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Hurricane Kay to Pass Near California; Pakistan Continues Flooding; Ex-Informants Spill about the FSB; Americans Buying More Luxury Cars. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 08, 2022 - 06:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, more extreme weather is in the forecast for California. Hurricane Kay is now churning in the Pacific and is expected to make the closest path to southern California of any hurricane in the last 25 years. California also facing escalating fire danger with threats of strong winds here over the next few days.

So, let's go to Chad Myers in the Weather Center for the latest on this.

What are you tracking here, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A very complicated forecast, Brianna. Wind, almost -- I mean, Santa Ana winds, but they're not, because of Santa Ana properties. It's just going to be this hurricane, Hurricane Kay. Right now 85 miles per hour.

This weather brought to you by Safelite, your vehicle glass and recalibration experts.

So, let's get to it. Where does this go?

Well, it doesn't hit California proper. The center does not. It turns away from California and from southern California all the way from about Baja and southward. Right now it is just probably about - about 150 miles northwest of Cancun -- Cabo San Lucas as we are moving this up to the north.

The biggest threat that I see right here is the wind. Sixty mile per hour winds in places that already have wildfires burning. The Fairview Fire, the Radford Fire, already burning right now. Fairview, just south of Hemet, is already 20,000 acres. You put a 60 mile per hour wind on top of that, you have problems.

Then on the backside, then we get the rain. That's the helpful rain. But it also could cause some flash flooding.

One more thing we're going to finally do is get rid of this, get rid of this excessive heat. Look at Vegas, it drops 25 degrees in two days.


KEILAR: That is -- 80 degrees in Vegas?

MYERS: I know.

KEILAR: That's nice. They are looking forward to that this weekend, Chad. Thank you so much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, the death toll from the flooding in Pakistan has increased to more than 1,300 people, including more than 480 children as a third of that country is now under water. Pakistani officials are battling to keep the situation from getting even worse.

CNN's chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward is in Karampur and joins us now.

Clarissa, why don't you tell us what you're seeing there.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, as you can see, this area has been completely devastated and people are moving their livestock down the road trying to get to higher ground. This is one of the few roads that has not been completely submerged under water. And there's just a steady flow of people coming here. And you can see they're crammed into buses. They're on rickshaws. They're on motorcycles. And they just tried to grab whatever they possibly can salvage from their homes and move it to higher ground. But the fear is, this isn't going to be higher ground for that much longer because even though there's no rain forecast here for the next five days, the water levels here are still rising. And that's because this is essentially a catchment area. This is right between the Indus River and the Manchar Lake. And the end result of that is that there is nowhere for this water to run off to. And all the rain that's coming from other parts of the country in the north is kind of running down here and swelling into this area.

And what is so pronounced here, John, and I don't know if you can get a feel for it with this tide of humanity desperately trying to get out is, you don't see any aid workers here. You don't see any aid being distributed. These are hard to reach areas. The Pakistani government is doing its level best to get people what they need. But the demand is so huge. One U.N. official calling it a logistical nightmare.


We've been talking to families who have been fleeing the flooding and they're telling us they don't have any food and there's no one handing out any food. Some of them have been relying on handouts from shrines, from mosques, just to get a little bit of roti (ph), a little bit of bread, a little bit of dall (ph), some lentils, to try to keep them and their families alive. So, it's a desperate situation, John, and the real fear is that even

though it's been going on for weeks now we're not seeing a marked improvement in this situation.

And it's interesting when you talk to people, there's a lot of resentment, too. Pakistan is responsible for less than 1 percent of the world's planet warming emissions and yet it is paying such a huge price for the effects of the climate crisis. This country is warming faster than many other places. As a result, you're seeing these epic monsoon seasons, you're (INAUDIBLE) that are melting, torrents of water just coming and submerging these areas, John.

KEILAR: And that, Clarissa, is part of the reason why the messaging coming from the Pakistani government, right, is that the international community -- I mean, not only -- look, not only do they clearly need aid, and I'm so glad you're highlighting that, but that this is a global problem that needs to be addressed because we're seeing the ramifications of it play out before our eyes.

WARD: Exactly. And they're asking for reparations. I want to show you -- like money to essentially atone for the price - the heavy, heavy price that Pakistan is paying.

I'm going to try to show you down here what some of these areas that are flooded look like. This is a village just behind me. I'm not sure if you can see that. These are homes. These are trees. You can see pylons. Impossible for the people who were living in that village to stay here. And so what they've had to do essentially, and you can see so many of them are children, by the way, 33 million people affected by this devastating crisis, many of them are children. And so what they've tried to do is basically move whatever they can onto higher ground. Whether that's a bed, whether that's some valuables from your home, whether that's your livestock, which really is people's lifeblood in these areas, and they're just desperately hoping that by moving them to higher ground they're buying themselves more time.

But some of these families have been here for eight days. Some people have left their homes weeks ago. And they're not seeing any respite. And you can see, if you look over here, I'm with Scottie Mcguine (ph), our cameraman here, you can just see what the conditions are like. These are makeshift tents or shelters. I can't even call them tents. Essentially made out of sticks and whatever tarpaulin or clothing they can sort of drape over to provide some type of shade.

The sun here is absolutely scorching. It's over 100 degrees. Very high humidity. And, of course, with all of that you then have the added problem of a public health crisis I was interviewing a woman not far from here who's seven months pregnant, who had a terrible cough. What does she do? Where does she go? Where does she now have her baby? How can she get medicine?

As I said, the Pakistani government and the military are moving heaven and earth to do everything they can, but with nearly one-third of the country submerged under water, it is a herculean task.

BERMAN: Clarissa Ward, the images behind you of that village under water and then just to see the stream of humanity go by you with people's entire lives packed up onto the back of a flatbed truck or those tractors going by, remarkable imagery. It is so good to have you there. Please - please stay safe.

Clarissa Ward, chief international correspondent and sometimes cow herder as well there, thank you so much for your reporting. Stay safe.

A U.S. soldier is kicked out of the Army after the FBI says he enlisted to become better at killing black people. The disturbing new details ahead.

KEILAR: And a CNN investigative report on a string of defections from Russia's top security service as Putin's brutal war on Ukraine rages on.



KEILAR: New revelations about the inner workings of Russia's national security service, known as the FSB, after a series of defections following the invasion of Ukraine and those individuals speaking out. Now we're learning more about how the Kremlin's secret agency preys on activists and turns them into informants.

CNN's Matthew Chance has this report.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is where we sleep. This is how we live, Mikhail says, as the Russian political activist turned FSB informant shows us around the Dutch refugee center where he's now seeking asylum.

All I want for the future is a positive, normal life, he says, without any more of these adventures.

It was, as a young opposition campaigner, that Mikhail, seen here at an anti-government protest in Russia, caught the attention of the Kremlin's security service, the FSB. His later work for Alexei Navalny, Russia's most prominent jailed opposition leader, must have made him particularly available. But he was originally targeted to be turned, he told me, with FSB threats.

MIKHAIL SOKOLOV, FORMER FSB INFORMANT (through translator): They knew I was avoiding military service and gave me a simple choice, either to cooperate with them or go to prison for years. Basically, I was threatened. And as a 19-year-old student, very frightened. There are so many stories, even videos, of people being abused in prison. To even think about that is scary.


CHANCE (on camera): You were working with Navalny. There's pictures of you working quite closely with him. What kind of information did you give the FSB about him? SOKOLOV: I wasn't his close friend, so I couldn't give them

information specifically about him. I was just working in a regional office. So they were more interested in when we were planning to hold meetings or protests and, of course, what kind of investigations we were conducting. We even cooperated on some of these investigations. Following any media outcry, the FBS would either imprison or protect a particular official.

CHANCE: But as well as keeping tabs on activists inside the country, the secretive Russian security services also appeared to have been stepping up surveillance of Russians living abroad. Mikhail says the FSB pulled him out of Russia and sent him to the

former Soviet Republic of Georgia to infiltrate the growing ex-patriot community there escaping repressions at home, alongside a network of other FSB informants already in place.

CHANCE (voice over): Informants like Vsevolod, another young political activist who says the FSB also threatened him with prison unless he sent detailed reports from Georgia on what Russian opposition figures there were thinking. Specifically, on the Ukraine war launched in February this year, which forced many Kremlin critics into exile. And the FSB's informant operations, he tells me, into overdrive.

CHANCE (on camera): What does that say to you about what the fears are in Moscow about what could happen in the future? What are they frightened of?

VSEVOLOD OSIPOV, FORMER FSB INFORMANT (through translator): Russian special services are very well aware of our history. When a huge Russian immigrant community emerges abroad where people speak freely to each other, work on projects together, help Ukrainian refugees and basically create a mini-Russia abroad, which is not under the control of FSB, they are afraid that history will repeat itself.

In 1917, Lennon came to Moscow and started a Russian revolution and they are terrified the regime will be threatened once again by war.

CHANCE (voice over): It was their opposition to the war both Vsevolod and Mikhail say finally compelled them to turn their backs on their FSB handles. Mikhail even appeared on Georgian television berating the Russian regime for which he had spied.

SOKOLOV: I texted the FSB guys and told them that they had started this war. That it was horrible. I saw all the images online and they turned my world upside down because I not only felt hatred towards the Russian government, but towards myself for working for them for all these years.

CHANCE: It is self-hatred and a deep sense of guilt for the lies and betrayals he say he was forced to make.


CHANCE: And these testimonies are fascinating because it did give us a glimpse into some of the concerns, some of the suspicions and paranoias as well of the Russian security services and, of course, their Kremlin masters.

But I think what's even more interesting is that there are many Russians, including people that formerly worked for the FSB, as we've seen, that are so shocked and outraged by the Russian invasion of the country that they are willing to take what would be a significant risk and speak out.


KEILAR: An amazing report just looking inside there, what you normally do not see.

Matthew Chance, thank you for that.

Luxury cars are flying off the lot. What is behind the record sales of brands like Lamborghini, Bentley and Ferrari?

BERMAN: Headed, apparently, not to the movies, a top theater chain now filing for bankruptcy. Christine Romans, Rahel Solomon, they are here. They will explain everything.



BERMAN: More Americans are buying luxury vehicles. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that sales of brands, including BMW, Mercedes-Benzes, Tesla, hitting record highs, accounting for 17.3 percent of all U.S. auto sales so far in 2022 and sales of the super premium luxury cars, these are your Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Ferraris, those have jumped 35.6 percent compared to the same time five years ago.

Let's bring in CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans and CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon.

I mean who doesn't need a Lamborghini?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Look, this is look at me money, right? These are people with look at me money because you -- these are very high-profile, flashy cars. And the young -- so many younger people are buying these cars. It shows you that who's been getting rich, younger people have been getting rich and they want to show their status symbols. So, really remarkable that such a big share of the U.S. market, 17 percent, is considered luxury now.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I think it's interesting because we've seen this trend sort of continue at least over the last five years. So this information coming to me from JD Power. Compare that 17.3 to 12.3 in 2017. So that's part of the trend.

But what I also think is really interesting about this story, which we're showing you on your screen is, when you think luxury cars, when you think sports cars, perhaps you're picturing the stereotypical rich, older man who has the fast, you know, sports car. But what we're actually seeing is a bulk of these sales, including from Lamborghini, are also SUVs. So it's attracting more families. Even Bentley, their highest selling car, their best-selling car is an SUV.

BERMAN: Are there Lamborghini minivans?

SOLOMON: Well, I don't know about that.

ROMANS: It's - well, it's interesting. But my kids -- my boys know all these kinds of cars because the YouTubers drive them, the sports people, you know, the sports, you know, experts - experts. The sports stars drive them, too. And so it's really kind of a younger trending status symbol. It's not the, you know, midlife crisis, I'm going to buy this, you know, fancy car anymore. It's like young people with a lot of money who want to show it.

BERMAN: All right.

SOLOMON: And a few things are happening that are happening because of the pandemic. So, we're seeing the price differential between luxury cars and more mainstream cars actually start to narrow. So, folks are thinking -

ROMANS: So, it's a good investment.

SOLOMON: Well, I don't know about that.

ROMANS: Just kidding.

SOLOMON: I guess it depends on your point of view.


SOLOMON: But folks are thinking, well, if there's only a $10,000 difference between name your mainstream car and a Lexus or a BMW, I'm going to spring for the - for the BMW. So, we're seeing that play out. Also the Covid wealth effect, which we have talked about so many times on this show. That certain people, there is a tale of two consumers right now. Certain people have more wealth because of the pandemic and they're buying.


In other news, Christine Romans, I understand this is the first year ever for you to play Fantasy Football.

ROMANS: It is. And my first -- my first week matchup is Fred Pleitgen in Moscow or Germany, wherever he happens to be, in the next day or two. So, you're going to have to help me.

BERMAN: Who's your quarterback?

ROMANS: My quarterback is Trey Lance.

BERMAN: You're saying that phonetically.

ROMANS: I had to write it down. His name is Trey Lance.

BERMAN: What is it you like about Trey Lance's game that had you pick him?

ROMANS: Because my son said that my strategy was blown in my first few rounds and that that was my best choice.

BERMAN: Good luck.

ROMANS: I have Aaron Jones as a running back and Chase Edmonds too.

BERMAN: Best of luck to you.

ROMANS: Thank you. I'm going to need it.

BERMAN: You're going to need it.

ROMANS: Are you available - are you available?

BERMAN: What's Fred's team's name

ROMANS: The Fredskins (ph).

BERMAN: I love that.

All right, Christine Romans, Rahel Solomon, thank you very much.

SOLOMON: You're welcome.

BERMAN: A public official in Las Vegas now under arrest following the murder of an investigative journalist. We're live in Las Vegas with the new developments.

KEILAR: Plus, Steve Bannon facing state fraud charges in New York, expected to turn himself in this morning. CNN is live outside the courthouse.




STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Because reportedly Steve Bannon faces state indictment in New York. And I'm told we have some exclusive footage of the moment Mr. Bannon got the bad news.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Investigators reportedly found the nuclear documents hidden in the club storage closet next to a bag of golf tees, a box of old pool noodles, and Melania, who was hiding in there.

And maybe even more alarming than the files the FBI found are the ones they didn't find. There were reportedly 43 classified folders that were empty. Trump claims they were protected. Apparently, he has his own system for storing things securely that you can see is clearly marked but -- JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": The

Bidens hosted the Obamas for the unveiling of their White House portraits. Yes, the unveil of the portraits took so long because they spent the last six months in the basement of Mar-a-Lago.

Look at Barack's portrait. It looks like he's about to introduce the new iPhone. He's like, I'm a Mac and he's a PC.

Barack was like, give me something that could double as a passport photo, if you don't mind. I mean, come on, even the school picture laser background would have been better than what - I mean, come on.


BERMAN: The laser background would be fantastic. Only Gerald Ford has lasers behind him in the White House.

KEILAR: I love that. Look, I like that you can see what he looks like. I look at so many portraits of past presidents, and I'm just not sure if I'm really getting, would I know them if I bumped into them?



KEILAR: Well, I would if I saw that portrait of Obama. I certainly would.

NEW DAY continues right now.