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Winner Of One Of The Most Watched Horse Races In The World Now Under Scrutiny; Four-Year-Old Girl, Two Women Shot In NYC's Times Square; CDC Vaccine Advisers To Discuss Recommendations For Young Teens; Cyber Attack Forces Shutdown Of Major U.S. Fuel Pipeline; Biden Ramps Up Infrastructure Push With Big Meetings This Week; At Least 100 Injured in Latest Clashes in Jerusalem; Wyoming GOP Voters Split On Removing Cheney From Leadership Role. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 9, 2021 - 14:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Right now, the winner of the Kentucky Derby on the verge of being disqualified over drugs But the trainer for Medina Spirit isn't going down without a fight.

Plus, gunshots in Times Square, a police officer carries a wounded child to safety as the manhunt intensifies for the gunman.

And a coronavirus vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds could become a reality as early as this week. I'll talk live with one of the doctors who is reviewing Pfizer's proposal.

Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me on this Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right. A shocking stumble now leading to confusion a week after the Kentucky Derby. The winner of one of the most watched horse races in the world now under scrutiny. Medina Spirit who had a 12 to 1 shot at winning has tested positive for an excessive amount of an anti- inflammatory drug that is legal within certain amounts.

The horse's famed trainer 68-year-old Bob Baffert is vowing to dispute the allegations saying his training team had not treated Medina Spirit with the drug betamethasone.

CNN's Carolyn Manno is here with more on this. So Carolyn What do we know about this drug in question, and whether the win is in jeopardy?

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now the win is not in jeopardy until additional testing comes back. These are commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs that are regulated that treat things like joint inflammation.

Problems can occur when they're misused to mask pain in horses, improving testing but I just spoke with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and he told me unequivocally what he reiterated to the public earlier today which is that he did not administer this drug and he doesn't know of anybody who could have administered this drug.

He said he's incredibly disappointed. He's at a loss for words and that he plans to fight this. and as he put it, turn over every rock because he felt like the Kentucky Derby winner is deserving of this victory, and that these allegations have no merit.

He said he's going to follow up with additional DNA testing. I want to play a little bit for you of what he said earlier today in a press conference.


BOB BAFFERT, MEDINA SPIRIT'S TRAINEE: It's disturbing. It's an injustice to the horse. I don't know what's going on in racing right now but there's something not right. and I don't feel embarrassed. I feel like I was wronged.

I do not feel safe to train. It's getting worse. How do I, you know, move forward from this, knowing that something like this can happen, and it is just -- it's a complete injustice. And -- but we're going to -- I'm going to fight it tooth and nail.


MANNO: Fred, Baffert told me that he welcomes a high standard but he does feel that's he's scrutinized more heavily than most because of his accomplishments. And what he's alluding to there is that he feels like this is part of a larger problem within the sport, the regulation of some of these medications that are allowed. And the sample sizes that we're talking about are very, very small. a grain of salt in an Olympic sized pool, as he describes it.

And he feels like there's a problem with testing and regulation, and that's something that he's going to pursue as well. Churchill Downs has suspended him from entering horses, Fred in the meantime while the test results come back, he told me he was disappointed by that. That he understands the decision. He has a lot of respect for the Kentucky Derby and would never want to do anything to jeopardize it.

WHITFIELD: And then, Carolyn, betting on this race is big business. So what happens to all the people who picked Medina Spirit to win or perhaps even others to win -- do they get to keep their winnings? Is that in question as they continue to investigate whether this horse is, you know, still the winner or not?

MANNO: Yes, that's a great question. As it relates to wagering itself, everybody who betted on the Kentucky Derby winner is going to end up keeping that money. There's no taking back of the money.

If it ends up that these allegations are proven to be true with the follow up testing and Mandaloun (ph), the runner up becomes a Kentucky Derby winner that horse is going to earn the first place prize money and be declared the winner but everybody who gambled and bet on the right results the first time around is ultimately going to keep that money.

WHITFIELD: All right. Carolyn Manno, thank you so much. Keep us posted.

MANNO: Will do.

WHITFIELD: All right. Some terrifying moments at an iconic New York tourist hot spot after a gunman opened fire in the middle of Times Square.


WHITFIELD: Two women and a four-year-old girl were wounded. And you can actually see an officer carrying that little girl away from the scene right there.

Witnesses tell police it started because of an argument among a group of men. Investigators believe the victims were just innocent bystanders.


COMMISSIONER DERMOT SHEA, NEW YORK POLICE: We have the four-year-old, that is going to undergo surgery, the last we heard. A very brave girl that is here buying toys when she is shot.


WHITFIELD: All right. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is in Times Square. So Evan, what do we know about what happened and how are things right now?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, as you mentioned, this is a very busy touristy part of New York and right now it's pretty much back to normal.

And this is kind of what it looked like yesterday afternoon around 5:00 when this incident happened. It was a very, very scary moment. Broad daylight, tourists everywhere -- let's look at that video again just to show you how scary it was.

You can see the street very, very full of people, just really milling around, and what they do here in Times Square looking around at things. Shots rang out. Police say those shots rang out from a dispute and bystanders are hit.

You can see in that video, a police officer running along with the four-year-old who was hit in the leg, went into surgery yesterday, one of three people hit by bullets in that incident yesterday, including a tourist in town from Rhode Island, they're going to the Statue of Liberty. And a woman from New Jersey who was also just down here trying to enjoy a lovely evening on Saturday in Times Square.

Now, officers are concerned -- I'm sorry, the police are now in an active investigation about this. We're waiting to see what more they learn. They have released the image of a person they're hoping to talk to about this incident that they hope that they can find more information and start bringing people to justice who were involved in the shooting. But they're also concerned what this means in a broader picture of New York at this moment. At the press conference yesterday after the shooting the commissioner of the New York City Police Department was very, very heated -- emotional about what this moment means for New York and what he thinks should happen next.


SHEA: How many more kids do we need to be shot before we realize that bad policies have consequences? And we need action, and we need policies regarding laws to have consequences.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Now Fred, as you can see, about 24 hours -- less than 24 hours after this incident Times Square is basically back to normal but what the commissioner is talking about is a fear in this city that some rising numbers of crime could mean that the tourism and the reopening that we're all hoping to have here in New York might be a little bit truncated or, you know, might have a tougher time actually happening, Fred.

WHITFIELD: So it was extraordinary to hear him, you know, talk about policy, really inferring that there needs to be some sort of change in policy and law in part to address the current rising crime rate and incidents of shootings.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That's right, Fred, I mean, we have some numbers you can look at right now. Just the rising crime rates in New York City right now. Just comparing last year and this year, April of both years, you can see shootings and robberies, way up.

Now, it can be hard sometimes to know what that number means considering, you know, April 2020 was the middle of lockdown. But I can say that statistics have shown that since the ball dropped here in Times Square in January 1st and March 30th, there were nearly 300 shootings in New York city.

That's a terrifying number. It's something that people want to see lowered and changed. And the commissioner of police says politicians need to do something about that in order to make that happen. And if they don't, this city that is still reeling from the pandemic, trying to get back on its feet, may have a harder time doing it, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Evan McMorris-Santoro in Times Square, thank you so much.

All right. More than 112 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, making up just over one-third of the total population, one in three Americans vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci says life could actually be back to normal by next Mother's Day if enough people get their shots.

But the White House coronavirus response coordinator says the U.S. still has work to do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Has the United States turned the corner?

JEFFREY ZIENTZ, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: I would say we are turning the corner. We now have, as of this morning, 58 percent of adult Americans with at least one shot. Over 110 million Americans fully-vaccinated.

The president has set a goal of 70 percent of Americans being vaccinated, with at least one shot by July 4th. We're at 58 percent today. So we've got a path ahead of us which will involve getting people even easier access to the vaccine.


WHITFIELD: All right. Despite the push to get more shots in arms, the vaccination rate has dropped by more than 30 percent in the U.S. over the last two weeks. President Biden worked to reassure skeptical Americans during yesterday's "Vax Live".


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, we can't let up now. The vaccines are safe. I promise you, they're safe. They work. Everybody in America 16 years old and older is now eligible to get vaccinated for free, now.



WHITFIELD: And, in fact, this week younger teenagers could become eligible for vaccinations. The FDA is expected to extend its emergency use authorization for Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine to 12 to 15-year- olds in the coming days.

And after that emergency authorization is extended the CDC independent panel of vaccine advisers will hold an emergency meeting to vote on whether to recommend the use of the vaccine in that new age group.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to accept the recommendation and then vaccinations can begin immediately.

All right. Joining me right now to discuss Dr. Henry Bernstein, a voting member of the CDC's independent panel of vaccine advisers. He's also an attending physician at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York. Dr. Bernstein, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: Thank you so much. What kind of information, you know, will you be weighing and how will you decide which way to vote?

DR. BERNSTEIN: I have not seen the data yet, but I'm excited about the opportunity to be able to offer the -- possibly offer the vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds. We certainly want to look at the safety profile as well as the immune response. And most importantly, the efficacy -- how well the vaccine protects against SARS-COV-2 infection, and COVID disease. That's where we're really looking quite closely at.

What we need to also understand is that the study in 12 to 15-year- olds really involves about 2,200 children. Fortunately, the safety surveillance in the country has been historic.

And knowing all of that data, and knowing how effective the vaccine has been in those 16 and older, that gives us reassurance and not pause where we need to give the vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds.

So we only need to study it in 2,000 or so children, and be able to compare those results to those that many more that have gotten as 16 and older.

WHITFIELD: Right. You already sound pretty confident. So a recent survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that less than a third, just 29 percent of parents say they would let their child get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

An additional 32 percent said they would wait to see how the vaccine is working before getting their child inoculated. And then 19 percent of parents say they definitely won't get their child vaccinated against COVID-19.

So knowing that, does that in any way sway, you know, your decision- making?

DR. BERNSTEIN: It doesn't directly sway our decision. We really use an evidence to recommendations framework that takes into account the science, the implementation steps as well as equity because we feel strongly that getting this vaccine into arms is front and center, most important.


WHITFIELD: So then how do you persuade -- how do you --

DR. BERNSTEIN: I'm sorry.

WHITFIELD: -- how do you persuade parents who might be in any one of those categories leaning toward not so certain they want their kids inoculated even if there is approval?

DR. BERNSTEIN: Well, we need to listen carefully and respectfully and try to understand where they're coming from, what ideas they have. Perhaps there's some misinformation or perhaps there's some myths and we want to be able to share the facts, and share the data with them, and address those concerns.

We also know that it would be important for partnerships in their local communities. Because parents and families trust different individuals in their local communities, and that partnership, and their support for the importance of vaccination, is key. So then it's really a multi-pronged approach that we're going to get in order to provide the information that's needed, and try to decrease vaccine hesitancy.

WHITFIELD: So how do you advise parents -- parents who may have been fully vaccinated but the young people in their families have not. And people want to make family plans for the summer, what do you advise them? What should be the influencing factors as they try to make some decisions about travel, visiting, camps, all of that?

DR. BERNSTEIN: They should understand that we have been using a lot of mitigation factors. We're all well aware, and many of us are tired of wearing masks and social distancing and hand washing. But we also know that those mitigation factors work.


DR. BERNSTEIN: But we really know that the value and the best mitigation factor is being vaccinated. That way the immune system is aware of the virus and whenever someone is exposed, they can actually fight the infection.

And that's really key. There was a recent study actually that was published in the last couple of weeks.

And in it, it followed for 13 weeks front -- essential workers, frontline workers, first responders and health care personnel -- almost 4,000 individuals over that 13-week period, and they were checked weekly for infection with SARS-COV-2.

Those that were vaccinated were the ones that had the least amount of infection. In fact, the unvaccinated group there were 161 infections.

WHITFIELD: Yes, yes.

DR. BERNSTEIN: Those that were partially vaccinated, there were eight cases. And those that were fully vaccinated, there were only three cases. So it is really encouraging and important for everyone to understand the value of being vaccinated.

WHITFIELD: Yes, a good armor of protection coming with those vaccines. Dr. Henry Bernstein, thank you so much.

DR. BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

All right, much more to come in the CNN NEWSROOM, a critical part of America's infrastructure is under threat. A cyberattack targets a major U.S. pipeline which carries nearly half of the gasoline that fuels the East Coast.

The attack comes as President Biden prepares to meet with Republican lawmakers to sell his infrastructure plan this week.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

A cyberattack has forced a major gas pipeline in the U.S. to completely shut down. The Colonial Pipeline is a crucial part of the U.S. infrastructure, transporting 100 million gallons of gasoline from Texas to New York every day. The pipeline says ransomware is to blame for the attack.

CNN Homeland Security Producer Geneva Sands joining me right now. So Geneva, how did this happen and what is being done about it?

GENEVA SANDS, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY PRODUCER: Fredricka, that's right. Officials in recent weeks have been warning about the increased threat of ransomware. They're saying the threat is upon us. It's not something to look forward to in the future but it is here now.

And this incident, the company itself, the pipeline company, enlisted the cybersecurity firm FireEye to help with incident response. Meanwhile, the federal government has surged resources to help with this incident over the weekend.

The FBI has gotten involved in the investigation. And the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is also a part of the investigation here. And they warned that this shows just how much these ransomware attacks can impact companies regardless of sector and regardless of size.

And over the weekend President Biden was briefed on the shutdown. And the White House saying that they're looking into whether or not this might impact supply going forward.

The White House releasing a statement saying that the federal government is working to actively assess the implications of this incident, avoid disruption to supply, and help the company restore pipeline operations as quickly as possible, Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: And Geneva, could this impact consumers?

SANDS: Yes, it's a concern for consumers. A prolonged shutdown could spike gas prices ahead of the summer travel season and we are already seeing prices ticking up.

WHITFIELD: All right. Geneva Sands, thank you so much.

All right. Still ahead, a critical week for President Biden as he meets with lawmakers about his infrastructure plan. Will the administration find common ground with both Democrats and Republicans?



WHITFIELD: President Biden has two big meetings on the calendar this week as he ramps up the push for his infrastructure bill. He'll sit down with bipartisan congressional leadership and separately a group of Republicans senators in the next few days. Arlette Saenz is at the White House for us.

So Arlette, tell us how the president is getting ready for the week ahead.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, President Biden is spending Mother's Day at Camp David. But he is also preparing for these critical meetings heading into next week as he is trying to get some bipartisan sign-on to his infrastructure proposal.

On Wednesday, that is the first big meeting, he will be sitting down with the so-called big four congressional leaders. This will be the first time that he is inviting the congressional leaders of both parties here to the White House, and they're expected to touch on a range of issues, including COVID and the economy.

But that meeting is coming just after a few days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made these comments saying that he is 100 percent of his focus is on ensuring that he can stop the progressive move of this administration.

Now, President Biden has dismissed that -- those comments, simply saying that it's bluster, that that -- that McConnell was able to work with the Obama administration back when they were in office.

But one area that McConnell has said that he is willing to talk about to try to find some compromise is physical infrastructure. But he does not want to see any taxes raised to pay for it.

And that will be the focus of the president's big meeting on Thursday as he sits down with a group of Republican senators to see if they can reach some compromise when it comes to his infrastructure proposal.

That meeting will include Senator Shelley Moore Capito who has been leading the charge on this Republican counterproposal to what the president has proposed. But right now the two sides are incredibly far apart when it comes to the price tag and how to pay for it.

President Biden had initially proposed a 28 percent corporate tax rate to pay for his $2.25 trillion worth of proposals. He just this past week suggested that range could actually be between 25 to 28 percent.

And earlier today, the Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo talked about how corporations have actually welcomed this call for an increase corporate tax rage and she weighed in on those upcoming meetings this week. Take a listen.


GINA RAIMONDO, U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY: The reality is, they knew increased corporate taxes were coming. And I have been very pleased by how many CEOs have come out to support the president's plan.

So, listen, there'll be room for compromise for sure and the president will be meeting with members of congress this week, hoping to find compromise. But businesses need these investments to be competitive, and that's why there's no time to waste.



SAENZ: And you have heard that both the president and his staff, members of that so-called jobs cabinet have been reaching out to lawmakers trying to go through some of these early parameters of an infrastructure deal.

And the White House has signaled that there is a possibility that they could break up parts of their proposal to focus more on those traditional aspects of infrastructure, like roads, rails and bridges, which is what Republicans say they really want, any type of proposal, to focus on, but heading into these next few weeks, these bipartisan conversations will be critical for the president as he's trying to push this infrastructure package a little bit closer to the finish line.

If I can, really quickly, Fred, I want to say happy Mother's Day to you and also to my mother down in Texas.

WHITFIELD: Oh, thank you so much. And happy Mother's Day to your mom in Texas, indeed. Thank you so much, Arlette Saenz.

All right. A key part of Biden's American Families Plan involves child care.

The plan includes all kinds of benefits for families from a paid leave program to universal preschool to extending child tax cuts. A major proponent of Biden's plan is the National Women's Law Center. And it's launching a national campaign to promote the work of child care providers.

Its president and CEO, Fatima Goss Graves, joining us on this Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day to you, Fatima.


WHITFIELD: Thank you so much.

So, this last year has shown to everyone, you know, the real challenges for working parents, specifically moms, research from your organization shows that the percentage of women in the workforce has not been this low since 1988, just 57 percent, a big factor in those numbers, child care.

And you make the case the last year has proven how essential child care is to a working economy, meaning people can't get back to work if they don't know, you know, where to put their kids, particularly with school's out, child care a big issue.

So, you know, how does this plan get sold on that notion, that fact? GRAVES: Well, what we know is that about 2.5 million women left the

workplace during the pandemic, and weren't looking for new work and care was the central story for them. Schools closed, day care centers shuttered. We lost about one in seven child care providers during the pandemic, and who still haven't fully returned.


GRAVES: And so the pathway to economic recovery has to include solving the care crisis in this country. It's not just sort of a nice to have. It is a collective responsibility, the thing you were hearing businesses talk about, families talk about, and people around the country talk about. How do we ensure that we actually solve this care crisis?

WHITFIELD: The president is meeting with lawmakers this week. What does he need to do to actually sell this plan to skeptics, and among the skeptics, many feel like this is payment, you know, to encourage people to stay home, not to work.

How does he go about trying to dispel that, that it's an issue of providing tools so that people can go to work?

GRAVES: They're actually asking the wrong question. We should be looking at the April jobs numbers as a huge reminder that in a month, we have sort of a sluggish job growth. And that was a big part of the fact that 165,000 women left the workforce.

And so, you know, care, it's not just sort of a personal problem. That I'm either really good at solving individually or not, we have to name it as the infrastructure that it is, that is holding our economy.

And the same way that roads and bridges are collective infrastructure, holding our economy together you wouldn't have me just buying my own roads. You would understand that it takes the same level of investment.

So if you want to know why women aren't reentering the workforce at the rates that we need, care is the center of that story.

And if I could just say one more thing. If there are employers who are out there, who are saying that I can't figure out why, the two-thirds of minimum wage workers aren't racing back to those jobs, then we should be talking about raising the minimum wage, and making it possible to do what women in this country do, which is both work and engage in care.

WHITFIELD: Ninety-two percent of child care workers are women and many of them are women of color. How do you make sure that those are factors that are being considered?


GRAVES: Well, so that is exactly why I had to include raising wages because we're not going to solve this care crisis by replicating what we had before the pandemic. Basically, our infrastructure was a bunch of unpaid labor for women and then paying mostly black and brown women poverty level wages.

That is not an infrastructure. We need to actually a major investment that recognizes that child care providers and care providers generally are essential for families, but essential for our economy as well.

WHITFIELD: Fatima Goss Graves, thank you so much, and happy Mother's Day again.

GRAVES: Thank you. Happy Mom's Day.

WHITFIELD: Thank you.

All right. Still ahead, violent clashes escalating in Jerusalem. Palestinians faced off with Israeli police on the streets after a confrontation at a mosque. We're live with the latest, next.

Plus, tonight on CNN, join Don Lemon for a look at Marvin Gaye's ground breaking album "What's Going On". Fifty years after its release, why has it become an anthem for a new generation?



ANNOUNCER: Marvin Gaye's ground breaking "What's Going On".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the first time that I understood poetry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one of the greatest albums ever made.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His melody were like a voice of cry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He created something that will last.

ANNOUNCER: Fifteen years later, why is it an anthem for a new generation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was prophecy, man.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: What do you think, Marvin, would think about what is going on.

ANNOUNCER: CNN special report, "What's Going On: Marvin Gaye's Anthem For The Ages," tonight at 8:00.




WHITFIELD: At least 100 Palestinians have been injured after another night of clashes with Israeli police forces in Jerusalem.

A Palestinian aid organization says demonstrators were hit with rubber bullets and stun grenades at several locations across the city. More than 200 people were injured Friday night following clashes at the Al- Aqsa Mosque.

CNN's Hadas Gold is live for us in Jerusalem.

So, Hadas, what is driving this latest violence?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, tensions have been running high in Jerusalem for several weeks now, but especially since the beginning of Ramadan. But without question, the last two days have seen some of the biggest clashes Jerusalem has seen in several years.

As you noted, hundreds of Palestinians have been injured. At least 17 of their officers have been injured in clashes across Jerusalem, the biggest of which took place Friday night at the Al-Aqsa compound.

Now, these clashes have taken place at various places across the city. For example, the Damascus gate entrance at the Al-Aqsa compound.

But without question the latest, most important flash point in all of this is in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where some -- where there have been also clashes between protesters and Israeli police, and the issue here is the issue of several Palestinian families, some of which have been living there for generations are facing possible eviction as part of a long running legal battle.

Essentially, there is a law that says Israeli Jews can try to reclaim property they say they lost in 1948 when Jordan took control of East Jerusalem. However, Palestinians say that these restitution laws are unfair because they don't have the same sort of legal recourse for property they say they lost in what has now become the state of Israel.

Now, this has been a long running legal battle. However, there was supposed to be a Supreme Court hearing on these evictions tomorrow and that's why we were seeing those protests occurring because of this possible hearing on Monday.

However, in the last few hours, the Supreme Court has delayed, has postponed that hearing at the request of the attorney general, likely with the hopes that it would help calm the situation down.

However, we still seem to be teetering on the edge of something bigger in Jerusalem. Tomorrow is what's known as Jerusalem Day. It's the day that Israel marks when it took control of the western wall. There is usually a big march through the old city of Jerusalem and there's a lot of concern that could cause even higher tensions.

Really we are teetering, it feels as though, on the edge of some sort of eruption here in Jerusalem, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Hadas Gold, thank you so much in Jerusalem.

All right, officials in Afghanistan now say at least 50 people were killed, and more than 100 others injured after an explosion near a girls' high school in Kabul. Officials say the blast was caused by a car bomb. Two other IEDs exploded after the initial bomb went off.

Still, no one has claimed responsibility. A Taliban spokesperson, rather, says the group denies any involvement.

The U.S. is in the process of pulling its remaining troops out of Afghanistan to meet a September 11th deadline.

Meantime, days of guessing, and uncertainty, are over. The out of control 20-ton Chinese rocket plummeted back to earth overnight. U.S. Space Command confirmed the rocket reentered the Earth's atmosphere, and likely plunged into the Indian ocean, near the Maldives.

Images were posted across social media, including these showing parts of the rocket passing over the Arabian Peninsula.

Most of it likely burned up as it passed through the atmosphere. NASA is criticizing China for its handling of the rocket's crash back to earth.

And when we come back, from Washington to Wyoming, the Republican Party is divided.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Liz Cheney has proved herself to be a lousy representative of the voice of Wyoming.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, no doubt in my mind that Liz Cheney has the right answers and Donald Trump has wrong answers.


WHITFIELD: Liz Cheney's leadership role may not be the only seat she loses for speaking out against Donald Trump. That story straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is throwing his support behind Elise Stefanik to replace Liz Cheney for the number 3 Republican leadership post.

The GOP is poised to vote on whether Cheney is out as chair of the House Republican Conference this week. Stefanik has a more moderate voting record than Cheney. But the Wyoming lawmaker's criticism of former President Donald Trump and her attacks on Republicans who push false claims about election fraud have created friction with many of her GOP colleagues.

Today, McCarthy said Cheney's ouster is less about her views on Trump, and more about her not being focused on defeating the Biden agenda and the Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Any member can take whatever position they believe in. That's what -- that's what the voters vote on the individuals, and they make that decision.

What we're talking about, it's a position in leadership. We are in one of our biggest battles ever for this nation and the direction, whether this next century will be ours. As conference chair, you have one of the most critical jobs of the messenger of going forward.

That's why we need a conference that's united. That's why we need a conference chair that is delivering that message day in and day out, and uniting the nation to make sure that we are on the right footing going forward.

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Do you support Elise Stefanik for that job?

MCCARTHY: Yes, I do.


WHITFIELD: Liz Cheney's outspoken views on Trump and the election are also creating deep divisions and provoking strong opinions in her home state.

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports from Wyoming.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The splendor of Wyoming is plentiful. The number of residents is not. And that's why Wyoming only has one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. So, Liz Cheney represents every person in the state. Like her, or not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Liz Cheney has proved herself to be a lousy representative of the voice of Wyoming.

TUCHMAN: And we spoke with a lot, who are saying not.

Here's what Liz Cheney wrote: The Republican Party is at a turning point. History is watching.

Whose side are you on? Liz Cheney? Or Donald Trump's?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If she runs again, I will vote for her opponent.

TUCHMAN: Conservative groups rank Liz Cheney more politically conservative than Donald Trump. And she has a lifelong Republican pedigree with a father who served as vice president.

A national anti-Trump Republican group has put up this billboard near the state capital of Cheyenne thanking Liz Cheney for, quote, defending the Constitution. But it all matters little to many in this very red state who consider

their Wyoming representative a turncoat and their ex-president from New York City a hero.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she needs to go.

TUCHMAN: How come?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just because I don't think she did the right thing for the Republican Party.

TUCHMAN: She says that Donald Trump is lying about the election being stolen.


TUCHMAN: Agree with what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree that the election was stolen.

TUCHMAN: There's no evidence of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, eventually, it might come out.

TUCHMAN: In this dispute, do you think Liz Cheney has the right to be angry with Donald Trump?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I don't think he's wrong.

TUCHMAN: Do you think the election was stolen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's possible, yeah.

TUCHMAN: John Curtis remains upset Representative Cheney voted to impeach Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I read in the paper that she said she had to vote her conscience.

Okay. Maybe, she's forgotten why she's there. Her conscience isn't why she was elected. She is supposed to be representing the people of Wyoming.

TUCHMAN: But there are plenty of people, we've met here, who very much like Liz Cheney's conscience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think she doesn't divide her thoughts along political lines. She speaks her truth, and I appreciate somebody with that type of integrity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, no doubt in my mind that Liz Cheney has the right answers and Donald Trump has the wrong answers. TUCHMAN: Van Milbrom (ph) is 95 years old and one of the relatively

rare Wyoming Democrats but she admires Cheney.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because she stands for truth and -- at least -- and a better-Republican Party. And we do have to have two parties.

TUCHMAN: The Wyoming Republican Party voted, in February, to censure Liz Cheney. And here, in the state's largest county of Laramie, the county Republican Party also voted to censure her. But that vote was nowhere near being unanimous.

Do you find this discouraging, this dispute?


TUCHMAN: Kylie Taylor is the vice chairwoman of Laramie County Republicans. She was elected her post in March so didn't participate in the censure vote. She stresses the following is her personal opinion.

KYLIE TAYLOR, VICE CHAIRWOMAN, LARAMIE COUNTY REPUBLICANS: I think that you got to respect Cheney. And she's got -- she's -- she is telling her truth, and what she believes to be true. She's not backing down. She's not going out quiet.

And I think, for myself as a woman in politics, and watching her as a woman in politics. It's something that I respect.

TUCHMAN: So, does that mean you do not respect what Donald Trump is trying to do to her?


TAYLOR: Yeah, I guess, you could say that.

TUCHMAN: Republicans have historically been very united in Wyoming. Right now, though, that's certainly not the case.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Cheyenne, Wyoming.



WHITFIELD: Hello again. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday, Mother's Day. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right. We begin this hour with a weekend of violence in several American cities. A shooting erupting in one of the most recognizable places in the world, Times Square, three victims, including a four- year-old girl, seen in this video being carried away to safety by police.