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Rising Sea Levels Eroding Land; Horror of Texts to Meadows; Formula Shortage Worsens; Biden on Formula Shortage. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 02, 2022 - 08:30   ET




BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Had a chance to sleep here before a mediocre storm took it away. Or the half million dollar place that collapsed a few days earlier and spread nail-filled debris along 15 miles of public beaches. At least nine more houses on this stretch are condemned. And the sea is taking more than just houses.


WEIR (on camera): Look at that.

TAYLOR: That we want to save.

WEIR: Wow. Oh, my goodness, it's right there on the edge.

WEIR (voice over): As a proud daughter of the Outer Banks, Dawn Taylor spends her days trying to save the graves.

TAYLOR: We're missing the remains of our loved ones due to the tide up and down the coast. We have multiple cemeteries here that have met their, you know, demise due to the rising sea level.

WEIR (on camera): And so when you think about the lives, the history, the families that we're talking about, you put it in those terms, the fundamental question of the age of sea level rise is, what is worth saving, and who can afford to save it?

BERNARD MANNHEIM, CHARLESTON RESIDENT: And we watched the water bubble up through those vents into the house.

WEIR: Is that right?

WEIR (voice over): Down the Carolina coast, in Charleston, the Mannheims decided to raise their 450 ton mansion with a system of hydraulic jacks.

WEIR (on camera): Can I ask what something like this costs?

MANNHEIM: My answer is, many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

WEIR: Right. MANNHEIM: It's something, hopefully, that will last another 100 years.

WEIR (voice over): Whether it does may depend on whether Charleston can afford plans for a billion-dollar seawall, which would only protect the most valuable 20 percent of the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This house was actually moved to this -- this is a new location.

WEIR: Back in the Outer Banks, some are moving their houses as far as they can afford.

WEIR (on camera): They moved it from right there to right there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that was as far as they could go.

WEIR (voice over): Meanwhile, NOAA projects at least a foot of sea level rise here mid-century with ten times as many flooding events like this one, which filled driveways with five feet of sand.

READE CORBETT, DIRECTOR, COASTAL STUDIES INSTITUTE: This isn't just happening on the Outer Banks. It's happening around the world.

WEIR (on camera): This is a story that's about anybody who lives anywhere near the ocean, from southern Maine to Padre Island, right?

CORBETT: Right. I mean these processes are happening everywhere.

WEIR: Yes.

WEIR (voice over): But it is not as evident on the mainland because states, counties and towns dredge, pump and truck millions of dollars' worth of sand so tourists and real estate buyers will keep coming.

CORBETT: If you start a nourishment program, when's the next nourishment? Five years? Seven years down the road? When you get to that point and you have to think about the economics. Yes, it's $25 million, $30 million.

WEIR (on camera): So if you play that out, it really comes down to have or have not communities fortifying themselves, right?

CORBETT: It is challenging when it comes down to the tax base. It's not that we can't work with the environment, we can't work with the change. We can.

WEIR: Yes.

CORBETT: And we have for years.

WEIR: You just can't do it the way you used to do it.

CORBETT: We've got to do it differently.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we certainly -

WEIR: This is near Rodanthe, and Cape Hatteras. One of the ones just went down. If you didn't know, you wouldn't know it's there. But, unfortunately, there's so much woody debris, nails, strung up and down the beaches. It costs about $50,000 for a homeowner to clean up after the house goes in. One of these owners said he called his insurance company and said, will you pay for me to move it? And they say, no, we just have to wait for it to fall into the ocean before you can file a claim.

They've cut the power on these houses, alerted the owners to what's happening here. But we've already seen a couple of these houses moving back. So, some folks will just move with the island as it erodes westward.

But this is really a stunning sort of cautionary tale for so many beach communities, Brianna, around the country. If you're not talking about this, if you're not thinking about the future, whether you can afford a beach nourishment plans, which they don't really do in incorporated townships like this, a lot of national park around us here, it should be the top of mind for so many folks near our coasts.

KEILAR: Yes, the cost is staggering and the alarm is being sounded.

Bill Weir, thank you so much for that very important report.

A big legal victory for Johnny Depp in his defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard. What her lawyer said just moments ago.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, why one former Republican congressman, who investigated January 6th, says he was horrified by text messages his team uncovered.



BERMAN: In a CNN exclusive, Denver Riggleman, the former Republican congressman who helped the January of 6th committee, told Anderson Cooper about the messages he found in a trove of texts from former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.



DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISER, JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE: I think what people are going to understand about the Meadows text messages is how horrible they are. I have to tell you this, Anderson, when I first saw them, my bemusement turned into horror pretty quickly when I saw some of the language that was being used in there. I actually had to get away from the computer a couple times as I was looking at these text messages. And, you know, starting November 3rd, November 4th in the Meadows text messages, all the way to the end, it is a road map. And I would have to say, at this point, I think Mark Meadows is the MVP for the committee. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: One week from tomorrow, the January 6th committee will hold its first of eight public hearings this month after nearly a year's work.

Joining me now, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" senior political correspondent Maggie Haberman.

So, Denver Riggleman there saying that basically the text messages made him sick. That they're a road map. The question is, a road map to what?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, look, they clearly are a road map. I actually have had this conversation with people, both working on the investigation and my own colleagues, that if this committee did not have Meadows' texts, I'm not sure what they would have. They would have a lot of testimony. But Meadows' texts absolutely paint a very clear portrait of what was being discussed, when it was being discussed and who he was talking to.

But where it all goes from here, we've seen some of the text messages. They are stunning. I - you know, I assume there are others that we haven't seen that we will learn about.


But what it adds up to, after the public hearings, where this is all going, I think, is a big, open question. There is no question that the events of January 6th were horrifying to watch. But what happens? Do people get held accountable? We know that a lot of people involved in the riot have been charged. Does anyone else get charged beyond, you know, contempt of Congress? We'll see.

BERMAN: What do you think the stakes are for next week? In some ways we've known these hearings were coming. In another way, I feel like they're sneaking up on us. But it seems like they're a big deal.

HABERMAN: They are a big deal. And I think there's two different set of stakes, right, John? I think one set of stakes is for the country. And that set of stakes is about the fact that what took place after November 3rd, in the leadup to January 6th, there were aspects of it that we have seen before in previous elections, mostly court challenges. And there were decidedly aspects we have not, conversations about -- at least in modern history -- conversations about, you know, the Insurrection Act, conversations about seizing the apparatus of the elections. So that -- that is important, I think, to remind the public what we were talking about and just how close things came to the brink.

In terms of what it - what it more immediately means in terms of explaining the investigation, I do think the committee has set a pretty high expectation for what might come out of these hearings. I mean we've heard repeatedly, I think, that the former congressman said it, I think the current members of the House have said it who are work on this investigation, that there's going to be evidence that will, you know, blow the roof off the Capitol essentially. They have to make good on that.

BERMAN: It's interesting. Denver Riggleman, one of the other things he said is there, the viewer will get to see and make his or her own judgment about Donald Trump's role that day, how involved he was.

One thing, whether or not they think it was a big role or not a big role, they will see is what he did that day.

HABERMAN: Yes. To me, one of the most important, outstanding questions -- and we still don't know exactly what the shape of these hearings is going to look like - but to the extent that they - and who the witnesses will be and so forth -- but to the extent that they focus on that 187, I believe it is, minutes during which, you know, he was in the White House as this riot is playing out, what he was doing. That is the piece we know the least about. The least that public information has been available about. There's a lot of information about the House and about the congressional leaders and about some aides in the White House. But exactly what Trump was up to, what he was saying, I think is going to be incredibly important. And I think we will be learning a lot more about that in the come weeks.

BERMAN: On another note, gas prices, I think the national average just hit a new record high, $4.72 a gallon, which is very high.

HABERMAN: That's a lot.

BERMAN: President Biden asked about this basically all the time. Yesterday at the White House what he said is, he said, look, there's not that much he specifically can do about it.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The idea we're going to be able to, you know, click a switch, bring down the cost of gasoline, is not likely in the near term, nor is it with regard to food.


BERMAN: What do you think of that?

HABERMAN: I mean it's not wrong. That is true. There is not a switch that they can flip. But it's just so in contrast. And the thing that I am really struck about Biden saying things like this, as he has throughout his term so far and we are, you know, a year and a half into this term is he was elected on the idea that he had this enormous will of empathy and that he was sort of able to communicate empathy with people. And there are times when he can, and scenarios when he can. But just talking about people's everyday lives as opposed to his frustration that he's getting questioned about these things the same way every president gets questioned about them has been a little surprising. I don't think that, you know, the average voter wants to hear that, even though it is true. And, unfortunately, a lot of the political system does involve saying things that, you know, are meant to comfort people, even if they don't provide an immediate answer. BERMAN: Do you have a sense, talking to Democrats, what they want to

see or hear from him in the months leading into November?

HABERMAN: There's a - there's a couple of things, John, right, and the landscape has certainly changed because of what we expect will be a decision on Roe v. Wade, and that's a - that a big one. And there are - there are other court issues as well.

But in terms of the economic piece, they just want to hear a more specific, focused message. They want to hear him addressing people.

One of the things that is so striking about this White House is how little Biden makes of the bully pulpit. We really don't see him do a lot of speeches, we don't see him do a lot of direct one on one with reporters or, frankly, really with the public, and, in moments like this, that costs the president.

BERMAN: Maggie Haberman, great to see you.

HABERMAN: You too.

BERMAN: All right, coming up for us, a blunt admission from President Biden, along these same very lines. This time about the baby formula crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Didn't those CEOs just tell you that they understood it would have a very big impact?





KEILAR: Parents are on edge, understandably, watching store shelves so closely, even as more baby formula from overseas heads to the U.S. The formula expected at grocery stores here in the coming weeks, but right now many shelves still remain empty.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is live for us at a supermarket in Chicago.

Adrienne, what are you seeing there?


If you take a look here on aisle 4, everything is in stock except for when you get to this section of the aisle. That's when you notice the emptiness. There are three cans here of Similac Advanced. So if you're in the Chicago area, we're on the city's far south side in the Beverly neighborhood. This family-owned grocery store, County Fair, and they've been in business for 58 years. But the fact that they have some cans of formula here is rare. The

manager tells me they received a shipment last Friday, but they've already been notified they won't be able to get another shipment for some time. And if you drive around town, not only here in Chicago, but across the country, parents are frantically searching, looking for formula.

We spoke with a mother in Peoria, Illinois. Her daughter has a rare genetic disorder and depends on specialty formula.


And she hasn't been able to find it. Her daughter, Brooklyn, is tube fed. Listen in.


ANGELA KONCZAK, MOTHER SEARCHING FOR FORMULA: This formula shortage, it has been a complete nightmare for me and my family.

Her body can't break down animal fats and proteins. And the niocate (ph) junior is amino acid based and it's been the only formula that she has been able to tolerate and actually gain weight and thrive on. And the fact that it's not available anywhere is very scary.


BROADDUS: That was weeks ago when we spoke with her. And I followed up with her this week. It's the same story. She has been searching online. Her family has been driving from county to county to try to find that formula. And she's had relatives ship her formula.

Now, this is not the formula her daughter depends on. If she were to walk in this store, she couldn't purchase this can because it would not help her child.

I will tell you, she says her daughter goes through one can every two days. So, this is one can. It will feed her daughter for about two days. A can of this size. There are three cans here. So that's about maybe a week's worth of formula for some parents. They're desperately hoping this formula shows up on shelves soon.


KEILAR: Adrienne, thank you so much for that report. We do appreciate it.

So, after meeting with formula makers, President Biden conceded that he didn't understand how much the Abbott plant shutdown in February would affect supplies. Here's how he responded when pressed by our Kaitlan Collins.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think anyone anticipated the impact of the shutdown of one facility. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Didn't the CEOs

just tell you that they understood it would have a very big impact?

BIDEN: They did, but I didn't.


KEILAR: And Kaitlan's with us now on this.

They did, but I didn't. Kaitlan, what did you think of that answer?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was kind of remarkable because the president had just spent this meeting where he was meeting with these top five baby formula manufacturers, talking about the impact that the closure of this Abbott Nutrition plant had. That was back in the middle of February. This is what really has exacerbated the problems that Adrienne was just talking about there. And the president went around asking each of them if they understood what kind of impact, just how severe this shortage was going to be if that plant had closed, and almost every single one of them said yes, that they knew immediately that it was going to cause issues.

And the senior vice president of Rickets said that the day that that closure happened in mid-February, they were on the phone with retailers saying, you need to order what you can because this is going to cause issues. And so it was remarkable the president, you know, being very blunt there, saying that they understood that it was going to be an issue, he did not.

And I think it raises questions of why that was not communicated to the president sooner, that that was going to be such an issue. Whether it's these industry executives talking to the FDA, talking to HHS, then communicating to the president that they were going to have to take some actions here, but also what happens with the president's own staff because he later told us it was weeks after that plant closure had happened that he really began to understand the severity of the shortage that was going to be happening. And the shortage was already weeks into happening by then when this already happened.

KEILAR: Let's listen to what he said about when he became aware of this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I became aware of this problem sometime in -- after April -- in early April, about how intense it was. And so we did everything in our power from that point on, and that's all I can tell you right now.


KEILAR: Let me ask you this. How - Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary, says there's been a whole of government approach since day one of the recall, which was in February. How is that even possible if the president, which clearly he's a key part of government, doesn't know about this until April, by his own admission. COLLINS: And the president is the one who has the authority to invoke

the Defense Production Act, which he did recently and launched this initiative to try to speed up imports of formula to the United States. All steps that are not solving this crisis right now immediately, as Adrienne just noted, there's still empty shelves, but they could have helped. And so there are big questions about whether or not those steps could have been taken by the White House sooner.

And I think what's important to keep in mind here is not just this February date of when this plant closed, because remember the FDA commissioner was on Capitol Hill, under fire from Democrats and Republicans for why the FDA acted so slowly if they got complaints about this facility last fall, they didn't interview people until December, they didn't move to close the factory until February. So there are big questions about whether or not if they had understood just how big of a problem this was going to be, why they didn't start talking about it last fall and start coming up with a plan b and a plan c so these desperate parents, who are struggling to get formula for their children who need specialized formulas, aren't in the position that they're in now, driving hours to go and get it, searching at these stores.

And so that's a big question, just not about the larger whole of government approach that the White House says they've been taking, but why the president himself didn't learn of this problem sooner.


KEILAR: Yes, I don't know if there's much more that could undermine faith in government than its inability to deal with people being able to feed their children in a way that the government clearly should have seen coming. They should have seen this coming, Kaitlan.

Great questions. Thank you so much for being with us today. We appreciate it.

John, back to you.

BERMAN: All right, so just in, after the jury sided with Johnny Depp in the defamation trial against Amber Heard, her lawyer said just a short time ago that she believes social media influenced the jurors.

That's ahead. Stay with us.