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House Strikes Deal on Bipartisan Commission to Investigate Jan. 6 Riot; McCarthy Says He Has Not Signed Off On Commission; Capitol Officers React to GOP Efforts to Downplay Jan. 6 Attack; Biden Under Pressure on Immigration, Will Meet with DACA Recipients at White House; 122 Reported Killed in Gaza, Israel Says 8 Dead from Rocket Attacks; Houston Police Think Missing Tiger Still in City. Aired 1:30- 2p ET

Aired May 14, 2021 - 13:30   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: More than four months after the violent insurrection at the U.S. capitol, key lawmakers have struck a deal on a January 6th commission to investigate the attack.

Even though the top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy, says he hasn't seen all the details, he still hasn't signed off on it.

Our congressional correspondent, Ryan Nobles, joins us.

Ryan, what is in this deal?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, this is a significant development. And it is certainly the biggest step toward creating this 9/11-style commission since the idea was first halved shortly after the January 6th insurrection.

This is the deal struck by Bennie Thompson, the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, and his Republican counterpart, the ranking member, John Katco.

It has a commission that would be made up of 10 members, five Republicans, five Democrats. They would have equal subpoena power. And they would be asked to come up with some conclusions by the end of this year.

And then there's also one key sticking point that the two agreed on, and that is that the commission would be only focused on the events of January 6th.

It would not be a broader scope, like some Republicans, including the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, have been asking for.

While this is a major development and probably means that this bill will be voted on the House floor, it could run into some roadblocks because, as you mentioned, Kevin McCarthy has yet to give it his signoff.

McCarthy told me earlier this week that he believes it needs to look at a broader range of political extremism.

He brought up the Good Friday killing of a capitol police officer after a driver rammed into a barricade outside the capitol.

But that's something that Democrats just haven't been interested in. And it seems as though they want to keep it narrowly focused on January 6th.

There's a good reason for that, Ana. There's still a collection of Republicans here on Capitol Hill that refuse to kind of agree upon the basic set of facts of what happened here on January 6th.


In fact, just a few minutes ago, on the House floor, Congressman Louis Gohmert, of Texas, was talking about how this wasn't really that big of a deal.

One of the things he said on the House floor is, quote, "There have been worse things than people without any firearms coming into a building."

He said that those that broke into the capitol on that day were only guilty maybe of obstructing Congress' work for a few hours.

He said that the deaths of some of those capitol police officers after the fact likely had nothing to do with what happened here on January 6th.

So this is part of the reason that this commission is so important.

A bipartisan, independent group of experts designed to look into this to say once and for all what went wrong on that day, and what can we do to prevent it in the future.

Because, Ana, right now, there's not an agreed upon set of facts at least with a small group of Republicans that continue to try and distract from the overall issues that happened here on that day -- Ana?

CABRERA: It is unbelievable to still hear those types of words and descriptions of what happened there.

Ryan Nobles, thank you.

And we are getting reaction now from police officers who defended the capitol during the insurrection.

They're speaking out after Republican lawmakers this week tried to downplay the attack, which, as Ryan reported, is still happening.

We heard earlier this week from Congressman Clyde that it could have been mistaken for a normal tourist visit.

Listen to the response from these officers:


OFC. HARRY DUNN, DEFENDED U.S. CAPITOL ON JANUARY 6: It just hurts like to believe that people can -- can think that it was a normal day, it was a tour.

And it's -- it's hurtful. It's hurtful that they can say things like that when we had officers give their life to make sure that they were safe. It's just hurtful.

OFC. MICHAEL FANONE, DEFENDED U.S. CAPITOL ON JANUARY 6: Those are lies. And peddling that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is an assault on every officer that fought to defend the capitol. It's disgraceful.


CABRERA: That man, that second officer there, was Michael Fanone. This is video from his body camera of him being brutally attacked during the insurrection.

He was ultimately knocked unconscious and he suffered a heart attack. He is still trying to recover from his injuries.

Meantime, the Biden administration remains under serious pressure to act on immigration as a surge of migrants cross the U.S./Mexico border.

My next guest was just 18 months old when she came to Kansas from Mexico. Today, she's going to the White House to talk about reform.



CABRERA: Now to the crisis at the border and the growing pressure on this administration to do something about it.

To put it in perspective, Border Patrol encountered more than 178,000 migrants at the U.S./Mexico border in April alone. That is the highest one-month total in two decades.

Many of those trying to cross are unaccompanied children with no place to go.

Minutes from now, President Biden turns his attention to immigration reform. And he will meet with six DACA recipients, people brought to this country when they were children.

Esmeralda Tovar-Mora is one of them and joins us now.

Thank you for being with us, Esmerelda.

I know you came to the U.S. with your family when you were just 18 months old.

Did your parents ever think that their daughter would be in the Oval Office advocating for other kids like her with the president of the United States?

ESMERALDA TOVAR-MORA, DACA RECIPIENT: I don't think that they had any idea. I think that they just wanted to give me a better life. And then this opportunity happened. And I'm forever grateful for that.

CABRERA: I want to talk more about what your goal is today.

But first, you know, the timing of this, you're attending this meeting with the president today at a time when the White House really has come under pressure to act on immigration.

What's your reaction to the thousands of migrants crossing the border right now?

TOVAR-MORA: I think that the biggest thing -- I seem them as myself. I see them as my parents wanting a better life for their children, striving for something more, better than what they have in Mexico.

And that American dream is still being chased.

CABRERA: This week, we reported on just a heartbreaking situation. Five children were found alone at the border. No adults. The kids were just 11 months to 7 years old. It's believed smugglers had abandoned them.

What goes through your mind when you hear stories like this?

TOVAR-MORA: It's really, really sad because the one thing that I think any parent hopes for is for their children to be safe.

And when they put them with somebody so they can make it over, or even just giving it to somebody else to take care of, I think that the biggest hope is for them to be there safely. And when they're not, it's heartbreaking.

CABRERA: What do you hope comes of today's meeting with the president?

TOVAR-MORA: I hope that we are able to continue to pressure the Senate will pass the Dream and Promise Act so that there is a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers.


CABRERA: I know the majority of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, of course, are supportive of people like yourself, DACA recipients.

But what do you say to those people who argue your parents should have come to the U.S. and gone through the legal immigration process?

TOVAR-MORA: I wish that they knew how many people have done that and still end up in the same place. I wish that they knew the hardships and the sacrifices that my parents

have gone through in order for me to have a better life here, in order to have something, an education, a family, and being able to come home to my daughter.

CABRERA: Why did your parents come here? What were they fleeing?

TOVAR-MORA: They were fleeing injustice. They were fleeing corruption. They were fleeing so many other things.

They were trying to break those cultural norms set forth from past generations and hoping to give their future children and their child, their 18-month-old, something to dream for.

Esmeralda Tavar-Mora, thank you for your time today and for sharing your story with us.

TOVAR-MORA: Thank you so much.

CABRERA: Meantime, we are following what is happening in Jerusalem right now and in this conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. New airstrikes, deadly violence in the streets. The death toll climbing as Israel and Palestinians exchange new attacks. We're live in Jerusalem.






CABRERA: Now to the dangerous escalation between Israelis and Palestinians. The death toll is rising amid Israeli airstrikes, now up to 122 according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Residents there are describing just terrifying scenes.

At the same time, Israel says it's continuing to lose lives amid rocket attacks from Gaza. It's reporting eight fatalities, including a woman who died while running to a shelter last night.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Jerusalem.

Ben, any sense either side is heeding calls for de-escalation?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. The Israelis made it clear, Ana, they have particular objectives they want to achieve in Gaza and that they will not halt this operation until that happens.

However, the situation has become ever more complicated. Today, the West Bank saw the most violent confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters than we have seen in years. According to the ministry, the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at

least 10 people were killed today in the protests around the West Bank.

We were at one in Bethlehem where, throughout the day, it was a constant back and forth with tear gas, rubber bullets and, in some instances, live ammunition being fired by the Israeli forces while the Palestinians were fighting back with rocks and Molotov cocktails.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health says as many as 500 people were wounded today, saying it was from live ammunition. The Israeli Army, however, says that they only use live ammunition to disperse the protester.

But certainly, these are the worst confrontations that have happened in the West Bank in years.

And it's worth noting, Ana, that as a result in response to the communal violence between Israeli Jews and Israeli Palestinians within Israel proper, some of the units of the border police, who are normally stationed in the occupied West Bank, were redeployed into Israel to try to restore calm in those areas.

And now, of course, we see the West Bank is rising up as well.

So this crisis, which began with home evictions, forced home evictions of Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighborhood, has now spread to the West Bank, in addition to Gaza as well -- Ana?

CABRERA: Such a terrifying situation.

Ben Wedeman, thank you for being our eyes and ears.


We'll be right back.



CABRERA: Houston, we still have a missing tiger. That tiger, named India, was last spotted in a front yard of a Houston suburb on Sunday.

Just moments ago, authorities say they believe that animal is still in the city and may have been passed around.

Here's what police are saying.


RON BORZA, COMMANDER, HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: I believe, since Monday, that tiger has been passed around six, seven, eight times to different locations here in Houston.

I don't think it's out of Houston yet. Maybe out of the county but I don't think so. I think it's still here in Houston.


CABRERA: Rosa Flores is in Houston for us.

Rosa, quickly, we've got a minute, what is the latest?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you heard there from the police, the Houston Police Department has been following leads trying to find this tiger. They still have not found the tiger.

Now I'm here in Fort Bend County near Houston, only because there's a bond revocation hearing for the man that is linked to this missing tiger.

And I've got to tell you, this is a bond revocation hearing on a murder case but it's turned into a pseudo trial about what happened to this tiger.

On the stand, there was the deputy that was the one who encountered the tiger. He described that this encounter lasted for about 10 minutes.

There were very dramatic moments in which he was trying to have the tiger focused on him so that he could control the situation and that that the tiger backed him up.


That's when Cuevas, he said, finally came out of the house, approached the tiger, grabbed it by the collar, and then took him back inside the house.