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Biden Uses G7 Summit To Reset America's Image After Trump; White House: Biden Will Hold Solo Press Conference After The Putin Meeting; Queen Elizabeth's History With U.S. Presidents; Delta Flight Diverted As Passenger Threatens To "Take Down" Plane; Orlando Honors Victims Of Pulse Nightclub Shooting. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired June 12, 2021 - 15:00   ET



VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's a teacher herself working from home throughout the pandemic. She takes turns watching her toddlers with her 13-year-old daughter Ayanna (ph) until spots open up.

TOMIA MITCHELL-HAAS, WAITLISTED FOR CHILD CARE: You want them to be learning, you want them to be happy, you want them to be safe. Why should why should that be something that's so difficult to attain? It shouldn't.

YURKEVICH: Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



All right. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for being with me today.

The CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Alex Marquardt.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alex Marquardt, in today for Jim Acosta. Thank you very much for joining me.

After four contentious and often chaotic years of dealing with President Donald Trump, we're seeing something of a collective sigh of relief from world leaders in Europe, who were welcoming Joe Biden as part of, quote, the club as French President Emmanuel Macron put it.

At the G7 Summit this weekend, gone are the white knuckled handshakes with Emmanuel Macron. Instead, it is a stroll on the beach with arms around shoulders instead of throwing elbows to make a point, Biden is using his elbows to greet allies.

While leaders like Prime Minister Boris Johnson may consider Joe Biden a breath of fresh air, another leader who is less impressed with the new guy is Russian President Vladimir Putin who will have his turn with President Biden next week.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Even now, I believe that former U.S. president, Mr. Trump, is an extraordinary individual, talented individual. Otherwise, he would not have become U.S. president.

President Biden, of course, is radically different from Trump because President Biden is a career man. He's spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics. Just think of the number of years he spent in the Senate. A different kind of person.

And it is my great hope that, yes, there is some advantages, some disadvantages. But there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting U.S. president.


MARQUARDT: That meeting in Geneva will be the culmination of Biden's European trip. But before then, one thing is clear. Despite some differences in policy, the United States seems to have come a long way from this now infamous 2018 photo of frustrated world leaders surrounding and standing over an American president with his arms crossed. In fact, even the special guest at last night's reception at the G7 summit, Queen Elizabeth, was updated by her own prime minister about the new vibe in the air.


QUEEN ELIZABETH: Are you supposed to be looking as if you're enjoying it?

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Yes, definitely. We have been enjoying ourselves in spite of appearances.


MARQUARDT: The world leaders there enjoying themselves. They say we have reporters across this story and these critical meetings over the last few days, including our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, who just wrapped up an interview with the host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and our senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly.

Phil, let's start with you. You and other members of our White House team wrote on that foreign officials are emerging shell- shocked from the Trump years. Today, we saw President Biden sitting down with the French President Emmanuel Macron.

How did that meeting go, what did they talk about?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, it was a meeting that really lined up with what we've seen from foreign leaders across the board over the course of the last 48 to 72 hours. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling it a breath of fresh air, Angela Merkel making it clear that it was nice to have somebody who leaved in multilateralism again.

And I think that's the context you need to view these meetings through at this point. They are coming from President Biden's predecessor who had sharp skepticism of multilateralism, had no trust in the institutions put in place post-World War II that largely defined Western democracies over the course of the last several decades and largely bulldozed foreign leaders to a president who has deep believer in all of those things that his predecessor disagreed with and that has really shown through over the course of the last several days.

In fact, take a listen and listen closely to what French President Emmanuel Macron has to say here, because it's a very subtle but clear jab.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: What we need is cooperation and I think that it is great to have a U.S. president part of the club and very willing to cooperate. And I think what you demonstrated is that leadership is partnership.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES: The United States, I've said before, we're back. The U.S. is back. We feel very, very strongly about the cohesion of NATO, and I for one think that the European Union is an incredibly strong and vibrant entity.


MATTINGLY: Part of the club and willing to cooperate. Again, not so subtle about where the French president was going there.


And he would know. You can think back as you played some of them in your lead and some of the interactions that he had with President Trump. It seemed to be round after round after round of who seemed to have the stronger hand shake and could hold that handshake for longer over the course of several meetings, including one where Macron left a mark on President Trump's hand because they were going back and forth so tightly.

I think one thing to keep in mind, is when you talk to U.S. officials, they knew the president was going to be welcomed. They knew that the president was familiar in his belief system, certainly lines up with the leaders of the G7. But as you noted, there are also differences here whether it relates to China, there was intense discussion and some divergence on the issue in a private meeting earlier this morning, as well as other issues as well. But top line, there's no question about it, as one U.S. official put me, told me, Alex, it seems like there was collective exhale over the course of the last several days.

MARQUARDT: Yeah, and Macron was actually one of the European leaders who had a better relationship with Trump than the others. But he clearly seems happy to have Biden there on the fold. Clarissa, over to you, Biden's team has said that he is going to be

going into next week's meeting with President Putin in Geneva with, as they say, the wind at his back after all of these meetings at the G7. Here, we're looking at a flyover over Cornwall, as that summit wraps up.

But Geneva -- sorry, Clarissa, back to Geneva, the Biden team is saying that they are going to go into that summit with the wind at their back. There is a lot of speculation here in Washington, D.C., about how that meeting is going to unfold. What are other world leaders speculating, what are they saying about that meeting between Presidents Biden and Putin?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Alex, I think Phil hit on something really important here, which is this is very much united front being shown, but behind the scenes, of course, these are world leaders with different interests, different approaches, different calculations and particularly on the issues of China which was obviously central focus today and on the issue of Russia.

So when we actually had an opportunity to stand for a while and talk with the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, I wanted to start out by getting a feel for what the metric for success is in his eyes for a meeting between President Biden and President Putin, what he hoped to see out of that and whether he agrees with President Biden that President Putin is indeed a killer. Take a look.


JOHNSON: I certainly think that President Putin has done things that are unconscionable and the -- I'm fairly certain that he authorized the poisonings in Salisbury that led to the death of an innocent member of the British public, the attempted poisonings of the Skripals. You've seen what's happened to his leading opponent, Alexey Navalny, who is in prison on trumped up charges and facing -- effectively being tortured. And so, I think what Joe Biden will be doing when he sees Putin will be giving some pretty tough messages.


WARD: And Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said that the last time he had seen President Putin, he had delivered a similar message, essentially that there would be no normalization of relations between Russia and the U.K. until Russia starts to change its tune.

Now, having said, very unlikely that we are going to expect to see any meaningful change in Russia's behavior come out of this summit, but certainly the hope is that at least it can try to prevent the relationship between the U.S. and Russia from deteriorating any further.

MARQUARDT: Yeah, that's right, Clarissa. The Biden team down playing expectations of what they call deliverables out of that meeting between the two presidents next week.

Clarissa Ward, Phil Mattingly, from Cornwall, thank you very much.

Now, Biden is focused to getting U.S. allies on the same page ahead of that meeting next week with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House has just announced that the U.S. president will be holding a solo press conference after that meeting rather than a joint one with the Russian president. That in and itself is very symbolic.

The list of issues for these two sides to talk about is a long one between a string of recent cyberattacks against the U.S. by Russian actors, the poisoning and imprisonment critics, continued efforts it interfere in American elections and, of course, aggression against Ukraine. The list goes on and on and on.

So to help me tackle just one of those critical agenda items is Chris Krebs. He was in charge of the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Agency, which is known as CISA under President Trump. He is now co-founder of the Krebs Stamos Group.

Chris, thank you very much for joining me this morning.

CHRISTOPHER KREBS, FORMER TOP CYBERSECURITY OFFICIAL AT DHS: Thanks for having me, Alex. Thank you for pronouncing CISA --

MARQUARDT: Now, looking ahead to next week, Putin has called allegations that Russia is involved in hacking attempts against the U.S. nonsense. He's called them ridiculous, and just hilarious.


He is not even saying that, well, you guys, the U.S., you spy on us as well.

So how do you even start getting Russia to stop their spy agencies from hacking, their ransomware criminals on Russian soil from attacking if they won't even acknowledge it in the first place?

KREBS: Well, I think what you have done up front though by framing espionage activities differently than ransomware is appropriate because we have a different set of tools, we have a different set of, you know, partnerships that we can show to stop ransomware in particular. And I think that's a lot of what the work you are seeing right now in Cornwall with the G7 partners. That's what's happening.

So when you think about next week and you think about Geneva, wind at their back, it's the work has been done and they are clearly going -- the president will clearly deliver a message to President Putin that as he said we're back, we're not going to tolerate this and we've got our friends with us too.

MARQUARDT: I'm sure that you are comforted by the fact, even encouraged by the fact that, you know, cyber has taken such an important place in these talks. How rare is it that cyber issues are elevated to this presidential level in international talks, and what does it tell us about this moment?

KREBS: So, whether it's the G7 or NATO discussions, cyber is always a part of the working level conversations, you know? But typically when you have the head of state together, it is rare that cyber is a top three item. And so to me, I'm still a little -- it is a little surreal to see it be such a prominent aspect of this conversation. I'm looking forward to the readout and the G7 statement and exactly what they say.

But it is going to start, you know, our breaking up this ransomware can explosion will begin with partners coming together, with countries sharing information, investigating actors together and coordinated disruption of these criminal networks.

MARQUARDT: And we continue to look at pictures of this beautiful flyover by -- what our Air Force planes over Carbis Bay in England. Chris, the Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, she told CNN last week that hackers could right now shut down the U.S. power grid. We just saw back to back attacks from Russian and ransomware attackers against a gas pipeline, meat processing plants that were taken offline.

What parts of our critical infrastructure which you used to being charge of securing do you think are most vulnerable? Which of them worry you the most?

KREBS: Well, I frankly think that all aspects of our nation's critical infrastructure because of the increasing dependence on the Internet, and connectivity, they are all vulnerable to some significant extent. And what we've seen over time is through some of the public/private partnerships and encouraging our private sector partners to secure their networks that perhaps we haven't been as successful as we would have liked.

So what struck me over the last couple weeks particularly in some of the congressional confirmation hearing this is week as well as during the Colonial Pipeline hearings in the Senate and the House, is there is a growing appetite or at least an acceptance that perhaps some degree of regulation is on the horizon.

MARQUARDT: That is a big question whether we'll be demanding more of these different companies that control so much of our critical infrastructure.

Chris, there was a glimmer, a rare glimmer of good news amid this ransomware attacks in the past week. The Department of Justice said that they got most of the ransom pay that was paid by Colonial Pipeline to those suspected Russian hackers. They retrieved bitcoin that was worth over $2 million. Do you expect that we're going to see more recoveries like this or do you think that these hackers are just going to find other ways to get paid?

KREBS: So, it's a -- it was a notable achievement by the FBI and other partners in the federal government. But I think from a public policy perspective, we do not want more of this, right? You know, it is not the FBI's job to go and claw back money from criminals for the private sector.

We have to learn the right things from the last several months and not the wrong things. And the wrong takeaway would be that you can continue to pay ransoms and expect our law enforcement partners to get it back.

So what I would expect to see is, again, more attention and focus on domestic infrastructure and the security improvements that are needed, but also hard look at the mechanisms and kind of the shadow economy of cryptocurrencies that are facilitating these payments. And what more oversight or regulation do we have to put in place.

And lastly, as you are seeing in Cornwall now and Geneva next week, what are the things we're going to have to do to impose cost and hold those accountable that are operating out of Russia and hitting our infrastructure.


MARQUARDT: All right. We're going to be watching that meeting with President Putin very closely, just like the rest of us. Chris Krebs, thanks very much for joining us today.

KREBS: Thanks, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Coming up, pomp and a lot of protocol as Joe Biden gears up for his big visit with the queen. We will be looking back at her long history with American presidents. That's coming up.


MARQUARDT: So when you're queen, why use a knife to cut a cake when you can use a sword?


QUEEN ELIZABETH: I don't think this is going to work.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a knife.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: I know there is.



QUEEN ELIZABETH: This is something that is more unusual.


MARQUARDT: She knows there is a knife.

That was Queen Elizabeth attending an event in Cornwall.

Tomorrow, the 95-year-old will host President Biden at Windsor Castle. He's the 12th U.S. president that she has met during her 69-year reign.

CNN's Max Foster takes a look back. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The special relationship, or a dozen special relationships.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, to her majesty, the Queen.

FOSTER: Joe Biden is the 12th U.S. president to meet Queen Elizabeth during her reign. The queen will have met ever sitting president during her 69-year reign except Lyndon B. Johnson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were welcomed at the White House by the first lady at the beginning of a memorable visit.

FOSTER: Starting with Dwight Eisenhower in 1957 and most recently Donald Trump, Britain's monarch has seen her share of administrative change, and the conversations invariably remain private.

PRINCE EDWARD, SON OF QUEEN ELIZABETH: People really do respect the fact that this is a -- this is a genuinely private, off-the-record conversation. So they really can talk about things and get to the heart of things in a very genuine fashion because they know it's not going to come out.

FOSTER: Does she have slipped to you in any way --


PRINCE EDWARD: Goodness gracious. Of course not, of course not.

FOSTER: Well-known for their shared love of horse, Elizabeth took President Ronald Reagan horseback riding in Windsor in 1982.

His successor, President George H.W. Bush brought the queen to her first baseball game at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore during a state visit in 1991.

Both Reagan and Bush were later given honorary knighthoods, the U.K.'s highest distinction.

REAGAN: I feel greatly honored.

FOSTER: Opportunities to meet the 95-year-old monarch are dwindling. The queen no longer travels abroad. Leaders were expected to come to her.

But when they do, the royal family rolls out the red carpet in a real display of British soft power.

President George W. Bush was the first U.S. president to pay an official state visit in 2003. And Bush was also the last to host the Queen at the White House in 2007.

Pomp and pageantry do at times provide awkward moments, evidence when President Trump visited in 2018. He also revealed the topic of their conversation. Brexit, which raised eyebrows too.

His predecessor President Barack Obama also committed a faux pas by speaking over the national anthem.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Vitality of the special between our peoples --

FOSTER: Now, it's the turn of Obama's V.P. and current commander in chief to visit Windsor Castle.

BONNIE GREER, AMERICAN-BRITISH PLAYWRIGHT AND AUTHOR: The future of the special relationship depends ultimately on the American people and the British people, what we understand about each other. Joe Biden is of a generation that that special relationship means something. The queen is certain.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: And to the continued friendship between our two nations and to the health, prosperity and happiness of the people of the United States.

FOSTER: Max Foster, CNN, Windsor, England.


MARQUARDT: Thanks to Max Foster.

Joining me now is former Massachusetts congressman and CNN political commentator, Joe Kennedy.

Sixty years ago this month, his great uncle and great aunt, President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy had a really famous meeting with Queen Elizabeth which was recently depicted in season two of "The Crown." Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is with royalty?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President first, president first.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your royal highness, Mrs. Kennedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, your royal majesty.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For Britain's sake.


MARQUARDT: Congressman, thanks so much for joining me.


MARQUARDT: And that really was a meeting of as we often call your family American royalty and, of course, British royalty.

How important do you think it is for American presidents like Joe Biden will this weekend to have these kinds of visits with the queen as JFK also did just a few months after he took office even though as of course we all know that she is not the head of government?

KENNEDY: I think it's an important visit. It's certainly an important relationship. And you saw that obviously with President Kennedy visiting England shortly after he was elected, as you just indicated.


And now, obviously, with President Biden's swing through Europe, they are going out and building the relationships that are needed necessary also at a critical time when you are seeing challenges from Russia, when you are seeing challenges from China, to really solidify some of those relationships with our deepest allies in Europe and try to make sure coming out of the G7 that all those goals are aligned. So I think that it's a critical visit, and I think so far so good.

MARQUARDT: But so often, those goals are aligned that, you know, American values, European values are very much in parallel for American president, you know, visiting Europe, talking to European leaders as kind of a slam dunk. There is really very little daylight often between the two sides.

Would you have liked to have seen them start in another region that is more contentious, more challenging, Asia perhaps, to talk about China or the Middle East?

KENNEDY: Look, I think the -- when it comes to some of the basics in foreign policy here, right, one, you are never stronger abroad than you are at home. And I think that's why you see a Biden administration dive down so deeply and so directly with regards to domestic policy, to I think a central theme that you've seen from a Biden administration is the fact that we are going to be more powerful, more influential with our allies working together.

You've seen that directly with regards to engagement with China, where you see engagement with allies in Japan, allies in South Korea first before gathering in Anchorage. You're seeing that here with the G7, a meeting with the G7, the visit to Great Britain where that special relationship is still alive and well, continuing to other countries across Europe before sitting down with Putin.

And I think you've got to get those relationships I think strong, particularly given the fact that no surprise in the reporting that the prior administration didn't exactly nurture those relationships as Americans had traditionally. And I think there is some repairing to do, but I think the Biden administration and the president themselves have done a great job in moving that ball forward.

MARQUARDT: And a key part of those relationships is having ambassadors in those countries. Your great grandfather, namesake, was the ambassador to Great Britain. And now the reports that two of your relatives are being considered for ambassadorships under President Biden, John F. Kennedy's daughter, Caroline, and your great aunt, Vicki Kennedy.

Anything that you can share on that front and in terms of them getting those positions?

KENNEDY: None that I can share other than the fact that I found out about those in the paper as well, and I just want to know when I can go visit whenever it is that they end up. So when you know, let me know, and I'll go ask (ph).

MARQUARDT: Well, and the locations being rumored or being reported are quite nice. So maybe you will get that visit.

Former Congressman Joe Kennedy, thanks so much for joining me.

KENNEDY: Thanks. Take care.

MARQUARDT: All right. Coming up, frightening moments on a Delta flight when an off duty flight attendant threatens to take down the plane. Passenger stepped in to help during a chaotic scene.



MARQUARDT: Some truly scary moments on a flight after an unruly passenger threatened to, quote, "take down" the plane. The plane had been traveling from Los Angeles to Atlanta when it was forced to divert to Oklahoma instead.

Here is what one passenger told CNN about what happened.


BENJAMIN CURLEE, DELTA AIRLINES PASSENGER: My first interaction is when the intercom came on and apparently the perpetrator was on the intercom and was telling passengers to return to their seat because oxygen masks would be required.

And that created quite a stir amongst everyone around us. It became very tense.


MARQUARDT: CNN's Polo Sandoval has been following this story.

And you are learning that the suspect knew how to use the P.A. system?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Because he is an off-duty flight attendant. And that appears to have been what triggered this altercation in the first place.

A spokesperson saying that the crew that was actually working that flight tried to regain control of the P.A. system and that is when things escalated, got out of control.

At one point, according to witnesses, this off-duty flight attendant attacked two of the flight attendants on the flight and that is when an announcement was made of any of the passengers that could actually jump in and assist.

And you see that in some of this dramatic video here as they try to restrain this individual and subdue him until the flight was able to make a safe and unscheduled landing in Oklahoma City, which is where authorities boarded the flight and then proceeded to actually remove this individual.

And this is just the latest incident. I'm not sure if that's actual video of this scene. But it goes to the broader issue of seeing more of these kinds of incidents.

And back to the specific incident that happened yesterday, Delta Airlines did release a statement saying that they are not only thankful to the crew but also to the passengers of Delta flight 1730, who assisted this detaining an unruly passenger as the flight was diverted to Oklahoma City.

As Delta says, "The aircraft landed without incident and the passenger was removed by law enforcement."

The airline goes on to apologizes to their customers for the delay and any additional inconvenience this has caused.

And airlines are trying to get back into the air after the pandemic, trying to restore business. They are up against multiple similar accidents here when it comes to passenger encounters, unruly passengers.


About 2,900 incidents reported this year alone by the FAA. Also about 2,200 of those are from individuals that refuse to comply with the current mask mandate.

But we have to be clear, too, Alex, at this point, we don't know what this person's state of mind is, this off-duty flight attendant's state of mind when this happened.

MARQUARDT: And 2,900 incidents just this year.

All right. Polo Sandoval, in New York, thanks very much.

Coming up, new details about how Donald Trump's DOJ targeted his perceived political enemies.

Plus, why this exchange with then-Attorney General Bill Barr is taking on new meaning. Take a listen.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?


HARRIS: Yes or no?




MARQUARDT: The Department of Justice inspector general has announced that he will investigate whether the Trump administration abused its power to go after Donald Trump's perceived enemies.

CNN has learned that Trump's DOJ secretly subpoenaed Apple for metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses as well as data from Microsoft.

Among the targets, key members of Congress, including two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, the chairman, and Congressman Eric Swalwell, along with staffers and even family members.

The motive? To track down sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia.

A source told CNN that officials thought the investigation would likely end without charges.

But when Bill Barr took over as attorney general at the Justice Department, he pushed to complete leak probes.

CNN senior legal analyst and author of the upcoming book, "Hatchet Man, How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutors' Code and Corrupted the Justice Department," Elie Honig, is joining me to answer your legal questions.

Elie, great to see you.

Let's start with viewer questions. One viewer asks: What is the legal process for DOJ to subpoena information about a sensitive target, for example, a member of the media or Congress?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, so I'll give you a little inside secret. Prosecutors have unfettered power to subpoena whoever they want for any reason whatsoever.

However, good prosecutors don't abuse that power. Good prosecutors require what we call presented predication. Some specific basis to believe that a subpoena will lead to the discovery of relevant evidence of a crime.

And this case also involved what we're calling gag orders. Meaning that the DOJ went to a judge, said, judge, we need to order Apple and the other companies not to tell the people, whose phone numbers these are, about the subpoenas.

Those gag orders were in place for three years. DOJ, Bill Barr, others have some serious questions to answer there about why, why the secrecy.

Bottom line, Alex, so much comes down to what we call prosecutorial discretion. There are necessarily laws on the book. It comes down to the prosecutor's good judgment, and a sense of fair play. I think that that is the core of what is in question here.

MARQUARDT: And another viewer is asking, Elie: If Donald Trump did ask William Barr to investigate somebody, would that conversation be illegal?

And as you know, Barr was once asked that very question. And you will probably recognize, as will the audience, the person asking him that question.

Let's take a listen.


HARRIS: Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?


HARRIS: Yes or no?

BARR: Senator, can you repeat the question?

HARRIS: I will repeat it.

Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no, please, sir.

BARR: The president or anybody else.

HARRIS: It seems that you would remember something like that and be able to tell us.


MARQUARDT: That, of course, was then-Senator Kamala Harris, also a former state attorney general in California herself.

Elie, when you see that tape, when you hear that the then-Attorney General Bill Barr having trouble answering that question, does that moment take on new mean something. HONIG: It absolutely does. It sure looks like he has something to

hide. It is a very straight-forward question from now the vice president, Kamala Harris, and Bill Barr cannot answer it.

And there's no formal written law saying that the White House has to be separate from the Justice Department. However, it is a longstanding norm and tradition that is so important to preserve the independence of DOJ as prosecutors.

We're seeing the weaponization of the Justice Department. Mean, we knew that Bill Barr used the DOJ to shield Donald Trump, shield Michael Flynn, shield Roger Stone.

But if they used DOJ to go after perceived political enemies in Congress and elsewhere, that is even serious. That is even more dangerous.

MARQUARDT: Elie Honig, thanks as always for breaking that down for us.


Coming up, a violent night in America, including 13 people shot in Austin, Texas, and 10 people shot in Chicago, as the city of Orlando also marks five years since that horrific Pulse Night club shooting. That's coming up.


MARQUARDT: The gun violence epidemic in America showing no signs of stopping. There have been at least 267 mass shootings so far this year, 267. That is according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Just this weekend, at least 13 people were shot in downtown Austin after someone opened fire in one of the city's busiest nightlife areas. Two of the victims are in critical condition.

Nine people were shot in Savannah, Georgia, on Friday night. One died. A 2-year-old and 13-year-old were among those injured.

In Dallas, another child was wounded in a mass shooting. Five people were shot, including a 4-year-old girl. Police say the child is in stable condition. And the four adults didn't suffer life-threatening injuries.

In Chicago, 10 people were shot early this morning, one of whom did die. Police say that two men approached a group standing on a sidewalk and started shooting. No arrests have been made in that incident.

All of this violence comes five years to the day since the horrific mass shooting that killed 49 people and injured dozens more at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.


The victims were mostly Latino members of the LGBTQ community. They are being remembered by loved ones today. CNN's Natasha Chen joins us now from Florida.

Natasha, how is that community paying tribute to those victims?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alex, that moment really shocked the entire central Florida, and really the whole nation's communities, especially the LGBTQ community.

Outside of Orlando, one organization actually formed in response to that shooting. They walked down the street to the corner -- we can show you video of that -- holding signs, waving rainbow flags and reading the names of the 49 victims killed five years ago today.

Just one of many events that have been held throughout the week to remember them.

One of the things that struck us, in talking to the organizer today, is knowing that we are waking up today to more mass shootings, the ones you just mentioned.

While she says that's very discouraging that the gun violence doesn't seem to be getting any better, the hopefulness is that there are a lot of organizations that have sprung up and grown since Pulse, especially LGBTQ organizations building a network together.

We spoke to the owner of Pulse, who said the issue is people are resorting to violence to solve their problems.

Here's what she said.


BARBARA POMA, CEO, ONEPULSE FOUNDATION & OWNER, PULSE NIGHTCLUB: There's a gun violence problem. There's a hate problem.

There's a problem bigger that anyone is talking about, which is why is that how we are solving problems, through violence, through hateful acts.

Why? What makes you think that person's life is not valuable. What message do you think you are really sending?

It goes back to commonalties. This person may have parents or children who you just murdered, the lives you destroyed. And was anything really gained by that?


CHEN: She told me she opened Pulse as a place, a safe and happy haven for the LGBTQ communities, as well as a clean space where they could even bring their moms and dads if they wanted.

She reminded me that, of the 49 victims five years ago, some of them were the parents of LGBTQ members who attended the club frequently. They were there with their children celebrating together, having fun together. She says she's so honored to have gotten to know the victims through

their families. They keep in touch today. And they'll have a remembrance event tonight -- Alex?

MARQUARDT: And 49 victims, one of the deadliest incidents in America's history. Our thoughts with the city of Orlando and the LGBTQ community there.

Natasha Chen, thank you very much.

One in five children in the U.S. has a learning difference. Children who are facing these challenges are more likely to be suspended, drop out of school, or end up in the juvenile justice system.

This "CNN Hero" understands all of that because he's lived with it. David Flink was diagnosed with ADHD and struggled throughout school.

Now as an adult, he's working to make sure that children like him don't fall through the cracks of the education system, through his nonprofit, Eye to Eye.

Take a listen.


DAVID FLINK, CNN HERO: Eye to Eye provides a safe space that's constructed around what's right with kids so they can talk about their experiences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you get scared during tests or nervous?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I have anxiety. I shake a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That happens to me sometimes.

FLINK: People's hearts sing when they're seen.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: This is my shield.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: My masterpiece.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really cool. I like how you used the duct tape as a handle.

FLINK: My moment that I am wishing for is when the problem of stigmatizing kids because they learn differently goes away.

I want them to know their brains are beautiful. I want them feeling like they know how to ask for what they need, and they can do it. And that's what we give them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Daniel!


(END VIDEO CLIP) MARQUARDT: To hear all about David Flink's story and see the magic that happens when children are seen and understood, go to right now.


We'll be right back.


MARQUARDT: On tomorrow night's season finale of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," join W. Kamau Bell as he listens and learns about the black transgender community.

Here's a preview.


W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": So when did Malaysia tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One day we were coming from the store, I was going to drove her off somewhere, and she said, by the way, I'm going to give my life as a woman now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I almost wrecked my car.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought, how the hell are you going to do that?


KAMAU: I love that she was in the backseat like a child.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just a heated argument. I said, by the way, can I have my birthday party at your house?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So on her birthday, she came in full --


KAMAU: She came to the birthday party - -



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came dressed up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and I had to go lay down because it was too much for me.