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Biden Kicks Off First Foreign Trip With Goals Of Reassuring U.S. Allies And Confronting Putin; Biden Begins First Foreign Trip As Domestic Agenda Stalls; U.S. Has Bought And Will Donate 500 Million Doses Of Pfizer Vaccines Worldwide; Biden's Attorney General Defends Controversial Justice Department Arguments Related To Trump; ADL: Anti-Semitic Incidents More Than Doubled In May Compared To Last Year; Report: Park Police Did Not Clear Racial Justice Protesters From D.C. Park So Trump Could Hold Photo Op. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 09, 2021 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Our sympathies to our journalistic brothers and sisters at COX. This is absolutely atrocious. Thank you so much, Alex, I appreciate that.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. Our coverage now continues with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. President Biden is taking the world stage kicking off his first overseas trip with vows to repair U.S. alliances and confront Russia's Vladimir Putin. He is landing at his next stop this hour.

As the president travels abroad, his domestic agenda is at risk back at home. I'll ask his transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, about the so far unsuccessful strategy on infrastructure that's frustrating some fellow Democrats.

And the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination campaign is now going global with the Biden administration set to donate 500 million doses worldwide.

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.

Let's go right to our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins, she's on the ground in the United Kingdom for us. Kaitlan, a very, very big, potentially very historic moment coming up for the president of the United States.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is, Wolf. And right now, he is putting all of the emphasis on allies. In his first stop just a short time ago, he was really framing his mission this week as critical, saying that this is all about this battle between democracies and autocracies and vowing to stand up to adversaries like China and Russia. Of course, Wolf, this all comes though as he is going to be facing big questions from some of those allies that he is meeting with this week about big new challenges related to the pandemic and what the U.S.'s role will look like when it comes to sharing vaccines.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States is back and democracies of the world are standing --

COLLINS (voice over): On his first trip abroad, President Biden is hoping to restore America's standing while reassuring allies that his predecessor spent four years torching.

BIDEN: I'm heading to the G7, then to the NATO ministerial and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know.

COLLINS: His week-long trip begins with a stop on the Cornish Coast of England for the G7 summit before a trip to Windsor Castle to meet with the queen. Next, Biden will had to Brussels to sit down with weary NATO allies still reeling from the Trump era. He finishes his trip with a face-to-face sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

As a former Senator and Vice President, Biden is bringing decades of foreign policy experience with him.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's been getting ready for 50 years.

COLLINS: But he'll also have to grapple with new challenges. As infections surge in countries where vaccines are in short supply, there are major questions about U.S. plans for vaccine sharing.

BIDEN: We have to end COVID-19 not just at home, which we're doing, but everywhere.

COLLINS: Sources say President Biden plans to announce the U.S. has purchased and will donate 500 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine worldwide by 2022.

BIDEN: There's no wall high enough to keep us safe from this pandemic.

COLLINS: On the diplomatic front, Biden is saving the most high-stakes meeting for last.

BIDEN: I'll travel to Geneva to sit down with a man I've spent time with before, President Vladimir Putin.

COLLINS: It will be a first meeting between a U.S. president and the Russian leader since Donald Trump publicly embraced Putin in Helsinki.

DONALD TRUMP. FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.

COLLINS: Among the tense topic would be the rise in Russia-based ransomware attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure.

BIDEN: I'll be clear, the United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way when the Russian government engages in harmful activities.

COLLINS: The White House still unsure if Putin will take questions alongside Biden like he did with Trump.

BIDEN: I'm going to communicate that there are consequences for violating the sovereignty of democracies in the United States, in Europe and elsewhere.

COLLINS: While visiting U.S. troops after arriving in the U.K., Biden driving home this message on democracy.

BIDEN: We have to discredit those who believe that the age of democracy is over, as some of our fellow nations believe. We have to exposed this false, the narrative, a decrease of dictators can match the speed and scale of the 21st challenges.


COLLINS (on camera): Now, Wolf, we're still waiting for President Biden to actually land after speaking to those troops earlier tonight. That was his first stop of this trip. He also spoke alongside the first lady. Right now Air Force One is about just a few moments away from landing. And we should note that, of course, he'll spend the night overnight at a hotel.


But tomorrow is just the first of those several one-on-one meetings that he's going to have with other world leaders. Of course, the first is the host country with Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going to sit down, face-to-face with President Biden in person as the summit gets kicked off.

BLITZER: Kaitlan, I want you to stay with us. I also want to bring in our Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward. She's right near the site of the G7 summit as well. Also with us, our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger and our Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley.

Clarissa, so what are the stakes here for President Biden when he meets with these world leaders?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the stakes are very high, Wolf. And the expectations are very high. And there's a lot of weariness, particularly from Europe, after the last four years, after hearing NATO being denigrated, the G7 being called outdated.

There's very real concern among U.S. allies that even if President Biden comes with the best of intentions and the best of rhetoric, can the U.S. be depended upon in the long run, or is there always this risk that foreign policy will have a huge pendulum shift after any given election. And so, the way to try to deal with some of those fears, I think, will be intangible deliverables. This is what European allies want to see. They want to see substantive agreements come out of these meetings on very tough issues, as Kaitlan lined out there. You're talking about coronavirus, you're talking economic decline as a result of the pandemic. You're talking about climate change. You're talking about standing up to Russia and China.

And you're doing that all against the backdrop of a new world with a recent study, Wolf, saying that as of 2001, for the first time this year, there are more autocracies than democracies in the world. Autocracies are on the rise, democracies really facing a pivotal challenge and a lot of people looking to President Biden to reassure America's allies across the world that the U.S. is still equipped to lead in this role, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, that's absolutely true. You know, Gloria, you and I have covered Joe Biden for a long time. I think it's fair to say this is one of those moments that he's been preparing for, for decades.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: For decades. And he's been to sessions like this. He knows the people he's dealing with. But this time is different. He's commander-in-chief. And this time, I think his message is different. Because what he is doing is saying, as Clarissa was saying, all of us have to stand up for democracy. I mean, that is the key to all of this. Reassurance to people out there, that, as the president puts it, America is back and also this notion that we have to stand up for democracy against autocracy.

And his whole, even on his domestic agenda, is that if democracy fails the people, if government cannot work for you -- and we know his own domestic agenda at home is stalled -- if democracy cannot work for you, then autocracy wins. And that's the message he's going to take.

BLITZER: It's really an important, powerful message. You know, Douglas, on the one hand, the president is being welcomed by many simply because he's not Donald Trump, but just how difficult is President Biden's job of restoring the historic alliances that were so badly damaged under the previous administration?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It is difficult, but Biden is up to it, Wolf. I think the real story right now is that the U.K. is in a Brexit situation. And Boris Johnson was seen as sort of a twin of Donald Trump.

Boris Johnson now is advertising the new global Britain. He's promoting the fact that we have a special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. It was Winston Churchill in 1946, 75 years ago who coined that phrase.

And Biden has got to see whether he can get along with Boris Johnson in this special relationship, Wolf. You know, we look at FDR and Churchill or Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush with Tony Blair. Can we get some kind of chemistry going between Biden and Boris Johnson? And that would be good for democracy. They're going to talk like FDR language of the four freedoms and the Atlantic charter and that our two countries are the citadels of global democracy while it's under threat today from authoritarian governments.

BLITZER: That's a good point. You know, Kaitlan, the president says one of the goals of this trip is to bring like-minded nations back together. How is that message going to be received by the various parties he's set to meet with?

COLLINS: Well, I think that's going to be one of the struggles. Is that it's not just enough really for him to come to these summits, to the G7, to go meet with NATO allies and not be Donald Trump. Of course, everyone understands that a lot of these allies are still weary of the four years that they just had with him.


But they also want to look at the reality here and the fact that the way presidential elections are done in the United States that you can see how quickly leadership can change and how quickly alliances can be undermined, even after decades of partnerships, as we saw with former President Trump time and time again at a lot of these summits.

And so, I think that is the other reality that President Biden's top aides are dealing with and grappling with as they come here. Because he's also got to stand up to get a cohesive argument, which is what he's seeking for against China. You know, a lot of these nations don't view China the same way that the United States does. He wants to have a cohesive argument against China. And that's something that he's been pushing to make.

And I think one way that they are trying to really deal with all of this and to respond to this is when it comes to vaccine sharing and what that role is going to look like. And you heard him referencing that in his speech earlier tonight. I do think that's going to be a big part of it tomorrow as well.

BLITZER: You know, Gloria, the most highly anticipated meeting will come one week from today, next Wednesday, in Geneva when he sits down with Putin.

BORGER: Right. And don't forget, Putin and Biden know each other. And Biden likes to tell the story of when he met with Putin about a decade ago. He said to Putin, you have no soul. And then Putin, according to Biden, said back to him, then we understand each other. So it's not as if these men don't know each other.

However, I don't think Biden is going there to blow things up with Russia. I think he wants to find where he can agree mutually on certain things. I think the big issue here is, this cannot, from an administration point of view, look like Helsinki from three years ago. And you have to presume that it will not.

BLITZER: Yes, I suspect it will not look like that. I was there in Helsinki. You know, Douglas, the Biden-Putin summit just one part of a long, tense relationship between these two men, right?

BRINKLEY: Very much so long and tense. And, of course, Putin despised Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, did not get along with Barack Obama. And I have no expectation that we're going to have like Reagan and Gorbachev meeting in 1985 where this sort of new cosmic friendship gets developed.

I think that the most we can hope for is de-escalation. Things have gotten really rough between Russia and the United States. President Biden has to talk about Russian human rights abuses to journalists and its citizens. He's going to have to talk about Russian interference in American elections and Russian -- you know, and Arctic explorations that they're doing. So it's going to be a very important summit between the two.

BLITZER: And we'll see if they have a joint news conference or a separate news conference as they end of that summit next Wednesday. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.

The breaking news here in The Situation Room continues next with more on President Biden's first overseas trip as his domestic agenda is now clearly stalling. We're going to talk about that and more with his transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg. He's standing by live. He's here with me in The Situation Room. We'll be right back.



BLITZER: We have breaking news tonight. President Biden's is beginning his first foreign trip since taking office. We're standing by for his arrival near the site of the G7 Summit in England.

But as the president turns to foreign matters, his domestic agenda back here at home is clearly stalling right now. Negotiations with one group of Republican lawmakers on his top legislative priority right now, a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, those negotiations have collapsed, and the path forward is clearly uncertain.

Joining us to discuss this and more, the transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg. Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for joining us. Good to have you here in The Situation Room. We can discuss, we're both fully vaccinated.

When you were last with us remotely, that was May 3rd, you said the negotiations, and I'm quoting now, we can't do this forever. It's now June 9th. You're still negotiating. How close are you? What's going on?

PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Well, at this point, I would say there are multiple pathways to get where we need to go.

BLITZER: Multiple?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes. That's right. And we have to pursue all available pathways. Look, there are lots of conversations among the hundred senators plus a lot of House members interested in the deal. We still strongly prefer a bipartisan deal. The group the president was talking within the last few weeks, that process has come to a conclusion.

BLITZER: That negotiation has collapsed?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, that one --

BLITZER: So, explain what's going on now?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes. So, what's going on now is the president still believes we need to do something big and we need to do something now. Now we're seeing one other bipartisan group. President has talked to some of those members. It includes Senator Cassidy, Manchin, Sinema, I think Senator Romney has spoken about some conversations going on, so a lot happening there, we haven't seen numbers yet.

Meanwhile, there's a group called the problem solvers in the House, another bipartisan group. They have --

BLITZER: Of course, they're Democrats and Republicans.

BUTTIGIEG: That's right. They have come forward with some numbers and, of course, we know the president's numbers.

So there's going to be a bit of a winding road here. But the bottom line is this, we cannot fail to act. America has slipped out of the top ten in infrastructure. We're in 13th place right now, headed in the wrong direction. And so whatever we come up with has to be big enough to meet the moment, has to be big enough to fix our roads and bridges, to deal with issues around our grid, internet infrastructure, all the things we know --

BLITZER: So you're still think there's a chance for success relatively soon, that there will be Republicans on board who will support the president's initiative?

BUTTIGIEG: I think there's a very good chance. Look, I can't speak for the Senate Republicans, of course. But what I know is that, in the conversations we have, there's a lot of genuine interest in doing major infrastructure investment.

Now, the budget resolution process is beginning to take shape as well. Our strong preference would be to do the transportation infrastructure work on bipartisan term.

BLITZER: Is there a deadline? Because at one point, you were talking may be right around now in June. How long can this go on?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, it really follows the legislative calendar, right? Even today in the House, they were doing a committee markup on a piece of our transportation policy. I think I heard Leader Schumer say that July is when they want to take a lot of this up in the Senate. It really has to be this summer. As a matter of fact, there are some major deadlines in terms of our authorizations running out on things like the surface bill in September.


So this is the exact season when the action is happening.

And as you can expect it, maybe a little messy, a few steps forward, a few steps back. But the president's biggest red line is that inaction is not an option.

BLITZER: Some of your fellow Democrats in the House and the Senate, some of the progressives, they are threatening to vote against the bill if, there's a huge if, if it doesn't go far enough on climate change, clean energy right now. Are you worried that in order to get a deal with the Republicans, you may have to back away from that?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I'm confident that we can put something together that will speak to everybody's needs. It's not going to be perfect for everybody or anybody. That's how negotiations work. But, look, when we make transportation policy, whether where a highway goes or what's going on with vehicles or transit, we're making climate policy too, whether we admit it or not.

And I think folks in our party are right to point out that this has to be a plan that looks to the future. We know too much to do transportation policy the way we would have 50 years ago in the 1970's.

We've got to do it in a way that we'll going to be proud of, yes, this year, next year, but also the middle of the century when we're going to be looking back on the early '20s and either saying, this is when America started to win the future or this is where we blew it.

BLITZER: So, what I hear you saying is you're ready for a compromise, you don't necessarily want to hold out for the perfect, you're ready to accept the good?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, that's how a negotiation works. But it has to be big. That's one of the reasons why the other set of talks ultimately didn't get there. And the president was ready move a lot, up to a trillion dollars. But the movement on the other side just didn't get us there.

BLITZER: He went from $2.2 trillion to $1 trillion.

BUTTIGIEG: Yes. And part of that was emphasizing different scope. But part of it was moving even within the scope that we had. And something that just nibbles around the edges or adds a little bit to the baseline, that's not going to be good enough for the president and, therefore, it's not going to be good enough for the president.

BLITZER: This infrastructure legislation is critical. But take a look at some of the president's other stalled legislative initiatives right now. And I'll put it up on the screen. We're talking about voting rights, stalled, immigration stalled, gun reform stalled, tax code over hall stalled. There's a 50/50 Senate as we know right now. What's going on on these other initiatives? Are they all going to be permanently stalled?

BUTTIGIEG: Look, all of these things, first of all, are areas where the American people agree with the president that we need to make progress. Each one of them, of course, has its own process, it's own constituencies, it's own bills attached to it. But we see so much opportunity right now for America to be able to move forward in a way that the American people elected the president to lead us to do.

Take the tax code, for example, that was on that list. The American people already believe that corporations need to pay their fair share, recognize that there are wealthy Americans who are shockingly paying less than school teachers and firefighters and understand we've got to do something about that. It's one of the reasons why when we explain how we seek to play for the president's infrastructure vision, Americans like it more.

So the American people are with us. We've learned the hard way that doesn't always turn into a congressional majority. But we think we can get it done because every member of Congress I've talked to, Republican or Democrat, they're all from somewhere, and they're going home to impatient constituents who want us to act.

BLITZER: The perfect being the enemy of the good, that's your message today. Mr. Secretary, thank so much for joining us. Good luck.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you, good to be with you.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much. Coming up, we're going to have more on the Biden administration's plan to donate millions of vaccine doses worldwide. How much will it impact the global pandemic? We're getting more information. Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.



BLITZER: Tonight, the United States is preparing to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine worldwide. The move comes amid growing concerns here at home about the slowing pace of vaccinations and the threat of COVID variants.

CNN's Amara Walker is covering all this for us.


AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Vaccine donation on a global scale. President Biden set to announce the U.S. has bought and will donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the first half of 2022. Biden is set to make the announcement at the G7 summit on Thursday.

Back in the U.S., experts closely watching another variant.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We don't want to let happen in the United States what is happening currently in the U.K. where you have a troublesome variant essentially taking over as the dominant variant.

WALKER: Growing concern that the more transmissible delta variant first identified in India can fuel new surges among unvaccinated people in the United States.

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: But if you have states where vaccination rates are lower, they are still vulnerable, especially with this new delta variant, which is even more infectious.

WALKER: The delta variant already accounts for 60 percent of new cases in the U.K. and may be more severe, according to British public health officials. Dr. Anthony Fauci pleading with the public to get both doses now.

FAUCI: We cannot declare victory prematurely because there are still a substantial proportion of people who have not been vaccinated.

WALKER: The White House is calling June a pivotal month of action. Lower vaccine demand could mean hundreds of thousands of shots going to waste. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine warning 200,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine will expire by the end of the month. Officials in Arkansas saying they have so many unused doses, they stopped ordering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In a statement to CNN, Johnson & Johnson says it's working to extend the shelf life of the vaccine, which currently lasts up to three months in a refrigerator. As more Americans are traveling, the CDC has updated travel guidance to 120 countries for the vaccinated and unvaccinated.


Thirty-three additional countries now at level one, the lowest risk category including Iceland, Israel, Singapore and South Korea. Meanwhile a battle pitting the Texas and Florida Republican Governors against major cruise lines who use ports in their states. The governor is banning proofs of vaccines, but the cruise ships are requiring vaccine for passengers.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Texas is open 100 percent, and we want to make sure that you have the freedom to go where you want without limits.


WALKER (on camera): And Wolf, on Thursday vaccine advisers to the FDA will be bidding to discuss rules for authorizing COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 years old. They're not going to be voting on anything, they're not going to be discussing any specific vaccines. They'll be talking about what extra information will be needed from the companies who are seeking to get information for this particular age group.

And as you're aware, currently, the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for the age group between 12 to 15 years old. That happened about a month ago. Wolf?

BLITZER: Amara Walker reporting for us, thank you very much.

Let's get some more on all of this with Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Jha, as usual thanks for joining us.

Let's get to the U.S. decision now to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to the rest of the world. How much of an impact is that going to have on the global vaccination effort?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Wolf, thank you for having me back. I think that's going to make a big difference. That's a lot of doses. Not enough to cover the world, of course. We need other companies to step up. And, personally, I'd like to see America do more. But that said, that's a substantial contribution, I really do think it will make an important difference.

BLITZER: Yes, and what happens around the world can have a dramatic impact here in the United States, especially if the variance, more dangerous variants emerge.

Here in the U.S., as you know Dr. Jha, hundreds of thousands of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are about to expire. Shouldn't officials have done a better job of managing the supply so we're not going the waste these precious vaccines that could save lives?

JHA: Yes, absolutely. This is very frustrating. I think many of us have been saying that we should have been sending a lot more vaccines abroad earlier. We knew that we were going to have plenty of vaccines. I also think Johnson & Johnson really needs to look at whether these expirations make sense and extend the shelf life of these vaccines are very, very good and should be widely available for people as long as they're safe to do so.

BLITZER: As you heard Amara report, the FDA is going to meet tomorrow to determine what data they'll need from vaccine manufacturers beginning trials on children under the age of 12. How important is that step? And I know you have a nine-year-old little boy.

JHA: I do have a nine-year-old. He's the only unvaccinated member in our house. And we want to get him vaccinated when the data comes in saying that it's safe and effective. I do think it's going to be important. I don't know if we'll have it by the fall. But I think the FDA Advisory Committee will give us guidance on what data to be looking at to make that determination.

BLITZER: As you also know, officials, like Dr. Fauci, are warning that this so-called delta variant, currently devastating people in India, could gain a foothold here in the United States. How much of a threat, potentially, does this pose to those of us here in the United States?

JHA: Yes, I think people are underestimating how big a deal this is. This is the most contagious variant we have seen so far in the whole pandemic. It is here in the United States. It's spreading. What we know about contagious variants is once they take a foothold, they really take off and it will become dominant at some point. So for people not vaccinated, this is high risk.

BLITZER: Dr. Jha, we always appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much.

JHA: Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead, we have more news coming into The Situation Room right now. We'll update you on all the late breaking developments, including a rising tide of anti-Semitic incidents here in the United States.



BLITZER: The U.S. attorney general, Merrick Garland, making news today with testimony to lawmakers up on Capitol Hill. He defended controversial Justice Department arguments made in recent weeks that endorsed positions held by the Trump administration, including one related to a rape allegation against the former president. Listen to what he told the Senate Appropriations Committee.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The job of the Justice Department in making decisions of law is not to back any administration, previous or present. Our job is to represent the American people.

And the essence of the rule of law is what I said when I accepted the nomination for attorney general. It is that like cases be treated alike, that they there not be one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans, that there not be one rule for friends and another for foes.


BLITZER: Okay, let's get some analysis from our Senior Legal Analyst Laura Coates. So, Laura, the attorney general seems to be making it clear he's running the U.S. Justice Department differently than his predecessor.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, we do want that to be the case. But people are wondering whether or not he's laid a clear distinction between how he has done so and the other.

One of the real reasons they're asking that question is because he has continued to defend and support the notion that the Department of Justice, rather than the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, should be the named defendant in the action of alleged defamation by the author, E. Jean Carroll, who you remember alleged that then civilian Donald Trump committed sexual assault against her in a department store in the 90's.


Their decision to maintain that particular position and say that because they believe his statement was made during the course of his public duties that he should not be the appropriate defendant has the essential consequence here of saying that it could be dismissed, because, as we know, defamation actions can't stand against the government of the United States.

And so, in many respects, while trying to talk about the rule of law and showing no favor to others, he has ended up having the same result as the prior administration and his predecessor, William Barr, in support of somebody who is quite controversial, as you know, President Donald Trump.

BLITZER: How important is it when you heard him say, Laura, that there shouldn't be one rule for Democrats, another for Republicans, that there not be one rule for friends and another for foes?

COATES: It's extraordinarily important. And essentially is the essence why we're supposed to have no one person be above the law and how the Justice Department is not supposed to be the private attorney of the president of the United States, even though it is headed by a political appointee, and, of course, the work done by career prosecutors, as I was an alum as well.

But the notion here, looking at it, is what he's actually saying is, look, it's about the institution. And we know in many respects, at his confirmation hearing, Garland said he was an institutionalist in short, talking about the idea of the legitimacy of the Department of Justice and thinking not in a myopic way about what was going to happen for a short-term gain but instead the long consequences, the long-term consequences.

And the cases he's pointed out essentially are the most controversial. And said, on the one hand, the decision to try to pursue the dismissal of actions by the peaceful protesters who were forcibly removed from in front of the White House and, of course, what's happening now with E. Jean Carroll, he's concerned more with the institution long-term, whether that, in fact, will bode well the people believing in restoring integrity of the Justice Department. We'll have to wait and see.

BLITZER: Our Senior Legal Analyst Laura Coates, as always, thank you very much.

President Biden and Air Force One just touched down in his latest stop in the United Kingdom in England, Newquay, England. He's going to be emerging from air force one momentarily. Stand by, we'll have coverage.

Also, the attorney general of the United States told lawmakers the Justice Department is creating a policy that would codify when it's appropriate to seize records from journalists. This comes as CNN's top lawyer is revealing new details about the Trump administration's efforts to obtain CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr's email records. Listen.


GARLAND: This is a very important issue. The president has made clear his view about the first amendment, and it coincides with mine vital to the functioning of our democracy. And that extends to the need for journalists to be able to go about their work. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Our Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter is joining us right now. Brian, tell us about what went on during this secret fight for Barbara Starr's personal and professional emails.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Abuse of power by the United States government against CNN. What we learned today, Wolf, is that there was a gag order secretly placed on the head lawyer at CNN for -- basically for about six months.

This began last July. It went on through the end of the Trump administration's Justice Department. This gag order meant that David Vigilante, the CNN general counsel, could not even tell Barbara Starr about the attempts to seize her email records.

Let me put on screen an example of some of what was barred here, what happened because of Bill Barr Justice Department. CNN was forbidden from knowing what the investigation was about, from knowing the subject matter, from knowing when this investigation began and from conferring with Barbara Starr about it.

This idea of a gag order applied to a news organization is an absolute shock and an absolute affront to the First Amendment. And we're learning about it today because the gag order has finally been lifted. But there are going to be aftershocks from this, Wolf, because this is something that is almost unprecedented in American media history.

BLITZER: Do we know what Trump's team was looking for?

STELTER: We still do not know what the leaked investigation was about. We know that Starr and CNN were not targets. We know this was a leaked investigation. We don't know what they're looking for.

BLITZER: This is, as you say correctly, this was unprecedented. CNN wasn't the only media organization that Trump's Justice Department had targeted right?

STELTER: That's right, The New York Times, revealed a few days ago that they too was placed under a gag order, and it too was in the same -- similar situation, where the top lawyers and executives could not tell the newsroom that the government was going after their data.

Look, spying on journalists in the United States has been going on for years. The Obama administration was guilty of this. Now, the Trump administration, we know, was guilty of this.


The Biden administration is pledging to put a stop to it. But these revelations about the gag order, they are really sending shock waves. This was happening in secret at CNN for the better part of a year and almost no one knew about it. It is an absolute -- it is the opposite of what Americans should expect from their government in relations with the media.

BLITZER: Yeah, certainly is.

As a member of the steering committee of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, it is outrageous what was going on. The targeting CNN, "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post," three news organizations that Trump obviously always went after, certainly outrageous.

STELTER: Exactly.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Brian, for that analysis.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLITZER: Take a look at this. We've got some live pictures coming in once again from the United Kingdom, the president of the United States just landing in Newquay. That's his latest stop, his final stop on this day, getting ready for the G7 summit tomorrow in England.

Stand by. We'll update you on that.


BLITZER: All right. Take a look at the live pictures coming in from Newquay, England. The president of the United States there you see just walked down from the stairs from Air Force One. He's being received by military officials in the U.K. He and the first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, they will be spending the night there in Newquay, getting ready for the G7 summit tomorrow.

Kaitlan Collins, our chief White House correspondent, is with us right now.

Kaitlan, set the scene for us. Tell us some of the folks that the -- who have arrived there on the tarmac to receive the president.

COLLINS: So we're still waiting for a full list from the White House, Wolf, but this is at the Newquay Airport, of course, here in Cornwall, where the president is going to stay in the next few days. And we're told that he's being greeted by the lord lieutenant. That's the queen's representative. He's also being greeted by the U.K. ambassador to the U.S., Karen Pierce. Also the special representative of the foreign secretaries, the Cornish dignitaries there.

Of course, you can also see a few of the Beefeaters, the members of the Royal Guard stationed there outside Air Force One, greeting the president, quite a big show there. We were at the airport actually earlier today, Wolf, when we landed on the White House press charter. We saw Boris Johnson, the prime minister, of course. His plane was there on the tarmac. This is where all the world leaders are flying into for this G7 summit.

President Biden was a little delayed because the weather here is a bit as it often is and can be in England where it's a little rainy and foggy. But there he is being greeted by several of them in addition to the first lady. After this, Wolf, after they are done being greeted by several of these dignitaries and these officials, you can see Karen Pierce there in the background, they will go to the hotel. That's where they'll spend the night.

And tomorrow is going to be the first day of these big one-on-one meetings that the president is going to start having with these world leaders. He is starting at the beginning with the host country, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson.

And, of course, as we noted earlier, that is someone he is likened with his predecessor, former President Trump before, and he did not agree with Brexit. And so, those will be some interesting conversations that they're having, you know, in addition to everything else we've talked about when it comes to the pandemic and Russia and China, there are going to be so many other interesting aspects to what we're seeing with President Biden on the world stage for the first time.

A lot of that has to do with trade. So many other aspects, Wolf, that can be part of this. We'll be watching to see --

BLITZER: Yeah, it's approaching midnight over there.

COLLINS: -- how President Biden handles his first time on the world stage.

BLITZER: Yeah, it's approaching midnight in England right now. He's walking over.

Let's just see if he says anything. Hold on for a second.



BLITZER: All right, he's waving. . He's getting into that vehicle. Right now, they'll take him to the hotel where he'll be staying. And tomorrow, he's going to have meetings beginning with Boris Johnson, the British prime minister.

So, we will have, of course, over the next several days, extensive, extensive coverage of this important historic visit, the first overseas visit by the president of the United States, the G7 summit, and the NATO summit in Brussels, and then finally next week, next Wednesday, a week from today, his big summit with the Russian President Putin.

We'll have extensive coverage of all of this that's coming up.

There's other news we're following right now as well here in the United States. The mayor of Tucson, Arizona, and this is very disturbing, says anti-Semitic graffiti painted on a synagogue there, including the swastika and slur, will be investigated as a hate crime. It's the second attack on a Tucson synagogue since last month, part of a very, very disturbing recent spike in anti-Semitic incidents here in the United States.

I want to dig deeper right now with the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt. Jonathan, thank you so much for joining us. I wish we're meeting under

different circumstances.

But the ADL is tracking the rise in anti-Semitism, these anti-Semitic incidents which comes after the most recent Israeli Palestinian conflict in Gaza. What stands out to you as you monitor this very concerning trend?

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Well, thank you for having me, Wolf.

We have seen what you described, an alarming, trend across the country with a surge of anti-Semitic incidents. Year over year comparing May 2020 to May 2021, 150 percent increase, Wolf, 250 plus have been scene after the violence began.

I'm talking about 190 incidents of harassment, more than 50 acts of vandalism and brutal acts of violence committed in broad daylight. That example from Tucson is just the latest.

On Saturday morning, in San Francisco, a Jewish-owned business was vandalized with the words "Zionist pigs" written across the front of the building. Last month, in Redondo Beach, California, a synagogue was sent like a piece of hate mail suggesting violence perpetrated against. At the language in the email said, die you do cockroaches, Israel equals apartheid, genocide and worse.

And this is what I would say to you, Wolf, when you criminalize the only Jewish state in the world, you criminalize all Jews. There is nothing wrong with critiquing particular policies, but we need to recognize the difference between finding -- taking issue with what one government does and blaming an entire people with a kind of raw prejudice that should not happen to any American.

Jews are vulnerable, we have seen these kinds of attacks and it's just got to stop.

BLITZER: Yeah, you make an important point. In response by the way to that, the discovery of that anti-Semitic a graffiti on that Tucson synagogue, one local official tweeted this and I will quote from the tweet, the amount of Jewish hate isn't shocking. The silence is.

Do you feel the silence?

GREENBLATT: Yeah. Look, we have certainly seen some allies speak out, we did a virtual rally against anti-Semitism, leaders from the Urban League, to LULAC, and others hashed it up. Today, there is a critical statement from leaders in Silicon Valley, which deserves our praise, and the NBA and some celebrities have stood up.

But I have to say that it has been concerning, disappointing disturbing to see members of Congress unwilling to call it anti- Semitism plain and simple, feeling a need qualified with issues in the Middle East.

It's been disappointing to see university presidents not simply call out anti-Semitism but equivocally on other issues. Wolf, in this moment, we need to recognize that when a Jewish person is attacked, all Americans are attacked. Anti-Semitism is as bad and as despicable as all other forms of racism. And we like to see people in positions of authority clearly and consistently call it out.

BLITZER: Jonathan Greenblatt with the ADL, thanks very much for joining. Thanks for all you are doing as well. Appreciate it very much.

Up next, a surprising new reports that one of the most controversial clashes between police and protesters during last year's racial justice demonstration.



BLITZER: Tonight, a new watchdog report says U.S. Park Police did not clear racial justice protesters from in front of the White House to make way for then President Trump to hold a controversial photo op.

CNN's Brian Todd is working that story for us.

Tell us the new information, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a surprising report, Wolf, because the former president and the park police were criticized heavily for staging a photo op that day. This new report does seem to legitimize the park police's actions, but it still does raise questions.


TODD (voice-over): It was one of the most disturbing scenes in a summer full of them. June 1st 2020. Using tear gas, rubber bullets and batons, law enforcement officers pushed back protesters and journalists clearing them from Lafayette Park just in front of the White House.

Tonight, a jarring new report on that incident. The Interior Departments inspector general says that the Park Police did not clear Lafayette Park for then-President Trump's trip to St. Johns church, but did it to allow a contractor to install a security fence around the White House.

ACTING CHIEF GREGORY MONAHAN, U.S. PARK POLICE: There is 100 percent zero correlation between our operation and the president's visit to the church.

TODD: But the report says investigators did not speak to then Attorney General William Barr who has been accused of being behind the effort to clear the park to the presidents walk to the church.

CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C. POLICE CHIEF: The fact that it occurred just moments before the president decided to walk across the street to St. John's and hold up a bible for a photo op seems a bit on this a spacious side. But, that's what they're saying.

TODD: During those protests that day, President Trump made a defiant declaration.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I am your president of law and order.

TODD: Then he made his way across Lafayette Park.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that your bible?

TRUMP: It's a bible.

TODD: Trump held that bible at St. John's Church.

The U.S. Park Police was skewered, accused of using force so the president could stage a photo op.

REV. GINI GERBASI, RECTOR, ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH: When I realized that people had been hurt and terrified for a political stunt I -- like, offended. It hardly begins to describe how I feel.

TODD: But the new report says that the Park Police and the Secret Service decided to establish a more secure perimeter around the White House in response to the destruction of property during racial justice protests in the days just ahead of you in first.

DEMONSTRATORS: No justice, no peace!

TODD: The report says that those agency started implementing the plans for a fence on the morning of June 1st and that it wasn't until mid to late afternoon that day that they learned of Trump's potential movement to the park which they were not given a specific time for.


TODD (on camera): While the new report says that the park police followed appropriate policies that day, it is not completely absolved law enforcement. It says that officers from the Bureau of Prisons arrived late, mistaking briefing and then inappropriately fired pepper ball munitions at the crowd -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian Todd reporting for us. Brian, thank you very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WolfBlitzer. You can always tweet the show @CNNSitRoom.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.