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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

January 6th Committee Prepares to Make Case Against Trump; Gas Prices Surge to Record High $4.97 a Gallon; Congress Hears Emotional Testimony at Gun Violence Hearing. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 09, 2022 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It is Thursday, June 9, tonight. It's 5:00 a.m. here in New York. Thanks so much for getting an EARLY START with us. I'm Laura Jarrett.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I can deal with Thursday, not Friday. I can deal with Thursday, though.

I'm Christine Romans. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.

JARRETT: And tonight, the January 6 House Committee will begin to reveal its findings to America in primetime. Lawmakers plan to make the case that former President Trump was at the center of a conspiracy in 2020 to overturn the will of the people and block the peaceful transition of power.

The committee plans to show video of previously unseen deposition testimony, including interviews with Trump White House aides, campaign officials and members of the former president's own family.

CNN's Lauren Fox joins us live from Capitol Hill.

Good morning, Lauren. What can we expect tonight?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, hundreds of hours of interviews, behind closed doors, and the public getting a chance to see tonight what the January 6 committee has been working towards. We expect that the committee hearing is going to kick off tonight with opening statements from the chairman, Bennie Thompson, as well as the top Republican Liz Cheney on the committee. Committee aides telling us that we expect that Thompson is going to put this in a historical context, the violence that transpired that day, the unprecedented nature of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

And then we expect that things are going to move forward in really three different areas. One of them is the public is going to get a chance to see, according to committee aides, some previously unseen video footage of private interviews behind closed doors that the committee has done with White House officials, Trump campaign officials, as well as members of Trump's own family. We expect there's also going to be previously unseen footage of some of the violence that actually transpired that day. Committee aides telling us that a vast majority of that footage is going to be never seen before.

We also expect that to supplement what viewers are seeing on their screens, we are going to hear live testimony from two witnesses, one of them a U.S. Capitol police officer, Caroline Edwards, who was one of the first injured on the front lines at the Capitol that day. We will also hear live testimony from Nick Quested, who's a documentary filmmaker, who had a unique perspective and documented some of the first instances of violence outside of the Capitol on that day.

And so, really a three pronged approach here, as the committee tries to tell the larger story of what transpired. We're also told from committee aides that this is going to be a preview of the other hearings coming down the line. Those, of course, begin next week.

JARRETT: Two different dates next week.

Lauren, thank you. I know you have a light night ahead of you. Appreciate you getting up early.

All right. Let's bring in CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers.

Jennifer, good morning.

We know that there was a violent assault on the Capitol. That part should be stipulated. It now seems that the committee has a different job, and the job here is to connect the dots to the effort to subvert the election that started way before January 6th to what actually happened that day.

How do lawmakers make that connection?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you are absolutely right, Laura, that is their task. And it's not an enviable one. I think that they have to do a few things.

One is that they have promised us new information about this plot. And they have to bring that. They really do have to give us information that we have never heard before, so that people continue to tune in.

Secondly, to make that, happen I think they need to parts of the information, they can't give us everything in one fell swoop. They need to kind of tease with information is coming so that people will not turn away and stop paying attention. But the most important thing that they need to do is as you said, connect these, dogs have to make sure that people know that there is a clear and concise encapsulation of what happens here.

And that it's not just January 6th. It starts with a disinformation campaign, a frivolous lawsuit, pressure on state legislatures, pressure on state officials, the fake stay of electors scheme. And then on to the decertification goal on January 6th, with planning the rally, involving Republican members of Congress, pressuring Mike Pence, all leading to the insurrection. They just need to hammer this home. Every single repeat, repeat. ROMANS: Yeah, the progression of events. We are also sort of learning

more about what was happening in the rooms, right, in the moment and how some of the early reaction is earlier from what we are hearing more recently. Newly-released audio of Kevin McCarthy is shedding more light on the response to January 6, listen.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): When they started breaking into my office, the staff got moved from the office. And in doing, so I made a phone call to the president, telling him what was going on, asking him to tell these people to stop, to make a video and to go out.


And I was very intense, very loud about it.


ROMANS: How will the committee use this to their advantage?

RODGERS: Well, one thing I think that they are trying to do is to contrast for the American people, the way that Republicans were reacting on that day to the way that they are reacting now. I mean, you see people like Elise Stefanik out there saying, this is just a smear campaign. You know, no big deal.

And yet on that day, these members were very, very concerned for their own safety and frankly from what was happening to our country. And I think that pointing that out will to demonstrate both what was happening on January six itself, but also the hypocrisy of what Republicans are saying now and hopefully that drives home how serious this all is for our nation.

JARRETT: Well, speaking of driving, home obviously the hearings are significant for laying out the historical record of what happened that day, telling the full story of the worst attack on the Capitol in modern history.

But, when it comes to it, you are a former federal prosecutor. It's Merrick Garland, the attorney general who really holds illegal cards on what happens in terms of the accountability here, right?

RODGERS: That's right. And I can tell, you whether or not the committee makes a referral, Merrick Garland is going to evaluate this based on DOJ's own investigation and it is just not as simple as whether they meet the threshold of crimes were committed here, there is really a big decision to be made about whether bringing former President Donald Trump and his inner circle to account for this is winnable, and if it's in the best interest of the country. That's a discretionary call and I think it would be the right call to bring those charges, if they find that there's evidence, but it's a tough call, we'll have to see what he does with.

JARRETT: Well, part of the issue is that garland is on his own timeline. So the committee may be trying to do this before the midterms. But Garland doesn't care about the midterms, they may take this in the 2023.

Jennifer, thank you. We'll be seeing you back soon.

ROMANS: All right. This just into CNN: the national average for a gallon of gas now just pennies from the dreaded five-dollar mark for the very first time. AAA puts the number of $4.97 a gallon overnight, up nearly two cents. This marks a record high for the 13th straight day. This is also the 30th record high in the last 31 days. And this could be the new normal for quite some time.

So, let's bring in business journalist, Marc Stewart.

So nice to see you this morning.

We are going to get to five. I mean, there's no question, we're going to get five and we know that there is a whole bunch of reasons what. How high do you think gas prices will get and at what point will Americans start changing their behavior because they do not want to pay it?

MARC STEWART, BUSINESS JOURNALIST: You know, I posed that question to an analyst and said at this point, really anything goes, especially as we enter July and August. Those are the big travel months, when demand is so high.

You know, we have to remember that we have been staying at home, so people are anxious to hit the road. Analysts are also thinking that there is a very good possibility that we could see higher prices especially with oil. Right now, it's about $120 a barrel, which is historically high compared to a year ago.

As Jamie Dimon alluded to last week, prices could go up to $175 a barrel. Some economists have said to me, as high as $180, $200 a barrel.

But as far as consumer behavior, here's the thing, to tell people not to drive is a really difficult task. It is a necessity. It's up there with food and paying rent.

People have said to, me oh, I will start taking the subway or I will take the bus or public transit where I live. That is a very deliberate decision. You can't just push a button one day and make a sudden change in your habits. It's something that has to be well thought out and executed.

JARRETT: You know, at the same time, we have Europe trying to cut its connection to Russian oil. How if at all does that impact consumers here in the U.S.? How should folks be preparing for that to affect things here?

STEWART: Well, I think, Laura, there are many different thoughts about the scale of the impact. Russia, even though it supplies a lot of oil to Europe has other customers, namely in Asia, China, India and several other nations in Asia.

So the market may still have some value. So as far as the impact on Americans consumers, I think that is very still much to be seen.

ROMANS: Can I show you a chart? I want to show you a chart of the S&P 500 energy companies and how they have done so well this year on Wall Street, vis-a-vis, the rest of the market, which of course has gone down.

So while American consumers have been suffering, while drivers have been suffering, energy investors have been doing very well. They are profits will be gangbusters.

And the president last night talking to the comedian Jimmy Kimmel, late night host Jimmy Kimmel, he tried to deflect I think a little bit some of the blame here, putting it on the oil industry.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For example, our oil companies. Oil companies, instead of everybody says, well, Biden won't let them drill. They have -- they have 9,000 drilling sites that they've already own that are there.

They are not doing it. You know why? Because they make more money not drilling and buying back their own stock.


ROMANS: So, stock buybacks make people a little bit crazy, you know? When you are seeing, you know, consumers hurt so much. But is he right?

And at some point, do you think that there will be more drilling? Because with these high prices, it makes more sense to be drilling than sitting on your rigs.

STEWART: Well, really, two thoughts here. First of all, as you know from covering business, companies have one allegiance, that is to their shareholders and they want those strong profits. In some cases, they want dividends, paybacks for good performance.

So while there is perhaps this notion of a bigger public good, the oil companies are indebted to the people who invest.

But as far as drilling more -- well, long term there could be a discussion about that. But this is not just pushing a button one day and suddenly more oil will come from the ground. It's a pretty involve process.

I think that where maybe we will see some discussion in Washington is encouraging companies, giving them perhaps some incentives, or some environmental incentives, to start drilling more.

ROMANS: They are so many incentives already. This is like the biggest tax breaks of any industry already at the energy industry.

STEWART: No, no question about that. But this is a capitalist system and that is where prevails, at least for the moment.

ROMANS: Gas tax holiday, quickly, possible? No? Gas tax holiday?

STEWART: I think it's been discussed. I think one thing which I've been hearing from economists, if you want to help the American consumers, especially lower income consumers -- offer some sort of subsidies. But that is a whole discussion as well.

ROMANS: Marc Stewart, I know. There is no magic wand, and every kind of solution has drawbacks. That's where we are.

STEWART: Absolutely.

ROMANS: All right, Marc Stewart.

JARRETT: Thank you, Marc.

STEWART: Good to see you.

JARRETT: Appreciate you being here on set.

All right. Just ahead for you, the House passes tough new gun measures, just hours after heart wrenching testimony on the horrors in Uvalde.

Plus, the Joe and Jamie show, what the president said about guns.

And a teenager who praised the Uvalde school massacre and threatened his own mass shootings is now under arrest in Arizona.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

There was gut-wrenching testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday, as House lawmakers listened to emotional counts from doctors, survivors and victims of recent mass shootings. In a prerecorded video, the 11 year old who had to smear her friends blood all over herself to pretend to be did, Miah Cerrillo, described how she survived the massacre in Uvalde.

And a Texas pediatrician also testified about witnessing carnage in his hometown. Later speaking to Anderson Cooper, he described the horror of watching children at the hospital, including Miah Cerrillo.


DR. ROY GUERRERO, PEDIATRICIAN AT UVALDE, TEXAS: Miah was one of the first of my patients that I saw as I walked into the ER. She was bleeding, she was obviously in shock, crying. She had a bleeding shoulder, you could tell shrapnel wounds all over her body. She had blood everywhere.

These weapons of war cause wounds that are -- war wounds, the things you see in movies, things that no pediatrician much less any doctor is ready to see. We were forced into the situation by someone who is out to murder children.


JARRETT: In the meantime, Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Justice Department will review law enforcement's response to that shooting. A team of nine people including an FBI official and former police chiefs will examine police policies training and deployment of officers and tactics there, will also examine who exactly was in command, and how police prepared for potential active shooter.

ROMANS: So much of the American public demanding action, and House lawmakers passed a sweeping package of gun safety measures following that hearing, five Republicans joined Democrats in backing this legislation.

CNN's Daniella Diaz live on Capitol Hill for us.

Such as a -- thank you so much for being here this morning, Daniella.

Lay out for us exactly what's in this House gun bill, and why is there any hope that it can pass the Senate?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Christine, this is a wide ranging bill that has so many measures that House Democrats passed with the help, as you said, of five Republicans that would do several things including raise the legal age to buy certain semiautomatic rifles, from 18 years old to 21 years old. It would establish new federal offenses for gun trafficking and selling large capacity magazines. It would allow local governments to compensate individuals who surrender such magazines through the buyback program. And several other things such as creating a tax incentive for retail sales of safe storage devices.

And it would also take steps to strengthen federal regulations on bump stocks and ghost guns. Really, really a lot of measures here that this House bill included that was passed last night, but the thing is, it will get stuck in the Senate, Christine. The problem here being that most Republicans, the majority of them, do not support all of these wide-ranging measures for gun safety reform.

That is why this bipartisan group is working so hard to try and get at least ten Republicans in the Senate to sign on to some legislation on gun safety reform. These talks began in the wake of the Uvalde shooting, that horrific shooting in Texas. This bipartisan group including a handful of Republicans is working to try and figure out some sort of incremental change on gun safety reform.


So even though this legislation passed the House it is not going to pass the Senate. It probably won't even go to a vote in the Senate. Instead, these Republicans continue to work to try and reach some kind of incremental see change on that gun safety reform, including, of course, red flag laws, there's some skepticism on that, including incentivizing states to develop their own red flag laws. They're also looking at expanding a program on mental health care facilities, that sort of the priority that this bipartisan group is looking at.

But, look, President Joe Biden last night actually was on a talk show and he said he's really trying to give space to the Senate, to these bipartisan negotiators, on gun safety reform. He does not want to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor president Donald Trump, he really wants them to pass their own legislation without him stepping in. Take a listen to what he said.


BIDEN: I have issued executive orders within the power of the presidency to be able to deal with these -- everything to do with guns and gun ownership, whether or not you have to have a waiting period, all the things that are within my power. What I don't want to do, and I'm not being facetious, I don't want to emulate Trump's abuse of the Constitution and constitutional authority.


DIAZ: Christine, negotiators say they're hoping they could have a deal by the end of this week. They feel that they have a lot of momentum right now, because of the Uvalde shooting, because of that racially motivated shooting in Buffalo, New York, that happen just days before the Uvalde shooting.

And they're taking advantage of the fact that some Republicans even some conservative Republican senators, we've been talking about Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, have turned their cards and say they are willing to publicly compromise on gun safety reform.

ROMANS: All right. We'll see. Daniel Diaz, thank you so much for that.

Police arrested a teenager in Arizona for making terrorist threats well also praising the mass shooting in a Texas elementary school. The FBI tipped off police to a disturbing comments Joshua Bowen was making online. Agent said he felt that into harm people by committing mass shootings at a nearby high school, a police station and a movie theater.

Officers said no weapons were found on Bowen when he was taken into custody, but they believe he could have access to guns. Bowen is being held on $150,000.

JARRETT: You think of all the people that are a tinderbox waiting to be disrupted.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

All right. Next, Russian forces making substantial gains in one eastern Ukrainian city. We are live on the ground in Kyiv. JARRETT: And COVID vaccines at long last in the littlest arms could

start in less than two weeks. The new plan, ahead.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

Ukrainian officials say most of the eastern city of Severodonetsk is now under Russian control. There have been severe battles across that city, as Ukrainian forces advance, the Russians in least an intense bombardment of airstrikes.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is live for us this morning in Kyiv.

So, how much of this city has Ukraine managed to retain?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, it's changing by the hour. The Ukrainian officials say the situation on the ground is extremely dynamic. President Zelenskyy says it's the fate of the Donbas region that will be determined in Severodonetsk. There are street to street battles now, but Ukrainian officials already warning that they are catastrophically low on artillery barrels.

They have for weeks now been hit by superior Russian force, outmanned, outgunned. Most of the city now decimated. It's hard to imagine how much longer they can hold.

Already, regional officials say they're pulling back to fortified positions. There are technical withdrawals happening, President Zelenskyy says Ukrainian defenders are fighting for every inch of this territory. This is highly symbolic. This would be really the last stronghold in the Luhansk region, the larger goal there of taking the Donbas.

But when you imagine the Ukrainian forces are running, essentially out of artillery barrels, they're running out of troops, they're running out of steam, it's hard to imagine how much longer they can hold out in this one area.

ROMANS: Talk to us, what can you tell us about the U.N. secretary general's stark warning about the impact of this war?

ABDELAZIZ: This is really crucial. This is really important. This comes back to the fact that Ukraine is the bread basket of the world. It provides millions of tons of grain to the Middle East, to Africa, to many other nations that rely on those exports.

We're just going to pull up the map here quickly, it makes it easy to explain. Over the course of this conflict, what Russian forces have done is they've taken large swaths of the coast, that is, of course, from those coats, from those ports. That is where grain is generally exported.

That means for now, in addition to the fact that I'm going to add this note here, that Ukraine -- Ukrainian military mind part of the Black Sea to protect areas like Odessa. That means there is no safe passage for ships to be able to get green out to the rest of the world. The West is now warning that Russia is using food as a weapon of war.

ROMANS: Yeah, the EU chief was saying that that isn't its arsenal, that food is a weapon.

Salma Abdelaziz, thank you so much for that.

All right. President Biden in Los Angeles to host the Summit of the Americas, but some leaders are not there, including the president of Mexico. Will the snub overshadow the White House agenda?

JARRETT: And an armed man arrested near the home of a Supreme Court justice now charged with attempted murder. That's just ahead.