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Insurrection Investigation and Hearings; CDC Director Signs Off on COVID Vaccines for Children under 5; Video Appears to Show Missing Americans Detained; Stephen Colbert Production Team Arrested While Filming on Capitol Hill; Vince McMahon Steps Down as WWE CEO over Hush Money Allegations.. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 18, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.
Republican officials who made the decision not to lie even though Donald Trump told them to -- it's their turn next in front of the January 6 Select Committee.
One of them set to testify in the coming days, the election's boss in the state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger. He was on the other end of that infamous phone call with the then president of the United States who was desperately scrambling to come up with votes that didn't exist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Raffensperger is expected to appear with his deputy Gabe Sterling. And now we know that Rusty Bowers, the Arizona House Speaker who backed Trump's re-election but also refused to go along with his scheme will be joining them.
Earlier I spoke with committee member of the January 6th committee Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): These individuals are Republicans they voted for Trump. They are -- you know, supported him, but they wouldn't do illegal things that he asked them to do. So we expect to hear in some detail about the pressure that was placed on them and why they were true to the law instead of the pressure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Another boldfaced name could soon speak to the committee as well. Ginny Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a conservative activist who traded emails with the Trump attorney who hatched a plan to keep him in power. Those emails are now in the hands of the January 6th committee.
For her part Ginny Thomas says she looks forward to speaking with the panel and that she can't wait to clear up any misconceptions. Of course, when we talked with Zoe Lofgren about that, she said Ginny Thomas is welcome to come in and testify anytime.
Let's discuss all this with former homeland security counter terrorism and COVID task force adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye and former Republican congressman, host of the "White Flag" podcast Joe Walsh.
And guys, you know, these hearings aren't happening in a vacuum, we should note. Donald Trump is still out there spreading the same election lies. The committee is detailing that they've been poring over these last several days.
And he's still out there defending the Capitol insurrectionists and rioters. Yesterday he called them patriots. And he again, talked about giving them pardons incredibly. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Most people should not be treated the way they're being treated, and if I become president someday, if I decide to do it, I will be looking at them very, very seriously for pardons -- very, very seriously. They've been treated very unfairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Just incredible. And we should note in the last hour, I spoke with Sandra Garza who is the widow of Brian Sicknick, who was her life partner, and she was just absolutely outraged that Trump would be out there talking about pardons for the people who attacked the Capitol on January 6th.
Olivia, you work in the realm of national security. During the hearing, we all heard Michael Luttig, the conservative judge, describe Trump as a clear and present danger to democracy -- Trump and his allies, we should say. Described him as a clear and present danger to American democracy.
Based on what Trump said on Friday in this speech, would you say he's right?
OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER ADVISER TO MIKE PENCE: Absolutely. This is just one dog whistle after another by Donald Trump. He's continuing to enable this big lie as they refer to it, the stolen election, and he's also fueling, fanning the flames of extremism.
I mean look what's happening at the Texas GOP convention right now in Texas. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican who for the most part follows all of these narratives just got attacked by Proud Boys right now.
TROYE: I mean this is where it's going. Now they're starting to attack each other. This is what it leads to. And it's only a matter of time. This is spreading across America. It's coming to our communities, and it's coming to Republican communities as well. So I just -- I just don't know where this ends.
ACOSTA: And Joe, CNN caught up with a Trump speech attendee in Nashville yesterday. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you been watching any of the January 6th hearings on television?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I haven't.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's a sham event. It's a kangaroo court. You can't have a fair hearing when you have it filled with Trump- hating fake Republicans and all Democrats who hate Trump too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And we should note it's Republicans, Trump allies who have offered up the most damning testimony during the January 6th hearings, Joe.
You know, I mean, I don't know what more folks need to hear. We have both of you on, both right-leaning Americans. You know, you can be a Republican, you can be a conservative and criticize Trump for what he did.
JOE WALSH (R-IL): FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Yes, Jim. what that Republican voter said right there is what I hear every day. This is -- look, we're three hearings into this. I think America really needs to wrap her arms around the fact that Donald Trump is -- remains the leader of the Republican party.
Jim, he got a bunch of applause last night. Here we are 17 months removed from the insurrection that Trump incited and his hold on the party is stronger than it's ever been. These hearings are important, Jim. They're important for the record. They're important to try to wake up -- I mean, every American should be outraged by what they're finding out at these hearings, but America needs to wake up to the fact that in the Republican Party nothing is changing. He's the leader. He remains the threat.
ACOSTA: Yes, Olivia. I mean, you know, a lot of folks wish we would not play these clips of Donald Trump. I mean, I've described this as people wanting to put their heads in the sand since he left office but now that some folks are pulling their heads out of the sand, they're watching what we're all seeing take place during these January 6th hearings.
And, you know, and watching Trump in this speech last night, you know, praising the rioters, praising the insurrectionists, also laying into his vice president for refusing to overturn the election.
This week we learned even after Pence was whisked away to that secure location beneath the Capitol on January 6th, Trump's inner circle again asked if the VP would help overturn the election. I mean this pressure campaign was relentless.
But I have to ask you, Olivia, in addition to, you know, commenting on Trump going after Mike Pence, you worked with Mike Pence. Do you think he should have blown the whistle before January 6th?
Do you think he should have said there was a coup brewing, and we need to stop it? I mean, as much as everybody praises Mike Pence for what he did on January 6th, there were days leading up to it.
TROYE: You know, that's a fair point, and I don't know whether he would have been able to reach through all of the disinformation that was already flowing out of the White House, but I do think it could have made a difference.
And you know, I also have called for Mike Pence to come forward right after January 6th. My ideal scenario would have been for Mike Pence to come forward on January 7 and said enough instead of perpetuating the election integrity thing, which he has done unfortunately this past year.
So his own life was put in danger. He was seeing it firsthand. I think there was probably debate on -- I don't know that there was a debate, but I think his thought process was they needed to hang in there. They needed to get through January 6th. They needed to certify it. He was never going to waiver on that.
But it is a fair point to say why didn't you come forward and say, hey, this is what they're planning.
ACOSTA: Joe, you're nodding your head?
WALSH: Yes, Jim, you made such an important point, my friend. Look, Mike Pence was privy to plans of a coup. He knew what these people were doing. He had an obligation to say something. Just like he has an obligation to say something now.
Look, Olivia worked with Mike Pence. I served with him in Congress. I've always liked Mike Pence, but he sold his soul to Donald Trump in 2016 because he wanted to be president. Because of what Pence did on January 6th, he'll never be president because the Republican Party base despises him.
So Pence owes it to the country now to do whatever he can to help save our damn democracy and testify publicly and go at Donald Trump.
[17:09:51] ACOSTA: And Olivia, what is your message to some of these former administration staffers who are I guess resisting, you know, testifying in front of the January 6th committee, people who might be weighing whether or not they should do it.
We talked to Zoe Lofgren about those in the last hour about Pat Cipollone how they really want to get the White House counsellor. I mean we was there for some very key conversations. He was there apparently telling Mark Meadows and people inside the White House, you know, these efforts that you're talking about, they are not lawful.
How important is it do you think -- you worked in the said administration as Pat Cipollone how important is it for him to testify, do you think?
TROYE: Yes, I know Pat Cipollone quite well. We worked a lot very closely together, and I think it's critically important. And I watched him personally make a difference at times dealing with Donald Trump and various scenarios. And so I think the greater service he could do to our country is to come forward and tell the truth as witness firsthand from his words.
And I think, you know, while I understand that it is, you know, it is hard to come forward. There are threats on your life, you lose your circle, so to speak, you lose your political alliances that you have been sort of involved and surrounded by through all these years. But the bottom line is that the truth is on your side. And I think the important thing here is to do what's best for our country and continue to march forward so that we can get to a better place. Our democracy right now is basically in peril as all of this continues to go forward.
And I think voices like him do make a difference.
ACOSTA: And Joe, Trump was heavily teasing a 2024 run in these remarks yesterday. If he runs, does he get the Republican nomination?
WALSH: Without question, Jim. I think if he runs -- and I think he will run -- and I think he'll announce before the midterms, I don't think a Republican of any stature challenges him.
This is his party, and it's -- we all need to stop being outraged like, oh, my God, how can this be? How can the Republican Party be this way? How can they still bow down to this man?
It is what it is. They are bowing down to him. It's his party. He did what he did on January 6th. The rest of the country now needs to gird up and gear up and defeat this. You're not going to change this party.
ACOSTA: All right. Former congressman Joe Walsh, Olivia Troye, we'll be watching these hearings next week. Thanks for coming on and breaking this down with us. We appreciate it.
WALSH: Thanks Jim.
ACOSTA: Good to see you. This just in, President Biden has just left church services showing a
little bit of a hop in his step in a good way it looks like. There he is, after taking a spill earlier today during a bike ride in Delaware. Here is that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy father's day. Oh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: We should note, the Secret Service quickly helped the president back up on his feet. Biden says his foot got caught in the pedal.
A girl in the crowd later asked him what it's like to run the country. Here's what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, it's -- it's like any other job. Some parts are easy. Some parts are hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
A3; And the White House says we should know Biden is fine and did not require any medical attention after the fall, and we should note we remember just showing a few moments ago footage of him coming out of church services. So he seems to be just fine.
Coming up, a moment a lot of parents have been waiting for. COVID vaccines for America's youngest children are approved.
And how a skit for "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" ended with staffers getting arrested up on Capitol Hill.
ACOSTA: Many parents of children have been waiting for this moment. The CDC director signed off today on giving the COVID vaccine to children under the age of 5. And shots could start going into those little arms starting on Monday.
And joining me now is Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He's a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University and a CNN medical analyst. Dr. Reiner, great to see you. I feel like I haven't spoken with you in such a long time. It's good to see you again.
Any advice for parents who are worried about giving this vaccine to small children, just as you would hear from parents talk about any vaccine or any shot they might give to a little kid?
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's good to see you, Jim. Yes, although, you know, it seems like it's been forever, it really hasn't been that long ago since my kids were of the age that this vaccine now is targeting, six months to five years old. And there wasn't anything I would have done to protect them when they were little and vulnerable.
And if my kids were of age now, I would have them at the pediatrician's office that week lined up to get protected.
We know that this vaccine is safe. We know that it's effective. And we also know that this virus can kill and hurt children. There have been 2 million infections in kids less than the age of five, 25,000 hospitalizations, about 200 deaths.
And little kids aren't supposed to die, and we have a vaccine that can prevent that from happening. I understand people's -- the reluctance of parents to embrace something that's new, but this virus is here, and it's here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. We have a way to protect our children, and I hope parents will do that.
ACOSTA: You know, Dr. Reiner, there's so many people out there who say I love Dr. Reiner, I listen to everything that he says, he's wonderful. And so you are saying if you had kids of this age, yes, go ahead. It's fine.
DR. REINER: Right. Children don't have to die to be really hurt by this virus. Children can get long COVID. Children can get this really devastating multisystem inflammatory disorder. And hospitals have been
ACOSTA: He froze there. Did we lose him?
DR. REINER: -- kids from getting sick.
ACOSTA: Oh, he's back.
DR. REINER: Can you hear me, Jim?
ACOSTA: I can hear you now. Yes, you were --
DR. REINER: What I was saying is hospitals have been -- filled with sick kids during surges and what parent wouldn't want to prevent that from happening, and we have the tool.
People should not hesitate to get their children vaccinated. But we've seen enormous hesitation. In the 5 to 12-year-old group, only about 30 percent of that group has been vaccinated. In kids between 12 and 17, only 60 percent of those kids have been vaccinated.
And the responsibility is the parents'. Parents need to protect their children. We have safe and very effective tools to do that. Kids should not die. And they should certainly not die from this virus, and we have a way to protect them from doing that.
ACOSTA: And those kids, they are a pool of potential spreaders of COVID and variants that may be more transmissible. I mean that's one of the other reasons to get our kids protected as well. DR. REINER: Right. So many of these households where children haven't
been vaccinated, you know, the parents haven't been vaccinated as well. There are about 17 million kids that this new CDC ruling affects.
And when a child brings a virus home, not only are the parents also likely to get sick, but a parent is likely having -- is likely going to need to stay home from work to take care of that child until the child is well.
So there are reasons for the community. There are reasons for the family and most importantly, there are reasons for the child to -- for parents to embrace this vaccine. This is a miracle. We shouldn't be walking away from it.
ACOSTA: All right. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, it's great to see you again.
And we got a reminder of how we did television during this pandemic, lots of Webex interviews such as this one. Great to see you, Dr. Reiner. Thanks as always.
DR. REINER: My pleasure, thank you.
ACOSTA: All right.
And coming up, new video appears to show two missing Americans who had volunteered to fight for Ukraine detained at an unknown location. But who is holding them? That's next.
ACOSTA: New details today about three missing Americans who traveled to Ukraine to fight against Russia. Video released by Russian state media appears to show two of the men, but their whereabouts and who's holding them is still unknown.
CNN's Barbara Starr has more.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON:CORRESPONDENT: It was in the fighting north of Kharkiv where two Americans went missing last week less than five miles from the Russian border. The U.S. government working with Ukrainian authorities to find them.
BIDEN: I have been briefed. We don't know where they are. but I want to reiterate, Americans should not be going to Ukraine now.
STARR: Now this photo from a Russian blogger has emerged of Alexander Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh appearing to be bound in the back of a Russian military vehicle.
Video later emerging of an interview they did with pro-Russian media. CNN is not showing the video as the two appear to be speaking under duress. Now the State Department is working to verify their status.
BUNNY DRUEKE, MOTHER OF ALEXANDER DRUEKE: They said that there is a photograph that is being circulated on the Russian media, and they're working hard to verify it. We're very hopeful.
STARR: Retired Staff Sergeant Drueke, an army reservist from 2002 to 2014 served in both Kuwait and Iraq. Drueke's mother Bunny tells CNN her son wanted to lend his skills to train those who were coming to Ukraine to fight.
DRUEKE: He felt that if Putin wasn't stopped now, he would just become bolder with every success and that eventually he might end up on American shores.
STARR: Former Marine Corporal Huynh served in the Marine Corps from 2014 to 2018, last serving in Camp Pendleton, California. Huynh fiancee Joy Black described to CNN the last time she heard from him.
JOY BLACK, FIANCEE OF ANDY HUYNH: He told me he loved me very much and that he would be unavailable for two to three days. He really had this gnawing at his heart and a big burden on him to go and serve the people however he can.
And just -- I know it's not a great situation, but I'm still very proud of him, and I just want to see him back safely.
STARR: One of their comrades in Ukraine whose identity we are keeping hidden exclusively telling CNN's Sam Kiley, Drueke and Huynh were captured repelling a Russian armored assault.
PIP, FORMER U.S. SERVICEMEMBER: We suspect they were knocked out by the T72 tanks shooting at them or the blast of the mine.
STARR: A Kremlin spokesperson told CNN, we do not know anything about it, when asked about the missing Americans.
STARR: The U.S. also confirming a third American went missing in Ukraine in April. CNN has learned he is retired Captain Grady Kurpasi, a 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps. A friend who served with Kurpasi for years says he has cell phone data that shows Kurpasi could be being held in the Russian controlled city of Kherson.
But acknowledges they do not have proof that he's alive.
DON TURNER, GRADY KURPASI'S FRIEND: I think it was a calling to help and just be humanitarian. There was no real plan to his mission. Just he wanted to go out there and try and help.
STARR: All three of the missing Americans, having served in the military, puts them in unique danger if captured by Russians.
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You routinely are swimming and are immersed in these kinds of sensitive programs. I'm not sure of the level of that exposure. But I can guarantee the Russians are going to try to extract that information.
STARR: Barbara Starr, the CNN, the Pentagon.
ACOSTA: Coming up, hush money and a sex scandal. The chair of World Wrestling Entertainment is out of the ring and on the ropes.
ACOSTA: "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" ended with U.S. Capitol Police arresting members of the production team.
The crew had been filming a segment with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, when officers charged them with unlawful entry at a House office building.
CBS says the team was there for authorized interviews with some members of Congress, but they stayed after to film additional content.
CNN's senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy, joins me now.
Oliver, it doesn't sound like a typical day up on Capitol Hill for a film crew. What more are you learning about this, and what can you tell us about Triumph for those who may be familiar with that character?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, Jim, this wasn't I don't think a typical day on Capitol Hill for anyone involved.
CBS says that they had a crew on Capitol Hill both Wednesday and Thursday, and they were filming a comedy segment around the January 6th insurrection hearings.
On Thursday, they did some interviews, including with Adam Schiff, featuring Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. And later in the evening, apparently, they were confronted by Capitol Police outside visitor hours.
Capitol Police confronted them and determined that they were -- had been asked -- they were part of a group that had been asked to leave the capitol earlier in the day.
And so at that point, the Capitol Police, they detained this group of production -- this production team, and they charged them with unlawful entry on capitol grounds.
Capitol Police are saying this is an ongoing investigation. And so they're leaving room for more charges.
But, yes, this is not normal business on Capitol Hill.
And to give viewers a taste of what Triumph -- Triumph, the Comic Insult Dog -- that's a mouthful -- does, we have some video here, Jim. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT" The most distinguished and accomplished journalist I have ever worked with, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.
COLBERT: Tonight, it is with great pride that we present Triumph's exclusive report -- Jim?
TRIUMPH, THE COMIC INSULT DOG: Here in the nation's capital, our leaders have gathered for the solemn process of voting along party lines.
Many Republicans have complained about the length of these hearings and having to sit in the chamber for so many hours without having a spine to support them.
TRIUMPH: Senator Lindsey Graham has been particularly inconvenienced as he was scheduled to have attended a scrapbooking convention with the other elderly women of South Carolina.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: I have to laugh. I'm sorry, Triumph does make me laugh. I hope Triumph is OK.
DARCY: Yes, hopefully, Triumph was able to get out and, you know, didn't leave him too scarred.
ACOSTA: But you know, Oliver, it sounds as though this incident is being, I guess, thrown into the talking points from some on the right about what's going on with the January 6th insurrection.
What can you tell us about that?
DARCY: Yes, Jim, so while this is a story in of itself for CBS news, or CBS, this has also become a story in right wing media.
FOX broke this story last night. And they're using it to really attack the hearings into the insurrection that occurred on January 6th. They're basically saying that this is proof that Democrats and the media are the ones guilty of security violations at the U.S. capitol.
Tucker Carlson over on FOX went as far to say that this crew committed insurrection at the capitol. And he's asking what disciplinary action that they're going to face. And so you really have these two stories playing out.
And while most of the media yesterday, I think, was probably leading with the developments into January 6th and what's been happening at the hearings, FOX was using this to delegitimize and to essentially mock that very serious work occurring on Capitol Hill.
ACOSTA: Yes. FOX, the insult comic network.
All right, Oliver Darcy, thank you very much.
Hope Triumph is OK. Hope the whole CBS crew is OK and they're able to work it out.
Oliver, thank you very much.
Vince McMahon, the man who is World Wrestling Entertainment, is stepping back as CEO and chairman amid allegations he paid millions of dollars in hush money to cover up an alleged affair.
CNN's Jason Carroll has that story.
UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Please welcome the chairman of WWE, Vince McMahon!
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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, FORMER CEO & CHAIRMAN, WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT: 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 money. And I think that's the 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 his wrestlers.
In the years following, always center stage and always the showman.
CARROLL: 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.
ACOSTA: Coming up, a preview of CNN's Juneteenth special featuring an incredible lineup of black artists and visionaries. We'll be joined by three-time Grammy Award-winning R&B artist, Ne-Yo. Big treat for us here.
Stay right there. We'll be right back.
ACOSTA: Tomorrow on CNN, join some of the biggest stars as they lift their voices for "JUNETEENTH, A GLOBAL CELEBRATION FOR FREEDOM."
A lineup of some of the top black artists and musicians will take the stage in Los Angeles to commemorate 157 years since slavery ended in the United States and to highlight the ongoing fight for equality in the black community. Performers, including the Roots, Chaka Khan, Earth, Wind and Fire, and
my next guest, three-time Grammy award-winning singer, Ne-Yo, who's about to release a new album next month.
There he is.
We're going to get to that in just a moment.
Great to see you, Ne-Yo.
Can you touch on this celebration and what it means for you personally?
NE-YO, GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING R&B ARTIST: Well, I mean, as a black man, this is kind of -- it's art and it's our holiday. You know what I mean? It's about the celebration of our freedom, you know. When it actually happened, not when the history book said it happened, when it actually happened.
And it just feels good to be with community. There's a bunch of people out here. I'm in great company as you can see with all the fantastic artists that are doing this as well. It feels great to be here, man. It really does.
ACOSTA: It's great to have you on with us. I can't wait for this to get started.
You were just talking about this. Black Americans have been marking Juneteenth for generations, but this sort of acknowledgment and recognition on tv is a first.
How important is that that we're going to have this on television celebrating this?
NE-YO: Well, I mean, the fact that, you know, I don't think a lot of black people initially knew what it was completely. You know what I'm saying?
I think that, you know, the histories did a very good job of kind of hiding it from us. Now that we know, there's no silencing us, you know what I mean? We're going to celebrate. We're going to celebrate loudly.
And it needs to be on television so that the next generation and the next generation and the next generation can see what it is, understand the importance of it, and celebrate as well.
ACOSTA: And as we've been saying, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery here in the United States.
But we know, you know, blacks still face racism, I mean, institutional racism, social justice issues, you name it. We talk about it almost on a daily basis right here on CNN.
Can this truly be a celebration, do you think, when the community is still fighting for equality? NE-YO: I think that if we only focus on the fight, if we only focus on
the negatives, then we've defeated ourselves before we even begin the fight, you know.
I think that is very, very important that we celebrate our victories, big and small, so that we can stay motivated to continue this fight, you know. And God, Lord willing, the fight will end one day, and everybody will just realize that we're all the damn same.
But until that day, we're going to celebrate when we can celebrate, and we're going to fight when we have to fight, and that's what it is.
ACOSTA: I love that, we're all the damn same. I mean, no truer words have been spoken.
Let me ask you this. Lots of Americans are going to be tuning into this tomorrow night. What can we expect to see?
NE-YO: Expect to see, above anything else, a celebration. A celebration of music, a celebration of community, a celebration of black people, a celebration, period.
And I'm going to get up there, you know, with my dances and my band, and we're going to have a great time. And I know that all the other artists are going to do the same thing. We really just -- it's really just about, that is
ACOSTA: It will be great music. That is what I can expect.
You have any music album coming out. Fans have been waiting for some time. Tell us about that's brand-new album.
NE-YO: Yes, brand-new album coming July 15th. The name of the album is "Self Explanatory." I called it that because I feel like, at this point, I have been here almost 20 years, you really need a lot of explanation for a No-Yo album? Not really.
You understand it will be music. It is the song that you go to the club to and it is the song you hear at the club.
You play this when you are thinking about the breakup that could have been this if you did this or she did that or whatever. It is the song you clean your house to on Sunday.
These will be on the album. It is called Self-Explanatory, but I just explained it. July 15th is in stores.
ACOSTA: How special will tomorrow night be? All these artists are coming together. What are you looking forward to seeing yourself?
NE-YO: What am I looking forward to seeing?
ACOSTA: Yes. NE-YO: I'm actually a fan of a little bit of everybody that is here. Once I do what I have to do, I will see if I can be a fan for a little while. I will do that.
ACOSTA: We will look for the social media post as you get the up-close look backstage.
Ne-Yo, it was great to have you on. Everybody was so excited you would be with us this afternoon.
Best of luck to you. Best of luck with the new album. It's coming out next month. I think you said July 15th.
ACOSTA: So all of you Ne-Yo fans, be on the lookout for that. Coming from the great city of Baltimore as well.
Ne-Yo, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.
Good to see you, sir.
Be sure to tune in. "JUNETEENTH, A GLOBAL CELEBRATION FOR FREEDOM," airs tomorrow night at 8:00 only on CNN.
On Friday, the TSA saw its highest volume of travelers since Thanksgiving with more than 2.4 million people screened at airports across the country.
At the same time, flight cancellations continues to be a problem. Staffing shortages from the pandemic and bad weather are to blame. There were 650 flight cancellations across the U.S. this morning and more than 1,400 cancellations yesterday, according to the flight tracking Web site, Flight Aware.
So if you're waiting at the airport right now, you are in good company.
A frightening encounter for a family hiking on a popular trail in Canada. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is following you, babe.
Hey, there. Hey, there. Hey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: OK, that is a little scary. The parents and their three children from Utah were hiking in British Columbia when they spotted the black bear blocking the trail to the parking lot where they are car was.
I'm not sure who is calling the bear, but I don't think that is a good idea. The family kept walking. The bear followed them for 20 minutes. The
family reminded the kids not to run and stay calm.
Maybe that is what the parents were doing, they were trying to follow the rules of not alarm the bear any more than it already is. I'm glad everybody is OK there.
Thankfully, the bear never got aggressive and it eventually lost interest about a half mile on and trailed off. Can you imagine doing that for a half a mile? No, thank you.
Days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, "CNN Hero," Aaron Jackson, traveled to Poland to help refugees coming across the border after finding dog friendly accommodations for those traveling with their pets.
He recently took over an animal shelter in the city of Poznan, and welcomed 17 dogs, along with two women who helped them survive the fighting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AARON JACKSON, CNN HERO: When the dogs were already en route to us, they told us that two refugees had joined the convoy and asked if we could help them.
When Valerie and her mother first got to us, I could definitely tell they were a little nervous and scared.
I couldn't help but notice that all the dogs really loved the two refugee ladies that had accompanied them.
JACKSON: Then I learned these dogs had been in a bomb shelter with Valerie and her mother for the last 40 days before coming to us. Forty days with hardly any access to food, hardly any access to water.
Valerie was so good with dogs we gave her and her mother a job, which we are excited about.
JACKSON: The dogs helped her get through the worst 40 days of her life, and she helped get those dogs through the worst 40 days of their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And this is reminding me that I can't wait to get home to Duke, my little dog. He's waiting for me at home.
To learn more about their journey with the dogs, go to CNN.com.
That is the news. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. We will see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.
Pamela Brown takes over the CNN NEWSROOM live after a quick break.