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Trump Lashes Out At Biden Over His Changing Stance On Hyde Amendment; Trump Walks Back Comments On Taking Dirt From Foreign Entities; Leon Panetta Discusses Whether Trump Is A National Security Threat, A.G. Barr Investigating The CIA In Russia Probe; Iran Fired Missile At U.S. Drone Before Attack On Oil Tankers; Leon Panetta Discusses Attack On Oil Tankers And Iran; Democratic Hopefuls Court African-American Voters In South Carolina; Outrage Over Tainted Water In Flint, Michigan, And Charges Against Government Officials Dropped; Notre Dame Holds First Mass Since Devastating Fire. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired June 15, 2019 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:18] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Great to have you with us.

We begin with President Trump taking on the man, who polls suggest, right now, has the best chance of denying him a second term. Trump lashing out anew at Joe Biden after the former vice president changed his stance on the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion with few exceptions.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's not a tough guy. He's a weak guy. But he wanted to be the tough guy.

He's really recalibrated on everything. He's -- everything he says he's taken back two weeks later because he's getting slammed by the left. And he's stuck with this stuff. I mean, he's really stuck with it.


CABRERA: Now, even as the president claims Biden has recalibrated on everything, President Trump has been doing some backtracking of his own after making explosive comments earlier this week.

And CNN's Sarah Westwood is at the White House this week.

Sarah, he headlined the week saying he'd take foreign campaign dirt and wouldn't automatically call the FBI. Where are we now?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. His answer on that answer on whether he'd accept foreign dirt in an election, that has sort of evolved since those clips from ABC came out. The president has since gone from scoffing at the idea of contacting the FBI in that hypothetical situation to saying that, of course, he would contact the FBI or the attorney general if he was offered campaign dirt from a foreign source.

But notice, Ana, he's not saying he wouldn't take the dirt. He's only changing his answer really has been whether or not he would contact the FBI.

Sources tell CNN that White House officials have found those clips from ABC and then later from "FOX & Friends," when the president adjusted the answer a little bit, tough to watch. They say they know the president handled those questions poorly.

Obviously, it sparked outrage among Democrats, and even some of the president's allies. Senator Lindsey Graham condemned the president's comments. And among 2020 hopefuls, one of them, Kamala Harris said he was a national security threat after he made the comments.

And you'll notice the defense from the president and the allies has not come in the context in which his comments originally came. When they're defending the comments, they try to compare what Trump was saying he'd do to diplomatic conversations he's had with leaders of friendly nations or pointing out that the president later said that he would call the FBI.

But no one, Ana, has been defending what the president originally said, which was that he would take dirt from a foreign source and not call the authorities.

CABRERA: OK, Sarah Westwood, at the White House, thanks.

The 2020 Democratic candidates, the very people that President Trump says he'd accept dirt on, have had a lot to say about his comments. Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, as she just mentioned, going so far as to say the president is a threat to national security.

Earlier, I sat down with former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. And he's also the former director of the CIA and a former White House chief of staff. And I asked him, point blank, if President Trump poses a national security threat.


LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY & FORMER CIA DIRECTOR & FORMER WHITE HOUSE STAFF DIRECTOR: Well, any time a president of the United States, who swears an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, and who has the responsibility as president to abide by the laws of this country and not only abide by those laws, but enforce those laws, when a president says that he would take that kind of information, which is a violation of law, and then also says that he would not tell the FBI about that, is someone who I think is breaching the oath of office that he took as president of the United States.

And for that reason -- this president, I know, has been trying to walk back those comments. But every time he says things like that, I think it undermines his credibility as president of the United States.

CABRERA: But is he a national security threat? PANETTA: Well, he's a national security threat in the sense that when

he says things like that, he is inviting Russia and China and North Korea and Iran and other adversaries to find ways to be able to directly influence our election process in this country.

When he says he's willing to take that kind of information, it is, in effect, an invitation to them to engage in efforts to undermine our election process. And by doing that, there's no question that he undermines our security.

CABRERA: The president argues it's a non-issue though because no one would try to give him political dirt. Listen to this.


[15:05:05] TRUMP (voice-over): I don't think anybody would present me with anything bad because they know how much I love this country. Nobody is going to present me with anything bad.


CABRERA: Do you think that's the case?

PANETTA: Well, the president is basically trying to back step from what he said by somehow implying that, goodness gracious, you know, Putin and others are not going to try to tell him anything nasty about his opponents.

The bottom line is that, as president, he should be saying that no foreign country should interfere with our political process. Period. Period. And that if they try to do that, that the president of the United States would be the first one to go to the FBI and to the attorney general to make sure that that does not happen.

When the president waffles the way he has over these last couple days, our adversaries get the message, and the message is, do whatever you can to try to undermine America. And that is the last message the president of the United States ought to be sending.

CABRERA: Here's another argument the president made in that statement interview with FOX News. Listen to this.


TRUMP (voice-over): Of course, you have to look at it because, if you don't look at it, you're not going to know if it's bad. How are you going to know if it's bad? But of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that.


CABRERA: So the part where he is saying, you need to look at the dirt to see if it's bad before calling the FBI, does that argument make sense?

PANETTA: You know, it's baloney. The president really is just -- you know, he finds it difficult to try to accept the moral responsibility of adhering to the law in this country. And the responsibility when it comes to the law is not to take that information in the first place.

You don't get to get that information and then decide, oh, well, what kind of information do you have, and now I'll tell the FBI? I mean, that's silliness. You shouldn't get that information in the first place.

I mean, it's a little bit like saying a bank robber ought to have a chance to at least go into the bank and determine how much money is there before the bank robber decides to steal the money.

I mean, that's not the way our laws work in this country. Our laws prohibit certain behavior because it violates the law and it hurts the United States of America. That's why those laws are in place.

The president should have been much clearer about saying that any effort by an adversary to try to convey that kind of information will be reported immediately to the FBI. That's what he should have said. He didn't say that. But that's what he should have said.

And, very frankly, it's up to others in our federal government, in the Congress, in the House and in the Senate, and in the administrative branch to make very clear that we'll enforce the law.

CABRERA: Finally, let me ask you, because you're the former head of the CIA, I want to get your opinion on the DOJ's plan now to question CIA officers as part of the Attorney General Barr's investigation into the Russia investigation.

And according to the "New York Times," this has caused some anxiety within the agency. They question whether the CIA's work should be scrutinized by a federal prosecutor. What's your take on that?

PANETTA: Well, I understand the feelings at the CIA. Because the people who work at the CIA are not Democrats or Republicans. They're good Americans, who try to do their job, developing the right intelligence to be able to make sure that our country can be able to protect itself.

For them to do their job requires that they take risks. And they have to put their lives on the line often to be able to get that kind of information.

So when the president and the Justice Department say, well, wait a minute, we'll now investigate whether the CIA did the right thing, there's no question that it impacts on the morale of the CIA. Because the very government they're part of and trying to help is now turning on them and questioning whether or not they did the right thing.

I'm sure that, ultimately, no matter who visits this issue, that they'll find that the CIA did exactly the right thing. But to go through this process -- make no mistake about it, when you go through this process, it clearly puts people on edge because their own government, the government they're dedicating their lives to, is now questioning the work they do.


[15:10:12] CABRERA: More of our interview with former Defense Secretary Panetta in just a moment, including his reaction to the rising tensions in the Middle East.

Also, new CNN reporting that a U.S. drone was fired on after spotting Iranian boats closing in on those two tankers just before they were attacked. We're live in Tehran, next.

And for months, people in Flint, Michigan, drank and bathed contaminated water. Now residents there are finding out all criminal charges against government officials are being dropped. What now? A Flint councilwoman join us, live, just ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: There are still more questions than answers on the attacks on the two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. In the latest twist, the U.S. now says Iran tried to shoot down a U.S. drone shortly before the tankers were hit.

And an official said that the drone was tracking Iranian small boats closing in on the tankers when it was almost struck by a surface-to- air missile fired by the Iranians. Iran denies any involvement. And CNN has not seen footage from the drone.

But U.S. Central Command did release this video. It shows Iranian forces removing a mine from the hull of one of the ships.

CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, is live in Tehran, Iran, for us.

Fred, there are a lot of accusations being leveled and there's a lot of conflicting information it seems. How do we know what to believe?

[15:15:10] FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very difficult, you're absolutely right, Ana. It's still a very much murky situation as to what exactly happened there.

And if you look at what's coming from the Iranian side, it isn't very much as to the specific allegations out there, like them allegedly firing a missile at the drone. But then also, specifically, that video that we were just showing of an Iranian patrol boat coming to one of the stricken tankers, the crew then taking something off, which the U.S. believes could be an unexploded mine, and then driving away. The Iranians have not commented on that at all.

But making the situation yet more difficult, the company that owned that ship or that owns that ship has said that the crew of that ship said it believes that the ship was not struck by a mine but, instead, there was some sort of surface fire, a projectile coming towards the ship that caused that damage.

So you're right, still a lot of details that need to be clarified. So a very, very murky situation as to what exactly went down there in the Persian Gulf.

CABRERA: Fred Pleitgen, in Tehran, thank you.

You saw part of our interview with former Defense Secretary Panetta before the break. And I asked him about the attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Here's that part of our conversation.


CABRERA: Secretary, first, do you have any doubt that Iran was behind this attack?

PANETTA: I think, from all of the evidence I have seen, both the video and obviously what intelligence seems to be providing, that there's probably a pretty good case that Iran was involved behind these attacks.

CABRERA: Why? Why would Iran take this action? What are they trying to accomplish?

PANETTA: Well, you know, my experience with Iran, going back to when I was director of the CIA and also secretary of Defense, is that when Iran wants to send a message and they feel cornered, they tend to use their threats in the Strait of Hormuz as their weapon.

And so I can remember, in the past, we would have small ships deploying out and threatening vessels going through the Strait of Hormuz and we would have to deal with that.

And so what they do when they feel like they have no alternative is to go ahead and send a signal to the world that they could shut down the Strait of Hormuz. A third of the oil in the world goes through those straits and it would damage not only our national security, but our economic security if those straits were closed.

So I think that's why they use these kinds of attacks, is to send a message that if they wanted to, they could ultimately close the straits.

CABRERA: What should the response look like then?

PANETTA: I think the response has to be on several different levels. So, one, obviously, we do need to make sure that we have sufficient military strength in the region to deal with that threat. So I'm -- I'm pleased that we are building up our forces in the region.

Secondly, I think it is important that we build an approach using our allies to try to deal with Iran. We can't just do this militarily. Nobody wants a war -- another war in the Middle East, for goodness sakes.

So let's develop a viable diplomatic strategy to try to open some doors with Iran. And, obviously, the United States is unable to do that on their own.

CABRERA: Yes. PANETTA: Abe tried to do that.

I think the better approach, frankly, is to go back to Russia, to China, to Great Britain, to Germany and to France, those allies that sat down with us when we negotiated the Iran agreement and try to reorganize that coalition of allies in order to see if they can't open up another diplomatic channel to Iran.

CABRERA: You're right, because diplomacy at this point is dead between the U.S. and Iran. We know Iran says it's not even open to negotiations with Trump. Iran's Supreme Court leader saying he doesn't want to engage in dialogue. Ali Khamenei saying this, "I don't consider Trump as a person deserving to exchange messages with. I have no response for him and will not answer him."

So you say to reach out to some of these other countries to try to facilitate a de-escalation?

PANETTA: Yes. I think the obvious course here would be to go back to those countries that sat down with us and negotiated with Iran. They all have a pretty good relationship with Iran. It's the United States that basically tore up that agreement and decided to go out on its own.

[15:20:03] I think the United States would be wise to sit down with those allies and try to determine, what approach should we take to try to see if we can't begin a process of negotiation with Iran. They have a hell of a lot of more credibility, frankly, right now than the United States does.

And so let's make use of that coalition to try to see if we can't reopen some doors of negotiation with Iran.

CABRERA: But does the U.S. have credibility with those countries that were part of the original Iran nuclear deal?

PANETTA: Well, that's a good question. Obviously, the United States is the one that walked away from that agreement.

But at the same time, these are -- you know, these are allies, obviously, that we have a very close relationship with, certainly, Great Britain, France, Germany.

And the fact is, it's in the interests of Russia and China to be able to work with that coalition, to see whether or not we can't find a peaceful solution.

Any kind of confrontation in the Middle East with Iran is going to be destructive, to Russia, to China, to the world, because of the oil supplies that will be interrupted.

So it makes a lot of sense for all of those countries to work together to try to find an agreeable diplomatic course of action that can help resolve the issues that are involved here.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CABRERA: Our thanks to Secretary Leon Panetta.

To the campaign trail now. And several Democratic candidates are in South Carolina today, hoping to court African-American voters before the first debate. We'll take you live to Charleston, next.


[15:25:28] CABRERA: Welcome back.

Right now, the Democratic presidential hopefuls are working the campaign trail coast to coast. And one key state is getting a lot of attention from multiple contenders this weekend, South Carolina. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Beto O'Rourke are all spending time there, with one central goal, and that is to make inroads with the state's African-American voters.

CNN Political Reporter, Rebecca Buck, is joining us.

Rebecca, what has been the overarching message from the candidates today and how are they being received?

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, the theme here, obviously, about economics, about the economy, boosting the economy, and especially for people of color, for African-American voters.

So the candidates today came armed with policy proposals to try to eliminate the racial wealth gap, to try to give black entrepreneurs more access to capital. Now that is the discussion we're hearing here today.

But their work is cut out for them in South Carolina. Former Vice President Joe Biden still leads in this state, not only among African- American voters, but among Democratic voters as well, just like we're seeing across the board. The challenge for each of these candidates is to show why they're better equipped to take on the challenges that voters care about in South Carolina.

And Senator Cory Booker, one of the four candidates here today made the case that he was a mayor of a majority black city, that he has had firsthand experience with some of the issues that these voters care about most.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, was also here today. He is a candidate who has been doing well, on the rise in polling overall, but has struggled to gain support among African-American voters, voters of color in the Democratic Party. So he was here, just showing up, making the case that he's going to care about these issues and listen to these communities.

He told us after his remarks, we asked him, how is he reaching out to the black voters, how is he trying to make inroads, and he said, it's not only about the quality of the conversation, but also the quantity. He wants to be there as often as possible. And this was an example of that here today. Senator Elizabeth Warren, another one of those who participated. She, of course, has been on the rise in the polls. Now firmly in that top tier of candidates, along with Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. And she said it's too early for her to be thinking about the polls, to take much stock in that. Also trying to make inroads here today with African-American voters.

CABRERA: It is very early. As we recall, back in 2015, the president hadn't even entered the race yet. President Trump making his announcement a year ago tomorrow.

So I want to go back to, why South Carolina, Rebecca. Talk to us more. Give us more context and perspective about why that state is so crucial to securing the nomination.

BUCK: Not only is it one of the first states to vote in this Democratic primary process after Iowa and New Hampshire, but South Carolina is going to be the first test of these candidates' mettle with voters of color. It is going to be probably a majority African- American vote among Democrats here in South Carolina.

And so Democrats will be trying to prove, these candidates will be trying to prove their strength with the broader Democratic electorate across the country.

And so you have candidates, like Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, who have really focused on being strong here in South Carolina, paying a lot of visits, taking a lot of time. But, of course, Joe Biden still at the top of the polls here.

CABRERA: All right. Rebecca Buck, in South Carolina for us, thank you.

And of course, I meant four years ago tomorrow when President Trump entered the race for president.

OK, it has been months that residents of Flint, Michigan, drank and bathed in lead-tainted water. They did that for months. This was years ago. But their nightmare is not over. Residents are finding out prosecutors have been dropped all criminal charges against government officials. We'll explain why and get reaction from people who live Flint, next, live, in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:32:59] CABRERA: In Flint, Michigan, outrage over tainted water has passed the boiling point. It's been four years since the city declared a state of emergency over lead in Flint's water. And three years since criminal charges were filed against state and local officials.

Now, in a stunning move, prosecutors have dropped all pending criminal cases. They say the entire investigation was flawed and needs to start again from scratch.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Flint where the anger and frustration, I imagine, is palpable.

Polo, people are marching there this weekend. What are you hearing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely is, Ana. It's a new layer of outrage that we are getting from the community here, having spoken to many of the residents here in Flint. Keep in mind, they have been searching for a form of justice for quite some time.

Many years ago, this is when it started, and now there are the largely unanswered calls for accountability that are simply fueling that frustration for many.

I spoke to a 52-year-old man, just a little while ago, Paul McIntosh. He's lived here his whole life. He wears his Flint pride on his head with his baseball cap. And he said it's getting harder and harder to trust basically prosecutors, especially after he heard the news they were going to wipe the plate clean, these cases dismissed, and start fresh.

Of course, you hear from prosecutors and their explanation for this. But when you hear from many of the residents, who say they won't believe it until they see it, Mr. McIntosh is saying this feels more like justice denied versus justice delayed -- Ana?

CABRERA: Explain to me, because the prosecutors are defending this decision to drop charges and start over. What went wrong in the original investigation? Why do prosecutors say they need to start over?

SANDOVAL: Well, what you hear from the current attorney general, the Michigan state, you know, top cop, she said there was a large amount of evidence that went largely unpursued here. You're talking about 20 million documents that reportedly were not reviewed. So investigators would like some time to go over this. And then that's also -- there's other avenues they would like to explore.

[15:35:07] We should mention, however, the latest move from the attorney general, it does not directly affect guilty pleas that have been submitted by about seven officials.

But the question is, what will actually happen to those eight other defendants who were considered defendants in this case. Will they be looked at once again?

And we should also mention one of the defendants, which is the highest ranking one, Nicholas Lyon, speaking through his attorney, he feels not only vindicated by this but also welcomes a deeper investigation.

So certainly, all sides of this conversation that are happening here, not just the people who are calling for that accountability, but also those who had those charges dismissed against them. But that the attorney general is saying it isn't over yet.

CABRERA: Not over yet.

Polo Sandoval, thank you for the latest from Flint, Michigan. Yesterday, CNN heard from one of the moms in Flint, Michigan. She is

deeply skeptical of any need for a delay and is worried that people won't ever see justice for all of the upheaval in their lives. Listen.


KIM WEMBER (ph), FLINT MICHIGAN RESIDENT: I'm afraid they're looking for, seriously, limitations when charges can be made. Those that were already headed to trial, it's been proven what's happened. As a mother of one child with Legionnaires and another with profound organ damage to lead poisoning, husband the same, this is inexcusable. It's just there's no excuse.


CABRERA: Let's go back to Flint. City Councilwoman, Monica Galloway, is with us now. She says she has been getting an earful from her constituents.

Councilwoman Galloway, I know you weren't optimistic about the previous investigation. First, why is that?



CABRERA: I know, we had to do a quick changeout with Polo's live shot.

So let me restart my question, because we just heard from one of the moms. We explained to our viewers why this investigation ended and they say they're going to launch a new one.

But you weren't very confident in the first investigation, right? Why is that?

GALLOWAY: I wasn't confident because the process seemed slow, resulting in what appeared to be nothing. So for me, to hear that this happened was alarming. It wasn't surprising.

CABRERA: It wasn't surprising. What was your reaction then?

OK, you know what? We're having some audio -- obviously, connection difficulties there with Councilwoman Monica Galloway. I hope we can get her back and re-establish a better connection.

In the meantime, reverence, prayer and progress. Notre Dame is celebrating its first mass this week since the devastating fire almost two months ago. And we have more pictures and more details on why this mass is so important.

Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:42:10] WEMBER (ph): I'm afraid they're looking for, seriously, limitations on when charges can be made. Those that were already headed to trial, it's been proven what's happened. As a mother of one child with Legionnaires and another child with profound organ damage to lead poisoning, husband the same, this is inexcusable. It's just there's no excuse.


CABRERA: OK, again, that was one family's story. One family affected by this never-ending nightmare in Flint, Michigan.

And now the charges have been dropped against the government officials.

And Flint City Councilwoman, Monica Galloway, is back to discuss.

Councilwoman Galloway, the A.G. said they dismissed the charges because the investigation was botched. But it doesn't mean people are in the clear. This allows for a new investigation. How confident are you there will be accountability?

GALLOWAY: I think my confidence is in the new governor, Governor Whitmer.

But I will tell you that until it happens, we have had -- we have been let down on multiple levels by every form of government that we have. And so it's hard for us to believe that something is really going to happen.

CABRERA: Let's listen to what Flint's mayor told CNN's Jake Tapper.


KAREN WEAVER (D), MAYOR OF FLINT, MICHIGAN: We've made a lot of progress with the water. The water tests good. We are ahead of schedule and we're finishing with the last service line replacement by early fall.

But until we get everything we need from the state government, which is new fixtures for people's homes, I'm advising people to stay on bottled and filtered water until -- until we'll make sure we have all of the lead out of Flint and that our medical community, our public health, our scientists say they have seen enough testing and they are ready to sign off.


CABRERA: I mean, that, to me, is unbelievable, that people still have to drink bottled water all these years later.

Do you believe enough is being done to restore clean drinking water to everyone in Flint? GALLOWAY: Absolutely not. What we realize in Flint now is that

bottled water is scarce. There are still some locations that are giving out bottled water. But the resources available to the average resident is just not there. And so they're taking chances on filtered water at times. But some of them I'm sure is finding themselves having to drink the water because bottled water is not available to them like it was.

CABRERA: Do you trust your drinking water as safe?

GALLOWAY: I don't. You have to understand we have been lied to by the very people that were responsible for ensuring our safety. And so how can you trust them?

[15:45:09] CABRERA: I mean, this all began because of cost-cutting measures. Here we are, five years later, charges dropped and 12 people are dead, countless others have long-term health issues, and people still don't know if the water is safe to drink. How do you explain it?

GALLOWAY: You can't explain it. And I think that it should be an outrage that, in the United States of America, there's an entire city that does not trust the very necessity of water that they are -- that they have to have for children, for our elderly.

You have no idea the impact that this has had on the senior community that most people don't realize resembles that of dementia, but really is a result of the lead water.

CABRERA: So you're one of the cities leaders. I hear what you're saying, that, you know, a lot of the decisions that resulted in what we have there today were from officials that were at the state level.

But as an elected official yourself, how do you think Flint can restore people's faith in government?

GALLOWAY: I think, as local elected officials, we have to get more involved and myself as well. We have to hold some accountability and transparency for our elected leaders, not just on the state level, but on the federal level. We need to not just be a stopping place for candidates that are running for presidency. They still hold positions on the federal level that can help us, even before they get into the presidency.

CABRERA: OK. Councilwoman Monica Galloway, thank you for your time.

GALLOWAY: Thank you.

CABRERA: We send our best to all of you in the community in Flint, Michigan.

We have an update on an incredible "CNN Hero." Magnus MacFarlane- Barrow, he feeds the children in 18 countries through his nonprofit, Mary's Meals. And he met actor, Gerard Butler, at the 2010 "CNN Heroes" ceremony. And from there, the two Scotsmen became friends. And they recently traveled to Haiti to see how Mary's Meals feeds more than a million schoolchildren there every day.


MAGNUS MACFARLANE-BARROW, CNN HERO: The greatest privilege to do this work and meeting those children who are eating these meals. The numbers become just mindboggling after a while, but the real beauty is watching the children become the people they're meant to be.

GERARD BUTLER, ACTOR: I remember we went right before lunch. They were tired. Then they had lunch and oh, my god, it was like different people.


MACFARLANE-BARROW: And then you realize the simple value of this program.


CABRERA: Hopefully, that made you smile. To nominate your "CNN Hero," log on to

We'll be right back.


[15:51:18] CABRERA: Following some breaking news now. The register at multiple Target stores are down. According to the Web site, Down Detector, it's affecting stories in different parts of the country. Those registers have been down more than an hour. In a tweet, Target says it's aware of the outage and is troubleshooting the situation. And our crew says some of the registers are coming back online, so that sounds like good news. I'll bring you more as this story develops.

Nearly two months after a devastating fire destroyed parts of Notre Dame Cathedral, today, the church once again opening its doors for Saturday night mass for the first time since the fire. The archbishop of Paris led this mass with some 30 worshippers who had to wear hardhats as a safety precaution.

CNN Religion Commentator, Father Edward Beck, joins us now.

Father, why today for this first mass? What is the significant of this date?

EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Well, today is two months exactly, Ana, since the fire. Tomorrow, Sunday, is the anniversary of the dedication of the altar in the cathedral. Every year, on the 16th, they have a mass to commemorate that altar being dedicated in the cathedral.

They thought today is the anniversary of the fire, tomorrow the dedication of the altar, let's do the mass today to show people we're still here, we're still alive, and we're still very much a house of prayer. CABRERA: It wasn't an everyday mass, however. Only 30 people were

there to worship. It wasn't for the whole community. Talk to us about who was invited.

BECK: First, the archbishop performed the mass. He's really an interesting guy. He wasn't ordained until he was 45. He's a medical doctor. He was a medical doctor for 20 years, then became a priest. Suddenly, he was plucked to be archbishop of Paris, kind of a surprise choice by Pope Francis. He was there presiding.

Other priests who work at the cathedral and canons were there. And also some workers and some rescue workers from the fire were there.

It was a small group, an intimate group. And the bishop spoke personally and directly to the people who were gathered there today.

I watched it live. It was amazing to see them all in their hard hats, very much there as a gathered community, wanting this cathedral to come back, and praying that, indeed, it can.

CABRERA: In a showing, physically, we are survivors, this place is a survivor. How important was it for this mass both to the Catholic Church and the people of Paris?

BECK: Ana, I think it's important. It's not about the building. It's about people who gathered together to pray. I think it was the archbishop who needed to say we are still here wanting this to come back and to be alive, but we're still a gathered community.

They want to eventually have mass, even outside on the plaza before this reconstruction is done. They say it's going to take five years. They certainly don't want to wait that long before they have a praying community there.

Also I think $900 million has been pledged for the restoration. Only 10 percent has yet to come in. It's a reminder that those who pledged, we need that support if this is going to be an active cathedral again.

CABRERA: That's right.

Father Beck, as always, thank you.

BECK: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Is Senator Elizabeth Warren's "I've got a plan" strategy having an impact? We'll talk about what's behind her positive momentum in the polls.

[15:54:42] You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: In this week's "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," W. Kamau Bell heads to Philadelphia and Chester, Pennsylvania, to learn about the toxic manmade disasters that have polluted these areas for generations. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people I know breathe air and drink water --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and eat food. But a lot of people say, well, I'm not an environmentalist. My point is, if you drink water and are concerned about what's in the water, every day --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- you're in the environment. So how we define the environment --

BELL: If you don't sleep in one of those Michael Jackson oxygen tanks --


BELL: -- then you're an environmentalist.


BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact is, it's not a democratic process.

BELL: Yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People don't vote to get poisoned. Usually, it happens to them. And usually, it happens in a way that people find out later.


BELL: After a kid has asthma or has learning disabilities and they can't figure out where it's coming from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Now that, we say that's cruel, that's unfair, unjust. And we say it should be illegal.

Right now, the zip code is the most important predictor of health and well-being. You tell me your zip codes, and I'll tell you healthy you are.

All zip codes are not created equal.

BELL: Really?


BELL: Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can find zip codes that are adjacent to each other and have a life-expectancy disparity of 10 to 15 years, depending on what's in that neighborhood and what's not in that neighborhood.

BELL: Just by your zip code.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Just by the zip code.

BELL: Wow. You break it all the way down.


CABRERA: The new episode premieres tomorrow night, at 10:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

[16:00:04] You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for rolling with me. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.