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New Poll Show 58 Percent Following Hearings Closely; Republican Voters Disinterested in House Hearings; Record High Temps Recorded From Arkansas to New York; Warren Urges Fed Chair to Proceed Cautiously with Rate Hikes; Biden Calls on Congress to Pass Federal Gas Tax Holiday; U.K. Prime Minister Attending Summit in Rwanda Amid Deportation Row. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 23, 2022 - 04:30   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Lynda Kinkade. If you're just joining us what me bring you up-to-date with our top stories this hour.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan following an earthquake that struck near the city of Khost. Aid groups are working to get much-needed relief to the region. But the United Nations says at least $50 million is needed for immediate rescue and recovery efforts.

House Select Committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot is set for a fifth day of hearings. This time focusing on former President Trump's pressure campaign to get the U.S. Justice Department to overturn the 2020 election. This as the committee gets access to new evidence including footage from a documentary.

And a new poll finds that nearly six in ten Americans say they are following news from the January 6 committee closely. CNN's Jeff Zeleny spoke to voters across the political spectrum here in Georgia to see what they're taking away from the hearings.


FRANK RICHARDS, GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: History repeats itself, and so I do think we need to have history record what happens to prevent this from happening again.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Frank Richards has been closely watching the congressional hearings investigating the January 6 attack, hoping all Americans, not just Democrats like himself are paying at least some attention.

RICHARDS: From the hearings -- and I'm not a big Mike Pence fan -- I really respect what Mike Pence did. I think we all need to be patriots and respect the Constitution, which we're sworn to defend.

ZELENY (voice over): Richards is among the millions who have tuned into the four televised hearings this month, which have shined an unsparing light on Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election here in Georgia and beyond.

Yet despite new details of the lengths Trump and his allies tried to cling to power --

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Mr. Trump was told by his own advisers that he had no basis for his stolen election claims. Yet, he continued to pressure state officials to change the election results.

ZELENY (voice over): The hearings have elicited disinterest and disdain among many in the Republican leaning suburbs of Atlanta.

RICHARD BIANCO, GEORGIA VOTER: I really think they are just after Trump, they are not after the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one-sided and I choose not to watch it.


ZELENY: Is there anything that could come out in the hearing that would change your mind about things?

RUTH ATKINSON, GEORGIA REPUBLICAN VOTER: All I know is know is I am not going to watch the rest of it. There are other things to do with my time.


ZELENY (voice over): A half century after the Watergate hearings captivated the country and led to Richard Nixon's resignation, the findings of the House Select Committee, so far, at least, are largely seen through the same partisan lens that deeply divides an exhausted nation.

Yet there is nuance, as we found talking to Richard Bianco who voted for Trump the first time, but not his re-election.

BIANCO: And I'm a Republican and a lot of people need to be held accountable, but we're not getting anywhere.

ZELENY: Is Trump one of those people that needs to be held accountable, do you think?

BIANCO: If we could get the information out, yes.

ZELENY (voice over): Franzetta Ivy said she has prayed for people to watch with an open mind.

FRANZETTA IVY, GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I pray that they will actually tune in and watch this so they can see for themselves. You know, you don't just go by what somebody says, you should investigate it and search it out to see for yourself, hear it for yourself, get a better understanding for yourself, so you can make an informed decision.

ZELENY (voice over): The hearing has shined an even brighter light on Trump's meddling in Georgia.


ZELENY (voice over): Which voters in both parties told us crossed a line.

DAVID ALEXANDER, GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I need so many votes and that's so ridiculous, this is almost like Trump, first of all, do you really think that's like gangster.

ZELENY (voice over): Harvey and Patricia Newman, both Democrats have watched every moment of the proceedings.

PATRICIA NEWMAN, GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: This is an attack on our democracy. I do not think the Watergate hearings rose to that level, even close. Do you?


ZELENY (voice over): Finding the truth for history is important, they say but even more for future elections.

P. NEWMAN: They get all then I can't tell you how worried I am about 2024.

ZELENY: A concern about future elections was a sentiment shared in interview after interview with voters. No question that is front and center on their minds, democracy is as well. Now whether or not Georgians are paying attention to the hearings, information is definitely seeping through. A new Quinnipiac poll showed that 6 in 10 Americans are paying at least some attention to the findings. Of course, that breaks down on partisan lines. Democrats say they are learning new information from these hearings. And they will continue as the month of June goes on.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.


KINKADE: Well, the first full day of summer in the U.S. was not a good day to fly as countless passengers found out. More than 1,000 flights were canceled mainly due to intense thunderstorms across the Eastern U.S., another 3,400 flights were delayed.

And along with those storms are scorching temperatures that have parts of the Eastern U.S. feeling more like Death Valley. Record highs were recorded from Arkansas to the Carolinas and up to New York. In Macon, Georgia the Mercury topped out at 105 Fahrenheit -- that's 40 degrees Celsius. And unfortunately, it's not going away anytime soon especially here in the South.

Well, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam is in the CNN Weather Center and joins us now live. Good to see you, Derek. It has been ridiculously hot here and of course thousands of flights canceled. Some due to staff shortages, but many due to the weather. DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean, from storms along the

mid-Atlantic to the heat in the South, we've got myriad problems across the Eastern U.S. This just into the CNN center here. We actually have upgraded -- or the National Weather Service has upgraded central Georgia to an excessive heat warning. So, Macon included in that. Yesterday they topped 105 degrees Fahrenheit or roughly 40 degrees Celsius. And they learned better now that they're setting records yesterday, they need to warn the public. Now they have the warnings in place.

Heat advisories, he indices for this area, that's what it feels like on your exposed skin as you step outside and you factor in the actual temperature with the dew point, and you start to talk about triple digit plus. And it is all thanks to the infamous heat dome that has settled in across the southern portions of the country once again. It will tie or break records from today right through the course of the weekend. There's Macon's record high from yesterday shattering what was set back in 1925 of 101 degrees. Well, incredible.

But other locations, Memphis to Montgomery, Charlotte to Atlanta, right here where the CNN World Headquarters is located, we have the potential to tie or break 50 more records from today right through the weekend. And here's just a sampling of what is to come. New Orleans upper 90s, Atlanta middle 90s, Dallas triple digit heat, more of the same for Houston, excessively hot. But it's interesting to note the northeast, New England, you get a reprieve, only 71 degrees for Boston and New York City.

You know, when you've got all this heat around, you are bound to have severe weather. This is what happened.


This is what delayed the flights yesterday, over 190 reports of strong wind gusts, some causing some damage. Even a reported tornado in southern Ohio. And, Lynda, you can see the radar here lighting up like a Christmas tree thanks to the thunderstorms yesterday, but they are moving on as we wake up this morning. Back to you.

KINKADE: Excellent. Well, I do hope the temperatures cool down here next month. It has been hot. Derek Van Dam, thank you.

Well still to come --


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Chair Powell, will the Fed's interest rate increases bring food prices down for families?


WARREN: Will gas prices go down as a result of your interest rate increase?

POWELL: I would not think so, no.


KINKADE: The Fed chair in the hot seat on Capitol Hill as he faces tough questions over the fight against inflation. We'll have the details ahead.



WARREN: You know what is worse than high inflation and low unemployment? It's high inflation and a recession with millions of people out of work. And I hope you will reconsider that as you drive this -- before you drive this economy off a cliff.


KINKADE: A strong warning from Senator Elizabeth Warren there as U.S. lawmakers urge the Federal Reserve chair to tread carefully in the fight against inflation after the biggest interest rate hike in nearly 30 years. Jerome Powell appeared at a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday. He told Senators that he is committing to fighting inflation.


POWELL: We're not trying to provoke and don't think that we'll need to provoke a recession. But we do think that it's absolutely essential that we restore price stability really for the benefit of the labor market as much as anything else.


KINKADE: Well, Powell says he expects rising home prices to finally start stabilizing. He told lawmakers the Fed's aggressive interest rate hikes are already slowing down the housing market.


Well, investors kept a close eye on Powell's remarks and while the markets were up during his testimony, all major indices dipped into the red in the last hour of trading on Wednesday. And we're just hours until the opening bell on Wall Street. Here's a look at the U.S. futures looking to open mixed.

Well, U.S. lawmakers are debating whether a temporary gas tax holiday will alleviate any pain at the pump or it'd just a gimmick. But with the national average gasoline price sitting just below $5 a gallon, some Americans are ready for any help they can gets a long as it brings prices down. CNN's Pete Muntean reports.



PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Jazmynn Jenkins says she is leaving Los Angeles after paying $6.11 per gallon of gasoline but knows there's no running away from high prices

After the national average for a gallon of regular peaked at $5.01 last Tuesday, AAA says the average has dropped but only to $4.96.

JENKINS: I don't know what's going on, like why are we still paying so much for gas? I mean, it's an everyday necessity.


MUNTEAN (voice-over): President Joe Biden insists his newest proposal is a start at addressing soaring prices, a 90-day suspension of the 18 cent federal tax imposed on each gallon of gas. But even fellow Democrats, like House Transportation Chair Peter DeFazio, say a gas tax holiday will take a multibillion dollar chunk out of a fund that repairs roads and bridges.

REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D-OR): It's not going to provide significant savings at the pump.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): There are also questions about whether savings will even get passed on to consumers. One report cautions that oil companies and distributors could pocket more than 80 percent of the savings.

DEFAZIO: It's an attempt to provide some relief but the people who are screwing the American consumers are the oil companies.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): This newest attempt comes after years of skepticism over gas tax holidays, even the president's former boss, then-candidate Barack Obama, poured cold water on the idea in April 2008.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We're arguing over a gimmick to save you half a tank of gas over the course of the entire summer so that everyone in Washington can pat themselves on the back and say that they did something.

AMOS HOCHSTEIN, SPECIAL ENVOY, BUREAU OF ENERGY RESOURCES, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: In the conditions that we're in today, that's not a gimmick. That's a little bit of breathing room for the American people.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Biden's announcement comes a week before AAA anticipates 42 million drivers to start hitting the road for the long July 4th weekend, undaunted by pain at the pump.

ANDREW GOSS, AAA SPOKESPERSON: Maybe folks have decided to dial down the scope of their vacations. Maybe they're going to do something that I've heard called a nearcation. They're not going to go quite as far away.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): For Jazmynn Jenkins, the solution is now picking up extra shifts at work and staying home more since a gas tax holiday will not be enough for her July 4th holiday.

JENKINS: Cutting the gas tax maybe a temporary fix but we need something to get this kind of handled and get the reins on this. This is ridiculous.

MUNTEAN: There is one more maneuver. States can pause their own gas taxes, something the some states did at the outset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which caused these prices to spike initially. The Biden administration says if states act on their own, it could lead to an average of a $0.30 savings per gallon of gas.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Alexandra, Virginia.


KINKADE: After 85 years, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is changing its name. The household staple is now going to be called Kraft Mac & Cheese. And with the new name came update the packaging and it will hit stores in August. Kraft says the new name is meant to reflect the way fans organically talk about the brand including my kids. And relaunch it as a comfort food to compete with healthier alternatives.

Well, still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, Prince Charles and the British Prime Minister are attending a Commonwealth summit in Rwanda. The U.K.'s controversial deportation plan could throw a wrench in that meeting.



KINKADE: Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Kigali this hour meeting with the Rwandan President Paul Kagame as part of the summit of the Commonwealth leaders. In this meeting of course comes amid a row over the U.K.'s controversial plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. Prince Charles is also attending the summit and is expected to meet with the Prime Minister Friday morning.

Well, I want to get more now from our CNN correspondent Larry Madowo who is live in the region for us this hour. Good to see you. What a can we expect today?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, this will be the first face- to-face meeting between the leaders of Rwanda and the U.K. since the controversial migrant policy was announced. But U.K. and Rwanda are standing by that policy even though the European Court of Human Rights last week blocked the first flight that would have taken off from the U.K. into Kigali. And how we don't know when the next flight will take place.

There's been a round of condemnation of this policy, some are calling it migrant offshoring. Rwanda has agreed to take in migrants that the U.K. does not want. And so, people from human rights organizations, refugee rights groups in the U.K. and around the world, Amnesty International, even the Archbishop of Canterbury has criticized this decision to ship off migrants 4,000 miles away to Rwanda instead of the U.K. taking care of its international obligations. Even though both governments say there are no laws that are being broken by this agreement. Prince Charles reportedly has called this migrant policy appalling

even though officially his office has not commented, and as a royal he does not get involved in matters of politics in the U.K.

So, we expect to hear from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Kagame . We will be looking at the readouts from their meeting from London and from the British people to see if there's any daylight between what they say. Because even though officials are standing by that decision to ship migrants to Kigali, so far, it's facing a lot of pushback. And Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he announced his decision said he expected some legal challenges.


But it seems to have happened much faster and these legal challenges have made sure that so far that politically has not taken off.

KINKADE: All right, Larry Madowo, we will be covering this closely today. Thanks so much.

Well, pro golfers who joined the LIV Golf series will be welcome at this year's British Open despite criticism that they've ignored human rights concerns about the tours patron Saudi Arabia. Well, that decision from golf's regulator in the U.K., the Royal and Ancient Golf club of St. Andrews which is where the 150th open will be played.

The Saudi-backed LIV series is tempting golfers with multimillion- dollar purses. And now the PGA Tour's clearly frustrated commissioner is firing back with more prize money in eight tournaments and a new series of international events.


JAY MONAHAN, PGA TOUR COMMISSIONER: Let me be clear. I'm not naive. If this is an arms race, and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can't compete. The PGA Tour, an American institution, can't compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in an attempt to buy the game of golf. We welcome good healthy competition. The LIV Saudi golf league is not that. It's an irrational threat.


KINKADE: Well, that's not stopping others from joining LIV. The four time major champ Brooks Koepka is the late toast enlist in the upstart series.

Well, there is nothing like a good dog show with a great top dog.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best in show winner is the bloodhound.


KINKADE: Meet Trumpet, the victor at the Westminster Dog Show in the U.S. He was a crowd favorite beating a field of 3,500 dogs from more than 200 breeds and varieties.

Well, thanks so much for joining me. We'll have to leave it there. I'm Lynda Kinkade. "EARLY START" with Laura Jarrett is coming up next right here on CNN. Don't go anywhere.