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Benny Gantz Quits Israel's War Cabinet In Blow To Netanyahu; White House Reviewing Next Steps On Immigration; Caitlin Clark Left Off Women's Olympics Team USA Roster. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired June 09, 2024 - 15:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard Burton and Errol Flynn, Salvador Dali, the surrealists love drag in the 82 club.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Drag in the US has strong roots going back to Harlem, racially diverse groups of people flocked to the Rockland Palace for headline grabbing drag balls hosted by a Black fraternal organization called the Hamilton Lodge during the Harlem Renaissance in the roaring 20s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After a while, there just became thousands upon thousands of people who would attend. There were prizes given for the best costumes.

I think it was considered social suicide if you didn't go.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Tonight, how did drag shows become such a target for the political right? CNN's Randi Kaye reports on a new, "The Whole Story" with Anderson Cooper tonight at eight right here on CNN.


WHITFIELD: Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield, and we start with breaking news out of the Middle East. A short time ago, Benny Gantz, a key minister of the Israeli War Cabinet, announced that he is quitting the emergency government.


BENNY GANTZ, MEMBER OF THE ISRAELI KNESSET (through translator): We leave the government, the emergency government with heavy heart, but complete heart.

We stand again for the campaign for Israel, for generations in order to get real victory so far, we are going to go elections and at the end of it, we will have a government that will have the confidence of people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Gantz's resignation marks a pivotal moment in Israel's war against Hamas and a major blow to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing mounting pressure to end the conflict in Gaza.

His departure comes just a day after Netanyahu failed to meet Gantz's ultimatum, which was calling for a post-war plan in Gaza by June 8th.

Gantz delayed his announcement after Israeli forces rescued four hostages from Hamas militants in Gaza. Gantz was to make his announcement yesterday, which was that deadline of June 8th, but instead had it today.

CNN has correspondents tracking all of these developments around the world. Let's begin with CNN's Paula Hancocks live for us in Tel Aviv.

Paula, so Gantz had been facing pressure to stay in place in recent days, Netanyahu publicly asking him to stay, even members of the Biden administration, were urging him to stay.

So, why did he come to this decision?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, what he said in that statement just a little earlier this Sunday evening with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm that the state of Israel could not be victorious. He said that Israel needed somebody who put the hostages ahead of politics.

Now, he has been very critical of Benjamin Netanyahu in recent months. Just last month, he said that if there weren't certain conditions that were met, then he was going to have to walk away from the emergency government.

Now those conditions were a definitive and decisive plan to get the hostages back. We know that Gantz has been very vocal about his support for the proposal that is on the table at the moment, the proposal that US and Israeli officials are waiting for an official response from Hamas for.

He also said he wants to have a-day after strategy, so the day after the war ends, what exactly is the plan for Gaza? Now Netanyahu has been very vague over recent months when it comes to that.

And then he also wanted to a plan to calm down the situation on the northern border with Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon, saying that there are tens of thousands of Israeli residents who want to be able to move back to their homes. They have been evacuated for many months now because of tensions there.

So, he has said that those were the reasons he needed to step down.

Now what this means, it doesn't mean that the government collapses. Netanyahu still has a slim majority so can continue. But it does mean that he is far more isolated now, both domestically and internationally. We know that he has a very far right element to his coalition and Gantz had been seen as a counterweight to that. He was a key member of the War Cabinet. There were three members that were the main members of that. The prime minister, the defense minister, and Benny Gantz. So a third of that key War Cabinet has now stepped down.

We know that the far right wing of Ben-Gvir, for example, the Minister for National Security wants to be part of that War Cabinet so there is a fear that there could be less of a counterweight to the far right element and that is certainly not welcome here for many in Israel.


He is a popular figure, Benny Gantz.

We've also heard as well though fears of what this means for the hostage deal, the ceasefire deal that is on the table at this point. We've had a statement from the group that represents the families of those that are being held hostage and they say, they hope it won't make a difference to that deal. That deal remains as it is, and they hope that it will be he signed and agreed to very quickly -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Paula, thank you so much. Let's go now to CNN's Ben Wedeman in Beirut.

Ben, officials in Gaza claim Israel's raid left more than 270 people dead. Israel disputing that number, saying the casualties were under 100. What is the reaction like where you are?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly I think across the Middle East, across the Arab world, there is one of shock at that high number of casualties as a result of that operation that happened yesterday.

Now, we did get a breakdown from the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza of that 274 dead yesterday. They said 64 of the dead were children, 57 were women, and 37 were elderly people, and certainly from the video we saw yesterday, there were a lot of wounded children and women among those being treated in the hospitals in the central part of Gaza.

And of course, keep in mind that many of the people who had taken refuge in Rafah in the far south of the Gaza Strip, had moved north because of Israel's operation there. So the Nuseirat Refugee Camp was teeming with people who thought they would be safe. and of course, the operation took place at eleven o'clock in the morning on a Saturday when people were out and about. There was a market nearby where many of the Israeli ordnance landed and that would explain why there is such a high death toll.

And of course, people who were there describe a scene that was absolutely horrific.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A crazy bombardment started hitting everywhere. Something we never witnessed before. Maybe 150 rockets fell in less than 10 minutes.

While we were running away, more fell on the market.

There were children torn apart and scattered in the streets. They wiped out Nuseirat. It is hell on Earth.


WEDEMAN: And the worry of course now is that after this operation where Prime Minister Netanyahu can brag that military action brought about the freedom of some of the hostages that perhaps Israel will be putting that 31st of May Biden ceasefire proposal on the back burner and will continue with the military option -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Ben Wedeman in Beirut, thank you so much.

On to CNN's Priscilla Alvarez now in Wilmington, Delaware, where President Biden will soon be returning following his overseas trip.

Priscilla, how is the White House reacting to the news of Benny Gantz's departure?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White House is not commenting on it at this point, but we do know that US officials have been concerned about his departure, jeopardizing those ongoing hostage and ceasefire negotiations. And behind the scenes, US officials had been urging him not to leave the government making the case that it could impact those ongoing talks and of course, Benny Gantz had visited Washington before.

He had met in March with Vice President Kamala Harris and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to talk about the ongoing ceasefire negotiations and also the day after planning for Gaza.

Now, that was in opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House defended those talks at the time saying that it was appropriate given his position and that the discussions were focused on the Israel-Hamas War.

Now, of course, leading up to today, the other question was whether or not President Biden's proposal for the release of hostages in exchange for that ceasefire would reverse his decision and he had outlined that on May 31st, those three phases, and really put pressure on Israel and all of the parties involved to reach an agreement.

But we now know today that that did not reverse his decision and has said Benny Gantz is departing the government. This also, of course, coming on the heels of the operation that you just heard Ben talk about, that rescue operation that occurred yesterday.


Now, today, the National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was asked about that on CNN and whether the US was comfortable, given the toll on civilians.

Take a listen to what he had to say.


JAKE SULLIVAN, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The president himself has said in recent days that the Palestinian people are going through sheer hell in this conflict because Hamas is operating in a way that puts them in the crossfire, that holds hostages right in the heart of crowded civilian areas.

Unfortunately, we are going to continue to see ongoing conflict and military operations in which Israel makes efforts to recover its citizens, and frankly to recover American citizens.

What we would much prefer to see is a ceasefire where the hostages come out peacefully.


ALVAREZ: So you heard the National Security adviser there continuing to push for a diplomatic solution that is what we continue to hear from senior US official across the board.

Of course, the president currently on his way back from France to here, Wilmington, Delaware where reporters will have a chance to ask him questions about this latest news -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Priscilla Alvarez, thank you so much.

All right, let's talk more about all of this.

Here with this now is Palestinian American Middle East analyst, Omar Baddar. So good to see you, Omar.

I would love your reaction about what has transpired a lot in the last 24 hours from four Israeli hostages rescued, the Palestinian Health Ministry, as well as the hospital say more than 270 civilians were killed. The IDF is disputing that saying the number is more in the 100 range. And then we just heard the National Security adviser there with his point of view say innocent people were tragically killed in this operation, the exact number we don't know, but innocent people were killed and that is heartbreaking.

The Vice President Kamala Harris saying in Detroit, "Thankfully four of those hostages were reunited with their families tonight." She said this last night, "But we mourn all the innocent lives that have been lost in Gaza including those tragically killed." What is your reaction to all that has transpired?

OMAR BADDAR, PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST ANALYST: Look, there is no question, whatever -- I know there is some dispute about the specific numbers, but what unfolded yesterday was unquestionably a massacre.

We have seen the images of the bodies of children littering the streets. We've seen the horrific scenes of the hospitals of weeping parents and bloodied children, and to look at an incident of that scale to see that many casualties and to celebrate this as any kind of success is effectively to say that the lives of Israelis are more valuable than the lives of Palestinians. That is the only way anybody can celebrate this as a success.

Now, its unsurprising that that is the view of the Israeli government. They've made it absolutely clear that they don't value Palestinian lives at all, not just throughout this campaign of assault on Gaza over the past several months, but Israeli policy towards Palestinians for much, much longer.

What has been disappointing is the way our government also has reduced the massacre to a footnote and focus primarily on the retrieval of hostages.

And Fredricka, all you have to do is just imagine the reverse scenario. Right now as we speak, there are thousands of Palestinians who have been kidnapped out of Gaza, placed in Israeli detention without any charge or trial. There is an article in "The New York Times" outlining the absolute horrific abuse they are undergoing on a daily basis.

And if Hamas today were to carry out an incursion into Gaza, kill a couple of hundred Israelis and then retrieve four Palestinians, would anyone in our discourse be celebrating this as some kind of victory? Would anyone even know the names of the four Palestinians who had been rescued from Israeli detention?

We know the answer to that, and that is because we currently have a moment in which its incredibly upsetting the fact that we don't see Palestinian lives as equal or as deserving of the same kind of concern and we carry on just accepting this mantra of Palestinians as collateral damage and a necessity and continuing to treat the Israeli government as some kind of protagonist in the story, even though they are ultimately responsible for the situation in which we find ourselves in.

WHITFIELD: So when you hear the National Security Adviser Sullivan saying the preference is a ceasefire from this point forward, do you believe it is possible and/or do you believe that the release or rescue of more hostages can come without the cost of civilian lives?

BADDAR: Yes, Fredricka, it is even more than just civilian lives. The Israeli insistence on pursuing the release of hostages through purely military means has in fact killed far more Israeli hostages than they have rescued. And that's -- I am talking about. Israeli bullets and Israeli bombs that cost the lives of their own hostages. There is no question that a ceasefire and an agreement to exchange hostages is the only path forward in which you can guarantee the safety of both of Israelis and Palestinians out of all this.

We've seen the biggest number of hostages being released the last time there was a temporary ceasefire in which we agreed for an exchange of hostages and prisoners between the two sides, and that is obviously the path forward.

[15:15:06] There is currently a deal on the table that basically says an exchange for the end of this war on Gaza that has just utterly devastated Gaza, killed nearly 40,000 people. In exchange for an end to that war, Israel can get all of us hostages back without another person being killed from this point moving forward.

There is simply no reason not to accept that, except it seems that the Israeli government's goal of destroying Gaza seems to rank much higher than the lives of their own hostages, which is why we are stuck in this grotesque scenario, and it is why Netanyahu seems to be beholden to the fanatical wing of his own government, who are insisting that the ultimate goal has to be either the ethnic cleansing of Gaza or the permanent reoccupation of Gaza and we are stuck in this situation where there is no real plan for what happens after this war, and in the meantime, people are going to continue to get killed. It is a very, very tragic and unfortunate situation.

WHITFIELD: And now, with today's resignation of the War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, what do you anticipate given that he gave Netanyahu an ultimatum asking for a post-war Gaza picture, a plan by yesterday that deadline that wasn't met. He resigned today.

What do you envision is potentially going to happen next as it pertains to ceasefire, negotiation talks, hostage release negotiation talks?

BADDAR: Yes, look, I think Gantz is trying to position himself as a potential replacement for Netanyahu. He understands there are significant discontent with Netanyahu within the country for the fact that he has not been able to secure the release of enough hostages, and the fact that there is also international pressure on Netanyahu. The fact that the United States, that President Biden clearly has some tensions with Netanyahu.

unfortunately, those tensions have not lead to any real or meaningful pressure. The only way President Biden can actually change Netanyahu's behavior is by credibly threatening to withhold US military funding for Israel if Netanyahu does not change course, that unfortunately does not seem to be on the table.

But I think Gantz is banking on that pressure ramping up moving forward, and is trying to express a more clear and decisive disagreement with Netanyahu, hoping that when there is more mounting American and domestic Israeli pressure on Netanyahu, that he might potentially be there to essentially reap the benefits of that discontentment and take charge, but ultimately really we are stuck in a situation in which do you need a ceasefire.

That ceasefire can only be brought about through American meaningful pressure and that has to mean that America cannot continue just providing unconditional military funding, knowing how these weapons are being used, knowing that every major human rights organization in the world is describing Israeli bombings in Gaza as indiscriminate, as costing too many civilian lives. That is not something that the United States should be complicit in. It is really way belatedly about time to say that we have to put an end to that kind of support in order to achieve that meaningful change, regardless of what the Israeli prime minister happens to be in charge when that change comes about.

WHITFIELD: Omar Baddar, appreciate you being with us. Appreciate your point of view. Thank you so much.

BADDAR: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: Coming up, new reporting that President Biden is on the verge of making a move on immigration that could directly affect hundreds of thousands of people. Details on the plan and how it could possibly help him with Latino voters.



WHITFIELD: We have new reporting on President Biden's next big move on immigration following his executive action last week on illegal border crossings. It could affect hundreds of thousands of long-term undocumented immigrants and could potentially give him a boost with Latino voters.

Back with me now is CNN White House correspondent, Priscilla Alvarez in Wilmington, Delaware.

Priscilla, what do you know about this plan.

ALVAREZ: Well, this is a move that could be the federal governments biggest relief programs since the 2012 Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, in other words, this would target undocumented immigrants who have been living in the United States for a long time, specifically those who are married to US citizens and would meet a certain criteria.

But of course, Fred, this comes against the backdrop of that fierce criticism that the Biden administration received from progressives and immigration advocates over the president's decision to move forward with an executive border action that would essentially clamp down on unlawful crossings by turning the valve off for some asylum seekers who come to the US-Mexico border.

Now, behind the scenes, the White House and other administration officials were trying to quietly reassure those same critics that there was war coming down the pipeline, that they were still reviewing other options for those immigrants who have been living in the United States for an extended period of time, and during his Tuesday remarks, President Biden seem to tease to the announcements that are to come in his remarks. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For those who say the steps I've taken are too strict, I say to you that be patient and good- willing American people are wearing fan right now. Doing nothing is not an option.

In the weeks ahead, I will speak to how we can make our immigration system more fair and more just.


ALVAREZ: Now, what appears to have sealed the deal here is polling that the White House and the Biden campaign had reviewed. According to sources, strategists have been showing polling to both of them essentially illustrating that there is overwhelming support among Americans for there to be -- or for legal status to be provided to those long-term undocumented immigrants, again, those specifically married to US citizens.


And so that helped them sort of get to the point where they are open to these options. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas telling lawmakers in a briefing this week that he too, was reviewing some of these options.

Now, whether or not it happens is still unclear. We don't know what the timing is, and this could always change or shift. But what is clear is that a move like this according to Democratic strategists, could really bolster the president's polling in states like Arizona and Nevada, where they are trying to shore up those Latino votes particularly those who have drifted and those who have moved toward former President Donald Trump.

WHITFIELD: All right, Priscilla Alvarez in Wilmington, thanks so much.

All right, still to come, at least 10 people were injured when a rooftop party erupted with gunfire. Some of the victims were as young as 14 years old, the latest on the search for a suspect, next.



WHITFIELD: All right, CNN has gained exclusive access to the security preparations by multiple law enforcement agencies ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

A lone gunman, violent protests are just some of the scenarios that they're preparing for.

CNN's John Miller has details.


JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST (voice over): The Democratic National Convention is always a security challenge, but given the backdrop of a world engaged in two wars, terrorist propaganda calling for attacks on US soil --

CHRIS WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: That's a significant concern. MILLER (voice over): -- and protests sweeping cities and campuses, this year's convention in Chicago has the Secret Service pulling out all the stops.

KIMBERLY CHEATLE, US SECRET SERVICE DIRECTOR: I think they're expecting around 50,000 people, all total. That would be involved in either attending the event, working the event, or participating in the event in some way.

MILLER (voice over): The Secret Service has been designated to be an overall command of security planning.

CHEATLE: A lone gunman, you've got folks that are radicalized, you've got demonstrations that may pop up and, you know, obviously we hope they remain peaceful here, but they could turn violent.

MILLER (voice over): And that is where Chicago has a history.

At the 1968 Democratic National Convention with a backdrop of the Vietnam war, there were violent clashes between police and protesters. Chicago police were blamed for escalating the violence. It's a history they have worked hard to overcome.

LARRY SNELLING, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: This isn't 1968. There have been advances in policing. If you look at the technology that we have now, there's a different approach.

MILLER (voice over): We met Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling at the Crime Prevention and Information Center or the CPIC. It's a 24/7 command center where they will monitor all convention- related events, including protests citywide.

Multiple agencies will have representation within the command center, including the FBI, ATF, and State Police, so if there is an incident, they can coordinate and deploy resources swiftly.

MILLER (on camera): Here in this vast open area of the Chicago Convention Center, weeks ahead of the Democratic National Convention. The Chicago Police are practicing with their mobile field forces.

MILLER (voice over): Chicago Police officers were drilled through different scenarios they've encountered -- violent protests, medical rescue -- how to extract someone from a hostile crowd. Shield training if the officers are being pelted with rocks and bottles, and bicycle teams that can move rapidly through crowded streets and form a barricade.

But Chicago Police say, the officers we are looking at here with helmets and batons will be kept behind the scenes unless they are needed.

SNELLING: We don't want to have conflicts with people if we don't have to. We don't want to clash with people if we don't have to.

People come here to express themselves by all means, do it. But do it according to the law, and do it peacefully. It's that simple. Once you start to break the law, then we have to restore the peace.

MILLER (voice over): The officers also received constitutional and legal training on the First Amendment, the right to protest, but also how to follow the complex procedures that come into play with mass arrest situations.

That convention has a large footprint, primetime programming at speeches will be held at the United Center, while daytime Democratic Party business meetings and briefings will be held at McCormick Place.

The official security perimeter is still in development, but the Secret Service has released general impact maps outlining how residents and businesses could be affected.

But the Secret Service says the security blanket is necessary.

JEFF BURNSIDE, US SECRET SERVICE DNC COORDINATOR: Well, I think everyone has a sense that the threats are real. This is not an academic exercise that we are running through. We are planning for real-world possibilities, and are we looking at everything that we need to look at and planning accordingly.

MILLER (voice over): John Miller, CNN, Chicago.


WHITFIELD: And 10 people were injured when a rooftop party in Madison, Wisconsin turned violent overnight. Officials say nine people suffered gunshot wounds or grazes and another was injured by broken glass. Police responding to the scene found dozens of people fleeing the building. Some victims were admitted to the hospital for treatment, but none of the injuries are considered life-threatening.

Police are still working to identify a suspect.


WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, we are learning that WNBA rookie, Caitlin Clark is not on the US Women's basketball Olympic roster. Now, the sports world is wondering was she snubbed?



WHITFIELD: Saturday's Israeli hostage rescue comes at a high price for those in the Gaza refugee camp. Gaza officials report at least 274 people were killed and nearly 700 injured in the operation. CNN has no way of verifying casualty numbers reported by Palestinian officials in Gaza.

The IDF is disputing that report, saying it estimates the number of casualties was under 100. Again, CNN cannot verify the numbers. We are not on the ground there.

Well today, Jake Sullivan, President Biden's National Security adviser appeared on CNN's "State of the Union," where he was asked about the administration's reaction to how the mission was conducted and the US role in the operation.


JAKE SULLIVAN, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I am not going to get into the specific operational or intelligence related matters associated with that because we need to protect those.

I can only just say that we have generally provided support to the IDF so that we can try to get all of the hostages home, including the American hostages who are still being held.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR AND POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Is the US comfortable with the way that the Israelis carried out the mission?

SULLIVAN: Look, Dana, why is President Biden going out publicly and calling for a ceasefire and hostage deals? It is because he thinks the best way to get all of the hostages home is in a deal where they are brought out diplomatically, where there is no need for military operations to get every last hostage out. So that would obviously be the best solution to this.

In the absence of that, without Hamas saying yes to the deal, unfortunately, we are going to continue to see ongoing conflict and military operations in which Israel makes efforts to recover its citizens and frankly, to recover American citizens.

What we would much prefer to see is a ceasefire where the hostages come out peacefully. That is available. Israel has said yes to it. Now Hamas needs to say yes to it. That is where President Biden's full effort, energy, and attention is.

BASH: Any word either from Hamas or through Hamas' intermediaries about their stance vis-a-vis the ceasefire deal that the president endorsed a little bit more than a week ago since what happened yesterday?

SULLIVAN: Well, we've heard a lot publicly from Hamas over the last week. We have not seen any official statements since what happened with the hostage rescue operation, and the two key Arab mediators who are standing alongside the United States in this process, Qatar and Egypt have not yet received any official to word from Hamas representatives as to their stance on the deal.

So we are awaiting that word and it should come today. It should come this hour. Hamas should say yes, which would immediately put in place a ceasefire and immediately begin the process of bringing hostages home.


WHITFIELD: Sullivan also confirmed that innocent people were killed in the Israeli operation, but said the exact number is unknown. Sullivan was with President Biden for his five-day trip to France. The president is due to land back in the US in the next few hours. All right, coming up, victory on the clay for Carlos Alcaraz, the world number three winning his first French Open just hours ago. we will talk about his incredible win at Roland Garros, next.



WHITFIELD: All right, we are learning about the roster for the USA women's basketball team for the Paris Summer Olympic Games, and the hottest, newest WNBA player is not on it, and she is now talking about it.

Let's bring in Don Riddell, host of CNN World Sport, so what is Caitlin Clark saying?

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT HOST: Well, she says she is not too disappointed. She says she is actually looking forward to having a break because it has been a pretty insane year with everything she has done in the college game at Iowa, and then the top draft pick for the WNBA, and then straight into a really heavy schedule with some very, very intense games. So, I think she is looking on the bright side.

I will tell you what I think about that, but let's hear it in her own words first.



CAITLIN CLARK, WNBA PLAYER: Honestly, no appointment, like, it just gives something to work for. You know, it is a dream, you know, hopefully one day, I can be there, and I think it's just a little more motivation. I mean, you remember that and hopefully in four years, when four years comes back around , I can be there.

I've loved competing at every single second, but it is going to be a great a month for my body to, you know, first of all I can get rest and get healthy and just get a little time away from basketball and the craziness of everything that has been going on and just find some peace and quiet for myself.


RIDDELL: So Caitlin Clark being very diplomatic there. Her Indiana Fever coach said to the media that Caitlin Clark said to her, they've woken a monster, and there is an awful lot of talk about this decision: Should the US team have been taking her to the games given that she is without doubt, the most exciting, electrifying women's basketball player in the world right now. She is the player everybody is talking about.

She is the reason so many new eyeballs are on the WNBA and she is not there, so was it a missed opportunity? Are there reasons why she is not on the team? We don't really know. We don't really know what is going on -- WHITFIELD: When are we going to have the answers to that? When is someone going to be able to give some real clarity on that? Because those are the questions out there that are going to continue for a long time, whether it be the coaches who make the selection, the USA Olympic team or I mean --


RIDDELL: The players of the team, yes.


RIDDELL: I mean, who knows? But the argument absolutely can be made that with Caitlin Clark in the team going to the Olympics, it would have been massive. It is now a bit less massive in terms of the interest and the excitement.

But I mean this is a hugely successful women's basketball team already.


RIDDELL: It is difficult to get in. She has only just arrived in the WNBA and her performances and her stats as a rookie player are off the charts. Yes, they absolutely are.

So some would say and have argued that it is a massive missed opportunity that she is not going to be in Paris.

WHITFIELD: Nonetheless, incredible stars who make up the team based on what has been shared publicly.

okay, let's talk about some other stars on the clay.


WHITFIELD: Wow. What a finish to the men's Roland Garros. That was a long match. That was exhausting.

RIDDELL: Yes, I mean, another --

WHITFIELD: And we weren't playing, we were just watching.

RIDDELL: Just watching. Sometimes these matches --


RIDDELL: -- they are exhausting to watch.


RIDDELL: Albeit, highly entertaining, yes. So, the men's French Open Final, it was won by the young Spanish superstar, Carlos Alcaraz. He is the third seed. He beat the fourth seed from Germany, Alexander Zverev in five sets and this was a massive performance from Alcaraz.

He was two-one down in that match, and he roared back from that point, dropping only three games after that to win the match.

This is now his third major title at the age of only 21. He has won the US Open. He has won Wimbledon. He has won the French, so he is now the youngest man to win major titles from all three surfaces and I think this was a real passing of the torch moment because this might have been Rafa Nadal's last ever French Open tournament.


RIDDELL: And that tournament has ended with the man who many see as his successor winning his first French Open title.

A great day for the Americans, by the way. Coco Gauff, she played in --

WHITFIELD: Oh, right, in the doubles. Yes.

RIDDELL: She played in the women's doubles final and she won it as well. And this is great for Coco Gauff.


RIDDELL: She is still so young. Remember? She won her first singles major title at the US Open just last September. Now, she is a Major doubles winner as well.

WHITFIELD: So exciting.

RIDDELL: And she said she only decided to play in this competition just two days before the start of the tournament.

WHITFIELD: No way. Really?

RIDDELL: She said she wasn't expecting to end up with another major trophy.

WHITFIELD: Incredible.

RIDDELL: But she has, so just Coco Gauff is doing so many great things.

WHITFIELD: Really exciting.

RIDDELL: And you know, she is just going to keep going, right?

WHITFIELD: Really exciting.

All right, Wimbledon next, and then US Open. There is so much to look forward to.

RIDDELL: Wimbledon is only a couple of weeks away.

WHITFIELD: I know. I like it.


WHITFIELD: All right, thank you so much. Don Riddell, great to see you.

All right, coming up, North Korea is sending more trash-filled balloons into South Korea despite vowing to stop. How South Korea plans to respond.

And this breaking news just hours after President Biden left Paris, French President Macron has dissolved Parliament. More on that straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: North Korea is reigniting a tit-for-tat feud with its southern neighbor. It sent more than 300 trash balloons into South Korea this weekend, and now the south is using loudspeakers to fight back in the propaganda battle with North Korea.

CNN's Mike Valerio explains.


MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have confirmation from the South Korean Joint Chiefs-of-Staff that the military here played one broadcast over the loudspeakers into North Korean territory, and we also have confirmation that that broadcast included K-Pop music as well as news reports detailing human rights abuses perpetrated by Kim Jong-un and his regime in North Korea.

So the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, the military here in South Korea put out a statement after the broadcast before the sun went down today and said it is up to North Korea, whether or not we do this again.

So therein lies the potential that this could be a one and done proposition, but of course now, we are waiting to see how North Korea responds.

So what exactly precipitated this? Well, earlier, I should say late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, 300 trash balloons were sent from North Korea, 80 of them made it into South Korean territory. Some of them landing in the heart of the megalopolis of Seoul right in the middle of the Han River.

And if we rewind a little further back into Thursday of last week, we have a North Korean defector. He is running an activist group here in South Korea called Fighters for a Free North Korea, he and his group launched ten balloons filled with images and slices of life in South Korea to northern neighbors, so that launch happened in the early morning hours of Thursday.

This for tit-for-tat balloon row, listen to what the founder of that group told us just before his balloon launch.

PARK SANG-HAK, FOUNDER, THE FIGHTERS FOR A FREE NORTH KOREA (through translator): We send money, medicine, facts, truth, and love, but to send filth and trash in return? That is an inhumane and barbaric act. VALERIO: Now, where do we go from here? That is the essential question. How will North Korea respond, if at all, to this.

So important to note before we go, we are standing right here on the Unification Bridge in Paju, South Korea. There are military personnel all around us and a military base very close. And we did not hear when this broadcast happened earlier in the day, so it is possible that this could have been played at a very low level.

But again, the South Korean military saying it is up to North Korea whether or not a broadcast like this happens again. We are all waiting to see how the North responds to this latest action.

Mike Valeria, CNN, Paju, South Korea.


WHITFIELD: In tonight's episode of the CNN Original Series, "Secrets and Spies: A Nuclear Game" looks at how one Russian agent put everything on the line as tensions between the US and the Soviet Union ramped up.

The CNN Original Series, "Secrets and Spies: A Nuclear Game" airs tonight at 10:00 pm Eastern right here on CNN.