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Sen. James Clyburn (D-SC) is Interviewed about Police Reform; Another 1.5 Million File for Unemployment; Brooks Opens Up in Interview before Killing. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 18, 2020 - 08:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: You have mandates for reform and the Republicans have kind of incentives for reform. And so do you think that a law will come out of this and you'll be able to have a melding of these two?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, I think so. I do believe that we're on course to get something done.

Now, it won't be everything that we want, but it certainly won't be everything that they want. I think that there -- there's a lot of room for compromise in this. And so much of what we are doing, we outlaw say chokeholds and they incentivize to getting rid of chokeholds.

But I think we can find a happy medium with that. In both cases, chokeholds are being looked upon with disfavor. So I believe we can go through these bills. Sit around the table. There should be a conference committee. And I think we can come up with something real good.

Now, it's not going to be the end all. I think we'll be beginning with this. I think we see a transition taking place in the country and what we'll do with this legislation is keep that transition going and as we move on it will be some time getting this done, but I think this will be a good beginning.

CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about some other breaking news this morning and that is John Bolton's book.

So the former national security adviser has come out with all sorts of tales to tell about having witnessed President Trump he says basically committing other impeachment offenses. One of the things he describes is that President Trump specifically and explicitly asked the president of China for help with his re-election in 2020. What he wanted was the president of China to agree to buy U.S. agricultural goods because he said that would help him, President Trump, get re- elected.

And you well know, Democrats have already impeached President Trump. What now? What do you do with this new information?

CLYBURN: Well, I think that most of us knew that all of this was there. We needed it done as a part of the impeachment. I wish Mr. Bolton had come before the committee. He could have and given this information at that time and it could have been a great good for the American people.

I think all of us, especially people like himself, who calls himself a patriot, we have an obligation to do what is necessary to maintain the integrity of this democracy that so many people have fought and died to establish and preserve.

So I think that John Bolton is telling us what we already knew but it would have been good for him to testify before the committee, give sworn testimony. Usually when you give -- Trump says something should be done, he's already done it. So the moment I heard him saying that China should investigate Biden, I knew he was already doing his thing with China.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that Democrats -- is it too late? Do you think that Democrats should now subpoena John Bolton to come and answer some questions?

CLYBURN: I think it's something we ought to consider. I think that with all of us out in the public arena now, I don't think that there's much executive privilege to be had at this point. And so I really believe that we may need to get to the bottom of this. Not so much for impeachment. I don't care about impeachment. It's for preserving this electoral process that we have, because this president is doing everything he can to undermine fair and unfettered elections in this country. And so I believe that John Bolton can do a great service if he were to come now and let the American people know that this election this year is under threat of being invaded once again by a foreign power.

CAMEROTA: You, this morning, just moments ago, sent a letter to Secretary Steve Mnuchin of the Treasury, as well as the Office of Management and Budget. I have it in my hot little hands. And basically you -- you sent this letter because you're not getting the information that you need. And, in fact, you say they're omitting some important economic information. So I'll just read a portion of this letter.

It says, I write today to request that you release the unemployment and economic projections that the White House has reportedly decided to omit from the annual mid-session review budget update.


You go on, but I just want to get your take on why you think this is so urgent. And, you know, the -- the Trump administration touts their economic numbers. They think that they're doing well with the economy, so why would they be omitting important information?

CLYBURN: I think they're omitting it simply because they don't trust the American people to think for themselves. I really believe that these people, this administration, are doing a tremendous disservice to the country and they are really sort of condescending to the American people. They are just saying to us, just believe what I say, not what I do. Please, release those records. That data has been released, what, for decades, by both Democrats and Republicans. They are refusing to release the data simply because I think they do not trust the American people to do their own analysis. And so I would hope that Mnuchin will give us this data and then let's let the American people make their minds up as to whether or not they think it's accurate.

CAMEROTA: Congressman James Clyburn, we really appreciate you coming on NEW DAY. Always great to talk to you.

CLYBURN: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

Speaking of unemployment, we have some breaking new jobless numbers for you, next.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this hour. The Labor Department has just released new jobless numbers.


CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans has those breaking numbers.

Another 1.5 million Americans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And over the past 13 weeks now the numbers 45.7 million people have filed for the first time for unemployment benefits. You can see those lines -- those chats -- those bars are coming down, but each one of those is an astonishing number of people who are being laid off.

This is now 28 percent of the labor market. Think of all the people who were working in the beginning of March, 28 percent of them have filed for the first time for unemployment benefits.

And we know there's still a backlog. In places like Kentucky, you have people going to the capital building because they're demanding to finally be processed. They want to get their jobless claims processed. So some people haven't even received a check yet. That's how just grinding this layoff machine has been.

Continuing claims. We watched that, Jim, to see how many people overall are still collecting benefits. This could be the first sign of where things start to let up. Down about 62,000 from the previous week. Just still stubbornly above 20 million there.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And as I always note, the worst week, as I remember, in the 2008-2009 recession was about 600,000 jobless claims in a week.

ROMANS: That's right.

SCIUTTO: This is 1.5 million, two and a half times that.

ROMANS: Yes, this is an improvement and it's two and a half times that.

SCIUTTO: CNN anchor -- yes, exactly. I mean keep that in mind.

CNN anchor Julia Chatterley, the markets have been all over the place and oddly disconnected from the economic realities, rising somehow. How do you expect the markets to absorb this news?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Some worrying details I have to say in this. The continuing claims, the people that are actually getting benefits, as Christine accurately mentioned, is above 20 million. If you add in all the people right now that are getting their hands on all the different types of benefits, remember they added in extra ones in the CARES Act, it's over 29 million Americans. It is going to take years, even a best case scenario, to get all of these people back into the workforce. And we're being told by Central Bank Governor Jay Powell these jobs in many cases won't come back. So there is a disconnect, you're right, Jim, between the optimism that appears to be coming from the stock market. That's not the real economy. Eight-five percent of jobs are not in those businesses. The story here for the economy and America is very different.

SCIUTTO: Yes. No question. A lot of companies, you know, just aren't just listed anymore, right?


SCIUTTO: Not as reflective as it ruse used to be.

Julia, Christine, thanks so much.

CAMEROTA: OK, Jim, we have some breaking news right now.

Jean Kennedy Smith, the last surviving sibling of President John F. Kennedy, has died. Smith served as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland under President Bill Clinton and played a key role in the northern Ireland peace process. She received the medal -- the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, as you see here, for her work to support people with disabilities. "The Washington Post" reports that Jean Kennedy Smith passed away Wednesday at her home in New York. She was 92 years old.

We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: Two Atlanta police officers are expected to surrender in the next few hours after being charged in the killing of Rayshard Brooks. Now CNN has been granted exclusive access to an interview that Brooks gave back in February where he discusses feeling trapped by the criminal justice system.


RAYSHARD BROOKS: Probation is not there with you every day like a mentor or something. They're not taking you out to find a job. You have to do those things on your own, you know? And I feel like it should be a way for you to have some kind of person like a mentor assigned to you to, you know, keep your track, keep you in the direction you need to be going.

We can't get the time back, but we can make up for it, you know? So I'm trying. You know, I'm not the type of person to give up, you know? And I'm going to keep going until I make it to where I want to be.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is CNN political commentator Van Jones.

Van, great to have you and great to have you share with us that video that gives us insight into how he was feeling and maybe why he responded the way he did when he realized he was being arrested.

What do you see there in what Rayshard is talking about?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, it's just heart breaking. What I see is a young man, like so many young guys that I know, he made a dumb mistake, a credit card fraud thing, he winds up on probation and then he's stuck in this quick sand of the probation system where literally any little thing you do wrong, you know, you wind up pack in prison. I mean, you know, that interaction with the police, he was drunk in public, shouldn't be drunk in public, he knew he was going back to prison for that. SO this is not just a police story, this is a probation story.

We may not -- we may never know exactly why the police chose to shoot a man in the back and then kick him. Hopefully we'll learn that at trial. But we do know why he ran in the first place. He ran because he's trapped in the probation system that's so punitive, so unforgiving, it's a spiders web of catch 22s. It's almost impossible to stay out of prison once you're on probation.


Any little things sends you back. He was running because he didn't want to lose his liberty over something so small. And, instead, he lost his life.

And the problem that you have right now, this big irony, police have too much power and too little oversight. So when people come home from prison, they have too little opportunity and just too much oversight. Everything that they do is monitored, it's watched. Sometimes they have to have -- and these are people who are not threats to anybody, but it's so hard for them to get a job as he talks about. So hard for him to just get on his feet and he's trying.

And through the course of the interview you hear, I'm trying, I'm trying. He made a mistake. He was drunk in public. He was going to go back to prison. He panicked and he ran and he lost his life. This is not just about reforming the police, you've got to reform probation as well so we can get some kind of balance in this -- in these communities and give guys like that a shot at life when they come home.

SCIUTTO: I've got to tell you, heart stopping is the way I would describe watching him speak, telling his story. And I think folks at home, watch it, please. Please do.

You, Van, worked or at least communicated with this administration on criminal justice reform, which is a rare bipartisan legislative success, right, of the last three years. And I just wonder, do you believe that has addressed some of these issues successfully?

JONES: Well, one thing I'm very proud of is, because of the First Step Act, and I worked very closely with Democrats and Republicans, and including the Trump White House, including Jared Kushner, whose father went to prison and who has been an unlikely and passionate champion on this issue, we have reset that conversation. This is the first time in my life everyone running for president, from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, has put themselves forward as a criminal justice champion at some level, in some way. No one is running for office saying they're going to build more prisons. Bill Clinton said he's going to put 100,000 more cops on the streets. No body's saying that. Even the Republican Party. Even when Donald Trump talks about law and order, he's not talking about building more prisons.

So we have been able to move things in a better direction. The First Step Act has now the federal prisons being at their smallest in a generation or more in terms -- in terms of numbers. But we're just getting started in this conversation. And, for me, I want to humanize the face of the people who are at the boot heel of this whole system.

We have two point some million people who are trapped behind bars. The biggest in the world, times two. China only has a million people locked up. Now, they do horrible stuff to them, organ harvesting, and they oppress their whole population. But China, with a billion people, only has a million people behind bars. We have 300 million people. We've got 2 million people behind bars and we have 4.5 million who are caught up on parole or probation. That is a massive number of people disproportionately black and brown, almost all low income or poor.

And, this -- in the land of the free, you have this massive unfreedom. And so people do get desperate. They do stuff that doesn't make sense to you and me because you say, well, why would you run? You should just take your ticket. Just go home. If you knew that you were going to go back to prison for six months, lose your apartment, lose your job, possibly lose your kids, you might panic. And you have these panicked interactions that are completely impossible for people to understand, look -- on the outside looking in. But you've got too much power and too little oversight on the one hand, too little opportunity and too much oversight on the other. And it's producing these interactions.

And I have been a champion, as you know, of police reform and prison reform and I'm also the CEO for the Reform Alliance working on probation reform. The entire criminal justice system is broken and it needs to be rethought, re-imagined and overhauled. But the opposite of criminalization is humanization. And that video of a dad talking about how he wants to spend time with his kids, how he's trying, he just needs some mentorship and some guidance. He wants to do good. To see him talk about that, knowing that just within a few months he is going to be shot and kicked and treated like an animal, I think is all you need to know about what's going on in America right now.

CAMEROTA: Yes. No, that -- that is -- that is one of the things that makes it so poignant to watch, and also who among us doesn't want a role model and a mentor and guidance? I mean it's universal, basically, what he's asking for there.

Senator Tim Scott said something yesterday that we just want to play for you. He sounded almost as if he had seen a unicorn when he talked about how you have worked with the Trump administration.


So listen to this.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): When you have Van Jones talking about this as a real executive order, Van Jones and President Trump on the same page, that's almost walking on water in America.


CAMEROTA: We only have ten seconds, Van, but your thoughts hearing that?

JONES: Hey, let's keep walking, brother. We've got a long way to go. Let's keep walking. And I appreciate Tim Scott's leadership. There are some areas that are so broken and so obvious that we've got to come together and do something. Both parties need to do more than we're doing, but I appreciate Tim Scott's leadership.

CAMEROTA: And we appreciate you, Van Jones. Thank you.


CAMEROTA: We always -- we always love to have your voice and your thoughts here on NEW DAY.

JONES: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: CNN continues our coverage after this very quick break.



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow. Glad you're with us this morning.

There is a lot to get to.