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Poll: Sanders & Warren Rise, Biden Drops In Volatile Democratic Race; FBI: Surge In Tips From Public After El Paso, Dayton Shootings; National Farmers Union: Trump Making Things Worse, Not Better; CNN Gets Aerial View Of Scorched Amazon Rainforest. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired August 26, 2019 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: And now just the voting public paying attention. Certainly, Senator Elizabeth Warren will be paying attention to these polls.


MARQUARDT: It looks like, these days, that she is the candidate with the greatest momentum. Over the weekend, we saw that she had an estimated 15,000 people at her rally in Seattle. Why do you think there's this wind in her sails?

MURRAY: Well, I've actually spent some time on the campaign trail out in Iowa and New Hampshire talking to voters who have been following them. What we've seen in the polls and what we see on the ground is that Elizabeth Warren is very slowly building support. She's been doing this since March, a couple points, a couple points, a couple points.

The voters there really like her. They feel that she is a pragmatist who, while pushing for things like Medicare-for-All, could step back from that and be more for a public option.

She basically, if you see her in person, she can portray pretty much anything that she wants onto these voters and they can walk away thinking, oh, she's my person, she's somebody that I can get behind, whether you are all the way to the left or you're more of a centrist.

MARQUARDT: Patrick Murray, from Monmouth, out with a fascinating poll today, which, if those numbers hold, will really upend the race.

Thanks so much for joining us.

MURRAY: My pleasure, Alex.

MARQUARDT: A big revelation from the FBI about the calls they're getting since the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Plus, President Trump says that he is ready to resume trade talks with China as the National Farmers blast President Trump, saying he's making things worse, not better.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:36:02] MARQUARDT: More than 38,000, that's how many tips that the FBI received from the public in the first week of August after the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. That number is significantly higher than the average weekly total, which is around 22,000.

CNN Justice Correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is following the details.

Jessica, this is an incredible spike, around 75 percent. Of course, not all of these are actionable tips that the FBI can actually act on, but what can you tell me about those that are?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. These tips are all coming into the FBI's National Threat Operations Center. They're assessed, analyzed, and some of them are passed on to local law enforcement.

So it's possible that many of these tips that came into the FBI, they could have been passed on to local law enforcement and contributed to some of those upticks in arrests we've seen over the past few weeks based on threats.

Based on CNN's analysis late last week that we did, more than two dozen people have actually been arrested in connection with making threats since August 4th. Of course, that was the weekend when mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton killed more than -- killed 31 people total.

Now, these arrests we've seen have included an 18-year-old in Ohio, who posted online threats against federal law enforcement. His arrest actually stemmed from a long FBI investigation.

And then there were also several men in their 20s who were arrested after concerned citizens reported to both local and federal law enforcement.

So here's a breakdown of the numbers. A typical week of tips to the FBI's National Threat Operations Center numbers about 22,000. But in the week after those two mass shootings, the NTOC received 38,000 tips. That's about a 72 percent increase.

The FBI is cautioning that not all of these tips that they receive are actionable. Some of them come from people just expressing their opinions or even their gratitude to the FBI. But nonetheless, the FBI official tells me that they appreciate these tips. They encourage people to keep calling them in.

And the FBI released this statement in connection with those numbers saying that, "In the first week of August, the FBI saw an increase in tips submitted to the National Threat Operations Center. Such increases are often observed after major incidents. As always, the FBI encourages the public to remain vigilant and report any and all suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately" -- telling people to keep calling in. While the FBI isn't revealing exactly how many of these tips may have

led to some of these arrests, it is clear that more and more people may be paying attention and they're calling in their concerns to federal law enforcement.

MARQUARDT: And it can only be a good thing that more and more people are feeling a sense of civic duty that if they see something, they need to say something to hopefully stop this plague breaking out across the country.


SCHNEIDER: Yes, a lot of it.

MARQUARDT: Jessica Schneider, thanks very much.

SCHNEIDER: Thanks, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Well, it's a dramatic escalation involving several countries. Why Israel's actions are leading one country to say it's a declaration of war.

Plus, what actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, is doing as the Amazon Rainforest burns, veering towards a disaster.

[13:39:13] And a troubling new report, why more than 3,000 kidneys are being thrown away every year as thousands are dying as they wait for one.


MARQUARDT: Under a huge amount of pressure, President Donald Trump seems to be scaling back his rhetoric on his trade war with China. At least for now. These things can change, of course.

After a whirlwind weekend of going back and forth on his tariff threats, the president now says that the U.S. will resume trade negotiations with China, causing all the whiplash he says is part of his winning strategy.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So my question is, is that a strategy? Is it a strategy to call President Xi an enemy one day and then say that --


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- relations are very good the next day?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, no, no. That's the way I negotiate. It's done very well for me over the years and it's doing even better for the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MARQUARDT: It's done very well for him over the years.

Joining me now to discuss this is the president of the National Farmers Union and a third-generation farmer himself, Roger Johnson.

Roger, thanks so much for coming in today.


MARQUARDT: We talk often about the effect of the trade war on the stock market. Not enough in my view of how it affects real people, how it affects farmers around the country. The president seeming to insinuate that this economic uncertainty is good for the country. Is that what you're hearing from farmers?

JOHNSON: No. It certainly isn't good for agriculture, I can tell you that. This sort of everyday a new idea, a back-and-forth, the trade war is on, it's off, what it really has done is damaged our reputation around the world.

Agriculture is a major exporter in the U.S. Granted, the rest of the U.S. economy has a huge trade deficit, but in agriculture we have a trade surplus. That's why we're the subject, we're the object of all these sorts of -- these uprisings, this sort of turmoil that takes place.

Uncertainty is not good for us. It's not good for our markets. Net farm income is down half, 50 percent in the last six years. There's a lot of stress in agriculture. And creating this uncertainty in our export market is not good for farmers.

MARQUARDT: You've said that the president has indeed made things worse for farmers, but it's not just about the trade deal, is it? There are other elements to this?

JOHNSON: It isn't just about trade, although trade is a big part of it. The president, in just this last week, granted a bunch of exemptions to big oil to not have to comply to renewable fuel standards, which drives demand away from ethanol and other biofuels that are used to make the environment better and to lower costs for consumers.

That has a depressing impact on the market. We've seen literally more than a dozen ethanol plants that have closed in recent days, in part, as a result of the action that he's taken in that space as well.

MARQUARDT: So as a result, when you do look at all those different elements and when you do look at this whiplash when it comes to the Chinese trade deal, do you have -- do farmers have confidence, do you have confidence that the president will be able to secure some kind of fair deal, like he says he will?

JOHNSON: You know, one thing I learned a long, long time ago is it takes a lot of work and a lot of effort to develop a favorable reputation. It doesn't take very long to destroy one. And I think the same thing is true with countries. Listen, I used to be the A.G. commissioner in North Dakota. We led

dozens of trade missions all over the world. Other countries deal with one another just sort of like neighbors do. You don't want to offend them unnecessarily. And our reputation is what we use in order to sell products into other countries.

I think a lot of the actions from this administration that have offended leaders of other countries all around the world -- Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, the E.U., the U.K., just go around the globe -- these actions have consequences.

And they are going to make it that much more difficult for us to regain market share when and if we ever get a deal with China or any of the other places that we're attempting to negotiate trade deals.

MARQUARDT: This is obviously a fierce trade war with China. Over the weekend, we heard something that you say you've heard before, this time from Senator Lindsey Graham. Let's take a listen to that.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The Democrats for years have been claiming that China should be stood up to. Now Trump is and we just got to accept the pain that comes with standing up to China. How do you get China to change without creating some pain on them and us? I don't know.


MARQUARDT: We've got to accept the pain. Are farmers willing to accept the pain as the Senator says?

JOHNSON: Listen, farmers will accept pain if it's necessary.

But what we are asking China to do, we should be really clear about. The president is asking China to change their form of government. They have a form of government and economic system that's fundamentally not compatible with market economies like the U.S. and other democratic institutions around the world.

That's not to say that China shouldn't change. Absolutely, they should change. But for the president to argue that he's going to change the Chinese form of government and do it all alone? I mean, I just think it is -- this is an enormous undertaking.

Yes, it should be happening, but it shouldn't be happening in this fashion. We should be gathering other allies around the world to work with us to hold China accountable instead of picking fights with everyone else in the world.

MARQUARDT: Roger Johnson, we have to leave it there. Thank you for bringing it all home for us.

JOHNSON: You're welcome.

MARQUARDT: Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is making her first public appearance since the revelation that she got treatment for pancreatic cancer. Hear what she said.

[13:50:06] Plus, what Brazil is and is not doing as the Amazon Rainforest burns at a record rate. We will take you right there. That's coming up.


[13:54:56] MARQUARDT: Tensions are flaring between arch enemies Israel and Iran right now. This comes after an airstrike near the Syrian capital of Damascus, an airstrike that Israel has claimed responsibility for, saying that it foiled a planned Iranian drone attack.

CNN International Correspondent, Sam Kiley, has more from Jerusalem.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alex, Donald Trump may have gone some way to help bring some of the tension down in this region, which has escalated dramatically over the weekend, by saying that he would be prepared, perhaps, to speak with Iran's President Rouhani.

And that is because, over the last few days, the Israelis have taken responsibility for airstrikes against what they said were Iranian targets, preparing to attack Israel inside Syria.

But they have not taken responsibility for drone operations inside Lebanon, blamed on Israel for three airstrikes. Also in Lebanon against Palestinian militants. And indeed, more airstrikes against the Iranian-backed militia inside Iraq. The Iraqis have reacted with extreme anger to that.

And at the same time, of course, Iran has now announced that it is going to be driving a destroyer through the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Aden, adding to the tensions in and around the Persian Gulf.

So amidst all of this, any kind of sign of reconciliation, particularly coming from the U.S. president, would be most welcome -- Alex?


MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Sam Kiley, in Jerusalem.

Now to Brazil, where massive wildfires are burning through the Amazon wildfire at a record pace.

According to the country's National Institute for Space Research, an area the size of one and a half soccer fields is being destroyed every single minute. The fires, of course, sparking international outcry. Which has triggered the deployment of more than 40,000 Brazilian troops to battle the blaze.

And then at this weekend's G-7 summit, world leaders pledged $20 million to fight those fires. CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, is in

Brazil and got an aerial view of those raging fires.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is little below but ghosts. And even they seem to be given up on. These are the newest fires in the worst hit state in the Amazon.

We didn't see below us any of the 43,000 troops Brazil's president has pledged to the fight. In fact, in some places, it's so bad you can't even see how bad it is.

That will suit just fine those who would rather ignore the world's most urgent environmental crisis.

No matter how high you are, you can't escape the smoke. We even close our air vents inside the plane to stop it.

The sun made this green paradise over millennia but now barely peeks through to smoke of its destruction.

(voice-over): Well, these apocalyptic sites are kind of like the warnings about what might happen if the world doesn't do something about the climate crisis that you keep hearing, but instead, it's right below us right here and right now.


WALSH: What's startling is how much of this immense jungle people have managed to destroy in so short of time.

(on camera): Unbelievable.

WALSH (voice-over): They had help. Fires they lit and that happened naturally in the dry heat, but usually peak later in the year.

ROSANA VILLAR, SPOKESWOMAN, GREENPEACE BRAZIL: This is not just a forest burning. This is almost a cemetery because all you can see is dead. Amazon, it's extremely fundamental for the water system for all over the continent. So if we cut off the forest, in some years, we're not going to have rain on the south of the country.

WALSH: We find another area where the damage is fresher and easier to see raging in straight lines, swallowing everything left on the plain.

And when you look at this, you learn something about yourself. Do you see a crisis impacting every fifth breath you take and killing the future or do you see what man must do to nature to enrich himself and live better?

The answer means little below, where the fire burns our heritage and suffocates our future regardless of how we feel about it.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WALSH: Kind of extraordinary here, really, on the ground, how little the response seems to have been so far. The Brazilian army are doing what they can. But $20 million pledged by the richest seven nations on earth, that is pitiful, frankly, not a lot.

And it's been hit with a backdrop of squabbles. President Donald Trump not turning up to the meeting about climate change. Said he had other meetings to attend. And French President Emmanuel Macron in a sort of a spat with the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over an offensive meme that the Brazilian president seemed to comment on.

Really, all of this distracting from the urgency of what has to be done right now.

Back to you.

[14:00:07] MARQUARDT: Yes, $20 million, really a paltry amount.

Nick Paton Walsh, thanks for that terrific report.

That's it for me. I'm Alex Marquardt. "CNN NEWSROOM" starts right now.