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Minneapolis U.S. Attorney & FBI Investigating Death of George Floyd; NY Governor Cuomo Gives Update on Coronavirus Response; Chris Rock, Rosie Perez Team Up with Cuomo on "Wear A Mask" Message. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 28, 2020 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00]

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Walk me through where -- in some cases, there can be an advantage, a sharing of resources, or in other cases it could maybe cause tension.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right, because they're entirely different things. The feds could not charge him with murder here. That's the taking of someone's life under state law. That would be under Minnesota's state law.

The internal investigation, the police, frankly, are notoriously protective of their folks, so that may be tricky as well.

Then there's the federal question which, again, gets back to federal law and the Constitution. Under the Fourth Amendment, the law that governs how people are arrested and treated when they're in custody, was it violated here.

And then looming over all that are these powerful questions of race and policing in America. Now, again, race will not be a relevant factor to this particular type of federal lawsuit. The question here is just about the policeman's conduct with respect to someone in his custody.

But we can't separate that from the fact that black people have an incredibly painful history. As we know from Central Park just this week, people's conduct with respect to African-Americans and the notion that they might be a potential threat.

We can't decouple those two things here, John, and the painful history and the fact that the law tends to just often favor police officer behavior.

KING: Sometimes it just takes time for word to get from the states to D.C. Sometimes it takes political pressure if there's reluctance of the feds to get involved.

The speed with which this is happening, is that unusual? Are you impressed, if you will? I know you're not often a fan of this administration. But how quickly this Justice Department decided, we are going to make this a priority. WILLIAMS: This is policing in the age of the cell phone video, John.

How many cases like this have happened without the nasty video being circulated? And that's part of what has compounded how quickly it's gone out.

I'm struck by the president of the United States. Because of how obvious the evidence appears to be in the case based on what we're seeing on the video.

Look at the president's history with respect to policing, talking about the fact that, you know, officers ought to rough people up when they arrest them and so on. It's wonderful he's taken this step and this action here and tweeted about it. But it's almost too little too late.

Now, what the Justice Department, getting back to watching, what they can do --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Elliot, I'm sorry. I need to interrupt you.

I need to get to the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, his daily coronavirus briefing in Brooklyn.

ANDREW CUOMO, (D), NEW YORK GOVERNOR: -- tough. The New York Mets colors.

It's a pleasure to be in Brooklyn, New York.

Let me thank Stanley King, who is the director of the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club.

I'm here with Melissa DeRosa, to my right, and Gareth Rhodes to my left.

It's a pleasure to be back in Brooklyn. I've spent a lot of time here. My grandparents are here. I'm from a mixed marriage in New York City. My mother was from Brooklyn, my father was from Queens, so I spent a lot of time here. And it's a pleasure to be back. And you'll understand why we're in Brooklyn in a moment.

Let's talk about where we are today. Fact by fact across the morass. We're all trying to find our way through this. And following the facts is the way we've chosen to do it in the great state of New York.

Facts today are good. The total number of hospitalizations are down. The rolling total is down. The change in intubations, people who are put on ventilators is down, so that's very good news. And the number of new COVID cases per day is also down, 163, which is the lowest it has been. So that is all very, very good news from our point of view.

The relatively positive news is the number of deaths continues to decline. 74. This is always painful. And we're going to be watching this number to see how far down it actually goes. We have a large state, and the COVID virus tends to attack those who

are seniors and those who have underlying illnesses. And will remain a cause of death for the foreseeable future, I'm afraid to say. But we want to get this number down as low as possible. And we're doing everything that we can to do that.

We have the best hospitals, the best doctors, the best nurses. They're all working day and night. So we can take a little solace to know that we have done everything we can to say those 74 lives. You can't always be successful but you can do the most that you can do. And that's what we're doing.

And you see, again, the number of lives lost and how that number is coming down, so that is all good news.

[11:35:02]

Yesterday, I was in Washington, D.C. I spoke to a lot of people. I met with the president, spoke to congressional members, spoke to Senate members to try to find out what was going on.

This is my opinion, so it's worth what you pay for it, and since you're not paying anything.

I understand what states must do to work their way through this pandemic. The states are taking the lead and the responsibility. I understand that. I understand what governors must do.

I am vice chairman of what's called the National Governors Association, so I work with governors all across the nation. And we talk about our responsibilities. And I feel good about what the states and what the governors are doing.

My question is, what is Washington going to do, the federal government, because they have a role also in this. Yes, the states are in charge. And, yes, the states are implementing their plans. But we need support from the federal government. And that's the role of the federal government.

Washington has passed numerous pieces of legislation and they've successfully bailed out big corporations. They passed pieces of legislation that have a lot of benefits for the rich and the powerful. Now the question is, what is Washington going to do in terms of passing legislation that helps working Americans, right?

Police officers, firefighters, schoolteachers, hospitals, unemployed people, businesses that are struggling. How do we help them? How do we bring them up? And that's what states do and local governments do and that's state and local government funding and they have to provide that.

Also my opinion is Washington should, just for this once, End their proclivity to make every piece of legislation pork-barrel legislation. I understand they have to get Senators to vote for it and they have to get House members to vote for it, but that doesn't mean they have to make it a gravy train of pork just to pass it. Maybe you can just pass a bill on the merits of a bill. How about that? Novel, but possible.

This is supposed to be a specifically targeted piece of legislation to help restore the economy and repair the damage of the COVID virus. Well, then make the legislation about funding to repair the COVID virus.

And you know where the COVID virus has been in this country. You know where it's wreaking havoc. You can count the number of deaths and where they are. You can count the number of positive cases and where they are.

You look at the past legislation that came out of Washington and how they disbursed money, and you look at how they wound up making it a gravy train. Every state got a lot of money. Local governments got a lot of money. And in many cases, disconnected from the COVID virus and the COVID situation.

If you take the total funding and you actually look at how much states got per positive COVID case, it's not even close. Some states got millions of dollars per COVID case. New York State we got about $23,000 per case. New Jersey we got about $27,000 per case.

I understand they have to, quote, unquote, "buy votes" on a piece of legislation. I also understand it's taxpayers' money. And theoretically, a legislator is there to do what's right and not because that legislator was seduced with large amounts of taxpayer dollars, even though that state wasn't affected.

I also think Washington has an opportunity to actually step up and to be smart for a change. They should be talking about revitalizing the economy, not just reopening the economy.

I don't believe you just reopen the economy and it bounces back for everyone. I think it bounces back for the big corporations. I think it bounces back for the rich. I think it bounces back for the powerful. That's what happened after the 2008 financial crisis, the mortgage fraud crisis.

The big banks that caused the crisis, they were fine just months afterward. They took all that federal bailout money. They gave themselves bonuses. I remember I was the attorney general of New York. I chased those corporations to put the bonuses back.

But how about the small businesses that closed? How about the corporations that are going to lay off workers now? What's going to happen to them? How about all those blue-collar jobs that are not going to come back right away, all those little retail stores that are not going to come back right away?

[11:40:09]

So it's not just about revitalizing -- not just about reopening. It's about revitalizing. It's about having a plan and a vision for the future.

OK, we went through this. What's the plan going forward? We went through the depression, but there was a plan afterwards. We went through World War II, but there was a plan to restore the economy.

Where is the plan? Where is the vision? Where is the plan to say, yes, we went through hell, but heaven is on the other side? And we're going to rally and we're going to be better for this.

BBB, build it back better. We're not just going to return to where we were. We're going to be better than ever before.

And to make sure that any of those corporations that took taxpayer money rehire the same number of workers.

You hear these corporations now talking about, well, we're going to take this opportunity to restructure. We're going to get lean. You know what that means? That means they're going to lay off workers. That means they're going to boost their profits and their stock price by laying off workers and not rehiring people after the pandemic.

Now, that's a corporation's right. But you don't have to subsidize that with government money, right? You shouldn't be giving them government cash and then they lay off workers, and then the taxpayer has to pay unemployment for the workers they laid off. That would be a scandal, right? Well, if they don't stop it, it's going to happen here.

And if they were smart, they would finally rebuild the infrastructure in this nation, which they've been talking about for 30, 40 years, and they've never done it. You want to put people to work? Build airports, build bridges, put technology in education, put technology in health care. Do the things you've talked about for 40 years but the government was never competent enough to do.

Also to Washington, after my conversations, so much of it is, well, here's our politics, here's our politics. Forget your politics. Just put it all aside. There's a greater interest than your politics. And that's doing the right thing for this country and for your constituents.

And stop the hyper-partisan attitude and the gridlock, forget the red and the blue. We are red, white and blue, we're all Americans. That's my opinion.

Back to the facts. We're going to focus on the opening of New York City. We have reopened the other regions of the state. We divided the state into different regions because the state has dramatically different facts across the state.

New York City, one of the densest, urban areas of the globe. We have parts of Upstate New York, which are rural areas, which look more like the Midwest, and they had facts more like the Midwest. So we divided the state into regions and addressing the facts in each region, the other regions have all started reopening.

New York City, where we had a much higher number of cases than anywhere else in the state, anywhere else in the country, than many countries on the globe. New York City is a more difficult situation. We were attacked in New York City by the coronavirus from Europe. I like to say that, because people say, what do you mean the

coronavirus from Europe. I thought the coronavirus was from China. Yes, so did it. So did everyone. That's what we were told, the coronavirus was coming from China. What we weren't told was the coronavirus left China, went to Europe January, February, and then came here from Europe. Nobody told us.

I know nobody told us. They say nobody knew. I don't know how nobody knew.

But the cases came from Europe. January, February, March, three million people traveled from Europe to JFK and Newark Airport. Why did New York City have so many cases? Because three million Europeans came January, February, March and brought the virus and nobody knew. And nobody told us. No fault of our own. There's nothing endemic to New York City.

Yes, we have density. But we're all watching China. We're looking to the West and the virus came to the East. It came from Europe. So we were the hardest hit. But we're going to reopen as the smartest.

[11:45:07]

And if you look at the curve in New York right now, you see our numbers are going down. You see the curve in many other states, many other parts of the country, you still have the curve going up. So we did get hit the hardest but we learned.

The state has a set of rules and metrics to reopen that apply to New York City just like they apply to every other region. Why? Because what is safe to reopen in Buffalo is the same standard that is safe to reopen in Albany or Long Island or New York City.

I'm not going to open any region that I don't believe is safe. And we have different standards across the nation. Different states have taken different standards. You can argue about whether or not we should have different standards of safety in this nation, but that's above my pay grade.

I can tell you in this state, there are no different standards of safety. What is safe to reopen is safe, and if it's safe for your family, it's safe for my family. And I wouldn't reopen an area that I didn't consider was safe for my family. That's my personal gauge.

So it's the same all across the board with the same rules. Phase one reopening is construction, manufacturing, curbside retail by specific guidelines. The other regions have a phase one. New York City has yet to hit phase one, but that's what we are pointing towards.

Once you hit phase one, you continue to monitor the metrics. If all is good, you move to phase two accordingly. But it is about the metrics. It is about rate of hospitalization, number of hospital beds, number of ICU beds, what's happening on the testing, what's happening on the symptoms that people are reporting. And you monitor those metrics, those facts, and you proceed accordingly. New York City we have to make more progress on some of the metrics. We

have to make more progress on what's called contact tracing, which is very important. After you test, whoever winds up positive, you trace back those contacts and you isolate.

In New York City you also have the added situation of public transportation. For New York City to reopen, you have working New Yorkers who commute on mass transit. And we have to be able to have a mass transit system that is safe, that is clean, and is not overcrowded.

And the MTA has really taken the bull by the horns on this one. We never heard of disinfecting a train. We heard of cleaning trains. And we could debate whether or not the trains were that clean, but to get them to a point where they're disinfected was a higher level, a higher standard than anyone ever dreamed of.

They're now disinfecting every train and every bus on a daily basis. They're piling on the use technology to kill the virus in cars, so they're using science to get ready for this.

In the meantime, we want to focus on New York City hot spots. Because if you look at New York City, there are very different stories within the city.

And we now do enough testing. We do tens of thousands of tests per day. We are doing more testing in New York State than any state in the country. We're doing more testing in New York State per capita than any country on the globe, OK? So we're the testing capital.

When you do that many tests, you can target exactly where people are getting sick and where those new cases are coming from. And you can look at that by neighborhood, by zip code. And what you see is more of the cases are coming from out of borough communities, and more cases out of communities where essential workers live.

But they're not the essential workers. It's more what we call community spread. It's in communities that have an underlying health care disparity, which is a problem across this country. Populations that have higher incidents of underlying illnesses and lack of masks, social distancing, particularly with younger people.

[11:50:20]

If you look at the testing results, for example, you have communities that have the infection of the city in general. So the city in general is about 20 percent infection rate.

You have communities that are literally more than double, 43 percent infection rate. Brownsville, Brooklyn, 41 percent infection rate. East Bronx, 38 percent infection rate. Queens, my old neighborhood, 35 percent infection rate. Flat Bush and Brooklyn at 45 percent infection rate. That's why we are here today.

You know these communities have a higher infection rate. You know the new cases that are being generated tend to come from these communities. Well, then, target those communities, right? That's part of being smart. Get them help and get them help faster.

And address the health care inequality that's underlying all of this. So bring in more diagnostic testing, more antibody testing, more PPE, more health care services for the underlying illnesses. That's where the morbidity comes from. Bring in supplies and bring in more communication.

We are doing all the above. We are taking on the issue of inequality when it comes to health care. And we are going to take on the challenge of the most impacted communities in terms of COVID.

We are working with Northwell Health System, the largest health system in the state, Northwell. It is a great organization. They're going to bring more health care services to the impacted cities.

We are up to 225 testing sites. I passed one on the way here today. Many of these sites are under used. We have drive-thru sites that are doing 5,000 tests a day. There's no cost to the test. It does not hurt. It is pain-free. I did the test on live TV, didn't flinch. Just a nasal swab. There's no needle.

You can go to the Web site, coronavirus.health.NY.gov, and find a site near you. Get tested. Get tested. If you have a symptom, get tested. If you are expose to a person that's positive, get tested. There is no cost and it does not hurt. And there are sites literally everywhere throughout the city.

We delivered more than eight million masks for New York City to public housing and food banks and churches and homeless shelters. The masks work. They work. We have to culturalize the masks. We have to customize the marks for New York to get New Yorkers to wear them. We are bringing in one million additional masks today.

Today, I'm signing an executive order authorizing private businesses to deny entrance to people who do not wear a mask or a face covering.

I have been working to communicate this message about masks and how effective they are. They are deceptively effective. They are amazingly effective. We made them mandatory in public settings and public transportations, et cetera.

But when we are talking about reopening stores and places of business, we are giving the store owners the right to say, if you are not wearing a mask, you can't come in.

That store owner has the right to protect himself. That store owner has the right to protect the other patrons in that store. If you don't want to wear a mask, fine, but you don't have the right to go into that store if that store does not want you to. I will sign that executive order.

In general, more communication, more education about the availability and importance of testing, diagnostic testings and antibody testings and wearing the PPE and why social distancing makes sense and communicating this to people.

[11:55:03]

And my main job all though this has been communications. This was not a task government could ever accomplish. I knew that from day one. I know what the government can do and what government they can't do.

Tell 19 million people in the state of New York that they have the stay home. Government can't do that. I can say it but we have no way to enforce it. It is up to what people do.

People, especially New Yorkers, they're doing what they want to do. They're going to do what's smart if you give them the information, if they believe you, if the information convinces them. They're going to do what they want to do.

My job from day one has been communicating the facts to people so people can make a smart judgment for themselves. So people have the information to protect themselves, protect their family and decide what was smart.

That's my job as governor. That's what I have been doing. That's what I continue to do. I am still trying to communicate to people how important it is to take tests and wear masks, et cetera.

I have, at times, been frustrated that not everybody seems to get it. I have three girls at home. Family keeps us grounded. Family has a way to bring you back to reality. My girls have been very good at telling me that when I raise the frustration of communications, they say, well, it is you, Dad. You are the one that's not communicating.

They've had many helpful hints as to why I have not been able to communicate effectively or the level I would like to, that I am not cool enough. I think I am cool. I have been wearing a cool mask. I don't have enough edge. They say I don't have enough edge to communicate effectively.

So I'm trying different ways. They didn't like the state advertising. We are now doing different state advertising.

But I understand I need re-enforcements and help in communication, especially when I am in Brooklyn. Even though I'm half from Brooklyn, that doesn't matter when you are from Brooklyn. They want a full- fledge Brooklyn voice if they're going to listen to a Brooklyn voice of authority.

So I am going to bring in re-enforcements to help us communicate that message. And I am pleased to have them with us today. And I want to thank very much, two great New Yorkers, two great performers, Chris Rock and Rosie Perez, who are going to join us. And I want to thank them very much.

They're going to help us communicate this. They're going to do advertisements for the state. And they're going to help communicate this message that it is important for an individual's health, for a family's health, and it's important for all of our health.

We are one family in New York and one family in Brooklyn and one family in Queens and one family in New York City. And do it for the good of the family.

Rosie, it is great to be with you again.

Chris, I am so glad that you are here.

I can't thank you guys enough. And we would love to hear from you whichever one wants to start.

Ladies?

ROSIE PEREZ, ACTRESS: Oh, thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREZ: He's such a gentleman.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREZ: It is an honor. And it's really good to be here with my friend, my fellow Brooklynite, Chris Rock, and our fantastic Governor Cuomo, who has been such an amazing leader during this crisis.

I am proud to partner with the governor to make sure my hometown, by borough, my beloved borough of Brooklyn, and all of New York have their resources. They need to stop the spread of this virus and to help spread the word about what we all have to do to beat this virus.

In Brooklyn there's a saying, "Spread love the Brooklyn way." I want to extend that to not just the outer boroughs, to the tri-state area, but to all of Americans and all the world.

Spreading love the Brooklyn way means respecting your neighbors, respecting your communities. The way that you do that by getting tested, wearing a mask. That says, I love you and you love me. I respect you and you respect me back.

[11:59:52]

I don't care who you voted for. I don't care who you are going to vote for. All I care is that we get out of this pandemic as quickly as possible and as safely as possible. Over 100,000 deaths, it is just incredibly heartbreaking. And we can lower the risk.