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One Officer Killed, One Wounded, Attacker Dead At U.S. Capitol; Abundance Of Video At George Floyd Murder Trial; Feds Investigate Matt Gaetz; CDC Says Fully Vaccinated Can Gather For Easter; France And Italy Begin Pre-Easter Lockdowns; Netherlands Suspends AZ Vaccine; U.N. Special Envoy To Myanmar, "A Bloodbath Is Imminent"; Capitol Police Mourn Fallen Officer. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired April 3, 2021 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Flags at the U.S. Capitol and the White House are flying at half-staff at this hour after another Capitol Police officer was killed in the line of duty.
The violent confrontation begin midday Friday when a suspect rammed a car into a security barricade. Police say the driver then lunged at officers with a knife, stabbing one before he was fatally shot. One officer was also wounded.
Officer William Evans is the second Capitol officer to die on duty since the Capitol riot. He was the father of two and had been on the force for 18 years. For the latest on what we know, here is CNN's Brian Todd.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A suspect in a car rammed two Capitol Police officers at the security barrier at the Capitol complex, then got out of the vehicle wielding a knife, police say.
ACTING CHIEF YOGANANDA PITTMAN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: He did not respond to verbal commands. The suspect did start lunging toward U.S. Capitol Police officers, at which time U.S. Capitol Police officers fired upon the suspect.
TODD (voice-over): At least one of the officers was stabbed, an official tells CNN. One officer died from his injuries; William Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force. A second officer was injured.
PITTMAN: I ask that you keep our U.S. Capitol Police family in your thoughts and prayers.
TODD (voice-over): The suspect, identified by sources as Noah Green, age 25, is dead as well. He was not familiar to Capitol Police, authorities said. No initial indication of ties to terrorism but the motive is unknown. CHIEF ROBERT CONTEE, WASHINGTON, D.C., METROPOLITAN POLICE: Clearly
this was someone who was actively trying to just get at whoever, whatever. We just don't know.
TODD (voice-over): A unit from the National Guard was immediately deployed to assist. Members of Congress are mostly out of town during the break. Authorities say they're not aware of a particular lawmaker being targeted. But an emergency lockdown order was issued for the complex.
The incident comes amid an increase in reported threats to lawmakers in recent months and a debate over removing more of the fencing around the Capitol, in place since the January 6th riot targeting lawmakers, and reducing the National Guard deployment. Some members on both sides of the aisle had been chafing in recent weeks.
REP. SCOTT DESJARLAIS (R): It's really discouraging to see the razor wire, the fencing, the image that it sends to the world. So if that threat no longer exists, I would hope that we could return to normal.
TODD (voice-over): Today's incident could reverse that debate.
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: I thought once the barriers were removed, that we were moving back to some sense of normalcy. But this just shows the level of risk that there still is.
TODD (voice-over): In Friday's case, praise for the response by the police.
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Unfortunately we lost Officer Evans today. But by and large, that system worked. The Capitol Police responded. They stopped him. The system worked.
TODD: Investigators are still piecing together information about a specific motive but CNN has learned that, in the weeks before the attack, the suspect, Noah Green, had posted messages on social media, indicating that he had lost his job and that he believed the federal government was targeting him with, among other things, mind control -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
BRUNHUBER: Cedric Alexander is the former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and former public safety director in Dekalb County, Georgia, and he joins me now from Pensacola, Florida.
Thank you so much for being here. First, I just want to start off with your reaction to this tragic incident.
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, certainly our hearts and prayers go out to the officer who lost his life bravely today and those that were injured. And we certainly do wish for their quick recovery. It is a very sad day. It is unfortunate and something that we
certainly was not in no type of way prepared for, considering the most recent January 6th event there at the Capitol.
But we have to support our law enforcement in and around the Capitol Police tonight, tomorrow, because we recognize and realize they have a very difficult and challenging job in this time that we're in.
But we certainly do appreciate their bravery and we applaud them. But it was a very, very sad day, a very tragic day here in the country, in terms of what happened.
How do you mean it's something that they weren't prepared for?
ALEXANDER: Well, we're never prepared -- not that they weren't prepared; we as Americans are oftentimes not prepared.
ALEXANDER: Because we don't recognize the dangers that police officers, such as the Capitol Police, have to be prepared for every day.
And they did a great job in protecting us and, unfortunately, a police officer lost his life and we're all sad by that.
They train hard. They work hard and they certainly do understand the dangers that comes with protecting our democracy there at the Capitol, certainly post the most recent event on January 6th.
But we're Americans. We oftentimes are not prepared for these tragedies that just seems to keep occurring in the way that they are. We are living in a very challenging time here. We have a pandemic we're trying to overcome and we have an economy we're trying to build back up.
We have the George Floyd case that is being nationally broadcast here in this country and around the world actually. So we're going through a lot. And then today we had this tragic event and we are just thankful for our Capitol Police officers.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. We heard the retired general, who led a review of the security at the U.S. Capitol after the January 6th riot, say the system worked here.
Do you agree?
ALEXANDER: Yes, it did. It did. It worked and it's the dangers that are associated with the job sometimes that is hard for us to overcome.
But whatever preparations were put in place had been in place. And new preparations that had been put in place, the men and women that were out there today did their job. But just, unfortunately, tragically, we lost a police officer today. BRUNHUBER: Do you think, in order to prevent that happening, should
there be more enhanced security?
It sounds as though, for instance, the guards were on the other side of the barrier.
Should the protocols change so that they're better protected against these types of attacks?
ALEXANDER: Well, I'm quite sure what would happen after today's event, the leadership and those that are responsible for security in and around the U.S. Capitol certainly will do a review of what happened.
They will look at video. They will assess the things that went well and they will also look at the things that could have been done better. And we have to, you know, to improve after each one of these events.
But what make today most tragic, though, however, is the fact that we lost a life. But they're going to do everything that they can, go back, look at video, look at what we can do better to enforce the security in and around the U.S. Capitol but understanding that there's always going to be a risk associated with this.
BRUNHUBER: Thank you so much for all your expertise on this issue, this tragic day. Thank you so much, Cedric Alexander. Appreciate it.
ALEXANDER: Thank you for having me.
BRUNHUBER: The U.S. president and vice president are among those offering condolences to the fallen officer's family.
President Biden said in a statement, "We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans' family and everyone grieving his loss. We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there and those who protect it."
And from Vice President Kamala Harris, "Officer William Evans made the ultimate sacrifice, protecting the Capitol and those who work there on behalf of the American people."
Officer William Evans' death came less than three months after the trauma of the Capitol riot. On Friday, law enforcement officers across Washington turned out to honor their fallen brother. CNN's Pete Muntean has our report.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A sad, powerful procession here for Officer Billy Evans here at George Washington University Hospital. Police here really as far as the eye could see, not only from U.S. Capitol Police but also the U.S. Park Police, the Metropolitan Washington Police Department, also the Secret Service. It was really hard to spot a dry eye here, especially as the hospital
staff came out on the street from inside to pay homage to Officer Evans. I saw one female police officer at the top of 23rd Street here, standing in solemn salute as that procession pulled away.
I also saw the head of the Metropolitan Washington Police Department, Robert Contee, hugging other police officers here. And as that procession left, what became clear was this was also part crime scene. The ambulance bay was covered in crime scene tape.
And beyond it, you can see a U.S. Capitol Police cruiser that was being inspected by D.C. homicide detectives. They were also taking photographs of that police cruiser. Still not totally clear how that was involved. But that will come out in this investigation as it unfolds.
What is clear is that yet another officer from the U.S. Capitol Police has been killed in the line of duty in a few short months of 2021 -- Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.
BRUNHUBER: Damning testimony from a top officer on the Minneapolis Police Department. Why he says Derek Chauvin's use of force against George Floyd was totally unnecessary.
Plus Major League Baseball is taking a stand on Georgia's new voting laws. Their move and their reaction to it is next. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: It was potentially damaging testimony in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin. The head of the Minneapolis homicide division flat- out rejected the former police officer's use of force against George Floyd last year, when Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. The testimony capped days of raw and emotional witness accounts, as Sara Sidner reports.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To wrap up the first week of testimony in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, we heard yet more powerful testimony, this time from a lieutenant, who heads the homicide department.
And he says the force that was used that day on George Floyd was totally unnecessary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your full name, spelling each of your names to start off. [05:15:00]
SIDNER (voice-over): The man, who said he has been a Minneapolis police officer for longer than anyone in the department, makes no bones about it: kneeling on someone's neck is deadly use of force.
MATTHEW FRANK, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Have you ever been trained to kneel on the neck of someone who was handcuffed behind their back in a prone position?
LT. RICHARD ZIMMERMAN, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: No, I haven't.
FRANK: Would that be considered force?
ZIMMERMAN: That would be the top tier, the deadly force.
ZIMMERMAN: Because of the fact that, if your knee is on a person's neck, that can kill them.
SIDNER (voice-over): And that is exactly what prosecutors say former officer Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd on May 25th, 2020.
GEORGE FLOYD, POLICE MURDER VICTIM: I can't breathe.
SIDNER (voice-over): Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman, who leads the department's homicide unit, also testified he was called to the scene to make sure it was preserved. And he was questioned about police procedure, which he could recite without hesitation.
FRANK: As an officer, according to the training, you handcuff somebody behind the back.
What's your responsibility with regard to that person from that moment on?
ZIMMERMAN: That person is yours. His well-being is your responsibility.
SIDNER (voice-over): Floyd was handcuffed. He had a knee on his neck and he was pinned down on his stomach in what is known as the prone position.
FRANK: What has your training been specific to the prone position?
ZIMMERMAN: Once you secure or handcuff a person, you need to get them out of the prone position as soon as possible because it restricts their breathing.
FRANK: What is your -- you know, your view of that use of force during that time period?
ZIMMERMAN: Totally unnecessary. Putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for. I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger if that's what they felt. And that's what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force.
SIDNER (voice-over): Chauvin's attorney then questioned Zimmerman's recent field experience since he hasn't been on patrol in decades, arriving at crime scenes only after an incident occurs.
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You're not out patrolling the streets, making arrests, things of that nature?
NELSON: All right.
Your experience with the use of force of late has been primarily through training.
SIDNER: On redirect, the prosecution got up and asked him again. He asked Lieutenant Zimmerman whether or not the force was proper and necessary and Zimmerman answered no, it was not -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.
BRUNHUBER: Early, I spoke with legal analyst Areva Martin in Los Angeles, a civil rights attorney, and I asked her how important Friday's testimony was for the prosecution's case.
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The defense told us in his opening statement that we would hear that Derek Chauvin did what he was trained to do.
Zimmerman blew a hole in that theory, saying that this is not the training of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The defense also told us that this crowd somehow was unruly, distracted the officers from being able to care for George Floyd or to be able to control him.
And what we also heard from Zimmerman was that the crowd had nothing to do with it, that the crowd should not have impacted the amount of force that was used on George Floyd and that, in fact, this crowd was not attacking the officers in any way that put them in danger.
So very devastating testimony on behalf of Zimmerman as it relates to the defense's key arguments in this case.
BRUNHUBER: So then if the justifiable use of force defense doesn't fly, they may rely more heavily on medical testimony. It's interesting to me that both sides will be using the same medical examiner's report to argue two different causes of death.
MARTIN: Oh, absolutely. In this case, it's going to come down to the reasonableness of the actions of Chauvin and then causation. Did the actions of kneeling on Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29
seconds -- was that a substantial cause of his death?
Because in Minnesota, it doesn't have to be the sole cause as long as the prosecution can prove that it was a substantial cause. They should be able to get a conviction on one of the three charges that have been filed.
We know medical testimony is going to be key in this case. And we're going to see, going into next week, probably a battle of expert witnesses.
BRUNHUBER: So you know, I just can't remember another trial in which we got such a horrific, immersive experience, seeing this tragedy unfold up close from so many different angles.
You know, if trials rely at least as much on emotion as cold, hard facts, how influential could that be?
MARTIN: Oh, I think you are absolutely correct.
MARTIN: This is a case where, from the very moment that George Floyd has interactions, with that store clerk, with individuals inside Cup Foods, it's all caught on videotape.
Oftentimes, we're relying on the testimony of eyewitnesses. We're relying on documents to tell us what happened with regard to a particular incident. But in this case, as you just stated, we have videotape with multiple -- from multiple individuals that give us a clear picture.
And I can't help but believe that the videotapes, the ones that we've seen of George Floyd, of him acting pretty normal, engaging in conversation, going about his business and then watching what happens to him under the knee of Chauvin, that that videotape is resonating with jurors.
BRUNHUBER: Our thanks to civil rights attorney Areva Martin for her analysis there.
Baseball's All-Star game won't be played here in Atlanta this summer as planned. The league made the announcement Friday as a response to the state's restrictive new voting law.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the following, "Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box."
LeBron James is a part owner of the Boston Red Sort of, tweeting, "Proud to call myself a part of the MLB family today."
The L.A. Dodgers' manager, one of only two Black managers in the league, is for the move.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE ROBERTS, LOS ANGELES DODGERS MANAGER: I support it. I'm not completely versed on everything but I do understand -- and my takeaway from the bill -- was essentially to suppress voting for colored people, people of color. And with that, that's something I fundamentally, intrinsically disagree with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Republican governor Brian Kemp, who signed the law, is ripping the decision, saying the league, quote, "caved to fear, political opportunism and liberal lies."
The Atlanta Braves say they are, quote, "deeply disappointed," adding, "this was neither our decision nor our recommendation," adding, "it had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion."
There is no word yet as to where the All-Star game will actually be held now.
The Professional Golfers Association says it's also concerned about protecting the right to vote but it's keeping its big tour championship right here in Atlanta in September. And the legendary Masters tournament is set to tee off on schedule next week in Augusta, Georgia.
Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Costas spoke to CNN's Don Lemon about this earlier.
BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There's so many aspects to it. One that strikes me is, that, until relatively recently, baseball was not as apt as a sport to weigh in on social issues as perhaps the NBA, the WNBA, the NFL.
But that all changed. Last year was obviously a time of reckoning and it continues. There's a players' alliance now in baseball, made up primarily of players of color, primarily African American players, but also widely supported by white players around Major League Baseball.
So there are still some people who will say, stick to sports, stick to sports. But as we have discussed before, Don, there is a long history of athletes using their platform to register a point of view and to be, in many cases, effective and, in some cases, even profound.
The question is going to be, going forward, on a case-by-case basis, is this always the right sort of approach?
There may be some people who are in agreement overall, have some differences with some aspect or differences with the approach. Stacey Abrams has said she has mixed feelings about it. You can understand how the Atlanta Braves feel about it. There are people who feel that this is taking some economic
opportunity away from those who would benefit from having a big event like an All-Star game. And some of those people are relatively lower on the economic ladder, so I understand those objections.
But the larger point that is being made here, yes, you can claim, as governor Kemp did, that there are certain provisions within this bill that will enhance access to voting.
But in the overall, on balance, it actually restricts voting. And it's clear it will most negatively impact people of color and people at the lower income scale. This is what baseball has decided to do.
This is also different when you talk about the PGA Tour, the Masters next week. The Masters is only in one place at one time. Baseball can move its All-Star game and it will to somewhere else. So the players will still play in an All-Star game.
BRUNHUBER: An update on the investigation of Republican congressman Matt Gaetz. Federal investigators are looking into his relationships with young women.
BRUNHUBER: The threads they are following are complex but sources say one issue is whether federal campaign money was used to pay for travel and expenses for the women. CNN's Paula Reid has the latest.
PAULA REID, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The federal investigation into Florida congressman Matt Gaetz for possible prostitution and sex trafficking crimes, including an alleged relationship with a minor, now centering around his friendship with this man, Joel Greenberg.
JOEL GREENBERG, PIMP AND FORMER TAX COLLECTOR: It really is an honor to be here today.
REID (voice-over): In addition, investigators believe that Greenberg, a former Seminole County, Florida, tax collector, recruited multiple women online for sex and that he introduced the women, who received cash payments, to Gaetz, who had sex with them, too, according to "The New York Times."
"The Times" said it reviewed Apple Pay and Cash app receipts that show Gaetz and Greenberg made payments to one of the women and one payment from Greenberg to a different woman.
In a statement, Gaetz's office said, "Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex. Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting investigations completely."
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Providing for flights and hotel rooms for people that you are dating, who are of legal age, is not a crime. REID (voice-over): But a source telling CNN, investigators are
examining whether any federal campaign money was involved in paying for travel and expenses for the women. Gaetz and Greenberg have been friends for years, posting photos together.
And Gaetz even telling a local radio station that Greenberg would make a good member of Congress in 2017.
GAETZ: If Joel were to run for Seminole County, I think he becomes the next congressman from the 7th District.
REID (voice-over): The duo, according to a Florida lawmaker, leaving an unsolicited voicemail on her cell phone. She gave a recording of the message to CNN.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GREENBERG: This is your favorite tax collector. I'm up in the Panhandle with your favorite U.S. Congress man, Mr. Gaetz.
GAETZ: Hi, Anna.
GREENBERG: And we were just chatting about you and talking about your lovely qualities and your --
GAETZ: We think you're the future of the Democratic Party in Florida.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
REID (voice-over): Additionally, information that may connect Gaetz to a fake ID scheme at the center of Greenberg's case was presented to federal investigators at a meeting last year, sources familiar tell CNN.
Greenberg had entered a plea of not guilty. Attorneys for Greenberg and Gaetz had no comment.
In addition to the federal investigation, multiple sources told CNN, Gaetz showed lawmakers photos and videos of nude women he claimed to have slept with. One source saying Gaetz shared the images on his phone while on the floor of the House.
REID: Gaetz finds himself with few public allies. His communications director resigned earlier today. And even though Gaetz has been one of the most vocal Trump supporters, so far, the former president has remained silent, amid his escalating set of scandals that could potentially end Gaetz's political career -- Paula Reid at CNN, Washington.
BRUNHUBER: And just ahead here on CNN, the latest on Friday's deadly attack at the U.S. Capitol and possible clues into the suspect's motives.
(MUSIC PLAYING) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
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.
More now on the deadly attack on the Capitol that is once again raising security concerns. Authorities say a man rammed a car into officers before charging at them with a knife. One officer was killed and the other wounded.
William Evans was an 18-year veteran of the police force. He is the second Capitol officer to die in the line of duty in three months. Flags at the Capitol and the White House are flying at half-staff. The suspect is also dead. His motives remain unclear, although he left behind social media posts ranting about the CIA and the FBI.
In one post, he wrote, the government was targeting him with, quote, "mind control."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now say people can safely gather for Easter indoors and without masks if they have been fully vaccinated. They also put out new guidance for travelers. Nick Watt reports.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Fully vaccinated people can resume travel at low risk to themselves.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Because new data suggests the risk they will carry the virus and infect others is low, maybe a risk worth taking, says the CDC. Still got to mask.
This Easter weekend, the CDC says the fully vaccinated can together unmasked inside.
Reality check: so far only just over 17 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: We need to hold out just a bit longer and give vaccines a chance to really get the upper hand in this.
WATT (voice-over): The vaccines work against the variant strains we know about. But more resistant mutants might emerge. Nearly 80,000 new COVID cases reported yesterday. And that is a potential problem.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: When that infection is high, there are more chances for the virus to replicate, to mutate and to lead to these dangerous variants. DR. SHEREEF ELNAHAL, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL NEWARK: The doomsday scenario
would be the rise of a variant completely insensitive to the vaccines we are using now. We haven't seen that yet but the only way to stop that is by stopping the spread.
WATT (voice-over): Right now we are not in Kansas. The Democratic governor just reissued a mask mandate; hours late, Republican lawmakers nixed it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's still in our communities. There is a variant out there. I think this is sending the wrong message.
WATT (voice-over): The variants we know about might not be vaccine resistant but they are more contagious.
ELNAHAL: There is a strong suspicion that the U.K. variant is now dominating in many parts of the country, including right here in the city of Newark and New York metro area.
WATT (voice-over): April last year, then president Trump estimated the total U.S. death toll in this pandemic would be?
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Probably around 60,000 maybe 65,000.
WATT (voice-over): One influential model now projects that by July 1st, the toll will be 609,000 lives lost in America to this virus -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
BRUNHUBER: Two European countries are in coronavirus lockdowns this Easter weekend.
BRUNHUBER: French president Emmanuel Macron says his country is starting a limited lockdown and it's set to last at least a month. Italy has also started a new nationwide lockdown. Officials are trying to keep the virus from spreading over Easter.
The lockdowns come amid new concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Netherlands is suspending use of the shot in people under 60. A British medicines watchdog has identified 30 cases of rare blood clots after AstraZeneca vaccinations.
But the agency says the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. We have reporters in two European capitals, Salma Abdelaziz in London and Delia Gallagher in Rome.
Delia, a scaled-down Easter at the Vatican and throughout Italy?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Kim. Lockdown is affecting the Vatican's Easter celebrations. You could see that last night, with the pope's Good Friday commemoration in St. Peter's Square, that was virtually empty. You'll see the same thing on Sunday for Easter mass.
The Vatican is moving that inside instead of holding it out in the square normally, with thousands of people and flowers in the square to avoid having crowds come down. Of course, there is also the fact that there is an economic repercussion for the Vatican as well because of at least lockdowns.
They're projecting a 506 million euro deficit this year. The Vatican Museums is a major source of income for them and have been closed for the better part of last year and this year. One of the things the pope is doing to offset that, he has reduced the cardinals and priests' salaries working in the Vatican.
The Vatican is also dealing with the financial repercussions of these lockdowns. One thing they are doing well is their vaccine rollout program. They have the Pfizer vaccine and managed to vaccinate all of their residents and employees and not difficult because it's a small country.
Nonetheless, with the extra doses, the pope has decided to give those to the needy and homeless that live around the Vatican. They are vaccinating 1,200 of them this week. He paid a surprise visit to some of them in the morning. And the Vatican says that they have managed to vaccinate 800 of them.
The pope has always paid a lot of attention to encouraging countries to keep in mind the needy and those who might slip between the cracks of the health care system, to make sure they are vaccinated as well.
BRUNHUBER: The pope distributing the Pfizer vaccine there but Italy importing AstraZeneca. We talked about the reports of blood clots there.
Are there any more concerns in Italy about that?
GALLAGHER: There were a lot of concerns in the beginning of March, they suspended, along with other European countries, the use of the AstraZeneca until the European Medicines Agency could study it again.
They did and gave it the green light. So Italy reinstated the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Italian prime minister, Mario Draghi, himself, received that vaccine.
One of the problems with AstraZeneca, as with the other pharmaceutical companies, for European countries, has been the shortage of supplies that caused them, in part, to delay their whole vaccination rollout. So that is what they are trying catch up with.
Italy has an ambitious plan to vaccinate 500,000 people a day and they are at about 250,000 a day right now. Mid April, they will be using the Johnson & Johnson as well, which only requires one dose so that might help them to speed up their program.
BRUNHUBER: Delia Gallagher, thanks so much.
Now to Salma and dig deeper into the reports about the AstraZeneca vaccine.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: We should start by saying that experts, doctors, scientists, are still investigating whether or not there is a link and what is that link between the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine and these rare blood clots that are occurring.
You have 30 blood clots, 30 cases that happened here, according to the U.K. regulatory body. And seven of those 30 died, that's what health officials told local media here in the U.K.
Still, experts will tell you that the risks are not high -- the benefits still outweigh the risks in this case. These 30 cases were 30 out of 18 million people who were vaccinated up to March 24th. So they see that this is a very rare occurrence.
So that vaccine continues to be rolled out here across the U.K. and will continue to be investigated by health officials, asked whether or not, again, there is that link between these rare cases of blood clots and the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine.
ABDELAZIZ: Unlike what we are seeing in Italy and France, with tightening restrictions, the opposite is happening here. This week, rules were relaxed and allowed people outside, to socialize up to two households, up to six people in time for the Easter weekend.
The police are warning people, the prime minister warning people, yes, the rules are relaxed but make sure to follow those relaxed rules. Prime minister Boris Johnson tweeting, do not gather indoors. Only gather outdoors and follow the rule of six again.
Local police forces are reminding people, the Metropolitan Police say they will be highly visible and issue any fines if they need to, if people are breaking these rules.
BRUNHUBER: We will be watching that. Thank you, Salma, there in London, England.
Myanmar's military is intensifying its crackdown and anti-coup celebrities are being targeted for speaking out. I'll have the latest in a live report. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Myanmar's violent military crackdown is intensifying. One advocacy group says 550 people were killed since the February coup and now it is ramping up efforts to control communication in the area. Ivan Watson has the latest from Hong Kong.
What is the latest? IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's almost tragically surreal, the way the state media are covering this. More than 500 people killed in two months but the state global newspaper, in its Friday edition, on the front page, showed the military dictator, whose coup overthrew a civilian elected government on February 1st, touring the sales of pearls and jade and other gems.
WATSON: Meanwhile the killing continues on the streets, with the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners saying at least seven people were killed on Thursday and Friday in different cities and towns.
We had more reports of airstrikes carried out in the ethnic area near the border with Thailand, hours after the military announced a cease- fire that it apparently did not abide by.
The efforts to crush this uprising against the coup are continuing. One of the strange announcements that came on military television last night were arrest warrants against more than 20 Myanmar celebrities and singers and influencers, accusing them of Article 505a of the penal code, which is trying to cause officers or soldiers or sailors or airmen to mutiny or quit their work.
Now this is the response from one of those identified people, an actor.
And she wrote, "An arrest warrant with me with penalty code 505a was announced for simply doing my job as a civilian, using my platform to speak out the truth. I will not be able to report much on here anymore. Please always pay attention to news in Myanmar until we win."
There are curfews imposed around the country, starting at 8 o'clock at night. One of our contacts filmed the strange scene of the security forces, walking through his neighborhood through otherwise empty streets at night.
A long-time Myanmar watcher that I spoke with said it is incredible how quickly this place is falling off the cliff, that Myanmar has gone from being almost a fairy tale story to a failed state.
So very ominous predictions from people inside the country, echoed by a growing number of governments, that are calling on their citizens to avoid traveling to Myanmar and, those inside, to please leave as soon as possible.
BRUNHUBER: Thanks for that look at the latest going on there. Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong.
Prosecutors in Taiwan are seeking an arrest warrant for a construction site manager whose truck is believed to have cause a train crash that killed at least 50 people. According to the authority, the brakes on the truck were not properly set. The truck then rolled downhill on the tracks, causing the trash. Michael Holmes has details.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A busy passenger train carrying nearly 500 people derailed in a tunnel in Taiwan in what officials say is the island's worst railway accident in decades.
Investigators say the express train was traveling southbound on the eastern coast of Taiwan to the southeastern city of Taedong and appears to have hit a construction vehicle that was not properly secured and slid down a slope onto the tracks.
Witnesses say the impact threw the people inside the carriages on top of each other, killing scores, including the driver of the train, and injuring many more. A survivor says she and others escaped the wreckage by breaking a window and climbing to the roof to get out. She describes the chaos at the moment of the crash.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): All of a sudden, I just fell from my seat to the ground. I hit my head and it was bleeding.
HOLMES (voice-over): The worst of the damage was inside the tunnel, where some of the carriages crumpled into twisted masses of metal, rescuers using saws and power tools to try to reach anyone alive inside.
Grieving families gathered at a nearby morgue to help identify the dead. Officials say they do expect the death toll to rise. The train was packed with people, many of them standing, as they traveled for the annual commemoration of Tomb Sweeping Day, where families tend to the graves of their loved ones, an act of service many aboard the train will not get the chance to fulfill -- Michael Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.
BRUNHUBER: We will be right back.
BRUNHUBER: Flags at the U.S. Capitol and the White House are at half- staff to mourn the death of veteran Capitol Police officer William Evans. Evans was killed Friday in a violent confrontation at a security checkpoint. His death only adds to the deep trauma that the department has suffered this year. CNN's Alex Marquardt has our report.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): For the third time this year, United States Capitol Police is laying to rest one of its own, a procession on Friday afternoon for Officer William Evans, a member of the first responders unit, who, just last month, had marked 18 years on the force.
PITTMAN: And it is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): The acting chief of the Capitol Police Yogananda Pittman reminding America what her officers have endured this year, starting in the first days of 2021 with the insurrection.
PITTMAN: I just ask that the public continue to keep U.S. Capitol Police and their families in your prayers. This has been an extremely difficult time for U.S. Capitol Police after the events of January 6th and now the events that have occurred here today.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): After a dramatic ramping-up of security following January 6th, things had just begun to ease, with the perimeter moving back, fences coming down and a hope among members of Congress and law enforcement for some return to normalcy.
That hope was shattered Friday, with the second major act of violence on Capitol Hill in under three months.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): U.S. Capitol Police, along with Washington, D.C., Police, were the first line of defense against the insurrectionists on January 6th. They were screamed at, beaten and sprayed with chemicals by the rioters.
Officer Brian Sicknick was hit with what's believed to have been bear spray. He died from his injuries a day later. Two other officers later took their own lives. The wife of Capitol police officer Howie Liebengood said his suicide was in the line of duty, saying the insurrection in the days that followed took an incredible toll.
Officer Harry Dunn described the pain to CNN's Don Lemon, calling it hell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: You have good days and you have bad days. But just thinking about it just takes you back to that, like you said, that hell day. And it was tough to live through and it's also tough to relive, talking about it.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Dunn told CNN that the Trump supporters who were there that day used racial slurs against Black officers. He talked about the depression that many officers felt afterwards.
DUNN: Officer Sicknick was killed. We had officers that took their life because of the stress that they endured from that day. That is what happened. I don't know how you can word it any different than what exactly happened.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): In the examination of what happened on January 6th, it was called the worst of the worst in the two decades of service of Capitol Police Captain Carneysha Mendoza.
CAPT. CARNEYSHA MENDOZA, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: As an American and as an Army veteran, it's sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens. I'm sad to see the unnecessary loss of life. I'm sad to see the impact this has had on Capitol Police officers and I'm sad to see the impact this has had on our agency and on our country.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
BRUNHUBER: That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. For our viewers here in the U.S. and Canada, "NEW DAY" is next.