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Erin Burnett Outfront
Four Senators Meeting Tonight to Talk Guns; 17 Killed in Mass Shootings Over the Weekend, 70+ Injured; Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- CT) is Interviewed on Gun Reform Negotiations; Proud Boys Leaders Charged with Seditious Conspiracy in January 6 Riot; Former NATO Commander: Black Sea Will Be "New Front" in War; IAEA: "Clear and Present Risk" at Zaporizhzhia Nuke Power Plant; IAEA: "Clear and Present Risk" at Zaporizhzhia Nuke Power Plant; Tulsa Doctor Killed by Patient Less Than 2 Weeks After Surgery; "Unheard-Of": Cancer Drug In Small Trial Shows Full Remission; UK PM Boris Johnson Narrowly Survives Vote To Unseat Him. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 06, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, a deal on guns may be within reach. A crucial bipartisan Senate meeting taking place as I speak. One lawmaker telling CNN there could be something by tonight. But the last minute changes here raise a lot of questions. It comes after at least 13 mass shootings over the weekend in the U.S.
Plus, fears that the Black Sea is the next front of Putin's war as he tries to crush Ukraine. Ukraine says it's taken out a top Russian general. So who is really winning the war tonight?
And a game changer. Fourteen patients all with cancer, all given the same drug, and tonight, every single one in remission.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, momentum. A very small group of senators, two Democrats and two Republicans, are meeting tonight, and apparently are on the cusp of something when it comes to an agreement on gun laws, an agreement that can get 60 votes in the Senate they say. That is the news from Senator John Cornyn, who is the lead Republican in the group.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy who is also in tonight's meeting telling CBS News: My goal is to have an agreement by the end of this week.
Look, it's been years of nothing. It's been decades of nothing. But it appears that some sort of momentum may be building in Washington. A key red state senator says he's open to a number of proposals, including raising the age to buy a semiautomatic to 21 and, what may surprise one, opened to a ban on assault weapons all together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Would you support a ban?
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): It depends how they would approach it, sure. I'm open to anything that makes gun sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Okay. This is very significant, right? Senator Manchin, of course, is a crucial vote and I'm not saying it for that reason, I'm saying it because he hasn't gone this far before. He's one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate. He's obviously a gun owner. He's also in a state that supports gun rights. So for him to say those things is important.
However, whether a deal goes as far as what he just said, you know, raising to 21, for example, is yet to be seen.
These negotiations, though, are taking place, after another weekend of chaos and carnage, at least 13 mass shootings taking place across the United States. We've marked every single one of them on the map. Seventeen people dead, 72, at least, injured.
At the rate the United States is going, the U.S. is easily on track to pass the record for mass shootings in a year which was 692. We're already well past one a day on average for this year.
The latest shootings were at, you know, just places people live their regular lives -- graduation party, a night club, popular entertainment district and strip mall, all of them, mass shootings this weekend.
In Philadelphia, there's an urgent manhunt under way for one of the alleged gunman. Police say a brawl of between three men turned into a scene of terror. Then, three other people were dead. A few hours later, in Chattanooga, gunfire erupted outside a night club, two people killed, 14 more injured. These are just two of the latest massacres after the Robb Elementary Shooting in Uvalde, and supermarket in Buffalo.
And as I mentioned, that small bipartisan group of senators meeting tonight to try to make a deal on guns is literally happening as we speak.
So, let's go to Capitol Hill and Manu Raju.
Manu, it's a small group but it is obviously two important Republicans, two important Democrats, and say they're trying to do something they can get a filibuster-proof vote, 60 votes, right? This is obviously would be very significant but where is it at this time?
RAJU: There's optimism but there's no deal yet, and it's still uncertain whether a deal will actually be had that can pass the United States Senate. You mention raising the age from 18 to 21 to purchase the semiautomatic rifles. So, I talked to the two key Republican senators ahead of this meeting tonight, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Tillis of North Carolina. Both of them signaled that there would not be included in a final single package. Cornyn said it's, quote, controversial. He cited a ruling before a 2 to 1 panel, before the U.S. court of appeals of the Ninth Circuit that said it's unconstitutional to ban those firearms for 18 to 21-year-olds, even though it has not been ruled out by the full court or even by the Supreme Court.
But they both, Tillis and Cornyn, instead focused on another issue, which negotiators are looking at -- looking at juvenile records for gun purchasers, trying to expand the background check to see access those juvenile records to determine or not someone can actually purchase a firearm, 18 to 20-year-old purchase a semi automatic rifle.
Tillis said this could lead to a waiting period of sorts for two to three weeks for that individual, that individual could have the right to appeal or expedite that time frame.
These are the questions they're sorting out now behind the scenes, not just this but also dealing with potential red flag laws at the state level, as well as mental health issues, school security issues, gun trafficking issues, try to prohibit those purchasing of weapons between state lines.
Those are the kind of difficult issues that senators are now just figuring out whether they can actually come to any sort of agreement on because, Erin, last week they were on recess. They're back in session this week and the Democratic leaders are signaling they want a deal this week, otherwise they believe it's time to move on with this issue because they say a deal won't be reachable if one is not within, possible by the end of the week.
So Erin, a lot of questions tonight but right now, the moment appears restricting access to those semiautomatic rifles for 18 to 20-year- olds probably will not be part of this final proposal -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Manu.
So the negotiations on Capitol Hill come in the wake of at least 13 shootings across the country this weekend.
Alexandra Field is OUTFRONT.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A suspect now in custody and in the hospital injured by a police bullet and a warrant now out for the arrest of a second shooting suspect, following a mass shooting in a busy nightlife area of downtown Philadelphia.
JOANNE PESCATORE, PHILADELPHIA ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: There were so many people if you see the video, just so much going on, and people trying to render aid and victims are being moved around.
FIELD: Police say several individuals pulled guns after a fight started Saturday night, a ghost gun with extended magazine left behind. Eleven people were injured, three people died including a third suspected shooter.
DANIELLE OUTLAW, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: A horrendous and unthinkable act happened in a very popular local and tourist hang-out.
FIELD: Among the victims, Kristopher Minners, a resident adviser who's out celebrating his 22nd birthday.
Philadelphia's district attorney saying it's time for real action.
LARRY KRASNER, PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We have come to the point where any legislature who is accepting donations, directly or indirectly from the gun lobby belongs out of office.
FIELD: Across America, mass shootings at night clubs and malls, graduation parties, even funerals, all in a single weekend.
MAYOR TIM KELLY, CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE: We will do as mayors what we have to do to keep our people safe but we could sure use some help at the federal level.
FIELD: The mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, urging lawmakers to act after a night club shooting there left 14 people injured and three killed early Sunday morning, the second mass shooting in that city in just two weeks.
KELLY: It was going to be a long hot summer.
FIELD: Since Friday, at least 10 mass shootings in nine different states claiming the lives of more than a dozen people and leaving at least 60 more wounded. In Summerton, South Carolina, seven people injured, one killed at graduation party. In Phoenix, it was strip mall, eight wounded, a 14-year-old girl died.
These are just the latest of the 246 mass shootings in America this year. That's the same startling numbers as this time last year, according to the gun violence archive, but a big jump from 2020 and 2019. The endless grief, the shattered sense of peace and unshakeable horrors seen in recent weeks from buffalo to Uvalde, bringing the national conversation over guns to a fever pitch.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): I'm more confident than ever that we're going to get there, but I'm also more anxious about failure this time around.
FIELD (on camera): Erin, here in Philadelphia, officials pointed out today two of the suspects did have license to see carry firearms. They also say there are certainly more charges to come. There have been no murder charges at this point. They say that investigation is on going with police and prosecutors both pouring over videos collected from a two-block long crime scene -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Alexandra Field, thank you very much, on the scene in Philadelphia.
And I want to go now to a member of the bipartisan group of Senate negotiators on guns, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal.
So, Senator, I understand talks are going on as we speak and time is of the essence, you know, sort of a window of time where either something will be accomplished or this will get put aside yet again. How close are you to a deal tonight?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): I'm very hopeful, Erin, and thanks for having me, because we've never seen this many senators, Republican senators come to the table. I think they have been impacted by the shock of what's happening in Buffalo and Uvalde, but also they're hearing the American people say to them as my constituents in Connecticut have said to me again and again over these past days, please, do something.
And I think it's put up or shut up time for them. They realize that they will be held accountable and many of their colleagues will be if they don't do something real and meaningful -- not just face-saving or window dressing but real progress.
BURNETT: So Manu was talking about some of the things under discussion, talking about maybe a waiting period of two to three weeks, checking juvenile record. Obviously, those are -- those are changes and those would, you know, be something to do.
That, they've been clear though on the Republican side, for example, right now, that they would not raise the age to 21, citing that they don't think it's constitutional. Obviously, we all understand rent car ages are higher than that, pistol ages higher than that in Texas. All that may be true.
But is that off the table now, raising the age for purchase to 21?
BLUMENTHAL: I hope it isn't off the table because I'd like to see that kind of provision passed. I'm in favor of banning assault weapons, but we need 60 votes. And we've also seen that in the past, and I've been involved in a lot of past efforts, these talks have floundered on the rocks of gun lobby opposition. And my Republican colleagues will have to stand up to that opposition now with measures that can get 60 votes, that's the key criteria.
And the core components seem to be mental health, expanded efforts there, school security, better support for local school districts. But also, very, very importantly, red flag laws, separating people from guns when they are dangerous, imminently threatening to themselves or others. More than all half -- more than half of all gun deaths are suicides. And then, of course, a better background check program.
Those components are the key ones right now and we're seeking to add more and also to find them in a way that really makes them meaningful.
BURNETT: That's a question I have on a red flag law, right? I mean, I know you point out what happened in Uvalde, what happened in Buffalo, what happened in Sandy Hook, right?
Had there been an ability for someone to raise their hand and say there's a problem with this person, we may have had some alerts. But that's very different than there actually being a codified law that would result in that hand being raised, turning into that person can't buy a gun.
Do you feel that you're getting there?
BLUMENTHAL: I think that we are moving into that direction. The basic goal is keep the guns out of hands of dangerous people, whether through background checks or red flag laws. I've been working with Lindsey Graham on a bipartisan red flag law for about 3 1/2 years. We have really gotten to a point where it is truly one of the consensus points but we still have some of the details to resolve.
BURNETT: And you keep emphasizing the 60-vote threshold. That is crucial, right? That's what this is going to require. Obviously, you've got Senator Manchin on the Democratic side on board with all of this. He seems to be on board even with 21 but that appears off the table from the Republican side.
Are you giving the full guarantees from your Republican counterparts that whatever is agreed to in that room with two Republican senators will indeed get you to that 60 vote threshold?
BLUMENTHAL: There are no guarantees in the United States Senate, but if five Republicans will agree with five Democrats to adopt common sense, sensible measures that will help save lives -- that's the key measure of success here. We can build on whatever we do here.
A lot of us are going to think it doesn't go far enough, but it is a beginning, and we can build on it in the future, creating the opportunity, but also showing Republicans that there is no political, in effect, self destruction, resulting from being on the side of 90 percent of the American people.
BURNETT: All right. Senator Blumenthal, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. The senator joining us as those talks as I said are ongoing tonight.
Next, the Justice Department handing out its most serious charges to date in the connection with the January 6th insurrection.
Plus, a nuclear threat for all of Europe. The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog tonight warning there is a clear and present risk to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
And could it be a cure for cancer? Fourteen patients with advanced cancer all in remission tonight, every one of them, a tumor gone, all after taking the same drug. The doctor behind that breakthrough study is OUTFRONT. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: Tonight, the Justice Department charging the head of Proud Boys, along with four other leaders of the far right group with seditious conspiracy related to the January 6 insurrection. Federal prosecutors accusing the defendants of intimidating members of Congress in the hope that they would flee the Capitol and not certify the 2020 election.
Now, I -- it should be clear here, when you put all of this in the context, it's important to do, these are the most aggressive charges filed yet against that group.
And Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.
So, Evan, obviously, you know, that's important, right? This is -- this is as strident as it has gotten. What more are you learning about these charges against the Proud Boys?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, according to prosecutors the reason for bringing these charges they say they can make the connection between obviously this is an armed group that engaged in violence on January 6th, but beyond that, they were actually organizing and trying to stop the presidential -- the peaceful presidential transfer of power, and that's what brings us into another realm according to prosecutors.
These are the new charges against not only Enrique Tarrio, who is the top lead or chairman of the proud boys, but also four other leaders of the group.
And one of the interesting things you see in the court documents filed by prosecutors, you can get -- you can get a sense of the cooperation they're getting from some members of the proud boys. Clearly, there are people who have shared some of the text messages. You can see also the product of at least one other proud boy leader who recently pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
So what that means is now prosecutors are using some of the text messages, their internal discussions against these leaders of the Proud Boys, Erin.
BURNETT: So in terms of the hearings that we're now going to see, the public hearings that are going to start, finally from the January 6th committee, the former ABC News President James Goldston is going to be producing those. That, of course, was met with widespread condemnation from Republicans.
What exactly will he be doing?
PEREZ: Well, I think part of the challenge for this committee a year and a half after the great scenes of violence we saw on January 6th, is to try to make this relevant again to American audiences, to people who are dealing with, you know, inflation and other things in their lives. And I think one of the things bringing in a TV executive could do is try to make this compelling television.
Believe it or not, that is part of what this committee needs to do to translate what happened on January 6th was not just a riot but was an assault on American democracy. And they're going to use some of the -- hopefully what they think is going to be compelling witness testimony from people inside the administration, people who worked for Vice President Pence's office, people who worked in the White House, who, again, will draw a picture for Americans that what happened on January 6th were not just a spontaneous thing, but something that was organized and that, you know, essentially took root inside the Trump White House.
TAPPER: All right. Evan, thank you very much.
And next, Ukrainian, taking out top Russian general while a former NATO commander warns the next front of Putin's war is the Black Sea, which would make Ukraine a land-locked country. It would be devastating to its existence. Who has the upper hand tonight?
Plus, he was the main target of the mass shooting in Tulsa that left four people dead last week. Dr. Phillips Preston performed back surgery on the villain just days before the attack, and tonight, Dr. Phillips' long time friend speaks out.
BURNETT: Tonight, the next front in Putin's war on Ukraine. Former NATO commander James Stavridis warning that it will take place in the Black Sea and could happen over the next few weeks.
Right now, Ukraine says Russia has about 30 ships and subs in the Black Sea, including a dozen large landing ships. They've been obviously blockading Ukraine. Russia has launched multiple guided missiles from the Black Sea to hit targets across the country and made no secret of its goal to render the country land-locked, which, of course, would be devastating to its existence.
But on the other side, Ukraine also coming out and saying they have made gains against Russia, including killing another Russian general, adding that Roman Kutuzov was killed during fighting in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces also reporting they reclaimed territory in the key city of Severodonetsk, fighting there so intense, though that a top regional official says the situation is changing every hour. So, it's very hard to know exactly what's happening.
It's all as the head of the IAEA warns there is a clear and present risk to Ukraine's largest power plant, the largest in Europe that Russian forces seized control of.
Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT in Ukraine. And, Matthew, look, even with all of the fighting and shelling initially, at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, the IAEA refrained from the language they're using now. This is incredibly strong language that they are warning about. How concerning is this?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, the IAEA obviously getting very frustrated that they haven't been able to secure access to that power plant and, of course, that alarm is shared by the Ukrainians as well, they're one of the biggest operators of nuclear power plants in the world, I think the seventh biggest.
And they've expressed concern from the outset of this conflict with Russia about the way that nuclear power facilities have been jeopardized by the conflict. Of course, Russia initially took over the Chernobyl site, kicking up radioactive material that had laid settled there for decades.
And you mentioned when they took over the Zaporizhzhia plant, they attacked the compound as well, bringing the conflict in very close proximity to that nuclear power station and, you know, threatening a much bigger sort of catastrophe.
And just yesterday, video emerged of a Russian cruise missile traveling at very low altitude, just above a nuclear power plant, a short distance from here in Mykolaiv in the south of Ukraine.
So there is a lot of concern being expressed in Ukraine and internationally as well, at the way in which nuclear infrastructure in this country is being jeopardized, threatened, by this ongoing conflict, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Matthew Chance, in Kryvyi Rih, in southern Ukraine.
OUTFRONT now, Evelyn Farkas, who was the deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, along with retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Peter Zwack, who was the former senior U.S. defense official and attache to Russia.
So, General, let me start with you. We have not heard like this from the IAEA, yet here we are 100 days in the war. They're saying there's a clear and present risk to that Zaporizhzhia power plant.
I should note, the nuclear waste there is stored in non-reinforced containers. It is stored above ground. It's the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. It's been 100 days of war and now, we have an imminent crisis there, General. How concerned are you about this?
BRIG. GEN. PETER ZWACK, U.S. ARMY (RET.): In early March, it was a near miss. Rounds got fired into the overall, if you will, compound of Zaporizhzhia. It's the Enerhodar nuclear reactor complex. And it came close to actually hitting something of high value, highly dangerous.
So, the IAEA is very nervous now that there hasn't been, that there's no regulation, the Ukrainians saying they need spare parts to operate, to fuel that these reactors, it is in a warzone. So, all of that together is potentially quite dangerous if it goes in some horrific way. Erin, you've just hit, you know, it's just completely contaminated a bread basket and industrial area and the vapors (INAUDIBLE).
So it's big trouble. It's big -- big worry.
BURNETT: Yeah, I mean obviously, deeply, deeply concerning at this point and I know someone who has a family member who works at that plant.
They're not even able to speak to them, right, because Ukrainians are still working there everyday even though Russians control it. I mean, it's sort of unbelievable the black hole that this situation is in.
Evelyn, it comes as Russia has dozens of ships and subs in the Black Sea, launching guided missiles from the Black Sea across Ukraine.
I mentioned what Admiral Stavridis, former commanding general of NATO said, that this is going to be the next front in the war. Obviously, this would greatly expand the war. What do you think?
EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER U.S. DEPUYT ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFNESE FOR RUSSIA, URAINE, EURASIA: Full disclosure, I worked for him when he was the supreme allied commander of NATO. I agree that we are likely to see more warfare in the Black Sea, unless the international community gets more heavily involved, Erin, and you've just given us two instances where we need the United Nations, we need the international community to come in with a coalition of the willing to force the Russians to allow nuclear inspectors into Ukraine and to unblock the sea ports in Ukraine because we need to get the grain out to the world community. As you covered elsewhere, you know, there is a shortage now of grain because of the war that Russia is waging on Ukraine.
Both of these things require international efforts to make sure that, you know, that the war doesn't continue to cause the impact that it has had globally and frankly, we need to bring it to a close as soon as possible.
BURNETT: So, General Zwack, Ukraine and Russia, both state media announced yet another Russian general was killed in the war, right, this is now being admitted to from both sides. Obviously, another big blow to Russia. We need to contextualize it now, though, because Russia has suffered setbacks in the Donbas. President Zelenskyy says Russia controls up to 20 percent of the sovereign independent country of Ukraine.
So, General, what does another Russian general being killed now tell you?
BRIG. GEN. PETER ZWACK, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, it tells me that they pushed them up toward the front as we discussed a while ago because while the Russians have a lot of manpower, not of the best quality anymore, with a lot of artillery, they need people to push and motivate the troops and get things going because while the Russians are making gains in the Donbas and in the Luhansk, they're incremental and it is an ugly fight. And this is going on all over the country.
So they're being pushed forward, their communications security is lousy. They're getting -- whether they're targeted by electronics or by snipers, yes, it is bad to lose 10, 11, 12 generals. It is extraordinary.
BURNETT: Yet, Evelyn, when we talk beside this a month ago it was a very different context. The context was Russia's troops are ill- prepared, their morale is low, generals being killed left and right, Ukraine is winning.
Yet here we are, somehow amidst all this, Russia, according to President Zelenskyy doubled its control of Ukrainian territory over that time frame, 10 percent they took in 2014 in the occupied Donbas, as well as Crimea, and now, Zelenskyy says it's 20 percent.
So who is winning right now, Evelyn?
FARKAS: Well, Erin, right now, would say that strategically, Vladimir Putin is losing and that, I would say Ukraine has an edge operationally but tactically, neither side is winning and the reason why you see this difference now is because the warfare has changed. The terrain has changed. The Russians are afraid to send their troops in as General Zwack just said, they're using artillery to shred the city and see towns to pieces and only then will the Russian troops go in because they're so afraid of the Ukrainians.
Ukrainians are at the moment, at a tactical disadvantage and operationally as well, because they lack the artillery, longer range artillery and missiles to shoot back at the Russians. But that's about to change as we know the U.S. government authorized providing some multiple rocket launcher missiles to the Ukrainians and they're training them with this equipment and there's more equipment coming from other allies with similar longer range and this, this will change the equation.
It's just a question of time and I think that's why the Russians getting nervous, because time is not on their side.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much for your perspective.
And next, Dr. Preston Phillips, he was one of the doctors killed in the Tulsa mass shooting last week, a man his friends say was never on time because he spent every minute with his patients. He was going -- always going over with a patient. Well, his longtime friend is my guest next.
Plus, 14 cancer patients took the same drug. They are now all in remission, tumors all gone. It's a huge breakthrough and the doctor behind it is OUTFRONT.
[19:39:09] BURNETT: Tonight, AR-15 sales spiking in some parts of the country as Democrats push for an assault weapons ban. One store in Georgia, reporting assault rifle sales tripled last week -- tripled, last week, with people lining up outside the door.
It comes as friends and family of the victims killed in Tulsa Medical Center are calling for change. Police say the gunman bought his AR-15 on the very day of the attack where he killed four people, targeting Dr. Preston Phillips just 13 days after Phillips performed his back surgery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF WENDELL FRANKLIN, TULSA POLICE: We have also found a letter on the suspect which made it clear that he came in with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way. He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Dr. Lanford Peck. He was a long-time friend of Dr. Phillips. They did their medical residency together and their families were neighbors.
So Dr. Peck, I begin by now just expressing how sorry I am for your unfathomable and, you know, some incomprehensible loss of your friend, a senseless tragedy.
Please tell me about him. What do you want the world to know about him?
DR. LANFORD PECK, FRIEND OF DR. PRESTON PHILLIPS, TULSA SHOOTING VICTIM: Well, Dr. Phillips, I first met Dr. Phillips in 1990 when he started his residency. I was a medical student at Yale, and the first thing that shock you when meeting Dr. Phillips is his imposing stature. He was quite an imposing physical specimen. But that belies his very gentle nature. He was just a big teddy bear.
He soon became a mentor to me and gave me countless good advice. He was just the embodiment of what a physician should be. He was compassionate, caring, kind, selfless, and despite his academic accomplishments and accolades coming from Ivy colors of Harvard, coming through Yale, he remained humble throughout the time I knew him because he never forgot his humble beginnings.
So he was just the embodiment of what a physician should be. And I -- I try to follow in his footstep and to emulate a lot of his qualities.
BURNETT: Dr. Peck, you know, the police say the gunman purchased that AR-15 style rifle on the day of the shooting, 2:00 p.m., right, less than three hours later he goes to the hospital and he kills multiple people including your der friend, Dr. Phillips. He kills another doctor, he kills a receptionist, he kills a patient, these are, as I said, unfathomable losses. It's impossible to understand this.
Dr. Peck, what do you hope this country learns from his death? PECK: Well, it's happening so frequently now, we tend to become numb
and look at these people as numbers. But the day I came home and heard about the Tulsa shooting, I had been following the Robb element after shooting in Texas.
And so, you know, I was numb, you know, I just like another shooting. It was not until the next day when my phone was inundated with this call that I found out it was my dear friend, Dr. Phillips. And suddenly, this took on a whole different meaning when it's somebody that you know, it's your family member.
And I just think something has to be done because we can no longer use mental health as scapegoat. You know, yes, mental health is a very important problem that needs to be addressed.
However, in all these mass shooting, Robb Elementary, Sandy Hook, Columbine, the Tops Grocery Store in Buffalo, the synagogue in Pittsburgh, there is just one common denominator and that is guns, and the easy availability of guns. And I think that has to be addressed.
And it's very sad that this has become a political issue because it should not be a political issue. It's a common sense issue. You know, nobody is -- I'm fully supportive of the Second Amendment, but what I'm not supporting of is someone being able to get a gun, walk into a shop, get a gun, and in a few minutes, walking out with an assault- style rifle. There have got to be more common sense approach to preventing these guns from getting in the hands of people who should never own these guns.
BURNETT: Well, Dr. Peck, I appreciate you taking the time. I appreciate your speaking and sharing some of the real person, the real human of the loss of your friend and a terrible loss it was. Thank you so much, Doctor.
PECK: Thank you very much.
BURNETT: And next, 14 people with advanced cancer, now in remission. Their tumors are gone after taking the same drug. A doctor from the study has the remarkable news next.
Plus, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's reputation in tatters after barely surviving a no confidence vote tonight.
BURNETT: Breakthrough in what could be a major game changer, 14 patients with advanced rectal cancer in remission after taking the same drug. It's a small trial, but so far it had a 100 percent success rate. The tumors are gone with no chemo, no radiation, no surgery.
OUTFRONT now, Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering. She was part of the research team that conducted this study.
And, Dr. Cercek, you know, of course, when I saw this, I stopped dead -- I think everybody does when they hear the headline that cancer could be gone. I mean, it seems impossible. It certainly is remarkable.
From your perspective, how remarkable is the outcome you observed?
DR. ANDREA CERCEK, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST, MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER: It's absolutely incredible. We didn't expect it. We certainly have never seen this before.
It's really what, you know, cancer doctors dreams are made of, to see a response like this, such incredible efficacy with really almost no toxicity. Our patients feeling great after the treatment, with completely normal body function in something like rectal cancer where normally our therapies are really quite toxic. So it's absolutely incredible.
BURNETT: So, can you tell me more about the drug? I understand it's called dostarlimab. And why you think it worked?
CERCEK: So it's an immunotherapy and it works by unlocking the body's natural immune system to fight cancer. And this type of therapy works in specific cancer cells in colorectal that are mismatch repair- deficient. So they lack a gene that enables them to repair their DNA and because of that, they have many, many mutation. And the immune system recognizes the cancer is foreign.
And so when we give immunotherapy like dostarlimab, it really just revs up the immune system so that it sees the cancer and gets rid it. And -- but what's remarkable here is that it completely eliminated the cancer. The tumors just vanished in all 14 consecutive patients.
Normally, when this was -- when this is used in colorectal cancer in patients with advanced disease, that happens in about 10 percent of patients, and here, it's 100 percent. So, that's really that most striking part of this, is that it happened in every single patient after just six months of therapy.
BURNETT: So, Doctor, could it go -- this be a broader use? I mean, you're talking rectal cancer specifically but, I mean, you know, any other type of cancer?
CERCEK: Absolutely, that's our goal. You know, the idea here is that we move this therapy from advanced disease into early stage disease. And clearly, we're seeing that there is increased sensitivity when the tumors are early stage, when they are in their organ where they begin.
And so, our goal is to replicate this in other solid tumors such as stomach cancer, pancreas cancer and bladder cancer that are mismatch repair deficient where they have this potential sensitivity to immunotherapy and they can have huge implications just as it did in these 14 patients where they didn't need radiation and they didn't need surgery.
We may be able to -- to achieve that as well in patients with stomach cancer where surgery may not be needed if they have the same type of, you know, really remarkable response. BURNETT: Well, Doctor, I really appreciate your time in explaining
this. I know, obviously, it's 14 people and, you know, I don't want -- I don't want to blow it out of proportion. But the headline itself is pretty stunning -- as you point out, remarkable.
Thank you so much for taking the time to explain it.
CERCEK: Thank you so much for having me. It's really exciting.
And next, a day filled with political drama and suspense as Prime Minister Boris Johnson fights for his political future.
BURNETT: New tonight, barely surviving politically. Prime Minister Boris Johnson badly wounded tonight in his political career after a remarkably close no confidence vote. The vote coming as Johnson has been under intense criticism from scandals over lockdown, breaking parties that he was at and held, while the rest of Britain was banned from even attending funerals, never mind any parties.
Max Foster is OUTFRONT.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the moment Boris Johnson's future as prime minister hang in the balance, but the scale tipped his way.
GRAHAM BRADY, CHAIRMAN, 1922 CHAIRMAN: The vote in favor of having confidence in Boris Johnson's seat was 211 votes and vote against was 148 votes.
FOSTER: Boris Johnson survived the vote but just barely, 148 MPs wanted him out, dangerously close to a majority. A damning result even worse than his predecessor Theresa May got in 2018. She also survived a confidence vote, but ruling Britain without the support of her own party proved mission impossible. She ended up resigning just a few months later.
Nevertheless, Boris Johnson said the result was a sign to move on and he shunned away from the idea of a snap election.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: A very good result for politics and for the country. It just -- I do, just in this sense, I think it's a convincing result, decisive result and what it means is that as a -- as a government, we can move on and focus on the stuff I think really matters.
FOSTER: Opposition Leader Keir Starmer, though, offering a harsher read into the vote. KEIR STARMER, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The British public are fed up, fed
up with the prime minister who promises big but never delivers. Conservative MPs made their choice tonight, they have ignored the British public.
FOSTER: Polls showing a majority of Brits agree that Boris Johnson should resign over the so-called party-gate. Downing Street gatherings at the height of the pandemic and lockdowns.
If Theresa May's fate is anything to go by, Boris might not see his term toward its end. With his future as prime minister uncertain, the question of who might take his place is already in the air. Two of the three names circling as possible replacements from Johnson's own cabinet, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. The third could be Jeremy Hunt, former foreign secretary who voted against Boris in the confidence vote.
The prime minister may have survived another day but not unscathed. The question now, how badly wounded is he? How will this disguised defeat shake his own party and just how long will he last?
FOSTER (on camera): It really has been quite a spectacle here in Westminster, members of parliament in the bars, waiting for the outcome of this vote. And I have to say those out to get him aren't that disappointed. They've left the prime minister wounded, effectively clinging to power and they're looking for more opportunities now to finish him off.
So, the last couple of years were being testing for Boris Johnson. I think the next six months will be even more so, Erin.
BURNETT: As you point out with that history of -- with Theresa May only lasting a few months after, as you point out, a disguised defeat.
Thank you so much, Max Foster, from London tonight.
And thanks to all of you for being with us.
"AC360" starts now.