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Don Lemon Tonight
Georgia State Attorney General Calls For Justice Department To Look Into Handling Of Ahmaud Arbery Case; More Than 1,300,000 Cases Of Coronavirus In U.S., Nearly 80,000 Deaths; NY Investigating 85 Cases Of COVID-Related Illness In Children. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired May 10, 2020 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: No one deserves those threats and this case deserves to be investigated to the fullest. And so you take care and I'd appreciate you coming back and I would also appreciate coming back as well coming back to speak.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I hate it. We also hate how it's not being handled properly. I mean, you know we've been harassed by the DA's office for years. My family, you know - hasn't had just harassment, on and off during this case. As a matter of fact my daughter was held in in jail without a bond hearing from November until March.
I mean so you know we understand how they handle things I mean. You know something needs to be done -
LEMON: Amy, thank you. We'll talk to you more and we would love to talk to Roddie whenever he's available to talk. Kevin, thank you for asking the questions. You guys be well. Thanks so much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon. It is a little past 9:00 p.m. here on the east coast and we've got the latest on the coronavirus pandemic. Can we all just take a breath right now? These are tough times that we're dealing with.
This is a tough case that all unfolded live. I didn't know where it was going we have. I'm just going to be honest with you. I'm broadcasting from a separate studio. There's a lot of delays. There was socially distancing that family. I don't know that family from Adam.
I don't know what is going on. I don't know who Roddie is. I don't know Amy. I don't know why he shot the video. I don't know if he knows those people. I don't know anything. I don't know. I don't know why he didn't call 911. Why he didn't honk. Why he didn't try to drive up on side of them and stop. He didn't - I'm sure he didn't know that they were going to shoot the guy.
I don't - I don't think he - and he would, I don't think he did. I don't know. Nobody knows but we know that a young man is dead. His death was captured on videotape. A mother is grieving, a family is grieving, an entire world is grieving and we're all trying to figure it out. So let's figure it out together. OK and take a deep breath and I'm - I'm going to stay on top of this. CNN is going to stay on top of this for you. OK?
So let's move on and we'll continue this and we're going to talk about coronavirus, we're going to talk about this and everything else that's going on in the world. OK. So there are now more than 1.3 million cases of coronavirus in the United States and tonight the death toll is near 80,000.
Worldwide there are more than 4 million cases and more than 280,000 deaths. A key coronavirus model that has been cited by the White House raising its forecast, the number of deaths in the U.S., the University of Washington now projects 137,000 deaths by August, up from its earlier prediction of 134,000.
A top researcher attributing that object to what he calls "explosive increases in mobility in the number of states." At least 47 states are in the process of particularly reopening right now, partially, excuse me, reopening right now.
Tonight, a spokesman for the Vice President Mike Pence. They say the Vice President is not -- will not self-quarantine despite his press secretary testing positive for the coronavirus but now - but now that at least two White House staffers have tested positive, three of the administration's top medical officials will self-quarantine.
That includes the FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and the Director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, both of whom came into contact with a staffer who tested positive. Additionally, Dr. Anthony Fauci will begin what he calls a modified quarantine. OK, so joining me now to discuss is White House Correspondent, John Harwood and Dr. Celine Gounder, she's an infectious disease specialist and an epidemiologist.
Good evening to both of you. Oh boy, hang on one second. Sorry I need to take a breath there. Thank you both for joining. Yes, thank you. How are you guys doing tonight?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Safe, healthy.
LEMON: Thanks. John, I'm going to start with you. Coronavirus is officially in the White House right now. How is this President handling it?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He's handling it not terribly consistently Don. You you've had a rash of cases lately, Katie Miller, the President's valet, you've got the medical specials that you mentioned self-quarantining. President Trump himself is very concerned about getting the virus.
He's a well-known germaphobe. He's - he's apprehensive about ordinary germs much less coronavirus and the way they're responding to that is that he's being tested every day and people who meet with him are testing every day.
On the other hand, the President does not want to suggest that the virus is not on the run and so he doesn't in his own public appearances and events he does in the White House, does not wear a mask, does not practice the kind of social distancing that public health officials like Dr. Gounder recommend that we do.
And therefore there's a conflict. He's trying to call for the reopening of the country. It is clear the virus is not going away. Some good things are happening. Testing is ramping up. The test positivity rate is coming down and even though all those states that you mentioned are opening up, it's not entirely clear that their citizens are going to follow the call to open up.
We've seen that citizens in some states where there were not shut down orders, reacted to the news by staying at home themselves so there's some progress and we may get more progress but the White House is trying to send a message that's inconsistent with what's actually going on the White House campus and that's a problem.
LEMON: Yes, it is under cutting his whole message about this is going to be fine and we need to move on and everything is great because it's - it's now in the West Wing, it's in the White House. Listen, we - we've just learned John, that Republican senator Lamar Alexander is self-quarantining after a staffer got a positive test results and three top health officials are too - are also supporting after coming in contact with someone with coronavirus.
Can we expect any changes to how the President, the Vice President are going to conduct business now?
HARWOOD: Well, we've seen some changes already. First of all, they went from weekly testing of White House officials to daily testing as a protection measure for the President. We've seen that the White House valets have started to wear masks where are they previously had not been wearing masks including the gentleman who tested positive for COVID.
We're seeing some masks on secret service agents as well so yes, there are some changes but not changes on the scale that you would expect from a President trying to show the country. Yes, I'm living through what you're living through. This is what I'm doing and this is what you should do.
There - there's an inconsistency and but I - but I will say again to the point that if you're an average American out there and you're seeing the news that top officials in the White House for testing positive, that United States senators quarantining because one of his staff members has got it, does that tell you that you're going to rush out and be a consumer in this economy when stores open up?
That you're going to go to a restaurant, you're going to go to a movie theater, that you're going to go to a nail salon? I don't think so and so they - they that has the potential for muffling the economic recovery they're trying to switch on. The economy only turns around when the virus is under control and that's what public health officials consistently tell us ought to be the top message. LEMON: Well, thank you for leading into it. Let's bring the doctor in.
Dr. Gounder, last night we saw the President in a room with his generals and the only secret service they were - they were the only people wearing masks. I want you to take a listen what the White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: The mask issue is significant one but recall that to get in with the President that you have to test negative and there's according to what the doctors tell me, not a lot of evidence that you can pass the virus, you have enough viral load to pass it if you test negative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Doctor, the Abbott test that the White House uses may have a 15 percent false negative rate. Should this really replace a mask?
GOUNDER: Don, the short answer to that is no and the - and the Abbott test is being used by the White House, that rapid tests that they're using is actually not as good as the tests we're using in the lab at hospitals and I can tell you, I'm seeing about 25 percent false negative rate with a better test, where we are seeing patients who clearly have COVID-19 and they're testing negative.
So you know, I think this is really a false reassurance and - and on top of that you know even let's say, it's a true negative but then somebody's exposed and then they're embrewing infection, they may still test negative the following day and be in a position to spread the virus.
So this is really a false safety and - and really something that should not be counted on in terms of preventing transmission in this setting.
LEMON: All right, thank you both. I appreciate your time. I want to get now to Tom Bollyky. He is the director of the Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. The author of the book 'Plagues and the Paradox of Progress.' Tom, thank you so much for joining us.
The coronavirus model often cited by the White House now predicts 137,000 deaths by August and that's not the total deaths, right?. This is just by August due to explosive increases in mobility in the number - in a number of states. This is again, just until August and more and more states are opening up. How bad could this get?
TOM BOLLYKY, DIR, GLOBAL HEALTH PROGRAM, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: This could get very bad so again, as you pointed out, states are just opening up. 137 is really even with just - that's assuming the number of states that have been opened up are the limited number that will open up but once you see this happening more broadly, those numbers could get worse. Everyone projects that this is just the first of several waves so
again, we're likely to see more of this in the fall so the - the numbers could get multiples of that if there aren't changes in how we're approaching this pandemic.
LEMON: Do you think states are going to have to bring back restrictions?
BOLLYKY: I think that's likely - likely that we are to see that. So I think, the tragic likely scenario is that we're - we're likely to see a resurgence in cases happening around with the - with the lifting. The fact that you don't see people and we just talked about what's happening in the White House of course, more broadly people aren't wearing masks or maintaining social distancing either, you're - you're likely to see a resurgence of in those cases.
It will take a little while to hit the health system and then we'll have to do this all over again with - with more devastating economic and social consequences.
LEMON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed reopening the U.K. tonight. I want you to take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: It's thanks to your effort and sacrifice in stopping the spread of this disease, that the death rate is coming down and hospital admissions are coming down and thanks to you we protected our NHS and saved many thousands of lives and so I know, you know that it would be madness not to throw away that achievement by allowing a second spike. We must stay alert. We must continue to control the virus and save lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Both Johnson and Trump were early skeptics of coronavirus but now we're hearing a very different tone from Johnson.
BOLLYKY: That's right and obviously he is now had a personal exposure to this virus and the devastating consequences it can bring about. Also more broadly, the U.K. has also suffered rising caseloads that depart from what we're starting to see the rest of Europe.
So he's - he's taking that on board. It will be interesting to see if the White House has a similar experience now that this is hitting home, do we start to see a shift in how the President has been handling this? The other element that I think it's important to draw out from his comments is risk communication.
Every government that we've seen, that have been able to maintain the social distancing, which really does obviously as everyone of your viewers knows has big social and economic consequences to it, they've been able to do that by being honest with the population, giving them a sense of why they're doing this and how long they will do this and the importance of what they're doing.
And that will pay off so that is a positive message to take from what the Prime Minister is saying there.
LEMON: Tom, thank you. Appreciate it.
BOLLYKY: My great pleasure.
LEMON: At least 47 states are in the process of partially reopening but their plans are all different. Polo Sandoval has a story now.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Starting Monday, New Hampshire will allow retail stores, barber shops and hair salons to take in some customers. In the south Alabama, gyms, restaurants and other businesses also will reopen under certain rules. Across the country, states taking a patchwork approach to reopening amid continuing still climbing cases of COVID-19. Nationwide more than 1.3 million diagnosed with more than 79,000 deaths.
13 states have seen an average increase in new cases this past week. 15 have remained steady and 22 states have seen a decline in new cases. Despite a recent uptick in Ohio cases, retailers there will open, Tuesday as part of the state's phased reopening strategy. Gov. Mike DeWine describing the process on Fox news, Sunday as something we have to do.
GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R) OHIO: Well it's really a risk no matter what we do sure. It's a risk if we don't do anything, it's a risk if we - if we do this. What we have done is come up with the best practices for businesses to reopen. We put business people together with health people, had them come up with these best practices.
PROTESTER: Open up the county. Open up the county.
SANDOVAL: On the west coast, protesters returned to the streets in Stockton, California, demanding the governor list the state's stay-at- home order and reopen businesses. White House facing challenges of its own not only with the predicted May unemployment rate of 20 percent but with news that two people in the West wing tested positive for the virus. An Oval office valet and the Vice President's press secretary.
Dr. Anthony Fauci one of the faces of the White House's coronavirus response team is on modified quarantine out of an abundance of caution but has not tested positive. And other administration officials are taking precautions of their own.
HASSETT: So we've all been exposing ourselves to risks. You know we're under the best guidance we could possibly have to keep us safe but we're willing to take that chance because we love our country and - and I think that you know, there are things that have to happen in that West wing even if the building is a little bit old and under ventilated and so on.
And so yes, I absolutely have a mask in my pocket. I can waive at you right now and I practice social distancing. SANDOVAL: In New York signs of a new and disturbing COVID related
illness, it's already proven deadly for some children. At least 85 kids, mainly toddler and elementary school aged have been hospitalized with what doctors are describing as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
Three children have died and authorities are investigating if that number is even higher.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: As a father I am feeling the concern I know other parents are feeling. Our health leadership is deeply concerned. Doctors are now calling this pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome and what it does is basically in a child's body, triggers intensive almost overwhelming immune system response and that actually causes harm to the bodies as the body is fighting its fights in such a manner that actually starts to cause other problems.
SANDOVAL: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio adding that symptoms of the illness include fever, rashes, abdominal pain and vomiting.
The CDC now asking the state of New York to develop a national criteria for the illness. The expectation here is that we could see more of these cases especially outside of New York. But what this does do Don, it certainly leaves parents concerned since these cases undercut what they've been told before which is that younger people may not be as vulnerable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Polo, thank you very much for that. Appreciate it. Next, everything you need to know about a mysterious illness that could be linked to coronavirus in children.
LEMON: Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York is investigating 85 cases of coronavirus related illness in children. Officials are searching for answers after doctors originally thought children were largely not affected by the virus. Joining me now is Dr. Steven Kernie.
He is the Chief of Pediatric Critical Care, Critical Care medicine at Columbia University and New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's hospital. Doctor, appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much. Let's talk about this. Your hospital has seen around two dozen cases of children with coronavirus related inflammatory disorder. Tell us what do you know about this illness.
DR. STEVEN KERNIE, CHIEF OF PEDIATRIC CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, you know we really didn't see it until about two weeks ago where a couple of cases popped up and we didn't at first know that it was necessarily related to coronavirus, meaning that some kids, less than half of the kids actually test positive for primary coronavirus infection but it turns out all of them when you look at the antibody testing have had evidence of a recent inspection with coronavirus.
And we've just been seeing you know a couple of day and - and most of them are seriously ill and most of them need to come to the ICU which is where I work.
LEMON: It's obviously concerning, downright scary for parents to hear but it's important to point out that we're talking about 85 cases out of more than 335,000 in the U.S. What symptoms should parents and caretakers be looking out for.
KERNIE: Well, they're not subtle. The kids look sick. They typically have fever and it's pretty high fever and it goes on for a few days. There's often times a rash that that can cover various parts of the body including the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands and it's kind of raised and red. Their eyes are injected and they might have cracked lips. It's really not subtle and the kids look sick. They're vomiting. They don't eat well.
You know they need medical attention.
LEMON: Here is what the New York governor said. Governor Cuomo said about this illness. This is earlier today. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It's possible that these cases were coming in and were not diagnosed as related to COVID because they don't appear as COVID. The New York state Department of Health is going to notify all the other state department of health. Every state has a Department of Health. They will notify their counterparts in the other states to put them on notice of this.
Again, we've recently found this and are investigating it but it may be possible and it may even be probable that this is a situation that exists in other states and we want to make sure that they are aware of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Do you expect to learn of more cases?
KERNIE: We do. You know, right now, they don't seem to be decreasing. They seem if anything maybe increasing a little bit. We still do believe it's a rare complication. You know my hospital takes kids from you know New York, Connecticut, northern New Jersey and we've seen a few dozen cases but you know the area involved. There's - there's hundreds of thousands of kids we believe in that area who've been exposed to the virus.
LEMON: Doctor, do you think this could have an impact on school openings?
KERNIE: Well, you know we don't know how long it might go on because what we've seen with this is as these cases are increasing, it's coming at a time when primary COVID infections are decreasing.
So we just simply don't know how long we're going to be seeing these cases. We - this isn't a contagious disease. It's a reaction to the boys of the COVID virus and so by the time, the kids are showing the illness, in many cases they're not contagious anymore from the virus itself.
LEMON: Got it. Dr. Kernie, thank you for your time. Appreciate it.
KERNIE: Thank you.
LEMON: A Tyson pork plant with over 1000 cases of coronavirus has reopened but some in the community aren't happy about it including the local sheriff. He joins me next.
LEMON: Tyson food is reopening its largest U.S. pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa on Thursday. The plant closed down in late April after many of the plants roughly 2800 workers became ill with coronavirus infections.
This week, the county health officials report - is reporting that 1031 employees at the plant have tested positive for the virus. So reopening raises questions about how the country can protect workers and the food supply amid the pandemic.
Let's discuss now with the sheriff of the county where the plant is located. Tony Thompson. Tony, appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much Sir. You visited that Waterloo plant early last month before it was shut down and said that it shook you to your core. What are the conditions like inside?
SHERIFF TONY THOMPSON, BLACK HAWK COUNTY, IOWA: Well, it was a bit of a free for all back on April 10. We went in there knowing that there had been complaints. We had our emergency operations center open for about a month by April 10.
So we had been preaching to the community about social distancing, about using masks, about doing all those kinds of things and so within a very short amount of time, we started hearing complaints about things that were going on inside and that's when the Health Director and Disease Surveillance person and myself decided to go, visit the plant.
And we - we also knew at that point that they had some test positives coming out of the plant so to see what we saw with maybe a third of the - of the employees wearing masks, most all of them homemade, different types of things, everything from bandannas to sleep masks that you wear over the top of your eyes. I mean it was a free for all.
We walked out of that place, knowing full well that the from line community defense that we had for COVID-19 had been absolutely blown out of the water with 2,700 - 2,800 employees we knew we were - we were in for it and it was going to be largely attributable to the spread that was happening within that plant.
LEMON: So you and other local officials pleaded with Tyson and Iowa governor Kim Reynolds to close the plant. What was the response Sheriff?
THOMPSON: It fell largely on deaf ears and again, Iowa is a largely agriculturally based economy and so I don't necessarily fault anybody in that except that we recognized in Black Hawk county, I got 135,000 citizens that these folks that are now infected with COVID-19 are also the same people that are out at the grocery stores, shopping with my family, with the mayor's family, with you know everyone else.
And so that spread is happening very, very quickly and it's happening - happening because everybody contracting it at the Tyson plant and so the danger was very, very real. From the moment we walked out of that plant, we knew that we had to do something to try and get Tyson's turned. Obviously the governor said she wouldn't do it.
Tyson immediately said they wouldn't do it but the longer we worked and then started collaborating all these other local officials to write a letter and it - we kind of rationalized that it wouldn't take very long before they started running out of employees and that's essentially what ended up happening, I think on the 22, about 12 days later.
LEMON: Yes, you're - you're right because 1031 employees have tested positive. That's over a third of the work force. At least two people have died. What do you think will happen with reopening?
THOMPSON: Well, I also - when you're in the military, one of the things we always talk about is military planners. You don't want to go in - you don't want into a military plan with hope and prayer as the plan and right now unfortunately we have to hope that everything works, we have to pray that everything works well, that everything that they've chosen to do, all of the measures that they placed - put in place are going to work.
So it's with much reserved optimism and - and pragmatism that I - that I hope and pray that that everything works well and moves forward in such a way that it's beneficial. If not I think we have to stop, regroup and - and encourage them to start over again.
Because the danger is very, very real. We - we actually have lost our front line of defense. We're now fighting this battle in our long term care facilities now. Our death toll is starting to increase. We've - we've had another 200 positive cases in the last seven days and now that we're starting to see deaths because of this, you know before it was in our work - aged people.
Now it's in our long term care facility so our greatest, most vulnerable at-risk people are now contracting it and again, we can contact trace that all the way back to the Tyson plant.
LEMON: Yes. Sheriff Tony Thompson, thank you Sheriff. Good luck and stay safe. Thanks so much.
THOMPSON: Thank you Don. I appreciate it.
LEMON: With 47 states reopening, what do businesses need to do to keep employees safe? I'm going to ask the experts. That's next.
LEMON: The coronavirus moving closer to President Trump's inner circle as top members of the task force enter self-quarantine. The presence of the virus in the West Wing raising questions about how safe any workplace can really be. Let's discuss now. Nellie Brown is here. Nellie Brown is the Director of Workplace Health and Safety Programs for the Worker Institute at Cornell University and Joe Allen is here as well.
The assistant Professor of Exposure Assessment Science at Harvard University and the author of Healthy Buildings. Thank you both for joining. I really appreciate it. Nellie, I'm going to start with you first. If we can't keep the coronavirus out of the White House, how are businesses supposed to safely reopen?
NELLIE BROWN, DIR, WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY PROGRAMS, THE WORKER INSTITUTE AT CORNELL: Wow, well ,we can't reduce risk to zero. There's no way that's going to happen so I try to get work places to look at this from sort of three points of view. One of them is if they're building has in fact been closed, what it takes to reopen that building that's been unoccupied for a while.
You know with the water lines perhaps growing legionella, ventilation maybe it's not been running and so forth. I also like them to take a look at their - their policies, their work practices, what engineering controls they can put in place. What they can do with PPE if that's a possibility. If there's anything that we can do with Personal Protective Equipment.
And the third prong I get them to look at is what do we do to make sure that a person who has been infected can in fact safely come back to work.
LEMON: Joe, give me the number - your number one recommendation that you're making for businesses coming to you about reopening.
JOE ALLEN, DIRECTOR, HEALTHY BUILDINGS: Well, first and foremost it's - it's a multipronged strategy. I mean we talked about if anything can penetrate the White House and what work environment can be safe but it's quite shocking to see the pictures coming out of the White House that show they're not doing any of the other controls that CDC recommends and that you, I and everyone else in the country are following including physical distancing and wearing masks. So when I advise companies to do this, it's an all in approach.
There's no one intervention strategy that lets you wash your hands and say I'm done. Maybe I brought a little more fresh outdoor air and I'm done or maybe you're testing and that's it. It has to be an all in approach.
It has to be all encompassing. There are administrative controls, there are healthy building controls that have to be put in and if you do that, you can get to a point as Nellie said if not zero risk but to a level where you can manage the risk to something that is acceptable.
LEMON: Yes, this is interesting to me because everyone was going to open-floor plan thing now, it looks like we're all going to go back offices and shut ourselves off again. Nellie, what is safely reopening a business look like? Will customers and employees alike need to be wearing masks? Will there be temperature checks? Give us some examples please.
BROWN: Well, I think that temperature checks and symptom enquiries you know when people return to work is good but it's a course screen, it's not a fine screen so we're going to catch a variety of communicable diseases including COVID but you're not going to catch anyone whose symptoms are not obvious and that's certainly the case with COVID so many people are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, you're not going to catch them.
And if people are not necessarily perhaps honest about some of the symptoms, they've experienced because they need the money then they want to come back to work anyway so I agree that - that we do have to do more than one thing. I'm also very concerned about people looking seriously at what their occupant density is really going to be, whether it's an office or a shop or a store or a processing or manufacturing facility.
How can you do social distancing? I mean sometimes you can put barriers between people and yes, I agree, I think we're going to go back to offices and maybe cubicles with higher walls, I think a lot of people are still going to be working from home where that's possible but unfortunately, so many of the essential jobs that need to be done can't be done remotely.
So we still have to put a lot of controls in place. We're going to have to rely a lot on people doing these things. Social distancing, wearing proper PPE and caring for all the different types of procedural changes that we need to make and I think we're going to do a lot with how we schedule people and that includes students.
I think you know alternating days that people come to work, maybe start and stop times, shift schedules because you can't have people crowding workplace. We can't have them crowding a lunch room or a locker room or a break room or even the restroom and I'm looking at you know, a variety of different things so I'm trying to get people to think about lids on toilets because we don't want illnesses to be airborne during toilet flushing either.
[21:45:00] A lot of things that people take for granted and particularly being very scrupulous about hand washing.
LEMON: Oh my gosh. We got a lot - we got a lot to do. Thank you both. That's all we have time for. We're going to have you back because we got to discuss this a lot more. Thank you. Thank you so much.
BROWN: Thank you.
LEMON: It took more than two months and a viral video for two suspects to be arrested in the Ahmaud Arbery case and now the Georgia Attorney General is asking the Justice Department to investigate. My next guest has been calling for a federal investigation. I'm going to ask him what he thinks about tonight's news.
LEMON: Tonight the State Attorney in Georgia is asking the Department of Justice to investigate the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case. He is a 25 year old black man, who was chased, shot and killed in February. Joining me now is a former NFL player Anquan Boldin, co- founder of the Players Coalition. The group has sent a letter to the Attorney General William Barr also calling on him to investigate Arbery's death and we're also joined by Bakari Sellers, an attorney who is the author of 'My Vanishing Country' and so good to have both of you on. Thank you so much.
Anquan, I'm going to start with you because today Georgia's Attorney General Chris Carr formally requested the U.S. Department of Justice conduct an investigation into the handling of this case. This is what you and your group, the Players Coalition have been petitioning for. Why is this so important?
ANQUAN BOLDIN, CO-FOUNDER, PLAYERS COALITION: Well, I think it's very important not only for the families but for our country. And we called for federal investigation because they have federal resources. They have a lot more resources than state does and they also have the expertise.
They've done a number of these investigations across the country. You can remember (inaudible) but they have the expertise to go in and get it done and they're on (inaudible) so they have the expertise and we're looking forward to have them go in and do an independent investigation.
LEMON: Bakari, let me bring you in here because Ahmaud Arbery's family is welcoming the DOJ investigation. Their attorney issued a statement tonight saying in part, it is our hope that the DOJ will conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine how and why this case was so poorly handled. Those who were responsible for this travesty of justice must be held accountable.
What will we see from the Department of Justice now that they are involved here? BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What will we see or what should we see? I think those are two different questions. I don't have a lot of faith in the Barr Justice department. I think that the Attorney General of the United States' Justice Department have been anything but just.
And for me that's a travesty. For me, my heart aches for this family. What should they do? I think Anquan was exactly right. The Department of Justice should go in, flip this upside down, investigate every investigator who was on the scene, investigate every D.A. that had this case, make sure it got in good hands, prosecute these individuals for hate crime, prosecute them for lynching.
But I have no faith in this Barr justice department that they'll do that and - and my fear is that justice won't be served and I'm sorry for being cynical and maybe that's just how I am now. My youthful naivete maybe has eroded in this country because we've seen so much trauma and we've seen so much death and we've seen so much injustice.
LEMON: I don't think under the circumstances, considering what we have seen in the last couple of years that you're being cynical. I just think that you're being truthful. Quickly, Bakari, do you think that there needs - there are many people who are saying especially legal experts I've spoken to, they're saying we need a venue change here.
Do you believe there should be a venue change in this case?
SELLERS: Actually, I think there is going to be a venue change probably announced sooner rather than later. Look, you're not going to get any home cooked justice down there. I mean what - what happened was, you had a good old fashioned South Georgia father-son lynching. That's what you had.
And so and you had to prosecutors who saw the video and kicked the case. It took 74 days for us to actually get an arrest and it wasn't because they saw the videos. It was because, we the American public saw the video.
So two district attorneys in that area who thought this was a good idea, the murderer was a part of law enforcement, how are you going to get 12 jurors to find either one of them guilty? I don't - I don't see that happening so you have to have a venue change for any chance of justice.
LEMON: Anquan, the father and son are now in custody and are being charged with murder but you know again, as Bakari just referenced, what if this video hadn't surfaced at all? You think we would see any attention being brought to this case? Would there have been any arrests?
BOLDIN: Unfortunately no. - Bakari. Had the video not come out, they would still be at home and this case wouldn't be - it wouldn't have garnered the national attention it has. But thank God that it has because they deserve justice that hopefully they'll get.
Like you said, you know, you don't have any confidence in - in the state of Georgia at this point. I mean that case that - last two months but it wasn't until the video tape, that people actually started to (inaudible).
And for me it goes back to you know part of that getting out and vote part because your DA are elected increases and I know for a long time - our vote doesn't count but it actually does especially on elections where our lives are affected every day because people like that that are sitting at that seat can be voted out and we see just how bad it is when the wrong people are holding positions and they don't do (inaudible).
LEMON: Yes. I've got to go gentleman. Thank you both for joining us. I appreciate it. Stay safe. And thank you for watching everyone. Our coverage continues.