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CNN NEWSROOM

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Compares Mask Mandates To Holocaust; Sharon Stone On Release Of Director's Cut Of Movie; Death Anniversary Of George Floyd; Gun Violence In The U.S. In 2021; Overheating U.S. Economy; U.S. Wealth Gap In "United Shades Of America"; Gymnast Simone Biles Makes History; Commencement Speaker Gives Graduates $1,000 Each. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 23, 2021 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:00]

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Right now, outrage is brewing over GOP Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene in a remark she made comparing mask mandates to the treatment of the Jews in the holocaust. But unsurprisingly, the Georgia Republican is not walking back those comments instead she is pressing ahead and doubling down.

(BEGIN VIDEOC CLIP)

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I stand by all of my statements. I said nothing wrong and I think any rational Jewish person didn't like what happened in Nazi Germany and any rational Jewish person doesn't like what's happening with overbearing mask mandates and overbearing vaccine policies.

UNKNOWN: Do you understand though why some would be upset and offended by the comment?

GREENE: Well, do you understand how people feel about being forced to wear mask or being forced to have to take a vaccine or even have to say that whether they have taken it or not? These are just things that shouldn't be happening in America. This is a free country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And to be clear, there is no equivalence between requirements to wear a mask and what happened in the holocaust. But for reference, here is Greene's original comment that sparked all of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREENE: You know, we can look back in 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 putt in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany. And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is up on Capitol Hill for us. Suzanne,

we are talking to a rabbi in the last hour who is saying that this is deeply offensive to the Jewish community. You know, we know Marjorie Taylor Greene has talked about Jewish space lasers. She's made other comments like this before that are just blatantly anti-Semitic. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are speaking out but we're not seeing much from the GOP leadership at this point.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim, you're absolutely right. I mean, there is very little appetite it seems to punish her for these comments or to really even come out and say anything about them. Really it is crickets, its silence from some in the leadership positions as we have reached out to them.

What has happened is that there have been several lawmakers who have come forward, Democrats as well as Republicans. The Republicans mostly of the team, the group that has previously criticized Trump, to come out and criticize Congresswoman Greene here at this point. And she has previously been stripped of her committee assignments.

She could be censured but there is not much you can do. And so what these lawmakers are insisting on doing is at the very least, speaking out about this calling this really outrageous, offensive, and at the very least, ignorant.

We heard from freshman Congressman Peter Meijer today who essentially said that there's got to be something that they could do to curtail this kind of language.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER MEIHER (R-MI): Any comparisons to the holocaust, it's beyond reprehensible. This is -- I don't even have words to describe how disappointing it is to see this hyperbolic speech that frankly amps up and then plays into a lot of the anti-Semitism that we've been seeing in our society today. Vicious attacks on the streets of New York and in Los Angeles that should be, and I do condemn that in the strongest terms. There is no excuse for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Jim, there are series of tweets that went out today as well and over the weekend. This from Congresswoman Liz Cheney who has been outspoken saying "this is evil lunacy." Congressman Adam Kinzinger calling it "an absolute sickness.

And we also heard from Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern who said "Representative Greene's anti-Semitic language comparing the systematic murder of 6 million the language comparing the murder of 6 million Jews during the holocaust to wearing a mask is beyond disturbing. She is a deeply troubled person who needs to apologize and resign. @GOPLeader needs to address her anti-Semitism."

And again, Jim, we are waiting for anything in a public statement or a comment. We have reached out. ACOSTA: You certainly have. Not seeing anything yet. And Suzanne

Malveaux, we know you will stay on top of it. Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much for that report. We appreciate it.

Greene's holocaust comparison is just a latest in a long string of shocking and shored up delusional remarks. Let's take a trip down memory lane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREENE: Many Americans are like blind sheep just going through life not paying attention.

There is an Islamic invasion into the government offices right now.

[17:05:01]

How do you get avid gun owners and people that support the Second Amendment to give up their guns? Maybe you accomplish that by performing a mass shooting into a crowd. You make them scared. You make them victims and you change their mind set.

The so-called plane that crashed into the Pentagon. Its odd there's never any evidence shown for a plane in the Pentagon. Kennedy getting killed in a plane crash, that's another one of those Clinton murder, right?

Q is a patriot. We know that for sure. Again, I don't have any proof of this, but we're talking about who is Q so I'm going to tell you what he says. Many in our government are actively worshipping Satan or they call Moloch. Q is saying that they participate in pedophilia and spirit cooking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Just baffling. Joining me now, CNN senior political analyst John Avalon and CNN political commentator and host of PBS's "Firing Line" Margaret Hoover.

John, we couldn't even get everything in there. She has also lashed out at a school shooting survivor, suggested Jewish-controlled space lasers were causing wildfires out in California. And then this latest incident comparing mask mandates to the holocaust. John, I think her brain is broken.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think there's any other conclusion you can drag, but I think the concern here is about the GOP recognizing that they have incubated this particular flavor of crazy and a refusal to clearly condemn it from the leadership.

So, Liz Cheney denouncing the big lie is something that gets you kicked out of leadership, but they're afraid to alienate the crazy caucus by clearly condemning completely absurd and, you know, frankly evil holocaust metaphors, something to do with mask mandates during a pandemic and the murder of 6 million people.

ACOSTA: What do you think, Margaret?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, it reminds me as I think about the fall of the modern American conservative movement from Buckley (ph) to Marjorie Taylor Greene of the era (inaudible) quote which Buckley's (ph) biographer notes, something begins as a movement, devolves into a business, and then becomes -- I'm paraphrasing -- a racket. Now it's just all conspiracy theories, Jim.

And when you talk to members who voted for conviction for -- who voted to impeach in the House of Representatives, from Adam Kinzinger to Liz Cheney, I mean, the thing they're fighting behind the scenes is conspiracy theories, right?

That is what has over taken the Republican Party and the conservative base of the Republican Party. And this is, needless to say, a cancer on the party but it's awful for our democracy when one party is overtaking, especially a party has been devoid of the center right, a stabilizing force in terms of the ballast of a party, in terms of upholding the Constitution and has just descended into lies. And you don't have a leadership that is willing to stand up to it. And this is very, very concerning.

AVLON: Well --

ACOSTA: And John, I mean, you know, you have this roadshow also of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz. We saw this over the weekend. One making light of the holocaust, the other is being investigated as part of a sex trafficking probe. They're out there promoting the big lie about the election. Let's take a listen. They had a big crowd for this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREENE: They're trying to stop you. They do not want you to do this audit. The Democrats are trying to stop you. The Department of Justice is trying to stop you.

REP. MAT GAETZ (R-FL): They just think, oh, these are a bunch of resentful people. They can't take the truth. They're just in a state of denial. Well, you know what? We are working to make elections better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: I mean, what do you think, John? I mean, you know, I thought a lot of other people thought that, you know, the appetite for this kind of hyperbolic rhetoric would perhaps wane a little bit, fade a little bit after Donald Trump moved off to Mar-a-Lago. Just not the case. You can take Trump off the stage, put Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz up there, they'll draw a crowd talking this crazy stuff.

AVLON: Well, look, talking crazy draws crowds. I think the problem is the Republican Party and its leadership needs to take responsibility for excising this insanity. Instead they are playing footsie with fanatics and pumping up conspiracy theories out of the belief it will help them gain politically. And that's where the cynicism becomes truly dangerous to the

democracy, right? They are willing to pump up these conspiracies and indulge this insanity in the belief that will help them politically. But Faustian bargain is not going to end well for anybody. Not the Republican Party and not our republic.

HOOVER: Look no further than what happened in the last election cycle in 2020. I mean, Jim, Republicans lost doing this, right? Doing this. Playing footsie with fanatics, as John Avlon just said. Lost the White House. Lost the Senate. Lost the House of Representatives.

[17:10:00]

Now, Kevin McCarthy believes that he can split the baby and the bath water and walk that fine line into six -- four to six more seats in the House of Representatives and he's looking at being speaker. But I'm telling you, the more Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene make those kind of headlines, the further Kevin McCarthy is from the speakership and he has to think very seriously about that.

ACOSTA: Right. And how do you put together a 9/11-style commission to investigate what happened on January 6th when you have crowds eating this stuff up? I mean, obviously, these members are seeing what Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene are receiving in terms of applause and what not.

And, you know, why would they want to investigate what happened on the 6th of January, John? I mean, how does that affect this need to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th?

AVLON: It's affective directly. It's as if 9/11 truth they had a veto power in one political party for the 9/11 Commission.

HOOVER: Yes.

AVLON: But, you know, if we can't unite as a nation after our Capitol is attacked across partisan lines then the sickness is our politics is much deeper than we thought and it's a problem within the Republican Party in particular and the leadership is empowering. Its senators who know better, who are buying into fictitious problems.

Listen to John Katko's dismantling of every single one of their alleged objections. If they allow the 9/11 Commission, a bipartisan commission, that has all the conditions McCarthy asked for, be blocked, they are setting this country up for even greater further problems because it will to end up encouraging this kind of insurrectionist attitude in our politics. They need to own it now or we will reap the whirlwind later.

ACOSTA: Speaking of Trump associates, Rudy Giuliani, I know you both have a familiarity with Rudy Giuliani. His son Andrew was launching this bid for governor of New York. It was not the smoothest announcement. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO) ANDREW GIULIANI, CANDIDATE, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Okay, let me know

whenever you're ready. Which one is that? Is that Ms. Manhattan or is that Lady Liberty? That's Lady Liberty over there. So, everybody ready?

UNKNOWN: What makes you qualified for this?

GIULIANI: Sure. Well, I am the only candidate that spent parts of five different decades of my life in politics or public servant -- public service.

UNKNOWN: How do you get five decades --

UNKNOWN: How do you think it's going to go over with New York?

GIULIANI: Parts of five decades. Let me clear that. I said parts of five decades in there. So, if we go back through it, my father's first campaign is 1989, so we could do the math. I spent 32 -- parts of 32 years in politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: That is not a clip from last night's "Saturday Night Live." That actually happened. That is Andrew Giuliani. What's the reaction from both of you? Can he do it?

HOOVER: I'm sorry. My husband is breathing deeply so I'm just going to jump in here. Look, I mean, we both met actually working for Rudy when Rudy ran for president in 2008 and (inaudible) with Rudy Giuliani for several years particularly as a speechwriter writing eulogies after 9/11.

Nobody is entitled to any position that the public votes for. All right? Nobody is entitled. Remember that famous Scott Brown line when he said, "This is the people's seat not Ted Kennedy's seat." This is the people of New York seat and Andrew has every right to run for that seat, but he has to convince and prove to the voters in New York that he is qualified and he is capable.

And that announcement was a total failing but what it also demonstrate is that he feels so entitled to govern the people of New York, one of the largest states in the country, which would be a rather large and competitive-sized economy where it is its own country. Nobody's entitled to a position because of their heritage.

AVLON: Yes.

HOOVER: For Christ sake -- all sorts of people have claims on things because of who their relatives were. And you know what, that's not how this country works.

AVLON: Yes. You got to grow on your own no matter how tall your relatives are. And the idea that, you know, although having a last name sets you up for some kind of Ali-Frazier-esque (ph) prize fight, doesn't actually respect the office or the state of New York. ACOSTA: All right. Very good. We'll have to leave it there, guys.

We'll probably talk about this again safe to say in the future. John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, great to see you guys.

And up next, she was catapulted to fame by her performance in "Basic Instinct." Just an unforgettable scene right there. Now, she admits the role almost broke her life. We are joined by award winning actress Sharon Stone. There she is. The amazing talented, brilliant Sharon Stone. Why she wants to stop a new cut of her famous film from being released. We'll talk about that next and much more. You are live in the "CNN Newsroom."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:15:00]

ACOSTA: Nearly 30 years ago, the film "Basic Instinct" made Sharon Stone a household name. But now the actress says there's a more explicit cut of the film that's on the way, one that she is not exactly happy about. When the film was originally released in 1992, it generated controversy for its graphic sexual content including an unforgettable scene featuring Stone crossing her legs during a police interrogation.

In a brand new book entitled "The Beauty of Living Twice," the actress details how she was misled during the filming of that very famous scene and how she stood up to the predatory behavior she encountered in Hollywood. It's a story that we have heard time and again.

Actress Sharon Stone, she joins me now. And Sharon, it is so great that you're here with us. Thank you so much for being here. I want to read some excerpts from the book in just a moment, but first, because it's been making some news, I want to ask you about this new cut of "Basic Instinct" that they are planning to release for the 30th anniversary of the film.

Unforgettable film. Your role in the film was outstanding, of course. Are you surprised that in this MeToo era though, that no one would come and talk to you about, you know, moving forward with something like this?

SHARON STONE, AWARD-WINNING ACTRESS: Well, first of all, Jim, I do not know what cut is being released and I'm not the person talking about it or driving this controversy. My lawyer understands that there have been discussions in "Variety" magazine and my lawyer is looking into the situation.

[17:20:01]

I'm not discussing it or driving this conversation. My lawyer is handling whatever is going on. And I wouldn't be surprised about anything. So, I don't really have much to say about it. I don't really have any understanding of what exactly is going on nor do I have much investment in what exactly is going on.

I really am fully settled on what happened in the past and I wrote about it in my book. I don't really have much comment on this subject at all frankly.

ACOSTA: Well, I want to talk to you about the MeToo Movement because you write about it in your book and how you describe some of the awful people that you encountered in Hollywood. We've been hearing some of these accounts in recent years. It sounds like you have experienced similar behavior as well.

You talk about a director and we can put this up on screen, one of the excerpts from your book, he wouldn't direct you because you say, "I refused to sit in his lap and take direction. This #MeToo candidate called me in to work every day for weeks when Laird, your son was a brand new baby and he had me go through the works -- hair, makeup, and wardrobe."

STONE: I didn't say that it was Laird.

ACOSTA: Oh, I'm sorry. Okay. I'm just reading from the text, but you're saying that this director refused to -- would not shoot with you because you would not sit in his lap. Unbelievable. Do you think that it's gotten better for women in Hollywood?

STONE: Well, first of all, Jim, I don't think that the MeToo thing is about Hollywood. I think that the MeToo thing is a global issue. I don't think it begins or ends in Hollywood. I think it's something that begins in the home, in rich homes and poor homes. I think it's a situation that is something that we need to handle across the world.

I think it got a lot of attention because I think that women who had powerful voices in Hollywood were willing to risk their careers to end it. And I am really proud of the women who agreed to do that, but I think that this is something that needs to be dealt with as I have said on other shows.

I think just like we have lice checks in kindergarten and elementary school and on the way up through middle school, high school and college, we should have sexual abuse checks so that children have someone to talk to and can be heard in a healthful and helpful way.

We have to look at the way that rape victims are treated. We look from state to state and just when they go to the hospital they end up even with insurance paying at least $400 for their own check. If they stay overnight, their bills are somewhere around $1,000.

If they have to pay to get a rape kit processed that's $1,000 because so often rape kits are not even processed. So we are looking at what are the rights of people? MeToo was more, much more than a Hollywood story. It's a story about women being respected and not just women. There are so many men that have been abused as well.

So, I think it's a much bigger story than a Hollywood story. It's a global story and it's a story about respecting mostly children who are being abused in homes and then these people who are being molested. And I think that we need to really look at this as a concerned global issue and how do we address it far differently than we have been.

ACOSTA: And another story that people might not know about, Sharon, you write about this in your book, is that you suffered a stroke in 2001. I was reading the beginning of your book and just, I mean, I didn't realize how close you came to losing your life. We can put this excerpt up on screen.

It says, "I came to as I was being wheeled down the hall by a young male orderly. I asked where he was taking me. To the operating theater, he said, and you asked for what? And he said for an exploratory brain surgery. And you said but no one talked to me about it. And he goes, oh yes, the papers were signed -- you're all good." This sounds frightening.

STONE: It was terrifying. I had a massive brain hemorrhage. I hemorrhaged into my brain for nine days and had a stroke. And this was over 20 years ago. And so, you know, women's rights and certainly medical rights are improving, but not until this very century had medicine ever been considered or treated on the female anatomy.

[17:24:56]

And it's just the beginning of that happening. And so women have been often just treated as hysterics and not really been spoken to about what actually was happening to them or their bodies. And certainly when this happened to me, I wasn't cared for as a thoughtful individual. And so I bled into my brain for nine days before I was given an angiogram.

And an angiogram was brand new at that time, and I had a 1 percent chance of survival when this happened to me.

ACOSTA: Wow.

STONE: The odds are better now. They are 10 percent to 15 percent because this artery is what ruptured in the back of my neck, but now they can transfer arteries out of your calf or out of -- they can use pig arteries now.

But it's still a very, very dangerous thing that happens and in my case it was made much, much worse by the fact that I didn't get care right at the beginning.

ACOSTA: Wow. And your family has been through a lot during this pandemic. Your grandmother, godmother both died of COVID. At one point, your sister was fighting for her life.

STONE: And my brother-in-law.

ACOSTA: To look back at that -- and your brother-in-law, to look back at that and compare to where we are now with coronavirus cases dropping across the country, people getting vaccinated including yourself, you know, I've read about -- there's a video right there of Sharon Stone getting vaccinated.

If Sharon Stone can get vaccinated, then everybody should be vaccinated first of all. But I was reading about how you really look up to the scientists and the medical professionals on the front lines in this pandemic. STONE: Well, yes, and a lot of that is because I have been an

infectious disease worker for 30 years. I worked for what was, and when I began, the American Foundation for AIDS Research which became the global Foundation for AIDS Research during my stint with them, and we did lots and lots and lots of fund raising to give to scientists so that they could develop the lifesaving drugs that you now see on the market today.

ACOSTA: And I don't want to let you go without asking you your favorite film that you worked on over the course of your career. So many unforgettable roles. We mentioned "Basic Instinct" obviously earlier, but "Casino" I think for a lot of people is the role that I think, you know, just encapsulates, you know, just the amazing career that you had. But I'm a little preferential to "Total Recall" I have to say. I hope you don't think poorly of me for saying that. There you are in "Total Recall."

STONE: You liked it when I kicked Arnold in the head.

ACOSTA: I really did. Not many people could get away with that. And you're also -- I don't know how -- you know, perhaps you want to delve into this, perhaps not. Why you're so good at playing the bad guy sometimes?

STONE: I actually think that people that are the best guys are very good at playing the bad guys. I kind of thought that from Michael Douglas. He's a big hero of mine and he's always done so much good in the world and I admired him tremendously and had such a great opportunity working with him in "Basic Instinct."

And he told me, you know, with those sparkly eyes and that great smile, you know, the villain is the best part because you can do anything you want. And it really is true. The villain is a very fun part to play. And as we know, Michael has done such great work when it comes to nuclear awareness or when it comes to aging or mental illness or anything.

He takes those parts and he brings the awareness to all of those things that we need to understand. And he's such a good guy and he always plays such a great bad guy. And I think it's because he's so smart and because he cares about so many good things that he has the understanding of how to use playing the bad guy to take our attention to things that really need to be looked at.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And you've done that as well in your work throughout your career as well.

STONE: So I think that "Basic Instinct" brought our attention to the AIDS crisis and I think that that was very important in its time.

ACOSTA: Sharon Stone, I wish we could spend the rest of the hour with you but unfortunately, they won't indulge me and let me do that. But there is your book right there.

STONE: But Jim, you are a brave journalist and a great journalist and it's a joy to get to meet you. I've been a big fan of you and I appreciate that you've stood up for yourself and made it clear that you deserve to be on the air and investigating that you need to.

ACOSTA: That's very kind. I've been kicked in the head a few times, not kicked by you, fortunately, but Sharon Stone, we appreciate you spending --

STONE: Not yet, Jim.

ACOSTA: Not yet, that's true. I'll behave myself. But here is your book right here. I'm holding it up as well. "The Beauty of Living Twice." Sharon Stone, we are so glad that you were able to live twice and join us here on "CNN Newsroom." Great to talk with you. Thanks so much.

[17:30:03]

STONE: And you. Bye-bye.

ACOSTA: Take care. And Tuesday marks one year since the murder of George Floyd. Minneapolis is preparing to honor him. We'll take you there live, next. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: A rally and march are set for this hour in downtown Minneapolis ahead of the anniversary of George Floyd's death. Tuesday will mark one year since Floyd died at the kneed of now former and convicted police officer. His murder, captured on video led to some of the largest sustained protests this country has ever seen.

[17:35:00]

And today's march and rally kick off three days of events culminating with a visit by the Floyd family to the White House on Tuesday. Let's bring in CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns in Minneapolis. Joe, looks like the crowd is getting bigger behind you.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right. Absolutely. And I have to tell you, sort of a festival atmosphere here. Sort of really shows you what a difference a year makes. We are expecting in just a little while the sister as well as Reverend Al Sharpton and some others.

And you know, this is a moment of reflection given the fact that this is the anniversary of George's Floyd's death. But the question, of course, is whether it's a real inflection point, if you will, and talking to people here in the crowd, there's a lot of concern about the fact that this movement that started out with a tragedy turned into a political movement could really start waning, but if people lose energy.

People here are still invoking the name of not just George Floyd but Ahmaud Arbery, of Breanna Taylor, of other people who have died in police violence and all the change that has begun in the country, but it's not over yet.

As you well know, Jim, there are many other cases around the United States that remain unresolved. We're just gotten started. We saw marches just last week in two different cities, in the Carolinas, and more. So, waiting for this program to begin. It's going to be about three days now, the official anniversary, of course, of George Floyd's death is on Tuesday. Back to you, Jim.

ACOSTA: Marches in too many cities on this issue. Joe Johns, thanks so much for being at one of them for us.

Coming up, a house party in New Jersey turns deadly when a gunman opens fire. A live report is coming up ahead.

Plus, the staggering new figures on just how many people have been killed from gun violence in just the past few months.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:40:00]

ACOSTA: Staggering new figures out today on gun violence in the U.S. Not even halfway into 2021, more than 7,500 people have been shot and killed. Right now, gun deaths are up 23 percent compared to last year but last year we were deep into the pandemic. Compared to 2019, gun deaths are up 40 percent.

This comes after a deadly weekend across the country. Bear with me, this is sadly a long list. Let's walk you through this. A 2-year-old girl still in critical condition after she was shot Friday night by a 3-year-old -- her 3-year-old brother who found a gun hidden in a couch.

Two mass shootings in Ohio overnight, alone in Columbus shots rang out at a park killing a 16-year-old girl, injuring seven others. In Youngstown, Ohio, three are dead after a bar shooting. Eight others wounded in a gunfire there. In South Carolina, 15 people were shot at an unauthorized concert. One of them, a 14-year-old was killed.

And then in Georgia, police south of Atlanta found three people shot dead at a condominium overnight. And in New Jersey, the list is not over yet. Just before midnight, police were called to a shooting at a house party, two people killed, 12 others wounded.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is in New Jersey right now. Polo, I mean, I just can't believe just reading through that list what has been taking place across the country in recent days. What are you learning about this house party there in New Jersey and the shooting that happened there? That is unbelievable, too.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Jim, this community is now added to that list that you just read out loud here for our viewers. They are now also left in shock that this happened in their community. And I have to tell you that investigators with the New Jersey State police, they spent all day at a home only about 100 yards away from where I'm standing, behind the tree line here.

In fact, the road over my right shoulder was just reopened a few moments ago because investigators have been processing what is a massive scene because by many accounts here on the ground, it was a massive, what's been described here as a '90s theme party that was taking place last night with possibly up to 200 people.

When at some point -- at one point, things took a terrible turn, shots were fired. Fourteen people were hit. Two of them fatally. We're it was an adult man and adult woman that were killed, that died as a result of their injuries and some injuries for the additional folks that were hit are also quite serious here.

We did speak a few moments ago to a representative with state police who tells me at this point, they don't have any update in terms of a motive. And in terms of suspects though, I have to tell you that at this point, it doesn't seem to be that there is any kind of immediate threat.

But again, this community now left asking exactly why it happened here and what will be done as the police continue to investigate this latest shooting happening here in southern New Jersey, Jim?

ACOSTA: All right, the scene had more horrifying gun violence in this country. Polo Sandoval, thanks for that.

As the U.S. recovers from the pandemic, is the economy just hot or is it overheating? Here's CNN's Christine Romans with your "Before the Bell" report.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim. The reopening economy is booming, but expect a guessing game on Wall Street. The big question, when will the Fed cut back stimulus to prevent the red hot economy from overheating?

Last week, stocks came under pressure as tech shares sold off and the cryptocurrency market crashed. Bitcoin tumbled below $40,000 on Wednesday after China took more steps to crack down on digital coins.

But the big fear for investors is inflation. The by-product, of course, of a roaring U.S. economy means you're paying more for everything. The Fed and top economists have said the price spike is temporary. But last week, there were indications the central bank is at least raising the possibility of pulling back on emergency stimulus.

Right now, the Fed is buying $120 billion worth of bonds every month to prop up and support the economy. But at the April meetings, some officials suggested it might be time to reconsider that pace.

[17:45:04]

This week Wall Street's biggest banks will weigh in on how they see the recovery. The CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Wells Fargo all testified before the Senate Banking Committee. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: On tonight's brand-new episode of "United Shades of America," host W. Kamau Bell takes a look at the huge wealth gap that exist in America, what the root cause is and how some people are trying to close it. Here's a preview.

[17:50:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: That millionaires upon millionaires are moving here, buying second homes. I know people who just call up from New York, give me a house in Charleston.

UNKNOWN: And the thing about Charleston is people that work in Charleston cannot afford to live in Charleston.

UNKNOWN: No.

UNKNOWN: Not even close.

W. KAMU BELL, CNN HOST (voice-over): Meet Chichi Clayton (ph), Hagan Ragland (ph) and Joshua Stenson (ph). They just met today, but each of them has a story that represents millions of Americans. Many of who are millennials just like them.

Let me take a moment to officially apologize to millennials on behalf of every generation older than you. Sorry.

People love to call millennials lazy and soft when in reality every older generation does that to the generation coming up. I know because it happened to my generation. Slackers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: That is -- that is such a perfect point especially about the Gen Xers. The host of "United Shades of America," W. Kamau Bell joins us now. Kamau, we have some of the richest billionaires on Earth. We also have millions of people struggling to meet their most basic needs. We see them around Washington all the time. People who need food and shelter, basic needs. What did you find in terms of why this huge disparity exists?

BELL: Well, first of all, we could have done this episode about wealth and inequality any season of the show, but I think the pandemic really put this in sharper leaf with the idea that like the one class of people who did a lot better during the pandemic are billionaires.

So, imagine with 600,000 dead Americans, with people going homeless at a higher rate every day, and yet there's a class of people in this country who are, like, man, 2020 was great for me.

ACOSTA: Yes. And there's a question that you asked, a thought- provoking question that you asked throughout this episode, should billionaires even exist in America? Did you come away with an answer?

BELL: I think I agree with the thinking behind it that we shouldn't have billionaires and poverty. We shouldn't have billionaires and a lack of the social safety net. We shouldn't have billionaires and a minimum wage that hasn't stayed up with where minimum wage be at, which is over $20 an hour. If billionaires can exist and we have -- and everybody is fine, then we shouldn't have billionaires.

ACOSTA: Now, Kamau, you asked another interesting question in this episode, should food cost money? That might take some people by surprise. Why did you ask this question?

BELL: I think we get caught up a lot in the idea that you should have to earn everything you have in society, and I think when we don't have a society, for example, if we had universal basic income, maybe them food costs money. But can we be the greatest society on Earth?

Can we be bragging about how rich our society is if we're not taking care of the least of us? I don't think we can. Then I start -- you start to ask some basic questions like health care, and I want to even go bigger than that. What about food?

ACOSTA: Yes. You're exactly right. I mean, it is an important question. And you look at the fact that this country is really in an unprecedented place when it comes to the massive wave of evictions that we're soon going to be facing. Tell us a little bit about that?

BELL: Yes. In Charleston, South Carolina where we were for this episode, they said that even before the pandemic, people were paying too much of their paycheck for their rent, and so it was made worse through the pandemic.

And again, what does it do for society to put people out on the street? I know landlords need to make money but what does it say about the way society is built that you could be in a position where you can't afford to find a job and have a place to live?

ACOSTA: All right, thought provoking stuff. As always, W. Kamau Bell, great to talk you and thanks again. And catch a brand new episode of "United Shades of America" tonight at 10:00 right here on CNN.

And the pandemic delayed the Tokyo Olympics and gave gymnasts Simone Biles -- forgive me -- plenty of time to train and it shows. In her first competition in more than 18 months, the four-time Olympic gold medalist nailed a history making move. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: Absolutely unbelievable to watch every single time. Here we go.

Wow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Unbelievable stuff there. Look at Simone go. The 24-year-old defending world champion became the first woman to land -- and I'm hoping to try to pronounce this one correctly, the Yurchenko double pike vault, a move previously only ever done by me -- not this man, of course. That easily helped ger defend her all-around title at the U.S. Classic in Indianapolis. Biles there competed wearing a leotard decorated with a rhinestone

goat, a hint I guess to her claim as the GOAT, the greatest of all- time in gymnastics and it's hard to argue with that. She is just incredible. Just amazing to watch that.

And graduates at Quincy College in Massachusetts took home more than just their diploma when their commencement speaker surprised them with cold hard cash. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT HALE, CEO, GRANITE TELECOMMUNICATIONS: You have persevered in the pandemic. You haven't had a chance to celebrate the last 14 months as much as you should.

[17:55:02]

So we want to give you a gift.

We're going to give you each $1,000 cash right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The graduates each received two envelopes, one containing $500 to keep for themselves and another with $500 to donate that Hale asked them to donate to someone in need.

Tonight, CNN will celebrate the class of 2021 with an incredible line up of speakers including Vice President Kamala Harris. Don't miss it, this evening at 7:00 right here on CNN. And congrats to all the graduates out there this time of year. It's a wonderful time for those families.

And that's the news. Reporting from Washington, I am Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here next Saturday at 3:00 p.m. eastern. Pamela Brown takes over the "CNN Newsroom" live after a quick break. Good night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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