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CNN This Morning

Biden Heading To Pennsylvania As Fifth House Democrat Calls For Him To Drop Out; Donald Trump Taunts Biden To Stay In Race; V.P. Harris Makes Appeal To Black Voters At Essence Festival; Beryl Expected To Intensify Into Category 1 Hurricane Before Hitting Texas Coast; Evacuation Orders In Place Ahead Of Beryl Landfall On Texas Coast; Today Could Be The Busiest Travel Day Of The Summer; Vikings Rookie, Khyree Jackson Killed In Three-Car Crash; Strong Wind Tips Over Small Plane After Landing; Voters In France Casting Ballots In Decisive Runoff; Judge Pauses Some Filing Deadlines, Sets Up Briefing Schedule To Consider Supreme Court Immunity Ruling; Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision Granted Broad Immunity To Presidents For Official Acts. Rivals To Running Mates: How The Biden-Harris Campaign Evolved; 40 Million People To See Triple-Digit Temps This Week; Nonprofit Brings Electricity To 13,000 Navajo Nation Families; Japanese Tourist Pack Los Angeles To See Ohtani Play Ball. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 07, 2024 - 06:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. Let us be the first to welcome you to a brand-new week. It is Sunday, July 7th. I'm Victor Blackwell.

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Veronica Miracle in for Amara Walker. Here's what we're working on for you this morning.

Under pressure, President Biden heads to Pennsylvania today as he is facing more calls from within his own party to drop out of the 2024 presidential race. We're live with how he plans to make his case to concerned voters.

BLACKWELL: Millions of people in Texas are bracing for tropical storm Beryl to regain strength and bring life threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds. Meteorologist Elisa Raffa is here to track the hurricane warnings just posted this morning.

MIRACLE: And happening now, voting in a second round of one of France's most consequential parliamentary elections in recent history. We'll take you live to Paris for the latest.

BLACKWELL: And it is the Ohtani factor. How the Los Angeles Dodgers' $700,000,000 man is changing the tourism game in southern California. We have that for you a little later.

MIRACLE: Well, President Joe Biden heads to Pennsylvania today for campaign events as in party pressure mounts for him to drop out. The fifth House Democrat, Representative Angie Craig, asking him to end his campaign. She joins representatives Doggett, Grijalva, Moulton, and Quigley who are publicly calling him out.

BLACKWELL: Now, the campaign is facing new scrutiny for how it's handling Biden's media blitz. On "FIRST OF ALL" Saturday, Philadelphia radio host Andrea Lawful-Sanders told me that Biden's team sent her a list of questions to pick from before interviewing the president. Well, late last night, a source familiar with the Biden campaign told CNN that, while hosts have always been free to ask any questions, they'll no longer provide any suggested questions moving forward.

Despite this, though, the Biden campaign is staying in the course. The president says he is staying in this race. And with us now from Wilmington, Delaware, CNN's Camila DeChalus. So, what can we expect in this week ahead?

CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, as you mentioned, Biden has a lot of campaign events later today in Pennsylvania. And next week there will be the NATO summit. Now, these are very public facing events.

And, Victor, this will be very crucial for President Joe Biden. He has been under intense scrutiny since his first presidential debate performance against former President Donald Trump. And even foreign diplomats from across the world and even Democrats within his own party had just drawn alarms, drawing concerns, and expressing how they are doubting whether Biden is fit to continue to run for office, and have even brought up having another nominee take his place.

So, Biden will be under close watch during this NATO summit about over how he performs and just in the days and events ahead as he campaigns to still make the case of why he should be running for president.

MIRACLE: Camila DeChalus, thank you. Well, as President Joe Biden contends with Democrats who want him to withdraw, Donald Trump is seizing his opportunity to taunt Biden. He's now urging him to stay in the race despite mounting criticism. CNN's Steve Contorno has the details.

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Donald Trump has remained largely quiet amid the Democratic fallout over Joe Biden's debate performance. But on Saturday, he broke his silence posting a mocking message to social media urging Joe Biden to stay in the race.

On Truth Social he wrote, quote, "Joe Biden should ignore his many critics and move forward with alacrity and strength, with his powerful and far-reaching campaign. He should be sharp, precise, and energetic just like he was in the debate."

Now, Donald Trump is certainly just stirring the pot with this social media post. But look, when we talk to people near and around his campaign, they believed that his easiest path to victory is for Joe Biden to remain in the race. So, perhaps what we're seeing here is some restlessness from a former president as this story and focus remains on Joe Biden now for a second week especially with so many key important dates on horizon for Donald Trump. [06:05:09]

He has a rally on Tuesday in South Florida. Another later in the week. He is going to name his vice president any day now. And a little over a week from now, he will hold his convention in Milwaukee. So, perhaps the question is, how long can he allow for this story and this focus to remain on Joe Biden?

Steve Contorno, CNN, St. Petersburg, Florida.

BLACKWELL: Steve, thank you very much. Let's go now to "Washington Post" reporter Mariana Alfaro to break this down for us. Good morning to you. So, let's start here.

Steve says that the former president is, quote, "restless" because of the attention on President Biden's campaign and viability. Do you think that that hastens a V.P. announcement from the former president or that he's going to try to steal it back a week before his convention starts?

MARIANA ALFARO, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, we've been waiting for this V.P. announcement for so long. I think at this point I definitely think that he is trying to draw attention back to him. And we've already seen him kind of try to campaign against Harris too. I think he watched a few ads already saying, you know, her -- getting her for the border and offer other policies that she's been handed as vice president.

But now, I think he's going to try to turn, you know, the spotlight back to him. Hopefully, we'll hear this V.P. campaign soon -- announcement soon, but I definitely think that it's something that just will likely happen within this week given how much attention is given to President Biden so far.

BLACKWELL: Senator Mark Warner, and the "Washington Post" was the first to report this, that he is trying to now organize Democratic senators around this idea that he is reaching that the president cannot stay at the top of the ticket. Are there any indicators so far whether he is achieving that, if he's having any success, or if he's getting pushback?

ALFARO: Yes. Publicly, we know he's been getting pushback. I mean, I think we heard President Biden say over the weekend, you know, so far Mark Warner is the only one who has called it. But if you look more closely, the Senate has been really quiet.

Senate Democrats, as one of my colleagues wrote today, have always been, you know, Biden's backbone in Congress. He's very clearly not as well connected to House Democrats. But the -- this time around we're not really hearing Senate Democrats come out and do events in hordes.

They're not, you know, banging at the doors coming to defend him. And I think that that is very telling. This week is going to be really interesting in the House and the Senate. Tomorrow they're coming back. And again, they can't escape the questions when you're asking them in person. So again, we only see Mark Warner with this report that his aides have not denied. And I think it's matter of time before we might hear from other Senate Dems who really have been struggling whether, you know, to voice concerns out loud yet.

BLACKWELL: You know what's interesting, Mariana, is that for a lot of people, especially Democrats, this conversation that we're having on air is frustrating. Because there is this great disparity between what Democrats say publicly and the number of Democrats coming out to express concern or to tell the president that he needs to step down off the top of the ticket, and what they're saying privately. So, contrast what is in front of the curtain and behind the curtain as it relates to Democratic confidence in the president.

ALFARO: Well, there's definitely this feeling that the dam will break at some point. I think we've seen a few cracks specially with the five. I think -- yes, it's five so far House Democrats who publicly said that they need Biden to step out. But those are just, you know, a handful compared to all the many others that we're still waiting to hear from.

But there's a struggle for unity versus the idea that they're still waiting for a bigger signal within the campaign, or maybe a bigger signal from the president himself. I think we've heard several Democrats say that the only person who could decide is Joe Biden himself, and he remains very steadfast in the know.

But I think at some point, again, they need to regroup. For the House Democrats, they've been out of the Hill for a couple weeks now. Senate is kind of still waiting to hear from even Chuck Schumer, who hasn't really publicly spoken about this too much.

So, there's this feeling that they're seeking unity but also that the nervousness that it's trickling and, you know, drip, drip, drip. But at some point, I think, the dam hasn't broken yet and the message is all over across the party.

BLACKWELL: If the dam breaks at some point, if the splintering does not continue. So, let's talk about the vice president here. We started this week with the CNN poll that showed that the president is, post- debate, six points behind former President Trump. The vice president, head-to-head, is in a statistical tie.

Then throughout the week we saw the president and vice president campaigning together. We saw her on the balcony with the president on the 4th July. Something that it has not happened in past years, was not on the schedule.

And then we in this week with the vice president at Essence Fest in New Orleans. She's going to speak to the AKAs, and the Zetas, to Black sororities.


Does this cut both ways though? Although, she is passionately behind the president, there is that comparison. The visibility might bring, you know, questions about her viability at the top of the ticket. Is that a consideration?

ALFARO: I think that the campaign is really trying to highlight the fact that she is there. You know, the fact to remind that it's not just Joe Biden on the ticket, that there's Kamala Harris too, and she is, you know, several years younger. She has had the experience to, you know, be next to him for the last three and a half years but also to continue doing that.

I think, it was really interesting that in the Essence Fest remarks that she gave, she didn't really talk about any of these controversies. She didn't talk about the debate. She didn't talk about the concerns. She didn't talk about, you know, Senate -- Mark Warner or anything. She didn't mention any of that.

She also didn't really talk that much about Joe Biden himself. She just talked about what they did together as president, vice president. She talked about all the results that they delivered. And then she specifically focused on the threat of Donald Trump.

She has not really, you know, come out and -- I mean, she has in the last few weeks, but she didn't really come out at this big speech to clear the air in any way in terms of what the future of the ticket is. So, I think that she is playing the campaign strategy of being like, Donald Trump is real threat here. But I think she's not really stepping away from any beliefs or any ideas that she could possibly take over.

BLACKWELL: All right. Mariana Alfaro, with the "Washington Post," thank you so much for being with us. Tropical storm Beryl, expected to gain strength and turn into a Category 1 hurricane before slamming into the southern coast of Texas. Several counties in the track of the storm now have issued mandatory evacuation orders with Beryl expected to bring damaging winds, life-threatening storm surge, and dangerous flooding.

MIRACLE: The storm is on track to hit the Texas coast Monday morning. Beryl has already wreaked havoc across the Caribbean, killing at least nine people. Jenn Sullivan has the details on how Texas is preparing.


JENN SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tropical storm Beryl tearing through Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Friday bringing damaging winds, storm surge, and heavy rain turning these roads into rivers.

Beryl is now on track to hit south Texas late Sunday or early Monday. Voluntary evacuation orders are already underway for several counties along the Texas coast. And tropical storm warnings have been issued. The National Hurricane Center predicting it will upgrade to a Category 1 hurricane before slamming into the Lone Star State which would make it the first storm of the 2024 Atlantic season to make landfall in the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of uncertainty still.

SULLIVAN (voice-over): In Galveston, the office of emergency management is closely monitoring the storm's path. Some areas along the coast could see up to 10 inches of rain, according to the National Hurricane Center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hurricanes are unpredictable. So, to be on the safe-side, it's always better to be prepared and have your evacuation plan set.

SULLIVAN (voice-over): And in Corpus Christi businesses along the water are already laying down sandbags to keep storm surge out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to get the storm surge we know coming off the bay but we're also going to get the flooding. This end of north beach is notorious for flooding.

SULLIVAN (voice-over): Beryl has already caused catastrophic damage across the Caribbean, particularly in Jamaica, in Grenada,

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hurricane Beryl has essentially wiped out two islands. We are literally going to be rebuilding from scratch. We are talking everything from electricity to telecommunications.

SULLIVAN (voice-over): Earlier this week, Beryl became the earliest Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic on record.

I'm Jenn Sullivan reporting.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Elisa Raffa is tracking the storm for us. So, what should we expect over the next 24 hours or so?

ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We're expecting it to strengthen still. It has kind of struggled over the last day or so, but the ingredients are there for it to still become a hurricane as it makes landfall pretty much overnight tonight, going into early tomorrow morning.

This satellite has been slowly trying to come together when you look at Beryl. Yesterday, it kind of struggled with some dry air, but it's starting to try to get its act together still with 60-mile per hour wind sitting about to 240 miles south and east of Matagorda, Texas, where it likely will make landfall somewhere near there.

Dry air has been coming into its circulation from Mexico. And that really kind of dampened its strengthening yesterday. Kind of it in control. But we do have still incredibly warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico as it gets closer to Texas. But the National Hurricane Center is warning that we could find intensification even right before landfall.

So again, it might just come up really fast and intensity just right before it hits landfall. Still looking at a Category 1 hurricane with hurricane warnings in effect from Corpus Christi up the coastline. We have Houston included in the tropical storm warning because you're looking at some tropical storm-force winds possible. The probability of tropical storm-force winds is increased seeing from places like Victoria, Texas, up towards Houston. Again, Matagorda Bay probably seeing some hurricane-force conditions because we're looking at that center getting pretty close there. Winds up to 73 miles per hour possible from Houston down towards Corpus Christi.


Again, looking at some intense winds over 75 miles possible. Storm surges increasing with up to 46 feet possible near Port Lavaca. Corpus Christi, looking at some three to five feet of storm surge.

On top of this, we also have some flooding that is possible from the rain. We're looking at up to five to 10 inches of rain possible. This cutoff will be very steep. You know, if this track waivers at all, that can mean the difference between not much rain and incredibly dangerous flash flooding. So, something to watch very closely.

Flood watches are in effect from Houston up into parts of eastern Texas where we could see considerable damage from some flash flooding. Plus, again, the storm surge also pretty dangerous.

On top of this, we're also looking at some damaging winds and brief tornadoes possible. You have a tropical spinning system. So, some of those outer bands could produce brief tornadoes. And that starts as soon as tonight. We don't need landfall for that to happen.

So, tonight we're looking at that tornado threat and then going into tomorrow as that landfall gets closer. So, a place like Corpus Christi, you're looking at those tropical storm-force winds starting as soon as tonight. Again, storm surge will be dangerous, life- threatening, and that heavy rain can cause considerable damage.

BLACKWELL: All right --

MIRACLE: Elisa Raffa --

BLACKWELL: Thanks. Well, the roads are going to be packed. The airports are going to be crowded. If you take a train, the trains are going to be packed too. Americans are heading home after the long holiday weekend. We're going to find out how many people are expected to travel today.

MIRACLE: Plus, dreams cut short. An NFL draftee is dead after a car crash this weekend. We have the response from the team.

BLACKWELL: And round two of voting in France's snap parliamentary elections happening now. Voters are deciding just how much power the far-right will hold. Live report for you coming up.



BLACKWELL: The long Independence Day weekend is now coming to an end. American Airlines says that today is expected to be the busiest day of the entire summer as it relates to travel. The TSA predicts that offices will screen more than 3 million passengers across the country's airports today. That would set a new record, 12 of TSA's busiest 15 travel days have been since mid-May.

Khyree Jackson, player for the Minnesota Vikings, died Saturday along with two former high school teammates after a three-car accident in Maryland. Jackson was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 24. He had been drafted by Minnesota as a cornerback this April out of the University of Oregon. In a statement Vikings' owner Mark and Zygi Wilf said that they were deeply saddened by the news of Jackson's passing.

In Oregon, the pilot of this nearly 70-year-old plane was uninjured after it tipped over and crashed onto its nose during a wind challenging landing at Sunriver, Oregon. Police say that the plane had landed when a strong gust of wind pushed the plane's left wing over, causing it to make contact with the runway.

MIRACLE: Well, French voters are taking to the polls today in the crucial second round of parliamentary elections after taking a lead in the first round of voting last Sunday. The far-right National Rally party is closer to power than ever before.

But the threat of a far-right government, it would be the first since World War II, has motivated a left-wing coalition along with President Emmanuel Macron's party to attempt to deny the far-right party an absolute majority. CNN's Jim Bittermann is live from a Paris polling station. Jim, what does the turnout look like so far?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in fact, it looks like that motivation is also coming to the voters here because they are coming out in droves this morning. According to the participation rate we had just a few minutes ago, 26 percent of the registered voters across the country have turned out. That's at noon time that is. And that's the highest number that it has been recorded here since legislative elections back in 1981.

So, you have to go back quite a few years to find out -- find this much enthusiasm for a legislative election. Having said that, like you said, in fact, it's the National Rally party, the far-right party here that has done a lot of this motivation. The far-right came in very much in favor in the European elections and did very well in the first round of the elections here.

This is the runoff round now. And we're going to see exactly how many of the legislative deputies will be in power and if it's enough to, in fact, bring in a right-wing prime minister. Veronica, Victor.

MIRACLE: Well, Jim, if there's no absolute majority, then how hard will it be for any party to form a coalition?

BITTERMANN: Well, it's going to be tough. I mean, one of the reasons it's going to be tough is because on the left, not the far-right, but the left, there's a kind of a loose coalition that has come together only to defeat the right. And as a consequence, these parties are -- some of them very much -- they disagree with each other and they argue and fight among each other. And so, to get them to agree on any kind of a government might be very difficult. And Macron's party is in the center of this. President Macron's party is sort of centrists but at least as long as much as the forecasts are accurate, not probably going to do as well as the other two. As a consequence, we have to wait until the vote to parse tonight.


We'll see how many seats each one of the parties gets and then somebody is going to have to try to put this together and that would probably be the president because he actually names the prime minister. So, he'll have to see if there's some kind of a coalition that he can cobble together. Or if the far-right party gets an absolute majority, which is possible in fact that will be -- that will be the party that comes to power. Veronica.

MIRACLE: Jim, speaking of consequences, can you kind of explain to us why Americans should care about this election?

BITTERMANN: Well, there's a couple of things. One of the things is that the far-right has said on the international stage that they're going to do things like defund the European Union. They're going to bring France further away from the European Union without necessarily having a Frexit as it is called. Like the British Brexit.

The other thing they said is that they would like to discontinue the amount of aid that's going to fund the Ukraine war. They said that -- the leader of the National Rally party said that she in fact does not want Russia to absorb part of Ukraine, but she also said that they are reluctant to keep funding the Ukraine war as much as France has been in the past.

And domestically, it's going to make a difference because the far- right party, if it comes to power, is in fact against immigration, and has basically announced already a France first policy. Meaning that the French citizens would have priority over the -- over the immigrants in this country on certain civil matters and sort of within the country domestically. So, it will bring about -- bring about big change if the far-right does come to power. Veronica.

MIRACLE: All right. Well, Jim Bittermann, live for us from Paris, thank you for your reporting.

BLACKWELL: The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump's classified documents trial has paused some filing deadlines on Saturday. Judge Aileen Cannon has agreed to hear arguments on whether she should pause the entire case in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on presidential immunity. She set up a two-week schedule to hear those arguments.

The former president faces dozens of criminal counts related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents including national defense and materials so sensitive and, of course, required special handling. The president has denied all the criminal allegations. The Supreme Court's decision last Monday granted broad immunity to the president's official acts. Now, trial courts will have to assess whether Trump's alleged conduct is official or not. The high court decision will likely have an impact on all four criminal cases against him.

MIRACLE: Well, imagine having to endure triple digit temperatures with no electricity, no air conditioning. It's a shocking reality for people in one part of this country. Still to come, the race to hook up the Navajo Nation to the power grid.



BLACKWELL: Vice President Kamala Harris will head to Las Vegas on Tuesday for campaign appearance. This will be her sixth trip to Nevada this year.

MIRACLE: Yes, Harris is trying to hold the line after President Biden's poor debate showing just 10 days ago right here on CNN. CNN's Brian Todd takes us inside the evolution of the Biden-Harris ticket and shows us how the running mates used to be rivals.



BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The public face of Kamala Harris' relationship with Joe Biden started on a contentious note.

HARRIS: I'm going to now direct this at Vice President Biden.

TODD (voiceover): At a Democratic primary debate in 2019, Harris challenged Biden for working with segregationist senators in the past, telling Biden it was hurtful to her.

HARRIS: You also worked with them to oppose busing. And you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was busted to school every day. And that little girl was me.

I'm suspending.

TODD (voiceover): Harris would later drop out of the 2020 race before a single vote was cast, but she'd impressed Biden enough with her toughness that he asked her to run with him.


HARRIS: The answer is absolutely yes, Joe. And I am ready to work. I am ready to do this with you.

TODD (voiceover): Harris fought hard with Biden through a bruising campaign and emerged as the first woman, the first Black American, and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the office of Vice President.

HARRIS: We did it, Joe.

TODD (voiceover): But there were setbacks early in the administration. In 2021, after Biden assigned Harris to handle relations with Mexico and the northern triangle countries of Central America to help address the immigration crisis, Harris gave an awkward heavily criticized answer in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt.

HARRIS: We've been to the border. We've been to the Border.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: You haven't been to the border.

HARRIS: And I haven't been to Europe. And I don't -- I don't understand the point that you're making. I'm not discounting the importance of the border.

TODD (voiceover): CNN reported that year that the President's team was annoyed with that and with other fumbling answers she gave about the border crisis. But CNN also reported that Harris's team had its own complaints that the President's aides were leaving her exposed.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL- CONSTITUTION: It was like the other side where people were complaining there was too much being put on her plate that wasn't setting up -- her up to succeed.

TODD (voiceover): But since Roe versus Wade was overturned in 2022, it's been Harris who has emerged as a key voice for the administration on reproductive rights.

HARRIS: This is a fight for freedom, the fundamental freedom of a woman to make decisions about her own body and not having her government tell her what to do.

TODD (voiceover): She's also been one of the President's fiercest defenders since last week's disastrous debate performance.


HARRIS: Look, Joe Biden is our nominee. We beat Trump once and we're going to beat him again. A Harris biographer says those who've run against Kamala Harris have underestimated her at their own peril.

DAN MORAIN, AUTHOR, KAMALA'S WAY: AN AMERICAN LIFE: She won statewide three times in California. That's no small feat. You don't do that if you're -- if you were a lightweight.

TODD: In recent days, Donald Trump and his MAGA surrogate have stepped up their attacks on Harris. Trump in a truth social post calling her "Laughing Kamala Harris." Harris biographer Dan Morin points out candidates usually don't do that unless they're worried about their potential opponent.

Brian Todd CNN, Washington.


MIRACLE: Still ahead, triple digit temperatures for millions of Americans this weekend. Where we could see more heat records melt this week?

BLACKWELL: And new tools bring new hope in the battle against Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports tonight at 8:00 right here on CNN.



BLACKWELL: This heat, it is not letting go. I really wish it would. It's expected to get even hotter, break more records this week after scorching Fourth of July weekend in the East and West. Listen to this. Death Valley hit 128 degrees Saturday. It was a record, could get even hotter.

MIRACLE: I can't even fathom what that's like.

BLACKWELL: I don't even know what it feels like.

MIRACLE: I know. I don't either.


MIRACLE: Nearly 100 million people in more than a dozen states are under heat advisories as this wave of extreme temperatures drags on. CNN Meteorologist Elisa Raffa joins us. Elisa, tell us how hot it is compared to years past.

ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I mean, we're talking about the duration of this extreme heat. The Weather Service was saying that they haven't seen something like this in 18 years. Because not only is it hot every day but it's hot every day, it's been multiple days now. And a lot of these mornings that we have last well into the work week. I'm talking until Thursday. So. you really just don't get any relief day to day and you're not getting any of the relief on the overnight. It's been an incredibly long-duration event.

The warning stretch from border to border, from Seattle all the way down to Los Angeles. I mean, plastering most of California here, extreme heat warnings and advisories because we're looking at multiple days of temperatures in the triple digits. These are some all-time records that were set yesterday. I'm not talking about oh, this is the hottest on this particular day or in this particular month, I'm talking hottest all time ever period.

119 in Redding, California. Paso Robles 114. You know, just incredible all of these temperatures that are well above average and hitting all- time records. The extreme heat risk, there's a huge area of it in Southern California, parts of Southern Nevada, and this is telling us that we have an extreme heat risk for heat sickness. We're worried about, you know, those signs and symptoms of heat stroke. Things like that, heat illness just can happen so much faster when you have temperatures well over 100 for days on end.

Palm Springs at 120 degrees from, you know, Monday and Tuesday. Las Vegas getting close to all-time records. Even up towards Sacramento, temperatures up around 100 degrees for the next couple of days. Las Vegas will likely also hit their all-time record which is 117 degrees. And we get very close the next couple of days, like I mentioned, also really getting no relief from this at night. So, it just really poses a risk to those who are vulnerable and without access to air conditioning.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Even when you walk out first thing in the morning. I walked out my door this morning at 2:30 and it was scorching for that time of day. I mean, it stays all day and night. Elisa Raffa, thanks so much.

It is hard to imagine living in this kind of heat without electricity but that has been the reality for some Native Americans in New Mexico.

MIRACLE: Yes. About 13,000 families in the Navajo Nation haven't been hooked up to the power grid. But a project called Light Up Navajo is trying to change that, and the extreme heat brings a new sense of urgency. CNN's Senior National Correspondent Ed Lavandera reports.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Alan Bryant watches a powerline crew with curiosity and wonder. For 70 years he's lived on this patch of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico without electricity.

LAVANDERA: It seems like a life-changing moment for you.

ALLEN BRYANT, RESIDENT, NAVAJO NATION, NEW MEXICO: Yes, it is. It is. It's going to be real good.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): His family's home will soon be connected to the power grid. That means air conditioning and a refrigerator. And it comes as the summer heat intensifies.

BRYANT: Yes, yes, it's getting hot and hot and hot, drier and drier.

LAVANDERA: That's dangerous.

BRYANT: Yeah. When the sun comes down, it's like right fast --

LAVANDERA (voiceover): This summer power line crews have planted 55 poles stretching along four miles through to this rugged landscape. The work is part of a nonprofit partnership known as Light Up Navajo. The goal is to bring power to 13,000 families who live without electricity in one of the poorest places in the country. The crews come from 46 different power utility companies in 16 states.

This group of linemen signed up for this assignment. And as the planet gets warmer, they sense the urgency of their mission.

JOE TSETHLIKAI, JOURNEYMAN LINEMAN, TRICO ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE: To me it's just unthinkable that here we're the greatest country in the world and we have Americans that are living without power, water, all that.


BRYAN ENGLISH, CREW FOREMAN, TRICO ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE: It's crazy that that still happens in America in 2024.

LAVANDERA: So, Will, you're less than 24 hours away from getting electricity at your house.


LAVANDERA: This is William Tom's last night living without power. Tomorrow, crews will connect his home to the newly installed power lines reaching his house. He's lived here 15 years and often slept outside because it's cooler.

LAVANDERA: Did you ever get frustrated? Did you ever think, man, yes, this is a hard way to live?

TOM JR.: Yes, of course. You know, there's frustration.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): This summer though will feel different with a flip of a switch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go on and turn on the breakers.


TOM JR.: All right, yes, we're ready. Here we go. Here we go.

LAVANDERA: All right, yes, the lights.

TOM JR.: That's pretty good.

LAVANDERA: That's pretty good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The light bulb is working?

TOM JR.: Yes, yes, the light bulb is working.

LAVANDERA: Now you can go buy an air conditioning unit.

TOM JR.: Yes, I need to. I need to. Yes, I do.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): The Light Up Navajo Project started in 2019. Almost 850 homes have been connected to the power grid. Navajo Nation is roughly the size of West Virginia with homes spread out across rugged and isolated terrain. It will likely take decades to finish the project. While one family celebrates, it's a reminder that thousands of others remain disconnected, left struggling through the painful summers.

Arlene Henry's house has a small solar panel that provides a few hours of electricity but her son needs around-the-clock oxygen. They use their car as a power source.

LAVANDERA: And you'll come here just to cool off?

ARLENE HENRY, RESIDENT, NAVAJO NATION, NEW MEXICO: Yes, cool off in here too with our A.C.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): She's lived like this for 56 years.

HENRY: It wears us out, yes. It's too hot. It's scary. Right now, it's too hot in there.

LAVANDERA: Yes, because it's almost 100 today.

HENRY: Yes. I get scared so I -- I'm scared for my son. It's too hot. I wish we had electricity.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): It's not clear when the Light Up Navajo initiative will reach Arlene's home. Until then, her family will find refuge from the heat by chasing the shade cast by their home as the sun passes over.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, the Navajo Nation in New Mexico.


MIRACLE: I mean, it's just UNTHINKABLE that there are still people out there who do not have power.

BLACKWELL: Thousand.

MIRACLE: There's thousands.

BLACKWELL: You know, really reminds us to be grateful that we can sit in a room that what, this is 68 and people at home who are watching who have that ability to control the temperature especially as hot as it is. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much. And for the Light Up Navajo organization, the work that you do bringing power to those communities, thank you as well. We'll be right back.



MIRACLE: Excitement is building in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium thanks in a large part to the team's newest star player, Shohei Ohtani.

BLACKWELL: Right now, he leads the national league in batting average and home runs. But his impact on the Dodgers and on Los Angeles goes beyond baseball. CNN's Natasha Chen explains.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Baseball is America's pastime. But here in one of the country's oldest baseball stadiums, you'll see a celebration of Japanese Heritage and hear Japanese language tours four days a week all because of six-foot-four --


CHEN (voiceover): -- star hitter and pitcher --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are proud of him.

CHEN (voiceover): -- new Dodger Shohei Ohtani.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a good baseball player and so cute.

CHEN (voiceover): After a record-breaking contract with the Dodgers, Ohtani is drawing fans from across the Pacific Ocean in waves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're expecting a spike but truly nothing like this.

CHEN (voiceover): The team has a dozen new Japanese sponsors this year and added six new Japanese-speaking tour guides. Dodger Stadium food now goes beyond the Dodger Dog to the Kurobuta pork sausage dog, sushi, chicken katsu, and takoyaki which are round fritters filled with octopus. You can get the original or --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just got a kick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Salsa and cheese and guacamole and cheese.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: American tourist.

CHEN (voiceover): The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board says 80 to 90 percent of visitors from Japan come to Dodger Stadium at least once during their trip to L.A. And many of them end up here in LA's Little Tokyo to find the mural they've heard about all the way from Japan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The painting is moving, he said.

ROBERT VARGAS, ARTIST: They scan a Q.R. code at the base of the mural, point your camera phone, and they can see Shohei actually swing and see him pitch. And you hear Vin Scully say --

VIN SCULLY, SPORTS COMMENTATOR: Time for Dodger baseball.

CHEN (voiceover): Artist Robert Vargas says he painted this mural to bring everyone together in the city's crossroads of Asian and Latin American communities.

VARGAS: Is has been hard hit for during COVID. And really felt like as a longtime resident of downtown L.A., I wanted to be able to contribute to the AAPI Community.

CHEN (voiceover): Little Tokyo businesses say they have double the customers they normally get this time of year. And with the weak Japanese Yen, it's a costly trip for travelers from Japan spending U.S. dollars. But they'll find a few local deals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After he hit the home, the next day will be 50 percent off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Shohei hits a home run, we automatically pass out a Shohei shot.


CHEN: You hope this goes on for 10 years.


CHEN (voiceover): The Miyako Hotel general manager says rooms are fully booked during home games. Takayo Hizume says her son also played baseball, and she feels as if Ohtani is Japan's son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And wait till he starts pitching for us. It's like, my gosh.

CHEN (voiceover): Whether fans are from his home country, second- generation Japanese American, or have no connection to Japan at all, it's a unifying moment.


CHEN (voiceover): A moment as American as a hot dog on the 4th of July and a takoyaki covered in guac.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is good for everyone. This is good for all of baseball.


CHEN (on camera): It's not just the fans, it's also Japanese media following Ohtani so much so that the media signs at the stadium are translated into Japanese. Now, the fans tell me they're making a trip out of this, also seeing classic L.A. sites which is what the tourism board wants to see. I'm told that they're seeing Santa Monica Beach, they're seeing Hollywood, and now experiencing an American Fourth of July.

BLACKWELL: All right, Natasha Chen, that investment in Ohtani paying off for the Dodgers and for the city. Still to come, President Biden digs in on his re-election campaign as Vice President Harris rallies Black voters on focusing on Donald Trump. Those stories and more in the next hour of CNN THIS MORNING WEEKEND.