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Postmaster General Testifies In Congress; Interview With Colorado Secretary Of State Jena Griswold (D); U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 175,000 With 5.6 Million Cases; Kicks Off Monday, Few Details Released; Pres. Trump In Overdrive To Produce Blockbuster RNC That Outshines Dems; Steve Bannon Calls Arrest "A Political Hit Job". Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 21, 2020 - 20:00   ET


JESSICA ALBA, THE HONEST COMPANY: And I really found my purpose in building this company.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Well, her company, The Honest Company became more than a billion-dollar company. Hear the conversation with Alba and many other incredible women in our special report, "Women Represented: The 100-Year Battle for Equality" tomorrow night, 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, more than 175,000 Americans have now lost their lives to coronavirus pandemic, more than 5.6 million have now been infected. We crossed that terrible milestone just late today, at about the same time, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released yet another new forecast, this time predicting a death toll of 310,000 people in this country by December.

The Institute's Director joins us shortly to talk about that. We begin though, Keeping Them Honest with the Trump administration's defense against allegations that a key institution is preserving the right to vote in a pandemic.

The Post Office is being systematically crippled with the President's approval by a major campaign donor who happens to run it.

By now, you've probably seen video like this of uprooted mailboxes and massive sorting machines being taken offline or in some cases also being taken apart.

Just last week, the Postal Service warned 46 states they can't guarantee that all mail-in ballots will arrive in time to be counted, and it's hard not to connect that potential effect disenfranchising potentially tens of millions of people with the video above, and those are just some of the things Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has been overseeing in just his first months on the job.

The changes have already slowed the delivery of prescription drugs, government disability payments, even live checks to farmers. Testifying today before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Postmaster General pledged the same would not happen to mail-in ballots.


LOUIS DEJOY, U.S. POSTMASTER GENERAL: As we head into the election season, I want to assure this committee and the American public that the Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation's election mail securely and on time.

This sacred duty is my number one priority between now and Election Day.


COOPER: That's from his opening statement and the words certainly sound reassuring, but for anyone worried about his commitment to what he now calls his sacred duty, he offered little reassurance.


SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI): Will you be bringing back any mail sorting machines that have been removed since you've become Postmaster General? Will any of those come back?

DEJOY: There is no intention to do that. They are not needed, sir.

PETERS: So you will not bring back any processors.

DEJOY: They're not needed, sir.


COOPER: A short time after he said that, CNN's Brianna Keilar spoke with the Postal Workers Union President in North Carolina.


COOPER: So are those needed?


COOPER: I assume removing them was the argument given was that it was obsoleted, they weren't necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no, absolutely not.


COOPER: That was me. She said seven machines in her area were removed, each capable of handling 4.5 million pieces of mail a week. As we reported, the Postmaster was overseeing plans dating back to May for removing machines across the country.

Today, he committed to making no additional changes until after the election. Yet, as we reported last week, the sorting machine removals were scheduled to be completed by late last month. The damage may already have been done.

As for other policy changes, CNN recently obtained internal Postal Service documents showing that plans were in the works for treating election mail differently this year. They've since been reversed -- DeJoy did mention in his testimony, while ignoring the fact that they were very much operational until just a few weeks ago.

He also wouldn't agree to disclose the basis for some of the key decisions he has made.


SEN. JACKY ROSEN (D-NV): We need transparency and the changes you've been making and in everything that you've discussed here today, will you commit to providing this committee with any and all transcripts or minutes of all closed, non-public Board of Governor meetings from this year by this Sunday. Can you commit to that, sir?

DEJOY: No. Ma'am, the policy changes that I --

ROSEN: Yes or no, sir.

DEJOY: The policy changes that I embarked upon were not the ones that you identified in your --

ROSEN: So you didn't do any analysis to see how seniors would be impacted.

Okay, let's move on, you know, our deployed service members routinely cast their ballots by mail.

DEJOY: Senator, the analysis we did would show that we would improve service to every constituent.

ROSEN: I would like to see the analysis that this was based on to our offices by this Sunday. Can you commit to that, sir?

DEJOY: No, ma'am.

ROSEN: Can you commit to transparency, sir? That's all I'm asking.

DEJOY: We are very transparent.


COOPER: Well, that is Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada who joins us in our next hour. Here's her Republican colleague from Utah.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Mr. DeJoy, assuming as I do that you've been truthful in your testimony today, I can imagine how frustrating it is to be accused of political motives in your management responsibility. At the same time, of course, you can surely understand that there have

been pretty good reasons for people to think that you or your colleagues are purposely acting to suppress voting or that you're going to purposely prevent ballots from being counted.



COOPER: There's pretty good reasons to include policy changes, some of which have been reversed and some partially carried out or perhaps the key reason why Louis DeJoy is under suspicion. It is a lot less complicated than sorting capacity, Postal worker overtime, or how ballots are prioritized.

Keeping them Honest, suspicion flows from the simple fact that DeJoy is a mega donor to a President who does not like people voting by mail, who doesn't want to give the Post Office money to help make it possible. And that's not a saying it, it is the President himself.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They want $3.5 billion dollars for something that will turn out to be fraudulent. That's election money, basically.

Now they need that money in order to have the Post Office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now in the meantime, they aren't getting there.

By the way, those are just two items, but if they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail-in voting because they're not equipped to have it.


COOPER: More on all of this now from CNN Chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. Jim, what is the latest from the President's and congressional Democrats take on the Postmaster General?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we can tell you that this evening, the White House issued a veto threat, you know, House Democrats are going to try to pass and they're likely to pass this bill tomorrow that would provide $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service.

The White House says the President would veto that legislation. In a statement that they put out to reporters, the White House essentially accused Democrats of overreacting to what they described as sensationalized media reports about these problems with the Postal Service.

The other thing that we can report to you, Anderson is that just this evening, we were provided with talking points that are being put out by the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign, to their surrogates essentially accusing Democrats of latching on to what they're calling a, quote, "conspiracy theory" about the Postal Service in the upcoming election.

Now for his part, the President denied that he is trying to steal the election earlier today. He's used those words at a speech to conservative activists.

But Anderson, to hear the President's team talk about Democrats latching on to conspiracy theories is pretty rich when the President has been spreading the conspiracy theory that there's going to be widespread voter fraud on Election Day because of mail-in balloting when he just hasn't offered any proof that that would happen.

COOPER: And what about the President -- the vow by the President to send law enforcement to polling places?

ACOSTA: You know, we've been trying to ask White House officials about this all day long. The only person that would offer up any kind of a comment was the White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, who denied that this is at all a voter intimidation, but when you hear the President talking about, you know, sending out police officers and sheriff's deputies and so on to polling places that obviously is going to be intimidating to some voters who by the way, will be showing up at polling places in masks and so on, worried about COVID-19.

The other thing that needs to be pointed out, Anderson, in all of this is that the President when he initially made those comments, was talking to Fox in the middle of the Democratic National Convention.

He has been triggered all week long by what was going on at the D.N.C. I talked to a Republican operative close to the Trump campaign earlier today, who essentially said that Joe Biden's speech last night, you know, blew out of the water, the Trump campaign line that Joe Biden is, quote-unquote, "Sleepy Joe."

And so it's no surprise that the President would be throwing out that kind of red meat, talking about sending police officers and sheriff's deputies to polling places.

But at this point, the White House is not denying that the President may do just that. They're just saying it's not voter intimidation, even though it sounds like it -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jim Acosta. Jim, thanks very much.

Colorado's Secretary of State Jena Griswold is weighing in on the President's talk about law enforcement on Election Day. Quoting now from her statement, "Sending law enforcement to polling locations is designed for voter intimidation rather than election security, indistinguishable from tactics used against black voters in the Jim Crow South." Secretary Griswold joins me now.

Thanks so much for being with us. When the President says he is going to send law enforcement officials to polling locations. Why do you say that that's voter intimidation? JENA GRISWOLD (D), COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, that's exactly

what happened during the Jim Crow South. Local law enforcement were used to intimidate black voters and to try to scare them out of voting. We also saw that in the 80s. That's one of the things that the R.N.C. was sued for, using specifically law enforcement off duty to try to intimidate black and Latino voters.

And I'll tell you, Anderson, this is a scary segment for our national history to be back here, and I'll also tell you that I will not allow the President to use law enforcement to intimidate voters here in Colorado.

COOPER: Some legal experts have said that the President has no authority to deploy local law enforcement officials to monitor elections although apparently his campaign could hire off duty police to work the polls in some capacity. Does that sound right to you?


GRISWOLD: That's right. You know, the President does not have authority over sheriffs, and just to be perfectly clear, any type of voter intimidation is illegal both under state law and Federal law, whether it's D.O.J. observers to Federal or other Federal officials, if they are trying to intimidate voters, we will stop them.

But I think this is a part of a bigger pattern, Anderson. Not only does the President not like vote by mail, the President does not want Americans to vote.

He is forcing Americans to risk their very lives to be pushed into crowded polling centers and then he is saying that if you do go vote in person and wait in those long lines that we see in many states, not only will you be potentially intimidated, you'll also be in crowded places during a pandemic.

So overall, it's just a shame that the President is taking our nation in the wrong direction. And luckily, we have great states like Colorado that can show the nation how we can vote during a pandemic. And in respect of people's Civil Rights.

COOPER: I mean, I don't quite understand if the President is saying he will send sheriffs and law enforcement to polling place on Election Day, I assume, is this to allegedly prevent the phantom voter fraud, which he has continually been saying exists and is widespread in this country, even though there is -- I mean, by every study that's been done, there's just no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Well, he's saying it's for election security. So whatever that means, you know, there is a law that troops can deploy it be deployed if there are armed enemies at polling centers. But I just think that's very unlikely. And this is just one more way that the President is really trying to undermine confidence in our elections.

You know, Colorado, we vote by mail, we send a ballot to every voter. We also have in person early voting, same day voter registration, polling locations across the state, hundreds of drop boxes, and things go really well.

We have clean elections, we have accessible elections, and we're the gold standard of the nation. So I would just tell President Trump if he tries anything in Colorado, I'm not going to let him. We're going to have a great election in November.

COOPER: Postmaster General DeJoy in his testimony today said that the Postal Service is, quote, "fully capable and committed to delivering the nation's election mail securely and on time."

Given every Colorado voter receives a mail-in ballot, are you satisfied with that? I mean, do you believe that because letters had gone out across the country to states saying that there might be delays.

GRISWOLD: Well, Anderson, I want to share with you -- I grew up in a small town up in the mountains of rural Colorado, literally in a cabin with an outhouse outside. So I just know how much rural America values the Post Office.

We use it for everything, whether it is packages to medicine, the Post Office needs to work.

You know, I thought it was good that the Postmaster General said that he would stop trying to attack the Post Office, but I tend to agree with Senator Romney, that we need assurances in writing to make sure that we can have confidence in November in the Post Office.

You know, in Colorado, our Colorado election model has features that will enable us to withstand a slowdown. So, we send out ballots three weeks before Election Day, we actually asked Coloradans to stop returning them eight days before Election Day and there's hundreds of drop boxes across the state.

COOPER: Secretary Griswold, I appreciate your time, thank you very much.

GRISWOLD: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, a new COVID modeling of more than 300,000 dead by December and how kids going back to factor in and how the striking grim projections could be reversed.

Later, Anthony Scaramucci joins us to talk about the Steve Bannon he knew inside team Trump and his reaction now that Bannon is facing Federal felony charges.



COOPER: Two pieces of breaking news could not be less welcome or more sad. We've now surpassed 175,000 COVID deaths in this country.

A new modeling from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now forecasting 310,000 fatalities by early December, 15,000 from the last projection.

A third breaking item not surprising public health officials in Nebraska and Minnesota and South Dakota reporting cases connected to last week's massive Sturgis motorcycle rally.

Joining us now is now is I.H.M.E. Director, Dr. Chris Murray and CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Dr. Murray and Sanjay, I want to ask you about Sturgis in a minute. First, Dr. Murray just -- I mean, a staggering number. The projection that you're now having that that's it's a rise by 15,000 deaths. That's just in the last two weeks. What do you -- what accounts for that?

DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON'S INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: Well, I think what is accounting for that Anderson is that in some states, California is a good example. Cases peaked, they are coming down, but deaths haven't and we're not completely sure. They're sort of staying pretty steady.

We're seeing up swings in transmission in places like Kentucky and Minnesota, and Indiana. So it's a sort of general pattern. There's more happening around COVID than we sort of expected for this time of the year and that's playing out into these forecasts as we go into the fall when we expect transmission to go up for a variety of reasons.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Murray, you know, there's 133 days left in the year, and so you're basically saying a thousand people dying a day on average for the rest of the year, so plateauing, sort of where we are now, it sounds like.

But also when I read the report, it also makes this assumption that in states that have death rates that rise above eight per million people, that those states will impose mandates -- mitigation mandates again, that's sort of where Florida is right now. We were just looking at this data earlier.

I mean, do you think that's really going to happen? Are states like Florida going to impose these mandates again, do you think? And if they don't, does that mean your models are going to go even higher?

MURRAY: Well, that's part of the reason that the numbers are up from our last release because we had thought that some of these states like Florida would have put mandates back in place even earlier in the month and they have not.

The reason we still base our, you know, best forecasts on that idea is when we look across the U.S., across the world, that's about the threshold where people have put the mandates back in place.

Now, you know, it really depends what our leaders do, and clearly things can be worse. We have a worse scenario in what we released and that's many, many more deaths.

[20:20:43] MURRAY: And in fact, by the time December rolls around, if we don't do

anything at all, the daily death toll in the U.S. would be much higher than the sort of 2,000 deaths a day we would expect by December. It could be as high as 6,000 deaths a day.

So it really depends what we do both as individuals and what government do.

COOPER: So, what you're saying if, we don't do anything, in addition to what's already being done, there could be 6,000 deaths a day or is that -- can you explain that?

MURRAY: Sure. That's assuming that not only do we do nothing, but that governments decide to sort of go for relaxing the mandates progressively between now and December, sort of a worst case scenario.


MURRAY: It's not what we think will happen, which is why our forecast is the 310,000. But it just gives you an idea of how bad things can get as we roll into the fall. And unfortunately, in some parts of the world, not yet in the U.S., we are seeing real resistance to sort of reacting when things start to get bad.

COOPER: Well, I mean, you, you say mask use is at 55 percent now, but that getting it up to 95 percent would save 69,000 lives by December 1st. How would we get to 95 percent?

I mean, getting the population of the United States to 95 percent, I mean, rationally you would think, well, of course, 95 percent of people, if they could save 69,000 lives, of course, people would just put on a mask and it's not that big a deal.

But clearly, for a lot of people, it is.

MURRAY: It is. It's not really understandable, but how do we get there is the more important point and I think there's two parts, Anderson. One is we need state governors to take action like Arkansas has just done, where they're putting in place mask mandates. We need those mandates to have some teeth. So there's a fine if you're caught without a mask. We know that that will help a lot.

But we also need our, you know, our political leaders, our business leaders or community leaders to really take up the charge. And I think the combination of those two could make us look like most of Latin America where mask use is really high, most of Southeast Asia where mask use is really high.

So it's possible and it will take a concerted effort.

But the impact is extraordinary. It's really quite extraordinary what it could achieve.

COOPER: Yes, with 69,000 lives. Sanjay, just on the type of people traveling. What more are you learning about infections connected to the Sturgis rally in South Dakota? GUPTA: Well, you know, keep in mind, this rally just ended five days

ago. It was a 10-day rally in South Dakota. They track the number of vehicles that came in and it was over 400,000 vehicles that came in, so a lot of people were there.

What we're hearing is that there's already been at least 26 people who have been confirmed to have been infected in three different states, including South Dakota, including Nebraska and Minnesota.

And again, it's just five days since the rally ended. You well know that it can take a long time to get tested, to get test results back so they expect these numbers to go up.

What we're hearing is, you know, it was obviously a lot of people out there clustered together. Most of the event was outside, but what happens at these events is that there's also lots of indoor events around that as well.

So they start to do contact tracing, they find people who are infected and who likely spread this.

So this is the concern, Anderson, I mean, you can have significant what are called super spreading events at things like this. People come from all over the country, they go back to their communities, and that causes a problem.

It's tough to contact race when you have this much viral spread in the country, but that's what they're trying to do after, you know, 400,000 people show up in one place.

COOPER: I mean, it's also got to be tough to contract trace when you're talking to folks who, you know, are intentionally not wearing masks and also are kind of brushing by each other in outdoor spaces and are interacting with a lot of people, you know, milling around.

So that's got to be tough. Sanjay, thank you. Dr. Murray, thank you, as always. I really appreciate it.

As Dr. Murray mentioned, the return to classrooms of colleges will be a key factor in driving the numbers. I'm talking about Arne Duncan who served as Secretary of Education in the Obama administration.

Secretary Duncan, I'm wondering, what do you make of the White House's decision to declare teachers essential workers? Obviously they are essential to American life in a broad sense, legally and technically though, is it a move that's based on politics to try to force schools to reopen?


ARNE DUNCAN, FORMER SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Well, frankly, it means nothing. As you know, President Trump has lost all credibility on this issue of fighting the virus a long, long time ago.

He's made himself irrelevant, you know, declare them anything from the White House, no one is paying attention to that. My real concern is that yes, teachers are absolutely essential workers, but I'm really worried they're going to be looking for essential services themselves soon.

And what people aren't talking about is the real budget hit that so many K to 12 districts across the country are going to face this school year, and when teachers and custodians and lunchroom workers are always by far the biggest line item in any schools budget.

If those budget hits happen, school districts are going to lay people off, unfortunately, if the Federal government doesn't step up, and what the White House has to do, what it should have done months ago is to make a $200 billion investment in our schools across the country so that they could open up safely and that the staff would have the PPE they need, additional bus drivers that they need, whatever it might be. There's been no investment.

So when declarations of whatever come from the White House are absolutely meaningless.

COOPER: Well, Vice President Pence said this morning on CNN that teachers being declared essential means they'll be prioritized for PPE in support. The President of the American Federation of Teachers said the critical worker designation can be used to, in his words, threaten, bully and coerce teachers into classrooms.

DUNCAN: Right. What the White House needs to do is invest in public education, at this time, a critical need. When state's budgets are crunched, when local property taxes are going down, sales tax is going down, the only backstop there, Anderson, is the Federal government.

In 2009, we had such a tough economy as we came in with President Obama. We put $100 billion behind K to 12 education. This is obviously a much, much harder time. This White House has done almost nothing to ensure that children have a chance to go to a physical school, and that the adults who care so much about them are safe.

COOPER: It seems like the administration is all for local school districts making their own decisions in normal times and in normal times and in a time like this, it's the Federal government, you know, mandating that the schools be open or that they have this essential worker designation.

DUNCAN: They can't mandate anything. These are just words. It's him, just another attempt to bully. We have seen this in so many different aspects of how he operates. They have no ability to mandate anything and again, people see through it, and it just adds more chaos to a system that is already struggling, I am repeating myself, they need to invest in public education now to give our children a chance to go back to physical school safely.

COOPER: So when you're talking about budgets being cut, that's because of the tax bases shrinking, that's how schools are funded.

DUNCAN: Exactly. The vast majority, usually not 90 percent of funding for local education comes at the city, the local and state level, 10 percent comes to the Federal level. When those local budgets get crushed, as we know that's happening now,

the only backstop is the Federal government. Again, that's what we did in 2009. The Federal government has to step up now and do that.

This is another point, a smaller point, but critically important all summer while schools are physically closed, and at the end of the school year, March and April and May, school districts across the country fed tens of millions of meals to children, to their siblings and to families.

Schools aren't just places of education, they are social safety nets. They were unbelievable food distribution centers. We've had weekly calls with school leaders across the country every single week since March.

We need the USDA right now, Secretary Perdue to provide waivers to school districts across the country so they can continue to feed kids as we go into September. Without those waivers, kids, many of whom have been hungry, many more families, as you know, losing jobs. Those families are food insecure in a way they haven't been.

USDA just has to step up and give school districts the flexibility to take care of their kids and families now.

COOPER: Secretary Duncan, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

DUNCAN: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Breaking news. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris give their first joint interview since the end of the Democratic National Convention straight ahead. What they had to say and what we know about the landscape, the G.O.P. convention that begins on Monday.



COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight. In the first joint interview with ABC News former job -- former Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris not surprisingly (INAUDIBLE) President Trump. Biden called the Trump administration accused the Trump administration being written with quote incompetence. Harris was asked to respond to a series of insults hurled her way by President Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump has referred to as nasty, a sort of madwoman, a disaster, the meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate. How do you define what you hear from the President?

KAMALA HARRIS (D), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I listen, I really I think that there is so much about what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth. That is designed to distract the American people, from what he is doing every day. That is about neglect, negligence and harm to the American people.


HARRIS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

BIDEN: That idea that he would say something like that. No president. No president has ever said anything like that. No president has ever used those words. No president said people coming out of fields with torches and spewing anti-Semitic bile and met by people oppose them and someone dies and he says there are good people on both sides. No president United States has ever said anything like that ever.



COOPER: Meantime, the Republican National Convention gets underway on Monday with very little so far being made public about the shape of the presentations. We do know that the delegates will vote to re- nominate President Trump on the conventions first day. We also know that Vice President Pence, First Lady Melania Trump and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will be among the speakers. Beyond that on so much. Perspective now from CNN political commentator Amanda Carpenter, CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash, and CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip.

Dana, do you have any more sense of what to expect next week? I mean, Democrats arguably, you know, for there was obviously some awkward moments and stuff, but overall, it was an effective convention. I think you can say there were high profile speakers, pretty cohesive themes. Are you surprised we don't know more about what the RNC will tell?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Only say so effective that I got a text from a top Democratic official saying, they don't even know that they'll ever go back to the way it traditionally has been done because they pack so much in given this kind of format. It's not a surprise that we don't know that much about the Republicans convention, because it's been such a mess. And that is an understatement, because the President refused to kind of admit the reality that Joe Biden and his campaign saw coming months ago, which is why they had a very long runway to plan what they planned. Up until what last month, I think maybe even more recently. The President was still insisting that there would be a live portion of his convention in Jacksonville, Florida. And so that got scrapped and now they're kind of scrambling to come up with the rest of the program.

So we will see and hear more. And we know from our reporting that the President not surprisingly given his reality TV background is very -- has a very heavy hand and trying to produce this.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, Amanda, how do you expect Republicans to frame their convention not just systematically, but also in terms of what it will look like? President Trump reportedly doesn't want a lot of tape pieces, you know, doing a many, many hours of live television. It ain't easy. And, you know, some tape pieces are nice thing to fall back on every now and then, at the very least.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I've watched a lot of his rallies by himself and his supporters over the spring and summer and they do like big, dramatic montages, which really play up the footage of the theme of American Carnage, fear and how Donald Trump is the hero that will come in and save us. So, I would expect to see some footage like that the kind of stuff you see on Fox News, cities, burning, riots, things that get Republican voters really scared. And I'm so curious to see how the politics of fear plays in this environment, because so many people are scared and there was that turning point in Donald Trump's re-election this spring. And that is when the protests broke out in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. And people were scared by what was happening in the cities. But they were even more frightened by Donald Trump's reaction to that.

When he tear gas peaceful protesters in March with his men through Lafayette Park that put the fear in the hearts of a lot of Republicans, people who worked for him. And so, you saw a drop off in support for Trump there. And I think he's going to keep hammering that theme because he can't get away from the politics of fear. But I am so curious to see how people who are ready to give Donald Trump one more chance to make the case react if that's the presentation.

COOPER: And Abby, I mean, it's not as if there's a lot of policy positions that the President is just dying to talk about. I mean, when he was asked, he's been asked twice now about, you know, what his plans are for a second term in terms of policies and he really didn't have answers if there's no health care proposals, there's no healthcare plan, though he's been, you know, promising that for four years, there's, you know, it's not as if they're going to be going deep into the weeds on policy.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. The health care plan is always two weeks away from something, and it's probably not coming. It's been -- that plus tax cuts I remember, lead up to 2018. He promised tax cuts as a sort of rhetorical device. He does the same thing now. It's emblematic of what a lot of people close to the President who have come out and now oppose him kind of say about him. The theme is that he is someone who wants to win above all else. And that's the rationale that he's given. Virtually every time he's been asked about what he's really running on?

And I don't know that that's sufficient at this point. The trouble for President Trump is that he had hoped to run for on the economy, he can't really do that anymore. And so, it's put them in a really tough spot where they're now running against something that running against this idea of carnage in the streets against this caricature of Joe Biden as a puppet of the left.


And the problem with all of that is that he is the incumbent. And he is the guy that has to make a case for four more years because Joe Biden's the one running against him. So, it's difficult for the President. And as you've noted, Anderson, he's not a policy wonk. So I don't expect to hear much of that. But as Amanda has pointed out, it's going to be a lot on this theme of America's going down the drain. But again, he's the one in charge of the America that we're living in right now.

COOPER: Yes, it's not as if he's running against somebody who's the president. He is the president. And it's been the president for the last three years. The idea that his message is going to be, wow, America is going to hell in a handbasket. There's carnage in the streets that I've been overseeing and leading for the last three years. I mean, it's -- Amanda, does that make sense?

CARPENTER: Well, in the way that Donald Trump campaigns, yes, it's not rooted in reality. And all he has to do is make 51% of the public think that Joe Biden or the Democrats or AOC is scarier than he is. And so, what I assumed is people are doing right now. They saw that they couldn't depict Joe Biden is an old grandpa eating ice cream in the basement every night who got wheeled out to give one crappy speech, because he killed it. He did an amazing job. And so they're trying to figure out how to readjust their target.

I would expect they're going to come hard, Kamala Harris, just to see if they can knock her off her game. They're going to go back down, double down on the squad, and AOC and try to make the Democratic Party seemed like the far-left Bernie Sanders wing that was actually rejected in the primaries and see what kind of infighting they can stir up over there. And try to just start a fight that they can get into. Because that is how Donald Trump campaigns.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Dana, it's the oldest, you know, Republican trope against Democrats, they're socialist, that were I imagine also that we'll be hearing that these two are socialists that they're, you know wolves in sheep's clothing that their kowtowing to the progressive wing of the party and that she's really going to be calling the shots as soon as they're in power.

BASH: That's exactly right. You know, what Amanda said is so important and Amanda knows because she is a communicator for the -- what used to be the more traditional Republican Party. But if for any incumbent president, Democrat or Republican, what you try to do is say you may not like me, but the guy that is trying to get in here is worse. And that is the job of the incumbent to try to deflect from the role and the policies and everything that that he has been doing for the past four years, and make it about the person who is coming in. And that is absolutely what we're going to see. I don't expect him to lay out a 10-point plan or maybe even a five-point plan of what he would do in a second term.

He's going to say they're in the radical left. They can't, they can't control their own cities, look at what's happening, Democratic run cities, so on and so forth. It is going to be as much about Joe Biden and scare tactics as any more of that than anything else.

COOPER: But also, I mean, race. I mean, they're, you know, already, that he's talking about suburban housewives. I mean, I don't know who uses that I that, you know, that idea and his vision for suburban housewives. And, you know, should be afraid because Cory Booker of all people is going to be running a housing program to get low income housing, to you know, scare housewives. I mean, it's so clear what, what he's doing and I think we're going to just hear more and more of that, as this thing progresses. We're going to leave it.

Sorry Abby.

PHILLIP: I mean, I will just note quickly that today, it was notable to me that President Trump described the Democratic Convention as calling America racist. That was one of the only descriptors that he used really to point out that that's the image of America, that he thought that Democrats were putting forward. I thought that was remarkable because clearly races on his mind. And I bet it's going to be part of the narrative that we see painted next week at the convention.

COOPER: Yes. Probably not so subtly. Thank you everyone.

A quick programming note this week. 100 years ago, the United States ratified the 19th Amendment granting women the legal right to vote. (INAUDIBLE) join CNN's Erin Burnett, as she talks with Jessica Alba, Melinda Gates, Roxane Gay and many others about gender equality Americans. The new CNN Special Report Women Represented: The 100 Year Battle for Equality debuts at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Up next Steve Bannon, high profile former senior advisor President Trump free on bail tonight after being arrested on fraud charges. Ahead, his reaction I'll talk with another former aide to the President, Anthony Scaramucci about the Bannon he knew at the White House.



COOPER: Day after he was arrested on federal charges of fraud linked to a private fundraising effort to pay for the building a border wall, Steve Bannon chalked it up to what he called a political hit job. Bannon as you might recall was the principal architect of President Trump's successful 2016 campaign leader served for a time in the White House as the President (INAUDIBLE) political strategist before he was fired.

Free on bail in his podcast today, Bannon said he was innocent and also said quote, I'm in this for the long haul. I'm in this for the fight.

Joining me now another former presidential aide although by his own admission, his time was short Anthony Scaramucci lasted I think 11 days. During that brief period, he told The New Yorker in an interview, laced with off color remarks that he had little love for Bannon. Scaramucci left shortly thereafter.

It's good to see you, Anthony, thanks for being with us. So, you certainly got us history --

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FMR WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It's good to be here. COOPER: You got a history with Steve Bannon. I'm just wondering, what do you make first of all of these charges against him and the -- if true, what it means?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I want to start out with the obviously we have the presumption of innocence in our country, and so we have to go with that for right now. But actually talking about his character, he is a nefarious guy, and there's a malevolence to him. And so, when you think about his white nationalist agenda, or you think about what he really wants to do is sort of divide and conquer the country and all of this anti immigration, which I think is thank God it's sort of jumped the shark now has become unfashionable. It's one of the reasons why Vice President Biden is going to win the election.


That soup if you will, is a very bad toxic soup. And so, one of the things I'm very proud of, you know, when I got to the White House, whatever my relationship is now with President Trump, it was very clear they wanted to get Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus out of the White House. He thought they were the two biggest leakers inside the White House. And let's go back three years ago, which fact they were. And so, I made a mistake, certainly with the reporter. I mean, that was his, whatever it happened. And I said something off color, but I want sometimes to say those things.

But Steve is just not a good guy. So that doesn't necessarily mean he's guilty. I'm not saying that he is. He's a very, very smart guy. And so, the arrest has actually hurt the President. Because the President's only strategy right now Anderson to win the election, and he's not going to win it, but his only strategy is to gin up his base, and get them into a fervor to increase their voter participation. And then obviously try to suppress the vote on the other side. That's the only strategy left on the Venn diagram.

And so Steve's voice, even though him and President Trump are on the outs, His voice is pretty important to that because he does have a following in that category.

COOPER: You said he's not good guy, in what way?

SCARAMUCCI: OK. Well, he, you know, I don't think that that's the first time that he's taken advantage of people with their money. I think he is cycled through a series of relationships related to money. He's loaded with hypocrisy. One minute, he's really on the Chinese, but I guess he likes Chinese people that are rich that have yachts. I mean, it's just a constant intellectual hypocrisy with Steve. And you'll find that he doesn't like going up against people that have an intellectual razornes (ph) to their personalities, because he can't really debate them. Because his facts are never fully brought up with anything more than a little bit of vacuousness.

So, you know, as a lot of hypocrisy, a lot of double dealing. He'll look you straight in the face and tell you something. And then I'll pick up the phone and I'll whisper to a reporter some nonsense about you to try to get a negative story written about you, that Steve Bannon. You know, I mean, there's no team that he's been able to keep together for any length of time because of that sort of nonsense.

COOPER: You've talked about the sort of transactional relationships that President Trump has. The President says he hadn't been quote dealing with Bannon at all. According to CNN, Steve Bannon has been telling people that he and President Trump have been communicating with each other in recent months. The President, I mean does he for those who have kind of left his orbit. If he feels there's a need for them. I mean he seems to maintain contact with him and certainly Roger Stone isn't one of those examples of people he's clearly in ongoing contact with.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, candidly, I'm not in contact with either President Trump or Steve Bannon, but I would put my money on President Trump on that one. Actually, I don't think he has talked to Steve Bannon. Since he called them sloppy Steve Bannon in January 2018, when the Michael Wolf book came out, and it was obviously Steve was all over that book. Also the Devil's Bargain, which was written prior to Michael Wolf's book, where Steve was trying to make it like he was the maestro and President Trump was his hand puppet, you know. So I don't think the President's talking to him.

I think it's important for Steve to curve the conversation that way, so that he looks and appears more influential than he actually is. But I think this is what happened yesterday, has really put the fire out in the Steve Bannon fire and I think it will put a dent on that whole white nationalist, nonsensical agenda. And it's going to hurt President Trump as he is trying to rally that base going into America -- into November. And I'm thankful for that because we have to sort of remove this nonsense from our government, so that we don't completely threaten the institutions of our democracy.

COOPER: You know, I mean, essentially with this, that the project that we build the wall. You know, Kris Kobach, the former Kansas Secretary of State, he was on the advisory board member of this thing Donald Trump Jr. I was out promoting. I mean, they had a lot of people in Trump orbit out there promoting it. The President said he, you know, didn't like it, didn't know, doesn't know anything about it. But if it's true, it does just point to, again, if it's true that they were siphoning some money off for themselves, it's just incredibly hypocritical.

I mean, the idea that the guy who ran the presidents, you know, helped run the President's campaign in the final months with Kellyanne Conway is, you know, would be taking skimming money from Americans who they are, you know, aggressively trying to get to donate money. It's, it would be the height of hypocrisy and cynicism.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. But it would also fit a tag -- fact pattern of prior hypocritical things that he's done. So, none of that would necessarily surprise me. I just don't want to say he's guilty.

COOPER: No, of course.


SCARAMUCCI: You know, we have a judicial system and there's fairness in the law. Let him have his day in court. But you're asked me something different. You know, I've been in business 32 years, less my 11 day fiasco in Washington. I'm pretty good at reading people, I'm pretty good at judging them. You know, sometimes have fault of giving people the benefit of the doubt. But Steve, Steve was the type of guy, super smart. He's a great writer. He wrote a lot of those speeches that President Trump gave in the 2016 campaign. He's a very, very clever guy. But he's a malevolent guy.

And so that always catches up to you. It catches up to you in your relationships, it catches up to you in the manifestation of your public life. And so, you're watching this unwinding of Steve Bannon right now. And I'm just going to tell you right now Anderson, the country is better for that. We don't need this kind of divisive nonsense in the country. We have to heal this country and unify this country. And at some point, we're going to have to rebuild the Republican Party. I mean, the party has been hijacked by Trumpism. And it's sort of funny to watch it. Because none of these people really believe what they're saying. But they're incredibly malleable and they're incredibly intimidated by the President.

So, we have a lot of different things we got to do in the country. The first thing is we've got to make sure that we send President Trump home wherever that home is, is it Mar-a-Lago, Trump Tower, Scotland, wherever he's going, we got to make sure on January 21st, he's there, so that we can heal the country and we can restore the great institutions of our democracy. And then once we do that, whatever happens to Steve Bannon in court, it won't matter. He'll be in the ash heap of history alongside of President Trump.

COOPER: Anthony Scaramucci, appreciate talking to you. Thank you.

SCARAMUCCI: Good to be here.

COOPER: A lot more coming up in 360. We'll dig into Senate testimony for the Postmaster General. I'll talk to one of the senators asking the questions.