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PGA Tour and Saudi-Funded LIV Golf Will Merge; CNN Report, Clarence Thomas and Ron DeSantis Have Close Friendship; Increasingly Crowded GOP Presidential Field; Today, Chris Christie Expected to Declare His Candidacy for President; Announcement of Presidential Candidacy by Former VP Pence Tomorrow, A Day after Chris Christie; Ron DeSantis' Handling of Disney Receives Criticism from Nikki Haley; In Response to Water Shortage, Arizona Restricts Construction Near Phoenix; Interview with Phoenix, Arizona Mayor Kate Gallego (D); Why did so many get sick from Ohio derailment spill?; Hazardous Chemicals Released After Train Derailment Into the Air, Water, and Soil. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 06, 2023 - 10:30   ET



DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Phil Mickelson has just tweeted just three words, I believe. Awesome day today.

And by the way, some people were criticizing the LIV golfers for leaving, becoming rebels, taking the money because they weren't very good anymore. They couldn't compete and they'd be figuring, well, why not might as well (ph), we'll take the money. We saw the Masters, three players finishing in the top five or six. Brooks Koepka just won the PGA Championship. So, clearly, these LIV golfers can still play and the established legacy tours, I guess, they kind of miss them.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: Don Riddell, thank you for helping explain this. I'll let you get to reporting. We'll check back with you in a bit. Thanks, Don.




BOLDUAN: That is super interesting. I'm really looking forward to hearing more of their reaction to all of this.

Let's turn to this, also this morning, new details about the close relationship between Republican Presidential Candidate Ron DeSantis and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. It has to do with one connection, really, Leonard Leo. A conservative activist who had previously advised both DeSantis and Donald Trump on judicial nominations. Leo is also friends with Justice Thomas.

So, three years ago, an event for the Florida Chapter of the Federalist Society, DeSantis said this about Justice Thomas.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): This a justice that has the courage of his convictions and he's willing to apply the constitution, you know, regardless of any criticism that he may face. Because I do think that he is our greatest living justice. Thank you.


BOLDUAN: And after that speech, DeSantis, Thomas, and Leo, all went out to dinner.

CNN's Senior Supreme Court Analyst John Biskupic -- Joan Biskupic has much more on this. I'm sorry, Joan. What do you --


BOLDUAN: -- what do you see in this, Joan.

BISKUPIC: Yes, didn't -- morning, Kate. Didn't you like that big bear hug at the end there? That event was in a part of the roots of this very tight relationship between Ron DeSantis, Leonard Leo, and Clarence Thomas. All have many things in common and they all focus on the judiciary. And Ron DeSantis, now as a candidate, is taking a page from the Donald Trump playbook and running on the Supreme Court. And he's doing it in part by holding up Clarence Thomas as a model.

And interestingly, part of the playbook that Trump had involved using Leonard Leo to advise him on his choices for the Supreme Court. And he effectively, you know, sought out three very conservative, anti- abortion justices. And Leonard Leo has also advised Ron DeSantis in his role as governor of Florida and he's chosen his nominees for the Florida Supreme Court.

So, you're right. Leonard Leo is kind of in the center of all that. And Leonard Leo has not said who he's going to support in the sprawling primary we have going on the GOP side right now. But he has long advised Governor DeSantis, and says he admires the approach to the judiciary. And on, Clarence Thomas' approach to the law, anti- LGBTQ, anti-abortion, anti-press mirrors what Ron DeSantis has done in the state down in Florida.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Joan. Thank you so much for that.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: Today, Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to formally announce he running for the Republican presidential nomination. He joins an already pretty crowded field with seven other declared candidates. Tomorrow, Former Vice President Mike Pence and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum are also expected to formally announce they are going to join the race.

CNN's Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger joins us now. It's been a minute since I've been able to talk to you. Good to see you. Can you give me a sense --


SIDNER: -- I think you've had a conversation with some of Christie's folks. What are they telling you?

BORGER: Well, I spoke with a senior adviser, he's very close to Christie. And I asked the question that all journalists asked. People are running for president, what's his lane? And the answer was Chris' lane is going through Trump. That is the only way someone can win. And we know Chris Christie pretty well. We know that he was once very close to Donald Trump. Remember before the debate in the last election, he was training him for what to do and say, and then he got COVID, but there was a big break after January 6th.

And now, he has been one of the most outspoken people in the Republican Party, certainly in this presidential field taking on Donald Trump frontally. Saying, I know exactly who he is, and let me tell you about it. And he believes that the only way he can get anywhere near victory is to go right through the former president.

SIDNER: So, the governor of New Hampshire sat down with Dana Bash exclusively


SIDNER: And he talked about the dangers of basically too many people in the race. The American public may not agree with that. They may want to see who they might want to go for, but what are the risk of an extremely crowded field?


BORGER: Look, I think there are a lot of risks because as we saw in 2016, Donald Trump was among a large field of candidates. He is polling very well right now. The more candidates that are in this race, and you notice that Donald Trump is posting on Truth Social, welcome to this candidate, glad you're getting in Mike Pence, you know, welcome to that candidate. I doubt he'll do it for Chris Christie.

But the more candidates are in, the less he needs to win. Also, don't forget, the way the Republican primary system is, is that if you win just a plurality of a vote in any particular state, it's a winner- take-all in a lot of states. And so, you'll get all of the delegates. So, it makes it, in a way, much easier for Donald Trump to get the nomination. And so, for people who don't want him to do that, like Sununu, he would like to see fewer people in the field not more.

SIDNER: So, we're are saying it's watered down, it's Donald Trump that's going to emerge from all of this.


SIDNER: Speaking of being critical, you've got Ron DeSantis who has been very lightly critical --

BORGER: Sure. SIDNER: -- not obviously critical, but he is going after Disney. And so, now, Nikki Haley is going after him, basically saying that, you know, you're a bit of a hypocrite. And she says this, because they went and criticized him, he is going to spend taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit. It's like all the vendetta stuff, we've been down this road before, with a light touch to Donald Trump and how he has had vendettas against just about anyone that he feels like crosses him. What does this tell you?

BORGER: Well, first of all, she is portraying DeSantis as a mini-me of Donald Trump. And she knows that if she's going to win this primary, the first person she has to take on is DeSantis before she even gets to Donald Trump. So, what she is doing is showing her differences with DeSantis. Whether it's on Ukraine, for example, remember, DeSantis called it a territorial dispute. She says it's an existential threat to this country, and that we need to support Ukraine.

So, she is taking him on directly because she knows he is standing in her way. Don't forget, DeSantis is polling second to Donald Trump. And everybody else is kind of running far behind. So, that's what she's trying to do. And portray him as somebody who would govern like Donald Trump.

SIDNER: Gloria Borger, it is lovely to see you again and hear your analysis there. Appreciate it.

BORGER: Great to see you.

SIDNER: All right.

BORGER: Thank you.

SIDNER: Tomorrow, by the way, Dana Bash moderates a "CNN Republican Presidential Town Hall" with Former Vice President Mike Pence live from Iowa. That is all right here on CNN.


BERMAN: A ban on new construction outside Phoenix, Arizona. The fastest growing metro area in the country. So, will it save the city? Crush the economy? What the mayor has to say about this seminal decision ahead.



BOLDUAN: The ongoing water crisis out west shows little signs of letting up right now. And as we reported just last week, officials in Arizona are taking drastic moves and action to deal with this. The state now blocking new building permits and new construction around Phoenix as groundwater disappears. Arizona's governor says, projections for worsening water shortfall make these restrictions necessary. Listen.


GOVE. KATIE HOBBS (D-AZ): We could face a four percent shortfall in groundwater supplies over the next 100 years. That's why, as required by law we will pause approvals of new assured water supplied determinations that rely on pumping groundwater, ensuring that we don't add to any future deficit.


BOLDUAN: And joining us now for what this means is the Mayor of Phoenix Kate Gallego. It's good to see you, mayor, thank you so much for coming in. The Phoenix area, a lot of folks already know this, but the Phoenix area is the fastest growing metropolitan region in the country. This ban on new construction, that's tough news for any city leader to have to, kind of, to grapple with. What do you do with this now?

MAYOR KATE GALLEGO (D-PHOENIX): This is a good chance for us to tell a national audience, our water planning process is working. We are very focused on making sure we have a water supply before we begin any development. Within the City of Phoenix, we do have a 100-year water supply, and so last week's announcement will not impact construction within the City of Phoenix. We can continue to add skyscrapers to our skyline and welcome new people.

It does mean that in our region and some outlying area, communities will need to secure new water supplies before they can grow, but that is good news that the water comes before the development. This really is a success story and its solvable problems.

BOLDUAN: You made clear, as you've just said that so far, Phoenix' water is secure. You've got a 100-year water supply, as you just said. What is the timetable, though, that you're looking at when you look out, Mayor, as you look ahead in terms of how long before it becomes a real problem?


How long the -- how long before the issues that you are all dealing with, kind of, in the outlying areas, if you will, become the center of the city problem as well?

GALLEGO: I think it's good news that we plan on that 100-year time frame, that's different than most other communities, but it lets us look for solutions. We know we're a desert city and we take that very seriously. We want to be putting sustainability at the forefront at all of our decision makings. And that's part of the reason we're leaders on things like water recycling.

I recently joined my colleagues to announce a $1 billion water recycling effort that will only enhance our supply and make it more secure. We are working to be leaders in leak detection and advanced water analytics. Technology has helped us reduce the per capita water use in Phoenix over the recent decades. And we're not done yet, we're going to keep investing in the very best water management and celebrating our sustainable desert landscaping. BOLDUAN: Being innovative is helping you guys but, you know, slowing down the process of development, as we've seen, you know, just it -- has gone gang busters because people have been wanting to move to the area for so many years now. We're seeing that as obviously a need to slowdown when you are looking at your desert community in the midst of the climate crisis, that's obviously is a huge issue for everyone.

It has me wondering, do you -- while this is happening to -- the Phoenix area now, do you think that you're just kind of the forefront of it or you're the first of what could be many city leaders, many mayors who will be dealing and needing to make moves like this in the future?

GALLEGO: I think we have to take water planning seriously in all of our decisions. My background is in water rights, I worked in that area before running for office, and that's where my degree is. I think that's part of the reason people wanted me in this job is to plan ahead and to realize that climate change is a long-term challenge that we have to keep addressing.

We have seen a lot of changes in Arizona. Still today, overwhelming majority of water is used for agriculture, but we've seen that our farmers are able to produce the same crops or even better yields while using less water, and that innovation is not done yet. We have new partnerships from the Biden administration where there's additional funding for technology to help to us use water more efficiently.

So, as long as we keep that in mind and make appropriate decisions, we're going to be able to innovate and invest. You may see changing patterns of development. We're seeing a lot of taller buildings, more density. And that's something that we're seeing the market demand anyway. People want to live closer to arts, sports, and great restaurants. So, the market forces for once are going in the same direction as a pattern of sustainability.

BOLDUAN: It is really interesting. And it just -- and it is a true statement of just the changing world that we live in, and with the climate crisis and how it is affecting us in all sorts of different ways. Mayor, thank you for coming on to talking to us about it.


SIDNER: All right. As chemical cleanup continues still in East Palestine, Ohio, several researchers are on the ground trying to understand why so many residents got sick. CNN was given a rare access to accompany the team as they try to get some answers.



BOLDUAN: Today, four months after the catastrophic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, federal health specialists are expected to meet with those living there. They had been working to understand the health impact from the more than 1 million pounds of hazardous chemicals that spilled into the soil, water, and air. CNN was given rare access to accompany one of the teams doing the research. CNN Medical Correspondent Meg Tirrell is with us. Now, Meg, what did they find?

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, these teams went door-to-door, trying to assess what people were experiencing after this catastrophic train crash. What they found in a survey of more than 700 residents is that more than half experienced symptoms after the crash. Things like headache, fatigue, coughing, skin rash and irritation. A lot of these folks also experienced anxiety since the crash.

Now, the challenge is tying whether these symptoms are actually caused by the hazardous substances that spilled out into the air, the water, and the soil after the crash. That's been really difficult, and so far, federal testing has not confirmed that there are hazardous levels anywhere that they've detected just yet.

Now, residents are, of course, desperate for answers. And they say the situation for them is even scarier that the pandemic was. One resident was saying while our reporter, Brenda Goodman, was there that at least with COVID they could stay in their homes and be safe. Now with this, they say, they can't even be safe in their homes.

BERMAN: This kind of work, this kind of data collection there, it wasn't easy. Why?

TIRRELL: No, it's been incredibly challenging. There are a couple of reason, one is just the sort of chemical soup of the, at least, six different substances that they have to test for here. And the combinations of them could also make that more challenging. There are also things about the community itself. A lot of the folks have left and may not have returned to their homes. There's also not extensive access to the internet there. They want to try to do these surveys using online tools, 28 percent of the county doesn't have access to broadband. The national average is six percent. So, it's a much higher proportion.

BERMAN: All right. Meg Tirrell, thank you so much for that report. Appreciate it.



BOLDUAN: A critical dam in southern Ukraine destroyed this morning. Ukraine has accused Russia of being behind an attack that would set this off. Russia is strongly denying any involvement in this incident. What happened and why and what this means for troops on the ground in the war in Ukraine. That's ahead.

A mother of four was shot and killed by her neighbor following a longstanding feud that involved their children. Now, her family is demanding to know why no one has been arrested. That's ahead.