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Kentucky Flooding; Manchin Agrees To Energy And Climate Deal; Senate GOP Blocks Bill To Help Veterans Impacted By Burn Pits; New Concerns About Missing Secret Service Texts; DOJ Preps For Court Battle To Force Trump Officials' Testimony; Georgia D.A. Ramps Up Investigation Into Trump's Election Pressure; Will Smith Posts On- Camera Apology For Slapping Chris Rock At Oscars; CA Governor Newsom Sparks 2024 Buzz After Buying Ads In Texas And Florida; Mega Millions Winner In Illinois Gets $1.34 Billion. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 30, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

We begin with the mud, misery, and fear for the missing in eastern Kentucky right now, historic flooding has killed at least 25 people including four young siblings swept away from their parents. The governor says many are unaccounted for with the death toll expected to climb.

Raging flood waters also wiped out countless homes, roads, and forced the closure of at least ten bridges. And more rain is forecasted for tomorrow.

Plus, local officials say rescues are still ongoing. This 17-year-old spent hours on the roof of her submerged home before escaping the danger with her dog.

Just one example of the hundreds of people who are now having to dry out and figure out what to do now that the flood waters have ripped apart their lives.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what we're going to do. We don't have no place to live now or anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water got about up to there. We had about this much more room before we got flooded. And I've never seen it that, you know, that high.

We came out of the house, and it was so swift that even a jet ski was hard for him to handle and he took us out one at a time.


ACOSTA: Just incredible. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is in Hazard, Kentucky. Evan -- tell us what you're hearing and seeing from folks there. It's just heartbreaking.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, this is the staging area in Breathitt County right near Jackson where people are trying to get out there and do those rescues that you're talking about and do those efforts to find out what's happened that you've been talking about.

We have some fresh drone footage in from the CNN drone. We've got a CNN drone out here flying around, and you can see the waters have receded, but leaving behind all that damage.

Now, what that's meant for this rescue effort is people can now get out on the ground and start looking around. And I have some news, some sad news that I just got from the sheriff here in Breathitt County John Holland. He told me three bodies have been found just today from those searches. And he expects that there will be more as the day goes on.

It's just a very harrowing situation, and there's a lot more to do. I spoke to somebody else who works at Sheriff John Holland's office about the situation here in this county and what it means for the future.


DREWEY LEE JONES, BREATHITT COUNTY, KENTUCKY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Thinking about all the devastation that I've seen all over the county, there's some things that can't be rebuilt. Their water had got in homes that had never been concerned with water issues. Now their homes are gone.

Where are all these people going to go? Where are they going to live? If they don't have a family member that they can go to.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So here in Jackson, the beginning of figuring out just how bad this was has happened now. But as I mentioned, it's an active scene. People are still out there trying to find out whether their loved ones are alive, whether they need help. It's an ongoing situation that's just totally, totally harrowing to be around. I cannot even express to you what it's like to be here with one of these floods. And this one is a really, really bad one, Jim.

ACOSTA: It is just devastating. All right. Evan McMorris Santoro, thank you so much for that coverage. We appreciate it.

And for more information about how you can help the victims of the Kentucky flooding, go to

The White House says contact tracing efforts are underway right now after President Biden tested positive for COVID again. Moments ago the president gave a status update on Twitter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hey, folks. Joe Biden here. I tested positive this morning. I'll be working from home for the next couple of days. Feeling fine, everything's good, but the Commander and I have a little work to do.


ACOSTA: Before the positive COVID test sent Biden back into isolation with , he worked out in the White House gym, according to White House officials and Biden's doctor says this COVID rebound affects a small percentage of patients treated with Paxlovid.

Turning now to politics and a big week for President Biden's agenda including a surprise $369 billion deal that would help fight climate change and lower prescription drug costs. It had been negotiated in secret by the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

Republicans were led to believe Manchin would not go along with it, and now there are questions about whether Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell essentially got played.

Joining me now is legendary Democratic strategist James Carville. James, good to have you back. thanks so much.

You know, McConnell, you know, we always think of him as sort of the Svengali behind the scenes there in the U.S. Senate. But he didn't think this deal was going to happen. So he gave Senate Republicans the ok to vote for another bill, the Chips Bill which helps the U.S. stay competitive with China. And then suddenly President Biden gets another win on his agenda.

You know, James, I did not have Joe Manchin salvaging the Biden agenda on my bingo card this year. But there it is.


JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right. I guess you could say Senator Manchin has the capacity to surprise. But what I'm most surprised about is he and Senator Schumer were obviously talking about this for a long time and it never leaked out, which is pretty amazing if you stop and you think about it because there had to be any number of other people involved in drafting and fiscal things and things like that.

And you know, Mitch McConnell is a man that on his own changed the composition of the Supreme Court from nine members to eight members. So it's kind of hard to feel sorry for him. It really is. It was kind of delicious to see him take a sharp head shot. It was fun.

ACOSTA: And what do you -- I mean what do you think is going on here with Senator Joe Manchin? I used to have an informal rule with my team, we can't mention Joe Manchin's name at least 20 times in the show. But he makes himself part of the coverage so much with his maneuvering on the Hill. But I mean, you know -- and I'm joking when I say that. We don't have that rule here. CARVILLE: Sure, sure.

ACOSTA: But I mean, this is kind of remarkable to see this, I guess, turn of events.

CARVILLE: Well, Senator Manchin, who by the way I know and am quite fond of, has positioned himself to be the most consequential senator of the 21st century.


CARVILLE: He's been in and out of the news, but he has the kind of capacity to surprise, and he surprised again, you know. I think, you know, Senator Schumer deserves a lot of credit for this. I'm sure President Biden does also.

But people saw that there was some things coming on prescription drugs and a few other things, but to my knowledge, I don't think anybody saw it just a deal of this magnitude and this serious stuff in the making. It was a quite pleasant late July surprise.

ACOSTA: And do you think this has -- I mean, what does this have to do with the -- I guess the current state of affairs for President Biden, his standing with the public? New CNN poll showed only 25 percent of Democratic or Democratic leaning voters want Biden to be the nominee in 2024. 75 percent want a different candidate.

And you know, I want to get your take on this as well, James. We've already seen a group of former Democratic and Republican officials led by Andrew Yang, former congressman David Jolly, former governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman form a new political party called the Forward Party. They're trying to, I guess appeal to moderate voters in the middle.

I mean, how much of this has to do with how Joe Biden is doing these days. And I guess I'm also curious, James, what you think, you know, you helped Bill Clinton beat a guy named Ross Perot back, I guess it was 30 years ago. Could this Forward Party have the same kind of impact this time around?

CARVILLE: I think in a nation awash in really stupid ideas, this stands out as a really stupid idea. Ralph Nader basically elected George W. Bush in 2000. Jill Stein basically elected Donald Trump in 2016. And the only possible thing this could do is bleed some moderate Republicans off of voting for whoever the Democratic nominee is.

This thing is going nowhere. It's vanity. It's, hey, look at me. It's performance art. And to say the least, I'm not a fan of this effort. You know, it's something editorial writers and pontificators like but that's about it.

And I have to ask you about this, James, because this has been something that's been talked about quite a bit in Democratic circles as to whether or not this is good idea. We've seen efforts by Democratic campaigns and outside groups to tilt the playing field in their favor by propping up extremist Republican candidates in some of these races -- some of these very critical around the country, the idea that it would make it easier for Democrats to win.

But on the flip side, if the vote doesn't go their way, you could end up with conspiracy theorists, election deniers and so on in some pretty important places.

Let's listen to what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to say about it.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I said that we need a strong Republican Party, not a cult of personality. That didn't mean we shouldn't have a strong Democratic Party as well. And the political decisions that are made out there are made in furtherance of our winning the election because we think the contrast between Democrats and Republicans as they are now is so drastic that we have to -- we have to win.


ACOSTA: What do you think, James? I mean, is your party playing with fire?

CARVILLE: I love that woman. I just worship her, and the idea of a political campaign is to win the election. It acts in its own interest.


CARVILLE: The state of Pennsylvania, it clearly was in Josh Shapiro's interest that the Republicans nominate Doug Mastriano. I've done the same thing. I would do the same thing. I don't see any ethical or moral problem with doing this. And again, I think most of the opposition to this is from the pontifical class mostly located on the coast.

I don't see anything wrong with this. And you try to do everything you can to help your candidate or your party win an election. And that's pretty simple, and that's what the DCCC Is trying to do.

Sometimes it backfires, sometimes it doesn't work. Well, ok. You know, people do stupid things from time to time. But I wholeheartedly endorse this idea of being involved in primaries to help them nominate the stupidest, goofiest extreme person they can.

I can remember when Rush Limbaugh used to tell his listeners to go vote in Democratic primaries. You know, that kind of stuff happens all the time.

ACOSTA: All right, James. stay with us. There's a lot more to discuss. We're going to talk about a story that has really outraged people this week, blind-sided veterans and their supporters speaking out against Republicans for blocking a bill that would help sick veterans impacted by burn pits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JON STEWART, COMEDIAN/ACTIVIST: This is an embarrassment to the senate, to the country, to the founders and all that they profess to hold dear.


ACOSTA: And a little later on in the show for us, actor Will Smith speaking on camera for the first time about the Oscar slap heard around the world.


WILL SMITH, ACTOR: It's all fuzzy. I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk.



ACOSTA: Senate Democrats say they will try again on Monday to overcome opposition to a bill meant to help veterans who became sick after exposure to burn pits and other toxic chemicals. The bill was blocked after 25 Republican senators who supported an earlier version of the legislation switched their votes.

Moments after the vote, if you haven't seen this, take a look, Texas Senator Ted Cruz was spotted bumping fist with fellow Republican Steve Daines of Montana.

Meantime, outside the Capitol the anger was palpable among veterans, their families, and those who support them, including comedian and activist Jon Stewart.


STEWART: America's heroes who fought in our wars outside sweating their asses off with oxygen, battling all kinds of ailments while these (EXPLETIVE DELETED) get in the air-conditioning, walled off from any of it.


ACOSTA: Democratic strategist James Carville is back with me. James, I know you typically advise Democrats, but I'm assuming you would not advise a Republican to stand on the senate floor and fist bump your colleagues after shooting down a bill to help sick military veterans. What did you make of that?

CARVILLE: First of all, The only thing Ted Cruz ever did for his country is drag a roller bag on his way to Cancun. You know, on a very serious note, Jim, I was reading that they're having really difficult times with people recruiting people to join our armed forces. And I have to tell you, if I'm a young person, I'm a veteran myself, there's plenty of veterans in my family. And you look and say this is the way that they're going to treat me, it's really unbelievable. And all they do is go up to people in airports and say thank you for your service, or stand up at a, you know, Air Force jets flying over a baseball game. I mean, this is really distressing.

And I think Jon Stewart has done a great job, and so you're mad because Senator Manchin and Senator Schumer made a deal on climate, so you're going to punish veterans for that? It doesn't even make any sense. I don't understand what they're doing.

And I think they're going to pay a price for this, and I think they're going to vote this. It's outrageous that these young people, you know 5,000 miles from home are breathing, you know, this tar or whatever noxious stuff there are and we're going to turn our backs on them?

It really doesn't make sense to me because they're mad at Senator Manchin and Senator Schumer and President Biden. That doesn't make any sense.

ACOSTA: And James, you and I have been around long enough to know, I mean, many of these veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, I mean they've sacrificed enough already. There's multiple deployments, I mean all of the things they were going through with IEDs and so on and just these wars lasting forever. It's unbelievable.

CARVILLE: I have a brother who died an early death as a result of what some of his experiences in Vietnam. And you know, I don't know what Ted Cruz thinks that warfare is, but I don't think he has any idea. And if you owe anybody in the country anything, you owe it to your veterans.

I mean, that's not -- that's the least we should do to help these people, and you know, by the way, most of these wars were really stupid anyway. But you know, you can love the war and hate the war. And now we don't -- Republicans love the war and hate the warrior. I mean, that to me, that's backwards.

ACOSTA: Yes, and we've been reporting on the investigation into the missing text messages from the Secret Service. And I really wanted to get your take on this. And now we understand that Trump's then acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf and his top deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, now their text messages are missing.

What is going on, do you think, James? What is your take on all of this? Do you think that the voters are focusing on these January 6th hearings that they're having an impact?

CARVILLE: I'm one of the very few Americans that actually had a good deal of contact with the Secret Service because of my time with President Clinton and also my wife who was assistant to President Bush and counselor for Vice President Cheney.


CARVILLE: Those guys are unbelievably professional. They don't get involved. They really don't try to be your friend. You know, they're nice enough but they have their own culture. I was always impressed by the Secret Service. They just ruined it. This guy Ornato is the most unprofessional agent that you can imagine going to be a partisan person in the White House. And I feel -- I actually kind of feel sorry for a lot of the agents that I knew, probably a lot of them retired by now, who really had pride and justifiable pride in that organization.

The disgrace that they're bringing on it is really one of the truly sad things I've seen. That's a universal thing until the Trump presidency, Republicans, Democrats all had great respect for the professionalism and courtesy of the Secret Service. And they have really damaged the reputation of that organization.

ACOSTA: And you mentioned how much you love House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier. What do you think about her -- I guess this open question as to whether she will visit Taiwan. Should she go through with that?

CARVILLE: You know, Jim, I just cannot, you know -- strategic ambiguity is our official policy and (INAUDIBLE). They just told me that that was actually a good policy. I had to explain it to him to make sure I understand it.

But you know, the other thing she has a lot of, she probably has more Chinese Americans in her house district than maybe anybody else in the Congress. So there's a lot of complexity here, I think whatever is the right thing to do, I think she'll do it. I'm a huge fan of Speaker Pelosi's and I'm sure she'll make the right decision.

ACOSTA: All right. James Carville, thank you so much. We knew you'd bring the fire as always, James. Good to see you, sir. Thank you.

CARVILLE: All right, man. Thanks a million. You bet.

ACOSTA: All right. Appreciate it.

Coming up, much more on our exclusive CNN reporting, the DHS watchdog who knew about those missing texts sent during and before the insurrection more than a year ago, so why are we just finding out about it now? We'll talk to a legal expert about that next.



ACOSTA: Back now with a CNN exclusive. New concerns about the missing Secret Service text. Multiple sources telling CNN that the Homeland Security inspector general first learned of those missing messages back in May of 2021. That's more than a year before he alerted the January 6th committee investigating the insurrection.

Those texts could be invaluable as according to witness testimony, former President Trump fought with his Secret Service agents when they refused to let him go to the Capitol on January 6th after his speech that day.

And it doesn't end there. The Washington post is also reporting texts from Trump's then acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf and his top deputy in that department, Ken Cuccinelli -- those messages are missing too. Those messages were also sent in the days leading up to January 6th.

But any lost data could be important since the January 6th committee received testimony that Trump wanted the department of homeland security to seize voting machines in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

me now CNN's senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig. Elie, the missing texts, missing call logs, the missing presidential diary entries. You know, this is like the dog ate my homework administration here at the very end.

But here's what a member of the January 6th Committee Jamie Raskin, congressman from Maryland, had to say about some of those missing texts.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): People think that they may be slick in trying to delete a text, but of course there's two sides to a text.


RASKIN: There are technological means of retrieval, and we can also determine from the context what was happening, and nobody should really be in the business of covering up any of this.


ACOSTA: Yes, from a legal perspective, Elie, I'm reminded of that old Watergate expression, it's not the crime. It's the cover-up.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Always, right? This is at best gross incompetence. And I could tell you from experience, I used to work with DHS all the time when I was at DOJ. That is one of the leading cyber and technology agencies in the federal government. And they have long had policies and there are laws requiring them to save these texts.

You don't get to say, well, we're upgrading our technology so we're going to dump everything that was on the phone before hand. And the reason why the new reporting is so important on the lag time there because sometimes you can revive texts. There are texts that may have been discarded or deleted, but if you send the phone into a forensics lab they have ways -- not to put it overly technologically but reviving the texts. But that goes away over time.

And so if there was a year lag that could cost them the ability to get these texts. But the big question legally is -- is there intentionality. Did somebody say hey let's go through a phone upgrade, you know, and time it for right about now or worse did somebody say hey let's to this in a way that gets rid of these texts.

That we don't know. But that's when you're getting into real trouble areas legally.

ACOSTA: Yes, "new phone, who this" is not going to cover it here.

HONIG: That's a -- yes, non-legal way to say it.

ACOSTA: Yes. We had CNN exclusive reporting this week prosecutors are preparing for a court battle to force former White House officials to testify about Trump's January 6th conversations despite these claims of executive privilege. What do you think of that?

HONIG: That's a really important step because it shows us that DOJ is focused on and willing to go to court and get involved in really difficult legal battles in order to get conversations between Donald Trump and his top advisers.

That's a fight that Robert Mueller was not willing to have. He says in his report we did not subpoena Donald Trump because we just didn't have the time and resources to go to court. According to this reporting they are willing to go to court. These cases could go all the way up to the Supreme Court.


HONIG: The push/pull here is, on the one hand, you fight to get those conversations. And I think you'll win. On the other hand, delay, delay, delay.

ACOSTA: It's almost like there's a playbook for this.


ACOSTA: The committee also wants to talk to Trump cabinet members about any discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment. We know there were lots of conversations about that going on behind the scenes.

But here's what former Meadows aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, said about that during her testimony.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO MARK MEADOWS: From what I understood at the time, and from what the reports were coming in, there's a large concern of 25th amendment potentially being invoked. And there are concerns about what would happen in the Senate if it was -- if the 25th was invoked.


ACOSTA: And why do you think this 25th Amendment issue is so key to the committee right now?

HONIG: Two things, first of all, will it corroborate Cassidy Hutchinson? She's strongly corroborated on other things.

Second of all, the 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967, three years after the JFK assassination. Because the concern was, what if, god forbid, we have a horrible

events and we end up with a president who is so mentally or physically incapacitated he can't do the job?

And if members of Trump's own cabinet -- we know there was some level of conversation. That's the fact. The question is, how far along were those conversations, how serious?

But the fact that they were even contemplating this, incapacitated, tells us a lot about where the cabinet was at after January 6th.

ACOSTA: That is a wild subject that we haven't tackled yet.

Let's go to the larger picture with Georgia's investigation of Trump and that infamous phone call to the secretary of state there to find the 11,780 votes.

When I talk to the Trump advisers, they say this is the investigation that worries them.

HONIG: It is.

ACOSTA: Where do things stand?

HONIG: This is in Fulton County, Georgia, that's moving the fastest, by all indications. I think, of all the various investigations, the one that's most likely -- we don't know -- but most likely to result in an indictment of Donald Trump.

But it's really important to keep in mind, Jim, if there's an indictment by the Fulton County district attorney, there are going to be major constitutional and legal hurdles, major practical and policy hurdles.

On the legal side, the first thing Donald Trump is going to do is go to federal courts -- and that's a very conservative federal circuit court of appeals -- and say, you can't have local elected partisan D.A.s indicting presidents or former presidents.

The response would be this had nothing to do with your job as president. This was you, at best, campaigning and, at worst, off the rails. But there's a chance that the courts could just throw it out.

If they ever do get to a jury, it's realistically not going to reach a jury until 2024. Good luck getting 12 jurors, unanimously, beyond a reasonable doubt, to convict somebody who may be the frontrunner or even the nominee.

I'm not saying it's impossible but huge gap between indictment and conviction.

ACOSTA: Yes. But there are proponents of what the Fulton County prosecutor is doing, saying, no matter all of that, you got to get to the bottom of this.

HONIG: Yes. There's a counter argument that someone has to take a stand. Prosecutors have to sometimes do the right thing is the hard thing.

ACOSTA: All right, Elie, thank you very much.

HONIG: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Coming up, Will Smith speaking out, apologizing for his infamous Oscar slap in a new video. That's next.



ACOSTA: Actor Will Smith is apologizing to Chris Rock again for that now infamous slap at the Academy Awards in March. On Friday, Smith posted an emotional five-minute video on YouTube.

Here's part of it.


WILL SMITH, ACTOR: Why didn't you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech?

I was fogged out by that point. It's all fuzzy.

I've reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out. And when he is, he will reach out.

So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable. And I'm here whenever you're ready to talk.


ACOSTA: Last night, during a show in Atlanta, Chris Rock made a passing reference to the slap, saying anyone who says words never hurt has never been punched in the face.

And joining me now is legendary director and activist, Rob Reiner.

Rob, great to see you.

A good line from Chris Rock. He's taking it in stride.

You know, Rob, you've been in Hollywood a long time. We've talked about this subject before. I've got a lot of other subjects to talk about.

Let's get this one out of the way first. You've seen a lot of actors fall from grace. What did you think of Will Smith making this video four months after the Oscars?

ROB REINER, ACTOR, DIRECTOR & ACTIVIST: Well, it seems clear to me that he's being, you know, just, you know, incredibly haunted by this and probably can't get out from under.

And you know, four months later, he's still trying to get back in the good graces of the community. I think that's what this is all about.

You know, why would you make an apology four months after you've done something horrible unless it's still, you know, plaguing you, and you're trying to get out from under.

ACOSTA: Right. Obviously, I mean, this is having some very big career implications for them. And you wonder why you didn't do this sooner.

Rob, I want to talk about California politics a little bit because it's something you're very familiar with.

There's been a lot of buzz around California Governor Gavin Newsom. I know you've been very positive on Biden and how he's been handling himself as president.

Yet, Newsom has been taking out ads in Texas and Florida. He's going after the conservative governors there.

What do you think Newsom is up to? Is this a just-in-case candidacy in waiting What's going on?

REINER: That's what it feels like to me. You don't take out ads in Florida and, you know, in Texas unless you're, you know, trying to position yourself.


But I think that, you know, Gavin is smart enough to know that he's not going to get out in front of Joe Biden. Joe Biden has to make that decision and if Joe Biden decides he wants to run, then we're all in behind Joe.

But I think that's -- you know, Gavin is saying, you know, hello, I'm in the wings in case you need me.

ACOSTA: Is he measuring the drapes a little too much, do you think? Or doing it just about right?

REINER: I think he's doing it about right because he's dealing with issues.

He's basically saying to the people of Florida, you want to have a free life, you want to have -- be able to make choices about your own health care, and you want to be able to feel free to, you know, to gun violence, maybe you want to leave Florida and come to California.

That's a good message to give regardless of whether or not you're positioning yourself for president.

ACOSTA: And I really wanted to tackle this subject with you. It's just right up your alley.

I know that the great Norman Lear just turned 100. He is, of course, the genius behind shows like "All in the Family," a show you're very familiar with, "Maud," "Good Times," "The Jeffersons." Classics. This was like the soundtrack of my childhood. But this week. Lear wrote an op-ed in the "New York Times," very

pointed about what his legendary character, Archie Bunker, would have thought about Donald Trump and January 6th. And I thought this was so smart and so important.

He said, quote, "For all his faults, Archie loved his country and he loved his family, even when they called him out for his ignorance and bigotries."

For a chi, if he would have been around 50 years later, he probably would have watched FOX News.

But the sight of the American flag being used to attack Capitol Police would have sickened him. Their commitment to exposing the truth would have won his respect.

What did you think of that when you saw these -- read these very important words from Norman Lear?

REINER: Well, it beautifully expressed issue you know expressed.

You know, he's like a second father figure to me. My dad died two years ago. I had 98 years, at that, 73 years with him. And I've had almost that kind of -- that time with Norman.

I love him dearly. I respect him. He's been a role model for me just like my dad has.

And he expressed it perfectly. I do think that Archie would have been really upset to see cops beaten by insurgents. And then to find out, as time goes by, that Trump was the -- was at the hub of all this and was Trump's operation altogether.

And I think he would have gone the way of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

I think a lot of people are starting to see that now. People are starting to leave Trump. And he's being -- he's going to be left with just the crazy, you know, conspiracy nut cases.

ACOSTA: I mean, I used to think of that when I was out on the campaign trail covering Trump in 2016, that he was appealing to some of those Archie Bunker style voters out there. A lot of other people made that same observation.

And what's so brilliant about that piece from Norman Lear is that I think it does go to how people are wrestling with this, you know, this person who they supported so fervently, and just betrayed the country in an unimaginable way, and people have been left with what to do with this.

You know, people like Archie Bunker.

REINER: They are. And I think what you're left with, you know, there's a wave of Christian nationalism. And you saw Marjorie Taylor Greene the other day embrace that idea and say she's proud of being a Christian nationalist.

And I do believe they've imbued Trump with this kind of god-like patina, which is crazy when you think about it. The guy couldn't be more godless than anybody.

But they've kind of imbued him, and they're fine with him as long as he's doing -- as long as he was doing the things that they wanted to do like get Supreme Court justices in place to overturn Roe v. Wade and do the things that he did.

And as a matter of fact, I have -- I'm producing a documentary that's all about the impact of Christian nationalism. And it will be out fairly soon.

And we're going to be able to show what these people are about. And they don't care that Trump is flawed. They don't care that he lies. They don't care that he cheats and steals. As long as he can accomplish the things that they want.

And that is this kind of white Christian nationalism that they feel that they're entitled to.

And by the way, this is not a Christian evangelicals per se. This is just a segment of them. And they're the ones that are left following Trump, I believe.


ACOSTA: It is warped, cult-like behavior. There's just no other way to describe it.

And, Rob, I have to ask you, before we go, legendary actor, James Caan, just earlier this month, he passed. He was remembered for his roles in "The God Father" and "Misery," which you directed him in.

What sticks out to you when you think of James Caan and his long career?

REINER: Well, he was the most instinctive actor. You know, he -- it was interesting because Kathy Bates is a stage-trained actress. She loved rehearsal.

Jimmy, as far as he was concerned, no rehearsal. I just to want go in there, and whatever I'm feeling at the moment I'll do it.

And he had this great instinct, this great naturalistic quality. And he brought that to every character he played. And, you know, we'll miss him.

And we did another movie with him called "Honeymoon in Vegas." And he was great in that, too, and I loved working with him.

And you know, we miss him. I mean, we'll miss him. We miss that kind of naturalism that started with Brando. And Jimmy was in that kind of league in the way he approached roles.

ACOSTA: He absolutely was. And "Honeymoon in Vegas" another great film.

Rob Reiner, we could go on like this all day. We always appreciate you stopping by. Thank you so much. We'll be looking for your documentary. Please get in touch with us when that comes out as well and we'll tackle that as well.

REINER: All right. Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Coming up, have you checked your ticket yet? We have a winner in that billion-dollar Mega Millions drawing. They call it Mega Millions, but somebody won a billion dollars. Details on where the ticket was sold next.



ACOSTA: Someone very lucky hit the Mega Millions jackpot in Illinois. The winning $1.3 billion Mega Millions ticket was sold at a Speedway gas station just outside of Chicago.

People have begun flocking there today, taking pictures and buying tickets for the next drawing in hopes of someone having the good luck of having that ticket.

CNN's Omar Jimenez with more on how much the lucky winner will cash in on.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was already going to be a great payout at $1.28 billion, but then we Learned it jumped to about $1.34 billion because of last-minute sales.

It's the second biggest in Mega Millions history. The third biggest all time across all U.S. lotteries. And has officially changed someone's life.

We still don't know who that person is at this point. But we do know where the ticket was sold -- right here at this Speedway gas station outside of Chicago in Des Plaines, Illinois, near O'Hare Airport.

People have been streaming in and out throughout Saturday, even trying to see if lightning could strike twice here.

Take a listen to Illinois lottery officials explaining how much of a cut this gas station gets.


HAROLD MAYS, DIRECTOR, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF THE LOTTERY: It's based on a percentage. Retailers get a 1 percent selling bonus for the prize to $500,000.


JIMENEZ: Now, technically, this person has 12 months to come forward or 60 days, if they want to choose the $780 million cash option. The clock is ticking.

But the jackpot winner wasn't the only winner. There were 26 at least million-dollar winners across the United States from California to Louisiana to New York.

And six of those had two times multipliers on, which means they basically paid $1 extra on the front end for that chance and then got $1 million on the back end for a total payout of $2 million.

That's probably the best investment you could possibly have. Not to mention one of those $1 million winners was from here in Illinois, as well.

But again, we are waiting on the identity of who this jackpot winner is. They can choose to stay anonymous if they like, and that's probably the smart decision. But we're just going to have to wait and see.

Omar Jimenez, CNN, Des Plaines, Illinois.


ACOSTA: And this won't make it on "Shark Week," but it's still something in the water that has biologists pretty worried. Look at this video of the water off the coast of Israel. They're jellyfish, billions of them, suddenly exploding in the Mediterranean.

There's so many more of the stinging jellyfish that people are staying away from the beaches, badly hurting the tourist economy. Scientists are blaming climate change and rising waters temperatures for the increase. Definitely, do not go swimming in there. Check the water first.

And be sure to tune in as CNN explores the extremes of Patagonia's far south where the wind is a tundra but the South Korea is teeming life.

Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exhausted but home at last. Finally, a chance to rest. Or maybe not.

Her six-week-old chick is ravenous. Growing fast, he has an insatiable appetite. Mom needs to keep food back for herself, but her chick won't take no for an answer.



ACOSTA: Just beautiful stuff. "PATAGONIA: LIFE ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD" airs tomorrow at 9:00 right here on CNN.

That's the news. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Pamela Brown takes over the CNN NEWSROOM live after a break.

Have a good night, everybody.