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GOP Struggles with Demands to Overhaul Policing & Address Racism; Report: Chauvin in Talks for Plea Deal Before Arrest; Georgia Officials Call for Investigations into Voting Issues. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired June 10, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prosecutors reportedly tried to strike a plea deal with Derek Chauvin in the days before he was arrested.
REV. AL SHARPTON, FOUNDER, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: When we come out and march in the streets at the risk of our health, you could have took your knee off his neck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Philonise Floyd set to testify before a House Judiciary Committee later today.
LATONYA FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S SISTER: I thank God for giving me my own personal Superman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we got here this morning, we were told, all the machines are down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're seeing in Georgia is a function of the COVID situation. 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. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, June 10. It's 6 a.m. here in New York.
And this morning, change is here. Twelve cities and municipalities, including Washington, D.C., have just moved to ban chokeholds by law enforcement officers.
In a few hours, the brother of George Floyd will testify before the House Judiciary Committee. House Democrats have just proposed sweeping reforms to policing. Republicans, led by Senator Tim Scott, drafting plans of their own. The default position right now, as we have said, is reform. And that's
a huge change.
The one person largely absent from the discussion, though, is the president. His contribution has been to spread a horrific lie about a 75-year-old man who bled from the head after being pushed to the ground by a police officer.
Now, we did see the White House chief of staff and Jared Kushner on Capitol Hill, and we are told that White House officials will present options to the president on police reform in the coming days.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Now to the developments in the investigation into George Floyd's death.
Minneapolis news station KMSP is reporting that Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned George Floyd to the pavement with a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes, was in talks to plead guilty before he was arrested and charged with murder. Those negotiations reportedly fell apart.
Meanwhile, what went wrong in Georgia? After scenes like this, voters waiting hours in the hot sun yesterday and reports that voting machines did not work for them. Why did they have so many problems there, and can they fix them before November?
But let's begin our coverage with CNN's Boris Sanchez. He's live on Capitol Hill with our top story -- Boris.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
Philonise Floyd expected to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in just a few hours. He's expected to congresspeople about his brother, George, to share the pain and grief of his loss and to build a case that systemic racism is real and needs to be addressed.
That is something that President Trump has not done. He's remained steadfast in his law and order fixation.
There is still internal deliberations in the White House as to whether the president should deliver a national address on unity. Aides at the White House have told us they've presented their own personal experiences with racism to the president, and he's been receptive to hearing those stories.
They tell us the president is open to some form of police -- of policing reform legislation, but the details of that are still murky.
We know, as you mentioned, that the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, visited Capitol Hill yesterday, meeting with Senator Tim Scott, who is leading this effort on the Republican side in some form of legislation.
That draft that we saw from Senator Tim Scott, much more measured than the Democrat plan that was unveiled on Monday, which is sweeping. For example, it bans chokeholds. The Republican plan effectively leaves that up to local municipalities.
We should point out, there have been already about a dozen local governments that have banned the practice, including Miami, D.C., New York, as well.
It's still an open question as to whether or not Republicans and Democrats will compromise on this issue. And of course, what ultimately, President Trump will sign off on -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Boris, thank you very much for all of that reporting.
There's a new report this morning that former Officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murdering George Floyd, was in talks to take a plea deal before he was arrested.
Yesterday was George Floyd's funeral.
CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in Houston with more. What's the latest, Omar?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, we do know that the negotiations for that potential plea deal did fall apart, though at this point, we don't know how or why.
And part of what was shared over the course of this funeral service was about how the family still feels like they have a long way to go before they will have gotten justice. To take from the eulogy, they say if -- if police or if the law, I should say, isn't upheld for police, this is just going to happen again. Because to use their words, they know they have high -- wicked friends in high places that will prevent them from facing the full extent of the justice system.
JIMENEZ (voice-over): This morning, new information, saying the former Minneapolis police officer charged with George Floyd's death was reportedly negotiating a plea deal. Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, was in talks with the Hennepin County attorney's office and the U.S. attorney before his arrest in May, according to Minneapolis station KMSP.
This news coming out after a judge set bail for Chauvin at a minimum of $1 million during a Monday hearing.
But for George Floyd, a homegoing service in Houston.
JIMENEZ: Reverend Al Sharpton giving the eulogy and calling for justice.
SHARPTON: And we're going to be back in Minneapolis when the trial starts. Because you may pack the police union on one side, but the righteous is going to be on the other side of that courtroom. JIMENEZ: Floyd's family, dressed in white, saying good-bye one last
PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: All I think about is, when he was yelling for mama, and I know where our mama is. She's just right there. She's got her hand wide open.
JIMENEZ: Former vice president, Joe Biden, who met with Floyd's family Monday, sending a video message of comfort.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America. And then, as you said, Gianna, your daddy will have changed the world.
JIMENEZ: And through tears and frustration --
L. FLOYD: And I just want to say, I love you and I thank God for giving me -- giving me my own personal Superman.
BROOK WILLIAMS, GEORGE FLOYD'S NIECE: No more hate crimes, please! Someone said, make America great again, but when has America ever been great?
JIMENEZ: A celebration of life and a promise to keep fighting --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
JIMENEZ: -- while protests continued in American cities for the second straight week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rest in peace, George!
JIMENEZ: A horse-drawn carriage carried Floyd for his final mile, before he was laid to rest beside his beloved mother, the very same woman he cried out for before he took his last breath.
The somber procession as members of Floyd's community looked on, honoring the man whose death sparked outrage and a push for societal change.
JIMENEZ: And on those changes, we are already seeing steps taken in Los Angeles, New York City, Minneapolis, and of course, here in Houston, where the mayor has said they are going to be signing an executive order, banning the use of chokeholds.
Now, we've seen memorials for George Floyd from Minneapolis to North Carolina and, of course, here in Houston. His body has been laid to rest, his body being buried. But as we are seeing, renewed pushes for policing policies or changing in policing policies, it seems that his name is anything but, John.
BERMAN: Yes. Omar, the images are remarkable, the emotion very real, but the change that has already happened is notable this morning. We're going to talk to the Denver police chief in a little bit about changes they have just made to how they will conduct their law enforcement efforts.
Omar Jimenez in Houston, thank you very much.
So this morning, complete meltdown. That's how "The Atlanta Journal- Constitution" describes the mess that was the attempt to hold primary elections in Georgia.
Some voters waited hours to cast their ballots. People asked for absentee ballots that never arrived. This morning, there's outrage and demands for an investigation.
CNN's Abby Phillip live in Washington with more. And it really does raise questions about what's going to be possible in November, Abby.
PHILLIP: Absolutely, John, an incredibly chaotic situation in Georgia, and it fits a pattern that we've been seeing all across the country, where states have expanded mail-in voting, giving people more options to cast their ballots. Record numbers of people are deciding to do that, but they're also showing up in person, and election officials are simply overwhelmed.
In Georgia, they are still, this morning, cast -- counting those ballots after a day in which everything that could have gone wrong seemed to have gone wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is wrong!
PHILLIP (voice-over): A disaster in Georgia.
LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: We have people that are waiting in line in a health pandemic for four, five, six, seven hours. It is unconscionable.
PHILLIP: As massive lines, out-of-service voting machines, inexperienced poll workers and delayed absentee ballots create a perfect storm of election-day problems that could foreshadow trouble ahead for the general election in November.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning.
PHILLIP: The state was one of the first led by a Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to send absentee ballot applications to all of the nearly 7 million eligible registered voters because of the coronavirus pandemic. But something went wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just being told, it's a situation with the machinery.
PHILLIP: LaTosha Brown, cofounders of Black Voters Matter, makes ensuring access to the ballot her life's work, but she was stunned to find herself waiting for hours to cast her ballot and potentially being exposed to the coronavirus.
BROWN: I stood in line for three hours.
PHILLIP: She drove around town to different polling locations, noticing a clear disparity.
BROWN: On the side of town, consistently on the black polling sites we went to, one after the other, including my own, people had been in line, waiting for four or five hours.
PHILLIP: On election morning, Thiery Jean, who works as a caregiver, took a client to vote in Sandy Springs, a mostly white, higher-income part of Fulton County.
THIERY JEAN, ATLANTA VOTER: We was in and out in seven minutes. But I live here in Southwest Atlanta, so this is where I have to go vote, and I've been in line for at least 30 minutes already.
PHILLIP: Jean stood in line for nearly two hours.
Courts ordering polling locations that opened late or had other problems to remain open past the 7 p.m. closing time. And state officials, including Atlanta's mayor, urging voters to stay in line to cast their ballots.
Basketball star LeBron James weighing in, tweeting, "Everyone talking about 'How do we fix this?' They say, 'Go out and vote'? What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist?"
In Georgia, the official whose office oversees elections pointed his finger at some county officials.
BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: It's just a totally disorganized mess. They had three additional months to get ready for this. What did they do? They squandered that time.
PHILLIP: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other state officials calling for an investigation into the problems. His office says 96 percent of absentee ballots were delivered to the more than 1.5 million voters who requested them as of last week.
But voters waiting in line at polling places complained they never received them, so they voted in person, adding to the long lines.
LIZ HAUSMANN, FULTON COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 1: So many people I talked to today would not have been in line if they had gotten that ballot back. And the counties process those.
PHILLIP: In this potential battleground state, a warning for the rest of the country.
HAUSMANN: So we have a lot of corrections to make for the future. You know, I don't want to say I'm embarrassed. I'm disappointed. To me, it's a series of bad decisions and bad management.
PHILLIP: And election workers in the state are blaming the coronavirus, saying that they had a lot of workers calling out at the last minute, some of them actually getting sick in recent weeks.
But John, this is happening as Georgia and many other states are actually reopening. What if there is a resurgence of the coronavirus in November? Will these states be prepared? Will they have the necessary backup plans to ensure that the people who want to vote can cast their ballots?
BERMAN: I mean, I think the answer in Georgia, at least as you look at it today, is "no." No, they're not even prepared for yesterday at this point, Abby, and all they're doing is finger pointing over it. They've got to work this out.
Abby Phillip, you're doing a great job covering this beat. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.
So a window of opportunity in Washington this morning for police reform. Democrats have a plan. Republicans coming up with one. But where's the president? Besides tweeting.
CAMEROTA: Now that Democrats in Congress have presented their plan for police reform, how will Republicans respond? And is there any plan from President Trump and the White House to address systemic racism?
Joining us now is CNN political director, David Chalian, and CNN legal analyst, Laura Coates.
So, obviously, David and Laura, addressing -- having police reform is a good place to start. If you're going to start addressing systemic racism, that one seems like you can get your arms around it a little easier, and that's where the Democrats started. So here's the Democrats' plan and what we know thus far about the Republicans' plan.
Democrats' plan. They want easier to track, prosecute, and punish police misconduct. They want to ban chokeholds. They want to restrict the use of deadly force by police, meaning only as a last resort, should they use it. They want to condition federal grants on some antibias training.
The Republican plan, as we know it, is anti-lynching provision, more funding for body cameras, a review of the no-knock warrants, and then withhold federal money if departments don't report use of force. And then President Trump's plan, Laura, seems to be tweet appalling
conspiracy theories about the 75-year-old peace protester who ended up with a head injury at the protest, because he was pushed by police. I won't even read it, but basically, he got it from a fake news site and thought it was real, I guess. I mean, who knows why the president is so susceptible to conspiracy theories -- Laura.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, the -- obviously, the president's plan is no plan at all. And it's more in line with, I think, two reactions from the president and Attorney General Bill Barr.
Which is, No. 1, according to national security adviser and Bill Barr, there is no systemic race issue in policing. And so any, I guess, sort of acquiescence or acknowledgement of it would really belie what the party line has been, particularly people in the administration.
But in terms of what is overall needing, the biggest thing you're seeing here is the power of the purse. Conditioning aid. And the reason that's so important here is because you've got thousands of police departments across the United States of America. No set national standard. And you have really no way to have a national examination and a system of accountability.
And so of all the things you've mentioned, that's going to be the most substantial impact that Congress can make. From there, they will still require the buy-in and the acceptance from state and local jurisdictions and police departments and legislators to make sure that each of the training aspects, the deterrence aspects, the accountability aspects can actually be implemented and enforced.
BERMAN: If we can put back up on the screen these two proposals right now, the Democrats, which is in writing, the Democratic plan for police reform and the fact of what Tim Scott is putting together right now, the Republican plan, David, to me, the most important thing about this is that there is going to be a Republican plan. That the political reality of this has changed so much that politicians on both sides of the aisle feel that this week, there has to be action.
And that's a big change. And it puts the president in a corner about -- He's got to -- he's got to a decision to make, frankly, about how he wants to address this. And we know that there were advisers saying, We'll give a big speech. And we know that he's going to be presented with plans. We don't know what he's going to do, but we know that the politics of this have changed and he's in a corner.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, I think when Jared Kushner went up to Capitol Hill yesterday to get a sense of what Tim Scott was working on, the Republican senator, the single black Republican senator who's been charged by his leadership with sort of coming up with this plan, that was an indication that the White House understand the shifting ground beneath them, as well, John.
Listen, Washington, as you know, especially when it is divided by party, does not do big things very well. They don't have a great track record on that. The Hill, the White House, when there are divided parties, to tackle a big issue like this, or like we've seen in the past, the inability to deal with immigration or gun reforms or what have you.
But you are so right to note, John. The very -- the starting place here is this rapidly-shifting ground beneath all these politicians. I mean, our poll that was out on Monday, it showed like a 20-point move in the country thinking that the protests that they're seeing are justified from just a few years ago.
I mean, when we saw gay marriage move quickly as a social issue, it didn't move that quickly. We have just seen here a moment in time where the country has moved, and the politicians now are scrambling to catch up with it.
CAMEROTA: And David, one more political question. The country has moved, but the president has dug in.
President Trump is out of step with where the polls say the country is, in terms of trying to fight racism. In terms of trying to, you know, reform the police. And he's tweeting this -- I mean, he's -- he's vilifying a man who, by all accounts, has devoted decades to peacefully protesting. And he's trying to gin up conspiracy theories.
So that seemed as though Republicans might want to comment on that. But they didn't.
Here's the list of lawmakers who CNN tried to approach to get some comment on the president's, you know, just corrosive tweet, and they all dodged it.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, she wouldn't answer the question. She jumped onto an elevator instead.
Senator Ron Johnson said, "I would rather not hear it." Hear no evil, see no evil.
John Thune said, "Oh, that stuff goes right over my head" -- I'm sorry, or John Cornyn, sorry. John Cornyn said, "That stuff goes right over my head." I mean, this is the predicament that they're in.
CHALIAN: First of all, let's just talk about the absurdity of that, right? I mean, we're three and a half years into this administration. Donald Trump has been governing and communicating by tweet, and every one of those senators and their staffs are addicted, and must be so, to the president's Twitter feed to understand which way their political winds are blowing for the day.
So the idea that they think that they can just sort of look past it, I just think is absurd on its face. That is how the president communicates.
But you're right to note, Alisyn, when I say the country has moved, obviously, the president, as he has for the bulk of his presidency believes that, if he doesn't see his most ardent supporters moving on something, then he doubles down on what he thinks those supporters want.
So it's never sort of a play for the majority position or for the country at large. It is thinking about how to keep this fervent connection between him and his most ardent supporters, who are not where a majority of the country is.
BERMAN: Well, it's cowardice for these Republican senators not to comment. The bar is so ridiculously low to say that the president shouldn't be attacking a 75-year-old Catholic peace activist who was bleeding from the head when he was pushed down. Think of how low that bar is in the cowardice for these Republicans, who can't say, the president shouldn't have done that.
Laura, Counselor, on a legal manner here, which is notable. We all woke up this morning and we read this and went, Huh.
In Minnesota, there is a local affiliate reporting that Derek Chauvin, the police officer, his lawyers were involved in plea deal negotiations before his arrest. He was going to, apparently, or at least close to perhaps copping a plea, but it fell apart at the last minute.
Talk to me about the significance of that. I mean, I know that this kind of negotiating goes on all the time. It's a little interesting to me that it happened before the actual arrest. But what's the significance here?
COATES: Well, normally, you would engage in plea discussion at the earliest possible point. At the earliest possible point, that's the best offer. It doesn't get increasingly good for the defendant as time goes on.
The closer you get to trial, the more your evidence is building, the less likely it is you're going to, as a prosecutor, accept a plea for less than the highest charge.
However, having plea negotiations at a very early state is indicative to me that they had a lot of evidence and support, not only of probable cause, which was the big question -- is there not enough probable cause to exact an arrest here? Let alone beyond a reasonable doubt.
And if they had enough evidence to discuss plea negotiations, they must have had an eye towards being in court to say to a judge, Your honor, if this had gone to trial, I could have proved all of these things beyond a reasonable doubt. Plea negotiations can't take place until you're able to realistically be able to say that.
And so it puts the spotlight back on the Hennepin County attorney, Mike Freeman to say, Well, why was there not enough information here present to have a probable cause founding -- finding for arrest, but there was sufficient evidence, in some way, to have a discussion on pleas? It doesn't square.
But it is typical to have these early negotiations.
CAMEROTA: David, Laura, thank you both very much.
Now to coronavirus. How do Americans feel about returning to their regular routines or their workplace? A new CNN poll has the answer, next.