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President Joe Biden To Meet House And Senate Leaders; Trump Is Hunting Down Prominent Republican Party Families; Oversight Board Upholds Trump's Facebook Ban; Chef Jose Andres Gives $50 Gift Cards In Exchange To Get Vaccinated; South Carolina Votes Execution By Firing Squad; Disappointing April Jobs Report And The Economic Recovery; Kabul Explosion Kills 50 People. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 9, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: She was strong and healthy, wicked humorous as you see right there, outspoken with clarity of thought all the way to her last breath. And all of that exceptionalism is how we remember Aunt Panetta and celebrate this magnificent matriarch. Thank you so much for joining me this weekend, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. CNN NEWSROOM continues request Jim Acosta right now.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. President Biden says he's ready to compromise on his multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan and work across the aisle and he's ready to do it this week.
The president will host top Republicans at the White House on Wednesday. The long-planned meeting includes the minority leaders of the House and the Senate. But the question is, is compromise possible when so many Republicans are focused on pledging allegiance to Donald Trump and the big lie. The few left willing to stand up to Trump, comparing their party to the sinking of the Titanic and a circular firing squad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): The reality is, as a party, we have to have an internal look, and a full accounting as to what led to January 6th. I mean, right now, it's basically the Titanic. We're like, you know, in this -- in the middle of this slow sink. We have a band playing on the deck telling everybody its fine.
And meanwhile, as I have said, you know, Donald Trump is running around trying to find women's clothing and get on the first life boat. And I think there is a few us that are just saying guys this is not good, not just for the future of this party but for the future of this country.
LARRY HOGAN (R), GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND: It just bothers me that you have to swear fealty to the dear leader or you get kicked out of the party. It just doesn't make any sense. Well, it's sort of a circular firing squad where we are just attacking members of our own party instead of focusing on solving problems. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Let's get to CNN's White House correspondent Arlette Saenz. Arlette, the Titanic, a circular firing squad. Those are not good comparisons. That's from two outspoken Republicans about their own party. How much of this compromise effort this week will be about the nuts and bolts of infrastructure, and how much of it will be about trying to convince Republicans to ditch the Trump love train and make a deal do you think?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, President Biden would certainly prefer not to be talking about former President Trump in these meetings as he is promoting his own agenda, but he certainly, the former president, does loom large over a lot of these conversations. And even the president himself during the campaign, he had talked about how the Republican Party would have an epiphany once President Trump left office.
But just earlier this week Biden said that he sees the Republican Party going through a mini revolution. Now, on Wednesday, the president will host his first meeting with the so-called big four congressional leaders. And that will be the first time that the top two Republicans in Congress will be here at the White House meeting with him.
You will have House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a staunch ally of the former president, in that meeting. And also Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, someone who has vowed that he is trying to fight the Biden administration every step of the way. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: Now, the president has dismissed those comments from McConnell simply as bluster saying that McConnell was able to work with him and President Obama during their eight years in office. But one thing that President Biden is really hoping for is that the Republican Party can come on board with him just hammer out a deal when it comes to infrastructure. A
And that is the focus that you will see here on Thursday when he gathers a group of Republican senators really led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito. She chose the senators who will be in that meeting with the president as they are trying to work out some of those deals of his infrastructure proposal.
So the president, you know, infrastructure really alluded President Trump during his presidency. And President Biden this time around is hoping he can eke out a win on that proposal.
ACOSTA: All right, Arlette Saenz, thanks so much. From party royalty to party pariah, this week, Congresswoman Liz
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to lose her position as the number three Republican in the house. Her only crime in the eyes of many in her party, standing up to Donald Trump's election lies.
History is watching us, she wrote in "The Washington Post." "The question before us now is whether we will join Trump's crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election with all the consequences that might have."
Cheney is just the latest member of a prominent Republican family that has been called out by the former president. As "Politico" put it, "Trump is hunting down the GOP's leading families in his attempt to exercise full dominion over the party."
Consider his attacks on Jeb Bush, son of one former president and brother to another during the 2016 campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, Jeb? Oh, Jeb. Jeb Bush is a low energy person. For him, to get things done is hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Then there were his continued attacks on John McCain, even after he passed away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Or that time he made the 2012 Republican presidential nominee all but grovel, that's Mitt Romney there, for the position of Secretary of State only to turn down Romney in the end. I was there and I remember watching that right before my eyes.
Joining me now is the former Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, William Cohen. He's also a former senator and congressman who was one of the first Republicans to break with his party to vote for the impeachment of President Nixon during Watergate. Secretary Cohen, what do you make of how your party is handling the nation's latest disgraced president?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, Jim, thank you for having me on. Let me say that it really isn't about philosophy or ideology. It is about idolatry. And we are being asked to pay tribute or worship at the feet of a false god and a golden calf or as the bible would say a golden bull.
And I think it's really incumbent upon Republicans to gather themselves and say do you really want to do this to the Republican Party? Because it is not the Republican philosophy anymore. It really is about paying tribute to Donald Trump himself. And so I think as far as Representative Cheney is concerned, she reached the Edmund Pettus Bridge and that was a bridge too far for her to cross.
And I think other Republicans have to stand up and say we know, we saw it with our own eyes that Donald Trump lost this election. He incurred or incited a mob to storm the Capitol. And then while it was taking place, the rampaging of the Capitol, he refused to take action.
I think the Republicans have to come to grips with that and say it so they can put a former president or I would say ex-President Trump behind and then go forward and talk about the philosophy that has been there for years, for many of us who are in the party to abide by. Where are the Jack Kemps, the Jack Danforths, the Howard Bakers, the Warrren Rodneys (ph), Alan Simpsons and so many others?
ACOSTA: They are not there anymore. They're not there anymore, yes.
COHEN: They are not there so what does it mean for the Republican Party? It means we are going to become narrower, we're going to be whiter, we're going to be more aggrieved, we're going to be more lawless, and more violent. That's the future that's laid out when you try to cut out a large part of the population based on race.
And that's what's taking place today. We shouldn't want to become the David Duke party, David Dukism. You don't want to become the Dixie (inaudible) party. (Inaudible) added in terms of encouraging states or not speaking out against states who are simply trying to shut down minority voting rights.
And I thought of John Lewis today who was lying in state in the Capitol not long ago. We all paid tribute to John Lewis. What did he fight for, risk his life for? The right to vote. And here we are all of these years later looking back and saying, gee, we are trying to suppress that right to vote because we can't win if everybody gets a vote.
ACOSTA: Let me ask you about that because, you know, having said all of that, Secretary Cohen, we are hearing President Biden is going to try to reach a compromise, reach some common ground with Republicans on his agenda this week. Is that a waste of time for the president in your view?
COHEN: It is never a waste of time as long as the time doesn't go too long. In other words, as long as the Senate minority leader doesn't simply the draw the string or play the string out until it is too late to take action.
I think as a good faith put on part of Joe Biden, who by the way, has been sending checks out and shots for the American people. And now this infrastructure bill is critical, not only on bridges and highways, which are in a state of disrepair, but the infrastructure of our critical infrastructure, which is coming under attack by cyber- attacks. And this is something we are not prepared to defend, our
infrastructure, which means our electrical distribution system, energy distribution, water, airports, all of the things that we depend on are being attacked at the speed of light.
So our enemies as such, can fire a cyber-bullet or a cyber-bot and hit us immediately without any anticipation on our part. So the infrastructure bill doesn't have any money designated for a cyber- defense, but all of our infrastructure really is in the hands of private business.
And so private business has to work with government to say, we've got to beef up our defense. We've got to have an ability to deter an attack, to defend an attack, to detect where it's coming from, and then respond. We don't have that capability right now.
ACOSTA: And Secretary Cohen, let me ask you this, because -- I'm glad you touched on the cybersecurity aspect of all of this. But I did want to ask you about getting back to what's happening in the Republican Party right now.
I want to get back to, as we speak, in Arizona, they are still recounting these ballots in Arizona's largest county. You were just talking about voting rights as a big issue. The so-called audit that these Republicans are doing out in Arizona, it involves a bizarre theory about bamboo ballots. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNKNOWN: There is accusations that 40,000 ballots were flown in --
UNKNOWN: To Arizona.
UNKNOWN: To Arizona and it was stuffed into the box, okay. And it came from the southeast part of the world, Asia, okay. And what they are doing is to find out if there is bamboo in the paper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: How much time should Joe Biden be spending, you know, working on a compromise with a party that is, you know, trying to find bamboo fibers in ballots in Arizona? I mean, don't you realize, sir, that there are some Democrats out there who are saying, why should we compromise with these guys?
COHE: Well, this is one state and I would put it in the form of quackery. But it's almost the mirror image of what the former president, ex-president was trying the do in calling in the Secretary of State of Georgia and say can you give me 11,780 votes, find those somewhere so we can claim victory.
That's what they are trying to do in Arizona, find 10,000 more votes so we can say that Biden lost in Arizona. So, that's one state. There are several others who were trying to do similar things. But overall, Joe Biden said, I promised I would try to work with
Republicans. There are some fair-minded Republicans still out there. I want to appeal with them. I want to compromise with them. I can't have everything I want, they can't have everything they want.
But we play this game so to speak between the 40 yard lines. Sometimes we're right of center, sometimes we're left of center. We don't play it in the end zones. And so Biden is right in saying I want to meet with Republicans, is there some way we can work on behalf of the people? Because every one of us took an oath to the Constitution, to say that we were fiduciaries. We were trustees of the public good.
And so we go there not to simply score points against Democrats and Republicans, but to see whether in a very diverse country, we can find some common ground that benefits all of our people, white, brown, black, and other colors -- Native-American. We need to find common ground and Joe Biden is saying that's what I want to do. And if I can't do it, I'll do what I can by executive action.
ACOSTA: And former Secretary Cohen, I know you wanted to just throw in a quick Mother's Day message before we go. Why don't you get that in there real fast and then we've got to go.
COHEN: I want to wish Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers, but to Leola Brown Montgomery. She's the mother of Brown against Board of Education. She is married to Oliver Brown who initiated that lawsuit to put an end to Jim Crow, separate but equal race of legislation. So we thank -- we wish Mrs. Brown Montgomery and Mister a very Happy Mother's Day. She has just turned 100 years old.
ACOSTA: All right. Excellent message there and Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. And former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it. Great talking to you as always.
Coming up, still unfriended, an oversight board upholds a decision by Facebook to ban Donald Trump after the insurrection. But that's not the end of the story. Why it's still possible for Trump to get his account back.
ACOSTA: NASA has a message for China after debris from an out-of- control Chinese rocket crash landed in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives overnight. Fortunately, not on land. All eyes turned to skies as the 20-ton rocket fell back toward Earth and re-entered the atmosphere. These videos that you're seeing right now, they were taken from Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan. Some pretty spectacular images there.
In a sharp rebuke, NASA says Beijing is failing to meet responsible standards regarding space debris and that China and other nations must minimize the risk to people and property when launching objects into space. And the clock is ticking for Facebook. This week, the company's
independent oversight board ruled that Facebook was justified in its decision to suspend then President Trump from its platform after the January 6th insurrection.
But it also gave Facebook six months to decide whether Trump will ever be allowed to return. And joining me now with more on all of this is Thomas Hughes. He's the director of Facebook's Oversight Board Administration. Thomas, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it. Some have criticized this as a quasi-decision. Did the board just punt on this issue? Isn't the board's job to make these tough decisions?
THOMAS HUGHES, DIRECTOR, FACEBOOK OVERSIGHT BOARD ADMINISTRATION: No. The board didn't punt this issue at all. This is quite a clear and a strong decision. And as you noted, you know, the board clearly stated that the suspension of former President Trump was necessary to keep people safe, that the posts on the 6th of January were encouraging and legitimatizing violence and therefore were severe violation.
But at the same time, the board has clearly said that an indefinite suspension is not consistent with international human rights standards and that its rules have to be clear and consistent and transparent. And the failure to have rules that are clear, consistent and transparent will have a chilling effect in the long term on the freedom of expression.
And the board felt that anyone who is concerned about the power of Facebook should really be concerned with the company making decisions essentially, which are arbitrary and not clearly set out in its own rules.
ACOSTA: By ordering this review, is the board essentially saying they don't think Trump should be suspended indefinitely, only because there was nothing in Facebook's rule book about this? Is that what you are saying?
HUGHES: No. What the board is saying is that Facebook must apply its rules and that in its rule book already it has the ability to have a permanent suspension or ban or time-bound suspension, but not an indefinite suspension. An indefinite suspension, of course as mentioned, can have a very strong chilling effect around free expression issues. So basically within six months --
ACOSTA: Well, inciting an insurrection could have a real chilling effect on democracy as you note, Thomas. I mean, there is that issue. The president of the United States at the time, many people in the United States believe -- I mean, it's fairly clear to just about anybody who watched what happened on January 6th that he incited an insurrection.
Isn't that something that has to be taken into account? You are not just talking about, you know, regulating just any Tom, Dick or Harry out there. We're talking about somebody who incited an insurrection. HUGHES: So the board has clearly noted the severity of the violation
and has said to Facebook you must go back and apply its rules consistently and fairly. But at the same time, the board has made clear in a set of future-looking recommendations that could be applied to any political leader or influential user for that matter that they don't have unbridled freedom of expression. They don't have greater freedom of expression rights than any other user.
And for that matter, you know, if they are inciting violence or discrimination or lawless action, Facebook has to apply a clear set of penalties. Those penalties could include a permanent ban.
ACOSTA: And let's say Facebook reinstates Trump's account. Do you believe the social network would be responsible if his rhetoric led to more violence?
HUGHES: I mean, essentially, Facebook has to take responsibility for the actions and the penalties that it, you know, lays out for different violations in its community standards. And what the board is saying to Facebook is that it needs more clarity and more consistency in doing that. And at the moment, it is failing in that regard.
ACOSTA: But the board -- if you gave Trump the green light to be back on Facebook, wouldn't you be responsible if he goes about lying about the election again and incites more violence in this country? Wouldn't you, sir, be responsible in part for that?
HUGHES: Well, first of all, it's Facebook that must make that decision, that determination. But secondly, one of the recommendations moving forward is that the company --
ACOSTA: I thought the board had -- I thought the board's decisions were binding. I thought -- I thought you had said in previous interviews that what the board says is binding.
HUGHES: Absolutely. So the board's decisions are binding. The board was asked to look at the indefinite suspension on the 7th of January. The board has clearly said that indefinite suspensions are not consistent, not foreseen in Facebook's rule book and therefore Facebook must go back and look at that again and within six months apply a penalty that takes in consideration the potential harm, but also the severity of the violation. At the same time --
ACOSTA: You understand the question that I'm asking, Thomas, right? Thomas, you understand the question that I am asking. This is not just anybody. This is somebody who incited an insurrection. This is somebody who is still lying about the election. He just did it this past week.
He -- you know, he wakes up in the morning. He lies about the election. He goes to sleep. There are people out there who believe these lies and may be tempted to carry out acts of violence again.
And so, if the board gives him the green light to get back on Facebook and Facebook goes along with that, what I'm asking you sir, is, would that make Facebook and the board, and you in particular, sir, responsible if Trump's rhetoric leads to more violence in this country? I know you are in London, but you have to appreciate, this may feel a little bit different here on the other side of the Atlantic.
HUGHES: Of course. But the board has made a clear set of recommendations looking forward, which are to apply quite a detailed test that actually take into consideration the potential for harm. They are looking at issues like incitement to discrimination or violence or lawless action, and to use that test --
ACOSTA: Now, I understand that, but sir, my question is, would Facebook be responsible -- I guess it's just a yes or no question. I suppose you could answer it yes or no. Would Facebook be responsible if Trump gets back on the platform, lies again, continues to incite people, and there is violence because of that rhetoric? It's just a yes or no. Would Facebook be responsible? Would you and the board be responsible?
HUGHES: What we're saying is that Facebook has to live up to its responsibilities and part of those responsibilities would be looking forward to assess the potential for harm for (inaudible) users or political leaders when they make those determination as to whether what type of penalty might be applied whether someone needs to be suspended.
ACOSTA: I understand that, Thomas. But if you don't mind, and I know it's such a very late hour over there in London. I don't mean to keep cutting you off, but I don't think you're answering my question directly. You're not answering the questions as to whether Facebook and the oversight board would be responsible if Trump continues to lie about the election on that platform, on the Facebook platform, and people carry out violence and people are injured or killed as a result of that.
Wouldn't Facebook, wouldn't the board be, in part, responsible for letting him back on? It is just a yes or no. And you could say yes. You could say no. I'm just -- what do you think? It sounds like you're saying, no, they would not be responsible, and you would not be responsible.
HUGHES: What I am saying is, is that the board has a certain role. The function of the board is to look at the application of the community standards by Facebook. Facebook has a responsibility to make sure that those are consistently applied in a clear and transparent process. And the board's responsibility is to ensure that Facebook does that and to empower users and to make sure that, you know, human rights principles are applied in the way Facebook (inaudible) --
ACOSTA: Yes. Thomas, you seem -- you're saying the same thing over and again, if you don't mind -- if you don't mind me saying, you are kind of saying the same thing over and over again. I understand that you are doing that. My understanding is that the oversight board, you are sounding a lot like the corporation if you don't mind me saying, sir. And I'm just going to have to take it from what you are responding to
this question with, that Facebook and the oversight board would not be responsible if Trump were to continue to lie about the election and there were to be more violence.
I don't mean to cut you off but I have asked you that question three or four times and you just haven't answered the question yes or no. But we'll have to leave it there. Thomas Hughes, thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it. Thanks for staying up at that late hour in London. Hope to have you back again soon. We appreciate it.
Coming up, he's helped feed millions of people, and Chef Jose Andres is joining the fight to get Americans vaccinated. His special offer, next.
ACOSTA: Not vaccinated yet? Chef Jose Andres has an offer for you. Get a shot and he'll give you a $50 gift certificate to one of his D.C. area restaurants. Chef Jose Andres joins me now. Jose, it's great to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.
I wish this offer had been out there before I got my shot because I love your restaurants so much, but that's okay. I'll pay full price. This goes beyond a free doughnut or a free beer. You're running this promotion until 70 percent of the population vaccinated. Why was this so important for you to do right now?
JOSE ANDRES, FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL: Well, obviously, it's just trying to do my little part to keep on the minds of everybody that everybody must be vaccinated. This is about we, the people. It's not like few people should get vaccinated. We know by listening to the experts that at least 70 percent or more of the population should be vaccinated to make sure that we get that immunity herd we are looking for.
So, this is a way to keep the conversation going. I think this administration, President Biden, all the professionals out there are doing a great job making sure that the vaccine is available for everybody. Let's make sure that we don't waste any one second any more to put the country, to put the economy running again and keeping everybody safe.
ACOSTA: And chef, I want to play something that Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier today. Let's listen to that, and we will talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: Former head of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, say it's time to start relaxing the indoor mask mandates. Is he right?
ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, I think so. And I think you're going to probably seeing that as we go along and as more people get vaccinated. The CDC will be almost in real time, George, updating their recommendations and their guidelines. But, yes, we do need to start being more liberal as we get more people vaccinated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Do you think that would be a saving grace for restaurants, a shot in the arm, if you will, to have these indoor mask mandates relaxed? Does that need to start happening, do you think?
ANDRES: Well, obviously, we will follow the advice of the experts. But I think that, obviously, for restaurants, it is going to be very nice. I think the entire restaurant community not only in America, but across the world, they have been very good partners through this pandemic. They told us we had to shut down, we did. Even when they allowed us to reopen with certain percentages, many of us, I know I did that, we always opened with even less percentage.
We tried to put different machines that will filter the air to keep the teams safe, to keep our guests safe. So it's been a difficult balance, but I think finally, once and for all we see the light at the ends of the tunnel. So, for the restaurant industry, this is going to be great.
We see some mistakes, some cities that they've already been at 100 percent capacity for quite some time without seeing biggest spikes in any way or form in the hospitals. I hope that this slowly, from Washington, D.C. and beyond that we will be able to start getting more customers in, and again, putting the economy back to normal, but without relaxing.
We must be alert because this virus is still there. We see what's happening in India. We need to make sure that we are reopened, but at the same time keeping everybody safe.
ACOSTA: And you are not just trying to help here in the United States. As you were just mentioning, your non-profit, World Central Kitchen, has also been working around the clock to deliver meals to hospitals in India where the crisis has just exploded there, as we've all been seeing. What has this been like for your staff to be on the ground there?
ANDRES: Well, we are in many places, like St. Vincent where the volcano there we were. But India, we see that the situation is getting very, very bad. We already got experience in this pandemic. I mean, remember, Jim, that we were already, over a year ago, in Yokohama, Japan when the first cruise ship was arriving with COVID cases.
So, the men and women of World Central Kitchen, we've been there in the front lines next to our hub workers trying to be part, in our case, of the solution. What we are doing in many cities all across India, obviously in Calcutta, we are in Delhi, we are in Mumbai, with good partners, many chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor, one of the most famous chefs in India, probably one of the most watched T.V. chefs in the world, creating systems to bring relief to all of those hospitals that they require some support.
This is what we are going to be doing for the next weeks until, hopefully, the people of India can start getting control of this virus. And the only way we have for support in our case, we are organization of cooks. We bring food to the people that are in need of it in emergencies. That's what we are going to be doing like we did in America and in more than 14 countries all across this pandemic.
ACOSTA: That is fantastic. You are doing great work out there, Chef Jose Andres. Thank you for joining us. Everything you are doing, the world is your kitchen, you are setting an example and we appreciate it so much. Hope to speak to you again real soon.
ANDRES: Thank you, Jim.
ACOSTA: OK. From one controversial decision to another, coming up, lawmakers in South Carolina, get this, they are voting to bring backfiring squads as a method of execution. We will talk about that next.
ACOSTA: Now to South Carolina where state lawmakers are on the verge of bringing back firing squads, yes, firing squads, as a method of execution amid a shortage of drugs to perform lethal injections. That is correct. You didn't mishear me. They are talking about firing squads in South Carolina.
This bill, which was approved by the state house earlier this week is expected to be signed into law in the coming days. It would require death row inmates to choose between a firing squad or the electric chair whenever lethal injection is not possible.
The state is one of only eight to still use the electric chair and would become only the fourth to allow a firing squad. And joining me now is South Carolina state representative, Justin Bamberg. Representative, thank you so much for joining us.
You compared this bill to North Korea. Help us understand this debate that is unfolding in your state right now. It sounds like something from the Wild West days. I mean, I understand there are still some states that have this on their books, but it just seems bizarre that your state would be moving in that direction.
JUSTIN BAMBERG, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, sir, and thank you for having me. Happy Mother's Day to everybody out there. It's a travesty at a time when we should be moving forward, we are moving backwards.
And yes, I've said it, why would South Carolina go the direction that North Korea is going? It makes no sense. You're talking about, number one, problems with the electric chair and the death penalty in general on the hills (inaudible) abolishing capital punishment. That's the discussion that we should have particularly when you
consider the fact that out of the 282 executions the state has had since 1912 approximately 75 percent of them have been African- Americans in a state where African-Americans make up less than 37 percent of the population.
It's like the Republican Party is on that sinking ship we heard about earlier on the show today. And they are trying to bring the rest of the country down with them.
ACOSTA: And, Representative, the "New York Times" points out that there are problems that exist with lethal injection as well. Medical experts have argued, quote, we can put this up on screen, "while lethal injection gives the appearance of a more peaceful death, the paralytic component of the three-drug cocktail that comes with it masks an excruciating demise that can stretch on for 15 minutes or longer." What's the solution here? Should your state abolish the death penalty?
BAMBERG: We should absolutely abolish the death penalty. In fact, if there was any state in the country that should have been first on that list it should have been us. South Carolina is home to George Stinney. And for most who don't know, in 1944, he was the youngest person executed in America at 14 years old.
Ironically enough, he was so small he wouldn't fit in the chair and they actually put a bible under him for him to sit on so they could electrocute him. Fast forward to 2014, like many people who have been on death row, George Stinney was exonerated. He was actually innocent. So, we're heading the wrong direction.
You know, I would hope that the governor would wake up tomorrow morning and have a change a heart. But he has been an avid supporter of Donald Trump along with a lot of the Republicans in this state. I don't think, unfortunately, we are going to get help on the legislative level. Hopefully, the court will help us out. There are issues with this bill from, in fact, it's retroactive.
So for innocent individuals who picked lethal injection, they are going to be forced to be electrocuted. And I think that there are some constitutional issues there. But all we can do is keep fighting, keep working and keep (inaudible) pay attention and go out and vote because in a state that just months ago or weeks ago still feverishly fought to protect the heartbeat, it's very odd now that so many of them, I would say, people who voted to protect fetal heartbeats are voting to have other people die (inaudible).
ACOSTA: All right. It's going to be an intense debate to be sure in your state. We appreciate you talking to us about it. South Carolina state representative, Justin Bamberg. Thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it. Good talking to you sir.
BAMBERG: Thank you, Jim. ACOSTA: And a quick programming note. On tonight's brand-new episode of "United Shades of America," W. Kamau Bell is exploring the lack of equity and representation in science and technology. That airs tonight at 10:00 right here on CNN.
And after a disappointing jobs report, what is Wall Street watching for this week? CNN's Christine Romans has your "Before the Bell Report."
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim. Rising prices for everything from lumber to diapers to steel are raising concerns the economy could overheat. This week, fresh inflation data will reveal just how hot the economy is running. Reports on both consumer and producer prices for April are due.
In March consumer prices rose for the fourth month in a row and producer prices posted their largest annual gain in nine and a half years. Federal Reserve Chief Jay Powell has been very clear in his message, the central bank expects inflation to be transitory, temporary, and it will keep interest rates low as a result.
Investors though still on edge about that. Here's what Laura Kane of UBS told "CNN Business" last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA KANE, UBS GLOBAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT: We think that inflation may cause days of volatility. We may see risk-off days like we have seen over the past few sessions, but we don't think it derails this recovery or the upward trajectory of stocks overall.
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ROMANS: Despite inflation concerns, the April jobs report shows recovery from the pandemic is still bumpy. The economy added back just 266,000 jobs. That was a big disappointment. And the jobless rate ticked up to 6.1 percent. The pandemic created huge dislocations in the labor market. It's going to take time for jobs to normalize. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.
ACOSTA: The anthem of its time has become the anthem for this time. It's been 50 years since the release of Marvin Gaye's ground breaking album "What's Going on." A song that immortalized the forces shaping American culture in the 1970's. As part of a new CNN Special, CNN's Don Lemon sat down with Spike Lee about for a very candid conversation about how Marvin Gaye's music has inspired so many people.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Jim, I can't wait for you and everyone at home to see this documentary. I really can't. And you're not just going to hear me talk about it, you're going to hear from Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and filmmaker Spike Lee. Spike Lee also talks about the impact the album had on him. Here it is.
SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: Marvin was telling us what was going on, like he had an antenna. His album came in 197. I was a sophomore in high school. John Dewey High School in Coney Island. And in the library, they had turntables. So, if you brought an album -- they had headphones -- you could put the album on and listen through it on headphones. And so I would cut class to listen to this album. This mojo right here, timeless. Timeless.
LEMON: How much do you think he was influenced by his brother's involvement in Vietnam?
LEE: Marvin is getting a firsthand account of Vietnam from his brother, but then Marvin is in Detroit, the big D, he is seeing the bloods come back on heroin, handicapped or in coffins. The song, "What's Happening Brother," that's from someone who just came back to the world. They called U.S. the world.
LEMON: War is hell, when will it end?
LEE: War is hell, when will it end?
LEMON: So Marvin Gaye's brother, a huge impact on the album, but one of many. So, you've got to watch the docs (ph) so you can hear more about what inspired Marvin Gaye, why the album is still such -- has such an impact 50 years almost to the day that it was released, and we're still dealing with the issues in that album. And during it's time, that album was really one of the first albums to talk about all of these issues.
ACOSTA: Can't wait to see it. Be sure to tune in. Don's special, "What's Going On: Marvin Gaye's Anthem for the Ages" airs tonight at 8:00 right here on CNN. And we're back in a moment.
ACOSTA: Officials in Afghanistan say at least 50 people were killed and more than 100 others injured after an explosion near a girl's high school in Kabul. Officials say the blast was caused by a car bomb. Two other IED's exploded after the initial bomb went off. No has claimed responsibility and a Taliban spokesman says the group denies any involvement.
The U.S. is in the process of pulling its remaining troops out of Afghanistan to meet a September 11th deadline.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.