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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict; U.S. Faces Patchwork of Mask Rules; U.S. Republicans Try to Rewrite History on Capitol Riot; U.S. Republicans Replace Trump Critic and House Representative Liz Cheney; Video Shows Death of Mentally Ill Man in Police Custody; Japanese CEO Urges Government to Cancel Games. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired May 15, 2021 - 04:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A rising death toll in Gaza and violent protests rock the West Bank as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies.

Mask confusion in the U.S. over the latest recommendations from the CDC.

And startling video involving the death of a mentally ill Black man, as sheriff's deputies tried to remove him from a jail cell.

Live, from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all of you watching here, in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


BRUNHUBER: As the death toll climbs in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes and artillery, deadly violence is now spreading to the West Bank. At least 10 Palestinians were reportedly killed on Friday and many others were injured as they clashed with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

Now Israel's bombardment of Gaza has been going on around the clock. The Palestinian health ministry says at least 126 Palestinians have been killed, including dozens of children, since the conflict began. Eight Israelis have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza and most of them are being destroyed by Israel's Iron Dome system.

But some have slipped through, with deadly effect. Journalist Neri Zilber joins us now, live, from Tel Aviv.

More rockets, more threats, a widening area of conflict. It seems clear, things are heading in the wrong direction.

Are you expecting things to escalate even further today?

NERI ZILBER, JOURNALIST: Well, that's the concern. After a bloody week, tensions and clashes in Jerusalem, open warfare in Gaza, intercommunal riots between Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish citizens of Israel, all across cities.

In Israel yesterday we saw it spread into the West Bank, a deadly day in the West Bank, deadliest day, for many years with, on top of that, today is a major milestone in the political calendar where they mark the creation Israel in 1948.

But given the events of the past week, we are looking at this day, in particular, as a major signal of where things are headed. The fear is that it will only escalate, from here.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. That seems ominous. We know there have been efforts to defuse the tension by regional players and internationally by countries like the U.S. It may not seem like it, from the scenes we're playing here.

But is there any sense that there is any headway being made, behind the scenes?

ZILBER: Well, the Biden administration has sent an envoy, a senior State Department official, to the region. He's been in talks with Israeli officials over the past day. We know that the Egyptian government has, also, sent a delegation and is working behind the scenes as it always, usually, does, to try to deescalate the fighting, primarily between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

But given the events of the past few days and the bloodshed yesterday, as well as, as I mentioned, today, no one is quite confident that they are going to be able to bring the fighting to a close, anytime soon, unfortunately.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Well, we'll stay on the story. Thank you so much, Neri Zilber, in Tel Aviv.

Regional support is growing for Palestinians, as the violence continues to escalate. From Istanbul to Jordan, protesters have taken to the streets to march in solidarity with those in Gaza. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz was at one of those rallies, in Lebanon. She joins us, now, live, from Beirut.

Salma, the anger seems to be spreading with deadly consequences.

What's the latest there?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Kim, yes, I was at a demonstration yesterday. This one was organized by Hezbollah here in Beirut. A few dozen people came out, expressed their solidarity, a lot of the rhetoric you would expect.

They are accusing Israel of war crimes, crimes against humanity, standing in solidarity with the families in Gaza that are living under bombardment.

And today, those demonstrations, those protests are expected to grow. And that's because, as you just heard from my colleague, it is the day where people commemorate the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that were displaced in 1948 in the conflict around the founding of the state of Israel.

There were hundreds of thousands of refugees. They are descendants now.


ABDELAZIZ: They number in the millions and they are spread out across the region, across Syria, across Jordan, across here in Lebanon, where a big demonstration is planned for the day.

It is called for along the border fence between Lebanon and Israel. Multiple political factions urging everyone to come out. And the concern is this could turn bloody. That's because, yesterday, there was a 21-year-old Lebanese man who tried to storm that fence. Israeli military fired a rocket. He sustained wounds and died in hospital.

And as you know, any bloodshed along these fault lines could escalate tensions. But along these very traditional demonstrations, the rhetoric that you have heard from this region for decades around this conflict, there is, also, a very new reality that's happening, a big shift.

And that's the normalization agreements. You have multiple countries, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, others normalizing their relationship with Israel. The argument being, over the course of the last year, as these agreements were being made, is that it gives them greater influence when it comes to mediation and negotiations when those happen -- and if that happens.

That "if" moment is happening right now. Potentially, mediations starting to calm this recent spat. This recent escalation in tensions and the question is, with these Gulf states, with these normalization agreements really mean they will have a greater voice to stand up and call for demands for people in Gaza, for greater rights for civilians or just empty words, Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Let's hope it bears fruit, certainly. Salma Abdelaziz, in Beirut, thank you so much.

Americans are trying to navigate new guidance from the federal government that says it's now safe for fully vaccinated people to remove their masks in most settings. The abrupt change is sparking widespread confusion.

Just over 36 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, which means most people, still, need to wear a face covering. But now this is just national guidance. While some states are jumping at the opportunity to ditch their mask mandates, others are waiting. CNN's Nick Watt has details.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive has never been lower than it has been these past few days, ever. That's big. So is this.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you're fully vaccinated you no locker need to wear a mask?

WATT: Too soon?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: This change was really abrupt. The CDC went from zero to 100 overnight.

WATT: Let's break it down. Just the fully vaccinated, so just over one-third of the population and its guidance, actual laws and mandates --

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: These decisions are going to have to be made at the local level.

WATT: Take Hawaii, for now --

GOV. DAVID IGE (D-HI): My mask mandate continues to be enforced. Everyone must wear their masks indoors.

WATT: Minnesota's mask mandate already no more.

GOV. TIM WALZ (D-MN): If you're going into a business where folks are unmasked, you know that they're vaccinated, it's a safe thing to do.

WATT: But how do you know they are vaccinated?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: This really is the honor system so I'm going to wear a mask if I'm in an indoor public place.

WATT: Kroger, Home Depot, Starbucks all still insisting staff and customers continue to mask up. Some school districts already dropped mandates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zero, no one wears mask, (INAUDIBLE) unmask (ph). It's pretty sweet, pretty dope that we got rid of it.

WATT: Chad is now eligible for a vaccine but remember, younger kids still are not.

FAUCI: High school kids, adolescents certainly will be able to be vaccinated by the time we get to the fall year but I think it's going to take until the end of the calendar year to get elementary school kids vaccinated.

WATT: The CDC, we're told, struggling to convince vaccine hesitant Republicans. It's kind of a mess to figure out with this particular audience who resonates with them, said one source, because they see vaccines as taking away their freedom.

Does stuff like this actually help?

BRIAN CRICHTON, PRESIDENT, TALLADEGA SUPER SPEEDWAY: Fans that come out tomorrow and if they are either tested or get the vaccination, they will be able to take two laps around the Talladega Super Speedway, the world's biggest and baddest and fastest track.


BRUNHUBER: Top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is insisting the new guidance follows the science. And while he says fully vaccinated Americans should leave their masks behind, he says many students will need to wait, a little longer. Listen to this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: People feel that, which they should now, based on the data, that it is safe for them not only outdoors but indoors. They should feel comfortable in not wearing a mask.

The schools should be open, face to face, in-person classes, in the fall. We, absolutely, have to do that. And in those situations, if the child, which, obviously, elementary school kids are not vaccinated, they should wear a mask.


BRUNHUBER: CNN medical analyst, Dr. Jorge Rodriguez joins me now from Los Angeles. He is also a board-certified internal medicine specialist and viral researcher.

Thank you so much for joining us, Doctor. The CDC decision seems to have thrown the country into chaos. Every -- every jurisdiction, every business, it seems, now, forced to make its own rules.


BRUNHUBER: Just -- just anecdotally, using the grocery stores in my neighborhood as an example. The Publix, on one side of the street, dropped its mask mandate. The Kroger's, literally on the other side of the street, is keeping its mask mandate.

Already, we are seeing fights break out at restaurants and other businesses, people having to defend their mask mandates. I saw you tweeted this. We will pop this up here.

"Without a -- without a precise and clear way of knowing who is fully vaccinated, this is all the CDC just gave private businesses -- " and you can see there, a can of worms, which seems pretty apt. So tell us, a bit more.

Like, what -- what do you make of this?

DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the CDC's science is absolutely correct. That, being vaccinated not only keeps you from getting seriously ill, it also keeps you from spreading the disease.

But I think the announcement that everybody -- or people that are vaccinated -- see, even I made the mistake -- that people that are vaccinated can take off their mask was, A, too abrupt. And, B, a little bit premature. So a lot of people took this to mean that it's now OK to take your

masks, you know, anybody can take their mask off. I know a lot of people said that. Now remember, the CDC gives guidelines. They don't create laws. They don't create policy. That's made by states and, you know, in local jurisdictions.

So I think, the fact that it was just thrown out there is what's causing this chaos because people that don't want to wear a mask, man, that's what they are going to hang their hat on, now.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. I mean, the CDC was saying, you know, they were trying to stop the confusion because the studies were showing the vaccine is effective.

And so, therefore, the question is, if the vaccines are effective, then why should you have to wear a mask?

But doesn't common sense, sort of, suggest, as you were saying, that people who haven't made vaccine -- getting a vaccine a priority -- those types of people, I guess, will be the same people who -- who will now, gladly, you know, sort of throw their mask away and spurn social distancing?

RODRIGUEZ: Right, which is ironic, because, listen, it's simple. It isn't rocket science. It may be science but it isn't rocket science. The virus has somewhere to go and someone to infect. The people that are vaccinated are not the ones that are going to get sick and get infected. It's the people that are not vaccinated.

So if someone, for some political reason, that is not vaccinated does not want to wear a mask, they are getting themselves into even greater jeopardy. So we need to be clear. People that are vaccinated are safe -- rare -- I mean, basically, safe to go without masks.

I, personally, I'm going to go without masks around my friends that I know are vaccinated. Call me what you want. Maybe, I still have what's called cave syndrome. But in large groups, I don't know who's not vaccinated. I'm probably, still, going to wear a mask.

BRUNHUBER: Exactly. But then -- then, are we expecting to see, maybe, a spike in cases that's -- that's linked to this?

RODRIGUEZ: That is very possible. That is -- that is very possible. So again, we, Americans, are so great. But sometimes, we think we are the only country in the world and we are not.

So you have to realize this is not just an infection of the United States. And as soon as we start traveling to other countries -- and other countries want us because they need our business and -- and we want to go there -- we are going to be exposed to many variants and many, different possible viruses that we're going to bring back home.

So people have to realize that, today, the CDC may say, hey, it is safe, if you are vaccinated, to stop wearing a mask.

But tomorrow, their recommendation may be, you know what? Things are too hot now. Everybody has to put their masks back on.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. But by then, I think, it'll be tough to stuff that genie back in the bottle.


BRUNHUBER: I want to ask about kids because that's another area of confusion. In the clip we played just a few minutes ago, we heard Dr. Fauci say unvaccinated kids in schools should, still, be masked.

But as soon as the CDC announcement came out, a whole litany of school boards dropped their mask mandates for their staff and -- and for their students or, you know, school's almost over. But plenty of kids will be herded together at camps and other summer activities, many of them, indoors.

So what's the worry here for those under 12, who still won't be vaccinated for quite some time, especially, given that about, what, as a quarter of infections in the U.S. right now are -- are with children?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes. You know, the -- the worry is that, like I said before, they are now the available hosts for the vaccine -- I mean -- excuse me, for the virus. The people that are vaccinated, the virus isn't going to infect them. They're going to find somebody else that they can replicate inside of.

And that leads to unvaccinated people, of which children are a large segment.


RODRIGUEZ: So I believe, that children that are not vaccinated, which is all of them, should still wear masks. And there should, still, be social distancing in school. If the faculty is vaccinated, that's great. That's one less chance that the children are going to catch it. But all children, unvaccinated, are still susceptible to the virus.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. All right. Well, all of this heralds, you know, a return to normalcy. But it still comes with a huge asterisk here, as we try to -- to muddle our way through this. Thank you, so much, for helping us do that. Appreciate it, Dr. Jorge Rodriguez.

RODRIGUEZ: Pleasure.

Still ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, they said the state was the enemy of the people. Messages sent by a Proud Boys leader becomes Exhibit A in the case against the U.S. Capitol rioters.

Plus, a mentally ill inmate dies in a U.S. jail.

Question now is how far should police go in using force against people, like him?

Stay with us. (MUSIC PLAYING)



BRUNHUBER: On Capitol Hill, some Republicans are trying to rewrite history about January's Capitol insurrection. But as CNN's Jessica Schneider reports, the House has reached a deal to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the riot and uncover the truth.



JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Federal prosecutors are poring over thousands of pages of newly revealed messages from key Proud Boys leader and Capitol riot defendant Ethan Nordean. The internal communications between Nordean and other Proud Boys take place over text, telegram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

And prosecutors say they prove how the pro-Trump extremist group plotted out the capital insurrection.

One telegram exchange reads, "I want to see 1000s of normies burn that city to ash today." "Would be epic." "The state is the enemy of the people."

"We are the people." "F yes." "God let it happen. I will settle with seeing them smash some pigs to dust."

Nordean and other Proud Boys have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and other charges.


SCHNEIDER: New exclusive body camera footage shows how D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone was targeted and surrounded by members of the mob on January 6. He pleaded for his life by shouting out about his family.

MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: Excruciating pain and screaming out. And I remember the fear of losing control at that moment.

SCHNEIDER: Fanone said he relived the trauma of January 6 when he listened to a House hearing this week where several Republican lawmakers lied about what unfolded that day.

REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): There was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To my knowledge, not a single person has been charged with a crime of insurrection.

REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): If you didn't know the T.V. footage was a video from January the six, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

FANONE: Those are lies. And peddling that bullshit is an assault on every officer that fought to defend the Capitol. It's disgraceful.

SCHNEIDER: Meanwhile, some members of Congress are still concerned about their safety when it comes to fellow lawmakers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They need to get rid of your diaper and come out and be able to talk to the American citizens.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): CNN has uncovered new video later deleted from Facebook Live from February 2019, a Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene before being elected to Congress, taunting Progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez through a mail slot, urging her to come out.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, crazy eyes, crazy eyes, nutty Cortez. OK.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The two had a face-to-face confrontation inside the Capitol this week.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): This is a woman who is deeply unwell and clearly needs some help.

SCHNEIDER: And Marjorie Taylor Greene came under fire after January 6th, when her close ally, Anthony Aguero, was seen on video inside the Capitol and later admitting on tape that he was among those who entered the building.

Now as for Officer Fanone, he actually sent a letter to lawmakers, calling on them to recognize what happened that day and to commend officers' bravery. Four people have been charged in connection to that attack on Officer Fanone -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: U.S. House Republicans have chosen a replacement for their number three leadership position. On Friday, they voted in New York representative Elise Stefanik as their conference chair.

Stefanik had backed an objection to the Electoral College tally, which affirmed President Joe Biden's victory, despite false claims of voter fraud. She, also, supported a Texas lawsuit that tried to overturn the election results in several states.

Earlier, this week, the Republicans ousted Liz Cheney from the leadership role. The Wyoming representative has denounced Donald Trump's Big Lie that the election was stolen from him. And it's not just Washington where the Big Lie is playing out. Kyung Lah takes us, now, to Arizona, where a controversial vote audit is on hold, for now.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Moving day in Phoenix, for the precious cargo of democracy. Approximately 2.1 million ballots cast in the 2020 election in Arizona's most populous county, Maricopa, lifted by forklifts, loaded onto trucks, leaving this coliseum because of scheduled high school graduations.

Driven across the hot pavement of the Arizona fairgrounds, the trucks passed by the Crazy Times carnival. For the last two weeks, the carnival has been running. Carnival goers heading here when they have to use the bathroom.

That same green building, where Maricopa County's ballots are being housed for the next week, sitting just a few hundred yards south of the coliseum, where the audit was happening, the Wesley Bolin building comes with a warning.

Facility rental paperwork states, due to temperatures during the summer months, this building is not recommended for use.


LAH (voice-over): The trailer says the Arizona Senate liaison are being individually cooled.

LAH: Will that facility be controlled, climate controlled, as well?

Moisture controlled?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Means they'll be in a locked container with 24/7 armed guards, fencing and 24/7 livestreaming cameras.

LAH (voice-over): All of this as a partisan-led exercise in pursuit of the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from former-president Donald Trump. Despite two audits by Maricopa County. The GOP- controlled Senate hired a little-known tech company called Cyber Ninjas to run this count.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see something like this, whereby, you're actually moving it in the midst of the process and then stopping, altogether, for a week on end and then, getting restarted, yet again, that is something I've never seen.

LAH (voice-over): Ryan Maceas (ph) is an expert in election technology. He watched the ballots move hired by the Arizona secretary of state to observe Cyber Ninjas' ballot count. As ridiculous as all of this looks, Maceas fears the fallout.

RYAN MACEAS, ELECTION TECHNOLOGY EXPERT: Unfortunately, we are at a spot right now where faith has been lost ,and again, we should try to build the truth and building back trust.

LAH: The ballots will remain here, in this green building, for a week. Then, they will be moved back into the coliseum, when the counting will resume. We don't have an exact timeline. The Cyber Ninjas, Arizona Senate Republicans say, they want to try to finish in two weeks. But the next real, hard deadline is July 10th, when the gun show comes to town -- Kyung Lah, CNN, Phoenix.


BRUNHUBER: The barrages of airstrikes and artillery in Gaza and rocket fire on Israel are taking a terrible toll. And right now, there's no end in sight. We'll have the latest from the region, next.

And in Japan, there is lots of pushback against hosting the games this year, including from a top CEO, who isn't mincing words. That's later in the hour. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Back to our top story. The intense fighting between Israeli forces and Gaza militants is showing no signs of deescalating. Friday saw a back and forth of Israeli airstrikes and Gaza rocket fire, causing the death toll to climb.

Israel says eight of its citizens have been killed since the exchange of fire began Monday. Palestinian officials say at least 126 people have lost their lives, in Gaza, including 31 children. The U.N. says more than 10,000 people are now displaced, their homes reduced to rubble.

The Palestinian mission to the U.N. is, again, appealing for international intervention to end the bloodshed. But Israel has rejected any talk of a ceasefire and no one may be suffering more than the children of Gaza. CNN's Arwa Damon has their tragic story.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sister unable to comprehend the loss. A father gripped by gut wrenching pain, a family unable to understand why.

Why did 11-year-old Hussein Hamad have to die?

A Palestinian children's rights organization says the cause of death is unclear. There were both rockets being fired and war planes overhead. The health ministry in Gaza says it was an airstrike and, in the family's mind, there is no doubt.

"Why did you have to kill him?" his uncle asks. "They kill and there is no one to make them answer for it. The whole world is watching.

"How can the adults unable to cope with their own sorrow wipe the tears of the children and reassure them that everything will be all right, that this too shall pass? Loss like this, it never does."

Two-year-old Yazan dead, along with two siblings and a young cousin Ibrahim Hassanain also dead, Hamada (ph) and Ahmad (ph) and Amour (ph), the growing list of children forever gone. There is no escaping from Gaza, a densely packed tiny strip of land

under Israeli blockade. Hamas fires rockets towards Israel and Israel dispenses collective punishment. Where there are no shelters, no air raid sirens, just warnings from the Israelis that send families pouring into the streets with what they can carry.

"What should we do?" this father asks helpless. "Of course, we will leave. Should we wait for them to kill us and our kids?"

There are no reassuring words, no tucking their children safely into bed, telling them that the nightmare is over.

"Please, please people, have some empathy with us. We are dying every day. This is too much," another father pleads.

Israel says its strikes are precise, targeting Hamas. But targeting someone in a residential apartment building is to target all of its residents. The shockwave ripples through the neighborhood. Windows smash, walls crack and crumble, shrapnel flies.

And even if they managed to flee before the strikes, all they owned in life is reduced to rubble. No one can promise these children that, once they heal and go back home, if they even have a home to go back to, that they will be safe to do so for this is Gaza, where, even if this round of bombardment does pass, the next one will always loom -- Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul.



BRUNHUBER: And joining us now is Julie Norman, a lecturer in politics and international relations at the University College London.

Thank you so much for joining us. We have watched this cycle of violence happen again and again. But I am hearing from experts, from those on the ground there, that -- that there is something a little bit different about what's going now, whether it's the sheer number of Arab citizens in Israel participating in the protests or the ugly violence in these mixed cities between Jews and Arabs.

So put this into historical context for us.


BRUNHUBER: What -- what are you seeing?

JULIE NORMAN, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Sure, Kim. Well, what we are seeing this week is very reminiscent of the so-called Gaza Wars that we saw in 2008, in 2012 and in 2014, where we, again, saw Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rockets going back and forth and, quite tragically, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties.

What is different, this time, is, as you noted, it is extending just beyond the Gaza and Israel border in the sense that we've seen violence erupt, also, in many Israeli cities. Many of these cities are cities that have been relatively peaceful, have sometimes tensions but, overall, pretty peaceful coexistence between Arab and Jewish residents.

Instead, we have seen much violence in these cities as well. About 800 arrests over the last week with Jewish and Arab citizens essentially attacking each other, obviously, a very small minority but a very sizeable impact.

The other thing that's different, that we are seeing, is the scale and scope of the Hamas rockets. So in the past, in 2014, for example, Hamas launched about 4,000 rockets over a 50-day period. They have already launched about 2,000 rockets this time over a five-day period.

And they have also demonstrated that the rockets can reach further into Israel than in the past. So this has really caused concern for Israeli officials, and from their perspective, has rationalized some of the response into Gaza, with trying to disrupt the infrastructure behind the rockets.

BRUNHUBER: Now a cynic or maybe a political realist might say that, as horrific as this is for the victims, this has been beneficial for politicians; specifically, prime minister Netanyahu, who might be getting a political lifeline here.

And Hamas, which -- which had lost popularity and now, has a very visible way to show its relevance. I know, this is something you have written about extensively, how -- how political expediency on both sides is feeding into the conflict.

NORMAN: Well, that's exactly right, Kim. This conflict and crisis right now has emerged, at a time of leadership crises in both communities. In Israel, Netanyahu has been unable to form a government. This is after four rounds of elections in Israel in two years.

And at the same time, in Palestine, elections that were supposed to be held this summer have been indefinitely postponed. And what we see is both Netanyahu and then Hamas and the Palestinian side really taking advantage of this moment.

For Netanyahu, trying to show Israelis that this is not the time to change course, showing that he's strong on security and defense.

On the Palestinian side, it's really Hamas trying to project their image as the voice of resistance for the Palestinian people, especially, in contrast to the Palestinian Authority, which many Palestinians see as very weak, as obsolete. And Hamas, really trying to carve out their voice and their space, as a leading Palestinian group.

BRUNHUBER: Now we've seen rockets targeting Israel from -- from Lebanon, Jordan, Syria.

What are the regional implications here?

And do the neighboring Arab countries have to get more assertive in pressuring Hamas?

And maybe, the Arab countries that had normalized relations with Israel, to do the same with the Israelis?

NORMAN: Well, we've certainly seen a lot of popular -- popular demonstrations, support for Palestinians, coming out from citizens of neighboring Arab countries, especially Jordan and Lebanon, trying to show solidarity.

From Arab leaders and from Arab states, we see, as usual, rhetorical solidarity and support for Palestinians but, really, not many moves or actions to really do much to support Palestinians in their cause or in this broader conflict.

Where we are seeing some movement is in the emphasis on trying to get a ceasefire. And so, just to underscore the fact that the U.S. cannot deal, directly, with Hamas.

But -- but the U.S. does work through allies, like Egypt, like Qatar, who do have direct relations with Hamas and are trying to use their leverage with that group to get the ceasefire in place. So I think, that's where we'll see the emphasis in the coming days.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. I mean, speaking of the U.S., domestically here, we've reported on how the Biden administration sort of wanted to move away from the Middle East and deprioritize it but -- but are now being dragged back in.

Republicans are fairly united in backing Israel. Biden is facing some pressure from the Left to support the Palestinians.

So where does that leave the president now?

NORMAN: Well, certainly, the administration was not expecting this crisis to emerge and was really not prepared for it. They do not have an ambassador on the ground yet in Israel. They have just sent a diplomat to the region to try and assist with the deescalation and negotiations.


NORMAN: But as you noted, Biden has been looking to kind of wind down some of the U.S. commitments in the Middle East, to pivot, more, to Asia and to China. But he's finding it very difficult to do that with what we see emerging.

And it should, also, be noted that, again, this is really revealing some rifts within the Democratic Party. Many on the Left, in the Democratic Party, would like to see more action in solidarity with Palestinians.

Biden and his team are reflecting more of a traditional, democratic approach of restating commitment to Israel and Israel's right to defend itself. And always, of course, under the backdrop, as well, of Biden trying to get the Iran nuclear deal through, which has also resulted in tensions with Israel. So it's a situation that Biden certainly didn't want to be in, at this

point. But his team is really just forced to respond with the large role that the U.S. has played in this conflict, in the past and in the present.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Julie Norman, thank you so much for analyzing that for us. Really appreciate it.

NORMAN: Thanks, Kim.


BRUNHUBER: Well, we are seeing images of solidarity around the world for both sides of this grueling and devastating conflict.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): This mosque in Brazil illuminated its dome with both the Brazilian and Palestinian flags. And with it, a message reading, "Free and sovereign Palestine."

But thousands of kilometers away in Ukraine, an Israeli flag flew in the skies of Kiev, attached to a drone. The company behind this gesture says it wanted to express its condolences and show support for the people of Israel.


BRUNHUBER: Police use of force against mentally ill inmates is coming under new scrutiny in the U.S. Disturbing video documents just how far police went to subdue this man in the jail where he lost his life. Stay with us.




BRUNHUBER: How far should law enforcement go in using force against suspects with mental illness?

That question is being raised in the U.S., after the death of an inmate in the state of South Carolina.


BRUNHUBER: The incident was recorded on video that was released Thursday and, we want to warn you, the video is disturbing. Natasha Chen reports from South Carolina.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On New Year's Eve Jamal Sutherland's families as they brought him to a behavioral health facility, as they say he long struggled with mental illness. Five days later, 31-year-old Sutherland allegedly punched a staff member in the midst of a fight between patients and staff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Several patients are fighting right now.

CHEN (voice-over): Sutherland was taken to the county jail but not to the medical facility. Instead to an area reserved for misbehaving inmates according to a family attorney.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. CHEN (voice-over): At about 9:15 the next morning, Charleston County deputies attempted to move Sutherland from his jail cell for his scheduled bond hearing.

SUTHERLAND: I'm warning you, I'm warning you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And drop the spoon in front of the door.

CHEN (voice-over): In the videos a deputy is heard saying Sutherland has refused to leave his cell and took a quote aggressive stance. At about 9:29 a.m. you can hear sounds of pepper spray being used.

And Sutherland coughing with a blanket around his head. After a few minutes of Sutherland not complying to come to the door, another round of pepper spray. Then deputies open the door a third time.


CHEN (voice-over): Then you can hear a Taser firing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn in your stomach.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn in your stomach. Turn in your stomach.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand to the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slide to the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand slide to the door.



SUTHERLAND: I can't stand up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand up, stand up.

CHEN (voice-over): Deputies tell Sutherland to keep sliding toward the door which he does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the meaning of this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep coming, keep coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn in your stomach. Turn in your stomach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn in your stomach.


CHEN (voice-over): Deputies then enter the cell to handcuff him.


SUTHERLAND: I'm not resisting Officer.



CHEN (voice-over): Deputies tased him again. Sutherland screams. His legs flailing.


CHEN (voice-over): This chaotic struggle goes on for about two minutes.

SUTHERLAND: I can't breathe.


CHEN (voice-over): Until Sutherland is eventually handcuffed. Two minutes later he's dragged out of his cell and into the common area. By the time Sutherland is lifted into a wheelchair, he is motionless.




CHEN (voice-over): Medics arrive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got tased about probably six to eight times at least.


CHEN (voice-over): And after EMS spends about 35 minutes trying to revive him, a blanket is placed over his body.

CHEN: Jamal Sutherland's mother spoke during a press conference, saying that mental illness does not give anybody the right to put their hands on her child and that Jamal was an example of what she wanted him to be.

After that, the sheriff also gave a press conference, saying that the deputies involved have been put on administrative desk duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

She said in the meantime, changes have been made. For example, residents of the facility can now waive their appearance for a bond hearing and there is a policy that residents must get the medications they need.

She, also, acknowledged that they need more mental health professionals because, right now, there is only one in the sheriff's office -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Charleston County, South Carolina.


BRUNHUBER: And we'll be right back.





BRUNHUBER: The Tokyo Olympic Games are scheduled to start in just a couple of months. But coronavirus is still spreading quickly in Japan. And protesters, doctors and an increasing number of business leaders in Japan say holding the games, this year, is just dangerous.

Selina Wang spoke with the CEO of a major Japanese company and joins us now from Tokyo.

So Selina, it's one thing for the public to be against it.

But when the corporate support starts to waver, could that be a turning point?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kim, the real decision maker here, the IOC, insists that these games will be held, as planned as does the Japanese government. But we are sort of reading -- reaching an inflexion point here.

With the mood on the ground shifting. Public opposition is mounting. And snow balling. For months now, we have known from the public polls, which say that more than half of the population here, in Japan, thinks the games should not be held this year.

But now, we are also starting to see high-profile voices come out, including in the corporate world. I sat down with the CEO of Rakuten, a tech giant, the leading ecommerce company here in Japan. He is one of the most high-profile executives here.

And he tells me he is urging the government to cancel the games. In our exclusive interviews, his comments really amount to the strongest public criticism against the games, from any corporate leader in Japan. Take a listen here.


HIROSHI MIKITANI, RAKUTEN CEO: It's dangerous to host the big international event from all over the world. So it is -- the risk is too big. I am against having the Olympics this year.

WANG: Why do you think the government has been so forceful in this determination, that they will still go ahead, despite the public opposition, including from business leaders like yourself?

MIKITANI: I do not know.


MIKITANI: To be honest. I call it -- this a suicide mission, to be very honest. And we should stop it. I am trying to convince them but not successful so far.



WANG: I, also, asked the CEO what grade he would give the Japanese government for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he would give it a 2 out of 10. Japan, right now, has only fully vaccinated about 1 percent of its population.

And it's not just Rakuten but also Toyota, which is a top sponsor of the Olympics. That company saying it's concerned about growing public frustration against the games. For instance, in just nine days, an online petition received more than 350,000 signatures for the games to be cancelled.

Even a doctors' union here in Japan is urging for cancellation, saying that it's impossible for them to be held safely, warning that they could turn into a superspreader event, even without any spectators. And meanwhile, COVID-19 cases here continue to surge with the state of emergency, recently, being further expanded -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thank you so much, Selina Wang, in Tokyo for us. Appreciate it.

Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit is cleared to race in today's Preakness stakes in Baltimore. The colt failed a post-race drug test after winning the derby two week ago but passed all three tests after blood samples were deemed clear.

The 3-year-old is trained by hall of famer Bob Baffert. He blames the positive test on an ointment recommended by a veterinarian. Medina Spirit is favored to win the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown of U.S. racing.

Well, China says it has just become the second country, after the U.S., to successfully land a rover on Mars. Chinese state media aired this animation of what the landing on the Red Planet Saturday morning may have looked like.

The six-wheeled solar-powered vehicle will spend three months searching for signs of ancient life on the Martian surface.

All right. Well, that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back, in just a moment, with more news. Please, do stay with us.