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New Images From Inside Uvalde School During Shooting Response; Today, Fourth Hearing to Focus on Trump Pressuring State Officials; Supreme Court Rules Certain Gun Crimes Are Not Crimes of Violence. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired June 21, 2022 - 10:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: This includes decisions that would impact abortion access, gun laws in this country, also the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. We will bring you any of these breaking developments from the Supreme Court as soon as they happen.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Also today, the January 6th committee will hold its fourth public hearing. It's expected to focus on former President Trump's role in the scheme to submit fake slates of electors in the 2020 presidential and Trump's campaign of pressure on state level officials to overturn the election results. Among the key witnesses this afternoon, key state officials from Arizona and Georgia.

SCIUTTO: There is another major story we're following this morning. We are learning that Uvalde, Texas, School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo will testify today, this before the Texas House Committee investigating the law enforcement response to the mass shooting last month at Robb Elementary School.

This comes as we're learning new, frankly, disturbing details this morning on law enforcement's response while the gunman was inside that classroom. We now know, and look at some of those pictures there, 11 officers responded to the school within three minutes, and those images show officers not only heavily armed in the hallway but also with protective gear. They still waited 58 minutes to enter that classroom, take down the shooter.

CNN's Rosa Flores has the latest on the investigation.


ANGELI GOMEZ, UVALDE PARENT: I find it shameful that we had almost 100 officers on the scene and I had to leave work and save my own.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Outrage palpable in Uvalde, Texas, as the first image from inside Robb Elementary during the shooting is released by the Austin American-Statesman. This surveillance picture shows officers standing in the school's hallway with rifles and a ballistic shield with a time stamp of 19 minutes after officials say the gunman entered the school. TON PLOHETSKI, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN: It shows in the minds of at least some investigators reviewing what happened that day is that authority has adequate fire power and adequate protective equipment, 58 minutes passed from the time we see these officers in that video, in that screen grab, to when they ultimately breach that classroom.

FLORES: Just 12 minutes before at 11:40, Uvalde School District Chief Pete Arrendondo called the Uvalde Police Department from inside the school asking for help. According to a transcript, Arrendondo says, it's an emergency right now. We have him in the room. He's got an AR- 15. He's shot a lot. They need to be outside the building prepared because we don't have firepower right now. It's all pistols.

After reviewing body camera footage, The Statesman writes, Arrendondo was trying to find keys to open the classroom's doors even though officials say they do not believe officers had tried to open either door.

The Texas Tribune reports, officers held their positions outside the adjoining classrooms as the gunman fired at least three more times.

The Tribune released a surveillance picture, it says it's from 12:04 P.M. that shows multiple officers with at least two ballistic shields. Police would not enter the classroom for another 46 minutes.

In transcripts reviewed by The Tribune, officers were growing impatient. One agent asks, are there still kids in the classroom? To which another agent answers, it is unknown at this time. The agent replies, you all don't know if there're kids in there? If there're kids in there, we need to go in there. The other agent responds, whoever is in charge will determine that.

STATE SEN. ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D-TX): All of those officers are trained in an active shooter situation. And from the very beginning, even the ones that didn't have the ballistic shields, they should have just gone in. That's what their protocol suggests. Children were left in a room, scared to death, calling 911 and yet no one went in.

FLORES: The community directing its anger at Chief Pete Arredondo at a Uvalde school board meeting Monday night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We tell our kids, parents, teachers and city, and by keeping him on your step, you're continuing to fail us.

BRENT CROSS, UVALDE PARENT: How is Mr. Arredondo still with the program? Suspend him pending termination. It is an insult to injury.


FLORES (on camera): There are two state hearings going on right now. One on the House side, the Statehouse, and that is where Pete Arredondo is expected to testify. That testimony will be behind closed doors. We won't know what he tells committee members until a report is issued. That report is expected in mid-July. The other hearing is going on in the Texas State Senate. That hearing just started. It started with the moment of silence, and we have colleagues in there, and they have been telling us that a timeline has been posted.


We already knew from sources that Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw was scheduled to testify and that he was going to be bringing in diagrams and going through the timeline.

Well, we have a picture of that timeline, Jim and Poppy. We're going to be going through it to get specific details. Jim and Poppy?

SCIUTTO: I can only imagine the parents' reaction seeing all this play out. Rosa Flores, thanks so much.

Let's speak now to CNN Security Correspondent also and former FBI Special Agent Josh Campbell. And, Josh, it strikes me that the revelations today, really greater detail about what we already knew, but that the police were armed, heavily armed, they had protective gear, including those ballistic shields and they had them there early, right, within minutes of the start of this, and yet waited nearly an hour before going in.

You were in the FBI. I just wonder how would the FBI handle a law enforcement response like this, given those three factors, they had weapons, protective gear and time?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, problem here, Jim, is that there isn't one problem. We have seen this seemingly avalanche of failure here, everything from tactics to leadership or lack thereof and then also this issue of transparency. But to your point about tactics, I think everyone right now listening to my voice knows that in this era of mass shootings, officers are trained to go to the sound of gunfire. And that is obviously a very difficult decision for an officer to make to put their own life on the line. But that is the profession that they are in.

Now, no situation is the same. We know that oftentimes if an officer has chased someone into the building and they don't suspect that there might be innocent people in danger, they might move to a barricade situation where they're calling the SWAT team, they're calling some of the heavier weaponry, some of the heavier ballistic shields, waiting a suspect out, this was not that.

We know this was a school that was in session, there were children there that were present. We know that officers were sounding the alarm that there were shots fired. It was a few minutes that transpired between when the suspect showed up and the shooting started. And so we know that even if the chief was not in communication, the officers there knew that they were dealing with an emergent situation. And so that's the key question.

As you mentioned, we're continuing to see some of this information come out from reporting that, yes, these officers may not have been outgunned. That one image that we showed from the Austin American- Statesman shows what looks like to be high-powered assault-style weapons those officers have behind those two ballistic shields, so, again, just an avalanche of failure here, it seems.

I will also point out, Jim and Poppy, that this is re-victimizing this community, this kind of slow drip of information, this lack of transparency. I know I grew up not far from Uvalde. I was actually talking with a friend of mine who pointed out a really good point. He said, look, in small town, Texas, we were raised to respect law enforcement. The local police chief, the local state trooper assigned to a region, they were held on a pedestal.

And so you can imagine putting yourself in the shoes of the people of Uvalde continuing to be re-victimized by the lack of transparency and every new revelation that comes is that just much more difficult to take.

HARLOW: And can you imagine being a parent? I mean, that is why they are so up in arms demanding answers, demanding clarity. You saw it at the school board meeting last night.

Is there any reason, any investigative reason, Josh, why more of this has not been laid out clearly and comprehensively, at least to the parents?

CAMPBELL: Right. I mean, we have seen in different incidents, I know when I was in the FBI, you would have the FBI team would brief victims and their family members on certain aspects of an investigation, describing exactly what transpired. For example, I was there in San Bernardino after that mass shooting, where the FBI brought in the family members and said, we want to walk you through what happened, we want to take you to the crime scene and show you exactly what happened. That wasn't for public consumption, but it was because, obviously, these are people with a vested interest in knowing what happened.

The problem here is we're not seeing any of that, for the victims and their family, but also the community who wants to have confidence in these law enforcement officers. So, a lot of questions, as Rosa was just mentioning, there are these two hearings that are going on where, hopefully, we'll get more answers from the state senate side where the head of DPS is supposed to be testifying.

We understand that it is likely he's going to do somewhat of a show and tell about the type of door that these officers were coming up against. I was in law enforcement. It's not like in the movies where an officer shows up, they pull up their side arm, they blow a dead bolt and it flies open. These are reinforced.

But that doesn't answer the question about tactics, and that is if you're a police department with a school district in your jurisdiction, you might want to know how that building is secured. And if the threat is from within, you might want to know how to get in that building.

Those are all the questions that we're hearing from the people in Uvalde. They just want the police to give them answers and so far there have been very few answers.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And the answers we have, frankly, disturbing, especially those images we see today. Josh Campbell, thanks so much.

HARLOW: Thank you, Josh.

The January of 6th committee's fourth public hearing is less than three hours away. It is expected to dive into former President Trump and allies' pressure on state level officials to overturn the 2020 election results.


SCIUTTO: One of the key witnesses expected today, a Georgia election worker who was falsely accused by Trump himself of ballot fraud, she will testify about how she and her family were then targeted with death threats after the former president singled her out publicly.

CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill. It's really a parade of state officials here, right, that are going to speak to the pressure at the state level to try to overturn these results.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the pressure at the state level and actually the real life consequences that came as a result of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies trying to overturn Joe Biden's state certified victory.

And Wandrea Moss, who's the former Georgia election worker, will testify today about what she says are lies that were amplified by Donald Trump, by Rudy Giuliani, that led to death threats, that led to threats against her family, against her mother, against her son, including at one point she says that people came to her grandmother's house and tried to make a citizen's arrest against her grandmother against over all these baseless conspiracy theories that were pushed by Donald Trump himself.

Now, according to the testimony that we have obtained that she will deliver later today, a written testimony, she says, I have to live with these lies every single day. Before December 2020, I was never scared of people knowing my name. But after I stopped giving out my business card to voters, now I worry when I'm at the grocery store, I worry when I go shopping with my mom and she calls my name across an aisle. I worry when I pick up the phone and a voice I don't recognize says my name.

Now, she will be the second part of a panel of witnesses that will testify about those pressure efforts, by those efforts by Donald Trump, and how they resisted Donald Trump's efforts. The first panel is Republican officials, including that Arizona state house speaker, Rusty Bowers, who resisted the push by Trump and others to overturn the -- Biden's victory in Arizona. And then in Georgia, Gabe Sterling, a top election official, along with Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, who Trump directed to, quote, find the votes to overturn Biden's victory. So, another example here of Donald Trump making the push, getting resistance from officials, and then the consequences they all had to endure. Guys? HARLOW: A huge day ahead with these witnesses. Manu Raju on the Hill, thanks very much.

SCIUTTO: One witness set to testify today is Rusty Bowers. He is the Republican Arizona House speaker expected to testify about the pressure that he received from Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Joining me now is someone with deep knowledge of the GOP-led efforts in Arizona, fueled by the former president's election lie, that's Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Good to have you on this morning.

There have been multiple chapters so far in the January 6th committee hearings. I wonder, given your experience, if you could describe to folks at home what is the significance of what the public will hear today?

KATIE HOBBS, ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think, first of all, what is important about the January 6th hearings is that they're shedding so much light on what we already knew that this has been a concerted effort to attack our democracy, and it is clearly ongoing. And I think what you'll hear from Speaker Bowers is the pressure that Republican officials across the country were under from Trump and his allies to break the law and overturn election results. And, you know, Rusty is someone who didn't cave to that pressure. And for that, he's a hero, which is sort of a sad state of democracy today that just by simply doing their job, the elected officials are held up this way.

SCIUTTO: As you know, there is a deliberate effort to change that, change those circumstances for the next time around. And you have said that Republicans will not accept defeat. They are trying to lay the ground work to steal the election in 2024. Explain to folks at home how exactly you believe you're seeing that play out in your state.

HOBBS: Yes, I mean, that is -- we're seeing it firsthand here, Kari Lake, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for governor, has continuously said she would -- we should decertify the 2020 election, refuse to say whether or not she will certify 2024 if she's the governor. And the fact is that Trump is trying to install these types of allies across the country so that if they don't like the results of future elections, they can overturn them, overturn the will of the voters. And they're not only threatening our freedom to vote but they're threatening all kinds of freedoms, and that's what's on the ballot this November. And it is why I'm running for governor.

SCIUTTO: I wonder how you feel about the national party's efforts here, Democratic Party. They control Congress, they control the White House. Have they done enough to pass legislation, to prevent this kind of thing from happening?


HOBBS: Well, I wish that we could see a comprehensive legislation passed at the federal level. Obviously, the filibuster is in the way there. And that's, again, why what we do at the state level is so critical to protect voting rights. It is really unfortunate that Americans across the country have different access to the ballot based on who holds the majority in their state's legislature. It should not be that way. We need comprehensive reform at the federal level.

But the January 6th hearings are a good start in terms of holding people accountable. I think until that happens, this type of violence, this attack on America that we saw on January 6th is going to be the new normal.

SCIUTTO: Now, there was legislation considered but not passed in Arizona that would have given the state legislature more power to determine the results of elections really themselves. That didn't happen. But you do have, as you mentioned, election deniers running for statewide office who would have power to influence the outcome of elections. Tell us exactly how and are you given some confidence by the fact that some of the more broad-based legislation and changes did not make it through.

HOBBS: Yes, I'm optimistic about the future of democracy in Arizona because a lot of those bills were too extreme even for the extreme legislature here. But -- and we have checks and balances in place. And that's why one person acting alone can't do something to disrupt or overturn the election. But the threat here is that you have Trump allies running in multiple seats in statewide offices, so here in Arizona, Kari Lake, who I mentioned, Mark Finchem, who is an actual insurrectionist, is running for secretary of state. If enough of these people are elected and act in concert, then those checks and balances are eroded.

SCIUTTO: Katie Hobbs, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

HOBBS: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Please do stay with CNN throughout the day for our complete coverage of the January 6th committee hearings. That coverage begins at noon Eastern Time.

HARLOW: Well, it is a big day for parents with young kids. Children over six months old can now get vaccinated against COVID. Up next, we'll speak with the head of the CDC about the rollout and the efforts to convince any skeptical parents that this is safe and good for your kids.

Also, the Navy says the new video -- this new video shows an Iranian vessels harassing ships in the Strait of Hormuz. Ahead, we'll discuss what pressures President Biden is facing to be tough on Iran.



HARLOW: this just in to CNN, a new decision just handed down moments ago from the Supreme Court, ruling that certain gun crimes are not, quote, crimes of violence.

SCIUTTO: Yes. This is not the bigger gun case that we were looking for from New York State, but it does have impact. Let's bring in CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider now. What do we know about this ruling?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This could definitely have an impact, Jim and Poppy. This could actually lessen the sentences for certain convicted criminals.

So, this is a case from the Supreme Court. We're in the midst of opinions being handed down right now. What was just handed down was the case concerning the Hobbs Act. This is actually a federal statute dealing with interstate robbery. And the Supreme Court saying here that Hobbs Act in and of itself, attempted robbery or actually completed robbery, isn't necessarily a crime of violence. And why does that matter? Because if it was considered a crime of violence, anyone convicted for Hobbs Act robbery would automatically get a sentence addition.

This particular defendant, he was convicted of attempted Hobbs Act robbery, and because he had a gun, it was considered a crime of violence, which increased his sentence by ten years. So, now the Supreme Court is saying that it is not automatically a crime of violence, that it won't automatically trigger this additional sentence.

So, now, this particular defendant can go back and try to get his sentence reduced and other defendants, other criminal -- people who been convicted for this particular Hobbs Act crime can now go back and challenge their sentence, possibly reducing it by five years, maybe up to ten years as this particular defendant.

So, this is notable, this was a 7-2 decision, written by Justice Gorsuch, Justices Thomas and Alito dissented here, but a win for criminal defendants who might be challenging their sentences in this particular case, guys.

HARLOW: Yes, an interesting decision. Jessica Schneider, I know you're awaiting many more. We may get back to you very soon. Stand by and thanks for that reporting.

Well, today, 17 million more children in the United States are finally eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC has signed off on vaccinations for children between six months old and five years old, marking another major milestone in this nation's fight against COVID. President Biden and the first lady are expected to visit a vaccine clinic for children under five later today.

I'm happy to bring in CDC Director Dr. Rochelle walensky. Well, you made our household happy this morning. My son is very happy he can catch up with his sister and get a shot.

Let's tick through some key questions quickly, Doctor, that parents have. Explain why to parents the CDC has recommended vaccines for small children.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Yes, thank you, Poppy, delighted to have this weekend's action, which brought two different vaccines, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, demonstrating data both safety and efficacy to our youngest, those between the ages of six months and five years old both demonstrating safety and efficacy.


HARLOW: Okay. So, we know that less than 30 percent, though, of children ages 5 to 11 who are already eligible to get fully vaccinated actually are fully vaccinated. Many parents are hesitant. The numbers clearly show that. What do you say to them?

WALENSKY: Yes. You know, we had two independent panels, both at the FDA as well as at the CDC, demonstrate and go through the data very carefully, very publicly. What we would -- what we know is that confidence is going to grow over time. We saw that with adult vaccination when it first rolled out, about 35 percent of people were interested, but we now have nearly 90 percent of people who have had one dose.

So, we have work to do with our trusted messengers, pediatricians, healthcare providers, pharmacists, across this country and that hard work starts right now.

HARLOW: What do you say to parents who are scratching their head this morning thinking, well, my child just had COVID, so why should I get them vaccinated? Do those children need a shot now?

WALENSKY: Yes. Data have demonstrated in older cohorts and even early data in these younger cohorts, these younger groups of children, that if you previously had COVID, you are still at risk of getting it again and that you are protected more if you've been vaccinated than if you aren't vaccinated. So, we do know that vaccination in that setting, when you previously had infection, actually does work to prevent diseases and severe disease specifically.

HARLOW: COVID-19 deaths are hovering around 250 a day. And it is a significant decrease from where we were. It is actually tat, really, the closest level to the lowest of the pandemic. Can you help us understand why that is when we still have less than 70 percent of the total population vaccinated?

WALENSKY: Yes, Well, first, I'll say that 250 deaths per day in my mind is still far too high but it is certainly much less than we have seen previously, and I think that that's for several reasons. One is we do have a lot of people who have been vaccinated, many people who also have been boosted, but also because we know that with this omicron variant, and specifically the subvariants that we have circulating right now, they tend to cause less severe disease.

So, the combination of more protection that is out there, either because people have been previously infected or because they've had vaccination or both, as well as COVID being -- omicron being a less severe subvariant, likely contributes to the reason that we don't have more deaths right now. Again, in my mind, still, 250 is too high.

HARLOW: I think the real key here to getting -- one of the keys to getting young children vaccinated is trust, right? I mean, I hear it from friends of mine, from all walks of life. And a key issue in trust is credibility of the agencies, right? And as you know, the CDC has been criticized for its messaging, criticized for the rollout of the change in quarantine and isolation issues and what it's led to is polling that shows, you know, just in January that less than half of Americans trust the CDC and there has been a 25 percent decline in trust of your agency from the beginning of the pandemic until January.

I wonder what this experience has taught you, right? What does your team need to do better so especially parents trust for their kids?

HARLOW: Yes. We have much work under way in regard to that. What I would say to parents is there are numerous voices out there, if you, you know, go to the American Academy of Pediatrics, other American medical association, many other independent organizations are encouraging vaccinations for those six months and above. Now that we have a greater than six months, we have a lot of work to do to restore public health infrastructure in the country and at the CDC specifically, and that hard work is also under way.

HARLOW: I know you have done this internal review. Is the public going to see that? And if so, when?

WALENSKY: Right. Thank you. So, we spent a good part of May and June reviewing and doing a lot of discussions with key stakeholders about how we operate within the agency and outside the agency with our external partners. We're synthesizing that information now and I expect to have more to follow.

HARLOW: But the public will get to see all of it?

WALENSKY: The public -- we certainly want to make public the information that we have and the improvements that we are going to make as a result of that information.

HARLOW: Okay. Well, Dr. Walensky, thank you very much.


And I'll be calling the doctor's office again today after the show to see if they have the doses in yet for my son. Thanks again.