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CNN NEWSROOM

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin Charged with 3rd-Degree Murder in Death of George Floyd; Trump Tries to Clean Up, "When the Looting Starts, Let the Shooting Start" Comment; Interview with Marquez Claxton, Director, Black Law Enforcement Alliance; Trump Holds News Conference Amid Protests, Pandemic; Trump Announces He's Terminating U.S. Relations with WHO; Trump Announces Hong Kong Is No Longer Autonomous from China, Will No Longer Receive Special Treatment. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 29, 2020 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00]

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Officials yesterday making at their press conference and then the arrest of our own Omar Jimenez today. The state patrol saying, oh, we just had to check their I.D.s, even though clearly, he showed them their I.D.s.

What does -- authorities here need the trust of people like you and people who live in this community. Where are they on that score? Authorities here need the trust of people like you and people who live in this community. Where are they on that score over the last couple of days?

TRAY POLLARD, CEO AND FOUNDER, WE PUSH FOR PEACE: I mean, absolutely horrible. It's always a coverup. It seems -- that's the perception they are sending off.

My take on it was, African American male standing there with a microphone. They try to say they didn't know he was with CNN, which was obviously a lie. He showed them repeatedly his credentials. And then, to save face, they come back and say, well, we wanted to make sure he was who he was.

Ray Charles could see what that was all about, period.

MARQUEZ: Tray Pollard, thank you very much. Good luck to you. You have your work cut out for you.

(CROSSTALK)

MARQUEZ: Thank you. We're not supposed to shake hands but thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

MARQUEZ: I will sanitize after.

Brianna, I think everybody is going to wait and see what happens over the next 24 hours or so. There's great concern that the energy and the anger that brought us

the pictures we saw the last couple of nights, it may not be spent. And authorities are certainly preparing for the worst as they are trying to clean up some of these areas that have already been hit very hard -- Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Yes, this is welcome news. But it's just a piece of this puzzle that they want to see there on the ground there in Minneapolis.

Miguel, thank you so much for bringing us that interview.

Jim Acosta is live for us at the White House.

Jim, tell us what's happening because apparently the president tried to play clean-up with the earlier tweet where he was arguably to basically incite violence in Minneapolis. This was just moments before his news conference.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. As you and others can recall, last night, the president post add tweet that said, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."

In just the last couple of minutes, as we wait for the press conference, it's about a half hour late, the president posted another tweet trying to clean that up, trying to clarify it.

And if we have the tweet on the screen, I can read it to you. It says, "Looting leads to shooting. And that's why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night. Look at what just happened in Louisville with seven people shot. I don't want this to happen. And that's what the expression put out last night means."

We should point out, the president is quoting in that tweet last night, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts," he is quoting Miami police chief, Walter Headlee, who, in 1967, when unrest in Miami, used that expression, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."

It was made clear not only to police officers but to people in Miami at the time -- the "Miami Herald" at the time reported Headlee, the police chief at the time, let the word filter down, that "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." Went on to say his men had been told any force up to and including death is proper when apprehending a felon. That was the context of the original quote back in 1967.

Whether or not the president is aware of the original context of that quote, that is something we'll ask about the press conference in a couple of minutes from now. But it is hard to imagine that is not what was going through his mind when he posted that tweet last night.

As you know, Brianna, the president has a long history of incendiary tweets and incendiary rhetoric. And even commented on the subject of how police should handle people brought into custody. He has encouraged police officers over the years to rough up people who have been brought into custody and so forth. Described as we know, African American professional athletes as sons

of bitches when they kneel, take a knee during professional football games and protests of police brutality.

And I suspect these will be brought up at the news conference, which, by the way, the president scheduled to talk about what he's going to do with respect to China tightening its grip on Hong Kong, which he blamed for the coronavirus around the world and here in the United States.

As you mentioned, a few moments ago, the president before this news conference, is starting to try to clean up what is obviously an incendiary, outrageous and just offensive tweet which has the potential to spark violence, to cause violence, and why Twitter put a label on that tweet saying that this tweet has the potential to glorify violence and lead to violence.

As you know, Brianna, the White House Twitter handle, the official White House Twitter handle -- by the way, not the president's Twitter handle -- the Twitter handle of the United States government reposted that presidential tweet, that tweet from President Trump about, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." Twitter had to put a label on that.

The president, I suspect he'll try to avoid some questions. But I can just guarantee, he's going to be asked that question, no matter who he calls on in this news conference, which was scheduled for half an hour ago. We're waiting for this to start -- Brianna?

[14:35:14]

KEILAR: The retweeting of the White House, putting out the language from his tweet. Basically scheduled for half an hour ago. We're waiting for this to start.

The retweeting of the White House, putting out the language from his tweet basically disproves his clean-up tweet but seems to be all about changing the subject there, Jim, as he's talking about China when it comes to coronavirus and talking about looting and shooting on Twitter.

Jim Acosta, we will come back to you as the news develops there in the Rose Garden of the White House.

I want to bring in Joey Jackson and Laura Coates.

Joey, what is your reaction to this? Third-degree murder charge. So the idea here being that perhaps this death wasn't intentional. But obviously, a reasonable person would have known, a person who did not maybe have disregard for human life would have known that what they were doing could cost someone their life. What do you make of this?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I make of it that it's a very good first though, Brianna. Good afternoon to you.

The fact is it's all about accountability. I have to say, when someone else in the community engages in what's deemed to be or seemed to be a criminal act, there's not a full-scale wholehearted investigation.

When you get all the evidence to prove someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before you move forward, the standard is there probable cause. In English, Brianna, is there a reason to believe a crime occurred?

If you looked at the video tape, don't have to go into all of that again. It's sickening for all of us to see. But that's what we appear to see.

However, in the event we can split hairs and say it wasn't intentional or he didn't know what he was doing even though George Floyd was saying he couldn't breathe, you had bystanders telling him, the man can't breathe, what are you doing, he's cavalierly there, you don't have to establish intent. You don't have to demonstrate that you did it on purpose, that you knew what you were doing and you tried to kill him.

Now you get into, when you talk about other charges and state charges, other levels of criminality. Like what? Like you were careless. Didn't you or wouldn't a reasonable person know and believe that this is what the result would be when you obstruct someone's breathing? Like recklessness. Aren't you consciously disregarding the risk that someone would die when you have your knee on their neck?

So at the end of the day, what we're left with is this. In any one of the people that I've defended, what happens is they're arrested on that standard.

The standard is, Mr. Jackson, why arrested? Because the police believe you did something wrong. They don't have all the evidence. They're investigating. You can arrest, upgrade charges, modify charges, alter charges. What you don't do is leave it alone.

However, we're at the place now where there's the arrest. Now we move forward to determine whether the evidence establishes his proof beyond a reasonable doubt of guilt. And I think the videotape with other types of testimony will be telling as to that.

Final point, Brianna, and that's this, it's a good first start. But anyone and everyone who was accountable for this death here, including the officers who attended and did nothing, that would be further accountability. Not just as to the firing but other criminal charges as well.

KEILAR: The head Hennepin County attorney, Laura, saying I anticipate charges against those other offices. What are those going to be? He said they were focusing on the most dangerous perpetrator first. What do you think the possibilities are for those other three officers?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Although, focusing on the most dangerous perpetrator may seem like a good idea, it also a legally sound premise here, because you're talking about accomplice liability, whether someone acting in concert or aiding in some way or failing to act to save someone's life when you had a legal duty to protect them. All of them require the foundational element of who was the immediate

aggressor, who was the person who had the most direct causal connection to the person who was killed. Then you expand and almost work backwards from there and look at the collateral impact of everyone around there.

So looking and starting with that person make it is most sense because I believe everyone else who may be charged will be based off the conduct who may have prevented and chose not to.

But one thing you have to look at here is, whenever a prosecutor is looking at the cases and the charges they're bringing, we're always having an eye toward what the possible defenses will be.

When you look at this, normally, you would say the police officer is involved in the killing or shooting death of an unarmed person or somebody who even was armed, the immediate discussion for the officer is their self-defense claim, the discussion of, well, this person was acting in the kill or be killed context of life.

Well, here, we are talking about putting it in the realm, as Joey is talking about, of an unintentional killing. What does that do to a self-defense claim? It essentially says, it undermines it and says, you didn't intend to do so but you didn't have some basis to believe that you were being harmed.

[14:40:06]

There was no evidence to support that somehow you thought it was kill or be killed. Your hands in your pocket. The person is no longer resisting.

And I can repeat this. Let's be very clear. Resisting suffocation is not resisting arrest.

KEILAR: That's right.

ACOSTA: All the factors at play here, it's a consideration.

KEILAR: I was going to say, it certainly is. At what point -- they say he's resisting officers. He appears to be resisting death, resisting suffocation.

COATES: Yes.

KEILAR: I want to have you stand by for a moment. That's a conversation I want to continue with you here, Laura.

First, get in a quick break because we are expecting comments from the White House. The president maybe having to answer, if he will take questions, for his tweets suggesting that looters will be shot.

We'll be back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: We're following breaking news here at CNN. Derek Chauvin, the officer who had his knee on the neck of George Floyd leading to George Floyd's death, has been taken into custody and charged, charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Hennepin County's attorney anticipating charges for the other three officers as well. Chauvin, if he were to be convicted of third-degree, carries a sentence up to 25 years in prison.

We are, as well -- as you can see on the right side of your screen -- awaiting the president. President Trump is going to be speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House and this is about China. But this is coming amid controversial tweets of his about shooting looters.

As we were watching that, we'll bring you the press conference as soon as it begins from the White House.

I want to bring in retired NYPD detective, Marq Claxton. He's the director of public relations and political affairs for the Black Law Enforcement Alliance.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us.

I just want to continue a point that our Laura Coates made about George Floyd was not resisting arrest. He was resisting suffocation. And we've seen this over and over where at a certain point.

I mean, look, trying to fight for your life is a very human instinct. And that is what we have seen, not just in George Floyd's case but in the case of Eric Garner, for instance, other black men who have been restrained and then died as a result of the tactics used by police.

How do you think that plays out in this discussion legally between police and certainly, I guess, how do you think that is going to play out in this discussion about what happened?

[14:44:58]

MARQUEZ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: It's going to be a huge area. Each topic of debate, whether or not in the case of Mr. Floyd was being active or reactive.

And a lot of times, this comes up with issues of what we call officer created jeopardy where a police officer may engage in a course of conduct that is unlawful, illegal, violates some departmental policy.

But as a result of their engagement in the conduct, the person holds the victim in a response that is a threat to their life.

And then the same dynamic that goes on to create jeopardy, as you will have with this. And that is, what's the culpability, the responsibility. What actions are the victim in this case? Knows his actions, but for his actions, this wouldn't have occurred. (INAUDIBLE).

But I think black folk are very familiar. We have a sort of muscle memory. We understand the dynamics.

KEILAR: All right, Marq, stand by for us, if you will.

We're awaiting a press conference from the president at the White House. We're going to get in a quick break. And amid his tweets, essentially inciting violence in Minneapolis, we're going to hear what he said if reporters can get questions in.

We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: President Trump at the White House.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. Thank you.

I'm here today to talk about our relationship with China and several new measures to protect American security and prosperity.

China's pattern of misconduct is well known. For decades, they've ripped off the United States like no one has ever done before. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year were lost dealing with China, especially over the years during the prior administration.

China raided our factories, offshored our jobs, gutted our industries, stole our intellectual property, and violated their commitments under the World Trade Organization.

To make matters worse, they're considered a developing nation, getting all sorts of benefits that others, including the United States, are not entitled to.

But I have never solely blamed China for this. They were able to get away with the theft like no one was able to get away with before because of past politicians and, frankly, past presidents.

[14:50:01]

But unlike those who came before, my administration negotiated and fought for what was right. It's called fair and reciprocal treatment.

China has also unlawfully claimed territory in the Pacific Ocean, threatening freedom of navigation and international trade. And they broke their word to the world on ensuring the autonomy of Hong Kong.

The United States wants an open and constructive relationship with China but achieving that relationship requires us to vigorously defend our national interests.

The Chinese government has continually violated its promises to us and so many other nations. These plain facts cannot be overlooked or swept aside.

The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government. China's cover-up of the Wuhan virus allowed the disease to spread all over the world, instigating a global pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 American lives and over a million lives worldwide.

Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities.

Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe. They strongly recommended against me doing the early ban from China. But I did it anyway. It was proven to be 100 percent correct.

China has totally control over the World Health Organization. Despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year.

We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act. Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.

The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency. Why is it that China shut off infected people from Wuhan to all other parts of China? It went nowhere else. It didn't go to Beijing. It went nowhere else. But they allowed them to travel throughout the world, including Europe and the United States.

The death and destruction caused by this is incalculable. We must have answers not only for us but for the rest of the world.

This pandemic has underscored the crucial importance of building up America's economic independence, reassuring our critical supply chains and protecting America's scientific and technological advances.

For years, the government of China has conducted elicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets, of which, there are many.

Today, I will issue a proclamation to better secure out nation's vital university research and to suspend the entry of certain foreign nationals from China, who we have identified as potential security risks.

I am also taking action to protect the integrity of America's financial system, by far, the best in the world.

I'm instructing my presidential working group on financial markets to study the differing practices of Chinese companies listed on the U.S. financial markets with the goal of protecting American investors.

Investment firms should not be subjecting clients to the hidden and undue risks associated with financing Chinese companies that do not play by the same rules. Americans are entitled to fairness and transparency. Several of the most significant actions we're taking pertain to deeply

troubling situations unfolding in Hong Kong. This week, China unilaterally imposed control over Hong Kong security.

This was a plain violation of Beijing's treaty obligations with the United Kingdom in the declaration of 1984 and explicit provisions of Hong Kong's basic law. It has 27 years to go.

The Chinese government's move against Hong Kong is the latest in a series of measures that are diminishing the city's long-standing and very proud status. This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China and, indeed, the people of the world.

[14:55:17]

China claims it is protecting national security. But the truth is that Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society. Beijing's decision reverses all of that. It extends the reach of China's invasive state security apparatus into what was formally a bastion of liberty.

China's latest incursion, along with recent developments that degraded the territory freedoms, makes clear that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory since the handover.

China has replaced it's promised formula of one country, two systems with one country, one system. Therefore, I'm directing my administration to begin the process of eliminating policy exceptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment.

My announcement today will affect the full range of agreements we have with Hong Kong, from our extradition treaty to our export controls, on dual use technologies and more with few exceptions.

We'll be revising the State Department travel advisory for Hong Kong to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus.

We will take action to revoke Hong Kong's preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China.

The United States will also take necessary steps to sanction PRC and Hong Kong officials directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong's autonomy. And if you take a look, smothering, absolutely smothering Hong Kong's freedom.

Our actions will be strong. Our actions will be meaningful.

More than two decades ago, on a rainy night in 1997, British soldiers lowered the union flag and Chinese soldiers raised the Chinese flag in Hong Kong. The people of Hong Kong felt simultaneously proud of their Chinese heritage and their unique Hong Kong identity.

The people of Hong Kong hoped that in the years and decades to come, China would increasingly come to resemble it's most radiant and dynamic city. The rest of the world was electrified by a sense of optimism that Hong Kong was a glimpse into China's future, not that Hong Kong would grow into a reflection of China's past.

In every decision, I will continue to proudly defend and protect the workers, families and citizens of the United States of America.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: And President Trump there announcing that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China. Will take action to end U.S. policies that give Hong Kong special treatment.

But this is all happening amid his tweets about Minneapolis. He said that, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." He tweeted that overnight. He tried to clean that up right before his press conference today.

But he took no questions because the questions clearly would have been about what he said. A tweet that, according to Twitter, was inciting violence.

I want to bring David Culver in for us. He's covering this from China.

Talk to us about this development as the president tries to take aim here. What does this actually do? How is this going to be received?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was certainly a lot that he covered in that. And there's a big context that we have to grasp.

For one, it is not being received well here in China. And I could say that without hearing from officials because our freed in broadcasting when the president was speaking went black. It was cut out here. And that is common here when things are said that are sensitive and, simply put, the Chinese government doesn't like it. So they will censor us.

And that was the case as the president talked about terminating his relationship with the World Health Organization, saying the U.S. would no longer partake in that because he believes that China has simply controlled the WHO and how they have simply dictated what has gone on with the handling of this virus early on.

[15:00:00]

Now it is also worth noting that the president mentioned several other realities playing out within Hong Kong. And the fear that it's happening just over the border there.