Return to Transcripts main page

Isa Soares Tonight

Spain's Women's Football Team Reportedly Saying They Won't Play For Their Country Until The President Of The Association Is Removed; Trump Appears For A Mugshot In Fulton County Jail; Russian Investigators Find Flight Recorders From Prigozhin's Crashed Flight; U.S. Fed Chair: Ready To Hike Interest Rates And Hold Them There, In Order To lower Inflation; Ukrainian Forces Appear To Be Widening Breach Of Russian Front Lines In Zaporizhzhia Region; Ecuadorians Vote To Stop Oil Drilling In The Amazon. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 25, 2023 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Isa Soares. Tonight, Spain's women's

football team reportedly saying they won't play for their country until the president of the association is removed. This coming after he forcibly

kissed a player after the Women's World Cup.

He's remaining defiant, saying he won't resign. We're going to ask one of Spain's top football journalist about the moves. Also history-making

mugshot turning a political rallying cry. We're going to ask what's next for the former U.S. president after his fourth arrest.

And then Russian investigators say they found the flight recorders from the deadly crash believed to have killed the boss of the Wagner Group. Tonight,

all 19 defendants in a 2020 Georgia elections subverting case have now surrendered to authorities in Atlanta. This is a massive case with massive

implications for the upcoming 2024 election.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mugshot and inmate number P01135809 will forever be associated with the former President, Donald J.

Trump was arrested on state charges related to election subversion in Georgia, Thursday. He was booked and released on bond at the Fulton County

jail. The former president took to the right-wing network "Newsmax" to discuss his surrender.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Terrible experience. I came in, I was treated very nicely, but you know, it is what it is. I

took a mugshot which -- I never heard the words mugshot. That wasn't -- they didn't teach me that at the Wharton School of Finance. And I have to

go through a process, election interference.

VALENCIA: Ahead of his surrender, Trump agreed to a $200,000 bond and other release conditions, including not using social media to intimidate

co-defendants and witnesses in the case. This is the fourth criminal case filed against the former president this year.

TRUMP: What has taken place here is a travesty of justice. We did nothing wrong, I did nothing wrong and everybody knows it.

VALENCIA: Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing in this case and the others.

TRUMP: It should never happen. If you challenge an election, you should be able to challenge an election. I thought the election was a rigged

election, a stolen election. And I should have every right to do that as you know.

VALENCIA: Trump shared his mugshot on his Truth Social, and his X account formally known as Twitter. With the words, "election interference, and

never surrender" below it. It was his first tweet on X since January 8, 2021, two days after the insurrection. The former president was not the

only high-profile person to surrender on Thursday.

Former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows surrendered himself to the Fulton County jail. He's been charged with violating Georgia's RICO Act,

and soliciting a public officer to violate their oath. He denies any wrongdoing.

FANI WILLIS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY: A Fulton County grand jury returned a true bill of indictment.

VALENCIA: Just last week, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged Trump and 18 co-defendants with meddling in the 2020 Georgia

presidential election laws. On Thursday, the district attorney filed a motion requesting a trial date of October 23rd, 2023.

That date was set after Kenneth Chesebro, the co-defendant who was considered the architect of the fake electors plot, requested a speedy

trial as his right. His trial is set to begin on that date. Trump's attorney says he opposes the proposed trial date.


KINKADE: Our thanks to Nick Valencia for that report. Well, again, the release of that mugshot of the former president, now a historic moment. And

one that Trump already seems to be trying to cash in one. So what's next for the former president, and how will the fresh round of notoriety play

into his political strategy? Well, I want to bring in CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp, she joins us from the U.S. state of Connecticut.

Good to see you.



KINKADE: I want to start with that mugshot. That facial expression, because this is the first time we've seen a mugshot of an American

president, this of the 45th president of the United States. It almost looks cartoonish. What message did he want to send with that look?

CUPP: Well, Trump has used all his scandals, including impeachments and indictments to reaffirm this idea that he planted in his voters' minds many

years ago, that anything that happened to him would be everyone else's fault. Maybe it's the deep state, maybe it's corrupt DOJ, sometimes, it's

the fault of law enforcement, the generals, the intelligence community, the media, the Democrats.

I mean, you could go down the list, it's everybody else, it's not me. And so, he uses these images, these scandals, you know, he disseminated images

of the raid on Mar-a-Lago, to sort of reinforce that idea that he is somehow a victim in all of this. And he is standing proudly for this

mugshot that he is insisting is the corruption of justice. He is not corrupt, it's justice that's corrupt.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly, and of course, after that mugshot was taken, he returned to the social media platform formally known as Twitter, now known

as X with that mugshot, and he is proud of it. His campaign is selling all sorts of mugshot merch, never surrender shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, and

as you are pointing to, he is trying to cash in on this. Talk to us about how we've seen these boosts in fundraising after every single indictment.

CUPP: Yes, he's not embarrassed by any of this, let's be clear. You don't go and sell merchandise of your indictments and impeachments for storming

the Capitol and convincing your followers to attack police officers with weapons to overturn a democratic election. If you're ashamed of any of

that, he's not. So he cashes in, he's been cashing in on his own voters since he was elected, convincing them to turn over small dollar amounts,

large dollar amounts, mostly to pay legal bills.

You know, there was that sort of fraudulent effort to collect money to quote, "stop the steal". Most of that did not go to any of those efforts

that went to Trump and Melania as assistants, that sort of thing. So, his supporters keep handing over their dollars for merch and various, you know,

causes that he's convinced them to believe in. But really, it goes to line his own pockets.

KINKADE: And interesting to note as quickly as we saw that merchandise pop up, we also saw some from those against Trump also putting out merchandise,

using that mugshot. Some playing --

CUPP: Yes --

KINKADE: On the fact that the 2024 election is next year, saying he should get 20 to 24 years in prison. Other shirts alluded to the Hollywood take

episode with the slogan, "grab him by the penal code". On the world stage though, I mean, this just seems classical. This is the man that is likely

to be the frontrunner for the Republican Party in the next U.S. election. How are we meant to read this?

CUPP: Believe me, on behalf of, I guess some of my country, I am embarrassed by this grotesque and almost cartoonish display and downfall.

It's so unprecedented, there are layers of how unprecedented it is. It's not just a president with a mugshot. It's a president facing 90-plus

counts. It's a president who is convinced a Republican Party that used to stand for law and order, that the law and order is corrupt.

He is the one who is innocent. And then, you know, convincing his supporters to probably still nominate him even if he's convicted. I mean,

it's incredible. It's a feat actually that he is, you know, engendered such a cult-like following, and completely corrupted and sort of perverted. What

the conservative party used to -- you know, conservative movement used to stand for, the Republican Party used to stand for, and what American

politics looks like today.

KINKADE: And S.E., when you watched the Republican debate this week, it was obviously very notable to everyone that most of the candidates running

for the Republican nomination don't want to criticize Trump. Most vowed that they would pardon him if he's convicted, even his former Vice

President Mike Pence, who was credited with standing up to him -- standing up for the constitution.

So, in your mind, which of those candidates pose the biggest threat to Trump? Which could become the next presidential candidate for the

Republican Party?


CUPP: None of them if they keep -- if they keep avoiding the elephant in the room, which is that this person will probably be in prison at sometime

in the next year or two. You don't even have to say, look at how bad Trump is. All you have to say is, I like Trump, you like Trump, but he's probably

going to be in prison, we should elect someone who isn't going to be in prison.

But they won't say it because he is so emasculated the Republican Party. They're completely afraid of him and his voters. So until they decide to

actually take him on and start pointing out the obvious, none of them pose a threat to him and he knows that.

KINKADE: S.E. Cupp, as always, good to get your analysis and your perspective, thanks for joining us.

CUPP: My pleasure.

KINKADE: Well, for more on this, Nick Valencia is outside the Fulton County jail, good to have you with us, Nick. So, the deadline to surrender

in this case here in Georgia has passed, all 19 have now surrendered. What comes next?

VALENCIA: That's right. They've all done their legal duty. They've all -- 19 of them surrendered here with the last two cutting it down really to the

wire at the 11th hour, surrendering, it was Trevian Kutti; the Kanye West- linked publicist who also did work briefly for R. Kelly.

She is from the Chicago area, she surrendered, she's charging this RICO indictment with also coming down here to try to intimidate -- allegedly

intimidate Fulton County election worker Ruby Freeman. And according to District Attorney Fani Willis she's alleged to have told Freeman that she

was a loose end that needed to be tidied up.

Now, shortly after she turned herself in about an hour left before that deadline, Pastor Stephen Lee who is from Illinois also accused in this RICO

indictment of doing the same thing, coming down here and trying to intimidate Ruby Freeman. In fact, Freeman called 9-1-1 on the pastor, and

there's video of their interaction with him.

He was released, and shortly after his surrender, we spoke to his attorney who claimed that his client was simply coming down here to knock on doors,

and has no personal connection to the former President Donald Trump.

As far as what's next, Lynda, we're looking ahead now that all 19 defendants have surrendered, looking ahead until Monday where the former

Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows -- the former chief of staff, the former president, he's got a federal court hearing where he's trying to get his

criminal proceedings moved from the state court to federal court in hopes of getting that dismissed.

He and his lawyers are arguing that there is a federal statute which says that anyone who is a federal official operating in that capacity, who is

alleged to have committed a crime while working as a federal official deserves to have and has the privilege of having the criminal proceedings

heard in a federal court.

So he's hoping to try to push that there. We also earlier today saw some of the defense from another one of those defendants, fake elector Cathy Latham

who in a legal filing claimed that she was taking directions from the very top. You know, we reported a lot about this, and it's worth reminding our

viewers how we got here.

This is more than just an infamous phone call where Donald Trump asked the secretary of state here in Georgia to find 11,000 more votes. This is about

an orchestrated pressure campaign to pressure Georgia lawmakers to overturn the election results, to pressure Fulton County election workers. And it's

also about a scheme to illegal access -- illegally access voting data in a rural county that was friendly to the former president.

So this was a sprawling investigation that is going to take time to play out. Fani Willis has suggested October as a trial date, we should expect a

slew of legal filings between now and then. Lynda.

KINKADE: And Nick, obviously, in terms of the trial date, we heard yesterday that the trial date was set for two months from now. It doesn't

seem like a lot --


KINKADE: Of time to prepare for this trial. Is it likely that, that timeline will happen?

VALENCIA: You know, some legal analyst are saying that this was Fani Willis calling the bluff of Kenneth Chesebro; former Trump attorney who

said that he wanted a swift trial, and then the next thing we knew, we saw this filing, legal filing suggesting October as the trial date. There may

be several trial dates.

Initially, Fani Willis had said that she wanted to try all of these 19 defendants together. We should expect the former president to try to get

his case moved as well to federal court. It's unclear right now exactly if this will happen in October. President Trump has four indictments that he

is facing in the last five months, and because of that, there is a handful of trial dates that have been set. We'll see if those stick. Lynda?

KINKADE: And is there any indication, Nick, which case out of all these cases, as foreign diamonds, which one would take precedence when it comes

to the timing of each of these trials in the midst of an election year?

VALENCIA: Well, there is belief that potentially, the federal case could take precedent, but that is not clear. And there is a lot of overlap

between the federal case, the January 6 case and this one here in Georgia. They're really inextricably linked. The overall effort by Trump and his

operatives to overturn the 2020 election results really zeroed in on Georgia.

But the fake elector scheme which is part of this investigation, was a nationwide effort. So, you know, it's -- right now it's unclear.


The bottom line is that the former president is in legal peril, and he has his head -- he must have his head swirling right now with all these legal

filings. Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, exactly, and the charges are certainly piling up. Nick Valencia, good to have you with us from outside the jail here in Atlanta --

VALENCIA: You bet --

KINKADE: Thank you --

VALENCIA: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, Russian authorities say the flight recorders have now been recovered from the plane crash linked to Prigozhin. The Kremlin meanwhile

is refusing to confirm that the Wagner Group leader was killed in that crash. It says it's waiting on DNA test results before making a definitive

announcement. He was listed as a passenger on that private jet that fell out of the sky north of Moscow on Wednesday, exactly two months after his

mutiny against Russia's military leadership.

The U.S. and U.K. both say it's likely that the infamous -- famous Russian mercenary is in fact dead. Moscow is also fighting accusations that it was

involved. A spokesperson said that the theory that Prigozhin had been killed on the Kremlin's orders is a quote, "an absolute lie". Well, for

more now, I want to go to our Frederick Pleitgen; our senior international correspondent, he joins us from Berlin, good to have you with us, Fred.

So, we now know that the black box from the plane crash has been recovered. The Kremlin says any speculation that Putin had a role in this crash is an

absolute lie. What else can you tell us about this plane crash, and can we expect any transparency in this investigation?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's very difficult to say whether or not it's going to be a truly

transparent investigation. Also quite frankly, how long that investigation is going to last, it's going to take. What I think is interesting is that

the investigative committee did come up with this statement earlier, right, they said that they have now recovered both flight data recorders or the

voice recorder, cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder.

So, certainly, they should be able to get some readouts from that to see why this flight crashed so abruptly. The other thing, as you mentioned,

that they also said is that they have recovered all 10 bodies of the people who were on that plane. So, certainly, it seems as though at least, the

recovery work as far as that is concerned, has been complete, and we know that all those bodies have been transferred to that forensic institution

near the area of the crash site.

So, that's certainly ongoing right now. But of course, there are still a lot of wild cards in all this. The big question of course, is going to be,

are any international investigators going to take part in that investigation? Certainly, at this point in time, it does not look like that

is going to be the case. It looks like it's going to be a fully Russian investigation.

We've already heard from Vladimir Putin that he is urging patients, he is saying, look, the investigation is ongoing, and he believes that at the end

of it, the truth will come to light. Now, of course, it is a question whether or not that is going to be the case, it's obviously a very complex

investigation. One of the things that we do think is going to happen fairly quickly is that they are going to be able to tell whether or not Yevgeny

Prigozhin was actually on that plane.

The other sort of thing that we're looking into to see whether or not it's going to happen is whether or not the company that manufactured the

aircraft, Embraer, whether they are going to have any sort of representatives there. They of course, have been saying that they have been

complying with international sanctions against Russia.

And so, therefore, have not really had any operations inside of Russia since 2019, they've actually said. So that is also very unlikely. So, as

far as the transparency is concerned, right now in these early stages, it's very difficult to tell, but the Russians certainly are saying that they are

working around the clock to get to the bottom of what happened. Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, interesting detail there, Fred. So what comes next for the Wagner Group, with the commander and his right-hand man likely killed in

this plane crash?

PLEITGEN: You know, that's a really big question, a really interesting question. And certainly, what I think really on the minds of many people

inside Russia and certainly, also on the minds of many people who possibly served in Wagner or who were contracted by Wagner. It was quite interesting

to see some of those makeshift memorials pop up around Russia throughout the course of the day where people were laying down flowers and the like.

And some of the people who were asked there what they think could come next, said that they believed that people like Yevgeny Prigozhin, and also

his second-in-command, Dmitry Utkin simply were folks who could not be replaced in that organization. Now, the people that we've been speaking to

believe that there is going to be a future for Wagner.

We've already seen it sort of morph into a different company than it had been before. Went out of Ukraine, gave up its heavy weapons, and now seems

to be focusing again back more towards the areas of western Africa. And that certainly could be one of the places where it could reconstitute

itself, and where it could lay its focus on working inside Africa and doing some of the business there.

The big question is, who is the leadership of that organization going to be? Because if it is confirmed that not only Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed,

but also large parts of the senior leadership and especially the military leadership of that organization. It really stands to be or could happen

that this is a completely different organization, possibly, one that could be even closer to the Russian state than it was before.


And so, that's definitely something to keep an eye on right now, but certainly, the vibe that you're getting is that, the Wagner private

military company, whether it's under that name or a different name is going to continue to function, is going to continue its dealings in Africa and in

other places as well. The big question is, how is it going to be led and how is it going to be organized, Lynda?

KINKADE: Frederick Pleitgen, as always, great to have you on the program joining us live from Berlin, thank you very much. We've got some breaking

news just into us now. The Spanish Women's Football team says, they won't play again until the country's football chief Luis Rubiales is removed from

his position. It comes after he gave that unwanted kiss to a player at the Women's World Cup final.

And it's this moment here that's being called the Me Too Moment of the Spanish football. Rubales(ph) says -- Rubiales says it was mutual, but the

player, Jennifer Hermoso says that's not the case. Spain's High Council of Sports says it's moving to suspend Rubiales despite his defiant refusal to

resign. Now, it has been a week of fierce criticism and controversy over his conduct.

CNN "WORLD SPORT" Patrick Snell is following the developments and joins us now from Atlanta. Good to see you, Patrick. So the reaction to this

unsolicited kiss was pretty swift in the days after that Women's World Cup final. And every single day the calls for resignation have grown. But now,

the entire team who -- where they're the champions of the Women's World Cup won't even play until this man is gone. Tell us more.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: Lynda, this is absolutely unthinkable. When you consider La Roja, La Celestio(ph) Roja should be

basking in the glory of their first ever Women's World Cup triumph after that fantastic superb performance, the 1-0 victory over the English

Lionesses on Sunday in Sydney, Australia -- stadium, Australia. The fallout from it changing not just day-by-day, Lynda, almost hour-by-hour now.

The latest developments literally within the last few minutes on this fast developing story is that a number of members of the Spanish Women's

National team including those World Cup winners, now saying they won't play any matches at all for the country, as you just said, until Luis Rubiales

is moved from his job. I'm now learning that over 80 players have signed a joint statement -- over 80 players, Lynda.

Just reflect on that for a second. And we're also now learning that Jennifer Hermoso, the recipient of that unwanted kiss, that ill-judged,

that unsavory kiss, from the most powerful man in Spanish football, now, contradicting his story from earlier in the day saying in a statement, "I

want to make it clear that at no moment" -- she says, "did I consent to the kiss that was given to me, and of course, in no way did I look to lift up

the president. I can't stand that my word is put into question, and far less that words are invented that I didn't speak."

The dramatic latest developments in this story and so important that she comes out and has her say, because early on Friday, Victor Francos; he's

Spain's Secretary of State for Sports, holding a press conference, saying they're going to suspend Rubiales while starting the process to attempt to

remove him. Listen now to Francos speaking earlier.


VICTOR FRANCOS, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SPORTS, SPAIN (through translator): I believe that we are in a position that calls this the Me Too of Spanish

football, and that this is a change.


SNELL: The Me Too, Lynda, of Spanish football, such powerful poignant words. Now, all of this coming after Rubiales himself was in very defiant

mood. Rubiales saying that, that kiss, as I said at the top during the World Cup celebration, he called it mutual despite the fact that Hermoso

saying she didn't like it and didn't expect it earlier.

We now know what she's since said on that. We're going to hear from Rubiales, it's important we hear from him because you just get some insight

into the inner thinking of this man that is coming under so much criticism right now. Take a listen to Rubiales earlier Friday.


LUIS RUBIALES, PRESIDENT, ROYAL SPANISH FOOTBALL FEDERATION (through translator): It was spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and with consent, which

is the key. This is the key to all the criticism of all the campaign which has been mounted in this country. That it was without consent, no, it was

with consent.


SNELL: That's something else that wasn't easy to witness, Lynda. Rubiales getting multiple rounds of applause as well during a speech. A standing

ovation at the end from some of them in attendance including some women, but so many people calling out to speak out, calling for Rubiales to be



And the world of football, Lynda, has been coming together seemingly, as one on this story. We've been hearing from very high-profile figures on the

men's side of the game, such legendary World Cup men's winners like Iker Casillas as well, David de Gea; the former Man United goalie as well,

Alexia Putellas on the women's side of the game, a two-time Ballon d'Or winner showing her support online for Hermoso, saying, "this is

unacceptable, I am with your teammate".

But Lynda, look, this is developing, this is changing, and this weekend is going to be fascinating to see what happens now as the scrutiny of Rubiales

is more intense than ever. Back to you.

KINKADE: Yes, it's just an incredible story, good to have you on the case for us. Patrick Snell, thanks so much, and we are going to continue on this

story later in the show where I'll be joined by the La Liga TV presenter Semra Hunter from Barcelona to get reaction from Spain.

Still to come here, comments on the U.S. interest rates coming from the federal chairman. What it means for investors and markets around the world.

We're going to have Richard Quest join us for the latest after a short break. Stay with us, you're watching CNN.


KINKADE: Well, the U.S. Federal Reserve is ready to hike interest rates than keep them there in order to lower inflation. That's according to

Jerome Powell. The Fed chairman made the remarks at the annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium in Wyoming. That's where the world's top economist met

and global investors look for clues on the broader economic outlook.

Powell speech last year which was under 10 minutes was enough to send financial markets reeling. Well, here to walk us through it all is our very

own CNN Business editor-at-large and host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS", Richard Quest. He looks like he's on top of New York right now. Good to

have you with us.


KINKADE: So, we heard of course, about the fight for inflation and it is ongoing. So how soon can we expect an interest rate hike and what could it


QUEST: Well, the Fed chair basically -- he told us what we already knew, that inflation was coming down, and that they had put interest rates up

quite a lot. But the core issue of whether there is more to come, he left it as vague as always. But there is an overriding message that if

necessary, they will do more to put up rates if inflation isn't going to come down fast enough.

Now, where it gets interesting, Lynda, is that the fed chair has tied himself again and again and again to a two percent inflation rate. And a

bit like the rain that's now coming down on top of me, that two percent inflation rate just is not there yet, but it's always threatening and the

reality is, if he really means two percent, then he has to do more higher rates for longer. Otherwise, he won't reach it.

KINKADE: And just quickly, thanks for the weather report, but your prediction for when this hike will happen, is it going to be September? Is

it going to be later this year?

QUEST: That's the dangerous part. I would think September's an even bet, but I think that you're looking later than that before the end of the year.

I think they've got one or two more in them because they just want the insurance policy that it is going to come down if they go for two percent.

KINKADE: Richard Quest, as always, good to have you there on top of New York, you look like you're on top of the world. Hope the rain holds off for

you. We will tune in next hour for "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" and much more on that fed rate potential decision that's coming.

Still to come tonight, by air, land, and sea, Ukraine's striking Russian targets on multiple fronts. Why Kyiv's counteroffensive could be gaining


And the people of Ecuador have spoken and it's a win for the Amazon rainforest, but a big blow for oil production. That story coming up next.



KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Ukraine marked Independence Day this week as its counteroffensive gains some much-needed momentum. Russian

resistance is fierce, and videos like this show Ukrainians are coming under attack. And there are reports that Moscow is bringing up reinforcements.

But the amid the grueling fighting, troops appear to be punching holes in Russia's defenses, widening the breach of the enemy lines in the south.

And that's some Russian military bloggers. One reports that a build-up of armor and says the Ukrainians are getting ready for a decisive blow towards

Tokmak. We're also hearing about a new wave of drone strikes in Crimea. Ukraine says Thursday, its troops launched a daring coastal raid on the

peninsula, killing dozens of Russian troops.

And despite those recent successes, one Ukrainian official wants the counteroffensive is no cakewalk given Russian air power. NATO countries,

Denmark and the Netherlands, have pledged to give Ukraine F-16 fighter jets to counter that threat, but delivery is likely months away. And the U.S.

says it will now begin F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots in October at a base in Arizona. Denmark says its training for Ukrainian pilots has already


Well, Ecuadorians have voted to stop oil drilling in the Yasuni National Park, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, which is part of the

Amazon rainforest. The Ecuadorian state oil company has been drilling in the park since 2016, producing tens of thousands of barrels a day.

CNN's Rafael Romo is in Ecuador with more on the park and the voyage.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yasuni National Park Ecuador, a sprawling 2.5 million acres, or one million hectares in the Amazon

rainforest, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. One of the most biodiverse places on Earth, as well as indigenous tribes, living in voluntary isolation. But

Yasuni is also an area rich in oil, especially one section of the park, known as Block 43, with revenue earning potential the government wanted to

control. It was an environmental dilemma for an oil-producing country, a dilemma voters faced in last Sunday's vote. In the end, nearly six out of

every ten voters chose to protect the Yasuni.

"We have saved the greatest biodiversity that has been recognized and nationally and internationally," the leader of one of Yasuni's indigenous

communities said. In 2007, then-President Rafael Correa proposed the international community give Ecuador $3.6 billion to leave Yasuni

undisturbed, but the plan failed.

In 2016, the Ecuadorian state oil company began drilling in Block 43, an area that is only 0.01 percent of the national park, but produces more than

55,000 barrels a day, or 12 percent of Ecuador's total production. Over the last decade, environmental groups pushed for a referendum to protect the

Yasuni, collecting signatures to comply with legal requirements.


ROMO: Last September, Ecuador's electoral court here in Quito finally ruled that 750,000 signatures collected eight years before were valid. That paved

the way for the referendum that Yasuni, those on environmental groups, had been calling for, the group says the oil must be kept underground, and the

Amazon rainforest untouched.


ROMO (voice-over): Celebrities joined their cause, including Leonardo DiCaprio, who called the Yasuni a global biodiversity hotspot. The people

in wildlife living here are threatened by the fossil fuel industry he added. But Ecuadorian energy minister, Fernando Santos, said earlier this

month that depriving his country of the funding generated at Yasuni would be, "catastrophic." Santos estimates Ecuador could lose $1.2 billion a year

in revenue, assuming a price of $60 per barrel. The energy minister said oil in the Yasuni could last another 25 years. Some voters agreed that

Ecuador should continue tapping its largest oil reserve.

"Ecuador needs those resources to make ends meet," this voter said. But most were convinced by environmentalists who say preserving the Amazon is

more important than any money that could be made by drilling in one of the richest ecosystems in the planet. Rafael Romo, CNN, Quito, Ecuador.


KINKADE: Well, the director of the British Museum in London has announced that he's resigning. It follows the launch of a police investigation early

this month after items from the museum's collection were found to be missing, stolen or damaged.


In a statement, Hartwig Fischer said the institution did not respond comprehensively when it was warned of those thefts back in 2021. Mr.

Fischer said he was immediately -- he was ultimately responsible for that failure.

Still to come tonight, wildfires in Greece continue to rage as police make dozens of arson related arrests. More on the damage from our corresponding

in the region.

Plus, the story that has the football world talking. Spain's football chief will be suspended after giving an unsolicited kiss to a player at the

Women's World Cup Final.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Greek police say they've made 79 arrests for arson- related crimes. It comes as the deadly wildfires continue to rage north of the capital Athens. So far, 130,000 hectares have been burnt through, and

officials say the wildfires are the largest ever recorded in the European Union.

CNN's Eleni Giokos filed this report from near Athens.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Greece has been battling hundreds of wildfires over the past week. Now, I'm in Parnita. This is a beautiful

forest now turned into coal and dust and ash, an air that's barely breathable. This is known as the lungs of Athens. This is what it's

supposed to look like. Virgin forest untouched and absolutely beautifully green. This forest would help regulate temperatures in Athens and clean the


We've seen fires raging across the mountain since Tuesday afternoon, heroic efforts by the men and the women on the ground working relentlessly non-

stop with very little sleep. We've also heard many helicopters and airplanes towering above us all day long, trying to put out the blazes.

Now, in terms of the overall destruction, the E.U. is estimating that it's about 1.3 billion square meters, but the Greek government says it's too

early to quantify the actual damage. This is for the whole of Greece.

Now, in terms of one of the biggest fires in Alexandroupolis in the Evros region, it's estimated that 73,000 hectares have been damaged. There's 19

people lost their lives. The Greek government have also arrested 79 people for potential cases of arson.

In terms of short-term and long-term concerns, when you see a forest like this going up in flames, flooding and landslides, longer-term effects,

warming temperatures.


A much hotter city for Athenians and tourists alike. Eleni Giokos, CNN, Parnitha, Athens, Greece.


KINKADE: We're turning now to Hawaii. Nearly 400 people are still listed as missing after those devastating fires in Maui. The number is actually down

from the more than 1,000 people who were reported earlier as listed as unaccounted for. The wildfires killed at least 115 people and destroyed the

historic town of Lahaina.

Maui County is formally assigning blame of the wildfires to the island's utility companies. The county has filed a lawsuit against five different

companies. It says the utilities ignored the National Weather Service's, red flag warnings and the high wind watchers and that negligence in not

shutting off that equipment led to the fires breaking out.

Japan says it's strongly requesting that China reverses its ban on imports of Japanese seafood. China made that move Thursday after Japan began

releasing treated radioactive wastewater from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. Beijing says it wants to protect the health of Chinese



WANG WANBIN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION, CHINESE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY (through translator): The disposal of the Fukushima nuclear

contaminated water is a major issue of nuclear safety. Its impact goes beyond Japan's borders and the issue is by no means a private matter for


The ocean belongs to all humanity to forcibly start ocean discharges and extremely selfish and irresponsible act in disregard of the global public



KINKADE: The Fukushima plant was damaged during an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Japan says it urgently needs to start disposing of the water to

free up storage space at Fukushima. It says the discharged water meets international safety standards.

Still to come tonight, it's a story that's gone well behind the football pitch, a defiant message from Spain's football chief who refuses to resign

over an unwelcome unsolicited kiss. We'll have that story just ahead.


KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. I want to go to a protest in Madrid right now. It's outside the Spanish Football Federation



You can see here women, young, old, men calling for the resignation of the president of the football federation. This comes after he kissed a player

at the women's World Cup, an unsolicited non-consensual kiss. He also grabbed his crotch at the end of that victory. He is refusing to resign

right now, but he has been suspended. And right now, we know more than 80 football players have signed a joint statement refusing to play until Luis

Rubiales has been removed.

Authorities say the Spanish football chief has been suspended after giving that unwanted kiss to a player on the women's World Cup team. And that

player, Jennifer Hermoso, says she did not consent to the kiss.

Rubiales struck a pretty defiant tone Friday, announcing that he won't resign and that the kiss was consensual. Take a listen.


LUIS RUBIALES, SPANISH FOOTBALL FEDERATION CHIEF (through translator): It was spontaneous, mutual, euphoric, and with consent, which is the key. This

is the key to all the criticism of all the campaign which has been mounted in this country that it was without consent. No, it was with consent.


KINKADE: Well, despite his assurances, the calls for him to step down have only gotten louder since that incident. FIFA is also opening up a

disciplinary case. LaLiga TV's Semra Hunter joins us now from Barcelona. Good to have you with us.

SEMRA HUNTER, FOOTBALL PRESENTER, LALIGA TV: Thank you very much for having me.

KINKADE: So, this is just an incredible story. We've now got the champions of the women's World Cup refusing to play for their national team, refusing

to play for their country until the president of the Football Federation resigns.

HUNTER: Yes. I have to say it's a little bit of a surprise, but at the same time, I'm really happy that they are taking such a stance because no one

else really has until this point. I mean, we're talking about five days after they won the World Cup and no real immediate action has been put into

place, which is a bit of a shame because there was a law that was instated last year, which very clearly says it's called Only Yes Is Yes. It's about

consent. And it says in the absence of consent, this is considered sexual aggression. It's considered a crime.

And in the actual protocols of the federation itself, it has the law stated and then it does go one step further and says any forced kiss would be seen

as inappropriate behavior and there would be immediate actions. Unfortunately, those immediate actions were to protect the president. And

in doing so, they actually falsified statements about Jenni Hermoso, which she never actually said. And it's just gotten bigger and bigger and gotten

more and more out of hand. And it's just caused all sorts of outrage that we're seeing not just here in Spain, but all across the world, quite


KINKADE: Yes, it really is. I mean, I still remember the morning after the Women's World Cup final, my phone blew up with outrage over that

unsolicited kiss. But that wasn't the only unwelcome move. Cameras caught him grabbing his crotch upon victory while standing up next to the Spanish

Queen and her young teenage daughter. What does that say about his character and his behavior towards women and professional athletes?

HUNTER: Well, women who know him have actually come out and spoken about this very thing. And the president of the women's football league here in

Spain, actually said the other day, well, now publicly, everyone is seeing the person that we all know privately. And there have been instances in the

past of women making reports, official reports, to courts against him.

In the case of one woman in particular, Tamara Ramos, she was speaking the other day about how he humiliated her when she was working at the

Footballer's Association here in Spain. And he would make all kinds of comments, for example, asking her what color her underwear was. She only

was there to get down on her knees. And he would make these comments in front of other major footballers from the men's national team. And she

filed a complaint about that at the time, which went nowhere.

There's another woman, an architect, that he was working with, who also filed a complaint for physical assault. So, it does speak to the fact that

there is a history of misogynistic sexist behavior. And unfortunately, I think now, this has just really shown a light on who the person that he

really is.

And I think that for so long, so many people have tried to either, I don't know, support or enable or call it what you will, but there was another

instance in public, actually, at an event of the federation itself in an auditorium filled with hundreds of people. When he was introducing the

players onto the stage, he said they turned up in their underwear when they were fully dressed. So there are examples of plenty that speak to the kind

of character of this person that we're talking about.


Who sadly is the president of a very important federation here in Spain.

KINKADE: Wow. It's just incredible details. And, of course, we know that FIFA has opened up a disciplinary case saying -- we've got to stay in

saying, "FIFA reiterates it's on wavering commitment to respecting the integrity of all individuals saying and strongly condemns any behavior to

the country." It wants to investigate his behavior and whether or not it brings football and FIFA into disrepute. If they find he has, what are the

consequences from that perspective?

HUNTER: Well, quite frankly, I think he might be banned from football altogether if he is found guilty because they are investigating those two

instances, one being the case that he planted on Jenni Hermoso, consent, and the other one being him grabbing his crotch, as you pointed out. So if

he is found guilty, which it's hard to quite honestly disagree with because the images are there for everyone to see, it happened live across the

world, then I do suspect that an outcome could possibly be the fact that he will be banned from operating in any capacity as it relates to football and

perhaps beyond.

KINKADE: All right. Semra Hunter, we appreciate your perspective and time. Thanks so much for joining us. We will continue to stay on that story.

HUNTER: Thank you very much.

KINKADE: I'm Lynda Kinkade. Thanks for watching. That was CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.