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President Joe Biden In Belgium For NATO Summit; Wife Of Secretary Of State Of Georgia Getting Death Threats; Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 Years In Office Comes To An End; Increasing Spike Of Mass Shootings In America; Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) Is Interviewed About The Mass Shootings In America And Trump's Crackdown On Leaks; Sen. Sanders And President Biden's Unlikely Bond; Fast Climb Of Consumer Prices In 13 Years. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 13, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: The Amazon mogul's space venture Blue Origin has been awaiting this moment for years. The July 20th trio will mark the first time humans have flown onboard the new Shepard rocket vehicle after 15 un-crewed test flights. Blue Origin's ultimate goal is to sell tickets to the general public hopefully at a cheaper price point. And of course, I'm just letting (inaudible) right now. And Mr. Bezos, I am available if you need me -- if there is an empty seat, I'm available.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. President Joe Biden is in Brussels, Belgium for this year's NATO Summit. It's the second stop of his trip abroad as president. And while the goal so far has been about re-establishing America's partnership, it's now about re-establishing American power.

You see while the last few days of the G7 Summit have been full of elbow bumps, beach side barbecues and royal pomp and circumstance, Biden even comfortable enough to wear his aviators with the Queen. The president kicked it up a notch before the party declaring just before his upcoming meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, something Biden's successor or predecessor I should say, never would.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I told him when I was running and when I got elected before I was sworn in, that I was going to find out whether or not he in fact did engage in trying to interfere in our election, that I was going the take a look at whether he was involved in the cyber security breach that occurred, et cetera. And if I did, I was going to respond. I did. I checked it out. So I had access to all the intelligence. He was engaged in those activities. I did respond and I made it clear that I would respond again.


ACOSTA: I want to get straight to CNN's chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins who is live in Brussels for us. Kaitlan, it looks like Joe Biden is going to some length to not jab his finger in the chest of Vladimir Putin but sort of calmly putting him on notice where his positions are at this point.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's certainly a line that he's had to balance over the last several weeks as there have been multiple questions about what exactly the White House thinks this summit is going to look like because, Jim, we know that we reported there are actually divisions internally about whether the sit-down should even happen because I think the question ultimately was what are we really going to get out of this?

But they have decided they think it's better to have face to face diplomacy and conversations with Vladimir Putin, decide what he thinks the U.S./Russia relationship is going to look like because the one thing they do agree on is that the relations are at an all-time low. That is something that Putin said.

Biden said today he did agree with that and so the question of what actually happens when they do actually sit down in Geneva remains to be seen. We do know they are planning for a smaller session, potentially a bigger session with staff.

That is in contrast to former President Trump who would often meet with Putin one on one. Another thing that's also different is there's not exactly to be any joint conference after the two of them meet. And the Secretary of State Tony Blinken had said this had to do with getting answers to a free press about what that meeting looks like. But this is what Joe Biden said when he was asked early why is there not going to be any press conference with you and Putin standing side by side.


BIDEN: This is not a contest about who can do better in front of a press conference or try to embarrass each other. It's about making myself very clear what the conditions are to get a better relationship are with Russia. But I don't want to get into being diverted by did they shake hands, how far did they talk, who talked the most and the rest. Now, he can say what he said to meeting was about and I will say what I think the meeting was about. That's how I'm going to handle it.


COLLINS: Now, obviously, Jim, they are hoping for a good outcome out of this, to have a working relationship with Russia. But what the president told reporters earlier was there is no guarantee that you can change a person's behavior or get them to change their country's behavior either.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. All right, Kaitlan Collins, looks like a nice night in Brussels, Belgium. I'll let you get to it. Thanks so much. We appreciate that report.

And joining me now, CNN political analyst John Avlon and CNN political commentator and host of PBS's "Firing Line" Margaret Hoover. John, sizing up Putin has always been an important test for a commander-in- chief. Let's take a listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul. He's a man deeply committed to his country.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What is true is that the Russians intended to meddle, and they meddled. Vladimir Putin is not on our team.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I like Putin, he likes me. You know, we get along. It's been -- when you say it's smart to get along, okay? Smart.


ACOSTA: Biden has already made it clear his relationship with Vladimir Putin is going to be very different. The cover of "Time" magazine giving a nod to the big meeting by showing Biden with Putin reflected in his signature aviator sunglasses. John, Biden seems to be talking about his decision not to hold a joint press conference as if he wants to avoid to getting or in contest of who is more macho or as they used to say back on "SNL" quien es mas macho.


JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Quien es mas macho, yes. That is the key. That is the key question. And I think Biden's desire not to degenerate into that kind of quien es mas macho question, it shows a degree of strategic discipline, right. This is about giving a clear message to Putin, about what the United States will not tolerate.

That the days of having a sycophant in the Oval Office clearly are over, but there is still a hope that they can have a responsible great power relationship. Now, Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor made it clear, this is not a relationship based on trust.

Russia is a bad actor. Putin is a killer, as Joe Biden has said. But by putting the focus on the talks, upon great power diplomacy and balance of power realizing that we will punch back appropriately if they attack us in any way, shape or form is appropriate. So I think it's mart to take the pressure off the optics and more on the substance, less on the style.

ACOSTA: Yes. And Margaret, former President Trump had something to say about Biden's meeting with Putin saying, "Don't fall asleep during the meeting, please give him my warmest regards." Trump still sending his warm regards to Vladimir Putin. He just can't quit him.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not only can he not quite him, he also can't quit the fact -- he can't stand the fact that he's not in the spotlight. The news cycle continues without him so he's trying to insert himself into it. So, we'll just move on without it.

I would note, it's really important that Joe Biden decided not to confer the favorability and the legitimacy and the respectability of the United States onto Russia. And frankly, the fact that they have been a bad actor, a very bad actor, from the election, prior to the election, and since the election.

By standing side by side with authoritarians and dictators and the thug leaders around the world as President Trump did, with President Duterte of the Philippines, with Putin, with many, many other strong men, you are conferring -- Kim Jong-un -- conferring legitimacy and the respectability of the United States on those powers. And Putin has not yet earned that from President Biden.

AVLON: Not even a little bit.

HOOVER: Not even - no, like not even a little bit. Right? So, I welcome that and I also welcome the $150 million arms sale to the Ukraine that the Biden administration has just -- the Department of Defense has announced. So, that to me is a good start.

ACOSTA: Yes. And John, during his press conference today, Biden took a clear swipe at former President Trump. Let's listen.


BIDEN: America is back at the table. The lack of participation in the past and full engagement was noticed significantly, not only by the leaders of those countries, but by the people in the Gg7 countries. And America is back in the business of leading the world alongside nations who share our most deeply held values.


ACOSTA: Biden seems to think this contrast with Trump is paying dividends. I mean, that's been clear this entire trip. John?

AVLON: Yes, and that's because it is. I mean, you can hear it from all of the leaders of the G7. To simply have an American president who is not going to put himself first, who is not going to elbow his way to the front of photo ops and basically lobby for Vladimir Putin's inclusion in the G7 is a breath of fresh air.

And it's about trust. It's about trust not only between individual leaders but about the United States being a trustworthy ally. And that was compromised in the past. I don't think there is any, you know, worry that by drawing that contrast he is somehow denigrating Trump any more than Trump denigrated himself and the United States.

It's an appropriate contrast and it's an important contrast. Do we want to be an engaged leader in the world and international organizations or do you want to try to undermine it constantly? I will go with plan A on that one.

ACOSTA: Yes. And Margaret, let's switch subjects just a bit. Republican Senator Ron Johnson, he has been suspended from YouTube for posting COVID disinformation specifically for encouraging people to use hydroxychloroquine. They are still talking about the hydroxychloroquine in some circles. Unbelievable. When the social media companies crack down on this type of disinformation, do you think it helps or hurt Republican candidate efforts to court the voters they are looking for. I mean, to be pulled off of YouTube, that's not good.

HOOVER: It's not good. He'll be pulled off of YouTube for seven days and he'll get back on. But the point is that you can't spread disinformation that could hurt people. And that's what Ron Johnson was doing. And I got to tell you, I don't think that helps Republicans.

I mean, that becomes a national news story. The people that Republicans need to win back in order to have the Senate, to win political power are people who think that's naughty behavior, right? Suburban women, millennials, young people, people who have been disenfranchised.

They don't think that this is the kind of party they trust with power if they can't even, you know, people who have no medical training are hawking conspiracy theories all over the place? That's not the way to win back the majority, folks.


ACOSTA: Yes, it's weird. And John, this is a disturbing thing. It's been seven months since Trump lost the election but a Reuter's report found that election officials are still receiving threats. This is unbelievable.

In Georgia, the wife of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has received text messages like this, "You and your family will be killed very slowly." A week before that, "We plan for the death of you and your family every day." She also got this warning that "a family member was going to have a very unfortunate incident." I mean, this is just totally out of control.

AVLON: It is. And I'm so glad you mentioned that Reuter's story which was excellent and it does pull the curtain back on the continued death threats that are following Republican election officials who did their duty.

And for any Republican who thinks that you can somehow sweep this under the rug or turn the page, that's not happening. Until it is confronted and condemned and clearly called out, there will be more of it. And these are death threats not only to those individuals but at our democracy itself.

So, this is still metastasizing. Until Republicans actually grow the spine to clearly condemn it and not hope they can accommodate it, it will continue. And that is the path they are on and we are on as a republic right now. And it could not be more serious. This is death threats that reflect threats to our democracy itself.

ACOSTA: And Margaret, it's a continuation of the violent behavior that we have seen since January 6th, well, really before January 6th. But one would think that January 6th would at least slow it down a little bit and the reaction to it would slow it down a little bit, and it's just -- it's just not stopping.

HOOVER: It's not stopping. I was very grateful to Trisha Raffensperger for coming forward, going on the record and sharing the story. I mean, the fact that she and her husband had to leave their home for their own safety, that the death threats were so serious that she decided to stop seeing her grandchildren ages 3 and 5, after a point which it was suddenly safe for a year not being with them after coronavirus, not being able to see them again for their own safety because their lives were threatened.

This is creating instability and a lack of trust at the foundations of our democracy. And Jim, what I think January 6th revealed to us all is just how deep the rot is and how much we have to push back. And John says its Republicans, but it's Republicans that are also being victimized here, right.


HOOVER: Raffensperger is a Republican.

ACOSTA: Right.

HOOVER: It's the Trump wing of the party that must be changed.

ACOSTA: Absolutely, guys. And the thing that I try to emphasize because, you know, we in the press, we receive this kind of stuff, too. Is that when people do this, you're doing this to your fellow Americans.

AVLON: That's right.

ACOSTA: Brad Raffensperger, Dr. Anthony Fauci, members of the press, your fellow Americans. Not Republicans or Democrats. Fellow Americans. We just can't have this sort of thing happening in this country. I'm glad Reuter's decided to shine a light on it. And John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, great to talk to you about all of this. Thank you so much. Great to see you both. Have good night.

And breaking news, Benjamin Netanyahu's no longer Israel's prime minister prompting celebrations in the streets. And his replacement has already had his first phone call with President Biden. What this means for the U.S. and the world, next.



ACOSTA: Breaking news this Sunday evening, and celebrations tonight on the streets in Israel.


ACOSTA: Crowds of Israelis hearing the news that Benjamin Netanyahu is no lower their prime minister after a record 12 consecutive years in office. Netanyahu lost a confidence vote in Israeli's parliament today resulting in a new coalition government and a new prime minister. He is Naftali Bennett, a former close ally of Netanyahu who managed to form a coalition of smaller parties and push Israel's longest serving prime minister out. President Biden has already called to congratulate Bennett.

And joining me now is Naftali Bennett's chief strategist and pollster George Birnbaum. He also served as chief of staff to Benjamin Netanyahu. I had John Bolton on earlier this evening, George, and he said that Netanyahu is out but not necessarily down, and that Netanyahu is not going quietly. Something in our U.S. audience knows all too well when it comes to leaders leaving power. Do you believe this is the end for Benjamin Netanyahu?

GEORGE BIRNBAUM, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER NAFTALI BENNETT'S CHIEF STRATEGIST: No. He's -- judging from the speech he gave today as opposition leader after 12 years as prime minister, he's not going to go quietly into the good night. I don't think it's so much the situation as the United States.

It is a parliamentary system in Israel so, not unusual for a leader to go from being prime minister into the opposition. But he gave a very strong speech, a very Netanyahu-esque speech. He made it very clear that he's going to work every day as a very wild and strong opposition to this coalition.

ACOSTA: And what is going to hold this new government together other than a disdain for Benjamin Netanyahu?

BIRNBAUM: Well, I think there's a common goal to move beyond the years of Netanyahu to focus internally on some of the problems facing Israel, whether it be economic, social, religious strife between the secular and the ultraorthodox, between the Jews population there or population (ph).

He has a real desire now that -- quite frankly, Netanyahu has done quite a very good job in terms the Abraham accords, bringing peace, making Israel a high-tech capital of the world. It's time to look internally and I think that's what this coalition is going to focus on.

ACOSTA: And how long do you think this government is going to last? Could we see a situation where Netanyahu mounts a come back? Could he potentially come back and become prime minister within six months to a year?

BIRNBAUM: I think it's a little early to tell and really, you know, we'll know better when this coalition gets tested by contentious issue when it arises.


But Naftali Bennett has shown quite a lot of political acumen to take six Knesset seats and turn that into the prime ministership. And this is a coalition that is the most diverse Israel have ever seen. You have a right wing suburb as prime minister. You have a centrist son of Holocaust survivors. You have a left wing progressive party. And you have for the first time ever, the Israeli Arabs. So, if we're in a world where we're trying celebrating race diversity which I believe we are, this will be a good example of how a diverse coalition can work together towards a common goal.

ACOSTA: And the U.S. and others have renewed calls for a two-state solution after the latest rounds of fighting in Gaza. You are openly opposed to a state of Palestine. What is your plan for the 2 million Palestinians in the West Bank and 2 million more in Gaza?

BRINBAUM: Well, I mean, that's yet to be seen. In other words, that's an issue that's going to be crossed between the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Americans, the Europeans, all those that have a hand in this. I believe that the first step is having the Israeli Arabs in a coalition.

That allows -- it's always is any kind of a fight or strife to get people across here from talking to each other that have differences. That could be the first phase of people understanding each other, understanding the problems, understanding the situation, and we'll see where that leads.

I don't see a lot of pressure on a two-state solution immediately. I think the focus is going to be internationally in terms of the economy, the unemployment, cost of living, and those kinds of things. When a two-state solution comes up, that will be have to be addressed with those in the coalition that are opposed to it and those in the coalition that are in favor of it.

ACOSTA: All right, George Birnbaum, thank you so much for joining us. An incredible night there in Israel. Hard to imagine Israel without a Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but I guess we're about to see what happens next altogether. George, thank you so much for joining us. Hope to have you back. Really appreciate it.

BIRNBAUM: Thank you, Jim. Any time. Thank you.

ACOSTA: All right. And coming up, a staggering surge in violence in the United States. At least 270 mass shootings since the beginning of the year, including multiple shootings just this weekend. We break down the disturbing numbers, next.



ACOSTA: America's staggering gun violence epidemic shows no signs of slowing down. This weekend alone, mass shootings nationwide have killed eight people and injured nearly 50 others. And CNN's Natasha Chen joins me now. And Natasha, these statistics just keep getting worse and worse.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, this is actually something I was discussing yesterday with the people marking the fifth anniversary of the Pulse shooting here in Orlando where 49 people were killed. Their stories are remembered on that wall behind us. And what we were discussing is that maybe these recent shootings may not have killed 49 people at once but they are happening so frequently and it doesn't seem to be getting better.

Police chiefs across the country also talking about how hard it is to get the suspects because it seems people are not sharing enough information with them.


CHEN (voice-over): The number of people killed by guns in America continued to rise this weekend as did the scourge of mass shootings. At least eight of them this weekend across the U.S.

DETRIC LEGGETT, DISTRICT 2 ALDERMAN, SAVANNAH GEORGIA: I'm broken right now because I'm trying to figure out what do we do. So, my conversation is for my police chief and city manager, how do we fix this? Because right now I need answers and I have to answer to all of these residents who we told them that, you know, we're going to protect you.

CHEN (voice-over): In Savannah, Georgia a shooting Friday night killed one person and injured at least eight others including a 2-year-old and 13-year-old.

ROY MINTER, CHIEF OF POLICE, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: And they are still very hesitant about providing information this time even though one of the shooting victim is an 18-month-old infant.

CHEN (voice-over): Savannah was hardly alone. There have also been mass shootings this weekend in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 2021 there have been more than 270 mass shootings according to Gun Violence Archive where at least four people were injured or killed, not including the shooter.

That's about 40 percent higher than at this point in June 2020, and about 65 percent higher than this time in 2019. Local leaders say this problem relates to regional gun policies but there has to be a more comprehensive solution.

VAN JOHNSON, MAYOR OF SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: The reality is in Georgia, we can't be mad that guns are everywhere when Georgia law allows guns to be everywhere. But we also realized that guns are inanimate objects. And so, we now need to be that stronger gun laws in Georgia and nationally, but what we also need to have is to teach our young people better decision making.

CHEN (voice-over): That inability to solve problems without violence is what drives the mission of the One Pulse Foundation formed after 49 people were killed at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando exactly five years ago. Pulse owner, Barbara Poma, now CEO of One Pulse Foundation talked about waking up on the fifth anniversary of the tragedy only to hear news of more mass shootings overnight.

BARBARA POMA, CEO, ONE PULSE FOUNDATION: There is a gun violence problem. There is a hate problem. And I don't know where it turned from being bullied at school to going home and crying and finding a way to resolve that, right? I mean, going home to prepare his gun and going back, of course, your place of work when you're disgruntled. When did that become a decision like, when did that societal shift happen?



CHEN (on camera): Poma talked to me about her goal. In her eyes towing down the line on the future, she says people should work on bridging their differences, working toward the gray instead of fighting with each other like everything is in black and white terms, Jim.

ACOSTA: She raises some very important questions. All right, Natasha Chen, thank you so much. And joining me now is Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. He's also a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, we have this staggering statistic that since the start of this year there have been at least 271 mass shootings in the United States. And yet as you well know, gun control legislation is stalled in Congress. It doesn't seem to be going anywhere right now. What is it going to take to stop this endless cycle of gun violence?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): Well, it's going to take Congress listening to the American people, first of all. There is not much of a dispute among the American people about how we should handle this gun issue. Over 90 percent of Americans agree for example that we should do universal background checks, but Mitch McConnell and the Republican majority aren't listening to even a majority of their constituents by holding up the bill.

And so, first Congress needs to take action. And it would also be helpful if governors like Greg Abbott in Texas would actually keep their promises. After the massacre in El Paso where 23 people were killed and they were targeted because they were Hispanic.

The governor told the people of Texas that he would make it harder for people to recklessly get and use guns. That he was going to protect the people of Texas. And the legislature in Texas actually made it easier for people to get guns rather than harder in this last legislative session. So, there are a lot of things that need to be done at the federal and at the state level.

ACOSTA: Yes. I wanted to ask you about that. In your state of Texas where they just had a mass shooting it seems in Austin over the weekend, the legislature just passed a bill allowing Texans to carry handguns without a license or training. How worried are you about that?

CASTRO: I mean, incredibly worried, as are many other Texans. If you think about it, what it tells the people is that guns should be more freely out there, that they are an acceptable way to handle conflict. Because over the last 25 years in Texas, we have gone from concealed carry to open carry. Now to permitless carry, where basically anybody can carry a gun and they can't be asked about it by law enforcement.

So, it's -- even though you are not coming out and saying it, what you are basically projecting is this idea that guns are more and more a way to handle conflict. And that's where you get more dangerous situations and that's where you get people who are more likely to use a gun to try to resolve conflict.

ACOSTA: And I want to pivot to some other news that we're getting this afternoon. This is pretty striking stuff. We have learned that under President Trump the Department of Justice didn't just subpoena Apple for data on House lawmakers like your colleagues Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, but also went after Trump's White House counsel Don McGahn and his wife.

This was around the time that Trump was unhappy with McGahn. He was pressuring McGahn to cover up his requests to fire Bob Mueller. Does it matter to you whether this was a pursuit of Trump's enemies or a crackdown on leaks? Where does it go from here?

CASTRO: Well, you know, Jim, as brazen as Donald Trump was in his administration, as brazen as they were in public in terms of their public-facing policy, you think about the Muslim travel ban for example. I can only imagine how brazen they were when behind closed doors, when people didn't actually know at least in the moment what they were doing.

And there are some scandals that they start off seeming very broad but they actually kind of narrow in scope. It's clear that this one is actually growing in scope. As bad as it was to hear a few days ago about members of Congress on the Intelligence Committee that I sit on being targeted.

Now, you are talking about a president targeting an attorney at the White House, his own people. So he's targeting not only who he considers political opponents and enemies, but even targeting the people that are working for him. This has got to be thoroughly investigated.

I know that there is a bit of a debate about whether Congress should wait for the inspector general's report. I actually think that we ought to take action right away and treat with it the seriousness and the violation of rule of law that it constitutes.

ACOSTA: And your records weren't sought, were they, congressman?

CASTRO: No, not as far as I know. You know, as other folks mentioned, other of my colleagues from the committee mentioned we were all going through our e-mail folders and our trash and our spam folders and so forth to try to figure out if we got a notice from Apple.

I am working with the committee to get final confirmations that my records were not or that my phone was not searched or whatever it was. But as far as I know, my phone was not.

ACOSTA: Yes, I'm sure all of the members of the committee and their staffs are all going through this right now. And I want to move to immigration and a comment made by former President Trump's daughter- in-law, Laura Trump as she was railing against Biden's border response. Let's listen to this. I want to get your comment on this.



LARA TRUMP, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW OF FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don't know what you tell the people that live at the southern border. I guess they better arm up and get guns and be ready and maybe they're going to have to start taking matters into their own hands.


ACOSTA: Congressman, what do you think of that? She's calling for Americans living on the southern border to arm up. Your reaction to that.

CASTRO: Well, that's the kind of dangerous rhetoric that gets people targeted and gets people killed. That's the kind of rhetoric that led to a guy driving 10 hours from Dallas, Texas, to El Paso to murder 23 people because he considered them Hispanic invaders to Texas.

Remember, the Trump campaign of which she was part of back then, had purchased about 2,000 Facebook ads basically with that messaging, that these immigrants were invaders to Texas and that they had to be dealt with.

And you can see, I don't know, I think she's running for office. I can't remember, but you them essentially putting the same message out there as though they've learned nothing. And the thing is, I doubt that she's even been to the Texas-Mexico border. I doubt that she's even met the people down there. So, it costs her nothing to spew that kind of racist and ugly rhetoric, but it's actually putting a target on people's backs.

ACOSTA: And let me ask you about the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She is not giving up. She says an investigation into the January 6th attack on the capitol, but ultimately, what would you like the see in terms of holding Trump accountable for his role in inciting the mob at this point? Is it time to just go ahead and move forward with a House select committee to investigate what happened on January 6th?

CASTRO: I think that the speaker has been wise to press the Senate to see if they can finally vote to create the commission because we didn't want it to be independent of the Congress if at all possible.

But if that becomes impossible because it's clear that the Republicans are basically not only bury their heads in the sand, but are determined to deny reality and determined to protect Donald Trump at all costs because he owns the Republican Party.

Then we should absolutely create either a select committee that she -- whose members she would appoint -- or the oversight committee in the House of Representatives and the counterpart in the Senate, they should do a full investigation on the January 6th incident, insurrection, or basically what I have been calling and what I think was a kind of an attempted coup.

ACOSTA: All right, Congressman Joaquin Castro, thanks again for joining us. Good to see you again, sir. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. We appreciate it.

And coming up, they were major rivals during the 2020 Democratic primary. Now, Senator Bernie Sanders is opening up to CNN about his new found alliance with President Biden.



ACOSTA: At first glance, they seem like a political odd couple, Bernie Sanders the progressive, and Joe Biden the political moderate. But it turns out Sanders has become one of Biden's strongest advocates in the Senate and the two men have formed a solid bond. Here's Gloria Borger.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Let's just say that during the presidential campaign, progressives were skeptical about Joe Biden's big tint.

BIDEN: Progressives, moderates, conservatives.

BORGER (voice-over): But now, guess who is firmly inside it?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): As somebody who wrote a book called outsider in the house, yes, it is a strange experience to be having the kind of influence that we have now.

BORGER (voice-over): Strange, especially for two men with decades of hard-held, long standing disagreements.

SANDERS: I believe in Medicare for all.

He is more conservative than I am, obviously. But on the other hand, he is not only a smart guy. He is a good politician who has a sense of where people are at and what is possible. I think he understands that at this particular moment in American history, you got to go big, not small.

BORGER (voice-over): And five months into his presidency, Biden has gone big, very big.

BIDEN: It's historical and I call it transformational.

BORGER (voice-over): That was a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, followed by a far reaching plan to protect voting rights, not to mention a massive infrastructure plan. Sanders, the newly minted 79- year-old budget chairman is primed and ready to go. Progressives are growing more and more impatient with moderates in their own party. Not to mention with Republicans who have been flirting with Biden on infrastructure. And Sanders is in a rush.

(On camera): Do you have infinite patience time wise?

SANDERS: No, I do not.

BORGER (voice-over): That's a no?

SANDERS: Not only do I not have infinite patience, I have very limited patience. Look, we learned a lesson from the Obama years and that is Republicans will talk and talk, we want to work with you, bipartisan, month after month after month, nothing happens.

BORGER (voice-over): It's a lesson that stuck with Biden too. And so an alliance was born. Not so much a love story, but more like a marriage of convenience, the one-time centrist and the long-time progressive.

(On camera): Twenty years ago, is this the Joe Biden you would have expected?

SANDERS: No. I think the Biden of today is not what I or others would have expected.

BORGER (voice-over): Until a new reality intruded.

SANDERS: COVID exacerbated all of the existing problems in terms of the struggles of working families.

BORGER (voice-over): Then came January 6th.

SANDERS: What Trump is about is his actual threat to American democracy. What Biden sees out there is that if we do not move aggressively and make it clear to people that government can work for them then we stand a real chance of losing democracy in this country.

BORGER (voice-over): There's a shared history, too. Both men have working class roots, and both wanted to be president. And when Vice President Biden decided not to run in 2016 as the party establishment lined up behind Hillary Clinton, he reached out to Sanders for a private chat or two, a courtesy Sanders has not forgotten.


SANDERS: He was giving me his advice, political advice, and they were, I think for me, very useful conversations and friendly conversations.

FAIZ SHAKIR, SANDERS SENIOR POLITICAL ADVISER: I certainly belief that Senator Sanders left that meeting feeling that Joe Biden was giving him a, hey, go make your case, Bernie, because there is a lot of people that need to hear it.

BORGER (voice-over): In 2020, they were campaign rivals. Then as Sanders was getting ready to withdraw from the race, he had an idea on the plane ride back to Vermont.

SHAKI: He says, hey, do you know some friends over there in the Biden world? Ask them if they want to invite progressive policies and personnel into their campaign. Just see what they say. BORGER (voice-over): They said yes.

CEDRIC RICHMOND, BIDEN WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Bernie is an important voice within the Democratic Party. And we respect that voice. And we need that advice sometimes.

BORGER (on camera): Can you talk to me about how welcome they made you feel --

SANDERS: Very welcome.

BORGER (on camera): -- or it was a little different than from Hillary Clinton in 2016.

SANDERS: Yes, yes, it is.

BORGER (on camera): You weren't welcomed?

SANDERS: I was tolerated. My support was -- they wanted my support, obviously.

BORGER (voice-over): But now the one-time outsider is Mr. Chairman.

(On camera): Hosting dinner parties?

SANDERS: Not exactly a fancy dinner party. We did it outside with our progressive friends in the House. We had a very nice time, yes.

BORGER (voice-over): He worked to corral progressives for the American Rescue Plan even after the minimum wage hike was taken out.

SANDERS: Was it everything we wanted? No. Was it a major step forward for the working class in this country? You bet it was.

BORGER (voice-over): But can he or will he search for common grounds with moderates in a 50/50 senate?

BORGER (on camera): You have to deal with moderates like Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema and getting them on board.

SANDERS: I've heard about that. But in all honesty, Chuck Schumer does more of that talking than I do.

BORGER (voice-over): Back in Vermont, Bernie, the former mayor of Burlington is the local anti-establishment hero. But these days he's really part of the ruling class in D.C., even when he disagrees with the man in charge.

SANDERS: He does things sometimes that I think are really not a good idea. But I understand why he does it. Because he's made promises to people and he wants to keep his promises.

BORGER (on camera): And he's always kept his promises to you?

SANDERS: I think, yes.

SHAKI: Joe Biden understands, I think his heart and gets what he's fighting for and in that way has built a real respectful relationship.

BORGER (voice-over): Which these days is hard to come by.

SANDERS: One of the things that struck me about Joe Biden is a very strong sense of loyalty, which I like and respect. We are going to have our differences, but I ultimately trust you and you're going to trust me. We're not going to double cross each other. There will be bad times, but we are going to get through this together.


ACOSTA: In the meantime, it was already a horrifying moment. Denmark's Christian Erickson collapsing on the field mid match during Denmark's Euro 2020 opener against Finland. Now we're learning just how bad it was. Listen to the Denmark team's doctor.


MORTEN BOESEN, DENMARK TEAM DOCTOR: He was -- he was gone. And we did cardiac resuscitation. And it was cardiac arrest. How close were we? I don't know. We got him back after one defib.


ACOSTA: Denmark's coach says that when Erickson did wake up he was more concerned about his teammates and his family than himself. We are told he is now stable but still in the hospital. We'll keep an eye on that one.

And the Pulitzer Prize board honoring the teenager whose cell phone footage of George Floyd's murder sparked a racial reckoning in the country. Darnella Frazier received a special citation from the board. She was just 17 years old when she captured this image of former police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for over nine minutes.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz publicly thanked Frazier after Chauvin's conviction saying she was maybe the only reason he was going to jail. And we salute her bravery in getting that footage.

In the meantime, consumer prices are on the rise. Here's CNN Christine Romans with your "Before the Bell Report."

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jim. You are paying more for just about everything. In May, consumer prices rose 5 percent from a year ago, that's the fastest pace since August of 2008. Used cars and airline fares recorded some of the biggest spikes.

Rising prices are the by-product of a roaring reopening of U.S. economy. But just how much inflation is the Federal Reserve willing to tolerate? That's the question this week when Jerome Powell and other Fed policymakers meet.

So far, the Central Bank had indicated it sees inflation is temporary and that supply bottle necks will work themselves out. Investors will be listening carefully for any changes in the Fed's message on this. [17:50:00]

But for now, it seems Wall Street has embraced the Fed's view. Last week the S&P 500 hit a record high despite the latest inflation data. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.



ACOSTA: And get a load of this. A shocking tumble at this weekend's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Let's take you to (inaudible) handler Dan Haddy, he took a spill during the show's agility competition, nearly landing on the dog. Oh, my goodness. Look at that right there. The Boston terrier, Ripple, didn't miss a beat. And after Haddy got back up, they were able to complete the event. There he is getting some hugs from his handler.

The agility class trophy ended up going to Verb, the border collie, for the second time in three years, which isn't fair because border collies are just so damn smart. But look at this video again. Wow! Oh, my goodness. I mean, that's a quick dog there to avoid that kind of a spill. The rest of the winners including best in show will be announced later tonight. They're all good doggies. We're so happy for all of them. Thanks so much.

That's the news. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. See you back here next Saturday at 2:00 eastern I think. We'll check on that, but really (ph) that's the case. Pamela Brown takes over the CNN NEWSROOM live after a quick break. Have a good night.