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CNN NEWSROOM

More than 280 Mass Shootings in The U.S. this Year Alone; Partisan Divide Puts Much of Biden Agenda at Gridlock; Tornado Destroys Dozens of Homes in Alabama; Conservative Arizona Radio Host Blasts Election Audit; Federal Holiday Celebrates the End of Slavery; NYT: Charges Against Trump's Finance Chief Could Come this Summer. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 19, 2021 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:27]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST (voice-over): A dangerous surge in gun violence puts American cities on edge as a summertime crime wave is expected.

Meanwhile, police arrest and charge a 19-year-old man with first degree murder in connection with eight shootings, Thursday, in Phoenix.

Tropical storm, Claudette makes landfall along the Gulf Coast putting more than 20 million people across the south under flash flood and tornado watches this weekend.

Another 30 million people in the West are under heat alerts as record temperatures expected over the weekend could reach 110 degrees in California.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a really, really, really important moment in our history.

BROWN: Nationwide, Juneteenth celebrations kickoff across the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN (on camera): I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday.

Well, tonight, the nation is facing a surging epidemic that no vaccine or mask can stop. The U.S. has seen more mass shootings so far this year than at this point in the past two years. The numbers aren't even close and the lasting toll from gun violence is staggering.

We are now losing an average of 54 people a day to needless bloodshed. That is a dramatic jump not only since the pandemic, but in the five years before that. The latest mass shooting took place only hours ago.

Evan McMorris-Santoro is in New York, just one of the cities watching this health crisis explode -- Evan. EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, as you say, this

really is a crisis, an unfolding one. And if viewers at home are feeling like they're seeing this story a lot, seeing it more and more than they used to see it that's because they are.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): Another deadly weekend in the U.S., with even more mass shootings and gun violence incidents.

Overnight, a shooting in Minneapolis left five people injured. And in Colorado Springs, two separate shootings less than a mile apart Friday night. One shooting erupted in a Mall Carnival, and the other outside a restaurant. Five people total, including three young people ended up in the hospital.

The specifics of each incident vary, but all three tell the same story, the terrifying normalcy of gun violence.

CNN defines a mass shooting as four or more people shot excluding the shooter. That's happened more than 280 times across the country since the beginning of 2021. According to the Gun Violence Archive, that's about 40 percent more than this point in 2020, and 65 percent more than in 2019.

JILLIAN PETERSON, FOUNDER, THE VIOLENCE PROJECT: That type of violence has been surging through the pandemic. And now in 2021, we are really seeing those numbers rise and we can think about how the pandemic has increased stress, increased frustration, added to things like job loss and trauma and isolation, and we know all of that has an impact on gun violence.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): In Chicago, a mass shooting early Tuesday morning left four people dead, and another four injured. Among those killed, 19-year-old Shametria Williams who was supposed to attend our high school graduation.

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D-IL), CHICAGO: Unfortunately, Chicago is not unique. We are part of a club to which -- of cities to which no one wants to belong, cities with mass shootings.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): Across the country in Arizona, a single suspect was arrested in connection with eight different shootings in the Phoenix metro area that left one person dead and at least 12 others injured by gunfire or hit by shrapnel.

A warning, the following video is disturbing to watch. We usually see only the aftermath of the terrifying incidents, but in the Bronx, surveillance cameras captured an attack on Thursday, and children caught in the crossfire, though the children were not shot, and the victim is in stable condition, it serves as a stark reminder of the violence and increasing number of Americans are confronting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (on camera): Pam, you know, it takes us a little bit of time to put these kinds of things together, and that's a good example of showing how fast this is happening and how many of these are happening. And we started doing this this afternoon and we had one number of how many shootings that happened at the beginning of 2021, and by the time we came to air today, it had risen.

This is how fast these shootings are happening this year, and how many of these across the country everyone is having to deal with.

It's a huge crisis and one that just seems to be growing and growing and growing -- Pam.

[18:05:01]

BROWN: It's so true. I was out with my family this morning and the thought crossed my mind. What if someone comes here with a gun? What are we going to do? Where are we going to go? Looking around, where are exits?

I mean, just to have to be in that mentality in this country when you just want to go out with your family, it is really awful to learn about how this rise in mass shooting is happening this year.

Thank you so much, Evan McMorris-Santoro.

And later I'll be joined live by Cameron Kasky, one of the survivors of the Parkland School shooting in Florida. We're going to look at this new wave of gun attacks and the easing of gun laws, including one created in response to another deadly school shooting. That's coming up here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Well, how to end gun violence is just one fight frozen by political gridlock here in the nation's capital, but right now, the attention of our leaders is focused on everything from the serious like voting rights, and January 6th, to something farfetched like the idea of a House Speaker Donald Trump.

CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza is with me. Chris, great to have you here on the show.

I think all of us, when we first saw what Kevin McCarthy said today, we thought, oh my gosh, is he giving credence to this idea about Trump? But then they had to play clean up.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes. So, this idea has been kicking around a little bit. Trump was on with a conservative radio talk show host a couple of weeks ago who essentially said like, why do you care about being President? You could be Speaker of the House in 2023. So, why don't you do that?

And Trump, of course, because he entertains everything said, oh, that's an interesting idea. It's a very interesting idea. Which means basically nothing, but -- so this is not new.

McCarthy effectively, I think probably misspoke when he said, you know, I talked to Trump recently and he wants to be the Speaker. I think he want he wanted to say, he wants me to be the Speaker, and I want him to be the President which is essentially what he said.

Here's the problem: because this Trump administration and all the people around him, Kevin McCarthy included, have been so dishonest for the last five years, it is kind of hard to say, of course, he misspoke, right? Because they haven't earned the benefit of the doubt.

Now, is Donald Trump going to be Speaker of the House? Almost certainly not. Could he? Just as sort of a historical intrigue. Sure.

Speaker of the House does not have to be a Member of Congress. Now, it has never not been a Member of Congress. I don't think it will be, but it doesn't have to be.

BROWN: Right. Okay. So, put that aside for now, let's go to more serious issues. I mean, what we are seeing play out, this new twist in the big lie. And we saw this week because CNN and other media outlets have been pressing for this video. We saw this disturbing new video come out.

Meanwhile, FOX News and lawmakers are now coming out with this crazy new nonsense that the F.B.I. supposedly had operatives who organized the attack. There is no evidence to support that.

Why aren't McCarthy and Mitch McConnell speaking to condemn that crazy talk and say, this is not what this party stand for?

CILLIZZA: Because this is sort of what this party stands for at this point. I mean, I hate to paint with such a broad brush, right? I mean, yes, there are 211 Republicans in the House, there are 50 Republican senators. Loads, thousands of Republicans in state offices across the country. Not all of them believe this, but none of them are willing to speak out against it, Pam, and to me, it's sort of the same thing.

The reason they're not speaking out against this is simple, they're afraid of Donald Trump, and they are, by extension afraid of their party base. And I think that that's what you have to understand.

The party base will believe anything Donald Trump says, will believe anything that I won't mention the names, but are on conservative media outlets, including idiotic things like this, like that this is an inside job.

I mean, you have senators -- Ron Johnson has talked about how Nancy Pelosi -- from Wisconsin has talked about how Nancy Pelosi impeached Donald Trump to cover up her role on January 6. Now, it's not at all clear -- there is no dot connecting, if you sort of say things, and then the base believes it because neutral fact checkers say it's not true, which, amazingly, is for some people within the Republican Party, justification that it is true.

BROWN: It is unhinged. I mean, again, this isn't talking about policy, or, you know --

CILLIZZA: No.

BROWN: This is about fact versus fiction. I always say that, because as journalists, you look at it, and it's horrifying to see this.

I mean, do you think -- to your point -- they're not also speaking out because they know these conspiracy theories have such a strong hold on their base?

CILLIZZA: Sure. Can I just add one -- I will answer that, but you said unhinged. I just want to throw in dangerous, and I don't say that lightly. Like, you know, look, I'm a political reporter for the most part, I cover campaigns oftentimes.

I don't want to over exaggerate, but the truth of the matter is when you have people embracing conspiracy theories like this in our leadership, Republican leaders in Congress not pushing back, they get believed and you have a whole large group of people who really do think Donald Trump won the election, and that's dangerous. And we saw what happened on January 6th, right? It's not a one off.

So, I think that the reality of the situation is Mitch McConnell does not think that the F.B.I. was -- that January 6 was an inside job organized by the F.B.I. He just sees no political benefit to speaking out because he knows the Republican base will revolt. He knows Donald Trump, well, I used to say tweet, obviously he doesn't have that option anymore, but he will issue a statement and the base -- he will get -- Mitch McConnell will get bashed on conservative talk radio and conservative media, and he thinks like, why bother?

Well, the "why bother," of course, is exactly what we're talking about, because it's dangerous to not say much facts.

[18:10:25]

BROWN: If you care so much about democracy.

CILLIZZA: That's right.

BROWN: If you care so much about democracy, then there you go.

CILLIZZA: Correct.

BROWN: You know, and I think that's why so many people hate politics to this. You're putting politics above what really matters.

CILLIZZA: And the thing that I don't get is -- you said fact versus fiction -- that's what I always come back to, facts are not a partisan position.

BROWN: Right. And that's why I feel -- I'm very sort of middle of the line. But it's like, when it comes to this, it's like I can say things.

CILLIZZA: What do the facts say?

BROWN: Exactly.

CILLIZZA: What do the facts say?

BROWN: These are what the facts say --

CILLIZZA: Like Joe Biden got 81 million votes, Donald Trump got 74 million votes. I don't know how else to --

BROWN: Right.

CILLIZZA: You can say, oh, well, all these -- there are all these conspiracies. Okay. But you have to show me something. You can't just -- I could say, Pam, before I came on, I just dunked in a 12-foot basketball hoop. You'd would be like, I mean, it is not unlikely, I'm 45 years old. I have a suit on.

BROWN: Right. But that's what --

CILLIZZA: But you can't just say it.

BROWN: Right.

CILLIZZA: I would have say, here's the video of me dunking. And you could say, oh, yes, I think, it's weird, but Chris did do that. And that's the problem, you can't just say things that are counterfactual. Right? Counterfactual, right? Counterfactual.

BROWN: Exactly.

CILLIZZA: And say, well, my fact is as good as yours. No, yours isn't a fact. Yours is made up. The facts are over here.

BROWN: And to that point --

CILLIZZA: It is so frustrating. I mean, I know, it is frustrating to people like you, because we've been reporters our whole lives. And normally when you say to someone, look, I can show you this thing that says, you're wrong. Not that I'm right, but your thing is not correct.

And they say, well, that's fake news. (Makes explosion sound).

BROWN: Right. And you're going to see that coming up and Drew Griffin's insurrection special, too.

CILLIZZA: Right.

BROWN: But it goes to this larger point, and is why I bring it up is because, if this country can't agree on a basic set of facts and basic truth, our leaders can't stand for that, what direction are we going in? And how does civilized society continue to grow? And it's amazing when you look at the G.O.P. and the direction it's going in, see what's -- to see what is happening to Mike Pence.

I mean, let me show you what happened when former Vice President Pence spoke at a conference of religious conservatives Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

PENCE: I'm deeply humbled by them. And Ralph Reed knows me well enough to know, the introduction I prefer is a little bit short.

CROWD: Traitor. Traitor. Traitor.

PENCE: I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican -- in that order, and I'm honored to stand before you today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: What is your reaction to that?

CILLIZZA: If you told me five years ago that Mike Pence who was in Congress, and as Governor of Indiana, he is one of the most conservative members of -- I mean, there's not a debate about Mike Pence being a conservative -- he would be yelled and said he was a traitor, basically a Republican cattle call, a conservative cattle call like that that you just showed, I honestly wouldn't have believed it.

You want to yell that at Rudy Giuliani who was the Mayor of New York City and then ran for President as a moderate. Sure. Mike Pence? We are not going to debate that Mike Pence -- so why is he a traitor? He is certainly not a traitor on conservative grounds. He's a traitor because he refused to go outside of the constitutional role given to him as Vice President.

And somehow -- again, the details here are very big -- somehow overturn the Electoral College. And because Donald Trump said that he didn't do what he could have very easily done.

If you literally just scratch the surface a teeny bit, you see that that's not the case at all. And I'll remind people, by the way, and the danger, just to reiterate the danger point. There were rioters/insurrectionists on January 6th chanting "Hang Mike Pence" and there was a gallows constructed.

So, you know, this is not just us talking, Pam, right? Like these are real -- what politicians say and more importantly to this conversation, what they don't say. It has real world impacts because not everyone knows they are just rolling their eyes and not humoring Donald Trump. They think it is real.

BROWN: Exactly right. And that is why we bring it up on this show all the time, because it matters.

Chris Cillizza, thank you for helping us shine a spotlight on this. Really appreciate it. Great to see you.

And coming up for you tonight, the conservative radio host blasting Arizona's bogus election audit, why he first support it and is now speaking out against it.

Also ahead, my countdown of the top five examples of a select group of Republicans trying to rewrite reality.

And then, next hour, Sanjay Gupta explains how worried we should be about the delta variant and how it could impact kids.

And paying tribute to a, quote, "cherished companion." The Bidens announce the death of their beloved German shepherd, Champ.

But first, the scene of devastation tonight after a suspected tornado destroys dozens of homes as it barrels through Alabama.

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[18:19:12]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden the trees over this way behind the houses over there. They just kind of just -- it was just like they imploded. They just fell over. I was in shock, really. I didn't -- I mean, I didn't really know what to do. It was just a really helpless feeling because I knew that we were fine. I knew that the inside of my house was fine. I knew that we were fine. And then when I walked out on the front porch and saw that, it just -- you know, it was really upsetting to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: In Brewton, Alabama, drone footage shows a path of devastation -- look at this -- after a tornado rips through town there, we are still waiting for a full assessment on the ground. But multiple homes were clearly damaged and three people were injured.

Claudette is now a tropical depression drenching the southeast. And before she is done, she's expected to bring dangerous weather all the way from the Gulf to the Atlantic.

CNN meteorologist, Gene Norman joins me with the very latest. So Gene, where is the area of heaviest impact right now?

[18:20:10]

GENE NORMAN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Pam, the heaviest impact right now is southern Alabama, southern Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle. And even though Claudette has been downgraded to a depression, it still can bring some devastating impacts. Here's what you can expect -- isolated tornadoes, flash flooding, and the storm could re- strengthen. I'll show you where and what that's going to mean.

But first, let's take a look at what's happening right now. The little L, that's what's left what was a tropical storm, the first one to make landfall in this early hurricane season. All the lightning bolts, these are places where people need to watch out for those fast-forming tornadoes like the video we showed you earlier. Not a lot of time to prepare, so make sure you have multiple ways to know about that potential threat. And there is a tornado watch in effect until eight o'clock Eastern,

seven o'clock Central in the areas you see shaded in red here. Now, this has shrunk a little bit, but there still is that threat, and it still could be expanded further to the east.

Now about the rainfall, at least, or almost a foot of rain has fallen in southern Mississippi and parts of Louisiana and Alabama as well, as the storm has moved through and that threat will continue with flash flooding, a potential into the overnight hours, anywhere from four to six inches of rain in the green shaded areas and that extends from the panhandle all the way up to the Piedmont of North and South Carolina.

In fact, take a look at how much rain you could get. Find where you are, find the color. The brighter the color, the more the rain, and again, it could come down pretty quick. That's the flash flood threat.

Now, the latest track from the Hurricane Center shows that it will potentially re-strengthen off the North Carolina coast, become a tropical storm again, won't impact any areas. However, there is a Tropical Storm Watch along the outer banks which could mean one to three feet of storm surge.

We're tracking it, check it at cnn.com/weather.

BROWN: We appreciate it, Gene. Thanks so much.

And now to CNN's Rosa Flores who is in New Orleans where Claudette came ashore early this morning.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tropical Storm Claudette making landfall earlier this morning southwest of New Orleans, but most of the damage that we've seen recorded is to the east in the states of Alabama and Mississippi. We have video into our NEWSROOM of some of that damage along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

You can see in this video some of the intense moments, some of the heavy rain, and also heavy winds. We also have video from Slidell, that's on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. People there saw flooding waters into their homes and also on some of the streets there, some ponding happened there on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.

Now, here in the State of Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards issuing a state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Claudette. Here in New Orleans where I am, city officials asking residents to move their vehicles to higher ground, also to secure their patio furniture, outside furniture, trash bins ahead of what they believe is a four-to- eight-inch rain event.

Coastal flooding, always an issue during these weather events, especially in those low lying areas. We were expecting this time, two to three feet. Again, Tropical Storm Claudette making landfall here in Louisiana just southwest of New Orleans.

Rosa Flores, CNN, New Orleans. BROWN: Tonight, enough is enough. That is the growing message from

conservatives across Arizona in response to the state's election recount.

I'm going to speak with one of those Republicans, up next.

And a racial reckoning, America marks its first Juneteenth federal holiday since slavery ended 156 years ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:28:13]

BROWN: Tonight, could the election audit in Arizona spark another January 6-style insurrection? The F.B.I. issued a warning this week that online QAnon conspiracy theorists may soon resort to real world violence.

Now, QAnon watchers say the Arizona audit could be the trigger. Here's Tim Miller in "The Bulwark." "Sometime soon, the results of the audit will be brought forth. It seems quite likely that the auditor ninjas will claim that Donald Trump won Arizona."

"The former President and his MAGA media echo chamber will once again stoke the flames of insurrection. Q-adherents will convince themselves that one of the seven seals has been revealed, and some of them will demand action."

Well, tonight, that election audit is entering its final stages, 2.1 million ballots have been examined by hand with only Braille ballots love to count. But the process has been plagued by questions of transparency and bizarre tactics from the beginning.

The latest controversy, a WiFi router was attached to audit servers potentially compromising the private data of millions of Arizona voters. Now, a growing list of Arizona Republicans say they have had enough. And my next guest is one of them, writing, "The audit has gotten out of hand and is now hurting the party. I don't believe it will now convince anyone who isn't already convinced either that the election was stolen, or that the election was unbiased."

Conservative talk show host, Mike Broomhead joins me now. Good to see you, Mike. Thanks for joining the show.

So, you first supported this audit. Now, you're against it. Why has your position changed?

MIKE BROOMHEAD, CONSERVATIVE TALK SHOW HOST: I just think that they lost focus on to being fair and unbiased. I think they have allowed it to turn into a very biased audit where they are speaking only to the people that already believed ahead of time that the election was stolen, and they haven't really produced any evidence to the contrary, other than things that have been released on social media, and I think that it's stoking more of a division in the party that it is any kind of unity with voters in Arizona.

[18:30:13]

BROWN: And to be clear, you felt like the results in Arizona were legitimate but you thought the audit would be a good thing to reassure people who had questions, right?

BROOMHEAD: Yes. I didn't think that the election was stolen, but I got to be honest with you. I'm very close friends with a lot of people that are involved in the audit. People that are actually down there and volunteering to count votes, so these are people that I know and respect in many cases. I just think that they've lost sight of the fact that the independent voters in Arizona is a very huge demographic and there are a lot of Republicans as well, myself included.

One of those 2.1 million ballots that are down there is my ballot and we all should be concerned when people that we don't know are doing things that we don't know what they're doing with our ballots and there's been more concern than there is, I guess, more concern than faith in what's happening.

BROWN: Right. And there's been a lack of transparency too, which fuels that concern. You write in an op-ed that if Democrats were doing this, Republicans would be outraged, they would be calling for an end to it. Why do you think Republican leadership in Arizona has let it get out of hand like this and lets it just keep going like this?

BROOMHEAD: I don't know. The Senate President Karen Fann is someone that I respect a great deal. Ken Bennett used to be our Secretary of State. He's running the audit and I don't know what's happened and that's the part of it that's frustrating for me is I don't know what's happened. I have a lot of respect for those people, but what we've seen is it seems like they're catering to the people that are already believe it's happened and those are the only people they're talking to. And in any case, that's (inaudible) you need to be convincing people instead of just preaching to the choir all the time.

BROWN: One justification for the wackier parts of the audit, using the ultraviolet light and so forth is to chase down these conspiracy theories circulating online. But by that standard, audits could go on in perpetuity. I mean, anyone can make up a conspiracy theory and just push it online and they could spread. Are you concerned that conspiracy theories have gained too much traction in your party?

BROOMHEAD: Absolutely. The example that I used was that we're chasing down watermarks and bamboo in the paper. But then in the middle of this audit, one of our county's supervisors, his name is Clint Hickman, who his family owns a family business for generations in Arizona. They grow eggs. They're egg farmers.

And they accused them, they had a huge fire recently, and they've accused the Hickman family, basically, of feeding chickens ballots and then burning their own barns killing (inaudible) chickens. And first of all, Clint Hickman is a solid conservative guy and there's never been a question of that.

But more than anything else, if you're going to chase down other rumors and other conspiracy, why not chase down that conspiracy? What makes one conspiracy theory viable versus another? And there's never been any evidence of any one of those three things happening.

BROWN: Right. I mean, and that just makes no sense, why not burn the ballots like it defies logic, but that's what I don't understand. I mean, help us understand this. You are a two time Trump voter. You are a staunch Republican ...

BROOMHEAD: Yes.

BROWN: ... and a conservative radio host. Why are these conspiracy theories catching on like this in your party?

BROOMHEAD: I think this is where, again, you're preaching to the choir. The people that are directly involved, the people that are directly supportive and I'm not talking about Karen Fann here or Ken Bennett, but a lot of the people that are very supportive of this are showing their undying support for this are the ones that are involved and some believing some of these theories. The fact is there are people like me.

I was named in Arizona the Republican Volunteer of the Year in 2004, so I've been involved in party politics. And my issue here is there are some important things to talk about. We have got six statewide races running in 2022 and instead of looking forward to winning those races, we are preaching to people that already believe it was stolen and no one else. That's my biggest frustration.

BROWN: I just have to ask you, though, given what I laid out where you stand from and the fact that you have serious issues with this audit, you are conservative. But by supporting Trump, the GOP and conservative media, are you supporting the very institutions that that keep this chaos going? What do you say to that?

BROOMHEAD: I don't know. Here's the thing. I heard your segment earlier with the things that former Vice President Pence said. I would say that I am an Arizonan and an American before I'm a Republican, I am also a Christian. But politically speaking, I love where I live and our governor said that our elections are done fair. He's a staunch conservative as well. There are many conservatives including the new County Recorder.

These are good solid people as well that their character has been called into question, because they dare say what we did was fair in Arizona. The vitriol alone is enough for me to say we have to stop with the anger and we need to look at the evidence and move forward.

[18:35:03]

BROWN: Do you have any larger concerns that all of this could cause more lasting damage not only to your party, but to the country?

BROOMHEAD: My concern, I don't think so. I don't want to call people violent because they're believing these theories. The people that I know, and I'll be honest with you, I know many people that believe that this election was stolen with all of their heart. I don't think they're violent people at all. There is just such a small faction of those people that are getting the attention. But what this is going to do is in Arizona, we have three

demographics, Republicans demographics, Democrats and Independent voters. The independent voters are running from this audit and they're looking at the conspiracy theories and they don't want a connection to that. That's going to hurt the elections in Arizona in 2022. That's my biggest fear, not violence.

BROWN: Mike, I really appreciate you coming on and sharing your honest views about all of this. And you're absolutely right, just because you believe in wacky conspiracy theories does not make you a violent person. That is a very important point to make. But Mike, thanks so much.

BROOMHEAD: Thank you.

BROWN: And as we learn new details about what happened on January 6th, Drew Griffin talks with those who were there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The election is rigged.

CROWD: Stop the steal. Stop the steal.

TRUMP: Fight like hell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a law enforcement operation. This was a military defense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're coming for you, Nancy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once they started banging on the door, that's all I heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We overran the Capitol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, new details from those who were there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump said, come to D.C., it's going to be wild and I knew it's going to make history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This may sound extremely strange to a lot of your viewers, but I feel was appointed by God.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We peaceful protested.

GRIFFIN: You call January 6th a peaceful protest?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull him. Pull him this way. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god. What is happening? I was scared. I was

absolutely scared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN special report ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY, THE ROOTS OF TRUMP'S INSURRECTION, tomorrow at 9.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:41:22]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a great start. This is a holiday. Something that we all should come out and celebrate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: It's a holiday weekend in the United States. Around the country, people have spent Friday and today marking the first national observance of Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. and the day in 1865 when former slaves in Galveston, Texas were finally told slaves in the U.S. were freed. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth holiday bill into law Thursday and he gave the first pen from the signing to 94-year-old Opal Lee the woman known as the grandmother of Juneteenth. She helped lead the fight to make the day a federal holiday.

CNN National Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux joins me now live in Washington. It looks like there's a lot going on there, Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: OK. It's only fitting that Juneteenth is celebrated here in Washington, D.C. at the corner of 14th and U. It has a great historical meaning. This is really where we come together, where the black community comes together to experience as a community joy, anguish, sometimes pain.

It was famously the place where thousands of people gathered after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, just spontaneously. But today is the day of joy. We've got Reginald (ph) over here. He's fixing some free burgers and hotdogs. It is all part of being a good neighbor he says. Thank you, Reggie (ph). You can hear the gogo music that is very just native music in Washington, D.C. Grew up on gogo but that is really a part of the celebration.

Earlier we were at Black Lives Matter Plaza as well. This is about black resilience. It is about black achievement and many people who I talked to, they acknowledge they say, yes, this is a symbolic day. It's a celebration. But also there is more that must be done. Take a listen, Pam.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN "YADDIYA" JOHNSON, ORGANIZER OF 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 name, Black Lives Matter Plaza, what does that really change for us? Not much. 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. Juneteenth is the same thing.

RAYGAN ROGERS: What I love about it is that it's Juneteenth. It's something that we can celebrate our freedoms, something that we used to celebrate being black and something that we used to embrace ourselves and embrace our culture and that's why we've chosen double dash (ph) to just have fun and choose joy no matter what.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: And many people, Pam, who I spoke to say that, yes, it's a celebration. It is about being free-ish that there are so many things to work on when it comes to voting rights as well as housing and discrimination and police brutality. They also say to choose joy, that is something that some of the younger people are emphasizing. I had a chance just recently, Pam, to talk to a civil rights icon, Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson, Xernona Clayton and they all emphasize the same thing that this is a time to be hopeful. As challenging as it is, this is symbolic gesture, it is an important gesture, an important recognition, but then you must continue the conversation after this historic occasion, after this day so that more progress can be made and that it is something that involves everybody, Pam.

BROWN: Absolutely. Great point there. Suzanne Malveaux in Washington today.

[18:45:01]

Thank you so much for bringing us the latest there and how folks there are commemorating this important day.

Up next, as the investigation closes in on Trump's long serving CFO, new questions rise over what that means for the former president himself.

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[18:49:44]

BROWN: A Trump executive could face criminal charges as early as the summer. This is according to a report in The New York Times. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is wrapping up its investigation into Trump's taxes, which could lead to the indictment of Trump's long-serving Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg.

[18:50:02]

If indicted, legal experts say that Mr. Weisselberg would be under intense pressure to cooperate with prosecutors, potentially turning the trusted executive into a star witness against the former president. Joining me now is former Federal Prosecutor and CNN Legal Analyst Shan

Wu. Great to see you, Shan. So help us understand what the significance of this is?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think the big question in everybody's mind is though why hasn't Weisselberg already flipped. And there's been so much reporting on it and there's every indication that they are moving closer to charges. And that's because of one, the length of the investigation. And two, it seems to be ramping up, not downwards at this point.

Why hasn't he flipped? Well, probably he's holding out for the best deal possible. As you already said, he could be a real star witness. This is a very small family organization. From the reporting we've seen a lot of times it's just him and former President Trump in the room working on finances together, so he could be really critical.

There's a lot of pressure on him, even without the indictment, family members may be involved and so there is a lot of pressure on him to cut a deal, not only for himself, but for his family. But we don't really know what's going on behind the scenes right now.

BROWN: We don't know, but there is this reporting that there could be some action soon if he is indicted, do you think that it is more likely he will turn on the former president?

WU: I think that makes it more likely, the stakes get much bigger once he's indicted. But I think his lawyers will already be involved in very serious in depth conversations right now. I don't know that all that much would change with the indictment. I mean, it's a game of chicken at this point. Are they really going to indictment me? That would be a foolish gamble on his part.

The earlier he cuts the deal, usually, the better it will be. They're going to want a more serious punishment if they have to go through the trouble of actually indicted him.

Now, hypothetically, maybe he won't turn. Maybe he'll resist all this and maybe he thinks he has good defenses or maybe it's really just out of loyalty. But if there's one rule on criminal defense is loyalty only takes you so far and when there's this kind of pressure, when your own family members may be at risk, most people will eventually elevate those concerns first and work to cut a deal.

BROWN: I want to pivot to disgrace movie producer Harvey Weinstein. He has been extradited to California where he's facing five additional charges of sexual assault. Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence for two rape convictions in New York. Shan, the defense has been stalling on this for a while citing Weinstein's health issues. Do you think that that tactic has finally run its course?

WU: It probably has. There's only so much they can do to fight off the extradition. It's not like he's in some other country with no extradition treaty. He's in New York going to California.

People may also wonder here why prolonging the inevitable, why does he keep up this kind of delay tactic. Well, the reason is, in defense, delay always helps the defendant. Witnesses, their memories may fade, they may become unavailable, evidence may become unavailable.

So every little bit of delay that his team can put together, the better it is. I also think they're probably holding out his best hope is for whether he can win anything on appeal. And in cases like this, sexual assaults where they used evidence of non-charged crimes, there's always some potential. You might win something on appeal if the Court of Appeals thinks that that was too prejudicial.

If he could win something on appeal, he'd be off to a fresh start in terms of his bargaining ability with the government, because this is a fight for his life or at least spend some part of his life remaining outside of prison.

BROWN: All right. Shan Wu, thanks so much for coming on this Saturday night. Great to see you.

WU: Good to see you.

BROWN: And up next, sad story paying tribute to their cherished companion, the Bidens bid farewell to their beloved German Shepherd, Champ.

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[18:58:52]

BROWN: Very sad news out of the White House, Champ, the Bidens' 13- year-old dog has died. In a statement, the President and First Lady wrote, "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 confirmed Champ who first joined the Bidens in December 2008 passed away at the first family's home in Wilmington, Delaware. CBS anchor, Norah O'Donnell, tweeted, "I'll never forget when Champ showed us what a good talker he is." Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a talker. Watch this. Hey, Champ, you want to play golf? Where's the golf club? Well, go get the gold club. Well, go get the golf club.

NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS ANCHOR: It's about the funniest thing I've ever seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Your next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.