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Steve King Loses Primary; GOP Moving Convention; Atlanta Officers Charged with Excessive Force; Other Officers Charged in Floyd Death; Outrage over FaceBook's Inaction on Trump Posts; Former NBA Star Makes Promise to George Floyd's Daughter. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired June 3, 2020 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Has won primary and general election again and again, nine times, serving 18 years in the U.S. Congress. Before that, was a state senator as well.
But what changed was some comments he said very bluntly in a 2019 comments to "The New York Times" when he said that white supremacy, white nationalists, western civilization, when did that language become so offensive? It was that white supremacist comment there that certainly stripped him of his committee assignments. Republican leaders said they've had enough of this. Mitch McConnell said he should find a new line of work. So there was, you know, just a circling of the wagons from Republicans, from the Chamber of Commerce, to the National Rights to Life Organization coming out for his opponent against Steve King.
But, John, a year ago, I remember when Steve King was not allowed to ride on Air Force One to Iowa with President Trump. That is what really perhaps sealed the deal here, by losing the support of the White House. So this certainly, in the big picture of things, means Republicans will almost certainly hold that seat in November. Certainly Republican leaders are pleased that Steve King is out this morning and an interesting historic week for this to happen, Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Indeed. Thank you very much, Jeff.
And on that note, this story.
The city of Ferguson, Missouri, elected its first black mayor last night. Ella Jones is also Ferguson's first female mayor. She won with 54 percent of the vote. Jones has worked as a chemist and a church pastor and the first black city council member. She becomes mayor nearly six years after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. The protests that followed there solidified the Black Lives Matter movement.
Also developing this morning, the Republican National Committee is looking for a new state to host their convention. Officials tell CNN that President Trump will not accept the 2020 nomination in Charlotte because of that city's coronavirus restrictions.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House with more.
This is what President Trump has threatened. So how's this going to work now?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He certainly had threatened it. And, Alisyn, we're told that over the last several days there have been some really contentious conversations between Republican National Committee officials and officials in the governor's office of North Carolina.
And, last night, Alisyn, President Trump taking to Twitter to say that he is going to be forced to take the Republican National Convention for 2020 to a different city, to a different state. This after the North Carolina governor, Roy Cooper, yesterday, he sent a letter to the Republican National Committee saying essentially that the Republican National Committee should plan for a scaled-down convention. That is not acceptable in the eyes of President Trump or the RNC. Three RNC officials telling me and my colleagues that President Trump will not be accepting that 2020 Republican nomination in Charlotte.
But some of the business of this convention will still happen in -- have to happen in Charlotte. That's because of a contractual agreement between the RNC and Charlotte requiring that actually. So whether that means that they gavel in and gavel out in that city or have to do some other pro forma business there, that will still have to happen.
But all of the theatrics of a convention, what you typically associate with these big, party convention that happen every four years, that's going to be happening in another city, in another state. We're told that the state of Florida, the state of Georgia, the state of Louisiana, several of these states are in contention. Republican officials have actually already been to visit at least one of the potential alternate cities. And I'm told that they're going to be going out and fanning out across the country to some of these other cities and states in order to try and secure a different location.
This, of course, comes after there has been weeks of these negotiations, Alisyn, between the RNC and the Charlotte -- and the city of Charlotte and the governor of North Carolina over whether or not there was a way to do this with social distancing, with those kind of mitigation efforts. RNC officials, though, making clear that is not how they envisioned this convention and so they're going elsewhere.
BERMAN: All right, I'll take it, Jeremy. It will be interesting to see if any other city is willing to have a packed arena of people not wearing masks.
Also develop this morning, six Atlanta police officers facing charges, including aggravated assault. They're accused of using excessive force on two college students after a protest Saturday night. Police body cameras captured the incident. And we do want to warn you, this is disturbing to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands out of your pockets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands out of your pockets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands out of your pockets. Get your hands out of your pockets. Get your hands out of your pockets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, CNN's Dianne Gallagher joins us now with the latest developments.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that video is difficult to see, as you put there.
Taniyah Pilgrim, a student at Spelman, and Messiah Young, who goes to Morehouse, were actually on the street you see here behind me, Centennial Olympic, and they weren't a part of the protests.
They said that they just got caught up in the curfew traffic when police began approaching them.
According to the district attorney, when he laid out the charges yesterday, the commands by the police were confusing and they said that they didn't ever mention any sort of weapon, which is what the police used as their reason for using the Tasers and breaking out the windows of that car when they issued their police report afterwards.
Now, the students themselves actually walked out of the room when the district attorney played that video. They came back in, talked about their experiences. Messiah Young has a fractured wrist, as well as arm. He needed 24 stitches after that incident there.
There are now arrest warrants that range on charges from aggravated assault and simple battery, to damage to property for those six Atlanta police officers, Lonnie Hood, Willie Sauls, Ivory Streeter, Mark Gardner, Armond Jones and Roland Claud. Now, Gardner and Streeter were both fired on Sunday. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced their termination when she described seeing that video as disturbing. The district attorney says that they have a lot of video, six body cameras, as well as the incident that happened live on local television here in Atlanta.
Now, those officers have, until the end of the day on June 5th, to turn themselves in. Once they do that, John, Alisyn, they'll be released on a signature bond. The district attorney says the reason for that is the coronavirus pandemic. They're trying to limit the number of people they keep inside the jail.
BERMAN: Dianne Gallagher in Atlanta, thank you. Those students will be with us on NEW DAY in the next hour.
Will the other three police officers involved in George Floyd's death be charged? We're getting new details and perhaps a new timeline, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FLOYD FAMILY: We believe that there will be charges of the other three officers before George Floyd is laid to rest. We think that these officers are -- were complicit, but not just complicit based on our independent autopsy, that knees in the back of the other officer was just as significant to the knee in the neck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That was the attorney for George Floyd's family telling Anderson Cooper last night that he expects charges to be filed against the other three officers involved in Floyd's fatal arrest. He expects those charges before Floyd's funeral next week.
Joining us now is CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson.
Counselor, two major questions here, what charges would these other officers face and really, still, why has it taken this long?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, John.
Good morning, Alisyn.
And it's inexplicable to be clear as to why it did take this long. Let's answer that question first. The standard is pretty low. Let's just be clear and be honest with everyone.
The fact is, is that if you're going to make an arrest, you just have to establish there's reason to believe you committed a crime. I don't think that any human being alive, right, can look at the tape and have an understanding that there's not such a reason. The standard is not we have to gather all the evidence, speak to every witness, get every videotape, prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and then arrest you. And I think the -- that's the standard that's being applied here. And that's leading to the frustration of so many as to a disparaged system, a system of justice that's on a different track for one group of people, right, people of color, and on track for another group of people. So there should have been arrests.
As to your question as to what charges. I think there's a panoply of charges that can proceed here. Now, you talk about -- we just heard Ben Crump say about complicity. What is he talking about? He's talking about the fact that you're aiding, you're abetting, you're assisting, you're importuning, you're participating in a person's death. Don't you have a responsibility as a law enforcement officer to do better? And so if you do that and the person who was involved, specifically all of them were, is charged with murder or third-degree murder, manslaughter, why isn't everyone else? What do their reports look like? Are there any lies in there? Should there be perjury charges? Is there official misconduct on the table for them?
So there's a whole list of charges they could be charged with. And to the extent, John, that we have a new prosecutor in effect, the state prosecutor, I think it will be imminent that they will be charged.
CAMEROTA: But, Joey, let's talk about that. Let me dive into that a little bit because I thought that was new information that Ben Crump was giving, which was that the person with the knee on the back, not just the officer with the knee on the neck, that he was saying that the knee on George Floyd's back caused the death as much as what we all saw with the knee on the neck. So that I understand, OK. So a third-degree murder charge if that's the case, that's what the medical examiner found, if that's true, I understand that.
But for the guys who were standing around, how does silence get you a murder charge?
JACKSON: So, let's understand something. The first thing we should understand is that what we're talking about here is just not standing around. See, there's a different -- and us defense lawyers argue it all the time -- mere presence alone is not enough. But if you evaluate and look at the videotape, there are three officers essentially who are holding him down who are on him. All of them, I would -- it would appear, heard him saying he couldn't breathe. All of them, it would appear, I don't know what might have been obstructing their hearing, heard him calling for his mom. All of them might have heard that I'm going to die.
And so the fact is, is that when you're aiding, abetting and assisting, and there's a felony, you're assaulting someone, that gets you a charge. Merely standing around, having nothing to do with it, daydreaming, not knowing what's going on, not having any idea, that's one thing, Alisyn. But that does not appear to me what was happening.
On the issue of silence, and you -- if you want to distinguish and say, hey, what about the officer who's standing there just looking at the crowd, you know, hey, you can argue, if you're his defense attorney, he wasn't directly involved in the application of force, the fact is, is that he wasn't an actual participant as the other three. You can make the argument.
But what we're talking about here is the standard of reasonable cause to believe that you are complicit. If that's the standard, an arrest should be affected. And I just don't understand how in Atlanta you have an incident involving college students who are essentially, you know, abused and pulled out of a car and Tased and they're arrested and indicted immediately.
And you have an instance here where someone died and they're not. So it just leads to the boiling of frustration. We're in some very difficult times.
BERMAN: We should note that those college students will be joining NEW DAY next hour.
Joey Jackson, counselor, thank you, as always, for the analysis.
JACKSON: Thank you, John.
BERMAN: This morning, growing outrage inside FaceBook over Mark Zuckerberg's inaction over President Trump's inflammatory posts. His latest offense, next.
BERMAN: So, this morning, Mark Zuckerberg is scrambling to contain the frustration among some FaceBook employees over his inaction on incendiary remarks recently posted by President Trump. Zuckerberg held a company-wide town hall yesterday after some staffers staged a virtual walkout.
CNN's politics and technology reporter Donie O'Sullivan is here with the details.
So this town hall, Donie, how did it go over?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN POLITICS AND TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Not so good, John. We're told some employees were not very impressed with Zuckerberg's performance yesterday in a virtual town hall that thousands of FaceBook employees tune in to.
One employee actually telling us that Zuckerberg really didn't address the questions head on about why he kept those now infamous Trump posts up and that the town hall might have actually done more harm than good and further enraged employees who were very disappointed in how the company is handling this.
Not everybody, however, is against Zuckerberg on this. Some employees admire him for taking the stand that he did. He, Zuckerberg, has said, at least publicly, that he doesn't agree with Trump's posts here and that, you know, this one employee I was speaking to said they found that admirable that, you know, he's standing up for free speech here. That same employee also said people who have, you know, those -- the position at the company are now actually afraid to speak out or to say so publicly because they've seen the blowback both internally and around the country against Zuckerberg's actions.
Now, I want to show you some ads that are actually running on FaceBook today. We know FaceBook has a very powerful ad targeting system that the president loves. Today there are ads that are being targeted on FaceBook at FaceBook staff, trying to encourage them to stand up to Mark Zuckerberg. They're being run by a non-profit that fights online misinformation called Accountable Tech. And they're using some of Zuckerberg's own words against him. One quote from 2018 talking about how they need to build tools for good. BERMAN: Yes, look, he has made statements in the past. He has made
promises in the past and FaceBook employees themselves are now holding those statements up in his face and saying, what did they mean if you're not going to deliver.
Donie, there's also some new reporting that you have about some of the demonstrations, about white supremacists posing as ANTIFA online?
O'SULLIVAN: That's right. So a couple of developments in this. Obviously, you know, online activism plays a crucial role in organizing what we're seeing on the streets, both the peaceful and the violent protests.
On Monday night, Twitter told us that a fake ANTIFA account that actually got the president -- the attention of President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., was actually run by far right activists, a white supremacist group, actually. And basically the account claimed to be run by ANTIFA America and was calling for violence on the streets across the U.S.
Now, obviously, on Sunday, the president, who has been blaming far left activists, particularly ANTIFA, for the violence that we're seeing on the streets, has said that he might even declare that the organization is a terrorist organization. So what the -- what that tweet and what Twitter is telling us that, you know, there are far right agitators here posing ANTIFA, it does confirm that suspicions, that, you know, people on the far right are trying to jump into this and to make it appear as though ANTIFA is doing things that maybe they are not. That is to say, of course, that ANTIFA's doing nothing here.
And, finally, late last night we were told by FaceBook that they had taken action on some other far right groups. They had seen on their forms and through messages that some far right activists were discussing bringing weapons to some of the protests happening across the country. That, obviously, a dangerous prospect. They said they have shut those accounts down. They haven't told us, however, if they've been speaking to law enforcement about that.
BERMAN: All right, Donie O'Sullivan, thanks for all the updates. Appreciate it.
O'SULLIVAN: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Former NBA star Stephen Jackson promises to take care of the young daughter of his best friend, George Floyd.
Coy Wire has more for us in the "Bleacher Report."
What do we know, Coy?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
Stephen Jackson, long-time friends with George Floyd, so close the two even called each other twin. Yesterday, Jackson joined Floyd's family to demand justice. And he had a special message for a young girl who will never see her father again, Floyd's six-year-old daughter, Gianna.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN JACKSON, FORMER NBA STAR: But, you know what, there's a lot of stuff you said that he's going to miss, that I'm going to be there for. I'm going to walk her down the aisle. I'm going to be there for her. I'm going to be here to wipe your tears. (INAUDIBLE) understand. I'm going to be here for you and Gigi. Floyd might not be here, but I'm here for her, I'm here -- I'm here to get justice and we're going to get justice for my brother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: All right, many athletes speaking out about police brutality. (INAUDIBLE), three-time WNBA champ and current New Orleans Pelicans vice president of basketball operations, Swin Cash, spoke to TNT's Ernie Johnson, making an emotional plea for equality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SWIM CAS, NEW ORLEANS PELICANS VICE PRESIDENT: To all of the mothers out there, to all of the men that are out there who don't look like me, who don't look like my son, I need your help to make this country better.
And that's my plea because I can't sleep at night. I worry about my son. I worry about him having a button nose and smiling right now and becoming 6'6" like his dad and him looking -- people looking at him as a threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Alisyn, Cash said that she won't sleep at night until there is change because she worries about her child and she says the only way we'll see change is if we do it together, we get all hands on deck, she says.
CAMEROTA: Coy Wire, thank you very much.
A peaceful night mainly of protests. We update on how things are looking across the country, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This early curfew has made a big difference.
We've limited traffic below 96th Street (ph) in Manhattan to knock the looters off their game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bottles started flying at the police officers and other debris.