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New Day

Biden Under Pressure on Iran; Colbert Rips Right-Wing; Patriot Front Suspect's Mother Speaks to CNN; Covid Vaccines for Children Under Five Begin. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 21, 2022 - 08:30   ET



KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: It's getting up to. And the Biden administration has so far taken a pretty hands-off approach. But officials who spoke to Natasha and I say that, you know, look, the more Israel pushes, the shorter Iran's fuse is going to get with potentially unpredictable consequences.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And, Katie Bo, I also want to touch on a story that you're tracking this morning, which is that Brittney Griner, WNBA star, went days, of course, without speaking with her wife. She's gone this whole time, actually, and they were supposed to have a moment to connect over the weekend, and it didn't happen.

Can you tell us about how this came to be?

LILLIS: Yes, the State Department is calling this a logistical error, but, of course, it was just a crushing disappointment for Brittney Griner and her - and her wife. According to Brittney Griner's wife, Brittney tried to call her 11 times on Sunday in what was meant to be a prescheduled call that was going to be facilitated, routed through the U.S. embassy in Moscow, for their anniversary. Nobody at the U.S. embassy in Moscow picked up the phone.

Brittney's wife has since said, of course, that she's, quote, very pissed. She said this to the AP. Perhaps understandably. And she said that she's since learned that the number that the U.S. embassy in Moscow gave to Brittney Griner to call isn't operational on the weekends. It's only monitored during the week days, which is likely why staff at the U.S. embassy didn't pick up.

But, again, just an incredibly disappointing moment for Brittney Griner and her wife, who, obviously, have not spoken in months.

KEILAR: Yes, look, we expect that from the DMV. We don't expect that in a situation like this involving the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

Katie Bo, Natasha, thank you so much to both of you.

We're going to hear more from the mom of one of the Patriot Front men who were arrested on their way to disrupt an Idaho pride parade.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And late night host Stephen Colbert defending criticism of his staffers after they were arrested on Capitol Hill. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were, say, 18 months ago, and for a very good reason. If you don't know what that reason is, I know what news network you watch.




BERMAN: Late night talk show host, comedian Stephen Colbert addressing the arrest of members of his production team at the U.S. Capitol, at the Capitol offices, last week.

Listen to this.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Quick question, how was your weekend? I certainly had an interesting one because some of my staff had a memorable one.

Here's what happened. Last week I heard from my old colleague Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Triumph offered to go down to D.C. and interview some Congress people to highlight the January 6th hearings. I said, sure, if you can get anyone to agree to talk to you because, and please don't take this as an insult, you're a puppet.

Well, he did. Democratic and Republican Congress people agreed to talk to Triumph. He's a bipartisan puppy. He's so neutral, he's neutered.

Now, Triumph, and my folks, shot for two days in congressional offices across the street from the Capitol Building. They went through security clearance. Shot all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, invited into the offices of the Congress people they were interviewing, and that's very important. You have to invite Triumph in. He works on Dracula rules.

Now, end of day two, Thursday evening, after they'd finished their interviews, they were doing some last-minute puppetry and jokey make- em-ups in a hallway when Triumph and my folks were approached and detained by the Capitol Police, which actually isn't that surprising. The Capitol Police are much more cautious than they were, say, 18 months ago. And for a very good reason. If you don't know what that reason is, I know what news network you watch.

So, the Capitol Police were just doing their job. My staff was just doing their job. Everyone was very professional. Everyone was very calm. My staffers were detained, processed and released. A very unpleasant experience for my staff. A lot of paperwork for the Capitol Police, but a fairly simple story.

Until the next night when a couple of the TV people started claiming that my puppet squad had, quote, committed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building. First of all, what? Second of all, huh? Third of all, they weren't in the Capitol Building. Fourth of all, and I am shocked I have to explain the difference, but an insurrection involves disrupting the lawful actions of Congress and howling for the blood of elected leaders all to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. This was first degree puppetry. This was high jinks with intent to goof. Misappropriation of an old Conan bit.

Now, it is predictable - it's really Conan's fault. It's really Conan's fault.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gets the credit, you know.

COLBERT: Now, it's predictable why these TV talkers are talking like this on the TV. They want to talk about something other than the January 6th hearings on the actual seditiousness insurrection that led to the deaths of multiple people and the injury of over 140 police officers. But drawing any equivalence between rioters storming our Capitol to prevent the counting of electoral ballots and a cigar chomping toy dog is a shameful and grotesque insult to the memory of everyone who died and it obscenely trivializes the service and the courage the Capitol Police showed on that terrible day.

But, who knows, maybe there was a vast conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States with a rubber rottweiler.


After all, Thursday night, the night that they were detained was the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. Are we supposed to believe that was a coincidence? Yes.

And we all know the long history of puppet lawlessness. The great Muppet caper, the Fraggle riots of the 1980s. Who can forget when Kukla, Fran and Ollie were hauled into the Charlie McCarthy hearings. And how do you think King Friday came to power in the Neighborhood of Make Believe? With the backing of the head of his secret police, Henrietta Pussycat. Meow, meow, we'll attach jumper cables to your nipples, meow.

But, in this case, in this case, in this case, our puppet was just a puppet, doing puppet stuff. And sad to say, so much has changed in Washington that the Capitol Police do have to stay at high alert at all times because of the attack on January 6th. And as the hearings proved more clearly every day, the blame for that actual insurrection all lies with Putin's puppet.


BERMAN: So, that was Stephen Colbert overnight.

Let me play you some of what he is reacting to, the criticism that he has faced.



TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Last night, producers for Stephen Colbert's show on CBS committed insurrection at the United States Capitol.

JASON CHAFFETZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: All you ask for is equal application of the law. Somebody breaks the law, that they should be charged. So, on the one hand, I'm glad that the Capitol Police had the political guts to actually arrest these people. There is, I think, a question as to, how is it that they got back into the Capitol? Once you've been kicked out, isn't there a security breach by allowing them back in for a second time?

But I'm glad that they have been caught, that they've been charged. But I want to see these people prosecuted to the same degree and the same outrage that the left pretends on January 6th people.


BERMAN: Here now, CNN's senior political analyst John Avlon.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Wow. You know how we like to say that context matters, John. This is a really good example of that. It's also the dumbest possible imaginable example of that. I miss when Republicans used to talk about the dangers of moral equivalence, kind of defined deviancy down in our culture because this is just bonkers. To hear Chaffetz, to hear these Fox News hosts straight-faced talking about how a, you know, toy dog puppet who chomps a cigar in a 20-year- old bit is committing insurrection, I mean, it's somewhere between insulting and absurd.

BERMAN: What does it tell you about how they present what happened on January 6th while the January 6th committee hearings are happening?

AVLON: Well, they devoted more - probably more air time to it on some of those shows than the actual coverage of the investigation hearings. And I think that's the point. They're stretching for anything that has a whiff of hypocrisy when it has nothing to do with the other thing. They're showing more interest in trying to own the libs than investigate an actual insurrection. They actually are constitutional conservatives, that many of them claim to be, then they'd really care about an attempt to overturn an election of the United States that was deemed both illegal and unconstitutional, but they don't.

They want to talk about toy dogs. They want to own the libs. They want to put Hollywood on trial, when it's got nothing to do with anything at the end of the day.

BERMAN: How fertile of an enemy or a target is Hollywood -- in this case it's not Hollywood. Stephen Colbert works down the street.

AVLON: No. Yes.

BERMAN: But the media?

AVLON: Look, I think they think that they can demonize the media and it's part of an old game we see, right? You know, you don't like the news, you demonize the journalists. You try to convince the people that any information that's unflattering to your side politically is biased rather than just the result of something that your side of the aisle did. That's the core problem.

But we've seen that play over and over again, right? Try to delegitimize and demonize journalism to distract from accountability and coverage. This is an extension of that play. It's just an especially pathetic example.

BERMAN: How do you feel about puppets?

AVLON: I'm glad you asked, John.

Look, man, I mean, how I feel about Colbert --

BERMAN: You take the Fifth here because Lord knows they've done that a lot. There is something embarrassing -

AVLON: I'm not a big fan of - I'm not a big fan of taking the Fifth.

Look, you know, I think puppets are not a threat to the republic. I think Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is not anything resembling insurrection or should be said in the same word. And if you can't figure out the difference between this, and, obviously, this is just trolling, but it shows the contempt those folks have at the end of the day for their audience that they think people will buy it, because if you just watch it in isolation, it's -- it needs a laugh track because it's that sad and absurd.


The problem is some people will mistake it for an actual equivalence.

BERMAN: John Avlon, thank you very much.

AVLON: Thanks.

BERMAN: A mother opening up after her son was arrested in connection to a white nationalist hate plot. CNN's Sara Sidner's exclusive interview, next.



KAREN AMSDEN, PATRIOT FRONT SUSPECT'S MOTHER: I was hoping, after spending some time in jail, that maybe this would be a wake-up call for him. Like, to question where -- what is this group that I've been involved -- where is this really getting me? And so that's when I said, you need to - I can't -- we can't do this. You can't live at my house and be doing this kind of stuff and putting this kind of hate out into the world and putting yourself in danger. And I just -- you need to - you need to move out of my house if you can't give up the Patriot Front.



BERMAN: So, the mother of one of the Patriot Front suspects, who was arrested in Idaho, opening up. Her son, Jared Boyce, was one of 31 men found in a U-Haul in Coeur d'Alene. Police say the white nationalist group was planning to antagonize and cause disorder at a local pride parade. Boyce posted bond and went back to his home in Provo, where his -- he had to face his mother. She says her son became entrenched in the white national group and has even gone so far as to pass the hateful beliefs on to his children.


KAREN AMSDEN, PATRIOT FRONT SUSPECT'S MOM: They're both amazing kids. But we'll be driving out and we'll see a rainbow flag and go, oh, the rainbow flag. My dad hates the rainbow flag. The rainbow flag is bad.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is your son teaching your grandchildren to hate?

AMSDEN: I - yes, he is.


BERMAN: Joining me now, CNN's senior national correspondent Sara Sidner. She interviewed Boyce's mother in primetime last night.

You know, what was it like to speak to a mother who is living through this in real time?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's hard. You feel for her because she truly loves her son, as any mother would. It is her only child. And she wants him back. She wants him to come back into her life the way he used to be before he started going down this rabbit hole, before his online family became his real family in his eyes.

And she said that he's been doing this for years. And she is just looking for answers. And I think so many of us are looking for answers because of something that is not as extreme, but this polarization that we're all dealing with, within families and friends, people are - you know, people are starting to walk away from certain family members and certain friends because they can't even talk about regular things because politics kind of gets interjected into it all. And so I think her struggle is an extreme version of a struggle that a lot of Americans are going through right now with family and friends.

She has reached out to try and figure out what to do. And I spoke with a psychiatrist who studies why people join groups, whether it is an extremist group or some other kind of group. Whether it is an extreme left or an extreme right group. And he said the one thing that he could recommend to try and break that cycle is to just stay connected. That can be really hard, right, because she has tried loving him, yelling at him, you know, doing things for him, not doing things for him and now she's kicking him out of the house. But she also recognizes, he's looking for something. He's looking for

acceptance. He's looking for a group that feels like a brotherhood. He's looking for feeling, you know, special and unique. And those are all human things. But he's chosen this path and he's chosen it over his family. And she's devastated.

BERMAN: Yes, the question is, does staying connected equate in any way to some kind of tacit approval or acquiescence at least with the situation. You know, she did talk about - she has talked about too, how she has come to see that this was a serious issue with him over time.

SIDNER: Yes. Yes. She has talked about the first time she knew something was wrong. And it was a conversation where she was picking up the grandkids, and he said something about the Holocaust. And she quoted Anne Frank. And he said, well, the Holocaust isn't real. And that's -- she thought he was joking. And then he doubled down.

BERMAN: I think we have some sound of that.


BERMAN: Can we play that?


KAREN AMSDEN, PATRIOT FRONT SUSPECT'S MOM: I went to go pick up my grandsons and he just started - I said - and he said something about a quote by Anne Frank or something. And he just said something about, that's not even real. The Holocaust isn't real. Look, I -- I thought he was joking.


SIDNER: But he wasn't, she says, because he started doubling down on that and trying to prove to her.

The other thing that happens, sometimes, is that she has said something I've heard a lot from other people whose family members or friends have gone down this path. She said they're constantly trying to convince you that they're right. They're constantly - he is constantly trying to get her to read the manifestos and to do this and that. And she said, look, you know, in her eyes, this is crap. I didn't raise you like this. I didn't raise you to hate gay people. I didn't raise you to, you know, to hate immigrants. And so, for her, it's so difficult and she's decided that she wants to have a great relationship with her grandchildren, but the relationship with her son is going to be very hard for the time being.

BERMAN: Sara Sidner, thank you very much.

And, of course, you can see Sara tonight on CNN tonight at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The nation's youngest finally able to get the Covid vaccine. We're live at a clinic where people are getting the shots, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


KEILAR: More than 800 days into the Covid pandemic, American children under the age of five can finally receive their vaccination, some as early as today. President Biden will be visiting a vaccine clinic alongside the first lady this afternoon.

And CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is joining us from a clinic in Washington, D.C., where I hope some parents there have some ideas about how they're going to manage minimizing the tears with the vaccines for this very momentous occasion, Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, you and I both have little ones and so you -- we want to tell you we might hear a little cry in the background as some of these folks are getting their vaccines for the very first time. But, yes, it is a big deal here. This is at Children's National. And this is the very first time that those under five years old will be able to be vaccinated.

We've seen about four families come through here already. We already know that the need is tremendous. Seventeen million children in that age category who have not been vaccinated for Covid-19.

A couple of challenges here that they say. First and foremost is to get those parents in the door the first time, just to make sure that they actually are convinced this is necessary. They say that 70 percent of kids have already been infected with Covid. But they, the doctors and medical experts, say this is necessary to prevent death and hospitalization and just provide more protection for their children.

Now, what we have seen so far, very little reaction here in terms of, you know, the side effects, they say. It's a cry that we've heard from the kids. And then distraction, really, just being able to turn away and to get that hug or squeeze that hand from the parent.

I had a chance to talk to Doctor Sarah Schaffer DeRoo. She brought in her seven-month-old son. And here's how she's explaining this is going to change their lives.


DR. SARAH SCHAFFER DEROO, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL PEDIATRICIAN: We have been restricting our lives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and having the opportunity to protect my children is of the utmost importance.


This will change a lot. It will allow our older son to do a lot more activities. Right now we've been restricting him to things that can be done outdoors and masked. And so now we'll feel a little more comfortable taking him outdoors and unmasking him there. It will probably take us a little bit of time to adjust to the unmasking in indoor spaces, but it will certainly allow us to have more freedom with our personal lives and what we do.

And for the baby, we'll feel like we have cloaked him in as much prevention as we -- protection as we can.


MALVEAUX: A game changer for a lot of these families, Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, look, 30,000 kids under five hospitalized during the pandemic.

Suzanne, thank you so much.

CNN's coverage continues right now.