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Out Of The 50 United States, Coronavirus Infections Are Dropping In Just Four Of Them; More Than 5,000 New COVID-19 Cases In Florida. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 29, 2020 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And thanks so much for joining us. Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Good evening, thanks for joining us. Out of the 50 United States, tonight coronavirus infections are dropping in just four of them. Think about that for a minute. Four months into the outbreak in this country, more than 126,000 lives lost, and there are only four states in the entire nation, the ones in green where the infection rate is actually going down.

In 31, the ones in orange and red, cases are rising and have now been rising for several weeks. Fifteen other states, the numbers are holding steady.

The surge is happening in small statements and large, red states and blue, though mostly now in the south and west. It's not as the President likes to say because we're just so gosh, darn good at testing.

We aren't so good at testing. In fact, in many places, testing continues to be hard to get. These long lines of cars are outside a clinic in Austin where some people are here for their second or third time having been turned away before.

This is in the Capital of Texas, one of the largest, wealthiest, most populated states in the country where not only is the case count rising, so is the number of people being hospitalized every day.

In a moment, we'll talk with a doctor in Houston where hospitals are operating at or near capacity. Again, this is not from more testing. A greater percentage of tests are coming back positive, meaning, there are more infected people out in the community.

In Texas, it's about 15 percent, triple what it was in May. In Los Angeles, the positivity rate has doubled in the last month and this new surge has prompted state and local officials to take action.

Cities in Florida are closing beaches for the Independence Day weekend requiring people to wear masks. The Governor of Kansas just enacted a statewide mask order and late today, the Governor of Arizona re- imposed restrictions, closing bars and night clubs and gyms and movie theaters and water parks.

Even New Jersey, which like New York has seen its hospitalization rate plummet and positivity numbers drop into the low single digits, even that state is slowing down plans to reopen and New York is considering doing the same.

But all of this is proceeding state by state, sometimes locality by locality or even one public official at a time.

For instance, here is Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell today.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We must have no stigma, none, about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people. Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting everyone we encounter.


COOPER: So there is that and it does mark a change and the Vice President this weekend who rarely even let the word mask fall from his lips preferring to say face covering, actually did it, he said the m word.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If your local official in consultation with the state are directing you to wear a mask, we encourage everyone to wear a mask in the affected areas and where you can't maintain social distancing, wearing a mask is just a good idea. And it will, we know, from experience, will slow the spread.


COOPER: We know from experience. This is being touted by some as a sign of progress what he just said. And just think about it, how incredible that is. The man who allegedly heads the Coronavirus Taskforce grudgingly and haltingly encouraging people now to wear masks -- if their local officials say they should -- that seems like progress.

After all the number of people have died, after all we've known and how long this has been going on, that's progress. After rarely wearing a mask in public for weeks and backing the President who doesn't wear a mask and lives like the Vice President does, in a biological bunker with everyone around them subject to repeated testing and temperature taking and mask wearing, now, he is pretending to be responsible and suggests wearing a mask.

Why don't you put on your own mask, Mr. Vice President and keep it on?

You know, the only reason he doesn't is because he is scared about the President. I mean, this is certainly not a profile encouraged with this one. This is the guy running the Coronavirus Taskforce allegedly, allegedly running what he is found of calling the whole of government effort against the disease. What whole of Federal government effort?

Oh, yes, he did wear a mask at Sunday services at a Megachurch in Dallas which might count for something if it hadn't been at a Megachurch in Dallas with a 100-person choir many of whom appear in the upper age ranges not wearing masks, singing their lungs out spraying aerosol into the enclosed indoor space and onto the people singing all around them.

So, yes, this is where we are. Going to a manifestly unsafe event, but wearing a mask some of the time is now what counts as progress for the guy allegedly leading the Federal effort against the virus.

Perhaps by those same low standards, his words this weekend were an improvement over his flat out dishonesty at Friday's first in two months Taskforce briefing.


PENCE: We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives.


COOPER: Clearly someone wrote that statement, yes, it's written to make headlines and yet, some states did do that, but not enough and notice he is speaking in the past tense.


COOPER: This is the same virus months ago. It didn't vanish like the President predicted. It didn't diminish into local brush fires like the President promised. It is the same deadly virus. The Federal government and a whole lot of governors just decided to stop giving a damn about it.

Also, the Vice President today defended the President holding big rallies in Tulsa and Phoenix as a First Amendment issue. Then when asked a second time, he rambled on for more than three minutes without answering the question before abruptly ending the briefing.

We do not know when or if there will be another briefing. None on the schedule for the virus Taskforce. What we do know is as far as the President is concerned, the picture that is plain to see, especially compared to other parts of the world simply does not exist.

Before I play you what his Press Secretary said today, I just want you to look at this graph because it's really telling. European countries are the pink line there. We're the green.

We don't want to be that green line. They trended up, the European countries about a month before we did. Remember all of the stories about Italy, how terrible things were in Italy? Well, we are now Italy. They came back down because of a strong coordinated national measures.

They were forced to stay at home. It was hard. It was devastating economically, but it worked, just like it worked in other places, but not here because we didn't have strong coordinated national measures and we didn't stick with it.

South Korea never had a big bump, same virus. They had their act together on a national level and testing and tracing, they took it seriously. That was back when cases were low enough to get a handle on it.

The U.S. is the green line which plateaued and is now rising sharply. That is what failure looks like and that's where we are. Here is how the spokesperson who speaks for the President characterized the outbreak and mask wearing.


KAYLEIGH, MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're aware that there are embers that need to be put out, but these signs of decreasing fatality, increased in enhanced therapeutics that we've identified for them, dexamethasone, convalescent plasma and remdesivir and one other that they are working. Remdesivir, in particular reduces hospital time by a third.

So, these things make us uniquely equipped to handle the increase in cases that we've seen.

The C.D.C. guidelines are, they are recommended, but not required and the President would encourage everyone to follow the orders of their local jurisdiction and C.D.C. guidelines.


COOPER: Embers she calls them. I'll say it again, 31 states are seeing rising cases. Those aren't embers. If that's an ember, I don't want to see what Ms. McEnany calls an actual inferno because that's according to health officials, this is what this is.

As we know now, nearly every night, the President is done with it. No matter what his own experts say. Never mind what state and local officials are now saying and doing. How many times do you actually hear the President and what Ms. McEnany said urging people to wear masks if their local officials say so?

Never mind that just yesterday, Alex Azar, his own Secretary of Health and Human Services said quote, "The window is closing," unquote, when it comes to stopping this surge.

He might have said the same four months ago when the window really was closing, but the President then and now is too busy saying other things.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done.


COOPER: Now, Azar says the window is closing. He said nothing then. Perspective now from CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta; also Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Sanjay, the Principal Deputy Director of the C.D.C. said today that she thinks that people engaged in wishful thinking that they thought summer would come and everything would be fine which was obviously what the President said would happen.

It's just stunning to me when you see that graph of where the European Union countries or the European Union are and where we are and we were on the same trajectory, we were the same path and they got it right and we didn't. I mean, and it's just about leadership.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No doubt. I mean, because you do see that we are all humans. This virus is the same in terms of how it behaves in humans around the world and those lines do tell a story.

Tomorrow, Anderson will be six months since the World Health Organization first heard about this mysterious pneumonia cluster out of China, six months, and during that time, we had 10 million people around the world who have become infected, 500,000 people who have died. And as you know, I mean, a quarter of those numbers are here in the United States.

The concern, obviously, Anderson, is as bad as those numbers are, when you start to see what is happening in some of these states around the country and I've talked to officials on the ground today in these various places, there is a real concern that the numbers will increase.

I think that that's significant because this is like a -- it starts to gain momentum and then it's no longer growing linearly, it starts to grow into exponential growth. But the bigger concern, and you mentioned Italy is why was the fatality rate so high in Italy near the beginning of their epidemic?


GUPTA: And part of it was because of the incredible strain on the hospital system, right? There were people who couldn't get in to get care. There were people who died preventable deaths or as you know, the Doctors Without Borders called stupid deaths. That's they are absolutely unnecessary and preventable.

That a real concern, and you know, Peter is here, he is in Houston. Houston is obviously on the cusp of something like that where people may not be able to get care.

I mean, they could be saying my loved one is having shortness of breath. They need to go to the hospital and they may be told, hey, look, keep them at home as long as possible. We're not sure we have got room right now.

That's not the position we want to be in.

COOPER: Dr. Hotez, I know -- I have heard you say that states are implementing what you call Operation Cake and Eat It, referencing the Marie Antoinette "let them eat cake." Can you explain what you mean by that?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Well, what I mean is we are seeing this incredibly scary rise in the number of cases, exponential growth in the large metropolitan areas of the southwestern part of the united states. So Phoenix dramatic rise, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and there seems to be no end in sight with those projections.

So potentially in Houston, we could go from 1,000 cases a day to 4,000 cases a day if the model is right and eventually no health system could be able to accommodate this.

And we are not really seeing a lot of Federal guidance in terms of how to respond, and what we heard from, for instance, from Secretary Azar over the weekend is they are providing F.E.M.A. support and PPE and that sort of thing, but in terms of a strategy, a road map for how to handle this, that's what I'm so far not hearing. Maybe it's there behind the scenes, but I'm not seeing evidence of it.

So the states in some cases, even the counties are on their own across the Southwestern United States, and how do you handle that very aggressive rise? So far, most of the governors have not been willing to do that full lockdown that was so successful in New York and in the northeast back in March and April, so they're trying to see if they can do this surgically, meaning, just close the bars or 50 percent restaurant, and encourage use of masks or in some cases, mandate masks but stop short of that full lockdown.

And my point is, what's the evidence that that will work? Have they been looking at epidemiologic models? Working with the scientists to actually see what the impact of all of these surgical strikes, whether they're going to have a reduction in the number of cases. And that I haven't seen.

So, what they're trying to do is they are trying to keep the economic opening going hoping that these surgical measures might also work. That's what I meant by have their cake and eat it.

It's a noble cause, but is there any evidence for it? Is there any sign that will actually work? And that's what I haven't seen and we're gambling with a lot of lives especially one of the unspoken parts of this story is I'm pretty convinced that most of these cases or a lot of these cases and deaths that will follow over the next three weeks are happening in low income neighborhoods.

So African-American populations, Hispanic, Latinx populations, Native American populations and that's why I use that term humanitarian catastrophe because we're not protecting our vulnerable populations and also, not only just the deaths that will lag, but also now, we're understanding better the permanent injury from this permanent lung injury, neurologic injury.

So, this is -- and that's why I resorted to using that term --

COOPER: Yes. Sanjay, you know, again, I just don't understand, I mean, early on, the administration referred to this as a war, mobilizing against, you know, an invisible enemy coming from overseas.

If that's the case, I mean, in any war, if we had the kind of national leadership that we've had to defend from incoming invasion of any sort and the leaders said, you know what, it's just going to be up to the states to kind of figure out what the best defense is on a state by state basis. I mean, that would be unacceptable. I don't understand why, you know, we're sort of sitting around four months into this and sort of shocked, shocked that this hasn't gone away.

GUPTA: Yes, and Anderson, it might be worse than that. Like even the -- not even the Federal versus the states, but just this idea that maybe this was sort of minimized.

We buried our heads in the sand for a while on this.

COOPER: Yes, absolutely. The entire month of February was lost.

GUPTA: An entire month. I mean, when you're dealing with a contagious virus like this and you lose a month, I mean, we're now getting an idea of just how widespread this is and the reason we're getting an idea of how widespread this is at the end of June is because we just weren't testing for this.

I think ultimately, when we look back on this, there is a lot of failures. There is no question. In fact, somebody asked me today, name a success, and I had to really scratch my head and think about it for a little bit.


GUPTA: I mean, I think if there is one success, I think in certain places people have risen up and done the right thing, but for the most part, it's hard to name a success.

When you look at the map that you just showed, I think of that as the human body and Peter was talking about surgical strikes. If that were the human body, at one point, back near Memorial Day, you could have said there is focal disease in various places. Maybe we can attack the localized disease. No longer. I mean, Anderson, I don't think there is a certain -- anywhere on that map that I'm not worried about, even the places that are in the beige and the green because every place is vulnerable now.

COOPER: And for all the staying at home and sacrifices that people have made and people have done extraordinary things, as you said, around the country, those efforts will be squandered by the places that aren't doing it, just as we said they would back then and that's what people were worried about back then.

Sanjay, thank you. Dr. Hotez, as always, thank you. Coming up next, Florida where localities are closing beaches, but the

Governor is often hard to pin down. We'll speak with a top official in the Florida State government who is speaking out against him.

Later, new reporting on what absent a pandemic would be a lead story, Intelligence that Russia has been paying a bounty for killing American troops in Afghanistan, which the President claims he wasn't briefed about.

We'll talk to a former presidential briefer about whether that claim holds water.


COOPER: The State of Florida recorded more than 5,000 new cases of coronavirus today. And as we mentioned at the top, cities and localities there have started announcing holiday beach closures and mandating mask wearing.

The latest in Jacksonville, where the President moved the Republican National Convention because he wanted a no mask packed hall kind of event that the former host city, Charlotte in North Carolina wouldn't tolerate.

When asked today whether he would override that Jacksonville mandate, a spokesperson for Governor Ron DeSantis said the government, quote, "is focused on state business and has not given thought to that."

Joining us now is Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried.


COOPER: Commissioner Fried, thanks for being with us. What do you make of the news that the Jacksonville with require masks indoors, is that an effort to reduce infection there before the President arrives at the R.N.C. and is it warranted? And if it is warranted there, I guess, the question is, why not the rest of the state?

NIKKI FRIED, FLORIDA'S COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES: Well, you're exactly right, Anderson. Thank you for having me on tonight.

You know, Florida hit 32,000 new cases since Friday. And so you're seeing a lot of our local governments step up and mandate these mask wearing and for a while, even the Mayor from Jacksonville said it wasn't going to happen. So he did actually put that into place today.

Who knows if it's going to actually stay in place for the R.N.C.? I mean he could actually, you know, over ride it beforehand. And so that's why I also called the statewide ordinance so that way, a local government can't over ride it as the R.N.C. comes to Jacksonville.

But certainly, with these upticks in cases and not just upticks in cases, but the skyrocketing of our positivity rates, I'm not surprised that we hear in the State of Florida are where we are today and we are looking for Ron DeSantis to be more engaged, to take his head out of the stand and to realize that we have a healthcare crisis that needs leadership at this time that we just haven't been seeing from him.

COOPER: Why do you think he's not doing something statewide? I mean, would it make a difference if the President all of a sudden urged people to wear masks which -- I mean, the White House is now saying the President believes people should listen to their local officials.

FRIED: Yes, I think that's exactly the case. You know, it seems like here in Florida, you know, we need to get permission from President Trump before we do anything. That includes closing down our state.

I called upon the Governor to close down the state three weeks prior to him doing that. And he only did it once the White House gave him the nod. The same thing with opening of our state.

You know, we had a very methodical plan of opening the state, which had data driven points when you are supposed to open it up and he arbitrarily just opened up and went to Phase 1, went to Phase 2. There was absolutely zero enforcement whatsoever.

And so when he had all of this arbitrary openings, you know, people thought we had mission accomplished. Because he went on a competitive news cycle and basically declared victory that we had flattened the curve, and so until which time that the White House gives him the permission to do anything, you're not going to see leadership from Governor DeSantis until such time.

COOPER: You know, it's interesting, so far by our tally, Governor DeSantis has blamed the spread of the virus in Florida on young people partying, on long-time care facilities, migrant workers, the media, for a while, he also blamed it on increased testing like the President. I mean, he is blaming everyone, but himself.

FRIED: Himself.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, why do you think he pushed to open so hard? I mean, obviously, there is, you know, very legitimate economic fears about that state and every state and people's livelihoods. Is that what it was about? Was it politics?

FRIED: Yes, unfortunately, we've seen partisan politics at its worse when it comes to the COVID response. But that's exactly what's happened. You know, they put our economy before the health and safety and wellness of our citizens.

You know, of course, we're all concerned about the economy. I mean, our unemployment numbers are through the roof. Another big problem that the Governor tried to push off to his predecessor, even to the people of the State of Florida for not filling out the forms correctly.

And so, every single time he has tried to blame everyone else, but his poor leadership when it comes to the response to COVID and so, I do think he has put all of these different blames into place to try to hide the ball of what's really happening here in the state and, you know, I'm not surprised that he would blame the spike on young people because he says they're not taking it seriously.

How can they take it seriously when our Governor and our President has had their head in the sand, has ignored COVID, has been giving wrong information, misconception every step along the way and has declared mission accomplished on an interview and gone on to say that this is behind us?

So I can't imagine why they would think this is not to be taken seriously when they're not seeing that leadership from the top.

COOPER: Yes, Commissioner Fried, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

FRIED: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead tonight, breaking news, an Intelligence report about Russians offering Afghan militants bounties to kill U.S. and NATO soldiers. Details when we continue.



COOPER: We have Breaking News on a story we first brought you on Friday night about an Intelligence report on Russian bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and the absence of a response from the Trump administration.

The U.S. official with direct knowledge tells CNN the information about payments to Afghan militants was indeed in the President's daily brief earlier this year, sometime in the spring. That appears to contradict President Trump who tweeted this less than 24 hours ago, quote, "Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible and therefore did not report it to me or Vice President." The then calls the report a possible hoax.

The new CNN report also directly contradicts the White House Press Secretary today who said the President, quote, "was not personally briefed."


MCENANY: There was not a consensus among the Intelligence Community and in fact, there were dissenting opinions within the Intelligence Community and it would not be elevated to the President until it was verified.


COOPER: And two former senior Intelligence officials tell CNN that it would be standard procedure to brief the President, verified or not. The U.S. official with direct knowledge also told CNN that the report was backed up by evidence and while the source also said there was other information that did not corroborate the view, the source still called it "a big deal," end quote, and that the information was serious enough for the National Security Council to discuss, quote, "possible response options." Joining us now, David Priess, a former C.I.A. officer, who was a

presidential daily briefer during the George W. Bush administration. He is author of "The President's Book of Secrets."

David, as someone who has delivered the President's daily brief, what do you make of the report that this Intelligence was included at least once this spring?

DAVID PRIESS, FORMER C.I.A. OFFICER: It doesn't surprise me that it wasn't included because this is exactly the type of serious threat with grave consequences to U.S. troops and national security that typically does go into the Presidents' daily brief.


And across the decades of history, the President's daily brief, of course, there's information that isn't verified, going into the PDB, because it's intelligence. That's what intelligence is. It's about uncertainty. It's about the unknown. And it's little bits of information pieced together by analysts to make the best picture they can for the President and those around him.

The idea that it has to be verified before it goes to the President, that defeats the entire purpose of giving the President advanced knowledge of what's going on in the world through the best analysis that the intelligence community can offer.

COOPER: And if something is in the President's daily brief, do most presidents read the President's daily brief? I mean, obviously, this president it's well known, he doesn't really read much and, you know, there's been a lot of reporting on how he likes to have briefings verbally and, you know, pictures and briefers are well aware of what he wants to hear and not wants to hear. But if normal times, if something's in the President's daily brief, does the President actually read the brief?

PRIESS: Right? Yes, going back more than 50 years presidents have almost always read the President's daily brief every day. Several of them have also had oral briefings with either their national security adviser most often, or sometimes intelligence community officers who come in and brief them. Richard Nixon may not have read it, but he was meeting with his national security adviser every day who was reading it and getting the information that way.

Donald Trump famously does not like to read he admitted so before taking office. So almost certainly the reports that he is not reading the President's daily brief in depth are true. The problem is by the White House saying that he wasn't briefed on this. They're implying that this was not brought to his attention, but if the reporting from Barbara Starr and others is true, was brought to his attention through the President's daily brief, which takes a few minutes to read. And he just chooses not to.

Again, if that's true, it leads to another question, which is, why did the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and others, who read the President's daily brief, not bring this to his attention, if they knew it was in the PDB. But they knew that he wasn't reading it every day. That's dereliction of duty on their part.

COOPER: And as you know, there has been a lot of reporting about the reticence of people around the President to discuss things about Russia or bringing up matters of Russia because the President immediately has a very visceral reaction to that. The Present obviously is reacted to this story by attacking the New York Times calling it a hoax. Just the President's daily brief, we're not talking about 100 to 200 page document. I mean, we're talking about a couple of pages it -- I mean, my recollection of this is it's quite a small document and quite well organized and usually tailored to how the President likes in from, you know, a any president gets information.

PRIESS: Yes, it is tailored to each individual president. You're right. Therefore it changes. Some presidents have had longer documents because they really wanted the details to get into it. Some presidents have had shorter presentations. We don't know what Donald Trump's PDB looks like. He said to Axios before taking office that he likes bullet points, and he doesn't like long reports. Well, the intelligence community almost certainly has adapted to that, and probably gives him a format that includes short bullet points. Even then, if he doesn't read it, you have to have a way of getting intelligence information to the commander in chief. That might be the oral briefings, that he still takes one or two, sometimes three times a week irregularly, from the intelligence community. But if that message wasn't getting through, then it's incumbent upon the people around him to get him what he needs to know.

Now, if they're choosing not to, either, because the President has said, don't bring me anything that's negative about Russia, I don't want to hear it. Or if they've simply decided to not even try because they don't like getting yelled at. That's a very serious issue for us. Because then the President, by definition is not getting information about grave threats to national security, including the lives of us servicemen overseas, in any form, and that's just dangerous for our commander in chief.

COOPER: Yes, it's incredible. David Priess, I really appreciate it. Thank you.

President Trump's conduct with world leaders has also been dicey. He criticizes allies we know, but praises autocrats like Russia's Vladimir Putin. Now a new report says the President's conduct in private with leaders has been even more alarming than most people realize.

Joining us with details journalist, author and CNN political analyst, Carl Bernstein. Carl, your report deals with hundreds of phone calls with foreign heads of state, the recurring theme particularly with autocrats like Putin and Turkish leader Erdogan basically reporting I was stunned at how much access Erdogan has, like basically free rein to call the President and go directly to him any time and the response of a lot of people around the President to these calls. What are people's telling you about how the President deals with foreign leaders? [20:35:22]

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the first point goes through exactly what you said in dealing with these autocrats, particularly Putin and Erdogan. Erdogan in particular had a free press to get through to the President of United States, he would call as often as twice a week. The Turkish security services it appears, we keep track of Trump's movements get hold of his daily schedule, so Erdogan would know when and where to reach him. He would often reach them on the golf course. But their dialogue was one in which one person, one of the sources said Putin gave -- Putin -- Trump gave away the store to Erdogan in Syria, he allowed American troops so as both Putin and Erdogan wanted to withdraw. He ordered to withdraw American troops from Syria and the result was that the Kurds our allies, were open for slaughter. And that's what Erdogan wanted. And he had a willing partnership in it with Donald Trump.

But the real thing about these calls is that they show that the President's closest national security advisors, his Secretary of Defense, his Chief of Staff, his Secretary of State. All came to the conclusion that in these calls, especially, they show that the President of the United States through being incompetent, and being a bully, and beating up on allies, calling him all kinds of names in these phone calls, that he himself, Trump is a danger to the national security. That is an extraordinary thing unique in our history.

COOPER: Also, it seemed like they were concerned that he essentially was a kind of a chump to these autocrats, and as you said, gave him gave away the store that that a lot of the people around the President were really stunned at just how terrible he was and how much he thought he was able to just kind of cajole and charm and bully people. But in fact, he was -- just didn't know what he was talking about.

BERNSTEIN: Well, as well as one of the sources said, a very high level source in his administration said that in dealing with Putin, Putin is like a grand master in chess and Trump was like a weekend checkers player. And the result is back to what you had a moment ago in the segment, Trump would not take briefings before the calls, which is traditional. Putin was well briefed, knew what he wanted to get in these phone calls and Trump would sit there and the calls mostly build themselves up, talk about to Putin about what a great businessman he was. He would trash Obama and George W. Bush's predecessors, said that they were full of BS, that now that Putin could deal directly with him and that the results would be better for all concerned.

But in fact, his national security advisors came away horrified and there are transcripts voice generated transcripts of these calls, which I'm told, if particularly Republican senators were ever to see and read them and hear these conversations in real time and talk to those who have heard them, it's very doubtful that he could retain the confidence of Republican senators, because they are so extreme in their negligence and his lack of competence, his lack of preparation, and his concern for nothing except his own goals, including re election.

COOPER: Well, I'm not sure we'd be surprised to repugnant when we got the transcript or the, you know, such as it exists of the call with the president of Ukraine. So, Carl Bernstein, fascinating report.

We'll have more on the President's conduct just ahead, this time stoking partisan rage along racial lines. Dr. Cornel West joins me when we continue.



COOPER: Well President Trump has mostly ignored the spike in coronavirus cases. He did have time for two things this weekend golf and using race to stoke partisan anger. He tweeted then was forced to delete his support for what appears to be a video of supporters from a retirement community in Florida. When man is seen driving a golf cart with Trump campaign posters chanting white power?

The White House says the President did watch the video he just didn't hear the man before he tweeted they were quote great people. Prison also is said to condemn the use -- has yet to condemn the use of the phrase white power. President wasn't done, however, today he retweeted video of the St. Louis couple of drew weapons on a crowd of protesters. There's no comment on this one though the picture of unarmed white couple facing off against white and black marchers certainly says speaks volumes.

Joining us now, Dr. Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard, Professor Emeritus at Princeton and the co-host of a new podcast, The Tightrope.

Dr. West, it's great to have you on. I keep getting the feeling this weekend that the President is doing everything he possibly can to amplify promote racist language and just division in this country. And the idea that he read tweets, a picture of these, you know, this couple clutching weapons, threatening protesters in their, you know, Brooks Brothers outfits, it just seems so insane that the United States is doing this?

CORNEL WEST, PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY, HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL: No, you're absolutely right my dear brother. You know, I was just talking to my beloved son Clifton, grant artists that he is and I was saying, we don't want to become obsessed with rather Trump. We know as a neo- fascist gangster he recycles these kind of xenophobic words, xenophobic sensibilities he began attacking precious Mexican brothers and sisters. Now he's attacking Asians with this talk about the virus. He attacks us to Maxine waters and I'm I still haven't gotten over. He called him the sons of B-I-T-C-H-E-S of brother Collin and sister Eric, you know, what I mean.


WEST: And Sharon Reed (ph) and Teresa Cavanic (ph) and sister Heidi they are precious. They are not B-I-T-C-H-E-S and I tell you this brother Anderson, I would defend Mary Anne MacLeod Trump, the mother of brother Donald Trump, because she as mother is precious too.

[20:45:05] So the question is how do we create and exemplify countervailing force against his hatred. He seems to get psychic regeneration through expressing a certain kind of contempt that could easily lead toward violence. We saw the guns and so forth. Just recently on the streets of New York, on the streets of the country. How do we create countervailing voices, examples movement of love and justice in the face of that kind of hatred, contempt and move to a vicious form of violence, because we got to keep in mind my brothers, not just by the Trump, 51 -- 52% of white sisters and 65% of white brothers voted for Trump. So it is a fellow citizens. He's leading the country off the cliff and yet you got these folk in denial, still somehow holding on for him out of desperation for dear life, many of them dealing with poverty, not enough jobs with a living wage, decrepit school systems and decent housing and so forth. But they hold it on for him for dear life. But, you know, we transform that in such a way that lo and behold, we can hit these issues of poverty.

COOPER: But you know --


COOPER: I despair though at times, you know, he went to an evangelical church the other week after his rally in Tulsa, and to watch the video where he was going, he was repeating the various names he says people set call COVID-19, getting to the slur that he was going to use and the audience you could tell they were egging him on waiting for him to say it and then when he finally use the, the slur that we all know, they erupted into cheers and applause and this was in a church. These were among people who identify as, you know, strong Christians. They were cheering this racist terminology and waiting for it and eager for it. I mean, what it has we turned into? Or what do -- I mean I got -- I don't know, that tweet turned into we certainly had been this before. So.

WEST: No, you know the great effort (ph) methods and used to say will America move from perceived innocence to corruption without a mediating stage of maturity. We've grown powerful, we've grown rich, but we haven't grown up. We have to realize, though, that you know, there's a long history of my fellow Christians to Constantine and Christians hating Jews, gays, lesbians, trans, black people, indigenous people, and so forth. So that it's the countervailing voices that we need to keep track of those folk, on and on, on the ground in the street. Those folk who remain home but still recognize, I want to hold on to some kind of integrity, honesty and decency and bear witness to love and justice, but we'll see. I mean, if we can't, you know, overcome the kind of despair that you're talking about, we're in deep trouble, but remember now what Gerda says he or she was never despaired has never lived. Nothing wrong with wrestling with despair. The question is not allowing it to have the last word.

COOPER: But what do you -- what gives you hope then today? I mean, I know, you know, there's people marching in the streets, and you know, people from all different backgrounds joining them and people calling for change and it seems like, you know, that's in the air and that's possible. But all those things are fragile. Those things can you know, tides can turn. WEST: And they've always been fragile. This is not as -- you know, this is this is not the first generation for this, this has been true from the very, very beginning. And we do have a cloud of witnesses of all colors, all genders, all sexual orientations, all national identities. This is a global struggle against forms of evil being predatory capitalism bid, white supremacy, male supremacy, anti- Jewish, anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican practices, we got to keep track of the humanity of each and every one of us. Hope is as much a verb as a virtue, we have to stay in motion and always know that we got some memories of love and justice.

We've got some joy tied to our witness that the world can never take away. And if we have a collective effort, lo and behold, we can hold up this rustic manner just a little longer, but there's no guarantee that the American Empire will not collapse, there's a real possibility that it may, but we have to fight until the end. Oh, brother, we got to go down swinging, don't mean a thing for then got that swing. That's my tradition, my brother. Oh, yes.

COOPER: Dr. West, thank you as always, I appreciate it.

WEST: All right. Salute, love you brother.

COOPER: Take care. All right.


Just ahead, an update on the officers charge in George Floyd's killing and their day in court and when the trial will be.


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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Sad to say, my friend, that as we sit where we are, even though we're in New York, the possibility has its head, that you may see me in a basement. Again, at some point, maybe not even into the not too distant future, why, things not going the right way. You do not ignore a pandemic and think it goes away. Florida as much a metaphor, as it is a case study in and of itself. I have Sanjay coming in tonight to look at it through directly through that lens of what the range of options are for us. We know that Azar the Health and Human Services Secretary says the window is getting smaller to control this. What does that look like? What is that going to mean for the places that think they got through it already?



CUOMO: And for the places that are looking at right in the eye. I also have Chris Stewart on tonight, congressman from Utah who got briefed on the allegations and suggestions of intel that Russia may have been involved in trying to money for kills scam with the United States. What does he believe of the intel? What does he believe the right actions by the President should be?

COOPER: All right, Chris will look forward to that about four minutes from now. I'll see you then.

Coming up next, details from a day in court if the officer charged in George Floyd's killing.


COOPER: The four fired Minneapolis police officers charged in the George Floyd killing appeared in court today for a pre trial hearing during show than who pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd's neck faces several charges including second degree murder. The three others are charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting secondary manslaughter. The judge announced the next court hearing will be in September. He'd like to trial to start in early March of next year. He also said he would likely issue a gag order in public statements on the case continue. And that if that happens, you would likely grant a motion of venue -- a change of venue motion, if one is in fact filed.

That's it for us. The news continues want to hand things over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME" Chris?

CUOMO: All right. Thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to Primetime.

Ignoring a pandemic does not make it go away. That's why states like Florida, are in such dire straits. Listen to what's Governor De Santis boasting last month about what great shape Florida was in.



GOV. RON DE SANTIS (R-FL): He got a lot of people in your profession, who wax poetically for weeks and weeks about our Florida was going to be just like New York.