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THE SITUATION ROOM
Arthur Moves North After Lashing North Carolina; Flooding, Power Outages in North Carolina; July 4th Immigration Fight; Obama Swears in New Citizens
Aired July 4, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Jake.
Happening now, Arthur marches north. The Category 1 hurricane leaves parts of North Carolina underwater and is bringing high winds and heavy rains to the northeast as it eyes a new target.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR (voice-over): Clashes and violent protests followed the funeral of a murdered Palestinian teen. And Palestinian rocket fire followed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza. I'll ask Israel's former ambassador where this is headed.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's why if we want to keep attracting the best and the brightest from beyond our shores, we're going to have to fix our immigration system.
KEILAR: And July 4th immigration fight: as President Obama greets new citizens at the White House, would-be immigrants are greeted by angry protests in a California town. Wolf Blitzer is off today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Hurricane Arthur is now heading north. The Category 1 storm with 90- mile-an-hour winds still in now churning up the East Coast, and warnings are up from Cape Cod to Canada. Millions face dangerous conditions with heavy rains and potential flooding. And Arthur did not leave soon enough for many on the North Carolina coast, who are left with a lot of water in their homes and on their streets and not a lot of power.
Our correspondents are standing by with full coverage, and we begin with CNN's senior correspondent Joe Johns in Nags Head, North Carolina.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the sun is out here but people in North Carolina still aren't completely in the clear. Road repairs continue on the infamous Highway 12. This is the road we've been telling you about for the last three weeks that essentially connects north and south here in this part of North Carolina. That road is shut down right now. There are also concerns, real concerns about a bridge out there, the
Bonner Bridge. Engineers have been checking it out all day long to try to determine whether it's structurally sound and safe for traffic.
JOHNS (voice-over): Hurricane Arthur slammed the North Carolina coast as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of up to 100 miles an hour. In its wake thousands without power, flooding and damaged piers. Roofs ripped from houses. Uprooted trees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of rain. A lot of wind. Can't question Mother Nature. You know.
JOHNS: Some of the worst damage was inland and on the sound side of the Outer Banks that doesn't benefit from the natural protection of the sand dunes. The governor, who had urged residents and visitors to use their best judgment...
GOV. PAT MCCRORY, NORTH CAROLINA: Don't put your stupid hat on.
JOHNS: ... today...
MCCRORY: Happy Fourth of July.
JOHNS: ... is smiling.
MCCRORY: We are glad that the public took our warnings, and because of that, I think we've reduced the negative impact of Hurricane Arthur.
JOHNS: No serious casualties have been reported. But threats still remain as Independence Day celebrations resume.
MCCRORY: We're still evaluating some of the Outer Bank beaches. Please listen to lifeguards. Look at the warning flags. Do not get in the water if the lifeguards and local authorities say do not get in the water, because we could have rip tides further up, especially the northern beaches.
JOHNS: For John Lily, he's seen it before.
(on camera): Have you grown up in the area?
JOHN LILY, NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENT: Yes, sir. Nags Head.
JOHNS: So you've seen a bunch of these.
LILY: Many hurricanes.
JOHNS: So while Hurricane Arthur won't rank as one of the worst hurricanes to hit these shores, he might have been the most untimely.
For the Carolinians and those visiting the Atlantic coast beaches, Arthur wasn't a welcome holiday guest, and they're glad to see him go.
JOHNS: Power outages are also a concern here. The two major electricity providers were reporting as of this afternoon that there are only about 5,000 people out of power. That number greatly reduced from earlier this morning -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Sure is. Joe Johns for us. Thank you so much.
And let's turn now to CNN's Rene Marsh. She is in Beaufort, North Carolina, which is right where the storm came ashore -- Rene.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, we can tell you when the sun came up the Coast Guard took to the skies. They wanted to assess the damage. And this is what we can tell you. Trees downed, power out, and roads flooded. That's pretty much the extent of the damage that Arthur left behind.
The good news is no casualties and no serious injuries. Arthur pretty much turned out to be more of a nuisance more than anything else. You just heard Joe mention it. At the beginning this morning we knew that more than 40,000 people were without power. And at last check now that number down to more than 5,000 people.
Let's not forget a lot of these beach front towns had plans for Fourth of July fireworks. Namely the one that I'm in right now, Beaufort. But that's not happening today, despite sun and blue skies. Simply because they had this fear that Hurricane Arthur was going to wash out the show. So they will have fireworks tomorrow.
That being said, you know, we do know that there's still a little bit of work around town to be done. We see a lot of those downed trees, but they are moving really fast as far as getting that debris out of the roadways and getting the power back on for those customers.
But really when you talk to a lot of people here, this is a coastal community. They are very seasoned when it comes to hurricanes. So they really were not that impressed when it came to Hurricane Arthur -- Brianna.
KEILAR: It's really amazing. You can see the flooding in those pictures. And yet they're so ready for it. It's something that would be such an inundation for many other communities. Rene Marsh, thank you.
Arthur, though, you know, can still make life pretty miserable for millions as this thing is moving north. The latest forecast is just in. Let's check in with CNN meteorologist and severe weather expert Chad Myers.
What's it saying, Chad?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Down to 80 miles per hour, Brianna. You know what? Because it's getting into cooler water. The warm water is the fuel to the fire. The cold water, the cooler water makes it die. And that's what's going to happen by tonight. I don't even think this is going to even have, really, a name. It will probably be -- just be an extra tropical storm heading on up toward Halifax.
It's still going to affect Boston, though, the cape. Also eastern parts of Long Island getting very heavy rainfall at this hour. There is the eye right there moving, obviously, quickly now. Moving to the northeast at 26 miles per hour. That's a pretty good clip.
So I don't believe we're going to get any rain back into Baltimore. No rain. None of these outer bands back into D.C. That's good. Still seeing some chance of rain in New York. But because it's moving so quickly, really no chance of getting a lot of rain on that back side. That's the great news.
Here's the heavy rain for Boston all the way down to the cape itself and all the way up to the Maine coast. There still will be rip currents. There still will be rip currents this weekend as the storm rolls on up the East Coast, because the water and the waves are still going to come onshore, and all of that's still going to want to rush out. The same type of rip currents we had in the Carolinas yesterday.
That right there is a live picture of North Carolina 12. I dare you to find the concrete. Or the asphalt. Because it's not there. That's covered in sand. There are feet of sand that came in from the ocean. The beach should be back there about 100 yards. It's now right on the road. Still some flooding. They're getting bulldozers. It looked like they were moving snow out of the way today. That's how deep the beaches were here, covering the roadways.
So still not an open way to get out of North Carolina right now. The Outer Banks got hit. Finally seeing some of the bad pictures that we knew were out there. Sometimes that damage takes a little while to come in, because it's hard to get to that damage, Brianna.
KEILAR: Pretty amazing. You could go to sleep last night, not have beach front property, wake up and maybe you did. Pretty unbelievable.
All right, Chad Myers, thank you.
MYERS: You're welcome.
KEILAR: Now next, violent street clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem, and they're trading rocket fire and air strikes across the Gaza border. I'll be speaking with the former Israeli ambassador to the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And a July 4th fight over immigration. Protesters and counter-protesters square off in a California city. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KEILAR: Violent clashes broke out today between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem. Riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who are hurling stones and fire bombs. Dozens of people were hurt in it.
The violence erupted after hundreds marched in the funeral of a Palestinian teenager who was murdered this week. His death followed the killing of three Israeli teens.
CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman joining us now live from Jerusalem with the latest. Tell us about what happened today, Ben.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was really to be anticipated, Brianna, when the body of Mohammed Abu Khdair, that 16-year-old Palestinian whose body was found a day before yesterday in a Jerusalem forest. When that body came home, we knew it was going to be a stormy funeral and another day of clashes in Jerusalem.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Mourners carry the body of Mohammed Abu Khdair home. He's been dubbed Shalid Sahaja (ph), the dawn (ph) martyr, murdered by unknown abductors early Wednesday morning.
A killing Israeli police are still investigating, but he's widely believed to have been revenge for the murder of three Israeli teenagers, kidnapped last month.
Israeli police have blocked all entrances to the Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat, but that didn't stop thousands from attending the funeral.
Emotions here further inflamed by images captured by a Shuafat resident and broadcast on Palestinian television that appeared to show Israeli police beating and kicking a motionless man on the ground.
An Israeli police spokesman told CNN police and undercover agents have been operating in Shuafat but had no further comment.
The funeral was followed by more clashes. By nightfall Friday, more than 60 protesters and 13 policemen had been injured, as well as this correspondent, who was hit in the forehead with a rubber bullet. A minor wound, promptly treated by medics.
While Jerusalem smolders, Israel and Hamas in Gaza continue to exchange missile strikes and air strikes.
In April, the U.S.-led peace process collapsed. July, in a far darker process is in full swing.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WEDEMAN: And certainly here, Brianna, there are many people who are talking about a possible third intifada. Maybe too early to jump to that conclusion, but it's beginning to smell like it -- Brianna.
KEILAR: And certainly that is the concern. And I know you stressed then that it's a minor wound. I can see you have a bandage on your forehead. Tell us about, though, because this is what many people are going through there. Tell us about what happened.
WEDEMAN: Well, we were essentially right behind a group of Palestinian protesters who were throwing rocks at the Israeli police. The Israeli police were firing back with these rubber bullets.
Now, I was just taking off my helmet to put in an ear piece for a live shot like this one, and at that moment I saw just sort of in the instant a projectile coming toward my head, and then suddenly I found myself surrounded by my producer, Karim Khadar (ph), and the cameraman, Alessandro Gentile (ph), who were saying, "There's blood spurting out of your head."
So it -- it was messier than it was painful. And within half an hour we were up and broadcasting again. So it's not quite as dramatic as it looks.
KEILAR: Yes. Certainly looked pretty bad there. We're glad you're all right, Ben. Ben Wedeman for us. Appreciate it.
We want to go in depth now. Joining me from Tel Aviv is the former Israeli ambassador to the United States. He's our CNN Middle East analyst, Michael Oren.
Ambassador Oren, thanks so much for joining us at this point. And I want to kind of get to a point that we heard Ben make. He said it's starting to smell a little bit like a movement towards a third Intifada, but he said it's too soon to jump to that conclusion. Are you concerned about this? What's your assessment of that?
OREN: Good evening, Brianna. Happy Fourth of July holiday. And I'm glad to see that Ben's up and still reporting live.
Well, the situation is very tense in Jerusalem and in the environs today. Down south, as Ben mentioned, there's rocket fire. Israeli planes striking back. The sirens went off in southern Israel just a few moments ago. That indicated that another missile had been fired somewhere in the south.
But focusing in on Jerusalem and in the West Bank, the possibility of what the Palestinians would call a third Intifada cannot be ruled out. Paradoxically, the West Bank had been one of the most stable areas of the Middle East during this period of turmoil, seemingly immune from the civil strife in Syria and Iraq.
But the question is how long can that go on? Previously, Palestinians in the West Bank have been reluctant to engage in violence as they had in the past for a number of reasons. The economy was good. They had -- Palestinians had never entirely recovered from the previous Intifada from 2000 and 2005.
And also the Palestinian leadership under President Mahmoud Abbas had made a strategic decision not to engage in terror, because as long as Palestinians were not engaged in terror, then the international focus was on Israel and in particular on Israel's settlement policy.
KEILAR: And trying to put a little more pressure on Israel perhaps. When you look at what's going on -- and it's interesting. You hear the parents of both the Palestinian teen who was killed and these three Israeli teens, we're hearing family members there saying stop the bloodshed. Obviously, people aren't listening. What do you think it is going to take to bring some calm to this situation?
OREN: Well, tonight calm has been restored to parts of Jerusalem. The riots were taking place in one village, one neighborhood, Trafat. So it hasn't engulfed the entire city. Far from it yet.
KEILAR: Sir, I guess -- sorry to interrupt you. My point being an overall -- an overall calm. If you were to move toward some sort of general cease-fire, or really, we were expecting some of this violence could continue in the days to come, how do you -- how do you deal with that in the bigger picture?
OREN: The bigger picture would be the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, joining with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and together calling for an end to it.
But both leaders tonight, Brianna, are under tremendous pressure from hardliners within their -- within their own governments. There are ministers within the Israeli government who are talking about a more aggressive response, more robust response to the Hamas rocket fire from Gaza.
Israeli troops have been building up along that border throughout the past 48 hours. In Mahmoud Abbas's own government there are ministers who are calling for an end of security cooperation between the Palestinian security forces and the Israel Defense Forces.
So however you look at it, while there are many people out protesting and demonstrating in favor of greater -- greater acceptance, greater -- against discrimination, against violence, there are also forces that are mitigating that movement and -- and activating for even a more violent response.
KEILAR: And Ambassador, there is some closed-circuit television of what appears to be the abduction -- or what is the abduction, we believe, of the Palestinian teen, who was murdered. It's not great video, but there is something to it, and obviously, as investigators are looking at this, it does give them some clues.
We heard from some Palestinians who said the homes of the two suspects in the killings of the Israeli teens were destroyed. They want there to be ramifications when it comes to whoever is responsible for the death of the Palestinian teen. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that is a priority.
Do you see that being a priority, and is that something that you think is essential to maybe sort of restore some calm here?
OREN: The Israeli government and the prime minister in particular very anxious to get to the bottom of this. The situation, as we've said again and again, is very flammable, highly combustible; and finding those who perpetrated this terrible crime, it will be very important if we're to put an end to this round of tension and potential -- potentially escalating violence.
So I spoke to a senior police official today. He assured me that they are work around the clock to find those who -- those who murdered this 16-year-old Palestinian boy, Mohammed Abu Khdair, and to get to the bottom of it. And he assured me, whether the perpetrators are Palestinian or whether they're Israeli, they're going to come out immediately with their findings.
KEILAR: And their findings, are you pretty confident, having spoken with this official, that Israel -- that they will find the killer, Mohammed's killer or killers?
OREN: Well, the Israeli police are very proficient. And there is a crime scene. The body, I think has been mentioned, was -- was burnt. And some of the evidence, no doubt, was destroyed. But the Israeli police will continue.
Keep in mind that the perpetrators of the murders of the three Israeli boys are still at large, and authorities today are warning about the possibility that the two men who are being sought in those murders may strike again.
KEILAR: Certainly. And they are still at large at this point and have been missing since -- or have been certainly out of sight since the abductions of those three teens. And now their killings.
Ambassador Oren, thank you so much for your insight. Really appreciate it.
And coming up, a California city is the epicenter of a nasty fight over immigration. Is that any way to celebrate the Fourth of July? We will be taking you right there.
And also this. The three female justices on the Supreme Court are once again on the losing end of a decision involving contraception. The majority, all male.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: It's been a July 4th fight over immigration. Protesters and counter-protesters today again squared off in a California city. And at the center of it all, the transfer of migrants arrested for entering the United States illegally.
Let's go live now to CNN national correspondent, Kyung Lah. She is in Murrieta, California.
You're right there, Kyung. Set the stage for us.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a very hot day. Some people are going through heat exhaustion. This is an issue that's inflaming a lot of passions here.
And I want you to try to peek past the officers here. Every once in a while, about every 20 minutes or so, there's a scuffle where officers have to become involved, try to separate the two sides, because they are so far apart.
This is really a microcosm of what's happening on a larger scale. The two sides that simply cannot see eye to eye.
We are waiting here, and the reason why all the protesters are here is because, if you look at our other live camera, this long road that you're looking at, the anticipation is that there may be an additional 140 undocumented immigrants that are coming to this Border Patrol station. Immigrants coming here because the stations in Texas are simply too full.
So why come out here? Why spend the Fourth of July this way? Here's what one protester told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY SPENCER, PROTESTOR: I love -- we're a nation of immigrants. You know, we're -- most of us have immigrants from somewhere. This isn't about that. It's about we're a nation with borders. We're a nation with laws. We have orderly immigration policy so that people are safe, so our citizens are safe, so that people that are trying to get here are safe. You know, we're not a borderless nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: So that's one half of the debate.
The other half is, is that this is a humanitarian crisis, that this -- this is women and children who are coming here and that need a safe place to stay, even if they are coming across the borders illegally.
But you know, what we're seeing here, Brianna, is a lot of words. A lot of yelling today. But so far we have not seen any fists being thrown -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you so much for giving us a look there at Murrieta, California. And this showdown that Kyung was talking about near the border, it
comes as President Obama today celebrated the swearing in of new U.S. citizens, immigrants themselves.
Let's turn now to CNN's Athena Jones. She's at the live House -- or at the White House, I should say, live.
And tell us about it. This was a pretty special ceremony today.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was. Hi, Brianna.
The ceremony today was celebratory. It was positive. It was far removed from the crisis we've seen unfolding in border states.
The president praised these service members for volunteering and signing up for the U.S. military, potentially risking their lives even before becoming citizens. And he said that America should make it easier, not harder, for the best and the brightest to come to this country and to stay here.
OBAMA: And happy Fourth of July. This is one of my favorite events to do.
JONES (voice-over): While President Obama was celebrating new citizens at the White House...
OBAMA: To these 25 men and women, service members and spouses, it is an honor to join everyone here for the first time in calling you our fellow Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
JONES: Across the country more protests from people who don't want undocumented immigrants brought to their community for processing.
SPENCER: We're a nation of immigrants. You know, we're -- most of us have immigrants from somewhere. This isn't about that. It's about we're a nation with borders. We're a nation with laws.
JONES: Earlier this week about 100 protesters turned back three busloads of undocumented immigrants from Central America, many of them women and children. They were detained in Texas and flown to California, a move meant to ease the overstressed border control efforts along the Rio Grande.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: The rapid influx of illegal immigration --
JONES: Appearing at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing Thursday, Texas Governor Rick Perry talked about the strain on his state.
PERRY: Officials who should be guarding the border are dealing with the overflow instead of fulfilling their primary task. So as a result the border between the U.S. and Mexico is less secure today than any time in the recent past.
Reporter: Perry wants the president to increase the number of Texas National Guard units protecting the border. The president has asked Congress for $2 billion to add more resources on the border and says that if Republicans in Congress won't act on immigration he will.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to keep doing everything I can do to keep our immigration system smarter and more efficient.
JONES: And as the debate over this hot-button issue rages on Private First Class Oscar Vanegas Gonzales, sworn in at the White House today, wants Americans to understand why he left Guatemala behind to become an American citizen.
PFC. OSCAR VANEGAS GONZALEZ, U.S. MARINE CORPS: It's a great nation. I want to be a part of this. There are so many options and opportunities of just being someone here in the United States of America.
JONES: Now the president visits Austin and Dallas, Texas, next week, but a trip to the border is not on the schedule. At least so far -- Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Athena Jones at the White House, thank you.
And I do want to mention to our viewers that you saw the protest there in Murrieta, California. We will actually be speaking with the mayor of Murrieta about his city, which has become, as we heard Kyung say, sort of ground zero in this immigration fight on this July 4th. We'll have him next hour.
But let's dig deeper now with CNN political commentator and Republican strategist Kevin Madden and Democratic strategist Jennice Fuentes.
And first to you, Jennice, we hear President Obama talking specifically -- or not talking specifically yet, I should say, but we're waiting for that. About what he's going to do to take some action on his own now that immigration reform appears dead in this Congress. Specifically, what can he really do without Congress?
JENNICE FUENTES, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ: Whatever he's going to do is going to be very inadequate and incomplete because it will not be any kind of immigration reform passed, which passed in the Senate and the House refused to pick it up. So whatever he's going to do is never an answer that's going to last but it's going to have a little sense, logic, and be humane. And I suspect what he's going to do will be something similar to what
he did for the Dreamers, the kids who came here as children and grew up as Americans but don't have a status. And today they're not legalized. I don't want to confuse the viewer. But they have a way to pay taxes and to work.
I suspect he's going to do the same thing to the parents of those kids, who have a reason to stay here because the kids are now safe being here. For the time being.
KEILAR: And that would certainly be a very big move. And obviously, Democrats, Kevin, are looking at this, and they think that in a midterm election year where Republicans were spurred to vote in bigger numbers than Democrats.
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
KEILAR: They're hoping to make their base be a little more enthusiastic. Are Republicans worried about that?
MADDEN: Well, look, I don't know if this is still an issue that is rising to the top of many people's concerns, that's going to be a driving a lot of voter decisions in many of these swing districts in the House races and in some of these battlegrounds. But it very well could. I mean, we still have five -- five months to go until Election Day. But I really do think that one of the things that's hurting the president right now is the American people have -- have lost confidence in his ability to be a strong executive.
And they also see a lot of chaos. They see chaos on our border right now. And that doesn't bode well for the president, his leadership ratings and his overall approval ratings, and his overall approval rating is what's driving a lot of Democrat anxiety in the 24 midterm races.
KEILAR: OK. So when you look, you even said that whatever President Obama does it might not be that big of a deal.
FUENTES: It will be inadequate. It won't be enough.
KEILAR: You call it inadequate, it's not enough. Is that something that would really let's say spur Hispanic voters, who tend to vote Democratic to the polls in the midterm elections?
FUENTES: Remember that for the famished a morsel is a feast. These immigrants have nothing. Yet why are they here? Let's think in terms of business and let's think of the reality of the issue. They're here because there are 8.5 percent -- 8.5 million immigrants, somewhere between 6 and 8.5 million undocumented immigrants are in our workforce. That's over 5 percent of our workforce, 16 percent of the workforce in Texas is undocumented immigrants. Half of the work force of agriculture.
The tomatoes, the lettuce, the cucumbers, everything -- that we eat, 15 percent of the people that pick them and bring them to the store are undocumented. So I think it's time to basically face the fact that they're important to our economy and what we have to do to bring them into the fold because all this underground economy it only pushes all of our wages down and the conditions down and that is not a way to live in this country.
KEILAR: Real quick, final word if you have any input on -- she's saying it's an economic argument but a lot of Republicans feel that way --
MADDEN: I agree with that. And I always say, like, everybody up on Capitol Hill wants immigration reform. Where we differ is on the specifics. I think what's really crucial here and it's missing are two things -- bipartisanship and presidential leadership. And the presidential leadership is really crucial because he's the one who can go up there and build the big coalitions, talk to Gutierrez, at the same time talk to Goodlat, the people who are up there responsible with crafting the bill in a way that's going to getting something done.
And I think that's been missing. Instead it has become a political flashpoint and that's not really good for legislation.
FUENTES: But it's Congress who makes the laws. So it is not the president. So Congress should have picked up the bill passed by the Senate last year and made it --
KEILAR: Well, there's no doubt that you --
MADDEN: He signs it but he needs to work with them in order --
KEILAR: But they do need to be talking but they all seem to have a problem with each other, I will say having covered this from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue the last few years myself.
We're going to be talking a lot more. So stick around, you guys.
Next we have the Supreme Court issues. Well, it's issued this order in the newest challenge in the battle over birth control coverage. It is -- this is two this week, folks. And this has three women on the court delivering a fiery dissent.
Also later, Fourth of July in Washington. Hundreds of thousands are filling the National Mall for a beautiful capital city celebration.
KEILAR: Now for the second time in a week all three female Supreme Court justices have been on the losing end of a decision involving contraception, facing off against an all-male majority. The court weighed in yet again on Obamacare's contraceptive coverage requirement which comes on the heels of that big hobby lobby case on Monday.
This time it was an emergency injunction for Wheaton College. This is a Christian college. And it says that the school doesn't even have to sign a waiver that would give a third party the ability to provide coverage for contraception.
Republican strategist Kevin Madden and Democratic strategist Jennice Fuentes are staying with us on this. But first I want to bring in CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown. She's joining us with the details on this.
And we really -- I mean, this dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, she seems very upset.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean, all three female justices in the high court are really fired up over this. In fact, this blistering dissent, as you pointed out, Brianna, is 15 pages written by Sonia Sotomayor talking about the all-male majority decision for the second time this week having to do with the contraception mandate. She's joined by Kagan and Ginsburg in this dissent saying that essentially with this emergency injunction that the government is sowing even more confusion and putting undue burden on the government with additional layers of costs and bureaucracy.
In fact here's what she says. She says, "The court has no reason to think that the administrative scheme it foists on the government today is workable and effective on a national scale."
And in fact, Brianna, she goes as far as to say that what the court did undermine confidence in this institution because it's at odds to some degree with what the court had decided on Monday with Hobby Lobby. In that decision it gave these closely held companies the option to opt out of the mandate but they still would have to sign a waiver.
I want to point out quickly, though, it's worth noting that it's unusual for a justice to offer such a strongly worded dissent on an injunction, which is pretty routine. In fact, in January the justices gave the exact same exemption to another religious organization and there was no public dissent. That goes to show just how contentious this issue is in the wake of Monday.
KEILAR: Yes. The little sisters.
KEILAR: The Catholic charity.
KEILAR: All right. Let's open this up for discussion here. It's a midterm election year. We talked about this when it came to immigration. This is something -- you know, even though this is a loss I would say for Democratic voters, they would not be in favor, most of them, on what the Supreme Court has done in both of these instances. Doesn't it kind of fire them up and get them to the polls? I mean, I'm going to ask you again, Kevin, do Republicans worry --
MADDEN: You're asking me whether or not Democrats are going to get fired up?
KEILAR: I'm saying, do Republicans worry about this?
MADDEN: I think Republicans are animated about this issue on the religious liberty terms as well as some court --
KEILAR: Do you think it balances out?
MADDEN: I think largely the 2014 debate is going to break down along a larger Obamacare narrative. And this is a loss for Obamacare in the sense that it was once again ruled unconstitutional, at least a provision of it was ruled unconstitutional, and any re-litigation of Obamacare is bad for Obama and bad for the Democrats.
KEILAR: So it emboldens, you think, it emboldens Republicans in thinking that this argument they've been making, that they're sort of seeing headway on that?
MADDEN: Correct. And what people's impact on Obamacare, the impact Obamacare has had on people has been largely negative in so many of these swing districts and so many of these battleground states. And then you look at the Senate battleground states. I don't think that Senator Pryor is really interested in litigating this along the religious freedom lines.
MADDEN: In a place like Arkansas.
MADDEN: And particularly in a state where Obama, his national approval rating is lower than -- or his approval rating in that state is lower than it is nationally.
KEILAR: So you think this even plays when you're talking about these sort of purple areas, where Democrats don't even agree with?
FUENTES: This is a huge issue. And I think that just to quote the justice again, she said this is a pointless complexity into an already confusing system. If you look at it, woman voters, more than 90 percent of women use contraception at some point in their life, regardless of their religion. So I think that this will motivate women to think well, what about religious beliefs, what about the rights of the individual, and why is a court saying that a corporation that's for profit has the same rights as an individual.
I think there's great confusion and there's not one single word in the Religious Restoration Act that says that the protection of the rights of a for-profit corporation is all about the individual. So this is definitely a complexity.
KEILAR: And the court was accorded. You know, his opinion very known on this however. And this is what really strikes me, Pam. This has is just the beginning. These are just a couple of the cases. There are many more, right?
BROWN: Yes. I mean, this is just the tip of the iceberg. This is really just Chapter 2 of what could be a very long saga. In fact, right now there's around 100 cases challenging this contraception mandate in the pipeline right now in the lower courts. So this is really sort of setting the stage of what's to come. And not only that but with this ruling on Monday, which essentially the court giving -- saying that these closely held companies have religious liberty rights, now we could see more companies bringing lawsuits on religious freedom grounds. So this could really open the Pandora's box.
KEILAR: You think there's 100. There may be hundreds coming this way.
Pam, Kevin, Jennice, thank you to all of you.
Now coming up, what better way to celebrate Independence Day than here in the nation's capital? That's why we're doing it, right? And as you can see, Washington's National Mall really starting to fill up for these festivities.
Also later, growing up in the White House. Did you know first daughter Malia Obama is turning 16 today?
KEILAR: A very happy July 4th to you, as we are taking live pictures at the White House. A special celebration going on there, as we are listening to the Marine Corps Band and you're seeing folks there enjoying all the sights and sounds. We're actually expecting President Obama to speak here not too long, in the next hour, and we'll be bringing that to you live, when he has his Fourth of July message.
I'll tell you, I've lived a lot of places, and there's really nothing like celebrating July 4th in the nation's capital. So that's why we want to give you a sense of what that is like. And we're going to actually head to the National Mall right now, where Sunlen Serfaty is.
Tell us what it's like. People must be getting ready for the big show.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are, Brianna. This is the iconic setting, of course, to watch the Fourth of July. Between 100,000 and 200,000 people are expected to come out here today.
Now I want to show you this over here. This is prime real estate. I think you could call it the best seat in the house. That's why some people started showing up here seven hours ago just to claim their spot. More than 6,000 fireworks will be set up overhead here between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. There will be performances by Patti Labelle, Frankie Valle, Jordan Sparks and the Muppets.
Now I have to tell you I am joined right now by one of the early arrivals. This is Bart and Rebecca Anwood (ph), you're from Mississippi. This is your first time here for the fireworks. How early did you come out this morning?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got out about 11:00 for the parade. And it was supposed to start at 11:45. So we've got there to try to get a good seat for that. We waited and enjoyed that, and then made our way over here. So I guess we got out here probably about 1:00. So we've been here a good best of the day.
SERFATY: And Bart, tell me how excited you are to be here. This is your first fireworks display. What are you looking forward to the most?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just all of the people here and just the flavor of America, the expression of just the patriotic expression tonight and the fireworks that are just going to explode. And have just a great time tonight.
SERFATY: And I've been watching your family. You have a picnic all set up over there. American flags on the ground, your son is particularly excited to be here. Tell me what you loved about observing the National Mall on our Independence Day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's just so much to see. I mean, of course all the international activities we visited and walked through that and then just enjoying all the people that are coming in just to celebrate our country's birthday.
SERFATY: And so many people there, I should tell you, Brianna, that one of the people who will be watching this fireworks display is President Obama and the first family just blocks away from the south lawn of the White House -- Brianna.
KEILAR: That's right. And those folks there have a view as good as the president does, people from all over there on the National Mall.
Sunlen, thank you very much.
And you know there is another birthday to celebrate here on the nation's capital today. Malia Obama. She was just 10 when her father entered the White House, well, now she is old enough for her driver's license. Scary day for many parents, I would say.
CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski joining me now from the North Lawn with more on Malia's 16th birthday -- Michelle.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna, what kid wouldn't love this for their super sweet 16? Right? Living at the White House, Fourth of July, but I guess in the true spirit, we always what we don't have, the Obamas are now talking about how much their now teenage daughters just want to be normal.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): Malia and Sasha Obama were 10 and 7 years old --
MALIA OBAMA, FIRST DAUGHTER: I love you, Daddy. KOSINSKI: Just little kids when they first stole America's attention
at the 2008 Democratic convention.
SASHA OBAMA, FIRST DAUGHTER: I love, Daddy. Bye.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Love you, sweetie. You're great.
KOSINSKI: Michelle Obama even once led a crowd singing happy birthday to young Malia on the campaign trail. And since then quietly, mostly behind the scenes, they have suddenly become young women. Yes, two trend-wearing, gum-chewing, selfie- snapping, joke-sharing, occasionally bored-looking teenagers now at the White House. As the song goes --
KOSINSKI: Malia now sweet 16. Thinking about colleges, getting her learner's driving permit, and generally looking to avoid her parents and all the trappings of non-normalcy just like any teenager often would.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: They want nothing to do with us.
JIMMY FALLON, THE TONIGHT SHOW: Really?
MICHELLE OBAMA: No. I am so serious. I mean, Malia's like, Dad, please, just don't come to my school.
M. OBAMA: Just keep your SWAT team and your -- and you know, they really want normalcy. And the White House isn't normal.
FALLON: It's not, no.
M. OBAMA: So they go other places. And so, I'll say, don't you want to invite your friends over to watch a movie? She's like no one wants to come here.
KOSINSKI: The president, though, finding those armed Secret Service pretty handy for a dad of teenage girls who are allowed to date if they'd like.
B. OBAMA: I trust them to make good decisions. And the second thing is I've got men with guns following them around all the time. So that kind of makes me a little less nervous about --
STEVE HARVEY, TV/RADIO PERSONALITY: Could I use them? What have I got to do to get some of these Secret Service --
B. OBAMA: This is the main reason I ran for re-election.
HARVEY: Because you knew it was coming.
B. OBAMA: I knew it was coming. I said let me just project out. I'm going to have them covered for most of high school.
KOSINSKI: President Obama has several times now lamented that his girls go out with their friends, leaving less time for family moments. Here, a dad's angst after trying to buy them some clothes at Gap once.
B. OBAMA: Some of you may have seen the very attractive sweaters that I purchased for my daughters. They have not worn them yet. So if they're listening, make me feel good. Just wear it one time.
KOSINSKI: The family's keeping it private exactly how they'll ring in this milestone with Malia here on Independence Day. But as far as Americans' super sweet 16s go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But what's a sweet 16 without a huge gift?
KOSINSKI: We guess it will be a lot more normal if elegant Malia gets her wish than many might imagine for this first daughter.
KOSINSKI: So the president and the first lady are just about to host a big barbecue here for military families. We may even see Malia appear with them at some point tonight -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Michelle, well, a very happy 16th birthday to her. That is a really big deal. Thanks for that report. That was great.
And you know, the White House is marking the Fourth of July not just with that barbecue but with the help of social media. First Lady Michelle Obama enlisted the four-legged family members for her Independence Day message on Vine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. OBAMA: Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Right, guys?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Up top for the Fourth of July, I guess.
President Obama expected to deliver his Fourth of July remarks at the top of the hour. And when he does, we will be bringing those to you live.
Also coming up, is the U.S. military about to get more deeply involved in the Iraqi nightmare? Some very blunt talk from America's top generals.