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The Situation Room

President Trump Announces 150 Million Rapid Tests Will Be Distributed To States; Trump Vs. Biden In First Presidential Debate Tuesday; Dr. Fauci: Trump Getting Misleading Information On Coronavirus; COVID-19 On The Rise On Nearly Half Of U.S. States; Interview With Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI); NYT: Trump Paid No Income Taxes In 10 Out Of 15 Years Beginning In 2000; Trump Campaign To GOP Members: Do Not Underestimate Biden; Police Body Cam Video Shows Confrontation With Ex-Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 28, 2020 - 17:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Pamela Brown in for Jake Tapper. You can find me on Twitter @PamelaBrownCNN or just tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. Our coverage continues right now.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Jim Acosta in THE SITUATION ROOM and we're following breaking news.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll has now topped 205,000 people with more than 7.1 million confirmed cases and infections are on the rise in almost half of the country. Just moments ago, President Trump announced the plan to send 150 million rapid coronavirus tests to the states.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci tells CNN he is concerned about misleading information being given to the president by coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas. Sources say CDC Director Robert Redfield has also voiced concerned about Atlas.

Also breaking, Mr. Trump dodging questions about a bombshell "New York Times" report that says he paid no income taxes in 10 out of 15 years starting in 2000 and that he's hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Let's go straight to the White House, and CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez. Boris, a major pandemic announcement by the president this evening.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. President Trump announcing of U.S. plans to manufacture 150 million new rapid COVID-19 tests in the coming months. The president is saying the United States is rounding the corner on the virus going against his own health experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci who notably was not in the Rose Garden for today's announcement nor was CDC Director Robert Redfield, but Dr. Scott Atlas as you noted was.

Those men have a very public dispute. I tried to ask the president about it. He chose not to answer our questions about that nor about this bombshell reporting, scathing reporting in the "New York Times," about his tax returns.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Two decades of Trump's tax documents obtained by the "New York Times" paint the president as a failed businessman who is still facing crippling debt.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's fake news. It's totally fake news. Made-up, fake.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): It shows Trump paid nothing in income tax for 10 of the last 15 years, exploiting the tax code by reporting enormous losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars across his business empire.

TRUMP: That makes me smart.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): The data indicates Trump paid only $750 in 2016 and '17. The documents also revealing Trump owes more than $300 million in personal debt with a bill coming due in the next four years, leading to national security concerns about obligations to his creditors and questions about conflicts of interest.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: This president appears to have over $400 million in debt, 420, whatever it is, million dollars in debt. To whom? Different countries? What is the leverage they have? So, for me, this is a national security question.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Trump reportedly seeking to reduce his tax bill with an array of questionable techniques including massive deductions for unusual business expenses like writing off $70,000 for hairstyling and mysterious unexplained consulting fees.

Trump's company once paying more than $740,000 to an unnamed consultant, perhaps not coincidentally, records showing Ivanka Trump received the exact same amount that year from a consulting company she co-owned. Trump has sought to keep his tax returns secret for years, citing an audit by the IRS.

TRUMP: It's under audit. They've been under audit for a long time.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): And according to the "New York Times," that appears to be the case. The agency has been looking into a $72.9 million tax refund since 2011 and an unfavorable decision could mean a penalty of roughly $100 million.

But the audit does not prevent him from releasing his returns. Meantime, Amy Coney Barrett set to make the rounds for meetings on Capitol Hill tomorrow.

AMY CONEY BARRETT, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Should I be confirmed, I will be mindful of who came before me.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Though some Democratic senators like Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are refusing to sit down with Trump's pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


SANCHEZ (on camera): And, Jim, we should note it appears that President Trump is preparing tonight for that first presidential debate tomorrow with former Vice President Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio. The president saying that he's looking forward to it.

And I can tell you, Jim, in just the past few moments, our cameras captured former New Jersey governor Chris Christie entering the White House. We know that he has been helping with the president in debate prep.


And a familiar but surprising face walking alongside him, former special counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway. Remember, Jim, she actually left the White House in an official capacity earlier this month.

ACOSTA: All right, CNN's Boris Sanchez, some important questions for the president tomorrow night especially on those tax returns. Boris, thank you very much.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci is the latest health expert to raise concerns about White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas. Listen to what Dr. Fauci told CNN's Brian Stelzer a short time ago.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: This is about public health. You know, the bad guy is the virus. The bad guy is not the person on the other side of your opinion. There is so much, you know, misinformation during this very divisive time that we're in and the public really needs to know the facts.

Some of the media that I deal with really kind of -- I wouldn't say distort things, but certainly give opposing perspectives on what seems to be a pretty obvious fact. If you listen to Fox News, with all due respect to the fact that they do have some good reporters. Some of the things that they report there are outlandish, to be honest with you.

I'm concerned that sometimes things are said that are really taken either out of context or are actually incorrect. Well, most are working together. I think, you know, what the outlier is. My difference is with Dr. Atlas, I'm always willing to sit down and talk with him and see if we could resolve those differences.


ACOSTA: Dr. Fauci just a few moments ago, and let's get more on the breaking pandemic news. CNN's Alexandra Field has more on that. Alexandra, cases are on the rise in almost half of the U.S. That is just stunning. ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The trend is bad here, Jim.

Look, for the last 15 days we've seen steady increases in new cases across the nation. Back in July we had started to see the hospitalizations going down. But now we are seeing a plateau at around 30,000 new hospitalizations a day. All that as a number of states are posting their very worst numbers yet.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It honestly looks like it's business as usual.

FIELD (voice-over): Pre-COVID Florida in a post COVID world, packed bars and restaurants all weekend in south Florida just days after Republican governor Ron DeSantis dropped virtually all coronavirus restrictions.

DAN GELBER (D), MAYOR OF MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: Everybody was surprised. I don't know anybody who got a heads up.

FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MAYOR OF MIAM: I think it's going to have a huge impact.

FIELD (voice-over): No more fines for people who refuse to wear a mask. The state's new daily case count has been well below its July peak for more than a month, but the positivity rate remains over 10 percent.

GELBER: The mask thing is what is so confusing because we -- you know, the last time he reopened, we had a surge that killed thousands of people in Florida and in our county.

FIELD (voice-over): In South Carolina, Shirley Bannister just 57 years old died from the virus on Sunday. Her family says she was overwhelmed after her daughter in elementary school teacher died earlier this month, days after being diagnosed at 28 years old.

Across the country, new cases are on the rise in 21 states. In just the last few days, at least seven states saw their highest weekly averages for new cases, with Wisconsin recording its highest single- day increase over the weekend.

JOE PARISI, COUNTY EXECUTIVE, DANE COUNTY, WISCONSIN: One of the biggest challenges we have is that some people just don't believe that this is a serious disease even to this day.

FIELD (voice-over): In New York, more than a thousand new cases on Saturday, the most since June. A major cluster in Brooklyn is partly to blame.

ANDREW CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: It is very targeted and very focused in those clusters.

FIELD (voice-over): Health officials are trying to slow the spread with in-person learning in part of the nation's largest school district set to start tomorrow. New York City's teachers union is insisting they still need up to 2,500 more teachers to do the job safely. The governor is saying the state will track COVID testing numbers every day in case there is an issue.

CUOMO: If there is a problem, there is a problem, and the numbers will show if there's a problem. And then we'll act accordingly.


FIELD (on camera): In order to address the cluster in New York City, Governor Cuomo says New York State is making 200 rapid testing machines available. Those machines are set to go to the zip codes with the highest positivity rate. The state says that public and private schools should request machines, Jim, and start testing students.

ACOSTA: All right, CNN's Alexandra Field, thank you so much for that. Let's get more on all of this with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and the dean of Brown University School of Public Health, Dr. Ashish Jha.

Sanjay, let me start with you first. Some alarming comments from Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is sounding off on the influence that Dr. Scott Atlas has over the president in this interview with our Brian Stelter earlier this afternoon.

How concerning is it that President Trump is relying on advice from someone with zero expertise in infectious diseases and seems to be just telling the president what he wants to hear?


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very concerning, Jim. You know, if this were a sort of clinical practice, clinical world, it's called Dr. Shopping, essentially is what the president is doing, right.

You go to a bunch of doctors. They all tell you the reasonable thing that should be done. You keep shopping around until you find somebody who tells you what you want to hear. Give you a medication that's not really warranted. Advise a treatment that's not really needed. Do something that, you know, conventional medicine wouldn't do.

It's not a bad idea to get a second opinion from time to time, but here it's what we're seeing is the overwhelming evidence, respected docs like Ashish Jha, Anthony Fauci, others all on one side saying one thing, and then this one doctor who has the president's ear.

Whether Dr. Atlas realizes it or not, he's a smart guy I'm sure, but whether he realizes it or not, he's there because he's just saying what the president wants to here, I mean, and that's very concerning.

ACOSTA: And Dr. Jha, we also know that CDC Director Robert Redfield has expressed concerns over Dr. Atlas. We reported last week, Dr. Birx worries about his influence on the task force, speaking of Dr. Atlas.

And none of the top three doctors on the task force, Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Redfield were at this White House announcement earlier this afternoon on testing. Does it look like to you, I mean, it just seems apparent that the president is freezing them out in favor of Dr. Atlas?

ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes. So Jim, thanks for having me on. You know, it is a very concerning situation, right, because we have incredible expertise within the U.S. government, at the CDC, at the FDA, at the White House itself with the three doctors you just mentioned.

And what we want is our president to lean on the expertise within the U.S. government and to lean on the expertise of American scientists across the nation. Unfortunately, he's leaning on somebody who is not only not an expert, but often says things that are just inconsistent with where the science and evidence is.

ACOSTA: And Sanjay, we're learning some really concerning news out of Florida where the governor has reopened bars and stopped enforcing mask mandates. Is another surge inevitable with that kind of thing going on?

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, you're definitely going to see more people get infected who otherwise wouldn't have become infected. I mean, you know, the thing that hasn't changed since we've been talking about this since, you know, February, is the virus is still a very contagious virus.

More people aggregating together in indoor settings in particular that's not well ventilated, there will be more cases there. It's tough to say how many for sure, but this is obviously the wrong thing to be doing in the middle of a pandemic.

I think what's most puzzling to me is the stance on masks still. I'm not sure I'll ever understand the stance on masks. I mean, you know, say we want to open things up, but let's be serious about masks. That would go a long way towards keeping people from getting infected.

And, you know, you say I want to help the economy, sure. But not doing anything in order to mitigate the spread of the virus is confusing and has happened to Governor DeSantis in the past. I think it's going to happen again. You know, two months from now or six to eight weeks from now he'll be looking back saying, ye, maybe we shouldn't have done that.

ACOSTA: And Dr. Jha, even New York City which has seen a really encouraging turnaround over these last several months is now trying to tamp down some troubling hot spots. Is that a disturbing trend to you as we head into fall and winter?

JHA: Well, Jim, you know, I expect like every place we're going to see little flare-ups, we're going to see this kind of stuff happen. To me the single most important question is what do you do about it? And I loved hearing about how they're sending rapid tests to those communities, that so far the governor seems to be taking it seriously.

As long as the governor does that, none of us are out of the woods. But as long as we can respond to these little flare-ups, I think we can keep the virus under control in large parts of the country and get through the rest of this pandemic. ACOSTA: And, Sanjay, I want to get your analysis of this troubling new

study showing that fewer than 10 percent of Americans have developed antibodies to the coronavirus. What does that mean for the so-called herd immunity concept that we've heard some people talk about and we've heard Dr. Atlas flirt with over the last several months?

GUPTA: Right. Well, first of all, it's interesting because if we look at the right side of the screen it says around 7 million people who have been infected -- have gotten the infection in this country. What we're saying based on these antibody studies, its closer to 35 million people.

So five times as many people roughly have had the infection at some point that never got tested or never actually had that confirmed. But to your point, Jim, and I don't know if we have this graphic, but 10 percent of the country having the infection or having had the infection is nowhere near herd immunity.

You know, you can do the math on this and based on contagiousness, it's around 60 to 70 percent of the country would be needed to have antibodies in order to have herd immunity. What has happened with 10 percent of the country having been infected? Two-hundred thousand people have died.


Now, just think about that if you start to multiply that times 6 or 7, just letting the infection go through the country, 60 to 70 percent of people get infected. That's where that 1.2 to 1.4 million people potentially dying sort of comes from.

And also there's this unsort of unanswered question still at the bottom there. We don't know how long the immunity lasts. You get infected, you know, five, six months later, you may be susceptible again to the infection.

ACOSTA: And Dr. Jha, the president just announced an initiative to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests throughout the country. The administration has been touting these tests as a game changer for several weeks, but so far they haven't laid out a clear strategy for deploying them where they're needed most.

The president's top officials were saying they were arriving at that strategy somewhat today. How should these tests be distributed and used for maximum impact?

JHA: Yes. So, first of all, it's great to have more testing out there. They announced these 150 million tests about a month ago. So, it wasn't new information that came out today. It was something we knew about. What we want is we want to make sure that, first of all, actually two things.

One, it's probably not enough. We need a lot more. Even at 150 million over three months, it'll be barely enough for nursing homes, for some essential workers. But we need a lot more if we want to be able to test schools, colleges, and workplaces. So I see this as a step forward but not where we need to be.

ACOSTA: Not where we need to be indeed. All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Ashish Jha, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

And coming up next, more on the bombshell report about President Trump's taxes and debt. Who does he owe hundreds of millions of dollars to?

Plus, newly released body cam video of the confrontation between police and former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. Why he's hospitalized tonight.



ACOSTA: And we're following breaking news. President Trump dodging questions about a bombshell "New York Times" report that says he paid no income taxes in 10 out of 15 years starting in 2000 and that he's hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a member of the Judiciary Committee. Senator, I want to start there. I want to get your reaction to this reporting from the "New York Times" that the president owes, and it's hard to fathom this, the president owes hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017, despite claiming he pays millions in taxes.

As damning as these details are, they raise even more questions about the president's finances, don't they?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Of course. It shows that he is a cheater. He's a liar, he's a cheater. We all know teachers and firefighters and nurses who pay more than $750 a year in taxes. So what this should say to the American people is there is a reason why the president has never disclosed his tax returns because he has a lot to hide.

Not to mention, you know, there are a lot of concerns about national security risks because he owes or gets money from foreign governments. So, all in all, it just indicates once again there are two things President Trump cares about, himself and money.

ACOSTA: And one big remaining question is, of course, to whom does the president owe all of this money? You were just touching on that.

HIRONO: Oh, yes.

ACOSTA: What are some of the national security implications of a president owing that much money to an unknown entity? And how do you get to the bottom of it?

HIRONO: It will require investigation. And so when someone, well, of course the president owes that much money to whomever, particularly if it's a foreign country, then he is very vulnerable to that foreign country putting pressure on him for all kinds of things. And that is why these are matters of great concern to the FBI, CIA,

and others who should be investigating, not to mention the Department of Justice, but we all know where Attorney General Barr is with regard to any investigations relating to President Trump. Very concerning.

ACOSTA: And the president says, as you heard, this information about his taxes and financial status is false. He called it fake news. There is one simple way obviously to set the record straight and that is where the president to release his tax returns. Do you foresee him ever doing that?

HIRONO: Of course. I don't think so because he's been talking about releasing his tax returns after this very mysterious audit that seems to be going on forever, but we never see it, and this is why all these lawsuits and investigations have to occur to force him to disclose.

We all know that the president lies every day and he is very protective of his financial interests, but what it shows is his so- called business genius has been losing money, apparently hand over fist. And he's certainly no self-made millionaire, billionaire or anything. Daddy bailed him out.

ACOSTA: And President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, let's turn to that, Amy Coney Barrett, we'll see some meetings with senators starting tomorrow, but you won't be one of them. You've said you're going to forego that meeting in favor of questioning her when she's under oath. What will your participation in these hearings look like?

HIRONO: I will make it very plain to the American people what is at stake with this nominee and what's at stake first and foremost is their health care coverage because one of the first cases that the Supreme Court will hear with Amy Barrett sitting there if she is confirmed is the attack on the Affordable Care Act.

Then the president would like his nominee to strike down the Affordable Care Act. And she's already indicated as much when she questioned Chief Justice Roberts in his decision on the Affordable Care Act, which saved the Affordable Care Act.


So that's the first order of business for this new nominee. I think the American people should know that's what's at stake. In the midst of a pandemic with over 200,000 people dead, over 7 million testing positive, and there's going to be more of this kind of tragedy.

So, she's going to be there to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Millions of people will not have health care coverage. A 100 million people with pre-existing conditions will not have health care. And that's what the American people are looking at.

So they should get very upset by this and I hope that they recall their senators who in 2016 said, in a presidential year, we should let the people decide who their president is, and that president should nominate the nominee for a vacancy, but they completely did a 180. These senators' constituents should call them and say why aren't you

keeping your word? Why are you trying to make sure that this person is on the Supreme Court so that she can strike down Affordable Care Act that covers all of our families?

You know, I really think about the kitchen table discussions that will happen should the Affordable Care Act get stricken down. And they're going to be sitting there wondering how they are going to afford health care or pay for health care. That's the real-life consequences of this nominee.

ACOSTA: Certainly a lot at stake and a lot on the table. Health care may be the number one topic of them all. Senator Mazie Hirono, thank you so much for joining us.

HIRONO: Thank you very much.

ACOSTA: We appreciate it.

HIRONO: Aloha.

ACOSTA: Aloha to you.

HIRONO: Take care.

ACOSTA: A closer look at the disturbing questions raised about the "New York Times" revelations about President Trump's taxes. Did he break any laws and is there a national security threat?

Plus, more on the breaking news. Dr. Anthony Fauci telling CNN he's concerned about misleading information being given to the president.



ACOSTA: Breaking news this afternoon, President Trump dodged reporters' questions about the New York Times latest revelations about his taxes. The report is raising questions about his years of avoiding paying income taxes and much more.

Let's discuss it with two of our legal analysts, former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram and former Federal Prosecutor Laura Coates. Let me start with you, Laura. I know you've been following this news closely. Did the President break any laws? And do you see enough evidence here to support a criminal case against the President?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, a lot remains to be seen. And a part of this is the kind of the crime is what's even legal, the idea of the tax system, perhaps allowing for the loopholes that may have occurred here. But there are some categories that do concern me and that includes the idea of these consulting fees that have been paid to members of his family, namely his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and the idea of actually providing a gift and then writing it off as a consultant deduction, some form or fashion. If there was some way to try to navigate this nefarious way, that could be one area to contemplate an investigation.

The other is this area of emoluments, of course, and the idea of, you know, how is the President of the United States being continually enriched. And is there something that violates his oath of office as the President of United States for national security interest? That is really where the investigation will ultimately lie.

ACOSTA: And Anne, the President is pushing back on the New York Times tweeting that he paid millions of dollars in taxes, but was entitled, like everybody else to depreciation and tax credits. Was the President simply using the tax code to his benefit or did he cross the line into illegal activity, do you think?

ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, I, you know, I agree with Laura, that we don't know the details yet but I think it's fair to say that there are two obligations that every single American has. We have to pay our taxes, and we have to do jury duty when we're called. During a war, we also could be conscripted to the military. But, basically, it's one of the fundamental obligations.

The idea that Donald Trump over 18 years would pay zero taxes for 10 years, and $750 each year for two years. It just defies any reasonable interpretation of our tax laws. If you think about it, the average American pays far more than the President, even when you look at the most aggressive executives, billionaires, they're paying at a 24 percent tax rate on average.

And so, here, you literally have the President just not paying any amount of money. It looks like a shell game also, because remember, he owes almost $300 million in personal liability. So he sort of just moving things around.

Laura mentioned one really important area, the business consultants, particularly if his family was paid by the organization, and they were also being paid as consultants, that goes against the law. And so, again, there's also this whole other question of bank fraud related to the investigations by the Manhattan D.A.'s office and the New York A.G.'s.

But it's clear to me, whether or not it's legally provable as a crime, it's clear to me that the conduct, at least on its face really appears to be beyond what anyone legitimately should be doing in the tax laws.

ACOSTA: And Laura, to provide some context here, this is incredible. Let's look at federal income taxes paid by President Trump in his first year in office compared to his predecessors. The President, according to the New York Times, paying $750 while these four Presidents paid anywhere from $62,000 that was Bill Clinton to Barack Obama nearly 1.8 million.


How can Mr. Trump who prides himself as being a wealthy a businessman, be paying so much less than just about everybody?

COATES: Well, first of all, can you imagine the amount of somebody who professes to be as wealthy as he is that there will only be this amount of tax liability? Again, I have to look to at the text tax system and say to myself, how can this be? Are there that many loopholes in existence to allow for deductions have paid nothing when so many Americans pay far more and make even a fraction of the President's soak (ph) purported wealthy. Interest on the wealthy may actually accumulate in the bank, number one.

But number two, the other issue for me is this is really largely about the image the President united states has put forth, that he is somebody who's very, very savvy in business, and he would argue that he is so savvy that he's been able to evade taxes, not in a lawful way but one that actually makes sense. But, to me, the biggest question is, as Anne was talking about, not only the payments that are supposed to come from the President of the United States, but also where are the debts that he does have, so whom are they owed?

It's been the better part of three years, almost four years now talking about how we want our President to be beholden to the people of the United States, and not beholden to any foreign adversary little (ph) or even a foreign ally. Now, we're seeing that it's flipped on inside again, that he may in fact be beholden to a foreign power more so than the tax system to the United States of America.

ACOSTA: Yes. Anne, what are the risks of a President owing so much money to entities that we don't know about?

MILGRAM: Yes, I mean, historically, we've never seen a President do this. They've always divested. And it's really common, even at lower levels of government, whether it's state or federal government, people have to sell their interests so that they have no vested economic interest in the outcomes.

And, you know, there's a big example in the New York Times article about the country of Turkey, where they were renting properties from the President. And it appears that there's a relationship where the President is actually profiting at the hands of the people with whom he's supposed to be negotiating. And so it raises huge issues.

And, again, we just don't want our leaders beholden to anyone, but the public who elects them. And so it's really troubling.

ACOSTA: Which is why this issue comes up every four years. Why the American people want to see the President's tax returns or a candidate for the presidency's tax returns. It's an important -- this is an important lesson that we're all learning in real time.

All right, Anne Milgram and Laura Coates, thank you so much for all of that.

Coming up, we have a newly released video of the confrontation between police in Florida and former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, there you see him right there being thrown to the ground by police. He's been hospitalized for reportedly threatening to commit suicide. And later, a look ahead to what President Trump and Joe Biden need to do during tomorrow night's high stakes presidential debate.



ACOSTA: Tomorrow night, President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden face-off in their first debate which you can see right here on CNN starting at 7:00 Eastern. Joining us to talk about it, debate coach and Message and Media Strategist Brett O'Donnell. He previously helped John McCain and Mitt Romney prepare for their presidential debates. And we all remember Mitt Romney doing quite well in that first presidential debate with Barack Obama back in 2012.

Brett, let's talk about this. If you were advising Joe Biden, how would you coach him to handle President Trump's extremely unconventional debating style? We saw in 2016 with Hillary Clinton, I'm sure we'll see it again.

BRETT O'DONNELL, PRESIDENT, O'DONNELL AND ASSOCIATES: Yes, absolutely. I mean, that has been the problem for candidates is how to figure out how to debate Donald Trump because he's so unconventional, he doesn't get held to the same rules that other candidates do. Joe Biden was very effective in his 2012 debate against Paul Ryan. And I think if he goes back to that style is on message, on offense that could be effective against the President. He managed to keep Paul Ryan on defense most of the night.

So far, though, that style hasn't shown up. We'll see what happens tomorrow night with Joe Biden.

ACOSTA: All right, that was the debate where he kept saying, malarkey, as I recall on that debate with Paul Ryan. Let me ask you this. We all know how often the President lies and misleads, it's a problem for the press. Should Joe Biden try to fact check President Trump in real time, or do you think he should just focus on sticking to his own message?

O'DONNELL: Well, I think that the fact checking is the job of the candidates. They should know their facts. But I really think that candidates should stick to message. Debates are about message and moments. And so, you know, leave that to his campaign. And the Presidents as well, I think they should both really be talking about substantive issues and staying on their message.

ACOSTA: And the President frequently attacks Joe Biden's mental state. Some of the President's allies have even suggested without any evidence that Joe Biden has dementia. But, on the other hand, the Trump campaign is now warning Republican members of Congress not to underestimate Joe Biden. Has President Trump unintentionally made Biden's job easier by setting such low expectations, calling him sleepy Joe and so on so many times?

O'DONNELL: He set the bar low, but it's also going to cause increased attention on any missteps that Joe Biden has in the debates. Remember back in the primary debates, he was telling people to listen to their record players, things like that.

[17:45:05] So, I think that, you know, it can -- it's a double-edged sword. It does set the expectations low, but it increases scrutiny on any mistake. And he slipped the Joe Biden might have in the debate.

ACOSTA: And I suppose it could backfire on the President that he could have a mental lapse. And then that could blow up in his face.

O'DONNELL: Perhaps. I mean, I think the biggest thing for the President is not to fall into the trap that so many incumbent presidents have fallen into, which is defense mode, where they, you know, their presidents there for a term, they have a record, they tend to want to defend that record, instead of debate like they did when they were candidates without a record in the presidency. So, we'll see if the President can stay on offense in this debate.

I think that's the biggest challenge for him. He needs to make the election a choice election between him and Joe Biden. And to do that, he's got to stay on offense against Joe Biden, not get defensive about his record.

ACOSTA: And the President has hinted that he hasn't really done much at all to prepare for these debates. Biden, on the other hand, has scheduled extensive prep sessions with his campaign team. How important is preparation, do you think?

O'DONNELL: Well, debate prep is very important but, you know, what works for one candidate may not work for another. The question mark is, are you ready to perform when the cameras go live tomorrow night? I worked -- I've worked with several candidates at the presidential level. Each of them had a little bit different style and what they wanted to do to get ready for their individual performances. So, it's a matter of what serves them best to get them ready and get them comfortable.

ACOSTA: All right, debate coach Brett O'Donnell, thanks for joining us. Great perspective. We appreciate it. And stay with CNN for a special live coverage of the debates starting tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

Coming up, newly released body cam video of the confrontation between police and former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. You'll want to stick around and watch that.



ACOSTA: Breaking news, newly released body cam video shows the confrontation between police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. He's hospitalized following a reported suicide attempt.

Let's go to CNN's Randi Kaye in Florida. Randi, tell us more about this disturbing video.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is disturbing. Jim. This all started, let me take you back to yesterday afternoon about 4:00 p.m. when Brad Parscale's wife thought that he was going to harm himself possibly even shoot himself. She said that he had barricaded himself inside their home with multiple weapons and she heard a loud bang or a loud noise and she actually thought that he had shot himself.

She was outside out front, she ran into another woman. She had left her cell phone at the house. So she used that woman's phone, called 911, told police that her husband was acting strangely. The police came. They luckily did find that Brad Parscale was indeed alive. He had -- they were able to make phone contact with him, spoke to him on the telephone, tried to coax him outside, tried to negotiate with him.

And they then -- they did get him outside on the driveway. And the Fort Lauderdale police did release some body cam footage. It's an edited version about three minutes in total. We have a small clip for you just so you can see how it all played out. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's acting crazy and so I went outside to the backyard to let him just chill out. And he's like going irate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw him open the blinds in the front yard and he close them and I heard what I thought was a good shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on? I'm not doing anything, relax. What happened?

BRAD PARSCALE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: So, she started staying all these --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground, man. Get on the ground. Get on the ground. Get on the ground, man.


PARSCALE: I didn't do anything. I didn't do anything. I didn't do anything.


PARSCALE: I didn't do anything.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just put your hands behind your back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll figure it all out, right? Don't worry about that.

PARSCALE: I didn't do anything. I didn't do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to get you off the ground in just a second, OK?



KAYE: Again, we don't what happened in between those moments because that was edited but we do know that inside, according to the police report, they found 10 firearms including handguns, rifles and shotguns. We also know according to that report that his wife told police that he was making suicidal comments all week. He was drinking and she thinks he suffers from PTSD as well.

I should also note that there's a woman that the wife had met up with on the on the street whose phone she use notice some bruising on the wife's arm. She asked her about it on that 911 call that was released, but her answer is redacted in that call that was released by Fort Lauderdale police. But in the police report, it shows that police questioned her about the bruising on her arm and she told police that it happened a few days ago during a physical altercation with Brad Parscale and that she did not report it.


So as you mentioned, Jim, he is in the hospital. He's being held there under the Baker Act, which is a Florida State law that allows them to involuntarily temporarily commit them, if they think they might be causing some harm to themselves. So he is recovering, they're getting treated there. And as you know, he was demoted this past summer as campaign manager, still a senior advisory position. ' But the communications manager for the campaign says, Brad Parscale is a member of our family. We all love him. We're ready to support him and his family in any way possible. So, certainly, Jim, a very trying time for this family.

ACOSTA: Absolutely, a very disturbing situation. All right, Randi Kaye, thank you so much.

Breaking news next, Dr. Anthony Fauci voiced his concern about his fellow White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Scott Atlas, that's coming up.