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According to Unsealed Warrant, FBI Seized 11 Sets of Classified Documents Including Top Secret Material from Search of Former President Trump's Residence at Mar-a-Lago; Senate and House Democrats Pass Climate and Spending Bill; New York Officials Say Wastewater Samples Reveal Presence of Polio Virus; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Easing Guidelines on COVID-19. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 13, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now in the Newsroom, new details in that FBI search of former President Trump's home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of it is astounding and shocking and depressing.
WALKER: What we're learning from the now-unsealed warrant, including what was removed from Trump's home and the potential crimes being investigated.
A victory for the Biden administration as Congress passes his $750 billion health care and climate bill. The immediate impact you will feel when the bill is signed.
The polio virus has been detected in wastewater samples in New York City. What that means for how the virus is circulating.
Plus, new COVID guidelines as millions of kids head back to school.
DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We should look forward to a very different school year. We should look forward to a school year where every child is in school, in person, full-time, for the whole year.
WALKER: The changes the CDC hopes will keep kids in the classroom.
Dire warnings from scientists who say the arctic is warming at alarming speeds. We're joined by one researcher who is seeing the changes firsthand.
And the disturbing new testimony in Vanessa Bryant's case against L.A. County, allegations that gruesome photos of Kobe Bryant's body were shared at a social gathering.
Newsroom starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your weekend. It is Saturday, August 13th. We're grateful to be a part of it. I'm Boris Sanchez.
WALKER: Grateful to be with you as well, Boris. I'm Amara Walker. You are in the CNN Newsroom.
This morning, growing controversy after the release of search documents related to the FBI's raid at former President Trump's Florida residence. According to an unsealed warrant, the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents from its search earlier this week, including some material marked as top secret, SCI which stands for Sensitive Compartmented Information. That is one of the highest levels of classification.
SANCHEZ: And we're also learning about the possible crimes that led federal agents to search Mar-a-Lago. The search warrant listed violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, and criminal handling of government records as the reasons behind the raid. So far, though, we have to be clear, no charges have been filed in the investigation.
Trump has responded to the search by claiming that all the documents that were seized he declassified while he was president. And he even attempted to point the finger at former president Barack Obama, baselessly suggesting that Obama mishandled presidential records after leaving office.
Let's bring in CNN's Evan Perez. He's been following the story closely for us. Evan, bring us up to speed on the latest.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The latest is you see the shifting explanations, the shifting defenses of what happened here and why these documents, these documents that you guys just described, which is things that are among the most closely guarded secrets of the U.S. government, how they ended up in a basement room at the former president's estate in Palm Beach. The latest one we've heard is that not only were these things declassified previously, but the former president's allies are now saying that whenever things were moved from the White House, the main part of the White House to the residence, they just by that act, they were declassified.
Of course, that is not the way things usually work, so we'll have to see how that works if this ever gets to court. But interestingly, Boris and Amara, the three statutes, the three crimes that the prosecutors listed on the search warrant application that was the reason why the FBI went to Mar-a-Lago, the three statutes don't really turn on whether these documents were classified. The one, statute number 739, is a statute that has to do with mishandling of national defense information. It doesn't necessarily say it has to be classified.
And what that does is it means that the former president's explanations may not matter if, again, this ever gets to court. Again, one of the important parts of this is the obstruction statute that is being investigated. Same thing, it doesn't matter. So we'll see whether these excuses, these explanations, ever make their way into court and whether the former president has something else he can come up with.
WALKER: Sometimes you have to reset your brain and remind yourself, my goodness, this is just stunning, of course, unprecedented stuff that's happening. And on top that have, we're now talking about FBI agents who are under threat. Can you tell us more about that?
PEREZ: That's right. So the document was unsealed by the court yesterday afternoon. But just before it was unsealed, versions of it were sent to various members of the media. Some conservative outlets were able to post the entire documents, not the version that was unsealed by the court, which made sure that redacted -- the names and information of the FBI agents who were there to authorize the search.
What that means is that the names of these agents is now out there. It was put out in the conservative media sphere. The former president's social media platform pushed out that information. And as a result, as you can expect, there are now threats being made against those agents. The FBI is of course having to increase security for all of its agents as a result of this.
WALKER: Awful, not to mention the judge who authorized the search warrant also receiving threats as well.
WALKER: And his bio had to be pulled as a result from the court website. Evan Perez, appreciate your reporting as always.
And here with me now to discuss is the former director of communication for U.S. National Intelligence and CNN national security analyst Shawn Turner, also criminal defense and constitutional law attorney Paige Pate. Welcome to you both, gentlemen, good morning to you. Shawn, let's start with you. And I just want to get your reaction to the fact that these classified documents were sitting in Trump's Palm Beach resort. Yes, it's members only, but it was in his office, or in storage. What can go wrong, right?
SHAWN TURNER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATION FOR NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Yes. Where do we start? First of all, I think it's really important for people to understand that we're not talking about just any documents. When I saw the information about the classification markings on these documents, I will tell that I was shocked. These are top secret SCI documents. And as you said at the top, that's sensitive compartmented information. These are documents that are still classified and have such a high level of markings because they involve oftentimes active intelligence collection programs.
And so when I saw that, the very first thing that I thought is, it's really important that we understand the content, the nature of these documents inside the intelligence community, because when you have documents like this that are out there in the public, vulnerable to other eyes, what you have to be mindful of is whether or not those collection efforts are still going on, and whether or not there are actually people on the other end of those collection efforts. We could be putting people, our intelligence officers or those in other countries around the world who help us, those people could be in danger as a result of these documents being out there. So that was the first thing I thought.
Then I have to tell you that for all of those people out there who are sort of making excuses, the fundamental question that we have to have answered here is why. What is the purpose of taking these documents from a secure, compartmented information intelligence facility? That is something we don't know, and we've got to get to the bottom of it. This is really startling from an intelligence perspective.
WALKER: That is a very good question that you pose, Shawn, and I'll turn it over to you, Page. You don't have to answer why, because we don't know why these documents were at Mar-a-Lago, but when you look at these three potential violations that were in this unsealed warrant, is there any that stick out to you specifically? Because last hour, I think it was Renato Mariotti pointed out it's one thing to unlawfully store or take classified documents and just leave it there, but you also have the obstruction of justice charges which indicate that some may, may, we don't know, have been destroyed.
PAIGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's right, Amara. These are three very different crimes. Two of these crimes would require some sort of bad intent. The espionage crime would require the president, or anyone, really, to have these documents with the intent to do something with them that would injure the United States or help one of our enemies. The obstruction charge would require the intent to destroy the document or somehow keep it from investigators.
But that third charge, the concealment charge, simply having a government document that you're not supposed to have, there's no bad intent required in that statute. So if the FBI executed this search warrant, they found documents that should not have been at Mar-a-Lago, well, then, that's a crime, and that crime can be prosecuted under that statute alone.
So what's confusing to me is the defense that's being laid out right now by the president and his allies, the former president, that, hey, all of these documents were declassified. Number one, as Evan pointed out, classification doesn't appear in any of these statutes. It's not a requirement or an element the government would have to prove.
And number two, and perhaps most importantly, Trump's best defense to these charges would be that I didn't know the documents were there. But now, by his public statements, he's already admitted he knew the documents were there and he knew they were sensitive enough to require declassification.
So I think he's putting himself into a box that's going to make it real difficult for his defense lawyers to pull him out of it later.
And listen, Shawn, I'm glad you brought up that, because that's the big question, right? And you as someone who worked at U.S. National Intelligence, you're very well aware of the types of sensitive information that are inside these kind of top secret SCI documents. Without speculating about this particular case, in general, why would anyone who has access to this kind of classified material either seek to take it home? And what could they possibly want to do with it?
TURNER: Yes, that's the key question, Amara. Look, I think the best case scenario for the former president, and again, this is not a winning case, but I think the best case scenario here is that these documents, the content of these documents related to either something personal to the president, for example if they relate to the Mueller probe, the Mueller investigation, or if these documents relate to classified information around one of the president's two impeachment trials. I think that's the best-case scenario.
But if it turns out that these documents, the content of these documents, contain information that is unrelated to anything that personally involves the president, if these documents are related to partners and allies, if these documents are related to our adversaries, sensitive programs, then again, that gets back to where I started. There are only a few reasons for taking documents like that, and none of them are good. And I think we can all assume that these documents were not taken as souvenirs. And so I don't want to be overly dramatic here or hyperbolic, but I think that understanding the intent here is going to be key as to whether or not the president and those around him are going to be charged.
WALKER: There are only a few reasons why someone would want to take classified documents like that. I appreciate you joining us, Shawn Turner and Paige Pate, thank you very much.
SANCHEZ: President Biden says he will sign a major economic and climate bill into law next week after Democrats passed the $750 billion package along party lines. Here is how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi celebrated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: This is historic, because every member in the House and every member in the Senate, Democratic member in the House, Democratic member in the Senate, voted for this legislation.
PELOSI: We lower prescription drug costs, we lower health care costs, we reduce the deficit, and pay for it to lower inflation, to save the planet. And every single Republican in the House and in the Senate voted against it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Let's bring in CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak. Kevin, $370 billion-ish to combat climate change, provisions that lower the cost of prescription drugs, as well as the raising of corporate tax rates, this checks a lot of boxes that Democrats have been pursuing for a long time.
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, and it really does now form the centerpiece of President Biden's domestic legacy. And when you look at totality of what the president has accomplished in Congress, whether it's the COVID relief bill, infrastructure, guns, a number of other pieces of legislation that have recently passed, it really does amount to quite a significant record, particularly when you think about what a narrow margin the Democrats hold in the Senate and the house. President Biden is on vacation in South Carolina but he did watch this bill pass yesterday from his vacation home. He did facetime into the White House. A number of his staffers were in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing celebrating. And he told them that this bill would profoundly change the country.
And he does plan to sign it next week. But when everyone comes back into Washington in September, he will host this big celebration at the White House that will really be kind of the culmination of what has been sort of a pained, year-long process among Democrats to get this bill over the finish line. There were various points along the way when it really seemed doomed. The president did have to make some compromises. It's a little smaller. Some of the social safety net programs aren't in the bill.
But what did emerge is quite significant for Democrats, it's what they've been trying to accomplish for a long time. And now it will really fall on President Biden to go out on the road and sell this to the American people in the months before November's midterm elections. And what White House officials are telling us is this will be kind of the most intensive push that President Biden has done to date, getting out into the country, talking to the American people.
And what his message will be is essentially, this is for the American people, for American families. Special interests that have long dominated Washington politics lost on this bill, and American families have won. So that will be his message in the weeks and months ahead, Boris.
SANCHEZ: You're absolutely right, Kevin. For months this bill has effectively been dead, and now it could stand at the centerpiece as the argument Democrats are making that they should hold on to Congress unfolds before the midterm elections. Kevin Liptak, thank you so much.
WALKER: Still ahead, water samples in New York reveal the polio virus may be circulating in the nation's most populous city. Why health officials fear it could be more widespread than previously thought.
Plus, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney facing down a friend turned political foe. More on Tuesday's high stakes political matchup that will determine whether Cheney will secure another term.
Plus, a dire warning from climate scientists as new research shows the arctic is warming four times faster than any other place in the world. Ahead we'll talk to an expert who has seen the effects firsthand.
SANCHEZ: There is some concerning health news out of New York where officials say that wastewater samples have revealed the presence of polio virus. That suggests the virus is circulating in the city. And in fact, late last month, nearby Rockland County reported one case of infection.
Now, most Americans are protected from polio thanks to vaccines. But some estimates show as many as 14 percent of New York City kids younger than five are not up to date on their shots.
Dr. Syra Madad joins us now to discuss the very latest. She is the senior director of the Systemwide Special Pathogens Program for the New York City Health and Hospitals. Doctor, thanks so much for sharing part of your Saturday morning with us. What does it tell you about the spread of polio virus in New York that it's been detected in wastewater?
DR. SYRA MADAD, SENIOR DIRECTOR, SYSTEMWIDE SPECIAL PATHOGENS PROGRAM, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH AND HOSPITALS: Yes, well, I think, first, this is a pretty serious situation. And when we talk about polio, this is quite a crippling and disabling disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and can cause paralysis, meningitis, those long-term symptoms. And so when we look at this once case of paralytic polio that was detected in New York, and now that we're seeing obviously sewage samples turn positive, what this means is that there's community transmission of polio occurring. And that is bad news, especially for those that are high risk. And that includes those who are unvaccinated and under-vaccinated.
So this is a calling for anybody that is not vaccinated or has not been up to date with their polio vaccination to get vaccinated. This is not a disease you want to contend with. It has, obviously, significant implications, and you don't want to play Russian roulette with your life as well as what could be your children's life.
SANCHEZ: Doctor, you noted that folks that aren't up to date with their vaccines should go and get them. What other precautions would you recommend?
MADAD: Yes, when we talk about this spread of polio, so first, when we talk about one paralytic case, as I mentioned, there's likely hundreds of thousands of cases circulating. The large majority are not symptomatic, you don't even know you have it. And for a subset of individuals they may have mild symptoms, and then less than that you may have paralysis, meningitis, and it could lead to death.
When we talk about symptom, you could have, as I mentioned, kind of flu-like symptoms. And so things to look out, things you just want to be mindful off is really, first, good hygiene. So the way that polio spreads is through the fecal, oral routes. If somebody has feces on their hands and its contaminated feces, and they touch, for example, their mucous membranes, that's a portal of entry, as well as respiratory droplets. So good hand hygiene is really, really important.
And then certainly be aware of your surroundings and make sure that you're vaccinated. That's the number one, number two, number three recommendation, is to get vaccinated. It's a vaccine-preventable disease. It's 99 percent effective. So we have an amazing tool against polio.
SANCHEZ: So this is obviously unfolding in New York City. How concerned are you that other parts of the country may start seeing the same sort of spread?
MADAD: Yes, it's actually very concerning. And just because you detect it in one area does not mean that other states should just not do anything. This actually is a calling for the entire United States, everybody that is under-vaccinated or unvaccinated. We have, for example, at least five states that have very low vaccination rates, just generally low vaccination rates. Oklahoma, Alaska, Alabama, a lot of these states have very low pediatric vaccination rates. So as you're seeing events unfold here in New York and New York City, you should make sure that you're being proactive and making sure you are vaccinated and talk to your health care provider if you have any questions. You want to get ahead of this.
SANCHEZ: Doctor, one last question while we have you. On monkeypox, health officials this week authorized this plan that would help stretch the nation's limited supply of monkeypox vaccine. It essentially lowers the amount of dose in each injection and the injection is shallower than normal in the skin. The manufacturer of the vaccine has cited some concerns. What do you make of that decision?
MADAD: We're in a situation where certainly we don't have enough supply and the demand is high. We've had at least 1.6, 1.7 individuals in America that are at risk that we don't have the current vaccine supply for, so it's really a risk-benefit analysis to see what we can benefit for a larger group. And so I think the strategy is pretty sound. We know that it can produce an equivalent immune response. And given the situation that we're in, we want to contain this epidemic. So I think it is the right call. We want to also make sure people feel comfortable with it, so there needs to be a lot more community engagement and education of why this is important.
SANCHEZ: Dr. Syra Mada, we've got to leave the conversation there. Appreciate your expertise. Thanks.
MADAD: Thank you.
WALKER: In a major shift, the CDC is now easing COVID-19 guidelines, saying the nation should move away from restrictive measures such as social distancing, screenings, and quarantines for those who have been exposed to someone who is sick and instead focus more on reducing severe illness from the virus. SANCHEZ: Let's bring in CNN's Nadia Romero now. Nadia, why this shift?
NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The CDC is basically saying, look, we have gone so much in a different direction than where we started at the beginning of this pandemic. We have improved in so many ways that we no longer need these strict guidelines that we've had since March and April of 2020. And if you look at that list, you can see that social distancing is on the list of things that the CDC wants to loosen those restrictions. And that's something that we've been doing since very early on, staying six feet away, trying to limit the spread.
Now the CDC is saying, you know what, we have other mitigation efforts, most notably the vaccine. We know that it is highly effective and available to those who want it.
So as you look at that list of things that the CDC wants the nation to move away from, they've also addressed American classrooms. Kids who are now heading back to school, or so many of them who are already in school, changing the guidelines for school, saying that those students no longer need to test to stay in classrooms. And also, classrooms don't need to be isolated. Now, that was done to try to help with contact tracing and to also limit the spread, that maybe the virus would be found in one classroom and not spread to the entire school.
But we heard the cries of educators and parents saying that those guidelines from the CDC really limited the social development of those kids, and also, resources for educators. So they had to double up, they had to have separate everything because of the pandemic. Now those teachers can share resources, and they can share the effects of having classrooms that are not so isolated and closed off.
I want you to hear from the White House coronavirus response coordinator in a question-and-answer session with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders talking about why this is such a big change for classrooms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We should look forward to a very different school year. We should look forward to a school year where every child is in school, in person, full-time for the whole year. I think we have all the ability to do that, and that should be the only acceptable standard. How do we do it? First, make sure that kids are vaccinated. Certainly, adults should be vaccinated, but as you know, every child over six months of age is now eligible for a vaccine. These vaccines are incredibly good at preventing serious illness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMERO: So the CDC still emphasizing vaccines. But all the other guidelines are not thrown out the window. They're still saying that we need to wear a mask, get tested if you have symptoms. If you've been exposed to somebody who is testing positive, wear a mask around other people, stay up to date on your vaccine and boosters, and ventilation is key. And we know that that is something that our school districts have been working on over the last couple of years. Amara, Boris?
WALKER: Nadia Romero, thanks for breaking that down for us, good to see you.
SANCHEZ: Grateful to be here. Last night CNN was there when Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman returned to the campaign trail after suffering a stroke in May. What he told the crowd after a quick break.
SANCHEZ: Democrat John Fetterman is back on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania, only three months after suffering a stroke.
WALKER: He's running against Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz in a Senate race to succeed retiring GOP Senator Pat Toomey. CNN's Eva McKend was at last night's event that marked Fetterman's return to the campaign trail.
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Pennsylvania's Democratic candidate for Senate John Fetterman returned to the campaign trail Friday in Erie to a packed hall just three after suffering a stroke. And though he hasn't been visible in the state for weeks, it hasn't dulled his momentum at all. He thanked his supporters and his wife Gisele.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN, (D) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Three months ago, my life could have ended. It's the truth. But I'm so grateful to be here tonight as well.
FETTERMAN: I was on my way to another event. And Gisele recognized that I'm having a stroke. And let me just tell you right now in front of everyone, Gisele saved my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKEND: Fetterman's report to the campaign trail marks a significant development in this race between Fetterman and Trump-endorsed Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz. Oz already inviting Fetterman to participate in five debates. Something Fetterman often says is that he'll visit every county for every vote. That is something he reiterated on Friday. Boris, Amara?
WALKER: Eva, thank you.
Let's turn now to Wyoming where the latest polling shows Representative Liz Cheney losing to her Republican challenger.
SANCHEZ: That primary is set for Tuesday. And as CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports, the Wyoming race is of major national interest.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
HARRIET HAGEMAN, (R) WYOMING HOUSE CANDIDATE: I know Wyoming. I love Wyoming. I am Wyoming.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Harriet Hageman proudly wears Wyoming on her sleeve and wields it like a hammer against Liz Cheney.
HAGEMAN: I am going to reclaim Wyoming's congressional seat from that Virginian who currently holds it.
ZELENY: These days signs of trouble for Cheney are easy to spot here in Wyoming as Hageman works to bring Cheney's time in Congress to an abrupt end.
It wasn't always that way.
HAGEMAN: I am proud to introduce my friend Liz Cheney.
ZELENY: Back when she showered Cheney with praise during her first bid for Congress in 2016.
HAGEMAN: A proven, courageous, constitutional conservative, someone who has the education, the background, and experience to fight effectively for Wyoming on a national stage.
ZELENY: It's a telling bookend of the Republican Party's evolution under Donald Trump, who was elected the same day Cheney first won, and now he is at the center of her political fall in a state where he won 70 percent of the vote, his widest margin anywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's fighting against President Trump. She betrayed us.
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: There has never been an individual who was a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump.
ZELENY: Yet here in Wyoming, Hageman is seen as far more than Trump's handpicked candidate. Before her fight with Cheney, she gained prominence as an attorney fighting the federal government to protect the state's water, land, and natural resources.
HAGEMAN: It is absolutely critical that we protect the energy industry not just for Wyoming but for the United States.
ZELENY: That focus on Wyoming issues resonated with many voters we met, like Scott Vetter who voted early for Hageman.
SCOTT VETTER, WYOMING VOTER: When you dive into the work that she's done, it's just been stellar, and we really appreciate what she did.
ZELENY: Was it more of a for her or more a vote against Liz Cheney?
VETTER: No, it was for her.
ZELENY: Cheney's fixation with Trump and her leadership on the January 6th committee has also turned off many Republicans.
STACY JONES, WYOMING VOTER: A lot of the choices that she's made lately are not the ones that Wyoming is behind.
ZELENY: And Hageman has sought to capitalize on that anger among Trump loyalists.
HAGEMAN: We're fed up with the January 6th commission and those people who think that they can gaslight us.
ZELENY: When we caught up with Hageman after a speech to the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, she declined to answer our questions.
How has Liz Cheney betrayed Wyoming voters? If I can just ask you.
Before an aide stepped in. Just last week she embraced the former president's baseless election denial rhetoric at a campaign stop in Casper.
HAGEMAN: Absolutely the election was rigged. It was rigged to make sure that President Trump could not get reelected.
ZELENY: What Hageman doesn't tell her audiences is that she once opposed Trump and supported Ted Cruz in 2016. It's a sign of her own transformation from Cheney ally to Trump loyalist, with her sites now set on Washington.
HAGEMAN: I will be taking that fight to D.C. just as soon as I defeat Liz Cheney.
ZELENY: Heading into the final weekend of campaigning, most Republicans here believe that Hageman has a significant lead over Liz Cheney. Even Cheney's supporters believe the best chance, perhaps her only chance, is for enough Democrats and independents to change parties on Tuesday and vote for her. The only question, would that even be enough to make a difference here in this deep red state?
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Casper, Wyoming.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WALKER: Glaciers in the arctic are melting even faster than we thought. Up next, we'll be joined by a researcher who is in Greenland right now studying the effects of climate change. But first, and a quick programming note. It's been nearly one year
since the United States withdraw from Afghanistan. And tomorrow, Fareed Zakaria will take a look back in a "GPS" special. He's sitting down with former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to ask why he left the country during that turbulent time. "The Fall of Kabul, One Year Later" airs tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
WALKER: The dire warnings scientists have made about the climate crisis may be even worse than we realized. A new study released this week says that for the last few decades the arctic has warmed four times faster than the rest of the world. The author of the study told CNN part of the reason for the new research is that the models scientists use to predict long term change are not capturing the rapid warming. The problem with that is if the models don't accurately recreate what's going on now, scientists can't be confident in long term predictions.
Joining me now to talk about this is David Holland, professor of mathematics and atmosphere and ocean science at New York University. He studies phenomena related to polar regions and the impact on our climate. What a beautiful backdrop. Appreciate you joining us, David. So let's start off with what's happening now. Tell us what you are seeing.
DAVID HOLLAND, PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS AND ATMOSPHERE AND OCEAN SCIENCE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Good morning, and it's great to be with you, Amara. I'm in Greenland at the moment. We're doing our summer research expedition. This is a beautiful village in east Greenland called Tasiilaq. We're actually cooling our heels at the moment because our helo is down for repair and they're doing some testing on it. We're hope to get to the ice sheet, which is just a few miles behind me, and we're studying how that ice sheet is melting as the arctic warms. One of the things that you referenced is about sea ice. As you know, sea ice is ice that forms in the ocean. And here we're studying also the ice that forms on the land, called glaciers. And both of these are undergoing extreme and profound change, something a few decades ago that none of us thought was possible.
WALKER: I'm not sure how long you've been there, David, but can you give us a sense of what has been the most alarming to you as you have been out there studying this rapid warming?
HOLLAND: For the land ice that we're currently studying here in Greenland, what's been really stunning is the fact that the glaciers which we thought were kind of glacial and never change, have been undergoing rapid retreat. Since we've been here, this glacier behind me way over the mountain, the big ice sheet, has receded some 10 kilometers. And effectively what's happening is that warm waters from the gulf stream, part of them are now being redirected to Greenland and lighting it up.
[10:45:05] And if you track it back through how that happened, ultimately, it's a change in the wind. And the wind is changing because the air temperature is changing. Part of it is natural and part of it is a human influence.
WALKER: It's alarming to hear that. You're there, we're here. What is your message to the people at home who are listening and they want to, I guess, be a part of the solution? Is there time left, especially with the rate of the warming, to make changes or slow down global warming?
HOLLAND: So I'll get to the answer about perhaps what we can do. Right now, it's a question of what's happening. And the keyword I would focus on in there is something in the atmosphere way above my head. You may have heard of the Jet stream. And that's a river of current that spins around the planet. And it exists because the tropics are warm and here in the arctic it's cold. And the result on a spinning earth is a phenomenon of the Jet stream. And as the arctic, arctic amplification, as the arctic is warming and the sea ice is disappearing, that Jet stream is weakening. And that has a profound impact because in the winter in the United States, it causing the polar vortex. And it's also related to phenomena we're seeing now around the northern hemisphere, floods in Korea and Kentucky, heat across the U.S. when I left it was 100 degrees everywhere. Fires in California. So we're seeing some shifts in weather patterns that are very likely the result of modifications in our atmosphere, in particular the Jet stream. So that's what's happening. And your second part is about what we can do about it?
WALKER: Yes, correct.
HOLLAND: So a little bit of hope showed up this week, I thought, recently, with the -- I'll call it the climate bill. And that offered a lot about cleaning our air and reducing our emissions in the United States by some 40 percent over this decade or since 2005. And I think finally that shows some U.S. leadership on the world stage, and that's excellent.
And what that has in it, of course it will stimulate the economy in some sense with electric vehicles and all that, but if we dig a little deeper, that was fabulous, but it's not going to solve the problem.
WALKER: Right, right.
HOLLAND: The problem is very, very deep. And part of it is that the CO2 in the atmosphere is going to stay here for like 1,000 years.
WALKER: I wish we had more time, this is so fascinating, David, but it is also so impactful that you're there in Greenland witnessing all this and letting us know what you're seeing, what you're studying. Thank you for all that you do, appreciate your time, David Holland, thank you.
We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SANCHEZ: Actress Anne Heche has been declared brain dead one week after she was critically injured and badly burned in a car crash.
WALKER: On Friday afternoon, representatives for Heche confirmed she was brain dead, which under California law is the definition of death. The 53-year-old star of films including "Donnie Brasco" and "Six Days and Seven Nights" never regained consciousness after her car crashed into a house on August 5th. Her family says she is being kept on life- support for organ donation.
SANCHEZ: There was very emotional testimony this week in Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against L.A. County. At one point the wife of NBA legend Kobe Bryant rushed out of court in tears as witnesses were describing an event where they were shown photos of her husband's corpse.
WALKER: Bryant is suing L.A. County for damages for emotional distress and mental anguish, claiming the photos taken at the scene of the fatal helicopter crash that killed her husband, daughter, and seven others were inappropriately shared including at an awards ceremony for the county employees and a bar.
CNN's Natasha Chen with the latest from the trial.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Amara, on Friday the jury heard from one of the whistleblowers and one of the deputies accused of taking and sharing unauthorized close-ups of crash victims, including Kobe and Gianna Bryant on January 6th, 2020. We previously heard from a whistleblower who say a deputy sharing these grizzly photos at a bar, but on Friday we heard whistleblower Luella Weireter explain how a Los Angeles County firefighter was showing photos of human remains from the crash at an awards gala. Weireter happens to be the cousins of one of the victims in the crash, so she was particularly emotional in recounting how the group of people were huddled around a phone looking at the alleged gruesome photos.
She said one of the firefighters eventually walked away from the huddle jokingly saying, I can't believe I just looked at Kobe's burnt- up body and now I'm about to eat. As Weireter cried on the stand, Vanessa Bryant was also visibly emotional. I saw her with her head in her hands, rocking slightly forward and back, trying to hide her face as she cried. She was not in the room at all for the afternoon testimony of Doug Johnson, one of the first sheriff's deputies to have climbed the treacherous hillside to reach the crash scene. He says he took about 25 site photos at the request of another deputy to share with command staff 1,200 feet below so they could form a strategic response.
He said about a third of his photos were of human remains, and he remembers taking pictures of body parts, people missing a head, missing arms or legs, organs lying in the open. He said he had texted these to the deputy who requested them, and also airdropped them to a firefighter that to this day has still not been identified. So the county's argument that the photos are contained is disputed by Vanessa Bryant's team who argues there could be more photos out there that we don't know of.
Still, Deputy Johnson said that he was unaware of any policy that would have prevented him from taking these photos and sharing them with other first responders. He said, quote, "I know I didn't do anything wrong." He said he doesn't regret his actions that day. Boris and Amara, back to you.
WALKER: Natasha, thank you. It just must be so unimaginable to go through what Vanessa Bryant is going through right now.
Boris, it has been good to be with you. Can I do it again tomorrow with you?
SANCHEZ: Yes, why not. More than welcome anytime 6:00 a.m. tomorrow. But don't go anywhere. For our viewers at home, the next hour of CNN Newsroom starts in just a few minutes. Fredricka Whitfield is up next.