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Biden Outlines Sweeping, Ambitious Economic Plan; Judge Rules Family Can View Bodycam Video, Public Must Wait; Federal Agents Raid Trump Lawyer Giuliani's Home and Office; India Reports Another Day of Record COVID Deaths and Cases; Fauci: Guidelines Will Be More Liberal as Cases Fall. Aired 4-4:30a ET
Aired April 29, 2021 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madam Speaker, the president of the United States.
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KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: President Biden promises sweeping reforms in his first address to a joint session of Congress.
Also tonight, federal agents execute search warrants at the apartment and office of Rudy Giuliani. What that means for him and his former client, Donald Trump.
And the situation in India gets worse and worse. There was another sharp rise in both cases and deaths as the country receives aid from across the world.
Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all of you're watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
Joe Biden calls it the American Families Plan, a sweeping multi- billion dollar agenda meant to help with things like childcare, preschool education, paid family leave and free community college. He outlined his vision last night in his address to joint session of Congress.
Republicans call it tax and spend socialism. But the president says, no one making less than $400,000 a year will see their taxes go up. And he says investing now in America's future will create millions of new jobs and trillions in economic growth.
Biden delivered his speech with two women sitting behind him, a historic first. Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the first women to lead both the Senate and the House during a presidential address to Congress and President Biden didn't let it pass unnoticed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Madam speaker, madam vice president. No president has ever said those words from this podium. No president has ever said those words and it's about time.
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BRUNHUBER: Biden also commented on the January insurrection at the Capitol calling it the worst attack on U.S. democracy since the Civil War.
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BIDEN: As we gather here tonight the image of a violent mob assaulting this Capitol, desecrating our democracy remain vivid in all our minds. Lives were put at risk, many of your lives, lives were lost, extraordinary courage was summoned. The insurrection was an existential crisis, a test on whether our democracy could survive, and it did. But the struggle is far from over. The question of whether a democracy will long endure is both ancient and urgent. As old as our republic. Still vital today.
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BRUNHUBER: To counter Republican criticism of the ballooning budget deficit President Biden characterized his spending plan as an investment in America's future. He pointed to the COVID relief package that had bipartisan public support and has had a positive impact.
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BIDEN: We kept our commitment, Democrats and Republicans, of sending $1,400 rescue checks to 85 percent of American households. We've already sent more than 160 million checks out the door. It's making a difference. You all know it when you go home. For many people it's making all the difference in the world.
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BRUNHUBER: So the big challenge for the president's ambitious agenda is how to pay for it all and getting enough lawmakers on board. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more on the address from Washington.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Declaring that America is on the move again, President Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night. Making the case that he says peril can be turned into possibility, setbacks can be turned into strength. Clearly trying to make the coronavirus pandemic a moment of opportunity to reshape the U.S. government.
Now, in a sweeping address that went more than an hour in length the president making an argument for reshaping the American economy, focusing specifically on the social safety net, calling for a sweeping variety of programs like free community college, expanding childcare, big infrastructure plans. [04:35:00]
It went on and on to the tune of nearly $6 trillion. Now, of course, the question here will be how to pay for all these proposals. That of course is raising taxes on the wealthy. The president made clear slowing down his remarks, speaking clearly and directly, that those making under $400,000 would not see a tax increase, but those making more than that certainly would.
Now, of course, this was just an opening gambit, if you will, speaking to a much scaled down audience of lawmakers, some 200 Senators and representatives in the room. Normally more than 1,000 are. Of course, this was because of the pandemic precautions.
Clearly the speech also playing out against the backdrop of history. For the first time in the U.S. history a woman vice president, a woman speaker of the House standing behind President Biden. He made clear that this was long overdue, so certainly Vice President Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi making history there in their own right.
Now, going forward the president also used a global call, saying that the U.S. must become more competitive against China. That was his rationale for big infrastructure programs and other sweeping spending measures.
Now, going forward on this wrapping the first 100 days in office the legislative proposals now are really going to test the rest of his presidency as he heads into his second 100 days and beyond. But clearly Democrats in the audience liked what they heard, Republicans leaving the chamber said he did not think the president tried to unify the country here.
But he did talk so much about spending proposals, also including a litany of gun reform, voting rights and other matters, but there was a global sense of this, that he said in speaking with leaders from around the world he said America is back, but they have a question. How long will America be back? Of course, this is a reference to the post-Trump era. It was a clear turning of the page from President Trump, but President Biden for his part did not mention his predecessor at all, but clearly making the case he believes now is a moment to turn the page and push for big changes in programs here in the U.S.
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
BRUNHUBER: The Republican rebuttal to President Biden's speech was given by Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. Notably the only black Republican Senator. He took issue with the president's response to COVID-19, his infrastructure plan and his criticism of new voting legislation in some states. Scott also argued America isn't inherently racist and he said the president's pledge to unite the country is he said tearing it apart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TIM SCOTT (R- SC): President Biden promised you a specific kind of leadership. He promised to unite a nation, to lower the temperature, to govern for all Americans no matter how we voted. This was the pitch. You just heard it again. But our nation is starving for more than empty platitudes. We need policies and progress that brings us closer together, but three months in the actions of the president and his party are pulling us further and further apart.
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BRUNHUBER: Now President Biden also spoke about racial justice and the growing calls for federal police reform. Just over a week after ex- officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts in the murder of George Floyd, Biden says it's time to act and reshape policing in America.
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BIDEN: My fellow Americans, we have to come together to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve. To root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system and to enact police reform in George Floyd's name that passed the House already. I know Republicans have their own ideas and are engaged in a very productive discussions with Democrats in the Senate. We need to work together to find a consensus, but let's get it done next month, by the first anniversary of George Floyd's death.
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BRUNHUBER: In the wake of one of America's latest police-involved shootings protesters in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, are demanding the release of bodycam footage showing the moments police shot and killed Andrew Brown Jr. Last week. Demonstrators gathered Wednesday after a judge denied requests to share the video publicly at this time. CNN's Jason Carroll has the details.
LILLIE BROWN CLARK, AUNT OF ANDREW BROWN JR.: Andy Jr. has been silenced, so his voice now on those cameras. That's how he will speak to us, and that will be his side of the story.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Andrew Brown Jr.'s family say, they now will have a better account of what happened during the shooting last Wednesday, now that a judge has ruled members of the family can review additional body camera footage from the deputies.
ELISHA VILLARD, COUSIN OF ANDREW BROWN, JR.: I guess justice will be served, I guess. I mean, I feel good about it, the situation.
CARROLL (voice-over): Wednesday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Foster cited in part, overwhelming interest to the family for his ruling, which requires the Pasquotank County sheriff's department to allow Brown's adults son Khalil Ferebee and one attorney license in the state to view footage from five videos recorded by body cameras, within the next 10 days.
As for the public --
JUDGE JEFF FOSTER, NORTH CAROLINA SUPERIOR COURT: The video be held families for appeared no less than 30 days, and no more than 45 days.
CARROLL (voice-over): The judge also ruled the names and faces of the officers will be blurred to protect their identities.
We caught up with County Sheriff Tommy Wooten who told us, he wanted the judge to allow the public to see the recordings.
SHERIFF TOMMY WOOTEN, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: I have to respect the D.A. and the judge's wishes. So, we're going to -- we're going to do that and following North Carolina law.
CARROLL: This is the outcome that you are hoping for or looking for?
WOOTEN: Not totally, no, sir.
CARROLL: Well, what would have been the ideal outcome for you?
WOOTEN: Release, full release.
WOOTEN: For the community, transparency.
CARROLL (voice-over): Sheriff Wooten in support of the public seeing the bodycam video, after the Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble told the court body camera footage shows Brown's car came into contact with law enforcement twice before he says, they opened fire.
ANDREW WOMBLE, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The next movement of the car is forward, it is in the direction of law enforcement and makes contact with law enforcement. It is not only then you hear shots.
CARROLL (voice-over): Womble also strongly criticized Brown family attorney, Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, of misleading the public with her comments about what she saw on a 22-second clip of body camera footage she viewed on Monday.
WOMBLE: They were designed to prejudice a proceeding.
CHANTEL CHERRY-LASSITER, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: At no time have I given any misrepresentation, I still stand by what I saw.
CARROLL (voice-over): Brown's family says they want to see for themselves if his car made contact with any of the deputies.
VILLARD: Not buying it.
CARROLL: Do you think with the authorities within hard you're going for it is that the reason, a justified reason to shoot?
VILLARD: Shoot an unarmed man? No.
BRUNHUBER: That was CNN's Jason Carroll.
The U.S. Justice Department says federal prosecutors have indicted three men on hate crime and attempting kid happening charge in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. The black 25-year-old was out for a jog here in the state of Georgia back in February 2020. He was chased down by three men and shot dead. A video of what happened was posted online in May and went viral. The three white men also face state murder charges. Arbery's mother tells CNN this is one step closer to justice.
And one of the Louisville police officers involved in the botched raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor is retiring. Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly was shot in the leg by Taylor's boyfriend who said he thought the officers were intruders when they executed a no know search warrant on Taylor's home in March of last year. Police responded by firing 32 rounds killing the 26-year-old aspiring nurse. No officers have been charged directly in her death.
In New York federal agents raided the office and apartment of Rudy Giuliani -- of course, the personal attorney for former U.S. president Donald Trump. We're told agents executed a search warrant and seized electronic devices during the sunrise operation. This is a major escalation in the two-year investigation into Giuliani's lobbying activities in Ukraine.
CNN's senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid looks at what it could mean for both Giuliani and Donald Trump.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I spoke with an attorney for Rudy Giuliani, and he actually described to me what was in this search warrant that was executed on the former mayor. He says in this search warrant it confirms that this is related to an investigation into possible foreign lobbying violations. Now if you were working on behalf of a foreign government you need to disclose that to the Justice Department.
Now, we have learned that Giuliani's electronic devices were seized. We also know pursuant to this warrant investigators were especially interested in any communications he had with certain individuals including a columnist named John Solomon who wrote a lot about Ukraine in the weeks and months leading up to the election.
But this is a significant turning point in this investigation, looking at whether Giuliani was lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian officials while representing former President Trump and also pushing Ukrainian officials to announce some sort of investigation into the Bidens.
We've also learned, though, he was not the only attorney who once represented former President Trump who received a visit from investigators Wednesday.
We have also learned that Victoria Toensing, a woman who represented President Trump during his time in office for certain controversies, she also got a visit from investigators. They arrived at her home early Wednesday. They served a warrant also related to this same New York investigation and we've learned that they actually took her cellphone.
But this is incredibly unusual to execute warrants like this on lawyers. There are a lot of concerns about potentially obtaining confidential communications. So to serve a warrant on a lawyer who represented a former president, never mind two attorneys, highly unusual and, again, at the core of this investigation are questions about foreign lobbying and traditionally that's really been a paperwork crime prior to the Trump administration. It was just a matter of making sure you had the appropriate paperwork to disclose who you were lobbying for.
So incredibly significant development in this investigation. Somewhat unusual tactics. But this would have had to have been something that would have been approved at the highest levels of the Justice Department, likely by the deputy Attorney General of the United States, either the acting deputy Attorney General or the newly installed deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. Absolutely something that would have to go to the top of the Justice Department to execute warrants like these.
Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: Still to come, in New Delhi crematoriums are struggling to keep up with the surge of COVID deaths. We will have the latest on India's catastrophic coronavirus crisis next.
BRUNHUBER: The haunting word of one New Delhi resident, everyone is afraid. Every single person. As India grapples with catastrophic surges in COVID deaths and infections. The country just reported more than 3,600 deaths and almost 380,000 new cases in the past 24 hours. The total case count there topped 18 million.
Patients are sitting on the sidewalk outside hospitals waiting for a bed and family members are afraid it may be the last time they see their loved ones alive. In Delhi officials are begging the government to provide more firewood for cremations and gave yards are running out of space.
But a U.S. military aircraft is on its way to India carrying the first shipment of more than $100 million worth of COVID relief supplies as the world rallies to help. CNN's Anna Coren is following this tragic crisis for us and joins me from Hong Kong. Anna, that help can't get there soon enough. What's the latest?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, and unfortunately, Kim, it's going to be a drop in the ocean. The good news, however, is that Russia has sent a shipment of Sputnik vaccine, that is going to come into the mix of vaccines that are currently in play. We know there is an acute shortage of vaccines. As of the 1st of May, some Saturday, people over the age of 18 can now get vaccinated.
But the irony is that India being the world's largest manufacturer of vaccine cannot vaccinate its own people. Less than 2 percent of the population has been fully inoculated since the program rolled out in mid-January. There have been 150 million doses administered. It's averaging about 2 million jabs a day. Experts say that that needs to get to 10 million a day for that curve to flatten.
As we're talking for several days now about that massive undercount, I mean, India now accounts for more than a third of the global COVID cases. You talk about the rising infection rate, the rising death rate, that is only heading in one direction. The mayor of the north of Delhi he has said that the official toll, death toll in his area is 300 a day. He says that the crematoriums are burning 600 bodies a day. It gives you an insight, Kim, into what is really happening on the ground in India.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, unbelievable. Anna Coren in Hong Kong, thanks so much.
And last hour I spoke with "Washington Post" columnist Barkha Dutt from New Delhi and she just lost her father to COVID this week but still wanted to talk with us. Here is why she says the COVID surge has been so particularly devastating for her and for everyone in the country. Listen to this.
BARKHA DUTT, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: I feel personally or afraid today, with my father gone, both of my parents are now dead, I have nobody left, I feel alone. But what about those who are the orphans of the Indian state. I think of them today as I think of my father, because my father's last words to me were, I'm choking, please give me treatment.
And I tried my best but even being a journalist who knows doctors, an upper middle class Indian who can pay for the best medical treatment, the ambulance, the private ambulance that ferried him to hospital had an oxygen cylinder that did not work. It got delayed because there is no green corridor for ambulances in this city, in the capital even now. By the time we reached the hospital because the oxygen had failed or faltered his levels had fallen precipitously. He had to be taken into ICU. He never made it back. It's not even been a few days. It's only been 48 hours.
When we went to cremate him, there was no space at the cremation ground, there was a physical fight that erupted between multiple families. We had to call the police to cremate my father. And yet in this moment of loss -- it was difficult to even articulate and put together a bunch of sentences. I speak because I realize that despite my devastation, I was luckier than most Indians. And I was luckier than most Indians because, as I said, I think today of the orphans of the Indian state, the families that I meet outside hospitals that have shut their gates and their doors to them because they neither have beds nor oxygen.
CHURCH: That was a "Washington Post" columnist Barkha Dutt speaking to me from New Delhi.
Well in his first address to a joint session of Congress president Joe Biden said the U.S. has provided Americans over 220 million doses of COVID vaccines, more than doubling his goal of 100 million in his first 100 days. Meanwhile, new cases in the U.S. continue to fall. CNN's Alexandra Field reports.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It's even better than what you would have expected.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the real world the effectiveness of COVID vaccines is surpassing already high expectations set by clinical trials.
FAUCI: That's the reason why you hear all of us in the public health sector essentially pleading with people to get vaccinated.
FIELD (voice-over): Nationwide the ample number of new infections the lowest it's been in five weeks, the average number of COVID-related deaths the lowest it's been since last summer.
FAUCI: The numbers are coming down and I believe as they come down you will see more liberal guidelines.
FIELD (voice-over): It's happening already, but not fast enough for many who got their vaccines and want to get back to normal much faster.
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIAC CATHETERIZATION LAB DIRECTOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: They haven't really gone far enough. They really need to tell Americans that if you are vaccinated you are immune.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Why put any restraints on the vaccinated?
ANDY SLAVITT, SENIOR ADVISER TO WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM: Let me roll it out this way, everything you do is safer if you are vaccinated. Everything. Go to a wedding, go to a restaurant, hang out with friends, go to a barbecue, go to work, everything you do is much, much safer if you've been vaccinated. If you haven't been vaccinated those things are still dangerous. FIELD (voice-over): Even so many states are lifting mask mandates,
almost half the U.S. without even before the CDC issued new guidance saying masks aren't necessary outdoors for the vaccinated except in very large crowds.
Louisiana dropping its mask mandate. Masks will still be a must in places like schools and government buildings. The governor of Tennessee declaring the end of the COVID-19 health emergency with thousands of new cases there daily and just 25 percent of the state's population fully vaccinated.
In California, Disneyland opening its gates to California residents only for the first time in more than a year during a soft open. Los Angeles County is moving to its lowest level for restrictions. And New York City now planning to lift curfews for restaurants and bars next month. All this while the White House takes its campaign into overdrive, encouraging more people to get their shots. That as some popular voices share opinions at odds with the medical experts' advice.
JOE ROGAN, HOST, THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE: If you are a healthy person and you're exercising all the time and you're young and you're eating well, I don't think you need to worry about this.
FAUCI: And then you will pass the infection on to someone else who might pass it on to someone else who might really get seriously ill and might die. So you have to put a little bit of societal responsibility in your choices and that's where I disagree with Mr. Rogan.
FIELD: And while the focus remains very much on vaccinations right now, Pfizer's CEO Albert Bourla says the company is working on an antiviral pill as a treatment for COVID. He hopes that it might be ready for authorization by the end of this year.
In New York, Alexandra Field, CNN.
BRUNHUBER: President Biden's first address to Congress signals his intention to reassert American leadership in the world. Just ahead, a live report from London on the president's speech and why Biden sees China as the biggest foreign policy challenge facing the country. Stay with us.