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Prominent Republican Leaders Gets Target By Republican Party Base; Trump Capitalizes on Arizona Ballot Audit; Boat Accident Off San Diego Coast; Many Americans Believe Biden Did Not Win The Election?; Accelerating Recovery Of American Economy; United Shades Of America Looks At Police Reform; SpaceX Crew Returns To Earth. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 2, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington and we begin with breaking news out of California. Two people have died and 23 have been taken to hospitals after a boat overturned off San Diego's coast. We got this video from the scene from earlier today.

Life guards and responders from multiple agencies pulled people from the water. Officials in San Diego will hold a press conference next hour and we will continue to monitor this and bring you the latest as it all comes in. We'll stay on top of that for you.

But first, now to the GOP in a state of disarray right now, except apparently when it comes to hanging on to a failed chapter of the past. Reporters, former President Donald Trump now months after his defeat are still quick on the trigger to blast back at anyone with a disparaging word about the twice impeached one-termer. That's despite the historic loss of the House, the Senate, and the White House all under Trump's watch.

Look what happened when Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the Republican Party nominee for president in 2012 mind you, showed up at his home state's GOP convention this weekend.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I don't hide the fact that I wasn't a fan of our last president's character issues. And I'm also no fan --


ROMNEY: Aren't you embarrassed? And I'm also no fan of the president's --

UNKNOWN: Excuse me.

ROMNEY: Yes, sure.

UNKNOWN: My friends, this is the moment I was talking about. Please, thank you. Show respect.


ACOSTA: What a mess. Senator Romney, after the crowd settled down, said that he expresses what he believes is right and that follows his conscience. Then there's Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third ranking Republican in the House. She's paying the political price for pushing back against Trump.

The ex-president and his faithful in Congress are vowing to punish her for supporting his second impeachment. And then, oh, the unthinkable, Cheney had the nerve to greet President Joe Biden this week with a friendly fist bump. Can you believe that?

Conservatives in the Republican Party slammed her hard for doing that. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is up on Capitol Hill. Suzanne, it's hard to believe all of this. Clearly, this is still a problem. The Republican Party, if Donald Trump has this kind of sway over members of the party where they will boo Mitt Romney and give Liz Cheney a hard time for giving the president a fist bump, it's just hard to imagine.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, this is a club that was exclusive before but is becoming really wider and broader now. These are the Republicans who've defied Trump in the past, who are now being punished on the state level from their own parties.

We're talking about a list when you're talking about Murkowski, Cheney, Sasse, Kinzinger, Flake, Cassidy, all of them. I mean, the list goes on and on. Some of them censured by their own parties. Some of them, who had expressed support for impeachment, others conviction, or others just simply legitimizing the presidential election, the results of that election.

Now, what we saw yesterday regarding Romney, he was spared censure but not by much. The vote was 711-798, which surprised some. This was punishment for his two votes of convicting the president. And you saw there, it got much, much worse as he continues to defend himself, his convictions, what he believed was right, even his street cred as the presidential candidate for 2012 for the Republicans really enraging people in that audience there.

And he has had some problems in the past with the hard-core Republican base in Utah, but nothing like this. This is really is an inflection point for the party. We heard from Senator Susan Collins of Maine, she is a Republican with an independent streak. She was spared censure herself by her own state, but she was very disturbed by what she saw.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I was appalled. Mitt Romney is an outstanding senator who serves his state and our country well. We Republicans need to remember that we are united by fundamental principles such as the belief in personal responsibility, individual freedom, opportunity, free markets, strong national defense. Those are the principles that unite us. We are not a party that is led by just one person.



MALVEAUX: That one person, Jim, as you know, is Trump. And so this is clearly a moment of reflection, a defining moment for the GOP in terms of where they go and what they do with those members who decide that they don't agree with the former president. Jim?

ACOSTA: Yes. It's just awful to see Senator Romney treated in that fashion. Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much. Joining me now, CNN senior political analyst John Avalon, CNN political commentator and host of PBS "Firing Line" Margaret Hoover.

John, could we just pause for a moment and consider -- I covered Mitt Romney back in 2012, end to end and I will tell you, I mean, people can say, you know, Mitt Romney has his flaws. He is just one of the most decent human beings I've ever covered in politics, if not the most decent human being I've covered. I'm sure he has a ton of flaws people can pick apart. But to see Mitt Romney on that stage getting booed in that fashion, to me, I just think it's -- it's just outrageous.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It is, and it speaks to the mob mentality that's overtaken the Republican Party. Even in a state like Utah where Donald Trump was never particularly popular. But it also reflects the dangers of hyper partisanship and polarization, the small group of folks with disproportionately loud voices who feel empowered to attack an honorable senator from their state who simply -- for the sin of speaking his conscience.

And that's the gut check that people should take home when they want to look inside their conscience because something ugly has been unleashed when Mitt Romney gets yelled at, at a Republican convention in Utah.

ACOSTA: Yes, what did you see there, Margaret, when you saw that?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, it's sad. It does reflect the coarsening of our political culture of, frankly, the base of the Republican Party, which is still quite loyal to Donald Trump and not loyal to anybody who was previously a standard bearer of the party. Not John McCain, not Mitt Romney, not George w. Bush, not any of the values that frankly have epitomized and the principles that Republican Party has stood for my entire lifetime and the second half of the 20th century.

Mitt Romney is a decent man. Most politicians, most of our national leaders deserve the respect. I would say all of them deserve the respect of the base of their parties regardless of whether you disagree with them. There's a way in our society, in a civil society and advanced democracy that you express your discontent with people's ideas and it's not that raucous mob mentality booing of somebody who has represented them well.

ACOSTA: Yes, John, let's take a look at some new video that just emerged of former President Trump who really ripped the lid off of all of this ugliness in this country. Addressing a crowd at Mar-a-Lago, he's once again spreading election lies, sort of like, you know, the sad old Elvis act that he has been doing lately. Let's watch.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, I wouldn't be surprised if they found thousands and thousands and thousands of votes. So we're going to watch that very closely and after that we'll watch Pennsylvania, ans you watch Georgia and you're going to watch Michigan, and Wisconsin. And you're watching New Hampshire. They found a lot of votes up in New Hampshire just now.


ACOSTA: Yes, John, this is like watching the hall of discredited presidents at Disney World, you know. It's just so sad. It's like he's animatronic character now, just spewing out this stuff over and over again like he's got a string that you just pull behind him and you replace the batteries when the run low.

AVLON: That's right. I was about to say you were doing a disservice to Fat Elvis. I mean, Elvis had much more dignity than Donald Trump does right now, speaking to a crowd of tens and reciting these talking points that are totally disconnected from reality. I mean, he was talking about New Hampshire? What the hell is he talking about? He doesn't have a clue. And that's just sad.

ACOSTA: That's his conspiracy theory from, you know, the last election cycle in 2016. Anyway, yes, keep going, John.

HOOVER: Yes. You got one conspiracy, you got another. I mean, the thing that's so sad about that, right, is that Mitt Romney is the one who told the truth. Mitt Romney is the one who, when he voted to convict said what we owe our voters is to tell them the truth, even if they don't like what they hear.

AVLON: What a revolutionary concept.

HOOVER: Former President Trump is the one who's continuing to spew lies and the base loves him for it. I mean, this is where we find ourselves in the Republican Party. It is quite -- it's a sore position to be in.

AVLON: It's weak. It's sad and weak to see him talking to a couple of folks at Mar-a-Lago, reciting lies that even he doesn't seem to even fully believe with enthusiasm. Only defends with his ego. It's a tired act. It doesn't even deserve on a second stage in Vegas.

ACOSTA: Yes. I wonder if he reminds people to tip the waiters and waitresses. But anyway, former President George W. Bush had a strong warning for Republicans about the path that they're on. Let's listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You know, the idea of kind of saying you can only be a Republican "if," then the ultimate extension of that is it ends up being a one-person party.


STEPHEN HAYES, EDITOR AND CEO, THE DISPATCH: But there are more of those people today than there were during the Republican Party --

BUSH: I hope not.

HAYES: -- during the Republican Party in your tenure.

BUSH: I hope not.

HAYES: Either that, or they're louder. Right? And many members of Congress, I mean, they were talking about starting a caucus.

BUSH: Yes, well. You know, it's -- to me that basically says that we want to be extinct.


ACOSTA: George w. Bush is not wrong, is he?

HOOVER: No. I mean, look, George W. Bush knows very well that if he ran for president in this Republican Party, he would never get elected. He knows he probably couldn't get elected statewide in Texas. Remember, this was somebody who overturned the most popular gubernatorial Democratic incumbent in the state's modern history when he won.

George W. Bush has seen what the rest of us has seen from the sidelines. The party has shifted. The base has shifted. The issues have changed, and the party doesn't reflect the values that it has always reflected, from his father's party or his party.

AVLON: But he has credibility as, you know, he's a border state governor who won over 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in his re- election in Texas, as someone who did believe whatever flaws he had, that the party needed to reach out. He's talking about extinction. What are the basic laws of biology, right?

Adapt, migrate or die. And that is in the face of facts, scientific facts, not a culture of personality that's demanding loyalty, you know, rooted in very little but resentment. And of course, he's right, you know. If it becomes as simply a white grievance party, if it becomes a modern no-nothing party, then it doesn't have a future demographically and it doesn't deserve to.

ACOSTA: Yes. And George W. Bush served two terms, Donald Trump served one. So, I mean, you know, he knows something. John Avlon, Margaret Hoover --

HOOVER: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: -- I think we got to wrap it up there, but thanks a lot.

AVLON: Take care. ACOSTA: Thanks for talking to us. We appreciate it.

Coming up, former President Trump's reported obsession with the 2020 recount in Arizona and the controversy over who is conducting the audit, that story is next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: The 2020 election ended more than five months ago, but former President Donald Trump is reportedly still fixated on a Republican led audit of the 2020 vote currently under way in Arizona's largest county. A source telling "The Washington Post" that Trump talks about the Arizona recount constantly, but at least one prominent Arizona Republican thinks the whole recount is nonsense. Here is how Cindy McCain, widow of the late Senator John McCain reacted.


CINDY MCCAIN, WIFE OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Oh, listen, the whole thing is ludicrous, quite frankly. It's ludicrous. And this also comes from a state party in Arizona that refused to be audited themselves on votes that were cast within their own party communications. So, you know, it's -- the election is over. Biden won.


ACOSTA: CNN's Kyung Lah joins me now with the latest on the controversial Arizona recount. Kyung, there are elements of this audit that can only be described as bizarre. This is weird stuff.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's really insane. And I've spoken to both Democrats and Republicans who are elections officials and experts. These are people who know what they're doing across the country, and they are straining themselves, even call it an audit, because this is unlike anything they have ever seen.


LAH (voice-over): The carnival has arrived at the Arizona state fairgrounds in Phoenix. This one in the parking lot is called the "Crazy Times Carnival." Inside the coliseum is a different sort of spectacle, replaying the big lie in the 2020 election. This is yet another tally of the nearly 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County. But this so-called audit is unlike any other. These are ballot counters heading into a shift.

Have you ever done election counting before?

UNKNOWN: No, but it's -- there's nothing to it. It's pretty obvious.

UNKNOWN: No, thanks.

LAH (voice-over): Most don't want to talk. Others?

(On camera): We're just trying to do a story about the town.

UNKNOWN: I don't trust you.

LAH (voice-over): Openly partisan as you see displayed on some cars and in what they say.


LAH (on camera): I'm sorry, what?

UNKNOWN: What news group are you from?

LAH: I'm from CNN.

UNKNOWN: Oh, okay. No, thank you.

UNKNOWN: People are wondering what to look out for in that audit.

LAH (voice-over): OAN or One America News Network is the small far- right wing outlet that has promoted false claims that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. OAN is also live streaming the event, and its host have helped raise funds for this exercise.

We were initially told we could not enter the publicly owned Arizona state fairgrounds, but when we tried again another time --

(On camera): Hey, I'm Kyung Lah with CNN.

UNKNOWN: CNN? Okay. You guys will be on the second level.

LAH (on camera): So we can get in?


LAH (voice-over): We followed that officer's instructions.

(On camera): There is media parking.

LAH (voice-over): But then these guys showed up.

UNKNOWN: I'm not authorized to speak to the press or the media.

LAH (voice-over): Even though these uniformed men look like police, they're not. They're a volunteer group called the Arizona Rangers.

UNKNOWN: So you're trespassing.

LAH (voice-over): This man talking to me is wearing a badge from Cyber Ninjas, that's the Florida-based company being paid $150,000 by the GOP-controlled state senate to conduct this election review. But here's what Republican Jack Sellers, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman thinks about Cyber Ninjas.

JACK SELLERS, CHAIRMAN, MARICOPA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Everything they're doing is just so unprofessional that it's really bothersome. I don't really feel that it benefits me a need to get into the weeds too far on all the craziness that I see going on.

LAH (voice-over): Sellers knows the difference. He leads a Republican- majority board of supervisors. They already conducted two audits with bipartisan observers in public view that found no evidence of widespread election fraud.


The board of supervisors fought the state senate in court to keep the ballots but lost and turned over the ballots.

SELLERS: When you accept responsibility for an election, it can't be about a party. It can't be about a person. It has to be about representing all the voters.

LAH (voice-over): Arizona news agencies and their lawyer fought to get a reporter into the site where the count is happening and days into the audit got in. A news camera then caught the unusual process of ballots being scanned with UV lights. In a news conference, the hired representative for the Arizona state senate struggled to explain why.

UNKNOWN: What are the UV lights for?

UNKNOWN: The UV lights are looking at the paper and is part of several teams that are involved in the paper evaluation.

UNKNOWN: For what? For what purpose?

UNKNOWN: I personally don't know.

KATIE HOBBS, ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: It's really, it's a fishing expedition for stuff that we know doesn't exist.

LAH (voice-over): Arizona secretary of state warns what's happening in Arizona may just be the next page in the playbook of the big lie.

HOBBS: They cried and cried for an audit for months, and they have finally gotten it, and they're going to try to use this and get at other places, too.

LAH (on camera): So you think what happens here will impact other places?

HOBBS: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.


LAH (on camera): Here we are in Arizona. There are legal challenges happening, but for now, this audit will continue. The tough part, Jim, is that the lease on the coliseum is up on May 14th. They're not going to be done.

But on May 14th, there are going to be high school graduations, so they have to give up that space. They are, you know, stuck as to what to do, because the count they say, will continue. They're going to find somewhere else to do it. Jim? ACOSTA: Just a great story, Kyung. Great look behind the scenes as to

what's going on there in Arizona. I think the technical term is cuckoo for coco puffs if I'm not mistaken here, but thank you for brining that to us.

LAH: You're not going to be the only one saying that.

ACOSTA: All right. Thanks, Kyung. Appreciate that very much.

Coming up, the big lie is alive and well among many Trump supporters.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Would you like to see Trump run again?



GREGORY: So, win for a third time, yes.

UNKNOWN: That's right.

O'SULLIVAN: Win for a third time?

GREGORY: That's right.




ACOSTA: An update on the breaking news that we've been following out of southern California. We are learning now that three people have died and more than 20 people were taken to hospitals after a boat overturned off San Diego's coast. It's unclear what caused the accident at this point, but officials will be holding a press conference, we're told, at the top of the hour.

We're continuing to monitor this story, but again, at least three people are now said to be dead after this boating accident. This situation that happened off the coast of San Diego. There's new video coming in. Of course, we'll stay on top of it, bring you the latest as soon as it comes in.

In the meantime, more proof that big lies have consequences. A new CNN poll shows 70 percent of Republicans don't believe President Biden legitimately won the White House. CNN's Done O'Sullivan recently went to Texas where he spoke to Trump supporters about the 2020 election. Take a listen to what they had to say.


O'SULLIVAN: Would you like to see Trump run again? GREGORY: Yes, I would.


GREGORY: So, win for a third time, yes.

UNKNOWN: That's right.

O'SULLIVAN: Win for a third time?

GREGORY: That's right.

O'SULLIVAN: You believe the election was stolen?

GREGORY: Correct. I do.




GREGORY: There's just too many inconsistencies.

O'SULLIVAN: Did you vote for Trump in November?


O'SULLIVAN: Are you sad when he lost?

SWORDS: I was not sad. I was surprised and then they had the voting irregularities and inconsistencies that I believe some of the states right now are actually recounting.

O'SULLIVAN: Do you believe that elections in this country still have integrity?

SWORDS: I'm questionable on it now.

O'SULLIVAN: Were you disappointed when Trump lost the election?

JO WOODRUFF, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I was disappointed in the lack of truth and the election fraud that took place within it.


ACOSTA: I want to bring in former HUD secretary and a former Democratic presidential candidate, Julian Castro. Secretary Castro, thanks so much for joining us. Let me ask you something. After watching some of that footage there, listening to it, how do you even begin to unite the country when so many Americans still don't believe they have a legitimate president?

JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's a great question, Jim. And I think that's not something that can be done overnight, obviously. To see that number, that's an eye-popping number, that 70 percent of Republicans do not believe as we speak that Joe Biden legitimately won that election by getting more votes.

I think, you know, that it's going to take continued truth telling on all of our parts and making sure that the facts are out there. But really in the long run, I think this is an indictment of our American education system.

And I agree with people on the left and the right that have called for things like better civics education going forward and so forth. It would also be a little laughable if it weren't so serious because this has real-world consequences. Everything that's going on in Georgia and in my home state of Texas to try to suppress the vote, places like Florida, it is based off of this big lie.

So, it's not like these Republicans, well, they're living in this fantasy land but it doesn't hurt anybody. It really does. It's turning into policy that is restricting the right of others, the access of others to get to the ballot box. So it affects everybody.


ACOSTA: Yes, I was going to ask you about that, your home state of Texas is getting set to pass new voting restrictions very soon now. You call these bills nothing more than a power grab from a party that's losing its grip on your state. How will this legislation affect the next round of electrics in Texas, do you think? Could these voting laws really detrimental to Democrats making gains in Texas?

CASTRO: Well, yes, Republicans can see what's happening in the state. The state has been trending more Democratic. Barack Obama lost it by 16 points in 2012, Hillary lost it by nine points four years later and Joe Biden lost it by 5 1/2 points. So, it's clearly trending Democratic. And in the big counties, they have gone Democratic now.

So, this is a point shaving system that they have implemented, restricting voting hours, making it harder to get a mail-in ballot, a whole number of things, just like in Georgia, Jim Crow 2.0. And what they're hoping is that they can stave off the switching over, the changing over of Texas to a competitive and then a blue state the way that we saw Arizona and Georgia go this last time.

And what it means is that for Democrat that you have to work that much harder. Not just to try to stave off the legislation, but really to make sure the people know their rights as voters and that they get registered and they get out to vote. In the meantime, my fear is that it will have an impact on turnout in 2022 and 2024.

ACOSTA: And Secretary Castro, you've been outspoken on police reform. I want to ask you about this case out in California, the Alameda Police Department released body cam footage this week showing officers pinning down 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez, who lost consciousness while being restrained, and then died.

I want to play a portion of that body cam footage and just warning people out there who may be watching this, this is disturbing to watch.


UNKNOWN: Please stop resisting us, okay? Don't fight us.

UNKNOWN: Stop, stop, stop.

UNKNOWN: Put your hands behind your back.

UNKNOWN: We have no weight on his chest. No, no, no weight, no weight, no weight.


ACOSTA: Yes, he was restrained on the ground for about five minutes before he became unresponsive. The cause of the man's death has not been determined, we should point out. You can hear the officer saying no weight in the video. You just heard that at the end there. What's your reaction to this, Secretary Castro?

CASTRO: This is one more example, Jim, of why we need greater transparency and accountability for police departments across the United States. It's very interesting, and I think also sad and disappointing, that when the police report was written, just like in the case of George Floyd, in the case of Mario Gonzalez, that his death was chalked up to medical complications.

And, you know, they didn't say that they had been on his back for five minutes. And the circumstances under which he had truly died. I think, if I remember correctly, they also said that he passed away at the hospital when the facts were that he actually passed away on site. He became unresponsive and they said that they couldn't find a pulse afterward, you know, when the facts came to light.

So, there was a lie there. There was a misrepresentation of what happened that was meant to try and protect the officers involved. Now, I'm glad that Merrick Garland at the DOJ has become more active and has already opened up investigations in Minneapolis and Louisville police departments. I hope they're going to continue to do that with communities who have shown problems in truth telling among officers.

But, you know, if you're a local police chief, you don't need to wait for that. (Inaudible) start for instance with exactly those types of incidents where somebody's death was chalked up to, "medical complications or medical issue under odd circumstances." Go and review those cases because we've seen that that is a real red flag where you may find that what was in the report didn't actually reflect reality.

ACOSTA: Yes, I mean, this police issue, it seems to be mushrooming and nobody really has any idea whether or not we're going to see legislation get through to Congress because of these negotiations that are happening right now. What is your sense of those negotiations? Do you think we will see some kind of police reform passed through the Congress, get signed by President Biden?

CASTRO: Well, I think that -- you know, I was glad to see the president articulate support for it. Obviously, the House of Representatives asked it. It's there in the Senate again. I actually am hopeful that a version of the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act can pass. I think getting to 50 plus one with the vice president in the Senate is feasible.


There is momentum behind making sure that we reform police in our country. So, I believe that can happen. But again, if you're on a city council, you don't have to wait. A lot of these policies, they come down to the local level.

So, city councils and county councils can make a difference in transparency and accountability when they do police union contracts and also the policies that they have set forth through the police department and what they do through the chief of police. Don't wait for Washington. Even as Washington works to reform policing. Act if you're a mayor or city council member.

ACOSTA: All right, former HUD secretary, Julian Castro, thanks for staying on top of that issue and appreciate coming on. We'll have you back again. Thanks again.

CASTRO: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Coming up, a top Republican under fire for a fist bump with Biden and for daring to tell the truth about the big lie. How Congresswoman Liz Cheney is playing defense against her own party.



ACOSTA: Republican in-fighting is on full display once again. Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third ranking Republican in the House has been duking it out with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy over McCarthy's embrace of former President Trump and his election lies and their conflicting views of the GOP's future. CNN's Manu Raju reports.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Congresswoman Liz Cheney facing new turmoil internally, amid her former feud with former President Donald Trump and his House GOP loyalists, erupting after the congresswoman responded to questions at a GOP retreat this week in Florida, al stemming from Trump and his role in the deadly January 6th attack on the Capitol.

UNKNOWN: Should Donald Trump be charged and prosecuted with anything?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Well, that's a decision that the Justice Department is going to have to make.

RAJU (voice-over): Saying Trump is not the leader of the party.

CHENEY: I think our elected leaders, you know, are the ones who are in charge of the Republican Party. RAJU (voice-over): A senior house Republican member told CNN that

Cheney could be in "very big trouble" and expected that there could be another attempt to kick her out of leadership. The members said lawmakers were "really upset she trampled all over messaging during the party retreat."

A fist bump with the current president of the United States this week even leading Cheney to tweet, "We're not sworn enemies. We're Americans."

The fallout underscoring how Trump's appeal to the base still makes him the GOP's dominant figure despite his electoral defeat. Many even endorse his lie that the 2020 election was rigged. Following her vote to impeach Trump, Cheney survived an attempt to oust her by a wide margin after House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy called on his colleagues to keep her in the number three job.

That the tension has only simmered, the two have not appeared together at a press conference since this incident more than two months ago.

UNKNOWN: Do you believe President Trump should be speaking -- or former President Trump should be speaking at CPAC this weekend?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Yes, he should.

UNKNOWN: Congressman Cheney?

CHENEY: That's up to CPAC. I've been clear of my views about President Trump and the extent to which following -- extent to which following January 6th, I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.

RAJU (voice-over): A source told CNN, McCarthy remains furious with Cheney. This week, he declined to back her up.

UNKNOWN: Is Cheney still a good fit for your leadership team, do you believe?

MCCARTHY: That's a question for the conference.

RAJU (voice-over): McCarthy's number two, Steve Scalise, making clear he's not in agreement with Cheney.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): President Trump is still a very active part of our party and a vocal leader in our party.


RAJU (on camera): Now, Cheney does have some support within the House Republican Conference, including from Anthony Gonzalez who like Cheney, joined with eight of their other colleagues to vote to impeach Donald Trump. Gonzalez told me if a prerequisite for leading our conference is lying to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit.

Now, it's still possible though that Cheney could face a vote within her House Republican Conference to maintain that number three leadership position. It's unclear, though, how that would turn out. She fended off the last challenge, but this time it seems like she is losing support according to multiple Republicans who I have spoken with.

However, these are secret ballot elections so how such a vote like that could turn out is anyone's guess. Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.

ACOSTA: This week, Wall Street will be keeping its eyes on the April jobs numbers. Here is CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans with your "Before the Bell" report.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim. It's the great American comeback, from housing to tech earnings to consumer confidence and GDP. The recovery is accelerating and we're expecting to see that in the April jobs report on Friday.

Economists predict the U.S. economy added back 925,000 jobs. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 5.8 percent. But investors are also watching for signs of inflation in that report. If wage growth is super strong, that could unnerve Wall Street, which is worried about the economy overheating.

So far this year, the major stock indexes are up double digits or pretty close to it. But there's an old saying on Wall Street, sell in May and go away, that's because historically gains tend to be pretty weak from May through October.

Since 1946, the S&P 500 has recorded an average gain of just 1.6 percent during that time. Still, many market watchers argue the notion of a sleepy summer isn't anachronism. After all, last year the S&P 500 surged more than 12 percent from May through October. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.



ACOSTA: A North Carolina community demanding justice and transparency today ahead of tomorrow's funeral for Andrew Brown Jr. He was shot and killed by police in Elizabeth City last month and his death now reigniting calls for police reform nationwide.

In tonight's season premiere of "United Shades of America," W. Kamau Bell takes a closer look at police brutality in this country and the toll it takes on communities of color. Here's a preview.


W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: Is this moment different as far as like where we are in America and specifically around law enforcement?

UNKNOWN: For me, it's just this moment of being a black man and a police uniform, right. And there are some problems, systemic problems that has been in policing for a very long time that you know need to be rooted out. And so you sit in this place where you're like do I fit I, right. [17:50:02]

Sometime you even ask the question, do I fit in? I'm a black man before I put on a uniform.

BELL: Yes.

UNKNOWN: And I'm one when I take it off. You know, I'm not --

UNKNOWN: And you're one while you got it on.



ACOSTA: And joining us now is the host of "United Shades of America," W. Kamau Bell. Kamau, great to have you on. We recently saw the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Do you think this will be the transformational moment that so many people hope it is?

BELL: No, because right after we -- right around the time we saw the guilty verdict, Daunte Wright was killed in the same area, not in Minneapolis, but in that same area. And you would think if any police in the country would be on alert about how they're dealing with black man specifically, it would be in the Minneapolis area.

So, it is -- I'm happy for Floyd's family that they got a measure of justice, but we can't still look at individual acts. We talk of the whole system.

ACOSTA: So true. And in the first episode, you dive right into the very polarizing issue of defunding the police. As you were able to pull this out of folks, what exactly do some of these activists want to do when they talk about defunding the police because that's one of those conversations that some people just don't want to have.

BELL: Well, first off, let me say that I don't think that it could have been called anything that certain people who support law enforcement want to have the conversation because if you look at the phrase, defund the police, it's an accounting term.

It is way more polite than what a lot of other people say we should to the police. So I think that there's nothing it could have been called to make it less controversial, but all it means is taking money away from the police when we see that their jobs they don't do well, and putting it into parts of our community that need money like education, mental health resources, housing, that show when you put more money in there, that the crime goes down automatically.

ACOSTA: And you talked to multiple -- reform activists who say law enforcement is an inherently racist system. What do they say about the foundations of policing, how racism has been embedded in the system from the start? Those are some tough subjects.

BELL: Yes, I mean, well, when you look at the origins of policing in this country it was specifically in the south founded using something called the Barbados slave code which tells you all you need to know about it being racist.

And then if you look at the current commission in 1968 during Lyndon Johnson administration, a whole commission mostly of white men figured out that racism was one of the problems in America and it was white racism against black people and policing was one of the arms of that white racism.

So we all know these things. This is why activists in the black community and the indigenous and LatinX community are fed up talking about slow reform. They're talking about we need change today. We need to redo the whole system.

ACOSTA: And I've got your take on this. Democratic strategist James Carville made headlines this weekend. I'm sure you know where I'm going with this, for saying that Democrats have a problem with wokeness. Let's take a listen.


JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: In my view, if you want to -- in politics, you should speak the language of the people. You should speak clear direct English and address people as they address each other. I get people saying they're woke and they're tired of being woke.

People want to -- after this pandemic and stuff, people want to go about their lives, they want to enjoy it. They want to enjoy their friends. They don't want to be nervous about how you address them and talk to them or anything.


ACOSTA: All right, Kamau, let's get your reaction to that. What did you think of James and what he had to say there?

BELL: I find it interesting that James Carville and Ted Cruz and all these sort of people are talking about woke now who didn't want to talk about woke when we were actually doing it in 2014. Nobody I know seriously uses the word woke anymore so this to me feels like a distraction.

Whatever you want to call it, again, defund the police, wokeness, what it is, is the black community, the colored communities in this country saying give us our rights and treat us like citizens. So getting caught up on the jargon is just a distraction. Pass the gravy grandpa.

ACOSTA: All right. And I'm sure it's good gravy, too. All right, W. Kamau Bell --

BELL: I'm sure it is.

ACOSTA: --thanks so much for the conversation.

BELL: Thank you.

ACOSTA: And be sure to tune in. The new -- the premiere of the all new season of "United Shades of America" with gravy, airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN. And on the west coast as well at 10:00 p.m.

Now, it's an exciting day for NASA and SpaceX.



UNKNOWN: And I don't know if you can hear the applause. But we have visual confirmation of the Crew 1 Resilience capsule.

UNKNOWN: And contact from Resilience. That's excellent news. We have splashdown.


ACOSTA: That is great news there. Cheers all around after three NASA astronauts and a Japanese astronaut safely returned to Earth after a six-month trip to the International Space Station. The SpaceX crew Dragon capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico just before 3:00 a.m., completing NASA's first nighttime water landing in more than 50 years. How about that?

The astronauts set a new record for the longest time in space for a crew launched from a U.S. spacecraft. That's the news. 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. Good night.