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Thousands of Flights Cancelled as Travel Heats Up; White House: Recession is Not Inevitable; Committee Says It Could Still Subpoena Pence for Testimony; Preliminary Report on Uvalde Police Response Likely in Mid-July; Right-Wing Activists Confront GOP's Crenshaw Over Ukraine, Guns. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 20, 2022 - 06:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is Monday, June 20. I'm Brianna Keilar in Washington with John Berman in New York.


And we're beginning with chaos in the skies during what may be the busiest weekend so far this year for air travel. According to the flight tracking website Flight Aware, more than 900 flights were canceled on Sunday alone across the U.S. Since Friday, there have been more than 3,000 flight cancellations.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So the airlines are blaming weather problems and ongoing staff shortages, in particular a shortage of pilots. So can travelers expect more of this as we enter the peak summer travel season?

CNN's aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean, is live at Reagan National Airport. A lot of unhappy travelers this morning, Pete.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: No doubt, John. In fact, a lot of people probably still trying to get home even today after traveling this weekend. You know, these new numbers are huge, but the cause of this really is not.

We've been reporting over and over again that airlines got a lot smaller over the pandemic, and that has led to these massive flight crew shortages.

The deck of cards really comes tumbling down when summer weather strikes. In fact, there was bad weather on the East Coast on Thursday and Friday.

Look at the cancellation numbers. More than 1,700 flights canceled on Thursday, more than 1,400 on Friday. Airlines really tried to play catch-up over the weekend but weren't all that successful. Eight hundred flight cancellations Saturday, more than 900 on Sunday.

You know, this really impacted some of the major hubs on the East Coast, Charlotte and LaGuardia. I want you to listen now to one LaGuardia passenger who had her flight canceled not only once on Saturday, but again on Sunday. Here's what she said.


TERRIE CHERRY, AMERICAN AIRLINES PASSENGER: We left North Carolina on Sunday, came to New York. We were supposed to go back to North Carolina yesterday and got delayed.

And we got on the plane, went out on the tarmac, sat on the plane for four hours. Four hours before they took us back to the terminal. Anyway, they told us to go to Gate 11. Gate 11 was 400 people trying to rebook a flight.


MUNTEAN: So many people have been traveling for the Father's Day weekend. Probably one of the biggest travel weekends we have seen since the start of the pandemic.

The TSA screened 2.44 million people at airports across the country on Friday. That's the highest number we have seen since last Thanksgiving. Almost hard to believe that we are in this position now.

This has come with a really stern warning from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to airlines, saying to get their schedule acts together, especially with the July 4th travel period on the horizon, John.

BERMAN: There just doesn't seem to be any slack there, Pete. Any one problem sets off this cascade of events, and it's these travelers and passengers who seem to suffer.

Pete Muntean at Reagan, thanks so much.

MUNTEAN: That's right.

KEILAR: Now, as Americans are growing increasingly nervous over the economy, the White House is trying to reassure them when it comes to inflation.


JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Well, I expect the economy to slow, but I don't think a recession is at all inevitable.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY: A recession is not inevitable. The president really wants to have a steady and stable recovery.

BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Not only is a recession not inevitable, but I think that a lot of people are underestimating those strengths and the resilience of the American economy.


KEILAR: All right. Joining us now is CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans. I ask, would they tell us if they thought it was coming?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Well, you know, no one really knows. We'll never know for sure until it's here, to be quite honest, and what the White House is trying to do is really be on message about what can be done and what they've already done about the economy and inflation in particular.

Let's talk about the moves that they have been taking. They relaxed fuel blend standards back in April for the summer in a hope to keep more oil, gasoline on the market. There was a historic emergency oil supply. That was, by the way, that release -- that was a global release of oil, so that was the White House working with all of our allies to try to get more oil out there.

So that's something. They're -- they're releasing a million barrels a day for six months. And there's also some student loan forgiveness, $25 billion of student loan forgiveness, the most recent for for- profit college students who were basically defrauded when they signed up for college and for those student loans.

So those are things that they've already done. And there's more on student loans, potentially, out there. The White House still considering whether to do more student loan forgiveness.

There's talk of a gas tax holiday. They haven't ruled that out. Experts think that's more of a gimmick, but it would put money in drivers' pockets right away.

There was talk of targeted gas rebates but some trouble with how you would actually implement something like that. An oil company surtax. You'd probably have to have Congress help you do that, as well. You would not get the votes for that.

But still talking about some way of capturing some of those record profits for the oil companies.

And potentially pausing some China tariffs. As you know, that is something that Janet Yellen, the treasury secretary, said was still under consideration, strategically pausing some of those -- those China tariffs that could help -- could help inflation, at least on the margin. These are all things that they're talking about.

And the president still continues to talk about this Putin price hike, too, as well. If you look at the -- right here is where you have the invasion of Ukraine. Look at oil prices since then.

So the White House still continues to point to big international factors that are also driving inflation that are out of the hands of the administration, you guys.

KEILAR: So maybe we're hoping that they're right, this isn't inevitable, but we're preparing in case it is here. Christine, thank you so much for that.

BERMAN: So the next public hearing for the January 6th Committee is tomorrow. Until now, one of the central themes in these hearings has been the pressure campaign on former Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally overturn the election.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Congressman Adam Schiff, who was a key committee member, said trying to talk to Pence is still on the table.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We're not taking anything off the table in terms of witnesses who have not yet testified. We would still, I think, like to have several high-profile people come before our committee.


SCHIFF: You know, certainly a possibility. We're not excluding anyone or anything at this point.


BERMAN: Here with me, "EARLY START" anchor and attorney at law, Laura Jarrett. So you're saying there's a chance.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: I think he didn't want to concede any ground in that interview. He doesn't want to -- Schiff doesn't want to look like they're willing to give up on the V.P., the former V.P..

They said they wanted to talk to him, but they didn't serve him with a subpoena. And so the question is at this current stage, at this late date, do they really need him to prove their case?

On the one hand, you could say he's central to this entire thing. He's the man at the receiving end of all of this pressure campaign. But we have now heard from multiple people within Trump and Pence's orbit, but specifically Greg Jacobs last week, his counsel, who testified in detail about all the research they did on this issue to try to figure out was there any ground at all, any leg to stand on.

And of course, there was not, but they looked at it.

And also, the former president is still out there saying Pence did the wrong thing. So it's not as if that's in dispute. Everyone knows how the former president feels about this.

And so what do they get out of going through a lengthy, protracted process, potentially a legal battle to try to get the former V.P.? I don't know.

And the practical considerations here, even putting aside the legal thing, is they're running out of time. Right? The midterms are coming up in November. They only have the public's attention for so long. They really only get one shot at this.

BERMAN: This seems to be as much a political question for Mike Pence as a legal one, because I don't think there's any dispute Mike Pence knows what went on. JARRETT: Yes.

BERMAN: In conversations between Donald Trump and Mike Pence, Mike Pence knows what was said to him. If he wanted to come forward and tell people what exactly was said, he could, right?

JARRETT: He could, but as you mentioned, he's still trying to, at least, it seems, preserve an opportunity for his own political future.

We've seen him out there, and who knows what he'll end up trying to do for the next election. Whether or not he would try to run against his former boss, I don't know.

But I think injecting himself into this process right now, he may not see it in his interest if he's already been able to get his story out there through surrogates, like Greg Jacobs, like others, who know his position, who can speak to the fact that he was frustrated, that he didn't get a call from the former president in the time when he's there under siege.

He's able to sort of get out his message and get out, I think, what he would say through others without putting himself into the firestorm.

BERMAN: A subpoena, would Mike Pence be able to refuse it on legal grounds and say that the conversations between a president and vice president are privileged?

JARRETT: No. He could -- he could try to resist it, but a duly-issued subpoena, I think he doesn't -- I don't think he has any strong grounds. He certainly doesn't have an attorney/client privilege. He could, you know, try to make some sort of presidential communications privilege.

But again, is that the kind of protracted legal battle that the committee wants to engage in when they really laid out their case? And this is not a disputed issue. The pressure that Trump put on Pence is not -- is not -- no one is calling that into question. Neither one of them is even calling it into question.

BERMAN: Counselor, very nice to see you this morning. Thank you very much.

JARRETT: Of course.

KEILAR: We do have some new CNN reporting. Republican impeachment backers are now wrestling with their own political survival after South Carolina's Tom Rice, one of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, lost his primary to a Trump-backed challenger, Russell Fry.

Let's bring in Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona and CNN Politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza.

Speaking to just how hard a vote this was, a lot of these folks aren't running again, right? But for those who are, they're taking an interesting tack. We think of Liz Cheney, Mel, but really, that's not the strategy that so many of them are pursuing here.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: I think Tom Rice's loss in particular is really raising questions about whether you can cross Trump and survive in today's Republican Party.


Now, there is some evidence that it's possible. David Valadao, for example, he voted to impeach in California. He looks like he's poised to edge out a far-right challenger, but he did not have to go against someone who was endorsed by Donald Trump. He had largely kept his head down, and unlike Rice, who was pretty vocal about his criticism of the president and also was facing a Trump-backed challenger.

And so the remaining impeachment Republicans are taking notice, and they have really deployed a keep-your-head-down strategy. They are keeping the select committee on January 6 at arm's length.

Of course, Liz Cheney is the notable exception to that, but even her first two campaign ads were solely focused on local issues.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, it just feels like, if you are on this list after Tom Rice, you've got to be really nervous. I mean, he didn't just lose; he got pummeled. Right? I mean, he lost by 25 points, an incumbent Republican who, I'll note -- Mel has reported on this. What's so important to note is these are not unconservative people.


CILLIZZA: Tom Rice is, you know, Heritage Foundation score very high.

ZANONA: yes.

CILLIZZA: even his Trump score is in the 90s. It's the one vote that matters. Right?

Liz Cheney, because "Oh, Liz Cheney, she's a RINO." I mean, look at Liz Cheney's record. Liz Cheney, prior to January 6, prior to Donald Trump, she's among -- you don't get to be -- you don't get into Republican leadership like Liz Cheney was, third ranking Republican, by being a moderate within the party. That's not how it works.

KEILAR: But if you're going to buck Donald Trump, whether that's voting for impeachment, which is the ultimate sin, I think, as he sees it or just be a critic like Nancy Mace, it seems like the key is to then totally focus on your district, hyper-local. Right? That's what you point out.

ZANONA: Exactly. And that's what Nancy Mace did. Now, she didn't vote for impeachment, but she was very vocal in her criticism of Trump after January 6. She had some other votes that were problematic in Trump's eyes.

But since then, she went down to Trump Tower and recorded a video, saying, I was one of his earliest supporters, and I support all of his policies. And really trying to focus on the issues. And that worked for her. She was able to beat back a challenger.

KEILAR: Because if you -- if you voted to impeach, you're not running on it. I think that's the takeaway.

CILLIZZA: Oh, gosh, no.

KEILAR: You knew at the time, MAYBE, that you weren't going to do this because this was going to put your political future in jeopardy.

CILLIZZA: Absolutely. And the fact that, out of the ten, four have already retired under various circumstances. But I will tell you that none of them made that decision without considering their chances at reelection, which took a -- took a hit.

It seems to me that if you voted to impeach Donald Trump. And we've got -- August 2, we've got three of them on the ballot, including Dan Newhouse in Washington state, including Peter Meijer.

And then two weeks later, Liz Cheney. Gosh, you look at the Tom Rice thing, and keeping your head down, keeping it local, you've got to do something. Right?

I mean, you can't sort of just wait. We saw that with Tom Rice. You've got to try to do something, but I would not be optimistic. And if you're Liz Cheney, I mean, I think Liz Cheney has sort of made her peace with the fact that she's very unlikely to come back to Congress.

You know, her being on the committee, the January 6th Committee, her sort of prominence on that committee, what she said during the three public hearings we had. You know, I think she's looking at the future, whether that's a presidential race. She's looking at a different Republican Party than the current Republican Party.

Because in the current Republican Party, I think we're really debating what percentage of the vote is Liz Cheney going to lose by, not is Liz Cheney going to lose?

KEILAR: It's really fascinating, especially this group text that they're all on. We're reporting to check out a group text with the impeachment ten.

Melanie Zanona and Chris Cillizza, thank you so much.

A preliminary report on the investigation of the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre hampered by a lack of cooperation. We'll have a live report next.

And golfer Greg Norman firing back at criticism of the Saudi-backed Liv golf tour. His response to what Bob Costas told us here on "NEW DAY."

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I passed McCain. I passed McCain. I passed McCain right here.


BERMAN: Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw jeered at the Republican convention in Texas. We have new details ahead.



BERMAN: New delays are emerging this morning in the effort by Texas lawmakers to report their findings into last month's deadly massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

CNN has learned the preliminary investigative report by members of the Texas House now expected in mid-July.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz live in San Antonio with the latest here.

Shimon, this is all about getting answers.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It really is, John. And when you think about these hearings that the House committee here has been holding it's all been behind closed doors. They've been holding these executive sessions where school officials, police officials have all come in to what they say testify.

But it's all being done outside the public view, so we have no idea what is going on here, what happened still. So many facts of what transpired are still unknown.

And what we're now being told is that the committee may have the results of this investigation that they're doing, perhaps in mid-July. We'll see if that's actually the case, because they still have a lot of work to do.

There are still other witnesses that need to testify. It wasn't even entirely clear until Friday, really, whether or not the Uvalde Police Department, officers from that department, were going to come forward voluntarily.

When you think about everything that has transpired here after the shooting and how the officials here have withheld information, have not been forthcoming, it's certainly very concerning, and it's certainly very troubling.


And we're still seeing that pattern here continue. The media requests for information that we have all filed, every news organization has filed, has been denied. The city has hired a lawyer, a law firm, to deal with this and has made basically every excuse to the attorney general here in this state as to why information should not be released.

Of course, there are investigations under way here by the Texas Rangers and by other state officials, but also the D.A. She at one point claimed that she is -- she's conducting her own investigation, and that's why information shouldn't be released.

We still don't have, really, any word from her if she is, in fact, conducting an investigation.

So, John, as you said, there's still so many questions here that need to be answered. Hopefully, by mid-July, we'll have some answers here from the committee. We don't know exactly what they're going to release: if they're going to release testimony, if they're going to release other information or if this is just going to be a report that they release.

BERMAN: Yes. Transparency has been a real challenge for you, Shimon, and others trying to get answers.

Shimon Prokupecz, thank you very much.

New signs of a splintered Republican Party. Congressman Dan Crenshaw heckled at a party convention. Hear his response.

KEILAR: Plus, another Republican, Adam Kinzinger, revealing a threatening letter that he and his family received, calling for his execution.



BERMAN: This morning, rising tensions within the Republican Party, with some members finding themselves the targets of threats and protests. One of them, Dan Crenshaw.

Angry right-wing protesters confronted the Texas Republican at the Texas Republican convention. They yelled at him. They seemed to follow him, and they appeared to clash with staff.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eye Patch McCain. Eye Patch McCain. We've got Eye Patch McCain right here.


BERMAN: Crenshaw is a staunch conservative, but you can see some people there upset about the fact that he is supporting a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine and supported extending background checks for 18- to 21-year-olds who want to buy AR-15-style weapons.

KEILAR: Also happening over the weekend, Congressman Adam Kinzinger said he received a mail threat against him and his family, warning that he will be executed for his participation in the January 6th Committee and saying that his wife and child will be joining him in hell.

Joining us now is former Republican congressman, Francis Rooney. What do you think as you're looking at this? Let's -- let's talk specifically at this moment, involving Dan Crenshaw and also this threatening letter against Adam Kinzinger.

FRANCIS ROONEY (R), FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Well, I've seen these people up close and personal. After I wrote the op-ed after the election that the Republicans needed to accept the results and move on, I got six death threats, and one of them even included my daughter.

So these people won't stop at anything. They're maniacs. These are the people that -- that accosted Crenshaw, who's about as conservative as any Republican there is. Show just how unhinged they are.

KEILAR: Congressman, how big of a section of the party do you believe it is, particularly in Texas?

ROONEY: I think it's pretty big. You guys have been reporting figures in the 50 percent or plus range that are -- adhere to Trump and deny the election. And as long as that persists, the Republican Party of Reagan doesn't exist.

KEILAR: What does this mean?

ROONEY: This is the party of Trump.

KEILAR: This is the party of Trump. What does this mean for the Republican Party, when you have the Texas Republican Party platform defining homosexuality as an abnormal lifestyle choice, which it's important to note, this is new, right? This is not something that was part of the 2018 or the 2020 platforms.

ROONEY: You know, (AUDIO GAP) finding more issues to -- around which to be on the wrong side of history and the current state of our globalized, civilized world.

At the end of the day, mutations have happened in the parties before. You know, the Republicans were born out of the -- the fractures that (AUDIO GAP) -- represent historically -- (AUDIO GAP) -- the Republican Party, pro-business, pro-trade around the world and stability, are going to have to find a new home somehow. Right now, they're becoming no party affiliations.

BERMAN: So the direction -- in terms of the direction, if this is something, as Brianna points out, that's new in the Texas Republican Party, what does it tell you about the direction the party is going in, nationwide?

ROONEY: Well, yes, I mean, it -- it seems to be that there's a base of people that are vocal, that are fanatics, in my opinion, and fairly lawless, that will do anything to defend Trump and to defend the -- the kind of chaos that they -- they have justified, with like January 6. And they'll do anything.

So we have to move on. As a businessperson and a conservative Republican who believes that Ronald Reagan and people like that led our country very well, we need to move on. Somehow or another, find a new home, whether it's a new party or just stay as a no party affiliation, and, you know, support people who don't dilute -- (AUDIO GAP)

KEILAR: I want to listen to a moment involving Senator John Cornyn. You mentioned, of course, Berman, Crenshaw and sort of what he was getting because of his support for some gun legislation.