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Minneapolis Cheers Ex-Officer's Conviction in Floyd's Death; Fox News Host Claims Fear Motivated Jurors; India Reports Almost 315,000 COVID-19 Cases on Thursday; German Lawmakers Advance Bill on COVID Restrictions; Indonesian Navy: Knows Location of Missing Submarine; Afghans Who Helped U.S. Fear for Their Lives; Most Founding Clubs Pull Out of Denounced Competition. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired April 22, 2021 - 04:30   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: 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.

Many in Minneapolis and across the U.S. are still cheering the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. There were hugs and tears following the verdict as people expressed relief that justice had finally been served. Crowds also gathered at a memorial for Floyd, leaving flowers and lighting candles on the street where he died almost one year ago.

But reaction to the verdict on Fox News was dramatically different. Tucker Carlson suggested that fear was what was really behind the jurors' decision. CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter has details.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX HOST: Please don't hurt us.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tucker Carlson inviting new outrage with his assumptions about what motivated the jury in Minneapolis.

CARLSON: The jurors spoke for many in this country. Everyone understood perfectly well the consequences of an acquittal in this case.

STELTER (voice-over): Carlson invoking mobs that quote destroy our cities and claiming politicians intimidated jurors in the Derek Chauvin case. Stoking fear while suggesting the jury was fearing rioting.

CARLSON: I'm kind of more worried about the rest of the country which thanks to police inaction in case you haven't noticed is like boarded up. (LAUGHTER)

That's more of my concern.

STELTER (voice-over): But Carlson and then cutting off his guest.

CARLSON: Nope, done.

STELTER (voice-over): Social media commentator said Carlson was melting down, and even started debates on sports TV.

STEPHEN A. SMITH, CO-HOST, ESPN FIRST TAKE: These are the kinds of things that make people shake and make people shiver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's indefensible.

STELTER (voice-over): Carlson was leading a right-wing media narrative about riots. With website media saying on Wednesday that Fox News is fixating on post Chauvin verdict violence that never happened. Including by running old footage of last year's fires and looting in Minneapolis. This as a TV producing technique sometimes denounced as riot porn.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): To be very brutally honest about this.

STELTER (voice-over): In D.C., GOP lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene getting what she wanted, attention, with this lie that D.C. was quote, completely dead Tuesday night. People scared to go out fearing riots. Hundreds of residents corrected her, laughed at her, with "The Washington Post" saying her imaginary D.C. sounds like a scary place, which was the point.


BRUNHUBER: India is now facing a COVID crisis like no other as a second wave hits like a tsunami. The country has just reported almost 315,000 new cases, the highest daily increase anywhere in the world since the pandemic began and it posted more than 2,100 new deaths, also its highest daily increase so far.

The capital, New Delhi, just received less than half the amount of oxygen it needs to treat COVID patients and could run out within hours. Its health minister also says the city is facing a severe shortage of ICU beds. And officials say crematoriums aren't able to keep up with the number of bodies and graveyards are running out of space.

CNN's Anna Coren is live for us in Hong Kong. Anna, what we're hearing and seeing is absolutely frightening. What's the latest?


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kim, the situation is dire in India and experts say it is only going to get worse. You mention those record daily numbers of 315,000 daily infections recorded in the last 24 hours, more than 2,100 deaths. That surpasses the United States. So we have a global record here. You mention the acute shortage of ICU beds, there is an acute shortage of oxygen.

And today the high court weighed in, criticizing the central government for its mishandling of the second wave of this pandemic saying that the shortage of oxygen in India is ridiculous. We have to remember that India exports oxygen. So the fact that it can't get it to the hospitals is just causing utter dismay, complete frustration and heart break because people are dying.

There was then reports in one state that there was a leak in one of the main oxygen tanks and that oxygen supply that was traveling to the critically ill patients suddenly stopped and 24 patients died. An investigation is now under way.

We have spoken, Kim, to experts who say this was avoidable. That after the first wave, after things had died down, the government congratulated itself and there was this sense of complacency. There was no stockpiling, no preparation, social gatherings were allowed on -- you know, en masse. Religious festivals were allowed. And they then produced these super spreader events.

And let me go through the numbers for you. The first of March there were 12,000 cases recorded, a month later that shot up to 80,000 cases. Well today, some 22 days later that is now 315,000 daily cases. It's absolutely frightening.

Everybody we know certainly in the Delhi bureau for CNN have been impacted by COVID. They have relatives, family members that they are trying to get into hospital, trying to get oxygen to. There really is a sense that the government has abdicated responsibility to its people and that people feel very much alone -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, as you say, those earlier decisions now coming back to haunt them. Anna Coren, thank you so much for that.

As some European countries grapple with a third wave of the virus, German lawmakers have advanced a bill which would give the federal government greater authority to impose the country's first nationwide COVID restrictions.

Meanwhile, Switzerland is planning to roll out vaccine certificates once the country's vaccination coverage rate reaching 40 percent to 50 percent

And as vaccinations pick up in France local travel restrictions there are expected to be lifted on May 3rd. so for more let's bring in CNN's Salma Abdelaziz who joins me now from London. Salma let's start in Germany, the federal government getting more powers. What exactly do we expect the government to do with them and what's been the reaction?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Kim, this is an extremely controversial law, and it shows just how concerned, just how worried the German government is about this latest spike in cases. What is this new law? Well it's an emergency break that was already in place that allowed the 16 federal states once they reached a certain threshold -- I think it's 100 cases per 100,000 residents -- if they reach that threshold then restrictions need to be put into place and it was up to each of those 16 federal states to do so.

But what we've seen is, yes, there's been a spike in those areas, but local governments had yet to impose those rules. That's why we're seeing what's happening now with the German Chancellor stepping in, pushing an amended law through Parliament that would allow the federal government for the first time to impose nationwide measures.

Now, this is not being taken very well by some people. Just as Parliament was debating this yesterday you had thousands of demonstrators outside angered by this. The police had to break it up using pepper spray, complaints that they were not wearing masks, that there was no social distancing in these demonstrations. But they do capture a sentiment, a feeling of anger, a feeling of being exhausted after a year of pandemic and now seeing the federal government put these rules into place or try to put these rules into place, rather, because this has yet to pass. It could pass as early as Saturday.

It's created a backlash and people are really tired with these rules. The question is how and if this law passes, how will the government enforce it. How will it hold each of the federal states, how will it hold each local government to account to push these new measures in place and while all of this is happening, of course, Kim, you are looking at a very real spike in cases and more people going into hospitals.

BRUNHUBER: Lots of questions still to answer there. Thanks so much, Salma Abdelaziz in London.


Indonesia's navy says it knows where to find a missing submarine that had been conducting torpedo practice off the course of Bali. Four Indonesian navy ships have begun search and rescue operations. Singapore and Australia have also offered assistance. Officials say the sub and it's 53-member crew are about 2,000 feet below the surface. Well that's 300 feet deeper than the sub is capable of diving.

Well CNN's Blake Essig is covering this story for us from Tokyo. Blake, I understand you have some new information and possibly some new hope. What can you tell us?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kim, look, the ultimate goal is to bring all 53 people on board the missing submarine back home alive and right now it's a race against time. We know the 53 people on board the missing submarine have been missing for about 38 hours and the sub still hasn't been found.

We also just learned according to the navy the submarine only has enough oxygen for the crew to survive until Saturday afternoon local time. Now, a search and rescue operation is currently under way. The sub went missing early Wednesday morning during a war simulation exercise in the Bali Straight about 100 kilometers off the coast of Bali. Now the submarine was cleared to launch a torpedo but gave no

response. Several hours later contact after contact was lost. The Indonesian Ministry of Defense said an oil slick was spotted from the air in the same area where contact was lost.

No officials believe that the oil spill is the result of the submarine tank linking because the submarine is too deep or because the crew released the fluid on board to help the submarine rise to the surface. The navy officials say this particular sub has a dive capability of 500 meters but is currently believed to be at a depth of about 700 meters. And Kim, if that's the case it could be fatal for the submarine and all those on board.

BRUNHUBER: All right, we will be watching this story for sure. Thank you so much, Blake Essig in Tokyo.

Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, thousands of Afghans who have helped U.S. forces are now desperately waiting for the U.S. to fulfill its promise for special visas. Some fear the Taliban will come for them next. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: The U.S. imposed new sanctions on two state-owned business in Myanmar Wednesday and said it would take further action. It's the latest punishment in response to the coup in February and violent crackdowns on protesters. The sanctions are on the Myanmar Timber Enterprise and the Myanmar Pearl Enterprise. The Treasury Department noted both businesses are economic resources for the Myanmar military.

An Afghan peace conference backed by the U.S. is now on hold. The talks were supposed to begin Saturday in Istanbul, but the Taliban have said they won't come to the table until all foreign forces pull out of Afghanistan. The delay is a blow to President Biden's plan to peacefully withdraw U.S. troops by September 11th.

Over the last 20 years many Afghans who have helped American forces were promised safe haven by the U.S. government, now they fear that promise will never be fulfilled and that the Taliban will come for them once U.S. troops are gone. Our Jake Tapper reports.



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Forced to run for his life.

ABDUL: I left my family and my colleagues, and it was very painful for me.

TAPPER (voice-over): This Afghan man fled his own country, fearing he might be killed, all because he worked as an engineer for the U.S. government in Afghanistan.

ABDUL: I don't regret for my service.

TAPPER (voice-over): He requests we call him by an alias, Abdul, protecting his identity because he says his life is in danger from insurgents he fears are still hunting him down.

ABDUL: Two gunmen people step to my door and that was really the worst situation I faced. I was thinking I will be killed.

TAPPER (voice-over): Abdul is like thousands of Afghans who helped American troops during the nearly 20-year war and who are now anxiously waiting for a special immigrant visa to come to the United States. A visa promised to them by the U.S. government, a promise that has turned into a nightmare for many, due in part, to lots of red tape, and a years' long vetting process.

FMR. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): The United States is not making good, certainly not rapidly enough on the issue of bringing these people who've helped us and literally saved American lives to this country.

TAPPER (voice-over): The qualifications for a special immigration visa are clear on the State Department's website. You must be an Afghan national. You must've worked for the U.S. and Afghanistan for at least two years, and you must have experienced ongoing threats because of that work.

But the reality for Abdul who applied for the visa in 2016 not as clear.

ABDUL: I was thinking I was able to go and get my visa.

TAPPER (voice-over): After years of waiting and being told he was nearing the finish line, Abdul was denied a visa on a technicality, and his story is not unique.

Right now, about 18,000 Afghans who helped U.S. troops are stuck in that bureaucratic pipeline waiting for visas according to a State Department official.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's time to end the forever war.

TAPPER (voice-over): And now with President Biden vowing to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by September 11th, the U.S. is running out of time to approve all these requests.

MATT ZELLER, TRUMAN PROJECT FELLOW: They've got to be evacuated now.

TAPPER (voice-over): Matt Zeller, a leading expert on this issue who served in Afghanistan, is not hopeful that'll happen.

ZELLER: The Taliban are going to do everything in their power to kill them, and they're doing it now.

TAPPER (voice-over): He worked on a report released today, detailing the dangerous conditions for these Afghans, hoping to bring attention to this dire issue. ZELLER: One of the first things that they ever teach you in basic training is that we don't leave anybody behind. We're leaving people behind.

TAPPER (voice-over): Ramish Darwishi is one of the ones who was not left behind. He's now living in the United States after serving as an interpreter for U.S. forces for eight years. But that did not come without a price.

RAMISH DARWISHI, AFGHAN TRANSLATOR FOR U.S.: They can call you in front of your family and they just telling you that we will kill you in front of camera, and they will put it on YouTube so that your family can see it and suffer it all the time.

TAPPER (voice-over): The Taliban harassed him and his family threatening to kill them if he kept up his work, but he refused.

DARWISHI: And I just pulled my family, I just put myself, my friends even, even my wife's family under threat of death because of working with U.S.

TAPPER (voice-over): Ramish applied for a visa in 2015. His thankfully was approved and he moved here eight months ago. Now, he's telling his story in hopes Washington will act to save people still in danger like Abdul.


DARWISHI: If anyone can help, help those people whose left behind in Afghanistan. Help those interpreters, those translators, and those brothers and sisters.

TAPPER (voice-over): As for Abdul, time is running out. He's still trying to make it to the U.S. waiting in a different country and worried he'll be sent back to Afghanistan where he may end up paying the ultimate price.

ABDUL: If I am going to be sent back to Afghanistan, it's clear I will be killed.

TAPPER (voice-over): Jake tapper, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: And during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan last week U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked about the visa issue and says he's committed to working on it.

All right, changing pace now. How the mighty have fallen. Some of Europe's wealthiest football clubs give up the money grab and admit they messed up. From super league to super failure next. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Well what most fans loudly criticized as an insanely awful idea for European soccer seems to be failing in spectacular fashion. [04:55:00]

Most of the rich and powerful clubs that tried to form a so-called super league have caved to the backlash, pulled out of the plan and apologized to fans.

Juventus has signaled its leaving but it's not clear if it's official. Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are hanging in there but one of the organizing master minds admits to Reuters the competition is no longer viable. The British Prime Minister welcomed news of the dropouts.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And I think that one of the most worrying features about the European super league proposals is that they would have taken clubs that take their names from great famous British towns and cities and turned them just into global brands with no relation to the fans, to the communities that gave them life and that give them the most love and support and that was in my view totally wrong.


BRUNHUBER: And Prince William whose president of the England's football association says he's glad the united voice of fans has been heard.

Well Queen Elizabeth had a quiet 95th birthday on Wednesday as she continued to mourn her last husband. For the first time in more than 70 years of marriage Prince Philip wasn't with her. There were no official engagements, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying how much the monarch appreciated the messages she had received. She called the tributes to the late Duke of Edinburgh a comfort.

And that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. "EARLY START" is up next.