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Today's Hearing to Focus on Pressure Campaign on Pence; Select Committee First Reached Out to Loudermilk Last Month; U.S. Fed Raises Interest Rates by 3/4 of a Percentage Point; Macron, Scholz, Draghi Arrive in Kyiv After Train Trip; Scorching Heat Wave Gripping Parts of U.S.; Damaging Yellowstone River Floods Force National Park to Close. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 16, 2022 - 04:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and right around the world. I'm Isa Soares in London. And just ahead right here on CNN NEWSROOM --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you think the Vice President of the United States was in danger?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was important at least to let the Secret Service know that it was about to become a much more public disagreement.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mike Pence, I hope you're going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you are not, I'm going to be very disappointed in you.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Joseph R. Biden Jr. of the state of Delaware has received 306 votes. Donald J. Trump of the state of Florida has received 232 votes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rioters came close to capturing the Vice President and I think that there's very good evidence that they would have done harm to him perhaps even killed him.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Isa Soares.

SOARES: Welcome to the show everyone. It is Thursday, June 16th. 9:00 a.m. here in London. 4:00 a.m. in Washington where in the coming hours the third January 6 hearing will resume in the Capitol. Today's hearing is 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 and put Pence's life in danger.


TRUMP: Mike Pence -- I'll 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 is a great guy. Of course, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him quite as much.


SOARES: Well, numerous White House advisers and lawyers told Trump that the vice president did not have the constitutional authority to stop the election certification. Thursday's hearing is also expected to include new details about Pence's whereabouts on the day of the insurrection. ABC News obtained this image of Pence in his family in hiding as an angry mob hunting for him, the mob shouting this, have a listen.


CROWD CHANTING: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!


SOARES: Pence was whisked away as the mob neared the Senate chamber. His And former chief of staff spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the growing concerns For Pence's safety in the days leading up to the insurrection.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And I just want to be specific. You were concerned about the vice president's security because of what the president was saying?

MARC SHORT, PENCE'S FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, because it was about to become a much more public occasion. And I knew that the president was about to express that in a more public manner. That again, I'm not sure the consequences of that were thought through by people around the president with thousands of people coming to Washington.


SOARES: Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk is yet to speak to the Select Committee about a tour he gave the day before the riot. Newly released video shows one man taking photos -- as you can see there -- during the tour. Committee members found that suspicious because those areas don't normally attract attention from visitors. The man is seen apparently photographing Congressional stairways, security checkpoints -- as you can see there -- hallways too.

Well, according to the committee that same man returned the next day and recorded himself and others marching to the Capitol. At one-point he could be heard issuing ominous threats to Democratic leaders in Congress.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no escape, Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler, we're coming for you. We're coming in like white on rice for Pelosi, Nadler, Schumer, even you, AOC. We're coming to take you out. We'll pull you out by your hairs. How about that, Pelosi?


SOARES: Well, the new footage appears to be at odds with findings released earlier this week by U.S. Capitol Police. They said officers did not find the activities of the tour group really raised any concerns. When asked about it on Wednesday, Congressman Loudermilk insisted there was nothing nefarious about the tour group.



REP. BARRY LOUDERMILK (R-GA): These are folks who had never been to Washington, D.C. and they were here to visit their Congressman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So why not just speak to the committee and just --?

LOUDERMILK: Because the committee's never called me and asked me anything.


SOARES: And that's not exactly true that the Select Committee never reached out to Loudermilk. A letter seeking more information about the tour was sent to him about a month ago. Committee member Zoe Lofgren explained why they wanted to talk to him.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): We had asked Representative Loudermilk -- we didn't accuse him of anything, we asked him to come in and talk to us about this tour, which he has not done even yet. And as you can see from the video, and we were go over the video with him. Since he has refused to come in, we released it and he can look at it now.

But you can see that this rioter was there the day before with the representative and he was taking pictures of things that tourists aren't usually very interested in. Taking pictures of the stairwell up to the Ways and Means Committee where later the next day members were sheltered in place. Taking pictures of the tunnel between the Rayburn building and the Capitol where the next day I was evacuated through that tunnel. And we also know that the extremists were compiling maps of the tunnels and the buildings before January 6.


SOARES: And a source familiar with the January 6 investigation says that the panel is in possession of emails between conservative activist Virginia Thomas and attorney John Eastman. Now she is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Eastman was the man behind the pressure campaign on Pence. The source declined to say what was in those emails but said the committee is considering adding Thomas to the list of people who worked to overturn the election. Neither Thomas nor Eastman have responded to CNN for comment.

And a former Trump adviser could be headed to trial next month for contempt of Congress. A federal judge rejected Steve Bannon's legal effort to dismiss the criminal case against him. Bannon claimed the Congressional subpoena he received last year was illegal and that his recent contact with Trump was protected by executive privilege. The judge ruled that neither of those claims could be legally justified setting the stage for Bannon to stand trial. Bannon left the Trump White House, remember, back in 2017.

And CNN coverage of today's hearing will begin at noon Eastern time, that is 5:00 in the afternoon if you are watching in London. The committee says two of Pence's former advisers are scheduled to testify. So do say with CNN for that.

I do want to stay though in the United States. The Federal Reserve is rolling out its largest interest rate hike in at least 30 years as it pledges to bring down sky high inflation. The increase about three quarters of a percentage point -- as you can see there. A pretty aggressive move to slow the economy and tame inflation. But one that will lead to higher costs on things like mortgages as well as auto loans. Fed Chair Jerome Powell says it warns that eye catching May inflation report, you remember, 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. Have a 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.


Well, CNN correspondents are tracking all the developments. Selina Wang is live for us this hour in Beijing. Anna Stewart is standing by in Paris. I want to start with any of this hour. And Anna, while the 75 basis points was pretty much the expectation, and that's what the Fed delivered. But we haven't seen these kind of increases since the 1990s, which really, I think is fair to say underscores the seriousness of the economic picture. What did you take away from what the Fed said -- Anna?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: And we actually didn't expect this sort of hike actually even a week ago. It was really those inflation figures that came out on Friday that shocked the markets and I think shocked the Federal Reserve into this action.

If I was to sort of summarize the entire meeting yesterday, it would be from Jerome Powell inflation is bad, we are doing what we can, but there is only so much that we can control particularly with inflation. Considering energy prices are very much reliant on the war in Ukraine given supply chain disruptions, of course, has a lot to do with the pandemic and ongoing lockdowns in certain parts of the world like Asia.

So those are the things that they can't control. What they can control as ever, is rates. And when you lower rates of course you encourage people to go out, spend, spend, spend, businesses expand, that really kicks an economy into action. And when you raise rates, you get the opposite effect.

Now, life for people and for businesses is already of course, getting more expensive.


Whether we're looking at prices at the petrol pumps or, you know, at stores, inflation is pushing up prices. But anyone that borrowed, the people with mortgages, credit cards debt, businesses to have to borrow. Things are going to get even more expensive for them still. That will cool inflation, it will bring it down, but probably not as much as is needed frankly. And what the Federal Reserve is going to be very concerned about is not stopping people from spending entirely.

Because what they don't want to do is push the economy into a recession. It may had into a recession anyway but at least not a sort of extended one. And they need to protect the jobs market. Which right now in the U.S. is still strong. So, there's a lot of different tensions moving here and I think month to month we are seeing very different actions from the Federal Reserve and also, very different desires from the market. A month ago, markets didn't want a 75 basis point hike. This is what they were practically begging for yesterday.

SOARES: It's a very fine balancing act for Jerome Powell. Isn't it? Something that you and I have discussed. Something else that we have discussed and have been discussing for some time, Anna -- and this is really a question for Selina wang -- is, you know, whether markets -- whether investors are convinced that this is enough. Are markets cheering this morning -- Selina?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, originally, Isa, we saw Asia markets cheering this news following the rally on Wall Street but then we saw that momentum start to slip and now the picture is pretty mixed on mainland China. Stocks just slightly down, stocks falling in Europe as well as in Hong Kong. Hong Kong actually also hiked their interest rates following the move from the Fed which is sparking concerns in Hong Kong that this could derail Hong Kong's very fragile economic recovery from the pandemic.

Now to Anna's point, the whole point of the rate hike is to cool the economy, to reduce demand for goods and services so that that will help bring prices down. But while markets are happy that this means the Fed is taking inflation seriously, there are of course, concerns if this could potentially tip the economy into recession.

Now, inflation is a global issue especially as we see global food prices rise. But interestingly here in China, prices are actually cooling. And that's because the country's zero COVID lockdowns have suppressed retail activity, factory activity. And so, that actually gives China's central bank more room for stimulus compared to many other countries around the world like the U.S. that are scrambling to tame inflation with these aggressive rate hikes.

But China's central bank actually is not going with aggressive monetary easing. And that's coming at a time when zero COVID is still inflicting pain on this economy. Some economists are calling this China's economy being in the worst shape in the past 30 years. We just saw data for May from China, those retail sales dropping for the third consecutive month and industrial production just barely turning positive.

So, it's still a murky picture here in China. At the same time, you've got looming recession in the U.S., some analysts are predicting China's economy will contract in the second quarter. A double whammy for the global economy because China is a massive producer and consumer of the world's goods.

SOARES: And just before we go, I want to show viewers European markets they're falling right now, down more than 1 percent, almost 2 percent at one point. There you go. The Xetra DAX in Germany down almost 2 percent and a similar picture we're seeing with the Paris CAC and the FTSE 100, speaks of that nervousness that both Anna and Selina were talking about, that perhaps enough is not being done. And perhaps that the ECB needs to do more, something that we've been discussing here in terms of those bond yields that we've seeing, particular Italian yields. Selina Wang and Anna Stewart thank you to you both.

Now to a surprise visit to Ukraine from French President Emmanuel Macron, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The three European leaders arrived in Kyiv about a short time ago -- about an hour or so ago. Kyiv have been critical of France, Germany and Italy for being slow to deliver weapons to Ukraine. So, this trip possibly an effort to shore up relations. Mr. Macron and Mr. Scholz vowing to deliver a message of support and unity to Ukraine's president. The visit comes just one day, of course, after U.S. President Joe Biden pledged an additional $1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine.

CNN's Clare Sebastian is with me here in London, but first let's go to Salma Abdelaziz who joins us from Kyiv. And Salma, what do we know about this visit by the leaders of France, Germany and Italy? Clearly, it's a show of support, a show of force. But what does President Zelenskyy want to come out of this?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, so this is an historic visit. Their first visit for these three European leaders since the start of the Russian invasion. And, yes, of course, it is a moment to show -- a show of force absolutely from Europe, but it's also a time to mend fences. President Zelenskyy has been particularly of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's support for Ukraine during this time.

[04:15:00] When it comes to the German Chancellor, the accusation there is despite the fact that Germany is the largest economy in Europe, it dragged its feet on providing military aid and support to Ukraine. And even when they finally did announced the aid, critics say it's very small again compared to the size of the German economy. But even more critically, Germany has so far not banned oil and gas imports from Russia. Instead promising to phase those out by the end of the year.

President Zelenskyy has been -- has had some choice words for the Scholz government on that, saying that essentially that amounts to funding Russia's invasion here in Ukraine. So, there's been a testy exchange there. So, you're going to expect that President Zelenskyy is going to push the German Chancellor on the issue of sanctions in particular and on the issue of more military aid and support.

And then there's also been testy exchanges with French President Emmanuel Macron who a few days ago -- I'm paraphrasing here -- but that the international community should find an exit ramp for President Putin in this conflict and that they should not humiliate Russia. President Zelenskyy quickly responded to that. Essentially saying that the French president was going easy on Russia. That Russia was really the blame here in this conflict.

And then you also have the other issue of Ukraine's bid to join the European Union. We expect to hear on Friday from the European Commission as to whether or not they're going to recommend Ukraine for candidacy status. Recommended to become a candidate to join the EU.

Now, joining the EU is a very lengthy process. This would just be the beginning. It takes years if not decades to get there. So, President Zelenskyy is going to be looking for more than rhetoric from these three European leaders. He's going to be looking for material support. He's going to be looking for them to increase their sanctions on Russia wherever possible and he's going to be looking for that to be a long term support here -- Isa.

SOARES: Yes, material really that he's been asking for, for some time. Salma Abdelaziz for us in Kyiv, thank you very much.

Clare Sebastian is with me here in the studio. Clare, you know it's clear that they're getting the support, NATO meeting as well, support from the EU, further support from the United States, that $1 billion in military assistance. What is the Kremlin -- what is Russia saying here? Because they are making small but incremental gains on the ground.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that's was interesting here. Because despite the fact that that we are seeing them made gains on the battlefield in the Donbas, they are also scene , you know, these diplomatic red lines for Russia being crossed or being in danger of being crossed with NATO sanctions. Ukraine's application to join the EU. The weapons that are keep being sent to Ukraine. All of that extremely worrying to Russia.

And we're hearing from the Kremlin spokesperson. He gave an interview today to state news agency and he said that only way for Russia and U.S. to normalize relations would be for the U.S. to reject the policy he said of global hegemony. To understand that Russia does not want to, cannot and does not intend to become anyone's vassal.

SOARES: They're not really shifting their narrative at all.

SEBASTIAN: They are not. They're becoming increasingly strident. But he also said on Wednesday -- and this is particularly interesting -- that he believes that it's essential to continue communication. Russia has had this refrain from the beginning really that however hard you try, you can't isolate us. That they are saying that they are frankly too big and too essential to be isolated. And aside from saying it, they continue to sort of prove it in actions. We see the call with President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, Russia describing this as unprecedented level of relations and they continue to use their gas leverage in Europe. We've seen them reduce supplies this week to Germany and to Sweden.

SOARES: Clare, thank you very much.

Now to 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. A Ukrainian commander says they went missing during a battle. A Russia propaganda channel On Telegram did not name them but claims that had two Americans were captured in the region. Some of the missing Americans' loved ones appeared on CNN earlier.


BUNNY DRUEKE MOTHER OF ALEXANDER JOHN-ROBERT DRUEKE: Alex did not go there as a representative of the U.S. military. He went there is 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 HUYNH: He went there to volunteer. 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.


SOARES: Well, two Britons and a Moroccan have already been sentenced to death by Russian backed separatist for fighting with Ukraine in the Donetsk region.

destroyed bridges and bridges washed out, devastating flooding has hit Yellowstone park. Coming up, how global warming is threatening the national treasure.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And historic heat across a large area of the United States, some records that have been standing for as much as almost 150 years were set and even hotter weather -- coming up in a few minutes.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SOARES: I'm going to show you this huge tornado yesterday near Oakdale, Wisconsin. Officials say a number of nearby homes were damaged and the interstate closed for more than three hours as trailers were blown on their sides. Luckily no major injuries were report.

Well that tornado comes as parts of the United States are being gripped by unseasonable heatwaves, scorching temperatures right across the Southeast -- as you see there -- and the Midwest. Nearly 120 million people were under heat warnings and advisories on Wednesday. More than a dozen cities have been setting record highs. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now for more on that. Good morning, Pedram. How long is this heat expected to last?

JAVAHERI: You know, across the northern United States, just a couple more days. For the southern U.S., we get a brief break and then potentially hotter weather this time next week. And I just want to show you just what we've observe in the past 24 or so hours with records, again that have been standing since the 1870s. 1875 Montgomery, Alabama's record of 100 degrees, that was tied for the day. Keep in mind Ulysses S. Grant was the president of the United States, the sport of basketball had yet to be invented. And we have records that have been standing that long that were shattered in the past 4 hours. Atlanta, 99 degrees, new record for the day.


And multiple cities across the southern U.S. dealing with a similar sort of upper 90s, low 100s here. And notice, parts of 18 states, about 60 plus million Americans still underneath these high weather -- hot weather alerts that are in place. And of course, still about 300,000 customers without power scattered about portions of the Midwest and even parts of the Southern U.S. from recent severe weather that we've seen.

But that dome of high pressure, it does want to shift a little farther back towards the West in the next couple of days. And notice, we get a break here. Some cooler temperatures come in going into Saturday and Sunday for the midwestern and northeastern United States. But that ridge is expected to rebuild eventually back over the southern U.S. yet again.

So, Chicago, 93, down to 85, down to 71, not too bad. You think we're headed in the right direction. But then you look at the forecast and eventually temps climb back up and in fact, get warmer than where they are in the next few hours here. Chicago climbing up to the upper 90s yet again. By Tuesday afternoon in Atlanta has temperatures that eventually bring it down to about 90 degrees which still sits above average. But, Isa, by this I'm next week, back into the century mark there, 100 degrees. And again, with the humidity, we'll feel closer to 106 to maybe 108 across parts of the southern U.S.

SOARES: Wow, I'm still thinking about that record in Montgomery from 1875. Truly something. Pedram, thank you very much, appreciate it.

Well, as if the baby formula shortage in the U.S. wasn't bad enough, severe storms caused a flood inside Abbott's plant in Sturgis, Michigan forcing it to suspend production of its EleCare specialty baby formula. Abbott says the shutdown could last a few weeks but the company is assuring moms as well as dads they have more than enough stock left to meet demand. This comes less than two weeks after the plant restarted following a month's long closure of a discovery of a harmful bacteria was blamed.

Well, parts of Yellowstone National Park is set to partly reopen as early as Monday. That is according to local media in Montana. Which report that the reopening would be in areas not badly hit by floods. Officials had closed all five of the park's entrances on Monday due to damage from major flooding. This video was taken near the park's north entrance, as you can see there, heavy rain and melting snow have washed out roads and damaged bridges right across the area. Our Nick Watt has the story for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is insane.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was a home for park employees obliterated by the Yellowstone River as was the one and only road in from the north entrance. The oldest national park on Earth is now closed.

CAMERON SHOLLY, SUPERINTENDENT, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: I've heard this is 1,000 year events, whatever that means these days they seem to be happening more and more frequently.

WATT (voice-over): This is climate change. An unusually late heavy snowfall, then unusually high temperatures melting that snow. Plus, a lot of rain. Combining to cut off this gem of the American West. More than 2 million acres, 1,000 miles of trails, 500 geysers, bears, birds.

As much as three months' worth of water barreled down this valley in three days. Breaking record high river levels set over 100 years ago, overwhelming infrastructure built for what was normal last century, not for the extreme and unpredictable that is becoming normal in this.

For the benefit and enjoyment of the people says the grand old gate, not right now. This northern entrance likely will not open again this summer. Because that one road in will take months to fix.

KARI HUESING, YELLOWSTONE GATEWAY INN: There is nobody here. And there's one hotel that's actually shutting down. Told all its employees to go home.

WATT: You were booked.

HUESING: We were booked.

WATT: And now you have one person that's leaving.

HUESING: We were booked solid for a year. We were booked for a year.

WATT (voice-over): Gartner gateway to the park, now a ghost town. Probably will be four months.

BILL BERG, PARK COUNTY, MONTANA COMMISSIONER: It's a Yellowstone town and it lives and dies by tourism.

WATT (voice-over): There should be more than 10,000 people in the park on a summer's day today, just a few hikers left in the back country and all this might not be over. There's still 12 inches of snow pack up there. And high temperatures are forecast for the weekend. More snow might melt and the Yellowstone River might rise again.

WATT: Now last year in a report the U.S. Geological Survey basically said that this was going to happen, that around here there was going to be more precipitation and quicker snow melt. And they also said that that is going to continue for the years to come. Now, the south of Yellowstone Park could open next week. The northern gate, it's going to be months.

Nick Watt, CNN, Gardner, Montana.


SOARES: Thanks Nick for that report.

Well, right now, NATO defense ministers are discussing Russia's invasion on Ukraine and how to further strengthen regional defenses. We'll have a live report from NATO headquarters. That's after a very short break. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.