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Cuomo Prime Time

POTUS' Valets Tested Positive for COVID; California's First Community Spread Traced from Salon; FDA Approves Phase Two of Vaccine Trial; Coronavirus Pandemic; FDA Shifts Policy For Antibody Test Makers; More Texas Businesses Reopen Tomorrow; Arrest In Shooting Death Of Unarmed Jogger. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 07, 2020 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Hey everybody. I'm Chris Cuomo, and welcome to Prime Time.

The president will now be tested for COVID-19 every single day after news that one of his valets has tested positive for the virus.

CNN broke the story that he's said to be mad as hell that he's not being protected well enough from the virus.

Mr. President, you are right. And more importantly, I hope now you know how so many of the rest of us feel. They want to be tested too. Not every day like you're going to get, but enough to feel safe just like you want. And just like you, it really makes them mad to think that they're not being protected either.

We have another reality check for you tonight. Breaking news in the case of a young unarmed black man shot and killed while jogging in Georgia. The last part is the most important part.

The way this case was handled stinks, and the officials who are handling it won't come on. Never a good sign. And once again but for a video would there have been any attempt at justice. We have the tape and Ahmaud Arbery's sister with a shocking tale of an action.

The pandemic is showing our ability to come together. There are many causes in this country that we must take on the same way. So, what do you say? Let's get after it.

All right. Another piece of proof in the case that this president wants to reopen faster than facts and experts would allow.

A senior CDC official says it was clear that the White House wasn't going to implement their 17-page draft of recommendations for a safe reopening. And Trump doesn't have the defense of not getting how risky this is. He -- we know he gets it. Why? Because CNN broke the story of how he reacted to news that someone near him tested positive for the virus. White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins was the first to report that

part of the story. Good for you, good for the audience. What do you know?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems like it's going to be changing at least one aspect of the president's life, and that is that he's going to be now tested daily instead of weekly. It's happening about every six days for the president, the vice president, and their senior staff.

But, Chris, this person was incredibly close to the president. These valets not only handle the food and beverage service for the president and the first family and they travel with them when they're going domestically or abroad but also, they handle a variety of other personal tasks.

So, they're incredibly close. They're often in the Oval Office, definitely in the West Wing, and of course also in the White House residence. So, it's someone who is around the president a lot of the time.

And that is why it raised so many questions today in the West Wing now that they learned that someone so close to the president had tested positive for coronavirus. That we were told even the president was upset when he found out about it and had to be tested again.

Though we should note the White House did say that both he and the vice president have tested negative since that story broke.

CUOMO: Thank god. We need them healthy. We need he and the whole team at their best. But my understanding is his anger wasn't just so much at the valet but it's that, hey, we've got to do everything we can. You got to make sure these people are tested, you got to make sure that we know who's around me, otherwise I'm vulnerable. Is that right?

COLLINS: Well, and that's the concern that those around the president have. They don't want the president getting sick. That's why they have started testing people inside the White House several weeks ago. They've continued to do that.

But it really does show you just how important testing is. Because this person was exhibiting symptoms, we're told, on White House grounds. They were tested and then of course, now they're going to go through and see who this person interacted with, the other valets, other senior staffers, of course, the president himself. Though the president said today they had very little contact.

But that just shows you not just in the West Wing how important that is going to be throughout the country to be able to identify someone who has it and isolate them and figure out who they were around.

CUOMO: Boy, I'll tell you, what a shocking irony that exactly what they're asking for in the White House is what they are denying the rest of the country. And they're dealing with it exactly right in the White House. They should test the president as often as they can because you've got to know. Current information. A test is only as good as the day it's taken on. And then they're doing tracing.

They're looking at everybody around this valet and see how they're doing. That's exactly what we need to do in different places of the country that require the same.


Kaitlan Collins, thank you for bringing us the story. I appreciate it.

All right. New tonight, California's Governor Gavin Newsom says they've identified where their first case of community spread started. A nail salon. A place where workers regularly wear gloves and masks wasn't enough.

So, the governor is taking a more cautious approach waiting to open those salons in later phases. Now, it's very different than we're seeing in other states that have already opened up close contact businesses like nail salons. And now hotspots are emerging.

Nearly every state will have loosened restrictions in some way by the weekend. But remember, none has met the CDC guidelines to reopen. And most of those states have caseloads that are growing. The obvious question is what will our future hold?

CNN's Nick Watt is watching from coast to coast.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Three Forks, Montana this morning, kids walk back into school with tweaks.


BONNIE LOWER, SUPERINTENDENT, WILLOW CREEK: We have six-foot distant marks on the playground so they can play games at recess and stay six feet away from each other.


WATT: Montana hasn't suffered as much as most. Meanwhile, with Lady Liberty looking on bodies now being stored frozen in trucks in New York City, our epicenter, waiting for overwhelmed funeral directors to catch up.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): If you're going through hell, keep going. And that's what we're doing. We're going through hell. But what we're doing is working, so we're going to keep going.


WATT: Going slow on reopening even though New York's new case counts are falling. Daily new case counts continue to climb in 19 states. Still every one of them among the 44 that will begin to reopen by this weekend.

In Texas, cases climbing but haircuts and manicures are a go as of tomorrow morning.




WATT: The State's Supreme Court just ordered the release of a salon owner jailed for operating under lockdown. In Oregon the trailblazers practice facility will also open tomorrow. That's OK says the NBA. Up to four players can train solo at any one time as long as local restrictions are followed. And there are now different detailed directions in different places.


GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): Restaurants outside only. You're 90 percent more likely to get infected inside than outside.


WATT: More than 33 million Americans have now lost their jobs during the pandemic. Depression era numbers. Others have worked on and paid a price. Teen A, a meat packing worker in Colorado couldn't afford to quit. Now she's infected and fighting for her life.

Three of the country's biggest pork processing plants partially reopening today after outbreaks union and management working on how to keep workers safe.


MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: I really don't think the economy kicks into any kind of gear until we get a vaccine or some kind of therapy that everyone feels comfortable about. And even then, it's going to take several years to get those jobs back.


WATT: The FDA did just approve another potential vaccine moving into phase two testing. More than 100 now in various stages of development. But you can only rush so much. Needs to be safe. Needs to work.


MARK MULLIGAN, LEAD RESEARCHER, NYU LANGONE VACCINE CENTER: I do really think we're talking about getting through the end of the year and into early next year before we would have a definitive answer.


WATT: Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

CUOMO: Now, look, that just gives you the general sense of what should be obvious now. For you and me, Trump says testing, I think it's overrated. But for him, one case in his orbit and he gets tested every day. You see what's going on here now?

Let's bring in a former top health official to show us the best way forward. Next.



CUOMO: Everyone who wants a test will be able to get a test said this president. It's not even close to true in areas with any kind of case density. He knows testing is being looked to as the main metric of truth of the contagion, so his natural play is someone who wants to deny the reality of the virus' reach is to poo-poo testing, and that's exactly what he keeps doing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do we have the ultimate testing? We have the best tests in the world and we gave more than anybody else. But we -- and I have always said testing is somewhat overrated because what happens after somebody takes a test?


CUOMO: Overrated? The guy has one case near him and now he's going to get tested every day, OK? Is that testing overrated? And you know what? The president's situation is being handled the best way. He should be tested. First of all, we only have one of them. Right? I'm sorry, but we've got to play the priorities here.

But just look at the rule that's being followed. Test when you can so you know what's going on. And trace the contacts of the person who has it. That's what they're doing in the White House.

Why can't that be the rule for the rest of us? Why can't we get protection and truth in testing? I thought the carnage was supposed to end with this administration?

Andy Slavitt is the former acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. It's good to have you on the show.

Boy, talk about irony. The president says testing is overrated. Not for him. Gets tested every day. Tracing. You know, the state says some guys like it, some guys don't. There's a case near him, they're tracing the hell out of this guy. They're finding every potential contact he had, and they should.

They're doing the right thing, Andy. Doesn't that kind of blow open this idea of him padding down testing for the rest of the country?

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: Think about what testing really is, Chris. It's about making Americans feel safe. It's about allowing Americans to go and resume their lives.

If they know that there's testing and they know that there is a positive result that the virus will be contained through contact tracing, people will feel comfortable resuming their lives in a safe way, not an unsafe way.


And so, what he's expecting of us, is he's expecting us to go back about our lives without having that level of safety. And of course, that puts us in a position where we have neither the decrease in the death toll that we need or an economy that actually works because we have -- we're just sort of trapped in this state.

And I think it's because he's not willing to do the hard work and commit to the hard work to get Americans the testing they need.

CUOMO: All right. So, let's -- look, the hard question is, is it realistic to have the testing that you need anywhere? Or are people like me creating a false standard for protection that will never be reached and therefore I am undermining the reality that people are going to have to accept a certain amount of risk and get back out there?

SLAVITT: Well, you know, you have this expression of Ameri-can. And you know, and sort of how many of us like to think of our country. But now just look around the world, Chris. Look at Germany. They're starting their economy back up. Why? Because they've been able to test.

Look at the Czech Republic. They are opening their economy because they've got everyone wearing masks. Look at Greece opening their economy up because they've been disciplined. New Zealand because they actually put in place a system to track -- a color code system to track how exposure going. I can go on and on. Vietnam testing everybody.

So, it is not impossible. We need a little patience and we need to do the real work. You can't quit in the middle. You can't announce a program to test people like we did three weeks ago and then three weeks later when it's not done just give up.

CUOMO: Now, there's a distinguishing characteristic with every one of those case studies that you just gave every country. And the president is right, we have tested in this country more people than anywhere else. We also have more people than all the other places we're looking at in terms of scale.

But the distinguishing factor, Andy, I want you to speak to is, here it's being left to what would be seen as the provincial leaders, the governors. All those other countries it is being run out of the central government. What is the difference?

SLAVITT: Well, the difference is that Angela Merkel, for example, who is a scientist starts every meeting and every conversation she has with the country by talking about their health, by talking about her commitment, talking about how if any one person in the country is affected, the entire country is affected. And she has, essentially held herself accountable for making sure that

the public stays healthy. And look, we don't need to test every single American. We do need to be able to test everybody with a symptom. We need to be able to test people who want to be tested. We need to be able to test a fair share of people who are healthy to see where the virus is spreading.

Our goal in the short term, Chris, isn't that we're going to end corona -- COVID-19. Our goal is that we could just contain it to very small amounts. And that's work we can do. Deborah Birx put forward that plan. We just have to do it.

CUOMO: Right. And look, what we're struggling with is need, 33 million people now out of work. We're killing ourselves with the cure. And we won't be able to bring these companies back. We're going to find a vaccine. We're going to find a cure. We're going to get it sometime new year, something like that. There will be a big change for us that will make COVID less dangerous.

But the damage to the economy maybe irreversible for years. And that's why we need to rebalance the scales towards reopening even if there's a little bit more risk because we'll get over the virus sooner than we get over the economic impact. Your take on that.

SLAVITT: My take on that is it's a tough equation. I can't argue with that. I think it's a -- look. Everybody in a position of making decisions here wants to do the right thing.

Everybody in a position of power here wants to make sure we lose as few lives as possible and open up the economy. But we're not choosing today, Chris, between opening up the economy and peoples' lives because who is going to start spending money, buying boats, getting on airplanes, investing in capital, signing leases while we have 3,000 people a day dying. Nobody. Nobody is.

But if we can contain the problem so that we know that the vast majority of Americans feel safe, they will start spending money and the economy will come back.

With all respect to barbershops and haircutting places and tattoos, you can't build an economy around that. That's a third world economy. And so, this is not about opening up the economy as much as it is about opening the socialization.

It's about responding to the pressure, to the political pressure of people saying this is hard. And it is hard. There's no question it's hard. But we can't pretend that the steps we're taking are going to make it easier. It's not. They're going to make it harder.

CUOMO: I just don't understand why we're ignoring the one thing that will give people confidence. If you just do the testing, it's the closest thing to the truth that they can get.


And people will make their own decisions. People know risk assessment. This is a ballsy country. You know, people take risks all the time in this country. You've just got to be straight with them or they get locked up.

And that's where we see the country now, 60 percent, 70 percent of people say I'm not going to go out. The places that are reopening, we're seeing trickling out instead of flowing out the way it was expected. You've got to be straight with people or you're going to have trouble in America.

Andy Slavitt, thank you very much. And look, we're covering all sides of this. OK? We know the need. Cover it all the time because it matters. I don't know how long it's going to take to bring people back.

We're covering the vaccine part too. A potential vaccine has just moved one step closer toward approval. But I'm not going to jump on that as, hey, it's right around the corner. The company has never brought a product to market before. They've never gotten vaccine cleared by the FDA before.

So, what I want to do is let's took -- take a look at it. Let's take a look at the vaccine. And that it's moving to this phase. We got a former FDA commissioner who's been through this process countless times. How optimistic should we be? What does this tell us about where we're headed? Next.



CUOMO: Just today, the FDA announced it is allowing the makers of a new potential coronavirus vaccine to move to the next phase of trials. Now, there are usually three phases, OK, the process can take years. Critics worry that the FDA is rushing.

Dr. Mark McClellan is a former FDA commissioner. It's good to have you.


CUOMO: What's your take on them giving a boost to this vaccine?

MCCLELLAN: I think it's another step forward in the development of vaccines, Chris. As you said before, this is a new kind of vaccine. We haven't seen it used in people before. So, there are still some important steps in testing ahead that will take time.

This round of tests is about figuring out the right dose and if there are any major side effects as well. After that, it's going to have to go into larger scale testing. But this is going to be done in a matter of a few months, and that's a really unprecedented time frame.

CUOMO: So, Tony Fauci says look we're not going to rush the phases of the testing, we're going to rush the manufacturing. And we're not going to wait until the phases are done. We're going to take a gamble here that this works.

I said how can you take a gamble? You don't know anything about this virus. You know what I mean? Every time I tell you something about my symptoms, you go, gee, we haven't heard that.

And he said vaccine is very different science than understanding symptoms and treatment. Is that true, and what does that mean?

MCCLELLAN: It is. Yes. Well, when he talks about taking a gamble, we're not taking a gamble on safety. We're taking a gamble on manufacturing a whole lot of this vaccine and probably other vaccines before we know for sure whether they are safe and effective.

Because we need lots of vaccines, Chris. This is a treatment that we give to healthy people to prevent the virus from spreading and to community, to prevent people from getting sick in the first place.

Normally that manufacturing of millions or billions of doses to protect people around the world would take a really long time. So, we're doing it the same time as the testing is going on. If the testing doesn't pan out, we have to throw away the vaccine.

CUOMO: You know, one of the weird things here about how we got to this point is that when the Chinese put out the -- what do you guys call it, the sequence for the virus or whatever back in January?


CUOMO: Fauci put it right into vaccine mode.

MCCLELLAN: That's right.

CUOMO: So, I guess they've been working on this over 60 days. It's interesting that while it seemed to some of us that we kind of asleep on this, you know, and that they were taking it too lightly. The first chance Fauci had with the vaccine part, he, you know, he went into full mode of trying to create a vaccine, an interesting kind of mixed message there.

So, now we look at the company involved. They've never done this before. Does that matter?

MCCLELLAN: It means that people are going to be extra careful to make sure that the vaccine is safe, it doesn't have side effects. And we're not sure because it's a new kind of vaccine just how much of an immune response, how much antibodies to the virus that will actually generate.

And that's why there are going to be a couple more phases of testing. It's going to take some months. The advantage of this kind of vaccine, though, Chris, is that because it's based on the sequence of the virus, it is able to be manufactured very quickly.

Basically, you're injecting an RNA which tells your own body, the human body, to produce a piece of the virus. And then you become immune based on your reaction to the virus -- to the piece of the virus in your own body.

So, it's a much faster approach than the traditional vaccines that are based on inject growing and then injecting a harmless virus that carries a piece of COVID-19. That takes longer. That's why this is in human testing first but we're going to have to be extra careful about the safety and the effectiveness.

CUOMO: So, I paid to get antibody testing done because I was totally levelled by this virus and it like, freaked me out on a psychological level where I needed to know. I didn't believe I had the antibodies. I thought this thing had beaten me and it was going to come back. I had all these crazy ideas in my head like it was a horror movie.

So, I know that not only do I have the long-term antibody, which is the one you guys look for, IGG.


CUOMO: But I still have some IGM, it's going down but that's proof that this thing beat me up pretty good and for a long time.

MCCLELLAN: That's right.

CUOMO: And that my body had to make short term, you know, antibodies not too long ago. But antibody testing has not rolled out the way that we thought. Is there blame in that and is it risk at the FDA?

MCCLELLAN: Well, FDA gets criticized on both sides. I got criticized over the last couple of months for letting on a lot of the new antibody tests. And Chris, it sounds like you got an accurate one, and because of your symptoms, because of what you went through, I'm pretty sure you are immune, at least for now.


But many of the test on the market, especially for people who aren't symptomatic have not given very accurate results.

Now, FDA took steps over this past week, to tighten that up, backed by new research and some new testing that's being done with support from the NIH. So that the goal is to get more confidence in the antibody tests that are on the market. We're not there yet though and I think people need to be careful about the antibody tests throughout and the claims that they're making.

CUOMO: Yes. A lot of people are picking them up off line. They're really quick. You can do them at home. And that's a problem, same thing with COVID positive negative test.

Now, you've been talking to governor of Texas, Abbott, he got a lot of traction saying Birx likes my plan. And we are going to have more testing and more of that. But he doesn't have it in place yet and yet he is reopening. And it seems so obviously cart before the horse. What is your take as someone who knows the plan well in the governor?

MCCLELLAN: Well, Chris, I've written several reports about what we think is the best way to open back up. And our work at Duke really strongly suggest that we need to get the testing in place first. So, ideally, the increased testing capacity that Texas is trying to build right now would be there to wrap around this gradual reopening so that we can more quickly detect any outbreaks.

So, I do hope Texas continues to go slow, and I really hope they can ramp up the testing capacity quickly, they're working hard on that right now as of many states.

CUOMO: Mark McClellan. Thank you very much. I appreciate having you on the show. Have a good night, stay healthy.

MCCLELLAN: Good to be with you.

CUOMO: Always. Now look, McClellan is a genius. But you don't have to be one. You can be like me. And every time I talk about somebody who's going to come by our house, who's going to drop something off, well, how's Mario? Or how are the girls, or how are you? Why are they asking those questions? Because they're nervous about whether or not they are going to get sick.

That's what's holding us back. No matter how you reopen the economy. People need to have confidence that it's OK. Otherwise you're not going to have the consumer drive. That's why I don't get why these people are sleeping on the basic element that will get us back there. It's not the reopening, it's reopening our minds and our incentive to go out. That's testing.

Major developments tonight in a killing that's just getting national attention months later. And if it weren't for this leaked video, this case may still be closed. Arrests just announced, big news in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. We have the details, why it took so long, what his family struggle has been about, and how we were a video away from silence.



CUOMO: All right. We have breaking news in the shooting death of a jogger -- keyword, jogger -- captured on video, horrifying the country. Rightly so. Tonight the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced the arrest of the father and son who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, 25 years old, jogger. They are now facing murder charges. The suspects are white. The jogger, black.

Until now, there hasn't been a lot of action. And by the way, that's generous. There hasn't been any action outwardly about this investigation for months. This happened at the end of February.

And the suggestion has been, well, we're going to take it to a grand jury like that's the beginning of the process. No. Probable cause as seen by the police for an arrest is the beginning of a process, not a grand jury. What changed it? This video. Now, this is graphic footage, but if you want the truth, this is what will be the basis of the truth in this situation. Show the video. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



CUOMO: Now, what do you see in that video? What does it mean? I'm not going to keep showing it to you over and over again. We're going to have time to process this case. Martin Savidge has been following this story in Glen County, Georgia. Martin, thank you for being with us tonight. Let's start with what happened tonight. The arrest. What is the explanation for why now?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You already said it. I mean, it's clear, it's the video that was the real push that made this all happened. Ima as you pointed out this case has had two essential speeds. One of them is stagnant, which is the way it was for much of the time, and then lightning. And the difference of the border between those two states was the video that was released on Tuesday morning.

Because immediately after that horrific video came out, several hours later, Tom Durden, the district attorney in the case, he came out with that message and said all right, I'm going to now present it to a grand jury. It was taken as a positive step, but of course there are no grand juries being seated right now.

Then later that day you had Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia weighing in and saying, Georgians deserve answers on this. And he said that the state law enforcement agency GBI, would be at the ready to help if they wanted it. Well, what do you know? Less than an hour later, the D.A. said yes, we would accept the help of the GBI. And by Wednesday morning, the very next day, you've got GBI agents on the ground in Glen County here and then 24 hours after that, they got two people under arrest. Slow to lightning speed.

CUOMO: So, just so people understand, bringing in state investigators is really divesting the locals of power. And the local prosecutor stepped away from this because one of the gentleman involved, the father was a former police officer locally. That's not that uncommon. But to have state investigators come in and take over a case is much more uncommon. What do we know about the video tape? So the police didn't have it until this week?


SAVIDGE: No. The police have had it since the day of the actual shooting back on February 23rd.

CUOMO: Key fact.

SAVIDGE: And the public was aware. They had heard in legal documents that this video existed, but no one had seen it. And no one really understood how graphic and how horrific it would be until it was unveiled on Tuesday morning. And the question initially was it was posted on a local radio station website. And the real question was, where did that video come from? Who released it? Well, it turns out that there was an attorney that I had heard about by the name of Allen Tucker. And I contacted him and said are you the one who released the video? Well, a short time later he put out a statement, a rather lengthy one saying, yes, I am the one that put out that video.

And he said this, my sole purpose in releasing the video was absolute transparency because my community was being ripped apart by these erroneous accusations and assumptions. So, he basically said he for two months had watched this back and forth and there was so little coming out of law enforcement and there was so much being said in that vacuum that he decided he would release the video.

CUOMO: One more question, who took it, the video, and how did this guy get it?

SAVIDGE: Yes, the -- what the breakdown is from the second D.A. in this case, when he recused himself, he identified who the shooter of that video was. He named him as Brian William.

Now, Brian William on the police report is listed as a witness that day on the 23rd when the shooting took place. But in the letter of recusal by this district attorney, he is actually listed more as a participant. But he is named as the person who is actually rolling the video. We don't know why he decided to roll the video.

And I should point out that video is at the end of the confrontation. What you do not see is that there were several attempts, apparently, made by the McMichael's and by Mr. William to stop or somehow intercede and prevent this young man as he was jogging through the neighborhood.

CUOMO: And look, I mean, the most suspicion fact that requires some discovery here is Arbery was jogging down the middle of the street. The suggestion that he was fleeing the scene of a crime is greatly damaged by the idea that he was doing so at a steady gait running down the middle of the street. Martin Savidge, good reporting on this to get to the source of this video which arguably made the difference in the case and maybe the difference in justice being served. Thank you very much, big brother, I appreciate it.

SAVIDGE: Thank you.

CUOMO: Now, for the family, it's always been about getting the truth. They say they said from day one that this wasn't about him fleeing a crime. From day one that this was about him jogging. But February, March, April, now. Imagine going through that as a family. How are they feeling? The victim's sister is looking at you right now. Let's hear from her what this took from them and what this took of them to get us where we are tonight. Next.


[22:45:00] CUOMO: Ahmaud Arbery, 25 years old, taking a jog, killed. Imagine that

this is your brother. Imagine that this is your son. Let's get some reaction now from his sister Jasmine along with the family attorney representing in this case Lee Merritt.

Counselor, thank you. Jasmine, I am very sorry to meet you under these circumstances, but I am very privileged to give you this platform. And frankly, I apologize. It should have come a lot sooner. How is the family doing with the news today of an arrest in this case?

JASMINE ARBERY, AHMAUD ARBERY'S SISTER: Well, as of today, we feel a sense of relief. This has been a long wait. It's been a long time. It feels like it's been a long time. So, this day was a turning point in recovering my brother's case in getting justice for him. So, we're really happy.

CUOMO: I want to immediately take a turn away from the incident that this is defining his death and not let it define his life. Tell us about your brother, 25 years young, where his head and his heart were, and what he wanted his life to be about.

ARBERY: Well, I would like to start by saying I was always proud to be his older sister. He was easy going, loving, generous, humorous, and overall he showed that day he was brave. That's an overall good person.

CUOMO: Did he have dreams of a specific profession or wanting more schooling or what did he want to do? What were his dreams?

ARBERY: He actually wanted more schooling. He wanted to be an electrician. That's what he was aspiring to be.

CUOMO: Now, when this first happened and the explanation was, well, he was fleeing the scene of a crime, he fit the description. Does any of that -- did any of that make any sense?

ARBERY: Not to me, not at all. Because he's known for running in the neighborhood. So, we immediately believe that information that received was not true.

CUOMO: And did the police come to your parents and say well, you know, he was leaving the scene of a crime and that's what this was about. Did the police say that to your parents? Do you know?


ARBERY: I do know that they said that it was a burglary actually.

CUOMO: But did they connect your brother to it?

ARBERY: I'm not sure.

CUOMO: Counsellor you know why I'm asking that question, right?

LEE MERRITT, ARBERY FAMILY ATTORNEY: Absolutely. CUOMO: What would be their basis? Other than what they were told by

these two guys who are now arrested for connecting the deceased to any crime?

MERRITT: That's right. And from what Ms. Cooper told me, Jasmine's mom and Ahmaud's mom. That the law enforcement told her not only was their son involved in a burglary but it was that during the course of the burglary that he was shot to death by the homeowner.

CUOMO: And they didn't provide any basis for that and follow up investigation? Is there anything to that suggestion as far as you've been told?

MERRITT: The closest thing to that suggestion is Ahmaud running down the street and stopping at a property that is under construction. That many people in that neighborhood stop by, because it was a peculiarity in that neighborhood.

CUOMO: Any record? Any kind of rule of behavior that could be brought up about him to an anyway connect him to any criminal activity on that day or otherwise?

MERRITT: No, there's nothing that is going to connect Ahmaud, the victim to any criminal behavior. Certainly nothing that is going to lead to his death. So, as you can imagine if he entered the property that wasn't his that was under construction, arguably it's a trespass. But nothing that would warrants a citizen's arrest and certainly not a death sentence.

CUOMO: And to be clear, our understanding is we've seen the video. It's clearly the tail end of the video. Is there more video? Is there video at the beginning? Has that been edited? Because the fact pattern was that he jogging down the middle of the street.

There are two very curious aspects to that one line. One is, who runs down the middle of a street if they're running away from a scene of a crime? And two, who does so at a steady jogging gait when approached by people?

MERRITT: Yes. So, there is nothing that substantiates the claim that Ahmaud was involved in anything nefarious. But what became clear from that video is that these men were lying in wait. That the men wanted in and it's important that you ask the question, are there any other videos. Or have this video had been edited. Because this video was taken by one of the assailants, William Brian, who is still under investigation. Who we are also hoping will be arrested soon.

CUOMO: Right. He's been a little bit of an x factor here. Why was the video taken? Was it presented as something that would be seen as exculpatory, you know, good for the two assailants and Ms. Jasmine, back to you now, let me ask you and I'm sorry that this is a hard question.

But did your family ever say to your brother, don't run in that neighborhood? That's not our neighborhood? I know that it has all kinds of overtones to it. But the way he was treated by these men, as not belonging there. Seems like a suggestion. What do you know about that? Did your parents ever say anything to him, like be careful about doing that?

ARBERY: No, because we live in less than five miles away from the home, on that neighborhood. So, in the sense it was his neighborhood.

CUOMO: And how long was he known to run? Like how far would he go?

ARBERY: Um, maybe five miles. Six miles.

CUOMO: How is your family taking this?

ARBERY: It's been a numbing state for the family, because we haven't been able to grieve. In a constant fight mode because we're trying to receive justice for my brother.

CUOMO: Why do you think this happened, Jasmine?

ARBERY: I believe it was a hate crime.

CUOMO: How so?

ARBERY: It was one black guy and three white guys. My brother was jogging.

CUOMO: How does it make you feel? That that might had been what took your brother's life?

ARBERY: Felt like his life wasn't respected.

CUOMO: What do you want from him?

ARBERY: Justice. We're seeking justice.

CUOMO: What does that look like?

ARBERY: Getting consequences (inaudible). In a sense. That took us -- this whole situation was senseless. It could have been avoided. Our brother is supposed to be here. His birthday is tomorrow. He's supposed to be here.

CUOMO: Tomorrow is his birthday.

ARBERY: Correct.

CUOMO: What's the family going to do on his birthday?

ARBERY: Our plans to go to my hometown which is (inaudible), to do a balloon release. To honor him.

CUOMO: I'm so sorry that your family is going through this. And I'm so sorry it's taken so long to get notice and attention and action from police and frankly from us as well. That's not a mistake you make twice. We'll be following what the Georgia Bureau of Investigation does from here on out. Jasmine, we are a phone call away if there's something that the family wants people to know about this case. [22:55:09]

And Lee, just to be very careful about Georgia law. You have to stand your ground there. Even if you apply the stand your ground defense which basically gives people a no duty to ever flee in a situation. They can stand and just defend themselves, even if you have a citizen's arrest law. Which is very common in every state. If you reasonably believe that someone was connected to a crime, are you allowed to do what these gentlemen did?

MERRITT: No. And where they went off path even with their poor excuses. We don't believe that this was even arguably self-defense or a citizen's arrest. But even under their sort of peculiar theory, they can't set a trap. They can't stop someone in the middle of the road, hop out with shotguns and create a dangerous situation and then avail themselves of stand your ground or self-defense. This is not how a law is designed to work.

CUOMO: I appreciate it. I know, Jasmine, that's not easy for you to hear. But I want to make sure that the people watching right now, understand that I'll look at every corner of this. I'll look at any suggestion that there is. Because that's what justice is. Fairness under law. They want to make a case, fine.

It is fair to have it rebutted by an attorney like Lee and to get your perspective on who your brother was what was this about for you and your family as well, Jasmine. Listen. I hope your family is able to find some solace tomorrow and remembering how your brother lived and not just what took his life. And that you're pursuit of justice continues. And we will pay attention to this case. I promise you that, Jasmine.

ARBERY: Thank you.

CUOMO: No. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to cover it. And please send my condolences to your parents. OK? Counsellor, thank you very much for educating us on the facts.

MERRITT: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: We will. Tough story. What if that video hadn't come out? I'm not saying that we know everything that happened in the case, but nothing happened since February 23rd. Does that make sense to you? All right.

The CDC is saying one thing, the White House is saying another about reopening guidelines. Why? Because they want different things. We are going to break it down with the head of the Harvard Global Health Institute, next.