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CNN This Morning
Legendary "Margaritaville" Singer, Jimmy Buffet, Dead At 76; Labor Day Weekend Expected To Bring Record High Temperatures; Legal Walls Close In On Trump, Co-Defendants In Georgia Election Case; Biden To Survey Hurricane Damage In Florida; Interest Now Accruing Again Ahead Of Payment Restart; FDA Says It Will Soon Finalize Ban On Menthol Tobacco Products; Gen Z Influencers Work To Curb Gun Violence Using Social Media. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired September 02, 2023 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Good morning everyone and welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. I'm Amara Walker.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Omar Jimenez in for Victor Blackwell. Great to see you, but we're starting off with, with some sad news.
WALKER: We are.
JIMENEZ: You know it's --
WALKER: Good to be with you, by the way.
JIMENEZ: But it's good to be with you. Look, it's the end of an era in the music world. Iconic musician, Jimmy Buffett, the man behind hit songs like "Margaritaville" and "It's Five O'clock Somewhere" has died. We're going to take a look back at his life and legacy.
WALKER: And it's one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, as millions of people head out for Labor Day. If you're driving to your destination, well get ready to pay more for gas. We'll have everything you need to know, including your weekend forecast.
JIMENEZ: And Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty in the Georgia election subversion case. Now all eyes are on Mark Meadows as we wait to see whether his trial will be moved to federal court.
WALKER: And for the first time in three years, student loan payments are about to be due. We're going to talk to an expert about what borrowers need to know.
JIMENEZ: We begin with some sad news, as I mentioned, from the music world. Legendary singer-songwriter, Jimmy Buffett, has died. He turned a song about a frozen drink and celebrating the beach bum lifestyle into a one-man, multi-billion-dollar business empire.
27 studio albums, two Grammy nods, a chain of resorts and restaurants, and even retired living communities all to his name. But it started and ended with the music. And it'll forever be associated with warm beaches, flip-flops, margaritas, all the good stuff. And of course, it always being 5:00 somewhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY BUFFET, SINGER AND SONG-WRITER: Oh, it's like a time that's gone. I get a whole new game before I understand. It's only half as clear. But I don't care. It's 5:00 somewhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got it, man, it's 5:00 somewhere.
BUFFET: It's always 5:00 in Margaritaville.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: With over 50 years creating his own lane in country music, Buffett's feel-good vibe earned him legions of devoted fans, of course, known as Parrot Heads. His team confirming that Buffett passed away peacefully on Friday, surrounded by his family, friends, and dogs, living life like a song until the very last breath. He was 76 years old.
CNN's Stephanie Elam takes a look now at his long-spanning and somewhat unusual career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUFFET: Wasted away again in Margaritaville.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jimmy Buffett's laid- back songs captured the feel of lazy days in paradise.
BUFFET: Cheeseburger in paradise, came along with an onion slice.
ELAM: Some called his signature sound Gulf and Western, a mix of country and Caribbean music.
BUFFET: I love the Caribbean through a sort of a strange way. My grandfather was a sailing ship captain, and he sang the Calypso songs. So, all this sort of amalgamation of material came in and came back out. And I learned to be a performer, and that gave me the vehicle to do it.
ELAM: Buffett was born Christmas Day, 1946, on the Gulf Coast in southern Mississippi and raised in the port city of Mobile, Alabama. He began his career making country music, but only really found his musical voice after moving to Key West in the 70s.
BUFFET: Changes in latitude, changes in attitude, nothing makes --
ELAM: His time among the colorful characters there helped inspire his tropical style and eventually led to his led to his landmark 1977 album, "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes," and its famous hit song, "Margaritaville."
BUFFET: Some people playing that there's a whole another place. Now, I think, it could be my fault.
ELAM: But Buffett's greatest musical success was on the concert stage, not the charts. He made hundreds of millions of dollars touring over the decades, supported by his legion of diehard fans known as Parrot Heads.
BUFFET: The audiences was so much fun for me to look at. I mean, they're as entertaining to me as I hope I am to them.
ELAM: His music may have been laid back, but Buffett brought so much energy to his life. He piloted airplanes, wrote best-selling books, raised funds for Democratic candidates, and amassed a fortune estimated at $1 billion through his Margaritaville lifestyle brand, which included restaurants, hotels, resorts, and casinos.
Like his music, it was all geared toward capturing the magic of the tropical places Buffett loved best.
BUFFET: From New Orleans to the Gulf Coast, down into St. Barts and other places, I still can find magic in most of those places where people think there isn't any left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIMENEZ (on camera): People are going to be trying to emulate that vacation vibe this weekend.
WALKER: I know. He has a way of just transporting you out of your reality and putting you on a beach wherever you are.
JIMENEZ: I know, only barefoot listening to some acoustic guitar somewhere.
WALKER: I know, just hearing it.
JIMENEZ: Look, and maybe people are doing that this weekend. If you're traveling this weekend, you're going to have a lot of friends. TSA is expecting 14 million Americans will fly this weekend and if you're driving be ready to drop some cash because gas prices are spiking to historic highs for this time of year. Today's average gallon costs around $3.82.
WALKER: And while Labor Day weekend may mark the end of summer for many, Mother Nature did not get the memo this year. Summer is refusing to loosen its grip as another heat wave is expected to break temperature records in the East and the Midwest. Yes, we sound like a broken record every weekend. And as temperatures soar on in the eastern part of the U.S., the West can expect a surge of rain that can lead to flash flooding in some areas. CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is here with more. Hi, Allison. Lots to keep track of.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And good morning. I know there is. And I wish I had better news for a lot of folks. But it's certainly going to feel like the last weekend of summer for many, especially across the central U.S. The bigger concern now to the West is all of this moisture. This is video yesterday from Las Vegas. Again, you can see flooded roadways. A lot of mud. Cars were trapped on roadways because those roads were underwater at certain points.
You still have more rain in the forecast, not just for Las Vegas, but for a lot of these other surrounding areas too. You're talking portions of Utah, even stretching farther north into Oregon and Idaho, looking at the potential for very heavy rain today and possible flooding. The Central U.S., the main story today is going to be that heat. But if you live in the northeast, the mid-Atlantic, that heat is coming your way by the end of the weekend as we start to see a lot of those temperatures begin to expand.
Look at Minneapolis, for example, the high today of 95. Tomorrow, topping out at triple digits. Their normal high is only 78 this time of year. Chicago, looking at the next three days, all in the 90s, despite the fact that their normal high is only about 80 degrees. And you're looking at about 100 potential records, not just today, but all the way through Monday.
And that's going to be for the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, and areas of the Northeast. And if you're headed to some beaches today, keep in mind, any of these areas you see here shaded in pink have the potential for some rip currents today. So, I'm not saying you can't go to the beach, but just be extra cautious. Pay attention to any of the alerts, or flags, or any warnings that the lifeguards in those areas are going to give you for the day today.
WALKER: All right, Allison Chinchar, thank you very much. The legal bills and the pressure is mounting for Donald Trump's co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case.
JIMENEZ: I mean, many are trying all sorts of ways to manage the legal cash crunch here, yet the cost of the 2020 election fallout may quickly exceed their abilities to pay. CNN National Correspondent Kristen Holmes has more.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Amara and Omar. Well former President Trump is not paying for any of the legal fees for his co-defendants in Georgia as of now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES (voice-over): Of course, for some context here, the former president had paid bills for advisors, both current and former employees, aides, in both the January 6th committee investigation and both of those federal investigations, but obviously that is not the case here with Georgia.
So, it's making these co-defendants who are now facing astronomical legal fees have to turn to different creative measures, and that includes crowdfunding. We know at least four of them have started crowdfunding. That includes lawyer, Jenna Ellis, election attorney John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, who's a former DOJ official, as well as Kathy Latham, who is a fake elector in Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES (on camera): Now, I am told that even though there has been some grumblings by these co-defendants that they are not being helped by Donald Trump, that none of them have officially asked for help. And one official close to the former president said that if they want help, they should apply to the Legal Defense Fund. And a reminder we talked about this Legal Defense Fund. It was established back in July because of the mounting legal fees particularly for Trump's aides and advisors.
They have been paid out of his Save America PAC which is a leadership PAC and we know that since 2021 that PAC has spent more than 41 million dollars on legal fees. And in fact, they spent so much money on legal fees that recently they asked for a refund from a donation that they made for 60 million dollars to a super PAC that was defending Trump. That gives you an idea here of just how much money they are spending and how quickly they are spending it.
Now, in terms of that legal defense fund it is unclear right now what if any funds exist in that fund. We are told that Don Jr. and Eric Trump have both been fundraising, that they have a lot of pledges, but unclear whether or not any of that is actual tangible money. So, if those Georgia defendants were to request help, if there was any money to help them. So, something that we're keeping an eye on, but obviously it's going to be difficult for a lot of these co-defendants to muster up the cash they need to be able to pay these large attorney fees. Omar, Amara.
JIMENEZ: Kristen Holmes, thank you. Big sentences were handed down this week for four members of the Proud Boys. They were all convicted of seditious conspiracy for their role in attacking the Capitol on January 6th.
WALKER: Next week, the far-right group's leader, Enrique Tarrio, will go before a judge to hear how long he will spend behind bars. CNN's Evan Perez breaks down the sentencing so far.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Omar and Amara, a federal judge sentenced a leader of the Proud Boys to 18 years in prison for helping to organize members of the extremist right-wing group for their assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Ethan Nordean is one of the four members of the group convicted of seditious conspiracy.
Another member of the group, Dominic Pizzola, was sentenced to 10 years for his role in leading the violence that day. Two other Proud Boys: Joseph Biggs and Zachary Reel, earlier received sentences of 17 and 15 years. Enrique Tarrio, the group's leader, is set to be sentenced next week. Pizzola is seen in the now infamous video breaking a window at the Capitol as the mob swarmed into the building.
Judge Timothy Kelly said from the bench that Pizzola was "the tip of the spear that allowed people to go into the Capitol." Now, Nordean's 18-year sentence is tied for the lengthiest among the January 6th cases. Stuart Rhodes, a leader of the Oath Keepers, another right-wing pro-Trump group, also received 18 years. Judge Kelly reminded both men on Friday that the violence on January 6th broke the U.S. tradition of a peaceful transfer of power.
The judge said during Nordean's sentencing, if we don't have a peaceful transfer of power, I don't know what we have. I mean, all the cases so far, Proud Boys members have apologized for their role in the violence and pleaded for leniency, sometimes crying before the judge. Pizzola, minutes after claiming that he was a changed man, left the courtroom after his sentencing by raising his fist and declaring Trump won. Omar, Amara.
JIMENEZ: Evan Perez, thank you. Here are some legal analysis for Manhattan Prosecutor, Jeremy Saland. Look, there is a lot to talk about here when it comes to Donald Trump and the amount of cases. I want to start in Georgia, though. In particular there, I want your reaction to Trump wanting to separate his case from the others. Is this, is this typical? What is the significance here?
JEREMY SALAND, MANHATTAN PROSECUTOR: Well, it makes sense that he wants to sever the case. He doesn't necessarily want to be with all of these lesser people, just as the lesser people, if that's the right term to use, don't want to be with him. The last thing he wants to see happen is during the course of a trial, these other people who are lower on that proverbial food chain saying, I was listening to Trump.
He's sitting right there. His advisors, his attorneys were telling me what to do. So, it's in his advantage to be separate and apart from some of these individuals because they all collectively will look worse together than separate and apart.
JIMENEZ: And you know, it's not just Trump. We've seen other defendants trying to separate their cases from each other. But you know, the thing that jumps out to me, I mean, is that possible in this case? How difficult is it going to be for these defendants to truly separate their cases from each other when I think it's fair to say they're on the same indictment, there's a lot of overlap here when it comes to the evidence that's being presented.
SALAND: Well, when you have that many defendants on an indictment, first of all, it's not atypical that there are times when you just separate them from a practical standpoint. So, that is not something that is completely unheard of. And when you think of, for example, Schaefer, or when you think of, for example, even Chesebrough and Powell.
What they want to do is they want to be separate for their reasons, because if they go first, some of these people go first, they don't have to worry about the fingers being pointed at them. If they're first in time, it's less likely that someone's cooperating at that point. Now, the people who go later have the opportunity to say, well, now I've heard what's happened, I'm more prepared. They're going to watch that trial.
So, there's a lot of reasons why you'd want to separate. You don't want to be associated with all the bad things that other people may have done that you got accused of doing, even though, again, it's a RICO type conspiracy. So, there's countless reasons and good reasons why you want to separate. Just very basically, I don't want to be part of that big picture. Those people are separate for me. I'm on an island. Don't associate me with the bad guys.
JIMENEZ: And separation from each other defendants wise is one thing, but also Mark Meadows is trying to get the case moved to federal court. What is the likelihood, we're waiting to see if that effort will be granted, but what is the likelihood of that happening and why would someone like Mark Meadows be doing that in this situation?
SALAND: Well, I'll work a little bit backwards here, why is it is an obvious reason? First of all, when you're taking a jury pool at a Fulton County? Which will likely lean far more blue than red, it's your to your advantage to grab a larger jury pool. When you have removal the state case is still prosecuted, the state crimes are still prosecuted, but they're prosecuted in a venue federally so that it expands that jury pool beyond that one particular county in Georgia. There's an advantage there.
Additionally, as we know, there's no cameras and videos allowed, so the public can't see the vulnerability of some of these people and hear everything in real time like they will in a Georgia state case. There's an advantage to that too to them.
They don't want that to happen. But basically, the standard is I was working under the color of my office, in particular Meadows, as the Chief of Staff. And I have to show that I have a colorable defense. It doesn't have to be beyond a reasonable doubt, but that there was a connection of my actions to my office.
But the difficulty there, and I think you will ultimately fail, for example, is that how do you say I was offering campaign dollars to Fulton County, or pardon me, to Georgia, to say let's speed up this recount, this signature review process. Well, that's certainly not your role to get involved in those local elections in the state of Georgia, and it's certainly not your role in furtherance of your position to offer campaign money. So, that's very difficult. I think, as I described it before, it was a white-knuckle day for him. Meadows, I think he fails.
JIMENEZ: Yes. And quickly, before we go, the judge here approved that the case should be televised, live streamed. What sort of an impact does that have on a case, especially a high profile one like this?
SALAND: I think it's very dangerous for the president, former president, and all of those defendants, because it's one thing for me to turn on the news or look online and see a story and read it. It's another thing, as we know, that people watching since the days of O.J. Simpson get infatuated with this stuff.
To see in real time and understand, well, wait a second, this is the evidence, this is the testimony, this is the admissions, this is all that's coming out. That could be extremely damning, as I'm actually seeing it and not relying on some talking head like myself to say it. I can see it personally, that is very powerful.
JIMENEZ: Yes, well, Jeremy Saland, undoubtedly have an impact on politics as well, but thank you for the time.
WALKER: Jeremy Saland, to us, you are more than just a talking head, I promise. All right, still ahead President Biden will travel to Florida today to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia as he calls on Congress to approve more money for FEMA's disaster fund. Plus, everything you need to know before federal student loan payments start again next month. Here's your reminder.
WALKER: Now to the cleanup and recovery efforts ongoing in Maui after the catastrophic wildfires that killed at least 115 people last month. As teams with cadaver dogs continue to search for remains, Maui County released a list of those who are still unaccounted for. Right now, that number is at 385.
JIMENEZ: Meanwhile, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is set to lead a delegation to the area today to investigate the federal response to the disaster. CNN's Natasha Chen has more.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amara and Omar, as residents Lahaina takes stock of what remains of their historic island community weeks after the devastating fire, they'll be visited Saturday by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN (voice-over): The visit, which is being called "a fact-finding tour," will include meetings with federal and local officials in the recovery efforts. McCarthy has been critical of the administration's response to the Maui wildfires, which killed more than 100 people and displaced thousands. President Biden was asked this week about the Republican calls to investigate the federal response, and here's what he said.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I welcome a federal response in Maui. I welcome it. Once they go out and see it, then I'm sure they'll provide the money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN (on camera): Now, as locals cope with the devastation and cleanup process, we're starting to see the impact on the island's economy, which relies heavily on tourism. The Hawaii Tourism Authority says they're losing $9 million each day, with a steep drop in daily passenger arrivals to the island. Local businesses are laying off employees, and while island residents want tourists to stay away from burned areas.
They need people to come visit the rest of Maui. We spoke with a local helicopter tour business. The director of operations said his company has already laid off seven dispatchers while seven pilots share a fraction of flights they had before. So, Amara and Omar, still a long road to recovery for the island community.
WALKER: There sure is. All right, Natasha Chen, thank you. As Speaker McCarthy heads to Hawaii, President Biden is making his way to Florida in just a few hours from now to survey the damage from yet another natural disaster. According to the National Hurricane Center, Idalia was the most powerful hurricane to hit the Big Bend region in more than a century. Just look at those pictures of all the damage and the destroyed homes.
Thousands of homes and buildings were damaged, and rebuilding could cost up to $20 billion. With me now is Deanne Criswell, she is the administrator of FEMA. Administrator, thank you so much for joining us this morning. I know that you will be heading over to Florida, landing in Gainesville, Florida at around 1:00 with President Biden today. What do you expect to see? Tell us what the day will entail.
DEANNE CRISWELL, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Yes, good morning, Amara. I think the president's going to see what I saw when I was there earlier this week. He is going to see communities that have had impact. He's going to see homes that have been damaged. He's going to see debris and downed power lines.
But he's also going to see communities that are already beginning to recover. And he's going to be able to talk to those community members and hear their stories, but also give them hope and let them know that he is there and he has directed the federal government to make sure that we are bringing everything we can to help them on their road to recovery.
WALKER: Tell us more about what the most pressing needs are going to be, especially, you know, with the disaster funds for FEMA in the background and with President Biden pushing for an additional $4 billion to replenish FEMA's disaster relief fund, in addition to the plea of $12 billion made recently. And of course, this is going to depend on Congress passing some short-term spending. But tell us again about the short-term needs, the most pressing needs, and of course, you know, how these funds will be used.
CRISWELL: Well, when it comes to the recovery for Idalia and Florida, the most pressing need right now is to continue to work to get the power back up. And that is continuing every day, and they've made tremendous progress across the state to do that. We have resources that are available and on standby to come in and assist.
And then it's going to be, you know, making sure that we get all of those people that have damage to their home that can't stay there. How do we get them into their next phase of housing, whether it's in short-term housing, rental assistance. And that's what our program, through the major disaster declaration that the president approved, is going to be able to provide to those families that have been impacted.
And so, I strongly encourage anyone listening and has access to this, is register for assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov. The next thing, though, when it comes to our disaster relief fund, is we've been monitoring it very carefully. And we have been watching it for months to anticipate what the strain on it was going to be. And so, on Monday, I directed the team to implement immediate needs funding.
And what that means is that we are prioritizing the remaining funding within this account to those life-saving activities, to those life- sustaining activities in both Maui as well as in Florida. And what we have seen since Monday is the draw on our disaster relief fund has reduced. And so that lets me know that this is working and it's allowing us to make sure that we will continue to have enough money to support these life-saving resources.
WALKER: Can you tell us how much is left in this account? Because I know you've been recently sounding the alarm, you know, that this is, that the disaster relief fund will run out sometime in September, September 1st. Has the fund been depleted? How much is left?
CRISWELL: Yes, we were saying in September if we continued our regular spending, but since we implemented the immediate needs funding, we are now just over three billion dollars. I think yesterday's report was just over 3.1. And so, it shows that it's coming down much more slowly than it was in the past when we were paying for all of the recovery projects.
But I do want to emphasize that with immediate needs funding, work doesn't stop. We're still working with the communities on their recovery projects. The obligation and repayment for those and reimbursement for those projects, that will get delayed until we either get a supplemental or into the next fiscal year.
WALKER: I do want to ask you before we let you go, Administrator, as you know, presidential trips to disaster zones, you know, they're closely coordinated with local and state leaders. And of course, there's been this back and forth on whether or not President Biden will be meeting with the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. How much coordination has there been between the federal and state level? And will President Biden be meeting with Governor DeSantis today?
CRISWELL: Yes, there has been a tremendous amount of coordination. I traveled with the governor on Thursday and we went to some of the more rural coastal communities and access is fairly limited there. And so, when the president contacted the governor to let him know he was going to be visiting, we mutually agreed, the governor's team and my team mutually agreed on a place that would have minimal impact into operations.
And so Live Oak, you know, the power is being restored, the roads aren't blocked, but there's families that are hurting there. I would have to defer you to the governor on what his schedule is going to be. But I know that the president and the first lady are really looking forward to meeting with these first responders and these communities that have been impacted and letting them know that the government is here and that the president has directed all of us to bring the resources we have to help them on their road to recovery.
WALKER: Well, we appreciate your work and wishing you all the best as you make this tour once again, there to this disaster zone.
FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, thank you very much.
JIMENEZ: Still ahead, millions of Americans with federal student loans will have to start making payments soon. So, what do you need to know? That's next?
WALKER: Federal student loan barrowers, get ready for the first time in more than three years. It's not the greatest news for a lot of people. You're going to be required to start making payments again as soon as next month. That is when a pandemic-related pause will officially expire.
One that has been extended several times by both the Trump and Biden administrations since 2020.
Joining us now is Andrew Paulson. He is the co-founder and lead consultant of StudentLoanAdvice.com.
Andrew, we so need you this morning. Thank you so much for joining us.
I mean, this is no doubt going to be a huge adjustment for so many Americans who've had their payments and interests on hold for several years.
The cost of living is more expensive, gas has been going up. What's your advice to people who are worried about squeezing these payments back into their budgets?
ANDREW PAULSON, CO-FOUNDER AND LEAD CONSULTANT, STUDENTLOANADVICE.COM: Yes, thanks, Amara. The first thing that everybody needs to do is figure out how many loans do you have? You know, really, you need to take an inventory, what the balances are, where they are, what the interest rates are, because many, many people out there don't understand where all their loans are.
So, I'd really encourage you to take, pick, pick a moment to go to studentaid.gov. And also, if you feel like you have private loans out there, and you just want to make sure that you have everything ready to go, you can get a credit report to check that out. Because that's one of the most important things is first to understand where they are, how much they are, and what the -- what the monthly payments will be.
Because setting aside a budget today is a great, great idea with payments starting in a month from now.
WALKER: And how much has interest rates changed over this past three years? PAULSON: It is -- it's pretty insane. But interest rates, you know, similar to mortgage interest rates have gone up. I know about four percent or so in the last 18 or so months. So, this is greatly impacting those that are currently borrowing.
I'm seeing those in particularly at the graduate level that are borrowing 7-1/2, 8-1/2 percent for student loans. And so, it can get really, really pretty darn expensive as tuition has gone up as have interest rates really, really significantly.
WALKER: Awful. And it's going to be a tough time because it's going to be so untenable for so many people who have, you know, all kinds of different bills that they must continue to pay.
When should people expect to see their first bill?
PAULSON: October. October is when payments will begin again. And, you know, for brand new graduates that have just come out of school in May, they do get a little bit of extra time what is called a grace period for six or so months so that payments for them might be starting in November. But for most, be prepared to start making payments again in October.
WALKER: And again, back to the interest rate question. So, borrowers will not be paying the same amount monthly as they were before the pause?
PAULSON: It really depends. It depends on if they were in repayment programs prior to COVID and March 2021, that hit. Many, many borrowers were already in repayment, and whatever they were paying back then, they will begin at (INAUDIBLE).
For those that are brand new in -- you know, that have taken out graduated school, you know, since then, and are now moving into repayment, for them, they have probably never been in repayment. So, they need to understand what are my options, what are my loan balances, and figure out what their monthly payment will be coming up here in October.
WALKER: But what if someone just can't afford these monthly payments, their loan? What options do they have?
PAULSON: So, there's a number of options based on federal and private student loans. For many, many borrowers out there, you probably have federal student loans. You filled out FAFSA (PH) when you were going through school, because that's what they told you to do, contact your financial student aid office.
And so, for them, there are a number of options that are income driven, where it's based on whatever your income is, not necessarily on your loan size, and that can provide relief for borrowers when they're just coming out of school. Or perhaps, maybe they have had a life event where incomes drop, perhaps, they're temporarily unemployed.
Where, if you're making -- I don't know, $1,000 a month, then, your payments would be about 10 percent of your income. So, there is -- there is income driven plans that can help you out, and then, there is more of those fixed monthly payment options. Whether it's a standard 10-year plan, or a 25-year plan, think of it similar like a mortgage.
WALKER: And lastly, do you have any advice for people who just can't afford it and are saying, look, I just cannot pay back my student loans right now?
PAULSON: Yes. So, there is something that's called the 12-month on ramp period where you don't actually have to make payments for a year if you can't, and they won't hurt your credit to do that.
So, this is just given borrowers, given people a little bit more leeway and run -- runway if they can't make payments until September of 2024.
But there's a key point here is interest does start to accrue again on your loans. So, yes, it does give you some temporary time to perhaps figure out how to best address your payments, but I wouldn't put it off too long.
WALKER: All right. Andrew Paulson really critical information. Thank you.
JIMENEZ: And a programming note for us. He was one of the original architects of rock and roll. But did he ever get his doom? We're going to explore that.
CNN Films presents the story of a music legend.
"LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING" on Labor Day at 9:00 p.m. on CNN. Take a look at this preview.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just like a shot out of a cannon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His voice?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That -- he created the rock and roll icon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry you all, it wasn't Elvis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am the king of rock and roll!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first songs that you love that your parents hate is the beginning of the soundtrack of your life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little Richard's lyrics were too lewd to airplay on the radio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just the twin (PH) as you were.
LITTLE RICHARD, AMERICAN SINGER, PIANIST, AND SONGWRITER: (INAUDIBLE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very good at liberating other people. He was not good in liberating himself.
LITTLE RICHARD: I saw Uncle John with bald-head Sally. He saw Aunt Mary coming and he ducked back in the alley.
Michael was inspired by me. Prince. James Brown, I discovered him. Jimi Hendrix was my guitar player.
I used to stand on a desk and do a Little Richard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone was beholden to him.
ANNOUNCER: "LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING", Labor Day on CNN.
JIMENEZ: In your headlines this morning, a Texas law going into effect this weekend cracks down further on drunk drivers. So, now, convicted drunk drivers have to pay child support, if they kill a child's guardian. Now, those payments will continue until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later.
And if someone can't pay because they are behind bars, then, they've got to make payments no later than one year after their release.
WALKER: At least, seven people were injured including first responders during a house fire in Queens, Friday night. Firefighters responded to the three-alarm fire around 8:30 last night, and arrived to find heavy flames between two buildings.
The flame started in a private home in the neighborhood and quickly spread to the home next to it. The origin of the fire is still under investigation, but authorities say all of the injuries were minor, and the victims are in stable condition.
JIMENEZ: And search efforts are underway this morning after 19-year- old Texas resident, Sigmund Ropich, went overboard off the world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas.
Another passenger captured this nighttime video that shows the crew using the ship spotlight to search for the missing man. You see how dark those waters are. And these are waters off the Cuban coast.
The company says it launched a search for Ropich immediately. On Tuesday, the second day of the seven-day cruise. Scary.
WALKER: Yes. Well, the FDA says it is still months away from finalizing new rules that would prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The FDA banned flavored cigarettes back in 2009, but menthol was left out in the initial ban. Back in April 2022, they announced the plans to ban the popular menthol flavor, which scientists say can make cigarettes more addictive and set a deadline for August of this year.
And now, the agency is running behind schedule. CNN's. Jacqueline Howard has more.
JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Amara and Omar, the FDA has been working to finalize the proposed ban on menthol tobacco products for quite some time.
And this proposed rule specifically is to prohibit all flavors other than tobacco and cigars, and to prohibit menthol as a flavor in cigarettes, since all of their flavors except tobacco are already prohibited in cigarettes.
Now, the FDA emphasizes it's doing this to help prevent children from picking up smoking since flavors are attractive to them and menthol flavor can make cigarettes more addictive.
Nearly half of kids who smoke use menthol cigarettes. And historically, tobacco companies have aggressively targeted black and brown communities by marketing menthol products.
So, the hope is for this ban to crack down on that as well. And nationally, we know that cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death here in the United States.
So, right now, what's expected is for the FDA to announce by the end of this year, whether its ban on menthol has been finalized and we can expect to hear more in the coming months.
Amara and Omar, back to you.
WALKER: OK. Jacqueline, thank you.
Still ahead, how a group of young people are using the power of social media to try to curb gun violence in America?
WALKER: A group of young online influencers are using the power of persuasion on social media to try to curb the gun violence epidemic in America.
JIMENEZ: Yes, this campaign is being driven by Gen Z content creators, and they incorporate pop culture, trending topics, and online posts.
CNN's Polo Sandoval has more.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The next time you're scrolling through social media stream of cooking content and how to tutorials, you may be encouraged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if you could just be SNUG?
SANDOVAL (voice over): To be SNUG.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Choosing to be SNUG. Safer not using guns, means protecting yourself and others.
SANDOVAL (voice over): It's no coincidence that the acronym also spells guns backward. SNUG is a social media gun violence prevention campaign, driven by Gen Z content creators.
It's organized by Project Unloaded, which is tackling the epidemic of gun violence one post at a time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's be clear. This is not a political thing. It's a safety thing. OK?
SANDOVAL (voice over): Pop culture and trendy topics --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get ready with me while I share why we're safer not using guns.
SANDOVAL (voice over): Are combined with gun violence statistics to target the same demo that's become increasingly victimized by gun related homicides and suicide.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Leading cause of death for kids and teens in the U.S. is gun violence.
NINA VINIK, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROJECT UNLOADED: The SNUG campaign is aimed at teens between 13 and 17, before they've made up their minds when it comes to guns.
SANDOVAL (voice over): Nina Vinik is Project Unloaded's founder and executive director.
VINIK: We are completely sidestepping the polarized partisan debate that we've all seen play out over and over again on this issue. And that's why we're talking to teenagers. They can't even vote yet.
SANDOVAL: Though the campaign tries, it's impossible to steer clear of Second Amendment politics.
There is the occasional pushback and criticism in the comments. But overall, says Vinik, young users have been receptive to a message that simply owning a firearm may not make someone safer. She leans on several sources getting that point across.
VINIK: We're not trying to take away anyone's guns. We're not trying to interfere with conversations that might be happening inside families.
We're really just trying to make sure that young people have the information they need.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are the only guns I choose to have.
SANDOVAL (voice over): Estella Struck is a 22-year-old New York City content creator.
SANDOVAL: How do you cut through the means, the humor videos, and to actually try to get this important message to young people?
ESTELLA STRUCK, CONTENT CREATOR: It's about portraying the information in a way that is digestible to the viewer and comes across as authentic.
SANDOVAL (voice over): No doubt, some young influencers have a far reach. Just look at the turnout for what was supposed to be a social media influencer's product giveaway in New York City last month. The crowds spiraled into an out-of-control mob. But that same power can be harnessed for what Struck calls a greeter good.
STRUCK: Influencers are not bad. They actually have so much power to create genuine change in the world.
SANDOVAL (voice over): A change that may start young and online.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
WALKER: I love that. Influencing on social media in a positive way.
JIMENEZ: Yes. It's the creativity, you know.
JIMENEZ: It's all about connecting with an audience and, you know, if it works, it works.
WALKER: Yes. Clearly has been working.
All right, Polo. Thank you for that report. We'll be back after this.