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New York Times First U.S. Paper Urging Biden To Drop Out Of Presidential Race; Biden Campaign Emphatic He Will Not Drop Out After Debate Disaster; Supreme Court Limits Obstruction Charges Against January 6 Rioters; Former Uvalde School Police Chief Arrested For Mass Shooting Response; Steve Bannon To Report To Prison Monday; Judge Denies Latest Motion To Dismiss Alec Baldwin's "Rust" Charges; Sixty Homes Impacted As Wildfire Burns 3,200 Acres In Phoenix. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired June 29, 2024 - 06:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to CNN This Morning. It is Saturday, June 29. I'm Victor Blackwell.

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isabel Rosales in for Admiral Walker, thank you so much for joining us this morning. And Victor Good to be here. The hours not so much.

BLACKWELL: It's good to have you back, though. It's good. That's the tradeoff.


BLACKWELL: You got to take hours to be here now that we're good. It's good. All right. So President Biden is back on the campaign trail today. He's in New York for several campaign appearances this morning. And he'll make stops in New Jersey this afternoon. His team is scrambling to do damage control, of course, after the damning op-ed from the New York Times Editorial Board.

The board joined the chorus of voices calling on the President to step aside after his campaign performance certainly in CNNs presidential debate. In the op-ed the board called the President a quote shadow of a great public servant, and said dropping out would be the greatest public service he could now perform.

ROSALES: But in a Friday rally, the President appeared much more animated, admitting his performance was lackluster, but saying that he was still ready for the challenge.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I know how to do this job. I know how to get things done. I know like millions of Americans know when you get knocked down you get back.


ROSALES: Former President Trump isn't campaigning this weekend. He made a stop in Virginia Friday where he took a victory lap during a rally with supporters in Chesapeake.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Is every American saw firsthand last night. This election is a choice between strength and weakness, competence and incompetence, peace and prosperity or war or no war.


ROSALES: And he also told supporters he didn't think Biden would drop out of the race.


TRUMP: He does better in polls than any of the Democrats that talked about you've seen that blend. These polls come out with some of the names. They're being like Gavin Newsom, he can't run California. He's one of the worst governors, then of course, Kamala is somebody that will be on the scope.


BLACKWELL: So remember their former President Trump is three years younger than President Biden. And he insisted that age was not the issue at that debate. CNN's Kristen Holmes has more from Chesapeake.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Morning, Victor and Isabel. Well, we heard from former President Donald Trump for the first time post that Thursday night debate at a rally in Chesapeake, Virginia. He addressed what happened on the stage he did a victory lap. And he went after Joe Biden. And take a listen.

TRUMP: Despite the fact that crooked Joe Biden spent the entire week at Camp David resting, working, studying, he studied very hard. He studied so hard that he didn't know what the hell he was doing. He got the debate rules that he wanted. He got the date that he wanted. He got the network that he wanted. With the moderates he wanted, no amount of rest or Reagan could help him defend his atrocious record.

HOLMES: Now one thing, of course to note is the fact that Donald Trump agreed to the same rules format and network that President Joe Biden did. But the other thing that I want to point out that Donald Trump stopped short of saying this was about age.

In fact, he said he didn't think it was about age. He thought it was about mental fitness. Obviously, as we have reported before, Trump himself has been hesitant to call Joe Biden old or point out his age because he was just simply right behind.

Now, the other thing that we heard from the former president was that he didn't think that Joe Biden was going to drop out of the race that and said that because things he actually pulls higher than some of the other people whose names had been floated. But this was very clear.

This was a continuation of a victory lap that we really expect to see going into next week. They feel confident, but what happened on that stage on Thursday night, Victor and Isabel.


ROSALES: Kristen Holmes, thank you. White House advisors tell CNN that Biden isn't dwelling on his performance and will simply devote more time to push him back on Trump's quote, extreme positions and lies. CNN's Camila DeChalus joins us now from the White House. Camila, good morning. What else are we hearing from advisors?


CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Campaign officials tell CNN that Biden has absolutely no plans to drop out of the race and remains even more committed to being the Democratic front runner and running for presidency.

Now, Isabel, on Friday, Biden held a rally where he acknowledged his weak debate performance. And he said this, he said, I know I am not a young man. To state the obvious. I don't walk as easily as I used to. I don't speak as smoothly as I used to. I don't debate as well as I used to. But I do know what I do know. I know how to tell the truth. I know how to do the job. And I know how to get things done.

And his remarks echo a sentiment that I've been hearing time and time, again, from campaign officials and from White House officials. And that is this that his debate performance should not overshadow or diminish what he has done since being in office, the policies that he set forth, and that legislation that he has implemented, that should not be diminished. And they really reiterate that voters should be reminded of that to focus more on Biden's track record rather than his debate performance that was about 90 minutes. And just going forward that is something that they're going to continue reiterating while Biden's on the campaign trail and at the White House. Isabel, Victor, back to you.

BLACKWELL: Camila DeChalus, thank you so much. Joining me now CNN political commentator, Errol Louis and CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer. Gentlemen, good morning to you. Errol, I'll start with you. The President looked strong. He sounded strong in North Carolina. He even had more energy at the Waffle House on Thursday night than he did on stage with Donald Trump. Is the level of panic within the party justified still?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In my opinion, no. The level of panic, I think just blaze people who either really never liked Joe Biden, or don't understand how politics works. I mean, we're less than 130 days away from an election, we don't have mechanisms in place to simply swap out a sitting president of the United States and put in somebody of their choice, some unnamed candidate of their choice. We have a process to determine that it's called the primary season and it ended a while ago.

So I'm not sure what it is talking about. But as we saw with, there's a candidate who's likely to be the Democratic nominee, the sitting president, who had a really bad debate performance, followed by a pretty good rally the next day.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And some of those people who are panicked are close to the President. Some of the reporting is out of the White House where they say they are a in a dark period, but they're moving forward. Julian, let me come to you about the history here. And what how it can inform what the President does next.

This is -- it was an unprecedented debate for several reasons. But there had been presidents on the ballot, who were in less than top shape. What are his options? What does history tell us about what he can do next to salvage this?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, bad debates have been overcome. And many people have reminded us about President Obama who had a terrible first debate and you can come back. President Reagan had the same thing happened. I think part of it is going to be performances, rallies, and appearances, like we saw the other day.

I think the Vice President will be very important, the more they can showcase her and show her strength, not as a replacement, but as part of the ticket. I think the stronger the support for Biden will be but ultimately, they have to survive the next, you know, 72 hours of discussion of replacement, and focus on the campaign and focus on the threat the Democrats see from Trump, rather than the problems Democrats are talking about with their own candidate.

BLACKWELL: And if anyone wants to read more about Julian's thoughts on the utility of the vice president, he has a new piece on about Kamala Harris says the key to Biden's political future is the headline of that.

Let me read to you, Errol, a portion of this New York Times Editorial Board piece calling for the president to step aside. There's no reason for the party to risk the stability and security of the country by forcing voters to choose between Mr. Trump's deficiencies and those of Mr. Biden. It's too big a bet to simply hope Americans will overlook or discount Mr. Biden's age and infirmity that they see with their own eyes.

Now, most Americans don't read the New York Times editorials. But we know that those in the White House do and maybe the MAGA donors do. So what's the significance here?

LOUIS: I'm not sure what the significance is, as the Biden team pointed out this same New York Times Editorial Board endorsed the two of Biden's opponents four years ago, endorsed Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar is some sort of strange joint endorsement during the Democratic primary four years ago. So they're saying look, the Times was against us four years ago and we won so don't worry about it.

More seriously, if you read the editorial I think about halfway through, a couple of 100 words in they finally say oh by the way Donald Trump's performance in that same debate was also disqualifying.


And it really raises this question of why is it that if they think both candidates had a poor debate of performance, only one of them should drop out of the race? I just don't understand the logic of what they're getting at or who they're trying to influence. But to answer your question, it's not going to influence the Biden team very much at all. I don't think.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Julian, former President Trump lied and lied and lied and made false statements and claims that were bunk. But there appears to be no cost for that, because it's part of what people expect from him at this point.

ZELIZER: I think that's right. I think everything that he did, which is not proper, is something that is now totally familiar and normal, it is literally the essence of what the Trump presidency was about, and what the Trump campaign is about. So supporters don't care. In fact, they like it. And I think a lot of opponents at this point kind of shrug their shoulders and don't really have a response.

Whereas I think part of what's driving all this concern with President Biden among Democrats is a fear of Trump rather than a fear of the problems with Biden. I think that's the essence of what the questions are about, will he lose? Will he lose and hand the White House to the Trump presidency part two, and I think that's really the essence of the difference.

But it is notable, it's not simply the debate performance, let's remember, the former president was just convicted, and in some ways, there was less of a reaction to that, than there has been to a bad debate performance.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Errol, Pennsylvania, Senator John Fetterman is telling Democrats calm down, cool down. And he uses his own 2020 to debate with Mehmet Oz. As an example, he was just in the early days of recovery from a stroke. Is that a comparable example for the President that you can have a really bad debate and still win?

LOUIS: Oh, sure. I mean, look, if you think back to 2004, Victor, you know, John Kerry beat President Bush like a drum in the debates, and then he lost the election. I mean, we're not casting a movie. We're not casting a TV show. We're not going to collapse the future of the United States into 90 televised minutes.

I would urge people if they if they want to think about this seriously, to look at a transcript of that debate. You know, his voice was weak, his voice was shaky. It wasn't great to see the split screen. But if you read the answers to the questions that were put to the different candidates, you get an entirely different impression.

And I think I hope that Senator Fetterman is right, and that people are going to calm down and think seriously and carefully about the choice that lies ahead for the country. BLACKWELL: Yes, we don't have to look back 20 years. We can look back just 12 at Governor Romney. And then President Obama and their first debate, and that was part of what informed the tweet from former President Obama that he said that bad debt baits happen, trust me, I know, because he went through it in 2012. All right, Errol Louis. Julian Zelizer. Thank you both.

LOUIS: Thanks.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

ROSALES: A good (ph) conversation there. Well, a new ruling from the Supreme Court is a limiting how January 6 rioters can be charged. On Friday the High Court raise the bar for charging defendants with obstruction. The court's ruling indicates the Justice Department overcharged hundreds of insurrection cases. Attorney General Merrick Garland says the ruling is disappointing, but not expected to affect the upcoming case against Donald Trump. CNN senior crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz has more. Katelyn.


KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Isabel and Victor, this is a major ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on the January 6 rioters and how the Justice Department can charge them. So the Attorney General Merrick Garland when the ruling came down, he said he was disappointed because what the Supreme Court did was limit how the Justice Department is able to bring felony obstruction cases against rioters.

So at the beginning of this, very soon after the riot, the Justice Department use this felony obstruction of a congressional proceeding charged against rioters to really bring the hammer down on people who weren't necessarily violent but who were taking some sort of extra steps inside the Capitol to contribute to what happened there the riot inside the building.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court says those charges need to have more specific language and showing what these writers wanted to do to obstruct and have the intent to obstruct documents evidence Other things that were used during that congressional proceeding.


So it's not cutting out the cases altogether, but it is limiting. And what it's going to mean in the next coming days is that judges will have to revisit the rioter cases, the sentences that rioters received, and also how rioters may be charged one man, Jacob Chansley one of the most well-known rioters, because of the image he had of himself all over the news after January 6 2021. He was the man in the horns with the flag, with the bullhorn urging on rioters. He was not violent, but he was charged with this obstruction case.

He ultimately pleaded guilty, served time in prison, but the Justice Department says that they may want to retry him. So we're going to see things like that. In the Trump case, very likely to become an issue there as well, where there is going to be a discussion in court of how the Supreme Court could be affecting Donald Trump's own charge of obstruction of a congressional proceeding. But the Special Counsel's Office has been quite clear already months ago they don't believe that what the Supreme Court did on Friday is going to affect that Trump case at all. They're trying to convince his trial judge not to change anything with the charges against him.

Because they say his scheme to obstruct the congressional proceeding was much broader, much longer than any of the rioters who showed up in Washington on January 6, and involved the fake electors to having their ballots falsely come to the Capitol to try and keep him in office. Back to you.


ROSALES: Katelyn Polantz, thank you. Still ahead, the first criminal charges in the botched response to the deadly 2022 Robb Elementary School massacre are filed in Texas. After the break, we go inside the indictment against the former Uvalde Texas schools police chief and another officer.

BLACWELL: Last weekend of freedom at least for a while for Wonder former President Trump's closest allies. Why the Supreme Court rejected Steve Bannon been to avoid prison.

ROSALES: And a summer surge of COVID cases, the 38 states dealing with a rise in infections and what the CDC is saying about it all a little later on CNN This Morning.



ROSALES: Welcome back. We're getting new details this morning on the indictment of the former Uvalde school's police chief over that failed response to the mass shooting in 2022. Parents and loved ones of the 19 children and two teachers killed are reacting to the new indictments a former police chief Pete Arredondo and former police officer Adrian Gonzalez.

Arredondo faces 10 felony charges of child endangerment for failing to intervene and Gonzales faces 29 felony counts of abandoning or endangering a child. Some of the victim's parents say they're happy to see charges brought forward but they also voiced frustrations and more officers were not charged for their role in that failed response.

Joining me now to talk more about this is former prosecutor Jeremy Saland. Jeremy, good morning to you. What can you tell us about what these indictments mean?

JEREMY SALAND, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, it's a serious indictment, obviously, and it's emotionally driven. And I can understand why. But at the end of the day, it's an interesting matter because on one hand, you're looking at this not as a engaging in a negligent homicide, or manslaughter as if they were the people who are involved in the perpetration of the unfortunate deaths of these children during the shooting.

But their failure to act, this omission of duty of not fulfilling their responsibility despite being trained to do so as police officers, which ultimately is leading to the stony charges or felony charges, plural for both of these individuals. And I would add that, although it's the lowest level felony, it is still a felony charge and punishable by state prison for all of these counts.

ROSALES: Yes. And were you surprised to see this indictment coming down the pipeline?

SALAND: Again, I think from more of an emotional standpoint, you can understand why there needs to be accountability. And the shooter, this active shooter, who they referred to in the indictment is hunting these children and his teachers, you know, that person is no longer able to be to be prosecuted the same way at all, as someone else and there was a big lapse in judgment.

There was a Department of Justice that came out and this was really done improperly with skating, the locally, there was something that really said not nearly as much and not placed things blame solely on these officers. But there was a reason that there's an accountability here in terms of they did not respond appropriately. They did not your set up a command center. They did not breach the room. They did not use the tools they had and arguably allowed these children to unfortunately be shot and put in a position that death was either happening or potential for the ones that survived.

ROSALES: Yes, for 77 grueling minutes there. And I'm Jeremy --


ROSALES: -- I understand that this is a first of its kind indictment in the state of Texas. But let's talk about the legal system here. Can an officer actually be successfully prosecuted for failing to act? And I'm mentioning this because it comes -- what comes to mind here is Parkland, Florida, the school resource officer there Scott Peterson. He was acquitted. They weren't able to nail that in court.

SALAND: Yes, I think some of those similar challenges will appear here too, because the Supreme Court you have to look and say you know you can you -- have they allowed this type of behavior have, meaning behavior meaning can someone be prosecuted successfully?


Is there a duty constitutionally for an officer to act, even though it's the role, even though they've been trained to that cannot be the basis of a criminal action? That's a very good question. And that's why I went back to the piece I mentioned before, from an emotional standpoint, you want someone to be held accountable and morally, you look at these officers and say, you should have taken action, you should not have waited those 77 minutes. So, it certainly understand why. But why is not necessarily enough.

You have to be within the four corners of the law. And I think that's going to be one of the main challenges here that you cannot charge these officers solely for their failure to uphold this duty that doesn't exist constitutionally. But was an act in an omission? Was it just an omission? Or was there a certain act they did as well? Affirmative steps that they took that led to this prosecution? So it'll be interesting, but no doubt challenge?

ROSALES: And why these particular charges and not something like manslaughter and voluntary homicide?

SALAND: Yes, again, back to what we said before, it's a little bit more, well, let me rephrase that. I didn't really go into detail. But I would say it's -- it gets more difficult in the sense that how do these children died, meaning you know that they were shot and these teachers were shot and they were killed. What -- how long did they pass after they were shot? How can you challenge or bring up the connection for their negligence or the recklessness that actually led to his ultimate passing of these people? Would they have died regardless, even if they would have, you know, gotten there 10 minutes earlier, and you would have set up the command center when you breached the room? That's just difficult leap as well.

And this is where that you want to hold someone morally accountable. And you should, the question then becomes how do you do it? And I think this was the appropriate quiet to charge, though be a difficult one from solely from a legal perspective.

ROSALES: Real quick here, just how much prison time are we looking at?

SALAND: So presumptively, it's 180 days, six months, up to two years. This is about getting the lowest of the five level felonies, the top being capital felony in the state of Texas. There is a way or mechanism if you will, that a judge in Texas can lower to a class A misdemeanor sentence of a county jail time, like a year, but not likely.

So if they were convicted, it's six months up to two years on each of the counts. Question about consecutive or concurrent would be an interesting one if and when they get there, but that would be the potential sense.

ROSLAES: Jeremy Saland, thank you for your time.

BLACKWELL: Well, after that shaky showing at CNN's presidential debate, there are growing calls to possibly replace President Biden as a Democratic nominee. But there is no mechanism for that to happen. The President would have to decide that himself and he says that he is planning to win this election. We'll explain more when CNN This Morning returns.



And headlines this morning, Steve Bannon, the conservative podcast host and former strategists for Donald Trump must turn himself in by Monday. The Supreme Court has denied his request to avoid serving a four-month sentence.

Bannon faces prison time after being convicted for refusing to comply with subpoena orders for an interview and documents related to the January 6th investigation. Once again, a New Mexico judge has denied actor Alec Baldwin's request to dismiss his involuntary manslaughter charge.

It stems from the fatal shooting on the set of his film "Rust". Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, she was killed in October 2021 when a gun Baldwin was holding fired a live round during a scene rehearsal. In their latest motion, Baldwin's attorneys are arguing they couldn't mount an effective defense after the FBI destroyed that gun during forensic testing.

Baldwin's trial is set to start next month. Take a look at this video of fire crews in Arizona battling a wildfire near Phoenix. The boulder-view fire has already burned over 3,000 acres with zero containment. At least, 60 homes in the Scottsdale area have been evacuated as hot and dry weather fuels that fire.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CO-ANCHOR, CNN THIS MORNING WEEKEND: Democratic leaders are publicly backing President Joe Biden after that rough debate performance triggered calls for him to step aside. But what would replacing the president as the presumptive nominee look like? Here is CNN's Tom Foreman.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Victor, hey, Isabel, primaries have been held, delegates committed, President Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party. Short of a true health crisis about the only way he loses that slot is if he agrees to step aside.

But even then, the process of replacing him would be full of uncertainty. Democrats could work it out at their convention in August, the way political parties used to. Various names would be put forward, and most likely, the more than 3,900 delegates from across the country would discuss debate and eventually decide on a new candidate.

Almost all of them are currently pledged to Biden, by the way, and approved by his campaign. But what if they can't agree on a new choice? If it gets really nasty and grinds on, well, then, maybe, the additional roughly 700 super delegates, deep-seated party insiders and elected officials could be key to settling the matter.

They normally can't vote on the first ballot for president if it would change the nominee, but they can vote on subsequent ballots. But that scenario raises questions too. Would voters who took part in primaries feel pushed aside and alienated from the party if a new nominee was chosen in this fashion?


Would a new choice be able to mount an effective campaign in the roughly 10 weeks from the end of the convention until election day. For example, will Donald Trump agreed to debate a fresh face at that late date? And who would be that choice? There are several big names it could likely be considered, but not until the party decides how it feels about Vice President Kamala Harris.

Plenty of Democratic voters and party leaders would see her as the natural heir to the nomination. And if she's not chosen, her disappointed supporters could also become a deep problem for the party in November. For now, Biden's advisors and other top Democrats are pushing back on the whole idea of him dropping out.

But that talk keeps elbowing in. Victor, Isabel.

BLACKWELL: Tom Foreman, thank you. It is the most pivotal presidential election in decades in Iran. We're going to take you live to Tehran for an update on the tight race, and what this means for the U.S. Stay with us.



BLACKWELL: Breaking news, and this is coming to us out of Iran. There will be a run-off in the presidential election between the reformed candidate and one of the hard-line challengers.

ROSALES: Now, this is happening after none of the candidates got at least 50 percent of the votes, which is required for an outright win. The election is being held to fill the spot of President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash back in May. CNN senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen joins us now from Tehran. Fred, good morning to you. Who made it to the run-off, and what happens next?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Isabel. What's actually quite remarkable that the Reform candidate Masoud Pezeshkian did really well in this first round of the election, essentially, what the moderates have been telling us is that they believe that they would need a massive turnout or a large turnout in the first round of elections for him to be able to make it to the runoff round.

However, the turnout was only about 40 percent, and yet, he has managed to get by far the most votes than any other candidate. He has a million more than Saeed Jalili, who is the next runner-up and whom he'll be facing in that runoff election. Now, Masoud Pezeshkian is advocating for better ties with western nations, better ties with the West as well.

In fact, Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he said that he's quite skeptical of politicians whom he believes want that too much better relations with the United States. Then, you have Saeed Jalili, who is going to be the gentleman that he is going to be running against.

He came in second in the votes so far, he says that he wants a policy in the spirit of Ebrahim Raisi, that president who was killed in that chopper crash a little over a month ago, and that would mean a really tough line towards Israel, and a really tough line towards the United States.

Of course, we know that Iran and Israel in the past couple of weeks came very close to an all-out war that could have also had massive consequences for the U.S. assets here in the greater Middle Eastern region. So, these two are going to be facing off against one another, and clearly, it is open who could decide that election or that run-off election for themselves.

It certainly is the case that while Masoud Pezeshkian, the reformer, got the most votes, more people actually voted conservative in the first round of the election because there were three conservative candidates who were running. However, the big question is going to be turnout in the second run-off round in the election. Who's going to be able to mobilize their basis to actually come to the voting booth, guys.

ROSALES: Hey, a significant election to keep our eyes on. Fred Pleitgen in Tehran, thank you so much for your time. Tropical Storm Beryl is moving across the Atlantic this morning and closing in on the Caribbean. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking it all straight ahead on CNN this morning, stick around.



BLACKWELL: There's a new wave of COVID that's hitting the U.S. just in time for Summer.

ROSALES: Infections arising in the hottest parts of the country. CNN's Meg Tirrell has more on this.

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we often see a Summer bump in COVID rates in the U.S., and we are seeing that right now as well. Experts think this could be because the hot weather forces people inside into the air conditioning. And we're seeing this bump maybe a little bit earlier this year than we've seen in previous seasons.

And we know that we've been dealing with a lot of hot weather, typically that comes ahead of a bigger wave that we see in the Fall and the Winter of COVID. So, we'll see if we see that this year as well. But the CDC tracks this through a couple of different metrics. One is emergency department visits, another is hospitalizations and another is deaths from COVID.

Across all of those measures, we are seeing bumps in the CDC data of between 15 percent and 25 percent in the most recent weeks' worth of data. But it's really important to put that into context when we are doing that is to look at waste water virus levels -- of the COVID virus across the U.S.

And by that measure, the CDC says they -- levels of the virus are low nationally. They are rising fastest in the south and the West. But if you look at the graph over time, they're really coming off one of the lowest levels over the last couple of years.

So, they are still low really relatively-speaking. Where the virus is rising, the CDC has a map of about 38 states where it's rising or likely rising, and those are really all across the map. Now, CDC's advisors met last week and they recommended that everybody over age six months get an updated COVID vaccine this Fall.

The vaccines will be updated to more closely track with more recently- circulating variants of the virus. CDC also recommends everybody gets an updated flu shot this Fall, everybody over six months. They point out that more than 75,000 people died from COVID in 2023, and about 45,000 people died from flu in the most recent season. And so, these are serious viruses and they say that getting a vaccine can help protect folks.


BLACKWELL: All right, Meg, thank you very much. New this morning. A storm system a the Atlantic has strengthened and it now has a name. Tropical Storm Beryl and it's threatening the Caribbean.

ROSALES: It's that time of the year, the storm now brings a threat of heavy rain and hurricane-force winds through the island. Let's get right to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Allison, we're already in the bees(ph), it's June. Is this a sign of what's to come this hurricanes season?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, METEOROLOGIST: So, a lot of people ask that, so yes, I would like to make the point that on average, the second named storm doesn't happen until July 17th. So, we are ahead of pace there. This also is likely to become a hurricane in the next 24 hours.

We don't get our first hurricane until usually August 11th. So, both of those a little ahead of the system, but a lot of that has to do with those incredibly warm sea surface temperatures. So, let's take a look at where the storm is now. You can see it is just east of the Windward and the Leeward Islands, sustained winds right now about 50 miles per hour.

It's testing up to 65. Now, again, this far east, it's very unusual to see a storm form this far east into the Atlantic, especially this early in the year. But as we mentioned, a lot of that has to do with the incredibly warm sea surface temperatures. Where that storm is located, it's about 3 to 5 degrees above average, so just warm enough that it's allowing these areas -- this area to fuel some of those storms.

Now, as we go forward into the next 24 hours, we do anticipate this storm to get up to a category one strength. Then from there, it's going to continue across the Windward Islands and head into the Caribbean sea, likely heading somewhere say, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, up towards Cuba.

Now, after that, I know, a lot of people want to know, OK, but where does it go after that? We simply don't know. It's too far out and there's too many other factors. But at this point, yes, it could continue on to areas of Mexico, Belize, Honduras, or it could make that right-hand turn.

And I want to make it very clear, that is what storms normally do. They aim pole-ward. So, normally the pole is to have them go to the north, but we just don't know what's going to happen with this once we get past, say, Wednesday of this week, but certainly something to keep an eye on.

And it's not the only thing, we actually have two other systems that we're keeping an eye on. This one just behind Beryl has about a 50 percent chance of development over the next seven days. This other one that's expected to cross the Yucatan Peninsula has about a 40 percent chance of development.

So, all of those likely to have to keep a close eye on. Chris and Debbie are the next two names on the list. One thing to note though, as Beryl slides its way because it is going to strengthen, you've got a lot of islands that are going to have the potential to have those tropical storm-force winds.

So, that's 60, 70-mile per hour winds, not out of the question for multiple islands to end up seeing some impacts from. Now, in terms of the rest of the country, we're also keeping an eye on that incredible heat across the southern tier, and also a line of strong to severe thunderstorms that's expected for not only today, but also tomorrow.

So, you can see the two days stretching here mainly for today, we're looking at the Great Lakes region, by tomorrow that shifts ever so slightly to the east, really main focus along the east coast, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. all looking at that potential for those strongest severe thunderstorms and still dealing with all of that heat just doesn't feel like it's ever going to go away across the south.

BLACKWELL: No, it's got us into chokehold, that heat. All right, thank you --

ROSALES: Make the rains, spicy Atlantic hurricane season already. All right, well, some Democrats are sounding the alarm after President Biden's disastrous debate against former President Trump right here on CNN. Could we see a contested convention? We go in-depth a little later on CNN this morning.



ROSALES: In the field of meteorology, there's no season more anticipated and feared than hurricane season. Every year from June to November, millions of people find themselves in the crosshairs of these massive and often deadly storms. BLACKWELL: This week's episode of "VIOLENT EARTH" focuses on some of

the most impactful hurricanes. CNN's Chad Myers tells us more about what we can expect in the 2024 season.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know it's going to be rough, but I wasn't expecting all this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a couple of hours, we were flooded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The house flooded, it just started going deeper and deeper, and by the time we were walking out, we were at mid thigh.

CHAD MYERS, METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Those who have lived through a hurricane that has undergone rapid intensification are often shocked by its speed and strength. Rapid intensification is when a storm's maximum sustained wind speed increases by 35 miles per hour in 24 hours or less.

And it could be a significant part of the 2024 hurricane season with both record warm ocean temperatures and a developing La Nina.

ROBBIE BERG, METEOROLOGIST, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: It means essentially that one day you can look at a storm, it could be a tropical storm, maybe a category one hurricane, when you wake up the next morning and it's up to category four or five.

MICHAEL BRENNAN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: For the strongest hurricanes that have ever hit the United States, the high- end category four as a category five were all tropical storms or less three days before landfall.

MYERS: One example of dramatic rapid intensification, Hurricane Ian in 2022, which took more than 100 lives across Florida and the southeast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here since 1965, and this is the worst hurricane that I've ever been through.

BERG: I was working at midnight shift, when I got on shift, it was a category one-two hurricane, by the end of the shift, we had the aircraft in there and it had exploded up to category four.

MYERS (on camera): There's going to be some huge waves with this. I was working in the morning shift that day and clearly saw the storm intensify overnight. I also warned of a slightly shifting track to the right of the center of that cone. A time to evacuate was quickly closing and I knew this was going to be bad.

BERG: We tell people, don't just check the forecast on one day and wait a whole another 24 hours to check it again. You really do have to stay up-to-date when you live in a hurricane prone area. MYERS: Twenty-twenty four has the potential to be a devastating

hurricane season. NOAA has issued an above-normal Atlantic hurricane forecast with up to 25 named storms, eight to 13 potential hurricanes, and four to seven of those becoming major hurricanes.