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Biden Calls for Ban on Assault Weapons in Prime-Time Speech; Senate Dems 'Prepared for Failure' in Gun Reform Talks; New York Moving Closer to Charging Bannon in Border Wall Scheme. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired June 03, 2022 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: She is going to be a guest on NEW DAY. Just incredible.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I couldn't spell any of those words. Could you?
ROMANS: Nor do I know what they mean.
ROMANS Keep it simple. Keep it short. Declarative sentences, no big words. That's our time. I'm Christine Romans.
JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. NEW DAY starts right now.
ROMANS: I don't know what any of them were.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman. And on this NEW DAY, President Biden says enough. His urgent plea to the nation's leaders to do something on gun violence.
And overnight, a Texas fugitive accused of murdering a family of five killed in a police shootout. How he escaped in the first place.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A presidential pardon may not be enough to save Steve Bannon as New York prosecutors close in. We have exclusive new CNN reporting.
And the king is now a billionaire. How LeBron James just became the first active NBA player to achieve that title.
KEILAR: Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is Friday, June 3.
And President Biden telling the nation enough is enough as gun violence takes more American lives. And as he calls on Congress to do something, CNN is learning Senate Democrats are prepared for failure in talks with Republicans.
In his primetime address, Biden demanding a response from lawmakers to an epidemic of gun violence in America that has turned too many communities into killing fields.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, enough. Enough. It's time for each of us to do our part. It's time to act. For the children we've lost, for the children we can save, for the nation we love, let's hear the call and the cry. Let's meet the moment, and let us finally do something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The president laid out several proposals, including a ban on assault weapons or at least raising the age to purchase them to 21, expanded background checks, new rules for safely storing weapons, new red flag laws, repealing the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability and addressing mental health.
The president's speech came on a night when Democrats on a House committee passed a string of proposals that have little to no chance of getting past Republicans in the Senate.
KEILAR: Let's begin now with CNN's Jeremy Diamond, who is live at the White House for us -- Jeremy.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, it's not every day you see the president walk down the cross hall at the White House and deliver a primetime address. It's a setting that conveys gravity, and the president using that setting last night to spur Congress into action on gun reform.
A White House official telling me that the president hoped to keep up a sense of urgency and put up the pressure on Republicans.
DIAMOND (voice-over): After a spate of mass shootings --
BIDEN: How much more carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say enough?
DIAMOND (voice-over): -- President Biden making his most fervent and specific appeal yet for stricter gun laws.
BIDEN: We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if we can't ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21; strengthen background checks; enact safe storage laws and red flag laws; repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability; address the mental health crisis.
DIAMOND (voice-over): The president demanding action during a rare primetime address as a somber line of 56 candles burn behind him, representing victims of gun violence from every U.S. state and territory.
Biden's speech comes after he and the first lady visited the grieving communities of Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York. He implored the country and Congress to act now.
BIDEN: After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Charleston, after Orlando, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, nothing has been done. This time that can't be true.
DIAMOND (voice-over): The president stressing this isn't about harming lawful gun owners.
BIDEN: I respect the culture and the tradition and the concerns of lawful gun owners. At the same time, the Second Amendment ,like all other rights, is not absolute.
DIAMOND (voice-over): And arguing guns are the No. 1 killer of children in this country, according to the CDC.
BIDEN: More than car accidents, more than cancer. Over the last two decades, more school-aged children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined.
DIAMOND (voice-over): Biden hasn't ruled out additional executive action, but as a bipartisan group of senators negotiate a potential compromise package, the president saying it's now up to Congress to act.
On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee met for a ten-hour-long session during a recess week to debate a gun reform package. One measure included Biden's proposal to raise the age to purchase some assault rifles from 18 to 21. The package was passed along a party line vote.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What's wrong with raising the age for semi-automatic rifles?
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Constitutionally, the 9th Circuit just said it was unconstitutional.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spare me the bullshit about constitutional rights.
DIAMOND (voice-over): But in the Senate, that proposal faces stiff Republican resistance. A political reality Biden acknowledged.
BIDEN: Don't tell me raising the age won't make a difference. Enough. My God. The fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don't want any of these proposals even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable.
DIAMOND: And White House officials have said that they continue to look at potential executive actions that the president could sign, but it's clear to me, in talking with folks inside and around the White House that the White House is trying to give these negotiations in the Senate some space and some time to see if something could potentially happen.
The president also wanted to avoid sitting on the sidelines. That's why you saw him last night, using the power of the bully pulpit to spur on congressional action.
But ultimately, there is a question of what can happen, and the president making clear, if action doesn't happen in Congress, it's up to voters at the ballot box to make their voice heard -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Jeremy, thank you.
BERMAN: All right. Joining us now is Manuel Oliver. His son Joaquin was killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
He was arrested for protesting outside the White House in order to get a meeting with the president on guns. Manuel, thank you so much for coming up here. It's great to see you in person.
MANUEL OLIVER, SON KILLED IN PARKLAND MASS SHOOTING: Thank you.
BERMAN: What were you hoping for in this speech last night?
OLIVER: Well, I was hoping for kind of action, direct action. What the president said, and I agree with every single word. It's -- I understand that if it's coming from me, I mean, I'm not the president of the United States. I've been doing that for the last five years, asking representatives to get together and figure out the way to fix this.
When I hear the president of the United States, I am -- I am assuming that it should be more than asking. It should be more directed to a specific action. So I was missing that -- that part last night.
BERMAN: You wanted more?
OLIVER: Well, of course. I can tell you what I -- one of my initial thoughts is that you don't either ban assault weapons, which I believe it's something that we do right now or raise the age. Those are not two things that are going on the same level of results.
I don't think it's the right way to approach or start debate by you can ban assault weapons, but just in case, then go ahead and raise the age.
BERMAN: What do you say to those and we've already heard the whispers from some Republicans overnight, Republicans saying, well, the president actually went too far. By doing this, he may have spoiled the chance to reach some kind of bipartisan agreement.
OLIVER: Well, I think they're trying to make sure that we don't move any more forward. We will. But I don't think those arguments work anymore.
And by the way, the president was right last night. Again, everything that he said we need. I think that he should get all of these people together in a room. This is an urgent call. They should be working right now while I'm talking to you.
BERMAN: There are those bipartisan senators who are meeting, but you think the president himself should be part of those negotiations?
OLIVER: Absolutely. That's exactly why -- why Biden was elected at the beginning, at least from people like me. I was sold with the idea that I am the perfect mediator here. I know Senate. I've been there; and I know how to speak to both sides and get them together and agree. So that is not happening. That is not happening at the moment.
BERMAN: What about what he said where, if it doesn't happen here, that he wants voters to take the matter into their own hands come November?
OLIVER: Well, then, that's like saying the answer is after another 25,000 people die. I mean, the distance between today and November whenever the election day is, it's -- it's a wide road, and it's going to hurt a lot.
We lose 40,000 people per year because of gun violence. I don't like to admit that, oh, so then we need to lose another 20,000 before we try to solve the problem.
BERMAN: You've made this your life.
OLIVER: Oh, yes.
BERMAN: How hard is it to change people's minds?
OLIVER: It's hard. We can -- we've been using different strategies. We -- I'm a believer that -- that the advertising industry can make a big difference. But we -- we need media. We need media space to show what we do. We have a lot of content.
But similar to what you see happening to the tobacco industry, we're not doing to the gun industry. I think that's the next step. We need corporations to get involved. They are not involved. They might say that they stand with you, but at the end of the day, when they send their message, it's about selling their products.
BERMAN: Yes or no, did last night's speech change anything?
OLIVER: It changed the fact that we need to be more active. Now -- now someone like me -- there's no frustration here, OK? There's no space for frustration. There's a space for doing things.
When I hear this is going to be different, it will be different because of us, because we are reacting different. So I -- I'm not expecting anyone to solve this problem. I think that us, we, the kids, the youth, America, me myself, I'm very involved, my wife, we can solve this problem with pressure, social pressure and good trouble.
BERMAN: Manuel Oliver, it's great to see you in person. Thank you for coming in.
OLIVER: Thank you for having me here.
KEILAR: We do have new details this morning on that deadly mass shooting at a hospital complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Police say the shooter killed four people after legally purchasing an AR-15-style rifle just three hours before the rampage. He shot and killed his surgeon, Dr. Preston Phillips, and three others before he fatally shot himself.
Officers say the gunman had complained of ongoing pain following a recent back surgery and that he was carrying a letter that points to the motive.
(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)
KEILAR: Police say Dr. Phillips was a 1990 Harvard Medical School graduate and an orthopedic surgeon. Friends describe him as a true gentleman who always had a genuine smile and warm greeting. He was only 59 years old.
Authorities have also identified the other three victims as 48-year- old Dr. Stephanie Husen, described by her colleagues as an incredible person; 40-year-old receptionist and mother of two, Amanda Glenn; and patient William Love, who police say sacrificed his life to save his wife. He was 73.
BERMAN: This morning the teacher who was falsely blamed for leaving a back door propped open ahead of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is speaking out.
Amelia Marin says the accusations left her second-guessing herself and feeling alone. Let's get right to CNN's Nick Valencia, live in Uvalde with new details on the investigation this morning.
Nick, what have you learned?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
That's right. New details continue to trickle out day after day here, but it's not enough. Not enough for these families who have gone through their worst day and have been largely kept in the dark about the police's inaction on that horrific day.
There have been three search warrants executed, though, that could provide new answers, those search warrants giving police permission to do a forensic analysis of the iPhone that was discovered next to the gunman that could potentially give insight to the gunman's motive. Two other search warrants, one for his Ford F-150 and another for his
grandparents' home uncovered a large cache of gun -- of magazines for his gun, as well as unfired cartridges.
They also were able to seize a laptop, which also could provide more information.
But what is very interesting about these search warrants is there's absolutely no mention of police confronting the gunman outside of the school. Something that they let the public believe for days despite knowing it was untrue.
Meanwhile, as you mentioned, a teacher who was falsely accused of propping a door open where the gunman was said to have initially entered is speaking out.
Her attorney, Amelia Marin's attorney, is saying that the false accusation has made it difficult for her to grieve and has left her second-guessing herself.
And while her attorney says that she currently has no plans to sue the police or the school district, they are potentially pursuing a civil lawsuit against the manufacturer of the weapon used in the slaughter that day -- John.
BERMAN: All right, Nick, I know you're asking the questions. Please keep us posted. Thank you.
VALENCIA: You bet.
BERMAN: One hundred days since the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian president says Russia now controls one-fifth of his country. We're live on the ground in Kyiv, coming up.
And a Texas fugitive suspected of murdering a family of five after he escaped is killed in a shootout with police. We have new details.
KEILAR: And in just a few hours here, we get the highly-anticipated May jobs report as recession warnings intensify.
KEILAR: Today marks 100 days since Russia invaded Ukraine. Ukraine's President Zelenskyy says Moscow now has control over one-fifth of his country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): As of now, nearly 20 percent of our territory is under the control of occupiers, almost 125,000 square kilometers.
It is more than the territory of all Benelux countries together. Nearly 300,000 square kilometers are polluted with mines and unexploded ordnance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Also this morning, a new U.K. intelligence report says Russia is likely to control all of the Luhansk region here within two weeks.
CNN's Matthew Chance is joining us live from Kyiv. The question then, Matthew, is what does this mean for the war ahead?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, it's -- it means that the -- the amount of forces that Russia is putting in to securing the Luhansk region is enormous, and that's where we've seen the focus of the military campaign shift very much to that city.
We've been reporting on Severodonetsk, where the Russians have now apparently taken more than 80 percent of that city, it's the last big city in the Luhansk region.
And so if it falls, when it falls, because there's very little doubt that the Russians are eventually going to take control of it fully. Then it's going to enable Moscow to declare a political victory to say, Look, you know, we have achieved part, at least, of our military objective, because the Luhansk region is half of Donbas.
And they say Donbas is the military priority for this invasion of Ukraine. But the flip side of that is that the fact that Russia is having to spend so many military resources trying to achieve control of Luhansk means that they're neglecting the defense of other areas they have already taken, they're already occupying.
And that opens up a window of opportunity for the Ukrainians. They're taking advantage of that opportunity and launching counteroffensives in areas to the South of Donbas and taking back villages, dozens of them over the course of the past week or so back into Ukrainian control.
And so on the one hand, the Russians are making progress in Donbas. On the other hand, they're losing ground elsewhere in the country. With the help, remember, of the weapons that are being supplied to the Ukrainians by the United States and other Western allies.
KEILAR: Matthew Chance live for us in Kyiv. Thank you so much for that report.
So he was pardoned by President Trump, but could Steve Bannon be close to facing state charges for his alleged build-the-wall scheme? We have new CNN reporting ahead.
BERMAN: And the first hearing of the January 6th Committee in primetime will feature previously unseen material and witness testimony. We have the details.
BERMAN: We have brand-new CNN reporting that people in Steve Bannon's immediate circle have been subpoenaed to testify before a New York state grand jury about the former Trump adviser's fundraising efforts for a private border wall.
Now former President Trump had pardoned Bannon on federal charges relating to this alleged scheme. CNN's Kara Scannell joins me now with the latest on this. And again, this is our exclusive reporting.
What have you learned?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have learned; sources have told CNN that Steve Bannon, several close allies of Steve Bannon's have been subpoenaed to testify before a New York state grand jury, this grand jury is investigating Bannon and his allies' efforts to raise money to build a wall along the Southern U.S. border.
And sources say these subpoenas were sent in recent weeks, and one source told my colleague, Zach Cohen, that these people that have been subpoenaed are those within Bannon's immediate circle.
And this may sound familiar, because Bannon and three others were indicted on federal charges for the same activities, raising millions of dollars from donors for the construction of a wall along the U.S. border.
But prosecutors said that Bannon and others had then used that money to cover their personal expenses.
Well, former President Trump, in his final days in office, had pardoned Steve Bannon, and that resolved those issues for him. But that's when the Manhattan district attorney's office launched their investigation, and that's the investigation that is under way right now. That's the investigation where these subpoenas for testimony have become under way.
These prosecutors had paused their investigation to allow the federal prosecutors to continue their investigation and prosecution of Bannon's co-defendants, because those individuals were not pardoned.
Well, two of them have pleaded guilty. One is in trial right now in New York. That's why we're seeing this intensification of the D.A.'s investigation with these grand jury subpoenas.
Now, we reached out to Bannon's attorney. He said, I am unaware of these matters. A spokeswoman for the D.A., Alvin Bragg, declined to comment. But for Steve Bannon, these are ongoing issues. He is facing federal contempt charges, contempt of Congress charges. And he is due to go on trial next month, John.
BERMAN: All right. Important developments there. Kara Scannell, thank you so much for your reporting.
KEILAR: And with more on this, let's bring in George Conway, attorney and contributing columnist for "The Washington Post." You heard Kara's reporting there. What are you expecting there, with members now of Bannon's inner circle. So this is getting very close to him being subpoenaed?
GEORGE CONWAY, ATTORNEY AND "WASHINGTON POST" COLUMNIST: He's a busy guy, and he's got big problems. I mean, if you commit an interstate fraud by mail or the Internet, you can be prosecuted not just by the federal government, by any of the 50 states where people who were being solicited, being defrauded are.
And so he can be prosecuted in New York. And he's got these people who -- his co-conspirators are pleading guilty or pled guilty in federal court. They have every reason to implicate him and cooperate with the state prosecutors, because they could use that with the federal prosecutors to get a better sentence, get a better sentence recommendation.
And a judge would probably consider that in reducing their sentences or not giving them a higher sentence. So he's got big problems.
KEILAR: Do you think he's likely to be charged here?
CONWAY: Well, I mean, I don't know what the evidence is. It really does depend on the evidence of what these -- these co-conspirators are willing to say, but if they were willing to plead guilty to federal charges, it stands to reason they have something -- there was some strong evidence there.
And if they -- you know, they could say Bannon was in there with us all the time and was part -- he was part of the -- what we did, he's got -- Bannon has got a big problem.
KEILAR: So next week we have learned we are going to see the first January 6th Committee hearing, and it's going to be at night.