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Isa Soares Tonight

Ninety Six Confirmed Dead In Hawaii Wildfires; Zelenskyy Visits Frontline Troops In Eastern Ukraine; Grand Jury In Georgia Hears Trump Election Case; Ecuador Struggling To Tackle Organized Crime; Georgia Grand Jury Hears Election Subversion Case; Fourth Possible Indictment Looms For Former President. 2-3p ET

Aired August 14, 2023 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Isa Soares, good to have you with us.

Tonight, questions raised over warning systems in Hawaii as almost 100 people are confirmed dead after last week's wildfires. We'll be live on the

ground in Maui.

Then, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the frontlines as tensions spike after an incident in the Black Sea. We'll have more on that

with a live report. Plus, a fourth indictment could be on the cards for Donald Trump as a grand jury meets in Georgia today to hear the case about

possible election interference.

We are starting tonight on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. That's where wildfires broke out last Tuesday, tearing through the western part of the

island. Right now, 96 people are confirmed dead, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than 100 years. Officials have been -- have brought

in Cadaver dogs to find the remains of victims in the burned out neighborhoods.

It's estimated around 2,200 buildings in western Maui have been destroyed or damaged, most of those, residential. Today, there is a new focus on why

the island's extensive alert system was not activated.


EMILIE JOMS-FRISQUE, MAUI FIRE SURVIVOR: There are sirens in place and warnings in place for hurricanes and tsunamis. I don't know if those

warnings are typically used for other natural disasters, but they weren't in this case. We certainly weren't hearing any sirens or been warned in any

sort of way, that there's something this large happening.

I am told that we were sent text, however, we didn't have cell service for at least a couple of hours at this point, I want to say, most of the

islands on the west side had lost cell service around noon, 1 O'clock. So, by the time that the storms were really hitting around 4 O'clock, no one

had any service, and no one was -- no one had any idea what was going on.


KINKADE: Well, an additional lawsuit has been filed against Hawaiian Electric. The lawsuit accuses the company of not turning off power lines

during dangerous windy conditions which may have caused the lines to snap and spark the fires. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Well, joining us now from Maui is CNN's Bill Weir. Good to have you there for us, Bill.

So, tragically, this is already the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than 100 years. But sadly, the death toll is expected to rise, right, because

there are many people still unaccounted for.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: That's -- that was such so striking from the press conference this weekend, Lynda, with the police

chief here in Maui says that they've only searched about 3 percent of the area of burned out homes and buildings there with the Cadaver dogs.

And then, of the now almost close to a 100 souls lost, 96 souls lost, they've only managed to identify two, because of the extent of the fire.

And so, this is a massive sort of forensic investigation. At the same time, it's a humanitarian effort as well to help those survivors who are trapped

in there. I spent all day yesterday with sort of citizen convoys of aid, going up to different places around Lahaina there.

I heard amazing tales of community cohesive, pulling together. Also a lot of frustration about lack of state and federal response, that they're

saying everything they're doing is really crowd-sourced and folks just on the ground through the coconut telegraph figuring out what they need there

as well. And frustrations as you were mentioning about the early warnings.

They recently flew a plane over Lahaina with a loud speaker to tell people not to drink the water, and some are wondering where was that warning when

the flames were up? Obviously, you couldn't fly a plane in 80-mile an hour winds at that time. But given the renowned alarm system for tsunami is here

in this island, most people are befuddled why it wasn't triggered.

The officials say there wasn't enough time, and by the time the -- you know, the fire crews on the ground in Lahaina were so consumed with the

flames, they couldn't let the alert system know to start that process. That was the official explanation right now. But right now, a lot of people are

sort of focused on putting one step in front of the other.

They're grieving in real-time. This affects so many people even whose homes weren't burned down. It affects them economically, psychologically there's

so much uncertainty about where these people are going to live.


Promises maybe of a 1,000 hotel rooms and Airbnbs that could be transitional housing for folks who are displaced now. They don't know what

about the tourist economy. People are conflicted as to whether folks should leave immediately or stay and support. So a lot to deal with in these

really tough days, less than a week after this firestorm, Lynda.

KINKADE: And in that time since the storm hit, we've been speaking to residents who have spoken about the fact there was zero warning when this

fire struck in the middle of the night. Bill, what more can you tell us about the class action lawsuit?

WEIR: Yes, there's -- I was talking to somebody who had actually done some lineman work on the islands, and had warned a friend, you know, this is --

we're one big wind storm away from catastrophe because the power line infrastructure is in many cases, you know, 50 years old. And the winds on a

warming planet just getting more intense.

The grasslands here, evasive grasses just getting drier and more tender- like. That perfect storm of events came together. This happened for the deadliest fire in California history, the camp fire which, you know, the

utility company there was put on the line for that, has major implications financially. So, the investigations will go into that as well, and maybe

rebuilding, they'll talk about burying lines.

Which seems to be the wave of the future, at least to protect communities like this. But that is to come, a class action suit is in the works.

KINKADE: All right, Bill Weir for us in Maui, good to have you on the ground, thank you very much. Well, the governor of Hawaii has estimated

that the high winds helped propel the wildfire at one mile per minutes. More gusty winds are expected over the next few days. And joining us now is

CNN's Jennifer Gray. Jen, good to have you with us.

So, these winds fueled this intense fire. It's hard to imagine it moving at that pace, a mile a minute. Talk to us about what's expected in the coming


JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we will start to see the winds increase over the coming days. We have another tropical system that's going

to pass just to the south of Hawaii. This is Tropical Storm Greg. Now, the setup will be similar, but very different consequences. We are going to see

far less winds than we saw with the last set up.

This is a much weaker storm. This tropical storm has 65 kilometer per hour winds moving west, 21 miles per hour. So, this is going to stay a tropical

storm. You remember, Dora was a category four storm. This is going to stay a tropical storm. We still have high pressure building to the north, but we

are not going to get the winds like we saw with the fire.

So, the current gusts right now, you can see about 35 miles per hour -- up to -- or kilometers per hour, 40 kilometers per hour, Honolulu around 36.

So, in Lahaina, the winds are going to top out around 30, 35 kilometers per hour. This is over the next couple of days. So, that is much less than what

we saw with the last round.

However, if any new fires are ignited, of course, that's plenty of wind to spread a fire. Also, some good news is, we're going to get a little bit of

rain across Maui in the coming days. We're going to see anywhere from say, 25 to maybe 40, up to 50 millimeters of rain across that eastern side,

Lahaina could even pick up a couple of showers as well.

A big problem across Hawaii is drought, 80 percent of the state's abnormally dry, but then Maui, you can see severe drought setting in, 16

percent in severe drought, that's up 5 percent compared to just last week. So, that's also what's aiding in these fires. It's an interesting setup

when you look at the topography of Maui. We have higher terrain across central sections.

And so, what happens with these wildfires, these large wildfires that start in that higher terrain. If the very gusty winds will come through and

actually pick up some of those embers from the fire across the higher terrain, drop them down to the lower terrain where it's much more

populated, and then we can see even these fire spread even more rapidly.

Not to mention these winds will come down the mountain warm as they go, and then spread fires by the winds themselves as well, Lynda. So, very

interesting setup across the Hawaiian island chain. But the good news is, we are going to see less wins this week than we saw last.

KINKADE: That is some silver-lining. Jennifer Gray, good to have you with us, thank you. Well, now, to the Black Sea. One of the biggest flash points

in the war in Ukraine, Russia says one of its warships fired warning shots and then boarded a cargo vessel on Sunday. It claims it was headed to

Ukraine and the captain had failed to stop for an inspection.

Ukraine calls this an act of piracy, and it's urging the international community to act. Kyiv has been trying to release cargo ships trapped in

Ukrainian port since the outbreak of the war. And this incident makes those efforts much harder.


On the battlefield, the Ukrainian president visited troops on the frontlines in eastern Ukraine a short time ago. Our Nick Paton Walsh is

standing by for us in Dnipro, and joins us now live. Good to have you with us, Nick. So, let's start with that incident in the Black Sea, because this

is the first time that we know of Russia targeting a civilian vessel. Just explain why?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: And just to be clear, this isn't actually an attack. This is essentially an interdiction of a

civilian cargo ship in the Black Sea by Russia, who are very public about it, possibly, over amplifying their actions, releasing a video. You can see

a KA-29 Russian-attack helicopter hovering over that particular vessel, the crew been asked to sit in a line and military onboard that vessel.

Warning shots apparently fired as well, so a very aggressive move by Russia in the Black Sea. But it is essentially I think their bid to retain

relevance in a part of the water where in far east, certainly, there are more aggressive ships have indeed been targeted by Ukrainian drones. And

they've seen their -- I think bid to control the grain trade in the west of the sea.

Being eroded, they pulled out of the grain deal, but they have since seen some ships, essentially, deciding to go their own way regardless of

Russia's feelings about that. And so, this is obviously a high-profile move by them to try and perhaps make cargo ships in that area, who feel they

might be able to just carry on regardless of Russia's intentions, change their mind.

So important details about the specific ship, the Sukru Okan is currently ducking in cannula(ph) in the -- sorry, Cannula(ph) on the Romanian side of

the Danube River. But apparently, according to some of the ship's crew may -- they may have indeed changed destination to say, Izmail in Ukraine


The Russian Ministry of Defense says that in fact, they believe the ship was bound for Izmail. Entirely unclear, and frankly, irrelevant to some

degree, because the ship should be able to go where it likes in this particular water. But certainly, a bid by Moscow to try and suggest they're

still relevant in this whole grain deal, and grain ships moving around that part of the Black Sea.

KINKADE: And Nick, you have been on the frontlines in recent days. Just take us through what you've seen, what sort of technology has been


WALSH: You know, the major threats, the major reason why the Ukrainian counteroffensive is going a lot slower than they would like is mines,

minefields. Huge amounts, thousands of mines, sometimes hundreds every square meter or so that the Ukrainians are having to clear it slowly. And

we saw on the frontlines ourselves near Robotyne, where a lot of the most intense fighting in the southern counteroffensive is happening exactly what

new thermal technology they're using to try and find these mines.


WALSH (voice-over): The fires still smolder, the dusk, moving to the very front of Ukraine's counteroffensive near Robotyne.


(on camera): A few hours ago, there was intense bombardment around this area. And now, the sun is setting, there's the occasional round being

fired, but most of it seems to be towards Russian positions.

(voice-over): We're here to learn of a new tactic that may help Ukraine overcome one of the hardest obstacles here, minefields. Shafrir is a

constant overhead. The drone unit used day light to help direct artillery fire.

(on camera): This isn't coming shortly, OK, so they're using this to correct the neck-shell that's fired.

(voice-over): I know, they must keep hidden.


WALSH (on camera): Yet, still, the basic problem that it's trench warfare and minefields. And that by definition, it makes the going slow.

(voice-over): But as the sky darkens and the air cools here, an advantage has emerged. One of their drones is equipped with a thermal camera, and

they've noticed out in the wide created fields about 4 kilometers away where the Russians hide, something new. Some of these white dots are

Russian land mines. They retain the heat of the Summer sun as the earth around them cools.

The contrast is greatest at dusk or dawn, experts say. So, they seem to glow. The unit told us they use special charges to blow up the mines. It's

not a precise science, but a huge help in seeing an invisible enemy.



WALSH: Encircled by mines, don't try to tell them their counteroffensive could be faster.





WALSH (on camera): There's little time to reflect though.


WALSH: Run, come, go --

(voice-over): As a Russian helicopter is spotted coming right at them. We take cover for it to pass.

(on camera): This is the kind of threat they endure every day when just one piece of information can send them running for cover.

(voice-over): And then, we leave. Hours after we left, we're told that trench network came under heavy Russian attack, which they repelled. But

the grind is constant and respite rare. And any advantage, no matter how small, urgently welcome.


WALSH: Lynda, I think that's the hard thing to really convey about what's happening on those frontline trenches. It's -- the intensity of the fight

they're in very complex. Those minefields are to navigate, you saw them, that thermal imagery, just how many there are on one small field.

And also too, the weight of expectation upon these very young Ukrainian soldiers, that somehow, they are felt -- or they're -- the world outside

feels perhaps they could be going faster when they essentially look at Russian air superiority and all the challenges they're indeed facing and

feel that they're already straining themselves as far as they possibly can. Lynda.

KINKADE: Nick, a fascinating piece. Our thanks to you and your team for bringing us that story. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Dnipro, Ukraine. Well,

the U.K. says its typhoon jets have intercepted two Russian Maritime patrol bombers just north of Scotland. It says the area where this happened a

short while ago was within NATO's policing area.

Adding that this kind of incident can be dangerous to other aircraft. These Russian bombers don't usually talk to air traffic control. Tensions are

ratcheting up between Poland and Belarus against the backdrop of Poland's Army Day. Video shared by the Polish army shows dozens of tanks rehearsing

for Tuesday's parade in Warsaw.

The event held annually on August 15th commemorates the victory over Soviet Russia at the battle of Warsaw in 1920. The show of military might comes

amid increased activity along the border between Poland and Belarus. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has more.



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A massive show of force in central Warsaw. Poland gearing up for its annual

military day parade just as tensions on the country's border with Belarus, NATO's eastern flank arising.

"Russia and Belarus are increasing the pressure on our borders", the prime minister says. "They are increasing the number of provocations and we have

to be aware that, that number will continue to rise." Poland claims Belarusian helicopters recently violated its airspace even though Minsk

denies this.

But Warsaw is also concerned about the presence of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner private military company fresh from the battlefield in Ukraine,

now inside Belarus training the Belarusian military, in some cases just a few miles from Poland's border. In a meeting with Vladimir Putin,

Belarusian strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, claiming the fighters want to invade Poland.

"The Wagner group guys are starting to stress", he says. "Allow us to go west, I said why do you need it to go west. We're silently watching what is

going on, we'll go for a sightseeing tour to Warsaw and Szczecin." That may be typical bluster from Lukashenko, but Wagner mercenaries are some of the

toughest and most successful troops on Russia's side.

"Fighting hard during the battle for Bakhmut while taking immense losses", the U.S. says. Poland is reacting, saying it will send around 10,000 troops

with tanks and other heavy armor to the eastern border to support the border guards already on duty there.

"We have to be ready for any scenario", the defense minister says. "We do not exclude any, and that is why we decided to move the army closer to the

border with Belarus, to strengthen the border and scare away the aggressor."


Poland's eastern border has been a flash point for at least two years. In 2021, Belarus moved thousands of migrants mostly from Iraq to the area,

falsely promising entry into the European Union, and kicking off a major crisis. Now, Russia says it will beef up forces on its own western border,

blaming Poland.

Poland has become the main instrument of the United States' anti-Russian policy, the defense minister says. These threats to Russia's military

security require a timely, adequate response. Poland pride itself on being a strong ally of the U.S. on NATO's eastern flank, one that won't back down

in the face of threats from Belarus or from Russia. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


KINKADE: Still ahead, countries around the world are calling for Niger's toppled president to be returned to power. But in an announcement by coup

leaders makes it clear they have something very different in mind. Plus, Ecuador is in a state of emergency after the assassination of a

presidential candidate. We'll have an exclusive interview with his former running mate, next.


KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. When Niger's coup leaders say they have gathered evidence to prosecute

overthrown President Mohamed Bazoum for high treason. A move that could complicate international efforts to restore him to power. Bazoum ally says

he's being detained in inhumane conditions along with his wife and son, deprived of running water, electricity and proper healthcare.

The ruling Junta denies that, saying a doctor visited Bazoum over the weekend and found no concerns. Well, let's get more on all of this from our

Larry Madowo, he is following developments for us from Nairobi. Good to have you with us, Larry. So, the coup leaders say they could prosecute the

president for high treason.

But that was just hours after they said they had spoken to neighboring leaders in the neighboring countries, saying that they wanted to resolve

this crisis. Just what's going on?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to explain what's going on here. But this latest development is consistent with the coup leaders' dishonesty

throughout this process. Because you can't meet the religious leaders from Nigeria, receive them warmly, tell them you're open to talks, and then

hours later, declare that you intend to prosecute the democratically- elected president of the country for high treason, for undermining the security of the country.


These condemnations are not likely to move there, the needle with them. Because so far, they have shown that they're not really paying attention to

anything the international community is saying. But let me show you. The U.S. State Department saying a short while ago that it is dismayed by these

reports that this action is unwarranted and justified, and will not contribute to peaceful resolution of the crisis.

The Economic Community of West African States also responding to that. I want to read a part of that statement for you, saying, "ECOWAS condemns

this move as it represents yet another form of provocation and contradicts the reported willingness of the military authorities in the Republic of

Niger to restore constitutional order through peaceful means."

So, this condemnation coming as ECOWAS is still considering a military intervention in the country. We also heard from the U.N. State Department -

- the U.N. talking about what the Secretary-General's response to these reports are.


STEPHANE DUJARRIC, SPOKESPERSON, UNITED NATIONS: Very worrying declaration. We remain extremely concerned about the state of being, the health and

safety of the president and his family. And again, we call for his immediate and unconditional release and his reinstatement as head of state,

of course.


MADOWO: The Niger Junta is going the opposite direction. The African Union Peace and Security Council met today to discuss the situation in Niger,

they have not released a communique about what they talked about if there's any action there. But so far, like I said at the top, the Junta in Niger,

have shown that the more they receive international condemnation, the more that they dig their heels in.

And even though they said they're open to talks, their actions point to the exact opposite, so, a huge contradiction, Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, Larry Madowo following those developments for us from Nairobi, thanks so much. Well, Ecuador's presidential debate started with

silence on Sunday, as candidates honor the murdered presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio. A state of emergency was declared after his

assassination last week and six suspects have been arrested.

Ecuador's President Lasso has announced that several dangerous prisoners will be moved to a maximum security prison. Before his death, Villavicencio

claimed one of those prisoners had threatened him. In an exclusive interview, Villavicencio's former running mate spoke with our Rafael Romo,

saying that it is a disturbing time for Ecuador's democracy.


ANDREA GONZALEZ NADER, ECUADORIAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think any other Ecuadorian is at the risk of getting shot right now on the street.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): She was supposed to be there as his running mate, Andrea Gonzalez Nader should have

been right next to Ecuadorian presidential candidate, Fernando Villavicencio --


When he was shot last Wednesday as he was leaving a rally in Quito, the capital.

NADER: Fernando was shot three times in the head.

ROMO (on camera): Has it sunk in that you could have died because you were supposed to be right next to Fernando that night when --

NADER: Yes --

ROMO: He was shot dead?

NADER: Yes, I was supposed to be there next to him, getting inside the car that had no protection against bullets, and we wear no bulletproof vests

because we were trying to get the people, this message, that we had to be brave.

ROMO (voice-over): In an exclusive CNN interview at a location without disclosing for her safety, Gonzalez said Villavicencio's murder is yet

another gruesome and shocking example of how fragile democracy is in Latin America as a region. But living in fear, she says is not an option.

NADER: I want to change this country. I want this country to be a place of peace, a productive country, we're known around the world for our

incredible chocolate, our bananas, our shrimps, our coffee. I love -- I love Ecuador deeply. I believe Ecuador is a paradise and they've turned it

into hell.

ROMO: Villavicencio was a 59-year-old lawmaker in the National Assembly known for being outspoken about corruption and violence caused by drug

trafficking in the country.


ROMO: In May, he told CNN Espanol that Ecuador had become a narco state. His political platform was centered on leading a fight against what he

called --


ROMO: The political mafia.

NADER: We knew it was -- there was a high risk of him getting attacked by the same mafia and the same organized crime and the same politicians that

are linked with this organized international crime.

ROMO (on camera): After the assassination, current Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency for 60 days on Saturday,

4,000 members of the Ecuadorian police and military raided a notorious prison in the Guayaquil's province and transferred an alleged leader of a

local drug gang to another facility.

(voice-over): Gonzalez says organized crime is a regional problem that requires a regional solution.

(on camera): How does Ecuador solve its security problem? Is it something that Ecuador can do by itself, or does it need help from the international


NADER: We need teamwork from international intelligence to find out how to stop this. Cocaine is done in Columbia and gets through Ecuador, through

our coasts, where it goes back to Mexico, and then it's delivered to the United States and Europe.



ROMO: Ecuadorians go to the polls on August 20th, for the first round of an election to choose a new president, but even something as simple as voting

is an act of courage in this country, and many may decide to stay home. Rafael Romo, CNN, Quito, Ecuador.


KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, a potential fourth indictment for Donald Trump as prosecutors make their case to a Georgia grand jury. We'll

look at the newly revealed evidence that could be crucial to the case.


KINKADE: Welcome back. A grand jury has been meeting here today in Atlanta hearing the case against Donald Trump. Officials are looking to bring a

fourth criminal indictment against the former president and his allies for election interference. Independent journalist George Chidi, who was

expected to appear Tuesday, says he's now testifying today. And the grand jury heard earlier from Georgia state lawmakers Bee Nguyen and Jen Jordan.

Jordan was seen leaving the Fulton County Courthouse. They both saw conspiracy written presentations about the 2020 election from the then

Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani. And we have some exclusive reporting. Sources tell us prosecutors have text messages and emails linking members

of the Trump team to the breach of a Georgia voting system.


CNN's Sara Murray reports.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Security precautions already underway at the courthouse in Atlanta as Fulton County District Attorney,

Fani Willis, is expected to begin her grand jury presentation this week on former President Donald Trump and his allies' alleged attempts to overturn

the 2020 election results in Georgia.

FANI WILLIS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: We've been working for 2 1/2 years. We're ready to go.

MURRAY (voice-over): It's the clearest sign she intends to seek charges this week as the widespread investigation into election interference comes

to a head.

Geoff Duncan, Georgia's former lieutenant governor and CNN contributor, confirming he's been summoned to appear before the grand jury.

GEOFF DUNCAN, FORMER GEORGIA LIEUTENANT: I did just receive notification to appear on Tuesday morning. I'll certainly answer whatever questions put in

front of me.

MURRAY (voice-over): Independent journalist, George Chidi, posted on social media he's also been called to testify Tuesday. Chidi said he walked in on

a group of shadow electors gathered to sign an illegitimate certification for then President Trump in December 2020.

GEORGE CHIDI, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST: They all but frog marched me out of the room and then they posted somebody out front to make sure nobody else

went in.

MURRAY (voice-over): In addition to putting forward fake electors and the infamous phone call from President Trump to Georgia Secretary of State --

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via phone): I just want to find 11,780 votes.

MURRAY (voice-over): The breach of voting systems in rural Republican Coffee County is part of the probe. Sources tell CNN investigators have

long suspected the breach was a top-down effort by Trump's team rather than an organic effort by Trump backers, and sources say they have text messages

and emails that directly connect members of Trump's legal team to that breach.

MURRAY: Did you have any sense that this was sort of tied to other operatives in the Trump campaign, that it was anything beyond sort of

lower-level people in Coffee County?

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Not initially, but there are allegations and then as you dig down deep, more is revealed and then

you realize that that wasn't truthful.

MURRAY (voice-over): Surveillance video previously obtained by CNN shows a local election official escorting a team of pro-Trump operatives in to

examine the machines on January 7, 2021. The group included Scott Hall, an Atlanta bail bondsman and Fulton County Republican poll watcher.

SCOTT HALL, ATLANTA BAIL BONDSMAN (via phone): I'm the guy that chartered the jet to go down to Coffee County to have them inspect all of those

computers. They scanned all the equipment, imaged all the hard drives and scanned every single ballot.

MURRAY (voice-over): According to text messages obtained by CNN, former County elections official, Misty Hampton, authored a "written invitation"

six days prior to examine machines. That invitation shared with attorneys working with Trump and others, hunting for election fraud on behalf of

Trump's then lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. "Just landed back in DC with the mayor. Huge things starting to come together" An employee for the firm hired to

access voting machines wrote in one text in an apparent reference to former New York mayor Giuliani. "We were just granted access by written invitation

to Coffee County systems. Yay." Another message reads.


KINKADE: Well, CNN's Sara Murray reporting there. And Trump is already facing federal election interference charges. He's lashing out at a judge

in that case and Atlanta area prosecutor Fani Willis. For the latest, CNN's Marshall Cohen is live for us in Washington. Good to have you with us,


So the indictment could come at any moment, really. Talk to us about the timing and how is Trump reacting?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Lynda, it does appear that things are moving a little faster than expected down in Fulton County in Georgia.

As you mentioned a few moments ago, two key witnesses already went before the grand jury, Former State Representative Bee Nguyen and Former State

Senator Jen Jordan, both Democrats who bore witness to a series of hearings in front of the state legislature there where Trump allies, including Rudy

Giuliani, presented bogus and debunked claims of voter fraud. That is a key part of the investigation.

So, they've already testified and there are two other witnesses that were expected to go in tomorrow that just confirmed in the past hour that they

are actually going to go in today. Things are moving faster than expected. That's former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Jeff Duncan, a Republican who is

now a CNN contributor, and an independent journalist named George Chidi, who, in December 2020, witnessed some of the Trump supporters meeting in

the state house as part of the "fake electors plot" to subvert the Electoral College.

And Lynda for his part, Donald Trump is responding the way that he always does when he has got his back up against the wall and facing legal

scrutiny. He is on the attack. Earlier, this morning he posted on Truth Social that Jeff Duncan shouldn't testify to the grand jury.


That of course has raised questions about possible witness intimidation because he attacked Duncan as a loser and a nasty guy and all kinds of

invective thrown in his direction. Duncan was on our air in the previous hour and he declined to respond to Trump. He would not say one way or the

other if he felt intimidated. He said all I want to do is go in and tell the truth. Lynda.

KINKADE: All right. Marshall Cohen from Washington DC. Good to have you with us. Thank you.

Well, CNN's Stephen Collinson and joins us now to discuss why a potential Georgia indictment for Trump is so significant. Good to see you, Stephen.

So the former president is expected to face this fourth indictment at any moment, but this one, if convicted, he can't get out of with a presidential

pardon, right?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Right. So this is a little bit more complicated and a lot of it has to do with the federalism that is

the basis of the U.S. political system, the separation of powers and the division of power between states and the central government in Washington.

In theory, if Trump is reelected president next year, he could appoint an attorney general that could halt any ongoing prosecutions against him. He

may have the power to pardon himself, as outlandish as that seems, for any previous federal convictions and the federal investigations in this case

are the ones by special counsel Jack Smith into the election interference and the alleged misuse of classified documents down at Trump's resort in


But because of the federalism in the United States Constitution, he doesn't have the power to override a conviction or to stop proceedings that are

taking place in one of the states. I think he would see a lot of litigation going on and claims by Trump's team that as president, he cannot be subject

to a criminal prosecution along the lines of guidelines that were established by the Justice Department way back in the Watergate scandal in

the 1970's, but presumably, and it looks like he doesn't have the same kind of protections that he could get if he is president. So, that's why this is


Having said that if this case goes ahead and he's indicted in Georgia, we're looking at a racketeering case with many witnesses, potential co-

conspirators and that would take a very long time so the chances of it being finished by the time of the next election seem quite slim.

KINKADE: And speaking of the next election and fundraising efforts, Donald Trump seems to be cashing in on these indictments. I just want to bring up

a chart, which highlights every time there's an indictment, he has this surge in fundraising and this is only showing amounts, donations that are

over $200. So clearly this is helping him.

COLLINSON: Well, yes, there is clearly great support from the Republican grassroots for Donald Trump as he runs for his third consecutive Republican

nomination. He's leading the polls by 20 to 30 points, slightly less than that in some of the key early voting states, but nevertheless, he's a

strong front runner. And I think you have to remember that Donald Trump's political campaign is now almost exactly the same as his defense in all

these cases. He's arguing he's being politically persecuted so the two different strands here have come together. I think the question will become

if there is a fourth indictment and when Donald Trump has to spend large portions of next year when he could be campaigning on the campaign trail in

-- trials in criminal courts, whether this starts to weigh upon his prospects and whether some Republicans start to think that perhaps another

nominee would be preferable.

But right now, you're right, his fundraising does take a spike every time this happens and that's good for Trump because he's spent millions and

millions of dollars, which would have been going to the mechanics of a campaign and he's been paying his legal bills on those of his associates

with it. So, you know, he really needs that money to keep rolling in.

KINKADE: All right. Stephen Collinson for us in Washington, DC. Thanks so much.


KINKADE: We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back. Don't go anywhere.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, in the heart of Compton California, a new company called Plenty has just opened up what it says is the most

technologically advanced vertical farm in the world. CNN's Bianca Nobilo has more in this episode of CNN's Going Green.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since the dawn of civilization, humans have used farms to feed themselves, agriculture led to

cities, which led to population expansion and an ever increasing demand for more food. But today's farming practices aren't without drawbacks.

Pesticides and food-borne illnesses are rife among many plants and vegetables creating health problems for consumers.

But now, farming, the revolutionary innovation that helped bring today's cities into existence, may soon exist within them.

ARAMA KUKUTAI, CEO, PLENTY: We're seeing industry and science come up with new ways to make food for consumers.

NOBILO (voice-over): Arama Kukutai is the CEO of a San Francisco-based startup called Plenty. Taking a stroll around this glistening new $100

million factory in Compton, California, you might be surprised to find the cutting-edge product they're creating is actually, well, produce.

KUKUTAI: We're standing here today in our first commercial farm for Plenty and arguably the most advanced vertical farm in the world from a technology


NOBILO (voice-over): Plenty's vertical farming operation opened in Compton in May. Once it's fully up and running, the farm expects to produce up to

4.5 million pounds of food a year on about one percent of the land a regular outdoor farm would need. Similar to the way skyscrapers can pack in

many extra apartments or offices, the secret to vertical farming is all about growing up not out. And being indoors allows Plenty's plants to grow

in optimal conditions.

KUKUTAI: High quality fresh tasty produce is almost table stakes. I think the other thing we're hearing is the fact we don't use pesticides as also

very advantageous.

NOBILO (voice-over): Still, vertical farming isn't without its drawbacks. Getting a vertical farm up and running can be quite expensive and it

requires a lot of electricity to keep the lights on. Also, there are only a certain number of plants like herbs and leafy greens considered profitable

enough to grow and even that remains in question. So, as the population continues to swell and the threat of climate change looms on the horizon,

bold solutions, like vertical farming, could provide hope that no matter what happens outside, the future looks bright with plenty of sunny days



KINKADE: Well, for this and more stories about the innovative solutions to our climate challenges, you can visit green.

Well, still to come tonight, when in Rome, you can now stand at the very spot where Caesar met his fate. But be prepared, it might get a little

crowded. We head to Italy's capital for more after a break.



KINKADE: Welcome back. One of Sicily's largest airports was forced to close after a cloud of volcanic ash spewed from Mount Etna, Europe's most active

volcano. Take a look at this lava fountain. It started erupting Sunday and the fallout from the ash led to flight cancellations and delays at Cortina

Airport in Italy. Some planes were even being diverted to other airports. The airport was still closed as of Monday afternoon. Passengers were told

to stay away from the airport until they have spoken with their airline.

Visitors to Rome can finally see the spot where Julia Caesar was stabbed to death and the theater where the depraved Emperor Nero showcased his acts to

entertain the masses. A surge of tourists is who's flooding Italy's capital after the end of COVID lockdowns.

CNN's Ben Wedeman takes us there.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Passerbys peer down into the crime scene in Rome's busy Largo Argentina. Giovanni Campagnone points to

where the murder happened. "During the Ides of March in 44 BC, the Senate was in session and their Julius Caesar was assassinated by the

conspirators, stabbed 23 times," says Giovanni, an architect who supervised the restoration of the rooms here.

OK. So, the murder happened a while ago, but now after more than two millennia, visitors can get a close look at where historians believe Roman

senators dispatched to the would-be dictator.

For years, it was stray cats who came, saw and conquered the square. Now they have to make room for sightseers. The authorities in Rome are eager to

capitalize on the resurgence of tourism following the pandemic lockdown, recently revealing a private theater built for a mad emperor, immortalized

in the epic 1951 blockbuster, Quo Vadis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here is history's evil genius, Nero.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): Nero was a classic case, says room-based archaeologist Darius Arya, of a leader who thought he was the best.

DARIUS ARYA, ARCHAEOLOGIST: But at a certain point he realizes, as he's getting older, wait a minute, I can do whatever. Those guys that are

advising me, they're inhibiting me. I can get rid of them. Who's to say I can't?

WEDEMAN (voice-over): The theater was where Nero, a self-styled poet, musician, and athlete, honed acts to entertain the masses. He was biggie

into bread and circuses. The bread and circuses are over now but this city still brings in the masses. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


KINKADE: Well, before we go, a cosmic mystery in the shape of a question mark. NASA's web telescope has captured this cosmic conundrum deep in the

galaxy. The glowing object, which looks remarkably similar to a question mark, was spotted last month. Scientists are not sure about its origin, but

they think it's what happens when two galaxies collide. Got to love a space mystery.

Thank you so much for watching tonight. I'm Lynda Kincaid. Stay with CNN. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is up next.