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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Signals more Stimulus; Kevin Hassett talks about the Economy; Contract Tracking Program in New Jersey; Man Arrested in Arbery Shooting. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired May 22, 2020 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:30:00]

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Of six months plus were a threat to China's national security and, as a result, they have to ram through this plan, which could, as critics are already calling it, change Hong Kong as we know it, remove the freedoms that have helped make it an international hub for trade.

This could threaten Hong Kong's special trade status with the U.S. government and it would potentially mark a very important change. Some Chinese government officials are insisting that freedom of speech and assembly will be here as they were before. Anybody who's been in a policed state knows that the rubric of national security can be used against almost anything to crack down on it.

Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, China has no hesitation to do it. There's proof every day in that country. Enormous consequences here for the people of Hong Kong.

Ivan Watson, thanks very much for covering it closely.

On Sunday you can join CNN's Fareed Zakaria as he investigates the moment a pandemic was born. CNN's special report "China's Deadly Secret" begins Sunday night at 9:00.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: OK, the president is signaling more help, more stimulus could be on the way for Americans.

Here he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would say there could be one more nice shot. One more nice dose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Yes, but what that dose looks like is just very unclear this morning.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just said the next aid package must be below a trillion dollars.

Kevin Hassett, senior economic adviser to the president, is with me.

Kevin, very good to have you here.

KEVIN HASSETT, SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good to be back.

HARLOW: So let's begin there, the president says probably another dose of stimulus. Mnuchin even said this week stimulus is likely. The Fed chair basically begged Congress for it three times over the last week to prevent long-term economic damage. You have been saying it can wait.

Do you still think it can wait?

HASSETT: Well, you know, we had a big economic team meeting with the president last week. We went over options. And I think that, as we move forward, it's pretty likely that there will be a fourth phase of stimulus. There are a number of things, technical things, that need to be fixed about stuff we did in the past and so on.

HARLOW: Right.

HASSETT: And so, yes, I think the -- the -- pretty much folks think now there is going to be another bill. And the -- you know, the question is exactly when. But I think it's coming sooner rather than later.

HARLOW: OK.

Is that because the economic data is worse than what you were talking about just last week?

HASSETT: No, I actually think that the economic data are clarifying, that you can really see the percentages of businesses opening up as closing in on 70 percent and so on. And so we are getting back to normal, but they're -- for sure, you know, if you saw the initial claims, there's still a lot of pain out there --

HARLOW: Yes.

HASSETT: You know, we're looking at about 40 million unemployed folks and stuff.

HARLOW: OK.

HASSETT: And so, yes, I think that there's definitely cause for doing something else.

HARLOW: McConnell says this thing cannot exceed a trillion dollars. The House, obviously, passed, you know, asking for three.

HASSETT: Yes.

HARLOW: So is that -- is that for sure? I mean do you think a trillion is enough?

HASSETT: The -- you know, that -- we'll have to see what the details are. I understand Senator McConnell has a strong position on that, but I've not discussed the number that the president desires with the president yet. We've been looking at specific policies, but we haven't said it needs to be this or that.

HARLOW: Yes.

HASSETT: And so I don't know what the president's position right now is on how big it needs to be.

HARLOW: OK. I ask because, you know, Brookings says, you know, almost one in five children right now don't have enough to eat. New York City just said yesterday one in four New Yorkers is going hungry. So there is a real urgency felt certainly among those people for this.

Let's talk about the jobs report that we'll get in a couple of weeks, Kevin, because you've been prescient in your expectations and your forecast here. How high do you expect real unemployment to go, right, which is not just the technical number, but what people are actually feeling in this next report?

HASSETT: Right. You know, there's this weird thing that basically they ask you, were you employed last week, and then if you say no, then they go through a long list of reasons.

And they were supposed it take people that were on this PPP program, the small business loans that keeps people attached, they were supposed it sort of call them "furloughed," and -- but instead what they did is they called them unemployed for other reasons. There's millions and millions of those. And so if they correct that technical glitch, then April's number would have been closer to maybe 18 or 19 percent and you'd be going up from there.

And so the question -- open question in our mind is, are they going to fix that surveying error or not? And so we're looking for a number between say 19 if they don't fix it to maybe 22 or 23 if they do.

HARLOW: So is -- and will --

HASSETT: And as you said, your actually, in your question, for, you know, talked about the technical difficulties of measuring unemployment when things get that high and that crazy.

HARLOW: Will -- all right, so upwards of 22 percent possibly for the May numbers.

HASSETT: Possibly, sure.

HARLOW: Will that be the worst of it, Kevin, or will we see even higher U.S. unemployment later this summer because we are in great depression territory.

HASSETT: Right. Well, I think that June will be a little bit higher. We can already tell because of like when the survey happened and what's happening with claims.

HARLOW: Wow.

HASSETT: And so I would expect that the turning point will be June. That's what I'm looking for.

HARLOW: OK.

HASSETT: And -- but we'll -- we'll be able to, you know, we'll see a very bad number for May and then I think in June it will start to head in the right direction --

[09:35:02]

HARLOW: But --

HASSETT: Given the number of businesses open. We have real time data on hours for small businesses and stuff. And all of that stuff is heading in the right direction now.

HARLOW: Even worse ahead of the next one, that's a scary thing.

HASSETT: Yes, it's true (ph).

HARLOW: I wonder if you agree with the economists at University of Chicago and Stanford who just said in the last few weeks, 42 percent of these jobs lost, Kevin, are never going to come back. Is that possible?

HASSETT: You know, those are friends of mine. As you know, before I came back to the White House, I had a position at Hoover out at Stanford and so I respect their work greatly.

But I think that the problem is that we've had the biggest negative shock ever and then the biggest policy response ever. And so we're kind of in unchartered territory. And the thing that I'm optimistic about is that we're seeing the data turn on way faster than I expected.

I think you've probably -- since you've known me since before I came back, Poppy, you've noticed even in inflexion in the way I'm thinking about the data that's based on real time analysis of what's going on. I didn't really expect that we'd be back to have a, you know, in some states, you know, 80 percent, 90 percent of businesses back to being open this (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: No, I know -- I know that, Kevin. And you've said that a lot recently and I get that those businesses are open. I, you know, walked into a pet store yesterday, but there was one person working in there. And I guess my point is, just because they're open, you know it doesn't mean they have full employment. And that's the issue.

HASSETT: That's right. Right. But the point is we're going from having lots and lots of people furloughed and unemployed to having them reconnect to the businesses that are opening up.

HARLOW: Right.

HASSETT: And so kind of have to be moving in the right direction while that happens.

HARLOW: All right, I want to take this opportunity to ask you about the significant developments between China and obviously Hong Kong and what Beijing is trying to do right now, moving to impose this national security legislation in Hong Kong that, as you know, would ban sedition and it -- it's an affront to Hong Kong's autonomy.

The -- Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, just said it's a death knell for Hong Kong's autonomy.

If it happens, is the president supportive of additional tariffs or economic punishment to China?

HASSETT: You know, it's something that we're studying very closely would be like what we should do, given all the things that happened. We've already taken very strong steps by, you know, trying to, you know, stop having federal government employees invest their retirement funds in China and so on. And I think that, you know, right now China is getting very close scrutiny for us and we're thinking about all the options.

HARLOW: Yes.

HASSETT: But in terms of comments about Hong Kong, I'll leave that to the foreign policy guys (ph).

HARLOW: Well, I just -- I just -- well, no, it's an economic thing because --

HASSETT: Yes.

HARLOW: You've got a critical phase one trade deal --

HASSETT: Right, I --

HARLOW: Does it take that off the table. And if you give China a pass on this, like there's bipartisan legislation from senators, Van Hollen and Toomey, right now saying you've got to sanction them if they -- if they do this.

HASSETT: Right.

HARLOW: And if you don't, does it give China a pass?

HASSETT: Right. Well, we're absolutely not going to give China a pass. You know, all the options are on the table. And I can say, as an economist, that, you know, if Hong Kong stops being Hong Kong, the open place that it is, then it's no longer going to be the financial center that it is. And that's going to be very, very costly to China and to the people of Hong Kong.

And, so, yes, I think it's a very difficult, scary move and that is something that people need to pay close attention to. And we are. HARLOW: We appreciate your time -- we appreciate your time and your

work.

HASSETT: Yes, thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: Kevin, thanks. Have a good weekend.

HASSETT: Thanks. You too.

HARLOW: Jim.

SCIUTTO: Strong words there from the administration on China and Hong Kong.

Other news we're following, in the hard hit state of New Jersey, the city of Paterson is leading the charge when it comes to contact tracing and slowing the spread of the virus. They're doing a great job there. So how are they doing it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:42:43]

SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

Across the country contact tracing is becoming an important tool in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. And one city in New Jersey has been setting a real example here, using contact tracing to identify 90 percent of the people infected. Then, of course, they talk to other people they've been in contact with, make sure it doesn't spread further.

Here with me now, health officer and program manager for disease prevention and control from the city of Paterson, New Jersey, Dr. Paul Persaud.

And, Doctor, thanks so much for taking the time this morning.

Paterson, it's a small town, not far from New York. I know it because it's where my dad was born and raised. How did Paterson manage to do what many other bigger communities around the country have not done yet, which is contact trace a large portion of the population?

DR. PAUL PERSAUD, HEALTH OFFICER AND PROGRAM MANAGER, DIVISION OF HEALTH FOR PATERSON, NEW JERSEY: Well, Paterson is an exceptional city. And the Paterson Health Department is also an exceptional health department.

Last year the state of New Jersey did put out a grant for 95,000, a small grant, and I thought it will be wise to have a communicable disease investigation team in the city of Paterson in the event of a large scale communicable disease outbreak or a foodborne illness. So that was the rational for putting our team together.

SCIUTTO: So tell us about that team. Fifty to 60 board employees. How many contact tracers have you needed to effectively do this in the population of Paterson, because that can, of course, inform other places, even bigger cities, as to how many people they need to do this.

PERSAUD: So we -- initially we trained 25 disease investigators. We soon realized that was not enough, so had to -- I had to scale up. So we moved to another five to 10 disease investigators.

But, apart from that, we had to put in a support team because once in New Jersey contact tracing is part of a wider or larger disease investigation process. So we had to scale up our team.

[09:45:02]

But apart from scaling up our team, we had -- I had to add support staff to the contact tracing team, which that staff would actually end up doing the contact tracing. The disease investigators would do the disease investigation. As I said, the contacts, yes, the contacts determine the quarantine period. After that, it's handed over to those who would follow up with all those contacts, all those cases, daily, for the duration of the quarantine period.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And contact tracing --

PERSAUD: So I would say -- I would say ideally if we have -- I would say ideally if we have 50 to 60 contact tracers for a city of ours would be good.

SCIUTTO: OK. Contact tracing, of course, goes back decades. I mean it's -- they're doing this 100 years ago to track previous outbreaks here. And in Paterson police had played a role. But you're aware that in other communities people have resisted this. They're like it's an invasion of privacy. It's an over aggressive state. I mean how have you -- how have you balanced that? Have you had any people pushing back against this?

PERSAUD: Very minimal. We've had -- we've had a few people that have called and say why are you sending the police? And then we explain why we're doing this. We never had any other issues. So it's a soft call. So we have not had major issues in Paterson with that to this point.

SCIUTTO: OK. OK, that --

PERSAUD: But it's a very soft intervention by police to get -- and it's basically to get them to call the disease investigator. Just a return phone call we needed.

SCIUTTO: OK, final question here. New Jersey, like all the states in the union, is beginning to open up a bit. It may be too early. Are you seeing any signs of transmission increasing as social distancing, et cetera, are -- restrictions are relaxed?

PERSAUD: We have not relaxed restrictions as yet in Paterson. Our mayor just opened the parks -- two parks yesterday. We think that with -- if -- if there's a relax in social distancing, there may be -- there may be an increase in transmission, disease transmission. But I think we are well prepared for it because our team is now

hardened. We are battle hardened. You know, we came through days -- days that we were getting 250, 260 cases. We're down to an average of 43 in the last eight days, nine days (INAUDIBLE) but 43 cases per day. So we're ready.

If there's another wave, we're ready. We may have to scale up our team if needed, but our team is very, very scaleable because all of the -- all of our team members actually work with the health department.

SCIUTTO: Understood.

PERSAUD: And that's the strength of our team because we're not going to lose that skill. We can scale up and scale down anytime. They're all cross-trained.

HARLOW: OK, Dr. Persaud, good luck to you. Great work you're doing there. And we wish the best of luck to the people of Paterson.

SCIUTTO: Thank you very much, Jim.

HARLOW: Well, the man who recorded the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery has now been arrested. Ahead, what investigators are saying about the man who says he was only a witness that day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:52:55]

SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

A story we've been following closely. New details this morning on a third arrest now in the horrible Ahmaud Arbery shooting case. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested William Roddy Bryan Jr. yesterday. You may remember, he is the one who recorded the video of the fatal shooting. He is now facing charges, including felony murder.

CNN's Martin Savidge joins us now.

Martin, what have investigators said about his involvement here? His lawyer denies he was involved. Did they discover something new here?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that was the real question everyone wanted to know. The GBI just finished a press conference. They said that Bryan was arrested around 5:35 last night without incident. And then the question was, well, what prompted his arrest at this time? Because, remember, it's now two weeks exactly from the point at which the first two suspects in the case were arrested, the father and son.

And also there was a decision apparently made by the GBI on Wednesday to move forward with this arrest warrant. Interesting because on Tuesday there had been a search warrant that had been used on the home of the McMichaels, the first two suspects. So raising the question, was there something found in that home that seemed to indicate Roddy Bryan in some way? Because, as you point out, his attorney had said, no, he was nothing but just a bystander and a witness. The GBI clearly no longer believes that when he's charged with felony murder.

Here's what they had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIC REYNOLDS, DIRECTOR, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: If we believed he was a witness, we wouldn't have arrested him. So I'm not going to speak specifically about what we took from him. But, eventually, that will come out in a court of law. But suffice it to say, there are a number of pieces of video that helped us get to this point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: And that's the other key point that many people have wondered, was there more video on that cell phone that Roddy Bryan was using that day. There's only been that 36 second clip. But that clip was enough to change the whole trajectory of this case.

But, in the past, people who have released critical video have often been considered heroes. In this case, you know, there's always been a cloud of suspicion over William Roddy Bryan.

[09:55:04]

Back to you.

SCIUTTO: Why was he there? A key question.

Martin Savidge on the story. Thanks very much.

HARLOW: All right, a new study, huge study, finds Hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted and now taken by the president, is linked to higher risk of death in coronavirus patients. We'll have much more on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. It is a busy and significant Friday morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And I'm Jim Sciutto.

We begin with the breaking news.

A new and expansive study around the world shows that the anti-malaria drug that President Trump has repeatedly touted for coronavirus patients and that he has said he's taken himself is now linked to an increased risk in deaths in patients who take the drug.

[10:00:00]

The study analyzed nearly 15,000 patients on six continents who were treated with the drug in some form.

HARLOW: That's right.