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Gun Violence Epidemic; Dozens Of Portland Police Resign From Special Unit; Interview With Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR); Florida Congressional Race Hit With Reports Of A Possible Death Threat; Pence Heckled At Religious Conservative Conference; Kim Jong-un Admits North Korea Is Facing "Tense Food Situation"; Hardline Conservative Candidate Wins Iran's Presidential Election. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 19, 2021 - 11:00   ET




JESSICA DEAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thanks so much for joining me.

I'm Jessica Dean in for Fredricka Whitfield today.

And we begin this hour with a new surge of gun violence across the country and this disturbing video out of New York as a gunman runs up to a man on a sidewalk, shooting him.

You see it there in broad daylight and nearly hitting those two young children in the process, knocking them down. You can see those two children diving for cover as the gunman continues firing there.

Let's go now to CNN's Polo Sandoval, who is in New York. And Polo, this the shooting video is very difficult to watch, to see those children tussled and pushed and put into harm's way like that. What more do we know about this incident?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And at such a young age, too, Jessica. The video is, as you pointed out, dramatic, it is heart- stopping, harrowing but also just the latest example of the shooting incidents in New York city.

We're going to break down those stats in just a quick second here.

But first, this is the latest on this particular investigation here. NYPD releasing this video, showing a masked gunman charging towards a 24-year-old man in the Bronx, who you see there in the red, on a sidewalk on Thursday.

He is shot, while next to him, a brother and sister, she is 10 years old and he is 5 years old, just inches away. After the shooting the gunman then hopped on a scooter and then flees. Police are on the hunt right now for the shooter and for the driver of that scooter.

But really just remarkable how that little girl just uses her body as a shield to protect her little brother. It is -- fortunately though, no physical injury, so you can only imagine the trauma behind this. And this is also just the very latest in a series of shootings that we have seen here in New York City. Not only does that video tell a story, but the numbers do as well.

Just look at the latest statistics right now, Jessica, showing shooting incidents in New York City have increased significantly from 2020 to 2021 from 386 to 634. Add it all up, that's a 64 percent increase.

Now keeping that uptick in mind, some New Yorkers were asked exactly how they believe this issue could potentially be addressed.

And in this poll that we would like to share with you, this NBC/Telemundo and Marist poll. Some New Yorkers sharing their answers here: 33 percent believing that moving funding from police to mental health services could be key. A little under a quarter believe that increased police patrols could be the answer. Plain clothes officers in high crime areas also, about 21 percent there. And then the rest there, gang prevention programs and a minority there unsure.

That gang prevention program is also key here because according to investigators, they believe that gang involvement is actually a key player here in that latest shooting that we shared with you.

And it's also heavy on the minds as New York City voters head to the polls as they potentially choose their next mayor. And many of those candidates, for example, Catherine Garcia, she has been very vocal about what she believes could be a potential solution or at least something that might help here, including a gun-buyback program.

And also Eric Adams, her fellow frontrunner, is expected to actually travel to the Bronx today to the very site of that shooting and also condemn police violence, Jessica.

So it's certainly on the minds of New Yorkers and it's certainly on the minds of the men and women who would like to be New York city's next mayor.

DEAN: Yes. No question about that. and Polo, just looking at that video, when that big sister puts her whole body around that little boy, I mean that is a gut punch right there to watch.


DEAN: Hopefully they will find out more information than that.

Polo Sandoval for us. Thanks so much.

SANDOVAL: Thank you.

DEAN: And let's talk more about all of this. Joining me now is Jillian Peterson. She's an associate professor of criminology and the co- founder of The Violence Project. Jillian, thanks for being with us.

We just watched that latest video. The numbers are startling, 284 mass shootings this year. Why are we seeing so many of these? JILLIAN PETERSON, CO-FOUNDER, THE VIOLENCE PROJECT: You know, when we

talk about mass shootings, it's important to be clear about exactly what we're talking about.

So on the one hand, what I study is really public mass shootings where four or more people are killed, not in the course of another crime, not related to another felony, and not killing family members. For those very specific types of mass shootings, we saw them really disappear during the pandemic, and then come surging back starting in March when we started reopening society.

But when you use a different definition, which is four or more people shot in any context, that type of violence has been surging through the pandemic, and now in 2021 we're really seeing those numbers rise.


PETERSON: And we can think about how the pandemic has increased stress, increased frustration, added to things like job loss and trauma and isolation, and we know all of that has an impact on gun violence.

DEAN: And I want to ask you about that because I'm curious if you think that the coronavirus pandemic has fueled essentially a new mental health crisis in this country, and if so, kind of how that links up with what we're seeing with gun violence.

PETERSON: You know, there's more and more data coming out that it did create a mental health crisis, that the number of people suffering from things like depression and anxiety and hopelessness and suicidality really increased during the pandemic.

And we've also just been so isolated and unable to connect with one another, which is a real key for mental health. And at the same time, those protective factors, the things like school and afterschool and community centers and mental health care, we weren't able to access that during the pandemic.

And so now that we're coming out of that, I think we are starting to see some of the consequences in that, whether that's violence towards others, violence toward self, it comes out in different ways. But it's really coming out in terms of gun violence.

DEAN: And we're also seeing that gun sales are surging amidst all of this. How concerned are you about that trend and what do you think that's about?

PETERSON: That trend is really concerning because we know that just creates opportunity. When there's more guns, there's more gun violence. And we saw this surge in gun violence -- I mean in gun sales throughout the pandemic. I think people were feeling afraid, people were feeling sort of scared and powerless and that can go make people buy guns sometimes.

But then you have more guns in circulation and that makes the problem worse. So it's a hard cycle to try to stop. DEAN: And we're seeing gun sales especially rising within the African-

American community. I want to play for you what one gun rights advocate told CNN about that. Take a listen.


PHILIP SMITH, PRESIDENT/FOUNDER, NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN GUN ASSOCIATION: But we don't want to turn around the next day and say, you know, what we need to all put our guns away, because that's the worst thing you can do because we're getting shot anyway.

We need to protect ourselves and let everyone know that you have a right to the Second Amendment. Our ancestors died for that, my ancestors died for that.


DEAN: So Jillian, what is your reaction to what he's saying there?

PETERSON: It makes me think about kind of what drives people to go buy a gun, and we have communities that are living in a lot of fear, that are living amongst violence, that have distrust in law enforcement. And all that is fueling people to go out and buy guns to make them safer and make them feel safer.

And that, in turn, actually increases the amount of gun violence in communities. So it's hard to think about how do we get at really the root causes here in terms of why people are feeling unsafe and why people are fearful, because that fear is real. And how do we address those underlying social problems.

DEAN: Right. And this, when you talk about gun violence, you know, I cover Capitol Hill and there has been no movement there really within the Senate to do anything about gun violence. People out in communities kind of wring their hands over it and say, what do we do in our own community?

It seems so nebulous, this giant idea of what do you do to prevent mass shootings. Is there anything you can narrow this down to that can be done, that's a tangible thing that can be done?

PETERSON: You know, I think there are things that we can do and I just -- I wrote a book about this that's coming out in September. We can think about, certainly, we need Congress to make decisions and to make things happen.

But there are things we can do as individuals and as institutions within schools and workplaces. So things like warm, welcoming environments, things like connecting with people, crisis intervention and suicide preventions.

Sometimes I think about people being a balloon, just full of air, ready to burst with all of kind of the pain and the trauma and the crisis and everything they've been through and what can we do to let a little bit of air out of that balloon as we reopen up.

DEAN: Yes. Something to think about.

All right. Jillian Peterson, thanks so much for your perspective. We appreciate it.

PETERSON: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

DEAN: In Portland, Oregon dozens of police officers have resigned from a special unit after a fellow officer was indicted for alleged excessive force. Now, this incident happened last August, but a grand jury just indicted the officer with a fourth degree battery charge.

Here's CNN's Dan Simon with more.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The encounter caught on camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officers are taking lawful action. Stay on the sidewalk.

SIMON: A Portland police officer seen using his baton and shoving a woman to the ground and then using the baton a second time, pushing her in the face.

TERI JACOBS, HIT WITH BATON BY POLICE OFFICER: I wasn't really aware of what was happening or, like, the pain that I was in, until I was on the sidewalk.

SIMON: This August 18th incident is what led officer Corey Budworth to being indicted this week on misdemeanor assault charges. The district attorney emphasizing the need for consequences.


MIKE SCHMIDT, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON: The integrity of our criminal justice system requires that we, as prosecutors, act as a mechanism for accountability. Public trust requires nothing less.

SIMON: In response, about 50 members of the police bureau's Rapid Response Team resigned in solidarity. They'll still remain on the force to serve in other areas.

ACTING CHIEF CHRIS DAVIS, PORTLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT: You know, if you put a human being through what they were put through, that takes a toll. I have to honor their perspective in this situation.

SIMON: Portland police had an extremely difficult job last summer. Nowhere across the country did we see a sustained level of protesting against police misconduct as we saw in Oregon. Those officers, part of a voluntary team that specializes in crowd control frequently encountering verbal taunts, but oftentimes rocks, Molotov cocktails and other dangerous objects hurled at them. These videos posted from the police perspective last July. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, sympathizing with the resigning officers. In a statement writing, "I want to acknowledge the toll this past year has taken on them and their families. They have worked long hours under difficult conditions."

PROF. PETER MOSKOS, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: It could happen again in these type of situations. Protests have been allowed to continue night after night after night. So there's a great series of events here where eventually, yes, the officers say we're not punching bags.

SIMON: A similar mass resignation took place last year in Buffalo, New York. 57 officers of its police department emergency response team resigned after two officers were suspended after this disturbing video surfaced showing a 75-year-old protestor being shoved to the ground.

(on camera): Now, we reached out to the police officer's lawyer but did not hear back. In the meantime, the police association is putting out a strong statement in support of the officer in which, quote, "the location of Officer Budworth's last baton push was accidental, not criminal. He faced a violent and chaotic rapidly evolving situation."

Now what happens next isn't clear. But the mayor says he has the resources and personnel in place to deal with any community safety situation.

Dan Simon, CNN -- San Francisco.


DEAN: Thank you Dan.

And coming up, secret recordings and allegations of a hit squad, a congressional race in Florida derailed by a wild chain of events.

Plus this.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- for those overly generous words. I'm deeply humbled by it.


DEAN: Former vice president, Mike Pence heckled while speaking to religious conservatives. Where does the party go from here? I'm going to talk live with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.

That's next.



DEAN: Allegations of death threats, suggestions of a hit squad, and secret recordings have rocked a Republican primary race for one of Florida's most competitive congressional seats. According to a secret phone call recording obtained exclusively by Politico, William Braddock, a little known Republican congressional candidate in Florida's 13th district, can reportedly be heard threatening the life of political rival Anna Paulina Luna. That recording reportedly took place before Braddock became a candidate.

The man heard on the tape refers to his Russian/Ukrainian hit squad and making Luna disappear.


WILLIAM BRADDOCK, FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I call up my Russian-Ukrainian hit squad and within 24 hours they're sending me pictures of her disappearing.

And if the poll says Luna is going to win, she's going to be gone, she's going to disappear. Up close and personal so they know the person, they know the target is gone.

Don't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) be on the wrong side of supporting Luna, because if you're near her when time comes, I just don't want that to happen to you. You've got kids. So don't be associated with Luna under any circumstances, please.


DEAN: Braddock tells CNN he's not listened to the recording and suggested it may not be him or that the recording could have been altered.

When asked by CNN if he's ever threatened Luna, he replied, quote, "I did not." He has since announced he's dropping out of the race.

The conservative activist who recorded the call has declined CNN's request for comment.

All this week in Florida, former vice president Mike Pence was met with heckling and shouts of "traitor" while speaking to some religious conservatives of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.


PENCE: And I want to thank my friend Ralph Reed for those overly generous words. I'm deeply humbled by them.

And Ralph Reed knows me well enough to know. (INAUDIBLE) a little bit sure. I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order. And I'm honored to stand before you today.


DEAN: With me now is Arkansas Governor, Republican Asa Hutchinson. Governor, great to have you with us. Thanks for being here.

I'm curious, first, we just heard that clip of former vice president Mike Pence being taunted there. What's your reaction to the way the former vice president was treated?

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Well, Mike Pence is a friend. He does a great job as a leader, and I'm glad he was there. And the important thing is that the jeers were outblasted by the cheers.

And so obviously there was a tremendous amount of support for him and his message. And we've got to learn in America, in both parties, to be able to disagree without being harsh and without being disagreeable. And that's where we've got to move toward.

But I'm glad he had a good reception overall there. That's an important venue. And his message is important. One of the great voices that we have as we go into the 2022 election cycle.

DEAN: But Governor, you know, it does show a bit of a fault line, though, to have those conservatives screaming at a former vice president who was linked with President Trump, does it not?


HUTCHINSON: Well, again, if that was the majority, that would be a great concern. But clearly that was a minority and Mike Pence is well- received across the board in our party.

And no one was more loyal as a vice president than Mike Pence to Donald Trump. He stood firm that the electoral college should be upheld in our system of elections. And he ought to be recognized for following his constitutional responsibility.

There's those that have disagreed with that and I think that's in the minority. And as time goes on, I think that you'll see our party come together, and we can. And that's critically important that we do that in 2022.

The elections cannot be in 2022 about what happened last year. It's got to be about the future. We've got to get away from that division and talk about our policies and what's wrong with the Biden/Harris administration as we go into the election cycle.

DEAN: Yes. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2022.

I want to talk a little bit about Arkansas, what's happening in your home state. There's a legislative session that just came to an end there and Republicans wrote some new legislation that provides that the state election board can strip election control away from county authorities and give it to the State Board of Elections, which is controlled by Republicans.

And some critics of that have said that that bill is aimed at Pulaski County, a county that favors Democrats. I know you've said in the past, you kind of questioned are we passing laws that address a problem or are we worried about what can happen.

So with this particular legislation, do you think this addresses a real problem, or is it a power grab? How do you make sense of that? HUTCHINSON: Well, there were a number of election bills that came out

of the last general session of our legislature. I let some become law without any signature.

But the important thing is that we have elections with integrity, and I believe the election in Arkansas this last cycle was good. It was effective. It produced a true result.

The other thing is that we want to be able to expand voting access. We've expanded voting access in Arkansas with early voting. We'll be able to continue to do that. And so we have to be careful that we don't just respond whenever there's not a challenge, but most of the bills that were passed addressed real problems.

There were a couple that I had problems with. One that gave the legislature too much review power over local elections, which are generally handled by local election boards and the State Board of Elections. They do have that responsibility and we've got to make sure that we don't overreact to something that's not a problem. But integrity and access are the two guiding principles.

DEAN: Bud do you think that one I was just talking about -- do you think that's an overreaction? Or do you think that was needed?

HUTCHINSON: Well, if you're talking about the one that gives the State Board of Election more oversight, I think that's appropriate because they're there to ensure the accuracy of the election.

The other bill that gave the legislature the ability to review local election disputes, that's an overreach and I have real problems with that. That's why I didn't sign that.

So I would distinguish those two. State Board of Elections, I think within their -- that's their supervisory responsibility statewide. I have no issue with that.

DEAN: And quickly, before I let you go, I want to talk about the pandemic. Arkansas is in the bottom ten states when it comes to shots in arms. So 31 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Governor, what is Plan B if you can't reach 70 percent, if you can't reach herd immunity in Arkansas? We've got this delta variant, it's highly transmissible. What happens now?

HUTCHINSON: Well, you don't want to get to Plan B because Plan A is to get everyone vaccinated that doesn't have a health reason not to.

And we are lower than we should be in our vaccination rate. We've provided incentives. We've provided education. Access is there. And so there is resistance out there that we have to overcome. There is a steady state that we're continuing to do vaccinations. And I think by the time school starts next year, we'll be at a much higher rate, that we'll be ready for school.

And it's also about urgency. As you see cases tick up, there's a greater urgency to get vaccinated and I hope we don't have to use that as the ultimate incentive. But we want to be able to increase that. It's critically important.

And if we don't get vaccinated then we have to live with quarantines. We have to live with additional cases and worrying about hospitalization. That's a path we don't want to go down again. And I'm hopeful and optimistic that won't be the case.


DEAN: And again, just really quickly, are you seeing a correlation between where you're seeing those uptick in cases? Are you seeing people trying to -- more people trying to get the vaccine once they see those cases are going up?

HUTCHINSON: I do. I do see a correlation there. And so we've had in the last week a small rise in our cases. And you can see more people getting vaccinated whenever they see the risk increase.

One thing I worry about is that historically we've had about 5 percent of those get the two-shot regimen of vaccines, and 5 percent do not go back for the second shot. That has upticked to about 15 percent. That is a concern.

And so we've got to get everybody not just partially vaccinated, but fully vaccinated, and understand the importance of having that full protection. That's something we've got to work on.

DEAN: All right. Governor Asa Hutchinson, thanks again for being with us this afternoon.

HUTCHINSON: Thank you, Jessica.

DEAN: Still ahead, Capitol Police officers taunted and beaten. New video released of the insurrection as the Republican whitewashing campaign reaches a new low.



DEAN: This morning as some Republicans continue to downplay and distract from the January 6th insurrection, new video released by the Justice Department is telling the true story. The new clips show officers being taunted and beaten, forced to engage in hand-to-hand combat as they attempted to stop that mob.

CNN's Jessica Schneider breaks down that footage. And we want to warn our viewers the video is graphic and profane.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): New video from on the ground outside the Capitol. And never-before-seen footage from police body cam.

This one showing New Jersey gym owner Scott Fairlamb taunting, stalking and punching law enforcement outside the Capitol. He's seen dressed in a camouflage jacket, leaning into the face of a police officer, then following him and taunting him with expletives.

Fairlamb then shoves the police officer who falls backward onto a group of protesters. Just as the officer regains his footing and starts walking away, Fairlamb punches him in the face, hitting his helmet.

Others in the crowd try to calm Fairlamb down.

Another video shows Fairlamb holding a phone, screaming about what he's going to do next.

SCOTT FAIRLAMB, JANUARY 6TH PROTESTER: We're patriots, too. We (EXPLETIVE DELETED) disarm them and then we storm the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fucking Capitol.

SCHNEIDER: Fairlamb was one of the first rioters inside the Senate side of the building according to court records. He is still in jail after a D.C. judge determined he was too dangerous to release, writing, "If any crime establishes danger to the community and a disregard for the rule of law, assaulting a riot gear clad police officer does."

Fairlamb is charged with 12 criminal counts, including assaulting police. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Police also say this new police body cam footage shows Thomas Webster, a former marine and retired New York City police officer, in a red coat screaming profanities at police and threateningly wielding a flagpole before finally rushing at officers. Webster has pleaded not guilty to his charges, including assaulting police.

The close up police perspective shows the hand-to-hand combat officers were forced to engage in to fight off the mob looking to make their way into the Capitol.

The new video comes just as the Republican Party grapples with a conspiracy theory that has gained traction with some of its members. A right wing Web site Revolver News is suggesting the people driving the insurrection were not Trump supporters, but FBI agents who conspiracy theorists claim are appearing in court records as unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators.

But legal experts say the term is not used to describe FBI agents and instead refers to unnamed people who participated in the crime but haven't been charged. The theory has been readily embraced by some in the GOP.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): At DOJ, FBI, or any of the intel community -- what kind of role were they playing?

SCHNEIDER: But now other Republicans are pushing back, in particular Congressman Peter Meijer of Michigan, who voted to impeach President Trump. Meijer tweeted, "Not peaceful. Not let in by police. Not Antifa. Not FBI. (Can't believe I have to say that.)

(on camera): We are expecting the release of more videos from the courts in the coming weeks. That will give even more perspective from these police body cams about the hand-to-hand combat officers were forced into all to protect the Capitol.

Jessica Schneider, CNN -- Washington.


DEAN: Jessica, thank you.

And one of the heroes from that day, a big moment in the spotlight. Take a look. That's U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman throwing out the first pitch at last night's Nationals game. Goodman being honored for his heroic actions during the insurrection. He's seen in video from that day leading the rioters away from the Senate chambers and giving senators critical time to escape that mob.

Last night's ceremonial pitch was Goodman's second honor this week after lawmakers voted to award him and his fellow officers Congressional Gold Medals.

And for more on the insurrection, you can watch "ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY: THE ROOTS OF TRUMP'S INSURRECTION". It's tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

We'll be right back.



DEAN: The southeast of the United States on high alert this morning as the first tropical storm of 2021 made landfall. Claudette crashed into the Gulf Coast with gale force winds and heavy rain. Major flooding is expected across the southeast and millions are now under a tropical storm warning.

CNN's Allison Chinchar is live in the Weather Center for us. Allison, where is the storm headed now.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: All right. So it's going to continue to traverse across the southeastern U.S. over the next several hours. Sustained winds right now about 40 miles per hour, that's down a little bit from past hours. But it's still gusting up to 50 miles per hour and moving to the north-northeast at just about 14 miles per hour.

Now this storm is going to take a little bit of an interesting trek. We expect it to weaken a little bit more likely down to a tropical depression just in the next few hours.

But then once it gets back out over open water just off the coast of North Carolina, we actually anticipate the storm to restrengthen back into a tropical storm as it slides up the east.

Because of that, you not only have your tropical storm warnings still along the Gulf Coast region but we now have new tropical storm watches for areas of North Carolina, because of the storm restrengthening in the coming days.


CHINCHAR: In the short-term, however, one of the bigger concerns is going to be tornadoes. You still have this tornado watch in effect for several states over the next several hours. We've already had reports of tornadoes and several water spouts all along the Gulf Coast region.

This storm will slowly meander its way across the southeast in the coming days, bringing with it a tremendous amount of rain.

Keep in mind, some areas have already picked up 6 to 8 inches of rain. Now we're adding an additional 2 to 4 widespread, some areas an additional six inches in just the short-term, which is why you have the flash flood threat for a lot of these southeastern states.

An area that could desperately use some rain is actually the western U.S. You've got about 30 large active fires all across the western states.

In addition to that they're also dealing with intense heat, dangerous heat. You have excessive heat warnings and heat advisories out right now for over half a dozen states.

Against it's the southwest is usually the place you see the heat, Jessica, but even for them these areas are several degrees above normal for where they usually would be this time of year.

DEAN: Yes. Hoping for some relief for them. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much for that update.

And still ahead, a rare admission from the leader of North Korea about the food crisis his country is facing.



DEAN: Kim Jong-un is now admitting that North Korea is facing a tense food shortage. The United Nations is warning North Korea is already facing a two-month shortfall and that the situation could get worse by August. This comes just days after the North Korean dictator said his nation should be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation with the Biden administration.

CNN's Brian Todd has more on what that could mean for the rest of the world.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): North Korea's 37-year-old dictator lays down his mark with the new American president. Perhaps in an effort to draw Joe Biden's attention away from Vladimir Putin following the president's week on the world stage, Kim Jong-un declares North Korea should be quote, "prepared for both dialogue and confrontation with the U.S.", adding "it should be fully prepared for confrontation".

This comes after months of Kim making implied threats against the U.S. in what Kim called America's hostile policy on North Korea. One analyst says this could be a classic move by Kim to not only draw Joe Biden's attention to him, but also to leverage his nuclear arsenal and try to extract concessions from the White House.

BRUCE KLINGNER, FORMER CIA DEPUTY CHIEF FOR KORE: It's a long, long list of things they want, not only the end of military exercises, but the end of the U.S.-South Korean alliance, the withdrawal of all U.S. troops, abandonment of all international and U.S. sanctions.

TODD: So far, the Biden team has said it wants to build on agreements that Kim made with former president Donald Trump to draw down North Korea's nuclear weapons program. During that period, Trump and Kim were known for their chummy relationship, exchanging gushing letters that Trump was quick to brag about.


TODD: But Kim's agreements with Trump were vague and President Biden has indicated he's taking a much harder line on potentially sitting down with Kim.

But analysts say since those talks with Trump and even during the pandemic, Kim has been secretly building his weapons program. North Korea has tested short-range missiles in recent months. It has not tested long-range missiles recently, but at an October parade in Pyongyang, the regime displayed what experts say is a new imposing intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. And analysts say the dictator is likely to test fire that weapon.

BALBINA HWANG, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Eventually he will have to test if he wants to advance further the program itself.

On the other hand, Kim Jong-un fully understands that to test long- range missiles is essentially a big red line that the Biden administration may not take very well.

TODD: this comes as intelligence analysts from Seoul to Washington are keeping close watch on Kim's appearance, specifically his weight. Side by side video comparisons indicate Kim appears much thinner now than he was last year.

Last fall, South Korean intelligence officials told lawmakers they believe Kim's weight had ballooned to over 300 pounds in 2020. But photos of Kim's $12,000 wrist watch show in the most recent picture on the right, it is now fastened on a tighter notch than in previous sightings.

Why is Kim's weight such a priority or intelligence agencies?

KLINGNER: Because we know so little about the North Korean leadership and their intentions. We don't know who would succeed him if he were to die suddenly. TODD (on camera): If Kim Jong-un were to die suddenly, most analysts

say his younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, believed to be about 33 years old, would take power. Her stature and responsibilities have increased in recent years. Could she survive? Well, as one analyst points out, each time there's been a succession with the Kim dynasty, North Korea watchers have predicted it would fail. And more than 70 years in, the Kim family still reigns.

Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.


DEAN: Brian, thank you.

And joining me now to discuss is Susan Glasser, a CNN global affairs analyst and staff writer at "The New Yorker".

Susan, great to have you with us. Thanks for being here. What do you think? Should the U.S. be preparing for diplomacy or conflict with North Korea? We just saw Brian's piece kind of laying out where things stand.


I would say, you know, it's both and, right, not either/or in the case of North Korea. I do think you're looking at a sharp change in at least the surround sound between the United States and North Korea.


GLASSER: You know, it's just jarring every time you hear the president of the United States, Donald Trump, the former president, say he had love for Kim Jong-un. What on earth was that about, right?

And so, obviously, you're not going to see this almost (INAUDIBLE) of admiration and liking between an American president like Biden and Kim Jong-un, so the North Koreans are bracing for that on the one hand.

I think the other approach that is different is you're going to see the Biden administration be much more focused, and already has been, on trying to get back on the same page with the Japanese and South Korean allies, in terms of what the strategy is toward North Korea.

As you know, privately, President Trump was always focused on, why are we defending South Korea? Why do we have so many U.S. troops there? Can't we just pull out? What is the point of these exercises?

At one point he gave an unprompted concession to Kim Jong-un in their first meeting of suggesting the U.S. military would not have military exercises anymore. So it's -- I think there is a distinct shift that you will see with the new U.S. administration.

DEAN: Yes. It will certainly be interesting to watch that kind of play out. I want to turn to Iran, where a hardline conservative candidate has just won the presidential election with record low voter turnout. No surprise that he won.

How will this new president-elect impact the United States' relationship with Iran?

GLASSER: Well, it's a very interesting shift in the sense that in the last two presidential terms in Iran, you have had more of a centrist leader. The new president, as you said, came in with not only with record low turnout, reflecting I think a sense among Iranians that really is turning even more into a one-party state.

So that suggests also turning to a new president who is under U.S. sanction and is not only a hardliner, but the only religious figure in the field of candidates who were allowed to run.

At the same time, official support still exists for rejoining the Iran nuclear deal, which as you know, President Biden has authorized talks, which have been ongoing in several rounds in Vienna to restart the Iran nuclear deal after Trump pulled out of it.

So at least on the surface that could still move forward, although I think having a hardliner in office so closely affiliated with the extreme elements of the regime suggests it's not going to be a moment for reconciliation.

DEAN: Yes. And before I let you go, I know you have a recent piece in the New Yorker and you asked the question, did Joe Biden finally exorcise the Ghost of Helsinki. Of course, that notorious meeting between Putin and former president Trump.

What is your takeaway from what we saw in Geneva between Putin and Biden?

GLASSER: Well, super-power summits are often about, you know, messaging as much as anything else. And that certainly I think was the case here. The message that Biden wanted to send was that he was the un-Trump. He succeeded in doing that.

The message that Putin wanted to send is that he is respected on the world stage. That he is somebody that the U.S. has to factor in and take important account of, no matter how much we talk about pivoting to Asia and focusing on China, right, Putin gets his meeting.

So in a way they both walked away with the message that they wanted. Beyond that, it was not a very substantive set of agreements that were reached. So I think that, you know, we'll have to see six months from now whether anything more specific has come out of it.

But for now it's probably enough for Joe Biden to say, hey, you know, I'm not going to be in love with Kim Jong-un or Vladimir Putin, for that matter, which was the most jarring aspect in some ways of Donald Trump's foreign policies.

DEAN: Right. All right. Susan Glasser, thanks so much. Great to have you.

GLASSER: Thank you.

DEAN: And just ahead: new concerns about the Delta variant, as President Biden marks 300 million shots in arms.

But first, a getaway to the Bahamas can also get you away from the crowds. In this week's "Off the Beaten Path", we take you to the outer island of Eleuthera where hidden swimming holes and secluded beaches are waiting to be discovered.


LADY DI, LADY DI'S PINEAPPLE FARM: The islands are here wide open and waiting. If you've never been to Eleuthera, you need to come to see our beautiful different colored waters. You can see the ocean on one side and the Caribbean on the other side.

Queen's Spot is two little coves, and then the sun comes out and shines, and it's like you're going for a warm bath.

And everybody wants to go to see the fire hole.

Well, I'm not going to jump in, but the young people jump in, they climb up the rocks.


JAMES DUNNAM, CAPTAIN, BAHAMAS OCEAN SAFARIS: Right now we're here at Sand Dollar Beach, one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Atlantic joins the Caribbean here.

Only on low tide do you see this. You only have six hours, and then it goes back under water.

The swimming pigs are the things that you want to see when you come here.

He's my big boy right here.

The swimming turtles is new. It's so many there at one time. When you were in the water feeding them, it's a beautiful experience.