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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump Declines To Condemn Teen Charged In Kenosha Killings; Health And Legal Questions Over Controversial Use Of Ketamine by Police, Paramedics, During Arrests; FDA Chief Hahn: FDA Could Consider Authorization or Approval for Vaccine Before Phase 3 Trials Finish; Court Denies Motion by Flynn. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired August 31, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is still an open question. We posed that question to him. He didn't want to entertain it. Instead, he looks forward to running through the finish line and celebrating on Tuesday night -- Pam.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: All right, we'll be watching to see how it all plays out. Thank you, Manu, and thanks for joining us. AC 360 starts now.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: So if there was any doubt at all about what President Trump intends to make his central campaign issue, there is none at all.
Tonight, John Berman here in for Anderson.
There is a pandemic you might have heard that has killed 183,000 Americans. The President's central campaign issue is not that. It is affirmatively and specifically and intentionally not that.
Now, we know what it is because he puts it in all caps on his official White House stationery known as Twitter, "Law and Order." Law and order? He has 10 campaign or administration associates charged or convicted of crimes.
Law and order? His own company which he never divested from is under investigation in State of New York.
Law and order? He defended his supporters who shot paintballs into crowds in Portland, and a supporter who was charged in two deaths in Kenosha, Wisconsin after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Law and order seems to be pretty selective as long as it doesn't apply to him and his supporters, and as long as it benefits him politically. He opined that his visit to Kenosha tomorrow might generate enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm? For what exactly?
Yesterday, he had dozens of tweets and retweets cheering aggressive and sometimes violent counter protesters in Portland. He liked a sympathetic tweet about Kyle Rittenhouse, the alleged Kenosha shooter, and of course, there was his Convention acceptance speech also painting a picture of a lawless America that he is the President of.
Tonight, it all came together from the Briefing Room podium in a highly politicized factually dubious eruption. So here's an example of how President Trump and especially candidate Trump sees law and order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The violence is fueled by dangerous rhetoric from far-left politicians that demonize our nation and demonize our police. We have to allow our police to do what they're very good at doing. We've taken that power away. They're afraid to lose their pension, their job -- their everything. They're afraid to be destroyed.
You saw this when leftwing extremists -- the violent rioters share Biden's same talking points and they share his same agenda for our nation. And even his strange speech today that he made in Pittsburgh. He didn't mention the fact -- and he didn't mention the far left. He didn't mention the far left.
Or for -- what I saw and without law enforcement, we wouldn't have a country. We have very talented people. They're not allowed to do their job.
If you give the radical left power, what you're seeing in the Democrat-run cities will be brought to every city in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The President also briefly, very briefly talked about the pandemic. He did not mention today's milestone six million cases in the United States and more than 183,000 lives lost, and he said nothing about his responsibility for any of it.
Joe Biden did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Since Donald Trump and Mike Pence can't run on their record that has seen more American death to a virus -- this virus -- than the nation suffered in every war since Korea combined.
Since they can't run on their economy that has seen more people lose their jobs than any time since the Great Depression. Since they can't run on the simple proposition of sending our children safely back to school says they have no agenda or vision for a second term.
Trump and Pence are running on this and I find it fascinating, quote: "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America," and what's their proof? The violence we're seeing and Donald Trump's America.
These are not images of some imagined Joe Biden America in the future. These are images of Donald Trump's America today. He keeps telling you if only he was President, it wouldn't happen. If
he was President. He keeps telling us that if he was President, you'd feel safe. Well, he is President whether he knows it or not and it is happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: A lot to get through tonight. But we begin with the President's campaign style press conference and because it contains so many falsehoods, we have a team of CNN correspondents on the job and on location tonight reporting out the facts.
Remember those? We do? So let's start with CNN's Kaitlan Collins who is at the White House who questioned the President tonight.
Kaitlan, this is clearly part of the campaign strategy what was supposed to be a coronavirus briefing. Clearly, it wasn't. Is this something you're going to see every night until November?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Basically, if you talk to campaign aides, they certainly say that they believe this law and order message that you've seen the President pushing is more effective than talking about coronavirus, because they've seen multiple polls that show a majority of voters don't like the way the President has responded to the pandemic.
COLLINS: So he has clearly made an intentional shift to focus on this and trying to frame this debate over who is going to win in November over really what you want to see and what America, the country, is going to look like as a whole depending on who you elect as President.
But what we realized tonight, and which was clear to some people before, but what the President made increasingly clear in that briefing tonight was his law and order message only applies when it's not his supporters, because tonight he repeatedly declined to condemn his own supporters who have used violent tactics over the weekend in Portland and he wanted to focus on the person who is believed to be a supporter of his who was killed in Portland, while instead of defending the person who is accused of killing two other people and attempted homicide on a third count in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
So you see how the President says, you know, he is criticizing Joe Biden for not condemning all violence, even though Joe Biden did do that. He just didn't specifically name Antifa, but when it comes to the President's own supporters, he won't blanket condemn it, which is what he is calling on Joe Biden to do.
So you are seeing the discrepancy play out, even within a matter of minutes in the President's briefing.
BERMAN: It is full of internal contradictions. There's no question about that. You tried to push him on the issue of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is the alleged shooter in Kenosha charged in two deaths. He tried to ignore you. But another reporter pushed. How did that play out?
COLLINS: Yes, this was this interaction where the President went from talking about what his supporters were doing in Portland over the weekend to talking about the person who was killed.
And of course, the question was, the President has been ignoring what was happening just in Wisconsin last week, something he has not commented on at length until tonight, and this is what he said John.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I understand they had large numbers of people that were supporters, but that was a peaceful protest and paint is not -- and paint is not a defensive mechanism. Paint is not bullets.
Your supporters -- your supporters -- and they are your supporters indeed shot a young gentleman who and killed him.
COLLINS: It was a supporter of yours, Mr. President. He killed someone. He was accused of killing these people -- he was one of yours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... you're saying, are you going to condemn the actions of vigilantes like Kyle Rittenhouse?
TRUMP: We're looking at all of it. That was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw. And he was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like and he fell and then they very violently attacked him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So Kyle Rittenhouse is obviously the 17-year-old who was arrested. He's accused of murdering those two people there.
There, the President defended him and was talking about what he believed was happening in that situation saying it's still under investigation, but he was certainly defending him while not of course, lending that same sense of let's wait and see how this plays out to what happened in Portland and in other situations.
And he declined to condemn his own supporters who were using violent tactics, like pointing paintball guns at people and pepper spray at protesters in Portland over the weekend after he had just criticized Biden for refusing, he said to condemn Antifa specifically.
So you see the President, he is picking and choosing when he is condemning and when he is defending depending on which political candidate he believes they are supporting.
BERMAN: Selective law and order. Kaitlan Collins at the White House. Terrific work. Thanks so much for being with us.
Next, CNN's Arlette Saenz in Pittsburgh where Joe Biden spoke today. We want to get the facts about what he said obviously. Arlette, the President wants to define Joe Biden, but Joe Biden, in a way, was defining himself and the President. What was this focus of this speech today?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, Joe Biden's focus today was pushing back on this argument from President Trump and his allies that Americans would not be safe under a Joe Biden presidency. That is something that you've heard Republicans push and hammer away on including in their convention last week.
But today Biden tried to turn the tables on Trump arguing that these scenes of violence that you've seen in some of the protests popping up around the country over the past few months, saying that that has occurred under President Trump's watch.
He accused the President of stoking this violence. He also said that he is incapable of healing the country in this moment and described President Trump as a toxic figure posing this question to voters if they are going to rid themselves of the toxin that he believes President Trump is and try to vote to restore the character of the country. That is something Biden has been running on from the very beginning.
And today, he tried to present himself as that person who can kind of cool the temperature of the tension that is currently in this country and he believes that President Trump is just unfit to do that in this moment.
BERMAN: So the President also tried to claim that Joe Biden has not done an adequate job of denouncing those involved in the violent protests. I want you to listen to what the President said here.
TRUMP: And even his strange speech today that he made in Pittsburgh, he didn't mention the fact -- and he didn't mention the far left. He didn't mention the far left or for what I saw, I don't believe he mentioned the word Antifa. Antifa is a criminal organization and he didn't mention Antifa thugs, but mostly seemed to blame the police and law enforcement.
He went on point after point after point. He even talked about those on the right, but he didn't talk about those on the left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Like so many people, Arlette, I watched both events very carefully. So how accurate was the President's statement just there?
SAENZ: Well, while he didn't exactly say the exact word Antifa, Biden did forcefully denounce violence on all sides. He's been doing this really for the past day, at least a statement and a tweet yesterday saying that he condemned violence on all sides after those protests in Portland and today, he talked about how rioting and looting and setting buildings on fire is not protesting. That that is lawlessness. And he said those who participate in that activity should be prosecuted. And tonight he also called out President Trump from not rebuking
violence forcefully. Biden said tonight, "The President declined to rebuke violence. He wouldn't even repudiate one of his supporters who is charged with murder because of his attacks on others. He is too weak, too scared of the hatred he has stirred to put an end to it." Biden again calling for Trump to join him in rebuking violence on all sides -- John.
BERMAN: Yes, the interesting word there is weak. It is a word the Biden campaign is now trying to use as much as possible to define President Trump. Very interesting to see. Arlette Saenz, thanks so much for being with us.
Next to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where an armed teenager allegedly murdered two people or who is charged in the deaths of two people, something the President today bent over backwards not to condemn and where he travels tomorrow despite calls from the Governor of Wisconsin to stay home.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is there for us. Shimon, the President was asked if he was concerned at all that his visit to Kenosha could increase tension and violence there. His response was, quote, "It could also increase enthusiasm." So what's that about -- Shimon.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, I've talked to people here. I've talked to several people in this town here in Kenosha. That's not the response that they certainly have.
You know, I spent some time yesterday talking to people. I even went to a gas station, a convenience store at the gas station that was looted and the owner there, I spoke to him and he said he did not want the President coming here.
There's a lot of concern about the rhetoric. There is concern that it's going to spark some violence, quite frankly, that this is a city that has now seen days of peace, quiet, people getting along. There is a lot of unity right now in this city.
And the biggest concern for them is that to have the President come here is just going to turn that all around and they really do not want him. You know, the mayor doesn't want him coming here. Obviously the governor doesn't want him here.
So for a lot of people tomorrow, I think they're bracing for what's to come and in light of the President coming here, the city extended the curfew. The curfew was supposed to expire this morning at 7:00 a.m. They extended it, it's now going to be in place all week again.
And for the businesses, that's a little tough -- John.
BERMAN: Yes, you can say the least. So the President also talked about Kyle Rittenhouse, who is charged with the death of two people in Kenosha and he said quote, "I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed." What do we know about the sequence of events at this point -- Shimon. PROKUPECZ: Look that entire night was probably one of the worst
nights here for this city in terms of this violence because it was extremely chaotic.
Yes, these vigilantes who were not from this city come in here claiming to want to protect property, seemingly to be supported by the police in what they were doing and they were -- had confrontations with some of the protesters.
And one of the things with Kyle Rittenhouse, there was a lot of concern. If you look at the video, there was a lot of concern with people given his age, given how he was handling this big firearm, this long rifle, this weapon that he had. There was a lot of concern from the protesters on how he was handling it.
And things just turned chaotic. You know, he was chased at one point and the reason why some of the people were chasing was because they were concerned over what he was doing.
There was an instance where after he allegedly shot the first person, he ran, and some of the protesters were chasing him and in the criminal complaint that the District Attorney filed, they say that Rittenhouse allegedly shot one of his victims while his victim had his hands up. Yes, the person had a weapon the man had a weapon in his hands, but his hands were up and the weapon was in his right hand. And you can clearly see that in some of the video that police have been able to see.
PROKUPECZ: So you know, there is some elements perhaps, his lawyers to claim self-defense, but for the President to come out and not condemn what he is doing is certainly, certainly very troubling -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Shimon Prokupecz for us in Kenosha. Keep us posted, Shimon.
The President said this tonight about Portland, Oregon. The entire city is ablaze all the time, he says. So it's with some trepidation that we go to CNN's Lucy Kafanov somewhere in the flames that must be lurking behind you, Lucy.
The President was asked about violence at the hands of his supporters in Portland this weekend. He said quote, "That was a peaceful protest and paint is not a defense mechanism. Paint is not bullets."
Lucy was this a peaceful protest?
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll try to watch out for the fires around me, John, but the only truthful statement in what you just quoted from the President is that paint in fact is not a bullet. But there are countless examples of people being arrested for shooting paint guns by police here in Portland and in other cities and areas across America. What we saw on Saturday was not an example of a peaceful protest. We
saw this massive convoy of President Trump supporters and members of a far-right group known as Patriot Prayer. They don't have a large national footprint, but they're very well known in the Pacific Northwest.
Over the past few years, their leader has been facing charges and several other members of the group facing charges for inciting a riot at a bar here in Portland. We saw -- we also know according to the SPLC that their events often draw white supremacists and they have sometimes operated alongside militia.
So this was already a cause for concern in the city that is seeing so much tension, so much heightened emotion. When we saw this large convoy head into downtown Portland on Saturday, police tried to keep them away from downtown but a smaller group of cars broke off and went there anyway. Clashes ensued.
Social media videos showed some of these members of the Trump supporters shooting air guns, paintball guns into the crowd. Some were seen spraying some sort of a substance, perhaps bear spray or maze, and then this conflict ensued.
We still don't have the details from the police. But one man who has now been identified as Aaron J. Danielson, a 39-year-old man was shot in the chest, and tragically lost his life. But again, this was not a calm scenario. It certainly inflamed tensions.
BERMAN: And Lucy, just because you made a point of it. There has been violence in Portland to say the least over the last 90 plus days. But the entire city as the President said is not in flames, is it?
KAFANOV: This city is 145 square miles. These protests have largely been limited to a four-block radius by the Federal courthouse and occasionally in front of one of the police stations here.
The city is not ablaze and in sort of chaotic situations. What we saw for 94 days is consecutive days of racial justice, racial equality protests, many of those nights had been peaceful.
Yes, there were some elements of rioters on some occasions, but in fact, those protests, John were dying down until the Fourth of July weekend when the Trump administration chose to send in Federal forces into the city against the wishes of city and state leaders. That inflamed tensions. That led to massive violence, rubber bullets, teargas, flying projectiles. They don't calm grievances like racial injustice and problems with policing. Those actions inflame tensions here.
That's what we saw from the Mayor of Portland who spoke out yesterday and actually blamed Trump for sowing contentions -- John.
BERMAN: The bottom line is there was a man killed that weekend. That's horrible, but the entire city is not in flames every day. Lucy Kafanov, thanks so much for being there for us, keep us posted. Next, the political dimensions as well as a fact check from one of the
foremost law enforcement professionals in the country, former Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey.
Later, CNN investigates a practice you may not even know is going on. People have been giving this powerful anesthetic not in the operating room, but on the street during encounters with police.
If you've got questions about that and maybe some concerns, too, you are not alone. We have some answers ahead.
BERMAN: We are talking tonight about the President's campaign style press conference.
In the last segment we went through many of the factual issues. Now, a closer look at what it says about his view of police and policing and criminal justice writ large also, whether or not it packs any political punch.
Joining us, CNN political commentator and former Obama adviser, Van Jones; CNN chief political analyst Gloria Boucher and Charles Ramsey, former top cop in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, as well as a CNN law enforcement analyst.
And Van, I want to start with you because I asked you a question on Friday following the Conventions and the President's clear efforts to reframe this election as law and order. I asked you, what should Joe Biden do now?
And you said he needs to come out and look strong and paint the President as weak. And in fact, he just put out a statement about the President's press conference. And in it, he says of the President, he is too weak, too scared of the hatred he has stirred to put an end to it.
It was almost like Biden was reading from your script, Van. So how do you assess these two performances we saw today?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I thought Biden was so strong and here's the thing, the subtext of the subtext of the subtext is who is strong enough to bring America back together? Who is strong enough to actually solve these problems?
And, you know, Trump is -- he loves the bluster. He loves to kind of act like the tough guy. But he often is whining. He is complaining. He is feeling victimized. He's got woe is me. He has more pity for himself often than for people who, you know, the almost 200,000 Americans who have died from COVID and that gives Joe Biden an opening.
He may not be vigorous physically as a Donald Trump, but I thought you saw today a man who is tough, who is smart and who understands the real issue, who is not going to get kind of pushed around and swayed by the idea that this is all somehow Joe Biden's fault when it's Donald Trump's country that's falling apart.
BERMAN: And he set a bit of a trap, Gloria, didn't it? Because when the President came out, Joe Biden in his speech said the President is going to stoke divisions. The President in his words may foment violence and the President was given an opportunity to address the issue of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged in the deaths of two people in Wisconsin and he backed off. What did that tell you?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he doesn't want to go there, right? He thinks it hurts his narrative. He doesn't want to say well, maybe he was a vigilante who should have been doing what he what he did. Maybe people are dead and we need to, you know, we need to take a look at Rittenhouse. No, instead, he went in the other direction.
This is a President who is thinking about November 3rd and what he is thinking is that law and order as he tweets in all caps multiple times a day these days is what's going to get him there.
If this election is only about COVID, he knows he is going to lose. So what he is doing is saying, okay, Joe Biden is a radical. He is a captive of the radical left. He's going to make this country unsafe.
And what Joe Biden did today was come out and say, give me a break. He came out, I love this line. He said, "Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?" I don't think so. He said, you know, my heart, you know me.
And so this this caricature that is being portrayed of Joe Biden, what he did today was he came out, and he punctured it. And I think he has to continue to do that, because the President of the United States is playing to his base. And to those people, he feels like he just might convince, suburban voters, maybe he's thinking of women that perhaps Joe Biden is going to make them feel unsafe.
So I think Biden came back and gave him what he had to do.
BERMAN: Commissioner, I want to ask you about the substance of the President's defense of Kyle Rittenhouse. For people who do your job or did your job or the job that you did, how does that complicate things if you have the President of the United States basically running interference for him?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, sure it complicates things. First of all, none of those people should have been there.
I mean, bringing guns to a protest is just a bad idea to begin with. And now you've got a 17-year-old kid, doesn't even live in the state? Yes, I wonder where his parents were for goodness sake.
I mean, how do you leave the house with an assault rifle? Mom and Dad, I think I'm going to go to Wisconsin and protect some businesses. I mean, give me a break. You know, this is absolutely ridiculous.
And as far as a President of the United States to jump in the middle of something without all the facts, it just doesn't make any sense. And I think it just stirs things up even more.
BERMAN: He's got another defense now that he has used for the last couple of days and this is police actions, Commissioner. He says, you know, they make mistakes. They make mistakes. Sure, they make mistakes, but you know, you have to move on. You can't blame a forever mistake and they choked. But they're mistakes. They're only human.
Does that fully explain what's going on here when you have questions of racial justice around the country?
RAMSEY: No, it doesn't. I mean, listen, everybody can make a mistake. I mean that part is accurate. But the thing that I took offense to is this whole notion of choking.
Listen, I've been in this business 47 years as an active police officer, Chicago, D.C., Philadelphia, and I've seen police officers and all kinds of circumstances. St. Louis lost a cop this morning, shot in the head, responding to a call for service.
The eight years I spent in Philly, I lost eight officers, five shot to death. None of them choked.
I mean, so can you make a mistake out there? Yes. I mean, you're in high stress situations. We need to do a better job of training to make sure officers always exercise good judgment. But to say that, you know, possibly they choked. I didn't see any evidence of that.
I thought the shooting may not have been justified, but that's no indication of choking. And I do think it's a slap in the face of the men and women across the country who face danger every single day And believe me, they do not choke.
BERMAN: So Van, obviously, the President has tried to have it both ways here. He labels the protesters who do not support him as thugs and anarchists. But if you do support him, you're a patriot. How does that work? I mean, it's obviously a contradiction. Don't people see that?
JONES: Well, you know, hypocrisy and politics is not anything new. But this is particularly dangerous. You know, you had a Convention, the Republican Convention, where they were celebrating on Monday night a white couple that was pointing guns in an unjustified manner at unarmed black protesters. Those people are actually facing criminal charges for doing so.
And by Tuesday night, you have this young man out there on the streets doing the same thing and actually pulling the trigger and shooting down a protester.
So you have to be very careful when you're the President of the United States, when you have any platform. If you're an athlete, they're using their platforms, I think very responsibly in a peaceful way to call attention to this stuff. The President needs to be as responsible as the NBA and the athletes.
If you start sending condolences to one side and not the other. Praising one side and not the other. What you begin to do is to encourage people to believe or lead them to believe that they have the President's backing when they go out and do this sort of stuff, commit acts of violence for one side and that's very, very dangerous. Not just hypocritical, but dangerous.
BERMAN: Gloria, we got about 30 seconds left. The President said of his visit to Kenosha tomorrow. He said it's going to generate enthusiasm or increase enthusiasm. How did you interpret that?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the way he mentioned was it's going to create enthusiasm for him. It's good, it's about him. And it's about bringing out his voters. And it's about trying to win the state of Wisconsin, which is, of course, a key battleground state. He also sort of said, well, it's going to create love for the country or something like that. But what he really meant was, of course, it's going to create enthusiasm for me. That's why I'm going. This is about the election.
BERMAN: All right, Van Jones, Gloria Borger, Commissioner Ramsey, thank you very much for being with us. Appreciate it.
More to come tonight. As we continue 360s ongoing discussion about police training and tactics. A story about one practice involving this powerful sedative that was used in the arrest of a young black man in Colorado, who later died.
BERMAN: No match tonight by President Trump of why so many people from so many backgrounds in so many cities have taken to the streets and protests in the wake of police shootings of unarmed black American store. And he talk about reexamining police tactics that can injure or even kill. Now one, which is flown under the radar for quite some time is the increased use of a powerful sedative on people who arresting officers say are belligerent.
Sara Sidner has more on whether police officers are influencing paramedics to use ketamine on subjects and why that's setting off alarm bells among some doctors, lawyers and civil rights advocates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much he had a drink?
ELIJAH MCKNIGHT, DENVER RESIDENT: I'm good.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Elijah McKnight says what happened to him during this 2019 arrest outside of rural Colorado should never happen to anyone again. MCKNIGHT: I was on call for three days on life support pretty much.
SIDNER (voice-over): McKnight admits he was drunk on the sidewalk when police arrived to check on him. He tells police there are warrants out for his arrest. Hold his calm (ph) until an officer attempts to cuff him, he resists and is cuffed and tased. But he says what happened when paramedics showed up nearly killed him.
MCKNIGHT: They were acting like I was just the incredible hug that I was tossing them around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a little hyped up right now, you got to relax.
MCKNIGHT: I am being cooperative.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are and I appreciate it, man.
SIDNER (voice-over): Paramedics initially determined he doesn't need to be hospitalized.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He doesn't need to go to the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's up to you guys.
SIDNER (voice-over): But then a police officer asks this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys can't give him anything can you? Unless he goes to the hospital, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can give him ketamine and he'll be sleeping like a baby, but he'll have to go to the hospital.
MCKNIGHT: Don't give me. Don't inject anything into my vein.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still will be a fight the whole way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he going to the hospital?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to the hospital?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean he's bucking the three of us. Just give it to him.
SIDNER (voice-over): And they do, one shot of 500 milligrams of ketamine. The paramedics report says he's being wildly combative.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has he calmed down at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's still lifting us. SIDNER (voice-over): But at this point, video shows him coughed and lying still but yelling, they call a physician and get permission to inject him with 250 more milligrams.
MARY DALE PETERSON, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS: So we can actually do surgery on patients with ketamine.
SIDNER (voice-over): Dr. Mary Dale Peterson says ketamine is an extremely useful drug to treat pain or for general anesthesia. It's so powerful that in Colorado first responders need a health department waiver to use it. It works fast, can leave a patient conscious but unable to move, unable to speak and sometimes unable to breathe.
PETERSON: Depending on what study look at 30 to 57% of patients will require intubation. Where you have to put a breathing tube in.
SIDNER (voice-over): The controversy is over why and how it's being used by first responders.
MCKNIGHT: They definitely weren't going to give me ketamine until the police asked for it.
PETERSON: Ketamine or any other drug, you know, should not be given for purely law enforcement purposes. You know, we give drugs to treat medical problems.
SIDNER (voice-over): In McKnight's case, though the Colorado State Health Department recently determined, medics actions were independent of police requests and warranted. McKnight disagrees, but says he's thankful he didn't die unlike another Colorado man named Elijah that same month.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop.
SIDNER (voice-over): Elijah McClain committed no crime but he stopped on his way home after Aurora police are called about a man walking with a ski mask on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop tensing up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.
SIDNER (voice-over): Officers confront him. They say he fought them. They put him in a chokehold causing him to vomit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever he's on, he has incredible strength.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, crazy strength.
SIDNER (voice-over): McClain already cuffed face down, saying he can't breathe, and autopsy shows he has no illegal drugs in his system. But when paramedics arrive. They inject him with nearly double the recommended dose for someone of his weight.
PETERSON: I've been in practice 30 years, I've never given that dose that high. SIDNER (voice-over): McClain died in the hospital three days later. The coroner report said McClain died of undetermined causes, but said intense physical exertion, a narrow coronary artery and a negative drug reaction to ketamine could have contributed to his death. His family has filed a civil lawsuit against Aurora Police and the city.
MARI NEWMAN, MCCLAIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: This is an incredible tragedy. This is an example of an innocent young man who is tortured and who is murdered by a combination of both law enforcement and so-called first responders.
SIDNER (voice-over): But the district attorney determined no charges were warranted in the case. Now, a year after his death, the city, state and health department have all open new investigations. But Aurora Fire Rescue determined last November that their paramedics actions were consistent and aligned with our established protocol and that McClain was showing signs of excited delirium, a dangerous and often inexplicable condition.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just relax.
SIDNER (voice-over): McKnight was also diagnosed with excited delirium, which can cause a person to become so agitated, they exercise themselves to death. The condition is not recognized by any major medical association, but is recognized by the American College of Emergency Physicians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even clinicians would have a difficult time diagnosing excited delirium. When you apply ketamine, you better be darn sure that this is excited delirium and not something else.
SIDNER (voice-over): The Colorado Department of Health's Ketamine Waiver Guidelines says, excited delirium is a rare syndrome. But data shows from 2018 to 2019. There was a 72% increase in ketamine waivers issued to treat it.
NEWMAN: The term excited delirium is being used by law enforcement to justify what is unjustifiable, excessive force against civilians.
SIDNER (on-camera): Why do you think police asked paramedics to give you something?
MCKNIGHT: They're being lazy and didn't want to do their job? I guess they didn't want to deal with a drunk asshole. So, I wasn't excited delirium. I could tell you that.
SIDNER (voice-over): Authorities won't comment as there is an active case still pending against McKnight. An article in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services says, ketamine is an effective drug in the field that can save lives. But there is no national database that tracks ketamine use by EMS workers. Across the United States, we found several ongoing investigations into the use of ketamine by first responders.
JOSEPH BAKER, PARADEMIC: In my experience, I have been pressured by police to administer academy.
SIDNER (voice-over): This paramedic in Minnesota says he's speaking out for the very first time about his concern over using ketamine as a policing tool. He is suing the city of Woodbury saying he had to quit his paramedic job there because he was retaliated against. For exposing falsified EMS training records in his department and for refusing to bow to pressure by police to use ketamine on a mental health call when he says it was not medically necessary.
BAKER: Before we even arrived, we were receiving notes from dispatch, asking us to get our ketamine ready. I was met by multiple officers who asked, do you have your ketamine ready? Do you have it drawn up? And I said no, I have it available. But I'd like to evaluate this patient first.
SIDNER (on-camera): What was the reaction?
BAKER: They were angry? I don't think that they were expecting me to give the response that I did.
SIDNER (on-camera): What happened ultimately?
BAKER: There wasn't any reason to give him any medications.
SIDNER (voice-over): Baker says talking was the best tool in the field that day in 2019, but he paid a price for it.
BAKER: I was placed on a performance improvement plan for being angry and insubordinate towards a police officer, because I was advocating for a patient when --
SIDNER: Because you refused ketamine?
BAKER: Because I refused to administer ketamine.
SIDNER (voice-over): The city categorically denies all of Baker's allegations and says no records were falsified.
KENNETH UDOIBOK, ATTORNEY: It is a perfect crime.
SIDNER: Baker's attorney Kenneth Udoibok, says all Baker is doing is trying to protect citizens and the city. Knowing what happened in neighboring Minneapolis.
UDOIBOK: Ketamine should never be a law enforcement tool. It is a medical tool.
SIDNER (voice-over): In 2018, the Minneapolis Office of police conduct review found the appearance of ketamine in reports increased from two in 2010 to 62 in 2017, a 3,000% increase. Analyst observed eight cases where MPD officers participated in the decision to administer ketamine.
NEWMAN: We can't simply substitute injecting people in voluntarily with a dangerous psychotropic drug instead of talking. It's not constitutional. SIDNER (voice-over): The McClain family and McKnight believe that is exactly what happened in their cases.
MCKNIGHT: Yes, it definitely wasn't to keep me or them say. Is it almost killed me.
BERMAN: I got to say -- Sara Sidner joins us now, I knew about the Elijah McClain case. I had no idea this was so widespread. This is fascinating and concerning. Sara, what is the status of Elijah McClain case?
SIDNER: A couple of things have happened just this month. The Colorado State Department of Health is now reviewing its ketamine waiver program for use of ketamine in the field. We're excited delirium, and we now have heard from an Aurora City Council member who is now asking for the use of ketamine in the field to be halted altogether until the Elijah McClain case investigation is complete.
We also heard from someone a spokesperson for the National Fraternal Order of Police that she has nothing to do with any of these cases. But she says it is hard for her to believe that police would be trying to influence anyone to use ketamine because of excited delirium or trying to use for example, excited delirium as an excuse to have paramedics use ketamine on subjects just to quiet them down. She says they have been trained on excited delirium, and she says she just -- it's just done, so that everyone can remain safe in difficult situations. John?
BERMAN: Raises question Sara, thank you so much for shining a light on this. That is a fascinating report. Sara Sidner, thank you.
Just ahead, another big day in the search for a coronavirus vaccine and concerns that the Trump administration could rush into it before it is fully tested. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here when AC360 continues.
BERMAN: So, President Trump gave short shrift in his press conference to the big news about the search for coronavirus vaccine. A third drug maker has now entered large scale Phase 3 trials in the U.S., AstraZeneca joins Moderna as well as Pfizer in its partner.
A word of caution to on the pace of development. The World Health Organization today is warning countries about emergency use authorizations for vaccines before Phase 3 trials are completed. China and Russia have said that's something they will do. And the FDA Commissioner Dr. Steven Hahn has suggested the possibility of the U.S. doing the same. A top official of WHO said doing this quote, has to be done with a great deal of seriousness and reflection. It's not something that you do very lightly. Joining us now, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So Sanjay, the FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the FDA could consider emergency use authorization for this vaccine before Phase 3 trials are complete. So is that wise?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think so John. I mean, you know, obviously public health officials, many people are weighing in on this and I've been concerned. I mean, keep in mind, you know, you got to take these things in context. The FDA did, given emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine which is important, it's relevant here, because that was a medication for which there was really no evidence. So, the fact that the FDA did that, I think at that point raised a lot of eyebrows. We know last weekend that the commissioner gave in the EUA emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma and sort of really sort of exaggerated the benefit of that.
So you got to take these in context, the issue about EUA for vaccine, as you well know, John, the bar has got to be higher, unlike medications to give to somebody who's sick and doesn't have any other options. This is to give to healthy people to prevent disease. Now, interestingly, John, I was looking into this today, this EUA process hasn't been around that long, about 15 years or so. Back in 2009, the last pandemic it was actually considered and I can show you some of the data here. There was concern even back then about an EUA for a vaccine, I guess, as they're potentially always is. When you actually broke it down, though, you found that people were most comfortable if they were actually getting this information about the vaccine, its benefits from their own doctor specifically, as opposed to hearing about it from a government agency.
So, we don't know how that's going to play out here. But this would be the essentially the first time if it's done. And they thought about it again back in 2009 and back in 2005 for anthrax, but this would be a big, big move if they do it. John.
BERMAN: What's the difference Sanjay between emergency use authorization and full vaccine approval?
GUPTA: So with authorization, you're basically saying, look, we got no other choices here. OK. So we -- we're conducting a risk reward analysis. And we're thinking we've got to do this because there's no alternative. In fact, I looked at the specific language around this. And I think the language here is important. What they say is for the FDA to issue an EUA which is emergency use authorization, there must be no adequate, approved and available alternative to the candidate product for diagnosing, preventing or treating the disease.
John, the thing is here is everybody wants a vaccine and most people want a vaccine. But the alternative, which frankly has worked in many countries around the world is to adopt these public health practices that we've been talking about. Wearing masks, physical distancing, all the things that people are sick of hearing about right now. But had been able to return many countries around the world to some sense of normalcy. So, if the idea is the vaccine is going to help us get back to normalcy, sure, that is true. But until we are confident, it is safe, that's why you test it in tens of thousands of people and effective, which you test with the passage of time. The idea of approving this or even giving it authorization is not something I'm hearing any public health officials really recommend.
BERMAN: Yes, the important thing is, you know, drugs are given to sick people. Vaccines are given to millions and millions of healthy people why, which is why there's a different bar there.
Sanjay, another subject here, the Washington Post reported today that Dr. Scott Atlas, who may be now the primary person the President is listening to on coronavirus. Is a proponent of sorts of herd immunity, which he denies. But there are still others who say that he does support parts of it. How dangerous, how flawed do you think that would be?
GUPTA: Yes. So first of all, you know, he did talk about this in testimony before, which is why he -- people think that he's an advocate of herd immunity. He did sort of say, you know, he walked that back today saying it's not what I meant. It's a real concern, herd immunity, this idea of getting to 70% of the country infected. You know, but if you look at some of the studies that the estimates are that maybe 10% of the country has currently been infected. We don't know for sure, because we haven't been doing adequate testing. But with 10% of the country infected, there's been about 180,000 people who have died. If you multiply that times 10, you're getting to 1.8 million people who have died.
Also, John, you know, how long does immunity last? We're starting to see the outer borders that right, four or five months perhaps. it'll start to fade away after time. So it doesn't last very long either. You know, it would take a long time to get to herd immunity.
BERMAN: Sanjay. Thank you very much. I have a sense I'll see you tomorrow morning.
Just ahead, the Trump Justice Department wants to dismiss the case immediately. I guess Michael Flynn who was pleaded guilty twice. Why eight federal judges today said no to that.
BERMAN: Tonight, the President stressed he would be the law and order president. We want to update you on the legal wranglings of two former top aides.
Today, a federal appeals court sided with a federal judge who was scrutinizing the sudden decision by Attorney General William Barr and the Justice Department to dismiss its case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn and the department had one the initial review by a three judge plan a panel two to one, and that's despite the fact that Flynn had pleaded guilty twice. But he lost that appeal today eight to two. Effectively, this means that Judge Emmett Sullivan can examine whether or not the Justice Department dismissed the case for legitimate reasons. Now, in a separate case, something of a win for the Trump administration, although perhaps momentarily. A panel on that same fair Court decided that House Democrats could not pursue their subpoena a former White House Counsel Don McGahn in the courts, unless they pass a law that said they can enforce subpoenas that could be appealed as well.
A lot going on, the news continues. I want to hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME."