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Benny Gantz Quits Israel's War Cabinet In Blow To Benjamin Netanyahu; Israel Rescues Four Hostages In Raid That Gaza Officials Say Killed 270 Plus; Hunter Biden Gun Trial Resumes Tomorrow With Looming Deadline To Decide If He Testifies; Key Prosecution Witness Testifies He Bribed Senator Bob Menendez; Trump Scheduled To Have His Pre-Sentencing Interview Tomorrow; Macron Dissolves French Parliament, Calls For Snap Election; About 20 Million In U.S. Under Heat Alerts. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 09, 2024 - 16:00   ET


MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And we did not hear when this broadcast happened earlier in the day. So, you know, 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 Valerio, CNN, Paju, South Korea.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: And 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 U.S. and the Soviet Union ramped up.

The CNN Original Series "SECRETS AND SPIES: A NUCLEAR GAME" airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, and we begin this hour with breaking news, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responding after a key member of the Israeli war cabinet resigned this afternoon. Benny Gantz announced he is stepping down from the emergency government and called on Netanyahu to hold due elections.

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, yesterday.


BENNY GANTZ, ISRAELI WAR CABINET MEMBER (through translator): We leave the government, the emergency government with heavy heart but complete heart. We stand together (ph) for the campaign for Israel for generations in order to get real victory. We are going to go for elections and at the end of it, we'll have a government that will have the confidence of the 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.

In response, Netanyahu is calling on Gantz to change his mind, saying, I'm quoting now, "This is the time to join forces."

Gantz delayed his announcement originally set for yesterday, Saturday, after the IDF rescued four hostages from Gaza.

But the Palestinian death toll from the raid is now seeing significant global condemnation. The Gaza Ministry of Health says the military operation killed more than 270 people, marking the deadliest day in Gaza in six months. Israel says the death toll was under 100.

CNN's Ben Wedeman and Paula Hancocks are tracking all of these developments. Ben, you first, the international reaction to this rescue operation has been swift. What are you hearing?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course, yes. For instance, the United States has been fairly positive, although Vice President Kamala Harris did mention the high Palestinian death toll as a result of that operation.

Now, others, however, have not been so positive about the operation. We heard Josep Borrell, the top E.U. diplomat, describing it as another massacre, and he urged all parties to agree to President Biden's 31st of May ceasefire proposal.

But on the ground, obviously, the situation is dire as a result of this operation. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, the death toll is two -- was 274 with 698 injured, and they did give a breakdown of those who were killed, 64 children, 57 women, 37 elderly.

Now, the men, they didn't give a breakdown on but certainly, what we saw was that there were many dead at the hospital, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade Hospital -- at Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, where the morgues were completely full and they had to lay the bodies out on the pavement.

So, the worry now is that we're in the absence of Benny Gantz in the war cabinet in Israel, and in the aftermath of this operation, which was widely praised in Israel, that Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to take the position that the military option to free the hostages may be the best one, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ben, thank you so much. Paula, so are you hearing anything more about what the plan next is for Israel with Benny Gantz out as the Israeli war cabinet minister?


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, we've already heard from the Israeli Prime Minister asking him, effectively, to reconsider saying it's a time for unity.

But from Gantz's point of view, he is saying that Israel cannot gain victory with Netanyahu in charge, his conditions for staying in the government have not been met, meaning he wanted a day after plan for Gaza, as the U.S. also does, and other countries do.

Netanyahu has been particularly vague on that front. He wants a decisive plan on how to get the hostages back. He has been very vocally supportive of the Biden proposal, which President Biden said is effectively an Israeli proposal to secure that hostage ceasefire deal, and he wants to see a quieter northern border. He wants plans for that so that tens of thousands of Israeli residents who have had to evacuate can then move back home. They've been away for many months.

Now, what this does, though, is it does isolate Netanyahu domestically and internationally. This removal of Gantz from the coalition, the emergency government, but he does, Netanyahu, still have a majority, so it means the government itself won't collapse, there is a concern that it could become more right-wing, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Paula Hancock and Ben Wedeman, thanks to both of you.

All right, let's dive even deeper into all of this with me now, Former State Department Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller and CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, good to see both of you, gentlemen.

All right. So, Aaron, you first, you know, what are the immediate ramifications of Benny Gantz leaving at this stage of the war in Gaza? Do you see this as a big blow, not just to the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but also to the overall strategy?

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, I think for Netanyahu, this is a problem, and now it's to contend with two right- wing extremist ministers, or one of whom is pressing to become a member of the war cabinet, which the Prime Minister ensures on the cusp of resolving -- of dissolving.

Yes, I think the international pressure will grow. But remember, on July 24, Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Washington to address a joint session. Now, four times exceeding even Winston Churchill.

Look, I think the Prime Minister's plan is very clear. Knesset goes into recess on July 25th, it doesn't come back into session until 10 days before the U.S. elections.

I think he's going to try to buy time until then and make a judgment on whether or not how he wants to comport himself with respect to the next U.S. president. And he can't vote in our elections, but if he could, I suspect he wouldn't be voting for Joe Biden.

Look, one -- there's one pathway out of this, if Netanyahu wants to be smart, and that is, he could say to Biden, look, I now have a right- wing government. I can't do the whole plan, but I could do phase one. We get some hostages back after returns of Palestinian prisoners, but you'll get your six week temporary ceasefire.

And the administration, he offered the administration that, I think in the mood they're in, they'll jump at the chance. Six weeks, Fredricka, of calm. We haven't seen that since October 7th in almost nine months.

WHITFIELD: Peter, do you see the resignation of Gantz as impacting or changing the direction that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been taking here or the IDF overall?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Look, I'm not an expert on Israeli politics like Aaron David Miller is, one of the world's leading experts on it.

But, I mean, I would just say, look at the -- look at the past track record of Netanyahu. He has never presented a plan for the day after. He sometimes said Israel might take Gaza. He's rejected having the Palestinian Authority involved at all, which is crazy, because if you're not going to have -- going to have to have some Palestinians involved in administering Gaza.

So, he's never really done the things that Benny Gantz has very correctly said you need to do.

And look, Sun Tzu said a long time ago, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. And you know, every -- you know, the Israeli military can win every battle, but if there isn't an actual strategy attached to what they want to do, a real plan for the day after, you're just talking about a recipe for endless war, which is why Benny Gantz has resigned.

I mean, he's -- you know, this guy is a -- he ran the IDF. He knows what he's talking about in addition to being a politician.

So, you know, I don't -- Netanyahu has demonstrated no plan so far, and we're more than eight months into this.

WHITFIELD: So, then, Peter, do you see Hamas seizing on this moment as an opportunity?


BERGEN: Look, I mean, -- look, if I'm Hamas, I mean, I'm saying, you know -- I mean, Hamas has said that they review the Biden stroke Israeli plan for the six week ceasefire that Aaron David Miller just referred to. They said that they view it positively.

Now, what does that mean? We don't really know, but you know, but you know, there was clearly some positive sounds that were made after President Biden's speech by Hamas.

You know this event can surely -- is not going to help, right? I mean, the Hamas military leadership and the Hamas political leadership are going to look at this event, and it's not going to get them to the negotiating table any quicker.

WHITFIELD: OK. And then Aaron, you know, in Benny Gantz's announcement, he also challenged Netanyahu to hold new elections. What do you see is the next potential step here?

MILLER: First of all, Fred, Peter's read on Netanyahu is just dead on right. He's trying to buy time.

Look, it's Knesset arithmetic (INAUDIBLE) 120 seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, you need 60 plus one to govern. Netanyahu has got 64, it's rather coherent, cohesive, coalition. Two right-wing parties, two religious parties, both of which are prepared to accept the Biden plan, and then Netanyahu Likud party. And Likud does not have a reputation of devouring its own.

So, I think Netanyahu, unless there's some -- something comes out of the blue, let's assume Hamas surprises all of us. I don't think they will. By giving a clean yes to this plan, then Netanyahu needs to present it to the government. The plan would probably fail the Biden administration, I think would up its pressure. You might get internal pressures, more resignations from the security services and the intelligence services, and who knows what could develop.

But by and large, I'm afraid that Benjamin Netanyahu is going to be with us for a good deal while longer. He is the worst leader at the worst time, at the worst moment in the history of this country, and frankly, for Palestinians as well.

WHITFIELD: And then, and Peter, the Palestinian health ministry and hospitals are saying 270 civilians were killed in this raid operation that led to the rescue of four Israeli hostages. Do you see that 270 plus number coupled with the Benny Gantz resignation as impetus for Hamas to carry out a retaliatory operation?

BERGEN: Yes, I don't know, but I'm going to make an observation here. Look, if this was a U.S. special operation, the forces operation, it wouldn't have happened.

You know, think about the --

WHITFIELD: Meaning the casualty count it would not have had?

BERGEN: Yes, it would not have happened.

I mean, think about the months of debate the Obama administration had over whether to, you know, what to do about Bin Laden, and they rejected a bombing operation because there would be civilian casualties in Abbottabad.

The Trump administration also had a very similar debate about the leader of ISIS in 2019 and debated for weeks about the operation. In the end, the ISIS leader in Syria was killed.

So, look, this -- the level of civilian casualties here, even if we accept the Israeli number, which is much lower, circa a hundred is, you know, it would not happen under U.S. special operation forces doctrine, there just wouldn't be -- this would not have happened.

Now, obviously, the United States, it's the Israeli government, it's their decision. Obviously, the U.S. was supported that decision in some unspecified manner with intelligence or advice.

But I just want to make the observations, I don't see U.S. special operations carrying out this raid with that number of casualties.

WHITFIELD: Understood. All right, Peter Bergen, Aaron David Miller, great to see both of you. Appreciate it.

BERGEN: Thank you.

MILLER: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, right now, Donald Trump is holding his first campaign rally since his felony conviction.

And tomorrow, the former president will meet with a probation officer. What we're learning about that scheduled interview.

Plus, Hunter Biden's federal gun trial resumes tomorrow. The big question, will he take the stand in his own defense?



WHITFIELD: Hunter Biden's federal gun trial resumes tomorrow as the defense continues presenting its case. The president's son is accused of illegally purchasing and possessing a gun while abusing or being addicted to drugs.

The big question looming over the upcoming proceedings, will Hunter Biden testify in his own defense?

CNN's Marshall Cohen was in court all week, joining us right now. Marshall, do we yet have any answers as to whether he will take the stand?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Fred, we're on the eve of finding out the answer to that monumental question, will Hunter Biden testify?

It's pretty rare, and it would be very risky for him to do this, but it's possible that his team may have made the calculation that they might not have anything to lose after some of the damning and damaging testimony that the jury heard last week in Wilmington, Delaware.

They have said on the defense team that if Hunter does take the stand in his own defense, they want to point out and they will use his time on the stand to tell the jury that he has been sober and law abiding since 2019 and they also would want to make the jury aware of the fact that the prosecutors had previously offered him a deal that would have resolved these gun charges without charging him with a crime and sending him to prison.


On the other side of this, Fred, the special counsel has said that if Hunter Biden testifies, they want to grill him about his discharge from the Navy in 2014 which was over cocaine use.

And they also said that they'd bring up his taxes, they want to undermine his credibility as a witness and tell the jury that in their view, not only did he lie on the gun forms, but they think he also has lied on his taxes.

So, we'll see what happens. They have said that they had not made a final decision on Friday, and they will be telling the court tomorrow, tomorrow morning, whether they're going to do it or not. And if not, then you can expect the defense will rest, and we'll get into closing arguments.

WHITFIELD: And then, Marshall, you know, we heard critical testimony from Hunter Biden's daughter Naomi on Friday. Tell us more about what she said.

COHEN: Yes, Fred, it was fascinating to watch a daughter take the stand to try to help her father beat these charges. She was a bit shaky at times and visibly uncomfortable as well.

And the defense had hoped that she would give the jury a clear picture of a man who was trying to move away from drugs toward recovery, but the prosecutors grilled her on cross examination.

I want to read for you a little bit of what she said. They asked her some critical questions about the ve -- a vehicle that he -- that she shared with her dad, because after she gave this car back to Hunter, a few days later, Hallie Biden found drug remnants in the car.

So, they asked her, you wouldn't have done anything, speaking to Naomi here, that left any drug remnants in the truck, is that fair? And she said, yes.

They went on and said, when you gave it back to your father on the 19th, there was no drug paraphernalia in it, right? She said, no.

Finally, there were no drug remnants in it, right? Is that right? And she said, yes, that's right.

So, no drugs, no drug remnants in the car when she gives it back to Hunter on October 19th, then on October 23rd, Hunter's girlfriend at the time, Hallie Biden, finds drug remnants.

Clearly, it leaves a question lingering in the mind of the jury, who put those drugs there? And if they can connect those drugs to Hunter Biden, it really could help the prosecutors get a conviction, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Marshall Cohen, thank you so much.

All right, let's talk further about all of this with CNN Legal Analyst Norm Eisen. Norm, great to see you.

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: How are you, Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: I'm doing just great. All right, so, you know, how the attorneys representing Hunter Biden, how are they doing is really important, and what might they be deciding this weekend about whether Hunter Biden should take the stand tomorrow. What do you think?

EISEN: Well, it's an agonizing choice. I know both Hunter and his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, and the greatest risk here is that he gets on the stand and Judge Maryellen Noriega believes he lied about whether he was knowingly addicted to drugs when he filled out those forms, because that can harm him at sentencing.

The upside of Hunter testifying is that Lowell has argued to the jury that Hunter was in denial, so he did not have the intent when he filled out that form to knowingly lie.

So, the only way to prove intent is for Hunter himself to speak. Otherwise, it has to be inferred, that's the only direct proof.

So, there's pros and cons. It's an agonizing choice. If it were me, I would not put Hunter Biden on that stand.

WHITFIELD: And then, now the prosecution has rested. Did they do a good job, in your view, of proving their case?

EISEN: I think they did do a good job. It is an inferential case. They don't have video of Hunter using drugs while he was in possession, taking possession of that gun, filling out the forms. But they have a lot of evidence. It allows the jury to make an inference. There are some potential gaps in that evidence as well.

For example, the argument that Hunter did not believe he was lying when he filled out those forms, or that the gun was removed by Hallie Biden, who took it to a shopping center where another individual handled it.

That allows the defense to attempt to poke some holes, but I think the prosecution has put in a pretty strong case, which is why Hunter and his lawyers are wrestling with this question of whether he should testify to knock it down.


WHITFIELD: All right, let's turn a corner now, and let's talk about the case involving Senator Bob Menendez.

I mean, four weeks into his corruption trial, we heard from a key prosecution witness, a businessman who testified that he bribed the senator offering a Mercedes Benz convertible to the lawmaker's wife in exchange for Menendez's help to stop investigations into his associates.

So, what's next potentially in this case?

EISEN: Well, Jose Uribe, the cooperator who himself has pled guilty, is a critical link in the chain, because he's a personal witness, we know that that Mercedes featured prominently in the indictment that it was seized by the government at the Menendez's home. So, Uribe is testifying to fill in that gap of proving criminal intent. He was a credible witness. His witness was corroborated by a great deal of other evidence. Menendez reacted to that testimony by shaking his head, by throwing a look at his lawyers.

But I think Senator Menendez is in a lot of trouble in this case, and now, we'll see how the prosecution continues to prove the case. It's already four weeks in.

And Fred, a case like this, it's like assembling a large jigsaw puzzle. Uribe gave them a big piece of the puzzle.

WHITFIELD: All right, Norm, Eisen, we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much.

EISEN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Former president and now convicted felon Donald Trump will meet with a probation officer virtually tomorrow for a pre-sentencing hearing following his hush money conviction. What we know about the meeting?



WHITFIELD: Former President Donald Trump has just wrapped up his first campaign rally since his felony conviction, and we're just now learning that Trump will also have a pre-sentencing interview for that hush money case tomorrow with a probation officer. The sentencing for his 34 felony counts is scheduled to take place next month in New York.

CNN's Alayna Treene is covering this rally for us.

So, Alayna, good to see you.

What did the former president have to say?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: We know I found really interesting, Fred, is, as you mentioned, this was Donald Trump's first rally since his being convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records. However, we did not hear Donald Trump's specifically bring up that verdict. Instead, he just talked about his indictments more generally.

He cursed a lot. He used expletives to describe special counsel, Jack Smith. He was not involved in his conviction or the trial related to his conviction in New York. And he also claimed that this country he called it. He said no third world country has more weaponization than the United States (ph).

So he described his legal troubles more broadly, but he did not speak about that verdict specifically. And I think again, its very interesting just given especially over the past several days, Donald Trump has really escalated his rhetoric, calling for retribution on his political opponents. We've heard of in many interviews, this week argue that he would try

to prosecute some of his political enemies if reelected. And so we he didn't really hear that language today and I just don't tell you, for my conversations with the Trump campaign, they've told me that they really do want to leave his weeks-long criminal trial in the past, they are very eager to really shift back to his general election campaign message and focus on the issues that they think will get him elected in November.

That's why you heard him talk a lot about immigration, a lot about crime, a lot about the economy, all things that he knows voters here in Nevada care about very much.

WHITFIELD: All right. Alayna Treene, thank you so much.

Oh, let me ask a really quick tomorrow -- I know his campaign would rather not be talking about the convictions, but you had mentioned earlier that he would have a virtual meeting with a probation officer tomorrow. What more do we know about that?

TREENE: That's right. So this is part of a pre-sentencing interview that he's going to be doing. One of this -- I should first of all say this is a routine pre-sentencing interview, something that is very common in these situations.

What's not as common is that it will be virtual. We're told that Donald Trump will be doing this interview at his home in Mar-a-Lago, has defense attorney Todd Blanche will be there, as well.

And this comes ahead of Trump's team expecting to file their pre- sentencing recommendations to the court on June 13th, I'm told and all of this comes ahead of that current sentencing date of July 11. That's just four days before the Republican national convention in Milwaukee in July.

And so, a lot of moving parts since they look forward to when exactly that sentencing is, what it will mean and how it could impact his election.

WHITFIELD: All right. Alayna Treene, thanks so much, in Las Vegas.

All right. Joining me right now to talk more about the 2024 presidential race, is Scott Jennings. He is a CNN senior political commentator and a former special assistant to president George W. Bush.

Great to see you.

Also joined by Maria Cardona, she's a CNN political commentator and a Democratic strategist. Great to see you, too.


WHITFIELD: All right. Scott, you first. You know, Trump didn't talk about his New York conviction. You heard, Alayna, say his, you know, camp doesn't want to look back, they want to look forward. But he did use part of his campaign rally today to again claim that Biden is weaponizing the justice system against him. In this week, in several interviews, Trump vowed to prosecute his rivals if he's reelected.


So, do you think a presidential candidate should be running a campaign based on retribution?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He should be running this campaign based on the foundation of the campaign, which is that people want to fire Joe Biden. Every poll says it. They want to fire him over the economy. They want to fire him over immigration. They want to fire him over the fact that they think he's too old to serve a second term.

So everything they do from this point forward needs to be focused on what the American people already believe, which is at the current president has failed. They want to fire Biden.

The question is, do they want to rehire Donald Trump? And he's got a message here, if he will take advantage of it. So that really ought to be their focus.

WHITFIELD: Do you think then it's going to backfire on the former president to be talking about -- he's going after his political nemeses or enemies and that is his focus because that is what he's been saying?

JENNINGS: Yeah. I think -- I think you would find in the polling that if you run this entire campaign on revenge, retribution, looking back instead of looking at the issues I just laid out, the people are going to reject that. They want somebody to replace Biden and to do a better job than Biden, and what they want them to focus on, the next present to focus on are the issues I laid out.

So it would be very, very wise for them to look at the problems of the American people and focus on the future, not your personal problems looking back.

WHITFIELD: Maria, on CNN -- on CNN today, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem downplayed Trump's threat of revenge on the political opponents in this way. Take a listen.


GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Well, his message has clearly been that his only conventions will be America's success. H is not interested in going after political opponents. What he said is that he's warned the American people, if we start weaponizing the judicial system like they did against him, that it could happen to any president. It could happen to any political opponent.

What he's talking about when he's having those discussions is that be careful what you do because that opens the door in the future to anybody doing it. And that's what he's trying to shut down. He wants people to trust their judicial system. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Maria, your thought? Is that the fear based on the conviction of these 34 felony counts?

CARDONA: First of all, I don't think that she, Kristi Noem, has actually heard Donald Trump at these rallies because he's doing exactly what she said he wasn't. He is talking about retribution. He is talking about vengeance. He's the one who said he would weaponize the justices system our judicial system, if he wins again by going after all of his opponents, that's what he wants. That's the only thing he wants.

In fact, Fredricka, he said today in his rally and I'm quoting, I don't care about you. I only want your vote. I don't care about you.

This is the problem. Scott is right. If they focused on the issues, things might be different, but because he is not able to focus on the issues, he is only able to focus about his own problems about what he is scared about, about what he's pissed off about. It is all about him.

That's why I think at the end of the day, you will see that the majority of Americans are going to choose a successful president, someone who has brought accomplishments to the American people has had public service for decades and decades, focused on bringing more or jobs, additional health care, more security to the American people. And that president is Joe Biden versus someone who can only speak about himself, someone who can only speak about retribution and vengeance and getting back at people, and frankly telling the one nugget of truth at today's rally about how he doesn't care about the American voter.

He doesn't care about this country. He doesn't care about governing for the betterment of America. He only cares about himself and that's why he wants people's votes. And I think that will backfire in November.

WHITFIELD: So, Scott, we may soon learn who Trump wants to be his running mate. You know, sources are telling CNN that seven potential Trump vice presidential contenders have received vetting materials so far. Kristi Noem, she's not on that list, but it does include six men and one woman, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is the only female on that list.

So from that list, who do you see as best complementing Trump as a good running mate?

JENNINGS: I think this is the one area of the campaign where Trump has an embarrassment of riches. Any of these people are great. They're all highly defensible political choices and I think they all bring different things to the table.

So whether you pick Doug Burgum, who is an expert on energy policy and how it intersects with national security.


Or Elise Stefanik who's really distinguished herself lately going after the antisemitic rot on college campuses. Or Tim Scott, who I think is a historic figure and helping the Republicans go after African American votes. I think any of these people would be terrific and -- or, you know, JD Vance, Marco Rubio mean these guys have been excellent defenders of Trump out there when to stump. They're all really good.

The number one rule of choosing a vice president, by the way, is do no harm. Don't do something that's going to put you in harm's way. I think the list that they've got that they're vetting on right now, all these people are better than that. There are better than do no harm. They all bring something to the table.

WHITFIELD: All right. We will soon find out.

Scott Jennings, Maria Cardona, good to see you both. Thank you.

CARDONA: Thanks, Fred.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Up next, a French President Macron has dissolved the country's parliament and he's now calling for a snap election. Detail straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: Breaking news out of France. Just hours after his party suffered a crushing defeat in European parliamentary elections, French President Emmanuel Macron has dissolved his country's parliament and called for a snap election.

CNN's Melissa Bell is in Paris for us.

Melissa, this is a big blow to Macron's Renaissance Party.

MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Big blow and a pretty big surprise I think too many on his own side and even within France's political press. He didn't have to do this, Fredericka, is the truth of it. The far-right's national rally came in at just over 31.5 percent for the time being, these are projections, not the final tally, but it is considered such a resounding victory that the president has announced a snap election first-round June 30th, second round, July 7th. And that could redraw France's parliamentary map.

Now, of course, President Macron wasn't giving up that much in this second Monday. You'd only had a relative majority. Still, it is a big gamble and should lead -- could lead to some pretty big changes here on the political front in France, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And it's not just in France. I mean, exit polls have also showed the gains for far-right parties in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.

BELL: That's right. They made some pretty big gains across the board and this had been widely predicted in the polls, things like frustration over the economy, inflation, fears, and some manufacturing industries and in farming about green regulations -- for instance, lot of resentment to the E.U. had been driving this vote.

And yet, the far-right did do remarkably well in a number of different countries, and specifically, Europe's biggest economies. But it is the center-right that remains the largest party, it seems, according to these projections in the European parliament. Still the center right and the far-right will now constitute a very large bloc, and that could also change the hue of Europe because there are a number of issues on which they're going to be able to way where they simply didn't have the way to the past.

So it is a center of gravity here in Europe that shifts to the right. But the biggest change of all really specifically now that we've had the snap election announced with a possibility that the far right might win.

For now, sources that the Elysee thinking they don't say -- they don't think that's likely, but it is a possibility and uncertainty when my independence all done (INAUDIBLE) who led the party and these European elections are hoping for, Fredricka.

WTHIFIELD: All right. Melissa Bell in Paris, thank you so much.

All right. A heatwave in this country has millions of Americans under weather alerts right now. People in the Western part of the country are now facing dangerous triple digit temperatures. We'll break down the most impacted areas, next.



WHITFIELD: All right. Record-breaking temperatures have about 20 million people in the U.S. under heat alerts. Some areas of the country are already hitting triple digit temperatures.

Here now is CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.


ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The interesting thing about that, roughly 20 million that are under those heat alerts is it's not in one particular area. Take a look. You've got some across portions of central Florida, west Texas, and then several more in some of these Western states.

And this is the area we may end up seeing those alerts expand, especially Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week as those numbers are expected to rise. But so far, still looking at some pretty extreme temperatures across portions of the West. Records still possible, however, across areas of Florida as we go into the day Monday, look at this, Orlando 97 Monday, but back down to 85 on Wednesday. Similar drop for Tampa and Jacksonville. Once we start to get some rain showers back into the forecast there.

But for making in Jackson, the opposite, the temperatures will actually be going up as we head into the weekend. That's the same scenario out to the West. A lot of these areas seeing a big jump, Albuquerque, 77 up to 98, Denver, going from 84 up to 93, by the middle of the week, Las Vegas, Phoenix, even Sacramento, seeing their temperatures jumped well above what would normally be their high this time of year.

Take for example, Tucson average high of 100, pretty close to that as we finish out the weekend. But notice those temperatures really begin to jump by the time we get to the middle portion of the upcoming week.

And Las Vegas, for example, their normal height really doesn't actually reach triple-digits even yet so far, average high, 98 degrees, but every single one of these next seven days is going to see that temperature into the triple digits.


WHITFIELD: All right. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

All right. Wildfires are fast deadly disasters. CNN's original series, "VIOLENT EARTH WITH LIEV SCHREIBER," takes a look at one terrifying encounter.

Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything around her was burning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cars on the side burning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And nobody was moving.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These fires, they could be well over 2,000 degrees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They melt metal. They melt cars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could hear dogs panting in the back. And her despair.



WHITFIELD: Incredible. The CNN original series, "VIOLENT EARTH WITH LIEV SCHREIBER" airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

And thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

The CNN NEWSROOM continues with Jessica Dean right after this.