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Liz Cheney Faces Uphill Battle Against Trump-Backed Rival Tomorrow; China Launches Military Drills As U.S. Lawmakers Visit Taiwan; Study: "Extreme Heat Belt" To Impact 100 Million Americans by 2053; Climate Change Threatens Pollinators Sustaining Food Supply. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired August 15, 2022 - 13:30   ET



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Now, from a rising Republican star to a fight for her political future, Congresswoman Liz Cheney's battle with former President Donald Trump is about to come to a head in her home state of Wyoming. But even if she loses, is her career really over? That's coming up.



MARQUARDT: Voters are about to decide the fate of one of former President Trump's most high-profile critics. Congresswoman Liz Cheney is in serious danger of losing her seat to the Trump-endorsed primary challenger, Harriet Hagerman.

Tomorrow's Wyoming's primary is the last test of the so-called Impeachment 10. Those House Republicans you see on the screen who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the capitol attack, only two of them have won their primaries. Three have lost and four are simply retiring.

I'm joined by CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Gloria, this is a remarkable race. The Cheney name is so strong in Wyoming. She's the incumbent. She has a huge fundraising. And she's been backed by George W. Bush, and his vice president, her father, Dick Cheney.

But at the end of the day, she is the massive underdog. So, does this signal the transformation of the GOP?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we've seen a lot of signs of it. I think if you had to say the GOP, official GOP, is now a subsidiary of Donald Trump.

And when you look at the polling, you see that a majority of Republicans believes that the election was rigged.

And if you look at Liz Cheney's own popularity ratings -- and let me emphasize again that she's a conservative who comes from a legendary political family in the state of Wyoming.

Look at her disapproval rating was only 26 percent. And then she voted to impeach Donald Trump and look at where it is now. So this is a very uphill battle.

Even though she's raised an awful lot of money, a lot of it from out of state. Even though Democrats are lining up to try and change her registration, which they can do, to vote for her in the primary, the odds are she's giving up her House seat in order to tell the American public, and indeed the world, that Donald Trump should never occupy the Oval Office again.

MARQUARDT: When you look at Harriet Hagerman, she was once a supporter of Cheney's.


MARQUARDT: She was once a Trump critic. But then she fully embraced the Big Lie about the 2020 election. Is this about political expedience?

BORGER: Yes. Well, I mean, look at it. She's also someone with a history in the state of Wyoming. She's not a newbie there. She's conservative, but so is Liz Cheney.

Her feeling is Liz Cheney has forgotten us, she's forgotten Wyoming, she's obsessed with Donald Trump.

And while she is it hedge as a full-fledge election denier, but she finally come out and said she thought the election was rigged recently. So, she's now fully into that.

And Liz Cheney has kind of remained steadfast. And made that her number-one issue.

And when you saw her father, Dick Cheney, go on the airwaves and call Donald Trump a coward, it was a remarkable moment in Wyoming political history.

And that is where the Cheney family is. And if she does not win her race, they believe so be it.

MARQUARDT: And what does that mean for her political future? It doesn't feel like she's going to go quietly into the good night?

BORGER: She is not. I was speaking with top Republican strategists this morning. I asked that question. The first thing he said to me -- the big question is, is she going to run? And she's been telling people, well, we'll deal with that later, about whether she runs for president.

But the thing we know and I think the think he said to me is she will have an impact on who the next Republican nominee will be. We know that she can raise money. She can start a pact. She can go out speaking, et cetera, et cetera.

Whether she runs herself in any capacity, we don't know.

The one thing, I think, she has to do at some point, for her own political future, is talk about other things. I mean, this -- this January 6th is going to be with her forever. And she's not going to let go of it until she gets to the bottom of it.

But she's a conservative who can talk about American foreign policy, America's role in the world. She can talk about China, all kinds of things that have been so important to her in her political career.

So, you might see a transformation where she tries to establish a conservative branch of what she would call Real Republicans. But we don't know that there's a lane for that anymore in the Republican Party.

And so, she could really be used to raise money for a candidate that she wants to become the next president of the United States.

MARQUARDT: Yes. Democrats often forget what a conservative she is.


BORGER: Absolutely.

MARQUARDT: Because she's so singularly focused on making sure Donald Trump never gets back into the Oval Office.

Gloria Borger, great to have you on. Thank you so much.

BORGER: Thanks, Alex.

MARQUARDT: China is unleashing fresh military drills as U.S. lawmakers show another high-profile round of support for Taiwan. Beijing is calling it, quote, "an ambush visit." We'll have the latest from Taiwan coming up.



MARQUARDT: China's yet again flexing its military muscle as U.S. lawmakers put on another high-profile show of support for Taiwan.

Now, Beijing is conducting fresh military drills around Taiwan, as a U.S. congressional delegation met with the president of Taiwan. Now, China is calling this an ambush visit by these five lawmakers.

And it comes just days after the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a controversial trip herself to Taiwan.

Now, CNN's Blake Essig is in the capital of Taipei.

Blake, the Chinese calling this an ambush. Were they really caught off guard by this trip? They didn't know it was coming?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Alex, it's hard to say. It is possible, of course. This current group of five lawmakers, led by Senator Ed Markey, not nearly as high profile as the delegation led by Nancy Pelosi.

But again, it's hard to say, on one hand, China didn't wait long to respond to the U.S. lawmaker's most recent unannounced visit to Taiwan with fiery rhetoric and military action.

But on the other hand, the People's Liberation Army was already well positioned because they've been consistently operating around Taiwan for roughly the past week to be able to respond militarily.

That being said, on Monday, as you mentioned, in the afternoon, the Chinese Defense Ministry released a statement calling this most recent visit by the U.S. congressional delegation, an ambush visit and a flagrant violation of the One China policy, which acknowledges that the People's Republic of China, the sole legitimate government in China.

Of course, the White House continues to maintain that their policy has not changed.

Now after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her delegation left about two weeks ago, China kicked off at least six days of live military exercises surrounding the democratic island.

That military aggression continued on Monday. On Chinese state media, the eastern command leader announced it had conducted a new round of joint drills and combat patrols in the air and at sea around Taiwan.

Saying, quote, "The exercises are a solemn response to political plays by the U.S. and Taiwan that are undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait."

A spokesman for China's embassy in the United States addressed the visit on Twitter saying, China firmly opposes any official ties between the U.S. and Taiwan.

And that the U.S. should bear all the consequences, Alex, despite worsening tensions between Beijing and Taiwan as a result of these high-level visits from lawmakers abroad.

Taiwan's foreign minister, Joseph Wu, thanked Senator Markey for their visit, and once again reiterated that China doesn't get to dictate how Taiwan makes its friends -- Alex?

MARQUARDT: And China's U.N. ambassador now calling this provoking. So they are responding angrily on a number of different fronts.

Blake Essig in Taiwan, thank you so much.

Chaos and panic at an IKEA in Shanghai, China. Some shoppers managed to push through the --


(SHOUTING) MARQUARDT: You can see there, some of those IKEA shoppers managing to push through the guards there and in getting out, after a case of COVID was linked to that IKEA.

That sparked a snap lockdown. This was on Saturday. A local health officials say people at the store and affected areas have to quarantine for two days, followed by five days of health monitoring.

Now, as of today, authorities there reported six locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in Shanghai which have had some of the strongest lockdown restrictions.


Record-breaking heat wave has gripped the United States this summer but a new report out today is predicting far worse. And not in the too distant future, just 30 years from now, more than 100 million people, this report says, could feel the impact. We'll have more on that, after the break.



MARQUARDT: If you think it's hot now, a new study says it's about to get a lot hotter. This study concluding that more than 100 million Americans will be impacted by an extreme heat belt by the middle of the century, 30 years from now. We're talking about a heat index above 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

CNN meteorologist, Tom Sater, is here.

Tom, what else is this study predicting?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's quite interesting, Alex. This is the same climate scientific community, which in years past, have also looked at other areas of our globe.

In the first one, they said, by 2100, some areas in Southeast Asia will be uninhabitable.

And we're not just talking about rising temperatures. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor. So we've all heard about the heat index, and we've heard about the heat index when you have heat and humidity together.

They had reports of Southeast Asia, how you will not be able to live there. It's just not going to happen.

In China, they said temperatures are rising faster than anywhere on the globe. And even if they meet the goal of keeping temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius, they're still going to warm up. And that goes for much of the planet.

This report today focuses on the U.S. Notice the highlighted counties in the U.S. This is where you typically have a day where the heat index is 125. So we go from eight million to 107 million in just 30 years.

Really feeling it in south Florida, mid-Atlantic, much of the Midwest and the desert southwest.

This is where we're going to start to see a problem now. You break this down, when you look at the cities, when you have this many days now, not only at 125, but the duration, what could be your hottest week of the year will be the hottest month.


So many, many more days. It's going to overwhelm really the hospital situation.

You know, back in the '60s, we would have two heat waves and now we're seeing five times as more and it could be much more.

The number of days, the duration grows. This is significant. And with the need of air-conditioning, these things are going to be emitting more greenhouse gases.

So it's bad news. We need to take this into consideration.

MARQUARDT: Tom, we only have a couple seconds left. There's a knock-on effect that will affect the food supply.

SATER: You know, we've been doing climate stories that told us in reports that bee colonies are dying off. It's not pesticides as well as it's the climate

Pollinators are responsible for one-third of all the food we eat. That's like one of every three bites. Bees account for pollinating over 90 percent of the produce and crops. And it's not just for us, but livestock we depend on, poultry and meat.

But now butterfly migrations are not getting to the areas in time because, in our changing climate, the flowers are blooming earlier so they're not able to do the pollinating.

Two terrible stories in reports that came out on changing climate.


MARQUARDT: Tom Sater, thank you so much, sir.

That does it for me. I'm Alex Marquardt.

Don't go anywhere. The news continues right after this break.

Have a good one.