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Washington Readies To Grapple With Policing Reform; GOP Silent After Trump Attacks Injured Protester; U.K. Grapples With Legacies Of Iconic Figures With Racist Histories. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 10, 2020 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Many fans and black driver Bubba Wallace want them removed. A top NASCAR executive dodged the question during a media call yesterday.

EARLY START continues right now.

Demands for racial justice have created a new consensus, police reform is needed. But how do you get over the finish line? That effort begins in earnest today.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And Republicans are silent after a Trump tweet that even by the president's standard was hideous.

Good morning, this is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour.

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.

Now, CNN has learned President Trump's top advisers are working on initiatives for police reform. The president could unveil something as early as this week.

JARRETT: Trump's team is apparently encouraging him to show more empathy on the subject of racism but this is not a person who has shown any interest in addressing issues of systemic racism at the heart of the protests. And even some of this own advisers will admit, though not publicly, a speech lacking genuine compassion on this subject right now will not help.

White House correspondent Boris Sanchez has more.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Laura and Christine, Philonise Floyd is 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.

Now, Floyd's testimony is intended to build a case that systemic racism in law enforcement is real and needs to be addressed. He has 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. And last week he had a phone call with President Trump, though he described it as brief and added, quote, "He didn't 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 up to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss their plans. We know that South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott is leading the way when it comes to some form of reform legislation for policing on the Republican side -- Laura and Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Boris, thank you for that.

Sen. Scott says the White House and Senate are on a separate track on reforms but could come together. So, Republicans seem to realize hammering a law and order message does not work, with images of harsh police tactics all over T.V.

So what's actually in these early-stage plans? Well, the Republicans are calling for a review of no-knock warrants and withholding federal funds if departments fail to reporter use of force. 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.

Now, a ban on chokeholds does have some Republican support. At least 11 cities and municipalities have already moved to ban chokeholds in policing.

JARRETT: Well, while White House aides prepare to lay out their agenda for police reform, the president is peddling a baseless conspiracy theory about a peaceful protester. 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. You know, Martin was at protests for years -- he was a demonstrator -- and he was the kind of guy that did try to engage 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: Now, Republicans want no part of 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 as fixated I guess 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'd have to -- I mean, you know -- you know, I'm sure that my office will be able to get 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.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What about the -- 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.

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

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): 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 long time ago not to comment on tweets.


ROMANS: Two Republican senators, Mitt Romney and John Thune, did take issue with the president's tweet.

Martin Gugino remains hospitalized and has been upgraded from serious to fair condition.

JARRETT: In the wake of George Floyd's death, several bodycam videos have been released showing what protesters say is an all too familiar reality. So far, we've seen deaths in Washington State, Texas, New Mexico, and New Jersey.

And families are now speaking out. Relatives of Manuel Ellis are demanding an independent investigation, saying police have repeatedly changed their story. Thirty-three-year-old Ellis died in police custody in Tacoma after being heard screaming "I can't breathe."

Police say they tried to arrest Ellis after officers saw him trying to open car doors of occupied vehicles.


JAMES BIBLE, ATTORNEY FOR MANUEL ELLIS' FAMILY: Later, they said he was hitting a woman's car. Later, they changed it to well, he was jacking cars or trying to break into cars. And then later, they said well, he charged the police officers and he picked one up and he threw him to the ground.


ROMANS: Tacoma's mayor has called for the four officers to be prosecuted. The local police union accuses her of a rush to judgment.

In Austin, body cam footage shows deputies pursuing 40-year-old Javier Ambler more than a year ago. He can be heard saying over and over "I can't breathe. I have congestive heart failure."


MARITZA AMBLER, JAVIER AMBLER'S MOTHER: I want these people to suffer exactly -- you know, go to jail. You know, be -- you know, be responsible for what -- you know, your actions.


ROMANS: The sheriff's department is defending its officers but the local prosecutor intends to present the case to a grand jury this summer.

JARRETT: And in New Jersey last month, a state trooper shot and killed Maurice Gordon. Officials say Gordon was pulled over for speeding and a scuffle ensued after he refused to obey the trooper's instructions. The attorney for Gordon's family says the state ignored a crucial request.


WILLIAM WAGSTAFF, ATTORNEY FOR MAURICE GORDON'S FAMILY: And to add insult to injury, yesterday, over my written objection to them releasing the video for public consumption before the family has the opportunity to review it in private so that they can process the video and get the opportunity to deal with their emotions, it's on YouTube before the family even learns about it.


JARRETT: The trooper is heard on video saying Gordon went for his gun during the struggle. The shooting remains under investigation.

ROMANS: All right, a time of reckoning in the United Kingdom. Iconic leaders -- even Winston Churchill -- facing a reexamination of their history. CNN is live in London.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

Despite claims by Vladimir Putin's government, Russia has clearly struggled to contain the spread of coronavirus.

CNN spoke exclusively with a top Putin aide who tested positive for Covid-19, himself. Here is CNN's Matthew Chance.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's accused of hiding the true extent of Russia's coronavirus pandemic with abandoning exhausted doctors to its ravages, using the lockdown to crack down on dissent. But the Kremlin's chief spokesman is now defending his country's coronavirus response.

CHANCE (on camera): Back in March, President Putin said the situation in Russia was under control -- in fact, better than in other countries. But within a few weeks, it had suffered the second-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world. What went wrong?

DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESMAN: Well, actually, nothing has went wrong except the coronavirus itself. Our country uses the maximum possible amount of tests for coronavirus and the more you test, the more you detect.

CHANCE (on camera): That -- it's not just the number of viral infections. It's the fact that the mortality rate, as well, is remarkably low and it sort of added to this suspicion that Russia has somehow been manipulating the facts, manipulating the figures, perhaps in order to prevent the Kremlin from being criticized.

PESKOV: No, I don't agree with that assessment. Have you ever thought about the possibility of Russia's health care system being more effective --

CHANCE (on camera): Is that your explanation?

PESKOV: -- giving an opportunity for more people to stay alive?

CHANCE (voice-over): In fact, the strain on Russian health care has been one of the most alarming features of Russia's pandemic. Across the country, doctors complaining of poor conditions, lack of personal protection equipment, and unpaid wages. There was even a spate of mysterious plunges of doctors out of high windows, perhaps a sign of desperation with their plight. There have been protests, too -- rare in Russia but still worrying for the Kremlin as approval ratings for President Vladimir Putin sink to all-time lows.


CHANCE (on camera): How concerned are you that this pandemic has dented the popularity of President Putin, perhaps irreparably?

PESKOV: President Putin has stated numerous times that he didn't care about his personal rating. That in politics, if you are a real statesman, you shouldn't think about your rating because if you think only about your rating you won't be able to make responsible decisions.

CHANCE (voice-over): Decisions like when to ease restrictions. Despite a stubbornly high infection rate, Moscow is now lifting its unpopular lockdown ahead of a key public vote to extend Vladimir Putin's rule. Maybe the Kremlin does care about ratings after all.

Matthew Chance, CNN.


ROMANS: We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Some of British history's most famous names are having their legacies reexamined as the country grapples with its own racist past.

Nic Robertson joins us live from London with the latest developments on this. You know, Nic, it's interesting. First, it was Colston, then it's Rhodes, now it's Churchill. It almost seems like this isn't a debate anymore.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: And I think that's the worry of politicians here at the moment if you look at what the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, did yesterday.

He came out, tried to get ahead of this and said look, we have got issues. There are issues with racism. We do need to reexamine our past. And, indeed, by the end of the day, had a former slave owner statue in the Docklands of London taken down.

He's trying to get ahead of it. He's saying let's rename places, let's look at different statues.

The prime minister has said don't go ripping these things down because you can get it moved -- you can get them moved by debating it, by talking about it, by electing members of Parliament who will -- who will do these things for you -- or get elected yourself.

The reality is for a lot of campaigners for these statues, like the one that came down in Bristol from the slave Edward Colston over the weekend, there have been 20 years of debate about it.

So there's a frustration. I mean, I think there's a recognition here in the U.K. that there is a possibility of being at an inflection point -- an inflection point that says we're so embedded in our history that defines the view of the U.K. so much -- the sort of colonists -- the colonial past. And yes, we want to forget the bad stuff.

We talk here in the U.K. about Sir Walter Raleigh as being a great explorer. But now, you know, the things that weren't taught in school, he was also a slaver as well. So there's a lot in the education of British people about that past that hasn't happened until now, and I think the education is beginning to happen.

So there's big focus in the country of what was its past and icons of the past -- talking about Winston Churchill as well. There were messages about him being a racist taped to his statue in Parliament Square over the weekend.

The conversation is yet to be had and this is what I found at the protests in Oxford yesterday where they wanted to bring down the statue of Cecil Rhodes from outside one of Oxford University's colleges.

The conversation about what the future is -- that hasn't happened. But, Britain is beginning to have that conversation about its past. That's the beginning. The statues coming down represent that and possibly here, a turning point.

JARRETT: Yes, such an important conversation, as you mention, about education and not sanitizing that past in history.

Nic, thank you, as always.

All right, now back to the U.S. where the first African-American ever named to head a branch of the U.S. military has been confirmed by the Senate. Gen. Charles Brown Jr. is now chief of staff of the Air Force. The U.S. military has long been known for a lack of diversity in its leadership.

Here's a little of what Brown said last week.


GEN. CHARLES BROWN JR., AIR FORCE CHIEF OF STAFF: I'm thinking about how my nomination provides some hope, but it also comes with a heavy burden. I can't fix centuries of racism in our country nor can I fix decades of discrimination that may have impacted members of our Air Force.


JARRETT: In his new role, Brown will be tasked with getting the Space Force program up and running.

ROMANS: All right, 53 minutes past the hour. Let's take a quick look at markets around the world. You saw European shares all lower a little bit, given some back from these recent gains we've seen on Wall Street. Futures, right now, looking like mixed, just like yesterday, actually. Stocks closed mixed Tuesday but investors poured into tech stock.

The Dow closed 300 points lower. That snaps a six-day winning streak. The Nasdaq, though climbed above 10,000 for the first time ever.

Wall Street is soaring. Main Street, though is struggling. Retail analysts say as many as 25,000 retail stores are expected to permanently close this year as demand shifts to online shopping. That would significantly break last year's record of 9,300 closures.

CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman has resigned after outrage over a controversial post about George Floyd. A tweet Saturday linked Floyd's death to the pandemic. Glassman said he decided to retire after he created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members.

Several executives have been pushed out in the last week, including at Bon Appetit, Refinery29, and "The New York Times."

AMC will have movies in its theaters in July. The world's largest movie theater owner plans to reopen its 1,000 theaters around the world next month. Now, just last week it said it may not survive if closures continue. AMC said while a lot can change between now and July, it plans to take the necessary steps to make its guests feel safe.

I'm not ready if -- I'm ready to go to a movie yet but I think it's a sign of reopening when you have movie theaters playing those films again.

JARRETT: Yes. Just when I was getting ready to -- ready for drive- ins, now we're back to theaters.

ROMANS: Yes, exactly.

Thanks for joining us this Wednesday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.




ROMANS: Prosecutors reportedly tried to strike a plea deal with Derek Chauvin in the days before he was arrested.

REV. AL SHARPTON, ACTIVIST: When we come out and march in the streets at the risk of our health, you'd have took your knee of his neck.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Philonise Floyd is set to testify before a House Judiciary Committee later today.

GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: I thank God for giving me -- giving me my own personal Superman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we got here this morning we were told that all the machines are down.

GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA VOTING IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER: What you're seeing in Georgia is a function of the Covid situation. And we did lose many polling places.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I call this the perfect storm of all of the things that could go wrong in November.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world.