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American Legion Post Suspended For Cutting Mic During Speech Honoring Early Role Of Blacks In Memorial Day; Judge Overturns California's 32-year Assault Weapons Ban; Senate Sergeant-At-Arms: Cybersecurity Threat Is A "Much Greater Concern" Than Another January 6; NYT: Trump Finance Executives Testifies Before Grand Jury; Anheuser-Busch Announces Vaccination Campaign With The White House; Around 559,000 Jobs Added In May, Unemployment Rate Below Six Percent. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired June 5, 2021 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR, EARLY START (voice over): The American Legion disappointed by what happened, saying: We salute LTC Kemter's service and his moving remarks about the history of Memorial Day and the important role played by Black Americans in honoring our fallen heroes. We regret any actions taken that detracts from this important message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Laura Jarrett, thank you so much for that report. The next hour of the NEWSROOM starts right now.

Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. All right, we begin with a major court ruling that affects one of the largest states in the country. As our nation struggles with an epidemic of gun violence last night, a judge in California overturned a more than 30-year ban on assault weapons in that state.

And in the decision Judge Roger Benitez says the law violates Second Amendment Rights and that weapons like the popular AR-15, which were used in the deadly shootings in Newtown, Parkland, San Bernardino, Orlando, Aurora, Las Vegas, and the list goes on, are akin to a I'm quoting him now "Swiss Army Knife".

And "Are the perfect combination of Home Defense Weapon and Homeland Defense Equipment", a statement infuriating the father of Jamie Gutenberg, who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in that mass shooting in 2018.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM JAME GUTTENEBERG: My daughter's in a cemetery excuse me, because a Swiss Army Knife was not used, because it was an AR-15, my daughter was on the third floor. If a Swiss Army Knife were used my daughter and most of those other kids and adults would be alive today. And now they say it's common. It's typical. No, you're full of crap judge and you're going to lose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, just in the first six months of this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive there have been more than 8000 deaths and 244 mass shootings. CNN's Polo Sandoval joining me right now. Polo, the California Attorney General is already appealing this decision. But let's talk about how we even got to this point.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So if you look back to 1989, that's initially when this was actually instituted here Fred, this law had been regularly updated and changed but had been in place, at least until now.

Of course, subject to an appeal here, where the judge just yesterday Judge Roger Benitez, essentially ruling that it would be unconstitutional to prevent law abiding citizens in the State of California from purchasing and owning these kinds of semi auto - semi- automatic rifles.

And a portion of that ruling is what really has so many people outraged there when you see how the judge compared some of these weapons to Swiss Army Knives, multi-use Swiss Army Knives that specific part of that ruling that so many people outraged here is where the judge writes like a Swiss Army Knife the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon.

It also Homeland Defense Equipment Firearm deemed as assault weapons are fairly ordinary, ordinary popular modern rifles. And that's really what has spurred so much outrage not just by the - from the families of those who have lost family members to mass shootings.

But also, by California state official including the Chief Executive Gavin Newsom, who responded to this ruling saying that he is going to continue with this fight for stricter gun laws.

And he also tweeted a statement that reads, "Overturning California's assault weapon ban and comparing it to AR-15 to a Swiss Army Knife is a disgusting slap in the face of those who have lost loved ones to gun violence. This is a direct threat to public safety and innocent Californians. We won't stand for it."

Again, they're coming from the Governor, his attorney general also saying that he will be appealing this in fact, he has about 30 days to do so. Now as for the Second Amendment Foundation, that's actually one of the groups that were involved in the lawsuit back in 2019. That brought us to this point.

It is a pro-gun group they said, "They are delighted with the outcome". That's certainly not what you're hearing, though from so many family members who have lost loved ones to guns, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

Let's talk more about this Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi joining me now from Chicago. Congressman, always good to see you but wow! I want your reaction on this ruling in California because there are a lot of people were very upset from the Governor of California to the Attorney General and you know family members of victims of gun violence.

You represent Chicago, a city where gun violence has taken thousands and thousands of lives. So how do you interpret this ruling?

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): I think it's a seriously flawed ruling Fredericka. To compare an AR-15 to a Swiss Army Knife runs counter to what any ordinary person would believe.

[12:05:00]

KRISHNAMOORTHI: The ruling was also shocking coming on Gun Violence Awareness Day where you know literally thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people are thinking about how their lives and their families were adversely and very negatively impacted by gun violence?

I expect this to be reversed on appeal. And I think this only strengthens the resolve of folks like me and leaders in Congress to pursue common sense gun measures.

WHITFIELD: So we heard Polo Sandoval say that, you know, pro-gun groups are delighted with this rule and just to elaborate a little bit on the ruling. You know the judge saying that the state's definition of illegal military style rifles unlawfully deprives law abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states and by the Supreme Court.

So that is his justification for this ruling that this is unconstitutional. On what grounds do you believe an appeal might be successful by the Attorney General?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, for one thing, I think the Second Amendment is really about allowing for people to have weapons for "Self-defense", that's the core purpose of the Second Amendment. In this case, the AR- 15 is not merely a weapon for self-defense; it's a weapon a tool of mass shootings.

That's why it was the weapon of choice in Aurora, Colorado, the tree - a tree of life synagogue, it was used in Parkland, it was used in so many places, because including Las Vegas, and by the way, where dozens and dozens were killed instantly, because of the AR-15's lethal nature.

And so, when the judge calls it the "Perfect combination of a Home Defense Weapon and Homeland Defense Equipment", it sounds more like an advertisement and basically legislating on his part. When they - when instead, the California legislature and the Governor and the people of that state decided it was not an appropriate tool of self-defense.

WHITFIELD: Congressman, let me shift gears if you don't mind. I want to talk to you about Cybersecurity; you sit on both the Oversight and Intelligence Committees in the House. So how are you dealing with these threats, and now attacks plural? KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, whatever we're doing right now is not working. As you know, last year, there were about 15,000 ransomware attacks in one year alone. And so we have to do at least three things, Fredericka.

First, I think that a lot of folks, including myself and other members of Congress think that we're a little bit too much on defense, and now we need to play more offense. Secondly, that's going to involve in part, holding host countries that harbored cyber criminals and gangs accountable for the actions of those cyber criminals.

We, thankfully under the Biden Administration have increased the cost somewhat, but I think we're going to have to ramp those up and make it very clear to states such as Russia, that the costs are going to be considerable, for harboring these cyber criminals.

And then third, we're going to have to adapt a system of carrots and sticks with regard to private industry in this country to adopt proper Cybersecurity defenses because the status quo is untenable right now.

WHITFIELD: I want you to listen to the Senate Sergeant of Arms speaking to CNN yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREN GIBSON, SENATE SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: I worry a lot more about Cybersecurity than I do about another mob attacking the Capitol. Certainly our networks have attempted intrusions every single day. And so Cybersecurity for me is a much greater concern.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Are you more concerned about Cybersecurity attacks versus another insurrection?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I'm concerned about both Fredericka quite frankly. And with regard to the latter issue, quite frankly, because the Senate did not adopt the bipartisan commission that we voted out of the House, we are essentially inviting another attack on the Capitol.

And that's why I think that Speaker Pelosi should do what she intends to do, which is to make sure that we do conduct some type of inquiry in the House to prevent what happened on January 6th from happening again, because doing nothing is not an option.

WHITFIELD: And Republicans have been reticent to be on board with this January 6th Commission. Do you believe whether it's how Speaker Nancy Pelosi's idea, or do you believe the Biden Administration needs to involve itself even though the President himself he would not advocate for a commission? But what are the other options?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think the speaker outlined them the other day. For one thing she said that a specialist - committee could be created.

[12:10:00] KRISHNAMOORTHI: Another option would be for one existing committee in the House to basically lead the investigation. And then the third is to allow existing committees to continue to pursue their avenues of investigation over the areas of their jurisdiction.

But again, we can't allow some very important questions to go unanswered with regard to January 6th; because a lot of people feel that the insurrection may not have ended on January 6th that may have started that day.

WHITFIELD: Global pandemic ongoing. You've been pushing the White House to donate excess vaccine doses, specifically to India. What do you want to see from the administration and how quickly?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I'm glad that the Biden Administration has started the process of donating millions of doses of vaccines. But now we need to ramp up to talking about billions of doses of vaccines getting administered throughout the world.

And so I'm initiating legislation called the NOVID Act it's a play on words, no more COVID which would establish a program that would help vaccinate 60 percent of the world's 92 poorest countries populations Fredericka.

This is not only the right thing to do, but it's the smart thing to do in our national interest because if we do nothing variants, which are multiplying exponentially abroad, are going to defeat our first- generation vaccines here in the U.S. And that will set us back despite the incredible progress that we've made under the Biden Administration with regard to vaccinations, and of course, the economic recovery.

WHITFIELD: All right, global pandemic, there have to be global solutions. Thank you so much, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. Appreciate to be well.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you, Fredericka. You, too.

WHITIFIELD: All right, straight ahead this hour, the legal stakes for Donald Trump and his family just got higher. A key official who handles finances for the Trump Organization just went before a Grand Jury.

And just in the Justice Department changes policy after revelations that they secretly seized reporter records and is free beer enough to remove vaccine skeptics? I'll talk to Anheuser Busch about their partnership to get more Americans to roll up their sleeves.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:15:00]

WHITFIELD: All right. We are following new developments in the expanding probe of the Trump Organization. "The New York Times" reporting that the Manhattan District Attorney's Office has brought a senior Trump Organization financial official before a Grand Jury. CNN's Erica Orden joining us now from New York So Erica, how significant is this for the District Attorney's investigation?

ERICA ORDEN, CNN REPORTER: Well, it seems as though the district attorney's interest in this Executive Jeff McCarney is tied primarily to his relationship with the Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.

The DA's office under Cy Vance has been very interested in Weisselberg in trying to pressure him to cooperate with its investigation in hopes that it could at some point later on down the line bring charges against other Trump Organization executives, possibly Donald Trump, possibly even the company itself as an institution.

WHITFIELD: And then will - oh sorry.

ORDEN: And so McCarney's long running sort of relationship with Allen Weisselberg. They've worked together for decades, is likely of interest Vance.

WHITFIELD: Alright, sorry about that. I'm anxious to hear more. Because what do we know about others who have testified or been called?

ORDEN: So McCarney is the first name we know of who has - who has testified before the special grand jury. We know that at least one other witness has been asked to prepare to testify. And it's likely that there are many, many other witnesses who will be called to testify.

This is a long running investigation and has a lot of different avenues, including the hush money payments that that were made - during the course of the 2016 election cycle. The Donald Trump's tax returns, of course, which the Manhattan DA has had for several months now and various other pieces, including the Weisselberg piece of the investigation they just mentioned.

And so it is likely that many other people will be called to - will be called or compelled to testify before the grand jury.

WHITFIELD: And then what is this say, potentially about how advanced this investigation is?

ORDEN: Well, it's significant that they've begun having people testify before this special grand jury. However, it does seem that we have a ways to go the special grand jury has only been in panel - was only a panel a short while ago.

And like I said there were probably many, many, many other witnesses who will be called to testify. So that could take some time. It is it is likely that Cy Vance, who is leaving office at the end of his term, we'll want to make a decision about whether to bring charges in this case before he leaves office. But we still have a while to go before that point.

WHITFIELD: All right. Erica Orden, thank you so much. Good to see you.

ORDEN: Thank you. WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, from protests to the ballot box how activists are bringing change to City Hall?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:20:00]

WHITFIELD: Welcome back. For the second night in a row protesters gathered in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. They were demonstrating following the death of Winston Smith who was identified by his family as the man shot and killed by U.S. Marshals on Thursday.

The protests also come just after the one year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. Some of the activists who had a voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement are now using their voices for politics CNN's Leyla Santiago joining me now with more on that story. So Leyla you spoke with several activists who are now getting involved in politics?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. We spoke to a handful of protesters turn candidates, very different personalities from New York to here in Miami, but they did have one thing in common Fredericka, and that is the motivation behind their run for local office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTIAGO (on camera): If you could say something to George Floyd today what would that be?

[12:25:00]

CHI OSSE, CANDIDATE, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 36: That's a deep question.

SANTIAGO (voice over): To understand that pause.

FRANCOIS ALEXANDRE, CANDIDATE, CITY OF MIAMI COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 5: I think that--

SANTIAGO (voice over): To understand that pain.

ALEXANDRE: Sorry.

SANTIAGO (voice over): Is to understand their drive one year after the murder of George Floyd.

LATONYA TATE, CANDIDATE, BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 9: We can no longer ignore what is going on. You know, we got to have these hard conversations whether people want to have them or not.

SANTIAGO (voice over): They marched in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are alive.

SANTIAGO (voice over): Alabama, Florida, protesting police violence and demanding change. Today, they're taking the next step for movement seeking greater political power.

OSSE: My name is Chi Osse. I'm in my 20s. We need young people in office, right?

SANTIAGO (voice over): Chi Osse is running for City Council in Brooklyn, New York District 36. If elected, he would become one of the youngest and one of the first self-described we are candidates to win a New York City Council race.

TATE: Well, I'm LaTonya Tate and I'm the woman in rise.

SANTIAGO (voice over): A retired Law Enforcement Officer and Founder of the Social Justice Advocacy Group LaTonya Tate is running for City Council District 9 in Birmingham, a city with a history of violent police aggression against civil rights protesters.

ALEXANDRE: My name is Francois Alexandre.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You went--

ALEXANDRE: Yes, running for office brother.

SANTIAGO (voice over): 35-year-old Haitian American Francois Alexandre is running to be the next Commissioner for District 5 in Miami, home to Little Haiti. These protesters turned candidate say the decision to take their fight to the polls was fueled by George Floyd and that horrifying cell phone video.

OSSE: It filled me with anger and it fills me with this passion to stand up and do something about it.

ALEXANDRE: For me, it was just a bit more personal. George Floyd's life didn't have to be taken. And nor did I have to be beaten.

SANTIAGO (voice over): He tells us Floyd forced him to relive his own experience with police violence nearly eight years ago. CNN reached out to the Miami Police Department they declined to comment due to the case being open pending litigation. Alexandre is still waiting for his day in court, acknowledging he gets a day Floyd did not.

TATE: I saw this police officer, you know, his knee on this man's neck. I was like this unacceptable. You know, being law enforcement myself.

SANTIAGO (voice over): It's not what Tate learned in training to be a parole officer. She believes she's a strong candidate now not only because of her experience in law enforcement, but also because she comes from a long line of civil rights activists.

TATE: I'm just picking up the mantle. And I'm this the young generation is behind and they looking down saying go girl.

SANTIAGO (voice over): The next step for this generation of protesters, systemic change.

ALEXANDRE: You're going from protesting and advocating on an issue, to now wanting to be the man that solves it.

SANTIAGO (voice over): From policing strategies--

TATE: Community policing, when we got, you know, build that trust back.

SANTIAGO (voice over): To gentrification and affordable housing.

OSSE: It's never truly affordable for the people in the community.

SANTIAGO (voice over): For them the protests were just the beginning. The fight continues at the ballot box in local government, something they all wish George Floyd could be here to see. Because if they could say just one thing to him today, a year after a police officer killed him on that street in Minneapolis.

ALEXANDRE: Yes, I love you.

OSSE: Yes, that I love him.

TATE: You definitely - should be here. He deserved a change just like everybody else.

OSSE: I'm so sorry. But I wish no black person was killed by law enforcement. But what he started is something that's going to create some everlasting change for individuals that look like him and look like me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANTIAGO: And Fredericka a little bit more perspective. I spoke to Charlotte City Councilman Member Braxton Winston. He is a protester turned politician. And his point is that yes, this is the next step to take it to the ballot box for this particular movement.

But he argues it's not enough these candidates once and if elected, need to understand have a greater understanding of the institutions that run local government and learn how to create political will to move their agenda forward?

WHITFIELD: Leyla that was so powerful and just hearing how these individuals are using the power of their voices to help provoke change. Thanks so much for introducing us to so many of them Leyla Santiago in Miami.

All right, and this major announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice just moments ago, it says it will no longer secretly seize reporters records to investigate leaks.

[12:30:08]

A press statement described it as a change to its long standing practice. CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter joining us now, I mean, Brian, who knew that there was such a policy that really allowed it to happen. So explain how significant this is. BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: This comes in the wake of CNN, "The Washington Post," and "The New York Times," all learning that phone or e-mail records were secretly seized by the Trump era Justice Department. It was the Biden era DOJ that informed CNN and "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" of this practice.

And media advocacy groups have been up in arms about this, because first it was the Obama administration known for this, then the Trump administration. The question was, what would Biden do? Then Fred, there was another development overnight, a really shocking story on the front page of this morning's "New York Times," it's not just that "The New York Times" had some of its phone records secretly seized for a leak investigation.

Also, "The New York Times" was under a gag order, a judge put a gag order in place, which meant that "The New York Times" lawyers couldn't even tell the editors and the reporters what was going on. Now that is a shocking practice that has a strong suspicion of an abuse of power.

And now the Biden administration is saying this will not happen again, a new statement from the DOJ saying we are changing the practice, we will not see compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the media doing their job.

So in other words, if the government is trying to find a leaker, they will not try to get our phone records and e-mails in order to find the leaker. Of course, this is a statement from the DOJ. Time will tell if they live up to it.

WHITFIELD: Yes, I mean, that's extraordinary. And then, you know, CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked the President about some of this last month, and this is what he said.

STELTER: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Should the government be seizing reporters' phone records and e-mails? And would you prevent your Justice Department from doing that?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Only you, but beyond yours -- but no.

COLLINS: But honestly.

BIDEN: Absolutely, positively, it's wrong. It's simply, simply wrong.

COLLINS: So, you won't let your Justice Department do that?

BIDEN: No, I will not let that happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Do you suppose that that question and his response actually helped provoke this change? STELTER: I think it may have had a lot to do with it. Biden making a promise now, today, the Justice Department is implementing that promise. But this is a change from bipartisan practice. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have been known to be very aggressive in leak investigation.

So Biden is making a big change here, and now DOJ is implementing it. Of course, there's still a lot we don't know. We don't know, for example, when they got CNN correspondent Barbara Starr's phone records and e-mail records, so they knew who she was calling and who she was e-mailing. We don't know the outcome of that investigation necessarily.

We also don't know if CNN or "Washington Post" wherever under a gag order. We do not know. So there's a lot unclear here. But it is significant. A milestone now for press relations, that the DOJ says this is going to end. And it all matters, Fred, because the viewers at home hope and want reporters to be advocating for them, getting the news, talking to sources. That's our job, and the government should not be infringing on that job.

WHITFIELD: Right, significant that there was such a policy, significant that it's now been ended. All right, Brian Stelter, thank you so much.

[12:33:31]

All right, coming up next, Americans are being offered everything from free childcare to winning a million bucks even a free beer if you get vaccinated for COVID. So how is that going to work? Our next guest will explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. United Airlines has just announced plans to resume nonstop flights from Washington to Paris on July 1st, with France now preparing to begin accepting international travelers again in the coming days. This as the Biden administration announces plans to begin sharing vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month. CNN has reporters around the world covering the latest headlines.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Until recently it was a rare beacon of hope in this pandemic. But now, Vietnam has reported half of its total coronavirus cases in just the past months alone. The Health Minister had said that he believed there was a new variant within the country. And in his words, he said it was very dangerous.

Now after a very initial data, experts say that they believe it could be a mutation from the variant first identified in India that they will need more data before they can figure out if in fact it is more infectious. But they say what is of concern at this point is the low level of vaccination within Vietnam. If in fact the variant first identified in India is prevalent within the country, it is worrying that less than 1 percent of the population has so far been inoculated.

I'm Paula Hancocks. DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm David McKenzie in Johannesburg. The move by the Biden administration to donate some initial 25 million vaccine doses is widely welcomed on the African continent. Some 14 countries according to the WHO are seeing an upward trend of this pandemic and a third wave is widely expected.

Now these initial doses would have an impact on that wave, say scientists. But the Biden administration says it's a down payment, a first step. They're also importantly going to increase manufacturing of vaccines in the U.S., and crucially pressure other rich countries to also donate their excess doses to try and stop this pandemic.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: British authorities are getting increasingly concerned about the delta variant of COVID-19 first spotted in India as well as new potential mutations they say have been picked up in places like nearby Nepal.

The delta variant appears to be the dominant one that is circulating here in the U.K., it's up some 79 percent in terms of new infections recently and also the hour rate, the transmission rate of the virus from one person to another is also rising.

[12:40:12]

It's above that crucial level of one now, it's at 1.2. All of this raises the question of whether or not the U.K. will be able to stick to its target of lifting domestic COVID restrictions within two weeks time.

Nina dos Santos, CNN in London.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much to our reporters around the world. Dr. Anthony Fauci's says it's a tragedy that so many Americans are refusing to take advantage of available vaccine doses while people in poorer countries around the world weigh desperately for their chance to get a shot.

Kentucky is now the latest state trying to incentivize people to get inoculated, announcing a million dollar lottery for vaccinated adults and a shot at a college scholarship for minors. This as the White House announces a partnership with Anheuser-Busch, which is promising to buy a round for the whole country if the nation reaches the President's goal to have 70 percent of U.S. adults, partially vaccinated by July 4th.

Joining me right now to discuss is Cesar Vargas, the Chief External Affairs Officer for Anheuser-Busch, so good to see you Cesar. So first, how do we all get our beer if of course America does reach that goal of 70 percent inoculated?

CESAR VARGAS, CHIEF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OFFICER, ANHEUSER-BUSCH: No, it's exactly as you said, Fredricka, it's nice to be here. We're going to get in on this, this effort to try to get as many people vaccinated as possible over the next 30 days or so. And we've teamed up with the White House, the President had laid out this goal of 70 percent vaccinations as you mentioned. And when we get there, we're going to unlock the biggest beer giveaway in our history. And we hope that provides a little excitement, and a little incentive. It's really just one part of what we're doing as a company to use our unique capabilities, our reach, and the power of our brands to accelerate our recovery.

In addition to the vaccine work, we're also investing in our facilities, creating jobs, and we're really supporting the bar and the restaurant community that's been hit hard by this pandemic, and helping them reopen and recover safely.

WHITFIELD: So if the U.S. is now somewhere around that 50 percent, you know, range of people being inoculated, do you think it's conceivable that 70 percent will have at least one shot by July 4th? I mean, that would mean you have less than a month to try to figure out how people are going to get their brewskis.

VARGAS: Yes. No, we're excited. And we welcome that challenge. And our focus, we sure hope we get there. But our focus is going to be on driving as much awareness, as much excitement as we can. Do our part. This is really a collective effort. And we want to compliment what the government is doing, what other companies are doing.

And we want to bring, you know, what we can --

WHITFIELD: Yes.

VARGAS: -- so that we can get to this, this milestone, which will be great for all of us.

WHITFIELD: Yes. OK.

VARGAS: We're so close. It's a very exciting time, Fredricka. You know, we're so close --

WHITFIELD: Yes.

VARGAS: -- to being on the other side of this pandemic, at a time when we can start getting back together with our family, with our friends --

WHITFIELD: Right.

VARGAS: -- at bars, restaurants. So we're going to do everything we can to help us get there.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's very hopeful. I mean, this should be exciting for everyone. You know, I got a lot of beer drinkers on my team. And so people want to know, I mean, how is the beer going to be distributed? I mean, how -- is it for everybody? Is it for just those who've been vaccinated? Of course, adults, you know, those over 18, depending on what state you're in, but how's it going to go?

VARGAS: Yes, sure. So, yes, it's for everybody. When we say we're buying around for America, we mean, everybody. So it doesn't really matter if you're vaccinated or not. We just think that as a country, and as a community, if we all can work together to get to this 70 percent milestone, it's worth celebrating.

So we want to help that celebration. And the way it's going to work, Fredricka, is we've set up a website, and we're going to ask people to upload a photograph of them having a beer with their family, with their friends at home or out.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

VARGAS: And then an exchange, we're going to get them a coupon which they can go out and redeem to get a beer on Anheuser-Busch.

WHITFIELD: OK. So that's the incentive for ordinary, you know, Americans to, you know, get vaccinated, these incentives are very helpful, but then you do have an arrangement that you've made with the White House, what's the incentive? Or what's part of the deal that's been made between Anheuser-Busch and the White House?

VARGAS: Yes, there's no deal. It's, you know, as we were working on doing our part to help accelerate our recovery. And as the White House knew that they wanted to make this push during the month of June. As we started talking, we just both realized right away that it just made much more sense to team up and make this announcement together because if the goal here is to drive some excitement and drive some awareness, we can do that much better together than we could on our own.

[12:45:08]

And our incentive, really, Fredricka, is that moment when this country is getting back together again, OK? When they get back together at bars, restaurants, at a ballgame, or just in their backyard for a barbecue, you know, and we hope an Anheuser-Busch product might be there. But it's not just about the beer. It's about those moments and it's about those people that we have missed so much over the last 15 months that we can't wait to get back to.

WHITFIELD: OK, we are all collectively looking forward to that time when we can all with ease, just get together, embrace one another, have fun, and be hopeful again. All right, Cesar Vargas, thank you so much, really appreciate it.

VARGAS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, it's the latest battle in the culture war and next political fight with kids and teachers caught in the middle. Should critical race theory be taught in classrooms?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:50:26]

WHITFIELD: All right, in this week's Think Big a veterinarian in Las Vegas created a bowl that tricks pets into thinking that they're actually eating human food.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pet owners don't understand the harmful effects of table food. Enjoyable allows your pet to smell that food that's harmful but they eat what's necessary to keep them alive. Place that food that you want to feed them at the bottom dish, place the veterinary prescribes diet here, bon appetite. Hello, Stiff (ph).

I learned that people were feeding their pets way too much. They're loving into the mouth in ways that cause any health concerns that are very expensive to treat. That inspired me to create Enjoy-A-Bowl. Hey baby. You miss me?

I have an assortment of small and medium bowls, safety first. Pets get everything we get from diabetes to obesity, hyperthyroid, and pancreatitis, you name it, they get it. The most common cases I see on an everyday basis is periodontal disease, dental abscesses, ear infections that are caused by primary underlying food or environmental allergies.

My mother really inspired my career to become a veterinarian. My job is not just to fix the animal but to make the pet owner understand the importance of what I need to do so that this pet can live a long time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:56:33]

WHITFIELD: All right, the latest employment report says there were almost 560,000 new jobs added in the U.S. in May. A sharp jump from April's numbers and the unemployment rate has once again fallen below 6 percent for the first time since last March. But many employers say they want to continue hiring but still can't find enough workers to fill the jobs. Vanessa Yurkevich looks at what it's like for many business owners.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 74 years of business Vic's Italian Restaurant says it's never had this, a help wanted sign. As the season heats up in Bradley beach, New Jersey, the restaurant is desperate for workers to meet summer crowds. How important is this summer for business?

TRAVIS SEMBLEWSKI, GENERAL MANAGER, VIC'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT: It's very important, but we can't do the customer service the way we used to. So we need more people. And I'm just fearful to some degree that if we don't have that, not every customer will understand.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Seventy-seven percent of Americans plan to travel this summer compared to 29 percent last year, a welcome sign for restaurants in summer hotspots like the Jersey Shore closed for much of last year. Small beachside town balloons from population 4,000 to 25,000 in the summer. How critical are these restaurants to the Bradley beach community every summer? MAYOR LARRY FOX, BRADLEY BEACH, NJ: Very critical. And I call it the bookends of Bradley Beach. On the east we have the beach. On the west we have Main Street.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vic's is the biggest employer in town with 100 employees during peak season. But right now the restaurant can't cover 20 percent of its shifts, even raising hourly wages by $2 for new employees.

SEMBLEWSKI: I just can't get people to come in and just start a new job.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Why can't you pay more? Why can't you offer more incentives?

SEMBLEWSKI: Well, if we were to go above and beyond when this all goes away, when the crisis is over, the floor is going to, you know, fall out and inflation is going to kick in. The customers will have to absorb the cost. And we don't want to do that.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): At Langosta Lounge and nearby Asbury Park, owner Marilyn Schlossbach is offering bonuses to current and new employees.

(on camera): Why do you think you're having such a tough time finding people to work?

MARILYN SCHLOSSBACH, OWNER, MARILYN SCHLOSSBACH GROUP: Unemployment, the stimulus is killing us.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Schlossbach owns seven restaurants along the Jersey Shore and usually employs 250 people. She's operating with just 75.

SCHLOSSBACH: I'm honest and telling them I'm pushing them. But still, I'm pushing them. And I don't think that's a healthy way to live your life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): That means longer hours for servers like Kathleen Thompson, despite being furloughed and making just as much on unemployment. She wanted to go back to work.

KATHLEEN THOMPSON, 22-YEAR SERVER, VIC'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT: And they've been good to me for 20 years. I can't say no, I'm not coming back because I'm collecting this money. No, that's not fair to them. They need their, you know, their employees to get their business up and running. And I was willing to come right back.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Bradley Beach, New Jersey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: All right, hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

[13:00:00]

All right, we begin with a major court ruling that affects one of the largest states in the country.