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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Manchin Tanks Dems' Hopes to Passing Sweeping Election Reform Bill; DOJ: U.S. Recovers Millions in Cryptocurrency Paid to Hackers in Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack; Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Pushed Justice Department to Investigate Baseless Election Fraud Claims; America's Crumbling Infrastructure; Vice President Kamala Harris Visits Guatemala; Pace of Vaccinations Slow, 64 Percent of U.S. Adults Have First Dose. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 07, 2021 - 16:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So his pants were on right, but Donald Trump still has the 2020 election ass backwards.

THE LEAD starts right now.

A Democratic senator slamming the brakes on key parts of the Biden agenda, saying he will not vote for that expansive election reform bill, and progressives go on the attack.

A traffic jam in Memphis that will have you singing the blues. A look at where infrastructure dollars are needed the most as we prepare to blow past the White House's second unofficial deadline for a bipartisan deal.

Plus, dangerous delusions. Former President Trump returning to the stage picking right back up where he left off, pushing the big lie as his allies seem to be trying to stack the deck to overturn the next presidential election.


Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we begin today in our politics lead and President Biden's first foreign trip as president. This week he's headed to the United Kingdom, Brussels and Geneva, attending both the G7 and NATO summit seeking to return to the more traditional role that the U.S. has played with allies and also deal with a series of provocations from Russia. But before Biden leaves, he's hoping to shore up an infrastructure deal with Republicans, talking again with top GOP negotiator Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

The two sides are still around $700 billion apart with no agreement on how to pay for it with many Democrats now arguing the time is running out.

One centrist Democrat who continues to push bipartisanship is West Virginia's Senator Joe Manchin, but that Democrat remains a key stumbling block for other parts of the Biden legislative agenda reiterating multiple times over the weekend that he will not weaken the filibuster and effectively tanking prospects for the expansive reform bill called the For the People Act.

One progressive House Democrat, freshman Jamal Bowman from New York city today called Manchin, quote, the new Mitch McConnell which was not intended as a compliment.


REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Manchin is not pushing us closer to bipartisanship. He is doing the work of the Republican Party by being an obstructionist just like they have been since the beginning of Biden's presidency.


TAPPER: Let's go right to CNN's Phil Mattingly who's at the White House for us.

Phil, what is the status of the bipartisan negotiations, Biden and Shelley Moore Capito?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White House says they see several potential pathways to a bipartisan but it's unclear at this point which if any can actually be followed through on. The White House is expecting that call between President Biden and Senator Capito either today or tomorrow, but, Jake, no mistake about it, on Friday, the president rejected out of hand the latest Republican offer and there's no signal they will offer anything else.

There's another bipartisan group is talking at this point in time, but the issues that they are talking about to pay for their proposal, the White House has already rejected. There's House Democrats moving on one of their infrastructure proposals, but the Republicans right now are cool to that.

The reality is if they are looking for a bipartisan path forward, where it is still hasn't come to fruition and it's something Jen Psaki acknowledged in the White House briefing today.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It takes time to move these things forward, to get Democrats on board, to get Republicans on board. Ultimately, we're looking to have enough of a coalition to move forward on these bold historic ideas and we obviously don't have that at this moment, but we're working towards that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTINGLY: Now, Jake, in terms of the makeup that have coalition, you've noted it, progressive Democrats are telling the White House, in the talks now, start moving forward unilaterally, but they simply cannot do that as long as moderates like Senator Joe Manchin says he wants bipartisan talks and he does. It's the reality of a Senate and a House that is just so closely divided, so long as moderates are making clear that they won't vote for anything that doesn't have bipartisan support, there's no pathway other than continuing to pursuit those bipartisan negotiations.

TAPPER: But, Phil, I have to say, the wrath against Senator Manchin has truly within something to behold.

MATTINGLY: Look, no question about it. It's personal. It's visceral and I think it underscores the fact that the things that Senator Manchin has made clear he's opposed to or at least wants bipartisan on are things that are extraordinarily important to progressives, progressives who feel like it's because of them that perhaps Joe Biden is president of the United States.

But it's also not new. It's something you've seen with coalitions Republican or Democrats over the course of the last couple of decades. You have a priority that doesn't necessarily meet the kind of metrics of the centrists of your party, and therefore, the activists on one side or the other tend to get very angry.


The reality here is Joe Manchin comes from a state that Donald Trump won rather handedly. Joe Manchin is not really moved by what progressives think, say or advocate against. And I think one thing the White House is trying to square right now is, all right, how do we get Joe Manchin into a place where he's comfortable on moving forward? Is that a bipartisan deal or perhaps can we prove to him that bipartisanship isn't possible on these agenda items, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly at the White House, thanks so much.

Let's discuss here in studio. Jane, we haven't seen you in person in a year and a half.

JANE COASTON, HOST, NEW YORK TIMES "THE ARGUMENT": Thank you so much for having me back.

TAPPER: It's good to have you back. Welcome. We're all vaccinated and happy.

Gloria, so let me start with you.

This was interesting. Senator Durbin, the number two Senate Democrat, the press secretary tweeted -- although we should note she tweeted quote -- All I'm saying is I don't think our Founding Fathers anticipated the survival of this Democratic experience to rest in the hands after man who lives in a house boat. That is a reference to Senator Manchin who owns a House vote.

It's a rough comment --


TAPPER: -- from the Senate majority -- what is he, the majority whip, his office against a key senator?

BORGER: And that's why it was probably deleted I would assume at the behest of the senator himself, Senator Durbin.

But, look, there is a visceral anger towards Joe Manchin right now. They are saying to each other -- last week, I spoke with a Senate Democrat who is this guy? Why -- why is Joe Manchin holding up what could be some historic accomplishments here, and we have the House, we have the Senate, we have the White House. We don't know what's going to happen in the midterm election so we have a very small window here, and we need to get stuff done.

I think what Manchin is saying back to them is we need to get stuff done but we don't need to do all of it at once, and that's not kind of an oddball thing. It's not an oddball principle. In the old days when I used to cover the Hill, you would come to compromises. The big question is whether you can anymore within your own party even.

TAPPER: Jane, I meaning the argument from Manchin supporters will be who will be Joe Manchin, the only Democrat that can win a statewide election in west Virginia.

COASTON: Right, exactly.

TAPPER: And he's 50th key vote.

COASTON: Right, exactly, and it's important to recognize that Joe Manchin won in West Virginia, just like Kyrsten Sinema won in Arizona. They represent those specific constituencies. He does not represent New York. He does not represent more progressive constituencies.

And I think that, you know, I've always kind of thought that bipartisanship, especially on a lot of these issues, is a bit of actually, I just want to slow this whole thing down. I want to slow this down. This isn't quite what I want.

And you know that Manchin is giving all the moderates more cover to say, like, well, it's him doing me, it's not me. Don't worry about me. It's him over here. But I think that we saw the same thing happening under the Trump administration where we saw the Trump administration came in in 2017 with infrastructure week and then that never really happened because it turned out that Mitch McConnell wasn't as jazzed about infrastructure week as perhaps some of the populists were.

So this is challenge of having a wide -- increasingly wide tent, and I think it's something that Republicans have faced, something that Democrats face especially with a lot of Democrats who appealed to Joe Biden because he appeared to be a centrist or because they thought of him as a centrist.

TAPPER: And, Gloria, just to note, Manchin is not the only one who if it were brought up today he's not the only Democrat that would vote against HR-1, the For the People Act, and there's a more modest bill named after John Lewis and there are other provisions that Democratic senators could pass and maybe even get ten Republicans on board. But that's not what they want.

And Democratic Congressman Mondaire Jones, he tweeted: Manchin's op- ed, he wrote an op-ed over the weekend explaining his opposition to the For the People Act. Manchin's op-ed might as well be titled while I'll vote to preserve Jim Crow.

That's a strong, strong charge.

BORGER: Another strong charge, and I think it's not the way for Democrats to get anything done quite honestly. I think --

TAPPER: You don't think calling Manchin a racist is effective?

BORGER: Right. And I think in a way -- no, I think in a way when you think about it, Marchin provides a certain amount of cover for Joe Biden --


BORGER: -- because Biden is going to have to try to work something out, whether it's passing the John Lewis version of the voting rights bill that reinstates some voting rights provisions that were taken out by the Supreme Court. You know, without Manchin, they can't get anything do. I mean, I spoke with Bernie Sanders last week. He's been talking to Joe Manchin about things he wants to get done.

So in a way Manchin kind of is trying to calibrate things. Now whether one man should have that much power is another question, but reality is it's a 50-50 Senate.

TAPPER: If you were the Senate majority leader right now, OK, I'm assigning you this job. Your job is to -- your job is to get something passed in terms of, let's say, this is election reform, what would you do?

COASTON: I mean, part of me wants to take it old school and be like Joe Manchin, have you ever thought about the Joe Manchin International Airport in Morgantown, West Virginia?


Have you ever thought about Joe Manchin highway?

Like I think it's time -- I think that this is the kind of politics that actually really appeals to someone like Joe Biden where it is basically like you have to give people things and you have to recognize that -- I think that there are a lot of people right now who are thinking of HR-1 not necessarily as a real piece of politics but as a positioning statement. They support it because they want to be seen supporting it and then they'll get fund raising because they were seen supporting this act. Whether or not they would actually vote for it is another question. I

think that this is the time if I'm Senate majority leader to say, OK, let's talk real politics. Let's talk about what do you want, what needs to happen here? What do you think we could get Republicans on board with, and especially because there's so many Democrats where they are saying oh, and then that means we need to end the filibuster which is probably a bad idea considering you might go into the minority in 2022.

So I think that there's a real sense here that this is the time to actually be like okay, you know those smoky board rooms we all hate, we've got to go back.

TAPPER: We've got to go back.

BORGER: Close the door.

TAPPER: Light up the stogies.

All right. Gloria and Jane, good to see both of you. Thanks so much for being here.

We have breaking news how the U.S. government was able to recover they say millions of dollars or cryptocurrency paid to hackers responsible for that massive gas shortage in parts of the country last month.

Plus, a CNN exclusive for the first time ever. You're going to hear the tape of Rudy Giuliani pressuring Ukraine to prosecute or announce the prosecution of Joe Biden while working on behalf of then President Trump.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: We have breaking news in the tech lead, a major move in the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack. Today, the U.S. Justice Department announced that the United States has recovered more than $2 million worth of cryptocurrency paid to hackers, this after their cyberattack led Colonial Pipeline to shut down the largest pipeline on the East Coast, and that massive gas shortage last month.

I want to spring in CNN's Evan Perez.

So, Evan, the Justice Department followed the money and apparently that paid off to a degrees.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Lisa Monaco, the deputy attorney general, Jake, says that they turned the tables on the hackers and they were able to recover about $2.3 million in bitcoin. This is about $4.4 million which the CEO of the company told "The Wall Street Journal" last month that they paid because the ransomware had crippled their operations. They believed that they had to pay it, he said, because otherwise they didn't know the extent of the damage and they didn't know how long the pipeline would be down.

The message from the Justice Department from Lisa Monaco and the FBI today to companies is call us. There are times when we might be able to help you.

Here's Lisa Monaco talking about this.


LISA MONACO, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The threat of severe ransomware attacks pose a clear and present danger to your organization, to your company, to your customers, to your shareholders, and to your long- term success. So pay attention now. Invest resources now. Failure to do so could be the difference between being secure now or a victim later.


PEREZ: And, Jake, this was an extraordinary success on the part of the FBI, on the part of prosecutors. What they did, Jake, is they were able to tract bitcoin that was paid by the Colonial insurance company essentially that went into this cryptocurrency wallet controlled by these hackers, again, believed to be based in Russia. In this case, it was bitcoin and according to people that I've talked to, it's -- you know, this circumstance helped the FBI and the investigators be able to get to this money.

Still, obviously, there's about $2 million that they were not able to recover, but, again, a bit of good news in and otherwise, you know, booming criminal enterprise.

TAPPER: All right. Evan Perez, thanks so much.

Stick around. I want to talk to you after we bring that CNN exclusive about Rudy Giuliani.

But let's turn to our politics lead right now, with former President Trump making his return to the stage over the weekend and planning a slate of summer rallies in various battleground states. Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney is issuing one of her starkest warnings yet about the dangers that Trump poses not just to the Republican Party but to the United States.


SEN. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): When he says that our system doesn't work, that our democratic process, we suggest that it's incapable of conveying the will of the people, you know, that somehow it's failed. Those are the same things that the Chinese government says about us, and it's very dangerous and damaging, and it's not true.


TAPPER: Congresswoman Cheney's warning comes as CNN learns that the Republican leader who allowed Arizona's bogus ballot audit to happen spoke to Trump and Rudy Giuliani multiple times about their push to overturn election results -- as CNN's Sara Murray now reports.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump taking his efforts to undermine U.S. elections on the road.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: That election will go down as the crime of the century.

MURRAY: The former president making a campaign style appearance this weekend in North Carolina to obsess over his election loss, peddle baseless cases of fraud and applaud GOP-led efforts to restrict voting.

TRUMP: I love what they've done in Texas. I love what they are doing in Florida and done in Florida. I would like to see Georgia be much tougher.

MURRAY: This as more details emerge about the former Trump administration's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. E- mails obtained by CNN which were uncovered in the Senate Judiciary investigation show former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows emailing Trump's then Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen repeatedly, asking him to look into election fraud claims in Georgia and New Mexico.

Among Meadows' request that Rosen look into Italy-gate, a conspiracy theory that people in Italy used military technology and satellites to switch Trump votes to Biden votes in U.S. voting machines. There is no evidence of that.

This is a five alarm five for our democracy, Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, tells CNN.

Meantime, Trump is still cheering on partisan ballot reviews hunting for fraud.

TRUMP: I want to congratulate, by the way, Republican state senators at Arizona and other places for their great work, that they are doing and exposing this fraud.

MURRAY: One of those Republicans, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann who spearheaded Maricopa's shadowy ballot audit.

KAREN FANN (R), ARIZONA SENATE PRESIDENT: I don't know what's legit, what isn't legit.

MURRAY: She repeatedly told constituents Trump and Rudy Giuliani were encouraging her efforts. I've been in numerous conversations with Rudy Giuliani over the past weeks trying to get this done. I have the full support of him and a personal call from President Trump thanking us for pushing to prove any fraud, Fann says in a December email to a constituent released by a watchdog group American Oversight.

All of those who stood up to Trump's attempts to overturn the election like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger get pummeled by their own party.


MURRAY: Kemp getting booed at the Georgia GOP convention, while "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" reports Raffensperger was censured for dereliction of his constitutional duty.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, Kemp and Raffensperger are both running for re-election in 2022. This could give us an early look of just how strong the Trump wing of the party is in a place like Georgia -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Joining us now to discuss is Republican election lawyer Ben Ginsburg. He is the co-author of a new op-ed in the "New York Times" titled: State election officials are under attack. We will defend them.

We should note that your co-author, you're a Republican, your co- author is a Democrat, Bob Bauer, another election lawyer.

What was your reaction when you read over the weekend that Mark Meadows, then the White House chief of staff, was pushing the Justice Department to act -- to investigate some -- I mean, some crazy election theories like the idea that people in Italy were using satellites to -- and military technology to switch votes from Trump to Biden.

I mean, the White House chief of staff telling the attorney general, the acting attorney general to look into that.

BEN GINSBERG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The inappropriateness of it was frankly my first reaction because there are established protocols, norms for the way the White House deals with the Justice Department.

That was thrown completely out the window and then the substance of what he was asking the Justice Department to do was so out of line, inappropriate, never going to work, never should have been looked at. So, overall, it was another norm being busted for reasons that have no currency to.

TAPPER: Let's talk about your "New York Times" op-ed with Bob Bauer because you say state election officials are under attack. Tell us more about what you mean.

GINSBERG: There are a number of states that have passed laws that can criminalize and punish civilly elections for doing their job. That's wrong on many, many levels. The most prominent of them being that you have to have objectivity in election results for people to believe the election result, and these laws in trying to criminalize and take control of the election process by elected officials moves the administration of our election from pros to pause and that's a bad situation to the ultimate credibility of election results as we move forward. TAPPER: As Senator Angus King, independent of Maine was on the Sunday

show, this is the biggest thing that Democrats are not acting on, not moving on which is the move to take power away from people like Brad Raffensperger who is a Republican but operated in a very fair and objective way as the secretary of state of Georgia, take power away from him and give it to the legislature, and the legislature is currently Republican. But the point is you want -- you shouldn't take it away from the people whose job it is to be objective and give it to people whose job it is to be subjective.

GINSBERG: No, the way a secretary of state works is to have relationships with all the officials in the counties and the cities, and that is an administration drought. Why Bob and I decided to write the op-ed is we were co-chairs of a presidential commission back in 2013 and '14. We spent a lot of time talking to local and state election officials, and we both had the impression that no matter the political party, those election officials were with, their goal, their motive was to run a fair election which allowed people to vote and those votes to be reflected in who held office. These are a series of laws that would change that dynamic.

TAPPER: You have a different idea.


The big lie is obviously a big problem in this country right now. With so many Republicans having been lied to by Trump and his minions about the election having been fraudulent, which it was not.

You have a different on how to deal with that in Arizona. There's this fraudulent audit going on not run by professionals and most people seem to be saying in Arizona, except for the people pushing, this is crazy, let's ignore it.

You think that there should be an audit, just not run by these people. Why?

GINSBERG: Because I think we have a huge problem in this country for our elections going forward if more than 25 percent of the people don't believe our election results. So we need to spend time thinking about how to deal with that situation all based on the big lie. What I would like to see is a thorough examination of the election where the Trump folks get to make their case, get to make their case in any way that they think and then have that examined by experts, go through the back and forth of examination and cross-examination that never happened in any of the court cases after the election.

But you have to put two-to-an end the notion of the big lie and I think the only way, the best way to do that I believe is to let the Trump people make the case and then have an examination of it.

TAPPER: All right. Ben Ginsberg, good to see you.

GINSBERG: Good to see you, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you so much. Good to see you in person. GINSBERG: Yes.

TAPPER: And a reminder, tonight, former President Barack Obama will discuss the assault on democracy with CNN's Anderson Cooper in a rare one-on-one interview. The "ANDERSON COOPER 360" special, 'Barack on Fatherhood, Leadership and Legacy," that airs tonight on CNN at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, dozens of candidates running for office murdered. The shocking violence across the border as Mexico goes to the polls.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead: Vice President Kamala Harris is on her first international trip as vice president today, visiting Guatemala to address the roots of the migration crisis, crime, poverty and squalor in Central America, thus causing illegal immigration into the United States.

This is the first big diplomatic test of her vice presidency, with the situation in the region worsening. Tonight, Vice President Harris will head to Mexico, where violence has erupted amid midterm elections. There have been nearly 100 political assassinations since electoral campaigns began last September.

Roughly three dozen of those murdered were running for office scenes.

CNN's Matt Rivers joins us now from Mexico City.

And, Matt, what is happening with the elections in Mexico now? And why are they like this?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, let's start with the results of the elections. And then I will speak to you about the violence.

In terms of the results of these elections, what they end up being is kind of a rebuke to Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. His political party will lose seats in Mexico's Lower House of Congress. As a result, his political power will be diminished.

So when Kamala Harris arrives here, later on this evening, she will be speaking to a president here in Mexico City tomorrow who might not have as much leverage he had -- as he would have had just a few days ago here.

Now, in terms of the violence, there is just no way of getting around it, Jake. Right now, in Mexico, general levels of violence in the country, homicide rates, et cetera, are among the highest they have ever been. And the elections, they were not able to escape that fact.

You mentioned the number of either candidates and/or politicians who have been killed since last September, at least 96 during that period, but also more than 900 crimes against some sort of political candidate or politician who has already been in office, crimes ranging from murder to assault to just general threats, a terrible situation right now with overall violence in Mexico, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Matt, how do we know how Vice President Harris' meetings went in Guatemala?

RIVERS: Yes, from what both sides have said publicly, they were frank, candid conversations.

And these are going to be difficult conversations, because what the vice president is trying to achieve in Central America is addressing the root causes of migration. I'm thinking violence. I'm thinking poverty. But the only way that you can address those is with good governance.

Well, the problem is, in Central America, you have lots of countries, not just Guatemala, who have huge problems with corruption. That is one thing that the vice president specifically talked about. She said she had that conversation with the Guatemalan president. She announced a new task force designed to tackle corruption in the region.

But the simple fact of the matter, Jake, is that unless you tackle corruption in Central America, you're not going to solve a lot of those other issues. Those are longstanding issues in the region.

I spoke to a lot of migrants personally one-on-one this year as this crisis has unfolded. And they all talk about: We need more opportunity. We need jobs. We need safety. And we need our governments -- not just Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras. We need those governments to provide that.

And right now, they're just not doing it.

TAPPER: All right, Matt Rivers in Mexico City, thanks so much.

Gridlock in Washington over infrastructure and a traffic jam on the roads from a cracked bridge. The dangerous real-life consequences of not addressing the nation's crumbling infrastructure, that's next.



TAPPER: In our national lead: Biden's infrastructure deal is coming to a critical fork in the road, either walk away from Republican votes and pass a massive Democrat-votes-only package or slowly chip away at key parts of the deal to get conservatives on board.

CNN's Pete Muntean is now bringing us the first of a four-part series on infrastructure in the United States of America, where a bridge in the birthplace of rock 'n' roll is close to crumbling.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a traffic nightmare near Memphis. This is the new morning rush now faced by thousands who would take Interstate 40 each day.

But with its bridge over the Mississippi River shut down by a critical failure, consumers are now cramming onto Interstate 55 instead.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to keep waiting, go through the traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's absolutely horrible.

MUNTEAN: Nurse practitioner Jason Gill (ph) fears ambulances could one day get caught on their way to Memphis area hospitals.

When inspectors found this crack and one of the bridges 900-foot steel beams last month, they called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just found a super critical finding that needs traffic shut down in both directions on the I-40 Mississippi River Bridge. We need to get people off the bridge as soon as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this cannot happen in the future, absolutely cannot happen in the future.

The 47-year-old Hernando de Soto Bridge is just one example of what the Biden administration says could be fixed and improved by its infrastructure plan. America's bridges earn a C grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers. It rates 46,000 bridges across the country as structurally deficient and in poor condition.

This bridge between Indiana and Illinois is rotting away closed since 2012.

ANDY HERRMANN, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS: Here, you can see some deterioration.

MUNTEAN: Civil engineer Andy Herrmann showed us a railroad bridge near Boston he says is no longer safe. Herrmann insists this traditional infrastructure is overdue for an overhaul, but it is caught in the middle of politics.

HERRMANN: It shouldn't be a political battle. It should be something we just invest in to make our lives better.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: No, they're under a lot of pressure here.

MUNTEAN: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg toward the I-40 Bridge. The Biden administration's $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan is larger than the plan proposed by congressional Republicans. Advocates hope whichever plan is passed pays for the $125 billion backlog of repairs they say that bridges need. BUTTIGIEG: I think this is just a reminder of how much we depend on these assets and a reminder that it costs money to look after these things.

But if you ever find yourself wondering, can we afford a big investment in the future of infrastructure, just remember what happens if one of those critical assets is not available.

MUNTEAN: Back in traffic, we saw not only everyday drivers, but also tractor trailers. I-40 connects Tennessee and Arkansas, running all the way from North Carolina to California. In the middle is Memphis, known as the logistics hub of America.

It is home to FedEx and the world's largest cargo airport, joining East and West by air, water, road and rail.

WILLIAM DUNAVANT III, DUNAVANT ENTERPRISES: From a transportation logistics perspective, this country doesn't work without Memphis, Tennessee.

MUNTEAN: Trucker Clifton Huey (ph) says his usual half-hour haul to a Union Pacific rail yard now can take up to three hours one way. He envisions a future of a third Memphis bridge, but says the only thing to blame for this gridlock is political gridlock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what's wrong with the world. Everything's political. I don't care where you get it. Let's get it done.


MUNTEAN: This bridge has become a symbol for what is wrong with America's infrastructure. Now the question is whether a bridge fix will happen before an infrastructure deal.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation tells me more materials are set to arrive here later this month. But that means the work here could extend into next month -- Jake.

TAPPER: CNN's Pete Muntean in Memphis, Tennessee, thank you so much.

The mega-concert planned in a very famous place to announce New York is back -- that's next.



TAPPER: In our health lead, the United States is now less than a month away from President Biden's deadline to have 70 percent of adults in the United States with at least one COVID vaccine by the Fourth of July. And a reality check on that goal -- about 64 percent of adults in the U.S. now have had at least one shot, about 53 percent are fully vaccinated.

But as more of our world opens up with people returning to work and public life, the pace of vaccinations is still not where health experts want it to be, as CNN's Erica Hill now reports.


JILL BIDEN, U.S. FIRST LADY: Do it for your best friend who might have diabetes. So, do it for your grand mom who might be compromises, you know, so you have to do it for someone else, your neighbors.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first lady doing her part to help the country meet the president's July 4th vaccine goal of at least one shot for 70 percent of adults. The country is close but pace is slowing.

Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz stadium, the latest mass vaccination site to close, as demand dips, access grows and the overall COVID numbers improved. The U.S. now averaging just over 14,000 new cases a day.

GOV. TATE REEVES (R), MISSISSIPPI: There's very, very little virus in our stayed.

HILL: Mississippi's governor touting his state's progress.

REEVES: The situation is much different than any of the public health experts warned us in March.

HILL: Amid concerns of growing complacency.

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL AND MEDICINE: We se cases come down nationwide. A lot of people are asking why should I get vaccinated. And I think we need to emphasize that rates of infection among those unvaccinated are still pretty high.

HILL: Mississippi has the lowest vaccination rates in the country, just 35 percent of adults fully vaccinated, less than half have at least one shot.

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: They are sitting ducks for the next outbreak of COVID night that shouldn't have to happen now.

HILL: Recent data from the Cleveland Clinic shows most patients hospitalized with COVID from January to mid-April were not fully vaccinated.

DEL RIO: You want to limit the pool of susceptible individuals as much as possible.

HILL: Air travel hitting a new pandemic high on Sunday, when the TSA screened nearly 2 million people. Royal Caribbean announcing its first crews will launch from Miami on July 2nd, no vaccines required for passengers.


The White House briefing room back to full capacity today.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Hi, everyone. Full room. I hope everyone is cozy.

HILL: And New York City announcing a massive concert in Central Park later this summer to celebrate the city's rebirth.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Time to come home and time to help us move forward. This homecoming week is going to be something very, very special.


HILL (on camera): We also heard from the governor today who said that once New York stayed reaches that goal of 70 percent of adults with at least one shot of the vaccine that most remaining COVID restrictions which are currently in place will go away and for a sense of when that could happen, well, right now, Jake, we're at 68.6 percent of New Yorker's 18 and older who've had at least one shot.

TAPPER: All right. Erica Hill, thank you so much.

Let's bring in Dr. Ashish Jha. He's the dean of the school of public health at Brown University.

Dr. Jha, good to see you as always.

In order to meet Biden's -- President Biden's goal of 70 percent of adults at least partially vaccinated by Independence Day, the U.S. needs about 560,000 people to get a shot every single day. Right now, we're under that, under 500,000. Do you still think that the 70 percent goal by July 4th is going to happen?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yeah, thanks for having me back. I always thought this was the most ambitious of the president's goals and we're not on track to meet it right now. So, we've got to redouble our efforts. We need sort of an all-of-the-above strategy with states really have to pick up pace. If we just keep going at the status quote, I don't think we're going to hit that 70 percent by July 4th.

TAPPER: So, in particular, southern states are lagging behind many others in vaccination rates. I spoke with the governor of Mississippi, Republican Tate Reeves yesterday. His state ranks dead last in vaccination rates.

I want you to listen to his reasoning on why it is so many people in Mississippi have not gotten vaccinated.


REEVES: We've got somewhere probably between a million or so Mississippians that have natural immunity, and because of that there is very, very, very little virus in our state.


TAPPER: Now, Governor Reeves did say he encourages people in his state to get a vaccine. He got it publicly. His wife got it publicly. But what did you make of this? Because I thought he was kind of

contradicting himself. He seemed to be saying everybody should get vaccinated but it's not a big deal that they're not.

JHA: Yeah, you know, Jake, this is a bit of a misunderstanding that unfortunately a lot of people have. There is this idea that if you've been infected, if you have natural immunity, you don't have to get vaccinated. We're finding out in a lot of other countries with variants that people are still susceptible. There's no doubt in my mind that a vaccine-induced immunity is much more durable, it's going to hold up much better against the variants.

So, I understand that in the short run we may get away with it, having low vaccination rates, but those people really are vulnerable once we have more variants circulating in the United States to get reinfected and potentially get quite sick.

TAPPER: So we've got new evidence on how well the Pfizer vaccine works. A study today in the "Journal of the American Medical Association," JAMA, showed a 51 percent drop in infections two to three weeks after people with just one dose of Pfizer. Obviously, you're still best protected after the second shot.

But if everyone were out there to get their at least just their first dose, would we see a pretty quick end to the pandemic in the U.S.?

JHA: The first dose alone would help a lot. The problem is we don't have much data about how durable that first dose protection is. And that's why I think everybody needs to have a second dose. If you're somebody who maybe missed a second dose, it doesn't matter if it got delayed, you should go and get it.

But first dose is really good. It's just not going to be enough for durability. We don't want to just kind of bring the infection numbers down. We want to keep them down for a very long period of time.

TAPPER: Today, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. is going to distribute 80 million vaccines to other countries by the end of July. We knew they were going to do it. We didn't have a deadline.

You wrote an op-ed for "Time" magazine in which you said the U.S. should prioritize vaccinating health care workers around the world. Why health care workers as opposed to vulnerable populations such as the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions?

JHA: Yeah, so obviously, we've got to help all those people get vaccinated. No doubt about it.

Health care workers really should be first in my mind for a very simple set of reasons. One, is they are the ones who are most exposed. They're taking care of COVID patients. In a lot of countries there's not good PPE so these people are very vulnerable.

When they get sick, everybody suffers for it because health systems collapse and then we can't take care of anybody.

And finally, it's a pretty small group, probably 40 to 50 million people in the world. We have the vaccines today. We have excess vaccines today that can vaccinate all of those people. So a bunch of good reasons we should prioritize there.


And then of course add the other vulnerable groups over time.

TAPPER: Dr. Ashish Jha, always good to have you. Thank you, sir.

And you thought his Borat cameo was embarrassing. Rudy Giuliani caught on tape doing Trump's dirty work in Ukraine. You're not going to want to miss this CNN exclusive audio. That's coming up.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, a wave of crime across the United States. Today, multiple families in mourning for loved ones killed in shootings in just the last 72 hours, including a 10-year-old boy.