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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Touts New Jobs Numbers; Minneapolis City Council to Hold Emergency Meeting on Police Future; 2 Buffalo Police Officers Suspended after Shoving 75-Year-Old Man to Ground; Trump Speaks on Sharp Turnaround in U.S. Jobs After Historic Losses; Trump's Morning Tweets Focus on GOP Senators; GOP Sen. Susan Collins to Stay in D.C. as Trump Visits Maine; Trump Tweets He'll Campaign Against GOP Sen. Murkowski, Support "Anyone Who Has a Pulse"; New Polls Give Biden Electoral Advantage. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 5, 2020 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: "NEWSROOM" with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John King, in Washington. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

A lot of ground to cover today including the president. He's at the Rose Garden right now. We expect him to take questions from reporters shortly. We'll take you there live when and if that happens.

Just moments ago, the president touting new job numbers, as the crew chief (ph) says the coronavirus recession will be short-lived. The government says 2.5 million jobs were added in May. Analysts were predicting more bleeding in the jobs market.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They thought the number would be a loss of nine million jobs. And it was a gain of almost three million jobs.

I think you're going to have a very good August, a very good July, but a spectacular, maybe a spectacular September, but a spectacular October, November, December. And next year will be one of the best years we've ever had economically.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The president also saying moments ago he believes George Floyd is looking down from Heaven and will love this moment.

Protestors around the country keeping up the pressure. Marches coast to coast on the day friends and family remember Mr. Floyd in a very moving service in Minneapolis.

At one demonstration in Buffalo -- you see it here -- a police officer sent an elderly man tumbling and leave him bleeding on the sidewalk. The police essentially lied and said that man tripped and fell. That man was suspended because a local news crew was there to capture the truth.

In Washington, the mayor voicing her displeasure to the president with words and art. In a formal letter to the president, Mayor Muriel Bowser asked that all active-duty troops, all military presence and all extraordinary federal forces, as she calls them, be removed from the D.C. area.

And the mayor is behind the driving force of what you see right there, a massive two-block-long painting says "Black Lives Matter" being painted on the street just by the White House.

First, though, you just heard the president on the latest jobs numbers. That from the Labor Department today.

Here to break it down, CNN chief business correspondent, Christine Romans.

Christine, a surprise, to say the least.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a shocker on the economy this time. A good shocker, right? The first real good news to come in months, coming in at 2.5 million jobs. And that unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent.

The limited reopening of the shut-down economy, John, means there was hiring on jobs, on construction sites. That depression-level unemployment of 20 percent, plus eight million jobs lost, that was what the economists predicted. That did not happen.

The president took the opportunity to congratulate himself, of course, here. But a report is the deep, deep hole in the jobs market isn't getting any deeper, the worst is behind us.

But, John, that hole is still very, very deep. At 13.3 percent, this level still exceeds the worst since the Great Recession.

And African-American unemployment, John, rose. It rose to a devastating 16.8 percent. State unemployment claims show us that more than 42 million people have been laid off or furloughed in the past 11 weeks. Enhanced unemployment benefits of 600 bucks or more, 600 bucks extra a week, those expire end of July.

Still a painful situation, but it feels to me that we can say the jobs market has stopped crashing, now there's this long road ahead.

KING: Christine Romans, thanks so much. We'll continue to follow those numbers.

In Minneapolis today, the city council preparing for an emergency session to address what happens next for the city police department.

Meanwhile, the attorney for one of the four officers arrested in George Floyd's killing now trying to explain his side of the story. Moments ago, the president talked about George Floyd in the Rose

Garden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hopefully, George Floyd is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country. It's a great day for him, a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It's really what our Constitution requires and it's what our country is all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: CNN's Omar Jimenez and Josh Campbell are on the ground for us in Minneapolis.

Omar, let us start with you.

Very moving ceremony yesterday. The city council trying to address issues today. What is the scene this morning?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this morning, the scene at the makeshift memorial here is much like it's been over the course of the past week and a half or so.

The difference is it's fresh off a visit from the family here. They came right in the immediate aftermath of their emotional memorial that played out over the course of yesterday. in the first of which will be a series of goodbyes to George Floyd over the next few days.

One of the most striking moments came when they paused, standing in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds to represent the amount of time that former Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd's neck.

In passing, you might think that's a pretty short amount of time. But standing there for that exact every single second while someone, in your head, you imagine, was struggling to breathe, was just incredibly powerful there.

[11:05:03]

Now, again, almost two weeks after, we are still learning more about the moments leading up to what we saw play out on that cell phone video.

We're hearing from a man who was in the car with George Floyd in the moments beforehand and described the interaction with police that Floyd was having in that moment. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAURICE HALL, WITNESS: What I believe, the energy was set wrong by the police when they approached him because they approached with, like, an energy where it startled Mr. Floyd. That's what I believe. He was just trying to defuse the situation as best he could. The man

asked him: "What do you want me to do? The cops said, "Put your hands up, show me your hands." Floyd showed his hands, put his hands in the air as a sign of here go my hands, I'm not moving in the vehicle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIMENEZ: Of course, there's an investigative side of things that will play out.

But over the course of the next few days, much of the world knows George Floyd simply through that 10-minute video that was posted on social media. This will be part of a process of understanding who he was to the people who loved him and what his legacy is going to be, the legacy he now leaves behind.

Tomorrow, there will be a memorial in his birthplace of North Carolina before, of course, culminating in a funeral set to be in his hometown of Houston on Tuesday -- John?

KING: Omar Jimenez, on the ground for us.

Let's move to Josh Campbell.

Josh, a preliminary hearing for the three officers that were charged. The first officer has already been charged. Three officers additionally charged. A preliminary hearing yesterday.

An attorney for at least one of those officers trying to explain his side of the story here.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. We got our first look yesterday inside the courtroom behind me at the three officers that were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

As you mentioned, we're also getting an idea of just what the defense strategy is going to be for at least two of those officers. Behind me in court, the defendants were brought in three separate hearings. They were in orange jumpsuits. Their families in the audience.

The assistant attorney general started out by saying this is a very serious matter involving a very tragic death and these are very serious charges. He was asking for a high bail amount. That, of course, countered by the defense counsel.

And in their attack of the government's case, the defense attorneys seemed to be signaling that the strategy for them will be to point to Derek Chauvin's seniority as compared to some of these other clients. We know two of these officers were very new, a junior in rank, and so they're trying to distinguish between that difference in experience.

In fact, one of the attorneys for Officer Kueng said that at one point during this encounter with George Floyd, his client turned to Chauvin and said, we can't do this. We're also hearing from the other attorney, for former Officer Lane,

who pointed out his client tried to turn George Floyd over but that Chauvin did not comply.

Now, we heard from him outside of court as well. And this is going to be controversial, John, because what the attorney is saying is that, what was my client to do, physically restrain Chauvin to pull him off?

Let's listen here to what he said.

EARL GRAY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR FORMER OFFICER THOMAS LANE: It would be unreasonable for my client to go up and try and drag Chauvin off of the deceased.

You've got a 20-year cop in the front and my guy is back there with four days. Should we roll him over? He said, no, we'll wait for the ambulance, twice. Then he says: "He's suffering from a delirium?" I don't know what you're supposed to do as a cop.

CAMPBELL: The judge in this case not buying any of that for purposes of bail. He agreed with the jail to set it at $1 million or $750,000 with conditions.

John, we'll be back here on Monday in court. That officer, Derek Chauvin, will have his first appearance. We'll see what his strategy will be.

KING: Josh Campbell, Omar Jimenez, reporting on the ground. Both of you in Minneapolis. Thank you very much.

Back to the disturbing video out of Buffalo, New York. Take a look and decide yourself. Two police officers suspended after shoving this 75- year-old man -- you see the contact right there -- to the ground. You can then see the man bleeding on the sidewalk.

That local news crew on the scene to capture it, and that video forced the department to admit to a lie. Police initially said that man tripped and fell. We saw something quite different happening.

Let's bring in Alexandra Field. She's tracking this story for us.

Alexandra, the video does not lie. He was pushed. He was shoved.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, another example of cameras capturing the truth. Everybody who sees that video sees what happened. The 75-year-old man approaching the police before he was knocked to the ground.

And yet, the police put out a statement saying this is a man who hurt himself after he tripped and fell. A spokesman said that was based on one initial video and then other videos became available and the statement was amended.

You had the mayor of Buffalo, Byron Brown, adding this. His statement says, "I was deeply disturbed by the video, as was Buffalo police commissioner, Byron Lockwood. He directed an immediate investigation into the matter, and the two officers have been suspended without pay. Governor Cuomo has called this unjustified and utterly disgraceful."

[11:10:16]

A number of people weighing in here. That as, the district attorney's office also opens an investigation. They, however, John, say they have not been able to speak to the 75-year-old man who was knocked down. That's because he is in serious but stable condition at Erie County Medical Center.

KING: We wish him a healthy and speedy recovery.

Alexandra Field, thank you.

At the root of all of this is trust between the communities and the police. When the police department lies, that does not help the situation, to say the least.

Alexandra, thank you so much. We'll stay on top of that story.

CNN and "Sesame Street" joining forces again. This time, to talk to your kids about racism, the nationwide protests, and of race and diversity. Parents can submit questions to CNN.com/sesamestreet. You need to watch, "COMING TOGETHER: STANDING UP TO RACISM," a CNN, "Sesame Street" town hall. That's tomorrow morning, 10:00 eastern, only here on CNN.

Up next, President Trump lashing out after criticism from a fellow Republican. Is this a sign of growing cracks in his base?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Let's take you straight to the Rose Garden. The president answering questions.

TRUMP: We had the strongest economy anywhere in the world. And now we're going to have an economy that's even stronger.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sir, how would a better economy --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Yes, just to follow up, how would a better economy have protected George Floyd?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you take questions after, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Black unemployment went up by .1 percent. Asian-Americans' unemployment went up by 1.5 percent. How is that a victory?

TRUMP: You are something.

UNEMPLOYMENT: How is that a victory?

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I have to say, though, it's been an honor. This is such a great achievement. I feel so good about it. This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come.

Mike, would you say a few words, please?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, thank you, Mr. President.

And today is a great day for America.

KING: Answering one question from reporters, refusing to answer follow-ups as he went on in the Rose Garden at the White House.

The president was there to tout the strong jobs numbers from this morning. The jobs numbers, surprising growth in jobs, but as reporters asked questions, the president waved them off, at one point saying to a reporter, you're a piece of work.

Let's bring in our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.

Dana, it's a critical moment for the president. He has to be careful. If he hypes the job numbers too much and we get a turn next month or the month after. He did have good news to talk about. He talked about it but then rambled off about the coronavirus. His tenor not new.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Not new. And we hope the reporters get to ask follow-up questions, because he did have a very rambling statement.

There are good numbers, relatively so. We're still talking double- digit unemployment. But it's much lower unemployment than even his own economists were predicting to us for this month.

But taking those still double-digit numbers and turning it into an incredibly lengthy victory lap, which is what he was trying to do, is something that I was texting with a source close to the president, which they think is just fine, because he needs to project on economy of strength.

But I was also thinking about a campaign that we covered, 2004, the Bush reelection campaign, and I remember he tried to say we've turned the corner and we're not turning back on the economy, and it didn't work. They had to pull back on that because people weren't buying what he was selling.

And that is a potential danger for this president. But he didn't just stick to the economy because it was a very lengthy statement. He went on and on. He had a teleprompter there. He clearly used it very sparingly. Tried to talk about all the things that they did right on the coronavirus.

It was a classic Trump moment, trying to rewrite history, which we will obviously get our colleague, Daniel Dale, who does the fact- checking of what history really is versus what the president says. We'll see if he takes questions.

[11:15:05]

But it's very clear that this is a president, after a really tough couple of weeks, where he was told internally that his poll numbers were bad. He saw that with public polling, that he is desperate to get out there and try to convince everybody that things are getting better as he is just months away from being on the ballot.

KING: And we're going to continue that part of the conversation in just a moment.

Dana, stand by.

Because, as she notes, the president likes to get out of the White House. He's been eager to get out of the White House. Today, he's off to Maine, and making clear before he goes that, to him, politics is a friend-or-foe business and he won't tolerate any dissent in the Republican family.

Just this morning, presidential retweets of GOP Senators who are Trump allies, including one of 2020's most vulnerable incumbents, Senator Martha McSally, of Arizona.

Maine's Susan Collins is another vulnerable Republican. She is not a fan of the president's style or his tone most days. And she is not planning to accompany the president as he travels to her state today.

Collins is very close to Lisa Murkowski, who, today, is on the other end of that friend-or-foe Trump divide, although she is not on the ballot until 2022. The president tweeting he will campaign against Murkowski and support "anyone who has a pulse." After Senator Murkowski said Thursday she is struggling over whether to support the president's reelection.

CNN congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly, joins us now.

Phil, this is your life when you are on Capitol Hill. Most Republicans stay in line with the president. But the few who dare to speak out or even voice a little bit, I wish he would have said it this way, end up on the end of his Twitter wrath.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's not subtle. He's up front about what his intentions are and how he views Republican dissent in any way, shape or form as any politician I've ever seen before.

There are a couple things to keep in mind here. The Jim Mattis article, what Jim Mattis wrote, I think had a lot of people when they first saw it, take a step back and say, huh.

Jim Mattis is extremely respected in the House and Senate for his military service, for his relationships with people, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whether or not that would have a huge effect. And you wonder why it doesn't, outside Lisa Murkowski. And Senator Romney had words of support for Mattis. And it's because of these tweets.

One thing that catches me, people think, how can a tweet be enough to make a Republican politician not want to mess around or say something against Donald Trump?

You have to understand the wave of these tweets. These tweets come and then constituents pick up the phone and start calling. The constituents in support of President Trump far outnumber those who are against him in these particular states, in a lot of these House districts, and a lot of members just don't want to deal with that.

You talk to Democrats and they can't understand it. You talk to Democrats who have had private conversations with Republicans where they say something different than what they're saying to the public.

But when you think about it, a president with a 90 percent approval rate within his party, when these constituents are in that 90 percent, you get a sense of why they don't want to go against him.

Because -- and, John, you know this better than anybody -- if you're in a Republican, even if you're in a purple-ish or a swing state, you're not winning without the president's supporters. So it's a difficult line to walked. It's one Susan Collins tries to do, Cory Gardner, Martha McSally. But it's not one that many people want to mess around with, particularly when they see what happened with the tweets surrounding Lisa Murkowski.

KING: Let me follow-up on that point in the textbook case of Susan Collins. She cannot win with just the Trump base, no way, not in a state like Maine. But she can't win without the Trump base. So she made a decision not to go. Whereas, you saw Martha McSally, when the president went to Arizona a couple of weeks back, she was right there. Susan Collin deciding I'll take the risk?

MATTINGLY: Susan Collins has attempted to walk the line better than -- has given the most effort to walking the line between being in full support of the president and being against the president.

You've seen Senator McSally recognizing there's no other real option. Susan Collins understands the dynamic of her state. It's worth noting, Senator Collins understand Maine better than anybody and is probably the better retail politician to come out of that state, which is why she's won up to this point.

I think the reality is that the president's approval in that state is not where it is in perhaps other places. She understands she can't go against him, to your point.

But she has done something other Senators have been able to do. In part, that's because of how the president reacts to her and how the president's political team react to her. You don't see him go after her go on Twitter when she says she's no happy or she's disappointed or she's with a comment. She is often let be. I'll note another thing about Susan Collins. She hasn't endorsed the president yet. She's not said she'll vote for the president yet. She and her team always try to keep a little bit of an arm's length, and for whatever reason, she's able to unlike other Republicans in Congress.

The big question is, will trying to split the line or walk the line help her in a very tight race in November.

[11:20:02]

KING: We shall see. It's a fascinating state. The president hoping for at least one electoral vote out of Maine. That will be one of the many we watch.

Phil Mattingly, appreciate it.

When we come back, we're waiting to see if the president will take more questions from the Rose Garden.

We'll also take a closer look at what Dana talked about moments ago. Maybe the good economic news today helps the president begin a turn- around. But if you look at his polling numbers right now, they are in a deepening ditch.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:25:21]

KING: President Trump in the Rose Garden this morning touting today's surprisingly strong job numbers as a turning point, he says. And his political team is sure hoping today it's the beginning of a new trend line for the economy, but also for the president's poll numbers, which are suffering because of the combination of the coronavirus, recession, and now social unrest because of the death of George Floyd.

Let's look at some of the numbers here. This, the last five or so national polls combined, Joe Biden/Donald Trump. The former vice president, the Democrat, with a nine-point edge. You average all those out in the CNN poll of polls, 51 percent to 42 percent over the incumbent president.

When you look at the battleground states, you see the depth of the president's problems, if you will. New FOX News polls in Arizona, Wisconsin and Ohio, all of them competitive but Biden on top in all of them.

Ahead in Arizona. President Trump won Arizona in 2016. Joe Biden ahead by a bigger margin in battleground Wisconsin, one of those blue states President Trump flipped red in 2016. A nine-point lead there. President Trump won Ohio quite handily four years ago. This is essentially a statistical tie but Joe Biden on top of the numbers in the state of Ohio.

That alone tells you the president has a problem when you go state-by- state, through the Electoral College. But when you look deeper in these state polls, that's when you see

some of the president's weaknesses.

Let's start in Arizona, this how people voted on Election Day. This within demographics within the FOX News poll. This is in Arizona among men. He got 53 percent in 2016, only 44 percent right now. Among, Independents, 47 percent on Election Day, down to 33 percent in Arizona today. Among Latins, Hispanic voters, 31 percent on Election Day 2016, down to 23 percent. It's a critical constituency in the state of Arizona.

Weaknesses for the president, wherever look now compared to then.

Let's move to the state of Ohio. White men, look at this drop. On Election Day, white men in Ohio, the president got nearly seven out of 10 of their votes. He's down now to just about half. White men with college degrees, the president got 59 percent, now down to 45 percent. And under age 45, 47 percent in Ohio on 2016, down to 34 percent. Wherever you look, the president's support softer now than it was when he won the election.

And look at the state of Wisconsin, one of the key states to his victory. Among white evangelicals, on Election Day 2016, the president got 73 percent of evangelical votes, down now to 57 percent. That's the core of the Trump base and his support is softening.

In union households, blue-collar workers, 43 percent on Election Day, down below 30 percent in Wisconsin right now. And among Independents, the center electorate, the president got 50 percent on Election Day 2016, now down to 28 percent.

These polls now are just a snapshot. The president hopes he can turn it around. The election is five months away. The president today saying he believes finally some good economic numbers will help move this more toward this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're going to be back and we're opening our country.

I think we're actually going to be back higher next year than ever before. The only thing that can stop us is bad policy, frankly, left- wing bad policy of raising taxes and Green New Deals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Back with us now CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, also Amy Walter, of the "Cook Political Report."

Amy, to you first.

I was reading your column and we always say, are we at a tipping point or some big moment in time. The fact is we don't know. There's so much uncertainty out there now, whether it's the coronavirus, whether it's a recession, whether it's this social unrest in the wake of George Floyd. And whether it's, if we rewound the tape of all of those things, the fact that President Trump is president of the United States. But if you look deep in the poll numbers, he's down about everywhere, especially in key pieces of his base. The white evangelical number in Wisconsin, for example, jumped out at me.

AMY WALTER, NATIONAL EDITOR, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": John, we've talked about this so many times, I know you've talked about this so many times, the fact the president has these narrow range between his approval ratings where he goes between 38 and 48 percent.

For this last week, he's been down on the lower end of this range. And at other points in his presidency, he's been on the higher range of this. That's not going to change. His base isn't going to abandon him.

But he has never shown any ability, even when the economy was good and we didn't have all these other headwinds, to get over 50 percent.

[11:29:58]

So the challenge for this president today is the same challenge that the president has always had, which is, can you win reelection when you don't expand your base?