He then went after Governor Whitmer saying that she did a terrible job in dealing with the coronavirus crisis in her state. But the governor did what many governors have done to try to slow the spread of this deadly virus. Sara Sidner, CNN, Grand Rapids, Michigan.


BLACKWELL: Sara, thank you. President Trump is inviting 2,000 people to the White House for a campaign event, we're going to talk about the lingering questions about how his health and his safety are holding up with such a large event and the health of those 2,000 people.




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They tested the lungs. They checked for the lungs and they tested it with different machinery. They have incredible stuff that I've never even seen before. And it tested -- it tested good initially, I think they had some congestion in there, but it tested -- ultimately, it tested good and with each day it got better. And I think that's why they wanted me to stay, frankly. But the cat scans were amazing. The equipment was incredible. I've never seen equipment like this before.


PAUL: President Trump last night --

BLACKWELL: That's President Trump --

PAUL: Sorry, Victor.

BLACKWELL: That's President Trump last night talking for the first time about lung scans taken at Walter Reed Hospital.

PAUL: Yes, the White House hasn't released the results of his most recent COVID-19 test. The president says he did take it yesterday. Two thousand people are invited today though to an outdoor event at the White House. Several regions, of course, across the U.S. right now report the most new daily cases of coronavirus in nearly 2 months, which raises questions and concerns about those 2,000 people going to the White House. Dr. Saju Mathew is with us. A primary care physician and public health specialist. Saju, it's always so good to see you.

I want to first get to what the president said there about scans that he believes found congestions in his lungs. He said he never had breathing problems, we know that contradicts the reports that we got last weekend. But if congestion is present or was present, what does that mean for him now one week later. I mean, what is the plausibility he's still contagious?

SAJU MATHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: Yes, good morning, Christi. Lots of questions still surrounding President Trump's COVID viral illness. A cat scan is definitely one of the modalities that we use to confirm if a person has pneumonia. From what we know, from previous reports, low oxygen, needing oxygen, he was on remdesivir, dexamethasone, he got the monoclonal antibodies, hand a history of being short of breath and fatigue with fevers, there's no doubt in my mind that President Trump most likely had COVID pneumonia.

So, really there on the sound, he's talking about these cat scans that are repeated maybe day one, day seven, just to see if the lungs are improving. And for most patients, the cat scan is really a good tool to confirm your suspicion that the patient actually has pneumonia.

PAUL: OK, so with that said, the president yesterday said that he tested that he is either -- and this is quote here, "he's either bottom of the scale or free of the virus." What does that mean? I mean, you're either negative or you're not.

MATHEW: Yes, frankly, I saw that and I wasn't really sure what that meant. A lot of times with President Trump is really more of what he doesn't say that you kind of have to read into, just like the doctor, Conley. So, with COVID-19, this is the bottom line, you've got criteria to decide if a patient is ready to go back to work or if a patient can be released. The first one would be, from the onset of symptoms you have to

actually have ten days, just make sure that the patient is symptom free. Number two, no fevers for the last 24 hours. If the president was on dexamethasone which is steroids, that can reduce the fevers.

It treats inflammation, but it can reduce the fever. So, my question would be -- one of many questions would be, is he still on dexamethasone? And lastly, you want to make sure that the patient's symptoms are improving. That's very subjective because for some people, they can feel good on the first week, and in the second week, they can have symptoms again.


And lastly, regarding testing, Christi, that's always a bit iffy, and the reason I say that is, we know from previous studies that patients recovering from COVID-19, they can test positive for a good two months, and that's because you're still shedding the virus. So, I don't think we should pay too much attention to this test that the president supposedly had done yesterday. Most likely, it should test positive because he was just diagnosed a week ago. Bottom line, how is he feeling? What does the cat scan look? And let's also remember, he had severe COVID-19, so he could be infectious for 20 days, not 10 days.

PAUL: Yes, and you're concerned about the 2,000 people who are going to the White House, although they are supposed to be wearing masks. There are going to be temperature checks there, of course, but 2,000 people is still a pretty large gathering. Dr. Saju Mathew, always appreciate your time, thank you sir.

MATHEW: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Absolutely. Quick programming note for you here. Join Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and five former CDC directors for a new CNN global town hall. Watch "CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS", that's tonight at 9:00.

BLACKWELL: LeBron James has never lost a game when a championship was on the line. Coy Wire has all the details of the all-time classic from the NBA finals.



PAUL: All right, Lakers fans. I know, this close, this close to their first NBA Championship in a decade.

BLACKWELL: Yes, instead, the Miami Heat survived to play another game. Coy Wire is here with more. So, I didn't actually see the game, I checked Twitter, and all of the tweets about how this was just a classic from the moment it ended.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: It was a great night of sports, Victor. Good morning to you and Christi. Now, down 3-1, the Heat, they had these odds stacked against them. LeBron James was nearly undefeated in potential series, ending games in the finals. And the Lakers were undefeated when wearing their black Kobe Bryant tribute uniforms. LeBron looking to further cement his legacy. Some huge shots in the night. But this play right here, Victor and Christi, Jimmy Butler blocking LeBron's shot in the fourth, somehow out-muscling James, keeping Miami in it.

Well, you knew LeBron was going to keep flexing too, right? Two of his 40 points here, giving L.A. the lead in just over a minute to go, but Butler won't stop, he refuses to let his team lose, the fade-away jam, the next position, 35-point triple double for him, exhausted, playing all but about some 40 seconds of the game. Lakers last chance in the green shot, comes up short, Jimmy Butler, the heart-beat of the team, homeless at one point in high school, played in a junior college before willing his way to the NBA, and now this team to a 111-108 victory.


JIMMY BUTLER, FORWARD, MIAMI HEAT: I left it all out there on the floor along with my guys. And that's how we're going to have to play from here on out. Like I always say, it's win-on-win for us. But this is a position that we're in. We like it this way. We've got two more in a row to get.


WIRE: No pictures. Now Butler after the interview -- this is what 47 minutes of play time in the NBA finals looks like. Nothing left in the tank, the Heat have 48 hours to recover. Game six is tomorrow. To MLB Playoffs for what's being called a classic of its own. Rays-Yankees, do or die game five and a legend is born. A homerun by Tampa's backup infielder, Mike Brosseau in the eighth, the eventual game winner, undrafted, overlooked by every team out of college. Played in Australia before making it to the majors last season.

Now, he'll go down as a legend in Tampa baseball while Yankees are dejected, sent home with hopes unfulfilled while the Rays are headed to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2008. The final four are set, Braves-Dodgers in the National League, and you have Rays-Astros starting it all off tomorrow night on our sister network, "TBS".

Now, in the NFL, the newest -- the latest, I should say, that coaches can be flagged for not wearing masks. It's the latest attempt by the league to help prevent the spread of COVID and postpone games. The league says coaches can be given a 15-yard unsportsman-like conduct penalty for approaching officials without a mask. At least five coaches have already been fined a $100,000 for not following sideline protocols.

Both the Patriots-Titans game still set to go on, Victor and Christi, are being postponed due to COVID, neither team with new positives. But the NFL may be on to something with some of these confrontations we've seen in retail stores, and on airplanes -- being people who wear or do not wear masks. It's safe to say some people would just love that they could walk around with a penalty flag, throw them at people for not wearing a mask.

PAUL: That's a good point. Coy Wire, always good to see you. Thank you, sir.

WIRE: You too.

PAUL: So to finding out and knowing what the president's coronavirus status is at the moment, in several hours, he's inviting as many as 2,000 people to the White House. This is his first public event since testing positive with COVID. We're going to be live with the details for you, stay close.



PAUL: Home-bound and home-schooled. Families around the world are adjusting obviously to this new reality. In rural Nepal, CNN Hero Maggie Doyne has mobilized her own family, plus more than 400 students to receive report learning and support during the pandemic. Here's how she's doing it.


MAGGIE DOYNE, FOUNDER, BLINKNOW FOUNDATION: Two babies. We're running a children's home for 54 kids. Sheltering in place and lockdown, it means different when you're in this part of the world. Rampant food shortages, it's really hard when there's mothers struggling and children are hungry. Every single day, it seems to get worse.

Homes have been broken into for food. People were surviving on salt and chili powder. I've never felt so scared or overwhelmed, but I've never felt more hope that we couldn't do something and mobilize to make the situation better for many people. I'm just hoping that more help is on the way.


PAUL: What a task. Learn more about Maggie's life-saving mission there. Go to

BLACKWELL: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.