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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  April 1, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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emotional testimony and graphic police body cam videos of george floyd's arrest seen publicly for the first time. all part of day three of the
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murder trial of ex-police officer derek chauvin accused of killing george floyd by kneeling on his neck for 9:29. also about the, president biden pitching his $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, which he calls a once-in-a-generation investment in america. in the battle against covid-19, pfizer reporting clinical trials showing the vaccine is 100% effective in adolescents 12 to 15 years old. right now no covid vaccine is authorized for americans under 16. i want to get to that dramatic testimony in the trial of derek chauvin. cnn's sara sidner reports now from minneapolis. >> reporter: 61-year-old eyewitness charles mcmillan took the stand, breaking down in sobs after prosecutors played this body camera video of george floyd interacting with police. >> i can't breathe. i can't breathe. i can't breathe. >> not moving.
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>> mama! mama! mama! >> i don't have a mama either. i understand him. >> mcmilian is the man you hear on the video begging floyd to give in to police before floyd is taken to the ground. >> an officer myself and i understand once you get in, you can't win. you're done. >> mcmillan told the jury he regularly walks the neighborhood. in fact, he bumped into officer derek chauvin there five days before floyd's arrest. >> five days ago, i told you, say the next person going to make mistake. he looked at you as a maggot. >> reporter: on this day in court, the jury also saw george floyd alive, watching not seen before surveillance video from
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inside the cub food store. 19-year-old former cashier christopher martin took the stand to explain what was going on leading up to police arriving. >> do you recall what it was that you sold? >> a pack of cigarettes. he seemed very friendly, approachable, he was talkative. he seemed to be just living his life. >> reporter: a scene from every day life. but the jury knows they are watching a dead man walking. in less than an hour, floyd will be struggling for his life under then officer derek chauvin's knee. martin said floyd seemed high. >> when i asked him if he played baseball, he went on to respond to that, but it kind of took him a little long. so it would appear that he was high. >> reporter: and paid for cigarettes with an odd looking $20 bill. >> i assumed it was fake. >> reporter: he testified the store policy is if a cashier accepts counterfeit money, it comes out of their paycheck.
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>> i took it anyway. i was planning to put on it my tab until i second-guessed myself. and as you can see in the video, i kept examining it and i eventually told my manager. >> reporter: the manager of the store asked another employee to call police on floyd after the teenage employees confronted floyd at his car twice. when police eventually detained floyd, martin heard a commotion and went outside. >> george was motionless, limp, and chauvin seemed very, he was in a -- resting state. >> what was going through your mind during that time period? >> disbelief. and guilt. >> why guilt? >> if i would have just not tooken the bill, it could have been avoided. >> for the first time we hear chauvin explaining on his body camera why he detained floyd. >> trying to control this guy
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because he is a sizable guy. looks like he is probably on something. >> reporter: the jury then saw the excruciatingly close video from several angles, all of it from officers' body cameras. >> mama, i love you. >> reporter: it takes several minutes before you hear an officer, just one, question chauvin's tactics. >> roll him on the side? i just worry about -- whatever. >> boy, oh, boy, sarah. good evening to you. these videos are so disturbing and difficult to watchful what was the reaction in the courtroom? >> reporter: there was visceral reaction by one juror. a juror in her 50s. we know she's a white woman who said she was in health care. a nonprofit executive and single mom. she was feeling shaky, she said, and having trouble sleeping.
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as she's been listening to the testimony over the last few days. you can really understand why. and don, i want to mention this particularly to you. the man who spoke from his heart with so much passion and so much sorrow and so much honesty, charles mcmillan that you saw there, talking about just how this affected him. we all know a guy like this, don't we? in the neighborhood? the guy that goes and gives you good advice because he is an elder who has been through some stuff. a guy who breaks up the fights among the young people. a guy who is always getting into somebody's business, who says hey, mrs. so and so, your boy is down there and he is about to get into trouble. you should go get him. this is the person -- and this is significant -- this is a person that you can identify. any neighborhood, any creed, color or background you know this guy. he took the stand with such honesty.
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actually in the very beginning, actually saying, look, i was just being nosey. he was kind of funny. and very colloquial, and he was just being himself. and then he breaks down, a grown man, 61 years old. when he breaks down sobbing and talks about his mother and talks about george floyd screaming for his mom. it was a punch in the gut to any human being watching this trial. the most, bar none, extremely emotional and powerful testimony that we have yet heard yet in this trial against former officer derek chauvin and kelly and george floyd. >> what it shows is that he was not threatened by george floyd or what was going on. it was his neighborhood. these are people that he knew. so they weren't foreign to him. these were the neighbors that he knew. he knows the stories. we should all get to know
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stories of people like that so we can see their humanity. that's what we saw. i'm glad you pointed that out. thank you and i'll be watching tomorrow. of you reporting and what's going on in the courtroom. thank you so much. sara sidner live in minneapolis. i want to bring in laura coates and vice president of the city council andrew jenkins. her district includes a street where george floyd was killed last year. thank you both for joining us. councilwoman, you joined us when this was all going on and i appreciate you joining us again. this is your community. today was another incredibly emotional day in court. body camera footage is hard to watchful george floyd calling for his mother. we saw your constituents on television crying, others blaming themselves for not doing more. how is this trying weighing on them, the folks who are so close to it? >> i've seen charles walking around the neighborhood. you know, and the correspondent was correct.
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we all know someone like charles. this community, this neighborhood, it's breaking my heart, watching the video like everybody else over the last three days. but to see my constituents on this stage in so much pain and dealing with so much trauma. it just really breaks my heart. i want to send my condolences out to them. but also to thank them for the strength they are exhibiting to be able to be up on that stand and be vulnerable and share their truth. so it is really bitter sweet. they're doing the right thing. >> laura, i want to bring you in because this is where you made your bones in the courtroom. being a former federal prosecutor and an attorney. it is striking to hear this
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witness so upset, so emotional, so overcome with guilt for not being able to do more to save george floyd, just feet away. he had the power to do something and didn't, right? what kind of impact will that have on a jury? sorry? >> it's extraordinary impact. imagine in all of these people from the 9-year-old to the now 18-year-old to somebody who was a half -- more than a half century older than the oldest witness that testified and enduring such troublesome and breaking down on the stand, you can imagine what the jurors are thinking to themselves. does this defendant feel the same level of guilt, someone who was powerless to do anything when someone in position of power, had the agency to act, had the badge to protect him, chose not to act? that will be lingering on the minds of the jurors. the idea here for some, that remember, as part of the voir dire, a couple of them said they
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never even watched the 8:46 video. come to find out it was and it was expanded by more than 40 seconds, and now they're hearing it and seeing it again and again. some of these witnesses are particularly pure in the sense they have no angle, no agenda to push. they're disinterested. how do you undermine the credibility of all these people, even what broke my heart, this now 19-year-old employee who thought let me just pay for the $20 bill here. just put it on my tab and have this situation go away. this is not somebody who was threatened. so to see all this to play as a david and goliath story, when he a man is handcuffed in the prone position, unconscious, not breathing, not moving suggests that he somehow still had to be subdued or in some meaningful way with lethal threat and lethal force is disheartening
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and disingenuous. >> laura, having said this then, let me put up this. this is a body camera footage showing when police first approached george floyd, the former officer thomas lane pointed a gun. the officer felt safe enough, to put their guns away for the rest of the encounter. so they didn't feel threatened, then why it was it necessary to kneel on someone's neck for 9:29? >> exactly, don. if they had guns available, which they did, and there were four officers on that scene, they felt comfortable enough in the interaction with george floyd to put the guns away. why would you then need to use and apply what is deadly force and known to be able to cause at the very least, grave bodily harm by putting one's knee on the neck and toward the head area of a human being? why would you need to do that? that's the question going into the minds of the jurors right now. the one the prosecution will not do any favors to answer on
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behalf of derek chauvin. this actually moves the needle in favor of him being implored and compelled to answer to testify to that question. if he thinks his statements in that body cam footage that suggest hey, this was a big guy, when they saw urine coming from his body, no pulse and they knew it, he is going to have to answer for that. >> you know, councilwoman, the defense keeps trying to portray bystanders. you remember how laura said they were trying to portray george floyd as hostile, whatever. but the bystanders, they're portraying them as hostile, a hostile angry crowd. what are your constituents saying about this attempt to characterize these people, these black people who saw this as angry? >> i think people are offended and rightfully so. we're looking at the crowds that were there. supposed crowds.
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five or six people. a couple of people walking by. you know, it was a beautiful day. it was memorial day. people were out and about. the crowds were disturbed because of the, you know, very traumatic situation that they were witnessing. so yeah. the community doesn't really give credibility to that characterization of being, you know, angry, or, and if they were, rightfully so. we were watching -- >> a very good point. that's a very good point. let me ask you another thing. what has this done to the relationship between police and the community? >> well, it has always been challenged between the black
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community and the community seeking social justice, we've had a number of other high profile nationally attention grabbing, you know, deaths by police force. so the relationship has always been fragile. it has been almost completely torn asunder now. it is really challenging to have constructive dialogue between community and the minneapolis police department. >> listen, i think there's something very important -- >> to rebuild that trust. >> there's something very important that i think you want to convey to our viewers before we let you go. that will be the last word. what did you want to say, councilwoman?
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>> oh, i really wanted to just highlight and lift up the fact that today is a day of visibility and a moment in time where so many state legislators around the country are attacking trans and gender noncome forming youth, i want people out there to know that we see you, we love you, and we are fighting for you. we will pass the equality act in the united states congress so that we can bring full equality to lgbtq americans all across the country. >> councilwoman, thank you. laura, thank you as well. i appreciate it. >> thank you, don. it is hard to hear the testimony about the last moments of george floyd's life, second by second. if you're having trouble dealing with it, speak up. ask for help, okay?
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look up on your screen right there. you can find it on social media. we have some resources on the screen. again, don't hesitate to get help. so our other big story, president joe biden going big with a $2 trillion infrastructure plan. but what's in it for you? >> react now, in 50 years, people will look back and say this was the moment that america won the future. when it's hot outside your car is like a sauna steaming up lingering odors. febreze car vent clips stop hot car stench with up to 30 days of freshness. get relief with febreze.
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- [announcer] maya swears by grammarly business, because it keeps her work on brand and error free, fast, and easy. and we know clear and concise marketing leads to a killer performance. - steady beat to rising revenues, right, maya? (microphone whooshing) - [announcer] learn more at president biden introducing his $2.2 trillion infrastructure proposal that he is selling as a plan to transform america's economy. >> it's not a plan that tinkers around the edges. it is a once in a lifetime investment in america like the unlike anything we've seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. i'm convinced if we act now, in 50 years, people will look back
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and say this is the moment that america won the future. >> called the american jobs plan. it's the first of a two-part proposal. it goes way beyond modernizing highways, roads and bridges. it also invests nearly 600 billion across manufacturing, research, development, in areas like climate, science, and job training. $400 billion would help care giving for aging and disabled americans. it also invests in housing and schools and water and digital infrastructure. joining me now to discuss this, democratic congressman james clyburn. thank you so much for joining me. let's talk about the plan the president laid out today. it is massive and only the first part. it would reshape the economy. would it help workers. it would combat the climate crisis. what does this mean for every day americans? they don't care about the politics. they just want to know what is it going to do for them? >> absolutely. thank you so much for having me. you know, what joe biden is doing here is exactly what i
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envisioned way back during the campaign. when he kept talking about bringing america back better, building back better. that's what we're doing here. he has offered a plan if implemented, if this plan is implemented, i think we will see a resurgence in our economy. we will see a renewal among our people, and we will see a better america for each and every one of us. and so i am ecstatic about this plan and talking to him about the future. i just believe that this is the american job plan. i think we're getting ready in a few weeks to see america's family plan. it is going to be what we need. it will be what he promised, and we are going to be a much better
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country than we have been in the past. >> what's interesting, i'm sure you remember not so long ago, it seems like every week under a previous administration was infrastructure week. but now it looks like there is something actually being proposed to happen here. this plan would replace all lead pipes across the country, something that's has disproportionately affected people of color. it would provide broad band access. how far does this go helping communities of color? >> it will do the kinds of things that are necessary to make these communities compatible for all who live in it and will also make it palatable for all who wished to improve it. this plan is the kind of plan that i've dreamed about for a long time. i represent a lot of rural america and i can tell you, this
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$100 billion broad band plan is going to deliver health care in communities that have not had it before. it is going to have online learning for our children. it is going to be what businesses need in rural communities. we do not, we should not have to go to urban centers in order for businesses to flourish. we ought to allow the environment to be created so businesses can flourish wherever they may wish to go and rural america is as good a place as any. >> listen, no pun intended but i wonder about the possible road blocks here. biden plans to pay for it by hiking corporate taxes. that's not going to fly with republicans, as you know. the scope of this proposal could worry moderate democrats in the 50-50 senate. democrats need every single vote. are you worried? >> no, i'm not worried, because
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i'm talking to a lot of corporate people. and they tell me, they didn't ask for the corporate rate the go down to 21. they didn't want anything under 25. they knew to drop corporate down to 21, that we would get to some unintended consequences and that's what happened. that's how we lost the affordable housing market, because there's no tax incentive for people to invest in affordable housing. if he moves it up to 28, they do not mind. that's what they've said to me and i believe them. they think that if this economy gets back where it should be, they will benefit. if it stays where it is, they are going to lose. so all business people want a flourishing, growing economy and getting this rate back up to 28 so he can invest in the families of america, invest in communities.
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it will make everybody happier. >> you know, at the same time this is going on, republicans are pushing hundreds of voter suppression bills. one became law in georgia last being. does president biden need to put more energy into fighting that? >> well, i think he is watching this fight very closely. those of us who are legislators are carrying the fight. we've already passed hr 1 to do what is necessary to take dark money out of politics, to take partisan politics out of redistricting, to do what is necessary to get voters back in touch with their communities, and to choosing their representatives rather than having their representatives choose them. i believe we'll pass that bill and i believe that the president
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is going to sign it. and i think that's exactly what the public would like to see done. >> you have talked about creating rules that would get rid of the filibusters for issues of civil rights and voting rights so that they could get around the 60-vote threshold. how do you get moderates on board like joe manchin? >> i think joe manchin understands that there is no way under the sun that we are going to sacrifice voting rights for democrats or all americans, civil rights for all americans on the altar of the filibuster. now the filibuster was designed to extend the debate on issues of a legislative nature. it was never to determine whether or not people get the right to vote or whether or not their constitutional rights will be there for them. so i believe that it will be a way to work around the
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filibuster. keep it for legislation but not for people's constitutional rights. >> congressman clyburn, always a pleasure. thank you so much. >> thank you so much for having me. >> one of the biggest company in georgia speaking out against their new restrictive voting laws. and they're not alone. that and a look at jim crow then and now. that's next. you'd never wash your dishes in this. your dishwasher looks clean but, when grease and limescale build up, it's not as hygienic as you think. use finish dishwasher cleaner its dual-action formula tackles grease and limescale. finish. clean dishwasher. clean dishes.
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call to action by dozens of america's most prominent black business leaders, fighting back against new laws aimed at restricting access to the ballot. 72 executive lawmakers signing a ballot today, challenging lawmak lawmakers to stand up against restrictive legislation in georgia and other states saying
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this. at this very moment the fundamental tenets of our democracy are under assault by forces that seek to take this country backwards. the new law and others like it are both undemocratic and un-american and they are wrong. when it comes to protecting the rights of all americans to vote, there can be no middle ground. also today, the ceo of coca-cola, one of the largest companies based in georgia, speaking out. >> let me be crystal clear and unequivocal. this legislation is unacceptable. it is a step backwards and it does not promote principles we have stood for in georgia. >> and major league baseball now open to discussing moving the all-star game out of atlanta. president biden addressing that just moments ago. >> i would strongly support them doing that. this is jim crow on steroids, what they're doing in georgia and 40 other states. >> there are more than 250 proposed bills and at least 43 states that are aimed at restricting access to the ballot. it is being called the new jim
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crow. here's cnn's joe johns. ♪ >> jim crow is making a comeback. the fictional black faced character from minstrel shows who came to symbolize second class citizenship for millions of americans. ♪ jim crow ♪ >> reporter: jim pro ceo is also the name used to describe unequal racial segregation rules that banned black people from eating at white-owned restaurants, staying in white-owned hotels and fully participating in the election process. now as hundreds of new proposals to scale back voter participation, the parallels with the past are inescapable. elizabeth johnson wright was 19 when she went to jail 61 years ago as a college student at virginia union university.
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she and 33 other students were locked up for a sit-in at a local department store. the alleged crime, trespassing at a whites only lunch counter in richmond. >> if you wanted a meal, you had to go into the alley, to the door, and let them serve it to you through the door in the alley. >> virginia like many states had strict voting rules with poll taxes and literacy. while other states had something known as an eight box rule requiring a separate box and separate sheets of paper for ballots in each office. slight variations could cause ballots to be thrown out. >> every time you vote for a person, it has to be the right box and the right size paper. because so many were illiterate. >> but comparing today's proposals to limit voting with jim crow laws of the past can only go so far. >> what's happening now is worse than anything that i would think could ever happen to a democracy. living in america.
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>> reporter: how could it be worse? because johnson rice says the new proposals, more than 250 in 45 states and counting, according to the data from the progress-leaning brennan center for justice are inspired by donald trump's big lie, claiming the last presidential election was stolen due to massive voter fraud. >> i mean, it is really upsetting for people to take a lie, take an untruth, and spin it and spin it and spin it and then blatantly in front of you let you know, this is what we're going to do for you. we are going to keep you from voting. >> and some of those proposals have already become law like the one in georgia making it a misdemeanor to deliver food or water to people standing in line to vote. proponents of the measure claim it is not racist. it's just to keep people from trying to influence voters on election day. but the brennan central for justice says, jim crow election laws were also presented as neutral at the time. >> they look neutral on their
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face. so did so many of the jim crow laws. but in their impact they really hit voters of color and young voters and poor voters, much harder than other people. these proposed laws are carefully tailored to make it harder to vote for some people but not for others. >> elizabeth johnson writes this trespassing conviction was eventually vacated by the u.s. supreme court. the expectation is the courts will have to intervene against the flood of current legislation. given the current composition of the high court and its conservative majority, she's not sure they will have the final say this time around. >> i think it will be the voice of the people so loud in a nonviolent way. >> now it's the constitution that gives essentially the state legislatures the power to control the time, place and manner of elections. the united states congress has the power to make its own rules or alter any rules made by the
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state. so in theory at least, anything the states do, the congress can undo if there is only enough political will. that of course is a big question mark right now. don? >> joe, such a great report. thank you for doing that for us. history really shows us why it is so important for congress to be involved here, right? >> absolutely. there's a real question of congressional neglect. back in 2013 the united states supreme court essentially eviscerated parts of the voting rights act. they did tell congress that it needed to pass some new measures along with the voting rights act which has not happened now in eight years. of course, that's the reason why we see such a big push on capitol hill to change voting rights. once and for all. >> a really important story. we also put it on social media. joe, thank you. really, again, great reporting. and listen, we talk about my new book. how i think it will help heal america. i really do believe this. so all these issues that we talk
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so there's big news in our fight against covid today. pfizer reporting that phase three clinical trials show its vaccine has 100% efficacy among children ages 12-15.
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think about that. 100% effective. the results could pave the way for kids to be vaccinated before the school year begins next fall. joining me now to discuss, cnn medical analyst dr. jonathan reiner. doctor, some good news! yes! happy about that. good to see you. they'll submit their results to the fda and they hope they can begin vaccinating kids in time for school next year. the numbers are really impressive. >> yeah. they really are. the bigger news about this is, the prospect of vaccinating kids because we can't get herd immune without vaccinating children. 23% of the population in the united states is composed of kids under the age of 18. so we can't get to herd immunity without being able to vaccinate kids. this study which looked at over
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2,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 showed that the vaccine produced really robust immune response and 100% efficacy at preventing symptomatic disease. so it works really well in this age group. we know they can certainly can contract the virus, and we know this age group spreads the virus very effectively. so this is super good news. mind you, this vaccine, the pfizer vaccine, is already approved for teenagers 16 and older. so this will move it even lower. and the manufacturer already announced that they've begun enrolling very young children from six months to 15 -- six months to 12 in a new trial which will probably take the balance of the summer. >> all right. so good news. not so great news, right? another day of over 60,000 new cases.
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the cdc director rachelle walensky giving a warning. >> i think this is a critical moment in our fight against the pandemic as we see increases in cases, we can't afford to let our guard down. we are so close. so very close to getting back to the everyday activities we all miss so much. we're not quite there yet. >> so speaking of getting ahead of ourselves, the governors lifts mask mandates and letting up on restrictions, could this spin out of control again? >> i don't think it will spin out of control because just about 100 million americans sometime in the next two days, the 100 millionth american will be vaccinated. there is a lot of vaccine in the community. so i don't think we'll see the dramatic spike we saw at christmas and new years. but it can get worse and it will get worse if states don't act wisely. which means in places where we're seeing spikes, we may need
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to reinstitute a restrictions on indoor gatherings. and i think every state should have a mask mandate until this is really under control. and it's nowhere near fully contained. >> doctor, love the house calls. thank you so much. we appreciate it. >> my pleasure, don. thank you. so they trump blamed, incited and directed the insurrection, and now two capitol police officers are suing him. stay with us.
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tonight, two u.s. capitol police officers, who say that they were injured during the january insurrection, are going after the former president donald trump. suing him for allegedly inflaming, encouraging, inciting, and directing the mob. here's cnn's brian todd. >> reporter: one officer says he was crushed against doors, and sprayed with chemicals. the other claims he was slammed against a stone column. tonight james blassingame and sidney of the u.s. capitol police become the first law enforcement officers to sue former president trump. saying, they suffered physical and emotional damage because trump, they claim, inflamed, encouraged, incited, and directed the mob, on january 6th. >> we're going to the capitol. >> former-president trump brought them there, encouraged them, and so on, but wasn't the one actually throwing the punches. so, their challenge is going to be convincing a jury that, in fact, what he did led, directly, to their injuries.
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>> reporter: representatives for trump have not, immediately, responded to the lawsuit. but the former president has previously denied inciting the rioters. and new information, tonight, on the pure hate that was mixed with the violence on january 6th. prosecutors allege rioter garret miller, in the days after the capitol attack, identified a black police officer and posted messages online threatening to lynch him. saying, in court filings, miller threatened to hug his neck with a nice rope. he will swing. could that officer, still, be in danger? >> it puts them, certainly, in a target of someone who could be so hateful and bigoted. that they could, potentially, do them harm. >> reporter: prosecutors say, garret miller posted those threats, believing the officer in question, shot and killed rioter ashli babbitt. though, there is no indication that miller correctly identified the officer who shot her. miller's lawyer has said his messages were quote, misguided political hyperbole and miller regrets what he did. this comes as two leaders of the
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far-right pro-trump group, the proud boys, are making new claims to try avoid being jailed before their trials. ethan nordeen now says in court filings that the proud boys were disorganized on january 6 and that he himself was only planning to stage a private concert at an airbnb that day. nordean is charged with multiple counts, including conspiracy, along with fellow-proud-boys leader, joseph biggs, who is now claiming the fbi checked in on him several times, in recent years. and that he regularly spoke to local and federal-law enforcement about protests he knew of or was planning. >> it does not actually mean that the government did not view him as a threat in any other way. sometimes, law enforcement checks in on individuals who are subjects of their investigation, for the purpose of just, kind of, keeping in touch with them. >> reporter: joseph biggs and his lawyers claim that, last year, biggs met with fbi agents, who they say, were interested in his knowledge of the left-wing
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group antifa, and wanted to know what biggs was seeing on the ground. the justice department and the fbi have not responded to joseph biggs's assertions. don? >> brian todd, thank you so much. >> and thank you, everyone, for watching. our coverage continues. ...the itching ...the burning. the stinging. my skin was no longer mine. my psoriatic arthritis, made my joints stiff, swollen... painful. emerge tremfyant™ with tremfya®, adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis... ...can uncover clearer skin and improve symptoms at 16 weeks. tremfya® is also approved for adults with active psoriatic arthritis. serious allergic reactions may occur. tremfya® may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms or if you had a vaccine or plan to. tremfya®. emerge tremfyant™ janssen can help you explore cost support options.
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