Return to Transcripts main page


Efforts Begin in Congress to Reform Police; GOP Silent After Trump Attacks Injured Protester; WHO Clarifies Comments on Asymptomatic Transmission of Coronavirus; NASCAR Allowing Fans Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 10, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Demands for racial justice have made police reform the consensus. How do you get over the finish line? That effort begins in earnest today.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And most Republicans are silent after a Trump tweet that even by a president's standards was hideous.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Wednesday, June 10th, 5:00 a.m. in New York.

The real test of whether George Floyd's killing can change the world begins today. Protests sparked by his death are now in their third week. The movement for police reform will be seen at its most personal today as his brother heads to Capitol Hill.

CNN has learned President Trump's top advisors are working on initiatives for police reform which the president could unveil as early as this week.

ROMANS: Now, Trump's team are encouraging him to be more empathetic on the subject of racism in America, but he has shown little interest in addressing questions of systemic racism at the heart of this protest. And some advisers believe the president's views are still tinged by his initial hard line stance toward the protests, which could be hard for him to walk back, frankly.

White House correspondent Boris Sanchez has more.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Laura and Christine, Philonise Floyd set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. George Floyd's brother is testifying at a hearing focused on policing practices and law enforcement accountability.

Floyd is going to be speaking in person. He's expected to present George's personal story and share his grief and anger over George's killing at the hands of police. Floyd's testimony is intended to build a case of systemic racism in law enforcement is real, and needs to be addressed. He's previously said that he wants police in this country to, quote, start doing their jobs the right way because in his eyes, they haven't for years and years.

He's already met privately with former Vice President Joe Biden. That was on Monday. Last week, he had a phone call with President Trump. Though he described it as brief and added, quote, he did not give me an opportunity to even speak.

Now, his testimony is coming as Democrats presented a bill on Monday that would drastically alter policing in the United States. Meantime, on the Republican side, White House officials, including chief of staff Mark Meadows traveled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss their plans. We know that South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is leading the way when it comes to some form of reform legislation for policing on the Republican side -- Laura and Christine.


JARRETT: All right. Boris, thank you.

Senator Scott says the White House and Senate are on the separate track on reforms, but could tomorrow together.

Republicans seem to realize that hammering a message of so-called law and order isn't going to work right now with images of harsh police tactics all over TV screens. So, what's actually in these early stage plans? Well, Republicans are calling for a review of no-knock warrants and withholding federal funds if departments fail to report use of force. Meanwhile Democrats are focusing on banning chokeholds, creating a national registry to track police misconduct and restrictions on the transfer of military grade equipment to police departments. A ban on chokeholds does have some Republican support and at least 11 cities and municipalities have already moved to ban chokeholds in policing.

ROMANS: All right. Friends and family gathered in Houston for an emotional final farewell to George Floyd.




ROMANS: Family members remembered Floyd as a gentle giant. Friends from his youth spoke fondly of his football and basketball skills.

Reverend Al Sharpton called Floyd an ordinary brother who has now become a symbol of a generational movement.

JARRETT: Also there, the families of Michael Brown, Botham Jean and Eric Gardner, other black men who were killed in police custody.

In a powerful prayer, Reverend Dr. Mary White spoke of George Floyd's cry for his mother as he struggled under the knee of former police officer, Derek Chauvin.


REV. DR. MARY WHITE: Master, we thank you for this celebration. We thank you for the life of George Floyd, o God that in a moment when he called out for his mama, we believe the ears of mamas across the nation reared up.


That the ears of mamas across this world heard his cry, even though for one mama, all mamas began to wail.


JARRETT: A horse drawn carriage brought George Floyd to his final resting place alongside his mother.

ROMANS: Prosecutors reportedly tried to strike a plea deal with Derek Chauvin in the days before he was arrested and charged with George Floyd's murder. According to Minneapolis TV station KMSP, the Hennepin County D.A. and U.S. attorney were involved in early negotiations with Chauvin, that was before the state attorney general took over the case. CNN has reached out to the Hennepin County district attorney's office for comment. No response yet.

JARRETT: While White House aides prepare to lay out their agenda for police reform, President Trump used his platform to prop up a conspiracy theory over peaceful protesters. He suggested the 75-year- old shoved to the ground in Buffalo was an operative of Antifa. Trump even questioned whether the entire incident was a set up.

Friends of Martin Gugino are having none of it.


JOHN WASHINGTON, FRIEND OF MARTIN GUGINO: It's absolutely ridiculous. Martin was at protest for years. He was a demonstrator. And he was the kind of guy that engaged the police in a conversation about what was happening.

KEITH GILES, FRIEND OF MARTIN GUGINO: When I saw my friend Martin being the victim of police brutality on that video, that was painful but this morning he was the victim of presidential brutality.


ROMANS: Republicans want no part in the president's conspiracy theory ducking questions all day.


SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND): I just saw the tweet and I know nothing of the episode. So, I don't know. I'm not fixated as some people.

REPORTER: What do you make of the president's tweet this morning? And does the president need to be more cautious about what he tweets?

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): I didn't see it. So I would have to -- I mean, you know, I'm sure that my office will leave me a copy of it. But I didn't see it.

SEN. MIKE BRAUN (R-IN): So no real response to it. But I don't think it should be surprising in general because he tweets a lot.

REPORTER: What about the president -- you saw the president's tweet this morning where he talked about this Buffalo protester.

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS): I haven't read the damn thing, I don't want to hear it.

REPORTER: What about the president's tweet? Was that appropriate, sir?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: As I said, we are discussing in the Senate Republican conference what response we think is appropriate to the events of the last two weeks.

MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I learned a longtime ago not to comment on tweets.


ROMANS: Two Republican Senators Mitt Romney and John Thune did take issue with the president's tweets.

Martin Gugino remains hospitalized. He's still in the hospital. He's been upgraded from serious to fair conditions.

JARRETT: We're now learning President Trump nearly fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper last week in their dispute over using active duty troops to put down nationwide racial justice protests. Several officials told the "Wall Street Journal" the president's advisors talked him out of it. The officials said Esper is prepared to resign.

"The Journal" also reports he's even written a resignation letter, but his aides convinced him not to go through with it.

ROMANS: The National Park Service is removing the metal fencing around Lafayette Square in Washington as soon as today. The fence was erected last week to keep protesters away from the White House. Since then, demonstrators converted it into a memorial wall with posters and names of black men and women who have died during encounters with police.

JARRETT: Major entertainment companies grappling with the protests are reexamining content.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just hold on and suck in.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: The movie classic "Gone with the Wind" pulled from HBO Max, a streaming platform owned by CNN's parent Warner Media. Much of the 1939 film is set on a Georgia plantation. It has been criticized for the ideal depiction of slavery. "Gone with the Wind" may eventually return with the explanation of its history and controversies.

Also, the long running TV show "Cops" was canceled outright by Paramount. The reality program at time glamorized police officers' use of force.

ROMANS: So interesting. "Gone With the Wind" is a classic, of course, but it needs context in today's -- in today's society.

All right. The Federal Reserve has stepped up with nearly unlimited and historic support for the economy during pandemic. Today, policymakers will announce what's next for interest rates and give their first economic forecast since the pandemic began. Rates are expected to stay at zero.

Fed Chief Jerome Powell has resisted pressure from the president to slash rates below zero even in the middle of a recession. Stocks have been barreling ahead though. Nasdaq topped 10,000 for the first time on Tuesday. Didn't close above there but still ended the day at record high. Nasdaq is up 11 percent this year.

Tech stocks have been impervious to the coronavirus recession. Take a look at the so-called FAANG, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google, all-big gainers for the year.

Investors still looking to the other side of the pandemic, but chance of second wave of inspection is still the risk for that recovery.


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the OECD, just said the global economy will take at least two years to recover.

JARRETT: Well, instead of declaring results, Georgia is now declaring investigations after a disastrous primary day. Problems across the state kept people waiting line to vote for hours. Polling places in dozens of precincts forced to stay open very late. It's all raising questions about whether a pandemic struck country will be ready to vote this fall.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher has more now.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Laura, Christine, there's no way that anybody who has been planning for this now twice postponed primary had hoped it would go the way that did it, at least around the city of Atlanta.

In Fulton and DeKalb counties, there were long lines where people waited upwards of five and six hours to cast their votes in that primary election here. Now, the state of Georgia had already had record turn out because of absentee vote by mail. They attempted to get people to send in those ballots because the secretary of state did warn that due to pandemic protocols there would be long lines and extensive wait times.

But this may have been more than many imagined. There are now investigations at the secretary of state's office has opened into DeKalb and Fulton county elections and the officials who work in those counties are asking for the governor to investigate the secretary of state, claiming they didn't receive enough state support. The secretary of state's office says that much of this had to do with being ill prepared, in their opinion.

We did talk to people who work these polls. Many of the poll workers had just been recruited. Much of this is due to COVID-19 pandemic. They consolidated even more so these polling locations, many of the poll workers were learning on the job on Tuesday, and Georgia debuted a new voting system that many voters had never seen before and those new poll workers weren't really sure how to operate.

Now, again, the state of Georgia, going to be looking into what happened here, Christine , to try to make sure that they don't see a repeat of this in November.


JARRETT: A lot of questions on what happened there. Dianne, thank you so much for that report.

Still ahead for us, new guidance overnight on how re-opening from coronavirus should proceed. A record number of new infections being reported in at least a dozen states.



ROMANS: The best way to re-open after coronavirus very gradually. Researches at Oxford University say new modeling shows lockdowns should be eased over time and government officials should not give into temptation to lift restrictions all at once. They say ending all restrictions abruptly risk a spike in cases that could overwhelm health care systems.

So, who gets restrictions eased first? The scientists say that could be based on functions critical to the economy and maybe getting schools back should be prioritized over work.

JARRETT: Coronavirus infection rates are easing in one time hot spots like Illinois and New York but some regions that avoided being hit hard at first are now recording record high numbers of new infections. Since the start of June, at least a dozen state are experiencing their highest seven day (AUDIO GAP) start of the pandemic. California, Florida, North Carolina and Texas are all struggling with escalating cases.

ROMANS: Ironically, the highest percentages of new cases are coming from place with much smaller populations, states like Oregon and Utah, areas that are low on resource. Health experts worry they will struggle to track these new cases. Another concern is the protests. Officials are concerned about the effect of so many people packed closely together on transmission rates.

JARRETT: Health care providers serving the poor will finally get federal coronavirus relief. Department of Health and Human Services plans to send about $15 billion to providers participating in Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program. The first $30 billion was doled out based on hospital's prior Medicare reimbursements not their share of coronavirus patients. That meant hard-hit areas didn't get an extra boost when they needed it most. The additional money will support hundreds of thousands of pediatricians, dentist, assisted community providers.

ROMANS: The World Health Organization walking back comments concerning the spread of coronavirus by people with no symptoms. The remarks spun confusion with major implications for social distancing.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explains.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Officials at the World Health organization are clarifying some comments they had made earlier about asymptomatic transmission. On Monday, they had said that asymptomatic transmission, meaning transmission without feeling symptoms, happen rarely. But then on Tuesday, they clarified and said we don't know how often it happens.

Well, both sets of comments had many infectious disease experts scratching their heads. They said it's clear that asymptomatic transmission happens. In other words, people don't realize they have coronavirus because they have no symptoms or only mild symptoms but they transmit it to someone else. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a third of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic.

This is why various organizations including the World Health Organization are urging people to wear masks. People should wear masks because they don't know if they have COVID and if they're capable of spreading it. That's why you should wear a mask. That's why you should socially distance. So, again, these World Health Organization comments have infectious disease experts wondering what they meant in the first place -- Christine, Laura.


JARRETT: All right, Elizabeth Cohen.

Brazil's president now seething on the WHO's about-face to cast doubt on the pandemic even as Latin America sees record spikes in case numbers.

CNN has the pandemic covered all around the world.




Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lashed out the at the WHO in a tweet after one of its officials suggested the spread of COVID-19 by asymptomatic people was rare. Millions were locked up at home, lost their jobs he tweeted. He also threatened to cut funds to the WHO like President Trump did.

In the meantime, coronavirus infections and deaths continue to shoot up in Brazil. More than 32,000 new cases and 1,200 deaths in the last 24 hours.


Wearing masks in public places in Spain will be mandatory even after the state of emergency is lifted on June 21st. That's for everyone 6 years and older when social distancing of at least five feet is impossible. There are potential fines of up to $110 for not wearing one according to a government decree.

Masks are required on public transport and workplace setting. Spain brought down its infection rate from the coronavirus. Officials hope masks will help keep it that way.


Here, an investigation has been opened by the Paris prosecutor into the handling of the coronavirus crisis. Now, he's made clear that this is not about defining political or administrative responsibility for the fight against the outbreak but rather for looking at specific incidents where potential criminal offenses may have been committed. One very simple example, for instance, the procurement of facemasks for front line workers. Were right decisions taken at the right time?

Here in France, the numbers continue to improve with the government strategy of gradually re-opening the country appearing to work. We're now fewer than 1,000 people in ICUs for COVID-19.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm David McKenzie in Johannesburg. The president of Tanzania has said that his country in East Africa is coronavirus-free by the grace of God. This comes after a U.S. announcement in May that cases were surging in that country, that there was very high risk of contracting COVID-19.

Now, there is certainly an atmosphere of fear in Tanzania with people we speak with to ascertain what's going on. I spoke to the head of the African CDC, he said there are cases in Tanzania. And he said any country that's failing in its fight against COVID-19 puts other countries at risk.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks to all of our reporters for those reporters. Now, the U.K. announcing the latest easing of lockdown restrictions even as the death toll from coronavirus remains stubbornly high there.

CNN's Scott McLean is live in London with the latest.

What will we see open up next?


So, the U.K. has one of the highest death rates, almost twice the number of deaths per million people than even the U.S. The U.K. recorded almost 1,400 new coronavirus cases and almost 300 new deaths in the last 24 hours. And yet, now, it's announcing easing of lockdown restrictions. Now, we're going to see zoos, drive-in movie theaters and non-essential retail stores, think clothing stores or electronic stores able to re-open with some restrictions as long as they are following the government's social distancing guidelines and sanitation guidelines as well.

It won't be until at least the next month, though, before we start to see things like restaurants and bars and barbershops and things like that open up. The government says the goal here is to avoid a second spike of cases but what the reality is that the U.K. is taking a much, much different approach than other hard-hit countries in Europe. Case in point, when Spain much at a similar point, similar numbers to the U.K., about a month ago, it was still on lockdown. It was much more cautiously re-opening, only allowing some remote islands with very few cases to start the re-opening process.

In Italy, when they were at a similar stage at the end of April or beginning of May, they were re-opening and requiring people to wear face masks in public. In U.K., face masks will only be required on public transportation starting on Monday. And even the enforcement, Christine, has been much, much more lax here.

Case in point, beginning this week, U.K. now requires incoming travel stories to quarantine for two weeks but the enforcement of that quarantine will not be done by in person shot checks, only a call.

ROMANS: Interesting. All right. Scott McLean for us in London this morning -- thanks, Scott.

JARRETT: NASCAR facing a pair of threats, big crowds and the Confederate flag. New details on how they are confronting one but not the other.



JARRETT: The Major League Baseball players associates has a new offer to salvage the 2020 season. It calls for an 89-game schedule with full prorated salaries and expanded playoffs. Under this proposal, the first game would be played on July 10th and the regular season would extend through October 11th. The owners' last offer called for 76-game season with the players getting 75 percent of their prorated salaries.

ROMANS: NASCAR plans to bring fans back to races. They will start Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and again June 21st at Talladega Super Speedway. All fans will be screened before entering and required to wear facemasks and maintain social distancing.

NASCAR is also grappling with the issue of the Confederate flag. Confederate flags after prominent site at some races. Many fans and black driver Bubba Wallace want them removed. A top NASCAR executive dodged the question during a media call yesterday.