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New Day Sunday
Michael Cohen Tell-All Unleashes On President Trump; Campers Airlifted To Safety In California As Wildfire Blocks The Sole Road To Safety; Majority Of Young Adults In The U.S. Now Living With Their Parents; Expert Fear Labor Day Gatherings Could Fuel Rise In Coronavirus Infections; Grand Jury To Investigate Death Of Daniel Prude; Protesters March Near Kentucky Derby For Breonna Taylor; Former Senior Administration Official Says Trump Referred to Fallen U.S Service Members In Crude And Derogatory Terms. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired September 06, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wildfire has forced evacuations in numerous Fresno and Madera County mountain communities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want have anybody stuck back and be seriously threatened by this incident.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just keep going.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We made it. We made it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like the Trump tell-all section at the bookstore might need another shelf.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: But Donald Trump will do anything and everything within which to win.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's former attorney Michael Cohen's memoir "Disloyal" is coming out on Tuesday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump and his loyalists are strongly pushing back on "The Atlantic's" reporting that he insulted America's war dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now a former senior administration official is confirming the story.
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So for me, both personally and institutionally, it's deeply troublesome.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to all of you as we see the sun coming up there. We are so grateful to have your company, as always. And it is a heck of a morning already. Sunday, September 6th. I'm Christi Paul.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. Good morning, everyone.
PAUL: Good morning, Martin.
SAVIDGE: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. And this is a special Labor Day weekend edition of CNN NEW DAY.
PAUL: We do have some breaking news to get to for you overnight. Our first a detailed look at the upcoming tell-all book by Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal attorney and self-proclaimed fixer. It's called "Disloyal: A Memoir." It's out Tuesday and it adds to the growing list of insider accounts on President Trump and his character.
SAVIDGE: Cohen details his former boss's alleged racist view of black leaders, specifically Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela. His disdain of black people and Hispanics in general and even his own evangelical supporters. And Cohen further adds to the narrative that Trump has a deep admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
So let's bring in CNN's chief media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter. Brian, there is so much in this book. Some of the stories we've already heard but also we hear them now with more details. So what jumped out to you?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. New details of new allegations of racism on the part of the now president details about Russia as well. What stands out to me are the details about how Trump operates his businesses and how he wanted to use his political campaign and his run for president to benefit his businesses. That's been a theme, of course, of the Trump presidency and Cohen does have new detail about that in this book called "Disloyal" which as you mentioned comes out Tuesday.
It's already been a best seller on Amazon for weeks. There's a lot of interest in this book. Even though Cohen has a checkered past to put it mildly.
Here's a key quote from the book "Disloyal" obtained by CNN's Erica Orden. It says, by ingratiating himself with Putin, this is Trump, by ingratiating himself with Putin and by hinting at changes in American sanctions policy against the country under a Trump presidency, the boss, that's Donald Trump, was trying to nudge a Moscow Trump Tower project along.
So that's one example of Cohen saying that Trump was trying to use his political situation to benefit his business situation. Trying to get a big new building built in Moscow, in the capital of Russia -- in Russia. So that's the kind of storytelling that Cohen shares in this book.
Now that he's an avowed anti-Trump person he says he's spilling these stories out and there's more in the book about Putin, about Trump allegedly liking how Putin runs Russia with an iron fist, that sort of thing. All in "Disloyal." PAUL: It's so interesting how close these two were at one point when we think about it and where they are now. But we did hear from the White House about this book. Their statement from Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany says, Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress. He has lost all credibility, and it's unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of his lies.
And you mentioned it yourself just a moment ago. This is a man who does at the end of the day have credibility challenges.
STELTER: Yes. A liar, someone who has been proven as a liar in the past. And in the book "Disloyal" he apologizes for that. He accounts, he says for his past sins and says the country need to wake up to the danger that Donald Trump represents. Cohen is going to be out in interviews this week saying he's worried that Trump won't give up power if he loses the election.
So it's a dramatic, the most dramatic turn you can make as an individual from being Trump's fixer to now being his biggest critic. And this is not the only new book coming out Tuesday with new details about President Trump and about Russia. The other big new book on Tuesday that we've had a first look at is called "Compromised" by the former FBI agent Peter Strzok.
Strzok was in the room as the Russia probe was unfolding. He has been tarred by the right for various reasons. But his book "Compromised" is his account in his own words of what was going on in 2016, this probe into Trump.
Here's a quote from "The Atlantic's" interview with Peter Strzok this weekend saying, why is the book titled "Compromised"? It suggests that you believe the president is compromised by Russia.
The quote here from Strzok says, in counterintelligence, when we say somebody is compromised that doesn't always mean they are a Manchurian candidate or a spy who has been willingly recruited. I don't think Trump has a task list from Putin.
But here's what Strzok says. He says, I do think the president is compromised, that he is unable to put the interests of our nation first, that he acts from hidden motives, because there is leverage over him, held specifically by the Russians but potentially others as well.
Leverage over Donald Trump. That's in another theme of the Trump years. It relates to the idea that when the president lies that people know he's lying and they can use those lies against him in order to have leverage over him. So that's a claim from Peter Strzok. That's going to be a big theme of this book "Compromised."
So you have two books coming on one day right after Labor Day. Both damning for the president. It's one of these things where you never know what exactly is going to affect him, what he's going to react to. But I think the allegations in both these books merit attention.
And then, by the way, a week from now, perhaps the biggest book of this entire season before the election, Bob Woodward has a new Trump book coming out. Inside the Trump White House based on more than a dozen interviews with the president. We know Trump is already very concerned about this book.
So it does seem that in this final stage of the general election, more and more information coming out. A fuller and fuller picture of the president and in the case of these two new books, his ties to Russia.
SAVIDGE: Brian, how much of an impact do you think the books are likely to have on voters?
STELTER: I'm sorry. I missed you, Martin. What did you say?
SAVIDGE: I was just asking how much of an impact do you think that these books, especially in succession here are likely to have on voters?
STELTER: Right. I think that when the sorts of tell-alls come out, whether it's Michael Cohen, although he has big credibility issues, or whether it's Bob Woodward who is one of the most credible journalists in the world and has lots of -- interviews with the president, these are sorts of things, various stories, various scandals that the Joe Biden campaign will likely capitalize on.
Whether voters are persuaded or not, we'll leave that to the pollsters to tell us. I think that we have seen in recent days though the Biden campaign has been very nimble about jumping on various stories about Trump outrages and offenses.
For example "The Atlantic" account of what the president says privately about American soldiers. So I would expect the Biden campaign to do more of the same when these stories come out.
SAVIDGE: Yes and we're going to have more on that very topic in just a minute. Brian Stelter, always good to have you on the program. Thank you so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Brian.
SAVIDGE: And a reminder his book "Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth" is out now. And, of course, you can catch Brian Stelter on "RELIABLE SOURCES." That's at 11:00 a.m. Eastern today right here on CNN.
PAUL: Another breaking story overnight. Dozens of people were trapped by what is a fast-moving wildfire in California this morning. The Creek Fire is burning in the Sierra National Forest. A group of campers captured the stunning video as they were trying to escape the flames. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy -- (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just keep going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just keep going.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go, go, go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just keep going. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. We made it. We made it. We made it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Can you imagine? Well, emergency crews have airlifted more than 60 people from the Mammoth Pool reservoir area there in the forest. At least a dozen people have suffered serious injuries. Two of them are in critical condition in fact.
Now, a general with the California National Guard tweeted out this photo. It was taken from a Chinook helicopter that is involved in the evacuations. Most of the trees are scorched and covered in orange embers from the Creek Fire there. That fire, by the way, is far from contained. It has grown to 36,000 acres now.
SAVIDGE: We're going to try to get the very latest now on the rescue operations that are underway. And for that, we turn to the Madera County Sheriff, that's Tyson Pogue. His department is one of the leading agencies that are working on the evacuations from that Creek Fire.
Good morning to you, Sheriff. Thank you for joining us this morning. If you could give us the very latest on where you stand on those evacuations.
SHERIFF TYSON POGUE, MADERA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (on the phone): Good morning. Thanks for having me.
So far we've rescued actually 224 people now the Mammoth Pool reservoir area. We had to use as you described helicopters in order to get in there and get those folks out. And the situation only can be described as just hellish conditions out there for these poor people.
SAVIDGE: There is another area I read about. Is it the Arnold Meadow that was also of concern and people trapped?
[06:10:05] POGUE: So we did have a bunch of people in vehicles nearby Arnold Meadow and they made it all the way up to where a bridge was being repaired. And we had to actually use fire engines to pull them across the creek at that area. So, just some amazing work going on by deputies and the U.S. Forest Service agents and just a team effort. We're really grateful for the help from the California National Guard.
PAUL: Sheriff --
SAVIDGE: It is. Yes, it's a joint effort. Sorry, Christi. Go ahead.
PAUL: No, that's all right. I was just going to ask, when you're talking about 224 people who've been rescued, are there still other people waiting to be rescued and are those helicopter rescues continuing right now?
POGUE: So the bulk of the large group that was sheltered in place at Mammoth pool that you see these amazing heroic images and videos, those have all been -- have been rescued. We do believe that there are still other people out in the wilderness. And when daylight breaks we'll be continuing those rescue operations to go out and try to find them and get them to safety as well.
SAVIDGE: There were reports of injuries. Some of them severe. Are these burns or are they injuries through other means?
POGUE: We had lots of -- we have about 20 people with injuries. Two of them actually had to be carried on a stretcher. We had everything from broken bones to burns. So some fairly severe injuries out there.
PAUL: How much warning are these people getting, sheriff, prior to evacuations? I mean, when you say that you're going to go out and look for people once daylight hits, I know you're doing that by air. Are you able to do that in other means? I mean, if you're talking about people that you don't know where they are, I'm wondering about communication.
POGUE: Right. Communication is a huge issue in this area. There is no cellular service, except for very small area down by the basin. But out in the wilderness, there's no cell phone service. So, we have tried to get helicopters with P.A. systems. We're trying everything we can to communicate with them. And this fire has just been -- it just exploded. And so it has really caught everybody off guard.
SAVIDGE: And real quick before we let you go, any idea how that fire started, sheriff?
POGUE: You know, I do not. I know it started in Fresno County and it just exploded and came around and really caught us off guard here.
SAVIDGE: Well, we're very grateful for your time and certainly by all the efforts of all those involved trying to work on those rescues. Thank you and please to you and your team stay safe. Thank you --
PAUL: Take care.
SAVIDGE: -- Sheriff Tyson Pogue.
POGUE: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: We want to go now to CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin for more on the direction of the wildfires and what the conditions are like and where they could go next -- Tyler.
TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: So, Martin, this fire increased by 600 percent yesterday. More than 600 percent. And it's one of dozens of fires that we're watching across portions of California and the West Coast. This fire specifically is just to the north of Fresno, just to the south of Yosemite. And it's being felt in the Sierra National Forest.
The site that we're referring just earlier was the Mammoth Pool reservoir. Unfortunately, that is a very popular recreation site. So, terrible timing with it being Labor Day weekend. The area that you see shaded in red is the entire area being affected by this Creek Fire.
Again, 36,000 acres. It grew from 5,000 acres Friday, Saturday on into 36,000 acres late last night. You can see the explosion on satellite imagery here as it get into the late afternoon hours of Saturday. It poofs up. Now that is the fire beginning to spread exponentially.
Now the exponential growth can also be seen on radar imagery, too. And you only see the smoke signatures on radar with the really big fires. And that's what it looks like on radar.
This is what it looks like when you look up into the sky, you see these big pyrocumulus clouds. And then this is what it looks like on the ground. We showed you this video just a little while ago. Very scary stuff.
As we get later on into today the conditions around the Creek Fire will be in the mid-80s. The wind is located near a river valley. So the winds will be picking up to about 10, 15 miles per hour today. Humidity will continue to be really low. The smoke is going to cause very poor air quality around much of the Fresno area.
And unfortunately, Christi, Martin, we continue to watch the possibility for more fires and more spread of this current fire as you get later on into the day and the next couple of days. Because the heat is there and also the dry conditions, too.
PAUL: Tyler Mauldin, we appreciate the update. Thank you.
SAVIDGE: When we come back the cost of the coronavirus pandemic. How the majority of young adults in the U.S. are now living with their parents in levels that haven't been seen since the great depression.
PAUL: Another night of demonstrations in Rochester overnight following the death of Daniel Prude, of course.
The state's attorney general taking a key step now to address some of those demands from protesters.
SAVIDGE: There is a new report that is out with information that a lot of parents probably already know. This is coming to us from the Pew Research Center and they found that the majority of young adults now live with one or both of their parents. That number, 52 percent is as high as it has been since the great depression and the coronavirus pandemic is likely the reason why, at least according to new analysis.
PAUL: Yes. Now, parents worry about their kids moving back home. Obviously, some of them do. Public health officials are concerned for a different reason though because it's Labor Day weekend in the United States. And we know that previous holiday weekend gatherings this year have led to more coronavirus infections.
CNN national correspondent Natasha Chen is looking into this and what we can expect around the country this weekend because we're only in day two of the three-day weekend, Natasha.
Good to see you. What are you hearing?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Martin.
We are looking at experts saying that it really is important for people not to gather in large crowds this weekend. We saw some of that over Memorial Day weekend and the seven-day average of new cases just gradually climbed up after that all the way through mid July and there is concern that could happen again. And Dr. Anthony Fauci said leading into the weekend that it's OK to have small gatherings preferably outdoors and it's OK to be on beaches as long as people stay socially distant.
CHEN (voice-over): Here's a snapshot of Labor Day weekend beach-goers. On Saturday a crowded beach in Asbury Park, New Jersey, in Ocean City, Maryland, Virginia Beach, Virginia and Tybee Island, Georgia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In any of the stores you go in, you have to wear a mask and all that good stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. They really enforced the social distancing.
CHEN: In Galveston, Texas, the beach was a little less crowded. And here's the view in Jacksonville, Florida. Heading into the holiday weekend, Dr. Anthony Fauci advised people to wear masks, maintain social distancing and avoid large crowds.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: We want to make sure that all over the country but particularly in the vulnerable states that are starting to show an uptick that we abide by the public health mandates and rules that we talk about all the time over the weekend and not, in essence, have the same kind of surges that we have seen following other holiday weekends like the Fourth of July and Memorial Day.
CHEN: It's not just super spreader events like holiday gatherings. It's family gatherings, too, that can fuel a rise in infections. At least 147 COVID-19 cases are now linked to an August wedding reception in Maine a state CDC spokesman said Saturday. Maine's Center for Disease Control and Prevention Spokesman Robert Long told CNN three people connected to the outbreak have died of the virus.
In New Jersey, the borough of Mantoloking has pulled all lifeguards for the remainder of its beach season after one lifeguard tested positive for COVID-19 and this morning beach goers who may have come in contact with the lifeguard to get tested.
Some good news in New York. The state continues its 29th straight day of having a COVID-19 infection rate below one percent.
CHEN: The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected that there could be another -- more than 200,000 deaths by the U.S. by the New Year. But experts also believe that the number of fatalities can be cut in half if there's universal mask wearing.
Christi and Martin, back to you.
SAVIDGE: Thanks very much, Natasha.
Police in Portland declared a riot during the 100th night of protests against police brutality.
PAUL: Between 300 and 400 protesters marched through that city overnight. Take a look here. At one point you see here police using tear gas and pepper balls to disperse the crowds. Authorities say some protesters threw explosive devices at officers. Now Portland is in a 100th consecutive nights of protests now. Some violent since the killing of George Floyd. We should point out about 93 percent though of the protests we've seen the last few weeks have been peaceful.
New York's attorney general says, a grand jury will investigate the death of Daniel Prude now. That black man who was pinned on the ground with a spit socks on his head and later died.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since you have refused to leave the roadway you'll be placed under --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: There have been protests just about every night in Rochester since body camera video of Prude's arrest was made public. CNN's Polo Sandoval has more.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a fourth night of protests here in Rochester, New York. Peaceful demonstrators returning here to the very neighborhood where Daniel Prude encountered police back in late March with their message demanding justice and word spreading very quickly among members in the community here about the attorney general's announcement that she will be impaneling a grand jury. Of course, that could potentially mean criminal charges as part of this investigation here.
Speaking of many members of the community here who believes that this is a step in the right direction but they also hope that this is just a start.
MORRIS MOORE, PROTESTER: I think it's absolutely a step in the right direction. I think it's what the community wants. Me from my own personal perspective, I think it's unambiguously murder that happened. So I'm beyond excited to hear that this is going to be expedited, that she's taking a lead role on this, and that we're going to have justice behind us.
SANDOVAL: Local officials also reacting to yesterday's announcement including one of the county officials here that took to Twitter writing, we have all been left with too many questions and not enough answers. Attorney General Letitia James' announcement that she will move to impanel a grand jury is an important first step in getting those answers that Mr. Prude's family and our community rightfully deserve. As for the Rochester police officers, they remain suspended by the city of Rochester.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, Rochester, New York.
SAVIDGE: Protesters demanding an end to police brutality and racial justice march to Churchill Downs for the annual running of the Kentucky Derby.
PAUL: There are hundreds of demonstrators that marched to Louisville yesterday. That is the city where Breonna Taylor was killed back in March, remember? She was an EMT and was killed in her own home after three plainclothes officers executed a no-knock warrant and exchanged fire with her boyfriend who thought they were intruders. Now Kentucky's attorney general says, that investigation is still ongoing.
SAVIDGE: As Christi mentioned, a new report finds that the vast majority of Black Lives Matter protests across the United States have been peaceful. The Armed Conflict Location and the Event Data Project locked at over -- or looked rather at over 7,700 demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. they've found that 93 percent of those protests were, in fact, peaceful. The group defines violent demonstrations as anything from fighting back against police to vandalism of property and property destruction, looting, blocking roads and burning materials. PAUL: Up next, a pro-Trump boat parade in Texas had a little bit of trouble when several of those boats started to sink. We have more on what happened when we come back.
PAUL: Thirty minutes past the hour right now, and a former senior Trump administration official has told CNN, President Trump did refer to fallen U.S. service members in crude and derogatory terms.
SAVIDGE: That former official largely confirmed details from an article published in The Atlantic magazine which cited sources who said the president referred to fallen soldiers as losers and suckers. The president has forcefully denied that report.
PAUL: CNN's Kevin Liptak at the White House. Kevin, what are you hearing from the White House this morning?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. This is turning into something of a political crisis for the president as he continues to vehemently deny this report even as elements of it are borne out by reporting from CNN and other outlets and by the president's own comments.
As you said, a former senior administration official said the president did use derogatory terms to refer to American war dead at the cemetery in France during his visit there in 2018.
We were also hearing from people familiar with the president's views that he's questioned why Americans go to war in the first place. He's asked why those who fought in Vietnam didn't find a way out of serving like he did. He received a draft deferment for bone spurs and he's asked why those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, what did they get out of it?
So, all of this turning into something of a question of credibility for the president in all of this, even as he continues to deny it, elements continue to be confirmed and some of it is on camera from the president himself.
Listen to the way James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence explains this dynamic yesterday on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, FOMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: If this is true, you know, it's really reprehensible. And the problem is it is believable. Given the president's past behavior and statements he made, most notably about Senator McCain.
For me, personally and institutionally, it's deeply troublesome.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LIPTAK: Now, all of this appears to be becoming a major issue on the campaign trail as it enters its final two-month stretch. You saw Joe Biden tear into the president on the issue on Friday. A Democratic aide tells me they expect Biden to continue raising this on the campaign trail in the coming week. Guys?
SAVIDGE: speaking of which, both Trump and Biden are going to be out on the trail this weekend looking more, I guess, traditional given all the way that things have been restricted by the pandemic.
LIPTAK: Yes. And the Trump campaign, at least, has identified Labor Day as they will really begin campaigning in earnest ahead of this year's election. The president clearly entering this race this final two-month stretch as the underdog continuing a polling deficit, he did not see a huge bounce after the Republican National Convention.
And you can see him really ramping up his appearances on the campaign trail next week. On Tuesday, he'll be in Florida for a conservation event before heading to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for one of his airport hangar rallies. It's the second time in a span of the week the president has been to North Carolina. Of course, absentee ballots have already been sent out there. Voters are actually already voting in that state.
On Thursday, he'll head to Michigan, that's one of the states that helped him power to victory in 2016, but which polls show him currently trailing Biden. And on Friday, he'll end the week in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks.
Also in Pennsylvania, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Friday will be Joe Biden. They're both commemorating that solemn anniversary in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Of course, it's also a key battleground state. It's not clear at this point whether the two will encounter each other there or whether they'll even be there at the same time. The president is expected to deliver remarks at that event.
Biden will also visit Michigan this week. And tomorrow, he'll be marching in a Labor Day parade in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
PAUL: All right. Kevin Liptak, thank you so much. I appreciate it, sir.
We have some developing news out of Texas to tell you about. There are several boats that were taking part in a pro-Trump parade. And, apparently, they sunk. Now, officials in Travis County, Texas say they responded to multiple distress calls on Lake Travis yesterday. The sheriff's office says several boats did, in fact, sink.
You can see them -- some of them there as the parade was taking place.
Thankfully, no reports of any injuries, though. A Facebook page for the event said more than 2,600 people have planned to attend them. SAVIDGE: As we've reported, President Trump has forcefully denied that he disparaged U.S. service members. But could those reported remarks hurt him in the polls? My next guest says the president has, quote, an uncanny ability to control the narrative.
CNN Political Analyst Julian Zelizer is the author of Burning Down the House, Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker and The Rise of the New Republican Party, and he joins me now to discuss. Good morning to you, Julian.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning, nice to be here.
SAVIDGE: In your latest commentary, you talk about how, of course, we're entering into the homestretch here, the final two months. And this is really a time when both campaigns are honing the narrative. Who do you think is doing the best job on that right now?
ZELIZER: Well, I think the polls show that Joe Biden is doing a good job and the story that Democrats told about his candidacy held those numbers and Republicans weren't able to do better. But the Republicans have, through President Trump, put out their story of law and order or lawlessness and disorder that I think has dominated a lot of the conversation since the convention. So their efforts should not be discounted.
SAVIDGE: At their convention, the Democrats, I'm oversimplifying, but their message was pretty much that Joe Biden is a decent, good man who would be a much better person to lead this nation. That's a simple message. But do you think there's more that is needed from Democrats to really get voters enthusiastic to come out and vote?
ZELIZER: I do. I think there's a lot of obvious stories out there right now that Democrats need to make sure or receive attention (ph) the failure of the pandemic response, the need to rebuild the economy, the threat to our democratic institution. These are all themes Democrats have spoken about. They weren't highlighted as much during the convention other than a few speeches.
And I think it's important that in fall, it's not simply that Joe Biden is a good person but that Democrats make a persuasive case they are the party to deliver on all those fronts.
SAVIDGE: We always talk about the debates and how crucial they could be. But these -- this year, it seems that they could be especially potentially problematic depending on if you're Joe Biden. Some believe that the president could handle him very clearly. Who do you think could come out best in a debate?
ZELIZER: Yes. I mean, debates aren't going to have massive swings in the electorate. Nothing seems to do that. So we're talking about what impacts slivers of the electorate. I think those are going to be moments when President Trump dumps everything out and just goes after in haphazard fashion all the attacks against Joe Biden.
I think it's going to be hard for Biden. Biden is a traditional candidate and I don't think he is totally prepared -- no one is -- for the kind of debate that you encounter with President Trump. So I think those are going to be a real challenge for Biden to stay on some sort of message or just to sit there and to allow Trump to harm himself through his own words.
But the hardest thing to avoid will be getting caught up in a conversation that isn't helpful for the Democrats.
SAVIDGE: And, normally, a vice presidential debate is not necessarily something that gets people truly excited. But this one does look like it could shape up to be quite an event.
ZELIZER: I think this will. Because here, you have on the Democratic side a candidate who possibly will be president who is seen as an up and coming star the Democratic Party, Senator Harris. So I think there will be a lot of eyes on this.
And since we have fewer events are taking place because of COVID-19, I think this debate will receive a lot more attention than usual.
SAVIDGE: As always, Julian Zelizer, we really appreciate your insights and we are getting down to what are really the final few weeks. Thanks very much.
ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.
SAVIDGE: And coming up this morning, an exclusive interview with Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee, Senator Kamala Harris. We were just talking about her. Hear how she and Joe Biden will take on President Trump. That will be this morning at 9:00 on State of the Union.
PAUL: It's called life changing money for a reason. Texans star Deshaun Watson overcome by tears after signing a new contract. Look at this. You can understand why when you hear what he went through to get to where he is now.
SAVIDGE: The 2020 Kentucky Derby is going to be one for the record books, and not because of the horses. First of all, it was not in May, it was in September. There were no mint juleps, there was no crowd and there were protests outside.
PAUL: Yes. Coy Wire is with us. This had to be so surreal for the people who were there that know the derby as the big hats and the seersucker suits but with a different message, obviously, now.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Christi. Good morning to you and Martin. And, normally, 150,000 people there with those feathered hats and those fascinators and, yes, the mint juleps flowing, as Martin said. It was a wildly different scene this year.
[06:45:01] Let's take you to the race. All eyes were on Belmont Stakes Tiz the Law, the biggest (INAUDIBLE) favorite of the derby for more than 30 years to start the day. But it's where you finish that matters. It was authentic holding strong in the final stretch. Jockey John Velazquez earning his third Kentucky Derby win. And trainer Bob Baffert gets his record-time sixth win there at the derby.
Velazquez is a hall of fame rider, winning this at that empty track, not even to able to have his family there, he said, as they normally are. But it was a scary moment for Baffert after the race. In the winner's circle, watch as Authentic seems to be on edge knocks Baffert and at least one other person to the ground. You can see him there. Baffert afterwards would be okay.
Now, let's go to Texas Quarterback Deshaun Watson, his life improbable, growing up in poverty, surrounded by drugs and gangs. He broke down crying yesterday seeing how far he's come.
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DESHAUN WATSON, HOUSTON TEXANS QUARTERBACK: Growing up where I'm from, it's not so many people that make it out. I mean, so for them to -- for them to just trust me, I mean, it means the most. So that is the biggest thing.
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WIRE: The 24-year-old signing a four-year contract extension worth reportedly $160 million, the second largest contract in NFL history behind only the Chief's Patrick Mahomes. His tears came as he thought about his childhood, when his family surprised -- you see the emotion on his Zoom call. Watson's mom worked hundreds of hours when they were young with Habitat for Humanity so that they could have their own house and a better life. Now it's Deshaun's turn to take care of mom even more.
All right, let's start your Sunday with a sweet moment at the U.S. Open after Serena Williams' impressive comeback win over Sloane Stephens. Her daughter, Olympia, saying there is mommy, giving a big wave and mom waving back with that big smile.
Serena afterwards said that Olympia, who is there on dad's lap, was probably just playing the princess doll's Christian Martin (ph) had no clue about mom's big win. But I had to say share that sweet moment with you guys this morning.
PAUL: She is adorable. But, Coy, I got to tell you, I keep thinking I'm going to come in, I can go, Coy is not here. She finally had the baby. What's the status? How is Claire?
WIRE: It is any day. Claire is very ready. But, Christi, I have to say, you're so sweet. She's text about twice a week everyone. Christi will text, how is it going? Everyone feeling okay? Well, we're so excited to welcome a second baby girl into the world. Martin, I'll be officially a girl dad. I'm so proud about it.
SAVIDGE: It is the best production you will be a part of.
PAUL: And Martin knows himself, yes, with his own daughter.
Coy, congratulations soon, soon.
WIRE: Thank you all.
PAUL: Waiting to hear. Good to have you, buddy.
So, to a lot of people around the world, Chadwick Boseman was a movie star. To some people in one South Carolina city, he was a hometown hero. You're going to see how that town is doing some things now for him.
PAUL: Well, it's a week now since Hollywood superhero and international icon Chadwick Boseman passed away.
SAVIDGE: Here is how his city where he grew up has been celebrating their hometown hero.
SAVIDGE: International action hero Chadwick Boseman was an inspiration to many.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can I say thanks?
SAVIDGE: And now his life and legacy are celebrated at a memorial service in his hometown of Anderson, South Carolina.
DEWANNA BROWN-THOMAS, DAUGHTER OF JAMES BROWN: It's a blessing to be honored and he will be honored all over the world. But when home honors you, it's a different feeling.
SAVIDGE: Dewanna Brown-Thomas, daughter of legendary James Brown, spoke at the service and reflects on the phenomenal performance Boseman did portraying her father in Get on Up.
BROWN-THOMAS: He made us proud and he did an awesome job. We're very thankful that it was Chadwick Boseman who did James Brown.
SAVIDGE: Although he's known globally, it's his humble small town roots that many residents are proud of.
PASTOR SAMUEL NEELY, WELFARE BAPTIST CHURC: He had a spiritual connection with his God and it was a part of his life. He was in church all of his life. Even after he left, he stayed there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I'm here for is the remembrance of someone who started from humble beginnings who ultimately ended a legend.
AMANDA CURETON, ATTENDED MEMORIAL SERVICE: It's been really hard the last few days because I love Chadwick Boseman. I'm here to be with my community and celebrate him and be here for each other.
SAVIDGE: Like many, Anderson's mayor remembers Boseman for his enormous talent, personifying the historic figures in roles he immortalized.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously, he made an impact as a young man and people saw in him that he had a special talent and nobody was really surprised of his career.
SAVIDGE: It was his pivotal role as Black Panther that instilled pride and ushered awakening for Boseman as his superhero for everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just love Chad. He's so good with the kids. He helped out with our kids going to see Black Panther. We wish we had more Chad Bosemans.
TYRONE STRINGER, ATTENDED MEMORIAL SERVICE: He's been inspirational to not just our people, our people of color but just people (INAUDIBLE).
JAVON JOHNSON, ACTOR: When someone as great as Chadwick is taken away such an untimely fashion, that's a huge loss. But it's really nice to see the hometown in the community come out and show love and honor him in his passing.
SAVIDGE: A hometown hero that Anderson will always cherish.
SAVIDGE: Christi, I was just so stunned to hear of his passing. It just hit me with a real shock. And it made me realize, he played a superhero, of course, in a way that we all knew, but he really was. He had superhero talent. He had a way to connect to all of us that is just remarkable.
PAUL: Yes, a real authenticity people talk about and we see it there. Our hometowns matter, they do, to how we grow up.
SAVIDGE: Sure do, yes.
We do want to tell you about something coming up here next as well. There is actually a real life gator on campus. Look at this, 600-pound beast called Bob, just had a trip to the University of Florida.