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Coronavirus Stimulus Bill; 2020 Election; Moderna Is Pricing Coronavirus Vaccine; Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired August 5, 2020 - 12:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Closer but not close. That is the starting point today as congressional Democrats try to reach agreement with the Trump White House on a new coronavirus stimulus package. The White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says the price tag is one stumbling block. What he calls the $3.4 trillion donkey or elephant in the room. Speaker Pelosi calls that number a beautiful swan.

Either way, sources say the top Democrats and the White House negotiators are still not close to a deal even as they narrow differences. So how much of a stimulus does the country need? Joining us is the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Robert Kaplan.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us. What's the number in your view? How much stimulus does the United States economy need right now to keep it from tipping back into recession?

ROBERT KAPLAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF DALLAS: I probably wouldn't speculate on a number. What I'd tell you, we do need -- I believe the economy needs a continuation of unemployment benefits, may not need to be in the same form as it currently is but we need a continuation when you've got 17 million out of work and another several million who are working part time and would like to work full time and need some income support.

And then the second part is aid to state and local governments that are needing to cut back because of a fiscal hole map to balance budgets and we're looking to them to help get schools back reopened and to do a number of things in their local economies. So those would be two items that I would mention.

What the actual number is I'll leave to the elected and appointed officials. We're going to rebound and we are rebounding in terms of growth in the third quarter. The question is, how fast? And a lot of that is going to depend on how well we manage the virus.

KING: It's a great plan. I just want to show the graphic, because you do this for a living. I covered labor issues when I first came to Washington. When you look at the GDP from last quarter, it's just -- it makes your jaw drop. You see that drop in the bottom. Historic drop in the last quarter. It is stunning. And the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the American economy.

You mentioned it is coming back. You're in Dallas. One of the states that reopened earlier. Listen to the president's assessments. He thinks we're going to get good numbers by end of week and he views this as a launch pad.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The last two months we set a record on the job numbers.


TRUMP: And now we're going to have another big job number on Friday, so it will be interesting to see what that is. But we're heading definitely a V.


KING: By a V the president means you go down and then shoot up. Do you see that, sir? Do you think it's going to be more of a bump or steps approach?

KAPLAN: Yes, well our forecast all along. We had close to a 35 percent annualized contraction in the second quarter, which included a rebound in part of May and June, and the so we -- we've been expecting a 20 percent annualized growth in the third quarter.

And now that sounds like big numbers, but when you look at the hole we're climbing out of, even with that kind of growth in the third quarter and healthy growth in the fourth quarter, we'll still contract this year in the United States by 5 percent.


And so when you've got this big of decline you'd expect a rapid recovery. The issue with resurgence and the virus is it slowed down or is somewhat muted the recovery we've expected. So the better, again, we manage the virus, the better we'll recover, but people should expect, we're going to grow in the third quarter. We're going to grow in the fourth quarter. The issue is how fast. And a lot of that depends on the path of the virus.

KING: That last point is critical, because it depends on the path of the virus whether we will have a full reopening or whether we're going to see in some parts of the country fits and starts. Because the case count --

KAPLAN: Right.

KING: -- spike or hospitalizations rates spikes and you get in some stress. This is your counterpart in Minneapolis, Neel Kashkari. Let's listen ad I want to ask you if you agree on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NEEL KASHKARI, PRESIDENT, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF MINNEAPOLIS: Our ability to control the virus either through clamping back down getting the case count down so that we can test and trace and keep this thing under control, or eventually getting a vaccine or a robust therapy. That's the only way we're really going to have a real robust economic recovery. Otherwise we're going to have flare-ups, lockdowns, and a very halting recovery with many more job losses and many more bankruptcies for an extended period of time, unfortunately.


KING: Do you think that will be necessary, in large pieces of countries to roll back a little, at least a pause if you don't roll back or do you think we are at point to navigate this safely, as long as people are careful?

KAPLAN: In certain locations, if the virus starts to threaten to overwhelm the health care systems, I could see where we would need to roll back. But those hopefully be isolated. Even with a rollback like that, when you reopen, you still got to have widespread mask-wearing as well as testing and contact tracing.

And so what I've said consistently. We're going to have to learn to live with this virus. And what does that mean? If we had widespread wearing of masks, which I think have been uneven so far, most epidemiologists I talk to think we would substantially mute the transmission of this disease over the next four to eight weeks.

So, I don't think there's any getting around the fact. We're going to have to follow the health care protocols and while there may be isolated places where you have to phase back reopenings, or slow them down, and I think that will be necessary, you're doing that in order to make sure that as you come out you're managing the disease.

We're going to have to learn to manage this disease, not just through end of the year. I would guess through a good part of 2021. Epidemiologists I've talked to suggest we can do it and re-engage in a broad range of activities but it will take widespread wearing of mask and I would emphasize that protocol at critical to further growth in the economy.

KING: I hope you're right and I think it's smart to blend the economics with the public health advice as we go forward. Mr. Kaplan, appreciate your insight today, sir. We'll keep in touch as we go through all of us living this experiment as we go forward. I'm grateful for your time. Thank you.

Millions of Americans now working several jobs in the new gig economy. Joining us W. Kamau Bell to see how it all works and in some cases how it doesn't. That's an all new episode of "American Shades of America." Sunday night 10:00 Eastern only here on CNN.

Up next for us, the vaccine race. The president is bullish. Will he meet his goals?


KING: Several developments today in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. The Trump administration announcing a deal with a potential supplier. The $1 billion agreement with Johnson & Johnson is for 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate. Johnson & Johnson now one of a handful of companies working with the administration's "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine project. Another of those company, Moderna, promising investors today its candidate would are affordable if successful. When can we expect that vaccine or any to be available? Well, listen to the president. He's quite bullish.


TRUMP: Vaccines and therapeutics are coming along incredibly well. I've streamlined the process. This would have taken three, four years to be where we are now and we're going to have one, I believe, long before the end of the year.


KING: CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us with more. We're in August, long before end of the year would be relatively soon. Is he close?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Not according to head of operation "Warp Speed." I mean Moncef Slaoui is the guy who's in charge of this effort, and John just days ago he told me that he thinks the first batch of doses will be available in December of this year. So not long before end of the year but the last month of the year, or maybe even January of next year. He said those doses would be for people who are high risk. The elderly, people with underlying medical conditions.

And he said he is optimistic that the rest of the country will be vaccinated by end of next year. By end of 2021. He said, ideally, by middle of 2021, but he said more realistically end of 2021. So Trump's own person is disagreeing with him here. Not long before the end of next year.

Now, it's a little hard to keep track of all this because there are so many companies that are working on COVID-19 vaccines a good thing.

So let's take a look where all of them are at. We're talking now, John, about Phase 3 studies. That's the final round of studies before the government reviews the data and decides whether or not to put it on the market. Moderna and Pfizer currently as we speak in Phase 3 trials and this month Astrazeneca is expected to start their Phase 3s in September. Novavax and Johnson & Johnson are expected to start, and GlaxoSmithKline which is the newest member of Operatio Warp Speed says that they will start their Phase 3s by end of this year.


There are two more unnamed companies that are also going to get "Operation Warp Speed" funding that's according to Dr. Slaoui. Now, let's -- you mentioned Moderna. Moderna came out today and talked about a price point for their vaccine. They said somewhere between $32 and $37 per dose. And then one of their executives also had this to say, "We are working with governments around the world and others to ensure the vaccine is accessible regardless of ability to pay and we will be responsible on price during the pandemic."

But it begs the question, John, if the government's taxpayers, you and me, are spending billions of dollars to fund the efforts, why are we paying for the doses? Shouldn't that be a part of the deal to begin with? John?

KING: It's an excellent question. And we will continue that conversation, we continue asking that question as we go forward. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much.

When we come back, primaries in five states last night. Today, the Republican establishment is happy. But so, too, are progressive Democrats.



KING: One big threat in last night's election result. Democratic Party, especially its voters want younger more progressive candidates, the so called Squad member, Congresswoman Rashida, defended a primary challenge back Detroit. The big example comes out of St. Louis, where 44-year-old progressive activist Cori Bush upset William Lacy Clay. Clay himself a ten-term congressman. He's also part of a Missouri political dynasty and had an endorsement from the democratic house speaker. But Cori Bush is the one who will appear on the ballot come November.


CORI BUSH (D), MISSOURI CONGRESSIONAL NOMINEE: With my brother Jamaal Bowman winning, you know, recently up in New York, you know, it's just saying, look, out of, you know, do some things differently. Because the old ways of doing things, you know, let's retire that and let's start making sure that our deceased districts are taken care of and the people are being, that the goals are being met.


KING: Talk about the significance of this. Astead Herndon from the "New York Times," (INAUDIBLE). I want to listen to more of that from Cori Bush. Because if you listen to her, out with the old. This is part of the generational push among younger especially progressive and especially diverse democratic candidates saying, we want our chance. We think some of the old ways aren't working. But she was also asked, will you work hard for Joe Biden come November despite his past record on criminal justice reform. She said this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: We can't continue with Donald Trump. We cannot live under a Trump administration. So we can disagree on an issue but that won't stop me from fighting for to have a Democrat in the seat.


KING: I took that as significant and interested in your take, because as we watch some of these younger candidates and more importantly as we watched the protests around the country, there has been a question of with all of this energy and all of this activism, would they vote for Joe Biden, would they work for Joe Biden not just vote for him, push and help and organize? Given on some issues do they have some disagreements?

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think what we saw there from Cori Bush is basically been the party line from that kind of progressive wing that no matter what their disagreements are with Joe Biden that they think that alternative is muff better than Donald Trump. We're seeing Democrats allow for kind of big tent right now, where you can have progressives pushing Speaker Pelosi, pushing Joe Biden but at the same time not trying to give space and openings to Donald Trump. And I think that, that is a kind of growth point for the progressive movement from four years ago to now. It is not just laser focused on kind of scoring points within the party, but seeing the kind of a broader context and wanting to build out a movement from there.

KING: And she mentioned Jamaal Bowman in New York. She's obviously won in St. Louis against a family dynasty. That was one of the big questions coming into this primary season. Could the younger progressive Democrats continue the momentum? They had AOC, they had Rashida Tlaib. Could they continue it and the answer is not winning everywhere but pretty good, right?

HERNDON: Yes. I think this has turned out to be pretty good year for progressives. You have Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren fall short in the primary. And that for some folks was a signal that maybe that energy was only 2018-specific, that Joe Biden was kind of reeling back the Democrats to a purely ideological moderate lens.

I think that that's not what we can say seeing the last three or four months. Not only Bowman and Cori Bush but you also Marie Newman in Illinois, Mondaire Jones in New York.

These are people open who are kind of open progressives, who have been able to make that victory. I will say particularly they've been successful with black candidates with people of color performing well. And they've been able to trace (ph) this important line, not only saying ideological change for progressives but representational change and bringing in kind of a newer, young are, more diverse crowd.

KING: Astead Herndon, appreciate your insights. It's an important dynamic. We'll see now how Joe Biden navigates talking with and working with this younger generation. Thanks so much.

Up next, before the deputy attorney general testifies up on Capitol Hill as the president calls her a leaker.


KING: The former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is testifying right now before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She's been called by Republicans as part of their investigation into the Russia probe and what they see is potential to wrongdoing by the Obama administration. Sally Yates saying just moments ago, everything was done by the books.


SALLY YATES, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: Obama or Vice President Biden or National Security Advisor Rice, was anyone trying to influence an investigation, that was set off alarms for me. This was not about that. This was about the national security implications of continuing to share sensitive information with General Flynn.


KING: The context there. Whether they should share information with General Michael Flynn and who went on to become the president's national security adviser, he pled guilty you remember in the Mueller investigations and the current attorney general dropped that case. More in that story in the hours ahead. Thanks for joining us today. We'll see you back here this time tomorrow. Busy news day.