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United States Sees Highest Single Day Of New COVID-19 Cases With 60,646; California, Florida, Texas Report Single Day Records For Virus Deaths; President Trump On Cognitive Test, I Aced It; Is There A Safe Way To Go Out With COVID-19 Raging; Dr. Anthony Fauci Closing Bars And Restaurants And Pleads With Americans To Wear Masks; Disney World Reopens As Coronavirus Cases Spike In Florida; New Audio From Breonna Taylor Investigations Shows Conflicting Accounts Of Shooting Death By Louisville Police; NFL Teams and Players Try to Tackle Racial Issues; Esper and Milley Testify They Don't Know Who Gave the Orders to Clear Peaceful Protesters from Lafayette Square; Never Trump Movement Working to Prevent Trump's Reelection. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon, 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. And we begin this hour with breaking news. The U.S. seeing a record number of new coronavirus cases in a single day today with more than 60,000 new cases reported. And tonight coronavirus is surging in at least 33 states. More than 3.1 million confirmed cases in the U.S. since the pandemic took hold. More than 133,000 Americans have died.

California, Florida, and Texas -- three of the worst hit states where the virus is raging all reporting a record number of deaths in a single day today. Dr. Anthony Fauci saying some states reopened too soon, including Florida and Arizona, which now leads the nation in new cases per capita. And despite President Trump claiming that his administration has, and I quote here -- done a great job in handling the virus, Dr. Fauci saying just the opposite today.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALERGY AND INFECTOUS DISEASES: As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don't think you can say we're doing great. I mean, we're just not.


LEMON: Fauci also calling coronavirus the perfect storm because of how easily it is transmitted. Joining me now is Dr. Jonathan Reiner, he is the Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Program at George Washington University Hospital. Thank you for joining us, Doctor. In just four weeks the U.S. went from 2 million to 3 million coronavirus cases, but the president says that we're doing great. In what world is 133,000 dead Americans a sign of a great job? DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: In a fantasy world. In the

president's fantasy world. In his sort of distorted reality that he's tried to create so that he can re-present a really horrible situation in order for him to attempt to get re-elected. In no part of the real world are we doing well. The virus is really out of control in the south and southwest. As it has been mentioned all evening we're running out of hospital capacity in places like Texas and Arizona. It's really dire straits there.

To hear the president's press secretary try and really distort the crisis in the hospitals by somehow trying to allege that the hospitalizations were elective procedures is really disturbing. When we report hospitalizations we're reporting COVID hospitalizations. Really, one of the only few states that actually doesn't report that data is Florida, but for the rest of that data when we say hospitalizations are up, we mean COVID hospitalizations are up.

So we know that we have escalating numbers of new cases translating to packed hospitals, now translating to deaths. So there was a lot of chatter over the last few weeks about how there was this disconnect between new cases and deaths. Now we're seeing the deaths. We have said that deaths are a lagging indicator. And now that we see over the last few days, mortality has risen from the prior seven day moving average of 500 deaths per day to now 900 deaths per day. So we're seeing the impact of the rising numbers of cases and hospitalizations, a lot more deaths.

LEMON: And we don't know what the impact of the Fourth of July holiday is going to be as well on this. As you're talk I'm sitting here and thinking, 133,000 people are dead. And you look at 3 million people infected. It seems -- I mean, if you wrote this -- if you said that this was going happen and put it in a movie, no one would believe it.

I mean, this is -- it's flat-out incompetence, especially compared to other countries. You can't say that you're doing a good job when you have the facts, Dr. Reiner, of how many people are becoming infected, or have been infected. How many people have died and are going to die and then you look at it in comparison to other countries. It is just a flat-out failure. Sorry, go on.

REINER: No, I -- look at Japan. They had their first infections right around the same time that United States did. Japan is a big country. It's about 40 percent the size of the U.S. in terms of population, about 130 million people. Japan had 20,000 cases, 20,000 cases. We had 60,000 cases today. Japan had a total of 20,000 cases and 970 deaths, 970 deaths. That's just about the number of deaths we had today in the United States.


What makes me really sad is if you look at the IHME University of Washington estimates for where we'll be in November, they estimate that we'll have over 200,000 deaths by November. Maybe another 80,000 deaths compared to where we are now. These are people that are -- most of these people are well now. This is the guy next door washing his car who's going to be dead in November, or your friend's mom, or the nurse in the hospital taking care of COVID patients or the person who checks your groceries at the store. People who are well today who will be dead in November because of systematic incompetence from this administration from day one. It's time to start again.

LEMON: I want to talk about --let me talk about testing here. The president said this tonight about testing in the U.S.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Can you imagine if other big countries -- the bigger countries tested like we -- or Germany. We've tested many, many, many times, even proportionately the number of people that other countries have tested. But I was with, as an example, a great gentleman yesterday, the president of Mexico. And they're having a hard time especially in Mexico City.

They test when somebody's sick or when somebody goes into the hospital, and that's a different way of doing it, and it's just fine. And we are testing and creating. It's the greatest thing that ever happened for the opposite party, but we're doing something that nobody has ever done to the extent and we're doing a great job.


LEMON: The irony that this president, of all people, is implying that we should be more like Mexico -- but listen, he either has no idea what he's talking about or he's flat-out just lying through his teeth.

REINER: Either one is unacceptable. Look, no country wants to be like the United States, right? No country wants to have a runaway pandemic. No country wants to have 900 deaths a day or 60,000 new cases a day. The truth of the matter is that, actually, if you look at testing -- look at testing on a per capita basis. We're certainly come a long way, but we're testing about 120,000 people per million population, which puts us at 25th in the world.

So it's a big number, but we're a big country with a lot of infection. We need to do much more. We need to test much more. So rather than try to discourage people from going to get tested we want to encourage people to get tested, and if they test positive, stay home. We want to encourage people to wear masks not dissuade them like he's doing for his rally in New Hampshire.

So these are the things that we can do. We want to encourage states to shut down when they have out-of-control infections. Arizona, they just decreased their restaurant occupancy to 50 percent. What's it going take to them to shut down restaurants completely? They have record number of deaths in Arizona. Shut it down. And we need leadership from the federal government that will, you know, make these policies clear.

LEMON: I want to get another -- play another sound bite from the president tonight. Because he -- President Trump said that he took a cognitive test recently and Joe Biden should too. Listen to this.


TRUMP: I actually took one -- very recently when I was -- you know, the radical left was saying, is he all there? Is he all there? And I proved I was all there because I aced it. I aced the test. And he should take the same exact test. A very standard test. I took it at Walter Reed Medical Center in front of doctors and they were very surprised. They said that's an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anybody do what you just did.


LEMON: OK. So, can you ace that sort of test? I mean, what did we learn from this? That there's a new cognitive test that he took very recently, but no one was told about it?

REINER: This is very interesting. So, the only time we know in recent history that the president has been to Walter Reed was in November when he went unannounced -- basically unannounced for an unscheduled visit on a Saturday afternoon, breaking protocol with the president's physician riding in the same vehicle as him for what amounted to sort of an urgent visit.


So, now we're hearing that on that day, because that's the only day that the president has been -- at least as it's been acknowledged to the public -- to Walter Reed for medical exam that he had neurocognitive testing. So, what does that mean? He had emergency neurocognitive testing in November and we haven't heard about it?

All right. Let's see the results of the test. Let's have the president's physician, Dr. Sean Connelly come out now and explain why they were doing emergency neurocognitive testing on a Saturday afternoon in November and why haven't we been told that and why haven't we've been told the results?

LEMON: He said that doctors were surprised of how well he did.

REINER: What happen to the president then?

LEMON: That people don't usually ace at the way he did.

REINER: Now we need to hear the results. Now we need to understand what happened to him. What were they worried about in November?

LEMON: Thank you, Dr. Reiner. I appreciate your time.

REINER: My pleasure.

LEMON: Here's' our breaking news tonight. We have hit our highest single day total of new coronavirus cases in this country with 60,646 and the news is especially bad in the south and the west. CNN's Martin Savidge has more now.


for number of deaths in a 24-hour period due to coronavirus. California, 149, Texas, 105, and Florida with 120. Also in Florida, the Department of the Health reporting today an additional 8,935 new cases. As well as their highest positivity rate for coronavirus testing in weeks.

REP. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I know we have had different, you know, blips, and now we're on a higher blip than where we were in May and in the beginning of June.

SAVIDGE: The almost daily record setting surge implored to triggering long lines of people waiting to be tested and causing officials to question the state's aggressive plan to re-open schools.

ALBERTO CARVALHO, SUPEINTENDENT, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: At a time when quite frankly restaurants have been emptied out, shuttered, it is counterintuitive to mandate students to return to school at full capacity.

SAVIDGE: Despite such concerns, Disney World opened today for pass holders. The president plans to visit Florida himself tomorrow, not to talk corona concerns but instead traveling to Doral to talk about drug trafficking. Meanwhile, hospitals and hot spots like Florida, Texas and Arizona, officials say are in danger of being overwhelmed with personal protective equipment again in short supply. 10,000 people are hospitalize in Texas with the state's Republican governor calling it a massive spike.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): When you look at the number of people who have been hospitalize over just the past couple of weeks you can see that there may be more fatalities coming.

SAVIDGE: Arizona is reporting a record high spiking coronavirus emergency room admissions on top of the shortage of ICU beds. All three Republican-led states opened early, despite the advice of medical experts to go slow. But it's not the only way politics is encouraging COVID spread. This weekend President Trump plans to hold a rally in New Hampshire, triggering fears that the state could end up like Oklahoma where health experts are reporting a recent jump in coronavirus cases following the president's rally in Tulsa last month, where supporters ignored advice to wear masks and socially distance. Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


LEMON: Martin, thank you very much.

Dr. Fauci says we should be closing bars and indoor restaurants but in a lot of places that's not happening. Is it safe to open schools? What about go to Disney World? I'll ask an expert next.


[23:15:00] LEMON: Dr. Fauci laying out the ugly truth, saying the U.S. isn't

doing great with how we're handling the coronavirus. He's urging people to do more to get this under control.


FAUCI: We have got to just tighten things up, close the bars, indoor restaurants. Either no or make it such that there's very good seating. Make sure people wear masks. Make sure they don't congregate in crowds. Make sure they keep their distance.

The one thing that we've learned now from this we learned more and more every week, every month, is that outdoors is always better than indoors and that's the reason why the thing that came up first was outdoor dining and spacing of tables. But if you're going to do anything, if you're going to have a gathering, wear a mask, try to stay distant and if you possibly can, do it outdoors rather than indoors.


LEMON: All right. Let's discuss now. Erin Bromage, is associate professor of Biologist University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, joins us now. Aaron, thank you. Good to see you. So, you heard what Dr. Fauci said. People have not been following his advice. OK? Is there a safe way to go to bars and restaurants?

ERIN BROMAGE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH: I don't really see a way for a typical indoor bar for that to be safe at all. It takes a lot of engineering in that space to create proper air flow and air filtration, distancing, and with alcohol and no masks, it just creates an atmosphere where it's just perfect for the virus to move through.

Now, restaurants, every restaurant is a little different, so again, if they can create a good indoor environment with air filtration, with air exchange and then do exactly what Dr. Fauci said with the distancing then you can create a good indoor environment that is safer -- never safe -- but safer too eat. But outdoor dining is definitely the thing you want to be doing.

LEMON: OK. So, let's talk about Disney World, OK, in Orlando reopening annual pass holders today. It will open to the public on Saturday. They are requiring mask and temperature checks, suspending parades and fireworks shows among other things, but the coronavirus is surging in Florida. Are those measures going to be enough?


BROMAGE: Yes, I don't really understand the whole idea of temperature checks. We know they're important for catching somebody that's symptomatic, but only about half of the people that are symptomatic will have a fever. Then you've got the asymptomatic people or the pre- symptomatic people, so it's not a foolproof plan to stop people from actually coming into the park that are not infected. Now, the one thing that they do have going for them is a really big

bank roll, and it's one of the things that I've learned over the last few months is the real importance of healthy buildings -- I would imagine -- I don't know but I would imagine that they have invested quite considerably in their air-conditioning systems, the filtration systems, in-door places as higher quality as they possibly can.

LEMON: But a lot of it is outside.

BROMAGE: yes, and a lot of it is outside. But then you can't control the interactions of others. You can't control what they're doing around you. So, it's inherently risky to bring thousands upon thousands of people to a single location, having them all mixing, having them touching surfaces and then leaving that location and going back to their homes, their -- you know, different states, different places around the country. It doesn't seem wise in the middle of a pandemic especially in a hot spot like Florida to be doing this.

LEMON: We're all talking about schools. You say the reality is there cannot be schools open if there is significant transmission going on. So, explain why you say that. Because you know the president is pushing and others pushing for schools to be open?

BROMAGE: Yes, so the plans they're coming up with the schools -- you know, I'm watching very carefully. I'm a parent myself. My kids I want them in school come fall.

LEMON: Would you send them back?

BROMAGE: At this stage I'm very happy with what my school, my kids' school is putting together. But we're fortunate that in the district we're in they have the resources to be able to do this. And I'm also fortunate that in the area I live the infections rates are very, very low. But we know kids are not going to be able to do the social distancing, the not touching, masks and surfaces as well as an adult can do. So bringing lots of people together is just inherently, again, risky, just like the amusement parks.

And then it's not necessarily the kids. You've got the staff, you've got the teachers. So even in Australia where they've got the infection numbers really under control -- they're rising a bit now, about 100 a day, but still very few deaths. They've just had an outbreak at a school, and it's moved through 58 -- I believe it's up to maybe 60 people now with that school through staff, through students who have been brought back home.

And Australia had it under control. So what happens when you open a school in Florida or Arizona where you've got these numbers starting to really spike? It's really easy to answer -- schools will open for a few weeks. We'll have cases begin, and then the schools will close down. You can't open a school, even with all the PPE you want to put in place, without having community transmission under control.

LEMON: Let's talk about New York City. And I'm going to talk about swimming pools, OK? The city is planning to re-open 15 swimming pools by August. Places that have managed to get the spread under control, are they pushing the envelope by re-opening things like pools?

BROMAGE: So, swimming pools themselves are not inherently unsafe. Chlorine we know does a wonderful job inactivating the virus. It all comes down to how they manage the interactions of the people at the pool. I've seen some pretty horrendous videos of public pools where it just looks like the summers past. Where people on top of people and yelling. They're having a whole bunch of fun, but they're setting this up for being just a spreading event at that particular place.

So, it comes down to how they manage the environment, what systems they put in place to make it safe and then basically whether people will adhere to those systems. So, I would hate to say that it is, you know, too high a risk. It comes down to how they manage the risk and how they put it together. So it's got to be a balance of what they're doing, the plans, and how people behave.

LEMON: Yes, we covered a lot, Erin Bromage, thank you. I appreciate it. I'll see you soon.

BROMAGE: Thank you.

LEMON: Brand new audio release tonight from the internal investigation into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor and it shows conflicting accounts of what happened. Next.



LEMON: Tonight there's newly released audio from the internal investigation by Louisville police into the shooting death of Breonna Taylor back in March. The 26-year-old EMT was shot eight times after police broke down the door to her apartment while executing a nighttime warrant in a narcotics investigation. The audio shows conflicting accounts of what happened. So joining me now to talk about this is Benjamin Crump. He is attorney for Breonna Taylor's family. Ben, thank you. I really appreciate you joining us.


LEMON: Let's talk about this audio. Because according to the audio from this investigation, there appear to be conflicting accounts about whether the police identified themselves before breaking down the door through Breonna Taylor's home. What -- this is what the sergeant, Sergeant Mattingly, who led the raid said. Here it is.



JOHN MATTINGLY, SERGEANT WHO LED THE DEADLY NARCOTICS RAID ON BREONNA TAYLOR'S APARTMENT (voice-over): I probably banged on the door six -- six or seven different time periods, not six or seven times but six or seven different times.

We're banging on the door and at that time I look back at Lt. Hoover and he says, 'I guess go ahead and hit it,' because at one point probably after the third time we banged, Mike was staring at the doorway and says 'I can hear somebody inside, I think they're coming to the door,' so we thought somebody was coming to the door, then we didn't hear anything else, so we kept banging and announcing.


LEMON: But this is a different account than what Kenneth Walker, Breonna Taylor's boyfriend says, isn't it?

CRUMP: Absolutely, Don. And when you listen to both of these recorded statements from Sergeant Mattingly and then from Kenneth Walker, what it tells you, Don Lemon, is that this was a conspiracy from day one to cover up the murder of Breonna Taylor by the Louisville police.

I mean, it is so one-sided when you listen to these two interviews. Kenneth Walker, right after the tragedy happened, without the presence of a lawyer, they coerce him into waiving his Miranda rights and he talks to them.

And then they betrayed him six days later in front of the grand jury and use what he said to get him indicted for attempted murder, where he can spend the rest of his life in jail.

LEMON: Let's listen to some of what he said. Here it is.


KENNETH WALKER, BOYFRIEND OF BREONNA TAYLOR (voice-over): I'm scared. I've never been that close to someone shooting a gun unless it's in a controlled environment such as at the range or something, so I'm like freaking out. I can't register anything that's going on, so --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): So you just fired off one?

WALKER (voice-over): Yeah, just one. That was just the warning. I didn't know who is coming to the door. The door just got kicked off the hinges, so I'm scared. One shot, boom, and then there was a lot of shots, so I just dropped.


LEMON: He said that he was just protecting Breonna, his girlfriend. Anyone would be scared in this situation, right?

CRUMP: Absolutely, Don. And he even asked them, what would you do in that situation? Nobody identified themselves. We said, who is it, and then they just busted open the door. And it's so sad because at one point, he says, an officer told me, it was a misunderstanding.

And then the internal affairs police officer said, well, that's new information to us. And Kenneth Walker said, I'm not an idiot, they did something wrong, I know they did something wrong. But yet they continue to try to cover it up, never telling the truth. One hundred and sixteen days later, Don, and they're still lying to us. LEMON: Benjamin Crump, thank you so much. We'll have you back. We need to talk about what's happening in the George Floyd investigation, as well. But we appreciate you joining us here tonight on CNN. Keep us updated on the Breonna Taylor case, as well. Thank you so much.

CRUMP: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: From Drew Brees to DeSean Jackson, NFL teams and players are struggling with race issues. Are we witnessing a change across the league?




LEMON: It seems that there is a racial reckoning going on in the NFL after Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson came under intense criticism for sharing anti-Semitic posts on Instagram. That as the league addresses the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd.

The NFL announced last week that they'd be playing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which is known as the black national anthem, before every game in week one of the season.

So joining me now to talk about this, discuss all this, NFL -- former NFL player Donte Stallworth and Jemele Hill, host of "Jemele Hill is Unbothered" podcast. Thank you both.

OK, so, Jemele, between DeSean Jackson's comments, the NFL's response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the reaction to Drew Brees's comments, and even the potential changing of the name of the Washington Redskins, I mean, it feels like the NFL -- that the racial issues are all coming to a head right now, right?

JEMELE HILL, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: It's really interesting. I mean, it kind of reminds me of the old adage, you make plans and god laughs. I mean, a few years ago, the NFL's plan was to try to extricate itself to stay firmly out of these social and political waters.

And now, they're unavoidable and they're being drag into conversations that I'm sure are quite uncomfortable for a league that has its own racial issues that they must face. But nevertheless, they're here and they have to deal with the racial reckoning much like the rest of the country has to.

LEMON: What do you make of the criticism that there's a double standard? Now, people reacted to Brees and Jackson situations.

HILL: Well, I think, you know, I know this is a (INAUDIBLE) in this county but there is some room for nuance. I mean, I think there are some similarities, but I definitely think there are some really big differences.


HILL: The unfortunate part, what nobody is really saying, is that, you know, Drew Brees -- excuse me, DeSean Jackson, I think there's a fear to some degree that people who may criticize him, people who are on the side of right, who believe in Black Lives Matter, they also don't want to make the mistake of trying to undercut or undermine the movement.

What is clear in DeSean Jackson's case is clearly some education needs to be done. I mean, he posted something that was ignorant and that was offensive, and that was pretty indefensible.

And I think that's OK to say that without people worrying or fearing that it will cause undue harm to the overall goal of equality, it can, it can only boost it and help it. The more people are educated, the more conversations we have, the better things ultimately will be.

LEMON: Right on. Listen, I think the same thing about these monument talk and all of these conversations that we're having. The more we talk about it, the more educated we become, the better all of us are.

And listen, let's see what happens with DeSean because he says that he's reaching out to the Jewish community, he wants to learn more about anti-Semitism and so on. Take him at his word, but as you said, he definitely needs some education on the subject and what he did, what he said was wrong.

Donte, you have a piece out in the Times about the NFL's black anthem decision and all these issues. It is called "I played in the NFL." I mean, you said, "I played in the NFL. It needs way more than a black anthem."

And you write, "Is this a sign that the NFL is serious now, that it truly wants to honor its commitment to promote racial equality in the league? Or is it just a symbolic gesture, one meant to placate its players, without any meaningful change?

So, which one you think it is?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Well, as I said at the end of that piece, you know, I'd like to believe that the NFL is genuine, I'd like to believe that the players coming out with that video demanding the NFL admit they were wrong about not supporting the players while they were kneeling, while the president was bashing them and basically they were thrown to the wolfs with no protection, and the players came out and demanded that they admit they were wrong and they did.

The NFL also just recently pledged to donate $250 million over 10 years. Initially they donated $44 million to criminal justice reform, police reform, economic and educational advancement for black youth. But when they added this song to all of week one games, initially I was like, who asked for this? Like, no one I know asked for this. We love "Lift Every Voice and Sing". Everybody that goes to church knows that song and loves it.

(LAUGHTER) STALLWORTH: But however -- however, the NFL got to do a lot more than that. They have had three -- I'm sorry, two head coaches hired in the last three years with 20 head coaching vacancies and only two black coaches were hired. I'm sorry, three black coaches were hired. Only two NFL general managers are black and no owners are black. The majority of them have been white men.

And so we've come to this point now not just in the NFL but largely in America and as we've seen this movement for Black Lives Matter and George Floyd and Breonna Taylor moved also towards anti-racism, anti- colonialism, there's been an awakening around the globe. People are taking down symbols of hate and oppression.

And we're speaking on all these issues that the NFL needs to correct and the Washington football team has to correct that name. I don't know what they're waiting for, but they need to change that name immediately. It was not to honor indigenous people. Anyone who says that doesn't know the history.

LEMON: Listen, I have just 30 seconds left, Jemele. When you look at what's happened -- listen, the players now have a newfound sense of autonomy, right, and power they didn't have before. Even coming on this show, they were afraid to speak out, right? I'm worried about, you know, endorsements. They don't really care now, right? They're out there.

So just, you know, the black national anthem, does this ring hollow after the way they treated Colin Kaepernick?

HILL: Yeah, it's completely hollow. The NFL is never going to be able to atone for what they did to Colin Kaepernick as long as he remains out. As Donte pointed out, they have so many issues in their own league with the lack of black head coaches, the lack of black leadership, period, in that league. Address that.

We don't -- I mean, I love the black national anthem, too. But we don't need that. We need them to address the institutional racism inside the NFL. Start there instead of worrying about what you play before games.

LEMON: All right. You all better lift every voice and sign now. Come on.


LEMON: And have your handkerchiefs in the air, ready to sing. Thank you. Thank you both. I appreciate it.


LEMON: Never Trump Republicans are going full steam ahead trying to make Donald Trump a one-term president, and they're doing it by putting out some scathing ads.


JACK SPIELMAN, MICHIGAN VOTER: I'll vote for a tuna fish sandwich before I vote for Donald Trump again.




LEMON: Today, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, who, I will remind you, accompanied Trump on his walk to St. John's Church on June 1st, now testifying that neither of them know who gave the orders for the law enforcement to clear the peaceful protesters that were in Lafayette Square so that the president could have his famous bible photo op. Why can't we get an answer to that simple question?

CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has more. Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Don, today, the two top leaders at the Pentagon made clear there is still a lot to learn about that walk through the Lafayette Square Park on the way to St. John's Church so President Trump could have his photo op in front of the church.

The defense secretary, Mark Esper, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, told Congress today they still do not know for certain who ordered protesters to be cleared out of the park before the president approached. Have a listen to what they had to say.


MARK ESPER, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We've had that discussion a few times. We had it the other day with Secretary McCarthy and Major General Walker. And it's still unclear to me who gave the direction to clear the park at that moment in time.

MARK MILLEY, UNITED STATES ARMY GENERAL, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I know Attorney General Barr spoke to that publicly. And I know that it's been mentioned to park police captain, et cetera. I do not have personal knowledge as to who gave that actual order to clear the park.


STARR: General Milley, again strongly emphasizing that there were no active duty military troops in the park, active duty troops were not on the streets during this civil unrest in the nation's capital. But another big question, who also ordered a National Guard helicopter, just a few blocks away, to fly low over the protesters' heads? Don?

LEMON: Thank you, Barbara Starr. I appreciate that. Today's hearing follows a Washington Post reporting that the park police's radio communication system did not record any, and I repeat, any transmissions from when the agency and other law enforcement officials used smoke canisters and pepper balls to forcefully clear the group of largely peaceful protesters so that the president could get his church photo op.

So, none of the officials who were there will say who gave the order, and there is no audio of it, either. What a mystery. Now, I want to turn to the Never Trumpers, Republicans working to prevent President Trump from winning re-election. The president is dismissive of them, but as CNN's Jeff Zeleny explains, the movement is growing, with Election Day just four months away.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When President Trump said this about spiking cases of coronavirus.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.

ZELENY (voice-over): A new television ad quickly sprang to life.

D. TRUMP: Slow the testing down, please!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Slow the testing down? Slow down our chance to save tens of thousands of lives.

ZELENY (voice-over): It's not the work of Democrats but rather the Never Trump movement, a small slice of Republicans trying to make Trump a one-term president. After failing four years ago, the movement is back and multiplying with the "Lincoln Project" and "Republican Voters Against Trump," along with new groups like "Bush Alumni for Biden," whose slogan is, "we work for W, we support Joe."

D. TRUMP: Within a couple of days, it is going to be down to close to zero.

ZELENY (voice-over): This time, they are using the president's words against him, hoping to get into his head. At least, that's the goal of the "Lincoln Project," whose videos made by former aides to George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney, are designed to relentlessly mock and needle the president.

George Conway, whose wife, Kellyanne Conway, is a top Trump adviser, is a co-founder.


ZELENY (voice-over): The president has long mocked Never Trumpers, taking the light in taking over the Republican Party.

D. TRUMP: Some of these people don't get it. Never Trump. By the way, Never Trump is disappearing rapidly.

ZELENY (voice-over): While polls show as many as nine out of 10 Republicans say they support the president, the second act of the movement may be different than 2016. Two reasons why. The Trump record and Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton.

SARAH LONGWELL, STRATEGIC DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN VOTERS AGAINST TRUMP: Joe Biden just simply isn't as scary to them. I think women are going to lose this election for Donald Trump. I think that is going to be the decisive and defining group of people.

ZELENY (voice-over): Sarah Longwell calls herself a proud Never Trumper. She founded "Republican Voters Against Trump," where she's been studying Trump voters since 2016. She watched them stand by the president. But now, she senses a different moment.

LONGWELL: The health crisis, the economic crisis, the racial crisis. People are tired. They feel like Trump isn't fit for the moment. They feel like the stakes are higher.

ZELENY (voice-over): But it is an open question how many voters the Never Trumpers can actually persuade in an electorate more polarized than ever. Her group is collecting testimonials, believing the power of individual stories will make other Republicans comfortable saying it out loud.

SPIELMAN: I'll vote for a tuna fish sandwich before I vote for Donald Trump again.

ZELENY (voice-over): That's Jack Spielman, a 33-year Army veteran and Michigan Republican.


ZELENY (voice-over): He voted for Trump in 2016, but believes he's failed the country on foreign policy and handling the pandemic.

SPIELMAN: Just as what happened with the Reagan Democrat, now is the Republicans' turn to become Republican Democrats, the Biden Republicans, to kind of return the favor to say the nation needs us right now to get on a corrective course.


ZELENY: Now, the Trump campaign has dismissed these ads and the Never Trump movement as irrelevant and sad. But no question, they are getting the president's attention and perhaps in his head. He is often responding to them on Twitter or in other comments. As for the Biden campaign, they are watching these with great interest. Later this summer, possibly Republicans for Biden coming, as well. Don?

LEMON: All right. Jeff, thank you very much. And thank you for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.