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Justice Department Releases New Video from January 6 Attack; CDC Calls COVID-19 Delta Variant a "Variant of Concern"; Report: Latinos Killed by Police Severely Undercounted; Legal Analyst Elie Honig Answers Viewers' Legal Questions in "Cross Exam"; E.U. Lifts Travel Restrictions for Americans. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired June 19, 2021 - 15:00   ET



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

As the Justice Department releases horrifying new videos from the January 6th Capitol assault, the evidence has never been more clear. January 6th was a nightmare and before I show you some of the footage, I have to warn you, you're going to hear profanity and you're going to see a violent, deliberate assault against those who defended our Capitol, like this officer seen here on body cam, being taunted and physically attacked by a violent insurrectionist.


ACOSTA: And it's critical that we show you this unedited, raw moment, because despite what you just saw, there's an alternate interpretation making the rounds, by alternate, I mean insane. The so-called rally against political persecution spent this afternoon continuing to whitewash the January 6th insurrection, on the doorstep of the Department of Justice.

Welcome to the upside down. In this universe, the insurrectionists are victims of persecution by the DOJ and FBI. And no, those who embark on what seems like a live filled acid trip aren't just a few lost QAnon holdouts. The central figure is Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, who has emerged as a major source of lies and baseless conspiracy theories about what happened that day, even though as someone inside the Capitol that day, he knows exactly what happened.

As his Republican colleague, Liz Cheney, tells it, she helped him open his gas mask.

And CNN's Marshall Cohen joins me now.

And, Marshall, what happened at this rally that you were at earlier today? It looks like they're continuing to engage in this almost fantasy-like, living in an alternate reality.

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Their whole position was that these Capitol rioters are being mistreated, mistreated in court, mistreated in jail. They had the father of one of the defendants in jail now speaking.

But, you know, the context really matters. It is obviously horrible for people in jail. Nobody wants to be in jail.

But there's 500 people that have been charged. Most of them are at home with their families. They're only facing misdemeanors. The people in jail right now, they were charged with assault. They were charged with conspiracy, bringing weapons to the Capitol. You know, chose to go there that day, Jim.

ACOSTA: Right. And we were just talking about this new video from the insurrection. What do they show? And when you talk to people at this event earlier today outside the Justice Department, you know, how did they explain the disturbing video that's come to light, that you helped bring to light?

COHEN: Yeah, us our colleagues here and other news outlets work to unearth the clips. Justice Department presented them in court but weren't public, we filed a lawsuit. They are critical. They tell the truth of what happened.

So, the first clip that I want to show you, it is a man named Thomas Webster. Prosecutors say that he is in the red jacket in this video, and he is basically a cop. He's a retired cop from NYPD and he, according to prosecutors, rushed the police line. He had a flagpole, a metal flagpole that he was wielding, eventually tackled an officer. The guy who's wearing the body cam, you'll see in a moment is thrown to the ground and eventually almost had his eyes gouged out.

It's a scary sight. It's hard to watch. But I mean, Jim --

ACOSTA: His gouged, incredible.

COHEN: Yeah. I mean, there are photos of this defendant with his hands in the guy's mask, reaching in there. You can see, that's when he falls right there. This is one clip of many, Jim. If we can turn to the next one here, you'll see a very scary moment in the Capitol tunnel, dozens and dozens of rioters facing off against the police line.

This is from that famous or infamous scene where one of the officers was squished in the doorway, screaming out in agony for help. It's frightening. Some rioters got the police shields and used them against cops as a weapon.

These videos are scary. They're filled with profanity. But they're the truth of what happened. As you mentioned earlier, Jim, there's been serious effort to whitewash the story and to just cover it all up.

ACOSTA: Yeah, and also to explain it away with bizarre and insane conspiracy theories that the FBI was involved or Antifa. When you look at this video, you can see plain as day, these are Trump supporters.

COHEN: They had Trump flags, they had Trump hats, Trump shirts. They were proud of being Trump supporters. They wore it proudly there. It wasn't Antifa. It wasn't Black Lives Matter. It wasn't the FBI. I can't believe I have to say it wasn't the FBI. But it wasn't, Jim.

It was Trump supporters, as you said.

ACOSTA: All right. And the video so disturbing, I assume, Marshall, we're going to see more and more of these videos come out over time?


COHEN: That's right. We filed a lawsuit in dozens of cases. We have seen a few clips come out this week. But if you stay tuned, more and more will be coming in the future.

ACOSTA: All right. Marshall Cohen, thanks so much for the important work you've been doing following all of this. We appreciate it.

And in the home state of the president he served -- former Vice President Mike Pence received a not so warm welcome, that's putting it mildly, speaking at a conference for religious conservatives in Florida.

CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns is on the scene.

Joe, give us the latest. It was an ugly reception for Mike Pence there.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's true, Jim. It was also one of those intriguing moments in American conservative politics. This is the Faith and Freedom Coalition. And I don't need to remind you that back in 2016, people in this group were overjoyed that Donald Trump selected Mike Pence as his running mate.

Now, fast forward to just yesterday, and when he is taking the stage, there's booing, there are people are calling him traitor and so on, just a small group. Nonetheless, they made a lot of noise. Listen.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I want to thank my friend, Ralph Reed for those overly generous words --

AUDIENCE: Traitor. Traitor. Traitor. Traitor!

PENCE: I am deeply humbled by it.

Ralph Reed knows me well enough to know -- the introduction I prefer is a little bit shorter. I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order, and I am honored to stand up for you today.


JOHNS: Now, he mentioned Ralph Reed there. Ralph Reed is the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. I got a chance to ask him about the booing.

Number one, he played down the number of people actually participating. I think I counted between something like a half dozen and a dozen. I can't tell you exactly how many people were engaged in that.

The other thing Ralph Reed points out is that as far as he is concerned, the party is still a big tent and people have room to disagree -- Jim.

ACOSTA: And at the same conference, Joe, Republican Senator Ted Cruz made some pretty outlandish comments about critical race theory being taught in schools. What more can you tell us about that?

JOHNS: You know, I absolutely lost count of the number of people who got on the stage here and talked about critical race theory. Senator Cruz who showed up also yesterday really sort of took it to a completely different level. Listen.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Critical race theory says every white person is a racist. Critical race theory says America is fundamentally racist, irredeemably racist. Critical race theory seeks to turn us against each other. If someone has different colored skin, seeks to make us hate that person.

Let me tell you right now, critical race theory is bigoted, it is a lie, and it is every bit as racist as Klansmen in white sheets.


JOHNS: The temptation is to say that speakers like Ted Cruz here at this conference were trying out campaign messages for the coming years. However, critical race theory has been around a long time. And the only thing that's really changed over the last year or two is that Donald Trump picked up on it during his campaign, continues to use it as he talked about race in America -- Jim.

ACOSTA: Looks like they're auditioning to be on Fox, Joe Johns. We'll be talking about that right about now.

Joe Johns, thanks so much for the report from Florida.

Well, the crock pot caucus is at it again, to hold as they rally around the flag, the false flag that is.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): So if there were federal agents that were involved on January 6th, we really need to know what the FBI knew and when they knew it.


ACOSTA: Yes, the intellectual heavyweights of the House like Louie Gohmert and Marjorie Taylor Greene have cooked up a new conspiracy theory about January 6th as you just heard. They're now suggesting it was a so-called false flag operation carried out by the FBI.

That's right, according to some members of Congress, the feds did it. Not the Trump supporters who have been arrested and charged after they

were caught on video after video storming the Capitol, beating up the police who were defending American democracy. Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted this. We need names and answers about FBI operatives who were involved in organizing and carrying out the January 6th riot.

Insurrection truther, Tucker Carlson, is also pointing the finger at the FBI with no evidence.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: How about running up the FBI operatives that rioted in January 6. Why don't they identify the guy who shot Ashli Babbitt to death? This is crazy, and we should resist it.


Darren Beattie heads up "Revolver News". We're glad to see him tonight.

Darren, thanks so much for coming on.

It sounds like according to this, I have to say, remarkable piece that you just put up last night, late in bed at midnight, that the FBI was organizing the riots of January 6th.

DARREN BEATTIE, REVOLVER NEWS: Well, yes. Certainly, suggests that possibility.


ACOSTA: Now, you may recall I recently described Fox News as the bullshit factory in honor of its steady stream of bogus segments aimed at ginning up your outrage. But Tucker has really outdone himself this week. I've decided to word Tucker with distinction of bullshit factory employee of the month. Congrats, Tucker. You did it. Nobody bullshits like you when it comes to the insurrection. Nobody does it as good as you. Well, at least in the English language.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: People came to the U.S. Congress with political demands, 400 people. Over 400 people have criminal charges placed on them. They're being called domestic terrorists. And they're being accused of a number of other crimes.


ACOSTA: Tucker, Vladimir, Vladimir, Tucker, I'm sure you already know each other.

But hold on. This isn't the first crazy conspiracy theory about a false flag operation. First, they said it was Antifa infiltrators dressed up like Trump supporters. Remember that?


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and, in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa.


ACOSTA: It is worth reminding everybody that the very people that were stirring up the crowd on January 6th.


REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.


ACOSTA: The same people blamed it on Antifa.


BROOK: There's some indication that fascist Antifa elements were involved, that they embedded themselves in the Trump protest.


ACOSTA: These guys can't even get their false flags straight. It was Antifa. No, no, it was the FBI. Maybe they could hire O.J. Simpson to find the real insurrectionists.

GOP congressman Paul Gosar has been spreading the lie that the cops executed one of the rioters, but that's not true.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): The Capitol police officer that did that shooting, that appeared to be hiding lying in wait, again no warning before killing her.


ACOSTA: Which all helps explain how 21 house Republicans voted against awarding the congressional gold medal to the Capitol police officers who responded to the insurrection.

Then, there's Congressman Andrew Clyde who down played the insurrection, describing rioters as more like tourists who are part of an undisciplined mob.

Are mobs ever disciplined? But I digress.

D.C. police officer who has been trying to meet with members of the crack pot caucus says Clyde refused to shake his hand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE FANONE, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: The congressman turned away from me, pulled out a cell phone, looked like he was attempting to pull up an audio recording app on his phone and again like never acknowledged me at any point. As soon as the elevator doors opened, he ran as quickly as he could like a coward.


ACOSTA: He ran as quickly as he could.

Clyde told a local paper in his district he didn't recall an offer to shake hands because who could recall such a thing. It is at if the expression back the blue is the new thoughts and prayers. For some, they're just empty words. But this is what happens when you embrace the Q-niverse, the alternate reality invented by Donald Trump who proudly talked about backing the blue and law and order when he was in office.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I am your president of law and order.


ACOSTA: That was before he tried to overturn the election results. That was before he bought into the idea that he will be reinstated in august. Heck, he is still tilting at windmills.


TRUMP: Making windmills all over the place that ruin our land and our birds and kill everything.


ACOSTA: The windmills, they kill everything. You heard it here first.

Now, here's an idea. If some of these conspiracy theorists want to get to the bottom of what happened January 6th, forget the false flags, appoint an independent commission to investigate.


Or I have another idea. Perhaps you can just look in the mirror. There you go. See? You just cracked the case.

If you want people to trust that you back the blue, please do us all a favor, back the red white and blue first. That's the flag we should all rally around.


ACOSTA: President Biden is celebrating the 300 million COVID-19 shot milestone, but also wondering that the Delta variant could threaten the progress the U.S. has made against the virus. So, how worried should vaccinated Americans be about the new variant and what about those still unvaccinated?

Here is CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we are at this 300 million doses administered mark and that is obviously a very notable number in terms of overall immunity. It's not the 70 percent nationally that we wanted, but if you look at the amount of immunity from vaccines and also add in the amount of immunity that comes from people having been naturally infected, we're probably at functional herd immunity or soon to be there.

So, you see the numbers coming down, hospitalizations, deaths, all good news. Big question is about the variants. And I think it's interesting to look around the world at these variants, and see how much impact they're making.

Take a look at the U.K., for example. I think there's a story that's important you see in the graphic. The end of January, it was primarily the alpha or U.K. variant that was dominant in the U.K. understandably. What happened over that time period? The numbers came down overall which was good. But at the same time the delta variant started to enter the scene there, you saw the numbers pop back up. That was primarily obviously people who had not been vaccinated.

So that's the concern here. We know this is a much more transmissible variant. The U.K. or alpha variant was 50 percent more transmissible than the strain before that, and this is 60 percent more transmissible than the alpha variant. So, you get an idea. In Scotland, there was a study showed people infected with the delta variant were also more likely to be hospitalized.

So this does appear to be more transmissible and more serious also. So, that is why there's so much attention on this. If you look at the effectiveness of the vaccines, take a look there, you see that alpha or delta, you get a lot of impact, a lot of protection from these vaccines, that's why the message remains the same to get out there and get vaccinated. It's also worth pointing out, as you can slow down spread of the virus overall through vaccination, through immunity, you're going to be less and less likely to actually develop mutations that are problematic, that create more variants that we continuously worry about.

So, no matter how you cut it, whichever way, the message remains the same. To go get vaccinated.


ACOSTA: Thanks for that, Sanjay.

And this week, in a grim reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, the U.S. lost 600,000 Americans to the coronavirus. Those aren't just numbers. They are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, friends, all lost to COVID-19. And that means there are more than 600,000 families who are now grieving an unimaginable loss, including Amanda Kloots, the wife of Broadway actor Nick Cordero who documented his husband's battle with coronavirus, including his more than 90 days in the ICU.

Now, Amanda's opening up more about what the days are life, how she coped with grief following her husband's death, while raising their son Elvis. It is all in a new book out now, "Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero".

And Amanda Kloots, co-host of the talk and celebrity fitness trainer, joins me.

Amanda, first of all, it's so great to have you with us to talk about this personal story. The book is just incredible. I want you to tell us how are you and Elvis doing first of all?

AMANDA KLOOTS, LOST HUSBAND NICK CORDERO TO COVID-19: Thank you so much for having me today. We are doing all right. We have my whole family in town right now and they have been a huge support to us. You know, it's almost the one year anniversary of Nick's passing, so every day is a little more sentimental. But Elvis and I continued to move forward and are so grateful for everything that we do have still.

ACOSTA: And, Amanda, you documented Nick's battle with COVID on social media and people around the world began to follow his story. I think it's one of the stories that I think caught the world by attention and got people to take the virus seriously. You called the people around the world who were supporting you, your army.

Take us inside what it meant to have a community come together praying, providing support for you, Nick, and Elvis. It must have been an incredible feeling.

KLOOTS: I got chills as you were saying that. Seriously, I still can't believe the amount of support and love and prayers from around the world. I truly couldn't have gotten through that time without them, the help, the medical advice, the doctors that were coming our way.

And, you know, this book, alongside telling the story of Nick, is really a tribute to that army, to people that cared for us, were with us every single day. I just really wanted them to know the full story, the honest, honest story, and who Nick was, who we are, so they now know who they supported and prayed for every single day.

ACOSTA: And one of the horrendous parts of being in the pandemic was that you were not allowed to visit Nick at the beginning of his illness, and when you were, there were restrictions. So many families have gone through the same thing.


You were alone with Elvis during the first few weeks of his illness because of quarantine.

What helped you get through that? I mean, what can you share in terms of a story that could help other families going through the same thing?

KLOOTS: Well, you know, I will say you are your best advocate for your person. You know, I tried every single day to do as much as I possibly could for Nick, whether I was at his side in the hospital or FaceTiming him from the house. That's something to remember, that you have to put in the effort and you feel helpless and hopeless but you just have to try to push through. I did every day.

I think it was my Broadway training which you'll read in the book, I don't take no for an answer. I know no will eventually lead to a yes, and I just kept pushing. All the stories are in the book. You'll read them. And it really is just how I live my life.

ACOSTA: And you write in the book that you both thought Nick was going to be okay at first because he was young and healthy, but then you decided to share his story, partially in hopes of telling people that the virus was a very serious threat, even for young people. But even today, people still believe that young people don't get effected, are not as impacted as much by the virus.

What is your message to them?

KLOOTS: That it is and you don't want this virus, and there's no rhyme to reason who it comes to and what happens once you get it, and the doctors at Cedar Sinai told me that every day. They said nothing makes sense with this virus, that's why it is so hard to treat, so hard to save people because everybody takes it differently.

And Nick was healthy, 41 years old. No pre-existing health conditions. His only symptom was that he was tired. And he got the worst of it. So it is something to take seriously, even now, and get vaccinated, take care of yourselves and your family members.

ACOSTA: And I was going to ask you, Amanda, what's your message to those out there that still don't want a COVID vaccine. There are certain parts of the country where the percentage of people in certain states is just embarrassingly low. You have these anti-vaccine nuts out there spreading ridiculous theories about all of this. What is your message to people who are not getting in line to get the vaccine?

KLOOTS: You know, honestly, it breaks my heart. It really does. Unless this vaccine is something you can't take because of medical issues or even, you know, I respect the religious issues, I really think it is something you should take super seriously, protect yourself, protect others.

Again, you do not want this virus. You just don't. And I wish -- I wish that Nick could have gotten the vaccine. He would still be here with us today.

And life is precious. Don't take it for granted. That's a huge lesson I learned through the whole battle, is that life is so precious. One day you're healthy, the next day you can't get out of bed, the next day you're in the ICU. Life is too short.

ACOSTA: Right. Don't be that person who might have had the chance to get the vaccine but squandered the opportunity and got sick, and like you said, Nick did not have that chance, but his story and story you share with everybody else is just so critically important. I hope people read it.

Amanda Kloots, thanks for joining us this afternoon from Los Angeles. We appreciate it. All the best to you and your family who are all in town with you right now.

I hope they pat you on the back after this is over because you did a great job. Thanks so much. Great to see you.

KLOOTS: Thank you so much.

ACOSTA: All right. You take care.

Coming up, a new report showing that the number of Latinos killed by police are severely undercounted. We'll explain next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: A new report raising questions about deaths at the hands of police, specifically of those in the Latino community, which have been severely undercounted in recent years.

It comes at a tenuous time for America. The country is facing a racial reckoning with policing. Many are calling for change for the Latino community.

CNN's Josh Campbell has more.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Silent video shows a California police officer firing a rifle through his own windshield. Five shots in four seconds from an unmarked truck.

OFFICER (voice-over): What did he point at us?

OFFICER (voice-over): I don't know, man.

CAMPBELL: At a man who police later said was half kneeling.

OFFICER (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE)

CAMPBELL: Officers were responding to a call about potential looters at a Walgreens.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (voice-over): You see a gun on him?

CAMPBELL: When the audio comes on, the officer says he thought the man was pointing a gun at him. UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (voice-over): I thought that

F'ing axe was a gun.

CAMPBELL: One of the bullets struck a 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa.


CAMPBELL: It was eight days after George Floyd's death and America was lit with outrage.

Monterrosa himself had been out protesting, his family says. Even asked his sisters to sign a petition calling for justice for George Floyd.

A year after Floyd and Monterrosa's deaths, new research shows more than 2,600 Latinos could have been killed by police or in custody since 2014.

According to researchers at Cal State, San Bernardino, and the Raza Database Project, Latino deaths by police are severely undercounted, partially because they're not counted in a uniform way.

ENRIQUE MURILLO JR, PROFESSOR, CAL STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN BERNARDINO: Sometimes we are in the right category, we could go in the black, because there's Afro-Latinos. We could be in the Asian category. A lot of us are in the unknown or the other category.


CAMPBELL: Enrique Murillo is one of the researchers. He says America still has more racial reckoning to do.

MURILLO: The racial conflict in the United States is usually black and white. It's considered black and white. And it is rare that they consider Latinos.

CAMPBELL: They hope their painstaking work of counting will bring change in Washington.

REP. TONY CARDINAS (D-CA): Latinos are definitely undercounted.

CAMPBELL: Congressman Tony Cardinas represents a southern California community that's 67 percent Hispaniola. He was one of the co-sponsors of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

CARDINAS: The people that are dying in custody or in contact with police more than anybody else in America are black individuals. The second highest, right behind them, are Latinos.

CAMPBELL: Cardinas says the first step for that to change is good data. Then accountability when laws are eventually passed.

For the Monterrosa family, waiting for Congress is not an option.

(SHOUTING) CAMPBELL: The family filed a civil suit against the city of Vallejo and the officer involved for violation of civil rights and wrongful death.

Now, the California attorney general is investigating the case.

The local D.A. hasn't brought charges against the officer who hasn't been identified by police.

S. LEE MERRITT, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: We need immediate arrest. There's nothing obscure about what happened to Sean. We have video. We all know what happened.

CAMPBELL: His sister, Michelle Monterrosa, hopes the memory of her brother will help put a stop to police violence against Latinos.

MICHELLE MONTERROSA, SISTER OF SEAN MONTERROSA: My advice to other Latino families, don't wait for loved ones to get involved, because it happen in our own backyard. We do have to face the reality that this can really happen to anyone.

CAMPBELL (on camera): And, Jim, when we talk about police reform, that covers a host of topics, including police tactics. There's been widespread support to ensure that officers are respectful, treating people fairly.

But the other issue, when it comes to new constraints placed on some officers, what they can do, where they can go, we're hearing police groups calling on elected official to rethink some of those policies.

Especially in light of the surge in volent crime in so many places in the country that seem to have no end in sight -- Jim?


ACOSTA: Up next, as we get new video showing how violent the capitol insurrection was, why haven't any of the defendants been charged with sedition? "Cross Exam" with Elie Honig is here to answer that, next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: Video footage newly released by the Justice Department is underscoring how dangerous and violent the January 6th attack on the capitol was.

I am going to play a short clip for you. But I must warn you it is graphic and there's some cursing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have no idea what the -- (EXPLETIVE DELETED) -- you're doing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have no idea.





ACOSTA: The man seen punching a police officer is Scott Fairlamb, a gym owner from New Jersey.

According to court documents, he was one of the first rioters to breach the capitol on the Senate side and is facing 12 criminal counts, including assault and carrying a dangerous weapon.

Joining me, CNN senior legal analyst, Elie Honig. His brand-new book is titled, "Hatchet Man, How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department."

Elie, we might have to write a new book on everything we will talk about in this segment here.

He's here to join our show and answer your legal questions.

Elie, one viewer wants to know: Why haven't any of the January 6th capitol insurrectionists been charged with sedition?

I think this really cuts right to the heart of this. A lot of people want to know the answer to this question.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Jim. My answer to that question is amen. I totally agree with the viewer.

The Justice Department has charged over 400 people with crimes relating to January 6th but not a single sedition charge. If you look at the legal definition of sedition, it absolutely fits here.

There's three subdivisions of sedition. First, it can mean trying to overthrow the government.

Second, it can mean something as simple as interfering with an official governmental function, such as counting of electoral ballots.

Or sedition can mean taking over federal property or a federal building by force without authorization.

Just look at that video you showed.

Why hasn't DOJ brought this charge? I suspect they feel like the word "sedition," like the word "insurrection," has become politicized.

But I think it is a real failure by DOJ not to charge this.

Look, Congress is not going to give us a bipartisan January 6th commission.

The White House said it will not do a presidential commission.

It is not DOJ's job to be a commissioner and to write a report.

But they have to understand they have a role recording what happened for history. And they need to be fearless and straightforward in the way they charge these cases.

I think it is a mistake they haven't charged sedition yet.

ACOSTA: Yes, if the crime has been committed, why not bring charges. It is a question we'll keep asking.

HONIG: Right.

ACOSTA: Elie, a partisan audit of the 2020 election continues in Arizona. Calling it partisan is obviously being diplomatic. It is horse crap.

But anyway, one viewer asks: How the so-called audit might violate federal election law?

I have been wondering this myself. Elie, why doesn't the Justice Department or the administration just go to Arizona and say stop.

HONIG: So DOJ is watching this. The Justice Department sent a letter to Arizona officials saying we have some concerns. They've not yet taken the step of saying stop, but they could go to court.

There are two specific concerns DOJ voices in the letter.

First, federal law requires state officials to maintain custody of any ballots for 22 months after the election. Obviously, we're not 22 months out yet.

Arizona officials have given these over to a Cyber Ninja group that's carrying out the quote, unquote, "audit."


So there's a question about are the state officials in custody of the ballots.

Second of all, there are voter intimidation concerns. Part of the process, the plan was some of these folks would go out and knock on doors of voters in Arizona, say, hey, we have some questions for you about how you voted in 2020. That's intimidating. That's suppressive.

So DOJ has let Arizona officials know we're watching. But we'll see if DOJ takes the next step, goes to court and tries to shut it down.

ACOSTA: This week, the Affordable Care Act survived the third major challenge. If there was anything other than this crazy news week we had, we would have spent more time covering this.

One viewer wants to know: Is there some limit how many times a law can be challenged?

The opponents of Obamacare seem to be going for the record here, Elie.

HONIG: Yes. So there's no actual limit. There's no -- unfortunately, sometimes, three strikes and you're out in the law.

This really --


ACOSTA: There's no limit. That's interesting.

HONIG: No. There's no numeric limit.

Now, there are practical limits, right?

So this was a standing ruling where the court said you states and individuals don't even have an injury that we can do anything to help you with. You're not even in the right universe here.

It was 7-2 decision, with four conservatives joining with three liberal justices in the majority.

So, no, there's no limit. There's nowhere that says you can only file a lawsuit three times, five times.

However, every lawsuit that's rejected by the Supreme Court makes it harder and hard to challenge. It takes a long time to bring a new lawsuit.

The Supreme Court doesn't have to take any future lawsuits. I doubt they'll take another challenge to the ACA.

So I think for millions of Americans that rely on the ACA, I think you can safely breathe a sigh of relief as a practical matter.

ACOSTA: Elie Honig, thanks so much. The book looks great as well. Thanks for being with us.

A quick programming note. We are learning new details about what happened on January 6th. Our Drew Griffin talks with those that were there. "ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY, THE ROOTS OF TRUMP'S INSURRECTION," tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, grab your passport. The European Union is opening up for Americans. We will be talking about that next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:51:34] ACOSTA: Americans aren't wasting any time booking flights and traveling abroad now that the European Union is lifting travel restrictions for U.S. travelers.

CNN's Melissa Bell reports.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Jim, it hasn't taken long for American tourists to return to the streets of Paris. I've seen a few of them myself today.

This is a result of the result of European Union's decision to urge its member states to lift the ban on nonessential travel.

Now, France has been one of the first counties to take on that recommendation.

What that means in practice is that, since Thursday, vaccinated Americans have been able to come to France. Unvaccinated Americans have been able to come to France with a negative PCR test.

It's up to the individual countries to decide what they are going to require.

For instance, Spain has announced vaccinated Americans can once again come to the country. Unvaccinated Americans, for the time being, cannot. So best to check what the countries are specifying until we get some clarity Europewide.

It is a recommendation from the E.U. for the time being.

Important to note that the E.U. had been very clear all this time this time it was looking for reciprocity for the time being.

No sign on what the United States intends to do about lifting its ban on nonessential travel for Europeans -- Jim?


ACOSTA: Thank you, Melissa.

Back here in the U.S., a federal judge is now issuing a ruling blocking the CDC from enforcing conditional sailing orders for cruise ships.

The state of Florida is challenging a CDC order, making it harder for cruise ships to get back on the water.

The court saying the CDC's order exceeds the agency's authority and likely constitutes an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the CDC.

The judge ordered the two sides to return to mediation to attempt to work out a full solution. Now to sad news today from White House. The president and first lady

announcing that their 13-year-old German Shepherd, who has been with the family since 2008, has died.

This from an official statement today: "Our hearts are heavy today as we let you all know that our beloved German Shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home. He was our constant cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family."

A White House official tells CNN Champ passed away at the Biden family home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Champ joined the Biden family during the presidential transition in December 2008, a few weeks after Biden became vice president-elect.

So sad to hear about that. Looks like a great pet there to the president for so many years.

In the meantime, homelessness, which was already rising before the COVID pandemic, is showing signs of surging across the country. Los Angeles, home to more than 65,000 people experiencing homelessness, is no exception.

While many of us may look the other way, this week's "CNN Hero" has planted herself squarely in L.A.'s homelessness, at the center of Skid Row.

Meet Shirley Raines.


SHIRLEY RAINES, CNN HERO: It's being seen, being touched, being cared for.

You want a face mask?

It plants a little bit of self-esteem in them so they feel like, OK, maybe no one knows I'm homeless because I have a fresh cut.

Good to see you. (INAUDIBLE)

I address them as kings and queens because that's who they were. You want them to feel beautiful.

What do you want, hair? Haircut? OK?

When they say they're broken, I am, too. They're like, how did you get fixed? I'm not. I take Prozac, 20 milligrams, every day. What the heck. I ain't fixed, child.


I'm not going to lie to you and tell you things are going to be better now.

But what I am going to do is feed you while you're out here. What I am going to do is do your hair. What I'm going to is give you a hug. What I'm going to do is encourage. I'm going to speak life into you. That's what I can do.

That was Mickey on the mic, you guys. Give her a hand. Give her a hand. Giver her a hand.



ACOSTA: And to see the full story and to nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero," go to right now.

And we'll be right back.