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Law Enforcement Ramps Up Across U.S.; Fireworks Malfunction in Colorado; Shark Attack Fears; Pataki Calls on GOP to Denounce Trump; Law Enforcement on High Alert for July 4; NAACP Prepares for Confederate Flag Protests. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 4, 2015 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: The next hour of your NEW DAY begins now.


KOSIK: America on alert. Security beefed up across the country. Many heavily armed and on guard against the potential July 4th terror attack.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Look at this, a fireworks malfunction, nine people hurt in this misfire in Colorado. A shell explodes in the launch tube instead of in the air.

KOSIK: And swimmers are weary aAlong the Carolina coast after ten shark attacks already this year. That's almost double the average. Why more sharks could be coming closer to shore.

Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik, in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Happy Fourth to you.

And as millions of Americans celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. Officials are warning, asking you, be vigilant.

KOSIK: States across the country, from Michigan to New York, to New Jersey, and Washington, they're all ramping up security efforts, bringing in extra law enforcement as officials warn celebrations could be the target for terror attacks.

BLACKWELL: So far, there have been no specific threats but intelligence officials say there has been an increase in chatter in the days leading up to the anniversary of the nation's founding.

KOSIK: We're covering this story from every angle this morning, from how officials are tracking the threat to the extra security you'll see on the streets of New York and D.C.

Let's start with Sunlen Serfaty live at the National Mall.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alison and Victor, good morning to you. Well, hundreds of thousands will gather here on the National Mall later today. And while this sort of major security presence, it isn't anything new for Washington during the Fourth of July, those particularly strong warnings coming from the intelligence community warning of a potential attack, have officials on edge.


SERFATY (voice-over): Ramped up security across the nation on this holiday. In Washington, check point for those watching the fireworks, with more than 18,000 feet of fencing in place to protect the National Mall. Special patrols at Washington landmarks and a heavy police presence, authorities say, in those seen and unseen ways.

LT. ALLAN GRIFFITH, U.S. PARK POLICE: We prepare for worst-case scenarios and we have contingencies in place should they occur. We don't anticipate that they will.

SERFATY: Much of the anxiety stems from a bulletin issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, warning of potential attacks by ISIS this holiday weekend.

U.S. officials say there's no intelligence about specific or credible plots, but there has been an uptick of chatter from ISIS, encouraging their followers to attack during this time. The dominant concern, homegrown violent extremists, supporters of ISIS within the U.S., who may be inspired to carry out their call to action.

ASH CARTER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: In the year of social media and phenomenon like ISIL, unlike al Qaeda of the old days, there doesn't have to be and won't necessarily be a commanding control relationship between somebody who instigates an incident and ISIL as an organization. There are self-radicalized, self-organized people on social media.

SERFATY: These so-called lone wolf attacks are a challenge for the intelligence community, much harder to pick up ahead of time. It's not just in Washington. Police forces across the nation including New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, are on high alert and not just in the streets but online.

GRIFFITH: There are people assigned, monitoring, monitoring, social media, and known websites.

SERFATY (on camera): Looking for any specific --

GRIFFITH: That's correct, any kind of watch words. So, it's constantly being monitored.


SERFATY: These threats likely won't go away with the holiday. Law enforcement officials are also worried about a potential attack given than it also is the holy month of Ramadan, which lasts until the 17th of this month. So, likely, this sort of anxiety, increased security posture could last until at least then -- Alison and Victor.

KOSIK: OK. Sunlen Serfaty, thanks. And from the National Mall, we head to Penn Station in New York where

Boris Sanchez is covering the security efforts there.

So, Boris, Governor Cuomo calling New York a top target for threats. How is the security different there? Because I know, I live there, and there's a lot of security every day. But what's different this time?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Penn Station, we're seeing an expanded law enforcement presence, Alison. About 42 million Americans are going to be traveling this holiday weekend. So, officials are focusing on travel hubs like Penn Station.

Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he was going to have extra patrols and staffing at emergency operation center here in the city, that aside from the fact that law enforcement tells us they're going to have snipers and spotters in key, strategic locations throughout New York City. They're also scanning for explosives and radioactive devices from land, sea, and air.

[07:05:01] We also know they have 7,000 cameras across the city looking for any suspicious activity.

Officials tell us they will be ready for any kind of attack.


JOHN MILLER, NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: So, when you look at that diversity of techniques, you also see that they are following the ISIS call, and the ISIS call, as well as that of other terrorist groups, has been to use what you have on hand, and that means if you can make a bomb, you're a bomber. But if you can't, use a gun. You can't find a gun, use a knife. If you can't find a knife, use a car.

So, when we look at that, that is a broad spectrum of threats and it's something to prepare for.


SANCHEZ: The governor also asking New Yorkers to stay vigilant, look for anything that seems out of place. And report it to officials immediately. Clearly, this will be a busy weekend for law enforcement, Alison.

KOSIK: Boris, any indication so far that fewer people will come out to watch the Fourth of July festivities in light of this perceived threat?

SANCHEZ: Not really. I've spoken to several people here and they say that they noticed the expanded law enforcement presence, but it's not something that really bothers them. Most people I've spoken with want to have a happy Fourth of July.

KOSIK: And hopefully they will. Boris Sanchez from New York, thanks so much. BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk more now. We've got CNN law

enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes. Here in studio, I have with me, CNN law enforcement analyst, Cedric Alexander.

And, Cedric, I want to start with you and pick up on something that Boris just reported -- 7,000 cameras monitoring from the ground, from the air, on the water, every city ain't New York City.


BLACKWELL: There are finite resources. How does someone in your position, in local law enforcement, determine which celebration, which landmark to watch when you only have so many officers?

ALEXANDER: Well, oftentimes you only have so much available resources. And, of course in a particular time like this, Victor, a lot of work that we do depends on intel information that we receive. So, we can distribute our resources accordingly.

I give an example here in DeKalb County, Georgia, for example. You have the Stone Mountain, and there, we're expecting today of 100,000 people in that park. So, we are putting out all of the necessary resources that we have available, working with our state, local, and federal partners as well, too.

So, at a time like this, regardless of what city you're in, whether New York City, or small town in Alabama, it really doesn't matter. All of the available resources and support from all agencies come together to support large communities and small communities, very much as we can. And we tend to do a very good job at it.

BLACKWELL: I'm going to come out to you with the bulletin we've reported on to local law enforcement. How much more are these departments afforded? Is it just the bulletin that's made public or is there supportive information, support documents that's sent as well?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Victor, in virtually every major city in the country, the FBI and the state and local law enforcement agencies work together on the Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

Now, the officers from the departments that are assigned to that work full time, they have top-secret security clearance, they have access to everything. So, in the event something comes across, the local police agencies will be notified. It's just there has not been anything specific received this holiday regarding any particular attack related to the holiday.

Now, as mentioned, ISIS has put out this continuous drum beat of "go kill" and now in particular, during Ramadan, they've told everybody in the world, go kill, and you get extra rewards in heaven if you do.

And we immediately, last Friday, saw -- at beginning of Ramadan, saw three attacks on three continents. Luckily not here. So, the fear they have and the fear that we all have is not that

there's something, you know, huge that's going to happen, but with 330 million people in this country, it really only takes one to take a butcher knife out of their kitchen, run out and attack somebody and we've got an intelligence failure. That's the problem -- if one person is deciding to do something and doesn't post anything on social media or tell his friends or family, you're asking law enforcement to read their minds, which can't be done.

BLACKWELL: Which puts a lot of the onus on every American. I mean, without the chatter, Cedric, you've got to go to people in their neighborhoods to -- I don't want to say watch or surveil, but be aware of anything that seems out of the ordinary.

ALEXANDER: One of the most viable resources are our communities. And, certainly, if you just think about what Tom just mentioned, you think about the fact you do have and can have lone wolves. So, we work off of as much intelligence information as we can. But in local communities, regardless of where we are, it's very important that we all are very vigilant.

[07:10:02] But it's also important if we see something, truly say something. It can't just be a slogan.


ALEXANDER: It really has to be a part of the whole strategy of what we do.

So, our communities across the country play a very significant role in working with law enforcement, in helping to assist if we see something, over this period of time, this holiday period, that is very important that we share that information with our local agencies.

BLACKWELL: Tom, quickly -- ahead of this weekend, is it -- is it likely that FBI agents have gone beyond just surveilling some of the people who are under question, that they've actually gone to meet with them and speak with them?

ACOSTA: Well, they've been doing that continuously, Victor. And the decision is a difficult one to decide when to arrest people, when to take the case down. If you think you have everybody in that conspiracy identified, there's nobody else out there that you'll miss that can go do an attack because they're warned when you arrest some of their partners, they'll take the case down.

And if they have enough evidence to prosecute, they can't just take people into custody. You know, this is America. We can't arrest people for what they're thinking. They actually have to start something as an overt act toward committing a crime.

BLACKWELL: All right. Tom Fuentes, Cedric Alexander, thank you both.

ALEXANDER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Alison? KOSIK: Failure to launch. A misfire at a fireworks display in Colorado leaving several people hurt. A live update coming up, next.

Plus -- check this out. Close call for a fisherman in Florida. He was casting for grouper but got a bigger bite than he bargained for. What can the reason be for more shark attacks and sightings along the East Coast?

And look at this, a baby floating in the water alone almost a mile from shore. You may be surprised how she got there. That's coming up.


[07:15:12] KOSIK: New this morning, a fireworks display turns frightening in Colorado. Listen to this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God, that's not good.


KOSIK: That malfunction happening during a show last night. Nine people were injured. Instead of firing into the sky, a shell exploded in its tube and then it landed in the crowd.

Joining me now on the phone is Virginia Egger. She's the town manager of Avon, Colorado.

Virginia, thanks for joining us.

VIRGINIA EGGER, TOWN MANAGER, AVON, COLORADO (via telephone): Yes, thank you. Good morning.

KOSIK: Good morning.

So, we know that nine people were treated for minor burns and then released. Is that really the extent of the injuries here?

EGGER: Yes, that is the extent of the injuries in a crowd of 20,000 people. So, we feel very fortunate that that was the outcome from what appeared to be quite scary from the outset.

KOSIK: Absolutely. I know that you're trying to figure out what happened here and that an investigation was launched immediately after this happened. Has anything -- anything been figured out yet?

EGGER: No, not as of this morning. Of course, it was, you know, mid- evening when the accident occurred. So everything was secured and our fire district and the producer of the event immediately went to work to try to determine what the cause of the accident was.

KOSIK: Was this the first kind of show or do you guys do this often -- for the Fourth of July?

EGGER: We have an annual July fireworks. We do it the evening of July 3rd. It's the 29th year. We've never had a failure of any kind in the past.

KOSIK: Any other shows for tonight?

EGGER: No, not in our town. There are other shows in the valley but not here.

KOSIK: All right. Hopefully, you'll figure out what happened here. So it won't be repeated next time.

Virginia Egger, thanks so much for your time.

EGGER: Have a good day. Happy Fourth of July.

KOSIK: To you, as well.

BLACKWELL: Beaches along the Carolina Coast are on alert for sharks this weekend. With almost double the average number of attacks so far this year, what's drawing sharks so close to shore? We'll have a live report from one of the beaches that's keeping a close eye on the water.


[07:21:15] KOSIK: Whoa, incredible video there capturing a man swimming for his life after a shark flipped him off his kayak into the middle of the ocean.

Ben Chancey was fishing for a goliath grouper when the eight-plus foot bull shark knocked him into the shark -- well, I shouldn't say shark infested, sharks in the water off the coast of Florida. Quick thinking captain swam to safety on a support boat.

But then, crazy enough, he hopped back into the kayak to finish what he started and unhook the massive meat eater.

He spoke to CNN last night about his adventure.


BEN CHANCEY, CAPTAIN, CHEW ON THIS FISHING CAHERTERS: I made it to safety and we flipped the kayak back over. And at that point in time, I felt like the shark had won the battle. I thought I was winning but when he flipped me over, I felt like I lost the battle and it was kind of vindication, hopping back in, and finishing it off. You know, it's like if you fall off a horse, you better get back on.


KOSIK: Yes, he's got -- Chancey didn't let the near-death experience shake him. He was back in the water yesterday.

BLACKWELL: So, this shark attack, or this shark encounter, let's say, comes when the East Coast is on heightened alert. Ten attacks along North and South Carolina coast, the latest attack on Ocracoke Island, a man barely escaped and left a trail of blood from the water on to the shore.

Nick Valencia is live along Wrightsville Beach.

One, great assignment for you this morning, Nick, on the beach. Two, is there a general fear, or are people just alert and aware?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, victor. I was out with locals last night and it was certainly a topic of conversation but not a general concern. More of a heightened awareness, if you will. This summer seems to be a very active one for shark bites and it's something everyone here seems to be talking about.


VALENCIA (voice-over): A rash of shark attacks off the Carolina's coast. This year, already at least ten attacks. That's nearly double the yearly average for North and South Carolina in one month. Another 11 attacks happened in Florida. The shark bites so frequent, they could surpass last year's totals in the United States.

PATRICK THORNTON, SHARK ATTACK SURVIVOR: It actually must have come in the wave because I didn't see anything.

VALENCIA: Survivor Patrick Thornton tells CNN's Anderson Cooper he was swimming in North Carolina's outer banks with his 8-year-old son when he was attacked.

THORNTON: I started shouting, shark, shark, everyone out of the water, at the same time I'm punching the shark, trying to get the shark away from me, went over to obviously grab my son.

VALENCIA: A contributing factor, perhaps a perfect storm of environmental and biological variables. Some sharks feed on turtles and small fish close to shore. Scientists say drought conditions could also play a role, among other things.

GEORGE BURGESS, DIRECTOR, SHARK RESEARCH AT UF: Certainly warm water this year, higher salinities, lots of bait fishes in the water, it's turtle nesting season -- those are all factors that would promote more sharks on the beach.

VALENCIA: One of the attacks this summer happened near a pier in North Carolina. Too close for comfort for Fourth of July weekend surfers and holidayers. GARRETT OKUN, SURFER: The other day I saw about a five-foot sand

shark and it was within eight feet of me. But, I mean, I stayed out in the water. It's its natural habitat. We're in its home. So, just have to be aware and -- of your surroundings and be careful.


VALENCIA: The likelihood of being bitten by a shark is 1 in more than 11.5 million. So, more likely to be struck by lightning or become president of the United States than bitten by a shark.

[07:25:01] Even still, if you're planning on going into the Atlantic Ocean over this holiday weekend, best to keep your head on a swivel. Experts say swim in groups and try to avoid swimming at dawn or dusk, when sharks are most active -- Victor. BLACKWELL: All right. Nick, thank you so much.

KOSIK: I'm still a little afraid.

VALENCIA: You bet.

BLACKWELL: You'll be OK.

KOSIK: Really? Can I surf, still?


KOSIK: The presidential election still 16 months away. So, with a crowded field, what are voters looking for?

Plus, a 10-month-old baby drifts out to sea as her parents watch helplessly from the beach. We're going to show you the frantic rescue, coming up.


KOSIK: Mortgage rates inching up this week, but the five-year adjustable rate under 3 percent. Have a look.


KOSIK: Yes, it's going to be a busy July 4th for more than a half dozen presidential candidates. They're spending Independence Day trying to win votes in key primary states. Hillary Clinton and GOP candidates, including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie are all spending the day stumping in New Hampshire.

Meantime, Democratic challengers Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley will campaign in Iowa.

Some or all of the candidates may also have to answer questions about Donald Trump. Support in the polls surging for the Republican candidate despite all of the controversy he's attracted.

CNN's senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns has the latest.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former New York Governor George Pataki launched an online petition urging merged to stand up to Trump, after calling on his GOP rivals to denounce the former reality TV star.

GEORGE PATAKI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These comments about Mexicans that are so divisive, he's flat-out run.

JOHNS: On Twitter, Trump firing back at Pataki, calling Pataki a terrible governor of New York who couldn't be elected dogcatcher if he ran again -- a change of heart from when Pataki was governor and Trump donated to his campaign.

But companies doing business with Trump appear to agree with the former New York governor, cutting ties with the real estate mogul over the controversial comments made at his campaign announcement.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists and some, I assume, are good people.

JOHNS: Macy's saying they no longer sell Trump clothing. NBC Universal and Univision backing out of carrying the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, partly owned by Trump.

TRUMP: What NBC and Univision did to these young women was disgraceful. They never had them in mind.

JOHNS: But even the chief executive of Reelz, the network that picked up the pageant, dismissed the Donald's remarks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree with everything that NBC and Univision and Macy's are saying. I think those comments are ridiculous.

JOHNS: Former pageants contestants also rejecting Trump's rhetoric.

MARYBEL GONZALEZ, MISS COLORADO USA 2012: I think that it's extremely dangerous to generalize a population and attribute such hateful comments to them.

JOHNS: But Trump remains steadfast in his position, telling CNN's Don Lemon that his statement was backed up by a 2014 "Fusion" report about Central American women being raped while traveling to the border.

TRUMP: All you have to do is go to "Fusion" and pick up the stories on rape.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: That's about women being raped. It's not about criminals coming across the border entering the country.

TRUMP: Somebody's doing the raping, Don.

JOHNS: Amid the controversy, Trump has surged in the polls, now up to second place nationally, and in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. (on camera): Victor and Alison, Donald Trump is running strong in the

polls, especially early voting stated, even as headlines have gotten worse and worse for him. The Trump campaign says controversy surrounding his business deals and politics are two different things.

But what's true either way is that Trump spent another week on center stage in the presidential campaign, taking the spotlight off of virtually everybody else in the race.


BLACKWELL: All right. Joe Johns reporting for us this morning.

Joe, thank you so much. So, in an attempt to understand why Trump is surging in the polls we've got to ask, what are voters looking for in 2016, because in some ways, an election is a referendum on the sitting president, possibly some shortcomings.

Let's look back over the last quarter century. 1992, then-Governor Bill Clinton was seen as the saxophone-playing candidate with common touch who replaced, some saw, an out of touch George H.W. Bush who broke a new taxes pledge.

2000, you've got George W. Bush promoting his candidacy as a return to tradition values in the White House after Clinton fatigue, some analysts called it, the sex scandals, the impeachment hearings.

Then in 2008, you've got then-Senator Barack Obama, championed message of hope and change after the war in Iraq.

Let's talk more about this. Joining us now for more, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona and Republican strategist Lisa Boothe.

And, of course, those are general themes from those years.

But, Maria, I want to start with you. Have voters tired of the professorial nuisanced approach and they want a tough-talking Donald Trump? I mean, Chris Christie's campaign slogan is telling it like it is. He's not saying in that statement but telling it like it is.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's interesting, Victor, because elections are about the future. Voters are looking for candidates who are going to tell them what they are going to do for them and for their families to make sure that they have a secure future, to make sure they're able to make ends meet and then to make sure that they'll be able to succeed not just for themselves but for their children and for their grandchildren, frankly.

And so, I think what you're seeing right now is the early polls really don't matter because if you remember, in 2008, you know, in Iowa, you had Huckabee actually won. In 2012, Rick Santorum won the Iowa presidential primary.

So, you know, those are definitely important contests. And what you're seeing is that Donald Trump is surging. But I think he's surging because he is talking to a very important but very loud and extreme sliver within the Republican primary that is older, that is whiter and that is certainly angrier, I think, than the rest of the electorate.

[07:35:07] So, I do think that it's dangerous for Republicans, though, to keep quiet about Donald Trump's comments because it's going to continue to cement this perception that the Republican Party is a party that is anti-immigrant, that is anti-Latino, that is anti- multicultural and that is anti-progress. And that is what voters are looking for for their candidates, is progress for the future.

BLACKWELL: So, Lisa, I want you to listen to some of how the GOPop presidential candidates reacted to Trump's statements about Mexican immigrants. Watch.


RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think Donald Trump's remarks reflect the Republican Party.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The comments were inappropriate. They have no place in the race.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDNETIAL CANDIDATE: I don't agree with him.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you label a group of people as rapists and drug dealers, it's more about you than it is him.


BLACKWELL: Are those responses strong enough? I mean, if they want to cast themselves as straight talkers, telling it like it is, they've got to offer more than kid gloved statements in reference to Trump, right?

LISA BOOTHE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, Victor, I would ask someone like Maria, where was the outrage when Vice President Joe Biden said you can't walk in to a 7-Eleven or Dunkin' Donuts without a slight Indian accent. Look, we've had candidates in people in both sides of the aisle that have said inflammatory things that are insensitive and wrong. But at the same time, this is America, we have freedom of speech.

And I think this targeting of Donald Trump by businesses and especially the city of New York with Bill de Blasio leading it is crazy. You know, it way too much. It's way too extreme.

Yes, his comments were insensitive. Do they reflect the Republican Party as a whole? Absolutely not.

BLACKWELL: So, insensitive you describe his comments? I mean, is that as far as you would go with --

BOOTHE: Well, I'd say they're inflammatory. But, look, also -- we have freedom of speech here. Where was the outrage in response to comments that Vice President Biden has made?

But, look, the only reason that Donald Trump is surging, to so to speak now, he has incredibly high name ID. Look, at this point in 2011, Michele Bachmann polling at 17 percent. It's irrelevant right now.

Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee. There's absolutely no way his unfavorables above 60 percent. So, look, he's not going to be the Republican nominee. I think this outrage and the amount of attention he's garnered is ridiculous.


CARDONA: Here, that exactly I think underscores the danger I was talking about. When Republicans start to dismiss or try to excuse Donald Trump's comments --

BOOTHE: There's no excusing, there's no --

CARDONA: Hang on, Lisa, hang on, hang on, that is where this perception of the Republican party who, by the way, needs more than 40 percent of the Latino vote to even think about winning the White House, Mitt Romney got 27 percent. John McCain got 31 percent, never close to winning the White House.

Do you really think that if Republicans continue to dismiss these comments as either not being serious from a candidate who is not serious or like Lisa says, ridiculous comments, do you really that Latinos are going to ever take any --

BOOTHE: Please, Maria, do you really think --

CARDONA: -- any nominees or any one of the candidates coming out of the Republican party seriously?


CARDONA: Hang on.

BLACKWELL: Hold on. Hold on.

CARDONA: Hang on. Lisa, hang on.

BLACKWELL: Lisa, you get the last word here. Go ahead.

CARDONA: This is -- it's exactly why the reason why I'm saying this because I have worked in politics for so long and this is exactly what I have seen in 20 years of working in politics, the Latino vote is growing.

The Latino vote is massively activated because of Donald Trump's comments. They are going to go after him. They are going to go after the Republican Party for not saying anything that is strong enough to dismiss these comments, and for continuing to use Latinos and immigrants and, frankly, multicultural population that is growing in this country as a punching bag. It's just not going to happen anymore.

So, Republicans really need to be careful here.


BOOTHE: Where was --

BLACKWELL: Lisa, last word.

BOOTHE: Here was the outrage when you have Vice President Biden who said derogatory and racist remarks? Where was the outrage there? It only exists when comments are made on the right and that's wrong. Nobody is defending Trump's comments.

CARDONA: You just are defending his comments, Lisa!

BLACKWELL: Maria, let Lisa finish.

BOOTHE: Obviously, the Latina vote is incredibly important and nobody is saying otherwise. But look at polling, the issues that Latinos care about the most are jobs. They care about education. I think those are issues that Republicans are going lead strongly with.

BLACKWELL: All right. Lisa, Maria --

CARDONA: And never listened to with the comments on immigration that they're making.

BLACKWELL: Thank you both so much.

[07:40:01] We'll, of course, continue this conversation, continuing especially considering how much this has impacted the business dealings of Donald Trump and he's still number two nationally here.

All right. Thank you, both.

BOOTHE: Thank you, Victor.


KOSIK: All right. The July 4th terror threat not just affecting celebrations here in the U.S. A British air base also canceling its July 4th fun. But does that let terrorists think they've won?

Plus, South Carolina lawmakers on Monday will consider a bill that would remove the confederate flag from the state capitol. Why passing that won't be a slam dunk.


KOSIK: Security across the nation is ramping up this morning. Officials are boosting police presence at firework shows and landmarks. Concerns are much higher this year with terrorist networks taking to social media to urge supporters to carry out attacks.

The terror warning is extending overseas. A British air base used by American airmen canceled its Fourth of July celebrations given rising threats and the State Department is ordering all diplomatic posts to review their security.

To talk more about this, let's bring in CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

Good morning.


KOSIK: How do you go ahead and assess security when it comes to these bases and it comes to these diplomatic posts?

HERTLING: Well, the cancellation of the event at Lakenheath -- RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall were unbelievably tough decisions to make by the commander on the scene.

[07:45:00] But you sometimes have to make those decisions, Alison, based on threat assessments, the intelligence streams that you're getting, some types of things that you have information on that may be the general public does not. It's a tough call to make. I've had to make those calls before based on, in one case I remember in Italy, in 2011, we had to cancel a fireworks display based on a union issue and a strike that was going on outside the base.

So, these are the kind of things commanders get paid to do.

KOSIK: Yes, more like better safe than sorry?

HERTLING: Right. It's all about prudence and making sure that the people under your control and their family members are safe, as best the conditions that you can make give them that opportunity.

KOSIK: Now, earlier this week CNN reported on a solar arrest for carrying AR-15 rifle into a North Carolina mall. Officials say Brian Wolfinger brought the rifle in order to have pictures taken with. He was charged with going armed to the terror of the public.

So here's my question to you -- how does an incident like this affect directives that we hear all of the time, see something, say something? You know, how do you -- how do you sort of, you know, comprehend how to do that knowing that he was just walking in to take a picture?

HERTLING: Yes, I hate to say this, Alison, but soldiers have a term for this kind of action, it's called case of the dumb ass. This happens all of the time with young people, not really understanding implications of their actions. And in this in case, I'm sure the company commander and the first sergeant of that young soldier certainly had words with him afterwards.

But it also goes to the fear that we have in our country today of the things that are going on. This is something that would have been considered an incident and probably not made it out of Fayetteville, North Carolina, just a few years ago. But today, because of this overwhelming fear that someone with a weapon is going to do something untenable, you have these reactions on a national basis.

It's unfortunate, but it's the environment we live in and I think all of us really need to take a deep breath and say that ISIS is not as big as we think they are, as they are being portrayed, and we have to control our fears about this organization.

KOSIK: I don't think I've ever going to forget that category, can I say it?

BLACKWELL: I wouldn't try it.


KOSIK: Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, thanks so much.

HERTLING: You bet, Alison. Have a great Fourth.

KOSIK: You, too.

BLACKWELL: Somebody needed to say it. I'm glad he did.

KOSIK: Me, too.

BLACKWELL: All right. This Fourth of July will not be all about the celebrations in South Carolina. The NAACP is about to hold a Confederate flag protest at the state house. We'll go into that, next.


[07:51:16] BLACKWELL: Coming up on the top of the hour here, and the fight against the Confederate flag is raging on on this Independence Day in South Carolina. In a few hours, the South Carolina branch of the NAACP is planning to hold a protest outside the state house, ahead of next week's vote to remove the flag from the ground, the Confederate flag you see here.

We've got with us, Bakari Sellers. He's a CNN contributor and former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Good to have you with us.

First question, Bakari, do you think that this will happen, that the legislature will take down the flag?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I've always said that I'm cautiously optimistic. But as the day grows near, my optimism level is rising. This is a tense debate. Many legislators, including the governor herself has been receiving threats from around the country and throughout the South.

Many of my colleagues are just ready for the flag debate to come and for this flag to come down. We anticipate next Thursday or Friday being the day in which we can finally lower the flag and place it in a museum where it belongs. BLACKWELL: So, when you say bringing down the flag, placing it in a

museum where it belongs. There's a new CNN poll that found that 50 percent of the respondents overall found that the flag is more a display of southern pride. Only a third, 33 percent, believe it represents a symbol of racism.

So, what do you attribute that?

SELLERS: Well, first and foremost, I think that we know what this meant to Dylann Roof. We know what that flag means to the KKK, which is coming to South Carolina on July 18, to have its own rally. We know that it embodied hate to those groups, to that individual.

I mean, for many African-Americans, I would venture to say, 90 to 95 percent of African-Americans hold a disdain for that flag in their heart. There is a wide swath and whole group of individuals, not only in South Carolina, but throughout this country, who see that flag as something other than prideful.

BLACKWELL: You know --

SELLERS: And today on this Fourth of July -- sorry.

BLACKWELL: I want to jump in here while you're talking about this because we have limited time. But you talk about African-Americans who likely have a disdain for that. When we found, we polled the African-Americans, there's something that is counterintuitive here.

Of the respondents, 54 and younger, they were more likely to call for flag to come down, to discontinue products being manufactured with it and for state flags to be changed, to get rid of the Confederate imagery, more so than counterparts, 55 and older. You'd imagine older African-Americans would want it down because they remember the civil rights movement when it went up.

SELLERS: Well, I'm not sure that's counterintuitive. I think there's a young generation of Americans, a young generation of South Carolinians, black, white and otherwise, who want to move forward, who want to move forward into the 21st century.

There's a whole generation of people in this country, a whole generation of people in the state of South Carolina who don't necessarily see the divides of black and white. I oftentimes tell people that the challenges of our generation are moving from black and white to the haves versus the have-nots, which is a whole another discussion.

But it's why you see that generational divide. There's a very, very large group of South Carolinians, of all ages, of all races, that want to see that flag come down. We just hope sooner than later because the temperature is rising quickly here in South Carolina. So, for all those parties involved, we want to make sure we get here next Monday and get the flag down by Thursday or Friday.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, if the vote comes in, I mean, you know how the process works. If they vote to take it down, it comes down immediately?

SELLERS: I believe the governor will shine the bill. I'm sure she'll sign the bill, and when she signs it, I expect something to not to be a great ceremony, no grandiose presentation. I just expect a young man to go out there and lower the flag and pack it up and put it away.

[07:55:04] It's been up since 1962. This state has been through a lot of trauma over the past decades and more specifically the past few weeks and months. I think when that flag comes down, we'll be able to breathe a sigh of relief. But we also understand the flag coming down is not the end of anything. It's just the beginning of a long journey we have in South Carolina for healing, reconciliation and moving our state forward.

BLACKWELL: All right. Bakari Sellers, CNN contributor, thank you so much.

SELLERS: Happy Fourth of July to you and all the Americans watching.

BLACKWELL: To you, too.

We'll be right back. The next hour starts in a moment.


BLACKWELL: Look at this. Just here in the video you see a 10-month- old baby girl, she's by herself drifting out to sea. Here's the important part. Pretty unbelievable. Her parents apparently forgot they had put her in this floating crib in the water.

KOSIK: They forgot.

BLACKWELL: They just dropped in the water and forgot.

KOSIK: The parents said they weren't even aware their daughter had drifted a football field away from the Turkish coast. Thankfully, those in the water spotted the baby before she got even farther away. The coast guard was able to rescue the child and return her to her parents.

Stunned beach goers erupted in applause when the baby was safely back in her mother's arms.

How do you lose track of a 10-month-old baby? I don't know.

BLACKWELL: They have her in this Fisher Price floatie and she's gone!

KOSIK: Oops!

All right. Stay right here, we've got a busy morning of news.

BLACKWELL: Next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.