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CDC Advisory Panel Meeting to Vote on Approval for COVID-19 Vaccines for Children as Young as Six Months; President Biden Defends Administration's Record on U.S. Economy During Interview; Wages in U.S. Rise Along with Inflation; Bipartisan Group of Senators Working Out Details of Gun Control Legislation; Donald Trump Criticizes Former Vice President Mike Pence During Speech at Faith-Based Voters Event; Major Airlines in U.S. Canceling Numerous Flights; Large Parts of U.S. Under Heat Advisories; Megadrought in Western U.S. Affecting Farming; Vince McMahon Stepping Down as World Wresting Entertainment CEO Amidst Investigation by Board into Possible Scandal. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired June 18, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now in the Newsroom, a major moment in the fight against coronavirus. CDC advisers meeting at this hour to debate whether to recommend vaccines for kids as young as six months.
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: We've just been waiting for this moment to be able to give our children the same level of high protection that we have, too.
SANCHEZ: How this is going to play out and when shots could start going into arms.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm using every lever available to me to bring down prices for the American people.
SANCHEZ: The White House projects optimism despite soaring inflation. The impacts costs are having on American's wallets and some summer staples.
Republican Senator John Cornyn booed at a GOP conference for his work on bipartisan gun legislation. His response and where those negotiations stand now.
And a megadrought in the United States causing big problems for America's farmers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we going to have water in two or three years out of our aquafer? Nobody can say that.
SANCHEZ: The devastating impacts soaring temperatures are having on the industry and what that could mean for your food supply.
Newsroom starts right now.
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CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It is so good to have your company here this morning. It is Saturday, June 18th. I'm Christie Paul. Good morning.
SANCHEZ: Great to be with you, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.
And after months of waiting, the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest Americans could finally get the green light as the CDC's vaccine advisers get ready to vote on authorization in just the next few hours. The White House, which has already pledged to have 10 million vaccine doses available, says that depending on today's vote, shots for kids under five could begin as soon as next week.
PAUL: This would mark a major smile stone for millions of parents across the country who have waited pretty anxiously for their babies and toddlers to get protection. Roughly 17 million kids would become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines once they're approved for this age group.
CNN's Miguel Marquez has been following all of this for us. Miguel, always good to see you. What are you learning this morning?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are just about to go into the final meeting. They met for several hours yesterday, that CDC advisory panel. They're going to meet for a couple hours today, and then around noon eastern, maybe a little after, they will take that vote, and if, as expected, it will move forward, then it goes to the CDC director who is expected to accede to their wishes and recommend that those shots be given to kids.
As you said, this is about 20 million kids. This is the last large tranche of Americans, the very youngest, most vulnerable, to get these shots. Two different shots, two different slightly different regimes. The Moderna is a two-shot regime. The Pfizer is a three-shot regime. They have not been studied broadly. It has been such a long time in coming, and there has been so much work done to ensure that these are safe for kids. There hasn't been a lot of concern about side effects. The level of protection, while it is much greater than they have without the vaccines, it's not as great as some adults are getting from these shots.
Once it is approved, a lot of these shots are already being shipped to different cities. In New York, for instance, it will be Wednesday, the 22nd, when the city thinks they will be able to get those shots into arms. Back to you guys.
PAUL: Miguel Marquez, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.
So let's talk about this with physician Buddy Creech. He's the physician and pediatric disease professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. We appreciate you being here, Doctor, thank you so much.
I wanted to ask you first and foremost, because you are uniquely qualified, obviously, to speak about this. I know that your research is focused on developmental and evaluations of new vaccines and therapeutics. But how comfortable, how confident are you in these vaccines that have been crafted for this age group?
DR. BUDDY CREECH, PHYSICIAN: Well, we've been working on these vaccines for the better part of two years now, having led the adult studies of both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and now leading these Moderna studies down to the age of six months.
And I think what is fair to say is that we who are leading the trials are very comfortable with the safety that we're seeing in the clinical trials, the efficacy that we're seeing in terms of immune response and protection from severe disease, and now it's time for us to be able to put these vaccines into the hands of parents who have really wanted them for so long.
PAUL: You mentioned the parents who have wanted them. The numbers might be surprising to some people. The latest polling from the Kaiser family shows only 18 percent of parents expect to get their child vaccinated, 38 percent they they're going to wait it out see how it goes, and 27 percent say they would not vaccinate their child at all. With that said, what factors would you be considering, what would you be ruminating over if you're trying to determine if this vaccine is right for you and your family?
CREECH: I think parents want to do what's best for the health of their child. And for some, they still have questions. And that's where their pediatrician, their local health provider could be very helpful in addressing those questions head on. Sometimes it's about safety. Sometimes it's about risk and how much risk we're actually seeing in children right now.
I think the biggest factor going into decisions for parents right now is that it is a misnomer that children aren't infected with this virus. We can look around and see children infected a lot, and we see various types of infections that are coming to our children's hospitals right now. So for those high-risk children with underlying medical conditions, for those who live in families with family members who have high risk conditions, I think the results from the studies and the results from the work that we've put in over the last couple years shows that these vaccines are going to be safe and effective at preventing the bad outcomes that we so want to avoid with COVID.
PAUL: It's interesting you mention that, because, as far as I can tell, there were about 442 children under the age of five who died from COVID out of more than a million people that died here in the U.S. But the frequency of hospitalization of this age group of children during Omicron was frightening to people. How concerned are you about the newer variants out there, specifically with this age group, and how effective might this vaccine be at curving that? CREECH: As pediatricians, we dread the winter and early spring every
year because we know our hospitals are going to be filled with healthy as well as at risk children who have complications from what should be common colds. While we see this virus changing into more of a common cold for those of us that are adults, we are seeing complications in children that make us want to act, not only in those who have underlying medical conditions, like heart disease or lung disease or who are born prematurely, but also those healthy children that we don't understand why they have bad outcomes from this virus. I think that's why parents are going to want to get questions answered to be able to get their children vaccinated and take advantage of this tool that's our next step in hopefully seeing this pandemic come to a real end.
PAUL: All right. Dr. Buddy Creech, your expertise is so appreciated here. Thank you for taking time for us this morning.
CREECH: Thanks so much.
PAUL: Of course.
SANCHEZ: So Friday marked the end of a rocky week for Wall Street. The downturn came Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised rates by 75 basis points. That's the largest hike in 28 years. Now those efforts to tame inflation have sparked fears that the United States is approaching a recession. The Dow closed down on Friday, the S&P closed marginally higher but still wound up with its worst week since 2020.
On the brighter side, we also learned that wages in the United States are climbing at their fastest rate since the 1980s, but inflation has spiked so fast that workers have actually been handed a pay cut.
PAUL: CNN's Jasmine Wright is live in Washington. Jasmine, we know the White House is trying to strike this optimistic tone, but there are a lot of people who are really struggling right now. How does the president make that optimism effective?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, the president said yesterday that his administration is using every lever to try to bring the prices down, but he also projected that optimism by saying that he believes that the U.S. is the best positioned nation in the world to deal with the global inflation that we're seeing.
But Christi, the truth is that that optimism doesn't exactly jive with what Americans are feeling when they feel the pinch at the gas pump, at the grocery store, when they're paying those everyday prices. So that is going to be a major hurdle for this administration to overcome, really trying to empathize with Americans that they understand how they're feeling, but also projecting that they are actually in a good place, especially as we get closer and closer to the midterms.
Now, Biden tried to utilize that messaging when he sat down for a rare interview this week with the Associated Press, 30 minutes, and he said that frankly, he understands Americans are down. But he also was on the defensive a bit when he rejected the notion his administration has negatively impacted inflation.
He said, and I want to read you this quote. He said, "You could argue whether it had a marginal, minor impact on inflation. I don't think it did, and most economists don't think it did. But the idea that it caused inflation is bizarre." He's talking about that $1.9 trillion rescue plan passed in 2021. Christi?
BERMAN: Jasmine, President Biden is spending the weekend in Delaware. He was out for a bike ride. He had a tumble, didn't he? Any word on how he's doing?
WRIGHT: Yes, the president took a spill there. You can see it on the screen. The pool press traveling with him kind of caught it, and you see him getting pulled up by the Secret Service. Right after that he said that he was doing OK. He said to the press that he basically caught his foot on the bike. We've asked for more details about how the president is doing, but after that you can see that he addressed the crowd, really talking about his job, saying that being the president is like any other job. Some days it's easy, some days it's hard.
PAUL: All right, just glad he's OK. Jasmine Wright, thank you so much.
Still to come, the January 6th committee is turning their attention to how former president Trump and his allies pressured state officials to overturn 2020 election results. We have a look ahead at the witnesses that are slated for this week.
SANCHEZ: And a building collapse in Philadelphia has claimed the life of a veteran firefighter. The latest on this investigation after a quick break.
SANCHEZ: A Philadelphia firefighter is dead after a building collapsed early this morning during an intense fire. The mayor tweeting out, in part, quote, "grieving with members of the Philadelphia fire department and all of Philadelphia who lost one of our own in the line of duty today." The name of the firefighter has not yet been released, because the family has yet to be notified. Officials, though, say the firefighter was a 27-year veteran of the department.
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CRAIG MURPHY, PHILADELPHIA DEPUTY FIRE COMMISSIONER: People are just starting to decompress because we just finished up pulling our bother out of this place. And our brother is out of this place. And it's going to be a rough few weeks coming up.
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PAUL: Their family together there. Four other firefighters and one licensed and inspection inspector that were rescued were taken to Temple University Hospital. They're in stable condition, we're told. Officials described this collapse as a, quote, "lean to slash pancake" situation, which means part of the building didn't fall flat on surfaces, and that created void spaces. Fire marshals are still investigating the cause of the fire, though.
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SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R-TX): Sometimes my job is pretty simple. Sometimes my job is as simple as saying no.
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PAUL: You hear there the lead Republican negotiator on the bipartisan gun safety package, Senator John Cornyn being booed at a Texas GOP convention yesterday as he discussed what that bill includes.
SANCHEZ: Serious doubts are now emerging about the Senate's ability to pass gun control legislation. A Republican source telling CNN that is going to be a long time for the text of that bill is ready, despite optimism from some Democrats that believe the sides have made progress.
Let's take you to Capitol Hill now and CNN's Daniella Diaz. So Daniella, what is the holdup on getting this bill to a vote?
DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Boris, right now negotiators are trying to finalize details on two major sticking points. Remember, they had this framework, but now they're trying to write the legislation, which is why they're stuck on these details, one of them being the so-called boyfriend loophole. There is a disagreement how to define what a boyfriend is. Of course, this comes with a law that prohibits people from owning or purchasing guns because of a domestic violence conviction. Currently that ban only applies to someone who is a spouse or co-habitats with someone or has a child with someone. So that is why negotiators are trying to figure out what a boyfriend means. That is one detail they're stuck on.
Another detail they're stuck on is red flag laws. There is currently funding that they want to include in this legislation that would incentivize states to implement red flag laws. However, one key negotiator, John Cornyn, Republican from Texas, he wants some of that funding to be able to go to creating, quote, crisis intervention programs. So that is one -- those two sticking pointing being the details that they're stuck on right now. Boris?
PAUL: So Daniella, what happens at this point? What happens next?
DIAZ: Well, Christi, right now the senators recognize that they have momentum on this issue, which is why they're working around the clock to try to finalize these details and get a bill on the floor by next week before they go to a summer recess for two weeks. That is why they're trying really hard to finalize these points. And it remains to be seen whether they'll be able to do it. But we know that they're planning to work over the weekend, and they will be back in person next week to continue these negotiations. Christi, Boris?
SANCHEZ: Daniella Diaz live from Capitol Hill, thank you so much.
Let's get some perspective now with Police Chief Dwight Henninger. He's not only the police chief of Vail, Colorado, but also the head of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a group that recently paired with the fraternal order of police in a letter urging Congress to act on gun safety legislation. Chief, we appreciate you being with us this Saturday morning. Why is it so important in your eyes for Congress to get something done now?
CHIEF DWIGHT HENNINGER, VAIL POLICE: Boris, first, I'd like to say my heart goes out to the folks in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia fire department and the lost firefighter in their family. But from our perspective at the IACP, some progress is so important.
There hasn't been significant gun legislation around gun violence in the last 30 years. So we're excited that there is the potential this time around. Our members and from big cities and small cities are concerned about the level of violence on a daily basis. We're seeing 12 people die a day from gun violence, whether from gang related shootings or even suicide. It's just something that's got to be done.
SANCHEZ: As we just heard from Daniella, the sticking points include the incentives for red flag laws, closing that boyfriend loophole, defining what a boyfriend is. Some ideas that have been excluded, though, include an assault weapons ban or raising the minimum age to buy one of those weapons. I'm wondering what reforms you think would be most impactful, what you think of what is in the bill currently.
HENNINGER: This problem is not going to be solved by one or two measures. It's going to take a number of bites at the apple to fix this problem. But anything is a good start. The boyfriend loophole doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If you're convicted of assaulting your girlfriend or your spouse, it's the same situation. Why would one person be allowed to still purchase a weapon, and why would another not be able to purchase a firearm? So it doesn't make any sense to me on that level.
The other areas around the background checks are very important. We have made that system better, but there's still areas that need to be worked on along those lines.
SANCHEZ: I think the argument from people that are for that closing of the boyfriend loophole is that people that are involved in domestic violence disputes or that have been convicted of that kind of abuse have a higher tendency towards violence, and so by eliminating their access to weapons, at least in theory, or making it harder for them to get weapons, there likely would be less likelihood of some kind of follow-up towards the violence. But you say you don't believe that's the case?
HENNINGER: No, I do believe that. The level of violence that we're seeing in domestic violence situations is definitely concerning, and that's the whole purpose behind the background check system is when somebody goes to buy a firearm, they go through the background check, through the FBI, and they know whether or not they have had a prior conviction for domestic violence or a mental health issue. And so that's really important before we give somebody a gun.
In the past, there was a cooling off period because it took time to do those background checks. Now they're instantaneous, and so there is no opportunity to let people cool down in the heat of the moment.
SANCHEZ: Chief, I'm wondering what you say to prominent lawmakers like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. He argues that gun laws are not effective. He also says that there is an inalienable right enshrined in the Constitution allowing Americans to have weapons. What's your response to that argument?
HENNINGER: Well, I don't want to take on any specific senator. But from the IACP's perspective, any type of law needs to be recognized that there are give and take on that. Even the Second Amendment is not absolute. And the level of gun violence in our country is really problematic. We're talking about 40,000 deaths a year. There needs to be some action taken to start closing some of those problems that are allowing access to firearms to people who are in crisis or having a really bad day. So we need to really take some really thoughtful moves, recognizing it takes a lot to solve this problem. But we also need in each of our decisions to be concerned about the Second Amendment because we all want to support lawful gun owners.
SANCHEZ: You have referred to the gun violence epidemic as an international embarrassment. I'm wondering if lawmakers can't reach a deal on this, what's at stake in your mind?
HENNINGER: Well, as the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, we're in 168 countries. We have members there, and in my travels this past year, I've been asked on many occasions by other police leaders, with a country as great as the United States, why can't you fix this problem? And I'm at a loss, to be honest with you. It seems like such a partisan issue, but it really is about the safety of our streets. It's the most challenging thing affecting our way of life now, and we need to take some action. I'm hopeful that in the near future I'll be able to tell my peers around the world that we are making some progress like we've seen in Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
SANCHEZ: I want to share with our viewers that you actually have personal experience with gun violence in your own life. What would you say to the victims and families of victims who might be frustrated watching a lack of action so far from lawmakers at the national level?
HENNINGER: Yes, as a young police officer, I was shot and my partner killed on duty.
And I feel for the victims of gun violence, or even victims -- families who have had a suicide in their family. The thoughts and prayers messages are just not cutting it any longer. Congress needs to take some action. Many states have taken good steps to be more effective in limiting gun violence. But guns are so easily transported across state lines, it needs to be a national legislation.
SANCHEZ: Chief Dwight Henninger, we have to leave the conversation there. We appreciate your service and your time joining us this morning.
HENNINGER: It's an honor to be a police officer. Thanks for having me on.
SANCHEZ: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you to him and to all the fellow officers out there.
All right, former president Trump lashing out against the January 6th committee in front of a conservative crowd in Nashville. What he's saying about his vice president, next.
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DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I want to thank you. What a beautiful turnout --
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SANCHEZ: The January 6th committee detailed how Donald Trump tried to pressure then Vice President Mike Pence to help him overturn the 2020 election. According to witness testimony, Trump was told repeatedly that his scheme was illegal and that the Supreme Court would shoot it down. But he tried to do it anyway.
PAUL: Now, when the vice president refused, Trump went on the attack, tweeting quote, "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution, giving states a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!" unquote. Critics say those words were used to whip up rioters at the Capitol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have heard that Mike Pence is not going to reject any fraudulent electoral votes!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traitor!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right! You heard it here first. Mike Pence has betrayed the United States of America!
(BOOS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- you, Mike Pence!
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: It was clear that it was escalating and escalating quickly.
CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
MATTHEWS: So when that tweet, Mike Pence tweet was sent out, I remember us saying that that was the last thing that needed to be tweeted at that moment. The situation was already bad. And so it felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Let's go to CNN reporter Marshall Cohen now. Marshall, how significant was this testimony in the latest hearing?
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, Boris and Christi. Very significant. You heard there from a White House official that it was like pouring gasoline on the fire. That's not a Democratic critic. That's not some, you know, anti-Trump partisan. That's the own Trump White House. And we heard a lot on Thursday from other White House aides from Mike Pence's staff about the real dangers that he faced on January 6th. Remember, this was a violent assault on the Capitol. People ran for their lives. Congressional staffers, lawmakers, the Vice President Mike Pence and his team.
And we heard a lot from his team, not only about the dangers, but also about the scheme, what Trump wanted Pence to do. This was a plan cooked up between Donald Trump and a rightwing attorney John Eastman who was advising Trump on a, frankly, ridiculous legal theory that somehow, someway Mike Pence could abuse his powers overseeing the joint session of Congress on January 6th to throw out some of Joe Biden's electoral votes and basically crown Trump with a second term.
It's a preposterous theory. The testimony revealed that Eastman even knew that it would require a violation of federal law, and that Pence directly advised Trump that it would be unconstitutional. But yet, according to the testimony, Trump pushed ahead anyway up through the morning of January 6th trying to get Pence to do it.
Take a listen to what Pence's top legal advisor Greg Jacobs said would have happened to this country if Pence caved and followed along with Trump's plan.
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GREG JACOBS, FORMER COUNSEL TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: A constitutional jump-ball situation, political chaos in Washington, lawsuits, and who knows what happening in the streets. And you would have had the vice president of the United States having declared that the outcomes of these state elections were incorrect.
We would have established a situation where a vice president world have asserted that one person could have the authority to determine the outcome of an election, which is antithetical to everything in our democracy. It's antithetical to the rule of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: Yes, so it's not pretty what would have happened. Thank goodness it didn't. So that was last week, a massive pressure campaign against Mike Pence. What the committee is going to feature on Tuesday, it's next hearing, is the pressure campaign in a specific state, Georgia, where, as we know, Donald Trump tried to pressure and cajole the election officials in that state to overturn the election to find enough votes to give him a victory. They refused to do it. We're going to hear from the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, who by the way, just beat a Trump backed opponent in his GOP primary.
PAUL: Good to point out. Marshall Cohen, thank you so much. We appreciate that.
Now, former president Trump, as you can imagine, has a lot to say about the January 6th committee.
SANCHEZ: Yes, he was addressing a crowd at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's annual Road to Majority conference. Trump blasted the House panel, doubling down on his criticism of Vice President Pence's actions on January 6th. Let's take you to the conference now with CNN's Kristen Holmes. She joins us now live from Nashville. Kristen, the former president is on tour, essentially, airing his grievances.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Boris and Christi. Yesterday it certainly seemed like that. This was his first opportunity to really address the hearings other than on his social media website as well as in a lengthy 12-page statement, and he ran with the opportunity. He repeated his lies about the 2020 election. He attacked the committee. He accused the committee of editing deceptively videos to make him look bad. And I will note that the chairman of the committee has said that they will eventually release the full transcripts.
But perhaps most striking was that attack on Mike Pence, his former vice president, a man that served under him for four years, who just the day before, as Marshall said, the committee laid out the real danger that Pence was in on January 6th. Take a listen to just some of what Trump said about Pence.
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DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I never called Mike Pence a wimp. I never called him a wimp. Mike Pence had a chance to be great. He had a chance to be, frankly, historic. But just like Bill Barr and the rest of these weak people, Mike -- and I say it sadly, because I like him, but Mike did not have the courage to act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: So Boris and Christi, one thing I want to point out here is about this crowd. Yes, there are a lot of Trump supporters in the crowd, but this is a friendly Mike Pence crowd. It's a religious conservative event, an event that Mike Pence has spoken at for years, and yet still did not stop Trump from completely mocking the former vice president, sometimes to just tepid applause.
SANCHEZ: Kristen Holmes live from Nashville. Thank you so much, Kristen.
So more than 25 million people are under heat alerts, and some folks are going to feel triple digit temperatures along with potentially some new records. Your weather forecast is next.
SANCHEZ: The busy summer travel season is off to a rocky start with thousands of flight cancellations and sky high ticket prices. Airlines cancelled nearly 1,500 flights yesterday, already over 600 today are cancelled.
PAUL: And sources tell CNN Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has urged airline executives to review their flight plans ahead of the Fourth of July holiday to try to soften the impact of flight summer cancellations. Now, this comes after more than 2,700 flights were cancelled over Memorial Day weekend.
Delta, by the way, has led the way, saying that it would cancel about 100 flights a day to minimize disruptions, but Delta's pilots union published a letter saying they're being over worked and they're frustrated.
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CAPTAIN EVAN BAACH, VICE CHAIR OF COMMUNICATIONS DELTA'S PILOT UNION: Our issue really began a while ago during COVID. And we've been making it very clear to Delta management for quite a while that we are not staffed appropriately for this summer flying. We don't have enough pilots, and the company is scheduling more flights they can fly. We've been very vocal about it for the last few months. We've been picketing at Delta bases and hubs throughout the system to send that message, that our pilots are tired, and we're frustrated, we're fatigued.
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PAUL: In response, Delta issued a statement reading, in part, quote, "We continuously evaluate our staffing models and plan ahead so that we can recover quickly when unforeseen circumstances arise," unquote.
And if you're not getting away, you're probably going to want to stay in the house, because oh my gosh, this heat. It's stifling. It's downright dangerous. It is baking parts of the U.S. this weekend. We know there are more than 25 million of you in more than a dozen states that are under some sort of heat alerts already.
SANCHEZ: It is widespread. Let's take you to the CNN Weather Center where we find Allison Chinchar tracking the latest forecast. And Allison, a lot of places could potentially see record-breaking temperatures.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right, and I think that's kind of the point. Look we get it. It's summer. It's supposed to be hot. But when you're talking about some of these areas reaching record levels and then doing it multiple days, and then one heat wave after the next after the next, week after week, it takes its toll. And in some of these states, they're still dealing with hundreds of thousands of power outages with no access to air conditioning.
So in all the areas you see here in orange, that's where we've got the heat advisories. Pink is excessive heat warnings, and that dark red color excessive heat watches that are likely to transition into warnings in the coming days as those temperatures begin to rise.
Take a look, for example, Little Rock, high temperature today of 94. But when you factor in that humidity, now you're looking at a heat index around 105. New Orleans also looking at a high temperature right around 95, but that feels like temperature jumps up to 106.
Now as more of that heat begins to spread, that's when you're going to start to see an increase in the number of millions of people that are under those heat advisories, because by next week, pretty much most of the country is dealing with above average temperatures.
All of these dots here represent a location that has the potential to break a record high temperature, whether that's today or sometime over the next several days. And in some cities, Boris and Christi, they could be looking at multiple days of records in a row.
PAUL: That is tough. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.
By the way, scientists are saying a megadrought across the western U.S. could get even worse.
SANCHEZ: Yes, and making matters more difficult for farmers, some of them have already had their water sources cut off. CNN's Mike Valerio has their story.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MIKE VALERIO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As scarce water showers shades of gold across browning fields, the predictions are dire.
RICHARD BIANCHI, DIRECTOR OF FARM OPERATIONS, SABOR FARMS: It's scary to think that we may not be able to do this because we don't have the water to do it.
VALERIO: Richard Bianchi is a fourth generation farmer here in Hollister, California. His fields, farm, and family are now facing the U.S. megadrought, which scientists say is the worst western dry spell in 1,200 years. More than 90 percent of the west is in a drought, and Bianchi's most reliable water source is now shut off.
VALERIO (on camera): So to be clear, Richard, you're getting no water, zero percent from your best water source?
VALERIO: What are the biggest impacts? How would you explain that to somebody outside of Hollister?
BIANCHI: It's limiting the amount of ground that we can farm. It's limiting the intensity that we can farm.
VALERIO (voice-over): Bianchi has no choice but to pump lower quality groundwater into his fields, and he's not sure how long that will last. Less water limits the crops he can grow, and he tells us that reduces our choices at the grocery store.
Economists say less supply pushes prices even higher, more pain on top of sky-high inflation. The drought leaves fields fallow, and scientists say fuels his historic infernos.
Climate science connects deepening droughts with dried up earthy all around us to longer, more severe wildfire seasons. In fact, the fires in New Mexico started much earlier this year than in years past, and right now, it's only spring.
Federal officials tell us the nightmare is already here. Up to three- quarters of northern California's farming fields could stay fallow, growing nothing this summer. For Bianchi, whether there is a future for a fifth generation of his family's farmers is now in doubt.
BIANCHI: Are we going to have water in two, three years out of our aquafer? Nobody can say that.
VALERIO: In Hollister, California, I'm Mike Valerio reporting.
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SANCHEZ: Mike, thanks for that report.
It sounds like a storyline straight out of WrestleMania. The head of WWE is on the ropes of a smackdown involving hush money and a sex scandal. Some details straight ahead.
SANCHEZ: Now to a real life scandal rocking the world of wrestling. World Wrestling Entertainment boss Vince McMahon is stepping back as CEO and chairman.
PAUL: Yes, the company's board is investigating a "Wall Street journal" report McMahon paid millions of dollars in hush money payments to a former employee about an alleged affair. McMahon had control of the company since 1982. He's turning it into a publicly traded company, global wrestling powerhouse, media conglomerate, you name it.
As CNN's Jason Carroll reports, McMahon's daughter is going to step in as the company's interim CEO now.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome the chairman of WWE, Vince McMahon!
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Larger than life, Vince McMahon, more famous than some of the wrestling stars he helped create.
DAVE MELTZER, JOURNALIST, WRESTLING OBSERVER: He's the guy. I mean, it's the WWE is Vince McMahon. You can't separate them.
VINCE MCMAHON: WrestleMania!
CARROLL: Now McMahon forced to step back from his role as chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE, while the company's board investigates misconduct claims against him. His daughter, his interim replacement. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting McMahon paid a former employee, who he allegedly had an affair with, $3 million to keep her quiet. According to the "Journal," the separation agreement prevents her from discussing her relationship. The investigation also looking at other non-disclosure agreements involving misconduct claims against McMahon and another executive.
MELTZER: What would have been considered boys will be boys, which wrestling was built on for decades and decades and decades, by today's standards it's not quite as much.
CARROLL: "I pledge my complete cooperation to the investigation by the special committee," McMahon said in a statement, and, "I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are."
Wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer says it is tough to predict the fallout from the allegations.
MELTZER: Their big defense is that any money that he paid, any hush money that he paid was his own money and it was not company, and I think that's key to the investigation.
CARROLL: Over decades, McMahon turned the WWE into a billion-dollar entertainment juggernaut, including deals with FOX and NBC. He will still be in charge of creative content while the investigation is underway. McMahon has weathered past scandals. In 1994 a jury acquitted him of conspiring to distribute steroids to her wrestlers. In the years following, always center stage and always the showman.
In 2007, then reality TV star Donald Trump shaved McMahon's head in a made for the masses feud. Now the wrestling world waiting to see how this latest real world match will end. (END VIDEO TAPE)
PAUL: And thank you to Jason Carroll there for reporting.
Tomorrow night, I want to tell you that Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, The Roots, and other stars lifting their voices for Juneteenth, a global celebration for freedom. That is live at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow here on CNN.
We are always grateful, we say it every time, we are grateful to have your company on these mornings and afternoons as we're heading into afternoon here, Boris, and we hope you make good memories today.
SANCHEZ: And there is still much more ahead in the next hour on CNN Newsroom, so don't go anywhere because Fredricka Whitfield is up next.