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UAW Strike Putting Biden In Tough Position; Republican Candidates Flock To Iowa Evangelical Conference; Search Teams In Flood-Ravaged Libya Face Challenges; Ukrainian Official Criticizes Slow Pace Military Aid; Ukrainians Feel The Loss Of War At The Graveside; Texas Attorney General Acquitted In State Senate Trial; Panama Canal Drought Causing Supply-Chain Disruption. Aired 5-6 am ET

Aired September 17, 2023 - 05:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and all around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. Ahead on CNN Newsroom. Ford and General Motors announced job cuts just days after the Auto Workers Union went on strike. We'll look at how a lengthy strike will impact the auto industry.

Plus GOP Presidential hopefuls descend on Iowa, and Iowa's stumping for votes. The only one who didn't show was the frontrunner, Donald Trump.

And postal flooding and down power lines are just part of what post- tropical cyclone Lee left behind.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: No breakthrough, but reasonably productive discussions, at least with Ford. That's how the United Auto Workers are describing labor talks on day two of its strike against three top U.S. automakers. Striking union workers picketed outside the Ford Assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan.

Ford says the strike is causing a lack of parts, and now Ford and General Motors say 2,600 UAW members will be laid off due to the walkout. The Union and Ford, General Motors and Stellantis are far apart on wages and benefits.

The Union is essentially demanding double the wage increases the automakers are offering, along with other enhancements. That strike is putting President Biden in a tough position, and it could get even more difficult for him if it goes on for a long time. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez explains.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Joe Bide weighed in on the Auto Workers strike on Friday as he faces the biggest labor crisis of his presidency so far. In his remarks, the President provided an explicit endorsement of the Auto Workers negotiating position, saying that record profits should equal record contracts.

JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: I do appreciate that the parties that were working around the clock, and when I first called them at the very first day of their negotiations, I said, please, stay at the table as long as you can, to try to work this out.

And they've been around the clock, and the companies have made some significant offers. But I believe this should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW. Let me say that again. Record corporate profits, which they have, should be shared by record contracts for the UAW.

ALVAREZ: Now, the strike reveals attention for President Joe Biden as he casts himself as the most pro-union president, but also as his administration sears down the potential economic ramifications of this strike extending days or months, and the destabilizing risk of an auto manufacturing shutdown.

Now leading up to the strike, the President and White House officials have been closely monitoring negotiation. And on Friday, the President announced that he would deploy his Senior Adviser, Gene Sperling, as well as acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, to serve as the go-between for the administration in these talks.

Now, those talks are ongoing, and the President and his staff are watching all of it closely and what it might mean for the economy moving forward. Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, traveling with the President.


BRUNHUBER: U.S. Rehabilitation and Presidential Hopefuls are in Iowa showing once again the influence that state yields early in the presidential election cycle. Nearly all the major candidates address the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition fall banquet Saturday, four months ahead of the first votes being cast in the 2024 presidential primary contests.

All the candidates except for former President Donald Trump. He's so confident in his poll numbers. He didn't show up. His absence gave more breathing room for the other candidates to try to win support for Iowa's deeply conservative evangelical activists.

Here's what some of them are saying.


RON DESANTIS, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In this day and age, when you do anything that is worth anything, they are going to come at you. They're going to sling arrows at you. They're going to smear you. They're going to lie about you. And the question is, do you have the fortitude to stand in the cauldron and hold your ground and stand firm? That's what we did during COVID when we stood up to Fauci. That's what we've done when we fought against Disney to get the gender ideology out of the schools. It's what we've done on all these key things.

SEN. TIM SCOTT, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would put a target on the backs of the teachers unions and break their backs. They're destroying our kids, trapping them in failing schools. Not on my watch.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My goal is how do we save as many babies as possible and support as many moms as possible.


BRUNHUBER: Jeff Zeleny brings us the latest from Iowa.



JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: With four months remaining before the Iowa caucuses opened the Republican presidential nominating contest, the field of Republican candidates gathered in Iowa to campaign over the weekend. They spoke at a dinner Saturday night in Des Moines, reaching out to evangelical voters.

Of course, former President Donald Trump, whose leading the race, was not on hand. But his rivals certainly were. And former Vice President Mike Pence tried to take aim at President Biden and the impeachment inquiry in the House.

MIKE PENCE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want to jump to conclusions about this, but I must tell you, where there's smoke, there's usually fire in Washington, D.C. And the American people -- the American people deserve the facts. And I'm going to be out there championing and defending House Republicans as they bring the facts to the American people and hold Joe Biden and his family accountable.

ZELENY: The criticism of President Biden was one thing the candidates could certainly agree on, but there were differences on abortion, on education, and on blocking military promotions in the U.S. Senate. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, are increasingly competitive in these final months of this race.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott also in the race, trying to reach out to these evangelical voters. Now, one thing is clear. Donald Trump is still in command of this contest. The question is, has the Iowa caucuses become a race for number two? Work in one of these rivals. Catch him by January 15th. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Des Moines.


BRUNHUBER: And the GOP did just hand the former president a win of sorts in Florida. Republicans in that state just scrapped plans to make the presidential candidate sign a so-called loyalty pledge for whoever became the party's nominee. Trump had refused to sign a pledge to back a candidate that wasn't

himself. A loyalty pledge would have helped Florida Governor Ron DeSantis so the fact that it's now abandoned is seen as a major defeat for the DeSantis campaign. But Trump may soon suffer a defeat over what he can and can't say even on social media.

Federal prosecutors are asking for a narrowly tailored gag order on Trump, citing his attacks on people working the case and possible witnesses. The order would prevent Trump from making statements that could be considered disparaging and inflammatory or intimidating.

More than 11,000 people in the Libyan city of Derna have been killed by floodwaters that ravaged the region last week. That's according to a U.N. report, which warns the death toll will likely rise as emergency crews continue to search for the missing. So far, workers have pulled dozens of bodies from the sea along the Derna coast.

Rescue missions say most of the victims who were swept away are still in the water. That's in the task of retrieving the bodies. It could become impossible without additional resources. CNN's Larry Madowo joins me now with more.

So Larry, such a long path to recovery ahead. What's the latest?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aides continue to arrive in Libya from all parts of the world as survivors of the I hope that there's still some kind of rescue coming. But experts say it's unlikely after a week since this flooding happened that you will find people who are still alive.

So far, 10,000 -- actually 11,300 people have been killed according to the U.N. And in Derna alone, at least 10,100 people are missing. Part of the problem here is that entire neighborhoods in Derna were swept into the Mediterranean, and that's where some of the bodies are believed to remain. Some of them are decomposing now, and there are people who were killed in this catastrophic flooding that may never be found. That is a reality.

The International Rescue Mission there, saying they need more resources as much as possible to help here. The African Union Chairperson has said that he's appealing to African Union member states to send the support that Libya needs. Part of the problem, again, here, is the east-west divide in the country between the Tripoli government that is recognized by the international community and in the eastern part of the country that includes Derna, that is led by the rebel leader Khalifa Haftar. And so this falls under his region.

But ordinary Libyans have kind of gotten away from their divisions political or otherwise and are chipping in, sending aid, coming into the region and donating blood. But they're also very aware that they still live in a deeply divided country.


MUSTATA RAJABANI, BLOOD DONOR (through translator): We feel sorry for those who lost their lives, and we ask God Almighty that he take pity on the others. Unfortunately, we hate to admit that this catastrophe has highlighted the fact that we do not have a state capable of dealing with a crisis of this scale.


MADOWO: The U.N. estimates that about 40,000 people have been displaced by this, and as they're moving away from Derna to try and find shelter elsewhere, they are exposed to landmines and explosive ordnance of war or ERWs after about a decade and more of conflict in the country. This is partly why there's so much division in the country.

So after surviving a record storm, this catastrophic flooding that's killed more than 10,000 people and now they could risk getting exposed to landmines and other after effects of the war that this country has already suffered so much and still a great need came for so much resources to try and rebuild. This is going to be multiple months, maybe years until people can come back here and have a semblance of normalcy again.


BRUNHUBER: All right, Larry Madowo in Nairobi. Thank you so much.

Electricity is slowly being restored along roads in Morocco's Atlas Mountains. This region begins its long recovery from the devastating September 8th earthquake. Crews geared up to try to restore power to villages where earthquakes have been using flashlights to see at night. A lack of electricity also has knocked out streetlights along mountain roads hindering the transport of vital aid.

The government has promised to build some 50,000 houses for those whose homes were destroyed but residents fear it could take months or years before it gets done.

All right. Now to post-tropical cyclone Lee. It made a second landfall in Canada a few hours ago in New Brunswick. Lee's initial landfall was Saturday afternoon in southwest Nova Scotia just under hurricane strength. The storm surge caused coastal flooding, downed trees and knocked out power.

But crews are making headway in restoring electricity. So at last check, almost 160,000 customers remain through the Canadian Maritimes were still in the dark. Lee is expected to continue to weaken throughout the day. CNN Meteorologist, Karen Maginnis is there with more on that.

Karen, I'm thinking of all my friends in Atlantic Canada. What's the latest?

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN WEATHER: Yes, it has been quite a torturous last 24 hours or so where these coastal areas have been extremely battered. We've seen some high waves batter this region as well as you saw power outages there as well. So it may take some time for that power to be restored. But in the meantime for Lee, now post-storm Lee had been at hurricane

strength, a Category 5 actually when it was in the Atlantic. But now weakening very rapidly. We just got an update from the National Hurricane Center and the wind associated with Lee now sitting at about 50 miles an hour or 85 kilometers per hour. And it's racing along, pushing off towards the northeast.

So it is over Prince Edward Island, but also still impacting New Brunswick and Portia of Maine as well as that northern coast of Nova Scotia. It'll move over Newfoundland as we go into the next 12 to 24 hours.

I think this is going to increase with the next 12 hours or so fairly rapidly as it really zooms its way across the northeast at about 22 miles per hour. But its impacts are still going to be felt. Could expect some power outages, down trees, down power lines.

Also a fairly heavy surf. So if you hadn't batted down the hatches already, now is the time to do so. It's going to weaken as it encounters that much colder water in the North Atlantic. But we're still looking at the potential for tropical storm strength, the winds, even though this is post hurricane or post tropical system, Lee, what makes it post is it becomes more elongated and some of the heavier bands of precipitation are out from the center. It no longer has a center of circulation and is essentially a cold core storm.

So Kim, this acted like a Nor'easter, although this is very early for that type of weather to impact the New England region of the United States and the Canadian Maritimes. Back to you.

BRUNHUBER: All right, I appreciate the update. Karen Maginnis, thanks so much.

Allies are racing to keep up with Ukraine's demand for ammunition. Coming up CNN speaks with some of Europe's biggest weapons manufacturers about what they're doing to fill the gap.

And Texas' Attorney General survives impeachment, but his legal troubles are far from over. We'll add that story in more after the break. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: CNN has learned that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit the U.S. Capitol this week. Zelenskyy will be meeting with President Biden in Washington following the U.N.'s General Assembly in New York. Now sources say the Ukrainian leader won't address Congress but will meet with various lawmakers. The White House has asked Congress for more aid to Ukraine, but resistance has stiffened, especially among some Republicans.

The Russian military claims it stopped five Ukrainian drone attacks early today over Moscow and Crimea. No casualties or damage were reported, but airport operations around Moscow were disrupted. Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Minister reportedly is disputing that

Ukrainian forces have retaken the village of Andriivka near Bakhmut. It's been the scene of some of the fiercest fighting along the front lines. Have a look at this.

That newly released video shows Ukrainian soldiers taking cover after entering the village under constant incoming Russian fire. For those civilians who once lived in the town, there's nothing to return to, but Ukraine says the territory is strategically important, and retaking it has been a key objective of the ongoing counter-offensive.

All right, let's get more now from CNN's Clare Sebastian in London. Clare, there's been fresh criticism from Ukraine about the pace of weapons delivery?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I think, Kim, as we've watched the arduous progress of the counter-offensive, certainly you showed it there with Andriivka, which is essentially two or three streets that village that it is that small, and that's what they're fighting over. As we've watched that, the debate has intensified over the sort of strategy behind the western weapons deliveries, how they're being sent, and into that debate has weighed the head of Ukraine's National Defense and Security Council, Oleksiy Danilov, who has written an op-ed this weekend, and in it, I want to read you a portion.

He says, "The practice of dosing military assistance to Ukraine due to fear of irritating Putin and provoking Russia to further escalation of fundamentally flawed. Refusing or delaying the transfer of modern weapons to the Ukrainian armed forces is a direct encouragement to the Kremlin to continue the war, not the other way round."


So he is saying that they shouldn't just be trickling in these weapons. That just gives Russia the impetus to keep going. Of course, the bigger question is, can Ukraine's Western allies keep giving the amount of equipment and ammunition in particular that Ukraine needs?

This is essentially now a war of industrial production between Russia and the West as this artillery heavy battle continues. And I've been speaking to some of the top Western weapons producers this week about this incredible challenge they face, demand now at some 100 or more times more than it was two years ago, how they faced that challenge and how they're going to continue to face it.


ARMIN PAPPERGER, RHEINMETALL CEO: Yeah, this is ammunition, but without -- but without power you cannot fire this ammunition.

SEBASTIAN: Amid the high tech displays at the sprawling international defense expo, the head of Germany's top weapons producer has a much less futuristic battle on his hands to keep up supplies of these NATO standard 155 mm artillery rounds. The lifeblood of Ukraine's defense and now it's counter offensive. PAPPERGER: We doubled or tripled the -- the -- our resources, our

capacities. We are able now to produce next year 600,000 artillery rounds.

SEBASTIAN: He says that's more than six times their pre-war output. Not yet enough though to clear a multi-billion-dollar order backlog.

PAPPERGER: Three years ago, everything thought we can do everything with air force. It's not possible. Yes, we need strong land forces and this is exactly what we produce.

SEBASTIAN: Our governments and is the E.U. doing enough? Do you think they woke up quick enough to this production crisis?

PAPPERGER: You could call it. The E.U. made decisions and they said OK we want to invest. There are -- we are still waiting at the moment for the final decisions.

SEBASTIAN: Ukraine can't afford to wait. The government tells us they're firing 5,000 to 6,000 thousand of these rounds a day, but would like to be firing more than 10 thousand, much more than is currently being produced by its NATO allies. Russia meanwhile is firing 40,000 rounds a day, Ukraine says.

Manufacturers in the U.S., Ukraine's biggest backer, have also rapidly scaled up. Not fast enough though to avoid having to sub in controversial cluster munitions this summer.

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We would provide cluster munitions because the alternative to providing cluster munitions was them not having enough bullets.

BRIG. GEN. JOHN T. REIM, U.S. ARMY: We were at 14,000, you know, we're at 24,000 today, next month we'll be at 28,000. So we've doubled our monthly output, you know, that's -- that's quite significant. Some of these more longer term. You know, investments, you know, beginning of next year we'll start realizing additional capacity.

MORTEN BRANDTZAEG, NAMMO CEO: I think we are in a phase of right now of an industrial war where capacity is the biggest issue.

SEBASTIAN: Norwegian co-owned Nammo, another major ammunition producer in Europe, says it has gone from making just a few thousand rounds a year to a rate of 80,000 a year.

BRANDTZAEG: This is totally changing our company. We are investing at some sites 15 to 20 times more than we normally do in order to build capacity.

SEBASTIAN: When you look at what's happening now with the counter- offensive moving relatively slowly, the fact that it had to start later than planned, President Zelenskyy says, because weapons deliveries were delayed, does that concern you?

BRANDTZAEG: To me it's a major concern, of course. We see the consequence in the battlefield. So I think we all in the Western society have a common responsibility to step up this capacity.


SEBASTIAN: So this is of course a once in a generation challenge that these companies are facing. And there's an added challenge that the chair of NATO's military committee warned about this weekend and that is inflation, the cost of ammunition has gone up. And he says that even if countries are ramping up spending on defense, that doesn't necessarily guarantee an increase in security picture. So that is a real warning out there.

Russia, of course, also looking potentially for new sources of ammunition. We don't know yet what, if anything, perhaps was agreed during the visit of Kim Jong Un to Russia, but that certainly is part of this picture as this war now 18 months old drags on, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, fascinating look at that war of production, as you call it. I appreciate that. Clare Sebastian in London.

Well, the exact number of Ukrainian troops killed in the war isn't clear, but it's likely staggering and each one is somebody special to those who love them, the family who reluctantly saw them off to fight a war they wouldn't survive. CNN's Melissa Bell has the story.



MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's been no shortage of grief in Ukraine. Today in St. Michael's Cathedral, it's the turn of Yevgen (ph) Shayan's mother to say goodbye to her 42-year -old son killed on a frontline he volunteered for.

How many have died, neither side will say. For Ukraine, the number is believed to be many tens of thousands. Today, though, for Yevgen's wife, Karina, her own grief is all there is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): We need to let him go from this world, no matter how hard it is for us.

BELL: Saying good-bye too soon is part of everyday life in Ukraine now. But never any easier for it. Yevgen Shayan will rest amongst his own, many like him had never fought before, all died too soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): He wasn't scared, he wasn't [to the front] because it was his duty.

BELL: Yevgen Shayan had been a speechwriter, a political analyst who put down his pen to pick up a gun, he told his wife, so

that she might live in safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): An honest and good person, a loving son, husband, brother.

BELL: Everyone here describes a man who was larger than life. Now his optimism and light have given way to grief and disbelief that he's gone.

KARINA SHAYAN, WIDOW (through translator): We couldn't find a serious photo of him for the tombstone because all of his photos are all smiles and optimism. He always said there was no need to cry or be upset whatever happened.

BELL: The priest has urged those here to forgive Yevgen for dying. Beside he says heroes never really die. And of heroes in cemeteries across Ukraine there's no shortage either. Melissa Bell, CNN, Kyiv.


BRUNHUBER: All right, this is just into CNN Clare Sebastian mentioned a few moments ago, a North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's trip to Russia. While that trip has apparently ended. Video by Russian state media shows Kim boarding his personal train for the trip back to Pyongyang. He was given a red carpet send off by the Russians as he departed, the train ride from the station to the North Korean border is said to be about 125 miles or 200 kilometers.

A labor strikes are on the rise in America, but Union membership continues to decline. So do unionized workers have enough strength to meet their goals? We'll talk to a professor of labor studies next. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and all around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN Newsroom.

Striking Union Auto Workers were out in front of three plants Saturday as the walk out against three top U.S. automakers stretched into the weekend. Some drivers passing by the Ford Plant in Wayne, Michigan, hawk their horns and apparent solidarity as the picketers wave signs. Talks resumed between the United Auto Workers Union and Ford, GM, and Stellantis and the UAW called the talks with Ford, "reasonably productive," but there was no breakthrough. The two sides are far apart on wage increases and enhanced benefits.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Working next to somebody that's been -- that's a TPT, which is a part-timer, SE, whatever you want to call it. You're making $10 less than me or $15 less than me, and we're doing the same job. So I don't think that that's fair. I think that we need to all be on the equal path, whether it's you have to work two years to get there or four years to get there, but long as you know what's coming and you're not just an SE for years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would be your message to your Union leaders who are at that bargaining table today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, just keep fighting for what's right. Keep fighting for what we deserve. And just don't back down. Don't back down and settle for less, because they have it. They have it. They can give it to us. We deserve it.


BRUNHUBER: And Donald Trump weighed in on the strike as well. He blasted the head of the United Auto Workers and said the Union was, "failing its members." Here he is.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Auto Workers are not going to have any jobs when you come right down to it, because if you take a look at what they're doing with electric cars, electric cars are going to be made in China. The Auto Workers are not going to have any -- I'll tell you what, the Auto Workers are being sold down the river by their leadership.


BRUNHUBER: That Trump added, he thinks the UAW leaders should endorse him for president. And with all the attention being given to strikes not only by the UAW but Hollywood writers, you think Unions would be stronger than ever.

Well, it depends how you look at it. Employees gained power during the pandemic as COVID cast a spotlight on the sacrifices being made by essential workers. Unemployment is at near decades low, meaning that employers are posting more job openings than there are people looking to fill them. Even public opinion seems to be on the side of unions.

Gallup polls put public support for them. The highest it's been since 1965. But here's the flip side to all of that, Union membership has been declining dramatically for years. According to the Economic Policy Institute, membership rates peaked in 1945 at almost exactly one third of the workforce. Fast forward to 1985 and that had dropped to 18%. And last year just over 1 in 10 U.S. workers was unionized.

And joining me now is John Logan, a Professor of Labor and Employment Relations at San Francisco State University. Thank you so much for being here with us. So the number of strikes last year, I understand, were up about 50% over the year before. Now we have these two high profile national strikes. Is there a trend going on here?

JOHN LOGAN, PROFESSOR OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS, SFSU: We've now seen sort of more militant, more assertive leadership at some of the well-established unions, you know, particularly the Teamsters Union under the presidency of Sean O'Brien. The Union got a very good pay settlement at UPS without a strike earlier in the summer. And now the United Auto Workers under their new President, Shawn Fain. Fain represents this sort of new breed of union leader who are unapologetic about taking on corporate greats, you know, surprised that he uses over and over again. And he says -


BRUNHUBER: But there is a bit of a -- sorry if I jump in, but there is a bit of a paradox here.


BRUNHUBER: -- because you talk about the unions being more militant, there's been a, you know, greater move to unionize, but the numbers in terms of participation in the unions still seem like they're going down.

LOGAN: Right, they are still going down, and they have been for several decades. And that will continue to be the case unless realistically, unless we get stronger legal protection for the right to choose a union, the right to organize in the United States.

The United States is the hardest country to form a new union, because of the combination of the weak law, and then the very strong opposition on the part of companies like Starbucks and Amazon.

BRUNHUBER: And the political opposition as well from the red states, all these so-called right to work states. And I'm wondering how all of these high-profile strikes, how that could be interpreted in the context of an election year. I mean, on one hand, you have President Biden touting himself as the most pro-union president. On the other hand, you know, unions have been for years punching bags for Republicans. Just one example, yesterday, here's Nikki Haley, listen to this.


NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It tells you that when you have the most pro-union president and he touts that he is emboldening the unions, this is what you get. And I'll tell you who pays for it is the taxpayers.


BRUNHUBER: So talking about the UAW strike and blaming President Biden for that, and she was bragging about her own, you know, bona fides as a union buster. So how do you think all of this will play out politically, do you think?

LOGAN: Well, you know, I think depending on the resolution of the strike, if Biden comes out clearly in support of the workers, which he did yesterday. I think that will serve him well in states like Michigan and other key battleground states in the upper Midwest.

These are going to be critical to the outcome of the next presidential election. Unions are still strong in these states. And Biden needs to win a significant majority of votes, not just from union members in those states, but also from union households. So, you know, he would much rather --

BRUNHUBER: But it is -- but it is complicated, right?

LOGAN: Yeah.

BRUNHUBER: I mean, you have the, you know, Democrats traditionally, as you say, count on Union support. On the other hand, they've been hemorrhaging support from white working-class Americans. And one of the key issues in the UAW strike is the transition to electric vehicle, which workers say will cost them jobs. And we heard Donald Trump in the interview there referring to that. The -- the allegiances aren't as straightforward as they once were.

LOGAN: Well that's true to an extent but, you know, Biden would not win these states were if it were not for very strong support from union households, he really needs to get that. I mean otherwise as you said it does open up an opportunity you particularly for us sort of, you know, nationalist, protectionist, demagogue like Donald Trump who in 2016 did very well in Pennsylvania and Michigan, in Ohio, in Wisconsin and that's basically how he won the presidency so Biden absolutely needs those union votes in states like Michigan and Ohio.

And I think that, you know, the electric vehicle issue is a little bit of a red herring, I mean the President of the UAW has said he doesn't care what kind of cars they make whether they're electric vehicles or not as long as they're good well-paid union jobs.

BRUNHUBER: Finally, I know this is impossible to know, but what's your sense, how long do you expect the UAW strike to last?

LOGAN: I think it's almost inconceivable it would go on for months and months but there's not a very quick resolution in sight. I mean they're still very far apart when it comes to bargaining. So unless the big three step up with a much, much better offer, you know, this is likely to go on for -- for -- for probably a number of weeks.

BRUNHUBER: Really great to get this context on these with so much turmoil going on now. Really appreciate it, John Logan. Thank you so much.

LOGAN: Thanks sir.

BRUNHUBER: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted on Saturday in his state senate impeachment trial. The hardline conservative and Trump ally faced 16 articles of impeachment which stemmed from accusations they repeatedly abused his office to help a donor but the acquittal isn't the end of his legal trouble. Ed Lavandera has the details.



ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ken Paxton is celebrating his victory in this impeachment trial by calling the case that House managers brought to the Senate as a sham and a shameful experience.

Paxton's lawyers say that this vote today is a total vindication of the attorney general who will now be reinstated into his job. In fact it was a resounding victory of the 18 voting Republican senators. Only two of them crossed the aisle to vote to convict Ken Paxton.

So he had overwhelming support among Republicans in the Texas Senate and his lawyers say that Ken Paxton is ready to get back to work.

DAN COGDELL, PAXTON DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is a trial that should have never happened. Period. Full stop. The right result happened but it shouldn't have gotten this far.

TONY BUZBEE, PAXTON DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We're proud of the case we put on. We should not have to prove our innocence but that's what we did. And we believe that the court reached the right verdict. We're very proud of the work we did.

LAVANDERA: This impeachment vote has erupted what can only be described as an all-out civil war among Texas Republicans. The Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who oversees the Senate after the trial spent several minutes blasting House Republicans for voting on these articles of impeachment and bringing these charges to the Senate side.

On the House side the Speaker of the House Dade feeling shot back at Dan Patrick saying that it was clear based on that speech that this entire voting process was orchestrated from the very beginning essentially accusing senators of predetermining their vote before hearing all of the evidence. And also going on to say that this process cheated the voters of Texas of justice in this case. And also Democrats and some Republicans saying that this vote is essentially condoning corruption at the highest levels of Texas politics.

ANN JOHNSON, TEXAS STATE HOUSE DEMOCRAT: Our lawyers, the board of managers, presented overwhelming evidence that Ken Paxton is the most corrupt politician in the State of Texas at this time. And the Republicans in the Texas Senate just returned him to the office of top cop. I will rely on what I said on the floor of the Texas House. God help us.

LAVANDERA: Now Ken Paxton still has legal trouble that he is facing. There is a state securities fraud trial that he is facing, and he is also under federal investigation stemming from the very issues that came up in this impeachment trial. So all of that is still issues that he will have to deal with in the months ahead. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Austin, Texas.


BRUNHUBER: The climate crisis is affecting the Panama Canal. Ahead, we'll tell you what's gone wrong and its impact on world trade. That's coming up. Please stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: The climate crisis and other issues are affecting one of the world's most important trade routes. It's being blamed for a problem with the water level in the Panama Canal. As Patrick Oppmann reports, it's slowing international shipping ahead of the busy holiday season.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Panama Canal is running low on water. A persistent drought caused in part by the El Nino weather pattern has left water levels dangerously depleted. Now, the global supply chain is under threat as the holiday season approaches.

The 80-kilometer waterway connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and is a vital route for transporting goods, handling an estimated 5% of world trade. The canal was completed in 1914, revolutionizing how goods were used to supply goods could be transported and further expanded in 2016 to meet the skyrocketing demands of global commerce. But over the last 20 years, decreasing rainfall has reduced the water level of Panama's Lake Gatun from 27 meters above sea level to 24 meters.

RICAURTE VASQUEZ MORALES, PANAMA CANAL AUTHORITY ADMINISTRATOR (through translator): Call it climate change, whatever you want to call it. The true fact is that precipitation levels are changing. And as I have said repeatedly, the Panama Canal is the only global maritime route that uses fresh water.

OPPMANN: Canal officials have imposed draft restrictions, forcing ships to lighten their load. A ship's draft limit is the minimum depth of water it can safely navigate. And if a ship is carrying too much cargo, it risks getting trapped in the canal. Since May, ships have had to reduce their cargo by as much as 25%. The Panama Canal Authority has also limited the number of vessels authorized to enter the canal each day. Creating a bottleneck with some ships waiting as long as 14 days to get through. As of Tuesday, 116 vessels were waiting to pass.

The canal's administrator warns the number of authorized vessels could decrease further when the drought continues into next year.

MORALES (through translator): In the coming months, I think there's the possibility in March and April, if the rain pattern remains the same as now. There would be possible water restrictions. Now, before reaching this point, the Panama Canal would have to make further restrictions on the number of transits. It will depend on the amount of water in the Alajuela Lake, for example.

OPPMANN: This has led to rising freight costs which are likely to continue in the months leading up to both Christmas and the Chinese New Year. The Canal's administrator has said the drought could wipe away $200 million in revenue in 2024. And he says they may need to build a new dam or connect the canal to another nearby lake to keep water flowing, as the ever-increasing thirst for global goods crashes into the new realities of climate change. Patrick Oppmann, CNN.


BRUNHUBER: All right, still ahead. Messi missing in action. The soccer superstar skips a match with his new team for the first time, and his absence is clearly felt by Inter Miami. Now the club fared against Atlanta. That's coming up next. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: All right, we want to look at sports now. Argentine Superstar Lionel Messi didn't travel with Inter Miami Saturday. Much of the disappointment of 70,000 fans here in Atlanta, including Kevin, our member of our crew back there.

COY WIRE, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yeah, absolutely.

BRUNHUBER: A lot of disappointed fans here in Atlanta. What happened?

WIRE: No doubt. So just like in every other city, since Messi signed with MLS here in America, there is a huge buzz around this city, around Atlanta. And the fans were paying big-time bucks to see him. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I pay a lot of money for coming to see Messi. Messi, no coming.

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Do you mind if I ask how much he paid?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go home right now.

RIDDELL: Really? You want to go home?



WIRE: Our Don Riddell in disbelief like many, 70,000 plus selling out Mercedes Benz Stadium for Inter Miami Atlanta United, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Argentinian superstar.

Unfortunately for them, the 36-year -old sat out resting instead, didn't even make the trip to Atlanta. Tickets that were selling for hundreds of dollars over face value ended up going for about 30 bucks, Kim.

But there was a perk for the hometown fans. Atlanta dominating from start to finish, winning 5-2, handing Miami their first loss since Miami signed almost two months ago. Miami seven points away from the final playoff spot with eight matches to play.

Now let's go from MLS to MLB, Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani officially done for the year, placed on the injured list with an oblique injury. The 29-year-old from Japan hasn't played since September 30. He's also reportedly contemplating surgery on his previously injured elbow. And the Dodgers continue their decade of dominance in the NL West, LA

erupting for five runs in the 11th inning, beating the Mariners 6-2, clenching the division for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons.


Kim, the hottest ticket in college football, Deion Sanders in Colorado, getting a scare from in-state rivals Colorado State. Down 8 with under a minute to go when Coach Prime's son, Shedeur Sanders, throws a dart to Jimmy Horn Jr., a 45-yard touchdown. They would have to go for a two-point conversion and they would tie it at 28. It went to double over time. Shedeur does it again. His fourth score of the game to Michael Harrison this time. Colorado State's last gasp at an upset, no good. Intercepted in the end zone, Colorado hanging on 43- 35. This game ended at -- after 2.30 a.m. in the morning Eastern time. They're 3-0 in the season.

And the University of Iowa beat the pants off Western Michigan and one of their cheerleaders' pants was symbolic of it. He was quick on his feet, but his pants were around them even quicker. The drawers dropping as he did his flips and his team behind him. Look at their faces. Oh, yeah, this is an instant meme. What a way to end the show, right, Kim?

BRUNHUBER: There you go. I feel like that happens to be constantly metaphorically in many, many different ways.

WIRE: Kim does have pants on.

BRUNHUBER: I do have pants. Yeah, we both do. Coy Wire, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

And I'm Kim Brunhuber, you can follow me on X, on Twitter, whatever you call it. For viewers in North America, CNN This Morning is next. The rest the World, it's Inside Africa.