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Trump To Hold Reno Rally As Wildfires Ravage West Coast; Oregon Prepares For Mass Fatality Incident As Fires Ravage State; Labor Department Fines Smithfield Over Meatpacking Plant Outbreak; Mark Lauritsen, International V.P., UFCW Union, Discusses Labor Department Fining Smithfield Foods In First Coronavirus Citation; Senators Demand Recalls After Report Finds Amazon's Own Products Are Being Flagged As Hazards; Kenosha Shooting Survivor Recounts Attack. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 12, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with historic and devastating wildfires. Referring to much of the West Coast at least 26 people have died in California, Oregon and Washington State. Millions of acres have turned into ash. And those numbers are expected to rise. Nearly 100 fires are burning in 12 western states prompting air quality alerts for most of the West Coast.
This as health experts warn that smoke from the wildfires can actually make people more susceptible to coronavirus and other infections. In just a few hours, the president heads to Reno, Nevada, where a dark and hazy sky will be his backdrop during the rally there today. And besides a tweet late last night from the president, he has largely remained silent about the fires.
But the White House just announced that the President will visit California on Monday and be briefed on the devastation. CNN's Camila Bernal is in Marion County, Oregon. A state with 14 major fires burning right now. And Camilla last hour you reported zero containment. Is that still the case?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. It's still the case, because from this point forward, they're going to try to start making progress. But before this, all they were doing was really trying to save as many people in as many homes as possible. So zero percent at the moment. And the worst part is that you add the visibility, the low visibility, and you add this thick, thick cloud of smoke a permanent cloud of smoke essentially
I want to show you what it looks like. We're trying to get as close to the fire as possible, but they have these roadblocks because it is so difficult to see. You can't see five or 10 feet in front of you. And so it makes it difficult not only for the residents in this area, but for the firefighters. So they're really only letting a selective group of people into this area. One of the people who was in there and came back out told us that he was working in the area and that there is a meat market about eight miles up the road that is no longer there.
That there are still homes in this area up in flames. And there are people who of course want to get in and see what happened to their homes. We just spoke to one woman, Mrs. Brown who came up to us and told us that she's been looking at her home camera, but she told us how devastating and how difficult it is to have to evacuate and to have to keep looking and to be anxious and alert trying to figure out if your home is still standing. Take a listen to what she told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROLEE BROWN, MARION COUNTY RESIDENT: It's unreal. You don't really -- you can't really fathom what is going on. You know, you think this isn't really happening but yes, we better be prepared. You know, you take what you think. You know and you just -- you just get out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL: She says she has not been able to sleep looking at her home camera, but thankfully she says she's one of the blessed and lucky ones who still has a home standing. She really ended up with the interview telling me that she just wants 2020 to be over because her father was diagnosed with COVID-19 she's already had to move two times because of these evacuations.
So these stories are just the ones that are so heartbreaking to hear and to see and to know that there are some families going through an even worse time because there are people who are missing at this point and that of course is a lot harder, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Oh, yes. That -- a lot of people are fearing about when they're able to really traverse the area and try to get an account of people who are missing. And just as in the woman who you interviewed she was wearing, you know, a mask. Many are wearing masks not just for coronavirus, but also because of all this smoke. Can you tell us how difficult it is to breathe there?
BERNAL: It is very difficult because it's not only the breathing, it's also irritating on your eyes. And so, it makes it so hard for these firefighters. They've told us that there are times when they can't see the fire line. And so imagine that when you're really trying to be up against these flames and they can't see them, they can't be up in the air, not only fighting the flames but also looking to see where this fire is going.
BERNAL: So, it's making it so much harder. Governor Kate Brown saying this is the worst in the world in terms of air quality and moving forward. Firefighters are even telling us that this is not going away. Fred?
WHITFIELD: That's terrible. All right. Camila Bernal, thank you so much for. All right. Joining me right now to discuss this, Dr. Mizuho Morrison. An emergency medicine physician in Southern California. Doctor, good to see you. How concerned are you about this poor air quality because of the wild forest fires that spans so many states?
DR. MIZUHO MORRISON, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Yes, you know, thank you so much for having me, Fredericka. We are definitely concerned, the fact that we can visibly see how bad the air quality is, is definitely not a good sign. But even more concerning are those invisible pollutants so things like ozone, the particulate matters, the dangerous gases, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, et cetera.
And the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA actually monitors these and I do recommend people go to their Web site and go to air now.gov/aqi. And you can actually see the air quality index in your area. You can -- I did it this morning. I entered in my ZIP code and it tells you color coded sort of how dangerous the air quality is. And so, certainly patients who are at risk or those with any lung disease, so asthma, COPD, emphysema, et cetera, obviously our elderly patients and then the younger children as well.
WHITFIELD: President Trump is expected to hold an outdoor campaign rally today in Reno, Nevada, and that is a location that is also, you know, the sky has been darkened because of this dense smoke from these, you know, wildfires that have swept a good part of the West. So, if people are going to go to that rally, would wearing masks be enough with this kind of poor air quality and what are your overall concerns?
MORRISON: You know, certainly wearing a mask is highly advised. I think this is going to have to be a personal decision for everyone, right? If I'm someone who's -- I mean compromised or I have an elderly family member or a young child, I would not be going. I think if I were healthy and otherwise, well, you should wear a mask and social distance and do all the proper things. But just use common sense and, you know, everyone needs to make their own decision.
Again, you can go to that Web site and look for yourself enter in that ZIP code of where they're gathering and make your own decision.
WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Mizuho Morrison, always good to see you. Thank you so much.
MORRISON: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: Be safe. All right. CNN has just learned the President will visit California on Monday for a briefing on the fire damage in that state. CNN's John Harwood is following these developments for us to the White House.
So, John, he put out a tweet or the information coming from the White House, he'll be meeting with first responder types. But, you know, that's a state where the governor is making it very clear that climate change is a gigantic component here. Do you see the President would actually be meeting with him as well?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I don't know if you'll be meeting with Governor Newsom but you can be confident, Fred, that he's not going to emphasize climate change as the cause of this. You mentioned at the top of the hour, the President had been slow to react to the wildfires. We know that he tends above all to his political base, California, Oregon and Washington are not exactly Trump country. And to the extent that climate change is a factor in this, that's not an issue he wants to emphasize.
But this has become a catastrophe that is simply too large to ignore. Millions of acres of blaze, you've got dozens of people missing, at least 17 already known to be dead. So the President's wedged in this trip to McClellan Park that's in Sacramento County, into a swing out west where today he's traveling to Nevada, which is a swing state that he lost narrowly to Hillary Clinton, trying to win back against Joe Biden.
Then on Monday after this trip to California, he'll be going to Arizona, which is a state that he won in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, but Joe Biden's got a significant lead there. Now he's trying to claw that back.
WHITFIELD: Hmm. And then, John, you also have some breaking news on the Trump administration officials who have been altering weekly COVID science reports coming out of the CDC. What more can you tell us about that?
HARWOOD: Well, what we have confirmed is the initial political report that Michael Caputo who is the communication -- political appointed head of Communications at the Department of Health and Human Services, and his deputy Paul Alexander has been interceding in the weekly science reports that are prepared by the CDC, trying to make them consistent with the President's message.
And as we know from the President's own words to Bob Woodward, the President's interest has been in downplaying coronavirus from the beginning, he downplays it to the present day by having masks where people are not -- having rallies where people are not wearing mask or socially distanced. And career officials at the CDC are concerned about pressure. Michael Caputo has a justified Dr. Alexander's intervention saying he's a Oxford educated epidemiologist and we're not going to be governed by the thinking of the Deep State within the CDC.
HARWOOD: And it's interesting, Fred, there's an overlap between that characterization of scientific expertise at the CDC, as deep state thinking with the President's dismissal of science on climate change, which is called a hoax.
WHITFIELD: All right. John Harwood, thank you so much from the White House. All right. Dr. Mizuho Morrison, didn't I say it was -- always good to see you. And look, here you are, again. Good to see you again with just a few minutes since our last meeting. All right. So, what -- how does this sit with you to learn that this weekly CDC report is being altered by those in the Trump administration so that the messaging is more in concert with the President's message on the pandemic? How concerning is that to you? MORRISON: I mean, we need science to be accurate and for the data, so I can't speak for what's happening with the CDC data, but certainly, with anything in public health, we want the numbers to be accurate. Hopefully, those are reflected appropriately. I do want to mention the upcoming flu season that we have sort of right around the corner. And that for most of us, frontliners definitely has us concern typically flu season is between October and April.
But believe it or not, we're already seeing of course, as is apropos of 2020 we're already seeing cases of flu being reported. And the reason this is concerning for us healthcare workers is that, you know, when you present with symptoms of COVID, and influenza, there's a lot of overlap. So patients have fever, cough, runny nose, you know, muscle aches, et cetera. So it's going to be hard for us to clinically distinguish based on symptoms alone, whether you have flu or whether you can have COVID-19.
Practically speaking, if you go see your doctor today, and you're concerned, you may have one or the other, they're going to want to test you and so we can do rapid point of care, flu testing, but we don't have enough of those rapid COVID tests. And so if you are my patient, I would tell you, you do or don't have flu, but it's going to take about 48 to 72 hours to confirm whether you have COVID or not.
So, for those of us on the clinical front lines, this is highly concerning because even our discharge instructions of what do you do, you know, I can't completely rule out that you don't have flu. So, even more important, really, the messaging needs to be definitely of all the years I know we get a little bit desensitized with influenza because we see it every year. But this is affecting children, particularly those under the age of five who are at highest risk for pneumonia and febrile seizures, et cetera.
So, this is the year to get your flu shot please because it will help minimize one of those infections.
WHITFIELD: All right, Dr. Mizuho Morrison, good to see you. Thank you so much.
MORRISON: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: All right, straight ahead. New developments on the coronavirus pandemic. Health officials now warning that more than 415,000 Americans will likely die of coronavirus by January. What needs to be done right now to save lives.
Plus, Federal authorities level a relatively small fine on Smithfield Foods over a coronavirus outbreak at one of its meatpacking plants. Why the largest meatpacking union in the country says that's not enough.
And a consumer alert on Amazon products that may spontaneously explode. CNN's exclusive investigation coming up.
WHITFIELD: An influential health model now projecting that over 100,000 lives could be saved by January if more Americans would wear masks. That Stark prediction coming as one analyst says 150,000 Americans would still be alive today if the Trump administration had just embraced wearing masks as a national edict. CNN's Polo Sandoval joining me now from New York. So, Polo, what more are you learning?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, what's concerning here for officials is, of course, the number of cases that we're seeing on college campuses across the country. Of course, fall semesters now are moving right along. And we've already seen at least 40,000 infections at college campuses that have already had an effect on every state in the country. So that's certainly concerning.
And that is why top health officials right now are recommending that folks basically pause now, look back on the holiday weekend that's already behind us and examine that sort of review their actions if they potentially let their guard down, then now is the time to get tested. And of course there is an example of folks letting their guard down in Miami University in Ohio last weekend.
Police body camera video now showing an encounter with a young student who had tested positive for the coronavirus and now he is believed to have basically played a role in and having a big house party. It's not only surprising and shocking to hear about it, but it's also pretty surprising and shocking to see it yourself. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen this before. There's an input on the computer that you tested positive for COVID?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a week ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you supposed to be quarantined?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's why I'm at my house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have other people here and you you're positive for COVID? You see the problem?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, they were honestly all just walking by when we were out here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many people other people have COVID?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They all do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: Miami University couldn't actually comment a whole lot on this, citing privacy concerns. However, they did say that any student that violates any sort of local ordinance or quarantine protocol does face disciplinary action. It really takes us to what the big recommendation is right now. And you touched on it just a little while ago. It's like the importance of that flu shot.
We have still seen about 35,000 new COVID cases a day. That number is slightly better than what we saw last month, but it's still really high going into the fall season. And now there's a concern there that people could potentially face that double whammy effect not just from COVID but also the flu yesterday, we did hear from top health officials have recommended that you get that flu shot no later than October because again, that's the biggest concern now is doctors and medical practitioners would have a hard time differentiating between those two viruses as people head up to their local hospitals and in clinics.
WHITFIELD: Yes. The urging of this flu shots is really as one can this fall. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. All right. President Trump keeps hinting that a vaccine for COVID-19 may be ready by election day. It's what's known in political circles as possibly an October surprise. But the head of the U.S. vaccine effort dubbed operation warp speed isn't so sure about that timing. CNNs Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke to the Operation Warp Speed chief in a rare sit-down interview and asked him point blank about when Americans may see a vaccine.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What I really wanted to hit on with (INAUDIBLE) was when is this vaccine likely to be available? What's the process like that's unfolding now? And what are some of the things they're looking for? Obviously, there's a lot of pressure to get this vaccine out. But effectiveness and safety are going to be the two most critical components.
You have talked about your optimism in terms of efficacy, and even cited a number, 90 percent efficacy. Just a couple questions about that. First of all, where does that degree of optimism come from at the time you said it, I think there was still very little data.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MONCEF SLAOUI, SCIENTIFIC HEAD, OPERATION WARP SPEED: Why am I optimistic and I remain optimistic. I'm not predicting it's going to be 90 percent. I said, it could be 90 percent. And I say it again, I looked into the annual data in primates. And using my judgment and my experience, having looked at the development of very large number of vaccines, that's usually reasonably predictive.
It's more -- if all primates are protected in all experiments, or not. And I would say for all vaccines, except for one, and I'm not going to say which one, protection is complete in the primate experiments. And that gives me confidence that protecting against this particular virus can be very effective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: So let me give you an idea of what he's talking about there. Basically put, you get two groups of people, right? Group that gets the vaccine, a group that gets the placebo, and you follow them along. What's your kind of counting on and this is counterintuitive, is that the people in the placebo group develop a much higher rate of infection than the people in the vaccinated group.
Then you can say for sure that the vaccine is working, that it seems to be protecting people against this infection. But what is acceptable? How much is -- how much of a difference is enough? Right now, the FDA says if this is shown to be 50 percent effective, it may qualify for an emergency use authorization. The other big question, of course, though, is safety. Giving this vaccine to lots of people. How do you know it's safe?
How long do you wait to look for side effects? This is a big point of concern. And here's how slowly actually sort of approaches this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SLAOUI: To look into this -- the data basis of the FDA on the overwhelming majority of adverse events associated with vaccines happened within the first -- actually, I was told 42 days after completing the immunization regimen. And maybe two months after completing. It doesn't mean -- it doesn't mean things may not happen way after; they could be extremely rare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: So what that means is that within 42 days, up to two months, the majority of adverse events or side effects, he says, typically happen. So that may be giving you a little bit of a marker in terms of how long they would wait to follow these patients who received the vaccine to be confident that in fact, it's safe enough for an authorization. So again, the first shot, followed by the second shot a month later, and then waiting around 42 days, there are many patients still being enrolled into this trial right now.
So if you put it all together, it's not likely that operation warp speed would have the necessary effectiveness and safety data until sometime late November, early December even. Obviously, it's an ongoing situation but at least you get some insight into how the head of Operation Warp Speed is thinking about this and the type of data he and the team are trying to collect.
WHITFIELD: We shall see. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. All right. Straight ahead. A multibillion dollar company slapped with a $13,000 fine after an outbreak of COVID at a meatpacking plant. But is that enough to make sure companies keep employees safe? I'll talk to the leader of the largest meatpacking union next.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. The Labor Department is finding Smithfield Foods, that governance first coronavirus citation. The department accuses the company of failing to protect its employees after an outbreak of COVID-19 at a pork processing plant in South Dakota, but the fine is just $13,000 for a multibillion-dollar company. Mark Lauritsen is an international Vice President for the largest meatpacking union in the country and joins me now from Philadelphia. Good to see you, Mark.
MARK LAURITSEN, INTERNATIONAL VICE PRESIDENT FOR MEATPACKING, UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION: Thank you for having me, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. So, this fine perhaps is nothing, you know, to Smithfield since it's such a gigantic company, but that $13,000 fine is the maximum amount allowed by law. So, does this seem like much of a deterrent for these big companies?
LAURITSEN: Well, I think what happened with Smithfield, and probably will happen with other meatpacking companies is typical of what (INAUDIBLE) has done during the world or the largest health outbreak we've had in more than a century.
LAURITSEN: They failed. They failed to show up. And they failed workers not just in meat-packing but in all industries.
They knew what they needed to do back in March. They knew they needed to issue an emergency standard. They failed. And as a consequence, they failed all workers, especially in meat packing.
So what I saw on Friday, on Thursday and Friday, was typical of OSHA's failure during this pandemic.
WHITFIELD: So as it pertains to this facility in South Dakota, it did reopen in May. Do you have much confidence that now the right measures are going to be taken to protect the workers?
LAURITSEN: Well, the workers in South Dakota are lucky because they're represented by a union. And since the pandemic started, our union has worked with a number of companies in the meat-packing industry to make it safer.
I think the current numbers across the industry are showing that the work that we've done as a union with employers have made the industry, at least for this time being, safe.
But I go back to what OSHA can do. In this time, all the work that we have done with the employers across the industry, it's not too late for OSHA to issue that emergency standard because there may be a second wave.
And if there's a second wave, we need that enforceable standard so that everybody across the meat industry understands exactly what they have to do to make their workers safe.
There's none of this, half of the industry do this, half of them do that.
I'm terribly concerned about what's happening to nonunion workers across this country in the industry.
WHITFIELD: You don't believe it's too late to have some sort of national standard?
LAURITSEN: No, I think we need to have one. OSHA should have taken the opportunity when they were looking at the meat industry, they should have used that as an opportunity to make an emergency standard that's enforceable.
What's sad about this is OSHA knows how to do this. During the H1N1 pandemic, OSHA issued an emergency standard for this industry. They know how to do it. Get this job done. And they can make it safer for workers. But as typical, what we're seeing is failure.
And what we saw on Thursday with the citations, this is OSHA trying to cover up because people now are saying, why didn't you do your job. And so they are making this halfhearted approach to do their job.
WHITFIELD: So barring some sort of national standard or for OSHA to step in, what's the signal being sent to other meat packing companies to see that Smithfield was going to pay up $13,000?
But, you know, do you worry about the message that that is being sent and received by other meat-packing companies?
LAURITSEN: I know what's going to happen with the meat-packing companies I represent. Our union is going to push and we're going to push to make the workplace safer.
We have shown, since the pandemic started, in the work we have done, that we can do good work to make these places safer.
That's what we're going to do in the union. We're going to do the pushing because we know what should be our biggest ally for workers in this country, OSHA, has failed to show up to the game.
So this union is going to step in and we'll push the employers to make those workplaces as safe as possible.
WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there for now.
Mark Lauritsen, with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it. We'll have you back.
LAURITSEN: Thank you, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And buyer beware. Some Amazon products are catching fire and exploding. And now at least three Senators are demanding a recall. Will Amazon take action? We're live, next.
WHITFIELD: Now to a CNN exclusive investigation that has three U.S. Senators demanding recalls of potentially dangerous products. This coming after some Amazon customers warned others about popular electronics made under the Amazon brand.
According to more than 1,500 customer reviews, some electronics could spark, explode or catch fire.
Drew Griffin joins us with more on this CNN exclusive investigation.
Drew, tell us more about what you found.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Fred, what these Senators are basically asking Amazon is, what kind of consumer product safety testing do you do. And what we found in this investigation is, it is the consumers who are actually doing the testing and finding out they are bringing a lot of hazardous products into their home.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Burned furniture, scorched outlets, melted power strips, all reportedly involving AmazonBasics electronics.
At Leeona and Jimi Smail's house, it started with a distinct odor.
LEEONA SMAIL, CLAIMS AMAZONBASICS PRODUCT CAUGHT FIRE: It smelled just like hot plastic.
GRIFFIN: Leeona and Jimi couldn't find the source of that smell. They even called 911. But it wasn't until after firefighters left that Jimi discovered the apparent culprit inside a cardboard box.
JIMI SMAIL, CLAIMS AMAZONBASICS PRODUCT CAUGHT FIRE: The smell was overwhelming when I opened the box up.
GRIFFIN: An AmazonBasics battery charger.
The local fire chief told CNN it had overheated and melted.
J. SMAIL: It was melted straight through. I'm dumbfounded.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Unplugged?
J. SMAIL. Unplugged.
GRIFFIN: No source of power to it?
J. SMAIL: None.
GRIFFIN: No batteries in the position to be charged?
J. SMAIL: They weren't even in the box. I didn't have a battery in the box. No controller, nothing that could produce electric.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): CNN found at least 1,500 reviews written about dozens of AmazonBasics products exploding, catching on fire, smoking, melting, causing electrical malfunctions, all in the last five years.
Of course, that represents a tiny fraction of the more than a million reviews posted about AmazonBasics products overall. And fires caused by consumer electronics are not unique. User error can also be a factor.
But CNN found nearly 200 reviews which complained of damage to homes or belongings, charred walls and carpets and fried cell phones and other electronics being used with the AmazonBasics devices.
And about 30 products, flagged by three or more customers, as a fire hazard or other danger remain for sale on Amazon.com, including the very battery charger that caused all that stink.
(on camera): "It may catch fire" is one of the reviews. "The charger started melting." "My AmazonBasics charger burnt through the plastic while not charging or plugged in."
This is exactly your same problem.
L. SMAIL: Yes. It's exactly our situation.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Amazon told CNN it tested the type of charger used by the Smails and that it is safe.
It's one of 5,000 AmazonBasics products the company sells under its own label claiming they are cheaper and just as good as name brands.
This past February, CNN took two potentially defective AmazonBasics products to the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering Lab. A burnt phone charger and a damaged AmazonBasics microwave that had more than 150 reviews flagging it as a potential hazard.
PROFESSOR MICHAEL PECHT, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR ADVANCED LIFE CYCLE ENGINEERING LAB, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Yes, stop, stop. There's a clear problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something is wrong?
PECHT: Something is definitely wrong. The smell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
GRIFFIN: It took just a few seconds for the engineers here to determine something wasn't right.
PECHT: It's clear that there's damage on this. And you can see the plate that this is attached to has -- is burned. And there's clearly some kind of a fault in here. There's a risk in using this machine for sure.
GRIFFIN: Professor Michael Pecht, who runs this lab, says most consumer electronic problems like these could be from poor manufacturing, cheap materials and a lack of robust quality control.
Amazon told CNN the company is confident the AmazonBasics microwave is safe.
And responded to CNN's questions about all of this saying, in part: "Amazon thoroughly investigates any indicators of safety or quality concerns with AmazonBasics products. If we determine that a product is unsafe, we remove it from our stores and take all necessary actions. We are also continuously refining processes and leveraging new technologies to ensure that our private brand products are safe."
Rachel Greer used to work in the product safety at Amazon and says, in her opinion, Amazon customers now do the testing. You buy it. You use it. You test it. You rate it. If reviews are good, sales are good, it stays.
RACHEL GREER, FORMER AMAZON PRODUCT SAFETY WORKER: Amazon responds to data. And if consumers continue to buy AmazonBasics in the numbers that they expect, they won't pay attention to the details.
GRIFFIN: Leeona Smail says she's at least one consumer no longer buying.
L. SMAIL: I'll probably avoid electronics now with AmazonBasics.
GRIFFIN: Fred, those Senators saw that report and read our report online and were infuriated about what was going on.
They fired off a letter to Jeff Bezos -- this is Senators Blumenthal, Markey and Menendez -- demanding that "Amazon must immediately stop the sale of dangerous and defective AmazonBasics products, recall them, and effectively and immediately notify consumers of potential risks."
Amazon didn't respond directly to that, but just says that it does sell safe products and tests them to all applicable standards.
Folks who used to work at Amazon tell us, look, you really want to be safe, read all the reviews. And if there's one or two that even mention the word melting, burning or fire hazard, you should probably just steer clear of that product.
WHITFIELD: Wow. All right. That's something else.
Great reporting. Thank you so much, Drew Griffin.
Straight ahead, a CNN exclusive. Another one. This time, a man shot and injured by an alleged teenage gunman in Kenosha, Wisconsin, speaks only to CNN about the moment he came face-to-face with the teen seen on video with a long gun.
WHITFIELD: The survivor of a deadly triple shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is speaking out for the first time and only to CNN. What he says might bring a lot of disturbing images.
He shares his story exclusively with CNN's Sara Sidner.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, we sat down with Gaige Grosskreutz. He told his story for the very first time after being the only survivor of a triple shooting during the Kenosha protests.
GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ, KENOSHA SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I walked away with my life that night. Two people didn't.
SIDNER (voice-over): Gaige Grosskreutz is the only person to survive of the three people shot during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
GROSSKREUTZ: I think about the screams, about the gunshots. I think about everything all the time.
SIDNER: Grosskreutz say he arrived in Kenosha from Milwaukee deeply disturbed by this video of police shooting Jacob Blake in the back and concerned about a call to arms by a local militia on Facebook.
The former paramedic says his goal was to provide medical care to anyone who needed it there.
SIDNER: When he arrived on August 25th, he had no idea that 17-year- old Kyle Rittenhouse had also arrived from Illinois. He was also vowing to help people and protect businesses.
Both had their cell phones. Both carried medical kits. Rittenhouse had a rifle.
(on camera): Were you also armed?
GROSSKREUTZ: Absolutely. Like I said, I believe in the right to bear arms.
SIDNER (voice-over): But that night, Rittenhouse used his firearm, while Grosskreutz had to use the medical kit on himself.
This is just before the two came face to face.
SIDNER: Rittenhouse is running down the street after his first deadly shooting that night. He falls.
SIDNER: He shoots and misses one person. Anthony Huber hits Rittenhouse with a skateboard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He shot that guy in the stomach.
SIDNER: Huber is shot and killed.
Three seconds later, Grosskreutz goes toward the shooter and he's shot.
GROSSKREUTZ: I'm missing 90 percent of my bicep. I'm in constant pain, like excruciating pain. Pain that doesn't go away.
SIDNER: Rittenhouse eventually walks towards police with his hands up and police pass him by.
His attorney says his client acted in self-defense.
GROSSKREUTZ: The shooter walked away and got to sleep in their bed that night. Some people don't get that luxury.
SIDNER: Two people were taken to the morgue that night. And Grosskreutz was taken to the hospital in a police vehicle.
(on camera): What on earth got you to a point where you were chasing somebody who had a semiautomatic rifle?
KIMBERLY MOTLEY, ATTORNEY FOR GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ: We don't want to compromise the current criminal investigation against the shooter at this point in time. And unfortunately, going into those details might do that.
SIDNER (voice-over): Prosecutors have charged Rittenhouse with two homicides, attempted homicide and use of a dangerous weapon.
Under Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse is too young to legally possess a gun. But Grosskreutz says he's the one facing death threats for his actions that night.
GROSSKREUTZ: I never fired my weapon that night.
SIDNER (on camera): Why not?
GROSSKREUTZ: I was there to help people, not hurt people.
I had a legal right to, one, possess it and, two, possess it concealed.
I'm not an Antifa terrorist organizer. I'm a mid-20s-year-old male. I go to school.
And, yeah, I exercised my First Amendment right to peacefully protest.
GROSSKREUTZ: Nobody should have been hurt or died that night. We're Americans. We're human beings. We're better than that.
SIDNER: His attorney, Kimberly Motley, says she believes others are culpable in the triple shooting, for example, who gave risen Rittenhouse his weapon and did anyone help him cross state lines.
He is currently in jail and scheduled for an extradition hearing on September 25th -- Fred?
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Sara Sidner.
So much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM right after this.
WHITFIELD: This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. To honor the occasion, we take a look at the only land battle fought on U.S. soil and what happened to the natives of the island where it took place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most Americans don't know about the island of Attu.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the only battle of World War II fought on American soil.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to make sure that all Americans know that this wasn't just Pearl Harbor. Something happened on the Aleutian Islands.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at a map of Alaska, the islands are a long tail that goes off to the left. The islands that Attu are closer to Asia than any part of the U.S.
The Japanese attacked Dutch Harbor June 3rd and 4th, 1942. After that, the U.S. decided that it needed to evacuate the native residents from the villages.
The Attuans had already been occupied by the Japanese, so they didn't get rescued.
TERESA DEAL, ATTUAN DESCENDENT: The Attuans, including my mom, were not respected. They were forced to work. They were fed very little so most of them perished.
My mom was able to survive not just for her resiliency, but her older sister also looked out for her.
When the surviving Attuans came back to the United States, nobody was able to go back to Attu.
I think it's important for me to learn more and for the other generations to learn more about the history of the Attuans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're descended from the chief of Attu.
In 2017, Attuan descendants were able to get to the island of Attu.
The feeling of being able to go back to where my mom was born, it just makes you think deep. For me, it was a trip of a lifetime.
I want all Attuan descendants to be able to have that opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)