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Prosecutor Could Have a Decision on Charges Today in the Police Shooting of Daunte Wright; Johnson and Johnson Pauses Rollout of Vaccine in Europe; South Africa Suspends Johnson and Johnson Vaccine Rollout; U.S. Intel Community Warns of Long-Term Impact of Pandemic; Biden Proposes Summit with Putin to Discuss Ukraine; Egypt Seizes Ever Given, Asks for $900 Million. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 14, 2021 - 04:30   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Prosecutors could have a decision on charges today in the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota. Now, this comes after the third night of demonstrations over the case where police made dozens of arrests. Authorities say a police officer mistakenly shot and killed Wright, a 20-year-old black man, during a traffic stop Sunday. Officer Kim Potter allegedly mistook her service gun for her taser, but Wright's family is demanding justice.

And while tensions flare in Brooklyn Center the police chief and the officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright have resigned from their positions. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has further details and a warning her report contains images you may find disturbing.


MIKE ELLIOT, BROOKLYN CENTER MAYOR: We did not ask her to resign. That was a decision she made.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Kimberly Potter, the police officer who shot Daunte Wright stepping down from the Brooklyn Center Police Department.

ELLIOT: I'm hoping that this will help bring some calm to the community. Although I think ultimately people want justice.

SERFATY (voice over): Potter saying in her short two-sentence resignation letter, she is resigning in the interest of the community. I have loved every minute of being a police officer in serving this community to the best of my ability.

Body cam video which is disturbing to watch showing Potter shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright during the fetal traffic stop on Sunday.

POTTER: I'll Tase you. Taser, Taser, Taser. Holy (BEEP). I just shot him. SERFATY (voice over): Forty-eight-year-old Kimberly Potter had been a police officer for more than half her life. First joining the department in 1995, 26 years ago. She had served in 2019 as the police union's president, according to "The Star Tribune," had been on the police force's negotiation team and worked as a field-training officer.

The Head of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association tells "The Star Tribune" that on the day of the shooting, Potter had been training a new rookie officer. This is not her first time dealing with the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting.

According to a county attorney's report, Potter arrived at the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting of a man in 2019. The man had been threatening his grandfather with a knife and hammer. The use of deadly force by the police was ruled as lawful.

Potter giving the instructions to the two officers involved in the shooting to get into different police cars, turn off their body cameras and to not speak to each other. Actions that appear to be consistent with the police department's policies. She was not present at the time of the shooting and was not accused of any wrongdoing.


Potter is married to a former police officer -- "The Star Tribune" reports -- and is the mother of two adult sons.

SERFATY: And the mayor at multiple times made a point to specifically emphasize that he has not yet accepted Kimberly Potter's resignation, but he would not comment on what that means yet for things like her pension and her benefits that she would potentially still be entitled to. He says he's going to let their internal process play out first. Now, Potter meantime has retained an attorney, but they did not get back to CNN with a comment.

Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: The United States isn't the only place where use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is being paused. The company has stopped the rollout of the drug in Europe just as the first doses were being delivered. The EU health commissioner says they will rely on regulators in countries where the vaccine has been administered to decide on their next steps.

Now, this comes as new infections continue to rise in Germany and France, with ICU hospitalizations threatening to overwhelm their health ware systems. CNN's Jim Bittermann joins me now from Paris with more on all of this. Good to see you Jim. So how might this pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine across Europe impact an already difficult situation where cases are rising and we heard hospitals are filling up, the ICU units there, while vaccine supplies are limited?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in fact, Rosemary, it is a blow to the vaccination program. I think if nothing else it sort of puts a break on the momentum that had been gathering here in order to get the vaccinations more online and accelerated. The fact is it's only 200,000 the first bunch of vaccines was -- package of 200,000 vaccines -- of doses of vaccines that arrived here on Monday. And only Friday the health minister basically said that it was looking forward to the arrival of Johnson & Johnson. And then of course then we got the news late Monday that, in fact, the Johnson & Johnson was suspending the vaccinations temporarily.

Now, to give you a picture of the overall -- to give you an idea of the overall picture, there are already something just slightly over 11 million doses of vaccine administered here. So 200,000 doesn't represent a lot, but like I say, it could very well break the momentum that President Macron was hoping to start.

And on another front, President Macron says according to some of his advisers that he's going to be meeting tomorrow with experts about ways to reopen the country. Seems slightly premature in the sense that the numbers here are really, as you pointed out, are really not very good. The rolling seven-day average for new cases is 37,000 new cases per day, which is quite high and the ICU bed usage by COVID patients is higher than it was a year ago -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Certainly does appear to be premature. We will watch to see what happens there. Jim Bittermann bringing us the very latest from Paris. Many thanks.

Well South Africa is also suspending its Johnson & Johnson rollout. CNN's David McKenzie is live this hour in Johannesburg. He joins us now. So David, how long will they likely suspend the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and what impact could this have?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it depends on how quickly the FDA in the U.S. works, Rosemary. Certainly, officials here say they hope it's a brief temporary suspension. It's a setback, hopefully it won't last more than a few days they say, but it certainly is a setback for South Africa.

This country unlike the U.S. and parts of Europe has really banked on the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine to be a significant part of the answer to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the country has been involved in a large scale trial of the J&J vaccine for health care workers. We were there when they first started giving those shots out. Some 290,000 people have received it, they have had no cases of this very rare blood clotting issue in South Africa according to health officials.

But out of an abundance of caution they are following the advice that the FDA put out to the U.S. Now, you will recall the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was purchased by South Africa and then abandoned because it didn't work effectively against low and moderate cases of COVID-19 in some trials because of the strain that is dominating here in South Africa.

So Johnson & Johnson vaccine is very important to South Africa. They do hope that it will be temporary, but the problem is already with some people jittery about vaccines any kind of question mark, even something like a really rare case that has really been the case here in the U.S., will be an issue for rolling out the vaccine.


Haven't even started the vaccine rollout and there is this question mark, but they hope to clear it all up in a few days.

CHURCH: Let's hope that happens. David McKenzie joining us live from Johannesburg, many thanks.

Well, the U.S. intelligence community is warning of the devastating long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This coming in its annual report that lays out the top security threats facing the U.S. CNN's Alex Marquart takes a closer look.


ALEX MARQUART, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This is an annual report from the intelligence community -- except we didn't see it last year under President Donald Trump -- and this report says what the intelligence community assesses as the biggest threats to the United States in the coming year.

It talks about China becoming a near peer rival of the United States. Russia and what it's doing to undermine U.S. influence, North Korea, Iran, all of this against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. And that's where we see some of the most dramatic and distressing language and predictions in this report.

The intelligence community writes: The economic and political implications of the pandemic will ripple through the world for years. The pandemic is raising geopolitical tensions and great powers are jockeying for advantage and for influence.

Russia and China, it says, are trying to take advantage through so- called vaccine diplomacy, gaining influence around the world through the distribution of their vaccines.

The report goes on to list other dire ways that the pandemic will hurt countries, particularly lower income countries, writing: Some hard hit developing countries are experiencing financial and humanitarian crises, increasing the risk of surges in migration, collapsed governments or internal conflict. The pandemic has driven food insecurity worldwide to its highest point in more than a decade and will increase the likelihood of additional health emergencies especially among vulnerable populations in low income countries.

So this report traditionally comes out before the heads of the intelligence agencies testify in front of Congress. But the last time that we saw those officials testify together was in 2019, then under President Donald Trump they contradicted what he had said about Iran and North Korea and he was furious about it. He told them in fact on Twitter to go back to school.

So last year 2020 an election year, a very contentious year, the intelligence agencies didn't want to anger the president again, essentially they didn't want to put themselves out in public to become a target again for the president. So they pushed back on that hearing. The director of national intelligence at the time offered to do it behind closed doors, that was rejected by the Senate.

And frankly, last year the American people missed out on an important hearing. Americans and people around the world need to hear what these intelligence officials have to say. For example, in 2019 the report and the hearing predicted that the U.S. was vulnerable to a flu pandemic that would be very deadly. Of course, that turned out to be true.


CHURCH: Alex Marquart with that report.

Well, the presidents of Russia and the U.S. spoke on the phone about speaking face-to-face and about the escalating tension over Ukraine. A live report next.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, the U.S. and Russian presidents have been discussing security issues and a possible summit on neutral ground. According to the White House Joe Biden called on Russia to deescalate tensions with Ukraine during a phone call Tuesday with Vladimir Putin. Russia has been massing tens of thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border and in Crimea.

And Mr. Biden reiterated the United States' unwavering commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty. The Kremlin confirms that President Biden also proposed a face-to-face meeting but did not indicate whether President Putin would accept.

CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson is live in London, he joins us now. Good to see you, Nic. So the U.S. and NATO have vowed support for Ukraine, calling on Russia to withdraw troops. And now President Biden wants a summit with Vladimir Putin. Where is all of this going?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well I think perhaps the tone of language that was used by the Kremlin to describe that phone call between President Putin and President Biden gives an indication. There was a lot of emphasis there on areas of mutual interest, strategic weapons control, climate, other issues where there is a commonality of interest, also some differences.

On the point of Ukraine, the Kremlin said that came up and they said that President Putin indicated he thought the solution to the current situation in Ukraine was to follow through with the Minsk Agreement and an indication there essentially that keeps the United States out of that process that is really between Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. And an indication there that this is something that can be achieved through sort of protocols and conversations that already exist.

So from the Kremlin's perspective this seems to be not an effort to ratchet up the tension and dialogue. The test of this, of course, is going to be what Russia does with its troops on the border in advance of a potential face-to-face meeting between President Putin and President Biden. NATO's secretary general has very clearly said that the Russian troops must go. That this is, you know -- there is no reason -- no good reason for this particular buildup of forces at the moment.

And Russia's perspective on that is, well, it's our territory and we're able to do what we want in our territory and call into question what the United States is doing in Ukraine and what the United States is doing in the Black Sea. So the push back there from Russia is, again, typical of what we've heard from them.

So where does this go from here? It's still at this point a standoff. There's still mutual distrust and a lack of understanding about what's happening with the Russian troop deployment along the border with Ukraine. We've certainly heard from the press secretary of the White House saying that it's very clear that the United States should have a candid and open dialogue with Russia and that seems to be the direction where things are going at the moment.


So in some ways the fact that there was a phone call, the fact that the Russian side doesn't appear to be escalating its rhetoric does indicate that perhaps this is the beginning of conversations that lead to a de-escalation at least of the understanding of what's happening and potentially the buildup itself. It's too soon to get to that point -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, we'll watch to see where this goes. Nic Robertson joining us live from London, many thanks.

And you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Just ahead, Egypt has a message for the owners of that container ship that clogged the Suez Canal. Pay up or you don't get your ship back.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well another twist in the saga of the Ever Given, the giant container ship which was stuck in the Suez Canal for six days last month. An Egyptian court has ordered the ship's owners to pay almost a billion dollars in compensation, including the cost of the rescue operation, and officials have now impounded the ship.

So let's bring in CNN's John Defterios, he joins us live from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, John. So almost a billion dollars seems excessive for the ship blocking the Suez Canal. How did they come up with that number and is Egypt overreaching but not letting the vessel sail until a claim is settled?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: You asked the two key questions there, Rosemary.


Let's use an American baseball term, if you will, they're playing hard ball the Egyptians. They took a firm line from the very beginning once that vessel was freed saying they would put forward criminal charges if they could not board the Ever Given. They were allowed to go on, take the black box recorder here, the investigation continues.

Now, we know that they're looking for exactly $916 million kind of broken down into three categories, $300 million for reputational damage, $300 million for the salvage damage operation including bringing in international tugs to help out with that and probably $300 million in terms of lost revenues.

Now the U.K. Club, which is a consortium of insurers representing Shoei Kisen Kaisha, which is the ship owner out of Tokyo said the amount is excessive and, quote, in this statement, largely unsupported.

Now, there is a sequence of events this week here, the Egyptians did not accept the offer put forward by the U.K. Club and the ship owner. They did impound the vessel itself and basically said that the crew is under arrest until the investigation is complete. We're getting guidance that the investigation could finish by the end of this week. Now there's a key threshold or hurdle to cross. If they finish the investigation, don't find any wrongdoing but say it's the ship owner's responsibility, do they let the vessel go?

Some of the shipping executives that I've spoken to said it's very unusual for a canal authority or a port authority to say you can't leave. You can sign a guarantee saying you will pay if it goes to international arbitration, but to hold the vessel, if it's freed in six days, 16 days it's been held there ever since, Rosemary. So it's an international question as well, back to you.

CHURCH: Yes, and we'll watch to see what happens next. John Defterios, always a pleasure to chat with you, many thanks.

And thank you for your company, and I'm Rosemary Church. "EARLY START" is up next, you're watching CNN. Have yourselves a wonderful day.