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CDC Forecast Projects 135,461 U.S. Deaths By July 11; U.S. Attorney Refuses To Step Down After A.G. Barr Tries To Push Him Out; Trump Moves Forward With Tulsa Rally Despite Health Concerns; Main Contenders Emerge As Biden Searches For V.P. Pick; Georgia Rep. Wants Investigation Into Officers' Charges; Prosecutors Will Not Seek Death Penalty For Ex-Atlanta Officer. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired June 20, 2020 - 07:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: This is the side of the President's first rally in more than 100 days. Thousands of people, at least 20,000 expected in and around this event and health experts are concerned that this could be a hotspot for coronavirus infections. Tulsa County, by the way, has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma -- the state's one of nearly a dozen where new cases are up more than 50 percent in the past week versus the previous week.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: So, this broke Friday evening continue to develop overnight, the standoff between Attorney General Bill Barr and a pretty powerful U.S. attorney who has investigated a number of the President's associates. The Justice Department announced that U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York is stepping down, but Geoffrey Berman says he didn't resign and he has no intention to resign.

PAUL: During his tenure, Geoffrey Berman has overseen the prosecution of Michael Cohen, President Trump's Former Personal Attorney, and Jeffrey Epstein. His office is currently investigating Rudy Giuliani and two of his associates.

BLACKWELL: So, let's start with CNN's Kara Scannell with us now. This dispute also comes as, as the Attorney General is facing the accusations that for some time now, we look at what happened before the release of the Muller report, and with Roger Stone, and General Flynn, that he's politicized the Justice Department and now this.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning. I mean, this is the latest example of that. And the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan has a reputation for being one of the most independent U.S. Attorney's offices. They brought the case against Michael Cohen, as you noted, they're investigating Rudy Giuliani, and what he was doing in Ukraine on behalf of the President.

So, you know, the move here on a Friday night to announce that Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney Manhattan is stepping down when he has not agreed to that, you know, is another, another example where people are going to look and say "was this politically motivated, was these because of these investigations that were underway ?" And this unfolded, you know, very abruptly on Friday night around

9:00. The Attorney General Bill Barr said that Geoffrey Berman was stepping down, about two hours later, Berman issued an extraordinary statement where he said he's not resigning and he's no intention to resign. So, in that statement, he said: "I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate.

Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this office to pursue justice without fear or favor and intend to ensure that this office's important cases continue unimpeded." So, Berman's saying he wants to stick around.

Barr said in his statement, that Berman will remain in place until July 3rd. You know, what comes to this and whether Berman leaves before then or if they tried to launch, you know, more of a legal battle for him to stay in this position remains to be seen, but certainly raising questions about the timing of this another late Friday night removal of one of the most high profile legal positions within the Trump administration, Victor, Christi.

PAUL: So, talk to us about the Democrat's response because we know that Chuck Schumer or Jerry Nadler have both spoken about this now.

SCANNELL: Yes, Christi. So, last night, Jerry Nadler tweeted saying that he welcomes Jeffrey Berman to testify on at a hearing next week on Capitol Hill. And Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, he issued a statement saying that, you know, the late Friday night dismissal reeks of potential corruption illegal process.

What is angering President Trump a previous action by this U.S. attorney or one that is ongoing? So, the Democrats really, you know, looking like they're going to demand some answers here about what was going on behind the scenes and what the thinking is and you know, delve further into this issue is whether Bill Barr is politicizing the Justice Department in his actions to, to help the President. Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Kara Scannell for us there in Washington. Kara, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Kara. So, Elie Honig, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and CNN Legal Analyst with us now. Always so grateful to have you, Elie. First of all, talk to us about how this went down overnight and, and how unusual it might be for a U.S. attorney to hear publicly that he is being taken out of office before knowing that personally?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, this whole situation was -- is completely surreal to watch this unfold. Basically, what most people are going to bed on a Friday night. First of all, you have the Attorney General, we find out very quickly, lying to the country. He says, Geoffrey Berman has stepped down. Geoffrey Berman probably says, no, I have not.

Second of all, the person that William Barr has announced will be the permanent replacement for Jeffrey Berman. At the head of the Southern District of New York is a guy named Jay Carney who has zero, zero prosecutorial experience. Putting somebody who has never prosecuted a case in charge of the Southern District of New York. The country's, I would argue, most important, independent prosecutor's office is completely inexplicable.


BLACKWELL: Unless you don't want them to prosecute.

HONIG: Yes, exactly. And look, Victor, when you look at the cases that the Southern District has even the ones we in the public know about, I mean, you can see why there, there's a potential political threat to at least people around Donald Trump: Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, Halkbank, which has been reported, reportedly Donald Trump told the President of Turkey that he would try to stop that investigation.

Deutsche Bank where the President does his banking, Jeffrey Epstein surviving co-conspirators, there are so many things happening there even what we know about that could be a potential threat. It's almost impossible to see this as anything other than a political takeover.

PAUL: What do you make of the Democratic response and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler inviting Berman to testify next week, how do you see that going?

HONIG: Yes, I think it's good that Congress is demanding some transparency and some accountability. I think it's important to get Geoffrey Berman's take, but I don't know that Berman's going to be able to say anything more than this was news to me, I don't believe I need to go anywhere. He's not going to be able to detail the investigations if they're ongoing. The people that need to be dragged in front of Congress, let's start with William Barr. How did this come about? Why was this decision made? What's the intent here? Those are the people who really need to be held accountable.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we've seen this A.G. flout those invitations and subpoenas before. Just want to clear something up, I think you said Jay Carney so, so people don't expect that the Obama administration Press Secretary is going to be head of the Southern District of New York. It's Clayton, at SEC.

HONIG: Yes, Jay Clayton.

BLACKWELL: Yes, let me, let me ask this, Elie before we go: is there anything that we know or that you know that, that the Attorney General can do to sideline, the investigation sideline Berman, even if he refuses to step down?

HONIG: Well, sideline the investigation, yes, Victor. I mean, ultimately, if there's a high profile, politically charged investigation, the A.G. does have final say. The Southern District is part of the United States Department of Justice. They can't just do things completely on their own as it, as independent as that office is. Now, can William Barr remove or fire the US attorney? No, under law.

Can the President? There's a, there's a conflict in the federal law there. Some law says, seems to say no, he needs to appoint someone new who then needs to be confirmed by the Senate. There's other law that suggests the President can fire the U.S. Attorney. We could see that legal conflict come to ahead in court.

PAUL: Elie Hoenig, always appreciate your expertise. Thank you, sir.

HONIG: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So, the CDC predicts that the U.S. will surpass 135,000 coronavirus deaths, sometimes over the next three weeks.

PAUL: This morning, cases are rising in 24 states at least eight of them seeing their highest weekly averages of new cases per day since the beginning of this pandemic. Now, there are new models suggesting Florida is going to be the next epicenter of the pandemic. According to officials there, less than 25 percent of ICU beds are available.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Polo Sandoval has the latest on the rise across the country.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From coast to coast, these are the states that seem to be going in the wrong direction. This week, they recorded their highest seven-day averages of new COVID cases. In Texas, some local officials fear a rise in hospitalizations and death rates.

LINA HIDALGO, JUDGE OF HARRIS COUNTY: The spike in hospitalizations is real and it's more dangerous than it's ever been.

SANDOVAL: Oklahoma also seeing a steady COVID climb as President Trump prepares to pack an indoor arena in Tulsa that can hold up to 20,000 of his supporters, with masks only optional, there's concerned that the rally will be a COVID super spreader as it violates nearly all the guidelines set out by the CDC.

But some cities are making masks mandatory. Starting today, Dallas is one of the latest Texas cities requiring face coverings in businesses. Violators risk up to a $500 fine. In the Houston area, local officials are pleading with people to put politics aside when it comes to covering up.

HIDALGO: The idea is not to politicize, to express full outrage, to try and have a minute in the limelight. Let's work together. The evidence is clear: face coverings prevent the spread of the disease.

SANDOVAL: Masks are also a must in Phoenix, Arizona. It's the city's response to a massive jump in COVID cases across the state. Just look at the stats. Arizona saw record breaking numbers nearly every day this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not wearing a mask. I think the mask are good, but I think they kind of act as a placebo to some extent.

SANDOVAL: Another round of re-openings are expected to the days ahead. Perhaps, the most notable and anticipated will be in New York City. It enters phase two on Monday allowing outdoor dining, the reopening of salons and barbershops, as well as some offices.


BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: If people are thinking about getting together with anyone they don't under -- live under the same roof with, they need to really practice distancing.

SANDOVAL: There is however, a retail giant taking a step back. Apple announced its re closing some stores in Florida, the Carolinas, and Arizona played the closures of the spiking coronavirus cases. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


SANDOVAL: And this morning, there are various theories about what could possibly be behind these increases in various parts of the country. We've heard from the Governor of Texas, also the Governor of Florida who believes that increased testing is perhaps at least one factor, though that contradicts what we've heard from epidemiologists, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval in New York. Thank you so much, Polo.

PAUL: Thank you, Polo. Still ahead, the President will rally with supporters in Tulsa, Oklahoma today. This is despite warnings from even his own health experts. We'll talk about what's going to happen there.

BLACKWELL: Also, with the President and his campaign are saying about wearing those masks and the possibility of getting infected. The Georgia NAACP is also calling for massive reform in the Atlanta Police Department after the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks. We'll talk to the president of the organization on what he says must be done to make a lasting change.



PAUL: Well, amid on that ongoing racial tensions and warnings from health experts within his own administration that the coronavirus pandemic isn't over, today we know the President is turning his focus towards re-election.

BLACKWELL: Yes, thousands of people are expected to pack an arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a rally tonight. Thousands more planned to be in the overflow area the crowds outside. CNN's Sarah Westwood is following this from the White House. How's the President, Sarah, using this rally? He says, to restart his reelection campaign.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor and Christi. The campaign certainly sees this as something of a reboot of a campaign season that had stalled throughout the height of the coronavirus pandemic so far. The campaign recognizes that the political landscape.

Since the economy was worrying at the start of the year has dramatically shifted and perhaps even narrowed the President's path to re-election, and so they do see getting the President out there on the road, pushing his message that the country is starting to reopen for business.

They see that that is very crucial to regain some of the President's edge that they privately acknowledge that he's lost. And even President Trump himself is acknowledging this week that there is a possibility that some people who attend his rally could contract coronavirus as public health officials have been warning in the run up to tonight's event.

I want to read you part of an interview he gave to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. The Wall Street Journal reporter asked: "What happens if your supporters gets of one of these rallies? And Trump responded: "Well, people have to know that, yes, you do.

But it's tiny, you know, it's a very small percentage." So, the president acknowledging the inherent risks of an event like this in that interview. The campaign is taking some measures to protect attendees. They will be handing out masks, but people have the option not to wear them. It's not mandatory.

There will be hand sanitizer provided and temperature checks conducted. But of course, the White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said yesterday that she won't be wearing a mask and that it's really a personal choice for everyone who attends that rally whether they want to do so. Take a listen.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's a personal choice. I won't be wearing a mask and I can't speak for my colleagues.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And why won't you wear a mask because it's sort of a personal political statement? Is it because the President would be disappointed in you if you don't wear a mask?

MCENANY: It's a personal decision. I'm tested regularly. I feel that it's safe for me not to be wearing a mask and I'm in compliance with CDC guidelines which are recommended but not required.


WESTWOOD: Now, even though in many states, the CDC is recommending that you cap your gatherings at 10 or 50 people, there are about 100,000 people expected to convene at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa tonight. That'll be 20,000 inside that indoor venue and then an additional perhaps as many as 80,000 in that overflow area that you mentioned outside the arena. The President is leaving for Tulsa here from the White House later this afternoon, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood, always good to see you. Thank you, ma'am.

BLACKWELL: We're also hearing from some of the President's passionate supporters, a lot of them already in line, the line started a week ago. They say, they're not worried about the coronavirus risk.

PAUL: Yes, here's one perspective.


STEPHEN NELSON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: So, I'm really excited about this one. It's after the whole quarantine ordeal is, you know, basically been concluded. So, you know, I'm really looking forward to this. This is a celebration of basically his campaign. I want to hear; I want to be under the same building as our president. You know, that way I can, you know, sit there and say that. No, I'm not worried about the pandemic at all.


PAUL: So, there's already a little people outside the Bank of Oklahoma center in Tulsa. Attendees are going to be admitted on a first come first served basis, which is why you see the tents and the umbrellas because of the rain there. People think it's worth it to get out there. A big question hanging over this rally is whether the President will address the ongoing tensions in the country with -- he'll do that right now and how he'll frame that message.

Well, David Litt knows what it takes to write a speech. He's a Former Senior Presidential Speechwriter, Special Assistant to President Barack Obama, also a New York Times bestselling author, and was the Chief Joke Writer for four White House Correspondents dinners. Oh, goodness! And there's a new book that he has out with a little bit of humor in it as well, "Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn't and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think?" David, so grateful to have you with us. Thank you.


PAUL: Absolutely. So, if you were speech writing for President Trump for this rally specifically, what would your speech look like?

LITT: As a speechwriter, I think the single most important thing you can do is not come up with some fancy word or some important line, it's to show people that you understand the problem. And so far, President Trump does not seem to understand the problem. I mean, he gave a speech in the Rose Garden earlier this week, during which he did not once according to the White House transcript, use the word racism. And what are people protesting? If he does not seem to get it, he gave a speech, the same speech in which he still seemed to indicate that he thinks the problem, when it comes to policing is a few bad apples.


America is way past that. And so, the question I think that is facing the president tonight is, is he going to give a speech that actually addresses the problems in this country including, by the way, problems that are a direct result of his own decision making? Will he admit some mistakes?

Or will he continue to evade responsibility? Will he speak only to his supporters and will the rest of America come away saying, hey, this guy doesn't even, even that he's not proposing solutions, he doesn't get what the problem is.

PAUL: Is there a sense that he doesn't get what the problem is? Or is there a sense that the President feels if you ignore it, it's not there?

LITT: I think to some extent, those few things are related. I mean, it's a remarkable thing, because I feel like you know, I have a lot of friends who have kids and you have the kids go through a phase where they learn that when they close their eyes, the world doesn't go away, the world still goes on around them. The President does not seem to have learned this fact yet.

The President seems to believe that if we don't test for coronavirus, we don't have coronavirus. He seems to believe that if he doesn't acknowledge his mistakes, it means he never made mistakes. And so, the problem is, if you're just say, a former reality T.V. star, that's a character trait. If you're the president, these are life and death consequences, and that's what we're seeing every single day right now.

PAUL: What do you think would be a good speech for former Vice President Joe Biden after this rally and in response to what the President may say?

LITT: I think that the most important thing that Vice President Biden can focus on here is not necessarily what Trump says, but the context of the speech itself. Because right now, if you look at how Americans are feeling and tons of polling bears this out, they're concerned that President Trump is inconsistent, that he won't take responsibility for his actions.

They're concerned that he's putting his ego above the health of the country. And now what is he doing? He is going to Tulsa. He had to reschedule his rally because he originally scheduled it for Juneteenth.

And now, he is putting thousands or hundreds of thousands of people's health at risk in a state that is not even a swing state. This is not a -- you just heard a Trump supporter said this on your own program, this is a celebration of his campaign.

There's no political value in this. In other words, we are asking an entire city to go through a state of emergency, we're asking Americans to risk their health, all to stroke the President's ego. What would what would we say if we saw that in another country with another leader? PAUL: There's a Fox poll news out -- Fox News poll out that I wanted to bring the numbers up and get your response to this former Vice President Biden with 50 percent, President Trump with 38 percent. That's a 12-point spread, it was eight points last month. Do you get a sense of what's driving this? And is it true support a Biden or is it opposition to President Trump?

LITT: I think those things often go hand in hand because every election is a choice. You know, Vice President Biden has talked about this. He's running many, many races, and he always says, you know, it's about alternatives. And so, I think that what you're seeing right now is a sense of, you know, President Trump saying, hey, won't this be great for ratings if I do a rally in Oklahoma that has lots of people and who cares if they get sick?

And I think what you're seeing from the Biden campaign is they're saying, yes, maybe turning down the temperature, maybe not being afraid to turn on the news and see what our president has done, that might be a good thing. And I think you're seeing Americans recognize that as well.

And the final thing I'll say about that is the Trump campaigns view all along has been, you may not like him, but he gets results. But now what? They're just their messages, you may not like him.

PAUL: OK, well, really quickly, I want to get to your book "Democracy in One Book or Less." I saw one reviewer say, "it's equal parts, how too historical and hilarious." So, there's a little something for everybody. But talk to us about that historical aspect regarding democracy, how has it has it changed and what can people do, what can American citizens do to improve it?

LITT: Well, I think of my book as a friendly guide to shattering Mitch McConnell's dreams within Mitch McConnell's lifetime. And what I mean by that is in my life, which is also the length of Mitch McConnell, Senate career, our democracy has changed tremendously: voting rights, gerrymandering, campaign finance, how a bill becomes a law, the whole schoolhouse rock into that you may remember from being a kid. All of that has changed and it's become less representative. So, you have just a few people who have way more power, and most of us have way less power in our democracy.

[07:25: 09]

And one of the things that I tried to do is write a book for people like me who want to read a fun book, not one that's depressing or boring, but also provide some solutions. So, I'm actually really optimistic about the future of our democracy, but we have to fix the problems that have been caused over the last 30 and 40 years, and hopefully this book is a guide to how to do that.

PAUL: Again, the book, "Democracy in One Book or Less." David Litt, so good to have you with us this morning. Thank you so much. Best of luck to you too on the book.

LITT: Thanks for having me. PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: The officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks is waking up in jail this morning and a Georgia law maker says he feels the charges against him are purely political. We'll take a look at this case ahead.



PAUL: 29 minutes past the hour right now. A Georgia congressman wants an independent investigation into charges against the officers involved in the death of Rayshard Brooks.

BLACKWELL: Representative Doug Collins, says the charges are a political decision and not a legal one. Here is Natasha Chen with the latest.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, waived his first appearance in court on Friday and is being held without bond. This comes one week after he fired the shots that killed 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy's drive- through. A drive through filled with other people, including families with children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I approached the car and I got out to kind of assess and talk with the other people who were in the drive-through. You know, the people behind me, I -- I've -- I ask them, I was like, do they shoot him, you know? Do they shoot him?

CHEN: These witnesses said they saw Rayshard Brooks, having a long civil conversation with police before they heard Tasers and bullets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this cop's screaming, not again, not again. And that they keep doing this.

CHEN: The Fulton County district attorney has filed 11 charges against Rolfe, including felony murder. And three charges against the other officer on scene, Devin Brosnan. Attorneys for both officers have said they are not guilty.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Critics think that you overcharged here.

PAUL HOWARD, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY: Well, I think that's untrue. But we did it based upon the evidence, Don. We had an opportunity to speak with three eyewitnesses.

We also had a chance to talk with seven other witnesses who were present at the scene of the incident. But we also had eight videotapes and the tapes are really good quality. So, we had a great chance to see what happened.

CHEN: Rolfe's attorney said, in his 25-year career, he has never "seen a district attorney act so unethically without regard for his professional obligations in pursuit of reelection."

Law enforcement sources told CNN, the charges prompted some Atlanta officers to call out sick this week, forcing the department to put major crime unit officers on the street in uniform to respond to 911 calls.

The protest that began after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis reached a fever pitch in Atlanta after Brooks' death.



CHEN: While peaceful groups dominated the daytime demonstrations, people at night have blocked freeways and set the Wendy's on fire. The other officer charged, Devin Brosnan, told MSNBC this was a tragic event.

DEVIN BROSNAN, OFFICER CHARGED IN DEATH OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: From my initial encounter to him, I felt he was friendly, he was -- he was respectful, you know, I respectful to him. You know, and I felt like, you know, he seemed like someone who potentially needed my help, and I was really just there to see what I could do for him, make sure that he was safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name, sir?


CHEN: But critics question how a calm conversation for more than 20 minutes that night could suddenly escalate.

BROOKS: I just don't want to be in violation of anybody. I can walk. My sister's house is right here.

CHEN: This is footage that Brooks's widow, Tomika Miller, told me she has not been able to watch.

TOMIKA MILLER, WIDOW OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: Do they feel sorry for what they've taken away? If they had the chance to do it again, would they do it the same way or would they do it totally different?


CHEN: Congressman Doug Collins, says that charging these officers before the GBI investigation was complete -- was a political decision, not a legal one. But the D.A. tells CNN that his office is independent and that while he would love to read the GBI report when it comes in, he said his office makes decisions independent of what the GBI produces.

Now, there is a public viewing for Richard Brooks on Monday here in Atlanta, followed by a private funeral on Tuesday. Victor and Christi, back to you.

BLACKWELL: Natasha, thank you.

We're going to talk more about the Brooks' case in just a moment. We're also going to talk about the broader conversation about policing with the Georgia NAACP head. Why he says that officials in Georgia are only offering symbolism now, and not long-lasting solutions.



PAUL: I want to talk about the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks. CNN has learned that a majority of Atlanta police officers in two precincts did not show up for work yesterday. That's the third day in a row that the departments experienced their shortages.

BLACKWELL: You know, prosecutors have charged two Atlanta officers in Brook's death. Reverend James Woodall is the president of the Georgia NAACP. He led protests in the wake of Brooks' shooting.

Reverend, good morning to you. And you say that you and protesters will take over the Georgia capitol every single day until legislators do their job. What's your definition of their job here? What do you want them to do?

REV. JAMES WOODALL, PRESIDENT, GEORGIA NAACP: So, we will-- we've asked them to pass a very healthy hate crimes legislation here in the state. We've also demanded that they repeal citizen's arrest as well as stand your ground. And then, to pass Senate Bill 414, which is a moral turpitude law that will re-enfranchise 275,000 Georgians due to the racist and outdated statute of the moral turpitude clause in Georgia constitution.

PAUL: So, we know that in changing people's minds, we believe that policy will help do that but not fully.

I want to show you some numbers here from a poll last week that 67 percent of people polled say they support the Black Lives Matter movement. Compare that to 40 percent in 2016, what do you think has contributed to this change?


WOODALL: Well, one, I think the reality of people seeing that black people's lives are literally under attack, we had three general assembly members just this week, entertaining conversations on social media, saying that protesters who were marching to the state capitol last week should be shot down, you know, with one man in machine gun in the helicopter.

We have -- we have, you know, people all over the State of Georgia, are having the level of uprisings, we haven't seen sustained in years. And so, you know, their presence alone is enough. But secondly, that the amount of -- and the volume of death that we're seeing literally day-to-day basis is contributing to that increase.

BLACKWELL: All right, you might have heard, Christi mentioned the sickouts at Atlanta police department at the top of this segment. I want to read this to you. It's a 24-year Atlanta police veteran told my colleagues, Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland that "the mayor has come out and said, "our use of force policies basically, we're going to do away with them.

No new policy or information has been put in. So, what are we supposed to do? No one knows what we're supposed to do. We're in a dark gray area right now as far as what we're supposed to do. So, I am scared."

The Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms came out and said she would sign some executive orders. But there's 14 days until initial guidance, 45 days until a recommendations. Officers say they're in this great area. What's your response to those officers who feel like, you know, they're -- they are bit lost now?

WOODALL: My response is, I served eight years in the United States Army, and I stand with my brothers and sisters in arms. But let us be clear that, you know, this is about black people literally being murdered. This is not about officers being attacked and that was the same conversation we saw yesterday in the state capitol when, you know, we had the opportunity to pass the hate crime law, instead, they added law enforcement protections.

This is about black people being murdered. Ahmaud Arbery was murdered. Rayshard Brooks was murdered. And so, any narrative that suggests that this push is a black versus blue kind of question is out of order.

This -- we stand with them. We'll make sure that our people are protected. We'll ensure that our law enforcement is protected. But we need to get the same kind of courtesy and duty to be able to say, I can walk outside on my street and not be afraid because of a white racist or even a police officer, and that's just the reality that Georgians are facing every day, and yesterday, we saw it again, where there was a protest happening downtown Atlanta, and then, literally somebody ran into the protest, opened fire.

And so, this is not, you know, some political conversation, these are people's lives that we're having to deal with.

PAUL: Real quickly, when we talk about the walkout -- part of the walkout to from police, as we understand it is because of the charges that were brought against Officer Rolfe.

One of them could make the death penalty -- could put the death penalty on the table. Do you believe that is the right course?

WOODALL: Well, one, we -- I personally do not support the death penalty. So, I would not advocate for that. What we're asking for is just simple accountability. When there is, you know, crimes committed people should be prosecuted and held to the highest standard of the law. That's what the State of Georgia is endowed with, with the responsibility of making sure that these kind of the crimes are held accountable for.

And so, you know, if the crimes fit, then they have to proceed forward. But I'm not going to get into the back before the well what should the penalty be, our main thing is just accountability and ensure that the process is thorough.

BLACKWELL: I've already got the wrap here, but I want to get an answer to this. We understand from reporting that Georgia NAACP hired a private investigator. This was the day before the charges were announced. Do you have reasons not to trust the D.A.'s investigation?

WOODALL: Well, we fully support the D.A. Howard in this case. However, we do want to ensure that the information that's being shared is not only accurate but we have access to it as a public, and we've seen these kind of cases happen where there's not a release of information. There, there, there are certain thing that happened, you know, and we're like, kind of left out of the loop.

And so, we just wanted to make sure and also want to lift up is not just the Georgia NAACP, but it's the just Georgia coalition that is working in tandem with one another to ensure that justice truly is for Georgia.

BLACKWELL: Reverend James Woodall, president of Georgia NAACP. Thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Reverend.

WOODALL: Thank you.


BLACKWELL: So, for the companies that want to support the Black Lives Matter movement, it's more complicated than just issuing a statement or tweeting out a black box.

Just ahead, we're going to talk about what companies should do from an expert who knows this well to prove their commitment.


PAUL: Summer, because today is the first official day of the season and it's important, of course, to get some fresh air and some sun. But did you know there's a correlation between sun exposure and food? Here is CNN's health contributor Lisa Drayer with this week's "FOOD AS FUEL".

LISA DRAYER, CNN HEALTH CONTRIBUTOR: One key to protecting your skin from the sun this summer might begin in the kitchen. To start your day, grab a cup of joe. Drinking coffee is associated with a reduced risk of malignant melanoma according to research. The more you drink, the more protection. Four cups was associated with a 20 percent decrease risk of the disease.

In terms of diet, tomatoes are a terrific source of lycopene that may play a role in protecting against sunburn. In one study, sunburn formation was significantly lower among those who consumed about three tablespoons of tomato paste every day for 10 weeks.

You can also consider spinach and sweet potatoes. Both are great sources of carotenoids, which help decrease redness in skin when exposed to U.V. light.

And finally, boosting your Omega-3s is another way you can protect your skin from the inside out. A diet rich in omega threes from fish oil can help make sunburn less severe, and may also help prevent the development of skin cancer. Fish like salmon and sardines are excellent sources.



BLACKWELL: So, the movement for social justice that we're seeing grow across this country is creating some challenges for big corporations. Quaker Oats announced that it's doing away with Aunt Jemima. Mars says it's evaluating its brand Uncle Ben's and the same for Mrs. Butterworth and Cream of Wheat.

Now, Colgate is reviewing its toothpaste brand Darlie. The brand is marketed in China is the Black person's toothpaste stand. And if you change that L to a K, you'll know what the toothpaste brand used to be.

Companies are declaring to the world that black lives matter, but now how could all of this affect business and how do they do it the right way?

Joining me now to talk about this is Bonin Bough. He is a marketing expert and author of Text Me. Your phone has changed your life, let's talk about it. It's good to have you this morning.


BLACKWELL: So, let's start here with these brands, right? The history of Aunt Jemima is not something that came out in March or April. How do you see this now rush to change the faces and the images of these products?

BOUGH: Well, you know, I think right now, companies really have a moment and a chance to either stand up or be left out. And we will not let this moment pass without real change, and you know, it's not changed that is new, we've been calling for this forever. I've been in corporate America for 20 years at the highest level at the largest companies.

But now that they're hearing us, we need to help them actually put actions into place. And I believe that, that starts with really five things. So, we can look at the marketing and the brands, but I think, first, we need to look at the boardrooms. So, are the boardrooms reflective of the change that we really want?

And then, two, we need to fix middle management. Because at the end of the day, the representation gap begins at middle management. How we supporting African American executives? Because without feeders you don't have leaders. Three, we need to really evaluate the partner so we can talk about marketing. But what are the partners that are helping us are marketing? What do they look like, are they representative?

And four, how are we investing in the communities of the people who actually buy our products in a meaningful way? And five, is how are we actually measuring and tracking and putting real metrics in place annually to see that we're actually making the change in corporate America.

Because again, we really have a chance now, corporate America to stand up or be left out, and this is not going to stop. And it's not just about marching in the streets, it's about marching into the boardrooms.

And so, when we look at what are those icons look like today, we know that they're wrong, we know that those should change, but do we have the representation inside of organizations today that are necessary? Do we have people in boardrooms that can bring that sensitivity and level of conversation to the forefront? So, I think that that's really where it starts as more systemic than that.

BLACKWELL: So, you've listed the five criteria. I think we can all think of examples of companies over the last month or so that, that have been highlighted for doing it wrong. Who's getting it right?

BOUGH: You know, I think, look. I think -- I think there's a lot of organizations that are doing it right. And it's funny because I talked to CEO after CEO and they're pissed off. And they're genuinely upset and they want to use these platforms to move the world forward and do that in a way that's truly represented. And they're looking for how do we get help and design the action plans that are necessary?

I think about this, and it's like, in Georgia, where there's voter -- I can't even vote in 2020, and when I look at a move like Apple, that politics are failing us and I definitely believe that corporate America can be a part of that change.

And when I look at a decision like Apple closing the stores because we can't even decide that masks are right. It's like those type of companies that are making true decisions with real impact and change that are the ones that we should be looking towards.

BLACKWELL: You know, I've read so many of these statements. Either in preparing for conversations like this where they just come straight to my inbox as a customer, and so, few of them directly address policing. They talk about so many other issues. Detail the risk of going to the specific for companies of policing.


BOUGH: You know, I think that it's a sensitive topic regardless of whether you are a brand or -- you know, I think it's a sensitive topic that they are very concerned about speaking directly to.

But at the end of the day, I think that they're making real change. And again, I think you either stand up or you'll be left out. And I think that companies right now can be a real driving and a change force because they are making decisions, they are putting change into the market with changing of the icons. They are at least giving -- visit the first year that we've ever had Juneteenth off.

And by the way, it's not even a federal holiday. At least, organizations are saying, you know what, we need to stand up and respect this and actually give our -- the employees who work for us representation and make sure that we know that we are hearing their voices and that we will make change.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's also up to the customer that to hold them accountable. Bonin Bough --


BOUGH: Well, Victor --

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

BOUGH: Numerous are not going to change, right? So, this is the change that we're looking for, and we're not going to stop, and those that do not stand up will be left out. And again, really, we need the boardrooms.

BLACKWELL: Bonin Bough, thank you so much.

BOUGH: Thank you so much, Victor.

BLACKWELL: We'll be right back.