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White House Preparing Executive Action on Police Reform; Trump Opposes Removing Confederate Names from Military Bases; Powell: More Stimulus May Be Needed; Manfred "100 Percent" Certain There Will Be An MLB Season. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 11, 2020 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Jefferson Davis dragged away. America crying out for change. The president could take executive action on police reform before Congress has a chance to try.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And NASCAR makes a big move on the Confederate flag, but the president says Confederate names on military bases are staying put.

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

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, June 11th, it is 5:00 a.m. in New York.

Lawmakers under increasing pressure to move on police reform, but the challenge is getting President Trump on board and it looks like he may go it alone. Officials say the White House is just starting to draft some kind of executive order and it's still unclear what might be in it.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We do believe that we will have proactive policy descriptions, whether that means legislation or an executive order.


JARRETT: Sources say one option will be to roll out the reform measures during the president's visit to Dallas for a roundtable with faith leaders, small business owners and law enforcement. But again, what all this may entail is very unclear.

Putting a human face on the urgency, George Floyd's brother gave gripping testimony and implored lawmakers to act now.

Senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Good morning, Christine and Laura.

Now, an emotional day on Capitol Hill when Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, testified before the House Judiciary Committee detailing the harrowing experience in watching his brother killed at the hands of Minneapolis police when he was in custody. He said that watching that video that has been seen around the world where the officer was kneeling on George Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, he said it felt like watching it for eight hours and 46 minutes.

And he asked for justice to be served.

PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: Honor George and make the necessary changes that make law enforcement the solution and not the problem. Hold them accountable when they do something wrong. Teach them that deadly force should be used rarely and only when life is at risk.

George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over $20. I'm asking you, is that -- is that what a black man's worth, $20? This is 2020.

He said he couldn't breathe. Nobody cared. Nobody. People pleaded for him. They still didn't care.

Justice has to be served. His life mattered. All our lives matter. Black lives matter.

RAJU: Now, one thing that Philonise Floyd did ask for is for Congress to make sure that corrupt police officers will no longer be hired. Now, the question is exactly how to do just that. Democrats have their own plan that they plan to advance through the house before the end of the month. That plan would set up a national registry to track police misconduct to ensure that one police officer who acted inappropriately in one jurisdiction can't just move to another without that activity being tracked.

Republicans have their own proposal to do that that mostly relies on states to take such actions. That is generally the disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on the Hill. Democrats want a number of national standards to take place, including banning the use of chokeholds. Democrats, Republicans believe they want to incentivize states to take such actions.

So, there's a lot that need -- the two sides need to negotiate. No question about it in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, the terrain has shifted dramatically. This was not on congress's agenda. It is now, Republicans did not think there needed to be legislation. Now, they are moving forward with their own proposal.

The question is, can they get a deal and will the president sign it into law?

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ROMANS: All right. Manu, thank you so much for that.

Growing calls this morning to remove monuments glorifying the Confederacy. Overnight, the statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of Confederacy, was torn down in Richmond, Virginia.

President Trump not on board with removing tributes to America's racist past.

Kaitlan Collins is at the White House.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura and Christine, when the president tweeted this, this is the second time in just over a week now that he has broken with his Pentagon chief that's about renaming those military bases that are named after Confederate leaders who fought to uphold slavery. The president says he is not going to consider renaming them after you saw a Pentagon official say earlier this week that, actually, the Army secretary and the Defense Secretary Mark Esper were open to having a bipartisan discussion about renaming them and what they could do moving forward, as you're seeing this broader reckoning happening across the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death.


The president says he's not on board with that. His press secretary invoked a defense that he used in 2017 when he pushed back on taking down any confederate statues. They said, you know, essentially, the question is, when does it end? That is what their defense is.

The question is, is that a position that the president can maintain? Because he's pushed back on stuff like this before, but we are seeing a moment where public opinion does seem to be changing in the wake of Floyd's death.

And we should note, all of this comes as you are still seeing coronavirus happen here in the United States, yet the president has announced that he is holding his first rally since he suspended them initially because of the pandemic next Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Though details about what kind of measures are going to be put in place as far as social distancing still have not been offered by the White House or by the campaign.


JARRETT: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much for that.

So, the president won't take action on Confederate symbols but NASCAR will. Fans of the racing circuit are largely Trump supporters but Confederate flags are now banned at all events. NASCAR says the flag runs contrary to its commitment to provide a welcome and inclusive environment. The decision comes two days after the only full-time African-American driver Bubba Wallace called for the ban.


BUBBA WALLACE, NASCAR DRIVER: Sorry. Bravo. Props to NASCAR and everybody involved.


JARRETT: Last night, Bubba Wallace drove in a Black Lives Matter themed car and finished 11th at the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

ROMANS: LeBron James and other prominent black athletes and entertainers forming a group to protect African-American voting rights. This a day after the disastrous primary in Georgia, a state with a history of voter suppression.

James telling "The New York Times", quote, we feel like we're finally getting a foot in the door. That point echoed by another member of the group, former NBA star Jalen Rose.


JALEN ROSE, FORMER NBA PLAYER: This is what we have to understand. The system isn't broken, it was built this way. And when we understand that's the reality, now we must navigate and figure out how we can systematically implement change. And you seen over the last 16 days that people can mobilize like it's the '60s when they're truly fed up.


JARRETT: A separate initiative, more than 1,000 current and former athletes signing a letter to Congress calling for the end of qualified immunity. It's a legal doctrine that shields law enforcement from prosecution in many cases. Among those signing on, Saints quarterback Drew Brees who had to apologize just last week after initially being critical of players who kneel.

Also, the U.S. Soccer Federation announcing it has repealed a policy requiring players to stand during the national anthem.

ROMANS: For the second time in the week, President Trump calling protesters domestic terrorist. The president tweeting in response to protests in Seattle calling the mayor and Washington state's governor radical left Democrats and warning them, take back your city. If you don't do it, I will.

It's not clear what he meant but it's not the first time he has made that kind of threat. The response from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin: Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker, with #blacklivesmatter.

JARRETT: The embattled Minneapolis police chief promising change in the department in the wake of George Floyd's killing, but cautioning it doesn't happen overnight. His first order of business: taking on the police union. Unions have long opposed changes to end to crack down on the use of force by police. The commissioner says all sides need to be flexible for true reform to happen.

CNN's Sara Sidner spoke with the police chief. She has more now from Minneapolis.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, the Minneapolis police chief coming out strongly promising reform after what happened with his officers and George Floyd, saying he's going to do a couple of things immediately.

One, the immediate withdrawal of contract negotiations with the police union, saying that until a thorough review of how the contract can be restricted to provide more community transparency and flexibility for reform, he is not going to negotiate. The union pushing back strongly saying he must negotiate in good faith.

Secondly, the chief saying that he's going to implement the use of an early warning system that promises to identify misconduct on the part of his police officers. He also talked about what happened when he finally met some members of the Floyd family in person after talking to them through us on television.

MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE CHIEF: It was heart wrenching, truly. I was honored to meet them. I clearly did not wish to meet them under those circumstances. I looked them in the eye and I said, I'm sorry, and I will see to it that their brother's death is not in vain.


SIDNER: Did they respond to you? Did they -- how did they receive your apology?

ARRADONDO: The grace and the love that they showed, they hugged me and we hugged. And so that -- that will also lead my reform work, my transformational culture change work. The Floyd family will lead me forward in the days ahead, in the weeks ahead.

SIDNER: The police chief saying he is going to need the community's help and look for the community's help in reforming this department that something like this should never happen again -- Laura, Christine.


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

You know, Amazon says it's banning police use of its facial recognition software now for a year. This moratorium as pressure builds on tech companies to respond to the killing of George Floyd. Amazon says governments must have stronger regulations for the ethical use of facial recognition. Amazon's announcement two days after IBM said it was getting out of the facial recognition business.

JARRETT: A manhunt underway this morning in California after a sheriff's deputy was shot in the face in what police say was an ambush attack in Paso Robles. Police say the suspect is identified as 26- year-old Mason Lira. He's wanted in a shooting spree that began when he opened fire at the police department early Wednesday. They warn Lira is considered armed and dangerous.

ROMANS: All right. Overnight, the U.S. crossed a painful milestone. Two million confirmed coronavirus cases, almost nearly 113,000 people have died from the virus.

A top Harvard doctor now projects that could almost double by September and overnight a new model often referenced by the White House projects a significant second wave starting as early as September, much earlier than previously expected. Since Memorial Day, COVID-19 hospitalizations are up in at least a dozen states. State's hospitalizations are a more reliable indicator of coronavirus spread than confirmed cases.

JARRETT: On Tuesday, Texas coronavirus hospitalizations hit a new high. More than one month after the state's stay at home order ended. Sharp increases in hospitalizations are also being seen in Arkansas, South Carolina, Utah, and Arizona, where hospitals are being told to activate emergency plans. And the Iowa state fair has been canceled for the first time since World War II.

ROMANS: All right. Unemployment is historically high and the Fed chief says it's going to stay that way for a while.



ROMANS: A sober assessment from the Federal Reserve: don't expect the unemployment rate to return to normal anytime soon. Officials estimate the unemployment rate to be 9.3 percent by December. That's still nearly as high as the peak of 10 percent during the Great Depression.

Another 1.6 million Americans are expected to have filed for unemployment benefits last week. That would bring the total to 44 million since mid-March.

The Fed Chief Jerome Powell said the recovery will depend on the consumer.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: We all want to get back to normal, but a full recovery is unlikely to occur until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities.


ROMANS: Powell said the Central Bank and Congress may need to do even more to boost the economy.


POWELL: But for many others, getting a loan that may be difficult to repay may not be the answer. In these cases, direct fiscal support may be needed. Elected officials have the power to tax and spend and to make decisions where we as a society should direct our collective resources.


ROMANS: The Fed plans to keep interest rates near zero through 2022.

JARRETT: Whenever a coronavirus vaccine is finally ready for the public, it may be hard to get. Two vaccines development group say it will be in short supply globally and will need to be prioritized. Experts warn it could take several years before everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get it, since health care workers, people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly must be the first to receive it.

Johnson & Johnson plans to start human trials for a coronavirus vaccine in July, months earlier than expected. Once enough progress is made, Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. government will fund and conduct phase 3 trials of three experimental vaccines, including Johnson & Johnson.

ROMANS: United Airlines is the first major U.S. airline to require every passenger to complete a health self-assessment at check-in. The idea is to reassure the public it is safe to fly during the coronavirus pandemic. At check-in, the airline is asking air travelers to confirm they are willing to wear a facemask, that they haven't been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 21 days, and they haven't had symptoms or been in close contact with someone who tested positive in the past 14 days.

JARRETT: Well, despite a steady rise in COVID cases, California is entering a new phase of reopening. In Los Angeles, zoos, museums, and film production can restart operations on Friday under safety protocols that will be released later today. L.A. County is about -- home to 1/4 of all Californians. In Orange County, Disneyland and California Adventure begin phased reopening July 17th, with reservations required.

ROMANS: A bold prediction from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. The owners and players still can't agree on pay or the length of an already shortened season. But Manfred is certain there will be baseball.


ROB MANFRED, MLB COMMISSIONER: I try not to be judgmental about the proposals that the other side makes. I try to respond and always try to move in the direction in the other side and let the process work. We're going to continue to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And lastly, the percent of a chance we're playing Major League Baseball this year?

MANFRED: One hundred percent.


ROMANS: The owners are proposing a 76 game season and 75 percent of prorated salaries. The players have countered with 89 games with full prorated pay and an expanded postseason.

JARRETT: The former judge appointed to review the Justice Department's prosecution of Michael Flynn calls them corrupt and politically motivated. In a highly unusual and widely criticized move, DOJ lawyers tried to drop the case against the former national security advisor last month, saying Flynn should never have been under investigation in the first place.

While the new analysis which was requested by the trial judge in the case as he's deciding whether to move forward with sentencing Flynn now says there is evidence of gross -- gross abuse of prosecutorial power and highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of President Trump. Flynn's lawyers have asked an appeals court in Washington, D.C., to order a judge to dismiss the case.

ROMANS: All right. Joe Biden was on Comedy Central last night, but his biggest concern is no laughing matter.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My single greatest concern, this president's going to try to steal this election.




JARRETT: The killing of George Floyd has police tactics in the United States under the microscope. But abuse of power is by no means unique to America. British police have gone through a long and painful learning process themselves.

Nic Robertson has more.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): As police rush into a house looking for a suspect, they taser a 62-year- old father on the stairs.


ROBERTSON: All this during lockdown. The police body cam video emerging as global anger over policing and racism rises in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

MILLARD SCOTT, TASERED BY BRITISH POLICE: At this moment in time, we are being singled out and targeted.

ROBERTSON: A son of the victim not involved in the police incident is rapper Wretch 32.

WRETCH 22, BRITISH RAPPER: I've grown up in a household with my dad and my uncle and I've watched them fight against police brutality my whole life, and I now have to have the same conversations that my dad and my uncle and my grandparents and my parents had with me when I was a child. That means there's no progression.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Police dispute Scott's version of events say an internal review has shown no misconduct. A statement released by London's most senior minority officer says that progress in dealing with racism and the police has been made over recent decades.

And what appears to be an effort to dealing anger at George Floyd's death from anger at British police, says no comparison can be made between British and U.S. police forces because here, he says, they police by consensus mostly, not force.

(voice-over): His point, the heavily armed tear gas wielding cops who bore down on peaceful protestors near the White House last week so President Trump could pose bible in hand for a photo-op outside a looted church wouldn't be the tactic of choice in the U.K.

The subtexts for protestors here, don't react to British cops as if they would.

By contrast with many of their U.S. counterparts, British police mingle with peaceful protestors. Officers armed with little more than handcuffs gauging the crowd's mood. Out of sight, down side streets, a hefty of force is on standby.

COLIN ROGERS, PROFESSOR OF POLICE SCIENCES: The results is completely different. There's more consensus. There's more peaceful demonstrations. So I think -- I think, you know, that there's two quick apps, a reaction to go to war, paramilitary methods to dealing with people in their demonstrations.

ROBERTSON: But getting to this point hasn't been easy. Just a decade as a police killing sparked riots heard around the world where the toughest policing lessons were learned was Northern Ireland. Confrontation and perceptions of police bias exacerbate and prolonged the three-decade conflict there.

Today, police are still firebombed and shot at, but are more likely to draw a line, sit in their armored wagons and then respond in kind. Even so, today's protests in London still offer a very real glimpse of how quickly tensions can escalate. At the heart of it still, anger, protestors are being ignored. A police problem, yes, but at its root a political one, too.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


JARRETT: Nic, thanks so much for that report.

EARLY START continues right now.


JARRETT: Jefferson Davis dragged away. America is crying out for change. Will the president take executive action on police reform before Congress even has a chance to try?

ROMANS: And NASCAR makes a big move on the Confederate flag, but the president says confederate names on military bases are staying put.

Good morning. This is EARLY START this Thursday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. Ninety-nine minutes past the hour here on the East Coast.

And lawmakers are under increasing pressure across the country to move on police reform but the challenge is getting President Trump on board and it looks like he may try to go it alone. Officials say the White House is just starting to draft some kind of executive order but what all it might entail is very unclear.


MCENANY: And we do believe that we will have proactive policy prescriptions, whether that means legislation or an executive order.