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Many Across U.S. Celebrate June 19th As Marking End Of Slavery In U.S., Becomes Federal Holiday; Interview With Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA); Gang-Related Shooting Takes Place In New York Near Two Children; Interview With San Jose, California, Mayor Sam Liccardo (D); New Video Released Of Violence Committed By Capitol Rioters; National Strategy For Combatting Domestic Terrorism Examined; Heatwave Affects U.S. Southwest As Tropical Storm Claudette Threatens U.S. Gulf Coast. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 19, 2021 - 14:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

Today for the first time our nation marks Juneteenth as a federal holiday. And as we see these images of the celebrations from across the country, a reminder of why it matters. Imagine the situation on this day in 1865 for 250,000 enslaved Texans.

Their freedom had been granted more than two years earlier with President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, but there was no one around to enforce it. So they remained in bondage until Union Major General Gordon Granger rode in the Galveston Bay, and black Texans learned that they, too, were finally free.

The day became known as Juneteenth and has been celebrated for years. But President Biden's signature cemented Juneteenth it as a federal holiday. Biden saying it is going down as one of the greatest honors of his presidency. That legislation passing with overwhelming bipartisan support even as the Republicans resist just about any effort to assess our nation's through the lens of what the U.S. did wrong rather than what it did right.

This, along with the delayed ending of slavery in Texas is evidence that change in America doesn't happen overnight. But 156 years later Juneteenth finally gets federal recognize.

Let's check in with CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux in our nation's capital. Suzanne is following the Juneteenth celebrations. Suzanne, what's it looking like out there? I know exactly where you are right now in Black Lives Matter Plaza.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Jim. Really, this is ground zero when you think about it, when it comes to activism here in the nation's capital. This is a place, Black Lives Matter, where many tears were shed, some of joy, much of anger and frustration, the killing of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and of course expressions of elation as you see these huge letters across here on 16th Street, Black Lives Matter Plaza that it is known for, really in the shadow of the White House.

We are expecting hundreds of folks to show up within an hour or so, various groups and go-go bands, go-go of course being native here to Washington D.C., grew up on that music, and they will be celebrating. But they're also commemorating, Jim, here a sense of what needs to be done, that this is a moment to celebrate, but it's also a moment to think about the things that they still have to fight for.

So I had an opportunity, really to meet a very special group of people. They are the Double Dutch Society. They are here once a week. And they are wearing the t-shirts today. Some of them are still gathered behind, back in the distance. I had a chance to talk to them, and they are wearing the t-shirts that say "Choose Joy." This is the message that they want to convey today.


EBONIQUE BENNETT, ATTENDING JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION: I'm a medical professional. I'm a nurse practitioner, so I see lots of patients, and I am seeing lots of sick people dealing with COVID. And it is still very, very important that, no matter what, we have to celebrate life. and I wanted to bring them to this area so that they just really understood what has been happening.

MALVEAUX: What does that mean, the struggle continues, free-ish, and what are those areas?

BENNETT: Equality as far as the job force, as far as just overall when it comes to just being black and having equality with other people. Yes, I just can't say it enough. We are not fully there. And that's going to be an everyday struggle. But that's OK, because we are here for the long run, and we are ready to go for it.


MALVEAUX: So, Jim, that really is the message from a lot of people I talked to today. It is free-ish, it is a job, a beginning, a job that is not finished, just really starting here. And they talk about voting rights. They talk about economic parity, and all of the things that are really important in terms of real equality and real freedom in this society.

And as I've mentioned, Jim, as you know, the White House is just a block away, the Capitol a couple of blocks that way, and it is not gone unnoticed here that you had two members in Congress, sponsors from Texas, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Senator John Cornyn, sponsors of that Juneteenth bill saying that this really is about racial reconciliation, about a moment of reflection.

But Jim, you talk to people here, and it is very apparent that, yes, there is a symbolic aspect to all of this. There really needs to be some teeth behind it as well. Jim? ACOSTA: Absolutely, such an important day. Suzanne Malveaux, thanks

for that look at all the festivities happening down there on Black Lives Matter Plaza. We appreciate it.

And we me now is Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California. She'll be participating in a Juneteenth rally later today. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thank you so much for joining us, we appreciate it. And look at that terrific background behind you on this Juneteenth. Why is it so important to you that the U.S. government make Juneteenth a federal holiday, and what are your thoughts on this day?


REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Thank you very much for having us on today. Juneteenth is very important certainly to the black community. As you know the story, and I think that you related it early on, where we did not get notice of our freedom until two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. And so the slave owners had the benefit of our labor for an extended period of time, earning money, earning profits, and we suffered two years past the Emancipation Proclamation.

And so we knew about this, and we know about it in the black community, and many of the black communities across the country celebrate this every year. We didn't simply wait to get permission to do it, but for now it to be recognized as a federal holiday means that there's some understanding about the injustice that was perpetrated and the continued injustices that we have to confront.

And so I am very pleased that we are celebrating today, we're educating the whole nation, and others are joining with us. It was a unanimous vote out of the Senate, a majority vote out of the House with only 14 who did not vote for it.

And so I think that the message is very clear, that this country is moving towards justice, moving towards equality. We've got a lot of work to do. We have big bills that need to be passed. HR-1, which I'm sure you have heard about, to protect our voting rights. There is --

ACOSTA: Yes, I want to ask you about that, yes.

WATERS: Yes, an effort that is being made now by the Republicans to suppress our votes. And so, it's a step backwards. It is hard to believe that we have fought poll taxes and having to count the number of beans, jelly beans in a jar, and all of that, but now it is taking on a new kind of face. And what they are doing is cutting back on the early voting days, changing identification laws, making sure that the people who are standing in line cannot be assisted by getting water, all of these kinds of things that --

ACOSTA: Congresswoman, let me ask you about that -- yes, let me ask you about that, because you take us right to that point. Senator Joe Manchin, as you know, he has proposed changes to the For the People Act, the sweeping voting rights legislation that he opposes and is currently languishing in Congress.

The proposal that he is offering up, though, would make Election Day a holiday. It would ban gerrymandering. It mandates at least 15 consecutive days of early voting, and institutes a voter I.D. requirement. I know that some Democrats aren't going to like that, but that voter I.D. requirement includes using a utility bill as alternative.

What do you make of Senator Manchin's proposal, and the fact that somebody with the same stature as Stacey Abrams in the civil rights community, is praising the plan? What do you make of all that?

WATERS: Well, they have been negotiating, and it is tough negotiations. And so I know that the senator has come up with some alternatives, some things he said he didn't like about the bill. I am not in those negotiation. I'm not going to attempt to talk about what I like and what I don't like at this point. First of all, I am going depend on our leadership that's in the negotiations. Then they will bring it to us, and then I will have my say. And I'll say --

ACOSTA: Are you open to compromise on all of this, would you say?

WATERS: I'm always open to compromise, always. But we are not going to give up the store in order to get a weak bill. Yes, of course. This whole thing in politics is about advocating, compromising, all of that. And so we understand that. But it's how much you give up to determine whether or not you have a creditable bill.

ACOSTA: Let's listen to what Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Minority Leader, said about Manchin's proposal this week. Let's listen to that.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: You all have noticed that there is now a debate among Democrats over a revised version produced by one of the Democrats yesterday, which has been endorsed by Stacey Abrams, equally unacceptable, totally inappropriate. All Republicans, I think, will oppose that as well, if that were to be surfaced on the floor.


ACOSTA: So you were talking you're open to compromise, but you don't want to give away the store. It sounds like the store is not open for Mitch McConnell.

WATERS: I want to tell you, whenever Mitch McConnell opens his mouth, I tend to turn him off. I don't trust him. He has been very unkind. He has basically held up many of our bills. He is not someone who can even talk about compromise, because he lays down the law because he is in a leadership position. He doesn't pay attention to anybody else.


He comments, and oftentimes the comments are inappropriate, they are damaging. And so I don't even tend to pay attention to him.

ACOSTA: Let me ask you about the 21 House Republicans who voted against the legislation that would honor the officers who defended the Capitol during the insurrection with Congressional Gold Medals. You decided that you wanted to put them on the spot on that particular vote. Can you tell us about that? And what do you have to say about those 21 House Republicans who voted against that honor for the officers is on January 6th?

WATERS: Well, I'm so pleased that you brought that up, because those Republicans who voted against gold medals for those officers that put their lives on the line is just unthinkable. It is unconscionable that they would do that. The world watched as our police officers, the Capitol police, were beaten.

They watched the opposition, and those domestic terrorists take the American flag and beat our police officers. They climbed our walls. They broke in the glass of the Capitol, and the windows of the capital. They invaded the offices of Nancy Pelosi and some others, and went on the Senate floor, and on the House balcony.

And for them not to understand that our democracy was absolutely invaded, that our democracy was undermined, and that cannot be tolerated by either side. And I want you to know these are real domestic terrorists. We're talking about the Proud Boys. We're talking about the Oath Keepers. We're talking about the KKK. We're talking about QAnon.

ACOSTA: What do you say about the Republicans? Some of these congressmen on the Republican side, as you know, Congresswoman Waters, are saying it was the FBI, now they are saying it is the FBI.

WATERS: They can say whatever they want to say. One of the things we know is we need a commission, and they are opposing a commission to find out who all was involved. Where did the money come from to send busloads of people in? Who supported them in all of this? Where was the organizing taking place? I'm told there was organizing taking place right in the Trump campaign.

And so if they really concerned about why our Capitol was invaded, and why there was an insurrection, they would support a commission to find out. But they don't want to know, because too many of them side with them, and support what they have done, and they are not going to call them to task for it.

It is outrageous what happened to us, that the Capitol of the United States was invaded by domestic terrorists. And they don't want to live up to it and admit what took place. They call themselves patriots, but that speech that you heard me give on the floor, I challenge their patriotism. And I told them that they were not really patriots.

And they're the ones who claim to be more patriotic than anybody else. But I'm going to keep challenging them, because they have joined in in supporting literally the fact that not only were we invaded, there was a noose that was hanging at opening of the Capitol grounds, threatening to hang even the vice president at that time of the United States.

ACOSTA: That's right. All right, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, we know we'll have much more to talk about this in weekends ahead. Thanks so much again for joining us. We appreciate it. And thanks for celebrating Juneteenth with us.

WATERS: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Nice talking to you, ma'am.

WATERS: And thank you for giving exposure to all that we are doing with Juneteenth. Thank you so much.

ACOSTA: And we'll keep doing it, thank you. All right, take care.

And up next, the gun violence epidemic continues in this country. We've had new video of a terrifying shooting of a man next the two children in broad daylight. You are next in the CNN Newsroom.



ACOSTA: Shocking video shows the devastating effects gun violence is having on our communities. And a warning, the video you are about to see is very disturbing. This happened Thursday in the Bronx, in New York. You can see a man running with the gunman right behind him.

That gunman is shooting at the man as he is right next to two children, a five-year-old boy and a ten-year-old girl, just unbelievable. Both of them were not hurt. The man shot is hospitalized and in stable condition. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro joins me now. Evan, this is just unbelievable footage. Police now believe the shooting was gang related and they are looking for two people, two suspects in all this. What is going on?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. And as you say, we look at a lot of disturbing video in this business. It's part of our job. This one takes the cake for me. Two kids on a Thursday evening just in the wrong place at the wrong time, almost losing their lives. Police say this is a gang-related incident and they're currently looking for two people who they say were involved.

One them was that shooter that we see on camera there, and the other one was operating a scooter that the shooter then escaped on after committing that heinous act. Just a wild, wild video, and a horrible video that really just has a lot of people here in New York on edge, and for me, personally, has absolutely put my jaw on the floor when I saw it.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And Evan, the gun violence epidemic is surging across the country. We're also learning more about two mass shootings that happened in the last 24 hours. This seems to happen every weekend.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That's right, Jim. If Americans at home are feeling like this story is being told a lot, that's because it is. Here at CNN we define a mass shooting as four or more people shot, excluding the shooter. And according to numbers crunched by the Gun Violence Archive, those kinds of shootings are up 65 percent versus this time in 2019, and 40 percent versus this time in 2020. There's a surge in these all across the country.

And the two you mentioned last night in Minneapolis, some people were shot and hit outside of a mall. And in Colorado Springs, there were two separate incidents that police say are not related, but involve people who maybe knew each other, things like that. But regardless of what the details in each case, and they're different in each one of these cases, the narrative is the same.

These kinds of shootings are on the rise, they are happening all over the place, and they're leaving people very, very nervous and worried about what things are happening in the country when it comes to gun violence, Jim.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. Evan McMorris-Santoro, great to have you on, thanks so much. and happy to have you on.

And officials in one of America's biggest cities are so sick and tired of mass shootings and workplace gun violence and illegal gun sales that they are taking action. I am talking about San Jose, California, where just three weeks ago a gunman opened fire at a public transit railyard and killed nine people.

The San Jose City Council passed a new ordinance this week requiring retailers record on video anyone buying a gun. That's designed to prevent people from buying guns for others who may not be allowed to have one.

The new law is expected to take effect by September, and the mayor of San Jose joins me now, Sam Liccardo. Mayor Liccardo, really appreciate you coming on. And this new law that I just mentioned is part of a much bigger plan that you have to tackle gun violence in your community.

Did the tragedy that happened in San Jose last month light a fire, would you say, under leaders there? And what is it going to take to get this problem under control in this country?

MAYOR SAM LICCARDO (D), SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: Jim, thanks for having me. You are right, there is an epidemic of gun violence, and unlike a single virus where a vaccine will help us conquer that, an epidemic with 300 million guns is going to require a lot of different interventions.

And so you mentioned what we passed just this week, we have got a comprehensive set of proposals, not one of which will suddenly stop a mass shooting from happening. We have to reaction this is the reality we have in a country with 300 million guns. But there's a lot we can do.

And some of the things we're proposing that have never been actually enacted in any other city or state before are things like requiring gun owners to have insurance, requiring gun owners to pay a modest fee. Because while the Second Amendment certainly protects the right of citizens to own a gun, it doesn't mandate that other taxpayers somehow subsidize that right.

ACOSTA: And critics of this new video recording law that you have are furious about this. They say it is a big brother move that violates the privacy of gun owners. What do you say to that?

LICCARDO: Well, first, just about every gun store that I know already has a video camera somewhere in the store like many retail outlets do, so this isn't a huge intrusion. I think we all know we're on video when we go into retail stores. The point of recording a transaction, of course, is to crack down on straw purchasing.

And that is a common way for gangs and criminal organizations to get guns. And if you're going to violate the law to get a gun, you're almost certainly going to violate the law with the gun. So the first thing we need to do is make sure that guns don't get into the hands of those who we know are going to violate the law.

ACOSTA: And your proposals make valid arguments for responsible, law- abiding citizens. What makes you think that any of these proposals will cut down on violence in general or make a potential mass shooter think twice? That is the issue is these mass shooters go out and they cause so much carnage.

LICCARDO: Jim, I'd argue that the issue is actually much bigger than that. Mass shooters are a very small percentage of the deaths and devastation to our communities every year -- 40,000 people are dying in gun violence, 71,000 gun injuries, some of which involve domestic violence we know is a significant share, some suicide. And the daily shootings are happening on the streets of our cities.


So we need to do more about this entire epidemic of gun violence. It's not just about mass shootings. And we can do more. We have seen how, for example, insurance can be a very effective means of encouraging drivers to be better drivers, so insurance could also help gun owners ensure that they've got gun safe locks and trigger locks and are taking gun safety courses.

There are things that we can do, for example, to reduce the unintentional deaths. There are about 500 of those every year in our country. Being able to take sensible solutions to reduce the number of deaths is something we need to do regardless of whether it's a mass shooting or any other kind of death.

ACOSTA: All right, Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose, California, thanks so much. And good luck in cracking down on that epidemic in your community, other communities across the country. We appreciate it.

LICCARDO: Thank, Jim.

ACOSTA: Up next, we'll show you the shocking and disturbing new video from January 6th, including one that shows a man wielding a flagpole and rushing at police officers. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.


ACOSTA: Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona called into a rally in D.C. today that was billed as a rally to stop, quote, political persecution of January 6th defendants. Yes, seriously, he called in. Here is part of the speech.


REP. PAUL GOSAR, (R-AZ): The leftists don't want us to talk about what really happened on January 6th, and more importantly, why it happened.


ACOSTA: You know how he could have learned the truth, a 9/11 style commission. Gosar is one of 175 House Republicans who voted against it. This comes as we are getting new video once again showing just how dangerous and violent that day truly was. CNN's senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid has more details about that footage and how Republicans like Gosar are now spewing lies in an attempt to rewrite history.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Newly released footage showing an up close look at what officers protecting the Capitol went through during the January 6th attack. These new videos revealed after CNN and other media outlets sued for them in court, showing Scott Fairlamb, a gym owner from New Jersey, taunting, then shoving an officer and punching him in the face.

Another video taken from an officer's body cam showing Thomas Webster, a former Marine and retired NYPD officer seen here wearing a red coat, threatening police with a flagpole before tackling one officer to the ground. Both men have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA) HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It's a rude awakening for everyone, but hopefully it will also help people see the lies of the former president.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN, (D-PA): It's shameful. But sadly, there is an awful number of my Republican colleagues who seem to not feel shame.

REID: But the videos come as some Republican members of Congress are attempting to rewrite history, downplaying the events of the day and latching on to baseless conspiracy theories.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, (R-TX): DOJ, FBI, or any of the intel community, what kind of role were they playing?

REID: The latest lie, that the people behind the insurrection were not Trump supporters, but the FBI, the claim stemming from references to unindicted co-conspirators. A rightwing website claims, without any evidence, that the phrase is a reference to FBI informants or undercover agents infiltrating pro Trump groups. But legal experts say the term is not used to describe FBI agents, and

instead refers to people who participated in the conspiracy but haven't been charged. In one example touted by FOX News, the unnamed co-conspirator was likely the defendant's wife, according to court filings.

FOX News Host Tucker Carlson doubling down on the theory.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT: But we won't shut up, and we shouldn't. It could not be more obvious at this point that the government is, in fact, hiding something, probably quite a few things.

REID: With Representative Matt Gaetz, who is under investigation by the FBI, and Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeting the theory.

But some Republicans are pushing back. Representative Peter Meijer tweeting, "Not FBI. Can't believe I have to say that. It was what it was -- a violent attempt to stop the constitutional transfer of power."

And Representative Adam Kinzinger renewing calls for a January 6th commission.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R-IL): Tell your constituents truth. Tell the American people the truth. Let's get to the bottom of the truth, and then we can move on.

REID: CNN and other media outlets have spent months fighting to get access to those video clips you just saw. Those clips have been used as evidence in dozens of cases against the rioters, but they were not available publicly. Now media outlets continue to fight for access to additional clips to help show exactly what happened on that day.

Paula Reid, CNN Washington.


ACOSTA: And coming up, CNN's Peter Bergen is one of the few western journalists to ever go face-to-face with Usama bin Laden. The man understands terrorism and how to fight it. Peter joins me live next. And the focus today, sadly, is fighting domestic terrorism and rightwing extremism before it's too late.



ACOSTA: For the first time in U.S. history, America has a national strategist to counter domestic terrorism. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the plan this week and tied the new policy directly to the Capitol insurrection. The focus, providing a framework for the government and partners to share information related to domestic terrorism, preventing domestic terrorism recruitment and violent mobilization, disrupting and deterring domestic terrorism activity, and confronting long term contributors to domestic terrorism. And joining us now is CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen. He's

also the author of "The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden." Peter, as we mentioned earlier, you met Usama bin Laden. You chronicled the fight against Al-Qaeda across the globe. What do you make of this new strategy here in the U.S., and why do you think it's so critical?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, a, it's long overdue. The Oklahoma City bombing was in 95, killed 168 people, far right extremist. So this is not a new phenomenon. But I think having a government-wide strategy to combat this is important, and also signaling that we're taking this seriously and it's not just DHS putting out some kind of memo on this, but this is a White House- generated strategy.


ACOSTA: Yes. And President Biden ordered this 100-day review of U.S. government efforts to deal with domestic terrorism. What does this policy address, and what is it missing, do you think?

BERGEN: Well, what is it missing? Part of the problem about people individually radicalizing is that's a hard problem. So there is no magic solution for that. But I think some of the things that I would point to, Jim, are, one, enforcing laws against private militias which exist on the books.

Two, enforcing laws about guns not being in the wrong people's hands. Three, telling law enforcement here are the symbols you should be looking for, because a lot of these symbols are not known to the general public, the phraseology, the symbology.

And finally, also kind of a booklet that will be widely distributed saying here are the indicators of mobilization, which, by the way, this is agnostic on what your beliefs are, because this can work for far left extremists, Incel extremists, ideological misogynists, anybody who is going to do a violent act tends to follow a certain kind of pathway to violence.

So the strategy, itself, although it says the rightwing extremist is the main issue it's addressing, also points out that it's not the only form of political violence that it is trying to curtail.

ACOSTA: Yes. And other than the Capitol insurrection, Merrick Garland cited other incidents of domestic terrorism, including, we have it up on the screen now, the El Paso Walmart shooting, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, and Charleston Church shooting, Congressional baseball shooting, and the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, that was overtaken by white nationalists and far right extremists.

The thing that I find interesting about this list here, peter, is that a couple of the incidents could be tied to former President Donald Trump's rhetoric. In El Paso and in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, both of those shooters had manifestos that referenced invasions of immigrants coming into the country, and so on. How can you go about tackling domestic terrorism in this country when some of this rhetoric can be tied to political leaders in this country like the former president?

BERGEN: I would make a general observation, every social media company has a terms of service. It's not a right to be on one of these platforms. It's a privilege. And so if you're inciting violence, whether you're the president or somebody else, or the ex-president, you don't deserve to be on the platform.

And so part of the new strategist is also having the government better inform social media companies about places where these kinds of inciting words are taking place. Again, that is a very hard problem, because YouTube has 400 hours of new programming every minute or something, some extraordinary number, but ultimately people are radicalizing, often because of what they read online, including perhaps from the ex-president.

ACOSTA: And you and I were talking about this before we got started with this interview here, but there was the Oklahoma City bombing, that was an act of domestic terrorism. Some of our younger viewers may not remember that or were too young to really understand it.

There is a history of the rightwing domestic terrorism in this country. When you see what took place on January 6th, are you concerned that we are now starting to see perhaps this country drifting in that direction where you could see a massive catastrophic attack?

BERGEN: Jim, the Oklahoma City bombing completely cut the legs out of that whole militia movement. There was law enforcement activity. I think the January 6th you can make the same argument. The FBI has said there are hundreds of cases they are looking at. That has an effect, I think, on people who say, hey, that maybe I shouldn't be involved in this kind of activity.

So you can make the case that January 6th kind of riot in the Capitol may actually be very counterproductive. And I think, in fact, we have seen reporting about the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers who are saying, well, hey, this is perhaps more than we had bargained for.

ACOSTA: And taking Donald Trump off of a social media, taking other people who dabble in this kind of extremism and peddle these sorts of lies, taking them off of these social media platforms, obviously there's a lot to be said in favor of that. But by taking them off, do you perhaps take away from law enforcement the breadcrumbs, the ability to monitor these groups? Leading up to January 6th, a lot of the clues were there that this is going to take place.

BERGEN: Yes, it's a dilemma. And of course, encrypted platforms like Telegram like people on ISIS used to use, and now some of these rightwing extremists, that is not based in the United States. It used to be based in Berlin. Now it's based in Dubai to the extent it is based anywhere.

So going after those platforms that the U.S. laws and customs don't apply. So yes, it is a dilemma, because if they are in the clear, in the open, that's good for recruitment, but it's also good for law enforcement to monitor. If they are in encrypted spaces, it's very hard.

ACOSTA: Much more difficult. And as you know, there are parallels between how Al Qaeda and foreign terrorist groups use social media, use incitement videos, and what we are seeing domestically in the United States as well.


BERGEN: One-hundred percent, yes. No question about it.

ACOSTA: Peter Bergen, thanks so much. Again, check out Peter Bergen's book, "The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden." Peter knows what he's talking about in this area, and we appreciate his time this afternoon.

Up next, extreme weather on both sides of the country. Tropical Storm Claudette drenching the Gulf Coast while the western U.S. struggles with historic drought. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.


ACOSTA: More than 30 million people in the southwest are facing scorching temperatures this weekend, and that same heat is drying up our water sources. Take a look at Lake Oroville, a reservoir in northern California.


The satellite image on the left was taken just two years ago. And this is Lake Mead, the largest water reservoir in the country, 25 million Americans rely on this for water, but not it's at it's lowest level since the 1930s, just some stunning images.

And CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins me now. Allison, how much of the country is being impacted by this extreme weather? It is just scorching hot there in the southwest right now.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. When you take a look at just the western third of the country, you're talking about nearly 90 percent of this region is in some level of drought. Now you start to factor in the intense heat that goes along with it, and it is not a very good combination. This photo coming out of Death Valley, you can see the thermometer there, 130 degrees Fahrenheit. They set a daily record there yesterday.

In total we had over 40 places set heat records just on Friday alone. More records are expected to be set today, and then yet again on Sunday. You've got heat advisories, excessive heat warnings and watches for over half a dozen states in the western U.S.

Again, we talk about that heat, and it is expected to stretch into the pacific northwest as we go Monday into Tuesday. So it's not just going to be limited to the southwestern tier of the country but also begin to spread elsewhere. When you take a look at some of these temperatures, again, we think of the southwest. It is naturally a very hot place. But even for the desert, these are extreme temperatures. Las Vegas, normally right around the 100 degree mark for high

temperatures this time of year. They're talking 114 today, 115 tomorrow. Phoenix, Palm Springs, even Bakersfield, all looking at temperatures about 10 to 15 degrees above normal. What they could use is some rain in the west.

Unfortunately, most of it is really tied up in the southeastern tier of the U.S. thanks to Tropical Storm Claudette. Right now sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, gusting up to 50. It's moving to the north, northeast of just about 14 miles per hour. This is a very interesting storm.

We anticipate that it will weaken down to a tropical depression at some point later today, but then once it gets back out over the open waters of the Atlantic, it is expected to restrengthen back into a tropical storm. Because of that, you're going to have some of the tropical products issued across areas of North Carolina as well.

In the short term, tornados are going to be the big concern. We've had active tornado warnings off and on for the last several hours. You still have a tornado watch in effect until at least 7:00 local time tonight for Georgia, portions of Alabama, as well as Florida.

But rain is really the overall long-term concern. Look at the amount of rain that has already dropped in several states. Areas of Mississippi and Louisiana picking up nearly a foot of rain so far, and there's still more to come.

Widespread locations likely still picking up an additional two to four inches, but some isolated spots, especially where you get some of those thunderstorms embedded, could pick up an additional six inches of rain, again, on top of what they've already had, which is why there's going to be the concern for flash flooding in each one of these particular states, especially as the storm continues to track its way up the northeast.

So Jim, this is going to be something we're going to have to keep a close eye on in the coming days, especially if it restrengthens once it gets back into the Atlantic.

ACOSTA: It's hot out west, it's wet over here. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much for that forecast. We appreciate it.

Up next, new video from the Capitol riot as members of Congress are now floating an insane conspiracy theory. Yes, it's insane that somehow the FBI orchestrated the attack.

But first, this is World Sickle Cell Day, and you're about to meet a scientist who is fighting for a cure not just for millions around the world but also for herself. Here's this week's "The Human Factor."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Lakiea Bailey was three years old when she was diagnosed with sickle cell disease.

DR. LAKIEA BAILEY: I would wake up out of a deep sleep in excruciating pain needing to go to the hospital.

GUPTA: She endured hundreds of surgical procedures and hospitalizations.

BAILEY: It was called sickle cell because of the way the cells are shaped, like a sickle. Your tissue isn't getting as much oxygen as it needs, which can lead to organ damage and it can cause death.

GUPTA: Lakiea excelled in school despite missing weeks of classes.

BAILEY: My mother taught me that I would need to be three times better to be considered half as good. I am a colossal nerd. I did eventually get my doctorate degree in molecular hematology and regenerative medicine. I wrote papers from hospital beds, won awards from a hospital bed.

GUPTA: Today, she's personally struggling to find a bone marrow donor for a transplant, the only known cure. She's also heading the Sickle Cell Consortium, a nonprofit she co-founded.

BAILEY: Our main goal is to ensure that there is a space for sickle cell patients and caregivers to be at the center of research, legislation, advocacy, awareness, and policy.


GUPTA: And she's a government adviser and works with drug companies on gene therapy.

BAILEY: We are working very hard to make sure that future generations do not have to live with this disease.



ACOSTA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.