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Pelosi Pushes Ahead with Right Investigation; Supreme Court Uphold Arizona's Voting Restrictions; U.N. Security Council to Discuss Crisis in Ethiopia; William and Harry Reunite to Unveil Statue of Their Late Mother; Xi: China Will Smash Taiwan Independence Attempts; Quarterfinals to Begin amid Growing COVID Concerns. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 2, 2021 - 04:30   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that she's pushing ahead with an investigation into the January 6 Capitol insurrection. After months of political wrangling, she announced who would be part of that investigation and confirmed that embattled Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney would take part. CNN's Ryan Nobles has the details.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is wasting no time.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: Decisions as difficult as they are and as sad in some cases as they are, they are liberating and they enable us to go forward.

NOBLES (voice-over): Less than 24 hours after the House passed a resolution to create a Select Committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol insurrection, Pelosi unveiled her choices to serve on the panel including Republican Liz Cheney.

PELOSI: We're honored and proud that she has agreed to serve on the committee.

NOBLES (voice-over): The announcement comes after months of wrangling between Pelosi and Republican leaders about the best way to investigate the insurrection. Pelosi pushed for an independent bipartisan commission but that plan was blocked by Republicans in the Senate. In addition to Cheney, Pelosi tapped Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson to run the committee. And named several other powerful committee chairs to serve on. What remains to be seen is what Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy does now.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: No, I regret the politics of Nancy Pelosi. For six months she played politics with this. NOBLES (voice-over): McCarthy has put up roadblock after roadblock as

Pelosi attempted to find a path to investigate the riot. He refuses to say if he will even offer up five Republican names to serve on the panel.


He even warned a group of GOP freshmen in a private meeting that accepting a committee post from Pelosi could endanger their positions on other committees. A threat he walked back today.

MCCARTHY: I'm not making any threats about committee assignments. But as you know how Congress works.

NOBLES (voice-over): McCarthy's threat rang hollow with Republicans like Adam Kinzinger, one the two who voted for the Select Committee.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Who gives a shit.

NOBLES (voice-over): While Cheney attempted to stay above the fray.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I think it's clear to all the people on this committee that our oath to the Constitution, our duty, our dedication to the rule of law and the peaceful transfer of power has to come above any concern about partisanship or about politics.

NOBLES (voice-over): But McCarthy could have bigger problems than just as members cooperating with Pelosi. The leader's role on January 6 could become a big part of the investigation. Chairman Thompson has not ruled out calling him before the committee.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Well, he's acknowledged that he had a call, there have been other Republicans who said that he had a call. And that would be part of the collection of evidence necessary to produce a report.


BRUNHUBER: And House Democrats have a message for Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, they intend to find out the truth about January 6, whether Republicans are involved or not. Listen to Democrat Adam Schiff.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Kevin McCarthy has only one priority and that is do whatever Donald Trump tells him to do. Donald Trump doesn't want the events around January 6 investigated and didn't want the commission, so McCarthy opposed the commission as did McConnell. And now the Select Committee is meeting the same opposition from McCarthy. But we're determined to do our job none the less and to develop a comprehensive objective report of what happened prior to the 6th, what happened on the 6th, why were so ill prepared. And most important make recommendations about protecting our government and our Capitol and our people in the future. And we'll do that regardless of what Kevin McCarthy may do. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Supreme Court says provisions in an Arizona law that restrict how voters cast ballots don't violate the Voting Rights Act. The 6-3 decision could limit minority voters' ability to challenge state laws which they say are discriminatory. The first provision upheld says in-person ballots cast at the wrong precinct on election day must be wholly discarded and only family caregivers, mail carriers and election officials can deliver someone else's completed ballot to a polling place.


KATIE HOBBS, ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: This decision is very harmful and it's going to make it make harder for anyone to be able to challenge discriminatory voting laws.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In terms of the big picture, when you combine this decision with the Shelby County decision in 2013, which said the federal oversight provisions of the Voting Rights Act are essentially defunct. You know, the Voting Rights Act today appears to be close to a dead letter. It's close to being irrelevant.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We're going to have to rewrite the formula and that's what we should have been doing it all along. John Lewis Voting Rights Act ability is going to be the vehicle I believe that we can put some guardrails back on to where people have fair elections, they're open elections and they're secure.


BRUNHUBER: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement saying: Almost four years ago Congress worked along party lines to strengthen Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in response to an adverse Supreme Court decision. Now Congress must act again. Our democracy depends on it.

The U.N. Security Council will finally discuss the crisis in the Ethiopia's Tigray region. This follows months of violence and allegations of atrocities. CNN's Larry Madowo to tracking this for us from Nairobi, Kenya. Larry, what might the U.N. actually do here? I mean, the international community has been, you know, pretty impotent so far when it comes to pressuring either side.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The fact that the U.N. Security Council might discuss it publicly alone is significant because finally they can -- the body which is involved in peace and security around the world can put pressure on the parties of this conflict to do something. To cease hostilities, to allow for humanitarian access to the people that are in dire need, and to order an independent investigation. Which is really important because I've just returned from Ethiopia and there seems to be limited political will, Kim, to do anything around this conflict.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is likely to win the election when results are announced in the coming days and that will give him the popular mandate to tackle this crisis head-on. So far his army is accused of atrocities. This is a man who two years ago won the Nobel Peace Prize because of reform credentials and ending a war with Eritrea. Now Eritrean troops back his own army in Tigray, in the north of the country.


That's at the same time thousands of people have died because of this conflict, 1.7 million people are displaced. And hundreds of thousands of people face starvation.

Right now in Tigray, there is limited internet and phone connectivity, no electricity, and the U.N. also reporting cash and fuel shortages. So all of these is a backdrop for the U.N. Security Council meeting if it happens later today. And that's still a big if, Kim, because Russia and China could still oppose it and end up with nothing more than their same round of condemnation that we been seen from but international actors but little action on the ground as people continue to suffer.

BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much for that, Larry Madowo in Nairobi. Appreciate it.

The U.K.'s Prince William and Prince Harry are remembering their late mother as a force for good around the world. On what would have been Princess Diana's 60th birthday Thursday, the brothers put aside their differences to dedicate a memorial to her and her work. CNN's Max Foster has the details.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a glorious sunny day for this unveiling. Both Harry and William were deeply involved in the entire process going back years in the design of a garden that's been completely redesigned. But also the statute itself.

They arrived together. They were smiling. They were chatting. They unveil the statue together in the garden that they used to play in growing up. It was seen as a very special place by Princess Diana as well, which is why the statue will now stand here as a permanent legacy to her life and her work.

In the statue you see her surrounded by children who were deeply involved in many of the projects. They're not specific children. They represent the children that she used to work with. The public will be able to go into Kensington Palace and see this statue and that's very much what Harry and William want going forward. This is the public face of Diana. How they want to remember. In the image was actually taken from the latter years of her life when she felt empowered.

Max Foster, CNN, Kensington Palace, London.


BRUNHUBER: There's a new twist in Britney Spears legal fight. One day after a judge appointed Bessemer Trust as co-conservator of her $60 million estate, a wealth management firm has asked to resign. Spears wanted her father Jamie removed as co-conservator, but the judge denied that request. Sources say that Spears' attorney will file a petition soon to end the 13 year conserve conservatorship which the popstar called abusive. The next hearing is scheduled for July 14.

Beijing is adding fuel to the fire, making its relationship with Taipei even more tense. In a moment, one expert explains why future conflicts won't be fought online -- but will be fought online not on the battlefield. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Chinese President Xi Jinping says Beijing will smash any of Taiwan's attempts at formal independence. That's just one comment from a speech marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party that's making matters worse between mainland China and the island.

CNN's Will Ripley joins me now from Taipei. Will, we've heard increasingly belligerent language coming from China and Taiwan. You've been looking at the changing nature of the potential conflict between the two. What more can you tell us?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was really fascinating, Kim, we flew across the Taiwan Strait to the outlined Taiwanese controlled island of Kinmen, which is just six kilometers from mainland China, around 200 kilometers from the Taiwanese capital. And so geographically they are very close to the mainland and also economically because up until COVID, they relied on Chinese tourists coming into really fuel their local economy. China even supplied water to the island of Kinmen.

So this is also an island that saw direct combat during not only China's civil war that ended in 1949, but throughout cross rate conflict that went on to the 1970s. There were artillery shells being fired over the water directly at people's homes and businesses, at Kinmen. And then when the actual combat stopped, China kept firing shells that were packed full of propaganda materials. So this small island was in many ways kind of the birthplace of this propaganda disinformation war that has now been super charged by social media and continues here in Taiwan today.

You have what experts believe are Chinese state sponsored hackers and online trolls and social media influencers deliberately planting fake news stories. Actually trying to get people to spread false information by word of mouth here in the island. And these stories are designed to sow seeds of unrest. To make people question their government. The safety of their country. The safety of Taiwanese made vaccines. I mean all of these issues become very heavily politicized with the endgame of trying to disrupt the politics here and get a government in place that would be more pro-Beijing and would allow Chinese President Xi Jinping to peacefully reunify with Taiwan.

It's something that he had stated just yesterday in his speech at the hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. Also saying that he would crush any notion of Taiwanese independence which then of course the military intimidation and cyberattacks that could paralyze infrastructure, pipelines, electricity, water, communications all at once. That's where that all comes into play. So it really is a multi- pronged threat that they feel that he there are facing here on the island of Taiwan and they believe a lot of that threat is coming from mainland China.

BRUNHUBER: Fascinating reporting. Thanks so much for that, Will Ripley in Taipei. Appreciate it.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says 130 nations including China and India have endorsed plans for a global minimum corporate tax rate. The U.S. is pushing for a 15 percent minimum rate whenever multinationals operate. President Biden welcomed the agreement as a step towards ensuring that companies, quote, no longer pit countries against one another in a bid to push tax rates down. The French finance minister offered this assessment.


BRUNO LE MAIRE, FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER (through translator): I welcome this major progress, it paves the way for the construction of a new international taxation system for the 21st century. As France has been asking for more than four years. It's an ambitious agreement, a global and inventive one. It's the most important international tax deal in a century.


BRUNHUBER: Among those not signing the agreement is Ireland, which has a history of drawing top tech firms with this low-tech system.

We'll be back shortly with more news, please do stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: The quarter finals of Euro 2020 get under way today with Switzerland taking on Spain, and Belgium facing Italy. But as the teams get ready for matches, health officials worry about this -- what you're seeing their fans packed together at stadiums, bars and buses. And according to the W.H.O., that's contributes to the spike in COVID cases in Europe. Some countries have already linked hundreds of new cases to the tournament.

Darren Lewis is in London for us. Darren, a significant spike in cases after all the mass gatherings and celebrations, hardly surprising. Take us through what's happening and what effect it might have on the rest of the tournament or maybe other big sporting events like the Olympics.

DARREN LEWIS, CNN WORLD AND CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Kim, fascinating stories as far as the different perspective inside the U.K. and outside a concern. Just taking you through as you asked, for England's game against Germany on Tuesday, there were over 40,000 fans at Wembley Stadium here in London for the semifinal. The 90,000 seat stadium will be at 75 percent capacity. That would be the largest sports crowd at an event sense the start of the pandemic.


And here in England there's actually is optimism that the football team are going to win against Ukraine in Rome tomorrow and return in Wembley next week for the semifinals where there will be over 60,000 people. And the concern around that is the way that fans have been celebrating, shouting, screaming, hugging, drinking. They're all in close proximity.

And Germany as we know, Kim, Horst Seehofer, the interior minister has been echoing the concerns of the Chancellor Angela Merkel, who says that she sees the UK is a coronavirus hot spot. So too in Russia where one of the quarter finals is going to take place a bit later on today between Spain and Switzerland -- a rise in cases there. And then Denmark will play the Czech Republic. Concern across Europe about the rise in numbers. And that is the reason why going into this latest round, there are a lot of people in a lot of places who are very worried.

BRUNHUBER: Absolutely, something to keep an eye on. Darren Lewis reporting from London. Thanks so much.

And finally a surprise announcement in the billionaires space race. Virgin Galactic says founder Richard Branson will be on its next sub orbital flight set to launch on July 11. That would make Branson the first person to travel to space on a rocket he helped to fund.

Now maybe it's a coincidence, but that's more than a week earlier than short flight his rival Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos plans to take on his Blue Origin company's spacecraft. Last month Bezos announced he and his brother would be joined by aviation pioneer 82-year-old Wally Funk. And that would make her the oldest person to have flown in space. Funk was a pilot who trained for NASA's Mercury program in the 1960s but was denied the chance to go to space.

I'm Kim Brunhuber. Thanks so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. "EARLY START" is next.