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Ukraine: Russian Forces Control Center Of Severodonetsk; Panel To Focus Next On Trump's Pressure Campaign; Barr Testifies Trump Was Detached From Reality; Asia Stock Market Drops; Violence Against Women; Lingering Threat; Flooding in Yellowstone; Severe Weather; Gun Violence in America; Interview with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre; Biden Plans for Reelection on 2024; 2024 Election Outlook; American Economy. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 14, 2022 - 02:00   ET




PAUL NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton. Just ahead for us. Horrific scenes of urban warfare taking place and what Ukraine's president calls one of the most brutal battles in Europe's history.

Members of Donald Trump's team told him the stolen election scam was idiotic and completely nuts. But according to the January 6 Committee, he ignored them and raised hundreds of millions of dollars off that lie.

Plus, the bears are back on a very nervous Wall Street as investors wait for the Fed to make its move.

After nearly four months of war now the Russian military is gaining the upper hand and a grinding battle for Ukraine's industrial heartland. Ukraine says Russian forces have seized control of the center of Severodonetsk and that is a critical city in Russia's push to try and take over that wider Donbas region. On top of that Ukrainian officials say all three bridges now into the city are impassable making it even harder to get civilians out or of course to try and get aid in.

Slow but steady advance into eastern Ukraine has been helped along by the sheer scale of Russia's arsenal, as they press their advantage in both airpower and artillery. Ukraine has issued increasingly urgent calls for more help from the west as the brutality of the war becomes clearer and takes an ever higher toll.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): In the battles in Donbas, they will surely go down in military history as one of the most brutal battles in Europe and for Europe. Ukrainian army and our intelligence tactically still beat the Russian military. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: Now, if Severodonetsk falls, it could pave the way for Russian troops to seize control over the entire Luhansk region. CNN's Matthew Chance has a closer look now at the fierce battle to push back Russia's onslaught.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There's no end in sight to this war. But its horror is plain to see.

An old woman crosses herself in prayer as troops fight street to street. It's the battle here in and around the city of Severodonetsk where the Ukrainian president says the fate of Donbas in eastern Ukraine is being decided. But it seems more a case of when not if this devastated region will fall into Russian hands.

The embattled Ukrainian president is, again, expressing his frustration.

Ukraine needs modern missile defense systems, he says in his latest address. Did we get them? No. Do we need them? Yes.

On both sides there are signs of fatigue setting in, but these latest images from the Russian defense ministry show its forces on the offensive. A squadron of attack helicopters hitting what Russian military officials say are Ukrainian positions.

Target hit, the pilot reports.

Thanks very much, guys. God be with you, comes the response.

By concentrating its fire, Russia appears to be gaining momentum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Operational, tactical and army aviation hit three Ukrainian command posts in 25 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment. As a result, more than 150 Ukrainian nationalists, six tanks, five filled artillery pieces and 10 special vehicles for various purposes were destroyed.

CHANCE (on camera): Of course, Russia is paying a heavy price for waging this war, what it calls its special military operation in Ukraine, too. It's estimated to have lost thousands of troops and countless tanks and other armored vehicles, some of which have been placed here in the center of the capitol Kyiv on public display.

But nearly four months into this grinding and relentless conflict, Ukraine seems dangerously outnumbered and outgunned.

CHANCE (voice over): From the Black Sea, Russia's naval bombardment continues apace.


CHANCE: These four cruise missiles fired at a warehouse of anti-tank weapons supplied by the United States and its allies according to the Russian military. Ukraine says the missiles hit mostly residential areas in the west of the country injuring 22 civilians, including a 12-year-old child.

Of course, Ukrainian forces are fighting back, like here near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, where they say this old captured Russian rocket launcher has been turned on the invaders, but Ukrainian officials say they need many more long range weapons from the U.S. and its western allies if they are to push or even hold the Russians back.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Kyiv.


NEWTON: More now, we want to bring CNN's Salma Abdelaziz, she is live in key for us and, you know, Matthew Chance's report just made very clear. This war is brutal and getting much more deadly by the day. It's clear that the relentless artillery barrages, those street to street battles we saw on that report now favorite Russia at least in the east. What more do we know of Ukraine's options in this new phase of war?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: I think there are very few options left here, Paula. A separatist leader said the only option for Ukrainian forces, a Russian-backed separatists leader saying either surrender or die and even without a surrender it's hard to imagine that Ukrainian forces can continue to hold Severodonetsk much longer. They already admit that a majority of the city is now under Russian control and estimated 70 to 80 percent of Severodonetsk now under Russian forces.

The city center is also controlled by Russian forces. They are again Ukrainian forces running out of artillery. President Zelenskyy of course pleading with his allies with the Western world to provide more of those much needed long-range weapons and multiple rocket-launch systems. So, you're looking again at a president, President Zelenskyy who is desperate for help. Take a listen.


ZELENSKYY: The price of this battle for us is very high. It's just scary. And we draw the attention of our partners on a daily basis to the fact that only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage and finally the end of Russian torture of the Ukrainian Donbas.


ABDELAZIZ: And this is of course, not just about territorial losses, Paula. We know that there are 1000s of civilians still trapped in Severodonetsk, as you mentioned, the three bridges that connect that city to the neighboring city, those have all been blown up by Russian forces making evacuations extremely difficult. In that nightly address, President Zelenskyy said a six-year-old boy was among the victims killed in the fighting yesterday.

So, it's becoming ever more brutal for those families, for those residents who are sheltering in basements underground. And this would be a major victory for President Putin in the sense of its symbolism that it's one step closer to taking the Donbas region. And that wider goal, of course of taking that territory, eventually annexing it, as they did with Crimea, creating that land bridge that Russia desperately wants to connect to those important ports on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

And then there's that cultural victory. I mean, President Putin likened himself to Peter the Great just a few days ago. He sees this as an imperial vision. He disregards Ukrainian sovereignty. So, there's a lot at stake here. And what President Zelenskyy is saying, essentially, in his address every day is what does the world order want to do? What does the international community want to do?

Do they want to accept that a superior military force can just take what it wants? Or do Western leaders want to step in and help. Paula?

NEWTON: Yes. That seems to be the western community across was right now and I'm glad that you pointed out that from day one civilian casualties have been a brutal feature of this war. Salma Abdelaziz for us in Kyiv. Thanks so much.

The U.S. House committee investigating the January 6 riot will hold its next public hearing Wednesday. They're expected to detail Donald Trump's pressure to overturn the 2020 election results. On Monday, the panel heard Trump's attorney general, saying that the former president was in fact detached from reality after the election. And former aides alleged Rudy Giuliani was peddling drunken claims that the election was stolen. CNN's Jessica Schneider has our report.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The January 6 committee back to spotlight how former President Trump was intent on spreading lies about the 2020 election being stolen, choosing to listen to his allegedly drunk advisor Rudy Giuliani on election night instead of the aides telling Trump he was likely to lose.


BILL STEPIEN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANGER: My recommendation was to say that votes were still being counted. It's too early to tell. The president disagreed with that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there anyone in that conversation who in your observation had too much to drink?

STEPIEN: Mayor Giulani. And the mayor was definitely intoxicated.

SCHNEIDER: Giuliani's lawyer denies Giuliani was drunk. It was Giuliani's advice that the former president ultimately follow that night.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Frankly, we did win this election. SCHNEIDER: The committee playing tape depositions from former Trump advisors, including his former campaign manager Bill Stepien who was a no show at the hearing after his wife went into labor. Multiple former officials, including a Trump White House lawyer and the president's own Attorney General Bill Barr explained that the conspiracy theories Trump was voicing were flat out false, including the one about Dominion voting machines switching votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never saw any evidence whatsoever to sustain those allegations.

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I told them that it was it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time

SCHNEIDER: President Trump refused to listen, despite Barr repeatedly shooting down the lies.

BARR: The claims of fraud were bullshit, completely bogus and silly based on complete misinformation. I thought boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with -- he's become detached from reality.

SCHNEIDER: Witness testimony portrayed President Trump as grasping at conspiracy theories after he lost the election.

BARR: He said more people voted in Philadelphia than there were voters. And that was absolutely rubbish. There was nothing strange that the Philadelphia turnout.

There were so many of these allegations, that when you gave him a very direct answer on one of them, he wouldn't fight us on it. But he would move to another allegation.

SCHNEIDER: Stepien said he considered himself part of "team normal" on the Trump campaign, as opposed to Rudy Giuliani's team, which included former Trump adviser Peter Navarro, who were pushing multiple false claims.

ALEX CANNON, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN LAWYER: I mentioned at that time that this is a -- Chris Krebs had recently released a report saying that the election was secure. And I believe Mr. Navarro accused me of being an agent of the deep state working with Chris Krebs against the president.

SCHNEIDER: Pushing the big lie turned out to be highly lucrative. The committee alleging Trump raise $250 million from donors based on those lies.

AMANDA WICK, JANUARY 6th COMMITTEE INVESTIGATOR: On November 9 2020, President Trump created a separate entity called the Save America PAC. Most of the money raised went to this newly created PAC not to election-related litigation.

SCHNEIDER: The committee saying five million of that $250 million went to the company that put on the January 6 rally at the Ellipse near the White House. That morphed into a march to the Capitol and ultimately the insurrection. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

NEWTON: Joining me now from Los Angeles is Michael Genovese. He is the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. His latest book is called, The Modern Presidency: Six Debates That Define the Institution. So good to see you, Michael, and so many headlines in just one day. They could fill tabloids for weeks. That's the scale of the disclosures on just this one day. What were your main takeaways?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, the committee systematically dismantled the case that Trump was making. And they did so by using Republicans, insiders campaign folks, the legal team to basically tear Trump's case apart. His defense collapsed faster than a third grade science project. And the interesting debate that you alluded to in your story was that there were basically two different teams within the White House.

There was the Team Normal as Tim -- as Bill Stepien said, his campaign manager. And then there was team Rudy which Attorney General Barr called the clown car. Team Normal kept on saying you lost. There's no fraud, get over it, get past it and move on. But he had those voices Rudy and Powell and a few others saying no, no, no, you on, claim that you won. And it basically played into what Trump needed to hear because Donald Trump can't be seen as a loser.

He sees himself as fragile ego as a winner and when he sees -- when he -- if he admits that he lost, he admits he's a loser. And I think he's incapable of doing that. So that was one of the biggest takeaways of the -- of the entire process that the internal debate was so clear, so overwhelming, so many people saying you lost.


NEWTON: And he was just refusing to listen. You know another stunning revelation. This line from the committee. The big lie was also the big rip off. How important was that revelation by this committee? And do you think that resonates? This is the important question, right? Does it resonate with Trump's supporters who apparently gave nearly a quarter billion dollars for what was like a bogus Legal Defense Fund?

GENOVESE: This is something people can get their hands around. They understand it. It's kind of fraud that they were swindled. But Donald Trump has monetized the presidency more than any other president. Mostly after you leave office, the president will sign a book contract, he will get on corporate boards. He'll do speaking engagements and make a lot of money. Trump used the presidency to make money.

He used it with his hotels and he used it with a lot of his connections that he got his daughter sweetheart's licensing contracts. He did it from day one. This is an example of using this effort to overturn an election to also raise money because he raised about $250 million, as you mentioned, and it was supposed to go to the legal defense team, but it went to a lot of personal things for Trump. His hotels, money went to Don Jr.'s girlfriend to give a speech. And so, this is the kind of thing that people can understand legally, there's something wrong here, both morally and legally. And if there is a case to be made against Trump legally, this may be the foundation of it.

NEWTON: Yes, it'll be interesting to see what does lead to criminal charges. And to that point, these hearings will be impactful in two ways. Perhaps one is if it does lead to any charges, including for Trump himself but just as consequential may be the GOP, right, and if they still, you know, attach themselves to Donald Trump being their 2024 candidate for the White House. Now, Bill Barr says -- this is extraordinary, right?

Bill Barr says he would still vote for Donald Trump, even after everything he just said. I want you to listen to what this former Republican congressman said about that. Listen.


DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: The problem you have is you have a disinformation push, you have tribalism. And when you put this all together, you have things like, you know, Barr on an interview saying he would still vote for somebody that he thought was (BLEEP) and that is really amazing to me.


NEWTON: Michael, honestly, this is the issue at hand here, because you are starting to hear from some GOP members now just saying, look, he may not be the best candidate. Will hearings have accomplished anything if they even accomplish that?

GENOVESE: You know, there are many different roads that are being taken here. And in terms of the political road for the Republicans, many are still on Team Trump, they still support him. And in spite of the overwhelming amount of evidence that is being presented, many still like him and want him to be the standard bearer of the party. And that's the function primarily of tribalism of team sports.

Donald Trump is the head of their team. And the other team is even worse. So, that excuses a lot of behavior. And they say, well, our guy may not be perfect, but he's better than the other team. And so, we're very tribal, we're very, very partisan, more so than we've been in my lifetime. And what that breeds is that it breeds a kind of closed mindedness that says anything my team does is OK and whatever the other team does is wrong.

And you can put moral blinders on when you do that. And those moral blinders can really obscure your vision, and they can lead you down a path, such as Donald Trump has let them down where he's the pied piper, and they're following him blindly. But I wonder if the monetizing over of the -- of the presidency is not the thing that really gets a lot of Republicans who are average citizens who donated money and said, wait a minute, we're -- we were swindled. We were duped, we were taken advantage of. NEWTON: All right. We will wait to hear more from this committee obviously on Wednesday and wait to get more insights from you. Michael Genovese in Los Angeles for us. Thanks so much.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

NEWTON: Now human rights groups and protesters are outraged by what they call an attack on the basic dignity of those escaping war and poverty. I'll ask a top U.N. official for refugees about the U.K. new deportation plan.



NEWTON: The British court has rejected a challenge to the U.K.'s controversial new deportation plans setting off protests in London. Hundreds gathered to demonstrate against the policy, which will send asylum seekers to Rwanda. The first deportation flight is now poised to leave for the Rwandan capital Kigali in the coming hours. Although the courts won't determine the legality of the policy until next month.

Human rights groups slammed Monday's ruling and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees calls the plan catastrophic.


FILIPPO GRANDI, COMMISSIONER OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: We believe that this is all wrong. This is all wrong. This deal.


NEWTON: Gillian Triggs is the assistant High Commissioner for Protection of the U.N. Refugee Agency. And she is with us now from Geneva, Switzerland. You know, many have denounced this policy as inhumane. I think what many are wondering is is it illegal? And we just saw what the British courts did, they have sided with the British government. In terms of the stand, what more can be done here to either persuade the British government that this isn't a good idea or force them to change tack?

GILLIAN TRIGGS, ASSISTANT HIGH COMMISSIONER, PROTECTION OF THE U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY: Well, we've certainly at the United Nations Refugee Agency done everything we can diplomatically which is, of course, how we prefer to operate. But there comes a point in the end, where the Rwanda agreement that the United Kingdom has agreed is so contrary to international law and we would say to any sense of morality that's in the end, we've had to speak out.

Of course, a number of litigation attempts have been made and have sadly failed yesterday. But as you have pointed out, this is actually at the moment. A domestic law issue and the courts have not yet got to the merits. The substantive merits of the case, and of course, will ultimately see whether the European Court of Human Rights will intervene to stop this plane flights tonight.

NEWTON: And in terms of your legal expertise, though, does the UNHCR or even an individual asylum seeker, have a lever here to influence the British government, whether it's in the court of law or perhaps even more forcefully in the court of public opinion?

TRIGGS: Well, actually, I mean, it's an important point because of course, what -- the legal arguments will be made and the litigation will take place. But in many respects, we would rather that people understood that this is -- this is a moral position as well as a legal one. And that as you may know, there are many people speaking up. I think, the bishop of Manchester, many religious groups, civil society, very senior people in the British community have been speaking out against this.

And one would hope that that would ultimately a change hearts and minds, but so far, no success.

NEWTON: Yes. In fact, Prince Charles has apparently said in private that he founds the whole policy appalling. I have to ask you, though, that while the UNHCR has been clear that this is actually catastrophic. I mean, the British government clearly believes that this will work, right? They believe it will stem the flow of migrants and that it will in fact they claim save lives.


NEWTON: I mean what is your prediction about what will actually happen especially given recent history in Australia? I mean I have to point out, up until a few months ago, the previous government there insisted that offshoring asylum seekers worked. Were they right? Will Britain be right in the future? And was Australia right in the past?

TRIGGS: Well, the recent evidence particularly with regard to Rwanda demonstrates, it definitely does not work. And can I say that, of course, the United Nations Refugee Agency is concerned to save lives. But one of the tragic consequences of these attempts at deterrence, contrary, as I say to international law, is that in fact, it costs more lives as people take even more desperate efforts.

In other words, it's a little bit like that balloon, if you squeeze one particle. The air will move into another part, it's similarly here, if you try to stop movement across the Mediterranean or the Atlantic, or through the English Channel, you will find that they -- that people will seek protection elsewhere. So -- and perhaps the most important example is that between 2014 and '18, Israel sent 4000 people seeking asylum under the refugee system to Rwanda.

And within a very short space of time, they had all left with only, I believe, nine of 4000 deaths behind. So, I think the evidence for the most part is that it is not a deterrent. And I think you might notice that the -- there are still attempts, of course, to come to Britain, even though people are aware that they're at risk of being sent to Rwanda. So, if I may say so, what we suggest is that a much more appropriate way forward is to develop regular mechanisms. Family reunion, community sponsorship, labor, mobility opportunities to earn a living, education. These are what are called complementary pathways but the regular pathways, which will ensure that people have an opportunity to make their claim for asylum. If they don't have a valid claim for asylum determined in a -- in a fair and fast system within domestic legal systems are similarly of course in the United States and other parts of the world, then somebody who does not need international protection can be returned to their country of origin or to in a safe country.

NEWTON: Yes. It is well-established due process which countries like Britain obviously say that they will continue to follow. But before I let you go, I have to ask you, it cannot be lost on many of these asylum seekers that for every one that perhaps and more than that, for everyone has deported to Rwanda, there will be a Ukrainian national, thankfully, gaining refuge in Britain and elsewhere. I mean, how do you explain that?

TRIGGS: Well, we're, of course, very concerned about this at the U.N. Refugee Agency, because the principles of the right to seek asylum apply to everybody everywhere, it's a universal rights agreed. The United Kingdom and the United States signed up for this at the end of the Second World War in 1951. We are very concerned that selection of those people that you would like to have as migrants or as refugees is contrary to the letter and spirit of refugee law.

And, of course, country to the Global Compact on refugees, stimulators, as you may know, through the New York Declaration in 2018. But here, the objective globally is that we have solidarity and an equitable sharing of responsibility for refugees. So to pick and choose is horrific, but perhaps I can end by saying that it's been remarkable to see what the European countries have been prepared to do.

And I'd say the United States in response to the Ukraine war. And really, that's shown that countries can do this and they can do it in a humane way. So, it's all the more troubling and ironic that the United Kingdom should be heading in exactly the opposite direction.

NEWTON: And we will leave it there for now. This will continue to be an issue in the days if not even hours to come. Gillian Triggs really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

TRIGGS: Thank you very much indeed. Goodbye.

NEWTON: Coming up for us. Stocks across Asia are down hours after a Wall Street sell off. We'll take a look at the latest numbers.

Plus, violence against women take center stage in China after a brutal attack caught on camera. After the break. A look at other troubling incidents in China.


[02:30:00] NEWTON: Global markets see stocks slide after the ongoing sell-off on Wall Street. Let's take a look at where things stand this hour in Asia where the major industries, they're down, you know what, that is not as brutal as it has been and quite frankly firing quite well. When you listen to this. The Dow dived nearly 900 points on Monday's trading. The SandP500 was also down falling nearly four percent and closing in bear market territory.

All this as U.S. investors are rattled by recession fears and the prospect of aggressive action from the Federal Reserve, which is said to meet Wednesday. CNN's Clare Sebastian joins us now from London.

And, Clare, I know how closely are following this. There is lots of talk of the Fed needing to get even tougher on inflation. How has that shifted expectations for what they might do this week?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Paula, a lot can change in a couple of days when it comes to the U.S. markets at the moment. And the expectations, frankly, of the Fed which, as you say, meets this week.

What happened was on Friday, we got inflation reports from the U.S. And that came in much higher than expected. In April, it moderated a little bit to 8.3 percent. Then it accelerated in May to 8.6 percent. So, that's one thing.

Then on Monday, we get a report for us from the Wall Street Journal that the Fed might be looking at a three-quarter point raise rise at its next meeting. They had already telegraphed a half-point rate rise. They've already done one. They said they might do a couple more. So, that was sort of factored into the markets.

But a three-quarter percent rise, they haven't done that since 1994. So, on the one hand, I think some in the markets might feel some kind of relief from that. But at least the Fed which, you know, from the last year, has told us that inflation is transitory. It might at least be getting the message and might be, sort of, just giving them the medicine a bit early. But on the other hand, this is something that has not been widely telegraphed. It's really only sort of come into the general market consciousness over the last couple of days. So, this could trigger some volatility in the market.

And of course, this is not just a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to the market, Paula, this is the Fed not just taking away the punchbowl when it comes to cheap money but snatching away. And that means that equity valuations are looking a bit expensive at the moment.

So, what we're seeing is not just, sort of, the surprise of those reports yesterday but really a repricing of stocks given the, you know, imminent oncoming of higher interest rates.

NEWTON: Yes, and it is that repricing that's really investors right now because this is not going to be a quick turnaround most experts concede. I want to ask you just about what kind of tools the central banks have? Because it isn't just in Fed, right? Whether you're looking at the Bank of Japan or the ECB, they're all trying to figure out what to do with these kinds of inflation measures. And yet you wonder, how many tools they actually have at a hand?

SEBASTIAN: Yes, I think that's the big question because it's not just -- this isn't, sort of, normal inflation, if you can call it that. You know, we haven't dealt with inflation in quite a long time, at least a decade. This is -- these are generational highs. And it's triggered by things that are really in many ways outside of the control of central banks that cannot be fixed by a higher interest rate.


Things like the snarled supply chains that have been coming back since the pandemic lockdowns in China affecting with supply and demand. And of course, the war in Ukraine that has and continues to drive up energy and food prices. Interest rates cannot, you know, unblockade ports in the Black Sea. They can't fix these supply chains. Bring it, you know, semiconductors back into the market.

So, this is something that the central banks are grappling with and, of course, something that they have to factor in as they try to engineer, you know, what Jerome Powell has called a soft-ish landing. Something that could bring inflation down without tipping the economy into recession. Of course, risks of recession if you talk to economists are now rising. And that is something that is happening around the world, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, exactly. And increasing those risks by the day, we should say. Clare, thanks so much for this. Appreciate it.

Now, a recent attack on multiple women at a restaurant in China is highlighting the issue of violence against women in that country. CNN's Selina Wang reports on the trend of horrific attacks with seemingly few consequences. We really have to warn you here, this video you're about to see contains incredibly disturbing images that are of course hard to watch.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): A late-night dinner turned violent in Northern China. Graphic surveillance video of what follows unleashed fear and outrage across China. It shows a man approaching one of the women. He touches her back. An unwanted advance. She pushes him away. He slaps her in response. The assault escalates. A scuffle breaks out as she and her friends try to defend themselves. The woman is dragged outside by her hair. Hit with a beer. The men relentlessly kick her. As one yells, beat her to death. Her friend's head hits the pavement with a thud.

The viral video sparked uproar, not just over the brazen brutality of the attack, but the indifference from bystanders with only women seen intervening. A woman at the scene called the police and told the authorities the following according to state media. Before this happened, I always thought that going out to dinner at night was a perfectly normal thing, but now I have some sort of PTSD.

YAQIU WANG, SR. RESEARCHER ON CHINA, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: These men feel they could just freely attack a woman in such a public place. Worse, because so many men in the past who have done the same. So, the men feel, you know, I can do the same without any consequences.

WANG (voiceover): Attacks like this are horrific and horrible to watch. But Chinese social media is flooded with them. And activists say, we cannot look away. Violence against women is rampant in China.

A video from earlier this year in Xi'an shows a man viciously punching his wife while she holds their child in her lap. The man later pins his wife down and continues to punch her head. The man was suspended by his company after the footage went viral. According to state media and police said they detained him for five days.

Another shows a man kicking and punching a woman in broad daylight in 2020. State media reported that the man was investigated. But it's unclear if any legal action was taken.

Domestic violence was only made punishable by law in 2016. Physical abuse was not even grounds for divorce but for 2001. So far, authorities have detained nine people involved in the restaurant incident. Local police have ramped up patrols on the streets in the area. Authorities claim the woman and her friend are in stable condition. Yet unverified video shows what is believed to be one of their brutally beaten bodies, lying motionless on a gurney in the hospital. Bloodied and bandaged. Her helplessness, resonating across China. Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


NEWTON: The White House says a national emergency regarding North Korea declared in 2008 will in fact continue. In a statement to Congress, U.S. Presidential Biden noted the country's pursuit of its nuclear and missile program as a main concern. While hosting South Korean officials in Washington, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the U.S. is ready to respond to those threats.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We remain concerned about the prospects for what would be a seventh nuclear test over multiple administrations. We know that the North Koreans have done preparations for such a test. We are being extremely vigilant about that. We are prepared to make both short and longer-term adjustments to our military posture as appropriate.


NEWTON: Now, despite the threats from North Korea, Blinken maintains the U.S. is committed to a, "Diplomatic approach".


Coming up for us, extreme weather shuts down access to America's Yellowstone National Park. We'll get details from the CNN Weather Center, that's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NEWTON: Alarming, huh, it's meant to be. That's the sound of a tornado warning blaring through Chicago's Wrigley Field. A baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres had to be delayed on Monday because of a major thunderstorm. The Cubs went on to lose 4/1.

Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. State of Montana has temporarily been closed and closed all of its entrances due to hazardous conditions. Experts say unprecedented rainfall and snow melt are causing flooding and mudslides. I mean, look at those pictures. A park official say, no inbound traffic is allowed until conditions are cleared and roads are assessed for any damage.

And near the park, residents in Gardiner, Montana took video of flash floods taking up part of a building. Oh, my gosh. It's devastating. And that's in the Yellowstone River. Parts of the community there are now without drinking water and power. Officials say, people have been asked to evacuate and rescues were ongoing throughout Park County.

All right. Thanks to all of you for joining us. I'm Paula Newton. World Sport is next. I'll be back at the top of the hour with more news. You are watching CNN.


JEAN-PIERRE: So, here's the thing, you know, President Biden understands and he knows, like, this doesn't have everything that he even called for. But when he went down to Uvalde recently to meet with the parents, to meet with the community, to meet with the families of the victims, and some of the victims as well, they said, please do something.

So, the President has done everything that he can from the White House to take -- to call on Congress to act. So, this is one step forward, right? We haven't seen anything like this. A bipartisanship agreement on a gun reform in decades, in a generation, even. And so, the fact that we have seen those two sides come together, they negotiated, they led their legislating right now, that is a step forward and that is what negotiation looks like.

The President's going to continue to fight and to call on the other items that he has put forward as what he believed. The banning of assault weapons, you know, national Red Flag Laws and all of these things that he believes that will make our country safer.

LEMON: Yes, but --

JEAN-PIERRE: And here's the thing, Don, we -- what this is about, is about saving lives. So, he wants Congress to write the text, get that pass, and get it to his desk as soon as possible.

LEMON: We've got a lot more to talk about, including 2024. That's next.



LEMON: President Biden and Democrats, facing a lot of challenges in the run-up to this year's midterm elections. And it is raising questions about how the party and the White House should look ahead to the 2024 presidential election. More with my interview from the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre.

We're just coming up on the midterms. But as you know, the President only gets to serve so long before they have to start campaigning again and running again. And President Biden, I don't know if you -- I'm sure you've read the -- there was a "New York Times" article talking about the whispers are growing louder inside the Democratic Party facing doubt that some -- that in the Democratic Party about his plans to run for a second term. I want you to listen, this is what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told CNN when asked if she would support Biden in 2024. Here it is.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. But I think that if the President has a vision and that's something certainly, we're all willing to entertain and examine when that -- when the time comes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not a yes.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I believe that the President's been doing a very good job so far. And, you know, should he run again, I think that I -- you know, it's -- we'll take a look at it.


LEMON: OK. So, as I understand, you assured -- you reiterated that the President does plan to run in 2024, right?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, first of all, the congresswoman did say the President is doing a good job. So, that's good, right?


JEAN-PIERRE: So, I just want to really highlight that because many people agree with that. Look, there's a --

LEMON: But he is going to run in 2024?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, let me just say, there's a -- I, you know, there's two -- there is something called the Hatch Act that I have to be mindful of. What I can say is the President has repeatedly said that he plans to run in 2024. And I'm going to have to leave it there.

LEMON: OK. But then -- but are you concerned -- is the administration worried that there are Democrats who are not openly endorsing the president come 2024 even though you cannot say for sure if you --

JEAN-PIERRE: I really can't get -- I can't get into that. All I can say is what the president intends to do. What the president plans to do. And, look, at the end of the day, Don, our focus is to deliver for the American people. That's the work that we've been doing with the economy. That's the work that we've been doing with COVID when he walked in. Again, let's not forget, when he walked in -- he's looking at COVID, there was no comprehensive plan to get people vaccinated. Now, more than 200 million people are getting vaccinated.

The one thing I do want to say is, as we are working on plans to lower inflation, deal with gas prices, you know, you have the other side, you have Republicans. And what they're doing is they're putting out a plan, -- Rick Scott, Senator Rick Scott put out a plan on how he wants to raise taxes on people making less than $100,000. And also --

LEMON: I -- listen, Karine -- I understand that --

JEAN-PIERRE: -- Sunset Medicare and social security, things that are so important --

LEMON: I understand the important policy issues.

JEAN-PIERRE: -- to communities across the country.

LEMON: Those are -- you're right, those are important policy issues in that. And those should be discussed and they're discussed in every presidential election and they're discussed all the time. But the concern is, the President, during interviews, where he doesn't seem to answer questions directly or at times, succinctly. There is his -- that's his -- his approval ratings, according to the latest Gallup poll, 41 percent of Americans approve of Biden's job as president. So, how does he and you, because you are the spokesperson for the White House, plan to assure voters that he is still the best candidate to beat Trump? Is he at his best right now?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I think the thing that Americans love about President Biden is he's a straight shooter. He is a straight shooter and he says it as the way he sees it and he calls it out. And that is the thing that makes him genuine and authentic and real. And people really, really connect with this president. I see it myself when we go into -- were going to Philly, Pennsylvania. I'll see it then. We just came back from New Mexico. We were in L.A., California. I travel with him all across the country, and I see how people feel about this president, and how much they appreciate what he has done. And I think that matters.


As far as the polls are focused, again, is delivering for the American people, we're making inflation our number one economic policy. There are other issues that the president has to deal with and that is what he will focus on. And that is how he will continue doing it.

LEMON: And you -- there's no concern within the administrator about the president's polling?

JEAN-PIERRE: That's not what we're talking about here. We're focused -- we are genuinely focused on how we can get the work done on behalf of the American people. LEMON: Does the president have the stamina, physically and mentally, do you think to continue on even after 2024?

JEAN-PIERRE: Don, you're asking me this question. Oh, my gosh. He's the president of the United States. You know, it -- he -- I can't even keep up with him. We just got back from New Mexico. We just got back from California. That is not a question that we should be even asking. Just look at the work that he does. Look what he's -- how he is delivering for the American public.

Look, that article that we're talking about is hearsay, it's salacious. That's not what we care about. We care about how are we going to deliver for the American people. How are we going to make their lives better? That's what the president talks about. That is his focus and that is what we will continue to focus on.

LEMON: Karien Jean-Pierre, thank you. I really appreciate you coming on. Please come back.

JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Don, thanks for having me.

LEMON: Thank you, too.

JEAN-PIERRE: I'm happy to come back anytime.

LEMON: Thanks very much.

JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Bye-bye.

LEMON: And up next, Trump insiders saying that they told him that he did not win, but he keeps -- keeping up the big lie anyway. The biggest moments from the January 6th Committee's hearing today, right after this.