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The Situation Room

Justice Department Releases New Video Of Violence By Trump Supporters On January 6 As GOP Tries To Whitewash Insurrection; Pence Heckled, Called "Traitor" At Conservative Religious Conference; Biden Marks 300 Million COVID Vaccine Doses Administered In U.S. But Warns Unvaccinated People At Risk From New Variants; McConnell Slams Manchin's Bipartisan Election Bill Proposal Because It "Has Been Endorsed By Stacey Abrams"; Polls Close In Iran's Critical Presidential Election. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 18, 2021 - 17:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: It's at 9 a.m. and noon Eastern.

I'm Pamela Brown in for Jake Tapper. You can catch me tomorrow on Sunday on CNN from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, graphic and disturbing new video shows a Trump supporter taunted, stalking and punching a police officer on January 6, even as some Republicans try to whitewash the horror of the Capitol insurrection.

President Biden marks a vaccination milestone but warns that unvaccinated Americans are in grave risk from a coronavirus variant, the CDC now says will likely take over here in the United States.

And North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, declares his country should be ready for, quote, both "dialogue and confrontation" with the United States. Which one is he really seeking?

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

We begin with the very disturbing new video just released by the U.S. Justice Department, underscoring the violence and the hatred that fueled the Capitol siege. CNN Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is joining us. She's got the latest developments.

Paula, we have to warn our viewers. The video contains profanity and is difficult to watch. But it's important for people to see it as some Republicans are trying to downplay what really happened that day.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Wolf. This disturbing new video of the Capitol riot was only revealed after news outlets including CNN sued to make it public. And it comes as some Republicans continue to try to deflect responsibility for the attack away from the former president and his supporters by amplifying baseless conspiracy theories. (BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

REID (voice-over): Tonight, newly released footage showing an up close look at what officers protecting the Capitol went through during the January 6 attack.

These new videos revealed after CNN and other media outlets sued for them in court showing Scott Fairlamb, a gym owner from New Jersey taunting then shoving an officer and punching him in the face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, stay away from us. Fuck them.

REID (voice-over): Another video taken from an officer's body cam showing Thomas Webster, a former Marine and retired NYPD officer seen here wearing a red coat threatening police with a flagpole before tackling one officer to the ground. Both men have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: It's a rude awakening for everyone. But hopefully, it will also help people see the lies of the former president.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): It's shameful. But sadly, there's an awful number of my Republican colleagues who seemed to not feel shame.

REID (voice-over): But the videos come as some Republican members of Congress are attempting to rewrite history, downplaying the events of that day and latching on to baseless conspiracy theories.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, (R-TX): DOJ, FBI or any of the Intel Community, what kind of roll were they playing?

REID (voice-over): The latest lie that the people behind the insurrection were not Trump supporters, but the FBI. The claim stemming from references to unindicted co-conspirators, a right wing website claims without any evidence that the phrase is a reference to FBI informants or undercover agents infiltrating pro-Trump groups.

But legal experts say the term is not used to describe FBI agents and instead refers to people who participated in the conspiracy but haven't been charged. In one example, touted by Fox News, the unnamed co-conspirator was likely the defendant's wife according to court filings. Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson doubling down on the theory just last night.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: But we won't shut up and we shouldn't. It could not be more obvious at this point that the government is in fact hiding something probably quite a few things.

REID (voice-over): With Representatives Matt Gaetz, who is under investigation by the FBI, and Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeting that theory. But some Republicans are pushing back, Representative Peter Meijer tweeting, "Not FBI. Can't believe I have to say that. It was what it was, a violent attempt to stop the constitutional transfer of power." And Representative Adam Kinzinger renewing calls for a January 6 commission. REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Tell your constituents the truth. Tell the American people the truth. Let's get to the bottom of the truth. And then, we can move on.


REID: CNN and other outlets spent months seeking access to those videos you just saw, that these clips have been used in court as evidence against the rioters in dozens of cases, but they were not released publicly. Now media outlets continue to fight for access to additional clips to help show exactly what happened on that day. Wolf.


BLITZER: I'm sure we'll be getting more of those clips for sure.

All right, Paula Reid, thank you very much.

I want to dig deeper right now with CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent, Drew Griffin.

Drew, you met with people that attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6. You met with them, you met with their relatives. Tell our viewers what they told you.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The participants almost universally had this delusional view that nothing serious happened that day. Even those facing very serious charges are failing to grasp the seriousness that they themselves are in. Their relatives describes something far different Wolf describing their own loved ones as being radicalized by this cult of lies around the precedent.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Oath Keeper Donovan Crowl is facing some of the most serious criminal charges in the Capitol breach.

DONOVAN CROWL, OATH KEEPER: Went over the Capitol, overran the Capitol.

GRIFFIN (on camera): We found him in Ohio, where he's awaiting trial.

I'm with CNN.

CROWL: Excuse me?

GRIFFIN (on camera): I'm with CNN, Mr. Crowl. Drew Griffin.

CROWL: Oh, thanks, man. I'm good. Have a good day.

GRIFFIN (on camera): I've been talking to your mom and your sister, they mentioned that you might want to say something to us about --

CROWL: About what?

GRIFFIN (on camera): About your case and whether or not you feel bad about it.

CROWL: I feel bad about my case.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Feel bad about what you did?

CROWL: Well, actually, the things I did, I was hanging out with some of the wrong people, it seems like. But I didn't really do anything. So, I feel pretty good that my case is going to come out and show that, so.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Do you feel like you were manipulated into going to the Capitol?

CROWL: No. No, I really got nothing to say to you. I don't watch your garbage anyway.

JOANN ROWE, DONOVAN CROWL'S MOTHER: I love the person that he used to be, but I despise the person that he is now. He's not my son. And I still have a hard time believing that he did what he did.

If he gets 20 years in prison, he'll be 70 years old before he gets out of there. Trump doesn't care about any of those people that storm the Capitol for him. He doesn't care one iota about him. Hasn't he mentioned him since he's been out of the White House.


GRIFFIN: Wolf, Donovan Crowl, that former Marine is alcoholic. He listened to Alex Jones and was radicalized, his mother thinks, listening to those conspiracy theories and was in that column of soldiers that went up into the Capitol that day. He's just one of the many people we profiled in a report that will really, I think, had you come in away thinking almost sorry for these people who have been scammed by this lie, which the Republicans are using to escalate their power and their profit.

BLITZER: Yes, that's absolutely true.

Drew, I want you to stand by. And once again, we want to let our viewers know about your truly amazing CNN special report, "Assault on Democracy, The Roots of Trump's Insurrection." You can see it this Sunday night 9 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

Right now, I want to bring in our Senior Legal Analyst, the former U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara, Drew is still with us as well.

Preet, these disturbing new videos from January 6 that the Justice Department released are being used in the court of law. But how important are they, in the court of public opinion, as elements of the Republican Party are trying to rewrite history?

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, video is very important. What we see with our eyes, helps us to dispel conspiracy theories. It helps us to see what really happened. You see that in case after case after case in court, as you mentioned. We saw it in the George Floyd case. Sometimes the most powerful evidence of what the truth is, is what's captured on videotape.

Now, with respect to the court of public opinion, I think it can also have for people of good faith and who are reasonable and are open minded. I think it has a powerful effect on them, too. So they can see that in this case, the people who perpetrated the actions on January 6 were not tourists, they're not Antifa, they're not FBI agents. They are people who are trying to overturn the election, many of them at the request and direction of Donald Trump.

There happens to be also -- it happens to also be true, unfortunately. But there's a subset of folks in this country, including allies of the people who stormed the Capitol that day who don't care what evidence you have, who don't care what the videotapes show, who don't care what the evidence is -- what evidence is presented in court. And they persist in their view that they did nothing wrong. And then, other people were responsible for this.

And the report on Tucker Carlson in particular, is outlandish and outrageous. Suggesting that for some reason, because some people are -- who are involved in the events of the interaction are not identified by name in criminal documents means that it's probably the FBI. That's not how it works. I did this for a lot of years. Nothing could be further from the truth.


BLITZER: You know and, Drew, Preet is absolutely right that these close up videos capture the rage of those Trump supporters attacking the U.S. Capitol. How did these rioters get so far down the rabbit hole?

GRIFFIN: You know, we trace it back to decades of this kind of conspiracy theory lies, right wing media and also the rise of social media, which was driven by profits and clickbait, which is why you get these ridiculous stories on these ridiculous websites, which go viral. They're just basically made to try to drive profits of these little outlets. But they are down a rabbit hole.

And that's why I think even showing this video to them, even holding up the mirror to them, they don't grasp what is going on. They are so radicalized. It's almost like dealing with a radicalized, you know, Islamic terrorist. They do not grasp reality, which is why you have people storming the United States Capitol and beating police officers who believe they are American patriots and support the blue. It's ridiculous.

BLITZER: It is totally ridiculous.

Preet, during that attack, rioters, as all of us remember and saw on video, chanted "hang Mike Pence." Today the former vice president was actually booed, booed at a conservative conference. Let's watch together. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (INAUDIBLE). I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican in that order.


BLITZER: He was booed, he was heckled, he was called a traitor. What does that say about the grip these people currently have on the Republican Party?

BHARARA: Well, you know, I'm not an expert on the Republican Party, and how it is fractured over the last period of time. But I think this as a citizen you see that it's unclear what the Republican Party is.

There's not anybody you could name who is more dyed in the wool Republican in the tradition of that party and conservatism than Mike Pence. Another person you could put in that category is the daughter of the former vice president, Liz Cheney. These are people who are conservative who are Republican.

And now, they're facing reprisal, threats of death and hanging in the case of the vice the former vice president, because of one thing, they didn't go far enough in pushing the big lie and engaging in, you know, criminal conduct, unlawful conduct to try to turn the election over to Donald Trump with no daring to speak the truth, the truth that we've been discussing on the segment that you see on those videotapes.

So, I think it's a sad situation to be in. And hopefully there'll be more reasonable people who care about democracy like Liz Cheney and others who will speak out against it.

BLITZER: You spent weeks, if not months, through preparing your special documentary that will air Sunday night. It is the fear right now that former President Trump or other politicians will try to tap into the anger of this group, this fringe group, and potentially incite more violence?

GRIFFIN: I mean, that's not the fear. That's the reality. They -- these politicians seek power, and in some cases, profit through spreading lies, and they see how easily they can do that with just a wink, a nod or a tweet. So, I think that that is the real fear that this will continue the delusion and lead to more violence.

BLITZER: We'll all watch all your special reports Sunday night, 9 p.m. Eastern.

And Drew, thank you very much. Preet, thanks to you as well.

Coming up, President Biden marks a vaccine milestone but warns a coronavirus variant taking over, could threaten unvaccinated Americans.

Plus, Kim Jong-un's cryptic new message to the United States. Is he seeking dialogue, confrontation, or both?



BLITZER: President Biden holding out the hope of a very different kind of summer for Americans as he marks a COVID vaccine milestone.

Let's go to our CNN White House Correspondent Arlette Saenz.

Arlette, the President was upbeat about the vaccination that progress the country has made but he also had a very, very serious warning.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He really did, Wolf. And while much of the President's domestic agenda is stalled, President Biden found some areas to celebrate today as the U.S. marks yet another milestone in the race to get Americans vaccinated. But President Biden also issued a warning that unvaccinated Americans remain at risk, especially as that new Delta variants takes hold in the U.S.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Three hundred million shots in arms in 150 days.

SAENZ (voice-over): President Biden today touting another milestone in the vaccination race, attributing the progress to a war time response to fight the pandemic.

BIDEN: Folks, we're heading into a very different summer compared to last year, a bright summer, perfectly a summer of joy.

SAENZ (voice-over): But the celebration comes as the U.S. may fall short of its Independence Day goal of having 70 percent of the population partially vaccinated. The administration's vaccine campaign running at full speed from the White House to communities on the ground with Vice President Harris making her case today in Atlanta, Georgia.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even though we have made a lot of progress, there are still a whole lot of folks out there who are not vaccinated.

SAENZ (voice-over): As the White House rushes to meet its targets, the President's other big ticket agenda items like voting rights, police reform and infrastructure hanging in the balance. President Biden has yet to signal whether he'll back a bipartisan infrastructure proposal totaling $1.2 trillion, with over half a trillion devoted to new spending.

BIDEN: I'll tell you Monday when I get the copy of it.

SAENZ (voice-over): But some Democrats are preparing to go it alone with Bernie Sanders floating a reconciliation package with a massive $6 trillion price tag. A figure likely to meet some resistance from moderate Democrats.

Also stuck in limbo, voting rights. Next week, a sweeping election overhaul bill hits the Senate floor, a procedural vote more symbolic than productive since it lacks the support to pass. In a revised voting rights bill from Joe Manchin declared dead in the water by Senate Republicans.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I think will oppose that as well, if that were to be a surface on the floor.

SAENZ (voice-over): And President Biden dealing with a personal matter as a devout Catholic, as a group of Catholic Bishops is taking steps towards rebuking politicians for accepting communion, while opposing the church's stance on abortion rights.

BIDEN: That's a private matter and I don't think that's going to happen.


SAENZ: And also tonight, the Dow plummeted 500 points, marking a five- day losing streak. This comes as the Federal Reserve earlier this week projected they may need to raise interest rates by 2023. And the president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Board, saying that could actually come as early as the end of next year.

The White House and the President's top economic officials, of course, watching this all very closely. Wolf.

BLITZER: As they should very, very closely.

Arlette, thank you very much.

Let's get the insights of CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, as usual, thanks very much for joining us.

How worried should vaccinated Americans be about the new variant? And how worried should the unvaccinated be?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't think the vaccinated need to be very worried about this in the short term, Wolf, I mean, because we got real world data now and how well these vaccines work.

But I do want to show you, Wolf, this graphic because I think it tells a story of this Delta variant in the U.K., which, you know, is always a place that we look to see what might be coming here. If you look at the end of January, we can see sort of where things stood. The red is the Alpha variant, which was the U.K. variant, that was the dominant strain end of January.

Look what happened, Wolf, over time, numbers kept coming down, which is good. But at the same time, you saw the Delta variant enter the scene, the yellow, the numbers started to creep back up. So, that's primarily the unvaccinated, Wolf, that are, you know, starting to drive the numbers up. Still much smaller than the previous surges, but that's exactly what we're trying to avoid.

If you've been vaccinated, we now, again, have good evidence that it's pretty protective against U.K. Alpha variant, Delta variant and the other variants that are out there.

BLITZER: Which is so encouraging why it's so important for everyone to get vaccinated.

Now, President Biden said that he doesn't think we'll need another lockdown to deal with this variant. Do you agree with him?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, I do. And here's why, Wolf.

I mean, the thing about it is we often talk about this in binary sort of terms, either you have immunity or you do not. What we now know is that even if there are other variants that start to develop some, what we call escape immunity, they're not as protected from the vaccines. It's not like they go to zero. So, you're still going to have, you know, a fair amount of immunity out there.

But also, if you look at the map, I think we have the map of sort of the vaccination status around the country. As we've been talking about since last spring, Wolf, it's tough to sort of paint the United States with one broad brush. There are places that are going to be in much better shape in terms of vaccinations.

So, there may be particular areas that have these outbreaks again, and I'm almost confident we're going to see that going into the fall. But hopefully, they won't be anything that warrants anything to be done at a national level certainly in terms of lockdowns.

BLITZER: I also want to get your thought, Sanjay, on this new study that was just released, showing what are described as long term loss of brain tissue after being sick with COVID. How concerning is that?

GUPTA: This is a really early study, Wolf. And I look a lot of these brain studies in particular, and in the beginning, they can be hard to interpret.

Basically, it was 800 people, they got MRI, at one point, and in three years later they got another MRI, half of them got COVID in the middle. So now, they're comparing MRIs of people who have COVID to those who did not, average age 60. And they did find in some of these people that there was some loss of gray matter in areas of the brain that are also responsible for taste and smell, which we know you know, loss of smell and taste can be a symptom of COVID. So, I think that really got the researchers attention.

We don't know what these people have developed some loss in those areas, gray matter in those areas anyway, is it really correlated to their symptoms. And also, Wolf, there's only about 5 percent of people who develop loss of taste or smell, only 5 percent that still have those symptoms at six months.

So, if this was actually due to loss of gray matter, you would probably not expect the symptoms to return so quickly, if at all. So, you know, there's a lot of pieces to be put together here.

I will say this, Wolf, as we've said, for a long time, and this is an unusual virus, you know, we call it a respiratory virus, but it is unusual. It affects the brain, it affects just about every organ system. And I think we are truly learning something new about it every day. And what I keep saying is you don't want this virus. You do not want it even if you think you're not going to get that sick because there's so much that's unknown. So the message will just like you said, you know, get vaccinated.

BLITZER: So, so critically important.

Sanjay, thank you very, very much as usual.

Still ahead, new details about a mass shooting that claimed victims in three communities near Phoenix.


And later, after months of silence, Kim Jong-un finally got something to say about North Korea's approach to the new Biden administration.


BLITZER: Vice President Kamala Harris just wrapping up a trip to Atlanta, where she talked about voting rights with community leaders. But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has slammed the door in hopes for a bipartisan bill.

CNN's Abby Phillip is with us right now.

Abby, it looks like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin's attempt at breaking through coming up with some sort of bipartisan agreement on this issue seems to be dead at least right now.


What's the latest?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it does seem to be dead right now and mostly because Republicans, namely Senator Mitch McConnell, the Minority Leader, has said that his entire conference would oppose what Manchin is suggesting that he said that they have a lot of objections, even to the compromises that Manchin put together.

So it seems that this is not going to get even anywhere near 60 votes. But Democrats are still moving forward. They're planning to still have a procedural vote next week to move the legislation forward in the process, but that vote is unlikely to get any Republican support.

And I think it's been notable that we've even heard from some moderates, people who have been willing to work with Democrats like Senator Mitt Romney, also saying he doesn't support even the compromises that Manchin put forward.

BLITZER: I thought it was really important that the voting rights activists, Stacey Abrams, came out and basically signaled her support for Joe Manchin's proposal.

PHILLIP: Yes, I think it's incredibly significant. It's a signal that at least some progressives are saying, we're willing to come to the table to negotiate. But one of the key things that she actually said that she would be open to talking about is a universal voter identification standard. That's something Republicans have been pushing for decades, and Democrats have been staunchly opposed to that. So the fact that even with Stacey Abrams saying, yes, I'm willing to talk about this, Republicans are saying, no way.

It's almost seems like she called their bluff and they have backed away from the table essentially, when it comes to negotiating over voting rights. It puts Joe Manchin, by the way, in a pretty tough spot. He's been convinced that there could be bipartisan cooperation on this. And it seems that that door has already closed.

BLITZER: He got to give him credit. He's trying and let's see what happens. Abby, thank you very, very much.

An important note to our viewers, be sure to tune in Sunday morning, 8:00 a.m. Eastern. Abby will anchor of course, CNN's Inside Politics Sunday. I'm a regular viewer. Enjoy the program very much. You should as well.

Joining us now Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California. Congressman, thank you so much for joining us. I want to get to the voting rights issue in a moment. But first, this new video released by the U.S. Justice Department showing the level of violence of January 6th, where you are at the U.S. Capitol taunting, punching hand to hand combat, how disturbing is it that some of your own Republican House colleagues are pushing new conspiracy theories about that deadly attack?

REP. KO KHANNA (D-CA): Wolf, it's appalling. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. They're accusing the FBI of committing insurrection, without any basis of truth. The Republican Party has become a parody of themselves. So I was telling someone, I was going to come on your show to talk about the conspiracy theory and the person started shaking their head. I don't know if they realize how ridiculous they sound.

BLITZER: Yes, I mean, it is amazing what's going on. Let me turn to the key issue of infrastructure, which the country so badly needs right now, all of us know what's going on with the bridges and everything else in the roads. Senator Bernie Sanders is now proposing a 6, 6, get this, $6 trillion infrastructure plan, which he wants to pass without any Republican support. If moderate Democrats like, let's say, like Joe Manchin, were concerned with an even more modest price tag, how do you expect to win 50 votes on this?

KHANNA: Well, Senator Sanders plan is consistent with the plans that President Biden put forward. It has a robust commitment to climate, it has a robust commitment to building broadband and modern infrastructure, but we're willing to negotiate. The two places that we're not willing to negotiate is there can't be a tax on the working class, there needs to be a tax on the wealthy, and there has to be climate provisions in the bill.

BLITZER: And if there aren't those climate -- let's talk about climate provisions for a moment -- if there aren't, you'll vote against it. Is that what I'm hearing?

KHANNA: Yes, as well many progressives, I mean, the current bipartisan bill doesn't have any of the green infrastructure and it actually wants to put a fee on electric vehicles, which is going to take us further away from the clean energy goals. There's no way someone who cares about climate can get behind that.

BLITZER: All right, so that looks like that could potentially be in trouble as well. Let's talk about voting rights, another key issue. Why is it that Congress can unite to pass this important symbolic measure, making Juneteenth a federal holiday, that is a holiday today, but even Joe Manchin's compromise on voting rights was immediately shot down by Republicans?

KHANNA: Well, I give Joe Manchin credit for outlining where he could be on voting rights. I give Stacey Abrams credit, and this should be something that can get Republican support. It shows the Republican hypocrisy. This is why we either need to do away with the filibuster or create a voting rights exception to the filibuster so that we can get this through.

It doesn't have to be the whole H.R. 1. It doesn't have to be the campaign finance reforms, which I support, but at least let's get what Joe Manchin and Stacey Abrams can agree and through the -- agree on through the United States Senate.

BLITZER: The Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as you know, sees that Stacey Abrams praise of Joe Manchin's proposal. Does it concern you to see Republicans rallying their opposition around a leading black politician like Abrams?


KHANNA: It does, and I think they have that as a concerted strategy. They target women of color that they demonize them. But that is not going to work. Because in this case, you have Joe Manchin, who I don't think there's a person in the country who thinks Joe Manchin is unreasonable. And his proposals are the exact same ones that Stacey Abrams is talking about. Let's get behind that. Most people are going to see that that's what is reasonable.

BLITZER: Bottom line, how much trouble does President Biden face now in getting his domestic agenda passed, not only in the House, but in the Senate?

KHANNA: I think we'll get something on infrastructure. I -- it may not be $6 trillion, but we'll get something with strong climate legislation and taxes on the wealthy and big corporations. Where I'm more concerned is voting rights. I don't see a way forward without some reform of the filibuster or some exception to the filibuster.

BLITZER: Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you so much for joining us. KHANNA: Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead, the latest outrage in America's epidemic of gun violence. A gunman goes on a shooting spree that covers three communities near Phoenix, leaving one person dead and a dozen injured. And later, we're going live to Tehran, Iran for an update on today's presidential election.



BLITZER: We're following new reports of more gun violence across the nation. One of the most disturbing incidents took place near Phoenix, Arizona, where a gunman went on a shooting spree that left one person dead and a dozen injured. Let's go to our CNN Security Correspondent Josh Campbell. Josh, I understand you're getting new information. What are you learning?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, new information into THE SITUATION ROOM. Just minutes ago, police in Arizona identified the suspect they believe is responsible for yesterday's mass shooting that killed one person and injured 13 others. Ninety- year-old Ashin Tricarico of Surprise, Arizona was taken into custody yesterday by officers following a shooting spree that lasted over an hour.

Authorities say they have not yet identified a motive but the suspect has been booked on first degree murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault, multiple counts of engaging in a drive by shooting as well as endangerment.

Now we're also learning new information about the victims in this mass shooting. They range in age from 19 to 56. Men and women of various races, police tell us. The person who was shot and killed was a 56- year-old man who police have not yet identified, Wolf. Police say that inside one of the vehicles that was targeted, there was a three-year- old child who, thankfully, was not injured. But a very dangerous situation.

Just to recap, the horrifying violence yesterday in Phoenix, police say, at least four people were shot, one fatally as a gunman went on a shooting spree in the city's Northwest suburbs. Nine other people police say were hurt by shrapnel and debris during this rampage, noting that they were tracking a total of eight separate incidents.

Police describe the sheer chaos that ensued as officers arrived on the scene of one of the shootings. They quickly realized that there were other incidents being reported around the area. Witnesses were able to get a vehicle description which was quickly broadcast out to neighboring jurisdictions.

A firefighter spotted the suspect's vehicle. And as officers descended on that location, they took the gunman into custody without incident. Authorities believe the suspect was acting alone. They do not believe there was an ongoing threat to the community. But obviously, several cities impacted by this tragedy. And Wolf, as we talked about this gun violence from coast to coast, as we are talking today, Arizona now ground zero for the latest mass shooting in the United States. Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. This gun violence epidemic, sadly, sadly, continues. Josh, thank you very much for that reporting.

Let's bring in retired Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson. Captain Johnson, thanks very much for joining us. This one horrific shooting near Phoenix, just the latest in a string of mass shootings all across the United States. Why are so many major U.S. cities right now dealing with surging gun violence?

CAPT. RON JOHNSON (RET.), MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: The access to guns is really easy. We're going to have to strengthen our gun laws and come together as a nation and come together as both parties, Democrat, Republicans, and create some laws that will limit gun access to our country.

BLITZER: The former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, says one reason behind this crime surge, the shooting surge might be the way cities right now are using bail. Listen to this.


JAMES CRAIG, FORMER DETROIT POLICE CHIEF: When you look at this trend around the country, one thing that major cities have in common, how bail reform is being used. And so, what we have and what we don't talk enough about is how many of these individuals who are involved in violence are people that are out on no bail, out on tether that probably should be remanded to custody. I got to tell you, it's common in all the major cities.


BLITZER: You agree, Captain Johnson?

JOHNSON: I have not seen that connection. Some of these mass shootings, we people that have never been arrested, have never been contacted by law enforcement. So I think the issue is bigger than that.

BLITZER: This isn't, as you know, sadly, the first time the United States has suffered from a surge in crime. From your perspective, as a former law enforcement officer, what's something you want Americans to understand about this horrific, deadly crime wave that's going across the country right now?

JOHNSON: Well, we have to make sure we take a stand as a nation. And so I think it is a surge, but I think it's one that we can't tolerate. We have to ensure that we support law enforcement when they're doing their job correctly. We have to make sure that laws are put in place that give law enforcement the opportunity to do their job. In some states, law enforcement is handcuffed on their ability to enforce gun law -- federal gun laws or even local gun laws.

BLITZER: Yes. And look at the numbers on the side of the screen over there. Mass shootings this year, 283 in the United States so far, 321 Americans have been killed and 1,179 people have been injured.


People see those numbers hard to believe. I just came from Switzerland in Geneva, people were saying to me, how could this happen in the United States of America? It's happening. Something's got to be done about it.

Captain Johnson, thank you so much for joining us.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

BLITZER: And stay with us. We're going live to Tehran for the latest on today's presidential election in Iran. Will it have any impact in the quest for peace in the Middle East and beyond?



BLITZER: We're following several major international developments right now, including keeping a close eye on a presidential election in Iran, that's likely to have very important consequences potentially for peace in the region in the Middle East and beyond. Thanks to CNN's global resources, our Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran right now where all polling stations just close.

Fred, the White House is likely monitoring the outcome of this presidential election pretty closely. Give us the latest developments. First of all, what's at stake?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENION INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, you're absolutely right, Wolf. I think this is absolutely a pivotal election here in Iran, and certainly one that could have wide ranging consequences for the U.S. and its allies and certainly for this entire region.

What we're set to see is Iran moving even further in the conservative direction than it was before. Of course, for the past eight years, we've had the Rouhani administration, which was fairly moderate. But now after this election, it certainly seems as though, the very ultra conservative Ebrahim Raisi could very well take over as the next President of Iran.

Now, this man, up until now has been the head of Iran's judiciary taking a very, very tough and hard line there. He's also someone who, by the way, is already sanctioned by the United States. And certainly many believe that that conservative line will not only continue but be strengthened.

He's also very close to Iran supreme leader. And really, this election seems as though, it's been moving in that direction before it even began. A lot of the candidates who want to take part in the election, especially the moderate candidates, were disqualified before the election even began. And then there were seven candidates left, and of those, three dropped out in favor of Ebrahim Raisi. So, it certainly looks as though he is going to be the next president of Iran. And, of course, the big issues that we've been talking about throughout the years, Wolf, really with Iran, those remain that Iran still suffering very much under those very heavy sanctions put in place by the Trump administration. But the big issue here is, of course, the Iran nuclear agreement, and what could be the future of that, and that being put back in place with a new hardline administration here in Tehran.

But I managed to speak today to the head of Iran Supreme National Security Council, so (INAUDIBLE) very close to Iran Supreme Leader, and he told me that issue is even beyond Iran's presidency. That's something the Supreme Leader decides.

And for right now, they are saying that negotiations to bring that back on track, those will remain in place. The Supreme Leader wants that agreement back on track once, obviously, Iran to come back into full compliance, but first, wants the U.S. to get back into that agreement at all, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Fred Pleitgen in Tehran for us. Fred, thank you very much.

Other important international news. North Korea's Kim Jong-un has stayed mostly silent since said Joe Biden became President. But now, Kim Jong-un has a new message about North Korea's relations with the United States. CNN's Paula Hancocks is monitoring all these late breaking developments from Seoul. So what are you hearing, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, North Korean leader Kim Jong- un says his country needs to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, speaking about the new U.S. administration, although, he didn't give any indication which way he is leaning.

Now this was at a Workers Party conference this week but politics seem to take second place. Kim Jong-un himself spoke about his concerns of food insecurity in his own country saying, quote, the people's food situation is now getting tense.

This is a rare admission of food shortages within the country. It's something experts have been talking about for many months, and it's something the United Nations agrees with and is concerned about saying that if North Korea does not open the borders up to food aid in the near future, there will be shortages later this year. North Korea closed its borders in January 2020 over concerns of coronavirus, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Paula, thank you very much.

The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has been hit by a coronavirus outbreak. Dozens of people are sick. Let's go to CNN's Salma Abdelaziz, she's got more. Tell us more, Salma.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Wolf, the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan is reeling right now from a coronavirus outbreak that has left at least 100 people sick and in isolation, at least one person has died of the virus and several people have had to be medically evacuated. The rules right now at that embassy in Kabul are very strict. Everyone confined to their quarters. You can't leave unless it's mission critical or to exercise alone, of course, outside.

And official say those rules will remain in place until that chain of transmission is broken. They're urging everyone not to show up at the embassy in Kabul unless they have been vaccinated. And this, of course, comes at a very critical time for Afghanistan.

U.S. troops are right now withdrawing from that country, at least 50 percent of military personnel have left so far. According to U.S. Central Command and due to a coronavirus outbreak in the country, the U.S. Embassy has suspended visa services. So a lot of concern about how this drawdown will continue under these very tough circumstances, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Salma, thank you very much. Salma Abdelaziz reporting.

Coming up, the U.S. Justice Department has just released new video underscoring the horror of the January 6th Capitol insurrection.


It's graphic and difficult to watch but so important for everyone to see as some Republicans are trying to rewrite the history of that day.


BLITZER: Happening now, graphic new video of the U.S. Capitol siege showing one rioter taunting, stalking and punching law enforcement as some Republicans tried to rewrite what really happened on January 6th. President Biden touts a vaccine milestone but also warns that the U.S. could lose some of the hard won ground its gain as one coronavirus variant takes hold.

And in the wake of the Biden-Putin summit, North Korea's Kim Jong-un appears to beg for the spotlight with a cryptic new threat against the United States.