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Isa Soares Tonight

More Than 70 People Die In A Deadly Building Fire In Johannesburg; Ukraine Strikes Russian Territory In A New Drone Attack; UEFA's President Breaks Silence On The Kiss Scandal Involving Spanish Football Chief Luis Rubiales; Women's World Cup Kiss Backlash; Capitol Hill Physician Says McConnell "Medically Clear"; The Man Behind The Song "Rich Men North Of Richmond"; Police Warn Driver For Carrying Bull. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 31, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, shock and sadness in Johannesburg as

more than 70 people die in a deadly building fire. We'll have the latest from the scene this hour. Then more drone strikes on Russian territory.

We'll ask a former U.S. Army official whether this is the beginning of a new phase of the war.

Plus, UEFA's president finally breaks his silence on the kiss scandal involving Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales. We'll have his response

later in the show. But first this hour, tragedy in Johannesburg where South Africa's president just visited the site of a massive fire that has killed

at least 73 people.

Officials say the blaze broke out in a building taken over by gangs and rented out to those who can't afford any other type of housing. There is no

indication the fire was deliberate as of now. Here's President Cyril Ramaphosa.


CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, PRESIDENT, SOUTH AFRICA: This is tragic. This is very sad, and I want to pass my condolences and that of the government to the

families of those who have passed on, and those who are still in a hospital. We've got to go to the bottom of what caused this fire and also

address from now on, it's a wake-up call for us to begin to address the situation of housing in the inner-city.


SOARES: Well, our senior international correspondent David McKenzie spoke to survivors who don't know where their loved ones are. Have a listen to




DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A woman's wail curses the streets of Johannesburg. More than 70 people are

now dead and dozens injured after a brutal fire tore through a five-story building in the center of the South African city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This early, people don't -- easy, they make noise, yell, fire!

MCKENZIE: Survivors like Wiseman and Pepper(ph) say, he was woken up by screams in the early hours of the morning, and raced to get out of the

building. But the gates were locked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I come banging the gate, the fire is full. After that, I don't have any plan. I just sit.

MCKENZIE: The smoke quickly smothering him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The smoke would come to me. Yes, after that, I just fell down. Then from there, I don't know anything until now.

MCKENZIE: Authorities quickly on the scene, moving through the building floor by floor and pulling out charred bodies, many though still remain


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a brother, sister --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the sister's husband --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, she's the -- sister's husband.

MCKENZIE (on camera): You don't know where they are.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): Another survivor who lost three sisters, describes how her niece was thrown out the window and caught by people who ready made

it outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My in-law, she just hit the window and to throw the daughter outside, the people, they just take my -- the daughter only while

she was hot in the air.

MCKENZIE: You look at this building behind me, you can imagine the chaos and the terror that ensued. People desperately trying to get out of those

packed apartment floors of a totally gutted as people were burnt to death. This is what's known as a hijacked building in South Africa taken over by

gangs, and mostly least to poor migrants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not an accident. This for me, it's murder or culpable homicide. Because it was bound to happen, where actually what you

see in this building, I can tell you, I can take you to buildings that are worse off lying this way. People live worse than pigs.

MCKENZIE: This tragedy tangled into the deeply ingrained inequality across the country. Many of the people lived here were migrants, just hoping to

start a new life, instead, emergency services are sorting through the ashes of the little that is left.


SOARES: And David McKenzie is standing by for us in Johannesburg. So, David, in the last few hours, I should say an hour and a half or so, we

heard from Ramaphosa who said this is a wake-up call to address really these hijacked buildings.


But you know, I heard you talk about this earlier. This isn't a new problem. So what has been the response from those responsible for running

these buildings?

MCKENZIE: Well, they are making excuses at this point, Isa. You are right, this isn't a new issue. The issue of hijacked buildings has been going on

in Johannesburg for at least a decade where buildings are condemned or gangs pushed out, landlords will make their lives impossible, and then use

their power and influence to lease out those buildings to people who can't afford anything else.

Often migrants from the rest of the continent coming here for a better life crammed into individual apartments, sometimes 5, 10 people to an apartment.

It is an accident waiting to happen. But at this point, the cause of the fire is not yet known. So it is a wake-up call, but many feel, it shouldn't

have taken an enormous tragedy like this to wake the government up. Isa?

SOARES: And do we have a sense, David, of how many of these buildings there are in Johannesburg?

MCKENZIE: It's unclear. There are scores of them. Previous administrations tried to get those buildings onto a normal kind of footing. There have been

issues with people refusing to leave of course, because they have in some ways, wanted to have some kind of housing. Now, it speaks to the deep

inequality in --

SOARES: Yes --

MCKENZIE: This country, because a very short distance away, some of the richest parts of Africa. But in these downtown behind where I am standing,

you can see the skyline. There are people who are just desperate for anything. They said they will investigate now, and I'm sure they will. But

the sense is that, yes, this could have been preventable tragedy.

But it is an accident that is again waiting to happen. And many of the people I spoke to on the scene are desperate. There are scores of people,

perhaps hundreds who are now homeless and many people in hospital with very serious burn injuries and other injuries because of this terrible inferno.

SOARES: I can't imagine the terror and the panic as this all unfolds. David McKenzie for us in Johannesburg, thanks very much, David. Well,

Ukraine is apparently keeping up its vow to bring the war home to Russia with a wave of new drone attacks.




SOARES: Three drones were shot down over Russia's Bryansk region today according to a local governor. Another drone was reportedly downed as it

headed for Moscow. And this just comes a day after the biggest drone assault on Russian soil since the war began. Six regions were targeted.

And today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appear to reference the longest range strike, saying, Ukraine successfully hit a target 700

kilometers away. Let's talk more about this drone warfare with our military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. He's former commanding general of

U.S. Army, Europe and Seventh Army.

He's well known face here on the show. John, great to have you on the show. Look, I think our viewers will know this, drones aren't new, they -- but

they have become, I think, it's fair to say, a weapon of choice in this war with Ukraine, as we just played out there, taking the fight to Russia by

air. How do you assess then the use of these drones and critically its effectiveness?

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, good evening, Isa. And they have been extremely effective across the board. And what we're talking

about, what interests most people are these drones that drop explosives or that crash into something, and that they are guided objects. But just as

importantly, Ukraine has been developing the basis of using drones for intelligence collection, electronic warfare as well as some of these

targeting capabilities.

When you hear about President Zelenskyy saying, hey, we -- now have a drone that can strike 700 kilometers, over 400 miles. That's pretty significant

in terms of what they have and what they're developing. They're not just using western technology in terms of obtaining drones from the west.

They're creating their own drones themselves.

They are signing contracts with western corporations like BAE, B-A-E and Raytheon, they're developing cardboard drones that have been successful,

and they're having these much longer-range drones that can be successful in these long-term strikes.

SOARES: And I'm guessing psychologically and at home as well, that the aim is to wear the opponent down, and to embarrass them as much as they can. Is

that strategy from your opinion, is that working? How do you see it redefining the war here?

HERTLING: Yes, I think that's part of the strategy, but only a minor part, Isa. I also think it's significantly attacking some of the Russian

logistics hubs --

SOARES: Yes --

HERTLING: Command-and-control networks, intelligence facilities, all the things that support the Russian war inside of Ukraine.


So, what we're talking about is not only bringing the war home to Russia, and hitting in a variety of provinces. But it's also showing, hey, we can

strike these targets and affect the conflict. One other thing I'd mention. This also has an effect on Russia's capability to defend their territory.

So, when you're talking about Russia shipping more and more mobilized troops into Ukraine for their potential defense against their offense of

operation that Ukraine is conducting, they now have to consider -- they, the Russians now have to consider what do we hold back in terms of air

defense equipment, in terms of electronic warfare, in terms of the kinds of things that they need to defend targets across the entire front and within

the Russian federation.

SOARES: And that's clearly in the air. Meantime on the ground, I mean, we've gone from modern to almost second world war, we're looking at trench

warfare here. Three months into this counteroffensive, and what we are hearing is that Ukraine is making gradual progress. If we look at a map

here, just in the southeast in particular, how do you assess that progress, General?

HERTLING: Well, early on in the offense of operations as you know, Isa, we've talked about this. I knew that the Ukrainian operation was going to

go very slow. The kind of defensive belts that they were attacking were just ubiquitous. They --

SOARES: Yes --

HERTLING: Were across the front and very wide spaces. They had multiple layers of minefields, trenches, tank ditches, dragon teeth, all that they

had to get through and a very complicated breaching operation. But what Ukrainian forces have done is they've attacked across the front, they've

chosen the places they want to attack, and they've reduced it to several axes of advance.

And now, what we're seeing is, they've gone through allegedly the first line of the three lines of defenses, the so-called sever-aching(ph) line,

and they have breached that. Now, they have two more to go, and I would venture to say from a military perspective, those latter two lines of

defenses are going to be less defended with less Russian soldiers and with not as capable defensive capabilities as we've seen in the frontline.

So, in any kind of offensive operation like this, you get slow movement at first, which we've seen. And then suddenly, an inflection point where the

momentum starts picking up a little bit, and they will find a breakthrough point. And I think that's an important thing to consider at this phase --

SOARES: And --

HERTLING: Of the campaign.

SOARES: And how soon do you think we'll get to that point, that momentum?


SOARES: When will -- when will that pick up?

HERTLING: Yes, if I knew that, Isa, I'd be a master tactician, I don't know.

SOARES: I mean --

HERTLING: The only person that knows that is probably people inside of General Zaluzhnyi operation center. He knows where he's going. He's got a

good idea. But what he does want to do is break the capability for Russia to resupply their forces along the M-14 highway in the south. And that's

critical. There's a couple places he can do that, when that's going to happen, I don't know.

But I would anticipate, we'll see an increasing momentum over the next several weeks before the bad weather hits in November.

SOARES: I mean, I pushed on that, General, because as you well know, there has been so much criticism about the speed of this counteroffensive, that

it's not going fast enough. I want to listen -- I want you to listen here to what Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had to say. Have a listen

to this.


DMYTRO KULEBA, FOREIGN MINISTER, UKRAINE: Criticizing the slow pace of counteroffensive equals to spitting into the face of Ukrainian soldier who

sacrifices his life every day moving forward and liberating one kilometer of Ukrainian soil after another. I would recommend all critics to shut up,

come to Ukraine and try to liberate one square centimeter by themselves.


SOARES: I mean, strong words from Mr. Kuleba there. Do you believe that criticism is justified?

HERTLING: Yes, Minister Kuleba is not holding back. And here's what I'd say because I actually just wrote a piece about this. You know, it's

interesting because I think there is criticism in the press and from the uninitiated. And there are so-called leakers within the Pentagon and within

NATO headquarters, who are claiming -- anonymous leakers by the way, that the offensive is going too slow.

Anyone that's been on the battlefield, Isa, knows how difficult the kinds of things Ukraine is trying to do right now are. It is a tough operation.

It moves slowly. It's according to the General's plan. And what I would suggest is, we need to look at this from two perspectives. There are the

naysayers who may not know what is going on in the battlefield and how difficult it is.

And Minister Kuleba is right in telling them to shut up. I would -- I would actually add to that. But what we're talking about too, is there are NATO

Generals, U.S. Generals who are contributing like General Kolobe(ph) and Admiral Radakin(ph) from the U.K., who are contributing and helping General

Zaluzhnyi with this fight.


And as a guy who's been in combat myself, who's had mentors, retired four stars who have been helping me, I received advice like this during combat

operations too. Most of them you take, there are some good ideas, you like to throw ideas against retired guys who have done this before, some of it,

you ignore. But truthfully, I think all of it is well-meaning from the military operators who were providing advice to General Zaluzhnyi.

But I would agree with Minister Kuleba and some of the others who are saying, there's too much chatter and too much criticism of the Ukrainian --

SOARES: Yes --

HERTLING: Forces, because what they are doing is exceedingly difficult.

SOARES: General Mark Hertling, always great to get your insight, really appreciate it. Thank you sir.

HERTLING: Pleasure.

SOARES: Well, not only is Ukraine manufacturing specialized attack drones, it's also repurposing ordinary civilian drones for combat. Our Christiane

Amanpour visited a training center in Ukraine and met some rather unlikely drone operators who could be helping change the course of this war.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice-over): Any support is welcome in Ukraine, especially if it appears blessed by Jesus,

say these drone students set up in an abandoned church, working on their simulators, and convinced their cause is just.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do whatever we can now to resist because Russians want to kill all of us. This is genocide.

AMANOPOUR: Next door in the construct and repair class, Yulia solders and tweaks and teaches. This part is fairly simple and fun, she says.

(on camera): And did you study engineering? What are you in normal life?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A writer and a film director.

AMANPOUR: You're a writer and a film --


AMANPOUR: Director, and now you're a drone operator?


AMANPOUR (voice-over): We're not allowed to disclose the operation where Yulia and the others put theory into practice.

(on camera): Here in this innocuous-looking field, with a rudimentary obstacle course, this could almost be child's play, but with deadly results

of course. These are all civilian drones that the Ukrainians are repurposing for their current war effort. They can be bought off store

shelves, but this signifies a turning point in the conduct of modern warfare.

(voice-over): A $500 drone that's been weaponized can take out vehicles and weapons systems worth millions. Software engineer, Lyuba Shipovich

started the Victory Drones initiative.

LYUBA SHIPOVICH, CO-FOUNDER, VICTORY DRONES: The most advantage is, it's one of the most cost-effective weapon. And it's also -- it's also a weapon,

and it could be used as reconnaissance. So for reconnaissance purposes -- so if you see the enemy, you can hit the enemy, you can hide like your

soldiers, so it's pretty --

AMANPOUR (on camera): But enemy can see you?

SHIPOVICH: Yes, if you don't use security measurements.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Like hiding or disguising their signals because the Russians are adapting fast. She says they're mostly crowd-funded, and have

deals with the Ukrainian military to train frontline troops. Tens of thousands so far in what's become indispensable strategy. That was just

practice dropping a water bottle full of sand. But just a few days ago, the group says one of their former trainees, took out this Russian tank on the

eastern front. They can also wipe out artillery positions and troop carriers.

(on camera): How long did it take you to learn to fly?

(voice-over): Many of these citizens soldiers are women, busting stubborn mitts. And Yulia, of course, agrees. In fact, she assembles the drones her

husband flies too.

(on camera): And a lot of women have taken up this fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we're all people and we are fighting for our existence.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Ukraine.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, as the remnants of Hurricane Idalia move offshore, a look at the destruction left behind. And then later in the

show, the potential of an arms deal between Russia and North Korea. Why U.S. Intelligence officials say they are concerned. Both of those stories

after this very short break.



SOARES: Well, Idalia now a tropical storm has moved offshore from the southeastern U.S. after leaving a trail of destruction in Florida, Georgia

and the Carolinas. At least, one estimate puts an almost $10 billion price- tag on the damage, and that's in Florida alone. The hurricane came shore on Wednesday and quickly moved inland. Strong wind gusts from the storms sent

this car flying as you can see. CNN's Carlos Suarez has more on Idaila's lasting impact.


CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hurricane Idalia barreled through Florida Wednesday, making landfall near Keaton Beach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My house is down in Keaton --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if it's there or not. But this right here, I don't know. I don't know if I'm going to have a house to go home to.

SUAREZ: The eye of the storm ripped through Florida's Big Bend region with maximum-sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, resulting in a once-in-a-

century weather event.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was bad, it was heavy winds, worst I've ever been in.

SUAREZ: The Category 3 storm left homes demolished and streets flooded.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Oh, we clearly have a significant damage throughout the Big Bend region.

SUAREZ: This family in Perry, Florida, watched as trees fell directly on their home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh, no! It's OK. It's OK. It's OK. It's OK.

SUAREZ: Up and down Florida's west coast, record-breaking storm surge occurred in Citrus County, Crystal River left devastated by floodwaters.

DOUG BABER, CITY MANAGER, CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA: People are actually really going strong, and we are -- an entire city of Crystal River is in a

flood zone, so we have no choice, but to move to higher ground.

SUAREZ: Further south along the coast in Hudson Beach, crews rescued residents by boat as the floodwaters came rushing into their homes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't believe this. I've never seen nothing like it.

SUAREZ: This family rescued, but heartbroken to leave everything behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it just came in before we can get out, man. It was like so quick, we're trying to get in the truck, and it's up to the --

barely even get the doors open.

SUAREZ: In Pasco County, around 150 residents were rescued from flooded neighborhoods. This home caught fire in the midst of the floodwaters.

Michael Bobbitt from Cedar Key, Florida, says he stayed behind to weather the storm.

MICHAEL BOBBITT, RESIDENT OF CEDAR KEY, FLORIDA: These are all little old school Florida villas, and they were just picked up and carried into the

gulf. So, that was heartbreaking to see.

SUAREZ: One resident on Anna Maria Island posted this video of her swimming through floodwaters at 4:00 in the morning.

ALEXIS DELEON, RESIDENT OF ANNA MARIA ISLAND, FLORIDA: Golf carts, cars were flooded, the trailer homes. I mean, it was up to our knees, our waist,

we were riding bikes through it. So, it got pretty high.

SUAREZ: Idalia then traveled north through Georgia into South Carolina, where the storm surge reached 9 feet in Charleston according to the

National Weather Service, leaving roadways throughout the state treacherous. This car in Goose Creek, South Carolina, flipped over in the

middle of the road.



SOARES: And that was CNN's Carlos Suarez reporting. Well, North Korea is denying U.S. claims that it's close to a major arms deal with Russia. The

U.S. believes Russia has grown desperate for ammunition to use against Ukraine. Officials are threatening to place new sanctions on North Korea if

the country does help re-arm the Russian military. Our Paula Hancocks has the very latest for you.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Newly released U.S. Intelligence shows that they believe Russia and North Korea

are quote, "actively advancing towards talks of a potential arm deal. Now, this has been a concern for some time that Russia has been trying to re-arm

itself because of its war in Ukraine, it is looking potentially to North Korea, and there are concerns that North Korea is likely to agree.

Now, according to this U.S. Intelligence report, they say Russia is desperate to obtain ammunition, and it is likely to be used in Ukraine.

Now, what it points to is a meeting back in July when the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu went to Pyongyang. He was seen with Kim Jong-un, the

North Korean leader at a military parade.

There were also photographs, walking through an arms exhibition where they were surrounded by weapons and artillery. This is concern that there were

talks towards a deal here. There was a concern, which is also shared by South Korean Intelligence agency just earlier this month. They said they

believe that, that was why the defense minister was there, to talk about a deal, also to talk about joint military exercises going ahead.

The South Korean NIS also saying that they believe there was a Russian plane that left Pyongyang earlier this month, believed to have transferred

unknown military supplies. Now, CNN cannot confirm what was on that plane, but this is what we're hearing from the Intelligence agency here. Now, of

course, during an arms deal with North Korea would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions. Resolutions which Russia has signed on to.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: United States is now able to share that Shoigu's visit was more than just a photo-op. Russia

used its visit to the DPRK to try to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia.

HANCOCKS: North Korea has denied that any deal has been done. Also we've had a deflection from the Kremlin, the spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov in a

telephone call with reporters saying that the two countries, quote, "maintain mutually respectful relations". Also pointing out that North

Korea is Russia's important neighbor, but not approaching the question of whether or not there was a potential arms deal that was close to being


Now, we also know when the Defense Minister was in Pyongyang, that he took a message from Putin, Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, thanking North

Korea for its quote, "firm support". No details though of what exactly that firm support entailed. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


SOARES: Well, the White House has approved the first-ever military aid in Taiwan through a program typically used for sovereign states. The package

totals $80 million, and U.S. taxpayers will have to foot the bill. And to be clear, this isn't the first time the self-governing island has been

given a U.S. equipment. It has weapons like F-16s you can see here.

But they're usually sold in a different program. Mainland China has condemned Washington's direct military aid, and it says it is vowing

countermeasures. We'll stay on top of that story for you. And still to come tonight, UEFA's top bosses finally spoken up about the disgraced Spanish

football chief's behavior. What he had to say, just ahead. Plus, a top U.S. senator's interaction with a reporter has some people concerned about his

health. Why aides for Mitch McConnell say he appeared to freeze up.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

The president of UEFA, the European football governing body, has broken his silence on the behavior of Luis Rubiales. He condemned that unwanted kiss

on Jenni Hermoso, calling it, quote, "inappropriate and out of order."

He didn't however suggest that UEFA tend to take its own action. Rubiales has already been suspended by FIFA and is being investigated by Spanish

prosecutors. The comments come just hours before the high-stakes Champions League draw, which decides which teams will face off in the early stages of

the competition.

Journalist Atika Shubert is live in Madrid and Coy Wire is in Atlanta.

Coy, it has taken a while, to be honest, to hear from UEFA, breaking the silence. Tell us about this.

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Many wonder why UEFA remained silent but there was no avoiding it this time. The president was there ahead of the

Champions League draw and the awards presentation.

He was asked about, then he found himself on stage for the awards that were handed out as well. And England's women's national team's coach, she

dedicated the award to the Spanish women's national team, saying that they deserve to be celebrated and listened to.

And also the women's player of the year award, that went to Spain's Aitana Bonmati. A listen to wha she said, a strong statement and the dedication of

the award to her teammate, Jenni Hermoso.


AITANA BONMATI, SPAIN MIDFIELDER (through translator): We not experiencing a great moment in Spanish football. We just won the World Cup but no one is

talking about that much because things have happened I wish hadn't.

I think as a society we shouldn't allow abuses of power in a work relationship as well as a lack of respect. So for my teammate, Jenni; to

all of the women who suffer the same, we are with you. I hope we keep working to improve society.


WIRE: Ahead of the awards that were just a bit ago, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, regarding Rubiales, saying, quote, "Of course, what he

did was inappropriate. We all know that. I hope he knows it was out of order. That is enough for the time being because the disciplinary committee

will decide.

"I'm sad that such an event should overshadow the victory of the Spanish national team. We should change things."

Rubiales was suspended by FIFA for three months while the disciplinary committee --


WIRE: -- carries out the investigation. He refuses to resign and there is also an investigation by Spanish prosecutors that could bring sexual

aggression charges against Rubiales.

SOARES: Strong words there. I hope she got the applause she deserves. Thank you, Coy, appreciate it.

Now Atika in Madrid.

As we wait to hear from Rubiales, we have not heard from him since Friday when he decided he would not step down. We heard from his uncle, clearly

not holding back when talking about his nephew. But this talks about the pressure building against Rubiales.

ATIKA SHUBERT, JOURNALIST: Absolutely. And it's not just his uncle, he worked as chief of staff to Rubiales in the federation for quite a while.

So he was witness to quite a few things.

And he's been speaking to Spanish media, resurfacing a lot of allegations in those interviews. And keep in mind, this started with one complaint that

night of the World Cup.

The number of complaints about Rubiales has now gone up to 16 in the last few days. And we had a chance to speak with the man who filed the initial

complaint and what he says is a whole mountain of complaints under it. Take a listen.


SHUBERT (voice-over): At the moment of Spain's triumph an unwanted kiss now threatens to bring down Luis Rubiales, the powerful president of the

Spanish football federation.

Rubiales apologized but it was not enough and he became the target of national anger, a wave against sexism in sport, triggered in part by Miguel

Angel Galan and his unassuming office in Madrid, officially, the head of the national training center for football coaches; unofficially, the

longtime nemesis of Rubiales and the football federation.

He says he has filed more than 50 complaints against the Federatfion, one of which landed the previous president in prison. Now he hopes to take down

another with this case.

"It was a sexist and intolerable act, a chauvinistic act," he said to CNN, "by a president who is already plagued by corruption scandals and sexism."

Steeped in tradition, Spain's royal football federation has long ruled over the nation's lucrative football fortunes. When this broke, Spain's

prosecutor was already investigating Rubiales for trafficking in influence and bribery, allegations Rubiales has consistently denied.

CNN has reached out to both the federation and Rubiales; neither have responded.

And now, women footballers have entered the professional ranks, demanding equal pay, rights and structural change, says the president of Spain's

women's league, La Liga F, Beatrice Alvarez, who has had her own disagreements with Rubiales.

"In that federation meeting, that totally delirious speech he made," she says, "look at how they applauded him. It is unacceptable. It shows that

more than the president has to change; the entire model has to change."

As the scandal grows at the Rubiales hometown church, his mother went on hunger strike to support her embattled son. Briefly hospitalized, she

continues to defend his innocence, even as others close to him are speaking out.

His own uncle, Juan Rubiales, told Spanish news, "El Mundo," that the kiss was just the tip of the iceberg.

"I was not surprised by that at all," he said.

"He is an extremely arrogant man, who has not acted as a president should. Instead of being a political leader, he wanted to be a warrior, who sees

ghosts and enemies everywhere."

He said, "In the end, his own worst enemy was himself."

Spain's historic win at the Women's World Cup, it seems, is forging a path for change in more ways than one.


SHUBERT: Isa, I think we're likely to see more of these allegations coming to light, especially with people like Juan Rubiales, his own uncle coming

forward with a lot of what he has seen.

One of the things that the head of La Liga F said to me was that she sees what's happening now as a kind of divine justice, that all of these women's

football issues that Rubiales had been ignoring are exactly what ended up tripping him up and could ultimately lead to his downfall.

SOARES: Give me a sense of the mood, how the press there is covering this moment.

SHUBERT: I mean, it's incredible how it's dominated the headlines here. And it has brought people out onto the street. But now it is all coming to

sort of bubbling up, all of these complaints and issues. It's no longer just about the kiss. It's about allegations of corruption.


SHUBERT: It's about allegations of other points of sexism. It's about the structural problems in the federation. So it really has triggered this

movement to change not just the federation but the systemic sexism that people see in institutions.

And that's why it seems the World Cup victory is more than just a victory for football but for change.

SOARES: Indeed. Thank you, Atika Shubert in Madrid this evening.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty in the election interference case against him. He was scheduled to make a plea in person on

Wednesday but instead, entered the plea through a court filing.

His arraignment marks the fourth time he has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges since leaving the presidency. He and 18 codefendants face a slew of

charges in connection with trying to upend the 2020 election.

A judge has sentenced one of the leaders of the far-right group that was the vanguard of the January 6 on the U.S. Capitol. The Proud Boys

lieutenant was sentenced to 17 years in prison. That is the second longest sentence in connection with the riot.

In handing down the sentence, the judge called the attack, quote, "a national disgrace" and added, "That day broke our tradition of peacefully

transferring power, which is among the most precious things that we had as Americans. Notice I said 'had.' We don't have it anymore."

Enrique Tarrio is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

For the second time, there are serious questions about the health of Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate Republican leader struggled to answer questions

on Wednesday, appearing to freeze while speaking to reporters. Have a look at this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running for re-election in 2026?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you hear the question, Senator?

Running for re-election in 2026.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, I'm sorry, y'all, we're going to need a minute.


SOARES: For more on the latest reaction, we will go to Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona, in Washington, D.C.

Melanie, the president spoke moments ago about this. He says he spoke with Mitch McConnell and he sounded like himself. We are also hearing from the

Capitol Hill physician.

What does he say?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Mitch McConnell's office just released the statement moments ago.

The Capitol physician said, in a statement that Mitch McConnell is, quote, "medically cleared" and that he was consulted and that occasional

lightheadedness is not uncommon in concussion recovery and also can be expected as a result of dehydration.

Of course, Mitch McConnell fell earlier this year in an event. He tripped and suffered from a concussion and multiple broken ribs, which caused him

to be out of the Senate for six weeks.

Clearly, his team here recognizes that this could be a ballooning critical problem for the longtime GOP leader. And they are trying to be more

transparent about his health than they have in the past.

His first episode, last month here in the Capitol at a press conference, they wouldn't even say whether he consulted or saw a doctor about any

medical treatment. Clearly, to me, they're trying to make more of an effort here to be more forthcoming and trying to tamp down speculation about his

health and his political future.

But they still have not really said what could be the underlying cause. There is a lot of concern, at least privately, among Republicans, about

Mitch McConnell's ability to continue leading them.

SOARES: On that point, what are you hearing from lawmakers?

How concerned are they?

This is the second time, like you said.

ZANONA: And publicly, everyone is wishing him well and saying that they're continuing to support him in his current role as GOP leader. That term ends

at the end of next year. And it is a big question about whether Mitch McConnell would run for another term as GOP leader and whether he would

actually have the support of his conference today.

We are being told that there are some early discussions among members about trying to hold a conference meeting to discuss all of these issues and

discuss his leadership. I do not expect that he will be called on to step down in the short term.

But I do think, long-term, this is a problem to him and it will be difficult if he tries to run again for another term as the GOP leader.

SOARES: And that is what he was being asked, running for reelection, questioning 2026. I suppose this raises the question about term limits.

Where do lawmakers stand on this?


ZANONA: There is a small slice of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party that do support acting term limits for members of

Congress. Unsurprisingly, it has run into some resistance from the old guard. It's an issue that's fallen along generational lines.

And the topic of age and health is really so a sensitive and delicate one. Even though we talk it about more and more in politics. President Biden, of

course, also facing questions about his age as he plans to run for reelection.

As of right now the term limits, I'm sure there will be renewed calls for them in the wake of the latest episode. No signs it will go anywhere on

Capitol Hill.

SOARES: We wish Mitch McConnell all the best. Melanie Zanona, we appreciate it, thank you very much.

We will be back after this short break.




SOARES: His friends call him Chris but you may know him as Oliver Anthony, whose song is topping the charts in the United States. It has struck a

chord with conservatives but as Vanessa Yurkevich reports, the singer is trying to distance himself from politics.



VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: In the woods of rural Virginia, Oliver Anthony sings about what he knows.

And millions of Americans now know him, too.

OLIVER ANTHONY, SINGER-SONGWRITER: A lot's changed since the last time I sat here and spoke to you.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): He has the number one song in the country. He was also featured at the Republican debate. Candidates were asked why they

think it's resonating.

ANTHONY: It's funny seeing it at the presidential debate because it's like I wrote that song about those people.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Politicians are trying to claim his as Democrat or Republican.

ANTHONY: I'm going to write, produce and distribute authentic music that represents people and not politics.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): The people from all walks of life are relating to what he has to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like that. A lot of people are going to relate to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lyrics are awesome.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I got goose bumps, too.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): His real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford. His friends call him Chris. He lives here in the woods of Farmville, Virginia,

with his family, just over an hour west of Richmond.

He's struggled with money, alcohol, depression and sings about it all.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): He's everywhere but nowhere at the same time.

NASH OSBORN, OWNER, NORTH STREET PRESS CLUB: I think that his lifestyle and what he wanted to do and, like, live off the grid and live in the

country -- I mean, that's what he wants to do.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): On a random Wednesday evening he sang in town at North Street Press Club.

OSBORN: He wanted it to be so everybody here locally could come out and see him.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Oliver Anthony says he's turned down $8 million deals since he shot to number one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He seems like a pretty down-to-earth individual and this town is one town that's going to protect that if they can.

YURKEVICH: What do you think about what he's saying and why people are resonating from all over?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's still a huge swath of people in the middle who just feel a little disenfranchised with the wealth disparity.

Having somebody come out and sort of advocate or voice that frustration, it's not surprising to me that it resonates.

YURKEVICH: And how do you know Christopher?


YURKEVICH (voice-over): Anthony DeMarco has lived next door to Oliver Anthony for five years.

DEMARCO: We still live on a dirt road.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): He's now his merchandise guy.

DEMARCO: He's just a guy that smiles a lot. Just a fun guy to be around. He says what everybody is feeling, for the most part. We don't have a voice

to say it to the rich men north of Richmond and now we do.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Farmville, Virginia.


SOARES: Sounds like a nice guy. We will be back after this.




SOARES: Stargazers can see a rare spectacle in the night sky until Friday morning. It is a blue supermoon which peaked Wednesday evening for those of

you that been taking photos, posted in Instagram.

This is a time-lapse video, what it would look like over Jerusalem, stunning. This moon appears to be much bigger and brighter than the regular

full moon because its orbital path is closer to Earth.

Blue moons are when there are two full moons in a calendar month. August began with a bright supermoon and will end the same way this week. Not to

be outdone, the ringed planet, Saturn, is also making its closest and brightest appearance of the year.

Motorists received quite a shock on the highway this week. Yes, a bull in the passenger seat of a car.


SOARES: The Nebraska driver heavily modified his vehicle to carry his friend. His name is Howdy Doody. Motorists were doing double takes and the

police were scratching their heads, too. In fact, I had to do a double take when I watched the video earlier.

They eventually sent the driver away with a warning to take the Howdy Doody home. Clearly, the officers did not want to lock horns with man or beast.

Finally tonight, you've heard of painting the town red. But one Spanish village has taken that quite literally. It's that time of the year. Locals

and tourists flooded the streets on Wednesday, armed with more than 100 tons of tomatoes.

The festival known as La Tomatina has been running for more than 75 years and uses up the region's old and overripe tomatoes. Thousands of people

battled it out this year and it got a stellar review from one attendee, who had this to say.

"It was the biggest food fight in the world ever and it lived up to it. It was f'ing amazing."

That does it for us. For people watching, stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next. I shall see you tomorrow, goodbye.