Return to Transcripts main page


New Revelations from John Bolton; Noose in Bubba Wallace's Garage; NYPD Officer Suspended after Chokehold Incident; Tiktok Users Derailed Trump Rally; College Towns Struggling; Nascar Hosts First Race with Fans. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired June 22, 2020 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I hope it will remember him as a one-term president who didn't plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral we can't recall from.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's stunning. Extraordinary. I have never seen this before. A White House insider, months after walking out the door, says he doesn't want the person he worked for re-elected.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think it's extraordinary. I mean we've covered administrations and figures within the administration. Certainly, John Bolton is a controversial figure. He was in the Bush administration. He's a pretty conservative Republican. He's got extremely hawkish views on foreign policy and national security. That has nothing to do with someone who worked up close with this president, who was brought in by this president, was praised by this president, who looked at him, worked at him -- with him every day and said he's not fit for the job. He shouldn't be re-elected. And, why? Because of the fear that if Donald Trump has a second term, if he has no constraint about re-election, that he'll do whatever he wants to do. And perhaps we'll get to it. The firing of this U.S. attorney in New York, you have another example of the president purging people who are investigating him, starting with Jim Comey, the FBI director, inspectors general throughout the government, and now a U.S. attorney in the most prominent post for a leading prosecutor in the country. I mean it's -- it's outrageous.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: And I think you make a good point, David, and we really want to get to this Nascar story because it is so troubling.

But, Elliot, I don't think that we can mention Berman without just quickly getting your take on that, especially given your background.


So, you know, I -- number one, there's talk now about Berman coming to testify at the House of Representatives hearing they're having this Wednesday on politicization of the Justice Department. That's wonderful. You know, we could hear from him and we could go through the fight that we saw before over subpoenas or not subpoenas or people testifying voluntarily.

But the person who really needs to come testify is William Barr. If there are questions right now about the firing of top personnel, look, in any organization, when the CEO comes out and says, somebody just resigned, and then moments later the person says, no, I didn't resign, I was actually fired, you have a management problem. And if one of the president's selling points upon his election was that he could manage government effectively, even though we knew he -- you know, that wouldn't be the case, this -- this is -- this is just poor form. And so there are, given the ethical questions, given the management problems, we really need to hear from William Barr and we need to hear from him soon.

BERMAN: Look, he lied. I mean when the attorney general just tells a lie to the American people, he says that Berman, no relation, stepped down and then the U.S. attorney says, no, that's not what happened there, that's a lie.

Eliot, you are also a big Nascar fan. I have to say, I think it's incredibly upsetting and discouraging that this noose was found in the garage of Nascar driver Bubba Wallace, the only black driver on the top-tier circuit of Nascar. What does this say to you?

WILLIAMS: Yes, and so, yes, I am a somewhat unlikely Nascar fan, but I am, you know, I have been a fan of the sport for quite some time with my kids.

Now, here's the thing. You know, the last race I attended was at Dover, Delaware, which was hardly a beloved seat of the American confederacy, yet you go there and you see confederate flags everywhere. It's, you know, raising the point that it's a question of not really being the heritage of the people who were there, it's a political symbol that -- that's frankly, you know, often meant to intimidate. And Bubba Wallace spoke out about that.

It's striking that we're having that conversation in 2020, but people are still showing up -- you know, you saw at the race, the flag with the -- the confederate flag flying over in a plane over the race. It is meant to intimidate and as a symbol.

Look, as a black man, it does not shock me in the least, even in Nascar, that we're seeing nooses, merely because someone spoke up and said, look, you know, this symbol is offensive to me. It has no place in our sport. It has no place in our sport that has arenas in Delaware and Connecticut and has nothing to do with the confederacy, yet still the threat of being challenged is so painful to so many people that they have to go back to these horrible, horrible images of lynching.

So I hope that Nascar -- I mean they issued a statement and it was more than thoughts and prayers. It seemed that they are on it. It seemed that they're taking it seriously. But, again, my cynicism and sadness is that it's just not shocking to anybody.

HILL: Yes, unfortunately. They've said they launched an investigation, as Dianne Gallagher pointed out. A limited number of people would have access to that garage, so hopefully we will have some answers soon.

Elliot, David, thank you both.

From the removal of (INAUDIBLE) and prosecutor Jeffrey Berman, to the firing of multiple inspectors general, the president and Attorney General Barr have ramped up their intervention in the legal system. Join CNN's Jake Tapper for a new CNN special report, "Trump and the Law After Impeachment."


That's this Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

A New York City police officer suspended after an apparent chokehold incident captured on video. We have the details in a live report, next.


BERMAN: Breaking overnight, two people have been killed, at least seven others hurt in a shooting at a block party in Charlotte, North Carolina. Police say another five people were hurt when they were hit by cars while leaving the scene. We're going to keep you posted on this story as we learn more.

HILL: Also developing this morning, CNN affiliate KYW reporting one of the victims of this weekend's terror attack in the U.K. is an American. Joe Ritchie Bennett, a Philadelphia native, and two others were killed in Saturday's knife attack at a park about 40 miles west of London. Three others suffered severe injuries. The lone suspect, a 25-year-old man, is in custody. A security source tells CNN he is a Libyan national and that mental health was considered to be a factor in the attack.

BERMAN: This morning, a New York City police officer has been suspended without pay after an apparent choke hold incident during an arrest over the weekend.


Body camera video shows the struggle unfolding as officers confronted an allegedly disorderly group.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get away from me, sir (ph). I didn't do anything (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course you didn't.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw that (ph). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're on camera, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just leave it locked -- (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) yo, stop choking him, bro! Yo, stop choking him! Yo, he's choking him! Let him go, bro! Let him go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop. Look, look --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up. Back up!




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop chocking him.


BERMAN: All right, CNN's Shimon Prokupecz joins us now.

Shimon, what is the department saying about this?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they moved quickly here, John, as you said. They suspended the officer without pay and within hours of the incident they released that body camera video. All of this is new ways in which the NYPD is going to be dealing with this. They suspended the officer. The police commissioner calling it disturbing, a disturbing, apparent chokehold incident. Internal affairs officers moved into the precinct there. They started their investigation and, almost immediately, what they found was disturbing.

And as you see on that video, the entire incident unfolds over 30 minutes. According to the man's lawyer, police went there after receiving a call of a disturbance and police are interacting with these individuals for almost -- for over 30 minutes, actually, John. And, finally, something had happened. It's not entirely clear. The lawyer for this man who was in this apparent chokehold said that he kicked a can towards one of the officers and that's what caused all of this to unravel and then you see this apparent chokehold.

Of course, the lawyer is calling for the officer to be not only suspended and fired, but wants this officer to be criminally charged. Of course, the governor here in New York state, Governor Cuomo, and city legislatures have passed laws here that now ban chokeholds, police chokeholds. The NYPD certainly has banned chokeholds for several years now. So that is why they suspended this officer.

And we'll see how this unravels. The Queens district attorney's office, I should note, is also investigating. So it could be that this officer faces criminal charges at some point.

BERMAN: All right, Shimon, I know you're going to stay on this for us. Please, keep us posted on the developments this morning. BERMAN: So, did teenagers on Tiktok derail President Trump's rally in Oklahoma? The details, next.



HILL: This morning, growing fallout from President Trump's Oklahoma rally. The Trump campaign claimed over a million people registered to attend. The Tulsa fire department says, though, just over 6,000 supporters actually showed up. Many of those who asked for tickets may have been trolling the president in a stunt organized mainly through social media platform Tiktok.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joins us now to explain.

This is quite the effort on Tiktok.


Tiktok extremely popular with teenagers and it appears young people all across America took part in this protest by basically requesting free tickets to Trump's rally in Tulsa with no intention of showing up.

Now, you'll remember the Trump campaign, the president himself, actually, last week boasting that 1 million people had requested tickets to the rally.

We should point out here that there wasn't a cap on the number of people that could request tickets for the event, so it wasn't as if Trump supporters were blocked in some away from going to the rally by Tiktokers. So the fact that the Trump campaign wasn't able to fill this 20,000 capacity arena isn't the Tiktokers fault necessarily.

But I want to show you what this campaign actually looked like on Tiktok. Take a look at this video from one 16-year-old who took part in the protest.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guys, I accidentally just reserved two free tickets for the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump rally on Juneteenth. And now I can't go because my dog's goldfish's funeral is that day. So it would be a shame though if like everyone else did this and then there were empty seats at the -- at the -- at the rally. That would be -- that would be really bad because we don't want that.


O'SULLIVAN: And many video -- more videos like that circulating online. In fact, even fans of South Korean music K-pop fans who are among the most organized people on the Internet were also called to take part in the protest.

What is the Trump campaign saying? Well, they are saying the threat of anti-Trump protests on the ground in Tulsa stopped a lot of their supports from showing up. And Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, who's really under a spotlight this morning after promising that a million people had requested tickets, actually put out a statement yesterday specifically addressing the Tiktok claims. He said, leftist and online trolls doing a victory lap thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance don't know what they're talking about or how our rallies work. Registering for a rally means you RSVP'd with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers. These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking.

But if that was the actual case, if they really did weed out the bogus ticket requests, John, it begs the question, where were the 1 million people on Saturday night?

BERMAN: There may have been two different things happening here. It may not explain why there were empty seats inside the stadium, but the Tiktok business and the stuff that teenagers did might very well have affected how Brad boasted about how many people would be at the rally. It may have gotten in his head, and he clearly made a big PR mistake there.

Donie O'Sullivan, terrific reporting. Thanks so much for being with us.

So the coronavirus pandemic not only having a major impact on students, but also on the college towns that rely on their business.

CNN's Athena Jones traveled to Ithaca, New York, to look at how the coronavirus is affecting that once-bustling town.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Nestled in the mountains of central New York, Ithaca is a place known for its natural beauty, gorgeous waterfalls, sprawling vistas.



JONES: And if you're a local or a student at one of the town's colleges --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll have a black cherry, one scoop, in a cone, please.

JONES: You also know Purity Ice Cream, where owner Heather Lane has been serving scoops for 23 years.

HEATHER LANE, OWNER, PURITY ICE CREAM CO: I have the sweetest job in town.

JONES: But it hasn't been so sweet lately. As coronavirus fears set in and nearby college campuses all but shut down, Lane closed up shop in March. She reopened six weeks later for curbside pickup only, and with precautions. LANE: Make sure you take your temp. And log it in, OK?

JONES: She's doing about 15 percent of her normal sales and is running the shop with only a handful of employees.

LANE: We call it the corona coaster. It's terrible. Because one day you're so pumped like, oh, this is fine. And the next day you wake up and you're like, oh, dear, what am I going to do today? And who did I have to tell you don't have a job right now?

JONES: When school is in session, Cornell University, Ithaca College, and nearby Tompkins Courtland Community College are the beating heart of the economy.

LANE: They're 50 percent of the town, if not 60 percent of the town. So lose that, do the math.

JONES: That's mayor Svante Myrick's big fear for the town he's led since 2012.

SVANTE MYRICK, MAYOR OF ITHACA, NEW YORK: Our entire region has been supported by the -- these three colleges. Cornell students alone contribute $4 million a week to the local economy.

JONES: Already facing a projected budget deficit of nearly $15 million, even if students return this fall, Myrick warns of cataclysmic trouble if they don't and is calling for federal aid for cities like his no matter what happens next semester.

MYRICK: These college towns are economic engines for regions throughout the country. And the engine has just stalled out, right? The federal government can jump-start these engines. So the federal government has to ask, are you going to be pennywise but pound foolish?

JONES: Ithaca College is the first major institution here to announce reopening plans, giving the business community some reason to hope. It aims to bring students back on October 5th.

SHIRLEY COLLADO, PRESIDENT OF ITHACA COLLEGE: Given where we are in this state as the epicenter of the coronavirus and all we have to do to get ready, October for us seems like the right decision to make for our students and their families. This will all be pending state guidelines and the governor's approval for us to actually open.

JONES: But such announcements are not enough to allay the concerns of Deirdre Kurzwell.

DEIRDRE KURZWELL, OWNER, SUNNY DAYS OF ITHACA: It's not something that I feel like I can totally depend on. I mean this is a moving target.

JONES: Kurzwell saw a jump in sales early in the year after she moved her gift shop to this pedestrian strip, popular with tourists and townsfolk alike, only to see Covid-19 bring everything to a screeching halt.

KURZWELL: It's really like around now that we're really starting to feel the most pain.

JONES: All of this making it hard to know what to do next here and at the ice cream shop where Lane, while optimistic, is facing similar uncertainty.

The worst case is, I'm -- I have to close and Purity Ice Cream, since 1936, is no longer. And that would suck.

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, Ithaca, New York.


BERMAN: Yes. And I've got to say, with the news that young people are getting sick in new disproportionate rates in Florida, how will that affect students coming back?

Another instance in Florida right now with cases spiking there, is it still safe for the NBA to resume play there next month? The "Bleacher Report" is next.



HILL: Nascar is now investigating a noose found in the garage of driver Bubba Wallace. This, of course, comes as fans were allowed back for the first time since the confederate flag was banned for the sport and at races.

Andy Scholes was at that event and joins us now with more in the "Bleacher Report."

Andy, good morning.


So 5,000 fans were allowed back at the race. It was the most at a sporting event here in the U.S. since the pandemic started. And the confederate flag, it's banned on racetrack grounds, but I'll tell you what, it was still definitely around.

A plane was flying over the track with a huge confederate flag and the words "defund Nascar." Then across the street, there were gift shops selling confederate flag items. I went over there and talked to some of those shop owners and fans and asked them about their thoughts on the confederate flag ban.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a heritage thing with the southern people. I think until you bring it up, it's not a racist thing for them, most of those people. And it's taking something else away from them, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't let it affect me. You know, I'm -- I came here for the race and this and that, but I'm happy that they did do that. I mean it's just -- it's just progress and moving on. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really didn't have a problem with them -- the

flag. It's just, I feel like they're taking people's rights away.


SCHOLES: Now, the shop owners I spoke with said they've seen an increase in business of confederate flag items since the ban and they will continue to sell them outside of Nascar events moving forward.

All right, meanwhile, LSU is reportedly quarantining at least 30 players because of coronavirus. It's part of a growing list of teams reporting cases during voluntary workouts. The NFL Players Association is now telling players not to hold private practices in large groups. This after many players tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

The NBA, meanwhile, moving forward with its plan to play at Disney despite a surge in cases in Florida. And ESPN reporting that on a recent call, Commissioner Adam Silver expressed a resolve to go on and remains confident in the NBA's bubble concept.

And, Erika, this is a big week for the NBA. The players reporting to their team's city today. They're going to undergoing coronavirus testing over the next week. The NBA certainly hoping for some good results in that testing as they continue to ramp up for the season.

HILL: Yes, that's for sure.

Andy Scholes, appreciate it. Thank you.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president said on Saturday night that he asked his people to slow down testing so that there wouldn't be more cases.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases.