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The Situation Room
New Video Shows Trump Supporter Taunting, Stalking, Punching Law Enforcement Outside Of U.S. Capitol On January 6; Biden Marks 300 Million COVID Vaccine Doses Administered In U.S. But Warns Unvaccinated At Risk From Delta Variant; Dozens Of Portland Police Resign From Team That Responds To Protests After Officer Is Indicted Over Beating; VP Harris Discusses Efforts To Protect Voting Rights During Atlanta Visit; Kim Jong-un Says North Korea Should Be Prepared For "Dialogue And Confrontation" With The U.S. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired June 18, 2021 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: 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.
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.
We begin with a very disturbing new video of the U.S. Capitol siege. CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider is working this story for us. Jessica, this video contains profanity, it's very graphic, but this is what really happened on January 6th, even though some Republicans are trying to rewrite history.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Wolf. This newly-released video is showing close-up, on the ground and violent views of the most dangerous pro-Trump rioters. The video, in fact, has influenced at least one judge to keep an accused rioter in jail pending trial. And the video is being released at the same time some Republicans are still trying to downplay January 6th and even promoting conspiracy theories about the FBI's involvement.
SCHNEIDER (voice over): Tonight, new video from on the ground outside the Capitol, and never before seen footage from police body cam, this one showing New Jersey gym owner Scott Fairlamb taunting, stalking and punching law enforcement outside the Capitol. He's seen dressed in a camouflage jacket leaning into the face of a police officer then following him and taunting him with expletives.
Fairlamb then shoves the police officer, who falls backward onto a group of protesters. Just as the officer regains his footing and starts walking away, Fairlamb punches him in the face, hitting his helmet. Others in the crowd try to calm Fairlamb down.
Another video shows Fairlamb holding a phone, screaming about what he's going to do next. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We fucking disarm them and then we storm the fucking Capitol.
SCHNEIDER: Fairlamb was one of the first rioters inside the Senate side of the building, according to court records. He is still in jail after a D.C. judged determined he was too dangerous to release, writing, if any crime establishes danger to the community and a disregard for the rule of law, assaulting a riot-gear clad police officer does.
Fairlamb is charged with 12 criminal counts, including assaulting police. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.
Police also say this new police body cam footage shows Thomas Webster, a former Marine and retired New York City Police officer in a red coat screaming profanities at police and threateningly wielding a flagpole before rushing at officers. Webster has pleaded not guilty to his charges, including assaulting police. The close up police perspective shows the hand-to-hand combat officers were forced to engage in to fight off the mob looking to make their way into the Capitol.
The new video comes just as the Republican grapples with a new conspiracy theory that has gained traction with some of its members. A right-wing website, Revolver News, is suggesting the people driving the insurrection were not Trump supporters but FBI agents who conspiracy theorists claim are appearing in court records as unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators. But legal experts say the term is not used to describe FBI agents and instead refers to unnamed people who participated in the crime but haven't been charged.
The theory has been readily embraced by some in the GOP.
REP. LOUIS GOHMERT (R-TX): DOJ, FBI or any of the Intel Community, what kind of role were they playing?
SCHNEIDER: But now, other Republicans are pushing, in particular, Congressman Peter Meijer of Michigan who voted to impeach President Trump. Meijer tweeted, not peaceful, not let in by police, not Antifa, not FBI. I can't believe I have to say that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER (on camera): And as for those videos, we are expecting the release of more of them from the courts in the coming weeks. That could give us even more perspective from police body cams about the hand-to-hand combat that they were forced into all to protect the Capitol, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jessica, very disturbing indeed. Jessica Schneider reporting, thanks very much.
Let's get more on all of this, CNN's Senior Law Enforcement Analyst, the former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe is with us. Also with us, CNN's Chief Domestic Correspondent Jim Acosta.
Andrew, these disturbing new videos that the justice department has just released, what do they say, what do they reveal about the mindset of these rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT: Wolf, they are very powerful evidence for exactly that reason. You get to see not only what this individual, this defendant did physically, but how he appeared. You see the blind rage on his face. It's very easy to watch that video and to understand what his intent was with the actions that he was committing, which is, of course, essential to proving the crime you have to prove that the individual had criminal intent.
BLITZER: It's interesting, Jim, the partner of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after being attacked at that insurrection, says that former President Trump was the, quote, mastermind of that day.
How incredible is it to see some of these Republicans actually going along with all these conspiracies?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT: They're living in a different world, Wolf. They are not living in the same world that you and I are in. They're in the Qniverse, I guess you could call it. And I think it's important to note that at the beginning of the aftermath of January 6th, some of these same Republicans were blaming it on Antifa. Now they're blaming it on members of the FBI. You have to wonder what's next.
This is disturbing, Wolf, because one of the things that we have keep in mind is Donald Trump is going to get back out on the campaign trail. He is going to be stoking these same kind of passions that we saw on January 6th. And you have to wonder whether or not, when he has these rallies later on this summer, is it going to lead to scenes like this.
Remember what happened on January 6th. We all saw it, Wolf. He went down to the Ellipse. He gave this speech, he riled up that crowd and then sent them off to the Capitol. These folks who are wondering who stormed the Capitol on January 6th can just look in the mirror. It is these folks in these videos who have been identified by law enforcement. It's as clear as day.
BLITZER: And, Andrew, these latest videos, you have said, are just, what, the tip of the iceberg.
MCCABE: That's absolutely right. So if you think about it, Wolf, we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 cases. It's a pretty good bet that each one of these cases includes some digital evidence. Those would be videos or digital photographs that are used to do exactly what we talked about before, show the defendant committing the act and shedding some light on their state of mind. So that's a lot of evidence that is going to be coming out over the next several weeks.
BLITZER: And I'm sure there's a ton of video that has not yet been released. We've all spent a lot of time up on the Capitol. You see the closed circuit cameras all over the place. And all those police who were there, Metropolitan Police, Capitol Police, FBI, they have body cameras. MCCABE: That's right. And the public sent in over 100,000 submissions of digital evidence to the FBI, so there is plenty to go through.
BLITZER: Jim, you were our Chief White House Correspondent. You covered then-Vice President Mike Pence. We saw something extraordinary today. He was attending a Republican -- a conservative event, a Christian fundamentalist and he's a pretty religious Christian himself, he goes to church and he's a very conservative individual. And he spoke. And watch what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I'm a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order in the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Sao he was called a traitor by these hecklers who were there, even though he's very conservative and he's a very religious Christian.
ACOSTA: Yes. And in many ways, he brought the Christian conservative movement into the Trump tent during the 2016 campaign. Wolf, look, I mean, this is disturbing stuff. Keep in mind, you know, we have to go back to January 6th when they were chanting, hang Mike Pence up, on Capitol Hill. He is still the recipient of this same kind of hostility and vitriol that we saw and heard on January 6th.
You have to wonder whether or not they are looking at the security posture for the former vice president and deciding that he needs to have round-the-clock security here on out for the foreseeable future because, I mean, this is the kind of stuff we saw on January 6th that is not abated.
I was talking to a former senior White House official earlier today who said this was scary stuff. Now, this person was saying, look, I think this was a minority, a vocal minority in the Republican Party, but this keeps happening and it's scary.
Remember what happened with Mike Pence. Mike Pence was put in the position by Donald Trump. Donald Trump was trying to strong-arm him into overturning the election results. The reason why Mike Pence is in this position today is because he resisted that pressure from the president who was trying to pull off an administrative coup and overturn those 2020 election results, just remarkable.
Mike Pence, he needs to be protected from some of these dark elements in the Republican Party. This is not going away for him.
BLITZER: He obeyed the U.S. Constitution.
ACOSTA: He did.
BLITZER: He did what he had to do. He was the vice president but also the president of the U.S. Senate. And he attended the inauguration of the new president.
ACOSTA: And could not be a more loyal foot soldier. There was nobody who were more of an enabler to Donald Trump during the Trump presidency. And to think this is how he is repaid at the end of all that, to be called a traitor at the conference of Christian conservatives, his own people, the people that put him in office in Indiana, helped put him and Donald Trump in officer here in Washington, and he's being called a traitor today.
Wolf, this is the same kind of hostility we see out on the campaign trail directed at us, directed at opponents of Donald Trump. If Donald Trump gets back out on that campaign trail, who is expected to do later on this summer, we should expect this same kind of behavior.
BLITZER: Go ahead, Andrew, I know you've got some thoughts on this.
MCCABE: Well, I just think the important point for my former colleagues who are still at this work is that January 6th is not behind us. January set a tone. It's an inspirational event that still clearly drives this extreme political movement to this day. It will loom large in the minds of all these folks, all those that supporters you're referring to, Jim, will be fired up out on the -- at the Trump rallies later this summer and it will continue to haunt this country in terms of potential violence.
BLITZER: And when you hear these guys accuse your former colleagues at the FBI, you were the deputy director of the FBI, of doing, of creating this whole attack on the U.S. Capitol, what do you say?
MCCABE: It's absolutely outrageous. It's an offense to the men and women who protect this country and who defend the Constitution every day. And I'll tell you, it is just outrageous that members of Congress and members of the media would breathe life into these ridiculous conspiracies that they know are false.
BLITZER: Totally sick. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.
To our viewers, be sure to join Jim tomorrow afternoon for all the late-breaking news on CNN Newsroom. He will start anchoring tomorrow at 2:00 P.M. Eastern only here on CNN.
And just ahead, President Biden facing a sharp rebuke from the bishops of his own church, his response to possibly being denied communion, that's next.
BLITZER: Faith and politics appear on a collision course for President Biden tonight. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is moving forward with a plan that would deny communion to public figures who support abortion rights for women, as Mr. Biden does.
The president was asked about it earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The Catholic bishops are working on this resolution that would prevent you and others who supported abortion from receiving communion. Are you concerned about the rift in the Catholic Church and how do you feel personally about that?
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: That's a private matter and I don't think that's going to happen. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Let's discuss this and more with Presidential Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Doris is the author of the very important, excellent book entitled, Leadership in Turbulent Times. Thanks so much, Doris, for joining us.
President Biden is only the second Catholic president in American history. How challenging is it for presidents to navigate these issues of faith and policy?
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I agree with President Biden that it's a private matter and that it's unlikely to happen given the views of the Vatican, who has to approve this situation.
But just like the first president who was Catholic, JFK, who drew a line between -- he said Catholicism affected his moral decisions but not his political decisions. President Biden has said before that while he believes in the Catholic Church's precepts on abortion, he will not impose those views on others. There's a line between separation of church and state and they respect it, and we should as well.
BLITZER: Yes, that is so, so important. Let's get to some other critical issues. The country is still reeling, as you know, from the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. But you say that the crises of the past year haven't translated into action on transformative legislation. Is there any kind of historical precedent for what we're witnessing in our country right now?
GOODWIN: Yes. I mean, it's absolutely true that, ordinarily, in times of crisis, there's a collective will to go behind the president in making changes. I mean, it certainly happened during the depression when the federal government had not taken responsibility during Hoover's administration for what was happening. And FDR comes in and says, I'm going to take responsibility. And suddenly, there's headlines saying, the government still lives, we have a leader.
And somehow, we had these triple crises this past year of the economic fallout from the pandemic and the search for racial justice. And I would have thought as a historian that that would transform itself into the desire and I think there's a public desire for government to take control -- not to take control, to be able to shape in a certain sense the welfare of the country and to make decisions that will affect all the people. But somehow, our memories seem to be so short.
And there's a sense in which the pandemic is almost over and we forget about what happened with the economic fallout and whether he's going to be able to translate that public view of wanting government to act more into congressional action is the real question right now. It's a big challenge facing him.
BLITZER: Yes, he's facing a lot of challenges right now. In addition to this being a pivotal moment for his domestic agenda with everything, from infrastructure to voting rights hanging in the balance, how much will his legacy be shaped or spite what he chooses to prioritize right now?
GOODWIN: It's a big strategic question for him of what to prioritize. On the one hand, you have the voting rights situation. And voting is fundamental. I mean, Lyndon Johnson said, the voting is the most basic right of all upon which the others depend. And, obviously, LBJ's legacy is formed by the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the very act which provisions of which are being undimmed by the suppression of votes.
It's not such a scary thing to think about the suppression if you believe that the activists will be able to get people to the polls, just like they thought they break the spirit of the British during the bombing, and yet they came out the next day. There's a story of a store that had been bombed the day before, windows gone, and they, they and say, more open than usual, come right in.
But on the other hand, parts of these voting rights laws that are being passed by the states are also saying that the state legislatures can overturn the popular will that there will be partisan counting. And that's fundamental to democracy. We don't believe an election and then the next election we think didn't really take place legally or fairly, then where is the democracy?
So I think the Voting Rights Act has to be strengthened and he's going to have to make a decision about that. It's going to be tough but that means maybe the filibuster may have to be changed, but for the sanctity of voting rights, that may be necessary.
BLITZER: The president just wrapped up its first international trip. Could that -- of his presidency, I should say. Could that momentum help push some of his domestic agenda forward?
GOODWIN: Well, I think there's a sense in which when a president comes back from abroad and this trip seems to have been pretty generally agreed upon as a positive trip by the press here, that it helps him, it gives him standing in the public. Just like your standing at home, if your economy is strong and your domestic performance is good when you go abroad, that helps you. There's no question there's a relationship between the two.
And I think he accomplished what he wanted to accomplish in restoring his relationship with our allies in NATO and climate change and reducing tensions with Russia.
I mean, as he said, it may not happen over three to six months, or it may, but at least right now, the hyperbolic nature of it seems to be diminished. And that gives him leeway to pursue these domestic ambitions.
BLITZER: As a student of American history, Doris, I feel I'm always a little bit smarter after our interviews than I was going into the interview. Thanks so much for joining us.
GOODWIN: Thank you so much for having me.
BLITZER: I appreciate it very much, the presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Coming up, President Biden marks another milestone in the battle against coronavirus but joins his administration's top doctors and warning of a dangerous variant spreading across the country right now.
And later, Kim Jong-un's enigmatic new message about North Korea's relations with the United States.
BLITZER: This afternoon over at the White House, President Biden touted a new milestone in the fight against the coronavirus, 300 million shots administered in 150 days. He's also pushing more people to go get vaccinated because a very, very dangerous new variant is spreading across the country.
CNN's Nick Watt has more on the race between vaccinations and the variants. So, Nick, what are you seeing?
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this delta variant is on its way to becoming the dominant strain across the whole world, it's been reported in at least 80 countries. Now, right here in the U.S. at the moment, the news is pretty good, But delta does cast a little bit of a shadow.
BIDEN: We're heading into, God willing, the summer of joy, a summer of freedom.
WATT (voice over): But will the delta variant, which recently ravaged India, become the dominant strain here in the U.S.?
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: I anticipate that will be the predominant variant in the months ahead.
WATT: Over in Britain, this more contagious variant now accounts for 99 percent of new cases. What does that actually look like? Well, case counts there are rising but death rates are not. The increase is primarily in younger age groups, says a British health official, a large proportion of which were unvaccinated.
REPORTER: Could the delta variant force us back into lockdown?
BIDEN: I do think so because so many people have already been vaccinated.
WATT: In the U.S., 65 percent of adults have now had at least one shot. The vice president is touring the country, encouraging more.
KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: It's an extension of love thy neighbor.
WATT: Meantime, Michigan opens up Tuesday, Ohio's COVID-19 emergency declaration ended today.
GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): We have basically lifted almost all of the orders.
WATT: The president's goal is this, 70 percent of adults with at least one shot by July 4th. Will we make it? Federal officials still won't give a straight answer.
WALENSKY: We're doing everything we can.
WATT: The data suggests the country will not meet that ambitious Independence Day mark, but --
BIDEN: We've gotten 300 million shots in the arms of Americans in 150 days, months ahead of what most anyone felt was possible.
WATT (on camera): Now, here in California, when you get vaccinated, you get this little card. I'm surprised I haven't lost mine already. And today, the state made it easier. There's a new website, My Vaccine Record. You just type in your details and it stores a digital version of your vaccination proof up there for you. But this is key, it is voluntary, not mandatory. Wolf?
BLITZER: Very interesting. Nick, thank you very, very much.
Let's discuss this and more with Dr. Leana Wen, she's the former health commissioner of Baltimore, also an emergency room physician. Dr. Wen, thanks for joining us.
President Biden is touting 300 million COVID vaccines here in the United States, but also expressing concern that this new delta variant threatens our progress. Are we vaccinating quickly enough to stay ahead of this?
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I do want to commend President Biden and the Biden administration for their incredible work. 300 million doses, vaccinations done in the first 150 days, that is a real accomplishment. And I do agree, it's a lot further than we might have predicted. If you had told us back in December that that's where we would be, that's amazing. At the same time, in a sense, the delta variant is already winning. We went from 1 percent of the delta variant being in the U.S. to 6 percent to now almost 10 percent of all the variants here is the delta variant. And we've already seen what happens in the U.K., that younger people, people who are unvaccinated, they are driving the surge in the U.K. and that could very well happen in the U.S. as well. So, if you're not yet vaccinated, for anyone who's 12 and older, please go and get the vaccine today.
BLITZER: Please, so, so important for yourself if you haven't been vaccinated.
The president says he doesn't believe another lockdown will be necessary to contain this delta variant. Do you agree?
WEN: I do agree. Lockdowns are a blunt instrument. And we needed them earlier on in the pandemic because our hospitals were at the brink of getting overwhelmed. And our health care infrastructure was going to collapse unless we kept people at home. While we now have the most vulnerable individuals, the elderly people with underlying medical conditions, most of whom are vaccinated.
So I don't think we're going to need that blunt instrument but I do think that we need to keep on the table other tools, including vaccines, but also indoor mask mandates.
At some point, if we get major surges we may need to reinstitute into our mask mandate. And I hope that will change the conversation so that masks and vaccines are not seen as political conversation but actually as public health imperatives.
BLITZER: There's a disturbing new study that shows that long-term loss of brain tissue in people who were sick with COVID apparently is taking place at least for some. How concerned are you about long-term symptoms like this for people who have gone through COVID?
WEN: Yes. So this was an important study. It still a preprint so it hasn't been peer-reviewed, but it does have a significant finding, which is that individuals who have recovered from COVID seem to have loss of brain tissue. And, by the way, it's not just individuals who became severely ill and were hospitalized, even patients with mild illness, once they recovered, still had this loss of brain tissue as well.
Now, we don't know the consequence of this, whether this has some other kind of long-term impact on their ability to do certain cognitive abilities or something else, but at the same time, I think it should be a remind to young people in particular, I hear from so many people who say, I'm young, I'm healthy, I don't think I really care about COVID because I'm not going to be hospitalized or die.
That may be true, but there are all kinds of long-term impacts that people may have including ongoing shortness of breath, palpitations, headaches, dizziness, palpitations, loss of hair, loss of sense of taste or smell. And now, we think that there may be some consequences in the brain as well. So this is not a disease that you want to get, and there's a way to prevent from getting it, which is by getting the vaccine.
BLITZER: Get the shot, as Dr. Sanjay Gupta told me last hour, there's -- we're learning a lot about COVID but there's still a lot we don't know. Just go out there and get the shot. Dr. Leana Wen, thank you so much for joining us.
WEN: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, just ahead, why dozens of police officers just resigned from a police rapid response team in Portland, Oregon.
Plus, Kim Jong-un's cryptic new message to the United States, is he seeking dialogue, confrontation or both?
BLITZER: We're following a disturbing situation in Portland, Oregon. Dozens of police officers have resigned from a rapid response team apparently to protest one officer's indictment for beating a photographer during a protest.
CNN's Dan Simon is monitoring the situation for us. Tell us more, Dan.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Wolf. We all remember those Portland protests last summer. 75 consecutive nights, they often turned violent. Now, an officer has been charged with assault for his actions while dealing with an unruly crowd.
SIMON (voice over): The encounter caught on camera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officers are taking lawful action. Stay on the sidewalk.
SIMON: A Portland Police officer seen using his baton and shoving a woman to the ground and then using the baton a second time, pushing her in the face.
TERI JACOBS, HIT WITH BATON BY POLICE OFFICER: I wasn't really aware of what was happening or like the pain that I was in until I was on the sidewalk.
SIMON: This August 18th incident is what led Officer Corey Budworth to be indicted this week on misdemeanor assault charges, the district attorney emphasizing the need for consequences.
MIKE SCHMIDT, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON: The integrity of our criminal justice system requires that we as prosecutors act as a mechanism for accountability, public trust requires nothing less. SIMON: In response, about 50 members of the police bureau's rapid response team resigned in solidarity, those still remain on the force to serve in other areas.
ACTING CHIEF CHRIS DAVIS, PORTLAND POLICE: You know if you put a human being through what they're put through, that takes a toll, and I have to honor their perspective in this situation.
SIMON: Portland Police had an extremely difficult job last summer. Nowhere across the country didn't we see a sustained level of protesting against police misconduct as we saw in Oregon. Those officers part of a voluntary team that specializes in crowd control. Frequently encountering verbal taunts but oftentimes rocks, Molotov cocktails and other dangerous objects hurled at them. These videos posted from the police perspective last July.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler sympathizing with the resigning officers, in a statement writing, I want to acknowledge the toll this past year has taken on them and their families. They have worked long hours under difficult conditions.
PROF. PETER MOSKOS, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: It could happen again in these types of situations, protests have been allowed to continue night after night after night. So there's a great series of events here where eventually we have the officers say we're not punching bags.
SIMON: A similar mass resignation took place last year in Buffalo, New York. 57 officers of its police department emergency response team resigned after two officers were suspended after this disturbing video surfaced, showing a 75-year-old protester being shoved to the ground.
SIMON (on camera): We reached out to the Portland police officer's lawyer but did not hear back. In the meantime, the police association put out a statement firmly backing the officer. It reads, quote, the location of officer Budworth's last baton push was accidental, not criminal. He faced a violent and chaotic, rapidly-evolving situation.
Now, Wolf, what happens next isn't clear but we should point out that he mayor says he has the resources and personnel in place to deal with any potential community safety concerns. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right, Dan Simon, reporting for us. Thank you very much.
Joining us now the criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson, and the former acting police commissioner of, Baltimore Anthony Barksdale.
Commissioner, let me start with you. What do you make of this extremely tense situation in Portland? It's been tense there now for almost a year.
ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think that it's a sad situation that this has gone on for so long and these officers day in, day out, have been put on the front line to deal with the protesters.
I think we're seeing the toll of that with this officer's actions. I think that that second contact with the baton was absolutely unacceptable, but we have to realize that executives are telling them, we need you out there and this is a result of it, in my opinion.
BLITZER: Joey, this isn't the first time we've seen a mass resignation, as you know. What does that tell you about the challenges and the frustrations that the police are now facing pretty much in many parts of the country?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a challenge, Wolf, there's no question about it. I think law enforcement is out there every day and twice on Sunday, trying to protect communities and trying to get home safely to their family. But I don't see this as an issue with regard to you either back the blue or you back the citizens who side do you want. I see it is a side of doing what's right, what's doing what appropriate and what's doing what the law demands.
And on the one hand, yes, police officers are under stress. They are out there working hard. They have a right to stay safe, to go home safely and to support their families. On the other hand, if an officer is going to engage in an act of force, it has to be appropriate. If there's a threat, what is the level of the threat? What did that threat pose and was that level an immediate threat. What response did you used? Was the response you used proportionate to the threat, was it reasonable, was it lawful?
And if it's not, you need to be held accountable. You can't give a pass to let people act with impunity because they have a shield, a knife, or, excuse me a gun or anything else. And so yes, law enforcement, we respect, we appreciate you, but go out, serve the communities and represent for your law enforcement family and represent for the communities that you serve. And if you do that, you won't have to resign from any response team.
BLITZER: Commissioner Barksdale, if police forces can't retain their officers, what's that going to mean for cities that are already struggling to get a handle on the surging crime rate in so many parts of the country again?
BARKSDALE: It is an absolute concern. It is a crisis that we're losing experience. It's a difference when you have a rookie coming in versus when you have a 20-year veteran leaving the force. And, you know, when I first started, it was those veterans who told me and taught me, hey, you don't do this, you don't do that. This is how you write the report, this is how you serve citizens. And you don't -- if you don't have that mentorship in policing, we're in trouble.
BLITZER: What do you think, Joey? Is this going to make the summer crime surge, which so many people are bracing for the deadly shootings that are going on, is it going to make it even worse?
JACKSON: You know, I certainly hope not, Wolf. I think we need to reach a place where officers, certainly I think communities can work with officers and officers can work with community to have a recognition and understanding for the difficult job that they have.
But there has to be a recognition and understanding that you have to respect the communities you're serving, you have to not engage in force, which is deemed to be excessive. You can't engage in gratuitous violence. In the event that you use force, it needs to be proper and keeping with protocols and training.
And I think if communities can meet together, if we're along with business leaders and clergy and members of the public at large, I think you can have cooperation and you cannot have an escalation in violence and have a common understanding for what everyone is doing out there and everyone has a right to be safe, police, people and the members of the community, citizens, everyone. And that's what we expect our law enforcement people to do.
BLITZER: Joey Jackson, Anthony Barksdale, guys, thank you very much.
Coming up, fighting back against new restrictions on voting. We're about to speak with a Georgia state lawmaker who was arrested for protesting her state's new law. So what is her strategy now?
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Vice President Kamala Harris was in Atlanta today where she talked about voting rights with community leaders. The statement from her office says Harris applauded the group for the coalitions they've built to try to protect the right to vote and they discussed what's being done to educate Georgia voters and help them to register to vote.
Joining us now, Georgia domestic state lawmaker Park Cannon.
Representative, thank you so much for joining us.
As many of our viewers will remember, you were actually arrested back in March for simply knocking on the door of the room where the Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was signing a restrictive new voting bill into law.
Since that moment a few months ago, how much has actually changed in the fight for voting rights?
STATE REP. PARK CANNON (D-GA): Unfortunately, what has changed has been that there have been over 397 more bills across the country doing the same thing. Ninety-four of those, from the Brennan Center's report, are actually limiting the court's powers.
So, here in Georgia, we have lawsuits against Senate bill 202. So seeing these bills come through is quite damaging to our effect right now. Instead of focusing on that, though, we're getting real life stories from voters who voted last week in an election here in Georgia.
BLITZER: The voting rights compromise floated by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia actually got a major boost from your fellow Georgian Stacey Abrams this week. Do you support it as well?
CANNON: I heard that Stacey Abrams supports it. I also heard that my Senator Raphael Warnock supports it. As a state legislator I don't think it's important for my commentary to rule over everyone else's, which is why I'm staying with the people, grassroots communities.
And the truth is, many Georgians don't even know about the legislative compromise going on, which in our office, a very progressive office, an office that is on the ground every day, we're not quite sure it's the best way to go either.
BLITZER: Well, the Manchin's bill does include some measures voting rights advocates won't necessarily like, like including a nationwide voter ID law.
Are those tradeoffs something that you're willing to make?
CANNON: Voter registration and voter ID laws in Georgia are already very challenging to navigate. As we saw Senate bill 202, it made it so that you could put in an unlimited number of petitions against someone's voter registration, and we have seen DMVs across the state of Georgia not be funded, not be open due to COVID-19 and not to be able to serve people over certain ages, or disability groups.
So, no, this is not great.
BLITZER: Before I let you go, Representative, let me get your thoughts on Juneteenth, the new federal holiday President Biden just signed into law commemorating the abolition of slavery here in the United States.
Give us your thoughts on that historic move.
CANNON: As the secretary of the Georgia House Democratic Caucus, we are proud of this moment for America. We believe that this is the right step forward, but we want to be clear, this is not reparations. This is symbolic, it's giving us hope. But we want real change.
Tomorrow, we will be in the streets, here in Atlanta, at our Juneteenth celebration at The Gulch. Atlanta's most recent development as we can continue to bring together community, activism, as well as development efforts. We hope to see everyone there. It is 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
BLITZER: All right. Georgia State Representative Park Cannon, thanks so much for joining us.
CANNON: Thank you for having me.
BLITZER: And stay with us. Kim Jong-un has a new message about North Korea's relations with the United States now that Joe Biden is the president. What does that really mean?
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We haven't heard much from North Korea's Kim Jong-un since President Biden took office. But now, they slimmer looking North Korean leader seems to want some attention.
Let's bring in CNN's Brian Todd.
Brian, so, what are you hearing?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we are getting indications that Kim Jong-un might be trying to draw Joe Biden's attention toward North Korea after Biden's high-profile meeting with Vladimir Putin. Kim just made a signature move in dealing with a new occupant of the White House.
TODD (voice-over): Tonight, North Korea's 37-year-old dictator lays down his mark with the new American president. Perhaps in an effort to draw Joe Biden's attention away from Vladimir Putin following the president's week on the world stage, Kim Jong-un declares North Korea could should be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation with the U.S., adding it should be fully prepared for confrontation.
This comes after months of Kim making implied threats against the U.S. and what Kim called America's hostile policy on North Korea. One analyst says this could be a classic move by Kim to not only draw Joe Biden's attention to him, but also to leverage his nuclear arsenal, and try to extract concessions from the White House.
BRUCE KLINGNER, FORMER CIA DEPUTY CHIEF FOR KOREA: It's a long, long list of things they want, not only the end of military exercises in South Korea, but the end of the U.S. South Korean alliance which withdraw all U.S. troops, abandonment of all international U.S. sanctions.
TODD: So far, the Biden team has said it wants to build on agreements that Kim and made with former president Donald Trump to draw down North Korea's nuclear weapons program. During that period, Trump and Kim were known for their chummy relationship, exchanging gushing letters that Trump was quick to brag about.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And then we fell in love.
TODD: But Kim is agreements with Trump were vague and President Biden has indicated he is taking a much harder line on potentially sitting down with Kim. But analysts say since those talks with Trump and even during the pandemic, Kim has been building his weapons program. North Korea has tested short-range missiles in recent months. It has
not tested long range missiles recently, but at an October parade in Pyongyang, the regime despite what experts say is a new imposing intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S.
Analysts say the dictator is likely to test fire that weapon.
BALBINA HWANG, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Eventually, he will have to test if he wants to advance further the program itself. On the other hand, Kim Jong-un fully understands that to test long range missiles is essentially a big red line that the Biden administration may not take very well.
TODD: This comes as intelligence analyst from Seoul to Washington are keeping close watch on Kim's appearance, specifically his weight. Side by side video comparisons indicate Kim appears much thinner now than he was last year.
Last fall, South Korean intelligence officials told lawmakers they believe Kim's weight had ballooned to over 300 pounds in 2020. Photos of his 12,000 dollar wrist watch show in the recent picture on the right it is now fastened on a tighter notch than in previous sightings.
Why is Kim's way to such a priority for intelligence agencies?
KLINGNER: Because we know so little about the North Korean leadership, and their intentions. We don't know who would succeed him if you are to die suddenly.
TODD (on camera): But if that were to happen, most analysts believe that Kim's younger sister Kim Yo-jong believed to be about 33 years old would likely take power. Her stature and her responsibilities have increased in recent years. Could she survive?
Well, as one analyst points out, each time there has been a succession in the Kim regime, a lot of North Korea predicted it would fail but 70 years in, the Kim family still reigns -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I know U.S. officials are spending a lot of time watching what is going on in North Korea right now. Brian Todd, 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, and tweet the show, by the way, @CNNSitRoom.
Have a great Father's Day weekend.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.