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Texas Shipping Migrants Out of State; Sentences Handed Down in Ahmaud Arbery Case; FBI Investigates Murders of Muslim Men; Senate Democrats Pass Inflation Reduction Act; President Biden Surveys Kentucky Flood Damage. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired August 08, 2022 - 13:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you so much for joining us.

Right now, the president and first lady are in Eastern Kentucky visiting communities devastated by the worst flooding in the state's history. At least 37 people died and thousands remain without power or even running water. You're looking at a briefing happening right now with the president joined by Governor Andy Beshear, where they're getting the latest information on the recovery efforts.

We will bring you the latest from his visit throughout the hour.

Now, this comes one day after Senate Democrats delivered him a landmark when in Washington, passing a $750 billion package targeting health care, taxes, climate. The next step is the House. And they plan to take up the bill on Friday. It's expected to pass again along party lines, just as it did in the Senate.

Once that happens, the White House plans to seize the momentum.


BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, the president will be talking about this and explaining it absolutely to the American people, and what it will look like is trying to explain in very practical terms why this matters for people's lives.

The president will, our entire team will be out making the case. Obviously, right now, we're focused on the last steps in this process, getting the bill through the House and to the president's desk for signature.


CABRERA: Let's go live to the Capitol and CNN's Jessica Dean.

Jessica, there are some wide-reaching provisions in this bill. Lay it out for us.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a lot in this large bill on, Ana. And just looking ahead to what's next, you mentioned it is headed to

the House. That's what comes next for it after Senate Democrats really notched a big victory on something that, frankly, many of them didn't think they would see. They didn't -- certainly didn't think that this package would be as large as it is.

It does contain an enormous amount of money for climate provisions, the largest investment in climate ever to come out of Congress. It's $369 billion. They're hoping to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. There's incentives and tax credits in there for renewable energy.

In terms of health care, they are expanding the Affordable Care Act subsidies for another three years. For the first time ever, Medicare will be able to negotiate some, some drug prices on behalf of its beneficiaries. It's going to cap out-of-pocket expenses for people on Medicare at $2,000.

And there also are those tax provisions to pay for it. Chiefly among them, this corporate minimum tax of 15 percent that's going to apply to the largest corporations in America.

And, Ana, as we look ahead to what comes next for this bill, we have heard from some key House Democrats who perhaps -- remember, when we were -- when this was all happening and could we were covering this months ago, we really saw some factions and fractions within the House Democratic Caucus.

And it sounds like they're more united this time. And it looks like right now that that will pass over in the House and then head over to President Biden for his signature.

CABRERA: A quick follow-up on just one of the significant pieces of this bill, that $35 cap on insulin prices for Medicare. We know Democrats wanted that cap to apply to all insulin prices, but Republicans blocked it.


DEAN: That's right. They stripped it out of the bill. So it would have been a $35 cap on insulin both in the private marketplace for those who had private insurance and also for those on Medicare, but Republicans voting against that.

Now, I will say seven Republicans joining Democrats to vote for that provision, so those seven Republicans voting to keep the cap at $35 for both private market insurance and also Medicare.

But it's worth noting, Ana, that according to CMS, one in three people on Medicare has diabetes. That means 3.3 million Americans on Medicare are using insulin and now that price they're paying every month will be capped at $35.

CABRERA: Jessica Dean, thank you for that reporting.

Let's strip away all the legislative speak now and talk about how this could impact you.

And Rahel Solomon is here with us now for that.

OK, so there are essentially three pillars of this bill, right? There's energy, there's health care, there's tax reform, energy being climate. Also, that was the combination there. So let's start with health care.

What do people need to know?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is going to have a huge impact for what many people pay for not just what's in their medicine Cabinet, but also health care-related costs in general.

So the big thing here is that Medicare will finally be able to negotiate prices, right. So that is also going to look like a $2,000 cap for recipients, as Jessica Dean just pointed out. For those who require insulin, there is that $35 monthly cap.

And for those who are covered under the Affordable Care Act, their premiums are going to be capped at 8.5 percent of their income. That actually comes down from 10 percent. For those out still on Medicare, that's going to have a huge impact for them.


CABRERA: OK, so for this $400 billion in energy programs, there's also tax incentives, like?

SOLOMON: Tax incentives, rebates. I mean, this is a huge part of the legislation.

So it's going to affect everything from whether you can afford to electrify your vehicle to whether you want to and can afford to electrify your home. It's going to affect weatherization, weatherizing your home, solar panels, that sort of thing.

So let's talk about -- overall, it's about $14,000 to electrify your home, right? We know that that's part of the obstacle for a lot of people in terms of the expense. So this bill is hopefully trying to alleviate some of that. So let's say you want to purchase an electric heat pump, water filter. You can get up to $1,800 for that because of this legislation.

An electric stove or an electric clothes dryer, about $840 each. Now, these figures are actually for those who would be considered lower- income households. It changes slightly if you're considered a moderate income. It actually goes down, but you sort of get the range there. You get the idea.

CABRERA: And thousands of dollars in rebates for people who buy electric vehicles.

Finally, this bill is going to raise taxes on corporations. Republicans say this, though, will raise inflation. What do we know?

SOLOMON: Yes, I mean, Republicans are obviously very much opposed to this, but also some business leaders.

So we got a quote, we got a statement from the Business Roundtable, which is a group of top executives from American companies, who said, in part, that they're a bit split about this legislation, saying that, look, the Business Roundtable supports policies, including those in this legislation, that incentivize clean energy technologies and increase oil and gas.

But in terms of those tax hikes, well, "This tax hike would also undermine the competitiveness of America's exporters," so quite a bit of criticism in the business community about this.

CABRERA: No surprise, I suppose.

Thank you, Rahel Solomon.

And we're joined now by the director of the Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media at the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Michael Mann. He's also the author of "The New Climate War."

Michael, good to have you here.

This is the biggest investment in climate policy in U.S. history. And it comes as wildfires, droughts, floods, extreme heat break out across America. We have been reporting on, it seems, like daily now.

Just on Friday, Death Valley saw nearly 70 percent of its annual rainfall in one day, causing a rare flood event seen there in the satellite image. And so, with that backdrop, how big of an impact will this deal have on the climate crisis?

MICHAEL MANN, PENN STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes, thanks, Ana. It's good to be with you.

And there's a lot of bad news. Every day, it seems like there's more bad news about the disastrous impacts that climate change is now having, and we're seeing it play out in real time.

But, here, there's a little bit of good news. This is, by far, the boldest climate legislation we have ever seen, passed the U.S. Senate. And, of course, we expect it to go on to become law. And it doesn't solve the problem. Let's make that clear.

There's still a lot of work that's left to be done. But the provisions in this bill will reduce carbon emissions by about 40 percent by 2030. The target is, we'd like to reduce them by 50 percent by 2030 and get them down to zero by mid-century to prevent a warming of the planet that takes us beyond three degrees Fahrenheit, because that's where we really start to see evermore disastrous climate impacts that start to exceed our adaptive capacity.

We need to keep the warming of the planet within our capacity to adapt. And this legislation will help us do that. The most important thing about it that, of course, it now reestablishes leadership on the part of the United States, and that leadership is essential if we're going to see China and India and other countries to come together to solve this crisis.

CABRERA: I just wonder, when will we feel the effects of this legislation? How quickly will we know whether or not it's working?

MANN: Yes, the climate system, it's like a locomotive. It's got a lot of inertia. So when you slam on the brakes, it doesn't come to a screeching halt.

But what we do know is that, when we bring those carbon emissions to zero, the warming of the planet actually stabilizes within just a few years. So there is a fairly direct and fairly immediate impact of these changes.

Of course, this is just the United States. And where this is really going to have an impact is in spurring other countries to come to the table. And then we get those global reductions in carbon emissions that are necessary if we're to avert catastrophic climate impacts.

CABRERA: So, just last week, China decided to suspend its cooperation with the U.S. on climate. Can the U.S. make the kind of gains intended by this package without China doing its part?

MANN: Well, no, we can't.

But the reality is that this is posturing by China. And it has to do with sort of some of the short-term geopolitical conflicts that we're dealing with. I think it's fairly clear from China's policies that there is a fundamental commitment. In the Glasgow climate summit last year, China has committed to peaking its emissions, to bringing them to zero.


And this is what's most important. Under the Obama administration, where the United States was taking a leadership position, we saw China come to the table. They were decommissioning coal-fired power plants. They were going well beyond their commitments.

Then we had a president in Donald Trump who unilaterally threatened to withdraw from the Paris agreement. That sent a signal to China that they didn't need to be serious either. Now that we're back, we're back in a leadership position this issue, you can expect to see China now begin to ratchet up its own commitments.

CABRERA: What more should the U.S. do? What do you see as the shortcomings of this bill?

MANN: Yes, so we didn't get everything that climate advocates would like to see. This was probably the best bill that we could get with a 50/50 Senate.

And what that means is that, if we want to see more aggressive climate action, we're going to need to see a larger majority in Congress of climate-forward politicians. And, right now, it's pretty clear that's just one party. There's one party, the Democratic Party, that is behind climate action. There's another, the Republican Party, that's completely against it.

And so we want to get those reductions down to -- up to 50 percent; 40 percent isn't enough. And this bill still provide some incentives to the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, leases to drill oil, pipeline construction.

And so if we're really going to get those reductions, those 50 percent reductions by 2030 that we need, we're going to need more aggressive legislation. This is a great start. But if people who care about the climate turnout in these midterm elections, then we will have the sort of majority that gets us some of those even greater actions.

CABRERA: Or the shifting in mind-set of some of those Republicans who are leaders in this country.

MANN: True. Absolutely.

CABRERA: Professor Michael Mann, I really appreciate your time. Thank you very much for joining us.

MANN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Sitting on edge, as the FBI investigates the shooting deaths of four Muslim men. Officials say these killings in Albuquerque, New Mexico, could be connected. And they're asking the public to help find this car.

Plus, hundreds of flights canceled, thousands delayed, as the chaotic summer travel season rages on. What's behind this mess and what is being done to fix it?

And the head of the U.N. is calling it suicidal shelling, new attacks around a massive nuclear plant in Ukraine sparking new warnings of a potential disaster.



CABRERA: Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have a possible lead in what they believe are four separate, but connected killings of Muslim men.

They're asking for help identifying this car, a gray Volkswagen, potentially a Jetta or Passat. The mayor tells us right now finding this sedan is their best bet.


TIM KELLER (D), MAYOR OF ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO: We know this vehicle has been connected to the scenes for a couple of these incidents.

And we're asking everyone, especially, obviously, in our community down here, to really help us track this down. It's a relatively unique vehicle. And so we know there's roughly 100 of these in Central New Mexico. And so it's just a question of time and identification of finding this vehicle and then, of course, connecting the dots further to bring justice to what's happened.


CABRERA: So, here's what we know. The four victims are all Muslim men shot and killed within blocks of each other.

The most recent shooting happened on Friday. The first was in November of last year.

CNN's Josh Campbell is following this investigation.

Josh, investigators say at least two of these killings and potentially all four could be connected. All the victims, again, are Muslim. Are there other links?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, investigators are focusing on the religion of the victims, as you mentioned, the locations where the shootings occurred, and, Ana, the method of the attack.

These ambush-style shootings of Muslim men in Albuquerque have certainly alarm the city's Muslim community and triggered warnings for mosque-goers, as police investigate how these shootings might be linked.

And just to walk you through these horrific events, on November 7, police say that Afghanistan native Mohammad Ahmadi was shot and killed. Late last month, Aftab Hussein from Pakistan died after being shot. One week ago, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain of Pakistan killed in a similar style of shooting.

And then, this past Friday, Naeem Hussain, who had migrated to the U.S. as a refugee, he was killed. He had just become a U.S. citizen last month. And hours before he was killed, police say that he was actually attending funerals for two of the other victims.

Now, authorities have not yet come out with any description of a suspect in the killings, but they say they are seeking information on this vehicle of interest that you mentioned that may be connected to the four attacks, again, this dark silver sedan they believe to be a Volkswagen with tinted windows. We know that the FBI has set up an online portal for residents to upload any videos or images which might help authorities investigate the killings.

A Crime Stoppers reward of $20,000 has also been announced, so a lot of investigating yet to be done. But even as that investigation unfolds, members of the Muslim community are describing the fear that has gripped the city as the shooter remains at large, Ana.

CABRERA: We know that security has been beefed up in many of the Muslim community locations.

Josh Campbell, we know you're going to stay on top of this investigation. Thank you for that reporting. Sentencing today for three Georgia men convicted of federal hate

crimes in the killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was just out for a jog when he was murdered.

Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory, and William "Roddie" Bryan were all convicted of murder last year in November in state court. Earlier this year, they were also found guilty in federal court of interference of rights and attempted kidnapping.

CNN's Ryan Young is outside the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia.


And, Ryan, the first of those sentences came down this morning. What happened there?


It was life in prison for Travis McMichael. And, right now, right off- camera, we're listening to what's going on in court as we speak, because his father, Greg McMichael, is inside that courtroom right now getting ready to hear his sentence.

I will tell you, though, Travis McMichael's attorney tried to get him out of the state prison system, tried to argue that he would be safer if he was in federal prison, because what he was basically saying is, he believes that his client's life is in jeopardy. The judge wasn't hearing that and basically said, he will go to a state prison.

But it was something that you didn't see there, which, of course, we can't show you because it's federal court. And that means there's no cameras and there's no audio allowed outside to see the family of Ahmaud Arbery turn and look at Travis McMichael in the face and basically say, you stole someone that we love from us. It was a very powerful moment.

And at that point, Wanda Cooper-Jones even talked about the fact she thought maybe Travis McMichael may say he is sorry. That did not happen. He did not make a statement. He sat there and pretty much had a blank stare on his face after family member after family member would address him there in court.

In fact, listen to Wanda Cooper-Jones after the court case and after the sentencing talk to us about what she was feeling on this day.


WANDA COOPER-JONES, MOTHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: And for Travis to make a suggestion that he wanted to do his time in federal prison, whether he goes into federal or state prison, it wasn't going to bring Ahmaud home.

And that's the pain that we live with each and every day. I'm very proud to say that we finally got justice for Ahmaud on the federal level. I am pleased that they will do their time in the state penitentiary. (END VIDEO CLIP)

YOUNG: Yes, Ana, over and over, we keep hearing about fear, how Travis McMichael feared for his life.

Ahmaud Arbery's family turned that around and basically say he was in fear of his life when he went for a jog one day and then was chased by three unknown men, and ultimately shot in the middle of the street after being cornered, cornered like a rat. Ahmaud's aunt even said something that stood out to me. She hopes that he's able to run free in heaven.


It really stands out to you when you think about watching that video over and over again, as we have. His family has been through a lot. And they say they're not done, Ana.

They plan to be here for all the next court cases that are headed our way.

CABRERA: They want justice.

Ryan Young in Brunswick, Georgia, thank you.

Dozens of migrants are arriving in New York City, not because it's where they wanted to go or because it's close to family. This is about politics, it appears. They're being sent from Texas because the governor there says President Biden's immigration policies are causing a surge in migrants arriving in his state, overwhelming communities there.

And so he's sending them elsewhere, namely to Democrat-led states and cities.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is following what's happening here in New York with the arrival of dozens of migrants in this city over the weekend. New York's mayor saying some of these migrants are not happy with coming here, right?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's the latest development here, Ana.

If you remember going back as far as April, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had announced his plans to bus migrants from the Lone Star State, basically also what we have seen from the state of Arizona, to parts of the Northeast, Washington and as of this Friday here in New York City, and he said that that would be offered on a voluntary basis, only those migrants that have already been processed by the Department of Homeland Security who want to board these buses for a ride to the Northeast.

However, yesterday and as recent as this morning, New York City Eric -- Mayor Eric Adams said that he's had an opportunity to speak to some of those recent arrivals, who claimed that they were forced to board these buses. CABRERA: So what happens now? How are they being cared for here?


ERIC ADAMS (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, NY: Cities where they have families, and they just packed them on a bus without any direction.

And we learned that many people had to be reticketed. They wanted to go somewhere else. But they just specifically targeted New York, they being the governor of Texas.


SANDOVAL: And this is a potential game-changer. So I reached out to Texas Governor Greg Abbott's office and just in the last few minutes actually responded with a statement, a representative from the governor, saying that these migrants willingly chose to go to New York City, having signed a voluntary consent waiver available in multiple languages upon boarding that they agreed on the destination.

So that's really what the governor is saying, Ana. We saw 14 arrive on these buses yesterday, in addition to the 50 which was the first bus that arrived from the Lone Star State on Friday.

CABRERA: So what happens to them now? How is New York caring for them?

SANDOVAL: And that's where it really gets even more complicated. For those who did not intend to arrive in New York City or this is not at least their final destination, there is assistance that's being offered to them by the city of New York.

In fact, it was interesting to actually see some New York City cabs at Port Authority ready to provide some rides, the taxi unit made up of well over 95 percent immigrants. So that's certainly an interesting angle.


But, at the same time, you also have those who may decide to stay here. And that is what may further complicate the sheltering system in place here in New York City. You have an increase in evictions. You have a homeless crisis as well that they're trying to please people.

And now you have, as of last Monday, about 4,000 asylum seekers who have turned to New York City's sheltering system. So what you're hearing from city officials here is, we are -- the city is certainly welcoming of immigrants. However, they would like to see more coordination with Governor Greg Abbott, which may be really hard to get, and at the same time help from the White House as well.

CABRERA: But what is the governor, Greg Abbott, saying? I mean, yes, he's saying they want to come. But what is he saying in terms of explaining why he's sending immigrants here?

Is this really just about trying to score political points or making a political point?

SANDOVAL: Yes, it's not necessarily who wants to be taken up here or brought up here to New York City. But it's what.

And in this case, it certainly is politics, when you hear from critics of the Abbott administration, who says this is basically political theater, a stunt. And many of these migrant families that, again, have been already processed by the Department of Homeland Security and free to travel into the United States until they finally get their day in court are basically getting a free ride to cities like Washington and like New York City.

Here's some of the governor's comments on FOX News as he explains why he says he's having to do this.

Actually, we should mention, as we may work to get that a little later, he does maintain that it is his plan to hold the Biden administration accountable. He says it is his plan to take the border to places like Washington, D.C., and like New York City as well.

So that's what he maintains as a reason for this. But it is certainly drawing some criticism, and not just from Democrats, but from Republicans as well. The Texas emergency officials are the ones who are funding these rides. So these are taxpayer-funded...

CABRERA: Dollars, yes.

SANDOVAL: ... rides for these migrants that are making their way now to Washington, D.C., and, as of this Friday, here to New York City.

CABRERA: OK, we will see what happens next.

Polo Sandoval, thank you.

SANDOVAL: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Delays and cancellations turning U.S. airports into massive waiting rooms.

Why can't the airlines keep up with demand?

Pete Muntean is on it.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: I'm here live at Reagan National Airport, Ana.

And 10 -- we have seen thousands of cancellations on average over the last few days. We will explain why airlines are not out of the woods just yet.