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New Day Saturday

States, Businesses Drop Mask Mandates Following new CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Americans; President Biden Revokes Series of Trump-era Executive Orders; Rep. Liz Cheney Kicked out of GOP Leadership Team; Ten Palestinians Killed in West Bank Clashes with IDF; Former Matt Gaetz Associate Strikes Plea Deal; Judge Sets Federal Trial for 3 Former Officers Charged in George Floyd's Death for August 2. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired May 15, 2021 - 06:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Amara Walker in today for Christi Paul. For the first time in more than a year, Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus can go without masks this weekend, but as states and businesses drop mandates, confusion remains.

SANCHEZ: Plus, Congresswoman Liz Cheney speaking up after getting kicked out of her party's leadership. Hear what she is saying about the big lie and why she thinks some Republicans voted against impeaching former President Trump.

WALKER: And a former associate of Matt Gaetz agrees to plead guilty and help investigators in that sprawling investigation surrounding the Florida congressman. The new details uncovered in the agreements.

SANCHEZ: And cleared to race after days of uncertainty and controversy. Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit is set to hit the track today. Can he pull out a second win?

It is Saturday, May 15th. We're so grateful that you are with us and we're grateful also to have a special visitor. Welcome. Good morning, Amara.

WALKER: Thank you. Great to be with you.

SANCHEZ: Of course. We're going to enjoy it today and millions of Americans are going to enjoy their first full weekend with loosened COVID restrictions in over a year, but of course there is confusion and concern, as there has been throughout this entire COVID pandemic. Some think the decision to lift mask mandates for fully vaccinated people may be too much too soon.

WALKER: Yes. That's right and the CDC says more than 155 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including about 2.4 million children under 18, but some experts have raised concerns about the new guidance, in part because vaccine hesitancy remains a barrier to achieving that goal of herd immunity.

SANCHEZ: Nearly every state has ended or plans to soon end mask mandates and while a growing number of retailers are telling customers they can leave the masks behind, unions representing grocery store workers and retail workers argue their members will now be forced to be vaccine police.

WALKER: CNN's Polo Sandoval joining us now. Good morning to you, Polo. So yes, the new guidelines ...


WALKER: ... on masks, they're an important step toward returning to normal, but the pandemic, as we know, is far from over and a lot of questions on whether the CDC is moving too fast.

SANDOVAL: And, you know, Amara and Boris, those headlines that you just shared with our viewers are things that we could have only imagined a year and a few months ago. So now we're at this point here where you have things like the first 12-year-olds or at least developments like the first 12-year-olds getting those COVID-19 vaccines, plus that CDC guidance that was just rolled out now suggesting that some Americans can remove their masks indoors.

So you consider all that and it's also looking like the fall semester this coming school year will resemble more of a pre-pandemic era.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): Several state governors and big retailers signal a return to normal on Friday in the U.S., a day after the CDC said it is safe for fully vaccinated people to remove their face masks in most settings.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: People who feel that -- which they should now base on the data -- that it is safe for them not only outdoors, but indoors, they should feel comfortable in not wearing a mask.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday the state, which recently battled a surge in coronavirus cases, will lift its mask requirement for fully vaccinated people effective this morning. Several states have already taken that step, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Vermont and Virginia ended their mask mandates yesterday.

That's after the CDC, on Thursday, changed its mask guidelines and said fully vaccinated people no longer need to keep their distance from others outside their household. Several national retailers followed suit. Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club and Trader Joe's announced Friday that they are no longer required to wear masks in some of their stores and public supermarkets announced that starting today, fully vaccinated customers will not be required to wear face masks in their stores. Starbucks will make facial coverings optional for vaccinated customers starting on Monday, the company announced late on Friday in a post to their website. The CDC trying to make things less confusing with this new list of mask guidelines.

There's at least one group still scrambling for answers -- parents of kids younger than 12. Children and educators should expect to return to school in person and full time in the fall. That's according to CDC director Rochelle Walensky, but children who are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 will still need to wear masks in the classroom this fall, said Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday.


FAUCI: What hasn't changed is what's going on for the unvaccinated group and if the unvaccinated group of the elementary school children, nothing has really changed for them. I think that's the thing we need to clarify.


SANDOVAL: Now, along with the roll-out of that revised guidance from the CDC, that agency also announcing that it will no longer be tracking some of those mild or asymptomatic breakthrough cases. So those are the kinds of cases obviously where those infections happen after people get vaccinated. We should mention out of that large percentage of the population that has already received their shots, that is only a tiny percentage. Boris.

SANCHEZ: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. Let's dig into all of these changes. We'll discuss with Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. He's an epidemiologist, a public health expert and a CNN contributor. Doctor, always a pleasure speaking with you. We appreciate your time this morning.

You tweeted out about the underlying strategy here from the CDC with lifting these mask restrictions. They're offering an incentive. So if you want to ditch your mask indoors, you can, but you have to get vaccinated. The problem comes when the unvaccinated lie. So how do you screen for that?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right, Boris. The real issue here is the free rider problem. How do you make sure that people are committed to the actual solution, which is, of course, getting a vaccination? And that's hard and what the CDC is doing here -- because of course the Biden administration has distanced itself from any sort of vaccine verification a while ago.

What the CDC is doing is in effect pushing this vaccine verification on to private institutions and they assume that enough institutions are going to say, well, look, if we're allowing people who are -- who are vaccinated to go without masks, then we've got to verify that people are, in fact, vaccinated unless, of course, we are willing to allow our place of business to be a place where there may be transmission. And so, pushing those institutions to have some sort of verification mechanism is, I think, part of the strategy that goes unsaid here and how to do that, I think that's a little bit difficult and the other challenge here is that while I do believe that the CDC's recommendation does follow the science, it has taken a lot of folks by surprise.

They didn't really foreshadow this at all and because of that, I think a lot of folks in institutions all over the country are now scrambling to ask, all right, how do we make sure that the people we're allowing to go mask-less really are vaccinated?

SANCHEZ: Well, I wanted to ask, doctor, with these institutions that are essentially now carrying this burden of verifying vaccines, how do you respond to those institutions that say they don't want to be the so-called vaccine police?

EL-SAYED: Well, you know, at this point, you really can't and I think that's part of that the challenge of this approach that the CDC took and the idea here is that if enough institutions that people who are unvaccinated and remain unvaccinated want to be a part of do, in fact, impose some sort of verification process, that it'll create a society- wide incentive to push vaccinations, but, again, we'll have to wait and see. We don't really know if that's going to take hold.

The other challenge here that I think Polo rightly mentioned in his reporting is that, well, look, I have a -- I have a three-year-old kid and my kid's obviously not vaccinated, me and my wife are, but my kid is going to want to do the things that me and my wife do and so, you know, per CDC guidelines, we're allowed to go mask-less, but at the same time, obviously we don't set a bad example for our daughter. So what do we do there?

And what are the circumstances if my daughter says, well, you guys aren't wearing one, I don't want to have to wear one? It's kind of hard, as much I spend my time explaining this stuff, to explain it to a three-year-old. So what do we do in those circumstances? That's another point that I think is going to be a challenge.

SANCHEZ: Yes. I wish you good luck on that end. If people have been resistant to comply with mask mandates, how do you think they might respond to having to verify that they've taken a vaccine?

EL-SAYED: Well, there has been a lot of pushback on this point exactly because of course this whole conversation about, quote-unquote, "vaccine passports" has been a bit ...


EL-SAYED: ... of a fire storm in the public debate. Now, I think what's going to happen is that a lot of private institutions are going to say, listen, we want to make sure that we're keeping everybody safe and so we're going to require, for you to come back to work or come eat at our establishment or some shop at our store or come enjoy our theme park, that you are going to have to show us that you've been vaccinated. I think if that happens and it becomes a norm enough, there will be pushback of course. but it's going to force people to make a choice and I think in the end. if you create enough incentive for people to get vaccinated, they will do so and it racks to the benefit of course for them, but also for their loved ones, for their family and our society at large.

In the end, we want to look back in the rear view at this pandemic, not be in a situation where, of course, we've got to put those masks back on because not enough people got vaccinated.


SANCHEZ: Right. And, doctor, very quickly, there is a way that this backfire. If there is a variant perhaps that emerges that is resistant to the vaccines, but given where we are right now, is that something that you see perhaps happening?

EL-SAYED: Well, the good news here is that the vaccines that we have on board have great coverage against all of the known variants of concern that are circulating. The worry, of course, is that if we can't get enough people vaccinated quickly enough, both in our country, but abroad, that we may have a variant that does emerge that can slip our vaccine read-out immunity.

And this is why it is so critical that we see ourselves as part of a global community or this, of course, has been a global pandemic and we've got people whether in Brazil or India or other countries in the world that are really struggling right now.

And it's got to be a responsibility of ours, as a country, to make sure that of course, for a humanitarian purpose, these people are getting vaccinated, but also for our own purposes, that they are not left liable to be infected and to be a nidus for that emergence of that variant that could put us all back in trouble.

SANCHEZ: Yes. It's especially hard to watch with nations like India suffering as much as they are, knowing that that problem can fester and lead to further problems down the line here. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, we have to leave it there. Always a pleasure, sir. Thank you.

EL-SAYED: Boris, thank you for having me. Good morning.

SANCHEZ: Of course. A quick programing note. You will not want to miss a new CNN film that shows how we got vaccines for COVID-19, the moon shot. It is the "RACE FOR THE VACCINE" premiering tonight at 9:00 P.M. Eastern right here on CNN.

WALKER: All right. Air strikes in Gaza and rocket fire on Israel continuing overnight and the death toll keeps rising. We will go live to the region ahead this hour.

SANCHEZ: Plus, President Biden just canceled the Garden of American Heroes that Trump wanted. We'll tell you the other executive orders that he's revoking next.




WALKER: President Biden just revoked several Trump-era executive orders, including one that required migrants applying for visas to either have health insurance or the money to pay for medical care.

SANCHEZ: Let's get over to CNN's Jasmine Wright from the White House. Good morning, Jasmine. Walk us through what Biden is doing with Trump's executive orders.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, it's a rejection of former President Trump, Boris and Amara. That is the impact of reversing these Trump-era EOs that the White House sees as harmful or, frankly, irrelevant and that effort really started President Biden's first day in office when he rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, when he revoked that Muslim travel ban and it continues now five months later as they reverse these six Trump-era EOs, reversed or revoked really.

And let's kind of get into what they all encompass. They range from immigration, revoking an EO that allowed the government to deny immigrants a visa unless they can prove they can obtain health insurance. That never went into effect because it was blocked by a federal judge.

Biden rolled back an EO that protected national monuments, an action that President Trump -- former President Trump took after people began defacing Confederate monuments during the protests to show that he did not approve of the action.

And an executive order that would have built a park called the National Garden of Heroes. That's with statues of people like Whitney Houston, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Albert Einstein, but was never funded. So while these executive orders didn't necessarily have a great impact, they did show a window into President Trump's political agenda and this is something that the Biden administration is rejecting.

And last year, President Trump even signed an executive order about online censorship after Twitter began labeling his tweets as false or misleading. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One egregious example is when they try to silence views that they disagree with by selectively applying a factcheck, factcheck, F-A-C-T, factcheck. What they choose to fact check and what they choose to ignore or even promote is nothing more than a political activism group or political activism and it's inappropriate. You look at what's happened, you look at where they're going, where they're coming from, I think you all see it yourselves.


WRIGHT: So yes, now that executive order has also been rolled back and of course President Trump is no longer on Twitter, but these executive orders being revoked, rolled back, reversed all really exist as a symbolic rebuke to President Trump, his agenda, often the Biden administration -- this is something that President Biden campaigned on and is now following through, Amara.

WALKER: All right. Jasmine Wright, thank you so much. The biggest story out of Washington this week is Congresswoman Liz Cheney getting kicked out of the GOP leadership team in the House. Her number three role now belonging to Trump loyalist Elise Stefanik. The representative from Wyoming is taking a leading role in speaking out against the former president's election lies, warning of a, quote, "collapse of truth in the United States."

In an interview with our colleague, Jake Tapper, Cheney says there is a fight to save the GOP and that many Republicans are afraid of speaking out against Trump.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I also think that you have more members who believe in substance and policy and ideals than are willing to say so and in some cases, I mean, if you look at the vote to impeach, for example. You know, there were members who told me that they were afraid for their own security, afraid, you know, in some instances, for their lives.


SANCHEZ: Congresswoman Cheney was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach then President Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol Hill attack.

WALKER: And now there is a disturbing trend among some House Republicans to downplay or even denying the violence we all saw with our very own eyes on January 6th.


And this attempt to rewrite history is adding new urgency for an independent commission to set in stone the facts of that day.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And it looks like there's finally a bipartisan deal that is going to make that happen. Listen.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): We owe this to the men and women who put their lives on the line. I'm excited about it. It's been a tough slough to get us to this point. We gave a lot, but it's bipartisan, we put a equal number of Democratic members as well as Republican recommendation. So we tried to take the politics out of it because the public deserves nothing less.


SANCHEZ: And Congressman Thompson of course helped negotiate that deal. Let's get to Capitol Hill and CNN's Daniella Diaz. Daniella, some concessions on both sides for this commission. Kevin McCarthy, though, has yet to sign off on it.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Boris, that's right. Look, this is huge news that came out of the House this week. You know, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, who you had just played a clip from him, and a ranking member of the committee, John Katko, reached a deal on this 9/11 style commission that would investigate the events of the insurrection on January 6th.

You know, this is a huge breakthrough. This comes after months of stalled negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Now, I kind of want to go over what's going to be part of this commission. We're expecting this commission to include a 10-member panel, half appointed by Democratic congressional leaders, including the chair, and half by Republicans, including a vice chair.

The panel would also have the power to issue subpoenas if they are signed off by both the chair and the vice chair. The chair is going to be a Democrat, the vice chair is going to be a Republican and the commission would be tasked with issuing a final report by the end of this year, making it a quick timeline for the panel to put out its final product.

You know, this is huge news. Both sides had to make concessions on this issue and you mentioned that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had not been aware of the deal or he had said that he was still looking at it and had not signed off on it yet, but we're expecting the House to vote on this anyway next week. Pelosi announced that that would happen as well as a $2 billion supplemental funding bill that would increase capital securities.

So bottom line here is that this is a huge breakthrough on these negotiations to form a 9/11 style commission to investigate the events of the insurrection. You know, it was unclear for awhile if it was actually going to happen and now it's very clear this is going to happen, Boris, Amara.

WALKER: All right. Daniella Diaz on Capitol Hill. Thank you so much for your reporting. Let's talk more about this and bring in CNN political commentator Errol Louis to discuss. He's also a political anchor for "Spectrum News" and host of the "You Decide" podcast. Good morning to you, Errol. Always good to see you.

So yes, let's start with the great news, I guess, right? Finally we're seeing a bipartisan bill to create this commission on January 6th, but we saw that jaw-dropping speech from Congressman Louie Gohmert just yesterday wrongly, falsely claiming that the insurrectionists were not armed when they took, you know, fire extinguishers and what not to attack the Capitol Hill police, but a number of Republicans are also trying to rewrite history, as we've been saying. You know, of course some are trying to take the politics out of this 9/11 style commission, but I mean, how much hope do you have in it that we'll actually see them digging into the facts?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Amara. I don't have a lot of confidence in the usefulness of the final product. Of course we're committed to truth. As journalists, we're committed to the facts wherever they may be and however inconvenient they may be. Not everybody feels the same way, however, and the deeply political nature of this commission, both its origin and its structure, suggests that, yes, at the end of it, there'll be one day, two day, three days perhaps if we're lucky of real focused attention on the facts as we know them.

On the other hand, that leaves the Louie Gohmerts of Congress 180 days over the next six months to tell lie after lie, to distort all of what went on there and so to the extent that this is going to end up being sort of an argument rather than a true fact-finding mission, unfortunately it puts us right back where we started, which is conflicting views of the facts that we all saw and, therefore, a deeply compromised final product.

WALKER: Yes. If it's supposed to be a fact-finding mission, you would hope that both sides will first agree on the facts before they move forward, right? Let's talk about Congresswoman Liz Cheney. You know, as we were saying, she was stripped of her leadership position this week for basically telling the truth and pushing back against Trump's big lie.


She told our Jake Tapper that former president -- that the former president may try, but he won't succeed in purging truth-tellers about the election like her from the Republican party, although that's exactly what happened to her, and she's talked about having this lofty goal to restore the GOP, that she's going to lead in that, but when you hear her say some GOP members voted against impeachment out of fear for their lives, I mean, are her goals even attainable?

LOUIS: Well, you know, it's very interesting and, you know, far be it from me to interfere with the canonization of Liz Cheney, but she went along with all of the outrageous lies, all of the outrageous actions taken by President Trump year after year after year.

The fact that it's now coming back to haunt her, that she too is being led down the same path as, you know, Reince Priebus and other chiefs of staff and cabinet members who were ritually stripped of power, humiliated, fired, lies told about them, in some cases subjected to the threat of legal action by that same president.

I'm not sure what anybody thought they were going to get from Donald Trump that they couldn't have seen in 2015, 2016, all throughout his presidency, all throughout the campaign that led to that failed presidency. They knew -- they knew exactly what they were getting, they knew the risks that they were taking or at least they said they did and we now know beyond any doubt where this leads to, at least to what we saw on January 6th.

So, listen, I'm hopeful, I guess, that our system will continue to function as it's supposed to, meaning those within the Republican party who want to try and take it in a different direction will have to stand up and do it, but it's at a much higher cost, at much greater risk, including physical safety and all of that is part of the tragedy that Liz Cheney and others could have avoided years ago by standing up when it really counted, not after they see the full measure of what complicity with Donald Trump would lead to.

WALKER: Yes. And it really is incredible, the grip that Trump still has on the party. Marjorie Taylor Greene also back in the headlines, Errol, this week for allegedly harassing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Capitol Hill and, you know, CNN obtained a since- deleted video from 2019 showing that even before she was elected to Congress, Greene clearly saw AOC as a target. Here's what AOC said about that. Listen.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): This is woman that's deeply unwell and clearly needs some help.


WALKER: She clearly needs some help. She's questioning her, I guess, mental status or emotional status. What are your thoughts?

LOUIS: Well, they should probably help her out of the building frankly. She is not a legislator, she's been stripped of all her committee assignments, she has nothing to offer where that's concerned. You know, it's closer to sort of a side show, the kind of thing that you'd see at a carnival. Marjorie Taylor Greene, always good for headlines, good for a couple of laughs, a dangerous presence to the extent that any one takes her seriously.

I'm not sure any true legislators do, but when they stir up the kind of physical danger that she's been sort of playing around with against Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and others, that's where, you know, you really do have to make a decision and Nancy Pelosi has, in fact, sounded some warnings that, if it goes too far, the side show will be put to an end and she can, in fact, be expelled from Congress.

It's something that people should really be thinking seriously about to the extent that, again, this side show continues because Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn't have much else to offer to Congress or the United States.

WALKER: And just watching the video without the audio of MTG, you know, trying to talk through that mail slot, I mean, you don't need the audio to shake your head at some of the shenanigans that have been going on on Capitol Hill. Errol Louis, appreciate your time as always. Thank you so much.

LOUIS: Thank you, Amara. SANCHEZ: At least 139 people killed in Gaza overnight as fighting continues between Israelis and Palestinians. We'll take you to the region for a live report next.



WALKER: This morning, ceaseless rocket fire from Gaza as the Israeli military bombards Gaza around the clock. Right now, there's no end in sight for the deadly conflict, the worst in the area in years.

SANCHEZ: Let's get straight to Nic Robertson, he is along the Israel- Gaza border. Nic, this week, there were some confusion over exactly what Israeli defense forces were doing on the ground in Gaza. What are you learning? What are you seeing now?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, Boris, I'll give you an idea of what I'm seeing, I'll just step out of the way. In the last couple of minutes, you can see those white puffs, the little, small white clouds in the air, those are intercepts from the Israeli defensive iron dome system intercepting rockets fired from Gaza. And I can see on the other side of the camera, which is where Gaza is, I was able to see traces of rockets that were flying out. And we know in the last few minutes, we saw the rockets flying up here, we've seen intercepts up here in the sky here, and we know at the same time, that in Tel Aviv and places close to Tel Aviv, sirens have been sounding all in the last few minutes, we were able to see some fighter jets in the sky a little earlier.

It was relatively quiet for a period this morning, small explosions going off, that's iron dome intercept missiles being fired into the sky to target those rockets. It was relatively quiet this morning. What's behind me on the hill side of the Israeli artillery positions, they weren't firing last night. The night before according to Israeli defense forces, they were firing hundreds of artillery rounds into northern Gaza.


In Gaza itself, there was a young child, a baby, pulled from the rubble of a three-story house, the sole survivor from a family there. What we hear from the Palestinian medical authorities there in Gaza, 139 people killed so far, 39 of them they say are children, 22 of them they say are women. And they also say that a thousand people have been injured so far. So these rockets that we've just been witnessing, standing right here, witnessing them fly out of Gaza, appear to be headed towards Tel Aviv. Is this going to be what we're going to see through the rest of today? Quite possibly because that's how -- that's how it was yesterday.

But on a scale from the previous 48 hours to 24 hours to today, on a scale of number of rocket attacks, they have been slowing, 2,000 rockets fired from -- fired from Gaza, according to Israeli defense forces. And you can see the skies at night illuminate with the defensive systems taking down those rockets. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Over Gaza, the fury of war frozen. Hamas rockets tear towards Israel's Iron Dome, defensive tentacles. On the ground, fear. Families flee sheltering in U.N.-designated safe havens, schools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are targeting our homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We stayed together at home with a group of children. Suddenly, we heard artillery hitting us from every side. Wherever we looked it was hitting. We and our children are completely exhausted.

ROBERTSON: The toll, deaths and destruction climbing on both sides. At Gaza's border, tanks, troops, armored personnel carriers on standby. Iron Dome intercepts overhead, a background beat of war.

(on-camera): And that's just firing here, and that means what's being -- we are being -- this location is being targeted. So we are going to move swiftly for cover.

(voice-over): Not enough troops here for a ground incursion, but getting their job done according to Israel's Prime Minister.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): I said that we would strike Hamas and the other terrorist organizations very hard. And we are doing just that. In the last 24 hours, we have attacked underground targets. Hamas thought it could hide there, but it cannot hide there.

ROBERTSON: Away from Gaza, red Friday prayers in the venerated Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, tensions mounting, worshippers angry over Palestinians suffering, clashing with Israeli police. Across the West Bank, confrontations continuing throughout the day. Indirectly, Hamas managing to turn Gaza's suffering to their advantage.

ABU OBEIDA, HAMAS SPOKESPERSON (through translator): If it comes to responding to your aggression and claiming victory for our people and our sanctities, there are no red lines. Sacred rules of engagement are complicated calculations.

ROBERTSON: What's lacking here is diplomacy. No off-ramp in sight. The suffering spurring increasing international calls for an end to the violence, but nothing to show for it yet.


ROBERTSON: And Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday said that he thanked President Biden for his support, the right of Israel to respond to those rockets fired from Gaza. He thanked as well the British, the French, the Germans, the Austrians as well. So, you get the impression from Prime Minister Netanyahu that he feels he still has political diplomatic space to continue targets -- targeting and attacking where he sees appropriate in response to these attacks. So today, it seems another round of rockets, another round of sirens going off in Israel and another round of air force activity and Iron Dome activity intercepting those rockets.

SANCHEZ: And no sign of a de-escalation yet. Nic Robertson reporting from the Israeli-Gaza border, thank you.

WALKER: A former close confidant of Congressman Matt Gaetz strikes a deal with federal prosecutors. So, what could that mean for him. That's next.



WALKER: Coming up on 45 minutes past the hour, top stories we're following for you. The city of Columbus, Ohio, has reached a $10 million settlement with the family of Andre Hill, a black man fatally shot by a police officer last December.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the settlement is the highest amount the city has ever agreed to pay, and it's going to be voted on by the Columbus City Council on Monday. In addition to that settlement, the city also agreeing to rename a municipal gym after Hill.

WALKER: At a press conference Friday, Hill's daughter said the settlement was only the first step and not full justice for her father Andre Hill.

SANCHEZ: A judge has scheduled three former Minneapolis police officers to stand trial in federal court on August 2nd. These three were indicted last week in connection with the death of George Floyd, alleging they violated his constitutional rights according to court documents. The federal trial is going to happen months before the three men are due in state court where they're accused of aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.


WALKER: Police say a Bengal tiger is still at large somewhere in the Houston area. And the man last seen with the big cat is now behind bars. Victory Hugo Cuevas was taken into custody Friday, after a county judge revoked his bond on a separate unrelated murder charge from 2017. Cuevas' lawyer says his client is not the tiger's owner. And return the cat Sunday night, but police have yet to verify any additional individuals of interest. Investigators believe the tiger has been moved to as many as eight different locations since Sunday.

SANCHEZ: If ever the world needed Joe Exotic, the time is now.

WALKER: Right.

SANCHEZ: An update for you on a case that implicates Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz. A close confidant of Gaetz has struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors over sex trafficking charges.

WALKER: Joel Greenberg plans to plead guilty to six federal charges including a count of sex trafficking of a child according to a new court filing. Gaetz has yet to be charged in the investigation and denies he did anything wrong. But CNN Paula Reid has more on why this latest development could be trouble for the Florida lawmaker.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning Boris and Amara. Joel Greenberg, the former Florida tax collector has struck a deal with prosecutors where he agrees to cooperate fully with them and plead guilty to six criminal charges including sex trafficking of a minor. As part of this plea agreement, he admits to having sex with the minor at least seven times while she was under age. Now, Greenberg's close associate Congressman Matt Gaetz is not mentioned at all in this 80-page plea agreement, Congressman Gaetz has not been charged with a crime and he is denied any wrongdoing.

But CNN has learned that the congressman is under federal criminal investigation of allegations of prostitution, sex trafficking and possibly having sex with a minor. And as part of this agreement, Greenberg has agreed to cooperate in any ongoing federal investigations. And one of the most important lines from this plea agreement is where Greenberg plans to admit in court that he introduced a child to other adult men who engaged in commercial sex acts with the minor, and depending on who he exactly refers to in that sentence, that could potentially be problematic for Congressman Gaetz.

Now, the congressman, even though he's not mentioned here and certainly hasn't been charged, there are other reasons that he should be concerned about Greenberg's cooperation. CNN knows that for about a year now, Greenberg has been giving investigators information about instances where Greenberg and Gaetz exchanged sex for money and gifts with women. Now, in this plea agreement, Greenberg admits to spending $70,000 in 150 different transactions, giving women money for sex. He did this through different accounts including Venmo here where he would label these transactions things like school, food and ice cream.

That's only unusual, but it also tracks with CNN's reporting. We have actually reviewed similar transactions where Gaetz and Greenberg have paid at least one woman, following a so-called sex parties. Now, we could learn more about what Greenberg is going to tell investigators more about this plea deal when Mr. Greenberg appears in federal court in Orlando on Monday. Boris, Amara.

SANCHEZ: Paula Reid, thank you for that. In sports, despite a failed drug test, Derby winner Medina Spirit will race in the Preakness Stakes today but without a key piece to his success. Details ahead.



WALKER: Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit will be allowed to race at the Preakness Stakes today.

SANCHEZ: Let's get to Coy Wire. Coy, not only has Medina Spirit been cleared, it's the early favorite to win the Preakness.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, good morning to you Boris and Amara. Medina Spirit indeed the favorite, cleared to start today's race in Baltimore. The middle jewel of the Triple Crown after passing the final two of three drug tests yesterday. Those were required by the Maryland jockey club in Maryland Racing Commission as a condition for entering the Preakness after the horse had tested positive for restricted anti-inflammatory at Churchill Downs two weeks ago. Derby officials still determining whether that win will stand.

Now, the horse's trainer Bob Baffert opting not to be at the race today. Baffert is undefeated at the Preakness with a derby winner, post time, 6:50 Eastern. And Lakers legend Kobe Bryant will officially become a hall of famer today. It's a little more than 15 months after his death, the hall of fame also unveiling a new exhibit designed with the help from his widow Vanessa dedicated to the Mamba, both the player and the father. The five-time NBA champ headlines one of the most decorated classes of all time alongside fellow five-time champ Tim Duncan, 15-time All-Star Kevin Garnett and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings. Kobe will be inducted by his mentor and dear friend Michael Jordan.

Now, one of Kobe's star pupils Sabrina Ionescu ripping the black Mamba jersey ahead of the WNBA season opener last night, and last year's number one pick making Kobe proud. Liberty-fever tied in the final seconds, Ionescu says give me that ball, I'm going to win this thing, and she does. Look at this, the game winner from behind the odds, waiting for the buzzer. She said afterwards that she wanted that ball in her hands, that's the Mamba mentality.


SABRINA IONESCU, GUARD, NEW YORK LIBERTY: Being able to just watch, you know, his legacy lives on through all of us. Everyone that was close to him and everyone that he touched, it's amazing to see how that's going to continue to live on in young girls, boys, people everywhere.


And so, I'm super excited to go and see that, you know, no one is more deserving.


WIRE: You know, Ionescu said Boris and Amara, that she 100 percent envisioned hitting a game winner, visualizing something that was huge for Kobe, something she learned from Kobe. It should be a very emotional induction ceremony later today.

SANCHEZ: Yes, you're absolutely right. And it is a historic class. You've got Tim Duncan, K.G. on there, obviously, all of them overshadowed by Kobe Bryant, though.

WIRE: Yes, indeed. And you know, Michael Jordan says I'm kind of nervous about this because he's afraid he's going to become another crying meme as we've seen on the internet --


But he said, you know what? I'm not ashamed of that because it's for someone I love.

SANCHEZ: Know, yes, worthwhile too. Coy Wire, thank you so much.

WALKER: Thank you, Coy. Well, major confusion this week after the CDC updated its mask guidelines. How will people prove they are vaccinated. We're going to discuss in the next hour of NEW DAY after a quick break.