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New Day Sunday

Two Tropical Systems Headed For Gulf Coast Could Make Landfall As Hurricanes Within 48 Hours Of Each Other; President Trump's Sister Says He Is Cruel, Has No Principles And You Can't Trust Him; Trump To Hold News Conference To Discuss "A Major Therapeutic Breakthrough"; QAnon Spreading Beyond Dark Fringes Of The Internet, Infecting Mainstream American Life And Politics; House Approves $25 Billion Boost To U.S. Postal Service; RNC Kicks Off Monday To Formally Confirm Trump-Pence Ticket. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 23, 2020 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's older sister was secretly recorded by her niece slamming her brother, President Donald Trump, at his policies.

MARYANNE TRUMP BARRY, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP'S SISTER: This goddam tweet and the lying. The change of stories, the lack of preparation, the lying, the -- holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said -- quote -- "all about the base." All he wants to do is appeal to the base. He has no principles, none, none.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN has learned President Trump is really in overdrive to produce a Republican National Convention that outshines the Dems --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He cannot make this race more competitive without improving the people's verdict on his performance, particularly on the coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tropical storms Laura and Marco both heading toward the Gulf of Mexico putting Louisiana right now in a dangerous path.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two key words here and that's planning and preparedness.


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

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Beautiful across the city of San Francisco, good morning to you. Thanks for being with us.

Listen, we are one day now from the start of the Republican National Convention. And now we are hearing this brutal critique of the president from his sister. Maryanne Trump Barry, former federal judge. She criticized her brother during conversations that were secretly recorded by the president's niece in 2018 and 2019.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, this is happening as the president is promising a celebration from very -- that's very different from the all digital event that was put on by the Democrats. At the center of all of it the president himself who will make appearances every night.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to the Gulf Coast. Communities we're talking from the Florida Keys to the Alabama shore. Watching these tropical storms, Marco and Laura. The latest updates saying both storms could make landfall as hurricanes within 48 hours of one another.

We're going to start this morning with a strong condemnation of President Trump by his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry. Here's part of what she said.


BARRY: This goddam tweet and the lying. Oh, my God, I'm talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories, the lack of preparation, the lying, the -- holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

I mean, I didn't get him in. But I know he didn't get into college. And he -- and he went to Fordham for one year and then he got into University of Pennsylvania. Because he had somebody take his -- take the exams.


BARRY: And he --

MARY TRUMP: He had somebody take his entrance exams?

BARRY: SATs or whatever.

MARY TRUMP: Yes. Oh, Jesus.

BARRY: That's what I believe. I even remember the name.


BARRY: Donald's out for Donald, period. When he said -- he started to say something to me, boy look at what I've done for you. And I said, you have done nothing.

Deliberately I have never asked him for a favor since 1981 when I was highly considered to go on the federal court, on my own merit.


PAUL: CNN's Brian Stelter joining us now to talk about this. Brian, your first thoughts when you hear all of this and the timing of it?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You think about the timing first of all. The Democratic National Convention wrapped up with four days of storytelling about Joe Biden, portraying Biden as a family man. We saw his children on screen, on camera. We saw loved ones, grandchildren.

We saw the entire family. And the entire message was this is a man you can trust because his family loves him and cares about him. And the contrast could not be more stark between the DNC and now these audiotapes.

And the timing is not a coincidence. This is coming from Mary Trump, the president's niece who has said she will do everything she can to get Joe Biden elected. She responded to the "Washington Post's" questions by sharing these audio tapes, weeks after her book came out. So, there does seem to be part of a plan here, some sort of plan for maximum impact, for maximum effect.

That said, the audio is what it is. She's describing the president as cruel, her brother as a phony, as an idiot. And now the whole world can hear that. It's one thing to read the quotes, it's even more devastating to hear them out loud. It is sad and it is revealing.


And it's almost like a polar opposite situation between what the Democrats are saying about Biden, how they're portraying him, and what we are hearing about Trump. Now, that said, we will see all the president's children at the RNC testifying on behalf of their father. And in some ways, this is going to be a family feud. The worst kind of soap opera now playing out on television for everyone to see.

BLACKWELL: Brian, you and I were in Saint Louis ahead of that second presidential debate just a day or two after --


BLACKWELL: -- tapes were released in 2016. That was the "Access Hollywood" tape that many thought would turn this race --

STELTER: Yes, yes.

BLACKWELL: -- into a different direction. Certainly, didn't have that impact. Any indication from what we've heard overnight the impact of the release of these recordings?

STELTER: I think it's less about whether it's going to change a voter's mind and more about having the fullest possible picture of who the president is. And, by the way, that's true for Biden. We should have the fullest possible picture of who the president's rival for the presidency is.

A tape like this, hours of tapes in total, they give us a fuller picture of what the president -- perceptions to the president from his own family. And that is newsworthy, because Maryanne has spoken so rarely. She has in the past spoken admiringly about her brother, praised him. But we hear behind the scenes what she apparently really thinks of him. Saying he doesn't read, for example. I know lots of folks say the president doesn't read, but here is a sibling saying he doesn't read.

Now, the president's statement was revealing on this overnight. He came out with a statement that said in essence, who cares? In fact, those were the two biggest words I took away from his statement. Who cares?

He says, "Every day it's something else, who cares." I'm going to keep delivering for the American people. That was the president's message clearly written directly by the president. And then overnight the White House announced he's going to have a big news conference later today to announce some sort of a coronavirus breakthrough. That sounds to me like an attempt to change the story, but we'll have to wait and see what he actually announces.

So those two words, who cares, that was -- the two defining words of the Trump years. Either you care or you don't. You care or you don't. You know what I think the president cares about these tapes, that's why he reacted so quickly, that's why he responded so fast.

PAUL: Real quickly, what do you make of the fact that these were secretly recorded and do we know what Maryanne Trump Barry would think of these being released? And what does it say about the family in general?

STELTER: Yes. Look, "The Washington Post" started asking for comment on Friday. Now it's Sunday, she has not commented. We know that New York is a one-party consent state which means if you're Mary Trump, you can record Maryanne and it's legal. There's nothing you can do to stop that if you're Maryanne Trump. So, this is not going to be a legal issue. But it is an ethical question.

And more than that think about what has happened in the past week or so. The president's brother Robert dies. He holds a service at the White House for his brother. And in the mind of the president he's now being betrayed by other members of his family.

On one level it is very sad, but on another level, there has been a lot of sadness in the past few years. Think about all the family separations that have happened. Think about the president's policies and here you have the president's own family that appears to be broken.

PAUL: Brian Stelter, very well-said. Thank you so much, sir. Always appreciate having you here, Stelter. His new book, by the way --

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: Yes. Let's give you just a little bit of book love here. "Hoax," the untold story of Trump and Fox News. It is out now. And, of course, you can catch him later this morning. He's on "RELIABLE SOURCES" at 11:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: And at the news conference that Brian just mentioned White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claims the president will discuss a major therapeutic breakthrough when it comes to coronavirus. PAUL: CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on that. The president we know had some unexpected accusations against the FDA yesterday as well. What are you hearing this morning, Polo? Good morning.


The timing here is crucial. Yes, we did hear from the White House touting what it's describing as this -- quote -- "major therapeutic breakthrough." But it did stop short of offering any evidence or actually saying exactly how this would provide the medical community with potentially an upper hand in fighting the virus. So, we're certainly going to have to wait and see exactly what the White House says this evening.

But we should note that the White House also said that the president would be joined by the head of the FDA when this announcement comes tonight. And it's worth noting that it was just yesterday the president took to Twitter to make this baseless claim that the FDA was intentionally stalling the release of a vaccine or some therapy. Take a listen.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): President Trump on Saturday accused the FDA of deliberately delaying coronavirus vaccine trials but provided no evidence to back up his claim. In a tweet, Trump pushed his unfounded theory that there is a deep state embedded within the FDA. Trump claims the agency is -- quote -- "making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines."


And he accused it of deliberately delaying the vaccine until after the November election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had this to say --

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The Food and Drug Administration, the FDA has a responsibility to approve drugs with their judging on their safety and their efficacy, not by a declaration from the White House about speed and politicizing the FDA.

This was a very dangerous statement on the part of the president. Even for him --

SANDOVAL: Across the country, students are making their way back to college campuses. Despite safety measures in place, universities in at least 15 states have reported coronavirus cases, some of which have been traced to gatherings or athletics.

Incoming students planning to attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts this fall will need to find another school if they don't agree to follow the university's social gathering guidelines. Syracuse University in New York has already handed down interim suspensions to 23 students after they gathered on the campus quad Wednesday night.

DR. JEREMY FAUST, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL: We cannot go to bars or indoor dinning. We have to wear masks. We have to do the hard work to do the thing that matters the most which is to get our kids through the school year. So, I'd like to see people realize that what we do today matters tomorrow. Let's put in the work.

SANDOVAL: As far as latest numbers in South Carolina, the state is nearing 110,000 coronavirus cases. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports 95 new COVID related deaths on Saturday bringing the state's total to over 5,000. In Florida, the state's COVID-19 cases are nearing 600,000.

Good news in New Jersey, the state is seeing its lowest number of coronavirus related hospitalizations since March 24th, the governor tweeted Saturday.

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The problem is, when we see some states make some gains, we see other states become hotspots. So, even really badly affected states like Arizona and South Carolina, likely seeing a decline in deaths, but then at the same time, Minnesota is starting to see an increase and also, we're worried about the Midwest in general becoming a next hotspot for COVID-19.


SANDOVAL: Staying on the Midwest, here in Illinois, we saw well over 2,000 confirmed COVID cases in Illinois alone. It was the highest number that we've seen since late May. And test positivity rate here still fairly steady at about 4.3 percent.

There are other parts of the country that are on that fairly positive track here, including New York for example. Yesterday it was the 15th day, the test positivity there, Victor and Christi, has stayed below 1 percent.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval for us in Chicago. Thank you very much, Polo.

PAUL: Thanks, Polo.

So, want to get to this disturbing trend in several cities this weekend, this group QAnon, they're believers of an unfounded conspiracy theory and they're rallying behind signs such as save the children and hijacking actual efforts to stop human tracking to try to draw attention to their beliefs which really are very bizarre and they're disturbing.

BLACKWELL: Yes, President Trump he is a key sometimes messianic figure in these theories. But instead of telling people to just stop it, he said this.


TRUMP: I don't know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate. I don't know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: The vice president, Mike Pence, has dismissed QAnon as a conspiracy theory. The FBI has labeled QAnon as a domestic terror threat.

PAUL: Up next, so getting ready for the president to put on a blockbuster RNC to outdo the Democrats. What we've learned about who will speak, who's behind the scenes, what Republicans have in store, is coming up next. Stay close.

BLACKWELL: Plus, an update on two tropical systems in the gulf that could pose a major threat to the city of New Orleans.



BLACKWELL: A bill to provide $25 billion to the postal service has passed the House and is headed to the Senate.

PAUL: Yes. The measure passed largely along party lines with more than two dozen Republicans voting with Democrats. It's certainly almost dead in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Sarah Westwood joining us now from the White House. So, we know the White House has already issued a veto threat there, Sarah. What are you hearing this morning? Good morning.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi.

And, yes, the White House making clear that that bill would be dead on arrival if it were to reach the president's desk. But as you mentioned that's very unlikely. Because it's unlikely that the Senate will take up the bill as it is.

They obviously have been pushing for postal service funding to be included in a larger stimulus package. And so there's very little interest in that bill advancing. But it did pass easily, 257 to 150, yesterday with as you mentioned more than 24 Republicans. Some of them in competitive races coming up this fall voting in favor of that bill.

And, meanwhile, President Trump and the White House are preparing for the Republican National Convention to kick off tomorrow. Trump and Pence will travel to North Carolina for the roll call of delegates. The slimmed down 336 delegates that will be taking roll call tomorrow in Charlotte, North Carolina for the first big day of the convention.

We know that President Trump wants a convention that doesn't look anything like what we saw from the Democrats last week. They want to have more live programming, more surprises. And we're told that President Trump will be involved in every night of the convention.

But still, his big speech, his formal acceptance speech when he accepts the Republican nomination will be Thursday night from here at the White House. They're constructing a large stage behind me at the White House. So, that is something that the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have been amping up hopes for.

Now, also on that trip tomorrow the president will be going to Mills River, North Carolina to give a speech, and Greer, South Carolina, in addition to Charlotte. So, a very busy day tomorrow for the president as the GOP convention kicks off.


And, again, the White House and everyone around it really amping up expectations for that event, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, good to see you this morning. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Sarah.

Now, the pandemic and some of the president's last minute calls have forced the changes in planning for the RNC. So, what will it look like? CNN's Ryan Nobles tells us what we know and really what we don't know.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, President Trump really wants to outdo the performance that the Democrats put on with their convention last week. He wants it to look different than the Democratic convention. Of course, that was largely virtual. Hardly any of the speeches were in front of actual human beings.

The Republican events will be a little bit different. In fact this auditorium behind me, the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., expected to host some of the speakers in front of live crowds. Among those speaking at this venue will be the second lady Karen Pence. Meanwhile, President Trump inviting people to the White House to be there when he delivers his acceptance speech on Thursday. Also, Melania Trump is expected to speak from the Rose Garden of the White House while Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Baltimore and speak at Fort McHenry.

And, of course, many of the speakers that we're going to hear from at the Republican National Convention kind of reflect these culture wars that President Trump has been fanning since he took office. The McCloskeys, that couple from St. Louis that challenged Black Lives Matter protesters with guns out in front of their homes. And then Nick Sandmann, who is the young student from Covington Catholic School who got into a confrontation with Native Americans on the National Mall during the March for Life. He too expected to speak this week.

The big thing that President Trump wants, though, is a show. He wants to outdo what the Democrats were able to do last week. But this is going to be difficult for President Trump and the Republicans because they had so many starts and stops to their convention planning, initially tried to do it in Charlotte, then move it to Jacksonville.

They so much wanted to do it in front of a big crowd but were just were unable to pull that up because of coronavirus concerns. They've kept a lot of their planning under wraps. So, we'll have to see how it all plays out this week -- Victor and Christi. PAUL: Ryan, thank you so much. CNN political commentator Errol Louis with us now, host of the "You Decide" podcast. Errol, good morning to you.


PAUL: OK. I want to read to you something from "Politico." Russ Schriefer, the veteran Republican who actually helped spearhead some past conventions said this about what's going to happen this week. He said, "I think the bar is really going to be set on the messaging and how well they message. Going second has a great advantage in that you get to kind of rebut what the Democrats did last week."

There was a lot of praise we know from people on both sides of the aisle regarding the DNC. The expectation is that President Trump is going to talk about policy. But how does President Trump talk about character?

LOUIS: Well, yes, character is an important question that, of course, the president is going to try and move past. In fact, whenever asked about character, ever since 2015 when he began to run, he always went to performance. Judge me by what I do, the jobs that I create, the larger standing in the world that I'll create for you, the more firm security of policies that I'm going to put in place. And the reality is that this is not going to be easy for them to do. There's a much bigger problem out there, Christi, than just messaging.

People know that when they turn on the screen just as you had not that long ago, 176,000 deaths, it's affecting everyone. Mass unemployment, it's affecting everyone. The inability to go out without putting on a mask. The social distancing requirements in so many places, including Washington, D.C.

They're going -- if they are going -- if they think they're going to get people to forget all of that it's going to be much, much harder task I think than they realize. But the task is really going to be to skip over character, skip over mass unemployment, skip over the pandemic and try and spin a vision of the future that goes beyond all of those questions and that is going to be some heavy lifting, Christi.

PAUL: Some people might look at this and think that it's curious -- the lineup that Ryan just went through. We know that -- we can assume what some of the intentions are of some of the people that will speak, right? I mean, when you talk about Alice Johnson who President Trump commuted her sentence, mostly speaking to criminal justice reform. When you've got the McCloskeys, most likely going to -- expect that there will be a Second Amendment conversation there.

What is the value -- and I'm really not being flippant. I'm curious. What is the value of Nick Sandmann?

LOUIS: Look, Nick Sandmann for those who don't remember, was involved in kind of a one or two-day story, frankly where he got into a confrontation with some protesters, there were accusations of racism, further investigation suggested that it wasn't quite as bad as it has been first portrayed and so forth.


And then he sued new organizations for making him look bad. It touches on a lot of what the Trump base wants to hear about. That racism accusations are overblown. That the media is on it. That people how were just kind of going about their business, trying to be good Americans are being unfairly maligned.

But these are all very small questions, Christi. That's the thing that is striking. We're going to be on the small screen because of the pandemic and the fact that everybody has to watch this at home.

That means that we're going to be on a small screen and the president and the programming for this convention seems to be a series of these little kind of one-day stories that have taken on some life in the world of Trump supporters and Fox News viewers and they want to sort of rehash all of those. And kind of stoke the fires of grievance and pull together his base around this kind of momentary bits of anger that have accumulated over the last few years.

The problem with that, of course, is that there are much, much bigger problems out there. There are much bigger issues than whether Nick Sandmann was treated fairly by the media to say the least. You know, like I said, they've got a lot of work ahead of them. If they think they're going to take people's minds off the major problems that are actually confronting us.

PAUL: OK. But what does it mean for people in the middle who may have been able to decide what they're going to do yet? They love maybe the character conversation of the DNC but they didn't hear enough policy. They'll certainly -- the expectation is going to hear some policy here.

Can he do anything to attract someone other than his base? And is there any indication that he will try?

LOUIS: He almost never does that. He almost never does that. He didn't do it in Cleveland in 2016. He hasn't done it in the three and a half years since then. I'd be very surprised if he does make a genuine serious effort to reach beyond his base. So, that's the first thing.

The second thing though, Christi, is when you say character really what you're talking about or I should say what the Democrats tried to focus on was not so much character as ability. Saying that he can't do the job because of character flaws. So, you have to kind of put those two things together.

If Donald Trump wants to say, I have the character to lead this nation forward and I can do it, what the Democrats are saying, the last part of that is not in question. He simply can't do it. So, we can debate, this is the Democratic point of view. We can debate whether or not he's a good guy, a bad guy, a racist, so forth and so on. But what we can't debate is that he couldn't handle the pandemic. He couldn't handle the economy. He's unable to do the things that are needed to bring the country back together and move the country forward. If he's got an argument that he can do those things and he can be persuasive about it, well, sure, he can take everybody along. Beyond his base, anybody would vote for a leader who you sensed was both genuine and capable of doing what this country needs right now. The question on the table is whether or not Donald Trump is that person.

PAUL: All right. Errol Louis, always appreciate getting your perspective. Thanks for getting up early for us on the weekends. You know we appreciate it.

LOUIS: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Of course.

The Democratic National Convention as we just said is behind us. So, all week long for the RNC. We're covering the big speeches, important moments and President Trump all starting tomorrow. Special coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. Eastern live right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: We've got two tropical storms that are positioned to make landfall along the Gulf Coast in the next few days. And we are now learning they could make landfall as hurricanes within 48 hours of one another. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking the storms next.



PAUL: Well, right now, there are evacuations going on in Southeast Louisiana in preparation for not one but two tropical storms on track to make back-to-back landfall along the Gulf Coast.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about that first one, Tropical Storm Marco, it's gotten stronger over the last few hours.

Let's go to Allison Chinchar in the CNN Weather Center. Allison, tell us about these storms.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. So let's talk about the most recent update, because we did got some new warnings and watches put in place. So let's break those down here.

Now, for Marco, you have now hurricane warnings across portions of Louisiana. But we also have hurricane watches, tropical storm watches and tropical storm warnings, again, for multiple states here. Then you will notice down in Southern Florida, you also have tropical storm watches. But that is going to be for Laura.

So, again, we've got two storms to separate. Marco, this is the more imminent threat because it will make landfall first. So here is more of a breakdown, Mobile, Biloxi, New Orleans, even Baton Rouge, all of these areas are under some type of watch and warning going forward for Marco specifically.

You also have storm surge warnings in place. Now, when we talk about the amount of storm surge, the purple area here you see here, including Grand Isle, you're talking about four to six feet out to the west, West of Morgan City, two to four feet, and then for areas from Biloxi stretching over towards almost Pensacola, about two to four feet as well.

Here is a look at Marco. Right now, winds at 70 miles per hour sustained. That's just barely below a Category 1 hurricane strength. And we do anticipate that it will become a hurricane at some point today as it moves over into the open water here, then making landfall likely as a Category 1 somewhere in Louisiana on Monday.

Here is a look at Marco as it slides up, again, bringing a tremendous amount of rain, not just to Louisiana, but areas of Mississippi, Alabama and even Florida. Then you have Laura making its way into the gulf very shortly after Marco makes landfall. But notice even on Monday and Tuesday, Key West, Miami, you're going to get some of those outer bands from Laura producing very heavy rain and very gusty wind.

Right now, Laura is still kind of over the Dominican Republic, dumping a tremendous amount of rain right there.


Normally, you'll see these storms kind of weaken and when they come across land. This storm has not done this. This does not bode well for Laura's future as it goes into the gulf. And when I mean, bode well, it just likely means it's going to continue to intensify. 45 miles per hour sustained wind moving to the west-northwest about 18 miles per hour. It's expected to go over Cuba before getting into the Gulf of Mexico.

Laura at this point is expected to be stronger than Marco, likely making landfall as a Category 2 hurricane. Again, this could be Louisiana, this could be Texas, it could be Mississippi or Alabama. Ultimately, Victor and Christi, one of the biggest concerns is going to be storm surge and very heavy rainfall. But winds are also going to be a concern especially along the coastline.

PAUL: All right. Allison Chinchar, thank you for the heads-up.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Allison.

So, firefighters in California, they're trying to contain hundreds of wildfires. They burned more than -- or nearly a million acres across the state.

PAUL: And here is the fear. There is concern more lightning that could spark new wildfires this week.

I want to CNN's Paul Vercammen who's reporting from Napa Valley. good morning, Paul.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, as I stand in the carnage of what was a neighborhood above Lake Berryessa, firefighters are really worried. They're worried about the predictions of dry lightning strikes Sunday to Tuesday. They just fear more fires could crop up, and they're already beleaguered firefighters who will not only suffer physical exhaustion but also mental exhaustion if this goes on for weeks.

And look around me as we get a sense for just the swath of devastation. This complete hilltop ravaged by these flames. And everywhere you look, they lost houses. And when you do talk to someone whose house survived and a rare standing home in here, they have what we described as that sense of survivor's guilt.


MARTY RODEN: I was one of the lucky ones, and my house is down at the end of this street. And pretty much every house is gone.

Other than like five houses on the whole neighborhood.

VERCAMMEN: You said you were one of the lucky ones. Anything you can attribute that to?

RODEN: I have no idea. God, maybe, luck? But I feel sick for all my neighbors.


VERCAMMEN: And so many animals flushed out by the flames. We came upon a family of deer that was looking for anything green to eat. They did find a bowl of water that was left out by someone who lost their home.

Again, though, everything on Sunday is pointing towards these predictions for dry lightning strikes, and as I said, fire officials basically have a lump in their parched throats, they just don't want to see the level of lightning strikes that started all these fires in Northern California.

Back to you now, Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Paul, thank you so much.

A police department in North Carolina is trying a new tactic, dispatching social workers along with police officers to some 911 calls. Raleigh's chief of police joins us next to explain how this strategy will work.



BLACKWELL: The Raleigh Police Department is revamping the way that it handles emergency calls with people who seem struggling with mental health issues. Now, when an officer responds to a person in a mental health crisis, a social worker will go out with them. The team will then follow-up to connect some of those people with the help they need.

So, joining me now is the Raleigh Police chief, Cassandra Deck-Brown. Chief Deck-Brown, thanks so much for being with us this morning.


BLACKWELL: So this is ACORNS. This is Addressing Crises Through Outreach Referrals Networking and Service team. Tell me what this consists of and how you expect this will work.

DECK-BROWN: Well, it consists of a unit of both law enforcement and social workers, working together as a team in addition to a detective and a supervisor on that particular unit. What we respond to now more often than ever are crises-based calls that involve mental -- a mentally ill. And what we're also seeing is a need to respond in a more holistic way for our homeless community as well.

So the idea behind this is that we will meet people where they are and then address those issues as best we can. As you know, in many instances across our country, we are seeing an increase in both homelessness and mental illness. And I hope that this will at least be able to provide a small bridge in the greater gap in addressing those needs and getting people to the right resources that they need.

BLACKWELL: Has there been an increase specifically during this pandemic over the last several months of this type of call?

DECK-BROWN: We have seen that. And we have seen a rise just in mental health-related calls as well. And, you know, our overall goal is to render those calls safely.


And we hope that by having this, you bring the social worker side to the table as well.

Very often, there are types of cases that our officers and our investigators are currently responding to and through the follow-up and the long-term facets of those investigations, it's not uncommon to have a police officer and a social worker and other people who are a part of really looking at a holistic perspective on addressing that particular issue.

BLACKWELL: So, let me ask you this because there has been some resistance. And at the city council meeting when you proposed this, there was public comment and members of the council who did not support it, do not support it. And we've heard from protesters that there should be a reallocation of funds from police to community services. And here is the example.

Why are police going on these calls when the point is that there are social workers who are trained to deal with these? Why not send the funds that will be allocated to this new team off to mental health services there in Raleigh?

DECK-BROWN: And perhaps one day we can get there. I think we all realize that law enforcement across the country are wearing many different hats. And many of those hats are actually social services- related. What we're seeing is this program in particular, I think, gives us an opportunity to try and address those issues on front end. Maybe there is a long-term goal that we can get to a place where social workers are handling all of these.

But we also know at times, when we're responding to these types of calls, while there is a mentally ill-related issue attached to it, there's also a police-related issue attached to it. So identifying both needs and trying to address those services, I think, does afford us a more forward way of looking at the realities that we're facing.

Right now, cities across the country, here in Raleigh, we get 911 calls every day regarding mental health issues or perhaps a homeless issue. We're the ones who are having to respond. And we have often said, well, the officer needs to be CIT-certified. So here is that opportunity of bringing that social worker to the call with us so that we can better address those needs.

BLACKWELL: All right. Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, thanks so much for being with us this morning.

DECK-BROWN: Thank you. Have a great day.


PAUL: So, LeBron James did something really incredible last night. Nobody, in fact, has done this since Michael Jordan. In fact, he outdid M.J. Listen, I'm just a messenger. I'm not picking sides here for all you fans. How the Lakers super star did this, we'll tell you in a moment.


PAUL: So, in basketball, I think whenever you do something Michael Jordan did, probably pretty special, wondering what LeBron James is feeling like this morning, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Coy Wire is with us. Coy, he came up big for the Lakers last night.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning to you, Victor, Christi. LeBron has said over the years that he doesn't like being compared to Michael Jordan, and that their games aren't even the same, but they are in that they are both absolutely dominant. After modest numbers in the first two games against Portland, LeBron returns to GOAT mode last night.

He was like Beyonce after shaking it, Victor, powering his way to the rack, pulling up for uncontested threes, splash it, showing off that vision that led the league in assists this season. He drops 38 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists in the win to take a 2-1 series lead. And at 35 years, seven months and 23 days old, LeBron has surpassed Jordan as the oldest player ever to have a game that good in playoffs.

And, baseball, stay classy Slam Diego, 26-year-old Padres Rookie Jake Cronenworth hammering his first career grand slam in a win against the Astros last night. This makes the Padres' fifth grand slam in six games. They set the all-time mark with grand slams in four straight games earlier this week.

One of them from Fernando Tatis, he broke an unwritten rule of baseball. Okay. Late in the game last week, his team up seven, he's slow on a 3-0 pitch, and baseball purists were appalled that he hit a grand slam.

But Reds all-star Pitcher Trevor Bauer stood up for him. I talked to Bauer yesterday. He says baseball needs to be more fun. Last week, he planned to wear cleats that said free Joe Kelly, and showed a picture of the suspended Dodgers picture on him before MLB warned him that he'd be kicked out of the game if he wore the cleats. Kelly caused a bench clearing stir when he threw pitches that nearly hit Astros players. So whether it's speaking out against cheaters or stoking rivalries, Trevor Bauer is all for it.


TREVOR BAUER, CINCINNATI REDS PITCHER: I'm in the clubhouse. I hate facing this guy. I love facing this guy. This guy said this, and I'm not going to let him get a hit or whatever the case is, but that doesn't come out publicly. And I want to see more energy and more of that become public because it's good for the sport.

WIRE: Trevor, you launched your media company momentum, last year. What are you hoping to accomplish with it?

BAUER: Well, that exists to connect fans and players on a human level. And I'm not special, like relative to the other players. Everyone has a personality. I'm certainly not the most intriguing personality, the funniest personality. I'm just kind of an average personality in the big leagues. But I have the reputation of being one of the biggest personalities because I'm the only one that shows it off.



WIRE: Trevor, an interesting character. He says, as a self- proclaimed, he says he's too nerdy growing up to hang out with the jocks. He was too jockey to hang out with the nerds. So he's like a loner. His dad, a chemical engineer, said that baseball uses fluid dynamics through pitching, throwing that ball through the air, which is actually water, and that's how Trevor learned to throw the ball so well. We have a feature coming up on him very soon.

PAUL: I cannot wait to see that. All right, Coy Wire, good to see you this morning. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Coy.

WIRE: You too.

BLACKWELL: And we've got this moment between a boy and firefighters. He looks up to them as they work to keep people safe during these wildfires out in California. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)