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Americans Mark New Federal Holiday Commemorating End of Slavery; Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) is Interviewed About Juneteenth; Pence Heckled at Religious Conservative Conference, called "Traitor"; U.S. Catholic Bishops Advance Steps Toward Possible Biden Rebuke; Biden Responds to Possibility He Could Be Denied Communion; Hardline Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi Wins Iran's Presidential Vote Amid Low Turnout. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 19, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.
It's Juneteenth in America, and for the first time, there is federal recognition for this day marking the end of slavery. Holiday events kicking off today across the country celebrating the historic moment that took place 156 years ago when Major General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, bringing news for black Texans, the last group of enslaved people in the nation. He announced that they were free and had been for more than two years.
Finally, there was an army to enforce President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The day became known was Juneteenth. And President Biden's signature this week cemented it as a federal holiday. That legislation passing with overwhelming bipartisan support, something that doesn't happen often here in Washington.
Let's check in with CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux right here in the nation's capital.
Suzanne, so great to see you, so great to see so many people celebrating Juneteenth. Show us how people are marking this historic day.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, we are at the Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. I'm sure you recognize it. It's on the corner of 14th and U. And you can just see behind me all the people that just start to gather this evening and to celebrate this day.
This day is really about black resilience and black achievement as well as to celebrate this very important holiday. And it's also a time to recognize this is something that's just the beginning. It's just the start of many changes that the community is fighting for.
I want to show you over here, this is the Reeves Center. This building was named in honor of the late Marion Berry, a D.C. mayor who was a civil rights leader in his own right. The bands will begin here, a couple go-go bands are going to kick this evening off.
Earlier today, Jim, we're at Black Lives Matter Plaza. We got a chance to catch up with a lot of folks, including the one who is really at the forefront of day, really organizing all of this, and why this day is so important to him, and what it means for the community going forward.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN "YADDIYA" JOHNSON, ORGANIZER, MILLION MOE MARCH: So that's what all of this is about, us coming together, putting the culture on display, but also infusing it in politics and getting our community more politically engaged and more politically motivated, to participate in the political process essentially, just like this man, Black Lives Matter Plaza, what has that changed? Not much.
You know, we still don't have justice around the world. We still don't have justice around the country. At the same time, it is cool to know that this is a space that kind of belonging, though it takes much more than that. You know, Juneteenth is the same thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And, Jim, one of the things you see on many people's t- shirts when you ask them about is, of course, the marking of the day, but also it says free-ish, and it's that "ish" part that people are focused on today. They say, look, this is a day of celebration. But this is also a recognition as well that there is work to be done on voting rights, on police brutality, on housing and economic freedom. Things of that nature.
And so, part of this, yes, like any other city in the country, it is a celebration. But there is also political part here, a real fight on the political side that this is important to let Washington and let lawmakers know that there's work to be done still on this very important day -- Jim.
ACOSTA: It is such an important day, and it's wonderful that it's being marked as a national federal holiday. Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much for that report.
And joining me to talk about all of this is House Majority Whip James Clyburn.
Congressman, did you ever think this day would come? And why is it important that today be a national holiday, that Juneteenth be a national holiday?
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, Jim, thank you very much for having me.
You know, the importance of this day to me focuses on communications. January 1, 1863, the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation, yet it was June 19th, 1865, 2-1/2 years later when the enslaved Africans down in Texas got the world, when it was communicated to them.
Now, was that intentional? I don't know, but irrespective of whether or not it was, the failure to communicate kept those people enslaved for an additional 2-1/2 years.
And so, when I was on the floor a couple days ago to argue on behalf of this holiday, I focused on the value of communicating because I would hope today will be the day that we begin to communicate in earnest, so that we can continue our pursuit of a more perfect union.
That's what's causing our problems today. We don't talk with each other. We talk past each other. But we do not talk with each other. I would hope this will be a reckoning on that front.
ACOSTA: Well, we certainly could use some perfecting these days. That's certainly true, Congressman, and of recognizing Juneteenth feels like progress, do you feel like it's one step forward, two steps back when you see all these efforts happening across the country, mainly led by Republicans, making it harder for black Americans to vote?
CLYBURN: That's part of my point here. The fact of the matter is we know that the Constitution is something that keeps this country together. When we fail to give due recognition to the constitutional principles, that it kept us in pursuit of perfection, we run the risk of losing this democracy. We came close to doing that on January 6th.
And we cannot pretend that January 6th did not happen. And we have to get serious about reckoning with those things that brought it about.
And so, when I see my Republican friends refusing to establish a committee or a commission to look into this, to make sure it doesn't happen again, to make sure that this country stays together as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all -- that's what this is about.
And hopefully, June 19th, this year, 2021, will be the day that we came to grips with that.
ACOSTA: Let me ask you about this because, as you know, 21 House Republicans vote against legislation that would honor the officers who defend the Capitol during the insurrection with congressional gold medals. We have new video out just in the last day showing just some of the violence that was unfolding up on the Capitol. Just incredible violence and hostility directed at Capitol police officers. I mean, they were in arm combat, hand-to-hand combat.
What do you say to those 21 Republican representatives who decided to vote against honoring those police officers?
CLYBURN: Well, you know, I would say to them that they have to really come to grips with their own notion of what this country is all about, what patriotism is all about, what this pledge that we make to the flag is all about, what the national anthem is all about.
I want to ask them to join me in taking the steps that are necessary to bring the country together. And one of those things, and this is a little commercial here, is for us to make "Lift Ever Voice and Sing" the national hymn.
I don't like it when I hear people say "Life Ever Voice and Sing" is a Negro national anthem. We should have only one national anthem. And we ought to make "Lift Every Voices Sing" as the national hymn, because it is a hymn. It's not anthem.
And so, when we start doing these things, like make it Juneteenth a national holiday, make "Lift Every Voice and Sing" a national hymn, we will be taking steps to bring people together so we can be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
ACOSTA: And, Congressman, I have to ask you about this crazy conspiracy theory that is gaining some serious momentum, alleging that the FBI orchestrated the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
What do you say to your -- some of your Republican colleague, people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, they're the ones who are spreading this craziness.
What should be done about that?
CLYBURN: Well, what should be done about that is we on this program and others like it need to say to the American people, let's stop this foolishness. Let's start reporting the facts. I used to be in this business. And so, I know a little bit about it.
And we have a responsibility I think of debunking this foolishness. Nobody believes that. They don't believe that. They just feel that this is one way to rile people up.
ACOSTA: I think some of them do believe it, Congressman. Candidly, you know, and respectfully, sir, I do think some of them believe it.
CLYBURN: Well, I respect your position on that, but I've been in this country a long time.
Next month, I must celebrate my 81st birthday and I can tell you, they really don't believe it. They think it's a tool they can use to separate people. They know better than that.
When I was growing up, I've heard all the rumors that black people had tails. They knew better than that. So this kind of stuff, we have to bring it to (INAUDIBLE), they know better.
Marjorie Greene, whatever her name is, she really does not believe that stuff she's saying. She is saying the stuff she thinks will rile people up, because they really would love to see this country turn against each other. With Dylann Roof, two days ago, we celebrated the six-year anniversary
of the loss of nine poor souls down there in Emanuel AME Church down in Charleston. He went down there to start a race war. He knew what he was doing.
He was not trying to educate anybody. He was doing what he thought was necessary to start a race war. He said it. Let's believe him.
ACOSTA: All right. Congressman Clyburn, thanks so much for coming on. We always appreciate your insights and we'll have you back again real soon. Thanks so much, sir. And happy Juneteenth.
CLYBURN: Same to you, and Happy Father's Day. Thank you.
ACOSTA: Thank -- and to you as well. Thank you, sir, so much for that.
And talk about taking friendly fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUDIENCE: Traitor. Traitor. Traitor. Traitor!
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am deeply humbled by it.
Ralph Reed knows me well enough to know --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: That's Mike Pence's reception at a conservative religious conference. We'll take you there next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
ACOSTA: If you need more proof of just how divided the GOP is, look for further than Florida. That's where former Vice Mike Pence received a not-so-warm welcome when speaking at a conference for religious conservatives on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: CNN's senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns was there where the conference was happening.
And, Joe, we're learning, the event's organizer is downplaying those hecklers last night. What more can you tell us?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He's definitely trying to put the best face on it.
Look, the significance of this is that you got the Faith & Freedom Coalition meeting here outside Orlando, trying to regroup and get set for the midterm election run and then you have this moment here in the ballroom when Mike Pence, the former vice president, comes to the stage, and there's booing and name-calling from a small group of individuals, which really shows that the disagreements in the party over the final days of the Donald Trump administration have not yet quite been resolved.
So I talked to the founder of this organization, Ralph Reed, who told me essentially no big deal. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RALPH REED, FOUNDER, FAITH & FREEDOM COALTION: I think it was -- my understanding is it was three or four people out of a crowd approaching 1,500. I don't think it's indicative of anything. Disagreements and differences of opinion within a political party or within political movement are not a sign of weakness. They're a sign of strength.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: More than three or four people, probably more like six or eight removed from the ballroom due to the heckling. Nonetheless, the organization is going to try to get back on track this evening with a keynote speech from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He's one of the people who's been mentioned as a Republican, perhaps running for president next time around.
We'll see, by the way, Donald Trump was invited just like last year. Last year, he spoke. This year, he didn't speak because of, we're told, a scheduling conflict.
ACOSTA: All right. Joe Johns, so fascinating to see that reception from Mike Pence, given that he is a very Christian conservative, has been for year. That is highly unusual, despite what Ralph Reed says, and disturbing as well.
Joe Johns, thanks so much.
Joining us now, political commentator and Republican strategist, Alice Stewart. Also joining us is CNN political analyst, April Ryan.
Great to have you here, by the way.
Alice, let me start with you. Did you ever think you would see the day when Mike Pence would get called a traitor at Christian conservative conference?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Never, because he is truly a face of faith and freedom for the Republican Party and he's far from a traitor. Look up the word in the dictionary and traitor is about someone who betrays their friend, their country and their principles. That is not Mike Pence.
Look, here's what he did on the day on January 6th. He told the president and the country. I cannot stand in the way of the certification of these election results.
As in his role as president of the Senate, he is there to certify, and not obstruct. He is there to oversee the certification of the results. That's exactly what he did. Rational Republicans realize he was doing his job and upholding the Constitution on that day.
ACOSTA: April, you saw Ralph Reed downplaying this.
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You cannot downplay what happened to Mike Pence Friday, like you cannot downplay what happened on January 6th. This is just an offshoot, a minor offshoot, if you will, of what happened on January 6th. I cannot get out of my head a noose, gallows erected with a noose specifically for Mike Pence.
The pictures of Mike Pence and his family being escorted by security out of there by, quote/unquote, patriots who follow the president of the United States, who happened to be his coworker, OK?
And now, he's at this really. They are booing him. It's going to get worse. What it's going to take to change it is for the former president of the United States to stay stop. He hasn't done that yet.
ACOSTA: He's not going to do that.
STEWART: That won't happen.
RYAN: And that's the problem.
STEWART: Right. And Pence's role that day was to be a presider, not a decider. And look, if he could have gone in like the former president told him and stop the certification, look, this would have been done in the past, then Vice President Nixon would certainly have stopped the election results in 1960 against JFK, then Vice President Gore would have stopped the certification of the results in 2020 against Bush, it's not possible.
So, for him to be asked to do so is just absurd.
RYAN: And Mike Pence was being a patriot by following the Constitution.
RYAN: And these people who are screaming traitor, who are following the president of the United States, who has not said, look, we resolving our issues is just perpetuating this. And my fear for Mike Pence, as someone who has had threats from these kinds of people, he needs to be protected at all times, because it's only going to get worse until the former president says something to stop it.
ACOSTA: Let's talk about what Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin senator, said last Sunday on Fox. Let's listen to this and talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I think it's extremely important to create an accurate, historical record of exactly what happened so the false narrative of thousands of armed insurrectionists doesn't last. That's why I have my staff going and reviewing the relevant parts of the 14 hours worth of surveillance to find some pretty interesting things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Alice, he's essentially saying he wants to rewrite the history in the favor of the insurrectionists. And, by the way, we've tried to have Ron Johnson on. We've asked him many times, he won't come on.
I think the best way to document history is to follow the facts, and let's have a bipartisan commission on this. We followed the history on 9/11, and had a 9/11 commission. I think a bipartisan commission to look at the facts on January 6th is certainly the way to go. Let everyone has information, come forward, and that's the way that we document history and look --
ACOSTA: Why are so many Republicans against that, Alice?
RYAN: They're afraid of the truth. They are afraid of the truth. Tens of thousands of people, people followed President Trump who was on the ellipse went -- they did not come look skipping and carrying a basket, and kissing people as they said.
They were in there looking for Nancy Pelosi. They found Congressman Clyburn's office, that is tucked away. You have to use a map. They went and desecrated the hall of Congress with feces and urine.
They were not skipping along as tourists. They went there to change the structure of power. The executive branch of the United States put war on the legislative branch of the United States, with those people who came.
Can you imagine -- the only reason why we're having this conversation is because no one, none of the congressional leaders were taken out or killed. If one of them -- if anything had happened to one of them, this would be a totally different conversation.
ACOSTA: Yeah, absolutely.
And, Alice, let me ask you this week, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he would not rule out supporting the party's sweeping elections and voting bill For the People Act and is open to backing some changes. He wants to make Election Day a holiday, ban gerrymandering, mandated at least 15 consecutive days of early voting, institute a voter ID requirement, which a lot of Democrats don't want to see. So it's sort of, you know, some catnip for the Republicans to sign on to this.
What do you make of this?
STEWART: Look, Joe Manchin is the man of the hour, right? He's in a situation right now as a Democrat overseeing a very conservative state to try and seek bipartisanship. I think he is 100 percent correct in these tense times. We shouldn't seek sweeping election changes that does not come about through unity.
And look, Joe Biden himself said I'm going to campaign and govern on unity and uniting Republicans and Democrats --
ACOSTA: We have Republican states changing things willy-nilly across the country based on the big lie, yeah.
STEWART: But on this point as well, there's so much emphasis on Republican obstruction to this voting law. This is also about Democratic unity. You don't have Democrats united behind this immigration legislation. And that's one of the things that Joe Manchin is trying to change.
RYAN: When it comes to voting, we are a nation that is voting without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. We are a nation that is being suppressed.
Many of the votes in minority communities, black and brown communities are being suppressed. Why? Because they are winning.
There's an attempt to stop people from voting, end of story. And we are the United States of America, why is that happening? It should not ever be, in 2021, that someone should say, I can't have a drink of water if I want to stand in a long line to vote. It should not ever be a long line to vote.
ACOSTA: Should Mitch McConnell be rejecting this?
RYAN: Mitch McConnell is part of the problem, too. This is not just Manchin. Mitch McConnell is saying this is not going to go through.
STEWART: He's saying what Manchin has put forth is still not acceptable because --
ACOSTA: Is anything going to be acceptable?
STEWART: Certainly, not doing this widespread election changes would be acceptable to Republicans and they also want to make sure there's a certain type of voter ID. That is important for the integrity of our election, critical to making sure that one person, one vote. Free and fair elections, I worked in the secretary of state's office as a deputy secretary of state overseeing elections. We need to have a focus on election integrity, and for Republicans, voter ID is a part of it.
RYAN: There's a large swath --
ACOSTA: But there was not voter fraud, I mean, there's no widespread voter fraud.
RYAN: None. None.
ACOSTA: That's the shame of all of this.
ACOSTA: I mean, it's just a national shame is that all of these election voting changes that are taking place in these states, they're predicated on lies, on the big lie.
RYAN: On lies.
ACOSTA: Alice, you can't you understand why Democrats would want to fiduciary forward national federal changes to make sure that these states just don't run wild?
STEWART: Well, you also have to remember, elections on the presidential level are run state by state. It's important to have elections run at the state level and state level on down because that's the way they are overseen.
ACOSTA: But they can't do it in a discriminatory fashion.
RYAN: So that's the problem --
ACOSTA: Have legislature to say out election results --
RYAN: That's the problem with all necessary new restrictive laws in Florida, Georgia and Texas. If any other states come in, anything federally will not be able to touch what they're doing. And part of the issue is what you're talking to Alice about is preclearance. That was gutted in Shelby v. Holder in 2013 in the Supreme Court, where the Justice Department was supposed to oversee in certain Southern states any changes to voting to prevent what happened in the '50s and '60s, to black and brown people trying to go to the polls.
So, now, you got these states, these three states now and then other states that are coming, anything that the federal government does after the rest is a moot point pretty much.
ACOSTA: You know, on this Juneteenth, I think about the folks who struggled to see this day become a federal holiday and, you know, I've got news for some of the folks trying to makes some of these changes making it harder for folks to vote. You know, there are folks who are willing to work hard for the right to vote.
RYAN: People are willing to die --
ACOSTA: They're willing to die for the right to vote, and that I think is something we should be thinking about on Juneteenth.
STEWART: And hats off to people like LaTosha Brown in Georgia who's working for Black Voters Matter.
And let me just say this, probably the takeaway of today is when you mention Juneteenth to Congressman Clyburn, the smile on his face said it all.
ACOSTA: It did say it all.
All right. Thanks, ladies.
RYAN: It's about resilience and moving forward. Voting rights, policing, housing, so much more.
ACOSTA: It's about smiling and being determined as well.
Thank you, ladies, so much. Great to talk to you.
And coming up next, why Catholic bishops are moving plan that could demy communion to President Biden. But, first, a quick programming note, CNN has new details about what happened on January 6th. Drew Griffin talks with those who are there, "Assault on Democracy: The roots of Trump's Insurrection". That's tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
ACOSTA: President Biden may be in for some blowback from leaders of his own faith. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is moving forward with a plan that would deny Communion to public figures who back abortion rights.
President Biden is one of those public figures who backs abortion rights.
He's also the first Catholic U.S. president in nearly 60 years and attends mass regularly.
CNN senior Vatican analyst, John Allen, has more from Rome.
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: America's Catholic bishops this week held a controversial vote to move forward on a document on the Eucharist.
That is the sacrament during Catholic mass in which the church teaches that Catholics receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
It's controversial because this document may have implications for whether pro-choice Catholic politicians, prominently including American President Joe Biden, would be eligible to receive Communion.
This document comes at a time when polls show that strong majorities of American Catholics don't actually believe church teaching on the Eucharist.
Many Catholic bishops in America are concerned with that point. Some of them may have voted for this document without having any opinion on the eligibility of Biden or other Catholic opinions for Communion.
We won't know where they stand on that issue until November when a draft is actually in front of them.
In the meantime, the Vatican, under Pope Francis, has made it clear they are opposed to what they call weaponizing the Eucharist, that is, using Communion to score political points.
Presumably, that input will be taken into consideration by the bishops over the next several months as they try to draft this much- anticipated document.
For CNN, this is John Allen, in Rome.
ACOSTA: Thank you, John.
President Biden is now responding to the possibility he may be denied Communion, one of the most-scared rituals in the Catholic faith.
CNN White House correspondent, Arlette Saenz, joins me with more.
Arlette, what is President Biden saying about this? This is a touchy issue for the president.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Jim. Just a short while ago, we saw President Biden attending mass back home in Delaware.
He was seen at St. Joseph on the Brandywine, his parish he traditional visits each time he's back home in Wilmington.
And he was seen there with the first lady, his sister, Valerie, as well as his granddaughter, Natalie.
At one point, the president was outside greeting the priests who had said the mass that they attended.
We often see Biden attending mass each weekend. He's not one to miss a Saturday or Sunday service.
Even just last week, attending mass while he was in England for the G- 7 summit.
But while we see the president attend mass, we hear him quote scripture in many of his events, President Biden is very private when it comes to talking about how he actually practices.
So yesterday, when he was asked about this decision, or these steps being taken to potentially prevent him from taking Communion, the president did not exactly want to comment on the matter. And said he ultimately doesn't think it will happen.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's a private matter. And I don't think that's going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: So very brief comments from President Biden.
This has not been the first time that this issue over abortion rights has really become a flash point within the Catholic Church.
Back in 2004, when John Kerry, a Democrat, was running for president, there were some officials, church officials who were saying he should not be receiving Communion due to his support for abortion rights.
President Biden, in the past, has spoken about his own personal feelings about abortion.
In fact, in the 2012 vice presidential debate against Paul Ryan -- both men were Catholics -- they were both asked about abortion.
The president, then the vice president at the time, said, while he personally supports the church's stance on abortion, he does not think that that should be imposed on other people who have different beliefs.
That's basically summing up the president's pro-choice position.
Of course, all of this showing how fraught religious and political issues can be as the bishops are considering taking this move against the president.
ACOSTA: All right, Arlette Saenz, thank you so much. We'll watch that for sure. That will be developing over the coming day.
Arlette, we appreciate that.
He's an ultra-conservative with a brutal human rights record and he's just been elected Iran's next president. A report from Tehran is next.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[17:42:36] ACOSTA: A hardline judiciary chief with a brutal human rights record will be the next president of Iran. It was an election that most of the country sat out.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Conservatives celebrating a major victory that should shape the political direction of this country for a long time.
Ebrahim Raisi, a man very close to Iran's supreme leader, will soon take over as president.
"With the help of God and with the help of Sayeed (ph), he will do a good job," this man says.
UNIDENTIFIED IRANIAN RESIDENT: I am happy.
PLEITGEN: While turnout was historically low, Raisi managed to garner over 66 percent of the vote, the interior ministry says.
PLEITGEN (on camera): After Raisi won his landslide victory in the presidential election, his followers are putting on a show of force.
Of course, not everyone is celebrating after the moderates suffered a crushing defeat.
(voice-over): While some shops in this market have already hung up Raisi posters, others question the election, after many candidates were disqualified by Iran's Guardian Council in the run-up to the vote.
"Before the voting, everyone knew the new president would be Raisi, this woman says.
And this one adds, "All the four candidates are the same. It makes no difference to me. The elections have no effect."
UNIDENTIFIED IRANIAN RESIDENT: He will be pushed to move to -- lift the sanctions. Our people are in the very high pressure, economic pressure.
PLEITGEN: The transfer of power is already being prepared. Raisi has already met outgoing president, the moderate, Hassan Rouhani, and says he's focused on the task ahead.
EBRAHIM RAISI, NEW ELECTED IRANIAN PRESIDENT: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE.
PLEITGEN: "I hope I can live up to the trust the people have placed in me during my term," he said.
For many, that means getting the Trump-era sanctions lifted and reviving the nuclear agreement, all to jump-start the ailing economy.
TRITA PARSI, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, QUINCY INSTITUTE FOR RESPONSIBLE STATECRAFT: There's a tremendous amount of continuity. And very important foreign policy issues, such as the JCPOA, are not said by the president alone or the foreign minister. It requires much greater degree of systemic buy-in.
PLEITGEN: One thing both moderates and conservatives agree on is Iran's struggling economy is the country's top issue. Now Ebrahim Raisi will get his shot to bring it back on track.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Tehran.
ACOSTA: Meanwhile, some sad news from the White House today. The president and first lady announcing 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 know 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.
The news reminded us of the moment from a "60 Minutes" interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: He's a frolicker. Watch this.
Hey, Champ, you want to play golf?
BIDEN: He's a talker.
Where's the golf club?
BIDEN: Well, go ahead get the golf club.
BIDEN: Well, go get the golf cart.
UNIDENTIFIED "60 MINUTES" CORRESPONDENT: That's about the funniest thing I have ever seen.
Well, go get the --
BIDEN: All right. Watch this.
OK. Let's go get it. Let's get the golf cart. Let's just get it.
Are you ready?
BIDEN: You ready?
Now, don't knock the cameraman down. We can't go out that door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: He was a good dog.
We'll be right back.
ACOSTA: New footage just into CNN shows the aftermath of a tornado that injured at least three people.
You are looking at damage in Bruton, Alabama, near the Florida line. Multiple buildings look to be flattened with debris scattered across a wide path.
Escambia County emergency officials confirm the tornado as Tropical Storm Claudette pushes northeast.
A tornado watch in effect until 7:00 tonight central time. That includes portions of the Gulf Coast, all the way up to Montgomery, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia.
So if you're in those areas, please be careful. Watch out for that severe weather taking place across the southeast.
Meantime, much of President Biden's summit with Vladimir Putin may have been behind closed doors but there was still a lot of jostling, at least among the journalists covering the meeting.
And I know this all too well.
CNN's Jeanne Moos has more.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): President Biden ditched his jacket at the summit.
BIDEN: The sun is hot.
MOOS: Not as hot as things got at the photo-op.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Listen to me, stop pushing.
MOOS: Or even just getting into the photo-op.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Move back. We're trying to go in.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Back off.
UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY OFFICER: You all need to back up.
MOOS: Security prevented some of members of the pool from going in.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I need to get up with that camera, though, guys. I'm his sound.
MOOS: Couldn't even hear President Biden.
And part of the time, this photographer's big head was in the way.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you move? Because I can't get a shot of both of them. Can you move because we can't get a shot? Can you move?
MOOS: That head reminded some of Georgia Dome when it was about to imploded.
But then a bus pulled up and demolished "The Weather Channel's" shot.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: No, bus. Get out of the way. Get out the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Get out of the way, bus. Are you --
MOOS: The head at the Biden/Putin photo-op was just as immovable.
President Biden himself seemed somewhat bemused, while President Putin looked bored and kept drumming his fingers.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And they're just sitting, the two leaders in there, looking at us like we're animals.
MOOS: When the photo-op ended, the action really began.
UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY OFFICER: Because I told you, go away, please.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I can't move over here.
UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY OFFICER: Go away, please.
MOOS: Security physically lifted a still photographer.
UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY OFFICER: Stand up. Stand up. Stand up.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Stop pushing.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Don't push me!
Guys, there's a cord here.
MOOS: The poor reporter said she was pushed multiple times, nearly to the ground.
We have not seen shoving of this caliber since then-President Trump pushed the Prime Minister of Montenegro to get to the front of a photo-op, a shove that recently got the swapped-heads treatment.
May cooler heads prevail.
UNIDENTIFIED SECURITY OFFICER: Let's go. Out!
MOOS: Forget world peace. Just try to get through the photo-op in one piece.
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Don't push me!
MOOS: -- New York.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There's a cord here.
ACOSTA: The Russians, I tell you.
And finally, homelessness is showing signs of surging across the country. Los Angeles is home to more than 65,000 individuals experiencing homelessness is no exception.
The city streets are filled with men and women suffering from high rates of death and disease, people who struggle daily to find food, safe drinking water and safety.
And while many of us may look the way, this week's "CNN Hero" has planted herself squarely in L.A.'s homelessness epicenter, Skid Row.
Meet Shirley Raines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
Happy birthday, king.
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. Give her a hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And to nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero," go to CNNheroes.com.
That's the news. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.
Pamela Brown takes over the CNN NEWSROOM, live, after a quick break.