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Biden Accuses Trump Of Abuse Of Power In Whistleblower Drama; Trump Insisting Somebody Should Dig Into Biden's Ukraine Dealings Regarding Prosecutor He Helped Get Fired; Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) Is Interviewed About The Withholding Of The Whistleblower Complaint From Congress, The Trump Administration Asking Ukraine To Investigate The Bidens; Booker Faces Do-Or-Die Moment On Campaign Trail; Warren Once Again Calls For Impeachment Over Ukraine Controversy; Patriots Cut Antonio Brown Amid Sexual Misconduct Claims; Young Swedish Activist, Greta Thunberg At Heart Of Global Action; Historic Flooding From Tropical Storm Imelda Devastates Parts Of Texas; Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) Kicks Off Primary Challenge To Incumbent Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 21, 2019 - 15:00   ET



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Good afternoon. I'm Alex Marquardt, in for Ana Cabrera. Thank you so much for joining me.

Abuse of power is the message delivered in blunt terms from a fired up former Vice President Joe Biden to a FOX News reporter asking him about the widely debunked conspiracy theory pushed by the president that involves Biden, his son, Hunter, and Ukraine.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You should be looking at Trump. Trump is doing this because he knows I'll beat him like a drum.


MARQUARDT: Beat him like a drum.

CNN's Jessica Dean is live at the steak fry in Iowa where Biden and 16 other Democratic candidates are campaigning this afternoon. It really is quite a scene there.

She has this entire exchange with Biden to share with us.

First, we have to say repeatedly, there's no evidence of any wrongdoing by either Biden or his son. This has been deeply looked into by the media and others.

But this latest chapter started just a few days ago when a whistleblower from the Intelligence Community filed a complaint about communications between President Trump and a foreign leader.

And then a source tells CNN that, on a July 25th call with Ukraine's new president, President Trump pressed the Ukrainian leader to investigate Joe Biden's son, Hunter.

Yesterday, we saw the former V.P. essentially dodge the question, but today, Jessica, not so much.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alex, that is exactly right. Today, he went right after President Trump in all of this and really hit right at the heart of it.

And as you mentioned, there's absolutely no evidence any of these allegations are true. It has been looked into. No evidence.

But this is a page out of the playbook of President Trump and his allies. In fact, Joe Biden kind of knew all of this would come in terms of attacks on his family going back to may at a fundraiser when he told a group, I know they're going to come after me and my family. Here we are. It has now happened.

Take a listen to this exchange just a little bit earlier here in Iowa.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Vice president, how many times have you ever spoken to your son about his overseas business dealings?

BIDEN: I've never spoken to my son about the overseas business dealings.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you know -- how do you know --


BIDEN: Here's what I know. I know Trump deserves to be investigated. He is violating every basic norm of a president. You should be asking him the questions.

Why is he on the phone with a foreign leader trying to intimidate a foreign leader? If that's what happened. That appears to be what happened. You should be looking at Trump.

Trump is doing this because he knows I'll beat him like a drum. And he is using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me.

Everybody that looked at this and everybody's that looked at it said there's nothing there. Ask the right questions.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Should he be impeached for this?

BIDEN: Depending on what the House finds, he could be impeached, but I'm not making that judgment now. The House should investigate it. The House should investigate this. This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power. So get on the

phone with a foreign leader who is looking for help from the United States and ask about me and imply things, if that's what happened, that appears to be what happened, we know that's what Giuliani did.

This is outrageous. You have never seen anything like this before.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said before you entered the race one of your concerns was about your family being brought into this race. Are you comfortable running a campaign in which --


BIDEN: I know what I'm up against. I know what I'm up against, a serial abuser. That's what this guy is. He abuses power everywhere he can. And he sees any threat to his staying in power, he'll do whatever he has to do. But this crosses the line.

But this crossed the line.


BIDEN: This crosses the line.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sir, what are you calling on the president to do?

BIDEN: I'm calling on the president to release the transcript of the call. Let everybody hear what it is. Let the House see it and see what he did. That's what I'm calling on him --


DEAN: Senator Kamala Harris just wrapping up here at the Iowa steak fry and she touched on this and expressed utter dismay telling the crowd here we need a new commander-in-chief.

I interviewed Senator Cory Booker earlier. He said this is the most shocking thing he has seen President Trump be accused of doing.

Alex, we are hearing about it here at the steak fry.

Vice President Biden is slated to speak later this afternoon. It remains to be seen if he'll talk about it but we'll keep an eye on it -- Alex?

MARQUARDT: The former vice president there calling for an investigation into this. There are, in fact, three House committees that are investigating this.

Jessica Dean, in Des Moines, thank you very much. We are, in fact, expecting to hear from the former vice president

again later this hour. We will be keeping, of course, a close eye on that.


Now, despite, as Jessica and I were saying, this conspiracy theory being widely debunked, President Trump keeps insisting that somebody should dig into Biden's dealings in Ukraine regarding a Ukrainian prosecutor that he did help get fired.

This is a very complicated story involving a lot of different people. So how did we get here?


MARQUARDT (voice-over): What should have been a routine call between world leaders was anything but. On a July 25th call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Trump pressed President Zelensky to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on digging up dirt on Joe Biden's son.

The White House said the two presidents discussed strengthening the relationship without giving specifics.

But Ukraine said they talked about the investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.

In May, the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said he was going to Ukraine to push the new president to investigate Joe Biden and his son's links to a gas company. He canceled the trip. But then in July, he went to Madrid to meet with an aide to President Zelensky to talk about Biden.

Biden's son, Hunter, had served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, which Ukraine's prosecutor general was supposed to be looking into. But in 2016, Joe Biden, as vice president, played a prominent role in getting the prosecutor fired because he had been ignoring corruption.

Biden joining other countries and groups in the widespread push to get Ukraine to clean up its act.

Fast forward to 2019, and President Trump, his lawyer, and many supporters pounced, accusing Biden of helping out his son.

Now there are questions about whether that push by Trump and Giuliani is tied to the late-August move by the White House to put a hold on $250 million in military aid for Ukraine, which was later released.

On September 1st, Vice President Mike Pence met with Zelensky. When asked about the efforts to get dirt on Joe Biden, the vice president danced around it.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As President Trump has made clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.


MARQUARDT: Whatever the alleged promise that the whistleblower says that the president reportedly made, Democrats in Congress are vowing to get to the bottom of those claims.

ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): They deserve a thorough investigation. That's what we're intent on doing and, come hell or high water, that's what we'll do.


MARQUARDT: Come hell or high water, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said.

Now the acting director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, who is the one who blocked the whistleblower complaint from Congress, is due to testify in front of Schiff's House Intelligence Committee next Thursday. He will also be testifying in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee at some point next week.

Of course, we expect Maguire will have to explain why the White House and the Department of Justice have told him not to hand over that whistleblower complaint.

MARQUARDT: Now to discuss all of this and more I'm joined this afternoon by Democratic Congressman John Garamendi, from California. He does sit on the House Armed Services Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining me this afternoon.


MARQUARDT: There's so much to discuss.

Let's start with Ukraine and the whistleblower complaint. You are, in fact, going, I understand, to Ukraine later this month. And I imagine you plan to sit down with the leadership there and ask about these conversations that they had with Rudy Giuliani and President Trump.

But we know from Rudy Giuliani, who is, of course, the president's personal lawyer, his own admission to our Chris Cuomo, in addition to our own reporting, that he and the president have pressured the president of Ukraine, Zelensky, to investigate Biden and his son. What specifically, Congressman, do you want to find out?

GARAMENDI: We certainly want to find out about that.

The original intent of the trip was to look at the work being done in the Eastern European countries, including Ukraine, to push back on Russia's aggression in Ukraine. And also to bolster the NATO presence in Eastern Europe.

In the intervening weeks since we planned this trip, we now have all of this occurring and, yes, this will be part of it. Particularly the $250 million and perhaps another $140 million that the Ukrainian military needs to be prepared to deal with Russia.

We will meet with the various ministers. Whether we will have an opportunity to meet with Zelensky or not remains to be seen.

In any case, this is a major, major problem in the relationship between the United States, Ukraine and, certainly, a major problem between the president and the Congress.

MARQUARDT: Congressman, we are hearing from the Ukrainian foreign minister. He was saying that, counter to this reporting there was pressure from the President Trump to investigate Joe Biden and his son, the Ukrainian foreign minister right now is saying, "I think there was no pressure during that call between the Ukrainian president and Donald Trump."

So what evidence have you seen of pressure from the American president to Ukraine? You were just mentioning that military aid money to defend against Russia.


GARAMENDI: Well, that is one thing we know for certain is that the president, following the phone conversations, did decide to withhold or delay the $250 million that has previously been approved to be delivered to Ukraine. That we know for a fact.

We also know that, when it hit the fan, that there was a whistleblower or just before that the president did release the money. Those are things we do know.

As to what came of the conversation and what was said in the conversation, there's reporting that eight times the president did suggest that there be an investigation.

We do know that Rudy Giuliani was in Madrid, I guess, actually Portugal, to meet with the leadership in the Ukrainian government. Those are things that are known.

We also know that the president's troops are stonewalling Congress and stopping the legitimate and necessary, by law, release of the information that the whistleblower has presented, appropriately, through the channels. Now, those are things we know.

Beyond that, I would expect the Ukrainian government to try to stay out of the line of fire, to try to minimize whatever was said, and to make nice to the president, who will, for some time, until the next election or the next impeachment, continue to be in power here in the United States.

And so the foreign minister is doing exactly what I expect a foreign minister to do, no, no, not a big deal. We'll see. We have to have this investigation.

Bottom line, we have to end the stonewalling that the administration has put around the investigations that Congress has legitimately and constitutional right to investigate. MARQUARDT: Well, the House Intelligence Committee is, in fact,

investigating. You do not sit on that committee.

GARAMENDI: That is correct.

MARQUARDT: We do understand that Joseph Maguire, the acting DNI, is going to be testifying in an open session, so not a closed session where he can talk about classified information, but an open session. What do you expect that he can reveal?

And I should note to our viewers, we do know from our own reporting he was pressured by the White House counsel and the DOJ to not pass along this whistleblower complaint to Congress.

What more clarity do you think we can get from the acting DNI next week when he testifies to the House Intel Committee?

GARAMENDI: Well, I would expect one question. That is, why are you not following the clear letter of the law. The clear letter of the law says, when there's a credible whistleblower that goes to the I.G. and the I.G. finds it to be credible, that then goes to the fellow that is going to be appearing next week. And he has two weeks to deliver that information to Congress.

He has not followed the law. So undoubtedly, the question will be, why are you not following the law.

From there, it'll go back to the Attorney General Barr and to the White House that are saying, block it, don't do it. We'll see what happens here.

The committee is very capable. Adam Schiff knows exactly what is going on. We'll see what comes of that.

For me, I have a larger question or a different question and that is, why did the president remove $770 million of money that NATO needs to bolster its defenses in Eastern Europe.

This is an enormous gift to Putin. The president has taken that money to build a border wall somewhere along the Mexican border. That's one big gift to Putin. To say nothing of this controversy in the Ukraine.

MARQUARDT: You're referring to the $3.6 billion of military funds diverted for the border wall.


MARQUARDT: That, Congressman, is a whole other matter we'll have to discuss some other time.

Congressman John Garamendi, thank you so much for joining me today.

GARAMENDI: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, Antonio Brown, the football player is out of a job again. The NFL player is addressing his release from the New England Patriots after new allegations against him.


And Senator Cory Booker is facing a really do-or-die moment on the campaign trail. Why he says he could drop out of the race soon. That's coming up.


MARQUARDT: Democratic presidential candidates are back in Iowa today. And 17 candidates there, in fact, for the state's famous steak fry. They're grilling, they're stumping, and there's of course some dancing as well.

And they're pleading for donations.

Senator Cory Booker tweeting this very honest statement today, saying, "We're at a crossroads in this campaign. We need to raise $1.7 million by September 30th to be in a position to build the organization we need to compete for the nomination. And we can do it. But if we don't, we don't see a legitimate long-term path forward."

Here is what he told CNN in the last hour.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): We decided when we looked at budget numbers over this week that we cannot continue a winning campaign into the fourth quarter where you need to hire or when you need to do ads. There are so many things you have to do to win.

So far, we've positioned ourselves to win this election. Right now, on so many metrics on the ground, we're running a great election to win. But we can't continue this without more support.

I won't continue this unless I can look people in the eye and say we have a chance to win it. So if you believe in me, this is the time to help because, without it, we shouldn't be in this race.


MARQUARDT: With us to take stock of where the heated race stands, we have the National Politics Reporter for "Yahoo News," Brittany Shepherd, and the White House Correspondent for "The Daily Mail," Francesca Chambers.

Thank you both for being with me.

Brittany, I want to start with you.

This Booker tweet and those comments that we just heard to our Jessica Dean, this is really a reminder to all of us how important donors and fundraising and all of those dollars are in American presidential politics.

When you hear what he is saying and what he is writing, this plea, how vulnerable do you think he is right now with this end of the quarter looming just a couple days away?

BRITTANY SHEPHERD, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, YAHOO NEWS: I think he is at his most vulnerable. Cory Booker has been known for being an open politician when he speaks to voters. He has a very humanizing quality about him when meeting people one-on-one.

He is saying, look, my campaign is a bit cash poor right now and, honestly, we don't know what to do if we are not going to be raising a certain amount of money in the next 10 days.


I want to reiterate this campaign did something very similar in the spring when they were closing on the last quarter I believe in March. They had to raise 1.4 million and they did.

In the grand scheme of things, $1.7 million isn't a ton of money. But the most vulnerable inflection point is, look, we're polling under Andrew Yang, so where do we go from here?

You do see him talking to other Democrats saying, you don't even have to support me, Cory Booker, but don't you want someone who is a person of color who speaks to people on the ground in this race, too?

It is kind of an interesting inflection point, where lower polling candidates go from here.

MARQUARDT: Francesca, talk about that. Is this an inflection point? We've looked at Booker and he made every single debate stage. He really is to some extent on a different level of candidate than those who have dropped out.

If he is out next week after September 30th, is that a tipping point and will it cause others to leave the field in a significant way?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE DAILY MAIL: You have to look at Cory Booker specifically. His best fundraising days have been immediately after the debates.

Now the amount of money he is trying to raise now in the next 10 days is essentially what he raised after the first two debates on the very next day.

So while he is going to try and do it over 10 days right now, the campaign felt it had to do something to try and boost its numbers.

I was talking to a spokesperson for Cory Booker today and they said they didn't see that kind of boost after the last debate. And so they really had to come to the realization that if they didn't do something quick he wouldn't be able to raise that kind of money he would need for the long stretch beyond Iowa.

MARQUARDT: Brittany, we did see this dramatic moment with Joe Biden earlier at the steak fry when he went off on reporters there talking about President Trump and pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate his son. Biden was asked whether he thinks it is impeachable. Let's listen to

his answer quickly.


BIDEN: Depending on what the House finds, it could be impeachment. I'm not making that judgment now. The House should investigate this. The House should investigate this.

This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power. To get on the phone with a foreign leader, who is looking for help from the United States, and ask about me and imply things, if that is what happened.


MARQUARDT: Brittany, to you, Biden needs to be careful here. He is getting into a fight with Donald Trump, which can be good for him, but it also has us talking about this issue that may raise questions in voters' minds. Do you think, when you hear Biden today, that he is doing a good job walking that line?

SHEPHERD: We've always heard Joe Biden say this election is very personal for him and that is the reason he didn't run in the last race because he had a very personal family problem with his son, Beau, who passed away.

This claim by Donald Trump and the administration has been debunked even by Ukrainian officials that his son and himself have benefited off of a company that the family worked with.

You know, as far as smart campaigning, I think voters aren't paying attention the way the "yous" and "mes" of the world are with these kinds of scandals.

Outrage has changed since the last two years. So I really think this might not move the needle as we might think it could.

MARQUARDT: Another presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, the Senator from Massachusetts, has been on stage at that steak fry talking about the Trump/Ukraine controversy. Let's listen to what she had to say.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): The government tried to investigate those activities. Donald Trump did everything he could to obstruct justice. I read all 448 pages and, when I got to the end, I called for the impeachment of Donald Trump.


WARREN: Congress failed to act.

And now Donald Trump has shown that he believes he is above the law. He has solicited another foreign government to attack our election system. It is time for us to call out this illegal behavior and start

impeachment proceedings right now.



MARQUARDT: Francesca, we heard Senator Warren there talking about starting impeachment proceedings. This is not something new for her but now we have this added element of the Ukraine controversy. Your reaction to what she said?

CHAMBERS: So, this is one point to your earlier question that is helpful for Joe Biden, which is that other top 2020 competitors are pointing the finger at Donald Trump on this issue and using it as a battle cry for impeachment for Donald Trump so far.


It is not as if in addition to the White House, he has other 2020 candidates attacking him on this issue.

Moving on from that, Donald Trump, yesterday, I think the part where the White House is in a sticky situation, is that he never claimed, I didn't do that, I didn't say that. He said, I don't want to talk about that conversation. And he said that he didn't have to talk about that conversation. And he said it doesn't matter what we discussed.

So moving forward for the White House, they'll have to face some tough questions about what Donald Trump did say in that conversation and why he hasn't slapped it down and said that he never did that, which is something Rudy Giuliani says that Joe Biden should do.

MARQUARDT: Whether that will actually resonate with his supporters, his base, is another big question.

Brittany Shepherd, Francesca Chambers, thanks so much for breaking that down for me.

And be sure to tune in at 8:00 tonight when we will unveil the results of a brand-new CNN/"Des Moines Register" poll.

Now another twist in the story surrounding Antonio Brown's turbulent NFL career. He is out of a job again. The new allegations that led to his release.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



MARQUARDT: It is one of the most stunning reversals of fortune in the NFL this season and it's leaving football fans wondering what is next for Antonio Brown. The New England Patriots cut him on Friday after just 11 days and only one game.

But Brown's second departure from a team in less than one month comes after newly revealed allegations of sexual misconduct.

Our Nick Valencia is following the developments for us.

Nick, what's Brown saying now?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brown, as you know, Alex, had been relatively quiet about the allegations he is facing. After being fired by the New England Patriots after just 11 days and one game, he broke his silence earlier this week and gave a short press conference to reporters. And then talked about his firing on Twitter. He has been posting a lot on Instagram referencing the firing.

Look, for anyone who's been closely following this, it should come as no surprise that the Patriots released him. In fact, all you had to do was listen to head coach, Bill Belichick, and his responses to the answers about the situation surrounding Brown. He walked out of a press conference after just four minutes.


BILL BELICHICK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS HEAD COACH: I'm not going to have any comment on any off-the-field situations or questions on that. Not going to get into that.

I think I've already addressed this so we're going to get ready for the Jets here. Happy to answer any football questions. The rest of it I'm done with the rest of it.

So, yes. That's -- yes. I'm good. OK? Thank you.


VALENCIA: What may have been the final straw was what happened earlier this week. A second woman came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. This woman had been hired to paint a mural in his home at which point she says in an exclusive interview with "Sports Illustrated" he emerged naked holding just a small towel over his genitals.

It is important to note here there have been no federal charges pursued.

Britney Taylor, who has accused the athlete of rape, has filed a federal civil lawsuit and the second accuser says she doesn't want to pursue charges at all.

This is far from over. The NFL is also investigating here. They released a statement last night saying there's a chance he could be put on the commissioner's exempt list if he gets picked up by another team.

So, Alex, it would be very hard to imagine another team in the NFL would take a chance on him knowing that if he is put on this list he can't play or practice and they would still have to pay him -- Alex?

MARQUARDT: Absolutely right.

Nick Valencia, thanks so much.

VALENCIA: You got it.

MARQUARDT: All right. Coming up, in the southeast of Texas, we have seen life-threatening flooding that has swamped neighborhoods. One survivor has compared the damage to that scene after Hurricane Harvey.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



MARQUARDT: It was a dramatic sight to say the least in cities all around the world on Friday. Masses of people gathering in the fight against climate change. There was a strike by students who left school for the day backed up by others who believe this is a moment. A real call to arms.

The strike is part of a movement being led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who will address the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

And she sat down ahead of that with our chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir.



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If today marks an explosion of young climate activism, she was a most unlikely lighter.


WEIR: A tiny, soft-spoken Swede --

THUNBERG: I am here to say our house is on fire.

WEIR: -- named Greta Thunberg.

THUNBERG: We have come here to let you know that change is coming whether you like it or not.

WEIR: She is an old soul at 16, long fixated on the warnings from science that without dramatic action she will inherit a dying planet.

THUNBERG: When I was 11, I became very depressed. I stopped eating, and I stopped talking, and I stopped going to school. It had a lot to do with the climate and the environment. WEIR: But after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, when she saw American kids walking out of school to demand gun reform, she plopped down in front of Parliament and vowed to stay until Sweden meets the carbon-cutting targets of the Paris Accords.

THUNBERG: The symbolism of the school strike is that since you adults don't give a damn about my future, I won't either.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She retweeted. She's going to be one for the history books.

WEIR: Thanks to the power of social media, within months, 1.4 million kids across dozens of countries joined her in the streets.

THUNBERG: This is only the beginning of the beginning. Trust me. Thank you.


WEIR: By scolding the rich and powerful, she made such waves on the world stage that when she caught a zero-carbon sailboat ride to America --

THUNBERG: It's very rough. There are very high waves.

WEIR: -- a prominent conservative in Britain tweeted, "Freak yachting accidents to happen in August."

(on camera): What's your reaction to something like that?

THUNBERG: For me, that is just, in a way, funny. It's like they don't have any arguments left so they -- so they have to just mock me or mock me about my diagnosis or my appearance, in a way. It is a positive sign that something is happening they feel threatened by this movement. That means we are making a difference.

WEIR (voice-over): After meeting with President Obama, testifying on Capitol Hill, and showing solidarity with the young plaintiffs suing the nation into action, she will join kids from around the world in an effort to shame the United Nations into action.

WEIR (on camera): You have been open, your mom has been open about the way your brain is wired. That your Asperger's may have a lot to do with your focus on this issue. Do you think that is your sort of superpower when it comes to this?


THUNBERG: I mean, to be different is a strength. My diagnosis has definitely helped me keep the focus on this because when you are interested about something you just continue to read about it and you get super-focused.

WEIR (voice-over): She has actually read the dense, depressing warnings of the IPCC reports.

THUNBERG: I don't want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists.

WEIR: What she believes, when more people join her, they, too, will turn depression into action.

THUNBERG: This is not a drill. My name is Greta Thunberg.


MARQUARDT: An old soul, indeed. That was our Bill Weir speaking with an extraordinary young woman, Greta Thunberg. Remember that name.

We'll be right back.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (voice-over): Last year, more than 28 million travelers worldwide took to the seas on cruise lines. As the industry of cruise liners grows, it brings a bigger impact on the environment, a problem Norwegian cruise company, Hurtigruten, has been trying to offset with a new fleet of hybrid ships.

(on camera): The company's move to hybrid comes ahead of the sea change in the industry itself. Come January, sulfur from heavy fuel oil will have to be a fraction of what it was for decades, setting off a scramble in the industry for solutions.

(voice-over): These engine rooms will soon be transformed to new hybrid systems combining marine gas oil with electric battery packs and even biogas, produced from organic waste from Norway's fisheries and forests.

DANIEL SKJELDAM, CEO, HURTIGRUTEN: Our aim is to show it is possible we can build the world's first hybrid-powered cruise ship with batteries, that we can be the first to start using biogas, and then we expect others to pick it up.

John Defterios, CNN, Norway.




MARQUARDT: Heavy rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda is finally moving out of Texas but the storm has left much of the Houston area a flooded mess. Hundreds of cars are under water, left abandoned. Roads are blocked.

Raging waters have forced more than 400 rescues after 43 inches of rain fell in some parts of the state in just three days.

Our Ryan Young is there in Huffman, Texas.

Ryan, this is a state, a city of Houston still very much recovering from Hurricane Harvey two years ago. I was there. It was brutal and devastated the region. What kind of damage are you seeing now?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. When you talk to those people, you know they were feeling the pain from that. A lot of people just recovered.

But I want to show you something. First of all, this is where I'm standing. This all had water yesterday. We're in the middle of the road. As we walk up the street, you can see this happening.

Look, this is the only way in and out to the neighborhood for some people. You can see some people are making the decision to go in the water to try to walk back to their place. This decision gets made over and over throughout the day because, for the most part, most cars can't pass through here.

We have seen some people take some very high trucks and try to get through here. But when you see the water like this, and know the pain people experienced, just listen to these folks a little earlier who made the decision to deal with all this and what it has been like over the last few hours.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just surreal. It's crazy. We drive down these roads every day but going down there in a boat is a whole different ball game. You know, you feel like you're on the lake instead. These people are just like (EXPLETIVE DELETED) not again.

YOUNG: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the other side, houses in about six or seven inches of water. We just went in and pulled up carpet, tore up sheet rock. A lot of my friends live back there. It's pretty tough.


YOUNG: Alex, you can see the tough decisions some people are trying to make right now even as we're live making the decision to try to walk through this water to get home. Some people haven't been home yet so they're trying to see what the damage is.

That one woman walked right by us and, of course, now she's got some air filters as she is walking across to get back home.

You see these two people actually carrying their pets on the way over there.

I talked to some folks who said this was worse than Harvey because the water actually came to places it had never been before. A lot of times the water has receded but this particular neighborhood is still dealing with a tough time.

MARQUARDT: Not again. That about sums it up.

Ryan Young, thanks very much to you. And our thoughts are with the people of that region, of course. Now to this week's "CNN Hero." Three times a week every week,

superior court judge, Craig Mitchell, wakes up at 3:30 a.m. to try to change the lives of those struggling with poverty, homelessness, and addiction on Los Angeles' Skid Row neighborhood. His unique strategy? Running.


CRAIG MITCHELL, CNN HERO: Running is a mechanism for the participants to build relationships.

This is the one time I'm at the front of the pack.

Lawyers, social workers, people from all different walks of life running with people who are recovering from addiction and homelessness.

Good job.

We affirm. We listen. We support. It shows what open-minded people who really care about each other, how they can treat one another. It's a lesson in and of itself.


MARQUARDT: To see how running can create a support network that really does help people get off the streets, you can head over to


We'll be right back.


MARQUARDT: He's a member of the most famous family in at least Massachusetts politics. A descendant of one America's best-known political dynasties. And he's now running for the United States Senate. Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy III is surprising many by taking on an incumbent from his own party who has served in Congress for more than four decades.

Athena Jones is in Boston where Kennedy kicked off his campaign this morning.

Athena, how is Congressman Kennedy justifying this primary challenge? Let's take a listen.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Alex. Rep. Kennedy's run sets up a fight between two political power houses. You have Senator Ed Markey, who's been in the Senate since 1976, longer than Kennedy has been alive, and you have a Kennedy, the grandson of Bobby Kennedy, running for office, running for Senate in a city and state that has shown a lot of love for the Kennedys over the years. While some expect this to be the race centers around a generational

argument since both candidates largely agree on major issues. Congressman Kennedy argues it's going to be more than that. He has new ideas, a new approach. He says Democrats need to do more in 2020 than to defeat President Trump and he's talking about big structural changes to what he calls a broken system.

I asked him how he's going to differentiate himself from Senator Markey? Here's part of his answer.

REP. JOE KENNEDY, (D-MA): I disagree on a number of areas. To begin with, one, structural reform. We need to get PAC money out of our system. I've rejected that. Senator Markey has not. I believe that you need to call for term limits for the Supreme Court to try to lower the temperature in the partisanship. I believe we need to abolish the Electoral College so you get the president that this country votes for and wants.

I look forward to seeing Senator Markey's views on more than that.


And more than that. It's about economic justice. I've laid out a wide variety of plans that I think we need to engage in order to make our economic system far more fair.

But, yes, there's going to be areas where we overlap and he's been a strong leader on climate.


JONES: One more --


JONES: He made his announcement here in east Boston because this is where -- just steps away from this very spot, his father's parents first arrived here from Ireland in 1848. And he highlighted his family's long history of public service in his remarks.

And I should note, as I mentioned before, there's a lot of love for Kennedys in this state. The latest poll from the "Boston Globe" and Suffolk University that came out just after Labor Day shows Kennedy way ahead, 14 points ahead of Markey in a head-to-head matchup, and nine points ahead of Markey in the rest of the field with the other primary challengers when you look at the whole field -- Alex?


MARQUARDT: That's going to be a race to watch.

Our thanks to Athena Jones, in Boston.

Still ahead, holy smokes, Batman. Why this familiar signal is lighting up the skies around the world today.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


MARQUARDT: Today, people around the world are honoring D.C. Comic's iconic caped crusader. This year marks Batman's 80th anniversary. On this date in 1929, the first Batman comic was released in New York.

To celebrate, cities worldwide, including Rome, Italy, are beaming up that famous bat signal at 8:00 p.m. local time. In Tokyo, fans dressed up as their favorite Batman characters.


D.C. Comics calls it a once-in-a-lifetime event, comparing it to a color eclipse.