Return to Transcripts main page
Inspector General Reviewing New Postmaster's Policy Changes And Potential Ethics Conflicts; CDC Says, Rate Of COVID Cases In Children Steadily Increasing; Trump Targets Kamala Harris With Sexist & Racist Attacks; Former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) Discusses Attacks Against Kamala Harris, Attacks She Experienced Herself As A Woman Politician. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired August 15, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Now, this warning comes as we get word that the Postal Service inspector general is now reviewing controversial changes by the postmaster general, a Trump ally, changes that have effectively slowed down mail service by eliminating worker hours, as well as hundreds of sorting machines and, in some cases, even taking letter collection boxes off the streets. These photos were taken at a Bronx post office facility, although it's unclear whether all these mailboxes were removed recently.
Now, some critics took to the streets today to protest the changes gathering outside the home of the new postmaster general, accusing him of trying to sabotage the mail system to benefit the president, who even today continued his relentless and baseless attacks on mail-in voting. President Trump tweeted that the election will be a fraudulent mess and that we may never know who won.
Plenty of developments to tackle here, let's begin with CNN White House Reporter Sarah Westwood in Washington for us.
Sarah, the president has long been pushing this narrative that deceased voters, even dogs have been mailed ballots, that the mail-in- system is rife with fraud. Just bring us the facts.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Ana, the most important fact to remember is that voter fraud is exceedingly rare, according to experts. And they say that widespread voter fraud just simply doesn't happen in vote by mail scenarios. Because, remember, even though politicians now are talking about dramatically expanding the practice of vote by mail, it has been going on to varying degrees in states for years now. And experts do say it's very secure.
The president has, in a lot of cases, including today, been pushing some straight-up misinformation, some misleading claims about voting. He often conflates issues of voter registration in states with fraudulently cast ballots, which are two totally different things. Voter rolls do sometimes need cleaning up, but state officials are regularly checking them.
And there have been some concerns from Republicans, even some Trump allies, that the president is here undermining confidence in a voting method that many of his own supporters may need to rely on in November to get him reelected, that he may be hurting himself and down ballot Republicans by casting so much doubt on the reliability of vote by mail.
We're also seeing him exploit the likelihood that we may not know who won on election night to try to suggest that, in that scenario, the election results shouldn't be trusted. Obviously, experts have said vote by mail ballots do take more time to be counted, and so we may not see a result on election night. That's something that the president is already casting doubt on.
But I want to talk about some of these changes that the post office has made that have drawn criticism but that USPS has framed as cost- cutting changes, obviously drawing a lot of scrutiny in the context of this conversation.
One of them is that high-volume mail processing machines are being removed across the country, hundreds of them. Those letter boxes are being taken off the streets, particularly in western states that late mail may not be sorted, may not be delivered. That obviously has implications for mail-in ballots, That overtime for workers is being dramatically cut and that post office hours are being reduced.
And Democrats have characterized all of these as an effort from the post office to try to sort of sabotage expanded vote by mail efforts. And they've also accused the president of trying to withhold funds from the post office to help with some of these problems that we just covered in order to prevent the expansion of vote by mail, but the president has said he would sign a bill that included more funding for the Postal Service but only if it came along with the stimulus changes that Republicans want on Capitol Hill.
CABRERA: Sarah Westwood reporting in D.C. for us, thanks.
Joining us now is former Democratic Senator from California Barbara Boxer. Her old seat is currently held by Senator Kamala Harris, and also with us, CNN Political Commentator and Republican Strategist Ana Navarro.
So, Senator Boxer, the U.S. Postal Service putting out this warning to nearly every state, every state but four, about potential delays that could impact ballots arriving on time and being counted in the election. We're only 80 days out now from the election. What needs to happen?
FORMER REP. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): This needs to stop. This needs to be fixed. The Democrats passed a bill in the House that will deal with this.
Donald Trump's America is falling apart. We're sick, we're scared of losing our jobs if we haven't already lost them. It goes on and on, and now, the post office, one of our most revered institutions. Last I checked, 91 percent of the people think it's terrific. He is abandoning the post office.
This can be fixed. I'm not going to sit in my chair and say, woe is me. Fix it.
CABRERA: Who has to fix it?
BOXER: Trump. He's got to walk into those meetings, the negotiations, he's the Art of the Dealmaker, really? Walk in there and settle this. The Democrats have a plan to solve the problem.
You know, it is moment in time I never, ever thought I would live to see such a president.
And the only way he feels now he can win this against the Biden/Harris ticket is to straight out steal it, and he's doing it in plain sight. And we cannot let it happen.
CABRERA: And you say that the president should fix it but it doesn't sound like he wants to fix it. In fact, he thinks that it's to his advantage for the system to be broken. Ana, what do you make of the fact though that the Postal Service inspector general is now reviewing policy changes and potential ethics conflicts involving this new postmaster general? I mean, obviously, if past is prologue, we know what happens with inspects general. The president either fires them or he ignores them.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, I think it's good that the inspector general is looking at it, and I think it's happening because of the public pressure, because of all the pictures that have been posted online that have been going viral of the post -- of the mailboxes being taken away, machines being destroyed.
Because it's in the public eye, because we're talking about it is the reason they are feeling pressure because there are people protesting in front of the postmaster general's house. That's the kind of pressure that needs to be kept up from now until Election Day and until it's fixed.
Donald Trump has no interest in fixing this. Whether it is suppressing the vote by instilling fear in people through that vote by mail or whether it's little, you know, back of the room meetings between Kanye and his consigliore, Jared Kushner, he's going to find every single way he can to steal this election, to rig this election in his favor.
So, people, voters need to have (INAUDIBLE). The moment they get their ballots, if it's by mail, take it in, in person. Put it in the mail early. Don't wait until the last minute. You will probably already know who you're going to vote for, so don't wait until the last minute.
And in places like in Florida, you can track your mail-in ballot. When you put it in the mail, you can track it or go ahead and vote early or vote in person. Do whatever you need to do, but formulate a plan with enough time.
CABRERA: It is kind of rich that the president is attacking mail-in voting, saying it, you know, is fraudulent, and yet he and his wife, we know, requested mail-in ballots for Florida's upcoming primary election. That's just another example of the sort of contradiction that we often see in this administration.
Senator Boxer, I do want you to hear something we heard from Majority Whip Jim Clyburn as we discussed this issue last hour about the apparent interference we're seeing with the U.S. Postal Service. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Not to make provisions for people to be able to participate in this democracy without having to run the risk of contracting a disease that could kill them. I've never thought that I would live to see the United States of America tolerate a tyrant who seems to just trample upon our Constitution.
John Lewis, that would be so disappointed that he gave -- nearly gave his life to get the vote for people of color and to watch complicity of the Republicans in holding on to this kind of shenanigan is just beyond me. This, to me, I never thought that I would see this country allow this to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Senator, as someone who served in Congress alongside John Lewis, your reaction.
BOXER: Well, I heard Congressman Clyburn when you interviewed him and now hearing it again, you can hear the pain, the anger in his voice. This is beyond belief. Donald Trump has decided, and he did a long time ago, that he doesn't really care about the people, and he doesn't care about expanding the base, and he doesn't care if Russia helps him win. We're on to that, okay? We're on to everything he's doing.
And what we saw in the last election, in 2018, people stood on line forever in those midterms just to make a statement, they're sick of what's happening. And that's before COVID.
I share the anger, the deep frustration that Congressman Clyburn, you know, obviously showed America. It is not too late to fix it. It is absolutely true if we do what we have to do, and I agree with that idea, you know, demonstrating in front of Congress, demonstrating in front of the postmaster, these people.
And I think Congress should hold hearings right now, even if it's -- it could be virtual. They don't have to come back to Washington to do it. They ought to hold hearings right now and haul this guy, who's hauling away our mailboxes before the country. The country will not stand for it.
At the end of the day, I think it will backfire, and I think people will vote early and they will be careful, they will have a plan.
And Trump is going to be defeated by an even bigger margin because of these, as Jim Clyburn says, shenanigans.
CABRERA: We are not hearing the same kind of concern or condemnation from Republicans, Ana. We did hear from Republican Senator Mitt Romney, breaking with the president's criticism of mail-in voting, but not a lot of others. Here is what Romney said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I don't know of any evidence that voting by mail would increase voter fraud. I've heard some people say they think that the reason the president doesn't want people to vote by mail is that polls show that people who want to vote by mail tend to vote for president or Vice President Biden, people who tend to want in person tend to want to vote for President Trump, and so this is a political calculation. Look, my own view is, we want people to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Ana, he didn't actually mention the president by name. Why aren't more Republicans speaking out?
NAVARRO: Fear, cowardice, complicity. Look, if you are one of the Republicans who stands up against Donald Trump, who confronts him, who disagrees with him, he comes for you. He comes for you via Twitter. He comes for you in your primary elections. He comes for you in your general elections. Practically, every Republican who has stood up to Donald Trump at one point or another has lost their primary, has lost their general, has decided to retire, or has died.
And so, the Republican Party that is there now shakes in cowardice at the idea of confronting Donald Trump because they put reelection above party. They put reelection above country. They put reelection above everything.
And, look, it's not -- I mean, I'm apoplectic, frankly, that we are watching the dismantling of the U.S. Postal Service, which is not just about voting, it's about medicine, it's about jobs. I mean, it's about so much. Right now, in this pandemic, it's been the post office that has kept so many of us connected and able to get necessary equipment and necessary -- you know, we are dependent on the post office. It is ridiculous. This level of silence is ridiculous.
And so, if you live in a state where there are Republican senators, if you live in Florida, where it's Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, call their office, protest in front of their office. Because instead of tweeting about, you know, football, it would be nice if they were defending our right to have the U.S. Postal Service mentioned in the Constitution.
CABRERA: Let me pivot for a minute because we also saw the return of birtherism this week when the president failed to refute a conspiracy theory about Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard it today that she doesn't meet the requirements. And, by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that's right. I would have -- I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Just to be clear, there is no question about her eligibility and whether, you know, she can be a running mate. She was born in California. She is an American citizen. The fact that it's already gotten this ugly just a couple of days after Harris was named, Senator, where does it go from here? Why attacks on race instead of policy?
BOXER: Trump is a disgrace. He's an absolute -- he's disgraceful. And every day you think it can't get lower, it gets lower. And I'm going to tell you something right now. You know, you asked about my colleagues, and Ana Navarro is right. There's a lot of fear. But guess what? When you take that oath, and I was so proud to do it, all those times the U.S. Senate, before that, the House, you swear to uphold the Constitution, not to be a baby and a puppet of a president.
And, you know, at the end of the day, you have to look in the mirror, and you have to say, did I do everything I should have done when I was there? And so, I think the people -- when history is written, the people that are just standing by, you know, sucking their thumb are going to go down in history as the biggest cowards. But I forgot what you asked me.
CABRERA: You know, that's okay, because your comments are along the same lines. Go ahead.
NAVARRO: I want to -- you were talking about -- you were, you know, asking about birtherism. And, look --
BOXER: Birtherism, right.
NAVARRO: It's about voter suppression. It's about racism. It's a dog whistle. Is it a coincidence that it's been the two black candidates, Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, and Kamala Harris, born in Oakland, California, that get told that they were born within the 50 U.S. states, that there is a question on whether they are legitimate candidates? And then there's all these questions as to her blackness. Is she black enough, questions that are being made by some racist.
So, you know, it's all about suppressing the vote. It's all about hurting her credibility. It's all about that. And we cannot let that win.
CABRERA: Do you think it will work?
NAVARRO: No, I don't. First of all, you know, you're talking -- first of all, there is no question about her legitimacy. And this is one where even Lindsey Graham has tweeted it out and has agreed. But second of all, look, Kamala Harris is not going to allow some, you know, racist define her identity and who she is.
I know her. I'm sure Barbara Boxer knows her. We know she's very comfortable in her skin. She knows who she is. She's proud of her heritage. And she is, at the end of the day, a qualified American running for the ticket who happens to be a woman, who happens to be a woman of color. I, as an American woman of color, I'm very, very proud of her, and I don't think anybody is going to fall for that bait.
CABRERA: I am so grateful to have two smart ladies.
BOXER: You know I wanted to say -- can I quickly say something about this? She was the district attorney. She was attorney general. She was -- she took my seat after I retired in the United States Senate. She's American as American can be.
CABRERA: Thank you so much, former Senator Barbara Boxer and Ana Navarro, great conversation, ladies, thank you.
BOXER: Thank you. Bye.
NAVARRO: Thank you.
CABRERA: As schools reopen across the country, new data from the CDC suggests children may be more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus than many people thought and are just as likely as adults to end up in the ICU if hospitalized. The details, next.
CABRERA: As children return to school, there is an alarming new finding from the CDC. COVID-19 rates among children are steadily increasing. According to the CDC's new statistics, children under age 18 make up 22 percent of the U.S. population and are now accounting for more than 7 percent of all COVID cases. And the number and rate of infections among children has been steadily increasing from March to July.
There's also this from the CDC. One in three kids hospitalized with the virus ends up in the ICU, one in three. That's the same rate as adults.
Let's talk about this with CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who is the Chief of Infectious Diseases, that division, at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Doctor, the president has repeatedly claimed children are immune to this virus. Not only is that not the case, but CDC now noting transmission of the virus to and from children may have been reduced in the spring and the early summer thanks to some of the mitigation measures that just to stay at home orders and school closures. This may explain the low incidence in children compared with adults, the CDC notes. So, how should all this new information play into any consideration of sending children and teachers and staff back to school?
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Good afternoon, Ana. Right, really interesting data from the CDC. I think what we know about this virus is it very much depends on the behavior of our population, right? Early on, we were seeing many more infections in nursing homes and elderly people. We didn't know how to prevent it. We didn't know exactly what it was. We knew it was transmitting before we even had tests.
Now, what's happening is we've known how to prevent it. We're masking in nursing homes. We're masking in healthcare settings. We know what to do. It's not entirely clear that our children are behaving in the way that will prevent transmission. Some of them are, some of them aren't. When you see the footage of people going back to school, not wearing masks, it shouldn't be a surprise to us that there's more transmission happening among children because we see that they're not behaving in ways to protect themselves.
I also just want to highlight that it's very clear that children are not immune to this virus.
CABRERA: Right. The new CDC guidance also says the evidence suggests as many as 45 percent of pediatric infections are asymptomatic. So, how do you stop the spread of this virus in schools in particular if nearly half of the kids who have the virus don't even show it?
WALENSKY: Right, and this is really important. So, not only are 45 percent asymptomatic but even more may be pre-symptomatic. They might be able to shed the virus today but not -- and not have symptoms until tomorrow.
So, I think the real question here is how many people are asymptomatically shedding, and it boils down to that four-letter word we've been talking about, testing. We don't know how much asymptomatic shedding is going on out there, how much asymptomatic transmission is happening out there, because we're not testing asymptomatic people.
We already have a woeful backlog on testing symptomatic people. And we need more and more tests so that we can test these kids, those who are positive, we can get out of the classroom and those who are negative, we can allow to be in the classroom and be in schools. And in the meantime, we need to mask so that in the absence of information of what a test might provide, that we can prevent disease transmission.
CABRERA: For the children who do get sick, who end up in the hospital, I mean, this new stat, one in three end up in the ICU, the same rate as adults. Does that surprise you?
WALENSKY: Yes, that was an interesting study. It was about 576 children from 14 states from March until the middle of July to look at what was happening among hospitalized children. The numbers of hospitalizations are still quite low. They increased over time probably because more children were getting infected over time. But hospitalization rates, in general, for children, were still low under one per hundred thousand per week.
What we did see from these data, however, is if children get into the hospital, they have about a one in three probability of being in the ICU and about a 6 percent probability of being -- requiring a breathing machine, being ventilated, children who are at higher risk of requiring more ICU level care were those who were obese, who had chronic lung disease, and for those under two, those who were premature.
So I don't think it's that surprising that given you were sick, that you were likely to potentially get more sick.
CABRERA: Okay. And, quickly, I do want to ask you about what is, I think, a bit after good news today, the FDA issuing an emergency use authorization for a quick, inexpensive saliva-based COVID-19 diagnostic test. Now, we're told it's highly sensitive, it takes just three hours to get results. 92 samples can be tested at one time and labs are expected to charge just $10 a test. Is this a game changer?
WALENSKY: This is an amazing incremental step. Yes, and I know that they're going to be doing 10,000 of these a day at University of Illinois. The NBA is using this test. This is something that has already been proven to be available, doable at a wide scale.
I want to just convey this -- we need rapid tests. We need point of care tests. We need a massive amount of testing. And to claim that we need anything else is just not true. There are 10 million people in this country with diabetes, and they test their sugar anywhere between two and four times a day. We could do 40 million tests like they do for sugar tests of a test for COVID. And the fact that we're not doing it is the reason that we're all still home, all wearing masks, all transmitting disease to one another.
CABRERA: Dr. Rochelle Walensky, always good to have your expert advice here. Thank you.
WALENSKY: Thanks so much for having me, Ana.
CABRERA: Her name is pronounced Kamala. Yes, she is a U.S. citizen, qualified to run for office. Just days after being announced as Biden's running mate, Senator Harris already facing sexist and racist attacks. My next guest knows about the double standard women face in Washington. Former Congresswoman Katie Hill is next.
Stay with us.
CABRERA: If you remember President Trump's 2016 campaign, you won't be surprised by his reaction to Senator Kamala Harris being picked as Joe Biden's running mate.
Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Angry.
(voice-over): So angry.
(on camera): Mad.
(voice-over): Sort of a mad woman.
(on camera): Extraordinarily nasty.
Very, very nasty.
Nastiest of anybody in the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Sounds familiar, right? Similar to his attacks on Hillary Clinton. And then, FOX host, Megyn Kelly.
It's not just the president. FOX's Tucker Carlson struggled to even pronounce her name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Just tell Kamala Harris what to say and she will say it. That is the whole point of Kamala Harris.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tucker, can I just say one quick thing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because this is something that will serve you and your fellow hosts on FOX.
Her name is pronounced comma, like the punctuation mark. Kamala. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seriously, I've heard every sort of bastardization of it.
CARLSON: So what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's how it is, Kamala.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think out of respect for somebody who's going to be on the national ticket, pronouncing her name right is actually kind of a bare minimum. CARLSON: All right. So I'm disrespecting her by mispronouncing her
name unintentionally? So it begins. You're not allowed to criticize Kamala Harris or Kamala Harris or whatever because --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kamala.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no --
CARLSON: Kamala Harris.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- whatever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: OK, Trucker Carlson.
It's no secret women in politics face more scrutiny than their male colleagues. And so my next guest is here because she has personal experience.
Former California Congresswoman Katie Hill joins us now. She is the author of a new book, "She Will Rise: Becoming a Warrior in the Battle for True Equality."
And she resigned from her office in November amid an ethics investigation into a consensual relationship with a younger campaign aide and after nude photos were released without her consent.
Katie Hill, thanks for joining us.
Are you surprised by the attacks on Senator Harris?
FORMER REP. KATIE HILL (D-CA): No, I'm not surprised even a little bit. She has, you know, faced these her entire career, undoubtedly.
And we see this over and over again with women in power. Women across the board.
You don't have men just go and give unsolicited advice to other men about how to be more likable or, you know, saying they should smile more or, you know, saying they're too bossy or nasty or anything like that.
These are uniquely -- these are criticisms that are unique to women as we're trying to claim our seats at the table.
CABRERA: Do you think these attacks work? Do you think they could be effective on Harris?
HILL: I honestly think that we are starting to call them out more.
And we have learned a lot, just collectively as a society, since 2016. I really hope so.
But I truly -- I think that these are going to backfire in a bigger way than they did before. And I'm excited about that.
And you know, we talk about that in the book, about how women need to rise up and that it needs to be a call to arms because we can't continue to tolerate this anymore.
CABRERA: Harris became the third female to be a V.P. pick. Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate in 2008, said she hoped the media wouldn't be as personally rough on Senator Harris.
Do you think there has been some progress for female politicians in the national arena?
HILL: I think maybe some. But we still have to recognize that in most legislative bodies, women make up less than a quarter of the elected officials.
So even in Congress, even after the great year of the woman in 2018, we still have about half the representation that we should have proportional to what we represent in the population.
So, until that changes, until we elect more women, until we see women at every single level of power, then we're not going to see fundamentally women be treated the same as men.
So it's about, how do we get to that point.
CABRERA: You address misogyny in politics in your new book, as we've discussed. But I know it's very personal to you. Tell us about what you experienced.
HILL: Yes, I mean, the -- first of all, you experience it the entire way up. I was new to politics. I wasn't planning on running for office, and just the amount of sexism that you experience as you're running is incredible.
I had men literally tell me that, you know, I don't think that you should -- you're the best candidate because we don't -- a woman can't defeat my opponent before.
And then during my resignation, the way that people -- the part of the reason that I decided to resign was exactly because of that double standard.
You don't -- we have never had naked pictures that were used so widespread by major media and that were weaponized. They were weaponized by my abusive ex. They were used by right-wing media and by my political opponents.
And that's nonconsensual revenge porn, or like we call it, cyber exploitation. It's something that is -- that is 90 percent of victims of cyber exploitation are women.
And it's something that we're going to continue to see again until we have equal number of women in power. CABRERA: I can only imagine what that must have felt like as you were
getting inundated during that time. And you chose to escape the spotlight, you resigned your seat. But now a Republican man has filled your seat.
Do you regret resigning?
HILL: It's certainly something that was really hard to face when he did take that seat.
But I am very optimistic about November being able to take that seat back with a Democratic woman.
You know, the special election that happened in May, we always have just horrible turnout in those kinds of elections. But November, we shouldn't see that. So, I think we'll be OK.
CABRERA: Do you think you would have handled it any differently? Obviously, hindsight is 20/20. Would you have done anything differently?
HILL: Yes, I wouldn't have gotten into the situation in the first place. In the moment, it felt like my only option was to resign.
I feel like I was -- it was the right thing to do for my family, for my own mental health, for, you know, I didn't want to be a liability to my colleagues or to the party as we were moving into impeachment.
But you know, even if I were -- even if I had been in elected office longer, or the timing had been different, you don't know if -- I just don't know if I would have done something differently.
But now I'm trying to make the most of it and help other women get into elected positions and support them once they're there.
CABRERA: So, what are your plans for the future?
HILL: So, I started an organization called Her Time. It's a political action committee.
And we're supporting candidates all over the country, especially young women and women of color who are, you know, who need that initial boost to help them get over the fundraising hurdle, to help them be considered serious or electable or viable as candidates.
And then we're also helping figure out how to mobilize women as a voting group, women between the ages of 18 and 40, who I think have a tremendous amount of power.
We want to mobilize them not just for the presidential election but for every election after that.
And then we've got a legislative set of issues that we're going to be advocating for.
(CROSSTALK) CABRERA: Former Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us. Katie Hill. Appreciate the conversation. Good luck to you.
HILL: Thank you. Thank you so much.
CABRERA: Coming up, it's happened only twice in our lifetimes, the winner of the popular vote goes on to lose the presidency. We'll take a closer look at the controversy that is the Electoral College. What it might mean for this election.
CABRERA: The Democratic National Convention begins Monday. The Republican convention is the following week.
But even with President Trump trying to gin up doubts about mail-in voting, there's an aspect of the last election that could come roaring back into view in 2020: Electoral votes.
It is the subject of a new CNN special report called "COUNT ON CONTROVERSY, INSIDE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE."
Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hah!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2000, in one of the closest presidential contests that we've ever had, George W. Bush had 271 Electoral College votes. Remember, you need 270 to win.
BUSH: Thank you, Miami.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Al Gore won the popular vote in that election by about 500,000 votes.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And that's because of the Electoral College and its winner-take-all system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which means that if you win a state by one vote, you get all of the Electoral College votes in that state, which could lead to some pretty strong disproportionate outcomes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a system that system systematically says to people, you don't matter if you don't come from a swing state.
And even if you come from a swing state, like Florida, if you don't happen to be in the majority, we're going to count your votes for the purpose of just throwing them away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that somebody can be elected as the president of the United States without winning the popular vote is certainly unsettling to many, confusing to many.
TRUMP: Keep America great.
BERMAN: Even more unsettling to some, it could happen again in even bigger fashion.
Donald Trump trailed by almost three million votes in 2016.
BERMAN: In 2020, he could conceivably trail by even more and still emerge victorious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The host of this special, John Berman, joins us now.
So, John, I mean, you throw out this big question there at the end, could it all happen again in November?
BERMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely it could happen again.
As we said, Donald Trump lost the popular vote by about three million, still won handily in the Electoral College.
If you run some of the numbers, it's easy to see how he could end up by losing by five or in the popular vote.
Just take Texas. He won Texas by 9 percent in 2016. The margins there are a lot slimmer.
Even if he wins by 1 percent, that's a lot more in the popular vote that he's losing.
So absolutely, it could happen again, especially when you consider that Donald Trump runs better in the battleground states by three or four points than he does nationally.
And those states are, on average, about 7 percent whiter and have about 10 percent more non-college whites, which, again, is Donald Trump's base.
So this really is something that is within the realm of possibility again.
CABRERA: Obviously, when you're talking about the Electoral College, this is a dense topic. You really have to get into the weeds.
It's not easy to make it must-see TV. But "Schoolhouse Rock," an inspiration from "Schoolhouse Rock" helps with that. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It's a catchy tune. It's a catchy tune. Who came up with that?
BERMAN: It's the Mighty Giants. We asked -- we knew that sometimes concepts like this are hard to connect to. So we wanted to make it sexy, so we asked the Mighty Giants if they would write a song.
They did. In like 10 minutes, they came up with this incredibly catchy jingle. It was inspired by "Schoolhouse Rock." It was inspired by them.
But if you remember, get your adverbs here. It's the only reason I know adverbs is because of "Schoolhouse Rock." But they might be Giants, did the song. The cartoon is hilarious.
We try to explain to people. It's hard to explain. It's hard to understand why on earth do we still have this thing.
Why do we have the Electoral College when it's so far -- it is such an incredible departure from what the founding fathers created in 1787? Yet, to an extent, we're stuck with it.
CABRERA: Can you remind us what the point was of the Electoral College to begin with? Why not just let it be every vote counts?
BERMAN: Sure. It was -- there was a debate inside the Constitutional Convention. There were people -- there were people who wanted a national popular vote, but they thought that would be difficult, because, obviously, communication was hard at that point.
And there was a notion that you wanted to have someone choose the president who knew that person, man, at that point, better.
So, people like Alexander Hamilton said, we're going to appoint these electors who are going to be these really smart men who are going to know how to pick the president correctly.
They thought about other things. They thought about a popular vote. They thought quite a bit about having either Congress or state legislators pick the president, just vote for the president.
But they didn't do it for Congress because that would be more like a prime minister so they decided against that and they wanted some element of democracy. So that's why they came up with this compromise.
But I do -- I think it's so -- the thing that I learned that I'm still shocked that I didn't know and I'm still shocked that it's true. Is that there's nothing in the Constitution that says that citizens, everyday human beings, you and me, have any role, necessarily, in picking the president.
We have no guaranteed right to pick the president. Just the state legislatures have a guaranteed role in picking the president.
CABRERA: That is eye-opening.
John Berman, thank you. Thank you for sharing and making us all smarter.
The CNN special report, "COUNT ON CONTROVERSY, INSIDE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE," airs tonight at 10:00.
Coming up, he could make history as the nation's first second gentleman. A closer look at Senator Kamala Harris's husband.
CABRERA: Here's the name you might not know right away, Douglas Emhoff. He's an entertainment layer in California, who happens to be married to a certain U.S. Senator and now presidential running mate.
CNN's Kyung Lah reports on the man who could become the country's first second gentleman.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, officially takes her historic step forward on the presidential ticket.
But it's the man who posed with her at the end.
Husband, Doug Emhoff, tweeting this with Dr. Jill Biden, "Ready to go."
DOUGLAS EMHOFF, ATTORNEY & HUSBAND OF KAMALA HARRIS: Let me interview the woman love.
LAH: He was an ever-present plus-one on the campaign trail as his wife ran for president.
LAH: The quiet guy.
LAH: Cheerleader when needed. Active on social media as Mr. Kamala Harris. (CHEERING)
LAH: And sometimes the unscripted husband.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, hey, hey.
LAH: In a security scare last year at a campaign event, a protester got this close to Harris.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, hey.
LAH: The female moderator got in between. And then one of the three men to charge and drag him away was Emhoff. The look on his face, unfiltered, unmistakable.
And when her presidential hopes ended, he was her source of comfort.
EMHOFF: We were a good couple going in and I think we came out of it like, you know.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) & VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Aw.
LAH: A modern husband, now waiting through barely charted territory.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is only the third woman vice presidential nominee, so he will be navigating terrain that we haven't really seen in recent history.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": I don't know if we're ready for a first lady named Doug.
KIMMEL: Doug, huh?
HARRIS: Oh, he is the most fully actualized person you've ever met.
LAH: The couple met later in life, set up on a blind date by friends. Emhoff, an entertainment lawyer and millionaire, elevated her public service salary into the 1 percent. And he brings two grown children, both in their 20s, to their blended marriage.
HARRIS: I've had a lot of titles over my career, and certainly vice president will be great. But Momala will always be the one that means the most.
LAH: What's notable to gender politics watchers is how Emhoff is changing the norms for American men.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's showing other voters and particularly other men the need to sometimes step back and lift up women's voices.
CABRERA: Kyung Lah reporting for us.
Watch CNN's special live coverage of the 2020 Democratic National Convention for all the biggest moments, the most important speeches, and insight on what it all means for Joe Biden and the future of the Democratic Party. That starts Monday night at 8:00 here on CNN.