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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Jan. 6 Committee Asks Wife Of Justice Clarence Thomas To Testify; Thousands Of Ukrainians Shelter In "Dead" Cities Without Power, Water; Three People Killed In Church Shooting Near Birmingham, AL; Migrants Risk Drowning, Severe Injuries In Attempts To Cross U.S.- Mexican Border; Philadelphia Struggling To Attract Summer Workers. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 17, 2022 - 16:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Thanks for being with me for the last two hours. THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Are the Supreme Court and the January 6th select committee on a collision course?

THE LEAD starts right now.

New scrutiny over the emails between a Trump lawyer pushing the election lies and Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Plus, a new reminder today of just how blood thirsty some members of that MAGA mob were.

Then, the deadly shooting inside an Alabama church. Police say a 71- year-old man stood up and opened fire at attendees of a pot luck dinner. What we're now learning about the suspect.

And just as summer temperatures heat up, thousands of kids could be left high and dry. Why hundreds of public pools and summer camps may not open.


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

We start today with our politics. The wife of a Supreme Court justice could be dragged to the forefront of the investigation into the January 6th insurrection. Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says that she is willing to meet with the House Select Committee investigating the capitol attack.

The request for her interview comes after the committee says they have emails between Ginni Thomas and former Trump Attorney John Eastman.

Eastman, of course, the architect of the delusional, unconstitutional theory that Vice President Pence could singlehandedly have overturned the election. Now, while the contents of the emails between the two have not been

revealed, Eastman in emails to a different Trump lawyer, according to "The New York Times," seemed to have insight and knowledge that Supreme Court justices were in a, quote, heated fight over a possible 2020 election case.

So how would he have known that?

And how is Ginni Thomas tied up in all of this? Thomas suggested to "The Daily Caller" that this is all just a misunderstanding and she cannot wait to clear it all up.

Meantime, there is another problem facing the committee. Sources are telling CNN the panel is striking out in their efforts to get two witnesses to testify in person for one of the upcoming hearings. The hearing is set to focus on president Trump's efforts to use the Justice Department to support his election lies. Remember, so far, the Justice Department has arrested more than 840 individuals for the Capitol attack and has officially charged 255 of them with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers.

Today, a Capitol rioter Mark Mazza who carried a gun with hollow point bullets and assaulted police officers with their own batons, today, he pleaded guilty to charges and he showed no remorse. He told the court that he regrets not having run into Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the insurrection, claiming if he had, he would be before the court for a very different reason. That does not sound like the peaceful protests, the tourists that some GOP lawmakers insist actually were there on January 6th.

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson saying the rioters were in a, quote, jovial mood. The country is also marking 50 years since the break-in at the Watergate complex, what stood for decades as the biggest presidential scandal in U.S. history, one that eventually led to the resignation of Richard Nixon.

We're going to talk to two of the reporters who broke the story, the legendary Woodward and Bernstein in just a few minutes. But first, let's get caught up on the present scandal with Jessica Schneider who is piecing together new details on the January 6th Committee's plans for the next week.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): I ask those who might be on the fence about cooperating to reach out to us.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The January 6th committee still looking to talk to some key people, including Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Chairman Bennie Thompson telling reporters the committee wants to know about her communications with Trump attorney John Eastman. Eastman devised the scheme to pressure then Vice President Mike Pence to block the certification of Biden's 2020 electoral win.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: The teller has verified appears to be regular in form and authentic?

SCHNEIDER: Something Pence ultimately refused to do.

THOMPSON: We have sent Ms. Thomas a letter asking her to come and talk to the committee. We look forward to her coming.

SCHNEIDER: Ginni Thomas issued a one-line response to the committee via the conservative publication "Daily Caller", saying she can't wait to clear up miscommunications. I look forward to talking to them.

Eastman denying he ever discussed election litigation that might come before the Supreme Court with Ginni Thomas or with Justice Clarence Thomas. Eastman writing, we have never engaged in such discussions, would not engage in such discussions and did not do so in December 2020 or anytime else.


While the committee is requesting cooperation from outstanding witnesses it's so far refused to share full transcripts of all of its interviews with the Justice Department. The DOJ seeking to gather all available evidence as they pursue cases against hundreds of people who stormed the Capitol.

THOMPSON: We're not going to stop what we're doing to share the information that we have gotten so far with the Department of Justice. We have to do our work.

SCHNEIDER: The tension comes as CNN has learned the panel is running into problems securing witnesses for an upcoming hearing about Trump's efforts to pressure the Justice Department to support and promote his false election fraud claims. While Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue, the top two officials at DOJ in the final weeks of the Trump administration, are expected to appear, the committee is so far striking out with Pat Cipollone.

Cipollone is the former White House lawyer credited with talking some sense into Trump by threatening to resign. Sources say Cipollone is not expected to join the hearing in person, despite already talking to the committee privately. Trump took to the stage in Nashville Friday afternoon to blast the committee.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Meanwhile, the committee refuses to play any of the tape of people saying the good things, the things that we want to hear. It's a one-way street. It's a rigged deal.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): And our team has just learned that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his deputy, they will both testify Tuesday at the next hearing. That's when the committee will focus on Trump's efforts to pressure officials in key battleground states to change the election results. In the meantime, "The New York Times" is also reporting that the committee actually could start sharing transcripts of witness interviews with the Justice Department as soon as next month -- Jake. TAPPER: All right. Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.

With us to discuss is Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California. She's a member of the January 6th Committee.

Congresswoman, thanks for joining us.

So, your committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, he says he's sent a letter to Ginni Thomas to testify. She told the daily caller she would like to testify to clear up misconceptions.

Have you heard from her directly that she will meet with the committee?

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, I haven't personally talked to her, but we sent a letter, it was privately sent, and she made a decision to disclose it publicly. And to say publicly that she will meet with us. So I'm glad for that, and we look forward to talking with her.

TAPPER: What are you hoping to learn from her?

LOFGREN: Well, I'm not going to go into all of the details, but as you know from the letter she released, the email exchanges between her and Dr. Eastman led to questions that we had, so we will be exploring various elements of that as well as other information in the committee's possession.

So we'll leave that for the interview. And I'm glad that she's going to come in.

TAPPER: Did she play a role in the conspiracy that the committee is saying happened to undo the election?

LOFGREN: I'm not in a position to explore all of that with you now. I think the proper course would be to wait for her to come in, and we will go through these issues with her.

TAPPER: We're learning that the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his deputy Gabe Sterling will testify at the next hearing on Tuesday. What are you hoping to establish with them?

LOFGREN: Well, the next hearing is going to go through the efforts that the president made to pressure officials in states, including Georgia, but not just Georgia, to overthrow the results of the election and appoint electors for the losing candidate, President Trump. And I think we have all heard the infamous phone call where then-President Trump was trying to force Raffensperger to find votes, essentially just make stuff up, so he could become the president again.

But we'll go through a variety of issues that we think will be revealing. Not everything has been out in the public so far.

TAPPER: We're hearing from Justice Department sources that they're very frustrated your committee has not been sharing transcripts and all relevant information with them as soon as possible to help them with their prosecution efforts.

Congressman Schiff said that the problem was the breadth of the request. I don't understand this problem. Why not just send them over the data, just give them a zip file or USB? What is the issue here?

LOFGREN: Well, there are a couple issues. One, to ask for every piece of information, some of -- not very much, but some information has been provided on a confidential basis to expect to respect the safety of a few individuals. But it's really not the way the DOJ is supposed to work.


I mean, they have known about all of the witnesses we have for over a year. They could subpoena them. They could open up grand juries. We're certainly going to engage with them and provide necessary transcripts and information that might be necessary.

But you don't have the executive branch tromping in to the legislative branch and essentially turning our investigation upside down. That's not the way things have proceeded. But we will engage with the DOJ. We will provide what's necessary in an orderly way.

TAPPER: Well, specifically, what we're hearing from prosecutors is they say some of the Proud Boys, for example, that they had to delay their trials because of this issue of documents. They're saying they need the witness transcripts, not only for trials but also future prosecutions and in fact they also need to turn over any potential exculpatory evidence that your committee has found, and they have deadlines to turn that over, the Brady evidence.

LOFGREN: That's legally false, Jake --


LOFGREN: -- because they have to turn over under existing rules the evidence that they have. They don't have to turn over evidence they don't have.

And the testimony received by congressional committees is protected under the speech or debate clause in the Constitution. So that's just, you know, a serious misunderstanding.

But let's cut to the chase. We're going to provide what we can that's necessary for them. It just makes me wonder, though, what have they been doing over there? I mean, they have a much easier way to compel testimony under their subpoenas than we do under ours.

So, hopefully, this shows that they're gearing up. We're going to make sure we're doing what we're able to do to assist. But we're not going to let our investigation be disrupted.

TAPPER: All right. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

LOFGREN: You bet. TAPPER: Joining us to discuss, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.

They're out with a brand new version of their book "All the President's Men" to mark the 50th anniversary of the break in at the Democratic headquarters and the Watergate office building.

Thank you so much for being here. It's always great to have you.

Carl, let me start with you. You just heard Zoe Lofgren. What do you think -- let's just focus on the Ginni Thomas part of this. What do you think is going on there?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think you have got the very tricky situation where the wife of a Supreme Court justice is very obviously involved in some way in a conspiracy in which there really is a conspiracy to overturn, try to company a coup to overturn the election results. I think the committee feels they have to go very carefully when you have the wife of a Supreme Court justice who may be involved.

I mean, let's look at what happened in Watergate where you have a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court to compel Richard Nixon to turn over his tapes, and now you have this whole question of Donald Trump trying to subvert the Constitution, prevent the lawful transition of power to his successor, and now you have a record of correspondence in which Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court justice, his wife is obviously involved through documentary evidence that we know already that Bob Woodward wrote about, in some way, her handprints are in this conspiracy, whether benign or not.

So we're going in to an area we have never been before in history of the United States that might involve conversations between the Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife involving a conspiracy to defraud the government and perhaps seditious conduct such as the Proud Boys have been charged with.

TAPPER: What do you think?

BOB WOODWARD, CO-AUTHOR, "ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN": The question is why would Ginni Thomas, who has been married to Clarence Thomas, the justice, for a long time, is a big supporter of his and somebody who very much believes in him and the conservative point of view. She sent 29 text messages to Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff.

Why is that going on? Whether it's a conspiracy, whether it's -- I mean, you said benign. I don't know if there's a benign conspiracy. I think the question is, the Jake Tapper, what's going on here? What's this about?

And they're in the process of investigating. And she's also exchanging at least one text with, you know, the very famous leader of the plan to subvert the election after Trump, John Eastman, the lawyer. And so, I'm sure they would like lots of time to look at this.

But where do you draw that line between, did he know that she was doing this, did he support it? Is that something, how relevant is that? What actions were taken? I think one of the most remarkable things in all of this is Meadows' answer to Ginni Thomas in one text message saying, this is a fight between good and evil, about overturning the election.

Namely, who is going to be certified as president. Well, that's a pretty strong stand for the White House chief of staff to make.

TAPPER: Yeah. And, Carl, "The New York Times" reported, Maggie Haberman and his colleague reported emails that John Eastman, the architect of this crazy theory that Pence could overturn the election, he sent about the Supreme Court before January 6th. And one said so the odds are not based on the legal merits but an assessment of the justices' spines and I said there's a heating fight under way.

And Eastman added: For those willing to do their duty, we should help them by giving them a Wisconsin certification to add into the mix.

Eastman seems to have some insight into what was going on at the U.S. Supreme Court, insight that it was not common knowledge at all.

BERNSTEIN: Well, the obvious suggestion but we don't know if the suggestion is true or not, is that there was a discussion between Clarence Thomas about what the court may be doing and his wife. So what did the justice know, and what did his wife know? And when did each of them know it? That's a really relevant question.

In Watergate, it was about the president. This is about the president, but it's -- ex-president, but it also at this point is about a Supreme Court justice and it needs to be investigated, and it will.

TAPPER: What do you think when you hear people say that if Richard Nixon then had today's Republican Party, today's Supreme Court, and "Fox News", that he would have survived the Watergate scandal, that because he didn't have that infrastructure, he suffered, but that Trump, for example, is lucky that he has it.

WOODWARD: Well, no, I think the answer is, the Republicans 50 years ago exemplified by Barry Goldwater, stood their ground and said, wait a minute, this is unacceptable behavior. And as we know, Goldwater, I mean, this is one of the great reporting moments for you and myself.

After Nixon resigned, Goldwater, we're doing the second book on Nixon's last year in office.

TAPPER: "The Final Days", great book.

WOODWARD: Yeah, "The Final Days", and Goldwater invites us up to his apartment to read his diary. I mean, tell the story because --

BERNSTEIN: We got to his apartment. Goldwater pours himself a big tumbler of whiskey and pours a big tumbler for each of us. Reaches into a cabinet, and pulls out his diary of the last days of President Nixon's presidency.

And he says, I'm going to read this to you. And what he reads to us is how he and the leaders of the house and Senate, the Republican leaders, marched to the Oval Office, met with Richard Nixon, and Nixon knew he was going to be impeached by the House, and he thought he would be acquitted by the Senate in a Senate trial. And Nixon looked at Goldwater and said, Barry, how many votes do I have? And Goldwater is reading this to us.

Nixon says how many votes, Barry, do I have for acquittal in the Senate? Fully expecting Goldwater is going to tell him, you have enough to prevail, Mr. President. And Goldwater looks him in the eye and says, Mr. President, right now, you may have four to six votes, and you don't have mine.

And he's reading us this. And the next day, Nixon announced he was going to resign, because he knew from Goldwater and those other leaders, he was through.

TAPPER: That's an incredible story.

WOODWARD: And this is an emotional convulsion for Nixon. I mean, he's abandoned. And he did announce his resignation the next night. But as we found out and have in the final days, that Nixon had Kissinger up to the Lincoln sitting room.

And Nixon was drinking and so distraught, he said to Kissinger, Henry, you and I have to get down on our knees and pray.


And they got down on their knees and Kissinger is going, what is this? And Nixon is pounding the carpet. And kind of giving the Shakespearean speech of, what has happened to me? What have I done, Henry?

And Kissinger is trying to console him. And Kissinger goes back to see his two aides, Larry Eagleburger and Brent Scowcroft. And he's -- they have never seen him like this. They said, what the hell happened up there?

And Kissinger is sitting there dazed and the phone rings. It's Nixon, and he says, Henry, please don't tell anyone that I cried and I was not strong.

TAPPER: Oh, my God.

BERNSTEIN: And, of course, Kissinger did tell people. And the result was we found out and put it in the book.

TAPPER: In "The Final Days". Amazing, amazing.

I want to sit down and have a bourbon with you guys right now but I can't. I have to go to a commercial.

Thanks so much for being here.

WOODWARD: Thank you.

TAPPER: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the legends out with a new version of their book, "All the President's Men". Pick it up, it's an awesome book. I read it in hard cover, of course. Ukraine's president calls them the dead cities, but CNN found out

there is life there. However, thousands of people are barely hanging on.

Then, staff shortages are making a big splash, causing a summer bummer for thousands of kids across the country.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead now, Vladimir Putin taunted the West during a speech today. In a dig at the United States, Putin declared an end to what he called the unipolar world.

He also claimed Western efforts to crush Russia's economy have failed. He has a point there. Earlier this week, "The New York Times" cited a study showing that Russia's oil revenue is soaring despite Western sanctions.

Putin additionally insisted his military will achieve all of its goals in Ukraine and if those goals include reducing almost everything to rubble, he's also on target with that assessment.

An adviser to the mayor of Mariupol calls conditions there medieval. He says only 2 percent of households in the southeastern Ukrainian city have running water and people are washing their clothes in puddles on the streets.

Conditions seem nearly as dire in eastern Ukraine where CNN's Ben Wedeman went looking for signs of life in cities on the war's front lines.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A portent of things to come on the road to Lysychansk. A city that has been in the line of fire for months.

A school basement serves as shelter for dozens of residents.

Tatiana shows us where they sleep. The only light provided by our camera.

"Everyone is outside now," she says, "because it's too dark and hard to breathe down here."

Outside, they wait as soup cooks over a fire.

"There's no gas, no power, no water," Maria tells me. "We have nothing."

Most are old, tired, terrified, and beyond despair.

"I'm alone," says 82-year-old Masha. "My legs are tired. I can't go anywhere."

Lydumila is leaving.

"We thought it would calm down, but it only gets worse and worse," she says. "I can't take these sounds anymore."

Natalya is leaving too.

"The windows in my house are broken," she says. "There's a huge crater by my house. It's the end of the world."

The sunny weather belies what has become a post-apocalyptic existence. Residents line up for unfiltered water so they can wash and flush toilets. Almost four months of war with no end in sight, frustration flares.

"Where's our mayor? Where's our governor?" ask Mykola. "They should have come here at least once."

Just across the river, savage street fighting rages in Severodonetsk. Lysychansk isn't near the front, it is the front.

At 3:00 in the afternoon, Russian aircraft hit this building. This building was serving as a shelter for people. Three were killed, and it really goes to show there is nowhere in Lysychansk that's safe.

Lyudmila was in that building. Her husband injured in the strike. Yesterday, he was crushed under the rubble, she says. She can do nothing but weep as she waits for a ride to see him in hospital.


WEDEMAN (on camera): And negotiations are under way apparently between the Ukrainians and the Russians to evacuate civilians from Severodonetsk. The only condition Ukraine has is that Russia observes a complete cease-fire when that evacuation takes place, but the track record of Russia respecting such cease-fires isn't very good -- Jake.

TAPPER: Ben Wedeman in Ukraine for us, thank you so much.

Coming up, a third person has died from that church shooting in Alabama, as we learn more about the 71-year-old suspect.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our national lead, police say that a third victim has died after that mass shooting at a church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Vestavia Hills, Alabama, just outside Birmingham. Police say a gunman opened fire at attendees of a church pot luck dinner last night. Police have a 71-year-old man in custody.

As CNN's Nadia Romero reports for us, the alleged gunman was stopped and subdued and held down by another parishioner.



DISPATCH: We are getting reports of a possible active shooter.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three people are dead after a shooting Thursday night at a church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham.

DISPATCH: Active shooter incident with injuries. Scene is not secure. At least three patients.

ROMERO: Police say the church was hosting a potluck dinner when the suspect, a 71-year-old man attending the event, opened fire.

CAPT. SHANE WARE, VESTAVIA HILLS POLICE: At some point, he produced a handgun and began shooting, striking three victims.

DISPATCH: Best estimate we have for patients is going to be in the parish hall. The shooter has been held down at this time, but the scene is not secure.

ROMERO: Investigators say after opening fire, the suspect was held down by another person at the event.

DISPATCH: We can't get radio reception. Multiple people down. Subject in custody.

ROMERO: Police identifying the victims as 84-year-old Walter Rainey who died on the scene, and 75-year-old Sarah Yeager who died at the hospital. The third victim, an 84-year-old woman, died at the hospital Friday.

The ordeal leaving the community in disbelief.

HUDSON BROWN, LIVES NEARBY: You see it in places you have never been to. People you don't know. And then now you're thinking, that could have been one of my friends down there.

ROMERO: Former U.S. Senator Doug Jones has lived in the neighborhood for nearly three decades.

DOUG JONES (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR, ALABAMA: I think it just goes to show that no community is immune from this kind of gun violence that we see playing out across the country. No one is immune.

ROMERO: So far, investigators have not released a motive but say the suspect who is in custody acted alone. Police praising the bravery of the person who held down the suspect until they arrive.

WARE: The person who subdued the suspect in my opinion is a hero.

ROMERO: Earlier today, parishioners packed a prayer vigil at St. Luke's Episcopal Church about six miles away. BISHOP GLENDA CURRY, EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF ALABAMA: I think the church

has a lot to mourn.


ROMERO (on camera): So the mayor here in this town says this was simply a senseless act of violence, he says that there are chaplains providing grief counseling to the victims free throw families and first responders. As you know, churches, places of worship, are not immune to gun violence. Today marks seven years since nine people were gunned down in their own church, Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, seven years today -- Jake.

TAPPER: Nadia Romero, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

This river crossing is the site of eight deaths in just one week. And now a U.S. border patrol agents are undergoing new training to try to save lives.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: We are back with our national lead and a closer look at the perilous journey some migrants are willing to take in hopes of crossing the U.S./Mexican border and getting into the United States. The risks can be quite deadly.

Once you get past the human traffickers, you can drown in canals or fall from a border fence. Those are just some of the dangerous situations migrants face from the journey itself. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it has stopped nearly 240,000 migrants who crossed just in the month of May.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez has more now on how big a problem this is and how officials in Texas are responding.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In these roaring waters, first responders train for the worst, migrants who have been swept away while trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border.

KRIS MENENDEZ, CAPTAIN, EL PASO FIRE DEPARTMENT WATER RESCUE TEAM: Get pushed underneath, you get pushed out, so, you know, it can mean life or death.

ALVAREZ: Already, authorities say they there have been eight deaths here in the span of a week, signaling a grim outlook for the summer as migrants' journey to the border in extreme conditions. The canal here, intended to get water to farmers, poses a unique danger with higher water levels and a fast moving current.

Kris Menendez, captain of the El Paso Fire Department Water Rescue Team, is bracing for more rescues and potential drownings.

MENENDEZ: We can throw a rope, throw the marine, and they can rescue themselves off that device. But a lot of times that's not the case. We come in when it's too late, they're deceased.

ALVAREZ: Rescues already outpaced last fiscal year. Since October, there have been more than 14,000 searches and rescues along the southwest border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That's compared to over 12,800 in fiscal year 2021.

Border officials are on high alert, issuing warnings about the sweltering desert heat and crossing dangerous waters.

Migrants will also try to cross over the border wall and fall in the process. In the El Paso sector, there have been over 229 injuries since October from those falls. Agents will try to render aid or take migrants to the hospital if necessary.

DYLAN CORBETT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HOPE BORDER INSTITUTE: A lot of people at the shelter have been deported.

ALVAREZ: Dylan Corbett, head of the Hope Border Institute in El Paso says built-up pressure and insecurity has driven migrants to make risky decisions.

CORBETT: It's an index really of desperation, an index of pain. An index of frustration, of not being able to access asylum at our border.

ALVAREZ: A Trump era pandemic restriction is still in effect on the border, allowing officials to turn away migrants. That hasn't dissuaded people, and thousands continue to wait in Mexico.

RUBEN GARCIA, DIRECTOR, ANNUNCIATION HOUSE: Had you come last week, the whole place was full.

ALVAREZ: Ruben Garcia runs a network of shelters here taking in migrants.

GARCIA: Over the last several months, the numbers have consistently been at 3,000 per week, 3,000 per week. So there were nights where we had close to 400 people sleeping here.


ALVAREZ: Southern border cities are adjusting to the reality that migration flows won't slow down. El Paso is now considering a processing center to alleviate stress shelters. So what does this say about where we're going?

JUDGE RICARDO SAMANIEGO, EL PASO COUNTTY: I really believe that this is the new world that we're going to be experiencing, and it's not going to be a temporary situation.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALVAREZ (on camera): Jake, as you mentioned earlier, CBP stopped migrants nearly 240,000 times last month. That's a number that's going up month by month. It raises serious concerns by authorities here in El Paso, Texas, and across the border as the temperatures hit the triple digits -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Priscilla Alvarez in El Paso, Texas, thank you so much.

No lifeguards would mean no public pools. The summer staffing shortage that is leaving thousands of kids quite literally high and dry.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our money lead now, plans to cool off at pools or beaches this summer could be completely ruined because of the current U.S. labor shortage. Simply put, there are not enough lifeguards.

The American Lifeguard Association says about a third of public pools will not open this season due to the scarcity of staff.

Vanessa Yurkevich is in Philadelphia with the struggle to attract summer workers.




YURKEVICH: How long ago was that?

BORLANDOE: I'm 70 now.

YURKEVICH: This summer, Robin Borlandoe is taking the plunge, getting back in the pool in Philadelphia to be a lifeguard, 54 years later.

BORLANDOE: I want to do something and feel worthwhile, purpose or something.

YURKEVICH: She found her calling after she heard the Philadelphia parks and recreation department wouldn't be able to open all of their 70 pools this summer. They're facing lifeguard shortages, and so is the rest of the country. One-third of the 309,000 public pools nationwide will not open.

How many do you think you realistically will be able to open this year?

KATHRYN OTT LOVELL, COMMISSIONER, PHILADELPHIA PARKS & RECREATION: We're going to have about 80 percent of the staff we need, so we're hopeful we're going to get to about 80 percent of pools we're able to open.

YURKEVICH: It's part of the fierce competition for workers in a red hot summer job market, fueled in part by the lack of foreign workers following COVID immigration restrictions. There are 11.4 million unfilled jobs with an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent. And despite raising wages, a marketing campaign on TikTok, and free certification, the Philadelphia Parks and Rec Department can't find enough lifeguards.

LOVELL: Have people saying to us all the time, target is offering $18 an hour, I'll be in the air conditioning and I get a discount.

YURKEVICH: How do you fight that?

LOVELL: It's hard.

YURKEVICH: When public pools don't open, it leaves some neighborhoods without an escape from the heat and crime.

LOVELL: We're experiencing a huge uptick in violent crimes, specifically gun violence. Critical for us to have safe spaces like this.

YURKEVICH: And across the country, YMCAs which typically serve lower income families have 75 percent of the 250,000 staff members they need to operate.

PAUL MCENTIRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, YMCA: We have competition in our maintenance, cleaning, and cooking staff with anything that would fall under the hospitality industry.

YURKEVICH: Those camps, more than 1700 of them nationally, also act as child care when kids are out of school. Critical so parents can work.

MCENTIRE: We still have most of our camps, a need for more staff to be able to take children off the wait list.

YURKEVICH: As Borlandoe waits for Philadelphia's pools to open by the end of this month, she now sees her role as more than just a lifeguard.

How do you thing it's going to be different this time around?

BORLANDOE: I'm hoping that being a mother and a grandmother, I'm hoping I'm a little wiser now. And that's what I want to bring, just natural, just that warmth that don't test me, though.


YURKEVICH: And for families who may not be able to afford big summer vacations this year because of inflation, everything costing so much more, public pools, beaches, and day camps become so critical, so when you don't have the staff in these places and they can't open, it really limits activities for families, and, Jake, right here in New York City, the New York parks department announced there will be no swim lessons this summer at public pools. That's especially important for the American Lifeguard Association who's concerned and says when kids don't learn to swim, Jake, it shrinks the pool of candidates who go on to become lifeguards, only prolonging the shortage, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you so much.

In our national lead, four military jets flew low over Arlington National Cemetery as a final tribute during the funeral service for Brigadier General Charles McGee. McGee was one of the last of the highly decorated Tuskegee Airmen, the first squadron of Black aviators in the segregated U.S. military during the Second World War. Over the course of his career, McGee successfully completed 409 air combat missions across three wars, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

McGee lived to be l02, spending the rest of his long life encouraging young people to follow their dreams, to persevere through challenges, and, of course, to pursue careers in aviation.


What a guy. May his memory be a blessing.

A quick programming note, join some of the biggest stars as they lift their voices for "Juneteenth: A Global Celebration for Freedom". You can see it live Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

Coming up, the head of WWE is on the ropes after a smack down involving hush money and an alleged sex scandal.

Stay with us.