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Trump Holds Event In Arizona Despite Record COVID-19 Cases; FBI Says NASCAR Driver, Bubba Wallace Not A Target Of Hate Crime; Senate Dems Say GOP Policing Bill Isn't "Salvage"; Trump Vows To Issue Executive Order To Protect Controversial Statues; Rayshard Brooks Laid To Rest. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 23, 2020 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. And let's hand it off now to Anderson.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. For a second time in just the few days, the President held a large indoor gathering in the middle of a coronavirus hot zone. This time at a Megachurch in Phoenix which enticed people to come by promising a new air purifier they installed would kill the virus and keep people safe.

That actually happened. It's called the Dream City Church.

Here in the real world, doctors and scientists called BS on the miracle purifier, and that's really where we begin. Keeping them honest with the clash between the reality of where we are with this virus that's killed more than 121,000 Americans, and it's not even July and the alternative reality that the President is inhabiting or wishes he was inhabiting.

In the real world, Arizona is right now experiencing the kind of steep growth in cases you once saw in New York at the beginning of the outbreak. Look at that chart, and here's the growth and the number of people sick enough to be hospitalized. Again, not a good sign.

Arizona is hardly alone. Look at Texas, new cases rising there just as sharply and again, not just for more testing. So many people are getting sick that in Houston, Texas Children's Hospital tells CNN it's providing additional ICU and acute care beds now for adults.

The Governor, Greg Abbott, a staunch supporter of the President is telling Texans that the safest place to be right now is at home. And on a global scale, the European Union is now weighing the possibility of banning travel from the U.S.

Just think about that -- because of the way America has handled, this administration has handled the coronavirus pandemic, Americans may not be allowed to fly to Europe, by the Europeans.

Going by the data, it's hard not to see why. I mean, look at the comparison between the E.U. and the U.S. since the pandemic began. The United States -- we're the green line. The United States not only has not gotten the virus under control, it's now backsliding toward 30,000 new cases a day. The white line, that's the European Union.

In the fantasy world meantime, the President goes straight into the middle of one of the hardest hit states, not to visit patients or doctors or nurses or EMTs; instead, he first visits the border wall, then goes to get a dose of self-gratification, his own favorite medicine, other than hydroxychloroquine at a Megachurch where the Pastor has promised a miracle device will keep folks safe.

And in this House of God, he again uses a racist slur to describe the virus.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It has so many names, I could give you 19 or 20 names for that, right. It's got all different names -- Wuhan -- now Wuhan was catching on -- coronavirus, right? Kung Flu. COVID -- COVID-19 -- COVID. I say what's the 19? COVID-19, some people can't explain what the 19. Give me the -- COVID- 19, I said that's an odd name.


COOPER: Meantime back in the real world, Dr. Fauci and other members of the once visible Coronavirus Taskforce that has now become invisible much -- they are like the coronavirus. They're invisible. To lawmakers, it's been weeks since they've spoken to the President.


QUESTION: Dr. Fauci, when was the last time you spoke to the President?


QUESTION: Admiral Giroir, when was the last time you spoke to the President?

ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR, H.H.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY: It was about two and a half weeks ago as well, maybe three weeks ago.

QUESTION: Honorable Hahn, when the last time you spoke to the President about the pandemic and the response?

DR. STEPHEN HAHN, COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUGS ADMINISTRATION: It's been some time since I spoke about the pandemic response.


COOPER: C.D.C. Director Robert Redfield, who you saw there not saying anything. He declined to answer that question -- when was the last time you saw the President? It really does make you wonder, though.

I mean, it was pretty clear Trump didn't like him even when the Taskforce was having daily briefings. He didn't get a lot of chances to talk. He usually just kind of sat off on the sidelines. But Redfield won't say when he last spoke to the President. The others had no problem admitting yes, two or two and a half weeks, which isn't good. I mean, Redfield is kind of then be much longer than that.

Now, remember, the Coronavirus Taskforce, which the Vice President always used to make sure to point out did everything quote-unquote, "at the direction of the President," the he Coronavirus Taskforce which is now, as I said, as invisible as the virus itself, the Taskforce still recommends mask wearing, more testing for the disease, social distancing, staying away from enclosed spaces and big crowds.

You see them testifying. They had the mask on. Sometimes they took them off just to speak, then they put them right back on.

But the President is doing everything he can to subvert all those people you just saw, the nation's top scientists. He shut down the daily briefings after being ridiculed for suggesting experimenting on injecting people with disinfectant.

So he shuts the briefings down so Americans won't hear as much about the virus because the President believes if you don't hear about it as much, you'll forget about it.


COOPER: And about the Federal government's incompetent response. So, just forget it. You'll move on. It seems so old. And sure your dad may die, your grandmother might get sick or she might die, you might get sick, you might die. But so be it.

The President is actively working to turn people against all the other recommendations of the Taskforce he once claimed to lead, wearing masks, social distancing, not congregating in giant indoor stadiums with thousands of others or Megachurches.

Of course, behind the scenes, the President has gotten more tests for the virus than probably anyone else in this country, if not in the world. And everyone in the White House who makes contact with the President is tested and has their temperature checked. Publicly, he is pretending this virus has passed. Privately, he is living in a biological bunker.

He visited the underground bunker. He was taken there one Friday, rushed there by the Secret Service. He denies that, but he lives every day in a biological bunker. People being tested around him. Everyone is wearing masks, having their temperature checked.

He is as sanitized and protected from the virus as anyone can be and in the midst of that epicenter of sanitation, he is encouraging everyone else -- don't follow the guidelines.

Publicly, he is flouting all of those guidelines, except the one about hand washing. He is washing his hands of all of it. Worse than that, worse even than modeling bad behavior, he has been creating a string of distractions that are taking up precious bandwidth that have nothing to do with slowing down the virus and saving lives. Oh, and he has been boasting of course that he ordered to slow down the testing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So, I said to my people, slow the testing down, please. They test, and they test. We ought to test the people -- I don't know what's going on. We've got to test. We got another one over here.


COOPER: He said that on Saturday, and yesterday, his spokesperson said look, he was only joking, of course.


KAYLEIGH, MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It was a comment that he made in jest. It's a comment that he made in passing, specifically with regard to the media coverage and pointing out the fact that the media never acknowledges that we have more cases because when you test more people, you find more cases.

QUESTION: Is it appropriate to joke about coronavirus when 120,000 people have died?

MCENANY: He was not joking about coronavirus.


COOPER: Miss McEnany is now learning, like all spokespeople for this President, that when you go out on a limb for DJT, he will cut the limb off behind you. He does it every time.

Shortly after McEnany said that, the President suggested that no, he wasn't joking, speaking to a local reporter, and he made it completely clear to a CBS News correspondent today.


QUESTION: Mr. President, at that rally, when you said you asked your people to slow down testing, were you just kidding or do you have a plan to slow down testing?

TRUMP: I don't get it. Let me just tell you, let me make it clear. We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world. We test better than anybody in the world. Our tests are the best in the world, and we have the most of them.


COOPER: So okay, he says he wasn't joking, never mind what his spokesperson said. He wasn't joking when he asked -- when he said that he asked to slow the testing.

Now, of course Taskforce members were asked about this claim today, and they said they didn't know anything about it.


FAUCI: To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. That just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, C.D.C.: As Dr. Fauci said, all of us have been and continue to be committed to increasing readily timely access to testing. We've made a marked improvement.

REP. GREG WALDEN (D-OR): Let me go straight to the question that my colleague asked. I'll just ask each of you for a yes or no answer, has President Trump ever directed you to slow down testing for COVID-19 in the United States? Dr. Redfield?

REDFIELD: No. No, sir.

QUESTION: No Congressman.


COOPER: Dr. Redfield seems unfamiliar with the mask there. I don't know. So maybe he said it to someone else. He does after all tend to repeat himself somewhat frequently, or maybe he never said it, but just made it up. And now he is sticking by the lie because that he thinks it makes him look tough. And they, you know, they loved it.

So likely by tomorrow, he's going to contradict himself, so you know, who really cares? Who jokes about slowing testing for a deadly virus?

I mean, the President has done some standup trying to do bits of the laugh shack on a Tuesday night at 1:00 a.m. testing out new material. There's nothing funny about it when the guy who is joking about slowing down testing is the guy who has the power to slow down testing.

And the same guy who does not like a lot of testing because then you know how far the virus has actually spread. And he believes it makes him look bad. It doesn't make people who test positive any less sick or some any less dead, but it does make him look bad, he believes and he has said so openly time and time again.


TRUMP: We have so much testing. I don't think you need that kind of testing or that much testing.

We've done more testing than every other country combined. So in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.

I've always said testing is somewhat overrated.

Something can happen between the test where it's good, and then something happens, and all of a sudden --

This is why the whole concept of tests aren't necessarily great.


COOPER: Again, it seems normal, I guess, after a while, but I mean, just we've got a pandemic -- global pandemic going on. More than 100,000 Americans dead, not even beginning July, and this is what we've got.

So, this is where we begin the program tonight. Testing and the state of the virus and the President complaining as he does throughout every day about how badly he is being treated.

After trying to draft off the popularity of Dr. Anthony Fauci by hijacking the Coronavirus Taskforce briefings and then destroying them. Now, the President is trying to bask in the glimmering glow of the scientists he no longer wants you to hear from, quoting now from the presidential tweet today, "Dr. Anthony Fauci who is with us in all ways, a very high 72 percent approval rating." How does he know this? Why does he pay attention to this?

We know why. Because this is all he cares about -- the numbers, his numbers, how he is doing, who else is popular. He has got to get rid of that person. The tweet continues, "So if he (Dr. Fauci) is in charge, along with the VP et cetera, and with us doing all these really good things, why doesn't the lame stream media treat us as they should? Answer: Because they are fake news."

So much to tweet, so little time. Joining us now is Dr. Richard Besser, former Acting Director of the C.D.C. and currently President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; also with us, CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Dr. Besser, we heard from Dr. Fauci and other public health officials today, warning that the cases are going up. We all need to wear masks, avoid big gatherings, increase testing.

I mean, as somebody who has been -- who has run the C.D.C. and knows how difficult it is to run a public health campaign and get a population to abide by, you know, guidelines, which are restrictive and difficult and wearing a mask is unpleasant. It's got to be -- I mean, have you -- could you ever imagine a situation where there would be a pandemic, and the leader of the country would be subverting the very guidelines, the top scientists are pleading with people to do?

DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE C.D.C.: Yes, you know, Anderson, this is a really, really troubling situation. When I think back to where we were several months ago, there was some unity of messaging about how serious the pandemic was, and that we needed to take action.

But right now, we're in a situation where we have such incredible mixed messaging. We have every public health leader in the nation, the majority of political leaders in the nation saying that this is a serious situation and we need to take action, but at the top and in other quarters in some states, we are hearing people say, go back to work, go back to your social life. Don't worry about this, the virus is under control.

And without that unity of purpose, without everyone aligning behind doing the right thing, we are in real danger of slipping back in many places to a worse situation than we were in several months ago.

COOPER: Sanjay, when you look at images, you know, inside that church tonight, again, hardly any masks, no social distancing. It's indoors. And there could have been an outdoor church service, you know, they could have probably figured out how to do that. What do you -- what do you do? I mean, as somebody who cares about public health?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: People ask the question, how do you do this safely? And the answer is, you really can't. I mean, in the middle of a pandemic, where we know that we account for 25 percent of the world's infections at a time when the European Union is thinking about possibly banning travel of passengers from the United States to that country. That situation you're looking at is sort of the worst case scenario.

It's indoors, as you mentioned, people can't physically distance. They're not wearing masks. We know that the rates of infections are increasing significantly in Arizona.

We know also, Anderson, from Tulsa, as you remember, I think there were eight staff members that tested positive before that event in Tulsa --

COOPER: Right, from the President's advance people.

GUPTA: Advance people and Secret Service agents. So, we don't even know like there's definitely a certain percentage of the population that you look at inside that church that have the virus, you could say that almost with confidence because of what's going on there. People who arrived early in in Arizona may have become infected, also in that particular rally.

You just couldn't possibly recommend it. I don't think any public health official would say, this is a good idea. This is now safe based on what we've done. No masks, physical distancing is a problem.

COOPER: We should also point out in Phoenix, there is an ordinance that masks should be worn inside when within six feet of somebody, clearly that's not happening here. Dr. Besser, and we're obviously still -- well, tell me where do you see us in the course of this pandemic? Obviously, a lot of hope on vaccines.

But the timing of that, you know, I mean, nobody knows, really. And if history is any guide, it's going to take longer than it seems like the administration seems to be indicating, where do you think we are?


BESSER: Well, you know, I think we're still early days. You know, when you look at any state that has done some serology testing to see what's taking place in the population, not that high a percentage of people have been infected.

And so it's early, and we're in a transition phase. So you have a number of states who have been able to really drive down cases drive down the curve. So, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and they're switching to slowly opening based on the best public health science with testing, tracking, isolation and quarantine. And it's going to be a test case to see -- can this be done in a safe

way so that we don't see large increases? Have they the systems in place so that everyone who needs to isolate can?

You know, this is taking place at a time when unemployment benefits, the supplemental from the Federal government is going away when the protections against eviction and mortgage foreclosures those are going away.

And so does it mean to someone who is going back to work who is told that they've been exposed to someone who has coronavirus and has to decide well, do I quarantine for 14 days and not be able to put food on the table and risk eviction? Or do I go to work and take my chances that well, maybe I was exposed but I'm not going to get sick?

We're letting the systems fall apart that we need to have in place to make sure everyone can protect themselves, their families and their communities.

COOPER: Yes. Dr. Richard Besser, Sanjay, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Still to come tonight, breaking news on the investigation to what NASCAR said was a noose found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR's top tier. F.B.I. agents and the Justice Department announced their findings. We will talk about that ahead.

Also Senator Kamala Harris joins us to talk about whether Congress can reach a deal on police reform and talk of her as a potential vice presidential nominee for Joe Biden. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Breaking news in the Federal investigation to a noose left in the garage stall of NASCAR stock car driver Bubba Wallace. Wallace is the only black driver in NASCAR's top circuit and is responsible for leading the effort to ban the Confederate flag and NASCAR events.

On Sunday a member of his team found the object, brought it to the attention of NASCAR, which alerted authorities. Wallace never saw it.

On Monday, NASCAR showed its support for Wallace with every driver marching behind him, and his car as it pulled up to the starting line. It was an emotional scene particularly for Wallace, but our Randi Kaye now has new information about the investigation. Randi, what's the latest?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the F.B.I. and the U.S. Attorney's Office released a joint statement today saying that after conducting numerous interviews and a thorough review, they determined that there was no Federal crime committed.

The F.B.I. assigned 15 agents to this case, which sounded like a lot to me. So I asked my F.B.I. contact, why so many? And he said that they simply wanted to get to the bottom of this quickly. They knew that it was an important issue and an important case, and in the end, they determined that the rope that was found in Bubba Wallace's garage had actually been there long before that garage was actually assigned to Bubba Wallace. Here's the joint statement.

"The investigation also revealed evidence including authentic video, confirmed by NASCAR that the noose found in garage number four was in that garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number four in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number four last week," -- Anderson.

COOPER: And in their statement, they're still calling it a noose.

KAYE: Yes, I noticed that, too. So I said why call it a noose still if based on what your investigation has determined and my contact again said that it was his understanding that the rope was fashioned in a noose knot and it was used as a door pull, as he put it.

Also NASCAR today, Anderson, releasing a statement saying that the F.B.I. concluded based on photographic evidence that the garage door pull rope as what they called it, fashioned like a noose had been there since last fall. And this was really interesting based on a question about exactly that at a press conference yesterday with the President of NASCAR. Listen to this.


QUESTION: Can you confirm -- was the rope from the rope that you normally would pull down the garage door?

STEVE PHELPS, PRESIDENT, NASCAR: I am not sure, Bob. I have no information on that.


KAYE: Well, he didn't know yesterday, but apparently that is exactly what it seems to be. And at a teleconference late today, Anderson, NASCAR's President said that this was the best result they could have asked for. He said that they were thrilled that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime and not the target of a noose in that garage.

COOPER: And then, apparently, there since at least last fall. Did anyone else recall seeing it?

KAYE: Yes. Wood Brothers Racing released a statement on Twitter today saying that of course they were very thankful that this wasn't what it seemed to be initially, so they were very pleased about that. But they also said some new information. They said that one of their employees without ever knowing any information about this investigation or the details of this case, or the incident told them yesterday that he recalled seeing what he refers to as a tide handle in the garage pull down rope from last fall. So, he said it was there last fall. Apparently, Wood Brothers Racing

then took this information to NASCAR, and they say that they've been cooperating with this investigation ever since.

So lots of folks here, Anderson, tonight pointing to that rope being in that garage back in October last year.

COOPER: Randi Kaye. Randi, thanks very much. Joining us now is Laura Coates, former Federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst.

Because of this moment we're in his country, it is obviously, you know, this has become a major story right away. Certainly, for NASCAR, for Bubba Wallace. This is the best possible outcome.


LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is. We're in a time where sensitivities are obviously heightened and we know the climate that we're now in. And we also have the backdrop of NASCAR being requested by Bubba Wallace, the only African-American racer in all these different races to actually request for Confederate flags to be taken down, and there's been backlash about that.

So even in this climate, I look at this and first, I have more questions about the placement of this rope. How is it that people were able to come to a conclusion that led them to investigate it as a noose and possible hate crime, and then it could be dispelled so quickly? I do wonder about the facts and circumstances.

But I also know that hate crimes and the way they're investigated by the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice, is actually, they trust their own credibility here by saying, look, we're calling balls and strikes. We are looking at things and investigating. Is there an animus attached to it? We're thorough in our investigation.

And so I hope that anytime someone wants to look at this case and say, this is pure coincidence or hate crimes, in general are anomalies, and somehow are one-offs, that all of the reported increase in hate crimes up until now can't be disregarded because we know the F.B.I. will call the balls and call the strikes when they see animus or not.

COOPER: It certainly, you know, if they assign 15 agents to it, it certainly would be an indication of the seriousness with which they took this.

COATES: Well, they would. And why is that? Because we know that although Bubba Wallace -- and the wording they use here is important, Anderson, although he was not the target of a hate crime, there is nothing to suggest that they don't recognize, of course, nooses as emblematic of an ethnic form of intimidation and the hate crime legislation also looks at the circumstances as well.

The things that are meant to target someone with specificity and those that target a general population hoping to intimidate. So, the idea of taking it very seriously is of course, what you should do when you are talking about the history of nooses in America and lynching and the way it's used, typically in connection with African-Americans, and of course, not just African-Americans in this country. We know it began with Mississippi burning and discussions about what happened for Freedom writers, including Jewish-Americans down south.

And we know that it includes anyone who has a goal of justice who was targeted by mobs as well.

COOPER: And I mean, this all comes at a time obviously, in the wake of NASCAR banning the Confederate flags and Bubba Wallace was obviously very involved in. There's reports he has received threats. There were demonstrations. People showing the Confederate flag out outside NASCAR the other day.

There was this moment of unity yesterday when the drivers rallied around Bubba Wallace, and regardless of the outcome of the investigation, you know, what it is actually, you know, an example where we are seeing real changes taking place in a sport.

COATES: Absolutely. And I think -- absolutely, I think you can't disregard simply because you had this outcome where if he was not the target of a hate crime, that's a good thing for him not to be.

But there was backlash, and there was still a request that he even had to make in 2020. At what? Twenty six years old, I believe he is, having to make the request that the Confederate flag not be pervasive and prevalent at this NASCAR racing tracks around the country.

And so that in itself shows that there is some support around the notion of look, things that may have been traditionally dismissed by people as not problematic or having a fresh look at what things are right now.

And I think we can't disregard the reasons why people rallied around bubba Wallace and why frankly, Anderson? It's odd that there was something that was fashioned like a noose that hung for so long, and nobody even questioned it until now.

COOPER: Laura Coates, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Coming up next, former presidential candidate and potential Biden running mate Kamala Harris joins us, next.



COOPER: During last night's broadcast, police and protesters have clashed outside the White House and Lafayette Park over the statue of Andrew Jackson. For nearly a month now people all across the country have been taken to the streets, protesting police violence and taking part in what has been a nationwide reexamination of race and justice and equal justice under the law.

Meantime, lawmakers grappling with police reform legislation appear to reach a stalemate in the senate with Democrats poised to block republican measure and Republican saying the move could kill any reform bill this year.

Joining us now to talk about it California Democratic senator former presidential candidate, a potential Biden running mate Kamala Harris. Thanks so much for being with us Senator.

You call the Senate --


COOPER: -- the Senate Republican police reform bill weak. Minority Leader Schumer has called it a non starter. Is there any way for a middle ground here because, you know, you now have a Republican saying, if this doesn't pass, there may be nothing this year.

HARRIS: Certainly there's a way for something to be done if everyone approaches it with an earnest desire to actually meet this moment and implement the reforms that we know we actually have available to us. Part of the frustration that we've had is that that the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is putting this Republican bill up for vote tomorrow without any meaningful process. I serve on the Judiciary Committee. So does Cory Booker, and we are the two Senate authors. We've not had any hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And over a week after we proposed the justice and policing bill, it took them over a week to come up with a bill that talks about basically process and having reviews and studying issues. Ours is a bill that talks about the need for accountability and immediate accountability. So we talk about things like the need for pattern and practice investigations. When a department, an entire department is accused of having a culture that may lead to discrimination. We are talking about the need for independent investigations that prosecutors should not be investigating misconduct of police officers from a department they work with every day.


We are talking about the need for a new national standard for use of force so that instead of asking when there's excessive force, was that force reasonable, we should be asking, was it necessary? These are the concrete things that we are proposing in our bill, what they have offered, really, there's nothing salvageable about it. And I intend to vote against the motion to proceed and follow the recommendation of a vast number of civil rights groups that are urging us to vote against a motion to proceed.

COOPER: One of the things you hear a lot from Black Lives Matter protesters is defund police. It means I think different things to different people. But I'm wondering what you believe in that or believe about that about the idea of defunding police?

HARRIS: Well, here's what I believe that we need to reimagine public safety Anderson and understand that healthy communities are safe communities. So what does that mean? You know, look, when you go to upper middle class suburbs in America, you don't see that kind of police presence that you see in other neighborhoods. But what you do see are well funded schools. What you do see are families that have jobs that allow them to have an income that they don't have to worry about feeding their kids by the end of the month. What you do see are families that have access to public health, mental health without worrying about the cost of it. What you do see are communities that have small businesses that have access to capital. These are the things that make for a healthy community. If we want safe communities, we have to invest in the health and well being of those communities, and then they will be saved.

But instead, in many cities in our country, one-third of the entire city budget is spent on policing. That's actually just not a good return on investment for taxpayers. Now, of course, we don't want to get rid of police. I certainly am not saying we should get rid of police. But we do have to invest in the health and well being of our communities.

COOPER: The -- you know, obviously you're being considered as a public potential vice president pick for Vice President Biden. During the primary some people attacked you for your time as a prosecutor, a law professor and former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the innocent. There was a quote saying, Kamala is a cop. In this law school project for the innocent former director. It wrote in the Los Angeles Times, saying Kamala Harris was not a progressive prosecutor. Said time after time when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state's attorney general, is Harris oppose them or stayed silent.

Obviously, for Black Lives Matter protesters and many people in the streets, this is a huge issue. And I'm wondering, how do you -- what do you say to protesters who might not view you as a agent of change in a system that used to work?

HARRIS: Well, first of all, as it relates to the person that you have to in terms of those closest to simply wrong, it's just absolutely wrong. When I was Attorney General of California, I instituted one of the first requirements that law enforcement officers receive training on racial implied bias. And procedural justice, I was, I think, the first state agency that required that law enforcement agents in that state agency, wear body cameras and keep them on full time. I'm the first that created a whole division and approach that actually became a national model for what we need to do for re entry initiatives for the formerly incarcerated and getting them jobs and getting them support. So it's just simply incorrect.

And what we need right now is leaders who are prepared to deal with the fact that these are long standing grievances that are rooted in fact, which is that there have been generations of people who have been abused who have been the subject of racial profiling, who have been murdered and that we need to reform policing to avoid those by making sure there's consequences and accountability when police officers engage in misconduct. And so I'm very proud of the work that we've been doing in the Senate. I urge everyone to support the bill that Cory Booker and I have proposed on the Senate side together with our congressional black colleague, Congressional Black Caucus colleagues, and other members of the House and members of the Senate. This is a time for reform and it's a time for leaders to step up and be in a position where they can actually lead. COOPER: Senator Kamala Harris, appreciate your time. Thank you.

HARRIS: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, protesters demanding the removal of Confederate statues. We'll talk about it with CNN contributor Mitch Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans who removed for Confederate statues while the mayor.



COOPER: Earlier tonight President Trump told the crowd in Arizona that he would defend statues of Americans like Washington, Jefferson for being torn down. Left on mentioned by the President was the fact that many of the statutes protesters are wanting to remove our Confederate leaders like Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

Joining me now discuss it is Mitch Landrieu not only CNN contributor but while mayor of New Orleans three years ago led the effort to remove statues of Lee and Davis and two more in his city. Also joining us, is Julian Hayter author, historian, associate professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Mayor Landrieu, you were front and center on this. You and Professor Hayter both in a piece I did for 60 Minutes on this subject. Talk about the -- your thought process on the removal and how you see it now.

MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, a couple of things when we began we will focus on the Confederate monuments, there are over 1,700 of them, that dot the landscape in mostly the south, they will put up between 1890 and 1920. And then jump forward a couple of years, they took a break and then they put a bunch of them up in the 1950s.

These statues will put up to revere people who fought against the United States of America in the Civil War for the purpose of preserving slavery and opposition was that was inappropriate, they will put up to send a message, they will put up in places of reverence. And although they should be remembered, my position is they shouldn't be revered.

Now, as soon as we started doing that the folks at (INAUDIBLE) said, oh, contextualize them, and don't take them down, put a little plaque up. Oh, and by the way, we can't start because we don't know where we're going to stop. And it's always that argument that they use that, you know, it's going to come to take it down Lincoln and Jefferson and not stay focused on the central issue of white supremacy as it relates to the Confederate monuments. And that's of course what we're going through as we speak.


COOPER: And Professor Hayter, you know, contextualizing is one thing that has been discussed a lot. But I think what a lot of people don't realize when we're seeing the Roosevelt statue, which is outside the Museum of Natural History in New York, there's now talk for removing that, given its depiction, but just on the on the Confederate monuments. Can you talk a little bit about the history of why they were built and when because it's not as if it was done in the heat of the Civil War. This was done afterward to kind of rewrite history.

JULIAN HAYTER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND: Right, these monuments it takes several decades for these monuments to emerge. And as Mr. Landrieu stated, it really is a propaganda campaign designed to rewrite the history of the Civil War and slavery.

But it's also meant to rationalize the rise of racial apartheid to characterize Jim Crow segregation, in many ways attempt to clean the South's image up in the court of public opinion by telling a story that purports slavery is a -- but was a benign institution that African-Americans were happy slaves and unprepared for freedom, and that the Confederacy was a noble cause. And in many instances, in most instances, if not all of these statues are reclamation of public space in the name of white supremacy.

COOPER: So, Professor Hayter, where do you think -- I'm wondering what you make of it, you know, it seems like the debate is now moved. There's a lot of people are saying, you know, forget about, you know, putting in a context, let's just put them somewhere else.

HAYTER: Sure. I think if these statues are warehouse, it's a wasted opportunity to actually deal with the narrative of the last cause. I think people are formulating political solutions to the problem of Confederate revisionism. The path forward however, I think will require educational tools. We -- you can't have reconciliation without recognition.

These are for many people, these statues represent institutional problems and I think tearing them down, won't make our torture racial history go away, we're going to have to deal with not merely the story of the lost cause, but what was the result of what the statue said to entrench in terms of things like Jim Crow segregation. Was that they it paved the road for how we got to now.

COOPER: Mayor Landrieu, what do you make of that?

LANDRIEU: Well, I love the professor. I disagree with him just a little bit. I don't agree that taking them down erases history I think it makes room for a total history --

HAYTER: No, I don't either. I don't either.

LANDRIEU: Yes, absolutely agree with him, that the most important thing is what we do going forward. And if we just take them down, and we don't deal with the rep that they represent, and the idea of them and that we don't have a moment of acknowledgment, we can't move towards reconciliation.

So I think he's exactly right about that part, because there has to be a reckoning in the country, but everybody will notice it. As soon as we start getting locked in on the Confederate monuments, everybody wants to take your eye off the ball and take you to Washington, Jefferson and to Grant and they don't want to stay focused on this very important and singular time and I history when people try to rewrite it and tell historical lies.

So what I said to the people of New Orleans, and you know, with that blessing in their help said, look, let's deal with this issue. Now, let's foursquare look at where it is that we came from where we want to go. And let's begin to deal with institutional bias that you now see manifesting itself in police departments.

You can see it manifesting itself in the consequences of COVID, et cetera, et cetera. The stories go on and on, but you need to get to the root of it. And the professor is exactly right, unless you get underneath it. Then if you just take the monuments down, and that's all that we do, we will have missed a great opportunity for our country.

COOPER: Professor Hayter, I've been looking at videos of I've worked in South Africa in the days leading up to the election of Mandela in the years leading up to it, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and which was an extraordinary thing. There's lots of criticism about it as well and some faults that it had.

But it's incredible to see a society which, you know, there's plenty of reasons to have animosity toward, you know, by people who were oppressed for generations, and that society has been able to move forward and kind of reinvent themselves in an extraordinary way. Do you -- I mean, I don't know that that's something like that would work here. But it's an interesting. It's just interesting to look at how South Africa did it.

HAYTER: Yes, I think the South Africans were willing to put themselves on the proverbial sofa. And, you know, and deal with the country's tortured racial history, by the way, I think that Afrikaner memory, isn't that dissimilar to the memory of the Confederacy.

It's much grounded in mythology as it is an actual history. And I think the fact that they were willing to come to the proverbial table and have a discussion about what transpired during the apartheid regime was a critical step in the reconciliation that characterize that country's ability to move forward after the demise of that terrible regime.


COOPER: Yes. Julian Hayter, it's always a pleasure to talk to you. Mayor Mitch Landrieu as well. Thank you so much.

HAYTER: Thank you.

LANDRIEU: Thank you.

COOPER: I appreciate it.

Still in Atlanta to remember, gathered to remember Rayshard Brooks shot and killed by police. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Let's check with Chris what he's working on for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Are trying to get everybody on the same page Coop just in terms of you got to look past D.C. for leadership in the form of the President. And we have to understand the reality of where we are with the pandemic right now. And that's the important thing. So we're going to bring in the former CDC director, we're going to talk about what the path is forward for us to get to a better place what the obstacles are.

We're going to take on the mayor of Yuma, Arizona, how do you agree that masks work, but you decide to vote against mandating them for your own city? Because it's a question of liberty. Let's test that argument tonight. We need to because that argument is spreading through the fringe right, as fast as the virus.


Also I have Ken Burns on tonight. He is AC360 worthy guests and he's going to come on tonight to talk about the statues. What are the symbols mean? What is the right place to draw the line? Is there a too far is there a too much emphasis on symbolism? Can that maybe frustrate bigger efforts? True expert on that tonight.

COOPER: Yes, his series on civil war is fantastic and all the stuff he does. Cool, Chris, I look forward to that. Seems just about four minutes from now.

Coming up next for us, how Rayshard Brooks was remembered in the church where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once preached.


COOPER: Eleven days after he was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer, Rayshard Brooks was laid to rest. The funeral was held at the city's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, Dr. King's daughter, the Reverend Bernice A. King, said she knew the pain of growing up without a father.

Rayshard Brooks, his life matters, she said, and he should have been able to live to enjoy his family and watch his kids grow into adulthood. Reverend King added that it was especially troubling the Brooks was killed in a city that's home. As she described it civil and human rights. The black Mecca she called it.

He leaves a widow, three young daughters and a 13-year-old stepson. The officer who killed them is in jail charged with felony murder. The other officer involved has been charged with aggravated assault.


The news continues, I'm going to hand things over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris?