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New Day Saturday
DOJ Won't Charge Meadows And Scavino With Contempt Of Congress; Former Trump Adviser Peter Navarro Indicted For Contempt Of Congress; Frustration Grows Over Shifting Narratives About Uvalde Shooting; January 6 Committee Announces First Hearing will Feature Unseen Material. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired June 04, 2022 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. We are so grateful to have you with us here on this Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez. This morning, two former Trump officials will not face charges for stonewalling the January 6 committee. The reaction from committee members and why the DOJ declined to prosecute just days before some high-profile hearings are set to start.
PAUL: Also, so we have some new details for you on the deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children died, what we're learning about the police response and whether classes will be held there again.
SANCHEZ: Plus, we're watching a tropical system closing in on Florida bringing in heavy rain and flooding. Ten million people now under tropical storm warnings that timing and potential impacts your forecast coming up in just a few minutes.
PAUL: Boris, so grateful to have your company in the morning. 6:00 right now on this Saturday, June 4th. Thank you so much for being with us.
SANCHEZ: Always a pleasure to be with you, Christi. We begin with a possible setback for the committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The Justice Department saying that it's not going to indict two former Trump officials found in contempt by the panel.
PAUL: Yes, the committee calls the decision not to indict former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, quote, puzzling. Now this comes as the committee is getting ready for its first public hearing next Thursday. That's when new evidence and witness testimony are expected to be unveiled.
SANCHEZ: Let's go to CNN National Security Reporter Zachary Cohen. He's with us with some details. Zach, walk us through the decision against prosecuting Meadows and Scavino. And how do you think this could affect the investigation?
ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, good morning, Christi and Boris. So the committee is clearly frustrated by the Department of Justice decision not to prosecute Dan Scavino and Mark Meadows, two people that they really have framed as key witnesses in their investigation, and obviously two members of former President Trump's inner circle.
Now, both were subpoenaed by the committee several months ago, and both did cooperate to some extent, before ultimately deciding that there was -- they're going to draw a line and stop. And that was when the committee decided to refer both individuals to Department of Justice for criminal charges.
Now, these cases are complicated because both Scavino and Meadows did make some effort to cooperate with the committee. Obviously, Mark Meadows handed over thousands of text messages to the committee before he stopped cooperating. So, you know, we found out last night that the Department of Justice did not find that there was enough to bring criminal charges in this case, which is clearly a blow to the committee's ability to enforce subpoenas at this pivotal time.
Like you mentioned, we're looking at public hearings that are coming up next week, throughout the month of June. And it's really crunch time for the committee now. And there's also still subpoenas out there, including for five lawmakers that they haven't been able to enforce yet. So we'll see how this affects the investigation itself. We'll see what kind of impact that has on the hearings. But clearly, this is a big blow to the committee.
PAUL: Well, and this news about Meadows and Scavino is coming the same day former White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro was indicted. So talk to us about why he was indicted and what potential consequence might he face if convicted?
COHEN: Yes, unlike Meadows and Scavino, Navarro really made no effort at all to negotiate with the committee and showed no sign of a willingness to cooperate. It was pretty brazen in how we openly defied the committee's subpoena. And the Department of Justice did find that, you know, that weren't the criminal charges.
Now, if he's convicted, Navarro could face a pretty steep penalties, including up to two years in prison, one year for each count of contempt of Congress that he faces and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Now, Navarro, again, we'll see what kind of impact this has on the committee's investigation. But Navarro is, you know, this sends a message that you can't do it Navarro did in terms of brazenly and openly defying a committee subpoena.
SANCHEZ: Zachary Cohen, thanks so much for the reporting.
Joining us now to dig deeper CNN Political Commentator Errol Louis. He is a political anchor with Spectrum News. Errol, always appreciate you getting up bright and early for us. First, I just want to get your reaction to Navarro's arrest and the fact that Meadows and Scavino are not going to face charges, your thoughts. ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Boris. Look, the reality is that the prosecutors, the investigators, if you get some cooperation, you can cut some slack in return.
What Peter Navarro did was so far out of bounds, it's so indefensible that he really had no leg to stand on whatsoever. This is a case where you can complain about the committee, you can challenge the committee in court. You can go on television and say you think they're all a bunch of SOBs. You can even go in and tell them to their faces that you refuse to cooperate, that they have the wrong person or that you want to invoke your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The one thing you can't do Boris, is just ignore the subpoena, and pretend it didn't happen and just say, you're not going to show any kind of cooperation at all. And that is literally contemptuous, and it happens to be against the law. If Peter Navarro thinks he can run out the clock or if he's so slavishly loyal to Donald Trump, that he wants to say absolutely nothing and make a point of raising a middle finger to the United States Congress, well, they're going to strike back and that's just what they did.
SANCHEZ: And he's now claiming that his arrest is unconstitutional. I won't ask you about that. But I did want to play some sound for you from Maggie Haberman of The New York Times. Some reporting she did that former Vice President Mike Pence, his Chief of Staff Marc Short, actually warned the Secret Service on January 5th, that there was a chance Trump might turn on Pence and potentially be a security risk. Here's what Maggie said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAGGIE HABERMAN, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: The President was going to turn on Pence and that, you know, they might have a security risk. Short, as I understand it, did not have a sense of what that threat could look like. I don't believe based on my reporting that he envisioned, you know, what we saw on January 6, the way we saw it.
What he did realize is that the former president had supporters who were very reactive to him, who basically acted, you know, responded to things he would say, and he could see, you know, one person, two people, three people, you know, several people doing something that could be problematic, safety wise for the Vice President, just based on this pressure that the former president was exerting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: How do you think that detail is going to factor into the committee's work that there were people in the administration that had clear concerns for the safety of those at the highest level?
LOUIS: Look, it's extremely important. And what a low point for this country, Boris, that this kind of game of thrones intrigue is going on behind the scenes, that someone -- the chief of staff felt it was important enough to actually contact a protective detail. And it's a reminder that they set up a scaffold outside of the U.S. Congress, and they were chanting, hang Mike Pence. These were very deadly serious intentions with which some of these rioters entered the Congress. And all of that will come out.
My only hope is that we don't become numb to this, that we don't come to see this as normal for people to just, you know, do whatever it takes to hang on to power to treat the Congress with contempt, to treat the halls of Congress with contempt, to ransack the Capitol, try and disrupt the smooth transition of power, and in this case, try to assassinate the vice president. I mean, this is deadly serious stuff. I hope it will be treated that way when the hearings began this week.
SANCHEZ: Well, that's what I wanted to really get your thoughts on, because it feels like for a lot of folks, January 6 was a long time ago. And I talk to folks all the time who don't keep up with the latest details in the investigation. So how does the committee successfully break through what you just alluded to, the sort of normalization, the, oh, that was yesterday, of this whole incident?
LOUIS: Yes, it's going to be one of the harder things for the committee to do, because let's keep in mind, they're all members of Congress. And frankly, they're all running for re-election this year. In the heat of a primary campaign, especially, it's very hard to be somewhat restrained and bring to the proceedings the kind of the tone of the gravity that it requires. But that's going to be their main task.
If this comes to be seen as just, you know, sort of a clownish offshoot of the midterm elections, what a loss that would be for democracy. This was an extremely serious, not just breach of the norms, but democracy itself was really at risk. And if we can't convey that to the public, and let them know exactly what happened, and what's at stake, we're setting ourselves up, frankly, for a replay of it in 2024. And that would be the worst outcome of all, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Errol, I quickly want to pivot to the issue of guns because there's a Republican Congressman, Chris Jacobs, who is from the Buffalo area, he announced he's not running for office again after he expressed support for a ban on AR-15s and raising the legal age to own a gun. Obviously, we know what happened in Buffalo about three weeks ago with one of those kinds of weapons. What does this say to you as Congress is trying to reach this bipartisan deal on some gun safety legislation that a Republican is essentially saying, this makes me unelectable?
LOUIS: Loosen the deal. The deal, assume it even happens in good faith is very unlikely to reach any kind of decent conclusion. I think this speaks to the radicalization of the Republican Party.
I mean, the head of the Republican Party in New York State, in fact, announced that he was going to personally run against him in a primary, run against Representative Jacobs. Why? Because Representative Jacobs after this slaughter of 10 innocent people in a store so that he was willing to consider not cast a vote, but that if there was an assault weapons ban that came up again, along the lines of what was passed in 1994, he would consider voting for it.
That is a level of heresy that apparently even in New York, the Republican Party will not tolerate. They drove them out of politics in less than a week. It's a radicalization of the party that really can't be overstated. It's a mainstream position to say that, gee, maybe we shouldn't let 18-year olds have these weapons of war and use them in the way that they were used so tragically just recently. Apparently, you can't even say that now.
SANCHEZ: We're going to get an update on the negotiations ongoing on Capitol Hill later this hour. For now, Errol Louis, thanks so much for joining us this morning.
LOUIS: Thank you.
PAUL: We're learning some new troubling details in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Now, a Texas state senator says the incident commander on the scene that day, school Police Chief Pete Arredondo did not have a police radio on him at the time of the attack. Now, Arredondo decided against breaching the classroom where the shooter was potentially costing lives there. And now the school district says no students will return to that school where 19 children and two teachers were killed.
CNN's Camila Bernal is with us from Uvalde. Camila, there's such growing frustration over the lack of accurate information from investigators. Have you been able to parse through much of it?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There really is, Christi. Good morning. And look part of it, it's because it's been more than two weeks since the shooting and we still do not know why or how that shooter was in that classroom for more than an hour before he was shot dead by authorities. So the frustration is over the lack of clarity, the changing in the information, the corrections.
Everything we still do not know and are not getting from authorities. That is the problem. And part of that frustration was very visible during last night's school board meeting. It was the first one since the shooting. And parents were obviously very upset, saying that their children were scared to return to school did not want to go back to school.
But two notable things coming from that meeting. One is that the superintendent said that children will not be returning to Robb Elementary. The other notable thing is that there was no action taken against Pete Arredondo, the police chief, the school police chief that was in charge of that incident, who chose not to go inside of that classroom and did not allow other officers to go inside of the classroom.
And as you mentioned, the state senator is saying that he did not have a radio. The question is whether or not he knew that there were still children calling 911, pleading saying they were afraid, saying they did not want to die, saying there were bodies, that their teacher was shot. And it's part of the reason why so many parents and lawmakers are asking for accountability. Here is state Senator Roland Gutierrez.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D), TEXAS STATE SENATE: The folks that are accountable to the legislature on the state troopers. I asked for a report as to how many there were in that hallway and what time. What I got in oral statement from law enforcement was there anytime there was between two and 13 officers in that hallway.
Why in the world did they kowtow to Mr. Arredondo or anybody else suggesting that he is the incident commander? None of this makes sense to me. And with all of that, little children might have died. They could have been saved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL: And not just that, but there's also a lot of trauma. CNN speaking to the teacher that was accused of leaving the door open, Amelia Marin, authorities corrected themselves said that she did not leave the door open. It just didn't lock. But, unfortunately, her attorney is saying that she is still shaking from all of this. She's having to see a specialist and it's not just her, it's many in this community who are still dealing with this trauma. Christi?
PAUL: Camila Bernal, great report. Thank you so much for keeping us updated there.
Now President Biden is calling on Congress to pass stricter gun control measures, but Senate Minority leader, excuse me, Mitch McConnell, is pouring cold water on a lot of those proposals.
SANCHEZ: Let's take you now to Capitol Hill and CNN's Daniella Diaz. Daniella, McConnell says that any gun deal must target what he claims is the actual problem. So it appears that any gun safety legislation is going to be pretty narrow.
DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: That's right, Boris. There is such a divide between how Republicans and Democrats see this issue of gun safety reform.
McConnell said in remarks this week that the problem here is, quote, mental illness and school safety. He did not mention that it had anything to do with gun access in this country. He said it was, quote, consistent -- or any legislation that they a deal or they agree on in the Senate has to be, quote, consistent with the Second Amendment.
So, of course, that is not what Democrats want. Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democrat who is, in these negotiations, these bipartisan talks that started taking place after the Uvalde shooting, he said that there are still, quote, a lot of outstanding issues with what these talks are. What's happening in these talks, he said, among them, whether to raise the age to 21 to purchase semiotic rifles. And he indicated to us this week that next week will be critical in these bipartisan talks. He understands that right now there is momentum for this issue. In these talks, they're talking about upgrading school security, bolstering the country's mental health system, expanding background checks, and pushing states to implement tougher red flag laws. And there's also other issues that they're discussing including gun trafficking.
But really Republicans want a narrower bill, they believe that they should be narrowing the scope. While Democrats are hoping for something more wide-ranging, like what the House is doing. House Democrats are actually going to vote on a bill this week where they would -- bill that would raise the legal age to buy certain semiotic rifles to 18 to 21. It would establish new federal offenses for gun trafficking, among other provisions that they hope to pass through the House.
Of course, remember, the House makeup is very different than the Senate and the House. It's a simple majority to pass bills in the Senate. Democrats, all 50 Democrats would need at least 10 Republicans to break that 60 vote threshold for the filibuster, which is why these bipartisan talks are so important and why, of course, Senator Chris Murphy, and there's other Democrats are hoping that they could break through with Republicans on some sort of gun safety reform.
But look, Congress comes back this week. They were in recess last week. So that, we'll see those negotiations take place in person and they're going to be very, very critical this week, according to of course, those senators that are in these negotiations. Boris?
SANCHEZ: We will be watching closely. Daniella Diaz from Capitol Hill, thank you so much.
While talks at the national level continue, some states are moving quickly to tighten gun restrictions. New York state lawmakers passed legislation this week banning anyone under the age of 21 from buying a semi-automatic rifle. Notably that same kind of weapon that was used nearly three weeks ago to kill 10 people in a racist shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo.
PAUL: Lawmakers also passed a bill limiting the purchase of bullet resistant vests and another measure broadening the state's Red Flag Law. CNN's Athena Jones has more.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. New York Governor Kathy Hochul call this a nation leading gun legislation package. These 10 bills tighten New York's gun laws, closing loopholes and directly addressing gaps in state law. The governor and state legislative leaders said we're exposed by the recent horrific shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde and other places in recent days.
Among other things, this package raises the age to 21 to buy a semi- automatic rifle. You'd have to have a license to buy the sort of weapon and you wouldn't be able to get such a license unless you were 21. It requires new pistols to have what's called micro-stamping technology, provided that technology is deemed feasible. Micro- stamping is sometimes described as a gun's fingerprint on each bullet it fires.
The bills would ban most civilians from buying bullet resistant vests or other kinds of body armor. And it broadens red flag laws by expanding the list of people who can apply for a special kind of protection order that allows courts to seize weapons temporarily from someone who was deemed a danger to themselves or others.
But even as Governor Hochul makes this push and hails and celebrates this push at the state level, she's also calling for federal action. She said, as long as illegal guns are out there, they will find their way to the streets of New York.
Athena Jones, CNN, New York.
PAUL: Athena, thank you so much.
Take a look at what is happening in South Florida. Millions of people under tropical storm warnings. We're going to tell you what we expect from that storm blowing through.
Also, t's exhausting, fatiguing for these parents who now for months had been struggling to find formula amid this nationwide shortage of baby formula, of course. Well the Abbott Nutrition plant is getting ready to go back online now. So, what is the timeline for which we may be able to see more supplies back on the shelves? We'll have more on that in a moment. Stay close.
SANCHEZ: So right now, some 10 million people are under tropical storm warnings in the southern half of Florida, Cuba, of Bahamas. Experts say there's a chance that the system producing strong winds, heavy rain and flooding is going to form into Tropical Storm Alex, potentially the first name storm of this year's Atlantic hurricane season.
So far, one person has been found dead and 50,000 are without power in Havana because of the storm. The system is expected to continue to impact Florida today including Miami and the keys.
PAUL: Also today, Abbott Nutrition is expected to restart work in its Sturgis, Michigan plant. This, of course, is months after it was shut down. But the closing of that plant has been at the heart of the nationwide baby formula recall. It's like millions of families across the nation just scrambling to figure out how they're going to feed their babies.
The Biden administration is still trying to figure out what went wrong after clear miscommunication and mishandling by the FDA. The first batches of new formula are expected to be available for you around June 20th. So still a little more than two weeks away.
SANCHEZ: The latest jobs report shows strong gains in May, with U.S. employers adding another 390,000 jobs.
PAUL: Yes, the number slightly less than the previous month but still higher than what economists predicted. CNN Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans has more on the state of the economic recovery at this point.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Christi, Boris, recession fears are growing, inflation is at 40-year highs, but companies are still hiring. The U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May. Now that's slower than in recent months, but still a very solid number.
The labor market is now just 822,000 jobs shy of pre-pandemic levels, and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6 percent. That's just above the 50-year low the U.S. hit before the pandemic in February 2020. Where are the jobs? We're seeing big jumps in leisure and hospitality particularly restaurants, professional and business services, transportation, warehousing, and in construction.
Wages rose 5.2 percent over the past year, not quite as fast as recent months. That's calming fears of an overheating economy. But it's not great news for workers of course since paychecks are not keeping up with inflation. Remember in April, consumer prices jumped 8.3 percent from a year ago. Next week, we get the numbers for May.
Everyone from the White House to the Federal Reserve to Wall Street is hoping for signs inflation has peaked. Christi, Boris?
SANCHEZ: Christine Romans, thank you so much for that.
Across the country, schools are scrutinizing their safety plans in the wake of the Uvalde shooting. Next, we're going to talk to an expert about what more needs to be done to prevent yet another tragedy. Stay with us.
PAUL: Thirty minutes past the hour right now. Survivors and relatives of victims in the Uvalde shootings are set to testify on Capitol Hill next week. And this testimony is coming as obviously frustration is mounting there in Uvalde. Lawmakers have offered shifting accounts of what happened during the shooting and lawmakers are debating future safety measures as well.
Well, Amy Klinger is with us. She's Founder and Director of Programs for the Educators School Safety Network. Amy, we appreciate you being with us, thank you so much. One of the things I read that you had said was really interesting. You said "it may seem counterintuitive, but when the only focus is an active shooter, schools are actually less safe." Can you expound on that for us, please?
AMY KLINGER, FOUNDER & DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS, THE EDUCATOR'S SCHOOL SAFETY NETWORK: Well, I think that's one of the real dangers here, that if we only go to a response orientation, and we only think about active shooter, we actually in many ways can make our schools less safe.
Because we haven't dealt with facility concerns, we haven't examined the role of law enforcement, we haven't looked at daily operations in a school and probably most critically, we have not worked to identify individuals of concern and provide appropriate support and interventions.
There is a real risk that we just move to more active shooter drills, and that's all we are thinking about, instead of adopting an all- hazards comprehensive approach to this really difficult problem.
PAUL: So, I want to break up a couple of the points that you just mentioned. First off all, how do every day operations affects what happens in a real crisis, an emergency crisis as we saw in Uvalde?
KLINGER: It's when we use our daily operational procedures and we eliminate the discrepancy between the theoretical of what we have written down and what we think we might do and the reality of what we do every day.
And it's not saying that school safety becomes the only thing we do, but it becomes infused and interwoven through everything we do in the facility, the way we move kids around, the way that we greet and engage with visitors, the way that people have access to the building, all the different parts of what happens in a school every day needs to happen under current of safety. Not just active shooter, but all the other hazards that schools face. And so, it becomes part of our daily way of doing business.
PAUL: You mentioned something about the suspect, the shooter in this case. Have you been able to spot potential actions regarding individuals who seem, you know, troubled or dangerous? You know, how there can be some accountability for them? And I say that knowing -- I mean, let's be honest, in this particular case in Uvalde, this was not a student at that school.
KLINGER: Right, and I think that becomes -- you know, that's a difficult part, but it's one of the critical pieces that we need to do. I don't want to comment too specifically on this one because the investigation is still ongoing. But we know when we look at past attacks, that all of these attackers were giving off warning signs. They were engaging in behaviors of concern, either in their school, in their family or in their community, which is why it is so critical for it to move beyond just the schools responsibility.
Families need to be looking at their own situations. Communities need to be supporting that work. And so, we have an obligation as a school to identify and provide interventions and support and accountability and consequences for these lower level events before they escalate to a horrific tragedy like this.
PAUL: Do you see situations where we rely on training and technology more than we rely, perhaps, on trust of our educators and our school systems and the leaders who run them, and the communications then between parents and students and other families there?
KLINGER: Well, I think the training piece is one that is really underutilized. We tend to focus very heavily on either response and not prevention, or we focus very heavily on buying stuff instead of investing in people. And you know, education is a people business, and we need to be investing in educators.
The voices of educators are typically not centered in these discussions. You guys are one of the few networks that have had an educator on to talk about this. So, often times, we don't hear the voices of educators and we don't invest in their training to provide them with the skills and capabilities that critically they need because they are the first responders.
PAUL: Yes, no doubt about it. I mean, we need to hear from educators. We need them to feel safe because they're the ones who eventually take charge of our children if something like this happens, and they lost their life this time around as well. Amy Klinger, thank you so much, we appreciate it.
KLINGER: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: As lawmakers gear up for the first public hearings on the January 6th riot, for Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, it's only the latest chapter in a life-long fight to defend voting rights. A closer look at the chairman's work after a quick break. Don't go anywhere.
PAUL: We are now just five days away from the first public hearing in the January 6th riot. And it's still not clear which witness will testify, but the committee says they will present previously unseen documents and materials.
SANCHEZ: CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger sat down with Bennie Thompson to talk about how chairing this investigation is a full-circle moment for a career spent defending voting rights.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Christi and Boris, Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson; Chairman of the January 6th Committee has a very personal view with the meaning of a free and fair election. In fact, making sure every vote-counts has been his life's work.
BORGER (voice-over): The way Bennie Thompson saw it from a house gallery on January 6th, his congressional lapel pin was a badge of honor.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Security, they told us, you need to take your pin off because they break in and see you with that pin on, they could kill you. I said not, there are many people who I know who fought and died in this country, for me to have the right to represent and for them to have the right to vote. I'm not going to let any insurrectionist or a rioter, crazy person come here and take this pin.
BORGER: He's been wearing a pin for 13 terms. The only Democrat and only black member of Mississippi's congressional delegation, representing one of the poorest districts in the country. Now cast into the national spotlight as chairman of the January 6th Committee, taking on a challenge unlike any other in American history.
(on camera): What's at stake with these hearings?
THOMPSON: Our democracy is at stake. We have to defend our democracy. We have to defend our government.
BORGER (voice-over): For Thompson, now 74, this job is about a personal history come full circle. As a product of the Jim Crow south, the right to vote and be counted in a free and fair election has been his life's work.
THOMPSON: It's an extraordinary arc in a political career.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had to struggle for representation at the local level, at the county level and the federal level.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It wasn't possible in his state for a person of color to be elected.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he was growing up, voting was such an important and treasured thing. So many Mississippians lost their lives over the right to vote. That sticks with you for a while.
BORGER: Or a lifetime. In Washington D.C., Thompson hasn't been one of those well known faces packed in front of a camera. But in his hometown of Bolton, population 521, everyone knows Bennie and the way to his office.
DERRICK JOHNSON, PRESIDENT & CEO, NAACP: People walk in, they sit down, they go get something to drink at the refrigerator, water or soft drink, and they leave. It is like the community office, and that's the person he is.
THOMPSON: This was the police station, city hall. Everything.
BORGER: He lives in the same brick ranch house in the same affordable housing community that he fought to build as mayor in the '70s.
THOMPSON: The person who sold us this land got his life threatened because he sold it to the black community.
BORGER: And he's back every weekend driving around his 300-mile long district which includes the capital city of Jackson and the rural Mississippi Delta. He likes to travel with his fishing pole and guns in the truck.
THOMPSON: I will call friends and say, look, I'll be in the area, let's go hunting. JOHNSON: Duck, deer, one quail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People like that about him. He's just a regular person.
BORGER: Who grew up in the segregated south.
THOMPSON: I went to Bolton colored school. We had no indoor plumbing, obviously no cafeteria, no library.
BORGER: Until he got to the private, desegregated Tougaloo College in 1964. The place where black power found its voice and Thompson found his.
THOMPSON: Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael sitting in this bare building in Mississippi at that point did not allow black and white people to assemble in public buildings. And for me, having never gone to school, until I got to Tougaloo with a white student.
BORGER (on camera): Never?
THOMPSON: Never. It was like --
BORGER (voice-over): It was a revelation of sorts. He was determined not to be one of those people who got an education and left. He was going to get it and use it at home. He started by registering voters.
THOMPSON: I told my mother how excited I was to go to Sunflower County, Mississippi, and help poor African-Americans to register and vote. And my mama said, we don't vote here in Bolton.
BORGER (on camera): Did you register your mother?
THOMPSON: Oh, absolutely.
BORGER (voice-over): For years, the courts became his battleground as his local election wins were consistently challenged. And when he became Bolton's first black mayor in 1973, winning by just 18 votes, he was sued once again by a white challenger.
THOMPSON: We proved that there were people eligible to vote, that the election officials denied, and under the Voting Rights Act, they couldn't do that. People somehow said I cheated. That it just couldn't be a lawful election.
BORGER (on camera): Rigged election? I've heard that before.
THOMPSON: Fast forward, some of the same comments that I heard back then resonated on January 6th.
BORGER (voice-over): Now he's leading the investigation into what happened that day.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got to walk down to the Capitol.
BORGER (on camera): So do you believe that Donald Trump provoked and led the insurrection and then was applauding it as it -- as it occurred?
THOMPSON: I believe Donald Trump was the public master. He allowed with his rhetoric people to be bamboozled into believing that the election was stolen.
BORGER (voice-over): And for Thompson, that's personal.
THOMPSON: My daddy died when I was in 10th grade. But he never had a chance to vote. And for his son to be elected, I think is a sense of how far we've come. The bragging rights as Americans is, you can support the candidate of your choice and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But you don't tear the place up if you lose.
BORGER: When Thompson strikes the gavel Thursday, that's only the beginning of the story he wants the American people to hear, Christi and Boris.
PAUL: Gloria, thank you so much. Great piece there. So, do not forget to watch the new CNN original series "WATERGATE: BLUEPRINT FOR A SCANDAL", it premieres tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN. We'll be right back. Stay close.
SANCHEZ: The New York Rangers are just two wins away from the Stanley Cup final after yet another impressive win over Tampa Bay.
PAUL: You know Coy Wire is all over this. He has this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT". Hi Coy.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Boris. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs, and a big reason why they don't lose two in a row. They've won 17 straight playoff games, following a loss with an 18-foot. Need to comment one of the world's most famous arenas, Madison Square Garden rocking. The fans were not going to let their Rangers lose last night.
Down early to Tampa, they tie it up, and then, Adam Fox-Kaapo Kakko, New York taking its first lead of the game. And this goal here puts the game on ice early in the third. Mika Zibanejad who's been a bad man, his 22 points are already tied for third most ever in the Rangers' playoff year.
New York wins 3-2, taking a 2-0 series lead, Tampa losing consecutive playoff games for the first time in three years as this series now heads to Tampa tomorrow. But tonight, 8:00 Eastern on "TNT", the Avalanche try to take a 3-0 lead in the Oilers series in the Western Conference finals. Now, Women's French Open today, American Coco Gauff playing in her
first ever grand slam final. Early in the tournament, Coco was taking her high school graduation photos under the Eiffel Tower. The 18-year- old has not dropped a single set at the tournament, and something has changed in her recently.
Her parents even said this week, this is the most relaxed they've ever seen her at a major tournament. She's going to need all that poise and composure as she takes on 21-year-old world number one, Iga Swiatek from Poland, who has won 34 straight matches in her last five tournaments.
All right, NBA finals. Now, Boston versus Golden State. And the Warriors are playing in their sixth finals in the last eight seasons. And one of the main reasons they missed two of them, Klay Thompson. After tearing his ACL in the 2019 finals, then tearing his Achilles while recovering from that, Thompson missed two and a half years before returning to his team in January Now he and his Warriors are back, and Thompson is today's difference maker because of his indomitable will and fight to come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KLAY THOMPSON, FORWARD, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: I'm definitely more reflected now because I mean, it can be taken away from you like that. But it's just a such an awesome job to be NBA player. And I knew that before, but going through surgeries and rehabs and putting a jersey on just hits so much harder than it did back in the day.
ANDREW WIGGINS, FORWARD, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: It's wonderful to see him out here. You know, he had a hard two years, but he stayed positive, you know, stayed with it. You know, and now he is shining on the brightest stage.
JORDAN POOLE, GUARD, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Now, he has other guys looking up to him and watching his every step, and especially me, personally. You know, being able just to talk to him and pick his brain to see how mentally strong he is and how he can just come in and make an impact on both sides of the ball, extremely happy for him.
THOMPSON: I try to duck this like every day, my thoughts definitely go to the, you know, surgery table, just to be here again. I mean, I dreamt of this, and it's inspiring for myself to keep going.
STEVE KERR, HEAD COACH, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: I'm happy for all of them, but it's hard not to be most excited for Klay, given what he's been through, the two-year absence, the fight that he's been through to get back to this point, just incredible accomplishment for him and for him to be a part of it, he's just so happy again. It's wonderful to see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: In game one, Klay Thompson surpassed LeBron James for the number two spot on the career 3-point -- playoff 3 points made list. And now, here we go again. Game two tomorrow, never give up.
SANCHEZ: And he'll probably add to those stats. This appears like it could be a long series. Coy Wire --
WIRE: Yes --
SANCHEZ: Thank you so much, man, appreciate it --
PAUL: Thanks, Coy.
SANCHEZ: So days from now, the first public hearings on the January 6th riot are set to begin. We'll tell you what you can expect next.