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Golf Pro, 2 Others Found Dead at Georgia Golf Course; 11 Men Arrested after Hours-Long Standoff in Massachusetts; White Supremacist Group Marches Through Philadelphia; Security Concerns Grow Amid Escalating Violence in Afghanistan; Afghans Flee to Major Cities as Taliban Advances Continue; Jeff Bezos Steps Down as Amazon CEO; U.S. Sees Travel Surge Despite High Gas Prices, Variant Worries. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired July 5, 2021 - 13:30   ET



RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Folks come to the country club not only to play golf but to be a part of the community.

So Gene had an effect apparently on a lot of people here. In fact, that pastor was saying, it would lead the service. He would pick up trash. He would talk to people in the area. And this is something that's really affecting them.

Then when police go in that car, they find two more bodies, Boris. Apparently, one of the bodies is the owner of the truck.

Now, since then, people in this area are looking to see, hey, where is this manhunt going? What's the next step?

That's something they haven't heard from police yet. It's questions we're asking as well to figure out exactly what police know right now.

Are they following a cell phone? Do they have any leads? These are questions we'll continue to ask until we find out more about the investigation.

But obviously, Boris, a lot of people shocked and concerned about what's happening in this community.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Yes. No doubt. Hopefully, we get answers soon.

Ryan Young, from Kennesaw, Georgia, thank you.

Right now, serious concerns and questions about a group involved in a tense nine-hour standoff with police in Massachusetts.

The suspects were dressed in military style uniforms, carrying rifles, and telling police during a traffic stop that they don't recognize U.S. laws. You see some of them holding a flag there.

They posted this message online. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED "RISE OF THE MOORS" MEMBER: We are not anti-government. Our nation, which our flag is right here, has a treaty with your government.


SANCHEZ: Let's bring in CNN's Juliette Kayyem.

Juliette, thank you for joining us today.

Police arresting 11 men ranging from 17 to 40 years old. They seized weapons, including three A.R.-15 rifles.

I had never heard of this group before. Who are they?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So, they're relatively small group. Came out of the 1980s and 1990s, under the belief that they are a distinct group of African descendants who should not have to follow U.S. law. Their privileged elite.

But they never really rise to the level of great concern. They normally use something what we call paper terrorism. In other words, they would use the legal process, file funny lawsuits, file liens against people's property.

But this is a ratchet up -- a ratchet up that we've all been concerned of regardless of the group. In other words, extremism is bad. Violent extremism is scary.

You're seeing it across the board in the United States.

SANCHEZ: I want to ask about a different sort of extremism we saw in Philadelphia. Two-hundred members of the white nationalist group, Patriot Front, marching through downtown, chanting "the election was stolen," and "reclaim America."

This happened on July 3rd, the eve of Independence Day. The group had their faces covered. They had shields and flags.

What do we know about them, Juliette?

KAYYEM: Not that dissimilar to the Moor group. These are not just radicals or extremists. They are taking arms.

That's our biggest fear is the violent extremism. That's a danger to all of us.

What we know about this group is their Texas-based. They come to other states to protest.

And I think it's very important for viewers to recognize what's going on here. The big lie about the election is not a political mistake. I mean, a political statement. It's not about partisanship.

The big lie leads -- has a direct line to the violence and the increase in violence that we're seeing.

Because what these groups have done now is they've taken the big lie, things around stop the steal, and say it was stolen.

Think about that language. When you're a violent group, when something is stolen, you believe rightfully that you can get it back through violence.

That's what we're seeing across the white supremacy groups, across the radicalized right-wing supremacy groups. That's our biggest fear now.

There are other extremist groups. I'm not denying that.

But according to the FBI, it's that link between the big lie, elections, and violence that we're going to be facing until the party -- the GOP begins to really address what's festered within their ranks.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And there's no question there are major racial undertones to --


SANCHEZ: -- efforts to restrict voting in certain states.

KAYYEM: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: I want to ask you about how to stop this. These groups have gotten a major boost from social media.

How can officials better combat this kind of behavior? Can they?

KAYYEM: Yes, they can. I don't want people to think this is not going away.

Look, our goal -- we're not going to stop all bad ideologies in the country. We never have. So don't dream of a time that's never existed.

What we need to do is to stop the violence and violent extremism. So there's a couple of ways.

One is the continuing isolation of its leader. I don't mean the person planning it but the person who has been galvanizing it. That's clearly former President Trump.

His de-platforming must continue. His isolation from media, us not televising his speeches, is a counterterrorism effort at this stage.


The second is the prosecutions. These are very significant. The January 6th prosecutions of about 500 now, maybe a couple hundred more. Because what they do is they make it almost impossible for the groups to continue to organize and possible for them to recruit.

And they turn the members against each other, which is ideal and keen in many ways. We like them turning against each other rather than focusing on others.

The third is the community and social media. We saw in Pennsylvania that it was community members or counter-protesters who basically silenced the white supremacists.

Social media, I don't have much hopes for. They have not redeemed themselves lately.

But I think communities and communities coming out and saying, this is not us, is significant.

So I liked what happened in Pennsylvania this weekend. It was counter- protesters that shut down the white supremacists.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Let's hope we see more of that.

Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much for the time.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

So the clock is ticking on how the White House is going to go after terrorists once the last U.S. troops leave Afghanistan. There are new concerns about a potential civil war as the Taliban begins taking over the country.



SANCHEZ: Even with U.S. troops all but gone from Afghanistan, the Biden administration still hasn't finalized its policy for pursuing terrorists inside the country once the last troops have departed.

This comes as the "Wall Street Journal" is reporting Taliban fighters have already taken control of dozens of new districts since the U.S. abandoned Bagram Air Base last week.

Let's head over to the Pentagon and CNN's Oren Liebermann.

Oren, isn't time running out for the administration to make decisions about this policy?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Effectively, yes. There's a matter of weeks left until the U.S. is done with the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. The clock is ticking.

U.S. military leaders made it clear they'll continue counterterrorism strikes on suspected terrorists planning attacks against the U.S. homeland or the homeland of allies.

But the policies, the procedures, the approvals around that are still being discussed and debated.

Here's a look at some of the considerations. And these are challenges for the administration to work through this all of this in the remaining time.

One, the administration is considering raising the bar for carrying out the sorts of strikes. The levels, the discussions, the risk posed by these, raising the bar for when they're carried out.

Beyond that, they're debating whether to remove Afghanistan as a combat zone. Now that the fighting in Afghanistan is over, should it still be labeled a combat zone?

And that affects the approvals and considerations around when and where to carry out strikes.

Beyond that, there's a look at placing new criteria on CIA targets and the approvals process around that, making it more of an interagency dialogue, a policy decision, a political decision that requires an approval at higher levels.

Finally, because the CIA lost some of its bases in Afghanistan, it's become more difficult to intelligence gather and carry out these sorts of strikes.

All of these fold into a discussion the administration is having about how to continue its policy in Afghanistan. And this, Boris, is just one part of the ongoing considerations.

CIA strikes, what to do with 18,000 Afghan interpreters and their families. How to get them out safely to process their visas. What the relation will look like with Afghanistan. How to help the Aghan military.

All of these questions still need a decisive answer. And the time left to answer these questions is quickly running out.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And all of it happening amid violence already between the Taliban and Afghan forces there.

Oren Liebermann, from the Pentagon, thank you.

Let's head to Kabul now where we are learning that Afghans are fleeing to major cities as the Taliban advances following the U.S. pullout.

CNN's Anna Coren is standing by in Kabul.

Anna, it's clear the resistance to the Taliban has not been strong enough to stop them.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely not. In the last two months, since President Biden announced the U.S. withdrawal, we know more than 150 districts have fallen. And as you're reporting, dozens in the last few days, and weeks.

The Taliban has been mentioned. There's no denying it. We were at the air base today, which is where U.S. and NATO forces flew out of last Friday. And this was the first time we've been given access to the base.

We were speaking to Afghan military officials about what their plan was. How are you going to counter this -- these offensives carrying out around the country?

Now, the deputy defense minister, who we spoke to out there, said that they have the means, the resources, and the equipment, that the Americans have not abandoned them. And that they are preparing to mobilize and to launch attacks against the Taliban.

And, of course, there are times when they are reclaiming some of the territory, districts in the countryside.

But it's not enough, Boris, because we know that there are tens of thousands of Afghans that are fleeing these areas to escape the Taliban.


That was backed up by the United Nations today, that said 56,000 people were fleeing for provinces in the northeast, which is really where most of the fighting is taking place.

But it was interesting speaking to some of the other Afghan military officials today. Something I want to share with you.

We asked them, did you know that the United States were leaving the air base? They said we were told to erect a perimeter around the air base, which is 500-acre compound. It is absolutely enormous.

They erected that perimeter, and then the forces flew out. And he said to us, it was like an old friend leaving without saying good-bye.

A deep, deep sense of abandonment here in Afghanistan.

SANCHEZ: Incredibly difficult to imagine what Afghanistan's future is going to look like without the United States there.

Anna Coren, in Kabul, thank you so much.

A bit of a pivot now. The richest man on earth is stepping down from his job at Amazon. But maybe not how you think. We'll explain Jeff Bezos' next steps after a quick break.



SANCHEZ: Twenty-seven years after launching Amazon, today, Jeff Bezos is officially stepping aside as CEO.

Andy Jassy will now lead the company that Bezos founded and built into a trillion-dollar online mega retailer.

But Bezos is not completely letting go.

Christine Romans has more on what is next for the world's richest man.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Jeff Bezos is not your typical retiree. Later today, he steps down as Amazon's CEO, the company he founded, of course, that changed the way we shop and made him the world's richest man.

He founded Amazon 27 years ago in a garage in Washington state. It started as an online bookstore and became a global powerhouse.

At 57 years old, he retires with a nest egg approaching $200 billion.

Bezos is in a retirement league of his own. As Amazon's stocks soared, he has made more than $80 billion just since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when the world turned to online shopping in droves.

Bezos is handing off Amazon's day-to-day operations and the CEO title to Andy Jassy. The company says he will focus his energy on new products and early initiatives and spend more time on his space start- up, Blue Origin.

In just 15 days, he'll head to space on the first crewed flight of the New Shepherd, the rocket ship made by his company.

Boris, Bezos remains the executive chairman of the board at Amazon and is the largest individual shareholder so he will still have a tremendous influence at Amazon, potentially, for years.

But he is giving up the reins of the day-to-day operations -- Boris?


SANCHEZ: Christine Romans, thank you so much for that.

High gas prices are not slowing down travel plans for millions of Americans this weekend.

Let's check in on the numbers with CNN's Pete Muntean. He joins us live.

Pete, what a difference a year makes. A lot of people hitting the road and the skies this weekend.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It's so true, Boris. And this was expected to be a record-breaking holiday weekend for travel across the board.

Now is when the real headache begins. This is when everybody who left town for the long holiday weekend starts coming back home. And that's when AAA expects traffic in some major metro areas, like San Francisco and Boston, to be three times the norm. AAA anticipated about 43 million Americans would hit the road between

the 1st and the 5th. That number reflects about 90 percent of all travel overall.

And it's actually higher than where we were back in 2019, pre- pandemic, a 5 percent increase. So this is a new record.

All of this means traffic will be more congested and it will cost more.

The average price for a gallon of gas nationwide now above $3 a gallon. That's a dollar increase from where we were back in 2020 and a 7-year high. We have not seen prices this high since 2014.

One other factor in the mix is that there's a tanker-truck driver shortage, making it harder for stations in some rural communities to get gas.


ANDREW GROSS, AAA SPOKESMAN: So, on your trip, you may find a gas station in some small markets, independent stations, that don't have gas. Don't panic. Go to the station across the street or the station down the road. They will have gas.


MUNTEAN: All of this has not stopped people from driving. AAA says the top destinations are Orlando, Disneyworld, and Anaheim, Disneyland.

And one of the other factors is the fact that rental cars have become so expensive, an 86 percent increase in the last year, Boris. A lot of people just want to drive themselves and bypass that expense.

SANCHEZ: Yes, a lot of inefficiencies still in the economy as we recover from COVID. Good signs for the coming months, though.

Pete Muntean, from the side of the road somewhere in Virginia.

Stay safe, Pete. Thanks.

Well, a quick update for you now from the Vatican. The Vatican saying Pope Francis is in good condition, alert and breathing on his own after undergoing a scheduled three-hour surgery.


The pope who suffers from diverticulitis had to have half of his large intestine removed. The Vatican says the 84-year-old is going to spend a week in the hospital recovering.

Another health update from Europe. In England. Kate, the duchess of Cambridge, self-isolating after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

Kensington Palace says she's not experiencing symptoms but that she's going to following U.K. guidelines to isolate for 10 days.

Kate, who is fully vaccinated and gets tested regularly, got the news on Friday after attending a Euro 2020 soccer match and Wimbledon last week.

Hey, thank you all so much for joining me.

The news is going to continue with Alisyn and Victor after a quick break.