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New Footage Revealed in Chauvin Murder Trial; Witnesses Express Regret and Helplessness; U.S. Covid Plateau as Europe Faces Surge; Biden Unveils $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 1, 2021 - 04:00   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Emotional testimony and never before seen footage revealed the last moments of George Floyd's life in painful detail.

Anthony Fauci's COVID warning as American states exit lockdown. Don't let the U.S. become like Europe.

And a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that President Biden calls a once in a generation opportunity. We will tell you how he plans to pay for it.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all of you watching here, in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

In just a few hours a new witness is expected to testify in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd last summer. The court got a glimpse of new videos on day three of the trial showing Floyd's deadly encounter with police and witnesses expressed how helpless they felt as they stood and watched Floyd die. CNN's Sara Sidner has details from Minneapolis.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the third day of testimony we heard no doubt the most powerful, emotional, and poignant testimony from a 61-year-old man who normally walks the neighborhood. He began with kind of a funny anecdote. That he was just being nosy when he heard the commotion outside of Cup Foods. But then he breaks down in uncontrolled sobs as he watches what happens between George Floyd and the police officers.

SIDNER (voice-over): Sixty-one-year-old eyewitness, Charles McMillian took the stand breaking down in sobs after prosecutors played this body camera video of George Floyd interacting with police.

GEORGE FLOYD, VICTIM: I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe


FLOYD: Mama. Mama. Mama.

CHARLES MCMILLIAN, WITNESS: I feel helpless. I don't have a mama either and I understand him.

SIDNER (voice-over): McMillian is the man you hear on the video begging Floyd to give in to police before Floyd is taken to the ground.

MCMILLIAN: Just, I have had interaction with officers myself and I understand once you get in the cuffs, you can't win. You're done.

SIDNER (voice-over): McMillian told the jury he regularly walks his neighborhood. In fact, he bumped into Officer Derek Chauvin there five days before Floyd's arrest.

MCMILLIAN: Five days ago, I told you the other day, go home to your family safe, that the next person goes home to their family safe, but today, I got to look at you as a maggot.

SIDNER (voice-over): On this day in court, the jury also saw George Floyd alive, watching not seen before surveillance video from inside the Cup Food store. Nineteen-year-old former cashier Christopher Martin took the stand to explain what was going on leading up to police arriving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you recall what it was that you sold to him?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, WITNESS: A pack of cigarettes. He seemed very friendly. Approachable. He was talkative. He seemed to just be having average Memorial Day, just living his life.

SIDNER (voice-over): A scene from everyday life, but the jury knows they are watching a dead man walking. In less than an hour, Floyd will be struggling for his life under then Officer Derek Chauvin's knee. Martin says Floyd seemed high.

MARTIN: When I asked -- asked him if he played baseball, he went on to respond to that, but it kind of took him a little long, so it would appear that he was high.

SIDNER (voice-over): And paid for cigarettes with an odd looking $20.00 bill.

MARTIN: I assumed that it was fake.

SIDNER (voice-over): He testified the store policy is if a cashier accepts counterfeit money, it comes out of their paycheck.


MARTIN: I took it anyways and I was planning to just put it on my tab, until I second guessed myself and as you can see in the video, I kept jamming it and then I eventually told my manager.

SIDNER (voice-over): The manager of the store asked another employee to call police on Floyd after the teenage employees confronted Floyd at his car twice. When police eventually detained Floyd, Martin heard a commotion and went outside.

MARTIN: George was motionless, limp and Chauvin seemed very -- he was in a resting state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going through your mind during that time period?

MARTIN: Disbelief, then guilt.


MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.

SIDNER (voice-over): And for the first time, we hear Chauvin explaining on his body camera why he restrained Floyd.

DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: I am going to control this guy because he is a sizable guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, get in the car.

CHAUVIN: It's like -- it looks like he is probably on something.

SIDNER (voice-over): The jury then saw the excruciatingly close video from several angles, all of it from officers' body cameras.

FLOYD: Mama, I love you.

SIDNER (voice-over): It takes several minutes before you hear an officer, just one, question Chauvin's tactics.



LANE: I just worry about the excited delirium of whatever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why we have an ambulance coming.

SIDNER: That is incredibly difficult video to watch. The jurors watched about a half an hour or so of that. And it was from many different angles, showing exactly what it sounded like. And it almost gave you the sense of what it felt like to be George Floyd and those officers during that time. You could hear his labored breathing. You could hear him begging for his mother. You can hear him begging for his breath. Those are the last words and the last images that the jury saw before they went for break, waiting for the next day of testimony.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.


BRUNHUBER: As new videos emerge in court the attorney for George Floyd's family told CNN the family is suffering as they watched the graphic footage showing Floyd's final moments of life.


ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE FLOYD'S FAMILY: George suffered. He was tortured, there is no question about that. The Floyd family is going through a torture every single day. You know, I had the deep honor and privilege of getting to know them over this period of time and I do love them, I respect them, but I know what they're going through and they're suffering through this. This is very hard for them now to see new footage, angles, and they're hearing the visceral groans and grunts, the grueling aspect of George fighting for his life. It's just unimaginable.


BRUNHUBER: He also says despite the emotional day the family has been able to rely on each other for comfort.

The United States has made significant gains in bringing down the number of new COVID infections since the peak at the start of the year, but America's top infectious disease expert says the recent decline has stalled and that worries him. Listen to this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We've come down to a level that plateaued and is not continuing to go down and we're right up to around 60,000 new infections per day, which puts you at considerable risk of rebounding up, essentially what they're seeing in Europe.


BRUNHUBER: Parents of school-aged children in the U.S. can take heart, at least one vaccine appears to be safe and effective for kids. CNN's Alexandra Field has our report.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are a critical part of putting an end to the pandemic.

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BROWN UNIVERSITY: Even though kids don't get super sick, having them vaccinated is just going to be to be so helpful for us getting this virus under control.

FIELD: That day seemingly closer now, Pfizer announcing its COVID-19 vaccine proved 100 percent effective in a small clinical trial of 12 to 15-year-olds. The FDA will still need to allow that age group to get the shot.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: The bottom line is that by the fall I think there's a good responsibility we will be vaccinating teenagers, 12 and up.

FIELD (voice-over): Perhaps key to putting more kids back in school and critically health experts say to reaching herd immunity.

DR. CHRISS T. PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN: We have to ensure that parents accept this data, that parents believe that this science is valid and that they're eager to see their children be vaccinated.

FIELD (voice-over): New CDC data shows COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020. Today 37 percent of adults have had at least one dose of a vaccine. Still, new cases are climbing. The national daily average up a quarter in the last week.

RANNEY: It's really a combination of a couple things. The first is the variants are here and they're spreading.


We're seeing outbreaks, we're seeing rising numbers of B.1.1.7 cases across the country. The second is states are opening up.

FIELD (voice-over): This week a flurry of appeals from the Biden administration.

ANDY SLAVITT, SR. ADVISER TO WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM: We need a simple thing of every governor, mayor and local leader and that is to heed what the president is asking in return. Simply to maintain or to reinstate mask mandates.

FIELD (voice-over): The governor of Mississippi balking at that request in this tweet. Let me get this straight, POTUS, Biden, wants Mississippi to reverse course and reinstate a mask mandate because cases are going up in New York and New Jersey. No thank you, Mr. President.

Arkansas has dropped its mask mandate.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We are so close. So very close to getting back to the everyday activities we all miss so much, but we're not quite there yet.

FIELD (voice-over): A lot of people would like to be there. According to the TSA we've hit a 20-day streak of more than a million daily air travelers. Enough demand it seems for Delta to decide it's time to go back to selling those empty middle seats starting May 1st.

FIELD: The new CDC data shows us that the COVID-19 death rate in 2020 was highest among Hispanics. In the first few months of 2021 Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC, is saying the communities of color continue to be disproportionately affected.

In New York, Alexandra Field, CNN.


BRUNHUBER: New cases of COVID-19 are rising so fast across Europe that the entire nation of France, all 65 million people, will begin a third lockdown beginning on Saturday. The French president says surging variants have created an epidemic within an epidemic. In his national address Wednesday night President Macron said he understood the frustration of another lockdown but assured the French people the hardships won't last forever.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): So tonight I'm speaking to you with as much humility as determination. To tell you that we're going to hold on again and try to take stock of the epidemic, the next steps. Try to say that if we remain united, if we know how to organize ourselves over the next few weeks, then we will see the end of the tunnel and we will meet again.


BRUNHUBER: All right. Let's bring in CNN Paris correspondent Melissa Bell. Melissa, earlier, as you know, this year the president decided against more restrictions, now the country seems to be paying the price for that decision.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: And a great deal of criticism, Kim, as a result of Emmanuel Macron's initial hesitation -- determination, rather, to avoid this third partial lockdown and in the end the fact that that epidemic within an epidemic forced him to change. So, yes, schools now closed for the next three weeks, the country under partial lockdown for a month as they try and bring down those figures.

And the problem really, the game changer here, Kim, and Emmanuel Macron stressed this in his announcement yesterday, has been the spread of the new variant, the one first identified in the United Kingdom in particular. It now represents the vast majority of new cases here in France.

We just had a figure from Germany as well this morning, that new variant now represents nearly 90 percent of new cases in Germany. It is spreading so much faster. It is leading to more hospitalizations. It is leading to younger people and people with no comorbidities finding themselves in hospital. So it really has changed the situation and obliged Emmanuel Macron to do this. He simply had no choice. ICUs and hot spots like here around Paris are very close to breaking point.

He also, Kim, spoke to the vaccination campaign, the World Health Organization this morning calling the rollout in Europe unacceptably slow. Emmanuel Macron recognized that it had been too slow so far, vowing to have it pick up. But you know that question of supplies still a big one for European leaders even as they have this race against time and in particular this race against the new variants -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. All right, thank you so much, Melissa Bell in Paris.

President Joe Biden says he has a plan to upgrade roads, bridges and even the internet across the U.S. So what will that cost? Well, we will take a look at that next. Stay with us. [04:15:00]


BRUNHUBER: From rebuilding America's roads to creating millions of American jobs, President Joe Biden has unveiled what he calls a once in a generation investment, a $2 trillion proposal focusing on infrastructure. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has the details of the plan.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's big, yes. It's bold, yes. And we can get it done.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Joe Biden unveiling his highly anticipated infrastructure plan, a $2 trillion proposal that goes far beyond rebuilding the nation's crumbling roads and bridges.

BIDEN: It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It's a once-in- a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we've seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago.

ZELENY (voice-over): In Pittsburgh, a city that's become a symbol of innovation in his native Pennsylvania, Biden pledging to reshape the American economy, create millions of jobs and make the country more competitive on the global stage.

BIDEN: We can't delay. We can't delay another minute. It's long past due.

ZELENY (voice-over): He's calling it the American Jobs Plan, the first half of a two-part package, now the top priority on Biden's agenda.

It stands as the biggest test of Biden's presidency, not only in trying to keep Democrats unified, given their narrow majorities in Congress, but also in trying to win over Republicans skeptical about the scope and cost of the bill.

BIDEN: The divisions of the moment shouldn't stop us from doing the right thing for the future.

ZELENY (voice-over): The plan calls for investing $621 billion to rebuild 20,000 miles of roads, 10,000 bridges, public transit, waterways and ports. It would also accelerate a shift to electric vehicles by building a national network of 500,000 charging stations by 2030.


It would also allocate $400 billion to bolster caregiving for aging and disabled Americans by expanding access to long-term care services and improving the wages of home health care workers.

The bill also proposes sweeping investments in creating new manufacturing jobs, affordable housing, upgrading water systems to improve drinking water in communities, building schools and expanding broadband to urban and rural areas of the country still without high- speed Internet.

BIDEN: This plan is important, not only for what and how it builds, but it's also important to where we build. It includes everyone, regardless of your race or your zip code.

ZELENY (voice-over): To help pay for eight years of spending, Biden is proposing to raise the corporate income tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent. The rate had been as high as 35 percent before former President Trump cut taxes in 2017. Rebuilding infrastructure has long been a bipartisan goal. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the tax increases and massive scope of the bill make it a nonstarter.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): But this is not going to be, apparently, an infrastructure package. It's like a Trojan horse. It's called infrastructure. But inside the Trojan horse is going to be more borrowed money and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy.

ZELENY (voice-over): Moderate and progressive Democrats have concerns too, giving the White House little room for error, as it begins the tedious legislative work that will almost certainly take months.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi set an early goal of July 4 for the House to pass the bill, an optimistic timeline, given the questions already mounting in the Senate.

Biden starting his sales pitch with a promise to go big, calling for transformational change, in the vein of the legacies of FDR or LBJ.

BIDEN: If we act now, in 50 years, people are going to look back and say this was the moment that America won the future.

ZELENY: The White House cast this as a once in a century opportunity and President Biden said if the United States will become the most innovative economy in the world this plan is necessary. Now of course, Republicans are skeptical about the price tag and how it will be paid for. Democrats, too. But the sales pitch begins on Thursday here at the White House when President Biden convenes the first cabinet meeting of his presidency.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


BRUNHUBER: All right. Let's talk more about that with CNN's John Defterios. So John, can we make any comparisons here with any other countries that have done something similar?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes, it's a great point, Kim, because if you look overseas and you can go into the European Union you could take Germany and France as examples of where the government plays the role of building out infrastructure here, particularly when it comes to rail, road, health care and then the state schooling system at the same time.

You can transfer that to Japan, another G7 economy, a smaller economy like Singapore known because of its infrastructure, it's free trade, but having excellent schooling system at the same time.

But Joe Biden here, I think, Kim, at the same time is living up to an election campaign pledge, and that's the three Bs -- Building Back Better. He thinks this is instrumental in terms of competitiveness for the U.S. economy. And I also thought it was interesting that he targeted 13 million jobs but for the lower middle class and the poor. 75 percent of the jobs will go to those that don't have a four-year university education and this is excellent in terms of job creation going forward as well.

And I noticed here, Kim, the other thing is that if you look at the market reaction around the world, whether it's in Asia and Europe, we've had a rally because even though there's $5 trillion of stimulus spending on the pandemic, another $2 trillion in infrastructure is getting the nod of approval because people think it's the right thing to do.

Corporate tax, it's interesting that Joe Biden went the midway point, not 21 percent of Donald Trump, not 35 percent under President Obama but something in the middle at 28 percent and closing the loopholes for corporations not to leave their profits overseas and lower tax havens like Ireland and Singapore. He wants to repatriate that money at a U.S. corporate tax rate of 28 percent -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much, John Defterios in Abu Dhabi.

The U.S. Border Patrol has released startling video of smugglers dropping two toddlers over a 14 foot high fence along the U.S./Mexico border in the dark of night. You can see a person lowering a three- year-old and a five-year-old over the barrier into New Mexico and then dropping the children the rest of the way down. The smuggler then runs away. Authorities say the children weren't hurt.

Now, this comes as the Biden administration is struggling to contain an influx of migrant children at the southern border. The administration says it plans to open its tenth temporary shelter for unaccompanied children and it will be located in Houston, Texas.


Well remote learning has become a way of life for many children, but when children don't show up for virtual class, tracking them down can be a huge challenge. We will explain. Details ahead. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Returning to our top story on the pandemic, there's hope that American children younger than 16 may soon be able to get vaccinated against the disease. A clinical trial of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was found to be 100 percent effective in children ages 12 to 15. That data will now be submitted to U.S. regulators.

In the meantime school districts are coping with the enormous challenge of trying to keep track of students who aren't in the classroom. CNN's Ryan Young has that story for us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wanted to give you a call --

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds of calls like this one are being made each day. Calls that could help change a kid's life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's only missed one single day since the beginning of the semester.

YOUNG: Kathleen Richardson works for a nonprofit helping find students who aren't participating in class or logging in to online classes at all, something that school districts around the country are struggling with.

ERIC, PRINCIPAL, STOCKBRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL: It's concern, it's disheartening.

YOUNG (voice-over): Eric Watson is the principal here at Stockbridge high school outside Atlanta, he along with other schools in his district has created local care teams to make sure students who are learning virtually are engaging the same way they would be in a classroom.

YOUNG: What's your concern when you see a kid that's not logging on?

WATSON: I mean, you just don't know, you know, what's going on in the home because we normally spend more time with the students than their parents do.

YOUNG (voice-over): Henry County public schools has nearly 43,000 students from pre-k through 12th grade. Out of the 1,400 students that would normally be roaming the halls of this high school.