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Millions On The West Coast Face Heat Warnings As Record-High Temps Persist; Gas Leak Responsible For Burning Ring Of Fire In Gulf Of Mexico; Biden Says Russia May Not Be Behind Latest Ransomware Attack; Trump Organization Charged In 15-Year Tax Scheme; What's Safe For Unvaccinated Children This Summer?; Police Arrest 11 People After Armed Standoff In Massachusetts; Officials: Demolition At Condo Could Happen In Days, Ahead Of Tropical Storm Elsa; Judge Orders Minneapolis To Add More Police Officers. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 3, 2021 - 17:00   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Phil Mattingly in Washington. Jim Acosta is off today.

We begin this hour and Fourth of July weekend with unrelenting heat gripping much of the western U.S. right now. Record high temperatures are baking parts of the northwest, in Oregon, in Idaho and Montana. It could reach, get this, 110 degrees.

Officials say 94 people have died just in Oregon from heat-related illnesses in the last week. In Washington state, health officials say they have seen nearly 2,000 emergency room visits and at least 13 deaths they blame on the heat.

Right now five states are in complete drought conditions. Nevada, Utah, North Dakota, Oregon and California. And that's where we head first.

CNN's Paul Vercammen joins me now from Los Angeles.

And Paul, this extreme heat particularly given where you are brings with it the very real threat of wildfires, especially during this time of year, especially the fireworks going off. What are officials there saying about the risk right now?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're saying the danger is extreme, Phil, and they are warning everybody throughout Southern California and throughout the west for that matter to be cautious, especially with illegal fireworks, but legal fireworks can touch off a fire as well. So the West Coast is on pins and needles, and no more than British Columbia where 175 active wildfires are raging.

And you might have heard what happened in the tiny village of Litton. It set a record, in Canada, all-time high of 121 degrees. And then just days later it was obliterated, 90 percent of the town wiped out by wildfire.

So as we move down the coast, California has a problem with illegal fireworks. And in fact there was a confiscation, a raid just this week in Los Angeles. They found 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks, put them in a bomb squad van, and, unfortunately, that van blew up. So the word throughout Los Angeles County and other parts of California this weekend is they will prosecute anyone who is caught with these illegal fireworks.

There's a problem here. You can hear them at night in the days running up to the Fourth of July. And last year there was something like three dozen fires started, none of them major, but fires nonetheless started in Los Angeles because of people using illegal fireworks. So they're going to have to carefully keep their eyes on the skies and on the ground where people are putting on their sort of makeshift fireworks shows.

There, as you come down to the beach like this, Dockweiler, and if you need to see fire, set one in one of these legal fire pits that's ringed by concrete. Otherwise, stop fooling around with the fireworks.

Back to you, Phil.

MATTINGLY: Yes. There's already so much risk just with natural occurrence to add fuel to the fire, bad pun, none intended there. It doesn't seem to make much sense.

Paul Vercammen, on the beach, thank you very much for that report.

Meanwhile, waters in the Gulf of Mexico yesterday were burning literally. What's being described as a large eye of fire in the middle of the gulf is now under control, but take a look at the video. Orange flames resembling molten lava were seen burning in the shape of a circle. Officials in Mexico say the fire burned for more than five hours and was fueled by a gas leak from an underwater pipeline.

Now they say there was no spill as a result of the leak and the oil company says the pipeline has now been closed off, but this is just another issue that kind of raises very real concerns. And I want to talk about those concerns, both the alarmingly high temperatures combined with the dependence of the world really on fossil fuels and address the still unanswered question that's just still hanging out there. What do we do about it?

Bob Inglis is a former U.S. congressman from South Carolina and he's also an executive director of which described itself as a group of conservatives who care about climate change.

And Congressman, I know, I've watched your work on this issue over the course of the last several years. It is very real.


You've pretty much been nonstop on it. My question is not so much, do the individuals in your party believe in climate change? If they don't, you know, it seems to be a bigger problem that probably won't be solved. My question for you given the conversations you've had, the outreach you've done, where do you feel like there's space to actually get policy changes done with those in your party? BOB INGLIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REPUBLICEN: Well, I think you're

right, Phil. Most people do know that climate change is happening. I mean all you've got to do is just watch what you were just showing people, right? And so people are being taught that climate change is real.

The challenge is, I'm not sure they get solutions that fit with their values and that's what we and others on the eco right as we call it, a balance to the environmental left, need to provide for conservatives solutions that actually work and fit with their values.

MATTINGLY: And along those lines, you know, you -- and I think you make a really good point here. I've talked to plenty of Republicans who will say, look, I will grant you the climate is changing, I will even grant you that it is human made. What I will not grant you is the fact that I am not willing to sacrifice our economy, our economic solution. You know the line. You've dealt with it many times.

INGLIS: Right.

MATTINGLY: So how do you thread that needle, particularly when what you hear from Democrats is even, you know, there was a new climate caucus that was established this week. House Republicans praised that. They say that's not going to be enough. Right? Your market solutions are not going to be enough given how far along in the crisis Democrats feel they are in. So how do you bridge that gap?

INGLIS: Well, I think what we've got to do is just realize there are three ways to fix the climate change. You know, you can regulate it, you can incentivize clean energy or you can price in the negative effects of burning fossil fuels. And so the problem with the right approach is you can't get China regulated.

The challenge of the incentivizing is that incentives don't extend to China either. And so the pricing approach is the one that I think conservatives will ultimately gravitate to and they'll find a lot of progressives already there.

And so the result is we really could bring America together and lead the world to solutions, especially understanding it's the world we're trying to lead to solutions. Those first two, regulating or incentivizing, those are domestic only. That doesn't fix the worldwide problem.

So you price in the negative effects, you apply that price on entry of goods from other countries, and you've got a worldwide solution. And then you've got innovation happening much more rapidly than government regulations or fickle tax incentives could ever imagine.

MATTINGLY: And I think one of the interesting things, you know, you talk from the pricing perspective, you also talk about from -- you know, you hear from President Biden and the Biden administration quite often about, you know, he believes climate change is a jobs issue. Right? If you push in the green jobs, this is the future, this is the way to do it. We're talking electric vehicles. You can go kind of across the board here. Do you agree that that's, you know, that's real, that you can fully

transfer industries in their entirety into this kind of new generation and either match or better the job creation that currently exists?

INGLIS: Absolutely. And what an incredible improvement in our security, too, to basically defund the petro dictatorships around the world and to really have a much more secure situation here and elsewhere around the world. So it really is pretty exciting when you think about it. Way too often I think for conservatives' taste we talk about doom and gloom and how we're all going to die next Tuesday. You know. That really turns people off.

Because, you know, if the apocalypse is upon me, well, let's eat, drink and be merry. Right? But if you tell me we can do something and actually it's going to be better, cleaner air, more jobs, more security, because we're going to have distributed energy systems, wow, pretty exciting stuff.

And free enterprise can do that if you just put the price in on the fossil fuels so that we can actually as consumers see the price. Then we start choosing the cleaner because it's actually cheaper when you consider all the negative effects of the burning of fossil fuels.

MATTINGLY: What do you think the biggest roadblock is to it right now? I mean, you can talk fossil fuel industry, you can talk about specific lawmakers, you can talk about folks who represent states and districts where that implies a lot of people. What do you think is the biggest roadblock to making that particular issue one that gets widespread support?

INGLIS: It's us conservatives at home. That's where the challenge is because we've got enough members of Congress in Washington who are conservative, who are ready to lead on this. The question is whether they'll be given permission by those of us at home, especially conservatives at home. And so it really comes down to us. You know, progressives are ready to act. Conservatives have solutions that will really work.


We need to come to the table with those solutions and we need to support elected officials who will do that. And so far they're sort of asking for permission, waiting to see if it's OK. Do we give them permission to lead? And so it comes down to us, conservative citizens at home.

MATTINGLY: Can I just ask you one last thing in the limited time we have left. You know, I've read for the last couple of years, and I've spoken to individuals the last couple of years, kind of younger conservatives coming out who make climate an issue. Kind of -- along the lines of what you've been describing here. Do you think they have the juice to become kind of the center of the party's policy operation or is this still kind of something that's way out in the future and maybe not attainable?

INGLIS: Oh, they are becoming the center of gravity, they are. In fact you can see it in the difference between Donald Trump, who's hoping to get just one last victory in 2020, doubling down on climate disputation as opposed to Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House who wants to win in '22, '24, '26, '28, '30. He wants to be speaker all those years. And he sees those young conservatives and he knows they want solutions as much as their young progressive friends.

And so yes, the center of gravity in the Republican Party ultimately will move and is moving to those young conservatives who know it's a problem and know that, hey, free enterprise has solutions.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it will be fascinating to watch. The difference in how folks view this from a scale also seems to be a pretty significant issue, too. But as it transforms, it's tough to ignore what's happening in the northwest, what's happening right now in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bob Inglis, I know you don't ignore it. You've been paying attention to it for a long time. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us today.

INGLIS: Great to be with you.

MATTINGLY: All right, next, brand new comments from President Joe Biden. He was just asked about a new ransomware attack and whether he thinks Russia is responsible. His answer, right after this.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



MATTINGLY: President Biden is traveling in Traverse City, Michigan, this afternoon. And I want to get straight to CNN White House correspondent Arlette Saenz in Michigan. She's traveling with President Biden.

Now, Arlette, we know the president made an unscheduled stop for a very crucial double scoop of vanilla chocolate chip ice cream in a -- sorry, chocolate chip ice cream in a waffle cone. These are the things the White House appreciates that people report on. But what I'm actually more intrigued about is what he said on a ransomware attack that we've been covering over the course of the last 12 to 18 hours.

Can you kind of let us know what he thinks about what's going on here?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Phil. Well, a short while ago President Biden was speaking to reporters here on his trip to Michigan and he was asked about that recent ransomware attack that has affected that software company called Kaseya. It provides many products that are used by IT management companies.

And the president told reporters that he was briefed on that attack while he was traveling here to Michigan on Air Force One, and that right now it remains unknown who is exactly responsible for this ransomware attack. But he suggested that it may not exactly be the Russian government.

Take a listen to what he told reporters a short while ago in Michigan.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all, we're not sure who it is. I've directed the intelligence community to give me a deep dive on what's happened and I'll know better tomorrow. And if it is, either with the knowledge of and-or a consequence of Russia, then I told Putin we will respond. We're not certain. The initial thinking was it was not the Russian government.


SAENZ: Now, the president of course discussed these recent spate of cyberattacks when he met with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Geneva last month saying that if these types of attacks continued, the U.S. is ready to respond. So we will see what further information the government learns about this ransomware attack that's affecting that software vendor -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Yes, Arlette. It's such a great point. No one thinks the ransomware attacks are coming from the Russian government explicitly. They're coming from criminal enterprises inside of Russia. And it was such a big component of that meeting in Geneva. I know he'll be keeping an eye on it.

Nice backdrop, by the way. Traverse City, Michigan, beautiful place. Enjoy. Thanks, Arlette Saenz. We appreciate it.

All right, now to the serious legal charges the Trump Organization is facing and what prosecutors are calling a tax fraud scheme that went for 15 years. Now the company is accused of helping its executives evade taxes on compensation by hiding luxury perks and bonuses.

CNN's Kara Scannell has all the details.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Thursday, Manhattan prosecutors accused former president Donald Trump's namesake company of a sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme. A scheme that allegedly lasted 15 years and centers on untaxed compensation given to chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. Weisselberg allegedly failed to pay taxes on $1.7 million in compensation, including an apartment, utilities, two Mercedes-Benz cars, school tuition for his grandchildren, furniture and flat screen TVs.

Prosecutors did not name Donald Trump or any family members in the charges. In a dramatic moment on Thursday, Weisselberg was led into the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back. He pleaded not guilty to 15 felony counts including conspiracy, grand larceny and tax fraud. The Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to 10 felonies. The former president called the charges a political witch hunt by the radical left Democrats. The Trump Organization also said Weisselberg was being used as a pawn

in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former president. Prosecutors said the case is not about politics but a 15-year-long tax fraud scheme orchestrated by the senior most executives at the expense of taxpayers.



MATTINGLY: Kara Scannell for us in New York. Thank you.

Elie Honig, a CNN senior legal analyst, former U.S. assistant attorney for the Southern District of New York, joins me now to answer your legal questions. I'm honored to play the Chris Paul role, a distributor, that so many of my colleagues have played for this very important segment.

And Elie, one viewer -- just going to start right off the bat based on what Kara was reporting there. One viewer asked if Donald Trump was in charge of the Trump Organization, which has now been indicted, shouldn't he be legally responsible as well?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So I'm going to play Devin Booker here. It's a great question, it's a logical question. I've been hearing it all week but the short answer, Phi, is no. You can indict a corporation as a prosecutor as we saw against the Trump Org this week but that only carries financial penalties for the corporation itself.

Now, if you want to send an individual to prison, you have to charge that individual and convict him. And we saw that with Allen Weisselberg. This looks very much to me like an attempt to put pressure on Allen Weisselberg and flip him. However, all indications at the moment are that he has zero interest in doing that. Now, I've seen this change in my career. We'll have to keep a close eye on any signals from Weisselberg.

Really the bottom line is, is this a first step or is this the final product? If this is all the final product, Phil, if this is all the prosecutors have, if really ain't much given all the resources, all the effort, all the drama behind this. But we're going to be watching to see any signs, any signals that prosecutors have more. If they don't flip Weisselberg, I don't see those signs but let's remember we don't know what prosecutors have behind closed doors.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it seems like there's a lot more to come possibly. Now, next question, earlier this week the Supreme Court upheld restrictive voting laws in Arizona. One viewer wants to know, after this ruling is there any realistic way to challenge similar laws in other states?

HONIG: There is, but it got harder this week. Now, the Supreme Court this week upheld two restrictive voting laws issued by the state of Arizona. This was a 6-3 ruling straight along ideological lines. The six conservative justices, Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett, all voted to uphold the restrictive laws. The three liberal justices, Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor, all dissented. They said they would have struck it down.

Now the challengers here under the Civil Rights Act have to show that there's a discriminatory purpose behind the law. The challengers here said, well, look, the impact is discriminatory against minorities. It impacts minorities more. However, the majority opinion here said, no, that's not enough.

The law applies evenly and we don't see enough of an impact, so we will continue to see people, including the Justice Department who is now sued against the Georgia laws. But it got -- the hill just got a little steeper in the federal courts and the Supreme Court has made very clear that they're not really interested in striking down these restrictive voter laws.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Not a lot of interest on Capitol Hill to move something all the way through.


MATTINGLY: At least on a bipartisan basis either. So, question number three, the House recently voted to create a select committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot. And a viewer asks, how much legal power will the House select committee actually have?

HONIG: So it's interesting, Phil. They're going to have some real power here. They're going to be able to hold public hearings that we can all watch. They're going to be able to issue congressional subpoenas. What's going to get really interesting in your old stomping grounds up on the hill is what's going to happen if they try to subpoena, let's say, Kevin McCarthy. We know McCarthy had key conversations with Donald Trump on January 6th as this was all happening.

Can you imagine the mayhem on Capitol Hill if they try to subpoena McCarthy? And then is he going to obey that subpoena or is he going to fight a congressional subpoena while serving as House minority leader? And if he does, will the Democrats then try to pressure him by going to court? And House Democrats have not shown a lot of ability to enforce their subpoenas over the last couple of years.

And of course, the composition of the committee is going to be crucial here. We know Speaker Pelosi has already appointed some Democrats plus one Republican, Liz Cheney, to be on this committee. McCarthy seems to want no Republicans or he wants it seemed to block this committee if humanly possible. So we're going to be watching Capitol Hill to see who ends up on this crucial committee hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

MATTINGLY: Stunning to see no comedy on Capitol Hill.

HONIG: Yes. Right.

MATTINGLY: One more quick personal privilege question. How much should I be nervous about Greg Schiano as Rutgers head coach as an Ohio State alum and football fan?

HONIG: This year you can rest easy but we're coming for you, Phil. We're building a monster here in Jersey.

MATTINGLY: I've seen it before. We saw it 12 years, 13 years ago. I'm a little nervous about it. Also I'd be remiss not to add, Elie, your book comes out on Tuesday, "Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department."

Everybody, go out and get that book. Elie, a pleasure as always, my friend. Thanks very much.

HONIG: Thanks, Phil. Have a good one. Thank you.

MATTINGLY: You, too, buddy. All right. Coming up, the planes are packed, the highways are jammed. You are smart enough to be right here in the CNN NEWSROOM avoiding all those crowds. But for those parents who are traveling, is it safe to bring your unvaccinated kids along? A pediatrician joins me next live with those answers.



MATTINGLY: The holiday weekend is under way and Americans are celebrating their freedom to travel. Roads are full, airports are bustling, as travelers turn out in numbers we haven't seen since the pandemic began, in some cases before. Just yesterday TSA officials say they screened just shy of 2.2 million people. That's a new pandemic- era record and higher than the number we saw at this time in 2019.

Now, AAA expects 48 million people will travel by road and air through this holiday weekend. And


Americans may be traveling at pre-pandemic levels, but COVID very much remains a threat, especially with no vaccine available for kids under 12.

So what are parents to do, considering vaccines may not be available for their kids until September, maybe October?

Younger kids, without question, are less likely to get sick with COVID. But when they do, it can be serious.

You have questions. I, as someone with three kids under 6, also have questions.

So we will turn to a pediatrician, Dr. Glenn Budnick, for answers. He's the chairman of Pediatrics at VillageMD of New Jersey.

Dr. Budnick, I'll start right there. is it safe for vaccinated parents to bring their young unvaccinated children through these crowded airports on these packed flights?


You know, with the advent of the variant, we still have to be very careful.

One of the problems in other countries that have large vaccine rates is that they liberalize too fast on taking away masks and social distancing.

So the answer is, if the trip is completely necessary and you have to go, your children should wear a mask and they should be masked up.

If they can't wear a mask or they're too young to wear a mask, they shouldn't go.

On the other hand. if you can put off the trip until after the children are vaccinated, hopefully, we'll see that in early fall, make the trip then.

But if you have to go, masks for children. If they can't wear a mask, postpone the trip.

MATTINGLY: So that's the travel. A lot of these questions will be in the same vein, but they're quite literally questions my wife and I talk about most nights now.

If you're not traveling, for example, in many states, you can go into restaurants, grocery stores, public places, without a mask if you're vaccinated. I'm vaccinated.

Is it safe for me to bring my up vaccinated kids along?

BUDNICK: Well, there's certainly a risk there. Not a large risk but definitely a risk.

And again, if your children do not have to go out to the restaurant, I certainly would not take them to the restaurant. Keep them home.

Let's let the parents go out to eat and let the children stay home until they're vaccinated. I think that's the smartest and safest thing to do.

It's the countries that liberalize too fast that are having problems with Delta. And we should keep conservative, keep our nose to the grindstone, and we'll see light at the end of the tunnel.

MATTINGLY: One of the big questions, we've had, my family, and I think a lot of people have had is summer camps, particularly outdoor summer camps.

What's your perspective on kids under 12 this summer, the emergence of the Delta variant, at these summer camps? Should there be certain restrictions? Should they be wearing masks? Should they not do them at all?

Where do you come down on that?

BUDNICK: Sure. I think what the parents should do is ask questions of the director of the summer camp or the medical director.

One, is every counselor immunized? If they're over 16 years of age, they should all be immunized.

Two, are they going to have COVID precautions and wear masks when appropriate to wear masks during the camp?

And, three, is the camp going to have any pod system where six to 10 kids will travel together so they won't be exposed to, let's say, the 150 kids among the camp and keep among the pod of six to 10 children?

I'd ask those questions to see how they're going to do restrictions at the camp and then make your decision from there.

MATTINGLY: That tracks really well into my next question.

School, even though it feels like summer break just started or 15 months of the virtual break that I think a lot of people have been on, it's only a month or so away.

What do you think that looks like for kids 12 and -- sorry, under 12, particularly, if the vaccine isn't available by late August, early September?

BUDNICK: It's a very good question. Because of the incidence of Delta, which is probably now 10 percent of the United States, and usually -- and they think will double every two weeks.

So a lot of people feel that it's going to come down to what your local incidence is of Delta in your area whether the students will have to wear strict -- go back to strictly wearing masks during the school year.

So I think it's going to come down to local -- what's happening in your locale, as far as Delta goes, and then the local school systems making a decision from there.

And then, hopefully, you'll see mass vaccinations from 6 to 12-year- olds beginning early in the fall. And, hopefully, that could maybe be the beginning of the end.

But right now, we're in the end of the beginning.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And can't get to the beginning of the end any sooner at this point in time the way things are going.

Dr. Glenn Budnick, that's super helpful. It's the conversation a lot of parents are having right now and you had a lot of answers or a lot of good advice.

Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it.

BUDNICK: Thanks for having me, Phil.


MATTINGLY: All right, up next, in moments, officials in Surfside, Florida, will be giving an update. We're live on the ground, next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


MATTINGLY: In Surfside, Florida, officials are moving quickly to demolish what's left of that condo building that collapsed more than a week ago as Tropical Storm Elsa barrels toward the coast.

Elsa is expected to make landfall early next week. And it's feared that its high winds could be dangerous for the first responders on the site.

Now, we're learning two more bodies were pulled from the rubble, bringing the number of confirmed deaths to 24. The families are obviously still desperately waiting for answers.

Right now, 124 people are still unaccounted for.

We'll keep an eye on that, on this story, as it continues moving forward.

Elsewhere in the country, in Massachusetts, we're keeping a close eye on a developing story right now.

Police say a tense standoff between a group of heavily armed men, quote, "claiming to be from a group that does not recognize our laws," is now thankfully over.


Eleven people near Boston have been arrested after they took off into the woods following a traffic stop near the town of Wakefield. They were carrying rifles and handguns, wearing military-style uniforms.

And CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro joins me now. He's been following this story.

And that is harrowing from an introduction perspective. What exactly happened here?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. This is an actually -- this is a terrifying situation that, fortunately, has ended peacefully.

This morning, we got word of the standoff that began around 1:30 a.m. when the police were doing routine patrols of I-95 north of Boston. Ran into two vehicles parked in the breakdown lane and found within those vehicles a group of armed men.

When the police asked for some identification and some gun licenses, they were told that those weren't available.

The police called for backup. Some of the men fled into the woods, others stayed with the vehicles.

That kicked off this nine-hour tense standoff situation that shut down parts of I-95 on both sides and also had residents in the area told to shelter in place while police dealt with the situation.

Now, we don't know a whole lot about what the actual perpetrators wanted.

But we have heard from police that they said the laws don't apply to them. They were trying to pass through Massachusetts to get to a training exercise up in the northern part of the country and they didn't think that the laws applied to them.

Also they said they weren't anti-government but that they wanted their own special treatment when it came to this particular situation.

Police were able to negotiate their way out of that, using some tactical maneuvers to capture everyone involved.

Now 11 people are in custody. They are expected to appear in court for the first time on Tuesday to speak more about what they were up to.

But at this moment, what we have is an open highway and open roads and streets up there in Massachusetts.

But really, a very scary morning and a very scary evening involving just all these guns and all these police having to try to put this situation to bed before it got out of hand.

MATTINGLY: Yes, I mean just so many ways this could have gone so badly. Thankful that it didn't on several fronts. Still a lot of questions there.

Evan McMorris-Santoro, you've been all over this all day. Thanks so much for your reporting on it.

I want to swing back, real quick, to the other story we've been following closely the last couple of hours, the Surfside condo collapse and the rush against that looming storm.

CNN's Brian Todd is in Surfside for us and has been following this very closely for a number of days.

Brian, what can you tell us about this new urgency to demolish the portion of the building still standing?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, the need to do that seems to grow more urgent pretty much by the minute here.

Because, in the last couple of days, with the tone of how officials here have been speaking, you get the impression that it's just getting more and more dangerous for those rescue workers to be at the foot of this building with concrete slabs, concrete columns hanging from it.

We got a really good view of that yesterday, got a lot of good footage of just what's hanging off of that building. That's one danger.

But potential instability of the entire structure that remains up is another, because not only with just possible cracking, but there have been sensors going off indicating cracking in the area. So that could be a real problem.

We've got what we just talked about, heavy pieces of concrete literally hanging from the building. And you don't know exactly how strong whatever it is they're hanging from is. You've got workers pretty much right below that. So that's a danger.

And then, of course, we're talking about the Tropical Storm Elsa that is approaching south Florida, possibly to hit by Sunday night into Monday morning.

But again, the track of that storm is very uncertain at this point. It seems to be tracking west of here.

The models that are up now show that it may -- it may miss this area of Surfside on the east coast and may track more toward the west coast.

But again, it's a big cone of uncertainty, Phil, and this place could see some tropical-storm-force winds.

If it does, Phil, it's going to be a big problem because, again, there's a ton of debris in the existing structure. They just need to get this out of the way.

We're expecting a news conference pretty soon now from local officials to brief us about maybe -- just give us more specifics about a timeline that we're talking about here.

But again, you really get the sense that this demolition is taking on more and more urgency pretty much by the hour.

MATTINGLY: Yes, no question about it, just how fast this has moved.

Brian, I know you'll keep us posted when the officials speak and lay out more details here.

I do want to go back to an issue we talked about a couple of times because I think it's extraordinarily important.

One of the victims, a 7-year-old girl, was the daughter of a city of Miami firefighter. You're learning more details about her today, about their family. What more can you tell us?

TODD: Well, Phil, yes. When you see the pictures of the little girl, it's just kind of crushing.

We do have some information here. A lady named Nicole Mejas (ph) says five of her family members were in the tower when it collapsed.


We have confirmed that 7-year-old Stella Catarosi was one of those family members. She was found in the rubble, along with her mother, Gracila.

This 7-year-old, Stella, her father is a Miami City firefighter, who was at the scene at the time that his daughter was found.

He was not right there at the time, but he was brought over to the scene when her discovery was made.

There are three more family members missing, two of the grandparents and an aunt. So very, very heartbreaking regarding this family.

MATTINGLY: Absolutely. But important to tell the stories and make sure people recognize, as we focus on the building and the storm and everything else, the human cost and human tragedy here, as I know you've been focused on.

Brian Todd, thanks for the reporting. Really appreciate it.

Up next, a Minneapolis judge ruled that the city must add more police officers to its police department. We'll bring you the details and the reasoning, up next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



MATTINGLY: A judge is ordering the city of Minneapolis to add more police officers. Now, this follows the calls to defund the police after the May 2020 murder of George Floyd.

There's been a citywide spike in violent crime. And the judge's ruling supports residents who sued over police staffing levels, claiming the mayor and the city council failed to keep an adequate number of officers required by the municipal charter.

There's a lot there. So CNN's Omar Jimenez explains the latest developments.



OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They were rallying cries of protests after the death of George Floyd, shifting resources from police elsewhere.

Now, in Minneapolis, a court order is reinforcing the opposite, saying the city must raise the number of officers it has and ensure that they fund the police force of at least point 0.0017 employees per resident, which translates to roughly 730 officers by the now-ordered deadline of June 30, 2022.

Up more than 30 officers from the current total and accelerating an effort already underway by the city.

Eight Minneapolis residents filed the petition and were represented by the center-right nonprofit law firm the Upper Midwest Law Center. DOUG SEATON, PRESIDENT, UPPER MIDWEST LAW CENTER: This is, of course,

in Minneapolis where the defunding movement started. If we are successful, as this court order indicates we should be, we're hopeful that will inspire people around the country to take similar steps.

JIMENEZ: The petition was initially filed in August 2020, because these residents said they no longer felt safe amid a rise in violent crime and believed lack of police was the reason.

In January 2019, there were 910 sworn officers, according to data released by the city. By May 2021, the number had dropped over 20 percent to under 700. The pandemic, protest and morale playing roles.

Even still, strategies over how much to invest in police have been divided at times, with calls from the Minneapolis city council and more to dismantle the structure of the department in favor of a more encompassing Public Safety Department.

Multiple attempts have failed. But at least one of those proposals is now likely to end up on the November ballot for a vote after a successful review by the city attorney's office.

But not everyone feels that's the right approach amid a five-year high in violent crime, even some community groups.

JIMENEZ (on camera): You don't think police should be defunded? They should be reformed?

IAN D. BETHEL, PASTOR, UNITY COMMUNITY MEDIATION TEAM, NEW BEGINNINGS BAPTIST MINISTRY: What we're going to do and what we are doing is to make sure we have proper law enforcement in a black community, in our brown communities.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The Mayor of Minneapolis couldn't comment on the new court order, but his office said:

"His support for recruiting more community-minded officers to uphold his and Chief Arradondo's vision for MPD is reflected in every one of his budget proposals. And the Mayor will continue working to increase officer staffing levels."

One of his latest public-safety proposals says, "The MPD will replenish its ranks by bringing on two more recruit classes by the end of this year, so that the department will have over 700 officers by the end of next year."

But the order pushes that timeline forward.

SEATON: More police is definitely the answer, part of the answer. A requirement for any answer really.

JIMENEZ: Omar Jimenez, CNN, Minneapolis.


MATTINGLY: Thanks to Omar for that. A quick programming note. On a "FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS" special, what's

the state of the United States after 245 years of independence? Historians Jon Meacham and Doris Kearns Goodwin join Fareed for a look at democracy, race relations, the economy and culture in "THE STATE OF AMERICA," tomorrow, at 10:00.

Now, 2012's "CNN Hero" Jake Woods' organization is now helping to vaccinate Americans.

His nonprofit, Team Rubicon -- you've heard of them. They normally respond to natural disasters. But since COVID hit, his group of military veterans has risen to the occasion.



When COVID first broke out, we immediately pivoted our organization to get our volunteers doing work, like supporting food banks, delivering groceries directly to people's doorsteps, setting up COVID testing sites.

And then most recently, supporting millions of vaccinations across the country in all 50 states.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I get your appointment time and last name?

WOOD: Over the course of the last six months, we've supported hundreds of sites across the country.

Doing simple things, like site setup and teardown, patient registration, optimizing patient flow, to help ensure that their doctors get shots in arms so they can focus on what they do best.


WOOD: It's a modern-day medical war-time effort to get doses into the arms of Americans. And so we were really proud we've been able to support nearly two million doses across the country.



MATTINGLY: To find out more about Team Rubicon's work and to nominate someone you know to be a "CNN Hero," go to

I'm Phil Mattingly in Washington. Thanks so much for joining me on your holiday weekend. Jim Acosta is back tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

In the meantime, my good buddy, Pamela Brown, takes over the CNN NEWSROOM after a quick break.

Have a good night, everyone.