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Million Infections in One week; Trump Still Refuse to Concede;Leaders Congratulate Biden's Victory; President Trump Says He Won After Previously Acknowledging Biden's Win
by ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR
 Published on Tuesday November 17, 2020 - 10:41 PM
POLITICS
* US Presidential Election *
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Million Infections in One week; Trump Still Refuse to Concede;Leaders Congratulate Biden's Victory; President Trump Says He Won After Previously Acknowledging Biden's Win
CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. Hit a Million Infections in One week; President Trump Still Refuse to Concede; Germany Preparing for More Restrictions; SpaceX Falcon 9 Took Off; Leaders Congratulate Biden's Victory; President Trump Says He Won After Previously Acknowledging Biden's Win; UK Prime Minister in Self-Quarantine After Possible COVID-19 Exposure; Japan Prepares for Olympic Games During Pandemic. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired November 16, 2020 - 03:00 ET

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

[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and from and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Ahead this hour, the coronavirus pandemic has cases and hospitalizations surging across the U.S. Health officials say a smoother transition to a Biden administration could help but the outgoing president is digging in and refusing to concede.

Plus, a powerful hurricane is rapidly picking up speed, barreling towards an already storm weary Central America. And Japan aiming to show it can still host the Olympics despite COVID-19. With the games chief insisting fans will be precedent -- present. We'll have the details from Tokyo.

Good to have you with us.

Well the U.S. has torn through another grim COVID-19 milestone. And it's done so in record time. Johns Hopkins University says the country topped 11 million infections on Sunday, just six days after it reported 10 million. And that is the nation's fastest time to a million new cases since the pandemic began.

America has seen more than 100,000 daily infections for 13 straight days. Deaths are approaching 247,000, and doctors are warning things could get much worse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER HOTEZ, INFECTIOUS EXPERT, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY: We are on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe approaching potentially 400,000 Americans who can perish by the early part of next year.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: The U.S. is also setting new records and the number of hospitalizations. And all this comes as President Donald Trump refuses to concede to President-elect Joe Biden. The nation's top infectious disease expert says Americas COVID-19 response would benefit from an easy transition.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It's almost like passing the baton in a race. You don't want to stop and then give it to somebody. You want to just essentially keep going. And that's what transition is. So, it's certainly would make things more smoothly if we could do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And the team for President-elect Biden says he wants to focus on more testing and contact tracing when he takes office. A member of his coronavirus task force spoke to CNN's Pam Brown about what need to see from the outgoing administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CELINE GOUNDER, MEMBER, BIDEN COVID-19 ADVISORY BOARD: We really need to have a much better understanding of the details. So, for example, how much PPE the masks and the face shields and the ventilators, and all of the other necessary equipment is available. Where is it? How much of a do we have? How many hospital beds? How many ventilators? Some of this information is publicly available, but not all of it and not in real-time the way we need it.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And so, you've asked for that and they are not giving it to, just to be clear?

GOUNDER: We are not getting any information.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And the Biden team is also looking for back channels and meetings with drug companies as it faces roadblocks from the Trump administration.

CNN's Jessica Dean has the details.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: With a new week on the horizon for the Biden transition team, we are learning from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain that the team will meet with drug manufacturers including Pfizer to discuss a vaccine distribution plan.

This as they continue to try to build their plan for a seamless transition on January 20th while still not being able to speak directly to people in the federal agency to coordinate with them. People like on the White House Coronavirus Task Force or in Health and Human Services who are also developing a distribution plan.

That's because the General Services Administration that federal office that's responsible for signing off on the transition has yet to do so. So that means that the Biden transition team is hamstrung in that way, but they are working around it. We are told they are also back channeling to local governments, to people in the medical community as they try to get their plans together for when Biden takes office in January 20th.

On Monday afternoon we are expecting to see and hear from the president-elect and the vice president-elect, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris said to give remarks on the economy and building back better. That was their slogan on the campaign trail.

[03:05:06]

Now we wait to hear their plans for action when they take office on January 20th.

Jessica Dean, CNN, Wilmington, Delaware.

CHURCH: The president's top coronavirus urged the state of Michigan to reject new coronavirus measures. Scott Atlas criticized the new restrictions, tweeting Sunday, the only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept.

Later on, CNN Michigan's governor dismissed Atlas's comments saying she would continue to follow the signs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We know that the White House likes to single us out here in Michigan, me in particular. I'm not going to be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals. I listen to people that actually have studied and are well respected worldwide on these issues, not the individual that is doing the president bidding on this one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Dr. Leana Wen is a CNN medical analyst. She is also the former Baltimore Commissioner of Health. She joins me now from Baltimore. Thank you, doctor, for talking with us. And of course, for all that you do.

LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Thank you. Good to join you.

CHURCH: So, we are seeing skyrocketing new COVID cases in the U.S. One million new cases in just the last six days taking the total number above 11 million, with 1,200 deaths in just one day. State governors sounding the alarm.

Yet, the outgoing president is playing golf and refusing to accept election results while blocking Joe Biden's transition to the presidency. So, what needs to happen in this country right now to bring those cases down along with record hospitalizations and deaths?

WEN: The entire United States is a firestorm of COVID-19. It's a hot spot everywhere in the country. And we are in a dire position. Hospitalizations are at a record high. And the reason I'm so worried about this is the hospital numbers reflect the number of infections from three to four weeks ago.

We were at 80,000 daily infections at that point. Now we are at double that number. What is it going to look like in three to four weeks' time? This is a time for us to absolutely all be wearing masks. We know that masks save lives. They reduce transmission by more than 70 percent.

And very importantly, people need to stay outdoors, not socialize or gather indoors even with loved ones with extended family and friends. Our loved ones could carry coronavirus just as much as strangers do. And with Thanksgiving and other holidays coming, it is so critical for everyone to not gather indoors with anyone except those in our immediate household.

CHURCH: Yes, that is such an important point as we countdown to thanksgiving. And due to his transition blocked, President-elect Biden and his team are looking for back channels now, so they can get on top of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wet might some of these alternative channels be, and how horrified are you as a doctor that the outgoing president is putting politics above saving lives?

WEN: We are entering this extremely deadly winter ahead, and what President Trump should be doing every single day as his number one priority is to focus on coronavirus, but actually he has not met with his task force as reported for five months which I just find, again, unimaginable.

I mean, imagine if this were a war that we're in against a foreign adversary, and the president has not met with his top generals for four or five months? And so, it is a major problem that the president elect is having to go around this current team.

I think they can do a lot. They can meet with private companies with state and local health officials, but they need to have the information from the current administration in order to make plans for something as basic as vaccine distribution, testing, masks, all these things need to be ramped up right now, and it's unconscionable to prevent the incoming team from doing these lifesaving actions.

CHURCH: Yes, it is just so shocking for so many of us watching on. And meantime, doctor, some positive news. Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective as a result of this, how soon will the most vulnerable in our society get access to this vaccine, and then of course, the rest of the population?

WEN: So, this is great news that came out this week about the Pfizer vaccine. Although, I will say this is only paramilitary data. We don't yet know about how effective this vaccine is going to be, and not just preventing infections but also preventing severe diseases. And we don't have those information yet, also about this vaccine as it relates to older individuals, those who are the most vulnerable from coronavirus.

[03:10:02] So, if everything turns out as through the best timeline possible, we could have this vaccine approved by early next year for the general population, which would be great, and I think this is another reason for all of us to hang in there for this winter.

By next winter, things are going to look very different, even by next summer. Things could look very different, but we have to survive until then.

CHURCH: Yes. And wear those masks as you have pointed out. Dr. Leana Wen, thank you so much for joining us.

WEN: Thank you.

CHURCH: And around Europe there is mixed news on the fight against the coronavirus. France is finally seeing a decrease in COVID-19 patients in intensive care units. That's the first decrease since the beginning of October.

But in other countries the news isn't so good. Greece is closing all primary schools and nurseries for two weeks to try and bring a rising number of cases under control, while in Germany the country's economy minister is warning citizens to brace for another four or five months of precautions and restrictions to halt the spread.

So, let's turn to CNN's Frederik Pleitgen. He joins us live from berlin. Good to see you, Fred. So how are Germans responding to this news of another four or possibly five months or so of restrictions?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well the interesting thing about Germany here, Rosemary, is that by far, the vast majority of the population here believes the current lockdown measures are good, our enough. They should be in place. And there is actually a big substantial amount of Germans think that the measures should get even tougher.

Now of course, many of them were quite shocked by what the economy minister said there. That it could be four to five months of very strict measures. But at the same time what the Germans are also seeing is that even with a lockdown measures that are currently in place, while the numbers aren't necessarily skywriting the way that they have been over the past couple of weeks, they also are not going down.

So, what we are going to be seen today here in Germany is the key meeting between Angela Merkel and German state governors, and most people here in this country believe that the lockdown measures are going to become even tougher than they were before.

Especially if you look at schools, for instance, where most probably kids are going to have to wear masks even when at their desks, in classes, which is something that in most states they have not had to do before. Also, the amount of people that folks are allowed to meet in a private setting, also is going to decrease to a lot less than it was before. And of course, first and foremost, private gatherings and parties are also going to be limited as well. So, looking at the Germans to become more strict with their lockdown measures, as they're saying, they believe that the curve is flattening but it's certainly isn't going down.

And of course, one of the things about, basically all of Europe they are not looking forward to Thanksgiving like they are in the United States. They're looking forward, as they say, to try and at least save Christmas. Also, there are German ministers who have also said they don't believe that larger gatherings are going to be possible then.

And then there is also a bit of controversy here in this country right now, Rosemary, I'm not sure if you are aware that the Germans are humorous, it's actually better than we think. And so, the German government put out a video to try and urge people to stay at home.

It shows an old man in the future talking about the heroic winter of the 2020 and how the German people saved the country essentially, then he goes and says, they saved it by doing absolutely nothing by staying at home. And I think the key phrase in that ad was, our front line was the couch.

Now many people think that's funny here in this country. Some people don't think it's funny. Because of course a lot of folks are quite traumatized by what's going on with the coronavirus. Of course, a lot of businesses are suffering. A lot of people are suffering.

So, there is a little bit of controversy. Most people though think it's funny. And I've also heard some people across other places in Europe, they also think it's quite funny as well. If you have a chance to look at it, anybody right now, take a look at it.

CHURCH: We're all looking for a little bit of humor along the way. This is been such a marathon for everyone across the globe.

Frederik Pleitgen, many thanks for joining us live from Berlin. I appreciate it.

Well just ahead here on CNN newsroom, Hurricane Iota is powering up, threatening an already storm weary Central American coast. We will have a live update on where the storm is headed. That's next.

Plus, the crew aboard the SpaceX 9 is now on its way to the International Space Station. We will tell you how this trip is making history. Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the word we wanted here. (Inaudible) propulsion one is nominal.

[03:15:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Five, four, three, three, two, one, zero. Ignition, lift off. And Resilience (Inaudible). Not even gravity can contain --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Sensational. A historical first for commercial spaceflight. The SpaceX Falcon 9 took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida Sunday evening. On board, four astronauts who are now in the middle of a 27-hour journey. That will take them to the International Space Station. This is the first fully operational crewed mission for SpaceX.

CNN's Rachel Crane has more from the Kennedy Space Center.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION & SPACE CORRESPONDENT: History was made here today at the Kennedy Space Center when NASA astronauts, Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi from Japan Space Agency, after a successful launch at 7.27 from Launchpad 39 A, which is of course where Apollo 11 astronauts blasted off to the moon back in 1969.

The mission was pegged crew one and it was the first operational mission for SpaceX's crew dragon spacecraft with astronauts remaining Resilience in honor of the hardships of 2020. The countdown was not without its tense moments, including a detected air leak when the hatch door was first closed.

However, technicians were able to troubleshoot the problem and the astronauts launched on time. They are currently making their way through space on a 27-hour journey before they rendezvous with the International Space Station where they will live and work for the next six months.

[03:19:57]

They will be joining three ISS crew members on board the floating laboratory, bringing the total number of crew members to seven, which will dramatically increase the amount of science and research the crew can perform.

Now since the retirement of the shuttle back in 2011 NASA has not had a home-grown way of getting to the International Space Station. And over the years, NASA has paid Russia over $4 billion dollars to fly in their Soyuz spacecraft to get there.

Sunday's launch is so significant, because it marks the true beginning of commercial flight to the International Space Station. Something that end our dependence on the Russians to ferry our astronauts to space and NASA hopes the commercial flights will save the agency money and allow NASA to focus on deep space missions like going back to the moon, and one day putting boots on Mars.

Rachel Crane, CNN, Kennedy Space Center.

CHURCH: We are keeping an eye on two separate storms impacting opposite sides of the world. Hurricane Vamco has caught a path of destruction across Southeast Asia over the past few days. It left at least 67 people dead in the Philippines before making landfall Sunday in Vietnam.

And while it continues to weaken, there is still a threat of flooding and landslides. And we are also watching hurricane Iota just off the Central American coast. The storm has been rapidly strengthening and is now a very dangerous category four hurricane.

So, let's now turn to CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. He's tracking the storm. What are you seeing?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Rosemary, yet another storm system here and this is the 30th storm of the season across the Atlantic and of course just two weeks removed where from when hurricane Iota made landfall across Nicaragua as a category four devastating the area across this region.

And you'll notice incredible presentation on satellite imagery, as organized as a tropical system gets, an area that has been absolutely devastated in the recent weeks. It is a category four. It is forecast to maintain intensity on approach here, and again, make landfall after having rapidly intensified just in the past 24 hours up to 65 miles, intensifying at about 65-mile in speed in a 24-hour period.

But you will notice, hurricane warnings have been prompted Puerto Cabezas that is precisely where we had landfall with hurricane Iota two weeks ago. And this is very close to where this particular storm is forecast to approach late Monday night into early Tuesday as a category four system.

The concern of course is that we know this particular region has been devastated. The dams have reached full capacity, levies have been breached and a lot of people have taken on quite a bit of damage as well.

And you'll notice when it comes to seen two category four in a span of two weeks, it's almost unheard of. In fact, on average, a category four strikes Nicaragua once every 37 years. Again, it's happening twice in less than 14 days.

And here is what is forecast occur as far as rain is concerned. It could see as much as a foot of rainfall across this region. That has been just devastated. And of course, we know the fatalities here have exceeded 100 already. One hundred lives lost from the previous storm that made landfall here a couple of weeks ago.

And Rosemary, in Honduras, neighboring Honduras, the damage is there, it exceeded $5 billion dollars which is equivalent to 20 percent of the country's GDP. So, we talk about a worst-case scenario? I've seen a storm of this magnitude yet again approach in identical spot. We know it's going to be a big storm here with the storm surge potential exceeding four meters in some of these areas.

And unfortunately, the guidance is pretty confident on this making landfall somewhere around northern Nicaragua or near the border to Honduras, an area that has been so devastated in recent weeks.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Pedram, thank you so much for keeping a very close eye on that. We do appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in France on the first stop of his seven-nation tour. The trip may prove a little awkward, each and every one of the countries he is visiting has congratulated President-elect Joe Biden for his victory. Something that Pompeo and his boss, Donald Trump, refused to do.

For more, let's turn now to CNN's Melissa Bell who is joining us live from Paris. Good to see you, Melissa.

So, Pompeo has even gone so far as to say there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump term. So how difficult could this seven- nation tour proved to be for the outgoing U.S. secretary of state?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the fact that it begins in France, the leader of which was one of the very first to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his victory last Saturday is interesting.

And French government officials were asked about it, not least, Mike Pompeo's counterpart, the French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian who on Friday said he had full faith in American democracy and that until January 20th, his counterpart being Mike Pompeo, he would be receiving him.

Now what we're told by the Elysee is that these were meetings that were requested by Mike Pompeo. And that were or have been organized in full transparency with President-elect Joe Biden's team with whom the Elysee are already in touch and looking ahead to the priorities and issues that will matter on January 20th.

[03:25:08]

So, for the time being today where we can expect is a replay ceremony. Mike Pompeo will be present for the recent French victims of terrorism over the course of the last few weeks. Beyond that he will be received by his French counterpart and at then at the Elysee by Emmanuel Macron.

On the table we know that they are going to be talking about the issues of the day. China, terrorism, but also, we're told it will be an opportunity for French to make clear their opposition to any suggestion of a unilateral or rushed American withdrawal from either Iraq or Afghanistan beyond January 20th.

And also, Rosemary, the Iran deal, remember that the French who had been at the forefront of European efforts to salvage it over the course of the last few years, you can expect that that's likely to come up with a very clear message that Europeans will be looking to the dying days of the Trump administration not to do anything further to try and scupper that deal or do anything that might make it harder for France to try and revive it beyond January 20th.

CHURCH: It will certainly be interesting to see how that trip goes. Melissa Bell joining us live from Paris. Many thanks. Well, meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump spent time on the golf

course Sunday, but he is still having trouble accepting the will of the American people. More on that straight ahead.

And a highly popular former president now weighing in. Barack Obama's words of advice for a man who currently holds the Oval Office, after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Mixed messages from the ongoing U.S. president who seems to be having trouble accepting his election loss.

[03:30:00]

On Sunday, Donald Trump made a rare admission on Twitter that he will not be president in just over two months. That tweet no longer appears on his feed.

Instead, President Trump is now once again falsely claiming that he actually won, and he is refusing to concede defeat to Joe Biden. He did find time to go golfing, though. It seems that despite the coronavirus pandemic raging out of control, Mr. Trump can only focus on his personal loss.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, for a brief moment on Sunday morning, President Trump acknowledged something that he has not acknowledged before and that is that Joe Biden has won this presidential election.

The president is saying in two words, he won, but the rest of the president's tweet and the tweets from the president for the rest of the day on Sunday were filled with the usual garden-variety of conspiracy theories, baseless allegations about the 2020 election, and lies about fraud in this election.

The president is making very clear in a follow-up tweet that he was not at all conceding this election as some Republicans are beginning to hope that he will do saying -- quote -- "I concede nothing" and saying that he still has a long way to go in terms of contesting the results of this 2020 election.

The president's comments on Twitter were really reminiscent of what we have seen from the president over the last week. Sources have told me over the course of the week that the president has really vacillated between two states. On the one hand, this combative desire to pursue every possible legal avenue as it relates to contesting the results of the election, and at other moments, the president appearing to start to come to grips with reality.

But as of Sunday night, it was very clear that the president intends to continue fighting this out. He said that his administration or rather his legal team will be pursuing more lawsuits in courts in key battleground states.

So far, the president's team and other Republican allies were trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election. They've been unsuccessful. Nine cases on Friday alone were either dropped by those legal teams or dismissed by federal courts, many of which really laughed out some of the claims that were made by these lawyers, who were not able to provide any substantive evidence of voter fraud.

The cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, they in a joint statement with other local and state election officials, they said in a statement very clearly that the 2020 election was the most secure election in American history and that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: Meanwhile, former U.S. President Barack Obama has some words of advice for Mr. Trump. Obama sat down with "60 Minutes" for an interview that was broadcast Sunday. He said Mr. Trump needs to accept the election results and concede if he cares about his legacy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A president is a public servant. They are temporary occupants of the office by design. And when your time is up, then it is your job to put the country first and think beyond your own ego and your own interests and your own disappointments.

My advice to President Trump is if you want at this late stage in the game to be remembered as somebody who put country first, it's time for you to do the same thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In your view, it is time for him to concede.

OBAMA: Absolutely. I will. I mean, I think it was time for him to concede probably the day after the election or at the latest two days after the election. When you look at the numbers objectively, Joe Biden will have one handle. There is no scenario in which any of those states would turn the other way and certainly not enough to reverse the outcome of the election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Joining us now with some political analysis and perspective is Natasha Lindstaedt, professor of government at the University of Essex. Good to have you with us.

NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: So while the U.S. hits record levels of COVID cases and hospitalizations, outgoing President Trump indulges himself in more golfing and tweeting that he is conceding nothing. And just hours ago, he tweeted in capital letters that he won the election. All this while he falsely claims the election was rigged. What does a country do when the outgoing president doesn't accept a free and fair election?

LINDSTAEDT: That is a great question. This is really uncharted territory for the U.S. because conceding an election is a norm, it is not a law, all the past presidents, outgoing presidents have conceded.

[03:35:02]

LINDSTAEDT: This is something that is important for our democratic process and it is just an example of civility. But we have seen that Donald Trump has been the one president to shatter really all of our democratic norms and we don't know what he is going to do.

I think he will eventually leave, but he is trying to turn this loss into a win somehow, and he will never really fully concede. This is really important because the recent polls revealed 70 percent of Republican voters believe that the election was fraudulent or at least it wasn't free and fair. That is so incredibly dangerous for democracy where we have one party not believing in the legitimacy of the electoral process.

It's incredibly important that he does concede and speaks to his voters. I don't think he is ever going to do it. So we are seeing as a result, the U.S. politics is more polarized than ever. It's a very precarious place for us. I don't think we're going to have to force them out of the White House, but he's never going to say that he actually lost, and that has important ramifications down the road.

CHURCH: And the other important question is why are so many Republicans standing by Donald Trump and his false claims despite knowing very well that he lost this election and that no massive voter fraud was evident here?

LINDSTAEDT: We are talking about Republican leaders. I think we have heard reports that they do acknowledge that he lost, but that they are petrified about what he is going to do or say on Twitter. They feel that he really does represent the party.

But this is surprising because if you look at the electoral results, true, he did bring out millions of people to the polls and he was able to have the second most recorded votes of any president or running candidate in history, but it was actually the Republicans in the Senate and the House that did better than he did.

He brings people to the polls, but he also has an even greater number of people that voted against -- Republicans need to realize they do not need him. But I think they're cautious at the moment because they're waiting to see what happens in the Georgia Senate races, which are taking place January 5th.

And this is going to be incredibly important for both the Democrats and the Republicans because if the Democrats are able to pull out some sort of victory, when (INAUDIBLE) last two Senate seats, then they will be able to have a majority in the House with Kamala Harris, of course, being the tiebreaking vote.

That's the only way that Biden will be able to get any of his agendas through. Without it, then he is going to face Mitch McConnell, who is going to reject anything that he tries to get done.

CHURCH: Yeah. January 5th, of course, is a long way off, if we can be waiting for them to get behind Biden in that time. So, where does all this lead, President-elect Joe Biden who's transition to power is being blocked by the outgoing president? How vulnerable does this leave the country?

LINDSTAEDT: Well, it really does put us in a really dangerous situation because it's very harmful to our national security and to the pandemic to see that Trump is withholding key information about intelligence briefings and about the pandemic, not giving Biden really any access to the machinery of government.

And so we see John Kelly calling this crazy, John Bolton calling this incredibly harmful and dangerous. So it is because -- we see actually the transition period in 2000 when Bush wasn't given access to some important intelligence information. This was a case where it was only about a couple hundred votes and that's why Gore refused to concede. But there is some acknowledgment that that wasn't good for the country either.

This is getting much worse because we have a pandemic with 11 million people that have been infected and closer to 215,000 deaths. We see the president is golfing instead of trying to help with this transition at such a critical time.

CHURCH: Yeah, very disturbing optics indeed. Natasha Lindstaedt joining us there with her perspective. Appreciate it.

LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: So the British prime minister is in self-quarantine after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. We are live outside 10 Downing Street in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Another violent weekend on the streets of Belarus. A human rights group says at least a thousand people were arrested across the country as mask demonstrations against leader Alexander Lukashenko continue.

A warning, you may find the video we are about to show disturbing. These images shot in a Minsk supermarket show police beating protesters before detaining them. Lots of screaming, protests erupted in August with protesters claiming the presidential election was rigged.

Peru's interim president resigned on Sunday after just five days in office. Celebrations broke out in Lima as people cheered the news. Protesters opposition parties and civil society at large had refused to recognize the interim president as the country's leader.

Manuel Merino called for peace and unity as he stepped down. He was appointed to the job after Congress impeached his predecessor last week. That sparked nearly a week of violent protests.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now in self-quarantine. Mr. Johnson met with members of parliament Thursday, including Lee Anderson, who later tested positive for the coronavirus. You may recall Mr. Johnson contracted COVID-19 back in late March. After his condition worsened, he had to be hospitalized, spending three nights in intensive care.

So let us get to more on this. Let's turn to CNN's Max Foster who joins us live from London from 10 Downing Street. I believe -- Max, so what is the latest on the British prime minister situation and, of course, his self-quarantine?

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it must be mate (ph), Rosemary, that image with Lee Anderson on Thursday. The two were social distancing but they weren't wearing masks. They were inside. We are told that they were in this COVID-secure atmosphere. But then Lee Anderson later tested positive and Boris Johnson got pinged, as he calls it, to the British track-and-trace system.

He is now working from home on his own from a laptop. He put out this video earlier on talking about his health. He feels pretty fit, as you can see.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: It doesn't matter that I'm fit as a butcher's dog, feel great, so many people do in my circumstances. And actually, it doesn't matter that I've had the disease and I'm bursting with antibodies.

[03:44:57]

JOHNSON: We've got to interrupt the spread of the disease and one of the ways we can do that now is by self-isolating for 14 days when you get contacted by any test and trace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: The other thing people are talking about, Rosemary, is whether or not you can catch COVID twice. Boris Johnson famously caught it earlier in the yea. But -- and he says he is full of antibodies but the big test, of course, is if he gets it again, so a lot of focus on that, as well, today, Rosemary.

CHURCH: It's a long time, though, since he had it, many months, and it is thought that those antibodies only last up to three months or so. Of course, more studies need to be done. Does he know for sure that he has -- he is bursting with antibodies as he suggests?

FOSTER: Well, we can assume he has taken a test for that. But there have been lots of academics on the radio today discussing whether or not you can catch it twice. The jury is frankly out on that, which is why so many people are focused on his recovery or focused on whether or not he actually catches it and gets a positive test back from it. He is isolating for now.

The other big thing people are focusing on is the fact that it has been a tumultuous time here in Downing Street. You've got factions in their -- they've been at war effectively in two of the key members. One of those factions walked out of Downing Street. So this was meant to be a reset for Boris Johnson, and he was due to be announcing a series of critical policy announcements, as well.

That is going to be a bit more difficult, of course, if he has to do that from home on a computer on his own, but he insists that the policy announcements will continue, the meetings will continue on Zoom.

CHURCH: All right. We will continue to follow this. Max Foster is joining us live from outside 10 Downing Street in London. Many thanks.

Japan is preparing for next year's Olympics, but can it safely hold the games during a pandemic? We will take a look.

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[03:50:00]

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CHURCH: So right now, Asian stock indexes are reacting positively to a deal that just formed the world's largest trading alliance. Fifteen Asia Pacific countries signed a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership at a summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on Sunday. The China-backed deal accounts for nearly 28 percent of global trade and excludes the United States.

Well, International Olympic Committee Chairman Thomas Bach is in Tokyo, his first visit since the pandemic. That visit comes as Japan tries to show him and the rest of the world that it is capable of safely hosting the Olympics during the COVID-19 crisis.

CNN's Selina Wang joins us now from Tokyo. Selina, how does Japan propose to do this to prove it can hold this game safely?

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, Thomas Bach earlier spoke with Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and said that he is becoming very, very confident that there will, in fact, be spectators at the Olympics next year.

According to those Olympic organizers, though, they are going to make a decision on the upper limit of spectators by next spring depending on the COVID situation in and out of Japan. Here in Japan, in fact, the country is dealing with a third of COVID cases with infections, surpassing a thousand cases for more than -- for seven consecutive days.

Despite that, the country is moving ahead with preparations. In fact, earlier this month, Japan held an international gymnastics event, which is a very critical test for just how ready the country is to hold the Olympics next summer. Take a listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WANG (voice-over): Japan wants to show the world that it can host the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic. Thirty-two gymnasts from Japan, the U.S., Russia, and China, plus 2,000 socially-distanced fans gathered at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium earlier this month in Tokyo for one of the first international sporting competitions since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It's a glimpse of what Tokyo may do for the Olympic Games scheduled for next summer.

(APPLAUSE)

WANG (voice-over): For athletes, this was a competition like no other. Masks, temperature checks, daily COVID tests leading up to the competition, two weeks quarantine in their home countries before arriving on charter planes to Tokyo. The Chinese delegation even arrived in full hazmat suits.

Yul Moldauer, one of the six American gymnasts who competed, said it was a strange but unique experience.

YUL MOLDAUER, U.S. GYMNAST: It was stressful, but it was very special. We had not competed in like nine months or more, so just to be able to be back in the venue, back in front of a crowd, and back with other world class athletes, you know, it was amazing to feel like an asset again.

WANG (voice-over): For gymnast eMjae Frazier, this was her first time outside of the U.S., but her only views of Japan were through the hotel or bus windows.

EMJAE FRAZIER, U.S. GYMNAST: Because of this competition, it not only gives me hope that there can be another season, but it makes me feel like we can. We all feel very safe and because of the bubble that we are all in, it gave us less of a chance of contracting the virus.

WANG (voice-over): But this was a small scale event. It's unclear how Japan can scale these COVID measures for the Olympics, which typically has hundreds of events, more than 10,000 competitors, and millions of spectators.

Meanwhile, Japan is dealing with a third wave of COVID-19 cases as infections reach record highs of more than a thousand a day. One health experts says Japan needs to strengthen its contact tracing and testing measures, warning that there could be resurgence as Japan relaxes its border restrictions at a time when cases in the U.S. and Europe continue to rise. KENJI SHIBUYA, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC HEALTH AT KING'S COLLEGE: To really hold the Olympics, Japan needs to show that they can suppress transmission in a way other Asian countries have done, and they have to stop it at the borders, as well, which Japan is not doing swiftly.

WANG (voice-over): But Japan is pushing ahead with other large-scale events. Recently, more than 27,000 fans watched a baseball game at the Yokohama Stadium.

[03:55:03]

WANG (voice-over): After Pfizer said its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective based on an early analysis, Olympic organizers said they felt positive sentiment and relief. But the organizers have said they are willing to hold the games at any cost, regardless of whether an effective vaccine is widely available anytime.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WANG: Now, the organizers have called that international gymnastics event a success. The athletes I spoke to said they felt safe the entire time. They thought it was well run, well organized. But the question is how Japan is going to be able to replicate those complex COVID restrictions for many more people, from many more countries.

Now, the president at the IOC, Thomas Bach, has said that in order to protect the people of Japan, they want to get as many people coming in to Japan for the Olympics vaccinated if a vaccine is available in time.

In the meantime, there has been public criticism in Japan of Japan's approach to the Olympics. In fact, in a survey conducted over the summer by the NHK, they found that nearly 70 percent of respondents thought that the Olympics should be cancelled or further delayed.

According to a survey conducted just over this weekend by Kyoto, more than 80 percent of people in Japan are worried about this new spike in COVID cases. Rosemary?

CHURCH: We will watch to see what happens here. Selina Wang, joining us live from Tokyo, many thanks.

Well, American Dustin Johnson is donning the famous green jacket, smashing gold records on his way to winning his very first Masters. The 36-year-old world number one was in top form, winning the tournament with the fewest shots ever. The Masters took place unusually late this year. It was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And thanks so much for watching "CNN Newsroom." I'm Rosemary Church. I will be back in just a moment with more "CNN Newsroom." Do stick around.

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