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Race Between Vaccinations And Variants Reached Critical Point; One Nursing Home's Mission To Vaccinate Skeptical Staff; U.S. Capitol Police Mourning Officer Killed On Friday; Trump Campaign Steered Supporters Into Unwitting Donations; Big Business And MLB Slam New Georgia Voting Law; Hundreds Killed In Myanmar's Military Takeover; Stanford Wins NCAA Women's Basketball National Championship; Major Biden Bites Again. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 04, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Well, get the whole story and nominate someone you know to be a CNN Hero at CNNHeroes.com.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY: We are really in category five status hurricane with regard to the rest of the world. At this point, we will see in the next two weeks the highest number of cases reported globally since the beginning of the pandemic.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Family and friends gathering to celebrate the holiday. St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York seeing long lines of people waiting to get in.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: This is the biggest Christian holiday, the biggest holiday for the Vatican, only about 200 guests invited into the Basilica to be with the Pope.
REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): It's been, you know, re-traumatizing. We are all eagerly awaiting to see how this trial shakes out. It's been really horrendous to watch the defense put George Floyd on trial instead of the former police officer.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Sunday.
As the race continues between lethal COVID variants and life-saving vaccines, Americans keep proving they are just ready to move on. On Friday the TSA screened more than 1.5 million people. That is a pandemic-era travel record. Numbers did dip slightly yesterday.
But take a look at what's going on in Michigan, seeing its highest case counts since December. Some experts worried it's the leading edge of a fourth surge for the U.S. CNN's Natasha Chen has more from Marietta, Georgia, where holiday
celebrations may prove to be a mixed blessing.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the second Easter into the pandemic, there are more signs of hope and a resurrection of life compares to a year ago.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We share the sentiment of Pope Francis who said that getting vaccinated is a moral obligation. One that can save your lives and the lives of others.
CHEN: The U.S. is now averaging more than three million COVID-19 vaccines administered every day, even with the recent discarding of 15 million potential doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A source familiar with the company's vaccine manufacturing process says it's not a major setback and that it can be made up in a few weeks. The federal government has now directed Johnson & Johnson to take over the manufacturing of its vaccine at the Baltimore facility where the contamination occurred.
But even with the strong U.S. vaccine rollout, some places like Mississippi are seeing what appears to be widespread vaccine hesitancy.
GOV. TATE REEVES (R), MISSISSIPPI: We need to make sure that we educate our people and let them know that this vaccine is safe, that it is -- and while it is under an Emergency Use Authorization, it has gone through clinical trials with literally tens of thousands of individuals who have done that. It has been peer reviewed.
CHEN: Mississippi also just relaxed indoor capacity guidelines. Meanwhile, on Saturday, Michigan reported its highest daily case counts since December 7th. And experts warned that things could soon get worse.
OSTERHOLM: At this time we really are in a category five hurricane status with regard to the rest of the world. At this point we will see in the next two weeks the highest number of cases reported globally since the beginning of the pandemic. In terms of the United States we're just at the beginning of this surge. We haven't even really begun to see it yet.
CHEN: The CDC hasn't said whether the b-117 variant is the dominant strain in the U.S. even though its own scientists predicted it would be by now.
DR. KIZZMEKA CORBETT, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: These variants are concerning but this is exactly what the virus is built to do. And the vaccine is eliciting such good immune responses that while there is a damper in efficacy, probably, it won't completely obliterate their response especially on a pandemic scale.
CHEN: Eighteen percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. Including George Chernowski who traveled from Buffalo, New York, to be with his family in Marietta, Georgia, for his first in-person, social distanced church service since the pandemic began.
GEORGE CHERNOWSKI, TRAVELED FOR EASTER HOLIDAY: A big step in the right direction. We're headed in the right way.
CHEN: Tim and Joey Minster are vaccinated, too.
JOEY MINSTER, VACCINATED, ATTENDED EASTER CHURCH SERVICE: I got to tell you, it is wonderful to be here but it's also wonderful to see people we have not seen, you know, in almost a year. And you hope to keep connected to them.
CHEN: Celebrating the spirit of renewal while acknowledging the challenges that are still here.
REV. RAY CALDRAN, CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ST. ANN: In the coming back, we don't want to lessen the concern for the safety of our people. So we continue to keep our safety protocols and still consider the safety of the youngest ones to the most elderly.
CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, Marietta, Georgia.
BROWN: While many businesses are starting to reopen across the country, companies are also planning for how to bring employees back into offices. The question that remains still is will companies and schools and other organizations require employees to be vaccinated before reopening?
Just this week, Cornell University became the second university to require all students and staff to be vaccinated ahead of them returning to class this fall.
Joining me now is Tina Sandri. She is the CEO of the Forest Hill Senior Living Community in D.C. and she oversaw the effort to get her staffers vaccinated.
Tina, thank you for coming on. So you didn't require your employees to get vaccinated. But tell us about your experience and sharing your employees who got vaccinated, that they would feel comfortable doing so.
TINA SANDRI, CEO, FOREST HILLS OF DC SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY: Good evening. We're very happy to share our story. We did not mandate the vaccination. Our leadership team held a meeting and kind of looked at our workforce with two of our corporate values which are compassion and respect through the lens of everything they had been through in the past year. Everything from having to pick up for co-workers for 14 days quarantines or people who are out sick longer with no notice.
Most of our workforce have not had a vacation within a year. Many of them, unfortunately, have had to hold hands of family members of residents who had past and family members who could not be here. We've had to fill in for activities that everyone has had to learn how to do tech and Zoom and help our residents and just the demands have been so much so, in addition to weekly swabs and testing.
We just felt it was so much to ask our workforce to mandate Emergency Use of Authorization drug into their bodies as well. And so we decided using the same compassionate (INAUDIBLE) approach that we used with our residents to apply that to our workforce as well.
And so we did not mandate it. But we've very happy that we have reached herd immunity level at 80 percent of our employees currently vaccinated and we have another immunization clinic tomorrow. So our numbers are still climbing and we're very pleased with that especially since our workforce is 80 percent of people of color.
BROWN: So you said you were using the core values of compassion and respect in this regard. Tell us what that was like. Were a lot of the staff members hesitant to get the vaccine? Tell us how you sort of work with them through this so that you would reach herd immunity.
SANDRI: Well, I think yes, they were hesitant just like much of the general population has been hesitant. Many people when change comes, even if it's a good change, are stressed. And so trying to deliver that message in a way that was culturally sensitive, respectful for their needs, meeting them where they were at the time for their curiosities of information, we -- since last December we're having a theme of the week within our vaccination communications.
We pushed them out in eight different ways being sensitive to people's learning styles, some people are auditory learners, some people are visual learners, some people are more analytical in their thinking and we had to provide them more data. Some people are more relation. And so we had conversations of what that might mean for them and their immune compromised family members.
We also then pushed out the different types of messages in eight different ways. So if there are something that's important our team likes to say, what are the eight ways that you pushed it out? So it could be e-mail, it could be text, it could be phone call, it could be a poster, it could be a handout at the check-in spot. It could be a display board. And so we had lots of different ways. It could be a slip of paper that you take home with you.
And so we really tried to allow the communications to meet people where they were and not necessarily as just pushing out memos saying there's going to be a clinic here on the state show up.
BROWN: Right. So given what you have learned on the smaller scale, is there anything else you think the government should be doing to convince people to get vaccinated?
SANDRI: If there's one thing that we've learned from this process is to really understand who we are dealing with beyond the check boxes of race, of Caucasian, black, Asian and so forth. So I'm an Asian, and I might need a different message as a Chinese person than a Japanese person, than an Indian person, than a Thai person, someone from Thailand, to dig deeper.
So we knew here in Washington, D.C. there is a significant part of our workforce that happens to be black or African-American, and so we started targeting our messages with culture sensitivities respective sources from historically black colleges, black nurses association, the Black Coalition Against COVID, and so forth, and we found that we were actually able to move that needle with our African-Americans who identify as black Americans.
We had not been as successful in getting to our work force who identifies more as African-American, and to the state. We're still looking for those resources. So we had one department head who experienced COVID directly himself as well as with his family, and had him talking to some of our frontline staff because he was from a country in Africa.
And even in Africa, our workforce -- we have people from Ethiopia, Cameroon, Nigeria and other countries. And so we have to hear what their concerns are, perhaps coming from their countries, and any feelings they might have about the government, and how they're getting their information. What are the sources that are immigrant workers here getting? And kind of listen really hard.
BROWN: Yes, I think a key, too, is just not judging and trying to understand where they are coming from and why, as you said, depending on their background and culture and so forth.
Really interesting conversation, Tina, to hear how you've handled the situation with your business. Thanks for coming on the show and sharing your story.
SANDRI: Thank you. Happy to be here.
BROWN: And back to Washington, D.C. now where the men and women charged with keeping the United States Capitol secure are in mourning today. This is the headquarters of the U.S. Capitol Police today draped in black. The American flag at half-staff is to honor the police officer who died Friday in the second violent attack on the U.S. Capitol this year.
CNN's Marshall Cohen joins me now with more.
So, Marshall, we've learned the officer who survived Friday's assault has been released from the hospital. But what can you tell us about the man police say rammed his car into that security checkpoint?
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Pamela. We actually know quite a lot about this man. His name is Noah Green. He was a young man in his early 20s from Virginia and apparently drove up to the capital on Friday and committed this heinous attack. So our colleagues have been scrambling throughout the whole internet to try to find what they can of his social media postings to try to figure out what was going through his mind.
Some of the findings were disturbing and they really paint a picture of a man whose life was unraveling and who shared material that gave off the impression that he may have been going through some sort of mental health crisis. Years ago he posted about the FBI and the CIA sort of using mind control against him. He claimed that people were slipping things in his drinks trying to poison him through his food. That an operation had been done on him at the hospital without his consent.
You know, the types of red flags that I am sure investigators will look at as they investigate the mental health side of this tragic attack. But perhaps most alarming just a few hours before he did drive up to the Capitol on Friday, he posted something on his Instagram, a video of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the nation of Islam. Well- known anti-Semite and somebody who spreads hatred about frankly a whole bunch of groups.
And that post said, and you can see it right here on your screen that the U.S. government is the number one enemy of black people. So investigators, they're going to be looking at that. They haven't said whether there was any motive behind this yet. But there are clues out there on the internet and it's a little bit disturbing, Pam.
BROWN: Yes, considering one officer lost his life in the line of duty there.
Marshall Cohen, thank you for bringing us the latest with that investigation.
And still to come this hour, "The New York Times" says former President Trump deliberately overcharged donors to line his campaign coffers. More on that, as well as the former president's less than uplifting Easter message with our Chris Cillizza in just a moment.
And cyber experts tell CNN the personal information of about half a billion Facebook users including their phone numbers has been posted on a hacker's Web site.
Also ahead, new video coming in tonight, villagers in Myanmar hiding under rocks in fear of military airstrikes.
BROWN: Well, Trump supporters may have gotten or given more than they bargained for when they donated to his reelection campaign. A "New York Times" investigation found the people who thought they were sending a single donation were charged over and over again by his campaign operation in what the "Times" calls an intentional scheme to boost revenue. Reoccurring online donations were set up by default.
By the end of the campaign, here is how that fine print disclaimer looked. Take a look at this. It was buried that tiny line at the bottom of the first yellow box calls for a weekly recurring donation. The Trump campaign and the GOP ended up raising about $1 billion with WinRed, the processing service, but refunding roughly 10 percent of it.
Here is what Trump spokesman Jason Miller told at the "Times." "The fact that we had a dispute rate of less than 1 percent of total donations, despite raising more grassroots money than any campaign in history, is remarkable." But the "Times" notes that still amounts to about 200,000 disputed transactions. Well, they asked if trump was aware of the recurring payments, no response.
CNN Politics reporter and editor at large, Chris Cillizza joins me now. Chris, great to see you. How unusual is this?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Hey, Pam. Very. Look, I think anyone who's been on the receiving end of any fundraising appeal ever knows that there's a level of sort of panic or, you know, misdirection that goes on. This is our last chance, we're losing, and we need you. I mean, this is the nature of how campaigns raise money.
But the most important thing is what you noted in the open which is they had the box checked. In a lot of legalese, you would not naturally pick up on it. It essentially says hey, it's not that you're giving let's say $100, Pam Brown, you're giving a $100 and unless you uncheck this box, you're going to give $100 every single week until the campaign ends.
For many people, they make a campaign donation and it's $500 or $100 or $50 except it's coming out of somewhere else. They don't have this money just sitting around spare. They don't plan to give, let's say, $500.
They want to give $50. So it's disingenuous at best. But I'll note, look, this sort of grift is very common in the four years of Donald Trump. Let's not forget, when he ran for president, he had a press conference with reporters where Trump steaks and Trump wine was hot.
He thought it was a good idea until he eventually got talked out of it to host the G-20 at his property in -- at Doral, and this is a man who went to his properties relentlessly and spent money, and Secret Service stayed there. I mean we shouldn't -- we can be shocked but we shouldn't be surprised.
BROWN: But also, we know that after the election Trump raised money under the guise of finding his unfounded lie -- fraud claims. But as "Times" is reporting that he actually used that money that he had raised off the big election lie to help cover some of the refunds he owed his supporters.
CILLIZZA: That's right. I mean, again, this is a fine print thing. We reported on this many times. But for a lot of people who gave money to the Stop the Steal, again there was no steal, but the Stop the Steal effort, he raised a massive amount of money, very little of which, Pam, went to the legal piece of the actual attempts -- they failed but attempts to legally overturn this election. The vast majority went to other places including his Save America super PAC.
So again, this is taking advantage of people. I am not a lawyer. I am not going to tell you it's illegal. But it's quite clearly disingenuous and aimed at taking advantage of people who were either not going to read the fine prints or who just aren't familiar with the ways in which this stuff works.
And the reason why, Pam, it's not complicated. They needed the money. It's exactly what you said, they needed the money during the campaign, despite all the money he raised, he was running out of money, he drastically outspent. And then after the campaign, they needed the money and that's why they did it.
BROWN: And speaking of Trump's e-mails to his supporters, check out his Easter statement. "Happy Easter to all including the radical left crazies who rigged our presidential election and want to destroy our country."
So I imagine if he still had a Twitter account, that would have been what he tweeted there. How very festive.
CILLIZZA: Well, I mean, here's the thing. This shows you where we're at. So one of my sons had a baseball game today, and I was at the baseball game and I read the statement to a couple of parents and their initial reaction was, "That's not real, is it"? And it is, and I -- you know, you and I both know this, you always have to check and make sure particularly if it's Twitter, but even now when it comes to his PAC, I always make sure it's the right -- you know, it's not junk mail or it's not spam.
No, it's real. And when we're talking about people saying that can't be real, is it even after the last four years? I mean, it just shows you where we've been, number one, and number two, Donald Trump isn't ever going to change whether or not he runs for president in 2024, whether or not he gets involved heavily in the 2022 midterm as he said he will, he's going to be that person.
You don't change when you're in your mid to late -- I don't know if people ever change, but you certainly don't change when you're mid to late 70s and you're Donald Trump. And this is who he is and this is what we are going to get. It reads like parody, it reads like an "SNL" skit and then yet it's real.
BROWN: And that persona, that man now has a stronghold on the GOP, on the Republican Party. It's fascinating.
CILLIZZA: And by the way, Pam, just to add to it, not only was the president of the United States for four years, let's not forget that, if the primary for the 2024 nomination was held today, he'd win in a landslide. I mean, it wouldn't even be close.
CILLIZZA: He may wind up winning anyway if he runs, but certainly right now this is still his party. That Easter message is the message of the most popular person by far in the Republican Party.
BROWN: Yes. Absolutely. All right. Chris Cillizza, thanks for coming on. We appreciate it.
CILLIZZA: Thanks, Pam.
BROWN: Well, the fallout from Georgia's new voting law is rattling Major League Baseball. We're going to tell you how the Atlanta Braves are protesting the decision to move the All-Star Game out of the Peach State.
BROWN: Well, the battle over Georgia's new voting law continues. The Atlanta Braves last night covering up the All-Star patch that had appeared on their jerseys just days before. The uniform change came a day after the MLB announced that they would move this summer's All- Star Game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia's controversial new voting laws.
And if you think that's a small deal, well, think again. A tourism official tells CNN the move will cost Georgia more than $100 million. But Georgia Republicans are not backing down. When the CEO of Coca- Cola joined the chorus of Atlanta based businesses criticizing the law, a group of GOP lawmakers wrote to the company demanding Coke products be removed from their offices.
Here to discuss is the executive director at the Center for Election Innovation and Research, David Becker. Also joining us tonight CNN presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley, to put this all into perspective. What is playing out across the country.
David, first to you, I mean, the Georgia laws has caused a big stir obviously as I just laid out the latest fallout. But you believe there are more concerning bills being looked at in states like Texas right now. Tell us about that.
DAVID BECKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR ELECTION INNOVATION AND RESEARCH: Yes, that's right. I mean, in several states including Texas and Georgia and Arizona, Florida, Michigan and other places, there are laws that are based primarily first and foremost on the big lie that the election wasn't secure and when in fact we know this election was the most secure and transparent election we've ever had.
And so you see places like Texas in particular right now where a bill is being considered, it's already passed out of the Senate, that will take -- where Texas was already which was one of the most restrictive states to voting. It's one of the hardest states to get a mail ballot in. It's one of the hardest states to vote early in. It is one of the few states that still doesn't have secure and auditable paper ballots.
And what this bill is going to do is going to make it harder to get a mail ballot and even requires people with disabilities to get a note from their doctor to leave their home. To get a note from their doctors so that they can avoid having to leave home to go vote for -- by mail instead. It allows for partisan poll watchers to roam wherever they want in polling places, perhaps interfering with the process, and really troubling, the videotape voters with their phones as they are voting.
And finally delays moving towards auditable paper ballots until perhaps as late as 2026, which makes it very likely Texas will be the only state in the entire country that does not have auditable secure paper ballots for the 2024 presidential election.
BROWN: And that is odd because paper ballots are meant to make elections more secure because they create the paper trails. So that is a head scratcher. But as you mentioned, these laws are predicated on the big election lie. Are you concerned about the precedent here of one party losing the election then concocting this lie and then laws changing as a result because that's essentially what we are seeing play out here?
BECKER: Absolutely. Not only is it making it less convenient and less accessible for eligible voters but really importantly it is also making the election less secure. There's going to be less integrity in the election in a place like Texas, for instance, because what they're doing is they're concentrating more voting into a single day, into election day.
Early voting and mail voting are wonderful early warning systems for potential cyber events that could have intruded on the election systems, on potential fraud that might have existed. What we're seeing Republicans in these states do actually shoot themselves in the foot to some degree.
And we saw that as well in Georgia during the Senate runoffs where they repeatedly told their voters the election was rigged, that their vote didn't matter, and sure enough, what we seem to have seen was fewer -- lower turnout in predominantly Republican area of the state during the Senate runoff.
BROWN: And it makes you wonder if part of this effort on behalf of Republican lawmakers is now convinced those same voters to vote because they are claiming that these bills are making it more secure and so it's just a fascinating dynamic at play here.
And Doug, if you would, put this into perspective. There are a lot of strong language being used around these bills. Even from President Biden. Jim Crow 2.0 and Jim Crow on steroids. Give us the historical perspective here of what's playing out. What's the backdrop of this?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: There used to be a great Yale University professor, C. Vann Woodward, wrote a book about the South, and he wrote a book called "Strange Career of Jim Crow." And Jim Crow always rears its ugly head. But I thought we had that dragon slayed.
To watch Georgia tried to do voter disenfranchisement on the heels of the Senate elections that the Republican Party didn't like that two Democrats won from Georgia, and now they're trying to prohibit particularly African-American voters, liberals, from being -- people that might be day laborers, that have a harder time getting to a ballot place is a disgusting new chapter in our history. So I think President Biden is correct, it is a type of Jim Crow
activity going on in Georgia. And the fear is, as we've been talking about is it's going to spread, spread to Texas to Louisiana, and then we're dealing with a -- you know, a real voting rights crisis.
Georgia is the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr. It was the home of John Lewis and Andy Young and (INAUDIBLE), and so I think right now it is a showdown over Georgia and that's why companies like Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball have decided to bring their business elsewhere as a warning flare to other states and other not to follow suit of what the Republican Party of Georgia did.
BROWN: But, David, there are some blue states that have stricter voting laws than states like Georgia. I mean, look at New York and Delaware, you can't vote by mail without an excuse. New Jersey just expanded its early voting by just a little.
In your view, should those states be called out, too?
BECKER: Absolutely. We should be expecting the same thing at red states as blue states. We saw Iowa strongly criticized of reducing the number of early voting days from 29 down to 20. But New Jersey congratulated for just passing laws that allows between four and 10 early voting days. I mean, we should be applying the same standard. I mean, and even with this new law in Georgia, there are some things that still are better in Georgia than at in some other states.
While there's a lot of things that -- we have to put that in perspective. But for instance, with early voting they actually did expand early voting hours, while at the same time making it very hard almost impossible to drop your ballot off at a secure drop box like many, many states do. And of course some really ridiculous things like criminalizing the idea that you could provide food or beverage to someone who's waiting in a long line to vote.
I mean, those are real problems, but we should be looking everywhere. It's not just the battleground states, it's not just the red states. It's everywhere. We should be trying to raise the floor and making it easy for all eligible voters to vote which at the same time will improve election integrity.
BROWN: OK, gentlemen, really interesting and important conversation of this dynamic across the country. We will continue to cover this and hope you'll come back onto discuss.
BRINKLEY: Thank you.
BECKER: Thank you.
BROWN: Thank you.
And still ahead tonight, new video shows villagers in Myanmar so afraid of military airstrikes, they are hiding under rocks. Just imagine being in their shoes. This is happening as the country descends deeper into chaos after a military coup.
BROWN: Well, overseas this weekend, thousands of people, entire towns and villages are living in fear for their lives. This is Myanmar, where terrified families have fled their homes and are living under rocks and in makeshift camps after government airstrikes pounded areas where an ethnic resistance group is believed to be active.
Myanmar's military took control of the country in a violent coup in February. Human rights groups say soldiers have killed hundreds of people and arrested thousands more in a crackdown of anyone who protests or opposes them.
CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong with more on the fast-growing unrest in Myanmar and the human toll.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SNR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The deepening crisis in Myanmar is starting to spill across borders. Thousands of civilians crossing the river between Myanmar and Thailand to escape airstrikes carried out by Myanmar's warplanes.
They're from a region controlled by the Karen National Union. It's the oldest of dozens of armed ethnic militias that have fought off and on against the military in Myanmar for generations. This is a patchwork of just some of the militias that operate in Myanmar's border regions.
Two months after the coup, the deadly crackdown on anti-coup protesters in the cities has sent people fleeing to these militia enclaves including the one controlled by this man.
YAWD SERK, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, SHAN STATE ARMY (through translator): We stand with the people. If they are in trouble and run to us seeking help, we will take care of them.
WATSON: Yawd Serk is the leader of the Shan State Army. In an interview with CNN, he denounced the coup.
SERK (through translator): If the military continues to shoot and kill people, it means the junta have simply transformed themselves into terrorists.
WATSON: In the cities and towns of central Myanmar, the death toll amid the anti-coup protesters continues to grow.
(On-camera): Do any of you have the training or background to lead a grassroots political protest movement?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, none of us. I work in an office. I was a department head.
WATSON (voice-over): This man, who asks not to be identified for his safety, is the leader of the protest movement in a neighborhood of Yangon.
In just two months, it's gone from organizing festive but passionate gatherings with costumes and signs to desperate efforts to defend barricades from heavily armed security forces.
The protest leader says he's hearing growing calls for armed attacks.
(On-camera): Do you support violent attacks on the military?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all. Because, like I said, it won't accomplish our goal.
WATSON (voice-over): He says some demonstrators have made largely unsuccessful attempts to carry out what they call carwash operations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A carwash operation is throwing Molotovs at a moving or a stationary vehicle whether there's army personnel in it or whether it's an empty truck.
WATSON: Demonstrators in Yangon tells CNN there are some efforts being made to arm anti-coup protesters and to send activists to receive combat training in enclaves run by militias like the Shan State Army.
SERK (through translator): If they want to have training, we will train them.
WATSON: Myanmar's military doesn't want to keep fighting these well- trained rebels. Instead, on Wednesday, it called a unilateral cease- fire for one month. No such mercy for civilian protesters who soldiers and police continue to kill with impunity, driving ordinary people towards radicalization.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When ordinary civilians like us, office workers like us, started taking arms and get makeshift training for like six months and start shooting people, I guess civil war would be unavoidable.
WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
BROWN: And this just in, Stanford has just won the NCAA Women Basketball Championship. Our Andy Scholes joins us live up next.
BROWN: In Florida, an imminent flood of toxic waste water is forcing hundreds of residents from their homes. Governor Ron DeSantis is saying today that everything is being done to keep people safe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: What we're looking at now is trying to prevent and respond to if need be a real catastrophic flood situation. But public health and safety is a top priority. Obviously, we want to protect them in a way it minimizes any of the environmental impacts, but the goal is to ensure the integrity of the stack system as quickly as possible, in order to minimize impacts to local residents and to prevent an uncontrolled discharge.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The problem is at a decommissioned phosphate plan in Manatee County. Nearly 500 million gallons of waste water is stored at the facility, and officials fear the wall holding that water back could collapse. Manatee County is currently under a state of emergency.
And this just in, Stanford is this year's NCAA Women Basketball champions. Moments ago the Cardinal bested their PAC-12 rival Arizona to win their first national championship since 1992.
CNN Sports anchor Andy Scholes joins me now. Big win.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Certainly was, Pamela, and an exciting finish there. And I'll tell you what, this has been such a trying season for all of the teams that were, you know, involved in playing this year, especially, you know, the 64 that made their way down to Texas to complete in the NCAA tournament. And especially for Stanford. I'll tell you what, they've been on quite the journey that the whole tournament was in Texas so they've been there for three weeks.
Then because of all the COVID restrictions in their home state of California, the Stanford women's team they have spent a whopping 87 nights in hotels this basketball season. It just goes to show you how resilient they have been this entire time. And here they found themselves at a championship game taking on their PAC-12 rival Arizona. And this was a very tight game. It was a game of runs.
Stanford made it the first run then Arizona came back, then Stanford made another one. It was back and forth all game long. It came down to the final moments. We had the last shot we showed you there a moment ago. Arizona had a chance at the buzzer to win the game but it ran out there. And you can see they were heartbroken obviously as they made an incredible run in this tournament. Stanford overjoyed to be this year's national champions.
And they have not won one in a very long time. You know, Stanford, a perennial power in women's basketball, but they just kept on falling short once they got to the final four. Their head coach Tara Vanderbilt, the winningest coach in women's college basketball history, now she has her third national title first since 1992.
So, Pamela, you know, congrats to Stanford, an amazing season. And I am sure the entire team just can't wait to get back home and finally sleep in their own beds.
BROWN: Right. SCHOLES: After just being at hotel after hotel after hotel this entire
BROWN: Yes. No more hotel rooms in the near future. Congrats, as you said, to Stanford. Wow, I can't believe their season has ended. Hard fought win there for them.
Andy Scholes, thank you.
Well, one of the first dogs at the White House is in the dog house this weekend. We're going to tell you why after the break.
BROWN: Well, Major Biden is in trouble again. The first family's German Shepherd was involved in yet another biting incident last week. He just can't seem to stay out of the doghouse. Come on, Major.
Jeanne Moos has the story.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yet, another minor aggression by Major? Major Biden bites again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dog had bitten another person. What is it about Joe Biden and his dog? Why can't he control them?
MOOS: This time was a National Park Service he nipped. Three weeks earlier it was a Secret Service agent. But as one Biden supported noted, "He nipped someone. If they weren't bit, you must acquit."
Another poster tweeted, "Unless Major Biden literally eats someone, I don't care, and even then, it depends on who it is."
The 3-year-old rescue was photoshopped seated with Oprah. I'm going to wait for Major Biden's side of the story.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MORNING JOE CO-ANCHOR: Poor Major.
MOOS: You can even buy a "Major Biden Bite Back Better" T-shirt. Co- anchors nipped at each other about whether Major could face the ultimate punishment.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MORNING JOE CO-ANCHOR: That dog might better get his affairs in order. And prepare --
BRZEZINSKI: He's a good boy.
SCARBOROUGH: To meet dog Jesus.
MOOS: Before this latest incident, President Biden spoke lovingly of Major.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a sweet dog. 85 percent of the people there loved him.
JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE-NIGHT HOST: Because the other 15 percent had theirs in his (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in his teeth, I guess, but --
MOOS: One poster tweeted, "We literally know that these dogs are biting. Actually, it's only one dog. Because their owner also bites."
Yes, well, just like Major's biting incidents, this looks more dramatic than when it actually happened.
JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: The president of the United States.
MOOS: Apparently, Major's behavioral training after the first nip didn't do the trick. He was such a cute little pup getting a shower. Now he's getting hosed with nickname like Mad Dog Major and Major Bitin.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BROWN: And we are still waiting for Major's side of the story.
Well, thank you so much for joining me this evening. I'm Pamela Brown. I'll see you again next weekend.