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tv   Don Lemon Tonight  CNN  May 26, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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here's what we're learning tonight, that the manhattan district attorney has convened a grand jury in its criminal investigation of the trump organ organization. according to "the washington post," the grand jury is expected to consider whether to
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indict the former president, trump org executives or the company itself. marjorie taylor greene comparing that masks be worn to congress to the holocaust. and tonight heavy calls for heavy hitters to like dr. fauci to investigate the origins of the coronavirus to determined if it occurred naturally or if it leaked out of a laboratory in china. i want to bring in now cnn's legal analysts carrie cordero and elie honig. good evening to both of you. elie, i'm going to start with you. the manhattan d.a. is convening this grand jury according to "the post." what does this tell you about this investigation into trump and his company? has he found evidence of a crime? >> i think the short answer is yes, don, some evidence. this is obviously significant. this is important. if donald trump is to be indicted -- and that's far from certain at this point. but if he is, these are the
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everyday women and men on this grand jury who will return the indictment. however, this is not extraordinary. this is not a shocker. this is, in fact, exactly what you would expect to see in the normal progress of a criminal case if you, as a prosecutor, believed that your case was productive, that you had found enough that you had a good-faith basis to go in there and impanel a grand jury. ultimately a lot of this will sit in the prosecutor's hands. the grand jury will technically vote but there's the old adage that a prosecutor can get a ham sandwich indicted in the grand jury. there's some truth to that. the burden is quite low. these prosecutors need to make sure they have more than that. they need to make sure they have probable cause if they're going to seek an indictment of donald trump. >> carrie, we know cy vance has trump's tax returns and that he has been looking into trump-owned properties. what kind of charges, i wonder, could the former president and
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his associates be facing if cy vance is looking into all of that? >> well, based on the reporting so far, it seems like all of the investigation is focused on things that would fall under the umbrella of financial crimes and fraud. i think fraud is sort of the big word. was there different types of fraud, financial fraud, misfiling or fraudulently filing business records, tax issues, misrepresenting the value of assets. everything that falls into the big fraud category seems to be the types of things that they're looking at. and what that means is that a significant part of this case that prosecutors are building is a documents case. so the records that they obtained are important, and other -- all the documents that they have, the digital documents that they have, all of that is going to be the basis for being able to determine whether there are financial crimes that they
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have a provable case. >> usually when, you know, you guys are very experienced with this. your resumes speak for themselves. carrie, what does your gut tell you when you see -- with the information, the evidence and where this case is going? >> well, on one hand, i don't think we, the public, obviously know what the prosecutors know. so it's difficult to be able to judge evidence that we haven't seen. i do worry some, don, that there is a real risk with this prosecution because this is a former president. so far, federal authorities seem to have passed on making any kind of financial fraud case, and so this is up to the state attorneys, the manhattan d.a.'s office that are taking on an investigation of a former president, his family, his business associates, and his company. and so there's a real risk that
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their actions, if they really don't have a good basis for taking these next investigative steps, that they will contribute to an environment where people view law enforcement and prosecutions as a tool of political retribution. so i just think that the stakes are much higher in this case for the prosecutors to really do their job well. >> same question, elie. >> yeah. don, i share some of carrie's skepticism here. my gut tells me this will rise or fall on one person, allen weisselberg. if prosecutors can flip allen weisselberg -- and, remember, this grand jury can charge anybody. they could charge perhaps the trump children. they could charge allen weisselberg. they're going to need allen weisselberg, i believe, to cooperate so he can walk them through the financial transactions and so he can tell them what donald trump knew, what donald trump authorized because if you don't have allen weisselberg, it's going to be a really tough case to make for
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the exact reasons carrie just laid out. >> thank you both. i appreciate it. that's the legal part of it. i want to bring in now cnn political commentator amanda carpenter and senior political analyst kirsten powers. let's talk about the political part of it. good evening to both of you. amanda, you heard what carrie and elie just said. carrie said, i'm a bit concerned that this may move into the political realm more than the legal realm, that they're using a political process to try to get a former president or his family. what do you think of that? >> yeah. i mean, i think there are concerns. you no he that donald trump is going to try this in the court of public opinion, say here they go again. and i do think there is a large degree of public fatigue. i mean we've gone through the mueller investigation. we've gone through impeachment one, impeachment two. we're going to have this. we're going to have the other new york investigation. we're going to have the georgia investigation. and so i just -- i can only hope that they will maintain the utmost degree of professionalism
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because this will be incredibly hard not to get drug into. and i see some criticism for the left for apparently the biden administration's reluctance to get involved. i think that's the best thing that joe biden can do. let this play out with the investigators who are handling it in a professional, discreet way. the facts will go where we need them to go, and we'll find out everything when we need to find it out. have some patience. >> kirsten, let's talk about the republican party here and the leadership. taking five days to condemn marjorie taylor greene's anti-semitism, and kevin mccartthy couldn't simply call her comments appalling. he had to make claims about anti-semitism and democrats. is he condemning her and minimizing the comments all in the same breath? >> yes. you know, the republican party doesn't seem to be able to just take responsibility. whenever you are calling something out or apologizing or doing anything like that, you're not to supposed to start
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pointing fingers at other people. and, frankly, there's nobody that even comes close to the way marjorie taylor greene behaves. so for him to suggest, you know, i think he's maybe suggesting that remarks that were made by ilhan omar are somehow in this league when, a, they're not, and, b, she apologized for them. marjorie taylor greene, on the other hand, not only has not apologized, she's gone on twitter and sort of doubled down on everything that she said and is portraying herself as a victim and even trying to pretend that she didn't really say what everybody heard her say. so, look, i think kevin mccarthy thinks obviously that the only way he's going to win the house back is with donald trump behind him, and he doesn't want to do anything to upset donald trump. and donald trump likes marjorie taylor greene. so apparently she gets to do whatever she wants, you know, until at least according to cnn's reporting, they start hearing from donors and members of congress saying, this is not going to fly.
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and then he gives this kind of ridiculous calling her out and then pointing fingers at the democrats. but he's not really doing anything about it. >> yeah. amanda, republican sources tell cnn that gop donors, house members as well urged mccarthy to condemn greene, but they don't think much else is going to happen to her, saying this, and i quote. donald trump likes her. he supports her, and kevin doesn't want to upset trump. i mean -- >> yeah. >> that's like really -- that's not even a leader if you're following that. if that's what you're doing. >> kevin mccarthy is a political wind sock. he will flip on every issue to appease whoever is treating him well at that particular moment in time. this isn't going to get better. this isn't the only incident marjorie taylor greene has. what do you want? anti-semitism, 9/11 trutherism, sandy hook fake flag hoax. what do you want? there's a whole internet archive of this that is completely
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deranged. she was stalking and harassing a parkland survivor on capitol hill. this isn't going to end with just this remark, but she has political power because republican leaders like kevin mccarthy and mitch mcconnell have decided they can't win without the trump coalition. >> does she have political power? >> yes. >> or it just like the -- >> yes. let me explain. try to picture mitch mcconnell going to a trump rally and revving up that base. he would get booed offstage faster than kelly loeffler did. she came to the stage in georgia and said -- they need marjorie taylor greene because they've decided that that capitol hill -- storm the capitol hill brigade is their base that they can't afford to alienate. i don't expect a lot of action because they've known all this about her the whole time. it's on the internet. you can go find it. so unless enough donors revolt to make them pay a price, as
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long as, you know, donald trump is the republican leader of the party that they cannot afford to alienate, expect to hear more from mgt. >> it's just shocking the embodiment of an internet troll coming to life and then being elected to congress. >> that's what it is. >> if her name was karen, it would just be, you know, 100% perfect. so, kirsten, also tonight senators manchin and sinema are pleading with republicans to vote for the january 6th commission. those are democratic senators opposed to getting rid of the filibuster and they have to know it's not going to look good or help the argument for keeping it when republicans even filibuster creating a bipartisan commission to look into one of the darkest days in our history. there's some big stakes at play. >> yeah. look, it's just -- it's not -- it's not defensible to be
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opposing something like this. it's clearly for political reasons. it's just -- it's the kind of thing -- and i've said this before, but it needs to be repeated over and over -- that pre-trump would be unimaginable. and we can't -- we have to kind of stay tethered to that time and remember that, like, just how off the rails things really are and how off the rails the republican party really has gone that, yes, democrats and republicans have always, you know, sort of been at odds. but there were times and there were things that brought them together. and what happened on january 6th would have been the type of thing in the past that would bring people together, and indeed it did right after, right? and then they changed course and now are basically just not interested in the most basic, fundamental responsibility that they have. >> i've got to say just because we do need unity so desperately on this issue, even if the senate tanks this through the filibuster, i really hope and pray that nancy pelosi finds a way to get house republicans
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like liz cheney, adam kinzinger, anybody that wants to help on a select commission, committee. please, please get them involved because she has to show -- we all need to see some republicans do the right thing. she passed on the opportunity to make, you know, justin amash an impeachment leader for the last impeachment. get them involved. we need it. >> thank you both. i want to bring in now presidential historian douglas brinkley. doug, good evening to you. let's talk about the white house because they need to work with this party, they believe. two huge pieces of biden's agenda, the george floyd justice in policing act and his infrastructure bill. both stalled in congress as
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negotiators try to cut deals. could we be seeing the last chance for biden's hopes for bipartisanship here? >> i think it's getting very close to that, don. you know, joe biden ran as a uniter. he was going to pull the country together. and i think after january 6th, the assumption was the republican party would turn on trump, you know, admit that it was an insurrection and kind of mend their ways. but, alas, it's still the party of donald trump. mitch mcconnell doesn't want to do business with biden. they're just eating up precious clock. we're heading into memorial day weekend, and there's nothing concrete on the table. so biden's probably has to start stepping up and going alone. he's tried to do it with the democrats. he went from $2 trillion for his economic jobs recovery package, then down to 1.7. he can't keep going in that direction. at one point this might have to be an all-democratic jobs
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recovery package, and they have to reap the consequences of that like obama did when he had to do the affordable care act on his own. >> i'm glad you mentioned the former president because, you know, remember when he first got elected, mitch mcconnell said his number one priority is to make him a one-term president, right? susan rice was there. i hope you heard my interview with -- she's now an adviser to the current president, joe biden. they're insisting that they're going to keep trying for bipartisanship. but behind the scenes, they must know what they're up against, and they've got to know. they've got to know, douglas, in january, everyone said the republicans are never going to work with you. no. february. march, april. here we are in may. it's almost june. they are never going to work with him. i know everyone says he's like, oh, that's a great quality. bipartisanship. it ain't going to happen. it's not going to happen. it wasn't going to happen 12
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years ago with obama. it's not going to happen now. why do they keep trying? it's an exercise in futility. >> i think biden sees himself as a deal maker. he has all that senate -- >> but it's not going to happen. >> i agree with you. >> it's never going to happen. >> yeah, and i think that's where biden's hitting his rubicon. he's going to go on this trip to europe, come back, and i think he's got to step up. don, realize bernie sanders and chuck schumer, nancy pelosi, are ready to go it alone with the democratic party if need be. they made one big offer here to the republicans. the republicans blew it off. i wouldn't keep whittling downward. things happen. the summer, we might have wildfires and then hurricanes. get this done. be known as the infrastructure president. get your big package done and do it with straight democratic votes. that's the smart thing to do in history. >> i think it would be -- you know, i would understand it more
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if the republican party was living in reality at this point. >> yep. >> quite simply, honestly -- >> they aren't. >> they're not. >> yeah. they never digested january 6th properly, the fact of what they're trying to do with gerrymandering and voters' rights. they're at war with joe biden. most of these republican congressmen are buying into the line they say on fox news that biden didn't really win the election. so how can you do business with those people? he gave it a try. he might give it a couple more weeks, and then he's going to have to be a power president, not the healer in chief. >> yeah. learn the hard way as they say. thank you. i appreciate it. george floyd's family in washington today pushing for the policing reform bill that bears his name. but that bill the president wanted on his desk today. again, more evidence of what i just said, didn't make the deadline. what's the hangup, and what will it take to get the family what they want? >> say his name.
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>> say his name. >> george floyd. >> say it again. >> say it loud, baby. >> say his name. >> george floyd! >> thank you, all. r day... ...for up to 60 days. give us one plug for freshness that lasts. do you have a life insurance policy you no longer need? now you can sell your policy, even a term policy, for an immediate cash payment. call coventry direct to learn more. we thought we had planned carefully for our retirement. but we quickly realized that we needed a way to supplement our income. our friends sold their policy to help pay for their medical bills and that got me thinking. maybe selling our policy could help with our retirement. i'm skeptical, so i did some research and called coventry direct. they explained life insurance is a valuable asset that can be sold. we learned that we can sell all of our policy or keep part of it with no future payments, who knew? we sold our policy. now we can
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one year ago, george floyd's death shocked the world. 9 minutes, 29 seconds. the video of an officer kneeling on floyd's neck, sparking a global reckoning on racial justice. former officer derek chauvin is behind bars, convicted of murder in floyd's death. what else has changed? joining me now is criminal defense attorney joey jackson. thank you so much. what a year, huh? what a year. >> wow. >> and one year ago today. that's when george floyd's death shocked the world. we both know so many other black people who have died at the hands of police, but talk to me about the impact of his death and what it's had on racial justice -- or injustice in this country. >> yeah, don. good to see you. i think certainly it's been a reckoning. let me explain why. there's a lot of talk about legislation. i think legislation is important, don, as it relates to the george floyd bill banning choke holds of course, banning no-knock warrants, absolutely.
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looking at the issue of qualified immunity, which protects the police from civil, that is lawsuits and a number of other things. but you can't legislate good judgment. you can't legislate morality. you can't legislate discretion being used in a way that favors de-escalation. but let me tell you what it means to me. i think the fact even that it went to trial, right, was really bold. why? you know, it's interesting, don. you know this. we've talked about this before, right? in barbershops across america, you have conversations. and, you know, my barber said something interesting to me. he said why is this case even going to trial? i said, let me educate you why. it's because there's an emboldenness that we don't think jurors want to convict police. since they don't want to convict police, let's take it to trial and talk our shots. but the fact of the matter is it was a reckoning. and the fact that he was convicted, mr. chauvin gave the indication that people have said that enough is enough. and they have said, you know, we've seen so many times, you could take it back to eric garner, new york city, as you
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could recall, and the fact that he got choked and died as a result of cigarettes, right? and you see there was no indictment. and you see in other cases, there's no arrest. then you go to philando castile back in minnesota when there was a traffic stop, reminding everyone, right? i have a gun officer. don't reach for it, don't reach for it. boom. mr. yanez who was taken to trial, and of course he wasn't convicted. but here you saw a conviction. i think there's a reckoning and the reckoning says enough is enough and there's going to be accountability. when officers misstep and they demoralize communities, they disrespect communities and they do other things to terrorize communities, they're going to be held accountable. so i think it was a big and a tremendous moment n notwithstanding the video that we saw that demonstrated clearly that he was guilty. but the fact that a jury had the courage to find him guilty on those three counts, i think is a big moment and it deters every member of law enforcement who will transgress and do bad
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things. final point, don, and that's this. there are a lot of law enforcement officials out there doing great things every day and twice on sunday to protect communities. but to those who misstep, to those who don't value, as we heard the chief say -- remember him, right? chief ar don dough, the sanctity of life, that we are going to make sure you get your day in court. after that day in court, you'll be convicted and face jail time too. i think it was a great equalizer. we have a system that needs to be fixed. we have a system that targets people of color. that needs to stop. but the reality is the fact that he would be held accountable and convicted, i think is a big moment and it says to law enforcement enough is enough. change your ways. change your culture. respect every community that you serve. >> that's why we love having you. you're the best guest. you know why? i only have to ask you one question, and you answer everything. no, i really mean that. joey, thank you. i appreciate it. >> thanks, don. >> appreciate your perspective. thanks for joining us. marjorie taylor greene defending herself again for comparing masks to the holocaust. the holocaust, the genocide that
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killed 6 million jews. know your history, next. but, when grease and limescale build up, it's not as hygienic as you think. use finish dishwasher cleaner its dual-action formula tackles grease and limescale. finish. clean dishwasher. clean dishes. anxiety and depression. but when i was ready for help, finding the right care was nearly impossible. luckily, he had us. as mental health professionals, we could help him navigate the
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important to know your history. it took five days but house republican leaders finally coming out and condemning congresswoman marjorie taylor greene for comparing rules requiring masks in congress to the holocaust. i can't believe i even had to read that. leader kevin mccarthy calling her remarks appalling. here's what she said. >> you know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in nazi, germany. and this is exactly the type of abuse that nancy pelosi is talking about. >> greene doubling down today in a tweet saying she never
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compared it to the holocaust, only the discrimination against jews in early nazi years. let's bring in now stephen d. smith, the executive director of the show wa foundation at the university of southern california. i'm so glad that you're here. thank you so much for joining us. i think it's important for people to know their history and to understand these issues. i did not invite you on here to talk politics. this is about education. when marjorie taylor greene compares mask mandates to the holocaust, she seems not to understand the atrocities committed by the nazi regime. how dangerous are remarks like hers? >> well, i think in her case, she probably does actually understand what happened because she quotes quite accurately, you know, that jews are put on trains and sent to gas chambers. so it's not a comment that's made out of ignorance, don, as far as i can see. obviously the situation is absurd because the mask mandate is there to protect life, and the markations that were given
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to jews during the second world war and during the holocaust was a mark of death. in fact, people think that maybe that was the first step that was taken. people given a yellow star and a series of things happened and eventually they were murdered. in fact, by the time the yellow star was introduced, there had been over 1,500 laws promulgated against the jews in germany. the second world war had already begun. so by that time jews had lost their homes, their education. they had been evicted from their countries, had their citizenship removed, their synagogues had been burned and tens of thousands of them were already in concentration camps. it was only when hitler went into the secondary countries, poland and ultimately the soviet union, that this became a way of marking jews so that they knew they would be marked for death. so it has the completely opposite meaning and it's an egregious abuse of that history obviously. >> the auschwitz museum tweeting in essence that using the suffering and murder of jews in
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a debate over health protections is, quote, a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline. what do you say to that? do you agree
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leak. if it isn't just natural origin, the virus may have developed naturally but was being studied at the lab and escaped that way.
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that's the information we really need to find out. so i'm not concerned with the nih grant. i'm more concerned with the lack of transparency, particularly from the chinese government about what's happened in this investigation. >> the u.s. is hitting a major milestone, tom, today. the cdc says it's safe for vaccinated folks to enjoy memorial day weekend, but should we be concerned about unvaccinated people gathering? >> i'm concerned, particularly in parts of the country where vaccination rates are low. frankly in much of the south, the vaccination rates of adults is half of what we see in the northeast and other parts of the united states. there's still a lot of people who have yet to be vaccinated, and i'm concerned that we've declared victory too early. people remember last year at this time in may -- and you and i were talking in interviews like this, cases were dropping
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in the u.s. too. some of this is in addition to the vaccination seasonal, and we still need to be vigilant. we're not quite there yet. it's important that we maintain that ahead of this holiday weekend. >> tom, thank you. good to see you. >> good to see you. calls across the country to defund the police largely on hold. we investigate why next.
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the phrase "defund the police" became a popular protest call in the aftermath of george floyd's murder last year. the idea of defunding the police debated in cities all across the country while at the same time, there has been a steep rise in violent crime in america. more tonight from cnn's josh campbell. >> reporter: a murder in minneapolis one year ago
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sparking a nationwide movement for police reform, including some calls to defund the police. in some cities across the country, elected officials responding by pledging to reprogram money from police budgets to other social services. >> our commitment is to end our city's toxic relationship with the minneapolis police department, to end policing as we know it. >> reporter: but the movement to slash police budgets is now facing serious headwinds. the slogan "defund the police" has itself become a political football. and a recent spike in violent crimes in cities has some politicians wanting to spend more money on police. through the 2020 election, republicans used calls to defund the police as a political bludgeon. >> due to defunding of the police department, we're sorry, but no one is here to take your call. >> there won't be defunding. there won't be dismantling of our police. without police, there is chaos. >> they want to defund the
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police and take away your second amendment rights. >> reporter: in the debate among democrats proving to be anything but monolithic. >> have essentially already begun pursuing a defunding of police. >> defund the police is the wrong approach for new york city. >> i'm going to take a billion dollars from the new york city police department. >> our communities are overpoliced and underresourced. >> we must have a police department that we trust. >> we've got to root out the bad apples, and let's go forward with a good, solid program. >> not defunding the police. >> reporter: among the most vocal supporters of defunding the police, some aren't calling for the outright abolishment of law enforcement but instead strategic and incremental cuts they believe are desperately needed. >> we've never said defund the police and just don't do anything with those dollars. we said defund the police and invest those dollars in the things that actually make communities safe. we begin by removing police from places we can all agree they don't belong.
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>> reporter: another challenge to the defund the police movement, crime. like in los angeles where homicide is up over 26% since the same time last year. city officials voted last year to cut $150 million from the police department's budget. but now after a unanimous city council vote, the mayor is poised to add millions of dollars to the lapd. >> this budget's going to allow us to start hiring, to start putting cops through the academy and back on the street. >> reporter: the sheriff in los angeles engaged in a war of words with county officials, blaming calls to defund police and progressive policies for the rise in crime. but experts say it's not possible to draw a line between the two. >> we've seen that in cities that have cut police budgets. we have seen that in cities that have not cut police budgets. the causes of crime are pretty complicated and anybody who says, oh, i've got it figured out, it was this one simple thing, is almost certainly wrong where right or wrong, where does the movement to redirect police budgets go from here? >> we're not going to let up.
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we need to let the mayor and city council know they will be held accountable. there will be political consequences if they choose to be in the pockets of police associations rather than act on behalf of the people. >> reporter: and, don, when it comes to policing reform, the issue of whether to cut police department budgets remains a hotly contested one. after the murder of george floyd, we saw some cities cut funding to law enforcement in favor of other social services. but as we are seeing here in los angeles, for example, with violent crime on the rise, some of those proposed budget cuts are on the verge of possibly being reversed by elected leaders. all of this is raising an important question for those seeking to cut police department budgets. what's next for the movement? activists we've spoken with say they will keep fighting and rather than simply protesting, their aim is on creating their own change at the ballot box. don? >> josh campbell, thank you. and thank you for watching, everyone. our coverage continues.
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they can finally come on over again. the covid-19 vaccines are here. it's up to you.
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♪ hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the united states and all around the world, i'm rosemary church. just ahead here on "cnn newsroom," manhattan's top prosecutor reportedly summons a grand jury that could indict donald trump. what this means for the former president and the trump organization. in japan the power of the press. a top newspaper and olympic partner pushes to cancel the games. we will have a -- late details from tokyo. and a movie promotion turns into a fast and furiou


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