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Police Union Defends Kenosha Officers, Says Blake Fought Police; Former Trump DHS Official Campaigns To Elect Joe Biden; In Apparent Reversal, FDA Says Fired Spokeswoman Will Remain At Agency. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 28, 2020 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Chris Cuomo is off tonight.

Topping this hour of 360, breaking news in the shooting of Jacob Blake, in the back, by a White police officer, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He is now paralyzed. Protesters are once again mobilized.

In just few minutes, Professor Cornel West joins us to talk about the larger implications of this moment.

First, the breaking news from CNN's Omar Jimenez in Kenosha.

So, Omar, the Kenosha Professional Police Association, Police Union, they have released some details of what they say occurred in the altercation, in which Mr. Blake ended up being shot. What are they saying?


So, among their claims, they say that Jacob Blake knew about or the officers rather, knew about Jacob Blake's open warrant for sexual assault before they got to the scene. They also say that Jacob Blake fought with officers, even putting an officer in a headlock.

And they also say that Jacob Blake was not unarmed. They say that he had a knife, which officers weren't aware of, until they were on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Their overall point is they say that many of the narratives that have come out, they believe are inaccurate. However, they claim their account of what happened, is what really happened.

COOPER: I asked Mr. Blake's father about this, in the last hour. He clearly didn't want to talk about anything that the Union was saying. Have Blake's attorneys responded?

JIMENEZ: Yes. Blake's attorneys have responded, and basically said, what has come out of the Association is completely overblown.

For starters, they say, he posed no threat. They also said that by the Association's logic, that if there was a knife, anywhere in the vicinity, they're using that as an excuse to then apply potentially deadly force.

Now, we did hear from an eyewitness who says that he did hear officers say "Drop the knife." But he also says he never saw the knife, and also, on top of that, says he didn't believe Blake posed any threat.

And while we're hearing things come out from the attorneys, and from the Police Association, it is important to keep in mind that the Wisconsin Department of Justice is the lead investigative body on this.

And the only thing they have said, at this point, is that Jacob Blake admitted to having a knife, at some point, we don't know which point right now, and that a knife was recovered from the floorboard of the driver's side of the vehicle.

COOPER: Yes. I mean that's one - being one of the frustrating things is that the people actually behind the investigation haven't released any, really, details that would obviously be important than that people would want to know. So, that's why the fact that the Union has said something is getting so much attention.

The Union is saying he actually was holding a knife, as he walked around to the vehicle, because police previously had said a knife was found on the floorboards by the - in the driver's side of the vehicle.

So, those two things are not mutually exclusive, if in fact, he was holding a knife, was shot and dropped a knife. But again, we haven't heard this from - officially from the investigators.

I know, in the last hour, it was said - we said that charges against Blake, the warrant - the charges that were behind the reason for the existing warrant, out on him, were dropped. They're actually still pending.

The warrant, they - correct me if I'm wrong. The family paid the - a bond so the warrant that was pending against him was dropped, which is why he was handcuffed to the bed. He's no longer handcuffed to the bed.

The warrant was dropped, but the charges were - was vacated. But the charges are still in place, correct?

JIMENEZ: That's right. So, that was the - he is no longer shackled to his bed. And that's because, as you mentioned, the open warrants for him have been vacated. But his attorneys do say that charges are still pending for him.

And when you go back to why, again, as you touched on, why he was even cuffed and shackled in the first place, the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office here said that it was standard procedure for anyone with warrants, like his, again, that were connected to sexual assault.

However, the family and his attorneys viewed it as especially cruel, given the fact that he is paralyzed and couldn't go anywhere to begin with.

COOPER: Omar Jimenez, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

Let's get perspective now from Dr. Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, at Harvard University, Professor Emeritus, at Princeton University, and Co-host of the new podcast, "The Tight Rope."

Dr. West, good to see you tonight.


57 years ago, today, four words became history, "I have a dream," by Martin Luther King. Today, we saw another march on Washington. I'm wondering what you make of where we are, in this moment, in American history, given all we have seen just in the last several days?


And I want to just begin by sending my condolences out to Brother Jacob Blake. I'm praying for him, pray for his family, his eloquent sister, the teacher who's so strong, but also the family of Brother Joseph Rosenbaum, and Brother Anthony Huber, two of the brothers that were shot down in cold blood.

This is a pivotal moment, my brother. It was 57 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. told America about a dream that he had.

And the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said the future of America depends on how we respond to Brother Martin, which American - the worst of America shot him down like a dog was Martin Luther King Jr., the last hope for America.

We're at the most pivotal moment in the history of this experiment called the "USA."

COOPER: You really think that?

WEST: Still in the colonial experiment.

COOPER: You think--

WEST: Well founded on indigenous people's land, founded on African labor, founded on White men's labor, those who couldn't vote, could not participate in political process. Women couldn't vote.

We are at that crucial a moment, at that time, they led the civil strife and Civil War. And what is distinctive about this moment, though, brother, why would I make such a strong claim?

Well one is that we witnessed, this week, the crystallizing of a distinctive form of American neo-fascism, in which you live in lies, you get - you attempt to get people addicted to lies, addicted to avoiding reality, create a world of make-believe, and then trot out a gangster.

I mean, the idea of Donald Trump defending law enforcement is like Jesse James being Head of the Bank Protection Brigade.

I mean, he's been running from the law for most of his career. He doesn't care about the law. He allows his cronies to break the law, and he lets them go. He's held no regard for the most part, for law. And we hear that from his family as well. It's part of the spiritual decay, and the moral vacancy, or emptiness, in our society.

But he's not alone. He's not alone. We are witnessing also the pandemic. We're wrestling with climatic changes, from the two issues hardly talked about, which is ecological catastrophe on the way, and possible nuclear catastrophe on the way.

And then, we've got an empire with military units all around the world, 4,800 units, 800 of them outside of us. Russia, China only have 30 combined.

Military overreach, corruption of elites, and then the gullibility of an impotent citizenry, who is gullible to what? Tribalism, to greed, to hatred, to indifference, to ignorance, to a callousness and cowardliness, and this is something that is not simply focused on the Republican Party, but you have collaborators and facilitators in that Party, who are willing to accommodate themselves to his neo-fascism.

It was just so sad to see people who once called him a conman now call him a demagogue. And that's precisely how elites too often behave. They'll adjust themselves to anything. It is not a matter of skin pigmentation. It's a human thing though, brother and--

COOPER: It was remarkable to see the White House with giant signs with the President's name on it. I mean, you talk about sort of getting a glimpse of what an American fascism would look like.

The Republican Party has been completely changed into the Party of Trump. It is the leaders of the Republican Party, Mitch McConnell's were relegated. Normally, they would get a prime time speaking slot. They were relegated to little like well-produced video off to the side.

The show was what was happening in the White House that had been taken over by the Trump family.

WEST: That's exactly right.

But the important thing to keep in mind are the invisible social - social forces behind the scene, this Wall Street's breaking records that the 1 percent doing better than ever, 40 percent of all of our fellow citizens in poverty or near poverty.

That's what Martin was talking about. He said America - the last summer that Martin Luther King Jr. was going to preach was called "America may go to hell." It was not "Should go to the hell." It was not "America ought to go to hell." "America may go to hell," why?


Because no democracy can survive with its public life shattered, with racism, with militarism, here and abroad, with materialism, in which people think to be human is to be titillated and stimulated. It can't wait to be successful with material toys, rather than learn how to care and nurture, especially the least of these.

But then he also added another one, of course, which is poverty, and hardly any - both parties, for the most part, don't want to talk about militarism abroad, $0.53 for every dollar going to the military industrial complex.

Dwight Eisenhower would be Left-wing of the Democratic Party today, in his support of taxes about 90 percent, his support of the New Deal, his critique of the military industrial complex.

So, you've got a neo-liberal Democratic Party, and you know I'm going to support Biden. I'm going to - it's going to be difficult. You pray for me. But I'm going - I'm voting for him, because it's an anti- fascist vote.

But I know how mutual (ph) still is. But neo-fascism is something that calls into question the very possibility of in a democracy.

Do you know if 25 percent of Republicans say they want to shut down CNN, New York Times, Washington Post and MSNBC, now, this is - this is unprecedented, brother?

And I would want to defend the rights of Fox. They got a right to be so wrong in their own way, because rights and liberties are very precious. It takes a long time to institutionalize them. They can appear overnight.

And who - who really thinks that the election is going to be over on Tuesday, that first week in November? No, we've got now claims about the legitimacy of the election - the elections.

We got claims about the legitimacy of the very process itself, for what? Power. Power. Say anything, do anything. That's what we have in the White House. But we have the collaborators, Wall Street too often, and also big military. And then you got folks who are desperate, and then, of course, the White Supremacy that sits at the center.

And I w1ant to thank God for my brothers and sisters in the sports world, especially the greater LeBron James and the others, who are taking the protests (ph) because everything's at stake, at this point, my brother, everything's at stake.

COOPER: And we only have just a short time left. But I mean things are so divisive, is there a way to step back from the brink to just to - right now, people see things through their own lens and otherize each other.

We're all otherizing each other that they're other than patriotic, other than a citizen, other than a human being, and nothing good can come out of that. WEST: Well I think that's - Martin Luther King Jr. and Dorothy Day and Edward Said (ph), and so many others, they have taught us, it's going to be by example. There's a sense in which American history is catching up with American literature.

Moby Dick, King the - Ahab obsessed with the whiteness of the whale, how does it end? It ends with Ishmael on a raft, which is actually a coffin. Witness and those who want to live in the sand put their heads in the sand, and avoid it, create Disneyland like realities, as we saw the other day.

Toni Morrison's "Sweet Home," whoa, what is that "Sweet Home?" A vicious barbaric plantation, that constitutes the very White Supremacist foundation of your modern industrial order.

And then there's William Faulkner, wonderful book by Michael Gorra just came out. He said the two saddest words in the English language was what was the case? The White Supremacy, all of the predatory capitalism, all of the Imperial expansion.


WEST: And then the other word, again, was how does Jason Compson deal with that in Sound and Fury. He tells my son, that's the saddest word in the English language. He said, "No, dad," he said again, when the wasness is not overcome in its worst sense, then it comes back over and over again.

Here we go again. Here comes Jacob again. Here comes Sandbar (ph) again. Here come Breonna again, over, over, and over again.


WEST: We know what happens to Compson. What happens to Quentin? He jumps off the bridge in the Charles River in Harvard. We don't have to jump off that bridge. We don't have to jump off that bridge.

COOPER: Let's not.

WEST: But we have to come to terms with the reality.

COOPER: Yes. Faulkner, "The past isn't dead. It's not even past."

WEST: That's it. That's--

COOPER: Cornel West.

WEST: --that's yes, absolutely.

COOPER: Thank you. Good to talk to you. Thank you.

WEST: Indeed. Stay strong, my brother.

COOPER: Thanks.

Next, a former senior member of the Administration, weighs in on what he saw on the inside, what he makes of last night, and concerns about a second term in office for the President he came to know, up close.

Later, the pandemic, and this week's decision by the CDC, which the CDC Director felt the need to clarify, to recommend against testing for people, who would think - you would think would need to be tested most, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and a former top health official joining us ahead.



COOPER: If everything else we've seen this week weren't enough, there was last night's norm-busting presidential acceptance speech on the South Lawn of the White House, capping off the Republican National Convention.

About 70 minutes, our CNN fact-checker, Daniel Dale, detailed the - many of the factually incorrect statements during the speech. I kind of watched in amazement, as Daniel Dale, did that, running through nearly two dozen falsehoods in about 3 minutes. Well let's take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I stand before you tonight, honored by your support.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: This President is a serial liar, and he serially lied tonight. I counted preliminarily more than 20 false or misleading claims. I want to go through a whole bunch of them quickly. Because I think it's all important.

Trump said Joe Biden is, quote, talking about taking down the border wall. Biden has specifically explicitly rejected that idea. He just said he'll stop further additional construction.


Trump claimed, as always, that he is the one who passed the Veterans Choice law. Barack Obama signed that into law in 2014. Trump signed a 2018 law to modify it.

Trump said "I have done more for the African-American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln." That is ludicrous. Lyndon Johnson, for one, signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

Trump again touted a, quote, record 9 million job gain over the past three months. He didn't mention, as usual, that that gain follows a record 22 million job loss over the previous two months.

He said he'll, quote, continue to lower drug prices. They've increased during his presidency.

He said they opened a Jerusalem embassy for less than $500,000. Early documents show it was at least $21 million. He claimed NATO member spending has increased for the first time in about 20 years. Spending, in fact, rose in 2015 and in 2016 before he took office.

He said he will always, and Republicans will always strongly protect people with pre-existing conditions. That pledge has already been broken. He and they have repeatedly tried to weaken those protections in Obamacare.

He claimed again that he banned travel from China and Europe. No, he imposed partial restrictions with many exemptions. Tens of thousands of people continued traveling over.

He boasted about the COVID testing system and about his general response. Look, experts in here or universally say the U.S. was fatally slow in its response, especially slow in setting up adequate testing.

He said that he ended what he called a NAFTA nightmare, and he signed a brand-new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the USMCA. That agreement preserves, maintains most of NAFTA.

He boasted about building about 300 miles of border wall. What he didn't say is that most of that is replacement barrier. As of August 7, according to official data, just five miles had been built where none existed before.

He suggested that Joe Biden would confiscate guns. That's baseless. Biden is running on a non-mandatory buyback of so-called assault weapons.

He said Democrats want to defund the police. Biden, again, doesn't. Has rejected that.

He said he has, quote, very good information that China wants Biden to win because Biden is soft on China or cheerleads for China. The U.S. Intelligence Community says China wants Biden to win because it sees Trump as unpredictable.

He said Biden vowed to close down charter schools. Biden's plan is skeptical on charters, but would not abolish them entirely.

He denounced Biden for voting for the Iraq war. Biden did indeed vote for the Iraq war, but what Trump doesn't mention is that he also supported that invasion.

He said Democrats twice removed the word "God" from the "Pledge of Allegiance" at their Convention. Two individual Caucus meetings outside the main prime time programming did leave it out, but it was uttered in every prime time event.

Trump denounced so-called cancel culture as like an insidious Left- wing thing. He, Donald J. Trump, has tried to get dozens of people and entities canceled, fired, boycotted, including literally last week, Goodyear. He said he imposed an order to give 10 years in prison to rioters. That's a maximum discretionary sentence up to judges in existing laws. His order just asked the government to fully enforce.

And he said that Biden's plan would eliminate America's borders. No, just no, it's wrong.

COOPER: Oh, that's it? I'm just kidding!

DALE: There's more.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, wow!

DALE: How much time do you got, Anderson?


COOPER: How much time indeed!

More perspective now on what the President said last night, and where his campaign and a second term could take the country. Our next guest has seen the President up close, and fair to say is concerned by what he saw.

Miles Taylor is the former Chief of Staff at the Department of Homeland Security. He has, we should point out, endorsed Joe Biden; part of a group of former Administration officials, who want to see the President defeated.

The President often acts as if he's a bystander and not actually the President of the United States. In his speech, last night, kind of illustrated that. This is his United States.

And he keeps talking about we will have law and order when he's re- elected. He's the President now, and this is the country he's overseen for three years.


That was the stunning thing. Well there were many stunning things, as Dale really very effectively pointed out. But the President's case seemed to be, "I'm Donald Trump and I can save you from Donald Trump's America."

It was surreal. But what's even more surreal, Anderson is that we are so numb to it, that it's just become normalized.


TAYLOR: I mean we won't even be talking about this on Monday. And that's what's so shocking about this. And I want to say, right out of the gate, of course, we're in Crazy Town, OK? But everybody knows it.

This is the thing. I can hardly think of people, probably on less than two hands, I can name the advisers close to the President that are such true believers in him, that they don't see it.

Everybody else sees it. They all see it. The cabinet sees it. People who have left the cabinet see it. Junior aides see it. Everyone sees it. This is why I'm out here saying this, Anderson. I don't have a whole lot to gain. In fact, I got a lot to lose from this.

But genuinely, there's a weight off my shoulders in getting to say that the people around the President think he's genuinely unfit for the job. I can't believe that I have to say this. I can't believe we're having this conversation. But that's the reality.


And then, there he was last night, on federal property, real-time crime in progress, and we're going to shrug it off by next week. America's got to wake up. We've got to realize we need to shake this off, and we can only do that with new leadership.

COOPER: It's so interesting. Just - I mean, again, this is a, in the grand scale of things, maybe it's a minor thing.

But even when it was announced that he's considering using the White House for political - for the speech he's going to make, folks in Congress were like, "Oh, no, that's not really going to happen. I mean that's just being floated." And then, of course, it did happen, and they remained silent.

You say all these people around the President have doubts, know he's not up to it. What is the - I mean, I - it's - I don't want to make you be a mind-reader, what keeps people there? Is it--


COOPER: --"Well if I leave, my job is so important that at least I'm a moderating influence? Or I'm a responsible set of eyes on things, and that's why it's important for me to stay?

Or is it just they're in the corridors of power, and that's a good place to be, it's better than being not in the corridors of power?"

TAYLOR: Well look, I'll be very blunt with you, Anderson. I think that the latter explanation that you gave is what's true for most people that are still in the Administration.

There was a point in which, I think, in years one, two, and three, where the majority of people that were there were there for the right reasons, and had exactly that first thought that you indicated.

That thought that we were seeing such crazy things, that the current - concern was if we left, we would be replaced by sycophants, who would do whatever the President wanted rather than speaking truth to power.

Now, let me be clear, the President makes a lot of money, and gets a lot of attention, off of saying that there's a Deep State. I've never saw an instance where people in the bureaucracy disobeyed a lawful order from the President. That's not what we're talking about. What we're talking about is people who had the courage to go, and say, "Mr. President, what you want to do is unethical, or immoral, or un- American, whatever it is." Those people have, by and large, been replaced by folks who see being in this Administration as in their self-interest in getting into positions of power.

However, in the past few days, since I've been out here, I've been talking to that smaller 20 percent that's left, and quite frequently.

And there are people in there, who are genuinely scared, because they see what's going on around them that if they were to leave, that's kind of the last vestige of stability there, and the wheels will really go off the wagon.

Now, we can argue about whether that's a legitimate approach. And I've made the case to a lot of these folks, senior advisers to the President that it really is time to leave. There's no more good to be done, the wheels have been off the wagon for a long time, and they should go reclaim their lives and their conscience and say what they know to be true.

But, look, the example that you just gave, about using White House property, for a Convention, for political purposes, that's the type of thing. I was just talking to a former Cabinet Secretary, the other day, from the Trump Administration, and I'm not out here to name names, but this individual and I had a conversation.

I said, "Could you imagine if that was ever proposed in year one or two of the Trump Administration?" Reflexively, any of us who have served in government would know right away that that's a Hatch Act violation. And most Americans didn't learn about the Hatch Act till the past few days.

But day one, into the Administration, you actually get a PowerPoint brief, where they walk you through, and they say, you don't mix politics with official business. And they give you a zillion examples. And they'd tell you, "You'd be breaking the law and you're going to get in trouble."

So, you would know immediately we can't do that. There should have been 100 people around the President that told him not to. Instead, just like you said, it just rolled forward. It just became a thing. And now, it's normalized.

But that's what a second term is going to be like with Donald Trump, normalizing illegal behavior.

COOPER: Yes. Miles Taylor, appreciate your time tonight, thank you.

Just ahead, weak controversy for the FDA and CDC, details on a flood of potentially bad information from both, and how that could affect the nation's fight against the virus, when we return.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: A controversy over the FDA Commissioner's claims about the benefits of a Coronavirus treatment has led to the removal of the Agency's spokesperson. Two sources confirm to CNN that Dr. Stephen Hahn removed Emily Miller. She's actually still at the Agency though.

The FDA tells CNN that Miller remains "Appointee," as she was placed at the FDA just days ago, by the White House, not Dr. Hahn. It's unclear what her role is now. Miller was involved in prepping Dr. Hahn on the emergency use of convalescent plasma.

In a news conference, he vastly overstated the benefits of the treatment. Hahn has called the criticism of those initial claims justified, but he says political reasons did not factor into his decision-making.

This comes a day after the FDA reportedly terminated the contract of a consultant who advised Dr. Hahn to correct any misleading comments. It also comes at the same time as a separate controversy involving revised CDC guidelines that require testing for far fewer people.

Federal official close to process tells CNN that the pressure to issue that guidance came "From the top down," meaning the upper ranks of the Trump Administration.

CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield said the White House Coronavirus Task Force was consulted. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was not, and in fact, was undergoing surgery, and under general anesthesia at the time.

Here to discuss is Kathleen Sebelius, a former Secretary of Health and Human Services, which oversees the FDA and CDC, also our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Secretary Sebelius, what is going on? I mean, it is now multiple instances, it seems, of scientists, whether it's the leadership of scientific organizations, folding under political pressure or morphing their medical advice, it seems like just under the thumb of politics.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY, (D) FORMER GOVERNOR OF KANSAS: Well, Anderson, I heard your earlier segment when they talked about a series of things that are just unprecedented. And frankly, I've never seen anything like this.


I know that the both the CDC and the FDA, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the backbone of public health, in this country, and around the world, and the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for regulating a product for every $0.25 spent of $1 in America.

Both agencies are full of talented brilliant people, who do a great job day in and day out. There is something really wrong at the leadership level, and there's something really wrong with the messages coming out. And it could not be a more dangerous time. We need to have the American public trust science. We need to make sure that when and if we get a safe and effective vaccine, that people can believe that it is safe and effective.

We need people to understand that the guidance offered by CDC, about social protocol, and wearing a mask, and staying apart, and tracking and tracing this disease actually will keep us safe and secure.

And the more the public doubts those messages, the more they are battered by political interference with science, I think the worse it gets.

We've had a President who consistently lies about the science, who consistently gives false information to the public. And now, unfortunately, out of the agencies is coming some information that seems not to be very accurate and very true.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Sanjay, I mean this thing with this FDA and Dr. Hahn apologizing over overstating the benefits of plasma treatment, I mean, good for him for apologizing about it, and acknowledging it.

The CDC, multiple times now, changing guidelines, based on - it seems like nothing else other than political pressure.


And I've been, you know, we've been reporting on this for a long time. I talk to lot of public health officials, who are not working for the government, and they're pretty unified in terms of how they're thinking about these new recommendations.

For example, the CDC saying asymptomatic people do not necessarily need to get tested, they're in lockstep saying, that's bad guidance. And it's unfortunate.


GUPTA: As Secretary Sebelius was saying, CDC is this - not only this institution that people look to in the United States, but all over the world. And now, you have lots of people saying, we can't go to their guidance any more.

FDA, I mean keep in mind, even before this issue with the convalescent plasma, which on Thursday, they said is not going to get this Emergency Use Authorization. Over the weekend, there's this tweet that goes out that says the FDA better see the light, or they're going to feel the heat.

COOPER: Right, from the President.

GUPTA: And on Sunday, the - from the President. And the Emergency Use Authorization then happens on Sunday. I mean, come on! This is also an organization, an administration that the FDA that gave the EUA, Emergency Use Authorization for Hydroxychloroquine. This is some time ago, but there was really no evidence, at that

point, to support that. So, it's worrisome. And I'm hearing this from a lot of public health officials, around the country, about this concern.

COOPER: Secretary Sebelius, the idea that non-symptomatic (ph) people should not be tested, I mean, it's a clear break from the science, and potentially incredibly harmful.

SEBELIUS: Well, it absolutely is.

The evidence seems to point to the fact that asymptomatic individuals are carrying about 40 percent of the disease. So, if you don't test those individuals, we have no idea where the disease is, if we wait and only test people when they have symptoms or on their way into the hospital.

Anderson, it's incredible that we are still talking about testing. We started talking about testing in late January, early February. We have not gotten--


SEBELIUS: --we tested a lot more people, but we still don't have a protocol. We still don't have an agreed-upon process.

And we still don't have the equipment to do fast turnaround tests. And we're pushing schools to open, we're pushing universities to open, and businesses to open, it is - it's really dangerous. People are dying each and every day.

I went back and looked at, in mid-April, this President said, in defiance of all the guidance, states should reopen, "Minnesota should be liberated. Michigan should be liberated," God knows with guns, "Virginia should be liberated."

We had 33,000 deaths in the middle of April. 150,000 people have died since then. And we're still talking about testing. We still don't have the protocol right, and we still have the most fatalities of any country on Earth.

COOPER: And Sanjay, I mean, to make it all the more Orwellian, last night, the President stood on the South Lawn, in his campaign event, saying that he is focusing, quote, on the science, the facts and the data-- data, to handle the Coronavirus pandemic.

And he said that in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 people, many of whom were without masks, had not been tested. It's - I mean, what do you say? What can you say?


GUPTA: I mean the actions were totally flying in the face of even the most basic science.

I mean, look, the idea that, at this point, in the middle of a pandemic, you slow the country down, you slow the spread down, you had this plan to slow the spread down, when there were 5,000 people, roughly, infected in the country. Now, there's 5 million. It's gone up a 1,000-fold, and we saw what unfolded at the White House.

I mean, everybody knows, at this point, you should keep your distance, you should wear a mask. I mean, these are basic things, and that wasn't happening.

And everyone says, by the way, "Well what about the protesters? What about the march?" Yes, right, that's an issue as well. I mean, we're in the middle of a pandemic. People should not be aggregating together.

The only thing that likes people aggregating together is the virus. It gladly jumps host to host to host. I mean that's - it's perfect for the virus. But it's bad for everybody else. And we know this, at this point. I mean, I don't know what it's going to take. I mean I really--


GUPTA: --there was that scene today, Anderson, where I think it was in - I don't know where it was, but they said, "You got to wear you masks," some rally, and people were booing.

I mean you're told that you could save 70,000 lives by the end of the year if you wear a mask. And people boo. They're like "Screw it, I ain't doing it."


GUPTA: I mean I - what's it going to take, at this point, to get--

COOPER: That--

GUPTA: --people to understand.

COOPER: Yes. That was at a Trump campaign event today. Doctors--

SEBELIUS: In New Hampshire.

GUPTA: Yes. Sanjay Gupta, thank you. Kathleen Sebelius, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Just ahead, more of my interview, with the young man at the center of the controversy, surrounding Jerry Falwell Jr.



COOPER: Last hour, we brought you part one of my interview with the man at the center of the controversies surrounding Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife, Becki.

Giancarlo Granda discussed how he says he met the Falwells in Miami. He also talked about his relationship with them, key points of which the Falwells dispute, if we point it out.

Here now is the second part, and the final part of that interview.


COOPER: They bought a youth hostel in Miami. And you were offered - they give you a - or you were offered a 25 percent share in the deal. Why did - why did you get offered 25 percent of a deal? You didn't put up any money for it, did you?


So, when I meet them at the Fontainebleau, there's a couple trips, right? We went to a resort in the Keys, Cheeca resort, and then there's another trip in New York. We stayed at the Greensboro (ph) hotel in Park Avenue.

And there, I was telling Jerry about this passion project of mine, to help people. But he's like, "Look, before you could ever help anyone, you need to make a lot of money yourself."

And he's like, my background is in real estate, "How about you go pick a property in Miami Beach, get a handful of them, and I'll give you 25 percent equity?" So, he is the one that actually offered the equity right off the bat.

COOPER: Why do you think he was doing that?

GRANDA: I believed him at the time. It's just he wanted to help. That's how he always pitched it. He wanted to pay it forward. That was always the cover story. He's like "If anybody ever asks about our relationship, just say I'm a mentor, somebody helped him out when he was younger, and he just wants to pay it forward to me."

COOPER: So, why come forward now with these allegations? I mean, this has, according to you, have been going on for a long time.

GRANDA: Because I feel trapped. I've been trying to get out of that business relationship for a long time. And I have--

COOPER: You want money from them for the percentage that you say you are owed?

GRANDA: So, I have an ownership stake in this LLC. In the operating agreement, there's a selling mechanism that allows me to sell my equity stake to just, if I want to split ways, I can do that.

And, over the years, they promised that they would, that they would buy my equity stake, and they've kind of - they were just like dangling this promise, and they would push it on, they would string me along. It never happened. I have text messages that Jerry himself memorialized this contract.

COOPER: Jerry Falwell has said you were extorting them. He said, to the "Washington Examiner," "While we tried to distance

ourselves from him over time, he unfortunately became increasingly angry and aggressive. Eventually, he began threatening to reveal this secret relationship with Becki, and to deliberately embarrass my wife, family, and Liberty University, unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies."

Did you threaten the Falwells that you would go public, if they didn't pay you?

GRANDA: That's false. I mean like why would - why would this extortionist, right, he called me an extortionist or a criminal, why - why would he still be - if I was extorting, why would he still be hanging out with me, watching me and Becki?

And, in January 2019, there was a FaceTime - there was a FaceTime call, and Becki's walking around naked in the house, walking around naked with a glass of wine, and Jerry's following her, right behind.

COOPER: We obtained a communication from someone familiar with Falwells' dealings with you that indicate, in March, you were asking for $1.1 million and $50,000 per year for 20 years. They say this was you trying to extort them.

GRANDA: No. Again, I'm only asking for what was offered to me. Jerry himself memorialized this contract through text messages, back in 2016. Again, I am just asking for what he promised.

COOPER: So, you're saying your 25 percent stake is worth that figure that I just read?

GRANDA: He - in 2016, he himself said this number that he would - that I would get $600,000 net, after taxes - after personal taxes and expenses.

COOPER: So, where is the $1.1 million figure coming from?

GRANDA: Well, if you - if you consider like - the gross amount, right, if you consider the gross amount, I mean, it's right on par.


And he also, back in 2015, he actually offered me an equity stake in La Quinta Hotel, which is owned by Comeback Inn LLC. And La Quinta Hotel's a hotel in Virginia. And, at that time, he was trying to bring me over to Virginia.

COOPER: I mean, did you at any point - so, you are saying this relationship, this sexual relationship went on for how long?

GRANDA: It went on from 2012 to physically, 2018. And then, we still remained in contact after that.


GRANDA: And, again, the FaceTime recording was in January, 2019. COOPER: Did - at any point - I mean, did you ever discuss - obviously, they are - they were evangelical leaders running a very religious university and very outspoken on religious topics. Did you ever discuss how they reconciled what you say was going on with the values that they were professing publicly?

GRANDA: We didn't really talk about that much, about religion or anything. But I did witness the hypocrisy behind the scenes, the lies. I toured Liberty Campus multiple times. And they treat that family - it's like a monarchy.

They are like the royal family there. And it's bizarre. And the reason why this story is important, it's more than just sexual scandal. It is a lot more than that. This is about a pattern of predatory behavior, abuse of power.

The people around them, the inner circle, they protect them, and they look the other way. They have witnessed things. I have seen it myself. And they just look the other way. And they always say, "It's just Jerry being Jerry or Becki being Becki."

COOPER: Giancarlo, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

GRANDA: Thank you.


COOPER: Well coming up next, search and rescue missions underway in Louisiana, after Hurricane Laura. Our Gary Tuchman joins one such mission. That story when we continue.



COOPER: In the wake of the powerful Category 4 - Category 4 hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast region, search and rescue missions are now underway.

The State hardest-hit by Hurricane Laura is Louisiana, where most of the hundreds of thousands of power outages occurred, and at least 10 people are reported dead. The heat advisory that's in effect through tomorrow night only adding to the misery of an area where water is in sharp demand.

Our Gary Tuchman joined one effort to search for survivors and has the story.



GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Calls keep coming into the Sheriff's Office from people in the Lake Charles area, who can't get in touch with their family members or friends. So, Calcasieu Parish Louisiana deputies Ryan Tarver and Cameron Hicks are responding to as many calls as they can.

We go to this house, heavily damaged from the hurricane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing, Sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good, good, good.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): They are looking for a 72-year-old man who did not evacuate. There was great concern the man could be found dead or seriously hurt. Paramedics and a worried neighbor were there when the Sheriff's deputies arrived. They found the man, Gerald Fruish (ph), a Vietnam veteran, who had indeed been hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I slipped and fell in the hallway.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Are you feeling OK now?


TUCHMAN (on camera): OK.


TUCHMAN (on camera): We were worried about you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I'm alright.

TUCHMAN (on camera): And the Sheriff's deputies are worried about you, and the emergency workers are worried about you.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Fruish (ph) says he believes he hurt his ribs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walking through this way, right?

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Everyone here relieved that Gerald Fruish (ph) is not seriously hurt. Sadly, different deputies earlier found a man, who had died, from what is believed to be carbon monoxide poisoning. And that is always a major concern.

As the deputies go to this door--


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff's office.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): There was no answer. That happens quite a bit.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): There is also no answer here. But then, they go around to the side of this damaged house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you the Richards (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uh-huh. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got sent to do a welfare check on you. I guess family was trying to contact you. And they haven't been able to, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. My son just called me.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dadi Richards (ph) say she and her family did evacuate just before the storm hit. But, like many, here, she has no cell services, no power, no water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have everything that you need here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I called the State board. My house is a total and--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tried to get down there. Sorry, Carolyn (ph), there was a lot of water on there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a camera. I didn't even recognize it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 35-foot and we have busted butt getting that thing clean from top to bottom to sell it.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): 15 years ago, Dadi Richards (ph) says she lost her house, when Hurricane Rita hit. Now, they are grateful the deputies came to make sure they're OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I appreciate it. I really do, because I'm - we're still here, kind of basically by ourselves. Most of our neighbors haven't come back.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): There are still many searches for these Sheriff's deputies to do, and relief that on this particular shift, nobody was found seriously hurt or dead.


COOPER: Gary joins us now. What is the latest on the death toll, as well as the recovery effort?

TUCHMAN: Latest information, Anderson, between this State, Louisiana, and Texas, at least 14 people have died. Meanwhile, on the ground, life is very difficult.

Here in Lake Charles, for example, nobody has power. There's 78,000 people who live here. Almost nobody has water. Stores, restaurants, gas stations all shut down. Power lines, trees in the roads. You can't get through many of the roads, and the roads that you can get through, a lot of them are obstacle courses.

And then there's a hospital in this City. Because of the damage to the hospital, and because of lack of water, they have sent their patients to other hospitals in the State.


TUCHMAN: Anderson?

COOPER: The aftermath, Gary, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

A reminder, don't miss Full Circle, our digital news show that gives us a chance to dig into some important topics, have in-depth conversations. You can catch it live, streaming Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, at 6 P.M., Eastern, on, or watch it there and on CNN app at any time, on-demand.

The news continues right now. Let's turn things over to Don Lemon and "CNN TONIGHT." Have a great weekend.


For those of you, who believe in reality, pay close attention. For those of you who may not pay closer attention, I've got a lot to say. It's Donald Trump's America. And it's an angry America. An America where protesters are shot in the street.