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Derek Chauvin's Lawyer Asks for Trial Delay and Venue Change; Sen. Ron Johnson Says, I Might Have Been Concerned Had Capitol Rioters Been Black Lives Matter; Stacey Abrams Says Bills to Restrict Voting are New Jim Crow; Senate Reviews Calls to Make Daylight Saving Permanent; Beyonce Makes Grammy History. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 15, 2021 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Just into us here at CNN, the defense lawyer for Derek Chauvin, a former police officer charged with killing George Floyd is asking for this trial to be delayed and for the venue to be changed.

Let's go straight to CNN's Omar Jimenez, who is at the trial there in very snowy Minneapolis. And so Omar, on what grounds is the defense asking for a delay?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke, so Derek Chauvin's attorneys are asking for the trial to be delayed or a venue change, mainly tied to the idea of unavoidable media exposure.

To use their words, they are gravely concerned about the timing of that record $27 million civil settlement between the city of Minneapolis and George Floyd's family that came out this past Friday, mainly because part of the stipulations for these prospective jurors is for them to avoid news about this case.

Even one prospective juror this morning was already dismissed because she said she heard a significant amount about this. Now Judge Peter Cahill has not made any sort of a decision. All he said is that he will take this into consideration. He has said however, he would call back the seven jurors seated prior to today to see if they had heard about the news and to see if any opinions had changed.

But until then, week two of three slated for jury selection continues right now. They just got back from a lunch recess. Two new jurors were seated today, which means we are well past the halfway point. Nine jurors seated out of the officially 14 that are necessary, including two alternates.

And while we don't know their identities, we do know a little about them, particularly when it comes to their demographics. Right now, we have three white men in their 50s, two white women in their 50s, two black men in their 30s, a Hispanic man in his 20s and a biracial woman in her 20s. And despite all of the roadblocks that could have thrown this off,

whether it's the readmission of a third-degree murder charge, like what we've seen, and potential for this to be delayed, we are still on track for opening statements to begin March 29th. Even a little ahead of schedule for jury selection to wrap before March 26th.

BALDWIN: We will you see you in a little more than ten days. Omar Jimenez, thank you so much.

Also today the Biden administration is taking steps to relieve the migrant crisis at the border with Mexico. The Department of Health and Human Services announced today it has opened a new emergency intake site in Midland, Texas. They have called in FEMA to help as the number of unaccompanied children is really rising in terms of showing up and being in custody now.

These kids are supposed to be transferred to Health and Human Services, but facilities are reaching their limits. Right now the Border Patrol has more than 4,000 children in custody -- 4,000.

Republicans, they're placing blame on this squarely on the Biden administration. Democrats say it's the previous administration that laid the groundwork for this whole situation.


REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): We also, I think, need to acknowledge that the flow of humanity arriving at our front door never stopped. The Donald Trump administration didn't stop them. And what we are seeing today is the consequence of four years of dismantling every system in place to address this with humanity and compassion.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This crisis is created by the presidential policies of this new administration. There's no other way to claim it than a Biden border crisis.


BALDWIN: For its part, the Biden administration is not calling this a crisis. Today the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is focusing on solutions.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson is under fire again. This time for saying he wasn't at all concerned during the attack on the U.S. Capitol. But he says he might have been if the rioters had been Black Lives Matter or Antifa.



BALDWIN: It looks like alternative thinking and revisionist history associated with that attack on Capitol Hill is not going away anytime soon. If Wisconsin's Republican Senator Ron Johnson is any indication, folks, it's getting worse. He has already spread conspiracy theories about the attackers being fake Trump supporters who were unarmed. Now it seems he has come around to the fact that they were not Antifa protesters but in this radio interview he claimed that they were law abiding citizens who didn't worry him. There is a group he says he would have been concerned about it. Listen to what he said



SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law, and so I wasn't concerned. Now, had the tables been turned, Joe, this could mean trouble. Had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.


BALDWIN: By the way, those comments have immediately been condemned as being racist. With me now to discuss CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein. And Ron, you know, what does it say to you that a white male, sitting U.S. Senator, Trump supporter, says out loud that he wasn't scared of the violent mob that was beating police officers because they weren't black?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, look, it is a reminder how much anxiety about racial, cultural and religious demographic change is an animating force in the Republican party at this point. Three-quarters of Republican voters in polls say that discrimination against whites is now as big a problem as discrimination against minorities.

But I think just as revealing as the overt racism is the first half of that quote that you played, where he basically says, these were law- abiding citizens. They were no threat. They would not break a law, on the day when we see the arrests and the attack on Officer Sicknick.

But Johnson's comments there to me, are part of a continuum of a normalizing of this kind of extremist violence and a portrayal of it as a legitimate part of the Republican coalition. As I've written, the extremist wing of the GOP is growing too big to fail, too big for the party to forcefully confront. You see that in the reaction to Marjorie Taylor Greene in the White House caucus, in the willingness of so many Republicans to try to sweep away Trump's role in instigating this riot.

And the question going forward, what do Republican voters who don't feel comfortable in a coalition that welcomes QAnon and the Proud Boys, what do they going forward?

BALDWIN: I know you and I talked about it. I just really think the 2022 midterms are going to be the litmus test on all this kind of stuff. I want to move on. I want to talk about these new election laws from

Republicans that are restricting voting access in states across the country. Stacey Abrams talked to Jake Tapper about this. Listen to this.


STACEY ABRAMS, FOUNDER, FAIR FIGHT: I do absolutely agree that it's racist. It is a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie. We know that the only thing that precipitated these changes, it's not that there was a question of security. In fact, the Secretary of State and the governor went to great pains to assure America that Georgia's elections were secure. And so the only connection we can find is that more people of color voted and it changed the outcome of elections in a direction that Republicans do not like.


BALDWIN: Ron, law after law, lawsuit after lawsuit, what kind of impact will these laws have on the next election do you think?

BROWNSTEIN: Potentially enormous if they are allowed to go into effect. I think what you're seeing is part of a continuum of responses with the January 6th attack at the far extreme end, but this -- these extraordinary efforts, as Stacey Abrams said, clearly the widest effort to suppress voting rights since before this Voting Rights Act in 1965 since the era of Jim Crow.

It's part of the same continuum of Republicans struggling to look for ways to maintain majority power without necessarily having majority support in a diversifying country. And if these laws are allowed to go into effect in states like Georgia and Arizona and Texas, no question, they will have an effect.

That's why I believe that the biggest choice Democrats face in these next two years is whether to end or curtail the filibuster in the Senate to allow them to pass the Senate version of HR-1, which would establish a nationwide floor of voting rights, access to on-demand absentee balloting, access to early voting, that would override many of these state laws. Because if they don't, they may lose unified control of government in 2022 partly as a result of these state laws. And never again for many years have an opportunity to prevent this kind of systematic suppression, which I think is in all likelihood going to continue without some kind of federal intervention.

BALDWIN: Ron, I spy with my little eye that book over your left shoulder, "Rock Me on The Water." I'm not talking Jackson Browne. I'm talking Ron Brownstein's latest book.

BROWNSTEIN: Put in Jackson Browne.

BALDWIN: And Jackson Browne. We'll get a little rock 'n' roll on the show next Tuesday.

BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: It's a date. Ron Brownstein, thank you so much.

Daylight saving time is back. We know a lot of you have a lot of feelings about this. It is a topic that even unites Republicans and Democrats if you'll believe that. We'll talk about the push to stop changing the clocks next.



BALDWIN: It is daylight saving time, and if you feel a bit, I don't know, grumpy about losing an hour of sleep, you are not alone. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling the twice a year time change outdated.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is leading this charge. He is reintroducing legislation to quote, unquote, lock the clock, making daylight saving time permanent.

My next guest says that would be a mistake. David Prerau wrote the go- to book on the subject. It's called "Seize the Daylight, The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time" and David joins me now.

So David, you disagree would disagree here then with Senator Rubio. You know, lawmakers say permanent daylight saving time would reduce traffic accidents and heart attacks and strokes and robberies. They say it would benefit our economy, but you disagree. Tell me why.


DAVID PRERAU, AUTHOR, "SEIZE THE DAYLIGHT": OK, I think the current system is an excellent compromise. It gives us the benefits of daylight saving time for most of the year, spring, summer and fall, and yet it avoids the very dark and cold mornings that we would have if we had daylight saving time in the winter.

Now, permanent daylight saving time is not a new idea. It was tried nationally in 1974 during an energy crisis. Congress passed a two-year temporary program of year-round daylight saving time. But what happened was as soon as it got to be the middle of winter that idea became very unpopular very quickly all across the country, and it was soon discontinued by Congress.

Even though it was only a two-year program and it would have lapsed anyway if they waited a year, but they got rid of the second year of the program because it was so unpopular.

BALDWIN: I get it, and I read one of your pieces, you know, arguing against, you know, the permanent daylight saving time. You point out it would be darker, colder, you know, colder for kids at the bus stop, you know, on those winter mornings but here's the "but." You know, everyone hates losing an hour of sleep. But the payoff is having it be lighter later in the day. Isn't there, David, some benefit for families being able to have more outdoor time with their kids after school, after work? What do you say to them? PRERAU: Well, that's why I think it's good to have daylight saving

time for spring, summer and fall when you don't have this problem in the morning. The morning -- the sunrises in the middle of summer are so early that most people sleep past sunrise anyway, so it doesn't matter if you move the sunrise back an hour.

But if you move the sunrise back an hour in the middle of winter, you would get very late sunrises, and in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, for example, you'd have 8:30 sunrises and in places like Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Seattle, you'd have sunrises at 9:00 a.m., and in many places in the country you'd have sunrises 9:30 and later.

A lot of people would get up in the pitch dark, go to school, go to work in the pitch dark and send their kids to school on dark roads and walking through dark city streets in the pitch dark. Also it would be colder. The coldest hour of the day is often the hour right before sunrise, and so people would be getting up in that hour and especially in the colder parts of the country. There would even be another negative.

BALDWIN: You're quite convincing, David Prerau, because I was prepared to fight you to the nail on this, but listen, I kind of understand the compromise. And I appreciate it. Nevertheless, this is coming up yet again. We'll see what the lawmakers are able to do about it. David, thank you so much, sir, good to have you on.

PRERAU: Thanks a lot, Brooke.

BALDWIN: You got it. Our breaking news coverage continues today. Results of the CDC review into the COVID-19 guidance made under the Trump administration. What we're learning about recommendations that were actually not grounded in science. Stay here.



BALDWIN: The pandemic-era Grammy awards is one for the history books. Beyonce is now the most winning female artist and the most winning singer male or female in the 63-year history of the Grammys, a history achieving 28 trophies.

Taylor Swift also made a bit of history herself. She became the first woman artist to ever win album of the year three times.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is here with the recap. And so Beyonce and Taylor, I love how I'm referring to them as their first name, obviously, because we're pals.


BALDWIN: Bey and Tay making Grammy history. I was reading the only other person in the industry to have 28 trophies is the incomparable Quincy Jones. That is huge.

ELAM: Super huge, and I keep thinking of an old-school song "Cool And The Game" because I keep thinking "Ladies Night" that's what keeps going through my head because the winner's last night -- and the feelings right, because all these ladies took home Grammys last night.

BALDWIN: Love it, love it.

ELAM: And it was just a great night for it. You've got also Megan Thee Stallion, she got best new artist. She also won for her song "Savage" which obviously Beyonce is on as well. And when Beyonce won this was, you know, this record-breaking number that she had of Grammys here, let's -- in fact, let's just listen to a little bit of her speech.


BEYONCE KNOWLES CARTER, MOST WINNING GRAMMY AWARDS SINGER: As an artist I believe it's my job and all of our jobs to reflect the times and it's been such a difficult time, so I wanted to uplift, encourage, and celebrate all of the beautiful black queens and kings that continue to inspire me and inspire the whole world.


ELAM: And you could see she was a little emotional there, and you can see that Megan Thee Stallion won and she saw that Beyonce was there. She was completely surprised by that.

Billie Eilish won for record of the year and she said that it really should have gone to Megan Thee Stallion. So you just saw the ladies looking out for each other, supporting each other in this really well- produced show that was really mostly outside and then some inside with the artists listening to each other perform their songs.

There were some really great moments watching the artists listen, like Harry Styles, listening to Billie Eilish and then you also had the in memoriam with Lionel Richie as one of them with a tribute to Kenny Rogers, his friend, singing "Lady" a song that Lionel Richie wrote for Kenny Rogers which was awesome. That was just a really moving moment of the show.


And then by far favorite performance, "Silk Sonic," Brooke Baldwin, if you haven't watched Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars get down on that stage, you must.


Oh, can we just sit on this? My producer is like, no, we've got to go to Washington.

Stephanie Elam, I'll take your word for it. Thank you so much.

I'm Brooke Baldwin.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.