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THE SITUATION ROOM

Trump's 2020 Strategy; Interview With National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci; Defiant Trump Stokes Racial Division, Defends Harsh Response To Protests; 14 Minneapolis Officers Condemn Chauvin, This Is Not Who We Are; New "I Can't Breathe" Video As More Cases of Police Brutality Emerge. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 12, 2020 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:15]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We're following breaking news, new protests under way this hour, an 18th night of outrage over George Floyd's death. You're looking at live pictures coming in from New York and Miami.

As Americans continue taking to the streets, President Trump says police choke holds sound innocent and perfect, even as he claims to be open to banning them. In a new interview, he's also suggesting he's done more to help African Americans than Abraham Lincoln, while raising questions about Lincoln's legacy, all this as the relentless coronavirus pandemic has now claimed more than 114,000 lives here in the United States.

And a new CDC forecast projects that number will jump to 130,000 in three weeks, by July 4, as states reopen and cases spike.

Health officials are pleading for vigilance, warning that time spent with others raises the risk of infection.

Let's begin with the coronavirus pandemic this hour. We're joined by one of the most prominent members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Fauci, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for all you have done. We are totally grateful.

Let's get to some of the critical issues right now.

You have described this coronavirus as your worst nightmare, your words. Cases are now on the rise in 19 states. Big picture, has the United States stalled in the fight against coronavirus?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I'm not so sure we could say it's stalled, but what we're seeing right now is something, obviously, that's disturbing.

We all do want to reopen the country, for a number of important reasons. But we have got to do that in a way that's careful and prudent.

And there are certain fundamental, basic things that we just heard from one of the previous guests that, even when you do proceed according to guidelines, you have got to be careful to make sure that, to the extent possible, you physically distance yourself and you wear a mask literally at all times that you're on the outside and in a situation where you might be at risk either of acquiring infection or giving infection to someone else if you're one of those asymptomatic carriers.

We have got to be very careful of that, Wolf. We don't want to see a resurgence of infections.

BLITZER: Yes, we certainly don't.

Utah and Oregon, as you know, Dr. Fauci, are pausing their reopening processes. Should more states, do you think, reconsider the reopening that they're going through right now?

FAUCI: You know, what I recommend -- and it's very consistent, what we have recommended all along, Wolf -- is that you take a take a look at the carefully contrived guidelines of reopening.

You have to have a situation where you have a gateway into the process and then gradually go from one phase to the other. If you leapfrog over different phases, you increase the risk that you're going to have the kind of resurgences that we're seeing in certain of the states.

So, everybody understands the need, the important need to get back to some sort of normality, but you don't want to do it at the sacrifice of greatly increasing a risk. We have to be really careful about that.

BLITZER: Which states specifically, Dr. Fauci, do you think need to slow down their reopening efforts? What are your biggest areas of concern right now?

FAUCI: Well, you know, Wolf, I mean, I don't want to be saying they have to decrease their -- you know, their rate of their opening.

But if you look at just the data, which is the thing that drives it all, if you look at what's going on, for example, in California, if you look at what's going on in North Carolina, in Arizona, in Texas, in places like that, you have got to carefully look at what the result is.

Remember, I have said, and I will be consistent with it, that, when you do start moving towards opening up, you are going to see blips of infections. It's the capability that you have and that you have built to be able to very effectively do isolation -- identification, isolation, and contact tracing. Otherwise, you're going to see a little blip turn into something

that's more than that. And that's the thing you have to avoid, which is the reason why we say be prudent when you're doing something that you feel is important to do, because everyone recognizes that we do want to push towards opening up, but not at the expense of making things worse.

BLITZER: Well, do you think, Dr. Fauci, that these states where we're seeing these increases in cases and deaths, at a minimum, they should slow down, at least slow down their reopening process?

[18:05:02]

FAUCI: Yes. Well, yes, they should do two things.

Again, the individual decisions are made by the governors. But looking at what we're seeing, if you start to see things which we're seeing -- because they will say, and appropriately so, that the increase in cases is due both to more testing, identifying cases that you might not have gotten, but also a real increase.

And the proof of the pudding, Wolf, is, when you start seeing more hospitalizations, that's a surefire sign that you're in a situation where you're going in the wrong direction. When you see more percentage of the tests that are positive and more hospitalizations, that's something that should get you to pause and say, wait a minute, let's rethink this and see where we're going.

Maybe we need to slow down a little. Maybe we need to intensify our capabilities to identify, isolate, and contact-trace. We don't want it to get out of hand again.

BLITZER: I want you to listen to this, Dr. Fauci.

This is White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, what he had to say yesterday. Let me play the clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I'm not the health expert. But on the so-called spike, I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening. They're saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that. There is no second spike.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Did you speak to him? Is that true? There is no second spike?

FAUCI: I have not spoken to Larry Kudlow. No, I have not been one of the people that he spoke to.

BLITZER: Well, is there a second spike that you envision, that you're seeing right now?

FAUCI: Well, it depends -- yes. No, Wolf, it depends on what you mean by second spike. What they're saying is that there's an increase in cases. Has it

spiked up, or has it been a situation where there's been a gradual increase?

As I said, and I will repeat, you look at the data. If you start seeing an increase in the percentage of the tests that are positive, not the numbers, because the numbers could be explained by doing more testing -- and I will grant them that.

However, when you start to see increases in hospitalization, that's a surefire situation that you have got to pay close attention to.

BLITZER: Yes. There has been a dramatic increase in hospitalizations in several states.

Yesterday, I spoke with Asa Hutchinson, the governor of Arkansas. We're seeing an increase in hospitalizations there, not only an increase in the number of cases.

The Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, says, even if there is a spike, in his words, he says, we can't shut down the economy again.

Is it realistic to rule out the possibility of actually having to shut down the economy again?

FAUCI: You know, Wolf, we hope we don't ever have to get to that again, because there are deleterious consequences, unintended consequences of shutting down to the extent that we shut down.

But you can do things. And I have said that over and over again. It is not inevitable that you will have a so-called second wave in the fall or even a massive increase, if you approach it in the proper way, where you do the kinds of fundamental things.

For example, there is some impression that, when you open up, all bets are off. They are not off. You can improve on the economy, you can get people back to work and still do the fundamental things, like wearing a mask all the time when you're outside, of having this physical distance, of avoiding the congregation in crowds.

So, as you go forward, if you do that, you could very well contain and mitigate any spike.

I think the problem is, some people feel, well, we're opening up, so all bets are off. They're not. You have still got to be really careful.

BLITZER: I want to get your thoughts on this, Dr. Fauci, because I know you have advised that people who are planning to attend President Trump's big rally next week in Oklahoma, that any large group, in your words, is a danger and risky.

Have you told President Trump himself that this rally and other huge gatherings like this potentially could be very dangerous and risky?

FAUCI: I have not specifically spoken to him about that. But the principles that I have been espousing hold true and stand, as

I have said them before. When you're in a large crowd, if you have the congregation of people that are much, much close to each other, you definitely increase the risk that you will either acquire or spread infections.

And I have said there are some people that are going to do that anyway, no matter what I say. But the issue is, if they do, please wear a mask all the time, because a mask will give you some protection.

The best thing to do is to avoid crowded areas. But if you're not going to do that, please wear a mask.

BLITZER: Let's turn to where things stand on the desperate search for a vaccine right now.

I know you have previously said that, if everything falls in place, we could have a vaccine deployable by the end of this year. Are you still confident in that timeline?

[18:10:02]

FAUCI: I'm confident in the timeline that we will get to the point, by the end of the year, we will have a trial that has accrued a large number of people, and we hopefully will get an answer whether it works or not.

The one thing that people need to understand, there is never a guarantee that a vaccine, any -- and we have multiple candidates, it isn't just one -- that is going to be safe and effective.

But the preliminary data that we have seen, Wolf, indicates to me a degree that I can have a certain amount of cautious optimism. Namely, it's inducing a response in individuals to a level that would predict that there's a good chance it might protect.

Having said all that, we're moving at a speed that is not compromising safety and that is not compromising scientific activity. But, hopefully, having said that, by the time we get to the end of the year, the first quarter of 2021, we will have a vaccine that we will be able to deploy.

I hope we have more than one, because there are more than one promising candidates.

BLITZER: I know a vaccine is a dream, and we're all hoping it comes forward by the end of this year.

What about therapies, some new breakthrough that will at least prevent people potentially from dying or having a very severe case?

FAUCI: Well, I'm glad you brought that up, Wolf, because there is a better chance, time-wise, of having something that can help in regard to treatment before we actually have the capability of distributing a safe and effective vaccine. We have one drug that we showed a couple of weeks ago in a randomized,

placebo-controlled trial of -- a drug called remdesivir, that diminished by a statistically significant, but nonetheless modest amount, about 30-plus percent the time it takes to go from hospitalization to recovery.

We are now using that drug in combination with other drugs. But we're also pursuing things like the passive transfer of convalescent plasma, which means you draw plasma from someone who has recovered, and, therefore, assumed and likely has a good immune response against the virus, then you passively transfer it into someone who is sick and that you want to treat.

In addition, there are things called monoclonal antibodies, a couple of which have which -- actually gone into clinical trial just this past week. That means an antibody very specific against the virus.

We have had success with that in diseases like Ebola. Hopefully, we can translate that success to coronavirus disease. These are things that are ongoing now in a very active way.

So, we're hoping that, as we get into the fall and the winter, after these interventions have been tested, that we will have some drugs that we can count on that would benefit people either who are ill or even to prevent them from getting infected.

BLITZER: Yes, that would be huge, if that happens, as well.

Dr. Fauci, you and I have known each other for a long time. How are you doing? How are you feeling? How is it going? How are you and your wife dealing with all of this? Specifically, are you going out? Are you going to restaurants, sitting outside, wearing masks?

Give us a little flavor of what's going on, because you're the expert. We want to follow your lead.

FAUCI: Well, as you know, Wolf, I live here in Washington, D.C.

It's exhausting, Wolf. I don't want to say. I mean, but it's the adrenaline and to know the cause of what you're trying to do drives you. So, I am -- I'm chronically fatigued, I don't get a lot of sleep.

As you can hear from my voice, I'm constantly briefing, talking, doing things, hopefully getting the right cause out. I'm living a very simple life, like most people are. I do my job. I go out in the evening, after all of this, and try to get exercise every day.

When I'm outside, I wear a mask. I don't go into restaurants, because, in Washington, we're not at the phase of opening restaurants. It's outdoor. I like to support the restaurants that I like around my neighborhood. So I do takeout. I go there with my mask. I take out. I eat home. And that's it.

So, I think getting some exercise, trying as best as you can to get as much work done, and just moving on. It's the life I have chosen, and I have no regrets about it, but it is exhausting. BLITZER: Yes, I do the same thing. And we do takeout. We eat at home.

But you're not yet ready to go sit in a restaurant, even if you're sitting outside?

FAUCI: Well, that's not where we are -- that's not where we are right now in Washington.

I mean, right now, if you go up the block from where I live, there are people -- and they're doing it right, and I'm proud of them -- they're at tables outside, and they're separated by a good 10 feet.

I happen to want to just go and take carry-out and come home and eat while I'm working on my computer and continuing into the night to answer the hundreds and hundreds of e-mails that I get.

[18:15:10]

BLITZER: I know you do get -- and you have been getting a bunch from me as well.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: And you're always very kind to reply.

Let's take a look at -- there is a sense -- more than 114,000 Americans have now died over the past three months alone.

One of the models, as you know, that the administration, the task force has relied on in the past says it will be 170,000 Americans dead by October.

The president calls the response by the Trump administration and -- President Obama, I should say, President Obama, called the response by the Trump administration, in his words, an absolute chaotic disaster.

Is he wrong?

FAUCI: You know, one of the things I hate to do is be pitted one against the other.

I can tell you, we have done some things really well, and there are some things we could have done better. I think, when people look at the magnitude of the outbreak here, you have got to look at what it could have been if we didn't do certain things.

Nothing is perfect. I mean, I am realistic and humble enough to know that, when you look back, we certainly could have done things better. But we did some things right. I think the cutting off of the influx from China and from Europe was right.

When we locked down, we got a lot of criticism about that. When we extended it for 30 days, some criticized. So, on either side of it, there's going to be people that are out guessing.

What I tend to do -- and you have known me a long time, Wolf -- is to give scientific evaluation, to make recommendations, and suggest policy on the basis of the facts, and do it in a way that's realistic, but not alarming. That's the only thing I can do.

I can't get into the back-and-forth of who is blaming who and who is not blaming who. If I do that, I will lose the effectiveness of what I really want to do, is to do what I can to safeguard the health and the welfare of the American people.

When you get involved in all of that back-and-forth, who's right and who's wrong, it's a distraction. And it's not helpful.

BLITZER: One final question, and I know you have got to run.

What do you say to those Americans out there who may be watching right now who think it's over, the coronavirus pandemic is over, it's time to get back to business as usual?

FAUCI: Well, although we would love to get back to business as usual, just take a look at the numbers, Wolf, and you can see it's not over.

There are deaths, 1,000 or so deaths every day. There are, the last time we looked, 20 -- around 20,000 new infections each day. It's not over. It's just not.

And we have to do what we can do to try and continue to contain it as best we can. And, hopefully, a combination of the public health measures, together with the scientific advances, therapy that you mentioned, appropriately, the possibility of a vaccine, this will end.

I have no doubt it will end. But we have got to be in it together, doing what we can to make sure we can do that as quickly as we possibly can.

BLITZER: Dr. Fauci, it's been very kind of you to join us.

Thank you so much for everything you're doing. As I have often said, you're a national treasure, and we're all grateful to you. Appreciate it very much. We will stay in close touch. Thank you so much.

FAUCI: Thank you, Wolf. Thank you for having me.

BLITZER: Thank you, Dr. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist.

Just ahead: President Trump doubles down on his strategy of stoking racial tensions, as he sounds off about choke holds, looting, and shooting, and Abraham Lincoln.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:23:01]

BLITZER: Demonstrations continuing, peaceful demonstrations, live pictures coming in from New York right now. We're monitoring all these demonstrations, also, in Miami -- 18th

night of protests are under way in Miami as well. We will continue to update on that. Protests for racial justice, they're clearly playing out on the streets of the United States still, as President Trump is clinging to his playbook of division and self-defense.

Let's go to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

Jim, we have seen a shift in the national conversation about race, but not necessarily in President Trump's rhetoric.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.

The president is still talking tough, but he's tiptoeing around questions of police brutality, describing choke holds as -- quote -- "perfect," but indicating perhaps the tactic should be banned.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): Defending his response to the protests following the death of George Floyd, President Trump is sounding like the divider in chief.

The president is praising his photo-op in Washington, after demonstrators were pummeled near the White House.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it was a beautiful picture.

HARRIS FAULKNER, FOX NEWS HOST: Why do you think that your...

TRUMP: And I'll tell you, Christians think it was a beautiful picture.

ACOSTA: Even as he's dismissing comments from Pentagon officials who now say they regret being a part of it.

TRUMP: No, I don't think so. No, I mean, if that's the way they feel, I think that's fine.

ACOSTA: Reacting to protests in Seattle, the president is threatening more harsh tactics, warning the city's leaders: "These liberal Dems don't have a clue. The terrorists burn and pillage our cities, and they think it's just wonderful, even the death. Must end this Seattle takeover."

As for Floyd, the president danced around the question of whether it's appropriate for officers to continue using choke holds, saying they sometimes work, before adding, they may need to be banned.

TRUMP: I think the concept of choke holds sounds so innocent, so perfect, and then you realize, if it's one-on-one -- now, if it's two- on-one, that's a little bit of a different story.

With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended. ACOSTA: The president is standing by his campaign's plans for a rally

next week in Tulsa, the scene of one of the worst massacres of African Americans in history, on the same day the end of slavery in the U.S. is celebrated.

[18:25:09]

FAULKNER: Is that on purpose?

TRUMP: No, but I know exactly what you're going to say. Think about it as a celebration. My rally is a celebration.

ACOSTA: Later this summer, the president is set to deliver his speech at the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, on the anniversary of an infamous attack on African Americans in that city.

The president told FOX he should be mentioned in the same sentence as Abraham Lincoln.

TRUMP: I think I have done more for the black community than any other president. And let's take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, because he did good, although it's always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.

ACOSTA: But the president is hearing appeals to be a more unifying leader. Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz said during a podcast that his wife, Heidi, urged the president to address racism in the U.S.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I said: "Mr. President, Heidi is here. You mind if I put you on speaker?"

And so she -- he chatted with Heidi. And she said: "Mr. President, it is really, really important for you to speak out to the racial injustice in this country and for you to speak for unity."

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump's rival, Joe Biden, just released a new ad insisting the president is incapable of uniting the country.

NARRATOR: Where is Donald Trump? Too scared to face the people.

ACOSTA: Also blasting the president's leadership, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who is offering a scathing account of his days at the White House, writing in a new book: "I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn't driven by reelection calculations."

The White House is counting on a recovering economy to bail out Mr. Trump come election time, with top advisers insisting there won't be a second wave of the coronavirus, contrary to what health experts are warning.

KUDLOW: I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening. They are saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that. There is no second spike.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: Now, the president was laying low at his golf club in New Jersey today with no public events on his schedule. He will deliver the commencement speech at West Point tomorrow, an event that will include some social distancing, even though the White House has drifted away from those kinds of precautionary measures.

And the White House just a few moments ago, Wolf, released a statement, making a point of saying the president was working today and that he will have dinner tonight with the governor of New Jersey -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta at the White House for us, thank you.

Just ahead, we're going to take a closer look at the extraordinary changes taking place around the world in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:30:00]

BLITZER: This is the 18th night of protests around the country over George Floyd's death. Let's discuss with the Anchor of CNN Tonight, Don Lemon, along with our White House Correspondent, John Harwood.

Don, the president seems to be embracing division rather than unity right now. As a source tells CNN, he thinks stoking cultural wars is politically a solid strategy. What would you say to that?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I would say that he's wrong. I would say the president is off on this. I would say that it's backwards thinking. And I've also said that the president is not in 2020. He's not even in 1968. If you think about the civil rights movement, most people in the country were -- a majority of people were not for the civil rights movement.

But if you look at now in 2020, as to how this president is handling race relations and how much people want to move on, just 31 percent approve, just 31 percent approve of the way the president is handling it. 63 percent disapprove.

So it shows the president is not with the thinking and the momentum in this country at this point, that his thinking is behind, that he's acting like a relic and that if he doesn't get on the bus, that he's going to be a loser.

This is a losing issue for the president, when you have generals and military leaders backing away from the president on how he handled those protesters, as you and I and so many in the country and around the world, Wolf, watched as they were pushed away from the White House and tear gassed.

The American people are ready to move on when it comes to this issue. And I think for the first time, Americans of all ethnicities and races are willing to learn and move on from this issue and the president is the one who is hindering it. BLITZER: As you know, John, the president now says he's open to banning chokeholds generally but he also says they are sometimes necessary. What does that signal to you about potential police reform coming from the executive level?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That he's not serious about it. And to follow on what Don was saying, I actually don't think this is a deliberate strategy on the president's part. I think this is who he is. And his base may like it, but they like it because that's who he is.

The president, in that interview with FOX, I've got to say, was disconnected from reality. There is a tape that is replaying in his head from long ago about who is in charge, who ought to be in charge and how the people in charge ought to maintain control over those who are not. And, you know, a lot of it was familiar nonsense, the stuff about Abraham Lincoln, that's ridiculous, he's said it many times before. But at this moment of crisis when his reelection is in so much difficulty, the nation is convulsed.

When Harris Faulkner was asking him questions about -- saying, I'm black woman, talk to me about this moment, he didn't even track her questions.

[18:35:08]

When she asked him about General Milley and his objection, he did not track the question. What he said was, well, I've rebuilt the military. When he was asked about, what about the cause, the justice cause of those protesters, he gave some little riff about how the protesters don't even know why they're out there. It was not a person who is capable of engaging with the reality in America right now. And that's why he's not changing.

BLITZER: You know, Don, I don't know if you saw it, but I spoke last night with the former Homeland Security, secretary, Jeh Johnson, and he told me renewed efforts to remove confederate symbols around the country is very personal to him. I want you to watch this part of our conversation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEH JOHNSON, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Wolf, I hope your viewers can see this. This is my great-great-grandmother, Julia Branch. She was a teenage slave during the civil war. And what the confederate flag represents to me and all other descendants of slaves in this country is an indication, a sign that my great-grandmother should have remained a slave for rest of her life. And so the confederate flag personally is offensive to me and many, many other people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: I wonder, Don, what you make of that very personal, emotional disclosure by the former secretary. LEMON: Well, I think most African Americans can relate to what the former secretary had to say. I think the confederate flag and monuments, they're not a sign of progress. I think it's a sign of, actually, anti-Americanism. I think it's a sign -- it's they're symbols of regression. I think they're symbols of retrogression. I think it's symbols of decline. And I think, again, the president is missing the moment when it comes to this.

There are even staunch conservatives who understand that it is time to get rid of the confederate flag in our culture. It is time to rename some military installations. Who would want to go to school -- let's just be honest. Would you want to go to a Hitler high school? Would you want to go to have your kids play in Bin Laden park? Would you want -- if you were a black military member, would you want to go to -- or any military member of any race, would you like to go to having served at Ft. Benedict Arnold?

The people -- the symbols that he's fighting for are for losers, and for people who were traitors to this country. And, again, I think he is missing the moment and is at the very least, tone deaf.

BLITZER: Because he want to consider changing the names of those bases named after former confederate generals. Don Lemon, John Harwood, guys, thanks very much.

An important note to our viewers, Don will, of course be back in just a few hours, be sure to join him for CNN Tonight, later tonight at 10:00 P.M. Eastern. Always a very, very strong show.

Just ahead, I'll speak with the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota about how the twin cities community is now reacting to a letter from members of the Minneapolis police condemning the actions of their former colleague.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:40:00]

BLITZER: We're following new protests playing out tonight, 18 days after George Floyd took his last breath with a Minneapolis police officer's knee on his neck.

Let's go to Minnesota right now. We're joined by mayor of St. Paul, Melvin Carter. Mayor Carter, thanks for joining us.

And as you know, in an open letter, members of the Minneapolis police department write -- they write this, Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are. What's your response to that letter and how is it being received by the twin cities community?

MAYOR MELVIN CARTER (D-MN), ST. PAUL: I think that letter states the obvious, Wolf. I don't know how you can have just a basic sense of humanity and do what he did for as long as he did it with just the casual demeanor, with your hand in your pocket in that way. I think that letter reflects the appalled nature, the rage, the frustration and the trauma that our entire community. And as we're seeing, our entire country is feeling as a result to that video.

BLITZER: We just learned today, Mayor, that the former police officer Derek Chauvin could still receive his pension even if he's convicted in George Floyd's murder. Does that sound like justice to you?

CARTER: Of course, it doesn't sound like justice to me. And this digs right into the fact that our police unions, those police union contracts across the country have just protected officers despite really whatever they do, and just seeing something as profoundly wrong, that every person, every member of humanity that I know can look at that video and say it's just profoundly wrong.

And yet we see the president of the Minneapolis police union mad that you won't call him a violent criminal. We see police unions all over the country, you know, saying, you guys are treating police like animals or like dogs, you know things like that, that we heard out of New York. You know, it's just a real shame.

I know a little bit about the labor union movements, enough to know that they were built to protect people like George Floyd.

[18:45:03]

And if we have a union and a union contract and union stewards working to try to cover up or to try to shield someone for brutally taking a working class American's life like that, that's an a real distortion of what the meaning of those unions were for in the first place.

BLITZER: President Trump says he thinks the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent, so perfect, but he also says he generally supports banning them.

Is there anything innocent or perfect about a chokehold from your perspective?

CARTER: It's the first time I've heard someone use the word "innocent" and "chokehold" in a sentence. My 12-year-old daughter this week was busy writing opening statements for the prosecution against those four officers. And one of the things that she said is, she said, even a child my age knows that a chokehold, especially if you leave it on somebody that long, it can take a life.

BLITZER: Mayor Carter, thank you so much for joining us.

CARTER: Thanks for having me on, Wolf.

BLITZER: Melvin Carter is the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Important programming note, CNN will hold a town hall with four of the nation's to mayors, Washington, D.C.'s Muriel Bowser, Atlanta's Keisha Lance Bottoms, Chicago's Lori Lightfoot, and San Francisco's London Breed. They'll take questions on race, coronavirus concerns.

"Mayors Who Matter" airs Sunday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Laura Coates will host that town hall.

Just ahead, yet another video emerges of an African American man restrained by police and crying out "I can't breathe."

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[18:50:48]

BLITZER: Since George Floyd's death, new videos keep emerging of brutal police tactics used on African Americans. We're now learning of yet another case where a man in custody cried out, I can't breathe.

CNN's Brian Todd has been going over the late breaking evidence of misconduct.

What are you learning, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, these cases have been brought to light in recent days only because of the outrage of the George Floyd killing. Tonight, law enforcement experts are wringing their hands over why these incidents just keep happening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OFFICER: Hey, get on the ground!

TODD (voice-over): In Oklahoma City, police pursue a suspect on foot after getting reports of a man drawing a gun on another man.

Within seconds, Derrick Scott is tackled and cries out a now familiar phrase.

DERRICK SCOTT: I can't breathe.

OFFICER: I don't care.

OFFICER: Get your hands behind your back.

TODD: This police body cam video was released this week after protesters demanded it, but the incident occurred more than a year before George Floyd's killing.

Scott repeatedly tells officers --

SCOTT: I can't breathe, please.

TODD: As police pinned him down, at one, Derrick Scott appears unresponsive.

OFFICER: Stay with us, man.

TODD: Scott was taken to a medical center and later died. The medical examiner says Scott died of a collapsed lung, that there was no fatal trauma but physical restraint along with methamphetamine use, asthma, and heart disease were contributing factors. An investigation concluded the officers did not engage in misconduct.

But this case from Austin, Texas, last year is now under investigation. JAVIER AMBLER: Sir, I can't breathe.

OFFICER: Flat on your stomach.

TODD: Javier Ambler was apprehended after a traffic stop. He was unarmed and told sheriff's deputies he had congestive heart failure. Ambler died in custody, a death which was ruled a homicide. An investigation determined the officers acted in accordance with guidelines.

But these incidents, along with George Floyd's killing, come in years after Ferguson, after the Eric Garner and Freddie Gray cases, have law enforcement concerned about why these encounters keep happening.

CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: The majority of police officers do their job well, but one rotten apple can spoil an entire barrel. And the reality is the few, the fine, the many. And we have to understand that and do everything we can to root corrupt officers, brutal officers, any officers that engage in misconduct or neglect their duties.

TODD: Neglect is what's being investigated in this case. Thirteen Chicago police officers seen in recent days on surveillance footage lounging in the office of Congressman Bobby Rush while heated protests and looting were going on outside.

REP. BOBBY RUSH (D-IL): These individuals need to apologize to the city of Chicago for their cowardice, inaction, for their withdrawal from the front line, for their retreat in the midst of these assaults.

TODD: And in Buffalo, New York, the lawyer for the 75-year-old man who was pushed to the ground by police now says his client's brain is injured.

RAMSEY: Change needs to happen, in some cases radical change in order to really make a difference depending on the particular department. Our profession right now is in crisis and we have to address it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Charles Ramsey says there is training for officers on how to handle these incidents, training that's going on right now that never took place 20 years ago. But he says obviously that is still not enough. Ramsey says police departments have to do a much better job of vetting officers at the moment they hire them and better job of teaching police officers about the history of police brutality -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us, Brian, thank you very much.

More news right after this.

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[18:58:53] BLITZER: This quick programming note: CNN will hold a town hall with four of the nation's top mayors, D.C.'s Muriel Bowser, Atlanta's Keisha Lance Bottoms, Chicago's Lori Lightfoot, and San Francisco's London Breed. They'll take questions on race, on the coronavirus concerns, "Mayors Who Matter" airs Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Laura Coates will host that town hall.

Finally, tonight, as this nation confronts the deadly consequences of the coronavirus and racism, we are all reminded once again that the faces of the pandemic are disproportionately African American. These are some of the people of color we have lost to the coronavirus who have been profiled by CNN. They range in age from 27 to 94. They live from coast to coast.

They are parents, children, spouses, and neighbors. Two of them are relatives of our SITUATION ROOM show team. They lived and they died in truly extraordinary times filled with danger and fear as well as new hope for a better tomorrow. May they all rest in peace, and may their memories be a blessing.

Thanks very much for watching. I'll be back tomorrow night, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, for a special SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.