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Police Shot A Black Man While Calling 911; Rep. Ilhan Omar (D- MN) Is Interviewed About Policing In America, Racism And The Refugee Cap; CDC To Announce New Guidance Of Outdoor Mask Wearing; Arizona GOP To Audit 2020 Election Results; Big Tech Stocks Soaring. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 25, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington and we begin this hour with disturbing new body cam footage and 911 audio from the shooting of an unarmed black man in Virginia. The deputy had given this man, Isaiah Brown, a ride home. Then a 911 call set off a chain of events that ended with the man being shot multiple times by that same deputy.

The shooting comes when there is already increased scrutiny and in some cases outrage, a lot of outrage over policing in this country. And CNN's Polo Sandoval is following the latest on the shooting of Isaiah Brown. Polo, this is a very strange case and the audio and video are both very disturbing. What can you tell us about what led up to the shooting?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And what's even more hard to believe right now, Jim, is that Isaiah Brown is still in serious condition after being shot several times according to his family by a Virginia deputy on Wednesday. And the alleged at this whole shooting was the result of what they are describing as a miscommunication, that all that 32-year-old man had in his hands was a phone which he was using to speak to 911 dispatchers when he was shot.

In fact, we're going to play you a portion of that call in addition to deputy-worn body camera video so you can see and hear some of the moments before and after those shots were fired by the deputy. According to Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office, he was responding to Brown's own call of a domestic disturbance.

And in that call, you can actually hear Brown having an argument with his brother in the background. At one point of the conversation, Brown actually threatens to kill him. Brown, also heard in that audio asking his brother for a gun, but his brother refuses.

And then seconds later, and this is important, Jim, Brown tells the dispatcher that he does not have a gun and that he is unarmed as he walks out onto the street. And as you begin to hear those police sirens approaching, the dispatcher repeatedly instructs Brown to hold his hands up. And that's where this audio that you're about to hear picks up.


UNKNOWN: Isaiah, are you holding your hands up?

UNKNOWN: Show me your hands.

UNKNOWN: Put your hands up.

UNKNOWN: Show me your hands now! Show me your hands! Drop the gun!

UNKNOWN: He's got a gun on his head.

UNKNOWN: Drop the gun now, stop walking towards me. Stop walking towards me. Stop! Stop!


UNKNOWN: He just shot him.

UNKNOWN: Show your hands! Show me your hands! Drop the gun! Drop the gun!


SANDOVAL: So in the end, it turns out that Brown was not armed and he did not have a gun. That's according to information that we received from the Virginia State Police that's overseeing this investigation.

As for the Brown family, they suspect that the sheriff's deputy actually mistook the cordless house phone for a gun. We now want you to see what the deputy's body camera shows. And a warning to our viewers, Jim, that some viewers may actually find some of this video disturbing.


UNKNOWN: Drop the gun!

UNKNOWN: He's got a gun to his head.

UNKNOWN: Drop the gun now. Stop walking towards me. Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop.



SANDOVAL: And because of the angle there, it's kind of difficult to make out, Jim, but it essentially reinforces what we hear in that other dispatch call. Authorities do say that Brown remains in serious condition with non-life-threatening injuries.

His attorneys right now, they're calling on the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office to release the audio that happened between the dispatcher and the deputy. That deputy's identity, Jim, it has not been released as the Virginia State Police continue with this investigation. ACOSTA: All right. This is a very strange case. And a lot of

information hopefully will be coming from authorities. Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.

As the nation grapples with a rash of police killings of black Americans, many of them happening the same week former officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder of George Floyd. One of the most prominent Republican lawmakers, Senator Lindsey Graham is denying the U.S. has a problem with race. One of the reasons why, because this country, he says, had a black president.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Senator, is there systemic racism in this country in policing and in other institutions?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): No, not in my opinion. We just elected a two-term African-American president. The vice president is of African- American-Indian decent. So, our systems are not racist. America is not a racist country. Within every society you have bad actors. Reform the police? Yes. Call them all racist? No. You know, America is a work in progress, but best place on the planet.


ACOSTA: And joining me now is Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. This week she plans to reintroduce a bill that would establish a federal agency to investigate police killings much like how the NTSB investigates plane crashes. And Congresswoman, you're going to need bipartisan support and yet you have Senator Lindsey Graham denying that there is systemic racism in this country. Let's start there. What's your response to the senator?


REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I mean, Senator Graham basically is trying to tell us that the sky is not blue. You know, it's as if saying, you know, we don't have poverty issues in this country because we have millionaires and billionaires. I really don't know what he was -- what point he was trying to make with that statement.

But it is obvious that we have a long way to go in this country. If we have lawmakers who are refusing to acknowledge the fact that there is, you know, institutionalized racism that is embedded within our systems that we need to actively work in rooting out.

ACOSTA: And I want to remind our viewers how the Minneapolis Police Department originally described George Floyd's murder. We put this up on screen. It's stunning to look at now. This is the press release from the day he was killed and it says "Man dies after medical incident during police interaction."

And it goes on to read, "George Floyd was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later."

Congresswoman, if a 17-year-old bystander hadn't recorded that nine- minute video of Floyd's final moments, we may have never known what happened in this case?

OMAR: That is so true. We are so grateful for her ability to stay focused and provide that recording and bear witness to the murder of George Floyd because we do know that there are multiple cases across this country where police kill and brutalize and it's not reflected in the reporting. And there are so many people across this country who have lost loved ones, who have not received accountability or justice.

And we know that in many cases, it is because there is not proper investigation and people tend to take the police report at its face -- from face value. And you know, oftentimes there aren't alternative investigations that take place. We know many prosecutors trust what the police tell them transpired in an incident.

I mean, I recently heard, you know, an activist in Minneapolis describe the phone call that she had with the police chief who believed that this, you know, was a case where the police officers' report was valid and, you know, the only thing that he might be willing to do was send it to the internal bureau of investigations.

And it brings me to the point of why we are actively fighting for this piece of legislation that we will be reintroducing because independent investigations are necessary and important. And for active investigations into the activities that are taking place in police departments across our country are going to be necessary.

ACOSTA: And you delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Daunte Wright last week. Wright, as you know, was shot and killed during that traffic stop. The officer who shot and thought she was holding her taser, at least that's the story we are told, she was holding her gun instead. Of course, we saw that in a video. During the eulogy, you mentioned the recent police killing of Ma'Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio. I want to play that moment and talk to you about it.


OMAR: Joyce Beatty was going to be here and speak on our behalf as the chairwoman of our caucus. But just like we've been visited by tragedy here in Minnesota often, she, in Columbus, Ohio, was visited by a tragedy of a young woman whose life was taken by Columbus police.


ACOSTA: Now, the police body cam footage of that incident appears to show Bryant lunging at two separate people with a knife when she is shot. That is different obviously than what happened with Daunte Wright. Do you think you jumped to conclusions there when you characterized things the way you did in that video we just played?

OMAR: No. It is still a tragic loss. It's a life that is lost. We actively work in trying to, you know, create opportunities for tragedies like this not to take place. And so I did not mischaracterize.


I think people oftentimes read into the statements that we make into ways to sort of vilify us. And I don't know how you can't look at the loss of a 16-year-old life as not a loss and how you can look at a police officer who ends up using their weapon to take a life as not being a tragedy in our community.

ACOSTA: And as you know, congresswoman, video has become so powerful in so many of these cases. We all watched the same nine minutes of George Floyd's arrest. And yet, a new poll finds that nearly half of Republicans think the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial reached the wrong verdict. These numbers are stunning. Why do you think that is?

OMAR: Because there has been, you know, so many people who have been spinning what happened to George Floyd and what the ultimate cause of his death was. We now know that it was murder, and you know, we didn't need to be told by the jury with that guilty verdict. Many of us saw that video and witnessed a lynching take place. You know, throughout the summer and up to the court hearing, we all thought it was eight minutes and 46 seconds.

ACOSTA: Right.

OMAR: And we ultimately know that it was more than nine minutes. And I don't really know how we move forward as a society where there is a particular segment that believes that that is a justifiable thing for a police officer to do, and that they should not be held accountable.

But I know that it is important for to us remember, you know, parts of the history of this country where people came out to watch public lynchings where they took photos and brought their family members, and you know, sent postcards of black men and children getting lynched.

And so it shouldn't be that surprising that there are still segments in our society that believe it is justifiable for a black man to be lynched. But it's going to be important for us to confront that reality, to confront our past history, and to find ways to move forward as a society.

And it's really important for all of us to hold people like Lindsey Graham, that sort of whitewash the history of this country -- to hold people accountable that continue to say it was just justifiable for George Floyd to be murdered and lynched in front of all of those people who were calling for those police officers who were sworn to protect and serve to save his life.

I mean, it is really a hard time in our nation's history. And we must -- we must not allow ourselves to continue to have a wool over our eyes and face the reality that we are living in and find a way to move past it and transform our society and our systems.

ACOSTA: And congresswoman, I want to ask you just very quickly, because President Biden announced he was going to keep the current refugee cap in place. This is getting to the issue of refugees coming into the country and how many refugees we allow in. Limiting the number of refugees essentially where they were during the Trump administration, the end of the Trump administration. You called that decision disgraceful.

The White House reversed course. We know that. Can you explain what do you make of that, the White House reversal on that? And why is this refugee cap issue so important especially considering your own personal story?

OMAR: Well, it's an important reversal. I think the original decision could not have withstood the pressure that it was facing by people like myself and others who understand how important it is for this administration to keep their promises, especially on a policy that we've all worked with them on in trying to come up with a cap that is sustainable.

What's happening at the border is very different than the way in which refugees from other countries are processed in refugee camps. It's a long process. They are extremely vetted. These are people who have waited for a really long time. Many of them have had, you know, the expectation that their arrival in this country would be swift once there was a change in administration.


And I'm just delighted that there is this change with the administration and that they are willing to allow for their humanity to lead this process because, you know, refugee resettlement agencies have expressed their ability to have the capacity to do this. Members of Congress are ready to assist this administration.

And someone who has both gone through the refugee process, who has gone through the resettlement process and who has, you know, worked really hard during the Trump administration to appeal to their moral side, if they had any, I know how important this is not only for myself but for so many people in this country who deeply understand what it means to be a refugee, to have your fate in the hands of others and to ask other countries to give you a home when your home is no longer sustainable for you.

ACOSTA: Okay. We'll have to leave it there. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, I wanted to make sure I got that question in on the refugee situation and we know you have a very personal story on all of that. So, thank you so much for coming on. We appreciate it. Great to talk to you today.

And coming up, the weather is great. We've got your COVID vaccine, I hope, and you're ready to go outside. None of that was lost on Dr. Anthony Fauci when we spoke in the last hour.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It is common sense to know that the risk when you are outdoors, which we have been saying all along is extremely low. And if you are vaccinated, it's even lower. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: So when will we get guidance on the dos and don'ts of getting back outside and enjoying ourselves? More of my conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci. That's next in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: Expect new guidance on wearing masks outside soon from the CDC. That coming from Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden. I spoke with him last hour about how soon we can ditch those masks outdoors. Here's more of our conversation.


ACOSTA: And you said this morning that you believe the CDC will soon be updating its guidelines around outdoor mask use. I mean, that is -- that is a question that's top of mind for so many people. They say, well, you know, I go out. I get both vaccines. You know, what should we expect in terms of mask guidance for people who have been vaccinated?

FAUCI: Yes. You know, Jim, I don't want to come out ahead of a CDC announcement. But as you hinted yourself just now a moment ago, that very soon, imminently in the next few days, very likely, the CDC will be coming out with updating their guidelines of what people who are vaccinated can do, and even some who are not vaccinated. And certainly, what one can do outdoors, vis-a-vis mask is going to be one of those recommendations. So stay tuned. It's coming soon.

ACOSTA: All right. And if you don't mind, I'll press a little bit. I know you don't want to get ahead of these guidelines, but I assume airports, travel, that sort of thing, that will be coming up as well?

FAUCI: Well, sooner or later. I don't know if it is all going to be coming out at once. I mean, though the one thing for sure is the thing that's on a lot of people's minds is what about outdoors? Because obviously a lot of people are going to be spending a lot of time -- more outdoors now because the weather is getting really nice, beautiful spring weather. You're going to be seeing people wanting to do things outdoors without masks.

ACOSTA: How likely is it that we will need to line up for booster shots and what happens if people don't get them?

FAUCI: Okay. So, one of the things that I've noticed there's been some confusion about, Jim that I like to clarify. That when you talk about the need of a third shot in the two-shot regimen, you're not talking about efficacy because right now, I mean, right away, 14 days after your second dose, you have a very, very effective vaccine and you are highly, highly protected.

The third shot or the additional boost is referring to the durability of that protection, how long it lasts. You shouldn't make it a reflection of whether or not the vaccine that you already took is effective or not. It's highly effective. We are trying to figure out how long that durability of protection lasts.

We know it goes out at least six months, and likely considerably longer, but we don't know exactly how long. So what the companies are doing, appropriately, and the NIH is working with them to develop that information to find out if you get to a point where the durability of the protection starts to go down a bit and go lower and lower, you may need a boost to keep it up within that highly protective range. So if that happens, that's not --

ACOSTA: Would it be one shot or two shots?

FAUCI: -- you know, Jim, we don't know. I mean, likely, it will be a shot and it might be one that you would need periodically, similar to what we do with influenza.

ACOSTA: And scientists believe 70 to 85 percent of the population must be fully vaccinated so we can return to pre-pandemic life as we knew it. We are not even near that right now. We are only a fraction of the way there.

FAUCI: Right.

ACOSTA: Do you think we are going to hit that high, that target number that we are looking for?

FAUCI: So, Jim, let's -- again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify that. What we've have been talking, and I have said this many times and many other public health officials have said that, if you're talking about the classical issue of herd immunity when you have a total blanket of protection over the community, we are estimating because we don't know. We're estimating0 that that's about 70 to 85 percent.


However, even before you get to that, as you get more and more people vaccinated, you will reach a point even before then where you will start to see the number of cases going down dramatically. Not necessarily complete total protection but the number of cases going down dramatically. Right now, we are averaging about 60,000 cases per day on a seven-day average.

As we get lower and lower and lower, you're going to be seeing a gradual diminution of the restrictions and a more progressive moving towards normality. It's not going to be like a light switch on and off. We go from where we are right now to completely normal. It's going to be a gradual getting.

With regard to what you can do outdoors, what you can do, travel, outdoor sports, stadiums, theaters, restaurants, little by little you'll be seeing that approach to normal.

(END VIDEOTAPES) ACOSTA: And our thanks to Dr. Fauci for joining us. Now, to the capitol attack. Republicans in Arizona are still trying to help Trump push his big lie. And they've hired a company called Cyber Ninjas to do it. That story coming up.



ACOSTA: Republicans in Arizona's Maricopa County are reviewing 2020 election ballots in a highly controversial and partisan audit. It's an exercise in futility. The 2020 election is over. Joe Biden won, Donald Trump lost, but perpetuating the big lie, well, apparently that's not over yet and CNN's Sara Murray has more now.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An election audit in Maricopa County organized by GOP state senators, overseen by a purveyor of election conspiracies and live streamed by a pro-Trump television network moves forward.

KATIE HOBBS, ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: This is just an exercise to perpetuate the big lie.

MURRAY (voice-over): A judge agreed to temporarily stop the controversial audit Friday.

UNKNOWN: I am putting a very temporary halt to it.

MURRAY (voice-over): But he required the Democrats who sued to pay a $1 million bond. They chose not to, so the audit lead by GOP senators continues. It comes after county election officials conducted two audits that found no evidence of widespread fraud. But the review highlights some of Republicans continuing efforts to cling to unfounded claims of voter fraud.


MURRAY (voice-over): That former President Trump continued to tout as he thanked Arizona's GOP senators Friday. After Republican lawmakers subpoenaed for election materials and a judge ruled the county must comply, Maricopa officials handed 2.1 million ballots and nearly 400 tabulation machines to the senate this week.

Overseeing the exercise, a Florida cyber security firm called Cyber Ninjas, the main contractor for a $150,000 deal with the GOP- controlled senate. It's run by someone who amplified election conspiracy theories.

KEN BENNETT, FORMER ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: We are not here to audit Mr. Logan's opinions about anything. We're here to audit the ballots, envelopes, everything that was involved in the Maricopa election in November of 2020. MURRAY (voice-over): Cyber Ninja CEO Doug Logan immediately coming

under fire after Arizona reporters unearthed since deleted re-tweets from Logan like this one, in which someone claims "you may discover Trump got 200k more votes than previously reported in Arizona."

Logan was also listed as an expert witness in a Michigan lawsuit that reiterated the unfounded claim that there was election fraud connected to Dominion voting systems. Adding to the partisan tenor, the right- wing One America news network is not only live streaming the event, but its host also helped raise funds for the audit.

All of this sparking an outcry from election integrity groups, Democrats, and some GOP county officials. They point to its partisan nature, restrictions on outside election observers, limited information about who will conduct the hand count and opaque plans to protect election materials beyond claims of 24-7 security and recordings of the proceedings.

If Arizona senate Republicans are looking to reassure all voters about election integrity, Republican election lawyer Ben Ginsberg says this isn't the right approach.

BEN GINSBERG, REPUBLICAN ELECTION LAWYER: Thirty or 35 percent of our population doesn't believe in election results. That's a ticking time bomb for the country. But the Arizona senate Republicans have made a huge mistake in the people who they have hired to do this audit because they are tainted by partisan leanings by what they have said in the past.

MURRAY (voice-over): Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


ACOSTA: And coming up in an exclusive interview, Vice President Kamala Harris shares with CNN's Dana Bash what it's like to be the last person in the room with President Biden for big decisions.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I wish that the American public could see sometimes what I see. Because ultimately, and the decision always rests with him, but I have seen him over and over again make decisions based exactly on what he believes is right, regardless of what maybe the political people tell him is in his best selfish interests.


ACOSTA: But are Biden's decisions actually costing him politically? Brand new approval numbers tell the story. That's next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:35:00] ACOSTA: This Wednesday, President Biden will give his first joint address to Congress. It comes against a historic backdrop as racial tensions are running high and the work to vaccinate Americans against the deadly coronavirus is exhilarating. It also comes as we get fresh read on America's approval of Biden since taking office.

In a new poll, 52 percent approve of the job he's done so far. That number sits above his predecessor, but fall short of other modern presidents and CNN political commentator Margaret Hoover, CNN senior political analyst John Avlon join me now. John, what do you make of these numbers? I suppose the number that we're seeing says a little lower than other poll numbers. And what would make the speech a win do you think for President Biden this week?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all and the historic perspective the data gives us, I mean, look, 52 percent is still 10 points higher than Donald Trump and I think that reflects, frankly, the work that's been done.

Donald Trump could have been higher. He deliberately chose never to reach out. And while Biden at a hard to reaching to Republicans in Congress, his policies are more broadly popular than the congressional approval would suggest. But that 52 percent reflects the polarization of our country. What does Biden need to do?


I think he needs to go forward, make a case for bipartisan support in the nation for infrastructure, for tackling big goals, for challenging Congress to listen to their constituents and not simply to the base and the most extreme voices in the country. And he needs to present a vision of American greatness that involves investment in the future. If he does that, I think that could be a strong speech for him at a critical time.

ACOSTA: What do you think, Margaret?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, Biden by all counts, and you'd be hard to press to find a Republican behind closed doors to admit that he's had a very strong 100 days. COVID vaccinations, the rollout, he's far exceeded his own goals, the economy is recovering. There is broad -- widespread support for his legislative achievements and the place he wants to go with infrastructure.

And frankly, Democrats have control and can pass things through reconciliation. So, he's in a good place. The one place you see in those polls and the cross tabs where he has struggled is immigration. And he has not been able to forcefully plant a flag in the sand in a way that has given confidence from (inaudible) immigration, frankly, maybe handing Republicans an issue that can unite around that frankly, would turn into a freebie.

I mean, he could annunciate and delineate a clear policy that is stronger and more forceful in immigration without handing Republicans an issue. But he is doing well and that puts Republicans back on their heels but for immigration.

ACOSTA: Let's talk about the Republican's House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He is out today defending former President Trump's response to the January 6th insurrection. Let's play this and talk about it.


REP. KEVON MCCARTHY (R-CA): When I talked to President Trump about it, I was the first person to contact him when the riots was going on. He didn't see it, but he ended the by saying, telling me, he'll put something out to make sure to stop this. And that's what he did. He put a video out later.

WALLACE: Quite a lot later and it was a pretty weak video. But I'm asking you specifically did he say to you, I guess some people are more concerned about the election than you are.

MCCARTHY: No, listen. My conversations with the president are my conversations with the president. I engaged in the idea of making sure we could stop what was going on inside the Capitol at that moment in time. The president said he would help.


ACOSTA: John, is Kevin McCarthy whitewashing the insurrection here?

AVLON: That's too kind. That is a cowardly and sniveling performance from someone who desperately needs the spine to be able to say what the president of the United States said when the Capitol was attacked. We know Jamie Herrera-Beutler what Kevin McCarthy allegedly told his conference. The idea of the president didn't know and was responding heroically to McCarthy's call to release a statement flies in the face of everything we know.

This cleanup on aisle insurrection by McCarthy out of desire for political expediency rather than telling the truth and standing up for his institution is pathetic.

ACOSTA: Margaret, what do you think? I mean, it just sounds like McCarthy is caving on this.

HOOVER: You know what, he's made a strategic calculation that the best way to handle the insurrection moving forward to bring his conference together is to pretend it didn't happen. And you know, give him credit for not throwing Jamie Herrera-Beutler under the bus.

I mean, remember, her statement was entered into the record for the impeachment of the president of the United States. You know, I take Jamie Herrera-Beutler's word any day of the week and twice on Sunday. He didn't refute it. But the truth is he knows that he can't undermine -- he can't tell the truth and keep his conference together and that's the problem with the Republican Party right now.

AVLON: Yes. Yes.

HOOVER: So, what I will say though is -- ACOSTA: Yes, that was - it was just painful to watch.

HOOVER: -- on the heels of this, Trump's influence is waning. Trump was not invited to the Republican conference in Orlando this weekend. He was not -- you know, so I do think Trump's influence is waning, but Kevon McCarthy has to continue to keep the conference together and they still are fractured.

ACOSTA: But it's just like the big lie will never die and that's just another sign of it. All right, guys, stand by. We have compressed the political section of this segment because we want to get to the fun stuff here in just a second. John, Margaret, stay with us because I wish I had a proper red carpet for our next segment. We're going to have some little fun with the Oscar movies coming up next.

But first a programming note, the stories of all of your favorite late night legends from Johnny Carson to Jimmy Kimmel, are coming to CNN. "The Story of Late Night" premieres next Sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern.

And now here's Christine Romans with your "Before the Bell Report." Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim. It's a big week for technology company earnings. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Alphabet, and Tesla among them. Wall Street focused on what top executives say about the future. Big tech stocks have soared over the past year so the bar is pretty high to justify their pricey levels.

We'll hear from the Fed Chief Jerome Powell on Wednesday. Powell has indicated the central bank will allow the U.S. economy to maybe run a little hot as this recovery takes hold. But just how much inflation the Fed will allow is still a big question for Wall Street. The U.S. economy is set to boom this year.


On Thursday, the government will release first quarter gross domestic products. Annual growth of 6.3 percent is forecast. That's up from 4.3 percent in fourth quarter. Goldman Sachs predicts economic growth will peak in the next month or two and then begin to moderate. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.



ACOSTA: It's Hollywood's biggest night and in honor of the Oscars, we thought we have a little fun right now. Join -- John Avlon and Margaret Hoover join me again. They're back with me, and before we talk about our favorite movies from this year, let's do a lightning of our favorite political movies of all time.

This is very tough to narrow it down. Mine are the "Darkest Hour," "All the President's Men," and "Bullworth," which I have to say if I still watch it to this day, I'm in stitches over that movie. It's just a great movie. How about you guys? Margaret, your turn. You go first. HOOVER: Yes, I got you on "All the President's Men" because anytime you hit the intersection of politics and journalism, you're clearly getting our juices flowing, plus, it's Robert Redford. "Milk," Sean Penn's performance of Harvey Milk is just -- is still one of my favorite performances on the screen.

ACOSTA: Good choice.

HOOVER: And how can you not have "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"? I mean, if for no other reason if you don't like Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart, you're not American. And that what a filibuster should look like.

ACOSTA: And we're looking at live pictures of the red carpet right now. John, Margaret, I can't believe we are not on it right now. But John, let's talk about your favorite political movies this time.

AVLON: Well, remember, they say, you know, politics is Hollywood for ugly people.

ACOSTA: Good one.

AVLON: Okay. They are my top three. Number three, "Good Night and Good Luck." Intersection of news and politics.

ACOSTA: Great one.

AVLON: A little overlap here with you, "Darkest Hour," unintended. And while Margaret is 100 percent right about Mr. Smith goes to Washington, in order to de-conflict, I'm going "Lincoln," Daniel Day- Lewis. Just an extraordinary film in every way.

ACOSTA: Yes. And I can't get over Gary Oldman in the "Darkest Hour." That does it for me. And many of us might not have had a chance to see a movie in theaters this year, but thanks to streaming, that wasn't an issue. My favorite movie of this year, I have to admit, the Borat sequel is one of my favorite movies this year. I loved that movie. It's so hilarious.

If you have not watched it. And it's not just the Giuliani scene. There are many other surprises in store for the viewer.

HOOVER: Close to home. Close to home.

ACOSTA: And I just recently watched the "Sound of Metal," and I have to tell you, that movie has stayed with me. It is just such a profoundly moving movie. Margaret, you go first.

HOOVER: I got you. I mean, my favorite is the "Sound of Metal," too. Look, the great part about not being able to go to the movies is that you can binge watch every Oscar nominated film right from your own sofa.

ACOSTA: That's true.

HOOVER: And so I've done that in the last week and it's been fantastic. I'm with you on the "Sound of Metal." Riz Ahmed's performance is --

ACOSTA: Amazing.

HOOVER: -- it's the arc of 2020, right? It's human challenge. It's tragedy. It's triumph. And it's a beautiful movie and a beautiful performance.

ACOSTA: So, how about you, John?

AVLON: I'm going to go "The Trial of Chicago 7" and "Mank" just because I'm a sucker for historical political dramas. Gary Oldman, great. I'm a sucker for Aaron Sorkin and --

ACOSTA: And see, I thought you just watched "Bridgerton" the last year, John. I thought that's what --

AVLON: No, that would be my wife. I suffered by transit of property. I would choose "Queen's Gambit" over "Bridgerton" in that --

ACOSTA: Interesting.

AVLON: -- and any of the political episodes of "The Crown."

ACOSTA: All right. And we would be -- we don't want to forget this one. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Rudy Giuliani, speaking of Rudy Giuliani, and Michael Lindelll, aka, they My Pillow guy, are among the winners, if you want to call it that, of the annual Razzie Awards for the worst in cinema.

Giuliani for his appearance in the Borat sequel that we just mentioned, and Lindell for his documentary, "Absolute Proof" which I understand comes with a free pillow. I'm just kidding about that. Guys, what do you make of that? Let's give them a word for something, I guess.

HOOVER: Since we are -- we actually met, Jim. I don't know if you now this. We actually met working for Rudy Guiliani and his presidential effort.

ACOSTA: True story.

HOOVER: -- so we have the lasting legacy of Rudy Giuliani (inaudible) efforts so. You're a little close to home right now, I'll say.

AVLON: Yes. I actually remember watching the first Borat film with Rudy Guiliani.


HOOVER: We have come a long way.

AVLON: Come a long way.

ACOSTA: So, very good, very good. And that awkward silence here is because we don't want to talk about the portion of the Borat sequel. Who do you think is going to win tonight? I think "Nomad Land" is going to win tonight best picture and Francis McDormand, she's just incredible. I think she wins best actress again. She's just one of the best of all time.

AVLON: Maybe, what, the third time?

ACOSTA: I know. She's incredible.

AVLON: I mean, I was joking with Margaret after watching this. You know, it's time for a feel good movie about the American dream that shows everyone can make it.

ACOSTA: That will come after the pandemic is over, I think, unfortunately. And Chadwick Boseman, if he could win posthumously, that would be incredible as well.

AVLON: Absolutely. Put all in on that.

ACOSTA: Yes, totally.

HOOVER: It could be a wonderful tribute. You know, and -- but we did have a lot of good movies this year, "Promising Young Woman" was sort of mind twisting and dark. It was excellent. "Minari," the Korean film that (inaudible) producing role in, and you know, there was actually wonderful content despite the fact, you know, we had a lot of things to take our mind off the pandemic this year.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And keep an eye I think for "The Trial of the Chicago 7." That is just another one that I thought was dynamite. All right, guys, John, Margaret, we can go on all night about this. There is the red carpet.

AVLON: And we will.

ACOSTA: You have just enough time to get there if we leave for the airport now. John and Margerat, great talking to you always. Thanks so much.


HOOVER: Thanks, Jim.

AVLON: Thank you.

ACOSTA: That's the news and little bit more tonight. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here next Saturday at 3:00 p.m. eastern. Pamela Brown takes over the CNN NEWSROOM live right after a quick break.