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Trump Attacks CDC School Reopening Guidelines As Too "Tough"; Pence Suggest Positive Test Rates Are Flattening; Floyd's Final Moments Detailed in Body Camera Transcripts; Major League Soccer Restarts With Powerful Tribute. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 05:00   ET




BETSY DEVOS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: It's not a matter of if schools should reopen, it's simply a matter of how.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president said today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: The CDC now changing its guidance on reopening schools after President Trump trashed them.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, July 9th, it is 5:00 a.m. exactly here in the East in New York.

And the Trump administration is once again at odds with itself. President Trump is now rejecting guidelines from his own top public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control on how to reopen schools safely. He calls the guidelines impractical, very tough and expensive. The president wants schools open starting next month so parents can go back to their jobs, a necessary step to fully reopen the U.S. economy.

Now, administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence reinforcing that message but with a different tone.


PENCE: The president said today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough. That's the reason why next week, CDC's going to be issuing a new set of tools.


ROMANS: More now from White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pushing for schools to reopen, President Trump is already turning to heavy- handed tactics threatening to cut funding to reluctant schools and dismissing some of his administration's own public health experts, falsely accusing Democrats of opposing school reopenings across the board, the president tweeting, may cut off funding if not open.

PENCE: What you heard from the president is just his determination to provide the kind of leadership from the federal level that says we're going to get our kids back to school because that's where they belong.

DIAMOND: Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill telling CNN the president doesn't have that unilateral authority. And Vice President Mike Pence downplayed Trump's threat.

PENCE: We're going to respect those unique communities that may have challenges, or have rising cases or rising positivity.

DIAMOND: Suggesting the administration will instead push financial incentives for schools that open their doors. The president also slamming the CDC's reopening guidelines, calling them very tough and expensive, tweeting: They are asking schools to do very impractical things.

CDC Director Robert Redfield defending but also downplaying those guidelines.

ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: I want to make it very clear that it was not the intent of CDC's guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed. Remember, it's guidance. It's not requirements.

DIAMOND: And with the CDC preparing to release new guidelines next week, Redfield decline to go say if pressure from the president is overriding the science.

REDFIELD: We will continue to develop and evolve our guidance to meet the needs of the schools and the states.

DIAMOND: Also in the president's crosshairs --

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The current state is really not good. We are still knee deep in the first wave of this.

DIAMOND: -- Dr. Anthony Fauci.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him.

DIAMOND: It was the latest sign of tensions between the president and the doctor Americans trust most amid this pandemic. The fallout at the coronavirus task force briefing, Dr. Fauci notably absent.

(on camera): And while Dr. Fauci didn't attend the task force briefing, we are told he did attend the task force meeting before hand. He didn't join from the Department of Education like other officials. Instead, a source familiar with the matter, is telling CNN that Dr. Fauci was told to attend from the Situation Room, so listening in remotely from the White House thereby not being able to attend that task force briefing.

That's notable, of course, because we have seen the president and Dr. Fauci publicly contradicting each other recently, mainly because Dr. Fauci is sticking to the facts and raising these serious concerns about the rising cases we're seeing across the country while the president instead is trying to downplay and undermine the science as well as public health officials.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.


JARRETT: Jeremy, thank you so much for that.

As Jeremy mentioned, with Fauci nowhere to be seen at Wednesday's briefing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked if he's about to be shown the door.


REPORTER: Does the president still have confidence with Dr. Fauci?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has confidence in the conclusions of his medical experts but it's up to him to determine what to do with that information and to take what we hear from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and others, and take what he values in their opinion and come to the ultimate consensus that's best for the country.


JARRETT: President Trump has been publicly accusing Fauci of waffling on early decisions in the crisis, often at times when Fauci is providing a very frank assessment of what's happening in the country, the president insists he is better off ignoring experts and trusting his own instincts.


ROMANS: The Vice President Mike Pence says he is seeing improvements in the fight against coronavirus.


PENCE: We are actually seeing early indication of a percent of positive testing flattening in Arizona, and Florida, and Texas.


ROMANS: But the positivity rates of all three states have been steadily increasing since June and are currently well above 10 percent. Right now, the number of coronavirus cases is increasing in 33 states, decreasing in just three. Record death tolls yesterday in California and Texas.

Here's Erica Hill.


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, good morning.

Vice President Pence painting a rather rosy picture when it comes to the state of coronavirus in this country. On Wednesday, the same day, of course, the confirmed cases passed 3 million in the United States. Education a major focus. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos saying it's not a matter of if but how schools will reopen this fall.

Of course, for a number of states, fall is actually just a few weeks from now in August. And districts are figuring out what to do.

We know that here in New York City schools will open on a split schedule. Kids likely to be in school for two or three days a week. The chancellor in New York saying the 1.1 million students in this school district simply can't be in school five days a week all together if they want to maintain social distancing.

In Florida, which just hit 28 percent positivity rate in Miami-Dade County on Wednesday, the superintendant there says they can't reopen schools until they are out of phase one. Officials in Broward County essentially echoing that sentiment as well.

We're also seeing these spikes, these increases in areas that are former hot spots in Louisiana. The governor noting that all the gains made in June had been erased. It's one of the numbers he's seeing now rival what they saw during the peak in April.

And when it comes to those hot spots, still a major concern in Florida, Texas, Arizona, California. Hospital beds and ICU beds watched very closely.

Dr. Deborah Birx pretty clear on Wednesday saying the counties and states seeing the surge in cases, she's encouraging them to go back to the phase one guidance, continue to wear facial coverings, continue to social distance and in terms of that guidance for phase one, limit indoor gatherings to ten people or less -- Christine and Laura.


JARRETT: Erica Hill, thanks so much for that.

Just over two weeks since President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, and now the city is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases. The health department reports nearly 500 new cases in two days and climbing. Cases had declined 20 percent between June 28th and July 4th. The Health Department spokeswoman says its epidemiologist and contact tracers have been inundated with following up on confirmed positive cases. The Trump campaign pointed to racial justice protests and said the media's concern about large gatherings begins and ends with Trump rallies.

ROMANS: Well, there's not a lot of time for lawmakers to reconcile their differences to pass another huge stimulus package. Many in Capitol Hill are skeptical now that anything will pass. The mood souring over the past 48 hours or so. Senate Republicans are starting to piece together their own package after House Democrats approved a $3 trillion proposal back in May.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to keep it to around 1 trillion. The sources involved in the talks say that number could change. The differences between what the two sides want are pretty significant.

Republicans want liability protection for businesses reopening in the pandemic. That's an idea Democrats reject. Democrats want roughly a trillion dollars for state and local governments. The GOP says that number is too high. Democrats are still pushing for another round of unemployment benefits, expanded unemployment benefits. Republicans say that discourages businesses from rehiring and incentivize people to stand on unemployment.

Republicans are also eyeing billions to get students back to school, including retrofitting classrooms and increasing testing. It's going to be a long month, Laura, of negotiations. We're facing here a stimulus cliff in July.

A lot of these measures meant to juice to economy start to expire, including that $600 extra a week in unemployment benefits, that could be a hit to the economy if we don't get things moving along.

JARRETT: It's going to be a long month. That's for sure, Christine.

All right. A developing story right now. The search for a Hollywood actress missing after a boat trip on a California lake. Some details next.



JARRETT: The governor of Louisiana says the state has now lost all of the ground it gained earlier in the fight against coronavirus. CNN has reporters across the country bringing you the very latest.



Louisiana's Governor John Bel Edwards says that his state has lost all of the gains it made in combating coronavirus in June. Over the course of the last three weeks, Governor Edwards says that there's been an increase in nearly 1,900 new cases, 95 percent can be attributed to community spread. The demographics of who's getting the virus are also changing with patients getting younger and more white people contracting the virus more than before, according to the governor. He says with the latest developments, his state is now in a statewide pandemic.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Evan McMorris Santoro in Scottsdale, Arizona. The pandemic continues to put a crunch on the hospital systems here. Arizona still leads the nation in highest average per capita new cases per day. And the ICU beds are filling up. Ninety-one percent capacity, according to the latest figures, with just 145 beds left in the state.

That's the lowest number since Arizona began reporting that figure back in March.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Elizabeth Cohen. The pharmaceutical company Gilead is going to be doing a new clinical trial of remdesivir. Remdesivir is the drug, the only drugs that's been approved for COVID-19. But it's currently only used in hospitalized patients because it only comes in an intravenous form.

Gilead's going to try it in an inhaled form to see if it works and then it could be used by patients at home.


The pandemic is hitting nursing homes particularly hard. Experts say better funding and more specialists on the ground are needed to slow the spread of COVID. Not all nursing homes have the money and the budget for more protective equipment for their caretakers. The right equipment can help prevent the spread of disease. And not all facilities have funds for testing. Testing helps track who's sick. In the U.S., about 1/4 of all COVID deaths come from nursing homes.


ROMANS: All right. "Glee" actress Naya Rivera reported missing at the lake in Ventura County, California. Officials, authorities there feared she drowned. The sheriff's office confirmed it's searching for the 33-year-old actress at Lake Piru, that's north of Los Angeles.

Rivera was boating with her 4-year-old son who was later found napping alone in their boat on Wednesday afternoon. Search and rescue efforts are expected to resume at first light later this morning.

Police body camera transcripts reveal that when George Floyd said he couldn't breathe more than 20 times, fired police officer Derek Chauvin replied, quote, it takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk. The documents provide a detailed account of what happened as police in Minneapolis were taking Floyd into custody back in May. They were released Wednesday as part of one of the officers' request to have his case dismissed.

CNN's Omar Jimenez has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The defense attorney for fired Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane filed a motion to dismiss the case against his client in the death of George Floyd.

Now, as part of that filing, they released a transcript for Lane's body camera, giving new insight on what happened leading up to George Floyd's final moments.

Now, as part of this specifically at one point, they are trying to put Floyd into the police car. Remember, they were responding over a call for a fraudulent $20 bill being used.

That part of the transcript reads, George Floyd: My wrist, my wrist man. Okay, okay. I want to lay on the ground. I want to lay on the ground. I want to lay on the ground.

To which Lane says: You're getting into the squad car.

George Floyd: I want to lay on the ground. I'm going down. I'm going down, I'm going down.

To which Officer Alex Kueng, another former officer involves -- being charged in the death of George Floyd, says: Take a squat.

George Floyd: I'm going down.

Then later on, Floyd says, I'm through. I'm through. I'm claustrophobic. My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts.

I need some water or something. Please, please? I can't breathe, officer.

To which former Derek Chauvin responds: Then stop talking, stop yelling. Floyd: You're going to kill me, man. Chauvin: Then stop talking, stop yelling. It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.

Floyd: Come on, man. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe. They'll kill me. They'll kill me. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

At one point, the transcript shows that Lane asked if Floyd could be moved to his side to which Chauvin said, no, he's staying put.

This is part of why Lane's attorney filed a motion to dismiss the case in the first place. They say -- they argue, rather, that lane deferred to the senior officer on the scene and wasn't aware a crime was being committed.

Now, at this point, the state has until August 10th to respond to this motion. And CNN has reached out to the attorneys for former officer Derek Chauvin.

Omar Jimenez, CNN, Chicago.


ROMANS: The New York Police Department says it's seeing a surge in the number of officers filing for retirement from June 29th to July 6th, filings soared 410 percent from the same time last year. This comes amid mounting calls to defund police departments and more protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death.

JARRETT: Well, soccer makes an emotional return. We've got the "Bleacher Report", coming up next.



ROMANS: All right. Major League Soccer kicks off its restart in the midst of a pandemic with this powerful moment.

Carolyn Manno has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report". She's from the bubble near Orlando.

Hi, Carolyn.


Players have three things weighing simultaneously on them. There's the raised concerns over coronavirus. There's the emotions that continue to flood in with social justice and there's also the mental and physical discipline associated with the task at hand, which is getting back to sports and a competitive environment, under the most unusual circumstances.

The tournament kicked off last night with a Florida rivalry between inner Miami and Orlando City, and a very powerful moment before the game, a moment of solidarity organized by the newly formed Black Players for Change Initiative, which is a player driven movement that fights for racial equality and human rights both in the league and beyond.

Over 100 players taking to the field wearing "Black Lives Matter" t- shirts and masks. There was no national anthem played. Orlando City won the game, thanks to some heroics from Portuguese star Nani.

Before the game, ESPN reported that the four additional Nashville players who requested additional testing for coronavirus were confirmed positive. MLS commissioner Don Garber saying that the decision about that team's future in this tournament is coming soon.



DON GARBER, MLS COMMISSIONER: The concept of all of this testing, of our players as you saw wearing masks, of the sanitization of all of our facilities is something that was put in place so that we could understand what's happening when it does happen and be able to move forward in the tournament in a very safe and healthy way.


MANNO: As professional leagues try to get sports going again, the Ivy League says that it will not play any sports this fall. The league is postponing everything. They made that decision first. This is a pattern that we've seen with the Ivy League setting this precedent. No fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic. That means no college football or basketball until January. They are the first Division I conference to make such a bold move.

Now the focus will turn to the other major conferences and whether they are going to follow suit here. Ivy League also set a precedent back in March by being the first to call off its basketball tournament.

This as North Carolina's program shuts down voluntary workouts because of a COVID-19 outbreak. Thirty-seven athletes and staff members testing positive. The county's health department identifying the campus as a cluster for the coronavirus. Football program will shutdown workouts for at least a week.

Ohio State is also hitting pause on practices after recent testing of student athletes on seven teams. The school did not share the results of the test but released a statement saying that the health and safety of our student athletes is always our top priority.

And, Laura, to this end, Major League Soccer and Commissioner Don Garber have really maintained that players are catching the virus in the cities that they're coming up and bringing it into the bubble. After the incubation period, everybody will be OK and this will level off.

But I did speak with one MLS player who said if there is another team besides Dallas, and potentially Nashville who fall because of this coronavirus outbreak, then they may no longer feel safe playing here, even though the desire here is for everybody to continue to play.

JARRETT: Yes, it's really hard when the nature of the game requires close contact and close quarters like that.

All right. Have fun outside of the bubble there, Carolyn. Nice to see you this morning.

All right. The CDC now scrapping its guidelines for reopening schools. More on what the soon to be shelved document says next.