tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN April 1, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
testified that chauvin restrained george floyd for too long. juries heard an audio recording of shachauvin describing the arrest, saying that floyd was, quote, going crazy. paramedics say floyd was unresponsive and appeared to be dead when they arrived at the scene. but chauvin's knee was still firmly planted on floyd's neck until they asked him to move so they could treat the patient. floyd's girlfriend of some three years offered the most emotional testimony of the day describing both his kindness as well as his struggle with drug addiction. let's go to minneapolis once again. omar jimenez is on the story. tell us about this final round of testimony on this day four of testimony during this trial. tell us about chauvin's use of force on floyd. >> reporter: wolf, bottom line, derek chauvin's supervisory
sergeant at the time testified that he believes excessive force was used on floyd. he was the final witness called as part of a day where we really centered on what happened when medical help arrived on may of 2020 that day and the immediate aftermath. the moments when paramedics arrived and george floyd appeared unresponsive in may 2020 are coming into clearer focus. an audio played in court, derek chauvin is heard on the phone describing what had just happened. >> had to hold the guy down. he was -- was going crazy, wouldn't go in the back of the squad. >> reporter: he was talking to the supervising police sergeant at the time. >> do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of mr. floyd should have ended in this encounter? >> yes.
>> what is it? >> when mr. floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint. >> that was after he was handcuffed and on the ground and no longer resistant? >> correct. >> reporter: paramedics responded to the scene and arrived to an unresponsive floyd. smith, scene here checking floyd for vitals. >> what did his condition appear to be to you? >> in lay terms i thought he was dead. >> reporter: the checking began while now former officer derek chauvin still had his knee on floyd's neck before bravender stepped in. >> what were you attempting to do at that point in time. >> tell the officer to move. >> why did you need the officer to move? >> so we could move the patient. he was, i guess, limp.
>> reporter: bravender testified a cardiac monitor showed floyd's heart had flat lined. during cross examination the defense asked about whether overdose patients can regain consciousness and be aggressive. >> have you personally see that happen? >> yes. >> reporter: drug use was the center of how tearful testimony began. floyd's girlfriend took the stand. while emotional throughout, her testimony centered largely on both her and george floyd's addiction to opioids. >> classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. >> did he have sports injuries that he complained of? >> yes. his neck from his neck to shoulder blade and down to his lower back. >> reporter: the defense is trying to make the case it was drugs in george floyd's system that killed him, not chauvin's
knee to the neck. when it was their turn to question ross, they asked about an emergency trip floyd to the hospital floyd had two months before his death. >> did you later learn that was due to an overdose? >> yes. >> did you learn what would cause that overdose? >> no. >> at that time frame did you learn that mr. floyd was taking anything other than opioids? >> no. >> you did not know that he had taken heroin at that time? >> no. >> reporter: she testified days before he died, floyd was using again, but never complained of shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. >> had mr. floyd been an active person physically? >> yes. he was very active. >> reporter: and really with this testimony we're having these puzzle pieces come together. yesterday we got a clear picture of what happened once the
ambulance left and what happened before police were called on george floyd. today it was largely centered on context around any prior george floyd drug use and that shortly after medical personnel arrived, they believed for all intents and purposes he was dead. and of course the news from that supervising sergeant that he believes derek chauvin used excessive force on george floyd based on everything he has seen. court will be back tomorrow morning with a brand new witness on what is expected to be a shortened day five of testimony. >> do you have any idea who's going to be testifying tomorrow? >> reporter: we've heard some clues from pool reports. we know that at some point in the future, current minneapolis police chief is expected to testify. we're going to have to see who exactly it's going to be in the morning. court has typically stayed pretty mum on who's coming just based on security purposes. we do know it's expected to be a
shortened day tomorrow and we do know at some point in the future the current police chief is expected to testify. >> that's really important and it's smart to keep as much of this information confidential as possible. i want to bring in natalie jackson, a wrongful death attorney. natalie, what jumped out at you? we did hear the minneapolis police sergeant, the retired minneapolis police sergeant testify that chauvin told him floyd was going crazy. chauvin didn't mention using his knee on george floyd's neck for those almost ten minutes. what red flags were raised to you? >> well, i think one of the main things that jumped out to me was the use of force policy, because in this case of course officers can use force to subdue people. however, the use of force policy, just like the national policy, says that you use force and you have to determine it based on moment by moment in the
force stops. it is reasonable to expect the person who's being restrained to not continue to move. that's what you want to do if you're trying to get away. this is inherent to police work. he tried to minimize with his supervisor. didn't mention any of that nine or ten minutes. >> stand by for a moment. i want to bring back retired sergeant ron johnson of the missouri state highway patrol. as you know, sergeant, ti shoul say captain ron johnson. two paramedics described seeing floyd totally unresponsive when they first arrived on the scene. have we heard this much detail on the medical response before today? >> no, we have not. there was some strong testimony that it was obvious when they pulled up and really before they started rendering aid, they saw
that. they had to move the officer off of mr. floyd, that they had to remove him off of him. you could tell they were doing their best, but i think like you say, giving chest compressions, that's something officers are trained on. those officers had the ability to assist in saving mr. floyd's life. >> one paramedic said there was no reason why the minneapolis police didn't start chest compressions, which potentially could have saved his life maybe. he testified any layperson could actually do that. you didn't need to be a firefighter or police officer. did chauvin fail in his duty to provide that potentially life saving care? >> yes, i believe so, because you always have to assess the situation that's there. from the time that you're using force, you have had to continue to assess what's going on. there was no assessment there. the way they started it, that's
the way they ended. they never did an assessment. there were plenty of opportunities to help save mr. floyd's life. >> let's talk, sergeant dorsey, about what happened today. the prosecution brought george floyd's three-year girlfriend as a witness, very emotional. she said both she and floyd struggled with addiction after being prescribed opioids. but she also spoke about how they met, the story of their first kiss, the dates they went on. how do the personal, humanizing details like that shape a case? >> i think it's all very important. because once the defense takes over, they're going to spend the entirety of their time dehumanizing mr. floyd. they're going to try to make him seem like he's something other than human in many regards. it was important to hear from someone who knew him intimately and that he had struggles but
none of that has anything to do with what happened once handcuffs were put on him by those officers and he was placed in the back of that police car. >> let me ask natalie what she thought of the girlfriend's testimony today, because we saw her repeatedly breaking down in tears. >> right. i think the emotional part of it was good at humanizing george floyd. it was important to show the influence and how drugs affect george floyd. she also took the same drugs that george floyd took and she's still alive. i think that is one of the things that is going to disprove the defense's theory that george floyd died of a drug overdose. >> omar, the floyd family understandably has been bracing for all of this. it's obviously very painful for them relive all those, especially the video that we're seeing. they're trying to brace for the
possibility, almost a certain possibility that the defense will try to smear george floyd's overall character. that's certainly happening to a certain degree already, right? >> reporter: as tough as it is for people on the outside to watch the proceedings and watch the video, you can imagine how tough it is for family at the center of this. the brother of george floyd was in court today. he was asked about how he is handling all of this by our own sara sidner, who was the pool reporter today. he simply said, "one day at a time." >> stand by. we're going to continue our special coverage including a conversation we're about to have with a lawyer for george floyd's family. he will respond to today's testimony, including that new audio of shachauvin.
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chauvin telling a supervisor that george floyd was, quote, going crazy. but chauvin didn't tell the supervisor he actually used his knee on floyd's neck for almost ten minutes. how painful is that for the floyd family to hear? >> the entire thing is painful, but we know that a blessing is coming. you know, if george floyd was going crazy allegedly, as you say, he's now going crazy coming up with all of these crazy defenses they're trying to use. >> how powerful is it to hear that minneapolis police sergeant say chauvin should have stopped restraining george floyd and reassess the situation once floyd had his handcuffs on, he was not moving at all. how powerful was that to hear that from that retired police sergeant? >> it's huge. now we're getting to the main course of this entire trial. right now the prosecution has their knee on derek chauvin's
neck just like he had it on george, and they're scrambling. some of the things they're using to compare a gun battle where good officers actually risk their lives out there to six people in the crowd, two kids, it's ridiculous. >> we did hear also and you heard it as well, very upsetting testimony today from a paramedic who thought floyd had already passed away when he arrived on the scene. yesterday your colleague told me the floyd family is going through what he described as torture every day watching all of this. how do they brace for these new details day after day? >> to try not to watch it. when i talked to roxy today, try not to watch the whole thing, you know, just getting updates, because it's too tapainful. it's too painful for the whole country. everybody is watching this man die every single day. they're not understanding why we have to go through this, but now
we're seeing why, because of the excuses they're giving. they're blaming the crowd, the fire department, now they're blaming the police department. they're going to blame everybody except for themselves. >> the jurors also heard from george floyd's girlfriend. it was very emotional, very powerful. she spoke about their shared struggles after being prescribed opioids, but she also spoke warmly about how they first met, the times they enjoyed together. why is that so important for the jury to hear those personal details? >> because they need to know who george is. they're just going to see him dying. they're going the hear the negative things from the defense. what she said was powerful. the first thing he said to her is, let us pray together. george floyd was a godly person. yes, he had his personal demons battling with drugs, but so do 20 million plus americans. in america you don't get killed
from doing drugs. >> millions of americans protested in honor of george floyd last summer. we all remember what was going on around the entire country. what's your message to all those people following this trial right now? they obviously are so moved, so affected by all of this. >> just stay strong. it's painful to watch. it's painful to hear these excuses. it's painful to hear their own supervisors tell them they shouldn't have done it. justice is coming. we've got faith in this jury. we don't believe they're going to be swayed by the racial inferences they're slipping in, his size and things of that nature. look at the truth. they killed that man. coming up, we're also learning more right now about that controversy surrounding republican congressman matt
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violated sex trafficking or prostitution laws with other young women and whether he used federal campaign funds on his alleged victims. tonight, new details on the sex trafficking investigation into representative matt gaetz. cnn has learned prosecutors are looking into a relationship with a woman that began when she was just 17 and whether his involvement with other young women broke sex trafficking and prostitution laws, according to two sources briefed on the matter. those sources say investigators are also pursuing allegations that gaetz may have used cash and drugs in his dealings with young women and also whether any federal campaign money was involved in paying for travel and expenses. an attorney for gaetz declined to comment. gaetz has denied any wrongdoing. >> it is a horrible allegation and it is a lie. that is verifiably false. people can look at my travel records and see that is not the
case. >> reporter: and tried to portray the investigation as connected to an extortion plot against his family. according to documents provided to cnn, the gaetz family says it was approached by a former air force intelligence officer by text message. gaetz's father don gaetz allegedly received a message from a man saying he had a plan to make his son's future legal and political problems go away. in a simple, unsigned document titled "project homecoming," it states gaetz was currently under investigation by the fbi for various public corruption and public integrity issues, including a sexual orgy with underaged prostitutes. in return, the document asks for a $25 million loan to fund an operation to rescue a former fbi agent who went missing in iran in 2007. the levenson famt ily said they
received information from u.s. officials leading them to believe their father was dead. that same day, president trump said this. >> it's not looking great, but i won't accept that he's dead. they haven't told us that he's dead, but a lot of people are thinking that is the case. >> the levenson family attorney is david mcgee, the same man gaetz named in a fox news interview blaming him for the extortion attempt. >> i know there was a demand for money in exchange for a commitment that he could make this investigation go away along with his coconspirators. >> mcgee responded, the allegation by the congressman is both false and defamatory. then attorney general bill barr received multiple briefings while he was in office on the sex trafficking investigation into gaetz. a source tells cnn, barr did not take issue with the investigation, which began in the final months of the trump
administration. at stake is the florida republican's future. >> if in fact these allegations are true, of course, removal from the judiciary committee is the least that could be done. again, i think from what we've heard so far, this will be a matter for the ethics committee. >> reporter: gaetz previously claimed his father was asked by the government to wear a wire to catch the alleged extorters. tonight he demanded the government release those recordings. e-mails obtained by cnn appear to confirm gaetz's father is cooperating but they say nothing about a wire or any tapes. the justice department has declined comment. >> sources say gaetz gained a reputation in congress over his
relationships with woman and even showed fellow lawmakers some nude photos of women he said he slept with. lauren fox is on this part of the story. what are you learning about these photos? >> reporter: we should be very clear from the top this is a separate issue than the doj investigation that is ongoing right now. when matt gaetz was a new member of congress, he earned a reputation quickly of being a close ally of former president trump's. he liked to be in the limelight of the media. he also, according to multiple sources cnn spoke with, behind the scenes likes to show his colleagues photos and brag about sexual exploits he had with women. three sources told cnn this was something that gaetz did and two of these individuals had seen these images firsthand. one of these individuals said they saw this image, matt gaetz shared this image with them, a nude photograph on the house
floor. one else said they had seen an image gaetz shared with them just off the house floor, but still at the u.s. capitol. cnn reached out to gaetz for comment. we have not heard any response from either gaetz nor his office. obviously this is a significant development given what is going on with the doj investigation. i want to make it crystal clear. these are two separate issues. this is not something that we know the doj is looking into, nor is there any indication that these women whose photographs were shared with other members, that they were minors. that's very important to underscore. >> lauren, thank you very much. let's discuss all of this. andrew mccabe is here. andrew, let's begin with this very separate allegation against congressman gaetz that lauren just reported on. sources telling cnn he showed
nude photos, videos of women he said he slept with to some of his fellow lawmakers. what immediate concerns does that raise to you? >> it raises a lot of concerns. it's another bizarre chapter in this bizarre story. it would seem to be a matter for the ethics committee to look into. in terms of the investigation of the congressman's potential involvement in sex trafficking and prostitution, those sorts of things, there's no question that for the investigators this is going to provide a host of new leads. part of the danger of being the subject of an investigation like this is the initial predication, which sounds like here was the allegation of human trafficking or sex trafficking, opens the door to all sorts of other investigative inquiries. i can't imagine that the
investigators involved here won't be interested to try to identify and locate and determine the ages of any women who mr. gaetz has been sharing their photographs with others. >> as we say, separately, of course, federal prosecutors are looking into whether gaetz actually broke sex trafficking and prostitution laws. just how serious do you think, andrew mccabe, this case really is? >> you know, it's quite serious, wolf. these are federal felonies that, if proved and if convicted of these felonies, he could be looking at significant jail time and potentially registration as a sexual offender. these are not charges to dismiss in any way. any time an investigation involves the potential victimization of a minor, these are matters that the fbi and the department pursue with great vigor. >> as you know, there's a very important distinction between the sex trafficking case and the investigation of alleged
extortion, right? gaetz is doubling down on claims of extortion. have you seen evidence to support any of those assertions? >> no, i have not. it is really important to emphasize that distinct. the sex traffic case was end of last summer, beginning of the fall. it was briefed to the attorney general several times. it's obviously gotten the green light from the department of justice. the allegations of extortion are something congressman gaetz indicates only came up within the last month. it's important to know that an extortion requires both a demand and a threat. it's not clear to me from any of the documents released so far this even this interaction with the individuals that were apparently focused on the return of above levenson included some sort of legitimate threat. if it was merely a plan to try to cleanse the congressman's
reputation by involving him in a rescue effort, that would fall far short of reaching the bar for extortion. >> the investigation began during the trump administration when bill barr was the attorney general over at the justice department. just ahead, we're going to get a reality check on pfizer's new timeline for its vaccine to remain effective.
pfizer saying at least six months. other experts say it could be more. let's get the latest from cnn national correspondent nick watt. >> reporter: pfizer's vaccine is highly effective for at least six months, and the study is ongoing. >> it could be a will the longer than that, but at least for six months and that's great news. >> reporter: bad news, human error ruined a batch of johnson & johnson vaccine during a test run at a plant not yet fda authorized. no issue with doses already out there. >> it's really quite unfortunate that about 15 million doses are not going to be able to be used. >> reporter: apparently j&j's delivery schedule remains on track. >> we have been assured that they expect to meet those deadlines. >> reporter: and the white house goal of all adults eligible by may 1 remains. nearly 1 in 3 americans have already had at least one dose. and if supply here in los
angeles county meets projections -- >> we can expect to reach 80% vaccine coverage for people 16 and older in just 12 more weeks. >> reporter: so could be herd immunity in l.a. by july 1st, but many states are relaxing restrictions already. there will be some fans in the stands for opening day, today. >> opening day is always special. this is a little more special. >> reporter: expect some bumps, mets/nationals just postponed due to covid cases. march confirmed as the busiest month of air travel since the pandemic began. >> we needed to get our daughter out of the house. she's been stuck at home for so long. >> reporter: but the covid-19 death toll isn't falling much anymore. hospitalizations are creeping up. in michigan, average new case counts up over 50% in just a week. >> number one, we've got a high proportion of variants.
that means coronavirus spreads faster. >> reporter: the national average daily case count up over 60,000 again. >> which puts you at considerable risk of rebounding up, essentially what they're seeing in europe. >> reporter: another wave fuelled by the variants, just reintroduced at least a month-long limited lockdown. now, in that ongoing study, pfizer says its vaccine also appears fully effective against that worrying variant first found in south africa. dr. fauci says if moderna or johnson & johnson did the same study, they would probably find similar results. it works against that variant. the message, as always, get whichever vaccine you can get, get it in your arm as soon as you can. >> good advice. nick watt in l.a. for us. coming up, we're going to
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president biden held his first cabinet meeting today, using it to push for his $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan. let's go to our senior white house correspondent phil mattingly. >> reporter: the president knows that at $2.25 trillion infrastructure and jobs package is going to be no easy lift when it comes to capitol hill so he's bringing in reenforcements, the very people sitting next to him today. >> we have a lot to discuss. while the press is here, i want
to make one announcement. >> reporter: tonight president biden assigning five cabinet officials to run point on his next major legislative push. >> these cabinet members will represent dealing with congress, engage the public in selling the plan and help work out the details as we refine it and move forward. >> reporter: critical roles in the heavy lift ahead for transportation secretary pete buttigieg, energy secretary jennifer granhome, marty walsh. biden doling out assignments and quickly dismissing the press. >> i thank the press for being here, but talk to y'all later. thank you. >> reporter: a far cry from his predecessor, where scenes like this dominated the day and the entire administration. >> greatest privilege of my life to serve as vice president to a president who's keeping his word to the american people and
assembling a team that's bringing real change, real prosperity, real strength back to our nation. >> my hat's off to you for taking that stand and presenting a clear message around the world that america's going to continue to lead. >> i can't thank you enough for the privilege that you've given me and leadership you've shown. >> on behalf of the entire senior staff, mr. president, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing you've given us to serve your agenda and the american people. >> reporter: instead, biden zeroing in on his transformational economic proposal. >> yesterday in pittsburgh i let out my vision for rebuilding america and america's jobs program. >> reporter: the first part of a sweeping proposal that will total more than $4 trillion according to officials, that first prong with $2.5 trillion worth of spending lays out a set of sweeping administration priorities under the umbrella of infrastructure.
roads, bridges and waterways, but also interspersed with climate initiatives with clear direction towards disadvantaged km communities. its scale >> in is a behold, left-wing administration. i don't think they have a mandate to do what they're doing. >> reporter: underscoring they'll need to move forward on a partisan basis, something complicated by democrats raising concerns. >> there are some in our party who think it's the small, some think maybe it's too big. we think it's just right. >> reporter: concerns the white house says it's aware of and more than ready to start to address. >> we're happy to have a conversation with people about what are the elements that should be in the plan that people think are missing? >> reporter: and wolf, today is opening day. while the biden administration has been clear about their opposition to the new georgia voting law, the president is wearing in about the all-star game scheduled to be played in
atlanta. he said he's okay with the conversation about moving the game because of that law. the georgia governor called that ridiculous. >> phil, thank you very much. just ahead, a truly damning internal report finds the capitol police unprepared for the january 6 riot and failed to act on intelligence suggesting the protest would turn violent. we didn't stop at computers. we didn't stop at storage or cloud. we kept going. working with our customers to enable the kind of technology that can guide an astronaut back to safety. and help make a hospital come to you, instead of you going to it. so when it comes to your business, you know we'll stop at nothing.
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♪ ♪ when you save money with allstate you feel like you're winning. safe drivers save 40% saving is easy when you're in good hands. allstate. click or call for a quote today. the watch dog capitol police out with a scathing review of the failures during the january 6 riots. brian todd, this is a damning report from tin spector general. >> reporter: it is critical. the u.s. capitol police issued a statement saying that short of the excessive use of deadly force, nothing within its arsenal could have stopped the riots that day. but the inspector general blisters the department especially over its handling of intelligence. a u.s. capitol police force
overwhelmed, and its own inspector general now says woefully unprepared for the january 6 violence. a source familiar with the report from the department's inspector general tells cnn the report says the capitol police had intelligence as early as december 30th suggesting the protestors may have been inclined to become violent. but that the department did not prepare a comprehensive department wide plan for demonstrations planned for january 6. >> you would like to think that with adequate planning and preparation, you could have done a much better job to keep them from at least getting inside the capitol. >> reporter: the inspector general also criticized the capitol police for not passing around information from outside agencies. like a memo from the fbi's norfolk field office that was disseminated the day before the riot, warning of a war at the capitol. the new report says a capitol police intelligence officer sent that fbi memo around internally. but the current and former capitol police chiefs have said
it never got to their level. and they were never warped about the potential scale of the attack. >> no credible threat indicated that tens of thousands would attack the u.s. capitol. nor did the intelligence received from the fbi or any other law enforcement partner indicate such a threat. >> they've got to look internally at their intelligence capabilities, communications, of their preparation, certainly there's already been talk about a rapid deployment force and so forth. >> reporter: meantime, the attorney for two u.s. capitol police officers, who are suing former president donald trump, have spoken to cnn. officer sidney hemby says he was crushed between doors. the officers say they suffered injuries because president trump allegedly inflamed, encouraged, incited, and directed the mob. >> they were attacked over and over and over by people who told
them hey, we came from the president. and you should join us. >> reporter: the former president has denied inciting the riot. this comes as prosecutors have charged rioter daniel rodriguez with eight counts, including assaulting an officer for the attack on d.c. metropolitan police officer michael fenom. prosecutors say rodriguez tased the officer, beat him with a flagpole and dragged him down the steps of the capitol. he says rioters screamed to kill him with his own gun. he said some rioters surrounding him tried to help him, but -- >> the conclusion i've come to is thank you, but [ bleep ] you for being you. >> reporter: the officer says he suffered a heart attack from the tasing, in addition to a concussion, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. the man who tased him has not yet entered a plea. wolf? >> brian todd reporting from here in washington.
thank you very much. finally tonight, we remember one of cnn's original anchors, don farmer. he died yesterday at the age of 82. don and his wife were hired by ted turner to help launch the network back in 1980. they covered many, many breaking stories. they interviewed many news makers during their seven years here at cnn. >> welcome to this thursday edition of take two. glad you could join us today. i'm don farmer. >> and i'm chris curl. here's what we had planned for yo. >> don spent a lifetime pursuing his passion for journalism, as an anchor, war correspondent, a newspaper man, and an author. all of us here at cnn are truly grateful for his role in helping to build our network. and we send our deepest, deepest condolences to his beloved chris, daughter lori, son justin
and all the grandchildren. may don farmer rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing. thank you very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." you can always follow me on twitter and instagram or tweet the show @cnn sitroom. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, damning testimony from derek chauvin's supervisor saying there was no reason to use force on george floyd after he stopped resisting. george floyd's brother, the family's attorney ben crump are my guests. and the investigation into congressman matt gates, sources said he showed his colleague nude pictures of nude women he slept with. and could president trump face criminal charges. let's go "outfront." good evening.