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Team USA Wins World Cup Final Over The Netherlands; Rep. Amash: Blink "Loyalty" to Trump and Partisan Divide Drove Him From GOP; Iran Breaches Nuke Deal Terms for Second Time Since May; Small Town Moves To Higher Ground After Massive Floods; Lawsuit Alleges Georgia is Biased Against Puerto Ricans Applying For New Drivers Licenses in the State. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired July 7, 2019 - 13:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with a historic moment in sports. Just moments ago, team USA won the Women's World Cup trophy, their fourth World Cup championship. USA women beat the Netherlands in the final match 2-0. We have team coverage of the match. I am joined by CNN's sports correspondent Amanda Davis who was inside the stadium. She is joins me from Lyon, France. Polo Sandoval at a watch party in New York City. Christine Brennan is a CNN sports analyst and sports columnist at the "USA Today" and Patrick Snell, CNN's sports anchor and reporter. Good to see all of you. Wow. What an incredible historic moment.

Amanda, you first, you were inside. This had to be an electrifying moment.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, absolutely. The tournament tagline here in France has been "Dare to Shine." That's exactly what this U.S. Team did over the 90 minutes inside the stadium here in Lyon, playing at this World Cup final is the pinnacle for any international footballer. You saw just what it meant to these players as they ran out onto the pitch just after the anthems had been played. And we saw it throughout the 90 minutes. They had to fight this U.S. side. So many people had been hyping them up, talking about them as absolutely the overwhelming favorites against a Dutch team who were at the World Cup finals for the first time, playing in this tournament for just the second time in their history.

But it was tight. Once we got past that first 12 minutes, that vital 12 minutes that is at every point in this tournament so far, the U.S. had already scored. They hadn't managed to break the deadlock today. And people started getting nervous. The crowd quiet and down. You saw the U.S. players maybe overstretching, trying a little bit too hard. We got to half time. They were pressing, but couldn't make the breakthrough. And then ultimately just after the hour mark, 62 minutes, who else was it going to be? The captain fantastic, Megan Rapinoe, who stepped up, showed no signs of the pressure that this team were under to take themselves over the line to win that fourth World Cup crown. She slowed the time her penalty without breaking a sweat. Rose Lovell, another one at young stars this U.S. team over the last few weeks. Julie made it, too. And then the celebration started.

This team knew they had made it across the line. And incredibly historic achievement, their fourth World Cup crown. They're only the second team to successfully defend the Women's World Cup title after Germany, but you really feel that this year, given all of the attention, all the pressure on this side, not only because of what they were doing on the pitch, but also the bigger causes that they're fighting for, this really is a line in a sand, the real moment that the world is stepping up and taking notice. This is the new class of '99, really. This is the class of 2019. They had written their place into the history books.

WHITFIELD: Wow, incredible. I mean nail-biting moments all the way, this athleticism at a whole new level on display the entire time.

Polo Sandoval, you've been with a group of fans who have been watching. Describe what the moment was like, Polo?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We can tell you what, Fred, I couldn't actually see the game from my vantage point, but a perfect barometer of how the USA was doing. It was the loud cheers of a massive crowd that has thinned out literally in just the last few minute. You could not put anybody else into the spaces archway that is directly right under the New York Manhattan Bridge. We saw a massive presence here, a sea of red, white and blue that was cheering on Team USA.

Let me tell you, Fred, this game certainly had added significance for many people in the crowd. I spoke to one woman from New Jersey, who came across two rivers to be here, because she played as a little girl. And then there was also a gentleman from Queens, another native New Yorker who said, look, he brought his little girl here, so that she could develop the passion for the sport. And let me tell you, Fred, if you were under this arch or you were in this archway directly under the Manhattan Bridge, that's certainly what you're leaving here with tremendous (INAUDIBLE) great pride.

[13:05:07] There are subway trains that go right over the archway here. And I have to tell you, Fred, the roar of those trains, it was nothing compared to the massive roar that we saw, that we heard break out here just five minutes ago when Team USA declared another victory. Fred, back to you.

WHITFIELD: Fantastic, a huge crowd there.

Christine Brennan, let's look at the overall picture here. I mean so many high points being set here. But this was a game that was you know tied zero, you know, zip, for a very long time, until finally that first score, and then followed by yet another USA score. So give me an idea of you know what are the highs and lows of this game that piqued your interest?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Sure. Well, Fred, the Dutch were terrific. And in many ways that's a credit to the United States. Because back in '99, I covered that day 20 years ago in the Rose Bowl, they were all about not just the U.S. but about the world, about women and girls having opportunities in sports, especially soccer, around the world. So to see the Dutch rise like this out of almost nothing in the last couple of years, except then they won the European championship. It's remarkable and it's a testament to the Johnny Appleseed, so to speak, that the U.S. team has been.

Also, I don't know that we've seen a team capture a moment and a cultural moment, a moment in our history, Fred, quite like this team. They come now at this moment in our history, over 100 women in Congress, 25 women in the Senate. I do not believe it is a reach to talk about this team as it's set against the backdrop of our American culture and the role of women and girls in that culture, fighting for equal pay, Megan Rapinoe taking on the president, the president taking on Megan Rapinoe. Who won that one? I think we know, and again, just this team willing to take us to important national conversations, once again, that we should be having as a culture especially surrounding the advancement of women and girls in our culture and our society.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And I wonder Christine, what have they done to this sport? What have they done to this sport for aspiring you know soccer that young female football players? And these ladies are, you know. The average age is in the 30s? I mean it's extraordinary that they have also said something about age and staying power.

BRENNAN: Oh, absolutely. This team has been the hallmark. I think it is the most famous women's national team in any sport on the globe. I know that's saying a lot, but as they said a moment ago, they stand for much more than just sport. It's never been about just soccer for them. So you can picture and this might sound Pollyannaish but I don't think so. As the world is watching and these girls who play this, for girls who have been told you could never play sports, and they're watching this. And not just the U.S. but they're watching the incredible Dutch team fight the U.S., 0-0 in halftime. It's a nail- biter. That has to inspire generations of girls to play sports, to maybe have been told by their government or by their parents or someone else that they shouldn't play. Well now they the answer is, yes, they can do it.

WHITFIELD: That's right. Also, Patrick, you know it did start out kind of slow you know and finally the first score and then followed up by another, you're talking about USA, four wins in eight you know World Cup tournaments. It's extraordinary. This isn't just a testament to women, women sports, female soccer, but it also is an amazing challenge for soccer of men around the world as well.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: It really is. I mean just think about that. Eight Women's World Cup tournaments now complete, Fred, and one country has won half of them -

WHITFIELD: Half of them. SNELL: That is pretty much as it gets to this level of the game. It has been a fantastic tournament. And no bigger compliment than the president of FIFA himself, Gianni Infantino, saying this without question the biggest and best Women's World Cup final, and the whole tournament as a whole. It's just been one to marvel when he says that. You know you're onto the right track. Now it's all going to be about continued growth of the game. That's going to be actually huge to see to what extent. - It has to be developed.


WHITFIELD: It seems like each time it tops itself - this women.

SNELL: Absolutely. I will say, you know, this is a team -- the USA women's national team that, shall we say, has never lacked confidence, that has never doubted its own self-belief, but if you are going to be like that you have to back it up -


SNELL: -- with performances, and boy, have they done that. They oversaw the English in the semifinals and now they've delivered back- to-back World Cup titles. You know their performance just speak much louder than words. I can tell you. They got the job done.

WHITFIELD: I love it. Amanda, I mean you know that says a lot. Patrick was talking about you know I mean they have never lacked in confidence. They have never lacked in substance. They've never lacked in style. To have all of that wrapped up into one team. Just give me an idea of just you know really how everyone there, the world has marveled over Team USA, even before today's amazing victory.

[13:10:03] DAVIES: Yes, absolutely. The U.S. are the team without doubt the rest of the world use as the benchmark, where they need to get to. I was talking to the England boss earlier in this tournament, Phil Neville, of course, a top-level player himself. And I said to him, do you still use the U.S. women as the benchmark or are you taking your experience of the men's game when you won the Champions League with Manchester United. And he said no, absolutely not, it is the U.S. They are the people that we are setting all our targets on. I've looked how on Jill Ellis, does what she does with the U.S. team. I have investigated their trainings programs. What do they do? How do they make themselves fitter than the rest? And that is not an individual case, just England. It's very much what the other teams around Europe have been doing in recent times.

And this is a U.S. team, you've got to remember that yes, they were the defending champion. They won in Canada four years ago, but they haven't had it all their own way since then. They've suffered an early exit from the Olympics in Rio in 2016. They went out the quarter final on the hands of Sweden. And then people started asking question, was Jill Ellis really the coach that should be leading this team into this World Cup. Were these the players there should be leading this team into the world cup.

Jill changed things up a little bit. She tried different formations, some people didn't like that, but it me that she got to this tournament and she said, I know what all my players can do. If I need to change things, I know what I have to do. I know how I can beat different teams. And it has absolutely paid off.

We saw when Megan Rapinoe was injured in the semifinal against England. It didn't matter. She brought on Princeton Press who scored the opening goal within the first couple of minutes even before England had managed to settle. Rapinoe was back today, all gone blazing. What I found fascinating was a player of Megan Rapinoe's experience, of everything she has won. She's helped this team to an Olympic goal medal. She helped to the World Cup in 2015.

WHITFIELD: I love that gesture of hers.

DAVIES: She even said, I was nervous. I'm anxious. I want to put in the best performance I possibly can. Boy, did she do that?

WHITFIELD: Wow. And so, focusing in here. We're watching Megan Rapinoe right now accepting that beautiful trophy on behalf of the team, and you know giving that gesture of kind of like, here it is. I'm not sure what she's saying, if it's just kind of like, here I am or voila, but it's a gesture that she has repeated time and time again.

SNELL: It's just so Megan.

WHITFIELD: It's great.

SNELL: By the way, her 50th goal as well for her country.

WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh.

SNELL: Look at these images now. This is incredible, Fred.

WHITFIELD: I love it. And you know this is an inspiration, you know, and Amanda, you touch on it. Not just little girls you know and young boys, men who are marveling you know of all ages.

SNELL: Yes. And can I just add? And Megan now, the Golden Boot winner, because it was down to six. She got on to six goals with a tournament level with her teammate Alex Morgan. But she actually will be winning the Golden Boot based on the goals scored due to time on the pitch as well when that's been factored in less game time. So another - a remarkable milestone for Megan.

WHITFIELD: Wow. It's an incredible, such an inspiration for so many. I mean I love that people of all ages, all sexes are inspired by these women. I'd like to think that my 14-year-old son who recently was reignited withinterest in soccer again, it's because of this season that we've all been watching this Team USA.

SNELL: The biggest compliment I can pay for this tournament as well, shame we have to wait for four years for the next one.

WHITFIELD: I know. Well the next generation is being groomed right now as a result to what we have seen. Thanks to all of you, appreciate it. Amanda, Polo, Christine, Patrick, and of course to Team USA. Thanks so much for an incredible moment and inspiration. Really we'll be covering this throughout the day. People are inspired on so many levels.

All right. Still ahead, no longer a Republican. Independent Congressman Justin Amash rips into the president --President Trump and the state of the Republican party as a whole. This CNN exclusive is next.

Plus leaked diplomatic cable shows the UK ambassador to the U.S. blasting the president as inept, insecure and incompetent. Could this cause irreparable damage between the two close allies of the U.S. and UK?


[13:18:09] WHITFIELD: A declaration of independent today from a member of Congress just days after announcing he is leaving the Republican Party. Michigan Congressman Justin Amash sits down with CNN and explains what drove him from the GOP, his thoughts on the president of the United States, and the prospects of impeachment. Amash is a vocal Trump critic. And today he once again called for impeachment proceedings to begin against the president. He also lashed out at the GOP, partisan politics, and Republicans who show blind loyalty to the president. All of those factors, he says, led him to leave the party.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "STATE OF THE UNION": Do you think it's fair to say that President Trump and your fellow Republicans' unblinking support for President Trump was the straw that broke the camel's back?

REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R), MICHIGAN: I think this term in Congress has really shown how bad it can get.

When I started the House Freedom Caucus -- I was one of the founding members -- what we were fighting for was better process. We were fighting for a more open government, a more accountable government. We wanted members to have a voice in the process, so that we'd have a deliberative body and we'd be able to represent people back home, whatever the outcome. Sometimes, the outcomes would be more conservative. Sometimes, the outcomes would be more progressive. But whatever the outcome, we wanted to open it up. But, over the years, I have seen that people are just falling in line behind the leaders, including people in my own caucus, you know, which I left. So it's gotten worse and worse. And I think this was the term that really broke it for me.

TAPPER: The president lashed out on you on Twitter Thursday, after your announcement that you were leaving the Republican Party, saying, quote, "Great news for the Republican Party, as one of the dumbest and most disloyal men in Congress is," quote, "'quitting' the party. No collusion, no obstruction. Knew he couldn't get the nomination to run again in the great state of Michigan, already being challenged for his seat. A total loser."

[13:20:01] I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond. AMASH: I mean, I don't have a response to it. It's -- it's what the

president does. It's what he says.

And I think most people understand that's not how people are supposed to talk about each other and to each other. And I think he's really identified what I talked about in my op-ed, which is, he thinks that people owe loyalty to him. But people are -- people are elected to Congress with an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not an oath to support and defend one person, the president, who happens to be from your own party.

TAPPER: I mean, do you anticipate you're going to be kicked off the Oversight Committee?

AMASH: I anticipate that I may be kicked off. And that's OK. I understand the consequences of doing what I'm doing.

At the end of the day, though, I have done this for several years. I have worked within the Republican Party. I have tried to make changes from within. My colleagues have tried to make changes from within. It hasn't worked. It's not working for anyone.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk about all of this Zachary Wolfe is a CNN politics digital director. Julie Hirschfeld Davis is a congressional correspondent for "The New York Times" and a CNN political analyst. Good to see both of you.

All right, so Julie, let me begin with you because Amash said a lot, didn't he? And he really did say among the powerful things that even members on committees that he shares, you know, have lost power, and that he says there are others who are critical just like he is, of the president in private, but they're not just saying it publicly. Will his now public comments in this fashion unleash or even give the green light for others to follow suit?

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't really think so. And I think if you asked Justin Amash that he would say no as well and that is one of the reasons he's leaving the party. What we've seen is that while it is true that when you talk to Republicans privately, they sound very differently than they do publicly. They have not been willing to break with the president even when they're not totally on board of what he's saying, even when they're not totally on board of what he's doing. He has been -- Congressman Amash has been the only Republican on the Oversight Committee to vote in favor of holding administration officials in contempt when the administration has pushed back against Congress' attempts to do oversight. I think he's right that he's probably going to lose that perch on the committee because of what he's done, but there's no evidence that Republicans are willing to either rhetorically or when it comes to votes and policy, break with this president. And so that leaves someone like Amash feeling like he has no alternative other than to leave the party because the party is essentially left - in his mind, it seems like has left - what it was before President Trump. WHITFIELD: It also sounded like he was saying you know while there may be expectation, he'll lose his seat in the committee. He's almost all right with it, at the sacrifice of speaking out. I don't know if he even looked relieved, but he certainly looked very confident about you know what he was saying today.

DAVIS: Well, listen. I mean he is in the minority in the House, which is a place where you don't have much influence to begin with, and he's really been sort of a caucus of one, speaking out against the president and voting, as I said, in some cases against the administration's interests on this oversight issues. So it's not as if he were having a lot of influence. And you heard him say that he tried to work inside the system and it just didn't work, so I don't think he feels like he's giving up much in the way of power in doing this.

WHITFIELD: So, Zachary, you know, Amash said that he stills believes in impeachment proceedings that should get underway against the president. He said, you know, high-level party officials have actually thanked him behind closed doors for his impeachment push, and he says he's putting some blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she's making a big mistake taking the position that she's been taking. Listen.


AMASH: From a principled, moral position she's making a mistake. From a strategic position she's making a mistake. If she believes, as I do, that there's impeachable conduct in there, then she should say so. She should tell the American people, we're going to move forward with impeachment hearings and potentially articles of impeachment.

When she says things like, "Oh, I think that we need to have the strongest case before we go forward," what she's telling the American people is, she doesn't think there's a strong case. If she doesn't think that, then she shouldn't open her mouth in the first place and say she thinks there's impeachable conduct.


WHITFIELD: So, Zachary, I mean there are some Democrats who are saying the same thing you know and are questioning the approach that Nancy Pelosi is taking. So, does Nancy Pelosi hear Amash differently than she would you know her own caucus?

ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL DIRECTOR: Yes, clearly. I mean, he thinks it's a strategic mistake for her not to pursue impeachment. I think she clearly see it completely the opposite from that because until you see Republicans in the Senate start to say they might be swayed by impeachment hearings or swayed by any sort of impeachment or have read the Mueller report then impeachment is essentially a fait accompli.

[13:25:05] And you know a partisan exercise leading into an election. So from that perspective, I think Pelosi you know obviously this is not you know brain science. She wants to play it slow. It's not going to end with Trump leaving office. And it's going to have the effect probably of galvanizing his base. So, you know, I think Pelosi with that eye has tried to slow-walk this from the beginning and will continue to do so.

WHITFIELD: Meantime, that in step with the president getting some you know rather mixed reviews now from a new poll. A new Washington Post/ABC Poll gives the president a 44 percent approval rating. That's the highest you know point for his presidency from this poll, but at the same time the poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans consider the president unpresidential. The poll shows that just 28 percent think the president's behavior has been fitting and proper, while 65 percent say he's acted unpresidential. So, Julie, how does the president turn all of that in his favor?

DAVIS: Well, I think, probably if you asked the president for being honest, he would say that he thinks that all is in his favor because what it shows you is that his approval rating can go up and people can sort of raise their opinion of him without him being presidential. What that result actually says to me is that people don't care if he's presidential. And I think that's what he's banking on, that he's banking on his strategy, which has always been to play to his base, to be himself, to go from his gut, is ultimately going to win out.

And I think one of the issues that Democrats have is there are these divisions on impeachment. There are divisions over policy. And it's difficult for them to come across as simple and declarative as he is, given all of that. And so, he may be acting in ways, saying things, doing things that people don't think are becoming of a president, but until they're willing to break with him over that, it's going to be difficult for Democrats to challenge him because of it.

WHITFIELD: Zachary, so in other words, you know the president said you know if he wins, he's going to be so presidential and so perhaps on display as this is his style of so presidential.

WOLF: Well, yes. I think he's one of those 20 percent of the people who thinks that he has been presidential. And essentially redefined the idea of presidential. I think it will be interesting I think for the next president, you know either you know in two years or six years, if that person is sort of judged differently. If he is permanently redefined what presidential is, I think there's this like long-term, you know, historical thing that we're all going to be you know. Is it just a different office now that he's been in it?

WHITFIELD: Those are the perpetual curiosities. Zachary Wolf and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

And we'll be right back.


[13:31:32] WHITFIELD: Some powerful word choice, such as inept, insecure, incompetent. That's how the British ambassador to the U.S. is describing President Trump in newly leaked memos. A UK government official now confirming to CNN that Sir Kim Derek gave that blunt assessment to officials back in London. "The Daily Mail" which obtained the leaked cable said the ambassador warned the British government that President Trump's career could end in disgrace, and the article described conflicts within the White House as knife fights. We'll have more on this story in a moment, and we'll be right back.


[13:35:51] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. For the second time since May, Iran has broken the terms of the landmark nuclear deal it signed with the U.S. and other western allies in 2015. Irani officials announced that they have begun enriching uranium beyond the levels allowed under the agreement. The move comes after President Trump withdrew from the deal and reintroduced economic sanctions in 2018.

And in response to Iran's latest actions, now Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on European leaders to impose sanctions on the country.

CNN's senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is following the developments for us. So Nick, Iran isn't saying you know what level they are planning to enrich their uranium they have, you know made some promises but what is taken place today?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The real issue I think today is the lack of clarity as to what level Iran is going to enrich its uranium. It's done two things so far. The first was kind of symbolic. The first may where is it going to violate the amount of low-grade enriched uranium it's allowed to have at 3.67 percent purity.

Today, it said we're going to violate that 3.67 purity level. It's very technically complicated but essentially you're going to have 90 percent pure uranium to have a bomb. They're far, far away, from that but because they're not saying exactly how pure they are going to make this uranium, well it leads its opponents plenty of space to speculate about how far they may go.

Iran did suggest they're probably going to look for about 5 percent over the last 48 hours with the signals they were giving. And you really going to get to about 20 percent before people start thinking you might be on your way towards a bomb. That didn't stop Israel from stepping forward, and saying well you know this is really a proof that the only thing they're looking for is an atomic weapon.

So what happens now, well many really say this is all about trying to pressure the European signatories to America's nuclear deal to step in and try and find some kind of way of making Iran's life easier under new re-imposed U.S. sanctions. Some kind of economic benefit. Very hard though for your paying company to do. If they play with Iran, they can't play with the U.S. on the U.S. sanction laws.

So really no one's going to win in all of these. Except Iran now is trying to give its hard-liners some breathing room by stepping out of certain parts of the deal. Europe says stop, get back in, let's try to keep this deal alive. Trump administration has always said it's a bad deal. And I think many really see this slowly escalating rhetoric as extraordinarily dangerous because only in the last fortnight did President Donald Trump's say he had to turn back airstrikes against Iran for downing U.S. drone. It's very volatile in the Persian Gulf right now and sort of the increasing desire for both sides to unravel this nuclear deal designed to keep a very dangerous problem in check. Well that's just making life even more volatile indeed. Fred?

WHITFIELD: Indeed. All right. Nick Walsh thank you so much.

All right. Still ahead, an Illinois town forced to pick up and move every resident after massive flooding. What their story may tell us about adapting to climate change. Next.


[13:42:50] WHITFIELD: A small town in Illinois is celebrating the fourth of July from higher ground. A massive flood nearly wiped out the town of Valmeyer, when the Mississippi River breached a levee back in 1993. To make sure this never happens again, Valmeyer moved two miles away up on a bluff. Considering the record-breaking floods the Midwest has seen this year, the move begs the question, is this the way of the future for towns susceptible to flooding? Stephanie Elam is there.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the defining image of the great flood of 1993, a home washing away in Southern Illinois.

DENNIS KNOBLOCH, FORMER MAYOR OF VALMEYER ILLINOIS: I didn't think that we would ever flood.

ELAM: Nearby, Valmeyer, Illinois virtually disappeared under 16 feet of water.

KNOBLOCH: On the driveway, I can remember teaching the kids to ride their bikes. A lot of good family memories

ELAM: Most of the homes, the school, the churches, all swallowed by a wall of water that spilled over the town's levee and lingered for months.

KNOBLOCH: Everybody was kind of like punched in the stomach.

ELAM: Almost immediately Dennis Knobloch, who was mayor at the time and most of the nearly 1,000 people in the town decided to do something drastic.

Erase the community that was their home for generations.

KNOBLOCH: I saw how the people suffered in 1993. I didn't want to see future generations have to go through that.

ELAM: Fleeing the wrath of the mighty Mississippi, Valmeyer moved on to a bluff just a couple of miles behind it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an opportunity to grow here. In the Old Tower, we did not.

ELAM: After leaving the floodplain, Valmeyer found ways to prosper, developing a quarry underneath the bluff into a warehouse, now used by the National Archives to store records and turning the old town from ghost town into corn fields that are earning the town money.

This is the Mississippi river, a sort of livelihood and anxiety for the Valmeyer. The river just broke a record set in '93 of 104 days above flood-state to Saint Louis.

[13:45:00] I'm walking along the levee that protects the town from those rising floodwaters, but as you can see, on the other side, the water is hard to tame as the floodwaters had found their way underneath the levee, and are seeping into the town.

MAYOR HOWARD HEAVNER, VALMEYER, ILLINOIS: The river is going down now, but you never really know whether it's going to go all the way down.

ELAM: After the record-breaking flooding in the Midwest this year, other communities are looking to Valmeyer as a template. Researchers are studying its progress.

NICHOLAS PINTER, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS: A third of U.S. communities will face increased risk of flooding by the middle of the century. Worldwide the numbers are really big, on the order of 100 million people it's estimated are going to be displaced by rising sea levels alone by the end of the century.

ELAM: Is climate change affecting Valmeyer? There's no consensus here. They just knew they needed to change to survive. You still feel better sleeping at night?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have to won't it if the river is sneaking up on me, that's for sure.


ELAM: And Fredricka, we are out here in front of their baseball diamond. It's the middle of a big tournament here that they always have during the fourth of July weekend, but just imagine during that '93 flood, first base was under water. That gives you an idea of how much water inundated this town. While they say that the idea of moving up on the bluff was the right choice for Valmeyer, they say they don't think it's the right choice for every town. Fred?

WHITFIELD: Stephanie Elam, thank you so much for that point of view.

All right. Much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, but first a sneak preview of the CNN original series "The Movies."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is still something about being told a story. A movie is something that's been really hand crafted. It's a mosaic carefully pieced together. It creates this opportunity to totally lose yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They images live in our consciousness, stays in our mind the way music is recalled in our heads. Those images are replayed. And we live our lives by them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It brings all the elements of all of our senses together. There's really nothing else like it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though you're doing something incredibly personal, and in ways selfish, because you love it so much, it gets out there and it can change people's trajectories.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When can you go somewhere, you can pretty much guarantee you can set your worries aside for a period of time. It's like a drug, like a drug.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just a direct conduit straight into your soul.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grew up wanting to be the movies. It was all about the movies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since the dawn of man, we like to get around a fireplace and commune in story together, so we can feel that we're human together.


WHITFIELD: And be sure to tune in to "The Movies." It premieres tonight 9:00 Eastern, Pacific.


[13:51:54] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. The U.S. State of Georgia is accused of discriminating against Puerto Ricans trying to get driver's licenses. A new lawsuit filed by a Latino Civil Rights group alleges Puerto Ricans are subjected to additional quizzes and their applications are purposely, quote, flagged for fraud review. Here's Diane Gallagher.


DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Food, frogs, flags. Those are just some of the topics a lawsuit claims the Georgia Department of Driver Services asks Puerto Ricans about in order to get a driver's license. Attorneys with the Latino Justice Organization and Southern Center for Human Rights filed the class action suit this week, accusing the state DDS of violating the civil rights act by engaging in, quote, "race-based stereotyping or implicit bias against Puerto Ricans."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're from Puerto Rico, you're scrutinized. They determined that only and solely because you're born in Puerto Rico and you have a Puerto Rico driver's license and Puerto Rico birth certificate, they need to investigate your file.

GALLAGHER: Latino justice is representing at least 40 plaintiffs who say they were quizzed on random Puerto Rico topics. CNN has reviewed a document provided by Latino justice that is labeled Puerto Rican interview guide and it includes the trivia-style questions described in the lawsuit about baseball players, geography, popular dishes, slang and politics. Some appear to be trick questions. The only named plaintiff Kenneth Gonzalez (ph) says he's been trying to get a Georgia license since October 2017. Attorneys say his documents have still not be returned and he can't work since he can't drive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would a state single out simply individuals who are born in Puerto Rico, simply because they are born in Puerto Rico as if they are not U.S. citizens, as if they are less than, as if they are second-class citizens.

GALLAGHER: The DDS says they have not yet received the lawsuit and can't comment on it but noted that the department process is all driver's applications in accordance with state and federal law. When asked about the origins of that guide, a spokesperson told CNN, the document was not sanctioned and/or authorized by DDS administration. The governor of Puerto Rico released a statement on Wednesday asking Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to look into the allegations saying, this is absurd. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and cannot be treated unequally in any U.S. jurisdiction.

GALLAGHER (on camera): Now Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's office did respond to our request for comments on this saying, this is pending litigation so they can't comment on the specifics of the claims but did say that the governor had asked for the DDS commissioner to look into what's being alleged here and also said that they do expect all state employees to treat everyone with dignity and respect. Diane Gallagher, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: Still ahead, Biden apologizes. Why he now says he was wrong to talk about negotiating with segregationists. And how his rivals for the presidency are now responding.


[13:58:41] WHITFIELD: All right, A look now at our top story. Sources tell CNN that Florida billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested Saturday. He was indicted on new charges related to alleged sex crimes involving minors. Sources say the charges include alleged sex trafficking crimes committed between 2002 and 2005. Epstein is expected to appear in federal court in New York tomorrow.

And at least 23 people were injured when a massive explosion rocked a shopping mall in Plantation, Florida. Officials say they are still working to confirm the cause of the blast, but they believe it may have been caused by a natural gas leak.

And sad news to pass on here. Disney confirms that actor Cameron Boyce has died. The young actor was best known for his role in the Disney hit series "Jesse" and the movie "Descendants." He was just 20 years old.

And Stevie Wonder is taking a break from performing. The legendary singer announced yesterday that he is having a kidney transplant. According to the "Detroit Free Press" Wonder has been touring overseas with a medical team. He started performing when he was just 11 and has 25 Grammy Awards to his name. Of course we wish him all the best as he is about to endure that kidney transplant surgery.