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Rescuers Respond to Partial Building Collapse Near Miami; Bipartisan Group Reaches Deal on Infrastructure Plan; Biden Targets Gun Violence as Homicides Spike; Britney Spears Asks Court to Ende Abusive Conservatorship; Threat of Storms and Flooding Across U.S. Midwest; Emails Reveal Biden Camp's Frustration with Facebook; Newly- Released Videos Show Rioter Attacking Police. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 24, 2021 - 04:00   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin this hour with breaking news from Surfside, Florida, where dozens of rescue crews are responding to a partial building collapse. Miami-Dade fire and rescue says more than 80 units including technical rescue team are on the scene. Now we don't have any information yet on injuries or the cause of the collapse. We are working to bring you more information. Again, more than 80 fire and rescue units are on the scene of a partial building collapse in Surfside, Florida.

Now to Washington where a bipartisan U.S. infrastructure deal is a big step closer to reality.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Republicans and Democrats have come together along with the White House and we've agreed on a framework. And we're going to be heading to the White House tomorrow.


BRUNHUBER: That's Republican Senator Mitt Romney on Wednesday evening. As he said, it's just a framework, details of the plan haven't yet been written and it's still yet to be seen whether enough progressive Democrats and skeptical Republicans will ultimately back what's on the table. But it's progress and a sign that President Biden's patience for a compromise could pay off. CNN's Ryan Nobles tells us what we can expect later today.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This could be a very big breakthrough on Capitol Hill. A bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic Senators saying that they've hatched a deal at least the basic framework of a bipartisan infrastructure deal that could have enough votes to pass the United States Senate.

Now in addition to that major breakthrough by that group of Senators, the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer met separately with a group of White House officials to talk about the reconciliation package. That would be a separate budget item that would be under the banner of infrastructure that wouldn't need any Republican support if it were to make its way through the Congress. And Schumer and Pelosi emerged after that meeting very hopeful and optimistic about the prospects. Saying that it is possible that bipartisan package could be passed but only if the reconciliation package comes at the same time.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: One can't be done without the other. We would both agree with that. You can't get the bipartisan bill done unless we're sure of getting the reconciliation bill done. If we can't get the budget reconciliation bill done unless we're sure of the bipartisan. And I think our members, you know, across the spectrum realize that.

NOBLES: Now Senator Schumer made it sound easy, but it is anything but. It is setting the stage for a very hectic July where the Congress is going to have to deal with both this bipartisan package and the massive reconciliation package at the same time. That means going through all the committee structure and get all of these dispirited groups of different factions in the House and Senate on board to pass both packages before the August recess. But it's also a necessity.

There are too many different interests involved in this. Progressives saying that they won't support the bipartisan package without the reconciliation package and of course there will be no Republican support unless this bipartisan package can make it through in some way, shape or form.

So a lot of optimism on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night. This group of Senators will go to the White House on Thursday to pitch this plan to President Biden to see if they can get him on board. And then we'll see if they can pull it off in the month of July.

Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.


BRUNHUBER: Meanwhile the White House is moving ahead with plans to deal with a nationwide surge in violent crime. Chicago has had the most homicides of any major city in the country and the upward trend is clear in cities across the U.S. There have been at least 293 mass shootings so far, a 40 percent increase from this time last year. President Biden warns it could get even worse.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Crime is historically rises during the summer. And as we emerge from this pandemic, the country opening back up again, traditional summer spike may be more pronounced than it usually would be.


BRUNHUBER: President Biden promises to target illegal gun dealers and increase funding and support for law enforcement. Kaitlan Collins has details on this crime prevention plan.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The recent surge in violent crime in the United States in several major cities is now clearly becoming an issue that the White House feels they need to be out in front of. And so, that is why you saw President Biden on Wednesday meeting with the Attorney General and mayors of several major cities at the White House having a round table before coming out to address the ways that he believes that they need to address that violence and what to do about it.


And really he is viewing it through the lens of gun violence. Saying that he believes that if they tighten gun regulations and essentially crackdown on dealers. So he was alleging are knowingly selling guns to people they know should not be firing them. Maybe not making them take background checks. That of course is required by the law. He was saying they are going to go after those gun dealers, those dealers with those licenses, using the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to go after their licenses.

But he said he's not just doing that, he also is allowing states and cities to use some of this COVID-19 relief funds from that bill that he signed into law earlier this year to staff up their police departments, to pay officers overtime, to create these community based initiatives that they think is going to actually help stem this violence.

But I think the most telling thing from President Biden's remarks was not just saying that he is not viewing this through a partisan lens, saying it's not a Republican and Democrat issue, it's an American issue, seeing this violent uptick in crime. But also he was saying that maybe the worse is yet to come because often crime does go up in the summer months. And he was saying it could even more so this summer, it could spike even more so given all of the lockdowns from the pandemic are now starting to lift and people are starting to reemerge into society in the way that they were before. So essentially he is forecasting a long road ahead, so was his FBI director when he was testifying on Capitol Hill earlier today.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


BRUNHUBER: The police chiefs in two of the cities dealing with a crime surge say prevention is a complex challenge but the president's plan will help.


MICHAEL HARRISON, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND POLICE CHIEF: There are a number of dynamics at play. You have people without jobs, you have education, addiction, the whole drug market that's fueling the violence, retaliatory acts. But then we're also a spike in domestic violence and close acquaintance shootings and killings that have all to do with conflict resolution or the lack there of conflict resolution skills. And so we're working with a number of dynamics. If something doesn't happen quickly, we're going to see even more violence.

LERONNE ARMSTRONG, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA POLICE CHIEF: I think today was a tremendous step forward. The idea that funding would be available to support additional officers, funding to support violence prevention work because I think that that is key. That it's not just about enforcement, that it's about violence intervention. And then when he spoke about additional resources to support our efforts to reduce guns coming into our community, particularly ghost guns, the additional staffing to our strike forces from the ATF, will be really helpful in the city of Oakland.

HARRISON: I think today's announcement gives us the ability to move forward. It enhances our ability to have programmatic solutions, in addition to enforcement, to once again, help people have a life away from violent crime. Along with the enforcement for those who are perpetrating and terrorizing our streets. It helps us, number one, solve crimes and slow down the stem of guns coming into our city and focusing on the violent repeat offenders who are pulling the trigger.


BRUNHUBER: And those were the police chiefs of Oakland, California and Baltimore, Maryland speaking with CNN earlier.

Britney Spears isn't holding back as she breaks her silence over the ongoing court battle to regain control of much of her life. She pleaded with the judge to end her father's legal control over finances and personal affairs. Saying she feels quote, traumatized. CNN's Stephanie Elam has more on the bombshell testimony.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Britney Spears is angry. She wants her life back, and she wants the world to know it. Speaking remotely to a Los Angeles County courtroom, the pop singer saying her wish and dream is for the conservatorship to end, a legal arrangement she's been living with for nearly 13 years.

In the status hearing, Spears expressing frustration over the lack of control of her own life, saying, quote, "I'm traumatized. I'm not happy. I can't sleep. I'm so angry, it's insane," even adding she wants to marry and have another child, both major life moments she says the current conservatorship doesn't allow.

Her father's only response to the artist's stinging criticisms was that he loves and misses her.

The trouble for Britney Spears began in 2007. Her girl-next-door image unraveling in front of the paparazzi, who were always chasing her, capturing her every mood, especially the uncomfortable moments in the singer's personal life. The following year, multiple health and psychiatric issues landed Spears in the hospital in January. Her father, Jamie Spears, filed a petition with the Los Angeles County superior court that February, to place her under temporary probate conservatorship. Jamie Spears and attorney Andrew Wallet becoming permanent coconspirators of Britney's estimated $60 million estate in October 2008. Her father getting control of her medical care.


Something Spears spoke emotionally about, saying, quote, "I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told I can't get married. I have an IUD inside me, but this so-called team won't let me go to the doctor to remove it, because they don't want me to have any more children. This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good."

LISA MACCARLEY, CONSERVATORSHIP ATTORNEY: Usually, most conservatorships in probate court are for the elderly. People that have exhibited memory deficits or judgment deficits that are pervasive and most likely going to endure for the rest of their lives.

ELAM (voice-over): But through all this, Britney Spears kept working. While under this conservatorship, releasing several albums, two that went platinum.


ELAM (voice-over): Holding down her "Pieces of Me" Las Vegas residency, reportedly earning her $30 million, and serving as a judge on "The X Factor."

Attorney Andrew Wallet resigned in the spring of 2019, leaving Spears' father in control of just about every aspect of Britney's life. But last summer, Britney pushed back. In legal documents, her court- appointed lawyer stating Britney is, quote, strongly opposed to having her father as conservator and requested that Jamie be removed.

Instead, a judge in November added Bessemer Trust, a private wealth and investment management firm, as a co-conservator to oversee her estate. Now Spears wants to pick her own lawyer and, as she said in court, quote, "I just want my life back."

ELAM: As this was just a status hearing, up next will be a new court date that will be set where Britney Spears will likely petition the court to end the conservatorship.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.


BRUNHUBER: And many celebrities are taking to social media to show their support of Britney Spears. Mariah Carey tweeted, quote, we love you Britney, stay strong. And Justin Timberlake tweeted, we should all be supporting Britney at this time Regardless of our past, what's happening to her is not right. No woman should be restricted from making decisions about her own body.

Timberlake and Spears, of course, shared a long history together. They were in a highly publicized relationship in the late '90s/early 2000s.

California's governor is headed for a recall election. That became official Wednesday after just 43 people out of more than 1.7 million removed their signatures from petitions to recall Gavin Newsom, and that is too few to cancel the vote which hasn't yet been scheduled. Newsom is the second sitting governor in state history to face a recall election. The move was fueled by critics angry over COVID-19 restrictions put in place as cases searched. The governor called it, quote, Republican recall.

And there is breaking news right now in the town of Surfside, Florida, just outside of Miami beach. Part of a building has collapsed and emergency crews are on the scene. We're getting more information on the story and we'll bring an update next.

Plus, we've obtained emails that the angry Biden campaign sent to Facebook during the 2020 election. They rip into Facebook for allowing Trump allies to post controversial material with little to no consequence. We'll show you what they said coming up. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: An update on our breaking news this hour. A horrific scene in Surfside, Florida, just north of Miami Beach where dozens of rescue crews are responding to a partial building collapse. Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue says more than 80 units including technical rescue teams are on the scene. Now we don't have any information yet on injuries or what caused part of the multistory building to collapse. We are working to bring you more information. Again, more than 80 fire and rescue units are on the scene of a partial building collapse in Surfside, Florida near Miami Beach.

More than 3 million people in the Midwestern U.S. are under flash flood alerts, that includes Kansas City and surrounding areas. The region could experience flooding, damaging winds and large hail. Let's bring in meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Derek, what's the latest there?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning to you Kim. We're actually following three major weather stories across the U.S. today, namely the Pacific Northwest heatwave that will build this weekend, but more immediately, just as you mentioned, the flash flood threat and potential of severe weather across the nation's midsection.

Here it is. The weather prediction center has a moderate risk of flash flooding today across northern Missouri, portions of Nebraska, and into the Kansas region. That's Kansas City to Jefferson City, that were our highest threat, but we do have a slight risk of flash flooding extended all the way to just outside of the Chicago suburbs.

You can see rainfall accumulation across this area really loading up, 4 to 6 inches locally, maybe even higher amounts for some of those slow moving thunderstorms that produce the heftier rainfall totals across this region. Here's our severe weather threat today. Enhanced risk across portions

of Missouri into Kansas and Nebraska as well, damaging winds, large hail, can't rule out a tornado or two. You can see the storms just firing up across this region. It's looking like a Christmas time radar here, lot of colors on this. But the point that you want to take from this is that the storms will be moving over the same location hence our floor flood potential across the area.

The other big story, the heat building across the Pacific Northwest. We're flirting with all-time record heat, and this is on top of a heat wave we already experience. Last week, get this, from June 10 to June 21 we tied or broke over 6,000 record highs over the western U.S. Now we have excessive heat watches, excessive warnings Portland to Seattle. We're talking about temperatures in the triple digits easily through this weekend. So very, very, very hot -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Unbelievable stuff there. Thank you so much, appreciate it.

Well Thursday is a big day for Microsoft, the company is expected to unveil the newest version of its Windows Operating System. It posted this online, join us to see what is next for Windows with a link at a live stream that begins at 11:00 a.m.

The company's CEO Satya Nadella is expected to lead the presentation. A number of tech experts say they have had access to a leaks version of windows 11 and some say the changes are mostly cosmetic. But we'll find out in about seven hours from now. Microsoft's stock has been on the upward ride all month, right along with the Nasdaq.


Here's a quick look at how U.S. stock futures are shaping up right now. As you can see all three major indices are in the green. We'll see earnings reports today from Rite Aid, Garden restaurants, Nike and FedEx, among others.

Tensioned floored during the 2020 campaign between Joe Biden's team and Facebook. The Biden campaign was livid over Facebook postings from Trump allies that pushed dubious facts and controversial content. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan shows us the furious emails.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just weeks before the election, this video from then President Trump's son began circulating online.

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: The radical left are laying the groundwork to steal this election from my father. We need every able-bodied man, woman to join army for Trump's election security operation.

O'SULLIVAN: The video released on Facebook prompted a flurry of frantic emails between people working with the Biden campaign and Facebook. The fact that this video is still on your platform and is being used to recruit some sort of, and I quote, army for Trump's election security effort, is astounding, a senior Biden campaign official wrote to Facebook.

When a Facebook official responded saying it didn't violate their policy so the video would not be removed from the platform but it would be labeled.

The same Biden official responded to Facebook: The Trump campaign has received the message that they may put videos on your platforms saying that millions of fraudulent votes would be used to steal the election. And the solution to that is for able-bodied people to enlist in an army. Good gracious. I struggle to believe that is the precedent you are intending to set.

The Democratic National Committee is worried misinformation is fueling laws restricting voting rights and will be a major issue in next year's midterms.

SAM CORNALE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: The question for me is what has Facebook done to address what happened? The incitement of violence, the spreading of misinformation now being used to justify anti-voter legislation. And I just simply don't think they've done enough, Donie.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): In the days after the election, the Stop the Steal movement began spreading on Facebook. A DNC official flagged to Facebook one group that was said to be suggesting political violence and included content from QAnon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is still your president!

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Meanwhile, Trump supporters began taking to the streets repeating some of those lies they had seen on social media.

O'SULLIVAN: The ballots that you said you saw are lying around the place or in trash cans or whatever. Where are you hearing that from?

ANDREW WALKER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, I mean it's -- the videos are going viral everywhere. I've seen them on TikTok. I've seen them on Facebook. I've seen them on Fox News. I've seen them on the local news around my area.

O'SULLIVAN: There is a ton of social media platforms.


O'SULLIVAN: Why are we talking about Facebook here?

CORNALE: Well, Facebook has the biggest reach, and I think presents one of the biggest challenges. And this challenge isn't for the Democratic Party. This challenge is for American democracy.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Katie Paul tracks extremism online.

KATIE PAUL, DIRECTOR, TECH TRANSPARENCY PROJECT: What Facebook should be doing right now is the exact same thing it should've been doing a year ago and two years before that, ensuring this content is not easily accessible on the platform.

O'SULLIVAN: Facebook did take down some of the posted groups devoted to election lies and groups like QAnon, that were flagged by the DNC and the Biden campaign. Facebook declined an on-camera interview for this story, but Facebook's spokesperson Andy Stone told CNN we've done more than any other internet company to combat harmful content including limiting content that saw to delegitimize the outcome of the election both before and after January 6th. But Democrats say Facebook is simply not doing enough.

CORNALE: We're not asking them to take down everything that we don't like. We're asking them to take down rhetoric that incites violence, that disenfranchises people from their constitutional right to vote, that spreads misinformation about democracy or about elected officials, or it makes it harder for us to compete on a fair playing field.

Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, New York.


BRUNHUBER: There is breaking news right now in the town of Surfside, Florida, just north of Miami Beach. Part of a building has collapsed and emergency crews are on the scene. Now we're getting more information on the story and we'll bring you an up update next.

Plus, a new study shows a major decline in life expectancy in the U.S. What's behind the significant drop, coming up. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Updating our breaking news, dozens of rescue crews are on the scene of a partial building collapse near Miami Beach, Florida. Police released this image of what appears to be a residential tower with much of it reduced to rubble. Now there is no information yet on injuries or how this happened, but authorities say that they have technical rescue teams and multiple fire units there to assist. So we'll bring you any updates as soon as we get them.

Well every week seems to bring new video of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The Justice Department is using the footage to prosecute suspects in the attack and we're seeing it only because media outlets including CNN went to court demanding its release. CNN's Paula Reid has details.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: The Justice Department has released these never before seen clips of body camera and surveillance footage showing rioters harassing and attacking police on January 6. Now this footage is so extraordinary because it is taken from the viewpoint of the police as they were overrun. And it is just the latest chilling frame by frame account of how the pro- Trump crowd broke into a federal building as police tried to protect themselves and the Capitol.

Now assaulting police is just one of the charges the Justice Department has brought against dozens of Capitol riot defendants, among the nearly 500 pending federal criminal cases. Now these videos were only made public after more than a dozen news outlets led by CNN fought to make them public. And these clips, they have been used in court against defendants charged in the attack. But they weren't made public until news outlets fought to make them available to the public.

Now the news released today these new videos, they were actually used in a case against Grady Owens. He is accused of attacking officers with a skateboard after he and his family allegedly came to D.C. to support the former president's efforts to overturn the election. One of the videos is actually 50 minutes long. But in the clip you can allegedly see Grady Owens holding his skateboard and engaging with police officers. Now Owens is charged with six crimes including assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon, impeding passage through the Capitol and other violence on the ground. He has pleaded not guilty.

But Wednesday was a busy day in the Capitol riot cases. And it was interesting because another judge actually applauded the chief judge Beryl Howell from making public the tapes. Saying how they are so important because they will show Republican lawmakers how serious the siege was. And that these rioters were far from acting like tourists as one Republican has suggested.

Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.