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The Lead with Jake Tapper

McCarthy Inching Closer To Calling For Impeachment Inquiry Into Biden; Source: Trevor Reed Injured While Fighting In Ukraine; LeBron James' Son Bronny Suffers Cardiac Arrest; Wildfires Scorch Parts Of U.S., Europe And North Africa Amid Sweltering Heat Waves; Biden Establishes New National Monument Honoring Emmett Till, Black Teen Who Was Lynched In 1955. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 25, 2023 - 16:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Thanks for being with us this afternoon.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.


BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: A stunner from Ukraine. One American foreign fighter who was on the front lines was Trevor Reed.

THE LEAD starts right now.

CNN confirms U.S. Marine veteran and former Russian prisoner Trevor Reed was not only fighting in Ukraine but also injured in combat.

Plus, scare on the court. Bronny James, the oldest son of the star LeBron James recovering from cardiac arrest. What we know about his condition.

But, first, the comments just moments ago from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Is he laying the groundwork for an impeachment inquiry against President Biden?


GOLODRYGA: Welcome to THE LEAD, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga, in for Jake Tapper.

We start today in our politics lead. Speaker McCarthy saying today that, yes, he may consider an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. This all would be based on the president's alleged ties to his son Hunter's business dealings.

Listen to McCarthy today in his most direct comments yet.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: All this continues to unravel, it rises to the level of an inquiry. But what that simply provides is that the American public has a right to know and this allows Congress to get the information to be able to know the truth.


GOLODRYGA: The calls for impeachment appear to be a top priority today for some House Republicans.

Also, brand-new CNN reporting reveals just how seriously leadership is considering an impeachment plan. This despite the fact that Congress has just four days before leaving for its August recess, with two big priorities on its agenda. A bill to fund the government to avoid a shutdown in September, and a must-pass defense authorization bill.

So let's get right to CNN's Melanie Zanona who is on Capitol Hill with these brand-new reporting.

Melanie, the possibility of an impeachment into President Biden seems to be increasing now.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yeah, that's exactly right. And this threat, this impeachment threat into President Joe Biden is not something that was an accident on behalf of Speaker McCarthy. In fact, I've been doing some reporting on this with my colleagues Manu Raju and Andy Greer and we learned that in recent weeks, McCarthy has been hearing from senior House Republicans and influential conservative lawyer advising him that he should prioritize an impeachment of Joe Biden over one of the members of his cabinet.

And part of the thinking here is that if they're going to expend resources on something as complicated and time-consuming as impeachment, that they might as well go after their top target except for someone else in the Biden administration. Not to mention, some of the other investigations that Republicans have been leading have really lost momentum. Border crossings for example, have been down in recent weeks. And meanwhile, by contrast, Republicans feel like their investigations into the Biden family are starting to pick up.

But all that to say is they are still all over the map when it comes to an impeachment strategy. There are still some Republicans on right to call to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas or Attorney General Merrick Garland and then moderate Republicans who are weary about impeachment. So if they do down this route, it is still a heavy lift. There is not a lot of time to do it and there is a sentiment among Republicans that if they're going down this path, that they need to wrap it up before the end of the year, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: So, Melanie, how are Democrats responding to this? Was this something they anticipated or was it a surprise?

ZANONA: Well, the White House has maintained all along that President Joe Biden has no involvement in his son Hunter's business deals and Republicans have yet to directly link Joe Biden to his business deals other than this unverified allegation that was contained in FBI document.

So Democrats really view this as a political stunt that is designed to help Donald Trump. And indeed, Kevin McCarthy been under pressure to appease both Donald Trump and his right flank. Another issue that is giving Kevin McCarthy heartburn is this symbolic resolution that would expunge Trump's past two impeachments. McCarthy, as we previously reported, told Trump in a private phone call that he supports the idea and would bring it up with the rest of the conference but he has yet to put that on the floor and there don't appear to be any plans to do so. And that is causing frustration among Trump, I'm told that Trump called Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of this top allies in Capitol Hill recently to complain about the lack of action from McCarthy.

So just a good window there into the complicated dynamics that Speaker McCarthy is trying to navigate -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: All right. Melanie Zanona, thank you.

Let's bring my panel in, Joe Pinion and Ashley Allison and Elie Honig.


Welcome all of you.

So, Elie, Speaker McCarthy said he's considering launching an impeachment inquiry. We're seen this before, not so long ago. But can you refresh our memories about what that entails, exactly.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Sure, Bianna. So, it's important to keep in mind, first of all, while the Constitution gives us the broad parameters about impeachment, the nuances, the procedures are really up to the House itself. Now, if we go back to 2019, Donald Trump first impeachment over Ukraine.

In September of 2019, then Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the formal opening of an impeachment inquiry. And from that point on, the next two months or so, we heard public testimony from people like Ambassador William Taylor, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, all of whom have now become familiar to us.

At the end of that two-month process, the House formally voted on an actual impeachment. That takes a majority of the House in order to impeach. If we get to that point, and, of course, it goes over to the Senate where you need a two-thirds vote in order to convict.

So, we have seen this four years ago now and Kevin McCarthy, Speaker McCarthy has now announced he's considering the first of those steps.

ZANONA: And perhaps a month's long process as well.

Joe, I want to play some sound from Congressman Ralph Norman of the House Freedom Caucus on a possible impeachment inquiry into the president. Listen to what he said.


REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): If there's not accountability now for the highest office holder in the land, when is it going to be in? And I think at the end of the day, he will be impeached.


GOLODRYGA: So, do you see Republicans actually bringing articles of impeachment this fall?

JOE PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, I think we should probably tread lightly. I think there is this reflexive urge to try to speculate on what the president might have done or what he might have known. I think Republicans will be best focusing on the fact pattern that is at our disposal, which is the emails that were sent by Hunter Biden, the fact that those emails did request face time with his father or his father's senior aides when he was vice president, the fact that we now have White House logs that confirm that some of the meetings did happen.

I think that all of those things do beg the question, what did the president know and when did he know it? To say that it should rise to the level of impeachment at this juncture, I would believe would be premature and I would remind Republicans that we did watch as Democrats canceled the price is right to have live with Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff and all it did was lead to President Trump going up in the polls because at the end of the day, if you're not going to be able to show conclusively to the American people that, in fact, the president did commit high crimes and misdemeanors, to level that accusation in many ways could be an act of political mal practice and suicide when it comes to trying to elect Republicans across the slate in 2024.

GOLODRYGA: Ashley, here is how the White House responded to the calls from Speaker McCarthy. Ian Sams tweeted this. Ian Sams tweeted this: Instead of focusing on the real issues Americans want us to address like continuing to lower inflation or create jobs, this is what the House GOP wants to prioritize. Their eagerness to go after POTUS regardless of the truth is seemingly bottomless.

Ashley, Congress has a lot on their plate right now, including working on a budget to avoid a government shutdown this fall. What message did this send, that this seems to be a priority as well for Republicans?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, when Kevin McCarthy was trying to become speaker, he promised to a small part of his base that he would seek impeachment of Joe Biden. And so the message that it is sending is that he's speaking to a very small population of the American public.

No one including folks in the White House think that anyone is above the law, not President Biden or President Trump. But to Melanie's own reporting, they have not been able to make any connections. So this is just Kevin McCarthy throwing red meat at his base to get them excited, to secure his speakership and not really focus on the issues that are most important to Democratic and Republican voters.

GOLODRYGA: So, Elie, Hunter Biden is set to plead guilty to two federal tax misdemeanors tomorrow and many Republicans have called Hunter's plea deal, a, quote, sweetheart deal. How would you describe it? HONIG: Well, there's what we know and what we don't know. If you we

look at the charges that are contained in what we call an information, which is a type of indictment against Hunter Biden, there's nothing that jumps out to me that's out of the ordinary. Sometimes tax cases are treated more harshly as felonies and sometimes they're treated less harshly as not even criminal, as civil proceedings. This one is a misdemeanor, so it's somewhere in the middle.

And as to the firearm charge that will be dismissed, eventually, that is an obscure firearms law that is very rarely charged against anyone. So just looking at that, I don't see anything out of the ordinary. But the bigger question, what we don't know is what was the entire universe of facts relating to Hunter Biden and where there other readily chargeable or pursuable crimes that were not followed up on? That we don't know. It seems to be the subject of congressional inquiry and that will give us the bigger picture here.


GOLODRYGA: Yeah, and Joe, we know that U.S. Attorney David Weiss who led the Hunter Biden probe has agreed to testify before Congress this fall. What do you want to hear from him?

PINION: Well, look, we would like to hear that his hands were not tied, that the investigation was not in any way impeded by anyone at the Department of Justice that these -- that this was the strongest case that could have been brought against Hunter Biden.

Again, let's be very clear, a gun that was discarded illegally in many ways has very little to do with the American public. The tax problems of a vice president now president's son has very little to do with the American public. The only reason that those issues are pertinent to the American public is because of why he was perhaps given the money that he then refused to pay taxes on.

So we would like to know that the full investigation did occur, that includes people being able to ask questions about the father's involvement and when you have whistleblowers come forth suggesting that those questions weren't even able to be asked, then you have to actually question the veracity of the investigation altogether, because again, if you look at what happened with Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, if we're going to say that whistleblower should be believed, it should always be the case that whistleblowers should at least be heard irrespective of their political leanings of the person coming forward or the political party implicated by that testimony.

GOLODRYGA: But, Joe, didn't the U.S. Attorney Weiss already say that his hands were not tied?

PINION: Look, I think he, in many ways, has said in a statement that I would argue is similarly vague, I would prefer to Elie for that. But I would say that the statement itself did not say with complete certainty exactly what happened and when it happened. And I think when you have contradicting testimony, that which is coming from the whistleblowers, that which is coming from the attorney, I think you have to actually in many ways demand a broader investigation to get to the bottom of it.

GOLODRYGA: Elie, you want to weigh?

HONIG: Yeah. So, U.S. Attorney Weiss has said publicly that his hands were not tied that he had free reign to do whatever he felt was necessary. The whistleblowers have said that certain investigative avenues were cut off. Both of those things could actually be true at the same time. So I think what the U.S. attorney needs to answer here was, did he actually cut off any potentially promising investigation avenues or not? That's the key question.

GOLODRYGA: Ashley, what will you be looking for?

ALLISON: Well, I'm glad that Weiss is coming forward and testifying. I think the American public should hear directly from him. I also think it is important that we do protect whistleblowers and that we listen to them.

The reality is, though, is that perhaps the whistleblowers while they have some information, might not appreciated the direction the case took around this issue, it doesn't mean that a wrongdoing actually happened. And so once Weiss comes forward and if he says, if he confirms what his statement has already said, under oath in front of Congress, I hope that Republicans could let this matter be settled an move on and actually start doing things for the American public.

GOLODRYGA: All right. We'll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for joining me.

Well, now video just in shows the desperate efforts from the air to save homes from wildfires. The scenes like this around the world.

And a surprising foreign fighter in Ukraine. Trevor Reed, the U.S. marine veteran held in Russia for nearly three years.

Plus, the new contract that just became the richest deal in NBA history. Wait until you hear the amount of money we're talking about.



GOLODRYGA: Trevor Reed has been injured while fighting in Ukraine, according to a source. As many of you know, Reed is the U.S. veteran who was wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly three years. He was released in a high profile prisoner swap back in April of 2022. Well, right now, we don't know the extent of Reed's injuries but we have learned that he's being treated at a U.S. military hospital near Ramstein Air Base in Germany after being transported there from Kyiv.

Back in 2022, our Jake Tapper had the exclusive first interview with reed and his family after he returned home. In the CNN special report, "Finally Home", he told Jake that he was determined to resist Russia's mind games while he was in captivity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TREVOR REED, U.S. MARINE CORPS VETERAN FREED FROM RUSSIA: Then you sent me to a forced labor camp and you expect me to go in there and work and produce things for the same government who is kidnapping Americans.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Did you do any work at all?

REED: No. Absolutely not. So I was like, no, I'm not going to work. They said, we're going to punish you and I said that is not going to change anything. So, they immediately started putting me into solitary confinement.

TAPPER (voice-over): At the labor camp, Trevor would spend nearly seven out of the nine months in solitary confinement. Disturbing as the punishment was, Trevor had a goal with his resistance.

REED: I hoped that I would be such a problem for them that in the future when they considered, you know, taking Americans hostage, they would think, you know, is it worth it?

TAPPER: Did you ever come close to hitting any sort of breaking point?

REED: No. And to be honest with you, the longer that I was in there, the more dedicated I was to not allowing them to break me.


GOLODRYGA: I want to bring in CNN's Alex Marquardt who is live in Odesa, Ukraine, and CNN's Jennifer Hansler at the State Department.

Jennifer, to you first, what do you know about what happened to Trevor Reed?

JENNIFER HANSLER, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT REPORTER: Well, Bianna, we don't know where he was in Ukraine when he sustained these injuries, we don't know how long he had been fighting in Ukraine up until the point of these injuries. However, as you mentioned, we do know that he was first transported to Kyiv to a hospital there to be treated. And then an unnamed NGO was able to evacuate him to Germany where he is being treated at that U.S. military hospital, Landstuhl.

Now at this point, U.S. officials were very clear to stress that Trevor was there on his own accord. He was not there fighting on behalf of the United States, and they again warned Americans, do not travel to Ukraine, especially not to fight or you will risk the chance that you will be hurt or captured or even killed there.


GOLODRYGA: Yeah, we've heard this warning from the State Department since the war began.

And, Alex, you've been on ground in Ukraine multiple times, and you've talked to American and other foreign fighters who continue to go to Ukraine despite that warning. What are they telling you as to why they decide to go? ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah,

they've been coming since the very beginning, since President Zelenskyy put out a call for international fighters to come and join the fight. It is largely veterans. They come with all kinds of experience whether it is fighting or medical or de-mining.

And usually those would have gone to fight tell us I know how to fight and I believe in this fight and I believe in democracy and freedom. They cast this as a fight that is good versus evil.

And, Bianna, we spent some time earlier this year on a last trip here in February with a unit of the International Legion and there we met an American named Jason Mann. He's a former marine who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. He went to Columbia University after that and worked at Google, and he told me that when this war started, he had no choice but to come here. Take a listen.


JASON MANN, U.S. MARINE CORPS VETERAN VOLUNTEERING IN UKRAINE: This is redefining the global order as we speak. This is democracy versus autocracy. Do we want to let autocracy control more people's lives in the future or prevent it from doing that ever again, strictly speaking?

MARQUARDT: And that's what's in your head when you head out there?

MANN: Absolutely. It is the only reason I'm here.


MARQUARDT: And, Bianna, on that same trip, we met the team leader of that group. His name is Chortle (ph). He was a New Zealander and he was matter of fact about the possibility of dying here in Ukraine. He said that if you're going to, there is no better way to do so than alongside your friends and doing so for something you believe in.

Just a few days later, Bianna, we did get word that he was killed fighting against the Russian side -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Alex, do we know exactly how many foreign fighters have traveled to Ukraine since February of 2024? '22?

MARQUARDT: Not exactly. We believe that the number has tapered off. According to Jason Mann and others, we believe that it numbers in the thousands, several thousand. That number has certainly come down since the beginning of war we believe where applications peaked at around 20,000, according to Ukrainian officials. The application process was relatively straight forward and still is.

You send an email. You send your passport information, any relevant military experience. They do a background check and tell you if you're approved or not.

We should note that fighters are still coming. When we were here on that of that last trip, we met a British fighter, a young British soldier in his early 20s that had just arrived, 12 months after the war started. So they are still coming to join the fight but by the same token, you could imagine as this war drags on, that more are going home -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: And still a surprise, though, to see that Trevor Reed was among them. Jennifer, will this have any impact on the current negotiations for other Americans who are wrongfully detained in Russia, like Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich?

HANSLER: Well, Bianna, a U.S. official told me today that these issues should be treated as completely separate. They said Trevor was an individual acting of his own volition, and that should not play a role in the negotiations. However, they did say that of course they are concerned that this is going to have a negative impact on those ongoing negotiations with Russia to try to free Paul and Evan -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: All right. We'll continue to monitor this story. Alex and Jennifer, thank you.

Also in our world lead, frightening developments from Haiti, where the U.S. embassy for the third day in a row has told personnel that they are not allowed to leave the embassy or their residential compounds. An embassy statement today indicates that gang activities and incidents of gunfire around the embassy in Port-au-Prince have made it unsafe. Pictures from Port-au-Prince this week show people would fled gang violence in their neighborhoods camped out in front of the U.S. embassy.

CNN is live at the USC campus in L.A. coming up where the son of LeBron James went into cardiac arrest during a basketball practice. What we're learning about his condition. That's next.



GOLODRGYA: In our sports lead, the son of NBA superstar LeBron James suffered a cardiac arrest. His family confirms that it happened during basketball practice yesterday. He was rushed to the hospital and is now out of intensive care. Bronny James is just 18 years old and an incoming freshman on a basketball team with the University of Southern California.

To give you an idea of his talent level, LeBron once said that he hoped to play in the NBA one day with his son.

CNN's Natasha Chen is at USC campus in Los Angeles.

Natasha, a frightening headline. What are we are hearing now from Bronny's family?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianna, the James family isn't sharing a lot of details except to confirm that this did happen yesterday during practice at the Galen Center where the team does their work outs behind me at USC. The team had announced earlier in the year that they were planning on a European tour starting August 5th. That's likely what they were practicing for.

The James family did say that the medical staff here were able to treat Bronny James and take him to a hospital (AUDIO GAP) and in stable condition.

As part of a statement from the family, they said: LeBron and Savannah wished to publicly send their deepest thanks and appreciation to the USC medical and athletic staff for their work and dedication to the safety of their athletes.

And even the James family was seen in public just about two weeks ago at the Espy Awards where LeBron James stood on stage next to his wife and children whom he called his greatest blessing and he particularly said how proud he is of his two sons, that they're on their own basketball journey.


Now, Bronny James, 18 years old, had committed to USC in the spring. He was ranked number 20 in ESPN's class of 2023 and was not expected to play all four years of college before being drafted to the NBA. And, in fact, his father, LeBron James, had told "The Athletic" last year that his goal was to stay in the game to be able to play alongside his son. Now all of that, of course, now depends on Bronny James's recovery.

I do want to point out that just one year ago, another USC basketball player also suffered a cardiac arrest right here at the Galen Center where the athletic team's trainers were able to treat him as well. Vince Iwuchukwu ended up spending about six months of recovery time not cleared to play until January. We don't know Bronny James' situation but we'll be tracking to see how his recovery goes, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Of course, our thoughts are with Bronny's parents, Savannah and LeBron James.

Natasha Chen, thank you.

CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joins us now for more on this.

So, Dr. Gupta, cardiac arrest in an 18-year-ol, I mean, how common is this? And what are some of the first questions you have as a physician?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, thankfully, it's not common. But I think it's maybe more common than people realize as well. If you look sort of across the country, in any given year, maybe around 6,000 people may have a cardiac arrest that are young people. A lot of times it's a sports-related in some way, 39 percent sports-related. As people get older, 19 to 25, sports still a factor, but less so of a factor.

So it does happen. And as Natasha mentioned, it happened at USC last year. It's happened in lots of other athletes over the years. Some of the questions that you want to sort of figure out was, was he having any symptoms prior to this? It sounds like he wasn't. Sometimes this sort of thing is the first time somebody knows that there is a problem at all.

Has he undergone any screening tests in the past to look at his heart? That's certainly what doctors are doing now looking to try and figure out what exactly caused this, Bianna. A couple of things. Is there some sort of electrical abnormality to the heart, the way that the heart actually conducts electricity through the heart? Is there any evidence of heart inflammation? Is there a problem with the structure of the heart?

There is something known as cardiomyopathy, Bianna, which basically means that some of muscles of certain chambers of the heart may be abnormal in some way and that could lead to something like this. They don't always figure out what exactly caused this but more times than not, they will, and that is likely the questions they're trying to answer right now.

GOLODRYGA: Can you explain the difference cardiac arrest and a heart attack?

GUPTA: Yeah. So, with cardiac arrest, it's kind of what it sounds like the heart just stops beating. Someone loses their pulse, they lose consciousness and they often times just don't respond. They don't have a pulse obviously.

A heart attack is typically related to the blood vessels that lead to the heart that could become blocked. The heart is not getting enough oxygenated blood as a result, the muscle tissue starts to die and that could lead to cardiac arrest.

So, cardiac arrest, you know, for people under the age of 35, there could be a hold of things that I mentioned, electrical problems, anatomical problems. Once you're over the age of 35, if someone has a heart attack that leads to cardiac arrest, it's typically related to those blood vessels that become blocked or occluded for some reason.

GOLODRYGA: So, can you walk us through what recovery may look like for Bronny now?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's going to depend on what the cause was here. I think the best news here is that he went to the ICU and seemed to have been released from the ICU very quickly. So while we don't know all of the various things that happened leading up to that, how long was it before they were able to restart his heart, to restore that electrical rhythm to his heart, how long did it take to get to the hospital? Things like that are important because they give some sense overall of his prognosis in the long run.

But the fact that he came out of the ICU so quickly is a really good sign. It means the doctors -- he was stable and the doctors thought that he was stable, but they think that he's going to remain stable and now they have a chance to investigate. Sometimes players have come back from.

Keyonte Johnson, he had a similar thing happen in December of 2020 while he was playing college ball in Florida, and he now plays in the NBA. So players could come back from this but it depends on the underlying problem.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, that is reassuring that he's out of ICU, and, of course, we're wishing him a speedy recovery.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, always great to see you. Thank you.

Up next, the suffocating heat fuelling wildfires around the world. And why there may be so many burning right now.



GOLODRYGA: In our "Earth Matters" series, a good portion of the world right now is quite literally on fire. More than 30 massive fires are burning in the United States. Nine of them are in Arizona where temperatures hit 110 degrees for the 26th day in a row. Parts of North Africa and Europe are also baking in this sweltering heat amid uncontrollable wildfires.

CNN's Nada Bashir begins our coverage on this widespread destruction that seems to leave nothing unscathed.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The night sky over Sicily illuminated by flames. A devastating series of wildfires spreading across parts of the Italian island, at one point, even bringing Palermo Airport to a standstill.

Europe's southern coast has been gripped by wildfires for days. On the Greek island of Corfu, more than 2,000 people have so far been forced to evacuate.


Teams from Turkey, Croatia, and Egypt have been flown in to tackle the relentless blaze.

On the Greek island of Evia, no end to the tragedy. The Canadian fire fighting plane crashed on Tuesday with two people on board. And in Rhodes, where fires have been raging for a week now, residents scramble to find safety.

ARTEMIS PAPAVASILIOU, RESIDENT: We evacuated the village. Now some houses are on fire and we came down here. We don't know what to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very, very bad, the situation. We need help. Send us help from everywhere.

BASHIR: But it's not just Europe that is feeling the heat. In Nigeria, dozens of people have been killed as a result of wildfires across 16 provinces in the country. Local officials say more than 8,000 firefighters are working to contain the spread of the fires. But across the border in Tanzania, smoke filled the sky as both emergency teams and residents do whatever they can to stop the blaze from scorching more land.

Parts of North Africa and the Mediterranean have already exceeded 104 degrees Fahrenheit over the last week, temperatures which according to experts would have been virtually impossible without human-induced climate change. In a new report, the World Weather Attribution Initiative says extreme heat events are expected to worsen and in both severity and frequency unless the world rapidly stops burning fossil fuels.

One lead researcher even warning that this year's sweltering temperatures could be considered cool in the future.


BASHIR (on camera): Look, Bianna, here in Rome, the temperatures have now cool and you could see people behind me enjoying the milder weather this evening. But in other parts of Italy, particularly across the south, across Sicily, those fires continue to plays and that is a reflection of what we're seeing across the Mediterranean.

And the stark warning we are hearing from experts is that this is only going to get worse unless something is done rapidly to change the situation -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Just really funny to hear one expert to say this could be considered cool in the years ahead. Really frightening.

Nada Bashir reporting from Rome, enjoy the cooler temperatures there tonight. Thank you.

Well, as we just heard, none of this extreme heat would be possible without climate change. That's according to a new report led by a group of international scientists. They say this heat hell is here to stay. And it is only going to get hotter.

Meteorologist Chad Myers is with me now for more on this.

So, Chad, can we expect this sweltering heat to just become less and less of an anomaly going forward.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, absolutely, without a doubt, even though we're breaking records left and right here in the United States and in part of the Mediterranean and in China. These won't be broken again.

When we see these temperatures again, they won't be breaking because a breaking record would be higher than this. So, yes, we are going up from here in many spots and so is the east coast. The east coast definitely going up. All that weather that's been bottled up across the desert southwest, that that is now expanding toward Chicago, in Des Moines and Kansas City, St. Louis, and eventually toward New York City.

So, here's what's happening. This is the normal part. What we expect before really we started burning all of this fossil fuel. But now, all of the sudden, that's shifted.

So, 95 is not out of the ordinary. It is three times more likely and I think I saw 87 percent of the United States over next five days will be 90 degrees or higher, every single reporting station for all of the people in that area.

And in Phoenix, again, right now, it's 115 already and that was 25 days. Now let's make that 26 -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Just frightening. Chad Myers, thank you.

MYERS: You're welcome.

GOLODRYGA: Well, he was only 14 years old, beaten and shot to death. accused of whistling at a white woman. Up next, the move to make sure that the world remembers the name Emmett Till and how his story helped shape American history. His family will join me ahead.



GOLODRYGA: In our nation lead, today at White House, President Biden established a new national monument honoring Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley.

Today would have been Emmett's 82nd birthday. Nearly seven decades ago, he was kidnapped and beaten to death by a group of white supremacists in Mississippi because he allegedly whistled at a white woman. Emmett was just 14 years old.

Well, joining us no are some members of the Till family who were at today's White House event, Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr., and Dr. Marvel Parker.

Thank you so much for joining us.

What a special day this was for the country and I know for you personally.

Reverend Parker, today would have been your cousin and as you call him your best friend's 82nd birthday. What does it mean for you to be marking this day at the White House with the president established a new national monument honoring Emmett?

REV. WHEELER PARKER JR., COUSIN OF EMMETT TILL: Today, I have mixed emotions. We appreciate and celebrate this occasion to name a monument after Till, Emmett and his mother, but at the same time, I'm very conscience and sensitive of how we got to where we are and the price that he paid to have this done.

So I have mixed emotions and I just wish his mother was here to share this experience with us and question as she decided to take courage and let the world see what I see, was I hope you didn't die in vain.

[16:50:08] Today, she would have said, you didn't die in vain.

GOLODRYGA: Well, Dr. Marvel, this monument as noted also honors Emmett's mother Mamie Till-Mobley, without her fight for justice, for Emmett, the world largely wouldn't have known about his story and the injustice done to him. She made sure that the world did by insisting that his casket remain open.

Talk about the significance of honoring her legacy today and the powerful woman that she was fighting for justice for her son until the very end.

DR. MARVEL PARKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE EMMETT TILL AND MAMIE TILL- MOBLEY INSTITUTE: Well, I think the significance is we're honoring a heroic woman who in the face of tragedy, the loss of her only child, decided that she wanted to take an unpleasant and a hurtful incident and challenge America by showing the face of her martyred son, the brutality that he experienced. She challenged America to face the racism and hatred that resulted in her son's death.

And as a result of that, America took another look at America. And the death of Emmett Till was said to have been the capitalist that sparked the civil rights movement. She would never have thought that, but her intention was to let the world see what America looks like behind the Iron Curtain.

GOLODRYGA: Reverend Parker, I was so touched by an interview you gave where you described that she never once -- you were only 16 years old. You were the last person to have seen your cousin before his kidnapping, and she never asked you what happened that day, clearly not wanting to put you through that trauma, having you relive that once again.

You talk about the time lapse from then to today. And at today's event, President Biden brought up the issue of some states that have started now restricting how race or racism is taught in schools. You lived through the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement.

How concerning is this for you?

W. PARKER: Very concerning, and almost unbelievable, but we're constantly reminded as a preacher and as a bible scholar, lest we forget. If we tend to forget, we're going to repeat the same thing happened before.

So I think America is going to stand up. It's people like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris that have reminded us, and we need others who are in Congress and other leaders throughout society to remind people we can't afford the luxury of forgetting our past. Our past is what made us strong. And our past is what will keep us strong. So I conquer with them, lest we forget.

GOLODRYGA: Dr. Marvel, what do you want this national monument to mean for today's youth and the generations to come?

M. PARKER: Well, the story of Emmett Till, of course, is not a pleasant story, but it reminds America once again of the hatred and the racism that was prevalent in America in 1955. And many of the young people today have no idea what it was like to be Black, African American, living in Mississippi. So the story of Emmett Till allows them to learn the climate of America and maybe it is my intention that they can appreciate where we are.

We've come a long way. Certainly, we have a long way to go. But I think we need to appreciate, our young people need to appreciate where we've come from. And in the generations to come, this story, I hope, will challenge the future of young leaders to pursue justice and equality for everybody.

GOLODRYGA: Well, we have a lot to learn from you both in your fight for justice in this country, and also on a personal level, how to maintain 56 years of marriage and make it work so well. You are celebrating 56th anniversary this weekend. So thank you so much for taking the time to join us today. Congratulations on your anniversary.

Dr. Marvel Parker and Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr., we appreciate your time.

W. PARKER: Thank you very much.

GOLODRYGA: Well, it may be the NBA off-season, but one player is still making history, and he has 304 million reasons to smile.

But first, here is CNN's Wolf Blitzer, fellow NBA fan. Always gives me a reason to smile.

What's next on "THE SITUATION ROOM," Wolf?


The former Defense Secretary of the United States, Mark Esper, will join us live here in "THE SITUATION ROOM". We'll discuss the stunning news that former U.S. marine Trevor Reed was injured while fighting in Ukraine after the U.S. went to great lengths to secure his release in detention in Russia. I'll also get reaction -- Esper's reaction to U.S. soldier Travis King who crossed into North Korea and is now being held by Kim Jong-un's regime.


That and a lot more coming up right at the top of the hour, right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM".


GOLODRYGA: $304 million, that is the size of the contract Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics just agreed to, according to a report. That makes him the highest paid NBA player in history. The two-time NBA all-star will sign the five-year contract extension with the Celtics, which is fully guaranteed. That means even if 26-year-old Brown gets injured, he still gets paid out for his contract.

Brown has been with Boston for seven seasons, including an appearance at the NBA Finals in 2022.

I'm a huge fan of his. He is incredibly talented, and kudos to him for landing that incredible deal.

Well, if you ever miss an episode of THE LEAD, you can listen to the show wherever you get your podcast.

Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".