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Interview with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX): Should DOJ Investigate Republican Governors Who Transport Migrants to Other States; Slow-Moving Fireball Lights up Scottish Skies, Puzzles Experts; Alaska's Western Coast Face Hurricane-Force Wind Gusts, Flooding; Stocks Fall After FedEx Warns of Global Recession. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 16, 2022 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: CNN's Miguel Marquez spoke to one man who said his plane originated in San Antonio, Texas.


UBALDO ARCAYA, MIGRANT (through translator): There were three options, he says, Washington, Utah, here in Massachusetts, whatever was available. The plane left and brought us here.

When you step on American soil, you feel at ease that you're here and well protected. You lose the stress of the journey we had to go through in seven countries. Very stressful across all of Central America.


BLACKWELL: Today, Governor Ron DeSantis is disputing accusations that his team misled any of the Venezuelans they were relocating, and he vowed that Florida will use every penny of his allowed budget to relocate migrants to other states.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R) FLORIDA: The folks that are contracted not only do they give them a release form to sign, they actually give them a packet, and in that packet included a map of Martha's Vineyard. So, it was obvious that that's where they were going and they gave that to them, and here's the thing, it's all voluntary.


BLACKWELL: Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. She represents Texas and is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Good to have you back. We had Congressman Crist on just a few minutes ago, who says that the DOJ should investigate here. Do you agree that they should?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Well, absolutely, the Department of Justice, as I have written to the Attorney General and spoke to the Department of Justice today, as well as the Department of Homeland Security. I'm on the Homeland Security Committee and chair the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. We have never, Victor, seen this.

I asked just (ph) a rhetorical question. Have we seen this kind of behavior with public officials in the last 50 years? We've seen the flotilla. We've seen people come across the border. We've seen the surge in 2014. We've seen the surge in recent years of refugees, migrants coming across our border. We've even seen activity at the northern border.

But never, in the last 50 years, and maybe longer, have we seen public officials, governors of states, taking human beings like discarded waste and dumping them wherever they feel that they have the privilege to do so.

Not only should the federal government enjoin them, take them to court and seek an injunction against this maligning behavior, but they should also determine whether civil or criminal actions need to be taken or whether they violated civil or criminal laws. This is an abomination, and it is unacceptable.

BLACKWELL: So, it is a stunt, right? It's obvious that Ron DeSantis sent planes to Texas to take migrants to Martha's Vineyard. But to the question, the concern of some in Texas, that they are overwhelmed. What should be the responsibility or the burden sharing among the states? Should Texas take all of that responsibility or should some of the migrants be sent in a more orderly fashion to other parts of the country?

JACKSON LEE: Well, the stunts are being perpetrated by governors who are stunt promoters and followers of Trump in Arizona, Florida, and Texas. It looks like they're competing against each other.

Absolutely, the Constitution says that the 10th Amendment gives the states what is not left to the federal government. It is the federal government's responsibility, in immigration, our borders, securing our borders.

Having been on Homeland Security, having written a comprehensive immigration law, I understand that, one, we have put huge amounts of federal dollars on the border. We have confidence in our Border Patrol agents and other agents there.

People who haven't been to the border don't know that there is a process. These officers are processing individuals. They are given papers, and in many instances, the process is they can go to a place where they may have a family member. I've seen that happen.

Why the interference of these governors to literally grandstand politically, one, putting National Guard at the border, some of these National Guard persons are committing suicide.

But working with President Biden, and Homeland Security, and Judiciary or the Department of Justice, we can work with these states by giving them more funding, by giving more staffing, by moving staff from one part of the border to the next. And providing a viable place where the refugees can go.

So yes, we can work together. But we cannot work together on what I think has racial implications and the very fact that migrants, refugees, were dropped at the vice president's home, I have to say, as a woman and a black woman, I'm incensed.

I think we can do better, and these are stunts that should not be tolerated. And frankly, both Departments, Homeland Security and Justice, needs to investigate these governors because it is not funny at all.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about the meeting happening today between President Biden and the families of Brittney Griner, also Paul Whelan. Brittney Griner, a Houston native.


We've learned there has been movement in these talks with the Russians, the negotiations to bring Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan home. You are clued in here. Do you know any details of what the movement, if not a breakthrough, has been in this case?

JACKSON LEE: Well, let me first of all thank the president for meeting with these families. They have been in pain. We were with Paul Whelan's family yesterday. I know that Britney's family has come in to be at this meeting. We as members of Congress have been fighting, insisted yesterday that the president should meet. We applaud that.

We also know that in the course of our work, many of us have done different communications. I met with the counsel general here in Houston, the ambassador from Russia in Washington and delivered a message for him to deliver to Putin that he should, one, be merciful, but as well, to consider seriously the offer put on the table. It is a two for two.

We recognize that there are two persons and that it may be that two persons have to be offered. The movement is that the United States has submitted this, as we believe was asked for by Russia. But there has been no response. We think that this clearly --

BLACKWELL: But that's been seven weeks. Has there been any movement in the last seven weeks since that was put on the table?

JACKSON LEE: Well, let me say that it is my understanding and belief there is not. But there are different -- how should I say it -- lines of communication that may be at the government level and may be at other levels. And I welcome that.

But Russia has not made any attempt to respond to the knowledge of those who are designated and there's an effective team, a hostage negotiating team that has compassion, that is doing an excellent job, Victor.


JACKSON LEE: But from the perspective of the government, when Putin says yes, let's move forward, just as the president of the United States would say yes and move forward, that has not been gleaned or determined. And it is cruel and inhumane to hold this young lady, this two-time Olympian, this WNBA -- but this wonderful human being who has a family. And Paul, who went over there simply to have a social event with his friend, who has now been almost four years --

BLACKWELL: Yes, I think everyone agrees -- everyone agrees that they should be brought home. I should mention that former Ambassador Bill Richardson was in Moscow for talks.


BLACKWELL: They're not saying specifically what those are about. He was crucial in bringing Trevor Reed home. We'll see if he has an impact on bringing these two home. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee --

JACKSON LEE: We welcome that -- we welcome that, but Putin has to be the one --

BLACKWELL: I hear you.

JACKSON LEE: -- to make the decision. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: All right, check this out. A mysterious fire ball across the skies of Scotland and Northern Ireland. What was that? This story next.



CAMEROTA: A bright and mysterious fireball flying through the sky across Scotland and parts of Ireland and the U.K. Wednesday night.

BLACKWELL: Hundreds of people saw this thing. It was in the sky -- look, there you go -- for about 10 to 20 seconds. CNN's space and defense correspondent Kristin Fisher is with us now. So, what was it?

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know yet with 100 percent Certainty but a group called the U.K. Meteor Network is convinced that it was a meteor, which is a small piece of an asteroid which was breaking up as it entered the earth's atmosphere.

The other possible theory that's been floating around is it was a piece of space junk. You know, like an old satellite or a spent rocket body burning up as it re-entered the earth's atmosphere. But most experts seem to be coming into agreement that this was a meteor.

But whatever it was, Victor and Alisyn, it was a spectacle across Scotland, Northern Ireland, and northern England. And more than 800 people reported it to the U.K. Meteor Network, and it was captured, as you can see here, in tons of cell phone videos, ring doorbell cameras caught it. And the reason we have such incredible footage of it is because, you know, most fireballs, they only last in the sky for a few seconds. This one could be seen for a full 20 seconds. Which is very rare.

And it was also pretty slow moving, and a lot of people also reported that it was actually changing color. So, you know, there was some really unusual characteristics about this thing. But as all the data comes in, it's looking more and more like it was a meteor, but space junk not officially ruled out yet -- Victor and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK. I mean, I'm no rocket scientist, but that looks like a meteor.

BLACKWELL: It's exciting the first day. I imagine in the moment it's a little scary.

CAMEROTA: Oh, yes.

BLACKWELL: It's a little scary at the moment.

CAMEROTA: What is that? Kristen Fisher, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Alaska's west coast is bracing for what forecasters say will be the strongest storm to hit the area in more than a decade with flooding and hurricane-force winds.

CAMEROTA: And on the other side of the country, tropical storm Fiona is slowly spinning towards Puerto Rico and potentially Florida. CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray is watching both coasts for us. So, what's the latest -- Jennifer?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right, guys. A lot going on. This one is truly significant. We could see the worst coastal flooding that Alaska has seen in 50 years. We're talking about 12 to 18 feet of storm surge with this storm. So here is the low. And you can see it in the Bering Sea, and this is bearing down on Alaska. The highest impacts will be felt tonight through tomorrow. That's where we're going to see the strongest winds and that coastal flooding with the storm surge.

So, you can see there, 50, 60-mile-per-hour winds. We could see winds even higher. And then they quickly diminish by the time we get into late Saturday night.


Here are the forecasts, wave heights up to 12 feet -- 12-foot waves -- or 12 meters actually, this is offshore, but right around the coast, around 1 to 3. And then you can see the coastal flood warnings that are in effect all along the Alaskan coast right there. This is through Saturday.

This is tropical storm Fiona in the Atlantic. This one has winds of 50 miles per hour, gusts of 65. Moving to the west at 14. Impacting the Leeward Islands, the British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, definitely in the path of this storm as it continues to track to the west. It is going to bend back up to the north. This is Wednesday morning, as you can see ever so close to the Bahamas. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens with the storm. Something to watch over the next couple days.

We do have tropical storm watches and warnings in effect, and a lot of rain on the way, guys. Most of the models do keep this out to sea. Away from the U.S. coast, but still very early to tell -- Alisyn and Victor.

CAMEROTA: OK, Jennifer Gray, thank you.

BLACKWELL: The FedEx CEO gave a blunt assessment of the global economy today. A recession is coming. And that sent their stock on a dive. More on that next.



BLACKWELL: Stocks are down again today after a grim warning from FedEx of a slowing economy and a possible global recession.

CAMEROTA: With just a few minutes left in the trading week, the Dow is currently bouncing around -- down 110 points. The Dow erasing more than 1,200 points since Tuesday. CNN's Matt Egan joins us now. So Matt, what is FedEx seeing that has them so alarmed?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: They're seeing weakening demand, which is a big deal. Because FedEx is really on the front lines of the economy, right. They have this unique vantage point, by being one of the world's largest shipping companies. And they're say shipping demand has weakened considerably in the last few weeks, and they expect this trend to continue. They have slashed this sales guidance by half a billion. The CEO went on CNBC to say that he thinks a global recession is likely coming and they're going into cost-cutting mode.

So, that means that they are cutting worker hours. They are freezing hiring. They are shutting almost 100 locations, and they're also shutting down five corporate offices. And this is telling FedEx is -- they're slashing some of their operations, because they don't think there's demand to meet it. That means they're actually going to be grounding some planes.

Now this is not sitting well with investors, as you can imagine. FedEx shares down 21 percent as we speak. That is on track for its worst day since going public in 1978. Worse than after 9/11, worse than after Black Monday in 1987. Perhaps it's overdone, but that's what's happening.

This is also raising some concerns about the economy broadly on Wall Street. The Dow is down 100 points, about 0.3 percent right now. But this is after another couple of days of selling. I think that there is a lot of concern about what's happening in this economy and whether or not they can avoid a recession.

BLACKWELL: All right, Matt Egan, thank you, Matt.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Matt.

What is outrage? Some "Jeopardy!" fans are furious at Ken Jennings after he allowed one player to correct their answer, but not another.



CAMEROTA: As teachers settle back into their classrooms, a majority have to spend their own money, often hundreds of dollars on supplies for their students.

BLACKWELL: This week's CNN hero, Larry Abrams, pardon me, Larry. Larry Abrams, a high school English teacher who recognized how financially challenging that reality is for so many teachers. Here he is.


LARRY ABRAMS, HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER (voice over): So many of us have heard about food deserts, but there are also these things called book deserts. Areas where people just don't have access to books. There are pockets of poverty where they don't have them in their homes, there are no libraries.

ABRAMS: In the great forest, a little elephant is born. His name is Babar.

ABRAMS (voice over): The most important tool that they get are words. And there are some kids who grow up hearing lots and lots of words because they're read to every single night. Kids living in book deserts don't have that. And so, reading and books helps level that playing field.

ABRAMS: Very good stuff. This was a great hole.

ABRAMS (voice over): Giving kids books almost ensures academic success. What we do is irrigate book deserts by pouring hundreds of thousands of books in.

ABRAMS: First grades, he'll probably want the picture books.

ABRAMS (voice over): Teachers are the best distributors of books that we have. We are improving lives one book at a time.


BLACKWELL: Well, for more on Larry Abrams' story, go to

CAMEROTA: OK. We have to tell you about this. "Jeopardy" host Ken Jennings is in the hot seat because of this moment.


KEN JENNINGS, HOST JEOPARDY: Here's a typical early 19th century landscape by this British painter.


LUIGI: Who's Constant?

JENNINGS: Say again.

LUIGI: Who's Constable. Who's Constable.

JENNINGS: Constable is correct, yes.


CAMEROTA: Now Jennings allowed that contestant to correct his answer, but later in the show, Jennings changed his policy.


JENNINGS: Mychon 19 in 1988 had as a guest of honor "This Always Coming Home" fantasy author and was held in Berkeley, her birthplace. Harriet?

HARRIET: Who was Angela Le Guin.


HARRIET: Ursula Le Guin.

JENNINGS: Luigi or Winston. Luigi.

LUIGI: Who is Ursula Le Guin?

JENNINGS: Yes, Harriet, you remembered that her name was Ursula but I'm afraid I'd already begun ruling against your when you corrected yourself.


BLACKWELL: The reigning champion Luis Deguzman won the game. He apologized to his opponent, Harriet Wagner. According to the show's website, contestants may change their responses as long as the host nor judges have made a ruling.


CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean Jennings said he was in the middle of making the ruling -- he was like, no, and she corrected herself. But she corrected herself faster than the other guy corrected himself and he was allowed to keep his new answer.

I grew up in a "Jeopardy" household and I'm going to say, mistakes happen. I barely made it through Larry Andrew's name. OK, so things happen.

CAMEROTA: You're right.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, I'm going to extend them some grace. All right. CAMEROTA: OK.

BLACKWELL: "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.