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At This Hour

Biden Floats Bringing Down Infrastructure Price Tag, But Wants GOP Concessions; Netanyahu Blasts Dangerous Coalition Moving to Oust Him; Olympic Organizers Insist Games will go on Despite COVID Warnings. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 03, 2021 - 11:30   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Officers brutally attacked on the steps of the Capitol that day is speaking up about what happened when he tried to convince Republican senators to support a January 6th commission.


CNN's Whitney Wild is joining me now with much more on that. Whitney?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we actually watched these officers. It was another officer as well. United States Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn go basically door to door with the loved ones who were left behind when Officer Brian Sicknick of the U.S. Capitol Police died. They pleaded with lawmakers to pass this 1/6 commission.

And last night, D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone talked in great length and in great detail about how it felt to sit there in front of these lawmakers and especially, you know, about the disappointment once this bill failed. But, as always, Officer Fanone was candid, he was authentic and no one can ever say it better than he can. Here he is.


MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I was absolutely sickened. You know, here I am escorting the mother of a dead policeman while she and myself advocate for, you know, the formation of a commission to investigate the circumstances which resulted in her son's death.

And you have, you know, a leader on Capitol Hill who is making phone calls, asking for personal favors and doling out political capital to push for, you know, a no vote on that commission.

You have elected leaders who are going back to constituents and lying about the insurrection. And so I think it's important for Americans to be able to hear from the rank and file officers like myself.


WILD: And that is why they are coming forward, Kate. Officer Fanone also discussed those comments from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, we have been talking about for several days now, where he seemed to suggest that a coup, like what happened in Myanmar, could happen here, or should happen here. His attorney, Sidney Powell, says he was not advocating for violence but Officer Fanone says it is that rhetoric, those words that contributed -- that type of rhetoric rather that contributed to January 6th. And so he strongly condemned those words saying that words like that, Kate, are really the problem and continue to be the problem almost six months out from the insurrection. Back to you.

BOLDUAN: And that's why the words of officers and people, like Michael Fanone, like Gladys Sicknick, Brian Sicknick's mother, why their words should, should matter more, should matter more, should have an impact. Why are they afraid of the truth? That's what you should keep asking yourself, everybody. Whitney, thank you.

Coming up for us, both sides say they want to reach a bipartisan deal on infrastructure. But right now, the two sides are billions of dollars apart. Can they reach a deal? One of the lead White House negotiators joins us next.



BOLDUAN: At this hour, they're talking, they're not walk away but are they getting anywhere? President Biden announcing talks will continue with Senate Republicans over a massive infrastructure package. They're speaking again tomorrow. But the two sides appear hundreds of billions of dollars apart and have a pretty poor track record of actually striking a deal while under pressure.

Moments ago, I spoke with the secretary of commerce, Gina Raimondo, who has been negotiating with the Republicans.


BOLDUAN: Secretary, thank you so much for being here. This meeting between President Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito on infrastructure, our reporting is that the meeting was considered inside the White House as kind of the moment to try and figure out what is actually possible. So what is actually possible today?

GINA RAIMONDO, U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY: Well, that's what we're still trying to figure out. I mean, the president is showing, I think, amazing leadership. You know, as a governor, I had to spend so much time with the legislature. He is personally leaning in, willing to compromise, spending time with senators, Democrats and Republicans, to find out what is the art of possible.

And, you know, he has been crystal clear, the only thing he won't accept is inaction. It's time for action. The American people deserve it. It has to be big and bold, you know, a trillion dollars or more. And it has to meet the moment.

And so we don't know today exactly what is possible with each day. We continue negotiations and get a little closer. I'll be talking to a number of senators today. We all will. We're operating in good faith. I mean, this is the sausage making of getting legislation done and it's doing our job in service of the American people.

BOLDUAN: One thing coming clear now is how far apart you all actually are in terms of how much to spend. The understanding is that the president wants, as you mentioned, a trillion dollars, 1 trillion at least in new spending. And Republicans countered with something short of $300 billion in new spending. Is that how far apart you are?


RAIMONDO: We are definitely not there yet. I would say there is a gap. And so that's our job, to try to find where the common ground is. You know, we want to find as much common ground, as much of the president's priorities as possible.

You know, one area, for example, that I feel is so important is broadband. Every American ought to have the opportunity to have high speed broadband. The president is calling for $100 billion. Maybe the Republicans think $100 billion is too much, but I think we can all agree that every American deserves high speed broadband.

So it's a process. I wish it was easier. Everybody wishes it were quicker. It's not. This is American democracy in action and we are doing everything we can to get bipartisan agreement.

BOLDUAN: If this stretches into July, is it going too far?

RAIMONDO: Probably. You know, it depends. It's hard to say. It depends where we are. But, you know, he said Memorial Day. They asked for a bit more time. He's giving them a bit more time. I think we want to get something done far sooner than July. So, you know, we'll see where we can go.

The other -- there is another chamber which is the House. So we have to -- obviously, we're going to continue to work as aggressively as possible, seven days a week, to see how quickly we can get something done.

BOLDUAN: Look, it's a good faith effort because you really do want bipartisanship. I want to play for you something that president said about Republicans last week while he was making his push for this plan.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm not going to embarrass anyone but I have here a list of how back in their districts, they're bragging about the rescue plan.

I mean, some people have no shame.


BOLDUAN: Secretary, he had the list printed out and ready to go. I mean, do you think shaming Republicans is the way to get to a deal? RAIMONDO: No, and I don't think that that's what he was doing. What he was saying is there are people, Americans, would live in red states and Republican states who currently don't have broadband, whose roads and bridges are falling apart. And it's in their interest to -- for their senators, Republicans, to pass this bill, a version of the president's bill, or their bill, because they need and deserve infrastructure. And I promise you that once this is passed, it will be good for America. It will create jobs. And everybody will want to take credit for it.

So I think the president's point was, you know, do your job. Get to the table. Your constituents deserve roads, bridges, airports, broadband, veterans' hospitals, rural hospitals, let's get the job done.

BOLDUAN: Look, you're speaking to senators. Is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, is he the linchpin here once again?

RAIMONDO: He's important. Absolutely, he's important. They're all important. You know, we have -- it's a 50/50 so everyone matters. But, certainly, we're talking to him regularly, talking to all of them regularly.

BOLDUAN: Secretary, thank you very much for your time.



BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Benjamin Netanyahu lashing out after his opponents strike a deal paving the way to oust him as Israel's longest serving prime minister. A live report from Jerusalem, next.



BOLDUAN: Developing at this hour, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now fighting back to try and save his political career. He's blasting a coalition of opposition parties who formed a government moving to remove him from if office after his 12 years as prime minister.

But it's not over yet. CNN's Hadas Gold is joining me now from Jerusalem. Hadas, what happens next?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, they have agreed, They signed on the dotted line for these coalition agreements but they still have one major hurdle, and that is getting this new government through a confidence vote in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Now, that will take place on or before Monday, June 14th. It could take place earlier if these coalition parties managed to replace the current speaker of the parliament, one of their own. Not clear if they will be able to do that. But what that means is that gives Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies time. It gives him time to try to convince some members of this coalition to defect. And it only takes a handful of them to vote against this new coalition for it to crumble.

And we've seen Netanyahu trying to do this on his Twitter account today. He was tweeting that all right-wing Knesset members must oppose what he called a dangerous left-wing government. He has been re- tweeting tweets that are targeting specific members, especially right- wing members of this coalition, trying to remind them of previous statements that seemingly go against what this coalition is now going to represent.

And this is going to be a very wide-ranging coalition. The parties range from the far-left to the far-right, including who will be the potential next prime minister, Naftali Bennett. He's actually a former chief of staff to Netanyahu, former chief of staff now potentially the one who will be ousting him.

And in a historic move yesterday, for the first time in Israeli history, an Arab-Israeli party has signed on to be a part of an Israeli coalition government. Now, in the past, Arab-Israeli parties have supported governments from the outside but this is the first time that an Arab-Israeli party, the United Arab has actually signed on the dotted line to be a part of a coalition.

But that goes to show you that they are united on very few things other than wanting to see the end of Netanyahu. So this may be a fragile coalition to start. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Hadas, great reporting, thank you very much.

Coming up still for us, Olympic organizers say the games will go on even as COVID-19 infections in Japan surge and thousands of Olympic volunteers quit.


What does this mean for the athletes? A member of the U.S. Olympic team joins me next.



BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The IOC holds the hammer here, and the IOC has repeatedly said, even with a state of emergency in Tokyo itself, even with vaccinations in Japan in single digits, even though they say that in less than two months, they hope to get it to 70 percent, even with around 70 percent of Japanese citizens saying postpone or cancel it, even with the overwhelming consensus of the international health community, the health experts that this is risky, they are going full speed ahead.


So it's going to happen, no matter what we think.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: That, of course, was famed sportscaster Bob Costas talking about the Summer Olympic Games. And add to that Olympic organizers say about 10,000 of the 80,000 registered volunteers for the games have quit as of this week. And even Japan's top COVID expert is warning that hosting the Olympics during a pandemic is, quote/unquote, not normal.

So what does this mean for the athletes who have trained for years for this once in a lifetime opportunity for many? Joining me now is someone who knows, U.S. Olympic rugby player Naya Tapper. Naya, it's great to meet you. Congratulations, first of all, Let's focus on the positive, like this is an amazing moment for you to have joined the Olympic team.

We all want to see you and other athletes compete. The Summer Olympics are my favorite. But with less than two months left to go, how are you feel about it? Do you feel safe and comfortable to head over there?

NAYA TAPPER, OLYMPIC RUGBY PLAYER: Yes. I mean, I'm not really sure what their experiencing over there, what their situation is like over there so I can't really speak on them wanting to cancel the games again this year but I will say this year has been very hard for everybody with the games being canceled last year, it was very disappointing for our organization, and a lot of the other team USA athletes and I'm sure a lot of the other people looking forward to going to the Olympics. But I also know that it was very necessary in order to keep everybody safe.

But I will say I'm very grateful for the IOC and the Tokyo games organizing committee for being able to find a way to reschedule the Olympics for this year in the safest way possible.

BOLDUAN: And this is your first Olympics, so this is all new to you. But have you been briefed on how the host country is going to make sure team USA is kept safe?

TAPPER: Yes, 100 percent. We're being kept in very strict regiments in terms of a lot of testing to make sure that we're all safe, being in very strict quarantine measures and also doing a lot of contact tracing in order to make sure that we're all safe when we go there. Also, just being there will be in our bubble, we won't have any contact with residents, which will be very important in keeping everybody safe, and also just trying to encourage everybody to get vaccinated, to prevent any outcomes that will be negative.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And, Naya, I actually read that you were originally hesitant about getting the vaccine, but you're fully vaccinated now. What changed your mind?

TAPPER: Yes, ma'am. Just the idea of not being able to make this dream come true, I didn't want to take any chances with possibly contracting the disease and not being able to play in the Olympics, which is one of my big dreams. So I decided to do whatever was necessary to prevent that and control what I can control in that situation. BOLDUAN: And I have to say, I was so impressed to read about your path to where you are. You didn't even start playing rugby, just so everyone knows, you didn't start playing rugby until college. I mean, how do you go from beginner, like what is this game, to U.S. Olympian in a handful of years?

TAPPER: Yes. Five, I started -- I went pro five years ago. And back then, a lot of the players that are here now didn't really start playing rugby until college because it wasn't as big in the U.S. as it is now. I would say I'm very grateful to be able to have gotten in when I did because I think if I tried out today, I might not have made it with the player that I was back then. But I'm super grateful, super proud of myself, and still continuing to try to work hard every day to become better and better as a rugby player.

BOLDUAN: I mean, you are also wonderfully humble. I will tell you if I started playing rugby in college, I'm pretty sure I would not be sitting in your seat today, just to throw that out there.

Are your family and friends going to be able to come and see you play?

TAPPER: No, they won't be able to come and be there to support me. But it's a necessary measure that they're taking in order to keep everybody safe and to keep our bubble clean when we are there for the Olympics. But NBC will be having live coverage of all the sports and then our organization's team USA, USA Rugby, World Rugby, will be making sure they put together a nice little content calendar so all our families and friends back home can stay in the loop and kind of keep a tab on everything that's going on there.

BOLDUAN: All right. Well, add me to that loop because you can count me as a huge Naya Tapper fan. Naya, thank you so much. Congratulations in the midst of the wildest, craziest and most uncertain Summer Olympic Games probably ever. We're really looking forward to supporting you while you're over there and hope that everything is safe and that they keep you safe as well.


Thank you so much.

TAPPER: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: What a wonderful way to end the day. She's fantastic.

Thank you all so much for joining me at this hour. I'm Kate Bolduan. John King picks up our coverage right now.