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At This Hour
Global Heat Wave; January 6 Insurrection Hearings; Bannon Contempt Trial; Uvalde School Massacre. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired July 19, 2022 - 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. AT THIS HOUR, a dangerous heat wave is hammering the U.S. and Europe at this moment, with very little relief in sight.
The two former Trump aides now set to testify in public for the next insurrection hearing just as a top committee member tests positive for COVID.
And an ultimatum from the families in Uvalde to school officials. That is what we are watching AT THIS HOUR.
Thank you very much for being here. I'm Kate Bolduan.
The extreme heat affecting millions of people around the world. The United Kingdom just recorded its highest temperature ever, surpassing 104 degrees and temperatures are reaching triple digits across Europe.
The heat fueling wildfires in France, Spain, Portugal. In the U.S. more than 100 million are under heat advisories. Some cities in Texas will see temperatures above 100 degrees for the next 10 days. We have multiple reporters covering all of this for us. Let's begin with Nina dos Santos in London.
How is London handling this?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: It's really sweltering. Remember, this is a city that is more used to complaining about rainy, cold summers. They have never seen anything like it. The mercury topping 40.2 degrees C and it might be as high as 42 Celsius later on in the day.
I'm outside of King's Cross Station, which is a busy hub for rail commuters in the capital. It's completely empty. It shut early because authorities are concerned that the rail lines might buckle.
Across the country, people are being warned to stay safe, to not swim in lakes and ponds, after tragically a number of teenagers in the last two days have lost their lives, trying to cool down in the open water spaces. The beaches are packed. People are going home early. There is a sign
some relief is on the way because the mercury is set to start cooling off the next few days. But this heat wave is persisting across Europe and Germany is next.
BOLDUAN: Nina, thank you so much.
One-third of the United States population is under some sort of heat advisory right now with the worst of it really hitting people in Texas and the Central Plains. CNN's Lucy Kafanov is live in Denver with more.
What is happening out West, Lucy?
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's already been a sweltering summer that shattered heat records across the U.S. But this week could be the hottest.
Over 100 million people are under a heat alert across the Southern Plains and Mississippi and Tennessee River Valleys and Central California and even parts of the Northeast.
High temperatures expected to reach up to 110 degrees in the Southern Plains and Mississippi River Valley today.
BOLDUAN: Lucy, thank you so much.
Let's focus in on Texas more. Joining me is Travis Houston, the assistant emergency management coordinator for the City of Dallas.
Thank you for joining me. As Lucy was saying, I'm looking at the data on Dallas.
BOLDUAN: And it could hit 110 degrees today with the heat index as high as 115.
What is your biggest concern right now?
TRAVIS HOUSTON, ASSISTANT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR, CITY OF DALLAS: The biggest concern is really twofold: one, making sure people are taking care of themselves and staying hydrated and checking on their neighbors.
The other thing is we are keeping a close eye on the (INAUDIBLE) condition dashboards to be able to act fast if we start seeing there is going to be rolling outages.
BOLDUAN: That is a big question, right?
ERCOT is the organization that manages the flow of electric power to tens of millions of Texas customers. They just reported last night that they are hitting record demand essentially day after day, 30 days of record demand on this system since the start of May.
And we have seen the grid fail before with extreme weather.
How concerned or how much of a possibility is it that it is going to be fail under these temperatures now, that you could be looking at blackouts?
HOUSTON: I'm less concerned about a failure. You know?
A lot of differences between this event and winter storm (INAUDIBLE). However, you know, it's our job to be prepared and to be ready to act if there is something happening.
So one of the lessons we learned after that was that we need to be highly flexible and mobile. So after that event, we purchased a number of mobile HVAC systems. So if we start to lose power and folks are using one of our cooling centers, we can get there quickly and start supplying them with cold air.
BOLDUAN: If this becomes a norm and more frequent extreme heat events like this kind of continue to happen more and more because of climate change, what needs to happen in your city?
HOUSTON: You know, I mean, a number of things that need to happen. One of the things is that, as climate change does cause more frequent and more severe disasters, that it challenges our planning assumptions.
When we look the at our emergency plans, we take a step back and look at how we have traditionally done things. And the assumptions we may have made in the past, recognize that is not the case for the future and we need to be prepared for more severe events happening much more frequently.
And that affects the emergency management system outside of the City of Dallas and definitely the regional, state and federal level.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. One thing we are looking at is the fire threat. We are seeing huge fires in Europe. We know that there is more fire danger, obviously, the -- you're looking at drought and you got these extreme temperatures.
How real is the fire threat right now?
HOUSTON: Certainly, very real. Our communities out to the west of us are dealing with several very major fires and, you know, in Dallas, the equation is a little bit different, with wild land and urban interface and fires there.
But you know, even just apartment fires -- one occurred overnight -- and, you know, that certainly is something that we are concerned about.
BOLDUAN: These temperatures do nothing to help that. Travis Houston, thank you so much. You will be very busy next week plus. Thanks for the time. So how hot is it going to get?
I think the question is not that but for how long?
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, two former Trump White House aides are set to testify in public as part of Thursday's primetime January 6th hearing. What we know about them and also what they are likely to say. That is next.
BOLDUAN: Now to news first reported by CNN. Sources say that Matthew Pottinger, who served on Donald Trump's National Security Council, will testify before the January 6th committee at its hearing on Thursday night.
He is set to appear alongside former White House press aide Sarah Matthews. Jessica Schneider tracking this for us.
What do you now about these two witnesses and what they will testify to?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Both worked in the White House on January 6 and both of them resigned right after the Capitol attack.
So Matthew Pottinger was Trump's deputy national security adviser, a top adviser official. We were told at the time of his resignation that he stepped down in response to Trump's reaction to his supporters breaching and attacking the U.S. Capitol.
He told people when he stepped down there was very little for him to consider. So he may have a lot to share about what he saw from inside the White House that prompted his resignation.
Notably, Pottinger had a top position at the White House, which could potentially make it difficult for Trump to discredit him. We have seen the former president trying to discredit previous witnesses, including Cassidy Hutchinson.
So Pottinger will be a key witness for the committee. Then there is Sarah Matthews, who will also testify on Thursday. She was a deputy press secretary. She also resigned right after January 6th.
And she said it was because she was deeply disturbed by what she saw. So a lot of insight potentially from those two. The primetime hearing on Thursday will focus on those 187 minutes when Trump was out of public view.
And it was after he spoke on the Ellipse as his supporters were marching to the Capitol and attacking the Capitol. We know it took more than three hours until Trump sent out that video, telling his supporters to go home.
But of course, by then, it was too late. So committee members are saying they will go minute-by-minute and showing what the president was doing. They say they have already previewed it, saying that he was gleefully watching TV.
Notably, these two former officials may have a lot to share about what more they know about what Trump was doing.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
Joining me for more is Chris Wallace.
Chris, Pottinger and Matthews, two people well known within the Trump White House, both resigning after the Capitol attack. And both have already taped depositions with the committee.
What are the gaps you see that remain that they could fill in?
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: I think with Pottinger, because he was the deputy national security adviser, I think he'll probably be talking about what the security response was to the insurrection at the Capitol.
Reportedly, at one point, he went from his offices in the National Security Council to the Oval Office. Not sure that he actually met with the president, who was in the White House dining room.
But a lot of talk about trying to get the National Guard to the Capitol. I would assume he'll speak about the failure to do that.
In the case of Sarah Matthews, it would be more on the communication side, because there was a lot of talk about, in addition to getting more armed security there, you just needed the president to make a public statement: go home, leave.
And for 187 minutes, the president didn't do that. My guess is Sarah Matthews will give some insight, some clarity about the effort to get the president to make a statement and his unwillingness -- or at least the fact that he didn't make a statement during those three hours.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Beyond Thursday's hearing, still kind of hanging out there is whether the committee will call Mike Pence or Donald Trump to testify themselves. Bennie Thompson was just saying last night that they still have not made a decision on that.
The way he put it there, is no hang-up, we just have not made a decision yet. I saw that and I was thinking, it's unrealistic they will get either of these men to come before the committee without a drawn-out negotiation or fight.
I saw that and wondered, why are they dangling this out there still?
What do you think?
WALLACE: Yes. I'm wondering about that, too. I don't think any chance you're going to get former president Trump in any way, shape or form. There is some talk they might offer written questions to Mike Pence and he might give written answers.
He has been seen the hero of January 6th because he refused the president's effort to throw the election back to the states and the fake electors.
The only thing I can come up with is that at the end of the hearing and all of the case against Trump, particularly, you want to give him an opportunity to speak to the committee, knowing he won't. But at least so he can't say they didn't even invite me.
You know, if he doesn't speak to the committee, it's on him, not on them.
BOLDUAN: Covering your bases when you want to wrap this up at some point.
Related to this is Steve Bannon, on trial now for defying the January 6th committee's subpoena to him to appear and to speak to them.
BOLDUAN: I spoke to David Urban last night about Bannon and this trial. He has known Bannon a long time. He had an interesting take. No matter the verdict, Bannon, he says, is going to say he won. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID URBAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It will be a victory. Steve will claim victory, no matter, win, lose or draw, Steve will claim victory and he'll be on the show and he'll be out, decrying the show trial you heard in the previous segment there. Steve talked about five minutes about the January 6th hearings and not much about his case, right?
He said, look, I wish we had witnesses presented there and the same kind of -- same things you hear on his talk show. So I think he thinks he is winning, no matter what.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: What do you think the impact of the Bannon trial will be?
Is it reasserting the power of congressional subpoena or something less than that, considering how Bannon will spin it, no matter what?
WALLACE: First of all, I am shocked at the idea that a member of the Trump camp would lose an election or lose a court case and declare that they are the winner in any case. That just seems unimaginable to me. (CROSSTALK)
BOLDUAN: I know. If anything, they are consistent.
WALLACE: Yes, on brand.
Look, at the very least, it seems to me that, you know, Bannon -- if he is convicted, it's at least a mandatory, two counts if he is convicted on both, a mandatory minimum of two months in jail and a possible maximum of two years in jail.
It's been interesting to see Bannon, who, early on, was saying this will be the misdemeanor from hell and that he was going to medieval in the court case. He's being a good little boy yesterday, thanking the judge and the jury.
You know, when you're actually in a courtroom, things change your perspective. I'm not sure that it really is going to enforce the power. Yes, he'll have to pay a penalty perhaps if he is convicted for not answering the subpoena.
On the other hand, he is not going to testify. The court can't force him to testify. So yes, there will be a price to ignoring the January 6th committee. But they are not going to get, it appears, his testimony or his documents, even though that is what they subpoenaed.
BOLDUAN: Then the latest picture kind of in the backdrop of all of this and how Americans feel about the current president, President Biden, the economy and the state of the country.
The poll numbers in this new CNN poll are not good, right. The survey finds public outlook on the state of the country is the worse since 2009. Biden's approval rating is 38. He wants those numbers flip- flopped.
His approval on the economy and inflation are lower than that; 75 percent of people in the poll call inflation and the cost of living the most important economic problem facing their family. They are not in a good spot, no question.
Is it clear how the Biden administration plans to navigate through this?
WALLACE: No. I'm not sure they can, anyway. You know, what makes inflation worse is that you had, for months last year, remember the word transitory inflation. And here we are a year later. And it's at the highest rate in 41 years.
You know, there is a real limit. You do have the supply chain problems. You do have COVID. You do have the excess demand. You do have Ukraine and the spike in gas prices, although they have come down in the last few weeks.
You know, really, the one thing you can try to do is what the Fed is doing, beyond the president, and raising interest rates -- and there's talk about another three-quarters or a full percent increase later this month. But there's very limited amount -- and certainly in the short-term -- that President Biden can do.
Looking at the CNN poll yesterday, Kate, the thing that struck me was the loss of -- look. He didn't have a lot of support from Republicans anyway.
The drop in support among Democrats, among what should be his core support, are things going well in this country in May?
Sixty-one percent of Democrats said yes. Now 38 percent of Democrats say yes. So he is losing support even among his, what should be his presumed supporters.
BOLDUAN: Yes. And even if the administration gives the line, which every administration does, which they don't focus on one poll, you know they are paying attention to this trend for sure. Good to see you, Chris. Thank you.
WALLACE: You bet. Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, families in Uvalde, Texas, are confronting the school board now, demanding change to the police and to the school. You'll hear their emotional appeals next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT CROSS, VICTIM'S UNCLE: If he is not fired by noon tomorrow, then I want your resignation and every single one of you board members, because you all do not give a damn about our children or us.
CROSS: Stand with us or against us because we ain't going nowhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: That is Brett Cross, whose 10-year-old nephew was among the children killed in the Uvalde school shooting. He is demanding that the school district police chief be fired.
He and others who lost loved ones were joined by community members at a very raw and emotional school board meeting last night. These families showing up with several specific demands.