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CNN NEWSROOM

Martin Luther King III is Interviewed about Police Reform; Corporations Push to Act on Diversity; Three Key Studies on Coronavirus Vaccines. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 10, 2020 - 09:30   ET

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


[09:30:00]

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: That are being recorded. Now, that does not mean that policemen are bad. That means that training, that means that, you know, in the heat of confrontation, in a sense you have to also bring enough officers to the scenario so that you can bring officers in and out. You can't be in a traumatic condition 24/7 and then all of a sudden you have to act in a civil way. So that's why training is so important. That's why new reinforcements are important so that a different mindset exists. So there are a number of issues that have to be addressed almost in a very responsible way. I say responsible as opposed to tomorrow, because it won't happen tomorrow literally, but it can happen over a short period of time.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: I want to talk about national leadership if I can for a moment. And I want to show a picture from August 1963. This is when your father and other civil rights leader met in the Oval Office with President John F. Kennedy, a pivotal moment in the move for civil rights. I wonder if today you would like to see a similar meeting of the minds, discussion, meeting in the White House between civil rights leaders and President Trump. Would that help, in your view?

KING: I don't know. I always believe that you have to have dialogue. My father met with President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon in the late '50s, President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson and then President Johnson and Vice President Humphrey. So throughout his leadership, he was always in dialogue.

I believe dialogue is imperative. Whether it helps, I can't speak to that. But always, if you're at least talking to someone, you have the capacity to get their attention. And whoever is in the White House, even whatever he has demonstrated thus far, there needs to be some dialogue for sure.

SCIUTTO: I want to ask you about voting. You saw just the horrendous voting lines in Georgia yesterday. There had been issues there about reducing the number of polling places and whether that disproportionately affects black neighborhoods. And you have other states around the country pursuing voter ID laws, which also tend to disproportionately affect African-American voters.

Are you concerned that today, in the year 2020, there are efforts in this country to suppress the votes of black Americans?

KING: There's no question that that is in fact the case. And I am certainly very concerned. I think one of the issues we've talked about all along is voter suppression. Whether it was the election just on yesterday or previous elections. This has happened over and over again. Many of us fought to make sure we had paper ballots to document along with the automation of technology because the paper ballots would also be a second line of trail whereas I think Georgia has voted to just use the technology. So Georgia's just one of many states, as you've said. And if we don't deal with voter suppression, it's going to be interesting to see what happens in the election in November.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

KING: We have got to address that issue.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

KING: We should be making it much easier for people to vote, and we're not as a nation.

SCIUTTO: Final question, if I can. Your father famously said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. We heard Joe Biden echo those words last week.

I wonder, in all these years, seeing some of these persistent problems of racism, have you become more or less confident in that sentiment over those years?

KING: Well, I certainly believe the sentiment is true. I just believe that we, as human beings, and we as -- as who -- who we are -- and I say we, I mean it's eclective (ph). People have to speak up. People have to stand up. People have to represent. And that's what we see Americans doing all over this country and people all over the world. And when that happens --

SCIUTTO: Oh, oh, goodness, we lost -- listen, it happens in the age of Zoom. I'm going to get back to Martin Luther King III to allow him to complete his thought once we restore that connection.

But Martin Luther King III, thanks so much for joining us today and adding your voice to this discussion.

Oh, here he is. Martin Luther King III, finish your thought. We lost you to the vagaries of the Internet.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) our nation and all over the world standing up for justice.

SCIUTTO: We're going to have to --

KING: We have to help (INAUDIBLE).

SCIUTTO: Here's what I'm going to do, folks, I'm going to get his completed thought there and I'm going to share it on Twitter the moment I have it. [09:35:05]

But thanks very much to Martin Luther King III.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Next, has corporate America failed black America? We ask the head of one of America's biggest companies who has been sounding the alarm bells on this for years.

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HARLOW: Corporate America has failed black America. That headline from "The New York Times" this week quoting Darren Walker (ph), the president of the Ford Foundation. And the numbers say it all. There are only four black CEOs in the Fortune 500. Only four. And no black women.

[09:40:00]

In the wake of George Floyd's killing at the hands of Minneapolis police, companies have been making big donations to fight racism and injustice and issuing statements condemning police brutality.

But what is corporate America actually doing to lift up black Americans in their ranks and why haven't they done more sooner? I wanted to have this conversation with Tim Ryan, the chairman of PWC, because he's been ringing the alarm bell on this for years, ever since one of his own employees, Botham Jean, a 26-year-old senior associate of PWC was shot and killed by an off duty police officer in Dallas in his own apartment while watching football.

Tim Ryan joins me now.

Good morning, Tim. Thank you for being here and for being a voice on this for many years.

Do you agree with that statement, that corporate America has failed black America?

TIM RYAN, U.S. CHAIRMAN AND SENIOR PARTNER, PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS: Poppy, I do. We -- corporate America has a long way to go. It goes beyond a great statement. It goes beyond a great speech. We need more action. I believe corporate America is equipped, but we need a sustained effort.

What's unfortunate is we seem to be having these killings every -- every time and so often and we need to make sure we don't lose the momentum and really take serious action.

HARLOW: When I first spoke with you about three years ago, you took the job and days after you became, you know, the head of the company, Philando Castile was killed by police, Alton Sterling was killed. You called that moment the unraveling of America. If that was the unraveling of America, what is this moment?

RYAN: This is -- this moment, what encourages me, and I use that word, the killing of George Floyd is horrible and, as you point out, in Dallas in 2016 we had events. We lost our Botham Jean. What we're seeing now is our people want more action. And I think that is a major opportunity for companies to say, we're not only condemning the killing of George Floyd and many others, but we are demanding action. And what's really important is, we make sure we sustain the dialogues that are happening all across this country in the business community and in our communities where we live. And we have a much deeper understanding of what our black citizens and fellow brothers and sisters live with every single day.

The biggest action we can take immediately is raise our awareness. At PWC, over the last 10 days, 14 days, we've had thousands of conversations that are now happening naturally where not only black people are sharing how they're feeling, but white people is acknowledging there's so much more to go in the level of understanding. That's critical.

HARLOW: I do think, though, it's got to be way beyond conversations, you know, that you guys have been having for years and that you have been a leading voice on.

I will tell you that I spoke yesterday with a former Fortune 500 CEO, who happens to be black, who told me, frankly, it's you guys, mainly white, mainly men, who lead the biggest companies in the world that have to be in the hot seat and have to actually affect change.

So do you agree with that assessment? And, if so, what is PWC changing in this moment?

RYAN: Yes, so, Poppy, I do, I do believe that CEO's are in the lead seat here. I believe CEO's drive the tone of their organizations. At PWC, we're taking a couple of critical changes on top of the work we've done over the last several years. I announced to my entire 55,000 people last Wednesday, we're going to make our diversity and inclusion strategic plan that we review with our board every year, we're going to make it transparent with all 55,000 people starting this summer. We'll lay out there the steps we're taking where we're succeeding and where we need to get a heck of a lot better because I think -- I think transparency drives that action.

In addition to that, we've announced -- we announced last week, we will form an enterprise wide diversity inclusion consult of our staff. In the hundreds of ideas that have been recommended, we will listen to them as to which ones we need to change at the firm because it's got to start at the ground level.

The last think I'd just say, Poppy, is, we're giving every one of our people a full paid week to spend with the community, to work with the public policy maker, non-profits, NGOs, who are individually they can spend the time to drive change as well. Those are meaningful, substantive actions that I think are important to really make sure we make sustained change.

HARLOW: Correct me if I'm wrong, Tim, and thank you for outlining those. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's never been a black person to hold your position at PWC, is that right?

RYAN: Yes, that is true, Poppy.

HARLOW: And.

RYAN: I will also point out that -- I'm sorry. I will -- I will point out that when you look at my leadership team, thanks to very thoughtful and deliberate succession planning for over a decade, my three major lines of business, two of them are headed up by black men.

HARLOW: Yes.

RYAN: And we are very well positioned for my successor to be diverse going forward.

HARLOW: I hear that and, frankly, it's one of the reasons I wanted to have you on. I fully appreciate and understand the optics of having two white people here having this discussion. But you have led on this. I just think it's important for people to see there just have not been black people elevated to the ranks of CEO in so many different companies.

If you look at your board, I know at this point there is one black board member.

[09:45:00]

And the reason I bring that up is because I was fascinated by the move that Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian made this week resigning from his board and encouraging his position to be replaced by a black member.

Do you think that is a model that corporate America should follow?

RYAN: I think corporate America needs to get diverse at every single level. And there's a long way to go. And it comes with deliberate, thoughtful planning and real commitment. And I'll give you an example, Poppy.

We made a decision three years ago to significantly redirect our recruiting. And we moved to a number of very strong HBCUs and community colleges. In the last two years we've seen record recruitment numbers because of deliberate action. I think those deliberate actions at every level, recreating, as well as advancement throughout an organization are needed and the CEOs need to lead that from the front to make it happen.

HARLOW: Yes. That's a very good point.

Let me ask you this finally because you have a lot of power as one of the big, you know, the big professional services firms because your clients are the biggest companies. And we saw earlier this year when Goldman Sachs said we will no longer take companies public if they do not have women and minorities on their board. I wonder if you think that model could be carried forward and should be carried forward to all of your clients to have similar standards, meaning, for you guys at PWC, are you considering standards like that saying, we will not take you on as a client if you don't have enough diversity at the top? RYAN: Yes, so, Poppy, we -- we will not do business with a company

that doesn't share our values and, in fact, even as very recently we've had a situation where a client, their values were questioned and we had a very direct dialogue with them. I think an organization who you do business with is very important and if they're not aligned with our values in what is important, then that is something we seriously are considering. And I think that whether it be Goldman's practice, or whether what we're doing around alignment (ph) of values, it's critically important.

HARLOW: Tim Ryan, I appreciate your time and I encourage people to go back and look at what you've written years ago on this issue and the changes you've been making for years. We look forward to what's to come. Thank you.

RYAN: Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: You got it.

Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, the U.S. is just weeks away from moving one step closer to a possible coronavirus vaccine. We're going to have more on what Dr. Anthony Fauci told me this morning about that effort, what it means to you. That's coming up.

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[09:51:50]

SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

The federal government is set to begin funding and conducting advanced studies of three experimental coronavirus vaccines. These will begin this summer. The story first reported by "The Wall Street Journal." Dr. Anthony Fauci tells me this is true, confirms the news and says the following, the coronavirus vaccine effort is progressing very well and we expect more than one candidate vaccine to be in advanced, clinical testing by early summer. This is good news for the overall coronavirus vaccine effort.

HARLOW: Yes, that's great news, Jim.

Let's talk about it with our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen.

Good morning, Elizabeth.

How big is this?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's certainly good news that these vaccine trials are going to start this summer. We've actually known that for some time. They'd been talking about July.

Actually, we thought that we had been sort of led to believe that more trials would be starting in July, but now it seems like maybe just one, maybe just Moderna, which is the company that's been working all along with the National Institutes of Health on coming up with a vaccine. But what Fauci told Jim earlier is Moderna and also AstraZeneca, which is making the vaccine that is -- was designed by the University of Oxford and also Jansen, which is a division of Johnson & Johnson, that those will be happening in the coming months.

It is said that this will be on 30,000 study subjects. It will be interesting to see if that indeed does end up happening. There is some concern that there will be cutting of corners and that they won't end up being done on 30,000, that it will be fewer.

SCIUTTO: We'll continue to watch that.

I want to ask, because as states, all 50 of them, have reopened to some degree, we're already seeing data about a resurgence of coronavirus infections, infections up in 19 states. How concerning is this to health care professionals, health experts and what does it mean for reopening? Does it mean that it's happening too quickly?

COHEN: It certainly is of concern, Jim, when you see 19 states have an uptick in cases, not surprising. When -- it's very simple. We've talked about this over and over again. The more you get people together, the more cases you're going to see, especially when they're not carefully socially distancing and certainly from pictures we've seen from Memorial Day weekend, celebrations certainly, graduation parties, we know that people weren't always socially distancing. So this is of great concern. It's very simple, if we can't be strict about things and if we can't stay away from each other, the numbers will go up.

HARLOW: How Americans are feeling is a big part of that, right, Elizabeth? Do they feel overly confident? Are they just going to go out and resume life as normal pre-Covid? What does our new CNN polling tell us this morning on that?

COHEN: All right, so, Poppy, let's take a look at those numbers. Basically the question was asked, what is your view? Is the worse yet to come or not? And so the view of -- in this poll is the worst is behind us, 47 percent, the worst is yet to come, 46 percent. So people are feeling sort of half and half on that.

But when you look back over time, certainly more people in April thought the worst was yet to come. And that view has sort of improved over time.

[09:55:00]

And then also, if we look at how comfortable people feel returning to their regular routine, they certainly feel more comfortable now than they did prior to that. And so, yes, there certainly is -- does appear to be an increase in comfort level. What strikes me about these numbers, Poppy, is that it very much is half and half. I think there's sort of a set of people who feel like, boy, I'm not feeling great about this, I'm still going to stay away from people as much as I can, whereas others are saying, oh, well, things have really changed, I can get out there. Two very different views. It's hard to bring an outbreak under control when you have people feeling so differently about what they ought to be doing. There's no uniformity.

HARLOW: Of course, just an added challenge. Good point. Elizabeth, thanks so much.

In just a few minutes, the brother of George Floyd is set to be on Capitol Hill. He will testify before lawmakers. This as Congress debates police reforms. We'll take you there live.

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