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Thousands Of Mourners Line Up For Miles To Pay Respect To Queen; Ukraine: Russian Shelling Of Liberated Areas Injures Several People; Florida Joins Texas In Moving Migrants To Northern Cities; "Mosquito Fire" In Northern California Grows, Heavy Wind And Rain Expected This Weekend; Mortgage Rates Top 6 Percent For First Time Since 2008. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired September 17, 2022 - 12:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, we begin this hour with an outpouring of love for Queen Elizabeth II, as the World mourns her death and celebrates her remarkable life.

(voice-over): Tens of thousands of mourners are lining up for miles all to say their final goodbyes to the monarch. The wait right now up to 13 hours.

King Charles III and Prince William greeting some who gathered to grieve earlier today. They are shaking hands with well-wishers and they also spoke with them briefly.

A short time from now, Prince William and the queen's other seven grandchildren will all stand vigil by her coffin.

We're also seeing world leaders beginning their journeys to pay respects to Queen Elizabeth. President Joe Biden and the first lady, departing the U.S. this morning to attend the queen's funeral, which is scheduled for Monday.

And earlier today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife paying their respects to the queen as she lies in state at Westminster Hall.

CNN's Arlette Saenz, Anna Stewart, and Max Foster, all covering the details for us.

Max, to you first, the royal grandchildren holding vigil a short time from now. What will that be like?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I think it would be very powerful. Prince Edward's children, particularly very young. So, you'll have them all gathered around the coffin. And this is something that they really wanted to do. It will include Princes William and Harry. I didn't expect to see the spouses there at all. I don't think we'll see the princess of Wales or duchess of Sussex, but it will be a very powerful moment seeing all those children come in.

The queen was very dedicated to her grandchildren, they all have different relationships with her, have different common interests, but they've all been deeply affected by all of this, as we've seen over the course of the last few days of mourning.

As we were speaking, Fredricka, came to the top of the show, I had a segment actually from Prince Andrew's two daughters, Eugenie and Beatrice. They'd done a joint statement. I can just read that to you because this is the latest really update that we've had today.

"Our dearest Grannie, we've not been able to put much into words since you left us all. There have been tears and laughter, silences and chatter, hugs and loneliness, and a collective loss for you, our beloved queen, and our beloved grannie.

We like many thought you'd be here forever. And we all miss you terribly. You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our backs leading us through the world. You taught us so much, we will cherish those lessons and memories forever.

For now dear Grannie, we want to say thank you. Thank you for making us laugh, for including us for picking heather and raspberries, for marching soldiers, for our teas, for comfort, for joy. You, being you, you never know the impact you have had on our lives, and so many people around the world."

I'm reading this for the first time, so --

"The world mourns you and the tributes would really make you smile. They are all true of the remarkable leader you are.

We're so happy you're back with grandpa. Goodbye dear grannie. It has been the honor of our lives to have been your granddaughters and we're very proud of you.

We know that dear Uncle Charles, the King, will continue to lead in your example, as he too has dedicated his life to service.

God save the King." That's from Beatrice and Eugenie.

I think that's the most powerful statement we probably had. They were incredibly close to their grandmother. They lived on the Windsor state with her, spent most weekends with her.

So, I think that's very powerful from the queen's two granddaughters.

WHITFIELD: Oh, Max, indeed. That was really touching. And doesn't it seem as though over this last week, week and a half, we're seeing so many new displays of warmth coming from the royal family on so many different levels. It really is kind of re-educating the masses about what is a family, you know, and we're seeing that now, as a result of the passing of the queen. Is that something that's notable?

FOSTER: I think they were all utterly in love with her. They revered her. They looked up to her. They all utterly respected her. And she kept the whole family together. And we're seeing that now, we're seeing this unity which the queen would have loved.

And I think that sort of two girls were talking about there, they would -- they think that she would really love all the tributes that she's seen play out -- that they are seeing play out here.

I think they have come together. I don't know how much you know the really deep splits for example, between William and Harry will heal over this.


But they've come together in the name of the queen or we wait to see whether or not it has a lasting impact.

But I think you're right. It is a bit softer and I think that's the led from Charles because he is more emotional. Isn't he? Singing the crowds today, more touchy feely than the queen was.


FOSTER: So, I think it's a reflection of that, perhaps.

WHITFIELD: Yes. It's been really touching on so many levels. Max, thanks so much.

Anna, you've been in the crowds with people and they have been very forthright about how they've been feeling about things. I mean, they've been mourning, at the same time, there is jubilation, but help us understand their stamina waiting 13 to 24 hours, in some respects to see the coffin of the queen?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It's an absolutely incredibly long time. And actually, we can try and catch up, and I was just speaking to a family who come all the way from Wales, people have traveled right across the U.K. to be here. I've actually met some people who've flown even further than that.

Come over here, quickly. This is a 10-year-old who has done how many hours so far?


STEWART: Four hours so far. And how long do you think you'll be in this queue for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably about another -- no, probably just about midnight, we'll go out the queue. So, yes.

STEWART: And how are you feeling about that? Did you think you're going to be OK? We got comfy footwear?


STEWART: Yes, a glass -- sunglass. It has been sunny, thank goodness. It's getting quite cold in the evening. And you've traveled a long way to be here.


STEWART: Four hours from Wales to get here, then four hours so far of queuing, and then, potentially another, we think 10 hours (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, 10 hours. Yes.

STEWART: Why are you here? Why is it so important?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we just saw, it's nice, because I -- we want to just support them. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The queen -- I lost my grandma last year, and the queen was a lot to us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we loved that, and it was something special to us. So, I think that's a lot for me and my family. So, to be here is really special for us.

STEWART: That is wonderful. Thank you so much. I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. Now, do catch up, I don't want you to lose your place in the queue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Thank you so much.

STEWART: That's something we hear a lot actually from the crowds that the passing of the queen felt like losing a family member. There is almost a familial connection there.

And also, I think there's something about the grieving process of coming together, and remembering people that they have lost. That's something we hear a lot too. Back to you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Oh, and then, Anna, without getting too personal for folks. I mean, that's a long time to stand in line, and we heard the last family that they had tea and their biscuits. So, are there port a potties nearby? I mean, what are people doing? Do you lose your spot or folks pretty let you back in?

STEWART: That is what everyone wants to know. Where are the bathrooms? There are bathrooms. There are many bathrooms, there are many people. And you'll see that the people in the queue here will have wristbands.

Now, once they bought their wristband and have to wait a couple of hours before they get one. But they can leave, get a cup of tea, go to the bathroom, and then come back.

So, fair not it's not 12 hours without a break at all.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's so polite. I like it. All right. Thank you so much, Anna.

All right, Arlette to you. The president and first lady already embarking on their journey to London. They've got a pretty busy schedule ahead, don't they?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): They do, Fred. And President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will be landing in the United Kingdom in about five hours as they travel there to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II, and also share their condolences personally with the royal family.

Now, tomorrow, the president and first lady will pay their respects to the queen at Westminster Hall.

(voice-over): And then they will also sign the official condolence book for the queen's passing.

Later in the evening, they are expected to attend a reception hosted by King Charles III. President Biden, of course, spoke with King Charles on Wednesday to extend his condolences for the queen's passing.

And then on Monday, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will be joining those up to 2,000 people who will be on hand at Westminster Abbey for the state funeral of the queen.

SAENZ (on camera): Of course, President Biden and the first lady met with the queen last summer. In commemorating her passing, the two -- the couple has said that she charged them with their wit and move them with their kindness. But they will now be on hand in London as these funeral proceedings play out to offer those condolences and pay their respects in person.

WHITFIELD: All right. Arlette Saenz, thank you so much.

All right. Let's talk more about all this. Joining us right now, CNN contributor Sally Bedell Smith. She is also the author of the book, Elizabeth the Queen. Sally, so good to see you again this hour.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): Good to see you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: So, you heard that statement coming from a couple of the grandkids that Max was reading, I mean, that was so touching and heartfelt. We're seeing this affinity and affection for the queen, unlike we've ever seen before. Of course, you know, it's upon her passing. But what is most striking to you about those words?

SMITH: Well, how very close she was to all of her grandchildren. I mean, one specific moment comes to mind, which was after the death of Diana, she and the duke of Edinburgh really took in William and Harry, and spent a lot of time with them.


And she, you know, as Max mentioned, she lived in close proximity to Beatrice and Eugenie. And also, to the children of Prince Edward and the countess of Wessex. Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor. They live nearby -- they often had Sunday lunch together.

I have an image in my mind of Prince Edward's 50th birthday when the queen and Prince Philip came, came over for a Sunday lunch, and that Prince Philip who was in his 90s at the time was bouncing on the trampoline with those children.

And so -- and so they've all been, and you know, and, Prince Philip and, and Peter Phillips, they have -- they have all been so close to their grandmother.

And I think she, in a very personal way --



SMITH: And she shaped them with her example, probably, I mean, imagine what it would be like to sit at the -- at the feet of this woman who has traveled to -- who had traveled to over 100 countries?



SMITH: Who had met every world leader, who have had, you know, all the 14 presidents and everybody came and went, but she was the fixed point for the world.


SMITH: But also for her grandchildren.

WHITFIELD: Yes, I mean, the adoration is -- yes.

SMITH: Who (INAUDIBLE) adored her.

WHITFIELD: Yes, the adoration is so apparent. And I mean, quickly, you know, Sally, remember, you know, after following Princess Diana's death, and I mean, who can forget, you know, Harry and William walking behind, you know, the cortege the coffin, and people were so upset thinking that was so cold, only to see that now being repeated. And now, being presented to the world as this is a formality.

And this is something that queen also wanted for her, passing. That her four kids and some of the grandkids would be walking behind her coffin, I mean, in the streets.



WHITFIELD: So, less of being cold and more adhering to tradition and formality?

SMITH: Absolutely. It is -- It is a deeply embedded tradition that this is what is done at a royal funeral. It used to be that just the men walked and Princess Anne has broken that barrier by walking.


SMITH: But when the future King George VI was 5 years old, he didn't have to walk, but he was there, and very visible at the -- at the funeral of Queen Victoria.

So, even younger than William and Harry. And it is, you know, it's a tradition they respect and I know when William and Harry were faced with marching after, you know, behind their mother's coffin, it was -- it was the duke of Edinburgh who said to them --



SMITH: If you walk, I will walk with you. And that, that was what turned it around for them.


WHITFIELD: Yes, that's he was (INAUDIBLE).

SMITH: Because they were very reluctant.

WHITFIELD: Wow. Well, lots of tradition, but also lots of moments steeped in love, we're seeing that as the world continues to mourn and celebrate the life of the late now Queen Elizabeth II.

Sally Bedell Smith, always a pleasure having you. Thanks so much.

SMITH: Pleasure to talk.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead.

WHITFIELD (voice-over): As Russian forces flee Ukrainian cities, a disturbing discovery in one liberated city, a mass burial site. We'll go live to Ukraine next.

Plus, the governor of Florida, vowing to send more migrants to the border -- migrants from the border, rather to other states. He says sending migrants to Martha's Vineyard is just the beginning.



WHITFIELD (on camera): Just days after Ukrainian forces recaptured much of the Kharkiv region, Ukrainian officials say the newly liberated areas are now being heavily shelled by Russian artillery.

It follows the disturbing discovery of a mass burial site in the eastern city of Izium. Ukrainian authorities say they have found at least 440 graves and that some of the bodies show signs of torture.

CNN's Ben Wedeman, joining us now from Ukraine. So, Ben, what more are you learning, also about Ukraine's efforts to retake territory?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Fredricka, we understand that the Ukrainians continued to gain more ground in those last areas under the control of Russian forces. But perhaps at a slower rate than they were over the last two weeks.

Russian forces apparently are trying to dig in and take defensive positions after their old defensive line simply fell to pieces. Now, this city Kharkiv continues to come under bombardment.

This morning, there was a Russian missile strike that hit an industrial area. It appears that the Russians are using S-300 surface- to-air missiles. Normally used to take down aircraft or incoming missiles.

But analysts believe that the use of these missiles suggested, perhaps, the Russians are running out of precision munitions. There was also another artillery strike in a town not far from here that left an 11-year-old girl dead. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Terrible. All right. Thank you so much, Ben Wedeman.

Colonel Cedric Leighton is a CNN military analyst and a retired U.S. Air Force colonel.

Colonel, good to see you. So, your reaction to Ukrainian officials saying they have uncovered 440 graves at a mass burial site in Izium.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, sadly, Fredricka, it's a really a part of a pattern that we see with the Russians. The Russians are clearly making this a war of terror. They are using the civilian population as a kind of hostage situation, and it's very much in contravention of the laws of warfare, and that's what's very disturbing about it.


You know, certainly, there is the human aspect to this. But there is also a very terrible military and political aspect to this. And it is absolutely the wrong thing for the Russians to be doing. But they see this as their only way to leverage the Ukrainian population and to, in essence, coerce the Ukrainian population, but it's obviously not working.

WHITFIELD: And then what do you make of this stunning counter offensive by Ukrainian forces, recapturing much of the Kharkiv region? I mean, what does this mean for the overall war? And do you think Ukraine can hold onto that territory, and perhaps even expand it?

LEIGHTON: If the Ukrainians, Fredricka, continue to get weapons and ammunition from the west, then, they can absolutely hold onto the territory, and most probably expand upon what they've already recaptured. This is a significant turning point. And I will use the word turning point deliberately, because I think this is one of those changes that needs to happen in a war to regain momentum for the Ukrainian side.

And the reason that they are doing this is they are trying very hard -- the Ukrainians are trying very hard not only to regain their territory, but they are also trying to consolidate their military efforts in a way that makes the most effective.

And that they have proven that because of the way they are doing this, they can actually fight the Russians very effectively. But they will definitely need to be resupplied from the west. And they will definitely need to get the support -- the political and military support that they need in order to prosecute this effort.

WHITFIELD: And as for the Russian military, I mean, they're facing embarrassing setbacks on the battlefield, right?

I mean, Putin's back is up against the wall right now. And President Biden is warning him not to use chemical or nuclear weapons. Take a listen.


As Ukraine succeeds on the battlefield, Vladimir Putin is becoming embarrassed and pushed into a corner. And I wonder, Mr. President, what you would say to him if he is considering using chemical or tactical nuclear weapons.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't, don't, don't. Or we'll change the face of war, unlike anything since World War II.


WHITFIELD: Do you think as desperate as Putin as isolated as he might be feeling that it is something he would entertain right now?

LEIGHTON: I'm afraid he would, Fredricka. And I think this is something we have to really be very careful and consider. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't back ourselves into a corner by not providing the Ukrainian some of the things that they need.

But by the same token, we need to be aware and be to, from an intelligence perspective, really follow what the Russians are doing? Are the Russians moving nuclear weapons into different areas? Are they moving chemical weapons, potentially, into areas where they could be employed against Ukrainian forces?

If any of that is detected, we need to respond very quickly, to something like that, and prevent it from happening if we possibly can.

WHITFIELD: But even though, you know, recently, India and China have let Putin know that they don't necessarily agree with everything that he is doing. And he has been wanting to defer to look to the east as having support from India and China. If he were to entertain, escalate the war, even further, he would only be even more isolated, which makes one wonder whether he really would be seriously considering those options.

LEIGHTON: Well, I think it's very true that he would be isolated. And I think India and China would probably be against using chemical and or nuclear -- tactical nuclear weapons in this situation, because they know that has an impact on the kinds of issues that they are dealing with for their own security, you know, for their own countries.

So, I think that, you know, Putin may entertain something like this. But hopefully, India, China, even his advisors, can dissuade him from doing something like this, and certainly President Biden's statements in the interview that you just showed, make it very clear that the United States, and I believe NATO would also be very much against this kind of an operation, will take action against him doing something like this. And that I think, would be critical and should be enough of a deterrent to him.

But we also have to take into account that all the signals that he received before the invasion in February, were signals that he just regarded, and that that's something that we have to consider.

WHITFIELD: You mentioned Ukraine and the need -- and the use of arsenal that the U.S. has largely supplied. The White House announced it is sending an additional $600 million in security aid to Ukraine, bringing the total amount the U.S. has given the country to more than $15 billion since the Russian invasion began.


How long can the U.S. sustain itself in this way?

LEIGHTON: Well, that, of course, is the big question that we have to ask ourselves. I think we need to understand that in essence, the Ukrainians are standing in for us, they are, you know, for lack of a better term, proxies in this war, they are providing the defense that Europe needs in order to prevent Putin and similar forces from trying to gain power in (INAUDIBLE) or in Eastern Europe and in Central Europe.

And that is something that I think we -- you know, we really look at this as a down payment for our own security. It's going to be essential to maintain this kind of a flow of weapons and aid to Ukraine, really, for the duration, and certainly throughout the winter.

And that's going to be tough for the Europeans, especially with energy shortages on the horizon. And it's going to be tough for a lot of countries to sustain their economies and their way of life during this period.

WHITFIELD: All right, Colonel Cedric Leighton, always good to see you. Thanks so much.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Fredricka. And good to be with you. WHITFIELD (voice-over): All right. Coming up, Republican governors vowing to keep sending migrants to so-called sanctuary cities. In other states, it's part of an intensifying nationwide immigration battle. We'll bring you the latest next.



WHITFIELD: All right, the political battle over immigration is heating up with Florida's governor doubling down on his plan to send migrants to northern cities. Ron DeSantis flew about 50 migrants to Martha's Vineyard this week from Texas unannounced leaving local residents scrambling to help. CNN's Athena Jones joining me with more on all of this, so Athena, what has the local response been to the rivals in Massachusetts?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. We know that there was an outpouring of support, tens of thousands of dollars donated to help those migrants that were being housed by a church on Martha's Vineyard, but they have now been voluntarily transferred to joint base Cape Cod, they're going to be staying in an emergency shelter there. That base has been deemed an emergency shelter in the past. It's housed people who are victimized by Hurricane Katrina.

And the migrants will now receive what they're calling wraparound services. So they'll have access to legal services, obviously food and shelter, clothing, other needs are going to be housed in a dormitory style setup, so families are not being separated. But really the real issue here is the lack of coordination. This is what we've heard from everyone on the ground who's been helping and dealing with these migrants. And this is what state officials like Governor Charlie Baker and others, Mayor Eric Adams here in New York are most concerned about, the fact that there was no prior coordination.

Listen to one of the civil rights attorneys who was helping the migrants that were on Martha's Vineyard. Rachel self, here's what she had to say.


RACHEL SELF, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: They were lied to again and again, and fraudulently induced to board the planes. They were told there was a surprise present for them. And that there would be jobs and housing waiting for them when they arrived, this was obviously a sadistic lie. Not only did those responsible for this stunt know that there was no housing and no employment awaiting the migrants, they also very intentionally chose not to call ahead.


JONES: And so that immigration attorney is part of a group that is among the others, it's calling for some kind of criminal investigation into what, you know, Governor Ron DeSantis has done. But these three governors are really changing the national conversation. They are playing to their base. One thing we should remind everyone of though, is that these are not illegal aliens, as some are calling them. These are asylum seekers who have been processed by immigration authorities and who have hearings. They haven't a sound determination. So they are here, lawfully. Fred?

WHITFIELD: Athena Jones, all right, keep us posted. Thank you so much.

So while Governor DeSantis vows to keep as many migrants out of Florida as possible, some Latino activist groups are pushing back. CNN's Ed Lavandera takes a look at the divide among immigrant communities as the political fallout intensifies.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While residents of Martha's Vineyard, hugged and cared for a group of about 50 Venezuelan migrants sent to the island from Texas on chartered planes, courtesy of Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, a group of Venezuelan and Latino activists gathered in Miami to lash out.

ADELYS FERRO, DIRECTOR, VENEZUELAN AMERICAN CAUCUS: He has to stop. We demand him to stop using our pain, our suffering, and our desperation for his political gains.

JUAN-CARLOS PLANAS, FORMER FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: This was a publicity stunt, that is the lowest common denominator of human decency.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Juan-Carlos Planas is the son of Cuban exiles and a former Republican state representative from Miami. He says at this point, it's not clear yet if DeSantis has angered the reliably Republican political base of Cubans and Venezuelans in Florida.

PLANAS: From what I've heard on Cuban radio today, they haven't mentioned it, which is probably the fact that they don't know how to deal with it. So there probably will be a negative side to this. This may be the step too far.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Governor DeSantis vows to keep as many migrants out of Florida as possible through his relocation program.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I got 12 million for us to use and so we are going to use it and you're going to see more and more but I'm going to make sure that we exhaust all those funds.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Florida is home to the largest populations of Cuban and Venezuelan immigrants fleeing socialist dictatorships, but there are deep political divisions in these communities.

PLANAS: There are, you know, Venezuelans who are hardcore Trump supporters. They're called the MAGAzuelans. And basically, these are folks that believe that there should be a hard line on everything.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): For several months, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has put more than 11,000 migrants on some 250 buses, with some going to cities with Democratic leaders like Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New York, Texas Division of Emergency Management figures show it has cost the state more than $12 million. Abbott has repeatedly appeared on Fox News to showcase the busing program.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Most of America has not really understood the magnitude of the problem that we have on the border until we started sending these buses up to New York.

PONCHO NEVAREZ, FORMER TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: For any politician uses this issue in the way these two gentlemen have, it is the worst kind of cynicism that we have in politics today.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Poncho Nevarez is a former Democratic state representative from the Texas border town of Eagle Pass. His home overlooks the Rio Grande into Mexico. Nevarez says if there's a political price to pay for these political stunts, Abbott and DeSantis haven't experienced it yet.

(on camera): There are a lot of people who criticize Abbott and DeSantis and say what they're doing is inhumane and not right. But do you think for the average voter out there it matters?

NEVAREZ: I think it may not.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): A University of Texas and Texas Politics Project poll this week found that Abbott's busing of migrants has about 52 percent support among Texas voters including 50 percent support among independent voters.

NEVAREZ: The response that they got was exactly what they wanted, which is what are you doing, why are you sending them here, it looks like the border town, that's what they wanted and they got it.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): And the governors of Texas and Florida say they will continue to do more of the same.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


WHITFIELD: And now this quick programming note, all next week meet the change makers and dream makers as our own journalists shine a light on those who inspire them, Champions for Change all next week right here on CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Join us for Champions for Change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, girls, come on, keep your knees up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As CNN journalists shine a light on those who inspire them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a huge commitment and sacrifice of generosity. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The change makers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love so much, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It comes down to everybody playing their role the right way.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dream makers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to make a difference in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to get better.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a champion for change because he's actually making the change.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Champions for Change all next week on CNN.




WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. California's largest wildfire this year continues to grow. The Mosquito Fire in Northern California has scorched nearly 72,000 acres since igniting more than a week ago. Firefighters hope rain from an upcoming storm will help slow the growth but officials say they are concerned about strong winds today that could cause the fire to jump containment lines. Joining us right now is CNN's Camila Bernal. Camila, what are the crews up against?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred, so a lot of wind we're talking winds that could reach up to 30 to 40 miles an hour this afternoon. And that's all happening before the rains. So that's the concern here. Firefighters say they're hoping to make progress. They feel like they've made some progress. But this is sort of a test period. As they wait to see what these winds can do. They spread the flames quickly. And then they also spread the embers and that creates spot fires which means more work for these firefighters.

So they're hoping that the winds are not as strong so that they can continue to make that progress. They have lifted some evacuation orders in the area. We're talking between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe and they are anticipating more progress as that rain comes. But unfortunately, as you mentioned, already more than 71,000 acres burned and only 21 percent containment. So there is still a lot of work to be done here.

Experts though, say that with the rain it is going to slow not just the Mosquito Fire but the fire season. Overall, they expect some part of it to slow but they say it's not going to end it completely because California is still going through this drought. And everything is so dry that it is easy for these flames to spread. So what they're saying is this may help this fire but they are still concerned about what could happen over the next couple of weeks when it comes to fires in this September and into October, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Camila Bernal, thanks so much. Keep us posted.


All right, mortgage rates are now the highest they have been since the great recession back in 2008. We'll ask an expert what that means for you, next.


WHITFIELD: All right, for the first time in 14 years mortgage rates are now above 6 percent. And that is more than double where they were a year ago and buying a house like so many other things while it's costing more home prices are up nearly 11 percent. And if you're a renter, you're not doing that much better rent costs were up 6.7 percent over the last year. Those are levels not seen since the 1980s. Let's bring in Danielle Hale. She is the chief economist at So good to see you, Danielle, so are we looking at a housing crisis in the U.S. right now?


DANIELLE HALE, CHIEF ECONOMIST, REALTOR.COM: It's certainly more expensive to be a renter, a homebuyer, anyone who's trying to move and find a new place to live. Prices are going up, as you noted for both buyers, for renters, and so it's just one of many items that consumers are having to pay more for right now.

WHITFIELD: So for homebuyers what is driving mortgage rates higher?

HALE: Mortgage rates move higher because financial conditions have changed. The Fed is pulling back on the monetary policy stimulus that it put into the economy over the last couple of years in the middle of the pandemic to keep the economy on track. As it pulls back, it's raising short term rates. It's pulling back on mortgage backed security purchases. And that pushes short term rates and eventually longer term rates higher. And mortgage rates, specifically because of that pullback in mortgage, mortgage backed securities, purchases, that means higher borrowing costs for home shoppers in the market today.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And here's an example. So as mortgage rates go up, I mean, the cost of owning a home go up exponentially. Just take a look at these numbers. A I'm monthly payment on a $390,000 home a year ago would have been around $1,300. Now it's almost $1,900. So what do you tell people who are thinking about buying right now? HALE: Yes, so I think being mentally prepared for the fact that it's going to be expensive, because borrowing costs are up. And as you noted, home prices are also up. So if you factor in the fact that that $390,000 doesn't buy you quite as much home as it did last year, it's just going to be expensive. So be prepared, there can be real pressure to kick your budget up because with everything being expensive, it takes more money to compete.

But I would advise buyers to really make a budget and stick to it don't go beyond what you're comfortable with, which is getting harder to do. And another piece of advice as mortgage rates rise. You know, they've been rising since the beginning of the year, but they, they've also gone up and down. And in the last six weeks alone, they've increased another whole percentage point. So they're really up and down, that can make it hard to know exactly what kind of mortgage rate you want to price in when you're setting your budget. So I would say consider where rates are today, consider what happens if rates move higher, and how that affects your budget. Give yourself some wiggle room in case they do move higher, so you're not surprised.

WHITFIELD: Is it your feeling? It's only going to go higher for a little bit more before it levels off or goes down?

HALE: Yes, I do think mortgage rates will eventually level off or decline. The Fed may be getting close to the end of the tightening cycle. But we don't know, we won't know until we see some progress on inflation. And we really just haven't seen that. I mean, we see a very modest improvement on inflation, certainly not enough to signal that the Fed is done with the job that they need to do to end the inflation in the economy. So that will tend to put upward pressure on mortgage rates until we start to see inflation turn around more convincingly.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it there for now. Danielle Hale, thank you so much.

And as teachers return to school, many have to spend their own money. This week's CNN Hero is a high school English teacher who sprung into action when he realized kids didn't have easy access to books at all and teachers were struggling to provide.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.

In the great forest, the little elephant is born. His name is Bob Barr.

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 in books helps level that playing field.

Very good stuff, this was a great haul. Giving kids books almost ensures academic success. What we do is irrigate book deserts by pouring hundreds of thousands of books in.

First grades, you'll probably want the picture books.

Teachers are the best distributors of books that we have. We are improving lives one book at a time.


WHITFIELD: OK, thank you so much. So to find out how Larry has helped distribute hundreds of thousands of books to teachers and students go to


All right, before we go to break, we'll give you these very eloquent dramatic images right now, of a changing of the guard taking there at Westminster, where the Queen's coffin is there on display. You know, thousands of people have been lining up to see the Queen's coffin, well, now just moments away, the Queen's grandchildren will be holding a vote vigil there soon. Live pictures right now as we go to break.