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FBI Searches Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago Residence In Florida; Ukraine's President Accuses Russia Of "Nuclear Blackmail"; Russia's Fighting On Ukraine Takes Especially Harsh Toll On Children; Taiwan Responds To Chinese Military Drills Near Island; Gaza Ceasefire Between Israel And Islamic Jihad Holding. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired August 09, 2022 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour on CNN NEWSROOM, stunning and unprecedented. FBI agents executed a warrant and searched the Florida home of former President Donald J. Trump.

Who's playing chicken with Europe's largest nuclear power plant, with Kyiv and Moscow accusing each other of targeting the facility?

And Haiti's choice, stay and risk being killed by criminal gangs or hope for a better future and leave and risk drowning at sea.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: In unprecedented move, which also appears to be an escalation by the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI agents have executed a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago, the Florida home of former President Donald Trump.

According to a number of sources, Donald Trump is under investigation for allegedly mishandling presidential documents, including classified information.

The former president, though said the raid was politically motivated and complained about FBI agents breaking into his safe. Other Sources tell CNN federal agents left carrying boxes filled with items seized during the search.

We have more now from CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Former President Trump is now confirming that the FBI executed a search warrant on his primary residence at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida on Monday. We are told that search warrant was tied to that investigation into whether or not he mishandled potentially classified information when he took documents with him when he left the White House after losing the election to President Biden.

We are told this is an investigation that has been underway for several months including into about 15 boxes that had been taken to Mar-a-Lago and Trump in a statement when he confirmed that this has had happened, referred to this as a raid by the FBI, said it was announced and that they broke into a safe that he had, which I'm told is a safe that was located in his office at Mar-a-Lago.

Of course, what investigators took with them remains to be seen that we are told they did take some materials following this search warrant being executed on Monday.

The Justice Department is not commenting. And we are told that President Biden was unaware beforehand that this search warrant was going to be executed.

But it is remarkable for a former president's property to be searched by the FBI tied to this investigation, again, into those classified documents and whether or not what exactly they secured from the former president's safe or his office remains to be seen.

But it is a dramatic escalation into this investigation that we knew it spanned how he handled classified information, and of course remains to be seen where it ends up, though the former president was not happy saying that he believed it was a politically motivated search that happened on his property, comparing it to the days of Watergate.


VAUSE: With us now from Los Angeles is law professor and host of the Passing Judgment podcast, Jessica Levinson, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, so Eric Trump, he was with his father, with Donald when word came of the search by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago. Here's what he said happened.


ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: To have 30 FBI agents, actually more than that, descend on Mar-a-Lago give absolutely, you know, no notice, go through the gate, start ransacking an office, ransacking a closet, you know, they broke into a safe, he didn't even have anything in the safe. I mean, give me a break. And this is coming from what? The National Archives?


VAUSE: None of that sounds out of the ordinary. And as for the National Archives what it actually does. This is from their website: In a democracy, records belong to the people. Records help us claim our rights and entitlements, hold our elected officials accountable for their actions and document our history as a nation. So, why would the Department Justice take this action? Potentially how serious is this? How far would the authorization have been?

LEVINSON: Oh, to the very top. I think this is extremely serious. And let's be clear, what's happening right now, what we're seeing play out is a legal process, not a political process.

So, as much as their claims here that this is a witch hunt, let's talk about what's actually had to happen. A federal law enforcement officer has had to swear under oath in an affidavit that there's probable cause of two things, a federal crime and evidence of that federal crime where they want to execute the search warrant, in this case, Mar-a-Lago.


Then, a federal judge, a magistrate judge has to independently look at this and decide whether or not to give the go ahead.

All of this is extremely serious and everybody understands that when it comes to this particular search warrant, obviously, there will be many eyes scrutinizing this. I think everybody dots their i's crosses their t's.

So, what are we specifically talking about? It's exactly what you said, John, these are the people's documents. These are not private documents. These don't belong to Donald Trump or even former President Trump, they belong to us.

And to the extent that they're classified, that means they're sensitive national security information. And so, we may not be able to see that information in order to protect us, but it doesn't mean it belongs to somebody else.

VAUSE: One of the multiple White House press secretaries during Trump's time in office was Stephanie Grisham and she spoke to CNN a little earlier, here she is.


STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We were not a White House that followed the rules. And I will tell you that handling classified information was not something that was really pressed upon us on a daily basis or weekly or monthly.


VAUSE: She also talked about Donald Trump, you know, carelessly throwing documents away, leaving them in his pocket, not taking great care with this information. That seems careless, not criminal. So legally, does that matter? And it seems that the search at Mar-a-Lago would indicate this is about more than a few classified documents casually tossed away.

LEVINSON: I think the second part is the answer to the first part, which is this is about more than a few documents. So, think about the average person who may be on their way out the

door of a job takes you know, a pen or a stapler. This is about taking client secrets. This is about something much more serious.

And as you alluded to in the question, I think there's a chance and we don't know for sure this is really where we're making educated guesses. There's a chance that this is about more than even the Federal Records Act. This is about more than taking a classified information.

One of the things that we can be asking ourselves is what changed in the 18 to 20 months since basically we all became aware that these documents were not handled properly? Were they for instance, and this is a question, it's a real question, it's not an allegation, where they for instance passed to a third party?

There seems to me that there is more there than what we have already known about the mishandling -- alleged mishandling of the documents.

VAUSE: Here's part of the reaction from the 45th president. What is the difference between this and Watergate? Where operatives broke into the Democratic National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.

So, what's the difference here besides everything?

LEVINSON: Where to begin? Well, first of all, who executed the search warrant? The FBI. Who chose the head of the FBI? Donald Trump. What about the Department of Justice? Were they following President Biden? The Biden administration found out when we all did because the Department of Justice is an independent agency, it's an independent investigation that they're conducting.

What about the judge who had to sign off here? There's a federal judge. We don't know who that judge is, who nominated that judge to the bench.

I mean, I don't really even know where to begin in terms of the differences other than that was a crime, and this is an investigation into a potential crime.

VAUSE: Well put. Jessica, thank you. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.

LEVINSON: Thank you.

VAUSE: Ukraine is one of the few countries in the world which has experienced a nuclear meltdown firsthand. And now officials there are warning of another potential nuclear disaster.

After weekend shelling and rocket fire came dangerously close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, the U.N. Secretary General condemned fighting around the facility on Monday, he call it suicidal.

Ukraine state energy company wants a demilitarized zone around the plant, which has been under Russian control since March while Ukrainian technicians continue working there. Both countries have blamed the other for the attacks. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of nuclear blackmail.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are actively informing the world about Russian nuclear blackmail about the shelling and mining of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. There are already appropriate reactions from the international community, but it is necessary to speed up actions in response.


VAUSE: New surveillance video shows Russian military vehicles driving inside these Zaporizhzhia complex. Moscow says its troops are there for protection. Several Western and Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of using the plant as a nuclear shield for its troops.


Joining me now, Mariana Budjeryn, a Research Associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center. Thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: OK. So, regardless of whether it's the Russians or the Ukrainians who are selling this nuclear facility, the U.N. Secretary General made the point the consequences are pretty much the same. Here he is.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECURITY-GENERAL: Any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing, and I hope that those attacks will end.


VAUSE: With regard though to the threats specifically to the plants reactor from an artillery strike or a missile strike, this part of the facility is reinforced with steel and concrete, it's built to withstand a huge impact. Is the risk of a catastrophic reactive breach here fairly low?

BUDJERYN: It is not low, it is not low at all in under the conditions of a full scale military operation as we are seeing right now around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Of course, there are very stringent and robust security systems and measures that have been put in place, these indeed are, you know, complex industrial facilities, their nuclear facilities, we generally nuclear operators make sure that there are plenty of safety and security provisions, but none of them -- none of them were designed with a full scale war in mind. And so, sustain shelling, sustain bombardment, sustain rocket, a fire can breach these reinforce containment structures.

In addition, some of the more vulnerable parts of the nuclear operation are the cooling systems and the power lines that lead to the reactor, to the cooling systems that keep that reactor core at a certain temperature and prevent it from getting heated up and melting down.

VAUSE: I always thought that the actual reactor pod though could withstand the impact of say a small -- you know, the commercial airliner hitting it, it would still be intact to some degree.

BUDJERYN: That is -- that is certainly the intention we have not really tested these facilities for that kind of impact. We haven't fortunately not had that.

But again, should they the cooling system that keeps the reactor core operating at a safe levels, should that fail due to the loss of off- site electricity? And we've seen that happen, the loss of electricity to reactor number four it seems, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been lost, the reactor has been shut down, there are backup systems on side in order to kind of be a stopgap until the power lines are repaired.

But again, under the conditions of a full scale war, we cannot guarantee, nobody can guarantee that these lines will be repaired, that there's enough diesel fuel to keep the diesel generators -- backup generators running.

And so, this is a very active, very hot nuclear fuel inside the reactor core. If it melts down and there's a risk of explosion, it can tear through that containment chamber.

VAUSE: It also seems that there's a -- there's a combination of factors at play here. There is the ongoing military, you know, fighting, the artillery shelling, the missile strikes in and around the nuclear power plant.

There's also the ongoing maintenance issues, which seems to be in question right now, there is a lot of risk there, that you know, the facility is not being maintained to an adequate standard. You combine all this together. And that's why there is a sound growing concern of some kind of high risk nuclear meltdown or disastrous.

BUDJERYN: Absolutely. And we're talking about kind of the technological parts of the problem. But there's a very, very salient human dimension. There are a number, there's hundreds of people, highly trained specialists that are operating these facilities that are not easily replaceable. They're working under duress, they're working under military administration, under occupation.

It is safely to assume that these troops and the commanders have very little idea how to safely operate a nuclear power plant. These people are working long shifts, and should anything happen even perhaps not on any grand scale, but any kind of nuclear accident. Think about the relief workers, think about ways to mitigate the

consequences of any kind of nuclear accident in those conditions. They're pretty much nonexistent. You can't evacuate people, you can't get parts in, you can't get supplies, and you can't get relief -- any kind of relief aid.

So, that would be a force multiplier for any kind of accident that might happen in Zaporizhzhia.

VAUSE: Mariana Budjeryn, thank you so much. We appreciate you being with us.


BUDJERYN: Thank you.

VAUSE: The U.S. is stepping up military and financial aid for Ukraine on Monday announcing another $4.5 billion in funding for Ukrainian government to maintain essential functions.

Separately, the Defense Department announced a $1 billion package of weapons and security assistance. Officials say it's the largest delivery since Russia launched its invasion from the Pentagon.


COLIN KAHL, U.S. UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR POLICY: This is the largest single drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment utilizing this authority to date. The package provides a significant amount of additional ammunition, weapons and equipment, the types of which the Ukrainian people are using so effectively to defend our country.


VAUSE: The assistance from the Pentagon includes thousands of artillery rounds, rockets and other ammunition. U.S. will also be sending medical supplies and armored medical treatment vehicles too.

It's impossible to know the total Russia's war is taking on Ukrainian children. Authorities say more than 360 children have been killed by Russian tech so far. But the numbers simply don't tell the entire story. Even survivors don't fully understand how the war has affected them. And a warning our report now from Jason Carroll contains some graphic images.


JASON CARROLL, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Serhii Sorokopud is still healing from his injuries, the deep scars on his back and leg permanent reminders of his story of survival.

Sometimes I feel pain, he says. He took us to the place behind his school where he says he was standing in line for food last March when there was an explosion and he was hit by shrapnel.

It was so scary, he says. First, there was a strong blow to the back. I fell. I couldn't move. Serhii explained that at the time of the blast, his village located about two hours outside of Kyiv, was occupied by Russians.

He says they dragged me to the Russian medical center, they gave me first aid, then he says the Russians took him to Belarus for treatment, where he stayed for two months. The 14-year-old had no cell phone, no way to contact his parents. His mother had no idea what had become of her son.

It cannot be described in words when you don't know where your child is, she says. I cried day and night.

Serhii found his way home, only after a doctor in Belarus posted information about him on social media and his family spotted him. She says we are happy that he came back and we're all together.

Sadly, there are many stories about Ukrainian children that have been injured during this conflict. According to Ukrainian government database, more than 700 children have been injured during the conflict so far, and more than 360 have died.

Those tracking the numbers say they're likely even higher, given that there is less known about the fate of children in Ukrainian territory now occupied by Russia.

We don't even know the exact number yet, she says.

Counted among Ukraine's injured children is Katerina Volkova's 7-year- old daughter Xenia.

KATERINA VOLKOVA, INJURED IN RUSSIAN MISSILE STRIKE: She is probably much stronger than some of the adults in terms of how she's coping with this.

CARROLL: This video showing rescuers pulling Xenia out from underneath the rubble of what was their apartment in Kyiv in June. Her father killed in the Russian missile strike, her mother trapped under a slab of concrete for five hours.

VOLKOVA: At the beginning, I was thinking about just so that it could stop and I could die.

CARROLL: Both share the scars from their experience, the psychological impact on someone so young still unclear.

VOLKOVA: She is shy but she's saying, yes, it's so-so and that it's hard for her. I'm not sure that we adults emotionally understand what is happening. So --

CARROLL: Thankfully, Xenia is back to gymnastics with her friends. Her mother says it helps her heal and for a short while forget.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Kyiv.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN, let the games, war games it is, continue after days of military exercises ordered by Mainland China. Now, Taiwan's military holds live fire artillery drills.

And later this hour, we have the latest from Gaza. The truce between Israel and Islamic Jihad is holding after the worst fighting.



VAUSE: Welcome back. After days of Chinese military drills near Taiwan, the self-governing island has launched live fire artillery drills of its own. Taiwan's defense ministry says these drills are regular exercises and we're not in response to Beijing's war games.

All this nearly a week after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's high stakes visit to Taipei.

More now from Taiwan's Foreign Minister Speaking to CNN's Will Ripley.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As Taiwan was lighting up landmarks for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China was lighting up the skies and seas around the self-governing democracy. A democracy in danger of a Chinese takeover if Beijing's communist rulers get their way.

Pelosi was in Taiwan less than 24 hours, leaving behind a crisis some say she helped create.

Was there any concern here in Taipei about the timing of this and whether it might provoke some sort of reaction from China?

JOSEPH WU, TAIWAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER: We knew that China always reacted badly whenever we have good friends coming to visit us. The Chinese government cannot dictate who can come and who cannot come and they cannot dictate Taiwan who can be our friends or who we should make friends with.

RIPLEY: But what if China goes further as a result of this visit or using this visit as an excuse? Do the benefits outweigh the risks for Taiwan?

WU: One is what China is doing is unwarranted. And what it is doing is upsetting the peace and stability in the Western Pacific. And it's something that should not be welcomed by the international community.

RIPLEY: Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tells CNN, China's war games are aimed at isolating this island. Pelosi, the most powerful politician to visit in 25 years.

RIPLEY: Is Taiwan in more danger today than it was before Nancy Pelosi's visit? WU: China has always been attacking Taiwan for years. And it's getting more serious in the last few years. And it's always been that way. Whether, Speaker Pelosi visit Taiwan or not, the Chinese military threat against Taiwan has always been there.

RIPLEY: What do you believe China's motivation is and do you think that their timeline has changed?

WU: China's motivation as I said a little bit earlier, it's not going to end in Taiwan. They claim East China Sea, the claim South China Sea, they work very hard to go into the Pacific. Their influence in South Asia and Africa, even in Latin America is unprecedented these days, and therefore, it has a global ambition.

RIPLEY: Ambition driven by China's most powerful leader since Mao. Xi Jinping on track to become president for life with a burning desire to unify with Taiwan by force, if necessary.

RIPLEY: Has Taiwan's democratic system ever been in more danger than it is today?

WU: I can tell you that Taiwan is more resilient than before. Look at Taiwan these days. You know, China is trying to impose trade sanctions against Taiwan, trying to attack Taiwan from monetary or non-monetary aspect. But the way go -- the life goes on here in Taiwan.

RIPLEY: Should people in Taiwan be more worried?


WU: If you ask me, I worry a little bit.

RIPLEY: What do you worry about?

WU: I worry that China may really launch a war against Taiwan. But what it is doing right now is trying to scare us and the best way to deal with it to show to China that we are not scared.

RIPLEY: He calls China's military threat more serious than ever. Taiwan's warning to the world, the danger does not stop here.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


VAUSE: The ceasefire between Israel and the militant group Islamic Jihad in effect, and apparently holding fuel and other supplies are once again flowing to Gaza.

Over the weekend, Israel launched what he calls a pre-emptive strikes on Islamic Jihad targets despite the truce, the U.N. describes the escalation as deeply worrying.

CNN's Hadas Gold has details now reporting from the Israel Gaza border.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For nearly 2-1/2 days, Israeli airstrikes and Islamic Jihad rockets shattered the common Gaza in southern Israel. The conflict starting Friday when Israel preemptively struck Islamic Jihad targets attacking what it said were concrete threats for militants.

Shortly after, the sirens began to wail in Israel, and the Iron Dome aerial defense system began its work, intercepting nearly all the incoming rocket fire.

In Gaza though, there are no sirens, the Ministry of Health there saying 44 people were killed and more than 300 injured in the weekend violence.

15 of them children, including 5-year-old Alaa Qaduom, killed in one of Israel's opening salvos.

Israel insists nearly all those killed in their airstrikes were militants and released video it said showed that an explosion in Jabalia, in which four children were among seven killed was caused by a failed rocket launch by militants.

By Sunday night, Islamic Jihad launched more than one thousand rockets and Israel had struck more than 140 targets in Gaza, as eviction mediators managed to broker a ceasefire, but not before a final volley of airstrikes and rockets, both sides as usual declaring victory.

Israel highlighting the deaths of two militant commanders saying it had wiped out the top security brass of the Islamic Jihad. While the militant group said they confronted the Israeli aggression with strength.

ZIYAD AL-NAKHALAH, ISLAMIC JIHAD IN PALESTINE (through translator): Today after the clashes stopped and the fire stopped, we saw a clear scene, the Islamic Jihad movement is still strong and stable and even more powerful.

GOLD: The ceasefire coming just in time, the already precarious humanitarian situation in Gaza reaching a near breaking point. Border closures meant the enclaves only power station had run out of fuel, causing massive electricity shortages.

But by Monday, the trucks were rolling into Gaza again, the fragile normalcy or what passes for it returning.

Hadas Gold, CNN along the Israeli Gaza border.


VAUSE: The recent murder of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico has left many living in fear and others leaving the state. That's according to local Muslim leaders.

Three were killed in just a two week period. The fourth victim was fatally shot on Friday. Police say all were ambushed and authorities have not named a suspect. They believe that the killings may be connected. The brother of one victim is speaking out.


MUHAMMAD IMTIAZ HUSSAIN, BROTHER OF MUHAMAAD AFZAAL HUSSAIN: I'm scared to go outside of my apartment. I'm scared to sit in my balcony. I'm scared to go pick something in my car. My kids do not allow me even to step out of my apartment. They said dad, it's scary.


VAUSE: Police would like information about this vehicle, saying it's a vehicle of interest that might be connected to the killings and are asking for the public's help. The dark gray or silver Volkswagen photos, tinted windows.

Still to come here on CNN, police in Haiti waging a daily battle for control against gangs who are brazen and well-armed. Nick Paton Walsh rides along with the Haitians.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This kind of intense violence that so many sites when they talk about the (INAUDIBLE) spiral towards collapse.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.


Haiti, spiraling deeper into crisis. The country's facing skyrocketing inflation, gas shortages and hunger as gangs take control of much of the capital.

CNN's international security editor, Nick Paton Walsh, rode along with Haitian SWAT teams in Port-au-Prince as they attempt to wrest the territory back from the gangs.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): The descent into the abyss in Haiti is fastest here. The one certainty, is when the police SWAT team we are with cross into gang territory, they will take fire.


GRAPHIC: They're shooting! They're shooting!

WALSH (voice-over): It is now a blunt war for control of the capital. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

GRAPHIC: Where are they shooting from?

WALSH (voice-over): The police need to prove they can be here. The gangs, the police cannot.

And it is ordinary citizens who are caught in between. Here, a passenger on a civilian bus that was hit in the street.


GRAPHIC: Take the injured people to the hospital. Make sure you take them to the hospital with the armored vehicle. You guys are close to there.

WALSH (voice-over): In the days before, police said they'd rescued six hostages in this same area and killed a leader of the 400 Mawozo gang.

The police struggled to hold ground, so the gangs, whose currency is kidnapping and drugs, are gaining far too much. Especially right here.


WALSH (voice-over): Rounds hit the armored vehicle. They think they see where the gunmen are.


GRAPHIC: The building that says "SMS." The yellow and red one!


GRAPHIC: Loudspeaker: "Get away! You're too exposed! It's dangerous!"

WALSH (voice-over): They run, but not like it's their first time under fire, perhaps even this day.


GRAPHIC: As soon as we get to that point, anything that moves, light it up!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move, move, move, move! Move! Move!

WALSH (voice-over): They slide back. Perhaps the gangs have fled down the alley.

WALSH: It's this kind of intense violence that so many cite when they talk about Haiti's spiral towards collapse.

WALSH (voice-over): The firepower they bring doesn't, in itself, change who's in control. Gangs able to block main roads at will with trucks.


WALSH (voice-over): And it requires a major operation to clear them.

Gangs now often match or outgun the police. They have a bulldozer, too, demolishing rivals' houses in one area, Cite Soleil.

Locals fled at night during ten days of clashes in July that left over 470 dead, injured or missing, said the U.N., as the G9 gang expanded control, burning and demolishing.

Those who survived fled to nights (ph) here, where a mix of flies and rain stop them from even sleeping.



GRAPHIC: They burned my house in Cite Soleil and shot my husband seven times. I can't even afford to see him at the hospital. Down here the children are starving.

I have four kids, but my first is missing and I can't find him. I looked for him everywhere but can't find him.


GRAPHIC: My mother and my father have died. My aunt saved me. I want to go to school, but it was torn down.

WALSH (voice-over) To see where acute desperation can lead, we travel to what's left of the government rarely treads. Don't be fooled by the beauty. There is no paradise here, only hunger, heat, trash and the business of leaving.

Traffickers boat out to the Bahamas; Cuba; Florida, if you're lucky. And while these places are sending Haitians back in record numbers, the U.S. Coast Guard is also stopping four times as many this year as last. These exits are what Johnny arranges.

JOHNNY, MIGRANT SMUGGLER (through translator): If we die, we die. If we make it, we make it. I'm the one who buys the boat. It can cost up to $15,000. We are hoping to get 250 people for the next trip, because the boat is big.

WALSH (voice-over): Not everyone made on the last trip three months ago.

JOHNNY (through translator): The boat had an engine problem. Water got inside of the boat. We called for help, but it took too long. Twenty- nine people died in that trip.

WALSH (voice-over): These aren't people who usually share their trade secrets, but maybe now they're relaxed as the authorities are busy.

The boat is aging, scraps of net plugging holes, engines not fixed yet. But this is where Johnny hopes 250 people will huddle, maybe as early as next week.

WALSH: Not really something you want to be in on dry land, let alone out at sea for days.

WALSH (voice-over): One man tells us why he saved for a year to get into here.

"I graduated and work as a teacher," he says, "but it did not work out. Now I am driving a motorcycle every day in the sun and the dust. How will I be able to take care of my family when I have one? I'm not afraid. I will be eaten by a shark or make it to America."

A hope so remote, it could only exist here, where they say the choice is between fire and water. Even if all day, every day, already feels like drowning.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

VAUSE: Hot, dry conditions are tightening their grip on Europe, where some countries are experiencing their most severe drought in decades. We'll have more on that after the break.


VAUSE: Around the world, they're mourning the loss of both singer and actress, Australia's Olivia Newton-John. This was the scene Monday in Los Angeles, where several people put flowers on her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Her husband says the Grammy Award winner died Monday at her home in California. Over the years, she felt -- she faced a number of bouts with cancer.

She was one of the world's biggest popstars of the '70s and '80s, with hits like "I Honestly Love You" and "Physical" but may best be remembered for the role that shot her to stardom, playing Sandy in "Grease."




VAUSE: Her costar in "Grease," John Travolta, paid tribute on social media, saying, "My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much."

Heavy rainfall in the South Korean capital is being blamed for at least seven deaths. Authorities say at least six people are still missing.

Damaged and abandoned cars are littering the streets of Seoul. Hundreds have been forced to flee the flooding. Gyms and schools now being used as temporary shelters.

And in Europe, where severe drought is only getting worse, more than half of European land is currently under a drought warning or the most severe alert level. That's according to the European Drought Observatory.

Drought conditions have been hurting energy production, as well as damaging crops.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is with us, tracking the very latest on the drought.

I guess the question is here, when does this stuff break? Does it get any better? And when, you know, will it stay any better?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, I wish we could see a prolonged, persistent pattern here that brings wet weather, cooler temperatures. And of course, we know the wintery conditions are going to be a promise here before long.

But once we get there, the rainfall amounts are just not adding up to what the historical averages have been over the last few decades. We're seeing this lessen. That's how droughts are formed.

And of course, you take a look. Water levels have dropped off significantly. And repeatedly, we get up here and tell you about these incredible temperatures that are observed across Europe, and all of these dwindle any water supply.

And you look at the fire threat dangers, even around London, points across Cambridge, around Norwich, all these areas indicated in orange and purple, very high to high levels of fire danger as of this hour. With just how dry and how warm this summer has been.

And of course, the farther you travel, or the South you travel, the more extensive the coverage here becomes for drought conditions and fire weather risk.

Now, as a whole so far in 2022, some 600,000 acres of land have been consumed. Second largest area for the European Union that have been burnt to date for 2022. So a pretty impressive fire season.

And then, of course, these numbers. Top ten hottest temperatures all- time ever observed across the United Kingdom. All of them occurred last month. You might recall that these 40-degree observations that we saw. The top ten hottest days coming in, and this is coming off the heels, John, of 2021, which was the hottest summer on record across the European Union.

So really, the trend hasn't been good. And you asked this question. It's a wonderful question. And we get periods of rainfall, periods of cooler temperatures. But it's not going to be kind of wiping away this dramatic drought situation that has developed over the last few years, that has continued to build with these temperatures.

VAUSE: Just keeps getting worse, as we keep putting carbon into the atmosphere. It will get better when we stop.

JAVAHERI: Certainly.

VAUSE: That's the formula, right?

Thanks, Pedram. We appreciate you being with us.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. WORLD SPORT starts after the break, and then I will be back at the top of the hour. Hope to see you then.