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Stocks Open Higher After Selloff; Virus Mutations Not Expected; Chauvin Eligible for Pension; Lawmakers Push Back on Defunding Police; North Korea to Build Forces against U.S. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired June 12, 2020 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[09:31:08]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, do you have a little vertigo watching the stock market. You could be forgiven for it. U.S. stocks opening higher this morning after dropping just precipitously yesterday on fears of increases in coronavirus cases. They recorded their worst day Thursday in three months.

CNN's business chief correspondent Christine Romans joins me now.

What's going on? I mean already -- the market was already clearly disconnected from the economic news, right?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

SCIUTTO: I mean back up to where it was at the start. I mean, folks at home, how should they understand all this?

ROMANS: I mean, right, you have millions of people unemployed. You have, you know, an economy in tatters and you have a stock market, the Nasdaq, above 10,000 and setting record highs. The S&P 500 up more than 30 percent from the March low. It just didn't seem to go together.

So yesterday what you got, Jim, was a dose of reality, really. You see these states like Arizona and Florida and Texas and others where hospitalizations are rising because of the coronavirus. You see forecasts for maybe 100,000 more deaths by the fall. That was one top forecast yesterday. And we crossed the 2 million mark in terms of infection numbers. So that was really the reality check I think the market got yesterday. It looks like it will bounce back a little bit this morning.

SCIUTTO: Christine, can I ask a basic question?

ROMANS: Sure.

SCIUTTO: I mean is this a sign that companies with easy money from the Fed, with some of the congressional bailout are just doing better than average Americans? I mean is that the bottom line here? ROMANS: I think there's a lot to be said for the amount of stimulus

that is awash in the economy right now. We've never seen this much. It's trillions of dollars from Congress and basically unlimited back stop from the Federal Reserve.

So part of that enthusiasm you're seeing among investors is because they feel like there's a back stop there for companies and for -- and for the economy, and the credit markets overall. So you have this split screen where you have such optimism in the stock market, in part because of the promises made that they're not going to let the economy fail, right? But on main street it's just not there yet. Main street is still at the bottom of a very, very deep hole that's been dug and hasn't climbed out quite yet.

SCIUTTO: I'm sure folks watching today feel it.

Christine Romans, thanks very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome, Jim.

SCIUTTO: The World Health Organization says that any mutations to the coronavirus should not alter the efficacy of a potential vaccine. CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joining us now.

This has been a concern throughout because viruses change. I mean that's why we have a new flu vaccine every season because you kind of have to update it as it -- as you go. But so why are they confident that as coronavirus mutates, it won't affect how a vaccine works?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think mutation is a very scary word, Jim. I think people have made movies based on viruses mutating and we all think of those mutations.

But, in fact, viruses are always mutating, even when Person A gives a virus to Person B. when you look, the viruses are different, even though one person got it from another. There are always tiny mutations. But, in the end, it doesn't matter. Those tiny mutations don't matter. When you're trying to build a vaccine, it doesn't matter if it's mutated a little bit.

The mutations that we worry about are the ones that are so large that this vaccine that you've developed doesn't work anymore because the virus has changed so much. I have not talked to anyone who is truly worried about that. We haven't seen that happen. Coronavirus has been around now for about six months. We've looked at it, studied it. We have not seen any huge mutations that would render a vaccine useless -- or a future vaccine, I should say, useless.

SCIUTTO: So we learned earlier this week that three vaccines will go into the next phase of trials with government support now, including one by Moderna, which was developed in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health here.

Tell us how folks at home should take this news this week, in terms of how significant it is, should they feel better about a vaccine perhaps even by the end of this year or early next year? [09:35:09]

COHEN: You know, Jim, like with so many other things with this virus, we need to be able to hold optimism and a bit of skepticism in our minds at the same time.

Let's take a look at some of these numbers with these vaccines. So Moderna is going to start its Phase III clinical trials. That's the final round of trials before you get approval. And those will have 30,000 people in them.

Oxford, the University of Oxford in England, says they've already started their phase IIIs and that eventually, along with their partner, AstraZeneca, they will be having 42,000 people in their trial.

Now, is it possible that one or both of these is going to work out, will try it in these people and say, oh my gosh, look, we gave it to these people, we compared it with people who got a placebo, who were included in those numbers and, guess what, the people who got the vaccine really did have lower rates of infection from Covid. Absolutely. And that what we're all crossing our fingers for. We're all hoping for that.

Is it possible that neither of these will work? Yes, that is possible too. An interesting note, these two vaccines use different platforms. They -- the vaccines work in different ways. And that's one of the important parts about this, Jim, you and I have talked about this quite a bit, that you need lots of shots on goal. It is good that we're starting with two different types of vaccines.

SCIUTTO: Notable and good to hear and you have this at-risk development, in other words, where they're actually making the doses as they test it so that if it works out, they got it ready for you and I to use and others. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

SCIUTTO: A quick programing note, could bats hold the secret to Covid- 19? Meet scientists investigating these fascinating animals. CNN's special report "Bats: The Mystery Behind Covid-19" airs Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The ex-Minneapolis police officer who held his knee to George Floyd's neck for eight minutes 46 seconds could still receive more than $1 million in pension benefits. We're going to have new details on that just ahead.

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[09:41:25]

SCIUTTO: This will likely surprise you. The fired Minneapolis police officer, now charged with second-degree murder in George Floyd's death, could keep his pension, that is even if he is convicted.

CNN has learned that Derek Chauvin could be eligible for more than $1 million in benefits over time.

CNN correspondent Lucy Kafanov is in Minneapolis this morning.

Lucy, tell us how that could be.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, it effectively boils down to state law. In some places, if you're convicted of a felony, you do forfeit your pension benefits. In Minneapolis, that's simply not the case. Even if Derek Chauvin, as you said, is convicted of killing George Floyd.

Now, he was immediately fired from his job with the Minneapolis Police Department where he served since 2001. He was later charged on second- degree murder. But he is entitled to these benefits. This is based on reporting that was done by my colleagues Blake Ellis (ph) and Melanie Higgin (ph).

They basically found that he would be eligible for annual payments of up to $50,000 a year once he turns 55. He's 44 years old right now. This was based on a CNN analysis that sort of look at police salary records, the salaries from 2019, as well as police salary schedules. And they found that over the course of 30 years, this could be payments of over $1.5 million, and that doesn't even account cost of life increases, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Lucy Kafanov there in Minneapolis, thanks very much.

Well, you've heard the discussion of defunding police departments. What does that actually mean? Does that mean disbanding? The truth is more complicated.

Joining me now to discuss is Sheriff Jerry Clayton of the Washtenaw County Police Department in Michigan.

Sheriff, good to have you on this morning.

Let's get at this question of defunding because you've heard -- well, you've the president's comments about it, et cetera. And while Minneapolis is looking at disbanding, for most people defunding is about diverting some funds, not all funds, to other social groups, government departments, et cetera. Explain what it means from your perspective.

SHERIFF JERRY CLAYTON, WASHTENAW COUNTY, MICHIGAN: So I think it means a number of things. I think we start by how do we define defunding? And I think defunding is confusing in the sense that we're really talking about police reform.

But there are different levels, right? So there are people that are police abolitionists who believe there shouldn't be any police, that we should get rid of the police and I think that leads to any number of problems. There's that saying that when everyone thinks they're the law, there is no law.

Then you have the next level of those individuals that look at city, state, county government and they look at the percentage of the general fund in those entities and they say, well, look, police are 40, 50 percent of that. We need to reduce that. So they pick a random number, 15 percent, 20 percent. And, again, there are unintended consequences of that. So if we don't analyze the impact, we run into problems.

The third group that I -- I've seen and heard about are those that want to target specific services. And I think there's some promise there. And the example we get is mental health services. I don't think you'll find many police professionals that will argue that someone else should handle people when they're in a mental health crisis, you know, respond and provide those services. But, again, even that is complicated. So if you start to move those services from police, what does that really mean?

[09:45:01]

Who's going to provide those services? And that is -- is that in every instance?

And then the last one that I think -- the approach that I think is best is the -- the total re-imagining of police. So think about this. We -- we start from the beginning. We start from equally distributing the power between government and the people to make this decision. We increase investment. We don't reduce investment.

SCIUTTO: Right.

CLAYTON: And these things will look differently in different places, but the format can be a consistent format.

SCIUTTO: OK.

CLAYTON: What are the outcomes you want? What are the strategies we need to develop to get there? And then we go structure.

SCIUTTO: OK, let's drill down a bit, because an example you give of mental health, it's a good one because oftentimes cops, law enforcement, are the first responders, right, for mental health issues. From police -- the perspective of police, would they rather that someone else was taking care of that and who would that be?

CLAYTON: So that's the challenge, right? So the police are the ones that are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. So they are the logical ones that will respond. If you call 911, you're in crisis.

If that crisis is someone that is in mental health distress -- and here's the key, oftentimes, even in our own agency, and I know across the nation, we get calls, they're not mental health calls. They're calls of other behavior that may be criminal behavior or at the very least suspicious. Our staff responds and then we find out that the person may be emotionally disturbed or in mental health crisis.

At that point, now we have a choice. Do we try to address it or do we bring in a mental health professional? So this move to send mental health professionals to mental health calls makes sense in theory, but how do we actually put that into practice? And that's really what we have to examine.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

I want to ask you, because your department, you've been here before. And you instituted changes. You called on the eight can't wait, these are policies to help change, reform policing and we'll put them up on screens so folks know them, but I'll just name a couple here, ban on chokeholds and strangleholds, requiring de-escalation, that's key, a ban on -- and this sounds simple, but shooting into moving vehicles.

You know, the chokeholds ban is something that's come up in congressional legislation and there's even some Republican support for that. Tell us what's most important among these changes and should some of them be national?

CLAYTON: Yes, I think all the changes are important, but all -- as always, the devil's in the details. So let's just take the ban on chokeholds or neck restraints. It's in our policy that we ban that -- that particular technique. But there is a carve out.

If the police officer's in a lethal force encounter, so if that police officer believes that the person he's -- or she's engages with provides an immediate threat to their safety and the safety of others, they have the intent, they have the ability and their actions at the time are challenging someone's life, at that point they are free to use whatever technique they can to save their life or someone else's life.

So when we start talking about these bans, let's talk about what the -- what that really means and what it looks like. In their larger reform, what we have been doing here in Washington County for the last 12 years is not just the focus on policy and training and evaluation, it really is a focus on culture. So I believe culture is the big issue.

So when we're talking about police reform, whether it's here at our office or if it's across the country, our focus needs to be on, what are the beliefs that drive the behaviors of our staff?

SCIUTTO: Right.

CLAYTON: I could change the policy. But if I believe that a certain group is the face of crime, I'll comply to -- as much as I need to, but I'm still going to practice things that put people in jeopardy. So we have to examine the broad spectrum.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

CLAYTON: I applaud the attempts to put certain legislation in place. But let's understand, it's more than just that.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Listen, Sheriff, we appreciate the work you're doing because you're taking it head on and you're acknowledging that these are issues that are difficult. There's no one measure law, executive order that's going to wipe it all clean. So let's keep up the conversation if we can. We appreciate having you on this morning. CLAYTON: Thank you for having me.

SCIUTTO: Well, it has been two years now since the Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. The first of three high-profile summits between the leaders. No progress on peace or denuclearization. No progress since then. And, in fact, North Korea now is vowing to expand its military and nuclear forces. What did the president get the U.S. in all this diplomacy? We'll have more.

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[09:54:21]

SCIUTTO: Well, President Trump has promised for more than two years that the art of the deal, his relationship he's described as a love affair with Kim Jong-un would move North Korea away from its nuclear program. Well, today, North Korea says it will build a bigger force to counter what it calls a long-term military threat from the U.S. That announcement comes notably on the second anniversary of President Trump's Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un, one of three he held with the North Korean leader.

CNN's Kylie Atwood joins me now.

Kylie, as you know, intelligence agencies have warned throughout this that North Korea had no intention of giving up its nuclear program. Has the administration, has the State Department, Pompeo, the president acknowledged the failure of this diplomacy?

[09:55:07]

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No, they haven't. So what we continually hear from the State Department, from the White House is that they are open to negotiations with North Korea.

But the bottom line here is that those negotiations are no longer ongoing. And this is kind of case in point what we are hearing from the North Koreans today. Say -- they say that there is no factual improvement to the relationship to be made by continuing Kim Jong-un and President Trump's relationship. So they don't want to continue it.

This comes, as you said, Jim, on the second anniversary of the first summit between the two leaders, that President Trump has repeatedly touted, he's repeatedly referenced that. And even after the two leaders met in Hanoi, in their second summit, which was actually, quite frankly, a failed summit because they accomplished little to nothing at the end of it, the U.S. has still maintained that they are open to this dialogue with North Korea.

But we are now seeing North Korea come out even more provocatively, not only towards the U.S., but also towards other countries in recent days and weeks, threatening to cut off its relationship with South Korea and coming out with some aggressive language against China as well.

SCIUTTO: Kylie Atwood, thanks for staying on top of it. We'll continue to follow the story.

And we'll be right back.

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