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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Trump Warns Coronavirus Will Probably Get Worse Before It Gets Better; NY Times: Pres. Trump Asked U.S. Ambassador To Get British Open Moved To His Golf Course In Scotland; At Least 970 U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Reported Today; Clash In Portland; Acting DHS Chief: 43 Federal Arrests In Portland Since July 4; We Remember. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 21, 2020 - 20:00   ET

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


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Kate Bolduan. "AC360" with John Berman starts now.

[20:00:17]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. John Berman here in for Anderson.

With coronavirus deaths nearing 142,000 and cases approaching four million, you will hear people say there was a change in tone from Donald Trump today.

It is true, his mouth emitted different sounds and words -- a change. But whether we see a change in policy, a change in action -- that remains to be seen.

Still for this one moment at this one briefing today, the President by and large said things out loud that he rarely does.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some areas of our country are doing very well. Others are doing less well. It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better. Something I don't like saying about things, but that's the way it is. It's the way -- it's what we have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: In addition to that, the President also gave his fullest least equivocal endorsement yet of steps to slow the spread.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And we're asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They'll have an effect and we need everything we can get.

We're instead asking Americans to use masks, socially distance and employee vigorous hygiene. Wash your hands every chance you get while sheltering high risk populations.

We are imploring young Americans to avoid packed bars and other crowded indoor gatherings. Be safe and be smart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So those words and the ones before it might just as well have been spoken by Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was conspicuously not invited.

And the entire briefing can be read as something else, an unspoken admission that the President has been wrong -- wrong about his hands- off, head in the sand approach to a virus that has taken nearly 142,000 American lives.

That said, even as he admitted that things would get worse before they get better, he had little to say about what he would do to make them better.

What he did do was issue a proclamation that sounds outlandish when you consider he has called himself a Wartime President, and as we said, nearly 142,000 Americans are dead.

TRUMP: We are in the process of developing a strategy that's going to be very, very powerful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: In the process? It's going to be -- what's the wait? We've waited for nearly 142,000 lives. He didn't really announce a plan to make testing more available so that people aren't waiting hours or days to get tested and waiting up to two weeks for results to come back.

Commercial labs say they're overloaded at the moment, but the President announced no Federal plan to allocate unused capacity at state labs, university and hospital labs. Even veterinary facilities as one expert suggested on another network today.

The President spoke of fatalities being down 75 percent since April. They are, however, they're up sharply in the last several weeks, as the surge of new cases became a surge of hospital patients and now a surge of fatalities.

He said governors told him they have adequate hospital capacity. Well, in Florida today, ICUs at 53 hospitals are now at or above their limits. And in Arkansas, the number of people hospitalized with COVID hit a new high with about one in five of those patients on ventilators.

Texas reported 131 new fatality, so yes, things are getting worse. And yes, we heard the President admit it. But we also heard him say things that are not true and glossed over realities he'd rather not face even though the country must.

And hanging over all of this is the question, how long until the words spoken out loud this evening with all the caveats attached are replaced once again by the President we have seen and heard the other 99 percent of this pandemic.

Remember, we have been here before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoid discretionary travel, and avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants, and public food courts.

If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation, and we will defeat the virus and we're going to have a big celebration all together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That was March 16th. We're all in this together. We'll all rally together. Well, not even 24 hours later, the President was on Twitter and on the attack. "Failing Michigan Governor must work harder and must be more proactive. We are pushing her to get the job done. I stand with Michigan." That was March 17th.

On that date, just 131 people had died in this country. It took almost 142,000 more dead Americans for the President to once again appear to be facing reality.

More now from Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta. So Jim, do we know what was behind the new words spoken out loud at the press conference?

[20:05:15]

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, I mean, I will tell you, I talked to a White House official earlier this afternoon who said, listen, there is a recognition inside the White House that there was a perception that the President was not leading on this pandemic.

And of course that his White House speak for they knew that the guy was screwing things up. And so they wanted the President to go out there, hit the reset button, look more somber, look more serious about all of this, but as you just laid out, over the last several minutes, we've seen this movie before. The question is, what does he do for a sequel?

And I do think when you roll through some of what the President said during this press conference, when he was urging people to wear masks, he has been downplaying the importance of masks for weeks.

The question becomes, how serious will Trump supporters take these sorts of things when you see these videos of Trump supporters, lashing out at public officials about not wanting to wear a mask. A lot of that, of course, goes back to the President.

And when the President is talking about not congregating in crowded bars and in crowded spaces and so on, remember, the President has been inviting people to go to his rallies where there are thousands and thousands of people.

And oh, by the way, he is planning on holding a convention later on in August, where there will be big crowds. And oh, by the way, as you and I both know, John, having covered conventions, some of those participants end up at crowded bars at the end of the night.

And so I think the question moving forward is whether or not some of what the President says today actually last past 24 hours.

BERMAN: Let's hope it lasts and let's hope people listen. Right now, it's just a hope.

The thing that surprised me most and I don't know if he misread the script. It's what he said, we are developing a strategy, the White House is, and it's going to be very, very powerful. Why the wait? Like why now? Why haven't they developed this strategy 142,000 deaths ago?

ACOSTA: You know, I do think that that begs a follow up question. And I think the President had moments during this press conference today, where you know, as much as people giving him points for style and so on, I think he demonstrated once again, that he is just not taking this seriously enough for a lot of Americans when he says that the U.S. has done more than the rest of the world, has performed much better than the rest of the world. That's just not dealing with reality.

And when he's thrown off message with questions about Ghislaine Maxwell, the accused accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein, I talked to a source close to this White House earlier this evening, you know, that is a question that the White House should prepare the President to talk about, and it's just malpractice on the part of a White House to not have a President prepare to give a better response than, "I wish her well."

John at this point, they don't have a plan and they keep trying to come up with a new plan and today was really more of a political plan, more than anything else.

This was about the President trying to reassure some of these Republicans who have lost faith in his handling of this pandemic, and a lot of independents out there who, as you know, will swing this election just rejected his approach.

This was more of a political emergency that the President was dealing with tonight, as much as it was a health emergency -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Jim Acosta at the White House. Thanks so much.

Perspective now from CNN Political Analyst and "New York Times" White House Correspondent Maggie Haberman; also CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, two of the smartest humans I know, who also happen to be pretty nice.

Maggie, how did the White House think it went this afternoon? And what can we expect from them? What did they want to do going forward? MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: John, the White House was

overwhelmingly very happy with how this late afternoon briefing went with the President with obvious exceptions, one being the Ghislaine Maxwell question that they wish that he had answered that differently.

And with all due respect to, Jim, when I was reporting on this, but I'm not convinced that they didn't brief the President about this in the past and he just messed up the question. They felt like he was saying things he needed to be saying, that he was sort of not getting outside his lane, not using about, you know, treatments and chemicals and what we saw previously where he was sort of trying to one up the doctors, that he was talking about a forward looking picture.

That's obviously an incomplete look at it, because there's a lot of questions to be asked, as you just said, and it's not clear to me that he can sustain this for a number of days. That is always the issue with him at these kinds of briefings. It starts out fine, and then it starts to degenerate over time.

But for today, they're happy and they plan on doing similar briefings to this, whether it's every day -- what it looks like, we just don't know yet.

BERMAN: They may plan it whether he goes along with it, we'll have to see. Sanjay, Dr. Anthony Fauci, not invited. Dr. Deborah Birx, left backstage not invited out onto the stage. What would the scientists have added to this, do you think?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there's two things. One is just having the united front, right, the scientists are talking and you get that support from the White House. You know, I think that's important because I think a lot of times there has been this real schism between what the White House is saying and what the scientists are saying. So a lot of time, it's like point counterpoint almost.

[20:10:13]

GUPTA: So, speaking with one united front would have been important.

But there's a few areas that I think would have been important to talk about moving forward, as Maggie was saying. One is testing still. You know, we've been talking about testing since March. We still are not doing enough testing.

It is true the United States does more testing than other countries, but it's because we need to, it's because we have a lot more virus in this country because we wasted time, really not, you know, keeping tabs on this widespread infection in February and early March.

Right now, the testing is really only used, John, to flag hotspots around the country. Here's a fire over here. Here's a fire over here. It's not used to be able to isolate and then quarantine contacts and bring down the trajectory of this pandemic. So that would be a big one. Schools is another one. I mean, that's probably topic number one, like

what is the real science and evidence behind whether you're going to open schools or not? Are schools going to receive extra funding in some cases, as necessary, to be able to implement these physical distancing guidelines? Buses? Start schedules? All the things that are real in people's lives right now.

And I'll just remind you, John, it's almost preposterous to talk about, but containment of this virus means one in a million cases. That would be 350, roughly new cases a day. That's what we should be aiming for it.

Here's the goal. Here's the problem. Here's how we get there. That's what I would have liked to have seen.

BERMAN: Three hundred and fifty and we're at 65,000 to 70,000.

Sanjay, I am sure you were pleased to hear the President's language on masks. He said, unequivocally, people should wear them even if they're uncomfortable. You should wear them.

However, less than 24 hours ago. Last night, he was at an event at a Washington, D.C. hotel where he was not wearing a mask and he was close to people who are not wearing masks, too. So, how will the message get out? What will the public see here do you think?

GUPTA: I don't know, John. It's clearly a lot of whiplash for the public. I mean, it's such a seemingly simple thing to do that can make such a huge difference.

So overall, I'm glad he put up that tweet yesterday with him wearing a mask. I happen to live in Georgia, John, where, you know, the Governor is suing the Mayor over masks.

And, you know, I'm not -- as we talked about last night, I'm not a political reporter, but the idea that these governors are taking their cues from the President and the President then tweets out a picture of him wearing a mask, I think probably does make a positive difference.

I don't know. I mean, I think people who are real skeptics, they will look at that video you just showed and say, I don't have to wear a mask either. But hopefully this makes a difference in a positive direction.

BERMAN: So Maggie, both you and Jim Acosta mentioned the Ghislaine Maxwell moment, and I've held off discussing it because frankly, the pandemic is more important.

However, it was the most holy blank moment of the press conference where he was actually about Ghislaine Maxwell, this friend of Jeffrey Epstein's, who is in custody, in prison, right now charged with helping Epstein groom and sexually abuse underage girls. This is what the President said about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I just wish her well, frankly. I've met her numerous times over

the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach. And I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I wish her well. So, how did that land in the White House?

HABERMAN: Not well, and look, I want to just reiterate something that Sanjay said. I think it is important that the President was stressing mask wearing and I think it is very late and is going to confuse some people as to where he really is on it. But I do think it is important and it is worth noting he did it.

In terms of the Ghislaine Maxwell piece. Look, that was an astonishing comment. There's no other way to describe it, especially since the President's associates have been tweeting pictures of other people with Ghislaine Maxwell and with Jeffrey Epstein trying to draw those associations.

She is charged with incredibly serious crimes; crimes against young girls, crimes related to young girls and that he wishes her well is astonishing.

And it's astonishing, too, when you juxtapose it against the lack of benefit of the doubt that he tends to give most people who have been imprisoned or incarcerated or accused of a crime, who are people of color.

This very wealthy woman who he rubbed elbows with in society, he says, he wishes her well, despite what his own government has accused her of doing. It is -- look, I'm sure that he would -- actually, I don't know if he would do it again or not. I don't believe that his wife has told him this is a good way to do it, and many people are uncomfortable with what he said and kind of averting their gazes tonight.

BERMAN: She's accused of horrible things. We agree with what both of you said, the language he used on the masks to say that even if you're uncomfortable, you should wear it is exactly what people need to hear whether or not they are hearing it, and whether they'll take action, we'll wait and see.

Maggie Haberman and Sanjay, thank you both so much.

Maggie, we're going to come back to you in a little bit to talk about some new reporting from you and your colleagues at "The Times" about efforts your sources say the President made to steer the storied and lucrative British Open Golf Tournament to his resort in Scotland. So don't go far on that.

[20:15:10]

BERMAN: Next, two experts, one of the frontlines in Houston reacting to President Trump's remarks tonight as well as the prospects for one or more vaccines before the year is out. And later, you know, near paramilitary forces on the streets of

Portland, Oregon and the President's threat to send them into other big cities. Yes, it's really happening in America. Portland's Mayor joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We're talking tonight about a presidential coronavirus briefing that sounded different and whether in fact the President will follow it up with concrete measures needed to get his country out of the manmade disaster it finds itself in now.

A bit later in the program, we will be joined by a frontline doctor in Phoenix who is seeing it all.

Right now, Dr. Peter Hotez in another city under siege, Houston. He's a vaccine researcher and Dean of Baylor University's National School of Tropical Medicine.

Also with us William Haseltine, former Harvard researcher and recent author of "A Family Guide to COVID: Questions and Answers for Parents, Grandparents and Children." Dr. Hotez, we've spoken with you throughout the duration of this pandemic.

I think I actually spoke with you this morning. I'm wondering what you thought of the President's briefing today. What were your impressions?

[20:20:31]

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Well, my impressions were, I mean, he tossed out a few crumbs that showed some level of concern. He said that -- and I'm looking at my notes here. He said that it's a vicious illness. We need to shield the vulnerable. It's going to get worse before it gets better. And he admitted that the nation needs to have a strategy.

That's good. I mean, if those things -- if he had said those things in March, I would have felt a lot better. But then, you know, he goes into the fact that we're doing better than most countries and fatality rates are falling, lowest case fatality rates, you know, going back to the same old misinformation.

So, you know, although he was told what to say, and he has said a couple of the right things, it just showed me -- it just showed lack of compassion and empathy of a terrible situation we're facing in Texas.

We had 34 deaths yesterday in Hidalgo County as we talked about this morning. A hundred and thirty one deaths today, so the deaths continue to spike terribly in Texas.

ICUs getting overwhelmed all over the state. Hospital staffs getting exhausted and we know mortality is going to go up when hospital staff gets exhausted.

So we're in a terrible situation as well as states across the south. So again, no real recognition of this massive surge, not hotspots and no indication that he is feeling any urgency to make a plan.

BERMAN: It is very likely that by the end of tonight, there will be 1,000 new deaths reported in the last 24 hours as well, just to give a sense of where people are, at this moment.

Professor Haseltine, the President did talk about testing. In the past, he has disparaged expanded testing, but today he said that if doctors and other professionals say we need more of it, then he will agree, we need more of it. What do you make of that?

DR. WILLIAM HASELTINE, CHAIR AND PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL: Well, first of all, I think, I agree with everybody that it's a good thing that he finally said that we need masks, but it is far, far short of what we need.

We need action. We need strategic plans. We need people helping the people in our southern and western states. We need people who can provide the equipment and we don't have those plans. I'd like to see this resolved, turned in to real action.

You know, if you look at the number of deaths in the world, there's about 10 people dying every minute, and almost two of those are Americans. That is what is happening right now. Can we do something about it? Yes. But will it be in time for the decision that everybody is making right now?

Parents are trying to decide whether to send their kids back to school. There won't be a vaccine or a drug by then. They have to make decisions on what we know now, and it doesn't look very good.

BERMAN: Yes, will it be in time?

HASELTINE: The people are out partying. The young people are out partying. They have to decide whether to go back to college or if their college is going to be open.

So we need action and we need it fast and we need it now. Actually, we needed it a long time ago.

BERMAN: Well, that was my point.

HASELTINE: But now, we need it.

BERMAN: We needed it months ago. We needed it months ago. It's too late by 142,000 deaths at this point already.

Dr. Hotez there is this matter of C.D.C. data suggesting that the U.S. has 10 times more cases that is being reported. If that's true, what are the implications there? I mean, what does that mean for stopping the spread?

HOTEZ Well, we've known this for a long time that the number of confirmed cases is just a fraction, and the scientists' debate whether the real number is three times more or five times more or 10 times more. But that's right. I mean, we should assume that at least about 35

million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and the numbers are continuing to climb.

But what it means practically speaking is when we quote numbers, like in Houston, where we've had 1,200 cases today or yesterday, what that really means is probably 5,000 or 6,000 cases and the idea that we could do contact tracing of 5,000 and 6,000 cases in a day in Houston, is -- I don't see a path that we can do that.

So today, I put up -- we published a paper really looking at a plan for the nation where we can bring the whole country back down to containment mode by October 1. Otherwise we just can't do the contact trace.

I mean the truth is, all the things we're talking about: masks and contact tracing will work best when we bring it down to that low level and then we can prevent the resurgence.

And we can do that. We can do that by October if we had that national strategy, but it's frustrating that the Federal government won't put that forward. Maybe the glimmer is that the President mentioned it, so maybe it is time maybe it'll happen.

[20:25:27]

BERMAN: Professor Haseltine, I swear, I thought of you the minute this happened. An executive from AstraZeneca told a congressional hearing today that if all goes well, they can have a vaccine ready to go quote, "from September onward."

You were often very skeptical of claims and promises like this. So I've been wanting to ask you all day what you think of that?

HASELTINE: Well, I think he's extremely optimistic. He's in a position better than I am to know what their results are. But I've been watching vaccine development as Peter has for many years. And we know that it is very difficult to ensure the safety and the efficacy of vaccines.

Even if a vaccine were approved September, it won't be in time for children to receive it. You just cannot do it in that time. And I can assure you, if a vaccine does receive Emergency Use Authorization from the F.D.A., we won't know whether it's fully effective and we certainly won't know if it's fully safe.

So it is a very rash statement to have made to give that kind of optimism when we know you have many barriers ahead of you.

BERMAN: Dr. Peter Hotez, Professor William Haseltine, we are both smarter and safer after speaking with you. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.

HOTEZ: Thank you, John.

HASELTINE: You're welcome. Thank you. BERMAN: Just ahead. We have breaking news from "The New York Times,"

another possible example of President Trump mixing his business interests with affairs of stay. Maggie Haberman back to tell us what she and others have uncovered. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:31:20]

BERMAN: All right, a breaking news story from The New York Times published minutes ago on the website about the apparent pressure one top diplomat felt from President Trump to try to convince the British to move a major sporting event that attracts competitors from all across the world not to mention thousands of fans, paying fans to a Trump property.

Back with us, Maggie Haberman, who helped break this story. So Maggie, what exactly are we talking about here in terms of the British Open and what President Trump was asking the U.S. ambassador to Britain to do?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. So according to reporting from my colleagues, Mark Landler in London, Lara Jake covering the State Department and me that Woody Johnson the ambassador to the UK, told colleagues that he was pressured by or asked or urged or something in 2018 by President Trump to try to help him land the British Open at one of the President's clubs in the UK, his golf course at Turnberry, that is not -- it's not even possible in terms of how the British Open is selected for certain sites.

But it does speak to, you know, we have seen areas where the President has tried to steer business to his private firms into his private holdings, you know, such as the Doral last year as a possible host for the G7 which ultimately didn't happen and was canceled and it was moved from the Doral anyway after an uproar.

But this is not the first time the President has done this, but it is extraordinary and by raising this with an ambassador, he is using government resources in a very specific way and other government officials as instruments to try to get something that he wants for his business.

BERMAN: How did the ambassador not to mention other diplomats associated when it reacts to this pressure?

HABERMAN: Sure. So Woody Johnson, apparently discussed it with his deputy at the time, the deputy advised against raising this, but Woody Johnson still did bring it up in some fashion in a meeting with officials from the UK, including the Secretary of State for Scotland. It was not, as we understand it, made as a direct ask, it was mentioned or suggested or raised or broached in some way.

But again, it was something that stood out to people, it was something that was unsettling for other diplomats in the UK, they did not see this as a normal course of business. And it has been one aspect of what has been described as something of a rocky tenure for Woody Johnson.

In the UK, there was an inspection, and routine inspection like late last year at the embassy, in which some complaints were made about how Woody Johnson comports himself around staff without asking, you know, whether one potential hire was Jewish about making comments about women's looks, thing, at least some of those comments are supposed to be in this draft report from the inspector general's office, which has not been made public yet.

BERMAN: Did the President violate any laws by making this ask?

HABERMAN: So, look, ethics officials make express concerns about this. The President is not subject to the kinds of ethics laws, you know that other appointees, the government -- their appointees in the government are or the people personnel on the government are people who he chooses to work there. There was a bit of a moat around what the President can and can't get in trouble for. But it raised concerns for ethics, experts as to the spirit of the ethics law is being violated.

BERMAN: Look, it's swampy. I mean, I guess in Scotland, they call them bogs, but it's swampy to be sure. How is the White House reacted to this?

HABERMAN: They are not commenting. And, you know, I can't speak to why they decided they didn't want to weigh in. But, we were very explicit with them what the reporting was going to be, and they chose not to come. And if they then later condemn the reports, bear in mind that they had every opportunity to comment beforehand.

[20:35:08]

BERMAN: It is borne in mind. Maggie Haberman, thank you for sticking around for this breaking news. Appreciate it as always.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Just ahead, more on what the President said about the coronavirus and how it compares to what an emergency room doctor and the frontlines in Arizona sees every day?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Breaking news, new numbers from Johns Hopkins put U.S. deaths at 970. And that's just today and today is not over. This is the same day as we mentioned at the top of the program that President Trump said different words in the pandemic trying for a moment to strike a more serious, somber note. And while the President did admit the pandemic will probably get worse before it gets better, and it's getting worse right now.

By the end of the roughly 26-minute news conference, he had fallen back in an old line that the virus quote will disappear, unquote. Despite the rise in cases that kind of dismissive and downplaying language, is why we want to do now what we try to do as often as possible, get the reality from the front line so you can see and hear from people who face this virus each and every day.

Joining me now, is Dr. Frank LoVecchio, an emergency room physician and professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

First of all, Doctor, thank you for what you're doing. You work at a few different hospitals in the Phoenix area. Describe what it's been like.

[20:40:03]

FRANK LOVECCHIO, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: In a word. It's been nuts. It's been pandemonium. There's people all over. Were waiting for beds, there are some people that are waiting three days in my emergency department waiting for a critical care or ICU bed. I think four out of five patients are there for COVID or COVID-19 complaints.

It's very, very troubling. It's something we've never seen before. My staff is starting to get sick. It's not uncommon for nurses to call in sick because they are sick. My phlebotomist, my techs, half of our tech staff is out at one of the hospitals. Morale sucks, because you know, people are getting sick. And then we hear stuff around us where people still don't believe this is happening.

BERMAN: It's happening and I know what's happening around you each and every day. What about testing? The President even tonight bragging that the U.S. has more testing than any country in the world? What's your own experience with testing?

LOVECCHIO: Well, I mean, we're a big country, we make up, you know, 5 percent of the population. But right now we have 25 percent of all the cases worldwide, I think we might be doing a lot of testing. But in my experience, people are waiting forever for testing. I had two deaths the other day, where I did not test them, I chose not to test them because we had to ration our nasal swabs, they're rash on nasal swab, I couldn't use them on them, I chose to use them on somebody that was maybe more stable, where make a difference.

And both those patients died within a few hours of the emergency department, they're probably not going to be counted as a COVID death. And we saw that from other reports today, that the number of deaths, the number of illnesses are actually underreported, contrary to a lot of people have been saying.

BERMAN: So just repeat that one more time. You can't test every one that you want to test and you had to basically not test two people that you weren't convinced had it, two people because you didn't think it was going to make a difference on whether they live or die.

LOVECCHIO: That's absolutely correct. And it wasn't just me alone. It was like a collective decision. I was just like, hey, should I do a nasal swab? And then I was like, what are you kidding? You know, you have to do it on somebody else. You know, every day is like Groundhog's Day, you walk in one day they're not on nasal swabs, another day without a reagent, another day, we're sending it out to a lab. And when you send it out to labs that adds to it. Some people are

discharged from the hospital before even if they were quote, positive or not. I mean, the good thing is we learn from Italy, in New York, and we kind of see the signs and symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19. But yes, I mean, the test we're not getting. And we know the tests are not super accurate anyway.

BERMAN: What do you need?

LOVECCHIO: It really sucks.

BERMAN: What do you need? And who do you need it from tonight?

LOVECCHIO: Well, I mean, I'm jealous of my New York friends that had FEMA calm (ph), the National Guard, they were checking people outside, you know, I tell them that, you know, I have people with coughs and a little bit of pneumonia that I'm going to send home and they're like, what are you doing? How is that patient making it back to the emergency department?

You need to triage those patients out, you need people out front telling them, you know, to go elsewhere or to, you know, just treat them a little bit and tell them what's going to be offered to them, and then let them go. You know, I think that's one thing, we need to get treatment, treatment that's fast and quick.

And we need to listen to doctors and health care providers with medical advice. This is a moving subject, things are going to change whatever I said in the last four or five months, some of that is going to be wrong. And let the science dictate what's happening here. Just, you know, try to listen to us.

If you're going to wear a mask, realize that mask cut transmission by about 40 percent. Our best two drugs out there maybe Remdesivir and Dexamethasone, they cut it by 10 percent. I mean, you have a drug out there that decreased four times better than any drug that we have, namely a mask, just wear a mask.

You know, when I have to go to -- at work, my face comes out, it looks like a monster when I take off my mask, but I wish it was tighter. I wish I had more PPE on me. I wish I could have a spacesuit. And people just get stressed or when a little bit of cloth on their face, it just seems like such a ridiculous paradigm.

BERMAN: I know this is hard on you. And I know it's hard and your colleagues and again, we want to thank you for the work you're doing. We hear the President speak today and he said different words out loud that he has said in the past. And we know we watch his cable. So if you had a chance to speak to him now and give him advice, what would you say?

LOVECCHIO: I would say that, you know, I understand your concern, and please kind of let the medical professionals, you know, talk about this. You know, you got to let them speak about this and just kind of take the back of this and just kind of say, hey, my advisors say x, y and z. I don't know why there's, you know, Fauci is not there. I mean, Fauci

is a god and infectious disease, where Fauci wrote the book on infectious disease and internal medicine, you know, we love him and to dispute things against him. You know, it's rough, very, very conservative guy. You know, I would listen to the medical professionals that what I would tell him.

[20:45:01]

BERMAN: Dr. Frank LoVecchio, once again, thank you for what you're doing, please get whatever rest you can because we need you there.

LOVECCHIO: I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thanks for all you do.

BERMAN: All right still to come. The violence in Portland in the confrontations involving federal law enforcement officers. The mayor of Portland joins us after government official today criticize the city for not doing enough to maintain peace.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We want to turn to what's been the scene in Portland, Oregon, the last few nights. While city officials say peaceful protests in the wake of the George Floyd killing are the norm. There is nevertheless there have been, nevertheless violent confrontations, some of it involving federal officers, and there was intense criticism of their tactics videos, show DHS personnel arresting protesters and putting them in unmarked SUVs. In one of one video two mask camouflage individuals, they have police badges on their chests and hard to read patches on their arms are seen.

[20:50:05]

Officials today defended both action saying, that unmarked vehicles are common for law enforcement at the name on uniforms are removed to prevent doxxing. That is the release of personal information onto the internet of the officers. Today, the acting head of DHS Chad Wolf also defended his department's response by criticizing Portland city officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHAD WOLF, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: These individuals congregate in the same area night after night. We see them planning their attacks. And yet the City of Portland takes little to no action to stop or disperse this crowd.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Joining me now, is Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. You just heard the acting DHS Secretary criticize your quote, lack of action. What's your response?

MAYOR TED WHEELER (D) PORTLAND, OR: Well, my response is he really doesn't understand the context. And he doesn't seem to understand that it's the presence of the federal officers, the way they came into this city. The way they have trampled over the constitution, the way they've pulled people in advance.

The way they have fired munitions and non violent demonstrators, in one case, nearly killing somebody, the way they've trampled over the requirement for probable cause. This is what is making Portlanders so angry right now. Things were actually fairly calm before the federal government arrived in town. And now they've significantly escalated what was already a very tense situation.

They've made things much worse. And we've been saying from the beginning, look, we don't want you here. We don't need you here. And you -- we want you to go home before somebody gets killed. That's what we're concerned about.

BERMAN: Look, there's been a lot of focus on unmarked vehicles and uniforms. And I think that actually glosses over what is a much more serious legal constitutional issue, which is, if federal officers are protecting federal buildings on federal property, that's one thing and that's most probably quite legal. If they are making arrests for crimes, just crimes or violence that aren't on federal property or don't involve federal buildings that's legally dubious, at best. So is that happening?

WHEELER: That's absolutely happening. And when they first got here, we said, look, we understand you want to protect your facility, keep your folks inside. But they didn't do that, they actually went out onto the streets, they engaged demonstrators, in many cases, documented situations where they engage non violent demonstrations, demonstrators, and that really does get into murky legal ground and that's why the U.S. Attorney in Oregon has called for an investigation and that's why our state attorney general has called for investigation.

And we at the City of Portland, we're also evaluating our legal options.

BERMAN: So the Acting Secretary of DHS, he called them the city to de escalate and try to find a peaceful outcome I think with the federal officers. When we see the videos of how the DHS agents are working also, in some cases federal marshals, how does this de escalate the situation?

WHEELER: It doesn't de escalate the situation at all. In fact, it's well documented that before they got here, the energy was really going out of the late night protests. We were seeing smaller crowds. We were seeing less vandalism, we are seeing much less violence. And all of us expected that it was going to go away.

We had a contained, we were using our de escalation strategies. We were engaged in limited arrests of people who were engaged in illegal activity, that's modern policing. And then these guys came in like a bulldozer.

And what it did was reenergized Portlanders, it brought people back into the streets. And now here we are in the middle of a pandemic, that their boss doesn't even seem to take very seriously and we've got thousands of people back on the streets. This is a disaster, but it's a disaster the administration's own making.

BERMAN: I got 10 seconds less. What -- there is violence and there is disruption. What's your message to the people on the streets tonight?

WHEELER: My message is, you've been heard, thank you for calling out the administration for what it's doing. It's unconstitutional. It's an affront to democracy. But let's stay safe. And let's remember, we're in the midst of a pandemic. It's time to end it.

BERMAN: Mayor Ted Wheeler from Portland, Oregon, thanks very much for being with us.

WHEELER: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "CUOMO PRIME TIME" at the top of the hour, I have not been this close to you in months. I can feel the electricity.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I just walked past you, one cell over. And it's little fools row that they have a setup and it's good to see you JB and I appreciate you sitting in for Cooper.

And listen, I think that this is a no-brainer, what's happening in Portland, it's about politics. It's not about law, and it's not about proper policing. And we have Ken Cuccinelli on tonight who is a heavyweight for the Trump administration over at DHS and we'll have the conversation with him about why it's OK.

[20:55:01]

And if on no other level, where's that same urgency about taking on the pandemic? Here you have states not asking for help, you're giving it anyway because you think it's the right thing. With the pandemic, you have states asking for help. And the President isn't offering it. Now, maybe that changed today.

I know everybody is saying, well, he deserves a pat on the back for owning part of the obvious. It's not the bar here. His job is to find a way to make it better, where's the plan? And we will go through how they're not even counting what matters at the federal level, and it has to change.

BERMAN: We will see you in a few minutes. Great to see -- it's great to be this close to you at least.

Ahead, we're going to honor another victim of the pandemic and a member of 360s extended family.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Tonight, as we try to do every night, we want to remember some of the lives that have been lost during this pandemic. One of the victims hits particularly close to home for the 360 team. It's the father-in-law of our own Gary Tuchman. His wife Kathy and her family laid their father to rest today. His name was Bill Stark, Bill was a chief engineer with the U.S.

Merchant Marine and also served as a lieutenant the U.S. Navy. His family says for his entire life up until the years before he died, he would talk about his adventures at sea and spend hours looking through a Spyglass that ships on the water wondering where they were headed.

After Bill left the Navy he met and married Rosemary Matthews. They went on to have four children together. He later married again to Marian King and between them, they had nine grandchildren whom they loved deeply.

He was known as a good man to his core with a wicked sense of humor. He loved to tell stories, loved his two cars. According to Gary, Bill's legacy is one of joy, happiness, beautiful smiles and love for his family and friends. Bill Stark was 92 years old. His family is in our thoughts tonight.

[21:.00:19]

The news continues. I'll hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."