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Obama Says, Trump's Election Hooey Broke Core Tenet of Democracy; Structural Engineers to Visit 500-Plus Older Buildings in Miami Beach; Unprecedented Heat Wave Breaks Records in Pacific Northwest. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 29, 2021 - 10:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: A whole bunch of hooey, that is a quote from former President Obama last night describing his predecessor, former President Trump's 2020 election lies.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: Obama directly took on Trump's big lie, but also the effect on our broader democracy during a virtual Democratic fundraiser last night.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: In this election, what we saw was my successor, the former president, violate that core tenet that you count the votes and then declare a winner, and fabricate and make up a whole bunch of hooey.


SCIUTTO: As a result, Obama said that protecting voting rights is even more important in the wake of the 2020 election.


His remarks come as GOP-led state legislatures across the country are enacting restrictive voting laws and after Senate Republicans blocked the path forward for a sweeping elections bill.

Well, the House could vote tomorrow on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plans for a select committee now to investigate the January 6 insurrection, this, of course, after the bipartisan plan with equal representation was blocked by Republicans in the Senate.

HARLOW: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy would be allowed to consult on five of the 13 members on the Democratic-run committee.

Let's go to Manu Raju on Capitol Hill this morning. But Speaker Pelosi does have veto power over McCarthy's picks. Is that right?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And she actually just told me that moments ago. I asked her directly, could you veto Kevin McCarthy's picks, and she said yes.

And I asked her if she would you allow Republicans who voted to overturn the electoral results after the riot that we saw on January 6, there were two votes on Arizona and Pennsylvania, a majority of the House Republican conference voted to overturn the results in those races. I said, could you allow Republicans who voted to overturn those election results to serve on the committee? She said we'll see. We will see who they nominate.

Now, she has also not revealed her hands on who she plans to pick. There are 13 members on this committee. There are eight that would be her picks. We're hearing that probably one of those eight will likely be a Republican. There are a lot of speculation that that could be Liz Cheney, someone who called out Donald Trump's election lies, someone who was booted out of Republican conference, her leadership position, because of her fight with Donald Trump. She told me yesterday that it is up to the speaker on whether she just will serve on that committee. Adam Kinzinger, another one seen as a potential Pelosi pick of those eight.

But of those five members who McCarthy gets to pick, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, it has to be done in consultation with the speaker, which is why she effectively has veto power.

Now, how is McCarthy going to approach this, we still don't know. I am told that at a closed door conference meeting this morning, he talked about this committee, he criticized it as a partisan committee but he did not get into detail about his thinking, about the kind of members that he would appoint. There is some possibility, some discussion that maybe someone like Congressman Jim Jordan, who is often selected in some of these key positions, someone who is a staunch Trump defender, Jordan told me last night he has not been talked to McCarthy about this but, ultimately, Pelosi is the one who is going to have the say here.

And, guys, another important thing about this investigation, there is no timeframe about when it would end. Unlike the outside commission, which was a bill blocked by Senate Republicans, that would have ended at the end of this year. This has no end date. So it is uncertain how long this could go on for, whether it could drag on into the midterms and ultimately what it could find.

SCIUTTO: Of course, you'll remember, there was a bipartisan plan with equal representation. McCarthy lobbed against it. So here we are. Manu Raju --

HARLOW: After getting a lot of what he wanted.

SCIUTTO: Exactly, including equal representation. Manu Raju on the Hill, thanks you very much.

RAJU: Thanks.

SCIUTTO: Next story we're covering, the condo collapse in Surfside has prompted a state emergency in Miami Beach. Now, more than 500 buildings will be inspected. The mayor of Miami Beach joins us next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


SCIUTTO: Well, this morning following the horrific fatal collapse at Champlain Towers South, the neighboring city of Miami Beach has decided to deploy structural engineers to more than 500 buildings that are currently undergoing their required 40-year recertification process. The mayor of Miami Beach, Dan Gelber, joins us now.

And, Mayor Gelber, so good to have you on this morning. To be clear, this building not within the confines of your city but it neighbors it, as you were describing to me. So, 500 properties that you're now inspecting in urgent fashion because they're within the 40-year period, how soon are you going to be able to complete those inspections and what specifically are you looking for?

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D-MIAMI BEACH, FL): Well, you know, Champlain South is on our north border. So our city knows everybody there. They are our sister city. We figured it was very important to immediately go to the 500 multi-family commercial units. So I think we'll be finished doing a sort of a walkthrough visual looking, for spanning or looking for kind of deterioration in all of those within probably another week.

But at the same time, we are going to require within probably three weeks all of these buildings in recertification process to come up with an updated report, at which point they'll probably have a very specific period of time to make sure that they've hired the engineers, secured the funding, started the permitting process, just to make sure we're catching up.

Remember, I'm sure this happened nationally, but a lot of places, because of the pandemic, were not doing well. They were sort of -- you're allowed to create extensions for the recertification so I'm sure a lot of places are doing that because when you have people in your buildings, there were limits in construction and things like that.

SCIUTTO: Okay. So, one thing that is just alarming about the Champlain Towers issue, right, is that there were warning signs. There is an inspection in 2018, there were warnings in the '90s about subsidence in that area, and then this letter that went out in April to homeowners, seeing deterioration in the concrete and so on.

As I read that, I wonder who is responsibility is it to get on top of this? Is it on the private owners and management companies? Is it on the city government? I mean, who is -- where does the buck stop, right, in terms of identifying and addressing these things?

GELBER: Well, you know, a lot of the process is voluntary in the sense that you have to go through the process with your condo associations and all of the engineers and folks.

[10:45:10] But at the end of the day, if the engineers have to say it is a safe building in the recertification, if they don't, then the inspectors will not allow you to occupy it.

So there is a sort of a relationship between the condo association, outside, usually private engineers, and, of course, the local city, which has to do the inspections and make sure that the recertification process, the punch list, as they call it, is done.

So I'm certain that our community, and I mean our community and my city, but also the county, will be looking at to see whether there are sufficient bells and whistles in this process to make sure that we don't have this.

Of course, I mean, look, we really don't really know yet the cause, but, obviously, everybody is anxious to figure it out for very obvious reasons.

SCIUTTO: Listen, it's early, and all question begin with that proviso. We don't know. It is early. We have some evidence, some clues. It's going to be some time before we know it for certain.

But I do want to ask you this because this is part of the coastline. It's beaten by very powerful storms over the course of several years. You've got rising sea levels, right, which speaks to the rising water table in there as well. And you also have some older buildings, right? I mean, from your vantage point at this point, are you concerned that there is any broader problem that the community has to assess and deal with?

GELBER: Well, listen, until I have evidence that there is a broader problem, I'm not going to say there is one because we don't know what caused this. And I think I don't want to -- I have plenty of residents concerned right now and we're taking immediately the measures that we think we need to when those buildings that we think are older and they're going through the recertification process.

Our -- I was here for Hurricane Andrew. My dad was, in fact, mayor of the city, and then I'm the mayor of. And we had, after Andrew, very, very tight building codes. Of course, this was built before Andrew. But we're pretty conversing on this because we have hurricanes and a whole lot other climactic issues that force us to meet those challenges.

So we're going to be doing a pretty good review of everything to make sure that our buildings are safe, and our residents are safe.

SCIUTTO: Yes. There is an enormous amount of need beyond the structural questions, inspections right now. And I know they're not in your community, but as you said, they're right by you and I know that you got a lot of folks working to support those people there. What does the community need here?

I mean, I'm picturing and we've been speaking to some of them, 150 people still missing, there are families waiting outside, just with a reckoning to come. What do they need most and what kind of help are you providing?

GELBER: I think, look, we have our police, our fire rescue are on the scene doing what they do. Heroically, I might add. We're doing everything we can. But I have got to tell you, the pain and the grieving that we know is going on, the uncertainty, I think everybody watching it can feel for these families and friends.

And in my community, I mean, I would say most people are no more than one degree of separation from the people who are feeling this because everybody knows somebody or knows somebody who know somebody, or is related even to some of them.

So there is an incredible amount of pain blanketing our community right now and it is very hard other than to pray for them and grieve with them and hope with them, there is very little we can do.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Well, we here are enormously empathetic as well. Mayor Dan Gelber, so much for your community handle, we wish you and we wish the others living there the best.

GELBER: Thank you. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: And we'll be right back.



HARLOW: An unprecedented heat wave is baking the Pacific Northwest right now, as temperatures reach record highs in cities like Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

SCIUTTO: It is hot out there, I mean, historically hot. Temperatures reached a scorching 116 degrees in Portland on Monday. Trust me, they're not used to this kind of stuff. It was an all-time high of any day in that city ever.

CNN's Camila Bernal is in Portland this morning. And, Camila, it could be dangerous for people. A lot of homes there don't have air- conditioning.

CAMIL BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Jim and Poppy. It is not just hot. It really is dangerous. And even though it is about 20 degrees cooler today in comparison to the last couple of days, all week, we're still expecting temperatures in the 90s and reaching 100 degrees. People here are just not used to these numbers.

And the effects of this heat wave are going to linger on for some time especially when it comes to people's health. We were told by the state's health authority that about 200 people in the state had to be taken to an emergency room or a clinic with heat-related illnesses.

And I want to put things into perspective with the numbers here in Multnomah County, officials saying that about 43 people had to be taken to the hospital over the last couple of days. And I do want to say that the numbers are delayed. We still don't have the numbers from Monday when we hit 116 degrees.

But they say that this is already about half of the number of people they see in an entire summer. They say that, overall, they had more than 400 emergency calls, more than 250 people had to be taken to the hospital, but they will take some time to figure out exactly how many of those were heat-related. Overall, though, they say that these numbers are unheard of here in the county and in the state.


So a lot of people are worried.

And, overall, I think the bottom line here is that people are not used to this. They don't know how to deal with it because it doesn't normally happen here. But a lot more people are starting to realize that this could become the normal. Jim, Poppy?

HARLOW: Wow. All right, we're hoping for relief soon and for safety in the meantime for all of them. Camila, thank you for the reporting from Portland, Oregon.

And thanks to all of you for being with us today. We'll see you right back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

At This Hour will start with Kate Bolduan starts right after a quick break.