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Los Angeles Protesters Encourage Voter Registration; Video Shows Officers Push Elderly Man to the Ground; Former Trump Aides Accuse Him of Dividing America; Black Lives Matter Supporters Rallying in Australia; Protests in Mexico after Man Dies in Police Custody; Economic Disparity Persists between White and Black Americans; Calls for Justice as New Police Incidents Emerge; Global Protests Increase Fears of Coronavirus Spread; Over-the-Counter Heartburn Drug May Ease COVID-19 Symptoms; CEOs Speak Out against Racial Inequality. Aired 1- 2a ET

Aired June 6, 2020 - 01:00   ET

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


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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm Michael Holmes and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for your company.

Now across the United States, protesters for the 11th straight night demanding justice for George Floyd, the man who was killed in police custody. Tonight's demonstrations have been largely peaceful.

In the nation's capital, for example, hundreds marching to the White House, demanding justice, not only for Floyd but for all who have died at the hands of racial injustice.

In Denver, crowds rallying together, marching well into the night. They are still there right now. Friday the first time in a week the city did not have a curfew.

And despite a global pandemic, the streets of Los Angeles packed as protesters stood hand-in-hand, demanding justice and sweeping change across the nation. CNN's Kyung Lah has a look for us at how protesters in Los Angeles are encouraging others to make a difference in their communities.

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KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Friday night in Los Angeles, this is still the crowd. It is very sizeable. You could see speakers have assembled right on the steps. There is a police line to prevent any entry to city hall but this has been a very, very peaceful day and as you take a sweep of what this crowd looks like, it is still simply enormous.

We spent a good deal of time talking to people in this crowd and they believe that this is a movement, that it is not just George Floyd. Today is Breonna Taylor's birthday and what you are hearing from them is that they believe that there has to be some teeth to this, so we saw some of that.

There was a voter registration drive, voter forms that were handed out and the message that they have to take this to the ballot box in November or else they will not be able to make substantive change at the top.

Whether that be at the White House, here in the governor's office or the mayor's office, to their local races. So here in Los Angeles the sense that this movement still has no end -- Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Even within these protests, we are seeing more shocking video of questionable police tactics, CNN's Jason Carroll with more on that.

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JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 11 days of nationwide protests, anger, outrage and a call for change after George Floyd was killed with a police officer's knee on his neck.

This is the message on a street leading straight to the White House, the words "Black Lives Matter" now emblazoned in yellow paint. Part of that call for change, renewed scrutiny on police. In Minneapolis, the city council voted to ban the controversial choke hold and vowing to work towards systematic change in the department.

All four former police officers in the department are in jail, charged in George Floyd's killing, this as a growing number of disturbing police incidents on video are emerging.

In Buffalo, New York, two officers have been suspended after a 75- year-old protester was pushed and left bleeding on the ground, an initial message from police described as a man who tripped and fell.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): When I saw the video, I got sick to my stomach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, that looks so scary.

CARROLL: In Tacoma, Washington, a new video posted to social media appears to show officers violently striking Manuel Ellis as he lies on the ground. A second video also appears to show officers holding Ellis while he's on the ground and telling him to put his hands behind his back.

Ellis died after being physically restrained by police. His family is calling for four officers involved to be fired. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

MARCIA CARTER-PATTERSON, MANUEL ELLIS' MOTHER: He was a blessed child, OK? He was blessed. He was good and did not deserve to be murdered at the hands of the police.

CARROLL: And in Atlanta, new video of a woman being body-slammed by a police officer, breaking her collarbone, at a protest May 29. No word yet from the Atlanta Police Department on whether the officer involved will face disciplinary actions.

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CARROLL (voice-over): While in New York City last night, a small sign of hope, as a police chief in Brooklyn de-escalated a situation with protesters by shaking hands and listening.

(on camera): As an African American law enforcement officer, I mean, how does that make you -- how does that fit with you?

JEFFREY MADDREY, NYPD ASSISTANT CHIEF: Well, I'm a black man, but I love being a police officer. So I'm not resigning. And I'm going to continue to make sure everybody's safe.

CARROLL (voice-over): Jason Carroll CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Multiple instances have been recorded in the U.S. over the last few days. And CNN has obtained the bodycam video of one that happened in Atlanta, Georgia. A warning: what you're about to see is disturbing.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car. Get out.

Get up (INAUDIBLE).

(INAUDIBLE), (INAUDIBLE) (INAUDIBLE), (INAUDIBLE).

(INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES (voice-over): The woman you see, Amber Jackson, body slammed to the ground by that police officer, breaking her clavicle. She spoke to CNN's Erin Burnett. Have a listen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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AMBER JACKSON, POLICE VIOLENCE VICTIM: Me and my fiance was heading home and I removed the barricades and I get back in the car. And all of a sudden, I just see hands out my window, trying to snatch me out, snatches me out and pretty much slams me down.

We weren't a part of any of the looting or anything. We were peacefully protesting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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HOLMES: Charles Ramsey is a CNN law enforcement analyst, he's also a former Philadelphia police commissioner and former Washington police chief, he joins me now.

It is an honor, Chief, to have you on the program, I want to start off with this incident with the elderly gentleman being knocked down.

What do you make of 57 police resigning from Buffalo's emergency response team to support 2 officers suspended for pushing that man to the ground and then lying about it?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all anyone who saw that video realizes that, one, the use of force was inappropriate. That even if they shoved him and didn't intend for him to fall, which I don't believe they did, once he hit his head and you saw that pool of blood begin to form around his head, you have to immediately take action and do the best you can to provide some aid, some first aid to that individual.

And what hurt me more than anything was seeing all those officers just file past him as he was laying there, not taking any action. Those 57 officers, they want to resign, that's fine, let them go. Let them go.

I would only ask that they not only resign from that unit but please resign from the police force because we don't need people like that in our profession. We truly don't.

HOLMES: There is solidarity and then there is -- I don't know whatever that is. I think most people think that most police are good people.

But as a former commissioner, what are your concerns about the actions of some police other enforcement groups as well, there are many of them out there. Countless videos that I've seen of people being maced at close range, unnecessary beatings, pepper balls being fired with no warning, all of this on camera.

RAMSEY: Well, you know it's a shame that the few define the many. That's just the reality because there are videos of officers marching with protesters, taking a knee with protesters and so forth.

But it doesn't take much for people to get that impression and understandably so. I mean, I've seen some things that really just are frightening and I was in law enforcement for 47 years as an active member. And I just don't get it, whether it's clearing Lafayette Square or Lafayette Park behind the White House, which was a gross overuse of force in that instance.

The Buffalo situation, Atlanta, either the tasing of the 2 people in the car or the body slam of the young woman that took place recently.

And then, of course, now we know about Tacoma, Washington. These, of course, are just absolutely unacceptable, cannot be tolerated and that's why people have taken to the streets now. That's why we're having the problem we have right now is because of actions of people like the ones you've seen in the video.

HOLMES: That is the irony, people are protesting over the police brutality and then there are instances of police brutality

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HOLMES: Go on.

RAMSEY: I was going to say that it may prove that they're right. I just don't get it.

HOLMES: One thing that struck me, too, is there are different groups involved in law enforcement in some cities, notably Washington, D.C. You've got prison officers, Border Patrol.

And one thing that's interesting, a lot of them are showing up on social media without identifying insignia or with their badge numbers covered up. There's a large protest planned in D.C. for Saturday.

I wonder what you made of that, these mobile forces and some hiding their identity.

RAMSEY: Well, when I was chief of Washington, D.C., there are a lot of police departments that operate inside the district, not all of them are the ones you see in Lafayette Park, for example. I guess the president ordered people in from Texas, for whatever reason I don't know.

But these are federal law enforcement, the metropolitan police department, which I was the chief of, that's the city police department. They are not involved in Lafayette Park or the area right there at the White House.

But the demonstration planned for tomorrow will cover city streets, no doubt about it. The metropolitan police department will be involved. Under no circumstances should officers be concealing their identity, covering up their badge or anything like that.

I know we took and put their badge numbers on top of their helmet in big numbers because when you put on some of that gear, if the crowd gets unruly, it does cover up your badge because the badge is pinned to your shirt. If you put that vest on, there was no badge holder on it.

So we put it right on the helmet. But, intentionally, some officers are doing that and that tells you right there, if they do that intentionally, then they are planning on doing something probably they have no business doing.

It's a shame. I just don't like the way this whole thing is going down. It just is not -- it's not good.

HOLMES: We've only got a minute left but when it comes to things like reform, you are concerned about a lot of these and I think a lot of people are.

When it comes to police reform, what do you think should be worked on first? RAMSEY: Well, trust and legitimacy, first of all. I had the honor of serving as President Obama's co-chair on the task force for 21st century policing a couple of years ago and we had 6 areas we looked at. The very first was building trust and legitimacy, that's the problem now.

We don't have the kind of trust in communities, especially challenged communities, communities of color, that we ought to have and they're the ones that need us the most and we need them the most.

So we have to build trust in order to be effective in legitimacy. Having officers conduct themselves and that would be how everybody sees it, like you saw in Buffalo, like you've seen in Washington with the clearing of the park and so forth, it erodes that trust and the legitimacy that you need to have for people to have for people to be able to work alongside you and make a difference in the lives of people living in these communities, many of which are very, very troubled communities.

HOLMES: Hopefully, there will be change, Charles Ramsey, it is a pleasure to have you on, thank you so much.

RAMSEY: Thank you for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: You got the president of the U.S., Donald Trump, applauding new unemployment numbers that just came out and in doing so making a shocking reference to George Floyd, the man whose death has spurred the protests and the widespread unrest gripping the country. Kaitlan Collins reports for us from the White House.

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KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: After the unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 13 percent, President Trump seized on the first good news he's had in months during a last-minute address in the Rose Garden today.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everything that you've seen this morning was unexpected, even the pro sitting here would understand that. Everything.

COLLINS: The president predicted that an economic turnaround could happen sooner than expected. And as he acknowledged the unrest across the nation, he invoked George Floyd's name.

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.

COLLINS: The president hasn't held any listening sessions with leaders of the black community but he claimed a rebound in the economy could address racial tension in the U.S.

TRUMP: That's what my plan is. We're going to have the strongest economy in the world.

COLLINS: As Trump was taking his victory lap, his former chief of staff that he agreed with the scathing assessment of his leadership by the president's former defense secretary.

JOHN KELLY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think we need to look harder at who we elect.

COLLINS: John Kelly said if he was still chief of staff, he would have argued against clearing the street of protesters for the president's photo op at St. John's church.

KELLY: I would have argued that the end result that have was predictable.

COLLINS: As more of his former top aides turned into critics, "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board wrote that Trump's "demand for personal loyalty and his thin skin clash with people who care about larger causes."

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That breaking point could have consequences for the president's support within the Republican Party. The GOP only has a three-seat majority in the Senate but after Senator Lisa Murkowski said he was struggling with whether to support Trump in November, he vowed to campaign against her and support any candidate with a pulse.

And another feud may be brewing for the candidate, Muriel Bowser wrote a letter requesting that he remove federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.

Trump called her by calling her incompetent, saying, "we will bring in a different group of men and women."

And after sources and even the White House press secretary said on the record that it was the attorney general who had made that call to clear the park before the president later walked over for his photo op, attorney general Barr told the Associated Press in an interview tonight that he did not give the ultimate directive.

He claims he does not have the control to give those directives and he said, instead, they were just clearing the park because of orders from the park police after, of course, they had discussed extending the perimeter earlier that day -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: It has become a global movement. We are going to show you how people in Australia and elsewhere are protesting against racial injustice when we come back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We will leave you with these live pictures of Sydney, Australia.

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HOLMES: Welcome back.

Cities across the world where people are gathering to protest the killing of George Floyd, it's also sparking a much wider movement against police brutality in general and plenty of local issues in that regard. Some protesters bringing up cases in their countries that they say are strikingly familiar and similar to the George Floyd case.

Protesters in Australia, they have already started to gather for rallies in support of Black Lives Matter. And a rally in Sydney going ahead as a court ruled to overturn a previous protest ban because of social distancing rules.

Let's get a sense of what those protests look like right now. Journalist Angus Watson joins me now live from Sydney.

Angus, good to see you. And Australia is a case in point, where local issues are really sort of a dominating factor. There is a big issue with police relations with indigenous Australians.

ANGUS WATSON, JOURNALIST: Absolutely, Michael, these protests here today are inspired by what's happening in the U.S. People are hyper aware of that. And they are very supportive of that.

But here we have our own issues in Australia as you know; 432 indigenous people have died in police custody over the last (INAUDIBLE) Australia and there's never been a single conviction.

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WATSON: So people here are, about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 people here in Central Sydney, angry about that, they want their voices heard, they feel like there has not been any conviction, there has not been any justice.

These protests in Sydney here today are matched across the country in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and other centers. People saying that they're angry, they're fed up and they want to be heard.

HOLMES: I want to ask you to about obviously Australia has fared comparatively well compared to the U.S. with coronavirus. But that was an issue when allowing these protests to go ahead.

WATSON: Absolutely. Yesterday you had the premier of New South Wales say that these protests should not go ahead, the police commissioner said they should not go ahead, the prime minister of Australia said they should not go ahead. And the New South Wales (INAUDIBLE) took the extraordinary step of taking the situation to the New South Wales supreme court.

But the New South Wales supreme court said that this protest shouldn't go ahead. That was last night, it said that because of COVID-19, because of the public health order that is out it would be dangerous for this to happen. But at the last hour the 11th, hour just now as the protest was

continuing, as the protests have just begun, a court of appeal of the organizers went and sought their advice, said the protests should be allowed to happen. So all the protesters that you see here are doing so absolutely legally and everybody taking up (INAUDIBLE) to keep (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: Good to have you there on the spot, Angus Watson, appreciate it there in Sydney. There also demonstrations around Australia, appreciate you being with us.

Now in the U.S. we have seen police officers bridge the divide with protesters by taking a knee, even dancing sometimes. Taking a knee a symbolic gesture of solidarity that has now been adopted by at least one world leader. CNN's Paula Newton reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been a day of protests right across Canada. People took to the streets in multiple cities, thousands, really denouncing racism, not just from what they've seen in the United States but systemic racism that they say exists right here in Canada.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau made an unexpected visit to the Ottawa protest, even taking a knee, which was a very powerful image on the streets even as some people denounced his actions earlier in the week, when it took him 21 seconds to decide whether or not he would denounce the actions of U.S. president Donald Trump.

But at the prime's minister side was one of his cabinet ministers, Ahmed Hussen, who has spoken so forcefully and eloquently about his own struggles with racism in Canada. I want you to take a listen.

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AHMED HUSSEN, CANADIAN MP: I think it's pretty powerful when you have the head of government coming and listening and taking a knee and being there and applauding when people say black lives matter. And I agree with him completely.

All lives will not matter until Black Lives Matter, it's just that simple. And people need to understand that. When people say Black Lives Matter, they're not saying that other lives don't matter; they're saying that black lives matter, too.

NEWTON: As powerful and symbolic a gesture as it may have been, many Canadians have been demanding this week that they get the systemic change that they have been asking for. And not just for the black community and other minorities but with indigenous peoples.

Two shocking, violent events this week alone in Canada, between law enforcement and indigenous peoples, have absolutely shocked the country. And for that reason they are looking to the Trudeau government to make those systemic changes that have been promised for so long -- Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Protests flared up again Friday in Mexico's second largest city after a 30-year-old man died in police custody last month. Authorities trying to clamp down on the growing anger but the protesters are not backing down. Matt Rivers with their story and a warning: some of the images are graphic.

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MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jivani (ph) Lopez was arrested the night of May 4th, video of the scene outside of Guadalajara, Mexico, shows the 30-year-old struggling with police.

People nearby can be heard saying the police arrested him because he wasn't wearing a face mask, though authorities say he was detained not because of mask issues but for, quote, "acting violent," without giving more detail.

"You can't treat him like that," somebody nearby shouts at police.

"If you kill him, we know you."

The next day, Jivani was dead. Authorities would only say he died in police custody. They won't say how it happened and police have not answered our request for comment. They have arrested 3 people, including one cop.

But a month later, people are still angry. Peaceful protests against police brutality Thursday in Guadalajara turned violent. Police vehicles were destroyed, set alight or smashed in; protesters brawled with police in the streets, as some sprayed "asesinos," "murderers" on government buildings.

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RIVERS (voice-over): But the enduring images from the day will be this, police officer standing in the street when someone comes up, pours liquid on his back and sets him on fire. He runs away and his colleagues try and put out the flames. He is alive but he has severe burns across his body.

The video will likely take away from the message millions of Mexicans have tried to send for decades. They are tired of abuse from police. Jivani Lopez perhaps just the latest example of many -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: We will be right back after the break.

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(MUSIC PLAYING) HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers, all around the world, I'm Michael

Holmes>, You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

The U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, the biggest gain on record surprising some analysts but also, coming off a low base after recent drops. Friday, President Trump touted those numbers and in doing, so invoked the memory of George Floyd.

But what Mr. Trump failed to mention is that unemployment is still dismal among minority communities. As CNN's Cristina Alesci shows us, the wage gap between black and white Americans could actually be getting worse.

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CRISTINA ALESCI, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: Trump glossed over the racial disparity in the jobs number but, make no mistake about it. Economic disparity is persistent in this country between white and black Americans.

This is something Dr. Martin Luther King talked about extensively and the problem has only gotten worse.

Take, for example, the wealth gap in this country between non-Hispanic black households and the typical non-Hispanic white household. That divide is wider today than it was at the beginning of the century.

And just to give you more context on that, the typical black household has only been able to accumulate a 10th of the wealth as the typical white household. Part of that has to do with the income gap with the typical black family or household, only being able to generate a little less than 60 percent than their white counterparts.

The administration will point to the fact that the unemployment rate between these 2 groups, that difference has narrowed over the years but that does not help much if those jobs are not paying people enough to keep them out of poverty.

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ALESCI: If you look at the poverty rates, you will see it is almost 21 percent for blacks while 8 percent for whites. Another big issue, right, now in terms of economic disparities, is the fact that black workers are also 60 percent less likely to have health insurance, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

And the coronavirus, once again, experts are saying, that all of these injustices and inequities are contributing to a higher death rate for black Americans versus white Americans.

We cannot separate any of this data from what is happening in the streets every day. Of course, the undercurrent of racial disparities and economic issues is really driving a lot of anger and the frustration that we see and hear every day.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: Cristina Alesci.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Now here to discuss more, Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic."

And always a pleasure to see you, sir. I want to talk about the article you wrote in "The Atlantic," which is an important one.

But before we get there, first of all, when it comes to Donald Trump, the number of military officials and others apparently turning on him for how he has handled the protest.

You had the former Defense Secretary Mattis but then several more senior generals backing Mattis or speaking out against Trump politically.

How significant is that?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Extraordinary, unprecedented words we've used often in the Trump presidency. But potentially, very significant. In one particular respect, you have General Mattis; General Dempsey, the former head of the Joint Chiefs; General Mullin, the former head of the Joint Chiefs; two former Defense Secretaries who used to be Republican senators, Bill Cohen and Chuck Hagel, as part of a piece today that written by 79 former Defense Department officials, all raising alarms about Trump.

You could say, well, so what?

The so what is that this I think adds to what they often call here in the U.S. the permission structure, for former Republican voters to say that this is just too much. In particular, college educated white men in the suburbs.

We know women moved very sharply against Republicans in 2018 but the men are a tougher hill for Democrats to take. You have to think, if a coalition, a phalanx of generals would have an impact, that could be the audience where you could lose some votes.

HOLMES: There it is, you make the significance clear to all. Ron, a fascinating piece you wrote in "The Atlantic." I will quote one line from it.

You said, "The nation's largest metropolitan areas are now being squeezed by external threats and an internal eruption along their deepest fault line."

Explain what these George Floyd protests have exposed.

BROWNSTEIN: I grew up in New York in the 1970s and the late 20th century was an era of decline for almost all of America's major cities. There is a major billboard in Seattle, will the last person to leave Seattle turn out the lights?

And that's what it kind of was like. It was the era of for to New York drop dead (ph).

In the 21st century, we've seen a big turnaround. We've seen an economic revival in many of our major cities and, in fact, today, the 100 largest counties in America, out of the 3,100 in America, account for a majority of our economic output and nearly half of all of our jobs.

But there is a crack in the foundation of this new prosperity in our cities and that is that racial inequity and racial segregation remains undiminished and in some ways even intensified.

Cristina was talking about the gap between the average wage for a white and person of color worker in our major cities, almost all of it is wider today than it was in the period of decline. Segregation for black students, K-12 students in our schools peaked in 1988 and has been declining since then.

The poverty rates are 2, 3, 4 -- Minneapolis, it's 4 times as high for people of color than for whites. I think all of this underlies, as the report noted, the immediate issue of how police are treating African American communities.

There is a structural inequality in our cities producing a lot of high end, very well paid Info Age jobs but an awful lot of low paid service jobs around that.

HOLMES: Exactly. This presidency has been marked by a president, who has repeatedly slammed major cities, Democrat led ones anyway. Everything from corrupt to rat infested and so on.

What has been the impact of that?

BROWNSTEIN: I think this is really fascinating. In 2016, I mentioned those 100 largest counties that now account for a majority of the GDP. Trump lost those 100 largest counties by a combined 15 million votes, an almost unimaginable number. They provided over half of Hillary Clinton's total vote in 2016.

And in office, rather than trying to court them, court the big cities where he struggled so much.

[01:35:00]

BROWNSTEIN: He has been much more prone to use them as a foil and to present them as a threat to his base in non-metro America, that they are rat infested, that they are corrupt, that they are overrun with homeless and his policies have consistently pushed at the interests or contradicted the interests of these large cities, whether it's trying to cut off funding for immigration or ending the federal deductibility of taxes.

And I think if you add to that, the impact of the coronavirus being heaviest in these big metro centers and all of these protests that have emerged, the likelihood, is that Trump will lose these 100 largest counties I think by even more in 2020 than the 15 million he did in 2016, which are requiring to squeeze even bigger margins out of small town and rural places that are not adding population and, in many cases, are losing population.

HOLMES: That was my next question. When it comes to the election, many of these less populated areas in states that have supported Donald Trump, they play an outsized role in the election.

A lot of people around the world, I've been here 25 years, I'm not sure how I understand how it works, that outsized role in the election.

How might that play out?

BROWNSTEIN: The reason is our constitutional structure, by giving 2 senators to each state, no matter how big they are, and also having that influence, the Electoral College, means that small, rural, predominantly white states, without big metros, largely untouched by the demographic, cultural and economic changes transforming America, have an outsized influence in our politics.

Trump was able to consolidate the parts of non-metro America that feel the most embattled by the changes of remaking America.

He won -- Hillary Clinton won 87 of the 100 largest counties in America by a combined 15 million votes. He won over 2,600 of the other 3,000, the most of any candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984. So it really was the widest gap we have seen between town and country.

And I would not be surprised if it is even wider in 2020. We saw, in 2018, a big movement away from the Republicans and the white collar suburbs of many of the major cities, not only places like Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Minneapolis that have been historical Democratic but even places like Richmond and Charleston and Houston and Dallas and Atlanta, where we've not seen it before.

I think the question Republicans should be asking themselves tonight is, is there any city in the country that would welcome this president, at this moment, as a calming and unifying force?

And what does it mean for the party if the answer is no in the very places that, as we said, in the beginning, are once again the fulcrum of growth, dynamism, innovation in the economy?

I sometimes say American politics can be reduced to a single question. How long can Paducah tell Seattle what to do?

(LAUGHTER)

HOLMES: Exactly. Ron Brownstein, always a great conversation with you. I urge people to check out your article in "The Atlantic," thank you so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you for having me.

HOLMES: Despite the massive outcry against George Floyd's death, we keep seeing police using excessive force. Brian Stelter shows us the frightening incidents against peaceful protesters and reporters just trying to do their jobs. This report does include disturbing video. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Caught on camera, from coast to coast, alleged excessive force by police officers. Attacks against protesters, who are demonstrating against police brutality, is, in some cases, inspiring even more people to take to the streets.

One of the newest examples, from Buffalo, New York, a 75-year-old peace activist, shoved to the ground. Police, walking by while he bleeds from the head. The man, now hospitalized, and two officers, now suspended without pay.

But what if a reporter had not been filming?

The police initially claimed, in a statement, that the man tripped and fell until more videos surfaced.

From driving a police car into a crowd, to firing tear gas on demonstrators marching on the freeway, it is enough to leave "New York Times" columnist Jamelle Bouie to say, "The police are rioting."

Often, the video evidence comes from protesters. This man, seen at a Kansas City protest, holding up his own phone, speaking his mind, when the video shows police approach and fire pepper spray. The video, now seen millions of times on Twitter.

TV news crews, across the country, are capturing aggressive police responses. In Atlanta, a college student, tased in his car. His passenger, yanked away. Two of the officers, now fired. Some reporters say they have also felt that police muscle firsthand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm getting shot.

STELTER (voice-over): In Louisville, pepper balls fired at a crew on live TV.

[01:40:00]

STELTER (voice-over): In Washington, Australian reporters say they were punched and pushed. The shocked correspondent saying the police were quite violent. The police union said the TV crew, quote, "may have fallen."

Press freedom groups are sounding alarms, writing letters to local authorities, counting more than 300 press freedom violations nationwide. Activists' groups are speaking out to protect peaceful marches.

The ACLU saying, "Now, more than ever, law enforcement should be respecting the First Amendment rights of people who are protesting in the streets, not attempting to silence them with punitive measures, crowd control weapons and blatant brutality."

STELTER: Now camera phones are also showing the very stressful positions that police are in with some officers in dangerous situations, like when they're being hit by thrown objects. Also, cell phone videos are showing us how some officers try to de-escalate tensions.

All of those things are true. But at the same time, these videos of police escalation are leading many to question the tactics that are being used nationwide.

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HOLMES: Brian Stelter there.

Now CNN and Sesame Street, teaming up today for a new town hall to help kids and families discuss racism and the protests taking place worldwide. The hour-long special, "Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism," will be hosted by CNN commentator Van Jones and CNN anchor Erica Hill, along with Sesame Street's Big Bird, Elmo and other Muppets and cast members.

Check it out, that will be 10:00 am Eastern time U.S., here on Saturday, right here on CNN.

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HOLMES: The World Health Organization now says all countries should encourage their citizens to wear face masks in public. The WHO also says masks alone are not enough to protect us from getting COVID-19.

In Brazil, cases are soaring and the country is reporting more deaths than Italy, which was previously ranked third worldwide. Even then, some areas are reopening, Brazil's president, appearing to blame the WHO for the crisis, even though he is accused of acting too little, too late.

He is actually threatening to leave the WHO for what he calls. ideological bias. He also mentioned the U.S. president's recent announcement that he was terminating his country's relationship with the WHO in the middle of a pandemic.

It is exactly because of coronavirus that some officials in Europe and Australia, to name a few, are worried about this.

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HOLMES (voice-over): Streets packed with protesters, chanting, screaming, potentially, coughing because of tear gas, essentially a lot of behaviors that can help the virus spread. Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, explains what some of the other pitfalls are.

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DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there's no question there is a concern, when you look at what's happening with these protests from a coronavirus standpoint. Obviously these protests are very meaningful and important.

But the idea that the virus is somehow changed, that is not the case. The virus is still out there, it is still very contagious. So when you look at these images a couple things to keep, in mind.

A lot of people are wearing masks. That's good. We know masks can have a significant impact on the spread of the virus. These protests are mostly outside, so that's also good because the virus will disperse more into the air.

But people are in close proximity, they are obviously not physically distancing, in some of these images, and they are staying in these positions for longer than 10 or 15 minutes. So you have many situations where you have close contact.

And if people then are subsequently diagnosed with the infection, the question, how do you go back and trace all the contacts of people in the middle of a protest?

It's very hard to do. As a result we would have a hard time ever knowing how much of an impact these protests have overall on new coronavirus infections.

Keep in mind, at the same time, the country is starting to reopen, so you have 2 of these forces happening at the same time, which is going to make it challenging. Protesters need to do their best obviously to try and curb the spread of this virus and also think about, after they go home, what might they do to potentially not spread the virus to people within their family, within their community.

That's all going to be sort of very important for the next several weeks. We may not know the impact of this for a few weeks as well because between the time of exposure to the time of getting tested, the time of developing any symptoms for these people who do develop symptoms, it could be several weeks so we will keep an eye on it.

I want to show you quickly just this map of what's happening here in the United States week-to-week. You get an idea of places where the number of new patients with coronavirus are increasing and decreasing.

And if you look at the maps, you know they change quite a bit and not just week to week but even day-to-day.

Also look at the graph of new coronavirus cases and you can see here, get some idea of the overall trend line. There are some states where you have had the highest number of new infections reported.

Part of that is because of increased testing but part of that is because the virus continues to spread. So as states reopen, people are doing a reasonably good job of trying to maintain that physical distance, of trying to wear masks. Hopefully that will help.

And only time will tell just how much of an impact. As we get more information about all this, we'll certainly bring it to you.

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HOLMES: All right, our thanks there to Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

So where are scientists in the global hunt for a coronavirus treatment?

Elizabeth Cohen tells us.

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ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There is a race on to get a vaccine for COVID-19. And scientists are working faster than they ever have before. It's really quite unprecedented. Let's take a look at some of the progress thus far.

There are 133 teams worldwide that are developing a vaccine; 10 are in human clinical trials, meaning they're actually trying them out in humans; 123 are at preclinical stages, meaning they're working with animals or they're working with the lab. Let's take a look at where these 10 teams are that are in clinical trials.

There are three in the USA, Moderna, Inovio and Novavax; there is one in the U.S. and Germany, Pfizer and BioNTech; one in the United Kingdom and that's AstraZeneca, which is teaming up with the University of Oxford; and there are five in China.

It's unclear which of these is going to finish first and more importantly, it's unclear which of these are going to work. We know that some of them won't work; that's why we have so many shots on goal, so to speak. Let's take a listen to what Dr. Anthony Fauci at the U.S. National Institutes of Health had to say about this.

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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It means at risk for the investment. So we are going to start manufacturing doses of the vaccines way before we even know that the vaccine works.

We may know whether it's effective, efficacious or not by maybe November-December, which means that by that time we hopefully would have close to 100 million doses.

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COHEN: By manufacturing while they are doing research, what that means is that, if a vaccine works, then there should be a supply of doses ready to go immediately. It also means that, if some vaccines don't work, then they will have been produced basically for nothing.

But it's been decided that that is worth it in order to try to have enough vaccines for the entire world as soon as possible.

Now this progress being made not just on vaccines but also in treatments of various kinds. There is some news out this week about famotidine. Many people know famotidine even if they don't know it by that name; in some places, it's sold under the brand name, Pepcid.

It's a very common heartburn remedy and there's been some thought that this might actually help against coronavirus.

[01:50:00]

COHEN: What researchers found and what they published in a medical journal this week is that 10 patients, who took it when they were home sick with COVID, did find some relief. Now that doesn't mean that the drug did it; it may have been that they were just naturally going to get better anyway, which, of course, most COVID patients do, especially if they are at home.

But it could be that the famotidine played a role. So now they're going to plan a large clinical trial where half of the patients will be getting famotidine, half of the patients will be getting a placebo and they will see who does better -- back to you.

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HOLMES: Elizabeth Cohen, our thanks.

Now the commissioner of the NFL has apologized for how the football league has handled race relations. When we come back, what players are saying about his remarks and whether a personal apology will be issued to the activist athlete, Colin Kaepernick. Will be right back.

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HOLMES: The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, posted a video on social media, admitting that the league was wrong for not listening to players' concerns about racism. But he also didn't address Colin Kaepernick and the controversy of taking a knee in protest during the national anthem.

CNN's "WORLD SPORT's" Patrick Snell with the latest.

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ROGER GOODELL, NFR COMMISSIONER (voice-over): We at the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We at the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): NFL commissioner Roger

Goodell is speaking out with a full and frank admission. The league's chief power broker reflecting Friday on what he called a difficult time for the country and in particular black Americans.

GOODELL (voice-over): We at the National Football League believe Black Lives Matter. I personally protested with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.

Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff.

SNELL (voice-over): It comes after a video featuring over a dozen of the league's stars challenged the NFL to take a strong stance following the death last month of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will it take?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not be silenced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We reserve our right to peacefully protest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shouldn't take this long to admit.

SNELL (voice-over): Racism has been a big issue in the NFL, especially since the then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick faced a backlash from the league and others for kneeling before games during the U.S. national anthem, in protest at police brutality.

SNELL: In fact no team has offered a contract to Kaepernick since 2017. And tellingly, he wasn't even mentioned in that video from the commissioner. Roger Goodell says he will be reaching out to players individually; whether that includes Kaepernick, though, remains to be seen -- Patrick Snell, CNN, Atlanta.

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Corporate America speaking out against racial inequality in ways they have never have before, many voicing horror and anger over the death of George Floyd but is it sincere?

Will it last?

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HOLMES: Abby Phillip reports.

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ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started as a trickle. Silicon Valley companies like Salesforce and Apple speaking out, days after the killing of George Floyd, but now it has become an avalanche, as corporate America breaks its silence on race amid nationwide protests.

PROTESTERS: Don't shoot!

PHILLIP: The leaders of America's most powerful businesses are facing pressure from their customers and employees to act.

MARK STEWART, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, NORTH AMERICA FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES: I say to you today no more. No more. Racism of any kind is decisive -- divisive, it's ugly and it brings about the worst of humanity.

PHILLIP: Ben & Jerry's, the Vermont-based ice cream company that is no stranger to activism, offering one of the most strongly worded statements, calling for concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms.

CHRIS MILLER, BEN & JERRY'S CORPORATE ACTIVISM MANAGER: In order for us to make the kind of progress that we need as a nation and as a society, it requires us to acknowledge and to embrace some hard truths.

PHILLIP: Nike flipping its iconic slogan "Just do it" on its head, now pleading, for once, don't do it. Don't turn your back on racism.

And nine of Detroit's largest businesses including General Motors CEO Mary Barra, now coming together to pledge that they will push for action.

MARY BARRA, GENERAL MOTORS CEO: We will stand up against injustice and that means taking the risk of expressing unpopular or polarizing points of view, because complacency and complicity sit in the shadow of silence.

PHILLIP: It's a dramatic change for predominantly white corporate America. But for some, the outpouring of support for protests rings hollow. Democratic Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez blasting companies for releasing bland statements with a hashtag, tweeting, your statement should include your org's internal commitments to change.

Activists also penning this statement from the National Football League which they noted failed to mention policing or racism at all. And it comes four years after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protest against police brutality prompted a threat from the league to punish players who knelt during the national anthem.

Today, something has changed and for the companies like Ben & Jerry's that have long spoken out, it's overdue.

MILLER: Typically, what companies do is use that power to advance their own narrow self-interests. There is a cost to that. That if the rest of the society is burning down around us, can't have a healthy company in a sick society. PHILLIP: These statements in large part are welcome. But we are starting to hear some criticism increasingly of these companies, saying, what are you doing beyond writing a statement to promote diversity within your companies?

How diverse is your board?

Are you hiring black employees?

Are you promoting them and are you paying them fairly?

There is increasingly a sense that these companies need to match their words with their actions.

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HOLMES: Abby Phillip reporting there.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes. I will have more news after the break.