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CNN NEWSROOM

Biden: Mass Shootings "A National Embarrassment"; Gunman Who Killed Eight at FedEx Site Identified as Former Employee; Protests over Police Shootings; Johns Hopkins University: COVID-19 Deaths Pass 3 Million; Duke of Edinburgh's Funeral Today; WHO: Situation in Europe "Serious" despite Vaccinations; Russia Sanctions American Officials; Biden Holds News Conference with Japanese PM. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired April 17, 2021 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Eight people gunned down in the latest U.S. mass shooting are identified by police as troubling new details emerged about what police knew about the shooter last year.

Plus, anger in the streets. Demonstrators call for justice after police released a video showing an officer killing a 13-year-old boy.

And the final farewell. In just hours, Britain's royal family gathers to lay Prince Philip to rest. We will have all of the details on today's funeral service.

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

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BRUNHUBER: It's a specific kind of terror that only seems to constantly haunt the United States, mass shootings. They seem to be happening more often. Eight people died in the most recent incident, which took place Thursday night at a FedEx ground facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The horror of that news is compounded by the number of familiar incidents in recent weeks. In fact, this is the 45th mass shooting in the U.S. since the Atlanta killings on March 16th. Some cities had more than one.

CNN defines a mass shooting as one in which four people are hurt or killed by gunfire, not including the gunman. Officials say they won't reveal the identities of the people wounded in that shooting on Friday, but they have released the names of those who lost their lives.

They are 32-year-old Matthew R. Alexander, 19-year-old Samaria Blackwell. 66-year-old Amarjeet Johal, 68-year-old Jaswinder Singh, 64-year-old Jaswinder Kaur, 48-year-old Amarjit Sekhon, 19-year-old Karli Smith and 74-year-old John Weisart.

Investigators in Indianapolis are combing through what they called a chaotic crime scene. They also identified the gunman and revealed how he ended up on law enforcement's radar last year. Jason Carroll has that, plus details on how the horrific incident unfolded.

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LEVI MILLER, FEDEX EMPLOYEE, WITNESS: I saw a man with a machine gun of some sort, an automatic rifle, and he was firing in the open.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight people are dead, and several others injured after a gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis.

It happened so fast employees could not believe what they were seeing and hearing.

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MILLER: We start hearing six to around 10 shots. This made me stand up and actually look at the entrance door.

TIMOTHY BILLET, FEDEX EMPLOYEE: My buddy, Levi, saw someone running out of the building and then more shots went off. Somebody went behind their car to the trunk and got another got another gun and then I saw one body on the floor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL (voice-over): Police say the first 9-1-1 calls came in around 11 o'clock Thursday night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have an active shooter currently at FedEx. They're reporting at least five people shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suspect description, the shooter is short, white male, wearing a hat. Has a machine gun, currently in front of the building.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL (voice-over): Police say it was such a chaotic scene when they arrived. They weren't clear if there was one or two shooters.

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CHIEF RANDAL TAYLOR, INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Our IMPD officers went towards danger, as they typically do and when they arrived on the scene, they found something that really no one should see. We've all been shaken by this heinous act.

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(END VIDEO CLIP) CARROLL (voice-over): Officers say the suspected shooter has been identified as 19-year-old Brandon Hole, a former FedEx employee, who drove into the parking lot and immediately started shooting both outside and inside the building before taking his own life.

FBI Indianapolis special agent in charge Paul Keenan says, in March of 2020, Hole's mother told law enforcement that her son might try to commit suicide by cop.

He tells CNN that Hole was placed on a mental health hold when they seized the shotgun from his home. Keenan says the FBI concluded no criminal violation was found, though Hole's gun was not returned. So far, police have not determined a motive.

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DEPUTY CHIEF CRAIG MCCARTT, INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: We've recently identified him, so now the work really begins trying to establish some of that and see if we can figure out some sort of motive in this, but we don't have that right now.

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CARROLL: At this point investigators say that there is no word on a motive.

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CARROLL: But they say at the time of the shooting there was a shift change and there were actually about 100 employees located inside the facility -- Jason Carroll, CNN, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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BRUNHUBER: While addressing the latest mass shooting, U.S. President Joe Biden said gun violence, quote, "pierces the very soul of the nation and is an epidemic in the U.S." He called for Congress to take action and finally ban assault weapons.

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JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has to end. It's a national embarrassment. It is a national embarrassment what is going on and it's not only these mass shootings that are occurring.

Every single day, every single day there is a mass shooting in the United States, if you count all those who were killed out on the streets of our cities and our rural areas. It's a national embarrassment and must come to an end.

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BRUNHUBER: Tensions have been rising in cities across the U.S. after several fatal police shootings. Hundreds of protesters gathered in Chicago, outraged over the death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month. As night fell, there were some standoffs between police and

protesters. Anger has been reignited after body cam video was released, showing the moments officers shot and killed a teen during a chase.

Ryan Young looks at the split-second decision and warns, the video is disturbing.

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RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This video released by Chicago police shows the moments leading up to the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

An early morning report of shots fired. Two recorded running from the scene, Toledo turns down an alley and then:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

YOUNG (voice-over): A split-second decision that would leave the seventh grader dead and the Chicago police union on defense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That officer had eight-tenths of a second to determine if that weapon was still in his hand or not, period. The officer does not have to wait to be shot at or shot in order to respond and defend himself. There is no obligation whatsoever.

YOUNG (voice-over): This black pistol was found behind the fence where Toledo was shot. In the police video, annotated by the department, Chicago police say Toledo was carrying the gun here and drops it as he turns toward the officer. You can see Toledo up against the fence at the fatal moment from this wider angle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The officer had every reason to believe that that offender was targeting and pointing the gun at him. Whatever ever -- you can Monday quarterback it all you want. But according to Illinois statute, you only need to have a reasonable belief in order to take deadly action.

YOUNG (voice-over): But the attorney representing Adam Toledo's family says the teen has no gun in his hands at the time he was shot and no chance to surrender.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You saw that video.

Do you see a gun in his hands?

I don't see a gun in his hands. But let's assume, for the moment, the worst, that he had a gun in his hands. The officer gave him a directive and told him, show me your hands. The child complied. He surrendered. He lifted his hands. They were empty and the child was shot.

YOUNG (voice-over): A report filed after the incident shows defense of self, defense of department member, overcome resistance or aggression and subject armed with a weapon as the reasons for the response. The incident is now under investigation.

The officer, who has been identified is 35-year-old Eric Stillman, feels horrible he had to use deadly force, says his attorney, adding, he was well within his justification of using deadly force. He just feels horrible. The White House responded to the video of Toledo's death.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is certainly chilling and a reminder that, across the country, there are far too many communities where there is violence that is impacting too often in this country. Law enforcement uses unnecessary force, too often resulting in the death of Black and Brown Americans.

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BRUNHUBER: That was CNN's Ryan Young reporting.

In Minnesota, hundreds took to the streets outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department for a sixth straight night. They were demanding justice in the police shooting death of Daunte Wright.

Demonstrators were seen throwing objects at police, who used pepper spray and flash bombs in response. Police eventually declared the protests unlawful assembly and quickly moved in, making arrests and dispersing the crowd with rubber bullets. Wright was killed last Sunday during a traffic stop.

A riot was declared in Oregon after a group of people were engaged in what police describe as criminal activity. Police gathered to protest in a park after a man was shot and killed by police. Some protesters were seen breaking windows and robbing windows.

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BRUNHUBER: Police say they made several arrests during the incident.

On Monday in Minneapolis, jurors will hear the closing arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd. After that, the jury will hear instructions from the judge and then will be sequestered.

CNN legal analyst Areva Martin joins me.

So much to talk about, sadly. Let's start with the killing of Adam Toledo. You've written, quote, "The prosecution must stay focused on the video."

The video certainly is troubling, but it all seems to center on split- second timing.

Doesn't that make a clear case for the prosecution a lot harder?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think so, Kim. I think what we saw on that videotape is a command being made by the police officer, directed at that teenage boy and the teenage boy doing exactly what the police told him to do. The police said, stop, drop your weapon, put your hands up. What we

saw was the 13-year-old teenager doing exactly that, stopping, throwing something to the ground. We are not even sure if he threw a weapon to the ground but let's presume, he did. He is standing there with his hands up and the police still fired a shot.

That is troubling to me because you would expect, when someone does imply with orders given by a police that they wouldn't have their lives taken in the way that we saw young Adam die in that alley.

So, I think there is a lot of investigation that still needs to be conducted with respect to this case. And we should not jump to the conclusion that this is a justified shooting, particularly when we know that the Chicago Police Department has a long and sordid history of use of force, excessive force, of, you know, disseminating narratives to cover up police officers' conduct.

So, I think, given the history of this police department and given what we saw in that video, this young boy's hands in the air, I think the investigation needs to continue.

BRUNHUBER: Certainly, we shouldn't jump to any conclusions, as you said.

On the Daunte Wright shooting, the family is unhappy about the charge of second-degree manslaughter against the officer, saying that is not enough.

Is a murder charge completely unrealistic?

MARTIN: This is another one of those cases. You look at what happened. Again, I don't think the initial charges of man 2 is necessarily the end of the story here.

We saw another officer at the car, interacting with him and attempting to put handcuffs on him. She arrived at the scene. It's not clear to us from the video how much information she had at the time she arrived at the scene.

She went over to the car where the altercation was happening with Daunte and pulled out her Taser. I think for so many of the community the question is, why that level of force for a violation that had to do with a routine traffic stop.

In the African American community in particular, we know that, more often than not, routine traffic stops end up with the suspect, in this case, Daunte Wright, being murdered by police.

I don't think, again, that we should assume that the charges that have been filed to date are necessarily the only charges that should be filed. I think there are more questions to be asked and more answers that need to be provided before a final determination as to whether a particularly murder 3 charge might be appropriate in this case.

BRUNHUBER: You mentioned some issues there about policing and I wanted to get at some of these, because we are seeing so many cases sort of converging together. Politically, what do Democrats do about policing?

The George Floyd Justice and Policing Act passed in the House with no Republican support and has almost no shot to get through in the Senate. President Biden campaigned on the promise to reform police but reneged on that.

So where do they go from here to address some of these core issues?

MARTIN: I think the Democrats have to step up on this issue. I don't think there is any way around it. The base is demanding it, members of the party are demanding it. We have got to have an administration in Washington that is willing to call out these injustices that being played out on national television all too often.

We can't just keep talking about police reform, we can't keep marching in the streets. We need real action taken and it has to start at the highest level of government.

BRUNHUBER: That's all the time we have. Thank you, Areva Martin.

MARTIN: Thank you, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: This sobering news now just in to CNN.

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BRUNHUBER: The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has just reached a tragic milestone. Johns Hopkins now reports the number of people worldwide who have died from COVID has passed 3 million. The U.S. accounts for more than one-sixth of that total and Brazil more than one in 10.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, a sad, momentous day for Britain's monarchy as they prepare for the funeral of Prince Philip. We are live in Windsor next.

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BRUNHUBER: In just a few hours, the queen will sit alone to honor the man who was by her side for more than 70 years. It's a deeply poignant day underway for the royal family and Great Britain, as it prepares for the funeral of Prince Philip. So the ceremony will honor the Duke of Edinburgh's military affiliations with personnel from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines.

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BRUNHUBER: The army and the RAF taking part. You're looking at pictures from rehearsals that have been taking place this week. The duke will be laid to rest at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after a procession.

Ahead of the event, the queen released this previously unseen photo taken with her husband in Scotland in 2003.

Anna Stewart is in Windsor for us.

What can you tell us about how the day will unfold for those mourning at the funeral and then the public, who might want to pay their respects as well?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kim. I think it's going to be a very sad day, a sad service. It's always hard to say that final farewell.

For the royal family, all week they have had tributes around the world, celebrating the life and legacy of a father, grandfather, Prince Philip. Today is going to be incredibly difficult. Just 30 people in chapel.

The procession will start coming hours, 700-plus members of the army, they will walk through the grounds of Windsor Castle to St. George's Chapel. And some of the royal family will be following. And the coffin on that Land Rover hearse that was designed by Prince Philip. He had a huge hand in organizing today.

And you will see his personal touch throughout the day. Now once the coffin has -- the hearse with the coffin has arrived at the chapel before 3:00 pm, all of the music will suddenly come to a stop. A gun will be fired by the Kings Troop Royal House artillery and that will mark the beginning of a moment of silence, a really poignant moment for the world to reflect on his life.

Another gun will sound, and the Royal Marines will bring the coffin into the chapel where the service will begin. It will really reflect Prince Philip's love of the sea and career in the Navy.

Normally I would expect the streets around here to be filled with royal fans. You would want to be here to pay your respects, to be here for this moment. But due to the pandemic, they have been asked to stay at home and watch this on the television. Order of service has been published and there's an online book of condolence for people to sign.

BRUNHUBER: You speak of people watching on television. Many eyes naturally will be drawn to Princes William and Harry, the first time they have seen each other in over a year after that very public rift.

Do you think this will be a chance for them to come together and mend their relationship?

STEWART: Prince William and Harry have not seen each other over a year, largely due to the pandemic. William and Harry will be walking behind the Land Rover hearse in that procession together but separated in the middle by their cousin, Peter Phillips. A lot of attention in the British media regarding that.

But really today is about Prince Philip, an incredible man, their grandfather and, obviously, the husband of the queen for 73 years. Definitely a moment to comfort Her Majesty the Queen and remember Prince Philip, to mourn but also celebrate an incredible life well lived.

BRUNHUBER: Absolutely. CNN's Anna Stewart in Windsor, we appreciate it.

Last hour, I spoke with Queen Elizabeth's former press secretary about the contributions of Prince Philip and his relationship with the queen.

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CHARLES ANSON, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Of course, is a very sad moment for the queen.

But it's, also, a moment to celebrate the public service of Prince Philip and his constant companionship and support of the queen, as well as being able to do so much in his own public life to help the cause of young children, the environment, technology, the arts.

You know, he did a huge amount, as well, in his own right. But it is essentially a sad moment of the funeral but also a celebration of his life and his support of the queen for many years, the longest reign in our history and one of the longest marriages in history.

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BRUNHUBER: Do stay with CNN throughout the day as we bring you Prince Philip's funeral live in Windsor Castle. Anderson Cooper anchors our coverage and it begins today at 9:00 am Eastern on CNN.

Much more to come. We will have the latest on the investigation into the mass shootings in Indianapolis. We will ask why these shootings happened so often in the U.S.

Plus, Europe is starting to reopen, even though COVID-19 case numbers remain high in some areas. We will have a live report from Paris. Stay with us.

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

The latest on our top story now. Investigators in Indiana say they are sifting through a chaotic crime scene, gathering evidence after that mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility.

Officials have revealed the identities of the eight people who lost their lives. The victims' range in age from 19 to 74 and include four members of the city's Sikh community. Authorities have also identified the gunman and say his mother brought him to the attention of law enforcement last year. But police are still working to determine a motive.

BRUNHUBER: The mass shooting in Indianapolis is one of dozens in the U.S. in this past month.

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BRUNHUBER: CNN's Brian Todd takes a look at why these tragic events happen more frequently in America than anywhere else and why the nation isn't taking meaningful action to stop it.

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BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Many Americans may now be wondering when our flags won't be at half-staff to mourn the victims of mass shootings.

There have been at least 45 mass shootings in the United States in the one month since eight people were killed at Atlanta area spas.

There have been at least 147 mass shootings in the U.S. just in 2021, according to the gun violence archive.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yet again, we have families in our country that are grieving the loss of their family members because of gun violence. There is no question that this violence must end, and we are thinking of the families that lost their loved ones.

TODD: CNN classifies an incident as a mass shooting if four or more people are wounded or killed, not including the gunman. However, anyone calculates it, there is little doubt that America's crisis of gun violence is as deep and disturbing now as it has ever been.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The epidemic is real. The gun violence epidemic is real. It's something we can no longer sweep under the carpet. We don't want American exceptionalism to be defined in terms of the number of Americans who die from gun violence.

TODD: That sense of urgency shared at the White House today. President Joe Biden, tweeting, we can and must do more to reduce gun violence and save lives. His press secretary hitting home the same message.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We can't afford to wait as innocent lives are taken.

TODD: But America's struggle with this crisis long before 2021. The Indianapolis shooting, leaving 8 people dead, came the day before the 14th anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech University, when 32 victims were killed.

We've experienced mass shootings in Orlando in 2016, where the death toll climbed near 50 and in Las Vegas, the following year, when 60 were gunned down. Analysts say it's come to define how the rest of the world looks at America. NAFTALI: An American is far more likely to be the victim of gun violence than a Canadian, a Japanese citizen, British citizen. Our allies are perplexed and worried about the fact that we can't seem to have a national conversation about the epidemic of gun violence in our country. TODD: At least not a conversation that doesn't devolve into a

political battle between gun control advocates and Second Amendment supporters.

In the meantime, one forensic psychiatrist says Americans keep getting more and more desensitized to mass gun violence.

DR. LISE VAN SUSTEREN, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: The body naturally response from the horror and the shock to try to protect ourselves by increasingly becoming numb. And so, now, we are looking at what's happening around us and for us it's almost becoming normal.

TODD: And some experts firmly believe that the coronavirus pandemic is one factor at play here.

One criminologist told us that with people coming out with more frequency now, many of them with pent-up anger, there's more opportunity for people to express the grievances in public and, of course, some turn to gun violence to do so -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

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BRUNHUBER: As the world marks more than 3 million COVID-19 deaths and struggles to distribute effective vaccines, many countries are facing escalating outbreaks. COVID-19 cases are spiraling out of control in India, that is now reporting more cases each day than anywhere else, more than 217,000 on Friday alone.

In one hospital in New Delhi, some patients are having to share beds.

Canada is also dealing with worrying case numbers. The prime minister Justin Trudeau says the situation in Toronto is the most concerning.

But Italian prime minister says restrictions will be relaxed starting April 26th. In some areas, students will be able to attend a school in person and outdoor restaurants will be allowed to open.

Let's go to CNN's Melissa Bell live in Paris.

I'll give you the choice.

Where do you want to start?

The good news Italy easing restrictions or, the bad news, the surges in countries like Germany and France?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is a mixed picture of what is happening right now. Many countries seeing a worrying figures in terms of the number of new daily cases here in France and Germany, for instance. ICUs under pressure and peaks not reached in France in terms of that third wave that has been so driven by those new variants.

So much difficult for authorities to take on quickly. But there is some hope and even if it's not quite good news. The countries are so dependent on what is a tourism industry in Europe, that represents hundreds of billions of euros, is at a standstill since last summer and the reprieve between the first and second waves.

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BELL: Countries who have been pushing for COVID passports and digital documents that will allow people to cross borders once again.

One of the things that has happened the last few months, the borders have popped up and not used to seeing them in Europe and different countries with different restrictions and even closed borders to their neighbors.

And it's about reopening the borders before the summer season starts. A sense the situation remains tense and difficult but some kind of hope with vaccines and vaccine passports that will allow at least people to move around more freely once they have been vaccinated or shown to be negative.

Really looking forward to getting the economy back up and running as many countries continue to try to bring those surges down.

BRUNHUBER: You and I have been talking about shortfalls of AstraZeneca in the E.U. Now the issues with Moderna and increasing production at its European plant causing shortfalls in other countries.

What can you tell us about that?

BELL: The man in charge of the E.U. task force said they have ramped up production here in the E.U. and E.U. is the largest producer of vaccines with many production sites, well over 50 in the E.U., churning out the vaccines that have been approved.

There hiccups with AstraZeneca and another four deaths in France linked to the blood clot issues. that brings the total in France to 23 people who have had serious issues with this vaccine and eight now who have died. These are then passed along to the European Medicines Agency, which looks into the safety of the vaccine in its review.

The Johnson & Johnson now paused in some European countries over the same fears over its safety. And we await the European Medicines Agency's verdict next week. It is Moderna and Pfizer vaccine that Europeans are relying on.

Pfizer has been increased to be delivered in the second quarter and that should help. What the European Union says is that the supply issues have been taken care of or will have been ironed out and making sure more vaccines get into more arms.

BRUNHUBER: Thank you, Melissa Bell in Paris.

Ahead, Russia announces it is expelling U.S. forces and we will have the latest from Moscow next.

Also U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes Japan's foreign minister at the White House and we will explain why the discussion is focused on China and what China had to say about it.

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BRUNHUBER: President Biden's calls for de-escalation between the United States and Russia may have proven to be in vain. Moscow announced it's banning a list of top U.S. officials a day after the White House sanctioned Russia for election interference and a massive cyberattack.

U.S. State Department called these actions, quote, "escalatory and regrettable." Let's get the latest from Sam Kiley.

Sam, what is your analysis?

Was it a tit-for-tat without further escalating matters?

And will it pave the way for that summit proposed by Biden?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think implicit in your question is a sharp analysis anyway, because I think really, from the Russian perspective, their view is that this is a proportional response, directly in proportion, if you like.

They are saying that there have been -- that 10 diplomats asked to leave, eight former members of the U.S. administration, six serving members of the administration. Two former members are being banned from setting foot in Russia. Not deeply problematic in either case. And all in response to the U.S. calling out Russia under the Biden administration for just the sort of practices that, if you like, under the Trump administration, were denied by the Trump administration.

In other words, election interference and cyberattacks as you mentioned there, Kim. Really, the extent of the American sanctions that have been imposed on Russia -- and we don't have a lot of economic leaders but we'll come up with some down the line -- and then this tit-for-tat exchange almost of diplomatic in sells (ph) with the expulsion of diplomats from both sides, combined, that is the stick bit, the carrot bit coming from the Biden administration, suggesting that there be a face-to-face meeting somewhere in Europe still being considered by the Russians and the general prevailing view in Moscow is that is something that perhaps the Putin administration would like to look forward to in a reset of the relationship with the U.S. administration.

But against the backdrop of much more worrying muscle moves by Russia against Ukraine with a very large buildup, the biggest buildup according to the forces on the border with Ukraine land forces since 2014 and a recent announcement that Russia is going to close access between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, which is a shared body of water mostly between Russia and Ukraine, to all forms of foreign naval vessels.

This being rejected loudly by NATO, led by the United States. So, there is a ratcheting up of, if you like, military attentions. A tit- for-tat for mutual expulsions of diplomats but a glimmer of hope for some kind of meeting between the two presidents later on in the year.

BRUNHUBER: Excellent summary of the complex moves there, thank you so much, Sam Kiley, there in Moscow.

Japanese Prime Minister Suga said he had serious talks on China's influence with U.S. President Joe Biden and China is reacting after the two met at the White House and agreed to meet the challenges posed by Beijing claims across the Asia Pacific region.

A statement from the spokesman for the Chinese embassy said, "scheme of the U.S. and Japan will only end up hurting themselves."

CNN's Blake Essig joins us now.

So they had plenty to talk about.

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BRUNHUBER: But you read the joint leaders' statement, China was really the focus, very overt?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The issue of China was front and center at this first face-to-face meeting between President Biden and Prime Minister Suga. The two took the opportunity to remind the world the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance, focused on peace and stability. Here is President Biden.

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BIDEN: Japan and the United States are two strong democracies in the region. And we are committed, we're committed to defending and advancing our shared values, including human rights and the rule of law. We are going to work together to prove that democracies can still compete and win in the 21st century.

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ESSIG: You mentioned, throughout the afternoon, Kim, the leaders addressed a number of topics, including North Korea, a free and open Indo-Pacific, COVID-19, climate change, the Olympics and China. Here is Prime Minister Suga.

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YOSHIHIDE SUGA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We also had serious talks on China's influence of the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and the world at large. We agreed to oppose any attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China seas and intimidation of others in the region.

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ESSIG: Along with addressing issues in the East and South China Seas, Suga said the U.S. reconfirmed their commitment to defend Japan, in particular the Senkaku Islands, under Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Defense Treaty.

While administered by Japan, China also claims the islands, which it calls Diaoyu. The two countries shared serious concerns regarding human rights issues and they touched on the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged a peaceful resolution.

China has since responded to the comments from the summit, saying, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang all belong to China's internal affairs. And the issues in the East and South China Seas concern China's territorial integrity with no room for interference. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Thanks so much, Blake Essig, in Tokyo.

The funeral for Prince Philip will take place later today. Royal watchers will be looking for signs of reconciliation for William and Harry as they bid farewell to Prince Philip.

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BRUNHUBER: What you're looking at there, that is a live shot of the walls of Windsor Castle. You can see, it's a beautiful, sunny spring day in Windsor but it's also a somber day of remembrance for the British royal family and for many around the world.

Just hours from now, the funeral for England's Prince Philip will be getting underway. And royal watchers will be keeping a close eye on any interactions between Harry and his brother, William, during the funeral and on Queen Elizabeth II, of course. CNN's Nick Glass tells us why this will be a significant test for the royal family.

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NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Queen Victoria's statue, outside Windsor Castle, a widow at 42, she would wear black for the rest of her life. With the media encamped outside, her great-great granddaughter remains grieving privately, behind the castle's granite walls.

The queen will be 95 later this month, her first birthday without her husband since she was 22.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The passing of Prince Philip must, inevitably, bring to mind the end of the Elizabethan era. But I think it will be an Elizabethan era, right to the end.

GLASS (voice-over): In other words, right until the end of the queen's life. The castle is currently closed to the public but we already know there are plans afoot for the queen's Platinum Jubilee next year, when she celebrates 70 years on the throne.

Life goes on, royal and ordinary, just as Prince Philip would have wished. More challengingly, there is a serious fracture in the family in need of healing. The Oprah Winfrey interview was just a month ago.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: And also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born.

OPRAH WINFREY, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't think anybody anticipated how issues of diversity --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of racism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- would be raised in a way that, in most people's minds, over here, quite unjustly gave a character to the royal family that is not the case. It couldn't be that the funeral gathering for Prince Philip, which will be essentially a family occasion, will be the beginning of fences being mended.

GLASS (voice-over): These photos were taking on the grounds of Windsor Castle last month, just a week after Prince Philip came home from hospital. The queen and her eldest son and heir, the symbolic reassurance about continuity.

We now know the funeral at St. George's Chapel at Windsor will be small, because of COVID. Just 30 people, plus clergy to be televised and, probably in the case of the queen, filmed with some discretion.

What we can assume that the body language of William and Harry will be closely observed as they sit in the choir stalls. Of course, Prince Philip knew the chapel well, from the annual Garter Ceremony as well as weddings and funerals. Here the queen, flanked by Prince Charles and Prince William.

On Saturday, the men, Prince Charles and his two sons, will walk behind the coffin, on this very same road. Prince Philip's face is still everywhere, at Piccadilly Circus and on the Post Office Tower in London.

The tributes have been warm and fulsome, with multiple newspaper supplements.

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GLASS (voice-over): But at the end of the long walk, they are still laying flowers. The firm, as Prince Philip liked to call, will gather to lay him to rest. The royals usually try to hide their emotions. Saturday promises the sternest of tests -- Nick Glass, CNN, in Windsor. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: A reminder that CNN will bring you today's royal funeral live. That begins today at 9:00 am Eastern here on CNN.

That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. "NEW DAY" is just ahead.