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Rep. Michael McCaul Claims Taliban Holding Hostage American Leaving Mazar-i-Sharif Airport; COVID-19 Hospitalizations Soaring In The U.S.; Booster Rollout Of Pfizer Likely By September 20th; U.S. Supreme Court Refused To Block Texas Abortion Law; Former President Donald Trump Weighs In; NFL Games To Be Forfeited Due To COVID Outbreaks In NFL Teams; The Aftermath Of Hurricane Ida New York And Louisiana; Disappointing Jobs Report For August; Governor Newsom's Recall Fight. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 05, 2021 - 17:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. We begin this hour with an explosive allegation from top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman Michael McCaul says he has received classified briefings that American citizens and Afghan allies are stuck at an airport in Afghanistan blocked from leaving by the Taliban. Let's take a listen.


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): And in fact we have six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif Airport, six airplanes with American citizens on them, as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now. They - we have - the state has cleared these flights and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Let me pick up on this because I didn't know this. You're saying that there are Americans on airplanes ready to fly out of Afghanistan right now and they're not being allowed out because Taliban is making demands? What demands are the Taliban making?

MCCAUL: Well, they are not -- they are not clearing the airplanes to depart. They have sat at the airport for the last couple of days, these planes, and they're not allowed to leave. We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange. This is really, Chris, turning into a hostage situation where they are not going to allow American citizens to leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America.


ACOSTA: Now, this is a developing story. We're trying to get the latest information on this. CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is at the capital. Suzanne, obviously, a strong allegation there from a powerful member of Congress that the Taliban has created something akin to a hostage situation with American citizens. Obviously, the administration wants to get to the bottom of that and clarify that, obviously, if that is or not the case. What more can you tell us?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, it really is because of the specificity of all these and these are explosive allegations. So we reached out to several government agencies and entities. They want to amplify, clarify and they really cannot confirm the level of details.

The U.S. Department, A State Department spokesperson saying that they don't even have the personnel or the resources on the ground to really address this level of specificity. But if I can, the quote, at least part of the statement reading that, "We understand the concern that many people are feeling as they try to facilitate further charter and other passage out of Afghanistan. However, we do not have personnel on the ground. We do not have air assets in the country. We do not control the air space. We also do not have reliable means to confirm the basic details of charter flights including who may be organizing them, the number of U.S. citizens and other priority groups on board."

Now, Jim, you can manage the level of frustration as many different groups, non-profit groups, including one called Ascend (ph), who CNN has been in touch with, trying to get people out of Afghanistan, out of the airport, onto these flights. They do confirm that there are people who have been waiting, who have been held up by the Taliban who have not been able to board these flights and get on the flights out of there.

Again, the State Department emphasizing that they will hold the Taliban responsible to their commitment that they have made, that they will help get American citizens out of the country freely. But we don't have that timetable. We don't even have those assets on the ground, those resources on the ground, at least the U.S. government does not.

They are relying on these types of stories to come. And as you can imagine, when you have that type of explosive language that was used by McCaul earlier today when you're talking about an active hostage situation, that is when the government is going to weigh in and say this is what we know, this is what we don't know. There is still a lot of uncertainty on the ground, Jim.

ACOSTA: Search is on (ph). The State Department is not using that kind of language at this point.

MALVEAUX: No, they are not. And they are not confirming this particular story. They understand and say that it's a blind spot. They don't know exactly what they are dealing with. We do know there are American citizens who are trying to get out. We know that there are Afghan citizens that are trying to get out. Exactly where and how many people and where they are located that is not something that the U.S. government says is in a position to reveal. ACOSTA: All right. Suzanne Malveaux on that developing story. We're

obviously trying to get the latest information on it. As soon as we get more, we'll come back to you. Thanks Suzanne for that. We appreciate it.

Now, to the pandemic. Hospitals across the United States this weekend are crying out for help. Last year's COVID hot spots are now eclipsing their own records for hospitalizations. It's so bad in Kentucky, the governor is sending in the National Guard.


[17:05:10] ANDY BESHEAR, GOVERNOR OF KENTUCKY: Well, our situation is dire. We are setting case records. We have a record number of Kentuckians in the hospital battling COVID, in the ICU battling for their lives. We have a record number of families that are praying for their loved one who is on a ventilator and needing that assistance to breathe.


ACOSTA: And in Georgia, less than 10 percent, that's right, 10 percent of ICU beds are open. Some hospitals there reporting even their emergency departments are full right now. We've also learned that more children are needing emergency room visits and hospitalization in states with those lower vaccination rates. We've been hammering that point time and again.

That is according to a new CDC study. It means unvaccinated adult maybe endangering their own children or other people's children who are too young to get the vaccine. Many of the unvaccinated are admitting they regret their choice in some cases to avoid the shot once COVID came for them.

You see sad story after sad story. They didn't trust the vaccine. Hey thought they were young and healthy. They didn't have to worry about it or they kept putting it off, putting off that vaccination for later like this 15-year-old who spent 11 days on a ventilator.


PAULINA VELASQUEZ, 15-YEAR-OLD HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID: My message technically is, just if you're eligible to get the vaccine, please do.


ACOSTA: No information, conflicting information, misinformation, any of which can lead people down an unnecessary path of illness and loss. Clear, honest messaging is more important now than ever before as kids head back into the classroom and as Americans wait to learn when they will need a booster shot to stay protected.

The last hour we talked with Dr. Anthony Fauci. He said misinformation is the enemy of public health. And I'm joined now by CNN's Natasha Chen in Los Angeles. Natasha, I know you're tracking this. I didn't mention the west coast. I know they've had their issues. What's the situation out there right now?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, Jim, if you take a look at California's hospitalizations, it is severely increased over the last couple of months. And that kind of mirrors what's been going on across the country. In particular here, in the central valley, San Joaquin Valley, which encompasses about 12 states.

The state department of health says that fewer than 10 percent of staffed ICU beds have remained available for three consecutive days. So, a bit similar to what you said about Georgia. This central valley area is also less vaccinated than some of the urban areas in California.

In one particular county, Kings County, not even one-third of adults are fully vaccinated. But let's take a broader look at the entire country because I think you'll find similar stories everywhere. We are talking about 300 percent higher new COVID cases, a seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 residents compared to this same Labor Day Weekend last year.

The seven-day average of new deaths is also up as well as the daily hospitalization rates topping 100,000. The hospitalizations tripled in July, doubled again in August. So, this is a very troubling trend here, of course, as the delta variant continues to spread. This is causing deep exasperation in the medical community.

I want to read you part of a letter that was signed by about 100 doctors in the Humboldt County and Del Norte County areas in northern California. This is what they said to their own community. "Please get vaccinated. We ask this from the bottom of our hearts as your physicians, and as the people with whom you have worked, played, laughed, and cried. We must admit we are tired. We will keep working, of course, but we are tired. We are tired of the suffering, pain, and death that can be avoided by getting vaccinated."

So you can feel that desperation in their tone in this letter that was published a few weeks ago. And since the letter was published, I'm told by the Humboldt Del Norte medical society that more doctors have signed on to that letter. So, this is an urgent message to the communities out there to try and curb the trends that we're seeing, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Natasha Chen, it's tough out there as well we know. Thanks so much for that.

There's been some confusion over the White House's time line for rolling out COVID vaccine boosters. Last hour, I spoke with President Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and he cleared it up saying the week of September 20th is still the target for authorizing a third Pfizer dose with Moderna a week or two after. At least that's the latest information from Dr. Anthony Fauci. He also explained the urgency of boosters based on new data from Israel. Here is part of our discussion.



ANTHONY FACUI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The good news, Jim, is that when they boosted people, they had a dramatic and profound increase in the protection against infection as well as the protection against hospitalization. So their data clearly show that we are going in the right direction of where we need to go with regard to boosters.

But importantly, their data also show that when you give those boosters, you reconstitute to an even higher level than before the protection against both infection and hospitalization.

ACOSTA: Let me ask you about the Israeli experience because they started after six months after vaccination or their data found that that diminution started six months after vaccination. Why are we waiting in the U.S. until eight months? I mean, a lot of people in the U.S. thought we would get it after six months.

FAUCI: Well, good question, Jim. The plan for the roll out was at the September 20th, the week of September 20th. That would actually be about eight months from the time, the very first people in this country got their vaccinations in January. So that's the eighth month issue.

But remember, we had said and we continue to abide by it that the ultimate implementation of that would be according to the regulatory aspect of the FDA and the recommendations of the ACIP, the Advisory Committee and Immunization Practices.

So, although the plan for eight months is still there, we're still planning to do that, they are very well may be a range of time when the recommendations are being made. So I don't think there's a situation that it is now immutable that we may not be able to change it. But we are certainly still planning for eight months.

ACOSTA: COVID cases are at an unprecedented level among children in many part of the country. The hospitalization rates for children are higher in states with lower vaccination rates. Again, this correlation between these lower vaccination rates and all these public health problems. There are kids who can't get vaccinated, obviously, in many cases, and they are being impacted by parents who are making these bad choices. What can we do to protect these children in these low vaccination areas who are ending up in the hospital?

FACUI: Well, the way you protect children who because of their age cannot get vaccinated yet is to surround the children, be it friends, family, school, teachers, personnel in the school, surround the children with vaccinated people.

And in the school system, that's the reason why the CDC recommends the using of masks in the school system even when there are many, many vaccinated people. We've got to protect the children. If we want to keep them physically in school, present in school, we've got to do everything we possibly can to protect them from getting infected. And as I mentioned, that's getting people around them vaccinated and wearing masks. ACOSTA: You've had to debunk misinformation coming from some high

places throughout this pandemic. Some of the latest, Fox's Tucker Carlson, he's been defending counterfeit vaccine cards. Let's just watch a little bit of that.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Buying a fake vaccination card is an act of desperation by decent law-abiding Americans who have been forced into a corner by tyrants. You know what's a serious crime? Forcing Americans to take drugs they don't need or want. That's a very serious crime. And let's hope in the end, someone is punished for it, severely.


ACOSTA: And the podcast host Joe Rogan, he came down with COVID. He says he's been taking the livestock dewormer Ivermectin as well as other treatments that people talk about on the internet and so on. Doesn't have any effect on COVID obviously. Did you ever expect that you would have, I guess, to compete with the likes of Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan, Dr. Fauci, and are their voices more powerful and, I guess, more widespread than people like yourself, other public health experts who are out there? And isn't that part of the problem?

FAUCI: Well, Jim, disinformation and misinformation is really a very serious issue when it comes to a public health issue like COVID-19 in which it is essential to get correct information out, both for people who are infected and who do need proper medication and proper care to foster things that are unproven right from the beginning has always been a problem.

The best way to counter disinformation and misinformation is to try as best as we all can to get the proper and correct information out. But one of the enemies of public health is disinformation and unfortunately we do see that in some quarters.



ACOSTA: For the first time, former President Donald Trump weighing in on the Supreme Court's refusal to block Texas' controversial six-week abortion ban. All three of his appointee's votes allowed it to stay in place. His comments are next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


ACOSTA: This week, the Supreme Court transformed the political landscape by putting one of the country's most divisive issues right at the forefront. In a middle of the night ruling, the court declined to block the strictest anti-abortion law that this nation has seen since Roe versus Wade. The Texas law now bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected, which is usually about six weeks and often before a woman knows she is pregnant. Former President Donald Trump is now weighing in. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We do have a Supreme Court that's a lot different than it was before it was acting very strangely and I think probably not in the interest of our country. I'm studying it right now. I know that the ruling was very complex and also probably temporary. I think other things will happen and that will be the big deal and the big picture.


ACOSTA: With me now is "USA Today" columnist and CNN senior political commentator Kirsten Powers and Alison Stewart, Republican strategist and CNN political commentator. Ladies, great to have both of you on. Thanks so much. Kirsten, is Trump right that this may just be temporary?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't see any reason to see this as being temporary. I mean, this seems to be part of the strategy for Republicans and you see other states saying that they want to emulate what's happening in Texas. So, I don't have any reason to believe that it's temporary.

And frankly, even if it was temporary, it would still be a major problem. This is immediately impacting people who, as we know, this law doesn't even have an exception for rape or incest for example. So, a person who has been molested and impregnated by their father can't get an abortion, you know, once there's a fetal heartbeat, which is essentially if we're at six weeks, we're talking a couple of weeks after you even find out that you're pregnant. So, whether it was temporary or not, it would still be egregious.

ACOSTA: And Alison, new NBC News poll found that 54 percent or actually I'd say this poll was in August -- 54 percent of Americans feel abortion should always be legal or should be legal most of the time. Conservative commentator Bill Crystal argues that this Texas law is actually a setback for the anti-abortion movement because it goes too far. We've heard that from several people that what they've done in Texas may have inadvertently hurt their cause. What do you think? I know your position on this issue is pretty clear.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is. I'm unapologetically pro-life. I support life from conception to natural death, but I think there are some concerns with the Texas law with regard to not having -- I think there should be exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. And this Texas law with the component of aiding and abetting, going after people that actually help people to get an abortion, I think that's going to be a concern.

But I think the bigger picture stepping back as to what Donald Trump said, the life issue is a huge motivator for voters and right now states legislatures across the country are run by Republicans, and they are able to make inroads with regard to important policies. If we cannot overturn Roe v. Wade, which is what a lot of pro-life

voters want, state by state, issue by issue, we can make progress and make steps forward on supporting life. And that's the key thing, is supporting life and making sure that there are opportunities and options and choices for women to choose life as opposed to abortion.

ACOSTA: And not to litigate the whole issue, but to get back to this -- what's been called a bounty system or vigilante system down in Texas, Alice, isn't there also an issue for Republicans in that? I mean, this smacks of like an authoritarian, Orwellian, big brother state with neighbors snitching on neighbors. It sounds like something you would see in communist China or Cuba or something like that. I mean, doesn't that turn off Republicans? I would imagine it does.

STEWART: There are a lot of people that do have issue with that aspect of this Texas law, but that is something that they fought really hard for and they believe, the Texas legislators believe they have all the legal aspects of this address and it will be able to be enforced. I think it's going to be tremendously difficult and it takes away from the more important issue which is pro-life.

And look, Democrats are going to focus on that understandably. They're going to focus on the big picture of abortion nationally, but I think they do so at their own peril because the pro-life issue motivates Republican voters than the abortion issue motivates Democrats. And so if they want to make this a national issue and focus on that --


STEWART: -- I think it's going to be a winning formula for Republicans.

ACOSTA: Kirsten, do you agree with that?

POWERS: I don't. I actually think that there have been surveys that show that you have people who are pro-abortion rights, are very activated especially in such an extreme case where, you know -- Roe has been effectively over turned by the, you know, the state of Texas where they are in clear violation of what is the settled law of the land. And even if you don't believe it's settled forever, it is the law of the land right now.

And they have found way to circumvent what is the law of the land. And that will be extremely activating to Democratic voters. And I think that, you know, Alice, very well and I think she is sincerely pro- life, but you know, Greg Abbott in Texas is - he's anti-abortion. I would never say he's pro-life if you look at what he's doing in terms of protecting people from COVID, for example, where he's trying to even keep schools from having mask mandates.


This is not a person who is trying to save people's lives who are actually dying and it is affecting children. And you have hospitalizations in Texas through the roof of children because of COVID. And instead, he signed a law that was designed to evade the law. That's exactly what -- why they did it the way they did it. That's why they have the bounties.

It's specifically done that way so that you can't name members -- people who are state representative who can be sued. So, you know, it's just interesting that the law and order party is behaving in such a lawless manner.

ACOSTA: All right. Kirsten Powers, Alice Stewart, thanks so much. This conversation is to be continued. We appreciate it.

Coming up, a future hall of famer reveals his bout with COVID and makes a prediction about how the virus will impact the upcoming NFL season.



ACOSTA: The most successful quarterback of all time, arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, revealing he got COVID earlier this year. Tom Brady telling the "Tampa Bay Times" he tested positive back in February shortly after his team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrated their Super Bowl 55 victory.

They Bucs have a 100 percent vaccination rate, but Brady thinks the virus will still have a big impact telling the paper, "I think it's going to be challenging this year. I actually think it's going to play more of factor this year than last year just because of the way of what we're doing now and what the stadium is going to look like and what the travel is going to look like and the people and the building and the fans. It's not like last year although we're getting tested like last year. It's going to be, I definitely think guys are going to be out at different points and we've just got to deal with it."

Some candid talk there from Tom Brady. Earlier this year, the NFL announced that teams that experience COVID outbreaks among unvaccinated players will be forced to forfeit if the game can't be rescheduled during the regular season window.

And joining me now to talk about this, CNN sports analyst and sports columnist for "USA Today" Christine Brennan. Always great to see you, Christine. And you know, I don't want to have a conversation about whether Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. We'll put that conversation aside for another day. I will posit that he probably is, but let's do it another time.

I think what he has to say about COVID is really very smart and it does make me worry a little bit about the season.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Absolutely, Jim. When you consider the fact that there are two teams in the NFL that we know, two of the 32 teams right now saying they're 100 percent vaccinated, that's the team, the staff, the coaches, everyone. And that's the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That means 30 teams are not.

I find it stunning. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised about these things anymore, but I do. What do athletes want to do more than anything on earth? Win. They want to win. And you just said it. If a team cannot play because of a COVID outbreak, they will have to forfeit.

Tom Brady is basically saying they could be dealing with that this year. Also, coaches -- I've covered NFL football and college football the entirety of my career. And when you talk to coaches, the thing they hate most is distractions. Well, COVID is the mother of all distractions in addition to be, of course, something that can kill you or obviously put you in the hospital, make you sick, make your child sick, et cetera.

The distractions alone, if a player --


BRENNAN: -- is not vaccinated and tests positive, he's in isolation for 10 days. What coach wants to lose a player? As I said, stunning that there aren't more than just those two teams, but at no surprise that all that Tom Brady is on one of those two teams that's all 100 percent --

ACOSTA: Yes. And I have to ask you because some of the coaches out there I'm sure, just tearing their hair out. What is the deal with some of these quarterbacks, high profile quarterbacks? I'm not going to name any names here because I don't want to get their fans upset. But who are saying -- won't say whether they've been vaccinated. Won't get vaccinated. What is going on? What is that all about?

BRENNAN: Jim, I'll name a couple.

ACOSTA: Is this selfishness?

BRENNAN: Yes, well exactly. I'll name a couple. Kirk Cousins with the Minnesota Vikings and Carson Wentz with the Indianapolis Colts.

ACOSTA: Right.

BRENNAN: What kind of leadership is that? Again, what I said about -- forget everything else. Forget health, forget being a good person. Forget being a good neighbor. Forget paying attention to science. Let's just put all that aside, which of course, we should never put that aside, but let's put that aside.

Don't you want to win? Don't you want to have no distractions? Don't you want to be able to play the entire season? Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins, with their decisions, which they have every right, I guess, to have that decision to not be vaccinated or whatever it is that they won't say they're not vaccinated or vaccinated, but that tells you everything if they want to talk about it. They're supposed to be the leaders of the franchise.

ACOSTA: Right.

BRENNAN: They are supposed to be role models for kids for that city.

ACOSTA: It sounds like the team P.R. people are writing their statements out for them before they go out in front of the -- the whole thing is just so awful and, you know, I just wish they could be better role models.

But I want to ask you about one more thing. I want to make sure I squeeze it in because I know you follow the tennis world. Naomi Osaka, she's been very open about her mental health issues. She suffered an upset at the U.S. Open. She slammed her racket, walked off the court with a towel over her head. Afterward, she said she's not sure what her future holds. Let let's listen and let's talk about it.


NAOMI OSAKA, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match. Sorry.



ACOSTA: Christine, she is such an amazing tennis player. I mean, what do you make of what's going on there? Is it the high pressure, nature of professional tennis? I know some people have been talking about that. What's going on?

BRENNAN: You know, Jim, fans think that they know these athletes. They are such public figures. We feel like they're part of our lives. They're in our family rooms or living rooms, on our phones, and yet we don't know what they're going through at all.

And you consider that Naomi Osaka is 23 years old -- 23 years old. She's already had the career of a lifetime in just, what, basically three years where she's won four grand slam tournaments. And it's tough. And the pressures we have seen with Naomi Osaka. We saw it with Simone Biles at the Olympics. Michael Phelps has talked about it.

How difficult this is for these young athletes, obviously, making lots of money but the spotlight is on them. The pressure is on them. Your heart just goes out-- all of our hearts go out to Naomi Osaka. She is such a terrific role model. She is such a good person. And let's hope she can figure it out for herself, not for us.

She doesn't need to do anything thing for any of us. Figure it out if she wants to play tennis again. I hope she does. Come back when she's ready. If she doesn't want to play tennis again, that's fine too. I have a feeling she will be an incredible leader in the country and in the world for many years to come.

ACOSTA: Yes. She's being a good role model unlike some of these quarterbacks. I can't go back to that issue. It just makes me so mad, but all right. Christine Brennan, thanks so much for being on. Always great to talk to you. We appreciate it.

BRENNAN: You too, Jim.

ACOSTA: Thanks. And days after the remnants of Hurricane Ida swept through New York City causing flash flood, officials are still finding bodies. The latest next.



ACOSTA: This just in to CNN. Police in New York say officers found three bodies inside a flooded basement apartment in Queens and they are convinced the people drowned in the fast rising flood waters that covered much of the city this week. This brings the total death toll in New York from the remains of Hurricane Ida to 16.

Thirteen of the victims were found in basements or cellar apartments. Many of them we are told were illegally converted. And in Louisiana, the death toll from Hurricane Ida rose to 13 today. CNN's Ed Lavandera brings us the story of one of those lost.


ED LAVANDEA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Recovering from the aftermath of a major hurricane is hard enough. Figuring out to recover from a broken heart at the same time is even harder. That's the nightmare Chasity Fatherree and her family are cleaning up.

CHASITY FATHERREE, LOST FATHER TO HURRUCANE IDA: I close my eyes and I just see the tree hitting him. Like it's just - it's horrible. The tree that he hated. The tree that he hated.

UNKNOWN: He wanted it gone.

FATHERREE: He wanted it gone.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): 60-year-old Dennis Duplessis was finishing last minute storm preparations at his house in Gonzalez, Louisiana. That tree Duplessis hated so much, a nearly 100 foot tall oak crashed down on him in the darkness in driving rain as he stepped out of this truck.

FATHERREE: My mom called me and my uncle had to break it to me.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Duplessis' family says a tree limb severed an artery in his leg. As they waited for medical help to arrive, a relative held him.

FATHERREE: She was with him and when he took his last breath and I'm so thankful that he was not alone.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): They say Duplessis recited the Our Father prayer. He asked that one last message be shared with his wife. "Tell Hope I love her." Those were his last words.

UNKNOWN: Oh my god.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Storms like Hurricane Ida changed lives. The damage can't be measured solely by the physical destruction. Storms take symbols of the past.

UNKNOWN: Lot of plaster damage.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Joy Banner is the communications director for the Whitney Plantation Museum, west of New Orleans. She's a descendant of the slaves who once lived here.

JOY BANNER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, WHITNEY PLANTATION: Whitney Plantation is the only plantation in this region that focuses on the experience and the life of the enslaved people.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Hurricane Ida flattened some structures and damaged the plantation's historic church. Artifacts touched by the hands of slaves and freed slaves, history that lives today.

BANNER: There were lots of tears when I was walking through the site. I've never -- it was such a surreal experience and it was such a sinking feeling in my heart just walking around and seeing some of our buildings did collapse, seeing the trees and the debris all over the site.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Banner rode the storm out in the plantation's main house built in 1791.

BANNER: It was built by the artisanship, the craftsman, the skill of the enslaved Africans and their descendants.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): 230 years of history survived the storm. Taking measure of all that's lost is part of recovering from a storm like Hurricane Ida. The landscape changes in ways big and small. Life is never quite the same.


Ed Lavandera, CNN, LaPlace, Louisiana.


ACOSTA: And a weaker than expected August jobs report has investors worried. Here's Christine Romans with your "Before the Bell Report."

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A huge surprise from Friday's job report could continue to rattle through the market this week. The economy added only 235,000 positions in August. That's the lowest number since January and really a major slowdown from the hiring boom that occurred earlier in the summer.

Hiring in leisure and hospitality didn't budge. Retail jobs declined. And the upside though, the unemployment rate did fall to 5.2 percent and there were job gains in traditionally higher wage fields like manufacturing.

But this report could put a damper on the Federal Reserve's plans to taper back the financial support it's been providing the economy. And of course, any future action by the Feds is going to guide sentiment on Wall Street.

The market kicked off the month with record highs but September is historically the worst month for stocks. Financial markets will be closed Monday for Labor Day.

And finally, the criminal trial of Elizabeth Holmes begins this week. The disgraced founder of Theranos was indicted more than three years ago on a dozen federal fraud and conspiracy charges. She allegedly mislead investors, patients and doctors about the capabilities of her company's blood testing technology. She faces up to 20 years in prison. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.



ACOSTA: It is crunch time for California Governor Gavin Newsom. In just over a week, voters will decide if he keeps his job or will be replaced. Newsom is pulling out all the stops tapping some big Democratic names to help him campaign in the final stretch. Among them, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

Right now, Newsom is in Los Angeles trying to rally support from California's labor unions and CNN's Dan Merica is there. Dan, nine days now until this recall election. I think a lot of people are coming back from their summer vacations and saying, wait a minute, what, Gavin Newsom might be replaced? What's going on here? How solid are things for the California governor right now would you say?

DAN MERICA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, they are certainly more solid than they were a few weeks ago. And I think Democrats in the state were really concerned that these could turn out bad for Governor Newsom. And I think a big part of that is these labor unions. Governor Newsom just wrapped up an event with labor unions where he touted their support.

And just this union here, this coalition of unions has spent about $2 million turning out the vote in L.A. County. They say they have knocked on over 60,000 doors with a goal of possibly hitting 100,000 by the recall date. And at the same time, you have Governor Newsom focusing on events like this.

He's also, as you mentioned, nationalizing this race, trying to highlight the fact that a state that voted against Donald Trump by about 30 points could be represented by a Republican if voters don't turn out for this recall effort. Take a listen to what he said about his primary opponent, Larry Elder, just a few minutes ago.


GAVIN NEWSON, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: If we don't vote no on this recall, Larry Elder is the next governor of California. And by the way, this is not an exaggeration at all. He is to the right of Donald Trump. How is that even possible?


MERICA: It's a pretty smart strategy for a governor in a state that voted so handily against Donald Trump and we'll see if it works on the -- on Election Day. But what I can tell you is a lot of Democrats are confident that the nationalizing of this race will lead to Governor Newsom staying in office.

ACOSTA: Yes, just by a (inaudible). Dan Merica, thanks so much for that report.

Four Olympic golds, four world championships, but now they may be facing their biggest challenge ever, the fight for equal pay. The U.S. woman's national soccer team are undisputed global superstars of the sport. But in a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2019, the players allege they're not receiving pay that's equal to what the men's team makes.

A federal court disagreed last year throwing out the player's equal pay claim. The judge found that the women's team negotiated a different pay structure than the men's team and that the women's players were already paid more than the men's team. The players are now appealing.

As the legal battle enters its next chapter, the all-new CNN Film "LFG" brings you a behind the scenes look at the grit and determination these women bring to their game both on and off the field.


JESSICA MCDONALD, U.S. WOMAN NATIONAL TEAM: It took true blood, sweat and tears to obviously get to where I am today. There were times I wanted to give up. I mean, here I am, three-time pro champion, two- time NCAA champion. I have achieved my dream. I wanted to make the USA team, and I did. But even though all these accolades sound absolutely incredible, we don't get paid very much.



ACOSTA: Make sure to tune in. The film "LFG" airs tomorrow night at 9:00 right here on CNN. That's the news. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. See you back here next Saturday, if not, sooner. Amara Walker takes over the "CNN Newsroom" live after a quick break. Good night.