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Cash Incentives Offered To Americans To Get Vaccinated; Israel- Hamas Ceasefire; Volcanic Eruptions Subside, Goma Activates Evacuation Plan; Supply Shortages Fuel Asian COVID-19 Surge; Former BBC Journalist Won't Admit He Harmed Diana; Gaetz's Ex Cooperating With Feds; Pastors Try To Stop QAnon's Spread Among Evangelicals; Phil Mickelson Seeking Place As Oldest Major Champ. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 23, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM I'm Robyn Curnow. Good to have you along this hour.

Coming up, the fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is holding. The people in Gaza survey the devastating loss.

A volcano spews lava on roads and forces thousands of people to leave their homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Plus the journalist at the center of the controversial interview with Princess Diana has a new message for her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: It is 10 am in Gaza. U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken plans to visit the region in the coming days. In Gaza City, Hamas militants parade through the streets to show they are still in control.

Much of Gaza's basic infrastructure was crippled in the conflict. As humanitarian aid arrives, a U.N. official says safeguards remain in place to keep militants from getting it.


LYNN HASTINGS, U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: There are mechanisms in place, one in particular is the Gaza reconstruction mechanism, which was established after 2014. It's an agreement between the Palestinian Authority, the Israelis and United Nations.

We have mechanisms to monitor to make sure the assistance does not fall into the hands it's not intended to be directed toward. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Now the people of Gaza are burdened, trying to recover from 11 days of shelling and airstrikes. It won't be easy. The U.N. citing figures from Hamas saying 250 buildings have been destroyed and 760 shops and homes are unusable. Ben Wedeman is in Gaza. Ben.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Depending on where you are in Gaza, life seems to be getting back to normal. Here in Gaza City's main square, children play in the evening pool. But just one block away, the extent of the damage from the hostilities becomes clear.

Hundreds of housing units have been destroyed, and Israeli air strikes have pushed the already creaking infrastructure to the brink. The U.N. says that around 800,000 people now lack access to running water, and that's out of a population of around 2 million people.

The U.N. also says more than 50 schools were damaged, impacting the education of around 600,000 children. On top of that, 17 hospitals have been damaged including Gaza's only COVID testing center.

And then there's unemployment running at almost 50 percent. Life here after the cease-fire is getting back to normal, but there's nothing normal about life here.

I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Gaza City.


CURNOW: Elliott Gotkine joins me now from Jerusalem with the latest on the cease-fire.

What can you tell us?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is holding. We are only three days in as you were saying. So far there were some clashes in Jerusalem between police and Palestinian protesters by the Al-Aqsa mosque again.

Despite that and everything else that's going on in the background, the cease-fire is holding. It's expected to do so. It was brokered by the Egyptians with the backing of the U.S. It's a mutually unconditional cease-fire.

Hamas is calling this a victory and was celebrating, showing it was still able to fire the rockets at Israel despite a massive bombardment.

From the Israelis' perspective, they say they taught Hamas and the militants a lesson. They say they sent a message to group such as Hezbollah and that there is a price for firing rockets at Israel.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's going to endure infinitely but, for now, things are holding. The Egyptians -- there is an Egyptian delegation here that is overseeing that. We're expecting U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken to come here.


GOTKINE: Also among the Egyptians, Jordanians and Palestinians to help shore up that cease-fire that is holding so far.

CURNOW: Holding so far.

What might next inflame tensions?

GOTKINE: Unfortunately, there's always a pretext and things that can spark further violence. We know ostensibly one of the original sources for this latest outbreak of violence was the controversy over the court case of the potential eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah area.

That was a court hearing postponed, due to come back before the court within 30 days. That is expected to happen at some point in June. It could be further delayed.

And there's also, you know, talk, we were just seeing the finance minister Israel Katz (ph), on one of the local stations here in Israel, talking about the possibility for a kind of more comprehensive rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip.

That would require the return of two civilians and bodies of two Israelis still being held by Hamas. It's important to note that the backdrop, now that the latest fighting is over, eyes are turning to the political situation here in Israel.

You will be getting some statements from ministers and other political leaders inside of Israel, which won't necessarily make it to policy, if you like. People might be showing how tough they are on the militants in order to preach to their base and shore up the popularity.

And any criticism that has been coming from the Right, that Israel didn't do enough, perhaps it should have gone further, this is the backdrop right now.

As I say, the cease-fire is holding and there is the hope that, despite other issues, whether it's clashes in Jerusalem or the West Bank or this court case coming back to the supreme court, that it will continue to hold.

CURNOW: Elliott Gotkine, thanks for that, live in Jerusalem. Thank you.

Now the conflict and its aftermath has sparked an outpouring of sympathies for the Palestinians. Large rallies took place in London, Paris and New York. More than 90 pro-Palestinian events have been planned in the U.S. this weekend.

We're also watching a volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those eruptions subsided later on in the evening. We're joined from Kenya by Larry Madowo.

Larry, hi.

What can you tell us about the status of this volcano?

People watching it very carefully and the lava lake.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This volcano erupted a month ago here in Congo and last evening, this neighborhood, which is a highly populated place from near the volcano, were fleeing, 85,500 people left to Rwanda. The Rwanda ministry of emergency said they received 3,500 people in the neighboring town.

This is an active volcano. The last time it erupted in 2002, about 120 people were killed. The most serious one was back in 1977, where more than 600 people were killed. So this is something that geologists have been warning about, that they're seeing patterns that are similar to what they saw before the 2002 and 1977 eruptions.

And the actual peak could still be at least four years away. Last night, a few thousand people left this area and some of them are now beginning to come back to see the extent of the damages. Some homes have been destroyed.

CURNOW: So give us some sense of what is expected over the next 24, 48 hours.

MADOWO: What people are doing is trying to come back there, even though the Democratic Republic of Congo has not asked people to return. We hear from the government spokesman that another emergency meeting will be held this morning to assess the damage, look at the seismological map and see if it is safe to bring the population back.

They're trying to decide what assistance people will need. People have lost their homes, whether it's in Rwanda or this border area. This is a highly populated area. This region has had conflict as well. This is the last thing they need. Some people are coming back finding their home destroyed.

There was an accident while people were fleeing last night and some people died. We're working to confirm the details and what happened to those who might have been injured.


CURNOW: OK. Keep us posted on all of that. Thank you very much for joining us.


CURNOW: Coming up, coronavirus numbers in the U.S. are at lows not seen in months. Restrictions are lifting across the country just in time for summer. We'll have the latest coming up.

Plus the journalist who obtained the interview with Princess Diana in 1995 is speaking out. What he has to say about her and her sons. (MUSIC PLAYING)




CURNOW: Vaccination rates in the U.S. have fallen from their peak in April but high levels of inoculations are still having an impact. New case numbers are at lows not seen in months and Americans are venturing outside again, even if some are taking it slowly. Here's Natasha Chen.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sun's out, masks off. All across America, more and more people are seeing each other's faces for the first time in a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a long time coming.

CHEN (voice-over): More than 45 percent of people in the U.S. aged 12 or older are now fully vaccinated and three states -- Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have fully vaccinated at least half of their total population.

For the first time since March of 2020, San Francisco General Hospital reported zero COVID patients, the seven-day average of new cases in the U.S. is below 30,000 for the first time in almost a year.

With this progress comes relaxation of rules. New York venues are expanding capacity limits just in time for the Knicks to start their first playoff game with 15,000 seats already sold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what we've been waiting for New York, to bring the culture back, to bring the spirit back to New York.

CHEN (voice-over): And California will drop capacity limits and social distancing requirements when the state fully reopens on June 15.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is about time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I think we've been ready for a while.

CHEN (voice-over): Entertainers are preparing for in-person events, even if there will be a few adjustments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I've been vaccinated. I mean, obviously you would like for everybody to go and get vaccinated. Yes, I think it's going to be a little different, you know, because we used to reaching out, touching so many people. I think that'll be a little bit scarce, if not fist bump. But I mean, you know, we'll find other ways to feed off the energy of the crowd.

CHEN (voice-over): But some people aren't ready to bounce back to pre- COVID habits.

Personal trainer, Dave Nassick is seeing a lasting shift in how he sees some of his clients.

DAVE NASSICK, PERSONAL TRAINER: They don't want to go back into the gym environment. You know, they feel more comfortable just being one- on-one in their own homes. So it's been actually good for me with my in-home business.

CHEN (voice-over): On a sunny day in Atlanta, these stunt performers were practicing in a group after more than a year of training alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honestly, I still kind of feel iffy about it. Like, I'm still sketched out about being out here. But -- but, yes, I can't like stay at home all the time.

CHEN (voice-over): Health experts worry about what happens when hot weather drives people indoors this summer, especially in some states where vaccination rates are lower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd still wear a mask at work, just because I work with public. So even though I'm fully vaccinated, I feel like, I don't know if they are or not. So I feel like it's still good to have it on --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your whole store got hit, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we -- my whole work caught it back in December, so that was great. It was a terrible experience having it.

CHEN (voice-over): And he is not able to ask customers if they've been vaccinated. Even with an honor system that is far from foolproof, there is a sense the country has turned a corner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like a hopeful moment -- a very hopeful moment in a year, like the past couple of years, it's been like a lot of really bad news.

CHEN: A new study by Public Health England shows that two doses of either the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine are highly effective against the variant first found in India.


CHEN: Dr. Anthony Fauci also said he's preparing for the possibility that people who are getting vaccinated may need a booster shot but health experts are unsure if and when that may happen -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.


CURNOW: As life in the U.S. returns to some semblance of normality, some people wonder where to begin. Earlier CNN spoke to psychiatrist Kali Cyrus about how to confront all of those anxieties.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. KALI CYRUS, PSYCHIATRIST: I think that right now people are still trying to understand what it's like to get back to real life. I think, first of all, just naming it and knowing that it's acceptable that a lot of people might feel this way is the first thing to do.

Secondly, what are you most afraid of or what are you most nervous about?

Be able to ask those questions and then follow up and get the answers and try to acknowledge what you can control versus what you can't.

Are there things like flying on a weekday where the airport is less congested?

Or being prepared to minimize the stress for the rest of your family by having your headphones, iPad, all of the snacks you need ready so you don't have to worry about eating at the airport. The first thing is just having that open conversation with each member of your family, especially the children, and finding out what their anxieties are.


CURNOW: U.K. health officials are investigating another new COVID variant. They've been studying the AV.1 strain, which is being dubbed the Yorkshire variant. Authorities say so far there's no evidence that this strain causes more severe disease or makes vaccines any less effective.

And we are getting new details on just how desperate the coronavirus situation is in India. Officials in the territory of Delhi have announced they will halt immunizations due to a shortage of vaccines.

Even though cases have been falling on average recently, earlier today India reported more than 240,000 new cases. For more on this, let's bring in Will Ripley, joining us from Taipei.

What can you tell us about the new numbers?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, this is not just an India problem but a problem regionwide in this part of the world. When you're talking about countries in Southeast Asia, like Taiwan, India, Thailand, countries that thought they had the virus all but under control, we've seen how it can slip through the defenses.

And so here it was the airports. In Thailand, they're having a horrible outbreak in their prisons right now. In India, hospitals are struggling to deal with this influx of patients and some are having to treat them in horrific conditions.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Pigs root in filth and water outside this hospital in Bihar state in India. It looks like no place for healing with its broken walls, abandoned ambulances. But patients are still being treated here, many for coronavirus. The sick as well as the staff must trudge through dismal conditions to get inside. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The hospital will be 100 years

old in 4 years. It was the only big hospital here several years ago. Due to the low-lying area, there is an issue of waterlogging at the hospital. There is filth all over.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Cases across India decreasing, down from more than 400,000 new cases reported in a day in early May to nearly 260,000. Still, the country's health care system is overwhelmed in places. And there is a shortage of vaccines. Delhi becoming the latest state to halted vaccinations in adults under the age of 45.

Some help is slowly coming in from Russia, with shipments of its Sputnik V vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the end of May, about 3 million votes will be supplied in bulk (ph).

RIPLEY (voice-over): The plan then is for India to begin producing the Russian vaccine with a goal of making more than 815 million doses. The Sputnik V is a 2 dose regimen.

The coronavirus is also taking its toll in other parts of Asia. Some streets in Taiwan look like a ghost town. It, too, is suffering from a surge of coronavirus cases and a lack of vaccines. Taiwan's health minister, asking the U.S. for help and getting the critical supplies.

Cases are soaring in Thailand, too, where clusters of COVID-19 infections have emerged in the country's overcrowded prisons. Bangkok began a vaccination drive, doling out shots of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine and, AstraZeneca to inmates.

The shortage and, at times, dismal conditions across parts of Asia making this wave of the coronavirus that much more difficult to contain.



RIPLEY: Apart from Singapore, nearly every country in this part of the world is in the low single digits when it comes to vaccinations. And that is especially troubling for epidemiologists because these new variants that are being detected, it's the U.K. variant in Thailand and the India variant in Singapore, it's causing the virus to spread much more quickly.

And in some cases people have a much more severe case. Here in Taiwan, they just logged hundreds of new cases, once again today. And this country has fewer than 1 percent of its population vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in the world.

Robyn, it's a crisis, a crisis that will only be resolved when more people get those badly needed shots in arms.

CURNOW: Will Ripley, appreciate you joining us this hour. Much more still ahead on CNN. We'll meet this young girl and her

family, whose lives have been forever changed by the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

We'll also have more on the BBC's interview of Diana, Princess of Wales. The journalist behind it is speaking for the first time since the investigation wraps up.




CURNOW: Welcome back to all of our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It's 29 minutes past the hour. I'm Robyn Curnow and you are watching CNN.

So this is day three of a cease-fire that has restored calm for the people of Israel and Gaza. A key Israeli cabinet minister, though, is now warning that, as rockets are fired towards Israel, the Israel government will target the leader of Hamas.


CURNOW: Eleven days of Israeli shelling and airstrikes has left Gaza in shambles. The U.N. citing figures from the Hamas government that says more than 250 buildings were destroyed, more than 760 shops and homes are unusable.

Nearly half of Gaza's 2 million people are without ready access to water. Of course, many civilians have been caught in the middle of the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Arwa Damon went to one hospital in Gaza to show us the impact on one of the innocents, a little girl.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sarah has injuries to her skull, lungs, arm and leg. But doctors say the worst are the multiple pieces of shrapnel lodged in her spine and spinal cord.

"She can't feel her legs," Sarah's mom says. And doctors fear she may never again, especially not if she stays here.

The family says there was no advanced warning before the strike. They had no idea what was coming.

"Susu," that's what her older brother, Omar, calls her, "she needs an advanced neurosurgical center. We don't have those in Gaza."

"The doctor said there is hope that she will be able to stand on her feet," her father says.

He's begging for help. He wants his little girl to have her life back; a life filled with gleeful cries of joy, a life where she can stand on her own.

"She's struggling psychologically," her father says.

"She keeps asking me, 'Why, Daddy? Why did they have to do this to me?'" -- Arwa Damon, CNN.


CURNOW: So in the U.S., the conflict has been turning up the pressure on President Biden. Some of his fellow Democrats are criticizing him for not taking a tougher stance. Saturday, CNN's Jim Acosta asked a Senate Democrat if his party's view of the region was changing.


SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD): The overwhelming number of Democrats support Israel's right to defend itself and the close relationship between our two countries and how important that relationship is to United States security.

I think President Biden handled this crisis extremely well. He met at the highest level through conversations with the leaders of the Israel government. He was able to get the Egyptians to engage Hamas. He was able to move forward on a cease-fire. He was able to now set up a plan in which we can try to bring some stability to Gaza.

I think all of that is in our national security interest and is supported by Democrats and Republicans and the American people.


CURNOW: Senator Cardin said there is a path to deal with the long-term future for the Palestinians and reach a two-state solution.

Now the White House is extending humanitarian protections for some Haitians living in the U.S. On Saturday, the Biden administration announced they would be allowed to apply for temporary protected status for another 18 months.

That is given to people whose home countries are considered unsafe to go back. It will affect about 100,000 Haitians. Former president Trump tried to remove that designation for Haiti but that issue has been bogged down in the courts.

The former BBC journalist who sat down with Diana, Princess of Wales, for a major interview in 2005, he has a message for her sons. He says he's deeply sorry. He said he never wanted to harm Diana and doesn't think he did.

An inquiry came out this week, saying Bashir had used, quote, "deceitful methods" to secure that interview. Prince Williams claimed this worsened Diana's paranoia. Isa Soares joins me with more.

Hi, Isa.

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very good morning to you, Robyn. It's the first time we are hearing from Martin Bashir, the reporter behind that really bombshell interview with Princess Diana a quarter of a century ago.

It's the first time, like you said, Robyn, that we are hearing from him post the Dyson report that really revealed Bashir used deceitful behavior to secure that interview. And the BBC knew of what he did, of that deceit and then covered it up.


SOARES: Speaking to the "Sunday Times" I've got the front page here to show you, he said -- you can see there, "Broken man who can't quite admit he wronged Diana."

Now as you said, in that interview -- in this interview with the "Sunday Times," he does say that he is deeply sorry. Have a look. I've taken an extract from it. You can get a sense of what he said.

He said this, "I never wanted to harm Diana in any way and I don't believe we did. Everything we did in the terms of the interview was as she wanted, from when she wanted to alert the palace to when it was broadcast, to its contents. My family and I loved her."

He even showed the photo, put the photo up, you can see here, of his wife in hospital, having had their third child, as proof of how close they were, Diana and his family were, because Diana visited his wife in hospital.

Now, although it says he does say he is deeply sorry to Prince William and Prince Harry and he said he was wrong to use those fake documents, he doesn't believe that the way he got the interview -- that the interview itself actually changed anything, had any bearing on Diana.

He said that, yes, he was wrong in getting that deceitful paperwork, deceitful fake documents but he said it had no bearing on the interview. And throughout this interview, he can't quite bring himself to admit that he duped her.

I think that is really what comes out of it. And he also rejects the notion that we heard from Prince William, that scathing criticism we heard from Prince William this week, that he believes the way he conducted the interview just fueled Princess Diana's isolation as well as her paranoia.

Some may go as to say this interview with Martin Bashir shows his defiance. Others may say, Robyn, it shows an arrogance of sorts, which it's clear that this interview, that took place a quarter of a century ago, is still having a huge impact. The fallout is still spreading.

In fact, the last 24 hours, Tony Hall, Lord Hall, who was head of the BBC when Martin Bashir was reporting there, at the time he was conducting the interview, he has stepped down as head of -- as chairman of the National Gallery, perhaps because of the fact that Prince Charles is patron of the National Gallery.

Now in a statement, this is what Tony Hall had to say. "I have today resigned as chair of the National Gallery. I have always

had a strong sense of public service and it is clear my continuing in the role would be a distraction to an institution," he says, "I care deeply about.

"As I said two days ago, I am very sorry for the events of 25 years ago and I believe leadership means taking responsibility."

What is clear from this, Robyn, is that this crisis goes to the very heart, to the DNA of the BBC and that is integrity and transparency. And so many, many questions need to be answered right now as to who knew about this coverup.

Why did they cover up for so long?

Why was some reported hostility towards BBC whistleblowers, who wanted to come out and tell the truth?

And why was Bashir rehired by Tony Hall himself as religion correspondent, knowing what he did?

Plenty of questions not just from the BBC taxpayers but also from members of Parliament in the last 24 hours too, Robyn.

CURNOW: Thanks for that update. Isa Soares, appreciate it. Live in London.

Coming up next on CNN, the ex-girlfriend of a Trump ally is cooperating with investigators in a sex trafficking probe.

What could that mean for a House Republican?

Plus the link between QAnon and evangelical Christians and what's being done to stop it. All of those stories next. You're watching CNN.





CURNOW: Welcome back.

So there's more trouble for embattled U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz. An ex-girlfriend is cooperating with investigators in a sex trafficking investigation. Paula Reid has more from Washington. Paula.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We know from our sources that the congressman is being investigated for possibly violating federal sex trafficking, prostitution and public corruption laws. And they're also looking into whether he may have had sex with a minor. Now this ex-girlfriend is someone who investigators have wanted to

speak with for a while. To be clear, she is not the same person as the underage girl. These are two different people.

But this ex-girlfriend was linked to the congressman in the summer of 2017 and that, for investigators, is a key period in determining whether he actually had sex with a minor. Now it's not clear if this woman has a formal cooperation agreement with the federal investigators.

But she has signaled she's willing to talk to them, play ball. But her lawyer refused to comment as did a spokesperson for the Justice Department. News of her signaled cooperation came as the congressman's former wingman, Joel Greenberg, told federal investigators that, yes, indeed, congressman Gaetz did have sex with a 17-year-old.

The congressman and his legal team have repeatedly denied that the congressman has ever paid for sex or had sex with a minor as an adult. Just yesterday he addressed his former wingman's credibility.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I'm not too worried about Joel Greenberg. He's literally sitting in jail right now because he originally accused someone who was innocent of having had a relationship with a minor.


REID: And the congressman is correct. Joel Greenberg has serious credibility issues. On Monday, he did plead guilty to falsely accusing a political rival of having sex with a minor. That was just one of six federal charges that he pleaded guilty to, down from 33 charges he was facing.

He has entered a cooperation deal so he has to fully cooperate in any investigation. Because of his credibility issues, we know it's unlikely investigators take anything Joel Greenberg says at face value.

We know from our reporting that there are other witnesses who have been called before the grand jury and that there are hundreds and hundreds of records that investigators had. So this case does not hinge on the testimony of Joel Greenberg.


REID: The congressman is clearly trying to shift attention to Greenberg's credibility even though he's just one tiny piece of this case. We know investigators are still gathering evidence. All of that will likely fall to federal prosecutors here in Washington to assess and decide whether they have enough to proceed with an indictment -- Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.


CURNOW: While Matt Gaetz denies he had a relationship with a minor, a Republican hoping to unseat Liz Cheney in Congress is admitting he had one. Wyoming state senator Anthony Bouchard said he got a 14-year-old girl pregnant when he was 18.

He tells a local newspaper that he married her, once she turned 15 and that she then killed herself after a divorce a few years later. Bouchard apparently made the revelation in an effort to get ahead of the story, downplaying the relationship as a "Romeo and Juliet" story in a Facebook video.

Meanwhile, there's growing evidence that the wild conspiracy movement known as QAnon is seeping into Christian evangelical communities. That mix may have played in a role in the insurrection at the Capitol. Now some pastors are fighting back, QAnon has no place in what they preach. Here's CNN's Donie O'Sullivan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the flag that went into the Senate, when the doors were broken, the Christian flag.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Name in Jesus, amen. Amen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They thought they were doing the work of God because pastors and leaders have lied to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, heaven Father's work.

PASTOR JAMES KENDALL, GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH: Nothing in scripture leads us to claim a political system in the name of Christ through force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't like to get off track and off the Bible, but as a pastor, I do have to guard the flock. And so the one that I wanted to speak to as far as conspiracies is the QAnon conspiracy because --

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Is QAnon compatible with Christianity?

KENDALL: No, because it's a false belief system, almost a religion, but it's not true Christianity because true Christianity is that Jesus Christ is our ultimate hope, not Q, not Donald Trump, not any other person.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Months after the January 6th insurrection, QAnon lives on and it's more popular among evangelicals than people of other religions.

(on-camera): Do you think particularly for people of faith, that there is a specific appeal?

KENDALL: The Biblical worldview is that there's a God who's in control of the whole world. And one day, Jesus is going to come back, he's going to judge the wicked. Then you look at -- my understanding of QAnon's belief is that there's

a Q that knows everything and Donald Trump is going to come back and judge the wicked. It's easier for Christians who already have that belief system to make that jump over into believing that world view.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Pastors Ben Marsh (ph) and James Kendall are sounding the alarm. But other pastors are preaching conspiracy theories from the pulpit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When patriots took back key branches of the U.S. government in 2016, a life was turned on to the vast corruption network that had infiltrated into the highest positions of power across every state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a demonic hedge of protection around Joe Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden is a fake president.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): Have you had conversations with any of your flock who have bought (ph) into QAnon?

KENDALL: I've tried to talk with some of them about some of the issues, but that doesn't go very far.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): They don't want to hear it?

KENDALL: A lot of times they're not really open to hearing my side of things or explanations.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): QAnon ties in with what is known as Christian nationalism.

JERUSHAH DUFORD, GRANDDAUGHTER OF BILLY GRAHAM: The term Christian nationalism ended up itself is ironic because there's nothing Christian about nationalism.

But what it is turned into is basically just Christians believing that their nation is, you know, kind of up with Scripture and which with the Bible and the tenants of our nation are up there with the tenants of our faith.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Jerushah Duford is the granddaughter of famed evangelical preacher, Billy Graham and niece of Trump-supporting pastor Franklin Graham. She, along with 200 other prominent evangelicals, signed a letter denouncing Christian nationalism and the role it played in the Capitol attack.

(on-camera): You know, for some, some of these folks, QAnon, is a religion.

DUFORD: I think what you're finding from a lot of these people who are, you know, hardcore QAnon believers, this is somewhere where they fit in.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): Is there not enough sense of community in churches? What do you think is this appeal?

DUFORD: I think that churches were absolutely designed to be about community. And I don't think that that's what a lot of people find. I think churches have become extremely exclusive. I'm not sure Jesus would be welcomed in an American church today.

O'SULLIVAN (on-camera): Are you concerned at all that by speaking out, that you could be alienating some of your congregation? Or do you think it's just the right thing to do?

KENDALL: Well, there's always a risk.


KENDALL: But as a pastor, my role is to protect my people and teach them to place their hope in Jesus, to obey God's word and so that's something that, when I have to do it, I have to do it and I take the consequences that come. But fortunately, I've received a lot of support from my people for speaking out.


CURNOW: Thanks to Donie O'Sullivan for that report.

Now the final round of the PGA championship is just hours away. Several notable golfers are in contention, including one who would make history with a win. The details on that next.




CURNOW: Phil Mickelson is just 18 holes away from becoming golf's oldest major champion; that is, unless he stumbles and somebody grabs the win from him. At the age of 50, Lefty leads the PGA championship after three rounds.



CURNOW: So the world's biggest and possibly most eccentric music contest has a new champion.



CURNOW (voice-over): The betting favorite, Italian rockers Maneskin won the Eurovision song contest on Saturday. The event held in the Netherlands with about 3,500 fans attending and millions glued to their TVs. Past winners include Abba and Celine Dion.

Coronavirus forced the cancellation of last year's contest. This year's winner, Italy, hosts next year.


CURNOW: I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks so much for joining me. I'll be back in just a moment with CNN.