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The Situation Room

Interview With Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); Trump Telling People He Will Be Reinstated As President?; Benjamin Netanyahu On The Verge Of Being Ousted?; U.S. Grapples With Surging Gun Violence As Experts Warn Of Bloody Summer; Cyber Attack Devastates Major U.S. Meat Company; Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Biden Announces "Month Of Action" In June To Reach Goal Of 70 Percent Of U.S. Adults Vaccinated By July 4. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 02, 2021 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: This also raises the possibility that Medina Spirit's Derby win might be invalidated. Neither Baffert nor the horse are taking part in this week's Belmont Stakes.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter @JakeTapper. You can tweet the show @THELEADCNN.

Our coverage continues with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now on the verge of being ousted after a historic 12 years in office, as opposition parties in Israel reach a deal to form a new government.

Also, another chapter in America's gun violence epidemic. We're just getting a new video of a shoot-out between sheriff's deputies in Florida and two children armed with weapons, including an AK-47.

Plus: American democracy right now under assault. Outrageous new reporting that former President Trump is telling his allies he believes he will be reinstated as president by August.

We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're covering the breaking news right now from all angles.

Let's begin with CNN Hadas Gold. She's joining us live from Jerusalem.

Hadas, Israel's opposition parties, they have now reached to this agreement to form a new government with a new prime minister, paving the way for Benjamin Netanyahu his exit after a dozen years in office. So, explain to our viewers what happens now.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is history in the making, and could be the beginning of the end for Israel's longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

With just 38 minutes before the midnight deadline, centrist leader Yair Lapid informed the Israeli president that he has managed to form a coalition to potentially be the next government.

Now, I will break down for you that, under the terms of this deal, it's actually going to be the right-wing leader, Naftali Bennett, who was the kingmaker in all of this, who will become the first prime minister for the first two years, followed by the centrist leader Lapid for another two years, as part of a rotating deal.

And also making history tonight is that an Arab Israeli party will be part of a coalition for the first time in Israeli history. This is the United Arab List, also known as the Ra'am Party. First time in Israeli history that an Arab Israeli party has signed on as part of a coalition.

Now, this entire coalition, what's being called a unity government, is comprised of a wide swathe of political parties, from the far left Meretz Party, through the centrist parties, to Naftali Bennett's Yamina Party.

And they don't agree on much, other than they do not want Netanyahu as prime minister any longer. So, this may be a fragile government to start, that is, if they can still get voted in, because despite the fact they have notified the president they have managed to form a coalition, it's not over yet.

Now this government needs to pass a confidence vote in the Knesset, in the Israeli Parliament. That might come as late as Monday, June 14. That leaves a lot of time for Netanyahu and his allies to try to convince a few members of the Parliament to defect, and all they need is a handful, and that could cause this entire coalition to crumble.

So, they are very close to being sworn in. But, with Israeli politics, you can never say never, and until this new government and the new prime minister is officially sworn in, you can never count out the ultimate survivor of Israeli politics, Benjamin Netanyahu.

BLITZER: So, what comes next, Hadas, for Netanyahu, assuming he is no longer the prime minister of Israel?

GOLD: Well, listen, Wolf, he will still be the leader of the Likud Party. He still has a very fanatical and supportive base.

And if he is in the opposition, it's a position he's been in before. He will probably be a very vocal leader of the opposition. And, as I said, this coalition could be a very fragile government. And it's not clear how they will be able to govern, how -- what kind of policies they will be able to push forward.

And if that government fails, if they fall apart, then there could be another round of elections. And, as of right now, despite the fact that Netanyahu is facing trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, nothing is preventing him as of now from running once again. So, if there are other elections, I think you could realistically

expect Netanyahu to try again. And in the ensuing few days before the Parliament must take this vote of confidence, I would expect him and his allies to try everything they can to get some defectors and try to cause this coalition to crumble.

BLITZER: All right, Hadas, I want you to stand by.

I also want to bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Oren Liebermann, who's reported extensively from Israel in recent years. Also joining us, Gil Hoffman, chief political correspondent and analyst for "The Jerusalem Post."

Gil, after, what, 12 years in power, do you think this is really the end for the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, he will be out?

GIL HOFFMAN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE JERUSALEM POST": Well, for a few years anyway. And a lot depends on whether the trial will bring him down.

Politically, I don't see anybody in his Likud Party who could bring him down. And so, unlike Donald Trump, who's on the sidelines, doesn't have a role with the Republican Party, Netanyahu will be there as the head of the Likud, as the right's candidate for prime minister.


If there's any stumbling within the current governing coalition, he could get back within the current Knesset, without even going to an election. And he's only 71 years old. He's a young man. His father died at the age of 102.

So that leaves him plenty of time, if he does not get convicted.

BLITZER: Yes, because he faces these corruption charges.

And that, presumably, Gil, is going to move along rather quickly now, assuming he's out, right?

HOFFMAN: Not necessarily. The legal system in Israel works very slowly.

There are more than 200 witnesses in his case. The first witness has taken more than a month, though being prime minister had its perks on trial, and he will no longer be prime minister.

BLITZER: Oren, Netanyahu has had, what, nine lives over the years. He shaped Israel's foreign relations, what, for more than a decade.

Give us your perspective. You spent the last six years in Jerusalem. How significant is this moment?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It's an incredibly significant moment.

Keep in mind that, for most of the past two-and-a-half years or so, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been an interim caretaker prime minister. He hadn't won an election, but he also hadn't lost an election. And that allowed him to remain in power during a very significant time in Israeli history, normalization agreements with the Arab states, certainly some of what President Donald Trump did with his relationship with Israel.

Netanyahu was in charge for most of that, essentially hanging on because nobody could replace him. Nobody could pull what the magician had done, until now. The opposition has had this number of seats before, but they couldn't cobble together, make the necessary concessions to form a coalition.

And just a couple of weeks ago, in the middle of fighting between Israel and Gaza, it looked like the opposition would once again fail to form a coalition that could oust Netanyahu. And yet here we are. As Gil pointed out, it's not done yet. There is some time here for Netanyahu to try to peel off some defectors.

And he will, but it's certainly closer than anyone else has come very close, indeed, over the course of the past, what, four elections.


Gil, you posted a picture of this new coalition, this opposition coalition that is now going to, presumably, assuming they can get their act completely together, be the government of Israel.

You see Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett, and Mansour Abbas, who is the leader of this Israeli Arab party. It's a coalition made up, Gil, of some pretty strange bedfellows.

HOFFMAN: Totally. Totally, Wolf.

You have got right, left and center together, and an Arab party. And the significance of that all this time in Israel's history, including when you were here working for "The Jerusalem Post," the Arab parties refused to join any Israeli government, because the Israeli- Palestinian conflict had not been solved.

Well, the Abraham Accords came along, and Israel made peace with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. And then the Israeli Arabs said, well, if they're not waiting for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict anymore to be solved to make peace with Israel, we in Nazareth shouldn't have to wait either to get the spoils that are allocated only when you're part of a government.

And so the Arabs, all along, they didn't get the infrastructure and the education that Jews did, and it wasn't racism. It was just bad politics. Now they will be there where the spoils are divided up. And this will help the Israeli Arab constituency of the United Arab List Party.

BLITZER: Gil Hoffman of "The Jerusalem Post," thanks very much. Oren Liebermann, Hadas Gold, thanks to you.

We will stay on top of the breaking news, of course. There's other important news we're following, including democracy under assault here in the United States. The former President Donald Trump reportedly is telling people he expects he will be reinstated as president of the United States by August, which is, of course, impossible under the U.S. Constitution.

Our political correspondent, Sara Murray, is taking a closer look at all of this.

Apparently, he's he's spreading this kind of misinformation out there, which potentially could be very dangerous.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, essentially, he's a sore loser from the last election, but we're really seeing the ripple effects of this in the Republican Party.

This is rhetoric that's not only coming across in campaign talk. It's also coming through in policy platforms. And it's also the basis for a number of laws that have been enacted in a number of states already.


MURRAY (voice-over): The alternate universe where voter fraud was rampant and Donald Trump won the election still luring in Republicans, as Trump supporters hunt for ways to upend democracy seven months after he lost America's free and fair election.

Trump's former attorney Sidney Powell suggesting Trump could wind up back in the Oval Office.

SIDNEY POWELL, ATTORNEY: It should be that he can simply be reinstated, that a new inauguration date is set.


POWELL: And Biden is told to move out of the White House and...


POWELL: And President Trump should be moved back in.

MURRAY: It's something Trump believes could happen by August, according to Maggie Haberman of "The New York Times."

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There are people who are telling him things possible that are not possible, which is exactly what we saw happen after the November 3 election last year, which was all the lead-up to January 6, as we know, and what we saw on the attack on the Capitol.


And so there is a dangerous component about this conversation that's going on.

MURRAY: There's no evidence President Joe Biden was fraudulently elected, and there's no legal mechanism to insert Trump back in the White House, leaving his allies like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to float more dangerous ideas, like a Myanmar-style military coup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can't happen here.



I mean, it should happen here. No reason.

MURRAY: Though Flynn later claimed his words had been twisted and said: "There is no reason whatsoever for any coup in America."

All of this more evidence that the baseless belief the election was stolen is becoming a rallying cry for the GOP, a lie Trump is sure to repeat as he prepares to restart his rallies this summer.

Unable to overturn the election outcome, Republicans in several states are pursuing ballot reviews to try to turn up some sign of fraud. Today, Pennsylvania state lawmakers touring a so-called audit in Arizona spearheaded by Republicans, but under fierce criticism from election officials from both parties.

That's not stopping Trump from embracing the audits, even falsely twisting a legitimate ballot audit in New Hampshire that has no bearing on Trump's race into some kind of sign he was robbed of an election victory.

The GOP is already turning election fraud into a policy platform, with 14 states enacting new laws making it harder to vote, according to the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This sacred right is under assault with incredible intensity like I have never seen.

MURRAY: After Texas Democrats walked off the statehouse floor, blocking passage of a restrictive voting bill, state Republicans say they're still hoping to revive their legislation, as they cling to false claims of fraud.

STATE SEN. BRYAN HUGHES (R-TX): When Texans come forth and tell us, here's how people are cheating, here are the problems we're having, we want to fix it.


MURRAY: Now, more than 100 scholars have signed on to a letter posted by the New America think tank warning that democracy is in grave danger.

It points to changes in election laws, changes in voting procedures. And it says our entire democracy is now at risk.

BLITZER: Sara, stand by.

I also want to bring in our chief domestic correspondent, Jim Acosta, and our senior commentator, John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio.

Governor Kasich, what former President Trump wants, to be -- quote -- "reinstated" as president, that would be a coup, in effect. What's your reaction to that?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's just all so dangerous, Wolf, because what you're doing is you're -- people are out there. They have these conspiracy theories.

And now you have these people who -- quote -- "have some standing" who are shedding some sort of, oh, yes, this could happen. I mean, it's so amazing to me. And it's so dangerous. And it's affecting so many parts of our country, and not just in politics.

But I'm told that, even in our churches, in many of our congregations across this country, pastors are under great fire, great criticism, because they don't seem to bow to the QAnon or to the extremists that are in their pews. It's just an amazing thing.

Russell Moore, who ran the Southern Baptist Convention, has now left there. He's spoken about the fire that pastors are facing. So it's affecting not just the politics, but it's affecting so many other things.

And every time a theory like this comes out, and somebody goes and affirms it -- and what Michael Flynn had to say, and this other lawyer, it's -- I just don't know -- I just can't figure out what they think they're doing constructively to help our country.

It must be something in it for them to help themselves. I can't figure any other answer.

BLITZER: Well, let me ask Jim Acosta if he can figure this out, because it is potentially very dangerous to hear this talk from the former president, who still has an enormous amount of supporters out there.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT: It reminds me of what I heard from a Trump ally around the time of the insurrection, that Donald Trump has lost it, he's lost his mind, to be talking about this sort of thing, whoever he's talking about it with.

I talked to a Trump adviser about this earlier today, somebody who's known Trump a long time, who said, Trump is desperate for attention right now. He is desperate for coverage, for coverage from us. And this is one way to go about getting it.

Now, the dangerous part of this is that you have a whole bunch of insurrectionists who haven't been rounded up by federal authorities who potentially could pose a threat to the U.S. Capitol or whatever in Washington, D.C. But you have to wonder, Wolf, why would these supporters want to throw their lives away fighting for this man? This is somebody who lost the House, lost the Senate, lost the White House, and today lost his blog. They pulled the plug on his Web site, From the Desk of Donald J. Trump.

He is the biggest loser we have seen in American political history going back generations.

BLITZER: There is this letter, Governor Kasich, case out there, that -- among these scholars who are calling out Republicans for echoing these arguments from what they say is the Jim Crow South.


How concerning is it to see your colleagues build on Trump's big lie to make it harder, especially for people of color, to vote?

KASICH: You know, in our state here, Wolf, we had early voting, drive- by voting, drop-off ballots. We have had -- if the rest of the country looked like us, although there's now some kind of legislation going to try to make it through the statehouse -- I don't know exactly what it is.

If everybody was to do that, early voting for a very significant period of time, we would be OK. But I think the intent here, and the vast majority of the intent here is to somehow make it more difficult for people to vote.

We went through a period of time over the last several decades where we made it easier for people to vote, not more difficult, and it seems as though we're making it more difficult. And I remember, Wolf, as a very young man, listening to one of the elected officials that I worked around.

And he said one day after the election, he said, "The reason why we lost the election is because too many people voted."

Now, what Republicans need to do is to recalculate as to how they can get more votes. That was my strategy in every election I ever ran. So it's very, very concerning. And these restrictions are unwarranted in almost every case.

BLITZER: You say, Jim, that the former president is frustrated that he's not getting enough attention?

ACOSTA: That's right. He's desperate to be back in the limelight. He doesn't have his social media accounts anymore.

And I think the thing that you have to think about when it comes to Donald Trump -- I talked to this adviser about this earlier this week. He says that Donald Trump is holding the Republican Party hostage, the party is being held hostage by Donald Trump right now.

And when you talk to people around him, there are some advisers close to Donald Trump who say he still talks about running for president in 2024. I talked to an adviser the other day who said Trump told this adviser specifically that, if he's feeling healthy enough, if he's feeling well enough, he's going to run for president in 2024.

That prospect is hanging over the Republican Party right now. And until that dynamic changes, the rest of the party is not going to change. They're going to remain essentially hostage to this former president.

KASICH: And one other opportunity -- one other thing that needs to be mentioned, Jim and Wolf, and that is, say he doesn't run and say he decides that he wants to endorse an independent candidacy.

Think about what that would mean. That's something for us to chew on as we go down the line here. Think about that.

ACOSTA: Oh, he doesn't care about the Republican Party. He doesn't care if he wrecks it completely.

KASICH: No, of course not.

BLITZER: It's a sensitive moment, indeed, potentially a very dangerous moment in American history.

Guys, thank you very much.

Just ahead, we will have more on former President Trump's truly outrageous claim that he will be reinstated as president by August. We're going to talk about it with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff.

He's standing by live. There you see him.

We will discuss when we come back.



BLITZER: An urgent warning tonight from experts who say democracy is now at risk here in the United States, as Republican-led states propose and implement what they call radical changes to election laws.

Let's get some reaction from Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California. He's the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

How does Congress need to respond to that very dire warning from these experts on potential Democratic breakdowns in our country?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, I think that warning is exactly right.

This is a real threat to our democracy. The big lie didn't end on Election Day or thereafter. It continues to metastasize. People are using that big lie to pass these voter disenfranchisement laws around the country, to cut off people, particularly people of color, from being able to vote.

And it was just like Governor Kasich was saying. The Republican response to losing is not, let's change our ideas, let's change our messaging, let's try to appeal to a broader group of people. It's, let's change the electorate. Let's remove some of the voters.

And that's just wrong. And I think it's anti-democratic. It's also -- the Republican Party's become the anti-truth party, continuing to push out this big lie about the last election.

And our response has to be passage of H.R.1, this bill that would help roll back some of these efforts at disenfranchisement and the gerrymander and the influence of dark money and restore the health of our democracy.

BLITZER: "The New York Times," as you know, is reporting that former President Trump is telling people, associates of his, he believes he will be reinstated as president by August, this coming August.

What goes through your mind, Congressman, hearing that kind of talk?

SCHIFF: You know, it's the kind of thing you think of in a Third World country, in a -- not in a democracy, not even an emerging democracy.

And to imagine that a former president of the United States is thinking that way or talking that way, it's absurd. But it's also dangerous. What's even more dangerous, to me, is the fact that half of the Republican voters out there think that he's still the president, or still should be, that Biden lost the election.

That such a significant percentage of our population could be so deceived by him is alarming. And it just underscores that the threat to our democracy didn't go away when Donald Trump left office. It is very much with us. It's going to be with us for some time, made worse by his specter hanging over 2024.

But even if he doesn't run, these forces of authoritarianism that he has essentially unleashed are going to be with us for some time. And I do think it's a real wakeup call for us.

BLITZER: Yes. And it's also pretty dangerous out there. And I assume security will have to be beefed up if, in fact, he continues to talk like that between now and August.

Michael Flynn, the former president's fired national security adviser, retired three-star general, a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, now trying to walk back his truly outrageous comments appearing to support a coup here in the United States.

How dangerous is it for him to amplify this idea that's gaining popularity among conspiracy theorists? And there are plenty of them out there.


SCHIFF: Well, it's really dangerous. I mean, look, there have been absurd theories about a sex ring, a

child sex ring under a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. Well, those reached people who were unwell, including one who brought a rifle to that very pizza parlor.

And now you have someone who is the former national security adviser of the United States. I mean, just think about that, the position of responsibility that Mike Flynn once had. And he's putting out this dangerous nonsense, this incendiary nonsense that some people may believe, and appealing to this QAnon crowd that just metastasizes online.

And it's a real threat. And, of course, none of us thought this would ever happen here. But it has happened here. It did happen here. We had an insurrection here. And we can't pretend that these things are no longer possible.

So, we need to understand just how pressing this threat is. And we're going to have to protect ourselves and do a better job combating it.

BLITZER: Congressman Schiff, thanks so much for joining us.

SCHIFF: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up: Very disturbing new video shows police in a lengthy shoot-out with two heavily armed children.

We will have more on that right a quick break.



BLITZER: We have breaking news. We're getting new and very disturbing video of an hours' long gun battle between police officers and two children age 12 and 14.

CNN's Brian Todd is covering the story for us. Brian, update our viewers on the latest.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Wolf. That was a disturbing incident that took place just last night and there is an epidemic, according to experts, across the country. They're warning us, law enforcement analysts and veterans warning us tonight, this could well be a long and bloody summer. We do have to warn viewers that some may find some of the footage in our story disturbing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, are you ready?

TODD (voice over): Jarring new body camera video shows deputies and police in San Jose California last week as they enter a building at the valley transportation authority complex scrambling to track the shooter.

Seconds after they here one shot, they hear two more. The officers go right to where the shots were coming from, through a door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see your hands!

TODD: They discovered the man who had shot and killed nine people dead of a self inflicted gunshot wound. The sheriff, who authorized the release of the video praised the officers and their training.

SHERIFF LAURIE SMITH, SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: This protocol, I believe, saved lives. There over a 100 people in the area. He had a lot of additional ammunition.

TODD: This newly released security video shows the moment three gunmen opened fire outside a Miami concert hall on Sunday. One gunman is seen firing. People frantically run and dive for cover. At least two are seen on the ground wounded. This shooting played out over the span of about ten seconds. Two people were killed, more than 20 injured.

In Volusia County, Florida, the sheriff released new clips from body camera footage of what happened after he said a 12-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl broke into this house, grabbed a shotguns and an AK- 47 stored inside and authorities say proceeded to engage in an hours' long gun battle with deputies last night.

SHERIFF MIKE CHITWOOD, VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA: They were out on the pullback, they shot through the bedroom window, they shot from the garage door. I mean, this is like Bonnie and Clyde at 12-year-old -- 12 and 14 years of age.

TODD: Police say the 14-year-old girl was shot and badly wounded by deputy, the 12-year-old boy taken into custody. No deputies were hurt.

Across America tonight, law enforcement veterans and analyst are again sounding the alarms over a spike in gun violence and homicides.

CHIEF ART ACEVEDO, MIAMI POLICE: Unless the American people speak out, it's going to be a long, hot, bloody summer.

TODD: After a more than 30 percent increase in homicides last year in the U.S., criminologists say those numbers are spiking even higher this year. Why? From pandemic pain, financial and other stressors last year. 2021, experts say, is presenting new problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2021, we are seeing all the reopening kind of stressors. So we're seeing people going back to work, people going back to school, people spending more time outdoors now doing recreational and entertainment things.

TODD: Christopher Herman also cites spiking gun sales for the increase in homicides this year and thinning burned out ranks of police departments exemplified by an angry exasperating sheriff whose deputies battled those teenagers in Florida.

CHITWOOD: This is something I've never seen in 35 years of policing, and I'm sad to say, thank God, my career is start to come to an end because I don't know what the future of law enforcement looks like in this country.


TODD (on camera): The spike in violence is so alarming that after last year's movement to defund police departments, several major cities like New York, L.A. and Oakland are now scrambling to pour money back into their police departments. But experts are still warning us tonight, we're seeing record retirements of police officers leaving in droves. Wolf?

BLITZER: Very disturbing. All right, Brian, thank you very much, Brian Todd reporting.

Let's get analysis right now from the former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe. Andrew, thanks for joining us.

You just heard that sheriff say he doesn't know what the future of law enforcement looks like in our country right now. Do you think this is a typical attitude that we're seeing? Because it seems awful, this whole situation, it's an epidemic that's going on, the gun violence.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's not typical attitude, right? This is a -- we are at a unique point in this country where we have several societal anomalies conflicting at the same time.


You have this massive spike in gun violence, you also have a -- you know, the pressure that law enforcement is under for many reasons, people re-evaluating the way that we pursue law enforcement in this country, you know, the videos, the lawsuits that have been coming after law enforcement for the last couple years. There's enormous pressure on those folks and you can see why it drives them out of the industry.

BLITZER: What can local law enforcement agencies, police departments, really do, given the enormous number of guns that are out there on the street?

MCCABE: Wolf, the traditional way that law enforcement has address, spikes in gun violence, is to more vigorously patrol people who are carrying guns. If criminals realize that they are likely to get stopped and searched and found with a weapon, they are less likely to bring those weapon out into the street, that means you have less disputes and conflicts that end up with shots fired.

The problem is those same tactics and policies that target that gun carry also tend to have disparate impacts on communities of color. So we need to have same very careful, very hard conversations about how we want to move forward in this society where we need to do something about gun violence but we're also rethinking the way we take on policing.

BLITZER: Well, as we have been saying this, gun violence epidemic on full display around the country. You see the numbers on the side of the screen over there. Do the politicians -- is there real appetite among the politicians to get the job done and do something about this?

MCCABE: Well, there is certainly an appetite among Democrat politicians. But if history has any guide, what we're seeing from the Republicans is a continued adherence to the company line put out by the NRA and the gun lobbyist, which is there will be no additional gun control measures passed if the Republicans have anything to say about it. So that keeps us at a stalemate.

BLITZER: All right. Andrew, thank you very much. Andrew McCabe, helping us appreciate the enormity of this crisis right now.

Just ahead, the White House says President Biden will confront Vladimir Putin after a cyber attack cripples another major American company. Stay with us. We have new information. You're in The Situation Room.



BLITZER: Tonight, the United States is reeling from yet another cyber attack with suspected ties to Russia. The latest attack crippled a major American meat company.

Our Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly joining us right now. Phil, the White House says, President Biden will confront Vladimir Putin about these Russian cyber attacks during their summit, which will take place two weeks from today in Geneva, Switzerland. What are you learning?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. The president is going to bring this up, also plans to bring up the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline as well. It's something that's become more pervasive in recent weeks, the attacks on potentially U.S. critical supply chains as well as infrastructure by criminal syndicates in both cases based in Russia.

Now, Wolf, the U.S. has not attributed these attacks to the Russian government or to President Putin, but they have made clear, they believe the Russian government has a role to play given the fact these criminal syndicates operate inside the country.

Now, it's worth noting, JBS, the meat processor, is mostly back online at this point, but it just underscore the vulnerabilities that, really, the country is looking at right now, the world is looking at right now, as these criminals syndicates continue to use these cyber attacks to get ransom payments to some degree.

Now, the White House has not said they don't have any details on whether a ransom was paid in this particular issue, or any details about what has happened after action. But they have made clear White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki today saying all options are on the table in terms of a response. The president was asked about whether or not there would be a retaliation from the United States, he said it's an issue that they're looking at closely. And he was also asked if he believes that President Putin is testing him in some way, given these attacks, he smiled and he said, no. Wolf?

BLITZER: We'll see what happens in Geneva. All right, Phil, thank you very much.

Coming up, will Senate negotiators finally break through on an infrastructure compromise or will Democrats go it alone? I'll discuss that and more with the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Senator Bernie Sanders is standing by live.



BLITZER: As plans for a major new infrastructure bill stall in the Senate, President Biden is meeting with the key Republican negotiator while his allies in Congress grow increasingly impatient.

Let's discuss this and more with the chairman of the very important Budget Committee, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

As you know, Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito said she was encouraged after her meeting today with the president but we got no specifics on whether there's common ground. Is it time in your opinion, Senator, to call it quits, to move on without Republican support?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Well, Wolf, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the guys who determine the state of the infrastructure, what the Republicans are bringing forward is about 10 or 15 percent of what we need to rebuild our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our wastewater plants, not to mention affordable housing, not to mention the health care crisis, the child care crisis, the fact that so many of our young people cannot afford to go to college.

So I think that the time is running out and I think that what we have got to do is working with the American people understand that real wages in America have not gone up in the last 40 years. Half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck. Almost all new income and wealth is going to the people at the top 1 percent.

Now is the time to pass a budget which works for working families and the middle class and not just the wealthy.

BLITZER: The Republicans say they're on board with a lot of President Biden's plan when it comes to what they call traditional, traditional infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports, stuff like that. Are you and other progressives denying President Biden potentially a bipartisan win by including all of the other issues that you're labeling as infrastructure that Republicans say is not really traditional infrastructure?

SANDERS: Well, what I'm saying is according to the experts in our country, the American Society of Civil Engineers, what the Republican are proposing for traditional infrastructure is only a fraction of what we need.


I think every American understands that our roads and our bridges, our water systems, all of that is really crumbling before our eyes. I'm a former mayor, and what I know is that unless you invest in infrastructure, it's only going to get worse and it's only going to be more expensive. We now have the opportunity to create millions of good-paying, often union jobs rebuilding our infrastructure.

What the Republicans are talking about is totally inadequate.

BLITZER: Do you want to do away with the filibuster right now so that legislation is passed in the Senate with a simple majority as oppose to the 60 votes so you need when filibuster is enacted?

SANDERS: But given the enormous need facing, you know, working class people in this country and the middle class, we have got to go forward aggressively.

Now, in the best of all possible worlds, we would have at least ten Republicans who understand that people can't make it on ten bucks an hour, that we need good paying jobs, that our young people have the right to a college education, not leaving school deeply in debt, that we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare. That we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

In the best of all possible worlds, you have 10 Republicans plus 50 Democrats who say, yeah, we've got to go forward.

Unfortunately, Wolf, and -- let's lay it on the table -- we don't. I doubt that you have one Republican, let alone 10, who are prepared to do the right thing. And if that is the case, of course, we've got to go forward within the Democrat Caucus, 50 votes plus the vice president.

There was just a report that came out today that talked about how significant it was that those direct payments, those checks, $2,000 in checks we got to working people, what it meant to so many millions of people in this country. And if Republicans don't want to cooperate and help us address the crises facing working families, yes, we have to do it with 50 votes through reconciliation package.

BLITZER: Let me get your quick reaction, while I have you, Senator. Israel's opposition parties have now reached an agreement that potentially will oust the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in office.

How significant is this?

SANDERS: Well, it is a very strange coalition. They have people on the left, people on the right, people in the middle. So we'll see what happens in terms of that coalition.

But it is no great secret that I am not a great fan of Benjamin Netanyahu. I think over the years the coalition that he has put together has become more right-wing and in some cases part of that coalition is overtly racist. So I will not be mourning the departure of the prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu, and I hope that Israel will have a government that we will be better able to work with.

BLITZER: Yeah, it'll be the first time an Israeli-Arab party, the Ra'am party led by Mansour Abbas, who is part of this new potential coalition. We'll see how that unfolds. Significant development indeed.

Senator Sanders, thanks as usual for joining us.

SANDERS: Thank you.

BLITZER: And we'll have more news right after this.


BLITZER: President Biden is announcing his so-called "Month of Action" as he makes a final push to give 70 percent of American adults at least one shot of the COVID vaccine by July 4th.

CNN's Alexandra Field is on the story for us right now.

Alexandra, tell us more about this effort by the White House.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, it has two parts here. Part of it's got the logistics, making it easier to get shots. Part of it is also about changing people's minds.

We heard from the president directly today. He was appealing to young people, trying to tell them that they are not impervious to the effects of the virus. He was also trying to appeal to Republicans who remain hesitant, telling them that getting a shot just isn't a partisan thing.



FIELD (voice-over): Another move by President Joe Biden to vaccinate more Americans dubbing June a national month of action.

BIDEN: An all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long dark winter that we've all endured.

FIELD: Nearly 51 percent of all Americans are partially vaccinated. The same goes for almost 63 percent of adults, but the pace of shots in arms is dropping significantly, down almost two-thirds since the peak in mid-April, and there's just a month left to meet the president's next deadline, getting 70 percent of American adults at least one dose of a vaccine by the Fourth of July.

BIDEN: So we can declare independence from COVID-19 and free ourselves from the grip that it's held over our lives for the better part of a year. Each of you has the power to help us gain this freedom as a nation.

FIELD: The president announcing a slew of initiatives to make it even more enticing from free Uber and Lyft rides to free child care options to 24-hour vaccine appointments at pharmacies on Friday night.

And there are more incentives than ever. Anheuser-Busch is now promising to toast America's success.

ANHEUSER-BUSCH AD: When he hit the White House's goal of 80 percent partially vaccinated, the beer is on us. Let's grab a beer, America.

FIELD: Twelve states have already met the 70 percent threshold. California and Maryland are the latest to join those ranks. The effort to boost the vaccination rate focusing more now on children.

New York City schools announcing plans to offer shots in some schools to students between the ages of 12 and 17.

MARK LEVINE, NEW YORK CITY COUNCILMEMBER: I just want to encourage everybody, every family, every young person to get that vaccine. These are safe. They are effective. They have been tested on young people.


FIELD (on camera): That reminder coming as the American Academy of Pediatrics releases new data showing that the weekly average of COVID cases among children is now at the lowest point we have seen since October. A big sign of progress, there, Wolf.

BLITZER: Indeed it is.

Alexandra Field in New York, thank you very much.

And to our viewers, thanks for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.