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NC Sheriff Will Ask Court To Make Shooting Video Public; Federal Prosecutors Examine If Rep. Gaetz Took Gifts, Including Travel And Paid Escorts For Political Favors; L.A. Dodgers Open Fully Vaccinated Fan Section; Anti-Mask, Anti-Vax Sentiments Persist In Michigan Amid COVID Surge; Interview With State Sen. Erika Geiss (D- MI); New SpaceX Crew Reaches International Space Station; Husband And Wife Astronauts Make Back-To-Back ISS Trips. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired April 24, 2021 - 18:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of us are saying "Enough is enough." We have to learn how to de-escalate. We have systemic racists. We have differences in how communities of color are treated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three strikes and you're out, but get a vaccine shot or two and you can sit have a special section at a California baseball game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Baseball is a community event. It's a communal thing. Let's get back to a full ballpark here before the end of the season.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes me feel safe, and I think the people here feel safe because they can actually sit together and they don't have to socially distance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A big day in space, Crew-2 successfully and safely docking to the International Space Station.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could really feel the excitement just by the looks on their faces, the hugs that they're giving.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday.

And we begin tonight with the future of policing and the deadly shootings raising tensions on race and law enforcement in America. As we join you tonight, CNN is learning about the call for accountability in North Carolina after deputies there shot and killed Andrew Brown.

The sheriff is now saying he is going to court to have the police body cam footage made public. Let's get straight to scene as Natasha Chen in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. So Natasha, everyone involved there knows the body cam footage exists

and everyone involved insists that the public should see it. So tell us what the holdup is. When will we see more?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pamela, that's what everyone wants to know: when will we see more? And a lot of them are comparing this situation here to other police use of force cases around the country where they have seen body camera footage released a lot more quickly than this.

And the sheriff had to explain that in North Carolina here, it involves a court order for footage like that to be released. So, it is requiring a lot more patience from people, including Elizabeth City officials who by the way are not involved at all in this incident because it was not their jurisdiction.

But they are very concerned about this, of course from Brown's family who gave a press conference today and from the community at large, many people who've been marching peacefully through the city the last few days, including today.

So the Sheriff posted a video to Facebook this afternoon explaining how this process would work and explaining what he is going to do in his efforts for transparency. Here's what he said.


SHERIFF TOMMY WOOTEN, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: Because we want transparency, we want the body camera footage made public. Some people have falsely claimed that my office has the power to do so, that is not true, only a judge can release the video.

That's why I've asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to confirm for me that the releasing of the video will not undermine their investigation.

Once I get that confirmation, our county will file a motion in court hopefully Monday to have the footage released.


CHEN: So Monday is going to be important here because not only is it possible that the Sheriff, the county will file an official request to have the video released, we are also going to have that official filing from the Elizabeth City Council who met in an emergency meeting on Friday to decide just that, alongside a coalition of 14 news organizations including CNN also who have petitioned for this video to be released to the public.

So a lot of parties there asking for the same thing, it is just taking some time. Keep in mind at the same time, seven sheriff's deputies have now been put on administrative leave. They were involved in the incident Wednesday, two other deputies have resigned, and another one has retired at this point -- Pamela.

BROWN: And also today, Natasha, you were there when the family of Andrew Brown, Jr. spoke to the public. Tell us how they are processing what happened this week.

CHEN: Yes, a couple of Andrew Brown, Jr.'s children were present for this press conference. It was extremely painful for them, for the community leaders who were speaking, a lot of the protesters who had marched across the city had shown up at this press conference to support them as well.

One of the members of the clergy, a diverse group of clergymen who gathered there said that it was painful for them to look at the children because they should be on a playground instead of mourning their father.

We did hear from Reverend William Barber who spoke passionately about accountability.


REVEREND WILLIAM BARBER, CO-CHAIRMAN, POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN: There must be accountability and we must know all of what happened and the tapes must be seen.




BARBER: America, here is the issue: a warrant is not a license to kill, even if a suspect supposedly drives away.


CHEN: Barber there and several other leaders spoke at that same press conference referring to 911 audio that was made public where you can hear an emergency responder say in that recording that Brown had been found with a gunshot wound to the back.

A witness also told CNN that she saw deputies firing at Brown's vehicle as he was seemingly driving away. So, all of these parts of what people are hearing are really concerning to the people who gathered there today and all they have are more and more questions, very few answers and they are hoping that the release of the video footage would help with some of that -- Pamela.

BROWN: Absolutely. Natasha Chen live for us there in North Carolina. Thanks so much.

And also tonight, we have new details about the Federal investigation into Congressman Matt Gaetz. Sources tell CNN tonight, the prosecutors are looking into whether the Florida Republican took gifts, including travel and paid escorts in exchange for political favors.

This is part of an ongoing probe also examining whether he engaged in a relationship with a girl that began when she was 17 years old.

CNN's Marshall Cohen joins us now. Marshall, walk us through these latest allegations.

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Good evening, Pamela. As you mentioned, CNN has learned that the Federal sex trafficking investigation into Congressman Gaetz is also looking at whether he took gifts in exchange for political favors, gifts like travel and paid escorts.

Sources briefed on the matter say that the Justice Department is scrutinizing a 2018 trip to the Bahamas involving Gaetz and several young women. Now, investigators in the public corruption unit at the D.O.J. are specifically looking at whether that trip was part of an orchestrated effort to illegally influence Gaetz regarding the medical marijuana industry.

CNN has previously reported that Gaetz is under investigation for possibly engaging in a relationship with a woman that began when she was just 17 years old and that Gaetz attended sex parties in Orlando with other prominent Republicans that involved women, drugs, and sex for money.

Now, investigators already have one key witness who is cooperating in this investigation. That's Joel Greenberg. He is the former Tax Commissioner in Seminole County. He is a close friend of Gaetz and also attended some of those sex parties.

He was indicted last year on dozens of Federal charges, including sex trafficking. He is expected to plead guilty in the coming weeks and he is cooperating.

BROWN: Key: he is cooperating. So, what are we learning about the Congressman's ties to medical marijuana advocates and how that factors into the investigation?

COHEN: Yes, Pamela, it seems like it's a big factor. You know, as you may be aware, Gaetz has a long history of advocating for medical marijuana, when he was in the State House, he even crossed party lines in Congress to loosen marijuana regulations.

But while he's been working on this issue, he has repeatedly intersected with a doctor named Jason Pirozzolo. He's an Orlando-based hand surgeon who founded a medical marijuana advocacy group. Gaetz wrote in his book that Dr. Pirozzolo is one of his best friends.

And according to reports, the doctor was with Congressman Gaetz at that 2018 trip to the Bahamas, which is now under Federal investigation for potential corruption.

Now, as all -- as part of this, a source is telling CNN that back in April 2018, when Gaetz introduced a medical marijuana research bill in Congress, he hand delivered a fully written draft of the bill to his staff, which overlapped pretty significantly with the same agenda that Dr. Pirozzolo's group had been pushing.

Pamela, I want to be totally clear here. Neither Gaetz nor Pirozzolo have been accused by the Justice Department of wrongdoing. They have not been charged with any crimes. Gaetz has vehemently denied that he has ever paid for sex, or that he

has ever had sex with anyone under 18, and in relation to these latest developments, his spokesman released a statement to CNN and that said, I'll put it up on the screen for you, quote: "Matt Gaetz is a long- time policy expert on the subject and has passed legislation on the matter as far back as 2013. To suggest that anyone else nudging him along is risible."

So they are just laughing off the idea that he could be corruptly influenced on marijuana policy. But, Pamela, the investigation is still ongoing.

BROWN: All right, Marshall Cohen, bringing us the latest. Thanks so much, Marshall.

And coming up for you tonight on this Saturday, Joe Biden becomes the first U.S. President to officially recognize the massacre of Armenians in World War I as a genocide. We're going to look at the controversy behind his fulfilled campaign promise.

And, 53 sailors are presumed dead as the Indonesian Navy finds debris believed to be from a missing submarine.

Also tonight, hugs all around for a historic arrival at the International Space Station. NASA legend, Scott Kelly joins me later this hour to talk all about it.

But first before that, Major League Baseball debuts special seats for fans who have been fully vaccinated, our Paul Vercammen is live from the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers. We'll be right back.



BROWN: Well, with baseball, three strikes you're out, but two shots you're in.

Today, the Los Angeles Dodgers are giving people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 the chance to party like it is 2019 in a fully vaccinated fan section.

Paul Vercammen joins me now from Dodger Stadium. So Paul, tell us how this new section operates.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're going to show you, Pam. It's play ball, that's right, at Dodger Stadium, a vaccinated fan section where they are throwing out the social distancing rules from the standpoint, you can high -five each other, hug each other, celebrate, go across the way here, this is the second level they call it Loge here at Dodger Stadium.

And in this section, with proof of vaccination, you can sit there with your friends and family all in the same role row, all next to each other, keep your mask on except when you're eating. And this is interesting because they worked this out with Los Angeles County, 500 fans will come. It'll be an expensive seat, more than $100.00.

This is exactly the same thing they're doing right now as we speak at the LA FC, the LA football or soccer club and the fans there are just euphoric about the chance to be there with their buddies and whoop it up.


JONATHAN REIMER, FULLY VACCINATED LOS ANGELES FOOTBALL CLUB FAN: I think we're just excited to get back in the stadium, back to putting in work. This is such an integral part of all of our lives, such an important piece of what makes us whole and the fact that we've been separated from this experience for so long, it means so much of us just to get back in there and be able to celebrate this team, this community and this culture.

EDDIE MAGANA, FULLY VACCINATED LOS ANGELES FOOTBALL CLUB FAN: I think it's great. I think it shows that we're taking the proper procedures to get back to normal.


VERCAMMEN: And so at LA FC, they'll allow in 200 fans to this vaccinated section. Here at Dodger Stadium, they're going to allow in 500 fans and all of this is part of a grand experiment here in California. Don't forget for a second that we have a positivity rate, a COVID-19 positivity rate of only one percent, so they are playing with this idea and they say in the future, we're going to see more fans be reintroduced into these vaccinated sections.

Reporting from Los Angeles, I', Paul Vercammen. Play ball, Pam.

BROWN: All right, Paul. I'm not very good at playing ball. But thanks for that. Appreciate it. And it was interesting, you noted that you still need to wear your mask in the vaccinated section. But you could take it off when you're eating and drinking.

Thanks so much for bringing us the latest. There, again, another step of getting back to normalcy, something we all want.

And now let's go over to New York City, all the city-run vaccine sites there are open to anybody over age 16 without an appointment.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is outside the American Museum of Natural History. It has just been converted into a vaccination site. So what are you seeing there, Polo?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, just consider this, about 31 percent of the people in New York State now are considered fully vaccinated. Just in the last 24 hours, about 189,000 vaccines have actually been administered here in the state.

New York authorities are very familiar with the fact that the only way to continue to make those numbers continue to grow is by continuing to open up more locations.

And as you mentioned, the American Museum of Natural History here in New York City now serving as a vaccination site. Elsewhere, throughout the state, we are told that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered again immediately. Here though, for now, it is Moderna.


SANDOVAL (voice over): As Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is cleared to go into arms again, a slight but ongoing drop in overall shots being administered a day, that average number according to the C.D.C. dipped below three million this week.

The Biden administration attributing it to vaccine hesitancy. It is a trend that the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has been closely watching even before J&J's pause.

DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: Facebook runs a survey every day and we look at that data on a daily basis and that has shown that vaccine confidence in the U.S. has been slowly, but steadily going down since February.

You know, not by huge amounts like a percentage point a week, but that starts to add up.

SANDOVAL (voice over): Some of that hesitancy being felt more among Republicans. A Monmouth poll recently showed 43 percent of G.O.P. voters said they will likely never get a COVID vaccine compared to five percent of Democrats.

The head of the C.D.C. said Friday that the government must perform quote, "extraordinary outreach" when it comes to educating clinicians and patients.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: All right, I am getting the injection now.

SANDOVAL (voice over): Baltimore's former Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen received a J&J dose before the pause. If given the option, she encourages certain women avoid it given the fresh findings about extremely rare blood clots.

WEN: Since there are two other vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna that do not carry this very small risk, I don't think I would have chosen to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine myself knowing that risk, and I wish that the C.D.C. and the F.D.A. had gone further in their discussions yesterday to explicitly put a warning for women under the age of 50 to say, if it is available to you, consider choosing one of the other vaccines that do not carry this particular risk.

SANDOVAL (voice over): The consensus remains the same among health experts, all COVID vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. remains safe and effective.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If you look at the tradeoff here, this is still far better -- it is far better to choose to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine than to go unvaccinated given what we know about the risks of COVID.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thousand shots.


SANDOVAL (voice over): A local Canadian pharmacy in Toronto celebrated administering its 1,000th vaccination this week, as here in the U.S., efforts at a much larger scale continue amid vaccine hesitancy.


SANDOVAL (on camera): And those last few shots are actually taking you inside this vaccination side here at the Natural History Museum in New York City. I took a look a little while ago, Pam, I can tell you, it is certainly not as busy as officials would like to see it. So what they're doing right now essentially going out into the sidewalk and even approaching folks offering them that opportunity to get their vaccination done today.

And here's the incentive, at least at this location, Pam, they're offering admission to the Museum for people. So it certainly kind of, for those of us who have already been fully vaccinated, there's a little bit of regret there because that is a heck of an opportunity and unless, authorities keep saying, if you have a chance to get one, get it as soon as you can.

BROWN: That would be a really good way to entice people, I would say. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for bringing us the latest there.

And heads up for you, next hour, I'm going to speak with Dr. William Schaffner from the C.D.C. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

He is also an Infectious Diseases Professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and I'm going to be putting your questions to him. We already have a great list, but you could still tweet them to me @PamelaBrownCNN or send them to me on Instagram.

Well, tonight, calls to release the police body camera footage after the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown in North Carolina. The Sheriff now saying he wants it made public.

Representative Stacy Plaskett joins me next to discuss transparent policing and racial tension and America.



BROWN: New tonight, the North Carolina Sheriff whose deputy shot and killed Andrew Brown is now leading the calls for the release of the body cam. Something that can only happen with a court order. Now that Sheriff says, he is going to file the motion himself on

Monday and as the body cam and cellphone videos of other deadly police confrontations with black Americans pile up, we want to look tonight at what Washington is doing and not doing in response to this.

Democratic Representative Stacy Plaskett serves in the Congressional Black Caucus. She was an Assistant DA in New York City and served at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush and she is now the delegate to the Virgin Islands.

Congresswoman, welcome to the show.

DEL. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI): Thanks for having me. It's an honor to be here with you.

BROWN: So let's start with Attorney General Merrick Garland. He took two major steps this week. First, the D.O.J. opened a Civil Rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department one day after Derek Chauvin's conviction in the George Floyd murder.

These kind of pattern or practice investigations were almost nonexistent in the Trump administration. There were 25 in the Obama era. Do Federal probes into local police departments actually make them better police departments?

PLASKETT: I think they do, because we need to have accountability and transparency. For the most part, to me, the Chauvin guilty verdict was not about justice, but it was about accountability. And having the Justice Department look at accountability in police departments is very important to maintain that accountability at the local level by injecting Federal oversight over that.

In discussions that the Congressional Black Caucus had with the F.B.I. agency and with the head of the F.B.I., Chris Wray, one of the things that they pointed out is that presently, police departments do not -- are not mandated to give data on bad police officers, on officers, which have had complaints against them.

Part of the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act is to make that mandatory so that departments who do not have issues. In the Virgin Islands, we do not have police officers who are not members of the community. We've not had issues with regard to unjustified police shootings.

But should officers come to the Virgin Islands who have had that, because there is not mandatory data input, we do not have that and cannot shield ourselves, our good police officers from bad police officers.

Presently, only 40 percent of police departments give that information. The George Floyd Justice and Policing Act would make that mandatory alone with the myriad of other components of that legislation to not only support good policing, but to protect American citizens as well.

BROWN: So you have that legislation that that has not been passed into law. You also have D.O.J., as I mentioned, and the A.G. taking some steps. The other move that he announced Friday was he said he was going to meet with the biggest law enforcement organizations.

"The Wall Street Journal" reports that he made it very clear that he plans an ambitious Civil Rights agenda, particularly focused on overhauling troubled local agencies.

I'm curious what you think. Does making that kind of sweeping promise put every police department, troubled or not, in a defensive posture with not only Washington, but the public they serve?

PLASKETT: Well, I would hope not. I would think the police departments that are doing good policing would be models by which the Department of Justice could use to support other police agencies that have issues. Using good policing to show others how they can model it and support it.


The Justice Department going in and reviewing police agencies. If you have nothing to hide, you should really be open to supporting those police officers and those police departments which have had problems in the past.

Because the models for good policing range throughout this country, we cannot take what works in New York City and assume that it's going to work in Frederiksted on the island of St. Croix nor can we expect it to work in a small town in Alabama.

But if we have a range of police departments that are doing good policing, they can support those who need support. And as my father who was a New York City police officer for 30 years, my grandfather, a police officer in the Virgin Islands said, the thing that good police officers hate the most are bad police officers. They're the ones who make policing very difficult and we need to weed those bad police out so good police officers can do the work that the American public has asked them to do.

BROWN: And speaking of the American public, there is this poll out this week that shows six out of 10 Americans want the U.S. to hold police more accountable when it comes to mistreatment of black people. And on Capitol Hill, as you know, senators Cory Booker and Tim Scott and Congresswoman Karen Bass has been holding these informal talks on reform legislation.

The sticking points include qualified immunity and so called section 242 which civil rights groups say makes it nearly impossible to prosecute an officer for a civil rights violation? How likely do you think it is that both parties can find common ground for a deal? And are you open at all to Tim Scott's proposal that he wants police departments, not individual officers held liable? What do you think?

PLASKETT: Well, I have not seen Sen. Scott's proposal at this time and not been able to review it. I believe that the George Floyd Justice in Police accountability is the bill to go with. And I'm open to hear from him as to what he think what changes may be there. But I agree with you, Pamela, that for the most part, as an attorney,

qualified immunity is an area that we must address and I would shirk at any legislation which does not address qualified immunity. For instance, in 2001, the court had doctrine which created a mandatory sequencing standard in which someone and victims constitutional rights were first looked at and then determine whether those rights were established and then if they were violations.

Eight years later and another Supreme Court in Person, the court reversed that and instead held that the lower court had discretion to grant qualified immunity on the ground that the law was not clear. Qualified immunity has, in many instances, become the hood for bad police officers to in fact act as modern day Ku Klux Klan members against black and brown people in this country and it has got to stop.

The most conservative members of the Supreme Court say that Congress needs to do something about qualified immunity and we cannot shirk our responsibility to victims and Americans at large, because we are afraid of unions or are talking points or those on the right who have used the blue wall as a shield against American justice.

BROWN: Let me just really quick, because I know you had said you had not seen Tim Scott's proposal, but the bottom line is his idea is to make sure police department, so in the cases you outlined, the police departments would be held liable not the individual police officers. If that's what it took to agree to that to get a police reform deal done, would you be open to that? Would that be acceptable to you?

PLASKETT: I would have to look at that again and really review it. My first reaction is that police departments if they have created an environment in which a police officer is able to act with impunity, then yes, that police department should be held liable. But there are bad actor individual police officers who should not sully entire departments by their bad acting. And if there's a rogue police officer, that individual needs to be a stand accountable for their actions as well.

BROWN: All right. Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, thank you for coming on the show. We appreciate your time.

PLASKETT: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BROWN: Well, right wing extremists call for a maskless march in Michigan, even as the State reports record numbers of people in the hospital with COVID-19.


Michigan State Senator Erika Geiss says many of these so-called protesters seem as anti-vaccination as they are anti-mask and she joins me next.


[18:39:20] BROWN: Well, Michigan remains a virus hotspot. Over the past few

weeks, COVID cases per million people were higher than what they were in mid February. Virus-related hospitalizations also upped, including among patients younger than ever before. So why Michigan and why now?

It's among the states with the highest rate of the more contagious variant and on top of that misinformation and ties to anti-vaccination have been a place since last year. Michigan was a favorite target of former President Trump repeatedly saying the state needed to be liberated from COVID-19 restrictions.

And remember the States' Capitol was swarmed with hundreds of armed protesters last year on top of other big ones rallies and protests?


Well today, in the midst of this surge, anti-mask groups pushed for a big rally, claiming it is the millions maskless march. Thankfully, they ended up looking more like a group of friends, loitering after school as you see. But the sentiment still remains at a time when containing the surge is urgent.

Michigan State Senator Erika Geiss joins me now to discuss this. Thanks so much for coming on. You were in the Michigan State Capitol when it was stormed last year. So when you hear about this maskless march and similar opposition to Gov. Whitmer's COVID measures, how does that hit you?

STATE SEN. ERIKA GEISS (D-MI): Thanks, Pamela. It hits me as being very reckless. We've had just over a year of these types of events that are fueled by discontent and lies around COVID, around the protections for public health. And it's just been this measure of discontent, this toxic attitude that's been created by these external groups, but also from within the legislature.

BROWN: Michigan has seen as you well know, its fair share of rallies and events that attracted people with extremist views. Where is the disconnect between these protesters and the facts? How do you reach them if what they are basing this on is fact free?

GEISS: Yes. That remains a challenge, a continued challenge. We should as leaders be emulating excellent behavior. We should be modeling wearing masks when we're out in public. We should be modeling, trying to do as much social distancing, physical distancing as possible.

And we should also be engaging in the facts and in presenting the facts and making sure that people know where to get tested, people know where they can get their vaccinations. And that's the type of work that we should be doing.

And then on the legislative and policy side, we should also be putting in place measures that will continue to protect public health, but also make it so that whenever the next pandemic might be or public health crisis that there's something in place that we're - so that we're not responding on the fly that we're able to handle and really get our arms around whatever that public health crisis would be. And it's really unfortunate that that happens, that we're at a space we're in right now, I should say.

BROWN: And I think every state across the country wants to be better prepared for next time and the scientists and doctors say there will be a next time at some point. Meantime, amid all of this, the Biden administration has rebuffed the Governor's plea for an increased supply of vaccines. What resources do you need to turn this surge around?

GEISS: It is unfortunate that that was their response and, of course, that decision was made way beyond what I handle. What we need is a concerted effort for people to mask when they're around others, even if they are vaccinated. It takes two weeks from your second dose to be considered fully vaccinated. We need people to get to those vaccine clinics.

A lot of our communities now are doing no appointment needed walk-in vaccine clinics. Many folks are showing the lists of what areas and communities are having those vaccine clinics. And we really need people to make sure that they're getting their vaccinations so that we can reach that level of herd immunity that we need in order to be able to help once again flatten that curve. And it's unfortunate that some of my colleagues just aren't willing to be that vocal about it or even willing to get vaccinated.

BROWN: And it is alarming in your state to see how many more young people are ending up in the hospital now compared to past surges. All right. Michigan State Senator Erika Geiss, thank you so much for coming on.

GEISS: Thanks for having me, Pamela.

BROWN: Well, reaching the International Space Station is becoming a family tradition for the pilot of the SpaceX capsule that just got there. We're going to talk about it with a man who knows a thing or two about the space station, former Commander Scott Kelly joins me live up next.



BROWN: Well, it's been a monumental week for space travel. This morning crew two from SpaceX reach the International Space Station with four astronauts from three countries. What's so neat about this mission also is that the pilot, Megan McArthur is married to Bob Behnken who was one of the first two astronauts to go up in a SpaceX capsule last year. In fact, they sat in the same capsule seat for their respective trips. How cool is that?

Also, this week, NASA's ingenuity helicopter made its second flight going higher and further than it did before. And for the first time, the Perseverance rover was able to use Mars atmosphere, which is full of carbon dioxide to make oxygen. It's an important step if humans ever want to set foot on the red planet.

Joining me now is former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly. [18:50:03]

He was International Space Station Commander, set the record for the longest space mission by an American one year up there. He has been to space four times, so you could say you know that this is right in his wheelhouse. In fact, we couldn't imagine anyone else to talk to who would be better about this trip than Commander Kelly. Good evening, thanks for coming on the show.

SCOTT KELLY, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Thanks for having me, Pamela. Great to be here.

BROWN: So you can understand more than most people what is so special about this SpaceX mission. You were on the ground when your twin brother, now Sen. Mark Kelly, flew into space on the shuttle. He was on the ground when you spent a year on the International Space Station.

So what will it be like for Bob Behnken and their seven-year-old son seeing their wife and mother Astronaut Megan McArthur in space?

KELLY: What a great story this is. I'm a big fan of both Bob and Megan. Actually, both of them have been my boss at NASA before and they're great people to work with. I don't really know their son, but I would imagine that he's brilliant, considering his parents but, yes, and it was great seeing Megan fly again, because her last and her first flight was, wow, probably more than a decade ago, the last Hubble servicing mission, so really fantastic to see her in space.

BROWN: So bring us into what it's like to be her right now. What was it like for you being up there for a year away from family, for her, I believe, it's six months and then readjusting to coming back on the ground, the gravity on the ground?

KELLY: It's challenging. I'm not sure how long Megan is going to be there, probably about ...

BROWN: I think it's six months.

KELLY: ... yes, six months. Six months is a long time in space. My first long flight was six months long and actually I was not really interested in flying for a year because of how long six months is. So it's going to be a challenge.

Now fortunately, she's got people on the ground that support her and understand what she's experiencing, particularly Bob and her son, of course, has some spaceflight experience himself with a parent in space. So I think they'll handle it well but, yes, I'm very excited for her.

BROWN: What are the challenges though being up there for six months and then coming back to the ground? I know I remember when you came back there was a lot of talk about how you adjusted and some conspiracy theories that your genetics changed and so forth, which wasn't actually the case, right? Tell us what your experience was like and what those challenges are. KELLY: There's certainly challenges with staying connected with your

family. Also dealing with crises that can happen on Earth. When you're in space like on a mission like that, really nothing that happens on our Earth would affect your ability to come home sooner and I experienced that. Of course, my sister-in-law, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot on January 8, 2011.

And so you have that in the back of your mind that things that can happen on the planet can certainly have an impact on you and you have no ability to affect what's going on, except that you can do remotely. Of course, coming back after being in space for a long time has its challenges, but I think what we've learned by flying the International Space Station for a long time is that people are very resilient and we can deal with these issues as they occur.

BROWN: Absolutely. Fascinating just to get insight from you about what this will be like for her and what it's like up there and being back on the ground and for her family. What an incredible uplifting story. Former NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, thank you so much for coming on the show. We hope you'll come back soon.

KELLY: Thanks, Pamela. Thanks for having me.

BROWN: And coming up on the Saturday, hope fades for 53 Indonesian sailors aboard a missing submarine, why officials are now turning to recovery efforts.



BROWN: Well, this just in to CNN, details from a major and deadly fire an explosion in Iraq's capital city. Baghdad officials telling CNN that a fire broke out of the hospital that was specifically equipped to handle COVID patients and that many oxygen tanks exploded there.

Our latest information is that at least 19 people are dead. It is not yet known exactly how many are injured. But this, of course, is a huge and a tragic setback for Iraq as they deal with a severe spike in coronavirus cases. COVID patients from all over the country are referred to that hospital that we were just seeing video of. We at CNN will update you when we learn more.

In the meantime, another sad story, the Indonesian Navy now says a missing submarine has sunk in the Bali Sea. The Chief of the Navy says that it found six pieces of debris including a bottle of grease and a prayer mat. Those items are found at a depth much deeper than where the submarine could survive.

The pieces recovered from the widespread suggests that submarine didn't explode, but that debris escaped from a crack that formed from the pressure put on the submarine.


All 53 sailors onboard are presumed dead.