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Eleven-Time NBA Champion And Celtics Legend Bill Russell Dead At 88; Groundbreaking "Star Trek" Actress Nichelle Nichols Dies At 89; On Joe Manchin, Andrew Yang's Forward Party And CPAC; Prisoner War Swap With Russia; Pelosi Trip Itinerary; Justice Alito Mocks Foreign Critics; Kentucky Search And Rescue. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 31, 2022 - 16:00   ET



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

We begin with the loss of an NBA legend and activist. Boston Celtics great Bill Russell has died at the age of 88. During his remarkable career in Boston, Russell carried the Celtics to the NBA Finals 12 times, winning the championship 11 times. The final two as the first black head coach in a major American sports league.

He also had an incredible legacy off the court, calling out racism and injustice. Magic Johnson, an NBA great himself, tweeting, "Bill Russell was my idol. I looked up to him on the court and off. His success on the court was undeniable. He was dominant and great, winning 11 NBA championships. Off the court, Bill Russell paved the way for guys like me."

Michael Jordan, an NBA legend himself, released this statement. "Bill Russell was a pioneer as a player, as a champion, as the NBA's first black head coach, and as an activist. He paved the way and set an example for every black player who came into the league after him, including me. The world has lost a legend. My condolences to his family and may he rest in peace."

And this is from the Boston Celtics Organization, "Bill was a champion unlike any other in the history of team sports. Bill Russell's DNA is woven throughout every element of the Celtics Organization from the relentless pursuit of excellence to the celebration of team rewards over individual glory to a commitment to social justice and civil rights off of the court."

CNN's Andy Scholes takes a look at Bill Russell's life and career.


BILL RUSSELL, NBA LEGEND: I took basic skills and egotistically speaking, I think I had the best command of all of the basic skills in basketball as a package of anyone who has ever played.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: The champion of champions, Bill Russell won more NBA titles than any player in history and he always had one thing on his mind -- winning.

RUSSELL: Well, one thing I loved to do was to be back on defense by myself and have a three-on-one fastbreak coming to me. I absolutely loved that because over half the time I could stop it. I brought defense to a level where it was as important or more important than offense. But my defense was part of our offense.

SCHOLES: The 12-time all-star for the Boston Celtics revolutionized the game with his shot-blocking ability, but Russell put greater value on victories than individual numbers.

RUSSELL: If I'm really going to be a good team player, I have to be willing to disappear sometimes, be out there without you knowing I'm out there.

SCHOLES: Russell wasn't always such a force on the court. He took the only scholarship he was offered to the University of San Francisco. In the span of one year, Russell won an NCAA championship, Olympic gold medal and NBA title, and he credits much of his success in life to his parents.

RUSSELL: The first thing I remember is my mother and father loved me. She said, you must always be willing to fight for yourself. Never be a victim. And that's the way I connected my life, is that I have avoided as much as possible ever being a victim.

SCHOLES: Russell was a private person who wanted little to do with stirring trouble, but given racial tensions, trouble was all around him, whether he liked it or not, and he used his fame to become an outspoken backer of the Civil Rights Movement.

RUSSELL: I contributed a great deal to the game, and the game contributed as much to my life as I did or probably made a little more. I came here and I lived and I died, that's what happened.


RUSSELL: I had a good time



ACOSTA: And NBA commissioner Adam Silver has put out a statement honoring Russell, saying in part, "Bill Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports. Bill stood for something much bigger than sports. The values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league."

We also heard from former President Barack Obama who honored Russell, you'll remember this, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom back in 2011, saying, quote, "Today we lost a giant. As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher both as a player and as a person. Perhaps more than anyone else, Bill knew what it took to win and what it took to lead on the court. He was the greatest champion in basketball history. Off of it, he was

a civil rights trail blazer marching with Dr. King and standing with Muhammad Ali. For decades, Bill endured insults and vandalism, but never let it stop him from speaking up for what's right. I learned so much from the way he played, the way he coached and the way lived his life."

And joining me now by phone, CNN contributor Bob Costas.

Bob, it's hard to say much more than that. Bill Russell, he just towered over professional sports.


BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (via phone): Yes, he is the greatest winner in the history of North American team sports which is not necessarily the same thing as the greatest player, but he played 13 NBA seasons. The Celtics won the championship 11 times, and prior to that he was part of the 1956 gold medal winning Olympic team, and his teams won back-to-back NCAA championships at the University of San Francisco. So no one can match that. '

Statistically he can't match Michael Jordan or LeBron or his contemporary Will Chamberlain or a handful of others in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, certainly, but no one can match him when it comes to championships. And also something that might be overlooked, he was the first head coach or manager in major professional team sports in America. When Red Auerbach stepped aside as the coach of the Celtics, he named Bill the player-coach of the team, and that was several years before Frank Robinson became the manager in Cleveland.

And Bill, as your other correspondents had mentioned, was part of that first wave, that first post-Jackie Robinson wave of activist athletes, and maybe you'll recall this picture, Jim, it's quite famous when Muhammad Ali had his title stripped from him in the 1960s, there is a summit of prominent black athlete, and you see Ali sitting there in the middle with a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, might still have been Lou Alcindor then, and Willie David, the great defensive lineman from Vince Lombardi's Packers.

And Jim Brown is right there alongside him, along with Bill Russell, Arthur Ashe isn't in that picture, but he's part of that. Tommy Smith and John Carlos, someone made the point a few moments ago that when those athletes stepped out and made statements, there was great peril. It cost them in terms of their careers, it cost them in terms of potential violence and vandalism. It was a much difference than somebody putting out a tweet now in a social media world. They truly were trailblazers.

And if I may say so, I got a text a short while ago from Jim Brown. And he said Bill was more than a friend. Over five decades of our relationship, he was my brother. He had a brilliant mind, unique humor and infectious laugh. We shared so much. One should be so grateful to have even one friend in life like Bill Russell. So that's what Jim Brown considered by many still to be the greatest running back in NFL history said. And just as a sidenote, if you ever talk with or listen to Bill

Russell, he had that cackling laugh, and sometimes it came -- when something was genuinely funny, but I said to him once, you know, Bill, I've never heard anyone who enjoys their own material as much as you do. Sometimes he'd say something that didn't seem funny to anybody else, and he'd just crack up. And that was just part of his personality, that cackling laugh.

ACOSTA: He was larger than life, no question about it, Bob. And you're so right on how they were heroic. You know, he was a part of a class of professional athletes in that era who, I mean, they just changed the world. And one thing that people may forget as the tributes are pouring in and you touched on this, Russell experienced significant racism even while he was winning those championships in Boston so much so that he decided to have his jersey retired in a private ceremony away from fans. To think back on that, it's just incredible what he has -- what he did go through in life. It was just a remarkable life well lived.

COSTAS: Yes, one would like to believe that even then the vast majority of the fans in Boston were appreciative and respectful, but there was an element that certainly was not. And his home was vandalized. But one thing that was always true of Bill Russell and is true of anybody who has a universal view of justice and humanity, and he took people as they came as individuals, and so his teammates, be they black or white, that was a real brotherhood.

There was a connection between Cousy and Russell and Havlicek and Russell, just as there was between Sam and Casey Jones and Bill Russell. And there was a bond between Bill and Red Auerbach, to the point where many years after they each had stopped being active in the game, they wrote a book together about their friendship. A Jewish guy, Red Auerbach coming out of a different generation, different set of circumstances on the East Coast, and a black guy, and Bill Russell who became this greatest star coming from the West Coast.

But the book was about their shared experiences and how much they came to understand that they had in common which I think ultimately is the goal as we struggle through, still as we struggle through these issues of race in our country. The idea that we can see each other ultimately as individuals and appreciate one another if it's deserved as individuals.


ACOSTA: And he famously boycotted an exhibition game in the '60s. He led Mississippi's first integrated basketball camp. He became the league's first black head coach, all of that were culminating with him being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. We were just reading those tributes from Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, you know, he paved the way.

COSTAS: He was among those who paved the way, no question about it. Something else that may seem trivial in light of his role in society, but as a player, he had one of the great rivalries with Wilt Chamberlain, and Wilt had all the statistical records and his team has only won two NBA championships and Bill's won 11, but they were actually very close friends.

And I was lucky enough to interview them together once just a couple of years before Wilt's untimely death at the age of 63 in the late 1990s, and their mutual respect and actually affection for one another was so evident. And you think about it, these are two giants, literally and figuratively, and although they were very different, Wilt was not socially active, no one could have understood Wilt Chamberlain any better than his greatest rival Bill Russell and the other way around. They were just two of the most significant figures, although for different reasons, in the history of American sports.

And Bob, you mentioned your interactions with Bill Russell, and your sense of the man?

ACOSTA: Just absolutely remarkable. And Bob, I guess, you know, you mentioned your interactions with Bill Russell. Your sense of the man.

COSTAS: Well, he demanded respect, and you had to win his respect. I think he came to you with an open mind, but he didn't suffer fools gladly. He was his own man, had to be. That was the way he grew up. So my sense of him is that he led an epic American life and that his significance as a player, even if he never spoke up about any other issue, his significance as a player puts him in the pantheon of great American athletes. But when you combine the totality of the life or considered the totality of his life along with his athletic achievements, it will resonate for a very, very long, long time.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. You know, what a remarkable career, what a remarkable life, and an example to so many players who came after it. Bill Russell, he has died at the age of 88.

Bob Costas, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

COSTAS: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Now on CNN breaking news, even more breaking news, we're remembering another African-American trailblazer, this time from the world of entertainment. If you're a Trekkie, you know her all too well, actress Nichelle Nichols, known to audiences worldwide as Lieutenant Uhura on the original cast of "Star Trek." A longtime castmate and "Enterprise" crew member George Takei tweeted this image, saying, "We had lived long and we prospered together." Just a beautiful picture there.

Nichelle Nichols was 89 years old, and CNN's Jason Carroll has more on her amazing impact.


NICHELLE NICHOLS, ACTRESS: Security sweeps of all decks are negative, Mr. Spock.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before Nichelle Nichols broke barriers on board the "USS Enterprise" as Lieutenant Uhura, she was dancing and singing her way across the stages of New York City and Chicago, the city close to where she grew up, Robbins, Illinois. In 1967 she released a cover of the Joe McCoy classic, "Why Don't You Do Right" on Epic Records.


CARROLL: But it was playing "Star Trek's" Lieutenant Uhura she really found fame. It was a groundbreaking role for an African-American woman in 1966 widely considered one of the first times a woman of color was not portraying a servant on TV. Uhura was the chief communications officer and fourth in command on board the "Enterprise."

NICHOLS: I didn't find out that I was fourth in command until the second season.


NICHOLS: Nobody told me.

CARROLL: Nichols actually thought about leaving after the first season. The show's creator Gene Roddenberry begged her to stay but it was an influential fan that finally convinced her, Martin Luther King.

NICHOLS: He said you can't. Don't you know who you are to our movement, to everyone who's -- you are there in the 23rd century. You've created a role that has such dignity and everything is powerful. You cannot leave.

CARROLL: Another landmark for the show during the turbulent '60s, the first scripted interracial kiss on national TV in 1968.

WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: We had heard rumors that the southern stations -- some southern stations might cut that.

NICHOLS: It changed television forever, and it also changed the way people looked at one another.


If they -- two of their favorite actors can battle through it and come through it on top, why can't everybody?

CARROLL: The show ended in 1969, but endured for years in syndication and at conventions attended by devoted Trekkies. In 1994 Nichols published her autobiography, "Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories." Nichols also starred in several Trek movies and even worked with NASA to increase diversity in the space program.

NICHOLS: I had the privilege of recruiting the first women and minority astronauts for the Space Shuttle Program.

CARROLL: Nichols' enduring beauty, her strength of character, her commitment to human rights will always inspire.


ACOSTA: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you very much for that. And we'll be right back.



ACOSTA: President Biden remains in isolation at the White House today. The presidential doctor said Mr. Biden is still testing positive for COVID. The president appears to have a rebound case after being treated with the antiviral drug Paxlovid. He initially tested positive more than a week ago but resumed public appearances Tuesday after testing negative. The White House physician says Biden feels well and that he will continue to work from the Executive Residence.

Senator Joe Manchin may be causing some Capitol Hill whiplash these days. First he shocked Washington by reviving a major piece of the Biden agenda, much to the delight of Democrats but then today when asked if President Biden deserves a second term he said this.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I'm not getting involved in any election right now. 2022, 2024, I'm not speculating on it. President Biden is my president right now and I'm going to work with him and his administration to the best of my ability to help the people in my state of West Virginia and this country.


ACOSTA: And joining me now CNN political commentator and host of PBS "Firing Line" Margaret Hover and senior political analyst John Avlon, who's also the author of the book "Lincoln and the Fight for Peace."

Guys, I feel like I should get a Manchin jar to put on the set here. Every time we mention Joe Manchin's name, you got to put another dollar in the Manchin jar.


ACOSTA: I would. I'd be able to retire. What is going on with Joe Manchin?

AVLON: I mean, look, I think he finally came through with Chuck Schumer in a very big way but in a way that was consistent with those principles. I do think, you know, it appears they timed the announcement to go after the CHIPS vote which is critically important this country, an economic competitors bill with China, but what Manchin and Schumer have come up with is a very, very smart balanced plan.

Smart politically to the extent that each of the elements has this thing over 70 percent approval rating with the American people and has Democratic items like, you know, reduce the cost of prescription drugs, but it also raises revenue to pay down the deficit and the debt. So it's a very smart I think impactful plan and a good use of his political capital.

MARGARE HOOVER, HOST, PBS "FIRING LINE": Let me just say two things. One, you can keep a secret in Washington. Two, Democrats, what this tells me finally learned to count and they realized they've got 50, not 60, not 70. OK.

ACOSTA: Right.

HOOVER: And so they figured out Schumer needed to work with Manchin if you want to get anything done to be able to help Democrats in the cycle rather than just shooting for the moon and getting nothing. They actually have something now they can run on so they finally learned to count.

AVLON: Assuming that Krysten Sinema is on board as well which is still TBD but you know, it would be sort of political malpractice if she wasn't.

ACOSTA: Yes, and yesterday I spoke to legendary Democratic strategist James Carville about Manchin and other things, and I asked him about how a former Republican and Democratic official also joined by Andrew Yang, the presidential candidate last time around, they formed a new political party called Forward in an attempt to appeal to what they call moderate commonsense voters. James Carville had some very strong feelings about that. Let's take a listen.


JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: 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 elect Donald Trump in 2016. And the only possible thing this could do is bleed some moderate Republicans for voting for whoever the Democratic nominee is. This thing is going nowhere. It's a vanity. It's hey, look at me, performance art. And to say the least, I'm not a fan of this effort.


ACOSTA: Yes, guys, I mean this Forward Party that Andrew Yang is putting forward, whether it goes forward or not, it does cause a lot of heartburn for Democrats because they're worried this is exactly what may put Donald Trump back in office for four years. What do you guys think?

AVLON: I mean --

HOOVER: Yes, you're the third party guy, John Avlon.

AVLON: Yes, I mean, I'm the card-carrying centrist independent here. Look, you know, I understand why Carville is frustrated because he's right about Ralph Nader and Jill Stein but I think what Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman and other folks are doing is responding to a fact that we have a market failure in our politics. That the parties are not equally extreme. The Republican Party is much further to the right, the Democratic Party is left but 62 percent of Americans think there is a need for a third party.

And if they ran a presidential candidate -- I think they should actually begin in the states, not presidential, that would be far more impactful -- it's to be seen. Democrats do depend on moderate Republicans to get elected but I know that this -- the intention of the group is not to be a spoiler. There is a failure in our politics, though, and a need to have someone stake out common ground.

HOOVER: Yes, it did like the best -- what is the best -- what is it? Intentions and a paved road in hell?


HOOVER: I can't quite (INAUDIBLE) right now but I mean, I'm with Carville on this one because -- I mean, this could be a spoiler in the presidential election.


It could end up throwing -- you know, if it's a center right independent candidate that's different that if it's a center left independent candidate.


ACOSTA: Yes, if I'm old enough to remember Ross Perot helping Bill Clinton get elected back in 1992.

HOOVER: John Avlon is going to pick this one, would you?



AVLON: There are studies that suggest that's not the case but we won't nerd out on that just (INAUDIBLE) at this point.

ACOSTA: All right. We'll geek out on that after the show is over.

Looking at -- and this is actually a very serious development. This is the one that gets under my skin. Hungary's far-right leader Viktor Orban is scheduled to speak at CPAC in just a matter of days despite a recent speech where he argued for his country to maintain racial purity. One of his own aides quit likening the remarks to a pure Nazi speech. And let me read to you what the CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp, what he said defending all of this.

He says, "When we silence people, we skip the chance to learn why we agree or disagree with their point of view. Cancel culture is the judge and jury of speech. The most tragic part is that the left is guilty of the fascism they always charge. The more free speech the sooner we find the truth."

I mean that statement is obviously ridiculous, but I mean, the danger of bringing Orban to the United States for a summit, am I overstating it? I mean this sounds like an extremely bad idea.

HOOVER: It's a bad idea for a lot of reasons but look, it's, nobody is silencing Matt Schlapp. Nobody is silencing CPAC. I mean they're going to do it.

ACOSTA: Right.

HOOVER: But you do have to actually take Viktor Orban's words and consider them, and is that really a good look for the center right and for the right of this country? Do we want racial purity on the right? I'm going with no. And I would challenge us to see if that's the conversation that they have at CPAC. If they really rigorously consider Viktor Orban's ideas about racial purity in the wake of the CPAC conference, I'm going to guess that's not what they talk about.

AVLON: Orban has developed a huge cheering section on the far-right and that's why Schlapp is inviting him in the CPAC. It's not to air his ideas and see if they disagree or agree. You know when you invite someone to your conference you're making a statement, and to suggest otherwise is just totally disingenuous.

ACOSTA: Yes. I mean it's just this sort of a dictator fanboy trend on the far-right that it's just very disturbing and why, I just don't get it. Like somebody draw me a picture and explain it to me because I don't understand why it continues on.

All right, John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, a lot to tackle today. Unfortunately we're out of time. But talk to you soon. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

AVLON: All right, Jim. Be well.

HOOVER: Thanks, Jim. Take care.

ACOSTA: Appreciate it.

Coming up, a CNN exclusive. Russia demanding another prisoner in exchange for freeing Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, this time a convicted murderer.



ACOSTA: CNN has exclusively learned that the push to free two Americans in prison in Russia has hit a new snag. Sources say, in order for Moscow to release Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, Russia officials want the U.S. to not only to free a notorious arms dealer, known as the Merchant of Death. But also persuade Germany to free a former Russian spy convicted last year of murder.

CNN's Fareed Zakaria, host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" joins me now to talk about this. Fareed, are the Russians just playing their games here? What is going on?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's just one more sad sign that Russia has really become a kind of rogue state. It's worth pointing out that the people arrested, in Germany and the United States, are legitimately criminals. One of them, as you say, is a notorious arms dealer who broke all kinds of laws. You know, these are not political prisoners. The case of the Americans, in prison in Russia, is much more unclear. I mean, they are -- basically, and as far as I can tell, they were taken precisely to allow for these kind of prisoner swaps.

These are not, you know, a case of two countries taking spies and then trading them off. The Russians are asking that the Americans really release criminals. It's not a surprise, I suppose at this point, but it's a very sad reminder that Russia is now really operating outside the bounds of any kind of rule-based international system.

ACOSTA: And another example of that, and I want to turn to the war in Ukraine. Because the Russian embassy in the U.K. caused an uproar. And perhaps you saw this. By tweeting a quote from an alleged resident of Mariupol that said this. Ukrainian prisoners of war deserve execution, but death not by firing squad but by hanging. Because they're not real soldiers, they deserve a humiliating death.

We should note, Twitter put a warning label on the tweet, calling it hateful conduct. I mean, aren't they just saying the war crime part out loud here, Fareed? This is -- this is pretty outrageous.

ZAKARIA: Yes. You know, part of what's been going on that I don't think has gotten enough attention, and it's partly because it's difficult to ferret it out. I think it will all come out over time. Is the kind of campaign that Russia has been waging in Ukraine.

It's one thing to -- they violated internationally by invading Ukraine. They're trying to engage in a war of annexation. But the method by which they are doing it really harkens back to the worst periods of World War II and even before, when they are bombing civilian locations. They are destroying them. They have -- you know, it's not even indiscriminate killing.


ZAKARIA: It is discriminate killing which is to say they are actually targeting civilians. Then, when they go in and take a country, there was a very good account of this, recently I think in "The Washington Post," they engage in this process they call filtration. Where they interview every male resident for hours. Shoot the ones that they think that are not loyal enough. Give the ones who they think are loyal to them.

And then, they have this huge propaganda operation which is all premised. I mean, this is such a good example of why having a single man in charge with all his weirdnesses is a bad idea. The whole propaganda warfare is premised on Putin's bizarre statements about de- Nazification. So, they have to keep proving that, actually, the Ukrainians, who are running the country, a country led by a Jewish president, are all Nazis. So, they have to keep showing how they're de-nazifying. The whole thing is now operating like a chapter out of Orwell's 1984.

ACOSTA: Right. It is their own big lie in all of this. And, Fareed, I'm glad we're going to get your take on this because this one's been on my mind. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just began her trip to Asia. And there have been these questions about whether she will go to Taiwan and become the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island in 25 years.

Xi, as you know, has been threatening consequences if she goes. Right now, her itinerary doesn't mention Taiwan. How tricky is this for the U.S.? I understand, you know, the Biden administration may be uncomfortable with this because the president should be leading the foreign policy in the U.S. Not the speaker of the House. But, at the same time, shouldn't she be allowed to visit Taiwan if she wants to? I mean, she has a huge Chinese-American constituency in her district.

ZAKARIA: Look, of course, it's a -- we're a Democratic country. Congress is a co-equal branch. She should do whatever she wants. She should be allowed to do it, and Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and a very important part of America's strategic presence there.

That said, I think the point you made is also valid. Look, this is a very complex -- let's not -- let's not be naive here. This is not just the case where she's going, you know, tourist hopping in Asia and decides, oh, should I stop in Taiwan? This is a very consequential decision. Always has been. Only one other speaker of the House made this trip, and it was a big deal then. And that was 20 years ago when Taiwan (ph) and China was much less strong.

So, I would have hoped that there would have been a way for this to be worked out so that, A, it was a concerted effort and an action by the United States and others who's part of a thought-through (ph) foreign policy. The timing was one that made sense for the United States. I mean, this seems like an odd time when we're in the middle of a war in Ukraine to be provoking another crisis. With China, it would've been, you know, briefed on both sides. U.S.-China relations are not in a particularly good place. Not much dialogue.

So, for all those reasons, it does seem to me it is -- it has been mishandled by the White House and the National Security Council. I say that understanding, look, Nancy Pelosi's a tough lady. And she didn't get to where she got to by rolling over. But I would have hoped there could have been some coordination where you'd say, you know, let's do this on our terms at our -- at a timing of our choice. Not, you know, as a part of an accidental trip that has been taken. Possibly, Nancy Pelosi's last foreign trip as House speaker.

ACOSTA: And, Fareed, you've spoken out about how the Supreme Court has become so political in recent months. And I'm curious what you thought of this speech from conservative Justice Sam Alito in which he mocked other world leaders for criticizing his decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It was pretty strident stuff. Let's watch.


SAMUEL ALITO, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT: We had the honor this term of writing (ph) I think the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution, that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders. One of these was former prime minister, Boris Johnson. But he paid the price. What really wounded me was when the Duke of Sussex addressed the United Nations and seemed to compare the decision, whose name may not be spoken, with the Russia attack on Ukraine.


ACOSTA: Yes, Fareed, you know, it sounds like Justice Alito is just needling his critics here and making light of a -- what is a very serious situation here in the U.S. People are justifiably, understandably outraged over what is going on with in the Supreme Court right now.

ZAKARIA: It's much worse than that, Jim. I think that it really damages the court's legitimacy. Look, one of the things that has kept the court's legitimacy over time has been a sense of dignity.


ZAKARIA: A sense of majesty, a sense that the justices are doing what they're doing for serious constitutional reasons. They don't pay attention to the chitter chatter. They don't pay attention to trivial news. You know, that's why cameras are not let into the Supreme Court.

Otherwise, Jim, why are nine unelected people with life tenure allowed to make these incredibly important decisions about 330 million people's lives. Nobody elected them. Nobody -- you know, the reason they have that legitimacy is to be put -- to put it very simply is that they behave themselves. That they behalf in accordance with the kind of dignity and majesty of the court.

What Alito did, behaving like a cheap -- you know, like a commentator, and not a particularly good one at that, was dis -- was, frankly, disgusting. I mean, I thought it was the most undignified performance by a Supreme Court justice I have seen in my -- in my lifetime. I don't think any of his predecessors would have done it. I think it's scandalous. I don't think there is a disciplining procedure.

But if John Roberts wants to fulfill his role as chief justice, I think he should call Justice Alito in and try to explain to him why this damage is not just Alito who looks like an idiot. But it damages the court. It makes it look less dignified, less heartful (ph), less cerebral, and less respectful of the country that it is, ultimately, in this extraordinary position of power over.

ACOSTA: Right. I mean, I don't think the founders intended for Supreme Court justices to take their Vegas act on the road which is what the justice sounded like there.

Fareed Zakaria, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Coming up, more rain is expected in parts of Kentucky, already devastated by historic flooding. We'll go there next for a live report here in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: It's full-on search and rescue mode in Eastern Kentucky in the aftermath of deadly flooding. At least 26 people are now confirmed dead, with the governor warning that number will go higher. Today and Monday, more rains could his areas that simply cannot handle anymore water. Some areas are already unreachable.

And in Perry County alone, about 50 bridges are completely washed out, according to an official there. Many residents have no water or power. And one family is stuck on their own property blocked by an entire house that washed onto the road.

And scenes of bravery are beginning to emerge. A man, his uncle and his 98-year-old grandmother were trapped in his home as the waters began to rise. A witness across the road heard their cries for help and called 911. First responders were simply overwhelmed.

A short time later though, the witness began filming when a stranger appeared out of nowhere. You're looking at this here. Watch how this unidentified man drifts over to the house and guides the family of three through rushing waters. Simply incredible. Within 30 minutes, they were all safe. The identity of this hero though is still a mystery.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is in Knott County, Kentucky for us right now. Evan, I can see the rain coming down behind you there. That cannot be good news. What's the situation there?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The most ominous sound you can hear right now in this part of Kentucky is that emergency broadcast system tone coming on, saying there's a flash flood watch. And all afternoon, here in Knott County and the areas surrounding it that were hit so hard by flood waters on Thursday, those warnings have been going off. The rains have been going on and off.

You know, it's unclear how much rain there will be, but those fears that there might be more flooding they are part of life right now today. Even as this county tries to dig out this area, tries to dig out quickly and get themselves sort of stable quickly, before a massive heat wave comes through on Tuesday.

Now, I wanted to show you what that looks like, where I am right now. We have a camera up on top of the satellite truck that can show you where I am. I'm at the Knott County sports complex. This is a place where usually you would come, you know, to play baseball or shoot a few hoops, play some video games, something like that. It's been converted into a relief station. Huge pallets of water coming in, food, other supplies have been coming in, people coming in to grab them all day long. And these folks here lost everything, and they're trying to get themselves some semblance of normalcy back before this heatwave comes through.

But, as you can see, while they're doing that, they're now, once again, dealing with rain. And it -- the problem here is that there are still power problems and water problems. This sports complex here, this relief center here, it doesn't have water -- Jim. ACOSTA: Wow. And that picture you were just showing us a few moments

ago, the camera mounted on top on top of the truck there, wow, you can just see the rain coming down and just making things miserable for the folks. Not just the folks recovering, but also the rescue crews, the folks who are trying to provide relief.

Evan, thanks to you and all your crews there on the ground in Kentucky. Stay safe. We hope for the best there on the ground in Kentucky. Thanks so much. We'll be right back.



ACOSTA: Tonight, CNN ventures to Patagonia's far south, where survival is a daily struggle. 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 some food back for herself, but her chick won't take no for an answer.


ACOSTA: "PATAGONIA, LIFE ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD" airs tonight at 9:00, right here on CNN.

For many seniors carrying for their dogs and worrying about what will happen when they can no longer do that becomes a real challenge. That's where this CNN Hero comes in.



CARIE BROECKER: Peace of Mind Dog Rescue has a dual mission, helping senior dogs and senior people. We take in dogs from senior citizens who can no longer care for them or who have passed away, and we also take in senior dogs from animal shelters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, definitely a Piece of Mind Dog.

BROECKER: We have found homes for almost 3,000 dogs. And we have helped close to 2,000 senior citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She looks happy.

BROECKER: In our society, sometimes the elderly, whether that is senior people or senior dogs, get ignored. And so, we really want to cherish all of life.


ACOSTA: And get the full story right now at We'll be right back.