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Former President Trump Renewing Calls for Special Master to Review Evidence Collected by FBI after Search at Mar-a-Lago; Stock Market Falters after Federal Reserve Chairman Announces Continued High Interest Rate to Combat Inflation; New York City Continues to Receive Immigrants Transported from Texas; Newly Arrived Immigrants in New York Asking for Work Permits. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 27, 2022 - 10:00   ET





BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the Newsroom, former President Trump again calling for a special master to intervene after a judge unseals documents about the search of his Mar-a-Lago home. Plus, what we're learning about those classified government secrets inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A major slide on Wall Street.

SANCHEZ: Friday free fall. Stocks plunging after Jerome Powell says the fed will take aggressive action to tame inflation, and he's warning more economic pain is coming.

Plus, dozens more asylum seekers arriving in New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to get to work. They don't want to stay in shelters. They want to contribute to society.

SANCHEZ: The hurdles keeping migrants from earning a living and the legal battle between states as officials call for the federal government to step in.

Plus, California is pumping the brakes on the sale of new gasoline powered cars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a historic moment.

SANCHEZ: When the state wants dealerships to stop selling them, and concerns over an influx of electric vehicles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going back to the moon to stay, to live, to learn.

SANCHEZ: And countdown to launch as America aims a return to the moon.

Newsroom starts right now.


AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It is Saturday, August 27th. I'm Amara Walker.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Amara. Great to be with you. I'm Boris Sanchez. You are live in the CNN Newsroom, and we're grateful to have you.

Former president Donald Trump is dismissing details from the affidavit that was used to search his Mar-a-Lago estate, and he's renewing calls for a special master to review the evidence that was collected. Trump says the redacted affidavit is, quote, a total public relations subterfuge by the FBI and the DOJ. He submitted more court papers in his request for a special master, but he provided no information to the judge on what role that person would actually play.

WALKER: Now, we are learning new details from the unsealed affidavit. It reveals that classified material found at Trump's residence includes some of the country's most sensitive secrets. Among the revelations, that the investigation started with a criminal referral from the National Archives sent to the Department of Justice in February, that there is likely evidence of a crime at Mar-a-Lago, and that documents Trump took from the White House included information on human sources or spies that often work would the CIA.

SANCHEZ: We want to get you more details on exactly what the affidavit reveals. Let's bring in CNN reporter Marshall Cohen. He's been digging through these documents. Marshall, what have you seen in there that stands out to? What are some of the biggest takeaways?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, Boris and Amara. There was a lot in this. Thankfully, the Justice Department didn't redact everything. We got to see, frankly, more than a lot of what people were expecting from these documents.

And this is all about the case that the FBI made to the judge to get permission for that search warrant. Obviously, you can't just go into Mar-a-Lago, and especially if it's the former president. You have to explain the legal basis for that. And as you mentioned, they believe they had probable cause of a few things.

Let me read for you a key quote. This was like on page two. They got this right up front to the judge. The FBI said under penalty of perjury, this was a sworn affidavit, quote, "There is probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified national defense information or that are Presidential records subject to retention requirements currently remain at Mar-a-Lago." They went on to say, quote, "There is also probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at Mar-a-Lago." So sort of twofold there. This stuff about the classified information, and then the potential obstruction.

I will tell you that in this unsealed affidavit, almost everything about the obstruction case was redacted. I wish we could talk about it. I wish we knew more about it. We'll have to wait and see on that. But with regards to the classified documents, that's where the FBI

affidavit really shed a lot of new light. You may remember that earlier this year in January the National Archives took possession of 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago. President Trump voluntarily handed them over.


Once the archives started looking through those boxes, they were shocked with what they found because they found a ton of classified information. That's when they made the referral to the FBI. So in this affidavit the FBI gave a breakdown of what they found -- 67 confidential documents marked confidential, 92 documents with the marking of secret, and then 25 top secret, going in order from least serious to most serious. Among those 25 top secret documents, according to the FBI there were markings indicating that there were documents related to human sources, spies overseas that work with the FBI, signals intelligence and wiretaps and surveillance that's done of foreign intelligence, very, very sensitive material that the government usually goes to extraordinary lengths to protect. That's why they felt they needed to go and do this search. Guys?

SANCHEZ: And the question remains why exactly were these documents at Mar-a-Lago? Why was Donald Trump holding onto them? Marshall Cohen, thanks so much for walking us through that.

Let's pose that question now to CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd. He is here to sort through the details, a former CIA senior intelligence adviser, former CIA counterterrorism official. Phil, is there a reasonable legal explanation that former President Trump would be holding onto these documents?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I don't think so. I've been asking the same question you have, Boris, which is why. I've got some ideas, but they're only ideas. I don't think there's a legal or intelligence explanation.

First of all, it's hard to imagine the president going down to the basement of Mar-a-Lago saying, let me pour over top secret documents to do research for something. For what? So in terms of reference to those documents, I see no reason to do that. Typically, and President Trump had his security clearances removed by President Biden, typically presidents have access whenever they ask to whatever they want. For example, the former president, George W. Bush, would call the CIA periodically and say I want a briefing. People would show up on his doorstep in Houston whenever he wanted. So president don't have to keep stuff is what I'm saying. If they want something, if they want to know something, you give them access.

Again, President Trump is unique. But if you want an answer about whether there's a legitimate reason to have that stuff there, give me another couple of months and I'll still say no.

SANCHEZ: Phil, what about the argument that that stuff belongs to him? He has said he declassified everything that he left the Oval Office with. Maybe he believes those letters from Kim Jong-il, or rather Kim Jong-un, for example, are his. What do you make of that?

MUDD: I think there's two separated categories of stuff, and this is why the FBI would have a team, and they do, looking at the material, what we call a clean team, before the material goes to investigators. For example, if there are personal letters from friends, if there are things like calendars of the president's personal activities, if there are photographs, I would almost even consider the Kim Jong-un letters, they're not personal. They're state property, but I could see if you want to give him the benefit of the doubt saying that's a personal letter to me, you weed that stuff out. That is fundamentally different from information that does not relate personally to the president.

Let's say you're intercepting a foreign government's communications. How is that personally related to the president? That's U.S. government information that the president, the chief executive, has access to. Let's say there's information, as there appears to be, from human sources. How does that relate personally to the president? That's U.S. government information. So there's two separate categories that the president, the former president is purposely confusing, personal stuff that will be weeded out, and stuff that clearly is intelligence collected by the U.S. government.

SANCHEZ: So let's talk about that intelligence, Phil. Obviously, so much of this document is redacted, but given some of the classification levels of these documents and the ways that they were designated, a lot of acronyms that you're familiar with, what did you glean from that?

MUDD: Yes. One thing that you could take away and sort of sort through all the details. When I was reading the redacted document yesterday with all the acronyms, you step away saying I'm not sure an everyday American without a background in intelligence can understand this. So let me break this down with one concept. You have secret intelligence and confidential intelligence. If you looked at the document yesterday, there's a lot of that stuff in there.

That's important. I would not call that the A team of intelligence. The A team of intelligence is when you step into top secret. There are two categories that you need to worry about. One is intercepted communications from a foreign government. If that gets out, that government will shut down those communications so you can't read them, very simple impact.

There's also top secret -- occasionally top secret human source intelligence, an informant giving something to the United States. If that stuff is revealed, that government will identify that individual and maybe incarcerate him, or in some of my experience, kill them. So separate out the secret and confidential stuff, important, but not the Mercedes of intelligence. Look at that top secret stuff, and you've got to shake your head and say why do you keep that stuff at a beach house? I don't get it.


SANCHEZ: So what happens if a foreign adversary, say Russia or China, gets their hands on that kind of information? What are the national security implications?

MUDD: Well, the easy explanation, and this is why there's a damage assessment being done, is depending on what they acquire, how quickly do they find out the origin of that intelligence and how quickly do they shut it down. One of the reasons that intelligence is top secret is, obviously, how important it is to the U.S. government. But the other characteristic that I'm aware of or that I witnessed when I was in government of top secret intelligence is that when you acquire it, determining the source should not be that difficult. For example, Boris, if you get intercepted communications that are top secret, it's going to take somebody in a foreign government 10 minutes to figure out where we got that stuff from, and they'll simply shut down that avenue of communications so the National Security Advisor can't collect it anymore. It's not hard to figure out where this stuff came from if it ever gets released, which is why you have to scratch your head and say, why would anyone at Mar-a-Lago say that stuff is declassified, why?

SANCHEZ: And given some of the incidents we've seen play out with Chinese nationals at Mar-a-Lago, it is cause for concern. Phil Mudd, always appreciate your time, sir. Thanks.

MUDD: Thanks.

WALKER: U.S. stock markets ended the week in negative territory with the Dow Jones closing down more than 1,000 points.




WALKER: The slide came after investors got a warning about inflation from the Federal Reserve chairman. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq sank as well, falling three percent and almost four percent respectively. CNN's Rahel Solomon with more.


RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Jerome Powell delivering a blunt, no nonsense message during his much anticipated policy speech in Jacksonville, Wyoming, on Friday. The Fed chair warning that the U.S. central bank is nowhere near the point where it can begin slowing the pace and severity of interest rate hikes as it attempts to get inflation under control. The Fed chair clearly trying to tamp down speculation in financial markets that the central bank might be nearing the more market friendly, less aggressive interest rate policy after we got some encouraging inflation reports recently. Powell saying instead that the Fed will need to see sustained drops in inflation before easing up on rate hikes, warning that higher interest rates will be needed for some time until the central bank is, quote, confident the job is done.

Powell admitting, however, that his get tough policy policy could cause hardship for many Americans. JEROME POWELL, CHAIR, FEDERAL RESERVE: While higher interest rates,

slower growth, and softer labor market conditions will bring down inflation, they will also bring some pain to households and businesses. These are the unfortunate costs of reducing inflation, but a failure to restore price stability would mean far greater pain.

SOLOMON: Powell warning of pain in the form of higher borrowing costs which could slow both consumer spending and business investment, which in turn could lead to a less robust jobs market. The big fear, though, is that the Fed could inflict so much pain that the U.S. economy will fall into a recession. We're not there yet, but Friday's action on Wall Street clearly shows that investors are worried. Powell's message putting pressure on both Wall Street and main street.

Rahel Solomon, CNN, New York.


WALKER: Still ahead, Oklahoma kicks off an expected flurry of executions. The lingering concerns over some inmates' mental fitness and prior botched lethal injections.

Dozens more asylum seekers have arrived in New York this week. Why officials there say the federal government needs to do more to help them adjust to life in the U.S.



SANCHEZ: New this morning, the number of migrants being sent to New York City from Texas is growing by the dozens. Officials say that a record 237 asylum seekers were dropped off in the city on Wednesday alone, a major difference from three weeks ago when the first bus arrived carrying only 13 people.

WALKER: And with an influx of migrants in the state, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has asked that President Biden take executive action to allow them to receive temporary work permits in the meantime.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is live in Queens, New York, with more. Polo, yes, what's the plan, and how is New York dealing with this influx?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amara, since we started covering this, we heard from just regular New Yorkers, some of which believe that the city is perhaps in the best position to be able to respond and welcome so many asylum seekers because of previously existing issues here.

But look, whether that's the case or not, they continue to come. Those numbers continue to increase, and whether it's -- they come on their own, paying their own way to New York, or some taking up the opportunity in the state of Arizona or in Texas for a free ride here to New York. And now we're finding that the biggest frustration for those who make it here is being stuck in an unemployment limbo.


SANDOVAL: To get merely an idea of what many of the people stepping off these border buses in New York City have experienced, just look at the images they're willing to share.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're resting here in order to continue our journey.

SANDOVAL: This video taken by Chrisman Urbaez and his partner Anabel Gonzalez earlier this summer. The young Venezuelan couple kept a video diary during their two-month, 10-country journey from Lima, Peru, to New York City. They carried only their few belongings on their backs and occasionally their six and nine-year-olds as they trek through the infamous Darien Gap linking South and Central America.


It's a place where the northerly path for many migrants often ends in tragedy, but not for this family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We made it! We made it alive! We made it, thank God!

SANDOVAL: During the rest of their journey north, they swaddled their dog Max (ph), still a pup at the time, like a baby to sneak him onto buses and into hotels, fearing that they would be separated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There goes Sebastian and Criszanyelis.

SANDOVAL: But the actual blood, sweat, and tears were all worth it for this moment, as they recount, the day they waded across the Rio Grande and onto U.S. soil for the first time, officially requesting asylum. After a brief stop in Texas, it was onto a bus and the three-day drive to New York City where they wait for the asylum cases to be heard.

What was your first impression of New York? Anabel tells me reality set in once they reached the urban jungle that is their new home, that as much they want to start earning a living, they can't. You see, they're among the thousands of recently arrived migrants who have to petition for a work permit after submitting asylum applications. It's a process that is taking up to a year according to New York City leaders.

Chrisman says he hopes the government can help him be a better provider for his family, but more than anything else, he's pleading for the federal government to free his hands of the red tape that's keeping him from working legally.

MANUEL CASTRO, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR'S OFFICE OF IMMIGRATION AFFAIRS: Most of the families that I've spoken to, they want to get to work. They don't want to stay in shelters. They want to contribute to society.

SANDOVAL: Immigration Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro, an immigrant himself, echoing calls for a fast track solution. CASTRO: Immigration advocates across the country are calling on the

federal government to make it easier and make it quicker for asylum seekers to obtain their work permits. That's by far the biggest obstacle.

SANDOVAL: The Urbaez family says they won't risk their asylum cases by working off the books. They'll have to depend on the city's already strained shelter system until they can get the government's green light to start living their American dream.


SANDOVAL: New York Governor Kathy Hochul is adding for those calls regarding work permits for these asylum seekers, calling on the government to allow her to basically issue an executive action to be able to give them those kinds of documents so they can get to work. Governor Hochul, Amara and Boris, saying that she cannot take those actions without first getting approved by the federal government. So there is this sort of vicious cycle that continues to push the shelter system to the brink since, as of yesterday, well over 7,300 recently arrived asylum seekers have turned to New York City shelters for help, and that number is growing.

WALKER: That number continues to grow, and the governor's hands seem to be tied for now, and a lot of families in limbo right now. Polo Sandoval, excellent reporting. Thank you so much for that.

Well, Oklahoma has executed the first of 25 death row inmates it intends to put to death over the next two years.

SANCHEZ: Fifty-year-old James Coddington was sentenced to die for the 1997 murder of a 73-year-old man. Oklahoma's governor refused to commute Coddington's sentence despite a recommendation from the state's pardon and parole board.

Let's bring in CNN's Nadia Romero to talk about this. Nadia, the state is defending its decision to go through with the execution.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris, Amara, and this doesn't come without a lot of controversy whenever you bring up the death penalty or capital punishment. But the state is saying here that they're looking at the violent nature of Coddington's crimes and also the will of the Oklahoma voters.

So let's start with James Coddington, 50-years-old he was convicted back for a killing, back in 1997 for killing what he considered to be his friend, a man named Albert Hale, during a moment where he was trying to get more drugs. He was a drug addict, and he wanted that money from Albert Hale. Hale did not give him the money. So police say Coddington beat him with a hammer three or four times, killed him, and then stole money from him for his drug habit. That's why he was sentenced to death.

But there's been a long history in Oklahoma of these botched executions. Four inmates really have come to mind and that critics say you can look at those botched executions as why they shouldn't happen. And in many of those cases, the state of Oklahoma used unauthorized drugs. One man saying to witnesses while he was being executed that it felt like acid was in his body and that his body was on fire.

So back in 2016 there was a ballot measure put up to all Oklahomans across the state asking their thoughts on capital punishment. And 66 percent, so two-thirds of voters decided to have that right stay with the state to decide to impose the death penalty.


And this is a statement from the attorney general of Oklahoma saying that "The family members of these loved ones have waited decades for justice. They are courageous and inspiring in their continued expressions of love for the ones they lost. My office stands beside them as they take this next step in the journey that the murderers forced upon them."

So these executions will begin on Thursday, and then we're talking about 25 people being executed in the state of Oklahoma over the next two years. Boris, Amara?

SANCHEZ: Nadia Romero, thank you so much for that reporting.

So it's in the first ban of this kind in the country. California nixing new gas vehicles by 2035. What this means for the future of transportation across the country when Newsroom returns.



WALKER: A six-year-old child is safe this morning after an attempted kidnapping in Ohio, and it was all caught on a doorbell camera. So the video shows the little girl standing next to a garbage can by the curb when a man walks toward her, gropes her, and then grabs her by the arm and then starts dragging her down the sidewalk.

SANCHEZ: This is the stuff of nightmares. And on the video, you can hear the six-year-old screaming before she's able to break free and run away. Watch this.




SANCHEZ: The girl's father soon after this chased the suspect in his car. And fortunately, police caught the man, 33-year-old Deric McPherson. He's now being held on a fifth-degree felony abduction charge.

An update for you on a story we've been following closely out of Texas. In fewer than two hours, parents, community members, and survivors from Uvalde will arrive at the state capital in Austin. They're there to ask Governor Greg Abbott to call a special legislative session to raise the minimum rage to purchase an AR-15 assault rifle to 21 years old. Organizers for the March for Our Lives rally say that hundreds are expected to join them in today's protest. Remember, on May 24th a gunman killed 19 kids and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The shooter purchased the AR-15 he used just days after turning 18.

WALKER: So this week California regulators passed a first in the nation measure to ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035. Existing cars will be allowed to stay on the road, but there are plans to require 35 percent of new cars, SUVs, and small pickups sold in California to be zero emission starting with the 2026 model year. So this will be a phased approach. That requirement will increase each year and climbs to 68 percent by 2030, and then of course 100 percent by 2035.

All right, here to discuss with me now is the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency's Transportation Emissions Program, Margo Oge. Really a pleasure to have you on. This is innovative. This is historic, isn't it?

MARGO OGE, FORMER DIRECTOR, EPA OFFICE OF TRANSPORTATION AND AIR QUALITY: Yes, absolutely. It is a big deal. Transportation is the top contributor of greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, and regardless of where you live today in the U.S., Europe, any other part of the globe, we're experiencing severe weather events from drought, from fires, severe heat. So to address transportation and reduce these emissions are very crucial.

WALKER: I mean 2035 is not that far away. It's about a decade away. California is the most populous state in the nation, I think it was 39 million or so people. This is going to have quite an impact, I'd imagine, when it comes to climate change. What does the studies show, or what's the expectation?

OGE: It's going to have an impact, not just because California is the most populous state and about 10 percent of cars every year are sold in California, but there are plans that 17 other states will adopt the California program. So all together this is going to be something like 40 percent of new car sales sold in the U.S. will have to be electric. So it will move innovation and it will accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, and it will be great it for the consumer, because although electric cars are somewhat more expensive than gasoline cars, it's maybe three to six times less expensive to fuel them. But more important, we're all going to breathe cleaner air.

WALKER: And do you know what the response has been from the auto industry? You just mentioned expenses, right. I think a lot of people are saying, gosh, that sounds great in theory, and I would love to buy an electric car, but it's too expensive for me, especially with so many people -- we're all dealing with inflation right now. So are there plans to make electric cars more affordable and also incentivize people through subsidies at the state and federal level?

OGE: First of all, President Biden Inflation Reduction Act has huge incentives to both consumer and car manufacturers to invest in electric vehicles in the U.S. [10:35:05]

But the state of California has been spending billions of dollars on both infrastructure and incentives, so absolutely those incentives are in place. And what I'm hearing is very positive from the car manufacturers. It was like 10 years ago in California when something like this or the federal government, what we would hear from the car companies is oh, my God, the sky is falling. We're not hearing that anymore, because these companies from G.M. to Ford to Volkswagen, they're all investing billions of dollars to transform the car industry from gasoline and diesel to electric.

So I believe that you're going to hear very broad support from the companies. Unfortunately, and this is to be expected, that's not going to be the case from the oil industry, because as we're using more electric cars, we're not going to be burning the very high polluting fossil fuels and imposing all these unhealthy effects on climate change, and that's what I'm hearing.

WALKER: And I'm sure you are hearing as well, especially from experts who say California's infrastructure is not prepared to handle an influx of electric cars, especially with an electric grid already strained by record heat. What about significant investments of the grid infrastructure, because you're going to have now millions of battery electric or even fuel cell electric vehicles on the roads?

OGE: Absolutely. And the state is making those investments. But also utilities are coming into play. What I'm hearing from the experts, it's not as much as how many electric cars will be charged on a daily basis but rather what time of the day those charges will take place. For example, I live in Los Angeles, and south of California Edison was giving me a great rate if I charged my car at any time of the day except from 4:00 to 9:00. So for me it's like the equivalent of spending $2 for gasoline, which is very inexpensive. So I think that's the biggest thing. So utilities are working, the federal government is working, and the state is probably in the best place to address this issue than any other state today.

WALKER: And we've seen in the past as well other states following the suit when it comes to reducing zero emissions in California. So hopefully we'll see a lot of that happening as well. Margo Oge, appreciate you joining us this morning bright and early, thank you.

OGE: Thank you, bye-bye.

SANCHEZ: Democrats are feeling renewed hope heading into the midterm elections, and one south Florida lawmaker is hoping to flip her district blue. We're going to speak to her on the issues next.



SANCHEZ: So midterm elections are fast approaching, and there are going to be some heated, close races across the country. Democrats are promoting a series of recent wins on things like climate change, gun safety, and student loans well Republicans are counting on high inflation, worries about a recession, and historic head winds to retake control of Congress.

Joining us now is a candidate, Florida state senator Annette Taddeo. She just won the Democratic primary in Florida's 27th congressional district. She is set to face-off against a Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar, another Latina, this fall. State Senator Taddeo, thank you so much for joining us this morning. I want to start on that note, because the 27th district is among the most Hispanic in the country, 70 percent Latino, and there's been an undeniable shift in the electorate recently among Latino voters. From south Florida, Texas, California, even Pennsylvania, many Latinos are turning away from your party. Why?

ANNETTE TADDEO, (D) FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL NOMINEE: Well, I will tell you that we as Democrats -- and thank you so much for having me -- need to do a much better job of fighting back all of the attacks that they have been throwing at us -- socialism, communism. And that's why I've been successful. I've won twice in a seat that voted for Trump by six points, because I've pushed back with my personal story.

I fled terrorism. My father was kidnapped by the FARC, a Marxist terrorist group that was funded by the Cuban regime. So this is what we need to do, fight back, talk about our personal stories, talk about what we are going to do and what we have done for hardworking people and how we are truly the ones that are defending democracy in the United States and overseas. And that is how we win, and that's how we're going to win this seat back.

SANCHEZ: That position may do well in south Florida where many Latinos have fled socialist or communist countries, but how do you explain south Texas where many Mexican Americans have also trended towards the Republican Party and they don't have a history of socialism in their country being a main reason for them emigrating here, that that appeal doesn't really translate to them, does it?

TADDEO: Look, what we have seen in all of the races recently in the last few months and even last week is that in conservative districts like the one I represent, which is much more conservative than the one I'm running in, which is a D plus one, is actually that people are coming back to the Democratic Party. Why? Because we are the party that's actually passing legislation to help with their pocketbook issues, to reduce inflation, to actually find solutions instead of just talking about the problems, which is what Republicans are doing, or lying about the problems. I'm running against someone that has said that inflation is at 40 percent on video.


And when you have inflation drop from eight -- from nine to eight, and you have inflation all across the country and the world you know that you need to find solutions, and the Democrats have offered solutions and have passed these bills while the Republicans just want the problem to continue because they don't want to talk about choice. They don't want to talk about the freedoms that we are losing, and that they want us to go backwards as a country. But more importantly, this election is about so much more. This election is about democracy. This election is about democracy right here in the United States of America.

SANCHEZ: As you know, State Senator Taddeo, President Biden's approval rating has hovered close to 40 percent, usually below 40 percent. Would you like to see him come down and campaign with you?

TADDEO: Look, I know that I have my own campaign to win, and we will get lots of help from lots of people. But at the end of the day I know that the way that I win this race is by us actually telling my story, telling why we need a real representative. We have somebody right now that votes constantly against our community. Maria Elvira Salazar thinks this is a reality show. And this is real life. Fifty-eight percent of Miamians -- Miamians are spending 58 percent of their income on transportation and housing. That's unsustainable. And yet you vote constantly against everything that would help people.

So that's what we're going to talk about. And as a business owner, I can tell you I know what it's like to meet a payroll every single week. And we need somebody that's going to go up there and find solutions like I have done in Tallahassee for five years, and that's how we're going to win this race, talking about our issues, telling our personal stories, which are the stories of Miamians. And I can tell you that freedom is on the ballot, freedom of choice, freedom to travel to another state, to have medical procedures. These are the reasons many of us have fled from other countries, and that's what we're fighting for in this race. That's what's on the ballot.

SANCHEZ: Out of fairness, I want to let our viewers know we have reached out to your opponent's campaign to have her on and defend claims that you are making directly. Hopefully she'll come on soon.

I will ask you about one more thing, though. As part of a response to President Biden's plan to forgive student loans, the Republican Congressional Committee sent out a statement going after you by name, saying that you have been, quote, "awfully quiet on this scheme." Their words. You have a chance to speak up now. What do you think of the plan to forgive student loans?

TADDEO: Look, it's not a scheme when you want people to accomplish the American dream that I have been able to do. It's not a scheme to deliver solutions to Floridians and to Americans, including our very large Latino community.

What I will tell you is that we as Democrats are delivering on solutions for people to actually get ahead at a time when they need us to deliver. And I'm running against someone that actually said that people who need help, just a hand to get out of a tough situation in the middle of COVID, she called them parasites. And so I can tell you we are hardworking Floridians that know that we are here to make life better for our kids and for our future. And they can attack me all they want. That shows how afraid they are of the fact that we are going to win this race come November.

SANCHEZ: State Senator Annette Taddeo, thank you so much for the time. We appreciate you sharing part of your weekend and your perspectives with us.

TADDEO: Thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Stay with CNN. We're back in just moments.



WALKER: NASA is keeping a close eye on the weather ahead of Monday's inaugural launch of its next generation, the Artemis rocket. These are live pictures here. Now, there are two back up launch windows later in the week in case Monday's flight gets called off. The unmanned mission set to go around the moon, traveling farther than any spacecraft built for humans ever has. Future launches aim to return humans to the moon and eventually make way for exploration of Mars.

So parts of the Gulf coast are bracing for some potentially dangerous flooding in the coming days.

SANCHEZ: CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins us now live from the Weather Center. Allison, what are you seeing?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We are seeing, unfortunately, more rain for a lot of the states that just simply don't need any more, especially in the short-term. You still have warnings in effect across portions of Mississippi as well as Louisiana. Most of that, however, is really meant for the rivers, the creeks, and the streams, which have yet to come back down from their peak.

In fact, the Pearl River at Jackson has yet to peak. It is still at moderate flood stage right now, but it is still forecasting up to 36 feet, which would put it at major flood stage. And we've got more rain anticipated in the forecast going forward. Here you can see a lot of those showers and thunderstorms.


The vast majority of what we're going to get in the next 48 hours is going to be your typical pop-up summertime with showers and thunderstorms. The bulk of the heavy rain is really going to be focused over Florida, but still areas of Mississippi and Louisiana where they had six to 10 inches just earlier this week can expect an additional one to two.

SANCHEZ: Allison Chinchar, thank you so much for that.

WALKER: And thank you all for being with us and watching.

SANCHEZ: Newsroom continues with Fredricka Whitfield after a short break. Stay with us.