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New Video Released Of Louisiana State Police Beating Ronald Greene Before His Death; Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz's Former Girlfriend Agrees To Cooperate With Investigators Into Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct; Federal Judge Refuses To Release Accused Capitol Rioter Daniel Caldwell From Jail; States Offering Incentives For Citizens To Get COVID-19 Vaccine; President Biden Hosting Family Of George Floyd At White House; Former President Donald Trump's Charges Of Secret Service For Continued Protection Examined. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 22, 2021 - 10:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It's good to see you. Good morning to you on this Saturday, May 22nd. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.

And we begin this hour with videos of a violent police encounter, once again shocking the conscience of the country. CNN has now obtained footage Louisiana state police say they have showing the horrific final moments of Ronald Greene's life, videos that they finally released two years after his death in their custody.

PAUL: And listen, we want to give you a warning here because we don't want you to get caught off guard. These videos are incredibly disturbing and really hard to watch. They are, however, our clearest look yet at how troopers tased, kicked, dragged Greene, even as at different points of his brutal encounter he's heard apologizing, saying he's scared, and calling out to Jesus. We also for this first time hear radio transmissions from the preceding police chase.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to do something. He's going to kill somebody. He's intentionally driving on the wrong side of the road.


SANCHEZ: We want to be clear, at no point in my of the videos released do we see images of Greene's car as he's fleeing from police. In all, nine body and dash cam videos were released last night, only after clips started to leak to the news media, beginning with the Associated Press.

PAUL: Greene's family says there was an attempt to cover up what happened, and now they want consequences, calling what they witnessed in these videos torture.

SANCHEZ: CNN's Randi Kaye has a deeper look of what the videos reveal and the details of an autopsy report also obtained by CNN. Again, we have to warn you, the video and images in this story are very graphic.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The new video obtained by CNN is 30 minutes long and offers a different view from the Louisiana state trooper's body camera than a video obtained earlier by the A.P. It shows Ronald Greene, following a high-speed chase near Monroe, Louisiana, on the ground face down and struggling to turn over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't you turn over.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't you turn over. You lay on your belly. Lay on your belly.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand?


KAYE: Greene apologizes and politely calls the officer "Sir," even as they continue to berate him. The video shows Greene's legs shackled and his hands cuffed behind his back. When he cries out in pain, even calling on the Lord Jesus, the officers continue to restrain him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, yeah, hurts, doesn't it.


KAYE: Louisiana state police kept this video under wraps for two years. Greene's arrest and subsequent death occurred back in May, 2019. This is what the family says Louisiana state police initially told them happened.

DINELLE HARDIN, RONALD GREENE'S SISTER: That he was in a car accident and that he hit his head on the steering wheel, and that's how he died.

KAYE: The family says police initially made no mention to them of the arrest or use of force now revealed on the body camera videos. Another police report said Greene was taken into custody after resisting arrest and a struggle with troopers, and that he died on the way to the hospital. His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

HARDIN: This has been a cover-up from day one. They were out to kill him. He had no chance of living.

KAYE: In the video it's not clear if Greene is offered medical attention as he lay on the ground moaning and gurgling. At one point on the new video a medical technician arrives and is clearly concerned. And when it was over, in previously released video obtained by the A.P., one trooper can be heard on his body camera audio boasting about beating Greene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I beat the ever-living -- out of him, choked him, and everything else trying to get him under control. He was spitting blood everywhere, and then all of a sudden, he went limp. Yes, I thought he was dead.

KAYE: CNN has also obtained the autopsy report. It lists Greene's cause of death as cocaine induced agitated delirium complicated by a motor vehicle collision, physical struggle, inflicted head injury, and restraint.


According to the autopsy, injuries included a fracture of the sternum or breastbone and a torn aorta, the body's main artery. The autopsy notes that Greene had alcohol and a significant level of cocaine in his system. These post-mortem photos of Greene released on the NAACP Baton Rouge Facebook page show the extent of his injuries, and the autopsy notes "Lacerations of the head inconsistent with motor vehicle collision injury," instead finding "These injuries are most consistent with multiple impact sites from a blunt object."

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.


SANCHEZ: Thanks to Randi Kaye for that report.

This morning I spoke to an attorney for Ronald Greene's family and Greene's brother-in-law. Jay McGowan told me about the last conversation he says he had with Ronald and how he saw Ronald's true character break through, an encounter that has brought his family two years of pain and horror.


JAY MCGOWAN, RONALD GREENE'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: It's right there on the video. He's very, very remorseful and sorry, and even at one point calling them, saying to them, I'm your brother. That speaks to the character of Ron. It does. Again, it's tough. We've had a lot of conversations.

I just had a conversation last night. His mom goes from trying to be strong, to being in pain. And it's just tough. And now, two years later, still dealing with this. I don't think the family has had a chance to really grieve properly. I think not knowing what was going on and then now all this coming out, it's just two years of pain.

Ron was a very good guy. Probably a couple days prior to this happening to him he called me to talk about a homeless program that he wanted us to both start. That was my last conversation. He was talking about putting together a program to feed the homeless. That's what I know about Ron, and that's the Ron that I think it's important that everybody, they hear that, they know that. That's what you're talking about.

And again, no one is perfect. We all make mistakes. But I've been taught, my mom taught me, when you make a mistake, you apologize and you try to move on. And Ron tried to apologize. As a matter of fact, he did apologize, and he tried to move on. But for whatever reason, that apology was not accepted and it was met with some terrible things. And to hear that video, every time I hear the video, it's really tough.

RON HALEY, ATTORNEY FOR RONALD GREENE FAMILY: This seems insidious. Noncompliance should not be a death penalty. And that's what these troopers did. They took it upon themselves to be judge, jury, and executioner. And let's not pretend that officers can't show restraint. The Capital police officers showed great restraint January 6th.

But these officers here in the midst of Ron begging for mercy, did not give him mercy. They gave him anything but. They murdered Ronnie on May 10th, 2019, and they tried to cover it up, and they just could not get their story straight. It did not add up to the physicians, it did not add up to the coroner.

And there needs to be a deeper dive in this investigation, one, into punishing and holding accountable those who put their hands on Ronnie, but more so, we need to look at who helped participate in this cover- up. It has to be bigger than these officers that did this. And it was so cavalier. And it just seemed so par for the course.

The officers did not seem worried or concerned when Ronnie's limp body was taken off by the ambulance. They didn't. You know what the lieutenant said? The lieutenant t old everybody that everybody did a good job. Everybody did a good job killing Ronnie. That's sick.

MCGOWAN: Ron deserves justice. He deserved to be treated better than he was treated regardless of the circumstance. And after the fact I guess it's easy for people to say all the right things, but we have to do the right things, because if not, this will continue to happen, and there will be another family on your program having this exact same conversation until something is actually done.



SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Jay McGowan and attorney Ron Haley for sharing their thoughts and calls for justice with us.

PAUL: No doubt.

So listen, just ahead, federal investigators scored what some are saying is a big get in their investigation into Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. We'll talk about it. Stay close.

SANCHEZ: And later, as more states move to lift COVID restrictions, one business owner is now worried about the financial cost to reopen for in-person clients. Details ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: We want to give you a quick update on a story we told you about earlier this morning, the shooting in downtown Minneapolis. Minneapolis police say an argument led to gunfire that killed two people and injured eight others, one of them critically.

PAUL: This happened at about 2:00 this morning local time. The police department says two people were standing in a crowded area, got into a verbal confrontation, and both of them pulled out guns and began shooting at each other.


So the legal walls might feel like they're closing in on Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz. He's under a federal probe of allegations of six trafficking.

SANCHEZ: And CNN has learned that Gaetz's former girlfriend has agreed to cooperate with investigators. Senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid helped break the story, and she has more details.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: CNN has learned that a former girlfriend of Congressman Matt Gaetz has agreed to cooperate with investigators.

This woman, a former Capitol Hill staffer who did not work for the congressman, she worked for another lawmaker, she is really critical to this investigation because she was linked to the congressman in the summer of 2017, and that time period is really essential to determining whether he had sex with an underage girl.

Now, the fact that she has signaled she's willing to cooperate is also notable because we know investigators have hundreds and hundreds of records of transactions that they're shifting through, and they hope that this woman may be able to help them make sense of some of these transactions, including some that allegedly show payments for sex.

The congressman has not been charged, and he has repeatedly denied paying for sex or ever having sex with a minor as an adult. Now, it's not clear if this woman has a formal cooperation agreement, but she has signaled to investigators she is willing to talk to them. An attorney for the ex-girlfriend and the Justice Department declined to comment.

But there's more. We are also learning that the congressman's former close friend Joel Greenberg has also told investigators that the congressman had sexual contact with a 17-year-old girl. Earlier this week, Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal counts, including sex trafficking of a minor. He's cooperating as part of a plea agreement, and in exchange dozens of other counts against him have been dropped.

In this plea agreement, Greenberg admits that he had sex with a minor at least seven times, and that he then introduced her to other adult men who engaged in commercial sex acts with her. The plea agreement, it doesn't name who those other men are.

Gaetz and his representatives have attacked Greenberg's credibility in the past few days. They have correctly pointed out the fact that in this same plea agreement Greenberg admits to falsely accusing a political rival of having sex with a minor. Now, Greenberg is required to cooperate with investigators as part of this plea deal in any ongoing federal investigations, including, of course, this ongoing investigation into his former close friend.

No decision about whether to charge the congressman. That likely won't come for some time. It will fall to prosecutors in the public integrity section of the Justice Department. They are still gathering evidence, and then they will have to assess whether they believe they have enough to proceed with an indictment.

Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: Paula, thank you.

So the QAnon shaman is one of the most recognizable suspects in the Capitol riots. A judge just ruled in favor after a request from his defense lawyer. We're going to give you the details in a moment. Stay close. Stay close.



SANCHEZ: A federal judge just refused to release an accused Capitol rioter from jail, citing that Daniel Caldwell's current charges and past behavior demonstrate a disregard for the law and a willingness to act violently, including against law enforcement. He's been behind bars since his arrest in February. In a court filing the judge showed this image of Caldwell allegedly spraying some kind of chemical at law enforcement.

PAUL: Caldwell also admits on a video posted on the social site Parler to spraying multiple Capitol officers.


DANIEL CALDWELL, ACCUSED CAPITOL RIOTER: They just kept staying there, and the experienced the pepper spray. He was like, dude, you do it again and we'll spray you back. And he did, and I sprayed back. I got like 15 of them.


PAUL: CNN crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz is with us now. Katelyn, talk to us what the judge says about Caldwell, and I understand you have got some developments as well regarding the defendant known as the QAnon shaman.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right. Today we're seeing this ruling about Daniel Caldwell, the man who is in that picture that you just showed where he was spraying police. He's a really good example of what is required to keep someone behind bars before they go to trial once they're arrested in the Capitol riot.

And in his case, the judge found that even though this man is a former marine, he held a good job for 12 years, after his charges were filed, the judge looked at them and said, it looks like he could be a danger to the community if he was released, particularly because he had brought a weapon to the scene, that would be the chemical spray, as well as he would be assaulting police, he would be making the decision in that moment to be assaulting police.

Now, he has not been found guilty yet. He has pleaded not guilty. But this is sort of the circumstance where people are being looked at by the judges about whether they should stay behind bars or not. That's the same circumstance we had with Jacob Chansley, who is very well- known now as the QAnon Shaman.

He brought a spear to the Capitol as part of his so-called costume that he wears to events. And this spear was deemed to be a dangerous weapon. He also was found to have been leading people inside the Capitol



And what happened this week, his attorney has drawn a lot more attention to him since his arrest by making public statements about his demands for organic food while he was in jail, and now demanding that he has some sort of mental health incompetency, and his attorney really inflamed a lot with his speech about -- he used some slurs on mental illness previously, and mental health.

But Chansley now is going to be evaluated professionally. He's going to be moved to another facility, and he's going to looked at. and that is something that we don't know if he's going to be deemed incompetent yet, but that's something that could come and could be factoring into his case in the future. But we don't have a result there yet.

SANCHEZ: Yes, his attorney using really insensitive language, not just about his client, but about everybody that was there during the insurrection on January 6th.

Katelyn, as we're talking about the defendants, I also want to make sure that we talk about some of the victims, and the problem of retention now in the Capitol police force, there's been a major exodus of officers.

POLANTZ: That's right. What we now know is that there have been about 70 Capitol police officers who have been leaving this year. That's slightly elevated than what would have been the normal numbers for this time in previous years. And the union chief of the Capitol police force was saying that they are worried about the morale of the Capitol police force, about keeping officers on the force.

And of course, as you say, they are victims. I mean, these are people who were protecting the Capitol. The Capitol fell to the insurrectionists. And there have been continued consequences from that. We've seen the death of Officer Brian Sicknick. We know that he was sprayed by a chemical during the assault.

And then on top of that, there, of course, was the man several weeks after who had rammed his car into Capitol police, leading to the death of another officer. Boris and Christi?

PAUL: Katelyn Polantz, we appreciate the report. Thank you so much.

So Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg is under criminal investigation by the New York Attorney General's Office as prosecutors in the district attorney's office are digging into his role with the company.

SANCHEZ: We want to be clear, Weisselberg has not been accused at this point of any wrongdoing. But sources tell CNN that prosecutors are trying to get him to cooperate with authorities. CNN's Sonia Moghe is following this for us. Sonia, he's Donald Trump's money man, and his cooperation could help officials build a case against a lot more people in the Trump Organization.

SONIA MOGHE, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, certainly Allen Weisselberg's cooperation could give prosecutors a deep, intimate look into how the Trump Organization ran. This is a man who has been an official there for decades. He once admitted in a deposition that he was the eyes and ears for Trump from an economic standpoint. So if they could get him to cooperate, that would be huge for prosecutors. But the big question is, can they actually do that?

And that is a big question, but this pressure is certainly mounting this week. We reported that the New York Attorney General's Office has opened a separate criminal investigation into Alan Weisselberg that deals with taxes. It deals with him as an individual, but could also encompass him in his role at the Trump Organization.

And we also learned this week, we were the first to report that the New York Attorney General's Office, which had a separate civil investigation into the Trump Organization itself, that investigation was no longer, quote/unquote, purely civil, we learned this week, and that now it has a criminal component.

So this means that the New York Attorney General's Office, which generally investigates civil matters, can now team up and join forces with the Manhattan D.A.'s office, which has also been investigating the Trump Org in its wide-ranging criminal probe. And these two powerhouse prosecutors' offices can now join forces and compare notes and see what each person has.

We know some of them have been talking to similar witnesses. We know of at least one who shared documents and has spoken with both offices. But we know that the New York Attorney General's Office has deposed Allen Weisselberg as part of its civil probe, and it remains to be seen if any of that information could be used to further this investigation.

SANCHEZ: We know you'll keep an eye on it. Sonia Moghe, thank you so much.

Look, vaccines for some kids and teens are now available, but nationwide vaccination rates are down almost 50 percent from last month. CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us next to share a few incentives that states are implementing to try to get the vaccination rate back up.



PAUL: So COVID cases and hospitalizations are declining still across the U.S., but vaccinations are slowing as well. So over the past week less than 2 million vaccine doses were administered each day. To put that in perspective, that's a 46 percent drop from its peak back in mid-April.

SANCHEZ: And health experts are warning the pandemic is not over yet as many Americans still remain unvaccinated. Roughly 48 percent of the country has received at least one vaccine dose, only 38 percent of the population fully vaccinated. You can see on your screen still a long way from herd immunity.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has the latest on efforts to get more people vaccinated.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another dose of progress this weekend. By now, one out of every 12 people in the U.S. ages 12 to 15 have received their first COVID-19 dose, according to the CDC, and efforts to get shots into younger arms are less than two weeks in. The U.S. also averaging fewer than 30,000 new COVID cases a day.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: The last time the seven-day average of cases per day was this low was June 18th, 2020.

SANDOVAL: Along with dropping case counts, the country is seeing less COVID hospitalizations, none at one of the Bay Area's biggest hospitals for the first time in 14 months.

DR. MONICA GANDHI, SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL HOSPITAL: It feels like a milestone. There are zero admissions at San Francisco General.

SANDOVAL: Encouraging statistics mean more reopening. Ahead of the weekend, Delaware lifted its mask and social distancing mandates, as well as capacity limits. California drops all capacity restrictions when the state fully reopens June 15th. And Michigan, which struggled with a severe COVID surge just a few weeks ago, announced it's returning to full capacity for outdoor events on June the 1st. Michigan's governor aiming to do the same indoors come July.

DR. JESSICA SHEPHERD, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, VERYWELL HEALTH: Now it comes to how do we live in communities and with each other between those that are vaccinated and unvaccinated. These are things that time will tell, but also taking into account continuing that message of the importance of vaccination.

SANDOVAL: Some state officials crediting improved vaccination rates for restoring more normalcy for the residents. Nationally, though, the Biden administration is concerned. The average daily pace of coronavirus vaccinations is down almost 50 percent from its peak last month. States like Oregon adding a shot at a jackpot in exchange for a shot in the arm.

GOV. KATE BROWN, (D) OREGON: If you've been waiting to get a vaccine or you just haven't gotten around to it yet, we're going to give you an extra incentive. How about a chance to win $1 million?

SANDOVAL: A similar incentive seems to have helped in the buckeye state, Ohio health officials reporting a 28 percent increase in vaccinations for people 60 and older following the announcement of a $1 million lottery for the vaccinated and full ride scholarships for vaccine recipients under 18.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


PAUL: We thank you, Polo.

So I know that you've got medical questions about the coronavirus vaccine, the push to reopen. Dr. Rob Davidson is with us tomorrow morning, and we're going to make sure some of your questions get answered. So tweet them to us @Christi_Paul, and @Boris_Sanchez. We are more than happy to try to get those answers for you.

SANCHEZ: Ahead, stuck in the Senate, the January 6th commission bill needing the approval of 10 Republican members in the Senate to pass looking more and more unlikely. So will the Biden administration get the bipartisan support it needs? We're live on Capitol Hill next.



PAUL: We have this just in that President Biden is hosting the family of George Floyd at the White House on Tuesday. That will be, by the way, the one-year anniversary of Floyd's death.

SANCHEZ: Remember, lawmakers have been working on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and hoping that they could be able to tout that deal on bipartisan police reform that same day. That is not going to happen at this rate. But this will mark the Floyd family's first trip to the White House.

And that gridlock on Capitol Hill, it's not only police reform and infrastructure, but even on investigating the insurrection of January 6th. And though some of them were the target of a mob on that day, Republican senators are set to sink a bill that would create a bipartisan commission to look deeper at exactly what happened at the U.S. Capitol. The bill would need support from at least 10 Republican senators to pass. PAUL: At least six have announced they oppose it, including North

Carolina's Richard Burr, who is poised to filibuster the matter, thus blocking even debate on it. CNN Congressional reporter Daniella Diaz is with us. So Daniella, the commission, I know, is one of the pressing issues getting stalled in the Senate. Talk to us about what else is in question there.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Christi, Boris, that's right. Starting with this 9/11 style commission to investigator the January 6th insurrection, it's basically dead on arrival in the Senate. It passed the House this past week with 35 House Republicans supporting the legislation.

They broke with Republican leadership to vote in favor of it. But now that it's in the Senate, it's pretty clear that they won't get 10 senators, Republican senators, to support this legislation for it to pass.

And then, of course, there's police reform. You guys just mentioned that George Floyd's family is expected at the White House, but this comes as the year anniversary of George Floyd's death on May 25th, this is the self-imposed deadline by bipartisan negotiators to try to pass legislation on police reform by that date, and it just doesn't seem like that's going to happen.

They're still trying to negotiate on this issue, they're still meeting on this. This includes Karen Bass, a Democrat from California, Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, and Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey. These three have met in the past couple of weeks to try to reach a deal and police reform, and their sticking point continues to be this qualified immunity, protection for individual police officers in civil court.

And there's also infrastructure. Senate Republicans have been negotiating with the White House these past couple weeks to see if they can reach a deal on infrastructure. They don't like Biden's large price tag on the issue.

They actually had a conference call yesterday where the White House offered several concessions on this, and lowered the price tag from $2.25 billion for an infrastructure package to $1.7 billion. But Republicans were still unhappy with that offer. They still think there needs to be several more concessions from the White House on this issue, and they're not able to meet on this issue yet.

It all goes back to the filibuster. Even if all 50 Democrats support legislation, they still need 10 Republicans to support anything they want to pass through the Senate, and that's been the issue for why they're not able to get legislation through.


So the question is, will Democrats continue to try to negotiate with Republicans to try to meet in the middle on these issues? Boris, Christi?

SANCHEZ: Daniella Diaz reporting from Capitol Hill, thank you so much.

Since leaving office four months ago, former President Donald Trump has rarely left his Mar-a-Lago resort in south Florida, and the security associated with protecting the former president at those cushy digs is costing taxpayers. It's not cheap.

Though Trump is now spending his summer at Bedminster, "The Washington Post" reports that Trump has charged the Secret Service more than $400,000 for rent for space while he was at Mar-a-Lago. It's unclear if he's currently charging them for the same at his New Jersey golf property.

Joining us now to discuss, fellow Florida man, Marc Caputo, he's a senior political reporter for "Politico." He also established "Politico's" Florida Bureau. Marc, always a pleasure to see you. We're glad that you could join us this morning. You were not surprised by this report of Donald Trump charging the secret service $40,000 plus in rent.

The former president has a history of charging the government for a multitude of expenses. We've heard from historians, experts on ethics, that this isn't normal, it doesn't really have a historical precedent at this expense. From your perspective, is this appropriate?

MARC CAPUTO, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": That's not for me to say. But I think your historians are correct because there's nothing about Donald Trump as president that was conventional. That having been said, if you look back not only at the time he was in office and staying down at Mar-a-Lago or going to Bedminster, or even his golf course in Scotland, they benefitted from him being president. They raked in a lot of money.

This is probably something that Congress will ultimately have to decide, but I think your previous interview just underscored how Congress is essentially unable to do anything. That having been said, the former president also when he was in office did a good job of monetizing his private estates, his private business enterprises, from people who were seeking business with the government.

The Trump hotel was a very popular place for foreign dignitaries to meet, people who were seeking the president's favor, and he and the Trump Organization pulled in quite a bit of money that way as well. So it's been kind of a pattern and practice with him, and I think if folks want it to stop, they might want to get Congress to do something. But, again, Congress doesn't seem to be in the business of doing anything.

SANCHEZ: Notably, Trump has maintained that the presidency was not profitable for the Trump Organization.

I did want to ask you about some news also out of Florida this week, that Republican lawmakers passed a bill that would clear the way for the former president to pursue a casino license for his golf resort in Doral. Do you think building a new casino on one of his properties is something that he's interested in doing? I heard you say that this wasn't likely. CAPUTO: Well, I don't want to presume to know what is in the mind of

Donald Trump. He does what he wants to do when he wants to do it. Donald Trump's history in Florida for many years was to seek a gambling deal here. He wanted to have a casino in Florida.

In fact, in 2015 at the very beginning of the 2016 presidential election cycle, he and Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, had a little tete-a-tete on stage where Jeb made it clear that at one point Donald Trump tried to get gambling out of the state of Florida when Jeb was governor and Jeb blocked it. That's true.

Now, if you fast forward to today, the best available evidence from what we know from, let's just say our sources and people who talk to the president, or the former president, and folks in the Florida legislature, he was approached and said, hey, do you want a piece of this?

And he was cool to that idea. One of the reasons is casinos are licenses to print money. The House always wins. But if you want to get that license, and they are limited in Florida, you've got to pay money through the nose.

And there are -- I don't want to get too much into the particulars in the weeds of the law that was just passed, they're signing a law, but there is a school of thought that said that the Seminole tribe around whom this gambling deal was negotiated would have been able to go into business with Donald Trump had they expanded a certain no gambling zone where he could have struck a side deal with them.

He declined to do that, or his people declined to push for that. That's an indication that he's not so interested in doing it, at least at the moment. But it's undeniable that Donald Trump in the past has wanted a gambling deal, that this gambling bill and law that has just passed would give him and others, many others, the opportunity to offer him. The primary interested party here, by the way, is not Donald Trump. It's the owner of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. But we'll see.


If Donald Trump changes his mind, it's a Republican legislature, it is a Republican Party that is Donald Trump's party. This is his newly adopted home state of Florida. If he wants something out of the legislature, it's probably a pretty good bet that he's going to get it.

SANCHEZ: It's also a Republican governor, we should point out, Ron DeSantis, who personally negotiated this deal with the Seminole tribe and who, let's say, has aspirations, has made it clear that he has aspirations for 2024, perhaps beyond if Trump runs again. Marc Caputo, we have to leave the conversation there. Appreciate the time, sir.

CAPUTO: Thank you.

PAUL: So coronavirus restrictions are being lifted across the country, but small businesses, and a lot of them are really struggling after this year-long closure. We're talking to a small business owner who turned to GoFundMe to try to cover the costs of reopening.



PAUL: -- operate at 100 percent capacity with no social distancing requirements. A lot of business owners, though, are already down to their last dollar. They're turning to virtual fundraisers for help with the financial costs of fully reopening. And one of those is Maggie Doctors.

She's the owner of Haute Bodhi Hot Yoga studio in D.C. Maggie, it's so good to see you. I know that this has been hard for you. How are you feeling about -- I see that you are at your studio right now. There are people behind you. How long do you have, do you think? How much money do you have to get you through, what, the next few months?

MAGGIE DOCTORS, OWNER, HAUTE BODHI HOT YOGA: Yes, we are fundraising, trying to raise $50,000 to pay our back rent so that we can remain in business, and that comes due at the end of this month.

PAUL: So June 1st, you have essentially nine days from now?

DOCTORS: That's correct. That's after conversations with my landlord what is happening.

PAUL: So did you say this is back rent?

DOCTORS: It is, yes.

PAUL: I know that you are not the only person in that situation and you're not the only person who is going to GoFundMe to try to get help. Talk to me about what it has been like for you the last year.

DOCTORS: Well, Christi, it's been a struggle. We lost 75 percent of our business after the shutdown. We had tough choices to make. We moved our classes online, and our teachers took a pay cut just so we could stay operational. It's been a hard year, and I'm grateful to still be here.

PAUL: So you wrote on your GoFundMe page, every day we focus on helping our students connect to themselves and the world around while building strong, healthy bodies, minds, and hearts. After 14 months of being severely limited in our capacity to operate, we're in a desperate situation. You've raised $17,000.

DOCTORS: That's right.

PAUL: How confident are you that you're going to be able to keep that door open after June 1st? The fact that you have something, will that help you?

DOCTORS: I'm hoping that it eases the negotiations moving forward. I think that our community, we have so much support here, and we raised 30 percent of our goal is under two weeks. So I am very optimistic. And with your help and this exposure bump, we might just be able to do it. But, yes, I'm very optimistic now.

PAUL: There are so many businesses that are trying to reopen. Yours being so physical minded, because it's essentially a workout facility. So talk to me about what reopening something like that is going to be, as opposed to maybe people who have to go back and just maybe sit at a desk? Is there that much difference, do you know?

DOCTORS: Well, as far as I'm concerned, I've been teaching every day essentially since the shutdown happened, at least one class, if not more. So, for me, nothing is changing.

We're just kind of welcoming our students back, which is the most exciting thing I think I've ever experienced, really, just watching people come through the door with their smiles and their excitement. After being at home for a year, people are ready to get back to their routines, their wellness routines. And I really believe that movement is medicine.

PAUL: Maggie Doctors, we wish you the very best. Keep in touch with us. I hope that you are able to open the door again on June 1st. Take good care.

DOCTORS: Thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you.

And thank you so much for being with us.

SANCHEZ: We really appreciate it. There's still much more ahead in the next hour of CNN newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield starts right now.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday.