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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Capitol Rioter Accompanies Members of Congress on Trip to U.S.- Mexico Border; Trump Organization CFO Indicted on 15 Tax-Related Charges; Residents of North Miami Condo Evacuated after Building Deemed Unsafe; Residents Of North Miami Condo Evacuated After Building Deemed Unsafe; Condo Collapse Death Toll Rises To 22. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 2, 2021 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:00]

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Willis's hope to take Lincoln home in the next couple of weeks. They also plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Little Rock.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 is now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: It turns out there's a good reason some Republicans have no appetite for investigating the January insurrection. They are too busy hobnobbing with one of the participants.

I'm John Berman, in for Anderson, and this uncovered by CNN's K-File is Anthony Aguero seen here with Congresswoman Lauren Boebert on a trip Republican members took to the border on Tuesday and Wednesday when their colleagues were voting on a Select Committee to investigate January 6th.

Aguero, a right-wing YouTube personality and close ally of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was there for the attack on the Capitol. But unlike a number of Republican lawmakers who have tried to blame it on Antifa, Black Lives Matter, F.B.I. agitators, or anyone but Trump supporters, this guy makes no bones about who was responsible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY AGUERO, CONSERVATIVE YOUTUBER: We were all there. It was not Antifa, and it was not BLM. It was Trump supporters that did that yesterday. I'm the first to admit it, being one myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So that was Anthony Aguero, January 7th, the day after the insurrection.

And here's part of his live stream on the border three nights ago during which he interviewed and chatted with House Members, Tom Tiffany, Lauren Boebert. You see her there? Madison Cawthorn, Chris Jacobs, Michael Cloud, John Rose, Ronny Jackson, and Mary Miller. The members were there the night before the former President's visit which they took part in and as it turns out, so did this guy, Aguero.

Here he is posting on Instagram. His comment reads, "Can you all spot me? LOL."

LOL. A K-File search of court records found the guy has a history of criminal violence, including felony vehicular assault for which he received a two-year prison sentence. That's who these lawmakers are rubbing elbows and chatting with on Tuesday. And yes, given the moment that's more than a bit surreal, but it is also not surprising.

Even though, let's be blunt here, it damn well ought to be, all things considered.

Think about it, for the first Independence Day Holiday since the Civil War, this country, 245 years old on Sunday is living in the shadow of an internal attack on democracy. It could be on the verge of another according to a warning this week from the Department of Homeland Security. Yet one of the two political parties is doing all it can to get us all to look the other way.

Some as you saw are even palling around with the guy at the insurrection, and this is all being tolerated by the man in charge, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who seems to have forgotten scenes like this from another newly released batch of video.

[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]

BERMAN: As that was happening, you will recall McCarthy was barricaded inside his office on the phone begging the former President to call off the mob that was breaking his windows and trying to get in.

"Well, Kevin," the former President is reported to have replied, "I guess, these people are more upset about the election than you are." Yes, that Kevin McCarthy. This one, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The President bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action for President Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That brief outburst of honesty did not last long. McCarthy soon folded like a card table flying down to Mar-a-Lago and kissing the former President's ring or its Latin equivalent. He showed his fealty by opposing a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack. Then he attempted to block a select committee.

When that failed, he followed up by threatening the career of any Republican volunteering for it. Now, he is dragging his feet on naming the members he is entitled to choose in consultation with House Speaker Pelosi.

But even as he does, each day seems to bring a new reminder of just what he is trying hard to sweep under the rug.

Today, we learned of yet another arrest, David Moerschel, another so called Oath Keeper. He is the one labeled by name or with a red arrow wearing paramilitary gear, sometimes marching in a military stack formation. According to charging documents, he was part of the group that was stockpiling guns at a nearby hotel, which they refer to as the QRF or Quick Reaction Force hotel.

And armed second wave to what was already the worst attack on democracy since the Civil War. It's hard to even imagine, yet so easy, it seems for some to try to make us forget.

Perspective now from CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen. Also former republican congressman Denver Riggleman.

So David, these House Republicans over the course of a couple days, they were palling around with this guy who was at the insurrection, they were skipping the January 6 vote, and they were all there to show their undying support for the former President and his stunt. What do you call that?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Who are you directing it, John?

BERMAN: David.

GERGEN: Okay. Listen, John, I think what we're seeing is the Aguero story just underscores how vital it is that we have a National Commission to investigate what happened on January 6th, and we cleared the air on it.

You know, for years, as long as I can remember when big historical events have occurred, and as National Commissions have been created, they've been very, very important. I go all the way back when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Seven days later, there was a National Commission headed by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, appointed by President Johnson and it was the Warren Commission, and what did it establish, once and for all was President Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oswald worked alone, and Jack Ruby also shot Oswald as a loner. Before that, there have been all sorts of conspiracy theories like what we're seeing now about January 6th. A Commission is to clear the air. They allow everybody to sort of put out -- to close the chapter and move on to the next event.

But right now, in the midst of this calamity that we're still going through, it is really unbelievable that the Republican Party, which we should have been -- just like the way of having a Commission after 9/11 led the way on having a Commission under George W. Bush on terror, on voting rights, that the G.O.P. -- greatly, Gerald Ford was on the Warren Commission. The G.O.P. now draw the line and say, no, no, we don't have nothing to

do with this, only tells us how early on raises the question, what are they hiding?

BERMAN: Yes, I mean, Congressman, it seems to me, this is no longer a bug, it is the feature of a big part of the Republican Party. What do you think?

DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I don't know why anybody who is an elected official would be swapping air molecules with a conspiracy grunt on the border. I mean, it just -- it doesn't make any sense to me as somebody who has, you know, taken, you know, the oath to defend this Constitution, not only the military, but also as a congressman. It's appalling.

But you're seeing it everywhere, right, John? You have a Q influencer that got media credentials for Trump's rally in Florida, right? You have Trump putting out these missives that are more and more ridiculous.

So, I think right now, it's baked in. I think you're right, John, when you said that this is, you know, more of a feature, right? It's just the fact is, is that this has become the sort of apocalyptic good against evil conspiracy that's going on, but to actually pal around with somebody with a criminal record, somebody who was there, somebody who bragged about being there, and to take selfies with these, you know, congressional representatives, I think it goes to show right now that we need -- we need a fix.

And we need to find out how this disinformation spread. We need a committee or a commission. We need this to happen. And I would hope that I can be involved somehow, as you know, John, with my background in Intel, but right now, it just seems like they want to swap spit with these guys, and I think that's something that's really going to hurt the G.O.P. in a long time.

BERMAN: I mean, isn't it possible that they're there with this guy, because they want to be there with this guy, if not, literally, then then at least figuratively? That they want to be seen as at least being open to this kind of thing? I mean, why else? Would you have a guy like Andrew Clyde and others calling this a normal tourist visit?

RIGGLEMAN: Exactly, right. Maybe they thought it was just a tourist there to take selfies with them, right, John? I mean, and by the way, you know, some of them are saying, oh, we don't know who it was and things like that. But where is security? I mean, is this guy vetted in there?

So remember, I was a Congressman. It's hard to BS me. So, how did this guy get in there? Was he invited you know, by somebody down there to come along on this trip as an interpreter or whatnot?

You know, that's what should scare people is that we have idiots like this that are palling around with congressional representatives that either they're being deliberately obtuse, right, or they're not smart enough to figure it out. And both of those are probably disqualified to be in Congress.

But right now, it is -- looking at polling and stuff like that, John, I think it's actually getting more powerful out there, this type of belief system.

BERMAN: So David, you know, we see new videos released almost every day, or at least every week of what happened in the insurrection. It's horrifying. I mean, it's just horrifying what happened. And it was horrifying on that day. In a way, we shouldn't need more videos to make us -- make reasonable people more horrified, but I'm wondering if you think they make any difference anymore.

GERGEN: It doesn't make much difference as it used to, John, but I do think that over the next two or three years, we're going to have two big elections when American people are going to be asked to judge, you know, what happened on January 6, the off-year elections and then the presidential elections in 2024.

These will be central, but it's really important that we be able to have a discourse that is about truth and about facts as opposed to conspiracies, and that's why a Commission that is bipartisan -- let me give credit to Liz Cheney to being willing -- when finally, she said, "Yes, I'll do this." And really, aggravated as you can imagine Kevin McCarthy to no end that she is going to apparently strip her of other responsibilities in Congress, and is threatening others who may sign up.

What we need is a commission. Kevin McCarthy ought to get on board and support it.

[20:10:26]

BERMAN; Well, look, the bipartisan commission isn't happening, the independent bipartisan commission is not happening at this point. We have this Select Committee, Congressman, what do -- you've got experience working in this field. They were your colleagues just a few months ago.

What is it that you think or how is it that you think Kevin McCarthy ultimately will approach this? Is this something he'll try somehow to muck up?

RIGGLEMAN: Yes, he's got to scoff it. I mean, if they're looking at the -- if they're looking at the polls, if they look into fundraising for each of the individual members in these districts, he is going to have to push it to the side, and he's going to have to make fun of it

He's going to have to make it partisan. He is going to have to push it to as far as the left is saying, this is ridiculous. You know, it's problematic, it's provocative. You know, you've got to use these hyperbolic words to get people riled up and to make -- and to sort of dismiss it. I think that's a huge mistake.

This is an American problem. It's not a Republican or Democratic problem. It is time for us for Americans to do something to find out in analysis, what happened on January 6th, how it happened, and we need to go back a year or two. We need to actually get everybody in the same room, domestic individuals and transnational threats.

We need to engage, you know, some of the stuff that we have going on like with the Global Engagement Center, looking how transnational domestic threats actually fused, and we need to look at the gaps and the priorities that we need to actually look at that law enforcement didn't have time to do to see why this happened.

This is absolutely friggin' necessary, and I still can't get my arms around the fact that we have individual pushing back on that after what happened to individuals, after the Americans that were affected, after individuals like Michael Fanone getting almost beat to death -- enough of this crap. And I think at this point, you know, I'm frustrated based on my background intel because I know we can figure this out.

BERMAN: Again, you know, I don't think the crap is a bug. I think at this point, we have to assume it's a feature and you know, fasten your seat belts because watching how this -- how they try to approach this committee will be fascinating.

David Gergen, I appreciate you being with us. Congressman Riggleman, thanks to you. Have a wonderful holiday weekend, both of you.

GERGEN: Thanks, John.

RIGGLEMAN: Thank you, too, buddy.

BERMAN: Next, a new insight into how the former President is taking yesterday's indictment of his company and his Finance Chief.

And later, a string of breaking news in the Surfside tragedy including word that residents of another building in the area have been told it's no longer safe to live there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:16:45]

BERMAN: Irony is dead tonight. Donald Trump, Jr. killed it. Reacting to the tax related criminal charges against the family company and the Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, Young Master Trump told FOX News quote, "This is what Vladimir Putin does."

As for how his father has been taking the news, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" Washington correspondent, Maggie Haberman joins us now with her new reporting. Also CNN senior legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Elie Honig.

Maggie, first to you. Look, you know, Trump World trying to send off signals, oh, this is no big deal, the indictments. Oh, it's just a partisan witch hunt. Oh, nothing to see hear. What's really going on behind the scenes? What is the real feeling among the President and his close advisers?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, John, you're going to continue to see the former President describe this as a witch hunt and describe this as a partisan investigation. Part of that is going to be because of Cy Vance, part of that is going to be because of the Attorney General, Letitia James in New York who is also working on this case with Vance.

But in reality, Donald Trump is not somebody who has sought to be indicted. He is not somebody who thought this was a good thing. There was some spin from one of his advisers earlier this week about how or right before the indictment about how he was quote-unquote, "thrilled." He's not thrilled.

You know, I don't think he is throwing staplers, but he is not happy. It's not something that he is talking about constantly, as you know, as fury. But this is not where they want to be. This is a totally new world for him, John, and I think that what you've seen with the former President and his advisers and members of his family and his allies is they have conflated legal problems with public relations problems for so long that I think some of them are losing sight of the fact this is actually an indictment.

Now, it's not an indictment of Donald Trump personally, but it is an indictment of his CFO and of his company. And these are, even if they want to dispute the case, and whether it's fair and whether it will be brought against somebody else. The reality is that Allen Weisselberg, the CFO is facing potential jail time, and that can change things. It may not, he has indicated he is not going to cooperate with prosecutors, but we'll see where this goes.

BERMAN: Was the indictment, Maggie, part of the former President's regular TV viewing yesterday?

HABERMAN: The former President was definitely watching the news coverage. And one of the things that I think people don't understand about how he watches television is he isn't just glued into the box, he often has it on in the background, and then looks up and looks at things, but the TV is off and on, and he was well aware of the coverage yesterday.

BERMAN: So, Elie, from a legal perspective, what happens now? The arraignment has come and gone. What's the goal among the New York prosecutors? Still to get Weisselberg to flip?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think so, absolutely, John. Look, there is one of two things at yesterday's indictment is. Scenario one is, this could be prosecutors shooting their shot, putting their best foot forward and hoping they get something out of this. If that's the case, it's really not much.

I think what the scenario is having been a prosecutor for a long time is they are trying to strategically target leverage and pressure Allen Weisselberg to flip, whenever you're trying to break into a closed society, a closed organization like the Trump Organization, this is what prosecutors do. You look at the org chart, you say, who might be vulnerable? Who actually might flip? And who can deliver the goods?

And if you look at that, for the Trump org, everyone in that inner circle except for Allen Weisselberg has the last name Trump, they're not going to flip. So, I think the prosecutors are putting an awful lot of eggs in the basket of flipping Weisselberg.

[20:20:12]

HONIG: But as Maggie said, the status quo at the moment is he is not interested. Now, I've seen people who I never expected to flip, have a change of heart when they see that indictment and feel those handcuffs. So, that to me is the biggest thing to watch in this case moving forward.

BERMAN: Elie, I learned today that you literally taught a class on flipping witnesses when you were in the prosecutor's office. So what's going on behind the scenes? I mean, what are they saying to Weisselberg and his team? How quickly does this happen?

HONIG: Well, I think they said something loud and clear with the indictment yesterday. When I looked at that indictment, I will tell you, the evidence against Allen Weisselberg was significantly stronger than I suspected.

John, you've coined the phrase, the smoking spreadsheet, which I think is a very clear piece of evidence. Another piece of evidence that jumped off the page to me is they have evidence that Allen Weisselberg tampered with a record, they alleged in the indictment that Weisselberg told another unnamed person at the Trump org, take my name off that document. There was a notation that said "Per Allen Weisselberg." Weisselberg said, get my name off there. That is really incriminating evidence.

So if Allen Weisselberg sitting there with his attorneys today, I think his attorneys have to tell them, look, they have a strong case against you. You're about to turn 74 years old, Allen, and if you get convicted here, you could go away for several years. So, you need to let that sit for a bit as a prosecutor, but that indictment sent a message yesterday.

BERMAN: You know, Maggie, I think people forget sometimes that the Trump Organization is a family business and relatively small in some ways family business. A family business now under indictment and you're one of the reporters, you have a byline on a story, which I think is really interesting, and the ties, which talks about how this indictment could affect the family business almost immediately. What will the impact be?

HABERMAN: So John, the biggest question right now is what this means in terms of the Trump organization's relationship with its lenders in various areas, whether that is lenders on specific properties, whether that is lenders in -- you know, we're not aware of frankly, but often times, there are covenants that are agreed to between lenders and a company or an organization as to a specific project or as to an amount of capital that is being given to the company.

Some of those covenants suggests that there could be -- and I'm not saying that's the case here, I'm saying this is just what happens is that there can be situations created in these covenants where the lenders would have the ability, banks, for instance, would have the ability to walk away. Now, Donald Trump has had a very charmed life in terms of this. He has

generally -- even when people thought banks would walk away from him, even when banks themselves suffered, he has still always managed to find a way, so we will see. But that would be the biggest way in which you could see some impact.

BERMAN: Elie Honig, let's role play here. Elie Honig for the defense. If you're Allen Weisselberg's lawyer, what are you telling him today?

HONIG: The first thing I'm telling him is, they've got a good case against you, you really ought to think about cooperating.

I mean, look, any person who has been charged with an indictment has three options. Number one, you can cooperate. If you do that, given the nature of the charges here, you have a very good chance to get probation, to not go to jail. Option two is you can just plead guilty without cooperating, without helping them out. If you do that, Mr. Weisselberg, you had a chance to get maybe a year or two, if you look at the New York guidelines, two or three years, but maybe I, your defense lawyer can argue to the judge for probation, we'd have to -- we'd be rolling the dice. Option three is you can go to trial.

I think anyone who advises a client has to tell them that most defendants -- it varies a bit by jurisdiction -- get convicted at trial, and if you get convicted at trial, you very likely will get sentenced to several years in prison. So, those are the three options that Allen Weisselberg is sitting with.

And one other thing that's important, building off what Maggie just said, the money matters a lot. The two scenarios where I've seen people cooperate the most, are one, of course, to avoid or minimize jail time. But two, when that money runs out, when the money to fight the cases, when the money to pay the lawyers, when the money to maintain the rich lifestyles runs out, that's when people flip as well.

So, that's a factor that's playing into all of this.

BERMAN: Maggie, very quickly because we've got to run here, but what is the former President more focused on at this point, politics or business?

HABERMAN: I don't know how you separate them, John. I mean, I think that the politics gives him some sense of a shield to say that this is a political witch hunt. I mean, I think he would say it anyway. And the politics allow him to keep raising money. The second that he says that he's not running for President again, he is not able to raise money anymore.

So, I think they are they are intertwined. And frankly, John, that has often been a problem for him is that they're always intertwined, the politics and the business. That's not the issue with this case, let me be very, very clear. But that has been a question that has dogged him since he first ran for office.

BERMAN: I knew you were going to go for option C there. I just knew it. All right, Maggie Haberman, Elie Honig, our thanks to both of you. Have a great weekend. Happy Birthday, America, as we'd like to say.

HONIG: Thanks, John. Thanks, Maggie.

BERMAN: Next, fears about the safety of residents in another condo tonight, just a short drive from the condo that collapsed last week. Also we have the story of reunion, survivors from that deadly collapse, one an 88-year-old grandmother who couldn't walk on her own, the other, a man who made sure that she made it to safety.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:28:55]

BERMAN: Breaking news involving the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida that we learned today has now officially claimed at least 22 lives. Concerns about the stability of the remaining portion of the building, we'll have more on that in just a moment.

But first, another condominium just a short drive away now the focus of safety concerns with authorities taking extraordinary measures there tonight.

Rosa Flores joins us from North Miami Beach, Florida with the very latest. Rosa, tell me about this building and exactly what the concern is and how they're responding.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is shocking to the people that I've been talking to who live in this building. They say that they were given two to three hours, that a police officer was standing outside their door telling them that they had to grab what they could and go, that they needed to exit the building.

[20:30:00]

John, here's the backstory, according to officials, after Surfside, the story that we've been covering for more than a week now, officials asked all of the buildings to submit their paperwork to make sure that these buildings were safe. Well, the building that you see behind me submitted this report just today, it's dated January 1st. Today is July 2nd. This report on the very first page, John says it is structurally not safe. It is electrically not safe. That's exactly why city officials say that they immediately took action given what happened in Surfside and asked all of these residents to get out. From talking to some of these residents, they're emotional. And of course, they're counting their blessings because they know what happened in Surfside, but they're also angry, because this is from at least six months ago.

And so, their concern is why were they not told about this earlier? From what I hear from city officials, they are asking the Red Cross to help out because of course, now all of these people are homeless. Now this building was built in 1972. It has more than 150 units, they don't have an exact manifest as of now. They're trying to figure that out. And they're trying to help all of these people who are now homeless, John. They're trying to figure out exactly where to go. And John, you and I were talking about the 40-year certification of the building that collapsed in Surfside. Well, the certification for this building was never turned in. That is one of the big concerns. And of course, this is all after the Surf side collapse. That's the reason why these documents are now being turned in and city officials are taking action.

BERMAN: And they're taking it seriously now.

Rosa very quickly, what did the Miami-Dade Mayor announced today in terms of the remaining structure from the Champlain Tower South?

FLORES: With the mayor says that she signed a demolition order and this is the first step to demolish that remaining portion of that building. Of course, we all know and she emphasized it is a public health issue. It is a public safety issue. And they know that that portion of the building has to be demolished. Now she says it's not going to happen before the hurricane that is it that has formed in the Gulf. She says it probably will take a few weeks. It's the structural engineers who will make the decisions, we'll figure out exactly how and when this will happen, John, but you and I know that this is a very emotional moment for the families because we know that there are still people under that rubble.

BERMAN: Rosa Flores, thank you so much for this reporting. A lot going on there to say the least.

And we have two stories we want to tell you about that speak to the emotional toll this has taken on everyone involved from those who are in the building, as well as those involved in the search and rescue effort.

Randi Kaye joins us now from Surfside. And Randi, you're learning more about one of the victims. What can you tell us?

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, another child has been pulled from the rubble, this time a seven-year-old girl she was recovered by Miami fire search and rescue and it turns out that she is the daughter of a firefighter who works with Miami fire search and rescue he was actually working on the pile. At the time he did not find his daughter but a search team from Task Force 2 did and they called him over and told him that tragic news.

So you can just imagine John how difficult it is for this family. This little girl has not been identified publicly nor as her father. The family is asking for privacy at this time. But certainly a very, very difficult situation for them like it is for so many families here in the Surfside area.

Also tonight, John, we are learning more about those who ran for safety as that building came crumbling down around them. And we're hearing stories of neighbors jumping into action to save neighbors. We met two of them today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ESTHER GORFINKEL, RESCUED BY NEIGHBOR: So then I hear boom, my bed shake. I see my apartment is shaking.

KAYE (voice-over): When Champlain Tower South shook in the middle of the night, Esther Gorfinkel was in bed on the fifth floor. The 88- year-old grandmother quickly made her way from unit 509 to the stairwell. Soon, Alfredo Lopez spotted her. He and his family had escaped apartment 605

ALFREDO LOPEZ, HELPED RESCUE NEIGHBOR: I remember Esther told me that she had her knee was bothering her and that she wanted to stop. You know, I told her, you know, stopping is not an option, you know.

KAYE (on-camera): There was no way you're going to let her stay (INAUDIBLE)?

LOPEZ: No, I just, you know, like it just didn't even occur to me. You know, like, I mean, I can't you know, she's a human being.

KAYE (voice-over): But Esther couldn't walk on her own. So Alfredo picked her up, tossed her over his shoulder and carried her down.

LOPEZ: I don't know how many flights of stairs. It was -- it couldn't have been that many because I'm really not that strong.

GORFINKEL: He just picked me up. He just picked me up.

KAYE (voice-over): Esther and Alfredo hadn't seen each other since that terrible night when he saved her life, until we brought together.

[20:35:01]

LOPEZ: How are you? Como estas?

GORFINKEL: My god. I'm so happy.

LOPEZ: I'm so happy too. I'm so happy to see you. And, you know, we made it out, you know? So that's what's important, right?

GORFINKEL: Yes. Yes. That's important.

LOPEZ: Very good.

GORFINKEL: I'm so happy, you know.

LOPEZ: Yes.

GORFINKEL: Over there --

LOPEZ: Yes.

GORFINKEL: -- somebody's watching.

LOPEZ: Absolutely. It wasn't, you know, simply, you know, Esther just wasn't our time, you know.

KAYE (voice-over): Together they recounted their chance meeting in the stairwell and their narrow escape. GORFINKEL: In that meeting you don't talk. You don't say anything. Let's roll. Let's roll. Let's roll. Let's go.

KAYE (voice-over): They made it to the garage, but they still weren't out of danger. The garage ceiling had collapsed and water was ankle deep.

LOPEZ: There was one car that was pancaked on top of another car that was pancake on top of a huge slab of concrete.

KAYE (voice-over): A mountain of debris proved too much for Esther. So Alfredo had to think fast. His son helped to somebody too.

GORFINKEL: Somebody push.

LOPEZ: Yes, you know, we gave her like the old, you know, one, two, like, you know, let's, you know, just pushing her, you know --

KAYE (on-camera): Push her over the --

LOPEZ: Well we push her up, and we got out of the garage, which was very important.

KAYE (voice-over): After they cleared the garage, Alfredo put Esther over his shoulder once again, and carried her to safety on the beach.

(on-camera): What do you think about somebody who would do that?

GORFINKEL: They thinking somebody else when they see something bad, you know. You need to help each other in bad times too. There's no other choice. Remember, everybody helping is about time. What I can tell you.

KAYE (on-camera): It's just so beautiful that they helped you.

GORFINKEL: You know, in bad times you help everybody. Whoever knocks on my door, I give it to them and then gone. It gave me the price of my life because I did so many good things.

KAYE (on-camera): How lucky do you feel today?

GORFINKEL: I know I'm lucky, very lucky to be here with my family. Sounds good. Sounds good.

KAYE (voice-over): That night Alfredo and Esther lost everything they owned, but they escaped with their lives and a friendship that is sure to endure.

GORFINKEL: You made me very happy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE: And this really was a team effort to get Esther safely out of that building. Another man did help. His name is Albert Aguerro (ph) and Esther of course, wants to thank him for helping as well. He actually pulled as Alfredo pushed to get her out of that garage area. And Esther believes that her parents and her husband were also -- they also had a hand in this that they gave these men his strength to save her.

And I did talk to Alfredo and he was telling me today that he does have some survivor's guilt, John, he doesn't understand why he and Esther and others survived. And it seems as though so many others did not. He was very emotional talking about when he first opened his apartment door to flee. And he looked at his neighbor's door right next door to him and it was just a big black gaping hole. And there has been no sign of her since that's haunting him to this day, and still very hard for him to deal with John.

BERMAN: Randi, that story was beautiful, just beautiful. In bad times, you have to help people. So important. Thank you so much --

KAYE: That's (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: -- for that.

Just ahead, the closing of Bagram Air Base and the ending of our nearly two-decade war in Afghanistan. We're going to have a live report from Kabul on what comes next.

And later, should using pot keep athletes out of the Olympics? We're discuss the plight of Sha'Carri Richardson with a three-time Olympic gold medalist when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:42:23]

BERMAN: President Biden group visibly frustrated today with questions from reporters about the future of Afghanistan, preparing to keep the focus on the economy in the fourth of July. Even as a major chapter in the U.S. war. There comes to a close the last American troops have now left Bagram Air Base, a major symbol of the American military presence in Afghanistan for nearly two decades.

Anna Coren has more on what the exit means for the mission that's ending, as well as the one now beginning for the Afghans.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The vast might of the U.S. military transform this dusty airstrip into a miniature city and the nucleus of America's longest war. Ultimately, that might could not transform Afghanistan.

Friday, morning nearly 20 years after U.S. soldiers captured Bagram Air Base as a launch pad for the war on terror. The last U.S. servicemen and women departed Afghanistan. A nation not left strong, prosperous or secure, despite the sacrifice of more than 2,400 American lives and over 100,000 Afghan civilians according to the United Nations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) a faraway country. COREN (voice-over): Many of those fallen soldiers repatriated from these runways. Now, in the position of Afghan government forces as they continue their lonely fight with the Taliban. They are the only ones who will consider Friday's U.S. departure of victory.

GEN. AUSTIN SCOTT MILLER, COMMANDER OF U.S. FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN: The security situation is not good right now. That's something that's recognized by the Afghan security forces and they're making the appropriate adjustments as we move forward.

COREN (voice-over): Taliban fighters have seized back swathes of the country Americans fought and died to liberate. After once boasting a force of over 100,000 in Afghanistan, there will remain as few as 600 U.S. troops here to provide security for American diplomats.

EDWARD PRINCE, SPOKESPERSON, U.S. STATE DEPT. We intend to maintain a diplomatic presence in Kabul. That is something that is important to us, given our enduring desire to have a continued partnership with the Afghan government and crucially, with the Afghan people.

COREN (voice-over): The forever war will continue as Joe Biden wades out of the Amaya. Amaya that trapped his predecessors in a brutal and bloody stalemate. Bush, Obama and Trump, each bouncing in and out of Bagram pledging Afghanistan will never be a haven for terrorists, as it was when al-Qaeda plotted the tragedy of 9/11. Those terrorists long since routed out and destroyed.

[20:44:59]

Now, nobody guarantee that violent extremists won't reenter the vacuum left by the United States, as the last American soldiers out of Afghanistan returned to a nation that has long waited to welcome them home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Anna Coren joins us now live from Kabul. Anna, so much concern for the Afghan support personnel who worked alongside the American military there. What is the latest on how if and when the U.S. will help these people?

COREN: Well, obviously John, the safety and security of those Afghan translators, interpreters and, and other workers who worked alongside us troops and diplomats throughout this 20 year war is paramount. Their lives are at risk due to the deteriorating security situation. We've seen the Taliban launch this offensive across the country, particularly in the north gaining momentum and gaining territory. And it's because of that, and also the fact that the U.S. troops have brought their withdrawal forward by two months, it has exacerbated that threat.

We know that there are 18,000 Afghans who apply for this Special Immigrant Visa. And it's hoped by the Biden administration that they can fast track the process by putting these Afghans into a third country, keeping them safe whilst they can process these visas to the United States. The Biden administration is in talks with countries here in Central Asia neighbors with Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and they're hoping that they can strike some sort of deal to get these Afghans to safety before moving them on to the United States. President Biden, John, vowing that every Afghan who risked his life -- his or her life for America will not be left behind. John.

BERMAN: Has to be done quickly. Anna Coren in Kabul, thank you so much for that.

The Olympic dreams of U.S. us track star should Sha'Carri Richardson are now on hold after she tested positive for THC, the chemical in marijuana. What she is saying about it all and the question some are asking tonight, is the punishment too strict? I'll talk it over with former Olympic sprinter champion Gail Devers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:51:14]

BERMAN: An Olympic surprised. U.S. sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson will not be allowed to run the 100-meter race later this month at the Summer Games. The 21-year-old tested positive for THC the chemical in marijuana invalidating her win at the U.S. trials last month. She had been considered a favor in Tokyo.

Richardson says she used marijuana in Oregon, where it's legal by the way after learning that her biological mother had died. She says she was trying to hide her pain after the news was broken to her by a reporter. This is what she said about it this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHA'CARRI RICHARDSON, U.S. ATHLETE: I apologize for the fact that I even don't know how to control my emotions or do our emotions during that time. But stay tuned here. I just say don't judge me, because I am human. I'm new. I just happen to run a little faster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Many hope with Richardson in Tokyo, the U.S. might when it's first Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter women's race since Gail Devers did in 1996. And joining us now is Gail Devers, an honor to speak with you.

Listen, when you first heard the news that you carry, Richardson will not be able to run the 100-meter race in Tokyo. I wonder what went through your mind.

GAIL DEVERS, 3-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Because you just said, wow, you know, and then when I found out, you know what it was that it was marijuana. It's an unfortunate situation, because, you know, she was on a great path to bring home the gold. And you know, it's one of those things that happen. I love the fact that she has always said that she wanted to be transparent. And so she took responsibility, and she's taking the band. So. BERMAN: Yes, she owned this. I mean, she absolutely did take responsibility says she accepts the punishment. I mean, no one disputes that there is a rule, and that she broke the rule. The question, Gail, is, should there be a rule at this point for marijuana? When marijuana is legal in Oregon, you know, where she used it, alcohol is not illegal? Is it a fair rule to begin with?

DEVERS: Well, you know, what I always tell people that we're, you know, we choose to run track and field, that's our sport. And in our sport, there are -- there's a governing body that governs our sports, and there's rules and regulations that we may not agree with. But until we change them, we have to abide by them. And you heard Sha'Carri say that, you know, she's not telling someone to do it or not to do it. This was a choice that she made to cope with the things that she had to cope with. And that's why she's accepting that bear.

It's 30 days, she'll be back if you watched her, like she's unapologetically Carri -- Sha'Carri. And what she does is she doesn't run with question marks. When she's done with the race. She's put it all on the line. And that's what people were loving about her and will continue to do that in 30 days.

BERMAN: And there is a chance you'll be able to run the four by 100 relay. We don't know yet. But, you know, what must her feelings be? How would you feel if someone told you a month before the games that you couldn't compete in your best race?

DEVERS: Well, let's think about the challenges that that we've all had to face with this pandemic. And not knowing as an athlete, these athletes not knowing if the games were going to go off or not go off? What were they doing? What gets you there keeps you there. So what they were doing was the same thing. They were still training, they may have had to find a different venue. It may be in the garage, it may be in a park.

So knowing Sha'Carri as far as what we've seen of her, she is that determined person that she's going to be ready. What distinguishes people is access and opportunity. So when they say whatever they to her if they say yes, you can go run here or you have to wait till after the games. I believe she's going to be ready to get out there. You know, one of the things that I'm watching I become a fan of my sport and watching her one of the things that I loved about her was that she's patient, whether she gets off the blocks or she's patient in her run, and she's one of the most technically sound athletes that we've seen in a very long time.

[20:55:06]

And I think these are the things that, you know, when you're faced with a challenge, you have to find that inner strength. And I like that she says she's going to take this time to deal with herself and to heal. And, you know, that brings about that mental health thing that we're all dealing with and trying to figure out, how do we rally around these athletes, you know, with stardom and fame comes a big responsibility, in addition to your personal things that you have to deal with which we're seeing this we got a taste of that, after she went and told us about, you know, the death of her mother and how she coped with it.

BERMAN: Gail Devers, I have to say, I'm sure she'd be thrilled to have you rallying behind her right now, an honor to speak with you. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate it.

DEVERS: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

BERMAN: Up next, in the heartache of Surfside, a place to remember.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: There's a solemn place near the condo collapse in Surfside were photos of victims as those unaccounted for have been left by family and friends. And one high school student is doing something extra special. Look at all those flowers. Steven Ferriero runs a nonprofit called Helping Others and Giving Hope. Now he's teamed up with florists so there's always flesh flowers on the site.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN FERRIERO, HELPING OTHERS AND GIVING HOPE: I've cried a couple times, you know, even the firefighters that are out there. I mean, it's not -- it's an uneasy it's very emotional. I mean for everyone is, you know, it's very hard to keep it a straight face but, you know, for those families you have to, you know, you have to make sure you're you know you're giving them hope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:00:09]

BERMAN: Yes, it is, all about hope. And our hearts go out to all those in Surfside tonight.

That is all for us. The news continues. Time for "PRIMETIME" and good man, Michael Smerconish. Michael.