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Biden to Address Joint Session Congress; CDC Give New Mask Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Americans; Medical Supplies Reaching India as COVID Deaths Top 200,000; New Video Shows Moments Surrounding Police Shooting of Andrew Brown; Officers Recall How They Fought for Their Lives. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 28, 2021 - 04:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to unveil a major new policy initiative during his prime time address to Congress, but Republicans are already crying foul. All the details coming up.

New video shows the moments before Andrew Brown Jr. Was shot and killed by law enforcement. What the footage reveals about the deadly encounter.

And India's official death toll from coronavirus tops 200,000, but some say the real number is much higher. We will have a live report.

Good to have you with us. Well, it is an important day for Joe Biden as he prepares to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress. Officials say the coronavirus pandemic will be front and center as he touts his administration's success in getting 200 million Americans vaccinated in his first 100 days.

The president will also talk about the attack on the capitol back in January, but he hopes to strike a unifying tone, similar to his inaugural address. The White House says Mr. Biden has a long list of accomplishments to be proud of.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can also tell you that while the major policy announcement in the speech is of course the American Families Plan, a historic investment in education and childcare, he will also use the speech as an opportunity to talk about many of his other priorities. Including police reform, immigration, gun safety, his ongoing work to get the pandemic under control and to putting Americans back to work. He was in the Senate for 36 years, he also sat through eight of these as the vice president and he certainly recognizes the important opportunity that this offers.

President Biden will unveil the next part of his American families plan which centers on providing universal preschool for 5 million children. CNN's Phil Mattingly reports from the White House.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We are just now getting more details about that proposal president Biden is going to lay out in his joint session of Congress, a $1.8 trillion proposal really focused on children and families. It's the second part of nearly $4 trillion in spending, the White House is putting out key components of their legislative agenda going ahead.

As part of that proposal $200 billion for universal pre-K, for preschool students age three and four. The design according to White House officials is twofold, one, to have quality education for individuals aged three or four throughout the country, anybody who wants that should have access to it. But also incentives for teachers who are going through school, through money, through scholarships to actually focus on early childhood education.

In total this really gets to something the president and his top economic officials have been talk being for several months, the idea that children do much better in school according to numerous studies if they have that early childhood education.

In the wake of a pandemic, a pandemic that has ravaged parents throughout the country -- particularly women when it comes to the employment situation -- issues like universal pre-K can help boost employment. And it's kind of a double-edged sword that the White House wants to try to address with this proposal. Just one piece of a sweeping plan but certainly a crucial piece at that.

Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: And when President Biden delivers his address it will be to a relatively sparse audience because of COVID protocols and heightened security after the January 6th insurrection. There will be about 200 people in the House chamber instead of the usual 1,600. It's invitation only to a limited number of lawmakers. There won't be a designated survivor. There doesn't need to be. Normally one cabinet member is assigned to ensure there's someone in the line of succession if there is a mass casualty incident. Most cabinet members will not attend this address. And first lady Jill Biden will attend but she won't have a traditional viewing box for guests.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell will attend the joint address.


He says he's looking forward to the Republican response which will be delivered by Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. McConnell already has a clear opinion on the agenda Biden will present.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): With regard to the direction of the Biden administration so far I think it can best be described as the Biden bait and switch. President Biden ran as a moderate but I'm hard- pressed to think of anything at all that he's done so far that would indicate some degree of moderation.


CHURCH: CNN will bring you extensive coverage of President Biden's address to Congress and the Republican response. Be sure to tune in tonight at 8:00 Eastern here in the U.S., that's 1:00 a.m. in London, 8:00 a.m. in Hong Kong.

And President Biden says he will wear a mask into Congress later tonight but take it off when he makes his address. New CDC guidelines are also giving fully vaccinated Americans the green light to remove their masks in certain situations. Nick Watt has the details.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Starting today, if you're fully vaccinated, and you're outdoors, you need -- and not in a big crowd -- you no longer need to wear a mask.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can without a mask, now run, walk, bike with your family outside of 10 smaller outdoor gatherings, go to an outdoor restaurant. Why?

BIDEN: Because of the extraordinary progress we've made in fighting this virus and the progress our scientists have made in learning about how it gets transmitted.

WATT (voice-over): In 24 states there are already no mask mandates in effect, but this new guidance gives info, reward, and --

BIDEN: This is another great reason to go get vaccinated, now, now.

WATT (voice-over): More than a third of American adults are now fully vaccinated, but the pace is slowing. Yesterday 2.1 million doses and arms down from a high of 4.6 million April 10, hesitancy is kicking in. In a poll last month, nearly a third of Republicans said they would definitely not get the vaccine.

XAVIER BECERRA, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: You're vaccinated, guess what, you get to return to a more normal lifestyle. If you're not vaccinated, you're still a danger.

WATT (voice-over): Meantime, the U.S. will release pending safety review 60 million stockpile doses of AstraZeneca vaccine likely to Canada, Mexico and beyond. Why? Goes beyond the ethical, it's practical.

DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Transmission anywhere in the world poses a risk to people everywhere in the world. Mutations occur, variants will develop and if a variant were to develop that was not covered by the current vaccines we would all be in deep trouble.

WATT (voice-over): And the virus is exploding right now in India. President Biden has spoken with India's Prime Minister. The U.S. is sending aid already, and --

BIDEN: I've discussed with him when we'll be able to send actual vaccines to India, which will be my intention to do.

WATT: Officials here in the U.S. have made it pretty clear that as long as people continue to get vaccinated, as long as the case counts continue to fall, they will continue to update guidance and ease restrictions. President Biden wants things pretty much back to normal by July 4th, Independence Day.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


CHURCH: And while the new CDC guidelines give some hope for normalcy in the U.S., it's unclear what exactly constitutes a small outdoor gathering. The U.S. surgeon general tries to explain saying Americans should maintain a reasonable distance from each other when not wearing masks.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: While there's not a hard and fast number the CDC put out, part of what constitutes small has to do with how many people you can come together with without crowding. So what we don't want is people jammed up in closed spaces. Because in that setting, even if you are outdoors, there may be a greater risk that you may be able to, again, have virus pass between two individuals. So, you know, groups where people can be reasonably spaced and distance where they are not jammed into one space those kind of smaller group settings are the ones that are safer.


CHURCH: India drowning under a massive wave of COVID deaths and infections has just reached a tragic milestone. The country has now topped 200,000 deaths. And a new model predicts the death toll is actually much higher and could hit almost 1 million before August.

But international help is on the way, vital medical supplies are finally reaching India as countries around the world step up to provide oxygen, medications and other vital supplies.


The aid can't come soon enough. Bodies are being burned in makeshift crematoriums in parks and parking lots. People in the country are pleading for oxygen and medical supplies on social media. Sports stadiums, hotels and railway coaches are being turned into critical care facilities as hospitals run out of beds and turn away critically ill patients. CNN's Anna Coren is tracking the grim developments and the efforts to

help and she's doing it from her vantage point there in Hong Kong. Anna, it is just so tragic. India reaching 200,000 deaths from COVID, but help is on the way. What is the latest on all of this?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say, Rosemary, obviously that international aid is finally reaching India. And look, it's definitely a united effort, everybody wants to ease the pain and suffering that we are witnessing on the ground, but as we know it's a drop in the ocean. Yes, there are oxygen generators, there's ventilators, oxygen concentrators, there are these prefabricated field hospitals that will be set up. We know that testing is coming in, PPE, equipment, medical supplies, everything that they need to tackle this pandemic.

But the suffering is now, and it is needed right now. How they alleviate the pain at the moment remains to be seen. Hospitals, nurses, medical staff are obviously just stretched to the absolute limit. They're turning patients away unless people have their own oxygen supply because of that acute shortage that we've seen.

The W.H.O., Rosemary, have described it as a perfect storm. How we got to this point, which is these easing of the social restrictions, the mass gatherings that were allowed, the political rallies, the religious festivals. The fact that there hasn't been a big take up in the vaccination program that is being rolled out across the country. To date only 1.9 percent of the population has been fully inoculated, you know, two jabs.

I mean, we are talking about a country of more than 1.3 billion people. There is a huge job to go. We also know, Rosemary, that, you know, what you're looking at right now is a political rally which happened two days ago in the state Telangana in the south of the country. This is Prime Minister Nagendra Modi's party, the BJP party that is holding these rallies. I mean, the fact that they are still allowed during this second wave that is decimating parts of the country, it just begs belief.

The Prime Minister, he has said that lockdowns and national lockdowns should be a last resort. And with States and cities are going about, you know, these curfews, and they're trying not to call them lockdowns, but curfews and restriction to try and stop the spread.

But, you know, to date, Rosemary, it's not working. We know it's spread into neighboring Nepal, the Indian variant, the B-1617 has been detected in Nepal. There's been a spike in cases there. And in Pakistan we're seeing, you know, rising faces there, the highest number of deaths recorded there today. So this is of great concern obviously not just for India which is suffering on an epic scale, but for the region and the rest of the world.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Anna Coren bringing us the latest from Hong Kong, many thanks.

And for ways you can help those suffering from the COVID crisis in India head to our website Still to come, CNN has new footage of the moments before and after

Andrew Brown Jr.'s death at the hands of police, but it's not stopping demands for the body cam footage. We'll explain.



CHURCH: Just hours from now a court in North Carolina will hear a petition by CNN and other media outlets to see the police body cam footage of Andrew Brown Jr.'s fatal shooting. So far only Brown's family have seen just 20 seconds of that video. Brian Todd reports on what we know at this stage about the deadly encounter.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New video emerging showing some of the final moments before Andrew Brown Jr. was killed during an encounter with law enforcement.

CNN has obtained video that a source says shows sheriff's deputies arriving in a pickup truck to serve a warrant on Brown last Wednesday as part of a drug task force probe. They move in quickly, shouting commands as they arrive.

Soon after, Brown was dead, shot in his car as he tried to flee, his family says. More new video obtained exclusively by CNN shows the moments after, as deputies surrounded his crashed car. The FBI now confirming it has launched a civil rights probe into the incident. And the state's governor calling for a special prosecutor to handle any decisions on whether to bring criminal charges in order to ensure public confidence.

Now, six days after Brown's death, seven deputies involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave. Two others have resigned and one retired. And despite mounting pressure, officials are still not releasing body camera footage of what happened, instead, only showing the family a 20-second clip behind closed doors.

WAYNE KENDALL, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF ANDREW BROWN'S FAMILY: The first initial shots were through the front windshield.

TODD (voice-over): According to an independent autopsy commissioned by the family, Andrew Brown was first hit in the arm by four shots. Then --

KENDALL: As these shots were coming into the vehicle, he was able to back up, turn the vehicle around, spin off across a vacant lot. And at that time, he was hit in the back of the head here, and that is the fatal bullet wound.

TODD (voice-over): The report says the bullet entered the back of his skull.

[04:20:00] KHALIL FEREBEE, SON OF ANDREW BROWN JR.: It's obvious he was trying to get away. It's obvious. And they going to shoot him in the back of the head? Man, that (BLEEP) is not right. That's not right at all, man.

PROTESTER: The long tape!

PROTESTERS: The long tape!

TODD (voice-over): The family, protesters and civil rights advocates calling for all body camera videos to be released to the public.

BAKARI SELLERS, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF ANDREW BROWN JR.: We don't know what the video is going to show because they ain't shown us nothing.

TODD (voice-over): Still, some experts are warning about the policing tactics it could show.

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: And if he's trying to drive away and you didn't stop him, then you let him go. You regroup. You come up with another way.

TODD: Would you gentlemen be able to tell us what you were looking for in there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir, not at this time.


TODD (voice-over): Late today, agents from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation searched Andrew Brown's house for security cameras, according to his landlord.

ANDRE SIMPSON, LANDLORD: They was informed that there were cameras at the house prior to the incident. And right after the incident, there were cameras there. But they didn't -- they noticed that the cameras are gone.

TODD: You know who might have taken them?

SIMPSON: No, sir.

TODD (voice-over): Meanwhile Pasquotank County has put a message out on its website defending its actions in this case. Saying that the entire encounter with Andrew Brown lasted less than 20 seconds and that authorities here showed the Brown family and its representatives the entire encounter multiple times. The county also saying any insinuation that they edited any of that footage is incorrect. But it did not put out any timeline as to when they might release the rest of the body cam footage.

Brian Todd, Elizabeth City, North Carolina.


CHURCH: And U.S. House Democrat Karen Bass is not buying the statements from North Carolina officials defending their handling of this case. Bass is negotiating a bipartisan bill on police reform in Washington, and she told CNN she believes there's a cover up happening in the Brown case.


REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): I mean, I am shocked at the way they have mishandled the situation and I think -- I don't have a doubt in my mind that this is a complete cover up. They literally invited the family to come in and see the videotape and then when they got there they decided they needed to redact it or edit it. So how could that possibly result in any trust not just from the family, but from the entire community? And then just to show them the last 20 seconds of their relative's life was cruel.


CHURCH: The U.S. Justice Department has now charged at least 400 people in connection with the January 6th insurrection at the capitol. CNN analysis found those facing charges are from 43 states and Washington, D.C. Federal prosecutors said in a recent court filing they expect to charge at least 500 people before they're done.

CNN's Jessica Schneider shows us how some police officers had to fight back for their lives against attackers who now are under arrest.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The crowd descending on the Capitol grounds January 6th was something no one was prepared for. Capitol Police quickly overwhelmed, as protesters pushed through the barricades that encircled the grounds. Soon the situation spiraled out of control.

OFFICER DANIEL HODGES, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Someone managed to hook his thumb in my eye and started gouging at it, thankfully I was able to shake him before he did any permanent damage. We were fighting tooth and nail.

OFFICER HARRY DUNN, CAPITOL POLICE: The terrorists there on the 6th were there to cause harm and they came prepared for a fight. They hurt us physically and emotionally.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The violent attack on the Capitol was a scene that Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone was never even supposed to be in the midst of. The 40-year-old veteran of D.C.'s police force works narcotics, but when the radio calls went out that rioters were overtaking the Capitol --

OFFICER: We've been flanked, and we lost the line.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): -- Officer Fanone and his police partner put uniforms on and moved in. But soon Fanone was surrounded by rioters who sprayed him with chemicals, battered him with pipes and batons, Fanone even got tased multiple times.

OFFICER MICHAEL FANONE, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: And then some guy started getting ahold of my gun and they were screaming out, you know, kill him with his own gun. I just remember yelling out that I have kids and it seemed to work.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Fanone said the crowd then moved in to protect him. But the aftermath of the assault left Fanone unconscious, and he was hospitalized for a likely concussion and injuries from the taser. Now four men have been charged in connection with his attack.

The most serious allegations against this man, Buffalo resident Thomas Sibick. Prosecutors say Sibick lied to FBI agents several times but eventually admitted he ripped Fanone's badge and radio off his vest, leaving holes and tears in Fanone's uniform and buried Fanone's badge in his backyard in Buffalo, eventually digging it up and handing it over to the FBI.


SCHNEIDER: Thomas Sibick is now in jail. He's pleaded not guilty, and another man Danny Rodriguez is also in jail accused of using an electroshock weapon to tase Officer Fanone.

Jessa Schneider, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: One of the police officers we just heard from in that report is Michael Fanone. He was brutally assaulted while defending the nation's Capital. And he spoke exclusively with CNN about his experience.


OFC. MICHAEL FANONE, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE: It's been very difficult seeing elected officials and other individuals kind of whitewash the events of that day or downplay what happened. Some of the terminology that was used like hugs and kisses and, you know, very fine people, is like very different from what I experienced and what my co-workers experienced on the 6th. I experienced the most brutal, savage, hand to hand combat of my entire life, let alone my policing career, which spans almost two decades.


CHURCH: The U.S. Justice Department has changed the narrative in a small but significant way in its case against two men charged in connection with a chemical attack during the Capitol Hill riot. All sides now say that although the suspects did bring bear repellant to the Capitol, pepper spray was used against late officer Brian Sicknick, not bear spray. One theory indicated a chemical irritant may have triggered a fatal reaction. Sicknick died the day after that attack. But Washington's chief medical examiner has since ruled that he died of natural causes.

The EU's case against AstraZeneca gets its day in court. The first hearing is under way to determine if the drug maker broke its vaccine contract. We will have the latest in a live report. Plus why one Florida school is banning teachers from getting

vaccinated. We will have the details.