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As GOP Tries To Whitewash January 6, Officers Set Record Straight; Nancy Pelosi Calls Judge's Decision To Overturn California's Assault Weapons Ban Deeply Flawed; 1989 Stockton School Shooting Survivor On Federal Judge Overturning California's Assault Weapons Ban; WH Urges U.S. Companies To Take Ransomware More Seriously After Series Of Cyberattacks; FAA Warns Of Dramatic Uptick In Unruly Passengers. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 5, 2021 - 18:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you're full of crap, Judge. People are going to die because of this rule. I know there's someone out there right now who will go out and buy an AR-15 because of this Judge and use it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): The Biden administration sounding the alarm about the growing threat of cyberattacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really requires the government to take additional actions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think this is going to be an ongoing struggle of increasing threat, increasing defense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Passengers on a Delta flight subdue another passenger who started to yell and bang on the cockpit door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's so many different situations that that could have gone poorly. But I feel very lucky to be alive.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Hi, I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM and we have a jam-packed show for you tonight.

In less than an hour, President Trump will take the stage at the North Carolina Republican Convention. That is where he will likely spout more lies about the 2020 election and claim that he didn't actually lose.

It is a lie that a wide majority of Republicans now sadly believe according to recent polls. That lie led rioters to attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, and Trump compounded it with another lie when he claimed the rioters were hugging and kissing police on that day.

Some Republican lawmakers are following Trump's example trying to rewrite what happened on January 6th. For instance, by calling the attackers quote, "peaceful patriots." Four hundred and sixty five arrests suggest otherwise.

They've claimed the attackers weren't armed. For the record, 40 suspects have been charged with entering the Capitol with a dangerous or deadly weapon. One Republican said it was akin to a normal Capitol tour. Well, tell that to the 140 police officers who were assaulted and tell that to the family of fallen Officer Brian Sicknick or the families of the two officers who died by suicide days later.

And tell that to the 17 officers still unable to return to work because of injuries they sustained while beating back the insurrection. It was a fight so bad, some didn't think they'd make it home to their families.


SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Yes, I think I wouldn't be able to see them. I went to my son's bed and gave him a hug, he was asleep still, give him a big kiss. And I just started crying, like five to ten minutes, which I just cry. She kept telling me it's going to be okay. I know I've got to go back to work.


BROWN: So before Trump tries to gaslight the nation again tonight, let's set the record straight about what happened on that dark day nearly five months ago tomorrow.

Two Capitol Police officers who were there, I'm joined by the sergeant you just heard from, Sergeant Aquilino Gonell; also with me is Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn. They are here speaking for themselves and not their department. Thank you both for coming here.

We should note that you've known each other for 13 years, but this is the first time you've seen each other in person since the insurrection.

GONELL: That is correct.


BROWN: What is it like to be reunited in a sense after going through what you both went through?

GONELL: For me, he is the first person that I've seen from the department since I left on the 20th after -- the Inauguration was my last day. I am very happy to see him. He is doing well, doing a lot better now. But it's been -- it's great and good to see him.

DUNN: When I -- when he saw me -- when I first saw him, he just gave him a big old hug, you know, it was just good to see him. We talk on the phone, but it was just good to see him, you know, just -- it is good to see him, you know, I am glad he is good.

BROWN: Yes, you walked in and gave him a huge bear hug and you had said in a previous interview I watched Officer Dunn that you find solace in talking to other officers because so few can relate to what they experienced on that day, January 6th.

DUNN: I think that's what makes it even more special. You have people that only know what it's like, all the people in the world and there's only a few people that know how you're feeling and even then, it's still not even completely the same because everybody dealt with different -- dealt with it differently.

They deal with the different -- their emotions differently. Yes, sometimes you get overwhelmed, some people honestly don't even want to talk about it and that's how they deal with it.


DUNN: But just seeing him, it just makes me happy.

BROWN: And you're part of what inspired him to just speak out in recent days, right? You are not seeking the limelight, but you felt compelled to come out.

DUNN: I wasn't seeking it either.


BROWN: You weren't seeking it either.

DUNN: I was just seeking the truth.

GONELL: That is correct.

BROWN: Seeking the truth.

GONELL: Last week when I was in my bed or just eating, and I see of the Sicknick family, I see Officer Dunn and Fanone right next to them, and I see them pleading to these senators or going to their offices and pleading, hey, support this. We deserve this, it is the least you can do.

And for them to not listen to, or just promise something and not come through with that, we gave them the time for them to go to safety, and they're not appreciating that. We put our lives while they were running, we held the line. And that to me, we sacrifice so much for them to not only put everything on the line, but they're not doing what they're supposed to do, they are not fulfilling their oath of office to put the country before the party.

And for me to fall and to continue these lies, and turn and twist, no, this happened or this or that. It's uncalled for. It's a betrayal to us, the officers, and that's one thing that compelled me to come forward because I wasn't going to come up and step up and speak about this publicly. But then, I saw my family that day, I saw my family begging them, literally begging them to do something about what happened and talk about cancel culture.

You don't want to not even record this in history. But yes, you complain about all the things, it is uncalled for.

BROWN: And you're talking about those Republicans who voted against the January 6 Commission. You were there on Capitol Hill meeting with these lawmakers. You were there with Brian Sicknick's mother, with his partner. And then as we know, those lawmakers struck it down. They voted against it.

I want to actually listen and I want to get your reaction on the other end to what they said to my colleague, Jake Tapper after the commission was blocked by those same Republicans you met with.


GLADYS SICKNICK, MOTHER OF OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: If they had a child that was hurt or 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.

SANDRA GARZA, OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK'S PARTNER: I think, you know, it's all talk and no action.

Clearly, they are not backing the blue. I mean, it's just unbelievable to me that they could do nothing about this.


BROWN: So Officer Dunn, you heard what they had to say. What is your reaction? Is it the same as theirs that the whole backing the blue talk was just talk no action?

DUNN: So Miss Gladys and Sandra are such strong women and it took so much courage and strength for them to come down and lobby for justice, I guess. And honestly, I believe that that's what this is all about -- accountability, justice. Like, we weren't just blue.

We weren't just police officers there. We were victims of an assault, of an attack, and we deserve justice and we deserve to know everybody who was involved and we want them held accountable, anybody who had any part in it.

And not just the people that actually carried out the actions, but the people who may have incited it. They need to be held accountable and held responsible. And us, police officers, the blue, we deserve that, just like any other victim in this country.

So to answer your question about the -- I can't say with a clear conscience that they don't support blue. I can't say that. I do believe that they're getting their judgment clouded with politics, and it has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with what's right and what's wrong.

And your conscience like, Liz Cheney, who is a conservative. I believe she voted with Trump 90 plus percent of the time, she is ousted for not lying. I just feel like a lot of people need to follow their conscience and

get out of their -- in their own way. Tell the truth. Tell the truth out.

I don't understand how anybody can live with their self being dishonest. You can apologize to people. You can apologize to everybody in this world. You apologize to yourself knowing that you're full of crap. How do you live with yourself?


BROWN: And let's talk about the truth. Let's talk about more about what happened that day. We have video of you, Sergeant Gonell. You were right in the thick of it, in the very front, right? You said -- you told me right after one o'clock and I believe we have video to show you of you here.

This is one of the officers, you were feet away from this officer, right, Sergeant Gonell? What was going through your mind when you saw this?

GONELL: Gut wrenching because I'm right next to the young lady on the left side and there was nothing I could do to help them. I hear him scream every time I hear him scream, it is gut wrenching. It baffles me that people are calling this a tour. It bothers me, it's an insult.

This is not a tour. This is not a concert. And for a lot of people pretending that everybody came in to a Capitol for the Fourth of July, a concert on Memorial Day or whatnot, and then did whatever they did and went home like nothing happened.

We, officers, we live in this when we get phone calls from the F.B.I. Hey, do you recognize this officer? He got assaulted by this individual? Do you see yourself? Do you remember when you were struck? Watching the video, watching the pictures -- it's -- we are still living it.

Meanwhile, for some of these individuals calling this a fantasy like it never happened. We gave them the time for them to escape. We gave them the time to go to safety. And thinking that when they do come back, and they did come back that day, luckily, and with also our doing, nobody -- not -- none of them got hurt.

We gave them the time to do that. And then when they come back and say, well, we're going to hold them accountable or cut me out. I cannot follow this guy no more, and then when you actually had the time and the opportunity to hold them accountable, you say no, well, he's in office, but he's leaving.

But then when he leaves? Oh, he's out of the office. We can't hold him accountable. Which one is it?

BROWN: You're talking about Donald Trump, the former President.

DUNN: Yes.

GONELL: That is correct. That is correct.

BROWN: How much responsibility do you think he bears?

DUNN: Like I said, we -- the day of January 6th, the frontline officers, we didn't know too much about the speech and all that stuff. We were doing our job, our day-to-day job. And then you just -- obviously, all the coverage of it, afterwards, you learn so much stuff about, whoa, this really happened.

And just listening to some of the speeches on the floor. Leader McConnell at the time voted no, to not hold him accountable. But literally --

GONELL: Because he was on his way out.

DUNN: But literally, two minutes later got on the floor and said, I don't know the exact quote, there is no doubt --

BROWN: You're talking about the impeachment. He voted against that, but said that he bears responsibility.

DUNN: He bears responsibility, but literally 30 seconds before voted no, he doesn't bear responsibility. So you just -- I am blown like how --

GONELL: The people who had the power to hold him accountable at that time, let him go scot-free, pretty much. They had the chance to ban him from -- put him away, making him run again, now he is claiming that he may run for President again. And if he did this in four years, five years from the time that he ran for office, imagine what he could do with four more years?

BROWN: And you were -- we were talking, you weren't really political before this happened. You knew what was going on in the news, but --

GONELL: I'm not a very political person, but I do get informed because it's part of my job. I listen to what's in the news or whatnot, but I don't get involved with -- it affects me that some of these things could have been prevented.

Some of these things could have been prevented going -- when you're condoning a lie, it is worse matter, and every single time he says something controversial or say -- do something controversial, you have the whole political party saying well, he didn't mean that. Oh, he -- and well, that's not what he said.

We will take his word for it or he was just joking. When was he not serious? I mean, it's so hard for anybody to actually know when he was serious or not. And then what I blame him more, the most is for the thing that he didn't do. He didn't ask for any help.

We were waiting for support that day and no support came in until the MPD came in.

[18:15:07] DUNN: If I can interrupt you real quick, I think it is very important

-- it is very, very, very important to say that when I was talking with Mike Fanone, and may have become friends over this, me and Mike couldn't be more different and we both want the same thing, as far as Mike who is a Republican, I'm a Democrat who voted for Republican governor, but I do what makes sense.

And Mike said, and he told these Congressmen, these Senators that we met with that 50 percent of the Metropolitan Police Department that were on the scene January 6th, they self-deployed, that means they came on their own.


DUNN: We had Capitol Police officers that just showed up because they saw the news and what was going on, but officers as far away as Pennsylvania came back on their own and they wanted to be there to stand with their brothers and save democracy.

GONELL: And officers that just have left at seven o'clock or 11 o'clock, they turned around as soon as they heard.

BROWN: Because they felt that sense of duty.

GONELL: Because of the sense of duty, they met the moment and that's what a lot of these political people didn't do. They let the moment pass and they are still doing that by not holding anyone accountable.

If I hadn't done this at that door and said you know what, let everybody else -- we are outnumbered, what will they not do to me if I had let everybody else come in? And say -- would I be held accountable and called to OPR? We're now probably in jail because I let those people come in.

BROWN: And you didn't and you did your job. You upheld your oath and your duty. Stay here, we have a lot more to talk about on this subject.

Also tonight, California Governor Gavin Newsom calls the decision to overturn his state's assault rifle ban a, quote, "disgusting slap in the face."

Then, an unruly passenger tries to breach the cockpit causing a major mid-air emergency.

And I ask a former QAnon believer about Trump's big lie taking root. How he was seduced by conspiracies and how we escaped the alternate universe?

We'll be right back.



BROWN: Well, tomorrow marks five months since a violent mob of Trump supporter stormed the Capitol trying to stop Congress from counting electoral votes that would formally name Joe Biden as the President- elect. It was supposed to be a boring procedural day, but it quickly unraveled into a full on insurrection, five people died, including Officer Brian Sicknick, and the days following, two more officers died by suicide.

Those defending the democratic process and protecting Members of Congress found themselves in brutal hand to hand combat with an unlikely enemy, fellow Americans.

I'm back with two heroes who defended the Capitol 150 days ago, Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn.

Before the break, we were talking about Donald Trump. You can't talk about what happened on that day without looking at the context and the misinformation and the lies that led to that day.

Donald Trump will be taking the stage in North Carolina shortly at 7:00 p.m. tonight for a rally. How concerned are you that he will continue to push out those same lines that led to the insurrection.

DUNN: So if I may, two things, this is very important to say. The medical examiner said that Brian died of natural causes and I think it's clear and then, we need to be honest that if January 6 did not happen that Brian will still be alive. Period.

Like, I don't care if it was -- he died of stress -- anything. January 6 is what caused Brian to die and he would still be here if it didn't happen. A lot officers are hurting and stressed and mentally, just exhausted because of everything that is happening, everything that's going on. It's very stressful.

And like I said at the beginning of show, we lean on each other because only us, we know what we've been through and is really, really difficult at times.

I text --

BROWN: Even though you were at different -- you weren't together as you were trying to fend off the rioters, although Officer Fanone, who has been outspoken who wanted to join us today, he couldn't because of his daughter's recital, you wanted to thank him for how he helped you.

DUNN: I did. When we were in the tunnel, I don't know how long it has passed, but he was the officer who told me, hey, go back, take a break. Because I already had been there for God knows how long.

Everybody who was in the front were exhausted. We were literally, if you watch some of the videos, you can see the officer who didn't have the mask on -- gas masks -- you can see his face. He's like literally, dazed now from the chemicals, from all the fighting, hand to hand combat that we did.

And I wanted to actually to see him today, just to thank him to say, hey, I'm sorry it had taken me this long, but I've been coping with my own recovery. But I wanted to thank him. I actually told Mark that I wanted him here.

BROWN: Mark is your attorney.


BROWN: And let me just ask you because you mentioned the hand-to-hand combat. Let's point out that you have served overseas. You have been in combat in Iraq against foreign terrorists.



BROWN: But you say, what happened on January 6 against your fellow Americans was scarier than what you experienced in Iraq and that you really thought you were going to lose your life that day.

GONELL: Yes. Here my time Iraq, some of my duties that I did was personnel. However, on occasion, I did convoys, run supply, mails to all of the -- we had three different branches, our unit was separated into different locations. And there, at least, when we were deployed, we knew when the rockets were fired, because of the siren. We knew when the mortar landed, because you hear the sound.

Here, it is one thing after another, and there were so much moments that I feared for my life, but yet I continue to carry through because I knew more people depended on me. I have subordinates that I had to try to get them a lineup or guide them the best we could with what we had.

And for me, it was scary, but you follow through, you continue to do where you were trained, and hoping that backup is coming. Backup is coming back up. Backup -- it was not coming.

The people in charge, especially the President at that time, he didn't come through, he failed. I blame him for a lot of things, but for this time, I blame him for the things that he didn't do, which is not sending the help that he knows he should, that he failed his hold his -- and to fulfill his oath of office which is protect and defend the United State.

BROWN: And let me just quickly, ask you, sorry, I don't mean to interrupt. But I wanted to just quickly ask you as we as we have to move on in the show, you look at what's been done, 465 arrests in connection so far with the January insurrection. What more do you want to see done, Officer Dunn? And would you like to speak to President Biden about it?

DUNN: Honestly, it's just about justice and the F.B.I. has done a great job in the criminal part of it. And you know, the people that are being arrested are the people that breached the Capitol and that did all this stuff. But what about the people that may have encouraged it and egged it on?

You know, that's what I want -- that's why I think the Commission was important because there are people, maybe in office, I don't know, I don't know, and if it's nothing, then it's nothing. But if it's nothing, then they shouldn't have anything to worry about. But if it is something, let's get to the bottom of it.

Everybody that was there that day, not even that wasn't there. This was an attack on democracy. It was an attack on our democracy, and everybody needs to be held accountable.

When he was talking about Iraq, it just brought me back to a moment, 9/11, we had a common enemy in 9/11 that's why it was so easy to get bipartisan support because we had a common enemy as Americans. Now, the common enemy is another American, it is an American. He is an American.

We are so divided as a nation and it is sickening. And that's -- this, you look at the -- you look at the footage, how is that -- how do you call that normal? How can you call that normal?

GONELL: How do you condone this and continue to condone it?

BROWN: It is not -- it is not normal, and it shouldn't be condoned, and anyone who has tried to whitewash that should be ashamed of themselves. They are deceiving themselves in their minds.

GONELL: Absolutely.

DUNN: Never forget. In 9/11, the motto was -- in 9/11, the motto was "Never forget," January 6, never forget.

BROWN: Well, and that's why we're having you on to talk about this as we reach the five-month anniversary tomorrow.

DUNN: It's been five months?


DUNN: Like, it's like five minutes, five days.

BROWN: I know, and I am so sad we don't have more time because, you know, we didn't even get to about your recovery and more about that. But we cannot thank you enough for coming on.

We want you back on the show next time. We hope Officer Fanone can come on the show as well. And we're going to continue this discussion and we're not going to let anyone forget about what happened on January 6.

DUNN: Thank you.

GONELL: Absolutely.

BROWN: Thank you both. Thank you.

DUNN: Thank you for taking the time, this is important. Thank you.

BROWN: Well, a Federal Judge, meantime, just overturned a decade's old assault weapons ban in California and he compared the AR-15 rifle to a Swiss Army knife.

The law was passed after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Stockton and I'm going to speak to a teacher who helped rescue students, we ask her about the Judge's ruling.



BROWN: On this Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is furious after a federal judge overturned California's 32-year-old assault weapons ban. It was the first of its kind in America and it grew out of a deadly mass shooting at a school long before Parkland, Sandy Hook or Columbine.

Pelosi call this ruling deeply flawed, warning that it poses a clear and serious threat to public safety. But the Judge has a few choice words of his own about the decision that could impact 40 million Americans and the middle of a gun violence epidemic in America. CNN's Polo Sandoval reports.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: California's ban on certain semi automatic rifles has weathered decades of opposition until now.


San Diego U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez rule to overturn it, passed in 1989 on the heels of an elementary school in Stockton, California that left five children dead. The law was touted as California's first assault weapons act. It established what an assault weapon is and made them illegal to buy or possess in California.

This week, Judge Benitez ruled that ban was unconstitutional and deprive law abiding Californians of weapons allowed in other states, weapons he compared to Swiss Army knives.


BRANDON WOLF, PULSE NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING SURVIVOR: If a Swiss Army knife had been used at Pulse, we would have had a birthday party for my best friend last week, not a vigil. The weapons we are talking about don't come with a nail file and a corkscrew just in case you get lost in the woods with a bottle of wine.


SANDOVAL (voice over): In his ruling, Judge Benitez wrote, "Firearms deemed as 'assault weapons' are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles." Benitez's decision is being celebrated by pro-gun groups. One suing the State of California on this case said that it was 'delighted with the outcome'. But those calling for stricter gun laws are outraged.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KRIS BROWN, PRESIDENT, BRADY MOVEMENT: Frankly, the wording in that ruling sounds like it's taken directly from an email or a memo written by the National Rifle Association.


SANDOVAL (voice over): First nominated by President George W. Bush in 2003, Judge Benitez has a history of butting heads with the State of California in its efforts for stricter gun laws. In 2017, he issued an initial injunction blocking the State's high-capacity magazine ban. Eventually, a federal appeals court upheld his ruling declaring the ban unconstitutional.

And last year, Benitez blocked a law requiring background checks for ammo purchases calling the law defective and a burden on the second amendment in his opinion granting a preliminary injunction. The state says it is appealing to the latest ruling. Among the families of those lost to mass shootings, there is a sense of fear that would happen to their loved ones could happen again.


FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER KILLED IN PARKLAND SHOOTING: I'm upset for the loss of my daughter and for all the other victims but I am fearful because I know there's someone out there right now who will go out and buy an AR-15 because of this Judge and use it.

RICHARD MARTINEZ, SON KILLED IN MASS SHOOTING: This ruling, if it were to stand, would make our country a more dangerous place. Assault weapons, assault-style weapons make our country more dangerous.


Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


BROWN: And I want to bring in a survivor of that 1989 mass shooting in Stockton, California that led to the law. Judy Weldon was a teacher at Cleveland Elementary School. She rescued a child shot three times during the rampage. Judy, thank you so much for joining us.


BROWN: What went through your mind, Judy, when you first learned the assault weapons ban had been overturned?

WELDON: First of all, it's a devastating blow to survivors and all the families of survivors who experience almost as much trauma. There are so many people who have had to flee bullets and just that alone even if they're not injured is traumatic. So it's devastating.

But it's also his behavior, this Judge's behavior is grossly irresponsible. And his description of the AR-15 that it is an ordinary weapon that it is popular, since when does popularity enter into following the laws? His whole description and his whole ruling is terribly flawed.

BROWN: Let's read some of the judge's own words directly. He said, "Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle." And again he adds, "Firearms deemed as 'assault weapons' are fairly ordinary ...

WELDON: Ordinary.

BROWN: ... popular, modern rifles.

WELDON: Yes. Right modern, popular, ordinary, they are ordinary because they are produced on mass, but that doesn't mean that they should be legal just because they're produced. There is no reason for an assault weapon to be in the hands of ordinary citizens. They were originally created for the military, for mass killings. They should not be used as mass killings on the streets and in places of where families and other citizens go.

BROWN: I want to talk to you, Judy, before our time is up about the context surrounding what led to the law in the first place that it's now been overturned, although we do expect an appeal.


BROWN: Tell us what you went through so many years ago at that school, what you went through, what you experienced that led to that law.


WELDON: There were over 700 almost a thousand people on campus that day between children and staff. And we all went through the most traumatic thing that one could imagine a person on our campus with an assault rifle, shooting children across the schoolyard; first, second and third grade children.

When you see 30 children drop and five more children drop on the schoolyard who do not ever get up again, who do not ever go home with their parents, again, you know that some horrible tragedy has occurred.

I am just now, even this is 32 years later, and we are getting ready to do a presentation at a Youth Leadership Academy by the District Attorney's office here and some students who have not even spoken to me in 32 years are coming forward even today. They are now finally able to share their story after all this time.

So when you look at the effects of gun violence, these are children that I'm speaking about that weren't even injured. They were just on the yard. When you look at the ripple effect of gun violence, think about the people who fled the bullets. Think about the people in Las Vegas who fled the bullets. There's over 600 that fled bullets, who thought they were going to die.

Those people are suffering from PTSD and we know that statistically by looking at data of gun violence effects. When you multiply every mass shooting by the number of victims who fled the scene and their families dealing with the same trauma, look at how many people in our country are dealing with trauma from gun violence, whether it's one on one in the street, whether it's abuse in the home, whether it's mass shootings, gun violence in America is too prevalent.

BROWN: And for you, you had your own personal experience. You saw children die in the arms of teachers on that day back in 1989. And Judy Weldon, you're here to share your experience and your reaction to this news out of California, what this Federal Judge has done with the law. Thank you, Judy, for making time for us today.

WELDON: Thank you very much for having us. We appreciate the time and we hope that we can continue to make a change in our country. Thank you.

BROWN: I think we can all agree that people should not die because of a mass shooting, because of gun violence. And, Judy, again, I think your experience really highlights that thank you so much.

Well, meantime, healthcare, energy, food, nothing appears to be off limits for the suspected Russian hackers targeting America's vulnerable infrastructure. How the Biden administration plans to confront Vladimir Putin about it?

And the Department of Justice just announcing that it will stop seizing reporters' records while trying to track down leaks. That story up next.



BROWN: The FBI Director compares it to the post 9/11 threat matrix. The Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the Senate tells me exclusively that it keeps her up at night and the White House considers it a grave threat to National Security. They're not talking about domestic terrorism or an insurrection or ISIS. They're talking about the rise of cyber attacks.

In recent weeks, ransomware hacks have dealt blows to the oil industry and the beef industry. They've hit hospitals and transportation and schools. The biggest of these on the Colonial Pipeline and JPS appear to have originated in Russia. But the pain is being felt in wallets right here in America, so what needs to be done.

CNN's Brian Fung Brian Fung joins us now. You have been covering this every single day, Brian. What can you tell us about these attacks and what more America can do to prevent them moving forward?

BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECH REPORTER: Well, Pam, ransomware has been an issue for years, quietly doing millions of dollars in damage to companies that have their computers locked up by hackers. But now ransomware is finally going after some really large targets and it's affecting millions of Americans right in your wallets, as you said, by disrupting fuel pipelines and meatpacking facilities. And all of that is contributing to this environment where hackers just see more and more opportunities to gain financial rewards from locking up these companies' computers.

Now, the President is going to be confronting of Russian President Vladimir Putin about this problem when they meet in just a little while in Geneva, Switzerland at their summit. Russia is believed to house and harbor many of the ransomware actors that are responsible for some of these attacks.

And so the hope here is that the President will be able to impress upon the Russian government how difficult it is or how important it is for Russia to not allow these hackers to act with impunity.

BROWN: Right.

FUNG: Whether or not that will actually work is a big question. And so U.S. officials are urging private businesses to create backups of their software, to use encryption and multi factor authentication to protect their systems against some of these malicious hackers as soon as they can.


BROWN: All right. Brian Fung, thank you for bringing me, bringing us I should say, the latest on this developing story that we will continue to be discussing on this show.

And shocking scene on a Delta Air Lines Flight this week. Have you heard about this? There was a passenger on that flight that was tackled, hogtied and dragged off the plane for trying to breach the cockpit mid air. Our Natasha Chen spoke to another passenger on that flight and her story is next.



BROWN: Terrifying moments on board a Delta Air Lines plane on Friday when a man on a flight from L.A. to Nashville tried to breach the cockpit. Another passenger quickly took the man down, but the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in New Mexico.

CNN's Natasha Chen is following this story. How did all of this play out, Natasha?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pamela, the passenger I spoke to, Grace Chalmers, said those two to three minutes it felt like years. It was very disturbing to the passengers on board who were hearing this yelling and screaming and not knowing what was going on.

She said that about an hour into the flight this man started yelling stop the plane, stop the plane and started banging on the cockpit doors. Within 30 seconds, another passenger got up, tapped another passenger and the two of them helped take him down with the help of the flight crew as well. Here's what she told me about that experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GRACE CHALMERS, PASSENGER ON DELTA FLIGHT 386: I'm so fortunate that there were so many people on board that were ready to jump to action and, you know, be the people we needed because there's so many different situations that that could have gone poorly.

And I'm, I mean, I don't even want to sound so dramatically but I feel very lucky to be alive like when I got, you know, on the ground in Albuquerque I called my family and they just couldn't even believe what I was telling them. They're like I feel like this is out of a movie.


CHEN: The plane that diverted to Albuquerque, New Mexico where the man was taken into federal custody. You saw that video that Grace took of him being taken off the plane tied at his hands and his ankles, barefoot. She said that actually in this video you can hear even as he's being pulled away, he's still saying stop the plane.

This comes in the latest as a string of incidents with unruly passengers. The FAA in March had to extend its zero-tolerance policy, which basically allows for stronger enforcement in situations like this.


The FAA has received just since January to late May about 2,500 reports of unruly behavior from passengers sometimes having to fine them up to $52,000, Pamela.

BROWN: Get it together, airplane passengers. My goodness. Natasha Chen, thank you so much.

Weapons found in war zones may now be allowed in California after a judge overturned the state's assault weapons ban. That ruling has many people speaking out tonight. When we come back, I'm going to speak to Tina Meins. She lost her father in the San Bernardino mass shooting. Stay with us. We'll be back.