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CEOs of More than 220 U.S. Companies to Release Letter Demanding Senate Take Immediate Action to Reduce Gun Violence; Gas Prices Continue to Rise across U.S.; House January 6th Select Committee to Hold Public Hearings During Prime Time on January 6th Riots; Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is Interviewed on the Attempted Murder of SC Justice Kavanaugh at Home and the Bipartisan Deal to Help Vets Exposed to "Burn Pits". Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 09, 2022 - 08:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Finally, John Stamos breaks his silence on his late friend Bob Saget. In an interview with CNN, Stamos said, quote, "He started popping into my life when I needed him the most, when I needed somebody, and then vice versa. And then we just got closer and closer and closer, and we ended up just being there for each other during the happiest and saddest moments of our lives." Stamos will honor the life and leg legacy of his friend in a special called "Dirty Daddy, The Bob Saget Tribute," premiering tomorrow.

NEW DAY continues now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman on this NEW DAY. The CEO of more than 200 companies coming together this morning to demand action on gun violence. The House's January 6th committee gearing up for prime time. The new evidence expected to be revealed.

BERMAN: A man charged with attempting to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, why the California man says he made a cross country trip to the justice's home.

And this photo highlighting the horrors of the Vietnam War turning 50 years old. The child and the photographer join NEW DAY.

KEILAR: Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is Thursday, June 9th. And this morning, something new, CNN has learned that the CEOs of more than 220 U.S. companies will release a letter today demanding the Senate take immediate action to reduce gun violence. The letter calls gun violence a public health crisis that devastates communities, and costs American taxpayers, employees, employers, and communities a staggering $280 billion a year.

BERMAN: It does not endorse any specific policy proposals or make any new ones. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, who is the lead Democratic negotiator in the Senate gun safety talks, had this to say on NEW DAY just moments ago about the prospects for a breakthrough.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, (D-CT) NEGOTIATOR IN BIPARTISAN GUN TALKS: I don't think you can be anything other than comparatively optimistic. I have never been part of a negotiation that is this serious. Our group continues to grow in size. No one has walked away from the table. Listen, I still think there are more paths to failure than there are to success. But we have never gotten this far on complicated comprehensive negotiations before.


BERMAN: More optimistic than he's ever been, and it is worth noting that senator Chris Murphy, he's been in the middle of this for 10 years now. He was the congressman who represented Newtown, Connecticut, after the Sandy Hook massacre. He is now more optimistic than ever.

I do want to turn, though, to the letter from these CEOs. Joining me, CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans and business correspondent Rahel Solomon. Romans, talk to me about this letter. We have business leaders saying there is an economic reason for this.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And they're saying the Senate in particular needs to act immediately to end or reduce gun violence here without, as you mentioned, any specific recommendations. But here's what they say. They say every day 110 people die of gun violence in this country, 200 are shot and wounded. And they say this, guns are now the leading cause of death among children and teens. This is their employees, their customers, their communities that they work in in this letter. Each death means another empty chair at the dinner table, another empty seat in the church pew or the classroom, another worker missing on the assembly line.

And they make this direct connection. They say there is clearly, clearly a toll, a personal toll on families and communities, communities, by the way, that are less investable, harder to start new businesses in communities that have been ravaged by gun violence. But they draw this line specifically from just the personal toll to the economic toll. It is just not good for business to be in a country where the leading cause of death for children and teenagers is gun violence and how it ravages communities. And just that line, workers missing on the assembly line, they're making a very direct connection from gun violence in American communities to their business and their employees.

BERMAN: What it does create is another pressure center for Congress to take action, along with voters and constituents. If you do have business leaders, it does change that perhaps a little bit.

Rahel, I do want to focus on the economic news we all woke up to this morning. Gas prices at $4.96 a gallon, very close to $5.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Gas prices continue their climb higher, and this week we also got two warnings from two major economic think tanks, the World Bank and the OECD, slashing their global growth forecast. So it's not just here in the U.S. where we're seeing some slowing growth, but also around the world that we know we're so connected globally. So what happens in the rest of the world impacts us. The OECD saying that it's inflation projections now stand at nearly nine percent in 2022, twice what they were previously reporting and expecting.


Part of this, of course, a big part of it, the war in Ukraine and its impact on commodities like oil, but also China COVID lockdowns. Who is to say what the next variant, what we might see in China, if we might see more lockdowns and the impact that will have on supply chains around the world?

BERMAN: That warning for the World Bank seemed particularly bleak to me.

SOLOMON: Yes, I think certainly more bleak than the OECD. We're hearing these words, "stagflation," and Christine and I were just talking about this before. I think the only thing more scary than recession is when folks start to talk about stagflation. And that has three components. It has high inflation, which we know we're already with. It also has very high unemployment, which we don't have. And it has slowing growth. And so some are questioning, because we have two of those three components, might we start to see high unemployment.

We are so far from it. We're at 3.6 percent according to the last reading, that's pretty much a 50-year historic low. So we're very far from that, but it does have people starting to sound the alarm. And whenever you start to use that word "stagflation," it really creates a lot of unease.

ROMANS: We're really far away from stagflation. And there are economists who think it is almost, it does the public a disservice to be talking about it so much. We're not heading toward the 70s, at least not yet. But it is so sharp and fresh in some people's minds and in market makers minds that they worry about what could happen in the U.S. We are so far from that double digit unemployment that it would take, Rahel is absolutely right. What could it take to get to a 10 percent unemployment rate? I don't know. We didn't predict many of these things that got us to where we are right now, to be quite honest. But we do know that inflation is expected to be with us here and stubborn for the foreseeable future. Tomorrow, we'll get a CPI number, the forecast is, again, 8.3 percent. You're talking about a 40-year high for inflation. So we'll get that number tomorrow in exactly about 24 hours.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, Rahel Solomon, thank you both very much.

KEILAR: The January 6th committee is ready for its close-up. They hold their first public hearing tonight, and it is happening in prime time. They will use it to lay out the case that former President Trump was at the heart of a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election and prevent the peaceful transition of power. The committee plans to show previously unseen video of private testimony with Trump campaign officials and members of his inner circle. Also, there will be two live witnesses, Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards, who was among the first injured by rioters, and documentary filmmaker Nick Quested who had unique access to militia groups who took part in the attack. And there will also be some never-before-seen footage of violence at the Capitol, the committee says, to remind people what is at stake.

CNN's Pamela Brown has more.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR AND SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: After a nearly yearlong investigation, the January 6th committee will share its findings with the American people tonight. In a preview, aides said they plan to zero in on President Trump.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN, (D-MD) JANUARY 6TH SELECT COMMITTEE: I think that Donald Trump and the White House were at the center of these events. That's the only way really of making sense of them all.

BROWN: Aides said the committee will connect the dots between Trump's election lies, his attempts to stop the transfer of power to President Joe Biden, and the violence at the Capitol. While Trump was impeached by the House just days after the riot for inciting the pro Trump insurrectionists, the committee says it has uncovered more since then.

RASKIN: The select committee has found evidence about a lot more than incitement here.

BROWN: The committee has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses behind closed doors, including Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, former attorney general Bill Barr, and obtained more than 135,000 documents.

REP. LIZ CHENEY, (R-WY) VICE CHAIR JANUARY 6TH SELECT COMMITTEE: We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House, every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack.

BROWN: The committee is clearly signaling to the Justice Department, which holds the power to charge Trump with a crime related to January 6th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe it was a conspiracy?

CHENEY: I do. It is extremely broad. It's extremely well organized. It's really chilling.

BROWN: Just this week, a federal judge again flagged possible evidence of a crime. That same judge issued a landmark ruling earlier this year finding it was more likely than not that Trump and a conservative lawyer committed a crime in strategizing to overturn the election. Trump has not been charged with a crime and has denied any wrongdoing. He continues to downplay his involvement in the deadly insurrection while bashing the committee's work as another, quote, witch-hunt.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: January 6th, what a lot of crap. It's another con job, just like Russia, Russia, Russia.

BROWN: But for 187 minutes, committee members say Trump was derelict in his duty, watching TV and seemingly pleased supporters were fighting for him, even as Republicans pleaded for Trump to intervene in text messages to his White House chief of staff.

DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISER, JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: It is a roadmap. And I would have to say at this point, I think Mark Meadows is the MVP for the committee.


BROWN: Denver Riggleman advised the committee, helping to decode Meadows texts among the more than 2,300 messages obtained by CNN. Donald Trump Jr. texting "He's got to condemn this shit. Asap." Meadows responding, "I am pushing it hard. I agree." But it took Trump over three hours to release this recorded video.

TRUMP: So go home. We love you. You're very special.

RIGGLEMAN: You look at the totality of the evidence, it is pretty apparent that at some points President Trump knew what was going on.


BROWN (on camera): The hearings are not only expected to explore efforts to overturn the election results, but also the role of far right extremist groups. One month after the election, Trump tweeted about the protests in D.C. on January 6th, and then the following day the Proud Boys began to plan for the rally, knowing they might have to break the law to stop the certification of votes. That's according to a plea agreement from one member of the Proud Boys who is now cooperating with the federal investigation. The DOJ escalating that criminal case this week, charging several leaders with seditious conspiracy. John and Brianna?

KEILAR: Pamela Brown, thank you for that.

And joining us now are two law enforcement officers who responded to the deadly insurrection and were viciously attacked by rioters, U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell and CNN law enforcement analyst and former D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone. I will remind people that you both actually testified before Congress in the wake of the January 6th riots, and as we are looking towards this event tonight, in prime time, what are you, Sergeant, hoping to see?

SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: I'm hoping to have the committee lay out what -- who were the people who were orchestrating and who planned January 6th, So we can hold everybody, any one of those people who took part accountable on the hours of that horrific day.

KEILAR: And what else are you hoping for?

MICHAEL FANONE, FORMER D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I want to see the evidence. I want to hear the witness testimony. I want to hear from the individuals that were deposed. And we heard that there were over 1,000 interviews conducted, depositions. I want to hear that testimony.

KEILAR: What do you hope that people take away from this? Maybe people who don't necessarily believe what happened or who haven't had the attention span to pay attention to every little thing as it has come out in the news, what do you think that maybe they can take away from this?

GONELL: What they can take away is that this was not a coincidence. Everything that happened was planned. So we can stop it from happening again. We officers, we put our lives in danger on that day to protect them. And the least they could do is lay out all that information, like Michael said, the evidence so everybody can get it all at once instead of trickling down piece by piece.

KEILAR: How important is it, just in your day to day work, in going to your job and having faith in your job and what you're doing, to have that happen?

GONELL: It's hard, because the very same people we protected, they downplay and still don't recognize that Officer Sicknick and some other D.C. Metropolitan police officers died as a result of that day. And on January 6th, they knew who and where to place the blame. And then a couple of days later, it was nothing. Nothing happened. They started deflecting and what about this, what about that. And it is very disappointing because we risked our life on that day forward to give them a chance so they can do their job once they return to safety.

KEILAR: To that point that you made, there is some newly released audio that shows a Republican member of Congress asking for a safety plan for Republican members ahead of what happened on January 6th. Here it is.


REP. DEBBIE LESKO, (R-AZ): I also ask leadership to come up with a safety plan for members. I'm actually very concerned about this because we have who knows how many hundreds of thousands of people coming here. We have Antifa. We also have, quite honestly, Trump supporters who actually believe that we are going to overturn the election, and when that doesn't happen, most likely will not happen, they are going to go nuts.


KEILAR: Michael, what do you think listening to that?

FANONE: First, I think it's pretty incredible that members of Congress were not aware of some type of contingency plan for any type of potential violence at the Capitol.


And that's a failure on the House and Senate sergeant of arms, and also on Capitol police's leadership. And those are, you know, three entities which I still have not seen a lot of accountability.

If you want to rebuild the trust of law enforcement and its own agencies, as well as the community, accountability needs to be had. That being said, this congresswoman can add her name to a long list of Republicans who have, you know, privately spoken truthfully about January 6th, and what was expected, and also what occurred, and then publicly reverse course and, you know, one can only surmise for political purposes.

SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: I agree. I agree. Like I said, on January 6th, and the next couple of days, they knew where to put the blame, and they also were scared from that day, and said very shameful and disappointing that on that day they did do that. But then they publicly they changed course and say, you know what, spin it, let's see how far we get with it. And the sacrifice that we did that day, it should mean something. It should mean something.

KEILAR: We're in a new period of heightened threats, Michael. We're hearing this from DHS, there are a lot of concerns here in the coming days as we are expecting Supreme Court rulings to come down. What do you worry that we might see in the midst of all that, in the midst of these hearings.

FANONE: A repeat of January 6th. I mean, my experience in criminal prosecutions, once people are exposed to law enforcement's response, they learned, they adapt, and they change their tactics. So, you know, would we see an event at that scale, maybe, maybe not, but certainly there are people that are watching, paying attention to what law enforcement has done in response, paying attention to the criminal prosecutions and how the Department of Justice is pursuing each of these individual cases.

And they're going to adapt. And they're going to potentially be more extreme in their activities and actions to accomplish what it is that they want to accomplish.

GONELL: Yeah. I agree. Another aspect of it is that this happened here, and with the information that is coming out, people were involved in high places in our government. And you have already an impeachment, which is the political remedy for things like this. If this doesn't get any type of accountability or remedy, this is bound to happen again, and then the person at the White House could act with impunity, including the people who work for him.

As you have seen, Mark Meadows and others have not complied with the subpoenas. So what is there to stop him next time? Will they do this with impunity if they ever get back in office? Most likely. That's something to be worried about.

KEILAR: You're obviously very worried about.

Sergeant, Mike, thank you so much to both of you for the conversation ahead of what is going to be a very momentous evening. Thank you.

FANONE: Thank you.

GONELL: Thanks for having me.

KEILAR: Berman?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And tonight at 7:00 Eastern, join CNN for special coverage to hear new details on what was going on inside the White House as the Capitol was being attacked on January 6th.

An armed man arrested near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and it is now adding pressure to Democrats to pass protection legislation.

An NFL coach now saying sorry for downplaying the attack on the Capitol.

KEILAR: Plus, is Pennsylvania's Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz registered to vote in the commonwealth? We do have a fact check ahead.



KEILAR: This morning, the man found near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home armed and reportedly planning to kill him is behind bars. Officials say the 26-year-old traveled from California to the Justice's Maryland home, and there he called emergency services and said that he was having suicidal thoughts and he had a firearm in his suitcase. He's now charged with attempting to kidnap or murder a U.S. judge.

FBI agents raiding his California home last night. He told investigators he was upset about the leak of the Supreme Court opinion draft, related to abortion rights and also that he was upset about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and worried that Justice Kavanaugh would loosen gun restrictions.

Joining me now is Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana. He's the chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, which is actually a big reason that he is on here to speak with us today because of a groundbreaking bipartisan bill that he is championing in the Senate that is poised for passage.

First, though, sir, I do want to talk to you about this incident at Justice Kavanaugh's house. What is your reaction?

SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): Well, I mean, it's absolutely unacceptable what transpired there. I mean, that's unfortunately threats to public officials are happening far too often. And it doesn't matter what level of government, whether it is Supreme Court or a school board member, and I think that we've got to take this stuff very, very seriously, and folks need to be punished to the full extent of the law. I mean, truth is public service is very important in this country, and we can't have intimidation out there that will prevent people from being able to serve this country in positions from school board to president of the United States, and everything in between. So, it's totally unacceptable. Obviously, a person in this particular

case that has some pretty serious mental health issues, that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

KEILAR: Could members of your own party be better when it comes to their rhetoric? I ask you that, yes, the Senate unanimously passed a bill to protect justices and their families.


But House Democrats have not moved forward on that. And you've heard the comments from your own Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Should members of your party be more forceful? Should they be better with their rhetoric here?

TESTER: Well, absolutely. I mean, you can say that on every issue that comes down the pike, that we can do better in getting the message out that the American people need to hear. But oftentimes, you know, I don't understand why the House hasn't taken the bill up on Supreme Court justice security. I don't. And I can't pass any judgment there.

But I will tell you, they should take it up and pass it and get it to the president's desk. And we do need to talk about -- we do need to talk about things like background checks, for example. You know, we had so many shootings in this country, it seems like it happens on a daily basis. And that's unacceptable.

You know, a gun is a tool. It's a tool. You need to understand what that -- what that tool can do. And it can do a lot of damage if it is used in the wrong way. So we need to -- I think we need to have background checks to make sure criminals and folks who are court adjudicated mentally ill terrorists.

I believe they lost their Second Amendment rights. We should not allow them to have guns. And so, let's get some background checks done, get it passed in Senate, get it over to the House and talk about those sort of things.

And most importantly, Brianna, we ought to debate the issues on the floor and figure out if we can find some common ground, you know, keep the outside groups out that are trying to influence, do nothing or to do everything, and get some common sense legislation in when it comes to protecting the people of this country.

KEILAR: A huge burn pit bill clearing a key test vote in the Senate Tuesday. Burn pits, of course, are these flaming trash piles, sometimes acres in size, that blanketed many bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and other combat areas and carcinogenic smoke.

What is this going to mean for veterans?

TESTER: This is going to mean that the United States government, the American people have lived up to their promise that we make the men and women who serve in uniform. So they can get the benefits and quite honestly when it comes to these conditions the healthcare that they have earned, with service to this country.

Look, we make promises to the folks and it is all volunteer military. We made a promise to the folks and we had a draft, that we with take care of them when they got back. If they have been changed by their duty to this country and their service to this country, we would make sure we made them whole again.

We have done some good things in prosthetics. We've done -- we're working on some good stuff in mental health and I think we'll get our arms around that sooner than later. And toxic exposure, though, we have failed and failed miserably.

This stuff has been around for over 100 years, for mustard gas, to the World War I, to radiation in World War II, Agent Orange, in Vietnam. This bill addresses some of the Agent Orange condition, hypertension mainly. And now, we've got burn pits for the post-9/11 veterans.

And so, it is time we step up. It is time we make sure we do right by our military, and it is time we get this bill passed, get to the president's desk so we can move forward.

KEILAR: I always implore people, even if they're not military connected, to pay attention to this, because they're footing the bill for it. This is a bill that is going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars over years. And the bill says that 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers that are believed to be related to burn pit smoke are presumed to be connected to a veterans military service, which is so important for them, when it comes to getting the healthcare that they need.

Will it also make it easier for them to get the disability benefits that they need in the case that they cannot work?

TESTER: Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. That's part of it, too. And it is a big part of this bill.

And you're right. This bill has a high cost figure, $27.5 billion over 10 years. That's almost $28 billion a year. But this is the cost of war.

And for folks that want to debate that issue, I would say the best time to debate the issue of the cost of war is before we send our men and women into battle. And if we're not willing to take care of them when they get home, we ought not be sending them into battle to begin with. This completes the cost of war.

KEILAR: Eighty-six to 12 in the Senate. Why do you think it didn't get so much support in the House?

TESTER: It is a little bit different bill than the House had and I will tell you that I give full credit to the Democratic Caucus. I give full credit to a good number of Republican members that serve on the Veterans Affairs -- Senate Veteran Affairs Committee about getting out there and explaining what this bill does.

As I said before, I said this on the floor, there is reasons to vote for and reasons to vote against every bill that comes down the pike. This is a big bill. You can certainly find a reason to vote against it if you want, and a reason to vote for it if you want.

But the truth is this is too important to this country, to try to find a reason to vote no.