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Sixth Day Of Mass Protests In States Around The U.S.; Trump Threatens To Classify Antifa As Terrorist Organization; White House Staff Advised To Avoid Coming To The White House. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 31, 2020 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00]

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: And that's so important. Laura Coates, thank you for being there. Thank you for being with us.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for staying with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Our breaking news, the sixth day in a row, protesters are gathering nationwide following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody.

And we have live pictures right now from Miami. The people here, expressing their grief, their frustration in a peaceful way. But other protests around the country have all devolved into violence and vandalism.

This was the scene in Philadelphia a short time ago, a crowd of people looting a business there. Philadelphia mandating a curfew that will go into effect at 6:00 p.m. That's just in one hour. Many other cities tonight using curfews as well to try to keep the peace.

The city of Chicago also announcing today it will restrict access to its main business district, after protesters shattered storefronts and set fires there.

And in downtown L.A., look at the damage done to this shop, just one of the businesses that was vandalized, ransacked, and set on fire. The governor now sending in additional National Guard troops, that's in Los Angeles.

But let's begin in Minneapolis this hour where CNN's Miguel Marquez is joining us now. Miguel, what are things happening -- what's going on where you are?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it is another peaceful protest here in Minneapolis. And I can tell you that a lot of people I speak to on the ground here are shocked that the reaction not only here locally, but across the nation.

And do believe that all of that violence really takes away from what happened right there at that Cup Foods. That is the spot where the officer held his knee to the neck of George Floyd for all of that time until he died.

There are hundreds of protesters out here today. They were out here yesterday. They are out here today. It is people of all races, all creeds. Show them the other way here.

People are now gathering and they're going to walk, they're going to march to downtown and sort of in unison and have their voices heard. There is still going to be a curfew in effect for tonight.

I want to talk to Elijah (inaudible) who came in from about 45 miles away. Thank you very much for chatting with us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

MARQUEZ: Why so important to be here today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like I should do this for my future kids and we demand justice for George Floyd.

MARQUEZ: How hard was it to get here? Roads are closed. It's difficult to get around right now. You came from 45 minutes away. How difficult was it and why stand here? Why be here with your sign to speak on his behalf?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't too bad coming here. We had to use the back roads to get our way here. But regardless of any difficulty, we're going to make sure we have any means.

And I feel like as a black man in this country, I have the right to protest and state my anger because what's happening to us is not nice and it's not right. We should be treated as human beings and be seen as human beings and be seen as Americans.

We are not different because of our skin color. And we are not different because of how we approach or how we choose to express ourselves.

MARQUEZ: And how do you react to the protests that have broken out from around the country because of what happened at this location right here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shows the anger that's been building up in this country for too long. A lot of black people have been dead and no justice, no conviction has happened. And just the way George Floyd died, it's heartbreaking for every black man in this country and for our future kids.

MARQUEZ: And you've seen the violence, you've seen the looting. Does that help?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With every protest, there are always bad people with bad intentions. The main reason for this protest was for justice. And when we saw the protest, we cannot control the people coming to the protest. All we can do is control how we spread our message and the message is spread through this protest is we demand justice for all four cops.

MARQUEZ: All right. Thank you very much. Have a great day. I really appreciate it. That's the sensibility among people here who have gathered here for

several days. They're now gathering at the spot where George Floyd died. I'm guessing they might take a knee or this is something that they do where they'll take a knee, put hands in the air, everybody goes quiet, it's a very, very powerful moment.

It has been incredible to see this city react though this and disturbing, as well. The neighborhoods here, because of the lack of police presence and some of the lawlessness, as it's happened, neighborhoods have set up their own set of barricades at the end of blocks, with individuals, with clubs and bats and golf clubs, trying to keep others out.

[17:05:04]

There's a great degree of distrust right now in this city. And they are looking for some urgency and hopefully that will come in the day or two ahead, Ana.

CABRERA: And sadly, that is the relationship between some communities and law enforcement in pockets all around the country. Miguel Marquez, thank you for your reporting. We'll check back with you.

Now to Philadelphia where we have seen scenes of looting this afternoon. Today, Brian Todd is there. What are you seeing right now, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, this is a scene where there was a police car set on fire here. There was another one that was set on fire behind it there. We were told that people jumped on these cars, smashed through the windows, poured lighter fluid on these cars and set them on fire.

Behind this car, Andrew, we can just move over here a little bit. There was some looting going on that we just witnessed at that building there with the green and white awning. So, it's a pretty chaotic situation here in west Philadelphia at the corner of Arch and 52nd Streets here.

There was a fire that was set down the block there. Actually, there's a fire over here being set on the sidewalk. So, a lot of anger on the streets here, a lot of outrage still. But still, there is also some opportunism going on with looting over here.

We just saw some looting in another section of the city in the eastern part of the city where we were just reporting. But this is a pretty chaotic scene. We do not see a presence of any police officers here.

We were told that they're staging in another area to maybe make a push eastward from here to clear protesters and looters, but we do not see any evidence that police are right here. And we did see some looting going on in that building right there. Ana?

CABRERA: Okay, Brian Todd, thank you for the update. My next guest is all too familiar with the fight for civil rights and eradicating racism in America. Martin Luther King III is a global human rights activist and is joining us now.

It's so great to have you with us. Your voice is so important today. Thank you for being here. What is your reaction to not just the protests, but what has devolved into major destruction in cities all across the country?

MARIN LUTHER KING III, GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: You know, I continue to go back to what my father often stated. And that is that violence is the language of the unheard. And I think people are beyond frustrated and in a sense, legitimately.

How people choose to protest is certainly important, but also it's important to have some resolution. For example, in Minnesota specifically, it's very tragic that these officers, the other officers have not been arrested. It would seem like that that would be done expeditiously.

In addition to looking at whether or not there is levels of corruption in terms of the kind of force that officers are using in the police department and in Minneapolis, I think all of these are things that could help at least initially quell some of what we are seeing that is happening all across the nation.

But obviously, it's more than one case. I mean, we all see and we all should be able to relate to how does a human, being acknowledge the fact that an officer was judge, jury, and executioner. And that is not the American way. That is not the justice way. In fact, that is beyond unjust. That is unacceptable. That is unconscionable.

Many of us as men have been crying seeing these incidents, whether it's Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and whether it's (inaudible) Arbery here in Georgia. And the cases go on and on, just keep going back. When is America going to change the way it responds to African- Americans?

And in terms of some law enforcement, this is not universal, but some. That you see these protests, you see these challenges all over our nation. We've never -- we haven't seen this in a long time, maybe over 50 years ago when my father was killed.

It's very interesting that he was joining with those men who were sanitation workers, who had signs saying, I am a man. They wanted dignity and respect. Today, black people are holding up signs saying, you know, black lives matter.

What is going on in America that we are not obviously addressing? I'm not asking the question. We know what's not being addressed. But the question is what are we going to do? Some changes have to happen immediately if we are going to move forward in a constructive a way as we as a nation have the capacity and ability to do.

CABRERA: I do want you to hear from one protester who our correspondent, Miguel Marquez, talked to last night. It was a raw and emotional message and it was directed at people who were creating havoc and destruction and causing chaos and violence. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[17:10:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what I've got to say to the people who are destroying things. If you really feel like you have to take an opportunity, like, if you're going to be opportunistic, something is wrong with you.

If you cannot stand up and fight the good fight and you want to be a cheater and go ahead and take what we're trying to do, something is wrong with you because what we're trying to do is stand up for the basic right of humanity.

And that's what we're trying to do and we're trying to do it in a peaceful way. Would you not want to go through this anymore? Okay? I want to be able to go in a white neighborhood and feel safe. I want to be able, when a cop is driving behind me, I don't have to clench and be tense, okay?

I want to be able just to be free and not have to think about every step I take because at the end of the day, being black is a crime! At the end of the day, being born black is a crime to them. And I don't understand why, because we're all humans. And that's sickening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: I hope that really woke up people around the country, hearing that message. What do you say to a young black man or woman who's feeling hopeless and fearful right now?

KING: You know, the major thing is, we've got to find ways to cause action and one of the things that I have thought about, my father and his team used a technique of boycotting certain establishments who in this context, may not directly be involved in creating this scenario, but certainly can be helpful in helping to address this scenario.

And you know, I think that when you are supporting a system, that's the whole system. This is institutionalized racism. We have not addressed this issue. Had my father lived and others, I believe we would be far beyond this point.

But unfortunately, this is where we are right now. We need to have a system put in place, almost -- my dad did a sermon and in that sermon, he talked about being born again, meaning that the whole system has to be changed.

So, some of the institutional stuff that we are dealing with has to be changed. We have a criminal justice system that really is not just for poor people and for black people. It may be just if you have resources, but because it's not working, I mean, 70 percent in some cases of the jail population is black folk and we have 13 percent of population.

Black folk are not committing all the crimes, but black people are targeted most specifically. This has got to change or America is not going to be able to be what it ought to be. We want to make America what it ought to be.

And that means a nation where everyone can have a decent job, everyone can have the best education, everyone can have justice, everyone can have righteousness. And that can be the case, but the climate has to be created.

And to a young person, maybe they're not going to hear this particular moment, but there will be a time. I think when we see different actions. I would say to a young person, you've got to get registered. You got to get mobilized. You got to get organized.

All of those are things that are going to bring about change. When we sit on the sidelines and don't vote, we don't have elected officials in place who bring these changes to bear.

CABRERA: What do you think needs to happen right now, though? How can we see a transition from what is in the moment, utter chaos and rage, to this movement you speak of that leads to change?

KING: Well, I think that in Minneapolis, particularly, the other three officers can be arrested and charged. It's going to take time to determine if a conviction can be accomplished, but, I mean, it would be a significant step. It would not be the final step, but I mean, that is one of the things that have to happen.

I think police departments universally, there has to be a change of consciousness, not a bow string up. Not a militarization. I think that Congressman Hank Johnson here from DeKalb County has legislation in Congress that would hold police departments accountable.

I think if people know that police departments are going to be accountable for what they do, because there are proper ways to apprehend a suspect and it should not result in death. But we need to do these things now. We don't need to wait until next year to address them or wait until a new president possibly is in.

We need to do this now. And I think this nation can do anything. It has demonstrated over and over again, we have the capacity to do most anything. We just have to identify the will. And the will should be there based on what the people want.

This is not a movement just about black people. We see blacks and whites and young and old and some people who may have means, some who don't are joining together.

[17:15:00]

We see these protests. Yes, there is some violence in the protests, but all of the protests are not violent. And these are people raising up their voices saying, enough is enough. We just cannot take this kind of behavior anymore or we will not, I should say, take this behavior anymore.

CABRERA: Such an important message. Again, it is a pleasure to talk with you in what is an unfortunate time, obviously, in this country. Martin Luther King III, thank you for spending time with us. We'll continue to monitor these live protests happening across the country.

Again, the sixth day people have taken to the streets after the killing of George Floyd. You're looking at live pictures right now out of Minneapolis where the protests in the streets are continuing peacefully this hour.

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CABRERA: Welcome back. You're looking at live images right now. This is in Minneapolis, major protests happening there this hour.

[17:20:00]

You can see this is on what appears to be a highway or some kind of major freeway in that area where you can -- protesters on the street, stopping traffic right now. This is the central focus right now in the country, the city of Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed.

And people are protesting in many American cities, shops and cars are burning. It feels a bit like a different time, a different generation, like what happened in the '60s.

But add a global pandemic, an economy in tatters, and a president who seeks to divide more than unite to the equation and this is America in 2020.

And joining us now with some perspective is CNN's senior political analyst, David Gergen. He served as an adviser to four U.S. presidents and CNN political analyst, Carl Bernstein.

David, before you went to Washington, you interned for North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford and became deeply involved in civil rights efforts. As you compare the unrest then and now, what's different and what concerns you most about this moment?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Well, there are parallels, of course. And there was a -- 1968 was a terrible year in American history. There was a great deal of fear and anger expressed in that year.

We had -- Martin Luther King was assassinated, you know, protests sprang up in a hundred different cities across the country. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. We had the height of the draft, the Vietnam, very controversial.

Walter Cronkite said it was an unwinnable war. And Lyndon Johnson pulled out. There were a lot of tough things happening and we wondered if the center would hold. But I must tell you, and Ana, I'd be curious what Carl Bernstein has to say.

I must tell you that this is worse and it's scarier than what we had then. And there are differences and the differences mostly focus on how much worse off the black community is today than it was only a few months ago.

This pandemic has hit black folks much harder than it has white folks. The unemployment has hit black folks much harder than it hit white folks. And now we have this police brutality. That once again shows white policemen, in this case, graphically committing murder right in front of our eyes.

One person does it and three others are there to support him. And we haven't seen anything like that for a long, long time. And very importantly, we have a president who in the face of all of these problems that black folks are having in police brutality, mostly coming from folks who are frankly more to the right, historically.

But what does he do? He wants to investigate people on the left. He wants to turn this into -- he's really trying to get, revive a law and order campaign, the kind Richard Nixon had in '68.

CABRERA: Carl, you said we are in a presidential crisis that's much worse than Watergate. Tell me why.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Because the president of the United States, instead of putting the national interests above self- interest, has chosen self-interest at every turn, including his re- election prospects, instead of the well-being of the people of this country, of the civil comity of this country, of maintaining the social compact of exercising leadership.

We know that race and racial division has been an issue in this country since its founding, and he has done nothing but fan the flames throughout his presidency. But what you really have to look at here is there is a cold civil war that precedes Donald Trump's election. It's been going on 10, 15, 20 years.

But Trump has pushed that cold civil war to the point of ignition at every turn in his three years. And now he has put fuel on the fire, in the pandemic, in the response to the murder of this black citizen.

And now we have a situation where the cold civil war has now been ignited by the dereliction of the president of the United States. He is fanning the flames. He is not bringing us together.

CABRERA: And David, we've heard from some mayors like the mayor of Atlanta saying, she doesn't want to hear from the president, that it would not be productive.

In fact, what he has said, she has said, you know, is unproductive, more harmful than helpful. Do you think the president needs to make a major address in this moment?

GERGEN: At almost any other time and certainly with any other president, I would say yes.

CABRERA: But not this one? I think we just lost David Gergen. Carl, your thoughts on that?

BERNSTEIN: If Trump had it in him, which we have never seen yet to truly do something, to try and unite this country, but he doesn't have the credibility anymore. He has lost his credibility by trying to divide this country at every turn since he became president. [17:25:03]

And who has been the victim more often than not, as he has divided us, it has been people of color, it has been immigrants, it has been those who find it most difficult to help themselves. And his response to them is to go to his political base and fan these flames that I referred to before.

This is a time that other presidents, whether it's FDR, whether it's Lincoln, whether it's George Washington, the three greatest presidents I think by general consensus, they knew how to pull this country together.

Here we have a pandemic, unprecedented in our history, 100,000 dead, and throughout, the president has been going after his political enemies, saying that he doesn't bear any responsibility. Trying to justify his own absolute -- let me use that word again, dereliction, because he was asleep at the switch for two months.

And again, those who have been most victimized by the pandemic have been people of color disproportionately. So, it goes back to these basic problems. Never forget that Donald Trump as head of the Trump Organization was hauled by the Justice Department, his organization, for refusing to rent to black people, as late as 1973.

In a long series, he opposed what the Justice Department did. It was kind of inconclusive, but there's no question, he practiced discrimination against black people, against African-Americans. So, it's very difficult for him to get up and use the bully pulpit of the presidency of the United States in a way to now heal us.

But he ought to take a try at it because we are in a terrible situation right now. And one other thing, Lyndon Johnson, when the country was divided and he was the issue, he decided not to run for re-election.

Now, I don't think that's going to happen here, but it sure would be something if some Republican leaders went to this president and said Mr. President, maybe you shouldn't run for re-election especially because you might lose. Maybe you'd do well not to run.

CABRERA: Carl Bernstein and David Gergen, thank you very much for your perspective. Good to have you with us.

And we're continuing to cover the protests happening across the country. This is a live image right now from Miami where you can see what appear to be hundreds of protesters gathered in the memory of George Floyd and demanding change when it comes to the injustices with African-Americans in this country. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:30:00]

CABRERA: Welcome back. Let's go straight to CNN's Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles right now. Paul, set the scene where you are. What are you seeing on the streets there today?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're looking at a city, part of a city in ruins. This is Melrose, the popular shopping district. And as you see behind me, they're now going through the active effort of trying to repair after looting and burning.

And just to give you a sense of the scope of this, Ana. I'm going to go ahead and almost pull a 360. So, this Rebel Rebel store in Hollywood boarded up now. It had been looted. Then over that way, you see another shop. All the way over, Yanata (ph).

Then you got to this corner, Urban Outfitters, they lost not only their items, but they knocked down the window and so they're boarding all of this up.

This has just been traumatic for these small business owners. In this part, most of them traced their roots to the Middle East. Eli traces his roots to Israel. This was his shop right here.

ELI VENTOV, BUSINESS OWNER: I'm here (inaudible) L.A., we (inaudible) Los Angeles. I'm just in shock. I just hear people go to cities and then we can get out of this by people supporting us and hopefully we can go back to business, you know, because this business, you know, we built for a long time.

We work with a lot of famous people and we work with T.V. shows, so we want it back, you know. So hopefully, if everybody, anybody can help with anything, we really appreciate it.

VERCAMMEN: I think one of the things that we were talking about off- camera that I think really hit you hard is it just seemed like it was so heartless and calculated.

VENTOV: Who, me?

VERCAMMEN: No, the looters seemed to be heartless and thought about this in advance.

VENTOV: Oh, yes. Yes, it looks like.

VERCAMMEN: And for you, you're saying that this clientele that you're so close with, Antonio Banderas you were saying, and others, tell me about that relationship.

VENTOV: It was nice. They always used come to shop with us. They come here to shop for years and years, you know. We work "Dancing with the Stars," "So You Think You Can Dance," "America's Got Talent" and they just keep coming to us, you know.

Obviously, you know, we give them the right merchandise, the right product and we treat them nice, too. So we do want it back, you know? And we do going to come back for this stronger with the people's support, you know?

VERCAMMEN: So just to make sure, you said you're going to come back stronger. You're confident you can make it back? VENOV: Yes, yes, if people will help us and support us, you know.

VERCAMMEN: Outstanding. I hope it all works out for you and we'll see if there's any kind of loans that are offered up for all of you. As you can see, Ana, an entire stretch of business here burned and looted. This whole part of Melrose, a famous shopping district in Los Angeles, just going through some really, really tough moments right now, Ana.

[17:34:58]

CABRERA: Absolutely. Paul, the nice thing that I'm seeing in your live shot today is, you know, yesterday at this time, you and I were talking and it was intense. There were already confrontations between protesters and police on the streets.

Today, we're seeing people cleaning up, putting pieces back together. Do you get a sense that things have really calmed down in Los Angeles? I know it's huge, huge city, so you can only be in one location, but what can you tell us in terms of that bigger picture today?

VERCAMMEN: Okay, well, first off, let's just say that overnight last night, they said there were 400 arrests. Because of where we were and how we came down Fairfax, we saw so many people who were cuffed up with those white flexi cuffs.

It's clear that there must have been a whole bunch of people who were detained and then released. As for the damage, they say it's incalculable. We now have the National Guard on scene, 500 of them. While they're not here, they say the National Guard will be deployed to guard stores.

Right now, this is extremely peaceful. We also want to delineate between what you saw earlier yesterday, which was that peaceful, thoughtful protest. We talked to people who were very, very sincere in their thoughts. They want to make sure there's a demarcation between that and this.

And also, we're hearing some reports, just reports that there might be some looting going on in Santa Monica. That would be down the road from here quite a ways, obviously, to the west of the ocean, but those are only reports.

But nothing like we saw yesterday where there were multiple incidents between the demonstrators and police. We're not seeing that right now. And here as you said, it is heartening to see that these business owners are going to try to rebuild.

And we should note many people walked up and down. I don't know if you can see anything, but some people had brooms in their hand. They started sweeping up the sidewalks. They grabbed rags. They started wiping graffiti off the walls of business owners that they didn't even know.

They were offering their help in any way they could. Others walked around and offered up water to anybody who wanted it. And that was something that really made a lot of people here feel a lot better including these shop owners.

Here's one of these guys right now wearing a Los Angeles Galaxy jersey and helping clean up. Well, good for you. There you have it, Ana, that's the kind of spirit we're seeing.

CABRERA: And people we could see that they are in their masks, obviously. That's great to see and, you know, a reminder to everybody that this is still a moment where we're in the middle of a pandemic and those masks obviously are so important. Social distancing, so important and that's just another layer to this much bigger story. Thank you, Paul Vercammen.

We're continuing to look at live images from Santa Monica. Since Paul had mentioned, the reports coming out of Santa Monica of what appear to be problems there. We don't know exactly what's going on here, but clearly there's an issue happening with cars in the streets.

We did see some people going back and forth between the cars, perhaps pulling something out of the cars or from the cars. We'll continue to gather more information and we'll bring you an update as we get that information.

In the meantime, I want to remind you of the special we have coming up this evening with Don Lemon, a black man dies at the hands of police, why does this keep happening? When will this end?

Join Don Lemon for an important conversation, "I Can't Breathe: Black Men Living and Dying in America." That's tonight at 8:00 eastern here on CNN. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:40:00] CABRERA: Welcome back. As anger and frustration is boiling over in cities around the country over the death of George Floyd, President Trump today saying the United States will designate the group Antifa as a terrorist organization.

Joining us now is CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd. Sam, current and former government officials have said this would be unconstitutional for the government to do this. What do you make of this tweet that the president put out?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, I view this simply as a campaign message and not a policy statement. This isn't the first time that President Trump has gifted himself powers that he doesn't have.

But if he was actually interested in doing anything other than slinging political red meat, he'd get his facts and his laws straight. The U.S. government concurrently designates foreign entities as foreign terrorist organizations or as specially designated global terrorists.

In the absence of a domestic terror law, we cannot designate domestic entities as a terrorist organization. But more broadly, Ana, there are a variety of actors, both foreign and domestic, seeking to pervert these protests to achieve their own priorities.

President Trump is solely focused on Antifa and far-left "extremists." He has been silent on far-right extremists that are working to pervert these protests as well as the foreign actors that are hard at work using influence operations for the same purpose.

CABRERA: What can be done about it, Sam?

VINOGRAD: Well, at a minimum, we can stop amplifying the president's tweets. His tweets are prime content for manipulation by foreign adversaries like China and Russia because they are misinformation, disinformation. They spread divisions and they spread chaos.

And more broadly, each and every one of us has to play really close attention right now to what we're seeing, what we're tweeting, and what we're reading. Russia has a long history of stoking divisions here in the United States. We saw that in the run-up to the 2016 election.

And in particular, Russia has a long history of trying to enflame racial divisions here in the United States. That means every time you retweet something, we really have to consider the source so that we are not inadvertently participating in some form of a Russian influence operation, for example.

CABRERA: One thing that caught my eye is today the governor of Minnesota said that their state computers were hacked. And he, in his words, said before our operation kicked off last night, a very sophisticated denial of service attack on all state computers was executed. That's not somebody sitting in their basement. What do you think that's all about?

VINOGRAD: Well, what we have to keep in mind that it was an already a very dense environment for both disinformation and offensive cyber operations in the run-up to these protests.

[17:45:00]

That was because we're in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. And amid the pandemic, various actors were seeking to take advantage of the distraction of the U.S. government, to again advance their priorities against the United States. That was a backdrop to these protests.

Now, we have even more pressure on our systems as officials at all levels of government, federal, state, local, and more are seeking to calm the violence and then more strategically, address the underlying causes for these protests.

There's enormous strain on the system and various actors, again, both foreign and domestic, I think view this as a moment of opportunity to try to advance their agendas against us. They are the usual suspects, of course. Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, not to mention domestic groups that may be seeking to take advantage of the moment, as well.

CABRERA: Sam Vinograd, I always learn a lot from you. Thank you, my friend.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: And we'll continue to follow these live protests across the country from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to Philadelphia where we are hearing there is ongoing looting happening at this hour. And you are also seeing scenes like this out of Minneapolis. A roadway shut down with protesters gathering. We'll be right back with much more. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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[17:50:00]

CABRERA: I want to take you live to Washington now. You can see a live image of the White House. We do know there are protests happening not far away, and in fact, White House staffers were told to avoid coming in to work today due to the ongoing demonstrations happening nearby including one right now. So let's go live to Alex Marquardt. What's the latest, Alex?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURTY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, not far away at all. We are in Lafayette Park, which is just a block away from the White House. And we've been out here all afternoon with this protest and it has been evolving quite dramatically in the last few moments.

There's a potential for some escalation. I would say that right now we're kind of at the tipping point when things could start to get a little bit unruly and a little bit more out of hand, but this has been very much a peaceful protest from the beginning.

The protest organizers named --

CABRERA: Okay, we lost Alex's shot there. Obviously, we'll get back to him as soon as we can and check back in. Also worth noting that there was significant damage that happened in D.C. last night.

D.C. is one of many places under curfew tonight. And these are live images now coming from Philadelphia. We've been watching throughout the afternoon as there have been additional destruction and looting happening, as you can see in this image.

Right now, our Brian Todd has been on the ground there in Philadelphia and was reporting earlier about the looting that's happening. We do know several arrests were made overnight in Philadelphia, 38 people. In fact, 22 people arrested for alleged looting and burglary.

People who were arrested for firearm violations, one person arrested for an assault on a police officer. Thirteen officers were injured in the clashes there last night, but again, it's early, obviously, in the afternoon there.

A little before 6:00 when a curfew's supposed to be going into effect. And you can see there's unrest. There is crime happening on the streets of Philadelphia in this moment. Meantime, protesters are taking to the streets in other cities across

the country right now. As we have been reporting, many of them have been peaceful today. Demonstrators showing up in masks with signs and in united voices, calling for justice for George Floyd, calling for change to systemic racism that is built into this country.

Not just in a city like Minneapolis where George Floyd died, but in cities across the country. This is a live look at Atlanta right now and people lifting their voices there. These are the streets of Minneapolis where protesters have essentially shut down one side of this highway. These pictures coming from WCCO, our affiliate there in Minneapolis.

We're going to continue to monitor these images and bring you more live reports in just a moment. In fact, let's go live right now to Miguel Marquez, I'm being told, who is there in Minneapolis for us. Miguel?

MARQUEZ: Hi, there, Ana. We are at the site. This is the place where Mr. Floyd, that searing video of that knee to Mr. Floyd's neck -- this is the spot where it happened. You can see it's become -- this is hallowed ground now in this area.

Last night, despite the heavy police presence -- show this, Ken (ph). Go in here. Last night, despite the heavy police presence, there were people who stayed out here because they were concerned that this area would be disturbed, that people would try to take it apart. And people stayed out here all night, and the police did not come in. They did not do anything to the people who stayed here all night.

I want to chat with one of the organizers of the people who have put all this together. Veronica Salas, who is -- you've been putting this together at this location. What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Us together, the community.

MARQUEZ: You guys, so, do you live here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we do.

MARQUEZ: What is this place now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's peace -- this peace -- its peace right here. It's a rest haven right now at this point. This is a secure place to be for all people of all walks of life because what we've represented here is peace and love all across the U.S., because that's what we need right now. Our city is crying. We're hurting.

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MARQUEZ: And when you see the reaction to everything that has happened from this spot, what goes through your mind?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe this is our chance to have our seat at the panel, at the table. The table is there before us. Now we have to be able to get our justice demands met. And this is the window. MARQUEZ: And the feeling is very much so that there is something

different this time, Ana, and that we will have to wait and see. Ana?

CABRERA: OK, Miguel Marquez in Minneapolis, we'll check back with you in just a moment. Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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