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Macron, Scholz, Draghi Make Train Trip To Kyiv; U.S. Announces Another $1 Billion In Aid To Ukraine; Foreign Fighters Sentenced To Death By Separatists; Man Admits Killing Two Men Missing in Amazon; Mexican Journalists Becoming Victims to Violence; January 6th Insurrection Hearings; Scorching Heat Wave Grips Western Europe; Executive Order for LGBTQ Equality; Dr. Fauci Tested Positive for COVID. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 16, 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. The U.S. is promising a billion dollars in additional military aid to Ukraine. Other NATO allies considering the same as Russia's former president suggests Ukraine may not even exist in the coming years.

And historic interest rate hike in the U.S. to try and bring down inflation. How global markets are responding.

Plus, when the price of covering the story could be your life. We take you to one of the most dangerous places for journalists daring to tell the truth.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

NEWTON: And we do begin this hour with breaking news. CNN has confirmed that French president Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi are on a train trip to Kyiv. AFP released a short video clip. You see them there of the three leaders on the train. And France's ambassador to Ukraine posted a picture of the group on Twitter.

Kyiv has been critical of France, Germany and Italy for being too slow to deliver weapons to Ukraine. So, this trip apparently something of an attempt to mend fences, Again, the leaders of France, Germany and Italy at this hour on a train trip to Kyiv. I want to go straight now to Kyiv where we find CNN's Salma Abdelaziz. You've been following all of these latest developments for us.

And Salma, obviously, a very important visit here. A show for us because it is, you know, the three most important European leaders arguably going straight to where you are in Kyiv. And to put a fine point on it, this is not an easy trip.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely. So, these three European leaders, this will be their first visit since the start of the Russian invasion. Of course, they represent the biggest economies in Europe's -- in Europe. Some of the strongest political messages in Europe. And particularly for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron, President -- French president Emmanuel Macron.

They're going to have to show that they have unwavering support for Ukraine that they're going to continue that support in the long term while also balancing some of the accusations that have been made against them. For German Chancellor Olaf Schultz, he's been accused domestically and abroad of not providing enough weaponry, not providing enough equipment and support to Ukraine.

Germany is the largest economy, of course, in Europe, and then there's that always that controversy around Germany's dependency on Russian gas. So, how much longer can they hold out on sanction? So they're going to need to show -- rather German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is going to need to show that he can balance that need for support with his own economic needs, and what more support can he provide.

And that's particularly important after we've just seen this new announcement of an aid package from the United States out of that defense ministers' meeting yesterday in Brussels. So tune in for that. For French president Emmanuel Macron there was kind of a testy exchange about a week ago when French President Emmanuel Macron said that we should find an exit ramp and I'm paraphrasing here.

The international community should find an exit ramp for this conflict, but one that does not humiliate President Putin. Of course, President Zelenskyy was quick to dismiss those comments. Quick to say that, you know, this isn't a matter of humiliation. It's Russia that invaded this country. It's Russia that unilaterally entered Ukraine that Ukraine will not stand down, if you will. It will not concede.

He's made more comments yesterday around Ukraine's bid to join the E.U., to join the European Union. French President Emmanuel Macron saying we have to find other ways of European partnership outside of the E.U. So that's another matter that could potentially be discussed. We're waiting to hear by the end of this week on whether or not the European Commission will recommend Ukraine for candidate status to the E.U.

Now joining the E.U. is a very long process, it could take years, potentially decades. So this could be a largely symbolic gesture. But again, it's sort of opening the door of the European community to Ukraine giving them that sense of security and partnership alongside their European neighbors. So that could be another matter. So, the key issues here are going to be that rhetorical support of course that President Zelenskyy is going to want.

But he's going to want more than rhetoric, he's going to want actual, you know, military equipment, aid, money support, what does that actually look like in terms of material support, and then more understanding of their access to the European community. How closely knit Ukraine will be to the European Union in the larger European community, Paula. So these are very important meetings, of course, and they're scheduled to take place this morning with President Zelenskyy. NEWTON: Yes. And the specific counterpoint in fact, to even the comments from the former Russian president saying today that look, oh, well, you know, Ukraine will not exist in a few years. Certainly these European leaders sending a strong message.


NEWTON: And yet as President Zelenskyy said so many times we need military aid, and we need it now. We just had that announcement as you pointed out from the United States. But how much of what Ukraine was asking for is on the table right now? And how long will it take to get to the frontline?

ABDELAZIZ: Both very good questions. But one of the things that stood out to me in Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin statement yesterday is that he said he sat down with his Ukrainian partners, and went line by line through what they need. And if you do look at the aid package, there's so much of what Ukraine does need on the frontlines, particularly in the battle for the Donbas right now is there.

Lots of artillery, they said they are catastrophically low on artillery. Long-range weaponry, again, that is needed in order to hit those Russian artillery positions because this is an artillery war by and large, this is a ground war. So, providing that long range ability to hit Russian positions. That's extremely important. Multiple launch rocket system, something President Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked for.

And something that the Russian side does have an ease using. So you do have this aid that's coming through. But as you said, there's always a time lag between announcing that aid and it actually showing up on the ground. Now for the part of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, he says -- and I'm paraphrasing here again. He says that it is unmatched the speed at which these weapons are provided at which they make it to the battleground.

The speed of it is unmatched in the modern era. He pointed for example to the HIMARS those were promised two weeks ago by the United States about two weeks ago, these would be a long-range weaponry. Allow Ukrainian forces to hit positions up to 70 kilometers away. That's much further ability than they have right now. He says those will be on the ground by the end of those months -- by the end of this month rather making a difference.

He says by the time they've announced these weapons, it's a matter of days before that artillery, before that equipment is out the door and towards Ukraine. He also went on to say that hundreds of Ukrainian troops have already been trained to use these weapons, but you're still looking at a range of at least weeks. And again, this depends on the weapons, it depends on the requirement of training.

It depends on what it is exactly that needs to make it to the battlefield. But you are looking potentially at a lag time of weeks. And if you look at a city like Severodonetsk in the Donbas region, one where it appears Ukrainian forces are on their last heels, it is predominantly now under Russian control, it is difficult to imagine that these weapons could arrive in time to make a difference. So, time is absolutely not in Ukraine's favor. But the other thing that you heard in that press conference is that this is a continuous process for Ukraine's allies and for the United States. That there will be a constant contact between Ukraine and its partners and that there could potentially be more aid given in the future. That this is about constantly assessing the battlefield providing that need as in when they need it.

And the other point Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made is look, if you're the one in the fight, you will never have enough. You will never feel like you have enough and that rings true. Absolutely. But it's that lag time and wondering just how much longer Ukrainian forces can hold out in the Donbas. The Troop losses are huge. 100 to 200 Ukrainian soldiers a day, Paula. So, how much longer can they hold out versus how long it will take these weapons to get there? It's that gap that is really critical now.

NEWTON: And you know that President Zelenskyy as he awaits to meet with three European leaders, we'll put that issue front and center to them as they arrive. Salma Abdelaziz, we'll leave it there for now. We will come back to you though as you are live for us there in Kyiv. Now, two Americans fighting alongside Ukrainian troops are missing and feared captured by Russian forces. The men are both from Alabama and were last seen nearly a week ago north of Kharkiv.

Ukrainian commander says they went missing during a battle. Russian propaganda channel on telegram did not name them but claims that two Americans were captured in the region. Some of the missing Americans loved ones appeared on CNN earlier. Listen.


BUNNY DRUEKE, MOTHER OF ALEXANDER JOHN-ROBERT DRUEKE: Alex did not go there. As a representative to the of the U.S. military. He went there as a civilian with military training. He went there on his own. He was not sent there by our government.

JOY BLACK, FIANCEE OF ANDY TAI NGOC HUNYH: So he went there to volunteer. And if he wasn't -- he knew he wasn't doing what was easy but he was doing what was right and what he truly felt called to by the Lord to do.


NEWTON: OK. Two Britons and a Moroccan have already been sentenced to death by Russian-backed separatists for fighting with Ukraine and the Donetsk region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting some major support from his Chinese counterpart and we want to bring in CNN' Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang for some more details. Bottom line, China says its relations with Russia have maintained a "healthy momentum." Did the readout of the call really equivocate at all on China's position on the conflict in Ukraine?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Paula, this call really should be a wake-up call to anyone who still holds out hope that Xi Jinping somehow which change his mind about China's close ties with Russia or about Putin.


JIANG: Now, the Chinese readout of course stressed to Beijing so called independent assessment on the Ukraine situation based on the historical context and the merits of the issue. But the Kremlin statement really is less subtle about it and saying Xi Jinping, "noted the legitimacy of Russia's actions to defend its fundamental national interests in the face of challenges posed by the West."

So really, Chinese position on this war has not changed much. And the Chinese, for example, still refuse to call this a Russian invasion. Now, there has been some tweaking domestic propaganda, a state media outlet is now reporting some perspective from Ukraine. But still, it's very clear to anyone aware of China's stance and who it's siding with. And the reason for that is also not difficult to find in these latest readouts because both men obviously sharing the sentiment that the U.S. and its allies are increasingly ganging up on both countries strategically and economically.

And that's why Xi stressed the need to further strengthen communication coordination between the two countries and supporting each other on their core interests. Now, the Chinese specifically mentioned, a Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, all of them obviously have been issues where China is facing increasing pressure from the west. And interestingly, Xi Jinping just a few days ago signed this directive that many experts consider to provide a legal framework to Beijing to invade Taiwan without calling it a war.

And that, obviously, is Putin's playbook in Ukraine. And Russia for its part obviously, increasingly needs China to really lessen the impact of severe Western sanctions, especially in terms of finding new export markets for its energy resources. So, it's really not lost on people that this mark the second time the two leaders talked since the war began, but Xi Jinping so far still has not talked to Zelenskyy since the war began.

It's also worth noting, Paula, this call took place on Xi Jinping's birthday. He turns 69 on Wednesday. This actually was the fourth time both men talked on Xi Jinping's birthday. So their bromance if you will, really goes back a long way and is still very much going strong just like there are two countries so-called no Limits partnership. Paula?

NEWTON: OK. And we'll leave it there. Steven Jiang for us in Beijing. Thank you.

Daniel Treisman is a political science professor at UCLA and co-author of Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century. And he joins me now from Los Angeles. Good to see you. We are still trying to gauge Russia's posture in this new phase of war right now that they seem to have some momentum in the East. But from the signals that you hear from Putin, and of course, in the pro-Kremlin media as well, will Vladimir Putin be satisfied with these gains or perhaps use them as a platform to further push into Ukraine?

And really, this isn't a military opinion anymore, right? It has to do with some of the comments that he's made in the last few days.

DANIEL TREISMAN, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UCLA: Yes, absolutely. He's been talking about himself in comparison to Peter the Great and saying that like Peter the Great hinting that he liked Peter the Great is going to be retaking territories and reinforcing Russian control over them. This is excited. The pro-Putin, pro-Kremlin pundits on state media who started talking about, you know, what should be next, Poland is the likely candidate according to them.

So, there seems to be a kind of sense that things are finally going a bit better, and a bit of optimism and confidence. And I think we do have to recognize that if Putin perceives his campaign and Ukraine as having succeeded, it's not going to be the end of the road. There are going to be more aggressive acts whether, you know, in the rest of Ukraine or going even beyond that.

NEWTON: (INAUDIBLE) to the point about what will actually bring Vladimir Putin to the table, you know, the sanctions are biting, there's no question. But they've not proven transformative in any way. They do not seem to be affecting Putin's behavior. What will I have to ask you, France continually speaks about an on off ramp. But are there signs that Putin would even take it if it was offered?

TREISMAN: Well, I don't -- I don't see an off ramp at the moment, I think, to get to the point where Putin might be ready to negotiate in good faith. The Ukrainians have to continue beating back the Russian army. Holding it off and actually beating it back. So, I think the crucial thing is for the Ukrainians to continue getting heavy armaments and getting them fast we've seen in the last week or two, how absolutely crucial it is that they have heavy artillery which they can use to prevent the Russians moving further and further westward through the Donbas.


NEWTON: You know, on the surface it still seems as if Putin has only increased his popularity with Russians. I know we are talking about an autocratic regime, but the sentiment seems genuine. What are the implications of that?

TREISMAN: Well, I think we have to be careful and how we evaluate that because, of course, after any unifying military act in a country like Russia, there's got to be a rally behind the leader, there's a sense of unity, of the need to hang together. But I think already, people are -- first of all, they're paying less attention in Russia. But more than that, they're starting to notice the economic costs of this.

Now, it's not causing a dramatic change in public opinion yet. And of course, that's very difficult to judge. But I think over time, as the economy continues to deteriorate, and already we're seeing, you know, real incomes falling by 24 percent. As it continues to deteriorate, I think people are going to be grumbling much more. And they're going to want to see significant achievements in Ukraine. So, not just this kind of grinding advance, slow advance if it's supposed to justify the hardship that Russia is facing at this point.

NEWTON: Yes. And that makes situation all the more dangerous. You know, the Washington Post recently profiled educators and their role in indoctrinating young Russians molding them into what the article points out or militarized nationalists. What do you see as the long- term effects of that? Given your analysis of the Russian state and your expertise, right, and how these autocrats stay in power?

TREISMAN: Well, the evidence on childhood indoctrination is a bit mixed. It does have some effect. But even the indoctrination under the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s, had only a relatively small long-term impact on the Russian public, at least, that's what studies have found. So, we shouldn't exaggerate the impact, but it does go to show just how determined Putin and those around him are to impose their version of history.

Their distorted version of history and to make sure that everybody, at least overtly accepts that view. And I think already, we see discomfort among many among teachers, among parents in Russia, about this kind of extreme, jingoistic nationalistic approach to history and to into education. So, it's not the end of the story. And I think we'll have to wait and see about long term effects.

But I wouldn't assume that they're going to be -- that they're going to dramatically change the way (INAUDIBLE)

NEWTON: Yes. And when he's been trying to do that the West has always been a much better, you know, antagonist in that role, as opposed to people that you literally have familial ties with the people in Ukraine. We'll have to leave it there for now. Daniel Treisman, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

TREISMAN: Thank you.

NEWTON: OK. Still to come for us. An aggressive rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve as it tries to tame inflation. We'll have all the details next.



NEWTON: U.S. Federal Reserve is rolling out its largest interest rate hike in nearly 30 years as it pledges to bring down sky high inflation. Now the increase, three quarters of a percentage point and aggressive move to try and slow the economy and tame inflation. But one that will lead in fact to higher costs on things like mortgages and automobile loans. Now Fed Chair Jerome Powell says it was the eye- catching in his words, May inflation report that led to the need for a more dramatic rate hike.

And while he can't completely rule it out, Powell doesn't expect increases down the road to be as high. Listen.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: We anticipate that ongoing rate increases will be appropriate. The pace of those changes will continue to depend on the incoming data and the evolving outlook for the economy. Clearly, today's 75 basis point increase is an unusually large one and I do not expect moves of this size to be common.


NEWTON: Common might happen one more time. Now earlier, I spoke with Maurice Obstfeld. He is a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He's also a former chief economist with the International Monetary Fund. And I began by asking him about the Fed's move and whether they can actually cool the economy without stalling it.


MAURICE OBSTFELD, NONRESIDENT SENIOR FELLOW, PETERSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS: (INAUDIBLE) delivered exactly what the market expected. No more than the market expected he wanted to send a signal of the Feds intent. That seriousness that was reiterated in the Federal Open Market Committee statement and then his remarks. He'd left the door open to another 75 basis point increase in July.

And I wouldn't be surprised if we see that inflation has a lot of momentum now. And it will be quite a high wire act to bring that down without slowing growth considerably in the U.S. economy.

NEWTON: High wire acts are dangerous. He actually made the statement. To be clear, we are not trying to induce a recession. This could be collateral damage, though, right? Especially given that experts like you were saying they might have to go higher, they might have to do 75 again, three quarters of a percent.

OBSTFELD: Yes. It's absolutely a possibility. The Fed acknowledged that the risks to inflation are to the upside. If that's the case, that means that expectations of inflation going forward are stronger and the Federal left to act more decisively. And that increases the risk of recession.

NEWTON: Yes, I actually found the interpretation of what the Fed has seen in terms of the data quite stunning and how dramatically it had changed. Just -- not even a matter of months, but in a matter of weeks. I want to turn now to the ECB which made dramatic moves of its own. The first a hike in 11 years will come in July. They've already said that. But Madame Lagarde called an emergency meeting worried about possibly yet another debt crisis in the Eurozone.

How are you judging systemic risk in Europe and beyond right now, especially given your expertise in the world -- in the International Monetary Fund?

OBSTFELD: That's a very interesting and I think worrying situation. Of course, Europe is on the front line in taking the economic players from the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the increase in natural gas prices. And, you know, at the same time, the ECB announced it would be raising interest rates in July and also halting its acquisitions, its purchases of government debts. This immediately led to tension in the markets for Spanish and especially Italian debt, which had been somewhat favored by the ECB's purchases over the last couple of years.

So the purpose of the emergency meeting was to assure markets that there would be some program rolled out in the future and specified to create an anti-fragmentation instrument as they called it, which would allow the ECB to do purchases of sovereign debts that were coming under greater stress.

NEWTON: Listen, we don't have to repeat it again, right? We all know these are unsettling times especially when it comes to inflation.


NEWTON: How confident should all of us be about our livelihoods as inflation -- perhaps it has peaked, I don't know. But it is already eating away substantially at household budgets, in economies right across the spectrum?

OBSTFELD: Well, I think the fun -- the fundamental problem is that coming out of COVID, given pressures and supply chains and then on top of that, the war, we've seen sharp spikes in energy and food prices. And these are really the main drivers of inflation around the world. And these price increases which hits, you know, essential items on energy, gas, electricity, food, mean that our incomes will not go as far.

So that's, that's the reality of where we are. And simply stopping inflation will not necessarily mean a reversal of those price increases. For people's real incomes to increase, those prices actually have to come down. And that will likely require an easing of global geopolitical tensions.

NEWTON: Yes. And it's something we are also not seeing in the immediate future. We'll leave it there for now.


NEWTON: Maurice Obstfeld, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

OBSTFELD: My pleasure.


NEWTON: All right. Selina Wang now joins us from Beijing with all the reaction. Wanting to know. Take the temperature of markets and we have to remember, right? It's not just those interest rates. The U.S. dollar will be very strong throughout these moves as well.

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, we are seeing Asian markets mostly track the rally in the U.S. Asia stock markets mostly higher. This reflects the overall relief from investors that the Fed is sticking to its word and is taking inflation seriously. Right now, Americans they are struggling with high prices from the grocery store, from the gas pump. But the cure to that problem of inflation -- well, it's also going to be painful.

The Fed hiking interest rates the most since 1994. That impacts millions of Americans and businesses. That pushes up the cost of borrowing homes, cars and other loans. That is going to cool the economy down which is the point to rein in spending to reduce demand for goods and services which would then help bring those prices down. But this also sparks fears that it could further tip potentially increase the risk of the U.S. tipping into recession.

But the Fed's message is that if it did not take this aggressive measure, well, the situation would be worse because you'd have Americans struggling to make ends meet despite the strong labor market as those prices continue to increase. In the Asian markets -- in the China markets in particular, we saw a muted response following this fed market move, the markets in China only slightly up.

This follows the economic data from China in May showing that while industrial production increased ever so slightly. Well, retail spending is still down for the third consecutive month. Dropping nearly seven percent. The markets in Asia they've been under pressure from China's on and off COVID lock downs over these past few months. Those lock downs keep people sealed in their homes.

It suppresses spending and also reduces overall business confidence when there is no security that your factory operations are going to be able to continue well into the future. Now at the same time, the big critical number from China's economic data was that record high youth unemployment. So at the same time, you've got looming recession in the U.S. Analysts are predicting a contraction in China's economy in the second quarter. Paula?

NEWTON: Which is spectacularly stunning if that actually comes to fruition. Selina Wang for us in Beijing. Thanks so much.

Now parts of Mexico in the grips of a horrifying crime wave. Coming up. How the very act of reporting, just reporting on a crime is endangering the lives of journalists.



NEWTON: Brazilian police finally have some answers in the case of two men that went missing in the Amazon more than a week ago. But they also have more questions.

Police say, one of the suspects, a local fisherman, confessed to killing British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira. The man showed police where the pair were killed in the jungle and also where they were buried. Now, Brazil's justice minister confirmed human remains had been found while searching those sites. And police say more arrests are imminent.

Phillips' wife issued a statement saying there is now an end to the anguish of not knowing what happened to the two men. And now, they can, "Bring them home and say goodbye with love". To Mexico now where journalists are increasingly risking their lives just to cover the news. There have been hundreds of homicides this year in Tijuana alone. And some of the journalists covering those murders are being killed themselves. CNN's Matt Rivers has our report.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Tijuana, Mexico. In a country played by homicide, this city stands out. Nearly 800 murders already this year, say state officials, which means the people reporting on the crimes are busy. This week, I get to see firsthand, meeting up well after dark with freelance journalist, Arturo Rosales. It's not long before we're off to what police say is a murder scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Are you scared sometimes of your work? Because you're working in very complex situations.

ARTURO ROSALES, FREELANCE JOURNALIST (through translator): Yes, mainly in areas with a lot of conflict.

RIVERS (voiceover): Dangerous neighborhoods, like here in Los Alamos, where a body was found left in the street. Arturo gets to work, snapping photos, and going live on Facebook.

He just describes the basics, time, location, manner of death. In a city like Tijuana, where murders are often linked to organized crime, even just reporting the facts can be deadly.

Margarito (ph) Martinez was a well-known crime reporter in the city. A happy guy with a quick wit and a big smile. He was killed outside his home earlier this year.

A best friend, he taught me everything I know.

Jesus Aguilar (ph) is a journalist, too. One of Martinez's best friends. They worked together at countless murder scenes. And Aguilar worked at Martinez's, too.

I had to see it, he says. I had to see it. It's what we do. We cover homicides. Now, I witnessed his.

Prosecutors detained 10 people for the crime, though none have been formally charged. Authorities say those detained have ties to organized crime but haven't given an exact motive for the killing. Martinez's death, tragically not that unusual in Mexico.

11 journalists have been killed so far this year, according to human rights group Article 19. A number, the Mexican government, disputes as too high. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says his government is committed to protecting journalists.

The difference from before, he says, is that in all these homicides, there have already been people detained and there is no impunity.

But that is simply not true. The government's own statistics show that more than 90 percent of crimes in Mexico go unsolved. For Sonia Dianda (ph) herself, a Tijuana journalist, it creates a morbid reality.


She says, whatever threats, obstacles to their work, whoever kills a journalist, there are no consequences because we live in a country of impunity.

The Mexican President also routinely attacks journalists he doesn't like as enemies. Often claiming coverage that is critical of him is really just an attack on the Mexican people. Critics say, comments like those contribute to the violence journalists face.

How many journals have been killed, he says? A whole lot, that's the truth.

That uncertainty. The danger surrounding this job is with Arturo Rosales as he drives around Tijuana each night.

He says, there is not much confidence in the government because there is no protection.

Arriving at our last scene of the night, Arturo goes through the motions and we find out what happened.

RIVERS (on camera): The driver of that car right there, that's now on its side, he was shot while actually driving the car. That would make this at least the 10th homicide that's been recorded in Tijuana in just the last 24 hours.

RIVERS (voiceover): And Arturo says, he'll keep being there to document as many as he can. Even though he and all his fellow journalists know that they could go from covering victims to becoming victims at any moment. Matt Rivers, CNN, Tijuana, Mexico.


NEWTON: Hearings into the January 6th Capitol riot are said to resume Thursday. It's expected to focus on the White House's pressure campaign on then-Vice President Mike Pence to block certification of the 2020 election. Lawmakers will argue Trump's comments about Pence directly contributed to the deadly insurrection.


DONALD TRUMP, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENT: Mike Pence -- I will tell you right now, I'm not hearing good stories.

I hope that our great vice president, our great vice president comes through for us. He's a great guy. Because if he doesn't come through, I won't like him quite as much.


NEWTON: Now, remember, numerous White House advisers and lawyers told Trump that the vice president really didn't have the constitutional authority to stop the election certification. Thursday's hearings are also expected to include new details about Pence's whereabouts on the day of the insurrection. ABC News obtained this image of Pence and his family in hiding as an angry mob hunted for him.


CROWD: Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.


NEWTON: They're yelling, hang Mike Pence. Now, Pence was whisked to safety as the mob near the senate chamber. Committee member Zoe Lofgren tells CNN the public does not yet realize just how close those rioters came to finding Pence, and possibly killing him.

Now CNN coverage of Thursday's hearing will begin at noon Eastern time, 5:00 pm London. The committee says, two offenses of former advisers are scheduled to testify.

Coming up for us, scorching computers are blanketing parts of Western Europe in an unseasonably early start to summer. How long will this heat wave last? We'll tell you, after the break.



Parts of Western Europe are gripped right now by an unseasonable heat wave with blistering temperatures right across the region. Now, the brutal highs are coming even before summer even officially begins. Al Goodman has our report.


AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): A usually bustling town square is nearly empty Wednesday. Terraces, with few patrons. All trying to stay cool. Spaniards are sweltering in the earliest heat wave in four decades. Setting scorching temperatures across the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We do have heat here in the summer until November. But we weren't prepared for this because the change was so drastic. We weren't able to adapt to how quickly it got hot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We have to do things indoors because I don't think we can cope walking under the sun.

GOODMAN (voiceover): Spain's state meteorological agency says a cloud of hot air from North Africa is hitting Western Europe with unseasonably blistering temperatures. Experts point to global warming for the extreme heat and say it poses a risk for public safety.

RUBEN DEL CAMPO, SPOKESPERSON, SPANISH METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY (through translator): Spain's summers are getting hotter and hotter. A current summer lasts more than a month longer than in the 1980s. In general, morbidity and hospital admissions, and people with previous health problems, well, these hospital admissions increased as a consequence of the heat.

GOODMAN (voiceover): In the Southwestern City of Badajoz, many schools closed early this week to protect students from temperatures. Students in neighboring France also sweltering as a nationwide baccalaureate exam for philosophy was administered Wednesday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Being in a room for four hours where there is no air conditioning is going to be hard in this heat. I've brought some cold bottles of water, but it's complicated to concentrate when it's so hot.

GOODMAN (voiceover): Searing heat in France has also come early as the country tries to combat the impact of the climate crisis.

On Tuesday, France announced a 500 million Euro plan to re-grain cities and develop urban cool islands in an effort to fight global warming. The need for climate solutions increasingly urgent as the cost to stay cool rises. The heat wave is boosting demand for air conditioning. While European national gas prices spiked this week amid a U.S. outage and the Ukraine war tightening supplies from Russia.

Now, residents in Spain, France, and elsewhere may have to find creative solutions to stay cool as these sizzling temperatures may soon become standard in an increasingly warming world. Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid.


NEWTON: OK. I want to thank you for joining us. World Sport is next. But I will be back at the top of the hour with more news. Remember we are following that breaking news out of Ukraine with three leaders from Europe now will visit in the coming hours with the president of Ukraine. We'll bring it to you live, stay with us.


NAVARRO: Nobody grooms anybody to be gay or to be straight. It comes from nature. And so, it is repulsive to me that Republicans are using and manufacturing a culture war in order to drive people to the polls through fear for, you know, oh, now, they're coming for your children. They're not coming for your children.

LEMON: Yes, let her --

STEWART: But -- but --

NAVARRO: Nobody's coming for your children.

LEMON: Let her respond. Let her respond.

STEWART: Look, clearly what happened with the gay pride parade out in Idaho is reprehensible. What should have not happened -- they should've --

NAVARRO: But why did it happen, Alice? STEWART: Well, because there are people that are filled with hate and specifically against the members of the gay community and it's reprehensible. I don't know how much more plainly I can say that. That should not have happened and they need to be held accountable. But again --

NAVARRO: Alice, it happened because --

STEWART: -- again --

NAVARRO: -- Republicans have been --

STEWART: -- again --

NAVARRO: -- back -- have been going on this, hammering this anti- LGBTQ message now for months. They've been using -- listen, we've seen this before, Alice. You and I are both Republicans. We saw it during the Bush campaign in 2004 where it was used as a very effective wedge issue to drive people to the polls through fears. It is the exact same playbook. That's why people -- white supremacists are going to a pride parade. Because we are feeding this into their brains. And it's got to stop.

STEWART: It's completely wrong to paint Republican Party and Republicans in general with the same brush. These people are certainly outliers. They are filled with hate. And they are not reflective of the repart -- Republican Party. If I can get back to the laws that we're referring to, these are not, "MAGA legislators" across the country that are acting indiscriminately imposing these laws. They are representing the will of the people of their States, the parents of their State who have been very vocal and very clear that the parents want to have a say in how their children are raised. And if their children want to have these types of gender reassignment surgeries --

LEMON: But you -- Alice --

STEWART: -- absolutely support them --

LEMON: -- you're focusing --

STEWART: -- but do so in a way --

LEMON: -- you're focusing on trans issues that are a small part and it's not even mentioned in the things that I discussed. You're focusing on trans issues but this goes beyond. We're talking about the LGBTQ Plus community as a whole. And you're taking a subset of something that's happening and focusing on those laws. Of course, parents should be able to have a say over -- a say over what happens to their children. But they have that say anyways. They don't need laws put into place to ensure that they have a say. They have. They're the parents of the kids. And the kids can't do it unless the parents say so when they're minors.

STEWART: That's not true.

LEMON: So, these laws are superfluous. STEWART: Don, that's simply not true. And look --


STEWART: Kids can get these medical procedures, Don, if there are -- if these laws were not in place. This is being done. Minor children are being --

LEMON: The banning -- the banning -- what does banning books have to do with it? What does don't say gay bill have to do with trans issues? What does, you know, discussing -- not being able to discuss materials of LGBTQ issues in public schools. What does that have to do with trans issues? I think what you're talking about is something that is extreme, and again, and this is a small part of the LGBTQ Plus issues.

Trans people make up a very small part of our population. The laws that would trans people is a very small part of the population. Gay people, in general, lesbians, bisexuals, gays make up a much larger percentage of the population than trans people. And these laws are being put into place to prohibit a group of people and then you come on and you focus on a very small group of people that this is affecting. And parents who already have a say in what their kids can -- what can and cannot happen to their children.

STEWART: Don, I'm addressing the laws that you asked me about. And when we're talking about the don't say gay measure in Florida, this is something that makes sure that this type of education, this type of literature, this type of curriculum is age-appropriate. I don't think it's appropriate for kindergartners through third-graders to be exposed to this type of education.

NAVARRO: They're not, Alice. They're not.

STEWART: And that's the --

NAVARRO: It's not part of the curriculum.

LEMON: I don't think anyone thinks that --

NAVARRO: Listen, I know -- I know -- listen -- and I'm from Florida, right? I live in Miami. I know LGBTQ teachers who are terrified for anybody to find out what their identity is because they're afraid of being fired. I know LGBTQ families who are afraid that their children will be targeted and marginalized. This is indefensible. This is targeting a group --


NAVARRO: -- for political gain and using them as political pawns. This is not a real problem. It is, yet again, another manufactured culture war for political purposes.


NAVARRO: And if you are getting your medical advice from Ted Cruz or Ron DeSantis or Marco Rubio, you got a real problem. LEMON: OK.

NAVARRO: Because you should be getting it from your doctors and your pediatrician.


LEMON: Alice, I'll give you the last word.

STEWART: Look, again, I think it's really important to understand, these legislatures are making these laws and imposing this legislation because they are representing the will of the people. The legislators in Florida have heard from the parents across the State. And a lot of times, what we are hearing, is parents are speaking out. They are requesting laws to be changed in their States. And these Republican legislators are doing just that. And this is where -- what makes this country great, is when we have laws that are passed at the State level, closer to the people, are more representative of the people --

NAVARRO: Come on, Alice.

STEWART: -- as opposed to --

NAVARRO: Targeting a --


NAVARRO: --- targeting a specific group --

LEMON: OK. Listen. Listen.

NAVARRO: -- does not make this country great.

LEMON: I think that --

NAVARRO: And of these legislators are not responding to their constituents. They're doing this for political gain. And they are ignorant. I -- you know, my State legislator in Florida --

LEMON: I've got to --

NAVARRO: -- went on the floor --

LEMON: -- I've got to go.

NAVARRO: -- and said that they could turn -- you know, that being gay could be a temporary thing. That is the epitome of ignorance.

LEMON: We'll be right back. I've got to go. Thanks.



So, new tonight, Dr. Anthony Fauci testing positive for COVID-19. He is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has been the leading voice in fighting the pandemic over the last two years.

In a statement, the institute says that Fauci, who is 81 years old, has mild symptoms and has been boosted twice, and he is being treated with the antiviral medication Paxlovid. Dr. Fauci is President Biden's chief medical adviser. And we're told that he has not had any close contact with the President or other senior officials. We'll keep you updated on that.

Next, January 6th Committee releasing a video showing a man threatening lawmakers one day after a congressman gave him a tour of the capital. George Conway and Doug Jones are here after this.