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Senate Passes Landmark Climate And Health Act Along Party Lines; Interview With Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Last-Minute Crisis Averted As Dems Land Compromise With Sinema; Ceasefire Agreement In Gaza Set To Begin This Hour; Anne Heche Car Crash; Killings Of Four Muslim Men; Aging Spacesuits; Rescued Haitian Migrants. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired August 07, 2022 - 16:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. And we begin with breaking news as the Senate has just passed a major piece of President Joe Biden's economic agenda.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The yays are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative and the bill, as amended, is passed.


ACOSTA: The bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act contains the biggest legislative climate investment in U.S. history. It also makes big changes to health care policies. It's headed to the House later this week after enduring more than a year of painstaking debate and more than 15 hours of a vote-a-rama delirium up on Capitol Hill, which ended just moments ago.

CNN's Manu Raju is up on Capitol Hill for us. Manu, I think this was once called the Build Back Better agenda for President Biden. He didn't get everything that he wanted, not everything that Democrats wanted, but they got a lot of what they initially were going after. How did it at all get resolved? There was some last-minute drama here.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there really was. I mean, this really capped more than a year of negotiations within the Democratic Party. You mentioned the Build Back Better agenda. This is significantly scaled back from this, but still significant in size and scope, dealing primarily with health care, with drug prices, with climate and energy issues, imposing a new 15 percent corporate minimum tax for big companies that make more than $1 billion.

But it was that tax that caused some last-minute drama on the floor of the Senate, when Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, someone who has been difficult for Democrats to nail down the leadership to get her support, she had negotiated some changes at the end, but she also negotiated on the floor today because of her concerns that this 15 percent tax could hit some companies that were essentially subsidiaries of large, private equity firms, that she believes would have been unfairly hit.

Now she was going to -- did support a Republican plan to essentially nix that provision, nix the subsidiaries that would have been hit by this 15 percent tax. But Democrats would have revolted if that plan ultimately got into the bill because of the way it would have been paid for. So as a result there were last-minute negotiations, discussions behind the scenes, and they came up with a compromise for an alternative way to pay for this proposal.

And now this bill, after getting Sinema on board and getting Senator Joe Manchin, who initially cut this deal just a couple of weeks ago after spending more than a year of negotiating, they have now gotten all 50 Democrats on board behind this bill which will now head to the House. The House is going to come back on Friday and we do expect the House to pass this bill despite having a very narrow majority the Democrats have in that chamber and despite the vigorous opposition from Republicans who contend that this could hurt the economy given its tax increases.

But Democrats say that they believe that voters ultimately will benefit and give them some political benefit for this because of the way it gives Medicare the power for the first time to negotiate prescription drug prices, spends hundreds of billions of dollars on climate and energy initiatives in an effort to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over the next decade, and extends health care subsidies as well under the Affordable Care Act for three years.

But they were able to get this done by a straight party line vote by using a special budget maneuver to avoid a Republican filibuster. So despite the Republican opposition, and the difficulty of getting liberals and moderates in line, they were able to get behind this approach, get it passed the Senate, and now it looks like it will become law in just a matter of days here -- Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, Manu Raju, we'll let you get some rest. Thanks very much for following all the twist and turns for us. We appreciate it.

With me now is Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Senator, great to see you. I thought I saw some high fives down on the Senate floor, and maybe Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer checking a flip phone at one point or talking about his flip phone --

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): That's all he has, so correct.

ACOSTA: There were some twist and turns there, but you got it across the finish line. What does this mean to the Biden agenda? What does this mean to your party heading into the midterms?

KLOBUCHAR: You know, I've got to first thank Chuck, everyone that worked on this. All of us had a part in it. I've been trying to get that provision in for years to allow Medicare to negotiate less expensive prescription drugs for our seniors.

[16:05:09] So it was a moment of joy. But as opposed to what does it mean for our party, I've got to be honest, I'm thinking what does it mean for the American people as these forest fires are raging on the West Coast, what does it mean 40 percent reduction by 2030 as Manu just explained for greenhouse gases, putting us on a trajectory I don't think anyone thought was possible, instead of -- finely doing something that we are doing on climate change.

You've got the prescription drugs I mentioned, $305 billion in deficit reduction. That's why it's called the Inflation Reduction Act. And I was just proud that we came together at the end for the American people. And you add to that manufacturing semiconductor chips. We just passed that. Standing up for our veterans when it comes to burn pits and where the -- and making sure we got that done. Making sure Finland and Sweden are part of NATO.

It was a lot of victories in the last month after I think there were some pretty negative predictions out there, and I think we defied every single one and the president never gave up.

ACOSTA: No, it's true. I mean, it has been a big month for President Biden, no question about it. Let me ask you about -- I guess some of this last-minute drama that came in the form of one of your Democratic colleagues, Senator Kyrsten Sinema. She was touting her role in get this bill passed in the Senate, however, there were some last-minute changes just to get her on board. Were you happy with the role she played in crafting the final bill in the last-minute compromise that had to be swallowed to get it across the finish line?

KLOBUCHAR: You know, I'm always glad when a bill gets done, but I didn't agree with her on eliminating the carried interest loophole fix that was an early version of the bill that would have saved $14 billion. We found other ways of course to make up the revenue. And this last issue, you know, I would have preferred the bill as it was. But we were able, thanks to Senator Warner and negotiating with Senator Sinema, we were able to get that done and find a way that we were not creating a problem on the state and local tax deduction by finding another source of revenue.

And then also she was able, as were a few others, to vote for the Thune amendment. But I just think in the end, none of that detracts from this important piece of legislation. Bold action on climate. I think everyone that looked at it has said a real difference when it comes to inflation because of that deficit reduction, and real hope for Americans out there when it comes to prescription drugs.

That's a winner all around, and our Republican colleagues are the ones that are going to have to explain why they oppose this bill.

ACOSTA: Well, let me ask you about a provision that the Republican senators were successful in striking from the final piece of legislation. They were -- they struck out key insulin provisions out of the bill. One of those provisions was to cap insulin, which helps treat diabetes at $35, and the private insurance market, we should note to our viewers, the cost of insulin in the U.S. is more than $98 per unit, while in other countries, it is far less. Less than $9. How do you explain that? I know obviously Democrats, many of the

Democrats there were in favor of this. I guess all of them were. But you have Republicans who were against it. How does that get across to the American people as bringing down inflation?

KLOBUCHAR: You know, I cannot believe that they made this move and it's their right I guess to make a claim under these rules. But they're the ones that forced us to use this archaic procedure of reconciliation as it was because they won't vote with us when it comes to limiting things like insulin cost. I think of my constituents, one woman told me she literally saves her insulin in the vials, the drops of it, for something that used to cost a couple of bucks, and saves it day to day to day.

And we are not at all giving up that fight, on limiting the cost on insulin. Senator Shaheen is working with Senator Collins on a bipartisan bill when it comes to insulin, Medicare negotiations. We'll be able to go forward on insulin. But I want to do so much more. I think it's outrageous and I don't know how they could view that as a win that they knocked out the part that would limit out-of-pockets on insulin.

ACOSTA: Does it say something about the hold that big pharma has here on Washington?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, for once we took on big pharma. I'm sure you saw the ads that were running around the clock in Washington, D.C.


And they were trying to stop us in our tracks. They didn't like that we were lifting a ban that they put in place 20 years ago into law, written into law that Medicare can't negotiate less expensive drugs like the VA can right now on behalf of our courageous veterans. And we stood up to them, and as the Democratic Party, moved ahead and were able to lift this ban.

Now I would have done more, I would have done more drugs. Senator Sanders and I have joined forces on this in the past and will in the future. We'd like to move more quickly. We'd like to see more drugs. But I view this as a major victory after leading the bill that I have done for over a decade. We have finally lifted that ban. And this is just the beginning.

ACOSTA: Do you wish you could break the filibuster and do something about codifying Roe v. Wade? Because, I mean, you could do it for budget reconciliation, you could do it for a piece of legislation like this, but you can't do it for codifying Roe v. Wade.

KLOBUCHAR: Jim, thank you for pointing that out. So there's over 160 exemptions to the filibuster for things like compensation for space accidents, for things like tax and spend bill, the Trump tax cuts came in with 51 votes. What we just did with 51 votes. But here's the problem. Those Supreme Court justices, the three of them, Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Kavanaugh, got on with 51 votes, the 51-vote margin. But to reverse what they do when it comes to civil rights whether it

is voting rights, whether it is reproductive rights, abortion, whether it is whatever else they're going to do, we need 60 votes. That's messed up. And so that is why I have long called for filibuster reform and changes. I think that's the way to go. And as you know, except for two senators, our Democratic caucus earlier this year was united on my Freedom to Vote Act on the lift the filibuster.

So that's why we are so focused on this coming fall to get at least two new Democratic senators because codifying Roe v. Wade into law, we're going to have to take that kind of action.

ACOSTA: All right. Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much. We appreciate your time.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you.

ACOSTA: And we have more breaking news. Yes, thank you very much.

We have more breaking news. The militant group Islamic jihad says a Gaza cease-fire agreement has been reached Israel. The prime minister has no official comments to make on these reports as of yet. This comes after a weekend of violence where more than 50 -- excuse me 40 people were killed in Gaza. We're following that breaking news and we'll bring you the very latest, next.



ACOSTA: Major win for the Biden economic agenda, as the Senate passes the $750 Inflation Reduction Act, as it's called, from the Democrats. A sweeping package targeting taxes, health care and climate change. But it didn't come without some last-minute drama care of Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

Let's break it down with former Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and contributing writer at "The Atlantic," Molly Jong-Fast.

Molly, right-wing Democrats thought they solved the Kyrsten Sinema problem. She almost derailed this whole thing right at the last second, backing an amendment that narrowed the 15 percent corporate minimum tax. I mean, we just heard from Senator Klobuchar a few moments ago, you know, she seemed elated. They don't seem too perturbed by this. But once again, because of a 50-50 Senate, they had to deal with these last-minute changes care of Kyrsten Sinema.

MOLLY JONG-FAST, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yes, find someone who loves you the way Kyrsten Sinema loves the private equity and venture capital. You know, she fought really hard for that carried interest tax loophole. You know, it seems like a mistake, in my mind, to be a Democratic senator who is so tied to your corporate donors, especially when there seems like there could likely be a primary challenge from Ruben Gallego.

But, I mean, she has just doubled down on it, and in the end, I don't think it much matters because she voted for the bill, and they were able to pass it and they got this huge investment in climate, biggest federal investment in climate ever. So I think it's a big deal.

ACOSTA: Yes. We spoke with Ruben Gallego yesterday, and he did not seem at all, you know, I guess, turned off by the idea of challenging Kyrsten Sinema. It sounds like it's a live option for him.

And Barbara, President Biden reacted to the Senate vote moments ago, saying, we put this up on screen. "Today Senate Democrats sided with American families over special interests, voting to lower the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance and everyday energy costs and reduce the deficit while making the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share."

What do you think, Barbara? Republicans insist the opposite is going to happen, that this bill is going to work against the financial interests of ordinary Americans. What do you think? Do you think it was worth some of these compromises that they made in the end to get this bill across the finish line?

BARBARA COMSTOCK (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM VIRGINIA: Well, listen, I think this feels a lot to me like the reverse of 2018 that, you know, the problem the Democrats have is that, you know, Joe Biden's numbers are low right now. They've had a lot of wins here, you know, in the past few weeks, which is actually what happened on the 2018. You know, we had wins on the tax bill in 2018. We had opioid bills.

We actually had a lot of wins at that time, but we had a very unpopular president. So you have the problem that, despite, you know, whatever legislative wins, you have an unpopular president.


And, you know, I think everyone knows, I'm no fan of Donald Trump. But, you know, he took everybody down in 2018. So I think in the House you're still going to have, you know, you might have losses any way. Where this may be helpful I think is for Democrats in the Senate, you have very unpopular Republican candidates who are already losing because they're Donald Trump Republicans.

So this may help some of the Democrats in the Senate hold on to their seats, and kind of, you know, make some hay with some of the very unpopular Trump Republicans. And so that may help there. So you may have -- and that's what happened, you know, in '18. Republicans did hold on to the Senate. You might have Democrats be able to hold on to the Senate because of these wins. So that's where you may hold on here, if that makes sense.

ACOSTA: And yes -- no, it does, and it does sound like the Democrats are trying to build a bit of a firewall over in the Senate. But, you know, Molly, you were talking about the impact of lobbyists here in Washington on Kyrsten Sinema. You know, Republicans voted down a measure that would have capped insulin prices at $35 a month, not just under Medicare. You know, and if you look at the cost of insulin here in the United States versus the way it's priced around the world, it's just unconscionable what we do to people who suffer from diabetes and need this medication. What did you think of that?

JONG-FAST: I thought that might have been a failure on whipping the vote because there were seven Republicans who supported it. And the truth is, there are a lot of diabetic people in this country. And the idea that they're going to die because they can't afford insulin, which doesn't cost a lot to make and is really price gouged, is kind of unconscionable. And so I do think there could have been -- I think there are three more Republicans you could get on board for that.

I mean I think you have to figure out how to whip that vote. I mean, I think that Nancy Pelosi -- I mean, I think she could have whipped that vote. And kook, I mean, it is unconscionable to vote against higher insulin. We are living in a country right now where people are dying because they cannot afford insulin. And that is just beyond the pale. So I think there's a place.

I would also say, I think Democrats have gotten a lot done, and even if Biden has sort of poor approval ratings, an X factor that no one really knows about is the Supreme Court. Remember, they overturned Roe. They overturned this EPA stuff. I mean, there's a lot there, and I think that has galvanized the base in a way that was not an existing factor in 2018.

ACOSTA: That's very true. And to that point, Barbara, I wanted to ask you about this split that's emerging inside the GOP over these abortion bans that are popping up in various states, triggered by the overturning of Roe versus Wade, and whether some of these bans should include exceptions for things like rape or incest.

This morning, Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace slammed the more hardline faction of the party. I watched this interview and I thought it was notable that, you know, she was using some of these terms, fashioning herself as a bit of a moderate as she runs for reelection. Here's what she had to say.


REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): My own home state, they want women to be required and mandated to report when they are raped. And I just can't even imagine a world where you're a girl, a teenage girl who's been raped, to have to report those things. And, you know, "Handmaid's Tale" is not supposed to be a road map. I do think that it will be an issue in November if we're not moderating ourselves, that we are including exceptions for women who've been raped, for girls who are victims of incest, and certainly in every instance where the life of the mother is at stake.


ACOSTA: Barbara, I thought that was striking, Congresswoman Mace saying that the "Handmaid's Tale" was not supposed to be a road map. Do you think that Republicans and, you know, putting folks like Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court, Mitch McConnell using, you know, Senate procedures to get an extra vote on the Supreme Court, that it may backfire in these upcoming midterms? COMSTOCK: Well, you know, for years Republicans, we had always voted

for rape, incest exceptions. And I don't think many Republicans are, as Nancy has said, were ready for this at all. And a lot of these guys who have been out there taking the most extreme positions, saying, you know, even voting against birth control, as Nancy had pointed out, they are not ready for this at all and they have not been at all sensitive to, you know, to the reality of what the -- you know, what issues are out there.

And so yes, I think Kansas was a big wakeup call to them. And I think now you're going to see many of these men who actually, you know, they themselves might even not be -- I mean, I'm pro-life. I always voted for rape-incest exceptions and also realizing that we have to help women.


You know, you have to deal with this issue, you know, kind of dealing with the hearts and minds and being prepared to, you know, take this to where people are ready to deal with the issue. And a lot of these guys aren't even -- you know, they don't personally care about the issue. They weren't ready to deal with the issue. And now you have someone like Doug Mastriano, we saw he's being an election denier, and, you know, this kind of a phony anyway. Now he's running away from his pro-life position that he said no exceptions, now he's saying, well, you know, maybe not.

So you're going to see these people aren't truly -- they don't really believe what they were saying in the first place. And so I think maybe pro-life people are going to run away from him as he runs away from them when he actually has to stand up for convictions he maybe never really had.

ACOSTA: All right. Barbara Comstock, Molly Jong-Fast, thank you both very much. We appreciate it.

We have more breaking news on CNN. As we're just mentioning a short while ago, both Israel and Islamic jihad militant movement in Palestinian areas of that region, they have reached a cease-fire agreement, and that will begin just minutes from now we're hearing here at CNN. This comes after a weekend of violence where more than 40 people were killed in Gaza.

CNN's Ben Wedeman joins me now from Jerusalem.

Ben, this has the potential to be a significant development. You know, you're well versed in covering these conflicts in that region. I know that sometimes these cease-fire agreements, they don't last very long, but what's the latest?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that cease- fire agreement, which was announced by the Israeli government just about 23 minutes ago, will go into effect in just about three minutes. But what we're hearing is, up to the wire, there are still Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. There are still sirens sounding in Israel as more rockets are being fired out. Now oftentimes when the cease-fire happens, each side tries to get in

the last blow. So hopefully, that is what is happening. But what we've seen so far is that the Egyptians have really once again, as they have in the last five of these encounters between Gaza and Israel since 2008 have come in and mediated a cease-fire.

Now the details of this cease-fire are still not all together clear. What we've heard from the Egyptians is that, among other things, they will be pushing the Israelis to free Bassam al-Saadi), who is an Islamic jihad field commander in the northern West Bank who was arrested by the Israelis six days ago. In addition to that, the Egyptians say they will push the Israelis to transfer a prisoner, a Palestinian prisoner, who's been on hunger strike for 130 days, to a hospital for treatment.

We understand that there will be perhaps measures to ease the Israeli blockade on Gaza. There are reports in the Israeli media that as many as 30 fuel trucks are waiting outside to go in because, of course, as a result of the blockade, power has been cut down to just four hours a day in Gaza from 16 because of a lack of fuel. But so far, this has been a short 50-hour but very bloody convict. At least 43 Palestinians killed. No deaths on the Israeli side, but major disruption to life. But as I have seen so many times before, this will probably all happen again -- Jim.

ACOSTA: It's a sad reality but very true. All right, Ben Wedeman, thank you very much. As always, we appreciate it.

Coming up, the LAPD is now investigating the fiery crash involving actress Anne Heche who remains hospitalized. An update on her condition and that investigation next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.




ACOSTA: The LAPD is investigating a fiery car crash, involving actress, Anne Heche. She remains hospitalized and is now in stable condition, after being pulled from her burning vehicle on Friday. She was driving a blue Mini-Cooper when it crashed into a home, igniting a huge fire. Police have not been able to question her yet about the crash because of the extent of her injuries.

But CNN's Chloe Melas joins me now. Chloe, I mean, wow, what a -- I mean, the images from this wreck, too, are just astonishing. What more do we know about Anne Heche and how she's doing and what led up to this crash?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: A representative for Anne is telling CNN, quote, "Anne is currently in stable condition," like you said. And that her family and friends are asking for your thoughts and prayers, to respect her privacy during this difficult time. So many questions as to what led up to this fiery crash on Friday. Reports that she was speeding. We know, from authorities who told CNN, that over 60 firefighters had to put out the blaze. And that it was some time before they could also extract her from the car.

But, again, we still don't know if she has been questioned by police as of Friday, as of yesterday. Josh Campbell at CNN said that police still had not questioned her yet. So, that is going to be the next big step here.

ACOSTA: And an episode from the actress' podcast came out on Friday with some eyebrow-raising comments. What do we know about that?

MELAS: So, she has this podcast that she does with another woman. And hours before this crash, a new episode released. And in it, she talks about drinking alcohol, vodka and wine.


MELAS: She also talks about having a very uniquely bad day, and not really a good week, in general.

Now, we don't know when this episode of her podcast was taped. We have reached out to her representatives to ask, was it done that day or that week? Was she, you know, drinking in this podcast when she references that? In that video right there, you see Anne Heche being taken, you know, after the crash, sort of getting up from the stretcher, flailing her arms in that video that you just saw.

You know, the podcast raises some eyebrows. But, again, we don't know when that was taped. But it's something that many people are talking about.

ACOSTA: And do we know why she was flailing like that on the stretcher? That video is just alarming to see.

MELAS: It's so jarring. But, again, we know that it took authorities some time to extract her from the vehicle, and that it took over 60 firefighters to put that blaze out, in the home and in her car. So, again, obviously, you know, we know she was in critical condition. Now, she's in stable condition. And that she suffered burns.

And we know, from people close to her, that her family and friends are praying for her. But she's still hospitalized. But, again, the next step here, too, is for authorities to finally question her. To find out what happened.

ACOSTA: Yes, we hope she gets better very soon. That is just -- it's very tough to watch. All right, Chloe, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

President Biden is condemning the killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque. Fatal shootings that police believe may be linked. The President tweeted today, he is angered and saddened by the horrific killings and said his administration stands strongly with the Muslim community. The FBI is now helping in the police investigation. The most recent shooting happened on Friday. Two other men were killed in the past two weeks. One was shot to death in November. And police say all the victims were ambushed and shot without any warning.

CNN's Camila Bernal joins me now. This is just -- I mean, this is a very bizarre case. But it sounds like investigators are starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, they're trying to connect the dots. And, look, one of the most concerning things, you mentioned it, it is four Muslim men that were killed here. There are other connections, because police say that at least two of them went to the same mosque. They say that at least two of them were killed in the same area in Southeast New Mexico. And authorities also saying that at least three of them were ambushed. They say they were shot dead without warning. They did not see this coming.

And I want to start with the first incident, the latest one happening on Friday. And authorities say he was a mid-20s man, also Muslim, from south Asia. And they say that he was killed and that they do not know yet the -- or they do know the identity. They're just not letting us know because they say they're still trying to contact the family.

Then, they also mentioned the incidents that happened in the last two weeks. One of them being a 27-year-old man, and the other one being a 41-year-old man. They were killed in the same area around the same time, just about a week apart. And they are connecting the dots here a little bit easier, because they were going to the same mosque and killed in the same area.

And then, finally, they're also going back to November of 2021. They say another Muslim man was killed outside of where he worked. Where he ran a business with his brother. And so, what they're doing here is trying to figure out how these shootings are connected. But also, who is responsible. Authorities have vowed to find the person responsible. And you're seeing more resources. You're seeing local authorities working with federal authorities, as well.

You mentioned the FBI. The special agent in charge is asking the public for help in this case. Here's what he said.


RAUL BUJANDA, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: These senseless crimes can't go on. And the only way we're going to be able to make a difference is if we all work together. We need everyone to reach out, regardless how small that detail you think it might be. Let us have (ph) decipher that piece. Reach out to your local law enforcement. Reach out to APD. Reach out to the district attorney's office. Reach out to the FBI. 1-800-call- FBI.

And this goes out -- this message goes out to every single community, because someone out there might have seen something. Please let us know. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERNAL: And I want to mention one of the victims, Muhammad Hussain, 27. He is being remembered because he worked for the City of Espanola. And the mayor there, just saying that he was a brilliant public servant, saying that he was soft spoken and kind and quick to laugh.

Of course, every single one of the victims here has a story and a family that is grieving. But, really, it is an entire community that is grieving and that is concerned and very worried about who could be next before they catch this killer -- Jim.

ACOSTA: Scary situation there in Albuquerque. All right, Camila Bernal, thank you very much. We should note, officials in Albuquerque are holding a press conference or they're scheduled to hold one in the next hour.


ACOSTA: We'll bring that to you as it happens. We'll be right back.


ACOSTA: A nightmare scenario. Hundreds of miles above of earth, water leaking into an astronaut's helmet, forcing NASA to pause space walks at the International Space Station. Here's CNN's Kristin Fisher.


KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): European Space Agency astronaut, Matthiace 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: 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: Water from the cooling tubes inside Luca Parmitano's spacesuit was leaking into his helmet and he almost drowned.

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

FISHER: It's a nightmare scenario, according to veteran spacewalker and former NASA astronaut, Garrett Reesman, who went on to become the first spacesuit engineer at SpaceX. GARRETT REESMAN, 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: NASA has now stopped all spacewalks at the International Space Station until the Matthiace's faulty spacesuit is returned to earth later this month for an inspection. But even if it's fixed, the underlying problem is that these space suits, or EMUs, are decades old. And there's not many left.

REESMAN: That big white space suit actually has heritage that goes all the way back to Apollos, so pre-1975. The helmet's exactly the same as the helmet that we wore on the Apollo suits.

FISHER: NASA knows it's a problem.

ROBERT CABANA, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, NASA: I think it's critical to have a suit that works for everyone.

FISHER: NASA is now partnering with two commercial companies to develop its next generation space suits, but those likely will not be ready until at least 2025.

REESMAN: And NASA has gotten quite good at keeping these old clunkers running. I think NASA's got a really capable team that 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: Kristin Fisher, CNN, New York.



ACOSTA: Off the Florida Keys this weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued more than 100 Haitian migrants from a small, overloaded sailboat. You can see people jumping into the water and swimming towards a rescue boat. They are now in Border Patrol custody with hundreds of other migrants from Haiti and Cuba also making landfall in the U.S. this weekend.

CNN's Carlos Suarez is following this story from Miami. Carlos, what more are you learning about these migrants and some of these desperate trips to the -- to the seas that they're taking to try to reach it to this country?

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, according to Border Patrol, more than a dozen different ships have been stopped off the Florida Keys since Friday. Just yesterday, a sailboat that had 330 Haitian migrants were stopped off of Key Largo. We're told that at least 113 of them had to be rescued, when they jumped into the ocean. Now, a number of them, we're told, are OK, but two were taken to the hospital.

The remaining group, well, they were transferred onto a Coast Guard Cutter. And, again, at least two of them, we're told, needed help because of dehydration. It is unclear, at this hour, just how many days that sailboat or those folks aboard that sailboat were at sea. However, we're told that a majority of them will be sent back to Haiti.

And, as you said, they are not the only group of migrants trying to get to the U.S. Over the same two-day period from Saturday, Sunday, into today, well, the Coast Guard says that they also intercepted and took into custody 150 Cuban migrants who came ashore in the same area of the Florida Keys -- Jim.

ACOSTA: Just stunning, those images that you're bringing to us, Carlos. All right, Carlos Suarez, thank you very much. We'll stay on top of that. We appreciate it.

And now, it's time to meet this week's CNN hero.


DEBRA VINES, FOUNDER AND CEO, THE ANSWER INC.: (INAUDIBLE.) Being a parent of a child with autism in the 1980s and 1990s was very, very challenging. The support groups that I found, I was the only black woman there. We had a color barrier, income barrier, equity barrier. Period. It was just all types of barriers.

Good morning.

Everything that we provide is a blueprint of what I was missing as a parent. And so, we have (INAUDIBLE) support group. They -- the kids go to their classes. We are a family. And I'm very adamant about educating the community, because people are afraid of what they don't understand. We want to make sure that first responders are trained in how to deal with our children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long has your mom been doing this kind of stuff?

VINES (on camera): Because he's smiling, it makes it a little bit easier. But what if you get ahold to somebody who's not smiling? And they're running around, and they're biting themselves.

(voice-over): Advocacy is a gift. I'm good at it. And it makes me feel so good.



ACOSTA: It's been more than 300 years since the Salem witch trials. And now, the last woman convicted in them has finally been exonerated. All thanks to the work of an eighth-grade teacher and her students. Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was set to be executed for witchcraft in the 1690s but was later spared. However, her name was never cleared.

Fast forward hundreds of years. The teacher, Carrie LaPierre, came across her story and worked with her eighth-grade civics class to petition the Massachusetts legislature to exonerate her. And three years later, Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was officially exonerated. So, put that in the history books

And join CNN as we explore Padagonia's magical and ancient forest. "PADAGONIA: LIFE ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD." Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Austral Parakeets, the southern-most species of parrot on earth. A restless bunch. They flit from tree to tree in flocks up to 15 birds. When they find a good feeding spot, numbers can swell to over 100. Their preferred way to fatten up for the winter, gorging on monkey puzzle pine nuts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In return, the birds spread the seeds far and wide.