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Americans Pause to Remember the Victims of 9/11; Global Impact of the 9/11 Attacks Still Being Felt; Biden to GOP on Vaccine Mandate: "Have at It"; Education Department Opens Mask Mandate Investigation in Florida; Queen Elizabeth's Message to the U.S.; Pilots Push for More Cockpit Security; U.S. Capitol Police Prepare for Potential Violence on September 18th; California Governor Faces Recall Election; All Teen Women's Final at U.S. Open. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired September 11, 2021 - 05:00   ET





KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two beams of light reaching into the sky in New York. A haunting reminder of this day 20 years ago when terrorists attacked America.

And on this tragic anniversary, an update on Afghanistan, where the Taliban is once more in power after America ended its longest war.


BRUNHUBER: Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


BRUNHUBER: Plenty of Americans remember exactly where they were on 9/11. In the coming hours, those memories and emotions will come flooding back, as the U.S. marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

Where the Twin Towers once stood are now two beams of white light. This anniversary comes at the very moment the U.S. has left Afghanistan, ending the 20-year war that was triggered that day.



BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11 at the World Trade Center, at the U.S. Pentagon and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where passengers foiled one attack. They were mostly Americans. But others came from more than 90 countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRUNHUBER: The president and first lady will pay their respects at all three sites on Saturday. Earlier Joe Biden spoke about the deeper significance of the tragedy.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unity is what makes us who we are, America, at its best. To me, that is the central lesson of September 11th. It is that, at our most vulnerable, in the push and pull of all that makes us human, in the battle for the soul of America, unity is our greatest strength.


BRUNHUBER: The 9/11 attacks may have happened on U.S. soil but the shockwaves quickly spread around the world. Britain's leader offered this hopeful message at Saturday's somber observances.


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: While the threat persists today, we can, now say, with the perspective of 20 years, that they failed to shake our belief in freedom and democracy. They failed to drive our nations apart or to cause us to abandon our values or to live in permanent fear.

The fact that we are coming together, today, in sorrow but also, in faith and resolve, demonstrates the failure of terrorism and the strength of the bonds between us.


BRUNHUBER: Later today, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will visit the three sites of the attacks. In New York there will be a moment of silence at 8:46 am local time, the moment the first plane struck the World Trade Center.

Then the name of each victim will be read. At the Pentagon, a flag will be unfurled on the west side of the building, where American Airlines Flight 77 hit.

And near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, there will be a private observance at the site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed.

The sights, smells and sounds of 9/11 will linger in America's collective memory far into the future. Even 20 years later, historians continue to examine and analyze every aspect of the tragedy and its impact on the wider world. Earlier our Don Lemon spoke with CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley to get his take. Here it is.


DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Indelibly seared in our imaginations, it's the same as the Kennedy assassination in the way we watched the World Trade Center collapse over and over again in our minds. You know, 20 years ago, our country pulled together. That was the deadliest terrorist attack in world history. We lost nearly 3,000 Americans. We had 25,000 injured. Many people were later sick from environmental problems developed from the attack.

But in the immediate wake, at the time when George W. Bush spoke from the Oval Office to the country and then, days later, came to New York with the bullhorn, American flags went all up over the country.

As you remember, Don, we were like united. We were living the United States of America and where we're going to stand together. And that quickly dissipated, probably by mission overreach in the United States.


BRINKLEY: We went into Afghanistan to ferret out Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But here we are, 20 years later, the Taliban now in Afghanistan. We had our longest war in Afghanistan without a clear victory.

So we're having to scratch our heads tomorrow somberly, prayerfully remembering the dead of 9/11 and remembering that moment but also using it to say, what are we doing in the United States?

What is our foreign policy?

What are we about?

And why are we ripping at each other's throats instead of terrorism?

We're now fighting the enemy within ourselves.


BRUNHUBER: The 9/11 attacks changed America in fundamental ways that aren't always obvious. Even people born after that date, who have no firsthand memory of it, are still affected. Earlier, we spoke about this with CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem.


JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think for people who were adults on 9/11, I think it exposed a vulnerability that we had never imagined. I mean, those of us who were of a certain age -- 20, 30 or 40 -- we had experienced the end of the Cold War. We were reading books called "The End of History," right?

We won. And the notion of American exceptionalism stood out as sort of that we are special. And I think this 9/11 showed our vulnerabilities. To our children, if you look in polling and people born after 9/11, this notion of American exceptionalism does not exist anymore.

They have lived through wars and financial crises; they don't view us as special in that way. And I think that is going to have, I don't think it is necessarily bad; I think it is just a generational shift. And when the younger generation is in leadership, it will be

interesting to see how it plays out. So I think there is a lot of different consequences for the American psyche.


BRUNHUBER: Twenty years of grueling warfare in Afghanistan may have temporarily displaced the Taliban but have failed to prevent them from returning to power after U.S. forces finally withdrew.

Many foreign nationals still in the country are eager to get out if they can. On Friday, Qatar Airways loaded with evacuees flew to Doha. It was the second such charter flight since the U.S.-led evacuation ended last month. The U.S. State Department estimates about 100 American citizens remain in Afghanistan.

CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon knows the region well and joins us from Istanbul.

Arwa, what was always going to be a very somber day in the U.S. is even more bleak because of the situation in Afghanistan, as many people have pointed out, back essentially where we started.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, most Afghans themselves, even now, weeks after the Taliban took over Kabul and the entire country, pretty much, still can't wrap their minds around this reality that they are facing.

How is it that the Taliban, that was ousted from power by some of the world's most powerful militaries, managed to make such a drastic and dramatic comeback 20 years later?

As for all the talk we're hearing from world leaders about how, you know, faith in freedom and democracy was not shaken by terrorist organizations, well, just look at Afghanistan.

What happened to the democracy and the freedoms, albeit, relatively speaking, albeit still a work in progress, but that Afghans themselves were enjoying for the last 20 years?

You still hear this rhetoric that really feels as if it's centered around us, the West, and them, the rest of the world. And it is exactly these kinds of sentiments that are allowing these various different terrorist organizations to grow and thrive.

Let's look at history over the last 20 years. When the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan following the horror of 9/11, there was widespread support behind that effort. That made sense. It was a direct reaction to an attack, to the brutal murder of thousands of individuals in those Twin Towers.

But then the U.S. pivoted toward Iraq and, with that, the narrative changed very quickly. That pivot to Iraq did not make sense to so many across the Muslim world; never that mind we now know very well that it was based on botched or manipulated evidence. But in making that pivot, the United States changed the narrative from

the perspective of the vast majority of Muslims, from one that was about the war on terror, to all of a sudden becoming a war on Islam.

And by framing it like that, terrorist organizations ended up much more capable, much better situated to be able to more easily recruit, to grow in strength, to then morph and emerge more powerful.


DAMON: Again, like we saw in Iraq, with the emergence of ISIS, and to spread their tentacles much further across the globe than they had 20 years ago.

And the great concern right now needs to be, have we truly learned from the lessons of the past?

Or do we risk repeating them once again?

BRUNHUBER: Yes, exactly. Thanks for your insights, Arwa Damon in Istanbul.

Well, we've been reporting for the past several days how Afghan women have been effectively shut out of any direct participation in the new Taliban government and unauthorized protests are now banned.

But not all Afghan women seem to object to the Taliban takeover. As the world marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this crowd of burqa wearing women marched through Kabul on Saturday to show their support for the Taliban.

Among the signs they are carrying, some written in English, "Our rights are safe in Islam" and "Women who left Afghanistan cannot represent us."

So join CNN as we honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks. "9/11: 20 Years Later" begins just a few hours from now at 8:00 am Eastern, 1:00 pm in London.

Even after backlash from Republicans, President Biden isn't budging on his new vaccine mandates. Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, what he has to say to his opponents.

Plus a major U.S. school district is taking a big stance on COVID vaccinations for students. Details ahead. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: U.S. President Joe Biden isn't backing down in the face of Republican backlash over the sweeping new vaccine mandates. The president's new policy will affect nearly two-thirds of the American workforce, including federal employees, health care workers and large employers. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're playing for real here. This isn't a game.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden pushing back on critics blasting his new vaccine mandates as government overreach. To Republicans threatening legal challenges, Biden responded sharply.

BIDEN: Have at it.

ZELENY (voice-over): In his most aggressive steps yet in the fight against COVID, the president is not only requiring all federal workers to be vaccinated but also instructing the Labor Department to require private businesses with 100 or more employees to vaccinate its workforce or submit to weekly COVID tests.

Across the country tonight, Republican governors are firing back.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): When you have a president like Biden issuing unconstitutional edicts against the American people, we have a responsibility to stand up for the Constitution and to fight back and we are doing that in the state of Florida.

GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): What the Biden administration is doing is government overreach, pure and simple.

ZELENY (voice-over): In a visit to a school in Washington, the president promoted wearing masks and suggested his critics are unnecessarily politicizing the pandemic.

BIDEN: Some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier of the health of their communities. That's not who we are as a nation and it is not how we beat every other crisis in our history. We've got to come together.

ZELENY (voice-over): The White House believes it is on solid legal footing, insisting the federal government has the power to protect workers from grave danger under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Certainly, a pandemic that killed more than 600,000 people qualifies as grave risk to workers.

ZELENY (voice-over): The changes come as concerns over COVID are rising, a new CNN poll finds, with 70 percent of Americans saying they are very or somewhat worried, up 10 percentage points from last summer. The president's approval rating on COVID is down, 56 percent approve of how he's handling the crisis now, down from 66 percent in April.

The administration is trying to slow the COVID case load, now at 1 million a week with about 1,500 deaths every day. The White House is not ruling out taking additional steps, including requiring vaccinations to fly.

PSAKI: We are always looking at more we can do to protect and save lives. We'll continue to look for ways to save more lives.

ZELENY: All of these mandates are a reversal of what Biden said only a few months ago but he said he did not expect the resistance to the vaccination to be so intense. So he believes he's left with no other choice than trying to urge employers to urge their employees to get vaccinated.

Now so many questions remain about how the Labor Department will enforce all of these rules. And they are coming, not immediately but in weeks, perhaps even months to come.

The White House hopes, of course, the Delta variant has slowed by then and COVID is under control. For now, it's not and this White House is trying desperately to stop it -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.


BRUNHUBER: In Florida, the battle between its governor and some school boards over masks may only be getting started. Both Broward and Miami- Dade County Public Schools insist they will continue their mask mandates, despite a ruling by the state appeals court, allowing the governor's ban on mandates to stand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no crisis in schools as far as an uproar of individuals complaining about masks. People understand that masks are protective tools that protect them from COVID-19.

And I will tell you one thing, the decision of the court today, all it did was reinstate the mask mandate while an appeal process runs its course. During that time period, in Miami-Dade as well as districts across the state of Florida, impacting in excess of 1 million students, will continue to enforce a mask mandate for one simple reason: it works.

And young people, younger than 12 years of age, do not have access to a vaccine.


BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Education Department's Civil Rights Enforcement arm has also opened an investigation to determine if the governor's no-mask mandate prevents school districts from meeting the needs of students with disabilities, who are at heightened risk of severe illness from COVID-19.


BRUNHUBER: It's a different story out in California. The Los Angeles Unified School District will now require that all eligible students get COVID vaccinations.

They will be mandatory for kids attending class in person or participating in school sports or clubs. The school board approved the policy unanimously on Thursday, saying it's best for everyone's safety.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Polio was ravaging Los Angeles as I was growing up. And you know what stopped it?

Vaccinating every single student.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This action is not about violating anybody's rights. This action is about doing our job, to be able to offer public schools, that children can come to school and be safe.


BRUNHUBER: Dr. Smita Malhotra is the medical director of the Los Angeles Unified School District and she joins me now.

Doctor, thank you for being with us. Let's start with what brought this vaccine mandate about.

As a parent yourself of two school-age children, who are too young to be vaccinated, how worried are you about the numbers you're seeing in terms of the infection, in terms of the hospitalizations amongst kids right now in this country?

DR. SMITA MALHOTRA, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT: Thank you so much, Kim. First of all, thank you for having me.

I am definitely worried about the number of infections facing in our kids in our country. But when you look at the studies from our Centers for Disease Control, you begin to see that it's not because the Delta variant is more severe in children.

It's because it's more transmissible. And what you have are unvaccinated adults and children, specifically unvaccinated adults and adolescents, transmitting the virus to the youngest, to the ones that cannot be vaccinated. And so we found that vaccination directly impacts the health and wellbeing of children.

BRUNHUBER: You've done the math, sort of based on the number of students who are eligible for the vaccine there.

What concrete effect could it have in terms of preventing hospitalizations?

MALHOTRA: Great question. So we have 600,000 children. Out of that, 225,000 children are eligible for vaccination. And what we've seen with the rise in the cases with L.A. County Department of Public Health data, is that there are about 50 out of 100,000 children that are getting hospitalized in the 12- to 17 year age range. And so that could effectively prevent about 110 of our school children

from being hospitalized. That's 110 children that mean the world to their families.

And so why wouldn't we take this step?

BRUNHUBER: But I have friends with kids in your school system, who, if they have a chance to talk to you as I am right now, would tell you you're taking away my freedom. It should be the parents' choice.

What would you say to them?

MALHOTRA: Well, I think at this time we are being called to work toward working for humanity, working for our communities, working for our children.

And what I would say to them is what the data shows, is that vaccinations affect the health and wellbeing of our children.

We made this decision backed by science. We worked with our county Department of Public Health, with our experts at Johns Hopkins and at Stanford and we made this decision, backed by science and backed by public health experts.

BRUNHUBER: The opposite seems to be happening in other parts of the country. In Florida, for example, the court ruled that the governor is allowed to ban mask mandates.

In Kentucky the governor was trying to keep a mask mandate, lost the political battle there. Two states with really high COVID numbers, including among kids. I imagine you must feel for educators in other jurisdictions like there, who don't have the political support they need.

MALHOTRA: Definitely. I hope that what the steps that we have taken today embolden other areas to work toward social responsibility. And I hope that inspires school districts and our nation around the world.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Let's hope so. Dr. Smita Malhotra, thank you so much for being with us. Really appreciate it.

MALHOTRA: Thank you for having me.

BRUNHUBER: U.S. airline pilots say not enough has been done since 9/11 to keep aircraft cockpits secure and they want an extra layer of protection between themselves and potential intruders.


BRUNHUBER: That's ahead. Plus law enforcement is bracing for potential violence in an upcoming right-wing rally at the U.S. Capitol. We'll tell you about the security preparations underway. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: A tower of light shines some 18,000 feet above the Pentagon, one of the targets of the 9/11 terror attacks. The display is one of the many ways America is remembering victims on this 20th anniversary.

Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives. More observances will be getting underway in the next few hours. U.S. President Joe Biden will participate in ceremonies where all the hijacked planes crashed. In New York, at a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. On the eve of the anniversary, the president called for unity and praised the heroism seen after the attacks.

The New York Police Department is honoring the women who rushed to Ground Zero in the wake of the attacks. It released a video, featuring their contributions and the sacrifices they made.



LIEUTENANT LIZBETH VILLAFANE, NYPD: That's why we joined the police department, right. We go. There's a fire, somebody's shooting somebody, this is what we do. We go in. We go. We help. We do what we're supposed to do. We go and we save people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's heavy. It's heavy because the officers really depend on us. You carry that every day with you because, if you mess up, there's consequences.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): One female member of the department died on September 11th and 35 others have since died from illnesses related to the attack.



BRUNHUBER: Britain's Queen Elizabeth sent a message to U.S. President Joe Biden today, reflecting on her own visit to the site of the World Trade Center in 2010.

It reads, "As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terrible attacks on 11th September, 2001, my thoughts and prayers and those of my family and the entire nation remain with the victims, survivors and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty."

Terror attacks and America's response have left a complex legacy that's still unfolding today. To help us put all it into perspective, our Richard Quest, Nima Elbagir and Nick Paton Walsh traveled to a special exhibit at London's Imperial War Museum to share their insights.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sense that the world stood still.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST (voice-over): To see it now, to think of what they did, it's -- you can't put it into words.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): I don't think we knew then, it was going to shape the next two decades.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): A plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

QUEST (voice-over): You cannot overstate the very idea of hitting capitalism right at its heart: Wall Street, the World Trade Center, destroying those Twin Towers that were such symbols of what we stood for.

ELBAGIR: I remember what we did, I remember watching it for hours and hours, with a group of friends. And it was an Arab American friend who said it first.

"I hope this isn't us. I hope this isn't a Muslim or an Arab."


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Fugitive Saudi accused terrorist Osama bin Laden's group is at the top at their list of their suspects.



QUEST (voice-over): The view was, never again. Intelligence was vital. A completely new architecture of security would have to be introduced. That architecture would include no-fly lists.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are your security questions answered? Please answer yes or no.

QUEST (voice-over): It would include knowing who was flying, not just searching them, background checks.


ELBAGIR: It was a moment where Muslims and Arabs around the world and in America were immediately altered. I felt this, that every day, every interaction with someone was a test. And if you are a good Muslim, then you understand why you need to be

harassed, why you need to be discriminated against by law enforcement, why you are the one who is going to be pulled out of the queue.

Islamophobia absolutely is a legacy of 9/11, that we are owed being able to question people, based on their religion or their ethnicity, because of this horror that was inflicted upon us.


BUSH: The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.


WALSH: To go to war against terrorism was the big Bush decision.


BUSH: Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda. But it does not end there.


WALSH: They immediately invaded Afghanistan but then embarked on an open-ended, nation-building campaign, which was ultimately totally and utterly flawed. And then of course, randomly afterwards, they seemed quite obsessed with Iraq.

They seemed to feel that authoritarian societies are something extremely simple, that they can suddenly walk in and give everybody a vote and they would all be happy.

ELBAGIR: This idea of American exceptionalism and American moral superiority was taken for granted.

What 9/11 did and the wars and the drone strikes without any accountability, the fact that Guantanamo Bay is still open, it eroded, more effectively, this idea of America's moral standing, better than bin Laden or any of the Islamist extremist groups could have ever done, in their recruitment.

WALSH: If bin Laden was alive, he would probably think he had won because, when he started out, jihadist extremism was a comparably smaller thing. The war against terrorism has just led to yet more terrorism: Philippine franchises of ISIS, they are spreading in Africa.

It is very difficult to rewrite history but I do wonder whether or not a smaller response by the United States to this would have been greater in the longer-term benefit.



BRUNHUBER: Security on U.S. airline flights has increased tremendously since the 9/11 attacks.


BRUNHUBER: But some pilots believe that, 20 years later, there's more to be done. And as Pete Muntean reports, it's not just international terrorists that pilots are worried about.



PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ellen Saracini can hardly believe 20 years has passed since the death of her husband, Victor.

He was the captain of United Flight 175 as terrorists arm with knives and mace forced their way into the cockpit then slammed the flight into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. But his widow says that should not be his legacy.

SARACINI: It would be a legacy that no one is able to get into a cockpit and use the airplane as a weapon of mass destruction.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): It is why in the months following the attacks that the federal government overhauled aviation security including a mandate that flight deck doors be made thicker. But Saracini insists that is not enough since pilots often open the door to go to the bathroom, rest on long trips or in an emergency.

SARACINI: What are you going to do the day that they take over another aircraft?

You're going to say, wow, I thought we had our act together.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Major pilot unions call a secondary cockpit barrier and inexpensive extra line of defense. Congress mandated the metal grates be installed in all new commercial aircraft. Captain Dennis Tajer represents American Airlines pilots, who say secondary barriers should be on all commercial flights.

CAPTAIN DENNIS TAJER, ALLIED PILOTS ASSOCIATION: Let's be clear: this is not only protecting the aircraft I'm captain on; it's protecting my airline, my country and our passengers.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): But the airline industry is still not fully on board. Top lobby airlines for America says there was already a sophisticated and multi-layered approach to security and adding secondary cockpit barriers should be up to each individual airline.

Flight crews say the soaring number of in-flight incidents are the latest reason to make it harder to reach the cockpit. The FAA says there have been 4,000 reports of belligerent passengers this year, including some who charged the door.

DAVID PEKOSKE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: There's so much in that history. MUNTEAN (voice-over): TSA administrator David Pekoske says the agency is now adapting to domestic threats. But the most critical protection in flight remains keeping the cockpit secure.

PEKOSKE: If we can improve security and I think secondary cockpit barriers will do that, that's something we ought to very seriously consider.

MUNTEAN: The Federal Aviation Administration says mandating secondary cockpit barriers on newly manufactured planes is an agency priority for this year. The Biden administration is set to release its official rules sometime in November.

But pilot groups say this is unfinished business following 9/11 and they are not done pushing for this on all commercial flights -- Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, law enforcement set to reinstall fencing around the U.S. Capitol in preparation for a right- wing rally next week. We'll look at the growing security concerns they are facing.

Plus a simple message to voters at California's recall election. Why Democrats are telling them to just ignore the second question on the ballot. Stay with us.






BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Shanksville, Pennsylvania, is one of the three sites President Biden will visit later today to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This was last year's ceremony. Shanksville is where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after passengers and crew moved to retake control of the hijacked jet.


BRUNHUBER: In Washington, U.S. Capitol Police are increasing security, preparing for potential unrest during an upcoming right-wing rally. It comes as new details emerge about the extent law enforcement was warned to prepare for violence ahead of the deadly January 6th insurrection. CNN's Ryan Nobles has details.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Law enforcement officials, particularly the Capitol Police, are gearing up for a rally, set to take place on September 18th. Organized by supporters of the former president, Donald Trump.

And in particular this rally is in support of the hundreds of people that have been arrested and are under investigation because of their role in the January 6th insurrection here at the Capitol.

In fact, Capitol Police have held a number of briefings, both with members of Congress and with their own team to prepare for that day. And there are plans in place to resurrect that fence that surrounds the Capitol to protect it, should the event on the 18th become something that could go out of control.

Now this comes against the backdrop of new information that's coming out about what law enforcement knew ahead of that January 6th event. New email that has come out by a watchdog group outlines a conference call with more than 300 members of law enforcement from across the country that are part of fusion centers.

These are law enforcement groups that are designed to allow these different law enforcement agencies to talk to each other and stay on top of perceived threats. They viewed January 6th as one of those possible threats.

They said there was the possibility of a mass casualty event, that there was the real threat of violence and that they were concerned about the caravans of people that were coming to Washington, D.C., for that day.

In fact, they took the threats so seriously that they created a hashtag on an internal FBI social media channel that would allow them to stay on the same page as those threats emerged on that day.

Now this news coming out, that this information was available just a couple of days before January 6th is important because it's part of what the January 6th select committee is looking into.

Of course, many law enforcement professionals who are responding on that day who said there just wasn't enough intelligence for them to fully beef up and prepare the security necessary for the Capitol on that day.

The January 6th committee has continued their indepth look at the information that they have available to them. They requested thousands and thousands of documents from various government agencies and social media companies.

They say they are getting good cooperation from the government agencies but say they still need more from the social media companies. In a statement on Friday, they warn that they will use all the tools they have at their disposal to get that information. And that likely means they are ready to exercise their subpoena power -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.


BRUNHUBER: On the other side of the country, California's recall election is coming up fast. With just three days to go, Kyung Lah looks at how Democrats are pushing the simple message to help governor Gavin Newsom keep his job.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No on the recall. No on the recall.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's been one message from Democrats in California about the recall election, from the foot soldiers knocking doors in neighborhoods...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vote no. Vote no, that's all you got to do.

LAH (voice-over): -- to the ads on TV.


LAH (voice-over): To Governor Gavin Newsom himself. Ignore half the ballots.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Don't even consider the second question.

LAH (on camera): Tell me what this is.

(voice-over): But there are two questions on the recall ballot.

(on camera): Question one is quite simple.

DARRY SRAGOW, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes. You either want to keep the governor office or you want to kick him out.

LAH (voice-over): More than 50 percent of voters need to decide to keep Newsom on question one for him to survive. Here's what's a potential concern for Democrats, whether you vote yes or no.

SRAGOW: Question two if you choose to answer it has 46 names front and back. And you get to pick one.

LAH (voice-over): Among the more than 40 colorful challengers on question two, there's a millionaire running ads featuring a bear, a YouTube star running as a Democrat but not backed by his party.

KEVIN PAFFRATH, YOUTUBER: My name is Kevin Paffrath and I'm running for governor.

LAH (voice-over): And reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner.


LAH (voice-over): Ignore them all says the Democratic governor, keep it simple. It's Newsom or nothing.


This: 2003 Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger defeated then Democratic Governor Gray Davis in California his last recall election. Davis wasn't the only high-profile Democratic choice on the ballot. Then Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante also ran with this slogan.

CRUZ BUSTAMANTE, FMR. CALIFORNIA LT. GOVERNOR: Vote no on the recall and vote yes on Cruz Bustamante.

LAH (voice-over): It didn't work. And helped usher in a Republican to the governor's mansion and his eventual reelection.


LAH (voice-over): Not this time. Democrats rallied behind Newsom keeping party backed Democrats off this year's ballot. But that could also backfire warned Sragow.

SRAGOW: This is not the Gavin listen party, it's the Democratic Party with no serious viable Democratic candidate on that second question if the recall wins, we're going to have -- we're likely to have a Republican governor.

LAH (voice-over): Poll show the leading candidate on question to his conservative radio host Larry elder. But the second question only matters if a majority of voters don't back Newsom. Some Democrats dropping off their ballots are following the Newsom strategy.

How many questions on this ballot?


LAH (voice-over): But not everyone. Ellie Choate got lost thinking beyond yes or no.

What happened on question two for you?

ELLIE CHOATE, CALIFORNIA VOTER: I had to stand there for 29 minutes and decide if I -- how I was going to vote because it's just an absurd, absurd system.

LAH: Reporters asked the Newsom team if it had any second thoughts about the strategy. The campaign said, quote, it has "zero regrets," saying Democrats have already been down this road before in 2003 and the party saw what happened then -- Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the U.S. Open women's final is just hours away and it features two teenage sensations. A preview of their Cinderella championship is up next. Stay with us.




(MUSIC PLAYING) BRUNHUBER: The former site of the World Trade Center destroyed on 9/11

exactly 20 years ago today. The missing Twin Towers are now replaced in the skyline by beams of light. Official observances of today's somber anniversary are set to get underway there in a little over two hours.

The U.S. Open tennis tournament is heading for what could be a historic finale this weekend. Novak Djokovic is just one win away from a record-breaking 21st men's grand slam title.

The Serbian tennis star won in five sets to reach the finals of the U.S. Open. If Djokovic beats his opponent of Russia on Sunday, he would accomplish the calendar grand slam, winning the Australian Open, French Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon in the same year. And no man has done that since Rod Laver in 1969.

And two teenage sensations are set to square off in the women's final later today, 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada takes on 18 year- old Emma Raducanu, born in Canada but was raised in and plays for Great Britain.



BRUNHUBER: That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. CNN "NEW DAY SATURDAY" is next.