Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Extreme Heat Targets Europe, Again; North Korea Declares Victory Over COVID; Taiwan Concluded Second Day Of Military Exercises; U.S. Inflation Eases; WSJ: Informant Tipped Off Authorities Ahead of Mar-A-Lago Search; Trump Refuses to Provide Answers in New York Investigation; Serena Williams Lost Straight Sets at Canadian Open; Jon Stewart Celebrated at White House for Veterans Activism. Aired 2- 3a ET

Aired August 11, 2022 - 02:00   ET




ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Alison Kosik. Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM. Preparing to sweat. Another wave of extreme heat targets Europe, prompting alerts and raising concerns about prolonged drought and fires. New video into CNN shows the explosions that cause major damage to a Russian airfield in occupied Crimea. It serves as a direct contradiction to the Kremlin account of what happened.

Plus, we're live in Taipei where Taiwan launched a new round of military exercises, as China lays out its unwelcome plans for reunification with the island.

Millions of people across Europe are facing some of the hottest and driest weather on record. Temperatures are soaring far above normal and there's not much relief even when this sun goes down. Drought conditions are so severe that parts of southern England are under amber warnings. That's the second highest level. French authorities report numerous major wildfires now burning across France.

Police have been going door to door to urge thousands of people to evacuate. Let's go right to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri here in Atlanta. Pedram, what is the forecast look like for Thursday and into the weekend for Europe?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes. You know, Alison, this is an incredible long duration heatwave in place here. We've had four heat waves now, in the first seven weeks of summer across portions of Europe. And this particular one, one of the more lasting powers compared to the other ones in the past with high pressure firmly in place, you've got to keep in mind high pressure causes the air to sink, as air sinks, it likes to compress and warm up.

And I always use the analogy of when you pump your bicycle tire, you're -- what you're doing is you're compressing that air, you feel the pump begin to warm up. That's essentially what's happening on a broad scale across western areas of Europe. And it's sent temperatures towards record values in a few spots with high temps even across areas of the U.K. here in the next couple days approaching 35 degrees.

Keep in mind average temperature this time of year closer to 24 degrees. So, we're running about 10 to 11 degrees above average, much the same across areas of France where 25 to 29 is what you expect this time of year. 39 to 40 is what you've been experiencing in the past couple of days. Notice, of course, we're talking about the summer of 2022 being the second largest area of fires burned across the entirety of the U.K. with 600,000 hectares of land already consumed.

So, anytime you see these numerous heatwaves certainly doesn't help, you know, and it just exacerbates the situation that's been happening here. Look at July 2022, 1.3 degrees above the 30-year average across the U.K. We know the hottest temperatures ever observed in the U.K. happened in the middle of July. We covered those quite, you know, extensively here on CNN. And yet again, we're aiming for 33, 34 degrees across a few of these areas over the next couple of days.

Now, when you look at the air conditioning adoption in this region, generally three to five percent in the U.K. In its entirety it's about one percent of households with access to air conditioning units. London in particular about five percent access to air conditioning units. And of course, you compare that to the U.S. or Japan, closer to 85 percent of homes have access to A.C. So all of these elements really make this heatwave that much more dangerous.

And again, that duration, Alison is what's concerning. Three more days after already having seen two days of temperatures in the 30s in Paris. In London much the same. We expect at least four days -- another four days on top of the previous two of temps into the 30s. So again dangerous setup here with extensive heat in place.

KOSIK: OK. Pedram Javaheri in Atlanta. Thank you. Even as Europe bakes, the damage is already staggering. Farmers are struggling to save their crops. But for many, it may be too late. We get more from CNN's Christina MacFarlane.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Extreme heat that has played much of Europe this summer, combined with little rainfall is causing dangerous drought conditions. New data from the European drought observatory found that 63 percent of the land in European Union and the U.K. is either under drought warnings or alerts. That's about the same size as India and it has farmers worried.

CHRISTIAN DANIAU, PRESIDENT, CHARENTE CHAMBER OF AGRICULTURE (through translator): There have been a lot of heatwaves but it's mostly the lack of rain and the damages the crops. We've had other heatwaves, we've seen some already. But when they combined with the lack of rain then it's catastrophic.

[02:05:03] MACFARLANE: The new figures show that 47 percent of the land is under a drought warning, meaning there is a deficit of moisture in the soil. While 17 percent is under more severe alert, meaning the vegetation is stressed. This satellite image of a cloudless Western Europe shows the brown dry land. Compare that to this image from May.

July was the driest month on record for many parts of the continent. In France, the Lwa River so low, it can be crossed on foot in some places. On this river along the French-Swiss border, these tourist boats aren't doing any business. In Spain, one reservoir is 84 percent empty, leaving officials concerned about the region's water supply. Italy's longest river, the River Po is seeing its worst drought in 70 years.

And in Germany, near record low water levels on the Rhine could have a major impact on energy this winter. Little flow in the river will affect the output of coal fired power plants, and transporting the coal will become more expensive and difficult since ships won't be able to carry a full load. Parts of the river may become impossible for many barges as early as this weekend.

PETER CLAEREBOETS, SERVIA CAPTAIN AND OWNER (through translator): Normally you have more than two meters under the ship. But now you only have 40 centimeters in some places. And then for us, the challenge is to get past those points without touching, without damaging the ship.

MACFARLANE: Back to back heatwaves have caused wildfires to spread more rapidly. This place in southwestern France has already destroyed 6000 hectares of land.

Europe is already seeing one of its hottest summers ever. The heat combined with months of very little rainfall also made it one of the driest, threatening the economy and worrying residents.

Christina MacFarlane, CNN.


KOSIK: Joining me now from London, Dr. Paolo Ceppi. He's a lecturer in climate science at the Grantham institute. Thanks for being here.


KOSIK: So now more than ever, it really does seem extreme weather events are happening more frequently, more geographically widespread. And I'm talking about extreme heat, extreme cold, extreme wet conditions, extreme dry conditions. Is it happening more now than in the past? And if so, why? And what's changed?

CEPPI: Yes. So, it's always a difficult question to link extreme weather events to climate change, because climate change is about the -- sort of the average conditions that you experience. Whereas here we're talking about extreme weather which is -- well, by definition, weather is kind of chaotic variable, you know, it changes from one day to another from year to year. That being said, when we talk about certain extreme events like heat waves, then there's a very clear link to climate change.

Simply because when you shift the temperatures towards higher levels, then you make the extreme high temperatures much more likely and you make the extreme low temperatures, much less likely. So, it's already been estimated for example that the very recent heatwave we had in the U.K. where we shattered many records with 40 degrees, just over 40 degrees Celsius in the U.K. for the first time that was made at least 10 times more likely by manmade climate change.

And it's not just that but it's also the sequence of events, right? So you have this severe heatwave in the U.K. earlier in the spring, late spring, we had a severe heatwave in India and Pakistan. Late summer, we had an extremely severe heatwave in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. And so, it's -- yes, it's the collection of these things that also speaks for the influence of manmade climate change.

KOSIK: Yes. Europe is certainly dealing with one of its toughest years of extreme weather conditions, not to mention China and the United States. They've hit their own extreme weather records as well. But aren't these countries, the very countries that have made commitments for net zero emissions? And they have, so why are things getting worse and not even a little bit better?

CEPPI: So, one thing that's important to understand is that there's basically some kind of proportionality between the severity of climate change and the accumulation of CO2 emissions. So, the idea is that as long as we continue emitting CO2, global temperature is going to continue rising. So, the only -- another way to put this is the only way to stop global warming is to stop emitting and that's why net zero is so important because once you hit net zero, it means you're no longer emitting CO2 and therefore, you can hope to stabilize the climate.

But the problem is, even if we make pledges, while making pledges is one first step then actually reducing emissions is a second step. But it's only by the time that we have brought our emissions down to net zero that we can hope that impacts will stop getting worse.


And that's only talking about impacts like heatwaves and global temperature because other aspects of the climate system like say the global mean sea level are going to continue rising for much longer.

KOSIK: Right. But you would think that if they make these commitments that they're actually taking steps to try to reverse what's going on here. Is it just a lot of talk?

CEPPI: No, definitely not. So, I think what -- one thing that's important to say -- well, you're -- I think probably most people are familiar with this Paris Agreement that says -- so this is an international agreement that says no more than two degrees of global warming, ideally, no more than 1.5. And so, the net zero pledges, net zero emissions pledges that we hear about, they often say net zero by year 2050.

That's the case in the U.K., for example and other European countries. That is the timeline that will be consistent with 1.5 degrees of global warming, keeping in mind that we're already at 1.1, 1.2 degrees since the Industrial Revolution, so there's little headroom left. But the point is that every 10th of a degree counts. So even if we don't make it to 1.5, even if we get to 1.6, or seven or eight or who knows, it's never too late to actually take action.

So yes, the point is that the impacts become more severe with every 10th of a degree of global warming. And so, there's always -- it's always worth reducing the emissions and hopefully getting to net zero in the end.

KOSIK: Never too late to take action. Listening to your words there. Dr. Paolo Ceppi in London, thanks so much for your expertise.

CEPPI: My pleasure. Thank you.

KOSIK: The recent explosions at a Russian airbase in Crimea may have caused much more damage than Moscow has claimed. New satellite images show at least seven aircraft destroyed despite Russia, saying that none had been damaged. Four blast craters can be seen as well as burn marks and scarred vegetation. We still don't know what caused the blast on Tuesday and Ukraine hasn't claimed responsibility.

And Russia says ammunition exploded without saying whether it was due to an attack. Meantime, Russia has ramped up attacks across several regions of Ukraine. Heavy rocket fire and artillery strikes were reported Wednesday from Zaporizhia in the south -- the south to Kharkiv in the north. Ukraine's president says one thing above all else will help bring an end to the fighting.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): When will the war end? Some say months, some say a year. Some even say more. But a matter of time actually depends directly on the question of the losses suffered by Russia. The more losses the occupier suffered the sooner we will be able to liberate our land and ensure the security of Ukraine. This is what everyone who defends our state and helps Ukraine should think about. How to inflict the greatest possible losses on the occupiers in order to shorten the war?


KOSIK: Western military experts say it's extremely unlikely that dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed last month by a U.S.- made rocket. Ukraine has flatly denied it attack the prison camp as Moscow claims. Experts believe that if the powerful U.S. weapon had been used, there would be a massive crater and nothing left of the building. But photos of the burnt out site show relatively little structural damage. CNN's David McKenzie has our report. And we caution that some images are extremely graphic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Svetlana (ph) hasn't heard from a son in more than two months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They were promised that they would be taken prisoner in order to save their lives.

MCKENZIE: Her son like sons and husbands of many at this demonstration in Kyiv is a prisoner of war. Held at a Russian camp in Olenivka.

It's a cry for help. But for many of the POWs, one that came too late.

At least 50 of them were killed in an attack on the building where they were held. Russia was swept to blame Ukraine, saying it had killed its own to prevent them from confessing war crimes.

LT. GEN. IGOR KONASHENKOV, RUSSIAN MILITARY OF DEFENSE SPOKESPERSON (through translator): A deliberate missile attack on July the 29th from the American HIMARS multiple rocket launch system on a pretrial detention center in the area of the settlement of Olevnika.

MCKENZIE: Russian journalists at the scene displaying remnants of the HIMARS rocket. Serial number included. But a CNN investigation found that it's extremely unlikely that a HIMARS struck the prison.

CHRIS COBB-SMITH, BRITISH ARMY VETERAN AND SECURITY ADVISOR: We will see a crater in the ground and we will see more blast damage.


MCKENZIE: British Army veteran and weapons expert Chris Cobb-Smith has seen his fair share of missile strikes. He says this wasn't one of them.

COBB-SMITH: We would see certainly on the firewall here, we will see fragmentation pop marking from an -- from an explosion from the fragments of the munition as it went off. And that's not happened. All we're really seeing here is evidence of a fire, an intensive fire. So to me, this does not indicate a large detonation.

MCKENZIE: The available video and images show bodies badly burned, some still in their banks. Forensic pathologist tell CNN a fire preceded by a small explosion was likely responsible.

DR BENJAMIN ONDRUSCHKA, PATHOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, HAMBURG, EPPENDORF: It seemed to be that something needs to be exploded close by to the very burned body resulting in a detonation, resulting in a fire.

MCKENZIE: Ukraine is using us donated 200 pound HIMARS rockets to hit Russian depots and other high-value targets. But the visuals of the aftermath that have emerged are usually different from the scene at the prison.

Before and after satellite imagery from a confirmed HIMARS striking Nova Kakhovk shows a Russian warehouse destroyed by the blast. At Olevnika, there are burn marks on the wall but crucially no structural damage.

COBB-SMITH: Everything in the site is black and the bodies have been severely charred. Everything you can say has been -- is blackened with the HIMARs pieces we've seen presented as evidence do not display any blackened at all. It does not look as though they've been in the scene of an intensive fire.

MCKENZIE: Cobb-Smith and other experts say it's unlikely that the incident was accidental. Olevnika is believed it has more than 1000 prisoners. Here you see the satellite images from the day before the incident showing POW circulating in different areas of the camp. But Ukrainian officials and relatives say around 200 prisoners were moved to this warehouse in a different zone just before they were killed.

Ukrainian officials also say the incident happened on the eve of a prisoner exchange. Kyiv has rejected Moscow's version and accused Russia of using a powerful incendiary weapon against the building and the prisoners.

MCKENZIE (on camera): CNN's investigation can almost certainly rule out Russia's version of events. But we may never know why those prisoners were moved and exactly what happened. Russia has publicly invited the Red Cross and United Nations experts to visit but both organizations said they have yet to be given access to the prison.

MCKENZIE (voice over): The families of the prisoners are increasingly desperate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm asking all people who can, who cares to help bring back our sons, our heroes.

MCKENZIE: But they don't even know who was killed that night. Know what killed them. David McKenzie, CNN, Kyiv.


KOSIK: CNN reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment on the findings of our investigation. But we have yet to hear back.

Taiwan issues a scathing response to China's calls for peaceful reunification. We're live in Taipei with details on that and the latest military drills.

Plus, Kim Jong-un declares victory over COVID-19 in North Korea, but those close to the leaders say he himself could not escape what they're calling a high fever. That's next.



KOSIK: Kim Jong-un has declared victory for his nation over COVID-19 according to state media, a claim CNN cannot verify. But it came amid reports that the leader himself deeply suffered from a high fever during the outbreak and now his sister is calling for deadly retaliation against South Korea for spreading the virus north. For more, I'm joined by CNN's Paula Hancocks. She's live for us in Seoul, South Korea.

Paula, great to see you. So, what's really behind this victory declaration by the North and I'm curious if there really will be retaliation carried out against South Korea or was that just a threat?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alison, it's certainly seen as a victory from a Kim Jong-un's point of view from the elite in North Korea's point of view. But of course, there are questions as to whether or not a country like North Korea or any country could actually eradicate the COVID virus within 91 days. There were questions when they said there were no COVID cases.

There are no more questions now they say that they have beaten the virus but it is more about the messaging itself. The fact that Kim Jong-un wants to tell his people that it is time to move on and he is clearly ready to move on as well. Let's listen to part of his speech.


KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): The difficult war against the disease is now over. And today we are finally declaring the victory.


HANCOCKS: And her sister Kim Yo-jong also spoke talking about her brother having -- had a high fever as well. And you could see from some of the images on state-run media, some of the audience, some of the elite becoming emotional as she was speaking about that. She also had a much stronger message to give South Korea. Something that she has already criticized South Korea for in recent months but blaming the South for effectively starting and taking the pandemic to the North.

They have been blaming these hot air balloons that some former North Korean activists have sent over the border carrying things like anti- North Korean propaganda. Also things like masks and vitamin C tablets. Saying that that is how the virus got into the country. Now, the South Korean side has said they regret this kind of accusation and they do not believe this is how it started.

But Kim Jong-un's saying that there could be a deadly retaliation against South Korea if they persist in trying to send the virus across the border. Now, of course, this is rhetoric at this point, in his rhetoric we quite often hear from North Korea, specifically from the sister herself when it comes to criticizing South Korea. You had a very upbeat message from Kim Jong-un. And then his sister slamming the South saying that it was their fault that it was -- it was an issue in the north in the first place.

But of course, there are many questions that remain. The figures that came out of Pyongyang, more than four million fever cases they called them as they did not have the capability to test as in many other countries, and they say only 74 deaths from that outbreak. There are many questions from the WHO, from the U.N. and from many scientists looking at this virus as to how those numbers could be possible. Alison?

KOSIK: Right. And we have no way of verifying any of those numbers. Paula Hancocks in Seoul thanks so much.

Wishful thinking. That's how Taiwan is describing China's push for peaceful reunification, and Beijing's calls for a One Country, Two Systems policy for Taiwan, similar to the one used in Hong Kong. China published its intentions on Wednesday and the so-called White Paper, in which it refused to rule out the use of force. China finally did end its aggressive military actions around the self-ruled Island. And Taiwan wrapped up round two have its own military exercises a little while ago.


KOSIK: Let's bring in our Blake Essig. He's live for us from Taipei. So, Taiwan has repeatedly opposed the One Country, Two Systems policy as it has again. And that says it continues to deal with the fallout from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the country.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alison. No surprise here that Taiwan would immediately reject China's proposal, repeated proposal. And I think this is just another step following the completion of live fire military drills. You know, just another step in the China-Taiwan, you know, battle, tensions that just continue to rise after two weeks of increased tensions around the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese state council did issue this new white paper concerning what's called the Taiwan question in it. China reiterates its proposal to a One Country, Two Systems model for unification similar to the model used in Hong Kong. And while the paper essentially does say that China won't rule out using force against Taiwan, it does emphasize that the priority is to achieve peaceful reunification.

Of course, Taiwan once again rejected Beijing's proposal calling it crude, clumsy, arrogant and full of wishful thinking. In response, Taiwan's government agency in charge of the island's China policy said that only the 23 million people of Taiwan can decide its fate and that they will not accept what an authoritarian regime envisions for them. Beijing's latest white paper was released on the same day that it was announced that China's most recent military drills held around Taiwan were officially over and despite the drills being completed, the People's Liberation Army spokesperson said that they will continue to keep close tabs on the Taiwan Strait.

Continue to conduct war preparation and combat readiness patrols to defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Taiwan's ministry of defense described these drills that played out the last six days or so as a simulated attack on Taiwan's main island and accused Beijing of trying to set up a blockade, Alison.

KOSIK: All right, Blake Essig in Taipei. Thanks so much for your reporting, Blake.

Still to come. U.S. officials announced charges over an alleged assassination plot targeting two members of the Trump administration. The details ahead.

Plus, Donald Trump plead the fifth. The former U.S. president refusing to answer questions about his organization's finances.



KOSIK: Welcome back. We're now learning multiple current and former U.S. officials are receiving significant security because of threats from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. That word coming after the U.S. Justice Department announced charges against an Iranian national over an alleged plot to assassinate former Trump National Security Adviser, John Bolton. CNN's Kylie Atwood has those details.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): This is the man the FBI alleges tried to hire an assassin to kill former U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton. Shahram Poursafi, allegedly a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The FBI says that in 2021, Poursafi tried to get an informant to hire someone for $200, 000 in order to eliminate someone. That number then eventually grew to $300,000.

Poursafi even sent screenshots of Bolton's home address and photographs of stacks of money to the informant. Poursafi allegedly said the killing should happen in Bolton's office garage, with the informant noting it was a high-traffic area. The FBI also alleges that Poursafi had a second job for $1 million. The target of that job, Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a source familiar with the investigation and a source close to Pompeo. The Department of Justice said this about the motivation behind the Bolton plot.

MATT OLSEN, U.S. ASSISTANT GENERAL, NATIONAL SECURITY DIVISION: This assassination plot was undertaken in apparent retaliation to the January 2020 killing of Qasem Soleimani.

ATWOOD (voiceover): Pompeo was secretary of state at the time of the assassination.

MIKE POMPEO, THEN-U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We saw that he was plotting further plans to take down Americans and in some cases many Americans. We took the right action to defend and protect America.

ATWOOD (voiceover): And though Bolton was no longer in the administration when the airstrike was carried out against Soleimani, a top Iranian general, the Trump administration said, was planning attacks on Americans. Bolton has long advocated for a more hawkish U.S. policy towards Iran.

After the Soleimani assassination, Bolton tweeted, "Congratulations to all involved in eliminating Qasem Soleimani. Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran." And after today's news, Bolton thanked the Justice Department, the FBI, and the secret service. And said that Iran's rulers are liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States. The suspect has not been arrested but is wanted by the FBI after seeking to carry out this plot.

OLSEN: This was not an idle threat. And this is not the first time we uncovered brazen acts by Iran to exact revenge against individuals on U.S. soil.

ATWOOD (voiceover): The plot against Bolton is just the latest allegation of Iran planning attacks on U.S. soil. In 2011, U.S. authorities said Iran was planning to bomb a D.C. restaurant to kill then-Saudi Ambassador to the United States and current Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir.


ATWOOD (voiceover): And just last week, Iranian journalist and activists, Masih Alinejad, a U.S. citizen who lives in New York, blamed the Iranian regime after a man carrying an assault rifle was arrested in her neighborhood. Coming a year after U.S. authorities say the regime was plotting to kidnap her. Alinejad delivered this message to the regime on CNN.

ALINEJAD: Go to hell. I'm not scared of you.


ATWOOD (on camera): Now, White House National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, warned this afternoon that there would be severe consequences for actions taken against any U.S. citizen. We're also hearing from the Iranian side, with the Iranian foreign ministry warning against any actions against Iranian citizens that are based on what they are calling, baseless accusations. Kylie Atwood, CNN, Washington.

KOSIK: John Bolton spoke with CNN after the U.S. Justice Department released the affidavit detailing the plot. And he expressed concern about the threats from Iran.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I read the document with great interest. I had not seen it before. I was not aware of many of the specific Senate. Although, obviously, I had long had a general understanding of what the threat was. I think there's a substantial number of people who are vulnerable to these Iranian efforts. And unfortunately, I'm afraid, we may learn more. Not just former public officials, but as you just indicated, the private American citizens who disagree with the regime.


KOSIK: Donald Trump has repeatedly said only mobsters and people with something to hide invoke their fifth amendment right against self- incrimination. But that's exactly what he did on Wednesday, refusing to answer questions for nearly four hours. The New York State attorney general is investigating the Trump organization's finances. It comes just three days after the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting an informant told investigators there were more classified documents on the property after the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes earlier this year.


Up next, new data shows U.S. inflation cooled considerably last month. Fueling hopes that the peak has been reached. A closer look at the numbers ahead.


"Wall Street" is cheering the latest data showing a slowdown in U.S. inflation. Stocks soared on Wednesday after a key report took consumer prices held steady in July on a month-to-month basis. Year over year, they increased eight and a half percent, but that is a slower pace than the 9.1 percent increase in June. U.S. President Joe Biden says this shows efforts to tackle inflation are working.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, we received news that our economy had zero percent inflation in the month of July. Zero percent. We're seeing some signs that inflation may begin to moderate.

The second point to make is, we need to pass the inflation reduction act right away. It's far from done in our effort to bring inflation down. But we're moving in the right direction. So, some good economic news today and some work ahead.


KOSIK: Ryan Patel is a senior fellow with the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Thanks for coming on the show.


KOSIK: All right. So, consumer prices rose eight and a half percent year over year, it's a slower pace than June. Prices were unchanged month over month. Has inflation peaked, that's the question everybody wants answered.

PATEL: Well, everybody hopes it is. You know, when we want to say -- if someone says, yes, it has, that means that all indicators are showing that it's -- there's going to be a stable growth going the opposite way. We're just seeing right now that it peaked at for the energy crisis the decrease. We are seeing in food costs were up prices in the last 12 months, the highest growth since 1979. And you look at shelter costs, for example, another one that's close for the last 12 months, of 5.7 percent for 12 months.

So, listen -- the street and everybody wants to see some signs. Any kind of hope, we didn't see that, I'm not taking that away. But we're still not out of the woods when it comes to, you know, recession, but we are heading toward the right direction. But August -- the next month, CPI August, will paint a better picture if we are making that segue.

KOSIK: Well, but does this mean that the Fed can maybe pump the brakes on rate hikes a little sooner than anticipated? And how much will they raise rates in September, do you think?

PATEL: Yes, You and I both know that this is today and they're making a decision tomorrow. They would like to pump the brakes and go after the 0.5 percent basis point, which I think will be the minimum at this point. But, still a lot of way to until September's Fed meeting.

So, I think that they want to go down that route. I think the 0.7 percent as of today is off the table. but, I can expect them to be aggressive.


So, if we see in August the CPI report showing a flat, if not showing a decrease, I can see them still continuing to be aggressive. So, inflation still exists, we're still, you know, it's still a high percentage, we're still there. But we're just showing a little bit of taper off, which is a good sign, but we can't ignore the fact that there's other categories that are still driving this.

KOSIK: So, you think the Fed is still going to be, aggressive but does the Fed run the risk of overcorrecting here? Because these reports, we're looking backwards.

PATEL: Yes -- no, and I agree. I think if they get two months, if they can see the next month's CPI, and it's showing, again, a gradual decrease, a larger percentage. I think they will be justified to make maybe a point 2.5 basis -- I mean, a 25 basis points decrease instead.

But, you know, they're committed to the 2.2 5 percent annual, you know, increase that they stated it. And from the last meeting, they didn't say they were going to come up. They were really clear that they were, you know, they weren't going to change that forecast. So, they're going to have to make it up somewhere if they're going to stick to that. And maybe they don't do it next month, but they're going into the fourth quarter.

KOSIK: Does this latest report tell us anything about avoiding a possible recession? Do you think that we still could go into a recession? What's your prediction?

PATEL: Does that tell us? I think it does not tell us if it avoids a recession. I think this tells about the inflation going down, but that's still -- we could -- even if we see the decrease in inflation by a little bit, still could trigger into a recession.

So, this -- yes, it's a great data point. Doesn't get us out there because there's a lot of variables. Yes, we know the supply chain, you know, we said it's getting a little cooler, but I'm not sold on it yet. We still have global issues. We're seeing the global economy too in Europe, with Germany, as well, coming out with inflation around eight percent. So, we're very interconnected. This is obviously just the U.S. economy. But we are looking at a global perspective. And one recession leads to another.

KOSIK: A lot of caution coming from you, Ryan. Market better pay attention to what you're saying. Ryan, Patel, senior fellow with the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, thanks so much.

PATEL: Thank you.

KOSIK: Serena Williams has lost her first match since announcing plans to step away from tennis. The American star lost in straight sets on Wednesday at the Canadian Open in Toronto. The 23-time Grand Slam winner says she will compete at the U.S. Open in a couple of weeks but then plans to move in a different direction, her words. The 40-year-old, Williams, says that she has never liked the word retirement and wants to focus on things that are more important to her.

I'm Alison Kosik. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and Twitter at alisonkosik. I'll be back with more "CNN Newsroom" in just about 15 minutes. "World Sport" is up next.



COATES: So, the Justice Department is keeping silent about its search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. The FBI executing the search is part of a criminal investigation into the handling of classified information, we're told. A source telling CNN that authorities believe that the documents actually had national security applications. Joining me now is National Security Attorney, Bradley Moss.

Bradley, I'm glad that you're here because everyone's talking about the idea of classified documents. And that phrase keeps being used. But my mind, I'm sure yours does as well, go to the idea of, what could possibly be in these classified documents. If they actually had national security implications, that's a very big deal. So, what kind of risks are we talking about?

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Sure, and that's one of the unknowns here is that we don't know quite how sensitive of records we're talking about. We have media reporting indicating that some of these records that have already been recovered or retrieved in the past from Mar-a-Lago were classified as high as top secret. That's, you know, very -- actually, that's the highest level of classification you have.

And so, there's a serious risk to national security if they're stored in an unsecured manner. And that's what's really got Donald Trump into trouble here. You know, if this is just about, you know, archived records not being properly stored, this wouldn't be a criminal inquiry. This wouldn't be a criminal matter. This would be a civil matter at most. The problem he had is he took properly marked classified documents to Mar-a-Lago after he left the presidency when he no longer had any authorized access or control over them and he did not properly turn them over to the feds when they first came asking about it months ago.

COATES: What do you make of the idea that it is a possibility that he may have, sort of, verbally declassified -- and first, I want to be clear, once you're no longer the president, you don't kind of grandfather in the authority to classify or deal with classified materials, right?

MOSS: Correct. The moment Joe Biden took the oath of office, Donald Trump lost any and all constitutional authority he had for four years under article two of the constitution and as the president. But up until that moment, he had unlimited, unfettered discretion to declassify documents while he was president.

But there is a process. He couldn't point at a box and say, I declassify everything in that box. But the documents themselves still have to be processed for declassification. There's markings on every classified page on the header and the footer of every document indicating the level of classification. There's classification markings on each document, indicating when it was classified, by whom, under what authority. That has to all be addressed. That all has to be marked out and written and declassified by Donald Trump on this date.

Until that happened, and it doesn't appear that it never did, those documents still had to be handled and treated and stored as if they were still classified.

COATES: That's a really important point. And of course, there's also this point, Bradley, made back in January 2018, then-President Trump, he signed a national security bill into law that included harsher punishments for those who mishandled classified information. I mean, if what you're saying is true, that could very much come back to bite him, right?

MOSS: Oh yes. Oh, sweet, sweet, irony. He upgraded what was a misdemeanor into a felony. This was, sort of, the aftermath of the Hillary Clinton saga when there was a lot of complaints that even if she had been prosecuted under what is 18 USC, section 1924, that was a misdemeanor. So, there was a big push to upgrade it to a felony. If that provision, and that's just one of several that can potentially be utilized here to prosecute him is ultimately in play, that would be a felony. And that, you see, irony that's going to be used against him.

COATES: Well, we will see. We already know that part of the Miranda warning, anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law. Who knew it referred to legislation as well one day. We'll see. We don't yet know. Thank you, Bradley.

MOSS: Have a good night.

COATES: Now, you want to know who got a standing ovation at the White House today? I'm going to tell you who did, next. And at the top of the hour, an informant at Mar-a-Lago, that's with The Wall Street Journal's reporting. Are they right?



COATES: Today, President Biden signing into law a bill that expands health care benefits to millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service. Burn pits were commonly used to burn waste including trash and munitions, hazardous material, and chemical compounds at military sites throughout Iraq and Afghanistan until about 2010.

And this is personal to the president. He has said that he believes there may have been a connection between the brain cancer that killed his 46-year-old son Beau Biden and the burn pits Beau was exposed to during his military service. And it's been a cause for comedian Jon Stewart. The president taking a moment today to honor him.


BIDEN: But what you've done, Jon, matters. And you know it does. I -- you should know, it really, really matters. You refused to let anybody forget. You refused to let them forget. And we owe you big, man. We owe you big.



COATES: And next, new details of what or maybe who tipped off federal investigators before their search of Mar-a-Lago.


COATES: There's new developments tonight about what led the FBI to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that an informant tipped off investigators that there were more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago even after National Archives retrieved 15 boxes earlier this summer. Now, CNN has not confirmed "The Wall Street Journal's" reporting.