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Women Detail Drug Use, Sex at Late-Night Parties with Congressman Gaetz; Biden to Withdraw All U.S. Troops from Afghanistan By September 11th; CDC Advisory Panel Holds Emergency Meeting Today on J&J Vaccine. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired April 14, 2021 - 09:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Wednesday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.

Today we expect to learn if the former police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, will face criminal charges. A decision could come any minute now, and it will have significant impact on Wright's grieving family and on a community many of whom are now demanding justice.

Protests ended violently again last night. Police arresting some 60 demonstrators. A view of last night there. Hours after the officer involved, Kim Potter, and her chief, who claimed that Potter accidentally shot Wright, have resigned. The mayor, however, did not accept those resignations. The significance of that decision just ahead.

Plus, just a few miles away, the defense representing Derek Chauvin in the murder trial of -- related to George Floyd resumes its case just in the next hour. We're going to bring it to you the moment it starts. One defense witness yesterday called Chauvin's use of force justified. Will jurors agree?

We begin, however, with the death of Daunte Wright. Adrienne Broaddus is in Brooklyn Center outside Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Adrienne, the prosecutor says a decision on possible criminal charges here could come today. Do we have any indication as to how that decision might go?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's likely Potter might become the next Minnesota officer charged following an incident where deadly force was used. We've all seen that video and we've learned more about Potter in the coming days, or in the recent days, I should say.

She's a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department. She's 48 years old. And on the day of the shooting, the day that 20- year-old father lost his life, the "Star Tribune" reports Potter was training a rookie officer. Now she served as the police union president back in 2019. And she first joined the department in 1995. We could hear charging decisions at any moment. Keep in mind Brooklyn

Center is in Hennepin County but the Hennepin County prosecutor Mike Freeman will not be handling this case. Here's why. About a year ago, a new policy was implemented, whenever there's an incident involving deadly force, the case is referred to a neighboring jurisdiction, so there's not a conflict of interest. And to kind of keep tensions low, to quell tensions, if at all.

So the Washington County prosecutor will be handling this case involving Potter. As you mentioned, she did submit her resignation letter to the city yesterday, but the mayor told me he has not accepted her resignation.

And, Jim, you mentioned we'll learn more about that in the coming minutes -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Adrienne Broaddus, thanks very much.

With me now, Charles Ramsey, former Philly and D.C. police chief, and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates.

Laura, can I begin with you here? What is the legal standard as you see it here? But, of course, the circumstances of this is different from George Floyd. That was a knee on the neck for several minutes. This was a decision, a deadly one, in the heat of the moment. What is your view of the possibility of charges here?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It would stem from negligence and issues surrounding manslaughter because, of course, most of the body of law that you have available when it comes to charges of murder, in most jurisdictions, are about intent. Now Minnesota, as we've learned from the Derek Chauvin trial and everyone has become, you know, barred in Minnesota through this process of law, the idea you can have even unintentional-based murder charges.

As long as you intended to perform the act that led to the death, you need not actually have intended the death. So recklessness. Negligence can all come into form here. And again, remember it's not just about what happened in that precise moment but what happened leading up to it. The decision to enter into the foray, the decision to -- the fray, excuse me. The decision to take the gun as opposed to taser.

Whether this was intentional or not, remember, we're all basing this off of the now-attempted to be resigned police chief in Brooklyn Center who said and called it an accident. There may be other things that are coming up for the prosecutor now to figure out whether or not it truly was accidental, inadvertent in some way, criminally negligent, criminally reckless or perhaps even unintentional but intentionally committed action that could lead to murder charges as well.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Charles Ramsey, resignations offered from both the officer involved and the police chief. The mayor did not accept those resignations. I wonder from your point of view, should they resign? What do you make of the mayor's decision not to accept? CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, I'm

not surprised that the officer resigned. Clearly there would have been other disciplinary action taken against her.


Now whether or not it matters if the mayor accepts it or not, you can't stop a person from resigning. I found that out when I was in Philly. I had individuals I wanted to fire. They resigned before I could fire them, and I had to accept that, although I did finish the investigation and put it in their personnel jacket.

The chief, obviously, lost all political backing from his mayor, city administrator, and so forth, so, I mean, for his own best interest he did the right thing to step down. Again I'm not surprised that that occurred.

SCIUTTO: Understood. And of course, as we said earlier, we will hear -- it's possible we'll hear today if criminal charges follow.

Laura Coates, Charles Ramsey, please stay with me. I have more questions for you because in the next hour the defense will call more witnesses in the trial of Derek Chauvin. Attorneys for the former Minneapolis police officer are attempting to prove that George Floyd died of drug and health problems, that the officer's use of force was appropriate, that the crowd of bystanders became hostile, distracted Chauvin from taking care of Floyd. Those are their arguments there.

CNN's Josh Campbell joins us now from Minneapolis.

Josh, in that first day of the defense, in effect, the defense witnesses, what did we learn?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, well, we're getting a sense of what their strategy is going to be on full display. There were many witnesses yesterday that were moving very rapidly, but two of the strategies are apparently centered on, one, trying to shift the blame away from Derek Chauvin and onto George Floyd himself and onto this crowd. This notion that perhaps George Floyd was under the influence of some kind of drug. We heard them introduce witnesses yesterday who talked about this 2019 encounter where George Floyd, had an encounter with police.

A medic who was on the scene talked about George Floyd saying that he was addicted to opioids. Again trying to create that image for jurors that perhaps it was drug use and not Chauvin's actions that contributed to his death. And then also the idea of this crowd as well. We heard from a park police officer who testified that he saw this crowd as aggressive. The people that were around Chauvin whenever he had George Floyd down on the ground.

Of course, whether that is -- resonates with a jury, we don't know because we've seen that bystander video that doesn't show officers apparently threatened by this crowd and certainly they didn't call for backup. So a lot of points of reputation there. Finally, we heard from this use of force expert which gets to the second strategy, and that is perhaps that Chauvin was acting within policy, whenever he held Floyd down. Listen to what that expert said.


BARRY BRODD, DEFENSE USE OF FORCE EXPERT: I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement in his interactions with Mr. Floyd.


CAMPBELL: So as in most trials, the defense will try to bring their own witnesses to claim that what the prosecution witnesses said simply isn't the case. Again that is what the jury is being presented with. These two conflicting ideas. On one hand, this parade of experts that the prosecution brought out saying that what happened was murder. The defense is trying to say that, no, what actually happened is within police policy.

Of course, that will be left up to the jurors where they come down. The trial will resume here in just a short amount of time. We're expecting more witnesses. Nowhere near the number that the prosecution brought. We're also told, Jim, that the judge in this case is saying that we could begin to hear closing arguments as soon as Monday.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Moving more quickly than expected initially. Josh Campbell, thank you.

Laura Coates, Charles Ramsey, back with me.

Charlies, I wonder, I mean, we say experts from the prosecution case, but in fact, there was many colleagues, right, of Derek Chauvin, his commander and others who said that the use of force was inappropriate, went beyond training. But you do now have the defense calling an expert who says, no, it's within. Your reaction to that and how does that balance out against what we saw as the prosecution was interviewing witnesses.

RAMSEY: Well, first of all, the chief of police sets the policy for the department, and he personally testified that that was not within policy. You heard a trainer from the Minneapolis Police Department state that that's not consistent with the training. I mean, this guy is from the outside. He's not from the Minneapolis PD. I mean, how can he make a determination that it's within policy and consistent with the Minneapolis PD training.

And so, you know, I put in quotes the fact that he calls himself an expert witness. I don't think he was very prepared. And I think he lost a lot of credibility as a result of that. I mean, making statements like, you know, Mr. Floyd resting comfortably on the pavement. How could you possibly be resting comfortably on the pavement when you die as a result of being on the pavement? I mean, I don't get the defense strategy, but then again, I never went to law school.

SCIUTTO: Laura Coates, when the prosecution had the opportunity to cross-examine Barry Brodd, who was the expert called by the defense here.


Even he granted ground in terms of when Floyd stopped resisting and therefore what was justified in terms of the response. I want to play that sound and get your reaction to it.


STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTOR: He's not talking, correct?


SCHLEICHER: He's not resisting.

BRODD: Doesn't appear to be, no.

SCHLEICHER: And from this point forward, the defendant remains on top of him. Remains on top of him in the same position as when he started the restraining period, isn't that true?

BRODD: I would say the same general position. I wouldn't say the same exact position.


SCIUTTO: The point there, and it did actually go on that testimony, was that the expert in effect is arguing here, listen, this guy, Floyd, could have resisted, he could have pushed back, et cetera. But the prosecution says, well, wait a second, he was unconscious. How can he resist when he's unconscious. Tell us how impactful that cross- examination was. Did that undermine in effect the defense's argument?

COATES: Well, it did, but it also, you know, piggybacked on how the witness even undermined his own testimony because when you don't actually concede the very obvious points that, for example, putting someone in the prone position and handcuffed is, in fact, a use of force. Remember he didn't want to even admit to that being a use of force aspect of it which loses the jury. And remember here, we're talking about through the types of witnesses the prosecution called, the idea of saying, look, you have to constantly reassess and evaluate the type and the use and the application of force that you are exerting on somebody.

The idea that you can just have a one and done. OK. Here is what I wanted to do in the first place. There's no need to reassess. Imagine if you will, you felt the need to tase someone in the beginning and they stopped resisting. They were totally compliant. Do you keep tasing the person because you initially decided that was the prudent course of action? Well, how about here when you're talking about more than three, more than four minutes go by where Mr. Floyd is not resisting in any way, shape or form, in fact, he's unconscious?

And the EMT has already testified that when they perceived him and had to ask Derek Chauvin to get off of him, they perceived he was probably as already being dead. This idea here that a witness would say being prone and handcuffed is somehow resting comfortably and not a use of force, and you combine that with the notion of, hey, no need to reassess, the jury here, you don't need to go to law school. You need to have common sense.

You need to actually see that when somebody is no longer breathing, no longer has a pulse, do you really have a need to consistently try to apply force because you think that they one day might be able to revive themselves? Come on.

SCIUTTO: Charles, let's, if we can, play that moment because I think folks watching at home did not see, this "resting comfortably" argument they may want to hear it. I want to play it and I want to get your quick reaction.


SCHLEICHER: What part of this is not compliant?

BRODD: So I see his arm position in the picture that's posted.


BRODD: That, you know, a compliant person would have both their hands in the small of their back and just be resting comfortably, versus like he's still moving around.

SCHLEICHER: Did you say resting comfortably?

BRODD: Or laying comfortably.

SCHLEICHER: Resting comfortably on the pavement?


SCHLEICHER: At this point in time, when he's attempting to breathe by shoving his shoulder into the pavement.


SCIUTTO: We should note that I believe the autopsy report documented cuts to his face consistent with having your face pressed into the pavement fights the notion you might say resting comfortably as well. But just, Charles, when you heard that, what was your reaction?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, it's just ridiculous. And I mean, if he's the best that the defense has, they've got a problem. A serious problem, which I believe they have anyway, but I mean, this guy, I just don't -- I don't get it. But then again, and I don't know Mr. Brodd at all. Never met him. I don't know what his state of mind or what his intent was. But throughout my career, I have seen individuals that will try to do whatever it takes to justify the actions of a police officer that are simply not justifiable.

And, you know, so that's part of a problem we have in policing and people like that just add to it. There's a systemic problem that we have that has to be confronted. It deals with training, it deals with hiring, deals with use of force, it deals with all those kinds of things that have to be addressed. The national standards have to be set. And I believe the president has to lead that effort, much like President Obama did with the 21st Century Task Force.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I mean, you're getting a big picture here, right, that this trial is a major legal test of the extent of justified use of force by police with still an uncertain outcome.

Laura Coates, Charles Ramsey, thanks so much to both of you.

Still to come this hour, the CDC will hold an emergency meeting today to discuss whether the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe to continue to use. Remember what they did yesterday was a temporary pause. Dr. Fauci weighed in this morning. That's next.

And new reporting overnight. CNN has spoken to women who detail drug use, sex and payments after late-night parties with Congressman Matt Gaetz. The remarkable details. CNN's own reporting ahead.


They're remarkable details, CNN's own reporting ahead. And President Biden will announce today that he will withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11th, perhaps even earlier. Why now? We're going to discuss the impact of that decision.


SCIUTTO: Just hours from now, CDC vaccine advisors will hold an emergency meeting to review rare and severe blood clot cases in six people.


That's six out of nearly 7 million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Right now, the use of that shot has been temporarily paused in the U.S. That language is important. It's not banned, it's temporarily paused. Dr. Fauci says that pause may not last long.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Speaking to the CDC and the FDA, it's very likely that there'd be more days to weeks than weeks to months. I doubt very seriously if we're talking about weeks to months.


SCIUTTO: With me now to discuss this, Dr. Ashish Jha; dean of Brown University School of Public Health. Good morning. Dr. Jha, I know you say that pausing the J&J vaccine was the right call. I just wonder if you can explain that to folks so they understand because 6 out of 6.8 million doses, that's less than 1 in a million, I asked a doctor yesterday who said, in that same group, what is the risk of severe disease from COVID? And they said it's probably about like 55 out of that same population death, you know, chance of death. I mean, that's a big difference, right? It would seem to say that the risks outweigh -- you know, the benefits, rather, outweigh the risks here, and I wonder why you disagree.

ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes -- no, good morning, and thanks for having me on, Jim. First of all, let's be very clear. I do think the benefits of this vaccine way outweigh the risk. And so, one does not do this lightly.


JHA: I think there are two good reasons for the FDA to have done this. One is to gather a little more information, six out of 7 million is a tiny number, again, your risk of getting hit by lightning is greater than being -- having this reaction, so it's very rare. But let's gather a little more information. And the second is to advise physicians about how to treat it because it's an unusual type of blood clot. Ultimately, Jim, in my mind, what this is signaling is that the system which looks for rare events --


JHA: Works. It found it. It's taking a pause. It's going to gather some more data. I agree with Dr. Fauci, I think the pause will be lifted in the upcoming days, and we'll have more confidence that we've gotten our arm around this really rare event.

SCIUTTO: Given, however, that we have this other risk that's already present, right, which is a not insignificant percentage of the population that is already hesitant to take the vaccine. And again, listen, we can't control people's minds here, they might be hesitant no matter what data they see. But given that added factor, do you worry, again, that the cost of this decision outweigh the benefits?

JHA: Yes, I do worry about it a little bit, but here's how I think about it. First of all, I think people who have hesitancy, who may have concerns, mostly what they want to know is the system, you know, rushing this. Are we taking adverse events seriously?

SCIUTTO: Right --

JHA: Are we looking --

SCIUTTO: Right --

JHA: Into things? I personally hope this helps build confidence in people that even rare events we take very seriously. I don't know how people are going to react to it, my hope is people see it as a system designed for a safety working. Obviously, there're some people who are going to take this the wrong way, but obviously, I hope that that's not how it plays out.

SCIUTTO: I get it. I mean, the other way to build confidence, right, is to address issues as they arise and take a hard look at them. I get the point. I do want to ask this because this, with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which also had some data on clotting, decision in Europe was, OK, yes, but benefits outweigh the risks and they're back to doing it. Both the J&J and the AstraZeneca vaccines, you know this better than me that they are adenoviral vector vaccines. I don't want to get too deep into the details there, but to be distinguished from Pfizer and Moderna which are MRNA vaccines have not shown anything like this kind of effect. I mean, is there something about the design of J&J and AstraZeneca that may be causing these blood clots?

JHA: Yes, so the short answer is, we don't know for sure, but I suspect yes. Adenovirus vector vaccines are very standard. Actually J&J and AstraZeneca is a very common approach to vaccines. You know, we've never really vaccinated hundreds of millions of people quickly and observed them the way we have in this high-profile way. I do think, again, don't know for sure that there may be the clots effect with these things. It also means that the MRNA vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna which have now been given to 110 million Americans, we have not seen a single incident of this. They're not going to have that effect. So, if you're concerned about this effect, you can always get Moderna and Pfizer. Again, I think J&J --


JHA: Is an exceedingly safe vaccine, but you also have alternative choices.

SCIUTTO: Understood. And the other -- the other good news here is that there is enough supply of Moderna and Pfizer to make up for their shortfall from J&J, that's what we hear from officials, and that's good news. Because we want to keep up that pace. We're up to what, 22 percent, 23 percent fully vaccinated in the country now. Dr. Ashish Jha, thanks very much.

JHA: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Well, the troubling headlines keep piling up for embattled Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz.


There's a new CNN reporting about late-night, drug-fueled parties the congressman allegedly attended. We're going to have those details. And we're moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street, futures are flat, investors are waiting for corporate earnings from some of the nation's biggest banks and a speech from the Fed Chair Jerome Powell, stocks finished mixed yesterday, but the S&P did hit a new all-time closing high, yet, one more record. We're going to stay on top of all of it.