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CNN NEWSROOM

117 Staffers Sue Houston Hospital Over Mandatory Vaccinations; Las Vegas Fully Reopens; Interview With Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO); Hunt Continues For Florida Gunmen. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired June 1, 2021 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:00]

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Alex Marquardt, thanks so much.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Top of the hour. I'm Victor Blackwell.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And I'm Alisyn Camerota.

We begin with a harrowing warning from the Miami police chief, as that city becomes the latest to grapple with a mass shooting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ART ACEVEDO, MIAMI, FLORIDA, POLICE CHIEF: Unless the American people speak out, it's going to be a long, hot, bloody summer. And we can thank a lot of elected officials for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: A long, hot bloody summer. And if the last few days are any indicator, he is right.

In New Orleans, three people were killed, one of them a 12-year-old girl. And 13 were wounded and shootings over Memorial Day weekend.

CAMEROTA: In California, the reward now more than $400,000 to find the person who shot and killed 6-year-old Aiden Leos in a suspected road rage shooting.

BLACKWELL: In Houston, Texas, authorities say a man started shooting at a nightclub early Monday morning. Four men were shot. Two died. Police say one of the two killed may have been the shooter. They are reviewing the surveillance video.

CAMEROTA: And a close call in Las Vegas, where a fight broke out on Fremont Street in broad daylight while a local news crew was filming a story about pandemic reopenings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's got a gun. He's got a gun.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get away!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK, that man pulled a gun from his backpack, but eventually walked away before anyone was shot.

In Miami, the manhunt continues for three suspects who opened fire outside of a concert venue. Miami-Dade police released this surveillance video. It is chilling. It shows three masked men jumping out of this white Nissan Pathfinder and returning 10 seconds later, after two people were killed and 21 others wounded in those 10 seconds.

CNN's Leyla Santiago is following this for us.

Leyla, what's the latest?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, police calling it very active today when it comes to the investigation, but still no arrests.

Meanwhile, here where the shooting took place, a memorial has come to be a mourning site for this community, balloons, flowers, stuffed animals left there throughout the day.

I want you to take a minute to just listen to the pain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CRYING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANTIAGO: This was a young woman who spent about an hour here sobbing, mourning, clearly distraught, visibly shaken.

We have seen a few people come and leave things to mourn here. Now, when it comes to the investigation, we know that one of the victims was 26-year-old Clayton Dillard. His family identified him a yesterday during a press conference, his father also distraught and expressing pain and frustration during that press conference.

The police have not identified the other victim in this shooting. But when it comes to the investigation, we do know that police have said they are looking at several different people. When it comes to motive, they say that this was an ongoing rivalry between two groups.

There was even some sort of back-and-forth on Facebook that kind of led up to this, or played a role, rather.

And we know today that, as they gather more evidence, yesterday, finding the getaway car, that they are trying to kind of piece together the puzzle to build a strong case. Yesterday, police were asking for the community's help. They put a call out through a press conference.

And I have learned just in the last few hours from police that it was a community tip that led them to that to that getaway car, and hopefully will give police the information they need to put in -- to get to the bottom of this senseless act -- Alisyn, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Leyla Santiago there for us.

Leyla, thank you.

Let's dig deeper on this now with Alfredo "Freddy" Ramirez. He's the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Director, thank you for being with us.

Let's start there with this description of very active, as we heard from Leyla Santiago. Put some meat on that for us. What is happening now as you try to find these shooters?

ALFREDO RAMIREZ III, MIAMI-DADE POLICE DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR: Good afternoon.

Just on the sounds that you showed in that segment, that's what fuels us to bring justice to those families, the pain that they're feeling, the pain that this community is feeling.

Right now, our community is active. They're a call to arms, just like law enforcement. We're standing together to bring justice. We're receiving tips. A lot of those tips are (INAUDIBLE). Detectives are working 24 hours around the clock to bring justice.

We recovered the vehicle. We're in the process of doing our evidence process of it as well. As the kits come in, we're validating them. And we have all boots on the ground.

[15:05:06]

I have mobilized my department. other law enforcement agencies in the community as well are mobilized. And we're zero tolerance right now for the small percentage of people who are responsible for the violence that we're seeing in our community, which is very similar to what we're seeing around the country. And it's got to stop.

BLACKWELL: The processing of this SUV that was discovered, has that lead to evidence that will lead you to these shooters, to suspects?

RAMIREZ: It's still in the process right now. I don't have that information.

But we're hopeful with that, for that information, as well as the information we're receiving from the community, and just the hard work our detectives are doing right now in the streets. BLACKWELL: We know that you don't know where these shooters are, but

are you getting closer to knowing who they are? And we have been using gender-nonspecific pronouns. Do you know if you're looking for three men?

RAMIREZ: We're looking for three killers, three murderers that killed two innocent people and wounded several others and destroyed the families of those victims.

That's what I'm looking for.

BLACKWELL: And on the question of if you're closer to knowing who they are, do you have -- have you narrowed it to potentially who these killers are?

RAMIREZ: I'm not at liberty to say that right now.

But I can tell you that we're working hard with our law enforcement partners and our community partners.

BLACKWELL: We know that your department has said that this is -- it stems from rivalry between two groups. You have not gone as far as to call these gangs.

But can you tell us more about these groups?

RAMIREZ: Yes, what they are, are fake gangs. They're wannabes who involve themselves in narcotics and things like that. But their big motive is to be on social media and call each other out and start these rivalries of who's the -- who's the baddest.

And what happens in these situations, if they don't have good family settings, they come from broken homes, they're in that cycle of violence. They act on that violence. And that's the tragic part.

And they act out on that violence, they don't care about who's standing around. They will mow anybody else down, so that they can get to their target. And that's the chilling part. That's the difference of the violence that we're seeing today as in the '90s, when we were dealing with drug turf wars.

These aren't drug turf wars. These are social media vendettas linked in with the flavor of gangs, but they're not real gangs. They're wannabes. And it has to stop. Our country cannot have this. Our community will not tolerate that.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we heard from Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo. He told a colleague of mine that this will be a long, hot, bloody summer if something's not done about gun violence.

What should be done? We know that there is a political element here, but it's not all political. What should be done to prevent that long, hot, bloody summer?

RAMIREZ: What we need is what we keep calling on, community engagement. Law enforcement cannot solve this alone. Politics cannot play into

this, because all politics is going to do is cause more victims involved in this. We got to deal with this as a community. We need our community, which they're stepping up. They see something, they got to say something, no matter how minute it is.

We all have to be boots on the ground on this, because, if we don't, it could be your loved one. It could be you. So, it takes all of us to stop this crime. And that's what it is. It's a small amount of people. That's what's doing this.

We can do this together. We can enrich our communities and invest in them as well and keep them safe.

BLACKWELL: Director Freddy Ramirez, thank you so much. And good luck in your investigation there.

RAMIREZ: Thank you so much, sir.

CAMEROTA: OK, next: Democrats are still pushing for a select committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack, despite the bipartisan commission failing in the Senate.

So we're going to speak to a congressman who could lead that new committee.

BLACKWELL: Plus: More than 100 staffers at a Houston hospital, they're suing after the hospital said all staff had to be vaccinated. The CEO joins us live.

And a new book details just how close Sean Hannity was to the Trump campaign, reportedly even scripting one of the former president's TV ads.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:13:55]

CAMEROTA: OK, you are looking at live pictures of President Biden there. He is touring the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

This visit is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and memorialize the hundreds of black Americans who were killed by a white mob that burned dozens of city blocks to the ground. This is from moments ago there, where he's learning about -- I mean, he's just shining a light basically, Victor, on what happened in the Greenwood neighborhood that so many of us never learned about in school, tragically.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

And what happens after the 100th anniversary? I think many are asking, what happens after all the attention is paid by the visit from the president? There are questions of reparations. And I spoke with someone yesterday who wants a posthumous criminal investigation, who is calling for that as well. We will see if any of that happens as we move forward.

All right, now, House Democrats, they're holding their first virtual caucus meeting today since the January 6 commission was blocked by Republicans in the Senate. Now, it's not on the official agenda, but sources tell CNN the idea of a House select committee to investigate the Capitol riots could come up.

[15:15:04]

Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued his opposition to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Multiple people been arrested. Many will be prosecuted. Nobody's going to get away with anything who was involved in the incident at the Capitol on January the 6th.

I think we will know everything we need to know. We were all witnesses. We were right there when it happened. And I simply think the commission is not necessary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver is a Democrat from Missouri. He joins me now.

Congressman, good to have you.

Is this going to happen?

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): I think that Mr. McConnell has decided that this would do damage to the Republicans in the next election.

I'm not sure that that's the case. But I think it's been a political decision. And I'm not so sure that Mitch McConnell is correct when he says that all people who were involved will be brought to justice. I'm paraphrasing what he said. I think that we need to have a report that people from both sides of the aisle would respect.

Now, in the absence of being able to get that, we have to do something ourselves.

It reminds me of Lily Tomlin's remark in the old "Laugh-In" show. She said something like, we're in this -- we're in this together, all by ourselves.

So, I think, under normal circumstances, we'd be in this together. Years ago, and only a few short years ago, there would never have been a debate on this. But we have become so devilishly divided, that we can't even work together to solve something that actually was the greatest challenge to our constitutional republic that we -- that any of us have seen.

BLACKWELL: So--

CLEAVER: There's nobody alive who has seen anything like this before.

BLACKWELL: So will there be a select committee in the House?

CLEAVER: I think there's going to be an investigation. I don't know how it -- the term we will use to describe it.

But I don't think there's any question there will be some kind of investigation. I don't think Speaker Pelosi is going to allow the curtain to be pulled on this particular chapter in our nation's history without a thorough investigation.

So, there's going to be an investigation. Whether we call it a select committee or not, I'm not so sure. But there's going to be something.

BLACKWELL: All right.

So, one of your House colleagues, Congressman Gerry Connolly, says the investigation should not be in the House. It should go to the president, that the White House should lead this, there should be a commission that comes out of that branch. Do you agree with that?

CLEAVER: Well, I think that's one of the options that we ought to discuss.

I think the -- Representative Connolly, a good friend of mine, made a strong point there. And I think that that's probably one of the considerations under way with Leader -- with Speaker Pelosi.

There are some other options that might be out there. And I think that we're spreading the FBI thin. But there are those who say, let's just turn it completely over to the FBI and give them whatever resources they need to be able to bring people to justice. They automatically bring a level of the requirement of the truth, because you -- it's a federal offense to lie to FBI agents.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

CLEAVER: So, I mean, and I think you can't tell an FBI agent I'm not going to allow you to come and investigate me or to talk with me.

So, there are all kinds of ways I think we can get to the truth. The best way would be for us to have a joint Republican-Democratic committee to go in and investigate it with subpoena powers and all the other things that we would need to get the truth out.

BLACKWELL: So, that's an important point, because one of the justifications that some Republicans used to vote for the commission was that, if you don't vote for this, then Democrats are going to lead a partisan investigation through this select committee.

What should be a part of this committee, if it happens, to try to quell those concerns, equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, shared subpoena power? What should be the makeup of this committee, if it happens, to make sure that you get the confidence that you're looking for?

CLEAVER: Well, I think subpoena power is absolutely critical.

So, I think that the makeup of the committee might not be -- or should not be designed where there are sitting members of Congress. I think, if we're going to get people who are not in Congress, that's one of the ways in which we can create a higher level of believability. And--

BLACKWELL: But isn't that off the table now?

CLEAVER: I'm not so sure that it's off the table.

[15:20:01]

We -- I was at our meeting today. We hadn't gotten to that when I left the meeting. But I do think that Nancy Pelosi is not trying to further divide the nation by appointing some kind of a fake committee. It's going to be a serious committee.

And she's the kind of person, like the president, who doesn't call the Justice Department. I don't think she's going to call and say, do this and do that.

BLACKWELL: Would you want to lead it?

CLEAVER: Well, I'm working for the people of the Fifth District in Missouri. I would do whatever Pelosi wanted me to do.

But I'm not sure that--

BLACKWELL: If she asked you, you would chair the select committee?

CLEAVER: If she asked me, I would think deeply about chairing the committee.

But I don't think that's going to happen. And I look forward to trying to be of some kind of a calming voice on this discussion, because I think it's so critically important that our children and our children's children, when they read about this 30 years from now, that they will note that -- with some confidence, that this is exactly how it happened, and here's what they put in place to prevent it from happening again.

BLACKWELL: All right, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, thank you so much for your time, sir.

CLEAVER: Sure. Good to be with you.

CAMEROTA: OK, next up, we are live in Las Vegas, as the Strip fully reopens to the public. What does it look like today?

Plus: More than 100 hospital staffers are suing their hospital for demanding that they get vaccinated. These health care workers say they are being turned into human guinea pigs.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:26:20] CAMEROTA: All right, we're seeing a lot of signs that America is getting back to business.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, U.S. airports were the busiest they have been in more than a year. The TSA screened nearly nine million passengers from Thursday through Monday.

BLACKWELL: Great news for places like Vegas, where, today, casinos and restaurants returned to full capacity, no restrictions inside. The buffets are back. The shows are back.

CAMEROTA: Good news.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov is on the Vegas Strip.

And, Lucy, we know Vegas took a huge hit because of the pandemic. So this is welcome news to those service industries. Tell us what's happening there.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor.

I mean, the Vegas full reopening couldn't have come quicker for the locals here. The economy has suffered tremendously. When the pandemic broke out in March of last year, they had an 8 percent unemployment rate. That jumped to nearly 34 percent the following April. So this has been a critical piece of the economic recovery.

We are seeing tourists flock back, especially over the Memorial Day weekend. Hotel occupancy rates passed 80 percent, so a lot of folks are getting back here. They're enjoying the sights, enjoying the sounds and enjoying the live music that began at midnight yesterday. We

spoke to some folks on the Strip. Take a listen to what they had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is awesome. This is great. Nobody with masks on. I mean, that's a plus. Things are starting to go back normal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels better because we haven't seen each other in a while.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, they haven't seen each other in a year- and-a-half.

QUESTION: Are you excited (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

QUESTION: -- reopen? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm excited. I haven't been here in about five years. So I must get me a drink. I'm great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAFANOV: The tourists are getting their drinks. Hopefully, that lady got her drink.

The weekend travel is coming back. But the big concern is the weekday bookings and travel. And that's because conventions, a critical part of the economy, have been effectively not happening over the past year. They contributed $11 billion to the Las Vegas economy back in 2019.

And the big test for Vegas is going to be next week, when the World of Concrete convention comes to town. That's going to be tens of thousands of visitors and display people who are presenting their wares at the convention. So, if that's going to come back, then Vegas will be in good hands.

But, of course, all of this is a very tenuous economic recovery, because another variant of COVID-19, a new surge in cases could put the brakes on Vegas' economic comeback -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Did you all rent a convertible and just ride up to people on the side of the street? Is that what I just saw?

KAFANOV: Mm-hmm.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: I feel like you're jealous of her assignment.

BLACKWELL: It was a -- you know.

CAMEROTA: That's what I feel like is happening right now.

BLACKWELL: You make it work, Lucy. You make it work.

CAMEROTA: Well done, Lucy.

KAFANOV: Thank you. Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Thank you for that report.

You're jealous. That's the assignment you want.

BLACKWELL: A little bit. CAMEROTA: I know that.

BLACKWELL: A little bit.

CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, more than 100 health care workers at Houston's Methodist Hospital are now suing the hospital over its mandatory COVID vaccination policy.

The network, which has more than 26,000 employees, gave all workers a deadline of June 7 to get vaccinated. If they do not get vaccinated, the staffers say they risk suspension or termination; 99 percent of the hospital's employees have now been vaccinated, but, in a lawsuit, 117 current and former staffers claimed the mandate goes too far.

They argue the hospital is forcing them to be vaccinated with -- quote -- "an experimental COVID-19 mRNA gene modification injection or get fired. Methodist Hospital is forcing its employees to be human guinea pigs as a condition for continued employment."

Dr. Marc Boom is the president and CEO of Houston Methodist Hospital.

Doctor, thanks so much for being here.

Are you forcing your employees to become human guinea pigs?

DR. MARC BOOM, PRESIDENT AND CEO, HOUSTON METHODIST HOSPITAL: You know, in health care, we have a sacred responsibility to take care of our patients.