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Trump To Speak At GOP Event Months After Inciting Insurrection; NYT: Meadows Pressed DOJ To Investigate Election Fraud Claims; Interview With Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); New Evidence Of Irregularities In Arizona Ballot "Audit"; Interview With Julian Castro (D), Former HUD Secretary; Judge Compares A.R.-15 To Swiss Army Knife In Assault Weapons Ruling As U.S. Grapples With Gun Violence; Injured Capitol Police Officer In Emotional Statement To Court: "You Have Stolen Moments Away From Me That I Can't Get Back". Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 5, 2021 - 17:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Friends don't let friends speak in front of large crowds, when they're detached from reality. But aides and allies, apparently, can't stop former President Donald Trump from speaking at tonight's GOP state convention in North Carolina.

Well-placed source been telling me Trump's been asking about the crazy theory that he could actually be reinstated into the presidency, sometime this year. He is more obsessed with his 2020 election loss than ever before, which is troubling considering, that in January, his obsession sparked a violent, deadly insurrection and he is about to gain his biggest platform, yet, with tonight's speech.

All of this is coming to light, as "The New York Times" is reporting that Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, even tried to get the U.S. Department of Justice in on the big lie, pushing the DOJ to investigate baseless conspiracy theories about the election, including one that people in Italy used military technology and satellites to remotely mess with voting machines in this country. To switch votes, from Trump to Joe Biden, if you can believe any of that.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty takes a big-picture look, now, at the continued fallout from Trump's words and his actions.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Facebook is not backing down in their ban against former President Trump, announcing that Trump will remain suspended on Facebook for two more years until at least January 2023. Trump calling the decision an insult to his supporters.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: January 6th was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. SERFATY: This comes as former Vice President Mike Pence is reemerging into the political spotlight in the battleground state of New Hampshire.

PENCE: But thanks to the swift action of the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement, violence was quelled. The Capitol was secured. And that same day we reconvened the Congress and did our duty under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

SERFATY: Putting some distance between himself and former President Trump over the January 6th insurrection, publicly acknowledging they have very different views of what happened.

PENCE: You know, President Trump and I have spoken many times since we left office and I don't know if we'll ever see eye-to-eye on that day.

SERFATY: Pence was inside the Capitol on January 6th, overseeing Congress certifying the vote for Joe Biden.

PENCE: The Senate will now retire to its chamber.

SERFATY: As the violent mob chanted, hang Mike Pence, the vice president was rushed out of the Senate chamber. Security footage showing that at one point, he was less than 100 feet from the rioters.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.

SERFATY: Earlier, then-President Trump had delivered an incendiary speech to some of the protesters who would later go onto storm the Capitol.

TRUMP: Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us. And if he doesn't, that will be a sad day for our country.

SERFATY: After watching the events unfold at the Capitol, the president did not call his vice president to check in on him and did not speak to him for several days following the attack.

TRUMP: I know your pain, I know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us.

SERFATY: With their relationship strained, sources familiar say the two men have largely gone their separate ways in the months since, as Trump continues to dismiss the severity of the insurrection.

TRUMP: It was zero threat right from the start. It was zero threat. Look, they went in and they shouldn't have done it. Some of them went in and they're hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships.

SERFATY: A lie the Republican Party seems quite content to embrace for now with Senate Republicans even refusing to form a bipartisan commission to investigate what happened on January 6th. Instead, they are pledging loyalty to Donald Trump as the former president is preparing his own return to the political stage this weekend, kicking off a series of campaign-style rallies on Saturday.


ACOSTA: And thanks to Sunlen Serfaty for that reporting.

And with that, I want to bring in Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

Senator, great to have you on. We appreciate it.

Former President Trump, as you know, takes center stage tonight down in North Carolina.


Do you think this will help or hurt democracy in this country?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): I think that in a funny way, it may help, insofar as it revives those scenes that you just played. And thanks to you for reminding us of the horror of that day.

I lived through it and saw through the window of that mob bearing Trump flags, confederate flags, pipes, and baseball bats, really threatening to kill the vice president, as well as any of us. But the perversity of his views, untethered to reality, I think, will inflame his cult, which unfortunately now is the Republican Party.

So, ultimately, I think it is likely to do more damage than good for him to be appearing in this way. During the same week that his former national security adviser urged that there'd be a coup, suggesting that there be some kind of military takeover. And as you report earlier, Donald Trump, himself, apparently, believing he'll be reinstated sometime this summer.

So, I think, it can't help but just continue to embolden and empower this really perverse view of our American political system and our democracy.

ACOSTA: And you've been critical of Facebook. This week, Facebook announced it would ban Trump for the next two years. Does that feel like it's enough for you? Should he be permanently banned? Without any kind of chance to redeem himself?

BLUMENTHAL: Donald Trump has really well-earned this ban. It's only a two-year ban. It's a minimum, for what should be required, in light of his inciting and inviting that mob, and then urging them to storm the Capitol and attack our democracy, and stop the vote count and, in effect, overthrow the election.

I think Mark Zuckerberg ought to think twice about giving Donald Trump back that megaphone at the end of two years. Facebook has a responsibility to set standards in terms of service, and then, to follow them and enforce them. And I believe that Facebook, itself should be held accountable by people who may be harmed, as so many were. Hundreds of injured Capitol police, a number of deaths directly

attributable to that storming of the Capitol, and, of course, the immense damage done to the image of our democracy because the citadel of our system was so tremendously assaulted.

ACOSTA: And what did you think about Trump's response? Saying, next time he's in the White House, what did you take that to mean?

BLUMENTHAL: Donald Trump has a way of fantasizing. I hope that the American people give that kind of comment the credibility and weight it's due, which is zero.

ACOSTA: And I want to ask you, Senator, because I know you have worked on the issue of gun safety for a long time. Ask you about this federal judge in California overturning the state's longtime ban on assault weapons. In his ruling, the judge wrote, quote, Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment.

The judge goes on to say: The firearms deemed as assault weapons are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles.

The horrific Sandy Hook shooting, as we know, Senator, happened in your state. The killer used an assault weapon.

What's your reaction to what this judge had to say about this?

BLUMENTHAL: Jim, it's a gut punch, especially to the victims and survivors and their loved ones, as well as to all of us who have been advocates and activists for a judge to deal so really reprehensibly and irresponsibly with such a serious issue, comparing an assault weapon, an AR-15 to Swiss Army Knife, as one of the families or parents noted, his daughter wouldn't be buried right now if a Swiss Army Knife had been used in that Florida shooting.

And it is the weapon of choice for mass killers. It should be regarded as a weapon of war. And it should be banned, as it was in California.

The constitutional principle is all on the side of a legislature taking public safety measures, responsibly and sensibly, to protect people from these kinds of weapons. And no right is absolute. But this judge, I think, has, unfortunately, temporarily, given encouragement to the forces against responsible gun violence prevention.


I'm very, very hopeful this decision will be appealed promptly, and will be reversed because I think, as a matter of law and fact, it is deeply misguided and dangerous.

ACOSTA: Hmm. And I want to ask you, Senator, before we let you go. President Biden, as you know, is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, or is expected to later this month. And Biden says he will address these recent cybersecurity attacks attributed to Russia.

Earlier in this program, we played some sound of Vladimir Putin laughing off this sort of thing, saying it was hilarious that, you know, he would be asked about these kinds of questions of -- of, you know, these cyberattacks that are being launched from inside Russia.

What would you like to see President Biden say to Vladimir Putin? And how important is -- is this moment, do you think, Senator? After having Donald Trump, essentially, kowtow to Putin these last-four years. We saw what happened in Helsinki. For the sake of national security, does Joe Biden need to really stand up to Putin during this meeting?

BLUMENTHAL: Absolutely, critical question, Jim, as you know, from your very deep and extensive experience on this issue. The Russians have been attacking us with apparent impunity. The SolarWinds cyber assault on our United States government, they were, in effect, living in our computers, Department of Defense and other government agencies. Their intelligence agency, officially, attacking the United States, so far, apparently, without having to pay a price.

So, as important as I think it is, for Joe Biden to make clear to Vladimir Putin that there is no laughing about this matter. Equally, if not more important, is what we do about it. Russia has to be made to pay a price, not only for the direct attack like SolarWinds, but also, for harboring the cyber gangs and criminals, who are attacking Colonial Pipeline and the meatpacking organization that it did, recently, exacting millions of dollars.

Putin and his henchmen know that those gangs are operating in Russia. So, I think, again, Russia has to be made a -- to pay a price for acts of war. They are really attacks on this country that should be regarded as acts of war. And I think there is strong bipartisan support for strong and effective measures to make Russia pay a price, on both sides of the aisle, in the United States Congress.

ACOSTA: All right. Senator Richard Blumenthal, thanks so much for stopping by this afternoon. We appreciate it.


ACOSTA: Coming up, did these Pennsylvania state lawmakers running from CNN's Kyung Lah in Phoenix run all the way home with new ideas for overturning election results there?



ACOSTA: Arizona secretary of state documenting new irregularities in that so-called ballot audit on Maricopa County's voting in the 2020 election. Irregularities, that support the idea that this is exactly the kind of sham the Democrats, and even some Republicans, have been saying it is.

Here's CNN's Kyung Lah.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a mystery from the start. Why the so-called audit workers all wear color-coded T-shirts. But two are in pink shirts. The nonpartisan observers representing the Arizona secretary of state's office told by the company leading the audit that they need to wear them.

Now, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs thinks she's figured it out.

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: What we've noticed is that they are using these shirts to label our observers, as pinko commies. That the shirt made him look like a transgender, which I don't even know what that means.

LAH: So it's a joke?

HOBBS: I -- I don't -- I mean, I think this whole thing a joke.

LAH: The pink shirts are one of the more eye-popping details in a summary report from Hobbs's office detailing a slew of problems with this ballot review of Maricopa County's 2020 ballots. Observers noted more than a dozen serious problems, from an unattended and open security gate, errors with the software update used to examine ballots. So problematic, they ditched it and went back to the old software, and a cellphone brought to the floor.

Observers say that cellphone was carried by one of the leaders of the so-called audit, despite rules prohibiting them. And security using what appears to be an anti-spy detector, daily, on the coliseum floor.

And then, there's this --

JEN FIFIELD, REPORTER, THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: There were two instances where black pens were, again, on -- on the counting floor.

LAH: Jen Fifield is an Arizona republic reporter. Pen color is a big deal because blue and black pens can be used to alter ballots during an audit. She pointed out, weeks ago to the Cyber Ninjas, the hired contractor conducting the ballot exercise for the Arizona Senate.

FIFIELD: He went and checked. He came back to me and said, you know what? We're going to remove the blue pens, we are going to use green pens, instead.

LAH: So you noticed the problem before Cyber Ninjas did?


LAH: Does this strike you, as a reporter covering this, like a big deal?

FIFIELD: It strikes me as showing that they may not have experience doing election audits, before.

LAH: The Cyber Ninjas are a little-known tech company hired out of Florida for the so-called audit. A third review, run by the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate. Despite two-previous audits conducted by Maricopa County.

In response, audit spokesman, Ken Bennet, tells CNN that he, quote, laughed out loud when he read Hobbs's report calling it, quote, untrue, to inconsequential, to a bunch of B.S.

He, also, called the observers biased, saying no one picked on them for the pink shirts.


But Hobbs says her report seeks to rebut what she expects will be the final report from the Cyber Ninjas and Arizona Senate Republicans, the next chapter of the big lie.

HOBBS: I saw Senate President Karen Fann say to you last week that we're setting the gold standard here, in Arizona.

KAREN FANN (R), ARIZONA SENATE PRESIDENT: This will be the basis of a gold standard.

HOBBS: There is nobody involved with any type of audit, in any industry, who would say that what's going on here is a gold standard. We know the truth about the 2020 election. And that the results we certified were an accurate reflection of the will of the voters. And this process is -- is not.


ACOSTA: And thanks to Kyung Lah.

Now, the so-called audit happening in Arizona is inspiring Republicans in Pennsylvania to do the same. So much so, a small group of state lawmakers paid a visit, this week, where they ran away from our Kyung Lah who tried to get answers about what they're looking for. And the deeply flawed process that is unfolding there.

Joining us now is Pennsylvania's Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.

Lieutenant Governor, has all this gone too far? And what can you do to stop it from coming to your state?

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I mean, it's not going anywhere. I mean, you have to remember, this is the same brain trust of legal minds and thinking that went, what, like, 1 for 62 in 2020. So I mean, this is just the latest chapter of unbridled sycophancy for Donald Trump.

I mean, that really is their magnificent obsession, is finding new ways to flatter Donald Trump in the hopes that he will confer that electoral magic on their respective primary. I mean, that's all this is. It's not going anywhere.

ACOSTA: Doug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania Republican, say, a senator, you know him well, flew to Arizona, said afterward, let's pick a few counties and put people's minds at rest. Mastriano said if there's nothing to hide, great.

What -- what do you -- what do you have to say to that?

FETTERMAN: I mean, it's -- it's just more shameless carnival barking for their leader. That's all this is. It's not going anywhere.

There's -- this is the same group of people that held, like, a snake- handling session in a Ramada ballroom in Gettysburg in November of 2020, trying to create all this. Jim, it's not going anywhere because they know that they went one for 62 or whatever last year. And there's no basis to any of this.

This is all about trying to talk about anything, other than the fact that our society is back to being open now. That, you know, people can go to the Phillies' game at 100 percent capacity. Of course, Republicans want to talk about fantasies and conspiracies because, you know, they don't have anything positive to talk about because Joe Biden has taken this country in the direction that we have been needing to go ever since Donald Trump left office.

ACOSTA: And do you think this is about -- I mean, what -- what do you think about this talk that this is about stealing the 2020 election? And -- and reinstating Trump? Or about stealing the next election?

You know, there is a lot of talk that, you know, what's happening in places, like Arizona and Florida and Texas, is really about setting the table for 2024. What do you -- what do you make of that, as a possibility?

FETTERMAN: I -- I mean, I have no doubt. If you have the Republicans an inch, they would love to take a mile. In curtailing voting and -- and making sure that it's rigged, as favorably in their interest, as possible.

But I mean, look. Let me be clear, all of this talk about Trump being reinstated, or these audits or whatever. It's just simping for the president. That's all it is because that's what the Republicans are preoccupied in doing right now because his endorsement is the golden ticket for Republicans in primaries. And that's really what this is all about.

No one believes, I want to be clear, Republicans know that this election wasn't rigged. And the Supreme Court of the United States, of which he's appointed three justices, already, shut down Pennsylvania's ballot counting and all that nonsense, Joe Biden's president.

Remember, again, this -- this is an effort that was comical and tragic and sad when -- before Joe Biden took office. He's been president, now, for over five months. The country is coming along.

This is just, again, a sad sideshow designed to curry favor with the president, in the hope that he would eventually endorse whoever's behind these respective efforts in their primary.

ACOSTA: All right. Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, thanks so much for joining us this afternoon. Good to talk to you, sir. We appreciate it.

And from Pennsylvania to Texas. A look at how Governor Greg Abbott is trying to push through what Democrats call one of the biggest and ugliest anti-voter bills in the country. Is there anything that can be done to stop it? I'll get reaction from former HUD secretary and presidential candidate, Julian Castro. That's next.



ACOSTA: In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott is vowing to call a special session to get one of the most restrictive voting bills in the nation passed. Democrats in the Texas House have managed to, telephone rarely, temporarily block the bill walking out of a late-night session, leaving Republicans without enough lawmakers present to hold a vote.

The bill would, among other things, ban unsolicited mail-in ballot applications, prohibit overnight and Sunday morning voting, stop drive-thru voting, expand access for partisan-poll watchers, and allow judges to more easily overturn election results. That might be the most important challenge to all of this.


ACOSTA: And joining me now to talk about it is the former-HUD secretary and presidential candidate, Julian Castro. He is also the former mayor of San Antonio.

Great to see you, again, Julian. Thank you so much for doing this.

Is there anything that can be done at this point or did Democrats just delay the inevitable here? Are we going to see this bill get passed?

JULIAN CASTRO (D), FORMER HUD SECRETARY: Well, you know, I am so proud of the Democrats in the Texas House that used every tool at their disposal, including breaking a quorum, to stop this bill from passing in the regular session.

As you said, the governor is calling a special session. That means they are going to have to go at it, again.

But they've been determined. They've been crafty. They've been passionate.

And so, I think, on the inside, with these legislators inside the chamber, they are going to continue to push.

And then, everybody on the outside, advocates, everyday Texans, will push as hard as we can to try and stop this legislation from becoming law.

That's far from a guarantee, given where we're at in Texas, with a Republican majority in Texas Senate, the House. And, of course, Governor Greg Abbott, who's Republican. However, I think it's important that people see -- not only here in

Texas but across the country -- the fight, the pushback.

And putting an exclamation point on the sustenance that Governor Abbott and Republicans are giving to this big lie.

And they've adopted this approach that, if you can't beat them, cheat them.

That's what they are doing all over the country. They are trying to rig these elections so that they stay in power at the expense of everybody else.

They know the state of Texas is changing and they are trying to do what they can to stop it and they are going to keep pushing back.

ACOSTA: And part of the Texas voting bill would have required that Sunday-voting hours wouldn't start until 1:00 p.m.

Democrats say that would hurt so-called "Souls to the Polls" events, popular with black churches where people go to vote after church.

Now, Republicans say this is just a typo. Let's listen to a part of this.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And 11:00 a.m. Can you back up what the state represent said? I just want to confirm this.

STATE SEN. BRYAN HUGHES (R-TX): Eleven -- 11:00 a.m., if there's any limit at all. We want to make sure people are not limited on what they can do for "Souls to the Polls."

KEILAR: OK. So, I mean, was that an error?

HUGHES: That was added over in the House. And I will defer to my House colleagues on the details. They say it was a typo. I will take their word for it.


ACOSTA: You think that was a typo, Julian Castro?

CASTRO: Absolutely not. This is legislation that went through the full process in both chambers. Looked at, many different times, by these Republican leaders. Crafted meticulously to try to do what they could to keep themselves in power.

Not only that. This is a Texas legislature that, a couple years ago, for instance, passed a new redistricting map that was found by a court of law to be racially motivated.

They have a long and sordid history of racial discrimination. So it's not surprising at all that one of the things they tried to do is cut out black voters by saying you cannot vote until 1:00 or they are trying to change it, now, to 11:00 a.m. on a Sunday.

Knowing, full well, that African-American churches, especially, throughout the state of Texas, and throughout the country, have a history of bussing folks to the polls after service.

What makes this so outrageous also is they are doing this at the same time they're making it easier to actually buy alcohol on a Sunday.

So, you can go buy alcohol but you can't exercise your constitutional right to vote at 10:00 a.m. on a Sunday.

It's ridiculous. It's racist. It's cynical. And it deserves the kind of scorn that it's gotten across the board.

ACOSTA: And despite what happened in Texas, there are no signs, Mr. Secretary, on Capitol Hill that Senate Democrats have won over the ten Republicans they need to pass the "John Lewis Voting Rights Act."

Senator Joe Manchin has made it clear, he's not willing to get rid of the filibuster to make that happen.

Senator Hickenlooper told me, in the last hour, he thinks Democrats need to give this more time.

Does your party need to get behind a more modest measure? Is it time to start compromising? What do you think?

CASTRO: Well, I think, Democrats in D.C. need to watch what's happening. Understand that this is a wakeup call from Texas, from Georgia, from Florida.

Those Senators, especially Senator Sinema, Senator Manchin, ought to recognize what's happening here.

In statehouse after statehouse, these Republicans are trying to rig the election system so that they have an unfair advantage.

And so many of those Senators may have -- may become the victims themselves in years to come, elections to come of these very changes that Republican legislatures are making.

Not only that. I mean, whether you're a Republican or Democrat, you're being negatively affected by these changes that are being made.


It's getting harder to pass the ballot, harder to exercise your constitutional right.

So, my hope is that we will be able to get the Democratic support that we need to pass the "For the People Act" and the "John Lewis Voting Rights Act." Break the filibuster and get that done.

ACOSTA: All right. We will see if it happens. It's going to be a hotly-contested issue here in Washington just as it is down in Texas. We know you've been on top of it. Former HUD secretary, Julian Castro, thanks again for being with us.

We hope to see you again soon. We appreciate it.

CASTRO: Great to be with you.

ACOSTA: A programming note. Former President Barack Obama joins Anderson Cooper for a rare one-on-one about his life in the post presidency. An "Anderson Cooper 360" special, "BARACK OBAMA ON FATHERHOOD, LEADERSHIP, AND LEGACY," airs Monday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Coming up, a judge overturns California's longtime ban on assault weapons with a ruling comparing an A.R.-15 to a Swiss Army knife?



ACOSTA: As the U.S. struggles with an epidemic of gun violence, last night, a federal judge overturned the ban on assault weapons in California.

And the NRA, of course, cheered the decision.

And the ruling judge, Roger Benitez, declared the state's 32-year ban violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Writing, in part, "Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular A.R.-15 rifle is a perfect combination of defense weapon and homeland defense equipment."

Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter, Jaime, in the Parkland school massacre, reacted to that comparison, this morning, on CNN.


FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM, JAIME GUTTENBERG: My daughter's in the cemetery, excuse me, because a Swiss Army knife was not used. Because it was an A.R.-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 are going to lose.


ACOSTA: The judge also, went after the media, saying, quote, "One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous A.R.-15 assault weapons. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole and facts matter."

Facts do matter. And here are some to consider. Of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, six involved assault-style weapons. Narrow down the timeline to just the deadliest shootings in just the

last decade, and it's even worse. The shooters in eight of those chose assault-style rifles.

Here is Brian Todd with more on the surge in gun violence in this country.




TODD (voice over): Jarring new body camera video showing deputies and police in San Jose, California, last week as they enter a building at the Valley Transportation Authority complex scrambling to track the shooter.



TODD: Seconds after they here one shot, they hear two more.


TODD: The officers go right to where the shots were coming from, through a door.


TODD: They discovered the man who had shot and killed nine people dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The sheriff, who authorized the release of the video, praised the officers and their training.

LAURIE SMITH, SHERIFF, SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: This protocol, I believe, saved lives. There over a 100 people in the area. He had a lot of additional ammunition.

TODD: This newly released security video shows the moment three gunmen opened fire outside a Miami concert hall on Sunday. One gunman is seen firing. People frantically run and dive for cover. At least two are seen on the ground wounded.

This shooting played out over the span of about 10 seconds. Two people were killed, more than 20 injured.


TODD: In Volusia County, Florida, the sheriff released new clips from body camera footage of what happened after he said a 12-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl broke into this house, grabbed a shotguns and an AK- 47 stored inside, and, authorities say, proceeded to engage in an hours' long gun battle with deputies last night.

MIKE CHITWOOD, SHERIFF, VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: They were out on the pullback. They shot through the bedroom window. They shot from the garage door. I mean, this is like Bonnie and Clyde at 12-year-old -- 12 and 14 years of age.



TODD: Police say the 14-year-old girl was shot and badly wounded by deputies. The 12-year-old boy taken into custody. No deputies were hurt.

Across America, law enforcement veterans and analysts are again sounding the alarms over a spike in gun violence and homicides.

ART ACEVEDO, CHIEF, MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: Unless the American people speak out, it's going to be a long, hot, bloody summer.

TODD: After a more than 30 percent increase in homicides last year in the U.S., criminologists say those numbers are spiking even higher this year. Why? From pandemic pain, financial and other stressors last year.

And 2021, experts say, is presenting new problems.

CHRISTOPHER HERMAN, PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: In 2021, we are seeing all the reopening kind of stressors. So we're seeing people going back to work, people going back to school, people spending more time outdoors now doing recreational and entertainment things.

TODD: Christopher Herman also cites spiking gun sales for the increase in homicides this year, and thinning burned-out ranks of police departments, exemplified by an angry exasperating sheriff whose deputies battled those teenagers in Florida.

CHITWOOD: This is something I've never seen in 35 years of policing. And I'm sad to say, thank God, my career is starting to come to an end because I don't know what the future of law enforcement looks like in this country.

TODD (on camera): The spike in violent crime is so alarming that, after last year's movement to defund police departments, several-major cities, like New York, L.A., and Oakland, are now scrambling to pour money back into their police departments.

But experts are still warning us, we are seeing record retirements of police. Officers leaving in droves.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


[17:44:55] ACOSTA: Coming up. The nation marks 40 years since the CDC reported on a new and frightening virus we'd come later to know as HIV.


ACOSTA: As Republicans in North Carolina prepare to welcome Donald Trump back to the stage tonight, I want to read you the emotional statement from a capitol police officer who was knocked unconscious during the January 6th insurrection.


It was read in court during a hearing for a suspect, Ryan Samsel, accused of pushing a metal barricade into the officer, causing her to fall and hit her head.

You see him there in the red "Make America Great Again" hat.

The unnamed officer writes:

"On January 6th, you and a group of others purposely set out to break through our police line. You purposely came into the west front of the capitol and you purposely knocked me down."

"When you do that, when you set out with a purpose in mind to injure another human being, you're not only committing assault but you are a thief. You steal someone's ability to have control over their own body and lead a normal life."

"You have stolen moments away from me that I can't get back. You stole my ability to be with my fellow officers while mourning the loss of my friend, Sicknick, as I was not able to be fully mobile at that time."

"You stole months of me working alongside the country's most dedicated police officers, a job that I love and work hard at."

"You stole my ability to be present at important events due to the physical and psychological trauma that you imparted on me and my co- workers."

"And now you're asking to be set free. When will we be set free? When will we be set free of the memories and scars of that day?"

"When will I be free and full again? Free of the fear that my brain injury will cause me embarrassment at the best of circumstances, and further injury at the worst?"

"And why was anyone there in the first place? Shoving barricades into officers? Because of one man who lost an election and couldn't deal with it."

In the meantime, it was 40 years ago today that the CDC reported on a rare pneumonia in five previously healthy young gay men in Los Angeles.

This was the agency's first report on what the world would eventually know as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. That was 40 years ago this week.

According to the CDC, 730,000 people have died of AIDS-related illnesses in the U.S., and about 32 million worldwide.

Dr. Anthony Fauci became the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during the peak of the AIDS epidemic.

He spoke to CNN's Elizabeth Cohen about those terrifying early days in which there were few answers, little compassion, and widespread fear of and bigotry against those other were ill.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It's a long story, a long journey that we are still in. So this is a very meaningful anniversary and commemoration for me.


ACOSTA: In a statement, President Biden said, quote:

"On the 40th year of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we remember the lives cut short by this terrible disease, including so many whose pain went unacknowledged for far too long."

Today, the CDC says HIV infections have decreased about 73 percent thanks in part to drugs, better care and testing, a stunning achievement in 40 years.

Another sign that things are slowly but surely returning to normal, Royal Caribbean will resume its cruises from ports in Florida and Texas beginning in July and August.

And the company says by the end of August, the ships will be sailing across the Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska and Europe.

This announcement comes more than 15 months after the cruises were halted when the CDC issued a no-sail order.

And as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some researchers estimate that food insecurity has tripled among U.S. households with children.

When this week's "CNN Hero" had to shut down her supper club amid COVID, she redirected her love of cooking to provide free nutritious meals to those at risk of going hungry in their Chicago community.


CHEF Q. IBRAHEEM, CNN HERO: I witnessed that people are literally a paycheck away from not eating. That's heartbreaking. That's unbelievable. But it's so very real. And it's continuously happening.


We've served over 60,000 meals in the past-14 months. I'm inspired to keep going because the need has not stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoo, we've got goodies.

IBRAHEEM: It's a great feeling to know that I'm able to ease the burden, if just a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's beautiful. Oh, my gosh, I see okra, too.

IBRAHEEM: I am giving them a sense of understanding that we are in it, together.


IBRAHEEM: You all enjoy.

A sense of knowing that people in your community do care.


ACOSTA: To see the full story about her ongoing work to ensure people don't go hungry during the pandemic, go to While you're there, nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero."

That's the news and a little Jimmy Buffett. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Pamela Brown takes over the CNN NEWSROOM, live, after a quick break.


Have a good night.



UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A federal judge compared an A.R.-15 to a Swiss Army knife when he overturned a three-decade California ban on assault weapons.


GUTTENBERG: No. You're full of crap, Judge. People are going to die because of this ruling. I know there's someone out there right now who will go out and buy an A.R.-15 because of this judge and use it.