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Fed. Investigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz; U.S. Sees a Rise in Hate Crimes; Cecilia Rouse is Interviewed about the March Jobs Numbers. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired April 2, 2021 - 09:30   ET



PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: And last night "The New York Times" reported that Greenberg was actually advertising online for women for sex. And "The New York Times" reports that it has reviewed receipts showing payments from Gaetz to Greenberg, then to some of these women, who told their friends, according to "The New York Times," that this money was for sex.

Now, Gaetz's office has responded in a statement saying, Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex. Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting allegations completely. Matt Gaetz has never even been on any such websites whatsoever.

And over the past few days, as these allegations have become public, Gaetz has tried to conflate this sex crimes investigation with a separate alleged extortion effort of his family. Now in speaking to sources, we have learned that these are two completely separate matters.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Understood. Great reporting. Thanks so much.

Lauren Fox, you have new reporting, which is another level of this story. That's that multiple sources telling you that Gaetz showed off photos to other lawmakers of nude women he'd slept with? Tell us to whom, how often, what was this about?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, I want to make it very clear that this is a separate incident and a separate situation than the Department of Justice investigation that Paula just spoke about.

But what we have learned is that behind the scenes, Gaetz earned a reputation on Capitol Hill with colleagues for really boasting about his sexual exploits with women. And multiple sources told CNN that he would show photographs and images of naked women to his colleagues. And one of these instances actually happened on the House floor. Two of CNN's sources said that Gaetz directly showed them these images, one on the floor, one just off the floor, but still in the U.S. Capitol building, that image of a woman and a hula hoop.

Now, Jim, this is, obviously, part of this larger discussion about Gaetz and how he is viewed within the Republican conference on Capitol Hill. As you've seen, there have been very few lawmakers who have come to his aid, come to stand up for him as this DOJ investigation has gotten started. And our sources telling us that he just had this reputation on Capitol Hill of really talking about his exploits with women.

We should be also very clear that none of these images that our sources told us about appear to be of minors. I think that that's important to clarify here. Also just, again, this is not at all correlated, at least in terms of our reporting so far, related to that DOJ investigation.


SCIUTTO: Understood. All right, a separate line of inquiry. Great reporting, Lauren Fox. Paula Reid as well. Thanks very much.

Well, the nation's largest police department is jumping to action following a series now of disturbing hate crimes over recent weeks, including against Asian-Americans. I'm going to speak to New York City's top cop about his efforts to prevent this. That's next.



SCIUTTO: The nation remains on edge following a series of hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans across the country. A brutal attack on a 65- year-old woman of Filipino descent in New York earlier this week -- it's just difficult to watch there as you can see it happening -- it exposed really a new torrent of anti-Asian violence. That suspect there is now facing a handful of assault and hate crime charges tied to this horrible attack.

Joining me now to discuss this and other issues, New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

Commissioner, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

DERMOT SHEA, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: Jim, thanks for having me on.

SCIUTTO: So the number of complaints, at least 26 complaints of anti- Asian hate crime this year, up from last year. I wonder, based on your investigations, what you believe is driving this? Is it simply, principally, rhetoric around the COVID pandemic?

SHEA: Well, we're up to 35 complaints now, Jim.


SHEA: And I think it's -- I think it's some rhetoric and I think it's mental illness as key factors here.

SCIUTTO: Understood.

Is your task force, you've established that now. You also have undercover Asian-American police officers out there as another step of protection. You have warned people to say, hey, listen, next person you attack could actually be a cop.

SHEA: Yes.

SCIUTTO: To this point, is that strategy working?

SHEA: Well, it's part of a layered strategy where we have uniformed police officers, we have, as you said, the undercover police officers. We also have, Jim, you know, more outreach than ever. And I think all of those things together is what it's going to take to really push back on this.

But, yes, I think, Jim, you really have to drill down on this mental illness piece because in the last couple days, this is a crisis and we need -- we need people to really acknowledge that. You had the incident where the woman was kicked. A horrible incident. We had an incident two days ago where a one-year-old child was stabbed in a stroller. I mean, like -- where -- where is the outrage? And yesterday we had an individual push somebody onto the train tracks with an arrest record as long as my arm. And until we start addressing these issues, you know, the police alone are not going to solve this problem. We need -- we need, you know, everyone really to come together here. And when arrests are made, because there is always arrests prior to these tragic, tragic incidents and we need to address this mental illness piece.

SCIUTTO: So -- and it's -- and you and I have talked about this before, mental illness piece, but also folks with long rap sheets that are out of prison, what is the solution to that, in your view?

SHEA: Well, we've got to make hard decisions.


And there's got to be middle ground. When you look at the individual that kicked the woman, paroled recently. When you look at the individual that just -- just stop and listen to this now slowly, slashes a mom --

SCIUTTO: And you're --

SHEA: Slashes a dad, and then intentionally stabs a child,


SHEA: A one-year-old girl in a stroller, paroled last month. So something is clearly broken here. And -- and it's a crisis. And I would say that, listen, I'm sure we're going to talk about marijuana legislation. That's the least of my concerns, to be honest.


SHEA: But if we have time to write detailed legislation about marijuana, let's spend some of that time to fix this broken system and protect people, not just in New York City, across the country, because this is a crisis.

SCIUTTO: Another attack, a Jewish family slashed Wednesday night in slower Manhattan. Is that being investigated as well as a hate crime?

SHEA: Well, that's the one I'm referring to, Jim. It absolutely --

SCIUTTO: With the child? OK.

SHEA: Yes, it absolutely is. But, again, what's the common denominator here, paroled last month. Why -- he was paroled last month for a seven-year period of incarceration where he -- he almost killed somebody, threw them down the stairs in a robbery. While he was incarcerated, he broke a court officer's wrist, you know, attacking people. Resentenced in jail for other offenses. This is who we are putting back onto the street. And within a month, he's stabbing a one- year-old child in a stroller. I can't tell you how angry I am about this, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I understand. And, listen, we've talked about this before. As you know, New York state relaxed these rules, made it easier for folks to get released early under some circumstances. Are you saying those laws have to be tightened up again?

SHEA: I think it's a -- it's a -- it's a process where we always have to look. All of us together. No pointing fingers. Working together. But that the basic principle of government is to protect the citizens. And when you have people walking around the street, and these are the ones that are reported to get in the news. We're seeing incidents like this and we've got to do a better job than this. We can't be -- you know, we have to be compassionate. We have to help people. But we also can't forget the people that live and work and come to New York City to enjoy everything that it offers. And you can't be putting people onto the street and having them victimize New Yorkers without consequences. So that's got to be looked at.

SCIUTTO: Understood.

I do want to ask you about the Chauvin trial.

SHEA: Yes.

SCIUTTO: I know you've been watching this closely as well. You've seen the defense there saying that that officer was following his training, that that officer felt under threat from George Floyd, even after he stopped resisting, and that that officer felt under threat from the crowd, at least distracted, possibly threatened.

Your cops face a lot of tough situations. Do you find that defense at all credible?

SHEA: Yes, I actually haven't watched the trial. I -- to be honest, I haven't had time to. You know, I have said early on, I saw a crime take place. I mean that's -- that's my personal opinion. We are -- we are getting ready. We are training. We are getting prepared. We are working with elected officials, community leaders. We are working with members of the clergy all across New York City. We think we're in a good place. And we have a real professional police department here with our neighborhood policing program. And we're going to be ready. And when that trial comes down, hopefully justice is served. But we'll be ready in any and all eventualities.

And, as I said, Jim, I think we have the best, most professional police department in the world. And as just a quick segue, you know, April 7th opens the filing. If you want to join this great police department. For three weeks only, this is your time.

SCIUTTO: All right.

SHEA: So anyone at home, family, friends, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, April 7th starts the filing period. Three weeks only. Become a member of the greatest police department in the world.

SCIUTTO: You heard it. The NYPD is hiring.

I do want to ask you, before we go, the New York City county recently amended a law, it initially had banned the use of chokeholds. And you and I have talked about this before. And that, of course, it's at the center, not just of this case, but of other cases. Eric Garner in New York. And it has now allowed them again, making it illegal to use them only recklessly. In other words saying that there are circumstances where a chokehold should be an option for officers. And I wonder why the need to reinstate that. Is that necessary?

SHEA: I didn't hear the first part of the question, Jim. Where were you talking? What locality?

SCIUTTO: Talking about New York -- the county here amending a law to allow it under certain circumstances. I mean my basic question to you is, should there be any circumstances where a chokehold is allowed?


SHEA: We've, you know, we've had a policy in the NYPD for now decades that prohibits the use of chokeholds. And it's been talked about many times. It's not to say that it's fool-proof. I'm not going to stand here and tell you that we have never utilized one. But we have banned it and we stand by that.

SCIUTTO: Understood.

SHEA: In terms of how that sometimes leads to discussions about diaphragms and things of that nature, that's where we have a difference of opinion. But regarding the chokeholds, we -- we train to not use chokeholds. We have policy that forbids it. And it's been that way for a long time.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Clear answers. Commissioner Dermot Shea, thanks so much for taking the time this morning.

SHEA: Jim, thank you. And Happy Easter to all.

SCIUTTO: Much appreciated.

And we'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Some good -- some really good economic news this morning, the U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate dropping to 6 percent. Also a revision upwards for February. It is good news. Though, we should note, the economy still has about eight million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic.

Joining me now to discuss the administration's response, Cecilia Rouse, she's the top White House economist and the chair of Council of Economic Advisors.

Ms. Rouse, thanks so much for taking the time this morning.


SCIUTTO: So these numbers are good. They're above forecast. I know that there's still about an $8.4 million job deficit. But economists are forecasting continued growth, even a boom going into the summer. And I wonder, if the economy is set to boom, why the need to inject another $2 trillion in via this large infrastructure proposal?

ROUSE: Well -- well, thank you, Jim. Yes, these were encouraging numbers. It suggests that the speed with which we have accelerated the vaccination rollout and getting shots into arms and just the confident economic structure that the Biden administration has put in place has really provided the confidence that the economy needs to start to get going again. But we still have more work to do. So, yes, the American Rescue Plan was designed to help get us past this pandemic to insure that people could get to the other side safely.

However, we do know that even this time last year, well maybe a little bit before this time last year, when the economy -- when the unemployment rate was relatively low, there were some structural inequalities that this -- that we had been not making the kinds of important infrastructure investments in our roads and our bridges. We had not been investing in research and development, which we know is so critical for generating innovation that's help us get to the next level. And that our workers, many of whom are caring for our most important loved ones, have not been earning very good salaries.


ROUSE: So the rescue plan is designed to get past the pandemic.


ROUSE: The American Jobs Plan is meant to invest in our future. And so they're quite distinct. The rescue plan is supposed to be short. The investment is -- will take longer, it's more foundational.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Republicans already expressing opposition. Similar to the COVID Relief Plan, but it's not even clear, you got all the Democrats lined up on this. Progressives want more. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking about $10 trillion over 10 years. And you have some moderates, including Richard Neil, expressing reservations about raising taxes here.

Are you confident, is the administration confident, you have the votes for the plan as it stands today?

ROUSE: Well, look, the president is committed to making these generational investments in our economy. He believes strongly in investing in our middle class, to insuring that we have growth that is widely shared. So, yes, he's got to work with Congress and he's eager to do so. He has set his direction. He thinks it's a good plan. But he's also open to listening to others on how we pay for it. He wants us to be fiscally responsible. We've proposed, at least on this part, you know, increasing the taxes on corporations, just even rolling back a fraction of what was in the 2017 tax plan. But he's also open to other ways of paying for this investment. But what he recognizes is that we can't continue being the number one economy in the world without, you know, making these kinds of foundational improvements.

SCIUTTO: All right, you say he's open to discussions. As you know, the Chamber of Commerce calls, in particular, the tax -- corporate tax increase dangerously misguided. Is the president open to trimming down the scale of this if necessary?

ROUSE: So, again, the president is committed to the investment. He recognizes how important this is for the American people, for our economy. We need to be investing in those pillars that ensure that we'll have economic growth going forward. How we pay for it, he wants a tax system where, you know, we reward work and not wealth and where we level out the playing field and where everybody's paying their fair share of taxes. But he's open to how we get there.

SCIUTTO: OK. As you know, women were disproportionately impacted by and still, to this day, by this economic slowdown, as well as a whole host of other burdens, including taking care of kids at home, right, in the midst of remote learning.

I wonder, after the child tax credit, which was intended to address that in part, what is in this bill to address that and is there enough, right, to address what are long term issues, not short term issues?

ROUSE: Well, that's exactly right. And some people have asked, well, why is care part of infrastructure?


But infrastructure is about investing in those processes that's help us do activities, including people. And so in this bill what we see is investment in childcare facilities in school, improving school facilities as part of physical infrastructure.

But it also invests in the care economy. So -- which is disproportionately women, disproportionately women of color, to insure that those are good paying jobs and so that our loved ones do have people who can take care of them so that those who want to also participate in the, you know, the labor market can do so knowing that their -- you know, that their children and their parents are being taken care of.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Just very quickly, yes or no, is $2 trillion a drop deadline for this president or can he negotiate that figure?

ROUSE: You know, the president is committed to making important investments in our economy in terms of physical infrastructure, people, R&D. And that's what he's committed to doing.

SCIUTTO: OK. Well, we'll be watching closely. Cecilia Rouse, a real pleasure to have you on the show this morning.

ROUSE: Thank you so much.

SCIUTTO: Well, just moments away, a new round of powerful testimony set to begin in the trial of Derek Chauvin. We're going to be live. We'll bring it to you the moment it starts.

That's next.