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New Damning Evidence Against Trump; Fears Of Recession In The U.S.; Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) Is Interviewed On U.S. Economy And Recession; Woman Shot By Police In Love Field Airport; World Health Organization Declares Monkeypox As Global Emergency; White House Expected To Name Monkeypox Coordinator; Ukraine Proceeds To Implement Grain Deal Despite Attack On Odesa; More Than 60 Million People Across Southwest Under Heat Alerts; Vice President Kamala Harris Meets With Indiana Lawmakers On Abortion Rights; Pope Apologizes For 'Deplorable Evil' Of Canadian Indigenous Schools; Pence's Former Chief Of Staff Appears Before January 6 Grand Jury. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired July 25, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kasie?
KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST: Very scary. Brynn Gingras, thanks very much for that report. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to "THE LEAD" wherever you get your podcast. Don't go anywhere. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, the January 6th Select Committee is pushing ahead, revealing damning new evidence against former President Trump. The panel just released hand written changes he made to a draft of the January 7th speech crossing out lines condemning the January 6th rioters.
Also tonight, a critical moment for the United States economy. Recession fears are on the rise as the White House awaits crucial new data this week and the Federal Reserve prepares to hike interest rates again.
And the White House is wrapping up its response to the growing monkeypox outbreak. Sources now tell CNN the administration is expected to name a full-time monkeypox coordinator as the World Health Organization declares a global public health emergency. A spokesperson for the WHO joins me this hour.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Let's get straight to all the latest developments in the January 6th investigation. The select committee is not slowing down at all, releasing new evidence today showing Donald Trump crossed out key parts of the speech he delivered the day after the capitol riot. Our senior justice correspondent Evan Perez is on the story for us. He's joining us right now. Tell us more, Evan. What are you learning?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we know that the former president was resistant to trying to stop the violence. One of the things that we learned from the committee today, this is incredible, that this did not make the cut for last week's hearing. What we learned from the committee, they released a video that indicates that he was resisting efforts from his -- from people at the White House to condemn the rioters, to disassociate himself from the rioters.
I'll play just a little part of the video where you see his daughter, his son-in-law talking about the edits that he made to a statement that was delivered on January 7th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Do you recognize the handwriting?
IVANKA TRUMP, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO TRUMP: It looks like my father's handwriting.
UNKNOWN: It looks like here that he crossed out that he was directing the Department of Justice to ensure all law breakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, we must send a clear message, not with mercy but with justice. Legal consequences must be swift and firm. Do you know why he wanted that crossed out?
UNKNOWN: I don't know.
UNKNOWN: Was the implication that the president was in some ways reluctant to give that speech?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREZ: And Wolf, you heard from the committee time and time again, when given a chance, the former president was essentially not trying to stop the violence, and even after it, was not trying -- was trying to not essentially disassociate himself from those people involved.
We know the committee is continuing to investigate. We expect that they're going to get more witnesses in August. One of the questions has always been whether Ginni Thomas, the wife of Clarence Thomas, the sitting justice, would be one of those people. The committee has talked about this. Liz Cheney, the vice chairman, talked a little bit about that effort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We certainly hope that she will agree to come in voluntarily, but the committee is fully prepared to contemplate a subpoena if she does not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREZ: And Wolf, we also expect that the committee is going to continue looking into these deleted messages. The Secret Service obviously, they know that they -- they requested these messages from the Secret Service. Secret Service has said that they don't know where they are, so we'll see whether by the time the committee comes back in September, we might see some progress in that part of the investigation.
BLITZER: And there's been this potentially very significant development on the U.S. Justice Department's investigation into all of this. I understand an important witness actually appeared before a federal grand jury.
PEREZ: That's right, Wolf. Mark Short, the vice president -- the former vice president's chief of staff, appeared before the grand jury on Friday. Now, this is an important development. This is for the first time we have seen a major witness who brings this investigation into the White House.
This is the grand jury that is looking into the broader scheme of trying to block the certification of Joe Biden's victory. Trying to seat these fake electors. This is a big deal for the Justice Department, Wolf, because we know the attorney general last week certainly described this effort as something that is the most important investigation that the Justice Department has ever done, and here we have Marc Short.
I think we have video of him leaving the courthouse just minutes before the verdict comes down in the Steve Bannon trial. He appeared before the grand jury. We don't know how long he was in there for, but what he knows obviously is everything that Mike Pence knows. That's the reason why this is so important.
What Marc Short can tell this grand jury and the prosecutors is exactly what was going on, what the former vice president would have known as far as this effort, again, to overturn the 2020 election and make sure that Donald Trump stayed in power. That was his goal, obviously.
BLITZER: Very significant development indeed. We'll see what happens on that front. Evan, thank you very, very much. For more on all this, let's bring in our senior legal analyst Elie Honig, CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow, and CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rogers.
Elie, this new video shows then-President Trump didn't want to say the rioters, quote, "belong in jail." And he didn't want to denounce them as not representing him. How revealing is that to you?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, this is a remarkably revealing video and document. It shows that not only was Donald Trump's statement that he gave on January 7th, the day after, woefully insufficient for the moment, but it's so telling to look at what he crossed out with his own hand, in his own handwriting according to his relatives.
The things that Donald Trump refused to say were essentially as president I call on the Justice Department to bring the people who stormed the capitol to full justice, and he refuses to say that if you did this, if you committed crimes, you will go to jail. Both of those he crosses out and he refuses to say them. And I think that gives us a real light into Donald Trump's intent, his mind set, and what his true feelings were about, the obvious crimes that had just been committed just the day before.
BLITZER: Yes, well said. Jennifer, the committee is now pursuing more witnesses, as we all know, and weighing whether to actually go ahead and subpoena Ginni Thomas, the wife of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. How aggressively should they go after her testimony?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, I think they should go after her more aggressively than they're likely to do. You know, Liz Cheney is seemed a bit reluctant and her statement is we're going to think about thinking about it. It's not super aggressive. And so, we have to wonder how aggressive they will be.
On the other hand, Cheney at least acknowledged that her testimony is important and suggested that they would pursue it. So, I hope that they do. You know, we know there are a lot of text messages between her, Mark Meadows, John Eastman, and other people who really were central to this plot. So, she's an important person here and I hope that they do get at her testimony, even if they have to subpoena her to do so.
BLITZER: We'll see if that happens. Jonathan, there's also this question of the missing Secret Service text messages, which the vice chair of the committee, Liz Cheney, calls deeply troubling. As a former Secret Service agent yourself, is there a culture of secrecy around the people they protect?
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, listen, you know, the culture is one of protecting people physically and from reputational harm. And that is a mandate that the Secret Service, you know, takes very seriously.
But, you know, what they're not going to is they're not going to protect anybody from criminal activity. You know, they will work with organizations, in this case the Department of Homeland Security inspector general, in their ongoing now criminal investigation around the collection and preservation of evidence.
But listen, the turmoil around the Secret Service keeps mounting and this comes down to, you know, being transparent in holding people accountable for where are these text messages. We're never getting a clear answer. We're getting dribs and drabs. And I think it's really important. At the end of the day, Wolf, the Secret Service is a law enforcement entity and this matter complicates potentially other ongoing criminal investigations that the Secret Service has of their own.
Because it's raising questions constantly about their competency and their competency to retain items of evidentiary value. So, acting quickly and with full transparency is essential for the Secret Service right now in cooperating with the 1/6 committee. BLITZER: Yes, you're absolutely right. Elie, what does it tell you
that Marc Short, the former chief of staff to then-Vice President Mike Pence, now have -- we've learned testified last week in front of a federal grand jury investigating the January 6th insurrection?
HONIG: Well, Wolf, this is a significant step forward for DOJ's investigation. Marc Short is the highest ranking and I think best placed person who we know of who has gone into the grand jury so far. And Marc Short sort of has the two things that you really look for in a key witness.
One, he had access. He was inside the White House as Evan said. He was one of the people who stood strong with Mike Pence against the pressure campaign. And the second thing is, based on what we've seen of Marc Short testifying in the committee, he does not have any loyalty here. He does not seem to feel a need to shade the truth in anyone's favor. He seems to be credible and honest, so that's a really important witness, Wolf, and I think a significant step forward in DOJ's investigation.
BLITZER: Yes, I think you're right as well. Jennifer, what's your reaction to the news that Marc Short has now testified before this federal grand jury?
RODGERS: I agree with Eli. I think it's huge. I mean, previously, DOJ has only given us very general, generic statements like they will follow where the evidence leads, no one is above the law. We did get the note that they're looking at the fake elector scheme, but they haven't yet said explicitly that they are looking specifically in a criminal investigation at the overall scheme to overturn the election.
And Marc Short is testifying about that. So, to me, this really says they are in fact engaging in a criminal investigation that covers the broader conspiracy. And so, I think it's really important for that reason, too.
BLITZER: Yes. Most people -- experts agree with you, Jennifer. Very, very important development.
Coming up, with recession fears rising right now, it's a crucial week for the U.S. economy. How is the Biden administration handling the growing anxiety that's out there? We'll get a live update from the White House right after the break.
BLITZER: Right now, it's a make-or-break moment for the U.S. economy. With recession fears rising, the White House is eagerly awaiting critical new data and bracing for another interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve. Let's get some more right now from our White House correspondent, MJ Lee. So, MJ, what did President Biden just say about the economy? MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, this is going to be a
very big week in terms of the U.S. economy with back-to-back economic indicators coming out. If you look at the next several days, we have tomorrow, the consumer confidence index coming out. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates again. And then on Thursday, the quarter two GDP report, this as the administration has gotten so many questions about whether a recession is coming.
The country's weigh what kind of preparations the White House is making, and also questions about whether the U.S. economy is already in a recession. And you're right, that we just heard from President Biden who addressed this issue and he made the prediction that the U.S. is not headed towards a recession. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're not going to be in a recession in my view. The employment rate is still one of the lowest we have had in history. It's in the 3.6 area. We still find ourselves with people investing. My hope is we go from this rapid growth to a steady growth. And so, we'll see some coming down, but I don't think we're going to, God willing, I don't think we're going to see a recession.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: So, inflation, the possibility of a recession, these are all issues that are weighing so heavily on this White House, particularly with the midterm elections just around the corner. If you have looked at recent poll numbers, they show that most Americans are not happy with the president's job performance including his handling of the economy and inflation. So again, there is just so much urgency behind this issue for this White House, Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly is. MJ, as far as the president's health right now, we saw President Biden working today while still isolating from COVID. Do you have an update on his recovery?
LEE: We do. We actually just got an update directly from the president after he wrapped up a meeting with some economic advisers and business leaders. Reporters shouted some questions at him and asked him how he is feeling and he said I am feeling just great. He said that some of the symptoms that are still remaining include his voice, which is still a little bit raspy. He said he still has a bit of a sore throat, but that the last two nights he got good nights of sleep.
So, that's all-good news. And we also heard from his doctor earlier today, who also said that most of his symptoms have gone away. He said his vitals have remained normal and that he's going to finish out his course of the antiviral medication Paxlovid.
Today marks day four of his isolation, and of course, according to the CDC, when you test positive for covid, you want to isolate for at least five full days, and we heard from the president that he would like to be back at work in person probably by the end of this week. We've seen a lot of photos coming out from the White House showing the
president working. Clearly this is a White House that wants to show that even though he has been isolating, he has been doing a lot of work as well, Wolf.
BLITZER: We, of course, wish him a speedy, speedy recovery. MJ Lee at the White House for us. Thank you very much.
Joining us now, Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California. He's the deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. As you know, the White House is trying to downplay the risk of a recession here in the United States. Is that the right message when according to recent CNN polling, 64 percent of Americans believe the U.S. is already in a recession?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Wolf, the blunt truth is no one can predict exactly what's going to happen with the future economy. But I can tell you what we can do to lessen the chances of a recession. First, we need to make more stuff in America and produce here. That would help in lowering prices and less likely to have Fed take drastic interest rate actions.
And second, we can lower prices by passing prescription drug reform, by having export ban on gasoline. So, let's focus on what we can do to minimize the chances.
BLITZER: White House officials say it's up to Congress to pass legislation right now that will wind up helping American families with these high prices, the result of inflation. How much can you really do in the House of Representatives?
KHANNA: We could pass tomorrow the prescription drug bill to lower prescription costs. We can pass a bill that will tax the wealthy. That will help in lowering our deficit and help make it that the Fed doesn't have to act as drastically. And this bipartisan innovation bill that's going to make semi-conductor manufacturing here, that's going to help because there are a lot of products that are reliant on overseas semi-conductors that jacks up the price.
So, the president is right. We can act and we should, we must act. That doesn't mean we're going to prevent inflation or a recession, but we give ourselves the best shot.
BLITZER: But if there's a recession and inflation continues to grow, how serious of a problem is this for Democrats coming up in the midterm elections in November?
KHANNA: Now, Wolf, obviously it's a problem. I mean, it's always still the economy, stupid, but I think what the Democrats should focus on is our agenda of making things in this country. For 40 years we let production go offshore. We de-industrialized this country. People are saying we can't even make masks here. We can't build semi-conductors here. What's going on? If the Democrats have an agenda, making things here, reindustrializing America, that's going to lower prices, it's going to be good for jobs. And it's our best shot in the midterms and beyond because it's the right economic message.
BLITZER: And a different issue congressman while I have you. President Biden has said the U.S. military believes a Taiwan visit by the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is, quote, "not a good idea right now." You sit on the Armed Services Committee. Should she call off this possible trip to Taiwan?
KHANNA: No, she should not. I respect Speaker Pelosi. I mean, we're not going to let the Chinese Communist Party dictate where the Speaker of the House should go. Taiwan is an economic partner with us. That doesn't mean that her going there is somehow not recognizing the One China Policy. She should absolutely go and we need to speak out on human rights issues in China and we need to speak out about the trade deficit in China. So, I fully support her going.
BLITZER: But is it worth potentially, God forbid, provoking some sort of military response from the Chinese?
KHANNA: They should realize that that would be the worst thing they could do. I mean, they have seen this president, our country's resolve in Ukraine, with rallying NATO. They have seen the sanctions on Russia. I mean, they would cripple their entire economy. They are so dependent on the United States in terms of the trade that we have.
So, we shouldn't allow them to bluff and dictate to America, the greatest nation in the world, where our Speaker of the House should travel. I mean, who are they to say that Speaker Pelosi shouldn't go to Taiwan?
BLITZER: Congressman Ro Khanna, thanks as usual for joining us.
KHANNA: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up, the Biden administration upping its response right now to the monkeypox outbreak, now deemed a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization. We have new details. That's next.
BLITZER: New details tonight from the very frightening and chaotic scene at Love Field Airport in Dallas where police shot a woman who was firing her gun into the ceiling. CNN's senior national correspondent Ed Lavandera has the latest.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, terrifying moments inside Dallas Love Field Airport this morning where Dallas police say at about 11:00 this morning, a woman arrived here at the airport, entered the airport terminal, went into a bathroom and then changed clothes, perhaps putting on a hoodie or something like that, according to Dallas police.
Then emerged from the bathroom and started firing a gun into the air. And That's when Dallas police say one of their officers opened fire on the 37-year-old suspect, injuring her and wounding her in the leg. The Dallas police chief picks up the story from there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDDIE GARCIA, CHIEF, DALLAS POLICE: She produces a handgun and begins firing. At this point, we don't know where exactly the individual was aiming. The most that we're seeing now, she was aiming at the ceiling. But there were several rounds that are found. Simultaneously, as she's doing that, our officer engages the suspect, strikes her in the lower extremities. She's taken into custody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: As we mentioned, terrifying moments inside the terminal. People scrambling for safety as the gunfire erupted. And all of this taking place in an area around the security checkpoint line where people go through to get to the gate area and the airline ticket counters. All of this area is very close to one another, and the area that you see behind me through the glass windows and down into the distance, that's where all of this here unfolded this morning.
But officers at this point say they do not have a motive for why the shooting took place, but more importantly, officers here also say that no one else, Wolf, was injured in this shooting attack at Dallas Love Field Airport. Wolf?
BLITZER: Alright, Ed, thank you very much. Ed Lavandera on the scene for us.
CNN is now learning new details about the U.S. response to the growing monkeypox outbreak. Sources tell CNN the White House is working on naming a monkeypox coordinator for the federal government's response to the virus. This after the World Health Organization declared it a global health emergency over the weekend.
Let's discuss with Dr. Margaret Harris, the spokesperson for the World Health Organization. Dr. Harris, thank you so much for joining us. The WHO has declared monkeypox a public health emergency around the world, but the Biden administration has not yet taken that step. Should it take that step?
MARGARET HARRIS, WHO SPOKESPERSON: Good evening and thank you for having me with you. We declared a public health emergency of international concern and when we do that, we do it because we see an event that's extraordinary, unusual, where we see international spread, and where we want the world to come together in a coordinated way to help stop this event, to deal with the event.
Now, how countries respond individually is their decision. The United States of America is a country with a human-to-human transmission and in our recommendations, we are certainly saying have a coordinated response and raise awareness in your community.
But how it's dealt with by your government is a decision for your government. BLITZER: The White House is expected, Dr. Harris, today made monkeypox
coordinator. Is that strong enough? Is that a strong enough step in your view?
HARRIS: Certainly, that's exactly what we're asking for a coordinated response. That's one of our top recommendations are made on Saturday when the director general decided to raise our highest alert by calling it a public health emergency of international concern.
The other things we're really asking you so that we work in every country with affected communities and take leadership from them, help get them to help us to communicate what the issues are, and to find ways to stop the transmission.
BLITZER: The former USFDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, tweeted this and let me put it up on the screen. If we have allowed monkeypox to become an endemic virus in the US, which is becoming an increasingly possible outcome, it will be among the most unfortunate public health failures in recent times, are we seeing a historic public health failure unfold, Dr. Harris?
HARRIS: We're seeing a very unusual event. We've known monkeypox since the 1970s. We first saw it in 1958 in monkeys itself, even though it's actually other animals that are more likely to transmit it. But we haven't seen this level of transmission around the world. We now have 70 countries. So let's not point to one country or another country, what we need to do is work together, internationally.
BLITZER: Yes, 16,836 cases globally, so far confirmed. The CDC says there have been challenges getting data about this virus, what's the best way to fix that problem?
HARRIS: So getting data in that range of things, but certainly having people come forward, having people tested, having people come forward for treatment and to understand what they need to do to protect themselves and others will require a reduction in the kind of stigma we're seeing that people are very much focusing on one group.
Now this affects all of us. And the reason we pay attention to monkeypox is that the vast -- the most vulnerable groups are actually children, and pregnant women, and the immunosuppressed and any one of us can get monkeypox because it is simply spread by close contact skin to skin, face to face with somebody who's infected.
So what's critical is somebody who does know that they're infected is that they seek help and that they also self-isolate and protect others while they're infectious.
BLITZER: Good advice indeed. Dr. Margaret Harris from the World Health Organization, thank you so much for joining us.
HARRIS: It's a pleasure to be with you.
BLITZER: Thank you. Just ahead, Ukraine vowing right now to resume critical exports of grain following Russian strikes threatening a fragile deal. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is vowing to resume exports of his country's critical grain supply despite a Russian missile strike on the port of Odesa over the weekend. CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is on the scene for us in Ukraine. Ivan, what is the latest?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Ukrainians have been furious that hours after this agreement to resume the export of grain was signed on Friday that this port here where I am was slammed by Russian cruise missiles on Saturday morning. That said, the Ukrainians while denouncing Russia by saying you cannot trust Moscow are also saying that they want to stick to this agreement that was signed in Istanbul that they were parties to. And they're saying that the onus is on the United Nations and on the Turkish government, which were the mediators here to make sure that Russia abides by the rules.
Russia for its part says just because it signed an agreement doesn't mean that there is a ceasefire. They claimed that after denying initially the cruise missile strikes that they were targeting military targets here in the port.
There has been condemnation of the cruise missile strikes from the U.S. government, from the British government, from the UN, and from the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who helped mediate this agreement.
But we've also heard from Samantha Power, who's the head of the USAID saying, Look, Ukraine is still working on plan B, which is something I was reporting on in this city a little bit more than a week ago before this deal was reached, which is to use alternate methods to export this surplus of grain here using the river Danube, on river barges and trucking it out and sending it out by trains.
But all of this cannot carry the same capacity as carrying ships through the Black Sea. And that is the goal that everybody seems to be working towards. I don't know when or if it will actually happen. Wolf.
BLITZER: Ivan, what's the state of the battlefield over there tonight?
WATSON: It is still a grinding war all along this long battlefield. The Ukrainians have conceded that the Russians made some gains in the East in the last 24 hours in the Donetsk region moving forward into a village.
Meanwhile, here on the southern front, I was just meeting with the commander of a company of about 100 Ukrainian infantry troops. And he was describing to me how his forces have been part of movements, incremental movements forward on the southern front here in this region. The Ukrainians have been using long range rockets, some of them provided by the U.S. to hit bridges, to try to sever Russian supply lines, and to hit ammunition depots.
And they say they've seen results in just the last three weeks that the Russians have not been able to fire the same number of artillery at their forces, effectively saving their lives and giving them more impetus to push forward on the southern front. But this same commander, Wolf, he said, This war will go on for at least a year, it's going to be a long, bloody deadly slog.
BLITZER: Sadly, so many more people, wonderful people are going to be killed in the process. Ivan Watson in Odesa for us. Ivan, thank you very, very much.
Joining us now, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor. He's currently vice president for Russia and Europe over at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us. Is this Russian strike that occurred over the weekend on Odesa, this major report, a day after signing the so called deal, yet another reminder that Russia simply can't be trusted?
WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: It absolutely is, Wolf. If we needed reminding, here they are again. They lied about whether they were going to invade Ukraine, you recall this. You reported this. on this attack they first lied, said it was not us. It was not us. And then they get back to well, it's actually was us and we hit the port.
So this is a reminder that they continue to violate agreements. They continue to violate understandings. The Ukrainians are trying to do the right thing, are trying to get the grain out. And it's good that they're going to continue to push the grain into ships and try to make this agreement work. The Russians are clearly not helping.
BLITZER: It's clearly people whether in Africa, or elsewhere in the Middle East around the world, they need this grain simply to survive. They need food. As you heard, Ukraine has now launched what they're calling counter attacks in the south, but Russia is fighting fiercely in the east. Does either side, Ambassador, have any momentum at this stage of the war?
TAYLOR: So Wolf, if it is grinding. Ivan said it, he's right. It's certainly grinding in the east. The Russians continue to make small gains at great costs. The Ukrainians are trying to develop that momentum in the South, as you say. They indicate that there is -- there's a counter offensive coming. They want to push back on the south. They'd like to take back Kherson.
They want to disestablish this land bridge that the Russians have gotten between Donetsk and Crimea. So the Ukrainians are trying to develop that momentum on the basis of these new weapons that the United States and other NATO allies have been providing.
BLITZER: The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, thanks so much for joining us.
TAYLOR: Thank you, Wolf. BLITZER: Coming up, the heatwave that just won't break. More than 60 million Americans right now are under a heat alert. We're going to tell you if you're one of them Standby.
Plus, Pope Francis apologizes for what he calls evil against the indigenous peoples in Canada. Why one group of advocates says it still wants to see action from the Catholic Church.
BLITZER: More than 60 million Americans are under a heat alert today. CNN meteorologist Tom Sater is joining us now right now.
Tom, what regions are most affected by these heat advisories, watches and warnings?
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, this this heat dome we've had the last several weeks and months really it's just been kind of meandering around the country. Our next focus will be the Pacific Northwest. But it hasn't ended in the southern plains. Dallas has had 30 days above 100 degrees, even Little Rock, believe it or not, Wolf has had 13.
So the advisories here were also extended Sunday into today for the East Coast. But they've allowed to expire with the exception of Southern Maryland there. But the good news is we're not seeing temperatures like this.
Yesterday, Boston 100 degrees broken nearly 90-year record from 1933. Newark 102, five straight days above 100. That has never happened since records started there in 1931.
Now temperatures are much better now. Low 80s, upper 70s, 77 in DC and this is why. When you have a ridge of high pressure with that kind of heat, it ends with a tremendous bang of thunderstorms, but these thunderstorms mainly produce damaging winds. Thousands still without power parts of the Ohio Valley into the Great Lakes.
The storms that move through did cause some problems. In fact, we still have a watch to the north until 8:00 down to the south until 10. We have a ground stoppage right now at JFK earlier storms move through with delays with LaGuardia, Teterboro, Newark as well. A few warnings now as you see just to the south of Washington, Southern Maryland, I believe that St. Mary's County, Calvert County.
As you watch the storms move off the coastline, we're still going to have a few of them develop in the Tennessee Valley so they may remain a little cooler for the next couple of days, Wolf, which is good news. These numbers look good, but if I show you the four-day forecaster back in the 90s in Philly.
Our focus is out west now heat advisories and warnings only 44 percent of Metro Seattle has air conditioning and you're in the 90s the next couple of days. If you look further south where more fires just in the last hour Sonoma County, in California, you're well into the 90s and triple digits here.
Here's the problem, six to 10-day outlook. Look at the whole entire continent, only below average at the Desert Southwest, Wolf. This is a six to 10. The eight to 14-day outlook is much worse. We broken hundreds of records this month alone, and will most likely continue to do that.
BLITZER: Yes, we don't want to break those records. Tom Sater, thank you very, very much.
Meanwhile, the Vice President of Kamala Harris visiting Indiana amid a controversial special session of the state legislature as it considers new abortion restrictions and potentially a ban in the wake of the US Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe vs. Wade. CNN's Alexandra Field is in Indianapolis for us right now. What's the latest Alexandria?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf. Well, look, Vice President Kamala Harris has been meeting with groups of state legislators in a number of states since the Supreme Court knocked down Roe vs. Wade. She now traveled to Indiana to lend supports Democratic lawmakers who will resist these tough proposed restrictions on access to abortion in Indiana. But even before she sat down with lawmakers she had this message to send to the women of this state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: We stand with the women of Indiana. We trust the women of Indiana to make decisions about their own lives without requiring their government to tell them what to do with their body.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD: The Vice President's visit timed of course to run at the same time as the start of the special legislative session. Lawmakers here are looking at a proposal that would ban abortion at any stage of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest and threats to the life of the mother. This is something that will come under fierce debate over the next couple of weeks.
The proposal also comes as Indiana is seeing an influx of women from other states seeking abortion care they come from states that have already banned abortion. Among them a 10-year-old girl who made headlines of course you'll remember after she had to travel following a rape from Ohio into Indiana to get an abortion.
The physician who provided that care in this state has come under fire from conservative media, from lawmakers even from the State's Attorney General. Earlier in the month police arrested and charged a suspect in the case who they say confessed to raping the child at least twice and, Wolf, that suspect has now been back in court to plead not guilty to those charges.
BLITZER: CNN's Alexandra fields on the scene for us. Thank you very, very much. Turning now to Canada where Pope Francis has formally apologized to indigenous communities. The Pope condemned what he called the quote, deplorable evil inflicted for decades on Indigenous children who suffered abuse of the country's Catholic residential schools. CNN's Paula Newton is joining us now live from Edmonton in Alberta. What was the Pope's message Paula?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, it was profound and it was one of contrition. And to think about that, Wolf, this was the pope coming here to beg for forgiveness from indigenous peoples. And Wolf, this wasn't just about isolated incidents or individuals. No, it was about the systemic abuse that occurred in these Catholic institutions, the pope himself saying that it had catastrophic consequences for indigenous communities here in Canada. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS, HEAD OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): I'm here because the first step of my penitential pilgrimage among you is that of again, asking forgiveness, of telling you once more, that I'm deeply sorry, sorry for the ways in which regrettably many Christians supported the colonizing mentality of the powers that oppressed the indigenous peoples. I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: The reaction from survivors was of course, emotional, but it was also mixed, Wolf. So many people wondering what took so long. He is not the first pope who has been asked to apologize. And they continually say that look, this is a first step in healing. This by no means closes the door on what has been an absolutely appalling chapter for more than a century in this country. Wolf.
BLITZER: And Paula, how is the Pope's health on this trip to Canada? He had to cancel a previous trip due to issues with his knee, right?
NEWTON: Yes, absolutely. I mean, look, he's 85 years old. He has made a trip here which is a very far trip. He has a long way to go still, still traveling thousands of miles across the country until the end of the week. He did look weary at times and his speech was at times a little bit weak, but he was there for much longer than it isn't expected at the power hour or he had the apology.
And he -- Wolf, he also where the war the traditional head dress which is a great honor for him.
And you could tell it was when we really saw that he was animated. And what was interesting was that he stood for the entire time when the indigenous peoples came to him to speak. I mean, look, we will continue to keep an eye on his health. As you said he canceled those trips. It really is a measure of how important this apology was to him and the Vatican that he has come all this way to do it. And we'll be here for the entire week. Wolf.
BLITZER: What important to do it indeed. Paula Newton on the scene for us, thank you very much.
Coming up, the highest profile witness known to have testified in the criminal probe of the January 6 insurrection, Marc Short, the former chief of staff to then-Vice President Mike Pence, we're learning new details. Standby.
BLITZER: Happening now, a major new developments in the January 6 criminal investigation, a source telling CNN and Marc Short, the chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence appeared before a federal grand jury probing the U.S. Capitol attack. Short is the highest profile witness known to have testified in the criminal investigation.