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Extreme Weather Hits Every U.S. Region, Fires, Floods, Rain, Heat; Primary Results Put Trump's Grip on GOP Into Focus; Wall Street Braces for Fed to Reveal Aggressive Rate Hikes. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired June 15, 2022 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Last week, the president was out in Los Angeles speaking at the Port of Los Angeles, and he took direct aim at these oil companies, specifically calling out ExxonMobil for their high profits, saying that they will make sure Americans know of what these companies are doing.
So, with this letter, the president is just once again trying to put some pressure on these oil companies to try to offer some relief, increase their supply as so many Americans are seeing high gas prices, which is causing major economic anxiety for them and also a political liability for the president heading into the midterm elections.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. It turns out, we do have Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm later in the show. We will ask her if and how the White House intends to force these oil companies to refine more gas. So, much more on that coming up.
Arlette, Christine, thank you both very much.
New Day continues right now.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, it is Wednesday, June 15th and I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman here in New York.
If you don't believe in the climate emergency facing our nation, just open your window or walk outside today. There will be evidence on display in every corner of America. No matter where you live count on extreme weather, heat warnings or severe flooding.
BERMAN: In the span of 24 hours, Americans have grappled with all of these threats, violent storms left hundreds of thousands without power in the Midwest, flooded communities in Montana that don't have clean drinking water, and there have even been tornadoes in Chicago.
Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is live in Columbus, Ohio, where the mayor has no power and he's urging residents to go to cooling centers and pools to stay safe. Derek?
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. John, unfortunately, the perfect storm has struck this area, the combination of no electricity and dangerous excessive heat. That is a recipe for disaster. It has made for an uncomfortable night here as well. Remember, record breaking triple-digit heat easily grabs our headlines, but when temperatures don't cool below 80 degrees, in your own house that is the silent killer. Heat is often the silent killer.
We have got excessive heat alerts for over 100 million Americans, including where I'm standing across Central Ohio, thousands of people facing days without the prospect of cooling themselves with electricity. We have American electric power, the power company here that serves Ohio, and they have warned residents here that they need to be prepared to not have electricity at least through Thursday.
Now, what happened was a line of storms that moved through on Monday night, this was known as a straight-line wind event, this isn't a localized tornado that causes damage to a local community, this was a swath of 75 miles of hurricane-force winds that basically hammered through the entire state of Ohio, knocking down trees and power poles.
That lined of wind road the periphery of a heat dome that has now settled into this area. So, there is combination, storms knocking out power, heat settling in behind it and no one having the ability to cool themselves
We think about heat and how it impacts people disproportionately, unfortunately, lower economic status, lower income individuals often don't have access to air conditioning in the first place, But now, this is an equal opportunity employer, so many people don't have access to power here so they won't have the opportunity to cool themselves as well.
So, people with underlying conditions, particularly vulnerable to this heat, some advice for individuals, according to authorities, the cooling centers have been extended this morning and, of course, take breaks if you happen to be working outside.
The clock is ticking. Remember, John, when the power is out the heat is on here in the mid-south. Back to you.
BERMAN: Incredibly uncomfortable and also potentially very dangerous.
VAN DAM: Right.
BERMAN: Derek Van Dam, our thanks to you.
VAN DAM: That's correct.
BERMAN: Joining us now, New York Times Magazine Columnist David Wallace-Wells. He is the author of The Uninhabitable Earth, Life After Warming
David, and you write, and I think this is very interesting, that we may need to rethink the phrase, extreme heat. What do you mean by that?
DAVID WALLACE-WELLS, WRITER, THE NEW YORK TIMES OPINION: Events that used to be totally unthinkable, the Pacific (INAUDIBLE) from last summer, one scientist told me, was a 1 in 8 million year event, which means, in the absence of global warming, we'd expect it to happen. You would have to run all of human history 35 times over to see it once. We saw it last summer. We're seeing intense heat across South Asia. It's been going on three months. It's basically been 100 degrees in India and Pakistan for three straight months.
These were unthinkable events as recently as five or ten years ago. And now, there's something like we see them somewhere on the globe almost every day, every week.
KEILAR: How do you manage it while also trying to head it off?
WALLACE-WELLS: Well, you know, you have to take the measures that your correspondent was just describing. These are -- especially if you are older, if you have other conditions, you need to stay out of the outside. You have to try to live in air conditioning, not work outside.
But for many parts of the world, India's labor force is half outdoor labor.
So, this requires a quite dramatic recalibration, redesign of the way many societies around the world live. In places like the U.S., where we're relatively lucky, we have things like, you know, common air conditioning, but that's not true for parts of the world that are being hit hardest and that means that those people are going to be dealing with the biggest impacts, the most severe threats.
BERMAN: Here in the United States, how do you think it will manifest itself the most or is?
WALLACE-WELLS: Well, I think we're seeing every summer now there are going to be extreme heat events where whole cities are living in some amount of fear and shutdown. Now, that's not going to be for months at a time but there will be days where people die and people get sick because of heat and that's going to become an increasingly common experience.
Of course, we also have storms and wildfire and the air pollution that comes from that. In 2020, it was estimate that had 350,000 Americans died from air pollution, a lot of that comes from wildfire smoke and that wildfire is increasing, unfortunately.
KEILAR: When you look at the flooding that we're seeing in Yellowstone, it happens someplace like Yellowstone, it's going to capture a lot of eyes, right, because of that particular location. What is that saying to you and what is the lesson that we should be taking from this?
WALLACE-WELLS: Well, the thing that's most striking to me about -- I mean, these images are incredible. But what's striking to me about the data is how dramatically we are breaking records. So, I think they had three times as much rainfall, almost three times as much rainfall in Yellowstone as the previous record, three times the record. Meteorologists, scientists don't expect to see records broken like that. They usually see them broken in tiny, small increments. But now, all around the world, we're seeing temperature records broken by 8, 10, 15 degrees and rainfall records similar, 2x, 3x. And we are just living in an entirely new world and we're going to have to adapt as well as de-carbonize to limit the amount of damage that comes
KEILAR: You say we have the tools to avoid the worst of what's to come. The question though is do people hear the alarm to take action. And we're going to see if they do. We're seeing the images. Do people absorb them?
David Wallace-Wells, thank you so much for being with us.
BERMAN: So, this morning, the results are in and Donald Trump exacting a measure of revenge on Republicans who moved to impeach him. And this is happening even as the January 6 committee presents evidence that they suggest points to possible crimes by the former president. Trump's political strength is evident.
Overnight, South Carolina Republican Congressman Tom Rice was defeated by a Trump-endorsed candidate, and he lost by a lot. He was one of ten Republicans in the House who voted to impeach the former president and among the first to face Republican primary voters.
We should note, another race in South Carolina did not go Trump's way. Congresswoman Nancy Mace, who at times was a Trump critic, survived a primary challenge.
Other events on primary night, Republican Mayor Flores flipped the Democratic House district in South Texas. This is a special election victory that builds on Republican gains among Latino voters in the region in the 2020 election.
Joining us now, CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon. Tom Rice voted to impeach Donald Trump, just defeated in a primary by a lot, 24 percent of the vote, an incumbent getting 24 percent of the vote in a primary.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It is a brutal loss for Tom Rice who took a profile in courage stance on Donald Trump's election lies and paid the price. But here is the reality check I want to give because I know South Carolina, as you all know.
This district where he is around Myrtle Beach was heavily pro-Trump. So, not only do you have a low turnout election Republican primary but Horry County, where Myrtle Beach is, for example, part of the district, went two to one for Donald Trump. So, if you take on Donald Trump in that district, you are looking for trouble and Tom Rice got it.
Now, let's shift down one district to South Carolina, one where Nancy Mace, as you pointed out, took her first vote to reject an attempt to overturn the election, then spent a lot of time doing prevent defense. Well, she won her primary. Key difference, key difference, is that Joe Biden won Charleston County by 12 points. So, you have got to look at the context. People are going to say, all the difference here, the strategies they took and the various ways they took were a being defiant to Donald Trump. Look at the underlying dynamics of the district and that will tell you what's really going on.
BERMAN: I will say, Nancy Mace, and, again, she's running for reelection, barely won reelection as a Republican primary.
AVLON: To a woman who won the Republican nomination four years ago, ran as a hardcore Trumper and still lost in this environment.
KEILAR: Let's take a look at Nevada, right, and other places where people who are adherence of the big lie found a toe hold. Specifically, we're looking at the Republican Nevada secretary of state candidate. And what is that going to mean when if we look further south to New Mexico, for instance, you have a county in New Mexico where local officials would not certify the election because they believed baseless claims about Dominion voting machines?
Now, the county commissioner in that county says, no, that's totally baseless, and it seems like eventually they're going to be forced, including one local official, who is an insurrectionist, but imagine if they weren't forced to do this, ultimately to do this?
Imagine if they had a secretary of state, like the Nevada candidate. What does this portend for future elections?
AVLON: Bad things. And I'm glad you mentioned that New Mexico case, because it shows you the chaos that can happen if you have outright insurrectionists, election deniers, in positions overseeing elections.
Now, look, this Nevada candidate, that's a -- you've got an election denier potentially running elections in a major swing state. It also could potentially be a problem for Republicans, even as the pendulum swings towards an off-year election, if they put forward candidates who are not acceptable to the moderate majority of voters. So, that's a real test.
Now, Adam Laxalt won the Republican primary last night, he is a big lie believer, he's also got a name that is gold in the state of Nevada and he had lost an election for governor, been previous A.G.
But you're right to point out the critical importance of these secretary of state races because that's where the -- that's where the constitutional crisis will come on a state by state label. So, you are signed to come to attractions (ph) with those kind of elections.
BERMAN: In Texas, the special election there, very interesting, because what you have is a state where Republicans are hoping to make gains among Latino voters and you have a candidate winning a seat that has been in Democrats hands for some time.
AVLON: Absolutely. Now, look, this is a seat that is 85 percent Hispanic, has been written -- drawn to be Democrat. Now, this special election, because the Democrat incumbent decided to take off, was very low turnout, 29,000 voters compared to our 200,000 voters who turn out in a typical general. But the fact that a Republican won it even for a few months is a huge brush back pitch to Democrats, especially on the back of what you just referred to, which is Hispanics moving more Republican in 2020 particularly in Laredo County, down on the Mexico border on the western side of the state. This is on the eastern side.
So, this is just more example that Democrats need to wake up to the fact that they cannot take Hispanic votes for granted. We saw it in Florida, entirely different demographic of Hispanics in Texas, but this something -- even though it's going to take place in a few months and it's a low turnout special election, major brush back pitch for Democrats.
KEILAR: Yes, it is wake up call for them today. John Avlon, thank you.
AVLON: Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: All right. The January 6 committee previewing tomorrow's hearing with a summary of what to expect and new testimony from former Trump White House Attorney Eric Herschmann about a conversation he had with Attorney John Eastman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The select committee will examine President Trump's relentless effort on January 6th and in the days beforehand to pressure Vice President Pence to refuse to count lawful electoral votes.
As a federal judge has indicated, this likely violated two federal criminal statutes.
ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUES LAWYER: Eventually, you said orderly transition, I said, good, John. Now, I'm going to give you the best, free legal advice you are ever getting in your life. Get a great f'ing criminal defense lawyer. You are going to need it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. Joining me now is CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig, former state and federal prosecutor. Elie, thank you so much for being with us this morning.
Look, I want to hang on to that Cheney statement for one minute there. I want to start with a 30,000-foot view of what this committee is doing. They are saying or suggesting that Donald Trump and his associates committed possible crimes here. They keep throwing that around. What crimes exactly and how would those be proven?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, john, lots of broad brush painting about crimes, criminality. Let's be specific. There are really three potential federal crimes at play here. First, conspiracy to defraud the United States, here is what prosecutors would have to show. An agreement between two or more people, that's the legal definition of a conspiracy. To defraud the United States does not have to be financial. But here is the real big issue, the sticking point. Did the person have knowledge or willful blindness, turn a blind eye to the truth?
And that is why we're seeing the January 6 committee make such an important point about all these people in Donald Trump's inner circle, they knew Donald Trump lost and they told him to his face he lost. They're looking at that knowledge issue.
Second potential crime, obstruction of an official proceeding. Here, you have to show that a person attempted to obstruct or impede an official proceeding of the United States, of course, the counting of the electoral votes by the vice president counts, and this is going to be a focus of the hearing tomorrow. And, again, the sticking point here is corruptly. Again, you have to show that knowledge or that willful blindness.
Finally, John, the third potential crime it played, the most dramatic one, seditious conspiracy. This is really the same thing as obstructing Congress that we just saw. The big difference, though, is by force, you have to show the use or a plan to use violence or physical force.
Now, we do know that leaders and members of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys have been charged with seditious conspiracy by the committee, the question is does that connect up to people in power? Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the committee, told Jake Tapper the other day, they have evidence of conversations between extremist groups and people in Donald Trump's orbit, what do those words mean? What kind of conversations, who in the orbit? So, those are the three potential crimes in play.
BERMAN: Now, we heard Liz Cheney talk about how a federal judge has suggested that crimes may have been committed between John Eastman and Donald Trump there.
It gets to the idea of a different standard here for what is criminal, depending on who is saying it.
HONIG: Yes, John. What the committee is doing and what a prosecutor would have to do are two very different things, and it's so important to people understand this.
First of all, it's not enough for a prosecutor to show that Donald Trump or anyone else's conduct was bad, horrible, dangerous, dishonest, offensive, you have to show a violation of a specific criminal law, like the three that we just ran through. Second of all, of course, a prosecutor has to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. The committee, Congress, they have no burden of proof, whatsoever. They can say or do whatever they want. And, third, this is a one-sided presentation we're seeing from the committee.
Now, it's Kevin McCarthy's fault, he has boycotted this thing, but the truth is we are only getting one side. In a trial, of course, there will be defense lawyers, the defense can put on its own evidence, the defense can cross-examine witnesses. So, that makes a big difference. The point is we can't take whatever the committee is doing and automatically assume it would translate one-to-one over to a criminal case.
BERMAN: All right. There's Merrick Garland right there. What is Merrick Garland and what are prosecutors doing right now?
HONIG: Great question. Here is what we know. There's a lot we don't know what prosecutors do behind closed doors. Merrick Garland, DOJ has indicted about 800 people related to January 6, but almost all of them except one were physically at the Capitol or stormed the building. The question is, is he looking at people higher up? Garland has said, we're watching the hearings, good. He should already know this. DOJ prosecutors should be surprised by nothing they're seeing. So, we will see what he does.
Let's remember, the district attorney down in Fulton County, Georgia, Fani Willis, she has a grand jury going right now that's looking at Trump's efforts to interfere with the vote count and final tally down in Georgia. And, finally, as of last night, we learned that the New York state attorney general, Letitia James, says she has opened an investigation into the new allegations we heard from the committee just the other day about potentially fraudulent fundraising.
A lot of unknown here, we are not even sure and the A.G. did not specify whether she's looking at this civilly, which we just mean a lawsuit, or criminally, but these are the three prosecutors to watch.
BERMAN: All right. Elie Honig, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
We are going to have more on the news out of the White House this morning, President Biden sending a stern warning to oil companies as gas prices hit record highs.
KEILAR: Plus, we will speak to the police chief investigating the murder plot of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as we hear the 911 call the suspect made on himself.
And the FDA meets today on COVID vaccines for children under five years old, what parents need to know, ahead.
KEILAR: here in just a few hours, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by up to three quarters of a percentage point. So, what will this mean for you?
Let's bring in Financial Expert Jean Chatzky, the CEO of HerMoney.com and the co-host of the radio show, Everyday Wealth.
Okay. Jean, so, what does this mean? What does this mean just for someone watching this and wants to know how is this going to affect me and when?
JEAN CHATZKY, CEO, HERMONEY.COM: So, basically, all of the money that you are borrowing is going to become more expensive. If you've got a variable rate credit card, and all credit cards these days are basically variable rate, the interest rate on a balance that you don't pay off the month that you accrue those charges is probably sitting around an average of 16 percent right now. That's going to go up, right? And it's going to be up very, very quickly. So, we've seen mortgage rates going up, auto loan rates are going to go up.
On the flipside, if you've got money in a savings account, you're going to eventually earn a little bit more money on those savings. Unfortunately, banks don't increase those rates as fast as they increase the rates on loans, but there will be a bit of a beveling effect.
BERMAN: And debt is more expensive and funny how the banks don't give you the same rate increases quite as fast as they make the loans more expensive.
Listen, mortgages, what you pay for a house or what you would pay if you were going to buy a house six months ago, your average monthly mortgage payments would be less than what you're paying now, and that's just real money, right?
CHATZKY: Significantly less. And with mortgages, it's interesting because you're getting hit with this incredibly hot housing market in addition to rising mortgage rates. So, if you look at a comparison, the median home price of a home in the first quarter of this year, about $428,000, that's about $40,000 more expensive than it was in the first quarter of last year.
You couple that with mortgage rates that are now heading towards 6 percent very, very quickly, compared to 3 percent last year, and you're looking at a monthly payment that's about $300 more every single month, right? You multiply that over the course of a year. And you're right, it's real money and it makes homes unaffordable for a lot of people.
It also means that if you are going out to buy a home, right, if you are going out to shop for a mortgage, you need to give adjustable rate mortgages a good look for the first time in well over a decade. And the way to do that is actually to look at what we call hybrid adjustable rate mortgages that are fixed for the first five, seven or ten years of that loan before they begin adjusting.
The rate on a five-one arm right now is a little under 4 percent, so that's a significant savings.
KEILAR: If you've been priced out of this market just by the hot home market but you're also kind of finding yourself edged out because the interest rates are high and it is costing more, when are you going to see that relief where maybe you were on the cusp of affording your first home or going to a second home, when are you going to be able to do that?
CHATZKY: You're going to see, I believe, the relief in home prices before you see the relief in mortgage prices. What we're seeing particularly because consumers are able to work remotely these days more than they have been ever before is that people are expanding the range in properties that they are looking at. They're looking across state lines. They're looking in different neighborhoods, and so you have to sort of take that sort of a strategy into your home shopping process and bide your time. This is one of those environments where you have got to accrue a greater down payment, where you may have to just sit on your urge to buy a house for 6, 12 months until we start to see the market shake out a little bit.
BERMAN: People have to make decision that they did not have to make several months ago. Things are changing. Jean Chatzky, thanks so much for helping us this morning
CHATZKY: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
BERMAN: So, do what past presidents have not, the new plea from the families and survivors of September 11th ahead of President Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia.
KEILAR: And how the sister of the man charged with plotting to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh convinced him to call 911 on himself. You'll listen to the chilling audio.