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January 6th Committee Divided on Issues; Gas Prices Average $5; "Top Gun" Defies Chinese Censors; Jacobs Drops Bid for Re-election. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 06, 2022 - 08:30   ET



JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "AXIOS": Committee conversations. There have been very strong disagreements about what needs to be done to change the election laws.

On one side you have Jamie Raskin, who is very vocal in the private committee conversations. He's a progressive Democrat from Maryland. He wants to do things as dramatic as abolishing the Electoral College. He's argued for that within the committee. He, obviously, wants to pass the Democrat's sweeping voting rights laws and many other things.

On the - on the other side is Liz Cheney, who actually wants to do something far more narrow than Raskin. She completely disagrees with him on abolishing the Electoral College. She's not with him on the big voting rights bills like the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. So it does look like they're probably going to have a lot of trouble agreeing on this stuff. And they've basically deferred talking about it. They've sort of agreed collectively as a committee, we're not going to get anything decided before the committee -- before the hearings. Let's just defer this conversation, it's a tricky conversation, until after the public hearings.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Why did they decide that they needed to come up with recommendations? This is a committee that is different than, say, the 9/11 Commission, for instance, right? This is sitting members of Congress. These are not outside experts.

SWAN: Right, but part of their purview is to come up with legislative recommendations to try and prevent this from happening. They don't want to just produce a report that says, here's what happened, here's everything we found and be totally silent on what to do about it.

Now, there are - there are some things that they could agree on. Basically, from what I understand from my reporting, from talking to a number of sources who are familiar with the private conversations, there is a lot of agreement within the committee on the principle of reforming what's called the Electoral Count Act, which is -- I'm sure your viewers know, the act Donald Trump tried to exploit to pressure his vice president, Mike Pence, to illegally overturn the election.

So, I do think they will actually come to some agreement. They're also discussing reforming potentially the Insurrection Act, which they're very worried about how close Donald Trump came to invoking that, using civilian law enforcement for inappropriate means. So, I do think they will come to agreement, just not on the really major elements that Jamie Raskin wants to do.

KEILAR: So what -- why is the Electoral College in their - in their purview here?

SWAN: Well, arguably, it's not, but from Jamie Raskin's point of view, all of these problems would have been -- wouldn't have been problems if there wasn't the Electoral College. So, you wouldn't have had these questions of Trump pressuring all these different state lawmakers to send alternate slates of electors. If it was just the national popular vote, none of that would be happening. That's the Jamie Raskin argument.

And there are Democrats on the committee who are sympathetic to the principle of abolishing the Electoral College. They just don't think that it's realistic or likely or possible in this context, and so they're not pushing for it in the way that he is.

KEILAR: I want to ask you about something else that Axios is reporting just now, which is that James Goldston, the former president of ABC News, but I think for the purposes of this, the fact that he's the former show runner for "Good Morning America" and "Nightline," he has joined the committee as an unannounced adviser ahead of this prime time hearing, which, obviously, is going to rely on some good production techniques.

What is that telling you? What do you know about this?

SWAN: Well, it tells you that they want to put on a heck of a show on Thursday night. And I know from talking to a number of members of the January 6th committee that they want to produce a piece of content that's compelling enough that it won't just speak to the people who are already exercised and, you know, really passionate about doing something about January 6th, but potentially reach out to a broader section of the American public.

So, you know, they're looking at -- it's going to be a mix of live witnesses, video footage. James Goldston is a very experienced documentary story teller and it just tells you the kind of production values and thought that they're putting into the narrative elements of Thursday night.

KEILAR: Yes, I mean, it tells us, right, we should be expecting something that is visually and content wise pretty compelling, right?

SWAN: Yes, that's his bread and butter. I mean he is -- that is literally why you bring someone like him on. It's to produce a television show. And the fact that they're holding it in prime time on Thursday night, that's not an accident. That's a deliberate decision. They've been talking to the networks behind the scenes and they want to produce something that is visually compelling and that can arrest the attention of the American public.


KEILAR: We'll have to see if they're able to do that.

Jonathan Swan, thank you so much for your excellent reporting and for sharing it with us. We appreciate it.

SWAN: Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: So, this morning, the national average for a gallon of regular gas now $4.87. That's according to AAA.

I'm joined now by CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

And it's not just high, it's just so much higher than it was such a short time ago.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I would be happy to see $4.87 personally. You know, in New Jersey it's higher than that. In California it's higher than that. In ten states it's higher than $5 a gallon. That's up - that's up 25 cents in a week. It's up $1.33 since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. You already had inflation running red hot and then you throw in this geopolitical nightmare and that's going to keep prices rising, I think, in the near term.

You've had OPEC Plus in a win for the White House, frankly, say that they would start pumping a little bit more oil, but still it's not enough to compensate for the huge demand. People want to drive. They want to fly. Factories are working again. The economies are roaring, have roared back, but they still have production levels that are more like just coming out of Covid, not roaring out of Covid.

BERMAN: OPEC announces they're going to pump more. Prices still go up.

ROMANS: I know.

BERMAN: President Biden, you know, we hear from the White House that he is going to meet with the Saudi crown prince. Prices still go up.

Why is it? Is there any hope that they could temper any time soon?

ROMANS: Look, there's how much oil we're using, and oil is the big number one part of gasoline, right? So that's why you're feeling that. There's how much oil we're using and there's how much oil we're producing. And there's a big disconnect still there.

There are all these shocks in the economy, too. A war, coming out of Covid, huge consumer demand. I mean consumers are screaming about high prices and high gas prices, but they're still flying, they're still driving, at least now. I mean their behavior might start to change, but at least now they're still doing all these things and sucking up crude around the world.

BERMAN: That issue, those words you used, behavior changes. Any sign that people are doing things differently than they were when gas was cheaper? Yes.

ROMANS: So, sadly, on the very low income part of the spectrum, that's where people are really, really hurting on this. There's just no room in their budget. The purchasing power is really hurt. And so you saw in some of the retail earnings, the big box stores and the discount retailers, you started to see those little signs that the paycheck-to- paycheck consumer was really starting to feel the effects of the higher gas prices. If you have to drive your car to go back to work, you don't - you really don't have any other choices there.

But Jamie Dimon, the CEO over at JP Morgan, he was warning about a hurricane on the horizon last week. But he also said consumers have six to nine months of spending money in their pockets still. They're still kind of flush from all that Covid aid. He said there's about $2 trillion still floating around there. So that's the cushion for now. The question is, is the peak in inflation overall in? And a lot of people hope it is. But energy could still be the wild card because of Russia. Russia. Vladimir Putin, of course, who blames the U.S. and Europe on high energy prices. But it is that extra factor. About a third of the increase in gas prices has come since the invasion of Ukraine. And I think that's important. As you start to put in a peak in other inflation areas, is energy still going to be a problem?

BERMAN: It's going to be a challenging summer.

Christine Romans, thank you very much.

ROMANS: It really will be. A cruel summer as JP Morgan said, right?

BERMAN: New details on the murder of a retired judge. Why police say a suspected killer didn't plan to stop there.

Plus --


TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: Here we go, in three, two, one.


KEILAR: The small change to "Top Gun" that could be a huge deal in China.


TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: Good morning, aviators. This is your captain speaking.




BERMAN: Time for "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

Boris Johnson, it's not impossible he could be out of a job by tonight. Later today, the British prime minister will face a no confidence vote from within his own party. If he loses, his party will have to choose a new leader who would then become prime minister.

KEILAR: Three dead, 11 wounded in a mass shooting in Philadelphia. Police say multiple gunman open fire on busy South Street. It was one of ten mass shootings in the United States over the weekend.

BERMAN: The shootings come as Congress is set to take up gun legislation as soon as this week. A bipartisan Senate deal might be within reach, but Democratic Senator Chris Murphy says any reform would not include a ban on assault weapons or new background checks.

KEILAR: A former Wisconsin judge killed at his home in what authorities are calling a targeted attack by a suspect he once sentenced. Officials say the gunman had a hit list that included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

BERMAN: Months after it closed, the Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan, has started production of baby formula, but parents still struggling to find product on store shelves. Abbott says its focus is on specialty formulas, including (INAUDIBLE) care. Consumers can expect to see first batches around June 20th.

KEILAR: Those are "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." More on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning. Go to

BERMAN: So, after 36 years, the Tom Cruise "Top Gun" sequel, it's a big critical and commercial success, but it's also being celebrated for another reason -- standing up to China.

Kristie Lu Stout has the story.


Kristie Lu Stout, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong,

"Top Gun Maverick" came under fire when its trailer showed the patches on Tom Cruise's iconic bomber altered with the Taiwan flag missing.


Now, critics were angered and they speculated that it was done to apiece Chinese censures and the film's Chinese backers Tencent.

Now, the patches are now back on the jacket. But according to reports, Tencent has pulled out. The film risks losing out of China's lucrative market if it's banned.


BERMAN: A Republican member of Congress dropping his re-election bid after bucking the party line and supporting an assault weapons ban. Details ahead.

KEILAR: And, four-year-old Prince Louie stealing the show again in the latest case of royal parents. They're just like us.


BERMAN: A Republican member of Congress dropping his bid for re- election after facing backlash for supporting an assault weapons ban.

John Avlon with a "Reality Check."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's no secret that our politics are deeply polarized, but it might surprise you to learn that Americans now see both parties as almost equally extreme. That's according to a recent CNN poll. It's a reminder that politics is perception.

But it's important to understand why folks feel that way, and then see how the parties police their own extremes. So, I want to tell you two stories today that stretch from Buffalo to the bay area.

Now, on the Republican side is the cautionary tale of Congressman Chris Jacobs.


Two weeks after the mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store, this Republican representative from western New York told reporters that he would vote for an assault-style weapons ban and, barring that, support raising the age for purchasing those weapons.

Listen to his logic.


REP. CHRIS JACOBS (R-NY): Individuals cannot buy beer, they cannot get cigarettes. 21. I think it's perfectly reasonable that the age limit, at least for these highly lethal, high-capacity, semi-automatic weapons should be 21.


AVLON: Now, this was seen as a daring step. And with good reason as it turns out. But, first keep in mind a few facts.

First, Jacobs' conservative district includes the Buffalo suburb. So, this was personal and could be covered by the all politics is local rule. Second, these policies are not far out of the mainstream. In fact, a 2021 Pew survey found that 63 percent of Americans support an assault weapons ban, including 37 percent of Republicans.

And it's worth remembering that eight Republican senators and 46 GOP House members voted for the OG assault weapons ban when it passed in '94.

Finally, Republican senators are meeting right now with Democrats to discuss finding some common ground on gun safety reform. In fact, some of the GOP's biggest donors just took out an ad in Texas to urge this kind of principled compromise.

So, look, you could call Congressman Jacobs' comments quicksotic (ph) but not totally crazy, but then you wouldn't be living with Republican primary logic.

Because Jacobs was immediately attacked for his stand. Now, this was predictable. After all, it was a congressman trying to buck the party line. But what wasn't predictable was how fast Congressman Jacobs would fold. On Friday, he announced he would drop out of the August primary, saying it would be an incredibly divisive election. So much for having the courage of your convictions, right?

This retreat under pressure is exactly what the far right expects from the center right. But the lack of a fight in the face of a close partisan primary only encourages more political cowardness.

Now, let's turn to the left coast, with this week's attempted recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. This is about residents trying to draw a line on what they see as too extreme. In this case, Boudin's public defender approach to what's essentially a law and order position, especially at a time when most believe that crime has gotten worse while the quality of life has declined dramatically. In San Francisco, liberals are confronting a feeling of chaos in their city, homeless tent cities, increased burglaries, viral videos of shoplifting sprees, as well as open air fentanyl markets, all of which critics say have been encouraged by policies, like an end to cash bail and a refusal to prosecute quality of life crimes, including street level drug deal.

Now, Boudin says many major crime categories have not risen during his tenure and blames Trumpist forces for this recall effort. But there are plenty of prominent Democrats who support it.

There's also a recent example of the landslide recall of three San Francisco school board members who seemed more concerned with ideological exercises, like trying to remove presidents' names from schools, than getting schools reopened. On Tuesday, we'll see if the DA meets the same fate, but it's a reminder that even in America's most liberal city, stereotypes break down on closer inspection. People just won't tolerate endless chaos in the name of ideological experiments.

Look, there are different types of extremes in our politics. And these two stories show the fault lines within the two parties. They're evidence of how profiles in courage get discouraged and how important it is for extremes to be policed by people on their own side of the aisle.

And that's your "Reality Check."

BERMAN: John Avlon, thank you very much.

So, Boris Johnson's fate as prime minister in question amid the lingering hangover for his party-gate scandal.

KEILAR: And on this anniversary of D-day, elite World War II Army Rangers set to be honored more than 70 years after the war.



BERMAN: It is time for "The Good Stuff."

Today is the 78th anniversary of D-day, when thousands of allied troops from the U.S., U.K., France and Canada landed on the beaches of Normandy and began to confront Nazi occupied Europe. Only 13 U.S. Army Rangers who were there are still alive to tell their story. A bipartisan group of lawmakers with military experience, you can see, led the effort to award a congressional Gold Medal to the Army Rangers of World War II. As they say, rangers lead the way.

KEILAR: Indeed.

Four-year-old Prince Louis stealing the show again during Sunday's finale of the four-day celebration of Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee in honor of her 70-year reign. So, you can see him there, cameras catching him acting out, trying to cover his mother, Katherine, duchess of Cambridge's mouth. She was trying gently to curb his behavior. And then, oh -- oh, my goodness, at one point he got distracted by the family seated behind him. But Louis' royal antics didn't rain on his great grandmother's parade. Moments ago his parents thanked everyone for a fantastic weekend. They actually tweeted out this image on Twitter saying, we all had an incredible time, especially Louis. Notice the eyes emoji there at the end. I think they knew the moment there, Berman. But, I don't know, what was he upset about? I think maybe he was saying, mummy, you dressed me as a sailor at the Trooping of -- what do they call it, the Trooping the Colour. I'm going to act out at this pageant. I think that's what it was.

BERMAN: I think it was a review of the ceremonies all in all. And, look, I actually think he was exhibiting some form of leadership there.


And I again submit, it's unfortunate that it's unlikely he'll be king because that's the kind of person I think you want as your monarch.

KEILAR: I think he's just darling, honestly. He is huffing and puffing. And I see maybe some drama in his future. I sure do.

CNN's coverage continues right now.