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CNN This Morning

Donors Stress Over Path Forward After Biden's Debate Performance; Biden Campaign Says It Raised $27M On Debate Night And Day After; Beryl Strengthens To A Category 2 Hurricane; U.S. Proposes New Language To Revive Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Talks; Polls Open In First Round Of France's Legislative Elections; Supreme Court To Rule On Trump's Immunity; Ransomware Attack Crippling 15K Dealership Could Last Into July; Auto Sales Company Hacked; Oklahoma Adding Mandatory Bible Lessons; U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team Aim for Gold; Noah Lyles Shines in Olympic Track and Field Trials; Pandas Arrive in San Diego from China. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired June 30, 2024 - 07:00   ET



ISABEL ROSALES, CNN HOST: Good morning, and welcome to CNN This Morning. It is the last day of June, Sunday, June 30th.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: I have enjoyed June.

ROSALES: You're feeling it?



BLACKWELL: Yes, I have enjoyed it. I'm ready for July. I'm ready for Independence Day.

ROSALES: Fourth, you got plans?

BLACKWELL: Yes, I'm going to be --

ROSALES: Hot dogs pool?

BLACKWELL: Hot dogs pool.

ROSALES: Hot dogs?

BLACKWELL: Oh, comma.

ROSALES: And a pool. Or all together, no judgment.

BLACKWELL: Kind of poll. Some of it, yes.

ROSALES: All right. I'm Isabel Rosales in for Amara Walker.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

Here's what we're watching for you this morning. President Biden and his allies are working now to reassure donors and voters that he's up to the job after his debate performance. What he told donors in private last night.

ROSALES: And the first hurricane of the 2024, Atlantic season is now a Category 2 and closing in on the Caribbean. Meteorologist Elisa Raffa is here to track the life-threatening wind, storm surge, and if we could see any impacts right here in the U.S.

BLACKWELL: Hot dogs, pool.

ROSALES: Hot dogs, pool.

BLACKWELL: I still have --

ROSALES: The T-shirt now.

BLACKWELL: That seems like a great microbrewery. Cyberattack has crippled car dealerships across the country. But it's not just dealerships or car buyers who should be concerned, the broader impact this could have on the economy. That's coming up.

ROSALES: Plus, the U.S. Olympic teams are beginning to take shape. Our Andy Scholes has a look at who will be representing Team USA in Paris next month.

Today, President Biden and his family will be at Camp David for what sources tell us is a long-planned photo shoot. But looming large over the event is the president's poor performance at CNN's presidential debate. Multiple senior advisers insist the family is gathering, and that is not aimed at discussing whether or not the president will stay in the race.

BLACKWELL: Democrats are scrambling to reassure voters that the president is up to the job, including former Democratic Presidential Candidate Howard Dean.


HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been in this business a long time. Patience and toughness is what you need to get through, and Biden has both of those. Now, if he does this again, it's a major problem. But he is -- I don't think he will do it again. I don't know what went wrong with the preparation, but something did. And I -- but, you know, this is one mistake five months before the election.

This is not the time to panic. We've got to buckle down, figure out what's going on, give the President time to make the right decision. And I think he will make the right decision. I suspect the right decision is to stay in.


BLACKWELL: Newspaper editorial boards, though, they are not convinced. Newspapers in some of the biggest cities in the country are alarmed by the performances from both candidates. On Saturday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Chicago Tribune, their editorial boards, they called on Biden to leave the race. Now, the Philadelphia Inquirer called on Trump to back out. They say simply to serve his country, Donald Trump should leave this race.

ROSALES: Despite the panic within the Democratic Party, the campaign says it has raised $27 million on debate night and the day after, a fact that the campaign is using to tamper any unrest.

CNN's Camila DeChalus joins us now from Washington, D.C. Camila, good morning. What is the President saying?

CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Biden has publicly acknowledged that he did not have the best debate performance, and he also acknowledged the New York Times editorial board that was calling for him to step down from the presidential race.

Now, Isabel, he has actually really doubled down here and said that he insists that voters should not compare him to former President Donald Trump. And he's really reiterated how he believes that Trump poses a grave threat to democracy. And one really thing that's just interesting to note here is that since this debate performance, there has been a lot of concerns among Democratic voters and among donors about whether Biden should step down.

But his campaign has really come to his defense, stating how since the debate, Biden has raised $27 million. They've had more volunteers and more people signing up for campaign jobs just to help Biden get reelected. And they say that's what voters should be focusing on, those positive elements and not the debate performance that Biden has shown in the last week.

ROSALES: All right, Camila DeChalus, thank you so much for your time.

Joining us now is Political Congressional Reporter Nicholas Wu. Nick, thank you so much for your time. Let's talk again about that AJC editorial board, that op-ed that they put out with the headline, "It Is Time for Biden to Pass the Torch." Also saying, "The shade of retirement is now necessary for President Biden."

We saw the Chicago Tribune do the same. On the flip side, the Philadelphia Inquirer calling on Trump to move aside, calling him a danger to democracy and unfit for office.

Nicholas, President Biden once again addressed his debate performance yesterday. What's his game plan here?


NICHOLAS WU, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: The game plane the President and his advisers laid out is that he's not going anywhere soon, despite the chorus of newspaper editorials in swing states and anonymous Democratic griping about his performance. The President has signaled that he doesn't intend to change the course. He's trying to reassure donors. And, you know, he's really trying to shore up his support after this debate. Now, whether that's enough really remains to be seen. Because in my conversations with Democratic lawmakers and aides, there is a lot of behind the scenes panic about the President and his viability as a candidate against Trump, especially if the next debate in September turns out to be the same.

But all of that is anonymous. No Democratic lawmaker I've talked to has gone on the record to publicly say that the President should step down.

ROSALES: Right. And Nicholas, is this conversation even fair? We know that debates are not predictors of success on Election Day. We saw that with Kerry. We saw that with Clinton. On the flip side, Biden didn't do well, and he did win. Are we looking into this too much?

WU: That's something that, you know, the President's critics have really talked about as a pattern of behavior extending beyond the debate. The debate was just another example of longstanding concerns about the President's viability and his -- and the energy that he brings to the stage.

Republicans have made hay out of plenty of clips of the President drifting off or otherwise losing his train of thought at public events. And so, this is a major vulnerability for the President heading into the general election. And, you know, the question for the Biden campaign is what they'll do to put these concerns at ease in the coming weeks.

ROSALES: Right. And he had one job, and that was to smooth the concerns of his age on that debate floor, and he did the opposite.

Nicholas, Democrats are conducting, we have in our reporting, new polling and research to gauge the political fallout of Biden's debate performance. But if he's refusing to drop out, what's the point?

WU: It could help inform Democrats on how exactly the message concerns about the President's age going forward. If it shows up in polling that this was something that really moved the needle, as most signs point to, then, yes, this is something that they'll have to tackle head on. That's something they can't ignore.

The debate is something that tens of millions of Americans watched. And in from -- in many respects, this is the start to the general election season. It's the start when many voters who would otherwise be unengaged start to tune in. And as you said, the President had one job, and he flubbed it.

ROSALES: And we do have reporting from a second longtime Biden adviser, Nicholas, that the only way that Biden would step aside is if he were presented with serious data that he would lose this presidential bid. Not only that, but that it would also, him staying in the race, would endanger down-ballot candidates in the House, Senate, and local races. Are we seeing any danger of that?

WU: There's certainly a lot of concern among Democrats, I've talked to, that the President's performance after the debate and his potential viability in the general election could drag down a lot of down-ballot Democrats. Democrats up to this point have been extremely bullish on taking the House in the fall.

There's only a handful of swing seats they need to flip in order to do so. But if the top of the ticket is a drag, that throws all those plans into question. And so, what I'm going to be watching for on the campaign trail now is to see how Democrats respond to these attacks on the President and further questions about do they continue to defend him? Do they start to put some distance between themselves and him?

That is going to be a question for a lot of Democrats on the campaign trail in the coming months.

ROSALES: Yes, and even if this polling is ominous, it's not like there's an heir apparent either, making for a tricky situation here. And Nicholas, despite Biden's performance woes, he is still pulling in some major money. $27 million debate night and the day right after.

And then yesterday in Red Bank, New Jersey, he was at a fundraising campaign there in a room of 50 or so people. And we're told by the governor's wife that they raised $3.7 million there. So what do these numbers tell you?

WU: Well, what it shows me is that the President has not lost the support of donors yet. He's actively taking steps to, you know, shore up concerns among the donor class and to, you know, put his base at ease. But the issue there is that these are small settings. These are scripted remarks, and they're not the kinds of events that he'll need to do to put the broader public -- the broader public's concern is to rest.


And so the question for the President is whether he'll start doing more press conferences or unscripted press events to put concerns about his conducting those to rest.

ROSALES: Right. He's got a lot of work ahead of him. Let's look at this rematch happening September the 10th that's hosted by ABC. They're set for a debate. Some are questioning if that'll even happen in light of, you know, Thursday's performance. But what are party lawmakers telling you about it, about another debate 2.0, including, I think, one lawmaker I read in your article, Nicholas, that actually sprinted away from you to the -- or to you guys --to the House chambers to get away from that question.

WU: When -- other reporters -- and I tried asking Democratic lawmakers about the debate on Friday, many of them took pains to avoid reporters' questions. Some of the most chatty members of Congress, who normally would step up to defend the President, declined to answer questions on the want (ph) votes.

The ones that I did talk to made clear that if there was going to be another debate, some said the President shouldn't even do it. Others said he shouldn't do it with the same rules, given how Thursday went. You know, there's a lot of concern among Democrats about the format and how that worked with the President, whether that played at all into his performance.

But the fact of the matter is that the debate still set off plenty of jitters among House Democrats about the President's viability as a candidate and the potential down ballot ramifications.

ROSALES: Right. And with that scheduled second debate just 70 or something days away, we'll see what happens there.

Nicholas Wu, thank you for your time.

Hurricane Beryl is gaining strength as it moves toward Barbados right now. It is a Category 2 storm.

BLACKWELL: Warnings are out for parts of the Caribbean. We're talking Barbados, St. Lucia, the Windward Islands. CNN's Elisa Raffa is joining us now. It is June and there's a Category 2 that's strengthening heading toward the Caribbean.

ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is early for this. We're talking a month or more ahead of schedule for a major hurricane, and we're looking at rapidly intensifying again today. Did that yesterday was a tropical storm, and it very quickly became a hurricane. And we'll find it rapidly intensifying again today to become a major hurricane.

Right now, it's a Category 2 storm with 100 mile per hour winds gusts up to 120 miles as it continues to work its way west. And it just being a hurricane already set a record for the farthest east that we've had a hurricane in June in the tropical Atlantic. Once it hits that major status of a Category 3 storm, it would be the third earliest major hurricane in the Atlantic and the earliest major hurricane within 100 miles of Barbados.

So again, way ahead of schedule. We typically don't see a storm like this until mid-August or early September. Here's a look at the rapid intensification becoming that Category 4 storm, maybe even by tonight. You see the hurricane warnings for the Windward Islands, and it continues its trek in the Caribbean Sea as we go through the next couple of days, could maintain major status for parts of those islands.

And again, when we're talking about Category 4 storms, there have only been five Category 4 storms in July in this part of the tropics. So again, just setting records. And it is because these ocean temperatures are incredibly warm. We're talking about ocean temperatures in the middle and upper 80s. This is more typical for mid to late August.

We're not even in July yet, so these temperatures are just so warm. This is fuel and food for those hurricanes, and that's what allows them to rapidly intensify. And as our oceans continue to get warm and stay warm, we do find that rapid intensification, extreme rapid intensification, can happen more often as these ocean temperatures just stay incredibly warm.

ROSALES: Yes. Not good. Not a good start to hurricane season.

Elisa, thank you for your time.

One of former President Trump's closest allies has only hours of freedom left. Just ahead, we will -- we'll have more on the prison sentence awaiting Steve Bannon for defying subpoenas to appear before the Congressional Committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

BLACKWELL: Plus, a cyberattack cripples 15,000 auto dealerships across the U.S. ahead of a busy time for sales. Why this is about more than just car sales, plus when the dealers hope to have things back to normal. That's coming up later.

ROSALES: And reading, writing, religion. Oklahoma schools are ordered to teach the Bible in every classroom immediately. We go inside the fallout a little later on CNN This Morning.



BLACKWELL: A source tells CNN that the Biden administration has introduced new language to help bridge gaps and ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas. Now, the revised deal comes after Hamas proposed amendments to the original three-part plan proposed by the Biden administration in May.

ROSALES: Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel's Channel 14 he was ready to make a, quote, "partial deal" with Hamas to return only some hostages from Gaza, which was at odds with the U.S. proposed deal. Netanyahu later walked back those comments after facing fierce backlash from families of the hostages and several Israeli politicians.

Elliott Gotkine is live in London with the latest. Elliott, what do we know about this new language?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Isabel, the Biden administration is trying to introduce a new language, as you said, to try to bridge the gaps between the Israeli and Hamas positions.


But I think it's probably going to take more than a few changes to words here and there to try to bridge those gaps, which are very real and which have proved insurmountable for the best part of eight months. And it's already been a month to the day almost since President Biden came out to much fanfare to announce this ceasefire proposal and the release of Israeli hostages at the same time, as you say, this three-phased plan.

Israel says that it signed off on this plan, even though it says that it still allows Israel to fulfill its war objectives and go back to war effectively after the initial six-week period to try to destroy Hamas's military and governance capabilities.

But where we stand right now isn't too far away from where we have been for the past eight months. Indeed, on Saturday, we heard from a Hamas spokesman saying that the proposal outlined by President Biden still falls short of its core demands and that discussing -- any discussions about a ceasefire and hostage release without incorporating those core demands of a full cessation of hostilities and a withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip would be, in his words, a waste of time.

And just in the last hour or so, we've heard from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of his cabinet meeting saying that Hamas is the only obstacle to the release of our hostages. And so, as I say, despite the Biden administration trying to bridge those gaps, despite putting pressure on the Egyptian and Qatari mediators to put pressure on Hamas to do the deal that would see the ceasefire begin and to see some of those hostages released in the initial phases, we haven't seen any progress.

And although it's always great to be optimistic, history shows over the past eight months that optimism has very quickly been dashed when it seems that we are close to getting that deal over the line. Isabel, Victor?

ROSALES: Elliott Gotkine, thank you.

We are on watch for a major Supreme Court decision just months before the presidential election. The court is expected to decide on former President Donald Trump's claims of absolute immunity.

BLACKWELL: And car dealerships across North America are reeling from a massive ransomware attack. The far-reaching impacts, whether you're in the market for a car or not.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: And the reigning fastest man in the world living up to the hype at the U.S. trials. Coming up, I'll show you how Noah Lyles made history on his way to Paris.



ROSALES: Welcome back. Here is what we're watching this week. Polls have opened in the first round of France's snap parliamentary election that could see President Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance ousted from the majority, forcing him to work with the far-right National Party. Whatever the outcome, the president of France has vowed to stay in his position until the general election in 2027.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on former President Donald Trump's claims of absolute immunity. That case stems from charges over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. CNN will have special coverage of that crucial decision starting tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon must report to federal prison in Connecticut tomorrow. That comes after the Supreme Court rejected his efforts to avoid prison while he appeals his contempt of Congress conviction. Iranians will head back to the polls Friday in that country's runoff elections. The snap election was held after the country's president, Raisi, died in a helicopter crash on May 19th.

And the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest will take place on Thursday, the 4th of July. And for the first time in 16 years, we won't see famed eater Joey Chestnut because he's been banned this year after signing with the Impossible brand. So eating not real meat.

All right, and be sure to tune in to CNN's Fourth in America special that is starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Victor, hot dog, pool.

BLACKWELL: Hot dog, pool.

Now, as if buying a car is not already stressful enough, thousands of car dealers are now dealing with a major ransomware attack. The outage in their sales and scheduling software is causing some of them to go back to pen and paper records. The problems caused by the hack may not be fixed for weeks, and it's hitting around 15,000 dealers at their peak car buying season.

With me now, CNN Economics and Political Commentator and Washington Post Opinion Columnist Catherine Rampell. Good morning to you. Massive is not an overstatement. Let's just start with explaining how much this this hack of CDK Global or this outage is impacting dealerships.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's hugely disruptive. CDK makes multiple different kinds of software programs. Some dealers use a software product to run their entire store. So that effectively means everything from repair orders to the paperwork and financing to ordering new parts, et cetera has basically come to a standstill.

Some dealers have had to resort to, you know, the old fashioned pen and paper manual writing of records. But that still makes some kinds of transactions really hard. They don't have the ability, for example, to hand write a contract for a car.

And so you have a lot of business being lost, a lot of orders not being able to be delivered, as well as, of course, all of the service that a lot of these dealers, you know, rely on, on warranties, for example, and they can't get paid unless they have electronic documentation.


So, when you think about it, this is just tons and tons of time being lost that they will never get back, as well as potentially lots of lost sales that may never happen. So, it's hugely painful for these dealers.

BLACKWELL: Now, if I, Catherine, have no intention of going to buy a car, sell a car, have a car repaired, what's the impact beyond these dealerships? RAMPELL: So, the dealerships, let's say they sell -- I don't know, a typical dealer maybe sells like four cars in a day at $50,000 a car, let's say, I'm, you know, just saying one prototype -- you know, one, one type of dealer. That's a lot of money being held up. And the auto sector is a huge portion of the economy.

So, when you think about the scale of something like this, this is potentially billions and billions of dollars of revenue being lost in a really important sector. Consumer spending is a major driver of the economy. In fact, it is most of the economy as measured by GDP. So, when you think about the knock-on effects, this could shave a healthy portion off of GDP growth this month, this quarter, it depends on how long this hack goes on.

It's only been about 10 days and already, you know, I've seen estimates for about -- for billions of dollars' worth of sales lost. And again, that has knock-on effects in lots of other sectors throughout the economy, given how interlinked the economy is and how important this is to GDP growth.

BLACKWELL: CDK Global says that there were two cyber incidents here. Bloomberg has reported that the company is in negotiations with this Eastern Europe-based hacking outfit. They're demanding tens of millions of dollars in ransom to end this outage. Considering the impact that you just mentioned in just a period, the few days and weeks that it's been going on now, do you expect they'll just have to pay up to move forward?

RAMPELL: It's unclear, but that seems to be what other -- some other companies have done in this situation. The problem is that this this outfit, black suit, which is a sort of -- appears to be some sort of spin off of a different Russia linked hacking group has already gone after -- I've seen somewhere of upwards of 100 companies worldwide with similar ransomware attacks. And it seems like -- the problem is if one company pays, of course, that just increases the incentive for comparable attacks on other companies.

Now, it still may be in the interest of CDK Global to pay if they have no other alternative here. But the real risk is that you'll see more and more of these attacks. And we've already seen a ton of them, especially for sectors that have a concentrated set of kind of niche software providers. Part of the problem with the auto industry is that there are only a few software providers here. Airlines, banks, healthcare may be sitting ducks as well, and already happened, in fact.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Huge, huge impact at the absolute wrong time. Catherine Rampell. Thank you so much.

ROSALES: Still ahead, Oklahoma is adding mandatory bible lessons and its public schools. More on the intense pushbacks from critic.


[07:35:00] ROSALES: Welcome back. The bible and the 10 commandments must now be displayed in all Oklahoma public schools. And they're now also a mandatory part of the educational curriculum.

BLACKWELL: Yes. That was the order from Thursday, the Oklahoma school superintendent and it's effective immediately. CNN's Ed Lavandera has more on this order and what prompted it.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The order by the Oklahoma State superintendent requiring Oklahoma public schools to incorporate the bible and 10 commandments into public classrooms is setting off a firestorm of controversy. Ryan Walters, the Oklahoma superintendent, has made a name for himself in recent years for going after what he views as the liberal indoctrination of public-school students in Oklahoma. And it also comes at a time where right-wing Christian conservatives across the country are pushing religious education into public school classrooms.

In a statement, Ryan Walters wrote that he believes that all teachers must teach from the bible, that the foundational documents used for the Constitution in the U.S. and the birth of this country are necessary historical documents that students must understand to have an appreciation and understanding of western civilization.

As you can imagine, there has been intense pushback on Walters' statement. The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State says that Walters is abusing his power, that he is trampling religious freedoms, and that his move here is unconstitutional. Other religious groups are also saying that they're concerned about what this will mean for the environment in the classrooms as well.



ADAM SOLTANI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CAIR OKLAHOMA: It is definitely treading on very thin ice when it comes to the idea of religious freedom and the establishment clause of the constitution.

RABBI VERED HARRIS, TEMPLE B'NAL ISRAEL: This underlying assumption of the First Amendment has allowed me as a Jewish person to grow up in this country without fear that my governmental institutions are going to oppress me.


LAVANDERA: The Oklahoma education association also says that public schools cannot indoctrinate students with any one particular religion. However, they do say that teaching historical context of religion is OK. But what Ryan Walters' statement also doesn't make entirely clear is exactly how the bible and 10 commandments would be taught in the classroom -- in each individual classroom on a day-to-day basis. That document doesn't make those -- that part of this order explicitly clear. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


BLACKWELL: It's a historic weekend for the U.S. men's gymnastics team, led by a 20-year-old who says he is ready to bring home their first Olympic medal in nearly two decades.



ROSALES: We are tracking the first hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it strengthened to a Category 2 storm this morning. CNN's Elisa Raffa is here tracking it. So, it's going to get much stronger quickly, right?

RAFFA: Yes, we're looking at it rapidly intensifying today. It could become a Category 4 as it gets towards the windward islands, a category two storm right now. This is way ahead of schedule, more than a month ahead of schedule for a hurricane to develop, 100-mile per hour winds right now.

We are looking at it being the first -- the farthest east that will find a hurricane develop in June, the third earliest major hurricane. Once it gets to that major status of Category 3, it would be the third earliest and one of the earliest also around Barbados by about 100 miles. So, it continues.

As we go through the day-to-day, there's that rapid intensification up to a Category 4. You could see the hurricane warnings for the Windward Islands, and it takes its trek through the Caribbean Sea with maintaining that major Category 3 status for a lot of its track.

And again, this is early for this. We typically don't see Category 4 storms in July. There have only been five others. So, as it continues to intensify, it will continue to break records as we go through the next day or so. Guys.

ROSALES: Yes. Three to five degrees warmer water temperatures significant there. Thank you, Elisa.

Noah Lyles once again rises to the occasion at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.

BLACKWELL: Andy Scholes is with us now. He broke a 28-year-old record last night.


BLACKWELL: Obviously more opportunity to come.

SCHOLES: For sure. And, you know, Noah Lyles, he is the reigning fastest man in the world right now. But now, he's going to get to go to head to Paris and the chance to be the first American man since Carl Lewis in 1984 to win that Olympic double, which is winning both the 100-meter and 200-meter.

And last night, in the 200-meter final, Lyles coming from behind to beat Kenny Bednarek. And this was a record time, 19.53 seconds, breaking Michael Johnson's U.S. trials record from 1996. Bednarek, he finished second allows both the 100 and 200. So, he's also going to get to go to Paris, go for that double.

Now, the women's 200-meter final, Sha'Carri Richardson looking to qualify and go for the double in Paris as well. But she ended up finishing fourth in this race. So, Sha'Carri is only going to be running the 100 and doing relays in Paris. Gabby Thomas, who won bronze in the 200 in Tokyo finished first in this one, booking her ticket to the games.


GABBY THOMAS, TEAM USA SPRINTER: This is incredible. I knew I needed to get today done and this is the first step and there was no gold medal in Paris without making the team today. So, I'm just ecstatic. And to be alongside these amazing, incredible women and everyone in the final, just such an amazing race.


SCHOLES: Got to love the joy. Now, the men's gymnastics trials, meanwhile, wrapping up in Minneapolis, Frederick Richard becoming the youngest man to win the men's all around at the trial since 1972. The 20-year-old is going to lead a U.S. men's team trying to earn its first medal since 2008. Richard, who's a TikTok star, he said the crowd helped him get his Olympic bid.


FREDERICK RICHARD, TEAM USA GYMNAST: I started off with a lot of weight, you know, this is what decides everything. But then there's thousands and thousands of people just rooting for me in the crowds. Thank you, guys. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we got to talk about your family. First, how did you even get the bib up to your parents, the 43?

RICHARD: I didn't -- I guess my coach did. I didn't even realize they got it so far. But, I mean, they are responsible for everything for creating me and now, they have -- I mean, now, they have an Olympian of us as a son. So --


SCHOLES: That's great. Got some proud parents there. Now, on the women's side, Simone Biles looking to lock up her third Olympics bid. She leads by two and a half points going into today's final. Now, Shilese Jones, meanwhile, has been ruled out for the rest of the competition. Not going to be going to Paris. She injured her knee on the vault on Friday. And Jones, who has medaled at the last two worlds, just the latest blow to the team. Skye Blakely and Kayla DiCello both ruptured their Achilles. They're also, unfortunately, going to miss the Olympics.

All right. And finally, we have one of the sneakiest goals in soccer history last night in the MLS. Atlanta and Toronto tied at one in the 97th minute. So, after Toronto's goalie secured the ball, Jamal Thiare hid behind him and no one saw him. As soon as the goalie puts the ball down here, he runs around and steals it, and then he kicked it in. Yes. And this -- guys, this really hurt for Toronto. The referee was about to blow the whistle in the game as soon as the goalie would have kicked it. What?

ROSALES: He's a ninja.

SCHOLES: Atlanta absolutely stole that victory.

ROSALES: Oh, my gosh.

SCHOLES: You got to feel bad for the goalie because he didn't know he was back there, and not one of his teammates was looking and saw that he was back there. So, he just snuck around and stole it.


ROSALES: Nobody helped him? Nobody saw it?

SCHOLES: It was in Atlanta. So, you know, the crowd was going --

BLACKWELL: Yes. Yes. Yes.

ROSALES: No, it's absolutely nuts.

BLACKWELL: go crazy.


BLACKWELL: All right. Andy, thank you so much. Two young pandas have arrived in the U.S. from China. They are the first to be sent on loan in more than 20 years. More on this round of panda diplomacy, next.

ROSALES: My favorite type of diplomacy. Well, in the field of meteorology, there is no season more anticipated and feared than hurricane season. Every year from June 1st to the end of November, millions find themselves in the crosshairs of these massive and often deadly storms. That was the case in 2022 when Hurricane Ian took everyone by surprise.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our street was underwater and there were cars floating out on the road. Serge (ph) was still -- it was over my six- foot privacy fence. I went in to the bathroom, toilet lid popped open and water gushed in nearly at the ceiling. And that's when all hell broke loose. It went from it seemed like that six-foot, seven-foot mark to 10 feet within minutes. We're going to have to jump. We're going to have to get in the water. The plan was for Mitch to go first, but Mitch can't swim. When I opened the door, a wave came by and it knocked him down. So, Barry and I helped him up. And I lowered myself into the water and it was holding on to where the door was. I lost my grip and I was gone.


ROSALES: Tune into "Violent Earth: Hurricanes" tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on CNN.



ROSALES: Figuring out where to stay can be the hardest part of traveling.

BLACKWELL: But as the town known for being the birthplace of the motel, San Luis Obispo has more than enough options to choose from. I checked out some of the most colorful places to rest your head to find out why the city is number five on our list of the best American towns to visit.


BLACKWELL (voice-over): Along California's central coast lies the town of San Luis Obispo, home to beautiful beaches, sprawling vineyards, and this, the world-famous Madonna Inn.

BLACKWELL: This room looks like a good time.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Founded in 1958, the Madonna Inn is a sight to behold. Its eccentric decor is the brainchild of couple Phyllis and Alex Madonna, the construction mogul.

AMANDA RICH, MARKETING MANAGER, MADONNA INN: He traveled all over California. And he would stay at different places, and every place was like the same. So, he decided he wanted to create this magical place. We have 110 different rooms, no two alike.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): There's the Yahoo room, the Just Heaven suite, and my favorite, the Traveler suite.


BLACKWELL (voice-over): The Madonna's did keep a few unifying themes in mind, from cherubs, to rocks.

BLACKWELL: I wonder how much it is to rig one of these up at home.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): To the color pink.

RICH: So, Mr. Madonna loved the color pink. You'll see pink pretty much everywhere. You know, everybody looks good in pink.

BLACKWELL: Even the tennis balls are pink.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): And while it might seem random that a motel like the Madonna Inn found itself in San Luis Obispo, its location makes sense when you consider that the world's first motel was built just three miles away.

THOMAS KESSLER, HISTORY CENTER OF SAN LUIS OBISPO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: In the 1920s, it was just starting to become more common to have a car. Geographically speaking, we are pretty much exactly halfway between Northern California and Southern California. The idea was, if you're driving, you're not going to make it in a day. That's where the Motel Inn came from.

BLACKWELL: A century later, San Luis Obispo is no longer just a stop along the way, it's a destination of its own.

KESSLER: We've got an amazing local wine scene, a local food scene. It's all backed up by a phenomenal downtown that's just a real pleasure to come through.


ROSALES: Who do I need to e-mail to get that assignment?

BLACKWELL (on camera): It was just a really good time. I was there for a couple of days. The folks of the Madonna Inn are fantastic. I walked through maybe 20 of the rooms. There are rock walls. There was -- I was standing, I don't know if you could tell, like a waterfall urinal in the men's bathroom.

ROSALES: I like the Yahoo room.

BLACKWELL: The Yahoo room was nice with the wagon. You should go check it out. To learn more about San Luis Obispo or the other towns on our list, you can visit our website or scan the QR code right there on your screen.

ROSALES: Well, all right. The pandas are back. Two young pandas, Yun Chuan and Xin Bao have just arrived in the U.S. at their new home, the San Diego Zoo. They are the first pandas loaned to the United States in more than 20 years, making a return to panda diplomacy between China and the United States. States.

They're currently out of public view while they adjust to their new surroundings, but they are causing plenty of anticipation for the zoo for when they will go public. This continues conservation efforts between the scientists here in the U.S. and in China. A previous pair left San Diego in 2019.

I love pandas.

BLACKWELL: Yes. I mean, I've not seen the pandas. And there -- I guess you don't call exhibits there at the -- in separate zoos, but I would go out to San Diego.

ROSALES: Yes. BLACKWELL: I love to be at San Diego next --

ROSALES: Just get ready for the lines though. In D.C., my god. It was like waiting at Disney --

BLACKWELL: Oh, so you've seen them?

ROSALES: -- to see pandas. Yes.


ROSALES: I mean, it's worth it. They're just so cute and clumsy.

BLACKWELL: All right. I'll ahead up.

ROSALES: There you go.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much for joining us. "Inside Politics with Manu Raju" starts right now.

ROSALES: Take care.