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CNN This Morning

Congress Returns To Work With Little Time To Pass Key Bills; Biden Urges Congress To Provide Additional Funding To FEMA; Awaiting Decision On Meadow's Bid To Move GA Case To Federal Court; Trump's Georgia Trial To Be Televised And Livestreamed; Tens Of Thousands Stranded At Burning Man After Heavy Rain; Labor Day Weekend Expected To Bring Record High Temps; Escaped PA Inmate Spotted On Surveillance; New Evidence May Link BTK Killer To More Unsolved Cold Cases; Eritrean Embassy Celebration Turns Violent in Tel Aviv; Working from Home Vs. Working In The Office; Amazon Threatens Employees To Return To Office; Interview With Flex + Strategy CEO And Founder Cali Willams Yost; Secret Network Of Pilots And Volunteers Helping Women Access Legal Abortion Procedures In A World Without Roe; Conference Realignment Is Changing Sports Landscape; Interview With New York Magazine Contributing Editor Will Leitch AND Deadspin Founder. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 03, 2023 - 07:00   ET



COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS HOST: Coco seeking her first ever major title, while Wozniacki is quite the story. Retired in 2020, had two kids, but now she is back and she is bowling. That's going to be must-see TV.

AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: Yes, I look forward to watching that.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN HOST: You got to get those pads back on you.

WALKER: Yes, I was going to say.

JIMENEZ: Those are real pads, by the way, from watching. He did not hold back.

WALKER: I think he wears that during each game.


WALKER: (INAUDIBLE) he watches. Coy Wire, thanks for your show.

WIRE: You got it.

All right, the next hour of CNN This Morning starts now.

You don't own pads like that, do you?

JIMENEZ: I do not.

WALKER: You played basketball.

JIMENEZ: I was a basketball, I was a basketball guy. I couldn't take hits like those in football. It's not my game. WALKER: You're still a tough guy.

JIMENEZ: I want someone to call foul if I get hit.

WALKER: Maybe not as tough as Coy. Yes.

JIMENEZ: That's it.

WALKER: I'm sure you do.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to CNN This Morning. I'm Amara Walker.

JIMENEZ: And I'm Omar Jimenez in for Victor Blackwell. And we got a lot to talk about.

WALKER: Yes, I'm so glad that you're back on this Sunday.

JIMENEZ: Of course, I'm happy to be here.

WALKER: Well, it is back to work this week for lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and with a dwindling number of days, their to-do list is quite long. Can they avoid a government shutdown?

JIMENEZ: It's a major question. Also right now, tens of thousands of people are stuck in the desert at the Burning Man Festival after a rainstorm turns the site into a mud pit. People are being told to shelter in place.

WALKER: And Amazon CEO tells employees to get back in the office or their days might be numbered. But they're not alone. I'm going to talk to an expert about whether businesses and their employees can find, I don't know, some common ground.

JIMENEZ: And college sports are about to look a whole lot different after this academic year, so savor it while you can. A conference shakeup will change the landscape from coast to coast. What it means for some of the biggest rivals.

WALKER: And we begin this morning with Congress preparing to return from their August break. And they are facing several critical deadlines and a dwindling number of days to get it all done. Senators are back in D.C. Tuesday, followed by the House the following week.

JIMENEZ: And President Biden has two priorities for their return to Capitol Hill. The most pressing, being preventing a partial government shutdown. The Biden administration is urging lawmakers to avoid that by passing a short-term spending bill. Biden's other key issue is for Congress to provide more funding to FEMA's disaster relief program. Both are sure to be hard fought, as most things are these days for the White House.

CNN's Jasmine Wright joining us now from Washington, D.C. Jasmine, weren't we just talking about a potential government? Well, we're not at a potential government shutdown yet, but I feel like we have to talk about this, you know, every quarter or so. So, what is the latest in terms of the short-term spending bill? Obviously, a lot of disagreements between Democrats and Republicans. And what is the White House doing to speed this process up because, again, there is this very short window?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Amara. Well, President Biden made it quite clear that he wants Congress to pass a short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown, but also to protect the American people.

Now, September 30, that deadline where the government would run out of money, is really marching very close and close and closer. And so from the White House's perspective, it's crunch time, where they want to see something passed so that longer discussions can take place in the future.

Now, the White House, to speed the process up, has already sent over a list of anomalies. Now, those are issues in certain funding areas which would be disrupted if they are not written into a funding bill. Now, the Budget Office from the White House has identified several sectors, including things like food aid to women, infants, children, as well as rental insurance, key priorities for the Biden administration.

But where the problem comes in is that you're right, there is great disagreement between Democrats and Republicans, specifically House Republicans, that want to see deep cuts. Now, there are such deep cuts that to this point, Democrats and the White House have largely ignored them. But, obviously, we're getting close to that deadline so they can no longer do so.

We heard from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre earlier this week, who said that House Republicans need to live up to the end of their bargain that they made after they voted to raise the debt ceiling, really enacting these spending cuts that now need to be funded. Take a listen.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is something that Congress can do. They can prevent a government shutdown, but this does not take away their job and their duty and to keep their word. We're -- all we're doing is asking them to keep their word.


WRIGHT: Now, in terms of what the White House has been doing, we know that OMB Director Shalanda Young, as well as other people in the President's Legislative Affairs Office, have been making ongoing calls to the Hill that will continue.

And we know that in terms of the House leaders and Senate leaders, we know House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader, they have all voiced some interest in passing short-term funding, but that says nothing about the rank and file. Now, in terms of the schedule, you're right, time is very limited. Senate is back on September 5, but they really only have about six full days in the Senate until September 30th. The House is back September 12, making that month even shorter, making the sprint that they need to avoid a government shutdown even faster. Amara?


JIMENEZ: Yes. Jasmine Wright, thank you.

In addition to the short-term spending bill, President Biden is calling for the bill that he's calling for, he's also asking for $16 billion in funding for FEMA, including $4 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund.

WALKER: Yes, the President, along with the First Lady, toured the devastation left behind by Hurricane Idalia in Florida. They were there on Saturday. And while Biden was on the ground, he vowed to help rebuild communities damaged by the storm.

CNN's Isabel Rosales explains why the President is dedicated to the recovery process.

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And President Biden on the ground in Live Oak, Florida, community of just under 7,000 people. One of the communities hard hit, especially this county, Suwannee County, by this hurricane, the most powerful hurricane to hit the Big Bend area of Florida in over 100 years.

And we saw the President surrounded by his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, and also the FEMA Administrator, Deanne Criswell. And he delivered remarks showing his commitment to supporting the people of Florida, saying that the federal government is there to support them in any which way that they need.

Also speaking to the federal resources, helping out residents who have had damage or have even lost homes and businesses. Also the National Guard who have delivered millions of meals, and the federal search and rescue crews that were on the ground with those efforts right after the storm hit.

He also surveyed the aftermath of this hurricane from up in the air during an aerial tour, seeing the thousands of homes that were damaged from this hurricane, and also with a walking tour, seeing from the ground and speaking with survivors. Their stories they shared with the President.

And he also thanked personnel, first responders, linemen that are restoring the energy to this area and other personnel like what we're seeing right here at this point of distribution. This is actually Florida State Guardsmen right now that are packing up these cars with items to help give them some comfort, food, water, ice, tarps to help in that recovery process.

The President thinking individuals like this. And also Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, who he said was there to inform him, keep him up to date on what's happening here in his community. Here's what else the President had to say.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These crises are affecting more than -- more and more Americans. And every American rightly expects FEMA to show up when they are needed to help in the disaster. So I'm calling on the United States Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to ensure the funding is there to deal with the immediate crises as well as our long-term commitments to the safety and security of the American people.


ROSALES: But the one person we didn't see next to President Biden is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. A spokesperson for his office saying that there were no plans in place for the governor to meet up with Biden while he was here in Florida. That same spokesperson also saying, quote, "In these rural communities and so soon after impact, the security preparations alone that would go into setting up such a meeting would shut down ongoing recovery efforts".

Of course, this comes to a contradiction as to what President Biden said on Friday, saying he was expecting to meet up with Governor DeSantis. Also, FEMA Administrator Criswell told CNN that there was, quote, "tremendous coordination between the White House and the governor's office about all of this and that they mutually had agreed on a place with minimal impact to operations".

But as we saw, there was no Governor DeSantis next to President Biden while he was here in the Sunshine State. Amara, Omar?

JIMENEZ: Isabel Rosales, thank you.

We're expecting a judge to rule soon on Mark Meadow's push to move his Georgia election subversion case to federal court. President Trump's former chief of staff is arguing that everything he did to overturn his boss's 2020 election loss, including setting up meetings and phone calls with state officials, were part of his job.

So let's talk about all this. CNN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson is with us now. Joey, I want to start on that last point that Mark Meadows took the stand last week. He argued his actions regarding the 2020 election were just a part of his duties as White House Chief of Staff. I mean, do you think that's a convincing case here?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Omar, good morning to you. It very well could be, and here's why. As the chief of staff and assistant to the president, his argument is that, look, I have a boss. I follow orders from the president of the United States. The president had a good faith belief that there was criminality amiss. As we look at Mark Meadows there, the chief of staff.


And as a result of that, I was carrying out my function as a role of -- as a government official. Certainly, prosecutors had a lot to say about that, saying, nonsense. You were acting as a private actor, not on behalf of the president. And as a result of that, you were conspiring to upend and overturn an election.

Your actions were not relating to your office or your official duties, and as a result of that, you certainly should not have a removal, right, which would mean removing it to federal court, because your actions certainly were within the state's jurisdiction and you were acting in your private capacity.

So those are the dueling arguments. The judge, Omar, as you know, asked for additional briefing with respect to, hey, if any one of Mr. Meadow's actions were related to his federal duties, does that mean I can't remove it?

The attorneys briefed both the prosecution and the defense, his defense attorneys. And so the judge has a lot to mull over in making a decision, but he certainly has a strong argument, Mark Meadows does, with respect to removing it to federal court.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And, look, we're still waiting on this decision from the judge. But if the U.S. District Judge rules to remove Meadows' case to federal court, this -- I mean, this isn't happening in a vacuum. There's a lot of other cases, a lot of overlapping evidence and circumstances that prosecutors and defense attorneys are combing through.

How consequential would moving this to federal court be for Trump and for some of the other defendants tied to this case?

JACKSON: Yes. So it's an unknown, with respect, Omar, to how it would affect the others, but certainly it would give the indication that -- and again, I think the prosecutors want it limited to the argument that Mr. Meadows is making. Mr. Meadows has a very clear argument to the extent that he was working in the capacity, right, of a person who was working directly for Donald Trump, who believed at that time that there were things amiss with the election.

So to your question, I think, prosecutors will say, listen, this is limited to him. It's not limited to the others. Everyone is not similarly situated, different people. You know, not everyone has the argument. There are a few that do. And so to the extent that it would affect them, that's an open question.

Specifically, what were the other parties doing? Are they similar to what Mr. Meadows was doing? So I think he has the clearest path to the extent that the president was directing and orchestrating his activities. And if you say no, you're fired.

And so I don't know that just because or if he were removed, that would have an immediate impact on Mr. Trump, any of the other government officials, and certainly it would not on others that were disconnected from any federal government role or were working for the government in any capacity.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And one thing that will have an immediate impact at least when it comes to Trump is the Fulton County judge overseeing this -- the Georgia racketeering case ruled that the trial could be televised, it could be live streamed. I mean, it's the only one of Trump's four criminal cases that the public will actually see.

What -- you and I have talked about this before -- what do you think the impact of that will be? And do you think Trump could use this to his advantage?

JACKSON: You know, Omar, I think that it's certainly beneficial to have a trial that's televised. And here's why. You know, when you have the government going after anyone, you want to ensure that the government, whether it be state or federal in that regard, that they're doing it appropriately, that they have compelling evidence, that the prosecution is warranted, that there was indeed a conspiracy, that there were illegal acts.

The public should know that. There needs to be transparency. And as a result of that, it really would rebut. Prosecutors would believe any indication that this is a witch hunt, that this is a false prosecution, that this is simply political. And so I think allow everyone to take a look and people can make their own judgments and really, you know, decide on their own with respect to whether it's warranted or not.

In terms of Trump, certainly he could use this to say, hey, look, I'm being prosecuted, persecuted. It's unfair. But prosecutors, I think, will fall back and say, look, we have all this corroboration. We gave an indictment, what was the accusation? But here's the proof that these things were happening.

We have to build into democracy. We have to believe in democracies. Prosecutors will say, and people need to be held accountable when they upend them. And so I think there's something for both parties in the event that the matter were televised.

JIMENEZ: And if the initial timeline actually holds up, we're going to see this play out, you know, in the middle of an election season and so that transparency could end up being crucial for the American public to see.

Joey Jackson, thank you as always. Good to see you.

WALKER: All right. Tens of thousands of people are literally stuck in the mud and trapped at the very popular Burning Man Festival. This after some rain swamped campsites in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. Thick, ankle, deep mud is making it impossible to walk or drive.


ANDREW HYDE, STUCK AT BURNING MAN: It rained quite a bit for the desert and created a very mucky, muddy, terrible environment where you could barely walk. Vehicles made it impassable. And the whole festival and the 70,000-ish people out here just had to stay put.


[07:15:06] WALKER: Yes. So no one is being allowed in or out at this point, and it's unclear how many people are stranded. But as you heard from the gentleman there, the festival typically draws about 70,000 people and everyone is being told to conserve water, food and fuel.

The mess was caused by less than an inch of rain, about half an inch of rain. But this area is used to seeing that in less --in three months, not just a few hours. And next hour, we're going to talk to the operations commander for Burning Man and he will give us an update.

Meanwhile, rain isn't the only thing hampering Labor Day plans. The heat will be cranked up all over the central U.S.'s holiday weekend with record breaking temperatures once again. CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar tracking all this, including the rain that disrupted Burning Man. And we're only talking about half an inch of rain that did that?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Well, again, that's normal for this type of -- this part of the country. Again, this is video actually from Red Rock Canyon yesterday. What you are supposed to see in the distance is the city of Las Vegas. But this was yesterday.

Wave after wave of rain just coming in across this area. And it wasn't just Las Vegas. Much of the Southwest had experienced some very heavy showers yesterday, the same ones that they had at the Burning Man Festival.

Today, more of that focus shifts farther north. So Elko, Salt Lake City and Boise all under flood watches for today as more rain is anticipated to kind of slide across these areas, mostly this afternoon and into the evening. But even this morning could end up having a few rounds of some showers and thunderstorms pushing through.

The eastern half of the country, the main focus is going to be the heat. You've got heat advisories out. Many of these areas looking at temperatures around 95 to 100 with that heat index beyond 105 in some spots. Minneapolis looking at temperatures almost near 100 both today and tomorrow.

Chicago, St. Louis, Wichita, all looking at highs in the 90s, about 10 to 20 degrees above normal. It will be records likely in a lot of those places, and they're one of many. Over 150 records possible starting today, all the way through Thursday of this week. And that's because you're going to start to see that heat spread. So areas of the Northeast and even the mid-Atlantic seeing that.

And also it's that time of year keeping an eye on the tropics, especially this system just off the coast of Africa as it heads towards the Caribbean this week.

JIMENEZ: Wow. Lot to keep an eye on. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

Still ahead for us, law enforcement is zeroing in on a convicted murderer who escaped the Pennsylvania prison. We'll show you the newly released surveillance video. The latest on the manhunt ahead.

Plus, Oklahoma officials believe the prolific serial killer BTK could be responsible for even more unsolved crimes.

WALKER: And the debate on whether or not companies should allow employees to work from home. Should they be forced to return to the office? We'll discuss with an expert on workplace flexibility.



WALKER: At this hour, hundreds of law enforcement officers, including U.S. Marshals and SWAT, have joined the manhunt for a convicted Pennsylvania killer. We want to show you this newly released surveillance video by the Chester County District Attorney's Office of Danelo Cavalcante.

You can see him there just coming out of that tree. He was spotted in a residential neighborhood about 1.5 mile from Chester County prison just west of Philadelphia.

JIMENEZ: Can you imagine seeing that on your camera there? Cavalcante was convicted of murdering his former girlfriend in August. Last week, he was sentenced to life without parole. Cavalcante is considered extremely dangerous, and there's a $10,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to his capture.

WALKER: New developments in the case of prolific serial killer Dennis Rader, also known as BTK. A law enforcement team in Oklahoma now believes he could be responsible for even more unsolved crimes.

JIMENEZ: Yes, and CNN's -- we're going to take a closer look at never- before-seen evidence that detectives believe may link him to cold cases in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. Jean Casarez has more on the investigation.


SHERIFF EDDIE VIRDEN, OSAGE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA: She was a very full of life, typical teenager.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Cynthia Dawn Kinney, a 16-year-old cheerleader who vanished from an Oklahoma laundromat in 1976. The self-proclaimed BTK serial killer is now the prime suspect in her case and several other unsolved homicides spanning three states.

It was parts of this journal belonging to BTK, real name Dennis Rader, shared exclusively with CNN that prompted law enforcement in Oklahoma to act. Shortly after Kinney's disappearance, the sheriff's office received an anonymous call.

VIRDEN: That male caller informed them that she was located in an old barn. CASAREZ (voice-over): No evidence that lead was ever looked into. Her body was never found. But authorities are now looking at this journal entry by Rader -- "Bad Wash Day".

VIRDEN: He marked that in 1976, he had murdered someone from a laundromat.

CASAREZ (voice-over): For the first time, law enforcement is revealing detailed drawings made by Rader, showing young girls tied and bound in barns.

VIRDEN: Our hope was to get these drawings out in hopes that someone will recognize these barns.

CASAREZ (voice-over): As investigators combed through Rader's old files for clues that could link him to Kinney's murder and several others, an unexpected volunteer stepped forward, his daughter, Kerri Rawson.

KERRI RAWSON, DAUGHTER OF SERIAL KILLER DENNIS RADER: If he's innocent on these, I will defend him. If he is guilty, I will nail him to the wall.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Working with authorities, Rawson visited her father in prison for the first time in 18 years.


RAWSON: He's in a wheelchair. He has no teeth left, and he went from this like vivacious man that was hiking with me right before he was arrested to like an elderly man.

CASAREZ (on-camera): Did he confess to you?

RAWSON: No, he did not.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Rader has been in prison since 2005 after pleading guilty to 10 counts of murder. He has not confessed to any additional crimes. But just last week, authorities heard this during one of his prison calls.

VIRDEN: He said there might still be some things in some old barns.

CASAREZ (voice-over): This new investigation led authorities to dig up the area around Rader's former family home just last week in Kansas. The result, more potential evidence discovered, a well-constructed hiding hole.

(on-camera): What did you find in the hole that you can tell us?

VIRDEN: Personal type items. You know, we found items that could have been used for binding people. We found some different remains from materials, you know, carpet fibers.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.


WALKER: All right, still ahead, more than 100 people, including almost 50 police officers, are heard in a clash in Tel Aviv. How a controversial foreign government's holiday celebration turned into a violent confrontation.



WALKER: This morning, more than 100 people in Israel, including 49 police officers, are recovering after a celebration turned extremely violent in Tel Aviv.

JIMENEZ: Chaos erupting on the streets as a clash between supporters and opponents of the Eritrean government escalated out of control. CNN's Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem with more on what happened.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have seen similar clashes between pro and anti-Eritrean government protesters take place in other countries over the last few weeks. Just in the last few weeks it's happened in Sweden, Germany and in Norway with similar results, although what happened on Saturday seems to have been the most violent that we have seen in recent weeks.

So, what happens is that similar to those European countries in Israel, there are thousands of Eritrean migrants. Now, many of them are asylum seekers. Eritrea, it's been -- it ranks very low on human rights indexes in the Global Press Freedom Index, it's one of the -- like the lowest of the three that you can get to. And so, many asylum seekers they fear going back.

Now, what happened Saturday is that the Eritrean government was hosting an Independence Day, a Revolution Day celebration at their embassy in Tel Aviv. Now, some of the Eritrean community had already warned Israeli authorities, trying to get them to cancel the event because they said protesters were going to come and try and break this up. Many of these anti-government protesters feel that it's a celebration celebrating what they call a dictator and it's a source of anger for them.

And that's what happened. These protesters came and there was heavy clashes between the pro regime and anti-regime protesters. Heavy police force. I saw a helicopter hovering over Southern Tel Aviv yesterday. There was more than 100 people injured, including dozens of police officers. There was extensive damage to property and vehicles in the area. And as of this morning, at least 15 people, according to Israeli media, are still hospitalized in serious condition, at least, including two police officers.

Now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come out saying that this was absolutely unacceptable. He called a red line that was being crossed and has formed a ministerial committee to look at potentially deporting some of these people who are involved in these riots. Take a listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Therefore, the first thing I do is to wish recovery to the police officers who were injured during the intent to restore order. We ask for strong measures against the rioters, including the immediate deportation of those who took part in it. I have hard time understanding request why we would have problem deporting those who declare themselves to be supporters of the regime. So, they certainly cannot can't make a claim of refugees.


GOLD: Now, other officials and other European governments that have also experienced these protesters have made similar comments about looking into these asylum seekers and whether they could be up for deportation. There would be quite a process for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to go through before that could take place. But it seemed as though definitely the police force in Tel Aviv was seemingly caught off guard by just the amount of violence that they encountered yesterday during these protests.

JIMENEZ: Hadas Gold, thank you.

Still ahead, working from home versus working in the office. What do you think? It's a debate many employees feel strongly about as companies crack down on letting employees work remotely. We will discuss with an expert next.



Walker: So, Amazon is the latest company threatening employees to get them to return to the office. The CEO told employees during a recent meeting that if they don't come back, well, they will have find another job. "Business Insider" reports that during that meeting, employees asked for data to explain why they need to work in an office. Amazon executives said that they didn't have that data, and that was making the policy was a judgment call. Amazon isn't alone. Many companies are telling employees to get back to the office and facing pushback.

Joining me to discuss, the CEO of Flex and Strategy group, Cali Williams Yost. Cali is an authority on workplace flexibility. The key word there, flexibility. Hi there, Cali. Thank you so much for joining me this morning.

So, we were just saying, Amazon isn't the only company recalling its employees. But is there any data out there that shows being in the office versus working from home actually increases productivity and, hence, the bottom line for these companies?

CALI WILLAMS YOST, CEO AND FOUNDER, FLEX + STRATEGY: Well, thank you for having me this morning. It's great to be here. And I will tell you with RTO mandates, it does feel a little bit more like Groundhog Day than Labor Day. And indeed, employers like Amazon, they are doubling down.

Here's the challenge, old work models were already becoming obsolete and more flexibility. COVID simply accelerated a trend that was already underway, but it was a crisis-driven execution. So, we now have the opportunity to be more strategic and intentional as we reimagine and rethink about how we're going to work going forward.

Here's the problem, employers and employees are not on the same page about how, when and where that is going to happen. Thus, the resistance. And part of that, indeed, is that you have employers that have some very solid, valid concerns about talent development, productivity and culture, but they often don't have solid metrics to support those concerns.

And, you know, because it was a crisis-driven execution in the pandemic, it's hard to gauge what productivity was. And I'm going to tell you as an expert who's been doing this for many, many years, oftentimes, there wasn't great productivity data before COVID about how we were working. So, again, we really have to think how we are going forward with this.


WALKER: So, if employers don't have solid metrics to back up, you know, their recalling of employees, I mean, how important is it for employers to be flexible, especially in a post-COVID world? Are employers risking tanking morale and productivity if they aren't more flexible?

YOST: Well, here is where we are. We are at a clash of context right now where employers, again, as I said, and employees are not on the same page. You do have employers who truly believe that if everyone returns to the office on a set number of days, then the in-person interactions that will improve the outcomes they are concerned about, somehow those will magically happen. Unfortunately, they often don't.

So, that's why on the other side, you have employees who feel they've always ended up sitting an office doing the same work they did when they were working remotely and they legitimately are asking why, why am I here? Because being in the same location doesn't automatically lead to the collaboration that optimizes those outcomes that employers are concerned about. In other words, in the office does not equal in- person, and that's something that employers and employees have to come together and ask the question, what do we need to do and how, when, where, do we do it best?

WALKER: That's true. In the office does not translate to in-person, because often times -- you know, I love coming to work. I love seeing my colleagues. But when I need to get work done, sometimes I'll just lock myself in the office and put on my headphones and just get to work on my computer. So -- and, you know, there have been days where I've just spent in and quickly out.

What are your thoughts on hybrid schedules, I mean, where employers are trying to compromise and say, OK, fine, work from home two to three days a week, but come in the office at least, you know, two days a week? Are there any benefits to that?

YOST: So, I think we're -- yes, I think we're asking the wrong question. We keep asking the question, OK, so how many days in the office? And so, we're leading with where. And again, because we are leading with where, those key activities that lead to the outcomes we want to advance by being in-person are not necessarily happening.

What we have to ask is, first, what aspects of talent development, of productivity, of culture benefit from more in-person interaction and when do those happen and where do those happen? And let the answer to that question drive the number of days on site, in the office, at a client site, at home, at another remote location.

But, see, our research and experience have shown that the sweet spot for people is two to three days a week on site. And if you get to those number of days, based on the work, then people have a clear understanding of why they are coming together and will prioritize those activities.

But here's the important part. You will also talk about and identify what you will be doing when you are not together. Because if you are in-person three days a week, again, you want to prioritize the things that really matter when you're together, but you are not going to be together for two days. So, what are you doing then? What is better done when you are not in the same place? And those are the conversations we have to be having first. But when you lead with the number of days, you miss that. And that's why people are not understanding and resisting.

WALKER: Thank you for reframing that conversation. Very important stuff. Cali Williams Yost, appreciate it. Thanks.

JIMENEZ: Meet the secret network of pilots and volunteers helping women access legal abortion procedures in a world without Roe, on a new episode of "The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper," here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got a client from Oklahoma going to Carbondale, and I said, don't forget to pick up your money from the clinic. No credit or debit card needed. And I am here if she needs me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got piles (ph) lined up. Like this airport is the best airport. Is the passenger still good to make this trip?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My second client this morning, who was Texas to Wichita, she said, she bids, please, my mom and grandmother are coming with me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got our pilot and our passenger in touch with each other. The flight is about 15 minutes out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found an Amtrak ride, so she could sleep in a while longer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Carolina to Illinois.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try to find an airport that might work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I have one person on a bus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any way the passenger can get over to Chandler?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: East Texas to St. Louis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From Wisconsin to Chicago.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Little rock, Arkansas --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little rock, Arkansas to --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- to Carbondale.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Carbondale, Illinois.


JIMENEZ: That's going to be a good. "The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper" airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. We'll be right back.



JIMENEZ: Just when you thought conference realignment was over in college football, think again. The ACC board directors voted this week to approve the additions Stanford, Cal and SMU starting next season. The ACC stands for Atlantic Coast Conference by the way.

WALKER: Thank you for that, Omar.

JIMENEZ: When the additions are approved, the league will have 18 teams. CNN's Andy Scholes has more on the sport's changing landscape.


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR (through translator): The tradition, the rivalries, the passion, there's nothing quite like college football. And this season will mark the end of an era for the sport. NICK SABAN, ALABAMA HEAD COACH: There's a lot of traditions that we've had for a long time in college football, and some of those traditions are going to get sort of pushed by the wayside, I think, and it's sad.

SCHOLES: Conference realignment was the harshest it's ever been this summer. The biggest blow to the PAC-12, where this season will be the last for the conference as we know it.


PAT CHUN, WASHINGTON STATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: It isn't one singular thing that led to the destruction of the PAC-12 as we know it, it was a bunch of decisions and, you know, failed strategies.

DEION SANDERS, COLORADO HEAD COACH: All this is about money. You know that. It's about a bag. Everybody's chasing the bag. Then you get mad at the players when they chase it.

SCHOLES: Legendary broadcaster Brad Nessler, who's been one of the voices of college football for the past 30 years, said it's unfortunate how things have transpired.

BRAD NESSLER, CBS SPORTSCASTER: When you've got UCLA or USC going to play Rutgers, or, you know, whatever the case might be, it's really going to be different. And, you know, you're going to lose a lot of rivalries. And to see a whole conference blow up like that was sad.

SCHOLES: This will also be the last season for the Big 12 as we know it. As founding members Texas and Oklahoma play one more season in the conference before making the move to the SEC, that means this season will be the last for one of the best rivalries in the sport, Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State.

MIKE GUNDY, OKLAHOMA STATE HEAD COACH: The Bedlam game is over because Oklahoma chose to leave the Big 12, period. It's got nothing to do with Oklahoma State. So, do I like that? No.

SCHOLES: This will also be the last season for just four playoff teams. Next year, it moves to 12 teams, the largest field college football has ever seen.

NESSLER: It's going to be really different. I think even with 12 teams, I personally think that there's about six teams, maybe eight teams that have a chance of winning the national championship. So, I think that the cream of that crop is always going to rise. But, you know, if it helps a Tulane get in or a Boise State or a Cincinnati, you know, I'm all for that. I think it still might expand even more than that in years to come.


JIMENEZ: Andy Scholes, thank you. Joining us right now is Will Leitch. He's a contributing editor for "New York Magazine," he's also the founder of the sports website, Deadspin.

OK. Where do you want to start here? The Big 10 literally has schools from coast to coast. Big 12 took essentially the rest of the PAC-12 team, the Atlantic Coast Conference added Stanford and California. What is your biggest takeaway from what is the new reality of college sports year?

WILL LEITCH, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Yes, I think a lot of this is going off the assumption, you know, so much of this has been based on television money, right? Like college football has become such a massive television property that the people that are making the decisions are not really college administrators or even athletic directors, it's actually television executives. They want to see -- you know, they want to see Texas, UCLA, they want to see these big matchups every weekend, which sounds great because it's short- term, they just want the big hits, they want every big match-up.

The problem is, not only are you losing tradition, you're actually starting to almost narrow the sport a little bit. And I think the presumption that every match-up has to be big ultimately makes match- ups no match-ups big. And I think what's going to happen is you're going to see executives kind of move on to something else, whatever the new thing is. We certainly now that the television industry is going through a lot on its own.

I think in 10 years, the television executives will move on to something else but the sport itself will be almost rendered unrecognizable.

JIMENEZ: Well, and, you know, to your point, a lot of these traditions and rivalries are ones that go back, you know, almost a century in some cases. And part of why they're rivalries, whether it is Michigan and Ohio State, Alabama and Auburn, is because of that regional, you know, conference battle that they've had over the years. What effect do you think this is going to have on some of those traditions and rivalries between those schools?

LEITCH: Yes, I don't think there is any question, particularly -- you know, I don't think this is the end of expansion and realignment. I think the ultimately worry is for a lot of people (INAUDIBLE) it's going to be two conferences like there is in the NFL, for example, which I think puts college football closer to what I think people will start to -- if you give -- take away the traditions from college football, it starts to became not college football, it becomes minor league football. And I think that's really the kind of the issue because I think that's the word. If you put these two conferences, if it becomes two massive conferences, it's just football without any of the tradition of college football but lesser than the NFL. And that doesn't (ph) even account for what it does for all of the other college sports that aren't run by college football.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And look, I played in the Big 10 and, you know, well, a lot of times we were traveling throughout our region, between going to classes. And now, I almost couldn't imagine going from Rutgers one day and then all of a sudden, going across the country to play USC or whoever it might be.

Now, from the schools' perspectives, let's talk about some of the financial impact here. I mean, what are they doing this for? What is the financial impact going to be for some of these schools who are now jumping conferences or, yes, moving to different locations?

LEITCH: Well, this all initially started because of the financial situation, particularly the SEC and the Big 10 have these massive television contracts. But as this -- as the realignment has happened so quickly, it's actually become now less about giving a short-term money and more about just making sure in the long-term you have a place.

The best example of this is what we saw over the weekend, on Friday, when the ACC added Stanford, Cal and SMU. Well, SMU is literally not getting any money for the next seven years from the conference, but they're so worried that in this game of musical chairs they're going to be left without a conference, they're actually not getting a financial impact out of it. That's when it kind of started.


But I think what's happening, you've already seen that playoff is expanding next year to 12 teams. Of course, the reason it's doing that is for more television money. The problem is ESPN and a lot of these other networks are going through all sorts of financial issues that have nothing to do with football and are not willing to actually pay some of this money. And so, the first round of the playoffs next year currently don't have a television, a voice on television because they're still fighting over the bidding on that.

I think there was an assumption that there's always going to be money there. But moving forward, I think the industry is changing in a way that the decisions made sense initially for money, but I think the pot is coming maybe a little bit dry.

JIMENEZ: Yes. I mean, and look at Oregon State and Washington State, they were left over and, you know, between that and NIL, it's a different game these days. Will Leitch, thank you.

WALKER: All right. Still ahead, officials are investigating a death at the Burning Man festival in Nevada as thousands remain stranded after heavy rain swamped the area. We'll speak with the operations commander for the festival when we come back.