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Pence Officially Launches Presidential Campaign; 2 Killed, 5 Hurt Outside Virginia High School Graduation; FAA Issues Ground Delays in New York City, Philadelphia; Justice Clarence Thomas Gets Extension to File Financial Disclosures. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 07, 2023 - 15:30   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Mike Pence makes his White House run official. Now formally challenging his old boss. The former vice president not holding back during his campaign rally in Iowa saying that he was proud to stand by President Trump during their term, but not on January 6th. Listen.


MIKE PENCE (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On that fateful day, President Trump's words were reckless. They endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol. But the American people deserve to know that on that day President Trump also demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. Now voters will be faced with the same choice. I chose the constitution, and I always will.


SANCHEZ: Raucous applause there for Pence's line. During his speech he also accused Trump of being soft on abortion and the war in Ukraine. He also took a shot at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis without naming him for calling the Russian invasion a, quote, territorial dispute. Let's take you now live to Iowa, with CNN's Kyung Lah who's there for us after Pence wrapped up his speech.

Kyung, when we checked in earlier, you said that there were some Trump supporters in the crowd. I'm wondering how they responded to some of the former vice president's attacks.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's early in this process. And what Iowans like to do especially in this caucus system is meet these candidates directly. So what I can tell you is that at least here in this room, when those attacks against his former boss were unleashed, it wasn't his biggest applause line, but there also weren't any boos.

A reminder that this is his kickoff campaign. This is a pro-Pence crowd. This is generally supportive. So, not the biggest applause, but certainly no booing at all as he continued on. But it is the sharpest and the strongest and the most forceful we've seen Pence come out against Trump, especially on January 6th. You played some of that sound. I want you to listen to what he thinks that adds up to whether or not Trump is essentially fit for office. Take a listen.


PENCE: I believe that anyone who puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States. And anyone who asks someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again.


LAH: Important thing to note there is after he made those comments, he did do an interview on Fox shortly after that where he did say he did -- he will sign the RNC pledge to support the Republican nominee. So that's something else to remember as we go further along in this process. It is the hard part, though, absolutely, Boris, trying to sell that message, walk that tightrope, be the good Republican but also attack Trump -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: And also at one point describing in detail Article 2 of the Constitution. Not something I expected to hear from a presidential candidate on the stump. Kyung Lah for us in Iowa. Thank you so much, Kyung -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: What was supposed to be a day of celebration turned into a day of killing and chaos outside of a Richmond, Virginia, theater where hundreds of high school seniors had just graduated. Police say a gunman opened fire in a park across from where the ceremony took place. And one of the graduates, Sean Jackson, and his stepfather, Renzo Smith, were killed. Five others were also wounded by the gunfire. And a 9-year-old girl was struck by a car while trying to escape the mayhem.

Police apprehended and charged a 19-year-old man with second-degree murder. Richmond public schools superintendent moments after the gunfire still wearing his graduation robe made this desperate personal plea to the public.


JASON KAMRAS, SUPERINTENDENT, RICHMOND PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Tired of seeing people get shot, our kids get shot, and I beg of the entire community to stop, to just stop. Our kids can't take it. Teachers can't take it. And I can't take it anymore. I beg of you to stop.



KEILAR: Superintendent Jason Kamras is joining us now. Sir, we're so sorry for what your community is dealing with in the aftermath of this, what was supposed to be a fun day to celebrate the success of your students. I know you said that you can't forget the image of one of the victims, the 18-year-old, Sean Jackson, on the ground receiving CPR just 20 minutes after you shook his hand as he graduated. Can you tell us about what happened and walk us through how you felt after this? KAMRAS: Yes. Well, thank you for having me. We had just finished up

our graduation at Huguenot High School. We do this at a theater in the center of the city. And all the students had exited the venue. As they exit we cheer them on, all the teachers, the school board, myself, and the last kids had exited, and then the teachers and staff exit. As that was happening, we suddenly heard gunshots ring out, what felt like dozens of shots. In fact, we thought it might have been fireworks initially. And then everybody started running, and it was absolute mayhem and chaos.

KEILAR: What are you hearing from students in the aftermath of this?

KAMRAS: Well, obviously they are just devastated. I mean, the friends of the victims, all the other graduates at Huguenot High School, their day of joy, of celebration, turned into a nightmare, quite frankly. And now the lasting memories they will likely have of graduation is seeing their peers wounded on the street, getting CPR, shoes that were ripped off as people ran away, tassels that were left on the ground. It's just absolutely devastating for them.

KEILAR: We see the pictures, people running in their robes. What do you say when students are talking to you about this? What is your message to them in the wake of this?

KAMRAS: Well, first of all, our message is one of love. We love our students. Our motto at Richmond Public Schools is to teach, lead, and serve with love. And every chance I get, I tell our kids how much we love them. And part of that is doing everything we can to protect them. Sadly this event happened after the graduation, as everybody was gathering outside in a public park. And so we will continue to work with our colleagues in the city, our community members, our families, to make sure we can do everything we possibly can to keep them safe. And I say that as a father of two Richmond Public School students myself. It's our first responsibility, and we will continue to do everything we can to fulfill it.

KEILAR: Have you spoken to elected officials? Have you spoken to governor Youngkin? And what do you need from them?

KAMRAS: I have not spoken to the governor, but look, I believe there are just far too many guns on our streets. I believe it is far too easy for kids and, frankly, for anyone to get their hands on weapons. And so, I believe there need to be far greater restrictions. But on top of that, our kids need more mental health support. Our schools need more mental health support.

And right now in the general assembly here in Virginia, there's still $1 billion that are being debated either for tax credits or for education investment. And I will continue to fight for education investments so that we can have the counselors that we need, so that we can have the psychologists and the social workers, everything that our kids need.

KEILAR: Superintendent, thank you for speaking with us. We know this is a very difficult time for your school community. Superintendent Jason Kamras. We appreciate it. KAMRAS: Thank you.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Well right now we continue to track the major disruption of wildfire smoke from Canada is having on cities in the U.S. that includes disruptions at some major airports. We're going to have a live report coming up next on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.



SCIUTTO: Cities across the Northeast under blankets of smoke from New York, New Jersey, we're seeing this across large parts of the northeastern part of the country, the mid-Atlantic, as well. Some of the scenes are in the worst places look like the surface of another planet. New York City briefly becoming the most polluted city in the world with the worst air quality ahead of cities like New Delhi in India. And right now all this coming from Canadian wildfires.

They're also causing flight delays. There was a ground stop earlier at LaGuardia. It has since been lifted. CNN's Pete Muntean, he is that Reagan National Airport in D.C. Pete, we've been talking about this for some time.


So the ground stop is up, but it sounds like they're still putting more space between planes as they take off and land and that's causing delays.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. You know, the delays are bad because the visibility is so bad at so many airports up and down the East Coast, from here at Reagan National Airport all the way up to Boston, the FAA warns. No major delays here at Reagan National just yet, although the FAA says it could be added to the list as the day goes on.

Just added to the list, Philadelphia International Airport. Flights bound to Philadelphia being delayed at their departing airport 29 minutes according to the FAA. It's especially bad in New York. Just talked to a passenger on a flight from New Orleans into Newark. He said you could smell the smoke in the plane as the flight descended into Newark. You could see that thick red smoke, he said it was almost apocalyptic. The ground stop at Newark and the ground stop at LaGuardia, both of them have been lift.

At Newark, there was a ground delay -- meaning flights held at their departing airport up to two hours right now. At LaGuardia, it's about 45 minutes. So things are improving a little bit, although we are not out of the woods just yet. We see during days when there are major delays like this a bit of a domino effect, and so this could mean that this wildfire smoke having an impact on the East Coast could have a nationwide impact on commercial air travel. Just checked Flight Aware, we just crossed 2,000 delays nationwide.

The good news right now, though, Jim, only about 125 cancelations. Doesn't pose much of a safety risk to airplanes, although that's mostly because the FAA's putting in place these delay programs trying to keep the space and the conga line long as airplanes come into these really busy airports when they can't see each other eye to eye.

SCIUTTO: Well, I flew into that airport you're standing at early this morning with similar scenes out the window. Planes were landing and taking off. Let's hope it continues as best they can. Pete Muntean at Reagan National, thank you so much -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Donald Trump starting to take some incoming fire from his former friends and now GOP rivals. You heard his Vice President Mike Pence just a short time ago here kicking off his own White House bid by declaring that Trump should never be president again because of his actions after the 2020 election.

Yesterday it was former New Jersey governor Chris Christie's turn. He entered the race blasting Trump in very personal terms. We have Jake Tapper, of course, host of "THE LEAD," with us now to talk about this. You've got him coming up live in your show.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, THE LEAD: That's right. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Trump friend-turned-Trump nemesis I think, like very aggressively going after his former friend and boss when he, you know, was an unofficial adviser on the campaign. When he was the transition team director, et cetera. He's coming up. He has been very sharply critical of Donald Trump. Here's just a little example.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A lonely, self-consumed, self-serving mirror hog is not a leader.

The reason I'm going after Trump is twofold. One, he deserves it. And two, it's the way to win.


TAPPER: So he says he's not just running to take out Donald Trump, he actually wants to win. He actually thinks he can win. But if all he achieves is he takes out Donald Trump, that will not be nothing.

KEILAR: Really interesting. Now I should note, you actually did Chris Christie's very first Sunday show interview which was quite a long time ago. Tell us how long ago.

TAPPER: So it was 2010. I don't know -- the fact that I'm from Philly and he's a Jersey boy had anything to do it or maybe we're both brash.

KEILAR: That might be it.

TAPPER: But whatever it is. It was so long ago -- yes, the Sunday show interview in 2010. It was so long ago that one of my questions for him was about -- like the end question, the last question, was about a brand-new TV show on MTV called "Jersey Shore," which is something so old now that the kids out there don't know anything about it. But some of the older folk out there might remember Snooki and it's the situation, et cetera, et cetera.

KEILAR: Real quick, Snooki fan, not a Snooki fan?

TAPPER: Well his basic response to the "Jersey Shore" question was those guys are not from Jersey, they're all from Long Island. Which was more or less true.

KEILAR: Maybe a similar message for Donald Trump. We'll see. Jake, thank you so much. We'll see you here in about ten minutes on "THE LEAD." That will be at 4:00 p.m. of course -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: We just got financial disclosures from the Supreme Court justices. One is missing, though. We're going to tell you what they were gifted and perhaps more importantly who gifted it to them when we come back.



SANCHEZ: Amid growing controversy, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas got a extension to file financial disclosure forms. He didn't release that today when the majority of his colleagues did. Thomas is also facing scrutiny for failing to disclose years of lavish trips and a private real estate transaction with Republican mega donor Harlan Crow. CNN's Joan Biskupic has been tracking all of this for us. Joan, what more can you tell us about this news?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Well you know, these are forms that we get every year that show, you know, the justices outside income, spouse's employers, gifts, travel reimburse. So they're a good check on what kinds of potential conflict of interest might be there with the justices. So that's why we look forward to them.

And this year we were particularly looking forward to seeing what Justice Clarence Thomas would report because of all of the controversial over the ProPublica disclosures about trips that he did not put on in the past that were financed by Republican billionaire Harlan Crow. So there was a lot of interest in what would Clarence Thomas reveal on this report because of the past fancy trips and private financial real estate deals.


BISKUPIC: Exactly. But he got a extension as did Justice Samuel Alito. That he get up to 90 days from May 15 -- is when these forms were supposed to come in. So we'll just have to wait to see what he will reveal in terms of any outside income and trips.

But what we did see, you know, seven of them did put up the report, so we did see outside income that they have gotten from their various royalty payments. Justice Sotomayor earned another $150,000 from the books that she's published.


We saw the reimbursements for trips to Italy that Justice Barrett and Kavanaugh took. Justice Sotomayor went to Scotland, and there's just a couple little curiosities. We do have our first African American justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson was celebrated by many people out there. And she listed on her form that Oprah Winfrey had given her a congratulatory flower arrangement worth $1,200.


BISKUPIC: And then she also --

SANCHEZ: That's some arrangement.

BISKUPIC: Well, as long as they're expensive, but that is some arrangement, yes. And then the other thing is that she got as a gift was she had done this spread for "Vogue" magazine and she put down the dress and the jacket that she had gotten for that, that was worth like I think about $6,500. So, you see those kinds of curiosities there. But for the real meat of what's going on with Clarence Thomas we will have to wait at least until mid-August. So watch his space.

SANCHEZ: At least until mid-August. We know you'll be tracking it for us. Joan Biskupic, thank you so much.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: And thank you for joining us on CNN NEWS CENTRAL today. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts after a short break.