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Source: Two-Years Of Alex Jones' Texts Turned Over To 1/6 Committee; Hundreds Of Flights Delayed Or Cancelled After Rough Weekend; Under 60, Vaccinated & Healthy Are In "Pretty Good Place"; U.N. Chief: Shelling Around Ukrainian Nuclear Plant "Suicidal"; 2 Ships With Ukrainian Grain Leave Port, Head To International Markets; Heche Talked About Drinking Vodka In Podcast Posted Before Crash. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired August 08, 2022 - 13:30   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Just into CNN, the January 6th Select Committee has new received two-years-worth of text messages from right-wing conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones.

These texts first came to light when Jones' legal team mistakenly handed them over to the plaintiffs in his defamation trial. That's when Congress got wise to the messages.

Let's get right to CNN senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy, who's here with me.

So explain to me, Oliver, how the January 6th committee got these texts.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, they came to light during that defamation trial last week.

At the time, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, the Sandy Hook parents, said that after he disclosed he obtained these messages, the committee expressed interest in wanting them.

He was inclined to turn them over, barring a ruling from the judge that prevented him from doing so. On Friday, the judge said she was not going to stand in the way between Congress and the text messages.

Now we're learning that they have been turned over by the Sandy Hook plaintiff team to the January 6th committee.

CABRERA: Why did they want these text messages? Talk to us about Alex Jones' role potentially in the events around January 6th.

DARCY: Yes, they're very interested in Alex Jones. This is because he was at the capitol on January 6th. He was seen on camera riling up protesters. He was a big person pushing the idea that the election was potentially stolen from Trump. Obviously, that's not true. And so the committee has expressed significant interest in talking to

Alex Jones. They actually did talk to him but he said on his show that he claimed the Fifth more than 100 times.

Now they're going to see those text messages. And I think a lot more will be illuminated to them because, obviously, Jones was not Cooperating with the committee.

CABRERA: We don't know what was in those text messages, but do we know who he was perhaps texting with?

DARCY: We don't know anything really outside of the fact that those have been turned over to the January 6th committee. But, you know, Alex Jones is a major star in right-wing media.

So it would not be surprising if there are text messages between him and top players in that world, in Trump's orbit. He would boast that he did know about inner workings of the White House and what was going to be happening.

So it's very likely, even possible that he had some contact with Trump's orbit. We'll find out more coming up.

CABRERA: We'll see if there are any new revelations, especially as they return in September and potentially have more hearings, the January 6th committee.

Oliver Darcy, thank you very much.

If you're part of the summer travel surge, you might want to pack extra clothes just for your time at the airport because you might be spending more time there than you want.


The weekend saw thousands of flight delays and hundreds of cancellations. And today not looking great either.

CNN aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean, joins us from Reagan National Airport.

Pete, how many delays and cancellations are we actually talking about and what is causing those problems?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: We're looking at another tough day for flight cancellations, Ana. The FAA is already warning thunderstorms are impacting flights. We're talking New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and Dallas.

We've been averaging about 1,000 flight cancellations a day since Thursday. This really all shows that when bad weather, air traffic control delays strike, airlines cannot keep up. Their staffing models are too tight.

Look at the latest numbers according to flight aware in the past few days. On Thursday, we have 1,200 flight cancellations nationwide. Southwest Airlines on Thursday alone delayed 40 percent of its entire flight schedule for the day.

Things got really bad on Friday. More than 1,600 flight cancellations nationwide. That is the second-worst day for flight cancellations since Memorial Day.

Things got a little better on Saturday, about 600 flight cancellations nationwide. About 900 yesterday.

If you look at the latest numbers, about 500 cancellations so far today. We're talking 2,500 flights delayed, as so many people are rushing back to air travel.

The TSA screened 2.4 million people at airports across the country just yesterday, in August, which is typically a pretty slow month for the airlines.

So there was a lot of pressure on the airlines not only from passengers, but also from transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg. In fact, the federal government just proposed a massive reform in airline refund rules.

If they were in place already -- it will probably take months to be enacted. But if they were in place already, thousands of passengers this weekend would have gotten full refunds in the form of vouchers from their airline that don't ever expire -- Ana?

CABRERA: That's good to know if you are one of those travelers. I just want to note this isn't a problem just happening here in the U.S. It's happening all around the world.

Pete, thank you for bringing us the latest.

Today, more proof those COVID shots offer a big protection. If you are under 60, otherwise healthy and up to date on your vaccinations, you're in good shape for avoiding serious illness or ending up in the hospital.

That's according to new data CNN obtained from New York's largest health care provider.

And CNN medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, has been looking over it and joins us now.

What do the numbers show?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The numbers show how far we've come. I don't know if you remember, but last year, COVID was the leading cause of death for people around 45 to 50 something.

So I mean COVID was a huge cause of death for relatively young people. That is no longer true.

Let's take a look at what these numbers show from Northwell Health. What they show is when they look at the 2,000-ish patients that were there May, June and July, 80 percent of them were over age 60. And 90 percent of them had underlying conditions such as diabetes,

heart disease, hypertension. And vaccination makes a huge difference.

Nearly half of them, patients in the hospital, nearly half of them had not even gotten one shot, which is so hard to believe how people can do that.

But 20 percent had only one or two shots. A third were fully vaccinated and boosted. But it's important to know 78 percent of those were over the age of 65.

So the CDC later this week is expected to ease COVID restrictions.

Now, Ana, you might wonder why we're not referencing CDC data. That's the data we often use. CDC data is not nearly as good as Northwell's data.

That's something the director of the CDC is trying to fix. She's trying to modernize the agency and bring their data back into this century.

CABRERA: Wow, that's hard to believe. Especially after we've been dealing with COVID for two years.


CABRERA: And to say that they don't have enough data capabilities still is kind of maddening.

Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

New warnings of a disaster as fighting comes dangerously close to Europe's biggest nuclear plants. We have the latest on the ground in Ukraine.

And it is a history-making promotion. U.S. Marine Corps General Michael Langley is now the first black four-star general in that military branch's 246-year history. Langley takes command of the nation's military presence in Africa.


President Biden nominated him for the job back in June. And Langley has served with the Marines since 1985 and says he is, quote, "humbled and honored by this opportunity to head up AFRICOM."


CABRERA: Now to the war in Ukraine. The U.N. secretary-general is calling it a suicidal shelling around the largest nuclear reactor in Europe. One strike was very close to containers holding processed fuel.

The energy company says it's a miracle there wasn't a nuclear catastrophe. Russia and Ukraine are blaming each other for the attacks. [13:45:01]

CNN's David McKenzie is in Kyiv for us.

So just how close was this shelling to the nuclear reactors?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, it's very alarming. According to one Ukrainian source, one of the shells landed just several feet away from a fuel storage depot, which wasn't full at the time.

But it speaks to the shelling and the potential impact of that shelling near this and around this extremely large nuclear power site to the south of where I'm standing.

This has for some time been something that people are very concerned about. Since March at least, the Russians have occupied that zone while Ukrainian engineers still run that power plant.

Just across the river there are Ukrainian military positions. Both sides, as you say, accusing each other of the shelling.

But there's potentially a glimmer of hope. The Russian representative to the Atomic Energy Agency just a short time ago telling state media in Russia that they're willing to have inspectors to that site. Just how that will happen and how they can ensure their safety remains to be seen.

But this has been an extremely dangerous few days at that site with potentially very large implications -- Ana?

CABRERA: Let's talk about another important development and a hopeful sign. Two more ships with Ukrainian grain are on their way to the international markets.

You spent a lot of time as a correspondent and covering Africa extensively. How important are these shipments when it comes to the world hunger crisis?

MCKENZIE: They are crucially important. But it could take some time and many more vessels to actually make an impact on the price of grain and the volume of grain getting out of Ukraine.

Just a few weeks ago, we were in Tunisia, which has been hammered by high grain prices as part of a broad impact in North Africa, parts of eastern, the Horn of Africa and southern Africa from this conflict.

The fighting that is happening in the country where I am is affecting large parts of the globe.

So, yes, it's a hopeful sign that this negotiated settlement, negotiated in Turkey between Russia and Ukraine, could allow more vessels to get out.

It's early days still, though. If you project forward, it's not just important now, it's important into the next harvest, should this conflict drag out further -- Ana?

CABRERA: David McKenzie, in Kyiv for us, thank you.

The water is dropping and the body count is rising. More on the latest morbid discovery in Lake Mead.

Plus, a lot of questions and not a lot of answers in the fiery crash involving Anne Heche. Does a now removed podcast from the actress give us any clues?



CABRERA: Flash flooding in Denver turns very ugly. Take a look at this video from last night. Heavy rains left people stranded in their cars in the middle of this highway. Cars are halfway under water, unable to move anywhere.

Thankfully, Denver Fire was able to rescue 29 people from their vehicles and authorities say no injuries were reported.

Lake Mead's receding water levels revealed another set of human remains over the weekend. This is the fourth set of human remains recovered from Lake Mead since May.

Experts don't know how long they've been in there. And Las Vegas police say they are not investigating it as a homicide for now.

Experts warn that as the water continues to drop during this historic drought, more bodies may be discovered.

An episode of Anne Heche's podcast posted hours before her fiery crash is raising serious questions today. In that podcast, she has since taken down, the actress discussed drinking vodka and having a bad day.

To be clear, we don't know when the podcast was recorded. We do know police can't talk to her about the accident because her injuries are so severe.

CNN entertainment reporter, Chloe Melas, joining us now.

Chloe, tell us more about what Heche said in her podcast.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: In this episode of her podcast, Ana, called "Better Together," a new episode dropped just hours before the fiery crash.

And we, again, don't know when it was recorded. But in it, she talks about drinking alcohol, drinking vodka, chasing it with wine, and having a uniquely bad day.

Take a listen.


ANNE HECHE, ACTRESS (voice-over): Today has been a very unique day. I don't know what happened. Sometimes days just suck.

And I don't know if you ever have them, but, you know, some days, Mama says, are just going to be like this. Some days those are no good, very bad days. I'm drinking some vodka and wine.

I drove Atlas to Tennis and I'm a little bit shaken -- whatever that means. It's not a very exciting story. It just (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me up, so I'm drinking vodka and wine.


MELAS: So this episode, Ana, has actually been removed from its Apple landing page.

And I've reached out to Anne Heche's representatives for comment as to when was this recorded. Was she actually drinking during this podcast and why was it removed?

We do know that, as of yesterday, authorities had not yet questioned Anne due to the severity of her condition. She's hospitalized.

A representative for Anne told us in a statement that her condition has been upgraded from critical to stable.

But so many questions. Why was she driving over 90 miles an hour? How did the crash occur? What led to it?

And let's not forget that there was a woman in the home, living there, who was there when Anne's car barreled into her living room.


CABRERA: How is that homeowner doing?

MELAS: So, look, I've reached out to the woman named Lynn Michelle. We haven't heard anything back from her.

We do know that her neighbors have started a GoFundMe. Just a few hours ago, it had raised over $60,000. She say that she lost nearly everything, but she and her pets were able to get out of the home just in time.

CABRERA: Thank you so much, Chloe Melas, for the update.

That does it for us today. Thank you for joining me. I'll be back tomorrow, same time, same place. You can also follow me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera.

Victor picks up the news right after this.