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Chicago Police Oversight Board Releases Video Of Deadly March Shooting Of 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo; Derek Chauvin Invokes Fifth Amendment, Chooses Not To Testify; Biden Imposes New Sanctions On Russia For Election Interference And Cyber Hacks. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 15, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And Biden also proposed, a face-to-face summit, with Putin, in Europe, this summer. Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Alex Marquardt, I appreciate it. Thanks.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson, thank you very much.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Critical body cam video has been released of another police killing. The victim in this case is a 13-year-old named Adam Toledo. This happened on March 29th, in Chicago.

There is closed-circuit camera footage, and body camera footage, showing different moments, before and after the shooting, including the foot pursuit of an officer, chasing the boy, and also the shooting itself, in an alley on Chicago's West Side.

Here's what we know. Police responded to reports of gunshots. When they responded to the scene, they came upon Toledo, and a 21-year-old man. Both ran. The 21-year-old was arrested at the scene. One of the officers chased Adam, and shot him, after issuing a command to him.

Now, all of these tapes are painful to watch. I understand that. But imagine how difficult, these situations were when we didn't have them. And please appreciate the help they are, in understanding what happened.

The tape has been released two ways, in real-time, as it actually occurred, and in slo-mo. And the police have pointed things out that they believe are relevant in the analysis on it that you'll see. I'm going to show you both.

First, real speed, at the point where, the pursuit, became a shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, stop. Stop (BLEEP).

Hey, show me your (BLEEP). Stop it, stop.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired, shots fired, get an ambulance over here now.

Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. You all right?


CUOMO: The main question, was the officer justified in firing the single shot that killed the 13-year-old? The answer is not as simple as you may think. The critical issue is going to be whether or not the officer reasonably believed that Adam was holding a gun.

Here's another look at a critical moment.


CUOMO: You see the officer running through. This is the alley. It's obviously at night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, stop. Stop.


CUOMO: He's charging toward the boy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, come here, hey.


CUOMO: And then says - now this has been pointed out by the police, OK? They are saying that this is the firearm. On the left is a close up. On the right is the regular frame. The police have indicated the arrow with firearm, OK?

He's obviously charging towards the boy. He then says "Hey, show me your hands." At that moment, you see the tape is frozen, you can see there does appear to be something in Toledo's hand.

The police say it was a firearm. CNN however, cannot confirm that. Police say that it was a gun that was later recovered from behind the fence, where they're running now.

Now, let's look at the rest of the tape that turns to a different angle, OK?


CUOMO: Here it is, some farther away obviously, from a school nearby.


CUOMO: Now, what the police here are highlighting what they believe, when he dropped the gun, after the cop had told Toledo to drop his weapon. But the officer then shoots him, and you can see Toledo running from a back angle, OK?


CUOMO: This is where he stops in front of it. This is the back alley. This is his back angle running, OK?

Police did identify a firearm after the shooting on the other side of the fence. The question is, is that the same gun? Did Toledo throw it when the cop came?


CUOMO: There is the gun, found, facing butt-up, against the fence.

Now, the family for Adam Toledo has a different reckoning than what the police have laid out. Here is what the attorney said.


ADEENA WEISS-ORTIZ, TOLEDO FAMILY ATTORNEY: Those videos speak for themself. Adam, during his last second of life, did not have a gun in his hand.

The officer screamed at him, "Show me your hands." Adam complied, turned around. His hands were empty, when he was shot in the chest.

If he had a gun, he tossed it. If he asked him to toss it, and show his hands, and the kid complies, then he shouldn't be shot.



CUOMO: So, that's going to become a question of fact, in the investigation here. And that's where we are, all right? Have clear eyes on this situation. It's horrible. It's horrible that a kid is gone, 13-years-old, but why?

And this is in an investigative phase. The policeman did command him, "Drop it! Drop it!" We hear that, right?

So, did he throw the gun away? Was it still in his hand as he was turning? These are the questions that investigators are going to have to answer, to make sense of whether or not the officer acted reasonably under the circumstances.

Now, the freeze-frame of the boy's hand is going to be big in the investigation, as will the question of whether the officer should have reasonably seen that action by Adam as either complying with the command to shoot - with the command to turn, OK?

Here are the two things. I want to be clear about this.

Did the officer reasonably believe that Adam was turning to shoot, and not turning to obey the command, after having dropped the weapon, the way the lawyer for the family argues?

Also, the nature of the discovery of the gun, and any evidence of that boy's prints on that weapon that was found will be very important.

Now, we have in-depth coverage coming from a lot of different angles. But please, again, be clear, there are a lot of questions here that we have to answer that the investigation must answer before we can really know what this was about.

Now, on its face, it looks bad. And it's even worse because of the timing. It comes on the heels of these two other big cases that, at this point, present much more grave legal developments. And, as you know, both are in Minnesota.

The first case, involving the death of Daunte Wright, saw the ex- officer today, accused of his killing, making her first appearance in court. She has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. No plea yet in the case.

Prosecutors say Kim Potter's culpable negligence, which is another way, in other jurisdictions, you'll hear, criminally negligent homicide, her culpable negligence caused Wright's death, on Sunday, when she fired her Glock while shouting, "Taser."

Tonight, night five of protesters, gathering, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. They are there in demonstrations that are an outcry of pain and cries for change.

In that moment, the mother of Daunte Wright addressed the press, right before Potter's court appearance today.


KATIE WRIGHT, DAUNTE WRIGHT'S MOTHER: But unfortunately, there's never going to be justice for us.

I do want accountability, a 100 percent accountability, like my sister said, the highest accountability. But even then, when that happens, if that even happens, we're still going to bury our son.

So, when people say justice, I just shake my head.


CUOMO: The prosecution in that case is at the beginning. And the case that started our current focus that roiled the country, since the summer, the murder case of George Floyd, that is now in its final phases.

The prosecution and defense both rested. Closing arguments begin Monday. They will be critical.

Derek Chauvin invoked the Fifth Amendment today. It's his right against self-incrimination. So he's not going to take the stand in his own defense.

We saw his face, and heard his voice, live, for the first time, during the trial.


ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Have you made a decision today whether you intend to testify, or whether you intend to invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege?

DEREK CHAUVIN, DEFENDANT: I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today.

JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA: Is this your decision not to testify?

CHAUVIN: It is, your honor.

CAHILL: All right. Do you have any questions about your right to remain silent or to testify in your own behalf?

CHAUVIN: Not at this time, I don't.


CUOMO: It was an interesting delivery of that decision. But it was not a surprise that he wasn't going to take the stand.

It's too fact sensitive. There's too much for him to answer for. And really, his defense seems to be pointing at the forensics, as their best chance, to create doubt, along with trying to create an image of who George Floyd was.

Now, while that wasn't a surprise, the "Don't testify" decision, there was a surprise today, and it was when the judge threatened to declare a mistrial. We're going to take you through that all tonight.

But I do want to start with what we understand about this shooting in Chicago of the 13-year-old, named Adam Toledo.

We have an important guest tonight, John Catanzara. He is the President of the Chicago Police Union.

Appreciate you being with us, on PRIME TIME.



CUOMO: Help us understand why the Union wants people to see this shooting as a regrettable but justifiable use of force by the officer?

CATANZARA: Well, time-lapse photo shows that that officer had eight- tenths of a second to determine if that weapon was still in his hand or not. Period!

There's no way a rational person can say they can process that, and their muscle reaction would be less than one second. The officer does not have to wait to be shot at, or shot, in order to respond and defend himself. There's no obligation whatsoever.

CUOMO: So, just help us understand. What you're saying is whether the 13-year-old had the gun or not doesn't matter?

CATANZARA: At the point he got shot? I'm not saying it doesn't matter. The reality is, the officer responded to a "Shots fired" call. There is no doubt that that weapon was used.

Gun - shell casings were recovered at the location of the ShotSpotter were - went off - where they were shooting at a passing vehicle, which is all we're looking in this whole situation.

There's a bunch of different components to this whole situation. The officers were pretty close-by when that ShotSpotter alert went off. They responded to the scene. Of course, the offenders took, flight and left.

There was no one else out on the street corner at that time. It was pretty obvious when the officers got there that they probably had something to do with those shots going off. They took off on foot. The officers gave chase.

You could clearly see an object, which is the gun, in the offender's hand, in his right hand, as he enters that open-fence area.

Now, if you go back to the video, from the school, that shows the long shot, he absolutely has something in his hand. You could see him extending his right arm, behind the fence, and then coming up with an empty hand. So, whatever he had in his hand was gone.

The gun was what was recovered. And it wasn't recovered later. It was recovered immediately. The officers saw the gun right away, as soon as they started rendering aid 10 seconds after the shot was fired.

But again, from behind a fence, to this, in less than a second, in reality, an average human being could not block someone from slapping him in the face, in less time than that, let alone deciding and registering - that it's a good reason why the officer only shot one.

He would have been justified to shoot multiple times. We're trained to basically shoot two and reassess. That didn't even happen. Because by the time he had shot the first time, in justification, he realized the gun was out of his hand. He didn't shoot a second time. CUOMO: That's the part I just want to understand because look, this is an investigative phase. And I do understand, from my own reporting, that yes, the officer did immediately start to render aid. There was discussion about how their equipment was. And then, afterwards, he went and recovered the weapon.

Now, here's the part I just want you to explain, if you would.

If the kid was responding to the command, "Stop. Show me your hands. Drop it," and as you say, you can see from the camera that the kid threw it behind the fence, if you believe that it was obvious that the kid threw the gun, behind the fence, as we see from the long shot, from the school, why are you so quick to say it was obvious that the officer had to shoot?

CATANZARA: Because there's no way the officer could see where his arm went, when it went behind that fence panel. It was totally blocked by the fence itself. There's no reason - and I'll tell you.

We're coming up on the 20-year anniversary of a friend of mine, Officer Brian Strouse, who was shot, in the middle of the night, by a teenage gangbanger, June 30th of 2001. Brian didn't make it out of the alley that night.

Again, we do not have to wait to be shot to respond. The officer had every reason to believe that that offender was turning and pointing the gun at him. Whatever ever it had, you can Monday morning quarterback it, all you want. But according to Illinois statute, you only need to have a reasonable belief, in order to take deadly action.

And no person, in the right mind would not, say that they would have been in fear of their life, in that same situation, in less than one second, to react, on whether that gun was still there or not.

CUOMO: And it was the same officer that rendered aid to the victim, right after the shooting. That's an important fact as well.

Do you have any questions?

CATANZARA: Well, if you watched - if you watched that whole video, it wasn't just him. I mean, everybody that responded to that scene, was cheering the kid on, to keep fighting and stay alive.

This isn't like, you know, officers, they like to be vilified, like we're out there hunting gangbangers, you know. And that's not discussed either. This subject was a Latin King gang-member. He did have a fresh tattoo on his arm that wasn't even healed. It was so fresh.

Let's put the spotlight where it's at. The gangs take advantage of these poor, misguided young kids, and they use them for their own gain. They let them hold the guns all the time, because they know they're not going to get charged, juvenile, with a crime.

[21:15:00] But the reality is the one part that's not discussed now, or almost ever, is the repercussions of that officer's justified decision, to take a life, and the guilt that they have to live with, for the rest of their life.

The Mayor came out, on a press conference today, and was talking about how traumatic it was, to watch this video, and urging people to really take a second thought about doing it.

Well, what do you think the officers who responded to that scene, and were rendering aid, and trying to save his life, are now stuck with for the rest of their life? Nobody ever take it - and then they got to bring that home to their families, and then their families are affected by this.

Again, it's just a bad situation all the way around. The poor young kid, misguided, made a horrible decision that cost him his life. But it was justified. And the officer did everything he possibly could to the letter of the law, and the guidelines of the Chicago Police Department.

CUOMO: I understand where you're coming from on it. And I understand the sympathies. And I understand why you want people to appreciate how hard a job it is.

What I don't understand is why does it matter? I mean, I don't know. And I haven't been able to confirm that the kid had any kind of gang affiliation. But even if you're right, why does that matter?

CATANZARA: Why doesn't it matter that they were shooting at a passing vehicle? Nobody talks about the reckless conduct that led to this whole thing.

CUOMO: But you know why. But you, John, you--

CATANZARA: So, it's OK if you shoot at a passing vehicle?

CUOMO: Hold on, John. You know why. I'm not talking about the preceding event, because it's irrelevant to the legal analysis of what happened in the alley. I'm not talking about whether the kid is in a gang.

CATANZARA: No, and Chris, it's a direct no. That's not true, because if someone's willing to shoot at a passing vehicle, there's a simple expectation that they're certainly willing to shoot at anybody, including a police officer. So, it is relevant.

CUOMO: But I'm saying to you that, the condition preceding, for the officer, in the alley, in terms of his legal justification is that he's reasonably suspicious that the person he's pursuing has been involved in a felony. I'm giving you that here. They responded to shots fired. They run.

I'm saying I don't know why it is necessary to paint the kid one way or another. He answered the command the way he did. The officer had to make a decision. And you're saying the decision was justified. I don't understand why the fact that the kid's a gangbanger because I

believe that that gets perceived as you trying to smear the kid. Why is there any need for that?

CATANZARA: I'm just stating facts. I'm not smearing anybody.

CUOMO: But it's--

CATANZARA: That is just the facts. There's more facts--

CUOMO: But how is it relevant?

CATANZARA: It is relevant because it goes--

CUOMO: What if he was a--

CATANZARA: --to the mindset of--

CUOMO: --what if he was a priest, running down the alley, with a gun in his hand, and when told to stop, and drop it, he did what the kid did, and got shot?

CATANZARA: What if he was a 40-year-old male?

CUOMO: It'd still be justified, right?

CATANZARA: Would we be having this - what if he was a 40-year-old male? Would we be having this conversation right now? Probably not. But the fact that he's 13 makes everything different. That's not fair either. But here we are.

CUOMO: Well, does it make it fair? No. But no matter who the kid is, no matter who the man is, it should matter that the decision in the moment was justifiable. I'm sure you'd agree with that--

CATANZARA: And I started my--

CUOMO: --as the Head of the Union.

CATANZARA: --I started my dissertation with saying it is 100 percent justified. That officer's actions were actually heroic.

There's a very good reason why he only shot once. Like I said, he could have been shot multiple times. But the officer assessed in a split-second. Unfortunately, he committed to the first shot already, justifiably so.

CUOMO: And look, I appreciate you on that. And you just said something that I haven't been able to confirm. So, I'm wondering if you know something I don't.

The gun that was discovered at the scene, you said there were shell casings found. Do you know that there's a ballistics report that says that was the gun that was at the scene, and that the kid's prints are on the gun? CATANZARA: Well, there's a video of the two offenders, standing on the corner, of 24th and Sawyer, the northeast corner of that intersection. As they're firing, you can't tell who's firing.

CUOMO: Right.

CATANZARA: But the eight rounds are fired at the vehicle, as it's passed by. The casings were recovered in that same area. So, it wasn't the car shooting at them? They were shooting at the car.


CATANZARA: That's what triggered the ShotSpotter. That's what sent the police over there.

CUOMO: I don't disagree with any of that. I'm just wondering if you knew that this weapon goes with those casings. Do you know that?

CATANZARA: No, no, I don't have confirmation yet. But I'll bet you a steak dinner it is.

CUOMO: I don't want to bet for it or against it. But I'd love for you to tell me when you know. And I appreciate you coming on, and laying out the case, and the understanding, and reminding people of the sympathies, on all sides, of how hard a situation this is. I appreciate you doing that.

CATANZARA: I will say, he's 13-years-old. We talk about the public school system in Chicago, specifically. He should have been in school. But we're not in school learning now, are we?

The CPS came out right away, and started talking about CPD being killers, the officer's accused of being an assassin. Well, if the school was doing its job, and they were teaching students, in-person, maybe a counselor would have been able to reach this kid, so the gangs didn't.

CUOMO: I understand your point. But again, you understand why I'm not making any of these points. I don't want to judge the officer as a person.

CATANZARA: I got you, I understand.

CUOMO: I don't want to judge the victim. I just want to judge the situation, and whether it was reasonable in its midst. I appreciate your commentary.


CUOMO: But for me, I just want to stick to the facts, and what was right in this situation.

CATANZARA: I got you.

CUOMO: As we go through the investigation.


CATANZARA: I challenge anybody to try and make their mind up - I challenge anybody to try and make their mind up, life or death in less than eight-tenths of a second.

CUOMO: Understood. I appreciate you and thank you for coming on the show.

CATANZARA: Thank you. Have a good night.

CUOMO: All right.

Look, it's a hard situation. And I understand the defensive posture of someone from the Police Union. And I understand how ugly this stuff can get. Got to see through it, we have to see past it.

We have to see the facts for the situation that is before us. And that's how the investigation goes. So, I want to bring in Van Jones, and a former top official, at a big-city police department, who had to handle exactly these kinds of situations, in Baltimore, OK?

Now, is the shooting different from other law enforcement confrontations that we've been covering? Yes. The question is how? Let's discuss, next.



CUOMO: At the heart of this story, in Chicago is a 13-year-old, and a deadly interaction with police. Let's take a deeper look at the forensics, and what the video reveals.

We have, Anthony Barksdale, who was the Acting Commissioner of Police in Baltimore, and Van Jones, who you all know very well.

Bark, what was your take on what the Head of the Police Union had to say about the shooting?

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: I understood his passion. I understood some of the things he was saying. But I've been in that position myself, and in a foot chase, and even I also let (ph) adults, turn with weapons in their hands, and I didn't shoot. I didn't fire shots. And that's where our problem.

Officers have what is called a OODA loop. OODA loop. When they go into a situation, like that, that you've got the shots fired, the ShotSpotter, eight shots were fired, you know there's something going on there. There's a gun that's letting loose. So, you have to Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.

So, you pull up. You observe. You see people fitting the description where the ShotSpotter went off.

You orient. You say, "Where am I versus where are they?" You decide, "I'm going to get out of this car. And if they run, I'm

running with them. If I see a gun, I'm going to shoot. If I see a gun, maybe I'll take cover. If I see a gun, maybe I'll call more units, and we just try to cut this person off."

And you act. You go into action. And it happens in a split-second.

And that's where when the - the kid, because he is a kid. When that kid turns, what you're watching, in an incident, is hands. Hands, Chris, this is what's going to hurt you. And when the kid turns, I don't see a gun in his hand. And that's where I have a problem.

Had people throw guns on me while they're running from me, so be it. My job is to see the gun fell in the yard over there.

CUOMO: Right.

BARKSDALE: He threw it over the fence. But you have to watch the hands.

CUOMO: I understand.

BARKSDALE: And when the kid turns, I don't see it.

CUOMO: Does it change the analysis, if you give the benefit of what the officer said, which seems to sound like "Stop. Show me your hands. Drop it. Drop it," does that seem to suggest that he thought there was a weapon in the hand, hence the "Drop it" part?

BARKSDALE: It is really important. You can get tunnel vision. If you're in a situation like that, depending on the individual, my response is going to be different.

So, if this officer was afraid, if this officer had more information about that area, have there been shootings, is he alone, is he scared, and it's nothing wrong with saying you're scared. And then you react. That's possible.

But I'm speaking I've been there numerous times, in during my career. In this one, when the kid turns, with nothing in his hands, no lethal force.



CUOMO: You heard the conversation.

JONES: I did. It's heartbreaking.

My little boy, who, you know, is 12, will be 13 this summer. He's not doing that kind of stuff. But he does dumb stuff all the time. Kids do dumb stuff all the time. And some kids get to survive their mistakes, and some kids don't. And my heart goes out to the family. My heart goes out to the officer. I mean, this is, you know, you could see the officer was disturbed. Afterwards, he did his best to try to save that life. But there's something that's going on that's wrong here, where the presumption is always negative with our young people.

Now, in this situation, some people are going to see it one way, some people are going to see the other way. What I will say is simply this. I saw a video, and I sent it to you, Chris, of a White guy in a truck--


JONES: --running over cops. He wasn't shot, I mean.

CUOMO: Dragging that cop, running away, and they wound up taking him to custody.

JONES: Yes, when you are the--

CUOMO: Literally, dragged the cop on the side of the other truck--


CUOMO: --out of the picture.

JONES: Yes. And so, when you're seeing - I think part of the problem is the tunnel vision that happens is we kind of look at these situations, saying "Well the kid shouldn't have been running. He shouldn't have the gun. He shouldn't have - he shouldn't have done that."

But when you pull back, you see videos of White people, acting like complete idiots, and savages, and attacking cops, and cussing them out, and being drunk, and they don't even get a scratch on them. You see White people shoot.

CUOMO: The pushback is it's the stats, as you know, will say that more White people get shot.

JONES: Right listen--


CUOMO: And then you'll say "Well, it's disproportionate." And then, they push back and say "Yes, but you guys are involved in a lot more police contacts because of criminality."

JONES: Well--

CUOMO: And then the conversation goes, "Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, you know, where do we go?"

JONES: Well, I'll tell you, in these situations, where you have young people, in Chicago, and other cities, who are doing dumb things, and desperate things, and we talk about these kids, more than we talk to them. And we tell them all things that they shouldn't do.

But we don't give them opportunities to do more of the right things. When you're pulling back on scholarships, when you're pulling back on programs, but you're still increasing the amount of cameras, and everything else, it's not just the kids. The kids need to do better, and the adults need to do a lot better.

I don't want to jump on this one cop because we don't have enough information. And also, I didn't like him jumping on the kid, that all - some of these kids are making bad decisions.

CUOMO: Right.

JONES: But the adults are clearly making much worse decisions because it keeps happening over and over again.

CUOMO: I'm with you. And look, there are a lot of different takes on the situation.

Bark, I know it's still early. But from what you've seen, at this point, before hearing any in-depth debrief from the officer, do you believe that this is an investigation that should yield that there should be a charge here or no?

BARKSDALE: I'm going to say no. It may be justifiable, based on what the officer articulates.

But here we go again with the - to me, diminishing a life, I didn't need to hear anything about a gang. It didn't even matter to me. It's a kid. Why? Why do that? It's so--


BARKSDALE: Yes, he can articulate it. The cop, he can articulate this one. It's ugly in Chicago, needs to do some training, just like Minnesota, and they need to get serious about it. Because, Van's right, we're seeing this over and over again. And it's sickening.

CUOMO: Anthony Barksdale, thank you very much. I appreciate it.


CUOMO: Van, as always, I appreciate you, brother. Thank you.

JONES: Yes, thank you.

CUOMO: These are hard times. And I just hope we can hold together case-by-case.

You got to talk about the shootings. You can criticize a lot of things. I'm not going to hear your criticism about "Well you shouldn't even cover them."

I have the police perspective. We talk about what the fears and concerns are for the community, and the fact that it just keeps happening, and we don't seem to figure out how to get better. And we all know we have to do better.

We'll be right back.



CUOMO: Let's bring in former federal prosecutor, Elliot Williams, joining me now.

We are now at the beginning of the end, with the closing arguments coming next, on Monday.

Today, we got an interesting presentation of what was expected in this trial, which is that the defendant, Officer Chauvin, would not take the trial. But here's how they explained it.


NELSON: You understand that if you choose to exercise that right to remain silent, neither the state, nor the court, can comment on your silence, as a sign or an indication of your guilt, meaning they can't say "He didn't get up and defend himself," so equate your silence with guilt, you understand that?


NELSON: Have you made a decision today whether you intend to testify, or whether you intend to invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege?

CHAUVIN: I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today.


CUOMO: Why do you think they decided to do it this way?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Now, well, Chris, one of the things - so, defendants very rarely testify. Regardless of what you see on television, what you see on "Law & Order," testifying is just fraught with peril for defendants.

And it would have been really bad here for Derek Chauvin, if he were to have tried to testify. Now, again, it's his right. It is his right under the Constitution. And we should frankly, embrace that, because no one ought to be compelled to testify against themselves.

But look at how the cross-examination of him would have gone. Those prosecutors would have won, started with every bit of training he's ever received, as a police officer.

"So look, Mr. Chauvin, here, I'm holding this up for you. As a rookie, you were trained on CPR, and you were trained on how to restrain people," then just sort of confront him with every one of those, confronting--

CUOMO: Just the tape.

WILLIAMS: Just the tape. Well do not have the tape yet, you do not have the and--

CUOMO: Just moment-by-moment of the tape, "You're still doing it. You're still doing it. You're still doing it."

WILLIAMS: Oh, all the above.

CUOMO: I get it. I'm saying why is it that way--

WILLIAMS: The disciplinary records--

CUOMO: --with the Counselor interviewing him.

WILLIAMS: Yes. Every time he's been disciplined, over the course of this career, walk him through every one of those.

CUOMO: Right.

WILLIAMS: And then finally, minute-by-minute through that tape, and it would have been devastating for his case.

CUOMO: Right. I'm just saying, I don't understand why defense counsel wanted to interview in that way, before the bench, instead of just, you know, him saying "I am not going to testify," or just telling the bench he's not going to testify.

WILLIAMS: Yes, I think it creates a record for the court, just so it's clear that this will no - a knowing and voluntary invocation of his Fifth Amendment right. He's just putting it on the record more than anything else.

CUOMO: What do you think the big stroke is going to be for each side on Monday?

WILLIAMS: Oh, well, if you're the prosecution, you just tell the jurors to leave all the nonsense behind, push aside the defense's arguments that they tried to muddy the waters with.

And what did you see? You watched a 9-minute video of an individual killing another individual, which exceeded the bounds of the training he'd received as a police officer. Full stop!

If you remember, Jerry Blackwell, in his opening statement, had said "He didn't let up and he didn't get up," sort of in a pithy, cute way of putting it that will ringing jurors' minds.

What the defense has to do is just muddy the waters, and throw all of the arguments, some of them nonsense, like the carbon monoxide argument, that George Floyd might have died of carbon monoxide, enlarged heart, methamphetamine, and all of the above, and hope one of them sticks, and gets in, in at least one juror's mind.

CUOMO: I mean, they dramatized it, but having him not on the stand was easy, deciding how to do their focus, because you can't, you know, in a closing, it's got to be compelling for that jury.


CUOMO: It can't be, "And here's another thing, and here's another thing, and here's another," because it eventually, you know the old rule, when you have so much, it means you have nothing.


CUOMO: They're going to have to make choices, on the defense side, about what you have to think about, when you go back in that room, that wasn't made clear beyond a reasonable doubt. What is that for the defense?

WILLIAMS: Yes, and look, the defense doesn't really have to prove anything. And it's not what - the prosecution had a better case here. They had a stronger presentation. But this isn't like boxing, where if you knock the guy down, three times, you automatically win. And merely having the better argument doesn't win a case.

And the defense can simply say the prosecution hasn't met their burden because, by the way, George Floyd happened to have an enlarged heart. Every medical witness that has testified for the prosecution has made clear that most of these factors did not significantly contributed to George Floyd's death.

CUOMO: One--

WILLIAMS: And so, they got to muddy the water. But we'll see.

CUOMO: One other quick thing.



CUOMO: The prosecution's decision to charge three crimes that all involve the same behavior? Ordinarily, you have multiple charges, for the different phases of what it did. "You know, first you hit him."


CUOMO: "And then you robbed him. And then you went in the house. So, that's burglary. And then he died. It's felony murder."

Here, the same behavior will have to be explained in three different charges, each or all could apply. Is that a tricky thing?

WILLIAMS: Well, it's a clever decision by prosecutors often, because sometimes jurors can't agree on the higher charge.

They can't agree on the intent that's necessary to hit, say, a second- degree murder charge. But they might say, "Look, this was so criminally negligent or reckless that we could convict him of second- degree manslaughter." That is not uncommon. It's the same fact pattern for all of them, but it's just sort of a

different thing, in the defendant's head, and a different intent. So, if a juror is wishy-washy, and on the fence, maybe he might, or she might, wish to convict on manslaughter, or a lower charge, as opposed to the higher one.


WILLIAMS: So, it does give a little bit of room to the prosecutors.

CUOMO: Yes, some of the uninitiated are saying, "Well, that can be confusing." I think it's the opposite.


CUOMO: I think it allows people in the jury room to say, "OK, fine, you disagree with me on that one part. We're still in the same place, and then it's this one, instead of that one, but it's not a completely different universe of conversation."

Elliot Williams, thank you very much.


CUOMO: We'll see how it rolls on Monday.


CUOMO: All right. Now, I want to talk to another big problem that we're all facing, OK?

We have a moment of complete COVIDiocy ahead, being an idiot about COVID. And it happened on the Hill. And it was a beautiful demonstration of one, ignorance turns into arrogance, when it goes against the facts and science. Next.



CUOMO: Solidarity behind science, we know that that's what it takes to bring COVID numbers down. And we know that is what is needed to end this pandemic. All of us know it.

So, what was all this "When do we get our liberty back?" on Capitol Hill today, by Republican Congressman Jim Jordan.

It's people who believe what he believes, who don't want to get the vaccine, why isn't he talking to them about giving the rest of us our liberty back? Instead, he decided to blame Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert over "When? Tell me when? When? When do we get it back?"


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): What measure, what standard, what objective, outcome do we have to reach before, before Americans get their liberty and freedoms back?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You know, you're indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying.

You're making this a personal thing. And it isn't.

JORDAN: It's not a personal thing.

FAUCI: No, you are. That is exactly what you're doing.

We're not talking about liberties. We're talking about a pandemic that has killed 560,000 Americans.

JORDAN: I - and I get that, Doc.

FAUCI: That's what we're talking about.


CUOMO: "I get it. I get it. It's a big deal." No, it's not. Not to you. You want to make it about division. That's why he took several minutes of time that he could have been saying to people, "Hey? Listen to Fauci. Get the vaccine, let's get through this."

But it was Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who had the last word. Listen to what she said.


REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): You need to respect the Chair and shut your mouth.


CUOMO: There's nothing wrong with wanting to know when this could all end. But it's hard to see how attacking Fauci helps.

You know when it ends. It ends when we get our crap together, right, and you get the vaccines, and you get to a certain point. And you have too many people, on the Right, who don't want to get the vaccine.

Science tells us cases are rising because the variant is bad. And you have 23 percent of Americans fully vaccinated. Now, a lot of that 23 percent are the older, and the vulnerable, and that's going to help us.

But if we don't get 50 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent, and we're not doing the mitigation, it's going to take more time. Everybody knows that, OK?

So, that's why it is baffling when you have people like Senator Ted Cruz joining Rand Paul, in ditching his mask, as they walk the halls of Congress.

Cruz explains "At this point, I've been vaccinated. Everybody working in the Senate has been vaccinated." No, not your staff, not a lot of people in the media, they haven't gotten it.

And the current CDC guidelines states very clearly that if you're vaccinated, you got to still keep taking precautions, like wearing a mask. You can still get sick, you won't be as sick, but you could give it to somebody else. So, he's not just wrong, but he's doing it for the wrong reason. And he knows experts are still learning how vaccines affect COVID spread.

We know this. We know it's not 100 percent. The latest CDC data makes it all very clear, all right? 5,800 people, who've been fully vaccinated, against COVID, have gotten infected anyway.

Look, it's nothing. It's a little fraction of tens of millions, who already vaccinated, but the only way to keep the number down is to listen to science. They all know it. They're just playing politics, and people are dying.

We now have a President, though, who believes in science, and who also holds Russia accountable for its nefarious actions. How is he doing? Hits or misses, on the world stage? Next.



CUOMO: The Biden administration announced sanctions on Russia for messing with the 2020 election, the massive SolarWinds hack, the occupation of Crimea, which is ongoing. The sanctions also marked the first time the federal government formally acknowledged Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Were they the right moves? Here to help is the President and Founder of the Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer.

Good to see you. Right move? Wrong move?


Yes, it was pretty good move. I mean, it's a bit of a climb-down, to be honest. I mean, we announced that it was a big set of sanctions. We kicked out some Russian diplomats. We hit some of their companies with sanctions. But - and we even hit sovereign debt.

But it could have been a lot worse for them. They know that. And also, let's keep in mind that we engage in espionage against the Russians, just like they engage in espionage against us. We're not destroying critical infrastructure on either side. We don't want to say that publicly. But that's the reality.

CUOMO: So, who does he score points with on this?

Because the Trump folk don't believe Russia was involved. They don't like that Russia was involved. They'd rather talk today about having to back off on the story about Russia putting out bounties on U.S. Service members.

So where's the win?

BREMMER: They know that the Russians are in Crimea, and Southeast Ukraine, and that's something that we need to sanction.

They weren't particularly happy about the Russians making inroads in Europe with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The Trump administration was opposed. The Republicans are opposed too. Biden administration has opposed it too.

Interesting thing here, Chris, is that on the substance of actual policy, not the Twittersphere, not cable news, but the substance of foreign policy, actually, the Trump administration and the Biden administration, in areas like Russia, aren't that different.

Trump personally wanted to cozy up with Putin, but the administration never did. And this isn't a huge change.

The relations are in the toilet, Chris. There's no question about that. U.S.-Russia relations today are at their worst they've been any point, since the early 80s, under Andropov. U.S.-China, worse, since Tiananmen Square Massacre, in '89, U.S.-Turkey, worse since the Cyprus crisis in '74. That's the backdrop that Biden becomes President into, and there's a lot of wood to chop.

CUOMO: All the big brains keep saying, "You know, Russia is the least of our worries on that. Yes, Putin was talking to Merkel, because they've got that deal on the gas pipeline, so he's looking for a friend. But he's not going to find one. Should really be focusing on China, and forget about Russia." What do you think of that?

BREMMER: You can't forget about Russia. They've got cyber capabilities that are close to equivalent with the U.S. They're willing to use it.

They've got military capabilities that they are more than happy to engage in, in proxy wars against Americans, and American allies, in the Middle East, in Ukraine, Southeast Europe (ph).

CUOMO: Can he make it better with them?

BREMMER: You'd like to have a better relationship, given that our relationship with China is so lousy, but Putin does consider himself a true antagonist of the United States. So, I don't think a reset is plausible.

But having said that, Biden's speech today was all about, "Hey, we're putting sanctions on them. But I also invited Putin, for a meeting, for a summit meeting, in a third country. And the U.S. had talked about sending ships to the Black Sea? We decided not to do that."

So, I mean, frankly, this, it wasn't a climb-down. But the markets, the ruble took a big dump at the beginning of the day today. I think that's overstated. I don't think we made relations worse today. CUOMO: 2016 foreign policy was the third choice of preference for voters, 75 percent. This election was at 57 percent. What do you think they care about? And where does Biden have to show that he can do it?

BREMMER: Well, as much as foreign relations, with key antagonists, are horrible, right now, the United States, at home, is showing they can do a lot more, and that's one of the reasons why Biden's approval ratings are around 60 percent.


I mean, the United States today actually has the best vaccine response of any major economy in the world. We're going to be in a position, to lead the world, in vaccine export, by summer. No one was saying that a few months ago. They said the Chinese were going to eat our lunch and dinner.

The United States also has the best economic response, domestically, to Coronavirus, of any major economy in the world. That started off bipartisan under Trump. It's continuing, basically party-line vote, under Biden. But it really matters. And some of that is going to lead to foreign support, too.

So look, I do agree with Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor that you have to make Americans feel like you're taking care of them, before they care about the rest of the world.

That's why maintaining troop presence, even though it's only 2,500, after 20 years, and a trillion dollars spent, in Afghanistan, is enormously unpopular among Americans, because they're looking to say, "Why would you spend that when you don't care about me in the working- and middle-class?" That is starting to change, Chris.

CUOMO: Well, we know what happened there. The Taliban walked away, so you're going to extend the timeline. But they call that place "The Graveyard of Empires" for a reason. Nobody's made it better.


CUOMO: And it just makes everybody who goes in there worse.

Ian Bremmer, thank you very much for your head on this. Appreciate it. Be well.

BREMMER: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: We'll be right back.



CUOMO: All right, I want to thank you for watching.

Look, these are hard times. We all know that. And it's not because we're making them hard times. It's because we are, and the question is what we decide to make them together.

So, to pick up that question, is the big show, "CNN TONIGHT" and its big star, D. Lemon.