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CNN Crew Arrested Live on TV; Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY) is Interviewed about Protests in Kentucky; States Report on Coronavirus Numbers. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 29, 2020 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00]

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You're lying to yourself if you believe that. It's not true. We -- you can do psychological studies. People in this country are triggered by race. Hell, I'm triggered. When I walk down the street, if I see a black person, and it's me in the mirror, I give it a second look because I've been primed by this society to suspect black people. So when a white person tells me that they don't see color, I want to run the other way because I know I'm in a conversation with somebody who's at least lying to themselves if they're not lying to me.

And so it's -- it's not good enough to be non-racist. You have to be anti-racist. You have to be engaging in this conversation. You have to be talking to people of color and asking them, how do you feel? And if we get hot, if we get mad, if we say, you know what, if our voice goes up, don't lecture us about how we're supposed to educate you about stuff you should have educated yourself about a long time ago. We are tired.

When Van Jones sounds like this, it gives you a sense of where we're at, at this point. We saw a lynching. That was a lynching. You were -- you saw a lynching. You were walking down the street. You opened up your phone and you -- and it flattened you. And it should flatten you. it shows you have a heart. It shows you have a pulse. It shows that you care.

But caring and engaging in helping to fix it, not with some cop you never met, but in your own workplace, in your own neighborhood, where somebody walks through your neighborhood, your neighborhood watch says, hey, we have a thug here, and it could be a college student, it could be a NASA astronaut, or it could be a thug. You have no idea. All you know, it's a black person. And you don't call your neighbors out and you don't call a community meeting and you don't call -- you don't defend that -- that child as if it were your own, you're a part of the problem. And then when some -- this happens, you say, well, I don't see race. Well, that's part of the problem. You don't act on race affirmatively.

I'm sorry, Kamau, I'm just -- I'm like you, I'm -- I've been doing and saying the same thing since college and it's just tiresome.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Kamau, go ahead. Can you hear us, Kamau? What I was going to say, Van, is that, you know, there was this -- the

president tweeted at 1:00 a.m. about the protesters. And as you just referred to, he called them thugs. And Twitter put a warning on this one because he said, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. And they said that that was glorifying violence and they wanted their users to know and so they put a warning on it.

And then the president has just countered by putting it on the official White House account. I don't know what to -- I don't even know what the question -- moments ago, here's the White House account and it just says exactly what the previous one said, which sounds a lot like the president of the United States talking about that there will be more violence. I mean he says, any difficulty, we will assume control. And when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you, exclamation point.

Do you have any thoughts on this?

JONES: I think it's highly inappropriate for the president to say that for a number of reasons. One, that's not the standard of the law. You use deadly force to protect life, you don't use deadly force to protect property. And so it's just, a, it's a misstatement of the law.

I think it's also just an irresponsible statement because this really is a moment where striking the right balance, calling for obviously public safety and order. I'm certainly not a part of the pro-crime lobby raising two black boys in Los Angeles. But there's a balance that has to be struck. And I think -- I think the president should reconsider his course because this is not over. We could be spiraling away from each other.

The -- what I've been encouraged by, the Department of Justice, and the president leaning forward and saying that this is something they want to look into, but I'm discouraged by tweets like that.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I have to say, putting it on the White House Twitter account gives an official stamp to a statement that has troubling historical precedence, when the looting starts, the shooting starts was a phrase coined by the former Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in the 1960s, who also said he doesn't mind being accused of police brutality.

JONES: Yes.

BERMAN: This is a very specific, historical reference. A very specific moment where someone said the police should go ahead and shoot people. That's why Twitter put up that warning when it was with Donald Trump, now it is on the official White House Twitter account.

[09:35:04]

Brian Stelter, just very quickly, who joins us now, CNN's chief media correspondent, Twitter did put this warning on it, just because of what I said, because of the idea that it could incite violence, frankly. Talk to us about that. BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And I

spoke with Twitter executives overnight who said they have never done this before. It's a step by Twitter to say, we believe this tweet does glorify violence. And I suspect they will do the same thing now to this White House tweet.

I have a simple question that no one can answer except the president, why is he more interested in fighting with Twitter than fighting the pandemic? Why is he more interested in causing this kind of incendiary rhetoric, spreading this kind of incendiary rhetoric instead of trying to calm tensions?

Because when he was tweeting this at 1:00 in the morning, John, fires were still being lit actively. Stores were being looted actively. Windows were being shattered every minute. Cars were being broken into. And instead of trying to calm things down, he tried to make them worse. And I don't think any of us know exactly why that is, except for the president himself.

BERMAN: But I -- can I just say, Van, and I want you to weigh in on this, this is tapping into a very specific vein in this discussion. This is the law and order discussion. This is a type of way of discussing things that has happened for decades in America. It is focusing on the damage to the property and the looting overnight, which happened, and no one is condoning, but there is something very specific going on here, Van.

JONES: Look, I -- here's where we're headed, OK, because this is not the first time any of these things have happened, all right?

So the police do something horrible and outrageous to the community. People try to protest, they try to raise their voice. Usually it's a second or third time. I'm talking about what the so-called long, hot summers and then how we get this whole law and order thing. So you're making a reference. I want to give the history. This is -- people -- you know, oh, my God, I can't believe this happens almost every time we get into these spirals.

So there's something like this that happens and then people try to protest. And then either provocateurs or just people -- I say provocateurs, just somebody maybe even, you know, paid by somebody to do it, somebody that's not even an authentic protester does it, sometimes an actual protester does it, but somebody starts a fire, does something terrible. Now the police are in a quandary.

On the one hand, they want to protect the First Amendment and let people protest. On the other hand, they've got to protect life and property. So then they start trying to figure out what to do. And they either get the balance wrong on the one side and they want to -- let the right get out of hand, or they crack down.

Now, in that situation, what you need is very skillful leadership to hold that line of protecting the justified protest, but pushing back on the unjustified property damage. It's one of the toughest leadership challenges for a mayor or a governor when these things happen. What you do not want to do is to do anything in a situation like that,

that throws gasoline on the fire, because you have rogue elements possibly on both sides. So in the police department, you may have rogue elements who then see a tweet like that, or who hear a mayor or a sheriff say, when the shooting starts, the looting starts, and throw out their training, throw out the Constitution and say, I now have the authority to go and heap even more lethal abuse on this community, justified or unjustified.

Now you've got a cycle going because the people in the streets say, these cops are shooting us and we're not doing anything, so we may as well do more or we -- now people who were not radicalized become radicalized. Then other elements in the police department say, well, shoot, now they're throwing Molotov cocktails back at us. Now you have thrown gasoline on what could be a national conflagration.

So everybody in the situation like this has to be very careful. We have to be very, very judicious with our words. I'm here try to express some emotion that people may not have access to. But at the same time, I'm not sitting out here condoning anything that happened out here last night. And the president shouldn't condone any lawlessness from law enforcement because that's how we got here. And I think that's the history lesson you're trying to bring forward.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Brian, very quickly, this is just into our newsroom.

The Minnesota State Police have just put out a statement about what happened to our correspondent Omar Jimenez this morning. They say, in the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by state patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.

[08:40:01]

That is not true. You know, Omar presented his credentials before he was arrested. He told -- here is the CNN response to that tweet. They say --

STELTER: Response, yes.

CAMEROTA: This is not accurate. Our CNN crew identified themselves on live television immediately as journalists. We thank the Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for his swift action this morning to aid in the release of our crew.

Your response, Brian?

STELTER: Yes, when you arrest a reporter, you arrest news gathering, you arrest the concept of the public knowing what is happening in their community. And that is why this was an affront to the First Amendment.

That is also why this is so rare. We almost never see reporters arrested in America at these kinds of protests, or in these moments of unrest. It did happen a few times in Ferguson in 2014, actually about a dozen times, and the police were embarrassed by what happened in Missouri. It happened once last year out in Sacramento and the mayor apologized for it. And, to the credit of the Minnesota governor, he is apologizing as well. Almost as soon as Omar and our crew members were detained, CNN President Jeff Zucker and other executives and lawyers were in touch with Minnesota officials and the governor has responded to Jeff Zucker in the past few minutes saying, quote, I will publicly address what happened this morning and apologize to the crew. This -- so the governor saying, you are essential to our democracy and your ability to report must be unhindered.

So the governor is saying the right things in the wake of this unacceptable incident earlier today. But hopefully this is a lesson to others, to others in law enforcement, that this is not what America stands for. These kinds of arrests are what happened in authoritarian regimes, not in democracies. And the fact that we are able to see it this morning hopefully is an illustration of just how egregious and unacceptable these kinds of moments are.

CAMEROTA: Brian Stelter, thank you very much.

Van Jones, thank you very much for all of your words.

And Kamau Bell, we really appreciate you as well. Sorry we lost you for a second, but really great conversation and great to have all of you here.

STELTER: Yes, thank you. Yes.

CAMEROTA: So protests over the deaths of unarmed black Americans at the hands of police. It's -- those are spreading coast to coast. Seven people were injured overnight in Kentucky. So Kentucky's governor is going it join us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:46:15]

BERMAN: All right, breaking overnight, seven people have been shot in Louisville, Kentucky, as hundreds protested the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a black EMT who was shot inside her home in March during a narcotics investigation. Officials say that no police firearms were discharged during the protests overnight. This as outrage continues to grow across the country over the death of George Floyd.

Joining us now is the governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear.

Governor, thank you for being with us right now. Quite a night all across the country, including in your state in Louisville.

Can you give us an update on what happened?

GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): I can. So Louisville is a city I've called my home for 15 years before winning this office and moving my family to Frankfort. It is a special place, but it's also a place where you can see very easily what a hundred years of slavery, of segregation and of Jim Crow has done to a city.

I believe that what we have seen is in response to a very concerning shooting of an EMT, a young woman who worked to save the lives of others here in Kentucky. But it's also, in a broader context, we're fighting a worldwide pandemic that has disproportionately taken the lives of black and African-American individuals, especially in that city due to unequal access to healthcare for so long.

What I can say is, this morning, the family of Breonna Taylor is working very hard to make sure we don't see this again.

Last night's events started as a very peaceful protest, but one where those out there were seeking justice. And actually it was one of the most compliant protests with the CDC guidelines that we have seen. And then I believe that some other folks, very late, more than three hours in, came in and ultimately instigated and caused some actions that turned it into something that it should not have been.

But this morning, Breonna Taylor's mom had reached out through their representatives and I actually have a statement from her, trying to hopefully give her voice, not just in my state, and through our governor, but here to the country.

She says, Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile and to bringing people together. The last thing she would want right now is any more violence. Changes are being made, but it's not enough. We will not stop until there is truth, justice and accountability. Breonna's legacy will not be forgotten and it's because of all of us saving her name and demanding justice. We are saying her name more each day. Thank you. Please keep saying her name. Please keep demanding justice and accountability, but let's do it the right way, without hurting each other. We can and we will make some real change here. Now is the time. Let's make it happen, but safely.

And this is Tamika, who is Breonna's mother.

BERMAN: And I know there is an investigation going on right now into her death and you will update that -- us as you get information on that.

Governor, I am glad you brought up the coronavirus. And as you note, it is disproportionately affecting African-Americans in this country. You have seen some progress in your state. We look at the seven-day rolling average here, that's what we like to look at here at CNN to give us a sense of where things are, and things have been relatively flat in that, but not increasing after periods of concern in Kentucky.

What are you seeing and what are you doing to fight this pandemic?

[08:50:00]

BESHEAR: Well, what we are seeing here in Kentucky is that Kentuckians came together all across the commonwealth to ultimately fight, blunt and I think people are even now saying crush the curve, that was escalating, and cases escalating so quickly. We saw after about 35 days that we were able to plateau our curve and now it is, in fact, going down, making us one of states best positioned to safely reopen.

But this virus is laid bare inequalities, you know, across our state and, across our country unequal access to healthcare. Right now, in Kentucky, almost 19 percent of our deaths are in the black and African-American community where it only makes up 8 percent of our population. You know, last night, at my update, we had a minister give a prayer and he directly addressed it.

BERMAN: Governor --

BESHEAR: And I would hope that something like this, coming out of this --

BERMAN: Right.

BESHEAR: You know, that we can do so much better. But I was listening to the conversations before. It's got to be more than talk. It's got to be action.

BERMAN: And it is -- and it's a sober discussion about science more than anything else, but it hasn't always been sober and calm, not even in your state, where there was an image of you hung in effigy.

Who do you hold responsible for that?

BESHEAR: Well, that was a day I never expected as -- as governor. You know, you think about a lot of things when -- when you run, but the safety of your children is not something that I thought about before that happened. Those individuals, which is led by a militant right wing group called the Three Percenters, walked through all the barriers that are set up around our governor's mansion, where we live here, walked right up to the porch, right on the other side of the glass of where my kids play, heckled and demanded that I come out and thank God I had taken my kids somewhere else that day and they still don't know about it. They're nine and 10. And then when that wasn't enough, you know, they walked across the street and hung a doll up of me in effigy.

Now, with everything that's going on in the country, I know this is one day of me seeing hate, fear and a direct attempt to create terror for a small minority to get their way. But I also know that that image is something that was also meant to be a message to others that have had to feel that same type of fear and terror, maybe even their whole lives. And while I can't -- I can't fully understand how that feels, let me just say, it is wrong, it is vile and it is evil and it's time that we do not let these militant groups lead our politics.

Just a couple weeks before, we had elected state representatives and senators standing in front of them throwing out red meat talking about people murdering babies and being dictators and things like that. What do you expect to happen in America when you do that in front of folks that you know are going to react? It's time for responsibility. It's time that we do not let our policy and our politics be driven by extremists that use fear and terror. It's time to stand up and say, no more. BERMAN: I have to say, I did find it chilling, the phrase that was

there, sic semper tyrannis, which is attributed to John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Kentuckian Abraham Lincoln --

BESHEAR: You're right.

BERMAN: Which basically means thus always to tyrants. That was a chilling phrase to see there.

Go ahead.

BESHEAR: It was a celebration of assassination. But, you know what, I'm not going to be afraid. I am not going to let these folks bully me or bully the state of Kentucky. And we're more united than we've ever been in how we are addressing this virus. We have saved tens of thousands of lives. I'm committed to doing what I can to address this healthcare inequality moving forward and I will not let these folks that want to ultimately try to force or pressure or really create fear and terror, which is what they're doing, to make us do the wrong things. They will not intimidate me or us.

BERMAN: In terms of rhetoric, I do want to also ask you about a tweet that was put out by the president, is now on the official White House Twitter account. It's about the demonstrations we've seen across the country, these thugs are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota and told him the military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control. But when the looting starts, the shooting starts, he says. The looting starts, the shooting starts. Twitter put a warning on this saying it glorifies violence.

Your reaction?

BESHEAR: Well, I hope the president will retract that statement. You know, during these times we can condemn violence while also trying to listen, to understand, to know that there is deep frustration, rightfully so, in our country.

[08:55:01]

That there has not been enough action on creating equality, of opportunity and in healthcare and in a time of this Covid-19 pandemic it's laid bare all of that. But I hope the president understands that we, as elected officials, and as leaders, have a responsibility, not just to maintain the peace, which is what we ought to be doing, but to also listen, to show empathy, to try to -- to try to find a way to move in the right direction, not the wrong one.

BERMAN: Governor Andy Beshear, thank you for being with us. Stay safe. Stay healthy. We thank you for your time.

BESHEAR: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, we do want to give everyone a status report on where coronavirus is in the country right now. That's also important. And so let's bring in chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

So, Sanjay, let me put up the map right now quickly of some states going up, some states going down.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

CAMEROTA: The states that are seeing a rise right now, I believe there are 16 states, maybe 15, OK, let's go with 15, that are going up in their trajectories. Many of them are in the south, including, I guess, Georgia, where you are, or maybe that's holding steady.

So give us a status report.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, so this map is changing, you know, quite a bit. We keep an eye on this very closely. If you look at the west coast first, Washington state and California, those are two states where we had some of the initial cases. And you see again state -- they're going up over there.

In five states that we've been keeping an eye on, that are all going up, four of them had early reopenings. And this has been the concern, these reopenings happened either at the end of April or the first week of May.

And as, you know, we've talked about this, Alisyn, this idea that there's going to be a lag time, when states reopen, I think without question, given that there's still a contagious virus out there, there's going to be more infections. I think people have realized that.

Two questions now emerging. One is, how significant is the -- is going to be the rise in new infections? Is it going to turn into exponential growth? If you get a cluster and it starts to grow rapidly, is that going to potentially happen? We hope not.

And then the second question is, what are you going to do about it at that point? Are you going to run into a situation where some of these states, as has been warned in other countries, may have to go into a stay-at-home sort of mode again? Again, we hope that doesn't happen, but that's sort of the status right now. Several states we're keeping an eye on, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Sanjay, there's other developments as well. Tell us what you've learned about coronavirus patients with underlying conditions like diabetes.

GUPTA: Yes, this was very interesting, a report. This came out of France. And basically said that patients who had diabetes, one in ten of them, if they developed this infection, actually died within seven days. So, again, diabetics, and obviously there's a lot of people with diabetes out there, when they are developing these infections, it is seen -- it has a more significant course. With diabetes it could be the overall toll on the body, it could be the immunosuppression, you know, your immune system's weakened sometimes in patients with diabetes. So we've known, as you mentioned, for some time that there is a correlation between these underlying, you know, diseases and the severity of this particular infection. But diabetes appears to be particularly hard hit. Cardiovascular disease as well, kidney disease, but diabetics need to take special care. And, again, within that first seven day period is the most critical for them.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, thank you very much for all of the developments on coronavirus.

GUPTA: You got it.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.

GUPTA: Yes, you too.

CAMEROTA: So let me bring John Berman back in.

It's been quite a dramatic morning for us, covering this story of everything that happened overnight, where it was also a very intense night in Minneapolis. And there were mayhem, as Omar Jimenez described to us as the police precinct burned down. And then we watched live on the air as our correspondent and colleague, Omar Jimenez, was arrested, as was his crew, by the state patrol. There wasn't much explanation given for why. And we just watched it all unfold. And everyone sprung into action to try to get them released so that they could go back to reporting and exercising their First Amendment rights.

And it seemed, John, as though it was a microcosm of what was happening writ large in Minneapolis with George Floyd's death because Omar Jimenez was arrested, he is a person of color, a reporter of color, whereas, a block away, Josh Campbell was not. He is a white reporter. And we just watched it all play out and tried to make sense of it.

BERMAN: I have never seen anything like it before. I have never seen anything like it before, not in the United States of America, to a reporter. But I guess I have seen something like it before in terms of how people of color are treated versus white people.

[09:00:04]

It was extraordinary. It played out before our eyes. Omar is back doing terrific reporting