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Wildfires Ravage In California, Oregon And Washington State; Tropical Storm Sally To Make Landfall As Hurricane In New Orleans; COVID Vaccines Before Year-end According To Pfizer; Trump To Hold Indoor Rally In Nevada; Michael Bloomberg To Spend $100 Million In Support For Biden In Florida; L.A. County Police Searching for Shooter Of Two Deputies; Police Officer Fired For Excessive Force Striking A Black Man; Second Lockdown For Israel As Cases Surge. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 13, 2020 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for staying with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. It has been a weekend of devastation on top of the deadly pandemic as major weather disasters threatens the West Coast and the Gulf Coast now.

Millions of beautiful acres in the American west are reduced to ash as nearly 100 major wildfires just won't go away. At least 33 lives have been lost. Dozens are missing. Hundreds of thousands are under orders to leave behind everything as they, you know, try to escape the flames and the horrendous air quality.

Meanwhile, along the Gulf Coast, Tropical Storm Sally is threatening to become a Category 2 hurricane by early next week. The governor of Louisiana declaring a state of emergency with mandatory evacuations now issued for some of the state's coastal communities.

The coronavirus remains a complicating factor in response to these disasters. But there is a new bright spot in the search for a vaccine. The CEO of Pfizer says there is a good chance we'll know if the company's COVID-19 vaccine candidate works by the end of October.

But President Trump isn't waiting to hold rallies including indoors. Tonight, he is doing just that. An indoor campaign rally near Las Vegas creating the very environment health experts have warned will lead to surging cases and possibly deaths.

This will be the first completely in-door rally since Tulsa in June. And here you can see at that event staffers went out of their way to remove stickers that encouraged social distancing. This event was linked to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the Tulsa area and eight Trump campaign advanced staffers ended up testing positive.

It was also the last rally attended by the president's friend and ally, Herman Cain. He was later diagnosed with the virus just shortly after the event, days later in fact, and he died in late July.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is joining us now from Las Vegas ahead of tonight's rally and for safety purposes, he and many other news organizations will not be covering the rally from inside the building. Jeremy, what has the campaign said about how they plan to keep Trump supporters safe at tonight's indoor event?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, Ana. For weeks now we have heard that President Trump say that the United States is rounding the final turn on the coronavirus despite the fact that Dr. Anthony Fauci and other public health experts have made very clear that that is not the case.

We are still experiencing, of course, more than 35,000 new cases per day, more than 800 deaths per day. And yet the president not only through his rhetoric, but also through his actions, is continuing to downplay the threat of this pandemic.

For weeks now, the president has been hosting campaign rallies with thousands of people in attendance, mostly not wearing masks, not social distancing.

But since that Tulsa campaign rally in June, most of those rallies, in fact, all of those rallies have been at least partially outdoors or in open air airplane hangars outside partially -- partially outside.

But tonight, Ana, the president is hosting his campaign rally in nearly three months entirely indoors. And once again, Ana, we do not expect masks to be mandatory at this event. We expect them to handout masks, do temperature checks at the entrance, but of course, no social distancing is expected indoors and masks will not be required.

Here is how the Trump campaign is justifying what they are doing. This is a statement from the Trump campaign's communications director, Tim Murtaugh. He says, "If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the First Amendment to hear from the president of the United States."

Now, despite what he is saying, he's making a false equivalency there because in casinos here in Las Vegas and across the state of Nevada, masks are required. And in fact, the president in holding this rally tonight, is also violating Nevada's coronavirus regulations which say that you cannot have a public gathering of more than 50 people.

But the president nonetheless, pressing ahead. We will be staying outside of the venue due to those safety concerns though, Ana, and several other TV networks are also expected not to attend this event indoors because of those coronavirus safety concerns, Ana.


CABRERA: It will be interesting to see how big the crowd is there given this is the first indoor event since that rally in Tulsa in which the campaign had overestimated attendance. Jeremy Diamond, thank you for your reporting.

And so while the president continues to encourage his supporters to ignore the public health warnings and attend these big rallies, indoors no less, I want to play what the president is refusing to say publicly but has admitted privately.


DONALD TRUMP, PRSESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It goes through air, Bob. That's always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don't have to touch things, right. But the air, you just breathe the air and that's how it's passed. And so that's a very tricky one. That's a very delicate one. It's also more deadly than your, you know, even your strenuous flus.


CABRERA: Joining us now, April Ryan, CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst and former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton.

So, April, this will be Trump's first indoor rally since Herman Cain died after attending the last indoor rally in Tulsa, that was back in June. Masks are not mandatory tonight. What message does this send?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The spreader-in-chief is in full effect at a super spreader event. He is hypocritical and he is a walking contradiction after telling Bob Woodward those words that you just played, and this book. And then went to hold a rally where masks are not mandatory.

It says a lot when news organizations are prohibiting their reporters from going inside because this is going through the air in droplets. The speeches, the cries of support. This president is very callus in his approach, polls are showing -- a new poll that just came out shows that 65 percent of Americans feel that he is not doing what it takes to protect them.

He has mismanaged this. He had blood on his hands and the Tulsa rally should have been a lesson learned, a deadly lesson learned by Herman Cain dying, and the fact that his advance team and Secret Service also contracted the deadly virus from that indoor event.

CABRERA: And David, we know that the president knows just how deadly this virus is because he said so to Bob Woodward. It's not good for the president politically if his supporters get sick or die and cannot vote, of course. It's not good for the president if coronavirus cases continue to surge. In that context, what's the benefit to hold these rallies and is there a risk politically for him?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There is certainly a risk, you know, everybody involved. You know, lon ago, Franklin Roosevelt said, Ana, that the presidency is pre-eminently a place of moral leadership. And what we've seen is example after example of the immoral leadership.

It is simply wrong. It's unethical to invite people to come into a place where they might catch this virus and not just die, but infect other people. We do know from Tulsa, his first big rally, in the two days that followed there were 500 new cases in Tulsa, 500, and that was outdoors. Now, to come indoors and do this is inexplicable on every level except to the fact that perhaps he thinks it will serve him politically. He does not give a damn about the rest.

CABRERA: That Tulsa rally was the last one that he held indoors, and again, we could see that the whole venue wasn't full, but people were crowded together there on the floor. And it was after that rally the president's stopped for a while and now he is of course, picking back up you, April.

Let me just pivot to some other news we got today because Michael Bloomberg is now planning to spend at least $100 million to help Joe Biden in Florida. How significant is that?

RYAN: That' huge. Joe Biden is having a problem and not only in Florida, but Nevada and maybe even in Michigan. He needs help because of this coronavirus, he has not been able to get out like he wanted to. But he is also going to have to thwart the lies of this president has told.

And it's interesting how the Latino community is listening to this president in Florida. Especially when this president vilifies immigrants. So, Bloomberg's money is important to change the mindset to go against what this president has said about Joe Biden, to correct the record if you will.

CABRERA: David, here is how the president reacted to this news about Bloomberg spending $100 million. He wrote, "I thought mini Mike was through with Democrat politics after spending almost $2 billion and then giving the worst and most inept debate performance in the history of presidential politics. Pocahontas ended his political career on fist question. Over! Save NYC, New York City, instead." Do you think Trump's worried?


GERGEN: He should be. Florida is a very critical state as April just said. And by the way, thank you for correcting me on Tulsa. But to go back to this, Florida is so pivotal. You know, if Biden would pull off Florida, it's probably over. It's very hard to find a path to the White House for Trump if Florida goes into Biden's hands.

And so there is so much at stake. Listen, we could be a real pick me up, but they're going to be -- look, beyond all this spending on advertising, what's really looming is that first debate. It's going to have such (inaudible) on the 29th, not long from now. That's going to have -- that could be the make (inaudible) of either campaign.

CABRERA: And you are right, that is going to be something we are all watching closely to see the dynamic there and if it makes the difference, but we're starting to see perhaps the fallout from the president's comments that were reported in the "The Atlantic."

And we also are seeing some fallout from perhaps these tapes that dropped from Bob Woodward. And we have this new ABC News/Ipsos poll today which followed the "Atlantic" reporting and the Woodward tapes that shows only 31 percent say they trust what Trump says about coronavirus compared to 51 percent who trust Biden.

And the same poll asked which candidate has more respect for those who serve in the U.S. military, 61 percent said Biden, 37 percent Trump. April, what does it tell you?

RYAN: It tells you about the president's character. It tells you what people are thinking. At the end of the day, he is the sitting president and the numbers are going against him. It is not a good sign. But you have to remember, Ana, and for everyone. Politics is personal and it can't get any more personal than this, death or life and also your pocketbook.

And also, many people, if they haven't served, they have family members, friends, neighbor, church members, cousins, what have you, who have served in the military. And this is a man who can write life or death or speak life or death.

And for him to be able to say and do the things that he is doing and go against people from John McCain and to the Khan family and to those service members who died overseas, it is atrocious. Some have said it's even treasonous.

They have gone as far as saying that this president should leave office at this point. But at the end of the day, if Americans are feeling this at this critical moment of life and death, this is a signal for the next 50 some days when we go to the polls on November 3rd.

CABRERA: April Ryan and David Gergen, thank you both and please, stay well.

We are following some breaking news right now. Severe weather about to hit the Gulf Coast, the city of New Orleans now officially preparing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Sally. And the mayor of New Orleans earlier today making a mandatory evacuation order for people who live outside the city's levee protection system.

CNN's Tom Sater is closely watching this storm. Officials in Louisiana are still referring to this as a tropical storm, Tom, but I know we're anticipating that it could grow into a hurricane, right?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I think by tomorrow morning we will have Hurricane Sally with us. And then by late tomorrow night, after the midnight hours, the one we're looking at landfall, it could be close to a Category 2, if not a Category 2.

Now, it doesn't look very well organized. You can see where the center is and all of the activity really is on the eastern flank, but the radar is even showing it as well. But notice in here, we've got lightning strikes, that means near the core.

It's really trying to develop now and will strengthen overnight and through the day tomorrow. Its current position is about 215 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi. You see the flood watches already in effect because as this spins, it's going to put on the brakes. And that's what we just do not want to see. We don't want to see an approaching hurricane start to slow down and like for instance, tomorrow at 8:00 p.m., it's just offshore the mouth of the Mississippi. But by Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m., it's only 40 miles inland.

This could drop catastrophic rainfall. We could be measuring by the foot. In fact, you could see where the hurricane warnings are in effect all in red, parishes (ph) Louisiana, Southern Mississippi. There will be heavy amounts of rain, Mississippi and Alabama as well.

Winds are going to be strong enough. We could have power outages widespread. Of course, the worse is right there. Plaquemines Parish, St. Bernard. Really, I think New Orleans is on the wrong side of this storm and that's just unfortunate. Hopefully we can get a little shift in this change, but you got winds at 110 miles per hour. You could still have damage in other areas.

I mean, Lake Charles, there is still over 50,000 without power there so a lot of debris could get picked up by the strong winds. Notice the angle of approach and that's kind of frightening too, Ana, as we watch all of this water, the surge gets pushed into every little inlet. And you could see the difference from Hurricane Katrina.

So, Katrina came up almost due south or from the south. This is more of a glance that's going to throw all of this heavy surge 7 to 11 feet into these parishes in Louisiana.

So, take this seriously. It spun up out of nowhere. I know that, but you only have tonight and tomorrow because the rains are really going to start to pick up I think tomorrow. So, make sure everything is done ahead of time.


CABRERA: We'll look out for Sally. Tom Sater, thank you so much for that update. Very important information. And meantime, that's what's happening on the Gulf Coast. The West Coast is also in the throes of a major disaster. We'll take you live to California where wildfires have now burned an area equal to more than four Rhode Islands. That's straight ahead, live in the "CNN Newsroom."

Plus, a huge reward is now being offered for any information leading to the suspect who ambushed two deputies in Compton overnight. The latest on the investigation, next.


CABRERA: More breaking news this afternoon. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is now announcing a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect who ambushed and shot two deputies, wounding them critically.

Surveillance video show as gunman approaching their patrol vehicle. This was in Compton last night. The sheriff says the deputies, one man and one woman, were shot multiple times. A search is still under way for the shooter.


CNN's Josh Campbell joins us from outside the hospital in Lynwood, California where the deputies are being treated. Josh, what more are you learning?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, as you mentioned, that manhunt is still under way at this hour. A $100,000 reward being offered. We're told that there are numerous officers that are out and about doing a grid search trying to locate that individual. Many agencies have offered their support including the FBI.

Now, you know, as you look at the CCTV footage that led to the injury of these officers, it's hard to look at that and conclude that that was anything but an attempted cold-blooded murder of these two officers. You see that man approach a patrol vehicle that is at metro station, walks up to the passenger side of the vehicle, opens fire and then flees to the rear of the vehicle.

Again, the manhunt for that person underway. Behind me here at this hospital in Lynwood, those two deputies are as authorities say, fighting for their lives. We are learning now that they are out of surgery. The latest information we have is that they remain in critical condition.

Now, since that shooting, we heard from a number of officials coming out including the governor, local elected officials, condemning that shooting. We also heard from the L.A. County sheriff speaking out very forcefully about this incident that occurred to two of his deputies. Take a listen.


ALEX VILLANUEVA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF: Those are cowardly act. The two deputies were doing their job, minding their own business, watching out for the safety of people on the train and seeing somebody just walk up and just start shooting on them, it pisses me off.


CAMPBELL: Now, Ana, the scene of the shooting over in Compton remains an active crime scene at this hour. Authorities are processing that scene. We also saw earlier a patrol vehicle being loaded on to the bed of a tow truck and taken away. Again, that over at that crime scene.

Where we are at the hospital there right now, there is also a very heavy police presence because those deputies are inside. Also in part because last night authorities say that there were some protestors that showed up here. We're not sure how many, but authorities say that some of those protesters actually chanting disparaging things about these deputies saying this like they hope that they die, which is just baffling.

I talked to one officer out here that says that she does doesn't understand why anyone would do that. I (inaudible) noting that there were supporters that came out here as well today. We saw a caravan of cars with balloons red -- excuse me, black and blue in support of law enforcement expressing their support for these deputies who at this hour continue to fight for their lives here in the Los Angeles area, Ana.

CABRERA: It's just so disturbing. Blessings to those deputies. May they make a full recovery. Josh Campbell, thank you for that reporting.

Elsewhere in California and across the entire West Coast this week, and it's all the makings of a wildfire nightmare. Bone dry conditions, high winds and record-breaking heat are all fueling a destructive line of fires. Millions of acres are burned in California, Oregon and Washington State.

Thousands of homes and other structures are gone. In fact, several small towns have been completely destroyed. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in southern California outside Los Angeles right now. Paul, I know you are being impacted by the smoke in the air. Show us where you are and just how scared are people who live there?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are on pins and needles as we've been discussing. And you might have just heard a helicopter go by. You see it off in the distance. It's trying to get at a fire in the canyon behind me, but the smoke is so thick you're not seeing any active flank of flame right where we are.

Now, this is Sierra Madre where I'm standing and it's very close to Arcadia. We have mandatory evacuations as we face these hills to the right. And then we've got others who are under voluntary evacuations nearby.

These are very, very expensive, we'll say $1 million, $2 million homes throughout these foothills. And we talked to one neighbor about what it's been like to endure this for a week now, Ana.


ALLEN DADOUR, HOMEOWNER IN SIERRA MADRE: This is the second fire I went through and it's not pretty. It gives you a feeling of helplessness and you don't know who to turn to or where to go and what to take from the home especially a big home like ours.

But it is what it is. We have to deal with it and I've been told by one of my neighbors that this is the second fire that took place. The first fire was in 2008. It wasn't as bad, but now it's just -- it's out of control.


VERCAMMEN: So, so many fires in the west. We have 30,000 firefighters on the line. On this fire, the Bobcat Fire, they now have improved somewhat because they went from 500 firefighters to 800. But normally, Ana, fire this big, 31,000 acres, you would have up to 1,500 firefighters.

So, resources stretched thin. The chief of the force telling us how taxed they are throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.


No doubt something that President Trump is going to hear about when he tours California tomorrow. Reporting from Sierra Madre, California, I'm Paul Vercammen. Now back to you, Ana.

CABRERA: Paul Vercammen, thank you very much. Stay safe and hope you feel okay. I know the smoke is really, really thick.

The fires will take center stage as Paul mentioned in the presidential race tomorrow with President Trump heading to California, while we just learned Joe Biden will also be addressing the fires in a speech tomorrow afternoon.

Now, this year alone, nearly 6 million acres have been lost to wildfires in the U.S. so far. That's as if we wiped an area the size of New Hampshire off the map.

Do not go anywhere because we have an update in the search for a COVID cure. A vaccine maker announcing today it will likely know by the end of next month whether this vaccine works. So, how soon until you have access, that's next.



CABRERA: We are awaiting the start of President Trump's rally near Las Vegas, Nevada. This will be the first Trump rally held completely indoors since the one he held in Tulsa, Oklahoma back in June. Now, Tulsa's top health official linked that rally to a surge in cases there.

Here you can see a clear uptick in Tulsa's cases roughly two weeks after Trump's rally. You will also recall former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain tested positive for the virus just days after he attended that rally. He later died.

I want to bring in CNN medical analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He's a professor of medicine at George Washington University. Dr. Reiner, I remember talking with you before the Tulsa rally and you were very concerned. You called it criminal endangerment.

Now, at that time, the U.S. had 2.2 million cases and 119,000 deaths. Today, we have more than 6 million cases and 193,000 deaths. So if holding an indoor rally in June was criminal endangerment, what is it now?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Negligent homicide. What else could you call an act that because of its negligence results in the death of others? If you have a mass gathering now in the United States, in a place like Nevada or just about any other place, with hundreds of thousands of people, people will get infected and some of those people will die. You know, there has been a lot of talk over the last week about whether the president played down the risks of this virus to his followers and the country as a whole. And you have to just look at what's going on now to understand that.

If you took this virus seriously, you would never hold an indoor rally or almost any rally now and particularly one that doesn't enforce very strict rules on masks.

People will die as a consequence of this. I think Nevada has a law right now limiting gatherings to more than 50 people. So the president is just defying that. It makes no sense.

CABRERA: So just to be clear for people who may be watching, who may be considering going to this rally tonight perhaps, you believe --

REINER: Don't go.

CABRERA: -- people will die because they attend this rally tonight?

REINER: Absolutely. The virus doesn't care whether you believe in it or not. The virus doesn't care what party you belong to. If enough people contract the virus and at a gathering like this, people will, some people will die.

CABRERA: Let me ask you about the vaccine, which is again, the light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, Pfizer announcing today there's a good chance it will know if its vaccine works by the end of October. So what does it mean as far as when this could be available nationwide?

REINER: Well, sooner rather later, so its good news, you know, but it's not as simple as the FDA signing off and licensing the vaccine. The logistics are going to be complex. So, the Pfizer vaccine as well as the Moderna vaccine both require ultra-cold storage particularly the Pfizer vaccine.

It requires storage in freezers that can store medicines at less than minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit. And apparently, this vaccine really can only be kept in a refrigerator for about 24 hours. So, you're going to have to have on-time delivery to the places where vaccines will be administered.

They are developing these cool boxes -- they're calling them cool boxes that can store between 1,000 to 5,000 doses of the vaccine at these ultra-low temperatures tracked by GPS and temperature monitoring. And apparently they're also going to partner with UPS to create these so-called mobile freezer farms to store the vaccines. So, it's not so simple as just sort of shipping it to your neighborhood Walgreens so that you can get it there.

CABRERA: And we know we have to take action before this vaccine. We can't just wait for the vaccine and carry on as if, you know, the coronavirus isn't going to hurt us in the meantime because, I mean, when you think about this, we just learned that Israel has approved a second lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus cases there. Schools and restaurants except for delivery will close down again. People have to stay within 500 meters of their homes. Israel is taking these steps after hitting a high of 4,000 new cases in a single day.

Here in the U.S., we are averaging tens of thousands of new cases daily, 1,000 deaths per day on average. In fact, modelers say we could see as many as 10,000 deaths per day in December.


Quickly if you will, is the U.S. headed for a second lockdown?

REINER: We should be, but it won't happen here because we don't have the political will to do it. But that's how you interrupt a third spike in cases in this country, by having a political will to shut down. I don't see it happening.

CABRERA: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, as always, thank you for sharing your expertise. Thanks for taking the time.

REINER: My pleasure.

CABRERA: Coming up, a sheriff's deputy in Georgia has been fired after this video posted on social media showing him hitting a man repeatedly. The latest on the investigation just ahead.


CABRERA: A sheriff's deputy in the Atlanta area has been fired after being caught on video repeatedly striking a man in the head. A warning, this video we are about to show is graphic. It shows the deputy holding a man on the ground and repeatedly hitting him.


This video was posted on social media, it went viral. CNN's Dianne Gallagher is following it for us in Clayton County just south of Atlanta. Dianne, another video, another officer fired. An investigation now under way. What are you learning?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Ana, that is essentially the sentiment of many of the protestors who were here in Clayton County at the sheriff's office today demonstrating, saying that we want more than just a deputy to be fired.

That video that you watched there went viral. It happened on Friday night. The man on the ground there is Roderick Walker. Now, according to his attorney, what happened is essentially Mr. Walker had hired a car to take his family back from a rental car service. And that car was pulled over by an unmarked car for a taillight violation.

Now, remember, Mr. Roderick was a passenger, but according to the attorney, the deputy asked for his I.D. Mr. Walker did not have his I.D. with him, and then asked the deputy why he needed it since he was passenger. The deputy asked him to get out of the car and at that point, we see

what happens according to the attorney there on video. Now, I talked to protesters today and they said that this isn't just about Roderick Walker. It's about so many more people here in Georgia and around the country.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes me wonder, when will my son be next? When is my son going to be on TV and I will be the one standing there going please don't burn the city down because he wouldn't this. No. I'm not going to wait my turn. We got to stop this and we got to stop this now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hurt. I have a little boy. He's running around here and he's happy and unaware that he is existing in a world where there are police forces out here that are going to approach him simply because of our skin color. This has got to stop today.


GALLAGHER: Now, the sheriff hasn't released any information about this with the exception of saying that it's under investigation. It's been turned over for criminal investigation to the district attorney, and of course, that deputy was fired.

The two deputies seen on camera, their identities have not been released at all and there's been no real narrative that's come out of the department here.

The attorney though for Mr. Walker, Ana, says that what's most important to them in this very moment, is getting him out of jail. He is still behind bars at this moment being held, according to the sheriff, on some past unrelated warrants.

His attorney says they're going to be meeting with the D.A. tomorrow to get him out of jail and also talk about potential charges and criminal case in this in the future.

CABRERA: All right, Dianne Gallagher, thank you. President Trump is on a campaign swing in Nevada this weekend. He is repeating his baseless claims of rampant mail-in voter fraud. Listen.


TRUMP: I'll tell you what, whether it's in North Carolina, whether it's in Michigan, whether it's in other states where they are sending out -- they're going to be sending out -- they're going to be sending out 80 million ballots and it's Democrats. They're going to -- they are trying to rig this election.


CABRERA: Again, that is baseless. There is no evidence of what he is just saying there. Let's get to your questions about mail-in voting and other topics with CNN legal analyst Elie Honig in our "Cross-Exam" segment. Elie is a former assistant U.S. attorney with the Soutehrn District of New York.

So, let me get right to these questions Elie. How much power do state and federal courts have over mail-in balloting and voting in general?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Ana. So courts are deciding cases across the United States. Right now, that could well tip the balance on the 2020 election. We saw two really important examples this week.

First, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the courts cannot send absentee ballots until after it's decided whether to add the Green Party candidate's names to those ballots.

Now, this is a mess. Wisconsin, of course, is a key swing state decided by a razor thin margin in 2016. Now we have thousands of ballots that have already gone out without the green party candidate's name, that could be voided. Hundreds of thousands of more are ballots have been requested, but they are being held up. The election is just seven weeks away.

Second, big case in Florida. Now, Florida recently voted to allow people with felonies to vote after they serve their sentences. Then, however, the Florida legislature came along and said, well, people can't vote until they paid off all their court penalties and all their fines before the can vote.

Well, on Friday, the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that law which could prevent hundreds of thousands of people from voting in Florida.

We've got other cases pending across the United States on deadlines, signature requirements, drop boxes and other issues. These are major issues, key swing states, they could tip the 2020 election.

CABRERA: Let's talk about some new developments in Michael Flynn's case this week. Attorney General William Barr's Justice Department moved a while back to drop charges against Flynn, but that still has not happen, at least not yet.


A reminder, Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts. And a viewer asks, even though the DOJ has moved to dismiss the case against Flynn, does the judge have the power to reject that and keep the case going?

HONIG: Yes, he does, Ana. Now, the ball is back in trial judge's court, Judge Sullivan. Now, the interesting this week was Judge Sullivan appointed a widely respected former judge, John Gleeson, for his recommendation.

And on Friday, Gleeson said that DOJ's effort to dismiss the Michael Flynn case was a corrupt and politically motivated favor to Michael Flynn. That is serious stuff from a respected source. Next up, Judge Sullivan has to decide, he can dismiss the case or he can sentence Michael Flynn. If Flynn does get sentenced, then we'll see whether Trump gets out the old pardon pan and let's Michael Flynn off the hook.

CABRERA: Also this week, a federal prosecutor who was involved in U.S. attorney John Durham's Trump-Russia investigation quietly resigned. A viewer asked, does the resignation of a senior prosecutor on the Durham investigation signal there might be new indictments before the election?

HONIG: Well, Ana, it signals something is very wrong. Look, Bill Barr has made clear he intends to do something on the Durham case. That will certainly impact the election. We talked last week about the 60- day rule that you don't bring in indictment within 60 days.

It looks clear Barr intends to violate that. It is a big deal when we see DOJ prosecutors resigning from the Stone case, the Flynn case, now this case. This tells you politics are being injected into DOJ cases. Career prosecutors will not stand for it.

CABRERA: As always, Elie Honig, great information. Thanks so much. Viewers, keep your questions coming. We'll be right back.



CABRERA: It is a first NFL Sunday of the season, but we all know this is no regular game day. The pandemic is leaving stadiums eerily quiet. And in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Commissioner Roger Goodell announce a series of social justice initiative. Those include helmet decals, voter activation push, phrases stenciled in the end zones.

Andy Schulz is joining us now. And Andy, a player who is not on the field is sounding off on the league's social justice changes. What's that about?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, Ana, you know, the continued fight for social justice is a big part of the NFL's opening week. And you -- I guess Colin Kaepernick has been watching and he is not impressed from what he has seen.

Kaepernick tweeting this afternoon that, "While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Live, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community. Eric set two franchise records last year and is one of the best offensive players in the league."

Reid was the first to kneel with Kaepernick back in 2016 when he played for the 49ers, the 28-year-old. He played two seasons with Carolina the past two years, but Reid was not signed to a team this season.

Now, as part of opening week, the NFL -- part of their new social justice initiative is playing both the black national anthem, which is the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and the normal national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner before games for week one. And teams have really been split on how they've been handling this. Today so far, eight teams deciding to remain in the locker room both anthems while the other six teams were on the field for. The mini players were seen taking a knee, raising a fist, some locking arms.

Here in Jacksonville where we are, the Jaguars remained in the back for the anthems, while the Colts, they were on the field locking arms together with just one person, Head Coach Frank Wright, taking a knee.

Now, in Atlanta, quarterbacks matt Ryan and Russell Wilson speaking before the game together. They decided that their teams after kickoff would take a knee right there on the field to protest social injustice.

In Minnesota, meanwhile, the Vikings honoring George Floyd before their game with a video tribute. His family was on-hand at the game. They did not blow that Vikings horn like they always do before the game in honor of Floyd.

And Ana, many players around the league wearing George Floyd's name on their -- a decal on their helmets. Players also wearing the messages "End Racism" and "It Takes All of Us" and those decals and those messages also painted on the fields around the league.

CABRERA: Okay. Andy Scholes. Thanks.

Now to this week's "Impact Your World," Millions of wild animals are killed or injured every year in the U.S. from human causes. Nonprofits around the country like AWARE Wildlife Center just outside Atlanta are working to save them every day.


SCOTT LANGE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AWARE WILDLIFE CENTER: AWARE is a nonprofit rehabilitation center like a hospital for injured and orphaned native wildlife.

We are responsible for feeding them, medicating them. They might need swim time or other physical therapy to get their strength back. We just try to get them ready for release back into the wild.

We had about 1,300 patients in the last year. The most animals that have to come into care are coming in from human impact and the number one reason is being hit by a car. People throw food waste out the window, it brings small animals to the side of the road. And then larger animals come and they get hit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cats as much as we love them, they are kind of hurting the wildlife. They are responsible for 5 billion deaths every year.

LANGE: We put out rat poison to deal with mice and rats that gets into the food chain and hurts fox and owls and foxes. We do occasionally go out and do rescues ourselves. We usually give the public instructions on how to safely bring animals in to us. NEAL MATTHEWS, GOOD SAMARITAN: The goose showed up in the back yard

and its foot was ensnarled in fishing line and it was having trouble walking.


They loaned us an air-propelled net. Covered the goose. We picked it up. They operated on it and we brought it home the same day and released it back. It was special because we knew because of us this goose was going to live. We can't save them all, but I think it's important that we help those that we can.