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CNN NEWSROOM

Arizona Auditors Now Say Voter Data Intact, After Sparking GOP Feud; Some Trump Supporters Believe in QAnon, Some believe 2020 Election Not Legitimate; Soon, House to Vote on Partisan Commission to Investigate Jan. 6; Japan Under Pressure to Cancel Olympics Amid COVID Case Surge; Family of Andrew Brown Jr to File Federal Lawsuit; E.U. Closer to Allowing Entry for Vaccinated Travelers. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 19, 2021 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[13:33:35]

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Just when you thought the so-called election audit in Arizona could not get any more bizarre, auditors hired by the state's Senate Republicans have egg on their face after finding data they previously claimed had been mysteriously deleted.

And so this weekend, former President Trump pounced on that initial claim to bolster his baseless conspiracy theories.

And now they are trying to backtrack in Arizona.

Meanwhile, some of the same people who pushed extremist conspiracies ahead of the January 6th capitol attack, they have now latched on to the Arizona audit under the false hope it will lead to Trump's election loss being reversed.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is joining us with more.

Donie, this QAnon conspiracy about 2020 being overturned any day now, it just won't go away.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it keeps on going. And I am afraid it will probably bleed into next year's midterms. We will see a lot of candidates running on the pro-Trump ticket will probably continue to push this, the big lie.

But, you know, what we are seeing in Arizona and what we're seeing all over these QAnon forums, elsewhere online, is this absolute obsession with everything that's happening in Arizona.

Some people online, even one Trump supporter I spoke to, he was from Texas, believing falsely that the Arizona audit could lead to the overturning of the election. Of course, this shouldn't be altogether too surprising, Ana, because the audit itself is based on a conspiracy theory, and it's based on the big lie.

[13:35:04]

But what is concerning is we are seeing such a level of conversation here and anticipation that something is going to happen in Arizona, that some miracle for Trump is going to happen that people are really starting to get worked up about it.

The same way we saw folks working up to the 6th of January, and the inauguration date when they thought the military would take over, and then March 4th, they thought Trump would come back and be inaugurated.

It's all, pretty it's silly stuff. It's pretty crazy. But we have seen on January 6th how potentially dangerous it is.

CABRERA: You continue to talk to people who are Trump supporters that not only believe in QAnon and those conspiracy theories, but who are among a big group of Republican voters that truly believe it was not a legitimate election.

How do you break through to that group?

O'SULLIVAN: It's extremely difficult, obviously, when you see that the former president is now pushing out statements on a daily basis, continuing, even mentioning as you mention the so-called deleted files in Arizona, which turned out not to be.

You know, the fact that Trump puts that out there, the fact that go through these QAnon forums, the correcting of information never makes its way true in the Trump messaging in those forums.

So all you ever get is -- if you go on any of the forums today, the truth there to them is still these files were deleted, there's something fishy going on.

So it's going to be something that will be tackling for a long time.

And not to mention, of course, this is going to undermine faith in future elections, in next year's midterms.

CABRERA: What do you think will happen with the vote coming up today, in which we are hearing Republicans are not going along with a bipartisan commission that was negotiated on a bipartisan basis.

But if that doesn't happen, then what?

O'SULLIVAN Yes, I mean, the important thing about the commission is there would be so much opportunity for us to really try and figure out what happened in that critical period, from Election Day to the day of the insurrection.

Particularly, we do a lot of coverage on the social media platforms play, and how a lot of the Stop the Steal movement grew and organized and was mobilized online.

There's information that companies like Facebook have that they have not shared publicly in terms of how this spread.

So there would be so many opportunities were this commission to be put in place for us to have a proper history of what happened on that fateful day.

But, of course, you know, we see what Republicans and Kevin McCarthy, it's not in their self-interests for Americans and for the world to know about what really happened that day.

CABRERA: I think you just pointed out that what could be lost if we don't have the bipartisan commission.

Donie O'Sullivan, it's good to have you here. Thank you for your reporting.

We just received a new statement from the family of Capitol Police officer, Howie Liebengood. Liebengood died by suicide after serving on the front lines the day of the insurrection.

And his family says they want this investigation to happen.

They say, quote, "We believe a thorough nonpartisan investigation into the root causes of and the response to the January 6th riot is essential for our nation to move forward.

Howie's death was an immediate outgrowth of those events. Every officer who worked that day, as well as their families, should have a better understanding of what happened.

One day after the attorney general said officers were justified in the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr, we are learning his family will now file a federal lawsuit.

[13:38:52]

Stay with us.

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[13:43:44]

CABRERA: CNN has learned the family of Andrew Brown Jr plans to file a federal lawsuit over his death.

This after a district attorney in North Carolina announced yesterday sheriff deputies were justified in shooting Brown as they tried serving an arrest warrant last month.

CNN's Joe Johns is live in Elizabeth City for us.

Joe, the Brown family is asking for federal intervention here. Tell us more. JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Let's talk first about the

lawsuit. And that's kind of a predictable step, if you will, under the circumstances.

CNN's Brian Todd has found out that attorneys do plan to file a lawsuit here.

And it's also pretty obvious what they would include in the lawsuit, at least part of it, a wrongful death claim relating to Andrew Brown and a claim that his civil rights were violated by law enforcement here in the county of North Carolina.

The term of art is "under color of law." So we know those are at least two of the areas we would expect them to claim in federal court.

It's not clear if it's going to be days or weeks before this is all filed. But that, of course, is the direction the attorneys would go in the situation where the district attorney says he's not going to file charges.

[13:44:59]

Also, as you said at the top, there's an issue of federal intervention. The family has called for the Department of Justice to get involved, as well as the attorneys.

And even the governor of North Carolina has said essentially the same thing.

We do know that the Department of Justice, in fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting a probe into whether the civil rights of Andrew Brown were, in fact, violated.

So that's what we know about the situation. Just the background is the district attorney reported just yesterday that he's not going to file charges.

Because, in his view, Andrew Brown was shot in a justified way by the sheriff deputies because he was using his car in an aggressive and dangerous manner.

But the other question, the question that the attorneys have raised again and again, is whether he was actually trying to drive away in order to save his own life.

CABRERA: There are still petitions outstanding regarding the video to be fully released.

Back to you -- Ana?

CABRERA: Still, the petition is outstanding regarding the video to be fully released.

Joe Johns, thank you for that reporting in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. I want to take you to Florida and a scary situation caught on video as

an 11-year-old girl fights off a man trying to kidnap her at a bus stop.

Take a look at this.

Watch as this white SUV pulls up to the young girl sitting in the grass. You see there a man runs out of his car. He grabs the girl. She fights back and she manages to break free from his grip. And that man runs back to his car and drives off.

Well, police have tracked down the suspected kidnapper, or attempted kidnapper, 30-year-old Jared Stanga, who they say was armed with a knife. And he has a history of child sex offenses. He's now in custody.

The girl says that same man approached her several weeks ago at the same bus stop. A close call. But thankfully, she's safe and back with her family.

Imagine training for years to compete in the Olympics only to hear this study growing opposition to letting the games go on. That's happening. And now certain host cities in Japan are pulling out. What this means, next.

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[13:51:35]

CABRERA: It is just over two months until the Summer Olympics are set to begin in Tokyo. Japan is under mounting pressure to call them off amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

Dozens of Japanese towns are now cancelling plans to host athletes from around the world.

CNN's Selina Wang is in Tokyo.

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SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the International Olympic Committee is hitting back against growing calls for the Olympics to be canceled.

They say the Tokyo games will be held safety this summer and that they expect more than 80 percent of the people in the Olympic Village to be vaccinated.

The IOC is offering additional medical personnel to help pull off the COVID countermeasures. They include regular testing, social distancing, and contact tracing.

But these measures have not reassured the Japanese public. According to local polls, more than 80 percent of the people here think the games should not be held this year.

An online petition calling for cancellation received more than 350,000 signatures in just nine days.

A doctors organization, representing 6,000 doctors in Tokyo, is also urging for a cancellation.

Earlier this week, I attended an anti-Olympics protest here in Tokyo. The protesters told me they were angry and that they were not confident that the government could protect the Japanese public amid surging COVID-19 cases, the medical system under strain, and less than 2 percent of the Japanese population fully vaccinated.

High-profile voices are speaking out as well, including the CEO of e- commerce giant, Rakutan, who told me that hosting the Olympics would amount to a suicide mission.

Experts are also warning that these games could turn into a super spreader event, even without any spectators -- Ana?

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CABRERA: Selina Wang, thank you.

Meantime, the European Union is set to give the green light for more people to visit as long as they're vaccinated.

CNN's Scott McLean joins us from London.

Tell us more about this announcement today, Scott.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ana. This is great news for Americans who are desperate for a sunny European vacation. Obviously, all of the nice food and wine that usually comes with that as well.

Before you pack your bags, you should know a couple things. This is still a recommendation at this point.

It is likely to be fully ratified by the E.U. tomorrow, but even then it will likely take time to implement it. And obviously, the E.U. can change the rules at short or no notice as well.

Also keep in mind, just because the E.U. approves this doesn't mean each of the 27 member countries will actually implement these rules.

Right now, Europe is a minefield of different rules on who can and cannot enter each country, plus a smorgasbord of restrictions pertaining to quarantine and testing. The list goes on.

Plus, you'll need to be fully vaccinated. For most vaccines, that's two shots.

You'll also have to have one of the shots that's been approved in Europe. But all of the CDC's shots are good to go in Europe. But if you got a vaccine abroad, with a Chinese vaccine or a Russian vaccine, this doesn't apply to you.

This move makes a lot of sense for Europe at this point. Pre-pandemic tourism accounted for about 4 percent of the European economy. Plus, cases are coming down sharply. Vaccination rates are also ramping up in Europe as well.

One more caveat, though, Ana. Don't forget that none of this applies to the U.K.

If you'd like to come here on vacation, you are welcome, but it will take you a minimum five days of quarantine, minimum four negative coronavirus tests.

And none of that is likely to change soon.

[13:55:01]

CABRERA: OK, you got it all in there.

Thank you, Scott.

And before we let everybody go today, I just want to say we want to celebrate the good news as our country recovering from the pandemic, as more of us are vaccinated, as restrictions ease.

We want to know how you're making your comeback. What are you doing again? Who are you seeing again? What do you appreciate now that perhaps you took for granted before?

Tweet me your photos or videos. Tag me, @AnaCabrera. Be sure you include the hashtag, #thecomeback, for a chance to be featured on this show.

And I'm rooting for you and your family and our communities as we all try to come back from this long time of being cooped up just trying to stay safe.

That does it for me today. Thank you for joining me.

NEWSROOM continues with Alisyn and Victor, next.

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