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New Day Sunday

Police Identify Two People Killed In Multiple Shootings In Virginia; CDC: 50-Million-Plus In U.S. Fully Vaccinated, 140-Million- Plus Doses Administered; Rescues Underway In Tennessee Due To Flash Flooding; Opening Statements Expected Monday In Derek Chauvin Trial; More Than 40 States Considering Laws To Restrict Voting; DHS Dissolves Independent Advisory Council, Ousting Board That Included Trump-Era Officials; Reports: Myanmar Security Forces Kill At Least 114 Civilians Saturday; Massive Cargo Ship Blocking Suez Canal Could Take Weeks To Free. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 28, 2021 - 07:00   ET



COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: NC state is now the first number one to get booted. It's a Hoosier party in the locker room afterwards. Victor, Christi, four more wins games today for men's, two of which are on our sister network, TBS.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good to know, Coy, have fun with it all, thank you.

WIRE: All right.

PAUL: Next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND, with Victor Blackwell, and Christi Paul.

PAUL: Wishing you a good morning on this Sunday.

We are learning, by the way, this morning, about one chaotic night. Two people are dead. Eight others were injured in Virginia Beach. Now, this happened on Friday, but a 25-year-old black man, Donovan Lynch (ph), was shot and killed by a Virginia Beach police officer, but this was one of three separate shootings.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, police say that a gun was found in the area, but they really don't have a lot of details about the circumstances surrounding his death.

CNN's Brian Todd joins us now from the scene of the shooting there in Virginia Beach.

Where does the investigation stand now?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, the police are saying that they are speaking to the police officer involved. They have not released the officer's name yet. That's -- when he gives some more detail of this, hopefully, we will know more.

I'm going to set the scene of what unfolded on a chaotic Friday evening. This is what police say happened, the first shooting where most of the people got injured, no one killed, occurred right about over here, over my right shoulder. This is Pacific Avenue. We're between 19th and 20th Streets on Virginia Beach. It occurred right there.

I'm going to pivot over here. About eight victims were injured there. No one killed in that initial shooting. Three people were arrested in connection with that. Then there was a second shooting down this street, 19th Street, where 29-year-old DeShayla Harris (ph) was killed. Police say she was an innocent bystander caught in the cross fire of some kind of gunfight down that way.

Then the third shooting, the one we're talking about this morning, the killing of Donovan Lynch at the hands of a police officer. That occurred about a block up on 20th Street and possibly inland about a block there.

And again, what we're learning here is that there was a confrontation between Donovan Lynch and the police.

Chief Paul Neudigate talked about that confrontation and talked about the lack of answers that they really were able to offer. Here's what the chief had to say.


CHIEF PAUL NEUDIGATE, VIRGINIA BEACH POLICE: I'd seen some of the community concerns about Mr. Donovan or Mr. Lynch being unarmed. What I can tell you is that there was a firearm recovered in the vicinity of where this incident occurred. We would like to be more forthcoming. But unfortunately, we do not have body cam footage of this incident. The officer was wearing a body cam, but for unknown reasons at this point in time, it was not activated.


TODD: And, of course, that's the key right now, the fact that the officer's body camera has not been activated, so we may not have video of the shooting of Donovan Lynch, and we may not find out anytime soon whether Donovan Lynch was armed or not.

Again, the police chief saying there was a gun in the vicinity. The key question, was Donovan Lynch armed, was he not armed, what were the other circumstances around that confrontation and the killing of Donovan Lynch?

Again, the officer's name has not been released. He has been placed on administrative duties, which is standard procedure while this investigation continues.

Back to you, guys.

BLACKWELL: Yes, still some important questions that must be answered. Brian Todd for us there in Virginia Beach, thank you very much.

PAUL: Thank you, Brian.

Let's talk about the coronavirus pandemic and the race toward a surge in the COVID vaccinations before the U.S. sees another avoidable surge in COVID cases.

Now, the CDC is reporting more than 140 million doses have been administered in the U.S., this is according to the White House, 73 percent of seniors, 36 percent of adults have their first doses.

BLACKWELL: Now, somewhere around 15 percent of the country is fully vaccinated. So we're still far from reaching the herd immunity that we need to end the pandemic. Health officials are closely watching the rise in cases of the variant first seen in the U.K. Dr. Fauci has said the variant is more contagious, may likely be associated with more severe disease. The concern of the surge is driving the plea for people to keep up their guard and get their shots.

PAUL: CNN's Polo Sandoval is with us.

We have the shots, Polo, which is great news. I know it's about fighting the hesitancy, and getting those shots administered. What do we know about how that's happening.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And to that point, Victor, and Christi, it seems that vaccination rates are picking up across the country. But, at the same time, you have new daily COVID cases, also even COVID deaths that seem to be plateauing and in some parts of the country, even increasing.

And that's why we heard from the head of the CDC just last week saying she is deeply concerned about the potential. Again, I say the potential of yet another possible surge here.


And that's why calling on many Americans here to continue masking up, remaining socially distant, even as over 50 million Americans are considered fully vaccinated.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): In South Los Angeles, if there wasn't a way, there was definitely a will to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got our shots.

SANDOVAL: This is Angela Spicer, comedian and local activist, who says she pooled resources together to shuttle some of her community's most vulnerable to a vaccination site. A shot in the arm while on a bus is the only way Claudia Harper says she could get her shot.

CLAUDIA HARPER, LOS ANGELES RESIDENT: I wouldn't be able to make it. At 90 years old, I couldn't stand in those lines, so this is really great for me.

SANDOVAL: The riders on the bus can now count themselves among the 90 million people to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And a 7-day average rate of about 2.7 million shots a day, the White House is confident it will reach 200 million administered doses in the first 100 days of the Biden administration.

Dr. Jonathan Reiner professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University expects not only that we'll reach that mark, we'll surpass it.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The last couple of days, we have been giving 3.4 million shots per day, so we will easily beat that. If we do 3 million shots per day, which we have shown the capacity to do, then in that first 100 days, we will have given 230 million shots so we will certainly surpass that number.

SANDOVAL: A CNN analysis found that as of this morning, only two states, Arkansas and New York are yet to share when they plan to open up vaccine eligibility to the general public. As states expand vaccines to older teens, Pfizer says it plans to have its shot ready for children ages 12 to 15 by the start of the next school year.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's important that we do the trials on children to make sure that the vaccines are safe and effective and those trials should be done because children should also not be denied the benefits of vaccination. I certainly would feel more comfortable with my child back in school if they're vaccinated, although it should not be a precondition to in-person instruction.

SANDOVAL: Also coming this fall, Rutgers University not only encouraging their students to get shots, they will be required for in- person classes.


SANDOVAL (on camera): Six states have already expanded vaccine eligibility to include the general public come tomorrow. Now, another half dozen states will be joining that list, they include Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, North Dakota, Louisiana, Kansas as well.

You mentioned -- you heard us mention Arkansas and New York in our piece just a little while ago. Arkansas is suggesting that they are still aiming for a May 1st date in terms of extending their eligibility.

As for here in New York, we heard from Governor Andrew Cuomo who says first they want to take a closer look at their supply before determining when they will open up here in New York -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval for us in New York, thank you, Polo.

So, in a CNN special report, former White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx tells Dr. Sanjay Gupta that she thinks the majority, the majority of deaths from coronavirus could have been prevented. PAUL: And also in this exclusive conversation, Dr. Anthony Fauci

praises one decision made in the very beginning that she says is paying off. Listen to this.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Was there a moment, Dr. Fauci, when you said, OK, this is the big one?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 40 percent increase in New York hospitals in just 24 hours. That's a big number.

FAUCI: When I saw what happened in New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Refrigerated trucks are now being mobilized as makeshift morgues.

FAUCI: Almost overrunning of our health care system, it was like oh, my goodness, and that's when it became very clear that the decision we made on January the 10th, to go all out and develop a vaccine.

We had a number of vaccine candidates.

May have been the best decision that I've ever made with regard to an intervention as the director of the institute.

GUPTA: The life saving and record breaking vaccines that Dr. Fauci oversaw were a giant success for the doctors, for science and for the world.

But remember, a vaccine does nothing for the patient on the table. In this case, the hundreds of house who perished before science could save them.

When you look at your data now and you think, okay, had we mitigated earlier, had we actually paused earlier, and actually done it, how much of an impact do you think that would have made?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Well, I look at it this way. The first time we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them in my mind could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.


PAUL: Be sure to watch the entire CNN special report. It is tonight at 9:00 p.m. all the leaders of the war on COVID-19 sit down with our very own Dr. Gupta.


That is tonight, again, at 10:00. Or at 9:00, I'm sorry, at 9:00. BLACKWELL: There is dangerous flooding right now in parts of

Tennessee, and water rescues are happening right now across parts of the state. Flash flood warnings are up in Nashville. There are reports of water rushing into homes south of the city. People are trapped in attics.

Emergency officials are warning drivers, please stay off the roads. This water is pushing cars off the streets and highways.

PAUL: The flooding follows a tornado that ripped through the state. There were homes that were destroyed, trees that were pulled up, and power lines that were smashed, so a lot going on there.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is with us.

And not just there, there are 80 million people as I understand it, in the South, behind the threat of what's behind you. Talk to us about it.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: This storm didn't just disappear. It's moving to the east. It's going to take the same threats the last 24 hours, and push them forward. That's what we're seeing now. This is the last six hours. Look at this incredibly heavy rain that's in portion of middle Tennessee, now pushing through eastern Tennessee as we speak.

The eastern Tennessee, we have started to see the heavier bands diminish a little bit. While they're still getting heavy rain, it's not quite to the extent that middle Tennessee unfortunately saw, and they had training.

A lot of those heavy bands moving over the same spots over and over and over again. You have these flash flood warnings, that's the red color you see here, in effect for another hour or two in most places. The green color, that's the flash flood watches. Those are going to stay in effect the rest of the day today.

Because yes, while the rain will stop at some point, and pretty soon here in areas of middle Tennessee, the water takes time to recede off the roadways, and even the creeks and streams. Look at the widespread amounts across middle Tennessee, four to six inches, some spots over 6. Nashville yesterday, picking up nearly 6 inches in just the one day, making it the wettest single day in march history for the city of Nashville.

Again, we talked about the rivers creeks and streams, look at some of the rises, the good news is mill creek has crested, unfortunately at its second highest crest in history. We're starting to see it come back down. And in others rivers, and streams will start to follow.

But the flooding was one aspect, you had over a dozen tornado reports, 60 severe wind reports, and many large hail reports, some the size of baseballs yesterday. That threat is going to slide off towards the east. Again, you can see the threat now continuing into Alabama, Georgia, and into the Carolinas, that's where the threat is going to extend for the rest of the day today. Victor and Christi, still a few tornadoes, large hail, and damaging

winds for cities like Atlanta, Raleigh, and Charlotte.

BLACKWELL: Uh-huh, Alisyn Chinchar, thanks for watching it for us.

PAUL: So opening statements begin tomorrow in the trial of Derek Chauvin, it's expected to bring renewed focus and renewed protests to the city of Minneapolis. How the city is preparing, and what is the expectation.

BLACKWELL: Plus, there's opinion backlash and protests against Georgia's restrictive voting law. Coming up, why experts say despite the outcry, we will likely see more of these types of laws.



PAUL: So, a jury of 15 people have been selected in Derek Chauvin's trial in the death of George Floyd. And opening statements are set to begin tomorrow morning.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, witness testimony could take a few weeks.

CNN's Omar Jimenez has more on the trial.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The eyes of a movement. One that spark protests worldwide in the name of George Floyd, shift to a courtroom in Minneapolis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything else for the record.

JIMENEZ: Now to opening statements in the trial of Derek Chauvin. The former Minneapolis police officer has pled not guilty to the charges, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

Outside the courtroom, emotions will be running high. There have already been multiple protests throughout the city.

CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: They have done so peacefully, and assembled and gathered peacefully. We will continue to expect more demonstrations.

JIMENEZ: But the destruction that happened in may 2020 in the aftermath of Floyd's death is still fresh on the mind of city officials and it's why the building that houses the courtroom has virtually become a fortress, due to increased security measures with the mayor saying there's more to come.

MAYOR JACOB FREY, MINNEAPOLIS: Residents should be expecting a gradual increase in law enforcement and national guard presence as we progress through the trial.

JIMENEZ: The first step in this trial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does that make you feel?


JIMENEZ: Was getting through jury selection, which lasted exactly two weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will serve on our jury.

JIMENEZ: Resulting in 15 jurors, 14 of which will be a part of the trial.

JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY DISTRICT COURT: The 15th juror was to make sure we have 14 people show up on Monday.

JIMENEZ: Their identities remain unknown for now. The attorneys of the Floyd family are pleased the trial can proceed, and wrote, this is not a hard case, George Floyd had more witnesses to his death than any other person ever, and it will be witnesses who now come to the stand called by both prosecutors for the state and defense attorneys for Derek Chauvin. Among what we know will be talked about, a portion of 2014 arrest where he was never charged but one where he ended up being sent to the hospital instead of jail, an interaction with police defense attorneys where Chauvin argued was similar to May 2020. A paramedic from that day in 2019 is also expected to testify.

CAHILL: The whole point here is we have medical evidence on what happens when Mr. Floyd is faced with virtually the same situation, confrontation by police at gunpoint, followed by a rapid ingestion of some drug.


RICHARD FRASE, CRIMINAL LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: Our system of justice is a bit on trial. Can we give Mr. Chauvin a fair trial because that's essential? Can we give the state a fair chance to find him guilty under the law and the evidence?

JIMENEZ: The trial is expected to last up to four weeks, all the while, a city, a family, a movement watches anxiously over what criminal accountability looks like in the death of George Floyd.

Omar Jimenez, CNN, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


BLACKWELL: With me now to take a closer look at the case is CNN legal analyst, Areva Martin.

Areva, good morning to you.

Let's start with the charges Derek Chauvin facing, second-degree unintentional felony murder, third-degree murder, often called depraved mind, depraved heart, and second-degree manslaughter, none of these require the state to prove Chauvin intentionally killed George Floyd, that any of this was premeditated, what is the burden for the state?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Victor, what we know is with respect to the second-degree murder, that's the more serious charge. That's the higher burden, as it relates to the other two charges, and in that second degree murder, the state has to prove that while committing a felonious act, in this case, an assault, George Floyd was murdered by this police officer.

In the third-degree murder case as you correctly stated, usually depraved heart or depraved mind murder, you think of someone doing an act imminently dangerous, shooting a gun in a crowded movie theater or driving on the wrong side of the road.

And that second-degree manslaughter is culpable negligence, again, an act that places others in imminent harm, the charges, the second- degree murders, 40 years if convicted on the second-degree murder charge. The third-degree murder, 25 years, and then manslaughter, ten years.

These are very serious charges but we know, Victor, in this country, jurors have a difficult time or have had historically a difficult time holding police officers accountable, convicting police officers, particularly of murder. Jurors in this country believe that police officers don't wake up, go to work with the intention of killing civilians. But I think we have seen a shift in accountability if police officer's conduct over last several years, particularly as we have seen more protests and as we've seen more police officers arrested and charged.

BLACKWELL: So, you know, Omar started his story with the protests, and the killing of George Floyd obviously started this national conversation about systemic racism, and disparities or the treatment of black people by police. Do you expect that prosecutors will introduce the element of race into this case? Is it even necessary to make the case?

MARTIN: I don't think it's necessary. I'm not certain that it will be introduced into this case. It's pretty obvious, George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man. I think the key in this case, Victor, is going to be that video tape, the video tape we have all seen now over and over again, the 8 minutes and 43 or 45 seconds that Chauvin held his knee on to George Floyd's neck.

And I think the prosecutors are going to say trust your eyes, your eyes don't lie. Trust what you saw in that video tape, and I think that's going to be the driving central message that's driven home by prosecutors and by the witnesses that they call, including that teenage girl who actually videotaped the kneeling of Chauvin on George Floyd's neck, and we're going to hear from other witnesses that were there at the scene who will testify about him crying out, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I'm dying.

I think that's going to be very compelling testimony for the jurors to hear.

BLACKWELL: So, speaking of video, and Omar hit this as well, that 2019 arrest, similar situation, pulled out of the vehicle, here it is, a portion of it will be shown. He was held there at gunpoint, according to the judge, according to reports quickly ingested drugs.

Now, I imagine the concern here is that people believe George Floyd is being put on trial by the inclusion of this in the trial. But I wonder if this could backfire against the defense because what it shows is under a similar situation under similar variables, he was able to be subdued and taken into custody without having to use the type of force that Derek Chauvin used that ended his life?

MARTIN: Oh, absolutely, victor. I think that video, the 2019 incident is going to be used by both sides, and obviously both are going to try to paint it in a different light. The defense is going to try to use it to say when confronted by the police, he ingests drug, and we know a central part of the defense's case is that the death of George Floyd was caused because of his ingestion of drugs and basically that he died of an overdose, and related to preexisting health conditions.


But I agree with you that that could backfire in that that same incident could be used by the prosecutors to show that police have -- knew how to deescalate the situation, and were able to arrest him in that situation without him losing his life, so that they knew how to use procedures that would result in the preservation of life rather than the loss of life.

BLACKWELL: All right. Areva Martin, thank you so much for being with us. Enjoy the week.

MARTIN: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: And CNN will carry the opening statements in the Derek Chauvin trial live tomorrow. That's slated to start at 10:00 Eastern.

PAUL: So the head of homeland security just fired nearly everyone who sat on its advisory council. With the growing immigration crisis at the southern border, was it the right time to clean house?

Juliette Kayyem is with us next. She has been on that board. We'll get her opinion next.



PAUL: Well, conservative groups are pledging millions of dollars for voting restrictions across the U.S.

BLACKWELL: Yesterday, hundreds of people rallied in Atlanta against a new law in Georgia that limits absentee and early voting, and criminalized giving food or water to voters standing in line. More than 40 states are considering bill restrictions -- restricting voting rather after then-President Trump pushed the lie of widespread election fraud.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher reports on more.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, the election overhaul bill in Georgia is the second sort of bill like it that has been passed into law so far this year. The first was in the state of Iowa a few weeks ago, but experts are pretty much in agreement that they likely will not be the last this year.

And that's because we're seeing this type of legislation that has components that could restrict voting access for some people, specifically people of color or low income voters in almost every state across the country.

Back in February, the left leaning, Brennan Center for Justice was tracking more than 250 bills that would restrict voting access in some way in 43 states. Now, since that report came out, CNN has identified legislation in two additional states, so we're talking about 45 states here. I want to be clear, voting legislation, especially those that may roll back some access, that's nothing new, but there is something different happening here.

And part of it is just the sheer number of states. But it's also the motivation. And experts say that if you look at states where former President Trump lost the election, and then tried to challenge the results, so places like Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, you're seeing similar legislation be introduced.

So once again, we're watching the big lie, those conspiracy theories about election fraud that was never found, about voter fraud that didn't exist, have real world consequences in legislation that is being advanced -- Victor, Christi.


PAUL: Thank you so much.

So, the Biden administration has now moved to dismantle the Department of Homeland Security Council's advisory council. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is dissolving the independent panel, which included several former Trump officials, the secretary says he plans to reconfigure with more women and minorities.

Now, the board is made up of unpaid national security experts who serve one to three terms and meet about four times a year.

Well, Juliette Kayyem, a CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security with us now. She previously served on the department's advisory council, by the way, she was dismissed in the early days of the Trump administration.

Juliette, it's so good to have you with us. And you have such a unique perspective here.

I do want to ask you about some of the criticism that's coming regarding the numbers that are involved here. I understand it's not unusual to have teams be modified, but to have 30 plus people leave so quickly is an issue.

Listen to what Representative John Katko of New York said, he's a ranking Republican of the House Homeland Security Committee and he's been critical of the move saying that this sends the message this administration has quote no intention of upholding a bipartisan unifying approach to securing our homeland.

Are you surprised by the numbers of advisers that were fired and is there an element of risk right now given the work that needs to be done at the border?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I'm not concerned. There's no element of risk. These are advisory councils that provide, information, background, research for the secretary and serve at the pleasure of the secretary. I was not surprised I was not renewed under the Trump administration.

But the goal is to have bipartisan expertise that's outside of the day-to-day. This was the right move because over the course of the Trump administration, it had been filled by as Secretary Mayorkas said, filled by a lot of Trump supporters. It did not have a lot of diversity. It did not represent the homeland.

And remember the department has been so politicized over the last four years, everything from of course border security and the border wall which had really only focused on two issues around using the Department of Homeland Security assets in urban cities, against the U.S. population, that sometimes you have to take a step back and do a do over.

So I think this is really only the way to do that. The secretary will then determine a bipartisan group that better fits not only what the department should be about but the real issues that impact our homeland security.


And they are not -- they are not the wall anymore.

PAUL: So, let's talk about the border crisis right now.


PAUL: I want to listen to Representative Mikie Sherrill. She's on the House Armed Services Committee. She spoke to possible solutions. This was her just a couple of weeks ago here on CNN. Let's listen.


REP. MIKIE SHERRILL (D-NJ): Part of what we're looking at is addressing the problems from the home country of our high grants so we can address the issues there, and make those countries more resilient, make them able to get through a crisis better, so we don't have these young children thinking their best hope for a future is to make this dangerous trip to our border.


PAUL: The solution here I know is such a dicey one. I want to ask you a couple of questions regarding what a realistic remedy would be here, when she says to make the other -- the countries that these people come from more resilient, what authority does the U.S. have to go into another country and make some changes or if the U.S. is giving money to said countries, how do you ensure that the money goes to actually help the things and the people that are supposed to be helped by it?

KAYYEM: And this has been a long-term systemic problem. We have to make sure that, look, there's short, medium and long-term, the short is border enforcement, we get the message out that the borders are not open, and if you show up and claim asylum, does not mean you're given access to the U.S. The medium solution is to deal with what is likely to be a very, very surge couple of months, the numbers you're seeing.

So we have to build capacity at the border, treat people humanely. Get FEMA involved which has occurred, and do it differently than the Trump administration did, but then the long-term is, of course, the resiliency of the Caribbean and South America. That's a long-term solution, one we have been working on, and you have to make sure it goes to the grassroots organizations that are deeply involved with the families and communities that are looking around and saying, look, we have no option.

Can you imagine? We have no option but to send our teenagers alone with, you know, paying someone, right, to take them through the border. So all three of them have to be done, and they have to be done with compassion, but we have to begin with, you know, unfortunately, the very hard difficult issue of border enforcement, and that's something that begins and you see the focus on it today.

PAUL: Okay. And real quickly before I let you go.


PAUL: This test launch of a tactical guided missile on Thursday in North Korea, President Biden has warned there will be a response if the provocation continues. What do you make of the timing and what do you make of what we're seeing?

KAYYEM: Well, not surprising because Secretaries Blinken and Austin, Secretary of Defense were recently in the area. Look, this is -- we have seen this before, a premeditated strategy of advancing military capabilities and hostility, we've seen it before, by the North Koreans.

The goal now is not to try to do a bromance with the North Koreans. We know that's a failed strategy as we have seen, and to actually look to international cooperation with sanctions, focus on human rights, and engaging the Chinese is what the Biden administration is trying to do.

The Biden administration is going through a North Korea review right now. The options are not -- I mean, there are options available for the Biden administration, and one would suspect that the North Koreans did this to try to limit those options. But just don't take the bait, and I think you're seeing the Biden administration not doing that.

PAUL: All righty. Juliette Kayyem, your perspective is always so appreciated.

KAYYEM: Thank you. Good morning.

PAUL: Good morning to you.

KAYYEM: See you later.


BLACKWELL: So, a year after the coronavirus pandemic began, the leaders of the war on COVID-19 sit down with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the CNN special report airs tonight at 9:00. Here's a look ahead.



ANNOUNCER: In an unprecedented event, the leaders on the war on COVID break their silence.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: I wanted to make sure that we stopped saying that the risk to Americans was low.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: I finally had a moment in life where I said, you know, enough is enough.

ANNOUNCER: What they say?

DR. STEPHAN HAHN, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: That was a line in the sand for me.

FAUCI: We're in for a disaster.

ANNOUNCER: That they believe.

REDFIELD: People are not being transparent about it. You know, I could use the word cover up.

BIRX: I knew I was being watched. Everybody inside was waiting for me to make a misstep.

GUPTA: Were you threatened? And what's next.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As bad as this was, it could be worse, and there will be another pandemic, guaranteed.

ANNOUNCER: Join Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

GUPTA: We were not testing enough. REDFIELD: I agree with you.

GUPTA: Why not?

ANNOUNCER: CNN special report, "COVID War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out", tonight on CNN.



BLACKWELL: There is pressure growing on the international community to come together and to respond to the escalating violence in Myanmar, as the military cracks down on anti-coup protests by killing its own citizens.

PAUL: Yesterday at least 114 people, civilians, were killed across Myanmar. This is according to independent reports. And in a rare move, the defense chiefs of 12 nations, including the U.S. here, joined in a statement to condemn the military's actions.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Will Ripley is following this from Hong Kong.

Will, what's the latest on Myanmar, and what are the countries and the United Nations doing about this?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIOAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one top United Nations official, Victor and Christi, is calling this mass murder, and because of social media that didn't exist in Myanmar's 50 year brutal military tick dictatorship, anger is growing, and despite the risk of losing tear lives, you have thousands of people coming out for these protests.

On Saturday, they were held in 44 cities and towns across in Myanmar. And the military had shot to kill order. Some of the dead included a 13-year-old girl and nurse, who was reportedly tending to victims. There are just gruesome images that are being shared of these acts of violence, perpetrated by the military on social media.

Ironically, this was happening on Myanmar's Armed Forces Day. You had the leader of the military coup, the senior general giving a speech promising to protect democracy, and to protect the citizens of his country, while there were soldiers out in the streets shooting and killing unarmed people who say they don't want the military in charge, they want democracy.

And a lot of these protesters sadly are young people who grew up at a time where they didn't live under the military coup, but now they're getting a firsthand account of that brutality still existing today.

I want to read you a portion of the United Nations statement that was put out because this is powerful stuff here. It says the shameful cowardly brutal action of the military police who have been filmed shooting at protesters as they flee and who have not even spared young children must be halted immediately. The international community has a responsibility to protect the people of Myanmar from atrocity crimes.

Four hundred and twenty-three people killed since the start of the coup on February 21st. Twenty of them, minors, at least 20 of them minors so far. People are angry.

But around the world, there's growing calls for more than condemnation. There's calls for concrete action, those calls even coming from inside Myanmar, from leaders who were kicked out of the government and now organizing, you know, against the coup, saying that it's time for the world to take real action against what's being called terror against its own citizens, Victor, and Christi.

PAUL: Will Ripley, boy, thank you so much, live with us from Hong Kong. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Tug boats are headed to the Suez Canal, they'll be connected to the stranded cargo ship that is blocking one of the world's biggest waterways. We're live from Cairo, next.



BLACKWELL: There are efforts right now to free the Ever Given, the Egyptian authorities say technical issues and/or human error may have caused it to get stuck in the Suez Canal.

PAUL: Now, the canal is the shortest route for ships moving between Asia and Europe remember, and hundreds of them are now -- look at this, look at all of them, gathered at both ends of the waterway. And it is disrupting global trade, obviously.

CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is with us now.

Ben, what do we know about the efforts thus far now?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Victor, so far, they haven't made a lot of progress. Last night, it was the seasonal high tide and they were hoping that would be the critical moment when they could float the Ever Given. But that moment came and left and the Ever Given is still stuck.

At the moment the effort continues to be sort of two-pronged. Dredging around the ship and using tugboats to try to nudge it free. Two very large tugboats are expected to arrive on this scene this evening at some point.

But Egyptian officials are already looking at the next approach to be taken. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has instructed the canal authority to start working on the idea of unloading some of the containers on the Ever Given, keeping in mind there are 18,300 containers on board.

To lift them off that massive ship, they need to bring floating trains, one apparently is on the way from Cypress and they're talking about removing 600 which they hope will somehow free the ship, but this is going to take quite sometime and obviously the clock is ticking and as they say, time is money -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Certainly it in this case.

Ben Wedeman, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Ben.

So it is holy week for all Christians and Catholics beginning today with Palm Sunday. Pope Francis celebrated this mass this morning in front of a small group in front of Saint Peter's Basilica, of course, due to the pandemic. It was a small group.

Now, Palm Sunday commemorates the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion, where palm leaves were laid in his path. The pope also prayed for Indonesia after an explosion outside of a Catholic church this morning.

All right. Let's get some human kindness in today, shall we? This one from man's best friend and his favorite toy, by the way. One-year-old Sisu is now settling into his new forever home after the pup stole hearts for getting caught stealing a purple unicorn.

I don't know, he somehow broke into a Dollar General in North Carolina, repeatedly. The start eventually called animal services and the responding officer decided to buy the toy for him.

I'm sorry, I don't know why the video is not coming up because you don't want to look at me, you want to look at a dog.

On the adoption papers, the shelter says Sisu, quote, no sit, play and heel and loves unicorns from Dollar General. And there he is.

And I'm thinking, Victor, since you're moving to New York, and people ask all the time, is Victor going to get a dog? This is precisely when he did not do so.

BLACKWELL: Because I would have a thieving dog going around stealing unicorns?

PAUL: No, because you're going to be in an apartment and go down the stairs or go down an elevator just to take the dog outside.

BLACKWELL: Or, I could just find a nice person who's willing to come in and walk the dog.

PAUL: I bet you could.

BLACKWELL: Well then let's look up at that. There's got to be an app there.

PAUL: Might get it happen, make it happen before it's all done.

Thank you so much for starting your morning with us. Yeah.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" with Abby Phillip is up next.