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CNN NEWSROOM

Mexico Midterms; Judge Overturns California's Ban On Assault Weapons; Peru Runoff Election; Israeli Political Turmoil; Lebanese Politics; U.S. President Joe Biden To Attend G7 Summit In U.K.; No Decision Yet On Final Step Of U.K. Lockdown; Biden To Broach Ransomware Attacks With Putin; "Tomb Raiders" Capitalizing On Italy's COVID-19 Crisis; Disneyland To Open To Out-Of-State Residents June 15. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired June 6, 2021 - 04:00   ET

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


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KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Outrage from loved ones of people killed in mass shootings. Hear what activists plan next after California's decades-old assault weapons ban is overturned.

Plus Mexico prepares to open polls for the largest and deadliest elections in the country's history.

And President Biden gets G7 support for his global tax plan, one that targets multinational corporations.

Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

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BRUNHUBER: Both outrage and approval have erupted across the United States after a judge in California overturned the nation's first-ever ban on assault weapons. California's governor slammed the ruling, saying he's not backing down from the fight for commonsense gun laws.

Meanwhile, the NRA is praising the move, calling it well reasoned. CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on the controversial decision.

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

San Diego U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled to overturn it, passed in 1989 on the heels of an elementary school shooting 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 deprived law-abiding Californians of weapons allowed in other states, weapons he compared to Swiss Army knives.

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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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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.

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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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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.

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FRED GUTTENBERG, FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM: 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, FATHER OF MASS SHOOTING VICTIM: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: So here's what the National Rifle Association is telling us about this ruling in California. The NRA says it, quote, "demonstrates the importance of appointing judges who accurately apply the original meaning of our Constitution" and that, quote, "these types of restrictive gun laws don't make anyone safer and infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans."

As we mentioned earlier, the federal judge who overturned California's ban on assault weapons says it violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

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BRUNHUBER: Robyn Thomas is executive director of Giffords Law Center and joins me now from San Francisco.

Thanks so much for being here with us. You've been working for years to fight for gun safety. So I want to start by getting your reaction to this setback and what effect it might have.

ROBYN THOMAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GIFFORDS LAW CENTER: Well, this is an incredibly disappointing decision.

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THOMAS: It is completely an outlier from other decisions federal courts have issued, ruling on the validity of assault weapon bans. So it's an inappropriate and alarming decision and obviously one that we're very disappointed in but one that we don't expect will carry on, as it goes up through the appeal process.

BRUNHUBER: Among the many mass shootings I had the misfortune to cover from California, I was in San Bernardino, where the killers used AR-15 style rifles, bought legally, despite the ban, one constitutional expert I spoke to, who agreed with the general principles expressed in this ruling, felt that this idea of so-called assault rifles was sort of an artificial distinction that doesn't really have much practical merit.

And the bans haven't shown any significant effect in preventing mass shootings.

Is there any proof that they even work?

THOMAS: There is absolutely proof that these restrictions do work. So I find that factual inaccuracy to be really disappointing to hear. Certainly it is important that we have an intelligent and thoughtful conversation about how we define what is appropriate for civilian use for self-defense.

I think the irony of this situation is that, if you look at the judge's opinion, he talks about these weapons being appropriate, both for the battlefield and for home defense.

And I just want to pause for a second and mention how absurd that is, of a statement, that the same weapon being appropriate for the battlefield and home defense certainly doesn't speak to it not being an assault weapon.

So certainly we can have a conversation about these weapons and whether they're appropriate for civilian use.

On top of that, there is a fair number of studies that show that assault weapon restrictions, both at the federal level as well as the state level, are effective at reducing mass shootings and other fatalities.

BRUNHUBER: You mentioned the language the judge wrote.

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."

A lot of people resenting the comparison to a Swiss Army knife. Many critics say it's a very guns-rights reading of the Second Amendment and guns rights supporters are hoping that it reflects the views of the Supreme Court, where, as you sort of allude to, this case might end up.

So in this case, in the others that may wind up in front of this particular Supreme Court, how optimistic are you given the 6-3 conservative majority?

THOMAS: The truth is that the Supreme Court, even with a 5-4 conservative majority, rejected taking up cases on the Second Amendment, almost 100 of them over the last 10 years.

So even with a conservative majority, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to greatly expand Second Amendment rights to upend gun regulations across the country. As it stands, we already have very, very few, almost no gun regulations at the federal level.

Some states have stepped in to fill the gap. But the Supreme Court has been reluctant to step in and strike down appropriately decided regulations on guns that make our communities safer.

Certainly, since the new confirmation of justice Barrett, we've seen a large number of cases being relitigated or brought forward again in the hopes it will go up to the Supreme Court. But I don't believe that the court will choose to expand the right greatly, because it simply puts too many Americans' lives at risk.

BRUNHUBER: Then there's the ongoing political battle on this issue. There's been so many high-profile and tragic gun deaths this year. The president has called on Congress to tighten gun laws, particularly on the assault-style weapons.

Nancy Pelosi tweeted yesterday, "House-passed gun violence prevention bills must be enacted now." But then any action is sort of running into that buzzsaw that is the

Senate these days. Democrats just don't have the votes to get it past a Republican filibuster.

What can be done politically?

THOMAS: It's exactly because there is so little action at the federal level, because our national leaders are not taking steps to pass federal regulation, that states need to have the ability to pass laws to make our communities safer.

It's astounding how little regulation we have at the federal level. And states like California have really taken significant comprehensive steps to pass regulation. And as a result, gun violence and gun death in states like California is significantly lower, four times lower, than in some states, where you have very weak gun regulation.

So not only is it important that they have that autonomy but it's also -- there is an absolutely clear correlation between strong gun laws and lower gun death rates.

BRUNHUBER: All right, we'll have to leave it there. Thank you, Robyn Thomas, really appreciate it.

THOMAS: Thank you so much for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: Voters in Peru are about to pick their fifth president in five years but their choices are two drastically different candidates that few people seem to like. That's just ahead.

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BRUNHUBER: Plus Israel's longest-serving prime minister is most likely on his way out. But he's not leaving without a fight. Stay with us.

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BRUNHUBER: Mexican voters are just hours away from the largest elections ever held in that country. It's also been one of the deadliest.

Since September, over 90 politicians have been killed. At least 35 of them were candidates in Sunday's elections, including a mayoral candidate gunned down on Friday.

Beyond the bloodshed, Sunday's midterms are widely seen as a referendum on the Mexican president. More than 21,000 seats are up for grabs. Voters will choose all 500 deputies in the lower house of congress as well as many state governors and thousands of state and local officials. We're also watching a hotly contested presidential runoff in Peru.

Polls are set to open in a matter of hours. Voters will be choosing between two candidates with dramatically different visions for Peru's future. It's a race that has polarized the electorate in a country still reeling from multiple crises. CNN's Rafael Romo explains.

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RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: When a country is afraid of a power grab, it makes presidential candidates sign a pledge, promising that they will walk away from the highest office in the land at the end of their term.

That's what happened in Peru last month when religious leaders convinced both presidential candidates to make such a pledge and to do it in public.

The South American country is so polarized that the 2 candidates who made it to the second round are extreme opposites, whose combined vote in the first round didn't even reach 33 percent.

On the far left, Pedro Castillo is an elementary school teacher and union leader from a Marxist-Leninist party who became known for leading a strike in 2017. The 51-year old denies that he is a Communist. He has also been accused in the past of being a member of Shining Path, a terrorist group. But he has rejected those accusations as well.

Hunger, poverty and inequality are the true forms of terrorism afflicting people in Peru, Castillo recently said at a rally.

On the far right, Keiko Fujimori is vying for presidency for the third time after failed attempts in 2011 and 2016. The 46-year old is the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, a president who ruled Peru between 1990 and 2000 and is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights violations.

The former congresswoman has been herself in jail three times, as part of an investigation for her alleged role in the Odebrecht bribe scandal in Peru. She denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

"I've been unjustly sent to prison three times, which separated me from my daughters for 16 months," she said.

Nearly 70 percent of Peruvian voters, who had chosen a different candidate in the first round, are now scratching their heads at the choices in front of them.

"This is like Sodom and Gomorrah for me," says this voter, who criticizes the candidates for running negative campaigns instead of focusing on what they can do to improve the country.

That's probably why Peruvian Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa says voters will have to choose the lesser of two evils and supports Fujimori.

ROMO: There have been four presidents in Peru over the last five years; three of them occupied the presidency during an especially tumultuous 9-day period last September. And all of the last six presidents have been in trouble with the law, including one who took his life in 2019 as he was about to be arrested for accusations related to the Odebrecht corruption scandal.

ROMO (voice-over): This week a revised COVID-19 death toll put Peru at the top of the countries with the highest death rates per capital in the world. Yet campaigning didn't stop. Now many wonder if political instability will be a thing of the past or the new normal. Neither candidate is expected to have a majority in Congress -- Rafael Romo, CNN.

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BRUNHUBER: Police in Nicaragua have detained another opposition presidential candidate. Officers stopped Arturo Cruz on Saturday morning at the Managua airport. In a statement, officials accused him of, quote, "attacking Nicaraguan society," but did not provide specifics on that.

This comes this comes just days after police placed another opposition candidate under house arrest. Both candidates plan to challenge president Daniel Ortega, who is seeking a fourth term in November.

The head of Israel's domestic security agency says there could be incitement of violence in the coming days. It's an unprecedented warning coming ahead of a pitched political contest for Israel's future.

The new coalition government is trying to unseat prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He's held the job for 12 consecutive years but this week could change all that. Oren Liebermann joins me from Jerusalem.

Oren, so a tumultuous week ahead. Take us through the timeline here.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: If everything goes according to plan for this so-called change bloc, this coalition aiming to replace prime minister Netanyahu, it will be over within eight days by next Monday.

That's if all goes according to plan for Naftali Bennett. Tomorrow, the speaker of the Knesset will present the new coalition and the coalition agreements. He has between 48 hours to a week to schedule the swearing-in of the new government.

That would be the official ousting of Netanyahu from the prime minister's residence and the prime minister's office. So that could come Wednesday or Monday. Both are possible under the law, given a week timeframe here.

Of course, it's not that simple. Netanyahu, although he's been outmaneuvered to this point, still has room to maneuver. He's looking to exploit cracks and fissures in this coalition looking to oust him, a coalition made up of eight different parties, with some radically different opinions here.

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LIEBERMANN: And if he can find just one member of the Knesset to defect and support him, the effort will be scuttled.

The growing assessment is it's likely to work, that Netanyahu is likely to be replaced. But it's not done yet and there are still days here for it to work.

It's not just the politics here. There is a request for the so-called flag march, an often provocative march of religious Zionists through the Muslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, that could add to a tense situation.

It's events like that, the language surrounding events like that, language and rhetoric we've seen the last weeks and months, that led to the unprecedented warning from the Shin Bet, Israel's FBI, for the potential for incitement leading to violence in the coming days, as this country tries to get out of a political mess it's been in for years now.

BRUNHUBER: We'll be following that story. Another story that's making headlines, a reporter apparently arrested by Israeli security.

What can you tell us about that?

LIEBERMANN: That reporter from Al Jazeera was detained, I believe that was yesterday. But it adds to the criticism of the Israeli security forces, especially just a couple of weeks after the IDF, Israel's military, bombed and destroyed the building in Gaza that housed both the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

It's part of a growing criticism of the Israeli security forces' actions. Al Jazeera condemning the arrest and detainment of their journalist and banning for 15 days of that journalist from the neighborhood in East Jerusalem that remains incredibly sensitive because of the eviction of a number of Palestinian families.

BRUNHUBER: All right, Oren Liebermann, thanks so much from Jerusalem.

There's A growing grassroots effort to rescue Lebanon from the abyss. The country's ruling elite have been gridlocked, unable to form a government, unable to stop one of the most severe economic crises in decades.

But there is a movement led by young people to challenge the corruption and status quo. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz spent time with one aspiring party, looking to make a difference.

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SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This group of activists once scrawled their anger on the barricades around this ministry. Now they want to challenge the government at the ballot box.

HUSSIEN EL ACHI, SECRETARY GENERAL, MINTESHREEN: In 2015 we were here. We were still kids. Most of us were kids. And today we're facing the same wall. And we're presenting our papers to become a political party.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): They call their political party Minteshreen, which means "to spread out" in Arabic. It was born out of a popular uprising in the fall of 2019. The pandemic and lack of progress brought an end to the mass demonstrations but rage against the ruling elite, widely seen as corrupt, festers.

Lebanon is crumbling under one of the most severe economic crises in the world.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): There is momentum here to challenge the establishment. All these small political groups are popping up. Some fizzle and fade away. Others hold on and try to gain legitimacy. They're led by young people who have little experience and little resources. But activists say that how changed begin from the grassroots up.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): That's why Minteshreen says they started canvassing outside Beirut, the center of power. We follow them on a day trip to the tiny village of Batha in the north of the country. The proud mayor, a rare independent politician, welcomed the outsiders.

They are out of place here liberal youth from the capital. But the mayor says they have something in common.

EPHRAM ELIAS SUQAIEM, BAT-HA, LEBANON MAYOR: Regardless of if these political rulers can accomplish anything, we need the youth. We need fresh faces. He told me, every Lebanese citizen must be a part of the revolution.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Elections scheduled for May 2022 will be the first test for Minteshreen and groups like it. And there is huge mobilization potential. Turnout was an estimated 50 percent during the last election.

EL ACHI: The first one is of course, working towards the parliamentary election, letting the people of these villages know that there are new youth-led progressive parties that they can trust for the future.

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): But this is like a David and Goliath style battle, what chance do you really stand against the ruling elite?

EL ACHI: You have militias everywhere you have armed factions, you have sectarian political parties. But this David has, you know, has started, you know --

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ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): But short of myths and miracles, only time can bring down the giants that have ruled these valleys for generations -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, Beirut. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: A three-day period of national mourning is in effect in Burkina Faso after a deadly attack there. The government says more than 130 people were killed when militants stormed a village near the border with Niger on Friday night.

There are no claims of responsibility. But Africa's Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso, has seen a surge in attacks by militants linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Coming up, G7 finance leaders agree to a landmark deal, aimed at preventing multinational companies from avoiding tacks. We'll have a live report from London.

Plus if you're having trouble keeping up with all the cyber attacks here in the U.S., you're not alone. See why they probably won't stop anytime soon.

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BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

The U.S. will donate about 750,000 COVID vaccine doses to Taiwan. The island has been fighting a surge in COVID cases. And officials there have been asking the U.S. to share some of the vaccines it plans to donate to the world.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth announced the donation during a visit to Taiwan on Sunday.

U.S. President Joe Biden will head to the U.K., Belgium and Switzerland in the coming days. It is his first overseas trip since taking office. Now the White House says his visit will highlight America's commitment to restoring alliances.

He is also attending the G7 summit to advance issues like economic recovery after the pandemic.

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BRUNHUBER: In an op-ed for "The Washington Post," Mr. Biden elaborated on his agenda, saying the U.S. must lead the world from a position of strength.

He wrote, in part, "As America's economic recovery helps propel the global economy, we will be stronger and more capable when we are flanked by nations that share our values and our vision for the future by other democracies.

"That's the agenda I will advance at every stop."

The president is certainly getting a lot of support, ahead of his trip. On Saturday, G7 finance ministers put their support behind the Biden plan to overhaul the global tax system. They agreed to back a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent on large multinational corporations.

The group also agreed large companies should pay taxes where they generate sales and not just where they have a physical presence. Governments have long grappled over the challenges of taxing companies operating in multiple countries. The U.S. Treasury Secretary calls the deal significant.

For more on this, let's turn to CNN's Nina dos Santos in London.

This tax deal could have huge implications.

What more can you tell us at this point?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Yes, big implications, Kim, not just for the companies but also other countries around the world that aren't inside the G7. Maybe they're inside the broader G20 group, which will be meeting next month in Venice, and they could be pressured to follow suit.

This is part of a big movement to try and make sure that especially those big tech companies but other big multinational firms don't use and abuse the tax system internationally, if you like, at a time when, of course, people need extra revenues, as many tax revenues as they can, to try and recover from the global pandemic.

And frankly, a lot of these firms have been doing quite well. Think about how many times you might go online to buy something for delivery because you're currently in a lockdown. So you go online for online shopping. You'll be watching something on a streaming service or spend time on social media.

Some of the types of companies that are in those realms actually have their headquarters in low-tax jurisdictions, even if they make their sales in other parts of the world, where they should, in theory, pay more tax if they were taxed there at source.

This is what's going to change. It is something of a compromise, though. As you can see there, the language, what was crucial was to get the words "at least" in, in terms of the tax rate and 15 percent, which might seem low to your average person. Many people around the world pay higher taxes than 15 percent on their net income.

So there potentially is the scope for this to be just the start of a movement to get more multinational companies, not just to pay more tax but also potentially a higher tax rate. As I said, there will be pressure not just on companies but also on countries as well to comply with this, especially some E.U. countries like Ireland.

Big question marks over whether or not it can keep its low corporation tax jurisdictions after this move -- Kim. BRUNHUBER: All right. And British prime minister Boris Johnson making

some headlines by calling for G7 leaders to vaccinate the world by the end of next year.

What's behind this?

DOS SANTOS: Yes, this is really interesting, actually, because the U.K. has been coming under increasing scrutiny up until recently about whether or not it's willing to put its name down to share more of the stockpile of COVID vaccinations that it has.

Remember, this is a country that has vaccinated more than half of its adult population already with two doses -- or offered two doses -- to more than half its adult population of vaccines. It's approved more of them for use.

It helped to spearhead one of the crucial vaccines to fight this pandemic, the AstraZeneca vaccine as well. Having said that, the U.K. stockpile of 400 million doses so far hasn't actually had a portion of it officially earmarked for other countries as part of the United Nations COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme.

We've heard the World Health Organization head call publicly for rich countries to start sharing their stockpiles of vaccines so that new variants don't keep circulating in other countries that can't necessarily get hold of those vaccines or afford them; say, in continents like Africa and also Asia as well.

So the United States has actually already committed to sharing 25 million of its COVID vaccine doses. France, for instance, is sharing 500,000. What we're expecting here is more pressure from Boris Johnson to actually start agreeing to put a number down to share some of the doses that the U.K. has been stockpiling on the back of the success of the vaccine program over here.

So Boris Johnson here pretty much turning the tables in terms of the messaging, if you like, off the back of all that pressure, now saying, look, I'm going to be using this G7 summit as a rallying cry for all of the rich nations to start putting their name down to share vaccines, to make sure that everyone in the world can get access to a dose of the COVID vaccine over the next 18 months.

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DOS SANTOS: To snuff out, if you like, all those different variants that are potentially circulating and could elude some of these immunization programs.

BRUNHUBER: Nina dos Santos in London.

Another issue on the U.S. President's agenda, ransomware attacks: they're now on the rise; as we saw with Colonial Pipeline in April here in the U.S., a successful attack can lead to widespread chaos.

In recent months, a major gas pipeline, dozens of government agencies, a city's water supply in Florida and one of the world's top meat producers have all been hit. That's just in the U.S.

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Al Liska is a senior intelligence analyst at the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future. He joins me from Herndon, Virginia.

Thanks so much for joining us. When we learn the details of how the hackers get in, in the case of Colonial Pipeline, just one compromised password in the SolarWinds attack, we heard about a server reportedly used the password solarwinds123. They exploit the fact that we're often careless and lazy.

How do you overcome this fundamental asymmetry?

We as users have to be perfect all the time but hackers just need to find one weak link.

ALLAN LISKA, SENIOR THREAT INTELLIGENCE ANALYST, RECORDED FUTURE: Right. That's really a big problem, Kim. When you think about it, specifically when we talk about ransomware in the case of Colonial Pipeline, right now, there are hundreds of threat actors that are trying to gain access to vulnerable systems.

And they have such a wide variety of attack vectors they can go after, that it's very difficult to basically protect against all of them, which is why you really need a defense and depth strategy. But you also need cooperation amongst governments to try and make it more expensive for threat actors to carry out ransomware attacks.

BRUNHUBER: I want to get to the international component a bit later. But right now, in terms of the domestic response to this right now, the U.S. has no cybersecurity requirements for companies that basically aren't related to electricity, nuclear, banking. There have been proposed legislation that would have set the cybersecurity standards for many industries but that was blocked in 2012 by Republicans.

But business groups as well lobbied hard to defeat the legislation.

Why are they so dead set against regulation?

Even if it is expensive to go through all of this, you'd think it would be in their long-term interest.

LISKA: It actually would be in their long-term interest. But I think you hit the nail on the head, that, in the short term, it's going to cost them a lot of money to come up to compliance, to be compliant with what the government is going to recommend that they have to implement. And they don't want to do that, unfortunately.

We see that time and time again in these instances, whether it's ransomware or something else, where there were security controls that just weren't in place that should have been there.

BRUNHUBER: Then the cost here, I mean, when you have to pay the ransom, that's the debate now, right, to pay or not to pay, there's a debate whether it should be illegal to pay up.

I remember there was a study by one cybersecurity company, found that over half the ransomware victims pay the ransom, then only one-quarter see their full data returned. So even if you do pay, sounds like there's a good chance you don't get off lightly, it may not be worth it to pay.

What's the right call here?

LISKA: Right, so it's -- each individual organization has to make that decision for themselves. Obviously as a security person, I recommend never paying the ransom. But it's not always just a security decision.

But you're absolutely right. Just because you've paid the ransom doesn't mean your problems are over. Your decrypter may not work. You may have to completely rewrite it.

Even then, even if everything works perfectly, you still have months and months of investments and probably millions of dollars in investment to bring your networks back up to speed.

No matter what, there is a very heavy cost after a ransomware attack, whether you pay the ransom or whether you don't.

BRUNHUBER: As you allude to, the international angle to this, there's very little disincentive for the criminals not to do this. It's easy to get into, very little enforcement internationally, where a lot of this is originated.

Is there a better way to go after these criminals at source, maybe with more international cooperation?

Or is basically the onus just on us to better protect ourselves?

LISKA: So we actually -- it has to be a multifaceted approach. So organizations have to do a better job of protecting themselves. But governments do need to figure out a way to make it more expensive.

You're absolutely right, with the rise of ransomware as a service, anybody that's got a few thousand dollars can become a ransomware hacker. It's not that hard, it's not that complicated.

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LISKA: And there are people, new people signing up every day. So there has to be better cooperation amongst law enforcement.

And there does have to be pressure put on the Kremlin to take action against these threat actors because most of the ransomware activity occurs either in Russia or Russia-aligned states.

And the ransomware actors know that they can get away with it and there's going to be very little chance of them engaged in any punishment or receiving any punishment.

BRUNHUBER: All right, we'll have to leave it there. Thanks so much, Allan Liska, really appreciate it.

LISKA: Thank you very much. A pleasure talking to you again.

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BRUNHUBER: Seven months after the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump is still pushing his claim that he won the 2020 race. The former president was in North Carolina Saturday, where he gave a speech at the state's Republican Party convention.

In his first public appearance in three months, Trump claimed his defeat to Joe Biden was the, quote, "crime of the century." He slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci and demanded China pay for its role in the COVID-19 pandemic.

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TRUMP: But Fauci has perhaps never been more wrong than when he denied the virus and where it came from. The time has come for America and the world to demand reparations and accountability from the Communist Party of China. We all should declare, within one unified voice that China must pay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER: Now of course, Trump didn't mention his own handling of the pandemic or how that may have been a factor in his loss to Joe Biden. But he did hint at a possible run in 2024, saying he's looking forward to that particular year.

It's a practice as old as Rome itself, digging out ancient artifacts in Italy and selling them illegally. Next, why so-called tomb raiding picked up steam during the pandemic.

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BRUNHUBER: In Italy, they're called tomb raiders, not that they're anything like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. But they are in the business of digging out ancient treasures and selling them under the table. Now that practice is hardly new in Italy. But as Barbie Nadeau reports, it's gotten even worse during the pandemic.

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BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rome, the eternal city. Its ancient structures still standing, kissed by the warm summer sun. After thousands of years, there's still so much to uncover, treasures underfoot lay buried all across Italy.

The professional unearthing of ancient artifacts -- or tomb raiding, as it is called here -- is as old as Rome itself, passed down from generation to generation. This open air museum is a temptation for those who believe in profit over patrimony.

While visiting Rome and Emperor Nero's beachfront imperial villa, situated just south of Rome, CNN stumbled across this man. He had reached the perimeter fence and was apparently digging for treasure in broad daylight.

The police were called and the man was reprimanded and moved on right in front of us. Police said he claimed he was looking for plastic.

This ancient villa, like many other sites, has not being fully excavated. Its treasures still lie buried underground, ripe for plunder. Stolen artifacts end up all over the world, from major museums to private collections.

Reality star Kim Kardashian West was recently named in court filings over a Roman statue that was confiscated in 2016 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. A spokesperson for Kardashian West said she, quote, "never purchased this piece" and efforts are underway to return it to Rome.

The global market in art and antiquities was worth $50 billion in 2020. According to authorities, there were at least US$20 million worth of Italian artifacts trafficked last year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People -- people want to participate in history, people want to own history. And obviously, you want to do it legitimately. You want to go through the proper authorities, the right auction houses, that can say, I guarantee that what you are purchasing has the provenance.

NADEAU (voice-over): Darius Aria is a trained archaeologist whose own digs have been pilfered. He says it's not just the tombaroli who are the criminals; it goes all the way up the food chain to the buyer.

Italy's Carabinieri cultural police force is credited with bringing back Italy's stolen treasures. In 2020, the Italian culture police were able to bring back 500,000 stolen items. That's in just one year alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There is a double damage when tombaroli take away the objects from an accomplice or a (INAUDIBLE) in this country. The first is the economic damage, the artistic and historical value.

The second is what we call it de-contextualization of a site, where they rob the archaeologists of present-day historical effects (ph).

NADEAU (voice-over): In this vault in central Rome, stolen art brought back from all over the world is cataloged, cleaned, and prepared for a new home. Stefano Alessandrini (ph) says he's on bringing back thousands of artifacts.

NADEAU: Half a million? STEFANO ALESSANDRINI (PH), FORENSIC ARCHEOLOGIST: It's incredible (INAUDIBLE) but many, I think, are from libraries, archives and they are little things but also the little things are very important for our history, so...

NADEAU (voice-over): It's just too difficult to police and excavate all these treasures and there's no lack of buyers. The pandemic saw an uptick of sales online. Italy fighting to preserve its cultural heritage one treasure at a time.

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BRUNHUBER: Our thanks to Barbie Nadeau for that report.

Avengers assemble: as California prepares to roll back many of its COVID restrictions, Disneyland raises the curtain on its newest attraction. Stay with us.

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BRUNHUBER (voice-over): At golf's Memorial Tournament in Ohio, an emotional moment as the tournament leader, Jon Rahm, is forced to withdraw because of a positive COVID-19 test. The Spaniard had a six- stroke lead after the third round. He will be eligible to return right before the U.S. Open begins in two weeks.

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BRUNHUBER: After a year-long delay due to the pandemic, Disneyland has opened the gates on its latest attraction. The new Avengers Campus opened Friday at Disney California Adventure.

The grand opening comes as the park is preparing to welcome back out- of-state guests later this month. CNN's Paul Vercammen takes a take a look at what parkgoers can expect when they return.

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PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So many subplots at Disneyland. On June 15th, they will again welcome out-of-state guests. Also they will no longer check guests' temperatures as they enter the park.

All that was a COVID-19 protocol. Let's get to the Avengers Campus. It opened with great fanfare. There are Marvel Comics characters everywhere. Spider-man is the centerpiece on one ride. You sort of sling webs and you capture these runaway spider bots.

(MUSIC PLAYING) VERCAMMEN: Lots of high-tech wizardry here. But some of the effects are just old-school optical illusions.

So that checkerboard floor was as flat as the sidewalk behind me. We talked to some guests, who went on in to the Avengers Campus and they gave it glowing reviews.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I honestly felt I was there for me more than I was for my kids.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, some childhood memories over here. Got to live the whole -- just the whole Marvel -- it was like after watching a movie and just being there and seeing all the superhero sightings, I felt like a little kid myself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just -- you have to be there. It's just -- feels like you're in a different world. Like I felt like I literally was stepping into a movie set, just how they were so -- like they had everything on point.

VERCAMMEN: There have been reports of an uptick in hospitalizations in COVID-19 in some places with teams (ph) but here at Disneyland, we talked to a lot of parents and a lot of teens and they all told us that they felt comfortable going into the park.

Most of them saying that their teens have been vaccinated and they said that they'll still continue to wear a mask. But now all eyes on that Avengers Campus. Of course, throughout the region, they're hoping Disneyland comes back in full force and injects more life into the economy around here -- reporting from Disneyland, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.

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BRUNHUBER: The final leg of horse racing's Triple Crown concluded Saturday with the Belmont Stakes in New York. Essential Quality, the early betting favorite, finished just ahead of Hot Rod Charlie to claim victory. A limited crowd of 11,000 was allowed to attend the race. Kentucky winner Medina Spirit wasn't allowed to run because of a failed drug test.

That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. Please do stay with us.