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Interview With Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA); Nine Children And One Adult Killed In Interstate Crash In Alabama; 149 Million Americans Now Fully Vaccinated In The U.S. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired June 20, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: The best-selling book titled "The Bench" is about the special bond between a father and son as seen through a mother's eyes. The book was inspired by a poem Meghan wrote for her husband, Prince Harry, as a gift on his first Father's Day a month after their son, Archie, was born in 2019.
She was interviewed for NPR's Weekend Edition.
Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Jessica Jean, in for Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with gun violence and the epidemic plaguing our country, the numbers growing every day.
The U.S. seeing a rash of shootings during this Holiday weekend. Coast to coast, violence is soaring. We've been monitoring several shooting investigations in cities large and small, including several new mass shootings. We're now nearing 290 mass shootings for the year.
In Houston, a Deputy's apartment was ambushed overnight. That shooting leaving his wife and stepchild wounded. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is watching this escalating violence across the country. Evan, what are you seeing?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jessica, I hope viewers are really paying attention to this story because this is an important summer in this country, trying to get back to some normalcy after the pandemic, trying to move forward as a country in a lot of other ways. But we're seeing this scourge of gun violence really just being a huge part of the storyline.
Three hundred and ninety five shootings -- sounds like a lot for a summer -- it was actually the number of shootings so far we've tracked this weekend. Seven of those being mass shootings, what we call where four or more people are shot excluding the shooter. Those are huge numbers and a huge increase over previous years, more than 40 percent increase over the same numbers at the same point in 2020, and a nearly 70 percent increase over the same time in 2019.
So, just a huge rash of problems all across the country, as you mentioned. You mentioned that Houston shooting, which is still under investigation, it's a very terrifying story of a Deputy waking up to find his house being invaded, and a person in a ski mask and dressed in black with an assault rifle, his daughter -- his stepdaughter and wife end up getting shot in that. Police are investigating that one. But that's just one of the incidents that we're dealing with.
We're talking about in Dallas, we saw a number of people get shot at an event there, at a party. There were some with some fatalities there. And then also in Philadelphia, a rash of shootings all across the city that left a couple of people dead, including a father of a three-year-old who was injured in the same shooting.
The Police Commissioner in Philadelphia calling that just a terrible way to mark a holiday that all America is trying to celebrate, but it isn't just about the holidays, it is really happening all over the place all the time in America. And people really need to really start paying attention to this and focus on this as these numbers are rising and rising very, very fast -- Jessica.
DEAN: Yes, those numbers are simply staggering. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thanks so much for that update.
And with me now is Congressman Ro Khanna. He's a Democratic Representative from California, a member of the Oversight and Armed Services Committees. Congressman, Happy Father's Day to you. Thanks for making time to join us this afternoon.
We are closing in, as we just heard from Evan, on 290 mass shootings this year. And last night, another one in your state, six people shot in Oakland, one of them fatally. POLITICO was reporting today, Senate Democrats are making some moves on a slimmed down bill, as opposed to the universal background checks that passed the House.
Do you think that House Democrats would get on board with some sort of narrower bill on guns?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Jessica, first of all, Happy Father's Day to everyone celebrating today. I have been in Congress for almost five years, and since my time in Congress, we have not passed a single piece of major gun violence legislation.
Jessica, this is personal to me. I mean, a month ago in my district, there were nine people killed because of a mass shooting. We have to do something. A universal background check makes the most sense.
Obviously, we will not let the perfect be the enemy of the good and get behind something that's a compromise. But we know what needs to be done.
Your reporter just said that the violence is up. Let's take commonsense measures.
DEAN: Right. And so you would be open to something that's a little more narrow than what had originally passed the House then?
KHANNA: Yes, I think that the comprehensive universal background checks and red flag laws where commonsense is needed if the Senate gives us something that is less strong, but it's the only thing that they are capable of passing obviously. I will take a look at it and continue to work towards the solutions that we need.
The sad thing here is, we know what needs to be done and there just has not been the political will to do it even though 70 to 80 percent of the American people are behind commonsense gun reform.
DEAN: I want to talk a little bit about infrastructure for a second. The Republican and Democratic co-chairs for the Problem Solvers Caucus were on CNN's "State of the Union" this morning, and they expressed optimism for this bipartisan infrastructure proposal. It would add $761.8 billion in new infrastructure spending, that's over eight years. But they are also acknowledging that some Members of Congress aren't going to support that. Let's listen to a clip from them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-NJ): But the bottom line is, just because a couple people in the party have said they're against it -- I've spoken to a lot of people in our caucus who are strongly supportive of doing something bipartisan on infrastructure, on the physical side of infrastructure, that we can actually get done and move forward together with Democrats and Republicans.
It's what the country wants, they want us to work together. And that's -- I really, really believe that's why this is going to get over the finish line.
REP. BRIAN FITZPATRICK (R-PA): We don't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. You come to the center, you build consensus, and you move forward. There are always going to be things we disagree with, leave them on the side of the road, we can come back to that tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: So, Congressman, to you, is this something you would be supportive of? This hard -- essentially hard infrastructure $1.2 trillion plan?
KHANNA: Jessica, I'm fine trying to find bipartisan consensus, but not this plan for two reasons. First, it taxes the working class, instead of taxing the wealthy. I don't understand why we would tax the working class with a gas tax increase when people have to drive 30 to 45 minutes to their commute, instead of taxing the millionaires and billionaires that benefit the most from infrastructure. So, the tax scheme is wrong.
Secondly, it doesn't have anything significant on climate, on green infrastructure. So, that has to be part of any plan, bipartisan or not that progressives get behind.
DEAN: And I know we've heard from the Senate Budget Chair, Senator Bernie Sanders, and he also wants to see something that has climate in it as well. There's been talk about doing two different kinds of bills, kind of this hard infrastructure bill, with the idea that they would then do a reconciliation bill, which does not need bipartisan support to deal with climate and some of these other things.
Would you support that idea of kind of peeling them off into two separate things -- separate bills?
KHANNA: I'm open to doing two separate bills, but not this bill, which would make President Biden violate his pledge not to raise taxes on the working class. I'm not going to vote for something that contradicts the President's pledge, and I'm not going to vote for a bipartisan bill that is actually putting user fees on electric vehicles when we have to encourage electric vehicles.
So, the problem is that the bipartisanship, the problem is in some of the specific provisions that is in the current plan.
DEAN: I hear you, I hear you. So, it sounds like to you it's really the gas tax that is just not going to work for you. And I know, other progressives have said that, as well.
KHANNA: Yes, I don't think it's going to work for President Biden, and I don't think it's going to work for Speaker Pelosi, either. I mean, I don't think people look at what's going on in this country and say, you know, what we'd really love to do is punish people at the pumps and punish the working class in this country.
DEAN: And we -- okay, and so let's put infrastructure to the side for a second. Let's talk -- before I let you go, I want to talk about January 6th, I want to talk about where we are with a potential House investigation or a bipartisan commission.
Where do you think things stand right now? We heard from Sheila Jackson Lee, your colleague yesterday, she thinks that Leader Schumer may take another stab at it in the Senate. Do you see that happening as well? Or do you think this ultimately comes back to House Democrats?
KHANNA: I do think Leader Schumer will take another stab at it, and I think Senator Manchin has been trying to get up to 10 Republicans on board. I don't understand why this can't be bipartisan, especially considering the person most at risk during the insurrection was Vice President Pence. Those who committed violence didn't discriminate between Democrats and Republicans. They threatened both, and we should put politics aside, come together, that would be ideal.
If not, I'm confident the Speaker will formulate a Select Committee. We will get to the bottom of this. It would be ideal to create a bipartisan commission.
DEAN: And Congressman Louie Gohmert, another one of your colleagues in the House continues to push this false conspiracy theory that the F.B.I. may have been behind this insurrection, which is just not true.
But how does this refusal to accept facts by some of the Members of Congress impact the work that you all are trying to do in the House and to working with each other when you have colleagues who simply do not accept the facts of what happened that day? KHANNA: It's just mind-boggling. I wonder sometimes whether they have
family. I mean, if I went on television, and said something that ridiculous, I'd get a phone call from my wife and I'd get a phone call from my mom.
And I don't understand how these Members of Congress go out on television and are launching conspiracy theories. I mean, who believes that the F.B.I. is attacking the Capitol? And then to call themselves a party that is pro-police. That is the most anti-law enforcement, anti-police statement someone can make.
DEAN: All right, well, Congressman Ro Khanna, we'll have to leave it there.
Thanks again for making time. We appreciate it, and Happy Father's Day to you.
KHANNA: Thank you. Same to all your viewers who are celebrating.
DEAN: And now on to some breaking news, nine children and one adult have been killed following a horrific crash on Alabama Interstate.
Eight of the children who died were in a van carrying passengers from a ranch for neglected or abused school aged girls. CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us now live from Alabama. This is horrific, Martin. What are you learning from authorities?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's absolutely horrific. Jessica, we are at the Real Town High School here. This is located just a little bit north of Montgomery, Alabama. It is one, only one of the epicenters of grief out of this horrific story because there are so many that have died and so many are so very young.
Four students that attended this high school are among those that were killed. They were inside of that Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch van. They were returning from what was an annual trip that this girls' group would take. They would go to the Beach Gulf Shores.
They went down early last week and they were returning on Saturday when this horrific multi-car accident took place at I-65, south of Montgomery, 15 vehicles were involved. All told, we know that there were eight people that were in that van and we also know that those that were killed were between the ages of four and 17 there.
And then in another vehicle, there was a father, a 29-year-old man and his nine-month-old daughter who were also killed. Again, a multi vehicle accident.
At that time, you may remember, this area was being pounded by the remnants of a tropical storm that came ashore this weekend. So, the rain had been coming down in sheets and it is being looked upon now as a primary suspect in the cause of this accident.
The N.T.S.B. is sending at least 10 investigators to look into this incident to try to determine exactly what happened. Was it hydroplaning? Was it something else? But it's the horrific death toll and the number of young people.
Inside of this High School here is a gathering point. They've brought together those who are grieving, a community that is just reeling in shock. They have church leaders there. They have grief counselors there and then they just have a community that is trying to reach out.
There are people in tears. Mostly there are people who just cannot believe this news, Jessica. It is horrific and it is reaching into many areas of this small community in Central Alabama -- Jessica.
DEAN: Yes, a true tragedy. All right, Martin Savidge for us. Thanks so much for that update.
Still ahead, a deadly scene at a Pride Parade. Police searching for answers after an out of control truck hits several people and then crashed into that nursery there.
Plus, bon voyage, a major test for the cruise industry is about to begin a few hours from now. We're live with the new safety protocols.
DEAN: More than half the population in 16 states and Washington, D.C. is now fully vaccinated and more than 149 million Americans are now fully vaccinated across the U.S. That's according to the latest numbers from the C.D.C.
That all makes up a little more than 45 percent of the total population, but the U.S. will likely miss President Biden's goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults with at least one dose by the Fourth of July.
Former F.D.A. Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says missing that goal will not have a major impact, but it is time for U.S. to start thinking about the next phase of the vaccination effort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER F.D.A. COMMISSIONER: Now, we need to think about trying to push out the vaccine into community sites where people could get it delivered to them through a trusted intermediary. That's going to mean doctors' offices, schools, and places of employment.
We need to think about a different vaccine delivery strategy to get the people who are still reluctant or who still face challenges getting into those access sites. But as people contemplate going back to school and back to work in the fall, they will be seeking out vaccines. I think that's what we need to think about that 2.0 campaign and a different strategy for delivering vaccine to those who remain unvaccinated.
(END VIDEO CLIP) DEAN: In just hours, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship will set sail for a
simulated voyage with vaccinated employee volunteers, and CNNs Leyla Santiago is joining us now from the Port of Miami on Florida. Leyla, how are people feeling down there about returning to the seas?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, countdown is on. In four hours, the Freedom of the Seas will set sail from here in Port Miami, and I've got to tell you, this is a little bit different because this will be a simulated voyage, considered kind of a trial run for them to test their safety protocols. It's also a requirement from the C.D.C. if the cruise line does not want to require that 95 percent of its passengers be vaccinated.
So, a lot of excitement here, because remember, this is an industry that has been hit really hard. They pretty much have been put on pause for 15 months, and it's a big deal here in Florida because it pumps $8.5 billion into the economy and supports 154,000 jobs.
But, a little bit of a curveball just in the last 48 hours, remember in April, Governor Ron DeSantis sued the C.D.C. over its requirement and then on Friday, a Judge ruled -- a Federal Judge ruled that the C.D.C. cannot require cruise lines to follow it. So, it's new rules after July 18th.
So, the cruise line, the port, the industry as a whole right now is reviewing the 124-page decision to try to make sense of it and find out what the impact is.
In the meantime, I spoke to some of the employees who will be on this simulated voyage, all of which are vaccinated, and we talked about what was behind their decision to get on this test cruise and some of their concerns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DELILAH HERRERA, SENIOR EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: I needed to get out. I'm vaccinated. I haven't -- you know, I've been very healthy. I'm very healthy, thank God. And I just need to get out and see my friends and see my work family.
LISA CHEN, ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT OF ONBOARD REVENUE: I'm feeling very excited. Overall, I mean, a little -- just apprehensive not because of the cruise, just because I haven't packed for a trip in a long time. So, I kind of forgot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANTIAGO: I think a lot of people are learning how to travel again. I actually talked to some of them about what's the first thing they're going to do when they get on this cruise. One said cheer, another one said a different type of cheers. They want to go straight to the bar.
Now, I will let you know that Royal Caribbean is not requiring vaccinations moving forward for the future cruises they have scheduled, and the C.D.C. has approved at least eight test voyages moving forward. But again, as I mentioned that lawsuit, the ruling came down on Friday, a lot of people still keeping an eye on what that means moving forward -- Jessica.
DEAN: Yes. And I think everybody can identify with learning to travel again, remembering how to pack a suitcase.
DEAN: Leyla Santiago, thanks so much for us in Florida.
Still ahead, a celebration turns tragic. One person killed by a truck at a pride parade. We're live with the latest on the investigation there.
DEAN: More than 300 million Americans now have at least one shot of the COVID vaccine and that means businesses are getting back to work. And with the City of New York reopening, there's a new push on Wall Street to get their workers back in the office. CNN's Christine Romans has more.
BRIAN MOYNIHAN, CEO, BANK OF AMERICA: As more people get vaccinated, we keep bringing more back.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At Bank of America, one of the top banks on Wall Street, employees are already encouraged to get back to work in-person, and if they're not already at their desks this summer, the company's CEO says they'll be there by the fall.
MOYNIHAN: The view is after Labor Day, our view is all the vaccinated teammates will be back and we'll be able to operate fairly normally and we will then start to make provisions for the other teammates as we move through the fall.
ROMANS (voice over): Manhattan's financial industry is clearly in a rush to turn the page on this era of virtual work.
MATT MAYO, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND BANK ANALYST, WELLS FARGO: If you work in New York and you work in Wall Street, you're probably going back to work soon.
ROMANS (voice over): Goldman Sachs has already asked its employees to return to work this week.
At Morgan Stanley, where some New York employees are also back at their desks, the bank CEO, James Gorman said Monday, he'd be very disappointed if people aren't back in their Broadway office by Labor Day. JAMES GORMAN, CEO, MORGAN STANLEY: If you can go to a restaurant in
New York City, you can come into the office, and we want you in the office.
ROMANS (voice over): JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon has long been pushing for a return to work last month saying exclusively working from home doesn't work for young people and for those who want to hustle.
MAYO: New York-centric Wall Street banks are ripping the Band-Aid off and requiring employees to go back to work. One, for competitive reasons, because they want to win. And winning is sometimes seeing customers face-to-face.
Two would be, the culture. You create culture by having people around each other. There's creative combustion. There's spontaneous interactions. There's mentorship.
And third, there's additional safety in having people, you know, face- to-face in meetings as opposed to relying too much on remote communications, especially in a world with more cyber risk.
ROMANS (voice over): The effects are New York's economy and morale could be vast. According to a March report from the state's comptroller, the city's security industry last year employed 179,000 people.
MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: More so than almost any other industry. Wall Street is synonymous with New York City, and there is no question that this back to work push by the leaders on Wall Street delivers a huge vote of confidence in New York, a city that at one point was the epicenter of this pandemic.
ROMANS (voice over): But not everyone on Wall Street actually wants to go back to their desks.
EGAN: There's no doubt that there is a bit of a divide here. Managers do want their employees to get back. They're worried about the culture. They're worried about not collaborating. But I'm told that lower level employees are not really in any rush to get back to the office right now.
KATE LISTER, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL WORKPLACE ANALYTICS: Banking and the financial institutions have a very command and control culture. And historically, they have been the ones that have been slowest to adopt flexible workplace strategies. It may be about the culture they want to create, but I just don't know if it's going to be possible going forward.
I honestly think they've got a rude awakening coming.
DEAN: All right, our thanks to Christine Romans for that report.
Still to come this afternoon, a warning about Iran's new President, why the Israeli Prime Minister is calling him the quote, "Hang Man of Tehran," and how it could impact America's relationship with the two countries.
DEAN: An investigation is underway after a pickup truck hit two pedestrians at a Pride Parade near Fort Lauderdale, Florida killing one of them, sending another to the hospital. New video just in to CNN shows the truck plowing into a nearby plant nursery before coming to a stop.
CNN's Natasha Chen is following these developments from Florida. Natasha, what are we learning about what may have caused that crash?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, the Fort Lauderdale Police issued a new statement about 15 to 20 minutes ago. They did not use the word accident, but they did describe what happened as certainly, it is unfortunate.
This all happened on the street behind us where the parade was being set up. It was getting ready to go around 7:00 p.m., and this white pickup truck, police say was being driven by a 77-year-old man who had ailments preventing him from walking in the parade. So, he was chosen to drive this car and to lead that particular group.
And as the pickup truck was starting to move forward for the start of the parade, police say the truck suddenly accelerated and that's when witnesses saw the truck actually go across the streets plowing into the garden center behind me.
I'll step out this way, so you can see the yellow tape right there. It just plowed through that business, which was at the time closed. I think only one employee I'm told was actually there at the time.
But of course, that left two pedestrians struck in the middle of the street. We know that one of them is still in the hospital expected to survive. The other has unfortunately passed. First responders and witnesses really jumped into action right away and started performing CPR and assisting them on scene because so many members of law enforcement and local leaders, state leaders were actually here getting ready to celebrate and be part of the parade. So, many of them witnessed this as well.
CHEN: The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus has been speaking with me today through a spokesperson explaining that both the driver and the people affected on the ground are members of the Chorus, and so they are devastated, very saddened at this -- at what they call an accident here, involving members of their Chorus family -- Jessica.
DEAN: So sad. Natasha Chen for us. Thanks so much for that update.
Tonight on CNN, new details about what happened during the insurrection at the Capitol. Drew Griffin talks with those who were there, "Assault on Democracy: The Roots of Trump's Insurrection" airs tonight at nine Eastern and Pacific and here's a preview.
(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 are coming for you, Nancy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once they started banging on the door, that's all I heard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over in the Capitol.
ANNOUNCER: 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 was going to be history.
COUY GRIFFIN, OTERO COUNTY COMMISSIONER: This might sound extremely strange to a lot of your viewers but I feel like he was anointed by God.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT Donald Trump?
C. GRIFFIN: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We peacefully protested.
D. GRIFFIN: You call January 6th a peaceful protest?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my god, what is happening? I am scared. I was absolutely scared.
ANNOUNCER: CNN Special Report, "Assault on Democracy: The Roots of Trump's Insurrection" tonight at nine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: Israel's new Prime Minister says the world needs to be concerned about Iran's new President-elect calling him an extremist. CNN's Hadas Gold is following the latest. HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, Naftali Bennett spent part of
his first Cabinet meeting as Prime Minister on Sunday warning world leaders against Ebrahim Raisi, calling him the "Hang Man of Tehran," a reference to Raisi's role in a bloody crackdown on Iranian dissidents.
But although there is a new government in Israel, the position on Iran is expected to stay the same. Most Israeli mainstream politicians agree when it comes to Iran and disagree with the United States when it comes to the Iranian Nuclear Deal. Although, we can expect potentially some quieter displays of diplomacy disagreements over the Iran Nuclear Deal compared to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was famous for being very public over his disagreements with the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Naftali Bennett saying on Sunday that this is the last chance for the world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear agreement and to understand who they are doing business with. He is saying these guys are murderers, mass murderers.
So what if anything will change now that Israel has a new government and Iran has just elected a new President? Well, analysts here say that there may be a rush to try to complete the Iranian Nuclear Deal before Raisi takes over, something that the Israeli government is very much against.
On the other hand, analysts here say that electing such a hardline President who has had such belligerent rhetoric against Israel in the past, could actually serve Israeli government's interest, especially as Israel tries to mobilize the international community against Iran, essentially saying, hey, you can't negotiate. You can't trust these guys at all.
So, while there is a new government here and a new President in Iran, essentially things may just stay the same -- Jessica.
DEAN: Hadas Gold, thanks so much.
And I'd like to bring in Frank Lowenstein now. He is a former Special Envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian negotiators. He was also a Special U.S. envoy during the 2014 Gaza War.
Frank, thanks for being here. I want to start with Iran's election, a hardliner appears to have been elected, but there was a low voter turnout. What should we be reading into that, if anything?
FRANK LOWENSTEIN, FORMER SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATORS: Well, the fact that the Iranian democracy is pretty much of a sham, President -- Khamenei many has chosen -- the Supreme Leader has chosen Raisi as his designated a President there because his views are very much aligned with Raisi.
Raisi, in fact, maybe a successor to Khamenei, so I'm not sure why Iranians would really want to go vote in an election where the outcome has essentially been predetermined.
DEAN: Right. And Naftali Bennett, who has just become, of course, Israel's Prime Minister is leading a very slim majority coalition and is warning against Iran's new leader calling him an extremist as Hadas just explained, how do you think this is going to change the dynamic between Israel, Iran, and the U.S.?
LOWENSTEIN: Well, I think it won't change the dynamic very much in terms of what the rhetoric is. Bennett's position will be very similar to Netanyahu's position. I think what will change is the tools he has at his disposal to try to undermine that deal.
Netanyahu, obviously, had very close relationships in Congress. The political context was a little bit different than, and he was able to get some restrictions put in when Congress approved the deal that later turned out to be the mechanism that President Trump could use to get out of the deal.
Bennett doesn't have anywhere near that kind of leverage in the United States right now. The political dynamic has changed dramatically since then. So, I don't think there's very much he is going to be able to do to stop this. I think his rhetoric will be very tough, but his actions will be very muted, and that will be the main difference between him and Netanyahu.
DEAN: Yes, that's very interesting, and obviously, he is known for being a hardline nationalist, but that coalition is kind of very diverse, some might say, fraught in its diversity in terms of the spectrum it represents. How do you see things playing out for him and that coalition?
LOWENSTEIN: Yes, well, it'll be very, very interesting to watch. It is a historic coalition in the history of Israel. They've never had an Arab Party that has been part of the governing coalition. And now you have the United Arab List, led by Mansour Abbas is now in a coalition government with Naftali Bennett, who represents the extreme right in Israeli politics.
So you have a strange set of bedfellows there that really came together around a single objective, which was to get rid of Netanyahu. And now the challenge will become: can they govern? And there are so many disagreements, philosophically among different members of the coalition that I think over time, you'll see the strains will continue to grow.
But for right now, nobody wants to go back to elections, and I think they've had enough time to negotiate the first set of issues that they'll wrestle with that they should be able to make it for six to nine months, I would think before the pressure really starts to grow.
DEAN: Yes, it'll be interesting to see that play out. The Palestinian Authority has canceled a deal with Israel that would have seen at least a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine transferred to the West Bank and to Gaza. It is saying that it didn't conform to technical specifications that they had agreed to. Can you give us a little insight into what that's all about? LOWENSTEIN: Yes, well, the negotiations around this has been going on
for three or four months now, and it's really a shame honestly, for both sides. President Abbas did not need this mess and I'm sure Bennett and Yair Lapid did not want to get off on an off step in the first few weeks of their government in terms of the treatment of the Palestinians.
The problem, I think, was with expiring vaccines. The Israelis gave the Palestinians -- offered the Palestinians vaccines that were going to expire anywhere between two weeks and six weeks from now.
And Palestinians basically took the position that they didn't have time to vaccinate their people before the vaccines would expire. I think overarching out of this, a lot of suspicion -- all around the world, by the way, not just in the Palestinian territories about these vaccines. So, if there's any information out there that feeds that narrative that these vaccines aren't safe, I think it's very difficult to overcome that.
My guess is that they'll sort out some kind of a solution on this just because it's really in the interest of both sides and there are a lot of vaccines out there. I wouldn't be surprised to see the United States through our COVAX program step in and provide some additional vaccine capacity.
DEAN: Yes. Well, Frank Lowenstein, thanks so much for that context for that backstory. We sure do appreciate it.
LOWENSTEIN: Thanks very much. Good to be here.
DEAN: Yes. June is Pride Month, but as millions of Americans celebrate, legislators in states across the country are moving to limit transgender rights.
In an interview with CNN, the first transgender politician elected to statewide office, Danica Roem, says that's why for trans-people being politically active is crucial.
CNN's Dana Bash has more on this.
DANICA ROEM, MEMBER OF THE VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES: The first out and true transgender state legislator in American history.
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Who would have thought the first openly trans-legislator elected in America would be from an area so Southern, she represents the first major battlefield of the Civil War.
ROEM: People from northern states who will say like, oh, Virginia is not part of the South. I go, have you been to my district? Would you like to go to the Cracker Barrel that is less than a mile away from the -- BASH (voice over): Danica Roem was elected to the Virginia Legislature
in 2017 by campaigning on local issues, she became fluent in as a lifelong resident and a reporter.
ROEM: They were willing to look at me and they go, yes, we know she's trans and she'll do a great job. I never say trans but, always trans and because it's like, no, I don't hide who I am. You know, people know exactly who I am here. And, you know, if they said, yes, we know and my community sucks, go fix it.
BASH (voice over): Still, she is well aware of the power of her position.
ROEM: If you know a trans-person, you're much more likely to support our civil rights. But because there are fewer of us, it makes it a harder conversation.
I didn't have LGBTQ role models. You know, when I was a little kid because it was -- I was like, it didn't exist. I didn't know LGBTQ people -- out LGBTQ people in my life when I was a kid.
BASH (voice over): Roem was 14 years old in 1998, when Matthew Shepard was brutally killed in Wyoming because he was gay.
ROEM: I knew damn well who I was at that point and I was too scared to tell anyone. And then when you see a young gay man in Wyoming being pistol whipped, bound to a fence post, and left to die in the freezing cold. You're in the south, and you go, what's happening in Wyoming is not farfetched from what could be happening in Virginia.
Then it makes it harder to come out because you feel that your safety is going to be jeopardized, and then you will see people who actually side with you know, his killers.
BASH (voice over): That's why she sponsored a bill at the behest of a teenage constituent to do away with a controversial legal strategy that was permitted in her state. The Gay and Trans-Panic Defense justified so crimes against LGBTQ victims arguing that their sexual orientation or gender identity was to blame for the violent reaction.
ROEM: We are simply saying that a person's mere presence and existence as an LGBTQ person does not constitute a heat of passion defense that negates malice in an attack. In layman's terms. You can't just assault and kill someone just because you feel like it.
BASH (voice over): That passed in Virginia. But trans-panic laws are still on the books in most states. Roem didn't transition until she was an adult.
ROEM: I was at a point at age 28, where I did not want to go into my 30s living a lie. I had pretended to be someone else my entire life at this point. I had known who I was since I was 10 years old.
BASH (on camera): That's so awful. ROEM: It's hard. I was afraid of disappointing my mom. I was afraid of
disappointing people more than anything.
BASH (voice over): Until college, her biggest passion was her heavy metal band. She became politically active in 2004 when George W. Bush campaigned on banning gay marriage and has a plea now as legislators across the country debate limiting trans-rights.
ROEM: When you are an LGBTQ person in the United States, regardless of whether you care about politics, politics cares about you. They say this because all across the country, you are seeing in different states, bills that are coming up that are designed to either restrict your rights or here in Virginia, to protect your rights.
When you are an LGBTQ person you have to care.
DEAN: Tropical Depression Claudette is still threatening to hit the southeast with heavy rainfall and possible flash floods. The severe weather, creating dangerous conditions for drivers. Firefighters rescued a woman who was trapped after a huge oak tree fell in her car in Atlanta this morning -- look at that.
Officials say the tree just barely missed her head. She was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
CNN's Karen Maginnis is live in the Weather Center. Karen, where's the storm now?
KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Jessica, it is moving fairly rapidly. It is at tropical depression intensity, but already it has turned deadly. As we heard at the top of this newscast, 10 dead. I'll show you exactly what the weather looked like when that occurred yesterday afternoon.
Right now, latest information from the National Hurricane Center really doesn't look that impressive, but still is going to have a punch. It has 30-mile-per-hour winds, some higher gust. It is moving off towards the east northeast at just about 17 miles an hour.
There you can see, not any really defined center of circulation; however, we've got some deep convection much further to the south and in coastal sections of the Carolinas.
Now, this is what happened about 2:30 local time, just to the south of Montgomery. This is Interstate 65, that terrible crash that claimed 10 lives, nine of them children. This was in the thick of probably the worst convection associated with a tropical storm. It was then a storm, Claudette, now a tropical depression, but it looks like it is going to gain some strength over the next 12 to 24 hours maybe regain to tropical storm intensity and the move off towards the northeast headed towards the Canadian Maritime.
So, lots of people at the beaches, beautiful beaches in Wilmington and in Charleston, and in South Carolina for Myrtle Beach, also in regions around New Bern and the outer banks of North Carolina. This is where we're looking at the potential for some isolated tornadoes and some damaging winds in addition to some flooding rainfall.
This is what it looked like about 48 hours ago. Mississippi, various locations reported, more than a foot of precipitation. And yes, in the vicinity of Montgomery, and further to the south, there you can see some of the deepest convection. Those roads were very treacherous. I'm sure the visibility was very poor.
It was a typical scenario to develop for a tragedy that we heard with the 10 lives claimed there to the south of Wilmington.
All right, we still have tropical storm watches and warnings out. Most of the coast of North Carolina is under a tropical storm warning. So, be very careful. If you're at the beach, it's probably not going to be a time to go into the water. Jessica, back to you.
DEAN: All right, Karen Maginnis. Thanks so much for that update.
It is surely a very Happy Father's Day for one Minnesota family. Richard Scott William Hutchinson just celebrated his first birthday. He is recognized as the most premature baby ever born.
Richard was delivered five months before his due date weighing less than a pound. Doctors gave him a zero percent chance of survival. But look at him now, Baby Richard doing great. His parents say they can't believe how much he's grown since being allowed to leave the hospital.
We want to wish baby Richard and his whole family a very happy first Father's Day.
And before we go, we want to say Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, the wonderful dads here working on our team: Doug, Daniel, Tom, and Ed; and also my own dad, David, who taught me how to fish and even learned how to craft a ponytail with a bow for me.
Dads and their love are such a gift.
So Happy Father's Day to all of you out there celebrating. And thank you for joining me today.
I'm Jessica Dean. CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Jim Acosta.