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Congress Takes on Police Reform in Wake of Shootings; Trump Threatens to Take Action Amid Protests in Seattle; Seattle Protesters Set Up Autonomous Zone; 100+ Arrested After Violent Weekend Clashes in London; Russian Court Sentences Paul Whelan to 16 Years in Prison; Philippine Journalist Maria Ressa Convicted of Cyber Libel; U.S. Futures Down Sharply Over COVID-19 Concerns; Asian and European Markets Lower to Start the Week. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 15, 2020 - 04:30   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta.

More protests are expected in the hours ahead after cities across the U.S. marked a 20th straight day of demonstrations on Sunday. Protesters from coast to coast are speaking out against racial injustice three weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Now there's renewed anger after a black man was shot and killed on by the Atlanta police officer on Friday. Rayshard Brooks was killed outside a fast food restaurant. Police had been called after he fell asleep in his car in the drive through.

In the wake of deadly police shootings, Congress is working to tackle police reform legislation. Republican Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the U.S. Senate, is proposing a national database to track incidents of police misuse of force but he says he's not ready to link recent police shootings of black men to systemic racism. Here he is.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I will say most of us don't really understand the definition of systemic racism. It changes based on the conversations. What I would suggest is that you look at the racial outcomes. Is there a nexus to race in some of the outcomes to law enforcement? I think the answer is yes. Can we reduce that so we're no longer battling the question of definition of systematic or systemic racism? I think the answer is yes. But there's no question that the outcomes seem to have a racial component.


ALLEN: When the Senator was asked about Congress establishing a national standard for the use of force by police, this is what he said.


SCOTT: I think it's really difficult to establish a codified in law standard for use of force. There are millions of scenarios that play out. That's one of the reasons why what we have tried to achieve through the legislation is finding the best practices around use of force around the country and then provide that clarity and guidance for those departments who may need to have a better perspective on use of force.


So we're getting at it but I'm not sure we're going to ever codify in law a use of force standard.


ALLEN: In a recent tweet President Donald Trump blasted Democrats over the ongoing protests in Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone -- that's called CHAZ. He's calling out the mayors and governor of Washington to take back their city now. Claiming that if they don't do it, he will. He says -- here's a quote -- these ugly anarchists must be stopped immediately, end quote. CNN's Doug Simon went to CHAZ to investigate the scene himself. And here are some of the people he met.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So this is what it looks like when you enter CHAZ. You see some of this street graffiti behind me. There might be a security person here asking a few questions or just trying to make sure that you're not somebody who's going to stir up trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just making sure that there's no violence or, you know, anything against people of color. That's why we're here.

SIMON: Then you walk 200 or 300 feet and then you're in the heart of the zone. This is the main focal point of the occupation zone, the police precinct behind me. People have put up messages. They've made signs. And a lot of folks are just coming by and taking in the sight.

How would you describe CHAZ and the occupation?

JAWAN CAMPBELL, SEATTLE RESIDENT: Oh, it's good. It's -- a lot of people out here, unity, a little -- trying to get this equality thing going and it's very peaceful out here.

SIMON: One of the more remarkable things about the occupation is the infrastructure. They are incredibly well stocked for the long haul.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See all those plastic bags with cards in it? Those are all individual donor cards. So like most of this stuff just comes one bag of groceries at a time from folks in the community who want to help take care of each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have like so much stuff we, like, can't get enough people to take it right now.

SIMON: A lot of people are on this field. They might be relaxing or having a picnic. You can see this meditation society behind me. It doesn't really look like the picture of anarchy.

What are your immediate impressions?

MEGAN JOHNSON, BROUGHT HER TWO SONS: It seems like it's a great way to demonstrate what's happening. And this is a very revolutionary time in our history and I think my kids need to see it. And it seems peaceful and under control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good vibe. It's a good vibe. I mean you've got a million people here that got different opinions. It's not a million, but everybody got a different opinion. So, yes, we're going to hear some screaming and yelling, but it's only their opinion.

SIMON: We've seen a lot of different groups hold various events here. This is a group of Native Americans behind me doing a drum ceremony.

Now, is everything Pollyannaish here? Obviously not. We have seen some tempers flare, especially when somebody tries to interrupt a speaker. And some folks are openly carrying weapons. Remember, Washington is an open carry state.

RAZ SIMONE, PROTESTOR: This is only a couple little -- little bullets in this guy right here. It's -- you know, what I mean, this is not for the police. I'm an American citizen and my war is not with the police, it's with the system and the accountability that -- the lack of accountability. But, no, this is just for protection.

SIMON: What do you think of CHAZ?

ADAM ONE, ARTIST: This is the most beautiful thing. It's so hopeful. I've been to a lot of festivals around the world and what I see is just something very similar, like love and giving in a self-organized policing and, yes, just a lot of good vibes, rainbows, you know, and it's really hopeful for me.


ALLEN: All right. From the far west of the United States we want to take you now to Britain which has seen a weekend of ugly scenes as far as right groups targeted -- targeting antiracism Black Lives Matter demonstrations. More than 100 people were arrested but amid the chaos one powerful image has resonated around the world. And for that Salma Abdelaziz joins us now from London. It was quite the moment. Tell us more about it, Selma.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: That's right, Natalie and I just want to start by explaining where I am. I'm near Waterloo Station and this area just behind me here is actually where these clashes broke out, where this viral image was taken. As right-wing demonstrators were clashing with supporters of Black Lives Matter. Now Black Lives Matter had actually canceled the protests for the weekend specifically because they didn't want to be drawn into any violence. But Patrick Hutchinson said he knew that some young people, some young supporters would come out anyway and that there was a possibility it could escalate. And he wanted to act as a peacekeeper. Take a listen to what he told me.


ABDELAZIZ: Is this you in the photograph?


ABDELAZIZ: Can you describe to me what's happening in this picture?

HUTCHINSON: My friends and I cordoned around this man. He was on the stairs lying in the fetal position. You know, anything is about to happen to him. The first time I saw him is when I saw him is when I sort of climbed underneath him so that I could pick him up.


ABDELAZIZ: And you could have looked at this man and thought, he is my enemy. Why did you choose to help him?

HUTCHINSON: There was a particular thought I had that, you know, you have to show some sort of you know love for your fellow man, OK, regardless. Because I was saying that if the other three officers that were present when George Floyd was unfortunately, murdered, if just one of them stepped in and stopped her fellow officer from doing what he did, he be alive today.

ABDELAZIZ: And you put him on your shoulders. You carried him over to the police. Then what happens?

HUTCHINSON: I'm carrying him, my friends surrounding me, protecting myself and the man on my shoulder. He was you know still sort of getting -- receiving blows. You can sort of feel people trying to hit him. Carried him over to the police and I said, here you are. One of the police officers said, thank you. You did a good thing there.

ABDELAZIZ: What do you want people to take away when they look at that picture?

HUTCHINSON: I think hopefully, they'll take away breaking down the race barriers and realizing and see that we're all one people that we're all one race.


ABDELAZIZ: And this is what's so extraordinary about the Black Lives Matter movement, Natalie. There isn't one singular monolith. It's all about how you interpret the idea. And for Patrick, that meant helping an injured man, a stranger who he still doesn't know, that might have held prejudices against him. And he hopes that that image, if it's seen, will change people's minds and make them see everyone as equal -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Certainly was an extraordinary act of kindness. Thanks for sharing it with us, Salma Abdelaziz.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come here, press, freedom in the Philippines is put to the test. The verdict in the case against former CNN journalist Maria Ressa. We'll have a live report for you.



ALLEN: We have some news just coming into CNN. A Russian court has just sentenced American Paul Whelan to 16 years in prison. The former U.S. Marine who was also a citizen of the U.K., Canada and Ireland was detained at a Moscow hotel in 2018 for alleged involvement in an intelligence operation. Whelan denies the spying charges and calls the trial a sham. He's calling on President Trump as well as leaders from his other countries to, as puts it, end this. We'll have a live report from Moscow coming up in the next hour on our program "EARLY START."

A court in the Philippines has found award winning journalist Maria Ressa guilty of cyber libel. Ressa who was a former CNN journalist and founder of news website Rappler has denied the charges and claims they're politically motivated. Rappler has produced extensive coverage of President Roderigo Duterte and his deadly war on drugs. Anna Coren joins me now from Hong Kong with more about this story. You know, Anna, this charge could have grave repercussions not only for our former colleague, Maria Ressa, but for free speech, journalism and journalists in the Philippines.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Natalie. I mean Maria Ressa is a very well-known name not just in the Philippines, but around the world. She was Time's person of the year in 2018. She's award winning. She has someone like Amal Clooney, a very high-profile human rights lawyer who is part of her international legal team representing her.

So look, Maria Ressa, she has been convicted of cyber libel. She is facing up to six years behind bars. As you say, human rights groups are calling these trumped up charges, trumped up claims. Something that obviously Maria Ressa maintains.

But you talk about those smaller independent media organizations and this verdict is without doubt an ominous warning. You challenge us, you scrutinize us and you will be next. And that was something that Maria Ressa spoke to. Her colleagues were at the courthouse in Manila to obviously document this moment in history. I mean, she said she was absolutely devastated. Even though she was preparing for the worst- case scenario, but she told her colleagues not to give up. Take a listen.


MARIA RESSA, FOUNDER AND CEO, RAPPER: I appeal to you, the journalists in this room, the Filipinos who are listening, to protect your rights. We are meant to be a cautionary tale. We are meant to make you afraid. Right? So I appeal again. Don't be afraid. Because if you don't use your rights, you will lose them. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COREN: Since Maria founded Rappler back in 2011, 2012. She has made it her crusade to hold the government to account. Well when President Rodrigo Duterte came into power and he launches war on drugs, obviously they scrutinized those extrajudicial killings which claimed the lives of thousands of Filipinos. This was coverage that the President did not like and many say this is why he and his government and the courts have gone after Maria Ressa.

But I mentioned Amal Clooney, Natalie, and she released a statement shortly after that verdict and I want to read you some of it.

She said: Today a court in the Philippines became complicit in a sinister action to silence a journalist for exposing corruption and abuse. This conviction is an affront to the rule of law, a stark warning to the press, and a blow to democracy in the Philippines.

Now Maria Ressa is going to appeal this verdict but as we know, there are tough conditions in the Philippines. It's one of the most dangerous places to work as a journalist. And now you have a government that is going after particular individuals and organizations that are not happy with the coverage.

ALLEN: Well she is a bold journalist, the type that we need. And we'll all be thinking about her as she appeals. Anna Coren for us in Hong Kong. Anna, thanks so much.

Next here, the pandemic on the minds of investors. U.S. futures plunge as global stocks look set for another volatile week. We'll have another live update about it.



ALLEN: OK, look at this. U.S. stock futures falling sharply as investors grapple with concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. You can see the Dow, the Nasdaq, the S&P all arrows pointing down. Let's talk about it with CNN's John Defterios with me now from Abu Dhabi. Hello to you, John. Well markets are down again. What's going on Wall Street and for that matter in global markets?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: It seems like a sobering wake-up call for investors with these snap back cases, both in the number one and number two economies -- the U.S. and in China. We saw the cases spike up in Beijing and the U.S. now has a death toll of about 115,000 with cases well above 2 million.

Let's take a look at the closing numbers from Asia, and you kind of get the idea of what I'm talking about here, Natalie. Shanghai was the best performer out of four very poor players today with the loss a better than 1 percent. South Korea has the added concerns about tensions with North Korea. So that deep fall of better than 4 percent on the day. We also had industrial production out of China and retail sales. They're improving but they're still below expectations. And then if you take a look at the European markets, we're looking at

losses between 1 to about 1.5 percent at this stage. But this is a critical window as you know, Natalie, because France and Italy, Spain and Greece are trying to reopen for tourism to international visitors or at least EU visitors at this stage and this is a very delicate window.


Because we don't know if the snap back is going to reoccur in Europe at the same time.

There's also realization in the United States that we've had the 44 million claims on the jobless benefits. If you calculate it, that's about one in four of the American work force. And what's going to be coming in the second half here to fend off those workers if the jobs are not there because of the snap back.

ALLEN: Right, and as far as helping out Americans again, initially the White House was against further stimulus for the economy. But now it's changed its tune. Why is that?

DEFTERIOS: And changed its tune in a very, very big way, profound way. They were suggesting now they'd like to see a second wave here coming in in terms of stimulus. The fourth time around of better than $2 trillion that was unveiled by Peter Navarro who's a trade advisor to the White House. He is suggesting here -- this is kind of a make in America campaign on shore and bringing American companies back onto U.S. soil. But to do so he says the president has a priority to give American companies a payroll tax cut here. Which is a very sensitive issue on Capitol Hill. So what are we suggesting here? $3 trillion in the first three waves. Now $2 trillion in the fourth wave. It's a very dear price tag even for Republicans on Capitol Hill.

ALLEN: All right, will be watching that one. John Defterios, always, John, good to see you, thanks.

DEFTERIOS: Thank you.

ALLEN: And that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks so much for watching. I'm Natalie Allen. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett coming up right after this.