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Ex-Trump White House Meets With Jan. 6 CMTE Behind Closed Doors; Cheney: We're Sure Trump Doesn't Want Cipollone To Testify; Gunman's Parents Get New Lawyer As Father Under Scrutiny; FBI Director Warns Of Political Violence At Home And Abroad; U.S. Jobs Market Stays Strong In June Despite High Inflation; Abortion & Inflation Dominating Battleground State Of Nevada. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 08, 2022 - 17:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: You can see the CNN original series "Patagonia, Life on the Edge of the World" this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

And on Sunday morning you can join CNN "State of the Union." Jake Tapper is going to be talking to Illinois governor, J.B. Pritzker, New Hampshire governor, Chris Sununu and January 6 committee member, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. It's at 9:00 a.m. at noon Eastern on Sunday.

I'm Kaitlan Collins in for Jake Tapper on this Friday afternoon. Thank you so much for joining me. Our coverage continues right now with my friend Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, one of the most important witnesses yet goes before the January 6 Select Committee. What is former Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone saying right now behind closed doors?

Also tonight, a stunning and rare act of gun violence in Japan. The former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assassinated during a campaign speech by a man with a homemade gun.

And a new report shows the U.S. jobs market stayed strong last month despite high inflation and recession fear. This hour, what the numbers could mean for the U.S. economy and for the Biden administration.

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

We begin this hour with the highly anticipated testimony of former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Let's go straight to Capitol Hill. Our reporter Melanie Zanona is on the story for us.

Melanie, what do we know, first of all, about the testimony of this key witness? Do we know if Cipollone has been cooperating or not? MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Pat Cipollone has been testifying for eight hours and counting now behind closed doors. And he has leaped several times throughout the course of the day to meet with his own counsel in a separate side room. We also spotted a fresh round of coffees being hauled into the meeting room if that's any indication of how long this might go.

But Cipollone did not answer questions from reporters about whether he is answering questions in a substantive way or if he's exerting executive privilege. We do know that Pat Cipollone was concerned about executive privilege, particularly as it relates to his conversations with Donald Trump. But it would seem that the committee is making some headway here, given how long this interview was going, Wolf.

BLITZER: And certainly, Cipollone is one witness that former President Trump would have preferred not, repeat, not cooperate with the committee, right?

ZANONA: Yes, that's absolutely right. He was a firsthand fact witness to a number of pivotal episodes leading up to January 6 and on January 6. In fact, sources tell CNN that he was in and out of the dining room on January 6 with Donald Trump during those critical 187 minutes where Trump refused to act even as he was watching on television as the rioters were storming the Capitol building. So Pat Cipollone can really help the committee fill in the gaps there.

We also know the committee wants a feature that period of time in one of their upcoming hearings. So that's a critical portion of this. We also know from other witnesses that Pat Cipollone was expressing legal concerns about Trump's behavior on January 6. And we also heard from witnesses that Pat Cipollone threatened to quit his job, citing concerns about this plot to overturn the election, calling it a, quote, "murder suicide pact." So we expect to the committee to be asking him to corroborate all of that previous testimony, as well as asking about other episodes that we haven't heard about yet, Wolf.

BLITZER: And all that testimony being videotaped today as well.


BLITZER: Melanie Zanona up on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.

Let's dig deeper right now with CNN Senior Commentator John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio, CNN Senior Political Analyst Ryan Lizza, he's the chief Washington correspondent for Politico and CNN Legal and National Security Analysts Carrie Cordero.

Carrie, what are the key questions, you think, the committee needs Cipollone to answer today?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, as Melanie reported, he was a key fact witness. And what I'm most -- if he provides testimony to the committee on is actually what was leading up in the days leading up to January 6. What did he witness in terms of understanding that violence was likely to occur? What did he observe and witness with respect to any communications or conversations that were being had by individuals in the White House, including the former president, including his former chief of staff, with individuals who were potentially plotting the violence are knowledgeable about the violence?

So there's plenty of facts that Cipollone observed, witnessed, heard and was in dialogue with individuals in the White House about that is separate and apart from legal advice. Except he may have been providing to the former president. So I think eight hours is a long time and I think he has a lot of informations to provide.


BLITZER: And certainly does, you know? And Ryan, Cipollone could confirm major chunks of Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimony that we all saw. Some of Trump's defenders dismissed what she said as hearsay. How significant would that be?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, he would be -- he's very significant. He was in a lot of those same rooms as Cassidy, so he can corroborate some of the very specific stories and testimony that she gave.

And I think generally, Wolf, with all of these witnesses, you know, there are two big things that this committee is doing for history. One is giving us the most detailed accounts of what happens on this day, similar to the way the 9/11 commission operated just for history sake. So, every detail that he adds is important for the record.

But then two, more specifically, if this committee is headed towards uncovering information that the Justice Department finds might lead to criminal charges. What Cipollone knows about what Trump knew about whether he was doing anything illegal is very important. And since he was the White House Counsel, he certainly had an opinion about that.

BLITZER: Potentially, it could be really, really explosive.

Governor Kasich, today's testimony, as you know, was behind closed doors, but it was recorded on video. So presumably, major portions of it could be made public during upcoming hearings including as early as next week. What kind of impact would that have?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: Well, what's interesting to me, Wolf, is that they -- these hearings were supposed to end sometime around June. But what we see is they're now scheduling hearings as late as August, which means that little by little they're finding more and more information and calling more and more relevant witnesses. So, Cipollone is important in terms of the things that our guests have said here about confirming some things.

But it also is really interesting how they keep finding more and more and more and more people who they want to call and have testify. You know, there's one other thing that's been happening that I've noticed, Wolf, and that is, I like to say there are a group of were hardcore Trump supporters. And I think they're getting like mushy, you know, what that terms means. They're mushy, they're getting weaker, they no longer sort of stand up and defend him. They now say, well, it's time to move on. So, these hearings, the accumulation of these hearings, the highly watched hearings, are taking a real toll on him and providing space for other Republicans to think about running for president.

BLITZER: That's an important point as well.

You know, Carrie, it's not yet clear if Cipollone was willing, in fact, to answer all the committee's questions today or if he invoked what's called executive privilege on some of them. Could that potentially, potentially limit the impact of his testimony?

CORDERO: Well, I would expect that there would be. In the course of an entire day interview on the record that he knows is being videotaped and transcribed, I would expect that at some point they asked questions that he would assert executive privilege or attorney client privilege. So I wouldn't be surprised if the whole day went by and he didn't.

But the fact that he was willing to sit for the interview permitted to be videotaped, permitted to be transcribed responded to the subpoena, so he was served with a subpoena and then agreed to not fight it and litigate it, I think that -- and the length that the interview has gone on today, I think that indicates that there is certainly some substantive questions that he is answering.

BLITZER: Yes, it's been going on for hours and hours, and it's still going on.

Ryan, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the Vice Chair of the Select Committee says she's sure former President Trump does not want Cipollone to testify. How do you think the former president is feeling today?

LIZZA: I think the longer that guy is in there, the more Trump is sweating. You know, eight hours is a really long time to testify if all you're doing is asserting executive privilege. So obviously, he is giving testimony that they find useful, or this session would have ended a long time ago.

And there are only a few people left in that White House who know some of the mysteries that we still need revealed about what happened on January 6 and before and after. And the White House counsel is certainly one of them. He allegedly threatened to resign at certain points when certain schemes were being plotted. He allegedly warns other White House members against doing certain things because they were not legal in his view. And he was with the president during, as Mel pointed out before, that crucial 187 minutes that has really been a big mystery despite all the books and all the reporting that's been done about this White House, the January 6 committee is really the first entity to get to the bottom of what happened in the White House with Trump that afternoon and he knows more.


BLITZER: I'm sure he does, you know?

And Governor Kasich, what do you think? Should trump be nervous right now?

KASICH: Yes, he's nervous that's why he's now beginning to talk about it. He's going to announce that he's going to run.

The other interesting thing, Wolf, is he has these rallies. And I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but I'm told that they sell tickets to these rallies, and he actually pockets the money that comes from the rallies. So he's just jetting off to do a couple more things here, put a little more money in his pocket. But of course, he's very, very nervous about what's going on because his people are beginning to get weak.

Not all of them, there's still a bunch of them that say we don't care about this. But there's -- there are a growing number of Republicans that are saying, you know, enough of this circus, because that's what these rallies are. and more and more it sounds a little bit like maybe that's what the White House was like some sort of a circus.

BLITZER: All right, John Kasich, Ryan Lizza, Carrie Cordero, guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, at Japan reeling tonight after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The latest on the investigation and the reaction from the White House, that's next.



BLITZER: They're shock and disbelief right in Japan at the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a country where both gun and political violence are extremely rare. CNN Senior International Correspondent Will Ripley is working the story for us.

Will, what's the latest?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, more than 90 Japanese police officers are working this case, Wolf, trying to figure out exactly why this 41-year-old unemployed man decided to assemble his own weapon, in fact several weapons, and then open fire on the biggest name in Japanese politics.


RIPLEY (voice-over): A campaign speech in central Japan, one of many in the long career a former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe, but this would be his last. The country's longest serving prime minister and one of Japan's most high-profile figures laying on the ground shot twice, bleeding profusely from wounds in the neck and chest. He would later die after being rushed to the hospital, a team of 20 doctors unable to save him.

His alleged attacker, 41-year-old Yamagami Tetsuya also laid nearby tackled by security. Police say he had a handmade gun and similar pistol like items in his home. They're investigating his motive. KAZUHISA YAMAMURA, NARA PREFECTURAL POLICE (through translator): The suspect confessed that he had committed the act as he had a grudge against a specific organization and believe the former Prime Minister Abe was part of it.

RIPLEY (voice-over): A shooting like this is almost unthinkable in Japan. Guns are strictly controlled here. It's a long and complicated process to buy one involving classes, background checks, mental health evaluations, and drug screening. It's resulted in one of the lowest crime rates in the world. In Japan, there were only 10 shootings last year, with only one death.

Disbelief on the streets of Tokyo, a crime most people here only hear about in other countries, not their own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's unbelievable to see an attack like this in Japan, which is very safe. It's unbelievable that somebody was walking around with a gun like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There are any gun crimes happening abroad, but I never imagined it would happen in Japan.

RIPLEY (voice-over): At the scene of the shooting, mourners laid flowers for the former leader, some shedding tears for the man who was widely admired, at times controversial, and one whose death weighs heavily on a country unfamiliar with the grief of gun violence.


RIPLEY: And the numbers are really extraordinary when you compare Japan which has less than half the population of the United States, one gun death in all of 2021 compared to more than 45,000 gun related fatalities in the United States. This is a nation where children as young as five can walk to school or take the subway by themselves because parents don't worry.

The question, Wolf, will there be now some sort of societal shift? Are the people in Japan no longer going to feel as safe as they have before considering what happened to the most recognizable man in Japanese politics Shinzo Abe?

BLITZER: What a story. All right. Will Ripley, thank you very, very much.

President Biden, meanwhile, has ordered flags lowered to half-staff here in the United States after the murder of the former Japanese Prime Minister. Let's get the latest from our senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly.

Phil, what -- we're getting more reaction from the White House to Shinzo Abe's assassination. The President saying he stunned, outraged and deeply saddened by his killing. What else are you hearing?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, the President just a short while ago speaking at CIA headquarters, referring to Shinzo Abe as his friend and individual he actually had a close working relationship with when he was vice president to then President Barack Obama. As you noted, the flags have been ordered to half-staff. The President stopped by the Japanese ambassador's residence to sign a condolence book.

The President made clear that this is a shock without any question at all. And it goes to the idea that Will was just laying out about gun violence in the country, the President referring to that, saying this would likely have a profound effect on the psyche of the Japanese people given their lack of familiarity to crimes like this. However, he made clear the stability of the U.S. Japanese relationship certainly won't be disrupted by this. It is a very close relationship, in large part, because of the work that Shinzo Abe did over the course of several years, several presidencies, regardless of party, no matter what the Prime Minister did on the domestic front when it came to the United States of America, the relationship was always close and the Prime Minister always worked to win sure that remain the case, Wolf.


BLITZER: And Phil, President Biden also took new executive action today on abortion. Tell us what this new executive order that he signed, what does it do and how it fits into the President's strategy when it comes to abortion rights for women here in the United States?

MATTINGLY: Wolf, the President is under withering pressure from Democrats around the country to do more in the wake of that Supreme Court decision despite the fact that when it comes to executive action, he has very limited power in terms of actually restoring a constitutional right that has been struck down. The executive order today would direct several agencies across the government, the Health and Human Services Department, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission to come up with ways to protect privacy, to ensure access to abortion medication, to ensure emergency room access as well. It kind of falls into line with work the administration has been doing behind the scenes over the course of the last several weeks to address some of the major concerns coming out of that Supreme Court decision.

But the reality was something that was underscored by the President and very impassioned remarks criticizing that Supreme Court decision. He said, if anything substantive, tangible to actually shift the direction of things can happen, it can only be done through Congress. And that he said, can only be done if people vote clearly. The White House, given the lack of authority they have on this issue right now, hoping to activate voters in the lead up to these midterm elections, Wolf.

BLITZER: CNN's Phil Mattingly over at the White House, thank you very much.

Up next, heart wrenching services today for victims of the Highland Park July 4th mass shooting. And scrutiny of the gunman's family over what happened. We'll be right back.



BLITZER: We're learning more about the parade goers who survived the carnage from the July 4th shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. This, as funerals for some of the victims actually began today. Let's bring in CNN' Josh Campbell is in Highland Park for us.

Josh, first of all, tell us about the eight-year-old little boy who was paralyzed as the result of the attack. What's the latest on his condition?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, you know, even as investigators continue to look into the motive of this shooting, the shooters victims are still trying to recover. They include eight- year-old Cooper Roberts, who we talked about last night. He was severely wounded in this parade, shooting suffering a severed spinal cord. He is now paralyzed from the waist down.

We heard a short time ago from a family representative who said that today for the first time since the shooting he has regained consciousness, he is now off of ventilator. But Wolf, we're told that he is still in a incredible amount of pain. We're told that as he regained consciousness, he was asking those around them in the hospital room if he could see his twin brother and the family dog George. Just incredibly, incredibly heartbreaking even as these victims, the injured tried to recover, this community is starting to lay to rest those who were killed in this attack.

There were funeral services and memorial services today for Jacki Sundheim, a 68-year-old, 88-year-old Stephen Straus, and 88-year-old Nicolas Toledo, they are three of the seven victims who are killed in this attack. Wolf, obviously this attack is -- going to be described as nothing other than infuriating and obviously very, very heartbreaking. This still a community in mourning, trying to make sense of what happened here even as they are now laid to rest of those who died.

BLITZER: Josh, on another subject related, how much scrutiny is there now of the gunman's family over what happened?

CAMPBELL: That continues, you know, we've been reporting on after talking to law enforcement that there were these two incidents in 2019 when police were called to the shooters house because the shooter had allegedly threatened to harm himself and members of his family. Despite those calls, his father according to police, sponsored his ability to obtain a firearm. He of course obtained five guns, including the semiautomatic style rifle that was used here in this massacre.

We're told that the parents have now obtained new counsel, the attorney saying that the parents are cooperating with the investigators. The attorney also saying that he doesn't believe that the father has any criminal liability in this case.

Now this morning, the shooters uncle spoke with CNN, he is defending the shooter's father in this matter. Take a listen to what he said.


PAUL CRIMO, UNCLE OF HIGHLAND PARK SHOOTER: I support him 100 percent. I mean, I think, he did the right thing. But you got to look at it. Though, I think the laws got to be tightened up.

If somebody has a life -- of life threat, somebody is suicidal or if someone's under be pressured (ph) by doctor, the state should see that and not give the person a (INAUDIBLE). I mean, he passed four background checks.


CAMPBELL: So now he was talking about, you know, laws may be the factor here. But of course, there's still that scrutiny on the father. Even despite this troubled history with the shooter, he still went on to sponsor the shooters ability to obtain this weapon.

I asked police so what is the scope of this investigation here. They say they're trying to get to the motive. They still don't have that. They know that this community is demanding answers.

I asked him if the parents are also part of that investigation, how the shooter actually got the weapon, police tell us, Wolf, that right now everything is on the table. Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, it certainly is. All right. Josh Campbell in Highland Park for us, thank you very much.

Let's get some more on all of this. Joining us now, our legal analyst, Joey Jackson and Areva Martin.

Joey, I spoke with the lead prosecutor earlier this afternoon, Eric Rinehart, he wouldn't get into specifics on potential charges for the gunman's father. But he did say people have and I'm quoting him now, "general responsibilities not to be reckless to each other and not cause unnecessary or substantial risks to people.


Does that give you any hints on potential charges against the father?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It really does, Wolf. Good evening to you and Areva. And it does in a significant way. I think that prosecutors are looking to be creative with respect to moving forward.

Let's take an example. We see in the crumbling matter. What am I referring to? We're talking about Ethan Crumbley, we're talking about Michigan, we're talking about a minor who shot, you know, and killed four of his classmates, in addition to injuring seven others, right? In that particular case, his mother and father, Jennifer and James Crumbley, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Why am I referencing that in the context of this? Because it gives us a roadmap of what prosecutors look for. If you engage in reckless behavior, which arguably, this parent did, then you should have some criminal responsibility. When you talk about criminal laws, Wolf, it's not only about your intention to commit an unlawful act, it's about what else you do.

If you have knowledge of the fact that your son happens to have some mental acuity issues, you have knowledge of the fact that the police came to your home and at least a couple of dozen occasions in the years prior to this application, you have knowledge that he tried to kill himself, that he tried to kill others, in addition to the fact that police took 16 knives apparently, in addition to a sward and a dagger, then that should give you pause as it relates to applying for an application for your son. And if you do, then I think you should be bound by those consequences.

So final point, it's not just the fact that you did something yourself, it's the fact is the prosecutor, the lead prosecutor said to you, if you're reckless with regard to others, if that's not reckless behavior under the fact pattern I just described, I'm hard pressed to know what would be reckless behavior. I think criminality here may very well be forthcoming for the fall.

BLITZER: Well let me get Areva right away. And how do you see it, Areva? Does that suggest specific charges in your mind?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'm not certain, Wolf. I think what Joey laid out is should be the state of the law in this country. But we know that prosecutors have been hesitant to hold parents responsible for the actions of their children. And there is a big distinction in this case versus the Crumbley case that Joey references. And the big distinction is the age of the shooters.

In the Crumbley case, the man who -- young man who shot those students, he was 15 years old. In this case, the shooter in Highland Park situation is 22 years old. And when he bought the gun, his father signed for him to buy that gun, he was 19 years old. So I think the age is going to be a potential issue that this prosecutor has to deal with. Because in our country, and with respect to our laws, we don't typically hold adults responsible for the actions of other adults.

So if this prosecutor can be creative, as Joey suggested, and get around the fact that this man, this shooter is 22 versus a minor, then we may see some criminal charges. But, Wolf, we know we're going to see civil charges, that's pretty much a guarantee. We know the affidavit that was signed by the dad when he was giving consent for his son to buy those weapons. This affidavit actually states that he is accepting responsibility for the actions of his son.

So I would be hard pressed to think that we won't see a barrage of civil cases filed not just by the people who were shot by those but also by the people who were there and who suffered emotional injuries as a result of being shot at by the shooter.

BLITZER: Yes, good point, you know, Eric Rinehart, the lead prosecutor over at Lake County in Highland Park, he also told me earlier today, he expects to file additional charges against the gunman within the next few weeks. There were dozens of victims harmed by this massacre, as we all know. How much legal work, Joey, does it take to prepare these additional charges and ensure that they stick? JACKSON: It takes a lot. And just pivoting back momentarily to Areva's excellent points with respect to the age distinction, I think that the focus needs to be on whether you set a chain of events in motion, whether they're 19, 20 or other years old, you're going to allow and enable. And to the extent that you allow enable, I don't care how old you are.

If you set upon that chain of events, then you should have culpability. As it relates to your instinct question, Wolf, on the matter of other accountability for this particular shooter, listen, everyone here, it's a tragedy as it relates to people who were present, people who are not dead but have been significantly harmed. You heard Josh Campbell's excellent reporting regarding the paralysis involved. It's horrific.

So there'll be more investigation. There'll be a lot more police work, but every single shot that was fired, there needs to be accountability for. Those charges will be amended so that we have that accountability here.

BLITZER: Yes. So heartbreaking to think about that little eight-year- old boy paralyzed right now. Joey Jackson, Areva Martin, thanks to both of you for joining us.

JACKSON: Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead, what FBI Director Christopher Wray has to say about political violence in the United States and abroad. Stay with us.



BLITZER: A very disturbing warning today from the FBI Director Christopher Wray telling CNN there are, quote, way too many people acting violently on political grievances. CNN Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez is in London where he had a chance to interview Christopher Wray today. Evan, what is his take on the threat of political violence both abroad as well as here at home?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you know, the FBI and the authorities there in the Washington area have brought charges against somebody who was plotting to assassinate a Supreme Court justice.


And I asked him during our interview today here in London about the threats that we're seeing not only here but around the world against political leaders, here's what he had to say.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: There are way, way too many people in today's world who are taking their very passionately held views, and manifesting them through violence. And in our system, as you know, under the First Amendment, doesn't matter what you're upset about, who you're upset with, or what side of an issue you're on, there's a right way under our Bill of Rights to express yourself and violence, threats of violence, destruction of property, those kinds of things are not it. And that's what the rule of law is all about. And we're going to aggressively investigate and enforce the law in those situations.


PEREZ: And, Wolf, that means that, you know, everything is on the table for these investigations, because he says that they're seeing these types of extremist reactions to everything, you know, in the United States, in all kinds of investigations.

BLITZER: And, Evan, what's the latest from the FBI on the investigation of the January 6th rioters?

PEREZ: Well, one of the things I asked the FBI Director, Wolf, is, you know, why is -- you know, the FBI is dedicating so much resources to January 6th. A lot of people believe that, you know, the government should move on from January 6th, and he says that they're going to pursue all of the people who committed wrongdoing. And I asked him, whether that goes to people who helped spread the lies and try to help overturn the election. Here's what he had to say.


PEREZ: Does that mean anybody who was involved at all levels?

WRAY: So we're going to follow the facts wherever they lead, no matter who likes it, we're going to follow the law and with proper predication. There have been I think, 840 or so people charged. And I think there have been about 300 or so people who have already pled guilty. I'm going to let the facts speak for themselves as the investigations develop. And if there are charges against individuals, the public will see that through the charges that the Justice Department brings.


PEREZ: And, Wolf, for the FBI and for the Justice Department, this means that they have another three years of statute of limitations to pursue everyone. And that could mean obviously people around the President perhaps even the President himself, should the investigation lead to that place, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Evan Perez, thanks very much. Excellent report.

Also tonight, a strong job report beats expectations. 372,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy last month. Let's bring in CNN's Rahel Solomon. Rahel, this was one of the best jobs reports of the Biden administration. What's behind the unexpectedly strong gains? And what does it mean for the overall U.S. economy?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the expectation by a lot of economists was about 250,000 to 270,000 jobs being added. So this 372 was a lot stronger than many expected. It suggests that the labor market is still very strong. Unemployment holding at 3.6 percent, the fourth month in a row. And the job gains, Wolf, were widespread across the economy industries like professional services, leisure and hospitality, healthcare, all adding at least 50,000 jobs.

The challenge and the concern for some economists in this report is that there is such an imbalance right now in the labor market. There is so much demand for workers. There's about 1.9 open jobs for every one person looking for a job. And that type of imbalance sort of keeps wages elevated, which is great for workers.

The challenge, however, is that when you have wages like that, employers tend to pass on those higher labor costs to prices that we pay as consumers so that sort of adds to the inflationary pressure. And that's what has some economists concerned, Wolf.

BLITZER: Rahel Solomon, thank you very, very much.

Just in to CNN right now, the billionaire Elon Musk has told Twitter he wants out of his deal to buy the social media giant. Musk agreed to purchase Twitter for $44 billion earlier this year. But Musk has since raised concerns over the deal saying without any apparent evidence that there are a greater number of bots and spam accounts on the platform than Twitter has said publicly.

Well, we'll watch the story together with you.

Coming up, abortion and inflation front and center in the Senate race in a key battleground state. We have details where we come back.



BLITZER: The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe versus Wade is heating up the Senate race in Nevada. CNN Senior National Correspondent Kyung Lah has the latest.


KYUNG LAH, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the battleground state of Nevada, the balance of the U.S. Senate --

SUSAN FISHER, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: The woman's right to choose is not a partisan issue.

LAH (voice-over): -- may lie with abortion rights supporters like Susan Fisher.

FISHER: I'm a registered Republican, the day I turned 18.

LAH (on-camera): How angry are you about what's happened on this issue?

FISHER: On a scale of one to 10, about a 9.5.

LAH (on-camera): That's pretty angry.


LAH (voice-over): Angry enough to reject her party's Senate nominee and instead support a Democrat. In 1990, Nevada voters codified abortion access into the state constitution then a young mother of two, Fisher was one of the activists who went door-to-door to convince voters. In the 2022 midterm on the heels of Roe v. Wade being overturned, Fisher fears that that work could be unspun.


FISHER: I do think that this is going to be a pivotal issue for a lot of races, and especially in this state.

LAH (on-camera): How many women out there do you think are like you?

FISHER: I think a whole lot more than we know. I really do.

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D-NV): The opponent who was running against me is -- would be the vote that would support a federal abortion ban.

LAH (voice-over): The majority of Nevadans support abortion rights. And incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is seizing on the issue to hammer away a Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt.

ADAM LAXALT, FORMER NEVADA ATTORNEY GENERAL: My name is Adam Laxalt. I'm ready to fight for what is right.

LAH (voice-over): Who was mounting a significant challenge backed by Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And there's no one more trustworthy in Nevada than Adam Laxalt.

LAH (voice-over): Laxalt has said he will honor Nevada State Constitution protecting abortion, but then audio obtained by the Nevada independent suggests Laxalt wants to reverse the state constitution.

LAXALT: And Roe v. Wade was always a joke. It was a total complete invention. We are not a pro-life state. We've got work to do on that.

MASTO: Women are outraged because this is a state that we really respect women's freedom and the right to choose and just outraged by what we see happening across the country.

LAH (voice-over): But the outrage front and center among voters is on prices affecting their pocketbooks.

JESSICA RODRIGUEZ, VOTER: Gas prices, grocery prices, housing market, all that.

LAH (on-camera): What do you want to tell the party in power right now about how you feel you? RODRIGUEZ: You less down.

LAH (voice-over): At this RiNo (ph) grocery store, other Democrats say abortion rights are vital, but so is feeding their families tonight.

TAURA COLEMAN, REGISTERED DEMOCRAT: I am a registered Democrat. And I'm kind of debating on why I'm not going to lie.

LAH (on-camera): You know, Catherine Cortez Masto --


LAH (on-camera): -- is on the ballot?

COLEMAN: Yes. Yes.

LAH (on-camera): Will you be voting for her?

COLEMAN: I maybe actually, maybe. We're going to see. I'm playing it all by ear right now.


LAH: Senator Cortez Masto is crisscrossing the state talking not just to women but also to working class Latinos. Meanwhile, in just a few hours, former President Donald Trump is scheduled to be here in Las Vegas rallying side by side with Adam Laxalt, hoping to energize Republican voters. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, thanks, Kyung. Kyung Lah in Las Vegas for us, thanks very much.

W. Kamau Bell is back here in the all new season of United Shades of America here on CNN. Kamau takes us on a journey around the country tackling everything from critical race theory to the Native American land back movement. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people say critical race theory today, what they're talking about is a Boogeyman that has been created by people who want to vilify, besmirch, demonize any sort of thinking that they perceive as progressive thinking about race.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So the very fact that this time last year, very few people had heard a critical race theory. But suddenly overnight, critical race theory is that thing that you have to come out and protect your children against. It's a great Boogeyman. And we think we can make it run. And so far, they've been right.

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: Yes, every now and again, certain forces in this country come up with a new Boogeyman. That is a thing that they use to say you're America's being taken away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you actually follow the money, you'll see tens of millions of dollars had been spent to create critical race theory as the Boogeyman.


BLITZER: Joining us now the host of United Shades of America W. Kamau Bell. He's also the co-author of the new book entitled, "Do the Work: An Anti-Racist Activity Book" that's coming out July 19th.

Kamau, thanks very much for all the important work you're doing. In this episode, this new episode, you tackle these two terms that have been really distorted in the political conversation out there. We're talking about woke and critical race theory. What inspired you?

BELL: I mean, I don't think I was inspired as much as I felt like I wanted to clear up some of the nonsense, Wolf. I think I felt like, you know, compelled and maybe even ordered to do it. You know, all woke means it's black slang. That means, hey, black people pay attention, be educated. America can be a dangerous place. That's all woke means.

It is not a political movement. It is not a Marxist thing. It is just black people invent slang to say we need to understand America better. And critical race theorists want to say to all the parents out there afraid of critical race theory, if your elementary school student is learning critical race theory, congratulation, your elementary school student is a genius because that's a high level college course.

BLITZER: What did you learn about what people think about these terms versus what they actually mean?

BELL: Yes, I mean, I talked to a lot of people where they were upset about critical race theory or afraid of it in Arizona and then I would ask them to define it and they didn't really have a good definition.


And so I said, OK, let's put that aside. Should we teach an accurate age appropriate history of this country to students that includes the American slave trade, Native American genocide, how we treated Chinese immigrants, how we treated, how we treated Mexican immigrants, and then we would get into a discussion once you put all that stuff aside.

BLITZER: W. Kamau Bell, thanks very much for joining us. Thanks for all you're doing. And to our viewers, be sure to tune in the all new season of United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. It premieres this Sunday night 10:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

Coming up, closed door testimony on the January 6th Select Committee by former Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, has just wrapped up for the day. We'll have the latest details where we can come back.


BLITZER: Happening now, former Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone just wrapped up his critical testimony before the January 6th Select Committee after more than seven hours, seven hours behind closed --