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Isa Soares Tonight

U.S. Federal Government Has A Day Left To Avoid Shutdown; Putin Meets Top Wagner Commander; Slovakia Heads To The Polls; U.S. Gov't Shutdown Moves Closer After Stopgap Measure Fails; Government Shutdown Could Affect Migrant Crisis; Arrest Made In Tupac Shakur's 1996 Murder Case. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired September 29, 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, who pays the price

when the U.S. government doesn't pay its bills? Just over a day from a federal government shutdown. We'll look at the real world cost for millions

of Americans.

Then Vladimir Putin asserts his authority over Wagner's elite mercenary unit. What we know about his meeting with the top commander. Plus, an

election in Slovakia could spell trouble for Ukraine. We'll have all the details just ahead. Well, the U.S. government remains on track right now to

shut down this weekend.

Just moments ago, a stopgap spending extension put forward by the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, failed. He was hoping provisions on border security

could win over the right-wing hard-liners, but it appears that wasn't enough. And if nothing changes, millions of federal employees, including

the military, will go without pay, starting Sunday. Earlier McCarthy was pressed by CNN's Manu Raju on why he won't try to cut a deal with the

Democrats instead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut a deal on the CR --

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): It's easy to surrender. If you want to surrender, yes, but if you want to fight the American public to secure our

borders and keep government open, how is that a problem?


KINKADE: Well, the government-funded nutrition programs will likely be impacted too by a shutdown, and many families and federal workers will lose

their paychecks. CNN's Brian Todd reports on a food bank that worries it will be overwhelmed.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This Wisconsin food pantry is bracing for a surge of needy families if the federal government shuts down

this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people might come through and be like this is my first time here, how does this work?

TODD: Two reasons for more hardship federal workers won't get paychecks and families who rely on food assistance could lose it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't get those benefits, they might come here every week instead of only once a month.

TODD: First to feel the pinch, almost all of the country's more than 3.5 million federal workers going without pay.

EVERETT KELLEY, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: They live from paycheck to paycheck. When they don't get a paycheck, it can be

devastating. Matter of fact, it could be disastrous.

TODD: Over a million, our active-duty military.

SABRINA SINGH, DEPUTY PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: These service members have rent to pay, mortgages, child care. So, those bills are going to mount up,

it's an incredibly stressful time.

TODD: Some workers will still have to work without pay, those deemed essential. For example, soldiers, border patrol and air traffic controls.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION, UNITED STATES: It certainly doesn't help with that safety critical job, for them to come to work with

the stress of not getting paid.

TODD: Among the many services at risk, food and water safety inspections services at national parks. Disaster funding for places like Hawaii and

Florida. Passport processing. We can expect airport delays with many unpaid TSA screeners likely to be absent, and thousands of pre-school kids could

be shut out of the head start program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're talking about kids that are living in extreme poverty, not having the system up and running would really impact the kids

and the communities that need it the most.

TODD: Other impacts, immigration court cases put off and no new government aid to help states cope with migrants.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): New federal funds will not be available to help states like New York deal with the asylum-seekers crisis.

TODD: Social Security and Medicare payments will continue uninterrupted, but service?

KELLEY: First you come and you want to apply for a new claim, that won't happen. A person have an issue with their benefits, you know, they have no

one to call, no one to talk to.

TODD: The broader economy would take a hit, experts say, because things like permitting for construction projects and loan approvals for farms and

small businesses could be paused.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS & POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A government shutdown is just yet another drag on the economy because it ends up

disrupting lots of supply chains and lots of services that people and businesses rely on to keep other parts of the economy running.

TODD (on camera): What should the average American do to prepare for a possible government shutdown? Analyst Catherine Rampell advises, check to

see what benefits you're receiving from the federal government.


Whether it's food-stamps or your child's pre-school, find out if those benefits will be disrupted, and she says, contact your representative in

Congress and urge them to work as hard as possible, to reach a funding deal. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


KINKADE: Well, for more on this issue, I'm joined by Larry Sabato; he's the director at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Good

to have you with us, Larry. So --


KINKADE: There have been 21 federal government shutdowns in the last five decades. The longest was at the end of 2018, which lasted 35 days into

2019. What is the issue this time, what are the politicians fighting about?

SABATO: Someone, and I'm not sure exactly who, came up with the right label for this apparent shutdown. The shutdown about nothing. It's just

tragic because it doesn't have to happen, it affects so many people. It's really about a division within the Republican house caucus, more than

anything else.

And the dislike that one group of Republican congressmen has for another group of Republican congressmen. They're determined to win battles that

they could fight in other arenas at other times. But apparently, because you always have to recognize something can happen at the last moment. So

far, it hasn't.

KINKADE: And of course, Larry, the ramifications are huge. We've got a graphic that I just want to bring up, because we know obviously thousands

of workers won't be paid including military members. But also, many government operations will cease. Only essential services will continue,

but those workers will be unpaid. We know that there's potential for increases to airport delays because of TSA workers, air traffic controllers

also being forced to work without pay.

Immigration courts might be closed, causing more backlog and of course, national parks and museums will close. Certainly, a lot at stake, Larry.

SABATO: Oh, it's a tremendous amount at stake. And as bad as all of those things are that you just listed, I think even worse is that many of the

contract workers who are at minimum wage and certainly don't have a lot of savings, are never going to be paid. Federal employees for the most part

will be paid once this shutdown is over, whenever that is. And that's hardship enough.

But others will never be paid for that time, never. And so, this has real consequences for real people and real families. And it's shocking that the

Republicans in the house don't care more about this.

KINKADE: And of course, the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, his job is at risk, right? There are some reports that the far-right Republicans want him

gone. How likely is that? And if that happens, could that throw the chamber into further disarray?

SABATO: It will be tougher to do than the rebels think, and it's still possible that the speaker could hang on. He may have to rely on some -- a

few Democratic votes at least. So I'm not ready to absolutely write him off. But you know what? If he wanted to be remembered for something good,

he would simply go to the Democrats and say, I know I'm going to lose the speakership over this, but I'm going to open this boat up to you too, and

so, together, we will have enough members well over 218 to stop the shutdown.

We can join with the Senate and get it done and make sure this disaster doesn't happen. But of course, he wants to remain speaker. He's thirsted

for it for many years.

KINKADE: Larry Sabato, good to have you on the program, we will continue to follow that closely, thanks so much.

SABATO: Thank you, Lynda.

KINKADE: Well, now to a sign that Wagner fighters are returning to the war in Ukraine. We've got some pictures that came in just a few hours ago by

the Kremlin, picture President Vladimir Putin meeting a former Wagner commander who now works for the Russian Defense Ministry. The deputy

defense minister was also there, and according to the transcript of that meeting, they discussed the formation of quote, "volunteer units" that

would fight in Ukraine.

Mr. Putin also signed a decree calling up 130,000 citizens for military service. The true number of casualties in Ukraine is still unclear, but

they've kept that obviously a huge secret. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is standing by for us in eastern Ukraine. So, Fred, we do know that Moscow is

going to increase its military spending by almost 70 percent, essentially, dragging out his war further.

You've been speaking to Ukrainian fighters, some really wounded, who want to get back on the frontlines as soon as they heal, as soon as they're able

to. Take us through that.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right, Lynda. And first of all, I think the Ukrainians really

believe that Russia is also straining a great deal under this war, judging by the fact that they've had to increase their defense budget by that



In fact, politicians in Moscow have said yes, of course, it's a huge budgetary strain on Moscow. At the same time, of course, the Ukrainians

themselves also believe that this war could go on for a very long time. You're absolutely right. We did speak to a fighter who was very badly

wounded on the battlefield, barely survived after stepping on a land mine, but then managed to get back on the battlefield. Here's what we learned.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): It was a race against time after Danilo stepped on a land mine while on a mission behind enemy lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The mine blew me up and my brothers carried me for 7.5 kilometers. They gave me first aid and carried


PLEITGEN: They saved his life, but his injuries were catastrophic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One leg was gone, it was blown away and the other one was hanging all broken.

PLEITGEN: But that isn't holding Danilo back. He is hiding his face for safety reasons, but his story is remarkable. After the incident, he

recovered, traveled all the way to Mexico to get an artificial limb, learn to walk again, and is now back on the battlefield.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't just sit at home and just watch what's happening. In a country under attack, every man has to stand up from the

couch and defend his home. I have to do it and I'm good at it.

PLEITGEN: He's contributing to Ukraine's massive counteroffensive in the south where Kyiv says its forces have been making increasing progress.

Danilo right on the frontlines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in charge of mortar grenade launcher and anti-tank squads. The platoon commander and I choose the right positions, targets and

plan the operations.

PLEITGEN: Russian minefields and artillery are still causing a lot of casualties on the Ukrainian side. And while Kyiv won't disclose exact

numbers, they acknowledge the going is tough.


PLEITGEN: Combat medics gave us this video showing the trauma they deal with every day. Medic Vlad tells me, sometimes they simply can't save their

comrades' limbs or even their lives because the wounds are too severe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had around 10 cases where the limb was traumatically amputated, and there was no chance to save it, compared to the number of

people in the brigade, it's not much, but it is a terrible sacrifice.

PLEITGEN: A sacrifice that changed Danilo's life, but he's adapted, learning to move and fight effectively, even though his artificial limb

limits his mobility.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have a choice, we can't lose this war, this counteroffensive can't fail. We don't have this right, we are defending our

home. It is victory or death for us.


PLEITGEN: It is victory or death for us, Danilo says there, and that's one of the things that we've heard from several Ukrainian soldiers. And we also

have to say, Lynda, that we are seeing an increasing number of soldiers on the Ukrainian side who are missing limbs, but have then returned to the

battlefield. And a lot of them tell us the same thing.

They believe that they simply cannot stop fighting whether or not they get weapons from the U.S. and other western nations, they believe as long as

the war is going on, they have to keep fighting. They simply don't have any other choice. Lynda.

KINKADE: And of course, at the center of this federal government shutdown here in the U.S., is the question mark over more funding to Ukraine? A huge

amount of funding that the Democrats want to send Ukraine. How closely is that being watched in Ukraine right now? Is there any concern about what

that could mean for the war?

PLEITGEN: I think first of all, yes, of course, everything that's happening in the U.S. is being watched with a lot of concern here in

Ukraine because the Ukrainians understand that in order to keep fighting the way they are, in order to stay in the fight the way that they are in

the fight right now, putting pressure on the Russians even though, they of course, also understand that their counteroffensive, both in the south and

the one here in the east as well is not going as quickly as they might have liked.

They believe that right now they are the ones who have the initiative and they have the momentum as well. But of course, they are watching that. They

do understand that despite the government shutdown, they're going to at least in the meantime continue to get the money that they need for weapons


But in the long run, they are watching the political situation in the United States with a good deal of concern. But in the end, Lynda, they keep

telling us -- and we got this from frontline soldiers and commanders as well. They say no matter what happens, they are going to have to keep

fighting, this is their homeland that they say, they have no other choice, because if they stop fighting, they believe that this country will cease to

exist. Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, Frederik Pleitgen, good to have you there for us and great reporting, we appreciate it. Thank you. Well, more than 80 percent of

Nagorno-Karabakh's population has now fled. That staggering number from Armenia's prime minister who says nearly 98,000 ethnic Armenians have

arrived in his country.


Many leaving their homes don't think they will ever be able to return.


PARGEV AGHABABYAN, NAGORNO-KARABAKH REFUGEE (through translator): My wife and I cleaned up the house. Put back on the table, tomatoes and cucumbers

from our garden, we poured some coffee, locked the door and left. I left it for whoever will come to live in my house, no matter whether it is an enemy

or not. They're human beings, no ordinary human wants war.


KINKADE: Well, the desperate exodus began last week after Azerbaijan seized control of the disputed territory that lies within Azerbaijan's

borders, but has for decades operated autonomously with the de facto government of its own. Well, soon, it will likely cease to exist as

president signing a decree dissolving the state institutions from January.

Still to come tonight, a high-stakes election is happening this weekend in Slovakia. We'll have more on why this is concerning the West after the

break. And later, New York City underwater. The flooding that is shutting down roads and subway lines.


KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us. Well, Slovakia goes to the polls Saturday in a high-stakes election, it is

causing some concern in the West. There have been four prime ministers over the past five years. The NATO country has been a staunch ally of Ukraine,

but it could be this former Prime Minister, Robert Fico, who could return to power.

And his opposition party is leading in the polls. The Kremlin sympathizer has pledged to stop supplying weapons to Kyiv. According to one survey,

only 40 percent of Slovaks believe Russia was responsible for the war in Ukraine, 50 percent believe the U.S. is a security threat. Well, joining us

for more on all of this, there's likely an election and its ramifications.

She's the Vice President of the GLOBSEC think-tank, Alena Kudzko -- apologies. Alena, good to have you with us, thanks for joining us.

ALENA KUDZKO, VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBSEC: Thank you for having me, Lynda.

KINKADE: So, is Slovakia ready for its -- elect its fifth prime minister in just four years. The favorite to win is a fan of Putin. So what would

his election mean for both NATO and the war in Ukraine?


KUDZKO: If Robert Fico and his party win the election, the next Slovak government will be definitely more likely to question European support to

Ukraine. They will be the ones who will be having strong voices and saying that would need to stop the war right now, whatever it means for the

territorial integrity of Ukraine, even if we have to make concessions to Russia.

Because they say, if we stop the war, the live in Slovakia will go back to normal, the economy will start doing better and we can restore good

relations with Russia. But it's also important to remember that he already was prime minister for two terms in the past.

And in the past, he had also a pragmatic streak. He was very willing to compromise with European partners, especially on foreign policy, so,

there's a possibility that he can do it again.

KINKADE: And so, take us through his main competitors, because you mentioned Robert Fico was a former prime minister who was forced out of

office five years ago after the death of a journalist. But we know that he is narrowly ahead in the polls, and his two main rivals, one is another

former prime minister, and the other is the current vice president of the European parliament. Can you compare and contrast those candidates for us?

KUDZKO: There are two parties that are neck-to-neck right now and that are polling very tightly next to each other, about 19-20 percent. That's indeed

the SMER Party and the party led by the vice president of the European Parliament, Michal Simecka. These parties are quite different. The Robert

Fico party is very conservative, a lot of people would characterize it as populist.

They have pretty pro-Russian position from the point of view that they had good relations with Russia before, and they would be eager to have them

again. And the other party is very progressive, very liberal, they call for digitalization of the economy for more Europeanization of the country, for

more rule of law in the country. And they say that the country firmly belongs in the western camp.

The third competitor is actually pretty far behind right now, and he's fallen much lower, it's about 11-12 percent right now. And I'm talking here

about Peter -- about Pellegrini who also used to be a prime minister in the past. But he might be eventually a king maker, because his decision to join

one of the coalitions will be important for the chances of the two frontrunners to form the government.

KINKADE: And so, Slovakia, of course, is a pretty small country, 5.4 million people. But it has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine since Russia

invaded early last year. And so, it is interesting, and it is concerning, no doubt a lot of the NATO countries to have someone leading in the polls

that supports Russia's illegal land-grab. I just want to play some sound of what Robert Fico had to say two weeks ago about the war in Ukraine.


ROBERT FICO, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF SLOVAKIA (through translator): Please, can someone explain to me, like tens, maybe hundreds of thousands

of soldiers should be dying on either side of this conflict? They will have to sit down anyways and find an agreement because Russia will never leave

Crimea, never leave the territory that it controls in Ukraine. So what is this conflict good for?


KINKADE: How would you describe Robert Fico's sympathy toward Russia?

KUDZKO: He knows very well that he has a huge bloc of voters behind him. About 40-50 percent of the population have the view that it's better for

the country to be friends with Russia. They think that if we continue providing weapons to Ukraine, we actually might provoke Russia to

eventually attack Slovakia. So, he is riding this populist wave and giving the voters in a way what they want to hear.

So from that perspective, he is pretty in tune with the sentiment of a significant share of the population.

KINKADE: Alena Kudzko, really good to have your perspective, thanks so much for joining us today.

KUDZKO: Thank you so much for having me.

KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, U.S. airports and travelers brace for a potential government shutdown. I'll discuss the impact with CNN's

Richard Quest coming up. Plus, a remarkable journey as CNN joins with migrants making the grueling journey from Central and South America to the




KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Well, major flooding across New York City has closed roads and suspended subway

lines. Take a look at this video from a normally-busy Brooklyn subway station. Rainwater just pouring down the stairs into the station below. Ten

train lines are suspended, and that's just in Brooklyn alone.

Subway service around the famous Rockefeller Plaza also had to be shut down. And flooding has also shut down traffic on major roads such as the

Brooklyn Queens expressway and portions of the Interstate 87 in the Bronx. A month's worth of rain fell in just three hours in some areas. Incredible


Well, the flooding comes as workers prepare for more impending trouble chaos caused by a government shutdown. Essential federal employees at

airports are expected to show up for work, but they won't be paid if the government closes, something that's much more likely after a key vote in

the house failed a short time ago.

And that raises the very real dilemma that some may even quit, others will be furloughed if a deal can't be reached. Well, for more on what this means

for the travel industry, I'm joined by CNN business editor-at-large, Richard Quest, always good to have you with us, Richard. So the

consequences of a government shutdown are far and wide.

It will affect workers that work for U.S. Customs like the TSA workers, Federal Aviation Administration as well as air traffic control workers.

They are considered essential, so they should be going to work, but they won't be paid, right?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Right, so, there are three types of work. There is the exempt, there's the accepted and there are the

furloughed, just looking at that. Now, the exempt are the ones you were talking about, they work in safety, they're the essential services. They

still have to go to work.

They don't get paid while the shutdown continues, although, what happens is a resolution is passed afterwards to give them back-pay. The problem is,

some of them may not turn up. And if you're talking about air traffic controllers, TSA and border guards, they may find all sorts of reasons.

Illness, sickouts, whatever, that they just don't turn up and the numbers of delays increase.

This is a system that is already under strain. It is at almost capacity on many days and many hours. And so to put this extra additional pressure on

such a vital part of the U.S. economy is very damaging. And one other thing, various fees that the FAA would receive from airlines, from

passenger duties and all those sort of things, that money won't be -- it'll be collected by the airlines, but there won't be the transmission mechanism

to give it to the FAA, which will be losing tens of millions of dollars every day.

KINKADE: And Richard, can you just remind our viewers of the sort of airport delays experienced in previous government shutdowns, especially the

35-day shutdown at the end of 2018, start of 2019? And could things be worse this time, especially given those challenges that you've referred to,

the staffing challenges that the FAA have already spoken about?

QUEST: Right, yes. I mean, it could be worse, although remember, 2018 was before the pandemic, therefore, at the height of travel numbers. But, yes,

of course it could be worse for the very simple reason, the system is straining already. You saw what happened recently when there was an FAA

meltdown. What is going to, I think, invariably take place is that the airlines themselves will designate which flights they're going to get out.

Which ones are they going to run? Which are the flights that they're absolutely essential you're going to get out?

But there's no question. It's -- look, this is going to be everywhere. You're looking at a picture just there of the Capitol, but you're going to

have national parks that'll be closed, or at least in, say, in many cases, close -- some cases, though they will be open if it's like the Washington

Mall. Well, there'll be no toilets, there'll be no park rangers, there'll be no wardens, there'll be nothing like that. You're going to have Social

Security checks could be delayed. You're going to have the entire panel be an infrastructure of the U.S. federal government literally going to a

skeleton staff.

And I have to say tonight, Lynda, that this is now more likely than not. The procedural gymnastics that would have to take place both in Senate and

House to circumnavigate are too great. The only thing that would happen would be if the recalcitrant Republicans came on board, about 15 or 20 of

them, but there's no evidence tonight that that's what they would do.

KINKADE: No, it certainly doesn't look like that's going to happen. It looks like there will be a government shutdown from midnight on Saturday.

Richard Quest, good to have you on the program. We will tune into QUEST MEANS BUSINESS next hour. Thanks so much.

QUEST: Thank you. Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, U.S. government shutdown would only worsen an already serious migrant crisis in the U.S. Many cities warning the shutdown will

hurt them as they are trying to, "with an influx of people," looking for a better life.

David Culver spoke to some migrants traveling from Venezuela, who are hoping that they'll one day reach the U.S..


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They stick together throughout. No one left behind, from falls to steep climbs.

CULVER: There's a lot of young children, so some of them are just basically being carried up.

CULVER (voice-over): To dead ends.

CULVER: They started to go the wrong way for the moment. And now they're backtracking a little bit.

CULVER (voice-over): Set back after setback.

CULVER: He's saying that they paid. We're promised another pickup on the other side, but it seems like that driver just took off with their money.

CULVER (voice-over): This, just part of a day's journey for these migrants, a day had started not here in southern Mexico, but across the Suchiate

River in Guatemala. With passport stamped, we take the official land crossing, stepping into a vibrant Tecun Uman. In the shade of the town

square, we meet two families from Venezuela, traveling as one.

CULVER: They're saying they're ready to cross.

CULVER (voice-over): They welcome us to join.

CULVER: Seven years old.

CULVER (voice-over): A 15-minute stroll to the river after 18 grueling days on the road. Jeminer Rodriguez tells me it's been costly.

CULVER: She says like going through the jungle is like dealing with the mafia. She says you have to pay in order to leave and they had to pay $250

a person.


CULVER (voice-over): As they arrive at the river, another expense, the crossing. Meanwhile, we go back to the Mexico side using the official entry

and hop onto a raft.

CULVER: We're waiting for the two families that we met to make their way across, and they're about to board a raft and meet us in the middle as they

cross illegally to Mexico.

CULVER (voice-over): Their raft drifts over the border and we meet again in Mexico.

CULVER: They're saying they're headed to the land of opportunity.

CULVER (voice-over): Migrant children scramble to help tug them to shore. They step off and into Ciudad Hidalgo, a small border town. It allows for

just a moment of joy, if only for the kids. They're goal tonight? Tapachula to get Mexican transit documents. They learn it's not as close as they'd

hoped, 20 miles, normally an hour's drive, but there's a catch.

CULVER: Oh, OK. They're getting on right now.

CULVER (voice-over): Because they never entered Mexico legally, they need to avoid the multiple migration checkpoints. Otherwise, the Mexican drivers

could be accused of smuggling. Every crevice of the van filled. Then they're off. On the road for only about 10 minutes, we watch as they pull

over just before the first checkpoint. Everyone out. They walk the direction they think they're supposed to head.

CULVER: We could tell they're basically just trying to figure out their way as they go. They have no real guide. They were told some general

instructions and now they're just trying to figure it out.

CULVER (voice-over): Weaving through brush and high grass, up and down hills, they skirt around the first migration checkpoint. But on the other

side, the same driver who they paid to wait for them has taken off.

CULVER: So they're trying to figure out if they can get another van or they keep walking. Looks like for now, they're just going to keep walking.

CULVER (voice-over): A few minutes pass, another van pulls up. Fifteen minutes later, another stop, another checkpoint walk around. Thirty minutes

after that, yet another. This one takes them on a bridge directly over the migration checkpoint. Back on the van they go. Before sunset, they make it

to Tapachula. Relieved? Sure. Also overwhelmed thinking about the unknowns ahead, but determined to keep moving north, smiling and waving. "We'll see

you later," they tell us. David Culver, CNN, Tapachula, Mexico.


KINKADE: Well, a developing a story we're following today, 27 years after rapper Tupac Shakur was gunned down on a Las Vegas strip, a suspect has

been arrested in connection with the case. Lauren Valsman's source tells CNN that Duane Keith Davis, known as Keefe D, was arrested Friday morning

at his home in a Las Vegas suburb.

In 1996 Tupac Shakur was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting. The 25-year-old rapper died about a week later. And in a 2019 memoir, Davis

said he was the only -- one of only two witnesses to that shooting and the only one still alive.

Well, the United States is marking the passing of an icon. Senator Dianne Feinstein passed away the age of 90. Feinstein was a trailblazer in U.S.

politics, the longest serving female senator in U.S. history. There you see her dressed in black as is tradition. Her colleagues have been remembering

her with deep admiration.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: She was a historic figure, trailblazer for women and a great friend. Dianne made her mark in everything from national

security to the environment, to gun safety, to protecting civil liberties. The country's going to miss her dearly and so will Jill and I.


KINKADE: Well, Feinstein has been a senator for California since 1992. CNN's Wolf Blitzer looks back at her remarkable career and the causes that

she championed along the way.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dianne Feinstein emerged on the national stage after a 1978 tragedy in San Francisco.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Mayor Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot and killed.

BLITZER (voice-over): After the assassinations, Feinstein was sworn in as the first female mayor of the city by the bay. Mayor Feinstein quickly got

the attention of the national Democratic Party, landing on a short list of VP candidates for Walter Mondale in 1984.

FEINSTEIN: We will take back our unity.

BLITZER (voice-over): Feinstein made it to Washington when she won a special election in 1992 and went to the nation's capital with Barbara

Boxer as California's first female senators.

FEINSTEIN: I won among men. I won among women. I won in every age level. I won in every ethnic group. Now what that says is that to me, the fact

that I'm a woman is there.


But it's incidental.

BLITZER (voice-over): The assassinations that made her a mayor also made her an outspoken advocate for gun control. Feinstein was crucial in passing

the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons.

FEINSTEIN: I've seen assassination. I've seen killing. I've been a mayor. I know what these guns can do. Why is it every man comes before me and says,

nice, lady, you really don't know?

BLITZER (voice-over): She was unsuccessful in renewing the legislation in 2004, but she didn't give up resurfacing the bill after the Sandy Hook

massacre and going toe-to-toe with conservative senator Ted Cruz.

FEINSTEIN: I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in. I saw people shot. I've looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons.

BLITZER (voice-over): She was the first female member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the first woman to lead the Senate Intelligence

Committee. Considered a moderate Democrat, she often challenged her own party with her pro-death penalty stance. After Donald Trump was elected

president, Feinstein got groans from hometown Democrats when she encouraged her party to be patient with him.

FEINSTEIN: I just hope he has the ability to learn and to change. And if he does, he can be a good president and that's my hope.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Senator Feinstein, that's another beauty.

BLITZER (voice-over): But Feinstein was hardly a favorite of President Trump, especially when her committee's investigation of sexual misconduct

allegations against Brett Kavanaugh nearly derailed his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

TRUMP: I'd like to find out who leaked the papers. Was it Senator Feinstein?

BLITZER (voice-over): As her party shifted to the left during the Trump administration, Feinstein did the same, announcing officially in 2018 that

she no longer supported the death penalty.

FEINSTEIN: I don't want to not grow. I don't want to not learn and the world changes and views change.

BLITZER (voice-over): By the time Feinstein was elected to a fifth full term in 2018, she was the oldest sitting U.S. senator. In February 2023,

she announced that she would not be running for re-election. Later that year, health problems kept her off the job for three months, holding up

approval of several judicial nominees. Some Democrats called for her to resign, but she kept going. Dianne Feinstein often led the way for women

and men on the hill with a dedication to public service and an uncommon resilience.

FEINSTEIN: Life is filled with defeat, and you just pick yourself up and you go on.




KINKADE: Welcome back. The Philippines new defense secretary speaking out against China, which he says is behaving like a schoolyard bully towards

smaller countries in the region. He sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN's Ivan Watson, his first since taking the job in June.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Philippines has scrapped a previous policy of accommodation with China and is increasingly

in a kind of David and Goliath confrontation with China in the South China Sea. We've seen much larger Chinese coast guard vessels confronting much

smaller Philippines coast guard ships and fishing boats. In my exclusive sit down interview with the Philippines Secretary of National Defense, he

conceded that other Southeast Asian nations have yet to throw their full support behind Manila in this ongoing territorial dispute.


GILBERTO TEODORO JR., PHILIPPINE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE: These countries see too, though they need China, they need Russia. They see that

they too may become a victim of bullying of China again. Because if they close off the South China Sea, perhaps the next target will be the Straits

of Malacca and then the Indian Ocean.

WATSON: Is that how you feel as if China is bullying you?

TEODORO: Oh, you bet. I would not -- I cannot think of any clearer case of bullying than this. It's not a question of stealing your lunch money, but

it's really a question of stealing your lunch bag, your chair, and even enrollment in the school.

WATSON: The 10-dash line is China's claim that it controls and owns virtually all of the South China Sea.


WATSON: Irrespective of competing claims from countries like the Philippines.

TEODORO: Right. That is the unilateral declaration by China that it owns the South China Sea. Basically--

WATSON: Up until almost the coast of the Philippines.

TEODORO: But here, that is a claim, which the whole world perhaps rejects. Some don't say it out loud, but as soon as China begins to visibly assert

their squeeze over the South China Sea, then the whole world will react. Why? Because it will choke one of the most vital supply chain waterways in

the whole world.

WATSON: What are the kind of measures that you have seen the Chinese authorities using to try to keep your vessels out of these contested areas?

TEODORO: Well, shadowing, harassment, dangerous maneuvers, water cannoning and military-grade lasers being used on the vessels. These are some of the

tactics that they use. But also, we know that they're engaging in a very expansive -- in an expansive rather propaganda war with us.

WATSON: Is the Philippines acting upon the behest of its treaty ally, the U.S.?

TEODORO: No. No. And it's--

WATSON: That's what China says.

TEODORO: Yes. And that's what they don't understand. They are distancing them from the Filipino people when they say that. And we're going to stand

up more because it's an insult to our integrity, an insult to our intellect and an insult to our common sense.

WATSON: To suggest that you're American puppets.


WATSON: The Philippines' government recently signed an enhanced defense cooperation agreement with the U.S., giving U.S. forces enhanced access to

a number of different military bases here in the Philippines. Washington is a mutual defense treaty ally of Manila so an attack on one of the

Philippines' ships or aircraft would be perceived as an attack on the U.S. So that means the stakes are all the higher as we're seeing these ongoing

confrontations in the South China Sea between the Philippines and China. Ivan Watson, CNN, Manila.


KINKADE: Well, still to come, the hype around Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce's rumored love story that's bringing an economic boost to American



KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us.

Human created climate change is damaging the coral reefs off the coast of Cuba when our scientists believe they found a way to not only preserve the

vulnerable environment but also improve the island's economy. CNN's Patrick Oppmann explains.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Porpoises swim off the coast of Cuba. The waters here may seem pristine, but like seemingly

everywhere else, this Caribbean island nation is grappling with the threats from a rapidly changing climate.

Now in the first research expedition of its kind, 24 Cuban scientists and crew circumnavigated the entire island to carry out what they say is the

most comprehensive study ever done on climate change and the impact it's had on Cuba.

Researchers dive from coral reef to coral reef and say what they have found is even more dire than they expected.

"We've seen a bleaching of corals, which is something that is worrying and that is massive." She says, "The majority of coral is bleached and this is

because of the high temperatures."

The scientists say it's not too late to reverse the damage, but that we have to dramatically reduce human-caused pollution that is heating oceans

to record levels, killing off coral reefs and filling the seas with microplastics. With this study, these scientists say they will be able to

measure much more accurately how much harm is being inflicted on Cuba's unique natural environments.

"We are going to have a baseline," she says. "We hope to identify the spots along the coast where the pollution is and how concentrated it is."

For two months, the scientists carried out dozens of dives, taking hundreds of samples from the bottom of the ocean.

Scientists are barely out of their wetsuits before running tests in their makeshift laboratory. They hope what they learn can change how resources on

this island are used.

OPPMANN: Scientists say they're making the case to government officials here that the country needs to transition from commercial fishing to have a

greater focus on marine tourism. As they say, a shark can only be caught and eaten one time, whereas that same shark can be enjoyed by tourists on a

dive excursion again and again, something that's not only better for this country's environment, but also its economy.

OPPMANN (voice-over): The change will not come easy, but for Cubans who depend on mangroves to protect them from hurricanes and beaches to attract

tourists, experts say there is no other choice.

"It's not a luxury, it's a necessity," he says. "Even with so many difficulties, we can't stop learning about coral reefs. They protect the

beaches, they protect us from extreme weather, they give us sand and fish and the things we eat."

The scientists traveled more than 1,800 nautical miles to better understand an incredible natural world off Cuba's shores that is increasingly at risk.


Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Cien Pueblos, Cuba.


KINKADE: Well, the Taylor Swift effect is real and it's a profitable one I'm sure the NFL won't want to be shaking off anytime soon. Ticket prizes

this Sunday's New York Jets game soared more than 40 percent after a rumor Swift could be attending to see Kansas City Chief Star Travis Kelce play

and her impact doesn't stop there. Sales of Kelce's jersey spiked nearly 400 percent after Swift was spotted out of his game last Sunday. And though

it looks like the sparks are flying, we may all need to calm down. This rumored love story still hasn't been confirmed by Swift or Kelce.

Thanks so much for watching tonight. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Have a great weekend but for now, stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with Richard

Quest is up next.