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New Day Saturday
Suspect in Capitol Car Attack Posted About Fears of FBI, CIA Before Ramming Vehicle into Two Officers; Three Killed, Four Injured in North Carolina Shooting; CDC: Fully Vaccinated People May Gather Unmasked Indoors for Easter; Top Homicide Detective: Chauvin's Use of Force "Totally Unnecessary"; Biden Launches Push For $2.25T Infrastructure Plan; Major League Baseball Moves All-Star Game Over Georgia Voting Law. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired April 03, 2021 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN. More people get their news from CNN than any other news source.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): A second deadly attack on the Capitol grounds in less than three months.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of our officers have succumbed to his injuries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): It is clear that the Capitol's under some threat.
LT. RICHARD ZIMMERMAN, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE HOMICIDE OFFICER: Putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The week filling in gaps of what happened on May 25th, 2020.
DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER (voice-over): Got to control this guy because he's a sizeable guy.
CHARLES MCMILLIAN, EYEWITNESS: I feel helpless.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Fully vaccinated Americans can now celebrate indoors without a mask and get back to traveling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): We need to hold out just a bit longer and give vaccines a chance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The doomsday scenario could be the rise of a variant that is completely insensitive to the vaccines.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell.
AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Amara Walker in today for Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: So, this morning, there are new questions about security around the U.S. Capitol. This is weeks after barbed wire fencing and barricades were removed.
WALKER: U.S. Capitol police officer William Evans was killed Friday after a man rammed his vehicle into a barricade outside the Capitol, hitting Evans and another officer. Evans was an 18-year U.S. Capitol police veteran. The second officer remains in the hospital.
BLACKWELL: Now, police say the driver was Noah Green. He was 25 years old. He was shot and killed by police after exiting the car and running towards officers, they say with a knife. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered flags at the Capitol to -- Capitol to be flown at half-staff. President Biden said he and the First Lady are heartbroken.
WALKER: Officer Evans is the second U.S. Capitol police officer to be killed in the line of duty this year, in the last three months really. Officer Brian Sicknick died one day after getting injured in the January 6th Capitol riot.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Joe Johns is following all of this from Capitol Hill. Joe, what have you learned overnight?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you this. The intense security here at the United States Capitol Complex continues. As I was coming in, I saw busloads of D.C. National Guard personnel offloading and heading into the office buildings where they have been staging since January 6th in the big riot here at the Capitol, but now there is a new concern.
The first concern of course is about the two officers who confronted the suspect around 1:00 o'clock yesterday Eastern time here at the Capitol Complex. Officer Billy Evans, as you reported, was killed, an 18-year veteran of the force. The other officer was injured. We are told by the police he's in stable condition at this time at a local hospital.
So, the details are very simple, very sad and tragic. The details are that this individual rammed the police barricade on the east front of the United States Capitol around 1:00 P.M. Eastern time. At that time, he emerged from the car, apparently charged the officers with a knife. One of the officers shot him and the suspect, Noah Green, was killed.
The picture that is emerging of the suspect is unusual. He sounds delusion. From his social media postings, officials say, there are some indications that he was a follower or at least fixated on the teachings of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Apparently, he had recently lost his job. No other details.
The big picture, of course, the concern here at the United States Capitol, is that question that has been asked again and again after incidents here about how you protect and keep open this symbol of democracy when people see it as a target.
JOHNS: Back to you.
WALKER: Exactly. That is the big question, Joe, and we know just recently the barbed wire fencing around the Capitol perimeter was just removed after it was put up following that January 6th insurrection. What kind of conversation is happening right now regarding increasing security and might we see something more permanent?
JOHNS: Right. There is a larger conversation about increasing security here which of course would limit the access of people to the building. The question is what form that takes because a lot of people see the fencing that did exist as ugly for an otherwise very beautiful and scenic location here in Washington D.C. The question is how you secure it permanently and make it suitable for other Americans to come to this building, as they have over the decades and even a century and more.
BLACKWELL: Joe Johns there for us at Capitol Hill. Joe, we'll check back later this morning. Thank you.
WALKER: And we are now hearing from several lawmakers and officials following the attack, many of them haunted by the memories of the Capitol riots less than three months ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
YOGANANDA PITTMAN, ACTING CHIEF, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: My name is Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman for the United States Capitol police. It is with a heavy heart that I come here this afternoon to shed some light on the incident that occurred at the United States Capitol. It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of officers has succumbed to his injuries.
REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D-NY): I don't have words to express how thankful I am of those police officers that are there and put their lives on the line every single day so that we can be safe.
I know that on January 6th, I spoke to some of them. I know many of them. They're friends of ours. They speak to us. They're nice people and they take care of us and I could -- I have no words to express how grateful I am and I'm sure all the members of Congress are and our staff for their security. Our heart goes to them and we must do better for them and their safety.
REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Let me extend my deep condolences to the family of William Evans, the Capitol police officer who passed away after sustaining injuries at the Capitol. We are deeply saddened by this.
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I think it's taking a toll. When I -- when I was coming back in my office, I was in an elevator and there was an officer there and it was clear he was very shaken up. I mean, he lost one of his colleagues. That family's life is never going to be the same. The officers who knew him are never going to be the same. So, it has taken, I think, a toll on them emotionally. There is huge pressure on them to keep us safe.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WALKER: Yes. Just heartbreaking that we're talking about, yet another death of a U.S. capitol police officer. Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow to talk about all of this. He's a corporate security consultant and former secret service agent. Good morning to you, Jonathan. Let's start with security because I think that's on the front of that many people's minds right now and I was just mentioning with Joe Johns the barricades around the U.S. Capitol.
They were removed less than a month ago and Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett said in a memo to Congress, this was about two weeks ago, quote, "There does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing." I know Mitch McConnell also said that he didn't like it as well. I mean, is it fair to ask if authorities missed something?
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, listen I think that, you know, absent of like having all of the evidence that led up to this event, all of the social media around the individual, it's hard to say whether or not there was an intelligence issue here that we missed a signal, but what it actually speaks to is the fact that while there's no credible, direct threat to the -- to the U.S. Capitol, there is an elevated level of a persistent threat and that's what we have to think about.
The world that we live in has drastically changed since January 6th. We have to accept the fact that we have a new threshold of threat that we face every single day. Yesterday was a great example of the threats that are dynamic, unpredictable, unknown that can present themselves at any time around the U.S. Capitol and other critical sites. We have to be mindful of that and we have to build a security structure to not only withstand, you know, moments like an insurrection on January 6th, but also these individual lone wolf attacks to the U.S. capitol.
WALKER: Yes. I want to talk more about the investigation and the social media posts in just a bit, but just a little bit more on the security because you mentioned that now there is this persistent threat against the Capitol.
And look, you know, like I was saying, they removed the barbed wire fencing. Also, the U.S. National Guards troops, they were deployed and then sent home recently, although I think there's a few thousand that still remain. What kind of security posture might we see, and will it be permanent as a result?
WACKROW: This is the real struggle, right? We want to make sure that the People's House -- that we have access to the People's House, but we don't want to go and over index on security measures with barbed wire fencing and, you know, complete restriction. So, what you have to do is you have to fully understand what that threat environment is and put into place the mitigation against those threats that is a balance of people, process and technology.
WALKER: But what is mitigation? Is that more fencing? I mean ...
WACKROW: Yes, it is. It's actually -- so it's a combination. It doesn't need to be the fencing that we saw that went up in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection. Listen, the White House has fencing.
WACKROW: It has tens of thousands of visitors come to it every year. So, there is a -- there is a balance of how do you apply the appropriate level of security while maintaining access to the symbol of our nation. So ...
WALKER: Yes. And just 20 ...
WACKROW: ... there's a way ...
WALKER: And sorry, Jonathan. Don't want to cut you off there, but I need to because I do want to get to the investigation angle.
WALKER: Just 20 seconds there. You know, what are they looking at right now, especially with officials saying that they don't believe this is terrorism related?
WACKROW: Well, right now, not terrorism related, but let's look at the other motivational factors that could have been a -- contributed to this event. So, they're going to -- the investigators are now looking at all of the individual's social media that we have reported, they're starting to talk to all known associates of this individual, the family members to try to piece together why did this happen?
What triggered this individual to go ram a vehicle into officers and then into this barricade, get out of a vehicle with a knife and attack a Capitol police officer? What was that -- what was that mind set at the moment? Was he attacking the symbol of democracy? Was he attacking and lashing out at law enforcement? Again, we don't know right now, but, you know, the investigative process is going to look at all of the digital footprint of this individual, what influencers, you know, he may have had that could have caused this.
Again, you know, we're hearing that, you know, this individual may have suffered from paranoia and delusion.
WACKROW: Was this, you know, untreated mental illness that, you know, could have been a contributing factor? Again, there's a lot unknown. What we do know is unfortunately we lost another Capitol police officer ... WALKER: Right.
WACKROW: ... and again, people who were victimized on January 6th from that attack, yesterday felt that pain once again and were re- victimized.
WALKER: The trauma of it all. Jonathan Wackrow ...
WALKER: ... we appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
WACKROW: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Let's go to North Carolina now where seven people have been shot, three of them are dead. It's Wilmington where this happened. Police say the call came in around midnight. Officers arrived. They found the seven people there in one place shot. They say there was a house party at that location at the time. So far, no one has been arrested, but police say there is no danger to the community.
The CDC has issued new guidelines and guidance for fully vaccinated people. They cover everything from travel to family gatherings. We'll tell you what this means for you this Easter weekend.
WALKER: Plus, emotional, gripping testimony this week in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. What Chauvin's supervisor had to say about his actions, coming up.
BLACKWELL: As states relax coronavirus restrictions, there's some good news on the vaccines. New numbers from the CDC show that close to 40 percent of American adults have received at least the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
WALKER: But new COVID cases in the U.S. are on the rise. More than 68,000 new cases were reported Friday with around half the states seeing increases in the past week and despite that, several states are continuing to move forward with reopening plans. California plans to bring back indoor gatherings and events like weddings and concerts with some limitations on capacity starting April 15th.
BLACKWELL: Now, there's one state that's seeing an alarming surge in cases. That's Michigan and that's where we find CNN's Polo Sandoval this morning. Polo, the officials there say the virus is spreading among children, plus the first case of the variant as well. Tell us about that.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor and Amara. Michigan continues to remind us that the pandemic is still far from over, especially when you consider their metrics. About a month and a half ago, the average number of new cases was about 1,000. I checked this morning, now over 5,800 a day. That is deeply concerning for health officials. You mentioned right now younger people certainly at least one of the reasons why those numbers continue to increase according to local health officials, but also, according to the governor, these new variants.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
SANDOVAL (voice-over): First, the promising news, the total number of people who have been administered at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine exceeded 100 million yesterday and shots, they're going into arms at a seven-day average rate of about 3 million a day, touts the White House. The CDC is also out with much anticipated guidance announcing that roughly 18 percent of Americans that are fully vaccinated should feel safe while traveling, eliminating some testing and quarantine recommendations.
The CDC also issued guidance saying it's safe for vaccinated people to gather indoors this Easter. The rest are still advised to keep celebrations outside and within the household, but with more than three quarters of the country still not fully protected by a vaccine, CDC director Rochelle Walensky is still advising against non-essential travel.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: And while we believe that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves, CDC is not recommending travel at this time due to the rising number of cases.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): And that's what worries health officials, especially with the increasing number of viral variants. This week, Michigan confirmed its first patient infected with the mutation of the virus first reported in Brazil, but it's the dreaded B117 variant that has Michigan hospitals dealing with another patient spike.
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We haven't abandoned our protocols, it's just that we've got a higher proportion of variants and part of that is people getting tired, there's fatigue and there's variants and there's more travel and that's some of what the story is here for sure.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): That's Michigan's governor who says in her state, young people are among those fueling Michigan's latest surge. This infectious disease expert agrees.
PROF. WILLIAM HASELTINE, PRESIDENT, ACCESS HEALTH INTERNATIONAL: The majority of people going to hospitals, not just getting infected, going to hospitals are under 60 and many of them are between 30 and 20. So this is not what was happening before. It's a different virus, more transmissible, more lethal and more dangerous to the young.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Michigan, joined by New Jersey and New York on the list of states with the highest COVID infection rate per capita. Kansas, California and Arkansas have the lowest as the race between vaccines and variants picks up speed. (END VIDEO TAPE)
SANDOVAL: Back here in Michigan, the governor is deeply concerned about spring break travel and people who are currently on the road, recommending them that they possibly remain at home for about a week after their return or possibly also continue to learn from school as well for children and also to get vaccinated. Some important developments that we expect on Monday as vaccine eligibility, they expect, will be expanded to people all -- or all people 60 and above.
WALKER: Yes. What's happening there in Michigan is quite concerning. Polo Sandoval, thank you very much and be sure ...
SANDOVAL: Thanks, Amara.
WALKER: ... to tune in this afternoon when Dr. Anthony Fauci joins "NEWSROOM" with Jim Acosta. They'll talk more about these new guidelines and what they mean for you and your family in the weeks and months ahead. That's 5:00 P.M. Eastern right here on CNN.
BLACKWELL: In the Derek Chauvin murder trial, a top Minneapolis detective testified against his former colleague. Hear what he said and why it could be so influential on that jury.
WALKER: The first week of the Derek Chauvin murder trial ended with potentially damaging testimony from Minneapolis' most senior police officer.
BLACKWELL: A 35-year veteran of the force, he called Chauvin's use of force pinning George Floyd with his knee totally unnecessary. CNN's Josh Campbell reports on what has been a really emotional week of testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The family of George Floyd kneeling in protest Monday just hours before testimony would begin in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murdering their loved one. Prosecutors opened with the video that sparked a worldwide movement, capturing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck which they say killed him.
JERRY BLACKWELL, SPECIAL ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: You can believe your eyes, that it's a homicide, it's murder.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): Chauvin's attorney argued the video doesn't tell the whole story, that Floyd died of an underlying heart condition and ...
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: The ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl and the adrenaline flowing through his body.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): New video from the scene and emotional testimony seem to drive the prosecution's case, like from Charles McMillian, the man heard on body camera video pleading with Floyd to give in to police.
MCMILLIAN: I feel helpless. I don't have a mama either. I understand him.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): Also heard for the first time since the beginning of the trial, Chauvin himself on police body camera footage as he defends his treatment of Floyd to McMillian.
CHAUVIN (voice-over): Got to control this guy because he's a sizeable guy.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): Yes. And I thought -- I thought he didn't get in the car (ph) ...
CHAUVIN (voice-over): And it looks like -- looks like he's probably on something.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): Arguably the strongest testimony for the prosecution came from members of the Minneapolis police department. Sergeant David Pleoger, now retired, was the supervising officer on duty. He was asked if Chauvin followed police protocol.
STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTOR: Do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?
SGT. DAVID PLOEGER (RET.), CHAUVIN'S FORMER SUPERVISOR: Yes.
SCHLEICHER: What is it?
PLOEGER: When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint.
SCHLEICHER: And that was after he was handcuffed and, on the ground, and no longer resistant.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): The jury also heard from 35-year police veteran Richard Zimmerman who testified it was totally unnecessary for Chauvin to kneel on Floyd's neck after he'd been handcuffed, calling it deadly use of force.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you handcuff somebody, does that affect the amount of force that you should consider using?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How so?
ZIMMERMAN: Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down. CAMPBELL (voice-over): Chauvin's attorney attempted to undermine Zimmerman's credibility, arguing that Zimmerman is a detective, not a patrol officer.
NELSON: And it would not be within your normal role or job duties to do such a use of force analysis, right?
ZIMMERMAN: That's correct.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): During the week of testimony, a common emotion emerged from some of the eyewitnesses -- remorse. Christopher Martin was the cashier who suspected Floyd handed him a fake $20 dollar bill, an interaction that initiated the police response. The teenager was asked what he now feels about the encounter.
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, WITNESS: Disbelief and guilt.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): Why guilt?
MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill (ph), this could have been avoided.
CAMPBELL (voice-over): Josh Campbell, CNN, Minneapolis.
BLACKWELL: Let's bring in now Criminal Defense Attorney and CNN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson. Joey, good morning to you.
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Victor.
BLACKWELL: So let's start here with what I think was the most powerful testimony on the last day of the week, and that's from Minneapolis Police Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman, his assessment of Chauvin's use of force. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. RICHARD ZIMMERMAN, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: Putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time, it's just uncalled for. I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger, if that's what they felt. And that's what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: How effective is that from that person? 35-year veteran of the force with a jury?
JACKSON: I think it's everything, Victor, for the following reasons. I think we have to keep in mind what the charges are, right? The first count of the charges relates to second degree murder. What does that mean? It means that you were engaged in an assault, and that assault resulted in death.
So, what does this testimony have to do with that? Well, if you're indicating as a person who is the most senior officer, he's a lieutenant, he has the most seniority there and he's telling you that you don't do that. It's not permitted in the policies, regulations and procedures. It's not sanctioned by the department, you get your assault, because the officers should not be doing that in the first instance. If you get your assault and it results in death, bingo, you have your second-degree murder count.
Now, listen to some of the testimony he gave, Victor. In addition to that, he spoke about lying him down, that is Chauvin lying George Floyd down in a prone position, that face down, chest to the ground, eyes to the ground. He gave the invocation that is Zimmerman, the lieutenant, that you have to get the person up because it restricts breathing, and you lay them on his side. Well, if you're leaving him there, as Chauvin did for a prolonged period of time, and if you're trained every year that you're not to do so, that goes to a depraved heart, it goes to inhumanity, it goes to what are you doing. And that goes to the second count, which relates to the third-degree murder, it's depraved heart.
Finally, if you know the policies, you know the protocols, the directives, the regulation, the rules, and those rules indicate to you that you can do it, isn't it at least negligence, and that gets you manslaughter. And so, I think this witness spoke to all of the charges, the prosecutors laid out and was very damning, you know, to of course, the defendant in the case.
BLACKWELL: So, let's look at the defense, the cross examination from Eric Nelson, Chauvin's Defense Attorney, in which he asked Lieutenant Zimmerman, if a suspect can be a threat, once they wake up. Essentially, that he might not have been a threat at that moment, a present threat, but could have been a future threat if Derek Chauvin would have removed his knee or led up pressure. Do you think that was effective?
JACKSON: So, this is a pillar of the defense's -- really defense, right? What they're arguing is they're arguing number one, there was this crowd, it was unruly, and they were so preoccupied and concerned about the crowd, that, it led to the sustained knee to the neck. Of course, we know from the police body cams, it is no real concern about the crowd other than telling this step on the sidewalk.
To your point, the other pillar of their defense is the issue of, well, he could have regained consciousness and just gone crazy. But I think that's a judgment call. And the reality is that somebody is motionless for a prolonged period of time. What reasonable expectation might you have that they would regain consciousness and attack you?
And the other problem that cuts against that defense, Victor, was the paramedics came and they did what's called a load and go. That is they were concerned about the crowd too. But you know what they did because of that concern. They got George Floyd out of there. So they did that as paramedics. What not be a natural response to the officers to do as well to get him out of there when he's in a motionless state. And so you can make the argument he could regain consciousness, how credible that argument really is, really is problematic because he's not moving and you're not reassessing the condition. And so, I don't think that's a real viable argument for the defense.
BLACKWELL: So, we still haven't heard from, you know, medical experts. We heard from first responders, but we know that the state still has potentially more witnesses to put on the stand next week. Have you heard anything, as a criminal defense attorney, that would urge you to put your client if you were Derek Chauvin on the stand?
JACKSON: So, that's problematic for so many reasons. First of all, we've already heard from Derek Chauvin, he's given the indication of why he did it. Oh, he was going crazy. I had to get him under control, right? That was captured on body cam.
So, you have testimony on the record from your client indicating what his reasoning was. But think about putting him on the stand and think about how he could be savage. It's fair to say, sir, that you know the rules of the department, correct? And you know that you can't be putting your knee on the neck, you know that, and you get trained every year, right? And you're trained to do what to -- you know, to know what to do and not to do, correct? And you know you shouldn't be doing that.
And you also know, sir, that you need to reassess. And you were there for that period of time. Did you rethink what you were doing that he looked like he was struggling, that he looked like he was a danger? I mean, he would be and then all the other complaints that may have come up about him are also fair game, so he would be tattooed. And so, to this point, you have to be careful and do a risk analysis.
Yes, he could explain his actions. But would he really be able to explain what he did so effectively, that it outweighs the risk that he's going to be savaged by the prosecution? I think not. It's -- look, no one has a monopoly on, you know, really wisdom, Victor. Everyone does things the right way, but I think it's fraught with problems to present him on the stand.
BLACKWELL: All right, Joey Jackson, thank you very much. We will certainly tap in as we watch this trial continue starting back on Monday. Joey Jackson, thanks so much.
JACKSON: Thank you, Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right. Testimony this week, we know has been emotional. It's sometimes difficult to watch, for people to hear and relive for resources on how to protect your mental health during the trial. Visit CNN.com/impact.
WALKER: President Biden unveils his $2 trillion tax plan and infrastructure plan and it's immediately met with by Republicans vowing to fight it every step of the way. How the White House plans to win their support next.
[06:41:25] BLACKWELL: So just days after unveiling his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, President Biden will now turn his focus to building support for that massive bill.
WALKER: But it won't be easy. Republicans are united in their opposition and even some Democrats are skeptical. CNN's Jasmine Right joining us now live from the White House. And Jasmine, the President is planning to meet with Republicans next week. Is he hopeful at all that they'll get on board?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Amara, the President is optimistic about his chances of currying some Republican support where he said that he wants to meet with Republicans yesterday, that was Friday. Mitch McConnell offered the threat that he would fight his agenda every step of the way on Thursday. So, President Biden is still hoping that he can bring them over. Asked to respond to Leader McConnell -- excuse me -- Minority Leader McConnell's comments, President Biden looked outside of D.C.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Republicans argue that we don't need infrastructure, it need not -- they've been talking about the need for it for years now. If the Republicans decide that we need it but they're not going to pay for it, it just going to increase the deficit. I think the Republicans' voters are going to have a lot to say about whether we get a lot of this done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: So Amara, that last line was crucial, because President Biden is saying that look, while he wants Republicans to come over and support the bill, he is looking and relying on that pressure from Republican voters to support the bill and pressure lawmakers here in Congress. Now, this is a playbook that they use in the COVID relief bill, saying justifying the fact that they didn't have a Republican vote by saying that they had Republican voters outside of D.C. that support this bill.
And if you talk to those behind me in the White House, they'll tell you that Republicans want updates to their roads, updates to their bridges, water systems, and more importantly, they want jobs, all something that President Biden is proposing in this bill. So over the next few weeks, we will see President Biden really looking to curry that favor. He will be using those five designated Cabinet members, also to represent him here in Congress. But the question is going to be, will he actually get that support?
WALKER: Absolutely. Jasmine Wright, appreciate you, live there from the White House.
Let's talk more about this. And joining me now to discuss those challenges ahead for President Biden, CNN Political Commentator, Errol Louis, he's also political anchor for Spectrum News and host of the "You Decide Podcast". Errol, good morning, good to see you. So, yes, I mean, we just heard there from Jasmine Wright and her reporting, basically, Mitch McConnell saying that this is just a non- starter, he's going to fight it every step of the way, especially with this proposal to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to what, 28 percent. How is this all going to play out?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's interesting -- good morning, Amara -- very interesting. Mitch McConnell's recount trends, declaring upfront that he's not going to cooperate in any way, shape, or form. In some ways, it gets easier for Democrats to hang together, of where you might come up with Democrats who might have been a little skeptical about the size of the package or how it's being paid for, who don't like to raise taxes on corporations or anybody else.
But the reality is once, because of Mitch McConnell, the whole race, or I should say, the politics of the conversation are nationalized and are polarized. Individual Democrats realize that they've got to hang together and that it's more important to make President Biden succeed than to worry about any individual member of Congress and the politics of their local district.
And so, it makes it easier for the Democrats to hang together and I suspect we'll see a replay of what we just saw with the COVID relief bill. These are remarkably popular issues, that polls suggest that a majority, even if Republicans support. And so, if the Republicans want to stand on the sidelines and do nothing, they're really sort of making this a conversation just within the Democrats about whether or not and how this is going to get done.
WALKER: Yes. And you can see here, the top five Cabinet members that President Biden has enlisted to help push for his proposal. We heard from Biden yesterday basically saying, look, you know, the Republicans have been talking about the ailing infrastructure for such a long time. And if we could bring that graphic back up, I mean, this proposal includes billions of dollars to rebuild roads and bridges, public transportation, replaced led piping, investing in electric cars and charging stations. I mean, this is obviously a very ambitious plan. But Republicans have been complaining about America's failing infrastructure as well. So, have they offered up an alternative?
LOUIS: No, of course not. This is again, why the recalcitrance is not going to work in their favor. I mean, keep in mind, Amara, this is -- for those of us who do local news, this is a huge, big deal in every corner of the country that finally the new road is going to get built or finally (ph) the airports going to get redone. Or finally, we're going to get a decent rail system.
Folks have been reporting on this and talk about this and running on this. And the public has been asking for it for years and years and years. And so, the President is simply doing what is popular. And not surprisingly, the polls already reflected, he hasn't gotten through his first 100 days. The President Biden is much more popular in the public mind than the Republicans are. So, if you do what's popular, you give people what they want. And you have some skilled voices. Keep in mind, these are politicians who are part of the Cabinet who are going to go out there and sell this thing. I think it's going to really sort of line up for the Biden administration, they're going to have a very good chance to get this passed.
WALKER: Yes. And if you have friends, you know, who are from outside the U.S., you know, they will tell you our infrastructure is pretty bad. And if you've also traveled outside, you'll see that our infrastructure needs some updating.
Errol, seven (ph) Democrats, they're keeping open the possibility of passing the bill under the special budget rules requiring only 50 votes instead of 60. Is that a higher likelihood and how might that change the negotiations?
LOUIS Oh, yes, well, that's almost certain to happen, Amara, because they're not going to get a single Republican vote. But the politics seems to indicate what we saw with the COVID relief bill. I mean, look, if you can get a single Republican to vote for something like more vaccine, or vote for paying people who have been out of work to help them get back on their feet, you're certainly not going to get them to move forward on something like an ambitious rebuilding plan for the whole country. And rather than waste time doing that, what we're going to do is see this again become a democratic only kind of conversation.
And unlike some other issues, like raising the minimum wage, this is clearly about the budget. This is about taxing and spending, it falls clearly within budget reconciliation rules. All they need is a simple majority. They've got that by the skin of their teeth, and they know that if they're going to get it done, this will have to be the time that they do it because it will be a very close vote, but I suspect that's how they're going to try and frame this.
WALKER: Errol Louis, appreciate your time. Thank you.
LOUIS: Thank you, Amara.
BLACKWELL: The players of force Major League Baseball to take a stand and pull the all-star game out of Georgia over the state's new voting law. The catalyst and the fallout next.
BLACKWELL: So this is an historic move. Major League Baseball is moving its all-star game out of Georgia because of the state's new law that critics say suppresses voting.
WALKER: Yes, the game was set to take place at the Atlanta Braves Stadium in July. But Georgia Governor Brian Kemp did not back down saying baseball caved to fear political opportunism and liberal lies.
Andy Scholes is live in Indianapolis with more. Good morning, Andy. So where does baseball go from here?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, guys. Well now baseball's decide where to hold the game. They have not made an announcement yet and this is not the first time we've seen a sports league make a statement by pulling a game from a city back in 1993. The Super Bowl pulled from Arizona by the NFL after voters in that state failed to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday. Then in 2017, the NBA pulled the all-star game from Charlotte after the new transgender bathroom law.
This time around though Major League Baseball's Commissioner Rob Manfred saying in his statement that, "Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. Fair access to voting continues to have our games unwavering support". The Braves, meanwhile, very disappointed about this decision saying, "This was neither our decision, nor our recommendation. Atlanta has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community. Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision".
All right, to the NCAA Tournament, a shocker in the Women's Final Four last night in San Antonio. Arizona who came in as a 14-point underdog taking down UConn. They got up early, never looked back. The Wildcats win 69-59 handing UConn their fourth straight semi-final loss. Arizona now going to pay Stanford in the first ever All-Pac-12 championship game.
The Cardinal, meanwhile, winning a thriller against South Carolina. Final seconds of this game down by one. Gamecocks get the steal. Greville going to win the game, her layup though, no good. And Aliyah Boston had a chance to win it on a bloodbath (ph) but barely misses it as it buzzer. South Carolina just heartbroken. Stanford back in the title game for the first time since 2010 with the win.
And in the men's tournament tonight, an all-Texas matchup is going to have a father-son facing each other on the sidelines. Alvin Brooks Jr. is an assistant for Houston. His son Alvin the Third is an assistant at Baylor. So, whose mom going to be rooting for tonight?
ALVIN BROOKS JR., HOUSTON ASSISTANT COACH: Because Al's the son and he's the loved and beloved son, he always get preferential treatment. So whenever they have the ball, they're going to be cheering wildly for Baylor.
ALVIN BROOKS III, BAYLOR ASSISTANT COACH: I think she'll be wearing red, but we'll see.
SCHOLES: You see Baylor tips off just after a five Eastern tonight here in Indianapolis, that game followed by UCLA and Gonzaga. And if you're looking for someone to root for guys, go ahead and route for my Houston Cougars. We need all the help we can get against Baylor because everyone thinks it's going to be Baylor and Gonzaga in that championship game. But go Cougs (ph), here's hoping the Cougars pull off the upset tonight. If you can't tell --
BLACKWELL: You got it.
SCHOLES: -- I went to Houston.
BLACKWELL: I got it, I got it. Andy Scholes, thanks so much. We'll be right back
SCHOLES: All right.