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Interview with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY); Universal Studios Opens in Florida Though Cases on the Rise; Heartburn Drug May Help COVID-19 Recovery. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 5, 2020 - 10:30   ET



MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): -- Thursday it was revealed, there's even more video on the cell phone of William "Roddie" Bryan, one of the accused, showing the deadly pursuit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the case of --

SAVIDGE (voice-over): In the end, the judge ruled there was probable cause to try the three for Arbery's murder.

JOYETTE HOLMES, COBB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Where the evidence leads us is where we will follow. And that's what we did today.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): For Ahmaud Arbery's family and supporters, it's the first step on the long road to justice.


SAVIDGE: Can I just reiterate again what that testimony was? And to be clear, as the allegation is, as Travis McMichael is standing over the body of Ahmaud Arbery -- 25-year-old African-American -- he is saying the F word and the N word.

Now, why would the prosecution bring this up? Because in the state of Georgia, there's no hate crime law. It cannot be used against him in the allegations. He's simply going to be tried on murder, if we get to that point. Some have suggested that was a direct overture to the federal government, that does have federal hate crime laws.

We know that after that hearing, the family of Ahmaud Arbery did meet with federal investigators. We've asked for federal investigators to ask and tell us if they're investigating this as a hate crime. They say they cannot say at this time -- Poppy and Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Just turns my stomach, to watch that video again and again, and to hear those comments. Martin Savidge, thank you for following that story.


SCIUTTO: Well, there are calls for widespread reform in policing. They're growing louder, louder after the death of George Floyd and the release of several other videos, appearing to show police abuse of force.

We're going to speak to one of the lawmakers leading up the effort to spark legal change, coming up next.



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Welcome back. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that the Congressional Black Caucus will introduce a new bill addressing police brutality. And as calls for change echo across the nation, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries as, for years, been calling to ban the use of chokeholds by police. Listen to this from him, just yesterday.


REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): This time will be different because it's not a top-down movement, it's a bottom-up movement.


HARLOW: He joins me now.

It's really good to have you. It feels different, it does. I was just telling you about the protests that -- you know, our car was stopped for half an hour yesterday in the middle of a protest in Brooklyn. More of the protestors were white by a big margin than were black. It feels different this time, but how do we know the outcome will be different?

JEFFRIES: Well, I'm certainly hopeful. We know that it's a movement that has been led in large measure by young African-American women, but has been joined by people of every race, of every creed, of every color, of ever religion.

And so it's a multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multigenerational movement that I think signals a sea change in public sentiment that something needs to be done about police violence, police abuse and police brutality at every level of government. And that is going to be our approach in Washington, led by Karen Bass, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, with leadership from Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Jerry Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee.

HARLOW: You have now -- twice -- proposed legislation that would put a federal ban on police using chokeholds or applying pressure to the neck of someone. You did it after Eric Garner was killed, and you've done it last year. But now, it's getting attention and now there's talk about it being fast-tracked. Is it being fast-tracked and do you have bipartisan support?

JEFFRIES: It's my hope that we will obtain bipartisan support, although currently I have not secured a Republican sponsor, which is disappointing. Every major police department in the country -- in New York, in Boston, in Chicago, in Philadelphia, in Los Angeles -- prohibit the chokehold as a matter of policy. But we continue to see it deployed, as well as other neck restraints such as the knee to the neck that we saw in Minneapolis.

That's why we want to prohibit it as a matter of law. Because it's an unnecessary, unacceptable, uncivilized, unconscionable and un-American tactic. No one should be choked to death on the streets of America. And that's why Congress needs to act, and I'm hopeful that we will do so. I know the House will --


JEFFRIES: -- and it will be on the Senate.

HARLOW: Congressman, you are a cosponsor of legislation that would open up a commission to talk about the possibility of reparations in this country. And this week, I was reminded to re-read that 2014 piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates called "The Case for Reparations," in which he writes, "250 years of slavery, 90 years of Jim Crow, 60 years of Separate but Equal, 35 years of racist housing policy: Until we reckon with our compounding debts, America will never be whole."

Where does your call for a commission on just discussing this, where does that stand and where does that go? Is it time for America to have a much more serious conversation about reparations?

JEFFRIES: Without question, it's time. You detailed the parade of horribles directed at the African-American community that we still haven't grappled with in America.


H.R. 40, which is legislation that has been introduced and pushed by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee did receive a hearing in the Congress last year, as did my police accountability bill with respect to chokeholds and other neck restraints.

But after 401 years of racism living in the soil of America, we can't even get a commission, right? Not action, a commission.

HARLOW: Right.

JEFFRIES: Seems like now is an appropriate time to at least have that discussion.

HARLOW: I'm going to ask you a question that you've been asked so many times before, but I wonder if the answer might be different this time. So many people have asked you, Do you want to be the next speaker of the House? But we have not had a black speaker of the House in the history of this country, 230-plus years, there has never been a black speaker of the House. Do you want to be the first African- American speaker of the House?

JEFFRIES: Not something that I've given any thought to, particularly this year, when we've been dealing with this global pandemic that has hit the communities that I represent particularly hard, in terms of the pain, suffering and death. And now we're confronting the epidemic of police violence. One speaker at a time, Poppy, and we have a phenomenal one in Nancy

Pelosi. I've just got to continue to do my job to the best of my abilities, and the rest will take care of itself in the future.

HARLOW: Fair enough. Let's end on this. There is anti-lynching legislation in the Senate right now. And we heard impassioned pleas from Senator Cory Booker and Kamala Harris yesterday. Rand Paul is trying to amend it, saying that he argues that it doesn't go far enough, he says the definition of lynching is too broad and doesn't take it seriously enough.

And then Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, listen to what she said, responding to Senators Harris and Booker.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): As a white woman born and raised in Alaska, with a family that was privileged, I can't feel that openness and rawness that I just heard expressed by my friends Cory and Kamala.


HARLOW: What is your reaction to what you saw play out there?

JEFFRIES: Well, those were very authentic words from Senator Murkowski. And hopefully, it signals that this time is different. And that the American people of every race -- white, black, Latino, Asian, Native American -- are coming together in ways to bring about systematic change.

Now I'm not confident that that's possible under the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, as broad as it needs to be. I do believe, however, that Vice President Joe Biden, who's a good man, has the heart for the type of work and leadership necessary to bring about the change that we've been waiting for for 401 years.

HARLOW: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, appreciate your time very much this week.

JEFFRIES: Thank you.


SCIUTTO: Such an important conversation.


Well, a summer hotspot is back open again, but Universal Studios does have a lot of changes in place to keep the coronavirus from spreading. Have a look.


HARLOW: Well, after nearly three months closed, guests will be welcomed back to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, today, even as the number of COVID cases in the state is on the rise. Changes, though, will be obvious due to the pandemic, and it will be, Jim, a very different experience for visitors.

SCIUTTO: CNN's Natasha Chen, she joins us now from Orlando. Natasha, you know, look at some of those pictures. Yes, folks wearing masks, but they weren't that far apart. Tell us what the actual changes are.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So like you mentioned, one of the changes is what I'm hearing on my face. Everyone on property has to wear face masks. And there are also strict social distancing guidelines, with signs. There are hand sanitizer stations everywhere, and temperature checks as you walk in.

Keep in mind, like you said, this is happening about one month after Florida first started reopening businesses. And in the last two weeks, if we can show that chart of the 14-day chart of new cases, we're seeing in the last couple of days that cases have gone up a little bit around the state.

So keep that in mind, as you see these people coming through the gates here at the theme park. They're getting handed this park map, it has a new insert with important safety information about covering your face, temperature checks, social distance and washing your hands often.

And we're seeing a lot of passholders actually, annual passholders, who are excited to be back. We're also seeing some people who are here for the very first time, because they figure that there are going to be fewer people right now.

Now, there is a limited attendance here, there is a reduced capacity but Universal's not specifying exactly what that percentage is. People do not need to make an advance reservation to come in, but they are filing in and they are abiding by the rules. Those who are here say they know what's required, and they feel safer wearing these masks as they have fun -- Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: OK, Natasha, thanks a lot. We appreciate it.

There's a new study that shows that a common over-the-counter heartburn medication may have helped a small handful of coronavirus patients get better.


SCIUTTO: CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. Elizabeth, we've been learning so much about this -- doctors have -- as we go, how easily it's transmitted but also what's best to treat it. So tell us what we've learned in this data.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim, Poppy, this really is a good example of learning as we go. Doctors noticed in China, actually, that patients who had heartburn seemed to be doing better than patients who didn't, but only patients who were low-income with heartburn. And it turned out they were taking a very inexpensive drug called famotidine -- that's the active ingredient in Pepcid.

So this new study, which was published in a medical journal yesterday, it looked at just 10 patients who were at home. It found that when they took famotidine, that their symptoms got better. Now, did they get better just because they were going to get better anyway, as most patients -- especially those at home -- do get better? We don't know that.

And so this study is not important, in some ways, for the study in and of itself. It's only 10 patients, which is super-small. It's important because it tells doctors, you know what, let's try to do a larger clinical trial, where you take hundreds of patients at home and you assign half of them to take famotidine, half of them to take a placebo that looks just like famotidine, and you see who does better as you move forward.

HARLOW: Elizabeth, before you go, can you help us understand what is going on now with these researchers retracting their studies on hydroxychloroquine because there's a question about the data? I just want people to understand exactly what happened here --


HARLOW: -- given it's been so touted by the president. And used by the president.

COHEN: Right. This is such an unusual situation, Poppy. What happened with the study in "The Lancet," I was on your show discussing it a couple of weeks ago. They used this large international database to look at patients in the hospital taking hydroxychloroquine, and they found that not only did it not help -- this is the drug that Trump said was a game-changer -- they said, No, it doesn't help and in fact it increases the chance that you're going to die.

But now, the reliability of that international database is being called into question, and so "The Lancet" has retracted the study. So we're kind of back to where we were before the study, which was still two other large studies, showing hydroxychloroquine didn't work. Did not find the increased death rate, but still said, you know what, this stuff doesn't help.

The NIH and the FDA, both saying, Hey, don't take hydroxychloroquine except if you're in a clinical trial. The fact that this study got retracted doesn't change any of that. NIH and FDA and others, still saying don't take this drug unless you're part of a clinical trial, which the vast majority of people are not.

HARLOW: OK, important. Elizabeth, thanks a lot.

SCIUTTO: As we always say, listen to the doctors.

And be sure to check out CNN's coronavirus podcast, join Dr. Sanjay Gupta for "CORONAVIRUS: FACT VS. FICTION." Listen wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

And this news just in to CNN, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals says that the White House press secretary cannot suspend the credentials of a reporter -- in this case, "Playboy" reporter Brian Karem, his what's known as a hard pass press badge last year, as was attempted by the White House. HARLOW: Yes, an important update for press freedom.

The decision backed up a trial court's earlier ruling to restore his access to the White House after it was temporarily suspended because he and the president's backer, Sebastian Gorka, had that very public argument in the Rose Garden.


This afternoon, the Minneapolis City Council takes the first step toward police reform, following the death of George Floyd. Stay with us.


SCIUTTO: With schools, of course, closed during the stay-at-home order, students with special needs in particular facing new challenges.

HARLOW: That's right. But one mom whose son is part of the Class of 2020 says he has made the best of the situation, and she wants to thank you in this week's #GoodJobChallenge. Watch this.


ALICIA KEYS, MUSICIAN: -- good job, doing a good job, a good job --

DIANE MAYER CHRISTIANSEN: I'm so thankful for my son, Jackie (ph). Jackie (ph) has high-functioning autism. And when we discovered that he would be locked in the house for potentially months, I was really concerned that it would be difficult for him.

Jackie's missed his whole senior year of high school this year. He's missed all those milestones that he's looked forward to for four years. But he never complains. He gets up every morning and does his e-learning. And in the afternoon, we spend time playing games and talking about what the future might look like.

There's still a lot of questions, but he has made this difficult journey meaningful for me because I've had that time with him, to bond with him in a way that I'll probably never have again. So this is for you, Jackie Christiansen. Thank you.

KEYS: You're doing a good job, don't get too down. The world needs you now.


SCIUTTO: Well, good for him, good for his teacher and his mom.

So who inspires you? Record a short video, thanking someone who is helping others during the crisis. Post on Instagram with the hashtag #GoodJobChallenge, and you may see it on-air or online. Also visit CNN Heroes social media, where they're sharing the full stories.

HARLOW: Great to end on that note. Thanks to all of you for being with us this week. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. NEWSROOM with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for --