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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

With Storm Bearing Down, Remainder Of Florida Condo Tower Is Demolished; Death Toll Rises To 28, 117 Unaccounted For In Condo Collapse; Early Israeli Data Shows Decline In Pfizer Vaccine Efficacy Rate As Delta Variant Spreads; Eleven Charged After Hours-Long Standoff With Police That Partially Closed 1-95; Trump Appears To Acknowledge Facts Of Prosecutors' Criminal Tax Fraud Case Against Trump Organization; At Least 150 People Fatally Shot, 400-Plus Wounded Across The U.S. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 05, 2021 - 20:00   ET


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: and as for that $100 million project that's underway, it is not designed to repair any damage according to the plan, but it is designed to prevent the building from sinking any further and to recover some of the tilt. How much? About 50 percent over the next couple of decades -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Dan Simon, I guess, that's progress.

Thanks very much to you for joining us this holiday weekend. "AC360" starts now.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Fearing the force of nature, or even the simple fact of gravity will compound an already horrific human tragedy, officials in Surfside make a fateful decision. With the tropical storm on the horizon, what remains of Champlain Towers South must come down.

John Berman here, in for Anderson, with the special holiday edition of 360.

Last night, in a controlled explosion, demolition crews finished what a still undetermined structural failure began.


BERMAN: This was necessary official say because the remaining structure was being held up by little more than the rubble itself. When search crews returned to the pile at around 1:00 a.m., they uncovered three more bodies and one more later today.

In a moment, the very latest from the scene. First though, Tropical Storm Elsa, Surfside is already feeling the outer edge of it, but the worst could be coming instead to the Gulf Coast of Florida.

CNN meteorologist, Derek Van Dam has been following the storm and joins us now from Fort Myers in Florida. Not so bad yet there, Derek, but it's going to get worse. DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, now, 100 percent, John, you've

covered enough of these storms to understand that they create these outer bands that can change the weather at a moment's notice.

Just in Surfside alone earlier today, the Miami-Dade County region had a tornado warning just to the southwest of Surfside and so, really validating the decision to take down the remaining structure of the Champlain Towers.

It's incredible. Even though the center of this storm is well displaced from the Surfside region, they could potentially still feel the impacts like they did earlier today. In fact, I'm just getting the latest warning from the National Weather Service, a special marine warning for Biscayne Bay, just south of Surfside in the Miami Beach region, the potential for a severe thunderstorm that could produce waterspouts traveling towards the coastal areas of the Miami-Dade region. So, something they want to keep in mind over the next 45 minutes or so.

Now, you can see where I'm located right now. This is the Sanibel Causeway, Sanibel Island directly behind me, Fort Myers just over my shoulder here, and we know just by the sheer geography of the West Coast of the Florida Peninsula, the way that it runs and how the storm is projected to travel, it will bring a long duration events to the West Coast of Florida, that is the Gulf of Mexico side, just because it's going to run basically parallel with it.

So, it's also going to allow for that water to build up, storm surge is the potential threat here, two to four feet within this particular harbor that I'm located, but even further up near Tampa Bay. The National Weather Service just with the 5:00 p.m. update actually increased the potential of storm surge from three to five feet, so heavy rain, four to eight inches and tropical storm force winds starting tonight and then the storm races towards the outer banks of the Carolinas.

BERMAN: Derek, as far as Surfside is concerned, how much longer will they be feeling the effects of this? How much more rain -- and the wind is a real concern, I imagine, for the rescue efforts. How bad could it get?

VAN DAM: Well, John, okay, so they are displaced well from the center of this projected path. They are not even into the path from the National Hurricane Center with Tropical Storm Elsa. However, it has the potential to bring these feeder bands, these outer rain bands that can change the weather so quickly, so rain can pick up, the wind can be sustained at 35 miles per hour.

And in a worst case scenario, we don't want to see this, but with the approaching squall line like we've got off the coast now, it could spin up a very short-lived waterspout which of course as it moves on to land becomes a tornado and winds can become violent there and that will definitely impact the search and rescue situation.

BERMAN: Staying alert, no doubt there. Derek Van Dam, thank you very much. Keep us posted over the next 24 hours. Again in Surfside, the death toll rose overnight and today with last

night's demolition, allowing crews to safely expand their search area, finally, the whole site. More from CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This was the scene around 10:30 Sunday night, a controlled demolition of what remained of Champlain Towers South. It was brought down by explosives sending a cloud of dust through Surfside.

MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Only dust landed on the existing pile. And a little over an hour afterward, we received the all clear, and then right around midnight, work commenced on the pile and by 1:00 a.m., we were in full search and rescue operation mode.


KAYE (voice over): It wasn't long after search and rescue efforts resumed that rescuers pulled three more bodies from the rubble pile, another body was found later in the day.

The search for survivors had been hampered by concerns the remaining tower may collapse on first responders and the threat of high winds from Tropical Storm Elsa.

MAYOR CHARLES BURKETT, SURFSIDE, FLORIDA: Being gone, we are now at 100 percent full strength, full on pulling everybody out of that rubble pile.

KAYE (voice over): Teams on the ground are very clear, this is still a rescue mission, not a recovery mission.

GOLAN VACH, IDF, NATIONAL RESCUE UNIT IN THE HOME FRONT COMMAND COLONEL: I said to the families like two days ago that the chances to find somebody alive is close to zero. I'm realistic, but we are still full of hope.

KAYE (voice over): With the building demolished, rescue teams can now access areas closest to the building. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis noting rescuers are also able to reach where a lot of the master bedroom areas were.

Now, 12 days into the rescue efforts, first responders are not giving up, despite the toll it takes on them.

OBED FROMETA, CHAPLAIN, MIAMI-DADE FIRE RESCUE, TASK FORCE 1: They'll go through sleeplessness, they'll go through feelings of remorse, maybe feelings of depression.

KAYE (voice over): And for these rescuers, it's personal. They are part of this community and know some of the victims. Task Force 2, one of Miami-Dade's fire rescue teams recovered seven-year-old Stella Catarosi from the rubble while her father was also working on the pile. FROMETA: It's not pressure, but its motivation. Its urgency above and

beyond what we would normally wear. It's not in our soul as much as it is here.

KAYE (voice over): To help, Florida State Senator Lauren Book and her four-year-old twins started making and hand delivering homemade cards like these to the rescuers on site, which she says brought many tears.

LAUREN BOOK, FLORIDA STATE SENATOR: We started asking for cards and then elementary schools and camps started sending their cards in and bringing their cards to our Senate offices. And every day, we just started handing out more and more and more cards. We are in the 500 plus now.

So, we've just really just started handing them out and giving these small pieces of love to these first responders.

KAYE (voice over): This first responder was overwhelmed by such kindness when he needed it most.

CAPT. OMAR BLANCO, RECEIVED HOMEMADE CARD: We've got all the bandages and tools to address any situation, but to warm the heart, a letter from a child is always one of those that really soothes the soul.


BERMAN: You know, the rescue workers I talked to Randi, they are physically spent, they are emotionally spent, I'm sure those cards just made such a big difference.

They are still calling this officially a search and rescue operation, Randi, but how long do they expect to continue to search for survivors?

KAYE: It's unclear, John. I mean, certainly they are calling it as you said, a rescue mission, not a recovery mission and it is unclear how long they will continue to do that. They have acknowledged, of course that the chances are low, that they're going to find someone alive, but they are not giving up.

I talked with those members of that search and rescue task force, too today. They are on that pile, John from 12 in the afternoon until 12 midnight, despite very difficult conditions. They had to pause the rescue efforts today twice due to lightning, but they are making a lot of progress.

They've moved nearly five million pounds of concrete off that pile and the community is quite appreciative of that.

I did walk over to the Memorial, which is you know, John is just a couple blocks away from the site, spoke with some people there, there were a lot of tears, a lot of people looking at the pictures that are hanging on that fence. And the community is just -- they just don't know what to do. They don't know how to handle this right now.

But I did speak to one woman who said that she was looking for her missing friend. She showed me her picture. She said she had just seen her the day before the collapse happened, and those are the kinds of stories, John, that have really shaken this community. It all happened so suddenly and so fast and there was no time to say goodbye -- John.

BERMAN: Everyone knows someone there. Randi Kaye, thanks so much for that report.

More now on the demolition, and among other things, what investigators could hope to learn from the greater access that allows to the fallen structure.

Joining us, the man that Surfside hired to lead the investigation, veteran structural engineer, Allyn Kilsheimer; also structural engineer, Kit Miyamoto.

Allyn, I want to start with you for a second because one of the things that has been discovered that you discovered is that the amount of steel used as reinforcement at the base of the building may -- may -- have been less than what the original designs called for. How did this come to light?

ALLYN KILSHEIMER, HIRED BY SURFSIDE TO INVESTIGATE COLLAPSE: Well, actually that statement is an incorrect statement. What I have said is that the reinforcing steel that we could see in some of the photos and some of the debris might not be arranged in the manner that was suggested by the drawings, not that it wasn't the right number of reinforcing bars.


KILSHEIMER: We found that, excuse me, by looking at the drawings, reading them, all the ones that the Building Department has -- excuse member, and then looking at certain elements in the debris pile, and as they were removed from the debris pile, we knew that there was supposed to be making this up essentially, 16 bars in about a 10-foot area. But 25 percent of those were supposed to be normally where the columns are, that's in the slab, now not a vertical thing.

And we looked at it, and there were only one or two bars, probably because you couldn't fit them in there. But that doesn't mean that the right number of bars weren't there, it just means they might not have been arranged the way the drawings asked for. That is not unusual to expect, and that does not necessarily mean that had anything to do with this terrible situation.

BERMAN: Sure. Okay. Thank you for clarifying that, and Ally, you can get a drink of water here while I ask Kit a question.

Kit, if the bars are not arranged the way they were designed, what could the impact of that be? What are they there for?

KIT MIYAMOTO, STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Well, as Allyn was talking about, essentially, you get a subtle difference in how actually reinforcement is laid out actually makes a huge differences in a column, so that is, you know, outside of a pillars or not. Those things are essentially engineers do layout, but it's often they

make a change on the field, also, you know, and things like that. It is going to be a very, very important part of it.

But as Allyn said, no one knows exactly why that collapse actually happened to it. But usually, if we see this type of major failures, contribution come from multiple factors. You know, there are plenty of buildings with the deterioration, there is a point where the building was -- doesn't quite meet the so-called current code or how it's being engineered, but they don't collapse.

You know, so it has to have a combination effect like that to make decisions, you have the big clumps like that, but there is definitely a consensus.

BERMAN: But Allyn, it is something to look at, for sure. And I understand it's the early stages, it's just one of the many things that has come to light. And Allyn, you're looking for what you call to be a trigger event? A trigger event?

KILSHEIMER: That's correct.

BERMAN: You know, where my this fit as a possibility, although, you know, again, you're not saying it is the possibility or, you know, is the main reason, where could it fit in a possibility? What else have you seen that may fit into that pattern?

KILSHEIMER: Well, first of all, we have about 20 or 30 possible trigger possibilities, and it's a matter of evaluating and eliminating them or reducing their possibility one at a time.

We do that by collecting information, looking at drawings, looking at debris piles, testing material, all that kind of stuff. I don't believe from my previous experience that, that if they are supposed to be four bars, and there are two bars within the footprint of the column that that would have caused this, I believe the trigger was something else, not having these bars spaced in the way the drawings called for, might have contributed to the extent of this failure once it started due to the trigger. But we are trying to find the trigger.

Our experience is, as I think Kim said, it's usually more than one thing. You sometimes can get it down to, you know, two or three things. In other situations, we know that failures occurred when a plane hit or a bomb blew up or something like that.

We don't have the trigger here. We're trying to figure out what the trigger is, and then see how all of these different things. As Kit said, they don't always build everything exactly the way the drawings call, and they don't always design everything exactly correct.

But then you look and see how each one of those things may or may not have contributed once the trigger started.

BERMAN: Kit, there's one other thing that's come to light in reporting over the last few days. In essence, the engineering firm that was hired to do a structural analysis at the building, did some exploratory demolition, it's called, basically drilled down in a few areas to see some depth in some of the concrete slab, structural slab in different areas, and they said they found some curious results as it pertained to the structural slabs depth and really they prided of no other information in the writing about it. But what could that mean?

MIYAMOTO: Curious results? I'm not sure, I mean, I imagined that they probably discovered certain deterioration of a reinforcement, just looking at the 2018 reports and all that pictures they are looking at and also that, you know, potential, obviously that maybe deviates from the original plans, how the reinforcement laid out in the quantity and locations and so on, that I can tell.

But one factor remains that so many witness, saw the sudden collapse of the pool deck area, the minutes before this whole total collapse happening. So, that's something that is critically important aspect of it, I think to really look into it.

BERMAN: Well, the good news that they have there is now that the remaining structure is no longer standing, they are able to search in every grid as long as the weather permits it.


BERMAN: So, in the next few days, the search efforts, I know will continue in every grid there on site that in and of itself is good news and hopefully it will mean progress.

Gentlemen, thank you both so much for being with us tonight.

KILSHEIMER: Thank you.

MIYAMOTO: Thank you.

BERMAN: Still to come, breaking news on the dangerous delta variant of coronavirus spreading across the globe. New findings out of Israel would underscore why even those who are vaccinated need to take this variant seriously.

And later, two examples this holiday weekend of why the F.B.I. and other Federal authorities are so concerned about the rise of domestic extremists and terrorists. One involving a nine-hour police standoff, the other involving white nationalists marching through the city where the Declaration of Independence was adopted.



BERMAN: Breaking news on coronavirus that could be of major concern even to those already vaccinated. A day after President Biden declared at a White House ceremony that the nation is beating the virus, a new analysis from the Israeli government suggests that even so, the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine has dropped as the delta variant has spread.


BERMAN: In May before the delta variant had taken hold, the vaccine's efficacy was 95.3 percent against asymptomatic or mild infections. As of June 6th, efficacy dropped to 64 percent. Now, against severe illness and hospitalizations, the efficacy has dropped, but remains high from 97 percent to 93 percent. We should point out Israel did not provide data to support its statement.

Perspective now from Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore Health Commissioner and CNN medical analyst. She is also the author of the forthcoming book "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health."

So, these numbers jump out at you, Dr. Wen. You know, when you go from 95 percent efficacy to 65 percent for asymptomatic and mild, that's a big drop. I get that the serious illness, what we should be most concerned about isn't as much of a drop, but that is statistically significant what we saw there?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Absolutely, this definitely raises a lot of questions. And to be fair, as you pointed out, we really need to understand more about these data. How are these data collected? Were they based on models or based on real life experiments? We want to know.

But at the same time, I think this raises questions that the C.D.C. really needs to answer. So, for example, what is the true rate of breakthrough infections? So, if you are vaccinated, what is the likelihood that you could still be infected with COVID-19 because of this more contagious delta variant?

The C.D.C. has stopped collecting data on mild breakthrough infections, but I think people need to know if they are infected. The second related question is, are the people who are vaccinated, are they still able to transmit the disease to others, even if they are asymptomatic? That certainly has a lot of implications for people who are vaccinated, but their children are not. Could they be asymptomatic carriers of the delta variant?

BERMAN: That last part, I think, is the area of major concern. And still, I guess the big unknown at this point, Dr. Wen?

WEN: I mean, we would think based on the science that we have that getting the vaccine protects you very well from getting ill, reduces your likelihood of transmitting the virus to others. We also know that it reduces the amount of virus that you carry, even if you get infected.

The problem, though, is with the delta variant, it seems that you get more of the virus in you if you are infected, so that that somehow counteract the effect of the vaccine and to what extent, we don't know. And again, I think these questions need to be answered to advise a lot of people.

This is not undermining the trust in the vaccines, it is giving people who are vaccinated a better understanding of what is it that we should be doing still to protect ourselves and our loved ones,

BERMAN: And again, still 93 percent efficacy against severe illness and hospitalization, which really is the most important thing, and if anything else, it just points to the reason to still get vaccinated even more important, maybe more important than ever.

And Dr. Fauci told NBC yesterday that when he is in areas of high infection, he would still wear a mask, even what vaccinated. Would you do the same?

WEN: Absolutely. And here's the reason why. We know that the vaccines protect you very well from getting infected, but they don't protect you a hundred percent. Risk is additive, and so if you are around people all of whom are vaccinated, there's no risk to you.

But if you're around a lot of people who are unvaccinated, and there is a lot of community spread in that area and likely, those people who are unvaccinated and unmasked are also engaging in high risk activities themselves, then your risk increases for contracting COVID- 19, and again, possibly being a carrier to others.

And so I think, if you are living in an area with low rates of vaccination, high community transmission, especially of the delta variant, I would make sure to be wearing a mask indoors in crowded spaces.

BERMAN: We're all going to have to become very aware of how much virus is around us at any point. One of the things Dr. Fauci pointed out is that when they've analyzed who has died from coronavirus over the last period of time, it's like 99.2 percent of COVID deaths or people not vaccinated. That's a pretty stark number.

WEN: Absolutely. And we need to say this over and over again, that if you are vaccinated, it protects you so well, especially from the endpoint that we really care about, which is becoming severely ill and ending up at the hospital and dying.

At the same time, we also have to keep in mind that it is younger people, young adults, people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who are saying, look, I'm not going to get that sick from COVID. I'm not going to die, so I don't need to get the vaccine.

We need to acknowledge that probably for these people, they're not going to die if they contract COVID-19. Some might tragically, but we need to remind them that they might still have long term consequences even if they get mildly ill.

I've seen patients who were mildly ill or had been had even no symptoms, who ended up having loss of concentration, fatigue, shortness of breath -- issues that really affect their lives.

BERMAN: Dr. Leana Wen, I appreciate your time, really important perspective. I hope people are listening going forward. Thank you.

WEN: Thank you. BERMAN: All right, two incidents this weekend demonstrating what the

Facebook and other authorities have called a rise of domestic extremism. Details on both as well as a discussion with the top national security analyst when 360 continues.



BERMAN: Independence Day weekend was an unfortunate reminder of the continued threat from extremist groups. One group was involved in a nine-hour standoff with police that closed a major portion of a major East Coast interstate; the other, a white nationalist hate group marching through downtown Philadelphia.

Brynn Gingras has the details on both groups.



BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A standoff on the highway in Massachusetts between an anti-government group and police.


GINGRAS (voice over): And a white nationalist hate group marching in the streets of Philadelphia.

MARGARET HUANG, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: They pose a real threat to everyone in our communities.

GINGRAS (voice over): In Massachusetts, 11 men including a 17-year-old facing several firearms related charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone remain calm.

GINGRAS (voice over): State Police there stumbled upon the group early Saturday morning. The men were on the side of the road refueling their trucks with gasoline from canisters they carried with them. Many were wearing full tactical gear and they were armed.

A standoff with authorities unfolded shutting down the highway and forcing nearby neighborhoods into a shelter in place situation.

COL. CHRISTOPHER MASON, MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE: You can imagine 11 armed individuals standing with long guns slung on an interstate highway at two in the morning, certainly raises concerns and is not consistent with the firearms laws that we have here in Massachusetts.


GINGRAS (voice-over): In live streams posted online. A member identified their group as the Rise of the Moors, which seems to be connected to the Moors Sovereignty Movement that claims an 18th century treaty between the U.S. and Morocco grants them special rights. There is little else known about them. But the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups tells CNN, they're gaining followers.

MARGARET HUANG, PRESIDENT & CEO, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: They don't take driver's licenses, they don't seek gun licenses. They don't pay taxes to the U.S. government. And they try to recruit followers or adherence to their country that they've declared by seeking people who might be down on their luck.

GINGRAS (voice-over): After about nine hours the standoff ended peacefully but police seized eight guns including assault rifles, as the investigation continues into this group with the help of the FBI.

And in the streets of Philadelphia Saturday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's scared to take the mask off --

GINGRAS (voice-over): A different extremist organization around 200 members of patriot front who the SPLC identifies as a white supremacist group were shields covered their faces, carried flags, and chanted about a stolen election.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: When something stolen, you believe rightfully that you can get it back through violence. And that's what we're seeing across the white supremacy groups, across the radicalized right-wing groups.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Police say the group had several combative encounters with the public including throwing a smoke bomb at one point to run away from authorities. The mayor of Philadelphia tweeted this, appalled these groups chose Philly as the place to demonstrate their open hatred, racism, intolerance and hate have no place here.

Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


JOHN BERMAN: And we should know CNN has tried to reach out to both groups who have not heard back from Rise of the Moors and attempts to reach the Patriot Front were unsuccessful.

More perspective now from Juliette Kayyem who you heard in Brynn's report. She's a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security and a CNN national security analyst.

So, Juliette, you obviously heard Brynn's reporting there.


BERMAN: Rise of the Moors, to what extent do you think they've been on authorities radar?

KAYYEM: They've been very little on anyone's radar. They're a known group, they've been around since the 1970s, 1980s. They've been more known for something that we call paper terrorism, which is they terrorize people or governments or individuals by filing frivolous lawsuits, going after liens on properties, that sort of thing. In the last year, we've seen a lot more violent behavior, they've been trying to sort of gain property or keep hold on to property that they trespass on, but nothing like what we saw this weekend.

So that is new, and I think is part of this narrative of everything just keeps ratcheting up at this stage fright. Everything is just becoming more closer to violence than then normal free speech let's just say.

BERMAN: What does it say to you, though, that it did and say if you look at Wakefield, I mean, on I-95. You and I both --

KAYYEM: Yes, you and I know it.

BERMAN: -- (INAUDIBLE) in Wakefield.


BERMAN: But it's going to be --

KAYYEM: Exactly.

BERMAN: -- a whole lot worse. I mean, the fact that it did, and relatively peacefully, what does that say?

KAYYEM: It says a couple things. So, the first is that they may have had no intention of doing anything violent. They because some most of them ran away if they weren't caught, they did say that they wanted to do training. So I don't -- we don't believe them. But nonetheless, that may say something, it also says something about gun laws.

Massachusetts has the one of the toughest gun laws in the United States, it means that the mere possession of certain weaponry, the fact that some of the weapons were not lawfully owned, and the fact that a lot of them were open so that you could see them all of those violate certain state laws. So we don't even have to call this federal terrorism or get into the federal realm, we -- these 11 men are going to be prosecuted under pretty rigorous state laws. And that's a good thing.

So it shows that, you know, a combination of state laws and federal laws can try to at least protect American citizens from the violence that may come.

BERMAN: What challenge does a group like this, which says it doesn't recognize --


BERMAN: -- U.S. law? What kind of a challenge does that pose to authorities?

KAYYEM: Well, we've seen this before, so it's a little bit of Nihilism, a little bit of we're not going to pay taxes, and pretty much leave us alone. They say that they have, you know, believe them, only partially, but they say they have no desire to change the U.S. government. So that's different than say the white supremacy groups and, and the Stop the Steal groups that we see right now.

So, you basically want to make it difficult for them to recruit and arrest like what we're doing. And so, that's what you can do. Not all extremist groups are the same. We want to focus on those that are violent. That is the most important thing right now. You're not going to change everyone's minds, but you can actually go after people who are violent.


BERMAN: So that group in Philadelphia, that white nationalist --


BERMAN: -- group that was chanting among other things, the language to reclaim America which I know (INAUDIBLE) --


BERMAN: -- because you talked about that that has very specific meaning. And it also has a connection to the big lie which continues to be perpetuated by the former president.

KAYYEM: Right, I repeat myself, which is, we cannot view the big lie as about just politics or partisanship, the big lie is direct -- directly motivates violence, because in the white supremacist viewpoint, and in these radicalized groups viewpoints, when something is stolen, they can rightfully use violence to get it back. Think about Stop the Steal, think about that language. What is -- how exactly do we Stop the Steal.

And so, it's this language that's perpetuated by the GOP and leadership in the GOP and, of course, former President Trump, that leads to violence as well as some of the I think voter suppression laws, if I could just say something rather odd, but something to look forward -- to look to in the future.

What we saw in Pennsylvania is they covered their faces. I know that, that reminds people of the KKK. On the other hand, this is the kind of shaming that we actually should begin to look at. What always was so disconcerting about January 6, and some other rallies is that these guys were just out in the open.

So, those are the kinds of things that people like me look at, in terms of are we starting to shame and isolate these terrorists? That's what they are.

BERMAN: Interesting, very interesting note. Juliette Kayyem, great to talk to you. Thanks so much.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

BERMAN: Next, the former President talks about the tax charges against his company and it's finance chief and it sure sounds like he said the quiet part out loud. The question now is that quiet part is it also loudly incriminating?



BERMAN: When the New York real estate tycoon Leona Helmsley was awaiting trial back in 1989, on multiple counts of tax evasion and fraud, another New York real estate tycoon called her a, quote, disgrace to humanity. Thirty two years later with his company and its chief financial officer charged with similar crimes. That same tycoon now says this.


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


BERMAN: The former president over the weekend. And the answer to his question is twofold, A yes and B, of course. Most law-abiding citizens actually do know what's taxable and what isn't. Most wealthier ones know even better. Some might even know not to say things suggesting consciousness of guilt.

Joining us now, CNN political commentator Amanda Carpenter, author of the book appropriately titled, Gaslighting America Why We Love It When Trump Lies To Us. Also, Elie Honig, CNN senior legal analyst and former assistant to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. His new book out tomorrow is titled Hatchet Man How Bill Barr Broke The Prosecutors Code And Corrupted The Justice Department.

Elie, congratulations on the new book is terrific, as is Amanda's.


BERMAN: I want to talk about all this in a moment. But I want to start with Allen Weisselberg, I mean, how do you think he feels when the former president goes out in front of the public and basically says, yes, we did these things. You know, I admit we did these things. How much does that hurt Weisselberg's case?

HONIG: It's not good for Allen Weisselberg. Donald Trump managed to in one statement, both incriminate himself to a degree by admitting, yes, we paid these perks. No, we did not pay taxes on him. Then the distancing starts and Donald Trump says but who knows about this stuff. And John, what you said in the intro is most responsible adults know about this stuff, this tax stuff, but I'll tell you who really knows about this stuff is CFOs, chief financial officers like Allen Weisselberg. So Donald Trump is doing himself no favors. He's certainly doing Allen Weisselberg no favors.

BERMAN: And Amanda, and this is something you may very well have covered this type of thing in the gaslighting of America. But, you know, if Barack Obama or a Democrat or the Clinton Foundation had said these types of things are made these kind of comments in public, how would Republicans feel about that?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, of course, I mean, Republicans would probably hold them to account and that's what's so frustrating about the Trump era is that he keeps getting involved in all these scandals and investigations, and somehow everyone around him is held accountable except for him.

I mean, Allen Weisselberg is in trouble right now. Just like Steve Bannon was, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, like somehow he has this incredible ability to get all the people around him, to engage in the dirty work, criminal activity, and they end up taking the fall.

I mean, we'll see what happens with this. Trump has not been charged, but it's pretty hard to imagine that his CFO engaged in this long, systematic, 15 years long scheme of tax fraud, this isn't fringe benefits. This is a tax fraud scheme to only benefit himself and no one else at the Trump Organization.

BERMAN: So Elie, Amanda just mentioned some of the names here, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, to name a few, and now, Allen Weisselberg. Look at all those people. Allen Weisselberg, may be in trouble.

But the question is, will Donald Trump get in trouble for this? Because as of now, you know, he hasn't been charged with this. And there's a similarity to some of your former job, which was, you know, organized crime prosecutions. There are sometimes people that skate above even when everyone around them goes down.

HONIG: It's a feature of our legal system, John and Amanda, what she just said actually reminded me of a case I did against a powerful mobster who we caught on a tape saying, it's good to be the boss. I mean, he's right. It is good to be the boss for a couple of reasons.

First of all, if you're the total boss, the President, you do have that cover of being an office where DOJ won't prosecute you, but even putting that aside if you're the boss of any corrupt organization, a private company, a governmental agency a mob family, you're insulated. Right? You have people around you who do your dirty work, who sometimes take the fall for you and it's really hard for prosecutors to get to the boss.


In my experience, the only way you're really going to get to a boss is if he says something stupid in an e-mail or a text. We know Donald Trump didn't do that. If you're lucky enough to wiretap him or get someone to wear a wire, we don't have any reason to think that's happened. Or if you flip somebody and that's why Allen Weisselberg so important. And the fact that he doesn't appear to be interested in flipping tells me that prosecutors do not have a direct line on Donald Trump right now.

BERMAN: So Amanda, rank and file Republicans, I'm not talking to Matt Gaetz or Jim Jordan's of the world who, you know, I think would stick with Trump no matter what here. But, you know, Republicans who tolerate Donald Trump. Does this mean anything to them to this attack stuff, get into their world or make it uncomfortable for them to deal with him in anyway?

CARPENTER: I mean, listen, Donald Trump plays a good PR war. When I was listening to him that Sarasota rally, I just thought this is Ukraine investigation all over again. I mean, essentially, Donald Trump stood up and said, so what if I did it, which was exactly what his then Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said at the White House podium, when asked questions about digging, or leveraging Ukraine aid for dirt on Joe Biden, it's so what if we did it, right?

And the fact that so many reporters are classifying this as a fringe tax benefit instead of the fraud and systematic crime that it is tells me he is winning that broad argument. So no, it probably won't matter.

But then I also wonder this, even if the prosecutors had him dead to rights on a text, e-mail, wiretap, are we really going to throw former president in prison? I mean, really? I don't think our political climate would sustain it.

BERMAN: It's an interesting question, Elie, in my hands, I am holding a copy of Hatchet Man out tomorrow. It is wonderful. It really it goes into Bill Barr, and examines him, you know, not just what happened, but also what it means in the impact going forward. And to that end, you talk about the Justice Department and the damage that has been done there. What needs to happen in your mind to fix the Justice Department?

HONIG: The short answer, John is we need better people and I was lucky to serve in the Justice Department before Bill Barr came in and corrupted it. One of the first lessons I was taught as a brand new I was 29 years old by the way, when I started as a prosecutor, which is a little scary looking back now, but I was taught all you have is your word, your credibility.

When you stand up and you say representing the United States, you better tell it straight. You better never lie. You better never shade the truth. Bill Barr did that throughout his two years. He did great damage to the way people look at the Justice Department. They will be back the Justice Department will recover but it will take time, it will take new policies it will take better people.

BERMAN: I look forward to talking much more about this book in the coming days and week Eli Honig, the book is Hatchet Man How Bill Barr Broke The Prosecutors Code And Corrupted The Justice Department. And our thanks to you as always Amanda Carpenter. Thanks very much.

Up next, another spike in shootings over the weekend across the country, including a murder of a golf pro and two others in a Georgia Country Club. Details when we return.



BERMAN: It was yet another violent weekend involving gunfire across the country. According to the Gun Violence Archive at least 150 people were fatally shot in more than 400 shootings. Last night, North Las Vegas police say at least two men were killed and seven others injured after a shooting there.

In Cincinnati police say two teenagers were killed and three others injured at a holiday celebration. These pictures now are from Chicago where two were killed and four hurt in a drive by shooting just one of many incidents that plague the city this weekend. In Fort Worth, Texas, eight people were injured in a shooting near a carwash. In Norfolk, Virginia, four children were shot on Friday afternoon including a six-year-old girl who is expected to survive.

And then there was this in Georgia professional golfer was among those found murdered at a country club outside Atlanta.

"360s" Gary Tuchman has the story.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What happened on the 10th green of a country club golf course in a leafy suburb of Atlanta is tragic, frightening and deeply mysterious. On Saturday, this pickup truck was driven into the green at the Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw, Georgia, about 25 miles northwest of Atlanta. And when the club's director of golf Gene Siller went to see what was going on. He was shot in the head by the driver of the pickup.

This man told our CNN affiliate, he was in the golf course club house when he heard gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it happened, it was all in the moment. You know, Fourth of July, you're thinking fireworks, and it's not fireworks and there's a guy on the ground.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gene Siller, husband and father of two boys was pronounced dead at the scene police say. He was well known and liked and competed in George's PGA section tournaments. The gunman is still on the loose. This man says he played golf with Gene Siller the day before he was killed.

SEBASTIAN SCHUTTE, FRIEND OF VICTIM: It didn't hit me until later, you know that this happened to our country club and it was really is still can't believe it.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): What happened is indeed difficult to believe, only made more than comprehensible, because the situation is so strange. When police got to the scene, they looked in the truck, and they said in a written statement, two other deceased males were discovered in the bed of the pickup truck. Both males suffered apparent gunshot wounds. One of the males was identified as Paul Pierson, the registered owner of the Ram 3500. The other male has not yet been identified. This remains under investigation.

And so far, authorities are not releasing additional details about the investigation. But nearby Kennesaw State University sent out an emergency alert this weekend, declaring the male suspect had been seen and that he has long hair, a white tan shirt and dark colored work pants. However, a later tweet from the college said you may resume normal activities. No credible threat to campus as indicated at this time.

Today, tire tracks from the pickup truck are clearly evident on that 10th green and there's a makeshift memorial with flowers and an American flag right nearby.

Rand Eberhard was a friend of Gene Siller, he is also a pastor.

RAND EBERHAND, FRIEND OF VICTIM: No one would set out with calculated evil to set out and do something wrong to Gene. Gene was a bringer of light the goodness of God. He was a peaceful dude.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gene Siller was 41 years old. His children are six and seven.

Gary Tuchman, CNN.


BERMAN: Another weekend of violence in America.

Up next and a much happier note. A record setting anniversary from a former president and his wife Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, next.


BERMAN: They literally met the day she was born and this Wednesday they will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary in the small town they still call home, Plains Georgia. Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn are the longest married presidential couple in U.S. history. His sister played matchmaker setting them up on their first date when he was a midshipman at the Naval Academy. They married in 1946.

Over the years through some sometimes turbulent political campaigns, their relationship never faltered. The former President told The New York Times, the couple has quote, just grown closer and closer together. Jimmy Carter is 96 his bride is 93. We wish them a wonderful, wonderful anniversary.


The news continues. So let's hand it over to Michael Smerconish in for Chris on "CUOMO PRIME TIME."