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Don Lemon Tonight

Pro-Abortion Group Handed with Victory in Texas; Louisiana Facing Grueling Heat; President Biden Visited Louisiana; POTUS Can't Choose What to Come; U.S. COVID Death Toll Keep Rising; Governor Newsom's Political Fate is Just Days Away. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired September 03, 2021 - 22:00   ET




MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for watching. Don Lemon Tonight with Laura Coates sitting in, starts right now. Laura?

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Hey, Michael Smerconish. We'll listen to you tomorrow. Can't wait to hear you. Nice to see you.

Thanks for that. OK.

COATES: This is Don Lemon Tonight. I'm Laura Coates, in for Don.

And we have breaking news. A Texas judge has handed a narrow victory to abortion rights advocates just tonight. The judge issuing a temporary restraining order blocking the anti-abortion group called Texas Right to Life from suing abortion providers that are employed by Planned Parenthood under this new restrictive six-week abortion ban in Texas.

Now Texas Right to Life has already created a web site that was allowing people to post tips about possible illegal abortions taking place in the state.

Now Planned Parenthood has put out a statement tonight saying that they are -- we are relieved that the Travis County district court has acted quickly to grant this restraining order against Texas Right to Life and anyone working with them as deputized enforcers of this draconian law.

President Biden today called the Texas law almost un-American.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The most pernicious thing about the Texas law is sort of creates a vigilante system where people get rewards to go out to -- anyway. And it just seems -- I know this sounds ridiculous, almost un-American.


COATES: It's not a sort of villainy system, it actually in fact is just that.

Joining me now CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Jeff, I mean, this is partially good news in terms of at least people are able to go to the courts now. It's not a total and around or around just the system, but I mean, it's only about abortion providers now who are employed by Planned Parenthood and the anti-abortion group that they sued or sued against them. So, is this going to actually going to more limited than just them at some point in time?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, we'll have to see. You know, the judge said this temporary injunction it lasts until two weeks until September 17th but the judge is going to hold a hearing on September 13th about deciding whether to make it a permanent injunction.

So, this is certainly a win for Planned Parenthood but, you know, it may be of short duration and it's not clear how many organizations it will ultimately apply to, but look, a win is a win. That means Planned Parenthood can continue to serve women for the next two weeks without the fear that they had for the last three days. But I mean, as you're saying, the legal issue, the legal issues surrounding this law are very -- are going to be in the courts for quite some time.

COATES: I mean, you're operating and you're right under this deficit, right? I mean, you got this enormous loss at the Supreme Court level by their inaction by refusing to essentially acknowledge that look, there is Roe v. Wade precedent, this is clearly an end run around judicial intervention. There is not a check on the legislative branch now in Texas right now except for a case by case scenario.

And so, the inch feels, although like a win, a very small one comparatively speaking and for the women in Texas who may want to get an abortion. Does this order actually protect them at all? I mean, it's about Planned Parenthood now and the providers but are they now still able to go get them or is the chilling affect complete?

TOOBIN: Well, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in Texas have said they are continuing to provide service. Now, Planned Parenthood I think for this two-week period and their clients, the women who come to see them will be safe from any sort of retribution from Texas Right to Life or people affiliated with Texas Right to Life during this two-week period. Other abortion providers are not protected by this two-week, by this two-week injunction.

So, you know, that's why this is a very narrow victory because it only applies to Texas -- to Planned Parenthood affiliates and it only applies for two weeks at the moment. Also, it's worth remembering, Texas right to Life almost certainly is going to appeal this ruling and they may get it thrown out even before the two weeks. So, you know, this is a very moving target, this whole legal situation.

COATES: And not to mention it doesn't fully address their issue of who qualifies as somebody who is aided and abetted, right? I mean, we know that Planned Parenthood under that umbrella of people are protected right now, but part of the issue here was that, anyone who under this very vague description of what it means to aid and abet could be swept under in this dragnet and be personally sued.


But, you know, one of the other issues as you know, Jeff, is the idea here that this creates a bit of a blueprint for other states and the Supreme Court must know that other states are going to follow along now that they know how to essentially evade judicial review.

So, at some point, the Supreme Court is going to have to address in maybe in a more direct way given the fact that a blueprint really has been created, don't you think?

TOOBIN: I mean, absolutely. And Florida, Nebraska, other states have already said they are looking into copying this bounty hunter model that the Texas has come up with. But Laura, you know, the thing -- the think -- you know, I'm thinking back to law school.

Law students hate -- many law students hate civil procedure. They think it's a boring not important subject. This case, I mean, think about this. Here you have a law that is completely contradictory to binding Supreme Court precedent, Roe v. Wade. I mean, there is no doubt. Even the proponents of the law do not -- do not say that this law is permissible under Ro v. Wade.

However, because of the procedural tangle that have been created by the sponsors of this law, no court has yet said this law is unconstitutional. Imagine that this law has been in the works for months, it's been in effect now for more than three days and no court has even ruled on whether it's constitutional or not and that to me is just such an outrage and it's really such an indictment of our federal courts starting with the Supreme Court that they have not simply said this law is contrary to Supreme Court precedent.

COATES: You know who is not outraged, though? Five members of the Supreme Court. That's who is not outraged right now who decided that this was permissible at this point because apparently, as you know, Toobin, they said it was a complex and novel case, which of course, what case isn't before the Supreme Court? I got to let you go. Nice talking to you. We'll talk more.

TOOBIN All right, counselor, good to talk to you.

COATES: All right. And civil procedures are good lesson in law school, by the way because of course you need it for cases like this.

And joining me now is somebody who navigate it so well. Women's rights attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel. She is also preparing legal action against the law in Texas state court.

Michelle, good to see you.

I mean, you know, we know that you're preparing to sue in Texas. You already have your own restraining orders in place to allow you as an attorney to be able to do what you're doing and not run afoul of this law. So, what case are you now trying to make in court? MICHELLE SIMPSON TUEGEL, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ATTORNEY: So, I mean, the

first one that we were involved in was the first temporary restraining orders that were granted in Texas state court on actually August 31st. You know, our team (technical difficulty) -- our goal is to take the teeth out of this law in our home states.

We are a team of Texas women lawyers and we're not afraid of a fight and we saw this law and we realized that there were federal cases pending and those are certainly important. But as I think Jeffrey just noted really well, there are other issues with this law from a civil procedural perspective and also, under the Texas Constitution.

And so, we wanted to make sure that we started and we're proactive in trying to protect women in our home state.

COATES: You know, on that procedural issue, one of the things that people have not been talking about, Michelle. We talked about the potential Uber driver, right? The front desk receptionist. Anyone who made aided and abetted.

But one of the things that I think is so shocking about this law and this end run around the judicial process is that conceivably, even you as an attorney trying to advocate against the law, trying to bring this case to a court of law, you had to get your own injections that you wouldn't be personally sued now that this law is in case.

And I was saying that's only temporary, as well. Are you worried and the company you're with that you all are now targets, as well, legally speaking?

TUEGEL: It's certainly something that we were preparing for, and I was ready to take on, you know. I represent women all over the country in civil, sexual assault and abuse cases and I often have to have really tough conversations with women about what to do after their raids.

And sadly, pregnancy is one of those issues that we have to discuss, and under this new law, that discussion and that advice could be considered in that catch all of aiding and abetting because rape and sexual assault is not an exception in this new Texas ban on abortion.


COATES: You know, every time I hear that and think about that, I hope that really resonates with people, what was not included. What it means. Who could be a possible aider and abettor?

And one of the things I have a question about is, I mean, how is this law not contradicting HIPAA and privacy laws? How is this not running afoul and the idea of even trying to prove this case. They got this web site foe these tips and this rt of hotline to say that somebody is involved in this? But how does it not contradict HIPAA?

TUEGEL: I think that it goes against fundamental principles between a doctor and patient and arguably would violate that. But I think even bigger than that, it violates the United States and Texas Constitutions. The American Medical Association and the Texas Medical association have all come out and said this law is a problem. Supreme Court, why didn't you act?

And that's a really disappointing thing that I think is coming from not just doctors and lawyers but a lot of professions and helpers who want to aid women, social workers, donors, organizations that provide any aid to women in this space are potentially liable under this law.

COATES: Michelle, thank you. And by the way, a lot of things could now be on the chopping block under this particular precedent that's now been set. So, everything seems to be fair game under this. Thank you for your time.

TUEGEL: Thank you.

COATES: President Biden is in Louisiana today. He's pledging to get the power back on for hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering right now in sweltering temperatures ever since Hurricane Ida hit. We're going to go there live, next.



COATES: President Biden in Louisiana today getting a firsthand look at the destruction caused by Hurricane Ida. And along the East Coast, the death toll from the catastrophic storm is now at 50 people.

Let's get right to our reporters who are on the ground. CNN's Brian Todd is in New Orleans and Pete Muntean is in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, that's just north of Philadelphia.

Brian, let me start with you where you are. Because President Biden is down in Louisiana to survey the damage and it comes amid, I understand, the scorching temperatures, and we know that 800 plus customers are still without power and five days in, we're getting reports about looting. What's happening on the ground?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Laura. It is a very slow grind to getting back to normal and it's a violent grind in some cases. Not only have there been 58 looting arrests in New Orleans since the storm hit, that's according to a New Orleans Police Chief Ferguson.

But also, today, just a few minutes ago, we got reports that a man was killed in nearby Metairie, Louisiana during a dispute over gasoline and a long line in gas -- a long line for gas in Metairie, Louisiana.

So, tensions are still high here and people are getting very, very frustrated with the lack of power, with the oppressive heat. But we do have some good news. I mean, the visual behind me will tell you a long line of streetlights back here, downtown New Orleans has had much of its power restored.

The Entergy power company and the mayor, LaToya Cantrell, have pointed to maybe mid next week for much, if not all of the power being restored. Entergy has also said that much, if not all of the power in Baton Rouge should be restored by midway next week. So, again, it is a slow grind in getting power back, Laura, but they are making some progress.

COATES: At least there is progress. What an awful story at the gas station. That's unimaginable.

Pete, let me come to you here. The death toll sadly continues to climb in the northeast and also in the mid-Atlantic and you're in Fort Washington where they sustained heavy damage from a tornado. So, what are you seeing there tonight?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura, this is the Upper Dublin Township building behind me, and this was its roof peeled off like a tuna can when an EF-2 tornado came barreling through here on Wednesday night. The tornado continued north across the street to the high school where the roof of the pool building was ripped off.

There was a row of dumpsters there, the fire chief tells us. One of those dumpsters simply disappeared just to give you an idea of how strong the winds were here. One woman did die when a tree fell on her house nearby but so many nearby here are considering themselves so lucky. I just want you to listen to one neighbor who told me the damage here is just devastating.


RON COPELIN, RESIDENT, FORT WASHINGTON: I went to the window to take a look outside. As I looked outside from my patio, I see a wall of water. I see a funnel of water. I see my lawn furniture on my deck going up in the air. Straight up in the air.

At that time, I knew it was a tornado so I figured I better run. So, I ran down to the basement to the lower landing. My window blew out so I figured I better not go down because there was glass all over the place and then I just waited out the tornado for everything to settle down and stop. But it was probably the most scariest experience I've had in 65 years.


MUNTEAN: Here in Montgomery County officials say they received 467 calls for water rescues on Wednesday night alone. Three people died here in Montgomery County. Beyond the mortal (Ph) toll of this giant storm, there will be a massive monitory toll as well.

I spoke to Governor Tom Wolf live on the air earlier today, and he said it's just too soon to say how much this cleanup will officially cost. Laura?

COATES: Unbelievable. Brian, Pete, thank you both.

Let's get more prospective on President Biden's visit to Louisiana from Kirk Lepine, he is the president of Plaquemines Parish, and CNN political commentator Mitch Landrieu who is the former mayor of New Orleans.

Glad to see you both. Under this circumstances, very difficult to imagine what everyone has been going through. President Lepine, let me begin with you. Because President Biden, as you know, is promising help right now. He pointed out that people can get $500 in their bank account by contacting FEMA.


Tell me about the meeting with him today. What did you hear from the president?

KIRK LEPINE, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA: Well, it was good to see the president with boots on the ground. The governor was there. His -- all his staff was there. And he listened intensely to the other parish presidents who are in that conference room with us and he heard our concerns. He heard our needs and our requests and he was very attuned to what we were trying to say and immediate needs is to get help to our people.

And I think the president brought his FEMA representative and I think he's sincere and we want to hold him to that. We really need help down here.

COATES: It's true. I mean, you've been out Mayor Landrieu, you've been out with Jose Andres doing food deliveries, speaking of the type of help that's needed. You actually sent some photos of the damage that you're seeing in the parishes. What are you hearing from residents in those hard-hit areas?

MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's really unbelievable. You know, Plaquemine and St. Bernard, low lying parishes. Today I was in the home areas Montegut, Schriever, Pointe-aux-Chenes reserve and then of course LaPlace. I mean, the devastation is just widespread and it's so heartfelt. Everybody is really hungry, they're tired, they're hot.

One of the most important things as the president can tell you and the parish president says, you got to get the electricity back on sooner rather than later. If you don't do that, then food, water, ice become critical. You don't have that much time.

But, man, let me tell you something. I saw devastation today that brings you to your knees. Also, I saw great people doing great things for each other. But this is going to be a long haul. Even though that storm is not with us anymore, notwithstanding the fact that it went to the northeast and killed so many more Americans, it's going to be with us for a long time.

Because the rebuild is going to be really tough and the challenges not to put it back like it was as the president said today. And I was very happy to hear him say you want to build back stronger and better. We have a lot of big stuff coming our way. We know it's coming our way. It's predictable. We have to get ready for it.

But in the meantime, the order of the day is to get the power back on, to get gas in people's cars so they can then start lifting themselves up and of course, the individual assistance and all the other things he promised, it was great. President Biden has been here many times before. He knows us. He's got as good heart. He's promised to help make it happen and I'm sure that he will.

COATES: You know, from these pictures that we saw, President Lepine, as a mom, I see the children's play equipment under water. I see that and I realize there are children who involved and who are impacted as well and what this is doing to the communities at large.

I mean, President Biden is making clear, President Lepine, that the federal government will be there now to help, but the president is also saying this. Take a listen.


BIDEN: Hurricane Ida is another reminder that we need to be prepared for the next hurricane, and super storms are going to come and they're going to come more frequently and ferociously. I've been working closely with the governor and our colleagues in Congress in both parties on my build back better plan that will modernize our roads, our bridges, our water system, sewers and drainage systems and power grids and transmission lines to make sure they're more resilient.


COATES: So, President Lepine, he's pushing ahead and he is making his case for why the climate provisions in the spending plans are needed. Tell me, how critical is the funding the president is speaking about?

LEPINE: Absolutely critical. You know, Mitch is right. It starts with electricity. It starts with infrastructure. It starts with back to work, getting people back in jobs, getting this economy moving again. COVID has slammed us down. We had an oil spill last year. We prepared for eight hurricanes and got hit by one.

And you know, our parish is resilient. I just can't say enough about my residents. But you know, we are right. We got to get moving. Get water on. My parish is 65 miles long and it goes to the tip of the Gulf of Mexico. Venice, Louisiana, that's the end of the road and I am cut off from that end of the parish because I can't access there because the water is over top the levee.

So, it's a challenge to keep these people who has left when I called the mandatory evacuation but to keep these people who stayed there comfortable and get them the (Inaudible), the water and try to get the electricity but get them moving again. And I do, I want them to get moving and that's how it starts. We need electricity.

COATES: Mayor Landrieu, I mean, you're out with a new op-ed for about how its poor and vulnerable populations getting hit hardest by climate change. So, tell me what needs to happen given that.

LANDRIEU: Well, that's one -- listen, when you build up and the president talks about infrastructure, human capital, there is a very, very thin line that exists between people being in a civilized place and then falling below that line today.

[22:25:04] When you walk up to people who are in the food line today, these are all great Americans and say look, how are you doing? You know, they crumble into your arms and they say I lost everything. And when you've been hit by, as many disasters, have been hit by it's hard for them to stand back up.

So, the safety net that the president is talking about is really important. But as every parish president in Louisiana, every county executive in the country can tell you how important it is for their sewer systems, their drainage systems, and their electrical grids to be strong. And investing in those things up front saves you a lot more money from taking this hit.

So, if you just think about the United States recently, wildfires in the west. tornados in the homeland, hurricanes not only in the south but up in the northeast, does anybody really think that these things are going to stop? So, as we think about building back, as the president said, and I like this. Don't build it back like it was. Build it back like it should be now that we know what's coming our way.

All these parish presidents have done a great job with the governor responding as quickly as they can but if you try to put back on top of a grid, for example, that's weak, you're going to continue to have strength. But now these hurricanes hit everybody the same way. It is the vulnerable and the poor who get hit more times than not that have a really much harder time standing up. We have to pay attention to that as well. There's a lot of pain. There is a lot of frustration.

At the end of the day, though, besides long-term policy. You have to get the lights back on and you've got to get food to people, you have to get ice to them and you have to get gas in their cars. That's the most immediate thing right now. That gets done, we can start talking about the rebuild and thinking about long term and not just short term anymore.

COATES: Gentlemen, thank you for all that you're doing and joining me tonight. I appreciate it.

LANDRIEU: Thank you.

LEPINE: Thank you for having me.

COATES: Thank you.

You know, it's been a very rough few weeks for President Biden, to say the least, a major COVID surge. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Less than stellar job numbers. And we talked about just now in places like New Orleans and the northeast. So, what will it take to right the ship?



COATES: We're looking at a live picture night now, President Biden is returning from Louisiana just now arriving in Philadelphia as he is now boarding after that trip down to Louisiana to observe the damage and the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

And you know, he has been dealing with crisis after crisis. A surging COVID cases. Multiple climate catastrophes across the map. Disappointing job numbers and of course, the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

So much to discuss with Mark McKinnon, former advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain and executive producer of The Circus, and also CNN political commentator, Bakari Sellers.

Nice to see you both, gentlemen, today. Bakari, let me begin with you, my friend. Because look, there is no sugarcoating it. I mean, August was a bad month for the Biden administration and September, I mean, right now isn't looking much better. I mean, he ran as the adult in the room who could handle tough situations, can he turn this around?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, he's president of the United States. He doesn't get to pick and choose the situations that he's thrown into. I mean, the fact is the president of the United States ended a 20-plus-year war. There is some questions, no doubt, and criticisms that's valid about the way that we withdraw drew from Afghanistan. But the fact is, we had the largest scale humanitarian mission ever run in a foreign country in the history of this United States of America and it was successful in getting people out.

So, when you look at that, you look at the Hurricane Ida, which just hit New Orleans and hit New York and just ravaged many places in between. The president of the United States actually had FEMA and other assistance there when needed.

And so, you know, I'm sure that if Joe Biden had an opportunity to sit back and pick and choose which catastrophes he was going to deal with at which point or which foreign policy ills he was going to have to deal with at a certain point, he would have chosen it differently.

But he's the president of the United States and he doesn't get that privilege. You know, I think that he can handle some things better than he has certainly. But at the end of the day, I think the president of the United States has done a damn good job at protecting the interest of the United States of America and actually ensuring the safety and security of all of us.

COATES: So Bakari makes a great point, Mark, in the sense of essentially compartmentalizing different aspects of what was predictable, what was foreseen, what he's reacting to, what he's proactively addressing, and of course, he'll be judged everywhere in between because that's what politics is about.

But in terms of the predictable and what was predicted, I mean, Mark, today's job numbers are less than a third of what was predicted. When the president does blame the Delta variant, understandably, but says that the Biden plan is actually working. Is that the way you see it, too? MARK MCKINNON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, one of the things I've

been thinking over the last couple election cycles of president, just how difficult it is to be president of the United States today and going into the future. It's just a more complicated and more dangerous world and getting worse and worse all the time given climate change and all the other issues that we face.

But listen, this is -- this is bad news, good news as I see it. The bad news is, it's just a lot of bad news in one serving, right? I mean, you've got COVID resurgence which has affected the, you know, translated to bad job numbers.


Afghanistan, virus, hurricanes. That's a lot all at one time. But the good news for Joe Biden is that this is happening in September of 2021, --


MCKINNON: -- not September of '22 or September of 2024. That's a long way away. And we can get to next year or three years from now, this will be way back in the rearview mirror, hopefully for the Biden administration, and COVID will be under control, and Afghanistan could be looked back on if we got people out safely as a foreign policy victory three years from now.

COATES: I mean, the timing of it is crucial, right, Bakari, in terms of thinking about it politically, but you know, you got the issue of COVID-19. I mean, it's surging. And now we're learning at CNN that the White House may actually have to scale back its booster rollout this month to just the Pfizer vaccine. I mean, now Biden sold this administration, as you know, as one that would be guided by the experts but look there's -- is it confusion or evolution? What is happening right now?

SELLERS: I mean, the Delta variant is alive and well. I mean, I think that we have to recognize that. I don't know how many people watched the Virginia Tech North Carolina football game but as an SCC guy who is looking forward to these gamecocks playing tomorrow who will not be in the stands because of the Delta variant, you understand that this is the way of life for many people.

And you see that although Virginia Tech won the football game, America is actually losing the battle against the Delta variant. There has to become a point in time and Mark is probably going to laugh when I begin to echo Republican talking points that we have some level of individual responsibility.

I do believe that this White House would do absolutely everything it can do because I think across the board, it scores the highest in terms of American approval with the way that they combat COVID-19. No one is going to shut the economy down again. No one is going to go inside again. But what they are trying to do is make sure that people have access to vaccinations. They are also trying to make sure people wear masks. They're trying to lead by example and do the things necessary.

I think the unfortunate part about all of this is you have individuals like Joe Rogan, for example, who don't want to take an experimental vaccine but will take horse dewormer. We've made this a political football and I wish we would just recalibrate for a second and say look, you know, we have children that are dying that are filling up hospitals. Let us do our part.

The White House will lead but there comes a certain point in time where we actually have to set an example and literally save the lives of the least of us.

COATES: Mark, I'll give you the quick last word. What do you want to say?

MCKINNON; Well, I'll just say that, you know, it's a lot of it is unpredictable as you said. But the irony of a big part of this, which is COVID response, and that's something that Joe Biden ran on to get that under control, there's been a resurgence but a big reason for the resurgence has been for people not following the rules that the Biden administration is laying out there. Right?

I mean, the reason we have a COVID resurgence because people aren't getting vaccinated, they aren't wearing masks.


MCKINNON: And not doing the things they're supposed to do. So that's -- you know, it's hard for Joe Biden to take responsibility for people who won't follow these orders from health care officials.

COATES: Well, gentlemen, you've proven it. I guess, Mel Brooks is wrong. It's not good to be the king. Thanks for being here. Nice talking to you both.

COVID next, the White House may have to scale back its plan to offer boosters as soon as a few weeks from now. What will that mean for people who haven't gotten their shots? We've got a top doctor to weigh in, next.



COATES: Confusion tonight over the Biden administration's booster plan. Sources telling CNN the White House may have to scale back the booster rollout set for this month to just the Pfizer vaccine at first. It's not clear yet if they have enough data from Moderna? So, what does this mean for the fight against COVID with now fall approaching?

Joining me now to discuss, Dr. William Schaffner. He is a professor for infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Schaffner, thank you for being here.

And as you know, officials like Dr. Fauci have been clear in saying that they support three shots for Americans. So, did the White House get out ahead of the FDA on this and could confusion about this booster rollout make people all the more hesitant?

WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Well, Laura, I think there has been a little bit of confusion. The White House has sent out what you might call previews of coming attractions and they're coming pretty quickly, and we'll have to go through a normal process. The FDA has to approve them and then the CDC's advisory committee has to give us the exact recommendations and they're likely to come one vaccine at a time.

We all want this to be done very carefully with good data, so I think these boosters will be ready for, if you will, the big screen very soon. Stay tuned.

COATES: Speaking of that, today Moderna submitted data to the FDA to get approval for a third booster dose for their vaccine. I mean, could it be a problem if Americans who got Moderna now can't get a booster shot on the timeline the White House had been hoping for? I mean, we're waiting for that big screen debut.

SCHAFFNER: Well, there will be a little bit of confusion but for people who are very eager, the CDC has already said that you can swap Moderna for Pfizer. So, if those people are very eager and Pfizer is approved, well, I think lots of doctors will be saying go ahead, get that third dose from Pfizer.

COATES: And doctor, the U.S. is now hitting nearly 1,500 coronavirus deaths a day. I mean, the CDC is pleading with unvaccinated people not to travel this holiday weekend. How nervous are you about a potential post-Labor Day spike?

SCHAFFNER: Yes. We have a lot of transmission already and a lot of people who are enthusiastic about getting back together with their friends and having a good time. And I am concerned that here or there, we're going to see splurges of cases, little outbreaks as a consequence of this Labor Day weekend. It may be more than that.


This Delta variant is very, very contagious and of course, the lesson here is for all of our friends, here we are. We have some people who already want, eager to get a third dose. You have all these friends and neighbors who haven't received the first. Come on in. Get that first dose. That's the way to start controlling this virus.

COATES: Including kids, by the way, who are under 12. They still can't get the vaccine and even more students are going to be heading back to school after next week. So, what's going to happen in places without the mask mandates and on schools and campuses?

SCHAFFNER: Well, first of all, we need to get all the adults associated with the school vaccinated and all those children older than 12 and then as the academy of pediatrics says, let's all wear masks in schools. That's sensible and effective. Along with good hand hygiene, social distancing and good ventilation. All of those things together. But yes, the masks are important. They protect the wearer and they protect others around that person.

COATES: Doctor, thank you.

SCHAFFNER: Thank you.

COATES: There's only a week and a half left now until the California Governor Gavin Newsom faces a recall election, but one group he's relied on in the past, well, isn't guaranteed to show up to the polls this time.



COATES: Supporters of California's Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom are busy knocking on doors. They are trying to get Latino voters to the polls to vote no on the recall. As one political activist says, you can't win California without Latinos. But that doesn't mean they are a lock for Newsom.

Here is CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Gary Montana's day as a maintenance technician is so jammed, he doesn't have time to care about the upcoming California recall election, a registered independent, he carries one overriding feeling about Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

GARY MONTANA, CALIFORNIA REGISTERED INDEPENDENT VOTER: It's just that lack of, I don't think he really understood like the average person voted you in.

LAH: He is most upset about Newsom dining at an exclusive restaurant in the middle of the pandemic while he worked. It is in California's Latino communities where COVID's impact was felt the most, everyone in Montana's family got COVID.

MONTANA: I just saw a lack of leadership skills. Like, that was to me was like, OK, and that's what, when I thought we needed to recall the governor.

LAH: Latinos make up an estimated 30 percent of California's voters.

KEVIN DE LEON (D), COUNCILMAN, LOS ANGELES: All roads to victory come September 14th are going to lead through every Latino neighborhood in the state of California, am I right?


LAH: Key in whether Governor Newsom keeps his job.

UNKNOWN: Thanks for your help.

LAH: Why Democrats are blanketing Spanish language media with ads. (FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

LAH: As are the Republican challengers.


LAH: With less than two weeks to go to recall election day, the drive is getting the base out to vote. Progressives have been knocking on doors throughout the central Los Angeles neighborhoods while some say this --

UNKNOWN: Have you heard about the recall?

UNKNOWN: No. I have not.

LAH: And there is frustration over the governor's economic policies.

UNKNOWN: They are recalling Governor Newsom, right?

UNKNOWN: Yes. We don't want that (Inaudible) in there.

LAH: Most that we talk to in this predominantly Latino community say they'll vote no on recalling Newsom.

UNKNOWN: I will vote no.

UNKNOWN: Most likely we'd say keep him in office.

UNKNOWN: You could end up with something worse something like Donald Trump.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Thank you, California.

LAH: In 2018, 64 percent of Latinos voted for Newsom, part of a resounding victory sending the Democrats to the governor's mansion. While the most recent recall poll shows Latinos support keeping Newsom, there are questions about whether those voters will even cast a ballot.

LUIS ALVARADO, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Sometimes we show up and sometimes we just don't. It depends on what the issue is, and sometimes we are the ones who can change the whole paradigm and sometimes we just don't show up and everybody wonders what happened.

LAH: One frustrated independent feel so disconnected, he is considering voting Republican.

MONTANA: Yes, I would rather see someone in touch with the people.


LAH: Here is something important to note. Montana and the other voters we met for the story, none of them had actually turned their ballots in yet. Now Governor Newsom will have some help trying to convince those voters along with other Democrats in the state to vote no with some help from national Democrats. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren both will be in the state this Labor Day weekend standing beside the governor hoping to rally the Democratic base. Laura?

COATES: Kyung Lah, thank you. As the scale of damage from Hurricane Ida is just coming into focus, there are people on the ground right now already starting the rebuilding process. A 2008 CNN hero is addressing damage like mold that could destroy homes even after they are rebuilt.


UNKNOWN: Because of the timing of the tides, I think Ida pushed a lot of water in to places that don't normally experience flooding that are outside of New Orleans. But with we were taken off guard.


Typically, you can go to the communities in the outlying areas to access the resources to help people recover with power out in Baton Rouge, it's become a much trickier situation. We have teams to assist with mucking and gutting and mold remediation.

What we have been able to do at SVP is help homeowners understand how they can buy the appropriate materials that actually kill mold spores and then learn how to dry the house out so that when they do start to rebuild it, their house doesn't have any molds in it and they can live safely in it.

I just want to say thank you to everybody who is supporting people who have been impacted by Hurricane Ida, the immediate response is really important. The long-term recovery is going to take more time and so, we ask you to stick with it. Can come on down and volunteer. Share your talents and help us make these communities even strong in the future.


COATES: To learn more about the St. Bernard Projects efforts go to

Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.