Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Defiant As Cultural Change Sweep America; Another Man Dead After Telling Police He Couldn't Breathe; Louisville Will End No- Knock Warrants. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 12, 2020 - 05:00   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A defiant president doubling down on a culture war in the face of sweeping demands for change nationwide.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And another case of a black man ending up dead after telling police he couldn't breathe.

Now, one city takes action to end a police tactic that led to one woman's death.

ROMANS: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Friday, June 12th. It's 5:00 a.m. in New York.

And this morning, the more America embraces change, the harder the president seems to fight it.


He's campaigning on a slogan of "keep America great", but a cultural reckoning is crashing down all around him right now. As Republicans and Democrats work to find common ground on police reform, President Trump keeps denying systemic racism even exists.


TRUMP: We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear, but we'll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racists or bigots.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Quietly but consistently, some of the president's closest allies are starting to abandon him with their own jobs on the line in November. A GOP-led Senate panel passed an amendment to rename military bases named for confederate generals. Only two Republicans oppose that idea.

The president is still refusing to entertain the idea even though his own defense secretary was open to it.

JARRETT: And for the second time in two weeks, a top military official expresses regret for his role in that debacle at Lafayette Park. Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the president's most fierce defenders backing the apology from General Mark Milley in substance and spirit. Yet even with growing push back to the president's tactics we're seeing right now, he's not giving up on stoking a culture war.


TRUMP: I made the statements we have to dominate the street. They said, oh, that's such a terrible thing. Guess what, you know who dominated the streets? People you don't want to dominate the streets and look at the damage they did.

So I'll stick with that and I think most of the people in this room, maybe every person in this room will stick with that. And we're doing it with compassion. If you think about it, we're dominating the street with compassion.


ROMANS: Corporate America making changes. Even NASCAR moved to ban the Confederate flag, a move unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

The president so thirsty for approval from his base can't even count on Fox TV anymore. This week, he relied on a fringe right wing media group to spread a conspiracy about an elderly protester in Buffalo shoved by police. Martin Gugino is about to start physical therapy, we now know, for a brain injury sustained in that shove.

So, while much of America moves one direction, President Trump is forced to be his -- to bet he's yearning for America's past will carry him to victory in November.

JARRETT: Some areas of agreement are actually emerging this morning on the issue of reform. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he supports the Democrats' proposed ban on police chokeholds.

President Trump making his first appearance on the matter in Texas without a mask, by the way, despite the big uptick in COVID-19 cases across that state.

The president says executive action is being planned on excessive force and other steps include economic development and tackling health care disparities in minority communities.

Now, the president offered few specifics on reform. No tangible ideas. He had this to say on Fox.


TRUMP: The sad thing is that they are very professional but when you see an event like that with the more than eight minutes of horror, that's eight minutes of horror, that's a disgrace. And then people start saying, well, are all police like that? They don't know? Maybe they don't think about it that much. It doesn't make any difference. The fact is they start saying, well, police are like that. Police aren't like that.


ROMANS: It's also important to note who wasn't invited to President Trump's event on justice disparities. Three key officials: the region's police chief, sheriff and district attorney all of whom are black.

JARRETT: Disturbing new video of a black man who died shortly after a violent arrest in Oklahoma. The video shows some of what happened when three Oklahoma City officers arrested Derrick Scott. They were responding to a call that a black man was apparently arguing with individuals and brandishing a gun. Body camera footage shows Scott appearing to cooperate with police by putting both of his hands in the air just before he turns and runs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get your hands behind your back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your hands out of your pockets.


I'm going to tase you.



ROMANS: Nearly a minute later one female officer can be heard yelling he's acting like he's unconscious. One hour after Derrick Scott was taken into custody by police he was dead.

Scott's mother told CNN her son had asthma. According to the medical examiner's report, Scott's manner of death was undetermined.

JARRETT: Well, if you attend the president's rally next Friday and get coronavirus, the Trump campaign says come at your own risk. Rally- goers are being asked to register for the event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and agree not to sue the campaign if they later contract the virus. COVID cases in Oklahoma had been declining but spike again in the last two weeks.

ROMANS: Now, it is unclear what safety measures will be in place for this rally. Oklahoma's governor recommends people minimize time in crowded environments.


But it doesn't place limits on group gatherings. The White House also is pushing back on the criticism over the rally date. June 19th, known as Juneteenth, marks the end of slavery in the U.S. And the location: Tulsa. Tulsa also was the site of a 1921 massacre, one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history.

JARRETT: Louisville's metro council has unanimously voted to ban no- knock search warrants. That's the warrant used by police who shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her own home last March, during a narcotics investigation. The man police actually wanted was miles away.

The measure will be known as Breonna's Law.

Here's Breonna's mom on CNN last night.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: What would you think Breonna would think about what's happening?

TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: She would be amazed to see the world changing.


JARRETT: The change requires all Louisville metro officers to be equipped with an operational body camera when executing a warrant. Congressional Democrats want to end no-knock warrants in drug cases. Now, Senator Rand Paul has introduced a Senate bill to do the same.

ROMANS: All right. In Minneapolis, Minneapolis police are rarely disciplined when complaints are filed against them. The city's office of police conduct review received more than 2,000 complaints against police between 2013 and 2019.

According to a CNN analysis, only 31 ended in serious discipline. That's a shockingly low 1.5 percent resulting in suspensions, terminations or demotions. Former officer Derek Chauvin who pinned George Floyd to the pavement with that knee to the neck, he received 18 complaints. His punishment, two reprimands.

JARRETT: The school board in Denver voting unanimously to remove city police officers from its schools. That means school resource officers will be phased out through next June. And the district will rely on its own security. One board member explaining that while the intention may have been good, school officers unfairly target students of color at times and make them weary of law enforcement at a very young age. Once the contract is done, funds will go to more social and mental health workers.

ROMANS: As many as 13 Chicago police officers captured on surveillance video lounging and eating popcorn in a congressman's office as protests and violence occurred in parts of the city early last week. Chicago's mayor calling it one of the most disgraceful, disrespectful things she has seen and that none of the officers will be allowed to hide behind their badge.

CNN has reached out to the Chicago police union but has not received a response.

JARRETT: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, did not give the White House a heads up before admitting it was a mistake to appear in a widely criticized photo-op last week with President Trump. General Milley's prerecorded apology yet another sign of the strain right now between the Pentagon and the White House.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS: Many of you saw the result of the photograph of me at Lafayette Square last week. That sparked a national debate about the rule of the military in civil society. I should not have been there.

My presence in that moment and my presence in that moment and environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniform officer, it was a mistake that I've learned from and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.


JARRETT: General Milley, of course, is the top official charged with keeping the U.S. military out of politics. Top commanders have been releasing statements in favor of racial equality, hoping they are seen by troops and around the world.

ROMANS: From record highs to sharp declines, stocks took a huge hit Thursday after a sober economic outlook from the Federal Reserve and the milestone of 2 million coronavirus cases in the U.S. The Dow closed 1,862 points lower, falling below 26,000 for the first time since the beginning of the month. The S&P 500 finished nearly 6 percent lower. These are huge one-day moves.

The Nasdaq, which saw three record highs during the week, closed 5.3 percent lower. All three major averages had their worst single day since mid-March.

Taking a look at futures right now, it looks like a rebound this morning. Markets around the world rebounding really.

And new this morning, a sign of just how devastated the pandemic is on economies around the world. U.K. GDP fell by 20.4 percent in April, the largest monthly decline on record. A huge contraction for the U.K.

We also learned another 1.5 million Americans filed for first time unemployment benefits, bringing the total now to more than $44 million since mid March and continuing claims. Those workers who filed for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, that number stuck it just about 20 million.

Economists are shifting their focus on the continued claims number is a better indicator of the state of the labor market.

During his remark, Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted that millions of Americans may never go back to their jobs, Laura.

JARRETT: Well, coronavirus remains a real threat but some big attractions are starting to resume in States seeing major spikes in cases.



JARRETT: Well, many activities starting up again in states with dangerous spikes in coronavirus cases. In Los Angeles, new cases are now at a near record high. But businesses like gyms and museums are still planning to reopen today.


DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: COVID is not taking a vacation. It's looking for opportunities to spread. Opening it up for all of the cultural advantages which was absolutely necessary, but we had to do it carefully in order to not make too much medical and public health damage.


JARRETT: In Texas, the PGA is back but without fans. In Florida, the NBA is restarting its season next month. And Major League Baseball could join them as well.

And President Trump is said to accept the GOP nomination in Jacksonville.

CNN has reporters from coast to coast.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores in Lake Mary, Florida.

As the Sunshine State continues to reopen, an uptick in coronavirus cases, according to analysis by Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at FIU. With nearly 1,700 new cases reported yesterday alone, one of the reasons for the uptick, per Dr. Marty, people not wearing masks, not social distancing and not exercising proper hygiene, and the ongoing protests could exacerbate the problem, not just because large groups are in close proximity, but because of the use of tear gas, which according to Dr. Marty can damage the airways that body needs to fend the virus.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Natasha Chen in Greenville, South Carolina.

The weekly average of new cases has been trending upward in the past week, and we're seeing the same upward trend in the weekly average of new deaths.

South Carolina's state epidemiologist says this is the most concerned she has been since the pandemic began. She's also urging people to wash hands in public, wash hands frequently, and socially distance themselves from others.

Now, South Carolina was the first state to announce reopening any businesses that on April 20th, Governor Henry McMaster has stayed resolve and wanting to safely keep businesses open so people have a way of making a living.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kyung Lah in Phoenix, Arizona, where the mayor of Phoenix says her city and the state of Arizona is not recovering from COVID. The mayor says we opened too much too early. The state of Arizona did reopen on May 15th. And if you look at this graph, you'll see that in the weeks since, the numbers have jumped dramatically.

The state health department announced on Thursday more than 1,400 new cases just on Thursday with restaurants, bars, businesses now open, the state health department is asking hospitals activate their emergency plans with about 80 percent of ICU beds in the state being used.


The troubling trend of the coronavirus here in Texas continues. On average, there have been more than 1,700 new coronavirus cases reported here daily. We haven't seen numbers this high since the pandemic started. And the same goes for the number of people hospitalized which has been over 2,000 for several days now.

The governor here in Texas says they will continue to work towards continuing the spread of the virus, but he also says they're going to push to fully reopen the economy here in Texas by July 4th.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks for those reports.

Senior errors are being made in the metrics to track COVID-19 cases in the United States. Dr. Tom Frieden, the former director of the CDC, says there is too much focus on things that won't get us out of this pandemic, including case counts.


DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: Today, the United States isn't focusing on the most important trend and we're giving too much weight to numbers that have little meaning and less use. We have to change our focus to tracking indicators that will actually help us understand where the pandemic is and how our control measures are working.


ROMANS: Dr. Frieden and his colleagues believe we should be studying unlinked infections, which includes the proportion of cases among quarantine contacts and healthcare workers.

JARRETT: Well, two large vaccine trials, one overseas and one here in the U.S., are moving forward, but getting the vaccine to the people who need it faces complications. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has more now.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Laura, some news on the vaccine front. The University of Oxford in England saying that they're already in phase three clinical trials. Those are the large scale clinical trials where you really find out if the vaccine works.

University of Oxford saying that along with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, they will be doing a trial with 42,000 participants.

Another company based in the United States, Moderna, based in Massachusetts, they say that they're going to do a trial with 30,000 people and that that will begin next month.

Now, this is what the National Institutes of Health wants to hear. They want large trials with around 30,000 people so they can make sure that the vaccine is truly safe and truly effective, but the issue is that it's the Food and Drug Administration that gives permission to vaccines to go on the market and the FDA has not committed, they have not said we will require that there be trials in at least 30,000 people. That has some scientists worried that President Trump is going to put pressure on the FDA to put a vaccine on the market before it's been tested out on the full 30,000 just to have a vaccine and get votes in November -- Laura, Christine.


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

Students around the world are adjusting to a new normal. In Hong Kong, hundreds of thousands are returning to school after a four-month absence. The city emerged from coronavirus in relatively good shape. Still, the effects of the pandemic are being felt.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has more.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Family feelings for 11-year-old Hanna on the first day back at school.


But it's not summer break or Christmas holidays that she's had away from her teachers, Hanna's school is reopening after a pandemic shut it down.

HANNA RUMBLE, SCHOOL STUDENT: I'm very excited but I'm annoyed that we have to wear a mask all day. STOUT: Despite its border with mainland China, Hong Kong has come

through the pandemic relatively unscathed. Like other parts of the world, social distance has been the watch word, but here, there have been just over 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 resulting in four known deaths.

RUMBLE: The hardest part was keeping one meter away and like every time you leave the room and come back in, you have to put hand sanitizer on and some people were forgetting.

STOUT (on camera): Students here at Hong Kong's school are finishing up their first week back in this brave new world of socially distance learning and this is what a lunch room looks like in this time of pandemic. One lunch begins, students will be spaced 1.5 meters apart, facing the same direction. It's the one time in the entire school day when they're allowed to take off their masks.

(voice-over): New school rules are strict. PE class turns a team sport, hockey, into individual practice. The kids wipe down their sticks. There is no sharing of water bottles.

Classes are separated. Half in one room, half in another. The teacher uses Zoom to be in two places at once.

BILL GARRETT, PRINCIPAL, THE PEAK SCHOOL HONG KONG: Communities across Hong Kong (INAUDIBLE) children return and to have them turn up on the bus and walk through the gates on Monday morning was, just some amazing feeling. They all got masks on, but you can still see the smiles. You can see it in their cheeks and you can see it in their eyes. (INAUDIBLE) allowed to be back.

STOUT: But being back means bringing the worries of the world into the classroom.

GARRETT: We're confident that we've reduced the risk. You cannot eliminate the risk and we made that point to the parents.

STOUT: The question is, will school ever be how it was before COVID- 19 hit here in Hong Kong or anywhere?

GARRETT: Hong Kong is a city. This is an opportunity to really show the rest of the world that we can get through this. We can keep the children safe and we can have them in school.

STOUT: Parents around the world wait anxiously and hope that their kids can go back to class, too. And like Hanna's school, the lessons of COVID-19 will keep them safe when they do.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


ROMANS: It's so amazing to see those kids going back to school. I mean, here in the U.S., really trying to figure out what it's going to look like in the fall if and when students go back. And how you're going to handle, you know, one teacher separating 20 or 30 kids into different two rooms. That's going to be a real challenge.

JARRETT: Yes. But it shows you how adaptable children are, right?


JARRETT: Adults have trouble with this, but kids get it and they learn fast.

ROMANS: All right. Still ahead, how serious is Facebook about combating misinformation for the upcoming election? Well, Joe Biden wants to ensure there's no repeat of 2016.



JARRETT: A California man suspected of shooting four police officers and another citizen has been killed in a shootout with police after a two-day manhunt. Police say 26-year-old Mason Lira has a long history of mental illness. Authorities say over two days, Lira shot and killed a homeless man in Paso Robles and wounded four officers. Investigators are still trying to determine a motive.

ROMANS: Joe Biden is challenging Facebook over its misinformation policies in an effort to avoid a repeat of the 2016 election. The social network is facing backlash from the public and from its own employees for not taking action on incendiary posts by President Trump.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: The Biden campaign escalating tensions with Facebook, releasing a petition on Thursday calling on CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take misinformation more seriously. You'll remember, two weeks ago, Facebook took no action on a post from President Trump saying when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Twitter put a disclaimer on that same post on its platform, saying it glorified violence.

Now, Facebook does not fact check politicians on its platform, so a post that contains false information, say, even a campaign ad from the president of the United States can go viral on Facebook and be seen by millions of people.

Democrats think that Facebook policy could give Trump an advantage in November's election and in an open letter on Thursday to Mark Zuckerberg, the Biden campaign wrote: We call for Facebook to proactively stem the tide of false information by no longer amplifying untrustworthy content and promptly fact-checking election related material that goes viral.

Now in response, Facebook put out a statement saying it is up to politicians to write the laws and Facebook will follow them. The great irony here, of course, is that even as the Biden campaign is

blasting Facebook, last week, it spent $5 million on ads on the platform. So, it just goes to show how central a role Facebook will play in this election for perhaps the good and the bad -- Christine, Laura.


JARRETT: All right. Donnie, thank you.

Also on the disinformation front, Twitter says it has shut down over 170,000 accounts with links to the Chinese government. Experts working with the social media giant saying many of the accounts pushed deceptive narratives about the Hong Kong protests and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those narratives are being described as favorable to the communist party of China. They were removed for violating Twitter's platform manipulation policies.

EARLY START continues right now.



TRUMP: Heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racists or bigots.