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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Postmaster General: Delivering Ballots On Time "Number One Priority" Amid President Trump Railing Against Mail-Voting; Key Model Projects 310,000 COVID-19 Deaths In U.S. By December; Two Tropical Storms Or Hurricanes Could Hit U.S. Gulf Coast Around Same Time In Coming Days. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 21, 2020 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to this second hour of 360.

Coming up in the hour ahead, two leading experts in the field on the breaking news tonight, new modeling from the University of Washington, projecting nearly 310,000 COVID fatalities by December 1st.

Tonight, as you know, the death toll crossed the 175,000-mark. It only adds to concerns about schools reopening, and college students falling ill, and of course, the choice millions may face shortly about whether to risk their health by voting in-person or taking a chance their mail-in ballots won't be delivered.

Today, after several weeks of growing controversy over cutbacks, the Postal Service and trash-talk from the President on mail-in voting, Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, went before a Senate Committee.

In a moment, one Senator who was not especially persuaded by the answers that he gave, but first, our Pamela Brown sets the stage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a thing that will be a disaster like never before.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite President Trump's claim, embattled Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, telling Members of Congress, he wholeheartedly supports vote- by-mail.

LOUIS DEJOY, U.S. POSTMASTER GENERAL: I want to vote by mail. I voted by mail for a number of years.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): So, you do support voting by mail?

DEJOY: I do. That's an interest.

I think the American public should be able to vote by mail. And the Postal Service will - will support it. So I guess that's yes. BROWN (voice-over): DeJoy also promising a Senate Committee, the U.S. Postal Service will prioritize election mail, so that it arrives as quickly as possible, a change from an earlier plan outlined in these internal documents, obtained by CNN, showing the Postal Service planning to treat election mail differently this year, no longer giving them the priority of first-class mail.

DEJOY: We will deploy processes and procedures that advance any election mail, in some cases, ahead of first-class mail.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): If people vote within seven days of election, are they highly confident - are you highly confident that those ballots would then be received?

DEJOY: Extremely highly confidence.

BROWN (voice-over): The Postmaster General's assurances and support of vote-by-mail stand in stark contrast to President Trump, who has repeatedly railed against universal mail-in voting, falsely claiming it's ripe for fraud, and saying he wants to block funding to prevent mail-in voting.

TRUMP: They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office.

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.

You can't have universal mail-in voting because they're not equipped to have it.

BROWN (voice-over): Earlier in the week, DeJoy reversed course, and said his planned changes to the Postal Service, which Democrats claim would interfere with mail-in voting would wait until after the election. But he said, mail-sorting machines, taken offline as part of the overhaul, will not return.

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI): Will any of those come back?

DEJOY: There's no intention to do that. They're not needed, Sir

BROWN (voice-over): But it wasn't just the election that have lawmakers upset.

SEN. JACKY ROSEN (D-NV): 80 percent of veterans' prescriptions are filled by the United States Postal Service. I have 225,000 veterans in Nevada, many of them relying on this for their timely delivery of life-saving medication.

BROWN (voice-over): To which DeJoy responded.

DEJOY: Only change that I made, Ma'am, was that the trucks leave on time. Theoretically, everyone should have gotten their mail faster.

BROWN (voice-over): Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Joining us now, the Senator you just heard from, Jacky Rosen, Democrat of Nevada.

Were you satisfied with DeJoy's answers to your questions today? Because he couldn't really commit to a number of the things you asked him to.

ROSEN: No, no Anderson. Well, first of all, thank you for having me on, and this is really important. And I was not satisfied with the answers today.

Postmaster General DeJoy did not commit to transparency. He did not clearly understand what he did, that a consequence is intended or unintended. He did not - was not willing or able or understood the data that helped him make these decisions, or how these decisions were made.

[21:05:00]

And so, we have to hold his feet to the fire to be sure that our Postal Service continues to deliver the mail, the prescriptions, the checks, all of it, in a timely manner, as the American people expect.

COOPER: To your point of the lack of transparency, I just want to play another exchange between you and the Postmaster General.

ROSEN: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSEN: 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.

ROSEN: You will not commit to provide minutes?

DEJOY: I don't know if - I don't have - I don't have the authority to do some of those things, and that is something that I would need to discuss with Counsel and the Board's Counsel, so I can't commit to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It does seem like if - to find out actually what was going on, you would actually need those minutes. Is that something that you can get, you think?

ROSEN: Well, I'm a Member of the United States Senate. And my job, on the Homeland Security and Oversight Committee, is to do that oversight. So, we should be privy to those minutes.

This isn't classified material. This is our Postal Service. It's not national security. It's our Postal Service. He needs to let us know what they've been talking about, how they came to these decisions.

Because I get thousands of emails, for over the past few weeks, or past few months, since he's been there, outlining, every single day, how people are not getting their prescriptions, how they're getting late fees because their mail, their bills they put in the mail aren't being delivered on time.

People who get their social security check, they are not getting them. Small businesses not getting what they need.

And he's the Postmaster General. He needs to respond to the American people.

COOPER: I don't understand, though, because letters went out to various states from, as far as I understand, from the Postal Service, warning of delays, possibly with mail-in ballots or mail-in voting.

And yet, today, he says that the Postal Service is "Fully capable and committed to delivering the nation's election mail securely and on time," and said it's his number one priority between now and Election Day.

ROSEN: I think he clearly walked into this room, not having done his homework. I think he clearly walked into this job, not having done his homework.

He claims to be a businessman. He's taking over, essentially a CEO of a company. You wouldn't start your first day, saying, "I don't know what they did before me."

You'd do your due diligence. You'd walk into that room, knowing the history, the logistics. He's a logistics expert, supposedly. He would have walked in, doing his homework, and then, he would be going from there.

It's no secret that the election is November 3rd. We've known that all along. He acts surprised. He's suddenly forming a Committee to look at it. This doesn't seem acceptable to me.

He clearly hasn't done his homework. He clearly doesn't know what's going on at the post office. And he clearly doesn't have a plan. And, if he does, for some reason, he's not willing to share it. And that's the most troubling of all.

COOPER: How do you actually write - so, I mean, on camera, he said he's not the person. He can't say that he'll give you those - the minutes of closed-Director meetings. What is the next step on getting those?

ROSEN: Well I think that we're working, my team, with the Committee staff, and with others in the Senate, to see what recourse that we have to compel him to give us those. We're assembling that now.

We're also providing a comprehensive list of all the questions, all the data that we want to get from him, by Sunday, so that we can see it, so that the House can look at that next week. We are entitled to know that.

The data tells the story, if you're smart enough to listen to it. He obviously wasn't listening to it because he clearly didn't know that veterans would be impacted or senior citizens, rural communities and small businesses.

So, we're going to try to find what ways and what tools that we have, in the United States Senate, to compel him to give us that information.

COOPER: And just lastly, the President is now saying he's going to send law enforcement officials to polling locations, sheriffs, police. What is the - what's your take on that?

ROSEN: Well, I don't understand where the President would have the authority to do that, why we would even need him to do that.

Typically, in all polling locations there's always poll watchers, there are people there, to make sure that the elections are safe and secure and delivered.

We've never had problem in our polling stations before. At least, not here in Nevada and, I don't think, around the country. So, I'm not sure where the President is suddenly finding this new authority to send police to our voting booth.

There's right for every individual to vote. We're in a pandemic. Whether it's by mail, whether it's early vote, or day of voting, we need to guarantee that in a safe secure way.

COOPER: Senator Rosen, I appreciate your time, thank you very much.

[21:10:00]

ROSEN: Thank you.

COOPER: More on how this is actually playing out, on the frontlines, we're joined by Kimberly Karol. She's President of the Iowa Postal Workers Union, works at a post office in Waterloo, Iowa.

Kimberly, thanks very much for being with us.

We heard from Postmaster General DeJoy today. He said that there's no intention, his words, to bring back any mail-sorting machines that have been removed. He says they're not needed. Is that how you see it? Or are they - are they needed?

KIMBERLY KAROL, PRESIDENT, IOWA POSTAL WORKERS UNION: Well it's disappointing that the mail-processing equipment that we have been using, right up until the moment it was removed, is suddenly no longer necessary.

And no, we don't see it. I guess I see this as possibly more of his actions speaking louder than his words.

COOPER: Why - what have you actually seen? I mean, were machines removed from the area where you work? And if so, why?

KAROL: Well, we did lose a machine, and we were told that it was part of the cost-saving measure, it was part of becoming more efficient.

The end result, though, was that we're not able to get all the mail processed. We were seeing mail being left behind. That was also part of what the Postmaster General said was acceptable. And for a Postal employee, that is just not acceptable.

We've grown up in a culture of every piece delivered every day. You don't leave mail behind. And that's what happens when we lose our processing abilities. So, it's more about his actions than it is about his words right now. They don't - they don't ring true for us.

COOPER: I want to play something else that the Postmaster General said today for our viewers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEJOY: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Are you confident the Postal Service will be able to handle all the election mail on time?

KAROL: Well, I find it funny, because that's part of our postal regulations. They - we have always treated the mail this way.

It was his suggestion that we were not going to do that this election that has caused many of our - many of the American public to get upset about this. But it's part of our regulations. So, he's only doing what is already in place.

COOPER: And DeJoy said that there's been - what he said was "No changes in any policies with regard to election mail for the 2020 election." Is that your understanding as well?

KAROL: Well that wasn't initially my understanding, so the result of him going on record today saying that is very encouraging, and the fact that he finally admitted that we needed COVID funding - COVID relief funding is also encouraging.

But that wasn't the case a few days ago. That wasn't what we were being told a few days ago.

COOPER: Well, Kimberly Karol, I appreciate all the work you do. And people in the Postal Service don't get enough thanks. And I just want to thank you and everybody else you work with. So, thank you very much, Karol - Kimberly, and I appreciate talking to you.

KAROL: Thank you. COOPER: Kimberly Karol.

Coming up next, what we know about what's next week's Republican Convention may look like, and we don't know, how much of it is being determined by the President himself.

And, later, more on Steve Bannon arrested on felony fraud charges, now apparently member of the President's "I barely even knew him" club. We'll have the latest on how involved the President and people close to him actually have been with the former top strategist when we continue.

[21:15:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Whatever you took away from this week's Democratic National Convention, we're all about to get an entirely different take on how to nominate a presidential ticket, during a pandemic at least.

The two Conventions will be different in ideology, to be sure, but also likely in temperament, because of what each Party stands for, and who's at the top of the ticket, of course.

Beyond those expectations, though, there's a lot we simply do not know about what may go on next week. And that too, is a function of the man at the top.

That said CNN's Kaitlan Collins has been working her sources, doing what she can, to try to find out.

Kaitlan, what is the latest you're hearing about the Republican Convention?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So, it's obviously not going to look like any Republican Convention that you've seen in the past. It's going to mirror the Democratic Convention this week, though, a little bit, because of course they've got the same COVID-19 restrictions that the Democrats were dealing with.

But one thing that's different is that the President and his Campaign and his White House vigils have been able to watch the DNC, and see what they like, what they don't like, and try to learn and apply that to next week.

So, one of the biggest takeaways has been the President does not want taped programming. Now, we are told, there will be taped programming in the earlier hours.

But during those big prime time speeches, where you're seeing the main speakers each night, we are not expecting it right now to be taped programming. That means the first lady, Melania Trump, Vice President, Mike Pence, of course, Ivanka Trump, and President Trump on Thursday night, but also, look for the themes that they're going to have here.

They're going to focus much more on the economy than of course than what you saw from the Democrats, where really it was this indictment of the President and his time in Office so far.

But also, they're going to try to look at those culture wars that they've had, which the President has focused on, the McCloskeys, remember that St. Louis couple that had the guns, in front of their house, when the protesters were coming through? They are expected to be speaking at this.

You're going to see them as well as several other White House officials, and some figures that you may recognize from some of the President's tweets in the past.

COOPER: Do we know how much time the President and the Party plan to focus on discussing the pandemic? I mean, it seems like we obviously know what the President's line on it is, "Came from China. We've done a great job. Amazing testing! Vaccine's just around the corner."

[21:20:00]

COLLINS: He may mention some of those lines, in his speech, Anderson. But what I've heard, from several of the people we've spoken with, people who are working directly with the programming here, it doesn't seem to be like it's going to be a big focus.

The Vice President is expected to speak about it, when he's at Fort McHenry, on Wednesday night. But, other than that, that has not been something that has really revolved around the discussions.

And so, it'll be notable, because that is really what Democrats hammered away these last four nights.

And that's what Biden closed down with, last night, saying that the President failed his number one job, to Americans, which was to protect them, and said it was disqualifying the way that the President has responded on Coronavirus. But the President himself, and his speech, is not expected to focus largely on Coronavirus.

And another thing to watch is the audience here. They want to have that kind of crowd factor.

The President's speeches, of course, we know that he wants to have a crowd. That's why he's having it here outside on the South Lawn. But also, a lot of the other speeches are expected to be held at the Mellon Auditorium, indoors, here in Washington.

But they are still trying to get some kind of an audience, because if it is going to be this live-focused Convention, like they're planning right now, they want to have some kind of reaction.

They don't want it to be this awkward flat event that they fear, which is what they think they've seen with Democrats. So, that's something to keep an eye on as well next week.

COOPER: Yes. I mean it's obvious that they - the President wouldn't want to talk too much about the Coronavirus, because it's hard to talk about it without acknowledging the horrific death toll, thus far, that is only, by all estimates, going to be growing. COLLINS: Right, so that's why he has strayed so far from it, because aides, basically said, if there's no positive news, why should you focus on it that much, which is notable, because that's what people are going to be thinking about when they do go to the polls in November.

That's something that's affected everyone. It's something that Democrats roundly criticized the President on, but the question of whether or not he's going to defend his response, so far.

COOPER: Right.

COLLINS: He's talked about testing, like you said. He's talked about other countries and surges they've seen. It doesn't really compare to what you've seen in the United States.

And one of the most glaring factors of all of this being wrapped into one, he criticized Michelle Obama for taping her speech, and noting that only 150,000 Americans had died, at that point, when it had, in reality, by the time it aired, it had jumped 20,000 more, something that even people in the White House recognize didn't reflect well on President Trump either.

COOPER: Yes. Especially because it was one of the rare times he's actually mentioned how many of our fellow Americans have died. It's not a number he uses very often.

Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it, thank you.

More now on this notion of Convention next week, in contrast to what we saw from the Democrats, joining us is Valerie Jarrett, former Obama Senior Adviser and Author of "Finding My Voice: When the Perfect Plan Crumbles, the Adventure Begins."

Valerie, it's really interesting, because oftentimes when we talk about what do we think is going to happen in this Convention, people focus on policy issues and healthcare, whatever it may be.

I'm not sure that, for this White House, it makes any sense to be sort of planning - thinking that they're going to be focusing on a lot of - I mean they're certainly not going to be focusing on healthcare, because there is no healthcare plan, despite promising it for years and years.

It just seems like it's going to be painting a picture of a Dystopian America with carnage in the streets, even though they're the ones who have overseen this alleged carnage.

VALERIE JARRETT, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: Well I think that's exactly right.

If we can judge, from what they've done so far, it's a very negative divisive campaign intended to scare, instill fear, polarize us, in contrast, in sharp contrast to the week that I think that the Democratic Party had, led by, of course, Vice President Biden and Senator Harris, which was a optimistic hopeful message, one that appeals to the best in of us, shows us what we have in common.

And I think, if you looked at the inclusive and diverse group of people, who participated, sharing their stories, we could all see ourselves in those stories, and that's a connection that I think is so important, not just for the Party, but to govern our country.

COOPER: I wonder how much to - so much of what the - President Trump has been trying to do is raise doubt about former Vice President Biden about his acuity. I think he certainly did very well in the Convention.

And I think it seems like they now are going to try to figure out something else. And I'm wondering if they're going to try to kind of focus more on Kamala Harris and raise fears and concerns about her that - if that's going to be a focus.

JARRETT: Well, of course it is. And we've already seen the sexist and racist tropes coming her way. And that's not something that just began yesterday. It started before she was even selected.

And it's part of why a group of women wrote a letter saying, "Look, let's look at how we are treating women, because we're sick and tired of a double standard." But that's kind of business as usual for the Republican Party.

[21:25:00]

And so, yes, I think they're going to come after with personal attacks. And I think what the American people want to hear, Anderson is, how are you going to improve my life? And that's what you heard from the Democrats this week.

Vice President Biden had this opportunity to speak directly to the American people, 122 million people tuned in, to say, "This is what I want to do for you that you are what drives me and that I want to make sure that when we build back better, that that means that nobody gets left behind."

And so, I think both the affirmative, hopeful, optimistic message, which isn't to say, hope and optimism isn't something that's easy. It's hard. And those were the stories we heard, this week, of people with grit and determination, who fought, to make this country a better place, to build something for their families.

And I think that optimism and that hopefulness, that goodness is really reflective of the majority of the American people. And I think that that's what Vice President Biden tapped into this week.

COOPER: It's also very interesting that when you see the Democratic Convention, and you think about conventions in the past, and Presidents in the past, Republican and Democrat, they've all been capable of great empathy, and the ability to step out of the role of a political role, and embrace people in the broken places, and speak to people in the language of loss.

And that is just something that this President is wholly uncapable and uninterested in doing. And I think if he - they cannot try to do what Biden did, in this last week, to kind of humanize him, because it just - he's not capable of that.

JARRETT: Well I think the authenticity, that Vice President Biden and Senator Harris have, came through loud and clearly.

And people can tell whether you get them, whether you can connect with them. And often, it's done through stories, or it's done through acts of kindness.

Brayden Harrington, the young boy, who had a challenge with stuttering, who we all were rooting for last night, hoping that he could finish it, you know he had rehearsed it, or Gabby Giffords, who has come back from a horrendous, being a victim of gunshot wound to her head, and you could tell she had practiced so hard.

And I think that's part of what Vice President Biden was trying to show is, is that we should be rooting for one another. But you can't root for somebody, if you can't put yourself in their shoes, if you can't empathize with their pain.

And I think part of what Vice President Biden wanted to do, by retelling his story, is to open up, and be honest, and say, "This is who I am. This is how I've become the leader that I am today. And this is why I will care for you."

And, in the end, I think what the American people want is that their leader is going to be somebody, who has a hopeful vision for our country, who cares about them, who understands their joy and understands their pain, and gets up every morning, fighting on their behalf, not thinking about himself, but thinking about them.

COOPER: Valerie Jarrett, I appreciate your time, thank you.

JARRETT: You're welcome. Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, we have more on our breaking news in the Coronavirus, the U.S. death toll topping a 175,000 people, and a key model now projecting 310,000 American deaths by December. Two scientists break down those numbers for us, and what they mean going-forward, how maybe we can improve on that.

All that plus new reporting on cases across three states linked back to that huge biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

[21:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: As you heard, earlier in the program, the U.S. Coronavirus death toll has surpassed 175,000.

There's the new projection from the University of Washington tonight, 310,000 deaths in the U.S., by December 1st, a toll that could be substantially lower, they say if 95 percent of the country committed to wearing masks. Right now, they say about 55 percent are wearing masks.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen COVID cases, in three states, have been liked to that motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota last week, a rally where very few of the thousands of riders, who attended, wore masks.

Here now to discuss is William Haseltine, a former Harvard professor and Author of "A Covid Back To School Guide," and Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean at the School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Hotez, certainly no surprise that there would be cases connected to the Sturgis motorcycle rally. I talked to Sanjay earlier, who pointed out it's really only been five days, so the chance that there will be even more is greater, as the next week progresses.

How much of events like this can be super-spreader events, and spur the virus?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yes. They certainly can be, Anderson, right?

I mean I would now expect to start seeing an uptick in cases in the Great Plains States. The Great Plains States have been doing pretty well up until now. Now, I'm going to start looking to see if these become new hotspots, these become new areas of transmission, similar to the Southeastern United States.

It's a - remember, there are 250,000 people, who came in from all over the country, including areas where transmission was so high in the Southeastern United States. And then, now they're going back to their various homes, so this is a big one.

And again, this is the reason why we're continuing to see deaths daily, where 1,000 deaths per day will be at 200,000 deaths, that very grim milestone, probably by the middle of September. And then, we'll be up to 310,000, as the Institute for Health Metrics says, by December 1st.

COOPER: Yes.

HOTEZ: It's beyond tragic.

COOPER: Dr. Haseltine, it's remarkable to me that with this new model that's out, that they say that if 95 percent of the people wear masks, in this country, as up from 55 percent, you can save 69,000 lives, over the next several months.

[21:35:00]

To be able to quantify it, and then not wear a mask, I mean to be able to actually say, "You know what? If everybody in my community wears a mask, X number of people would be alive," I don't understand why somebody, who's a citizen and lives in a community wouldn't just do that.

WILLIAM HASELTINE, CHAIR AND PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL: You're exactly right, Anderson. It's a real puzzlement. And I think it has to do with leadership, what people believe. It has to do with a false idea of machismo. It has - it's a very deep problem at this point.

But that report that you cite from University of Washington actually has three curves.

What happens if you wear a mask?

What is the expected, which is what you described, 300,000-plus people dead by the end of the year?

But it had another curve, which was even worse, which is, what happens if we loosen up even more? Then the number goes up as high as 600,000. It is truly frightening.

So, even if everybody wore masks, we stay about where we are. That's not good. That's not pushing it very far down. It's just preventing it from shooting up. So, we have a long way to go.

COOPER: Dr. Hotez, when Professor Haseltine points it out like that, it is - it's true. It's - the estimate is 6,000 people could be dying a day, as opposed to 1,000 dying a day, if states loosen up more than they currently are. I mean, that's a terrifying prospect.

HOTEZ: It is. And remember what's going to also fuel this. The nice fall weather will be coming soon, so people will be engaged in more events.

The other thing that's happening is if you remember, the CDC pushed very hard about going back to school, whether or not there was high levels of transmission, and that's going to happen.

So, that's going to create new cases as well, and new outbreaks, and that's going to fuel this lack of respect for schoolteachers. So, that's also going to accelerate us towards 310,000 deaths.

And then, I've spoken to some of the people with Institute for Health Metrics, people like Ali Mokdad, and they point out, one of the other big failings, beyond just the testing is, we've never really geared up for contact tracing.

So, contact tracing has never really caught up, because the level of transmission has been so high, it's really been impossible. It's exceeded the capacity. So, this is also going to accelerate us towards 310,000 deaths by December 1.

And let's remember, this current Administration is still in power until the end of January. So, what do those numbers look like? We could--

COOPER: And possibly four more years.

HOTEZ: --400,000 or 500,000 deaths.

COOPER: Yes. Professor Haseltine, again, when you look at countries, I think we're

all in this, and feel like, "Oh, my god, it's crushing."

And there's this inevitability to it, if there's nothing - it's "There's nothing we can do. It's - we got to wait for this vaccine." And then you realize, "Wait a minute, we're the outlier here."

We're not South Korea. South Korea, Taiwan, they've handled this completely differently, and human behavior. I mean, they have - they've monitored.

They've - they have contact tracing, and citizens are wearing masks. They're actually changed the course of the pandemic here, which is something we could have done, and still could do, even without a vaccine.

HASELTINE: Right. There's something we can do right away that can slow this epidemic very dramatically.

And that is, introduce very rapid antigen tests that are cheap, that can be used at home, that cost perhaps $1 - $0.50, that are like pregnancy tests, you just use a little bit of saliva. That technology exists, and I'm waiting for the moment when we decide to ramp it up, to catch people when they are contagious.

The tests that we use are really medical tests that you don't need that kind of sensitivity, you don't need that kind of - it's sort of like using a PET scan to diagnose skin cancer. You can see skin cancer with your eyes. A very expensive PET scan will find it. That's the first thing to say.

Now, in answer to your second issue, which is what do other countries do, I know it's a bugaboo, not to talk about China. But China has controlled this epidemic. And yes, I believe Chinese numbers. I don't necessarily believe all of ours.

So, I have friends in China, who are going to movie theaters, who are flying from one part of China to another--

COOPER: They just had a pool party in Wuhan--

HASELTINE: --every day.

COOPER: --for a music festival, where thousands of people in a pool in Wuhan.

HASELTINE: Right.

COOPER: The epicenter of the virus. I mean that's--

HASELTINE: Right. And it's no longer there.

COOPER: Yes.

HASELTINE: So, when we have 1,500 people a day die, they have none. A day when we have 50,000 people infected, they have 30 people infected. And those have come from outside of China.

[21:40:00]

So, it is possible to do this, and we can do it too. I know that Peter knows that we can do it. We can do it by identifying people who are infectious and removing them from the population by mandatory isolation. That's how you do it. It's no mystery.

COOPER: Professor William Haseltine, Dr. Hotez, appreciate it, as always.

We now know, well we know, by now, I should say, that this Coronavirus can cause some serious side effects and some - and lingering illnesses, serious illnesses for survivors.

A case in point, a woman in Miami, who has been hospitalized for months, and a note, before we bring you, this report by 360's Randi Kaye, some images may be disturbing, but it's important for you to see.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Rosa, nice to see you.

ROSA FELIPE, FLORIDA HEALTHCARE WORKER WHO SURVIVED COVID-19: Nice to see you too.

KAYE (voice-over): This is the only way we could see Rosa Felipe. The 41-year-old mother of two young boys has been hospitalized at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, since early March, after testing positive for COVID-19.

She's fighting to survive inside the very same hospital where she worked for more than 15 years as an Electroencephalograph or EEG technician, testing brain activity in patients.

FELIPE: I do all of the EEGs wherever they're needed, whether it's in the emergency room or trauma or in a separate floor.

KAYE (on camera): So, you would travel around the hospital quite a bit and possibly got exposed?

FELIPE: Quite a bit. Quite a bit.

KAYE (on camera): You were seeing a lot of patients?

FELIPE: A lot of patients, yes.

KAYE (voice-over): Rosa has two underlying conditions that put her at even greater risk, asthma and diabetes. It got so bad doctors put her on a ventilator to help her breathe.

FELIPE: I actually asked the doctors for a piece of paper before being intubated. And I wrote on the paper, to my children, I wanted them not to give up and not to be upset with God. Because this was - if something were to happen to me, this was his will, and I didn't want them to be upset with God. I wanted them to be loving and happy that God allowed us to have the time that we did have. And then, after that, I just gave it all up to God.

KAYE (voice-over): Rosa spent two months on the ventilator. It saved her life.

FELIPE: I am still grateful that I'm alive. I'm grateful that I made it.

KAYE (voice-over): But now, Rosa has another problem. While on the ventilator, she may have developed blood clots. Her hands were likely starved of circulation and oxygenation. So, her fingers turned black.

FELIPE: My fingers are going to fall off. Let me see if I can show you my hands.

KAYE (on camera): Yes. And that - and that's because they weren't getting any blood?

FELIPE: Exactly.

The left hand, which is in better shape.

KAYE (voice-over): Rosa's hands may have to be amputated. At the very least, she says, she will lose many of her fingers.

Rosa's family wasn't sure she'd even survive. Her sister told me she was already planning her funeral. What keeps Rosa going is the thought of seeing her children again, who she hasn't seen since she was hospitalized in March.

KAYE (on camera): When do you think you'll be able to see your children again?

FELIPE: For me, it can't be soon enough. For me, it can't be soon enough. But I know. I know. I know that in the end I'm going to be with them, I know that. So, that's what keeps me focused, and it keeps me wanting to heal, and wanting to get out of here, fully restored.

KAYE (voice-over): Alone in her hospital room, for more than five months now, Rosa admits she's had some dark thoughts. So, more than ever, she treasures life's sweet joys.

FELIPE: On my behalf, could you please congratulate Anderson Cooper on his baby?

KAYE (on camera): I certainly will. These are the things you think about--

FELIPE: He's so cute.

KAYE (on camera): --when you're laying in the hospital bed?

FELIPE: Yes. I'm happy that he has a baby, and that he's so cute. KAYE (on camera): Well, I will share your blessings with Anderson and Wyatt.

FELIPE: Thank you so much.

KAYE (on camera): All right, Rosa.

FELIPE: Have a great day.

KAYE (on camera): Be well.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, brought me tears.

KAYE: So sweet, right?

COOPER: I mean, wow! What she has been through!

KAYE: Yes, and what she's still going through, Anderson. And yet, that was the only time, in our whole interview, that she smiled, was talking about you and Wyatt.

I mean she's been in this dark place. She was on that ventilator for a couple of months. She's going through possibly losing her hands. She hasn't seen her children in a couple of months. She was in this dream- like state, where she was watching her life go by on the ventilator, she remembers.

So, it's been a really scary time for her, and she hasn't had any visitors. So, when we started talking about you, that's when she really lit up. And I think she's rally clung to that, as sort of this bright-spot in all of this.

[21:45:00]

We see what the pandemic has done to her, and her family, and so many others, and it was just really sweet, Anderson, that moment, and all she wanted to do was talk about you and Baby Wyatt.

COOPER: Well I want to talk to her. Thank you, Randi, appreciate it.

KAYE: Sure.

COOPER: And we wish her the best, and we hope she gets to be reunited with her kids really soon. Thank you.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Free on bail, Steve Bannon accused federal prosecutors of launching a political hit job, his words, after he was arrested with three others in charge with fraud.

The fraud, prosecutors allege, was to divert millions raised by a private group called "We Build The Wall" to pay for a section of the border wall. Instead, the government says that a lot of the money that was donated or hundreds of thousands of dollars went to organizers, including Bannon.

CNN's Senior Investigative Correspondent, Drew Griffin, now, with a look into that group and its founders.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The President seemed to have amnesia over his once close relationship to Steve Bannon and the President's own support for the project called "We Build The Wall."

TRUMP: I know nothing about the project, other than I didn't like when I read about it.

[21:50:00]

GRIFFIN (voice-over): That doesn't seem to line up with what others recall Trump saying about the project, like Kris Kobach, former Kansas Secretary of State, and Advisory Board Member of the "We Build The Wall" organization, who's repeatedly said not only did the President know about the project that raised $25 million in donations, but supported.

KRIS KOBACH, "WE BUILD THE WALL" ADVISORY BOARD: I've spoken to the President about this project on three occasions now.

Trump expressed clear enthusiasm for it. He wants it known that he stands behind this.

And he went further, and he said I want the media to know that this project has my blessing. He was really making a point that he was behind this.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): A point echoed by the Chief Financial Officer of "We Build The Wall," Amanda Shea.

She's married to one of the men indicted, and posted this photo of her and President Trump, last summer, saying she talked with "President Trump, who had a lot of questions about the wall We The People built through We Build The Wall. He was impressed," she said.

Donald Trump's son, Don Jr., was apparently impressed too. The Facebook account of the group's Founder, Brian Kolfage, shows him with the President's son taking a private jet to an event last year, where Don Jr. praised the private wall effort.

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is private enterprise, at its finest, doing it better, faster, cheaper than anything else.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, Timothy Shea, and Steve Bannon, according to prosecutors, worked together, to misappropriate hundreds of thousands of dollars of those funds for their own personal benefit, payments allegedly went toward a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery.

That boat is one Kolfage used in a Florida pro-Trump boat parade. When reports accused Kolfage of misspending funds, last summer, he and Steve Bannon joked about it in a video from the border project site.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Welcome back. This is Stephen K. Bannon. We're off the coast of Saint-Tropez in Southern France in the Mediterranean. We're on the million-dollar yacht of Brian Kolfage, and Brian Kolfage, he took all that money from "Build The Wall."

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The joke, not so funny now. Kolfage, a triple amputee Air Force veteran, repeatedly claimed he wouldn't take a single penny for running the operation.

BRIAN KOLFAGE, "WE BUILD THE WALL" FOUNDER: 100 percent of your money goes towards the wall. It's not going to line someone's pocket. I'm taking $0 of the salary.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Reached by email, Friday, Kolfage told CNN, prosecutors "Lumped every purchase I've made, in the past two years, into the indictment, even before "We Build The Wall," not taking into account the fact I have other sources of income to pay for things. Like Bannon said," Kolfage wrote, "It's a Fiasco."

According to the indictment, the co-defendants conspired to pay Kolfage's salary with donors' money by using a second non-profit, and hidden payments. Philanthropy Expert, Doug White, says it's the type of alleged fraud that hurts all charities.

DOUG WHITE, NONPROFIT EXPERT AND AUTHOR: And that's what really breaks my heart. Here's an example.

If the allegations are true, of fraud, at its worst, and they were defrauded out of maybe checks of $10 or $50, some many - many more dollars, but none of that should take place under the guise of having someone then take that money, or part of it to go live a lavish lifestyle. Absolutely has to be stopped.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The others indicted, Andrew Badolato, a 56-year- old Florida-based investor, who's been close to Bannon for more than 20 years.

In the early 2000s, Badolato and Bannon were also Directors of a nasal spray company, called SinoFresh HealthCare. Executives there pushed to remove Bannon from the Board for not investigating improprieties allegedly tied to Badolato.

Badolato went on to write for Bannon's Breitbart news site, and he's repeatedly filed for bankruptcy, has faced more than a dozen state and federal tax liens.

The third conspirator, Timothy Shea, is accused of secretly filtering donations to himself, and Kolfage, payments described as social media charges. The Denver real estate agent sells a pro-Trump energy drink that comes in a can with a picture of Trump in a superhero costume. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Drew joins me now.

How serious are the charges?

GRIFFIN: The actual charges, Anderson, one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, I should say wire fraud, each carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years a piece. So, they are serious.

Steve Bannon, of course, pleaded not guilty. The other three men were arrested in their hometowns. They were not arraigned, so they didn't enter pleas. But they all posted bail and are free now, Anderson.

COOPER: And what about the people who gave them money?

GRIFFIN: Yes, that is the sad part. There are lots of people, who gave money, thinking that was going to build a wall. They did build some wall on private land in New Mexico.

But I got to think there's hundreds, maybe thousands of people out there, wondering if their money went to the wall or their money went to actually feeding the luxury lifestyles these men were allegedly leading, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, we'll see what happens. Drew Griffin, thank you very much.

[21:55:00]

Up next, a double tropical storm threat from Florida to Texas, tonight. Not just one storm, possibly two, hitting at the same time. We have details when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Just to make 2020 even more interesting, two tropical systems - two are headed for the United States. The Gulf Coast is on alert. Both storms could impact the area, from Florida and Texas, this weekend, or early next week, and possibly at the same time.

The first tropical - the first system to watch is Tropical Storm Laura, currently east of Antigua. There's also a state of emergency for the Florida Keys. Mandatory evacuations are in effect for anyone living on a boat, RV, mobile home or camper.

The second threat is Tropical Depression 14 off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico, and heading northwest, eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. That system is expected to become Tropical Storm Marco in the next 24 hours.

Forecasters predict both storms will intensify to Category 1 hurricanes as they move through the Gulf.

Forecasters say if that happens, it would be a first. There have never been two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time, and it's been 60 years since two tropical storms have been a double threat in the Gulf.

Stay with CNN for the latest developments on both storms.

And be sure to join me Sunday night for a special edition of 360, as we preview the Republican National Convention, from 8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. Eastern, on Sunday night. And CNN's coverage of the Convention kicks off Monday night, 7:00 P.M. Eastern.

News continues. Let's hand it over to Don Lemon for "CNN TONIGHT." Have a great weekend.