Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Shootings Spiking Amid Fears of Violent Summer in America; Interview with Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) about the Capitol Insurrection; China Sends First Astronauts to Help Construction New Space Station; CNN Special Report Explores the Roots of Trump's Insurrection; Meghan Markle Reveals Inspiration for New Children's Book. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired June 20, 2021 - 20:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Go to right now.

And your next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.


BROWN (voice-over): Nine children and one adult killed in a 15-vehicle pileup on Alabama's Interstate 65. The massive pileup occurred as storms from Tropical Depression Claudette battered the state.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Do you believe Officer Sicknick died because of the riot?

COUY GRIFFIN, CHARGED IN CAPITOL RIOT: No. I'm not so sure that Officer Sicknick is even dead.

BROWN: True believers are still pushing lies and conspiracies about the January 6th insurrection, continuing to bitterly divide the country.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I wrote this poem for my husband about two years ago now for his first Father's Day.

BROWN: Meghan the Duchess of Sussex tells NPR how she's turned the sentimental poem to Prince Harry into a children's book.


BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM on this busy Sunday evening.

And we begin this hour the same way we did last night with America's gun violence epidemic but with a completely new set of shootings to tell you about. And that should say all you need to know about the crisis that is getting harder to ignore.

Nine states are grappling with the aftermath of mass shootings this weekend as the U.S. nears 300 incidents so far this year in which four or more people were shot excluding the shooter. And as the summer arrives, police departments and communities across the country are bracing for this cycle to keep repeating, with no help from politicians and Washington expected to come any time soon.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is tracking these stories once again for us tonight. This trend sadly continues this weekend -- Evan.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Pam. You know, a lot of us are looking forward to this summer, a chance to take our mask off, congregate again, get out there and do the things that we like to do. But there's another public health crisis. It's touching more and more lives this summer that could put dampers on that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another shot was just fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's down. He's down. He's down.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): This is becoming the sound of the summer in America. After another weekend torn apart by gun violence. Incidents from Oakland to Chicago to Minneapolis. Just this weekend, more than 30 people killed in gun violence so far, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Disturbingly, children continue to be caught in the crossfire.

In Dallas, a gunfight between party goers leaving eight people injured including a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old. And in Detroit Thursday, police still investigating a shooting that killed a 2-year-old, one of two unconnected gun violence incidents according to police on freeways in the Michigan City last week.

BRIAN CHRISTIAN, 2-YEAR-OLD SON SHOT: I don't wish this on my worst enemy.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Some victims know their shooter. Some are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mass shootings, which CNN defines as incidents where four or more people are shot excluding the shooter, are nearing 300 so far this year according to that gun violence archive. That's about 40 percent higher than this point in 2020, and 65 percent higher than this time in 2019.

Some gun reform advocates are discouraged by what they feel is a lack of action at the federal level in the wake of this uptick in violence.

CAMERON KASKY, PARKLAND SHOOTING SURVIVOR, GUN REFORM ADVOCATE: The fact that we have not seen very much substantial gun reform from the Biden administration, which is especially disappointing considering the fact that Joe and Kamala both campaigned on this, you know, people are very frustrated.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The pace of gun violence in America shows no sign of slowing down. And the summer is just getting underway.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Pam, you said at the top of the piece, it's hard to imagine another public health crisis touching these many lives and this deadly where we can't expect politicians to do something. But as you mentioned, in Washington, it's just a non-starter at this moment and people who are watching these gun violence numbers are hoping that something, somewhere will step in to slow them down -- Pam.

BROWN: Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you.

Well, it is clear, the U.S. is grappling with two public health emergencies, the coronavirus pandemic and the gun violence epidemic, and our next guest has a unique perspective on this. Dr. Joseph Sakran is a trauma surgeon and he's a shooting survivor, and is on the board of the Brady Campaign which advocates for gun control.

Doctor, thank you so much for coming on. I mean, just to hear your perspective, right, you're a survivor. You're also work in health care and you are performing surgery on people who are victims of gun violence. First of all, if you would, quickly, tell us your story of what happened.

DR. JOSEPH SAKRAN, SHOOTING SURVIVOR, GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION ADVOCATE: Yes. That's correct. And thanks so much, Pamela, for having me tonight.


You know, my story begins really as the son of immigrants born right outside our nation's Capitol, and at the age of 17, I was nearly killed after being shot in the throat with a .38 bullet. And I don't know how you were at 17 but I think most 17-year-olds have no idea what they want to do for the rest of their live. You know, even realize that they're mortal. And that incident really inspired me to go into medicine. It inspired me to become a trauma surgeon and it has me now working at this intersection of medicine, public health and public policy.

BROWN: Incredible. And so day in, day out, you're seeing these victims come in. Are you starting to see a clear impact from the ongoing surge in violence in your E.R.?

SAKRAN: Yes, so I think, you know, exactly what we're hearing from you and from Evan is absolutely accurate. We have seen an increase in the mass shootings that you've described. We're up by about 40 percent since last year and 65 percent since 2019. And I think the thing that has to be very clear is that the mass shootings are just a tip of the iceberg.

And in fact, every day in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, we have young black men that are being slaughtered on our streets. And we have a responsibility to tell those stories and to elevate what's happening every day in communities across the country and I think that, you know, networks like yourself and others have done a great job recently of really continuing to put the pressure on this public health crisis and that's what it is. BROWN: And it sounds like from what you're saying is you are seeing

more victims of shootings come into the E.R. After the stress of this pandemic, do ERs even have the bandwidth to deal with this right now?

SAKRAN: Yes, it's such a great question. I mean, as health care professionals, we are, you know, front and center of having to take care of these patients, and what we've been through over this past year to add as Evan said another public health crisis that frankly didn't start now and has been going on for quite a while is incredibly difficult.

I mean, today is Father's Day, right? And just imagine all the fathers, you know, that I've had to speak to and tell them that their child that left that morning is never coming home again. And I think about people like my friend Fred Guttenberg, who, you know, has been spearheading this Dads for Gun Safety campaign to really try to get the word out there and to make people understand that this is not some, you know, random thing that happens. This is happening every day and it's impacting the lives of communities all across America.

BROWN: And I want to hone in on that because I think some people may think, well, I live in a safer area. You know, this isn't going to happen where I am. This is something that happens in the inner city. This is what happens in, you know, over there in certain parts of Chicago. But what have you seen in the ERs where these -- where you're seeing trauma up close, you were seeing people come in who have been victims of these shootings?

SAKRAN: Yes, I mean, I think the reality is that this can happen to anyone. You know, this happens to children that access a firearm because it's not stored appropriately. This happens to people that are attending places in worship. This happens to people that are going to school to try to get educated. No one is immune, and I think we really have to as a country really step back and realize that this is not a partisan issue. This is an issue that any one of us can be affected. And it's just, you know, a matter of time as to what the next trending hashtag is.

BROWN: You know, we talk so much about the victims and there have been far too many people who have died from this but we don't talk enough about survivors. As (INAUDIBLE) wounded like yourself, you're saying your vocal cord is impacted.


BROWN: Because of what you went through. As a trauma surgeon, talk to us about the impact that you've seen these shootings have on the body especially given some of the high-powered weapons being used.

SAKRAN: Yes. So, you know, in my own cases, you articulated I have a paralyzed vocal cord and everyone, when you think about the focus that happens, people often focus on death. But the reality is for every death, you have about two or three people that have these non-fatal injuries and the injuries can be devastating where sometimes people are on life support, you know, a ventilator for the rest of their life because they're paralyzed or maybe they have, you know, other thing (INAUDIBLE) that don't allow them to reintegrate and to be functional members of society.

If a human toll is not enough, there is an economic cost to all this and we have seen, you know, this day in and day out. You know, being at a level one trauma center where we're taking care of, you know, patients in our surrounding community and it's absolutely devastating. You know, devastating to have to walk into those waiting rooms and to explain to a mother that her child is simply not coming home.


And I often think about, you know, my own family, what they must have thought of as that, you know, surgeon walked in to talk to them. I happen to be one of the lucky ones but the reality is there are plenty of people that are not, and the best medical treatment, you know, despite how good we are is prevention.

BROWN: Take us behind the scenes a little bit more, if you would, to the extent that you can. Of most of the cases that have come into the E.R., are they mostly victims of shootings? When they say, you know, clear the way, we have someone coming in, is your first thought normally this is probably going to be a shooting victim?

SAKRAN: Well, as a trauma surgeon, being at a level one trauma center, we get a notification of what's coming in. And we respond to these critically injured patients. So not all of them are shootings. You know, of course, in Baltimore, we see a lot of shootings but that's not the only thing that we see.

BROWN: There is so much more to discuss on this, and Dr. Sakran, I hope that you will continue to come on the show to offer your just interesting perspective. Again, a survivor of a shooting and a trauma surgeon who sees these shooting victims all the time. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

SAKRAN: Yes. Yes, thanks so much for having me.

BROWN: Well, CNN is learning tonight that a volunteer for a New York City mayoral candidate's campaign was stabbed multiple times. Eric Adams' campaign telling CNN tonight that the 42-year-old volunteer is thankfully stable now after undergoing surgery. Adams is asking for anyone with information on the stabbing to contact police.

Just earlier this evening he joined local elected leaders to speak out against gun violence across New York City.

And still so much to tell you this evening including this.

A giant leap for China's bold space program as three astronauts arrived at their rapidly expanding space station. Also tonight an Atlanta driver cheating death after a tree smashes her car only narrowly missing her head. And the Duchess of Sussex gets real about race as she reveals what inspired her new children's book.

But first, I want to know what the vice chair of the House Homeland Committee thinks about Republicans trying to whitewash what really happened on January 6th. Democratic Representative Ritchie Torres joins me live up next.



BROWN: The Justice Department this week released new videos from the January 6th Capitol assault. And I want to show you these raw moments because right now Americans are witnessing an attempt by some on the far-right to whitewash the events of that day. These videos contain violence and profanity but it's crucial to get the full scope of what happened on that day.

Here you see an insurrectionist stalking, screaming out and punching a law enforcement officer right outside of the Capitol building, and then there is this scene. A wave of insurrectionists pushing their way through a tunnel literally crashing the officers' line of defense.

Democratic Congressman Ritchie Torres of New York joins me now. He is the vice chair of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Great to have you on, Congressman Torres. You just watched those brand-new videos of those violent insurrectionists and meanwhile there is an alternative universe. There's Senator Ron Johnson who said this about the insurrection just last week.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): We've seen plenty of video of people in the Capitol and they weren't rioting. They don't -- it doesn't look like an armed insurrection when you have people that breach the Capitol, and I don't condone it, but they're staying within the rope lines in the rotunda. That's not what an armed insurrection would look like.


BROWN: And by the way, another rioter was just charged with having a gun on the grounds there. But what is your reaction, Congressman Torres, to that?

REP. RITCHIE TORRES (D-NY): Well, I'm wondering what planet the senator lives on. The insurrection against the United States Capitol was a frontal assault on the peaceful transfer of power on the electoral college vote count, and if we're not willing to investigate an abuse against the peaceful transfer of power, then why are we here?

As elected officials we took an oath to defend the United States Constitution, to defend the peaceful transfer of power, and any Republican who refuses to investigate the events surrounding January 6th is fundamentally unworthy of public office.

BROWN: Then there's the FOX News host Tucker Carlson who is spouting off completely baseless conspiracy theories about the FBI being involved in the insurrection. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Strangely, some of the key people who participated on January 6th have not been charged. The government calls those people unindicted co-conspirators. What does that mean? Well, it means that in potentially every single case they were FBI operatives.


BROWN: Do these kinds of continued lies and conspiracy theories increase concern for your personal safety?

TORRES: Look, I fear for the country. Words and ideas and lies have consequences, have the power to incite violence, and if the lies of Donald Trump continue to dominate the Republican Party, then I do fear that the history of insurrection will repeat itself.

BROWN: A few weeks ago, the Senate sergeant at arms told me exclusively that she's going -- she's asking these Capitol police officers to, quote, "hang in there" while a leadership overhaul is underway. Amid all of this, 21 of your House Republican colleagues just voted against legislation that will award the Congressional Gold Medal to officers who defended the Capitol on January 6th.


What message does that send to those officers who still show up to protect those lawmakers?

TORRES: It is deeply demoralizing to the Capitol police and it demonstrates that the Republican Party is rotting from within. You know, I find it shameful that an absolute loyalty to Donald Trump, an absolute acceptance of the lies that he tells about the 2020 election, has become a litmus test within the Republican Party. It seems to me, if you're a Republican candidate, in order for you to have a future in Republican politics, you have to essentially accept Donald Trump as your lord and savior, you have to accept his lies as gospel. And anyone who resists is burned at the stake for heresy.

We've seen Lynn (sic) Cheney removed from leadership. We've seen the Republicans who had the courage to impeach Donald Trump, those Republicans are facing an existential primary challenge. And so what we're witnessing is the transformation of the Republican Party into a cult of personality.

BROWN: I want to ask you about what's going on within the Democratic Party, and Joe Manchin, Senator Joe Manchin, your Democratic colleague in the other chamber. You told New York One, quote, "We no longer live in a democracy. We live in a tyranny of Joe Manchin. It's one thing to pursue bipartisanship out of necessity but to pursue bipartisanship for its own sake strikes me as silly."

Joe Manchin is representing his constituents in West Virginia and generally they're not as progressive as most Democrats. So when you have these nuances within your own party, why is it silly to think that bipartisanship should only be pursued when it's necessary? TORRES: So there is nothing that has made our democracy more

ungovernable than the filibuster. You know, properly functioning democracy, policies that have the support of the American people, that have the support of the president and legislative majorities in the House and the Senate. Those policies would become law, and we do not live in anything resembling a functioning democracy.

We live under the tyranny of the filibuster. The filibuster has made the Senate a graveyard for police reform, gun safety, LGBTQ equality, democracy reform, voting rights enforcement. You name any cause it has died at the hands of the filibuster.

BROWN: I want to just ask you because Manchin came forward this past week to put forward his own compromise, the For the People Act, the Voting Rights Act. Did you see that as a good faith gesture? What is your reaction to that?

TORRES: I commend Senator Manchin for putting forward an alternative at a good faith attempt to bipartisanship, but his good faith attempt at bipartisanship was met with bad faith on the Republican Party. Mitch McConnell instantaneously came out against it. So it seems to me the relationship between Senator Manchin and Senate Republicans is one of unrequited love.

BROWN: All right. Congressman Ritchie Torres, thank you so much for coming on the show and taking time out of your Sunday evening for us.

TORRES: Always a pleasure. Take care.

BROWN: Up next, three astronauts blast off for the heavenly palace space station. What China's bold plans mean in the race for superiority in space.




MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Make no mistake about it. We're in a space race today. Just as we were in the 1960s. And the stakes are even higher.


BROWN: So that was former vice president Mike Pence back in 2019 predicting the accelerating space race with China which entered a new phase this week.

CNN's David Culver has the story from Shanghai.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three astronauts bound for the Heavenly Palace. That's China's space station still under construction. From a launch pad in the Gobi Desert the rocket ship dubbed the "Divine Vessel" blasting off, designed to arrive at its destination in just six and a half hours. But at a total length of 55 feet and a living space of just 50 cubic meters, these astronauts are going into orbit in a capsule a bit larger than a city bus.

Any claustrophobic thought surely forgotten when the men do two- planned space walks to install equipment on the exterior of this space station. Inside they'll test the tech and the living area and run experiments. Two more laboratory modules expected to be launched in upcoming missions with the aims to have its space station fully operational by the end of next year.

China wants its own because the U.S. government barred it from participating in the International Space Station project. China says their Heavenly Palace will be truly international.

ZHOU JIANPING, CHIEF DESIGNER, CHINA'S MANNED SPACE PROGRAM (through translator): Foreign astronauts are certainly going to enter the Chinese space station one day. There are a number of countries that have expressed a desire to do that and we will be open to that in the future.

CULVER: In just the past seven months China has put a rover on the moon and one on Mars becoming the second country in history after the U.S. to land a rover on the red plant. They also plan to send humans to the moon in the 2030s. But for now these three men will spend three months building the foundation of the space station.

NIE HAISHENG, COMMANDER, SHENZHOU-12 SPACEFLIGHT (through translator): We will obey orders and the instructions and to keep calm while meticulously carrying out the mission.

CULVER: Cheese experts likewise confident in this mission and its safe return to earth as the vessel carries precious cargo along with the pride of a nation rapidly advancing its work in this new frontier.

David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.



BROWN: And joining me now is CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien.

Great to see you, Miles. So China needs a PR win after one of their rockets crashed back to earth back in early May. What do they want to achieve here beyond that PR win?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, nothing less than supremacy in space seems to be their goal, Pamela. They've had a long steady methodical approach to space, culminating with what we just heard just a moment ago.

Taikonauts on board a Chinese space station, you know, they were excluded from the International Space Station which was primarily a partnership between the U.S. and Russia as well as Europe, Japan and Canada. By law in Congress NASA was not allowed to negotiate or do business with the Chinese, and so they set off to do it on their own. They have spent the money, made the investments, and there they are.

BROWN: I guess it's no surprise given that they were excluded but what is China's end game beyond the construction of a space station? What else do they need to do to reach that goal?

O'BRIEN: Well, of course, that idea of going to the moon is persistent, and of course, beyond that footprints on Mars would be quite an accomplishment but, you know, China is interestingly seeking a partnership and is pursuing a partnership with Russia to build an encampment on the south pole of the moon and to go and explore an asteroid.

It's an interesting shift in the balance of space partnerships given that the U.S. and Russia have partnered down the International Space Station since it began its operation more than 20 years ago. But that partnership is fading as the politics, geopolitics has changed, and now it appears that the Russia and China have much to give each other as they move forward in space.

BROWN: So here is what former astronaut Pamela Melroy who is now the nominee for NASA deputy administrator thinks about China's space program. Let's listen to what she said.


PAMELA MELROY, DEPUTY NASA ADMINISTRATOR: China has made their goals very clear to take away space superiority from the United States. So we are right to be concerned. When you add the other concerns of intellectual property theft and aggressive behavior in space.


BROWN: So help us understand how big of a concern that is and this concern that Russia might pull out of the ISS and partner with China on projects like a lunar research station.

O'BRIEN: Yes. I mean, that's -- it's -- you know, it seems to be that the prospects of continued partnership between the United States and Russia, beyond the International Space Station are unlikely. The U.S. is taking a much more unilateral approach. That partnership was born right after the fall of the Soviet empire and there was some concern that the Russian rocket scientists would sell their wares to the likes of North Korea and Iran, and so part of the idea was to keep them in business.

Well, over time U.S. has taken a more unilateral approach and certainly now with SpaceX in the mix routinely providing access to space for U.S. astronauts, the Russians no longer are able to sell seats on their Russian Soyuz. So they have turned to each other, Russia and China. They each kind of are providing services or benefits to each other. So space is shifting. It does appear to be another race, but the U.S. superiority in space is so far beyond anyone else at this point, even China as it ascends, and maybe this will be a wakeup call to continue those budgets which are still pretty healthy for U.S. space.

BROWN: All right. Miles O'Brien, thanks for helping us understand what's going on up there in space. Appreciate it.

O'BRIEN: You're welcome.

BROWN: And we're just about 30 minutes away from CNN's newest documentary that you will not want to miss. "ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY: THE ROOTS OF TRUMP'S INSURRECTION." Our Drew Griffin spent months piecing together January 6th by speaking to people who are actually there that day. And he joins me up next.



BROWN: With each new bit of information we learned about January 6th, we get closer to answering one important question. Was it an aberration or are we facing new and bigger problems in its aftermath?

In a brand-new special airing in just a few minutes, CNN investigative reporter Drew Griffin has gone beyond the headlines getting to the roots of why the insurrection happened and how President Trump's stolen election rhetoric played a role. Have a listen.


JOSH PRUITT, PROUD BOY: How are certain states red and then at 4:00 in the morning all of a sudden become blue?

D. GRIFFIN (on-camera): It's called counting the votes, though.

PRUITT: No, it's not. It's called cheating.

D. GRIFFIN (voice-over): As the election hung in the balance for days, viral videos and fraudulent news stories painted pictures of wide spread fraud. It was all a lie.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: In Georgia, look at this new surveillance footage we'll be showing you. Mysterious suitcases potentially filled, we believe, with ballots, well, rolled out from under a table.

C. GRIFFIN: I saw videos where there were suitcases of ballots that were being produced that were all for Joe Biden.

D. GRIFFIN: The mysterious Georgia suitcases that Couy Griffin saw were actually bins of legitimate ballots, election workers doing their job. Like other viral videos, there was no fraud, it didn't matter.

C. GRIFFIN: Are you saying that you don't think that there was any fraud at all in this last election?


D. GRIFFIN (on-camera): I'm saying that all 50 secretaries of state who are in charge of elections, Republicans and Democrats, found no wide spread fraud that could have tilted this election in any way. So I'm just wondering where is the fraud?

C. GRIFFIN: Whenever you have the president of the United States making those statements.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: This was a massive fraud.

C. GRIFFIN: Senator Ted Cruz making those statements, as well.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): And we've seen in the last two months unprecedented allegations of voter fraud.

C. GRIFFIN: They hear a lot more. They're on upper-level intelligence briefings. Whenever you have those high ups saying that yes, there is cheating, what do you do, you know?


BROWN: Wow. That just shows you the power that our elected leaders have and how much they damaged democracy and how horrible it is for Americans when they lie. You know, when you hear what he just said, it makes you realize that, right? It just puts it all into perspective.

What else did you learn about, you know, the influence of members of Congress and the president when it comes to the insurrection, Drew?

D. GRIFFIN: That it continues, Pamela. This deliberate lying, this deliberate misinformation being that's handed out whether it's for ratings or for profit, or in many cases for these political politicians they're actually putting their political futures, their political power ahead of the country. It is unpatriotic what they're doing, and it leads to consequences when you have groups radicalized, listening to this and then act on it.

One of the groups is the Oath Keepers. And we focused on one member of that group. His name is Donovan Crowl.


D. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Oath Keeper Donovan Crowl is facing some of the most serious criminal charges in the Capitol breach.

DONOVAN CROWL, OATH KEEPER: Took over the Capitol. Overran the Capitol.

D. GRIFFIN: We found him in Ohio where he's awaiting trial.

(On-camera): I'm with CNN.

CROWL: Excuse me?

D. GRIFFIN: I'm with CNN, Mr. Crowl. Drew Griffin.

CROWL: Thanks, man, I'm good. How is your day?

D. GRIFFIN: I've been talking to your mom and your sister. They mentioned you might want to say something to us about --

CROWL: About what?

D. GRIFFIN: About your case and whether or not you feel bad about it.

CROWL: I feel bad about my case?

D. GRIFFIN: Feel bad about what you did?

CROWL: Well, actually, the things I did I was hanging out with some of the wrong people it seems like but I didn't really do anything so I feel pretty good that my case will come out and show that.

D. GRIFFIN: Do you feel like you were manipulated into going to the Capitol?

CROWL: No, no, I really got nothing to say to you. I don't watch your garbage, anyway.

JOANN ROWE, DONOVAN CROWL'S MOTHER: I love the person that he used to be but I despise the person that he is now. He's not my son. And I still have a hard time believing that he did what he did. If he gets 20 years in prison, he'll be 70 years old before he gets out of there. Trump doesn't care about any of those people that stormed the Capitol for him. He doesn't care one iota about them. He hasn't even mentioned them since he's been out of the White House.


D. GRIFFIN: That's Donovan Crowl's mother. She is recovering from leukemia. But you can see, Pamela, how this disinformation, these lies, these deliberate lies have torn apart families and people like Donovan Crowl are facing very, very serious charges that could lead to prison time. And like JoAnne Rowe said, for what? For a president who has not mentioned anything about him since he's left office.

BROWN: It's just so sad to see the impact on the families and you also talk to some of the people who were inside the Capitol. What did they say about their motivations?

D. GRIFFIN: Well, they believe that they were and are and continue to be patriotic Americans who stormed the U.S. Capitol. They believe they are supporters of police departments nationwide even though they attack the police, so they live in this kind of conspiracy driven neverland that really does not make sense when you sit down and talk to them. It makes it very confusing to determine just what exactly they do believe because the story changes so many times.

BROWN: It's interesting, though, because we know part of the narrative that the president has pushed on others is CNN and all the horrible things that he has said about CNN, what was it like for you personally talking to some of these followers of President Trump who may have had this view?

D. GRIFFIN: Well, of course, they hate CNN. They think that we lie but we were able to have long discussions with these people and try to really get to know where their information came from, and really, you can just trace it all back to a few roots.

[20:45:03] Facebook, conspiracy-type social media driven by Alex Jones, many of them lifelong listeners of Rush Limbaugh, and of course, they loved Donald Trump and believed everything he said was true. And whatever anybody else presents to then in terms of fact, it just doesn't matter.

BROWN: All right. Drew Griffin, thank you so much.

And be sure to tune in to Drew's documentary, "ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY: THE ROOTS OF TRUMP'S INSURRECTION." That airs in just about 15 minutes from now. So you're going to want to stick around for that.

But in the meantime, when we come back, Meghan Duchess of Sussex explains what inspired her new children's book.



BROWN: Well, many families are celebrating Father's Day today and in a new interview, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is marking the occasion by talking about her new children's book which started as a gift to Prince Harry on his first Father's Day.

CNN's Max Foster has more.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Pam, the book was inspired by Prince Harry and son Archie, and it features a diverse range of fathers and sons. The Duchess told NPR it's about representation.


MARKLE: Growing up, I remember so much how it felt to not see yourself represented, or see your family or see that kind of diversity or a mixed-race relationship or whatever it could be, so any child or any family hopefully can open this book and see themselves in it, whether that means glasses or freckled or different body shape or different ethnicity or religion, to really just feel like this story that I wrote for my husband and son could really be your story also.


FOSTER: The book actually emerged from a poem that Meghan wrote for Harry for his first Father's Day. And if you look closely at the illustrations, you'll see a reference to his mother Princess Diana in there as well. Meghan told NPR, "I think you can find sweet little moments that we tucked in there, from my favorite flower, even my husband's mom's favorite flower, forget-me-nots.

The interview was recorded before the couple had their daughter Lilibet. They're actually still away on parental leave -- Pam.

BROWN: All right, Max Foster, thanks so much.

Karen Harris, if you're out there, if you're watching it, well, I hope you're watching because here's a story that we promised you last night. A stray dog in Kansas City went from what is it to can we keep it? And all thanks to a much-needed trim.

CNN Jeanne Moos has the story.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine a guy headed for work in the morning, walks out to his driveway and sees this.

TORI FUGATE, KC PET PROJECT CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER: And stops to first of all try to figure out what kind of animal it was, they couldn't really tell.

MOOS: They contacted the KC Pet Project in Kansas City, Missouri, which determined there was an 11-year-old Shih Tzu underneath that mess of hair.

FUGATE: So he was 20 pounds and could barely walk.

MOOS: For the next two hours while he was sedated, two veterinary staffers gave him the mother of all shaves.

FUGATE: It was about 6.5 pounds of hair. I mean, just instant relief that he felt to be able to get all of that hair off.

MOOS: They named the hairless wonder Simon and posted before and after photos and videos. Despite the yuck factor.

FUGATE: Not going to lie, all of those mats were quite stinky.

MOOS: Simon became an internet star. "Now that's one of the best good boys I ever did see." Simon was found near a wooded area. The shelter folks don't know if he got away from his owner or was abandoned and was living on his own for the months it took to grow all that hair. They say his skin is in decent shape but he needs dental surgery.

FUGATE: He's actually almost learning how to walk again, too, because you can tell that he's just been so weighed down for so long.

MOOS: The shelter is getting plenty of offers to adopt Simon. People seem especially smitten with his tongue even when he was a barely unidentifiable mess.

FUGATE: The finder said when he stuck his tongue out, that's when they could tell that it was a dog.

MOOS: Did he just stick out his tongue on queue? No wonder folks are panting to adopt him.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BROWN: I just love that story. Well, this was a truly miraculous escape for an Atlanta driver after a massive tree crushes her car with her inside. More when we come back.



BROWN: Talk about a lucky break. Look at this unbelievable video after a storm in Georgia, a woman was rescued after a huge oak tree and power lines crushed her car. She was driving early this morning when the tree fell and then trapped her inside. According to CNN affiliate WSB rescuers were able to pull the driver out safely and bring her to a local hospital. They say the tree barely missed her head. Luckily, she only sustained a few minor injuries.

And we want to end this Father's Day show by paying tribute to dads. Specifically ours here on the team. Some of us were lucky enough to get a post COVID hug after a long stretch of separation but even when you're not around, dads, we see you in ourselves literally and in the moments when we surprise ourselves by doing something just the way you would and those things remind us always that you're our number one fans. Our cheerleaders, our play by play, our critics, our coaches and man, we sure do love you for it.

I can say for my dad, he watches every single time I'm on and he even records the shows so he can go back and watch and then give me his feedback. Happy Father's Day to my own Daddy-O who I like to fondly call that nickname.

Thanks so much for joining me this evening. I'm Pamela Brown, and I'll see you again next weekend. Have a great night.