Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Nevada Choses GOP Candidate; Families Hit Hard by Inflation; Officers Killed in California; AG Meets with Buffalo Families; Ukraine War at Pivotal Point. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 15, 2022 - 09:30   ET



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Of state. And in Nevada there was a critical race, Jim Marchant, a former state lawmaker who has bought into the big lie, continues to push it, he's now the GOP nominee for secretary of state for the fall.

How much are we seeing this in other pivotal states in terms of these secretary of state candidates who believe in the big lie and how dangerous is it?

MATT LEWIS, SENIOR COLUMNIST, "THE DAILY BEAST": I think it's super dangerous and it's mixed, right? We saw down in Georgia a couple weeks ago Donald Trump failed to take out Raffensperger, his enemy, the Republican secretary of state in Georgia, who would not go along with the big lie. So, Trump doesn't always win. Sometimes he endorses people or he tries to take people out and they lose.

But, you know, if you're trying to flip an election, you only need a few states sometimes, right? And so what we're seeing happen in Nevada is happening other places. We're seeing Republican Trump-backed and often cases Trump-backed Republicans who support the big lie, who are winning these secretary of state primaries in certain states, including, I think, Michigan, Nevada, you just mentioned, and New Mexico. And then you have like in Pennsylvania the Republican primary nominee for governor, Mastriano, would pick the secretary of state of Pennsylvania. So now we're up to, what, at least four Republican nominees that have a chance of winning in November, and, two years later, they could be instrumental in determining whether to send a different slate of electors than their state -- you know, than are state elected.


LEWIS: So I really see this in a way as almost like sleeper agents, right? I mean these people aren't - they're not being secretive about it. They're being transparent about their support of Trump and the fact that they don't believe Biden won in 2020.


LEWIS: Well, I'm talking about people who are going to be put in place potentially and could be activated if and when the circumstance calls for it. MARQUARDT: Could be activated.

Molly, you heard Matt there saying that Trump doesn't always win. When we look at what happened in South Carolina last night, Tim -- Tom Rice was one of ten Republicans to vote to impeach Trump. And he suffered a brutal loss.

Meanwhile, Nancy Mace, who did vote to certify Joe Biden's victory and ran against someone who Trump had supported, she won her primary. So what does that tell us about the Trump sway, if you will, in these primary races.

MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Right. Well, there was an obvious difference between those two candidates. And it was, number one, the endorsement vote. The - I'm sorry, the impeachment vote, as you mentioned, and that's a clear red line for Trump. I think that category of it. The Republicans who voted for impeachment has a special place in Trump's mind and he's especially focused on those races. So, Tom Rice. The next one will be Peter Meijer in Michigan, who is also still running for re-election despite having voted to impeach Trump, and then a couple of Republicans in Washington state we'll be keeping an eye on as well. And so that, I think, is a clear difference between Rice and Mace.

And then also, you know, Rice really continued to take a hard line against Trump, whereas Mace sought to sort of cozy up to him and portray herself as still being in the pro-Trump camp despite her occasional criticisms and despite him endorsing her opponent. So, you know, it's clear that you can be against Trump to a point in these Republican primaries, depending on the situation, but there are some red lines that the voters will not allow you to cross.


Matt, I want to keep going around the map here and let's head to Texas where the first Mexican-born congresswoman, Mayra Flores, she won in a special election and she's a Republican. So do Democrats really need to be worried more about their past precedent really of counting on the Hispanic vote, especially in a place like Texas?

LEWIS: That's right. Look, Democrats have a lot of problems. Midterms were always going to be bad. They're almost always bad for the incumbent president's party. We have inflation, gas prices, a lot of environmental factors that I think favor Republicans. And then you have this. This is a trend that Democrats, you know, you hear them talk about the coalition of the ascendant, you know. Well, maybe that doesn't materialize. I think that Democrats had believed, and apparently wrongly, that Hispanics were going to be a major part of their coalition, that immigration was the dominant issue and that Republicans really had no chance.

And I think what we're seeing are that Hispanics are identifying maybe more in terms of class. And right now, fair or not, the Republican Party is doing a better job of identifying as a working class political party than they ever did before. You know, they used to be FDR, the working man's party, what's the Democratic Party. It seems to be changing and it may be as - and certainly in places like south Texas, it appears to be the case that this is a trend as if Democrats didn't have enough problems, a key part of this coalition that they thought they could take to the bank is peeling off.


This is horrible news.

Now, I do think in the specific case of this congressional race, Democrats could win it back. The district is going to become more Democratic. But the trend, I think, is unmistakable.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, we've got to leave it there.

Matt Lewis and Molly Ball, thank you so much, both, for joining me this morning.

LEWIS: Thank you.

HARLOW: All right, still ahead, the average price for gasoline over $5 now. But you know if you're in one of the states where it's a lot higher it's even more painful. Where drivers are particularly feeling this squeeze is next.



HARLOW: Right now, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says the White House is considering all options, nothing off the table in her words, to lower gas prices.

MARQUARDT: And President Joe Biden, for his part, is slamming oil companies' high profits, calling on them to boost production as gas prices are averaging just over $5 a gallon nationwide. Take a look at that.

CNN's Gabe Cohen is in Nevada where families are being hit particularly hard by those soaring gas prices.


GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Elsa Roldan's gas budget is up $35 a week.


COHEN: Commuting to her housekeeping job at a Las Vegas hotel.

ROLDAN: And I don't know when it's going to stop.

COHEN: Surging gas prices and inflation are eating up more of her salary.

ROLDAN: I need to cut so many expenses. It was my birthday, and I couldn't buy a purse. I mean, there's so many things. And it affects me emotionally, of course.

COHEN: At close to $5.70 a gallon, Nevadans now face the second steepest gas price in the country, well behind California. But when you factor in average salary, data show drivers here have to work longer than in any other state, on average more than three hours to afford a single tank of gas.

Compare that to Massachusetts, the other end of the spectrum, where even though gas is more than $5 a gallon, the average driver has to work less than two hours to fill up because salaries are higher.

SHAWN SPIVAK, RIDE SHARE DRIVER: Bottom line, I'm spending over $300 a week in gas.

COHEN: Shawn Spivak drives for Uber here in Vegas.

SPIVAK: I'm literally driving two and a half, three hours a day just to pay for the gas. So I'm -- instead of driving eight, nine hours a day, I'm driving 12, 13 hours a day.

COHEN (on camera): Why is gas so expensive in Nevada?

JOHN TREANOR, SPOKESPERSON, AAA: This is really an access story. Simply put, prices here are so high because it costs a lot of money to get gas to Nevada.

COHEN (voice over): Almost all of Nevada's fuel comes from California, where refining oil is more expensive because of stricter environmental regulations. And the cost to transport it is surging.

Plus, Nevada's gas tax is sixth highest in the nation.


COHEN: Chelsea Hansen lives in Reno, home to some of Nevada's most expensive gas. More than $6 a gallon. Post-pandemic, she hoped her three-year-old daughter could finally spend time with family this summer. But now she's rethinking those road trips because of the cost.

HANSEN: There's so much that my daughter has lost out on. And there's a feeling again, as a parent, that I am going to have to be limited in what I can offer.

COHEN: In a survey, two-thirds of travelers said rising gas prices would factor into their decision to travel in the next six months. But at this point, U.S. demand for gas keeps rising, up again last week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got to get around. So, this is what I got to do.

COHEN: With prices expected to keep climbing, many Americans, especially those with lower incomes, will have to work more hours to afford gas. And more drivers nationwide could soon face the same prices leaving Elsa Roldan desperate for relief.

ROLDAN: We could do something. We can come with a plan to help people like me.


COHEN: And, unfortunately, drivers like Elsa likely won't get that relief until at least July. And experts say we could see the national average gas price hit $6 a gallon by late summer. Here in Nevada, much sooner than that.

Alex. Poppy.

MARQUARDT: Prices so high, Elsa couldn't buy herself a birthday present.

Gabe Cohen, in Nevada, thank you so much for that terrific report.

Now, still ahead, two police officers shot and killed in Los Angeles Country. The mayor there saying that they were ambushed. We'll have the latest on the investigation, next.



MARQUARDT: Three high-profile gun safety bills are about to become law in Rhode Island. The governor of Rhode Island is expected to sign the legislation which includes raising the age to 21 to buy guns and ammunition. There's also a measure that would prohibit the open carry of any loaded rifle or a shotgun in public.

HARLOW: So, the state senate there also passed a ban on large capacity magazines. There are ten other states and Washington, D.C., that have already limited the size of gun magazines that are legal for purchase.

MARQUARDT: And in California, two police officers were killed in a shootout on Tuesday, while investigating a possible stabbing at a motel.

HARLOW: Adrienne Broaddus joins us from L.A.

It's tragic. What do you know about the officers? Do we know anything about what led to this?


We know those two officers didn't make it home to their families last night. One had at least 22 years with the department. The other, less than a year.

It's still early in the investigation, but authorities told us that two officers approached the suspect in this motel room in El Monte, California. And that's when the first officer involved shooting took place.

That suspect, who died on the scene, took off. He fled from the motel room. Another shooting occurred in the parking lot area. Those two officers were transported to the hospital where they later died, leaving this community devastated.



MAYOR JESSICA ANCONA, CITY OF EL MONTE: As our officers do on a daily basis, they were acting as a first line of defense for our community members when they were essentially ambushed while trying to keep a family safe.

INTERIM CHIEF BEN LOWRY, EL MONTE POLICE: The men and women of the El Monte Police Department, as well as the community of El Monte, is grieving. I've heard that the only way to take the sting out of death is to take the love out of life. And, believe me, they were loved. These two men were loved. They were good men. They paid the ultimate sacrifice, serving their community, trying to help somebody.


BROADDUS: Investigators are supposed to update us on the investigation later today. But as of right now, people are sending their thoughts to these two officers who died trying to protect a family.


MARQUARDT: Ambushed trying to keep a family safe.

Adrienne Broaddus, we know you'll stay on the story. Thank you so much.

HARLOW: Thanks, Adrienne.

Also this morning, Attorney General Merrick Garland is in Buffalo, New York, where he is set to meet with the survivors and family members of the 10 victims killed in last month's mass shooting at the local supermarket.

MARQUARDT: And that's where we find our Brynn Gingras, who is outside of that supermarket.

Brynn, what do we expect to see from the attorney general's visit today?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy and Alex, we actually know that they are currently meeting right now with the families of those ten victims killed in the grocery store right behind me. And they have a packed trip as they visit here in Buffalo for the entire day. We're expecting an announcement from the attorney general himself later this morning, so we'll keep you abreast of what happens there.

But this visit very timely as it commemorates really the one month since this horrific shooting happened here at the grocery store behind me. I know this community came together last night in a vigil, remembering those who were killed. So, certainly, that is on the minds of many as the AG and top leaders of the DOJ meet with those family members. We also know that the group is expected to meet with members of law

enforcement and then, of course, again, keep posted for that 11:45 announcement. We know after this incident happened where ten people were killed, the AG's office said they were going to investigate this case as hate-related possible charges in relation to the federal level, of course. We know that this 18-year-old victim has already been charged at -- I'm sorry, the 18-year-old shooter has already been charged at the state level when a 25 count indictment was returned earlier this month. So, of course, if that is the announcement we get later this morning, that will boost up this case against that 18-year- old shooter.


HARLOW: Brynn Gingras, we're so glad you're there. Thank you very much for the update.


MARQUARDT: Already a month since that horrific massacre.

Still ahead, outgunned 10-1. Ukraine is pleading for more weapons and more support. This is as sources are telling CNN that the war has reached a critical stage. We'll be live in Brussels next as NATO defense leaders decide what they will do next.



HARLOW: All right, right now in Brussels, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is meeting with his counterparts from nearly 50 other countries to discuss weapons support for Ukraine. This as a Ukrainian official is warning the country is outgunned nearly 10-1, and that the Russian defense ministry claims that it just destroyed a warehouse of NATO supplied weapons in western Ukraine, which, Alex, would be quite significant.

MARQUARDT: And right there you can see the secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, and our Oren Liebermann is in Brussels traveling with the defense secretary.

Oren, you and some of our national security colleagues have new reporting that western intelligence officials, as well as military officials, believe that this is now a critical stage in this war. Why do they think that this is a pivotal moment?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Now as we're here, 110 or so days into this war, this - a number of sources and contacts have told us, is a pivotal moment for a number of reasons.

First, Ukraine is beginning to use up its Soviet-era ammunition. The bulk of the Ukrainian armed forces used that in the last few months of the fight, but that's beginning to run out. This is a problem the U.S. and its allies were aware of and began shipping in NATO standard, more modern weaponry. It may seem like a small difference. For example, 152 millimeter artillery ammo versus 155 millimeter ammo. But these are newer systems the U.S. and others are sending in. It takes time to train on these and it takes time and effort to get them into the fight, so this transition period is a critical moment in the fight.

More importantly, perhaps, there are a number of contacts who have said, as you look at the fight right now and how this goes, it's possible that the outcome of the fight we're seeing in eastern Ukraine, for example in Severodonetsk, will shape the final outcome. That's another reason this moment is pivotal.

The U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and others fully aware of the importance now and of the need to get Ukraine more ammo, more artillery. And that's exactly what Ukraine is calling for.

Defense Secretary Austin, when he spoke in open, what's known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, pointed out everything the U.S. has sent so far, and strongly suggested there is much more to come, saying the U.S. will continue to do its part.

A senior U.S. defense official had told us that she is expecting announcements of more equipment and more weaponry going in. So we'll be looking for those announcements as the contact group meeting continues on later on today.

Meanwhile, we're also looking at comments made on the social media of former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.


He was once considered a possible reformer of Russian politics. He said and asked whether Ukraine would even exist in two years.