Return to Transcripts main page
New Day Saturday
Cities From Gulf Coast to Northeast Reeling From Hurricane Ida's Destruction; Louisiana Residents Face Power Outages, Fuel Shortages, Heat; Biden Orders Review, Potential Release of 9/11 Classified Documents; Former Prosecutor Indicted Over Ahmaud Arbery's Case. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired September 04, 2021 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. People from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, they are cleaning up this morning following the destruction that's left by Hurricane Ida and in Louisiana specifically, there are millions who don't have power or running water this morning and that heat index is soaring into triple digits.
SANCHEZ: Plus, booster confusion. Just one day after Dr. Fauci suggests that three shots may be the norm in fighting COVID, top health officials are now saying not so fast. We'll explain what's behind these mixed messages.
PAUL: And a former district attorney is indicted surrounding the investigation of the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. She's facing charges now and we're going to get through that in our legal brief that's coming up.
SANCHEZ: And a U.S. open stunner. Tennis star Naomi Osaka losing her match and her cool on the court. What she's now saying about her future in tennis.
PAUL: We are always so grateful to have your company. It is Saturday, September 4th. Welcome back, Boris. We missed you.
SANCHEZ: Thank you, Christi. I was on vacation and now my jacket feels a little bit tighter. I may have had a bit too much fun those two weeks I was gone.
PAUL: That happens to all of us.
SANCHEZ: Yes. Great to see you, as always, Christi. From the Gulf Coast region to the Northeast this morning, cities across the country are still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. In Louisiana, residents are dealing with fuel shortages, power outages and sweltering heat. Hurricane Ida now being blamed for at least 13 deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi and still, more than 700,000 people are without electricity in Louisiana.
PAUL: President Joe Biden got his first-hand look at the destruction during a visit to that area yesterday, promising federal help for people who are struggling to recover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know you all are frustrated about how long it takes to restore power. It's dangerous work. We're going to deploy more federal resources, including hundreds of generators and there's more to come to restore power as fast as we possibly can, faster than anything happened during Katrina.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Now, Ida's path of destruction stretches to the Northeast, as you know. At least 50 people have died from this storm that triggered flash flooding, it swept away home, cars, spawned tornadoes. Floodwaters have started to recede now in some areas, but millions of people are still under flood warnings or advisories. We want to get an update on conditions in Louisiana real quickly here. CNN correspondent Adrienne Broaddus is with us live from New Orleans. So what are you hearing, Adrienne, from people there at this point?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've seen that frustration you just heard the president talk about first hand play out at this gas station. It opens in a few hours and I can tell you before the gas station even opens, people are lined up waiting to get fuel. It's the fuel they need to keep going, quite literally, because a lot of folks have been using their vehicles to cool off. I can't emphasize enough, guys, how hot it is here in New Orleans.
Some things have changed. This time yesterday and throughout the week, this uptown neighborhood in the morning hours has been dark, but if we slide around this way, you can see, despite more than 700,000 people across this state living without power right now, there is this mobile light and we've seen these mobile lights throughout the city. So it's giving off some light as people drive around. They're not necessarily driving around to go visit friends and family. It's their way of simply cooling off.
And people that we've heard from say the help can't get here soon enough. Listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC MERTZ, ST. ROSE, LOUISIANA RESIDENT: I'm just wondering where the help is. You know, I'm wondering where the help is. I just, you know -- I don't have air conditioning, no lights, I had COVID last year. I was in the ICU for 14 days and I'm on oxygen and I don't have no electricity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROADDUS: And people are hurting. As we mentioned, this gas station is one of the only ones in the area that has been opened. Yesterday, they ran out of a regular unleaded gasoline and people were upset because they didn't want to pay the price for the premium gasoline. That's just one example of the frustration that's been playing out here in New Orleans, Christi.
SANCHEZ: Yes, Adrienne. I can imagine that. Now almost a week after Ida with the sweltering heat out there, with the flood conditions and with the power outages, frustrations are beginning to mount. Adrienne Broaddus in New Orleans, thank you so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Adrienne.
SANCHEZ: We want to zero in on one specific part of Louisiana, in Plaquemines Parish where the sheriff says that the flooding there is the most expansive with the most water that he has ever seen. So joining us over the phone this morning is the president of Plaquemines Parish, Kirk Lepine. Kirk, we appreciate you sharing part of your Saturday with us. Earlier this week, the parish was under a state of emergency, under a lockdown. Bring us up to speed with what conditions are like where you are right now.
KIRK LEPINE, PRESIDENT OF PLAQUEMINES PARISH: Good morning, guys. Yes. My parish, if you look on the map of Louisiana, from the foot of my parish to the end of the parish, it's 65 miles long. So the end of my parish in Venice, Louisiana goes to the Gulf of Mexico. The northern end of my parish is actually fairly -- it sustained it (ph) fairly well. We actually received some power in the northern part of my parish which is called Belle Chasse, but my parish is cut off between the middle section of Myrtle Grove and West Pointe a la Hache.
And those are floodwaters, as you say, that we've never seen and it's floodwaters that came over what's called our back levies, our marsh levies, and some of those areas are 3- to 6-foot. So our attempts to de-water the highway, because I only have one highway, 23, to ingress and egress from my north to my south. So that's the challenge that we're having now.
SANCHEZ: Yes. And as you're speaking, Kirk, I want you to know that we're looking at drone footage of the area and as you're explaining it, it appears that you're kind of on an island because the road is submerged by water. What are the most urgent needs that you have right now in Plaquemines Parish?
LEPINE: Well, in that area that you're seeing, we're under a mandatory evacuation, but we still have residents that they -- it's tough trying to get people to leave with COVID and people financially can't make those needs (ph). So our goal now is to get those residents water, ice and MREs, what we were able to get by truck, Humvee on our levee system through the water.
Our ferry system brought some yesterday and now our goal is to try to get them ice and once we get the road rocked on our river levy, we may be able to convoy some of those people out of there.
SANCHEZ: And, Kirk, what are you saying to those folks, those residents in the area, that have been stuck now for about a week?
LEPINE: You know, be patient. I know that's a tough word, but, you know, it's coming. You know, like I said, we saw a couple of wins last night, getting some power. Actually, our water plant got on full power last night. That was a big win. So now we're trying to pump water to our southern end friends. We're having some logistical problems, but we're working night and day and we won't -- we won't give up until our friends have a safe passage home and have food, water and electricity.
SANCHEZ: And, Kirk, are you getting the help that you need from the state and the federal government? What's your message?
LEPINE: Well, yesterday, we did meet with President Biden with other local residents and that's our need, that's our want, that's our wishlist, is get us some fuel, get us some electricity, get us some -- so we can start up. If we get the electricity, we get the fuel, we get the water and ice, we will rebuild later. We just want to get into our homes so we can clean those homes or get back on our feet. The people down here are so resilient. So just help us get started. We'll do the rest.
SANCHEZ: Kirk, we certainly hope that that help is on the way. It sounds like you are making some progress, but patience is a difficult thing to come by when you're in the situation that you're in. Kirk Lepine, the president of Plaquemines Parish. Thank you so much for the time and good luck.
LEPINE: Thank you, guys.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
PAUL: Thank you, sir. So the Northeast, we go now, where the devastation after Ida, this thing spans six states. Look at this video just coming into us. This is new. That's how intense -- look at that -- how fast that flooding struck. You don't even have time to run at that point.
The wall collapsed. Here, let's see it again. The wall collapsed, water rushed in. This is a New Jersey basement, by the way. Couches, you saw them. They're just couches. They look like toys being tossed around. The water hit the ceiling, we're told. I mean, look at it. You can see it yourself. In seconds. Now, this morning, New Jersey accounts for half of the deaths in the Northeast.
Dive crews in the small town you're looking at there are suspending a search for two people. Six others are still missing and then near Philadelphia, you have these major roads that are still under water. Look at this. A river here rose 12 feet in just eight hours during the worst part of the storm. Hundreds of people were rescued from flooded homes and cars. That is the good news, that they did get those rescues in, but, oh, Boris, it has been something, hasn't it?
SANCHEZ: Yes. No question. And of course there are ways that you can help these folks that really need a hand right now. You can visit CNN.com/specials/impactyourworld and you can contribute and help the victims of Hurricane Ida.
Ahead, the president's plan to rollout vaccine boosters may have just hit a snag. Why everyone may not be eligible for a third dose. Coming up.
PAUL: Also, Senator Joe Manchin is getting some pushback from his own party after his comment about putting the budget package on pause. The battle over President Biden's agenda ahead this hour.
SANCHEZ: So the White House may have to scale back its plans to roll out COVID-19 booster shots later this month, limiting the booster only to those who've received the Pfizer vaccine.
PAUL: Yes. According to officials familiar with internal discussions here, the FDA's concerned about overall approval of a third dose for all adults at this point. Here's CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.
ELIZABETH COHEN, SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Several weeks ago when the Biden administration announced that there would be a booster rollout starting September 20th for the COVID-19 vaccines, that left many people scratching their heads. You can't have a booster rollout until the FDA and the CDC review the data and weigh in and that has not happened. There have been no announcements for any of the three COVID-19 vaccines.
So here's the issue. It is possible that Pfizer could have a booster rollout starting the week of September 20th and here's why -- they've submitted their data, they have a date, September 17th, to speak to the FDA's advisers. So they could have a rollout on September 20th, but not everybody got Pfizer. Let's take a look at these numbers.
As you can see, among vaccinated people in the U.S., 54 percent got Pfizer, 38 percent got Moderna and 8 percent got Johnson & Johnson. So here's the bottom line for people who are vaccinated. There is an excellent chance, no matter what vaccine you got, that you will be told to get a booster sometime in the coming months. We don't know exactly when, but it really is very, very likely that you will be getting a booster sometime in the coming months.
The concern here is really for the folks who are unvaccinated. The concern is that all this back and forth over boosters is going to make this group even more mistrustful of the government. These are folks who are not listening to health authorities, they're not getting vaccinated and the concern is this could make it worse and let's take a look at this number.
More than one in four eligible Americans have not gotten even a single shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Again, the concern is that this back and forth will make them even more reluctant to get a vaccine. The concern here is that the Biden administration needs to work on its messaging. Back to you.
PAUL: Elizabeth, thank you so much. Dr. Chris Pernell, a public health physician and fellow with the American College of Preventative Medicine is with us now. Dr. Pernell, so good to see you. How likely is it, do you think, after listening to what Elizabeth was just talking about, how likely is it that Pfizer and Moderna will actually be part of the White House booster rollout?
DR. CHRIS PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN: Morning, Christi. You know, that's very hard to predict without having a sense of whether or not all of the necessary data will be into the FDA in time. I really think the White House got ahead of itself and we all could learn a lesson around public health communications 101. Only say with certainty what you know with certainty. The fact that a specific date was given, I think that was a misstep.
PAUL: I think there are some people out there who, for instance, received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Where are they in all of this when we talk about boosters?
PERNELL: You know, I get a lot of questions about this in community, Christi. What about those of us who had Johnson & Johnson? Just the rollout and the timetable, I should say, of that particular vaccine has been different throughout the course of this pandemic, especially when the vaccines were approved under emergency use authorization.
And while we know that Johnson & Johnson is working on getting that data in a position that it can be presented, we don't have a sense of when that specifically will be. Unfortunately, we have to say to those who've had Johnson & Johnson, like we have to say to so many others, stay tuned.
PAUL: So people might be wondering if I got the Johnson & Johnson, could I get the Pfizer booster? To that, you say what?
PERNELL: To that, I say I can't say with any certainty. What we have heard to-date is that we're going to see people receive boosters, most likely, of the vaccine dose that they received in their initial series. There have been some studies or some real world data where certain countries were combining vaccines, one brand with another if you will, and I just don't think we have conclusive or comprehensive enough data to say definitively, hey, just go out there and take a booster.
And I want to caution our language here for everyone across public health to only say what we know with certainty and what we don't know, to let the public know that up front.
PAUL: So let me ask you this. There was a study this week that showed more than 80 percent of Americans have some immunity to coronavirus.
PAUL: Does that number give you confidence that we are either nearing or at herd immunity? Because based on the numbers, we would be there then at some point soon; yes?
PERNELL: Well, you know, Christi with the Delta variant, that percentage that we were previously floating, I just don't think is realistic. I think we actually well above even 85 percent of the country having some form of immunity, whether from natural infection or from vaccination. What I take away from that data is the encouragement that progress has been made on the vaccination front.
Yes, we've heard that one in four eligible Americans still are not vaccinated. Yes, we know that Americans missed some 26 million doses of vaccines if you just think more globally across public health. So we've got work to do. We have to continue to have this national dialogue on the importance of vaccines and how safe they are, specifically around the coronavirus vaccines.
PAUL: Real quickly, are you concerned about a Labor Day spike?
PERNELL: You know, with every holiday, we have seen spikes because people go outside, people congregate in large groups. Same recommendations. Wear your mask if you're in indoor public spaces. If you're in outdoor spaces that's crowded, put some spaces between you and folks and keep that mask on.
PAUL: Good to know. Dr. Chris Pernell, we always value your thoughts and your expertise on this. Thank you for taking time for us this morning.
PERNELL: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: The public could soon finally see secret documents related to the 9/11 attacks investigation and what Saudi Arabia may have had to do with the attacks. What papers President Biden just ordered to be declassified is next.
SANCHEZ: There's a new challenge for that strict Texas abortion law that took effect this week. A district judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life that blocks them from suing abortion providers employed by Planned Parenthood. You might remember the law bans abortions starting as early as six weeks into pregnancy and perhaps the most controversial aspect of it, it allows private citizens to sue anyone that helps a pregnant person seeking an abortion.
Travis County Judge Maya Guerra Gamble said, quote, "If the medical providers were sued by the group, they would face probable, irreparable and imminent injury." A preliminary hearing in that case is scheduled for September 13th.
PAUL: Let's turn to Capitol Hill right now. President Biden's trying to move his agenda forward after what's a pretty tough week. There could be a new road block and this one isn't from Republicans. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is signaling he could threaten the razor thin Democratic majority on the $3.5 trillion spending bill. CNN's Daniella Diaz is with us now. Daniella, what are you learning? And good morning.
DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Good morning, Christi. Good morning, Boris. Look, Senator Joe Manchin has made a total mess of this timeline that Democratic leaders have laid out to try to pass this budget reconciliation bill, along with the bipartisan infrastructure bill. He's a swing vote in the Senate and Democratic leaders need his vote to be able to pass any legislation they want to move forward, especially this budget reconciliation bill because they need every Democratic senator behind it to be able to pass.
That's what the process means. It just needs a simple majority for this bill to pass through the Senate. You know, in an op-ed this week, he called for a pause on this timeline to try to pass this budget reconciliation bill. He said, "A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic and it will allow us to determine whether inflation is transitory or not."
But the bigger picture here is that his stance on this could complicate the whole timeline of when Democratic leaders want to pass these bills and that is because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised moderates a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure package by the end of the month, by September 27th, and if that bill is on the floor before the larger reconciliation bill passes the Senate, progressives have threatened to withhold their vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
So neither of these bills can pass unless Democratic moderate Senator Joe Manchin can get behind these bills and progressives are already furious at his stance on this. They have spoken out, such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She tweeted that Manchin is taking this stance because he's too cozy with the fossil fuels industry.
Now, let's talk a little bit about what's in this bill that we're talking about. The $3.5 trillion package is a bill that could pass through budget reconciliation in the Senate. It would expand the Social Security net -- excuse me -- social safety net of the country, it would have funding to combat climate change, it would expand the child tax credit, it would have paid family and medical leave and that is why progressives and the Biden administration want to see this bill passed.
So bottom line here is if Manchin does not get behind this budget reconciliation bill, this $3.5 trillion package, it could be possible that neither of these infrastructure bills pass. So huge warning signs for Democratic leaders ahead on this legislation. Christi?
SANCEZ: Yes. Central to the debate among Democrats, Daniella, as you pointed out, the debate over climate change. Later this morning, we're going to have an expert on climate change to discuss with us and we're going to bring up this question of how best to approach it from the government side. Daniella Diaz from Capitol Hill, thank you so much. PAUL: Thanks, Daniella. So nearly 20 years after the September 11th attacks, President Biden is directing the Department of Justice and other agencies to review documents related to the FBI's investigation of the terrorist attacks to see which could be released -
SANCHEZ: Biden's signs an executive order yesterday after more than 1,600 people affected by the attacks asked the president to skip the anniversary events at Ground Zero unless he released additional information that the government has been blocking.
PAUL: It was in a classroom of second graders, President Bush in a moment that forever unites them. Twenty years later, find out what happened to the kids in that 9/11 classroom. Watch this very special program tomorrow night, 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN. And coming up, new developments in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. A former prosecutor is facing criminal charges now. So, what does that mean for the case? That's next.
PAUL: Topping this morning's legal brief, a grand jury in Georgia has indicted a former district attorney on charges related to the killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery. Now, Arbery was killed while he was jogging near Brunswick, Georgia, back in February of 2020. Police say he was chased down by three men and then fatally shot. Well, Jackie Johnson is accused of protecting the men who are now charged with murder. In an indictment, officials said Johnson showed, quote, "favor and affection" to Greg McMichael and prevented officers from arresting Travis McMichael, his son.
Greg McMichael had worked for Johnson apparently as an investigator. CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson with us now. Joey, it's always so good to have you with us. Based on what you have seen, how unusual is it for a prosecutor to be indicted for not bringing charges against a suspect?
JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Christi, good morning to you. This is pretty significant. Generally speaking, prosecutors are really immune and it's very frustrating often times, right? When you're looking to get accountability. Prosecutors have so many legal immunities built in to the discretionary decisions they make with respect to who to arrest with regard to exactly how to handle cases, how they should be investigated, who they should partner with in those investigations. They're really bulletproof in that regard. So, to your question, this is really revolutionary.
And I think we're seeing a system of justice, as imperfect as it is, looking for accountability in all facets, right? Looking for not only police accountability on the streets, but with respect to who gets prosecuted. Now, having said that, right? In terms of the factual rendition of this, it's a very short, right, indictment? As we look there at the indictment of Jackie Johnson and what she's being indicted for, of course, those two things, violation of public office and hindering or obstructing an officer as it relates to saying that they not be arrested. And so, what ends up happening is big picture, I think this is really a big moment.
Now, factually, she's innocent until proven guilty. She'll have a trial and everything else. But the fact that the state attorney general indicts her, I think, wow, this is -- these are very different times. Everyone needs to do their job and if you don't, beware.
PAUL: So, based on what you know especially as a defense attorney, what is most problematic that you see for her defense or does speak to it?
JACKSON: Yes, I think everything, Christi, quite frankly. And when I say that, what I mean is that when you take an oath, you're a public officer, and as a public officer, district attorney, we know that she lost the last election. She's not sitting now. Someone else, Mr. Hagen has taken her place. That's not really relevant. But when you sit in that chair, you have to make decisions, and those decisions should be predicated upon your oath. You do solemnly swear to execute the constitution without fear or favor. And so, when you're intervening, if you are intervening against, actually we'll see what comes out in the court of law.
But if you intervene in an adverse way and the fact so clearly indicate, right? Just below standard, Christi, probable cause to believe a crime was committed. Not that someone is guilty on the scene, not that you have every shred of evidence and that they should be jailed for life, is there probable cause to believe a crime was committed?
PAUL: OK --
JACKSON: You then have an obligation to prosecute that case, not otherwise suggest that the officer shouldn't be prosecuted or -- excuse me, former officer because they worked for me, and you shouldn't hinder that. And by the way, their son, don't arrest them either, and also by the way, I shouldn't be involved because I'm a prosecutor, but I'll call my friend in the neighboring county and I won't tell the state attorney general that I called them, but I'll recommend to the state attorney general that you appoint them. So, everything about it is problematic, we'll see what factually actually happened, but if the indications are, as they are, that she engaged in that conduct, I think there's a lot of problems for her defense.
PAUL: OK, real quickly, I have to get to the Parkland shooter -- school shooter trial, but I have to ask you this, does this change the case real quickly?
JACKSON: I think so. I mean, look, the reality is that it has to.
PAUL: OK --
JACKSON: That's my answer.
PAUL: Yes, it will change. OK, sorry. I just need -- I just want to make sure that we get into this news that a judge has ruled that the accused Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz can't be called derogatory names by prosecutors at their witnesses during his trial. In other words, they can't call him a killer.
Now, he's accused of killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School back in February of 2018. This is what is interesting to me, Joey. So he's -- help us understand. He's admitted to this, right? There is not a question about whether he did this. The mitigation is going to come into play as to why he did this and that he doesn't deserve the penalty. That's what the defense is going to try to do. But by calling him a killer, it's not inaccurate. So help us walk through this judge's decision about the language that's being used.
JACKSON: So big picture, Christi, what happens is. What the defense has done, you file certain motions. A trial is not about editorializing with respect to what your opinions are, whether someone is a massacre, whether someone is -- you know, a serial killer, whether someone is anything else. That could actually be factually correct. But remember, what you're trying to do as a defense attorney, and as a prosecutor and really as the judge is to ensure a fair trial. Right, I know people rolled their eyes off in times when they hear that, particularly when you have egregious misconduct like this which relates to 17 -- you know, students dead as a result of what he did.
Wow, how could you? But at trial, what the defense is trying to do is just have the witnesses indicate the facts without characterization. And at any trial, that's what we try to do. Don't call the defendant an animal, don't call him a mass murderer, just describe him as the defendant. You could describe the conduct he engaged in. There were murders, there were killings, et cetera. But I think the judge without giving a list, Christi, of things that people shouldn't say, is warning the prosecutors, keep it about the facts, keep it about the observations, keep it about what happened and don't keep it about what characterizations you have with respect to how you feel about a defendant, and that's the essence of the judge's ruling.
PAUL: So, that is the ruling and directive to the attorneys, the prosecution. What about witnesses? I mean, what if a witness slips up and says something that would be deemed derogatory. Is there a consequence for that? Does it affect the trial?
JACKSON: So, what ends up happening, Christi, is that the prosecutors really, you coach your witnesses. When I say that, I don't mean it in a derogatory way. Say that. Say that. You sit with them and you really -- it's your obligation, whether you're a prosecutor or a defendant, right -- defense, excuse me, to talk to your witnesses, to talk to them about what they're going to say. To work through them with what the testimony is going to be. And so you have to admonish, if you ought to prosecute the witnesses, we're not going to get into characterizations with respect to what he did, the terrible behavior, the nature of his horrific actions.
Just talk to me about the facts. Now if a witness slips up, they will be admonished by the judge, the jury will be told to disregard the statements, et cetera, and the trial will continue. But just everyone you want to be acting in good faith so that you will listen to the facts, and I think if you'll listen to the facts in this case, I think, boy-oh-boy, is there evidence of guilt here? But the judge wants to keep it about that and about nothing else. Outside the courtroom, First Amendment rights, state whatever you have to state.
But inside that courtroom, I want to know what you saw, when you saw it, how you saw it if anything at all. That's what trials are all about. And that's what the motion not to refer to him as an animal, et cetera, was all about. And that's what the judge ruling ultimately, Christi, is all about --
PAUL: All right, Joey Jackson, it is always so good to have your perspective. Thank you.
JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.
SANCHEZ: There's still much more ahead on NEW DAY, but first, we want to tell you about 2008 CNN Hero of the year Liz McCartney. She went down to Louisiana as a volunteer after Hurricane Katrina, and co- founded the St. Bernard Project. Now, as the scale of damage from Hurricane Ida is just coming into focus, she and her team are already starting the rebuilding process by addressing damage like mold that could destroy homes even after they're rebuilt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ MCCARTNEY, CNN HERO FOR 2008: Because of the timing of the tides, I think Ida pushed a lot of water into places that don't normally experience flooding that are outside of New Orleans, but were really taken off guard. Typically, you can go to the communities in outlying areas to access the resources to help people recover. With power out in Baton Rouge, it's become a much trickier situation. We have teams to assist with mucking and gutting and mold remediation. What we've been able to do at SBP is help homeowners understand how they can buy the appropriate materials that actually kill mold spores and then learn how to dry their house out.
So that when they do start to rebuild it, their house doesn't have any mold in it and they can live safely in it. I just want to say thank you to everybody who is supporting people who have been impacted by Hurricane Ida. The immediate response is really important, the long- term recovery is going to take more time. And so, we ask you to stick with it, come on down and volunteer, share your talents and help us make these communities even stronger in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: To learn more about the work of the St. Bernard Project, go to cnnheroes.com.
[06:50:00] SANCHEZ: A stunning upset to tell you about. Naomi Osaka getting
knocked out of the U.S. Open. The defending champion losing her cool, then losing the match in what's been a roller-coaster year for her.
PAUL: Coy Wire is with us now. She just returned from this mental health break, what, over a month ago. And she says now as we understand, she's considering going on another hiatus. I mean, is she OK, what do we know?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's what we're waiting to see, Christi, good morning to you, and Boris, it has been a very up and down year for Naomi Osaka. The 23-year-old has been open about her struggles with anxiety and depression. She withdrew from the French Open, you remember, in Wimbledon earlier this year. The four-time major champ uncharacteristically slamming her racket during the third round match last night at the U.S. Open, walking off the court with a towel over her head.
And then for that final set, she rocketed a ball into the stands, it was the final crescendo and a stunning loss. It was Canada's Leila Fernandez with the biggest win of her career just three days before her 19th birthday. Afterwards, Osaka said that she's not sure what her future holds right now. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAOMI OSAKA, TENNIS PLAYER: I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match -- sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: All right, meanwhile, college football back in full force this weekend and jaw-dropping scenes across the nation, 65,000 Virginia tech fans at Lane Stadium last night. The first game without capacity restrictions since the pandemic. They're hosting top 10 North Carolina, and this game was all about the Hokie's lunch pail defense. Nightmare for Tar Heel's Heisman hopeful quarterback Sam Howell. Four of their six sacks came in the first half, and then the second half, it got worse. Howell threw three interceptions including one that sealed the deal in the final minute, a 17-10 win for the Hokies, and here come the fans. Virginia Tech's first home win against the top 10 team since 2009.
And there's plenty more where that came from today, five games between ranked teams. The biggest tonight in Charlotte between number 5 Georgia and number 3 Clemson. All right, tomorrow marks the end of the Paralympics in Tokyo, but as these games come to a close, the next generation of stars are already grinding to make their dreams come true. And they're getting a huge assist from BlazeSports, an organization celebrating 25 years of empowering adaptive athletes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN LANCASTER, BLAZESPORTS JR. HAWKS: When I was 5, I was in a car accident, and so that left me paralyzed from the waist down. I played in sports before my accident. And so, I was just looking for a way to get back out there and Blaze gave me that opportunity.
DAWN CHURI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLAZESPORTS AMERICA: Our athletes that are in wheelchairs come to a wheelchair basketball practice for the first time -- at six years old. And look around, they say, hey, that kid's like me. A lot of our kids might be in schools where they might be the only kid in a wheelchair.
ERIC FRANCIS, BLAZESPORTS JR. HAWKS: BlazeSports has an open community of disabled athletes. Outside of practice and games, yourself -- you kind of feel like you're one in a million sometimes. And so, you feel like including yourself around other people.
LANCASTER: This is a very physical game just like any able body sport. A lot of contact., really the same as able-body sport.
FRANCIS: You're going to run into people, you're going to bump, fall over. It's a part of the sport. You don't look at it as a bad thing. You just get up and we keep playing. It's a rough, physical sport and it's not for the faint of heart.
CHURI: Our kids are playing in specialized, customized sports chair. So this is not their everyday wheelchair. They're playing in very specific chairs. And they're expensive. Facility fees are expensive for us, we don't have any facilities. But we never want equipment to be a barrier. Our partnership with the Hawks is really immeasurable. And it is truly a partnership. I think that's the great word for it. It's not a sponsorship, they're our partners.
BLAKE JOHNSON, ATLANTA HAWKS' COMMUNITY BASKETBALL PROGRAMS: One of the most important things I think about this partnership is that we're making the athletes feel like a part of our fox family. We've had players come speak at their practices to provide motivation, we're branding their wheelchairs with Hawks logos. Their uniforms are Hawks basically uniforms as well. And so, we're telling them like we hear you, we see you, like you are fully a part of our family.
CHURI: With adaptive sports, a lot of our kids will go to college. We are graduating a 100 percent, we have a 100 percent high school graduation rate. Several of our seniors, when you talk to them, they're talking four years from now, the Paralympics. They're talking professional to go overseas if they get the opportunity.
FRANCIS: As I'm with Alabama, Alabama next, and U23 and Paralympics is my end goal in mind. And so, just kind of working up from where I am now and ending my career at BlazeSports.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: You know, we like to start off your Saturday with some motivation. Thanks to some future stars there now -- just minutes ago, the U.S. women's wheelchair basketball team beat Germany to win bronze in Tokyo. Tonight, the men's team goes for gold against host nation Japan.
[06:55:00] SANCHEZ: Incredible. Love that dose of motivation on Saturday
mornings, some really inspiring athletes. Thank you so much, Coy Wire --
WIRE: You got it --
SANCHEZ: NEW DAY comes back after a quick break. Stay with us.
PAUL: We are so grateful for your company. Welcome to your NEW DAY, I'm Christi Paul.
SANCHEZ: Good morning, Christi, I'm Boris Sanchez. People from the Gulf Coast to the northeast are cleaning up following the destruction left by Hurricane Ida. In Louisiana, hundreds of thousands remain without power or running water as the heat index now soars into the triple digits.