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Rep. Pramila Jayapal is Interviewed about Police Reform Bills; Bubba Wallace Not Target of Hate Crime; MLB Announces Season; Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 24, 2020 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00]

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Are wrong to continue to insist on these, you know, on these half measures that really make no change whatsoever.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I want to ask you about what's going on in your home state of Washington state and so-called autonomous zone. Seattle's mayor has basically said it's time for people to go home. Meaning it's time for the protesters there to disperse and there have been incidents of violence.

If people don't voluntarily go home, how does this end?

JAYAPAL: Well, I've been in touch with the mayor and with the police chief. You know, and I think that this goes back to the way in which we responded, frankly, with too much force to the peaceful protests at the very beginning. There's also confusion about why the Seattle Police Department left the east precinct to start with. They didn't need to do that. And I know that that is still a topic of conversation.

At this point, the mayor is engaging with the protesters and making sure that there is a way to get, you know, fire trucks and other necessary personnel to the area in times of crisis. And so that is what's going on right now. I believe that there will be some sort of a peaceful resolution. The protesters just do not want to constantly see police force individuals with guns drawn and, you know, responding to peaceful protests with militaristic tactics. And so the city council has outlawed the use of tear gas. I was calling for that early on. No tear gas. No -- no military ways of responding to peaceful protesters. We didn't really need to have curfews in place.

But I think we are moving on from that and hopefully, at the end of the day, we will have a police force that understands that there are different ways to respond to different kinds of situations. And, at the end of the day, honestly, we also need to make sure that police aren't on the front lines of responding to every single thing, that we have a different way of providing the kinds of services that people need.

CAMEROTA: In the little time we have left, I just want to ask you about President Trump's messaging. We heard it again yesterday about coronavirus. He's referred to it several times as the Kungflu (ph). What are we to take away from that?

JAYAPAL: It's horrendous. It's the same racist, xenophobic, fear mongering president we've seen since the campaign days and then going into his presidency. This is what he resorts to every time he's behind in the polls, every time he wants to drive a hatred and a divisiveness across the country. Not what presidents should do, but certainly what he has done.

But let me tell you, Alisyn, the thing I'm even, you know, just equally concerned about is Bill Barr and the fact that Bill Barr has continued to be a henchman for President Trump. He -- he -- you know, he essentially misled the American people on the Mueller report, then he teargassed peaceful protesters so the president could have a photo- op and now we will hear testimony about Roger Stone and the way in which attorneys general did not want to actually prosecute Roger Stone fairly because they were afraid of the president. That is just outrageous and the corruption in this administration has got to stop and the American people have to know that this kind of corruption is just a dramatic blow to democracy.

CAMEROTA: We will be watching that hearing in front of your committee, the Judiciary, today when Aaron Zelensky testifies that Roger Stone was given leniency because of his friendship with President Trump.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you very much for your time. We really appreciate it.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Here's what else to watch today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:00 a.m. ET, Secretary of State Pompeo briefing.

3:00 p.m. ET, California Gov. Newsom briefing.

3:30 p.m. ET, Trump news conference with Polish president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So, the FBI says Nascar driver Bubba Wallace was not a target of a hate crime after a noose was found in the garage. How does that sit with him this morning? Bubba Wallace joins us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:38:40]

BERMAN: New this morning, Nascar driver Bubba Wallace is speaking out after the FBI announced that the noose found hanging in his garage had been there since last October, ruling out that he was the victim of a hate crime.

Nascar driver Bubba Wallace joins me now.

Bubba, thank you so much for being with us. I know you've had a heck of a few days and I really appreciate your time this morning.

So what was your reaction, after everything you had been through over the last 48 hours, when you learned from the FBI that this was not a hate crime?

BUBBA WALLACE, NASCAR DRIVER: Yes, it was a relief for sure. Being able to talk to them, which I never thought I'd talk to the FBI. But, yes, they went through the investigation process, went through all their information, and was able to tell me. And so I definitely felt relieved and I could tell my family that that wasn't the case.

So, yes, all good, but just simply dealing with facts that were given to me.

BERMAN: Yes. You know, relief over the fact that it wasn't a hate crime. I think that was my first reaction also. It's good news that people weren't targeting you with a noose.

WALLACE: Yes.

BERMAN: So why is it that you think that the news that this was not a hate crime was greeted with so much scorn?

[08:40:06]

WALLACE: It's 2020, my friend, a year that we can chalk up to never remember. People see me as a hoax and a fake and just to try to push ratings and get followings and all this stuff. And what they don't realize is, I don't need any of that to be successful. I need my family and I need a race car to be successful. The race car is where I get away from all the madness, including all of this, and it's just -- it's just a test. They're trying to test who I am as a person, test my integrity and all this stuff, which I won't allow it to happen. And we'll all get through it.

BERMAN: Let's just go down some of the facts so people who may only know some of them really understand what happened here.

Who was the first person to tell you that there was a noose found in your garage?

WALLACE: Yes. The president of mascara, Steve Phelps, had come to me with one of the most difficult conversations I believe he's ever had to have. Tears flowing down his face and choked up on every word. So that was the first of hearing about it late Sunday evening.

BERMAN: So it was Nascar that told you. Someone in your garage told Nascar. But it was Nascar that told you.

And I think that's important --

WALLACE: Yes.

BERMAN: Because I think there were people wondering, oh, did somehow this get made up?

Now, this was a noose. The FBI refers to it as a noose. There are images that have been floating around that some people can see, and we're putting one up on the screen right now, you can see, it's a noose, or looks like a noose.

Now, it was being used apparently as a garage pull to help close the garage door. You've been in a lot of garages. Have you ever seen a noose or something that looks like a loose used as a garage pull?

WALLACE: I have never seen a noose personally in my life. I've seen a lot of garage pulls. We've had a lot of garages growing up, racing out of, and we simply had a tiny knot at the bottom of it to pull. And, nowadays, you just press a button and the garage goes down.

But, yes, it was, in fact, a noose as a garage pull, so there are two sides of it and both are true and correct. But, yes.

BERMAN: Yes. But you can see why it was of concern. I mean why Nascar was concerned. Why someone who saw it in your garage was concerned. There might be this innocent explanation. And the FBI seems to think there is an innocent explanation, that it was there for a year, apparently, and it was used as a garage pull, but the image itself was upsetting to Nascar before it was upsetting to you.

WALLACE: Absolutely. And, you know, by the time I heard about it, they were already going through with investigations, Nascar internally, to figure out who did it. And then I got a call Monday morning in Talladega that the FBI was involved. So I'm just like, OK, I'll just sit back and wait to see what we have to do.

BERMAN: What's your message to Nascar fans this morning?

WALLACE: You know, I know there's a lot of new fans, that's for sure, and we appreciate their new support and a lot of -- a lot of fans that have still been in my corner to this day. So I will continue to praise you guys and uplift you guys in the ways you -- the ways you have supported me and I appreciate that from the bottom of my heart.

You know, moving forward, there's a lot of work to be left -- or to be done that's left on the table. And we'll walk hand in hand together and conquer the good fight that we're trying to fight.

BERMAN: You're talking about being in the good fight right now. I know you've seen -- you can't avoid seeing some of the things that have been written or spoken over the last 12 hours since this news came out. Some people comparing you to Jussie Smollett, who obviously is accused of faking this attack in Chicago.

Just how does that make you feel?

WALLACE: Yes, there's no comparison there. Just simply listening to the facts that was delivered to me and the processes that were already being -- being held, I was just I would say an innocent bystander, but people won't buy that, and that's OK. I know what's true in my heart and in my mind and the people around me know that that's the truth and I'll lay my head down at night sleeping really good knowing that I'm telling the truth.

BERMAN: What does it say to you that people won't buy it, though? I mean it's just -- it's just so surprising to me the arc of this story over the last 48 hours.

WALLACE: You're always going to have people that are going to test you, my friend. You're always -- I've learned that from day one of being where I'm at, being on a pedestal, you know? That's the kind of -- sound like a broken record. I keep saying that in the past three interviews I've done this morning. But you're always going to be tested each and every day. It's never a cake walk to achieve success.

[08:45:02]

And to be at a level where I'm at, nobody has walked in my shoes and nobody will ever be able to walk in my shoes. So I'll continue to walk with a lot of pride, and stay true to that path.

BERMAN: Where we are this morning, do you wish Nascar or anyone had handled this differently?

WALLACE: No. It was alerting. And, like you said, the images you've seen is a noose and you can see how it looks like a noose. And times right now are we hypersensitive to everything that's going on? Yes, for sure. But when all the stars align to something that could be a hate crime, then I wouldn't change a thing.

BERMAN: Bubba Wallace, I appreciate you being with us and I hope that one of the lessons that people take from this is the walk on the track the other day when everyone rallied around and spoke out against hate. A moment of togetherness. And I hope this is what people remember from all of this. And I appreciate you being with us this morning.

WALLACE: Absolutely. I appreciate it.

BERMAN: All right.

Major League Baseball just announced a plan to return even as more players test positive and states grapple with a growing crisis. Will it really happen? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:20]

CAMEROTA: We just heard from Nascar driver Bubba Wallace moments ago reacting to the FBI findings about that noose found in his garage.

Joining us now is CNN's sports analyst Christine Brennan. She's a sports columnist with "USA Today."

Christine, always great to see you.

I want to know what you -- what your reaction is to hearing from Bubba. And I was struck by a moment where John asked him the question, what's your message today to Nascar fans, and he -- he -- it was a harder answer for him than I thought it would be. He sort of took this inhalation and said, well, I know there's a lot of new fans and I know there's a lot of fans that support me. And that makes me think that this has been, you know, a really hard time for him and that he knows that not all fans are supportive.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Absolutely, Alisyn. Look at the emotion from the other day when he was in the car and that scene that will be one of the pictures of 2020, that scene of all the other drivers with him and then the entire world of Nascar, the pit crews, everybody behind him. A beautiful sea of support as he was in tears in his car. Can you imagine what this man's gone through?

First of all, I have covered Nascar and just to be an African-American man, to be a black man in the sport is so difficult. The ingrained -- whether it's racism, the confederate flags, whatever you want to call it, it's so there, it's a southern sport and it's so difficult to break through. And he's done that. And then to have this, to have these couple of weeks of standing up for Black Lives Matter so wonderfully. The confederate flag, he says, get rid of it. They do. And then this. This turn of events. Clearly a noose. I mean what it was for him or not, what is a noose doing in the garage? Obviously, the emotion got to him. But what a class act. What a wonderful person and Nascar is so lucky to have him.

BERMAN: So moving to other sports, Christine, you know, baseball says it's going to play. There is this agreement or forced agreement between the league and the players right now for a 60-game season. I know inside the sports world there's talk about what's fair salary wise. I think the bigger question though is, are they really going to play? I mean we put up the map of the countries so people can see where the cases are increasing. Arizona, Texas, Florida. As a baseball fan, I can tell you, there are a lot of teams that play in those states and they're seeing huge spikes in cases. So what's going to happen?

BRENNAN: Right. Well, who knows? I think it is wishful thinking to assume it's all going to happen without a hitch, John. I think that as -- you're a baseball fan, I like baseball, of course I've covered it for years, I'd love to see a 60-game season, which is kind of more like a tournament. I do believe an asterisk will be next to it. Even if it's not, we'll all think that. It's certainly not a real baseball season, but it's baseball. It's an escape. And it's lovely to think about it. So I hate to say anything that would be seen as a negative.

But if you've watched -- we've had our eyes opened over the last couple of weeks, we know that nothing is certain. And a perfect example was the women's soccer league, the Orlando Pride, six players, four staff test positive and they literally have to take that team out of the women's soccer league tournament. Gone. And will we see something like that where one team just literally knocks itself out because it has too many positive tests? That's the danger in team sports that we don't have in golf or tennis, say, or any other individual sport where you can lose one or two people and that's too bad. Of course we don't want them to get coronavirus and clearly that's -- we hope they get well, but they don't stop the sport. And that's the question here about teams, will they actually be able to compete?

CAMEROTA: Christine, speaking of positive tests, Djokovic, he has now apologized for holding that tournament, tennis tournament, in Serbia against the advice of medical experts. So your reaction?

BRENNAN: Well, if you only knew him as a name in tennis, Alisyn, as one of the greats of all time, and you didn't know much more about him, your image has now been sealed. The image of him has been sealed for fans around the world. And that is what a disappointment. What a terrible role model. He did everything you're not supposed to do with -- in this time of a pandemic. And because he has such a perch, because he's on this pedestal, as are the baseball players, as are -- is everyone else that we're watching now, you -- you -- if you don't behave and if you do all of the terrible things, going to clubs and dancing with people and having crowds and no masks and no social distancing and then, by the way, you have Covid-19 now, as does his wife, what a message and what a terrible message.

[08:55:03]

And I think that's now his fate. I think he will be remembered, as much for all of his great play, and it has been fantastic, he'll also be remembered for how he so poorly handled himself and his behavior during the pandemic.

BERMAN: Yes, one of the greats in tennis, but maybe not a great message. We just showed that video there, Christine, of him dancing at a nightclub. Flexibility does not make you immune from coronavirus.

Christine Brennan, great to have you on this morning. Thanks so much for being with us. I really appreciate it.

BRENNAN: Thanks to you both. Take care.

CAMEROTA: And, John, I don't know if that was the best limboing example we've ever seen, OK? You know what I mean? I mean maybe he's not great at limbo.

BERMAN: Well, look, I haven't touched my toes since the Reagan administration, so I'm not going to criticize anyone's flexibility. He looked -- that looked good to me.

CAMEROTA: OK. Very good.

All right, that's a good -- well, I mean -- huh, I don't know about that dancing. I don't know, John.

BERMAN: All right, CNN's coverage continues, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:00:00]