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Ukraine: Nuclear Power Plant Disconnected From Grid After Russian Shelling; Scientists Make Breakthrough In Race To Save Caribbean Coral; Judge Grants Special Master To Review Seized Mar-A- Lago Documents. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired September 05, 2022 - 11:30   ET



MARTA SEGURA, CHIEF HEAT OFFICER, LOS ANGELES: Hydration stations, shade structures, etcetera. And we are doing this in collaboration not just with other city departments, but with the county and the state, and surrounding cities to make sure that our services are seamless.

Because people don't care whether you're the city of LA or the county of LA or what jurisdiction you belong to, they just want to stay thermally comfortable, right? We're going for thermal comfort versus cold or cool because we want people to understand that their indoor temperature doesn't have to be 63 or 65, right?

So I think LA is doing much better this year than last for multiple -- for multiple reasons but we do need strategic communication. So we've opened up a heat relay for the LA campaign that tells people where these point centers are, and where the school spots are, it's building partnerships with nongovernmental organizations, businesses, and nonprofits alike so they can also help us spread the word to the most vulnerable communities.

And as you mentioned, Los Angeles is -- and not only in an urban heat island, but it has these frontline communities that suffer disproportionately from air pollution burden.

So those are the communities with the most severe responses to extreme heat because they're already suffering disproportionately from illness, air pollution, and you combine that with extreme heat, it sends people -- more people to the hospital, and experiencing premature deaths.

So we want to really target and work with those communities, invest in those communities. And we have programs in Los Angeles, that are helping us do that, like the climate equity LA series, and our partnerships that are growing in the community to ensure that communication gets out there.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: So, Marta, you mentioned some of the short- term solutions in terms of making people more aware of the risks they face, the cooling centers that are available, there's obviously hydration and quick mitigation efforts that could solve the problem now, but I'm wondering what you think the biggest adjustment is long- term. Not only for Californians but to all Americans because from the looks

of it, temperatures are only going to continue to climb and there's a lot of infrastructures that need to be adjusted long-term.

SEGURA: Yes. Well, what the city of LA is doing, it's adjusting its climate adaptation strategies, and its green infrastructure with our decarbonization plan, making LA go 100 percent renewable energy sources.

What that does long term? It reduces our greenhouse gas emissions but also retrofits our buildings to ensure that they're climate-adapted, energy efficient running on renewable energy, so people can stay cooler, but it doesn't affect their bills as much in the future.

And also our new buildings that are going to go up, we're passing legislation so that new buildings are all fully decarbonized, meaning they're not hooked up to gas lines so that Los Angeles is no longer contributing to the greenhouse gas emissions.

So I think it's the combination of working with the utility, working with city policies to ensure that you're investing in the most vulnerable communities first and foremost, like the justice 40 initiative, asks us to do with the Biden administration.

Because if we don't address the most vulnerable communities, first and foremost, we're not only not going to see climate solutions for everyone, but we're going to continue to suffer from extreme heat and it's just going to get worse for everyone. So this is a place where that saying about lifting -- sorry, rising boats must be meant for all not just your son --

SANCHEZ: Rising tides lift all boats, yes.

SEGURA: Rising tides must lift on, not just sons, so thank you for that.

SANCHEZ: All right, of course.

SEGURA: But yes, definitely I have to focus on those most vulnerable communities and they will lift all of us.

SANCHEZ: It is a difficult job and we appreciate that there are folks like you doing it. Marta Segura, thank you so much.

SEGURA: Thank you so much. Take care.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

Coming up. There is a new threat to Europe's largest nuclear station, a consequence of Russian shelling in Ukraine. We have details in a live report in just moments.


[11:38:54] SANCHEZ: This just in to CNN. Ukraine's nuclear agency says that Europe's largest nuclear station, the Zaporizhzhia power plant is now disconnected from the grid after Russian shelling in that area.

Let's go to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv now with CNN's Melissa Bell. And, Melissa, from my understanding, the reactor was disconnected deliberately in order to put out a fire. Is that right?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. What we're hearing from the IAEA and, of course, this is the point, Boris. Now that these inspectors are there and two of them are staying full-time, it makes a big difference to the accuracy of the information that we're able to get from what's happening inside the plant.

In the last few minutes, we've been hearing from the IAEA that what they understand has happened from the Ukrainian authorities in charge of the plant, the one who actually man it under, of course, the presence of the Russian forces that occupy it is that it was that last reserve power supply that has been deliberately switched off in order to protect it as a result of a fire.

Now, that's important, Boris, because this is first of all the line that allows the electricity coming from the plant to supply the Ukrainian electricity grid, but crucially, of course, the important thing is electricity allowing inside the plant the reactors to be cooled down.


What we've seen over the course of the weekend is more shelling damaging, again, one of the reactors. There is a single one now functioning as a result of that shutting. But it is thanks to that reactor that the internal electricity supply is such that the plant is able to keep cooling its reactors. And that, of course, is the crucial thing that we're looking out for.

But there is, of course, this fear given all the shelling that's going around, and I think it's important to remember that the Ukrainians fear is that some of that shelling may be deliberately seeking to target some of those lines in order to reconnect to the Zaporizhzhia power plant away from the Ukrainian grid and towards the Russian grid.

And, of course, that is extremely worrying not just in the context of this plant being on an active front line, but of what may be going on around it in order -- as the foreign minister in Ukraine has tweeted in the last few moments, they say this is about wanting to take the plant hostage with a view to Ukraine's electricity supplies, an extremely worrying situation still, Boris, all around that plant.

SANCHEZ: Yes, no question a precarious situation with enormous implications for Ukraine. Melissa Bell reporting live from Kyiv, thank you so much.

We want to turn now to a CNN exclusive. Scientists at a Florida aquarium have made a major breakthrough in the effort to save coral reefs. That in itself is a worthwhile goal. But this discovery could also be big for another reason, because of how reefs help protect coastlines from hurricanes. CNN's Isabel Rosales has that story.


ISABEL ROSALES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): They're deadly, violent, and unleash mass destruction. Year after year, we pay the price in dollars and lives when hurricane season strikes. But under the waters those storms gain their strength from, there's an unexpected layer of protection, coral reefs.

They break up large waves and barred coastlines from storm surges, acting as a buffer against property damage and erosion. Spanning about 360 miles, Florida has the world's third-largest barrier reef. And right now it's at risk from stressors like pollution, disease, and warming oceans.


ROSALES: Caused by the climate crisis.

O'NEIL: I would say that the problems facing coral reefs right now are human costs. You can't have the ocean running a fever every summer and not expect there to be impacted.

ROSALES: But in this tank, a sign that hope is not lost for Florida's reefs. You're looking at a major scientific breakthrough. Elkhorn coral spawning, the Florida aquarium says it is now the first in the world to reproduce this threatened coral using aquarium technology.

O'NEIL: When it finally happened, we were just the first senses just sheer relief.

ROSALES: Keri O'Neil is a senior coral scientist. She has also been dubbed the coral whisperer and she lives up to her name. This spawning produced a couple of thousand Baby Elkhorn corals. O'Neil expects about 100 could survive into adulthood. Her team has figured out how to spawn 13 other species yet Elkhorn takes the top spot.

O'NEIL: It's really the most important. This is a critical step to preventing Elkhorn coral from going extinct in the state of Florida.

ROSALES: Named for its resemblance, Elk antlers, this coral lives right at the top of the reef crust, meaning it plays a big role in protecting Florida's coastline from devastating storm surges, which climate change is making even worse. Problem is.

O'NEIL: Now there are so few left there's just a few scattered colonies.

ROSALES: Only about 300 of them are left around Florida, she says.

O'NEIL: It makes me emotional because I've seen the destruction of this species in my career.

ROSALES: Getting them to reproduce isn't as easy as you think. O'NEIL: Terrestrial animals do this all the time. You know when you have endangered pandas or chimpanzees, the first thing you do is start a breeding program. But coral reproduction is super weird.

ROSALES: O'Neil tells me in the wild, they're not successfully reproducing. They're also notoriously difficult to keep alive in aquariums. Part of the reason why she says, they face so much doubt from the scientific community that they could make this moment happen.

O'NEIL: We face a lot of criticism from people, you can't keep those in an aquarium, you know, that's impossible.

ROSALES: In the race to restore the reefs, there's more work to be done. This breakthrough is only a first step.

O'NEIL: We are really buying time. We're buying time for the reef. We're buying time for the corals.

ROSALES: The rule is a breeding program where they could ultimately breed more resilient coral capable of withstanding threats like pollution, warming ocean waters, and disease.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, dive.

ROSALES: Nature can then pick up the rest.

O'NEIL: There is hope for coral reefs. Don't give up hope. It's -- all is not lost. However, we need to make serious changes in our behavior to save this planet.

ROSALES: I'm Isabel Rosales reporting.



SANCHEZ: Isabel for that report. Coming up, they risked their lives to bring you the news. Meet some of the incredible women who gave us a front-row seat to history on CNN next.



SANCHEZ: The journalists here at CNN are dedicated to bringing you the most unvarnished and unblinking truth about events happening around the world. And now, the new CNN film "NO ORDINARY LIFE" takes a behind-the-scenes look at five trailblazing women, combat camera women who have repeatedly risked their lives to bring you the most compelling images and stories of our time. Here's a preview.



MARY ROGERS, CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST & PRODUCER: That you, guys. Wait, don't leave me. The driver starts to take off, and all I was thinking is this has happened to me. I've had a driver pissed off during an ambush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are leaving the area. There are gunfires all around us (INAUDIBLE).

ROGERS: I was afraid as -- you know. I'm not an adrenaline junkie. It's not all about the frontlines in bang-bang with me. In war zones, what I care about the most are the civilians, the human beings through no choice of their own are forced to live in these places.


SANCHEZ: Their work is incredible. And joining us now is the director of "NO ORDINARY LIFE," Heather O'Neill, also with us, CNN photojournalist and producer, Mary Rogers, and former CNN photojournalist Maria Fleet.

Mary, I want to start with you because that was your footage we saw in the clip and it gives a sense for viewers of just how dangerous your job is, why do you do it?

ROGERS: Well, I do it because I still have the energy, Boris, and I still care about, you know, events that are going on in the world. Now, just to give a little context to that clip, that was not a frontline that day, we went up to that town called Ghalalizt (PH) in Libya, because it had been liberated by anti-Gaddafi forces a few days before, but there were rumors of looting. So we went up there and there was nothing at the checkpoint.

And our driver ran up the hill, looked down, saw Gaddafi forces, they saw him he ran down the hill and -- you know, and then they started shooting, and I was really -- the driver didn't let me get in the car.

That's why I screamed wait, wait, wait! I mean, he had pedaled to them. He was already driving. So I was trying to jump into a moving car. But thankfully, he stopped for a second and I could jump in.

It's not always like that. Usually, I'm the most -- my guts are always in a knot driving up to a front line. But once you get there, that was -- that took us by surprise. That was a surprise ambush.


ROGERS: But once you're actually up in a front line and things are going on, I have an ability to flip a switch and then just concentrate on taking pictures, doing my work. Not that my guts aren't still in a knot internally, they are, but I'm able to do my job.

SANCHEZ: It is fascinating how the intensity and the focus come out in those moments. And it's not a trait that everyone has. It's something I'm always impressed by. We should know, Mary, she's -- for our viewers currently working in the Cairo Bureau for CNN. So her work continues, no shortage of stories coming out of there.

Maria, in the film, you talk about the different perspectives that women bring to this job. What is it like being one of the few women reporting from these conflict zones?

MARIA FLEET, FORMER CNN PHOTOJOURNALIST: You know, people said that they could see something different in our footage. It was hard for us to see it objectively. We couldn't be objective about it. It took -- it took Heather actually looking at all of our footage together to see kind of a throughline that we all very, very strongly gravitated toward the human side of the conflict as Mary was just speaking about.

But when we first started, there were very, very few camera women -- television camera women on the front lines in the early -- in the 80s and 90s. And so -- and then CNN unusually was fielding five of us.

So, you know, we were -- when we showed up in the -- in these -- on these stories, we were greeted initially with a bit of skepticism, I think by our male colleagues. They kind of looked at us and thought, you know, let's see if they're going to be able to hack it out here.

But you know -- but we did. We had to prove ourselves just the way you have to prove yourself in any profession. And we did. We were professionals. We were serious. We were also showing that this fledgling network called CNN was serious.

And so we -- you know, once we proved ourselves, we actually were embraced by that cadre of journalists that traveled around the world covering these very extreme conditions.

SANCHEZ: I think you've proved it time and time again. Heather, you're not just the director of the film. You're also a CNN veteran. Why did you think it was so important to tell these stories?


HEATHER O'NEILL, DIRECTOR, "NO ORDINARY LIFE": Well, I mean, these women were just legendary. And when I was a younger producer, I met Mary in Baghdad in 2006 and she was the very first camera woman I had ever met.

And I just knew at that moment, like, you know, gosh, there's something more here. And as I got to know the rest of them, I mean, their stories were just incredible. I mean, these are not just like good bar stories. I mean, they're just like, decades, you know, long professionals covering you know, every major conflict and disaster.

And, you know, I just knew that -- not just to pay tribute to their career, but they were just absolutely incredible women and I'm so proud to be able to tell their story.

SANCHEZ: Heather, Mary, Maria, we're grateful to have you. We have to leave the conversation there because there is breaking news. You can hear more from them. "NO ORDINARY LIFE" premieres tonight at 10 Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.

But to that breaking news, just in, a federal judge has approved Donald Trump's request for a special master to review materials seized from his estate in Florida at Mar-a-Lago. CNN's Kara Scannell is live for us with the breaking details. Kara, what stands out to you in this decision?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, the judge here after hearing arguments on Thursday, coming up with this ruling today on Labor Day in which she says that she is appointing this special master that the former presidents had requested to review these documents that were seized at Mar-a-Lago, which we learn a bit more about last week, there are thousands of pages of documents, and a number of hundreds of classified documents.

So the judge says that she will appoint a special master, that's a third-party independent person, to review the materials for any personal materials that may have been picked up in the search and for issues involving attorney-clients and executive privilege. And that was the big request here by the former president's team because he had wanted a special master to come in and review this for executive privilege.

The government had opposed this because they said that they had an independent filter team of FBI agents who were not involved in the investigation. Look at these materials that were seized, already separate them out.

They determine there are about 500 that could potentially be covered by attorney-client privilege. But they had argued in court that there was no place for a special master on this issue of executive privilege because they argued a former president cannot assert executive privilege once he has left office.

And the judge at the hearing last week saying she wasn't quite so sure the case law was settled here. So today, she appointed a special master. She said that this person will review for personal materials, attorney-client privilege, and executive privilege.

And she also said that she's going to temporarily block the Department of Justice from reviewing and using any of the materials that were seized at Mar-a-Lago as part of their investigation, so essentially putting a big chunk of that on hold, not allowing the government to use this as they're working through in this investigation.

She also said that she would allow the Intel agencies which have been reviewing these materials for whether -- to determine whether they have to take any steps to protect sources and methods. She said that will -- that review will be allowed to continue and she will carve that out. And this document is some 20-something pages and so we're still going through it.

But she does say that part of the reason why she is granting this request for a special master she says that the risk that the government's filter review process will not adequately safeguard the plaintiff, that's Trump's privileged and personal materials in terms of exposure to either the investigative team or the media plaintiff has sufficiently established irreparable injury.

So, granting Trump's request for this special master that will, in part, slow down the government's investigation. They will have to go to the next steps here. They're going to have to determine who is suitable to conduct this review.

It will likely involve someone who has some type of security clearance because a number of these documents that were picked up or classified. They'll have to go through a process of figuring out who both sides are comfortable -- who the judge is comfortable with, and then that process will get underway, Boris.

SANCHEZ: And, Kara, I want to zero in on one specific thing. You mentioned the judge halting the use of the materials seized from Mar- a-Lago for criminal investigative purposes, pending review by this special master. As you noted, that puts the brakes on the DOJ's investigation. Have we heard yet a response from the Department of Justice on the impact that is going to have?

SCANNELL: We haven't. We have not heard any response. I mean, this is kind of hot off the presses.


SCANNELL: This opinion just hit the docket. But the department had said that they would oppose a special master because they thought it would harm their investigation by slowing it down. Now, it's unclear how long this will take.

We do know now which -- new information that we only learned late on Friday that there are you know more than 11,000 documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago so that gives you the sense of how large the volume of materials are that they'll have to go through. But really we're going to have to see how quickly the judge moves here and what kind of deadlines she may or may not impose once the special master setup, Boris.


SANCHEZ: Yes, again, this just in to CNN. Kara Scannell, thanks for walking us through that. You have a lot to read through so. We appreciate the update. Again, an attorney ruling that a third party from outside the government will be brought in to review the documents that the Department of Justice seized from former President Donald Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago.

It has enormous implications for the investigation. We'll, of course, keep you updated with the very latest. We appreciate you watching AT THIS HOUR, I'm Boris Sanchez. I'm going to turn it over now to John King with "INSIDE POLITICS." Thanks for joining us.