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The Situation Room

Search And Rescue Underway For Missing Titanic Tourist Submersible; Blinken Touts Progress Made In Highly-Anticipated Beijing Meetings; Judge Bans Trump From Sharing Specific Evidence Given To His Attorneys In Classified Documents Case; A Weekend Of Gun Violence Across The Country; Huge Firefight Erupts As Israeli Forces Raid Jenin, Leaving 5 Palestinians Dead. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 19, 2023 - 18:00   ET



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ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, a desperate search and rescue mission thousands of feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Submersible operated by a company running expeditions to the wreck of the Titanic is now missing. We have up-to-the-minute details on the mission to find the sub and the five people on board.

Also this hour, the high-stakes meeting of the super power, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. and China have made progress towards getting relations back on track, but there still is a ways to go. We'll have a report from Beijing.

And more than 50 million people across the southeast face the threat of severe weather, including tornados this holiday weekend. We'll have the latest forecast.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Alex Marquardt and this is a SITUATION ROOM special report.

Our top story tonight, an urgent search and rescue is underway for missing tourist submersible carrying five people who were on a journey to see the wreckage of the Titanic.

CNN's Brian Todd is following the latest developments for us. Brian, what are you learning?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alex, Coast Guard officials say they cannot confirm the identities of the five people on board that submersible, but the Coast Guard does say that the five people inside do include the pilot and four mission specialists.

What the Coast Guard and other officials have told us, including officials with the company of the ship that took the submersible out to the area around the Titanic is that the submersible actually submerged in the water first on Sunday morning, then lost contact, they lost communication with the submersible about an hour and 45 minutes into its descent. So, that's what we know. That's what we've been told this afternoon and this evening by the U.S. Coast Guard and other officials.

What we can tell you is that this is an area roughly almost 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland. The Coast Guard has assets in the water, in the air, along with Canadian Air Force and navy ships that are heading to the area and actually are there right now, including C-130 planes, P8 Poseidon submarine hunters, other assets like that. They have not yet apparently searched the water column in getting into the depths of the ocean yet to try to find this vehicle, if it is indeed deep under the surface.

What we also can tell you is that if indeed this is well below the surface, as what is certainly a possibility now, that it could be about 12,500 feet, that's more than two miles beneath the surface of the ocean, and that is about where the Titanic is located. So, there is an urgent search going on right now for this vehicle. Five people on board, according to the Coast Guard, and we're going to get updates as soon as we can. Alex?

MARQUARDT: The urgent search both above and below the surface of the ocean, 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, and as Brian Todd said, that water there extremely deep, some 12,500, 13,000 feet.

Let's now turn to the Pentagon for more on what the Coast Guard says will be a challenging mission to find this missing submersible with its five people on board, again, 13,000 feet deep. Oren, you're at the Pentagon. Tell us more about the different search capabilities that are heading to that area.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Alex, a few different types of aircraft taking part in this search, each with their specific search and rescue or search and recovery role. First, both the U.S. and the Canadians either have launched or are ready to launch C-130 Hercules. These are four-engine aircraft designed specifically for long-range, long-endurance patrols. They're able to stay up for an extended period of time and search the surface of the water, whether it's for debris or if the submersible surfaced and lost communications. So, they're likely in charge of that role given that this could be quite a large search area.

Canada has also launched a P8 Poseidon. Brian mentioned, this is a submarine hunter. And that's what its specialty is. It has different ways of detecting the mass of a body of metal underwater. And that's what it will try to focus on. The challenge here is that this submersible is far smaller than an enemy submarine. But to its advantage, at least this submersible wants to be found.


One of the ways it will search is with what are called sonar buoys. It drops these into the water and is listen for any sound or acoustic signature. Sound obviously travels very well underwater. So, these can hear for miles in different directions. And if there is some sound, you can use a few of these different sonar buoys to try to essentially triangulate or zoom in precisely on the location of where this submersible may be.

Crucially, for these to work, the submersible has to make some sort of sound. So, that's one of the key questions that remains here.

Earlier today, there was a press conference from the Coast Guard. They said there are commercial ships on the way. They will bring additional search capabilities and they'll keep those aircraft up. A Canadian Coast Guard ship is on its way having left Newfoundland a few hours ago, according to It's making its way south/southeast towards the search site, towards where that submersible may be. So, it's still hours away. But they pointed out that there are at least theoretically 96 hours of survival capability for the submersible. So, Alex, the clock is ticking. The search assets are out there very much looking to see if they can find where the submersible may be.

MARQUARDT: Clock is ticking. The search is on. Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon, thank you very much.

I want to now bring retired Naval Captain Bobbie Scholley for more inside on how the search and rescue effort is unfolding. Captain, thank you so much for joining me.

We've been talking about the depth of this water, the distance that this search site is from the coast, 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, a little bit less off the coast of Canada. To what extent is looking for this submersible -- is it looking like a needle in a hay stack, if you will?

CAPT. BOBBIE SCHOLLEY (RET.), FORMER U.S. NAVY DIVER: Well, thanks for having me, Alex. And, first of all, I want to say my heart really goes out to the crew of the submersible, and also I want to say good luck to all the men and women that are out there searching. But as with any search and rescue operation out at sea, it is a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack.

But in this case, unlike some of the rescue search missions that I've been on for aircraft, in this case, they knew exactly the location that they were starting with, with this submersible. So, they have good data for where to start the rescue, or where to start the search. And that's very important in this case. So, they know a starting point.

The depth of water causes us this to be a much bigger area to search in. So, that's going to increase the haystack. But they have a lot of assets on station already with the aircraft in the air and they're bringing in all the right other resources that they need. The sonar buoys are fabulous to get into the water column. And that's what they need to do with having the depth of water that they are addressing.

So, they have a lot of smart people in the Coast Guard and in the Navy and some of the commercial assets to get a multi-pronged approach to start chipping away at this haystack. And the 96 hours is a short amount of time but these resources are very effective.

MARQUARDT: Captain, you, like the Coast Guard admiral we heard from earlier, did emphasize the importance of sonar here. What is it that those buoys and those capabilities will be listening for under the surface of the water? How does that work?

SCHOLLEY: Well, with sonar buoys, they are listening for sound. And the submersible is going to be making sounds itself with the systems on board, mechanical systems and that sort of thing. The crew, hopefully, are making noises as well. You can go back to the movies that you watch when we're hunting submarines, the enemy submarines are not making any noise because they don't want to be found. Well, in this case, this submersible wants to be found.

So, its systems are running, the crew is making noise. And those sonar buoys are picking up, they're very good and they're detecting these noises. I imagine that the other systems that the ships are bringing are the side-scan sonars or that type of thing that we use typically to pick up metallic debris on the bottom, or in this case a metallic submersible, which is a larger piece of metal. And so I imagine that we're bringing in some of the side-scan sonar or the sonar that picks up metal, in addition to the sonogram that detect the sound. So, I don't know, but I would imagine that between the military and the Coast Guard that they're bringing in these other assets.


MARQUARDT: Right. It has now been more than 24 hours since this submarine and its five passengers went missing. We understand that there is around 70 to 96 hours of air on board. That's really the sort of extent of that. So, can you still hold out hope? Are you still optimistic at this point that this submersible can be found with its passengers alive?

SCHOLLEY: Oh, absolutely, I am, because the hard part is finding the submersible. And once they find the submersible, there are all sorts of situations of how to get that submersible to the surface, and rescue the crew. And there are many different options that just come to my mind and I don't have all the details of what the situation is.

There is remote-operated vehicles that can get to that depth that can go down and attach something to the submersible if the submersible is without power. And that could be part of the problem with communications and with mobility on the submersible. So, we have remote operated vehicles that can be -- gotten out to the scene relatively, I don't want to say quickly, but within that time period. So, there are all sorts of scenarios that very smart people are looking at that could recover that submersible.

MARQUARDT: Well, we are certainly comforted by your confidence. Retired Captain Bobbie Scholley, thank you very much for your time and your perspective this evening.

SCHOLLEY: Thank you, Alex.

MARQUARDT: And, just ahead, the world watching the meeting of the super powers in Beijing, what Secretary of State Antony Blinken says about his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



MARQUARDT: Let's turn now to the high-stakes meeting between China and the United States, and what it says about the relationship between the world's two great economic super powers.

CNN National Security Correspondent Kylie Atwood has more.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Secretary of State Antony Blinken casting U.S./China relations as a work in progress at the end of his two-day visit to Beijing, coming when tensions between the competing nations have never been greater.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: It was clear coming in that the relationship was at a point of instability and both sides recognize the need to work to stabilize it.

ATWOOD: After about ten hours with the country's top foreign policy officials, Blinken kept his visit by sitting down with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese leader saying the two sides had made progress. But on one major objective that Biden administration officials set out to accomplish, standing up military-to-military channels of communication between the super powers, Blinken left empty-handed.

BLINKEN: China has not agreed to move forward with that. I think that's an issue that we have to keep working on.

ATWOOD: The vital need for these channels evident in just the last few weeks when aggressive Chinese maneuvers resulted in two military incidents between the U.S. and China in international waters and air space of the South China Sea. But Blinken did walk away with a significant Chinese commitment, standing up a working group on fentanyl with the majority of precursor chemicals from the deadly synthetic opioids flowing into the U.S. coming from China.

BLINKEN: My hope and expectation is we will have better communications, better engagement going forward.

ATWOOD: The meetings marked with polite smiles. The tone a stark contrast to the first time Blinken sat down with his Chinese counterpart in Alaska in 2021 when both sides traded barbs in front of cameras.

In Beijing, Chinese officials again told Blinken that the Chinese government would not provide lethal support to Russia for the war in Ukraine.

BLINKEN: This is something that China has said in recent weeks and has repeatedly said not only to us but to many other countries that have raised this concern.

ATWOOD: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang accepted Blinken's invitation to visit the U.S., and President Biden indicated that he's gearing up to meet with Xi in the coming months.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm hoping that over the next several months, I'll be meeting with Xi again, and talking about legitimate differences we have, but also how those areas we can get along.


ATWOOD (on camera): It does appear that Blinken's visit is serving as somewhat as a springboard for further dialogue face-to-face conversations between U.S. and Chinese officials, and said senior administration officials are expected to visit Beijing in the coming weeks.

We know that the Biden administration had been looking at visits to Beijing for their commerce secretary, for their treasury secretary, for their climate envoy. So, we'll watch to see when those get scheduled. And it's important to note that China has a vested interest in engaging with the U.S. on economic and trade issues, particularly there's been a slowdown in their economy recently after their post- COVID economic boost, and just last month, there was an all-time record high rates of youth unemployment in the country. Alex?

MARQUARDT: All right. Kylie Atwood in the Chinese capital of Beijing, thanks very much.

Now to new developments in Ukraine and new video, Russia claims that massive blast took out a Ukrainian stronghold. The defense ministry says that its forces remotely detonated a Russian tank packed with explosives.

CNN's Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman is live for us In zaporizhzhia in Eastern Ukraine. Ben, how did this all unfold? And do we think this is now a new tactic by the Russians?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alex, it's the first time the Russians have done it. We don't know if it's going to be a tactic going forward. But what we understand from the defense ministry in Russia is that that was a T-54 tank dating back to the years just after the Second World War that was crammed with at least five tons of explosives, and was driven unmanned toward a Ukrainian frontline.


Exactly where, we're not all together sure.

What you see in the video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry is that the tank appears to hit a mine, and then it appears to have been hit by a round from an RPG and then this massive explosion goes off, which appears to be the explosives that were crammed into that tank. But it's not at all clear if the -- it happened about 300 yards from the Ukrainian frontline. So, it's not clear if they were able to breach the frontlines or any significant progress was made by Russian forces in that area.

What we're seeing, however, writ large, with the counteroffensive, the Ukrainian counteroffensive, is that it is running into some trouble. The commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces today said that the Russian frontlines on the southern front have been severely mined, and also that the Russians have moved more reserves into the southern front.

Now, today, we heard from the deputy defense minister of Ukraine that the Ukrainians have managed to liberate eight settlements and an area of about 44 square miles. Now, the offensive has been going on now for almost two weeks and that's a fairly modest amount of land to have been taken.

Now, it's widely believed that the Ukrainians have yet to commit the bulk of their forces to the fight. This is perhaps still part of the shaping operation, the probing maneuvers being undertaken by the Ukrainians before they actually commit full-time in sort of en masse with their forces and with the new western supplied equipment that they've received. But so far, there are worries that this offensive is simply not making the sort of progress that was so widely anticipated. Alex?

MARQUARDT: Yes, it is going to be a long, tough fight, and both sides are going to try all kinds of things. Ben Wedeman in Zaporizhzhia, in Southeastern Ukraine, thank you very much.

Joining us now is Congressman Ro Khanna who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, who is also a member of the China select committee. Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.

I do want to start with the secretary's recent trip to China. He spent two days in Beijing. And ahead of the trip, this is what you had to say on Friday. Take a listen.


REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): It's good that he's going. I would define success as just opening the lines of communication, if we can get military-to-military contact back.


MARQUARDT: So, Congressman, that did not happen. Are you surprised that China, once again, rebuffed U.S. calls for direct talks between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, because that's where we have seen some of the biggest friction lately?

KHANNA: Alex, I'm disappointed that China didn't agree to that very commonsense measure. But I believe Secretary Blinken's trip has been a success. He met with Xi Jinping. He has re-established the political lines of communication. He's set the stage for the president to meet Xi Jinping. And we just need to emphasize that even at the height of the cold war, we had military-to-military communication, that's good for the world, it's good for both people.

MARQUARDT: But by your own standards, the measure with which you set the bar, how can this be considered a success? The State Department had said before the trip that the goal was to prevent the two countries from miscalculating, from veering into a conflict. Here, we have no progress on the defense chief's speaking to each other, no sign that these confrontations out there in the Taiwan Strait or the South China Sea are going to stop any time soon. Isn't there a lot more that should have been done, that may have been done in these meetings in Beijing?

KHANNA: Alex, it was a two-day trip, and full context of my remarks, I said it's not even clear where Secretary Blinken would get a meeting with Xi Jinping. I think that was an enormous step forward that Xi Jinping met with Secretary Blinken, said that we want to have stable relations. And Secretary Blinken was very firm that there cannot be any military invasion of Taiwan, while affirming the One China policy. It has opened up political communication.

I think the secretary was candid that he would have liked to see military-to-military communication. But it should be obvious that that's not because of a lack of Biden administration efforts. That's a lack of China reciprocating. And I don't understand why they wouldn't want to safeguard their own people from an accidental conflict.


MARQUARDT: Yes. It certainly would've been a very strong signal had Secretary Blinken not gotten that meeting with the Chinese president.

Congressman, I do want to ask you about Ukraine. The Ukrainians have taken back some ground, but it is very slow work. This is clearly going to be a very difficult fight. Do you think that, to some extent, expectations were set too high ahead of this counteroffensive?

KHANNA: Well, first of all, there is support in the United States Congress for the Ukrainian people to protect their sovereignty. And I plan to continue to support the Ukrainian people, again, Russia's unjustified invasion. But many of us have known that this is going to be a long fight. This is not going to be easy. And I don't think we should be expecting overnight success in the counteroffensive.

MARQUARDT: No. And it certainly will not be overnight success. But they have been armed for quite some time with western weapons and a good amount of training. So, certainly, there is a lot riding on this, and a lot that the west expects them to be able to do against these Russian forces that are extremely dug in. Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you very much for your time this evening. KHANNA: Thank you, Alex.

MARQUARDT: And coming up, Donald Trump taking incoming from his former attorney general and his former defense secretary over his conduct in the classified documents probe. More on their sharp reactions right after this.



MARQUARDT: There are new developments tonight in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump, a judge banning Trump from publicly sharing evidence that the special counsel is handing over to his legal defense team.

CNN's Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez is working this story for us. So, Evan, what does this order mean for former President Trump?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it means, hopefully, for his sake, that he has some discipline and he makes sure he doesn't share anything that he learns as part of the discovery that prosecutors are going to start turning over. This means that this is the unclassified evidence, Alex. You remember that there are, of course, classified documents that are going to be shared at a later time with the legal team once they have their security clearances. But for now, they're going to start getting a lot of the unclassified evidence.

And what the special counsel was particularly concerned about is the fact that one of the things they noted was that this is still an ongoing investigation, that there are aspects that are still being investigated. Of course, we know that the special counsel is doing an investigation into January 6th and some of the efforts around trying to overturn the election, which the former president is squarely in the middle of. So, if there is evidence that this they of as a result of this case, the documents case, they don't want the former president to go on social media as his likely way to do whenever he has the opportunity to.

MARQUARDT: Yes, which we've seen him do contrary to the advice of his legal team. And, Evan, we also heard from the former attorney general, Bill Barr. What did he have to say?

PEREZ: Well, the attorney general, as you have seen over the last few months, has sort of going to way from defending the former president. He now believes, clearly, that this case is a very serious case. And based on what he has read from the indictment, he clearly has very strong views about what the president did and the legal peril he's in.

Here he is over the weekend discussing what the former president, you know, is willing to do now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is not a circumstance where he's the victim, or this is government overreach. He had no right to those documents. He engaged in a course of deceitful conduct, according to the indictment. That was a clear crime, if those allegations are true. And it was outrageous.

The legal theory by which he gets to take battle plans and sensitive national security information as his personal papers is absurd.


PEREZ: Absurd is what you hear, again, the former attorney general, who, if you remember when he is in office, got a lot of criticism for doing everything he could to support the former president. He's clearly turned against him.

And one of the things you see, he's also written an op-ed that he's published a few hours ago. It's clear that one of the things he's concerned about is the effect that the former president has on the Republican Party. Of course, Bill Barr is a longtime Republican.

MARQUARDT: Yes, he's really not holding back. And Trump once had a lot of praise for Bill Barr. That is no longer the case. Evan Perez, thank you very much.

And while Trump is slammed with new criticisms from his former top officials, we are getting fresh insight into the former president's position as the current Republican presidential frontrunner.

CNN's Jessica Dean has been following all of the latest. So, Jessica, how is this playing into the 2024 race?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex, it's so interesting, because as we have talked many times, there's political trouble and there's legal trouble, and sometimes those are very separate. In this case, the former president in a lot of legal trouble, but when you look at the politics of all of it, we've got this new Quinnipiac poll that's kind of giving us some fresh insight into where Republican voters are. And I'll show you some of that polling. It has him leading the pack at 53 percent, Florida governor Ron DeSantis at 23 percent, and then everyone else very far behind, in the single digits there.

Now, one thing to remember when you're looking at this polling, it is early, and also that is a national poll. And, remember, this contest will be played out in all of those early primary states.

Something else we were getting insight into in this polling was a potential and hypothetical head-to-head matchup between former President Trump and the current president, Joe Biden.


And he was coming in just slightly ahead at 48 percent to 44 percent. So, that kind of gives us a little bit of some data as we continue into this summer. And, remember, it is only June of 2023. But that doesn't mean that the candidates are not out there on the trail. We have Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who's out in California, President Biden also out in California, in the Bay Area, both doing some fundraising, and then also some messaging around that trip to Northern California, albeit, very different messaging, as you would imagine. The current president, President Biden, focused very much on climate change and talking about funding for climate resiliency in some of these coastal areas. That's part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which was part of his signature legislation passed by Democrats last August.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis focused very much on contrasting himself with blue state governors, people like Gavin Newsom, who he's very eager to take on. And, in fact, they released video really slamming Gavin Newsom, slamming the state of California, and really seeking to draw that contrast between how DeSantis has led Florida and how Newsom has led California.

And, Alex, that's right in line with what we heard from DeSantis on the trail. He continues to talk about what he's done in Florida and really wants to go after Democrats and their leadership nationally, and also in these states versus going after, say, former President Trump, his chief rival in that primary contest. Alex?

MARQUARDT: And Governor DeSantis really sharpening his barbs about the former president as he really dives into this presidential race. Jessica Dean, thank you very much.

Let's discuss all these developments with CNN's Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger, CNN's Senior Political Commentator Scott Jennings and Defense Attorney Shan Wu. Thank you all for joining us.

Gloria, I want to start with you. We just heard from the former president. He just spoke to Fox News. Let's take a listen to a bit of what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Let me just explain. So, I've got a lot of things on there. I will go through those boxes. I have to go through those boxes. I take out personal things. As far as the levels and all, everything was declassified because I had the right to declassify.

I have every right to have those boxes. This is purely a Presidential Records Act. This is not a criminal thing.


MARQUARDT: So, Gloria, he said he didn't hand back all the documents because he still wanted to go through them, go through all of his boxes. What do you make of that?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, according to the indictment, we know that they gave him more than a year. We also know that he moved around boxes so that he wouldn't have to comply with the subpoena, according to the indictment.

And we also know -- I'm not an attorney, but the former attorney general is, and he called the argument in an op-ed today about the Presidential Records Act ludicrous. He said, if the indictment is true, this is brazen criminal conduct that cannot be justified in any way.

And what the president is telling Brett Baier is that, well, I just didn't have time to go through the boxes, but that didn't matter anyway because everything that was in them, including classified material, is mine.

MARQUARDT: You know, he did say in this interview with Brett Baier, and I'm reading the transcript here, he said that the only way that the Archives could ever get this stuff, these documents, back would be to say, please, please, could we have it back. And then he says, I gave them some. Please, please, can I have that back. That's exactly what the Archives did, right? I mean, they made it clear that they needed these documents back, and it wasn't until after they weren't getting them back that they then went to the Department of Justice and it was escalated.

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. No, they said please, pretty please repeatedly, and they even sent down the DOJ's counterintelligence chief to ask really nicely, too. And then they still asked a little less nicer through a grand jury subpoena, and they still didn't get it back. So, it's just complete spin on Trump's part. I mean, it's damaging to his legal defense because he's out there talking, he's admitting he has them, maybe knows what's in them. So, legally, it's a big problem. But even as Evan was saying before, it's all political at this point, and that's what he's trying to do.

MARQUARDT: There was the subpoena and then they didn't get them all back, and then there was the FBI search and they went in and found even more. So, there were multiple chances during which the former president was essentially told, please, please, can we have these documents back.

I want to play a little bit more of former Trump cabinet members and how they're now talking about his behavior. Take a listen.


TAPPER: I mean, do you think Trump can be trusted with the nation's secrets ever again?

MARK ESPER, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, based on his actions, again, if proven true, under the indictment by the special counsel, no. I mean, it's just irresponsible action that places our service members at risk, places our nation's security at risk.

BARR: He will always put his own interests and gratifying his own ego ahead of everything else, including the country's interests.


There's no question about it. This is a perfect example of this. He's like a nine-year-old -- a defiant nine-year-old kid who's always pushing the glass towards the edge of the table. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Scott, as this criticism grows not just from members of the national security world, but also longtime Republicans like Bill Barr, does that start to resonate more and more with Republican voters?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, not yet. It may over time. And you have to remember these are people that Donald Trump once hired. I mean, these are not political enemies of his, and they're not never-Trumpers. They worked for him. And so I think their voices should carry some amount of weight. But there's no evidence quite yet that Republicans are ready to listen to Bill Barr and Mark Esper over Trump.

I will say, though, listening to Trump tonight on the Fox News interview that we played a clip of, it's quite troubling. And he clearly doesn't have an answer for this. He's scrambling. I would be very concerned if I were part of his legal team that he was out commenting on this publicly now that he's under indictment. But it does underscore the fact that, for Trump, the political argument is really what matters most today because I think they're betting they can push off a trial until after the election. And if they can get him elected president, then they can make it go away. So, the campaign is the defense, basically.

MARQUARDT: Yes, the former president sounding as defensive as ever and not showing any remorse. Gloria Borger, Scott Jennings, Shan Wu, thank you to all of you for your expertise.

And, just ahead, the latest on a holiday weekend that has turned violent with shootings in communities all across the country.



MARQUARDT: This holiday weekend has been a violent one all across the country with dozens of people injured and at least four people killed in shootings from Illinois to Missouri to Washington state to California.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has more.


NICHELLE PETERSON, SURVIVED MASS SHOOTNG: This is the one that hurts the most. I had stitches in my head so I already have a hole.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nichelle Peterson was among the 22 injured in a parking lot party in Illinois Saturday night, about 21 miles west of Chicago. At least one person was killed. Bullets grazed Peterson's shoulder and forehead.

PETERSON: I was in the backseat, and they just kept going across me. But I couldn't get any lower. I just heard it and I felt it. At least 30 rounds went through my car alone.

BROADDUS: The DuPage County sheriff's office says deputies were on site to monitor the event.

PETERSON: It's just a Juneteenth party. I'm not exactly sure who threw it.

BROADDUS: But around 12:25 a.m., they got called to respond to a nearby fight, and immediately returned when they heard gunfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next thing, you know, shots are going off and everybody ran. It was chaos.

BROADDUS: Investigators say multiple suspects fired multiple rounds into the parking lot crowd.

MARKESHIA AVERY, WITNESS: I heard shooting. So we dropped down. We dropped down. It just kept going.

BROADDUS: In downtown St. Louis, a 17-year-old male was killed, and at least nine others hurt. It happened at a party held in an office building.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's every parent's worst nightmare tenfold.

BROADDUS: Officers say multiple weapons were found at the scene, including an AR-style rifle. And they're still trying to figure out how the group got access to the building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was planned in advance. We're still investigating who had access to it.

BROADDUS: In central Washington state, two people are dead and several others hurt after a mass shooting at the campground near the gorge amphitheater in Quincy, about 150 miles east of Seattle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People were just trying to come out to have fun.

BROADDUS: It happened around 8:25 p.m. local time during an electronic dance music festival. The Grant County sheriff's office says the shooter shot four people in the campground, then continued firing into the crowd. According to CNN affiliate KOMO, when officers caught up to the suspect, they fired their weapons, injuring the alleged shooter, who survived.

KYLE FOREMAN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, GRANT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: We don't know what the motives or what the intentions were of the shooter.

BROADDUS: And on Friday night in Carson, California, eight people were injured during a shooting at a home, about 17 miles south of Los Angeles. It happened in a cul-de-sac where it's believed around 20 to 30 people were gathered. Deputies say the victims range in age from 16 to 24.

DAMON JONES, CAPTAIN, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: We did get some indication there might've been a fight before the shooting. But that's all being investigated.


BROADDUS (on camera): And back here in Willowbrook, at least two people remain in critical condition tonight. And that 27-year-old who was shot in the parking lot behind us says she has so many reasons to give thanks. She graduates from culinary school later this week -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: CNN's Adrienne Broaddus, thank you very much for that report.

Coming up, a massive and deadly firefight in the occupied West Bank earlier today.



MARQUARDT: An Israeli raid into one of the tensest cities in the West Bank erupted into a massive firefight today. At least five Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded as the Israeli military struggled to rescue troops under heavy fire. This comes as the U.S. State Department says it is, quote, deeply troubled by the Israeli government's reported decision to advance planning for more than 4,000 settlement units in the West Bank.

CNN's Hadas Gold has our report from Jerusalem -- Hadas.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex, what was supposed to be an early morning arrest raid turned into an 11-hour-long operation and some incredibly fierce fire fighting that I don't think the Israeli military really intended when they set out to arrest these two wanted suspects in the earlier hours of this morning. This took place in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, which has long been a flash point, tense city for both militant activity but also for very regular Israeli military raid.

But what happened today shows a different level of tactics, both by the militants and also by the Israeli military. The militants utilizing IEDs, roadside bombs, one of which we have dramatic video showing it going off as some of the Israeli armored vehicles are driving by. One of them a panther command vehicle had essentially its entire underside taken out by what the Israeli military described as a very, very powerful IED that they said is essentially going to change some of their tactics moving forward.


And at least some of the seven Israeli personnel who were injured today were in that vehicle. Several other Israeli army vehicles were also rendered inoperable as a result of the intense firefight, and Israeli soldiers had to wait several hours before they could be extracted out of Jenin. Now, while they were being extracted, something else happened that we haven't seen in several decades, in fact, since the days of the second intifada of the early 2000s. That's the Israeli military use of an apache helicopter to provide gunfire cover while they were trying to extract those Israeli soldiers.

Now, the Israeli military saying they fired two open areas, and as far as we know, no Palestinians were injured as a result of that gunfire. But the use of an apache helicopter over a very dense urban area, this is not something we've seen used since the days of the second intifada. And that shows an alarming change, an increase of the tactics that we're seeing especially in recent months.

Now, of the five Palestinians who were killed, three of them have been claimed by Islamic jihad as their militant fighters, but 90 other Palestinians were injured as well during these fierce clashes, but among the dead we do know is a 15-year-old boy -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: Just extraordinary scenes there. Hadas Gold, thank you very much.

I'm Alex Marquardt here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thank you so much for watching.