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Death Penalty Trial Begins In Pittsburgh Synagogue Mass Shooting; DeSantis Starts Campaign Trail In Iowa; Biden-McCarthy Debt Deal Passes Key Hurdle Amid Backlash; Boston Celtics Fall Short Of Record Comeback; "CNN Tonight" Presents "On the Lookout." Aired 11p- 12a ET

Aired May 30, 2023 - 23:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Fifty-year-old Robert Bowers is accused of killing 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in October of 2018.

Danny Freeman, as I said, is in Pittsburgh covering this trial. Brynn is following the rise in antisemitism across the country. We will get to that in a moment. But Danny, we start with you. So, tell us how prosecutors laid out the case during this first day today.

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, basically, prosecutors tried to establish one primary thing, not just that Robert Bowers was the person who fired indiscriminately into the synagogue, killing 11 Jewish worshippers, but also that he did so specifically because they were Hewish and he did so in a truly horrific way.

We did learn new details today just about how violent and seemingly intentional this shooting was. Prosecutors said that Robert Bowers went through the synagogue, methodically going room to room and, in their words, hunting Jewish worshippers.

Now, after a while, law enforcement did come in. SWAT team members engaged in a shootout with Mr. Bowers. They were able to get him to surrender. But it was during that point when he was surrendering that a SWAT officer asked Robert Bowers, why are you doing this? Why did you do this?

And the prosecution said today that Mr. Bowers's response was -- quote -- "All Jews need to die and Jews are killing our kids." So, that is really what the prosecution is saying. Now, Alisyn, I should say, the defense in this particular case, they are not disputing that Robert Bowers killed these 11 people. The defense said that these actions were incomprehensible and inexcusable, and there is no question that it was a planned attack.

But that main defense attorney, Judy Clarke, today, she really said that the jury's job in this case is to see if, in her words, Bowers's irrational motives and misguided intent, if those actually apply to the 63 federal charges that Mr. Bowers is facing.

So, it was an intense day in court. We got both opening statements from the prosecution and the defense first thing this morning.

CAMEROTA: So, Danny, right after that shooting, I went to Pittsburgh, right to that same neighborhood where you are. I went to a Shabbat service. The rabbi there, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, is so kind and warm. I met so many of the congregants. And it was really -- they really rocked with me. It was a beautiful community.

And so, tell us, were they there in the courtroom today? I mean, what -- was it -- how emotional the day was? Have you been talking to the people who went to the Tree of Life synagogue?

FREEMAN: Yeah, Alisyn. I got to be honest, it was a very hard and emotional day in court. And I think that it was a day that maybe some people were not expecting because it was supposed to just be opening statements. But we did get some witnesses, including Rabbi Myers. I will get to that in just a second.

But one of the things that we heard from three witnesses called today were 9-1-1 calls that we have not heard prior to this moment. We can't release those specific 9-1-1 calls to you or to the public right now because they're too graphic. That is a court order. But I want you to listen to some past 9-1-1 calls from the same incident that will give you a bit of an idea of the tone of the calls that we heard in court today. Take a listen.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): I got one alive.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): We're evacuating one right now. Still alive. We have at least four down in the atrium DOA at this time.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Was there earlier intel that he may be in the basement?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): I had a report of at least one victim in the basement.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): I have additional four victims, four victims in the back of the atrium of the front hall, total eight down, one rescued at this time.


FREEMAN: Now, Alisyn, you mentioned Rabbi Jeffrey Myers. He is the rabbi of the Tree of Life Congregation. He took the witness stand today. We actually have a chance to hear the 9-1-1 call that he made while the shooter was inside of the synagogue killing other members of his congregation.

And it is really chilling, Alisyn, because you hear him incredibly composed on the phone, talking with a dispatcher, saying exactly what the address of the synagogue. He is saying exactly where he is, where other members to the best of his knowledge is.

And you can hear the gunfire all the while, while he is on the phone, in the background. And then he goes silent for a good period of time. And the dispatcher says, are you there? You know, can you hear me? And he still stayed silent.

And today in court, Rabbi Myers was asked, why did you go silent for those few moments? And he responded, because I was praying. And he said, I expected to die. At that point, he was deciding whether he should stay on the line with 9-1-1 or perhaps call his wife. And again, to your initial question, just a terribly emotional day today in court. Alisyn, this was day one.

CAMEROTA: Danny, stand by if you would because I'm sure that the rest of our panel has questions for you. Rabbi Myers is really a special person.


I'm sure you, guys, remember him being on our air. He is like a combination of an incredible great leader and, like, so compassionate and empathetic and yet stoic. You know, able to lead everybody through this nightmare. But it just brings it all back. I don't know if you remember where we were all reporting when this happened, but it was an awful day.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it is really the incident that always, when you talk about antisemitism, it sorts of goes back to the most extreme incident that people reference, right? I mean, Danny did such a great job describing it because it just invokes so much emotion about how extreme this actually went to.

But, you know, we have been talking about the rise of antisemitism. The ADL has been tracking it for more than a decade. And just within this last year, there have been 3,700 incidents of, you know, vandalism, attacks, extreme incidence like shooting.

CAMEROTA: Is this more than say two ago or three years ago? Is it getting worse or is it --

GINGRAS: It is getting exponentially worse. It is a third -- it is a third higher than the incidents tracked last year. And again, it is a wide range of incidents that are tracked by the community members like the rabbi, by the police, by victims who are reporting these incidents. But the point is it is getting -- it is growing. It is growing to numbers that the ADL has never seen before.

Also, if you look at those years of where this increase is, of course, what do you see in there? COVID. Right? That is when everybody was getting online and sort of getting indoctrinated into these chat rooms. If you had a particular view or you had a particular hate, it sorts of grew. And that is where these reports are still kind of growing in exponential numbers.

Some of these incidents that we are looking at, we look at New York, New York actually has about 15 -- 16, rather, percent of the total incidents across the country. Mainly sort of the epicenter of that is in Brooklyn where there is a large orthodox Jewish community, where there is very easy to target members of this community. So, we are seeing a lot of -- ADL, rather, is seeing a lot of incidents there. But, yeah -- sorry, I was going to read that. But, you see, it is happening all across the country.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I remember, you know, when this happened. I actually was out there reporting in response to the breaking news. I mean, like in so many of these cases, there were members of the community there that felt, one, okay, they are reacting to tragedy of this itself, then it is the message behind the shooting, the antisemitism as part of it.

I took this picture in one of the yards that was right nearby. It was Halloween time. And people had carved into their pumpkin stronger than hate because they felt that despite the tragedy that had happened here, we need to take a stand against the evil, that is this person, that is the shooter, that the shooter has inflicted upon our community.

And so, I just wonder, in cases like this, obviously, there is a legal proceeding going on and that is on one side of things, but how important is it in all of these communities, for them to come together and say, despite what happened, we have to move forward stronger together?

GINGRAS: Well, that is the conflict that these victims from the Tree of Life synagogue were going through, right? Because he was offered life -- he wanted to take life in prison sentence, right, and they went forward with a death penalty, which was not an easy decision for these victims' families to make. But they said they needed to come together, they needed to stand up against this state, and they needed to quite frankly have this day in court.

This is going to be an issue that we are going to continue to track because we do see so many incidents where it is sort of on the fringe of sort of antisemitic, right? We saw the former president dining with a holocaust denier. We have seen members of Congress making antisemitic remarks. That is only also going to get worse.

So, the point is, when it happens, everyone does need to come together, whether you are Jewish or not Jewish, stand up against it and just make it clear that it is not okay.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I would just say, you know, this is obviously a culmination of what happened in Pittsburgh. But, you know, it is truly when you are on the subway and maybe you don't want to wear a Jewish star, maybe you don't want to wear a yarmulke, maybe you don't want to be seen in a Jewish (INAUDIBLE), maybe it is, you know, just wearing a Star of David t-shirt, right?

It is these small things that are truly the things that bring me as a Jewish American because that's -- I want to be who I am. I want to be proud of who I am. I don't want to be scared of who I am. And, you know, Pittsburgh, horrendous as it may be, it is just a small part of the apple. Right? It is the ability to live on and move on. And remember, when you are afraid of going outside and sort of exploring and showing off your Jewish pride, that to me is what is worrisome and why these statistics that you were just citing are so worrisome.

Because it is not always going to be this one huge, violent event. It is going to be these smaller events that are going to make somebody, you know, say, maybe I don't want to go outside today or maybe I just don't -- I want to hide my Judaism.


That to me is something that is truly scary because in all honesty, I thought we had left that behind. What I realized is perhaps we never really leave hate behind. We can try and squash it, but we can never truly get rid of it.

CAMEROTA: Have you felt any more nervous with all of this upward trend of all this tension?

ENTEN: Yeah, I mean, I do feel a little bit more worried. I'm not going to say I'm running around scared. That would be a false statement. But I will say, you know, maybe I don't want to travel to that part of the city where I know there aren't that many Jewish people, maybe I'm going to stand out. That might make me a target.

We all have stereotypes of what Jewish people look like and Jewish people can look like a lot of different things. But I will say, you know, oftentimes, when you run in to some more orthodox folks on the street, they might say, oh, I see one who -- you know, they try and tie your hands around the whole thing. You know, I sometimes do get pulled out.

I take it as an honor, but I'm worried that somebody who doesn't have good intentions might see that and might try and do something. That is something that goes through my head for sure.


JIMENEZ: It is interesting, all the messaging events. I mean, look, we cover a lot of these mass shootings, these horrific events. In the moment, the details are horrific, just -- you can leave them there. But it is then those reverberations were, as you mentioned, it is those tiny things of -- you know, I don't really want to wear these memorabilia or the Star of David or this -- I do not want to give away a piece of who I am to someone on the street.

I want to just go to where I am. And then once I feel I'm in a safer environment, whatever, I can be more myself. Yeah, I just think that is a point that extends to a lot of cultures, a lot of places, but it is blown up by these mass violent events that we see.

CAMEROTA: Friends, thank you very much for sharing all of that. Danny, thank you, in Pittsburgh. Obviously, we will be watching the trial very closely. Okay, now to this, Ron DeSantis is on the campaign trail tonight in Iowa. But what role does Iowa really play in our presidential politics? It may not be what you think. Harry has been digging in to this for us and will discuss next.




CAMEROTA: Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis making his first official campaign stop in Iowa tonight. He slammed the current direction of the country and took a dig at former President Trump in what he called the GOP's culture of losing.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We must put an end to the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party of recent years. Not in Iowa, not in Florida, but in way too many places.


The tire dogmas of the past are inadequate for a vibrant future.


CAMEROTA: All right, Harry Enten is crunching the data around the Iowa caucuses. So, Harry, let's start there. How important is Iowa nowadays?

ENTEN: I love this time of the year that campaigns are getting going. Everyone seems to have a chance. And, you know, the truth is if you look back at the polling at this particular point since 2004 and you projected out who is going to win the Iowa caucuses, turns out the polling at this point isn't all that predictive, which makes it so much fun, right?

Only one out of seven of the polling leaders at this point have gone on to win the caucuses since 2004. Hillary Clinton in 2016 was the only one. Remember, she barely won it. She barely won it. Of course, DeSantis wants to win in Iowa. He believes that's the place he can stop Donald Trump.

The question is, if you win in Iowa, does that mean you can actually go on to win a nomination? And we know since 2004 is, in fact, only three of the seven folks, who are the Iowa caucus winners, went on to become the nominee. In fact, none of them on the republican side. So, I would caution --

CAMEROTA: But the last one was George w. Bush.

ENTEN: That is correct, George W. Bush.

CAMEROTA: Last Republican to win Iowa and won the presidency. ENTEN: Correct. That would have been back in 2000, right? He won in Iowa. But here's the thing that I will point out, right, which is there are two early contests we pay a lot of attention to, right? Iowa and New Hampshire. And remember, George W. Bush ran into a wall in New Hampshire known as John McCain back in 2000.

So, if you go all the way back since 1972, when you look, okay, how many folks actually won the Iowa caucuses and in New Hampshire primary? Turns out there have been only very few, three out of 17 since 1972. Jimmy Carter did in 1976, Al Gore did it in 2000, and John Kerry did it in 2004.

So, look, I don't know if Ron DeSantis is going to go in and win Iowa caucuses. We know Donald Trump is winning, leading in Iowa right now, leading in New Hampshire. I would be very surprised if there isn't a strong challenge in at least one of those states because the fact is Iowa and New Hampshire like to mess things up a little bit. They don't like a straight road for any particular candidate.

CAMEROTA: But if you have to pick just one. Should you throw all your eggs in the Iowa basket or the New Hampshire basket?

ENTEN: If you are a Republican, I would put my eggs more in New Hampshire than in Iowa, based upon who we've seen win the last few times. Remember, in 2008, Mike Huckabee won in Iowa, did not go on to win the nomination. Rick Santorum won in Iowa in 2012, didn't go on to win the nomination.

Donald trump, excuse me -- Ted Cruz won in Iowa in 2016, didn't go on to win the nomination. You know who did go on to win the nomination all those years in the republican side? The people who won the New Hampshire primary.

So, I would look more towards New Hampshire on the republican side than look to Iowa. Iowa tends to have a few too many evangelicals, a few too many very conservatives who tend to be out of step with the rest of the Republican Party. But, of course, 2024 is going to be a new year. We just have to wait and see what happens.


CAMEROTA: But, I mean, as you guys know, Ron DeSantis did launch his campaign tonight.


I should say, the big first speech at a mega church in Iowa. He had a meeting with evangelicals. So, he's playing that Iowa card that you say is the more successful. If you're going to go to Iowa, that's how you do it.

ENTEN: Yeah. I mean, look, people in Iowa like you playing on the ground. I will say that the early state numbers for Donald Trump in Iowa or New Hampshire, especially in Iowa, don't seem to be nearly as strong as they are nationally. There hasn't been a whole lot of nonpartisan polling going on. But we do know that Iowa has lifted up some people who, truthfully really weren't on the national radar at this point. I mean, Mike Huckabee was polling nowhere in 2008. Rick Santorum was really polling nowhere in 2012. I mean, he literally launched in the final month.

But at this particular point, if the national race continues to be this blow out, right, with Donald Trump way ahead, I'm not really sure it's in the cards for DeSantis or anybody else to win Iowa. But if it gets a little bit closer, I will quickly play the role of (INAUDIBLE).

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah. I think it is a lot as well about momentum. I know, obviously, Ron DeSantis, he is not just targeting Iowa. He's looking a lot of his earliest campaign stops are going to be in this key presidential primary state.

I also know from my discussions with people close to Donald Trump and who are working on his campaign that he has been very active in targeting and getting endorsements and fundraising and making a lot of campaign stops as well in these early states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, the ones that matter.

Again, I agree with Harry that it doesn't predict if you win an Iowa or you win in New Hampshire, it doesn't predict who is going to be the nominee, but I think at this point, it's a lot about the momentum, it's a lot about who are people talking about.

I think for DeSantis, he has finally gotten into the race. This is his first big presidential campaign event. I mean, especially after the botched rollout of his campaign last week on Twitter. His campaign is very eager to put on a good show in Iowa.

And I think that that is a good time -- I will say it is interesting, though, now that he's in the race. We are seeing this really aggressive back and forth between him and Donald Trump. I mean, Donald Trump's team has said Iowa -- I mean, it's clear what he's doing but Donald Trump's team is doing the same thing, trying to target Iowa as well.

I think that we're going to continue to see these candidates all go to these early states, all try to court the same type of voters, and I do think it will be interesting to see who can get, you know, the share of voters in Iowa.

JIMENEZ: And we've only talked about two names at this point, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. There are others.

ENTEN: There are?

JIMENEZ: Exactly. You know --

TREENE: We are also going to Iowa --

JIMENEZ: Exactly. Yeah, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley. There are others in the mix that could potentially announce, including, you know, rumors have been around Chris Sununu, New Hampshire governor. But also, a big one -- you know, there have been talks about Chris

Christie potentially getting in the race. I can tell you, I've spoken to people in his camp, they are trying to put together some final pieces. No official announcement yet. Some of his allies put together a Super PAC.

And so, that is really the most concrete steps that we've seen, the sort of the groundwork being laid. He hasn't shied away from talking about it before. Sources close to him have told me that if he gets in the race, if Chris Christie gets in the race, then he doesn't see a pat around Trump. He says his path would be through Trump.

CAMEROTA: And he hasn't been shy about criticizing Donald Trump.

JIMENEZ: He has not been shy about that.

CAMEROTA: Chris Christie has not. It's interesting now Ron DeSantis is not being shy about that.

GINGRAS: Don't you think it's interesting? When you listen to Ron DeSantis tonight, that was just the language, how close it is to Trump? It's fascinating to sort of being an outsider. Again, I've not been a political person. It's just so interesting how any particular person who's going to vote that way, how do they differentiate.

CAMEROTA: But is it -- I mean, is Ron DeSantis calling people names and stuff? I mean what part --


GINGRAS: -- people, but just like I don't know. It's just like infected and like these words that you're just like -- ugh. I don't know.

TREENE: I think it's on purpose though.

GINGRAS: Hundred percent.

TREENE: He wants to be Donald Trump without the baggage. A lot of these candidates.


TREENE: I mean, if you look at all of these candidates as well, many of them, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, a lot of the policies that they are proposing and they're putting forward are ones that Donald Trump also supports and has put forward except they're trying to say that they have more reasonable rhetoric. They don't have the controversy surrounding them that obviously the former president does.

CAMEROTA: All right.

ENTEN: I was just going to say, to quickly end it.

CAMEROTA: Quickly. ENTEN: Who's the most popular politician in the Republican Party right now? It's Donald Trump. So, that is why. They want to be as close to him as possible without actually being him. And maybe if something happens, maybe one of these investigations involving Trump, they'll be there in case he falls. By the way, shows a little bit of weakness.

CAMEROTA: All right. Thank you all very much for the numbers and the perspectives.

Meanwhile, the House will take a final vote tomorrow on the debt ceiling bill. But Speaker Kevin McCarthy has a lot of work to do before then. Alayna has a new reporting for us.




CAMEROTA: Well, the debt ceiling bill is inching closer to a floor vote. But the fight is not over for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He still needs to wrangle wayward Republicans to get behind the bill.

And Alayna is on this story for us. So, at the risk of introducing math into this hour, do you have any idea how many Republicans are still not going along with his or how many he needs or just how close he is?

TREENE: Yeah, so, it is interesting. Normally when we look at, you need 218 votes to pass a bill in the House, McCarthy has a five-vote majority, essentially.


But normally, that matters because a lot of these bills are more partisan and you're trying to force them through without the other party. This feels different. This is an agreement that was worked out by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden. So, the expectation is that a majority of Republicans and a majority of Democrats will come together and vote for this.

And as of now, from my conversations today and what we are hearing from members on Capitol Hill, that is still expected. But there is a huge issue as well. McCarthy is facing a near full revolt from a lot of the far-right members of his party who think that they were betrayed by McCarthy, that he made promises to them, particularly around the speakership vote.

There are these 20 Republicans who tried to -- I know we covered this in-depth in January -- tried to stop him from becoming speaker, who he made all these backroom deals with. Now, they are saying, hey, you are going back on your word, and they are threatening to potentially oust him from being speaker.

CAMEROTA: It only takes one. Is it true?

TREENE: It is. That was an agreement.

CAMEROTA: -- call for a vote on him or can call for his --

TREENE: To oust him. Yes. Well, it is formally a motion to vacate the chair. But yes, to oust him from being speaker. That is an agreement that McCarthy agreed to in January. He said it would take one member to do that. Now, they are threatening to hold out.

But let us listen. We have some sound from the members, Republicans today who were talking about their criticism of McCarthy. Let's hear that sound.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): A majority of Republicans are against a piece of legislation, and you use Democrats to pass it? That would immediately be a black letter violation of the deal we had with McCarthy to allow his ascent to the speakership and it would likely trigger an immediate motion to vacate.

UNKNOWN: How much confidence do you have in the speaker right now?

REP. DAN BISHOP (R-NC): None. Zero. What basis is there for confidence?

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): We will continue to fight it today, tomorrow. And no matter what happens, there is going to be a reckoning about what just occurred.


CAMEROTA: But he is not going to lose a majority of Republicans. That is not what the numbers suggest.

TREENE: No, and that is what I was going say. We hear a lot of these members are part of the Freedom Caucus. They are, again, some of the most far-right members in the Republican Party. They are often the loudest members of the party.

So, I think if you are watching this and you are hearing what people are saying, these Republican are saying it sounds really bad. But most likely, McCarthy will get the majority. If you look at the data, if you look at past votes, he -- I mean, I think more than 90%.

I know you were talking about this earlier tonight, Harry. More than 90% of Republicans tend to vote with McCarthy on every vote so far since he has been speaker. So, he keeps saying that he is confidence.

And I should also just add that it is not just McCarthy's problem. Biden is also facing and Democrats are facing a tough problem with this bill as well. I mean, this bill is something that neither side is happy about.

Republicans think it is extending the debt ceiling for too long into 2025. There's not enough spending cuts and it. Democrats are saying they are against the work requirements for some of these social welfare programs as well as the energy permitting provisions.

So, I don't want to get too wonky, but neither side is happy.

GINGRAS: This is the first time that one of those backward deals could bite him in the butt.

TREENE: Yeah, it actually is. So, honestly, it is one of the biggest tests for McCarthy so far as speaker. Another one was when they were trying to pass their immigration bill a couple weeks ago. But he really has had so far -- I mean, I know it is only -- ware are about to be into June. It has only been a couple of months since he has been speaker. But had an easy go at it. There haven't been a lot of these really controversial fights.

Debt ceiling is by and far the biggest and hardest decision that he's facing and potential revolt that he is facing now. And also, with that backroom deal, I mean, there is some discrepancy over -- one of the Republicans that we just heard, Chip Roy of Texas had said that.

Again, I do not want to get into weeds, but there is the rules committee, they have to get it through that, and then they can vote on the bill. It passed that set of rules tonight, but there was apparently an agreement about the number of people -- of Republicans on the committee that would need to support this bill that McCarthy had agreed to. There's confusion over that.

Again, I don't want to get too --

GINGRAS: It is clear you don't want to follow him.

TREENE: But it is coming into effect now. It is also drawing, I think, criticism from both -- you know, some of the more moderate members who are saying that. It is very fascinating to watch this play out and see the internal fighting that is happening over this bill and really lot of these people who detest McCarthy wanting to make good on some of the threats that we just heard.

JIMENEZ: And was this -- I mean, to both of your points, this not a scenario that in some ways was anticipated? I mean, the attempts for Kevin McCarthy to be voted as speaker over and over and over and over again was an attempt by his side to wear down the critics, and then on the other side. It really was a political stance to say, we are not backing down from you, from some of these very members who are speaking up now?


So, is this the dynamic that will now be the realities of governing as speaker when we move forward into some of these fights because that is what it seems, at least, from my --

TREENE: It is a great question.

JIMENEZ: -- Capitol Hill.

TREENE: Yeah. I think it is not about, I think, the new norm in a sense of how Congress will always operate. I think the issue here is how narrow of a majority that Kevin McCarthy has. They underperformed in the midterm election. They still won the majority but, again, they only have about five seats, depending on how many people are in town, five votes that they could lose to get any bill forward.

That is why so many of these far-right members are able to hold him hostage in some sense on a lot of these things and why McCarthy has had to work very hard to make sure he's giving concessions for some of the more far-right faction of his party because he doesn't have a lot of room to move on a lot of this.

Again, this is a little bit different given that he is going to likely have democratic votes, but that is not something that I think McCarthy wants to talk about, that he is relying on Democrats to get this bill through.


ENTEN: Sounds like a compromise to me if everybody is so upset.

CAMEROTA: Don't say bad word on television.


That is Washington D.C. Compromise is a dirty word.

ENTEN: I mean, if the Democrats are upset, the Republicans are upset, it actually seems like it might be a fair deal.


TREENE: It depends on who you ask. There is a lot of angry people. But it is funny. Again, the loudest people are the ones who are getting the attention. It is the progressives and it is the Freedom Caucus, you know, more radical Republicans in Congress who are hearing a lot of this angsty.

CAMEROTA: Well, I don't want to say it is a done deal because anything can happen tomorrow, but it sure feels closer than we have in months.

TREENE: I think we can all expect this to pass through the House tomorrow.

CAMEROTA: Got it. Okay, Alayna, thank you very much for all of that. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics falling short of a record comeback. The Miami Heat advanced to NBA finals. Omar was at the game. He's going to tell us all about it.






UNKNOWN (voice-over): And that's one reason that (inaudible) will be going to sixth NBA finals in 15 years.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Here comes Mike Muscala. He is in the game for the Celtics. Brown is out and done. And Boston is done. Finished.


CAMEROTA: They were on the verge of a huge comeback, on the brink of NBA history, tying up the series after losing the first three games for the Boston Celtics came up short in game seven of the eastern conference finals against the Miami Heat.

Omar was at the game. He is going to bring us all the blood, sweat, and tears. So, what was it like?

JIMENEZ: Look, heading into the game, it was electric. I mean, they were on the precipice of history. Coming into the game, there had been 150 attempts at coming back from a 3-0 deficit and 150 fails. Only now, there is 151.


But they didn't know that. They didn't know that at the beginning of the game. So, at the beginning, they were on fire, they were electric, they were making comparisons to the Boston Red Sox, who in 2004, came back from a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees. So, everybody, you know, Boston is not like New York. They are all this is, this is it. Within the first two quarters of the game, it was very clear that Boston was not going to win this game.

CAMEROTA: Why? Where did they go wrong after those three -- that winning streak?

JIMENEZ: So, one, my impression was they did not have the rhythm right away, which sometimes happens in big games. You're so hyped-up. You just need to calm down. And so, I was giving them the benefit of the doubt there.

The Heat did not have that. They came out firing, they came out knocking everything down, they were in there. And every shift of momentum that seem to go to the Celtics was answered right away by the Heat.

And then another big moment. In the first literal seconds of the game, the Celtics best player, Jayson Tatum, who averaged 30 points a game this year, went down with an apparent injury and take a listen to what he said after the game about that moment.


JAYSON TATUM, NBA PLAYER: It's tough. It's as simple as that. It's tough. You made it to the conference finals again and so close to getting back to the finals and giving ourselves another chance and, yeah, I mean, as you would expect, it's tough to lose. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JIMENEZ: Again, that ankle injury. He played through it. But clearly, it was not himself. He only finished with 14 points in the game.

CAMEROTA: I don't think he has processed it yet fully. He seemed at a loss for words there.

UNKNOWN: Are the fans depleted?

JIMENEZ: Yeah. I mean, that is the other thing. So, as the game went on, Boston's fan base -- there are certain cities, Boston, Philadelphia, their fan bases are known for being very hot for you or very brutal for you when you are losing. I think we saw a little bit of that that when the Celtics -- when it was clear the Celtics were going to lose, their own fans started to boo them at points.

Again, on the precipice of history, they came up short. Their own fans were booing them. We actually talked to some of those deflated fans after the game. We braved into those waters. Take a listen to some of what they say.


JIMENEZ: How are you guys feeling right now?

UNKNOWN: Pretty terrible, honestly.

UNKNOWN: (INAUDIBLE) is leaving. He says the fans hate him. Give him the money and (INAUDIBLE).

UNKNOWN: I just wanted to say on behalf of Boston, I'm -- I wish my city had responded better.


JIMENEZ: And so --


-- look, it is a wide range. You know --

GINGRAS: It is so sad.

JIMENEZ: I know. Fans were talking about (INAUDIBLE). Jaylen Brown, another player on the Celtics.


People were talking about we got to trade this, we got to fire the coach, things that you expect.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the coach. Is he like (INAUDIBLE)? Was he a young guy?

JIMENEZ: So, Joe Mazzulla is the coach. He just became full-time coach for the Celtics this year. He had to come in as an interim after the previous coach, Ime Udoka, has leave the team for some -- he did not act appropriately, I would say. We will leave it there.

And so, this was really the first opportunity, though, for him to bring this team to the NBA finals. There was a lot of pressure on him as a first-time, full-time head coach here.

But I will say, we talked to some Heat fans after the game, too. Heat fans who flew in from Florida for the game. They were a little happier. Take a listen to them.

UNKNOWN: We were on the plane, on our first leg, I looked at him and said, we will win. So, we knew in this press conference of the game, at the end of game six, that they did not execute. If they did, they were going to win. So, we were very confident.



UNKNOWN: We got them. We got them. Celtics. We still got love for you all. We will see you all the way. Boston.



CAMEROTA: So, what is happening there, Omar? I know that you're going to --

JIMENEZ: I think -- well, I think the translation is a little bit of alcohol. I think that is what gets the people going a little bit in that situation. But, yeah, I mean, look, it was a tough reality for the Celtics fans and the Celtics organization, I think, this year. They were in the finals last year. It really was finals are bussed this year and they got the bust.

ENTEN: I was just going to say, obviously, the Heat still have to take down the Denver Nuggets.


ENTEN: And the Denver Nuggets are heavily favored in those NBA finals. My buddy, John Lester (ph), a big Denver Nugget fan, very happy, very happy that Miami won. He believes that's the easier opponent to take down. But we will see if John has a little bit --

JIMENEZ: And so here is the thing. The Celtics did lose, but that really wasn't the story. The Heat won this game.

ENTEN: Yeah.

JIMENEZ: And give credit to the Heat here. They were a play-in team, which means they actually weren't officially in the playoffs to start this year. They lost the first playing game, then they won, got into the playoffs, took down the number one seat in the east, Milwaukee Bucks, the number two seat, Boston Celtics here, now they're going to take the number one seat in the west, the Denver Nuggets.

They have found a way to win every step of the way, even when they have been discounted. They have one player who is undrafted stepped up and more than doubled his season and game average to propel them to win. And, again, they are going to be the first play-in team to make the NBA finals. And yes, the Nuggets are favored but --

GINGRAS: But also, history --

JIMENEZ: Yeah, of course.

GINGRAS: -- people love a comeback.

JIMENEZ: They do.

GINGRAS: After game six --

CAMEROTA: Certainly Boston.


JIMENEZ: They love a comeback.

CAMEROTA: Omar, I think we also have a picture of you enjoying yourself, I'm told.


ENTEN: Oh, wow!

JIMENEZ: I was nervous. A picture of me enjoying myself at the game.


JIMENEZ: I know. Look, we cover a lot of sad stories and a lot of not so fun stories. So, the opportunities that I get to actually cover some fun stuff. This -- earlier this year, I got to cover in L.A. when Lebron James broke --

CAMEROTA: Fantastic.

GINGRAS: I remember that, too. A little disgruntled --


GINGRAS: Omar played basketball in college.

CAMEROTA: You played basketball in college?

GINGRAS: I'm just letting CNN know. I'm more than happy.

TREENE: This is your (INAUDIBLE) for the next game.

JIMENEZ: This is the pitch. This is the pitch.

TREENE: Okay, we got you. CAMEROTA: Sports is big enough for both of you.

JIMENEZ: I agree. I agree.

CAMEROTA: All right. We have to go. Up next, "On the Lookout," our reporters tell us what stories they are looking out for on the horizon.




CAMEROTA: And we are back with our fantastic panel of reporters to tell us what stories they are keeping an eye on. We call it "On the Lookout." Omar, go.

JIMENEZ: So, I mentioned a little bit about it earlier. But allies of former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, have launched a Super PAC. And so, I will be looking to see whether any announcement for an actual presidency --

CAMEROTA: When can we expect that?

JIMENEZ: Look, it is hard to know. But we are in the danger zone, so to speak. So, we are going to keep an eye out. It could be at any moment. We are just going to have to see.

CAMEROTA: Fantastic. Thank you very much. Alayna?

TREENE: Senate races, similar vibes here. Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson announced today that he would not be running for Senate in Ohio. He was one of, you know, big contenders there that a lot of people are looking for. The conservative tax group wanted to endorse him.

But I will say it is a big boom to the NRSC (ph). It is the Senate establishment group that did not want him to run. They want to endorse other people in Ohio.

So, I think this is the time that we are going to see a lot of the Senate races take center stage. Even though it is 2024, everyone is looking at presidents, Senate races are also huge thing for us to be watching.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Thank you very much. Brynn?

GINGRAS: Yes, so, I'm looking for the announcement of an arrest of Eunice Dwumfour. She was a Republican council member in Sayreville, New Jersey. There was an arrest made in this case. Basically, it went cold. It made a lot of headlines.

However, when the Middlesex County prosecutor announced this arrest, they did not really give any details or take any questions about why this happened or any motive or what the connection was to this council member.


So, I am looking to see when this extradition happens because this person actually lived in Virginia, came to New Jersey, committed the murder, went back to Virginia, and then see the court filings and see exactly what happened there.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Thank you. I'm sure you bring that to us. Harry?

ENTEN: You know, we have the unofficial start of the summer season with Memorial Day weekend. We will have the official start in one way on June 1st, meteorological summer begins on June 1st. I'm going to take off this jacket, put on a nice t-shirt, run around outside, and enjoy the warm weather that will be coming to us in the upcoming months.

CAMEROTA: Because you are a frustrated meteorologist. People should know that.

ENTEN: Yes. I want to weather camp. I love the weather.


CAMEROTA: Fantastic. You are qualified.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right. Very good. Tomorrow on "CNN This Morning," the mayor of Kyiv joints live as Ukraine prepares for a major counteroffensive.

Thanks so much for watching us tonight, and our coverage continues now.