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British Prime Minister Announces Tougher Restrictions; Trump: "2021 Will be "Best Year" Economically; Louisville Braces for Breonna Taylor Case Decision; British Prime Minister Announces Tougher Restrictions; COVID-19 Death Toll In The U.S. Surpasses 200,000; Trump Defends Pandemic Response, Blames China For Crisis; FDA To Announce Tougher Standards For Vaccine; Supreme Court Showdown: U.S. President Insists Nine Justices Needed; Republicans Falling In Line To Approve Trump's Pick; Democrats Likely To Retaliate Over Senate Vote; U.S. Intel Warnings About Russian Election Interference. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 23, 2020 - 1:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: Hello everyone, I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Ahead this hour, a perilous turning point. Britain imposed these tough new restrictions amid fears of a second wave of the coronavirus.

U.S. Senate Republicans moving quickly to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, brushing off accusations of hypocrisy and threats of retaliation from Democrats.

And the CIA says Vladimir Putin is likely calling the shots in Russia's campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election again, working against Biden and in favor of Donald Trump.

In a bleak televised address, Britain's prime minister has appealed for national unity as the country faces 6 months of tough new restrictions to try and contain a second wave of the coronavirus. From Thursday, pubs, restaurants and bars in England will only offer table service and must close by 10 pm.

Retail employees will be required to wear face masks; weddings limited to no more than 15 people; office workers are being asked, once again, to work from home. There will be tough penalties for those who violate the new guidelines and the prime minister warns, "If needed, the army will be deployed to support police to enforce the rules".

More details now from CNN'S Anna Stewart.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The UK has reached a perilous turning point, that was the message from Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he laid out a raft of new restrictions designed to limit the spread of the virus. The decision, he says, he hasn't taken lightly.


reluctant to make any of these impositions or infringe anyone's freedom. But unless we take action, the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later when the deaths have already mounted and we have a huge caseload of infection such as we had in the spring.


STEWART: The vow for last orders will be ringing earlier at pubs like the one behind me in England, Wales and Scotland from Thursday. One of the biggest announcements made was there will be a curfew for hospitality venues at 10 pm. This comes as many businesses in that sector are already struggling for survival.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last year on a Saturday night, we had around 700 customers; and before this new one, we are doing like 250, so now we expect even less, so that will be, say, 30 percent off before COVID.

STEWART: Can you cope? Can you survive?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're a destination point, and I think people will still come. We lost a lot from theatres and now evening trade has gone down a bit, that's why I'm not particularly worried about the curfew. I'm a bit worried about everyone having to wear mask behind the bar, because I think it's a bit threatening maybe, or something. But maybe that's what we have to do, we'll have to get some fun masks or something.


STEWART: The trade body that represents the sector, UK hospitality, says 100,000 jobs have already been lost and 900,000 are now at risk. It wasn't the only announcement. The prime minister also said that people who can work from home, should, which is quite a reversal given he was encouraging people to go back to work just a few weeks ago.

The UK of all nations do differ in some of their approaches. Today, Scotland has announced that people will no longer be allowed to visit each other's homes, while in England up to 6 people from different households are still allowed to meet.

In England, face coverings are now mandatory for those working in shops, also in hospitality venues like pubs behind me and the penalty for people found not to wear a face mask has been increased to 200 pounds, that's a little over $250.

Businesses are concerned about these restrictions, but of course the big fear is more could be added if COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the UK.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London. VAUSE: And in the United States, the death toll continues an unrelenting climb now passing 200,000, an average of 770 lives lost every day to this virus. In sheer numbers of dead, that's equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 67 days.

And from a president who lied to the public and admitted he downplayed the threat, this staggering death toll, the highest by far of any country in the world is, in his words, a shame.

On Tuesday, as he left the White House, Trump tried to pass the buck and blame China.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, I think it is a shame. I think, if we didn't do it properly and do it right, you would have 2.5 million deaths. If you take a look at alternatives, you could have 2.5 million deaths.


TRUMP: Or something thereabout. But it is a horrible thing, it should have never ever happened. China let this happen and just remember that.


VAUSE: Not necessarily. CNN's Nick Watt explains how this happened to the country once thought best prepared to deal with the pandemic.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today, we passed 200,000 dead. That is a hard, horrific fact.

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: This is one of the greatest tragedies in American history, not least, because these 200,000 deaths, those deaths were preventable.

WATT: 200,000 people dead, killed by a disease that we didn't even know existed a year ago. Among them, Darlene and Johnny Lee Peoples from North Carolina, married 48 years, killed by COVID within minutes of each other holding hands.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: The idea of 200,000 deaths is really very sobering and, in some respects, stunning.

WATT: Only heart disease and cancer will kill more Americans this year and this bears repeating over and over. The U.S. accounts for a little over 4 percent of the world's population, but a little over 20 percent of the world's COVID-19 deaths and it is far from over.

FAUCI: We are entering into a risk period.

WATT: Today is the first day of fall. It was October that proved the deadliest month for the 1918 flu pandemic. FAUCI: I would like to see us go into that at such a low level that when you have the inevitable cases, you can handle them.

WATT: But we are not. Nationwide, over 50,000 new COVID-19 cases locked yesterday. Might be a blip, probably not. Average daily deaths are now rising in 20 states, average daily case counts are now rising in 24.

FAUCI: Masks work, physical distancing works, avoiding crowds work; that is the fact.

WATT: But as we try to fight this virus.

DR. AMESH ADALJA, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: As with many things on coronavirus, the person not to listen to is the president, because most things he says are misleading or outright lies.

WATT: And the issue of a vaccine, of course, has become very politicized here in the United States. The FDA apparently planning to come out with some new tougher standards on approval of that vaccine.

They are trying to shore up public confidence, which has been eroding, this according to reporting from the Washington Post. But these new guidelines would make it very unlikely that President Trump is going to get his wish of a vaccine before Election Day, November 3.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


VAUSE: President Trump will announce his nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday.

Right now Senate Republicans appear to have the votes to push that candidate through the entire process. And here's Donald Trump explaining the need for fast-tracking it all, and once again, be warned, he is making some false claims.


TRUMP: We need nine justices. You need that with the unsolicited millions of ballots that they are sending, it's a scam, it's a hoax, everybody knows that. And the Democrats know it better than anyone else, so you are going to need nine justices up there. I think it's going to be very important.


VAUSE: It's now becoming clear what the president could be planning for the election, contest mail-in ballots seen as favoring Democrats, say they're fraudulent, while claiming victory on the vote counted on the election night, so they are all out later in court. And Supreme Court possibly stepped with his own nominees.

CNN's Pamela Brown tells us about the judge, who appears to be the overwhelming favorite. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Officials tell CNN, Trump seemed very enthusiastic about Amy Coney Barrett after a meeting yesterday at the White House that lasted several hours. After the meeting, the president telling people, he believes she will be very well received by "his people".

Barrett began her career as a law clerk for late Justice Antonin Scalia.

AMY CONEY BARRETT, APPELLATE JUDGE: It was intimidating working for him, when you called you in his office you had to be prepared to just go to the man and talk about whatever it was. And he was always five steps ahead of you.

BROWN: She went on to become a law professor at Notre Dame, her alma mater.

BARRETT: Before I was a judge, I was a law professor.

BROWN: Where in 2012, she signed on to a public letter protesting that abortion and contraception coverage of the Affordable Care Act were "an assault on religious liberty".

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): You are controversial. Let's start with that.

BROWN: Barrett's devout catholic faith became a point of contention during her 2017 confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit appeals court.

FEINSTEIN: When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you and that is of concern.


BROWN: Barrett push back insisting no judge's religious belief should have any bearing on their interpretation of the law.

BARRETT: If you're asking whether I take my faith seriously and I'm a faithful catholic, I am, although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge. It's never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge's personal convictions, whether they derive from faith or anywhere else on the law.

BROWN: Barrett also talked about being a mother of seven during the hearing, including two adopted children from Haiti, and a son who she learned had Down syndrome when she was pregnant with him.

BARRETT: And Benjamin has special needs, and that presents unique challenges for all of us.

BROWN: Barrett's personal story and conservative credentials have endeared her to grassroots pro-life conservatives. MALLORY QUIGLEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS, SUSAN B. ANTHONY LIST: Someone like Amy Coney Barrett would be a very powerful choice to fire up the base. She is an extremely brilliant jurist and her personal story, I think, speaks to her pro-life beliefs.

BROWN: Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Joining us now Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's Chief Legal Analyst. And Jeffrey, it's great to have you with us.


VAUSE: OK. Let's start with a quick trip back to 2016 in more simpler time. Mitch McConnell used the coming presidential election as a reason to delay a hearing for a Supreme Court nominee from President Obama. (inaudible) back then.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The next Justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country. So, of course, the American people should have a say in the court's direction.


VAUSE: Four years on, we have been closer to an election and, of course, the American people don't get a say, according to McConnell, because there are new rules, he traveled back in time, he changed the past. And here he is on Tuesday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you understand why many Americans view this as a double standard?

MCCONNELL: I can only repeat that we have an obligation under the Constitution, should we choose to take advantage of it to fill the vacancy, and I assure you that's very likely to happen.


VAUSE: OK. Putting the blank hypocrisy to one side, because Senate Republicans don't care, is McConnell on firm ground here illegally, factually and in terms of Senate procedure?

TOOBIN: Well, in terms of what he is allowed to do, yes. I mean the Senate sets its own schedule and they are allowed to confirm or not confirm, or hold hearings or not hold hearings at their own discretion.

But it is a political judgment that is, as you suggest, a consummate act of hypocrisy. I mean, in 2016 they said a vacancy should await the election of a new president, and here when our -- when there are people actually voting already in early voting in this election, that's how close this election is. They are deciding to jam through this nominee. So it is a political choice. But it is certainly legal under our Constitution what the majority leader is doing.

VAUSE: OK. So if he gets his way and they ends of this make up of the court with the six conservative leading judges and the three liberals, what will the impact to be on American society beyond the big stuff, beyond overturning Roe v. Wade, for example, which legalized abortion. What does it mean for daily life?

TOOBIN: Well, it could mean many things. I mean, the Supreme Court in our system has enormous influence and the justices serve for life, so many of them serve for, on the order of 30 years. So they will be dealing with issues we can't even imagine 20 years from now.

But in general, there will be a crackdown on rights for the LGBT community. One of the big issues now is can people with religious objections refuse to serve gay people in their businesses, and that is something that is coming to the courts, and presumably will be allowed with a conservative majority.

Health care in the United States, there's a real question about whether a conservative court will allow President Obama's health care plan to continue to exist, which would cost millions of people their health care. Efforts to regulate climate change have been challenged by conservatives in the courts and those are likely to face much more scrutiny than they have in the past.

I mean, all of these issues have enormous implications for the future of the country and everyone who lives in it.


VAUSE: Yes. Well, if Democrats win control of the Senate this November, they have a couple of options here, they can continue to play by the rules, which seems to be the equivalent of turning up to a knife fight with which we call armed with a covered dish, or they can retaliate and represent that Joe Kennedy tweeted, "if he, as in McConnell holds the vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021". In other words, add additional judges beyond the nine appoint he is. That seems to be growing in popularity among Democrats.

Congress has the authority to set the number of judges, which has varied from 6 to 10 over the years. So what is the downside here?

TOOBIN: Well, the number of justices on the Supreme Court has been nine since 1869, so it's been a long time since the court has had anything other than nine justices. But it is true that they could change the number and retaliate and add two more to be appointed by President Biden, if he becomes President Biden.

The downside is this would be an escalation of a considerable magnitude, and a lot of Democrats are very cautious about these things. There is a bad odor to adding justices to the court. President Roosevelt, who is for the most part, a revered figure in American history tried to add justices to the court in the so-called court packing plan of 1937, which failed. And I think a lot of -- that is viewed as kind of a black mark in Roosevelt's record.

But what people don't realize about Roosevelt is that he got to a wind up getting to a point eight justices to the court, so he got what he wanted through appointments in the normal order. Joe Biden, in all likelihood, will not have that opportunity and he night start to be (inaudible) by the court almost as soon as he takes office.

So it could be a more immediate confrontation and there will be pressure, as you point out, from some Democrats who feel like they have been walked over by Mitch McConnell long enough to retaliate in this way and add justices to the court.

VAUSE: Yes. We're out of time now Jeffrey. But there are also the other (inaudible) there is other courts have the court of -- ninth court of appeal has 29 judges on, and other courts have lot more judges than nine and they seem to work OK. But I guess, this is something which is going to play out over a long time to come.

But thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.


VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM, a virtual gathering of the UN General Assembly came with some real tension in an address which sounded more like a campaign speech. Donald Trump blamed China for the pandemic, called for Beijing to be held accountable and Beijing hit back.

Also, why is Russia's president taking a very hands-on approach to interfering in the next U.S. election? And why is it that the U.S. President doesn't seem too concerned?


VAUSE: The coronavirus pandemic is a major issue at this year's United Nations General Assembly. In his speech, President Trump blamed China for the spread of the virus that Beijing should be held accountable.


VAUSE: His Chinese counterpart called for global cooperation to develop a vaccine. Here's CNN's Richard Roth.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In this unprecedented virtual United Nations high-level general assembly week, presidents and prime ministers were told to keep their remarks for under 15 minutes. President Donald Trump did not have that problem with one of the shorter speeches at 7 minutes. But he wasted no time in digging into China.


TRUMP: We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague on to the world, China. In the earliest days of the virus, China lockdown travel domestically, while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world.

China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they cancel domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes.


ROTH: Chinese ambassador used his opportunity to introduce his president, who returned fire on President Trump.


ZHANG JUN, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: China resolutely rejects the baseless accusation against China.


ROTH: The COVID virus was not the only reason President Trump attacked China.


TRUMP: The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions. In addition, every year, China dumps millions and millions of tons of plastic and trash into the oceans. Over fishes other countries' waters, destroys vast swaths of coral reef and emits more toxic mercury into the atmosphere than any country anywhere in the world.


ROTH: The Chinese President made some promises regarding fighting climate change in his own country.


XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT: We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.


ROTH: The Chinese President said his nation does not want a hot or cold war with anyone, and warned of a clash of civilizations to come, saying though that the world should cooperate at least against the COVID-19 virus.

Russia's President, Putin, in a rare appearance at the UN said his country is ready to share what it develops with the vaccine attempts. The United States is waging a strong campaign to reimpose international sanctions on Iran. The Iranian President Rouhani had this response to the United Nations.


HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT: We are not a bargaining chip in U.S. elections and domestic policy. Any U.S. administration after the upcoming elections will have no choice but to surrender to the resilience of the Iranian nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROTH: And finally, this promise for next year from the U.S. President.


TRUMP: I'm supremely confident that next year when we gather in person, we will be in the midst of one of the greatest years in our history, and frankly hopefully in the history of the world.


ROTH: Despite the appeals of the UN Secretary General, the speeches reveal that there are still huge divisions among the major powers on this, the 75th anniversary of United Nations.

Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.

VAUSE: Now, the latest U.S. Intelligence which says not only is Russia meddling again in the coming U.S. presidential election, not only is the Democrat nominee Joe Biden target of a smear campaign, but the Washington Post adds its classified information from the CIA.

"We assess that President Vladimir Putin and the senior most Russian officials are aware of and probably directing Russia's influence operations aimed at denigrating the former U.S. Vice President, supporting the U.S. President and fueling public discord ahead of the U.S. election in November".

Washington Post columnist and CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin, broke the story.


JOSH ROGIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: The government did not want to release it, and I assure you that when I told the government that I was going to release it, they were not happy about it. But the bottom line is that this has been came out on August 31, it was published on the highest level classification, top secret on what's called the CIA wire, the worldwide intelligence review and was very, very closely held.


VAUSE: Miles Taylor is a CNN contributor and he served in the Trump White House as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Great to have you with us.


VAUSE: OK. Well, last week, the FBI Director, he briefed a congressional committee on Russian efforts to interfere with the outcome of November's vote. Here's part of what he said.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: We certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020. An effort to both sow divisiveness and discord, and I think the intelligence community has assessed this publicly to primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden.


VAUSE: So add to that, this new information we have that Putin is directly calling the shots, if you like. So how does his level of involvement here change the dynamics of this Russian operation?


TAYLOR: Well, look, John. The answer is, the United States government should be absolutely moving in full motion to both deter and punish Vladimir Putin. Here you have intelligence officials saying, they have high confidence. What that means in the American intelligence community is that intelligence officials are willing to put their reputations on the line about this information. It means they take it very seriously.

And what they are saying is a foreign head of state is personally involved in trying to sow discord in the United States. Again, in 2016, we saw this as a digital 9/11, a digital September 11 style terrorist attack on the United States. That's how serious Russian involvement was, and now we have the American intelligence community raising the red flag and saying, it is happening again.

If Donald Trump does not respond to this decisively and very, very actively, it will be damning, and it will be a damning indictment on his unwillingness to actually punish foreign adversaries for trying to sow discord in the United States. I think that's very alarming if we don't see action from the president. Voters will hold them accountable.

VAUSE: Well, the president was very concerned about that news, but not the actual news itself for the fact that the FBI Director vocalized it before Congress. And if (inaudible) we would like to know how he should have answered that question. He should listen to the Attorney General. (inaudible)


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Of those three countries that the intelligence community has pointed to Russia, China and Iran, which is the most assertive, the most aggressive in this area?


BLITZER: Which one?

BARR: China.

BLITZER: China more than Russia right now?

BARR: Yes.


VAUSE: So answer me this. Would Trump and his Attorney General be aware of this intelligence report which details prudent involvement, it was back in August I think it came out. Is there any indication that China's President Xi, for instance, is personally involved in any Chinese operation to influence the outcome of the election?

TAYLOR: So let me say this. It's one of two things, John. If the president is aware of this intelligence and he is not acting decisively, then that is a very, very bad sign for how he is handling U.S. national security. If he is not aware of this intelligence, it's a sign that the president has sent such a chilling effect throughout his administration about information related to Russia that it is not even reaching him in the first place, which is another very terrible sign.

But I'm going to tell you this firsthand. I spent 2.5 years in the Trump administration, 2.5 years as one of the lead officials overseeing election security and trying to prevent foreign interference in the United States, and we could not get the president's attention on this issue.

VAUSE: And there was a superspreader campaign event on Monday and President Trump boasted about his close relationship with President Putin. Here it is.


TRUMP: If I get along with Putin, somebody said he gets along well with Putin. I'm saying it myself, but isn't this sort of a good thing? Is that bad?

We have been very rough, but at the same time we get along. I like Putin, he likes me. We get along. Isn't it what you say, it's smart to get along. OK, smart.


VAUSE: I guess then Trump could ask his good friend Vladimir to stop assessing rival politicians and his critics. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do think poisoned Alexei Navalny in Russia?

TRUMP: We'll talk about that at another time.


VAUSE: I can get along in this game for seven other very significant events in the past couple of years where Trump has sided with Putin every single time. He always seems to be rolling over for the Russian President. And after a while, coincidences just doesn't explain that.

TAYLOR: It doesn't. It doesn't at all, John. And I'm going to tell you that the majority of Donald Trump's national security cabinet, his top lieutenants that advised him on these issues, at least when I was in the administration were very alarmed about his behavior towards Vladimir Putin, and his affinity towards Russia. We could not figure it out.

But I'm going to give you a supposition and that is Donald Trump has consistently looked beyond his term of office and to try to see what relationships he can cultivate that will help make him rich after his presidency. That's why you see him becoming friends with President Xi in China; Kim Jong-Un in North Korea; Erdogan in Turkey; and Putin in Russia.

He learned as a businessman that dictators can get things done in their countries. Dictators can cut through red tape and bureaucracy, they can cut deals and they can give you lots. In Democratic countries, Democratic leaders don't have the ability to do that, because there are checks and balances. That's where most of us ended up at the end of the Trump administration, he is thinking at the end of our tenure at Trump administration, he is thinking that the president was doing this because he wanted those good relationships so he could cut business deals after the fact.

Again, that's another statement on the President's character and his integrity, but it's certainly not him putting U.S. national security first, it's his putting his own personal self interest before the security of the United States.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Miles, we're out of time. But that's as good reason as any I've heard. Good to see you, Miles Taylor there, CNN contributor, former White House chief of staff to the Secretary of Homeland Security for the.

TAYLOR: Thanks John.

VAUSE: Well, if 2020 has been a bit of a shocker to you. There are thoughts from the British Prime Minister from the euphoria of an election win to the ICU with the virus to plummeting support thorough to his handling of the pandemic. And it seems the worst is not over yet.


VAUSE: The British prime minister has announced new restrictions in trying to contain rising cases of COVID-19. The measures include a 10:00 p.m. curfew for pubs, restaurants and bars in England, as well as new mask requirements for the hospitality and retail sectors.

Boris Johnson says the new rules could be in place for six months.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We must rely on our willingness to look out for each other, to protect each other. Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behavior. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: 2020 has been a no good, horrible, very bad year for the British prime minister, and as Nic Robertson reports, it's not just because of his response to the pandemic.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: One damning headline after another. Lampooned mercilessly, British prime minister Boris Johnson is having a torrid year. Last December a massive election victory at hand.

JOHNSON: I'm humbled that you have put your trust in me.

ROBERTSON: It all seemed so different, but now trust in his leadership has withered. Matthew Parris, a former conservative MP and newspaper columnist saw it coming.

MATTHEW PARRIS, FORMER CONSERVATIVE MP: He has no record in government, he has no record as a party spokesman. He did very little as London mayor. In a sense, the fall is not his. The fall is in our own imaginations.

ROBERTSON: Johnson styles himself on Winston Churchill whose wisdom and rhetoric carried the country through World War II, but in the nation's biggest challenge since Johnson stumbled, his upbeat charisma insufficient to combat COVID-19.

JOHNSON: I shook hands with everybody, you'll be pleased to know --

ROBERTSON: He seemed slow to grasp COVID-19's speed and scale; infections and deaths were rocketing. The worst in Europe.


JOHNSON: I've taken a test that has come out positive.

ROBERTSON: Johnson himself, a casualty, admitted to the hospital.

JOHNSON: The NHS has saved my life, no question.

ROBERTSTON: As he recovered and the first wave subsided --

JOHNSON: I want people to go back to work.

ROBERTSON: His return to work message ridiculed as confusing.

MATT LUCAS, COMEDIAN: We are saying don't go to work, go to work. Don't take public transport into work. Go to work. Don't go to work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he has often sounded upbeat, done a great deal in his after dinner speech kind of way to encourage as it's all going to be great by Christmas and then falling down, and constant over promising. ROBERTSON: A litany of failures from a late lockdown to shortages of

PPE, care home deaths, shortages of tests, a bungled return to school, an exam great fiasco. His chief advisor busting lockdown regulations and keeping his job.

JOHNSON: We are now seeing a second wave coming in.

ROBERTSON: Cases doubling every week. Some of the same problems as before reemerging.

The government promised a world class test and trace system that's been falling short. I'll just try to book a test. Some people have been sent hundreds of miles to get this -- there is a problem.

This is one of the reasons why people have been losing confidence in Johnson and his ministers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please don't break international law.

ROBERTSON: Johnson's credibility is sinking further, when his minister announced Johnson would break his Brexit deal with the E.U. drawing rebuke from his own party.

THERESA MAY, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER The government is acting recklessly and irresponsibly. I cannot support this bill.

ROBERTSON: Even his predecessor, Theresa May turning against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A straight answer to a straight question please, Prime Minister.

ROBERTSON: And a new leader of the opposition, much tougher than the last adding to Johnson's woes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will publish a draft bill, setting out the proposed terms and timing of an independent referendum.

ROBERTSON: And worse, Scotland's handling of COVID-19 perceived better than his. The 300-year union, an inviolate totem of U.K. leadership under real threat.

If 2020 has a silver lining for Johnson, perhaps this, a new wife to be, number 3 and a new baby. Oh, and surviving COVID to see it all play out.

Nic Robertson, CNN -- London.


VAUSE: CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas is with us now from Los Angeles. Dominic, it is good to see you.


VAUSE: Ok. A little more from the prime minister and his address to the nation. Here he is.


JOHNSON: But we have to acknowledge that this is a great and freedom loving country and while the vast majority have complied with the rules, there have been too many breaches. Too many opportunities for our invisible enemy to slip through undetected.

The virus has started to spread again in an exponential way. Infections are up. Hospital admissions are climbing.


VAUSE: On the positive side, the hair was neat. The tie was straight. The suit seemed to be ironed, but it was notable that, you know, this is a man who is unable to deliver bad news, and he was placing much of the blame it seems for the surge in the virus and the infections, you know, on the freedom loving people of a small island nation. They talk of the governor's failing when it comes to testing. No one mentioned this would be the worst Christmas the country has seen since World War II.

So we'll just jolly hockey sticks.

THOMAS: Well John, there are other island nations that have done very well in dealing with this. and if there's anything you want the government to be able to do in a competent manner, it is to take care of health care issues and education. And these are two areas in which Johnson's government has failed absolutely dramatically.

A whole range of inconsistent measures and slow response, bad preventive measures and so on, and people within his own government ignoring the regulations that they had initially imposed. And so obviously deflecting this, trying to sort of responsibilize (ph) the rest of the British people and is genuinely unfair.

And it is clear that the responsibility lies with him and with his response and that of his government.

VAUSE: And with that, here's Boris Johnson now on how these new restrictions will be enforced. Listen to this.


JOHNSON: We need to suppress the virus now. And as for that minority who may continue to flout the rules, we will enforce those rules with tougher penalties and fines of up to 10,000 pounds. We will put more police out on the streets and use the army to backfill if necessary.



VAUSE: Churchill declared we shall fight on the beaches, Johnson seems to say we shall fight them in the bars. Police have called these measures absurd and nonsense. And the criticism once again, you know, this is sort of Johnson at his worse: all tip, no iceberg, there's no substance here.

THOMAS: No. There's nothing at all, John. And what you do see here which is so interesting is the other aspect of this is that they have the responsibility for health care. They have the responsibility for education.

And so what we have here is the other branch of government, you know, repressing people, penalizing people, criminalizing people. And ultimately, making them responsible for the failures of the government.

What these half measures which ultimately achieved nothing whatsoever reveal on the deep divisions within his own party. Between those that don't care about the health care issues and are merely concerned with the economy and believe that the economy can be relaunched without addressing these issues. And the others that perfectly understand that COVID and the economy are absolutely, inextricably linked.

And you've got to deal with the one without being able to sort of go over to the other. And so these are the divisions within his own party and as I just said these half measures will not lead to anything.

If the pub is a dangerous place to frequent, it doesn't matter really whether you close it at 10:00 or at 11:00. These kinds of things are things that the British people are going to have to forego in the name of getting to the other side of this particular issue. And it's completely unreasonable to be penalizing people for these kinds of actions.

VAUSE: You know, what is interesting though is the contrast with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who finds herself sort of in a completely opposite position as Boris Johnson.

Here're some recent headlines. This is from CNN. "How Angela Merkel went from lame duck to global leader on coronavirus". "Coronavirus in Germany and why the world is looking to Angela Merkel". That's a report from Deutsche Welle. And the sub headline from the "Financial Times" reads the cool-headed chancellor is the leader Europe needs amid the worst peacetime crisis."

You know, it's all praise for Merkel. She seems to have rewritten, you know, her place in history. She's been in office for 15 years. She plans to stand down. Could those plans change at some point?

THOMAS: Well, she's smart, John. And she is strategic. Clearly at the moment, she's concerned with her legacy and with governing, which is the opposite -- diametrically opposed to what Boris Johnson has been doing.

And it's a lot easier to govern when you are not also running a reelection campaign. So strategically that works. It's also she generally wants a leadership race to play out in her party, in the CDU (ph), then of course, repeatedly saying that she is not going to run again will help with that process.

But having said all of that, what we have seen over the last 10 or 15 years is a dramatic erosion of the support that the main political parties in Germany have been getting. So for example, in the 2017 general election, her party scored barely 33 percent.

And since the outbreak of COVID, the popularity of her party has gone up to somewhere between 36 and 40 percent. So the big question that Angela Merkel faces is not so much her own personal legacy, but the legacy of the party, and whether a new leader of the CDU can command the kind of popularity that she has currently obtained because of her effective managing of the COVID response and so on.

And I think that that may ultimately be the big factor that ends up determining whether or not she does go for a fifth term, which would of course be a record term in the contemporary era in Germany.

VAUSE: It would be incredible if she does -- an incredible stretch (ph). Dominic, thank you. Dominic Thomas with us there from Los Angeles.

THOMAS: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, the impact of the pandemic has sent the global economy into a recession. The White House insists not only is the U.S. in a V- shaped recovery, but at a campaign rally on Tuesday President Trump claimed the economy is on track for the best ever, most amazing year ever.


TRUMP: I will tell you, you see what's happening? You see the numbers as well as I do. You are on your way to I think maybe economically the best year. This next year will be the best year we've had. And the third quarter, wait until you look at the 3rd quarter, look at the numbers. They will be out before the election but I predict they will be very good. By the way, if they are not, I deny I ever said it.


VAUSE: CNN's John Defterios is live in Abu Dhabi with more.

You know, John, there is this simple equation out there to determine the outcome of a presidential election. And that is if an incumbent president is running for a second term and the economic outlook is at the very least positive, that president will win. That has been true pretty much for every election in living memory. But does that now hold true in the midst of a pandemic?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, this is the big challenge for the administration because they're trying to lean on one quarter, the third quarter, to say let's forget what happened at the start of the year and the first half and the unemployment rate, right? It's a tough sell, John.


DEFTERIOS: And this is the new narrative from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So President Trump in Pennsylvania the day before, Larry Kudlow, his chief economic adviser was saying as you noted a V-shaped recovery, but it doesn't feel like that on main street.

And the most sober assessment so far and the most independent voice is the Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell who on Capitol Hill said he remains very concerned about the economy going into 2021. It is uncertain and it means that stimulus needs to continue throughout next year.

If you look at the unemployment rate, it's 8.4 percent, so it's better than three times the level before COVID-19 and better than 13 million Americans without a job. So again, if you look at corporate America, those have to face Main Street in terms of retail sales of the rest, they're suffering.

Sizzler (ph) one of the original steakhouses for the casual restaurant chain sector is filing for bankruptcy protection. This whole impact of franchises of those owned and operated by Sizzler affecting those primarily on the West Coast.

And then the big mall operator, Brookfield, which was suffering before COVID-19 but this has been a (INAUDIBLE), John. And they are going to be laying off 20 percent of their workforce.

I think it's a tough pitch. She is almost assuming that Americans -- the base made that all Americans will say well, COVID-19 has not been a catastrophe and we are on the mend. That's not the reality with the contraction of at least 4 percent this year and probably close to 6 to 6.5 percent. That's a record contraction.

VAUSE: Yes. and when those sort of everyday places are closing down like Sizzler restaurant and that kind of stuff. That won't be a thrill I guess, for many people. Also real for many people is the lack of a major stimulus package which is not working its way through Congress. That seems to be stalled, has been for months but right now it seems that a government shutdown at least is off the table. Is this what they call a compromise?

DEFTERIOS: Yes, it is, John. It is a patchwork job. Let's put it that way here because they couldn't get the wider package. You and I have talked about it for the last month and a half. They were looking for something 2.2 trillion in the house, 1.5 trillion from the White House. And what we have is a patchwork job, basically a compromise on key programs for both sides.

One of those is farm aid of about $8 billion, important to the Trump base. Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, negotiated with Steve Mnuchin. They have something in the range here of 8 billion dollars for nutrition programs because many schools are not out or in service right now.

So you can see political compromises, but again, if you look at the airline sector, Delta Airlines stalled its furlough program, saying we're waiting to see what the bailout is. As we have seven days left and the airline sector, in the last stimulus package, was given over all $32 billion.

That is not certain, and this isn't the certainty people are looking for as they go into the November 3rd election and planning for 2021, which the president says was going to be a fantastic recovery. It doesn't seem to align.

VAUSE: A lot of things don't seem to align, John.

But I guess that's the world we're living in at the moment. John Defterios gift areas. Defterios -- par for the chorus please, Thank you.

Good to see you, thank you.

Ahead, a city on high alert. Louisville, Kentucky under a state of emergency as it waits for an announcement on the Breonna Taylor case. More on that in a moment.



VAUSE: Tensions are high in Louisville, Kentucky as the city waits on a grand jury decision on possible charges in the death of Breonna Taylor. The 26-year-old was shot and killed by police in March in her own apartment when officers executed a no knock warrant in a drug investigation.

CNN's Jason Carroll has the very latest.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Louisville on high alert, a state of emergency declared. Streets closed, and while police say the city is not on lockdown, that's not how it feels to some of those who work and live here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is unnecessary. They come out in riot gear when we protest, peaceful protest and they . come out and write here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be safe and I want others to be safe to, but you know, I don't think it's a good idea for guys to come out and do stuff to other people's property.

CARROLL: Downtown businesses boarded up or closed, streets leading to Jefferson Square Park, the site of a Breonna Taylor memorial and gathering place of demonstrators, closed to cars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The following steps we're put in place both to protect the public. And to facilitate first amendment activity.

CARROLL: protestors were demanding the officers involved in Taylor's death be prosecuted say all of the precautions are creating a sense of unease. So said Pastor Timothy Bingley, who has organized past Demonstrations including one that led hundreds to peacefully protest outside Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby early this month.

PASTOR TIMOTHY FINDLEY, PROTEST ORGANIZER: We have not had were put in place to protect would demand those kinds of preparations. And I think it's very, very provocative.

CARROLL: Adding to tensions an email sent today by Jonathan Mattingly (ph), one of the three officers who served that no knock warrant when Taylor was killed.

The email, sent to his police colleagues and first made public by Vice news, calls protesters thugs, and she writes that he and the other officers in the Taylor raid quoted, "Did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night." Mattingly, who is on administrative leave, said he wanted to support police during a difficult time, saying "We aren't better than anyone. This is not us against society, but it is good versus evil."

Mattingly's attorney confirmed to CNN his client sent an mail. No mention of Taylor by name in the lengthy email. Last week, the city agreed to pay 12 million dollar civil settlement to the Taylor family and agreed to changes in police policy, including commanders approving search warrants before it goes to a judge seeking approval.

But in the eyes of Taylor's mother, true justice comes when all of the officers involved that night are criminally charged.

As for the protests, here's what she told us during our interview late last month.

TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: I think there will be protests every day until justice is served.

CARROLL: And if justice is not served?

PALMER: I don't know. I hate to even think about that.

CARROLL: Late Tuesday, the city's mayor released a video statement saying he still has not been given any indication from the state attorney general's office in terms of when there might be a grand jury decision. The mayor says whatever that decision may be, he says the city will get through it together. Jason, Carroll, CNN -- Louisville, Kentucky.


VAUSE: And with that, we'll be right back.

You're watching CNN. Back in a moment.



VAUSE: Let's be clear on this. Rick Astley, that icon of the 80s as poster child for mass produced music by Stock Aiken Waterman is an acquired taste for sure. But whether you love him and especially if you don't, let's be careful when and where you share that opinion.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When it came time to introduce Rick Astley, it was the BBC anchorman who gave up the weatherman, despite the song title.

Little did the meteorologist know the next guest on BBC's breakfast show was going to be Rick Astley.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Matt, are you a Rick Astley fan?

TAYLOR: Not a massive one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the wrong thing to say. He's listening and he's coming up in just a moment.

MOOS: Actually, he was already there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll ask you again, are you a Rick Astley van?

TAYLOR: Love Rick Astley, best. I grew up with him. Great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's coming up next, so very good to hear that. There he is now and he's listening in. He heard everything you said, Matt. The damage is done.

MOOS: Damage -- that was applauded by some, finally someone on TV who speaks the truth and isn't sucking up. Someone else tweeted "Rick Astley got Rick rolled".

Actually, meteorologist Matt Taylor did tell a lie, so as not to hurt Rick Astley.

"Note to self," the weather man later tweeted, "make sure you check who is on the program after you."

And the dumbstruck face he made?

TAYLOR: Not a massive one --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the wrong thing to say. He's listening --

MOOS: When he realized his blunder, Taylor turned that into his Twitter page profile photo. Rick Astley got points for laughing as much if not more than the anchor team. He later tweeted all is forgiven.

And what with the letterman's sudden switch to sunny --

TAYLOR: Love Rick Astley, best.

MOOS: Someone tweeted, " I bet that Rick still won't ever give him up, let him down or desert him. The weather man's face is what deserted him.

Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: And now that will be in your head for hours to come -- that wonderful song from the 80s.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause.

The news continues with Robyn Curnow after a short break.