Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

Court Unseals Breakdown Of Government Property Seized From Mar- A-Lago; U.S. Adds 315K New Jobs In August, Unemployment Rises To 3.7 Percent; Biden: "MAGA Extremism" Threatens "The Very Foundations Of Our Republic"; Russia Threatens To Cut Off Oil To Countries That Impose A Price Cap; Pace Of Major Flood Events Leaving FEMA Flood Maps Outdated; Serena Williams Competes Tonight In Singles Third Round Match At US Open. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 02, 2022 - 16:00   ET



KIM CALICHIO, CNN HERO: We thought the pandemic was going to be over in two weeks. So, we were like, we'll spend this ten grand and then we'll go back to work, and that never happened.

The first week, we delivered 25 grocery packages to 25 families. And within a month's time, we were delivering 400 to 500 groceries to families every single week.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: What an incredible story.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: What if it's 11,000 overdue library books?

THE LEAD starts right now.

As we wait for a judge to decide whether to appoint a so-called special master to review the materials seized from Mar-a-Lago, we have just learned that the FBI recovered empty folders that were marked as classified, raising a host of new questions.

Then, the unemployment rate edges up. We'll tell you why that might be good news for your wallet.

Plus, climate change washing away the flood maps. Previously dry areas now under threat. Has your home been pushed into a flood zone?


COLLINS: Hello, and welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Kaitlan Collins, in for Jake Tapper.

We start today with our politics lead, and a new detailed look inside what the FBI seized from former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago home last month. A federal judge today unsealed a seven-page inventory of the highly sensitive government documents that Trump had in his office and in his storage room, despite one of his lawyers telling the government they had given everything back.

Mixed in with newspaper clippings, clothes, and gifts, FBI agents found more than 11,000 non-classified government documents, and more than 100 classified documents. 31 of those marked confidential, 54 marked secret, and 18 marked top secret. Plus, 90 empty folders, 48 marked classified, and 42 of those labeled, quote, return to staff secretary/military aide.

We should also note that at any moment now, we could learn whether or not a federal judge has granted Trump's request for a third party attorney, known as a special master, to review all of those seized documents.

CNN's Sara Murray joins me live.

Sara, you know, this is a remarkable list because we don't usually get to see something like this. But as the judge noted, neither side really had any objections to making a more detailed list public.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. In a court filing that went with this list of documents, the Justice Department notes, normally we wouldn't put this information out there to the person whose home we just searched as part of a criminal investigation, but now we're getting this lengthy sort of look at what documents the former president had after so long negotiating with the National Archives and after going back and forth with the Justice Department, learning there were still thousands of government documents that were not classified, there were 103 documents with classified markings, and we're also learning where in Mar-a-Lago these documents came from.

So they point out that there were 27 documents with classified markings that came from the former president's office. So, you really get a scope of what was still there -- again, after months and months of wrangling.

COLLINS: Yeah. And we're still waiting to hear about the status of this special master, this is the third-party attorney that the Trump team wants to review these documents. You know, what do we know about when we're going to find out if they're getting it or not getting one?

MURRAY: Well, if only we knew when the judge was going to issue her ruling, but she did not set a timeline. She said she was going to rule on paper.

She did indicate in the hearing as she previously had that she was open to this idea of a special master, of giving the Trump team what they wanted. She asked sort of what is the harm in doing this?

It was interesting, though, the former attorney general, Bill Barr, was on Fox News. Here's what he had to say about the possibility of a special master.


BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think that the whole idea of a special master is a bit of a red herring. I think at this stage, since they have already gone through the documents, I think it's a waste of time.


MURRAY: Now, he also had some scathing remarks about why the former president still had all these documents, but on the question of the special master, we are still waiting to see what the judge is going to decide on this issue, if she's effectively going to hit pause on the Justice Department's criminal investigation. It is noteworthy that even if she does decide to go forward with this, she's still going to let the intelligence community's risk assessment of the documents go forward, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yeah, that Bill Barr interview was really something. It sounds like he agreed with this current Justice Department more than Trump.

Sara Murray, thank you.

So let's get more perspective on all of this from former assistant U.S. attorney Elie Hnig and Joshua Skule, former FBI executive assistant director for intelligence.

Josh, I want to start with you because this unsealed inventory we got today that normally is not made public, it shows us that classified documents were mixed in with all kinds of other stuff, clothes, gifts, magazine clippings.


What did you make of that?

JOSHUA SKULE, FORMER FBI EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR INTELLIGENCE: Well, I just -- thank you for having me on. I think it was just a series of things that were thrown together in boxes and really cavalier attitude towards classified information, frankly is what I took away from it. And I think you're seeing that throughout this.

There was documents found in the former president's office in a storage room that was want really secure, and then of course, the delay tactics that went on in giving these back to the government.

COLLINS: Yeah, and of course, we know that's exactly what they're investigating, not just that these were taken but what happens once they were there and how they were handled. You saw the justice department arguing in their legal filing this week that highly classified material, in their words, was, quote, likely concealed and removed from that storage room, as what they say is potentially part of an effort to obstruct the FBI's investigation.

Now we found out the FBI found 27 classified documents in Trump's office and seven of those had top secret markings. How would a prosecutor even begin to go about investigating who has handled these documents and what's happened with them? ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL INTELLIGENCE: Kaitlan, such an important

question because now you have to figure out who handled them, who may have mishandled them. I think prosecutors are looking add a few things. Let's remember DOJ subpoenaed the surveillance videos from Mar-a-Lago. So, I guarantee you, they're scrutinizing those to see who went into and out of what room, what storage room. Can you see anyone handling documents?

They're also talking to witnesses. We know from DOJ's filings they have multiple civilian witnesses. That doesn't necessarily mean a cooperating witness, someone who's done someone wrong. It could be a bystander, could be a staffer, could be an innocent person who's providing information.

And finally, I have seen some people wondering could they check for fingerprints or DNA. They could try. There's really no harm in it, but it's important to remember this is not CSI on TV. It's not the case that every time a human being touches a document, it leaves behind fingerprints or DNA.

Sometimes it does, but not always. But if it was me, I would send it off and see what came back to try to figure out who may have handled these documents.

COLLINS: Yeah, we know it's a big question for investigators.

And, Josh, when it comes to these documents, one thing that stood out to me from the inventory list today were the empty folders, because it said there were 48 of them marked as classified. So they were empty, but they were marked as had containing classified information, 42 of them marked return to staff secretary/military aide. And you know, if you're not familiar with the White House, it's obviously a staff secretary is the person who controls the entire paper flow going into the west wing. A military aide is often with the president carrying these important documents.

And I wonder what you make of this because we've heard from some people expressing alarm, the fact they were empty, what was in them and what happened to those documents. Some other people have said, well, these folders get reused a lot. It doesn't necessarily mean anything. What do you make of it?

SKULE: I think both of those are accurate. I think when you look at the totality of what the FBI's investigating, and obstruction is one of those topics and one of those potential crimes, there could have been documents in there that were destroyed. It's also very likely that there were those folders were mixed in with a bunch of the other documents that were seized and that they do exist in classified settings so that you can protect classified documents when they're being moved from office to office within a SCIF or within the government.

COLLINS: Okay. Well, that's good to know. Obviously, it's raised so many questions about the fact so many were empty.

Elie, Trump's own attorney general, Bill Barr, we heard what Sara was saying when he called their request for a special master a red herring. He was also very critical of the fact that Trump took classified information with him to Mar-a-Lago.


BARR: I think the driver on this from the beginning was, you know, loads of classified information sitting in Mar-a-Lago. People say this was unprecedented. It's also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put it in a country club. Okay?

And how long is the government going to try to get that back? The facts are starting to show that they were being jerked around. And so how long -- you know, how long do they wait?


COLLINS: Elie, what did you make of that?

HONIG: Well, Kaitlan, it's remarkable when we remember who Bill Barr is. He spent two years as Donald Trump's AG, really doing everything in his power to cover up for Donald Trump, distorting the law, distorting the facts, cheerleading for Donald Trump. So it hits extra hard now when we hear Bill Barr taking this turn.

I reason I think Bill Barr is able to give this advice and view is because he has the perspective of having been the attorney general twice in fact, once in the early '90s. He had the highest level security clearance. He understands the importance of these documents that were scattered about. Best case scenario.

The other thing is he understands, again, from his own prior experience, that DOJ did everything to try to get these documents the nice way, the easy way.


They met, they negotiated. They tried to subpoena. I think Barr understands and makes a good point, DOJ almost had no choice but to execute the search warrant as a last resort.

COLLINS: Yeah. Notable comments from Bill Barr.

Elie, Joshua, thank you both for breaking that down for us.

HONIG: Thanks, Kaitlan.

SKULE: Thank you.

COLLINS: We have new signs that inflation might be slowing down, but a big question still to remain is, is it enough to change the mind of the Federal Reserve chair? It's also been five days and many people in Jackson, Mississippi, still don't have water. Will the federal government deliver a fix?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COLLINS: In our money lead, a new snapshot of the U.S. economy as we head into the Labor Day weekend. The August jobs report showing that the economy added 315,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7 percent.

Sources say this report is what the White House had been waiting for, signs that a red hot economy with record inflation has started to cool down a little. The main question now is will this report be enough to convince the Federal Reserve that another massive rate hike isn't necessary when it meets later this month.

[16: 15:08]

Let's get straight to CNN's business correspondent, Rahel Solomon. Rahel, walk us through the big takeaways you saw in today's report.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kaitlan, as you pointed out, this was a gradual cooling that some, such as the White House and certainly the Federal Reserve, would argue we needed. So, 315,000 jobs added last month, that is still strong. That is still robust job growth, meaning if you were at home and you need a job, chances are there is one out there for you. There are 1.9 open jobs for every one person looking.

Also, where we saw some of the strongest growth, professional services. That sector adding 68,000 jobs last month. Health care, so think doctor's offices, nursing care facilities adding 48,000. In retail, 44,000.

We also saw, and perhaps one of the strongest elements of the jobs report is we saw the labor force participation rate, the percentage of working Americans or working age Americans actually actively participating in the labor force, we saw that finally increase, meaning people are coming off the sidelines and starting to look for work. And that's actually why you saw the unemployment rate rise from 3.5 to 3.7 percent, which is still low, but rising because more people are now coming off the sidelines and looking for work.

So one thing you're hearing a lot, Kaitlan, today from economists is this was a Goldilocks report in terms of the labor market. Not too hot, not too cold. Sort of right in the middle there.

COLLINS: Which is a tough thing to achieve. But I do wonder, how is the Federal Reserve reading this report?

SOLOMON: Well, I think two things for sure the federal reserve will be pleased to see, that labor force participation rate, certainly Chairman Powell indicated he wanted to see a greater supply of workers. So that certainly will be viewed positively. Also, wages started to moderate, so that will be seen positively.

And so, you're starting to hear from some of the banks, Kaitlan, that maybe a soft landing could be possible. JPM, JPMorgan putting out in a note, you're saying there's a chance. So we're starting to feel like, all right, we're seeing some cooling, and in a gradual way. This is going to be good news for the Fed, but certainly not enough to declare victory on the inflation front at all.

COLLINS: Yeah, we'll see what they saw in this when they meet later this month.

Today, we heard from President Biden. He said he believes some signs, there are signs inflation might be beginning to ease. He's being very cautious lately. He was very cautious today. He kept saying maybe, because of course, his predictions that inflation had peaked in December was not correct, and neither the idea it was temporary, which the White House was saying all last year.

So, this idea that inflation may be starting to ease, is that backed up by the data you see in this report today?

SOLOMON: Yeah, I think humility here in terms of forecasting whether inflation has peaked is certainly important. But certainly, we have seen energy prices continue to fall, and that really helps on the inflation front.

However, Kaitlan, we have also seen in other areas of the economy, especially shelter prices, we have not seen any cooling there. In some ways we're seeing peaks in terms of energy. That's going to help on the inflation front, and shelter costs, rent costs, for example, we haven't seen cooling just yet.

COLLINS: Yeah. Well, people are actively anticipating cooling in those areas so we'll see when they get it. Rahel, thank you so much.

And today, President Biden also responding to some of the backlash from his primetime address last night. That's next.



COLLINS: In our politics lead, dire warnings from President Biden on the direction of American democracy. Listen to some of his speech last night outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic. The Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump. MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.


TAPPER: All right, let's talk about the takeaways from President Biden's speech last night.

Yasmeen Abutaleb, let's start with you. You saw the president in 2020 running that campaign on this idea of national unity. He returned to that in a sense last night of this battle for the soul of the nation, which he talked about so often on the campaign trail, as you well know. But last night, he seemed to be arguing that unity has its limits.

YASMEEN ABUTALEB, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think that's exactly right. You know, President Biden has been criticized for a lot of his first 20 months or so in office for saying he wants to work with Republicans, he wants to reach across the aisle. A lot of Democrats have said, it's naive, this is a different Republican Party than when he was in the Senate.

They have managed to do things on a bipartisan basis, and I think what you saw was the president trying to draw a contrast between what he called MAGA Republicans, meaning people who are denying the results of the 2020 election, who have indicated a willingness to perhaps overturn or change election laws in the future. And what he called mainstream Republicans, Republicans who have sort of more traditional conservative beliefs but don't necessarily embrace the political ideology of President Trump.

I think from talking to White House sources, from other Democrats, I think they feel this is a moment where unity with Republicans who still don't accept the results of the 2020 election have indicated that they may not accept the results of 2024, may change election laws to be more in favor of what former President Trump has advocated for.


Those are not people they can work with. I think the president has been much more stark and direct in stating that he can't work with people like that.

COLLINS: Yeah, he was basically making the argument about the sake of democracy when it comes to math.

And, Chris Cillizza, he was asked today as he was trying to draw that distinction last night, saying all Republicans are not MAGA Republicans. Today, he was asked if he considered all Trump supporters to be a threat to democracy. This is how he answered.


BIDEN: I don't consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country. I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, fails to condemn violence when it's used, fails to acknowledge when an election is won, insists upon changing the way in which the rules you count votes, that is a threat to democracy.


COLLINS: Chris, what did you make of that?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN EDITOR AT LARGE: It seems to me a little bit of a distinction without a difference there. I think what he doesn't want to say, because he's Joe Biden at heart, right? This is a guy who did run as sort of the unifier, the guy who was going to bring the country back together. I think he doesn't want to say any American is a threat to the country. At the same time, lots and lots of people who identify as Trump

supporters have said and have run on the idea that the 2020 election was not fairly conducted.

So he's saying they're a threat to democracy if they believe that, but they're not a threat to the country. That's a hard distinction to draw. What I would say is the speech last night, Kaitlan, was 68 days before the election. That's a political speech. I think it was done on purpose by Joe Biden and his aides to set a standard by which he was going to campaign on.

I think the question he got today a little bit more off the cuff probably a little bit closer to the sort of who Joe Biden inherently is, which is he doesn't want to vilify, but the nature of campaigns is to draw those distinctions, and my guess is you're going to hear more of the rhetoric we heard last night from both Biden as well as Democratic candidates between now and November 8th.

COLLINS: Yeah, Yasmeen, do you think this is part of this larger effort by president Biden to basically frame a vote in November for Republicans, for certainly the ones who style themselves after former President Trump, as a vote for extremism?

ABUTALEB: Absolutely. I think President Biden's been clear that he's raising the stakes of this election. That it's not about disagreements over tax or climate or health policy. He said this in the speech last night, it's about the future of the country, about whether Americans want to continue forward with a democratic system of governing or whether the country is going to move backwards.

So, I think he's been very clear in what he views as the stakes of November's midterm elections, and I do think it's important to note that, and he noted this in the speech, there are a number of Republican candidates who have won primaries this year who have said that they would be willing to change election laws and still don't accept the results of the 2020 election, including the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, Doug Mastriano, which is where, of course, Biden was delivering the speech last night.

COLLINS: Yeah, you couldn't ignore where he was, Chris. He's in Pennsylvania. He has been there several times already. He's going back there on Monday. But also tomorrow, former President Trump is going to Pennsylvania to campaign as well. He's got several candidates there that he's endorsed.

So what do you make of the idea that Biden was arguing last night that this isn't really a referendum on his presidency come November. They have struggled with low approval numbers, high inflation that we were just talking about, but he seemed to be framing it as this idea of normal versus not normal?

CILLIZZA: Look, there's no question, Kaitlan, that the improvement in Democratic prospects, and I don't think Democrats are still favored to keep the House and Senate. I still would say Republicans are probably slightly favored in both. But the improvement in Democratic prospects has come with Joe Biden's recession a little bit in terms of not being in the news for all these negative stories about gas prices and inflation, and who coming into the fore more and more, Donald Trump, the Mar-a-Lago search, what he said about it, what has come out about it.

So the more that it's a choice between Joe Biden and what Joe Biden represents to the average swing voter and Donald Trump and what Donald Trump represents to the average swing voter, the better in Biden's mind for Democrats. I think if you gave a Republican strategist truth serum, they would be perfectly happy if Donald Trump didn't say -- I was going to say tweet, but I don't know, Truth Social, something between now and the election.


They would be perfectly happy if Donald Trump campaigned for candidates, that's fine. But if he sort of stayed as low profile as Donald Trump could stay, because they want the focus still to be on Joe Biden. There are still questions about Joe Biden's handling of the economy. Yes, those questions have gotten a little better for Joe Biden of late, but there are still questions about that, his handling of foreign policy.

There's plenty of questions and historical arguments that suggest this shouldn't be a good election for Democrats. The counter is we have a former president who is more high profile in ways we have never seen before and continues to be so. And that's the thing that Republican strategists I talk to, that's what worries them. We have never had a person like Donald Trump looming out in a midterm election like Donald Trump is looming. That's what Joe Biden's sort of latching onto.

COLLINS: Well, Yasmeen, I guess that's the natural next question. Trump is in Pennsylvania tomorrow. He's endorsed a lot of these candidates that he boosted them in the primary, but now it's struggling to translate that momentum into general election votes. Certainly, judging by the poll numbers right now, for people like Dr. Oz, in Pennsylvania, who had kind of wrapped himself in Trump during the primary, but now that he has secured the nomination and he's going ahead in this general election, he's not as closely hugging Trump as he was previously.

ABUTALEB: I think that's right, and I think Chris made a great point, which is that Republicans are stuck in this position now where they have to talk about president Trump because of his growing legal problems and the investigation by the Department of Justice. They're trying to put -- many Republicans are trying to put distance between themselves and Trump because they're having trouble defending his possession of classified documents which of course has looked increasingly serious over time.

So, they're getting distracted talking about the former president instead of talking about the current president and his record. And I think a lot of these candidates recognize that, and you have seen them backing off some of the more extremist positions they may have adopted when they were trying to win Trump's endorsement in the primaries. You seen a number soften or take away language about denying election results or rigged elections on their campaign sites. Obviously, the Supreme Court decision, overturning abortion, has been a huge liability.

So, I think you have seen a lots of them trying to make themselves more palatable, especially for the Senate state-wide races.

COLLINS: We'll see if it works. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell certainly is a little cautious on that. Yasmeen and Chris, thank you both for joining us on this Friday.

CILLIZZA: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: All right, CNN footage being used to help catch a heartless killer in the middle of the war in Ukraine. Stick around for details on that.



COLLINS: In our world lead, inspectors for the United Nation's nuclear watchdog are looking to establish a permanent presence at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is a major source of power for Ukraine. Ukrainian officials say that a second reactor at the plant is now up and running after being disconnected yesterday because of shelling in the area.

CNN's Sam Kiley is in Zaporizhzhia.

Sam, is this nuclear watchdog really hopeful about making a permanent position there, given there's been so much fighting surrounding the actual plant itself?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amazingly, they are, Kaitlan. Currently, they have got six inspectors there, that will go down to two. They hope to have in their permanently. They seem to think they have got the agreement of both the Russians and the Ukrainians for that. And that would be in the words, a difference between night and day.

Rafael Grossi, who led that team into the nuclear power station drew attention to the single biggest threat it faces. Take a listen.


RAFAEL GROSSI, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY DIRECTOR GENERAL: It is clear that those who have these aims, these military aims, know very well that the way to cripple or to do more damage is not to look into the reactors, which are enormously sturdy and robust, but to hit where it hurts so the plant becomes very, very problematic.


KILEY: Now, hitting where it hurts means cutting the main power supply to the cooling system. That's happened twice, at least in the last week, Kaitlan, and it's that really that he says military planners, he's not saying who, clearly know what they're doing, Kaitlan. COLLINS: And, Sam, all this is going on as Russia is threatening to

cut off oil supply to countries who impose restrictions as the finance ministers from the G-7 nations have agreed to put a price cap on Russian oil. So what more do we know about that?

KILEY: Well, it's a price cap, they don't know where the price cap will fall. Obviously, the price of oil has gone up and down following the last six months of the war in Ukraine. Most of these economies are already not really seriously importing oil. Indeed, the United States and Europe effectively have banned the import of oil. Not gas, 40 percent of Europe's gas comes from Russia. And that's not yet been banned or cut off because they can't afford to do it.

Elsewhere in the world, there's been a significant shift, two-thirds of the oil that Russia used to sell westward is now being sold to China and India. It's not clear where they'll be able to put the caps in, but a very important symbolic moment at least, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yeah, Sam Kiley, thanks for those important updates out of Ukraine.

Also in our world lead, Ukrainian prosecutors want to hold those who committed war crimes in the town of Bucha accountable. This is where those mass graves were uncovered in April once Russia had withdrawn from the area. Its forces, at least, these were images that shocked the world, and now prosecutors in Bucha said they used video from CNN's exclusive report in may showing two men who had been shot in the back by Russian soldiers to help identify and charge one of them that they say is responsible.


We want to warn you that the video you're about to see is violent and disturbing, as CNN's Sara Sidner reports.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ukrainian prosecutors say that this is the moment and undeniable war crime was carried out by Russian soldiers. This video clip, obtained by CNN, has yet to be seen by the public. It shows Russian soldiers firing at something alongside a business that they have just overtaken on the outskirts of Kyiv. It turns out their target is to unsuspecting and unarmed Ukrainian civilians who they shoot in the back.

We first reported on this portion of the video in May, showing the business owner dying where he falls, and the guard initially surviving, but bleeding to death after making it back to his guard shack. Both men have just spent the last few minutes speaking calmly with the Russian soldiers who appear to let them go.

But we now see two of the soldiers return and fire on them.

YULIA PLYATS, FATHER KILLED BY RUSSIANS (through translator): My father's name is Leonid Oleksiyovych Plyats.

SIDNER: The guard's daughter, Yulia, told us then she wanted the world to know his father's name. And what the Russians did to him.

Yulia, have you seen the video?

PLYATS: I can't watch it now. I will save it to the cloud and leave it for my grandchildren, and children. They should know about this crime, and always know who our neighbors are.

SIDNER: And now, the Bucha prosecutors' office says that with the help of CNN's story, it has finally identified one of his executioners. The suspect's name, Nikolay Sergeevich Sokovikov.

Ukraine has informed Russia that their pretrial investigation has zeroed in on Sokovikov as the perpetrator of the cold-blooded killing. While prosecutors will not reveal exactly how they identified this particular soldier, we have seen one part of the process being used by Ukrainian officials, facial recognition technology.

It's really fast.

The ministry of digital transformation gets an image, loads it into the program they created, and it scrubs social media, looking for a match. Once they have a match of a soldier, dead or alive, they try to corroborate it with friends and family on the soldier social media sites.

We have identified about 300 cases, he says.

The identification of the latest suspect of war crimes was months in the making. But is at least one step towards justice towards the families who have had something taken from them that they can never get back. The life of someone they love.


SIDNER (on camera): And Bucha prosecutors say that Ukraine has indicted the Russian soldier, but he's been indicted in absentia. They do not know where he is. They have not been able to capture him.

COLLINS: That's at least, you know, one step toward justice for those families. Sara, thank you for that important report.

SIDNER: Sure, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, the government cannot keep up with climate change, as rising water is washing away the maps that they used to use to determine which homes are in flood zones.



COLLINS: In our national lead, the head of FEMA is in Jackson, Mississippi, today, where a water emergency is dragging on. The city went into crisis mode on Monday when its main water plant failed after flooding. Water pressure is improving, we're told, but only after days of almost nothing, leading to brown residue in some faucets as you can see in this picture. A reminder that boil-water advisories have been basically on and off in Jackson for over a year, frustrating many residents there, and for many of them right now, getting bottled water means sitting in these winding lines in 90 degree heat at distribution sites.

That story brings us to our Earth Matters series today. Do you really know if your home is in a flood zone? The climate crisis is causing more intense rain events to flare up, making these designated flood zones really largely out of date.

In fact, as CNN's Rene Marsh Found, federal flood maps may be off as much as 70 percent.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fast flowing, fast rising flash floods. A common scene this summer with 1,000-year rain events striking in multiple states. CNN collected data from local and federal flood agencies and found significant portions of communities that saw floods of biblical proportions this summer were outside of what FEMA considers high risk flood zones.

MICHAEL GERRARD, DIRECTOR, SABIN CENTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AT COLUMBIA: People should not rely exclusively on FEMA flood maps in this age of climate change because the flood maps only look backwards. They look at historical flooding.

MARSH: Property owners, local and state governments use FEMA maps to determine risk and make critical decisions about where it's safe to built. FEMA said it's never meant to predict risk from climate change.

DAVID MAURSTAD, DEPUTY ASSOCIATE, ADMINISTRATOR FOR RESILIENCE: Flood insurance maps have a purpose, and that purpose is to identify the high risk area for regulating development, what they are not is a predictor of where it might flood in a community.

MARSH: I think the message that you take is it can flood even if you're not in a FEMA flood zone.

MAURSTAD: Absolutely.

MARSH: Nationally, FEMA classifies roughly 8.7 million properties as having substantial risk of flooding.

But the nonprofit First Street Foundation, a research firm that considers climate change when mapping risk, identifies nearly 70 percent more properties with the same level of risk.


That means about 6 million property owners are likely underestimating or unaware of their current flood risk.

This summer, five ultra rare 1,000-year rain events happened over the past three months. Starting in Kentucky and St. Louis this July. Southeastern Illinois and Death Valley in early August, and most recently, Dallas. Preliminary data CNN gathered from city and county agencies in and around St. Louis show roughly 78 percent of the flooded properties were outside of FEMA's flood zone. That translates to more than 8,000 property owners who likely had no idea they were at risk for this kind of catastrophe.

GERRARD: There are tens of millions of homeowners who don't realize their homes may be vulnerable to flooding, and very few people who aren't in a mapped FEMA flood zone bother to buy FEMA flood insurance, but that can be a mistake.

MARSH: The agency says it's actively working to create maps that reflect a more realistic flood risk in the age of climate change, but it doesn't have a timeline for when that will be complete.


MARSH (on camera): So how can you figure out your true flood risk? The first step is you can check out It allows you to enter your home address and determine your flood risk in the age of climate change. Also, if you do have considerable risk, you want to consider getting a national FEMA flood policy, even if you're not in a FEMA flood zone, and lastly, that sensitive equipment appliances, if you're building a home, the furnace, they say it's best to place all of that on the upper level -- Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yeah, that is critical information. Rene Marsh, thank you.

MARSH: Sure.

COLLINS: Coming up, it has been quite the Swan Song. Will Serena go 3 for 3 tonight?



COLLINS: Turning to our sports lead -- Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes of all time, is returning to the tennis court tonight at the U.S. Open.

Let's bring in CNN's sports analyst and sports columnist for the "USA Today", Christine Brennan.

Christine, do we think Serena can pull off another win tonight, go 3 for 3?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: We do, Kaitlan. I think based on what she did Wednesday against the number two seed, now she's playing Ajla Tomljanovic, that's tonight, and she's unranked, 46th in the world, and has never made it past the third round of a U.S. Open.

So, Serena's definitely the favorite. And if she can keep playing as she has been, freely, you know, just power, swinging away as if no one is chasing her, the joy of kind of not being the hunted player anymore. If Serena can continue do what she did on Wednesday night, I think she will win and move on into the weekend. COLLINS: And meanwhile, of course, my favorite time of the year is

back, college football season. We just found out the college football playoff is going to expand to include 12 teams, no later than 2026, but as soon as 2024. Obviously, this was a unanimous vote, we're told, but there is a lot of complicated logistics in here and a lot of people who feel that maybe it shouldn't have gone this big, maybe it should have been a few fewer teams.

What do you make of it?

BRENNAN: Exactly. Going from four to eight, that would have been a first step, and then to 12. But now 12, it's all about the money, Kaitlan. You know this well from your love of college football, my love of college football. It's all about the money.

When you have the big ten signing a $1 billion a year contract with Fox to televise just the big ten, and I'm a big ten person, you can see the money that is out there. And all these commissioners and the league, the various leagues and, of course, the presidents of universities have said they're leaving too much money on the table. So they're going for it.

That's a big part of this, and frankly, that's why we're going to be seeing as soon as 2024, actually, 12 teams in the playoff. I mean, student athletes would probably need to get rid of most of that, it is all about the money, and people want to see more teams in the playoff.

COLLINS: That's a big question, too, with football season returning. You know, how different is it going to look with what we have seen with the name, image, likeness aspect of this? And these student athletes being able to profit off their work?

BRENNAN: It's going to be fascinating to see. You see, for example, some players who get a lot of money are sharing it with their teammates. They understand the quarterback needs the offensive line. You're seeing some of that. Will there be situations where sponsors say, hey, play this guy? I paid him all this money.

Coaches, of course, are trying to feel their way in terms of what -- of course, it's their job to be in control of a team, but if there's money involved. So it's a new era in college football. But it was coming, no doubt about it. You know that as well as anyone.

So here we are. I still think it's America's national pastime. We love our football, college and pro, and the passion in college football is like nothing else in America.

So frankly, I think that people will be into it, just as they always are. But you're right, there are going to be some very, very different things, mostly with the bottom line looking at decimal points and the money that the players are making now as well as the coaches.

COLLINS: Yeah. Normally, Christine, I would tell you thank you for coming on with us, but today I'll leave you with a Roll Tide.

BRENNAN: Okay. Sounds good. Go Wildcats. COLLINS: And thanks all of you for watching today.

Be sure to watch "STATE OF THE UNION" this Sunday. Our Dana Bash will interview Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington and her Republican opponent, Tiffany Smiley.

Plus, FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell on the crisis in Jackson. That's at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern on Sunday.

I'm Kaitlan Collins in for Jake Tapper. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a safe holiday weekend. Our coverage continues right now in "THE SITUATION ROOM."