tv CNN Newsroom With Pamela Brown CNN August 27, 2022 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
threat, more shelling brings renewed concerns about a radiation leak at a ukrainian nuclear plant. also tonight, intrigue, the white house finding over president biden's decision to cancel student loan debt. the first ladies special secretary and assistant to the president is live here to discuss. soi saying thanks for the spanks as a school district there weighs bringing back paddling for bad behavior. you're in the cnn newsroom. concern is growing about a potential radiation leak near an enormous nuclear power plant in ukraine, the largest in europe. local officials are distributing iodine tablets that blocks absorbs in the event of a nuclear event. it was knocked offline.
it was finally hereconnected yesterday. here is sam kiley. he has the latest. this is very troubling news, sam. >> reporter: pam, the international community remain extremely concerned about the future of the nuclear power station with increased allegations again of shelling both from the ukrainians and the russians both accusing each other of threatening that nuclear power plant by shelling in the environment. so just about 20 minutes drive from here on the ukrainian government side, casualties, civilian casualties but that has been used and is being used as a fire base. a lot of pressure to try to let international observers into that power station. that is where on this very extended front line fighting continues with confirmation a third american has been killed
fighting on the ukrainian side with russian backed rebels on the east offered to hand over his body, his remains, we don't know when or if that would be followed through on. this in a weird way is an almost step forward in terms of the humanitarian response to foreign fighters because they've sentenced other foreign fighters to death and threatening to put large numbers of prisoners of war on trial for alleged terrorism. pam? >> thanks, sam. the massive nuclear plant has been occupied by russian forces sense the early days of the six-month war but the facility is being run by ukrainian workers performing a high stress job under added pressure. power failures like the one this week could be cat st--
catastrophic. if those pumps quit, heat building up, steam builds up and the fuel itself can melt down leading to the potential for radio act ctive material to be released. mark says the russian army is essentially holding that nuclear plant hostage. >> russia is playing with fire both a literal and figurative spence when they're playing with six nuclear reactors that have nuclear rods. it doesn't matter if it's shelled or not. it has to do with the potential for causing chaos in this kind of energy source, i'm not a nuclear engineer but i've been around soldiers a lot. when you put a lot of soldiers, especially the undisciplined type of soldiers russia has in its armed forces in a facility that requires this level of care, you're asking for
disaster. >> joining me now, anthony, an expert in nuclear power and senior director at the non-proliferation program and senior fellow at the foundation for the defense of democracy, anthony, how do you react to reports about fears about a leak and officials near the plant are starting to handout iodine pills? >> last week we came the closest since march when the russians took over the plant. i think secretary blinken when he said that the russians are using the plant as a nuclear shield because they know the ukrainians are not going to fire back when the russians fire toward the ukrainians. it's really completely irresponsible on the part of the russians. >> and russia as we know took control of that plant in march. the u.n. and international atomic energy officials have been trying for weeks to get in and inspect the plant. help us understand and how real this threat is.
>> well, last week as was noted in the piece when the reactor went offline from the electric grid, we basically had to make sure that or the ukrainians did to make sure that diesel generators would kick in. you have a staff that's been working nonstop since march, stressed out. the russians are intimidating them. they're torturing some of them. there are reports they've killed some of those workers. this is a stressful job without that kind of stress on top of them and now it looks like the russians hopefully we averted a disaster and looks like the iaea will go in next week. we need some kind of demilitarized zone around this nuclear power plant so we don't go toward an ecological or humanitarian disaster. >> right. the threat still remains hopefully that's, you know, nothing will happen there obviously but in terms of a frame for a reference for a
potential disaster there, what if you had to compare the threat to fukushima or chernobyl. >> you noted the passing out of i dodine tablets. these are the things that those of us that work in this field, this is the nightmare scenario and can be prevented. it can be prevented. it doesn't need to be this way. nuclear power plants are not for -- are not military bases. that's what the russians are trying to make it. it's not a pawn. it's not just going to be ukraine, it would be other countries in europe that would be at risk, other countries probably russia itself depending
on the wins but hopefully, we can avert that disaster. we never want to have these kinds of things but in this case, the other two you reference are accidents. this might be an accident but would be caused by negligence on part of the russians. >> right now, two of the plants, six reactors are functioning protected by steel and concrete casing that is meters thick. one expert said it would be improbable shelling could affect it. >> the reactor is one thing but there are other parts of the nuclear power plant that we have to be worried about, the cooling elements as we talked about being connexcted to the power grid and making sure diesel generators that are probably quite old and under stress themselves through this ordeal and we know that there are some spare parts issues. so it's not just the reactor
hall itself. it's the entire complex and so, you know, the point here being that's why as i noted you don't use a nuclear power plant as a military base even in a military conflict. >> anthony, thank you so much. and months after that massacre in bucha dead bodies still being found in kyiv. david mckenzie takes a closer look how ukrainians feel of the impact of past wars and bracing for new ones. we want to warn you, some of the images in this report are upsetting. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: in bucha, they lived in peace, had families and names. but they died in a war that no one here wanted. behind each number an unknown victim. a life worthy of father andre's
prayer. each person had their own life and each had one and only one he says. it's not just bodies that we are bur burying, for us these are people that lived once. people to whom the russians brought suffering and death. bucha is synonymous with the brutality of russia's war of choice. when the army retreated, they burnt our tanks were cleared, bucha seems almost normal now. almost but not. not here, not anywhere in ukraine because they are still discovering the dead, the police forensic team gathers evidence at a shallow grave. they say a man was shot as he fled. they found more than 1300 bodies in greater kyiv alone.
>> [ speaking non-english ] >> reporter: everything changed on february 24th says kyiv's police chief. they invaded our country and started killing people. it's very difficult for any country to prepare for this because you never expect such cruelty. the cruelty, the sheer wait of loss for alexander is hard to comprehend. this is where the shots were fired he says. and where the car was on fire. his family like others tried to flee the russian advance. they came to bucha from ukraine's war in the east. they were happy here. they were insuperableinsuperabl. the boys a joy for their father but as they escaped bucha a russian armored vehicle struck their car again and again.
everyone died. only alexander lived. [crying] my oldest would have been 10. my youngest 5 he says. it's very hard. justice must be restored. everything must be done to destroy the russians, to destroy the nation completely. probably you can't say that but i want this whole nation to not exist at all so that there would not be so much grief. so much grief, too much for any nation to bear in a war that still shows no end. david mckenzie, cnn, bucha, ukraine. up next, secret files fall out the national intelligence director confirming there is now
an official investigation into the security fallout from the highly sensitive files found at mar-a-lago. also tonight, the first lady's former press secretary and special assistant to the president michael larosa here to talk about the controversy over cancelling student loan debt. a political dog fight in georgia keeping the fact checkers busy for all the wrong reasons. you're in the cnn newsroom. we'll be right back.
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the director of national intelligence to lawmakers alerting them to this assessment. just yesterday, the justice department released the heavily redacted affidavit that led to the search of mar-a-lago and provides details why the feds wanted to take such unprecedented action. the fbi said it had probable cause to believe the documents were taken to authorize locations at the resort and gives specifics about the 184 classified documents retrieved in january. notably before this month's fbi search. 67 were marked confidential, 92 secret and 25 top secret. and we learned just a short time ago that a federal judge has scheduled a thursday hearing to consider donald trump's request for a special master. that third party lawyer would oversee the fbi's review of evidence seized from his florida home. the judge says she has preliminary intent to make that
appointment. i want to bring in guests to drill down into this. what does it mean? jennifer rogers is a former federal prosecutor and cnn military analyst retired lieutenant general mark hurtling, former commanding general of u.s. army europe and seventh army is here with us, as well. general hertling, let's start with you. some of these documents contain information that could compromise human sources. is it a stretch to say people's lives could be in danger if these documents fell into the wrong hands? >> not a stretch at all, logic and reason but truthfully there is a lot of passion behind this. i've seen these kind of documents in my job as a military officer. they definitely give information that put individuals at risk and i'm talking about the risk of death. it also -- they also contained
processes which have probably been going on for a very long time, which provides information to the u.s. government to basically help our national security. yes, these things can certainly put not only u.s. citizens at risk but those we have recruited overseas to provide information on their governments at a very deep risk and i think we're seeing april haynes already understanding that and i would suggest she probably has done an assessment long before this week in terms of what kind of harm these documents could do if anyone seen them. >> our understanding is this actually started in may once the fbi was given access to the classified documents. i'm curious to get your response or your reaction to what i heard from a republican congressman i just interviewed in the last hour. he tried to make the case that look, these documents, these classified documents weremar-a-
president's home because of the secret service there. what do you say to that? that is something that i have heard repeatedly on the right wing media. >> all right. well, i don't know who that congressman is, pamela, i would say they absolutely do not know what they're talking about. they are making stuff up. the president haddock documentse of which were highly classified. that's the standard. these documents are so important if they get out of the ability to control who sees them and where they are, i will tell you that in units that i had where documents, one document, a classified document was not controlled properly, soldiers would be disciplined and in many cases, they might be court marshalled depending on the intent behind it. this congressman, whoever it was is out of his mind and doesn't know how classified documents
are handled and i'm sorry for becoming so passionate about this but i have seen these documents, i know what they contain and this congressman probably does not. so it has to be under specific lock and keys in saves, in secured facilities, period. full stop. >> he was a former army ranger. i think it important to get your take on what we are hearing from allies of the former president, those who are coming out to defend him in the wake of this jennifer, what legal exposure do you think donald trump has here? do you think he will face criminal prosecution? >> well, i wish i knew, pamela. what we do know since the release of the redacted affidavit is that doj is actively conducting a criminal investigation here. you know, many people thought as this was all going on that perhaps the main goal of the search warrant was to retrieve these documents, which of course, very, very serious as
the general said they get back into appropriate government hands but it now appears from reading the avid, doj is actively looking at this as a criminal matter so usually when you see a search warrant, which of course is part of the investigation is just an investigative tool and not nearly to the end of an investigation and ready for charging but usually if you see a search warrant executed, chances are good there will be a charge. ist trit's tricky with classifin during a litigation is a risk. i would say chances are pretty good ultimately there will be a criminal charge here. >> you think there will ultimately be a criminal charge of the former president? is that what you're saying? >> i think there's a good chance. with all the signs, listen, we're in uncharted waters here but typically when there is a search warrant executed and shown probable cause, we have no idea what additional evidence
they have gathered from the search warrant and don't know what the redacted portions of the affidavit said but the proof to me from what we have seen looks relatively strong. so my best guess and it's just a guess is that it's likely to be a charge. >> what would you say then to and i believe alan brought this up. he of course is a lawyer and also an ally of the former president. he said then if the president is charged for this, how would it be different from hillary clinton? as we know, the fbi investigated hillary clinton and said the former fbi director said she was reckless in how she handled classified information. how would this be different? >> well, the finding of the fbi and the clinton matter, it was unintentional, she may have been sloppy with the way the server was set up and handled but she did not intentionally handle classified information through
the server. it was sloppy, not intentional. here you have months and months of back and forth where it was 100% certain the president knew he had classified information and told he shouldn't have it and kept it despite being told to turn it over. it's completely different on the intent side and that's why charges are possible here. >> i want to go to you, general. you know, look, former president trump has been out of office for 19 months now. knowing these national security concerns, do you think it took too long for this process to play out? >> i'm not a lawyer and i'm not in government now. i don't know. i don't know what the rest of this story is but when you're talking about the level of classifications on these documents and for people to know after they receive the boxes that these were the kinds of things that were not only there for a long period of time but there might be more than president had taken illegally then, you know, i would
initially say yeah, it took them too long a time to go after it. you drop everything when classified documents are missing or when you don't know where they are. at least, that's what i did as a military commander. so i don't know what the rest of the story is in terms of the legal implications and certainly, dealing with a former president you have to be walking on egg shells in terms of how you approach it from the a.g.'s perspective. i don't know. yeah, i think it probably in my view and this is my opinion only took too long to make amends to get these documents back. >> all right. thank you both. here is a reminder that the federal investigation into the january 6th attack on the u.s. capitol remains very much active. earlier this week the fbi arrested a nasa intern, the latest of the 850 some people arrested. investigators say brandon
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welcome back, everyone. 7:30 p.m. eastern time here in the nation's capitol taking a live look at the capitol building. 85 degrees here at the end of august. beautiful evening. all right. well, president biden's move this week to cancel student loan debt is being met with some criticism from democratic lawmakers. the majority have come out in support with a hand full of democrats particularly in tight midterm races took a different position. ohio congressman tim ryan who is running for senate says quote, it sends the wrong message to the millions of ohioans without a degree working just as hard to make ends meet. cortez out of nevada says it doesn't address what makes congress affordable and the decision is out of touch with what the majority of people want from the white house. joining me now is former special assistant to president biden and former press secretary to the
first lady, michael la rosa. hi, michael, great to have you here. >> appreciate it. >> president biden made good on a campaign promise, right? but moderates clearly are not sold. how do you see the politics of this playing out? do you think it could actually help the gop in the midterm? >> no, i think that the president, you know, this is not only good policy but good policy makes good politics and again like you said this is what he promised he'd do as a candidate. this is what the first lady ran around telling people her husband would do when he got into office but glad to hear some democrats and republicans talk about college affordability because the first lady was out front on that for an entire year championing free community college and came time for the build back better -- community college was in that, everybody was against it, nobody came to champion free
community college, which is a gateway for so many people and students that can't afford higher education. >> there has certainly been a lot of talk about that in the wake of it and we'll do an analysis of that on the show tomorrow. there are those who say that this is a band-aid and not fixing the problem. "the new york times" is reporting first lady jill biden is uncomfortable about the student loan debt announcement. you work for the first lady in the white house. first of all, does that seem right to you and how much does the president rely on her opinion when making these decisions. >> look, like i said, she talked about -- i was with her for a year and a half on the campaign, the primary and general. we talked about this i want to say every day. this was the president's plan. it was always $10,000 limit. so i think he relies on her. i don't think she considers herself a policy advisor, educator, grandmother and supportive spouse but she doesn't advice on policy.
>> i want to ask you about it. you said this is always his plan but here we are so many months into his presidency and the white house unveiling this plan and all over the map with numbers. how much will this cost? we heard different numbers, do you think the white house should have been more prepared with a cost estimate, a breakdown when it unveiled this plan? >> well, i think the cost estimate is coming in a couple weeks from the education department and the office of management and budget but i think what is important is that that assumes that numbers on a spread sheet are more important to the president than doing what he said he'd do, focus on the middle class and that is what this action does. 75,000 -- i'm sorry, 90% of the people who would be eligible for this makes $75,000 or less so the president promised that he was going to help give them more
breathing room and that's what he's doing with this. in the end it's more money in their pockets, it's focused on the middle class and people like -- i'm sorry, public servants like teachers, like police officers, like nurses, they're all going to be eligible for the public service loan forgiveness program, which is what the first lady is very excited about. you're going to see her talk about that in the next couple weeks. >> you mentioned it will be more money in their pockets but you know the criticism is it's going to be a burden for taxpayers given the cost estimates out there. one budget watchdog notes it would wipe out the deficit reduction from the inflation reduction act with biden in congressional democrats toted as historic for reducing the deficit, all of this as the country is struggling. does the president risk looking fiscally irresponsible here? >> no, in fact his fist year as president he's on track according to the latest estimates to do it again this year and of course, everybody was concerned about fueling more
inflation but what this does it puts strict limits on incomes for qualifications. it also starts repayment of student loans starting january 11st which will offset the cost and mitigate any inflation going forward. >> i guess last question before i get to another one, what did this actually solve long term? >> well, again, i think it what the president has been saying, this is going to provide breathing room for people who are struggling. look, this is going to cost $240 billion over ten years. you paid back $350 billion in loan forgiveness for the ppp program. in just the last year so i guess my question is it's -- why is it okay to pay back a business owner but not okay to provide the same relief to people who are struggling who make under $75,000 a year and struggling with their loans. >> i know the white house has been talking about that, some of the republican whose were attacking this, who took out ppp
loans -- >> i know your previous guest, congressman mentioned that he didn't have the authority but the president is using the same authority the previous president used to pause student loan payment. i found that pretty interesting. i'm not sure the argument holds. we'll see if the courts take it up? >> it was congress that passed it and so forth. i want to ask you about something else that's been making headlines. the cycle president biden came out hard against trump and what he called maga republicans. here he is in maryland on thursday. let's listen. >> those of you who love this country democrats, independents, main stream republicans, we must be stronger, more determined and more committed to saving america than the maga republicans are destroying america. so earlier tonight the president's deputy chief of staff said we can expect to hear more about this in the coming
days, anti maga on the ballot ahead of the midterms? >> great and what democrats want to hear. he's trying to motivate people and the ebase of democrats. i think he's hoping people will remember what is at stake here. >> colleen, some semi factious, what do you think about that? were you surprised when he used that term. >> the president calls it like he sees it. that sounds just like him. >> thank you for coming on the show. >> thank you. you're in the cnn newsroom. california is taking the first steps to get gas line powered cars off the roads but will it be ready to plug in every car in just a few years? we're live in california up next. stay with us. n more powerful. the stronger, lasts-longer energizer max.
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global cases dropped 21% compared to last week. new cases in the u.s. are down 25% in the past two weeks. here is cdc director dr. rachial walensky. >> there are certain jurisdictions, new york, chicago, san francisco that are starting to report they're starting to see a downward trend. i want to be cautiously this optimistic about these, we're seeing vaccine get out behaviors change, harm reduction message being heard and implemented and all of that working together to bend the curve, if you will. >> well, california state regulators voted this week to ban new gasoline powered car cells there by the year 2035. if they do, it would certainly be a historic move in the u.s. and the first one like it anywhere in the world. now more states are looking to put similar rules in police in the c-- place in the comes year. chris, this is an ambitious plan and tight timeline.
>> reporter: pam, good evening. as you know, california accounts for a huge chunk of the u.s. car ma market. a lot has to happen between now and 2035 and if this ban is to be successful, experts say it's going to come down to infrastructure and consumer demand. we'll get to the points in a second. first, let's look at numbers. these are the benchmarks from the state of california and remember, this only applies to new vehicle sales here in the state. so the hope is that 35% of new vehicles will be zero emission by the year 2026. the target then goes up each year until 2035. but right now, there are a lot of concerns about the stability of the state's power grid, as well as access and affordability when it comes to these electric vehicles. take a listen. >> if the prices of electric car goes down, it makes sense. if the prices keep on staying as
50, $60,000, i don't think it's going to be a good idea. >> it is certainly something there are tons of companies in the industry labs working to solve this exact challenge. >> a study estimates by 2035 got public charging stations like the one behind me in pasadena to meet the expected demand. pam, california will have to apply for a waiver from the epa to enforce the ban. so a lot taking place here in the next few years. legal challenges are very likely. pam? >> for sure. chris nguyen, thank you so much. the race for georgia senate seat might be getting dog gone silly. get ready for the puns as the republican candidates say the democratic opponent lied about having a puppy. it time to fetch the truth.
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saying yes to prop 27 means more people get the assistance that they nee they get someone to partner in such a way to see transformation come to them. yes on prop 27, because there's no place like home. months away from midterms and plenty of eyes on the senate race in georgia between herschel walker and senator raphael warnock. the challenger caught in a couple lies the past few monthi opponent of doing the same thing. we have a fact check. >> what comes before the mid-terms really get going around labor day? of course, the dog days of summer. literally in the case of one
important senate campaign. georgia senator raphael warnock has been going after republican opponent herschel walker for his history of dishonesty about his resume. >> hershel walk hear a problem. a problem with the truth. time and again caught lying about who he really is. >> reporter: so walker fired back this past week tweeting an allegation that warnock lied. lied about having a dog. now, as an obsessive pomeranian owner i couldn't resist dog-related research, even though it's about a dog, it's also about a campaign of honesty and integrity. so i looked into it. it's not true. warnock did not lie about having a dog. this is what happened. warnock rabb popular ads featuring a dog during this 2020-2021 race but never said alvin the beagle, a very good boy who belongs to a supporter was his own dog. look at the ads. in the first ad, a narrative
joke warnock would face ridiculous attacks from opponent kelly lessler like a claim he hates puppies. the ad ended like this -- >> by the way, i love puppies. >> reporter: so warnock held the dog. didn't say he was holding his own dog. another ad was built around a dog poop joke and ended with warnock being pals with alvin i. think georgians will see the ads for what they are -- don't you? [ barking ] >> reporter: i see how viewers could have assumed alvin was his own dog, but no lie in the ad or his public comments. one media outlet before election day the dog belonged to a supporter. and come on. campaign ads are filled with stage scenes and much more explicit fiction than rafael warnock did. in 2018, brian camp held a shot gunn near a nervous one dude identified as a young man interest in the one of my
daughters. that man was actually an actor. this was not treated as a scandal. pam? >> thank you so much. and "cnn newsroom" on this saturday. up next a missouri school district wants to bring back an old-fashioned form of discipline and seems some parents are in support of this. we're going to discuss. .....so you feel cool, night after night. for a limited time, save up to $700 on selecect* tempur-pedic adjustable mattress sets.. the thing that's different about a vrbo vacation home. you always have the whole place to yourself. just you and your people. ♪ ♪ i'm lindsey vonn, and ever since i retired from skiing, i've had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. you know, insomnia. before i found quviviq, an fda-approved insomnia mecation for adults. you would not believe the things
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spare the rod. spoil the child. a sentiment that comes directly from the bible in a proverb that warns parents if they don't provide stern discipline it isn't the loving choice. now we can argue all day what parents should or shouldn't do when it comes to raising their own children, but do you think school should have a free hand when it comes to spankings? well, parents in cassville, missouri, have a dilemma, returning an anonymous survey the school board approved the return of spanking in its schools. they say it should only be used as a last resort, and with written permission from parents. and you may be surprised to learn that corporal punishment in schools is legal in 19 states. the supreme court actually roomed on this issue in 1977 after two florida students sued following paddling incidents. in a 5-4 decision the court said
physical discipline in school did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, and due process didn't apply. so i ask you. would you want your kid spanked at school? vote on my twitter firstname.lastname@example.org and i will read the results at the end of the show. the next hour of "cnn newsroom" starts right now. new tonight -- damage assessment. u.s. intel set to assess the security risks stemming from the top-secret documents found at former president trump's florida home. >> this is the documents that prosecutors used to establish probable cause that federal crimes were committed. violation of the espionage act, destruction of government documents and obstruction. >> a woman from louisiana fighting for her reproductive rights after she was denied an abortion. even though her fetus was
diagnosed with a terminal condition. >> continue this pregnancy after this diagnosis. >> the woman at the center of the controversy shares her story. meantime, nasa's most powerful rocket set for monday's moon mission launch. >> has landed. >> artemis is on the launch pad and ready to fly. >> now we're going back to the moon to stay, to live, to learn, to build. >> and a missouri school district reinstates paddling as punishment, but would you want your children spanked at school? >> it's something that we don't anticipate using frequently. this is an opt-in-only option for parents. hi, pamela brown in washington. you are in the "cnn newsroom." and we begin this hour with questions of national security and donald trump's stash of top-