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At This Hour
Talk of Overturning Election Sparks Fear of More Violence; Sources: Feds Investigating Obstruction as Part of Gaetz Probe; White House to Donate Millions of Unused Vaccines to Other Countries; Shocking Shoutout Between Two Children and Florida Deputies. Aired 11- 11:30a ET
Aired June 03, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
The top things we're watching AT THIS HOUR:
Dangerous lies. Donald Trump is consumed with trying to overturn the 2020 election still. But it's not just about Trump. The real concern this could lead to more violence.
Children in a shootout. A 14-year-old and 12-year-old opened fire on deputies. The tense moments that was all caught on video.
And point of no return. The Tokyo Olympics are moving full steam ahead despite so many calls to cancel and postpone again. The pandemic is getting worse in Japan. One member of the U.S. Olympic team is our guest.
BOLDUAN: Hello, everyone. We have a lot to get to this hour.
Let's start with what really is a new threat of political violence in America today. The images from January 6th should be enough to scare anyone, but apparently not. It has been five months since the deadly insurrection when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory.
This morning, CNN's Dana Bash is reporting the former president remains consumed with the big lie that widespread election fraud caused him the election. The big lie that led to five people dying and 140 police officers, and the seat of democracy in our country trashed.
Sources say Donald Trump is now more obsessed than ever with his loss. One former adviser tells CNN Trump is listening to, in their words, the bottom of the bottom of the crazies in the barrel. The former president is now fixating on the ludicrous idea, the so-called ballot audits being pushed by his supporters could actually show that he won the election, just as Trump is reportedly pushing the delusional theory that he is going to be reinstated as president by this summer.
This is no mechanism in the U.S. Constitution to do that. At the same time, Republicans are intensifying their push to pass measures making it harder to vote. Something Democrats and states across the country and honest Republicans are warning could help lead to more violence ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH SHAPIRO (D), PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: We saw what happened in those weeks after the election, where the lie was being told over and over and over again. And you could draw direct line between not just the rhetoric that was occurring on the stump but what was occurring in the courts of this commonwealth and of this country, which ultimately led directly to the insurrection on January 6th.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: If lies and misinformation led to violence already, what is stopping it from happening again? Since it is now very clear that Donald Trump and his supporters aren't going to let it go?
Joining me now is CNN contributor Ben Ginsberg. He is a well-known, long time Republican election attorney.
He is also joined by Jessica Huseman, editorial director of VoteBeat, a nonprofit newsroom covering voting and election security.
Thank you both for being here.
Jessica, if lies about the election led to violence, we know it did, how real is the threat of this happening again?
JESSICA HUSEMAN, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, VOTEBEAT: I think it's very real. And I think that if the Republican Party does not realign itself and adjust to the expectations of some of its more extreme members, then we will see violence again.
I mean, we're holding local elections every day as we speak. The confidence and the lack of confidence in elections is crucial to daily activity and democracy. And this needs to happen sooner rather than later.
BOLDUAN: And the lack of confidence in elections is something that really concerns you, Ben, because if Trump himself is not going to let this go, he is still in control of the Republican Party. We know this. If this is the focus of the party going into the next election, what will that mean?
BEN GINSBERG, REPUBLICAN ELECTION LAWYER: Well, it will mean a few things.
First of all, on a political level, it's probably really bad for the Republican Party overall. Moderates in the suburbs seem to be leaving the party. The rhetoric from the president can serve to depress the Republican turnout, because Republican voters are going to think what's the point? The election is rigged. And all the laws that are being passed in the states are likely to be motivating the Democratic base to come out and vote. So I think it's a bad political situation for Republicans in 2022.
But you still have the problem in the democracy of 30 percent of the electorate not believing election results. And while Jessica is right, it is great to retool.
It's not immediately clear that can be done without dealing with the allegations head on.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. I mean, Jessica, you have Republicans from Pennsylvania flying to Arizona to learn about how they're actually conducting that sham audit. I mean, if this same circus goes to Pennsylvania, I mean, is this going to continue now? Just from state to state, commonwealth to commonwealth?
HUSEMAN: You know, I really worry about that. I think that, you know, there is not a court in the land, I think, that would validate the conclusions of the Arizona audit. It has been such a debacle. But that doesn't mean that debacle can't be repeated across the country in order to further suspicion over results.
And I think that that's the real danger of this, is that it becomes another tool in the tool kit for people who would like to continue with suspicion and convince people that the candidate they wanted to win did win and is not just sitting in a compound in Florida shaking his fists. It really is a future threat to the legitimacy of elections:
BOLDUAN: You know, Ben, part of this whole effort are these new voting restrictions that Republican legislators are putting into place. One aspect of it that I found interesting in kind of how this is playing out is several of the states where they're making it harder to vote by mail are states where vote by mail is quite popular. I mean, we can show it to -- for our viewers. Just to show you just what we found in Arizona and Florida and Iowa just some examples.
How does this not hurt Republicans too?
GINSBERG: Well, I think it does. I mean Republicans have always taken advantage of vote by mail in all of those states. As the Republican voter base becomes older, it stands to reason that more and more Republicans will want to take advantage of vote by mail.
But this goes back to the -- what I think is important, is you somehow have to deal with the 30 percent who don't believe in elections. It may just be the giving the Trump supporters the forum to present why they think the election was rigged. And then have an examination of whatever case they can present is the way you have to deal with this situation.
BOLDUAN: The problem is we have a lot of people saying after the election, let Trump blow off steam. It will all turn out okay. We all saw what happened when Trump was blowing off steam for a long -- that led to January 6th. I mean, Jessica, this week, President Biden jumped into this fight in
a more substantial way. The way he put it, he is going to fight like heck I think is how he said it against these voting laws. He put Kamala Harris in charge of the effort.
Why do you think this is too little too late?
HUSEMAN: I mean, the legislative session in most states is already over. I just feel like this is, you know, you can put your hands in the air and say, heck all you want. But this process should have started three months ago. I think that the day to address the voter suppression legislation in Texas is not the last day of the Texas legislative session.
Democrats have been very confusing to me over the last few months. You know, they put HR-1 up as this priority legislation. They did not write it in such a way that it has a snowball's chance of passing.
They have ignored the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement legislation. They have not put the Voting Rights Act up for re- authorization. And Joe Biden is coming out in in essentially June to say that this is a White House priority and that the vice president is now in charge of it.
Well, many of these laws had already passed. So, sure, thank you for coming and speaking out now. But it's a little late.
BOLDUAN: Jessica, thank you.
Ben, it's great to see you. Thank you so much.
BOLDUAN: Also developing this morning, CNN's new reporting that the Justice Department is investigating Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz for potential obstruction of justice now in connection with the on going probe over allegation that's he had sex with a minor. This is a new piece of the investigation into sating congressman that was not known until now.
CNN's Paula Reid has details. She's joining me now.
Paula, what more are you learning?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the reporting on this investigation over the past two months, something we really can't lose sight of is at the heart of this investigation is a group of young women, many of whom allegedly exchanged sex for money and gifts.
In talking with many of these women, it's clear. They're a vulnerable population. Several of them told me they're very scared about being involved in a federal investigation. They're highly susceptible to any outside influence, especially any influence from powerful men. So now we learned that the FBI is investigating whether the congressman or any of his associates have tried to influence any of the witnesses in this case. And it was interesting to learn that these concerns, they're not new.
We learned that the concerns go back to last fall, around the same time that the investigation into Congressman Gaetz began under Attorney General Bill Barr.
Now, investigators are looking at a few different instances. One we learned of, the first week of October, 2020. We learned that investigators have been told congressman and an associate discussed visiting an ex-girlfriend of the congressman to talk about the investigation.
Now there is nothing wrong with visiting an old flame even discussing the investigation. But the FBI is in possession of some materials that suggest that the congressman and/or associate may have tried to influence this ex-girlfriend who is a key witness in this investigation.
It's important to note this ex-girlfriend, she is not the minor who the congressman allegedly had sex with. But she was linked to the congressman in the summer of 2017. Now, the congressman denied the allegations in a statement. He said, Congressman Gaetz pursues justice, he does not obstruct it.
After two months, there is not a single on the record accusation of misconduct and now the story is changing yet again.
BOLDUAN: Paula, thank you for your reporting. Great reporting. I really appreciate it.
Coming up for us, the big announcement moment ago from the White House. What the president is promising to do now with unused coronavirus vaccines and who is going to get them?
Plus, incredible new video of the shootout between sheriff's deputies and two children in Florida. You can hear the deputies pleading not to have to use their guns. That's next.
BOLDUAN: We have breaking news into CNN.
The White House has just unveiled its much anticipated global vaccination plan. And the world has really been waiting to learn where and how the Biden administration will be sharing millions of vaccine doses.
We now have some new idea. Let's go over to CNN's John Harwood for details on this.
John, what you are learning?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, President Biden is saying that just the United States has been the arsenal of democracy in wartime, it's going to be the arsenal of vaccines in this pandemic. And the COVID-19 briefing right now from his team that is currently underway is laying out some of the details.
The United States has coming under increasing pressure as we got to a point where vaccine supply exceeds demand in the United States. They're trying to push up demand to get to that 70 percent vaccination level by the Fourth of July. But we got more than enough vaccine to do that.
So what the administration is announcing today is that 80 million doses are going to be distributed globally. Three-fourths of them, 60 million doses through COVAX, the global vaccine sharing effort in conjunction with the World Health Organization. Another 20 million to immediate partners and neighbors like Mexico, Canada, India, South Korea.
Now the bulk of the doses are going to countries in need, vulnerable countries. Latin America, the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, Africa, in coordination with the African Union. And they're going to push those out beginning this month.
The first 25 million doses are going to go out immediately. And they say that they're going to get 80 million out by the end of the month.
Important to note, this is still a drop in the bucket of the global need. The global need is in the billions of doses. This is 80 million doses, but it's a start. And the United States is trying to make it self the leader in distributing the vaccines around the world.
The administration noted that it's already contributed $4 billion to COVAX, this global effort and now they're adding vaccines on top of that equation.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. An important step, regardless. Thank you, John. John Harwood at the White House for us. Appreciate it, John.
Also AT THIS HOUR, we have some new video of what really is a shocking shootout between two children and sheriff's deputies in Central Florida, a warning, of course, you may and likely will find this video quite disturbing.
You can see the gut wrenching moments when deputies say the 14-year- old girl and 12-year-old boy opened fire on them. The young girl was eventually shot and is still in the hospital.
CNN's Leyla is live in Florida with more.
Leyla, can you walk us through this?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kate. This is a nine-minute video, it's a compilation of clips from eight different deputies released by the sheriff's department here and it walks us through what it was like from the deputies' perspective, from having to hide behind a tree when they were fired upon to their attempts to deescalate the situation.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: I have to hold my cover. Stand by.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): This police body camera footage shows a disturbing scene in Central Florida Tuesday night.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: Juvenile male looks like he has something in his hand as well. They're at the back, sliding glass door on my side, which will be facing the three.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: Shooting out the rear window towards my direction. Stand by.
SANTIAGO: The Volusia County sheriff releasing an edited compilation that started after a 14-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy ran away from a children's group home.
SHERIFF MIKE CHITWOOD, VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL: Nicole was (ph) that a 12- year-old who is a diabetic and needs medication (INAUDIBLE) walked off campus with the 14-year-old.
SANTIAGO: According to the sheriff, the teens broke into this house and allegedly used an AK-47 and shotgun discovered inside to open fire on officers.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: The female has a shotgun in her hand. Stand by.
Put the gun down now!
SANTIAGO: Deputies working to deescalate the situation.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: I'm not sure if they're going to come to the front door or not. Stand by. Don't make me do this. Don't do this.
They look like they're going to try to come out. I will challenge.
Get your hands out!
SANTIAGO: but after 35 minutes, police say the teenage girl who was armed with a gun threatened to kill a deputy.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: Stand by. Shots fired at me again juvenile male fired that round.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: Bring them up here, man.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: Stand by. She's got the AK and a shotgun. She's wrapping it around the top of her neck.
(GUNFIRE) SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: Shots fired again. Female now has a pistol. Juvenile male has a long gun so does the female. Stand by.
SANTIAGO: The teenage girl was shot multiple times by deputies and was in critical but stable condition. And the boy taken into custody uninjured speaking to authorities about the situation.
CHITWOOD: Then when we questioned him and it's all over, he tells investigators that the female made a statement I'm going to roll this down like GTA, Grand Theft Auto, and started firing multiple times at deputies who are outside the residence. They knew it was law enforcement, they said, and they were shooting to cause harm to law enforcement.
SANTIAGO: No deputies were hurt in the incident and an investigation is now under way.
CHITWOOD: Nobody comes to work to shoot and kill anybody. We certainly don't come to work to get into gunfights with 12 and 14- year-olds.
SANTIAGO (on camera): According to the arrest affidavit, both are facing several charges including attempted murder on a law enforcement officer. You know, the sheriff as you heard, he is passionate and very critical of the juvenile justice system.
We spoke to the shelter where these children live where we are right now. And they said that they feel overwhelmed and that the system is failing children.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. Leyla, thank you very much for that.
Joining me right now is CNN's senior law enforcement analyst, Chief Charles Ramsey.
Chief, just what is your reaction to this body cam video and what we're hearing about how it played out?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, it's terribly sad. A 12-year-old and a 14-year-old, I mean, you know, break into a house, they get guns and they knowingly shoot at police that are responding. I mean, I think the police did a good job.
Please don't get me wrong. Failure isn't on their part. But when you look at the system, the juvenile justice system, I mean, they're in a group home.
Clearly, we know now they probably should have been in a more secure facility. But, you know, they weren't. They were able to walk away.
I don't know about their parents and what role they played. But certainly there is breakdowns there, and in both the family as well as the juvenile justice system that led to all of this.
BOLDUAN: Let me play a little bit of what the sheriff actually said about all of this to my colleague Alisyn Camerota yesterday.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHITWOOD: The only thing going through my head is what are the deputies thinking that they have to return fire on a 12 and 14-year- old? They're moms and dads. I know their kids are that same age. You know, well, thank God nobody was killed. I don't know what the residual effects are going to be on these deputies.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Yeah. I mean, and you know this sheriff, Chief.
BOLDUAN: What do you think of that?
RAMSEY: I know him.
Well, first of all, I know Chitwood very, very well. He is from Philly originally, an excellent police chief. But he's absolutely right. People don't think about the trauma that police officers undergo in these situations.
I mean, here you got a 12-year-old and 14-year-old. Now imagine you've got a 12-year-old or an 11-year-old and maybe a 15-year-old or so at home. I mean do you really want to shoot that kid?
But you may have to. And so those are the kinds of things that police officers can be confronted with. It's just not a good situation for anybody that's concerned with this.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. The system for sure failing. That definitely exposed here. You heard the officer say don't make me do this is just gut wrenching.
It's good to see you, Chief. Thank you.
RAMSEY: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, a police officer who is brutally attacked by insurrectionists telling CNN he is sickened by Republicans who blocked a commission to investigate the attack. His powerful words ahead.
BOLDUAN: Turning now to the investigation into the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A second rioter has now pleaded guilty. Paul Hodgkins, he is seen wearing a Trump shirt and carrying a Trump flag into the Senate chamber after storming the building.
He reached a plea deal with prosecutors on one felony count. He will be sentenced next month. This comes as one of the D.C. police officers brutally attacked on the
steps of the Capitol that day.