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Amid The Big Lie, Support For Donald Trump In The Republican Party Still Strong; Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) Is Interviewed About Trump, The GOP And The Infrastructure Plan; The Beach Boys With John Stamos Performs Live; Trump Admits Facts About The Case Filed Against Trump Organization; FAA Reports Increase In Unruly Passengers This Year; Strongest Jobs Report For June But Unemployment Is Still Up; Two Survivors From Collapsed Condo Reunited. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 4, 2021 - 17:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington and we begin this hour on a day meant for unity and celebration, but we have to face the truth, that America is certainly divide this Fourth of July, which should unite us, only seems to further divide us, and the line between fact and fiction gets blurrier by the day.

The Capitol insurrection, who incited it, who is responsible for it is a perfect example. The truth is a violent mob tried to overthrow democracy on behalf of a former president and his lies and there is no shortage of people who still refuse to believe that. Here's a case in point. Down at the border last week, I asked Donald Trump if he would ever apologize for January 6th.


ACOSTA: Mr. Trump, will you apologize about January 6th?


ACOSTA: It may or may not surprise you that those were GOP members booing along with their staffers. But before all that booing, I asked some of them why they still associate with Donald Trump after he incited that violent insurrection.

One of those Congressmen, North Carolina's Madison Cawthorne told me he still believes the election was stolen. Of course, it wasn't, but listen to how some of these Republican lawmakers still consider Trump the leader of their party.


ACOSTA: What are your thoughts on associating yourself with the former president after he gave that speech on January 6th and provoked an insurrection at the capitol? Why associate yourself with him? REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): Well, I think, Jim, you and I both know

that I completely disagree with that assertion. The complete premise of that questions is that he invoked an insurrection. I don't believe that's what happened whatsoever. I think he spoke at a rally. I think what happened on January 6th is despicable and the people should be prosecuted that broke the law. But I genuinely don't believe that there was any kind of provocation from anybody who spoke that day.

ACSOTA: But he had been telling the big lie for weeks and he continues to lie about the election. Why continue to associate? Why not find another standard bearer for the party? Maybe you could be a standard bearer for the party down the road.

CAWTHORNE: Look, Jim -- you know what, I do look forward to being the future of the Republican Party but I will tell you, I think Donald Trump is leading the way on that. And you know, I think you and I know that we have a complete disagreement. I do believe the election was stolen and I do --

ACOSTA: You do believe the election -- you still believe the election was stolen?

CAWTHORNE: I still believe the election was stolen.

ACOSTA: Where is the proof of that?

CAWTHORNE: Well, you know, what I think there was blatant proof if you look through Wisconsin, if you look through a lot of the states that I personally contested you.

ACOSTA: It was all rejected by the courts including Trump-appointed judges and the Supreme Court.

CAWTHORNE: I believe the judicial system failed us.

ACOSTA: And let me ask you, why continue to associate yourself with the former president after he lied about the election, there was an insurrection January 6th? Why continue to associate yourself with former President Trump when you can find other Republican leaders to come down to the border with?

REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): President Trump was the most effective president in my lifetime, and this was -- what we're here today to talk about is a cornerstone of his legacy. His policies secured the border. The Biden policies have opened the border wide open creating a humanitarian crisis unlike anything we've ever seen before.

I'm chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus on Capitol Hill. We embrace the Trump agenda especially on border security, his policies --

ACOSTA: And you see him as the leader of the party right now? And you see him as the leader of your party?

BANKS: He is the leader of the party. I like to think that I'm a leader in our party. There are many leaders in our party, but our Republican Study Committee, we're focused on policy. The Trump policies worked and especially when it's as related to the border. We embrace --

ACOSTA: What about when you say Trump policies on the border. What about the family separation policy. Should that come back?

BANKS: Well, what you're seeing -- the policies specifically that the Biden administration have implemented and the Trump policies they've repealed have created a -- again, a humanitarian crisis unlike anything we've seen before. There's no other way to put it. There's no other way to put it. There are substantially more families separated, children separated from their parents crossing the border today than ever -- than there ever were on Donald Trump's watch.

ACOSTA: You don't think it's inappropriate to be here with the former president given his role in January 6th, given how he lied so much about the election? I've known you a long time. You've served in Congress a long time. That doesn't bother you?

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA): You know, we can always ask questions like should anybody be with Bill Clinton after the things he did, including pointing his finger and lying and covering up. I think the reason we're here is Governor Abbott is showing leadership and governors all over the country are rallying with Governor Abbott to recognize that there is an invasion.



ACOSTA: Now, Donald Trump refused to take our questions and bolted from the press after his border photo op. He was surrounded by an entourage of staffers and Secret Service agents who are still providing his protection, paid for with U.S. tax dollars. He appeared to still be enjoying the trappings of the presidency almost pretending he is still president despite his actions before leaving office.

And joining me now is Congressman John Garamendi. He's a senior member of the House Armed Service Committee and a former lieutenant governor of California. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. It's the Fourth of July. Happy Fourth of July. A day to celebrate America.

When you look at our country though right now, is our democracy weaker today as a result of that type of talk and inaction that we just heard from those lawmakers? They are still believers in some cases in the big lie and they still see Trump as the leader of their party.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): Well, they're certainly going to be that way. There's no change in it. They are true believers. They bought into the whole Trump story, Jim, and it's not going to change. But what is changing is America is changing.

I was doing a parade in Fairfield, California in my district and people were on the street. Two years ago there was an anger. There was, I mean, somebody can go down the street and people were shouting. But today people were on the street. They were happy. They were pleased. The entire temperature of this country has been reduced.

Yes, Trump is there and the Trump acolytes are still there, but they are so yesterday. Today, we have a president that actually attacked the pandemic. For one year, Trump did not attack the pandemic and 600,000 Americans died as a direct result of the United States government under the leadership of Trump not stepping forward and using the power of the government to bring the pandemic under control.

Biden has done that. People understand that. They are taking a deep breath. They are relaxing and, yes, this is the Fourth of July. This is when we celebrate 250 years of the greatest country in the world. And Trump is so yesterday. People want to move on. Not all of them.

The acolytes are down there. They're going to continue to say what they said to you and Trump is going to continue to say it was stolen, but the reality is, the nation wants to move on.

ACOSTA: And Congressman, you've been working on getting a bipartisan deal done on infrastructure in recent weeks. How do you get a deal done, though when you are dealing with members of Congress we just heard from who won't even acknowledge the election is over and that Biden is president?

GARAMENDI: Well, the day for them to make a decision is arriving. Just last week we did vote out of Congress a $750 billion infrastructure bill, hard infrastructure, sanitation, water systems, streets, roads. And moving all of that to tomorrow's economy, the electric transportation economy of tomorrow. That's in that bill. The green energy systems. They (inaudible) the grid system. All of that is in that bill.

That's what we did. We got two Republicans. Two Republicans joined us. But also keep in mind that their earmarks are in that bill. They voted against their own earmarks. No, I don't understand what they're doing but we can do this without them in the House. And if we have to use a reconciliation in the Senate, we will do that. This nation demands, this nation needs.

We must put in place the infrastructure including the education and the research facilities and the job training facilities and the child care so that mothers and fathers can go back to work when -- and the education -- all of this is demanded if we're going to keep pace with China, if this country is going to be a great country. The promise of 1776 is before us every day. And today we're going to meet that challenge with or without the Trumpets.

ACOSTA: And let me ask you, President Biden has brought you into these conversations. You have met with the bipartisan group. Where are we on infrastructure right now? It seemed like there was a deal last week and yet we didn't get there.

GARAMENDI: Well, we're actually getting there. Last week, the Senate with the president put together a framework that is very, very similar to the bill that we just moved out of the House of Representatives. We will have the detail on the Senate floor when they return -- on the Senate committees when they return. And where they can begin working on the details that we put forward.

They want to make changes. That's what a conference committee is all about. But what we really have before us is an opportunity. And, Jim, one of the things that was missed is the Senate put out a $250 billion infrastructure bill to address the China threat.


And it's $150 billion of research institutions, of education, of advanced science, the STEM programs. And also an industrial policy to build the necessary chain of manufacturing systems so that we produce in this nation the things that we need.

Now, we'll couple that with what we've done in the House. There is one more piece of this puzzle that seems to be very contentious and, frankly, I don't understand our Republican colleagues. Education. The most important thing for the future is a well-educated workforce. That's K through 12. That is also job training.

As we move into the new technologies of electric cars and buses and trains, we're going to have to train. And so that's all the pieces of the puzzle. Will they come to their senses? If they won't, we'll do it without them.

ACOSTA: All right, Congressman John Garamendi, thanks so much for joining us on this Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day and we appreciate you stopping by. Thanks so much.

GARAMENDI: And to all your listeners, Happy Independence Day.

ACOSTA: All right. Thank you. And they are right up there with apple pie and baseball, the Beach Boys. There is Mike Love with special guest John Stamos and they are set to bring good vibrations to America's birthday right here on CNN tonight.

I remember seeing the Beach Boys out on the National Mall back in the day when I was a kid. But first, they will be right here live next in the CNN NEWSROOM. Stand by.



ACOSTA: After a year and a half of masks and COVID closures and lockdowns, America is ready, beyond ready really to party this Fourth of July and we hope you're planning to celebrate tonight along with CNN at 7:00 p.m. eastern. My colleagues Don Lemon, Victor Blackwell, Ana Cabrera and Dana Bash will host a star studded evening of music and fireworks.

And my colleague, Dana Bash, she is CNN's chief political correspondent, of course. But tonight she's also one of the many hosts of this Fourth of July change of pace. Dana, this looks like a great lineup tonight and I saw some of those special guests. It was like a blast from the past seeing those guys. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's so true. It's

incredibly exciting and, yes, it is a nice break from politics. It is a time to celebrate. And tonight we're going to hear from the Beach Boys, Mike Love and John Stamos are going to be playing and, guess what, they are live right now joining me from Ft. Lauderdale where they will be performing in the city's July 4th concert. Hi, guys. Nice to see you.



BASH: It's just terrific. Hi. So, CNN will be carrying part of that concert for our Fourth of July special tonight. And you know, John, I want to start with how this even came to pass. People who don't know the history here may not know that you have been performing with the Beach Boys since the mid-1980s, since you were Blackie on "General Hospital." How did it happen?

STAMOS: That's right. Well, first of all, this is a national treasure right here, Mike Love.

LOVE: Thank you, John.

STAMOS: He's kept me around for many years. The first time they were playing in San Diego. You remember that?

LOVE: Oh, yes.

STAMOS: San Diego. I came down and I went backstage and these girls were screaming and yelling and Mike said, "Who is that?" to my friend. He said that's John Stamos. And he said he's on "General Hospital." And Mike says, "Does he always have girls screaming for him?" And my friend said yes. And Mike said, "Get him on stage." And I've been on stage ever since with them, but it's the thrill of my life.

LOVE: And he was on stage with us with about half a million of our closest friends in Washington, D.C. back in the mid-80s.

STAMOS: 1984 exactly.

LOVE: So, he's been coming out ever since. And there is nothing more fun than having John Stamos with the Beach Boys.

STAMOS: Well --

BASH: That's terrific. Is that how you remember the story, Mike?

STAMOS: Look, this is --

LOVE: Oh, yes. Definitely. It's always fun with John here. He puts so much energy and heart into everything as we try to do in our music and harmony is reached around the world. We've had fan letters from China, from Russia. I even met a real estate agent in New Jersey who had our records in Iran, which is cool because music trans -- you know, it goes beyond borders and racial and ethnic kind of groups and brings people together in harmony.

STAMOS: They've been, you know, their music is heart music. It bypasses the brain and goes straight to the heart. I'm reminded -- I just said, I'm reminded of that lyric in the national anthem that says our flag will still be there. Our flag is there after 9/11, after war, after storms, after COVID. The flag is still there and the Beach Boys are still here doing good vibrations, happiness, optimism and I'm happy to be with you.

LOVE: We're completely honored to be here and so happy to be on the show.

BASH: Well, we're happy to have you. And, Mike, for people who don't know, but I'm sure they do, you are one of the founding members of the Beach Boys. And not only that, our viewers should know that you wrote the band's first hit "Surfin" in 1961. That was 60 years ago this year and you're still performing.

LOVE: I know. It's a little crazy isn't it?

BASH: So, take me back to 1961 and imagine if somebody told you that you would be performing Fourth of July 2021 back when you wrote this song. What would you have said?

LOVE: We never envisioned being around, A, this long, but "Surfin Safari" was our big international hit, followed the next year, in '63, with "Surfin USA" and then we had "Help me Rhonda" and "I Get Around" and "Fun, Fun, Fun." And what else? Oh, yes, "Good Vibrations" and then "Kokomo" 22 years after "Good Vibrations." So we've had a long career. A blessed career. We're able to do what we love which is sing in harmony together, even 50, 60 years later.


BASH: And John just talked about, you know, how important music is in any event, but especially the Beach Boys. You guys are so Americana. But also given where we are right now, hopefully soon fully coming out of COVID but pretty well down the road. Mike, how does it feel to be back out on the road performing before live audiences again?

LOVE: We are thrilled to be out celebrating July 4th and celebrating the return to live music really.

STAMOS: We have a lot of catching up to do, right? A year and a half off.

LOVE: Yes. Plenty of rest.

STAMOS: Yes, we're rested. We're ready to rock.

BASH: And John, I have not heard you describe yourself this way but I did read that you called yourself a band nerd growing up? Your first concert was the Beach Boys. You were 15 years old and you said that changed your life.

STAMOS: Yes. That's right. Yes. My first concert was the Beach Boys. And like you were saying, you know, would Mike know that he'd be here 60 years later. Like if you told me when I was a kid at that Beach Boys show that I'd be standing next to legend Mike Love and having --

LOVE: And playing drums.

STAMOS: -- the honor of playing with them, it's the thrill of my life. Next to my wife and my kid, it's the greatest thing ever.

LOVE: So sweet. Really nice.

STAMOS: Billy is coming on too.

BASH: It's pretty terrific. We are so excited to see you tonight and maybe we'll see Billy on stage and Caitlin. And we so appreciate you doing this. Cannot wait. John Stamos, at some point you'll give everybody your anti-aging potion and we'll all take it. Thank you so much.

LOVE: Exactly.

STAMOS: Thank you. God bless you. God bless the Beach Boys.

LOVE: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: Thank you. Jim, back to you.

ACOSTA: Makes me want to crack open a cold one right now. All right, Dana Bash, looks like to be a great party tonight.

BASH: I'll send you one over, Jim.

ACOSTA: Sounds good. See you soon. Thanks.

The celebration starts in just under two hours. Join Don Lemon, Dana Bash, Victor Blackwell and Ana Cabrera for a star-studded evening of music and fireworks. Be here at 7:00. Until then, here's a quick hello from our men and women in uniform on the job around the world this Independence Day.


UNKNOWN: From Poznan, Poland in support of "Operation Atlantic Resolve," the soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division and 1st Cavalry Division wish you happy Fourth of July.

ANGELO FERNANDEZ, 16th SPACE CONTROL SQUADRON COMMANDER: I'm Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Fernandez with the 16th Space Control Squadron.

EARL ALEJANDRO, 4th SPACE CONTROL SQUADRON: And I'm Major Earl Alejandro from the 4th Space Control Squadron.

FERNANDEZ: And on behalf of the United States Space Force --

UNKNOWNS: Happy Fourth of July!



ACOSTA: Former President Trump took some time out of his Florida rally last night to talk about the charges facing his company and its CFO. But in the process of railing against the charges, he actually never disputed them. Instead, he appeared to corroborate the basic facts of the case.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They go after good, hard-working people for not paying taxes on a company car. A company car. You didn't pay tax on the car or a company apartment. You used an apartment because you need an apartment because you have to travel too far where your house is. You didn't pay tax. Or education for your grandchildren. I don't even know. Do you have to -- does anybody know the answer to that stuff?


ACOSTA: Yes, sometimes the nation's tax code can be confusing but let's revisit what Trump said during the 2016 campaign. "I think nobody knows more about taxes than I do, maybe in the history of the world." Juxtapose that with the sound you just heard a few moments ago. Donald Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio, joins me now. His books about the former president include "The Truth About Trump." Michael that is classic Trump, right? Just make it up as you go along.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it sure is classic Trump. And, you know, I think the IRS knows whether you're supposed to pay taxes on tuition paid for your grandchildren by your employer, and I think the answer is, yes.

You know, the stuff that these guys did, you know, from keeping two sets of books to, you know, these exorbitant fringe benefits that they call fringe benefits, but are really half the pay that Allen Weisselberg received on an annual basis, it's all so obvious.

You know, the thing that really strikes me about all of this is how unsophisticated it is. This is just simple greed. The kind of things that almost anyone could imagine. And the minute they went looking, they found it.

ACOSTA: Yes. It says if his employees were paid with a wink and a nod, it seems. And Michael Cohen told CNN he knows how this is going to play out for Weisselberg because he lived through it. Let's listen.


MICHAEL COHEN, DONALD TRUMP'S FORMER ATTORNEY: What you have right now is Allen Weisselberg's head on the chopping block. And do you think that Donald Trump will protect him? Well, if Allen looks back at what happened to me, the answer is an emphatic no.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: So is Weisselberg going to be the latest fall guy, do you think?

D'ANTONIO: You know, he really is acting as if he is going to go down with the ship, you know. I think this is astounding given Michael Cohen's example. But there's another thing that I notice in the president's or the former president's complaints.


And his idea, well, they're going after really good people and they would only be going after me because of political motivations. Well, the big problem for him is that he invited all of this. He ran for president in the first place as a publicity stunt.

He wanted to amp up his visibility and increase his bottom line. He never intended to be elected president. And then when he became president, journalists started digging into the facts of his wealth, which has always been in doubt. And then people that he really hurt, that he steamrollered over the years leaked documents to "The New York Times" that gave the truth about his taxes for the world to see.

Faced with all of that, the prosecutors had no choice but to go after him. So, the idea that this is political is crazy. He brought it on himself. These are practices that have been going on for more than a dozen years and he's getting what he deserves.

ACOSTA: And what's with all these Trump associates having tax problems and facing tax charges over the years?

D'ANTONIO: Well, this is obviously a way of doing business for an organization that more resembles organized crime than an ordinary corporation. You know, the other person who I think is in peril is Ivanka Trump.

One of the things that Allen Weisselberg is in trouble for is taking money as a contractor and then claiming self-employed status so that he can get some of the retirement benefits that the tax code allows for self-employed people.

Well, we know that Ivanka Trump got quite significant sums paid to her as non-employee compensation. That freed the Trump organization from paying part of her taxes and it put her in a status that I think the IRS would have lots of questions about. So, these folks don't know how to play the game straight. I think everything they do is crooked.

ACOSTA: And Michael, let me ask you. Let's go back to last night's rally and what Trump said about the Capitol rioter who was fatally shot by police, Ashli Babbitt. Let's listen.


TRUMP: And by the way, who shot Ashli Babbitt? Who shot Ashli Babbitt? Who? Who shot Ashli Babbitt? We all saw the hand. We saw the gun. I spoke to her mother the other day, an incredible woman. She's just devastated, like it happened yesterday. Devastated. You know, if that were on the other side, the person that did the shooting would be strung up and hung.


ACOSTA: That is just so sick. Does Trump understand that his election lie is the reason people like Ashli Babbitt were inside the capitol? Just incredible stuff, Michael.

D'ANTONIO: He has to know it. And so, his lies told over a period of months propelled Ashli Babbitt to be there that day. And she was literally climbing over people to get through the broken glass into the House chamber. It's known who shot her. It's been investigated and reviewed.

I think that officer has suffered trauma. Babbitt's family has suffered trauma. She lost her life. For him to get on stage and bellow like that as if there's some deep, dark secret is appalling. And so --

ACOSTA: Yes, and I mean, and I hate to bring it up on July 4th because we should all be coming together as a country. But when I saw that, it was so infuriating because she would be alive, very likely, almost certainly would be alive today had it not been for Trump and his lies. I mean, that is just the truth.

D'ANTONIO: She would be alive. There would be more than 100 police officers who hadn't suffered injuries. Look at -- your comment about our country coming together on Independence Day is spot on. You know, we deserve to be united. This person has divided us for years.

I think we have to cover what he does in at least a minimal basis so that we're aware of the terrible things that are being sown among the populous by this former president. But I can feel that our country is calmer, happier, more cohesive, six months into the Biden administration.

And I think that you can feel it, too. And if only we can keep making this progress and keep being Americans together, maybe we'll put this dark period behind us.

ACOSTA: Yes, I mean, literally anybody could be in the White House and we would feel more united as a country.


I just hate to play that on the Fourth of July but it's so appalling what he said last night and it's unfortunate, you know, that we have to fact check this kind of stuff but Michael D'Antonio, thanks as always for being on with us. We appreciate it.

D'ANTONIO: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Probably more to discuss but we won't have any more time this evening. We'll do it next time. Thanks so much, Michael.

Millions of Americans are traveling right now. And if you are choosing to fly, the FAA really, really wants you to be on your best behavior. They are even bringing out the kids. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN: Fighting is not good when you're on a plane.

UNKNOWN: They'll go to jail if they keep doing that stuff.

UNKNOWN: I would be really scared.


ACOSTA: More on this campaign, next.


ACOSTA: One of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic is booming once again. Americans are traveling in numbers we haven't seen since the pandemic began. But airlines are not just seeing an increase in passengers, they are seeing a surge of bad behavior. It's even led the FAA to put out this video.



UNKNOWN: Fighting is not good when you're on a plane.

UNKNOWN: They'll go to jail if they keep doing that stuff.

UNKNOWN: I would be really scared.

UNKNOWN: I would not like that if someone did that to me.

UNKNOWN: They should know better if they are like adults.

UNKNOWN: They're a grownup and they have to play a good role model.


ACOSTA: Yes, those are children telling adults how to behave on a plane. It's come to that. And it's probably because the FAA has gotten more than 3,200 reports of unruly passengers just this year. The international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, Sarah Nelson, joins me now. Sara, thanks so much for doing this. Happy Fourth of July. How bad have things gone --


ACOSTA: Oh, yes. Thank you so much. How bad is it up in the air right now that the FAA has to get the kids involved to tell the parents how to behave?

NELSON: This is a scene that we have never seen in aviation. And actually, if we were to continue on this trend, we would have more reports of unruly passengers in this year alone than we've had in the entire history of aviation. And I have to tell you, I love that the FAA is getting creative. They have a granny wagging her finger at people and saying, don't behave this way on my watch.

They've got all kinds of efforts to really help people understand what the consequences are but also to try to get their attention. This is really serious stuff. And I love that they put the kids out front and center there because all over the past 18 months we have been told that coronavirus and wearing masks is a political issue rather than a public health necessity.

And I have to tell you, a lot of people talked about, how are we going to get kids to wear masks on planes when we first started talking about that over a year ago? And they are our most well-behaved passengers and have adapted the most to this. People really want to know what the rules are and just follow them. And kids are a great example of that.

ACOSTA: Yes. Absolutely. And I fly a lot and I always think that, you know, wearing a mask and staying safe in the air with this pandemic is a way to keep you, the flight attendants and the crew in the cockpit, safe and not getting sick. I mean, I think that's just the least we can ask people to do.

But the FAA says the majority of the altercations are stemming from this mask mandate. You have seen some of these wild videos of people swinging at each other on the planes. What do you make of some of these states that are now dropping these mask mandates?

NELSON: Well, people have been told that we're at odds with each other and in aviation we always have to have one level of safety. It is very confusing to people when they are getting different messaging coming from different leaders. And that has been a challenge all the way along.

We're really grateful for the federal mask mandate that Biden put in place as soon as he was in office. Administrator Dixon a week earlier put in place the zero tolerance policy from the FAA, which means that you're going to go straight to those fines up to $35,000 for each incident, potentially jail time as well, and you may be banned from flying on that airline and maybe all of the airlines.

So, there are severe consequences here that we have to communicate to people and it's really good to have that backing from the federal government to make sure that flight attendants are not out there on their own just having to give people instructions and not have that backing.

But I'll tell you something, we tell people, put your seat belt on because when we hit turbulence we could hit clear air turbulence that sends you to the ceiling and when you come down you're going to hurt everyone else.

ACOSTA: Right.

NELSON: We don't say to, if you believe that seat belt is going to keep you in your seat, put it on. We say put it on for the safety and the safety of everyone else around you. And that's what we have to do with masks. Those kids in that commercial, they can't get vaccinated yet. They are on our planes. We have to protect them.

We have to protect -- we know in transportation that this is the main way that any virus will spread around the world. And so we have to continue to do our part. If we want to have freedom of flight, if we want to have independence from coronavirus, we've all got to do our part to make sure it happens. And we have to have consistent communication from leadership.

ACOSTA: Yes. And just to get this over with. That's the -- that's one of the other main reasons too. Are you and your peers taking any steps, any extra steps to prepare for dealing with these unruly, violent sometimes passengers? I mean, are they sending you off to martial arts school? What's happening?

NELSON: Well, actually, the TSA has restarted its crew member self- defense training for flight attendants.


NELSON: And so, we are getting back to those classes. We are continuing to look into our de-escalation tactics. But we're also asking that the airport staff up so that we've got more people scanning the airport to keep the problems off the plane. And alcohol -- we've asked for a pause on alcohol sales because alcohol is a major contributor to these events as well.

ACOSTA: All right. Sara Nelson, we hope things calm down up there especially I fly a lot, and appreciate all that you guys have done, all of the flight attendants, all of the members that have been flying us around the country during this pandemic, putting your lives at risk, your health at risk, your family's health at risk. We are very appreciative of that. And thanks so much for being with us today and Happy Fourth of July.

NELSON: Thank you, Jim. Happy Fourth of July.


ACOSTA: All right, thanks so much. And next, meet two survivors from the Florida condo collapse who escaped together and meet again on CNN for the first time.

But first, a quick look at the latest jobs numbers. Here is CNN's Christine Romans with "Before the Bell."

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim. Good news on the labor market. The economy added back 850,000 jobs in June. The strongest number since last August, and more than expected. Most of the job gains are a direct result of the economy reopening. There were big gains in leisure, hospitality, retail.

We saw added jobs in bars, restaurants, hotels and stores. They've been coming back to life over the past few months as vaccination rates rise. We also saw strong gains in education as more schools return to in-person learning at the end of the school year. But keep in mind, we're still down 6.8 million jobs since February

last year. The unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent last month, still above its pre-pandemic levels, but overall, the strong numbers coupled with the fact that wage growth hasn't been too out of whack, that's giving investors' confidence.

Last week the S&P 500 hit multiple record highs. Investors will be taking a break on Monday. Financial markets of course are closed for Independence Day. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.



ACOSTA: Any minute we expect an update from Surfside, Florida where we hope to learn the latest on the planned demolition about to happen there. Officials are planning to tear down the still standing portions of the building before Tropical Storm Elsa hits.

While family members anxiously await any news, we are hearing amazing stories of survival from some residents who were able to escape from the building in the early morning hours on June 24th. CNN's Randi Kaye introduces us to two of them who reunited again for the first time in front of our cameras.


ESTHER GORFINKEL, RESCUED BY NEIGHBOR: All of a sudden I hear boom and my bed shake and I see my apartment is shaking.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ehen Champlain Towers South shook in the middle of the night, Esther Gorfinkel was in bed on the fifth floor. The 88-year-old grandmother quickly made her way from unit 509 to the stairwell. Soon, Alfredo Lopez spotted her. He and his family had escaped apartment 605.

ALFREDO LOPEZ, HELPED RESCUE NEIGHBOR: I remember Esther told me that she had -- her knee was bothering her and that she wanted to stop. You know, I told her, you know, stopping is not an option, you know.

KAYE (on camera): There was no way you're going to let her stay in there.

LOPEZ: No. I juts, you know, like it just didn't even occur to me, you know. Like, I mean, I can't, you know, she's a human being.

KAYE (voice-over): But Esther couldn't walk on her own, so Alfredo picked her up, tossed her over his shoulder and carried her down.

LOPEZ: I don't know how many flights of stairs. It was -- it couldn't have been that many because I'm really not that strong.

GORFINKEL: He just picked me up. He just picked me up.

KAYE (voice-over): Esther and Alfredo hadn't seen each other since that terrible night when he saved her life, until we brought them together.

LOPEZ: How are you? Como estas?

GORFINKEL: I'm so happy.

LOPEZ: I'm so happy too. I'm so happy to see you. And, you know, we made it out, you know, so that's what's important, right?

GORFINKEL: Yes. That's important thing.

LOPEZ: Okay.

GORFINKEL: I'm so happy, you know. Up there, somebody's watching.

LOPEZ: Yes. Absolutely. It wasn't, you know, simply, you know, Esther, it just wasn't our time, you know.

KAYE (voice-over): Together they recounted their chance meeting in the stairwell and their narrow escape.

GORFINKEL: In that minute (ph) you don't talk. You don't say anything. Let's run, let's run, let's run. Let's go.

KAYE (voice-over): They made it to the garage but they still weren't out of danger. The garage ceiling had collapsed and water was ankle deep.

LOPEZ: There was one car that was pancaked on top of another car that was pancaked on top of huge slab of concrete.

KAYE (voice-over): After they cleared the garage, Alfredo put Esther over his shoulder once again and carried her to safety on the beach.

KAYE (on camera): What do you think about somebody who would do that?

GORFINKEL: They're thinking somebody else when they see that it is something bad. You know, you need to help each other in bad times too. There's no other choice. Remember, everybody having is a bad time. What I can tell you?

KAYE (on camera): It's just so beautiful that they helped you.

GORFINKEL: You know, in bad times, you help everybody. Whoever knocks in my door and need help, I give it to them. And then God give me the prize of my life because I did so many good things.

KAYE (on camera): How lucky do you feel today?

GORFINKEL: I know I'm lucky, very lucky to be here with my family (inaudible).

KAYE (voice-over): That night, Alfredo and Esther lost everything they owned but they escaped with their lives and a friendship that is sure to endure.

GORFINKEL: You made me very happy. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE (on camera): And it really was a team effort getting Esther out of that building safely. Another man did help, Albert Aguierro, and of course, she would like to thank him. He pulled as Alfredo pushed to get Esther out of that garage area.

And Esther also believes that her parents and her husband also had a hand in her getting out of there alive. She believes that they gave those men the strength to rescue her. And in speaking with Alfredo, he does suffer from a bit of survivor's guilt.


He got very emotional talking about the moment that he opened his apartment door to flee with his family and he looked at his next-door neighbor's apartment and it was just a big, black, gaping hole. The apartment was gone. And that still is haunting him to this day. I'm Randi Kaye in Surfside, Florida, back to you.

ACOSTA: In a moment, a new update on Tropical Storm Elsa and what it could mean for rescue efforts in Surfside, Florida. We'll be right back live in the CNN NEWSROOM.