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Nearly 100 Arrested in New York as Protesters Defy Curfew; All 4 Fired Officers Arrested and Charged in George Floyd's Killing; Futures Down as 1.9 Million More Americans Filed for Unemployment Last Week; Key Witness in Floyd's Death Speaks Out for the First Time; All Four Fired Officers Arrested and Charged in George Floyd Killing; Three Charged in Ahmaud Arbery's Murder Face Court Hearing; Former Defense Secretary James Mattis Says Trump Tries to Divide the Country. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired June 4, 2020 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DEMARIO DAVIS, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS LINEBACKER: That we can move step by step to remove all systematic injustices that exist in our country, to strike racism at the core, and help remove that from the fabric and the thread of the fabric of our country. Just makes -- and make our country stand up to the ideals and morals that it speaks of.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Demario Davis, Nate Boyer, we thank you for both your time for this discussion and for all that you're doing. Be well.
DAVIS: Thank you very much.
NATE BOYER, CO-FOUNDER OF MERGING VETS AND PLAYERS: Thank you. Be blessed.
BERMAN: A lot of news this morning. CNN's coverage continues right now.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good and busy Thursday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow. Today hours from now the first of several memorials scheduled for George Floyd. We'll bring that to you live.
First this morning, we're following several major developments. Largely peaceful protests overnight across the country after charges were announced for all four Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd's death. Three of the former officers have now been charged. They have been charged with aiding and abetting in the murder.
They will appear in front of a judge today for the first time and charges for the man whose knee, that Officer Chauvin, whose knee was on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, as he died, those charges, Jim, upgraded to the more severe second-degree murder. SCIUTTO: Well, such powerful pictures there to see those mug shots of
We're also hearing from a key witness who is in that car, you see there, in this video, with Floyd, the day he died. He gave stunning details of George Floyd's final moments. All this as President Trump is facing what is really an unprecedented revolt, not just from ex- military leaders, but even members of his own administration. His former Defense secretary, the retired Marine General James Mattis has claimed the president is trying to divide this country. He has said he's made a mockery of the Constitution.
We are covering all the angles this morning, but first, let's get to Omar Jimenez. He is in Minneapolis, for more on what this witness is saying, and this is key, Omar, right? Because this gets at the police justification here, attempted justification for attempting that arrest in the first place.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim and Poppy. We're hearing from the man who was with George Floyd in the moments leading up to that now infamous cell phone video. He was in the car with Floyd. His name is Maurice Hall. And he spoke to "The New York Times" about again some of those final moments specifically saying there that -- in regards to Floyd -- he was from the beginning trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in any form or way.
He went on to say, "I'm going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd's face because he's such a king. That's what sticks with me. Seeing a grown man cry before seeing a grown man die." It's an image many of us have struggled with as we have watched that video over the course of a little over a week now.
We're on what is the first of what will be a series of good-byes for George Floyd as we're set to see the memorial service here in Minneapolis play out. And the family is now waking up on this day with all four of the former officers in this case arrested and all four of the former officers in this case charged, but the family attorney says now is not the time to celebrate, because an arrest is not a conviction -- Jim, Poppy.
HARLOW: Omar, thank you for that.
Josh, to you, you're at the courthouse where the three officers will face a judge for the first time today. Your team obviously broke the news yesterday about these officers being charged. What do we know in terms of the specific charges here against them, aiding and abetting, and then just the process? What happens today?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy, we're here at Government Plaza in downtown Minneapolis and these buildings behind me house the police department, the jail and the courthouse. And all of those institutions are coming together in this case. In fact, three of those four officers currently sit behind me in jail, waiting for their first appearance in court this afternoon.
Now, we know that one of the officers, Derek Chauvin, was charged with second-degree murder, that charge was elevated. The other three officers who were seen on that dramatic cell phone footage where you see Chauvin's knee on George Floyd's neck, those other three officers were arrested yesterday, and they're charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Now, what we expect to happen now, again, there will be appearances this afternoon with these officers. We expect it will be very brief as they come in, but as Attorney General Keith Ellison has told us, we are very much at the beginning of this process. It is just starting now. Their work is ahead of them as they try to put on this prosecution -- Jim and Poppy.
SCIUTTO: A remarkable case to follow. Josh Campbell there, Omar Jimenez, thanks to both of you.
Just minutes from now, three white men charged in the murder of another African-American man, Ahmaud Arbery. They will appear before a judge in Georgia.
The preliminary hearing will be held over video link due to coronavirus concerns. The three men were arrested and charged months, we should note, after the deadly incident of course caught on this shocking video. Arbery was jogging, he was jogging in this neighborhood, the suspects' neighborhood, when they chased him down and shot him.
HARLOW: Let's go to our Martin Savidge. He's been following this case from the outset. He is outside the courtroom, it's in Brunswick, Georgia. Talk to us about the process today. What happens now?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. Yes, there are already a lot of supporters of the family of Ahmaud Arbery that have gathered outside the courthouse. To their minds this is their first step toward justice in this process.
It's a preliminary hearing. Most of them tend to be routine and they tend to be brief. This is not likely to be either one of those for a number of very complicated reasons. All three defendants will be heard at the same hearing. We've already pointed out they're coming via video link with the county jail where they remain in lockup. And then there are five attorneys for these three people, two each for the father and son, McMichaels, and then one attorney for William Roddie Bryan.
And what's going to happen is you'll have testimony coming from law enforcement, likely to be a GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, agent giving just sort of a synopsis of where the case stands right now and why these men should be held. Then there will be the defense attorneys allowed to cross-examine the question. It's kind of a mini trial here that's going to be taking place. Could be some evidence that could be introduced.
And what is somewhat unique to the state of Georgia, the defense attorneys could also call their own witnesses. It's rarely done, but we've already got an indication that one attorney may call as many as five witnesses. We don't know who the witnesses are, possibly law enforcement, maybe first responders on the day that Ahmaud Arbery died.
It's going to be a long and difficult day, Poppy and Jim.
HARLOW: For sure. Marty, we're glad you're there. Thanks a lot.
An unprecedented revolt from some of the nation's top military leaders. Namely former Defense secretary James Mattis, who, of course, was appointed, Jim, by the president himself.
SCIUTTO: He is now publicly admonishing President Trump as the first president in his lifetime, quote, "who does not try to unite the American people." Mattis adding that the president doesn't even pretend to try. He has said that he's making a mockery of the Constitution. These are remarkable words from the retired marine general.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, she's been following us now.
Barbara, you're inside that building. I wonder what the reception there is to see Mattis come out so publicly and so blisteringly critical of a sitting president.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think almost everyone in the U.S. military who knows Jim Mattis either during his long career as a Marine or as Defense secretary knows he's very plainspoken. He had not come out in this way, however, against President Trump because he had often said he didn't think that he needed to be the one to send any contrary messages to the troops. Clearly he has changed his mind.
Even saying that the country could unite without President Trump, without the commander-in-chief. Perhaps that is the most remarkable from a man who was a Marine for so many decades and lived a life of loyalty to the commander-in-chief. Part of what Mattis said and let me quote from this, he says, "We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown. But we owe it to our fellow citizens to past generations that bled to defend our promise, and to our children."
Mattis making it very clear he is absolutely opposed to any militarization against peaceful protesters.
HARLOW: Barbara, before you go, can you also just take us through the history here? Because of course we saw the president's response just very critical of Mattis, despite hiring him and praising him many times in the past. Just take us through the history between the president and General Mattis.
STARR: Well, you know, this is pretty typical of President Trump, isn't it? After he likes somebody then he doesn't like them, and blisters them on social media. But the videotape as they say doesn't lie. We put together a little bit of past things that the president has said about Jim Mattis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of Defense. I have a general who I have great respect for, General Mattis. Secretary Mattis has devoted his life to serving his country. I think he's a terrific person. He's doing a fantastic job. Mad Dog plays no games. He's a man of honor, a man of devotion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: So, man of honor, man of devotion, make what you will of President Trump's latest messages not approving of Mattis.
SCIUTTO: Barbara Starr, thanks so much.
We should note the president lied twice in a tweet regarding Mattis. He said that he gave him the name Mad Dog. No, preceded him. He also said that he asked for Mattis' resignation. In fact Mattis resigned, Poppy, you'll remember in protest over President Trump's first order to withdraw troops from Syria.
Still to come this hour, reaction to Defense Secretary Mattis' scathing rebuke from the former NATO commander, Wesley Clark.
HARLOW: And all four former officers have now been charged in the death of George Floyd. Charges also upgraded to second-degree murder for Officer Chauvin. What is next in the search for justice?
Plus, will children be back in school in the fall? Why Dr. Anthony Fauci says it's, quote, "a bit of a reach to keep schools closed." Ahead.
JIM SCIUTTO, CO-ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Welcome back. In New York City, a much quieter, much more peaceful night than the city had seen in the previous few days. But they were nearly a hundred people arrested when scuffles broke out between police and protesters who stayed out past the curfew. Joining me now is the Commissioner of the New York Police Department, Dermot Shea. Commissioner, thank you for taking the time.
DERMOT SHEA, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Jim, good morning. Thanks for having me.
SCIUTTO: Let's begin if we can on the overall situation in New York. As you know, Governor Cuomo earlier this week, he faulted the management and deployment of police for failing to stop looting specifically on Monday night. In your view, does the NYPD now have control of the situation in New York?
SHEA: Well, I think we're in a much better place, Jim. Last two nights, we're getting very large crowds, probably bigger crowds the last two nights. But the key here is peacefully assembling and protesting. We have pretty robust number of officers out there to make sure that they can do that and do it safely. There has been a curfew in place in the last couple of nights.
Again, we are flexible as we always are in terms of allowing people to peacefully assemble, giving them space. We understand this moment of time, but we're also going to be very stern, if you will, in terms of property damage, damage, violence, et cetera. Unfortunately, we're still seeing some of that. You know, you peacefully assemble, you don't need weapons to do that. So somewhere in the middle is where we're landing here. We've been very fluid the last couple of nights, there still have been arrests unfortunately made, but all and all --
SCIUTTO: OK --
SHEA: It's better.
SCIUTTO: OK, the president, as you know, he has called for the deployment of active duty U.S. military in U.S. cities, something his own Defense Secretary has said that he opposes. Does New York City need uniformed soldiers to keep the police -- to keep the peace, rather?
SHEA: Absolutely not.
SCIUTTO: Simple answer --
SHEA: That's pretty simple, yes.
SCIUTTO: You've heard the president say as well, and you just described the balance you're trying to strike there, allowing people to peacefully protest while being stern in your words to confront people who are looting, et cetera. The president has said cities, police departments need to dominate these protests. And I wonder if you find that sentiment, that rhetoric helpful to do your job?
SHEA: No, I don't. I don't. When I hear -- I hadn't heard that before. I think what we need now is coming together, quite frankly. Less divisiveness by many people, many people. I think the more that we hear each other, see each other, talk to each other, there is a lot of anger, there is a lot of rage, but there's got to be healing. And it's got to start at every level of society.
Whether elected officials, myself and other law enforcement executives and police officers. It's got to stop with the clergy, it's got to start with people. And we've got to see each other as people. We're not -- we're far from -- this is not about Minneapolis. This is a long simmering problem that has been permeating society, and really has been brought to the forefront in my opinion with this flashpoint.
But it's certainly about policing and racism and law enforcement. But I -- if I could say any point this morning, it's about divisiveness and how much I think that, that is hurting us right now. We've just had multiple incidents, I cannot even total how many officers had been attacked in the last week. So it is a very dangerous time, and I impress upon everyone, there are problems. But they are --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
SHEA: Not going to get better or be solved by continued violence.
SCIUTTO: There have -- and listen, as you know, I'm a New Yorker, I know a lot of cops. You guys have a tough job every day, particularly in the midst of this. There have been as you have acknowledged incidents of police caught on tape, using excessive force. You said last night to my colleague Don Lemon that there would be changes coming. And I'm curious what specific changes you're talking about.
SHEA: And there has been changes coming. But that rhetoric, that me saying there's been changes isn't good enough, and people aren't believing it, people aren't seeing it fast enough, and I recognize that. There's been a lot of changes here. If you look back historically, and I don't want to waste too much of, you know, your time this morning.
But how we police this city is a much different place than we have in the past. Conscious decisions by us in terms of reducing arrests, stops, summons, introducing neighborhood policing, de-escalation training, really trying to do things differently in New York City.
The saddest part of all this is that we've done so much good that has been now knocked backwards in terms of building relationships with community members. We have the smallest incarceration level of any major city. And that is -- has been forgotten during this. But one incident, Jim, and unfortunately, there's been more than one incident can really hurt you here. And it's incumbent upon me and the responsibility falls squarely on my shoulders, how is this department responding? How are they hearing the complaints of the community?
I may not always agree with them, and may not always get what they want, but I got to hear them, and if I'm not hearing them and listening to them, and making changes, where they're appropriate --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
SHEA: And conveying those changes. It's about building trust, it's about consistency, it's about really being equal partners. And we think we are on that road. This has certainly set us back. We have a lot of work to do, we have complaints that have been made in the last couple of weeks. I think I've spoken about them many times. The investigation sometimes don't move fast enough. Sometimes they have to move --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
SHEA: At a pace. But I am committed, and I've said this and I'll say it again here, I am committed to doing what's right. And that means at times, backing up police officers, that are acting appropriately, even if people don't agree with that. That means calling out police officers when what they do is wrong.
SCIUTTO: Yes --
SHEA: And I stand by my reputation quite frankly.
SCIUTTO: Well, here's to you for taking responsibility.
SHEA: Yes --
SCIUTTO: That's not always the case. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, you're always welcome on the show.
SHEA: Anytime, Jim, thank you. Thank you so much and thank you for everyone.
SCIUTTO: Take care.
POPPY HARLOW, CO-ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: So all four fired police officers in Minneapolis have now been charged in the death of George Floyd. Three of them will make their first court appearance today. This is as the state's Attorney General says convicting those ex-officers will be hard. We're going to talk about why ahead.
SCIUTTO: And we are moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street, U.S. futures are down this morning as we learn of new jobless claims numbers -- another, nearly 2 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. Stocks finished higher yesterday, rallying all day. We're going to be watching the markets. Stay with us.
SCIUTTO: A scathing, a blistering rebuke of a sitting U.S. President from President Trump's own former Secretary of Defense, the retired James Mattis says the president is making, quote, "a mockery of the constitution." Poppy, I don't think we can underestimate how unusual these words are.
HARLOW: I think you're so right, Jim, and the fact that a lot of people were wondering, you know, why Mattis hadn't said more sooner, and when his moment would be, and this clearly was his moment, and each word was so powerful. Let's talk about it all with former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and CNN military analyst General Wesley Clark.
General, it's very nice to have you. I mean, just like Jim, I just read this over and over in its entirety, and every word just carries so much weight coming from him. What did you make of it?
WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: No, it's a really powerful statement. And as you said, many of us were waiting for him to speak out. We knew there were problems in the administration. You know, the president wanted to surround himself with these generals to take on their credibility and use the luster of the four stars to raise his own profile.
And he made a big thing about Jim Mattis in particular, and Jim was an outstanding officer. He brought him in to be the Secretary of Defense. And we knew from watching it, we just know from the way people think and the way the administration responded, there were a lot of frictions in there. What Jim's statement does is really two things that are very powerful.
First, it re-emphasizes to all the active duty people that their oath -- their oath of loyalty is to the constitution of the United States. It's not personally to President Trump. And Secretary Mattis always tried to make that clear, but this statement really lays it out. And it also provides talk cover for other retired senior officers to speak out, it provides talk cover perhaps for even some members of the Congress to speak out.
It warns some of Trump's place that he's lost the support of one of his most powerful supporters who had been his Secretary of Defense. This is a very powerful significant statement. But I also want to say, Mike Mullen; the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- they've also been very reserved in speaking out, and both of them also spoke out. So this is --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
SCIUTTO: General Clark, you have the former generals and senior Pentagon officials speaking out. You also had the sitting Secretary of Defense Esper yesterday disagree with the president on the deployment of active U.S. military on the streets of the U.S. by invoking the Insurrection Act. I wondered, that combination, not just form it, but a sitting Defense Secretary in conflict with the commander-in-chief on a key issue of national security. Have you seen that before? How significant is that?