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Israel-Gaza Fighting Spills Into Second Day With Air Strikes, Rockets; Ukraine, Russia Trade Blame Over Damage To Nuclear Plant; Biden Says He Is Hopeful On Griner, Working Hard For Her Release; Voting To Start On Key Part Of Biden's Legislative Agenda; Republican Candidates On State Ballots Push Big Lie Conspiracy; Nationalist Hungarian PM Speaks At Conservative Conference; Crowds Gather In Support Of Shiite Leader In Baghdad; Hundreds Of Migrants Rescued And Taken To Italy; NASA Halts Spacewalks After Water Leaked Into Astronaut's Helmet. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired August 06, 2022 - 04:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Welcome to CNN Newsroom. Coming up. Israel claims to strike militant targets in Gaza for a second day and says it's not letting up. We'll go live to southern Israel for the developments.

First, President Biden's agenda gets a big boost. We'll look at the measure aimed at bringing a bit of inflation relief and what comes next to get it passed.

And millions of people from Europe to the U.S. baking under a heatwave. The forecast from the CNN Weather Center is coming up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with Lynda Kinkade.

KINKADE: Well, it's now 11:00 on Saturday morning in Gaza, where Israeli warplanes have powdered militant targets for a second day. Israel's military says its airstrikes on Friday hit Islamic Jihad inside Gaza as they were allegedly about to launch a terror attack.

It also says 19 members of Islamic Jihad were arrested in a raid Saturday in the West Bank. Islamic Jihad says one of its senior commanders was killed in Friday strikes.

Israel says the militants have failed nearly 200 rockets towards Israel in retaliation.

The Israeli military claims most of those rockets were intercepted fell short all landed in open areas. No Israeli casualties have been reported. According to the Palestinian health ministry, at least 11 people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes including a five year- old-girl. 75 others were wounded. Israeli Prime Minister said Palestinian civilians and not being targeted.


YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Our fight is not with the people of Gaza. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis. The head of Islamic Jihad is in Tehran as we speak. We will do whatever it takes to defend our people.


KINKADE: Journalist Neri Zilber joins us live from southern Israel and Neri, this is the most serious escalation in violence and over a year. What triggered this latest flare up?

NERI ZILBER, JOURNALIST: Good morning, Lynda. And that's absolutely correct. The worst cycle of violence between Israel and Gaza based militant groups in over a year since the May 2021 escalation that lasted 11 days, really tensions have been running high here in southern Israel and also the Gaza Strip for most of the past week due to a Israeli military arrest operation in the West Bank, not Gaza. But the West Bank.

Early Monday morning the Israeli forces netted what they said was a senior Islamic Jihad commander in the northern West Bank city of Jenin. In response, Islamic Jihad vowed some kind of retaliation.

Israeli Intelligence said that would come in the form of a cross border attack from Gaza into southern Israel via sniper fire or anti- tank missiles targeting Israeli civilians or soldiers.

After about four days of effective de facto lockdown of several communities in this part of Israel in southern Israel near the Gaza border, the Israeli government had apparently just lost patience by Friday afternoon, and launched what it said was a preemptive strike to forestall that precise cross border attack by Islamic Jihad.

KINKADE: So far we know that 11 people have been killed in those Israeli airstrikes, including a five year old girl. What is the risk that this could escalate further?

ZILBER: Lynda, in this part of the world escalation is always a distinct and very sad possibility. Obviously, there have been casualties inside the Gaza Strip, no casualties as of yet reported on the Israeli side after now a day of fighting, but that can all change with one rocket or one airstrike by either side.

We should mention as Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said at the very top Israel's fight is with Islamic Jihad and not with the people of Gaza.

Perhaps the only silver lining after now a day of fighting is that Hamas, the bigger and stronger militant group in the Gaza Strip has so far not joined the fray and has left it only to Islamic Jihad to fight it out with the Israeli military.

[04:05:00] So perhaps that might be a piece of good news in the sense of keeping things relatively contained with the possibility hopefully of the escalation in the coming days.

KINKADE: And of course, near Egypt has acted as a mediator between the sides in the past, what's its response?

ZILBER: Well, as it has tried to do for most of the past week, Egypt has been trying to deescalate and mediate between the two sides. We do know that a senior Hamas leader is currently in Cairo dialoguing with Egyptian government officials.

Sadly, due to the fighting that broke out yesterday, Egyptian efforts have so far not been successful.

But if past is any precedent, then after a day or two, a week of fighting, perhaps even a month of fighting mediators either Egypt, the United Nations, Qatar will step in and bring both sides back from the brink. That's the hope at least.

KINKADE: Yes, certainly. Neri Zilber in southern Israel, thanks very much.

Russia claims at least three people were killed in a Ukrainian attack in the occupied East. Moscow says Ukrainians (INAUDIBLE) in the Donetsk region Saturday leaving at least five other people wounded. Ukraine says Russian rockets hit the grounds of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plan on Friday.

One rocket reportedly struck near a nuclear reactor. Russia claims Ukrainian forces conducted the strikes. Russian forces have occupied the plant for months and have been accused of using it as a fortress to launch attacks.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The occupiers created another extremely risky situation for everyone in Europe. They fired up Zaporizhzhia an EP twice in one day. This is the largest nuclear plant in our continent.

The one who creates nuclear threats to other nations is definitely not capable of using nuclear technology safely.


KINKADE: Well, Ukraine is hoping to start exporting up to 5 million tons of grain per month. Grain exports from Ukraine seaports is starting to trickle out following an agreement signed in Turkey.

In the east, Russia claims at least three people are dead after a Ukrainian strike in the Donetsk region. Ukraine's artillery reportedly hit a bus Saturday morning leaving at least five wounded.

But Ukraine says cities on its side of the frontlines have been taking heavy Russian fire for weeks. That's happening as Western officials say Russia's ground forces are struggling to make more progress in the east.

In the south, Ukraine says the new Russian offensive could be in the making. Russia is reportedly sending in troops and equipment to the key city of Kherson to push back against Ukraine's incremental gains in the region.

Military endless Malcolm Davis says there's a reason why Russia wants to hold on to the south and the city of Kherson. You spoke about that with me short time ago.


MALCOLM DAVIS, AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIC POLICY INSTITUTE: If you look at the geography of the region, Kherson is very close to Crimea. And Russia cannot afford to lose Crimea, which annexed back in 2014.

So the Russians realize that the Ukrainians need to take Kherson to protect Odesa and thus prevent a Russian attack into Odesa that would then leave the Russians controlling the -- virtually the entire south coast of Ukraine and Ukraine couldn't function as a state if it doesn't have access to its coastline.

So both sides see Kherson as a critical target in the sense that Ukraine must capture Kherson to protect Odessa and potentially threatened Crimea and Russia must prevent that attack on Kherson and protect Crimea. So this is turning out to be potentially a decisive battle in the war.


KINKADE: That was Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Heavy fighting has been grinding on in eastern Ukraine for months and some residents say they've had enough. These people took a train out of the Donetsk region Friday.

Last week, President Zelenskyy ordered a mandatory evacuation of all civilians. His order is expected to affect hundreds of thousands of people there. But some evacuees say staying at home was not an option regardless of Zelenskyy's mandate.


GALINA PRYHODKO, EVACUEE FROM DONETSK (through translator): Shelling and huge damages near Pokrovsk (ph). It fully destroyed a dorm communal, it is impossible to live. My son's took me to their house and with the paralyzed brother, and for this moment we decided to apply to the NGO to evacuate us.


KINKADE: If you'd like to safely and securely help people in Ukrainian may be in need of shelter, food and water, please go to you'll find several ways to help. The White House's comments President Biden made about being hopeful for Britteny Griner's released don't reflect any developments behind the scenes. It comes after the American basketball star was sentenced to nine years in prison by Russian caught this week for drug smuggling.


The U.S. calls her detention wrongful.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you give us a comment on Brittney Griner, sir?

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm hopeful. We're working hard.


KINKADE: Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. will pursue Russia's willingness to discuss a prisoner swap.

The U.S. has offered to trade Viktor Bout. The imprisoned Russian arms trafficker it's holding for Griner and marine veteran Paul Whelan is also held in Russia.

Taiwan says it's detected multiple Chinese aircraft and naval vessels operating around the Taiwan Strait this morning, with some crossing the median line the halfway point between the self-governing Island and China.

Taiwan's defense ministry said the activity could be a possible simulated attack, and it comes after a record number of Chinese aircraft conducted activities in the waters around the Taiwan Strait Friday. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A torrent of Chinese aircraft missiles and ships move towards Taiwan as soon as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left the island. China marking off areas encircling Taiwan, where its military is doing more than just drills.

Taiwan says 68 Chinese war planes flew around the Taiwan Strait Friday. Chinese drones flew close to Japan, prompting Tokyo to scramble fighter jets even as it called for calm the White House stepping up its rhetoric summoning China's ambassador to the U.S. to condemn the provocations.

An official with the Chinese Embassy in Washington told reporters that the issue of Taiwan is sensitive, saying Taiwan is one of the very few issues that might take China and the United States to conflict or even a war. So extra caution and the sense of responsibility are indispensable when it comes to Taiwan.

But the U.S. is worried China is unveiling a potentially years long campaign constant pressure on Taiwan aimed at eventual takeover.

JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: Beijing's provocative actions are significant escalation and its long standing attempt to change the status quo.

STARR: In Beijing, total rejection of the U.S. position.

HUA CHUNYING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): If they really worry about the regional peace and stability, why didn't they act earlier to prevent Pelosi from paying a provocative visit to Taiwan?

STARR: China reacting by canceling phone calls and meetings between Chinese and U.S. defense officials pausing climate talks with the United States and sanctioning Pelosi and her immediate family.

Still a muted U.S. military response in the region. An intercontinental ballistic missile test postponed out of concern China could misinterpret it.

The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan expected to return to port in Japan next week, after staying at sea for just a handful of extra days to maintain a U.S. presence near Taiwan.

(on camera): Realistically, no one anticipates a war between China and the U.S. but miscalculation misunderstanding, and the worry is there could be a sudden crisis. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


KINKADE: Well, even though it's ended, we're still getting reaction to Pelosi's trip U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on a visit to the Philippines.

There, he said that maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is vital for many countries, in part reflecting the role the strait plays as a critical waterway.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, commented that the heightened tensions over the visit demonstrate the volatility of Asia's diplomatic scene.

Disturbing new indications that North Korea may be ramping up its nuclear ambitions. Satellite images from Planet Labs show new structures being built at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear site.

The test, this comes as a confidential UN report obtained by CNN shows that Pyongyang is taking steps to prepare for a future nuclear test.

Punggye-ri is where North Korea has conducted six underground nuclear tests. The UN reports that the development has been ongoing there as well as other locations.

Still to come, the latest from the capitol as voting is due to start in the Senate on a key piece of President Biden's legislative agenda. And cities across Europe, Asia and North America sweltering under yet

another heatwave. We'll have the details from the CNN Weather Center. Stay with us.



KINKADE: Welcome back, on Capitol Hill voting is expected to start sometime today in the Senate on President Biden so called Inflation Reduction Act. It's far smaller than the original proposal, but it would still invest $396 billion in energy and climate programs.

It also lets Medicare negotiate some prescription drug prices and sets the minimum corporate tax rate at 15 percent.

Well, the move comes as Democrats got key support from Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. She had demanded that $5 billion of the relief funding be put into the bill and that the carried interest tax provision be taken out. Democratic senators Dick Durbin and Chris Van Hollen praised the hard work of their party.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): A lot of hard work has gone into this. I want to congratulate Senator Schumer and all the members of the caucus who have really rolled up their sleeves and made this a possibility a very real possibility.

We're waiting for the last final word from the parliamentarian to make sure the reconciliation package meets the requirements of the rules.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): I think this weekend is going to give us a boost because I think we're going to pass the Inflation Reduction Act and I think the American people are looking for result also in action and they see Republicans talking about inflation as a campaign issue but not willing to do anything about it.


KINKADE: Well, those efforts to fight inflation came as the U.S. got a better than expected jobs report for July. Employers added 520,000 jobs in the month. That means the U.S. economy has now recovered all the jobs that lost during the pandemic, and the U.S. unemployment rate fell in July to 3.5%. This matches the 50-year low we were at when the pandemic began.

Well, that news got a mixed reception on Wall Street, the Dow Industrials gained 76 points about a quarter of a percentage point. The S&P 500 fell slightly and the NASDAQ lost half a percentage point

Parts of Europe as well during through another dangerous heatwave the above average temperatures of fueling drought and in some places wildfires. CNN's Jennifer Gray reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Scorching heat continues throughout much of Europe, gripping the entire Mediterranean region with temperatures in the upper 30s. Italy is seeing its driest year on record. Average rainfall there is down 46 percent. The northern part of the country is being hit the hardest by the heatwave.

In Milan, volunteers deliver food to the elderly. The service has been ramped up in recent weeks to prevent vulnerable seniors from going out in the heat to buy food. Temperatures in the city reached 39 degrees Friday according to the Italian Air Force.

France is baking in its third heat wave this summer. The prime minister says the country is experiencing the most serious drought it has ever seen. And there are fears things could get worse.

Nearly all areas of the country have water restrictions in place. The government launched an emergency plan after more than 100 communities ran out of water.

CHRISTOPHE BECHU, FRENCH MINITER FOR ECOLOGICAL TRANSITION (through translator): There were already more than 100 municipalities in France that today have no more drinking water and for which supplies have been transported by truck to these municipalities because there was nothing left in the pipes.

GRAY: Above average temperatures and dry conditions in northwestern Spain sparked wildfires Friday. 350 hectares have been burned so far and fire officials say the fires are coming closer to homes.

In Madrid, people cooled off with fans and fountains. Spain's government issued multiple alerts for various parts of the country due to the extreme heat. It's one of the country's hottest summers on record, according to the Spanish Meteorological Agency.

Residents in Frankfort headed to the waterpark to beat the heat mini enjoying the summer sun as a sun base and went for a swim. The German Meteorological Service warned about high probability of wildfires.

Forecasters say there won't be much relief as the high temperatures are expected to continue into next week especially around the Iberian Peninsula. Jennifer Gray, CNN.


KINKADE: Well, three people are dead after a lightning strike near the White House Thursday, an elderly couple visiting from Wisconsin and 29-year-old male. Officials say the three victims have been taken to hospital in critical condition following that incident in Lafayette Park. One of the victim also sustained life threatening injuries. It's not known if they were hit directly by the lightning strike.

We are looking at the video of a waterspout that moved on shore in Smith Islands, Maryland, Thursday, causing significant damage. Officials say multiple homes were destroyed by the storm. And an 86- year-old woman suffered minor injuries when her house was hit. The state's governor says there were more than 50,000 power outages Thursday night. They added that the emergency management team is tracking the damage and coordinating assistance.

Stuck in Death Valley National Park due to flooding. Roads going in and out of Death Valley Park closed Friday, though officials say a number of people have found a way to leave. No one is stopping them if they want to get out.

According to a news release, dozens of cars were buried under debris at the end in Death Valley. Officials say the Park received 1.46 inches of rain, almost matching the previous daily record.

Joining me now from is meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Derek, that sure is a lot of rain in a very short amount of time.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. In Death Valley is desert across interior California. Keep in mind that the ground is doesn't able to really soak up that amount of rain in such a short period of time. And when we put this into context, this is just an incredible amount of precipitation.


On Friday, a 1.46 inches that is 68 percent of the yearly average total for Death Valley National Park. Incredible. Second wettest day in 111 years of record keeping they were just 1/10 of an inch away from being in that first spot.

Now the western U.S. has been under drought. But did you know that over 50 percent of the lower 48, that's the contiguous United States, has had its fourth consecutive week of drought conditions above 50 percent of -- covering above 50 percent of the country incredible.

Of course, this has led to wildfires. We have 70 large active wildfires burning out of 14 individual states. Alaska having the most active wildfires as we speak.

And of course, our heat continues over the central parts of the country. Newly issued excessive heat warnings in and around Omaha, heat advisories stretching southward into Oklahoma City.

And then along the eastern seaboard, some of the most populated areas, anywhere from Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, you have heat advisories today. That means as you step outside, you'll feel like nearing the upper 90s to around 100 degrees in terms of the heat index value that is the temperature and the humidity value on your skin.

Look at this temperature forecast for today. Just incredible amounts of heat. We have a brief break from the excessive heat before the mercury in the thermometer starts to climb in the coming days.

And then the other story that we continue to monitor is the potential for more flash flooding. You can see from the Weather Prediction Center, still the ongoing monsoonal flood threat across the Great Basin. We have a slight risk of flash flooding across the upper Great Lakes

and then into Eastern Kentucky, areas that have been hit hardest by the recent floods. Additional rainfall taking place as we speak, Lynda.

KINKADE: All right. Derek Van Dam. Good to see you as always. Stick around, I'll come back to you next hour. Well, second verdict against conspiracist Alex Jones just to add how much more the jury says the InfoWars host should pay.

Also ahead, former President Trump set to speak yet on the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference. We'll bring you all the latest from Dallas.



KINKADE: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Lynda Kinkade, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is finding out the hard way that there is a price to pay for his outrageous lies about the mass shooting at Sandy Hook. The same jury that ordered him to pay $4 million in compensatory damages Thursday, is now ordering him to pay $45 million more in punitive damages. It's part of a defamation suit brought by the parents of one of the young victims in the Sandy Hook massacre.


SCARLETT LEWIS, SON KILLED IN SANDY HOOK SCHOOL SHOOTING: Care and concern is so important. And we saw what happens when there is a dearth of that. And so I hope that we all just go home tonight and everybody that's reading these articles and hearing this message and you choose love with your kids, because you can. That means being present in the moment with them.


KINKADE: 26 people were killed in the 2012 massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. 20 of those killed were children. Jones repeatedly claimed that the massacre was staged and quoted a hoax that later said in court, it did indeed happen. After the verdict, Jones's lawyer spoke to reporters about his client's reaction.


F. ANDINO REYNAL, ATTORNEY FOR ALEX JONES: Alex Jones will be on the air today. He'll be on the air tomorrow. He'll be on the air next week. He's going to keep doing his job, holding the power structure accountable. His reaction was that, you know, he'd been found guilty before he ever had a chance to defend this case on the merits. That the, you know, First Amendment is under siege, and that he looks forward to continuing the fight.


KINKADE: Well, the award amount could be substantially reduced since Texas laws cap punitive damages. Former President Donald Trump is expected to address the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas later today. He follows a lineup of Republicans including some of the ballot in the November midterms, who echo his unfounded claims that the 2020 election was rampant with fraud and stolen.

In his speech, Texas Senator Ted Cruz took a swing at the state of the economy and the Democrats.


SEN. TED CRUZ, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN: We got out of control inflation the cost of everything is going through the roof. It is so bad. Eric Swalwell can't afford Chinese dinners. It is so bad that AOC can't afford fake handcuffs.


KINKADE: Cruz is just one of the many taking to the podium. CNN's Kyung Lah reports.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fresh off a Republican primary victory for Arizona's Governor, Kari Lake arrives to a hero's welcome at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas.


LAH (voice-over): In her home state, she is leading in every single county, centering her campaign on Donald Trump's lie about the 2020 election. A position she pledges she will not pivot away from.

LAKE: We outvoted the fraud. We didn't listen to what the fake news had to say. The MAGA movement rose up and voted like the lives depended on it.

LAH (voice-over): Trump endorsed election denying candidates one up and down Arizona's ballot Tuesday. U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters and Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem, who says he wants to eliminate all voting machines.

MARK FINCHEM, ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: Paper ballots, hand counting on one day. We can do that. We used to do it.

LAH (voice-over): Election experts say that would mean month's long counts. 2020 deniers despite no evidence of widespread fraud, won. And not just in Arizona.


LAH (voice-over): But in Michigan this week, Republican Gubernatorial Nominee, Tudor Dixon. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes or no, do you believe Donald Trump legitimately won the 2020 election in Michigan?


LAH (voice-over): Now, Dixon is dodging that question.

DIXON: There were some things that happen in Michigan that didn't happen in other states, which are very concerning.

LAH (voice-over): These wins are just the latest in the study advanced by those sowing distrust in U.S. elections, being put on the November ballot. In Nevada, Jim Marchant is the Republican nominee for Secretary of State running to oversee his state's elections. He told us this earlier this year.


JIM MARCHANT, NEVADA SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: I believe it was stolen. Yes. I mean, I believe that there were enough irregularities that we need to do an audit.

LAH (voice-over): And then there's Michigan's Kristina Karamo, another Secretary of State candidate who doesn't believe the 2020 results. Election liars on state ballots show Trump's grip on the GOP, celebrated by far-right propagandists, Mike Lindell, at CPAC.

MIKE LINDELL, GOP ACTIVIST: Everybody's going to go vote these great candidates like Kari Lake and override the machines.

LAH (voice-over): On the CPAC agenda --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They stole the 2020 election.

LAH (voice-over): -- it is relitigating 2020. And also looking ahead to November and beyond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to rig elections, institutionalized voter fraud. We're not going to allow it.

LAH (on-camera): I see your hat there.


LAH (on-camera): How important is it for you to talk about 2020 as we look at 2022?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He won. He won in 2020. Hands down across the nation.

LAH (on-camera): What does that say about where the Republican Party is in this country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: MAGA. They're with MAGA, they're with Trump. They're Trump followers. LAH (on-camera): Donald Trump is the closing speaker for CPAC, even though we've been hearing his talking points from speaker after speaker over this entire convention. And while not on the official schedule, Kari Lake did tweet out that she will be the speaker right before Trump.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Dallas.


KINKADE: Well, another speaker took to the CPAC podium was Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The Nationalist European leader was given a warm welcome as he delivered a speech called How We Fight, suggesting a kinship with America's conservative movement.


VIKTOR ORBAN, HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER: We have to be brave enough to address even the most sensitive questions, migration, gender, and the clash of civilizations. Don't worry, a Christian politician cannot be racist. If you separate Western civilization from this Judeo-Christian heritage, diverse things in history happen. Let's be honest, the most awful things in modern history were carried out by people who hated Christianity.


KINKADE: Orban set the stage for former President Trump by them really criticizing liberals, the news media and the Democratic Party.

For more perspective, let's bring in Leslie Vinjamuri, head of the U.S. and the Americas Program at Chatham House. Good to have you with us, Leslie.


KINKADE: So the Hungarian Prime Minister has often been accused of consolidating power in his own country and undermining democracy. He gave a speech in Dallas, Texas Thursday entitled, How We Fight, speaking against his fight against progressive liberals.

And to a huge cheer, he said that globalists can all go to hell. This, despite the fact she's fighting across the globe to push this message, to push his political views. Does he believe this political ideology is a global movement?

VINJAMURI: I think it's a, you know, very active effort in partnership with people like our former President Donald Trump, to try and turn it into a global movement to really increase the base, to rally the base here in the U.S. that have supported that part of the Republican Party led by Donald Trump that shares a similar set of anti-progressive, illiberal values and also to do the same across other parts of the world, in Brazil and elsewhere.

So this is, you know, clearly a movement and clearly a very specific decision to come at this point in time when, in the United States of course, we're approaching, we're in that primary season approaching those midterm elections. When Viktor Orban, when Donald Trump and when the far-right wing of the Republican Party are really looking to shore up a vote that they know is critical and at risk, but critical to their success.

KINKADE: Orban, of course, has spoken about how he opposes mixed race society in Europe. Just two weeks ago, declaring in a speech that we do not want to become peoples of mixed race. That speech was condemned by his own adviser who caught it pure Nazi and resigned. But he's hardly the only far-right leader in Europe. And in France, we've got Marine Le Pen of the national rally who came the closest ever to becoming president than ever before. Italy, of course, could also have a prime minister from a far-right party. What are these trends we're seeing both in Europe and the U.S. right now?

VINJAMURI: Well, there's clearly a constituency that's supportive of the values, it's willing to be courted as you might say.


But what's most interesting is that, you know, it hasn't won out. People are very -- have been very concerned. You mentioned Le Pen, the numbers were very high, higher than we've seen in the past. But the backlash against that speech, that July 23rd speech that Orban gave that you refer to was very clear. He mentioned that when he came to Texas. We heard from some people who attended the conference in Dallas, who said they wanted to hear what he had to say, they wanted him to clarify his position that they didn't support it.

So it's really, you know, it's a risky position to assert, it's clearly the agenda that he's pushing, you know, is illiberal, is, you know, under the pretense of Christian is pushing back against mixed race people, against immigration, for hard borders, against LGBTQ, very clearly stoking a politics that is divisive, that is dangerous. And that is, I think, a not a majority view. And one that is, you know, part of the desperation and pushing so hard and making these trips is I think, because there is a recognition that this is a minority position.

KINKADE: And Leslie, we are talking about functioning democracies here. Any of these outcomes, presumably reflects the will of the people and fair and free elections. What's the best response when it comes to countering the influence of the extremes, in this case, the far-right?

VINJAMURI: It's a really difficult question. I think, you know, the one advantage that the United States has, we had President Donald Trump who would love to have rolled out the playbook with more success. He would like to have had the success and dismantling democracy that Viktor Orban has had in Hungary.

Our institutions are strong, they're not as strong as we might have thought they were. But our civil society is very robust. The pushback is -- has been intense, I think, you know, things like the vote that we saw in Kansas, demonstrate that even in conservative states, people value pro-choice, they value positions, they have rights that they've become used to. And so, I think it's that really that civil society mobilization.

The final part of Viktor Orban speech in Dallas was very telling. He said, you know, we're facing elections in Europe, and in the United States in 2024. These are a battle for Western civilization. Again, really trying to stoke this deep division on a platform that's very dangerous.

KINKADE: Leslie Vinjamuri, good to get your perspective on all of that. Thanks so much for joining us.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

KINKADE: Hundreds of migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea, but they've landed in Italy in the midst of a divisive election campaign with migration a big issue. More on that story when we return.






KINKADE: Large crowds gathered Friday in Baghdad, Iraq to show the support for Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr. The group says they came together to answer the call from their leader to unite the Iraqi people and dissolve the corrupt government. The latest turmoil in Iraq fully is nine months of political deadlock that hindered the formation of al-Sadr's new government after he won the parliamentary election last October.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): It is our oath that we are loyal soldiers and we will be loyal soldiers. They are using time in their favor, but we will stay here until the demands are met.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): We are here for reforms for change, to change the regime that has ruled us since 2003 until today. And we have yet to receive any benefits. No health care, no security, no services, no electricity. God willing, all fragments of Iraq's population are here today.


KINKADE: Was saved from the sea but stuck on their rescue ship for days. More than 600 migrants are finally on solid ground after their boat arrived in Italy Friday. But they've landed in the midst of a political controversy with migration a hot election issue. CNN Contributor Barbie Nadeau reports.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): Finally, some relief, at least for the moment. The 659 migrants rescued at sea of the coast of Libya by Doctors Without Borders nine days ago, have finally been allowed to disembark in Toronto to Pula in southern Italy. Two women are pregnant, and 150 of the migrants are minors, including five infants.

The ongoing migrant crisis comes as Italy prepares for elections on September 25th, after the government under Mario Draghi fell earlier this month. Politicians are not missing the opportunity to use what is a horrific situation for those seeking asylum for political gain.

Matteo Salvini, who blocked Italian ports to migrant ships when he was interior minister in 2018 and 2019, wants a chance to do it again. He visited the island of Lampedusa with thousands of migrants have landed this summer and where the hotspot is often overflowing. He said, having a welcoming center on the island was like hanging up a sign inviting people to come.

MATTEO SALVINI, ITALIAN POLITICIAN: When we go back to governing, immigration will be returned to be a controlled, limited contained phenomenon.

NADEAU (voice-over): Salvini is part of the center right coalition that includes Giorgia Maloney and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. They are leading the polls with just six weeks to the vote.

Meanwhile, migrants continue to make the dangerous trip to try to reach Europe. More than 42,000 people have made it so far in 2022. According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, many have also died trying. And for those who did make it, another challenge is looming.

Those who were allowed to disembark in Pula will now be processed. Those who qualify can apply for asylum. The rest will instead be repatriated to their home countries.

Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.


KINKADE: Well a former astronaut calls them old clunkers, this spacesuits from decades ago but they're causing a life threatening problem. We'll have more on that when we return.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Spacewalks at the International Space Station have been halted over concerns about the safety of decades old spacesuits worn by astronauts. NASA calls the need for new spacesuits critical. CNN's Kristin Fisher reports.


KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer was wrapping up a seven-hour long spacewalk outside the International Space Station when he noticed water leaking into his helmet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we should accelerate the steps to get him out of the suit here.

FISHER (voice-over): They got him out but the incident in March of this year was eerily similar to what happened to an Italian astronaut back in 2013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel a lot of water on the back of my head.

FISHER (voice-over): Water from the cooling tubes inside Luca Parmitano spacesuit was leaking into his helmet, and he almost drowned.

LUCA PARMITANO, EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY ASTRONAUT: For a couple of minutes there, may be more than a couple of minutes, I experienced what it's like to be a goldfish in the fish ball from the point of view of the gold fish.


FISHER (voice-over): It's a nightmare scenario. According to veteran spacewalker and former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman who went on to become the first spacesuit engineer at SpaceX.

GARRETT REISMAN, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: And, obviously, if you fill the helmet you can't breathe, and you can't take the helmet off. So you're in a bad, bad place and it got very serious.

FISHER (voice-over): NASA has now stopped all spacewalks at the International Space Station until Matthias's faulty spacesuit is returned to Earth later this month for an inspection. But even if it's fixed, the underlying problem is that the spacesuits or EMUs are decades old, and there's not many left.

REISMAN: That big white spacesuit actually has heritage, it goes all the way back to Apollo. So pre-1975. The helmets exactly the same as the helmet that we wore on the Apollo suits.

FISHER (voice-over): NASA knows it's a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's critical to have a suit that works for everyone.

FISHER (voice-over): NASA is now partnering with two commercial companies to develop its next generation spacesuits. But those likely will not be ready until at least 2025.

REISMAN: And that's what's gotten quite good at keeping these old clunkers running. And I think NASA has got a really capable team. They will keep these suits going as long as they have to. But the right thing is to get a new suit. And the sooner the better.

FISHER (voice-over): Kristin Fisher, CNN, New York


KINKADE: Sooner, the better. Well take a look at this photo. It looks like a far-off star. A French scientist tweeted this picture claiming to show a stellar neighbor of our sun. The post went viral. There's only one tiny problem. It was actually a close-up view of a slice of spicy sausage. The physicist later apologized saying he wanted to encourage people to be skeptical about what they see on social media.

It's a good lesson. That wraps up this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm Lynda Kinkade. I will be back with much more news after a quick break. Stay with us.