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New Day Saturday

Four Killed, 159 Unaccounted for in Deadly Condo Collapse as Search and Rescue Continues; Dozens From Latin American Countries Reported Missing in Florida Condo Collapse; Derek Chauvin Sentenced to 22.5 Years for George Floyd's Murder; Republican Resistance Grows Over Biden's Infrastructure Plans; Rain, Fire, Smoke Complicate Champlain Condo Collapse Search And Rescue. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired June 26, 2021 - 06:00   ET




LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Larry Madowo in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and this is CNN.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Saturday, June 26th. I'm Boris Sanchez live in Surfside, Florida where search and rescue efforts are underway right now. They haven't stopped since a deadly building collapse early Thursday morning.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Erica Hill live in New York. Thanks for starting your morning with us today. People across the country and in that tight knit community of Surfside praying for a miracle today. Rescue crews, as Boris mentioned, are working around the clock, putting their own lives at risk in the hopes that there are lives to save beneath the rubble.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Here in Surfside, hope is the only thing a lot of people have right now. A hundred and fifty-nine people still unaccounted for, at least four people are dead and being here on the scene, you realize not just the scope of the collapse, but also the factors that are going to complicate a rescue. The smoke that's still in the air from nearly incessant fires underneath this field of debris and of course the scale of the challenge that is facing these emergency teams.

Right now, they're racing against the clock and yet having to move in a painstakingly slow fashion to sift through debris as, again, those frequent fires, bad weather and smoky conditions complicate their work. We're all essentially stuck waiting for news, any sign that would keep hope alive, and as we speak, there team standing by waiting to treat anyone that they may find on site.

As we hope for answers, there's now a wall honoring the missing that's been set up not very far from where we are right now. Dozens of families sitting in uncertainty, anticipating any news about their loved ones.

Adding to their frustration, the mystery. We still really have no idea what brought most of this building down, but there's a new report out that could hold some very important clues. Experts caution that we may not know the reasons for months and there are still many questions to answer about accountability. Could this have been prevented?

The main focus now, though, is on finding survivors and from families here to first responders, there is still hope.


CHIEF ANDY ALVAREZ, MIAMI-DADE FIRE RESCUE: You got to have hope and we're doing everything that we can to bring your family member out alive.


SANCHEZ: An emotional statement from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue there. We have a team of reporters standing by to bring you all the latest information. Joining us now, Nick Valencia who is standing by at a site set up for families waiting for word on their loved ones and also here on scene is CNN's Rosa Flores. Rosa, you've been here in Surfside since the rescue efforts began and it's now day three. At this point, what information do we know about where the rescue effort stands? Has it become a recovery effort?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is definitely still a rescue effort, Boris. The latest that we heard from the fire chief last night is that they are expanding their search strategically. They're looking under the rubble. To do that, they've got to shore up the building. This is painstaking and dangerous work with firefighters working in about 15-minute increments because of the dangers that they're being exposed to.

Every single piece of rubble, every single piece of concrete that they move could have a catastrophic reaction and so they're moving very slowly, very methodically for the safety of everyone involved. They're also working on top of the rubble, a method called de-layering. They are pealing through some of those layers to try to find signs of life, but there have been a lot of challenges.

First of all, there is that fire. Fire crews say that they can't get to the fire. It is so deep rooted in this building that it's very, very difficult. All they can do right now is put water on it, but that also complicates the search even more because that adds weight to the structure.

Then we've also had rain, torrential rains at some points. That, of course, adds more weight to the structure, complicates the situation, puts more water underneath in the parking garages where we know that some of these firefighters have been searching. By the way, in those areas where there is water, where there is other hazards like gas potentially, fumes, vehicles, cars, firefighters say that they can't be in there more than five minutes because it is so incredibly dangerous.


And then there's also been wind gusts out here. Now, if you look at the pictures of this partially collapsed building, you'll understand why that is so dangerous. There are still pieces of concrete that are dangling, pieces of this building that are dangling, mangled metal. That complicates the situation so much for these firefighters who are risking their lives.

And then there are the resources that are coming in. We've seen local, federal, state resources. FEMA is on site. Firefighters from Mexico and Israel have arrived as well. Some of the resources that they're using are cameras that they can -- they can put through the crevices, through holes, to try to find signs of life. They're also using sonar, listening devices.

The mayor of the city says that so long as the men and women that are sifting through this rubble, Boris, still have hope, she says there is hope, there is hope here in Surfside to continue looking for life to continue giving hope to those families who are waiting in that reunification center for word about their loved ones, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Hope, Rosa, even in the face of really staggering complications. You mentioned the weather is a factor. Later this hour, we're going to get an update on what kind of weather conditions these rescue teams are going to be facing.

Let's talk about the families and the agonizing wait for answers. The families of the missing are clinging to hope that their loved ones are going to be found and that they're going to be OK. CNN's Nick Valencia is near the family reunification center. Nick, you've had some very emotional conversations over the last day or so. Bring us up to speed on how these families are doing right now.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning, Boris. It's very quiet here outside the hotel where the family members and friends of those still unaccounted for were moved about a block away from that community center which was a site for volunteers to drop off food, goods here and people were actually sleeping there overnight after, you know, their entire building where they were living just collapsing beneath them.

There is a heaviness here in the air, though. People are still clinging to this idea that there could be a miracle and not letting go of the belief that their loved ones are still alive, if only trapped under that debris, but I mention that heaviness. That comes in waves, especially with every passing hour.


VALENCIA (voice-over): If hope is the last thing that's lost, there's still plenty of it here outside the Surfside community center. among those still holding out for answers about their unaccounted loved ones is Abigail Pereira.

Do you still have hope?

Pereira says her friends, Fabian Nunez and his partner, Andres Galfrascoli, had arrived at the Surfside high rise just a few hours before the collapse to stay at the apartment of a friend. They had plans to take their daughter, Sophia, to the beach the next morning. She says the six-year-old is also missing.

Mike Silber was at home in bed in New York when he saw video of the building his uncle lives in on the news. He's now in Surfside looking for answers for the five family members he says are still missing but believes are still alive.

MIKE SILBER, THREE FAMILY MEMBERS IN COLLAPSED CONDO BUILDING: There's absolutely survivors in here. There's no question about it there are survivors in there. I hope it's my family and I hope it's everybody.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Adriana LaFont says her ex-husband, 54-year-old Manuel LaFont, was also inside the building when it came down. She says in Spanish she, too, hasn't given up hope of finding him alive.

While there is hope, there is also growing frustration. Friends, family members and community volunteers gather to share their pain in between heavy bands of rain. The weather added to the unwelcome stress. Carol, what's making you tear up right now?

CAROL HUDSON, SURFSIDE, FLORIDA RESIDENT/VOLUNTEER: The sadness of what everybody's going through. If I -- if I didn't know where my parents were or my kids were for a day, I'd go nuts.

VALENCIA (voice-over): But volunteers like B.Z. Openden, who is visiting from Baltimore, said he hoped to do his part to help put some of those waiting here at ease. You're, by far, the youngest volunteer here.

B.Z. OPENDEN, 13-YEAR-OLD VOLUNTEER FROM BALTIMORE: Maybe yes, but, you know, the more, the better, right? Anyone could help.


VALENCIA: Little bit of levity there from a 13-year-old who decided to spend his vacation time here helping out strangers, though first responders here say they are doing all they can to help, but there are some here who are growingly frustrated and believe more can be done, that there just really isn't enough resources here dedicated to the rescue effort. It is still very much so a rescue effort.

We spoke yesterday to Soriya Cohen whose husband and brother-in-law she believes are still trapped alive under that debris. It sounded almost as though she was willing to go in there herself. She said she believes more can be done and is embarrassed with the recovery effort.


Again, though, first responders saying they are doing all they can at this point and, Boris, you just have to ask yourself, you know, if your family, if you believed that your family was trapped under there alive and not much was being done or not enough was being done, you know, what you would be willing to do, where your head would be at in that moment, that's a question that a lot of people here have as we're on day three now of waiting for answers, Boris

SANCHEZ: That agony of not knowing leads to desperation. Nick Valencia, thank you so much.


SANCHEZ: Joining us now to discuss the process of going through this rescue is Pete Gomez, retired assistant Miami fire chief. He ran the city's emergency operations center for six years. Pete, we appreciate having you this morning and your expertise.

I want to ask you specifically about the frustration that we're hearing from these families who are arguing that more can be done. Conversely, from officials, we've heard that this has to be a painstaking process, that this has to be slow because their own lives are at risk. They could potentially hurt someone while trying to complete a rescue. If you could describe what that process is like. Take us into that work of clearing debris and trying to rescue anyone who might still be alive.

PETE GOMEZ, ASSISTANT MIAMI-DADE FIRE CHIEF (RET.): Correct. I understand the frustrations and, you know, my condolences go out to everybody and everybody's family that's there, but this is not a -- you're not removing rubble like you would from a collapsed building that you purposely brought down to clear out so that you can put up another building or something like that.

What you're doing is, and I heard the term earlier, you're de-layering all the debris on top and you have to be very careful with it because as you remove one piece, that piece could have an effect on something that it's tied to, right? Especially when you're talking about concrete and steel and if you cut it or you move it, it can have an effect somewhere else and you're not talking about just the safety of the responders, but remember this is still a rescue operation.

In our minds and their minds, there's still people alive in hat rubble pile and they don't want to cause either more damage if they are, in fact, alive there or they don't want to cause, you know, death to somebody. So it has to be a very meticulous process, but I understand people's frustrations. You just have to understand this is the way it's got to be done because it's such a dangerous situation.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Pete, as I'm watching behind you, I see what appears to be rain. I see dark clouds. You're in Key West. You're not that far from where we are now in Surfside and that weather is likely going to be here in just a matter of hours. How does the weather, how does the rain specifically, complicate this process?

GOMEZ: Well, in the base (ph) where they are working, obviously you already have water there. So it's going to accumulate more water, making their work efforts a little bit more difficult, but on top, you are now making all that rubble, the rocks there, a lot more slippery. So their footing is going to be affected by it. Plus, there's an added weight to it, so it has that effect on the entire rubble pile itself.

Plus, it makes -- it makes working a lot harder because obviously the rain is going to have an effect on your ability to pick up rocks and pick up stones and do some cutting and your shoring operations. All that is going to be affected by the rain. SANCHEZ: Yes. Pete, I want to lean into the hope that you were talking about. Your team was actually in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010 and you were actually able to pull out a survivor, a woman in her 70s, after five or six days following that earthquake. If you could, paint a picture for us of what someone who is alive in a -- in a pocket of rubble right now, what is that like? What are they going through and what are the chances of survival as we now surpass 48 hours?

GOMEZ: Well, you hit the nail on the head. We've experienced it. We have documented cases of pulling survivors out of these collapsed structures and the Haiti earthquake was a great example where our team was able to pull out a survivor days after the event. They're obviously -- you know, as long as they can get oxygen, air in a pocket where they're -- you know, where they're surviving, they're going to be OK.

But as the days go on and, you know, things move around, those pockets of air might become compromised. So it's imperative that we get in there as quick as possible and get them out and/or pump air into those voids where they're at.


So there is still hope. I guarantee there isn't one rescuer on that pile that doesn't believe that they can still bring somebody alive and I would say to the families, we have to have hope and let the men and women that are there do their thing. They've done this a lot, they train for this and it's a methodical process, but it has to be done this way.

SANCHEZ: It requires an uncanny ability to maintain the focus that you need, facing potentially so much loss and all the obstacles that we just outlined and to still be able to focus on being hopeful and doing what you can to save lives. Pete Gomez, we appreciate your perspective this morning. Thanks so much for getting up early for us.

GOMEZ: You're welcome.

SANCHEZ: So the collapse took place here in Surfside in the United States, but some of the missing come from all over Latin America. Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia just to name a few. Now, several Latin American countries have confirmed their citizens were in the Surfside building. You'll hear from some of their families when we come back after a quick break.




SANCHEZ: As the sun rises here in Surfside, Florida, the impact of this tragedy extends far beyond Florida and even the United States. Rescue crews are now working around the clock, cautiously moving rubble in the hopes of finding any of the 159 people still unaccounted for. So far, only four deaths have been confirmed and that means that dozens of families are facing an agonizing wait for answers.

Among those still missing, at least 31 people from six Latin American countries. Authorities have confirmed that these folks either lived or were staying in the building when it collapsed. CNN's Matt Rivers has their story.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as so many families await news about their missing loved ones in Miami right now, as more and more time passes, we're getting more information about just how many people around the world really have been affected by all this.


RIVERS (voice-over): The collapse happened on American soil, but the impact of this tragedy extends far beyond U.S. borders. Dozens of citizens from countries around Latin America are missing, including Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay.

Among those who are still unaccounted for, Sophia Lopez Moreira, the sister of Paraguay's first lady, along with Lopez Moreira's husband and three children. Paraguay's foreign ministry said the family went to Miami to get vaccinated and brought along a babysitter, Lady Vanessa Luna Villalba. Her family told CNN it was her first ever trip outside the country.

We're hoping for a miracle, said her cousin, but we just don't know if you should cry now or not.

Also among the missing, a Chilean citizen relatives say is related to former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. As word spread about the accident, families from across the region came to Miami for news of their loved ones, news that was difficult to come by.

Nothing. We are desperate, she says. The atmosphere changed from yesterday to today. It's not the same.

Abigail Pereira is a friend of an Argentinian couple that remain missing, along with their six-year-old daughter. Like others here, she's holding on to whatever small hope she can.

She says we are people who are here with a bit of hope because it's all that we have and the only thing they tell us is that there are these kind of microcapsules where there could be survivors.

For rescuers, the work is continuing, digging through debris, heavy machinery involved, occasionally doing what's called an all-stop where everyone stops and listens for sounds of people who might be alive, though for families, there is only the agony of waiting, many choosing to do so inside a center set up for those with missing loved ones.

It's horrible, horrible, says this woman of what it's like inside the center. You see a lot of pain, people that are desperate.

This happened near a part of Miami known affectionately by some as Little Buenos Aires. There are a lot of South American families that live or spend time here and so as the hours go by, there is every chance that the number of South American citizens affected by this collapse goes up even as the chances of finding people alive goes down.


RIVERS: And, Boris, we know that a lot of the countries whose citizens have been affected by this actually have consulates in Miami. some of those consulates have actually been calling around to area hospitals, trying to get news about their missing citizens, unfortunately, in many cases, not getting the kind of positive results that they were hoping for, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Matt Rivers from Mexico City. Thank you so much for that. There are a lot of people that could use a helping hand right now and you can help the collapse victims and their families. If you head over to, there are links there to charitable organizations that have been verified and vetted by CNN. Again, that's

Erica, just reflecting on Matt's piece there, I grew up in Miami and one of the things that I love most about this place is that it is an international city. It's really a melting pot and you see that reflected not only in the people that are unaccounted for, but the people that are trying to help, the firefighters, the rescue teams that are here and the international rescue teams that are here, too, from Israel and Mexico. It is an all hands on deck effort.

HILL: It is a remarkable effort and as we've heard from our colleagues there on the ground and from so many officials, there is still so much hope and people holding out so much hope and it's important to hold on to that and it is remarkable, too, the way the story has really gripped people, as you pointed out, both in the U.S. and far beyond.



HILL: Just ahead, a number of other headlines we're following as well on this Saturday morning. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin sentenced in the murder of George Floyd, sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. So what did the judge weigh in that decision? We'll take a look at that and why some feel the sentence was too lenient. That's next.


HILL: Twenty-two-and-a-half years, that is the prison sentence for fired police officer Derek Chauvin, convicted of George Lloyd's murder. It is the longest sentence for an ex-police officer in the state of Minnesota and it's more than the guidelines called for, but it's less than the 30 years prosecutors wanted.


For now, Chauvin will remain in a restricted housing unit separated from others, several members of George Floyd's family spoke at Friday's hearing including his daughter Gianna.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you could say anything to your daddy right now, what would it be?

GIANNA FLOYD, DAUGHTER OF GEORGE FLOYD: It would be I miss you and I love you.


HILL: In his sentencing memo, the judge said Chauvin treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings. George Floyd's family says Chauvin's sentence still falls short.


PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: We believe that Mr. Chauvin should have received the maximum amount of time. We just doubt that our brother suffered for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, and we will never be able to get him back. So, we just wish that he would have received the max.


HILL: Joining me now to discuss, CNN analyst and civil rights attorney Areva Martin. Areva, good morning, I know you were expecting more here, too, especially given the fact that the judge did cite these aggravating factors.

AREVA MARTIN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Good morning, Erica. Yes, the judge last month or so agreed with the prosecution that there were four aggravating factors that would justify an upward sentence, one that would deviate from the presumptive 12 to 15 years that is provided in the state of Minnesota. But in making the ultimate decision for the 22.5 years, the judge only points to two of those aggravating factors. He talks, you know, extensively in his 22-page memo about the cruel nature, the slow nature in which Mr. Floyd was murdered.

How, you know, he begged for his life, how he pleaded for his life, how he knew that he was actually dying, and then as you said in your opening, he talks about the lack of respect, the lack of dignity that was afforded to Mr. Floyd and how Derek Chauvin abused his position of authority. He relied heavily on those two to increase the sentence from the presumptive 12 to 15 years up to 22.5, but he didn't double the 15 years, which is what the prosecution was asking for. They asked for a 30-year sentence.

And many in the community, you heard George Floyd's family, believed that the judge's failure or refusal to give Derek Chauvin the maximum really falls short of the accountability that they were looking for.

HILL: How much of this 22 and a half year sentence do you think Chauvin will actually serve? MARTIN: Well, what we know about Minnesota is that defendants,

convicted felons like Derek Chauvin serve approximately two-thirds of the time of a figment sentence you saw in this case. Derek Chauvin would be looking at approximately 16 years of that 22.5 sentence, but we also know that there are federal charges that have been filed against Derek Chauvin, both with respect to the murder of George Floyd and also with respect to how Derek Chauvin treated a 14-year-old teenager. He's accused of using a neck restraint, actually kneeling on the neck of this teenager for over 17 minutes. So, he is still facing those federal charges and they're very serious federal charges.

When civil rights violations approved against a defendant and there's been a death as a result of those violations, the penalties are pretty stiff including life in prison and in some cases even the death penalty.

HILL: You know, it was so emotional listening to the victim-impact statements from George Floyd's family. And I think you could sense that. You could really sense how heavy it likely was in the courtroom. I was struck, and you tweeted about this, Derek Chauvin's mother also gave a statement. And as you pointed out in your tweet, in her statement, she didn't mention George Floyd, not once. Clearly based on the memo, the judge had already figured out what he wanted to do in terms of sentencing. But just -- and can you put that in perspective for us? How common or uncommon is it to hear a statement like that?

MARTIN: Yes, Erica, it was. It was really shocking to me, right. I did tweet about it because it caught me by surprise. One, we didn't know who was going to testify or give a statement on behalf of Derek Chauvin. We didn't expect to hear much from Chauvin because we know he has his appeal pending and these federal charges. But his mother coming forward, not unusual for a family member to come forward and plead for mercy for their -- look, I'm a mother, so I can understand a mother, you know, pleading to a court, asking the court to be lenient on their son. But what was unusual was that she didn't address the Floyd family.

Typically, you would see that -- the victim -- the impact witness come forward and at least address the family, acknowledge their loss, express some condolences.


You know, doesn't have to state that her son did anything particularly, you know, that was criminal, but her statement about her son being innocent and people all over the country writing her letters and expressing, you know, same sentiment that he was innocent just seemed tone-deaf and it was really offensive, I think, to the family, I think to the court and just an unusual statement.

HILL: Yes, that's for sure. Areva, we have to leave it there, but always appreciate your insight, good to see you this morning, thank you.

MARTIN: Thanks, Erica. HILL: Well, does he or doesn't he? President Biden says he has a

bipartisan deal on infrastructure. Not everyone agrees. We'll discuss next.



HILL: Despite President Biden declaring we have a deal, Republican opposition to a bipartisan infrastructure bill appears to be growing. The president of course announced the framework after meeting with a bipartisan group of senators this week and then threatened to veto the bill unless a second larger spending package was passed as well. That measure would cover a list of democratic priorities like clean energy and child care. CNN's Daniella Diaz joining us now. So Daniella, lawmakers have weeks of work ahead of them when they would traditionally be taking perhaps more weeks of vacation or time home with their constituents.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: That's exactly right. You know, this is a priority for the Senate and for President Joe Biden. And look, he's facing a lot of obstacles right now that could really put a damper on his vision for unity in Washington. You know, so what happens now? Well, first, Senate staffers actually have to write the legislation. It's actually not even written yet. It's just a framework. And at the same time, Democrats are going to work on this budget resolution, four that will be passed through the Senate using budget reconciliation that would be filled with Democratic priorities that progressives and President Biden want, such as child care, paid child care, paid family leave and funding to combat climate change.

But look, Senate Majority leader really wants to see both of these bills passed in August. But that's a long time from now. So this will be not just take days, not even weeks, but months until the Senate will vote on this. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi already said she won't have the house vote on the bipartisan legislation on infrastructure if the Budget Reconciliation Bill, the budget resolution doesn't come at the same time. And that's already angering Republicans. You know, even some Republicans who have signed on to the framework such as Senator Lindsey Graham have said that if the bipartisan framework is stalled as a result of the budget resolution filled with these Democratic priorities, he's going to hold his vote on this.

So the bottom line here is, even with these 11 Republicans who have signed onto the framework, there's still a lot of time until the actual vote, which will give these members time to voice their concerns, their problems with this and they'll be able to harden their stance on this. And, you know, it's going to be a test of unity through the Senate, whether this coalition of this bipartisan coalition is actually going to support this legislation, and it's going to also be a test for President Biden and Democrats, whether he can unite moderates and progressives on this issue of infrastructure. Erica?

HILL: There are a lot of ifs ahead. Daniella Diaz, appreciate it, thank you. Also with us, CNN political commentator Errol Louis; political anchor at "Spectrum News" and host of the "You Decide" podcast. Good morning. You know, we have a deal. We went from we have a deal to -- oh, wait, do we really have a deal? I mean, realistically, just how precarious is this position?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Erica. It's very precarious. And frankly, it was kind of a long shot all along. This bipartisan group that put this together, in some ways a very modest proposal. They took out a lot of different things that are of extreme importance to Democrats just to make it palatable to some Republicans. It's not -- it's not very big. It's not very ambitious. And some of the more controversial areas were moved over to the reconciliation side. The idea of being that if you can pass it with just 50 Democrats, plus the vice president, we'll go ahead and do that and it won't be something that we have to fight over.

This is important to the president, Erica, that there be some measure of bipartisanship that's evidence. So, this is, you know, that hated word, optics, but in some ways, this is more about appearances that about what actual legislation will be passed. And again, we're just at the framework stage with the handshake face. We haven't even seen the drafting of the legislation, but you know, the politics now consuming the capital are such that, to even talk about working with the other side is the main controversy without regard to how important it is. I mean, we're talking about providing drinking water, you know, an electric grid, roads and bridges, things that everybody can benefit from and agree on. And yet, I think we're going to still see a lot of back-and-forth over this, Erica.

HILL: Everybody can talk about and agree on outside of Washington. But in Washington, it's a far different story as you just pointed out. You know, it's fascinating too, though, is there's also some clean-up happening, you know, from the White House, even some of it behind the scenes with Democrats who were a little upset after some of the comments that the president made. You know, how much should we read into that?

LOUIS: Well, I mean, listen, the Democratic base is real. You know, we've spent, you know, a decade or so talking about all the Republican base and how they're going to, you know, sort of shape both the party and the direction of the country.


Well, you know, Democrats are in charge right now, and they have a base and that base wants there to be real spending, wants there to be real investment, wants there to be a real keeping-of-promises around climate change, around paid sick leave, around, you know, family leave. Things that enable them to squeak through and get a majority, both of the Senate and the House, and then in fact, to take the White House.

So President Biden is very well aware of that, if he's not aware of it, there are members of Congress who will remind him over and over again that the majorities that they hold are slim, they are fragile, they're going to be under attack next year, and that since that's the case, if you want to get big turnout in the suburban districts, in the urban districts that brought the Democrats into the majority, you're going to have to put some real money on the table and not just squander it or bargain it away.

The first time Joe Manchin gets upset or if Republicans make good on their plans to just chop every single thing that the Democrats want to get done.

HILL: You know, I just want your take on -- what's the impact you think on these stalled negotiations when it come to police reform. Because you know, things were looking good for a little while, then they were stalled, this was, you know, as you said at the end of last month that really appeared as though the Senate was close to a bipartisan bill.

LOUIS: Well, there was talk about a bipartisan deal. Listen, I think some of this as kind of like a costume drama where everybody plays their role, and the Republicans pretended they were going to negotiate. But if you listen to what Mitch McConnell is really saying, it becomes clear that there was never really a compromise that was -- that was going to be possible. On policing, in particular, I will tell you, Erica, I fear that this is going to be turned into the kind of issue that Republicans loved to use as a wedge issue to divide Democratic coalitions, to frighten suburban voters, to frankly play on fears that are racial in nature, and try to make sure that Democrats don't turn out in any kind of solid numbers.

I mean, we're hearing it already. There's a crime problem from coast- to-coast, major cities are seeing spikes in crime and we already hear the Republicans trying to sort of gin that up into some sort of broader attack line that we're going to hear over and over again in the mid-terms next year.

HILL: Errol Louis, always good to have you with us, thank you.

LOUIS: Thanks Erica.

HILL: Turning back to our top story, the search and rescue efforts underway in Surfside, Florida. First responders continuing their work, but they are also keeping a very close eye on the skies. We'll take a look at how the weather could impact those efforts today, that's ahead.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: We want to bring you back to Surfside, Florida now, as the search continues for survivors in the Champlain Tower condo collapse. Rainy weather is only going to complicate an already difficult rescue. So, let's get a check in on what conditions are going to be like today. CNN's meteorologist Tyler Mauldin joins us now. Tyler, walk us through what we're expected to see in the coming hours.

TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's the rainy season in south Florida, Boris, and the conditions that we're seeing right now are exactly what we would expect during the rainy season in Miami-Dade County. It's 78 degrees and humid. We've got an east wind coming at 3 to 5 miles per hour. And on that east wind are some streamer showers. You see these showers popping up over the Bahamas and moving into Miami-Dade County and the Tricounty area. Zooming into Surfside, there are some showers in the vicinity, just to the north of you, Boris, you have a very heavy downpour here, no thunder at the moment.

But we are going to see the activity continue to ramp up as we go through the morning hours. As you can see here, a little unsettled today, temperatures will be in the mid to upper 80s, again, quite humid. The one thing I want to point out here is that you may look at this and go, holy cow, it is going to be quite stormy on this Saturday during the recovery efforts. Here's the thing though, I do want to point this out to you. During the rainy season, a lot of the thunderstorms are in the afternoon are driven by the sea breeze, and that sea breeze is really driven by the wind.

Is the wind coming from the east, is the wind coming from the west? Sea breeze is created when the land really heats up and it creates a wind coming in off of the ocean. All right, so a sea breeze. When the wind is coming from the east like it is right now, we typically see morning showers and then those big boomers that are in the afternoon will get pushed all the way to the west coast because the sea breeze will be pushed all the way over there by that east wind. That's what we're seeing today. So, we're going to see morning showers, probably pick up in intensity through about noon, and then comes 3:30-4 O'clock in the afternoon, the majority of the thunderstorms will be well away from Surfside.

But then, once we get into the evening hours and the overnight hours by this time tomorrow, we're going to hit repeat and we'll see some showers begin to move back in during the morning hours. Here's the three-day forecast for you. It is going to be unsettled on Sunday and Monday and the majority of next week, too. Again, Boris, it is the rainy season, so this is to be expected. On again, off again showers and thunderstorms.

SANCHEZ: Yes, we will be watching out for them. Thanks for breaking that down. Tyler Mauldin from the CNN Weather Center. Thanks so much. Erica, in a situation where literally every moment is precious in trying to save as many lives as possible, something like rain complicates things in so many ways. We've heard experts explain how this has to be a painstakingly slow process, it becomes even slower because it makes things more slippery, they could be exposed to potentially deadly toxic chemicals that are potentially open in that debris field.


It just makes things that much harder.

HILL: It really does, and as Rosa pointed out earlier, it also can make the structure or what is there in terms of the debris pile that they have to go through heavier, just because of the weight of that water -- SANCHEZ: Yes --

HILL: Condition to all of the other factors. I mean, there are so much that they are battling against with this painstaking methodical care. It is -- it is remarkable, the work that they do, and the last thing of course they need are further complicating factors. But you know, but as you know well, having grown up in Miami, this is what is going to happen during the Summer.

SANCHEZ: Yes, as Tyler said, it is to be expected. It is unfortunate and hopefully we have a clear day here that will allow workers to do what they need to do. We want you to stay with CNN throughout the day for the latest on the collapse here. After the break, we're actually going to be speaking to a Commissioner of Surfside, Florida, Charles Kesl is going to join us. And in the 8 O'clock hour, the mayor of Surfside is going to be here with the latest on the recovery effort. Stay with CNN, we'll be right back.