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CNN NEWSROOM

President Biden Slams Texas Voting Bill Pushed By GOP; Republicans Block January 6 Commission; Interview With Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA); Beloved Actor Gavin MacLeod Dies At The Age Of 90, His Career Spanning Seven Decades; Breaking Down The Trump Probe Grand Jury Report; "National Labs" Joins Investigation Into Coronavirus Origins; Bradley Whitford Urges Senate To Pass "For The People Act". Aired 6-7p ET

Aired May 29, 2021 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:12]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: President Biden is now weighing in on a restrictive Texas voting bill calling it part of an assault on democracy.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This draft essentially changes elections from top to bottom here in Texas by adding new requirements, new restrictions and new criminal and civil penalties to the voting process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's good to just kind of get some normalcy back. People get to travel and I know people are going crazy being inside.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The unofficial start of summer with Americans both vaccinated and not ready to go wild and make up for lost time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had some friends I traveled a couple of weeks ago, and they say, hey, Rick, you know, it's okay to get out and go and I sure jumped on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I smashed on windows is when I saw him having a seizure. So that's when I realized that he might not going to be able to get out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I am Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world on this Saturday. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM, and it is great to have you along with us.

Well, President Biden tonight is not holding back slamming a Republican voting bill in Texas that is set to pass this weekend. In a statement he says, "It is part of an assault on democracy that we've seen far too often this year, and often disproportionately targeting black and brown Americans. It's wrong and un-American. In the 21st Century, we should be making it easier, not harder for every eligible voter to vote."

CNN's Dianne Gallagher is live in Austin. So if you would, Dianne, tell us what all the outrage is all about over this bill.

GALLAGHER: Pamela, I just want to sort of give this here, the sponsor of this bill, State Senator Brian Hughes, a Republican here in Texas, I asked him about President Biden's statement. I just want to give you -- he just texted me back. He said, "It sounds like President Biden has been reading left-wing talking points on S.B. 7. The truth is S.B. 7 is a strong bill that gives accessibility and security to Texas elections. We would all be better off if the President cared as much about the southern border as he does Texas elections."

Now, look, Texas is already one of the most restrictive states in the nation when it comes to voting and this particular bit of legislation, this election overhaul bill adds new restrictions, new requirements, new criminal and civil penalties to the voting process, and we are talking about just about everybody affected here -- voters, election officials, volunteers, those get-out-the-vote groups who work on voter registration.

Now, there were a lot of elements from past versions that made headlines and many of those are still in this final version. Take for example, early voting hours. This legislation codifies those hours, setting limitations.

Now in some cases, you're going to see counties that may have more early voting, but in those large, more diverse counties, you will likely see fewer hours, no 24-hour voting, Pamela, no drive-thru voting, and they also -- things like empowering partisan poll workers and making it a crime just to send absentee ballot applications out.

They have until tomorrow at midnight for both the House and Senate to vote. The Governor has indicated that if approved, he will sign this into law.

BROWN: All right, Dianne Gallagher, thanks for bringing us the latest there from Austin, Texas.

And now let's bring in elections expert, David Becker. He joins me now. He is the Executive Director at the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research. All right, so David, let's first start with this bill and then look at the bigger picture.

You heard the statement there from the Texas official saying this is about accessibility and security. But help us understand how much of this bill really is about accessibility and how much of it is about security.

DAVID BECKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR ELECTION INNOVATION AND RESEARCH: So it's important to realize first, Pamela that Texas is already one of the hardest states to vote in in the country. It was the most restrictive among the most restrictive in terms of affording voters the opportunity to vote early in person or cast a mail ballot. This will make it harder. Texas will be among the very, very most difficult states in which to

vote as a result of this bill, and it was already starting well behind other states. Things like making it more difficult for people with disabilities to vote, things like restricting local election officials' ability to find ways to accommodate voters who need help, who might need to vote at odd times in the middle of the night even or late at night because they work multiple jobs.

Still with the security that they enjoy throughout Texas, it makes it easier for observers to disrupt the process in polling places and even makes it much easier to challenge and even throw out an election if someone doesn't like the results.

[18:05:13]

BECKER: I think what's most notable is what's not in this bill. Texas is one of the states that has some significant election integrity problems, actually, because they don't require paper ballots throughout the state that can be audited. They don't require robust audits of those ballots, and there is nothing in this bill, as far as I've seen, even though there were some recent changes, but the latest version I've read doesn't include anything with regard to requiring paper or audits like the type that Arizona or Georgia does, for instance.

BROWN: Right, which is worth noting because if you're really trying to make the election system there have more integrity and more secure, you would want those paper ballots.

I just want to ask you, because you have worked at D.O.J. Texas State Democrats have urged the Attorney General to look into all of this, Merrick Garland to step in. What potential actions could the D.O.J. take here?

BECKER: Well, there's a variety of Federal laws that might apply, laws with regard to voter intimidation, laws with regard to retention of Federal documents, and then most notably, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prevents discrimination, either intentional discrimination or activity that could result in discrimination against minority voters, and that might be something that the D.O.J. would take a look at.

I mean, this bill still hasn't been passed and signed. It might still be working out the final version. So we'll have to wait and see what the final version is and if it passes, and if it's signed by the Governor, but if it is, I expect, the Department of Justice will take a close look at it and see if it has, for instance, a disparate impact on minority voters in the state.

BROWN: I want to turn to Arizona, where the so-called audit led by Republicans, run by a private contractor, it's been a mess. I mean, you can say that. Now, a follow-up recount is reportedly in the works and it would use untested digital technology. What is your thinking on this phishing expedition and just the overall pattern we're seeing across the country? BECKER: Yes, this is incredibly disturbing. They're making it up as

they go along. The inexperienced and biased Cyber Ninjas from out of state have come in, they are fundraising from secret funding sources to fund this thing. They're changing standards as they go.

And just this week, as you pointed out, they just moved the ballots once again, from next to the Crazy Times Carnival, I wish we were making this stuff up, but we're not. And they started again, changing standards along the way.

They lost the one subcontractor that even had any experience at all, looking at elections. And so we shouldn't be surprised that we're seeing this complete mess of a so-called audit taking place. And while the Arizona Senate is saying this isn't intended to change the outcome, this is really just to get at the truth of what happened now seven months after the election, an election that was already audited multiple times under rules and laws set by the Republican Arizona Senate well before the election and even going beyond that.

What we're seeing is people associated with the losing candidate in this election, grifters and con artists are rallying around the Arizona audit, trying to get people to donate more money. We just saw Rudy Giuliani do that this weekend.

BROWN: Let me just ask you very quickly because we have to go soon. But David, big picture, why should everyone care about this? You know, why is this so important to be paying attention to?

BECKER: Yes, I'm incredibly concerned. We're seeing the sickness spread to places like Georgia and Wisconsin and we are seeing the de- legitimization of democratic self-governance.

The people who authorized this audit in Arizona were actually elected on the same ballots in Arizona. They're actually delegitimizing their own election. we are getting to the point where the winners of the election will never be able to govern and work for the people who elected them.

And now we just saw this weekend in Alaska, where the winning candidate who won by a narrow margin in the Anchorage mayor's race had been engaged in a systemic harassment of election officials during that time.

We're seeing an erosion of democratic self-governance and the legitimacy that goes around that and it concerns me a great deal and we should be very vigilant about all this.

BROWN: All right, David Becker, that sums it up. Thank you so much.

BECKER: Thanks, Pamela.

BROWN: And be sure to join us tomorrow on NEWSROOM, "West Wing" actor and activist Bradley Whitford will talk about this push to get the Senate to pass the Voting Rights Bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRADLEY WHITFORD, ACTOR: Hey, everybody, the scariest thing to me

about the big lie is not the fact that more and more Republicans are bowing down to Trump. We know they're in a cult. It's not that Liz Cheney got ousted from her leadership position.

I can't believe we live in a country where progressives are upset that Liz Cheney lost her leadership position. No, the really scary thing about the big lie is that the G.O.P. is openly using it to strip away voting rights in states all across the country and they are not even trying to hide their racism.

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WHITFORD: One Republican twerp in Texas straight up said that their voter suppression bill would preserve the purity of the ballot box. These people must be stopped and they must be stopped for good.

We've been harping about this for months, but the Senate needs to pass the For The People Act and we need to pressure our senators to do it now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: That conversation it's tomorrow night right here on CNN.

And still ahead on the NEWSROOM, the late singer of a punk rock band talks about concerts restarting after COVID and ticket discounts if you're vaccinated.

But first, as Republicans bury their heads in the sand over what went down on January 6th. Congresswoman Susan Wild isn't about to let them off the hook. She was there on that fateful day taking shelter on the floor of the House there is violence erupted in the Capitol halls. And in this moment, you see here not knowing if she would actually make it out alive.

Congresswoman Wild joins me in just a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:15:25]

BROWN: Republican lawmakers routinely say they back the blue. Here was Congressman Paul Gosar earlier this month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): Let me be perfectly clear, I back the blue 100 percent. You have our unwavering support and gratitude.

Once again during National Police Week, thank you for your sacrifices and leadership you provide our communities. May you never forget -- may we never forget how appreciated you are every single day.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: So if Republicans back the blue, why did they kill it a

bipartisan January 6th Commission which would investigate the attack that left 140 officers injured, one officer dead and two others who later died by suicide?

Well, the mother and girlfriend of fallen Officer Brian Sicknick says Republicans words don't align with their actions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLADYS SICKNICK, MOTHER OF OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: If they had a child that was hurt, was killed on a day like that, they would think very differently -- or if they were hurt. I mean, they could have very well -- somebody could have been killed, one of the congressmen, one of the senators, but apparently they just think well, you know, we're safe because of the men in blue.

SARAH GARZA, BRIAN SICKNICK'S GIRLFRIEND: I think, you know, it's all talk and no action.

Clearly, they're not back in the blue. I mean, the -- it's just unbelievable to me that they could do nothing about this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And this goes beyond Republicans turning their backs on the officers who suffered that day. Some have completely distorted the reality of what occurred on January 6th, including Congressman Gosar, back to him.

Earlier this month, he called the insurrectionists peaceful patriots. Also this month, he praised Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police Officer after she was part of a crowd that tried to rush a barricaded doorway leading to the Speaker's lobby during the insurrection. And then he claimed she was executed by police.

Gosar tweeted again yesterday saying, "They took her life. They could not take her pride. #OneMoreInTheNameOfLove."

Well, Gosar is quoting the U2 civil rights anthem, "Pride (In the Name of Love)," which is about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]

BROWN: His fellow Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger replied on Twitter writing, "Paul, you've lost your mind. Side note to anyone watching, don't breach the House floor illegally, especially after warned."

It is tragic that Ashli Babbitt died on that day. It is tragic that four other people died during the riot. The two officers died by suicide after anyone died or was injured.

For the record, we don't even have the full details of Babbitt's death. We know the D.O.J. closed the investigation saying the officer acted reasonably.

If Republicans truly wanted to honor her memory and that of the others who died and back the blue and prevent this from happening again, you would think that they would want as much information as possible from an independent commission that would give a definitive accounting for one of the most consequential domestic attacks in this country's history.

But apparently not, because Senate Republicans spiked the bipartisan commission that would have provided just that.

And joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Susan Wild. She was among the lawmakers trapped in the chamber where rioters tried to break down the door. You see right here on the floor, Congressman Jason crow holding her hand as chaos ensued. Crow said that he hadn't felt a day like January 6th since he was a Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Congresswoman Wild, thank you so much for joining me tonight.

REP. SUSAN WILD (D-PA): Thank you for having me, Pamela.

BROWN: First off, what is your reaction to the Senate killing the January 6th commission bill?

WILD: Deep disappointment. It passed out of the House on a bipartisan basis. I was very happy that a number of Republican members of Congress voted in favor of it and was very sorry to see the Senate's inaction on this.

BROWN: House Democrats have the votes to initiate a select committee. Should they and should they Invite republicans like Congressman Katko to a select committee who negotiated the commission?

[18:20:05]

WILD: Yes, unfortunately I would have liked to see it done by way of an independent commission. I think that the American public deserves that, deserves to know exactly what was at the root of this insurrection on January 6th.

But I do think that the -- it is sufficiently important that we get an investigation done that since the Senate has failed to pass this through that we will carry forward in the House where I hope and expect that we will continue to have bipartisan support for a bipartisan commission to do the investigation.

BROWN: So you have 11 senators who didn't vote, nine Republicans and two Democrats. What do you make of how this has played out?

WILD: I just think it's a sad time. Right after January 6th, we heard a lot of lawmakers saying things that now they've retreated from saying. I was there. I saw members of the House Democrats and Republicans alike, very, very fearful.

In fact, the Republican side of the floor rushed off the floor before anybody else as soon as it became clear that there was danger outside. And you know, now it's as though it never happened. And it's been called everything from a routine bunch of tourists, to Antifa, to all kinds of things and most of all, just denial.

I believe that we deserve and by, we, I don't mean Congress, I'm talking about the American people deserve to know what happened that day. This was an attack on our democracy, and most of all, what I want to see is for this place that so many people have come and seen democracy in action, seeing their lawmakers on the House floor, sat up in the gallery, which is where I was on that particular day, watching lawmakers create laws.

We haven't been able to get back to normal. We haven't been able to bring the public back and I think it's really important that we do so, and the only way we're ever going to get back to a sense of normalcy is if we know exactly what the systemic causes of this were.

BROWN: I'm going to ask you after the vote, Senator Manchin said he feels sorry for his Republican colleagues, and he said he was disheartened that fear was taking over. What do you think of Republicans, do you think that they are afraid of Trump and that's what drove this? And are you frustrated at all by Manchin and other moderates that are still not wanting to get rid of the filibuster?

WILD: Well, you know, I don't know whether my colleagues across the aisle are afraid or whether they're indifferent to the truth. Either way, it's not a good sign.

Elected officials are supposed to lead, we are supposed to show people the way. We are supposed to want to understand exactly what the truth is. And apparently there's an unwillingness to get there.

And that, to me, is a very sad time for America. I hope that those Republicans who have stood up and stood for democracy and asked for an independent commission and have voted against the actions of the former President that they will prevail, and that --

You know, we have a two-party system, but you can only have a two- party system if one of the parties wants to come to the table and actually look at the truth.

BROWN: Just really quickly, before I get to my last question, you said Republicans were the first to run off the floor. Do you see Republicans who were the first to run off the floor that voted against the commission? Do you know of any in particular?

WILD: There were so many that I can tell you that virtually every one of the members who voted against establishing the commission were in that throng of people trying to rush off the House floor. The House floor was very crowded right before this all started to happen.

I had a bird's eye view up in the gallery, and I can tell you that when we saw movement, it came from there because the doors were open on the Republican side of the floor. Therefore, they were closest to the exit and there was nobody that was declining to rush out.

BROWN: All right, well, that's important information for us. Congresswoman Susan Wild, thank you.

WILD: Thank you.

BROWN: And tonight, sad news out of Hollywood. Beloved actor Gavin MacLeod is dead at the age of 90. We go behind his seven-decade career with one of his co-stars, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:29:00]

BROWN: Sad news tonight for 70s television fans, actor Gavin MacLeod has passed away at the age of 90.

Now some will remember him as the unflappable Captain Stubing aboard "The Love Boat," always managing to keep things shipshape, despite constant romantic turbulence on the high seas.

But many will argue, he is best known and loved for his stint on the iconic "Mary Tyler Moore Show." MacLeod played head writer Murray Slaughter of the fictitious and hilarious news department of WJM in Minneapolis.

Except for that time, he was tempted to produce the happy homemaker thinking it means more money and prestige.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Murray?

MURRAY SLAUGHTER, FICTIONAL CHARACTER PLAYED BY GAVIN MACLEOD: Hi, Lou.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is everything going, Murray?

SLAUGHTER: Fine, just fine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm out of pins, dear. Don't sit down. I'll be right back.

SLAUGHTER: She didn't have a dummy big enough.

[LAUGHTER]

[18:30:29]

SLAUGHTER: Maybe she did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And the touching tweet fellow Mary Tyler Moore alum, Ed Asner, who you just saw in that clip writes, "My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator. I will see you in a bit Gavin. Tell the gang I will see them in a bit. Betty! It's just you and me now." Betty, of course, meaning Betty White, who also made that show so

beloved. And I'm honored to welcome Ed Asner to the show. Ed, thank you so much for joining us. I'm so sorry about your loss. Before we get into all these memories you have just tell us how emotional this loss is for you.

VOICE OF ED ASNER, ACTOR "THE MARY TYLER MOORE" & "LOU GRANT": Well, Gavin, tends to withdraw from society. He moved down to the desert with Patty, his wife. And I want to extend my sympathy to Patty, his lovely wife, and also to his first wife, Rudy (ph), who was there during mostly Mary Tyler Moore filming.

He was the best guy. I would also say that it's a minority survival game. Betty (ph), who's over a hundred, I guess. There's me who's down at the bottom and there's john Amos (inaudible) three minorities who's surviving; a woman, black man and Jew.

BROWN: All legends. We hope you have many more years to go. I want to ask you about your memories here. The Mary Tyler Moore Show could not have been written or cast more perfectly. What is your favorite memory of working with Gavin on that show?

ASNER: Well, he was always aware of the finagling going on, the double talk and the deception. And he was a good confidant. Mary always took him into her confidence and I did. And, of course, there was Ted who would take the world into his confidence. He was just the best of guys. He was the best friend you could find, the best pal.

BROWN: And if you look at his resume, he was, I mean, in everything from Perry Mason to that '70s show and a career that spanned seven decades.

ASNER: Yes.

BROWN: Do you think comedy was his strong suit?

ASNER: Yes. I would say the proof is in the pudding.

BROWN: Yes. He could be a killer with the one liners but he also had the sweetness to his character. There's at least one person on my team who credits The Mary Tyler Moore Show for inspiring a career in TV news. Did you all know you were making such a legendary show at the time?

ASNER: Oh, we didn't. It did kind of grew us and we grew with it. But he was a rock. He was a mainstay. We leaned on him. And there was the show where Betty takes advantage of my virginity and he becomes aware of it along (inaudible) who confides in him and lets him know what happened. And I regarded as betrayal is knowing that I slept with Betty, but in the end his discretion and his gentle manliness won the day.

BROWN: Ed Asner, thank you so much for coming on. So sorry, again, for your loss, but thank you for sharing all of your precious memories with your buddy Gavin MacLeod. We'll be right back.

ASNER: Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:38:29]

BROWN: What does it mean hadn't prosecutor think about the businesses or know, I should say, about the businesses of former President Donald Trump? Well, a group of citizens may soon be able to answer that question. This week the Manhattan District Attorney reportedly convened a grand jury to consider evidence in a criminal investigation against the former President and members of the Trump Organization. This news was first reported by The Washington Post and has not been confirmed by the District Attorney's office.

It has been confirmed, however, that investigators have obtained access to the former president's tax records. Let's dig deeper with the State Attorney for Palm Beach County, Florida, Dave Aronberg. Dave, nice to see you. How significant is this grand jury development?

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: Good evening, Pamela. It is significant. Keep in mind, this investigation started in 2018. So the time for further investigation is really over.

The time for indictments is now and I think that's what's laying ahead, because this grand jury is a special grand jury that's going to meet for six months which is longer than the typical grand jury in New York and will meet three times a week, which is more often than the typical grand jury, because I think they're going to hear some complex financial crimes.

And the key to indicting and then convicting Donald Trump would be Allen Weisselberg, the CFO. They need him to walk the grand jurors and then ultimately the trial jurors through this complex maze of financial transactions. I think the fact that Cyrus Vance Jr., the outgoing DA of Manhattan is leaving at the end of this year means you'll probably see a charge by the end of this year and more likely the end of the summer or early fall.

[18:40:06]

Because Cyrus Vance Jr. does not want to leave this monumental decision which is his legacy issue to a successor and he also doesn't want to have a charge and then just walk out the door. So I expect indictments to happen sooner than later.

BROWN: And just to be clear against two.

ARONBERG: Well, the DA has been investigating Donald Trump himself. The Attorney General has been investigating the Trump family and the Trump Organization. Now, they have a division of labor. They're working together. So you can see Donald Trump being indicted this year and perhaps as soon as the summertime.

Now, one consideration is that Donald Trump right now is in Bedminster, New Jersey, which has a democratic governor. But he will be returning to Mar-A-Lago in the winter. That's right here in Palm Beach County where the governor is Ron DeSantis who is a Trump devotee and he may try to delay the extradition. He may try to mock it up, even though he can't stop the extradition.

So you have to think that Manhattan is taking that into consideration when they move ahead with the charges in front of the grand jury.

BROWN: And as we know we should point out the Donald Trump's attorneys have batted down any allegations of wrongdoing, but I'm asking about the evidence that we have seen so far and there's a lot we haven't seen, let's be clear. Are you able to get a sense of what charges prosecutors might be looking at more specifically?

ARONBERG: Well, the whole thing started with allegations about payoffs to Stormy Daniels, a porn star, and that were deducted improperly. Michael Cohen made these allegations and in fact he's served prison time. And so that led to other issues of tax fraud and mortgage fraud, where allegedly the Trump Organization would inflate the values of their properties to get a larger loan from financial institutions and then decrease the values of their properties for tax purposes.

You can't do that. That's talking outside both sides of their mouth so that could bring them charge with the tax fraud, mortgage fraud even RICO. The State of New York has a RICO Act racketeering where you need at least three crimes and it's not just for mafias anymore, RICO charges are for businesses too and they could face that.

BROWN: I want to turn to another issue at play here. And that, of course, is the President's former personal attorney. There are some news in that investigation about Rudy Giuliani, a federal judge has now granted a request by prosecutors to appoint a special master to review material seized from Giuliani's home and office in April. Tell us what that means, the significance of this. Is this good or bad news for Mr. Giuliani?

ARONBERG: Well, Giuliani's lawyer wanted special treatment for Giuliani. See, Giuliani wanted the affidavits of the law enforcement officials that were the basis for the search warrants. He wanted special treatment, because you're not entitled to that. The only way you get that is after you've been charged with the crime and Giuliani has not been charged with a crime.

So he said, well, he's a lawyer. He wanted access to that information. And the judge said no. And instead, just to protect attorney-client privilege, we're going to appoint a special master to review the materials. Giuliani's lawyer did not object to that. But the fact that it was appointed shows there was a win for the government, because they didn't give Giuliani any special treatment.

And Pamela it is kind of ironic that the lock them up crowd has a very different view of police when they see them walking up their driveway.

BROWN: All right. Dave Aronberg, thank you so much live for us from West Palm Beach.

ARONBERG: Thanks, Pamela. BROWN: Well, for 20 bucks you can see the punk band Teenage

Bottlerocket live but there is a catch, you have to be vaccinated. If you don't have your shots that ticket will cost you a thousand dollars. Coming up, I'm going to talk to the band's lead singer, Ray Carlisle, about the no-vax tax.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:48:31]

BROWN: Well, you could call it a no vax tax. That's what one Florida concert promoter is slapping on attendees who can't prove they've been vaccinated against COVID-19. The breakdown is this, $18 a ticket if you've had your shot, 1,000 bucks if you haven't. The band teenager bottle rocket will be performing at the venue next month that's operating under this restriction.

Ray Carlisle is the singer and guitar player for the band. He joins me now. Good to see you, Ray. So what was your reaction when you first heard about this setup?

RAY CARLISLE, SINGER & GUITAR PLAYER, TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET BAND: We thought (inaudible) kidding and then we set up a Zoom meeting with him and we figured out that he wasn't. And he's doing his best to keep the audience and the band safe, the staff at the venue safe and we go along with this idea.

BROWN: So you're saying at first you thought it was a prank and then you realize, oh, no, this is actually real and this is actually going to happen. They're going to give discounted tickets to people who've been vaccinated and more expensive tickets to people who haven't.

CARLISLE: Yes. Yes. That's the vibe on this particular show. Not every show that we're playing on this tour, but for this particular show, that's what's going on.

BROWN: So according to this new report out only 33 percent of those surveyed say they feel comfortable going to an indoor concert following the pandemic. How concerned are you, Ray, about how much this pandemic could have a long-term effect on concert turnout?

[18:50:00]

CARLISLE: Well, I'm concerned that people are going to do it, jump into it and be unsafe. And one of our shows has moved the show to the parking lot so we can play, so that we could rock. I mean, it's just we're trying to do all we can. And long-term, I think, that eventually it's going to be back to normal.

BROWN: So you do think even though there's a sizable portion of concert goers who were hesitant right now, you think it will get back to normal. But what is your message to your fans who are still hesitant to get that vaccine?

CARLISLE: I would say don't do it because Teenage Bottlerocket is doing it or telling you to do it. Do it for yourself. Do it for your health. Do it for your community. And I would say that if you want to see us and you can't see us because of the high-ticket price in St. Petersburg, Florida, you can always go take a road trip to Orlando and see us there.

BROWN: So is everyone in your band vaccinated? And do you think that should be required given the price unvaccinated fans will have to pay?

CARLISLE: I think that each promoters doing their own thing but have their own precautions they're taking on this tour in Florida. And this guy is doing this to keep the show, keep people that are going to the show safe and keeping the band safe. And yes, my band is all vaccinated. We're all vaccinated.

BROWN: Just really quickly, if you would. I imagine it's been really difficult this past year during the pandemic not being out there with all of your fan fans. How excited are you to finally get out there again?

CARLISLE: We're so excited and we can't wait to get out there and shred for everyone that's into Teenage Bottlerocket. If you're not familiar with our band, please check us out. We have a new record coming out in October. Thanks for having me.

BROWN: All right. Ray Carlisle, good promo there on our show. Thanks so much.

CARLISLE: Later.

BROWN: Well, some of the nation's top researchers will be helping President Biden's renewed effort to search for the origin of the coronavirus. A group called the National Labs is joining the U.S. Intelligence Community as they look into the virus leaked from a Chinese laboratory. A theory that had initially been rejected.

National Labs is a collection of 17 elite research facilities that will align under the Energy Department. A White House official says they were brought in because of their ability to crunch massive amounts of data. And sources say that this renewed investigation will involve not newly require data but digging through vast amounts of untapped evidence.

This is incredible, a man has two Austin police officers to thank for saving his life and this shocking body cam video of the rescue. You're not going to want to miss this coming up.

Plus, the richest black neighborhood in America ripped apart by a violent white mob. Uncover the hidden story in the CNN film Dreamland The Burning of Black Wall Street. It premieres Monday night at 9 Eastern.

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BROWN: A Texas man owes his life to two Austin police officers who literally pulled him out of a fire. Watch this amazing body cam footage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, buddy. Let's go. Come up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help me. Help me (inaudible). Come on. Come on out. Come on. Come on. Pull, pull, pull, pull, pull. Come on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Wow. Those two heroes are Officers Eduardo Pineda and Chandler Carrera of the Austin Police Department. They joined CNN newsroom earlier to talk about this rescue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Officer Pineda, does your training kick in at some point like when you're doing this or is this adrenaline like - walk us through how that goes.

OFFICER EDUARDO PINEDA, AUSTIN POLICE DEPT.: It's actually pure training at that point. I felt the adrenaline after everything was done. But during the actual moment (inaudible) the training kick in and just react.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Since then, a photo of the heroes and their brave rescue has gone viral.

Well, the star of television hits like the West Wing and The Handmaid's Tale, actor and activist Bradley Whitford will be joining us tomorrow to talk about his fight to convince senators to back the voting rights bill.

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