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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

COVID-19 Hotspots, California, Texas, Florida Setting Single- Day Records Of New Cases; Pres. Trump Vows To Protect Statues From Protesters; Republicans Defend Trump's "Kung Flu" Remarks; Federal Prosecutor: Stone Got Special Treatment From DOJ; A.G. Barr Will Testify Before House Judiciary Committee In Late July; Three Men Indicted In The Death Of Ahmaud Arbery. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 24, 2020 - 20:00   ET

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


ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA FIELDING SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Now, we are reaching a point where we are much less safe, but we need to be even more careful.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And thanks to Kyung and thanks so much to all of you, as always. Anderson starts now.

[20:00:15]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And Good evening on a day when the southern and western United States is breaking single-day record for new coronavirus cases and not for the first time this week, a day after the U.S. recorded its third highest single-day case total overall.

And a day where a new influential model said if people would wear masks, the death toll would be significantly reduced, you might hope the President of the United States facing cameras during a news conference in the Rose Garden and the White House would have something to say about it all, perhaps acknowledging that large indoor rallies aren't wise or that flouting and subverting your own government's guidelines at these rallies about social distancing and wearing masks is also a detriment to the public health, but he did not.

Instead, the President left the Rose Garden having made only one comment about the virus in vague reality show like tease of a surprise to come.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as the joining with us on the vaccines, and therapeutics, by the way because the therapeutics to me if it gave you a choice right now, probably, therapeutically, maybe I'd like that even better, but we're working very well on both.

I think we're coming up with some great answers. I think you're going to have a big surprise, a beautiful surprise sooner than anybody would think.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A beautiful surprise. Don't touch that dial. Don't lose more of your faith in me. He's still got tricks up his sleeve. So he says.

Erica Hill joins us with more -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. Good evening. It's interesting the President is not wearing a mask because more and more of what we're seeing across the country is those masks are being mandated if not at the state level, then certainly at the local level as concerned grows with cases and hospitalizations surging.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILL (voice over): California, the first state to issue a stay-at-home order shattering a daily high set only two days ago adding more than 7,000 new cases on Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): It is our behaviors that are leading to these numbers and we are putting people's lives at risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL (voice over): COVID related hospitalizations and ICU admissions are also at an all-time high. The numbers in Arizona, Florida and Texas, also surging.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: It not just the increase in the number of cases, it's the slope, the way it's accelerating. It's almost vertical.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL (voice over): One South Florida health system seeing a more than 100 percent increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in the last two weeks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not where we need to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you don't like wearing a mask, you're not going to like wearing a ventilator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL (voice over): As of Tuesday, just 12 percent of Arizona's ICU beds were available.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILL HUMBLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARIZONA PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION:

We're going to go into surge capacity mode probably by Fourth of July. So the most urgent thing, I think, is to get the hospital systems ready.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL (voice over): Nationwide, more than half of U.S. states reporting an increase in new cases over the past week. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut where cases are trending down what to keep it that way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL (voice over): As of Wednesday night, eight states subject to the new order, which comes with hefty fines in New York State starting at $2,000.00.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it's time for personal responsibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL (voice over): The New York City Marathon which attracts more than 50,000 runners and nearly a million spectators every fall canceled over coronavirus fears.

Major League Baseball however, will take the field this summer, 60 games starting in late July. Coinciding with that news, more positive cases among the Phillies and reports of infection for the Rockies, too.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Ad where do states stand on the mandatory use of masks?

HILL: So more are adding those mandates. North Carolina today, Governor Roy Cooper announcing one for his state. And you know, we keep going back to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was asked again today about a mandate for his status, as we are seeing not only cities, but counties in southern Florida, put them into place. He said he's encouraging people to wear those masks. He doesn't think though that enforcement would be an effective use of resources. So he has no plans for a statewide mandate.

Meantime, we're hearing again from Dr. Fauci who said very clearly today, just look at the data when it comes to masks. He said this should not be a political issue. It is clearly a public health issue. And for people who are looking at it through the political lens, he said, it's time to get past it -- Anderson. COOPER: All right. Erica Hill, thanks very much. More now on that new

modeling that suggests overall deaths may be lower than previously forecasts if safeguards like masks and social distancing are kept in place.

Joining me is the Director of the Institute that publishes the study, Dr. Chris Murray at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, also CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

So Dr. Murray, you chose to show three different scenarios this time. When you compare the current prediction scenario to the universal mass scenario which assumes at least 95 percent of people in the U.S. start wearing masks which we're far off from, the prediction show that just by that simple act, we could save 33,000 lives by October 1st.

I mean, it really is all down to the masks.

[20:05:10]

DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION-UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: It's an incredibly simple, cheap and now turning out to be effective intervention both for individuals, but also for communities, and that's why we were pretty amazed at how big the effect is for the country.

So absolutely, there's no reason that every state shouldn't do what other states are starting to do, which is mandate mask use.

COOPER: Sanjay, I mean, it's incredible. You know, every time you think about, well, should I put a mask on or not -- 33,000 people's lives would be saved by October. That's stunning.

Sorry, we have problems with Sanjay's mic. We will continue with Dr. Murray. Dr. Murray, from a medical standpoint, can we continue to reopen businesses and keep people safe as long as people are wearing masks even in hotspot areas?

MURRAY: Well, I think it's going to be a balance, Anderson, which is in places where transmission is really taking off, we may need to do more than just masks, but for pretty much every state that we've looked at, if we can get people to wear masks, we can not only save lives, but I sort of think of it, as we can also save the economy because we can keep business going if we can convince people that this is the best strategy we have at hand.

COOPER: Sanjay, I mean, that's what's so -- it seems harmful about what the administration is doing; on the one hand, pushing for reopening and at the same time, not pushing with equal force to remind people that okay, wear masks when you're out, social distance when you're out and going to businesses.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're not advocating for the things that would keep us from going back into to shut down mode again. So that's the -- that is an irony, you know, and I will point out, there are countries around the world including South Korea, which never really went into a shutdown mode, but because of testing and because of masks, they have had tremendous success. I mean, they've had fewer than 300 people who have died here, you know.

One thing that sort of strikes me here, and I'm curious, because we've talked to Dr. Murray so many times over the last few months is that still, though 146,000 people you say would still die, even if 95 percent of people are wearing masks. Right? Is that is that true?

I mean, does that make the argument that we still need to go into some sort of shut down or stay-at-home mode?

MURRAY: Well, remember that, you know, 121,000 of those deaths have already occurred. So yes, there's still going to be 25,000 people that may likely die between now and October.

But remember, we're in this for the long haul, because we know that there'll be more in the fall. And so, I also think we have to temper the strategies with that longer term view.

So, I think our best strategy right now, outside of the big hotspots is really to focus on mask queues. And then in some of the hotspots, yes, we may need to scale back on some of the -- or re-impose the mandates.

COOPER: Is that, Dr. Murray, you're saying kind of we need to focus on masks now, is that because you're sensing and you're seeing that people are just fed up being inside and all the social distancing and can't maintain that?

I mean, obviously, from a medical standpoint, if everyone was in lockdown, that would be better from a medical standpoint, but obviously, from an economic one, it's not.

And since we're in it for the long term, are you essentially saying, you know, give people kind of this breathing space right now while the weather is warm while numbers are somewhat down because of some warmer weather. Because come the fall and winter, it's going to wallop again?

MURRAY: Exactly. I think we're going to see kids going back to school in September, at least in some places, you know, the colder weather coming in. We're going to see, you know, increases coming pretty much all over the country. And we can manage most of the harm, not all, through masks over the summer.

So exactly, I do think we need to take the long view and think about how we're going to get through as a country, you know, right through to basically a year from now.

COOPER: Sanjay, it is -- I mean, just kind of hearing Dr. Murray saying a year from now, just thinking about this as it's going to go on for another year. I mean, just hearing that I kind of have to want to pause and just wrap my mind around that because it's sort of -- I mean, it is just an agonizing thought for, you know, for everybody.

GUPTA: No, I know. I feel the same way. I mean, you know, you do again, have these countries around the world where you you've -- it is definitely not the same as it was, but they have a sense of normalcy, that I think, you know, where things are functioning. And I think as you've interviewed the person who wrote this, the dance with the virus, we learned how to sort of live with it in different ways.

[20:10:04]

GUPTA: But you know, I'm really struck by the idea that these simple what they call NPI is non-pharmaceutical interventions can have such an impact. We assumed, we guessed, hypothesized that they would. But now, there is good data, you know, around this.

So yes, it's going to be a while still, but there's ways to get through it in ways that are a lot less painful than they are right now.

COOPER: And Dr. Murray, I know, this is probably an obvious point, but I think it's an important one just to emphasize, it didn't have to be like this. We didn't -- I just want to be clear and correct me if I'm wrong, from a scientific standpoint, we didn't have to be the number one country with COVID cases and the highest fatality rate.

We didn't have to be in this position that we are in right now where Europe is talking about banning Americans from coming to the European Union because we are handling this so poorly.

I mean, we could have been South Korea or Taiwan or any of the other countries or Iceland, which has dealt with this very, very well, and I mean, is that correct that there's nothing inherent about what happened here that this was inevitable? It's simply how we have dealt with this, with the testing, the contact tracing, the social distancing, we just haven't done it well enough.

COOPER: Yes, we could be New Zealand. We could be in stadiums with you know, 40,000 people watching professional sports. It's all about how early you act and act in a concerted way before we get large scale transmission in the community.

There was absolutely no reason this had to happen the way it did. But if we set the clock back, we would have had to have acted pretty promptly, had the tests in place. Have the containment strategy in place back in January and certainly in February.

COOPER: Yes. And February, as we know was, you know, basically a last month.

Dr. Chris Murray, thank you very much. Sanjay, thank you as well. I'm going to see you tomorrow. Sanjay is going to join us once again. Sanjay and I will be doing the "Coronavirus Hall: Facts and Fears." Joining us will be our special guest, Bill Gates. Always a fascinating discussion with Bill Gates. I'm really looking forward to that. Again, that's tomorrow 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.

Just ahead, we'll examine why crowded bars and restaurants in Texas may be behind the staggering number of new coronavirus cases there. Why experts are concerned whether they have enough ICU beds. And later why Attorney General William Barr ousted top prosecutor

Geoffrey Berman. And the damning testimony that paints Barr's Justice Department as a politicized arm of the White House.

Congressman Adam Schiff, who led the impeachment investigation joins us tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:16:56]

COOPER: Tonight, we've been talking about the spiking cases, one of the major hotspots is Texas. There's an unmistakable rise in the number of new cases. You can see here the daily new case count staying under 2,000 per day. That's until around Memorial Day weekend when it spiked.

Today, Texas announced 5,551 new cases, another new record in a month of them. It's not just a rise in cases that worries health experts, but the rise in hospital beds with our next guest concerned that intensive care units in Texas could fill up in the coming weeks.

Joining me now is someone you've heard from at the top of the program about the rising cases, Dr. Peter Hotez. He is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Dr. Hotez is also working on a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Hotez thanks for being with us. You're saying this rise in cases is vertical and if this trajectory keeps going, quote, "Houston would be the worst affected city in the U.S." maybe rival what we're seeing now in Brazil, that's pretty startling. Can you just give me a sense of how that might actually happen?

HOTEZ: Yes, I mean, what we're seeing now, Anderson, is what I call an exponential increase. If you've seen what an exponential curve looks like, it looks like it's a bit flat, then it goes up almost vertically. And in fact, that's what seems to be happening right now in Houston. And not only in Houston, but we're seeing a similar acceleration in Dallas, in Austin, in San Antonio. So our big metro areas seem to be rising very quickly.

And some of the models are, you know, on the verge of being apocalyptic. We're seeing the models coming out of University of Pennsylvania. Now, it's a model, but the numbers say that we'll have a four-fold increase in the number of daily cases by July 4th in Houston.

So right now, we're already seeing a steep acceleration. As the cases a day, we're talking maybe 4,000 cases a day by July 4th weekend, July 5th, so that is really worrisome. And as those numbers rise, we're seeing a commensurate increase in the number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions and where you get to the point where you overwhelm ICUs and that's when mortality goes up.

Right now, we have ICU beds. Do we still have room to go? Our Texas Children's Hospital under Mark Wallace, our CEO is now opening up the Children's Hospital for adult beds. MD Anderson can open up beds, and we still have more room. But who wants to go there? We need to do something with the whole community transmission right now.

COOPER: I want to play something that the Texas Governor Abbott said yesterday warning Texans about the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Because the spread is so rampant right now, there is never a reason for you to have to leave your home unless you do need to go out. The safest place for you is at your home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So Governor Abbott is urging people to stay at home but it's not a stay at home order. And the fact of the matter is, Texas was one of the earliest states to reopen. Do you think his approach back then is why we're seeing this spike now?

HOTEZ: Well, you know, he started out pretty strong. We started off here in Texas very strong. We saw what was happening in New York back in March and April, and we implemented a very aggressive social distancing program. And that was extremely successful.

[20:20:10]

HOTEZ: So we probably stopped the virus from really taking off because we halted it early, much earlier than New York did. They probably had transmission for five or six weeks and that's why they had thousands of patients in their intensive care units.

We probably had transmission just for maybe two or three weeks, and the consequence of that was, we never saw that big surge. So, we were doing great.

But then, you just had Chris Murray on and I've been talking with Chris and the modelers at University of Washington were saying, look, keep this locked down throughout the month of May, and then you can get to containment mode. That means less than one new case per million residents per day and then your public health system should be able to handle it very much like we're seeing in New Zealand.

But we didn't go there. We opened it up at the end of April. And then after Memorial Day, the cases started to rise. But we didn't do some other things. We didn't put in place a sufficient level of public health infrastructure. We didn't put in all the belts and suspenders that we needed to in terms of contact -- the level of contact tracing, diagnostic testing. We never put an app based system for looking at local areas of rise of cases of fever and cough.

COOPER: So, Houston is -- Texas isn't doing --

HOTEZ: What we call syndromic testing.

COOPER: They're not doing the contact tracing that you had hoped they would be. HOTEZ: It's in place, but not at the level and scope that for

instance, we're seeing in New York and elsewhere. So there were some good pieces in place, but not at the substantial level that we needed, and now we're seeing the consequences of that, of all those things, this very steep rise.

We also didn't probably have a level of public health communication, because although I think the Governor is well intentioned, you know, doing quarter and then 50 percent, and not just the Governor but, you know, the county executives and the mayors, I don't think that people really heard that because I've been driving around Houston, people didn't have masks on. They were piling into bars and et cetera.

COOPER: Yes, Dr. Peter Hotez, I appreciate you being with us and sorry it's with this message, but I appreciate it.

Up next, Republicans defending and generally downplaying President Trump's remarks about Kung Flu.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:26:49]

COOPER: As we mentioned at the top of the program, President Trump whiffed on mentioning the spike in coronavirus cases -- case numbers at his news conference with the Polish President today. One topic he did talk about at length was statues. It's clearly an issue he is latching on to because he believes that it will push the right buttons to keep his base simmering at a nice steady boil.

He is now adding Jesus Christ to the list of statues he claims he is determined to defend. Kaitlan Collins joins us now at the White House. So what did he have to say -- Kaitlan?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, I don't think there have been any widespread calls to bring down statues of Jesus Christ, I can really only think of one person that has suggested that that's a prominent figure.

But the President addressed it today in the Rose Garden as he was standing next to the Polish leader there. He was talking about this and saying that he believes Democrats don't even care that the people who are tearing down these monuments don't even know why they're tearing them down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think many of the people that are knocking down these statues don't even have any idea what the statue is, what it means, who it is. When they knocked down Grant, when they want to knock down Grant -- but when they look at certain -- now they're looking at Jesus Christ. They're looking at George Washington. They're looking at Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson. It's not going to happen, not going to happen. Not as long as I'm here.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: Anderson, what's so interesting about that is this evolved

from where the President was initially saying we shouldn't rename military bases named after Confederate leaders, generals, military members, and now, the President is changing it to basically saying that if you start to take down those kinds of monuments and those kinds of statues, then you're going to have to take down ones of Thomas Jefferson and Jesus Christ.

You know, he didn't mention those Confederate leaders today while he was in the Rose Garden, but that's the equivalency that the White House has been making.

COOPER: Right. I mean, it's an argument that's often made when it's discussed about this whole idea. And I mean, it's -- clearly, the President has been casting around for things that he believes will, you know, ignite the base, you know -- it was, as you said, it was the bases named after Confederate Generals that didn't really seem to take off.

So now, I guess, Jesus Christ is, you know, a button he thinks he will push and that that will have the most resonance. He's talking about an Executive Order. What does that even mean?

COLLINS: We really have no details on that. He said today that that's something he thinks he is going to sign by the end of the week. Basically, he wants to be able to punish people who are trying to tear down statues like how you saw happening in front of the White House the other night, trying to take down Andrew Jackson, of course, a personal favorite of the President, a statue.

But there's already an act that was enacted -- a law that was enacted in 2003 that does punish people who try to do that. So, it's not really clear what the President would be doing that's different here. He even kind of hinted at that today saying it would only really reinforce it.

So it seems to be more of a messaging tactic, and like you said, it comes as the President is trying to stoke certain culture wars, because he's looking at major polls that show he is 14 points down to Biden and his political advisers say it's something he is obviously taking note of.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, thanks very much. President Trump's comments about the kung flu virus also still attracting attention.

Kellyanne Conway had once denounced the term of course, but now, the person who has said it out loud twice this week magically, she appears to have rethought her answer.

[20:30:09]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: How do you know that people aren't anticipating that or not connecting? You don't know that. And while they're pres -- excuse me, while the President is saying it he -- while the President is saying it, he's also saying this virus came from China. China is responsible.

He said it's called many different things. It's called the Wuhan virus, the Chinese virus, and then you use another term.

(OFF-MIC)

CONWAY: You know, they use --

(OFF-MIC)

CONWAY: You can ask him, how's that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should we continue --

CONWAY: You shouldn't -- you should have come forward 100 days ago, when you had the chance, you lost your opportunity, you lack the courage to tell everybody who said that to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Kellyanne Conway profile encourage.

Two Republican senators also refused to criticize the phrase today, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said he wouldn't lose any sleep over it. When asked if it was racist to say responded, quote, we are just way too sensitive about these things. Says the white guy.

Lindsey Graham said people don't care what he calls the flu. Also a white guy and when that -- when pushed on whether he thought it was racially tinge said quote, was the Spanish Flu racially tinge? The funny thing is Lindsey, it actually was Spanish flu. You may not know this. Mr. Graham, Senator Graham didn't originate from Spain got labeled that and Spain suffered because of it.

And we still think it originated in Spain. Because during World War I many newspapers were censored. War time sensors minimize reports of the illness, the illness in their countries because they didn't want to demoralize people during the war effort. The Spanish president didn't censor reporting. So it seemed like Spain was where the flu began, because there were actually reports about it in Spain because reporters weren't censored.

Medical historians are still unsure exactly where it originated from. So yes, Lindsey Graham, it actually did become racially pinched.

Joining me now is Bakari Sellers, a former Democratic South Carolina House Member. He recently released his memoir My Vanishing Country, which I've just finished and it's a really good book. Also joining us is Andrew Yang, a former Democratic presidential candidate. Both are CNN political commentators.

Andrew, I mean just on Kellyanne Conway not only defending this term which she wants, you know, said was wrong to use, then turning around on an Asian American CBS News reporter basically blaming her for not revealing who she said use the term kung flu in the White House in the first place. I mean, it's hard I -- you know, I don't I mean, I don't know what the question isn't this, but why is it so hard? I guess why is it so hard around for people around the President to just, you know, say something is offensive or wrong.

And I mean, especially when they have already said it's wrong, but then when the President use it, it, you know, she can torture itself into, you know, like a pretzel trying to come up with explanations.

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this is the bind that Trump's supporters find themselves in and that they have to defend something that that they themselves criticized a number of days or weeks ago, and we all can see exactly what's happening Anderson, were using a term like this is just Trump's attention to distract attention from the fact that the administration is completely botched and mishandled the coronavirus pandemic.

The doctor you just had on is talking about how we're seeing cases of surge in 23 states plus around the country. And so this is his, in my opinion, very ineffective attempt to turn the conversation in a different direction. And it puts people like Kellyanne in this impossible position where they have to say something that's the exact opposite of what they're quoted directly on camera saying just a number of weeks ago.

COOPER: And Bakari, I mean, it's not just Kellyanne Conway, you had Senator Mitch McConnell, who's, you know, married to a woman who's Asian-American, when he was asked the other day how he personally feels rather present use of kung flu. And he basically said salad, he said, well, you have to ask, you know, but maybe you should ask that his wife.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, that's depressing as a husband, I can tell you, my wife expects me to stand up for her more than that. But the President is racist and racist, do racist things. I mean, I actually want to look at the broader sense of the phrase and the environment in which he said it which ties into something earlier in the segment.

The President said kung flu in the middle of a church in Arizona, and amongst evangelicals, who waited on him with bated breath to say it and then they cheered. And so, you know, I don't have a level of expectation for Donald Trump. I thought Donald Trump was racist since he rolled down the escalator and stated that Mexicans are sending us their rapists.

In fact, I'd go back further than, I thought Donald Trump was racist since he talked about the Central Park five. In fact, I'll go back further than, I thought Donald Trump was racist since he got in trouble from the Department of Labor for marking, marking housing applications with the little letter C for color.

So this is a history, this is a pattern. I don't have any level of expectation for Donald Trump when it comes to the issue of race. But I mean, there are people in this country who will turn a blind eye to his blatant racism. That's what my problem is, I mean, in that church of evangelicals, just to tie it in a bit. I mean, imagine that they found out that Jesus was actually a brown, Middle Eastern refugee, I mean, their heads would probably explode.

[20:35:18]

So he's playing into these culture wars. It's not winning, it's only going to get worse between now and November. And I wish people got more friends in this world. Right now we're living in a world where we don't have empathy. And in that way, you don't know if this is racist or not, maybe, but you should talk to one of your friends who's an Asian-American descent. You should actually have friends in this world who can tell you and call this BS out for what it is.

COOPER: Andrew, I mean, clearly the President's been as you said, you know, kind of casting around for things that will, you know, ignite the base, keep everybody riled up, keep media focused on this and distracted, do you think this stuff works?

I mean, still, you know, I remember in the, I think the '80s when I was, you know, in high school in college, I remember a lot of there was, you know, people would use burning the American flag as the touchstone that would get everybody very upset and you know, for understandable reasons, but nevertheless protected speech, according to the court, does it? Do you think it still has the same power? Because it seems like that is the Trump playbook right now.

YANG: I think it's losing steam as we speak, Anderson, and you can see it in the polls. I mean, this is like the desperate thrashing around of a losing candidate, he shows up to a rally that has a very small fraction of the people that they're projecting. And he somewhat desperate, in my opinion, he can see the polls, he's losing to Joe and all of the crucial swing states. I think that this is a losing path for him. He's just degrading himself in the office of the President further by grasping at straws that aren't actually keeping him afloat.

I wish he could figure out a path that did not involve racist comments that ended up throwing millions of Americans, you know, under a rhetorical bus, but here it is, and hopefully we can get him out of there and call an end to this presidency in four and a half short months.

COOPER: Bakari, do you think it still works? Because I mean, I'm not sure I believe, you know, polls, especially right now, but, you know, national polls, even state polls, but do you think this works?

SELLERS: I mean, it worked in 2016. I mean, let's be honest. I mean, I, you know, I love both you and Andrew with all my heart. But I mean, in 2016, we saw an election where we knew Donald Trump was racist going into the election, right. And we had the most qualified woman in the history of politics run for office, and people still chose the racist over her. I mean, so this isn't new.

And what we're hoping for, though, what we're hoping for is something this country has not bared out, we're hoping that this country will finally turn the page. And yes, we have NASCAR. Yes, we have Taylor Swift. Yes, we have all of these things that are happening during this moment, which show us that this moment may be different, but we still have to run through the tape to Andrews point. We have four and a half months. And this if we do not do something, if we're not participatory in this democracy. Then Donald Trump will get elected because that racism has won for.

COOPER: Bakari Sellers, Andrew Yang, appreciate your time. Thanks very much.

Up next, just days after Attorney General Bill Barr forced the removal of a top federal prosecutor, another federal prosecutor testifies on Capitol Hill and says there's political pressure the Justice Department from the highest levels. I'll talk about all of it with Democratic House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, next.

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[20:42:15]

COOPER: Justice not blind to Bill Barr's Justice Department at the defendant is a friend of President Trump's that was the stunning message today from a current federal prosecutor and sworn testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. Aaron Zelinsky is one of four federal prosecutors who quit the Roger Stone case.

He told the committee today he quit when the Justice Department's sentencing recommendation was watered down due to political pressure from the quote highest levels. Stone you may recall is a longtime friend and political advisor of President Trump who was convicted last fall of seven charges, including lying and witness tampering in a congressional investigation. Zelinsky didn't hold back today. Here's more of what he told the committee when he testified remotely.

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AARON ZELINSKY, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: What I saw was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from every other defendant. He received breaks that are in my experience unheard of, and all the more so for a defendant in his circumstances, a defendant who lied to Congress who remained unrepentant and who made the threat against a judge and a witness in his case. And what I heard repeatedly was that this leniency was happening because of Stone's relationship to the President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Joining me now is California Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Chairman Schiff, your colleague, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, once labeled Attorney General Barr a henchman for the President. I wonder from today's testimony, if you'd agree with that statement?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I certainly would, you know, I've always said that he's a second most dangerous man in the country. And what he's done to that department that I served with for almost six years is so reprehensible and dangerous to the rule of law, because there are now two standards of justice. There's one for friends of the President and there's one for everyone else. If you're a friend of the President, you get a reduced sentencing recommendation or in the case of Mike Flynn, your whole case gets to be made to go away.

On the other hand, ordinary Americans not connected the President. They don't get any such breaks. And what's more, Bill Barr threatens to use the power of the Justice Department to go after the President's enemies. So this is a very precarious situation for the rule of law in this country. We look more and more like an emerging democracy than we do, the strongest democracy in the globe. And a lot of that has come as a result of Bill Barr's corrupt handling of that department.

COOPER: Yes, and emergency democracy or fading democracy. I guess he -- I mean, if you look at Bill Barr's actions going all the way back to when he refused to release the Mueller report just a month into his tenure, and instead issued his own four page summary of it, which was misleading to the firing of Jeffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney General in New York.

Today's testimony that the DOJ allegedly exerted pressure go easy on Roger Stone. I mean, it is part of a pattern, though, of just protecting the President. And there were reforms put in place after Watergate to stop just this kind of thing.

[20:45:05]

SCHIFF: That's exactly right. You know, from the earliest days of this presidency, Donald Trump has stepped on all these norms of office suppose Watergate where the White House wasn't going to interfere, in particular cases, especially those that might implicate the interests of the President. But it wasn't until Bill Barr that he had his Roy Cohn that he had, as the speaker said his henchmen in that position to essentially do the Presidents will, no matter how craven that would require the Attorney General to be, but that's exactly what we have here.

We have an attorney general, who was willing to mislead the country about Mueller's investigation. Indeed, Melissa mislead the country about his own interactions with Mueller. And now we see a continuation of that by the effort to force out the prosecutor, the independent U.S. attorney from New York, Barr's dissembling to the country about his resignation, Barr's dissembling to the U.S. attorney from New Jersey you apparently he also misrepresented that Berman was voluntarily resigning.

So this is an anomaly scrupulous Attorney General and when that is the top law enforcement officer in the country, it spells real danger to the Republic.

COOPER: How should you show your Chairman Jerry Nadler said today, he may in fact pursue impeaching Barr initially, it said to be a waste of time. Do you foresee that? I mean, is that a real possibility? Because obviously Republicans control the Senate would most likely stand behind Barr.

SCHIFF: You know, I will leave it to Chairman Nadler and the speaker to make a decision of that nature with respect to Mr. Barr. I do think though, that it's very important that we expose the full wrongdoing of this administration, both the wrongdoing of the Attorney General as well as the President of United States. So that as we move forward, the American people know exactly what they have in this administration, which is one that does not value our democratic institutions or the rule of law, and therefore, it's a danger to every American.

If you think that the President won't go after you, just because you're a friend under the President. Well, you may be right at the moment, but he will turn on anyone he perceives as a threat. So there is no safety or security even for the allies of the President. I wish the members of the House and Senate, my colleagues in the GOP would realize that they are vulnerable to no American is safe when the Attorney General is not looking out for the interests of justice, but only looking out for the interests of a President who makes common cause with autocrats and disdains democracy.

COOPER: Barr is known set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in late July, and during his Senate testimony, he wasn't the most forthcoming with answers. I mean, do you think you can actually learn something this time?

SCHIFF: I think it's important to put the questions to the Attorney General, whether he answers them or answers them truthfully, to expose his lack of character, the American people. But Anderson I think you're right. Probably the more important testimony is the testimony that we heard today and that will -- we will hear from other whistleblowers and that is people who can expose Bill Barr's wrongdoing, rather than just hear Bill Barr deny his own wrongdoing.

So I think some of these other witnesses, they may not be as high profile. But in fact, they may have even more important things to say. I thought dawn airs testimony today, the former deputy attorney general under George Bush, who talked about the systemic threat to the rule of law was among the most important testimony that we've heard. So these, all of these witnesses, I think are going to be crucial.

COOPER: Chairman Schiff, I appreciate your time.

For deeper look at what's going on with Bill Barr and the President, join Jake Tapper for new CNN Special Report, "Trump And The Law After Impeachment," this Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Still head, tonight breaking news in the Ahmaud Arbery case, the young man who was killed when you went for a jog in a Georgia town. Details in the grand jury's decision on charges.

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[20:53:15]

COOPER: Let's check with Chris, see what he's working on for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: How you doing Coop? So we have a very interesting situation going on in this country. And by interesting, I mean bad when it comes to the pandemic, this nonsense that COVID would take the summer off was just that nonsense. Of course, the President is quiet about it.

But that's why you've seen leaders pop up around the country in the form of the heads of states. And now we're going to put a spotlight on a bunch of them because you have the most populous states, California, Texas, Florida, have these explosions in cases. Why?

We're going to get an answer tonight from a governor of one of the states that was an epicenter, but now the cases are down dramatically compared to the rest of the country. The governor of New York, my brother, Andrew Cuomo, is here to discuss why he the governor of New Jersey and the governor of Connecticut have gotten their cases down. What did they learn that the others need to do? And why are they banding together? Do this new quarantine?

COOPER: Yes.

CUOMO: Is that the best way to keep numbers down? They didn't like it when it was going to be done to them. Why is it OK now? We'll go through that.

And also, we're going to take a look at these new charges in the case in Georgia involving Arbrey and how he was chased down there malice now ascribed by a grand jury the implications. We'll discuss.

COOPER: Yes. Chris, thanks very much. We'll see you in about five minutes from now.

Up next breaking news, we'll talk about the case that Chris is talking about, Ahmaud Arbery killed when he went for a jog, what Georgia grand juries decided when we come back.

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[20:58:20]

COOPER: Grand Jury is killed -- has indicted the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, the 25 year old man who was shot to death when he was out for jog in Brunswick, Georgia back in February. His murder and video the deadly encounter sparked widespread outrage and Arbery's name is one of the protesters shouted they demand racial equality in America.

CNN's Victor Blackwell has details. These three men they've been indicted. What happens next Victor?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So the arraignment is next Anderson. We don't know when that is going to happen as a judicial emergency here in Georgia because of coronavirus. But we're told by the district attorney here in Cobb County who's now in charge of this case that it took the grand jury just 10 minutes to return that indictment of nine counts malice, murder, felony murder four counts of that, aggravated assault two counts there, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Now, those murder charges in Georgia, if they are convicted of those they will receive a sentence of life in prison, but it could go to life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. We've not yet learned from the DA if the death penalty will be sought, but the attorneys for these men for the McMichaels, Gregory and Travis, father and son, say that there should not be a rush to judgment. And we've heard from the attorney for William Riley, who shot the video that so many people have seen who says that he was just a witness.

COOPER: Yes. And has the family responded?

BLACKWELL: Yes, so the family was not at the reading of the Orlando -- announcement, I should say of the indictment today. But the DA says that as soon as they received that they called the family and she said that they were grateful. There's a statement from S. Lee Merritt, attorney who represents the family says, that they're determined to see the men prosecuted, convicted and appropriately sentence. Of course, the families waited a very long time --

[21:00:04]

COOPER: Yes.

BLACKWELL: -- for this so many weeks for charges. And now this and they say justice will come at the end of this trial. They hope with that sentence.

COOPER: Victor Blackwell, Victor, thank you.

The news continues. I want to hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."

Chris?