Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

North Korea Test Its New Missile; IAEA Ironing Out Agreements with Iran; Taliban Leaders Lack Proper Coordination; First International Flight Landed to Kabul; China's Putian Province Under Lockdown; Not Everyone Agrees on Vaccine Mandate; Afghan Air Force Flee for Their Life. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 13, 2021 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, North Korea successfully test fires cruise missiles that could reach Japan. What we are learning about Kim Jong-un's new weapon.

Plus, a Democratic senator resists the three and a half trillion- dollar price tag on Joe Biden spending plan. Why the president's sweeping social agenda is now in peril.

And a new tropical storm forming in the Gulf of Mexico. Nicholas on track to hit an already battered region with up to a foot of rain.

Good to have you with us.

Well, North Korea says it has test fired a new strategic weapon in a move that will likely ratchet up tensions in the region. Already, Japan is expressing its concern after North Korean media reported on the successful tests of long-range cruise missiles over the weekend which hit targets 1,500 kilometers away. Both South Korea and the U.S. say they are looking into these claims.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is following this for us from Seoul. She joins us now live. Good to see you, Paula. So, putting aside the timing of this coming as it did on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, just how significant is this really?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, it is significant that North Korea is testing new weapons, if this is in fact the case. This is what state media had said that it's a new strategic weapon, saying that it had been in development for about two years.

Now we've seen a couple of military parades in recent months back in January of this year in October of last year where new missiles on show, new weapon systems on show. And experts have consistently been saying that at some point North Korea will need to test them. So, presumably that's what we are seeing from this weekend or hearing about from Pyongyang.

But the fact is it doesn't technically break any rules. There are U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea but for its ballistic missile technology not for cruise missiles. So technically, it doesn't actually break those resolutions themselves.

But as you say, Japan has already said that they are concerned about this development, the U.S. and South Korea looking at it very closely. We heard from the South Korean defense ministry official that they had also seen that there were a couple of cruise missile test fires earlier this year. That South Korea had not announced that publicly.

So, it does give some indication of how significant that could be here in Seoul, for example. It's not as serious as it could be. But the fact that it's a new system potentially is going to be of some concern.

The North Korean leader himself, Kim Jong-un, was not there according to state run media. Or at least there has been no mention of him specifically. So that could suggest as well that it's lower down the pecking order when it comes to even Pyongyang that if there is something that they are trying to show to the world and show off, then Kim Jong-un would be front and center.

Also pointing out that the announcements of this from North Korea in Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper it was on page two. It wasn't splashed across the front page. So that gives us some indication of how important Pyongyang sees it as well. Rosemary?

All right. Paula Hancocks bringing us the very latest there from Seoul. I appreciate it.

Well, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is welcoming a last-minute deal with Iran that will allow inspectors to maintain nuclear monitoring equipment inside the country. That development coming as IAEA director, General Rafael Grossi met with the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization for talks in Tehran.

Iran had previously threatened to prevent inspectors from reviewing video footage at nuclear sites until there was an agreement to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal. Grossi is hailing Sunday's agreement as a very concrete result for both sides.


RAFAEL GROSSI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: The important indispensable work that Iran and the IAEA have to carry out together requires reinforcement and most of all, requires that we get to know each other.


CHURCH (on camera): Under the deal, the IAEA will be able to surface equipment for nuclear monitoring which includes cameras and replace their memory cards.


Well in the coming hours the United Nations will hold an aid conference for Afghanistan in the hopes of raising $600 million in desperately needed humanitarian aid.

Meantime, Qatar's foreign minister held talks with Afghanistan's Taliban leaders Sunday. It's the highest-level foreign visit since the militants took over and last month. It comes as Afghan citizens are increasingly concerned about just what the Taliban's rules are now and how they will run the country.

Nic Robertson reports now from Kabul.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Battered and bruised. Kabul journalist Nemat Naqdi and Taqi Daryabi show the results of a beating they say came at the hands of the Taliban. The pair were covering an anti-Taliban protest where they were hauled away to a police station.

NEMAT NAQDI, AFGHAN JOURNALIST (through translator): They were hitting me with extreme force and I really thought that this was the end of my life. My left eye has been hurt so seriously that it is still red. And I'm worried that I can't hear anything in my left ear.

ROBERTSON: Both feel victim of crossing an invisible line of what the Taliban will permit and what they won't.

TAQI DARYABI, AFGHAN JOURNALIST (through translator): They declared to the journalist in a press conference that they will be granted permission to continue with their activities but only under the Islamic rules.

ROBERTSON: In Afghanistan's north the powerful new Taliban police chief in Mazar-i-Sharif admit even he doesn't know the limits of his powers.

QARI HAQMAL, TALIBAN POLICE CHIEF (through translator): Until now we have not received specific orders from our chiefs. We are following the rules of the emirate. There isn't a specific ban on anything.

ROBERTSON: Across Afghanistan, people are becoming increasingly worried. The Taliban have little idea beyond religious principles about how to run the country and may even be divided over how to do it.

"There is no work, there's no trade, and people have lost confidence," this man says. "No solid economic plan has been presented to the people. People have no proper understanding of the Taliban's plans.

"We can see that their cabinet has not yet been completed. But what we can deduct is there is internal difference within the structure of the cabinet. And this in itself adds to the concerns people already have," he says. A mix of fear and fatalism appears to be filling the void. Some Kabul

residents are ignoring the Taliban's previously strict dress codes. No idea if it's OK or what can happen if they are caught, the lesson of the two journalists while the Taliban are dithering potentially infighting use every last moment of freedom.

UNKNOWN: The journalist will not stop. They are people who convey the voice of the population.

DARYABI (through translator): It is possible that from now on the Taliban threatened and torture journalists. The continuation of their activities will be deemed as a danger to their government.

ROBERTSON: An interim government that is yet to fully find its feet.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.


CHURCH (on camera): And Ivan Watson joins me now live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Ivan. I do want to start with this. I want to find out what more you are learning about word that Afghan air force pilots fleeing Afghanistan as the Taliban took over the country and headed for Kabul. What do you know about this?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'll tell you in just a moment because a little bit of news. The spokesperson for Pakistan's flagship airline, PIA, says that the first to real PIA flight, a special flight from Islamabad to Kabul landed this morning. That's the first real flight from that airline since the U.S.-backed government was overthrown last month.

So, that's just a little development on that front is that airport in Kabul slowly seems to be coming back into operations.

Now as we mentioned, there is a development when it comes to the former Afghan air force where you had scores of aircraft and pilots fleeing Afghanistan as the government collapsed so dramatically last month.


We've learned from multiple sources that 175 out of some 465 Afghan air force personnel that fled to neighboring Uzbekistan were allowed to fly out of Uzbekistan on a chartered flight on Sunday to the United Arab Emirates. So, there are still hundreds left in Uzbekistan. There are also about 175 that are left in Tajikistan, about 140, rather, Afghan air force personnel there.

And we are hearing from a retired U.S. general that efforts are being made to help the remainders get out. Many of these individuals are applicants for special immigrant visas hoping to ultimately get to the U.S. Big questions still looming what happens with more than 40 estimated helicopters and fixed wing planes that these crew members flew without the government of Uzbekistan's permission into Uzbek territory. Will the Taliban be given these helicopters and planes back? We don't know yet.

CHURCH: Yes, a very important development. Thanks for staying on top of that. The other story that we wanted the update on how the Taliban are likely to treat the women there, especially when it comes to education.

WATSON: Yes, and that is this enormous question. What -- how are half of the population approximately going to be treated? Well, the education minister for the new Taliban interim government came out with a statement saying that women would in fact be allowed to continue their university studies under some substantial new conditions. Take a listen.


MAULVI ABDUL BAQI HAQQANI, AFGHANISTAN ACTING MINISTER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (through translator): When there is really a need, men can also teach women. In accordance with Sharia they, the female students should observe the veil. And there is a need for a current in the classroom so the teacher can teach the students and by using some facilities such as TV screens or other modern devices.


WATSON (on camera): Now when the Taliban was ousted with the help of a U.S.-led bombing campaign a little more than 20 years ago, they strictly banned girls and women from any education whatsoever. So, this does appear to be a bit of an evolution, though, as you heard, women will be required to wear veils and they will be strictly segregated even with this kind of improvised measures such as curtains.

You also heard the man talking about the use of remote learning and screens which is also an evolution, so to speak because the Taliban banned TV's and satellite dishes more than 20 years ago. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Our thanks, Ivan, for staying on top of all of those developments. I appreciate it.

And you are watching CNN Newsroom. Still to come, a federal mandate requiring some workers to be fully vaccinated earns praise and criticism in the U.S. We will have arguments from both sides.

Plus, a traveler quarantined for three weeks after he arrived in China. But officials say he still managed to spark a COVID outbreak. That story still to come.



CHURCH (on camera): Welcome back, everyone.

Well, U.S. COVID numbers heading in the right direction but the country hasn't turned a corner on the current surge yet. The seven-day rolling average of new cases has fallen from its high point in recent days. But average daily infections are still very high.

People are also concern with how U.S. President Joe Biden's new vaccine mandate can be enforced for companies with more than 100 employees. Under the mandate all workers must either be fully vaccinated or be tested once a week with companies facing hefty fines for not complying. The U.S. surgeon general says the federal government has the legal authority to enforce it.


VIVEK MURTHY, U.S SURGEON GENERAL: Well, certainly, this wouldn't have been put forward if the president and the administration didn't believe that it was an appropriate legal measure to take. And I believe it is so based on the authority that Congress has given under the OSHA Act, which in fact provides and not just provides, but, you know, tells the Department of Labor and the administration that they have a responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe for workers. And that's what this measure does.


CHURCH (on camera): Some say just because you can doesn't mean you should. Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says the vaccine mandates make the issue overtly political and could discourage some from getting their shots.


SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: Many businesses are, and I think that the federal government's action to require federal employees to get vaccinated which is probably well within their purview to do that in the function of federal readiness. That gets plenty of political cover for more businesses and more private sector businesses to start to implement their own mandate.

So, I don't think we have to reach down to the level of small businesses with 100 or more employees and put a federal requirement on them.


CHURCH (on camera): Well, for more on all of this we want to bring in Dr. Esther Choo. She is a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. And she is joining me from Portland, Oregon. Thank you, doctor, for talking with us and for all that you do.


CHURCH: We'll get to that mixed message on mandates for vaccines but I want to start with that snapshot of where things stand right now in the U.S. It shows the fourth wave has peaked and COVID infections are down about 10 percent even in some of the hardest hit states. What do you think is behind that downward trend? And how do we ensure this trend continues especially as we head into these cooler temperatures. CHOO: Yes. It's a relief to see that there may be a respite for us

coming down the pike. I mean, of course we are still seeing record levels of hospitalizations and deaths so we're not quite feeling the relief on the health care and yet.

I do think it represents a lot of people where they can do full corps press measures, really trying to encourage vaccinations, masking, distancing, and continuing all the things that we know. You know, will actually make a dent in the course of the disease.


We'll see what happens as colder weather is upon us as, you know, as all schools are in session as we move into the fall, but at least looks like a glimmer of hope for now.

CHURCH: And of course, we know that nearly 54 percent of Americans are now fully vaccinated and President Biden is hoping his vaccine mandates will get even more people fully vaccinated. But there is considerable pushback from some Republican governors and many others, not only for vaccines but also masks.

As a doctor, what is your view of governors who fight to keep masks off the faces of children in school classrooms? And how much do you worry about their welfare as we wait for kids 5 to 11 years of age to get their shots possibly by the end of October?

CHOO: Yes, it's frustrating to have to keep on pushing back against this kind of messaging coming from on high. I mean, there are plenty of people on the ground who want their children masked who really want to do the best they can until we can offer these additional protections to children. But it's very hard to push upstream.

You know, I have a family in Texas where people would like to have their children vac -- have their children masked but when the message is it's optional, you know, a lot of schools are not going to the trouble of reinforcing it and nobody's kid wants to go into a setting where they're the only one wearing a mask.

And so, it just, you know, it doesn't create any momentum for things that people are perfectly willing to do, extremely frustrating, again, as we continue to battle the disease in such high numbers in hospitals.

CHURCH: Right. And let's look specifically at those vaccine mandates. Because as we've seen we've got some Republican governors pushing back. We've got Dr. Gottlieb there pushing back as well, in a sense saying this could be overtly political as if it isn't already.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says more vaccine mandates need to be put in place. How broad would you like to see those vaccine mandates?

CHOO: Well, you know, vaccine mandates at times for certain diseases really part of American history since smallpox. And so, it's not a surprise. I think it is also part of our history and our expectation that our workplaces protect us and keep us safe to a reasonable degree.

We are in the middle of a crisis where COVID is one of the main safety issues for workers and for students and for teachers and for, you know, for health care personnel. And so, to me, there is a logic to it, a compelling logic.

I think that there are a lot of businesses of that size, 100 or greater, that have been struggling with this. Should I or should I not impose a mandate because many of my employees want to feel as safe as possible for themselves and for their family members.

And so, I think this erases that, you know, that ambiguity for them and makes it a lot clearer about how to move forward. If you have to then you just do it. And, you know, this is a reminder it's not an absolute mandate. Companies also have the option and individuals have the option of undergoing weekly testing instead.

So, there is an out that, you know, for people who really just absolutely cannot consider the vaccine, there is an option. And so, I think there is a bit of give and flexibility while also trying to help employers be decisive and choose the route that is safest for all their employees.

CHURCH: Dr. Esther Choo, always a pleasure to talk with you. Many thanks.

CHOO: Thank you.

CHURCH: A new COVID outbreak in southeastern China was likely caused by a traveler from Singapore. That is according to local officials. They believe the traveler sparked the outbreak despite spending three weeks in isolation before testing positive. China reported 49 new cases Monday and areas where the virus has been detected are starting to lockdown.

For more on this, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Kristie. So, what's the latest on this outbreak?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a very worrying development especially Chinese officials are blaming the outbreak on a properly quarantined traveler who had come in from Singapore. Look, the number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise once again in China, thanks to this fresh outbreak in Fujian province.

Earlier today, China reported 49 new cases of COVID-19 of which 22 are locally transmitted and experts have identified the virus as being the highly transmissible Delta variant. The epicenter for this latest outbreak is the city of Putian. It's located in the southeastern province in China of Fujian.

According to state run media they say that the initial cases involved primary school students and that the origin of the outbreak is believed to be the father of one of those students who had just returned from a trip to Singapore on August the 4th.

[03:25:00] He went through the proper pandemic protocols in China, 14 days quarantine on top of that seven days home monitoring. He tested negative nine times for the virus before he finally tested positive on Monday.

Now officials in Putian looking at the cases and continuing to rise in their city are taking measures. They're saying no one is allowed to leave the city unless it's absolutely necessary. Schools have been suspended. Public venues like cinemas and libraries and museums have been closed and people have been urged to work from home.

And this comes as China recently notched another milestone in this pandemic. Getting over or administering over two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine which is very significant. But experts continue to point out that the efficacy of China's vaccines is an issue. Listen to this.


DONGYAN JIN, VIROLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Another major, major concern is the efficacy or the effectiveness of the vaccines. And emerging data from several different sources suggests that inaccurate the vaccines are very problematic. That's also why they don't have the confidence to open up.


LU STOUT (on camera): Now where I'm reporting from in Hong Kong, we have some of the strictest pandemic measures in the world. It was just last week when officials here announced they were planning to loosen quarantine restrictions. That some residents from mainland China would be able to enter the city starting this Wednesday without any need for quarantine.

But given this uptick in cases that's taking place in Fujian province who knows that move could be reconsidered. Back to you.

CHURCH: All right. Kristie Lu Stout joining us from Hong Kong. Many thanks.

And still to come, why Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is pushing back against his own party leaders over sweeping domestic spending plans. We're back in just a moment.



CHURCH: President Biden's three and a half trillion-dollar spending bill, which would expand the nation's social safety net, could be in peril.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin says he won't support the hefty price tag and several moderate Democrats have expressed concerns as well. The sweeping bill includes large-scale investments and paid family leave, education, childcare, healthcare, and clean energy. Manchin says he would consider something smaller and he wants more time to sort it out.

CNN's Arlette Saenz has more now from Washington.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The White House needs all Democrats to stay on board in order to pass the president's $3.5 trillion economic package but new comments from Senator Joe Manchin could prove troublesome for that endeavor.

The West Virginia senator, a moderate Democrat, said that he wants more time for this legislation to be written and he has an issue with that $3.5 trillion price tag. Take a listen.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): That's fine. He would not have my vote on 3.5 and Chuck knows that, and we've talked about this. We've already put up $5.4 trillion, and we tried to help Americans in everywhere we possibly can. A lot of the help that we put out there is still there and is going to run clear into next year, 2022. What is the urgency? What is the urgency that we have? It's not the same urgency we have with American Rescue Plan.

SAENZ (voice-over): Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have said they are moving forward with this bill. Pelosi is hoping the final legislative text will be written by Wednesday of this week with a vote being held next week in the House.

President Biden has said he ultimately believes Joe Manchin will be on board with this plan. The president will be traveling out in the country to Denver, Colorado on Tuesday to sell elements of this proposal with a White House really stepping up their messaging campaign over the course of the past week, saying that the time is now for this bill to be passed.

But the White House is also keenly aware that so much of the president's domestic agenda depends on how these next few weeks play out on Capitol Hill and they can't afford any defections from the Democrats.

Arlette Saenz, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH (on camera): California's governor is getting big name help ahead of Tuesday's recall election. President Biden will campaign for Gavin Newsom in Long Beach, at the campaign's final rally. A conservative group brought the recall question to the ballot as the state deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires and extreme drought. Newsom backs President Biden's plan to fight the pandemic which imposes new vaccine mandates for federal workers and large employers.

Joining me now is CNN political analyst Sabrina Siddiqui. She is a White House reporter for "The Wall Street Journal." Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So President Biden is dealing with a multitude of crises at this time, the biggest perhaps the COVID pandemic. And after laying out his vaccine mandates last week, he now faces major pushback from Republican governors and from some businesses even though more vaccinations will, of course, turn this country's fortunes around. Is this exactly what the president needed to do?

SIDDIQUI: Well, I think the White House has exhausted all options. That is certainly how the administration feels in the conversations I've had in my reporting with White House officials, that they tried to persuade vaccine skeptics and the vaccination rate simply has not reached what it needs to be, especially to curve the spread of the delta variant.

That is why the president did move toward embracing mandates for federal employees and government contractors and requirements for employees of companies that employ more than 100 people. Now, Republicans are pushing back. They're saying that they're going to fight some of these in court.

But, you know, my understanding is that likely Biden will prevail with these policies because for large employers, he is giving an option. If the people do not want to get vaccinated, they can get tested regularly. There is a precedent for having vaccine requirements to go to school. A lot of employers require certain vaccinations. So, I think that even if Republicans push back, it is going to be more of a political battle than it really will be a legal one.

CHURCH: And fellow Democrat, Senator Manchin, is also making life very difficult for President Biden. He is opposing the $3.5 trillion budget bill, saying more money, more problems. Where is this likely to go and how bad does this look for Biden right now?


SIDDIQUI: Well, the reason that this is really significant is because for President Biden, it really is a key piece of his agenda that is at stake here. Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, he is a more centrist Democrat. He is one of the key supporters of this bipartisan infrastructure deal that Biden and Democrats hope to pass.

But, you know, what the president and Democrats also want to do is move ahead this larger $3.5 trillion economic package that includes other priorities like healthcare, childcare, elder care. So, that is something that Manchin is saying simply costs too much. Democrats have said they won't pass one bill without the other.

So the big question here is can Biden keep Democrats in line because they really have only a slim majority in both the House and the Senate and they can't really afford to lose many votes. And so, you know, especially because the bipartisan infrastructure deal is such a key piece of his agenda and something he really campaigned on.

CHURCH: And on top of all of this, California's Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom, faces a recall election on Tuesday. President Biden will be on hand to offer his support. Polls indicate Newsom has about 58 percent support but Republicans are hoping a big turnout will result in recalling the governor. So, what is the likely outcome here, do you think? What are the implications for Biden?

SIDDIQUI: Well, I will say that recall elections, particularly for governors, have really been successful. In fact, in recent history, it only happened twice. Incidentally, one of those two times was in the state of California in 2003. So I think Democrats certainly aren't taking anything for granted here even though registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in California, two to one. So the odds are still in Newsom's favor.

But there is concern that if he was in fact recalled, this could really reverberate across the country and allow Republicans to make claims that this was a rejection of liberal and progressive policies. Of course, Gavin Newsom has pursued very strict lockdowns when it comes to COVID-19 as well as vaccination requirements, a lot of which Republicans have fought against. He raised taxes. He has been very supportive of immigration reform.

And so, you know, that is not necessarily unpopular in the state of California. It is a very progressive-minded state. But if Republicans somehow successfully recall him, then they will probably try to make this case that this is some sort of repudiation again of progressive priorities and of President Biden.

CHURCH: We will see what happens Tuesday. Sabrina Siddiqui, many thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

SIDDIQUI: Thank you.

CHURCH (on camera): Members of Congress will get a security briefing today about an upcoming rally at the U.S. Capitol. Next Saturday, far- right groups are set to protest in support of those charged in the January 6th Capitol attack. It comes as Capitol police recommend disciplinary action for some officers in connection with that riot.

CNN Suzanne Malveaux has more.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): U.S. Capitol police are recommending disciplinary action for six cases of misconduct on January 6. It started off with 38 internal investigations. They say from that, they were able to identify 26 officers. Out of the 26, they say 20 cases they found no wrongdoing. So this is really a very small numbers.

What they are talking about here, three cases of conduct unbecoming of U.S. Capitol police, one failure to comply with directives, one improper remarks and one case of improper dissemination of information. None of this conduct was deemed criminal or involving a follow up with the Justice Department. You might recall it was on February 6 officers were suspended with pay as these investigations were going on. What could they be talking about potentially here? Well, there's dozens and dozens of video evidence, pieces of information as well as anecdotes that showed one officer allegedly taking selfies with the rioters, another one allegedly donning a MAGA, a Trump supporter hat. These are the kinds of things that they are potentially talking about here.

But there were 1,200 U.S. Capitol police personnel on that date of January 6, many who we saw being tortured, attacked, beaten and abused, some who have testified about that publicly.

And so the statement goes on to make it clear, saying that the six sustained cases should not diminish the heroic efforts of the United States Capitol police officers. On January 6, the bravery and courage exhibited by the vast majority of our employees was inspiring those who were defending the Capitol.

There was more than 600 who have been charged with this January 6 attack and five deaths resulted, one of them a police officer suffering a stroke, dying later for by suicide.


MALVEAUX: What is very concerning now and what will take place later is another rally on September 18th, on Saturday. Those are sympathizers of those who have been charged in these attacks. Already, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be meeting with her counterparts, Republican and Democrat, with U.S. Capitol police to come up with a beefy security plan for this really, even the potential of bringing back defense.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, at the Capitol.


CHURCH (on camera): We are tracking yet another powerful storm system heading for the U.S. Gulf Coast. We will have the latest forecast for Tropical Storm Nicholas just ahead.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. From food shortages to a lack of workers and truck drivers, food producers in the U.K. have had tough few months and many believe Brexit is to blame.

CNN's Nina dos Santos joins us now live from London with more. Good to see you, Nina. So, just how bad is this and what is the outlook in terms of available food supplies?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, people are getting quite worried, especially as we head towards the latter portion of the year when, you know, they are expecting to have their New Year and Christmas celebrations in a few months' time. What we are seeing is a lot of food association starting to say, we don't know whether there is going to be enough food on the shelves or at least enough choice for consumers, Rosemary. You are really noticing it when it comes to that choice, especially of non-perishable goods. You know, I can tell you, for instance, just anecdotally, one of the biggest supermarkets in central London has out of sparkling water for the last two months. You can still easily buy fresh produce like salads and things like that, but then you'll notice that it expires within one or two days.

So you can really see the pressure points of the supply chain. A lot of companies are deciding to send some of the perishable goods, prioritize them as opposed to, as I said, things like, you know, bottled water and things like that.


DOS SANTOS: That's where you're starting to see it. The real reason for this is twofold. It's largely a labor shortage. One, when it comes to the harvesting of fresh produce here in the U.K., that's especially because a lot of people who used to take on those jobs were from European countries, particularly eastern European countries. They have been coming here for the last year or two largely because of Brexit and also because of the coronavirus restrictions as well.

But the real pressure point is when it comes to hauling (ph). So we are talking about truck drivers. There is an estimated short for between 90,000 and 120,000 truck drivers in the U.K. at the moment.

Many people in the unions, in the transportation sector will be saying, look, Brexit has pushed an already dire situation over the edge because a lot of these people weren't being paid enough anyway in the years running up to Brexit. It was an aging industry and they can't attract enough young truck drivers.

So that really is the point. It's affecting everything. The other day, o went to an electronic store. I couldn't buy a hard drive. We're hearing about some of the medicines having to be prioritized in terms of some of the logistics around the country.

So you are not yet seeing food shortages or anything like that but you're seeing a reduced choice and you're also seeing companies having to curtail their businesses in terms of where they send things around because of this dearth of supply of labor in particular sectors in the U.K.

It is only going to get worse from here on. The U.K. is preparing to have another showdown soon with the E.U. about whether or not to implement the so-called Northern Ireland protocol over which it is supposed to check goods going between mainland U.K. and Northern Ireland. You can bet that again will yet again raise the inflamed issue of Brexit, Rosemary.

CHURCH: That is a real concern. Nina dos Santos joining us live from London. Many thanks.

We are tracking Tropical Storm Nicholas as it makes its way through the Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane watch has been issued for parts of Texas as the storm is expected to strengthen before making landfall. So let's bring in our meteorologist, Pedram Javeheri, joining us now live. Good to see you, Pedram. So this is absolutely the last thing the country needs. What are you seeing in the forecast there?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, it is very concerning because it is in a very warm area here and the water is conducive to development of further growth of the storm system. There is quite a bit of convection on the last couple of hours where thunderstorm activity is just offshore to the east of the system. So, we do expect further strengthening as it approaches areas of central and southern Texas

Landfall is just about, say, 12 to 15 hours away. It is certainly not far from seeing the direct impacts of the storm system and the weather service is taking it very seriously.

Western Louisiana all the way through coastal areas of Texas towards areas of Brownsville, as far south as you can get, we have flood watchers in this region because the system will kind of hug the coast and make landfall somewhere south of Houston again later on Monday afternoon and Monday evening.

Winds generally about 65 miles per hour at landfall, so should be just shy of what is a Category One hurricane which is 73 miles per hour. But that is not going to be the concern with the storm system. It's the amount of rainfall. The forecast model has kind of wavered back and forth between exactly how much rain is going to come down. But the widespread consensus here is at least seven to eight inches.

Some areas could push to 10 plus inches and see packets of heavy rainfall around the Houston metro and areas certainly that does not need this amount of rainfall in the short period in these urban environments that leads to significant risk for flash flooding.

Notice this forecast to Houston. Three consecutive days of heavy rainfall possible before it is all said and done and then we bring back the normal summer (INAUDIBLE) of thunderstorms.

Just offshore, you know what has happened here. Of course, we had Ida just a weeks ago go directly over some of these little pipelines and rigs and platforms that are in place across the Gulf of Mexico. Well, right offshore of the coast of Texas there, plenty of activity as far as energy infrastructure is concerned. So, impacts are going to be wide reaching here, Rosemary, as this system moves closer to land.

CHURCH: Just incredible, isn't it? Pedram Javeheri is bringing us up- to-date on all those details. Appreciate it.

Still to come here on CNN, how Russia's Daniil Medvedev stunned the world of tennis at the U.S. Open.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Novak Djokovic's historic bid to win all four major tennis tournaments in the same year was shut by Daniil Medvedev. Number two ranked Medvedev cruised to victory to defeat the number one ranked Djokovic at the U.S. Open. The last men's tennis player to win a calendar grand slam was Rod Laver back in 1969.

So let's bring in CNN World Sport contributor Ravi Ubha from London. Great to see you. So Medvedev stunned the world, winning the U.S. Open title and denying Djokovic his bid to win all four grand slam tournaments in the same year. What went wrong for Djokovich here?

RAVI UBHA, CNN WORLD SPORT CONTRIBUTOR: Rosemary, I think the occasion got to Djokovic. He is such a great player but even handling this was a little bit too much for him. Something that never happened to Djokovic before was the fact that he lost the first set in the tournament five consecutive times.

I think crucial (ph) for him for going to the final. And what that meant was that going to the final, get off more time in his legs, a lot more time spent on court with Mededev who is an excellent player. And I think that was a factor. You have to peel back the layer and say why was he losing all those first sets?

And again, I think it was because of what he was trying to accomplish. It was a little bit all too much for him. But if there was a silver lining, I mean, the fact that what he got yesterday was the most he ever got on a tennis court.

CHURCH: And Djokovic said that he was going to play this match as if it were his last because this was meant to be the day he showed the world he was officially the greatest player of all time. Sadly, that didn't happen for him. So, how difficult is it for a professional player to achieve a grand slam?


UBHA: It is extremely difficult, Rosemary. I mean, it hadn't happened since 1988. That was done by Steffi Graf. It hadn't happened on men's side since 1969. Rod Laver, he was in attendance (ph) in New York. It's especially difficult because of the fact that he was trying to do it on three different services.

As you said, Rosemary, going in, (INAUDIBLE) talked to Serena Williams about trying to accomplish this because Serena was the last player that was in this position, going to the U.S. Open final or U.S. Open in 2015. She won the first three in the season and then she was up against Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals and lost it. She too said afterward the pressure was unbearable.

So it's such an extremely difficult thing to try to accomplish. I'm not sure, Rosemary, it's going to happen in any of our lifetimes. It is that difficult.

CHURCH: Yeah, clearly. Ravi Ubha, thank you so much for joining us from London, giving a rundown on where things stand. We appreciate it.

And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news in just a moment. Do stay with us.



CHURCH: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.