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tv   CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta  CNN  June 19, 2022 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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new reporting, how russia's planning new tactics to meddle in the midterms and undermine american democracy. meantime, the january 6th committee making its case that donald trump should face criminal charges for trying to throw the election. >> i think what we're presenting before the american people certainly would rise to a level of criminal involvement by a president and definitely failure of the oath. unprecedented heat swelters nearly a third of the u.s. population. a scorching summer comes early in western europe. the white house is really trying to strike an optimistic tone about the state of the economy while acknowledging the pain so many americans are feeling amid the rising prices.
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>> we have a stronger and better position to tackle inflation than almost any other country around the world. >> what juneteenth does it channels a way for america to talk about slavery and to talk about it without and tim dags and anguish to honor slaves who have never been honored. i'm pamela brown in washington. you are live in the cnn "newsroom." happy father's day to all the dads out there. and we begin tonight with new cnn reporting. u.s. intel is warning of another potential russian plot to interfere with the 2022 midterms. homeland and national security officials say they are worried kremlin meddling like hacking into smaller and more local election authorities in this country and creating disinformation campaigns could have a significant impact on the november elections. so this is not new, isaac, the
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idea of meddling in the elections. we know similar campaigns were used during the 2016 election and after that as well. what has changed with the threats since then? >> it's more sophistication and the kinds of asymmetric warfare involved here and, also, more divisions the russians are able to play into, what officials i spoke to are warning of is the potential that russian hackers will go in and deliberately get caught, get caught so that they are then exposed and people say oh, the russians got into our system and that undermines faith even more. obviously we're seeing it's a huge problem right now especially among supporters of former president trump who have pushed the idea there are problems with the election integrity. >> wow, that is so fascinating just the change in the thinking from the russian side, right, because before they always said we had nothing to do with this, but now they actually would want it to be -- they would want them to be identified. look, the fact is this is a hyper partisan climate, right?
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disinformation has become more sophisticated, as you said. tell us how officials believe these threats could play out beyond that? >> look, one of the things we sometimes forget about is the elections are administered by about 8,000 different authorities around the country at the county level, the local level. these are people -- imagine election clerks, county election clerks, going up against the russian intelligence right now. and they have to rely on whatever systems they have and a couple of the people i spoke to said, look, i talked to my i.t. guys, we're trying to do what we can to get security. one of the things sketched out to me it could be as simple as going in and getting voter registration records and posting them online. if you think how many tremors that would send through the system. oh, the russians are in the system. they know what's going on. can they try to change the results of the election? are any of these things possible? they're all possible even though actually election security has
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gotten much higher over the last couple of years, but the russians are now playing into, the intelligence officials think, this feeling that is around that there are problems. >> and up just have to think about the election workers, many of them volunteers, civil servants, under siege since the 2020 election, now having to deal with this. so you have this atmosphere of distrust in elections coupled with the sheer number of local elections. u.s. officials are saying there is no way to truly be ready for an attack. so what, if anything, are they doing to counteract this? >> there are efforts going on to try to share information with local election officials. these are best practices. there's only so much that can be done. there's a lot of push among officials that i spoke to to actually get out there ahead publicly and talk about this threat. part of the problem is that since there's so much distrust around already it's not like president biden could walk out
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and say, hey, the russians are trying to hack our elections and we should expect at least among a lot of people that would be taken seriously. it puts american officials in this really difficult position. when there is hacking, do they call it out and say this is the russians because that is actually what's going on, or does it feed more distrust or what do they do about it? and the russian intelligence and the russian government that's behind this are only happy to see more and more division sown within america because it undermines faith in americans, faith in each other, and puts us into more and more problems. >> it undermines democracy. that is the goal. officials i've spoken to in dhs and other intelligence agencies have said those officials who continue to sow distrust like in the 2020 election, they are basically, in essence, doing the bidding of, like what russia wants, right? they want to sow this distrust.
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and so, in essence, they are helping russia accomplish that goal, and we want to know it's not just russia. you have china and you have iran. >> it's true although one of the things i have in this reporting is there was a homeland security and intelligence assessment that came out a week and a half ago that looked at how russia was trying to look at the election specifically in vengeance for ukraine, that they are even more annoyed -- >> right. >> but because of the economic sanctions, they are hurting and want to put the hurt on america. another way that the efforts have become more sophisticated and involved is they've gotten much better at seeing how to tap into social media networks and facebook groups and things like that so that once they get the information out there and they get caught in the act on purpose, then them feed it into that and it becomes the sort of conspiracy feedback loop that becomes more and more of a snowball rolling down the hill. >> that is really troubling.
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isaac, thank you so much for bringing your excellent reporting to our attention. >> thank you. well, the january 6 committee holds two more hearings this upcoming week and first up on tuesday it will focus on then-president donald trump's pressure on state elections, officials to illegally overturn his law. kaitlyn, walk us through what to expect here. >> reporter: well, pam, today and in the upcoming hearings, every day is going to focus on another different aspect of donald trump's efforts to overturn the election. so tuesday the focus will be on the states, specifically battleground states that donald trump lost. we know that the committee is going to be digging into what happened in arizona and in georgia. so let me walk through the officials we know will be testifying. there are three, all republicans, that are lined up for tuesday. one, the first and second will be from georgia, brad raffensperger, the secretary of state, his deputy, gabe
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sterling. raffensperger, of course, was on the receiving end of this phone call from donald trump in january of 2021 when trump said he wanted him to find votes for him in the election even though trump had lost. he did not have enough votes to win that state. the third person we're going to hear from is rusty bowers, the speaker of the arizona state house. bowers also was receiving a phone call from trump after the election, and he says that he has told the arizona republic about this before. he said trump was pressuring him to use the legislature to pick a winner to supplant the electoral slate that joe biden would have that would be sent to the federal government to certify his win in arizona. bowers was basically getting pressure from trump and others not to do that and to override the outcome of the election there. and so while we are going to be hearing from the state officials, and we do know this involved lots of people in various battleground states. there were trump campaign people involved, trump lawyers. the committee is continuing to
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remind us today especially that tuesday is going to be about trump himself, what trump knew, what trump was deciding to do, and what he specifically was doing with his own voice and decision making. here is how they were characterizing what they will be saying in the upcoming hearings and also their findings so far. >> i certainly think the president is guilty of knowing what he did, seditious conspiracy, being involved in these kind of different segments of pressuring doj, the vice president, et cetera. >> we will show evidence of the president's involvement in this scheme. we will also, again, show evidence about what his own lawyers came to think about this scheme. >> why not subpoena mike pence, for example? i know you asked him to testify voluntarily. that didn't happen. >> we're not taking anything off the table in terms of witnesses who have not yet testified. >> so mike pence is a possibility still? >> certainly a possibility. we're not excluding anyone or anything at this point.
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>> so adam schiff there is indicating we could be in for some surprises as the committee hearings continue on. so that's important to remember, too. this is ongoing and we don't mo what new information is coming out or even what still is to be collected, what people may step up and say. pam? >> that's what they've been saying, evidence is coming in on a consistent basis. so we will have to wait and see. thank you so much, katelyn. many americans traveling on this father's day have seen their plans just thrown into chaos. more than 800 flights have been canceled today and more than 3,000 since friday. at l.a.x. in los angeles, what is causing so many delays on this busy travel weekend? >> reporter: pamela, there are a lot of passengers and a lot of people flying this weekend. it's father's day weekend coinciding with juneteenth. a lot of people have monday off so that increases the numbers.
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but the reality is that the airlines just cannot keep up with these numbers. they're trying but the reality is it's almost impossible and it's because of a number of reasons. first of all, there are weather problems, delays and cancellations. then you have shortages of staff and you have infrastructurecal engs. all of this leading to more and more cancellations. and it's not just this weekend. it's the entire summer. but i do want to take a look at the numbers this weekend. on friday tsa saying -- not tsa but flight cancellation numbers indicating that more than 1,500 flights were canceled. then yesterday more than 850 flights canceled. and today already we're getting close to that 850 number and, again, it will extend for the summer because already there are some airlines like southwest, for example, saying they're canceling about 20,000 flights this summer from june until labor day. they say they need about 10,000 new employees and they're
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struggling to hire. delta another example saying they're canceling about 100 daily flights from july 1st to august 7. and a lot of the pilots are speaking out through the union saying they're tired and they're frustrated saying they're working overtime, working on their days off and yet that is still not enough. i talked to one passenger who was trying to get back to new jersey. she spent about four hours, she told me, with alaska airlines on the phone because her flight was canceled and she needs to get back to work. here is what she told us. >> i was supposed to fly today. they emailed us to our email to let us know what is going on. and then i have to call them on the telephone to ask them what is going on. and they said i have an option either to travel today or if i am traveling today, if i insist on traveling today, i can go with united airlines.
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>> reporter: and transportation secretary pete buttigieg speaking privately to some of the ceos of the airline companies and telling them to do anything they can to soften the impact of all of these flight cancellations over the summer but the reality is, pam, there are going to be a lot of frustrated passengers over the next couple of months. >> all of this foreboding. thank you. and you are in the cnn "newsroom" on this sunday. ahead this hour two florida deputies disciplined for revealing bob saget's death before his family was told. plus, i'll talk to a former navy s.e.a.l. just back from a humanitarian mission to ukraine where he helped save dozens of people. and the biggest stars making their voices heard. we are counting down to the juneteenth celebration for freedom live tonight right here on cnn. we'll be right back. t-mobile covers more highway miles with 5g than verizon. t-mobile has more 5g bars in more places than anyone.
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last year president biden signed a bill officially recognizing juneteenth as a federal holiday. and moments ago he released a statement calling it, quote, a day of profound weight and power that reminds us of our extraordinary capacity to heal, hope and emerge from our most painful moments into a better version of ourselves. ♪ from church gatherings to street parades, celebrations are taking place across the country today. and tonight right here on cnn juneteenth, a global celebration for freedom, airs at 8:00 and it's being held at the hollywood bowl. the chief content and management officer at that famous venue, hi, renee. tell us just how significant it is for this celebration to be held at the hollywood bowl.
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>> it means so much for the los angeles philharmonic, and we run and program the hollywood bowl and to be able to do this in partnership with live nation urban and cnn is just powerful. it's overwhelming and we are really honored to be a part of this and to have this celebration taking place in los angeles and shared around the world and the iconic venue, we can't think of anything better. >> absolutely. and it's also just a day when so many more people are learning about this important history. how significant is that? >> well, for all of us we want this to certainly be a time to celebrate and to be joyful and especially to honor black
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excellent and extraordinary artists that will be on the stage. but it is also that time for learning and for all of us to keep learning. and it's our hope that it doesn't stop with today but it just fuels and energizes and inspires people to keep learning and to keep doing and keep supporting towards equity. >> yeah. it's a reminder of how far this country has come and how far this country has to go, right. >> very true. >> tell us about the star power that will be there tonight. >> yes. there's so much. chaka khan, robert glasber, countless artists. and what i'm enjoying is also the energy that each of them are feeling and watching and supporting each other. billy porter and certainly a highlight for us our own thomas
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wilkins. who is our conductor with the hollywood bowl orchestra will be there conducting the reconstructive orchestra made up of professional musicians that play in close to 20 different orchestras across this country and they are all coming together to celebrate and to be a part of this incredible event. >> juneteenth a global celebration for freedom airing tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. renae williams niles, for viewers wondering, we did not coordinate our outfits. thank you, renae. >> thank you. lifting voices for "juneteenth: a global celebration for freedom" hosted by dom lemon at 7:00 p.m. only on cnn. you are in the cnn "newsroom" on this sunday.
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u.s. government officials along with three american families this weekend are still waiting for any sign from three missing men who are believed to have been captured by russian forces in ukraine. now the kremlin denies knowing anything about them. two of them, both from alabama, have been missing for a week now. they were fighting alongside ukrainian forces north of kharkiv. on thursday photos emerged of
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them in the back of a russian military truck with their hands behind their backs as if bound. as this week the state department identified this man, retired marine corps officer grady kurpasi as missing in action in ukraine. a family friend tells cnn he chose to volunteer aside ukrainian forces but initially did not envision fighting on the front lines. my next guest is a former navy s.e.a.l., and he went to ukraine a few weeks ago in a humanitarian role. he just got back recently. thanks for being here with us. i know you are still processing everything you witnessed and experienced while you were there in ukraine. we will talk about all of that. first, i want to get your response to the idea people say, look, american civilians should not be over there in ukraine, part of this fight, given all the danger. what do you say to those people? >> to that, pamela, i think i would say you don't want to be the good man who does nothing.
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today is father's day. when i was standing on the border between poland and ukraine and i saw those families, women and children, stream across the border and had the opportunity to speak to them, i asked all of them, where are your husbands? they all said they were fighting. this war has ripped families apart. there are atrocities happening. it's extraordinarily difficult. it's really hard on someone who spent the last two decades in and out of conflict zones to not take all of that experience and all of those skills and go help. yes, there are dangers, as we're seeing very much what you talked about just a few moments ago. but for some of us who have already served our own country, we have a moral compulsion to go help. >> you feel the pull, the call. did you have any close calls, you and your team, did you ever feel like you were in danger? >> yeah, of course. absolutely. this is an extraordinarily
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dangerous environment. my team, my group of guys, we were taking the tickets other people didn't want to take, delivering humanitarian aid behind the enemy lines to the most afflicted and impacted areas. and this is a very unconventional and conventional war simultaneously. we would be in the middle of a fight trying to deliver supplies, artillery blasting all around us, but at the same time there will be 30 drones, civilian grade drones flying over your head and you don't know if they're russian or ukrainian, whether they're armed. i would say 90% of our time when we were on the front lines you feel in peril but, again, for us the risk is worth it in order to help. >> did you work through in your mind what you would do if the russians captured you? >> i have not. you know my background. we have been trained but the best thing can you do is absolutely not be captured. and so always in any war zone
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the risk/reward calculus is extraordinarily important. >> i want to talk about your humanitarian work. you helped rescue dozens people including an injured american. walk us through what happened. >> i got there early on in the war, approximately day seven. i showed up, volunteered my hand to go help. i'm lucky enough to work for a company that says our motto is we go where the military community goes, so i went. there's 5,000 u.s. troops stationed on the border in poland. that's the 82nd airborne division. and as we talked about at the top there are hundreds of u.s. service, former u.s. service members and veterans like myself volunteering in different capacities in ukraine. when i first got there, the most important thing could i do was run these critical supplies to the front lines. i had a no empty truck strategy. me and my team would drive in these supplies to the worst places in the middle of the
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worst fire fights and then once we were there and delivered the supplies, the no empty trucks part there were all these people who needed to be rescued and brought to safety in poland. so together along with our collection of people we brought dozens if not hundreds of people out. i have to tell you, that is some of the most rewarding work i have ever done in my life including my time in uniform. >> really? tell us more about that. you're rescuing these people. what are they saying to you? tell us more about why it is so rewarding. >> my ukrainian is poor, admittedly. you don't need -- >> sometimes you don't need to understand the words they're saying. >> people were so desperate, their homes were being shelled, and here we were showing up at their doorsteps saying get in the car, get in the car, and they were piling in the car. we would pack the vans and trucks with as many refugees as we could. and then when you drive them safely across the border to poland you would see the massive weight lifted off their shoulders and they would cry and
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then sing ukrainian songs and it's all, as we said before, women and children because the men are left behind to fight. >> i'm curious, you were bringing in body armor, all of this equipment in to the ukrainians. do you think the u.s. is doing enough to help these ukrainian fighters? >> i think the u.s. is in an extraordinarily difficult position from a policy standpoint. we have to be very, very careful. the people who warn about the dangers of nuclear escalation i do not think is unwarranted. we have to be very, very careful about getting into a kinetic conflict with the russian army. that is not something that i think anybody wants. that's not something that the world wants. on a personal level, on an individual level, as somebody with decades of combat experience, it's really, really impossible for me to see a need like that and not go do something. >> understandably. i want to talk about the impact here in the united states that we're seeing from the war in
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ukraine. look, inflation in particular, right. you have prices of things like oil, food rising because what have is happening over there. what did you see in that regard? >> thank you. i think this is extraordinarily important. we spoke before about why are some americans volunteering over there and i think some people think this is a faraway conflict on european soil, and that is fundamentally untrue. what is happening in the fields of ukraine is affecting domestic prices here at home. this inflation that we see is not unrelated to the lack of commodities production. the wheat, the sunflower. ukraine is the breadbasket of europe and production is massively depleted. and i'll say the bad news is that i predict that going on for a long time. partially because even if this war was to end tomorrow, the wheat fields, and insaw this with my own eyes, these beautiful wheat fields mined with hundreds of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines.
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it's going to be a long time for every day of conflict. it's up to 45 days. it's going to be a long, long time before we ramp that kind of commodities production back up to what it was prior to the war. and then additionally, of course, we have the obvious energy prices. we're all feeling it at the gas pump right now and that is directly related to the constraint of energy supply around the world due to the war in ukraine. >> and that's why you're not just seeing inflation in the u.s., right, it's all over the place. >> this affects all of us. >> exactly. what a fascinating conversation. kaj larsen, thank you for coming on the show. i have a feeling you're probably going to be going back over there at some point. we would love to continue to have you on the show. >> wonderful, thank you. >> thank you. coming up on this sunday, two foreign deputies disciplined for sharing news of bob saget's death. the legal view is up next. now,® is refreshing their catering. we're talking platters fit for any event, like throwing yourself an over-the-top party. who would do such a thing?g?
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and joining me with more on the story legal analyst lonnie coombs. good to see you. you're a former prosecutor. you have surely dealt with cases involving celebrities. why is it important to discipline these deputies and what kind of punishment do you think they'll get? >> it's really important. i worked as head of the malibu office where we had a number of celebrity cases, and we had to work with the malibu sheriffs. sometimes they would leak information to the public as well. interest is high but you have to remember these celebrities are human beings. they have families. they have family members, wives, spouses, children, and they need to be handled very carefully as anyone would be in these situations. and the fact there's a lot of interest in this information does not override they need to think about these family members first. and so obviously the deputies in florida have now said, yeah, in hindsight we should not have done that. we weren't thinking how big it would get when we tweeted about this, and they've been
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disciplined. sometimes there's a suspension without pay. something more than that, this is not as egregious as the kobe bryant case where kobe's wife is suing saying they leaked out pictures of kobe's body. that's much more egregious where you're seeing something traumatic. the information bob saget was actually dead might have surprised a number of family members that had not been notified yet. the departments have to stay on top of this and follow up on disciplining the deputies who step out of line. they need to be trained not to do this. >> i want to turn to the january 6 committee hearings as we look ahead to the week. committee member adam schiff says the committee is looking forward to talking to guinea th ginni thomas, the wife of clarence thomas. >> we want to know what she knows, what her involvement was in this plot to overturn the election. she has said she is willing to come in and testify voluntarily.
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we're glad to hear that. anyone with pertinent information we want to hear from and so we have a range of questions. the committee will be interested in, among other things, whether this was discussed with justice thomas given that he was ruling on cases impacting whether we would get some of this information. >> so what do you think the potential significance of ginni thomas' testimony would be assuming she does agree to talk with the committee? >> pam, this is interesting. ginni thomas' name started twirling when "the washington post" disclosed these 29 texts between ginni thomas and mark meadows, at the time the white house chief of staff, from the time of the election up to january 6. and in these text messages she was very clear and very force until in saying she believed the election should be overturned, that they should go after the election fraud claims that they needed to stop the left from doing what they were doing. she has the right to say these things, freedom of speech. we get to have our own political
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views, and she's been a very open, conservative activist for a long time. but the concern raised in the fact her husband, clarence thomas, is a sitting u.s. supreme court justice and during the short time that she was writing these texts he sat on two cases that involved the supreme court and these actual issues on the election. one was where the january 6th committee was asking the supreme court if they could have access to donald trump's white house documents. the entire supreme court said, yes, you need this for your investigation, except for one dissenting vote, clarence thomas. there was another case asking the supreme court to get involved in the lower courts who were dealing with all these election fraud claims and the supreme court said, no, we're not going to get involved except there were two dissents on this one, alito and thomas. so people are saying should he be recusing himself from the cases? ginni thomas said we don't talk about our work, we don't influence each other. at the same time he is sitting on these cases and ruling against the majority, ruling in
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a way favorable and supportive of what ginni thomas is saying in the texts. and now we understand the committee is saying there are emails between ginni thomas and john eastman, the architect behind the scheme asked to pressure vice president pence to not certify the vote on january 6th. so the question is they have to follow the evidence, was she just spouting her freedom of speech, her political views, or was she doing something that stepped her over the line into a conspiracy to somehow defraud the country. that's what they need to follow up on. >> i think we're all curious what was in that communication between thomas and john eastman. we still don't have the answer to that. i also want to ask you about this document called 1776 returns. it is a nine-page plan to storm and then occupy key buildings connected to congress on january 6th. it has been filed with this
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seditious conspiracy case against the proud boys and its leader. what qualifies as seditious conspiracy, and do you think justice officials are having a hard time making a case for that? >> seditious conspiracy is when you join two or more people to somehow take down the government. so we're talking about what they were trying to do on that day on january 6. did the proud boys go in there with that intent. the 1776 return specifically talks about a plot to take over specific targets, eight targets, including the supreme court, the senate and house office buildings and cnn, fill it with as many patriots as possible and then declare their demand to have a new election. not a revote but a new election. and they have very specific details of how to do it. they have the leaders go in. they make appointments to be in the buildings early in the morning, they go in in their suits. the other patriots organize outside. they have chants going on and
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protests. they have people distracting the entry point. it's a detailed plan. they're told to wear suits to fit in, wear covid masks to conceal their identity. but the issue with this, while people are calling it a bombshell document and saying they've been able to link it to the proud boys' leader and having him receive it that week of january 6th, the issue is who wrote the document? they don't know who the author is. who gave it and the other thing the defense may bring up what is laid out in this great detailed document is not exactly what the proud boys did on january 6th. they went to the capitol, not one of the targets, trying to stop mike pence. not the declared goal. the doj will have to connect the two things, verify it and connect it to january 6th. >> all right, loni coombs, thank you for coming on. appreciate it. >> you bet. thanks, pam. >> you are in the cnn "newsroom." still to come a firsthand look at the newest branch of the
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the final frontier, the first basic training designed exclusively for the u.s. space force is under way. >> hurry up, let's go, let's go. >> reporter: it's day 38 of space force basic training in san antonio. it may look and sound like basic boot camp for soldiers, sailors or marinemen -- but these are guardians in the u.s. space force, the first new branch of the armed services in more than 70 years and this is the first ever guardian only basic training led entirely by space force instructors. >> this is still the profession of arms, the united states military. this is not space camp. >> reporter: the space force's first military training instructor is in charge of all training for these 71 recruits
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over seven and a half weeks. >> i come from an air force family so when space force was around, what is that? that's real? >> that's a real thing? yeah, it's a real thing. >> reporter: the biggest change between this basic training and other boot camps is in the classroom. these guardians are taught a brand-new space force curriculum, everything from space history to space vocabulary. >> if i say the word leo that stands for low earth orbit. you need to think along these lines, the world is bigger than what you see, we go out to 22,500 miles into orbit. >> reporter: none of the guardians are actually going to space. they'll be operating satellites from the ground or analyzing satellites from countries like china and russia. >> you're not dealing with tanks for ballistics or anything like that. you're dealing with little blips on a computer screen. >> reporter: it's a different type of warfighter, one that has to strain their muscles of their
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minds. >> what a guardian is is about our core values. tell me what courage means to you. >> i think courage for me means being able to ask for help when you need it. >> reporter: it's a mind-set made for a modern military force. >> maybe you need to step away and have some meditation time. whatever it is, we want our guardians to be strong and healthy from a diversity aspect and inclusivity aspect, that you can express that in our service. >> coming here i had a lot of people, you're going to be the only black girl there. i have two other teammates that look like me. >> reporter: are there a lot of space nerds like yourself? >> for sure. and i'm not even that kind of space nerd. >> reporter: what kind are you? >> i used to watch live screens of the moon rotating. i'm into that type of space. >> reporter: the kind of nerpd the space force is looking for
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lots of moviegoers are still feeling the need for speed. "top gun: maverick" is officially tom cruise's biggest movie ever making almost $900 million so far and proving the 59-year-old fighter pilot is still everybody's wing man.
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and "jurassic world dominion" close to $59 million in its second week. and pixar's "light year" creating a smaller than expected buzz, disney reporting $51 million in ticket sales, less than the industry predicted for the animated adventure. the next hour of cnn "newsroom" starts right now. i'm pamela brown in washington. happy father's day and happy juneteenth. here are the top stories we're tracking today. the early summer swelter in parts of the country, triple digit temperatures across the midwest with more heat on the way. plus, as gun violence grows in cities nationwide, talks in the senate to curb it hit a snag. will congress do anything to slow the epidemic? and american military aid to ukraine now on


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