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#ShareTheMicNow Seeks to Amplify Black Women's Voices; NASCAR Bans Display of Confederate Flags at Races; U.S. Spy Planes Monitored Some George Floyd Protests. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 11, 2020 - 15:30   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You know, I was listening to your IG Live last night and you talk about how you're a first generation American, but your roots run deep and proud in Ghana. And you make a point, a specific point emphasizing diversity, not just diversity in general but in diversity blackness. Talk to me about that, Boz.

SAINT JOHN: Yes. Well, my former boss and good friend Spike Lee said it best. That we are not one monolithic group, and often I think we talk about blackness and think it's just one thing. And it's not. I mean, this is part of the reason why share the mic now also is important, because we gathered 50 black women who are as diverse as we come.

You know? Different jobs. Different interests. Different cares. In fact, we didn't put one mission down to address. We just said, say whatever is on your heart and whatever action you want your followers and the people who are watching you to take.

And we got 50 different answers. You know, there's so much that needs to be understood about the diversity within blackness and the beauty of blackness, which is then what adds to the value of blackness, and that perhaps if we were more educated about the differences we wouldn't lump everything up into one terrible pot.

BALDWIN: Educating. Self-educating. I hear you and really my last question, Boz, is that, you know, in all the things where we as a society can improve. In business, in policing, in health care, in education, in mass incarceration and just unconscious bias, what is the one -- you're a woman of action -- what is one actionable item that we can do today to bring about positive change?

SAINT JOHN: Well, today -- there are a lot of things. You know, first, we know that Breonna Taylor's killers are still out on the loose and we are asking folks to call, to email, to petition that her killers be brought to justice.

But personally, I would also ask that we take the time to really look at ourselves, our neighbors, our friends and understand what bias actually is. You know, the small jokes, the small comments that go by that are unchecked are what lead to the bigger racial problems.

And so, I would ask that the people who are watching now be vigilant, be vigilant in watching and talking and calling out when you see bias happening. It could even be you. And so maybe take a look in the mirror and see if there's anything in your behavior that needs to be checked as well.

BALDWIN: Will do. Viva Galant. And you have inspired me in a gazillion ways. But I'm handing over my Instagram account tomorrow to my dear friend and phenomenal colleague, Lisa Respers France. So, if you follow me or if don't follow me @Brooke, underscore, Baldwin. I'm taking after you. Bozoma Saint John, thank you. Thank you so much.

SAINT JOHN: Thank you so much. I appreciate it, Brooke.

BALDWIN: You got it.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force is meeting this afternoon as the U.S. passes the 2 million mark for cases and 20 states are reporting spikes.

Plus, the nation's top sports leagues taking action to tackle racism, including NASCAR banning the Confederate flag. We'll talk to a NASCAR owner and former NBA player to discuss what this means.



BALDWIN: As the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. tops 2 million, the Trump administration is now facing new questions about its commitment to fighting the pandemic. This is all happening as 12 states have now recorded spikes in hospitalization since Memorial Day. And just with that in mind, the Coronavirus Task Force is meeting this afternoon at the White House. So, let's go to our White House reporter here at CNN Sarah Westwood. And so, what is the White House saying about this spike in cases?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Brooke, the White House is not actually had much to say at all about the troubling numbers that we've seen in the U.S. since Memorial Day weekend.

And the public health experts who have more or less have become household names since the height of the pandemic. That's Dr. Barbara Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci they have been hardly visible in recent weeks. Even as Americans are looking to the federal government for advice, for information on how they can safely transition back to their normal lives, their public appearances have been few and far between.

And that Coronavirus Task Force that had been meeting every day in March and April, their meetings have also tapered off. As you mentioned, they are meeting today. It's their second meeting this week, but those meetings have fallen in frequency to about once a week in recent days as they've been increasingly sidelined at least in terms of their public presence.

And sources tell CNN that those task force members are also engaging directly with President Trump less and less often. That is all coming as infections are on the rise in at least 18 states. That's something the White House Press Secretary sort of downplayed yesterday as just the result of a rise in testing.

And the White House is clearly shifting its focus almost exclusively to the economic recovery. I want you to take a listen to what Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said what the priority will be moving forward.


STEVE MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: We can't shut down the economy again. I think we've learned that if you shut down the economy, you're going to create more damage and not just economic damage but there are other areas and we've talked about this, of medical problems and everything else that get put on hold.



WESTWOOD: And the President seized aggressively on the first glimmer of good economic news that we saw last week -- the jobs numbers. He's clearly sending signals that he's ready to return to normal life, especially, for example, holding his first campaign rally next week in Tulsa.

And for the first time since the pandemic hit the U.S., heading to one of his gulf properties tonight, he'll spend the weekend there for the first time since the pandemic started hitting -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Sarah Westwood. Good to see you, thank you very much.

And heads up to all of you. Join CNN for a special report on the coronavirus pandemic and whether bats could hold life-saving secrets.

Meet the scientists investigating these fascinating animals. The CNN special report "Bats: The Mystery Behind COVID-19." Airs Sunday, 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Still ahead I'll talk to a team owner about NASCAR's decision to ban the display of the Confederate flag as more and more sports organizations step up to tackle racism including the PGA Tour by the way whose players paused for a moment of silence to honor George Floyd just this morning before their first tournament in three months.






BALDWIN: An about-face from the country's largest sports leagues when it comes to tackling racism. The NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, the U.S. Soccer Federation and NASCAR are all leaning into the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the latest examples coming just last night before announcing the first pick of the MLB draft pick, Commissioner Rob Manfred called this moment in history a quote, unquote call to action as executives from the league's 30 teams held up signs reading "Black Lives Matter -- United for Change".

Meanwhile the U.S. Soccer Federation is repealing its policy requiring players to stand during the national anthem. The policy was put in place after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with a peaceful protest inspired by Colin Kaepernick.

And then this unexpected twist from NASCAR. It has now banned the Confederate flag from future races. And that prompted NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace to praise the decision with a bravo and unveil his new paint job with the words "Black Lives Matter".

So, with me now, Brad Daugherty, he's the co-owner of JTG-Daugherty Racing and five-time NBA all-star. He's also a co-host of SiriusXM NASCAR on

Mondays. So, Brad, awesome to have you on. Welcome, welcome.

BRAD DAUGHERTY, CO-OWNER, JTG-DAUGHERTY RACING: Yes, thank you so much for having me -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: So, let's start just with NASCAR. What is your reaction to the Confederate flag ban? Does it surprise you?

DAUGHERTY: To be honest with you, yes. It caught me off guard totally. I had the opportunity to speak to Steve Phelps, President of NASCAR, and he told me what his thoughts were and what he was going to do, and it did. It caught me off guard, and you know, it put me in almost a moment of -- of overwhelming emotion.

Because it's not something that I expected or anticipated in any way, shape or form. I thought that Steve Phelps was taking a tremendous risk by doing the right thing, and I'm very, very proud today to be a member of the NASCAR community with what has happened.

BALDWIN: Why did it make you so emotional, do you think?

DAUGHERTY: You know, back in 2015, we talked about this. We had a conversation about the Confederate flag and the issues that surrounded that flag and that moniker at racetracks and NASCAR implemented some measures to try and reduce the amount of flags that came into facilities and events and did a decent job at that. And I always thought that would be the most that could happen.

So, as I went to racetracks and you would see those flags, it really bothered me, but there's not a lot, a whole lot that could be done at that point in time. I just assumed that that's the way it would continue to be.

BALDWIN: Until now. Until now. Yes.

DAUGHERTY: -- totally caught me off guard. Yes, totally caught me off guard.

BALDWIN: Let me read this statement NASCAR released this saying, the presence of the Confederate flag as NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special.

You know this, Brad, you know, not everyone's onboard with this decision. Ray Ciccarelli announced he plans to quit because of all this. Saying,

you know, no one should kneel during the anthem and every should be able to fly the flag they love.

My question to you is, how does NASCAR actually enforce this? You know, a fan walks in with a Confederate flag t-shirt. Is he or she getting booted or is this more of a, shall we call, symbolic gesture?

DAUGHERTY: No, it'll go beyond symbolic. I think back in 2015, like I said, when it was a conversation and the initiative was launched to try to stop some of the flags coming into the racetrack, I think that was a little more symbolic. I think that I know for a fact that this will -- there will be measures put in place that will address those people.

You know, and you're talking about racetracks sometimes that hold 100,000 people, but they'll be people put in place to address those measures and have conversations with the people that try to sneak flags in and do those types of things. I'm not fully privy to what all will take place or how had will be enforced. But NASCAR is taking a strong stance here, historical stance. So, I'm resting assured that there will not be any issue once we go to the racetracks.

BALDWIN: Final question.


You know, as we mention, you are a NBA baller and here you have, you know, LeBron James really being vocal in all of this the last couple of weeks. And because the question overall is, you know, how do we fix this? And so, he tweeted out, everyone's talking about how do we fix this, meaning racial justice in America, they say go out and vote. What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist.

And so now you have LeBron James a group of other black athletes and entertainers are starting this group called "More Than a Vote" to help protect the voting rights of African-Americans. And one of the former Indiana Pacers is part of that initiative and this is what he had to say.


JALEN ROSE, FORMER NBA PLAYER: One of my favorite artists of all time is Chuck D, and he once said I rope a dope to evil with righteous bobbing and weaving so that the good get even. They're going to be so many people to try to politicize this. And "More Than a Vote," it's just a mobilization of urban environments, of inner city people, of black and brown people, to unite and be energized the same way we were in 2008 to help Barack Obama to get elected, and the same way in 2012. We didn't have that same energy in 2016. And we feel like our country has suffered because of that.


BALDWIN: Jalen Rose there. So, Brad, do you feel like there is a change this time around?

DAUGHERTY: You know, Brooke, I think the opportunity for change is prevalent. The thing that concerns me is using these platforms and using a worldwide movement for political gain or for financial gain. That's what we've seen in the past.

So, we need programs and solutions. And one of our business partners, Procter & Gamble has launched a website, you go to, and there's forums about communication, about solutions, about ideologies on talking, having communication, having dialogue. And I think that's what we need to come up with.

I hear this every day and the thing that I worry about is just that it all being politicized just for a vote. Voting is very important no doubt about it. But we in the African-American community and in the world in general, we need very credible concrete solutions on how to go forward. So, I'm hoping some really smart people can continue to have conversations, communication, and we can actually come up with some valid solutions that help make this a better day going forward.

BALDWIN: Yes, it's not enough to not be racist. We need to actively be anti-racist and that starts with actionable items that we all can do starting today. Brad Daugherty, thank you so much for your voice in all this. We appreciate you.

Coming up, why were government spy planes flying above the protest over George Floyd's death? That's next.



BALDWIN: CNN has learned government spy planes were flying over several of the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd including in Washington, Minneapolis and Las Vegas. And it's possible the government may have even been gathering cell phone data from protestors.

CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean has all this new report. And so, what exactly if going on, Pete.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, I've been watching this for more than a week, and we've been trying to figure out exactly what these government planes were doing flying overhead protest cities? Congress says this has to stopped. But fears that these flights are being used to capture the data of a protester cell phones on the ground.

I want to show you this flight path from June 1st, which is a key night in this whole narrative. That's the night that protesters were pushed forcibly from in front of the White House. This flight took off from the Manassas Regional Airport in Northern Virginia, climbed to about 17,000 feet, and circled Washington, D.C., more than 20 times at low speeds.

Now the actual plane -- a photo here -- is a Cessna Citation business jet, rather innocuous enough, but I can tell you from my experience as a pilot flying in and around the D.C. area this type of plane would not be allowed to loiter in the highly restricted airspace over Washington.

I also want to show you one more photo of the belly of the plane. You can see that bulge in front of the wing there. That is not standard. And Congress is worried that that was used to carry a dirt box, a device that captures cell data. Not this is not the only flight that we've been following.

We also followed the path of a National Guard flight. A plane called a RC 26B that's typically used for drug interdiction. It circled overhead protests in D.C. and Las Vegas for several nights. Now this is the type of plane that was used. The bottom of it carrying an infrared camera that can track anything on the ground that gives off heat.

Now the FBI is not specifically confirming or denying its involvement with these flights. We know the West Virginia National Guard is saying that it was involved in these flights. The real question here is though, whether or not data was picked up from those on the ground. That's still a big mystery -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Keep digging. Pete Muntean, thank you very much for me in Washington. And that is it for me. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New York. THE LEAD with Jake Tapper starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. And we begin with the breaking news. The Dow Jones about to close in just a moment, plummeting more than 1,800 points today.

Let's go right to CNN's Alison Kosik. Alison, this seems to be a dramatic end to stocks rallying in recent weeks. What's responsible for what happened today?