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China Launches Military Drills as Pelosi Visits Taiwan; U.S. Voters Cast Ballots in Five States; Former Trump White House Counsel Subpoenaed by Grand Jury; Rescue Efforts Continue as Cities in Kentucky Begin Cleanup; Multiday Heat Advisories for Nearly 80 Million in U.S. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired August 03, 2022 - 04:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Max Foster in London. Just ahead --


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan and we are proud of our enduring friendship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are accusing Pelosi of maliciously provoking China, they see this as undermining China sovereignty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No matter who comes out of that primary, were going to have someone who is an election denier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats aren't playing small ball, they're playing for keeps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Voters are galvanized around this issue to support and to protect women's right to choose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heavy shelling again in Ukraine's south.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Zelenskyy has welcomed this as a positive development but he has also cautioned that trust between Russia and Ukraine.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster.

FOSTER: It's Wednesday, August 3, 9:00 a.m. here in London, 4:00 a.m. in Washington, 4:00 p.m. in Taiwan. Where U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is making a defiant show of support despite threats of retaliation from China and a soaring tensions between the U.S. and Beijing. Just hours ago, Pelosi met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing- wen even as China ramps up its rhetoric and launches military exercises around Taiwan. Pelosi is now the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. And has been given Taiwan's highest civilian order as well in the ceremony. Earlier the U.S. House Speaker said her visit with the Congressional delegation was intended to make it unequivocally clear the U.S. will not abandon its commitment to Taiwan.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Taiwan has been an island of resilience in the world. Indeed, the people of Taiwan have proven to the world that with hope, courage and determination, it is possible to build a peaceful and prosperous future. Even in terms of the challenges you face. And now more than ever, America's solidarity with Taiwan is crucial and that is the message we are bringing here today.


FOSTER: CNN correspondents are tracking all the developments for you. Steven Jiang is standing by in Beijing, Blake Essig is live for us in Tokyo. First to you, Steven. Just take us through this escalating rhetoric and the military response as well.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, Max, you know, the Chinese response has come quickly and harshly, which was of course not surprising at all moments after Pelosi's plane landed in Taiwan. We saw a barrage of condemnation from Chinese government ministries and senior officials including the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. here is what Qin Gang told CNN.


QIN GANG CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: China sovereignty cannot be infringed and that the Chinese people cannot be humiliated. And that the reunification of China cannot be stopped. So, we will take whatever we can to respond and to protect, to safeguard our sovereignty territory integrity and our response will be very full, strong and forceful.


JIANG: Now, this promised forceful response, of course, has come in the form of live drill -- a live fire drill, as you mentioned. But it's interesting to note that right after Pelosi's arrival in Taiwan when they first announced those drills, they were supposed to start on Thursday after Pelosi's expected departure from the island.

But amid this growing online backlash from the public probably because for days they have been -- their national sentiment has been stoked by the government itself. The military here seems to have pushed forward the starting day of those drills with a second announcement saying they would start almost immediately involving not only firing off conventional missiles in the waters off Taiwan but also a practice in a blockade. That's of course -- that's the reason why Chinese state media has been describing them as unprecedented in terms of their proximity to Taiwan, but also in terms of its scale and intensity.

But it's also worth noting, Max, that we are now starting to see state media seemingly try to tamper down public expectations in terms of the Chinese response starting to say things like a complex historical issue like Taiwan simply cannot be resolved overnight.


But they are also trying to highlight China's quote/unquote restraint to give so-called peaceful reunification with Taiwan one last chance at a time. So, they are seem to trying to give themselves some wiggle room for a potential pathway for a climb down at a time when neither Washington nor Beijing wants a war with each other -- Max.

FOSTER: And Blake, the U.S. House Speaker knew exactly what she was flying into here, didn't she? She knew there would this response. And she's not representing the White House, the president doesn't support this visit or he didn't initially. Why is she doing it? What is her explanation for this visit?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, look, I mean as you pointed out, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late last night despite warnings from the White House and in defiance of China. Why did she choose to go? Perhaps to show China that the U.S. will not be intimidated by its rhetoric, the saber rattling that has been going on for about two weeks now.

Now upon her arrival, she was welcomed with a building lit up with her name on it, and hundreds of people gathered outside of her hotel, some happy that she was visiting and others there to protest her visit. And this morning her visit was all over the front pages in local newspapers highlighting the Speaker's late night landing and increased tension on the Taiwan Strait. Now after staying the night in Taiwan, Pelosi met with senior government officials in the democratic self- governing islands President Tsai Ing-wen who thanked the Speaker for being one of Taiwan's most devoted supporters and had this to say about the recent rhetoric and saber rattling coming out of China. Take a listen.


TSAI ING-WEN, TAIWAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will firmly uphold our nation's sovereignty and continue to hold the line of defense for democracy. At the same time, we wish to cooperate and work in unity with all democracies around the world. To jointly safe guard democratic values.


ESSIG: Today Pelosi visited the National Human Rights Museum as well as Taiwan's Parliament where she met with the deputy speaker of Taiwan's legislature praising Taiwan as one of the freest societies in the world. And as for China's live fire military exercises surrounding Taiwan that Steven just spoke about, those drills were announced about 30 minutes after the Speaker landed on the island. Max, it's worth noting that Taiwan's defense ministry has condemned those drills saying that they amount to a maritime and aerial blockade that threaten regional peace and stability.

FOSTER: OK, Blake and Steven, thank you both very much indeed. Now it's a pivotal stretch of voting in the U.S. just months before

the November elections. Five states are counting primary ballots that will set the stage for some of the most competitive Senate and governors races. Voters in Kansas sent a dramatic message choosing to keep the right to abortion in their state's constitution. President Joe Biden praised the result saying this vote makes clear what we know the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions. Congress should listen to the will of the American people and restore the protections of Roe as a federal law.

Now Republican voters in Michigan have picked their candidate to take on incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer. According to CNN projections she is Tudor Dixon, a conservative commentator backed by Donald Trump.

In Arizona Republicans are deciding who will take on incumbent Senate Democrats Mark Kelly, the Republican ballot is filled with candidates for governor and Secretary of State who insist to this day that Trump won the 2020 election.

In Missouri, CNN projections state Attorney General Eric Schmitt will win the Republican Senate primary beating the former Governor Eric Greitens. More now from Jeff Zeleny.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Many Republicans here in Missouri and in Washington breathing a sigh of relief at the outcome of the Senate Republican primary here. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt easily defeating former Governor Eric Greitens and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler. This race had national implications largely because Eric Greitens who resigned four years ago amid a sex scandal was fighting for a comeback. Republicans believe that if he would have won the nomination for Senate, Democrats would have had a chance to win this seat. Something that they have not done in a decade here in deep red Missouri.

But Eric Schmitt the conservative Attorney General pushed back and easily defeated Greitens and Hartzler. So now this seat is almost certain to stay in Republican hands come November. It gives Republicans one fewer thing to worry about as they try to win the control of the Senate in less than three months.


Jeff Zeleny, CNN, St. Louis.


FOSTER: Now to a dramatic development in the January 6 investigation. A source tells CNN former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He's considered part of Donald Trump's inner circle. And the move subpoenaing him signals an aggressive step by the Justice Department. It shows investigators are looking at conduct directly related to Trump as well as his closest allies efforts to overturn his election defeat. A CNN source says Cipollone and his attorneys are in discussions about this appearance and how to deal with executive privilege issues. Here's more from CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig.


ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Pat Cipollone is the ultimate insider and I think that we've seen that he was involved in or present for or a witness for so many of the key conversations. And generally speaking, his role was as a voice of reason telling them, no, you can't take over the Justice Department. No, you can't get on board with this fake elector scheme. No, John Eastman's theories are not legal, they're not constitutional.

If we think to Pat Cipollone's videotaped deposition testimony which we saw in some of the hearings, there were moments where he was asked what was your conversation with Donald Trump. Pat Cipollone would sort of pause, turn to his lawyer -- a guy named Michael Purpura, who I used to work with at DOJ -- and then Cipollone would just say privilege and he would not answer.

So is DOJ willing to go to courts to force him to give those answers or are they willing -- are they going to be able to negotiate some sort of point where they agree on what Cipollone will and won't give them. If they do go to the courts though, A, that's going to be a very high stakes battle and, B, that could take quite a while, that could take months.

And this is the next level up from Marc Short, from Greg Jacob, this is the White House counsel. He's in all the rooms for all the big meetings. So, this is, yes, another sign of just how serious and how focused DOJ is on not just the White House but the inner sanctum of the Trump White House.


FOSTER: Now CNN has also learned that the Pentagon wiped the phones of top defense officials at the end of the Trump administration deleting any texts about the events surrounding January 6. A watchdog group is trying to get access to records from former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, his Chief of Staff Kash Patel and the former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, all three are seen as key witnesses for understanding Trump's reaction and the government's response to the attack on the Capitol.

A federal judge has denied a motion from Donald Trump to dismiss three lawsuits brought by police officers injured in the Capitol riot. Trump claims that he has immunity because his actions fell within his presidential duties. But the judge rejected that argument citing a ruling in a similar case from February. The officers allege Trump is responsible for the Capitol attack.

Millions of U.S. military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits will soon be getting expanded health care benefits. The Senate finally passed the PACT Act on Tuesday after rejecting a Republican amendment to change the plans budget. Comedian Jon Stewart has long been a staunch advocate for veterans to get better care.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN AND ACTIVIST: I'm not sure I've ever seen a situation where people who have already given so much had to fight so hard to get so little. And I hope we learn a lesson.


FOSTER: And Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says he hopes veterans across America can breathe a sigh of relief. President Biden is expected to sign the legislation.

Still to come, in Kentucky cleanup operations are under way after massive flooding last week. We'll have the latest on those efforts.

The McKinney fire has been burning for days forcing thousands to evacuate. We'll have a weather update from CNN's Pedram Javaheri.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And good morning, Max. Big time heat across the Central United States where temps could feel as warm as 109 degrees across a pretty expansive area. This energy will want to shift a little farther toward the Northeast. We'll break this down in further detail coming up in a few minutes.



FOSTER: Cleanup operations are under way in Kentucky after a massive flooding last week. At least 37 people have died but the governor expects that number to rise. Now rescue workers are trying to reach those who are still trapped due to the destruction of collapsed roads and bridges. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro reports.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People who escaped to safety during last Thursday's flood or were rescued already are seeing the situation improved here in Southeast Kentucky. Power is coming back, cell service is coming back, potable water is still a problem. But there's a lot of federal and state resources here to make sure people can get water if they need it.

The challenge is there a lot of people who are still trapped in their houses. When the waters came through, they took out small bridges and roads that connect neighborhoods to main thoroughfares. Meaning people have not been able to get out since the floodwaters rose. That's a big problem especially considering many of them are older people. One local resident who talked about his family up in one of those hollers explained the challenge.

ZACK HALL, KNOTT COUNTY, KENTUCKY RESIDENT: Every night this week, it's supposed to rain. We go to sleep hoping that were not going to wake up and it's another, you know, flood watching the work that we've done away. And with the heat, if it dries up through the day, it's just muggy, humid, people will suffocate, a lot of people on oxygen that don't have power are already suffering. I think the worst is still to come if we aren't able to clear paths and get to these people.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: On Tuesday the governor of Kentucky visited the flood ravaged areas promising once again to bring in resources and aid needed to rebuild this place. But the damage is so immense and the people who are still trapped still in such trouble that it'll be a long time before anybody can turn their attention towards rebuilding.

Evan McMorris-Santoro, CNN, Perry County, Kentucky.


FOSTER: Joining me from Kentucky is Joe Arvin, a chef who's been helping feed the flood victims. A huge job you set for yourself.


1,000 burrow burritos in your home, is that what you put together?

JOE ARVIN, CHEF: Yes, right out of the house with about less than a days' notice. We decided to put together a crew and, you know, we just believed that we had to get down there and really just help extended family in Kentucky.

FOSTER: And how did you get them to the people that needed them?

ARVIN: You know, it was a matter of getting the team together that were willing to climb the mountains, climb the bridges. We were literally risking a lot by going over mudslides to get to people. We would create human chains to get bags to go up into the mountains to try to feed people. We also had the National Guard's help. The National Guard with search and rescue, that they were also -- we were bringing them meals as well to keep them fed and keep them, you know, alert as they are out there doing their search and rescue.

FOSTER: I mean, they weren't quite starving but this is a situation in the United States where people were completely out of food, right, so they were hugely grateful when you got will there. What sort of stories did you discover when you got to the people that needed these burritos?

ARVIN: I mean, mainly everything that we were -- that you would hear are just lost family members. Just everybody seemed to have had someone lost somewhere or someone couldn't find someone. It was just that sense of everyone still looking. Everyone is just still looking for someone. Yes, to have no food, to have no water, and to have no place to live, I mean that's a trifecta. And just to see the people, though, that are on the street, in their faces, the pure -- you know, they're just you know the grit that they have to survive. And you can see it in their faces.

But you can also see the hope from the thousands that are coming in daily to try to help. Loads of water, loads of food, you know, anything, toilet paper. You name it, they need it. Dog food, cat food. The state of Kentucky, the Kentucky Wildcats last night threw a benefit in REP arena in our stadium and they raised over -- I think the basketball team raised almost $2 million to try to help.

FOSTER: This is one of the positives though, isn't it, that's come out of it, that amazing community spirit that has really risen up in your community and across Kentucky really. Has it surprised you the reaction?

ARVIN: No, it has not surprised me. In times of need in Kentucky and I would say everywhere, in times of need, we drop political live, we drop religion, we drop thinking we just go straight and hold hands and love each other and I think we're getting to see that firsthand right now.

FOSTER: What was, you know, most surprising about the weather as you saw it, I mean how used -- flooding is not completely alien to you, is it, but the way it hit this time seemed particularly hard.

ARVIN: Yes, it is blood curdling. When you drive down and you are able to get into the area, you start to see, you know, kids' toys, entire houses floating down the river. Cars, you know, you see tricycles, swing sets and you see all this just flowing down the river and your mind is just looking at it like, you know, it's destruction, it's trash. Things are just rolled over and over by these creeks tides that rose. I think some crest up to 40 feet.

FOSTER: OK, Joe Arvin, chef, thank you so much for joining us and bringing your incredible story. And it's great to see the community coming together like that in this desperate moment. Thank you.

ARVIN: No problem. Thanks for your time.

FOSTER: Northern California's McKinney has been burning for days and is still zero percent contained. Four people are confirmed dead and thousands have been forced to evacuate. Meanwhile temperatures are expected to soar as a heatwave scorches Southern Plains and Northeastern U.S. More on this from meteorologist Pedram Javaheri at the CNN Weather Center -- Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Good morning, Max. Yes, big story continues to be excessive heat across the United States here, the central area of the United States where temps could get as hot as 109 what it feels like across the region. And notice the energy by Thursday and into Friday does expand farther toward the north and east. Where Philly, New York, Boston, get in on pretty oppressive temperatures as well or oppressive temperatures.

And of course, we've seen this multiple times this summer now where we've had these large scale heatwaves take place. This particular one looks to be more short lived at least, where temps climb up into the 90s, eventually drop back down into the 80s. New York City about 91 at its warmest on Thursday, back down to 84 by Saturday.


Boston touching 96 degrees come Thursday. Once again, cooling off rather quickly. So again, some element of relief quickly going to arrive here once we do get into these very warm temperatures.

Des Moines temps close to 100 degrees as well on Saturday. Chicago a pretty impressive run here from the 70s to the 80s into the 90s and eventually cooling back down early next week.

Now around the northern portion of the state of California, got to talk about the McKinney fire. Because fire containment on this has remained and 0 percent. But something interesting, the coverage of the it only at 56,000 acres. Now that is pretty large when it comes to coverage, but I want to show you how things have played out here from Saturday into Sunday when this fire literally exploded in the expansion here from 18,000 acres to 51,000 acres. But from Sunday into Monday, very little growth, almost no growth from Monday into Tuesday. All of this having do with the monsoonal moisture that is somewhat uncommon this time of year to get this far towards the north and bring in beneficial rainfall.

So, it is a very challenging terrain. The firefighting efforts continue across this region, but at least the growth of the fire has been mitigated as a result of it. And it's going to stay above average as far as the potential for wet weather here thanks in large part again to the healthy monsoons we've seen.

Now the Pacific Northeast, you talk about the summer of heatwave for just about everyone. Seattle cools off into the 60s. Remember last week they were in the 90s. Guess where they are headed yet again? Back up to the 80s and close to 90 degrees toward the latter portion of the weekend, Max. And will follow all of this. And there's a slight risk for severe weather generally for large hail as well across the areas around St. Louis and Chicago as well. Send it back to you.

FOSTER: Thank you to Pedram. Still ahead, new images of the safe house hit by a U.S. drone killing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

And the warning from the U.S. State Department about possible retaliation.

Plus, a sign of hope for easing the global food crisis as a ship carrying Ukrainian grain makes its way toward its final destination.