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Liz Cheney Faces Trump-Backed Challenger on Tuesday; Results from Tuesday's Vote in Kenya Expected Today; India and Pakistan Mark 75 Years Since End of British Rule; Over 10 Million Americans Under Heat Alerts; Heat, Drought Creating Dangerous Conditions Across Europe; Actress Anne Heche Dies Days After Fiery Crash into Home. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 15, 2022 - 04:30   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. House Republican lawmakers are expected to release a report revealing failures by the Biden administration handling of the pullout from Afghanistan. The report includes interviews from whistleblowers and people in Kabul. The Biden administration did not however, participate in the report.

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are requesting more information from the Justice Department after several classified documents were found at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.

Donald Trump is looming large over the upcoming U.S. midterms and his influence is about to be tested again. Voters will decide Tuesday whether to oust the Republican Congresswoman who's become one of his leading critics. Jeff Zeleny has the story from Jackson, Wyoming.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: One of the most closely watched Congressional races across the United States takes place here in Wyoming. She's down some 30 percentage points heading into the final weekend of campaigning against Harriet Hageman. A long-time lawyer in Wyoming who has run for office before but has never been this strong. Of course, this time she is running with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump who looms large in this race in every way.

His winning margin in Wyoming was stronger than any state across the country. He won by nearly 70 percent of the vote. So, this is something clearly that she is going to have to run to get some of these Trump loyalists and convince them to come to her side.

Really in the final hours and days of this campaign her only strategy is getting Democrats and Independents to come to her side, switch parties and vote for Cheney. There are signs that some of them are going to do that. But the question is mathematically, is that even enough? This is such a Republican heavy state.

No question Liz Cheney though will go on regardless of the outcome on Tuesday to be the vice chair of the January 6th committee that is investigating the attack on the Capitol. She also has other political aspirations of her own, perhaps a presidential run in 2024. But she is not getting ahead of herself. Her aides and strategists say she's focus on this race here on Tuesday. But there is no doubt, this is a referendum on her and the strength of the former president and the Republican Party.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Jackson, Wyoming.


MACFARLANE: Well meanwhile, Florida's Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis is on the campaign trail this week stumping for candidates endorsed by Donald Trump. DeSantis is currently running for re- election but he's visiting key swing states and is widely seen as one of the leading Republican contenders for the 2024 presidential race along with Trump and former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Now Kenya's presidential election winner is expected to be announced any time today as authorities have been racing to count the votes. Right now, the Deputy President and Raila Odinga are front runners, says the race is extremely close. It's been a long wait to learn the outcome. The election was held last Tuesday.

CNN's Larry Madowo joins me now from Kisumu. Larry, we're expecting the results to be announced any minute now but it's been a slow process for Kenyans.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been quite slow, Christina. In fact, this is the longest Kenyans have ever had to wait to know who their next president will be. We're in the sixth day before the electoral commission will announce who the winner is. Part of the reason is because the chair of the Electoral Commission, agents of the presidential candidates opposed the process, like a forensic audit.

There's a huge amount of distrust in the electoral process. A each party tries to make sure that there is no monkey business potentially happening in that part. But that appears to be all cleared now. We will know any moment now who the next president will be.

But an extremely tight race between Deputy President William Ruto -- who is running for the first time -- and Raila Odinga -- the former Prime Minister -- who is running for the fifth time. People here in Kisumu are big supporters of Raila Odinga, they voted for him all of the five times he's run and many of them tell me they hope this time will be the time that he finally gets to win this thing. I have one of his supporters here. What are you waiting for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, I'm just waiting for the big, big, big announcement. The announcement what I know is going to be announced is that Raila Odinga is going to be the fifth president of Kenya. And with Raila's presidency my hopes are so high because I know his presidency everything will be well. For now, yes, we know life is so difficult but with Raila's presidency everything will be OK.

MADOWO: And so, you have not worked today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For today, I have been working the last few years but have never been rich. For today I've closed my business.

MADOWO: And so, you have your regalia and your -- why is that? How will you celebrate?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm already -- I'm here with my regalia for celebrating. I just want Chebukati to announce --


MADOWO: OK, Chebukati is the chair of the Electoral Commission here. And as can hear a lot of the people gathering here just want to hear that announcement and it could come at any time now and the then whole nation, the whole country will know who that president will be -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yes, and let's hope a positive reaction to that news when we hear it. Larry Madowo there in Kenya. Thanks very much, Larry.

All right, still ahead, a big week ahead for the U.S. economy with key data expected on American's spending habits. We'll have a look at how the stock market is responding.


MACFARLANE: Guards from India and Pakistan there taking part in a flag ceremony at the border post as both nations mark 75 years of independence from British rule. Today it's India that's been holding the celebration. Our correspondents are covering the anniversary from India and Pakistan.

Sophia Saifi is live in Islamabad and Vedika Sud is standing by in Delhi. Vedika first to you. This is, of course, a proud moment for many in India but also, a reminder of some more violent and dark times.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Oh, absolutely. It is like I've been saying to Michael as well in the previous shows that India gained its independence from the British colonial rule on 15th August, 1947. It was undoubtedly a bloody partition. We're told that about 500,000 to about 2 million people died during partition and more than 15 million people were displaced and uprooted.

I've had conversations with survivors from the partition era, the first generation Beljik -- who we spoke to.


She lives currently in America but she was all of five, Christina, when she was rushed out of the house, put into a Jeep with her family and she lived near Lahore. And early morning when dawn just broke, she looked at the rise and she could see a canal while they were driving past a part of Lahore -- just next to Lahore city and she saw out there decapitated bodies, bloated bodies, severed limbs and arms and she remembers that to date.

That is just one of the many examples she gave me of what partition really brings back in terms of memories for her. She's a proud Indian, absolutely she is. But she just hopes and prays that no one has to go through what she and millions of people had to go through in 1947. However, this comes at a time when the rest of the country is of course celebrating. There's pomp, there's show. You had the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi unfold the tricolor of the Indian flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort this morning, where he promised that in the next 25 years, he will transform India in into a developed country -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: Vedika, thank you. I want to turn to Sofia now. Sofia, you've heard what Vedika has said there. How to Pakistani people remember the partition and how does it still shape Pakistan-India relations today.

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Christina, it's something, as Vedika said, there were millions of families who were affected, thousands died but millions survived and there was similar experiences on both sides of the border. People who had lived together for centuries had to leave their homes without the understanding that they would never be able to get to the other side.

So of course, and you know, the inheritance of partition with the British leaving, is of course the unresolved issue of the region of Kashmir. Three wars have been fought over this. India and Pakistan have, you know, apparently at one of the lowest ebbs in relations. There is no trade between the two countries. It's one of the most heavily militarized borders in the world. People who have links to India -- we say 75 years but there are still survivors alive who cannot go to India or Indians who cannot go to Pakistan, who have familiar links on each side. They meet in other parts of the world.

India and Pakistan also have other issues ahead for them, such as extreme weather, climate change, we saw extreme floods all of last month. So, these are issues as the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in an op-ed that these two hostile, acrimonious neighbors might have to sit down together to resolve these issues -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yes, Sophia, thank you for that. And thank you to Vedika, too, for reminding us why this seismic event is still so impactful today. Thank you.

All right still ahead, millions of Americans are under heat alerts. Our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, will have the forecast -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Another day of excessive heat across portions of the plains and the central United States, temperatures as warm as 107 degrees but what if I told you may be some relief in store in the coming days for the first time in weeks. We're going to show you those details here coming up in a few minutes.



MACFARLANE: We're keeping an eye on U.S. stock futures with just hours to go until the opening bell on Wall Street. You can see there the Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all currently looking to open in the red.

It's a big week for the U.S. economy with the Census Bureau still to release its July retail sales report on Wednesday shedding new light on how Americans are spending their money.

Meanwhile, several big retailers are set to report earnings in the coming days and some companies like Walmart and Target are already warning that numbers could be lower than expected. Overall, the data is expected to show that consumer spending is relatively flat with inflation still forcing many Americans to cut back.

Now a blazing hot summer in the U.S. is not over yet. More than 10 million Americans are under heat alerts from the Southeast to the West Coast while other areas are bracing for potential flooding. CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the latest -- Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Good morning, Christina. Let's break down what's happening across the U.S. because heat and wet weather had been the big stories over the last several days and much the same continues here. High pressure settled in across portions of Texas and Oklahoma. So, the storm kind of riding right up and over it and prompting in some heavy rainfall across a few areas of the U.S. and some of the monsoons certainly have been pretty impressive. Portions of Colorado, portions of Arizona, high risk here for some additional flooding and even areas indicated in red. Some flooding warnings in place there for the heavy rains that we've seen in recent hours.

But notice we'll kind of see this dwindle at least initially across this region and then see the storms linger a little farther toward the east.

The big story is the heat, and really the significant divide in store over the next several days. Where the Western U.S. remains rather toasty and in fact, even warms up a little. While the Eastern U.S. finally gets a break in the action. And dare I say a hint of autumn in the air for some but New York City no more 90s and a close to 100. Temps over the next several days generally, low to mid 80s, much the same in Boston. Maybe a little warmer towards the latter portion of the week. But you'll notice the overall theme here is going to be much of the area of the U.S. that has seen so much heat finally begins to see a break from the heat for the first time in seemingly weeks.

In fact, look at Dallas, 101, 102, 97, that's about in line with average but it even gets cooler later in the week. OKC into the 80s, Little Rock also from about 100 down into the 80s as well. And the perspective on a national scale looks as such here, with Memphis at 95 degrees, Boise at 99 and highs around Cleveland beginning that slight cooling trend, highs there, Christina, right around 79 degrees.

MACFARLANE: Yes, thanks to Pedram.

Well, the normal summer has of course also been brutal in Europe with scorching heat and wildfires. One in northeast Spain forced around 1,500 people to evacuate on Sunday. The fire was first reported Saturday afternoon and quickly spread overnight.

Meantime drought conditions are affecting water supplies across France, Germany and the U.K.


The starting point is London's iconic River Thames has dried up and moved about 8 kilometers, or 5 miles downstream.

Well, let's talk more about Europe's heat wave. CNN's Scott McLean is in London but first, let's go to Melissa Bell who is live in France. And Melissa I understand that the wildfire where you are Gironde where you are were so huge that other European countries actually had to send in firefighters to help.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. There are a thousand firefighters currently on what is now a contained but not extinguished wildfire, the third major one in this region, south and west of Bordeaux this summer. July and August so hot the conditions down in these pine forests that essentially run all the way to Spain so dry that every time the heat comes there's a danger that these wildfires will pop up again. In this particular region it's been badly impacted.

And I'd just like to show, Christina, what these firefighters, a thousand of them, as you say comes from Poland, Germany, Italy, they've come from all over Europe to try and help, have been fighting. The wildfire spread so quickly here from last Tuesday when, again, the temperatures rose in this very hot summer. And swept across this, and you can see that even now, only yesterday was it announced this wildfire had been contained. But you can see that even now the ground is so hot that smoke continues to rise, flames threaten to return and that is what the firemen are trying to keep under control.

What we've seen overnight, is a little bit of rain, the temperatures have cooled a little bit and yet as the day progresses those temperatures will rise. And what the firefighters say is, look, this fire -- wildfire is contained for now but as the temperatures continue to rise over the course of the week a contained fire does not mean an extinguished one. So, they're coming all the time across 25 mile zone to try and put out these bits of smoke and the potential flames that could come back to try to ensure that this wildfire doesn't pick up again. But for the time being they say it is far from certain it will remain calm -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: Now Melissa, incredible to see the ground still smoldering around you there. Let's turn to our Scott McLean who's in London. And Scott, the Thames as we know is a major waterway for shipments and supplies. I don't think we've ever heard of it drying up in this way before. So, how problematic is this?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christine. Well of course, from this vantage point you'd never know there was a problem but if you go 85 miles or so that way to the west, to the head waters of the Thames, you'll find there is no water. Now we were toured around that area by a local rivers expert who said that of course in the summer months it's not uncommon for the source of a river to dry up.

But what is unprecedented in recent memories just how many miles you have to go before you find any water at all. We went the better part of 10 miles before we found any sign of a meaningful flow of water and that is because large swaths of England are currently under drought conditions. We just finished the driest July that we've had since 1935 and the problems are piling up.

You have farmers grazing cattle in fields with no grass in them right now. You have water restrictions coming into place. You have reservoirs that are extremely, extremely low. We visited one hamlet not far from London here actually, where the taps ran dry last week. It is a persistent problem every summer when it gets extremely hot. Now the locals are battling the water company, Thames Water to try to get a more permanent solution. But they say that, look, climate change is also to blame.


PETER LANGFORD, FARMER: What it says to me is that these extreme temperatures that we've got, that's not Thames Water fault, that's everybody's fault. We all fly off in planes, we all do our bit to increase the problem. And I think it's a wakeup call, really.


MCLEAN: Now thunderstorms are expected later on today, the trouble is that it's the wrong kind of rain that we need. Because the ground is so hard and dry that is likely to runoff and cause potentially flash flooding -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: All right, Scott McLean there in London, Melissa Bell, thank you both very much.

Now the award winning actress Anne Heche has died days after that fiery car crash in her LA home left her brain-dead. Her representative says she was taken off life support on Sunday. CNN's Chloe Melas looks back at her life.


ANN HECHE, ACTRESS: He just wanted to give us some time alone.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER (voice-over): Anne Heche rose to fame on the soap opera, "Another World" playing the dual roles of twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love from 1987 to 1991. It earned her a daytime Emmy award and led to films like "Donnie Brasco," "Six Days, Seven Nights" and "Wag The Dog." But it was her highly publicized romantic relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in the late '90s that really put her in the spotlight.

HECHE: Ellen is to me the embodiment of both male and female.


I think as why our energies connected so quickly and so easily because I've always felt in my being that I'm both male and female.

MELAS (voice-over): They were considered one of Hollywood's first lesbian power couples before breaking up after three and a half years. Heche said that she believed it damaged her career and caused her roles. Heche eventually bounced back though in her career and personal life. She appeared in numerous TV shows and was married for eight years to Coleman Laffoon, they had a son. She also shared his son her former "Man in Trees " costar with James Tupper.

HECHE: Even though I was in therapy for years, I never told anybody that I had another personality. I never told anybody that heard voices and spoke to God. I never told anybody any of it.

MELAS (voice-over): The actress was open about her battles with mental illness. In her 2001 memoir "Call Me Crazy" she wrote about enduring sexual abuse as a child. Heche was hospitalized in 2000 after wandering in rural California knocking on a stranger's door and making strange statements.

HECHE: I think I was at the bitter, bitter end. I was in a place where I was ready to leave this planet on my spaceship.

MELAS (voice-over): A fiery 2022 car crash put her in a coma and left her with severe burns, Anne Heche led a life of public highs and lows. But through it all she shined on screen and strive to stay hopeful.

HECHE: I've always wanted to heal my life. I've always wanted see the good side of life. I've always wanted to see the good in everything that happen to me. And I am -- I could not be happier with who I am right now. I couldn't be happier with what I've been able to accomplish in my life.


MACFARLANE: Anne Heche leaves behind two sons, 20-year-old Homer and 13-year-old Atlas. Homer paid tribute to her in a statement saying: The family has lost a kind and most joyful soul and loving mother and a loyal friend. Anne Heche was 53 years old.

All right, that does it for this edition of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Christina MacFarlane in London. Stay with us, "EARLY START" with Christine Romans is next.