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New 2020 Race Poll Numbers; Two Officers Charged in Shoving Incident; Remnants of Storm Wallop Louisiana; Outlook for Storm Remnants across the U.S.; College Athletes Test Positive for Coronavirus. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired June 8, 2020 - 06:30   ET



DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Eighty-four percent. That is a much bigger number than we saw just four years ago when we asked this question, when we saw some protests against police brutality.

Take a look here about Donald Trump's response to the protests. Two- thirds of the country, John, thinks his response has been harmful. Only 26 percent say that his response has been helpful.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It is interesting, David, I know you've heard it from me in text messages and our viewers have heard it from watching, it seems to me it's possible the so-called silent majority, if there ever was one, it used to mean law and order overs, white suburban voters who, you know, felt a certain way, there may be a silent majority now, but they think differently. It's a silent majority who wants to see progress in racial justice and is concerned, perhaps, about systemic racism. What are we seeing in terms of the head-to-head matchup between the president and Vice President Biden?

CHALIAN: Well, as you noted at the top of the segment, I mean the -- the -- it's a 14-point gap there. Right now we have Joe Biden at 55 percent, Donald Trump at 41 percent. I will note, that's the highest number in the head-to-head matchups that we've had in CNN polling for Joe Biden. But it -- it is sort of mirroring what we're seeing across the board in a lot of polling.

Take a look at the trend line here. You see, this has been an advantage Joe Biden race pretty much since its inception in the Biden versus Trump matchups across the board. Again, not just in CNN polling.

Take a look at what you were just saying also about sort of law and order and what have you. Race relations is now a top of mind issue for voters. It is right up there, 42 percent call it extremely important with the economy and health care. That is new in light of what we've seen. And take a look at how that splits by the presidential vote, right? For who would better handle race relations, 63 percent say Joe Biden. 31 percent say Donald Trump. Who could better handle coronavirus, 55 percent, Biden, 41 percent, Trump. That mirrors the overall race there. And the economy is the one place where Donald Trump is besting Joe Biden on an issue by a much narrower margin, five-point margin, 51 percent to 46 percent. That's why you saw the president, on Friday, so eager to go into the Rose Garden and try to capitalize on some better-than-expected economic news because it is the issue right now that he wants to lean into. It's his almost only strong suit at the moment.

BERMAN: Right, it is -- he, obviously, wants to talk about the economy.

On the other issues, think about the way he's been leaning into things with the law and order, with the military presence on the streets. It isn't what our poll is saying the American people want to hear. In some ways, it very well may be directly backfiring. It's just interesting to see what he chooses to lean into and the response there.

Some of the reaction, we've also seen, David, and I want to play some sound from yesterday, we have heard from many largely retired military leaders about how they think the president has handled the unrest in the country. This was former secretary of state, former general, Colin Powell, with Jake yesterday.


GEN. COLIN POWELL (RET.), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: And I certainly cannot in any way support President Trump this year.

I'm very close to Joe Biden in a social manner and on a political manner. I've worked with him for 35, 40 years, and he is now the candidate and I will be voting for him.


BERMAN: Now, look, you know, Colin Powell supported Barack Obama. He voted for, all be it meekly supporting Hillary Clinton. This is an early statement of support for Joe Biden and we're seeing it amid all these retired military leaders. You know, General Mattis and others coming out in varying degrees saying they do not like what they see from President Trump. It is interesting.

CHALIAN: Right, you say we see some that are just stepping away from Trump. Some, like Colin Powell, actually going over the line there and saying, I am going to vote for Joe Biden and support Joe Biden.

But I will note, as you said, the American people, when the -- when the president sort of threatened to use military force in response to what you're seeing play out across cities, overwhelmingly in our poll a majority of the American people say, that's not an appropriate use of the military. And I think you see former military leadership right here in line with the American people on that.

BERMAN: All right. David Chalian, it's great to have you on. Everyone should take a look, dig into these numbers. They are very interesting. It's always the trends that are the most interesting.

Great to have you on, David.

CHALIAN: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: All right, chaos at a protest in Seattle. One person shot after a car nearly plows into a crowd. We have new video and some new reporting on this, next.



BERMAN: We're following breaking news out of Seattle. One person was shot after police say a man drove onto a street where protesters have been gathered for the past ten days. The suspect fled the scene but was later arrested. Police found a gun at the scene. The person who was shot is expected to survive. So far it isn't exactly clear why the man attempted to drive into crowd there.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Two police officers in Buffalo, New York, pleaded not guilty to assault for this scene that you saw last week. That's 75-year-old Martin Gugino. He was seriously injured after hitting his head on the pavement.

Joining us now from Buffalo is Vicki Ross. She's the executive director of the Western New York Peace Center. That's an organization where Martin Gugino also belongs and is very active.

Miss Ross, thank you for being here.

Do you -- first, let's just start with, how is Martin doing? Do you know his condition?

VICKI ROSS, FRIEND OF MARTIN GUGINO: Well, his family and his lawyer have been keeping things very private.

What we do know is that he is in stable condition, stable but serious is what we've heard. We don't know -- hopefully he's on the mend, but we -- the fact that they haven't said that it's not serious anymore is still a big concern.

CAMEROTA: And as I understand it, you've worked with him and known him for years. You're part of this peace organization.

ROSS: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And you were at that same protest with him, but left right before that incident happened where he got that head injury. And so just tell us about that. What was his goal that day?


ROSS: Well, first of all, I can tell you very certainly that I -- that Martin, as a member of the Western New York Peace Center, is a -- is completely committed to non-violence, to taking care of other -- of people and of making sure that we have our freedoms in place. So I can bet you that he was going over to speak to the officer, maybe he was trying to give the helmet back, we're a little unclear on what was go on there. But he would have been saying, well, you know, with the First Amendment rights, we should be able to be here. That maybe he had a problem with the curfew, et cetera. But he really is committed to non-violence. And as a longtime member of the Western New York Peace Center, as a person who is very devoted to the Catholic Worker Movement --


ROSS: Has been part of Witness Against Torture and actually very concerned about the Kings Bay Plowshares and their (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: Well, obviously -- let me just interrupt you because I was wondering about that helmet. I thought that it was his, but you're saying that that -- that the helmet that he was carrying, what -- do you know the story behind that?

ROSS: I don't know. But what I do know is that what people have asked is, tell -- tell us about Martin. I will tell you that Martin is totally non-violent. He's committed to non-violence. A very gentle person, very committed to non-violence to mean (ph) stop -- against racism, the violence of bigotry, of police brutality and of our imperial -- our greatest -- being the greatest purveyor of violence in the world is our (ph). So the nuclear threats, the -- the -- the --

CAMEROTA: Sure. Understood.

ROSS: All of that -- all of those concerns (ph).

CAMEROTA: I mean he sounds like he has devoted much of his life, his years to these causes, as you're saying.

And so when you saw that video of him being pushed and falling down, what was your reaction?

ROSS: Great grief. Great grief that our violent history and our believing that state-sponsored violence or any kind of violence is a solution. There is no violent solution. So that is what Martin would tell you.

And the other thing is that we -- we can create a culture of peace. And that's what we need to be doing. That is what the Catholic Worker Movement is about. That is what the poor People's Campaign, that's what the Western New York Peace Center.


ROSS: So he is -- being more non-violent and (INAUDIBLE) committed to a real democracy.

CAMEROTA: I want to quickly get to the statement from the attorney for the police union. So here's what that statement says.

ROSS: Sure.

CAMEROTA: In our view it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that a shove equals the officer's attempt to injure this fellow. There's a disconnect there. Why would you approach a line of police officers you know are trying to clear the area. They gave the command to clear the square. Why would you approach them if you weren't, you know, had a combative mind-set?

So just quickly, you're saying that he approached to talk to them.

ROSS: Again -- well, if you call it -- I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off.

CAMEROTA: Well, no, I mean I -- go ahead.

ROSS: If it's combative to want to discuss something -- people crazily think that they can talk to a police officer. I want to say, many of our police officers know how to talk to people and many don't. Some think that's not their job. Well, it is their job.

We, at the Western New York Peace Center, had a series called Speak Outs on Ethical Officers. To be an officer of the peace, you need to be able to -- you're skill to de-escalate is critical, absolutely critical. So he would have gone over to say, hey, I -- I don't agree with this curfew. That's what we would have done. I'm sure that's what he was doing. He somehow thought that they would speak with them and discuss it and then maybe -- if they would have arrested him, sure. His -- his friends -- I was just talking about the Kings Bay Plowshares, they are facing 20 years to going on to a -- the nuclear submarine base for --


ROSS: And, in fact, Liz McAlister will be sentenced today.


ROSS: So he would have been fine with being arrested.


ROSS: But he also wanted to have a conversation.

CAMEROTA: OK. Vicki Ross, that -- that helps us understand a little bit more of what we saw in that, you know, really alarming video.

So, thank you.

ROSS: Well, --

CAMEROTA: And we certainly hope that Martin is OK. And please give our regards to his family when you do talk to him.

ROSS: I will.

Can I just say one thing?


ROSS: The militarization of the police has to stop.

CAMEROTA: We will be having that conversation all morning and I'm sure for weeks to come.

ROSS: I see (ph).

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

ROSS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Really appreciate it.


Flooding rain and tornadoes off the Gulf Coast. We have a live report for you, next.


BERMAN: We have some breaking weather news.

What was Tropical Storm Cristobal is now tropical depression after making landfall on the Gulf Coast. Cristobal is the third named storm this hurricane season. There's been concern about flash flooding and life-threatening storm surges. And waterspouts, you can see, spotted off the coast of Florida. The system has already triggered reports of tornadoes in the state, including one as far away as Orlando in Florida.

CNN's Natasha Chen is live in New Orleans with the very latest.



Well, New Orleans really got lucky here. There were concerns of life- threatening flooding issues, but they didn't get hit too badly here. We're going to show you some video we shot yesterday by the lakefront, an area that's prone to flooding near the marina. They did see water levels rise there. But when we talked to residents, they weren't terribly concerned given the number of hurricanes they've experienced before.

Now, Grand Isle, a town on a barrier island, is also prone to flood during hurricanes. But even for a tropical storm, they did get quite a bit of flooding yesterday.


And we hear of other flooding happening in St. Bernard Parish, outside the city of New Orleans.

And like you said, this system, being very large, scattered across to other states. There were issues in Florida. As you mentioned, a waterspout there and tornado activity. So this really is very wide- ranging. And people in New Orleans are -- have been told by officials not to let down their guard, that they're still going to be quite a bit of heavy rain today and they want people to be careful about potential flash flooding. In fact, due to, you know, just absolute caution here, the city and

county offices are trying to close some of those operations today, close the buildings, just to be safe.

Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: Natasha Chen, thank you very much for all of that.

CHEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray is tracking the storm's path.

What are you seeing, Jennifer?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Alisyn, this storm is basically going to shoot straight north throughout the day today. So it's going to dump rain all over the Mississippi River Valley.

And we still have that threat of storm surge in the mouth of the Mississippi because this storm is still funneling all of that water northward. So, right now, winds of 35 miles per hour, gusts of 45, moving to the northwest at about 10 miles per hour. You can see, as we go throughout the day, that rain, heavily rain, all across north Louisiana, Arkansas, into Missouri. And we also have the threat for tornadoes, damaging wind, as well, as we often do with these tropical systems.

There's that flood threat. You can see, mainly for places like Jackson, Mississippi, Little Rock. Memphis included in that as well. And then the rain will spread even farther north from there as we go through the overnight into tomorrow.

So there's the track. You can see straight up into Canada, by the time we get into the end of the week. But here's the rain accumulation over the next three days. We could see two to four inches of rain across the Mississippi River Valley. So more flooding expected as it moves north.


CAMEROTA: Jennifer, thank you very much.

Now to this. Cases of coronavirus are cropping up on college football teams. How are universities handling this potential outbreak?



BERMAN: New this morning, we're getting new reports of a rising number of coronavirus cases among college athletes as they return to campus for workouts.

Andy Scholes with the very latest in the "Bleacher Report."

This will complicate things, Andy.


You know, and college athletes, they were allowed to start training again on campus June 1st. And, you know, preventing outbreaks, it's going to be one of the keys for college football's ability to return and play games this fall. Right now, Auburn athletics, their spokesperson confirms to CNN that three football players tested positive for the virus upon return to campus. The university says those players were asymptomatic. They've been placed in self-isolation in a dorm away from the rest of the team.

Now, "Sports Illustrated" and, meanwhile, reporting that at least five Alabama players have tested positive for the virus. One of which participated in a group workout. Now, Arkansas State says seven athletes from three sports also tested positive there, but they're not showing symptoms. Oklahoma State, Marshall, and Iowa state have also reported new cases within their athletics programs.

All right, President Trump, meanwhile, is reigniting the debate over whether NFL players should be allow to protest during the national anthem, aiming his criticism at Commissioner Roger Goodell. The president tweeted late last night, could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell's rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be OK for the players to kneel or not to stand for the national anthem, thereby disrespecting our country and our flag?

Now, on Friday, Goodell released this video saying that the league was wrong for the way it handled players supporting and they support -- they will support peaceful protests moving forward.

And, John, Adrian Peterson, the running back for the Washington Redskins, told "The Houston Chronicle" that he, without a doubt, is going to be kneeling during the national anthem for next season.

And remember when President Trump said that players should be fired back in 2017 if they weren't standing? We had teams across the league all kneeling in solidarity together. I would really expect something like that to happen when the NFL season begins.

BERMAN: And, again, Andy, we've been talking about it in a political sense. It does seem that a lot of what the president is doing is backfiring. He leaned into that issue on kneeling and then Drew Brees and his wife both came out with statements at the end of last week saying, no, no, no, essentially the president has it wrong here. We mean what we say when we apologized for that we've said before.

Andy Scholes, great to have you on. Thanks so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

BERMAN: We do have this brand-new CNN poll showing a huge drop in the president's approval rating and startling numbers in the 2020 election matchup. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The peaceful fight for change is continuing across America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to look at how we are spending the resources and invest more in our communities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild a new model of public safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not for abolishing the entire police department and I'll be honest about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The former officer at the center of the latest controversy, Derek Chauvin, will have his first appearance by video link to a judge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only will Officer Chauvin's conduct be on display, what others did during the course of his conduct will be on display. Did they hear George Floyd when he said, I want my mom, I can't breathe.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. And breaking overnight, the Minneapolis city council is vowing to dismantle the city's police department, claiming it cannot be reformed.


Lawmakers are promising to create a new system of public safety, but we don't know exactly what that looks like.