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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Police: Gunman Contemplated Another Attack After Parade Shooting; Report: Officer Had Gun Aimed at Uvalde Shooter But Didn't Fire; January 6 Committee Holds Next Hearing on Tuesday; Some Florida Republicans Ready for a Fresh Face in 2024, Eyeing DeSantis; CNN: Democrats Frustrated by Lack of Urgency from White House; Biden, Harris Speak with Wife of Brittney Griner; Boris Johnson Battles For His Job As Dozens In His Party Quit. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 06, 2022 - 16:00   ET



NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: How can that be an official act? So I think, you know, we need to know more and the D.A.'s going after him.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Okay, ten seconds, Dave. Do you think that Donald Trump will be in trouble?

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY FOR PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: He will be in trouble and Cipollone could be a huge witness unlike everyone else. He can't call him the coffee boy. He was his former White House counsel.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Ambassador Norm Eisen and Dave Aronberg, thank you both.

And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.


ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: He had 60 rounds left. THE LEAD starts right now.

A confession from the alleged gunman in the Highland Park parade shooting. This as we learn he contemplated carrying out a second attack at another Fourth of July celebration.

A key interview granted to the January 6 Committee from the man who reportedly had this warning to White House aides about Trump going to the Capitol.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that move happen.


HILL: What we know about Donald Trump's White House counsel Pat Cipollone's upcoming testimony. Then, President Biden and Vice President Harris just called the wife

of WNBA star Brittney Griner who's being held in Russia. We'll speak with the family of another American detained in Russia for years. What they want to hear from the president.


HILL: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Erica Hill, in for Jake Tapper.

We begin with the national lead, on a deadly July 4th shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. Police now saw the alleged gunman seriously contemplated a second attack two hours away in Madison, Wisconsin. That's where officials say the suspect ended up evading police for hours after escaping the crime scene in Highland Park. Escaping dressed as a woman to blend in with those fleeing for safety.

That attack took seven lives. The seventh person identified today, 69- year-old Eduardo Uvaldo. Also killed, 64-year-old Katherine Goldstein, 35-year-old Irina McCarthy and her husband, 37-year-old Kevin McCarthy. Sixty-three-old Jacquelyn Sundheim, 88-year-old Stephen Straus, and 78-year-old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Highland Park this afternoon where police say the gunman confessed to his crimes and even considered another attack on that day.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Appearing in court for the first time since the July 4th massacre, prosecutors say shooting suspect Robert Crimo III admitted to opening fire on parade goers celebrating Independence Day in Highland Park, Illinois. Authorities say three 30-round magazines and 83 spent shell casings were recovered and that Crimo was considering another shooting in Madison, a two-and-a-half-hour drive way away.

DEPUTY CHIEF CHRISTOPHER COVELLI, LAKE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: He did see a celebration that was occurring in Madison and he seriously contemplated using the firearm he had in his vehicle to commit another shooting in Madison.

LAVANDERA: A judge ruled he will be held without bond.

The state's attorney is charging the 21-year-old with seven counts of first degree murder. The FBI is also considering federal charges.

ERIC RINEHART: These are just the first of many charges that will be filed against Mr. Crimo. I want to emphasize that. There will be more charges. We anticipate dozens of more charges centering around each of the victims.

LAVANDERA: Crimo's past contact with law enforcement is now under scrutiny. Police say they were contacted in April of 2019 after Crimo tried to kill himself. The matter was treated as a mental health matter and no police action was taken. Five months later, a family member contacted police reporting that

Crimo had a collection of knives and said he was going to, quote, kill everyone. Police responded and removed 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword from his home. No one from his family, however, filed a complaint. Later that day, the knives were returned to Crimo's father, who claimed they were his.

Despite all of this, Crimo was still granted a firearm card by Illinois State Police with his father sponsoring the application for the card. The agency says Crimo passed four background checks between June of 2020 and September of 2021.

MAYOR NANCY ROTERING, HIGLAND PARK: I'm looking forward to an explanation of what happened. We, in Highland Park, our police department, did the right thing, filed the necessary reports. I am waiting that explanation. I expect it in the next few days.

LAVANDERA: As a community mourns, more witnesses are coming forward sharing their harrowing experience.

BRYANT SIVESS, PARADE ATTENDEE, HELPED VICTIMS: The whole time, I'm just trying to figure out what was going on.


LAVANDERA: Bryant Sivess attended the parade with his wife and four kids. He says his oldest son was briefly missing after the shooting stopped, but says he still managed to help victims while searching for his child. He eventually found his son in a nearby jewelry store.

SIVESS: I came and got him, where you been, son? We were scared to death. We didn't know if he had been shot, so we couldn't find him. We didn't know if he was just hiding somewhere. We didn't know.


LAVANDERA (on camera): And, Erica, it's not exactly clear why the shooter did not carry out the second attack in Madison, Wisconsin. Authorities are saying that they believe at this point that he had not put in enough research and preparation into carrying out that attack and authorities here in Illinois are also saying that they're hesitant to comment on a possible overall motive for this deadly attack in Highland Park because his motive is quote not necessarily clear -- Erica.

HILL: Ed Lavandera, appreciate it. Thank you.

One of the most heartbreaking stories emerged from this senseless shooting centers on a 2-year-old boy. His parents, Irina and Kevin McCarthy, were both shot to death at the parade. Good Samaritans pulled the toddler out from underneath his father's body.

CNN's Mike Valerio is also in Highland Park with more this hour.

What more do we know about this little boy and his family? MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that his family has

tried to explain to him, hey, your parents are not coming home, but how can you explain that to somebody who is only 2 years old, an orphan in this latest mass shooting here in the U.S.?

So, to take you through what happened, as you illustrated, Erica, Kevin McCarthy's final act of heroism is to shield his son's body from a barrage of bullets, little Aiden, 2 years old, is physically unharmed. His mother Irina passes away and then he's roaming the streets, if you can only imagine, Erica, in the middle of the debris.

There are two Good Samaritans, a couple, who see Aiden wandering around and they say, hey, we've got to save this baby. We have to take him to the police. They do that.

The police are so overwhelmed that this couple takes him home, cares for him, launches a social media campaign and reunites him with his grandparents.

Now, we also, Erica, want to move over to Katie Goldstein, 64-year-old victim of this attack. She was described as the best mom, taking her older daughter, Cassie, to the parade so she could reunite, spend time with high school friends. Cassie, though, is one of the first people to see the gunman open fire from the roof. She says, mom, we've got to get out of here. They were running together when Katie is shot. Cassie is able to say, I love you, mom, before she closes her eyes for the very last time.

HILL: It's just -- it's heartbreaking when we hear all of these stories.

We also know who the seventh victim is, Eduardo Uvaldo. I understand, he was just days away from his 70th birthday.

VALERIO: Right, Erica, only two days away from celebrating 70 years and his family had to make the agonizing decision of taking him off life support after doctors at a local trauma 1 center said they couldn't do anything more to save him.

The cruel irony, Erica, is that he hated crowds, he hated huge gatherings, but the exception to that rule was this parade here in Highland Park. He loved the Fourth of July parade, was looking forward to it all year. He lived an incredible life, his family says, just recently celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary, Erica.

HILL: Mike Valerio, appreciate it. Thank you so much for sharing those stories.

I do want to get you some breaking news now in our national lead. New information about the Uvalde School shooting in May. A police officer asked his supervisor for permission to fire on the Uvalde shooter before he entered Robb Elementary, but didn't get a response. That's according to a new report on the overall police response to that massacre where 19 children and two teachers were killed.

CNN's Rosa Flores is in Houston with the very latest for us. Rosa, this new detail about the officer, I mean, really stunning. What more is in that report?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's really stunning, Erica, because there's actually two instances in this report that law enforcement could have used to stop the shooter before he entered the school and they failed to do so.

The first one is this one that you're mentioning. Now, let me set the scene. This was early on right after the gunman crashed right by the school and then this officer -- I'm going to read from this report. This says, quote, prior to the suspect's entry into the building at 11:33 according to statements, a Uvalde police officer on scene at the crash site observed the suspect carrying a rifle outside the west hall entry.

The officer armed with a rifle asked his supervisor for permission to shoot the suspect, however, the supervisor either did not hear or responded too late. The officer turned to get confirmation from his supervisor and when he turned back to address the suspect, he had entered the west hallway unabated.


Again, this officer was asking for permission to fire this weapon and according to this report, he had reason to shoot that weapon because this was a school. This was an armed gunman that was armed with a rifle.

Now the second opportunity by a police officer to stop this gunman was also before the gunman even entered the school. According to the report, there was a school police officer who was driving in the parking lot of the school and the gunman was outside the school but this officer was driving his car too fast and according to this report, the officer did not see the gunman. The gunman entered the school.

Erica, one other thing to mention about this report. It specifically states that in those first three minutes that we discussed about where 11 police officers were armed with rifles inside the school, they could have shot at the gunman and this report says they completely lost momentum because they failed to pursue. They failed to engage. They retreated and we've got to mention that yet again, this is a different story for the families of the victims, Erica, who are yet again having to listen to a different set of facts -- Erica.

HILL: That's exactly what I was thinking, Rosa, as you're laying that out. This sounds like yet another timeline almost.

What more did we learn in this report about the former Police Chief Arredondo and his role, his response?

FLORES: You know, this is very interesting because until now, Texas DPS has really been the one releasing information, releasing the timelines and Texas DPS identified School Police Chief Pete Arredondo as the incident commander, pointing the finger at him, blaming the failed law enforcement on his failed response.

Well, this report said that part of the problem was that there was no incident commander. There was nobody in charge. Let me read from the report.

It states, quote: Additionally, we have noted in this report that it does not appear that effective incident command was established during this event. The lack of effective command likely impaired both the stop and killing and the stop dying parts of the response.

And, of course, Erica, we know that 21 people died, 19 children and two teachers -- Erica.

HILL: It is. It almost leaves you speechless. Rosa, really important update. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Also with us now, Terry Gainer, who served in a number of high level roles with agencies including U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Police.

You know, as we're taking all of this in, in this new report, I want to get to what happened outside the school, but the fact we're hearing the finding was there was a lack of effective command. There was no incident commander.

Again, this is now a new narrative after we have been told by Texas DPS that, in fact, it was Arredondo who was in charge and they have squarely pointed the finger at him as a failure. What do we take away from this when there have been so many conflicting pieces of information?

TERRANCE GAINER, FORMER U.S. CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF: Well, it is the continued torture of the parents of these poor children and spouses of the teachers. So, it's disappointing.

This is one more report. It's not a complete one. A report by the alert group, part of the Texas State University people who do a lot of training in conjunction with the FBI, issued this report. So it is very telling. Again, it lays out different problems, different gaps, different failures in the whole operation.

HILL: And leaves us with even more questions. Always appreciate your insight. Thank you for being with us on this one.

A lot more news to get to on this Wednesday. Could this be the interview that changes minds? Donald Trump's White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, now agreeing to a formal interview with the January 6 Committee.

Then who needs support from the political party that got you elected if you've already survived several scandals? Well, British prime minister is about to find out.


[16:18:12] HILL: Topping our politics lead, a potential breakthrough for the House January 6 Select Committee. Former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone has reached a deal to sit for a transcribed interview with the committee. That's according to multiple sources.

CNN congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles is live on Capitol Hill.

So, Ryan, what are the details of this deal and maybe remind us why the committee is so keen to talk to Cipollone in the first place.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So, Erica, it looks like Pat Cipollone's going to sit for a closed door interview that will be transcribed and videotaped. So there's a good chance we'll see some of what he has to say in future hearings. In part of this was a negotiation with the committee because they really believe that Cipollone is someone who is a key to this investigation.

He's someone whose name popped up over and over again in the previous hearings that we've already seen and a part of, particularly in the hearing that featured Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

Take a sample of just what Hutchinson had to say about Cipollone during a court hearing.


HUTCHINSON: Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.


NOBLES: So what that shows you is that, A, Cipollone was very aware of everything that was going on in the White House, something the committee is very interested in. And he cautioned them against making certain choices that could have put the president in legal jeopardy. His testimony's going to be a crucial part of this investigation.

Erica, the question is how many questions will he answer because there's always the risk he may decline because of executive privilege.

HILL: Yeah. That is a great question. So, that interview happens on Friday, as we understand. And then we know that on Tuesday, the committee has now scheduled its next public hearing. What can we expect?

NOBLES: So, that hearing is going to be focused on the domestic extremism and white nationalists that were part of the riot on Capitol Hill and then what potential connections they have to the Trump White House.

Of course, the committee has long said what happened here on January 6th wasn't just a peaceful protest that got out of control. That there was a level of premeditation and they believe groups like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters were at the core of it.

So what they may be able to demonstrate on Tuesday is that the White House at least had an inkling of what was going on. If that's the case, it could be some pretty explosive testimony. Of course as you know, Erica, many of the individuals connected to these groups are already under indictment by the DOJ. Some facing seditious conspiracy.

HILL: Ryan Nobles with the latest for us, thank you.

NOBLES: Thank you.

HILL: More than 800 alleged rioters have now been charged in connection with the January 6 attack. Of those, more people from Florida have been charged from any other state.

CNN's Leyla Santiago visited a red part of the Sunshine State to see how Trump voters are responding to the hearings and how they feel about the former president.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN C ORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Parades, family fun, plenty of flags on display on Independence Day in Sarasota County. But this is Trump country, so the Stars and Stripes not the only flag flying.

JOSEPH BUSH, NEW FLORIDA RESIDENT: I think we're at a Trump rally.

SANTIAGO: Joseph Bush is a Trump fan. The 58-year-old Republican who moved to Florida last year likes that the former president ran the country like a business.

BUSH: There is somebody that believes in our Second Amendment rights, the flag, the economy.

SANTIAGO: Trump is as strong as ever, he says, in good standing to lead the Republican Party despite the revelations emerging from the January 6th hearings.

HUTCHINSON: The president said something to the effect of, I'm the f- ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now.

BUSH: I watched a little bit of it to know it's very one sided and it's distraction.

SANTIAGO: Something we heard repeatedly.

Are you watching the January 6 hearings, though?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not, no.

SANTIAGO: Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just haven't got a chance.

JASON TOM, INDEPENDENT: I think that there's a lot of validity to what's happening. I think there's also a little bit of a fishing expedition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a hearing. It's a show.

SANTIAGO: While some Republicans and independents here told us they question the politics behind the hearings, others --

IRINA LAROSE, INDEPENDENT: I think we all need to know that information. People are not well-informed.

SANTIAGO: Irina LaRose is watching the hearings. She once considered herself a Republican. Now --

LAROSE: I don't think the Trump movement is the right movement for our country. I'd like to see a more moderate Republican.

SANTIAGO: For LaRose, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is not an alternative.

LAROSE: Our governor is definitely not in the race for me. That's not the kind of candidate I'd like to see.

SANTIAGO: Even as DeSantis and Trump appeared to be on a collision course, both are powerhouse fundraisers.

And while Trump remains popular with the GOP base, there are some signs DeSantis is making gain, polling even with Trump in a recent New Hampshire poll of voters.

While loyalty to Trump here remains on full display --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Trump is going to lead the way. I think he needs to redeem himself for sure.

SANTIAGO: Republicans also told us they are open to a fresh face leading the party.

JIM SEATON, REPUBLICAN: I don't think Trump will be elected president again.

SANTIAGO: Why do you say that?

SEATON: Because there's so much, many people against him.

SANTIAGO: Even some of Trump's strongest supporters.

BUSH: I moved to Florida because of DeSantis. I think if DeSantis ran, he got (ph) a great partner, and he would win.


SANTIAGO: Now that man you heard from there, Joseph Bush at the very end, as much as he admires and has much affection for the former president, because believe me, that flag he put on -- the Trump flag he put on the boat is not the only one he has on that boat. As much he admires the former president, he said if he had to pick today, two years away from that presidential race, he would actually go with Governor Ron DeSantis. Why? He says that's because the governor does not carry the same baggage that Donald Trump has.

HILL: Interesting insight. Leyla, appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, a number of prominent Democrats are fed up but not at Republicans. The frustration with the White House. That's next.



HILL: In our money lead, soaring inflation and supply chain chaos are among the biggest problems facing the Biden administration. But there's growing frustration among many congressional Democrats with what they considered to be a lack of action from the White House, ahead of November's critical midterm elections.

And as Kaitlan Collins reports, the president is facing crisis on multiple fronts.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hoping to boost his standing with frustrating blue collar voters, today, President Biden making his sixth stop in Ohio since taking office.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When the middle class does well, everybody does well.

COLLINS: The president highlighting efforts to shore up pensions with inflation at a 40-year high and more Americans disapproving of his handling of the economy.

BIDEN: A lot of politicians like to talk about how they were going to do something about it. I'm here today to say we've done something about it.

COLLINS: The White House is facing economic headwinds while coming other scrutiny under other political fronts. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade, a six-week abortion ban went into effect in Ohio as Democrats are becoming more frustrated with the White House's response.

BIDEN: There's been reason to think this country is moving backwards.

COLLINS: Several top Democrats telling CNN the White House isn't meeting the urgency of the moment, with one member of Congress describing the West Wing as rudderless, aimless and hopeless.

Biden's staff also defending his muted response after several people were gunned down at a July 4th parade outside of Chicago.

BIDEN: We all heard what happened, we all heard what happened today.

COLLINS: Hours later, Biden returned to the stage to call for a moment of silence, but some argued he should have been as forceful at Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.

GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D), ILLINOIS: If you're angry today, I'm here to tell you be angry. I'm furious. I'm furious that yet more innocent lives were taken by gun violence.

COLLINS: Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pushing back, saying that Biden has outspoken on both gun violence and abortion rights.

JEAN-PIERRE: The president has been loud and focused on those issues.

COLLINS: As rank and file Democrats call for more aggressive leadership, others are stepping into the national spotlight with California Governor Newsom airing this ad in Florida.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): If freedom is under attack in your state, your Republican leaders, they're banning books, making it harder to vote. I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight or join us in California.


COLLINS: And, Jake, as some Democrats are questioning or -- Erica, as some Democrats are questioning the White House's strategy, a lot of that often comes down -- that criticism often comes down to the communications team.

We should note that CNN has confirmed today that the communications director here at the White House, Kate Bedingfield, is going to be leaving her post in the coming weeks. She's a very loyal Biden aide, someone who has been with him on a campaign trail since he has been in a White House, certainly. But it remains to be seen yet who is going to be replacing her -- Erica.

HILL: We will be watching for that. We know you will bring it just as soon it hear it.

Kaitlan at the White House, thank you.

Well, congressional Democrats tell CNN there's a growing sense of frustration over what many describe as mismanagement across the Biden administration. Joining us to discuss, Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York.

Good to have you here with us, first of all, in studio.

You know, as we look at this reporting from Kaitlan, from my colleague who spoke with two dozen folks, right, talking about this mismanagement, this frustration, another member summed it up this way, quote: There's no fight. People understand a lot of this is out of his hands but what you want to see is the president out there swinging. Lack of action in the wake of Roe, despite having this draft opinion, which is basically the same as a decision, is being pointed to, but that is not the only area I know where there is frustration.

Why do you think there isn't more action from the White House? REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): So, first of all, it's not just President

Biden. Members of Congress have to step up and fight as well. Congress makes laws. We need Republicans and Democrats to get their act together in Congress, get in a room and figure out how we're going to save this country.

We have over 100 people dying every day from gun violence. We have mass shootings on a consistent basis. Inflation is out of control. The Supreme Court just took away a woman's right to choose. Congress can codify Roe v. Wade.

There are bills in Congress right now, Our Babies Over Billionaires Act, the Ending Corporate Greed Act, windfall profits -- a tax in windfall profits and large corporations, there's so much work to do. Congress needs to step up and fight as well.

HILL: So you want Congress to step up, but is there a place where the president needs to step up?

BOWMAN: Absolutely.

HILL: What do you see as action he could take that would make a difference?

BOWMAN: Well, he should open up abortion clinics on federal land. That's one thing he can do.

HILL: Doesn't seem that's going to happen.

BOWMAN: Well, he needs to absolutely do that. I appreciate him stepping up and saying we need to carve out a part of the filibuster so that we could codify Roe v. Wade, but we need to talk about getting rid of the filibuster. I would love to see the president use the bully pulpit more, be out and about among the American people and create a vision for how we're going to get out of this mess.

HILL: Do you think he has a vision?

BOWMAN: I know he has a vision, but it's not only on him, it's on all of us to do the work. Congress is not functioning mainly because Republicans in the Senate don't want to work with Democrats and we need to get on the same page and figure out how to do something.

HILL: Do you -- Republicans don't want to work with Democrats. Do you think Democrats are at a point now where Democrats are working better together, because we spent the start of this administration where Democrats were not working well together. They were airing all that dirty laundry in public.

Are you at a point where the party is ready to come together and can you get everybody in the same room?

BOWMAN: See, I disagree with that. I think we were working together very well. We had our disagreements. We're big tents. We're diverse. We have new members like myself coming into an institution that's been there for 246 years from education with new ideas. We have been working together. We need to do better. But the country

wants to see us getting stuff done.


How are we responding to inflation? There are bills in the House right now that Republicans won't even look at to bring down costs, to raise revenue, to put money in the American people's pocket. And that's just one area.

And a lot more needs to be done, like a ban on assault rifles.

HILL: Well, so let's talk about -- let's about guns for a second. Inflation is a big issue, but I do want -- I do want to get you on guns. So, we're hearing that, right? We're hearing from folks in Illinois specifically.

I spoke with your colleague, Brad Schneider, of Highland Park who I spoke with this morning and he said specifically there needs to be an assault ban. We need to work on universal background checks. We know there's a lot of support in the country for that.

The reality is that's probably not going to happen. So then what do you do with this time that you have left? What do you do that you can then point to in November and say this is why you should vote for Democrats because we've got this done?

BOWMAN: Well, I think the American people when they see us fighting, they'll come out and vote in support of us. We can't just give up. We can't say, well, the Senate's not working, Republicans aren't responding, we're not going to do everything.

How much are we using the power of our voices? How much are we pushing HRA in the Senate to get passed? How much are we holding accountable Republicans who aren't doing the work that needs to be done? How much is the president using the bully pulpit?

It's about us getting out there amongst the American people.

HILL: So do you think that message is getting through to your colleagues that you want to hear and see more from them?

BOWMAN: Well, I hope so. It's getting through to my constituents and I'm hearing from my constituents that they are pissed off and they are ready to look at our democracy with fresh eyes in terms of the filibuster, the Electoral College, expanding the Supreme Court.

So much work needs to be done and the American people wants us to see do this work.

HILL: Real quickly before I let you go, this reporting we have about the mismanagement, about the frustration. Do you agree with that overall?

BOWMAN: Again, I don't think it's on President Biden in and of himself. HILL: Okay.

BOWMAN: It's on us. What are we doing to be clear on our message, to be concise with our message, to engage with the American people and do more around police accountability?

Look at the shooting, Jayland Walker, 60 shots to his body. We need to do more there and in so many other areas.

HILL: Jamaal Bowman, good to have you on studio.

BOWMAN: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

HILL: Brittney Griner's wife just got a call from President Biden. Up next, we're going to speak with the sister of Paul Whalen who's also being held in Russia. What she's asking for in light of today's call. That's next.



HILL: In our world lead, a call today with President Biden, Vice President Harris and the wife of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner. The White House says they reassured Cherelle Griner the president is working to secure Brittney's release from Russia. Biden also wrote back to Brittney Griner, in response to the letter she sent from prison.

All this as the family of Paul Whelan, another American detained in Russia, is asking why they're not getting the same level of attention from the Biden administration.

Joining me now is Elizabeth Whalen, Paul Whelan's sister.

It's good to talk to you again.

Now, I know, and you've been very public, you want Brittney Griner back home, too. I also know you've been working for years to get your brother Paul released.

When was the last time that you or someone in your family spoke with someone from the Biden administration?

ELIZABETH WHELAN, PAUL WHELAN'S SISTER: Well, our last high level meeting was May the 4th. So it's been a couple of months now.

HILL: So, it's been a couple of months. I understand too that during his detention, Paul has written letters to President Biden. Before that, letters to President Trump. I know you don't think a meeting with the president is necessary for the work to be done to get your brother released, but in light of this phone call with the president and vice president speaking with Brittney Griner's wife, Trevor Reed's family as well, do you think that more involvement from the president could help?

WHELAN: It's such a -- it's such a good question.

To begin with, we don't begrudge the Griner family and their supporters any of the attention that they're getting from the president. I mean, it's really wonderful. They have resources far beyond what our family does.

I think our concern is, you know, why the outreach to some families and not others? There are 55-plus families who would like to have that same degree of attention. My brother's written to both presidents and people throughout Congress, hundreds and hundreds of letters during the three and a half years that he's been held.

I was astonished this morning to hear about this call and it did make me wonder. Are we -- should we be pushing for a meeting with the president? Is that what it's going to take to bring my brother home? What I would really like to see is a functioning process that didn't require that.

HILL: I've been wondering, does that mean you think you might push for that? Some sort of call or meeting with the president?

WHELAN: Well, I have put in four letters over the course of the administration. I've e-mailed the chief of staff. I've asked the national security adviser. A meeting hasn't happened yet.

At the same time, I think my message to the White House is whoever thought this was a good idea has to remember other families with far less resources have been waiting for years and years to see action to bring their loved ones home. People who have even less access than the Whelan family does. What we need to see is something a little more even handed when it comes to outreach to the families.

And, of course, what we really need is action for all of these cases. I do believe the U.S. government is doing everything it can to bring Paul and Brittney home. But when it comes to the public outreach, perhaps the Whelan family does need that meeting with the president.

HILL: You mentioned the different resources available. That maybe Brittney Griner's family has more resources. You cited the number of families working to get their loved ones home.

How much do you all communicate? I know that you've met Brittney Griner's family, but is there coordination between the families?

WHELAN: I think there's a lot of fellow feeling and there has been some coordination in terms of a rally in a letter to the president between some of the families. We're just -- there are so many families now that we're trying to do what we can. And when I talk about resources, I'm talking about you know, celebrity, fame, people we know, connections, folks we've met in Congress.


All of these things play a part when it comes to trying to get attention for our loved ones. We are coordinating, but each case is so very different. So although we have a lot of fellow feeling and support for each

other, what happens with the cases in Russia and even between Brittney's case in polls are going to be different than what's happening in Venezuela or Iran.

HILL: When you look at the situation in Ukraine at the moment then we look at what's happening in Russia, it's getting less attention. Let's be honest, in terms of the war. Do you see, are you concerned there could be a correlation in terms of the attention that your brother is getting?

WHELAN: No, actually, that's the one place where we can take a little bit of heart. The process for dealing with wrongful detainees and hostages is really separate from other diplomatic issues and I have to thank the administration for really making sure they've carved out a separate channel with a special presidential envoy for hostage affairs and other types of outreach so that that doesn't really muddy the issue.

It isn't so clear with some of the other countries I don't believe. Some countries would like to have the hostages that they have Americans that they have detained. They would like them to be more involved in the entire process.

What we want, the families want to see is we want to see coordinated and really efficient actions by the U.S. government to get our loved ones home and to keep these issues separate. We would like to actually see detainees brought home before some of these other policy problems are dealt with.

HILL: Elizabeth Whelan, really appreciate you taking the time to join us today and it sounds like you might want to move forward. So, please let us know if you do hear more from the administration, if there is a call, if there's any communication with the president. Thank you.

WHELAN: I certainly will. Thank you very much.

HILL: So if you fire members of your cabinet then they can't quit, right? Let me tell you, you thought things were interesting yesterday. They're getting a lot more interesting today across the pond.



HILL: In our world lead, there's Teflon John and there's a, quote, Greased Piglet, or a, yeah, there are a lot of things coming out here.

Today's headline in the British tabloid, "The Daily Mail", as you see there, UK prime minister Boris Johnson fresh off surviving a no confidence vote clinging to power as his cabinet thins out.

This over Downing Street's mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations involving a top leader in Johnson's Conservative Party. So far, 37 British government members, actually 42, I believe, we're up to because they just keep coming here, have quit, including the health secretary and finance minister.

CNN's Bianca Nobilo reporting now where a new poll in the UK finds 72 percent of adults think it's time for Johnson to say cheerio for good.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I abhor bullying and abusive behavior anywhere, in parliament, in this party, or in any other party.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Boris Johnson's seemingly unsinkable premiership once again on the rocks. But this time it is different.

SAJID JAVID, UK HEALTH SECRETARY: Treading the hit rope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months.

NOBILO: Trust in Johnson's word almost completely eroded say more than two dozen members of parliament resigning from government within 24 hours, including two of his most prominent cabinet ministers.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid saying: I can no longer in good conscious continue serving in this government.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak reasons: The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.

Johnson and his office now being held to account over allegations of sexual misconduct by a member of government after a former top civil servant broke ground to accuse him of lying about not knowing of the previous official complaint of alleged sexual misconduct before promoting the member of parliament it involved.

Johnson had since admitted he did know about the allegations.

KEIR STARMER, OPPOSITION LEADER: For a week, he's had them defending his decision to promote a sexual predator. Every day the lines he's forced them to take have been untrue. But now, he wants them to go out and say that he simply forgot.

JOHNSON: I greatly regret that he continued in office.

NOBILO: Just last month, the prime minister was booed in public before narrowly surviving a confidence vote by members of his own party following the latest scandal, party-gate.

Now a source close to one of his most loyal supporters, Home Secretary Priti Patel, tells CNN that she's told the prime minister the view of the party is that he has to go.

As more letters voicing no confidence in the prime minister are going in and members of parliament suggest changes to the rules of the conservative back bench 1922 Committee, so another vote can be held before parliamentary recess.

The question for many now appears to be not a matter of if, but how soon his premiership will end.


NOBILO (on camera): Erica, the prime minister's response to these events has been defiant. The latest example is him firing his long time frenemy from the cabinet, Michael Gove. He says that he has a mandate to continue, harking back to the election in 2019. But with 41 resignations from his government, polls in the country showing the majority of voters and conservatives want him to resign, that mandate seems nothing more than a mirage.


HILL: It is really something to watch and we are following it with great interest from here, Bianca. Really appreciate the update. Thank you.

A mail carrier for more than 30 years, before that though, he was a hero in the Band of Brothers. Remembering a legendary life, next.


HILL: A last known surviving member of the World War II regiment Easy Company, immortalized as the band of brothers has died. Bradford Clark Freeman parachuted in the D-Day Normandy invasion, fought in the Battle of the Bulge. The story of heroism and hardship of that critical U.S. Army company retold in Emmy Award-winning HBO series.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is easy company. And under my command, this will be the first and finest company in this regiment.


HILL: After his service, Freeman returned to his hometown in Mississippi working as a mail carrier for 32 years. Freeman was 97 years old.

I'm Erica Hill, in for Jake Tapper today. Stay tuned. Our coverage continues next with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."