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The Situation Room
Matt Gaetz Under Fire; Pfizer Seeking Full Approval For Vaccine; Federal Grand Jury Indicts Chauvin and Three Other Former Minneapolis Police Officers in George Floyd's Death; Sheriff Says, Andrew Brown Jr. Relatives will be Allowed to View Specified Videos of His Fatal Encounter with Police Tuesday; Texas House Passes Election Overhaul Bill Tightening Already Restrictive Voting Laws. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired May 07, 2021 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, all of them @JakeTapper. You can tweet the show @THELEADCNN.
Our coverage on CNN continues right now.
Pamela Brown is filling in for Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Thanks for that, Jake.
And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Pamela Brown in THE SITUATION ROOM.
And happening now: President Biden says -- quote -- "We're still digging out of an economic collapse" following a grim new employment report showing the U.S. economy added only a fraction of the number of jobs expected last month.
And we're also following the war inside the GOP over former President Trump's influence and the future of the party. This hour, embattled Representative Matt Gaetz is teaming up with controversial Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene to rally Trump supporters in Florida.
And this, of course, comes ahead of an expected vote next week, where Trump loyalist Elise Stefanik will likely replace Liz Cheney in the House GOP leadership.
Also new tonight, a federal grand jury has indicted four former Minneapolis police officers in the death of George Floyd, including Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes.
First, let's go straight to the White House tonight.
CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins has the latest there. Kaitlan, these dismal jobs numbers caught everyone off guard, right?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Pamela, and they did even here at the White House, with the Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, telling us earlier that, if she had had to guess and write the number down, she would have guessed it would have been higher than this number that was put out by the Labor Department earlier today.
But President Biden, as he addressed this very weak jobs report, said he sees it as a sign that the economy is still very much recovering from the pandemic and it's going to be a steep climb.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're still digging out of an economic collapse.
COLLINS (voice-over): President Biden reacting to the grim new jobs report today.
BIDEN: The virus stole their jobs. But we can't let up. This jobs report makes that clear.
COLLINS: U.S. employers added just 266,000 jobs in April, far short of the one million that economists had predicted, and far below the numbers in March.
Biden arguing that the hiring slowdown only reinforces the need for his economic agenda.
BIDEN: Some critics said that we didn't need the American -- the American Rescue Plan, that this economy would just heal itself. Thank goodness we passed the American Rescue Plan.
COLLINS: But business groups and Republicans say the enhanced unemployment benefits that Biden extended in that plan are encouraging out-of-work Americans to stay home and leading to a labor shortage.
LARRY KUDLOW, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: That number suggests very strongly that the unemployment benefits are too generous and too long.
COLLINS: The president is pushing back, insisting today's data proves that's not the case.
BIDEN: Today's report is rebuttal. The data shows that more workers, more workers are looking for jobs, and many can't find them.
COLLINS: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen echoed President Biden but conceded that some businesses have complained directly to the White House.
JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: There's no question that we're hearing from businesses that they are having difficulty hiring workers. I really don't think the major factor is the extra unemployment.
COLLINS: Some business owners are proposing their own solutions.
CARLOS GAZITUA, CEO, SERGIO'S FAMILY RESTAURANTS: People should keep the unemployment benefits if they go to work now and they commit to working until the end of the year.
COLLINS: The shock of the lackluster jobs report is stirring debate in Washington over the best way to revive an economy weakened by the pandemic.
DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE DIRECTOR: The American Rescue Plan, that $1.9 trillion bill passed in March, was too much. I mean, I don't think there's any question about that.
COLLINS: Biden says it will take time for the $1.9 trillion bill to reinvigorate the economy, pointing to the 1.5 million jobs created since he took office.
BIDEN: We knew this wouldn't be a sprint. It'd be a marathon. Quite frankly, we're moving more rapidly than I thought we would.
COLLINS: And during those remarks earlier today, Pam, President Biden also used them to push for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
That's something he just met with his jobs Cabinet about in the Oval Office. That meeting went for a little bit over an hour, as they were talking about what their priorities are in that proposal that they have put forward. Of course, that is something he is going to be meeting with Republican senators about next week back here at the White House.
Still, so far, no Republicans have signed on to that $2.3 trillion proposal.
BROWN: All right, CNN's Kaitlan Collins live for us from the White House.
Meantime, a major new development tonight in the fight against the COVID pandemic. For the first time, the FDA will assess a vaccine for full approval, not just emergency use.
CNN national correspondent Erica Hill has details.
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pfizer applying for full FDA approval of its vaccine for ages 16 and up.
DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: For a lot of people who are on the fence, who are worried about, well, this is an emergency use, should I get vaccinated, it will give them confidence. And then there are a lot of businesses who want to require that their employees be vaccinated but have been waiting for this full approval.
I think it has kind of bump up vaccinations for a lot of folks.
HILL: A third of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated. More than 150 million have at least one dose, but the average daily pace of vaccinations continues to drop.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: When you get vaccinated, though, you break that chain of transmission by giving the virus one less place to hide in your community.
HILL: That proof in the numbers. The average rate of hospitalizations and daily reported deaths across the country continues to fall. And normal life feels closer than ever.
DR. CHRIS PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN: We need to give people a sense of hope and encouragement that things are going to get better, because they are getting better.
HILL: New York City restaurants can now see diners inside at 75 percent capacity. Kentucky's governor aiming for an end to all capacity restrictions by July.
GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): We just held the largest sporting event since the COVID pandemic started. We are doing this right.
HILL: The former head of the FDA says it's time to move forward.
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: I think we should start lifting these restrictions as aggressively as we put them in. And I think the only way to earn public credibility is to demonstrate that you are willing to relax these provisions when a situation improves. That's what gives you the credibility to implement them when things worsen.
HILL: Air travel just hit a new pandemic record. The TSA screened more than 1.64 million people Thursday. A recent travel industry survey finds 72 percent of Americans plan to take a vacation this summer. That's up from just 37 percent in 2020, yet another sign of pre- pandemic norm slowly returning.
JHA: Just pay attention to how much infection there is in the community. Exercise some basic level of safeguards. I think it's very safe to do stuff this summer.
HILL: And, Pamela, just a note. We just learned that West Virginia, the governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, saying that, on June 20, they're going to lift the indoor mask mandate in that state for public indoor spaces. He specifically cited the vaccine, saying that he believes that it
will be authorized for 12 and above and believes that a good majority of those eligible will have had the vaccine by that point. He estimates some 65 percent of eligible West Virginians will have had at least one shot by that time.
But he did stress that this remains a personal choice. And so, if after June 20, folks in West Virginia want to continue masking up, he said that's fine too -- Pamela.
BROWN: All right, CNN's Erica Hill, thanks so much.
And let's get more on all of this with CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician and former Baltimore City health commissioner. She joins us now in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Great to see you, Dr. Wen.
So, let's talk about what we just heard. As daily coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all declining, you just heard the former FDA commissioner say we should start lifting these restrictions as aggressively as we put them in.
Do you agree?
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I agree with Dr. Gottlieb that things are definitely getting better, that we're turning a corner, and also that our public policies have to follow suit pretty quickly.
And that's because public health depends on public trust. And we lose the public trust when we don't do commonsense things. And so, for example, I think it's beyond time that we lift any blanket outdoor mask-wearing restrictions that there still are.
I think, when it comes to indoor masking, it's a little more difficult, because I don't think that vaccinated people need to be required to wear masks. But in a lot of public places, it's hard to differentiate who's vaccinated and who's not.
And so, in places with high levels of community transmission, I would still keep indoor mask mandates in place.
BROWN: So, with that in mind, now that more than a third of adults in this country are vaccinated, what changes would you like to see in the CDC's messaging both to give vaccinated people more comfort, but also to motivate more Americans to go ahead and get the shot?
WEN: I think the CDC guidance needs to be clear, simple and practical.
And I think, at this point, there really only are two things that we should be communicating. The first is that outdoors is much safer than indoors. I have little children who are not yet vaccinated. I want to keep them outdoors as much as possible. That's much safer.
The second thing is that vaccination also makes everything a lot safer too. People who are vaccinated do not pose a public health threat to themselves or to others. So they really should be able to do whatever they wish to do. Some can be more cautious, but others who want to go about everything they did pre-pandemic should be able to do that.
And I think that would give a lot of confidence to people about the power of vaccines as well.
BROWN: You mentioned you're a mother. Let's talk about what a lot of mothers and dads are thinking about right now, whether to get their child vaccinated.
As we know, children ages 12 to 15 could be eligible to get vaccinated as early as next week. Your children, my children don't fall into that age group. But what do you say to parents who are weighing whether they should vaccinate their children against this virus?
WEN: I'd say three things.
The first is to talk to your child, because kids in this age category, adolescents, will have strong opinions. I think many of them will be very eager to be vaccinated, so that they can resume a lot of their pre-pandemic life. Maybe they want to have sleepovers or want to see their friends without masks or distancing, which they can do if everybody is vaccinated.
They don't need to be wearing masks potentially when they're going to camp this summer. That will be really exciting for them. The second thing is, look at the data. Be convinced yourself about the science.
I'm convinced. And if I had kids in this category, I would want them to be vaccinated, but you should be yourself too.
And then the third thing is, consult your pediatrician. I think all of us, as parents, we all want the best thing for our child. We trust our pediatrician. So I would talk to your child's doctor about this too.
BROWN: All right, Dr. Leana Wen, thank you so much for joining us on this Friday.
WEN: Thank you.
BROWN: And just ahead in THE SITUATION ROOM: As the GOP prepares to oust a Trump critic from House leadership, two controversial Republicans are about to join forces in Florida to rally with the former president's loyal supporters.
BROWN: Embattled Congressman Matt Gaetz is about to join forces with another controversial Republican -- that would be Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene -- as he fends off a federal sex trafficking investigation. CNN's Randi Kaye is joining us from their joint rally in Florida.
Wow, Randi, it looks like a Trump rally. What do you expect to hear from Gaetz in just a few minutes from now?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he should be taking the stage here, Pamela, very soon, although the campaign won't tell us, his team won't tell us when he's actually taking the stage.
But it does feel like a campaign rally. As you can imagine, it's quite loud here. It actually feels like a Trump rally. And that's exactly what he wants. He wants to energize this crowd. He wants to speak to the 74 million people who voted for Donald Trump.
He plans to highlight the destructive failing of the radical left. Those are his words. And Marjorie Taylor Greene will be at his side the whole way. He's going to talk about his vision for the Republican Party, which, as you know, really aligns with Donald Trump's vision.
He's all about America first, which is the title of this tour which kicks off here this evening. And he's all anti-globalism. So, he's going to be talking about that.
He will also probably talk about Liz Cheney and her rejection of Donald Trump, which we know Matt Gaetz is not happy about. But we talked to a lot of people here today. They are very excited. There's a group here called Villagers For Trump, and they haven't changed their group's name, and a lot of them are here today to talk with him.
I spoke to one woman who says she hopes that Matt Gaetz talks about vaccines, because she's not getting one because she doesn't believe she can get COVID. So that's part of what we're hearing from the crowd here today, Pamela.
BROWN: All right.
Randi Kaye, thank you so much.
We're going to have much more on the story tonight from Randi on "A.C. 360."
Thanks so much for that report.
Well, tonight, Gaetz is also praising Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, the likely successor to Congresswoman Liz Cheney's GOP leadership post. Stefanik says she wants to be a fighter like Trump and unify her party.
Our chief congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, has more.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Hi, everybody.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Congresswoman Liz Cheney is set to be booted out of House GOP leadership over a fight with former President Donald Trump, her likely replacement is burnishing her pro-Trump credentials.
REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): We need fighters. President Trump is a fighter on behalf of the American people. And voters want fighters to stand up for them. And that's what I'm committed to doing, to unify the message, to earn the support of my Republican colleagues and fight for hardworking American families.
RAJU: Papering over her past criticism of Trump and the fact that just five House Republicans voted less often with him than she did.
STEFANIK: My vision is to run with support from the president.
RAJU: The battle over Trump and the future of the GOP expected to come to a head next Wednesday, when House Republicans plan to remove Cheney after she's called out Trump for his lies that he won the 2020 election.
Stefanik, on the other hand, backed efforts in the courts and in Congress to overturn Biden's victory.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Unity can't exist under those pretenses. So, what they're saying is, if you don't go along with the big lie, if you don't go along with the fact that the election was stolen, then you basically need to go. And that's what that unity is.
RAJU: Conservatives now are scrutinizing Stefanik's record, where she broke with Trump on his tax cuts, border wall, Afghanistan, and the environment.
DAVID MCINTOSH, PRESIDENT, CLUB FOR GROWTH: She is very much a liberal. Her ambition told her, well, I better get on board with President Trump. But our worry is, when she gets into leadership, she has no principles at that point.
RAJU: Stefanik was once a Trump critic.
STEFANIK: I think he has been insulting to women.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You were killing them, Elise.
RAJU: But she won Trump's affection by vigorously defending him in 2019 during his first impeachment, elevating her stature and winning over House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is quietly orchestrating the shakeup, as he's keeping close contact with Trump.
Yet the Senate GOP leader wants nothing to do with the former president and the House GOP turmoil.
QUESTION: Do you support Liz remaining in a position of power, yes or no?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): What I'm focusing on is this new administration. RAJU: Many Republicans downplaying the former president's role in the January 6 Capitol attack.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I would just say to my Republican colleagues, can we move forward without President Trump? The answer is no.
RAJU: Now, as she's trying to court the votes on -- to get the leadership position, she has privately indicated that she will serve in the leadership for just the upcoming Congress, this current Congress.
That means that, if Elise Stefanik does in fact get the votes, she would be done from the leadership at the end of 2022. At that point, she's told her colleagues, according to a source familiar with these discussions, that she instead wants to seek the top post on the Education and Labor Committee.
And perhaps that could win over some of those skeptics and critics over her more moderate voting record.
And, Pam, on Monday, she plans to meet with the House Freedom Caucus. That's where some of the critics are -- Pam.
BROWN: All right, Manu Raju live for us from Capitol Hill, thanks so much.
And now let's get analysis from our senior political correspondent Abby Phillip and CNN senior commentator John Kasich.
Great to see you both on this Friday. So much to talk about.
Let's start with you, Governor.
What those through their mind seeing the Republican Party turn a blind eye to Congressman Gaetz and Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene, but punish number three House Republican Liz Cheney for refusing to lie?
JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It gets crazier every day, every day.
I was -- couldn't see this rally, but this raucous rally that is supporting someone in -- obviously in deep trouble. And I'm not about to convict him. Everybody deserves their day.
But this lady who, the QAnon person, I mean, I -- it's really pretty amazing to me. It's -- it gets to a level that it's kind of hard for me to comprehend.
And, as I have just been saying lately, this is the way it is for today. I hope tomorrow is going to be a much different day. BROWN: You say it's hard to compliment -- comprehend, but, in some
ways, Abby, it also sort of crystallizes where the party is right now, where the Republican Party is right now.
And you heard Senator Lindsey Graham saying the Republican Party can't move forward without former President Trump. How did the GOP get from January 6 to here?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think they have seen that most of the Republican base believes the election lies that Donald Trump has been spouting for months and months.
I think the number is about 70 percent now, which is a huge, huge number. And I know that Governor Kasich disagrees with me on this, but the energy in the Republican Party right now is on the Trump side of the ledger. That is what Lindsey Graham is trying to say.
And Republicans up and down the ballot have basically concluded that, if they are going to keep those people with them, they need to toe the line, they need to be allied with Donald Trump, and they need to punish people who spoke up about January 6 and who continue to speak up about the dangerous election lies that led to it.
That's how we got to this point. And it's hard for me to see how that changes, unless someone is able to find something that can resonate with Republican voters more than a love of Donald Trump and everything that he -- that he stands for.
BROWN: But I'm wondering...
KASICH: Yes, listen...
BROWN: Go ahead.
KASICH: Pam, I don't really disagree with Abby on the fact that the energy is there.
But, unfortunately, that may not be -- look, what I'd like to see out of the Republicans is, I'd like to see them take a very firm opposition to spending another, what, $6 trillion, which is going to create a massive problem in our country, coupled with the taxes that I think will hurt investment, productivity, wage growth and more jobs.
However, I think not only should the Republicans be critical of what the Biden administration is doing, but they ought to have their own plan. They ought to have their own program. I do see some light from the fact that they're trying to offer their own infrastructure plan that actually focuses on roads and bridges.
But I don't disagree with Abby. She makes a good point about where the energy is. It's unfortunate that it's there, because what I worry about is, if they win the majority, which they very likely could, now what are we going to do? Without ideas -- I mean, that's the whole purpose of politics, is for two parties to have ideas that improve the lives of Americans, not to be spending your time talking about Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head.
That's just -- and fighting internally. It's got them completely off where they ought to be, in my opinion, for the good of the country.
BROWN: Yes, it's a fair question how sustainable this is for the GOP.
Abby, it looks like the vote to oust Cheney is all but certain to happen Wednesday. What can we expect next week?
PHILLIP: You know, I mean, to Governor Kasich's point, I mean, Liz Cheney is more conservative than Elise Stefanik.
And yet it looks very likely that she's going to be kicked out of leadership. Some of her allies are already talking about, well, if Liz Cheney doesn't make it, I will go ahead and vote for Elise Stefanik, no problem.
That's a sign of real trouble for her. I think she knows it, though. But she's not backing down. She made clear in that op-ed this week that this is about the bigger principle for her, and she's willing to sacrifice her leadership position for it.
So, I think we can expect that -- to see that happen. But what that says about the Republican Party and how they feel about the issues and about the principles that the party stood for, for a long time, I think it's really not heading in the direction of the issues like taxation and the size of government. It's not going in that direction at all.
BROWN: It's certainly not. That is a very important point.
Abby Phillip, thank you so much. John Kasich, Governor Kasich, thank you.
KASICH: Thank you.
BROWN: And a note to our viewers. Be sure to join Abby every Sunday morning at 8:00 Eastern for "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY."
And coming up in THE SITUATION ROOM: Derek Chauvin and three former colleagues are now facing federal charges in the death of George Floyd -- details of the new grand jury indictment up next.
BROWN: Well, tonight, Derek Chauvin, convicted of murdering George Floyd, is facing new federal charges, along with three other former Minneapolis police officers present when Floyd was killed.
CNN's Omar Jimenez is working the story for us. So, Omar, these new federal charges, they are significant. Walk us through what it means for Chauvin and the three other officers involved in Floyd's death. OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Pamela. So in this new federal indictment, there are three civil rights violations listed out. And each of these counts applies slightly differently to these four former Minneapolis Police officers.
Take Chauvin, for example, it says he willfully deprived George Floyd from his right to be free from unreasonable use of force by a police officer. And specifically as you look at count one, it says that he kept his knees on George Floyd's body even after he became unresponsive.
And in the second count, it actually just focuses on former Officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, and says they saw what Chauvin was doing and failed to intervene.
And then count three encompasses all of the former Officer including Thomas Lane and says specifically the defendant saw George Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care and willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd.
Now, we've reached out to attorneys for all four of these officers. Eric Nelson, the attorney for Chauvin, told me he wasn't going to comment, same with the attorney for J. Alexander. Kueng, we haven't heard back from the other officers.
But it's also important to note this is different from state cases where we're awaiting sentencing for Chauvin and different from the recently announced Department of Justice probe into patterns of policing at the Minneapolis Police Department.
BROWN: And Chauvin was also charged for using unreasonable force on a 14-year-old in 2017. What are prosecutors saying about that incident?
JIMENEZ: Yes. So this is a separate two-count indictment that also dropped. This is a federal indictment as well that also came out today. And this stems from a 2017 incident where Derek Chauvin is also accused of using an unreasonable amount of police force, but this time on a 14-year-old.
And there, the first count says that Chauvin grabbed this teen by his neck and hit him multiple times with flashlight. The second count says he allegedly put this knee on this teenager's neck and kept it there even after this teen was cuffed, no longer resisting and was in the prone position.
So, again, two-count indictment that is separate from the other federal indictment that encompasses all of the four former police officers and comes a little over two weeks after we got that guilty verdict on all charges for Derek Chauvin on the state side of things.
BROWN: Okay. CNN's Omar Jimenez, thank you for bringing us the latest there.
And now, let's dig deeper with CNN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson and Chris Stewart, co-Lead Counsel for George Floyd's Family. Gentlemen, great to see you on this Friday.
Chris, let's start with you. How does George Floyd's family feel seeing the Justice Department charge these officers with violating his civil rights?
L. CHRIS STEWART, CO-LEAD COUNSEL FOR GEORGE FLOYD FAMILY: Well, it was emotional. They're ecstatic about it. We actually talked to Attorney General Garland today and I have not heard such passion or sympathy and intention from an attorney general in a very long time.
He was -- first thing he started with, he said that no one is above the law, and that meant a lot.
BROWN: If you could, just tell us a little more about that call and what the exchange was like and the emotion that was exchanged. I mean, all of this of course is culminating after the guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin. But to hear from the attorney general himself, tell us a little bit more about that for the family, what it meant to them.
STEWART: That meant a lot, that he actually got on and he just you know express his sympathy. And you could hear the intention in his voice from the determination to get the family justice. It meant a lot. We were very honored that he did that.
BROWN: So, Joey, how rare is it for officers to face federal civil rights charges?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Hey, you know Pamela good to be you. Good to be with you, Chris. It's very rare in recent years. And I think that we're seeing really a reckoning. And it's a lot different now.
We should know and understand that political -- you know politics and anything else should not have anything to do with equal justice, should not have anything to do with when the government decides to get involved, but we've seen that, that has been the case.
I think this president, not to politicize this, but has given the indication that it's a new day in America. And I'm not going to intervene, has said, Biden, with regard to what the Justice Department has done. And we've also have an attorney general to this point who has said that it's going to be about accountability.
If we look at this Pamela, very briefly in the broader context, what have we seen under Merrick Garland? We've seen pattern and practice investigations for at least two police departments, Minnesota, Louisville, with respect to how they have treated people of color. What are you doing? What can you do better?
How can I hold you accountable?
We've seen an indictment as to relate to Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and him being hunted down, right, from a hate crime perspective and indictment of three people. And now we're seeing officers from the federal government being held accountable in a civil rights indictment. That's big. It means people matter. It means as a role for the federal government, yes, the states and the state will prosecute but the federal government is saying we have a role too.
And finally, Pamela, what they're also saying is we're going to hold officers accountable not only for what they do, but if you look at the indictment as it relates to Chauvin and his counterparts, what you don't do. In the event that someone is engaging in this force and you don't intervene, you're accountable. In the event that you believe that someone needs medical treatment and you're deliberately indifferent, you're accountable.
So this is a very big deal and it's an important day, I think, in our country as we look there at the four who have been indicted.
BROWN: And they're not just focus on the George Floyd case. There is the case as there is another federal indictment stemming from an incident in 2017 with a 14-year-old involving Chauvin.
This is disturbing. Chauvin is alleged to have held this teen by the throat, hit him multiple times in the head with a flashlight and put his knee on the teen's neck even after this boy was handcuffed and lying prone, as we just heard from Omar laying it out like that. What do you think, Chris, when you hear something like that? What does the family think?
STEWART: I mean, we all see it all the time in my civil rights cases. The officers that do the acts that Chauvin did, they always have a pattern. They always have a history of having abused people before, but they're never disciplined. The department overlooks it. They don't interview witnesses. They believe false police reports and they know the cop is an issue.
So we weren't shocked by it. You know, that's the problem. People aren't held accountable before they kill somebody.
BROWN: It's sad that you're not shocked by that, you know? Joey, what do you think? How will all of this unfold in the next months?
JACKSON: So, I think it's really important. I mean macro picture, again, I think we cannot really stress enough how significant is it, right? We have and we live in a society in which states prosecutor crimes that happen in their jurisdiction and we've seen in recent years the federal government look away, nothing to see here. Now, we're seeing where they're saying, you know what, if you engage in transgressions, we're going to have a problem. So how it plays out is how it's playing out. You're going to have cases that are brought in front of grand juries, right?
Now, grand jury, just to be clear briefly, it doesn't mean you're guilty. It means there are 23 people who are sitting there, right? The 16 is a quorum and 12, a majority, say there's reason to believe you did something wrong. But it starts the process. And that's important, Pamela, because we've seen in recent years officers engage in transgressions they're not arrested. If you're arrested, you're not indicted. If you're indicted, you're not convicted. And so I think this is really an important step toward the march of accountability and letting everyone know and understand that if you do something and you're not equal to justice and you're not equal to people of color and communities of color or anybody for that matter, the Justice Department has something to say about it. They certainly have something to say about it here.
BROWN: All right, Joey Jackson, we leave it there, thank you so much. Chris, thanks so much as well.
JACKSON: Thank you Pamela.
BROWN: And we're also following new developments in the police shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. and the controversy over body cam video of the deadly encounter.
CNN's Brian Todd is working this story for us. So Brian, the Sheriff's Department is under court order to show the video to Brown's family. And now the sheriff has set a date.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Pamela. We learned from Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten just a short time ago that some members of the Brown family will be able to view selected portions of the tape this coming Tuesday, May 11th.
So far, the family has only been able to view 20 seconds of body camera footage and so far the public has only seen this video that will show you showing sheriff deputies speeding up to Andrew Brown's house on the morning of April 21st. This is Paul camera video from the street camera showing the deputies speeding up to his house at the back of a pickup truck wearing tactical gear. On that same tape you then hear them shouting commands at him but you do not see the actual shooting in that videotape.
Also some news today from Judge Jeffrey Foster's order that we received just a short time ago, we now know that there is a total of a little under two hours of body cam footage total, from four bodycameras and one dash camera. And with the judge's new order today, out of that two hours of tape, the Brown family will be able to view 18 minutes and 41 seconds of it. The judge says that the portions that are being withheld from the brown family do not contain images of Andrew Brown and, quote, does or not appropriate to release at this time.
Now, the district attorney, Andrew Womble, has claim that Andrew Brown made contact with the deputies twice with his vehicle. The Brown family says he never posed a threat and he was simply trying to get away.
With Judge Foster's order today, we heard the judge's version of that incident. Here's a quote from it, quote, upon the arrival on the scene of the deputies, Brown attempted to flee the scene and escape apprehension.
[18:40:06] As a result of Brown's effort to flee the scene, at least one and as many as three officers fired their weapons into the vehicle operated by Brown.
Now source close to the Brown family told me a short time ago, this is regarding the Brown family's viewing of the tape this coming Tuesday, quote, we don't anticipate seeing anything we don't already know. We think it will show an unjustified shooting.
Protesters have been out almost every day, Pamela. They've been calling for the full release of every minute of this footage. They may not get that at this point and they may not get it for about 30 days.
BROWN: All right, CNN's Brian Todd, thank you so much, live for us in North Carolina.
And just ahead in The Situation Room, Texas is poised to become the latest state to impose harsh new restrictions on voting. We'll going to bring you the details right after a quick break. Stay with us.
BROWN: Well, Texas could be on the verge of joining several other Republican-led states making it harder for people to vote.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is following the story from the Texas capital in Austin.
Ed, the bill just passed the state's house legislature. What does this mean for voters?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Pamela.
Well, there's basically a couple different versions of this bill. So, broadly speaking, there are a number of issues that voter rights activists say are highly troubling in this controversial bill. There are things like not allowing election officials to mail out unsolicited mail-in ballots. There would be cuts on the length of early voting hours. Locations of drop boxes for ballots as well.
So there's a whole slew of issues here that voting rights activists are terribly concerned about. It has been contentious debate. But right now, this goes to the Senate side and essentially both chambers of the state legislature here have so hammer out a single version.
So -- but the bottom line is that state lawmakers here, Republican state lawmakers control every level of government here. So the passage of this is very likely.
The ACLU said that the Texas house has just passed one of the worst anti-voting bills in the country that targets voters of color, disabilities and civil servants who run our elections know this bill is designed to suppress the vote by making voting harder. The governor of Texas has signaled his support for the bill, saying this ensures the integrity of the election.
But, Pamela, the bottom line is, even Republicans admit that in the most recent election there is no evidence of white spread voter fraud. One Democrat said today, Republicans are fighting a phantom problem -- Pamela.
BROWN: Phantom problem.
All right. Ed Lavandera live for us from Texas, thanks so much.
Coming up, this is terrifying. I find this terrifying -- a 20-ton uncontrolled Chinese rocket is expected to crash into earth as soon as tomorrow, but officials still have no idea where it will land.
BROWN: Well, tonight, officials are keeping a close eye on a 20-ton Chinese rocket that's expected to crash somewhere on earth as soon as tomorrow.
Let's get an update from our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto and CNN's David Culver.
Jim, the U.S. military is tracking this out of control rocket. Are they getting closer to know when and where it will crash?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: They are family. This the latest information, the last track has this coming down to earth in Turkmenistan, in central Asia. The timing of this, tomorrow evening, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. This will be early Sunday morning hours in Central Asia. Of course, the problem with that is land is not the sea where would not be in danger potentially in populated areas. That's the issue here.
China made a mistake here in effect from the view of the U.S. It sent a large rocket stage in orbit typically these are multi-stage rockets. You've been the movies before, Apollo 13 and so on. They typically fall into earth before getting into orbit. This one went into orbit which means it has to come back to the Earth's atmosphere and if it is big enough, and this one is, it is the size of a school bus, 22 tons.
It doesn't burn up in the earth's atmosphere and that's where we are today. Same thing happened last year with the Chinese rocket, they're going to be watching it closely in the next 24 hours.
BROWN: Wow. So what is the Chinese government saying about all these, David?
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pamela, it is interesting to hear Jim describe it because they are normally very proud of these rockets when they are launching. However, in this case, they have been rather quiet. One exception comes in on Friday where they said that the chance of doing this any harm or damage is extremely low. I think the bigger context is looking at a growing concern. This
happens last year with a sizable rocket that they put up and what seems to be growing congestion up in space. If you look at what China had been doing, they been putting billions of dollars into their space launch program and uninterrupted from the pandemic and are expected to continue going forward. They have ambition for Mars.
They have a lot on their radar going ahead. They're not saying much of what they are tracking. It seems that's most to confirm (ph) U.S. officials -- interestingly enough, Pamela.
BROWN: Jim Sciutto, David Culver, thanks so much.
And breaking news next on THE SITUATION ROOM, violence erupting at a Muslim holy site in Jerusalem. We'll get a live update on clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers.
BROWN: There's breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers at a Muslim holy site in Jerusalem.
CNN's Hadas Gold is working the story for us.
Hadas, we're seeing reports of multiple people injured.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Pamela. According to the Palestinian Red Cross, 163 people have been injured at the Al-Aqsa mosque, after police clashed with Palestinians following the conclusion of the evening's prayers. Eighty of those injured were taken to the hospital, according to the Palestinian Red Cross, and with wounds caused by rubber coated bullets.
Pamela, this is some of the most significant nights of unrest the city had seen in years. We are seeing dramatic footage, which I believe we're showing right now of police using stunt grenades at the compound and inside the mosque some grenades landing inside the mosque. Now, police say they moved in after people started throwing rocks and other objects at them. At one point, even the imam of the mosque made an appeal for those who are there to calm down.
Now, some Palestinians say the clashes began after worshippers in large number were prevented from entering the mosque and when they attempted to move away, police barricades. Now, Pamela, this night is not coming out of nowhere. They think so tensions have been boiling for several weeks now. About two weeks ago, there were clashes at the Damascus gate entrance to the old city, where police tried to prevent Palestinians from gathering there, which is a popular thing do right now during the Ramadan holidays.
That same evening at some of the worst nights of clashes, there was a march of 700 Jewish extremists. We've also seen incidents of violence to Palestinians and Israelis, but all of this contributing at a very tense time in the city. And it's worth knowing -- worth noting that Ramadan is coming to an end and Monday is Jerusalem Day when Israel marks the day.
BROWN: Thanks, Hadas, we got to wrap it now. Thanks.
I'm Pamela Brown. I'll see you tomorrow at this time.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" up next.