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Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is Interviewed About the Confirmation Hearing for Amy Coney Barrett; Soon: Confirmation Hearings Begin for Amy Coney Barrett; Denver Security Guard Faces Murder Charged in Protest Shooting; U.S. Averaging 50,000 New Cases Daily in the Last Week; Los Angeles Lakers Win NBA Championship; Filmmakers Explore History of Racism in "Driving While Black" Doc. Aired 07:30-8a ET

Aired October 12, 2020 - 07:30   ET



SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Because we have no protocol for going forward with this hearing. No protocol to protect the safety of all the members, our staff, and everyone else.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK? Because I thought that there were some changes that you were all going to be more distant than usual, et cetera.

HIRONO: We are just (INAUDIBLE) but there are no protocols for testing, and whether all of us will be there wearing masks, et cetera. So, we have requested those protocols. But the main thing, Alisyn, is that, as you said, this nominee is being rushed in a matter of weeks, so that she can be sitting there on the court with a lifetime appointment to first of all, hear the Affordable Care Act case on November 10th, a mere week after the general election.

And then she will be a vote against the Affordable Care Act, she will -- she can be counted on. That is why the president appointed her because he said, I am going to appoint Supreme Court nominees who will strike down the Affordable Care Act.

CAMEROTA: So what specific question will you ask her today?

HIRONO: I will be asking her position on the Affordable Care Act. I will be asking her position on woman's right to choose among others.

CAMEROTA: Look -- I mean, if you just look at the politics of this, you don't have the math. Democrats don't have the votes to stop her confirmation. And so is your strategy just to get her on the record?

HIRONO: We need to tell the American people what's at stake. And what's at stake is this person getting on the Supreme Court lickety- split so that she can get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Something that millions and millions of Americans, 23 million or so plus a hundred million who have pre-existing conditions, they're all relying on the protections of the Affordable Care Act. And the American public needs to know that this nominee is a clear and

present danger to their health care. And by the way, you know, if we can find two more courageous Republicans who say this is not the way we ought to be going forward with this nominee.

They have tried over 70 times to strike down the Affordable Care Act through congressional action. And now they want the court to do that which they couldn't accomplish, 70 times trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.

CAMEROTA: But let's talk about that because I've heard you say that you're just looking for two more Republicans. Are you still confident this morning that Senators Collins and Murkowski are still no votes?

HIRONO: Well, I hope that they at least can keep their word.

CAMEROTA: I mean, I think that it wasn't Senator Murkowski at one point suggesting that she didn't like the process. But I don't know if her issue was with Judge Amy Coney Barrett specifically. So now that the process is happening, I just didn't know if you had any indication if she was still a no.

HIRONO: Well, maybe she can clarify that for us.


OK. So let's talk about on the Democratic side, Vice President Biden and Kamala Harris have been -- not giving completely clear answers about their plan if they were to win for court packing. And why -- I guess I'm just confused about their answers.

I mean, why not, why not say I -- understand that they want to keep laser focused on the fast track that Judge Amy Coney Barrett is saying. So, why not say something like that? Say we're just trying to stay focused on this, we haven't even talked about it yet, instead of appearing to hedge and give a non-answer.

HIRONO: I have been thinking about court reform for a number of years. But we don't have a serious discussion about court reform, which by the way, it will take serious discussion. It's just a -- not a matter of do you want this change, do you want that change. That kind of discussion doesn't happen unless the Democrats take back the Senate?

And yes, I expect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be laser focused on the potential for this country to give this out of control president -- chaotic president another four years. That is exactly what they ought to be focused on.

In the meantime, by the way, I am really concerned about the court packing with the ideologically-driven nominee is now sitting on the court, some 200 of them that Trump has been putting on the court, aided and abetted, of course, by Mitch McConnell whose goal in life is to make sure that there's absolutely no vacancy that he won't fill with these very ideologically conservative, they're against ACA, they're against LGBTQ rights, they're against civil rights, you name it. These are the kind of people who are getting on the courts right now.

I'd like to see a court that we can feel assured will be objective and fair and people who do not have an ideological axe to grind.


CAMEROTA: I mean, obviously, just filling a vacancy right now is not what is normally referred to as court packing. It's adding seats. But I think that you've said that you're open to that as well.

HIRONO: There are a number of things that we can talk about to reform the course, including, by the way, you know, we should apply strict ethics standards to Supreme Court justices. We don't have that. So there are any number of things that we can talk about to make sure that the Supreme Court is not an ideologically determined to body, which by the way, if you look at their recent decisions, many, many five to four decisions that are very much partisan and ideologically based. That is not what we want the Supreme Court to be.

In fact, that's not how we want our entire judiciary to be. They should be objective, independent, not filled, as I said, with people who have an ideological agenda. But what's happening right now.

CAMEROTA: Senator Mazie Hirono, we really appreciate you taking time this morning before the very big morning. Obviously, we'll be watching closely.

HIRONO: Thank you. Aloha.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

New developments overnight on this bizarre murder investigation. How a pair of dueling political protests ended in gunfire.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Developing this morning, deadly violence unfolding at the scene of dueling protests in Denver. A private security guard hired by a local TV station is now being charged with murder. CNN's Lucy Kafanov live in Denver with the very latest.

Lucy, what can you tell us?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, good morning. There are still so many unanswered questions in terms of what led to this deadly shooting which took place just a few blocks from here on Saturday afternoon.

Police say that 30-year-old Matthew Dolloff is charged -- is being investigated, pardon me, for first degree murder. He was working as a security contractor for 9News, a local TV station. This is normal practice by many TV stations for protest to keep their staff safe.

He was contracted through the security firm Pinkerton. Now, a spokesman for the Denver City and County Licensing office says that he actually never held the required license to operate as a security guard in the city. CNN has reached out to Pinkerton for comments. We're still waiting for a response back.

In terms of what happened that day though, there were these dueling rallies by the far-right and a leftist group, both events had been winding down. Photos on social media show some sort of a verbal altercation between the victim and another man, not the shooter.

The photos then show the victim shoot -- punching or shoving, putting his hand out towards Mr. Dolloff and spraying some sort of a substance at him, perhaps pepper spray as Mr. Dolloff is seen pointing a firearm at him. One video captured by a local news team that was conducting an interview at the time, you hear this loud bang, you see police rushed to the scene. You then see Mr. Dolloff on his knees with a firearm later arrested.

We know that police are interviewing witnesses at the moment. We know that they are reviewing all of the social media footage that is out there at the time. And we are expecting the medical examiner to identify the victim later today perhaps.


CAMEROTA: OK, Lucy, thank you very much for all of that reporting from Denver.

So the U.S. now averaging nearly 50,000 coronavirus cases daily in just the last week. CNN has reporters across the country to bring you all of the latest developments.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Natasha Chen in Atlanta. The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 1,162 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and 23 additional deaths due to COVID-19.

And that marks the fifth consecutive day that the state has reported more than a thousand cases in a single day according to CNN's tally. Overall, Georgia's seven-day moving average of new cases is much lower than it was in late July but it has plateaued in the month of October. More than 7000 people in the state have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Evan McMorris-Santoro. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and his family are quarantining after contact tracers inform the governor that a member of a security detail tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday night.

In a video posted to Twitter, Beshear said that the member of his security detail had driven his family home on Saturday afternoon, but he said that no one in his family has tested positive for the virus, and they hadn't been in close contact with anybody since the contact tracer informed them of the exposure.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, I'm Polo Sandoval in New York. Yesterday, some religious services in parts of Brooklyn and Queens were limited in size due to newly imposed restrictions. They're aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in New York.

A recent order from the governor limited the size of religious gatherings and any house of worship, depending on the severity of COVID-19 cases in their neighborhood. Some Orthodox Jewish groups as well as a Brooklyn Catholic Diocese sued the governor trying to suspend or maybe even modify those restrictions. However, those motions were denied this weekend and allow it to stay in place.

CAMEROTA: Thanks to all of our correspondents.

So the Lakers are NBA champions for the 17th time. A look at the celebrations overnight in L.A. in this very bittersweet year for the team and the league.



BERMAN: It took nearly a full calendar year with the Los Angeles Lakers celebrating their first championship in a decade. Carolyn Manno has more in the Bleacher Report. They did it.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: They did it, John. You know, most teams want to go to Disney World, the Lakers spent just about a hundred days there. I think they're ready to go ahead and head home but punctuating historic season with the franchise the 17th title. That ties the Boston Celtics for the most in league history.

It's been quite a year, it was an emotional roller coaster and what else would you expect from LeBron James and the kind of performance we've grown to, you know, know him to be able to do. The Lakers rather than the Heat by third end game. James earning his fourth MVP title. You know, when he missed the playoffs in his first season with LA, some questions whether the aging star still the best player in the league, and after the game, James sent a message.


LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD: We just want our respect. Rob want some respect. Coach Vogel want some respect. The organization want a respect. Laker nation want their respect, and I want my damn respect too.


MANNO: The victory coming nearly nine months after the tragic passing of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others who were killed in that helicopter crash back in January. Fans chanting Kobe's names in the streets of LA late last night.

And the NBA's bubble is a success story but coronavirus is plaguing the NFL right now.


Positive tests from both the Titans and the Patriots creating a cascade effect there right now has forced the cancellations of eight NFL games. Those are rescheduled but things very much influx.

The Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott undergoing successful surgery last night elsewhere in the league after suffering a gruesome ankle injury against the Giants. Prescott who has never missed a game in his five-year career is in the final year of his contract, he was hoping to sign a lucrative long-term deal in free agency. Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones calling the injury heartbreaking.

And Rafael Nadal made history, Sunday, in Paris winning the French Open for the 13th time. Rafa now with 20 Grand Slam titles. tying him with Roger Federer for the (INAUDIBLE). You know, John, this was Nadal's 100th win at Roland Garros. He has only lost there twice which is quite a remarkable accomplishment if you think about what he's been able to do. We may never see a performance like that again.

BERMAN: No. Look, I know there are a lot of Federer people, especially United States, but our Rafa guy. I mean, what he has done in the duration over which he's done it at the French Open, you know, it's not serving a volley. I mean, he's got to be so physically fit to do that. So hats off to him, well deserved.

Carolyn, thanks so much. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK, John, a new PBS documentary on race in America takes a closer look at the danger to black families while traveling. It's called, "Driving While Black". Here's a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What it means to be American is to take to the road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mobility is essential to freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Discover freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The notion of driving while black reminds us that that's not available to all Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be able to move freely. We live in a country where it's never been (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are still so many dangers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to engage history with the kind of brutal honesty.


CAMEROTA: We're joined now by Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns, the co- directors of the film, "Driving While Black". It premieres tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern on PBS. Great to have you both here.

I've really been looking forward to talking to you about this. Gretchen, because -- both of you. Gretchen, because when I -- upon reading your research, it's the first time that it sort of the aperture opened for me and I realized how long the anxiety around driving while black has been going on in this country. You know, this may be a new term but the experience for black families is not new. And so just tell us what you've learned.

GRETCHEN SORIN, CO-DIRECTOR, "DRIVING WHILE BLACK" DOCUMENTARY: Alisyn, thank you so much. Well, we really, as we look at this topic, Ric and I decided that we really had to go back to the beginning when mobility was first restricted.

And because this is a real -- this is really a story about mobility and how mobility for African-Americans was denied from the time the first black person stepped foot in the new world. And so we start with restrictions on mobility as enslaved people, and bring that all the way up to the up to the present where that mobility continues to be restricted.

CAMEROTA: And so Ric, is it, is it based on -- it is the -- all of the problems that we have seen play out in such vivid horror of, you know, blacks being pulled over? And then, you know, it resulting in a horrible, fatal deadly encounter with police. Is that -- does that stem in some sort of logical way from white people being uncomfortable, you know, hundreds of years ago with black mobility?

RIC BURNS, CO-DIRECTOR, "DRIVING WHILE BLACK" DOCUMENTARY: I think it does. I think that is exactly the right. I couldn't -- I think that puts it really, really clearly that it's not as if there hasn't been -- haven't been tremendous steps forward in 400 years in terms of mobility that African-Americans have seized for themselves in this country.

But that sense of the suspicion that white people have, in general, not all white people about black mobility, and the desire to restrain it, and to hold it and to keep black people in place has been around for a long time. And so, we look at the, you know, news yesterday, more tomorrow sadly, and see some traffic incident that takes place (INAUDIBLE). This kind of really (INAUDIBLE) fear and suspicion of black people on the move.

And you know, mobility is freedom. Mobility is the way you understand you have agency and that your will can be enacted. And it's very clear that race, space, and mobility in America have not been equal propositions from the very beginning.

CAMEROTA: And in fact, Gretchen, you talk about that, how it was freedom -- how black families, the relationship with the automobile, how that -- was this liberating point of pride for them but then it gets so complicated.

SORIN: Well, it was so much better to be able to take your own automobile than to have to depend on transportation that was controlled by others. So if you took a train, you would be in the Jim Crow car. If you took a bus, you had to sit in the back.


And often this was accompanied by racial epithets as well. So it was it was humiliating for African-Americans to take public transit. So when they were able to get cars, they got cars in very large numbers, and they love their cars, because you had the freedom to go where you wanted when you wanted. But you also have this private, quiet space that took you out of the humiliation of public transportation.

CAMEROTA: Ric, you know, in June, we had on an author named Tim White (ph) who has written, you know, a lot about white privilege. And he has -- he said that for his white friends, that he does this mental exercise for them.

If they don't believe that there is a difference, you know, in driving down the road, if you're black or white, he asks them to think about all the times that they've been pulled over and what the outcome has been. And that is just so valuable -- that is such a useful exercise to think about how often I, for one, have been pulled over and it was always my fault, by the way, and I rarely get a ticket.

And when you think about that, it just kind of, you know, blows your mind at what the different experiences. And so in producing this, in directing this, do you find that you have to still tackle the judgments and feelings of white people who may not think that there is such a phenomenon as driving while black?

BURNS: I think that's really the case, Alisyn, and I think that, you know, people say what is structural racism. What is systemic racism? Systemic racism is when even before anybody does anything to anybody else, the fear is in your mind that something negative is going to happen. And that's something that white people just don't have when they get behind the wheel.

You know, my father never told me the rules of the road in the sense that if I got pulled over, I had to keep my hands very, very still in where they could be seen. And that the job was for me as (INAUDIBLE) reference puts it heartbreakingly in our film, the job as a child who stopped by the police was for me to get to jail without dying so that my parents could come and figure out the problem. That is not -- that structure of feeling is not part of the -- of a white child or white parents way of thinking about the world.

And that's I think exactly the point. And that's where you can go like I don't -- just like black people, I don't have any bad feelings. But the fact of the matter is, is you're part of a system in which that's inevitably going to be the case. And so I think it's hopeful and revealing for all of us to sort of be shown this history truth is hard, but it's clean as someone once said, and to be able to come to terms with it.

CAMEROTA: Gretchen, we only have about 30 seconds left. What do you want people to take away when they watch this?

SORIN: You know, the power -- the people in power have always been -- it's been important for them to hold on to the status quo. What I would like people to do this to me, this film is a call to action. It says we can join together and we can make things better in this country. CAMEROTA: Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns, thank you so much. Great to talk to you. And "Driving While Black" premieres tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern on PBS. Thanks so much for being here.

SORIN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: NEW DAY continues right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is heading back to the campaign trail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people have been with him said he's fine, he's peppy, he will go on ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's foolish for him to do it. It's going to be hard for him and it might give him a big setback.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't really know whether he is still infectious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lawmakers are kicking off those crucial hearings for Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court. The first opportunity Democrats have to grill this nominee and make the case Republicans need to slow her nomination down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: this proceeding is literally unprecedented because so many members of the Senate are afflicted with COVID. Whether they will be able to show up is uncertain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And President Trump is returning to the campaign trail today. He plans to hold rallies despite the risk to public health. The president got out of the hospital one week ago after being treated for coronavirus. He claims he has now tested totally negative but the White House still has not provided any proof of that.

So with just 22 days to go until the election, the president will hold four rallies over the next four days in Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and North Carolina. Joe Biden will head to Ohio today where early voting is already underway.

Meanwhile, we are seeing an alarming increase in coronavirus cases nationwide. The U.S. is now averaging just around 50,000 cases a day. OK, that's the highest number in two months. Thirty-one states across the country are seeing a surge in cases, six states seeing record hospitalization.

BERMAN: I hope people are paying attention.