Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

COVID Shots Begin For America's Youngest Children; January 6 Committee Set For Next Hearing; Air Travel Delays. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired June 20, 2022 - 13:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: This year, the country is commemorating it with a new federal holiday. The vice president, Kamala Harris, visiting the Smithsonian African American History Museum this afternoon, where children were learning about the new holiday.

Appreciate your time today on INSIDE POLITICS. We will see you tomorrow.

Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello, and thanks so much for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Combine a summer travel surge with staffing shortages and rough weather, and what do you get? Airport chaos. Thousands of flight cancellations have left passengers stranded nationwide, and airports across the globe are now putting caps on daily travel. More on that.

Plus, the January 6 Committee gets ready to detail former President Trump's scheme to get states to reverse their 2020 election results. Now one member of that panel has a chilling warning about the cost of Trump's nonstop election lies.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): There's violence in the future, I'm going to tell you.


CABRERA: And, as soon as tomorrow, kids as young as 6 months old will be able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Roughly 17 million children under 5 in the U.S. are finally eligible for the shots. We will detail the administration's rollout.

But, first, the travel nightmare.

Let's go to CNN Pete Muntean. He's live at Reagan National Airport outside Washington for us.

Pete, what's the scene there? And what is causing such a travel mess?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, so many people still trying to get home, Ana, after traveling this weekend.

These new cancellation numbers are huge, but the cause for this really is not new. We have been reporting about how airlines got a lot smaller over the pandemic, which has led to these major shortages of flight crews, and the deck of cards really comes tumbling down once summer weather comes into the mix.

In fact, this really all dates back to Thursday, when there were massive storms on the East Coast. Just look at the cancellation numbers, according to FlightAware, more than 1,700 flights canceled on Thursday, more than 1,400 flights canceled on Friday.

Airlines really tried to play catchup on Saturday and Sunday, but they still canceled about 800 flights on Saturday, more than 900 flights nationwide on Sunday. This, hit some of the major airline hubs in a really big way. We're talking about Charlotte and New York La Guardia.

And I want you to listen now to one passenger at La Guardia that we talked to. She had her flight originally planned for Saturday. It was canceled. She was rebooked on a flight on Sunday. And then it was canceled too. Here's what she said.


TERRIE CHERRY, AIR TRAVELER: We left North Carolina on Sunday, came to New York, was supposed to go back to North Carolina yesterday, and got delayed. And we got on the plane, went out on the, tarmac, sat on the plane for four hours, four hours, before they took us back to the terminal.

Anyway, they told us to go to gate 11. Gate 11 was 400 people trying to rebook a flight.


MUNTEAN: This has all been coming during a huge weekend for air travel, maybe the biggest since the start of the pandemic, not only the Juneteenth on holiday weekend, but also we are seeing this happening during Father's Day weekend, 2.3 eight million people screened by TSA at airports across the country just yesterday, 2.44 four million people screened at airports nationwide on Friday.

That's the highest number we have seen since Thanksgiving 2021. And this is all coming with a really stern warning for airlines from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He met with them last week, told them to get their act together when it comes to airline schedules, especially with July 4 on the horizon.

Nobody's really safe from this, Ana. Even Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had his flight canceled between New York and Washington, had to drive instead -- Ana.

CABRERA: No one is immune from the travel headaches.

That lady that you spoke to, Pete, was remarkably calm. I think I would have smoke coming out of my ears by then, after describing what she described. Whew.

Pete Muntean, thank you for the information.

Well, now to the January 6 investigation. Tomorrow, three key Republicans from Georgia and Arizona will publicly testify about how former President Trump and his allies pushed states to overturn their 2020 election results. All three of tomorrow's witnesses refused to go along with it.

Now, even before this crucial look at the state-level scheme, committee member Adam Kinzinger says there's enough evidence to show a crime was committed.


KINZINGER: I certainly think the president is guilty of, knowing what he did, seditious conspiracy, being involved in these kinds of different segments of pressuring DOJ, the vice president, et cetera.

Obviously, you know we're not a criminal charges committee, so I want to be careful in specifically using that language. but I think what we're presenting before the American people certainly would rise to a level of criminal involvement by a president.



CABRERA: A majority of Americans agree; 58 percent say Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in January 6, according to this new ABC News/Ipsos poll.

Let's bring in someone who actually testified at one of last week's hearings before the January 6 Committee, Republican election attorney Ben Ginsberg. And also with us is CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. He's also the author of "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump."

Gentlemen, thank you both for your time today.

Ben, after your testimony a week ago today, you said the committee just hadn't shown enough to warrant a prosecution of Trump. But that was before the hearing about the pressure campaign on Pence. Do you think there's evidence now that Trump indeed committed a crime?


And the testimony this week from the state officials, and then I suspect that will follow that is testimony about the fake slates of electors, all are going to have to show Trump's state of mind, that he knew he was committing a crime. And that's still a difficult prosecutorial burden.

But the committee is unveiling more and more testimony that gets -- that has to make the Justice Department recognize more and more than that there's a really serious matter there.

CABRERA: The state of mind piece, though, what's missing? What hasn't -- how has that not been shown already, when we have heard from so many people around Trump who told him directly that the election was legitimate, that there wasn't any evidence of fraud that would change the outcome of the election and so forth?

GINSBERG: Well, the missing piece is that Trump directed the mob to do what it did. We have got the public testimony, which certainly inches up to it.

But I think it is the private conversations with White House aides during the time of the riots, where he was encouraging it and then deliberately didn't go to stop it, that is the hot-button information that needs to be developed.

CABRERA: Andrew, what's your take? What's missing right now from the case, from a Justice Department perspective?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, they have certainly made -- they have told an incredible story, which is their purpose here, right?

They're establishing the historical record. This is not a prosecution. Prosecutions doesn't take place in Congress. And they have certainly put out a lot of evidence that should get the Justice Department's attention to look very closely about whether charges are appropriate here.

The biggest problem for the Justice Department right now is that number, 1,000 interviews. So we know the committee has talked to, as they claim, 1,000 different people. Those are extensive statements and transcripts that would have to be reviewed by the Justice Department to see if there's evidence that points in the other direction, exculpatory evidence to evaluate the complete and total statements that witnesses, prospective witnesses, to see if they have said things that were contradictory or inconsistent.

So there's a ton of work that needs to be done by the Justice Department before they would be in a position to confidently say one way or the other whether or not they could pursue charges.

CABRERA: One person we don't believe they have talked to -- at least it doesn't appear and it hasn't been rule out, though -- is the former vice president, Mike Pence.

There's a question about whether he should be subpoenaed to testify. Obviously, there are some political calculations in all of that and procedurally to get him to actually testify. It's hard to know where that would go.

But if you're just thinking about the legal case, Ben, what could his testimony add? Could it add anything at this point?

GINSBERG: Well, it is that...


CABRERA: Go ahead, Ben.

GINSBERG: It is Trump's state of mind when he was talking to Pence.

If he said something to Pence, like, I know the election was lost, our only hope is you, Mike, and then he says something about the mob that is going to come to Washington to protest, then that would be terribly relevant information.

Again, it's Trump's state of mind. And a one-on-one conversation that Mike Pence would have had with him on January 4, 5 and 6 would be important.

CABRERA: Andrew, a former assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration laid out really the stakes for Attorney General Merrick Garland in considering whether to indict former President TRUMP: .

He writes this: "Indicting a past and possible future political adversary of the current president would be a cataclysmic event from which the nation would not soon recover."

Now, on the other hand, he also argues, if Garland concludes Trump has committed a convictable crime -- quote -- "A failure to indict Mr. Trump in these circumstances would imply that a president, who cannot be indicted while in office, is literally above the law, in defiance of the very notion of constitutional government."


Clearly, Garland is in a tough spot here. Andrew, what's the right thing to do?

MCCABE: An incredibly challenging spot.

And this is -- let's assume that the Justice Department has done all the work that I referred to earlier, and that they believe that there's a prosecutable case to be brought forward. You are now in a situation not dissimilar to the one that President Ford found himself in after Nixon resigned the White House.

Do you put the country through a prosecution that would so deeply tear us in half? We're a divided nation as it stands today, and it's hard to see how that would make things any better. But, then again, if you don't, as Jack Goldsmith points out, you're setting a really damaging precedent that former presidents can't be indicted.

There is a school of thought among many folks who watch these things, thinking that at that moment of pursuing an indictment, and after an indictment is returned, maybe that's the appropriate time for President Biden to step forward and issue a pardon to avoid those sorts of controversies and conflict that would inevitably follow a prosecution of President Trump.

These are big, big questions with massive political impact on both sides, but ones that I think we will probably be talking about for a while.

CABRERA: Absolutely. So we will continue that conversation.

But stay right there, because I want to talk about Texas for a moment, where Trump's election lies just got a step closer to becoming an official part of the Republican platform. Again, this happened in Texas this weekend at the GOP Convention in Houston.

Let's go to CNN politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza.

Chris, walk us through this.


So, first to note the Texas Republican Party had not met formally in a convention setting since 2018. I guess they made up for lost time. All right, so let's just start with some of what is in the Republican platform that was approved this weekend. Quick note. All this stuff has to be formalized later, but we expect that it will be.

OK, first of all, they approved a measure that Biden was not legitimately elected. This is -- I'm going to write this because it's important -- not true. My mom is going to yell at me for my poor penmanship. But that says not true.

They rebuke the 10 GOP senators who have backed the bipartisan gun reform bill, obviously still talking about what the text will look like, what they will do. But that includes -- right here, that includes John Cornyn of Texas. I'm going to get back to him. And they declared homosexuality and abnormal lifestyle choice. That's some of what they did in terms of the platform.

Now, here's some of what they said. Let's play it. This is about John Cornyn, senator from Texas, and Dan Crenshaw, member of Congress from Texas, both Republicans. Let's play that.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eye patch McCain. Hey, Eye patch McCain.

Look at Eye patch McCain right here. You're a RINO. You're a globalist. You're a globalist RINO. You're a globalist RINO. You're a globalist RINO.

Eye patch McCain!


CILLIZZA: So, let's just put a little context on it.

The guy screaming "Eye patch McCain" at Dan Crenshaw, I don't know if that guy who knew this or not, but let's educate him. Dan Crenshaw lost his eye while serving in Afghanistan. So there's that. There's also that incredibly awkward thing that politicians

occasionally have to endure where you saw John Cornyn in that first clip, they're just booing, going on. And got that, like, please let this end smile on his face.

So you can see this speaks to the fact neither of these guys, Cornyn or Crenshaw, are moderates at all. And yet they're being booed, they're being cajoled, they're being bullied at their own party's convention. It's remarkable.

CABRERA: And so much of the GOP is on this extreme end of the political spectrum.


CABRERA: But the radicalization, if you want to call it that, isn't just happening in Texas, right? Tell us about this disturbing new campaign rhetoric from a Republican Senate candidate and former governor in Missouri.

CILLIZZA: So, I often say I have lost the ability to be totally shocked in covering politics, but when I saw this video pop up this morning, I was somewhat shocked.

It's Eric Greitens, who resigned in disgrace in 2018 as governor amid sexual assault allegations. He's denied them, just for the record. He posted -- this is the start that you're seeing. This is the start of the ad. So he's walking down what looks like a suburban street with a long gun.


He cocks it and says it's time to go RINO hunting. Now he doesn't mean rhino R-H-I-N-O. He means RINO R-I-N-O, Republican in name only. He then with a tactical unit by his side at a house, they bash the door down. Greitens walks in amid smoke and says, it's RINO hunting season. There's no tagging and no bagging limit, and we won't stop until we end there. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Given what we have seen from the likes of Adam Kinzinger yesterday, saying, look, violence is a real possibility, I have had threats made to me and my family, given the rhetoric and the -- the rhetoric, how it played out on January 6, it is a remarkable thing. And most depressingly, it'll probably work and accomplish what Eric Greitens wanted.

It had 850,000 views the last time I looked. It had been up for three or four hours. He will use it to raise money. But whether it works or not doesn't mean whether it's right or not. And it's clearly not.

CABRERA: It's time to go RINO hunting. I can't believe he said.

Chris Cillizza, thank you for your reporting.

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

CABRERA: Andrew is back with us, Ben Ginsberg's back with us.

Andy McCabe, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger got a death threat sent to his house. At the top of the hour, we heard him warn that more political violence is on the way. And now you have this Missouri Senate candidate calling for moderate Republicans, AKA RINOs, to be hunted.

How concerning is this moment? And how can the federal government address that kind of dangerous rhetoric when it comes from prominent politicians?

MCCABE: Well, I think you use the perfect word earlier when you referred to it as radicalization.

That's what we're seeing here. It just so happens to be taking place not in a foreign terrorist organization or among the fringe right-wing groups. It's actually taking place in a major political party. Republican -- you saw the video from the Republican Convention in Texas.

And now you have this Eric Greitens, who's running for office as a Republican. It's not just the congressman who's warned that political violence is likely. We got a similar warning from the Department of Homeland Security just a week ago. And it is well-known that extremists use these sorts of perceived grievances to fuel the hatred and the anger that ultimately erupts in acts of violence.

So for people in -- or, maybe I should say, formerly in positions of public trust and in politics, like the former governor, to say things that would appear to be encouraging violence or the hunting of political opponents is just unbelievably dangerous and irresponsible.

What can you do about that rhetoric? Very, very little. That rhetoric is protected as First Amendment-protected speech in this country, so it's really up to people to be responsible and to temper their own rhetoric, which seems to be something that no one's doing anymore.

CABRERA: Well, I'm thinking about the videos we have seen now at a couple of these hearings, where you hear directly from insurrectionists saying, I came here because Trump told me to come.

MCCABE: That's right.

CABRERA: So people are listening to these politicians and are taking their cues from them. How dangerous, Ben, is it that Trump's false election conspiracy is about to become the official platform of the GOP in Texas?

GINSBERG: Well, it's very disturbing that this is happening.

It's a time when the Republican National Committee itself should step up and say it is not appropriate to have state parties or gubernatorial candidates saying such things. Now, I have been to Texas Republican Conventions. They are a spirited group, and they do not represent even today the mainstream of the Texas Republican Party. John Cornyn and Dan Crenshaw are the elected officials and they got there by getting elected, which nobody in that convention did. In terms of Greitens, it's worth noting that the Republican national leadership knows that it would be bad for Republicans to have Greitens as the nominee, and Mitch McConnell's super PAC and other national groups are backing other candidates, in hopes that Greitens does get defeated.


GINSBERG: But the larger point is that Donald Trump's rhetoric has caused an uptick in violence, as Andy said. That is absolutely, 100 percent right. Really disturbing.

Donald Trump had his day in court. He lost all but one of the 64 cases he brought. He had his day in court.

CABRERA: Regarding the election fraud claims, right.

GINSBERG: Yes, with the election fraud claims.

And to continue with the rhetoric, when he couldn't produce evidence and couldn't win in court, puts the country in a really place.


Ben Ginsburg and Andrew McCabe, I really appreciate your discussion, your thoughts today. Thank you so much.

A potential game-changer this week for families with little kids. Parents finally have the green light to get them vaccinated. Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on this turning point.

And they survived a mass shooting at their school. Now they're suing to enact tougher safety measures. We hear from Michigan students behind this suit.

Plus, new information about two captured Americans fighting for Ukraine. A big worry right now is where they are being detained and why that could mean life or death.



CABRERA: The wait is now just hours away from being over.

COVID-19 vaccinations for kids as young as 6 months old are expected to begin tomorrow, now that both the CDC and the FDA have signed off. For some parents, there's no rush to get the shot. For others, though, these vaccines offer their toddlers a chance to experience a typical childhood for the very first time.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twin brothers Dean and Luke Kolodziejczak are typical 2-year-olds. They like to climb, try to outrun their parents down and dig in the dirt.

But their lives started out as anything but typical, weighing just two pounds each when they were born.

JOHN KOLODZIEJCZAK, FATHER: They had respiratory issues and they had a brain bleed and some other health issues. So they were being fed through a tube and then one of them was still on oxygen when they came home.

JENNA KOLODZIEJCZAK, MOTHER: Just watching your kids struggle and fight for their lives in the hospital and hooked up to machines, it's just something you never want to see your children go through.

GUPTA: Dean and Luke spent nearly six months in the hospital before Jenna and John were finally able to welcome them home. That was December 2019.

JENNA KOLODZIEJCZAK: Then we found out about the pandemic, and it was really scary, really, really scary. We couldn't let people into our house. Friends, family couldn't come and meet the boys. They had to quarantine. They had to wear masks. They had to test.

GUPTA: Physically, socially locking down ever since the early days of the pandemic in an effort to protect their children.

JENNA KOLODZIEJCZAK: We can't control a lot when it comes to their health, but we can control exposing them to the coronavirus.

GUPTA: For them, the decision is easy. They're going to be at the front of the line for the COVID-19 vaccine for little Dean and Luke.

JOHN KOLODZIEJCZAK: This is going to hopefully help ease things into a more normal state, we hope.

GUPTA: But only 18 percent of parents with children under the age of 5 feel the same way; 27 percent of parents say no way. And about half of parents fall somewhere in between.

One of the biggest reasons for hesitation is that kids aren't very likely to get sick or die from coronavirus, which is absolutely true, if you compare rates to adults. But what if you just look at kids all by themselves? Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 480 children under the age of 5 have died from COVID and over 1,500 children and teens under the age of 18 overall.

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: When you compare COVID to other risks that children face, whether it's influenza or other infectious diseases, COVID can be quite serious.

And so the right comparison isn't the child vs. the elderly person. The right comparison is, how does COVID compare to other risks for which we vaccinate? And, in that context, it's really not a close call. GUPTA: To give more context, before vaccines in the 1960s, approximately 440 adults and children died every year from measles, 39 people from mumps, 17 from rubella. And yet we routinely vaccinate against all these diseases.

They are called vaccine-preventable deaths, one of the biggest triumphs of modern public health. It's also true Dean and Luke were born with preexisting conditions, placing them at greater risk for severe COVID. And as many as 62 percent of all kids hospitalized with COVID had an underlying condition.

But those underlying conditions are also widespread, 200,000 children with diabetes, six million with asthma, and 14 million children with obesity.

Another concern of many parents is that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are new, also true. So far, though, nearly 600 million mRNA COVID vaccine shots had been administered in the United States, and side effects have been rare.

For John and Jenna, getting their boys vaccinated won't just be a relief, but a chance to live a life they felt was passing them by.

JENNA KOLODZIEJCZAK: We were at my sister's house recently for their cousin's birthday, and they wanted to go inside and play in the playroom. And we're trying to tell our kids, no. But they don't understand. And that's hard for us. It's hard for them. It's hard for our family. We have missed a lot of family holidays.


The last six, eight months, folks have been traveling, doing things. So it's almost we have been more detached from them because we have still been in the same bubble waiting for the boys to be able to get vaccinated.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


CABRERA: Our thanks to Sanjay for that reporting.

Now, months after a deadly mass shooting took place in their school, students are now suing for two things, an investigation and change.