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New Day Saturday

At Least 50 Dead From Flash Flooding In Northeast; Louisiana Resident Face Power Outagesm Fuel Shortages, Heat; President Biden Speaks Out About New Texas Abortion Law; Democrats Divided Over $3.5T Infrastructure Bill; Former Afghan Translator And Wife Start New Life In U.S.; Former Translator Still In Kabul: Don't Leave Us Behind; Jobs Growth Slows As Delta Variant Drags Down Recovery; FAA Investigating After Branson's Spaceflight Veered Off Course. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 04, 2021 - 07:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Has remained without power or running water, as the heat index now soars into the triple digits.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And President Biden is slamming a new Texas law banning abortions after six weeks is "almost un-American." How that law and squabbles over the president spending bill creating new headaches for Democrats?

SANCHEZ: Plus, a new lease on life. CNN sits down with one Afghan family lucky enough to get out of that country just before the Taliban took over. We'll tell you how they're adjusting for their new life in the United States.

PAUL: And grounded and under investigation. Why the FAA is looking into Richard Branson's much hype flight to the edge of space?

SANCHEZ: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Saturday, September 4th, the month just flying off the calendar Christi and I have to tell you, it is starting to feel a little bit chilly like autumn here in D.C.

PAUL: Yes, thank goodness. Same here in Atlanta. And believe me, we're grateful for it.

SANCHEZ: I prefer the summer, but nevertheless, we have to talk about weather.

PAUL: Here's our Miami man.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that's right. That's right. We have to talk about weather, and we begin this hour with how the United States is coming face to face with the climate crisis. The death toll continuing to climb from Wednesday's historic flooding and tornadoes in the northeast, at least 50 people have died.

PAUL: In the northeast, Hurricane Ida triggered the deadly flash flooding. I'm sure you saw it sweeping away cars. There were tornadoes across the region. And New Jersey's governor says the recovery is going to take time, but the state is ready to help.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Just walking through for a few minutes in the downtown area. It is clear that the damage caused by Ida is significant by any measure and recovering and rebuilding will require economic support and we will be there.


SANCHEZ: Let's bring in CNNs Evan McMorris-Santoro. And Evan, we all saw what happened in the northeast in New Jersey, update us on what you're seeing there.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris and Christi, as you mentioned, you know it -- the seasons have changed a little bit. It's a crisp, beautiful morning here in Passaic, New Jersey. And that's the weird thing about flash floods is that they come in so fast and they leave so fast, it can be hard to understand just what they're actually like. But here in Passaic, you can see some of the remnants of what happened.

You can see all that's left is some of the signs of what it actually looked like. I can get Rick to pan out here for a second. You can see over here, just what's left now there are you know, things debris pushed up against fences, trees falling down, things like that. That's what happened when water just came rushing into this town in such a short period of time. And as you mentioned, 50 dead so far in this storm, those numbers have been rising, unfortunately.

And at least 25 of those here in New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy saying that most of those people came, people who were trapped in their cars when those floodwaters rose just instantaneously like that, trapping them and unfortunately, causing some of them to lose their lives. Here in Passaic, it's an ongoing tragedy because two people here, an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old were swept into a storm drain, authorities think, they have -- they're still accounted for.

(INAUDIBLE) said what's happened to them yet. They don't know the answers to what they're searching hospitals. They're searching the storm drains, they don't know. But it's one of those things about how days after this crisis, days after this catastrophe, people are still digging out, trying to figure out what's happened and also trying to figure out just how many people have lost their lives in this storm, Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: Evan McMorris-Santoro from New Jersey, thank you so much. From the northeast, we want to pivot to the Gulf Coast where residents are dealing with fuel shortages, power outages and sweltering heat. Hurricane Ida being blamed for at least 13 deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi. And still more than 700,000 customers remain without power in Louisiana.

PAUL: President Joe Biden did get a first-hand look at the destruction during a visit to the area this week and promised federal help for people who are struggling to recover. Adrienne Broaddus is with us from New Jersey or New Orleans excuse me right now. So, Adrienne, talk to us about what you're seeing there. I know that it is -- that when you're in that kind of triple digit heat and you have no relief, I mean, that's painful.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Painful, indeed. The folks here are struggling, and we can't emphasize enough that heat is one of the main concerns, but I do want to show you some of the changes we've seen in this uptown neighborhood.

Take a look behind me you'll notice there's a portable light powered by a generator. We've seen these lights pop up throughout the city. Some parts of New Orleans have the lights back on power has been restored.

But that's not the case for the entire city. And some folks this morning, we've seen them stepping outside of their homes onto the porch. They're coming outside because quite frankly, guys, its cooler outside than it is inside.


Especially if they have no power. That means, they have no A.C., there's no refrigeration, and of course, no lights. We chat just moments ago, and across the state still, more than 700,000 people are still without power.

This gas station has seen folks line up before the gas station opens. And there have been some tense moments here. The one of the employees here that I spoke with yesterday, visibly carries a handgun for protection.

And less than 10 miles away from here, police say a man trying to get gasoline was killed. And this morning, and investigators are still looking for the suspect who took off listen in.


TIFFANY PARKER, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: When we woke up this morning, somebody has told our gas cans off the porch. And I was like, you know, I was happy they didn't take the generator but don't come back is all I got to say, don't try that again. That's all I want to tell them. But I just hope everything come on clear up in a city so we can get things back rolling.

ABDULLAH HUMINAS, GAS STATION EMPLOYEE: There have been multiple incidents where people have pulled ones on us for very, you know, belligerent reasons, waiting in line too long thinking we're ripping them off. We're actually -- don't, one of the only gas stations in the Greater New Orleans area that's charging the exact same prices that we've been charging before the hurricane during the pandemic, and we've been giving out free ice, free water multiple days, and we're trying our best to help the community in every aspect that we can.


BROADDUS: Those are just some of the stories we've heard here in New Orleans. And as I mentioned, and you can see it for yourself, folks have already started lining up hours before the gas station opens. It opens here in about two hours and the line of cars, will -- it starts here and it snakes down the street just a little bit. Christi and Boris.

PAUL: Adrienne, thank you so much. We really appreciate it. Adrienne Broaddus there for us.

SANCHEZ: So, as Louisiana grapples with a gas shortage, the White House is taking action to help.

PAUL: More oil, 1.5 million barrels in fact being released from an emergency stockpile. Here's CNN's Matt Egan.


MATT EGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Christi, on top of everything else, the people of Louisiana are dealing with a serious gas crisis. The vast majority of gas stations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge are out of fuel. That's according to crowd source Web site Gas Buddy. And drivers are waiting hours online at gas stations that do have fuel. All of this is adding to the misery in Louisiana, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Now, the good news is that help is on the way. The Biden administration is releasing 1.5 million barrels of crude oil from America's emergency stockpile. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a complex of deep underground storage caverns in the Gulf Coast. And it's designed for emergencies such as this one.

The Energy Department said the release of this oil should ease logistical problems in the region and make sure that people of Louisiana have access to fuel as soon as possible. And one of those problems is the fact that portions of the Mississippi River had been blocked by vessels that sunk during the hurricane. That's creating headaches for refineries as they attempt to reopen.

But tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve won't be a magic wand to fix the gas crisis. That's because there's so many other logistical challenges in the region. First, most of the offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico remains offline. Second, the ports struggle to reopen.

And the biggest problems that many places still don't have power. Gas stations can't pump gas without power, and that there's no power, tankers can't fill up the terminals. Boris and Christi, it's hard to see how this gas versus ends until the power gets restored.


PAUL: All right, thank you so much, Matt, there. And do stay with us for the next hour of NEW DAY. We're speaking with the Mayor of Kenner, Louisiana about that city's recovery efforts. Thousands of people there are facing food, and fuel, and power shortages. So, that's ahead at 8:00 am Eastern. SANCHEZ: Plus coming up, President Biden ramping up his criticism of that new Texas law that bans most abortions. How exactly can the Justice Department intervene and do something about it?


PAUL: Also, a prime part of the President's agenda is now threatened by a Democratic senator. NEW DAY continues in a moment.


SANCHEZ: We're just about 14 minutes past the hour and President Biden is reacting to Texas having passed one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the nation.

PAUL: Yes, the new law which the Supreme Court chose to leave in place prohibits providers from conducting the procedure after six weeks into a pregnancy. That's before a lot of women even know that they're pregnant. White House Reporter Jasmine Wright is with us now. So, Jasmine, good morning to you. President Biden, we know is facing a lot of pressure from abortion rights advocates to intervene federally, and what is his response?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: You're right, Christi. And President Biden yesterday did not mince his words. He called that new Texas State law "almost un-American." Now, he's had tough words for this bill when describing it and denouncing it over the last few days. And we have to note that this of course comes as his administration is facing multiple crises on Afghanistan, potentially the economy and the hurricanes and officials within the White House know that any false move on their part could call into it could potentially bring more questions on their competency. So, on Friday, President Biden he really took aim at that specific provision that basically incentivizes civil action against women, against those people who help women find abortion providers. Take a listen.



BIDEN: The most pernicious thing about the Texas law is sort of creates a vigilante system. It just seems, I know this sounds ridiculous, almost un-American.

I must tell you, I am not certain. I was told that there are possibilities within the existing law to have the Justice part and look and see whether are there things that can be done, that can limit the independent action of individuals and enforcing a federal system a state law.


WRIGHT: So, Christi and Boris, President Biden not only test the Justice Department to look and see what it can do, but also he, tests the Health and Human Services Department to do the same. And now that action comes in addition with what wise White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says, President Biden will push Congress to actually turn Roe versus Wade into law.

But we know as we have discussed many times on this program before that getting anything of this kind into law in Congress, it's difficult because of those slim Democratic majorities. It would take 60 votes, and they likely don't have 60 votes for this law, which calls into question, taking down the filibuster is something that the President has not said that he would before as of yet.

And it's something that multiple Democratic Senators say that they do not want to cross that line, either. So it remains to be seen where on this hierarchy of multiple crises that we talked about earlier that abortion falls, but President Biden has now vowed to do something about protecting women's rights going forward. Christi Boris.

PAUL: Jasmine Wright. Always good to see you, Jasmine. Thank you. So, President Biden's agenda took several hits this week, both from the Supreme Court, also from his own party. Nicholas Wu is with us. He's a Congressional Reporter for Politico, where you can find his latest piece, which is "Two senior Dem centrists send Pelosi demands for $3.5 trillion mega bill." So, Nicholas, it's so good to have you with us. What is telling in part of your paragraph, one paragraph after you talk about what the issues are, that is dividing Democrats?

Is this note the letter from one of the senators involved here, Representative Stephanie Murphy of Florida, who you mentioned, who writes this letter, "It's just to reinforce to the speaker that we intend to hold her accountable to the commitments that she made around pre-conferencing, the bill as well as paying for the bill itself."

First of all, how potent are the demands, and secondly, talk to us about the task that is in front of the speaker right now.

NICHOLAS WU, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, this is all part of the machinations going on and the salvos back and forth within the Democratic Party, as they gear up to pass this $3.5 trillion mega bill, as we put it. The social spending bill and their infrastructure package. And the trouble here for Democrats is that, you know, any one member of the House or any one member of the Senate is going to have huge sway over how that how the process plays out.

And that's exactly what we're seeing here. Some of these demands are things that are actually going on already, that pre-conferencing, you mentioned is basically what the White House, the House, and the Senate are doing now to try to resolve any of their big remaining differences on these bills before they pass them. But paying for the bill is something that's going to be a little trickier, especially with something that large.

Although, the moderates do note that they're making an exception for any climate-related provisions in the bills and says they see it and this is something worth paying for. And so, these are all issues that we're going to have to keep a very close eye on and Democrats are watching very closely as well. Because if anything goes wrong here, the whole thing could fall apart.

PAUL: So, the speaker wants to vote on the floor by the end of the month, based on what you know and what you're hearing. How likely is that?

WU: It's, it's certainly an ambitious goal. The like I mentioned earlier, the House, the Senate and White House are trying to reconcile all the differences. Now, house panels are currently drafting their own parts of the legislation. But the tricky part here is that one of the demands of these moderates is that they have 72 hours to review the legislation before it comes to the floor.

And in part to avoid any confusion like we saw last week when moderates revolted at the last minute over the procedure that they were using to try to pass the budget blueprint. And so if this timing goes out of whack in any way if this infrastructure bill and the social spending bill, get to delayed Then we could see either moderates trying to tank the bigger legislation or progressives who are already unhappy with the smaller infrastructure bill, potentially voting against that.


PAUL: Before I let you go, I want to ask you about something you've covered on the investigation into the January 6th insurrection. There's the Select panel, of course, that is asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has asked for his phone records that they'd be preserved, specifically is what they've asked for, what is the sense as to where they're going with this? And does it give you any indication of what else might be on their whistling wish list to examine?

WU: Absolutely, it really gives a sense of quite how big a net the Select panel is casting as they continue this investigation. They have vowed to examine every aspect of the instruction. And that's exactly what they're doing. We saw them send this incredibly broad request for records, to federal agencies to telecommunications companies, and to social media platforms, asking them to preserve all these records related to the attack.

It doesn't mean that they'll actually end up subpoenaing them. But the interest in them is certainly something worth noting. McCarthy, for example, and held a call with Trump on January 6th, that became a major flashpoint in the last impeachment trial. When there, there was some controversy over exactly what was said and whether or not McCarthy pushed back against the former president.

PAUL: All right, Nicholas Wu, we were so grateful to have you with us this morning. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Up next, an Afghan who was forced to leave his parents behind before flying to the United States now fears for his family safety. Hear his message for President Biden, after a quick break, stay with us.



SANCHEZ: The United States has admitted more than 40,000 evacuees from Afghanistan. That includes U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, special immigration visa holders and other vulnerable Afghans. Despite these numbers, though, some Americans were still left behind, though, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the State Department is "in constant contact" with people who remain and those citizens have all been assigned case management teams. In an effort to learn lessons from the nation's longest war. Blinken also says the State Department will review the entire 20 years in Afghanistan specifically for lessons.


ANTONY BLINKEN, CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEF OF STAFF: We are committed to looking at everything we've done from, from day one, through the present. And to, to draw to draw lessons from it. I think that there also needs to be including across the State Department, a look back at the entire 20 years to understand the entire course of this war and engagement with Afghanistan and to, to ask the right questions and to learn the right lessons from that.


SANCHEZ: Meantime, many evacuees are starting over in the United States and getting adjusted to their new lives, but they know they are the lucky ones.

CNN's Brynn Gingras sat down with one Afghan translator who made it out of Afghanistan in the final days of the emergency evacuation and now is worried about his parents and former co-workers who were left there.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the first day of a new life for Zubair. Its tiny one bedroom apartment in Buffalo, New York is their new home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't believe that I'm here in United States. Sometimes I am telling to my wife. I'm not sleeping. She says no. Now you are wake up. It's Israel.

GINGRAS: It was just one week ago when Dubai says he was living a nightmare in Afghanistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was really bad. You are stuck at home. One minute is like one day,

GINGRAS: The former translator worked alongside us forces for four years. He applied for a Special Immigrant Visa more than two years ago. Dubai was one of the lucky ones. It was granted just two days before the Taliban overtook Kabul. Because if I needed to get his family to the airport, he and his father both worked with the US government and they knew if they stayed in Kabul, their lives would be in danger. (INAUDIBLE) was getting text messages from his friends who were also trying to escape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says it's like horror movies. He says the tall ones are like zombies.

GINGRAS: Whatever you're thinking watching this? I can't I can't get out of trouble.

CIA says he was on his own. With visa in hand. He spent days trying to get himself and his family past the towel bar. With no help from the Americans, he says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: the Taliban was behaving very bad. Most of them were beating people. I was lucky in three days I could get inside the Cavalier.

GINGRAS: But as father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll leave him at the gate. The last thing I couldn't talk with him because I was in hurry to leave Afghanistan.

GINGRAS: So, you didn't even get to say goodbye?



GINGRAS: The couple fled with just these three bags, leaving everything else behind: family friends and former co-workers. Zee, a fellow translator says he was days away from getting his visa when the Taliban took over. He's still stuck in Kabul. He asked we not disclose his name or show his face for his safety.

Z, FORMER TRANSLATOR UNABLE TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN (via telephone): People like me -- there are a lot of people like me who was working over in the same company, we all left behind. So, we're currently -- we are, you know, that receiving the threats, my family, and myself life is really in great danger.

GINGRAS: His plea to the U.S. government.

Z: My message to Mr. President Joe Biden is don't leave us behind.

GINGRAS: Zubair calls friends of his left-behind daily. He says his mom is too heartbroken to even speak with him. But, he keeps hope.

ZUBAIR: FORMER TRANSLATOR WHO FLED AFGHANISTAN: I have hope that one day they be evacuated him to the America, I see him here alive.

GINGRAS: In the meantime, he and his wife are starting over with help from a resettlement agency, Journey's End Refugee Services, which expects to assist many more Afghan families in the coming months.

The couple says they feel safe here, they can finally sleep and dream about what lies ahead.

ZUBAIR: The feeling that I will start everything again. It looks like a mountain, very high mountain. Now, I am looking how I can climb this mountain. I should find a way.


GINGRAS (on camera): And we didn't disclose the last name of the couple for the safety of their family in Afghanistan. Their families, just like Zubair's former co-worker says they feel like sitting ducks right now.

They say everyone knew that they worked with the United States, their community, their neighbors, and so, their lives are at great risk.

Secretary of State Blinken said on Monday that the U.S. is committed to getting these vulnerable Afghans out of the country. But for these families, the big question is who is going to come for them first? The Americans or the Taliban? Brynn Gingras, in New York, CNN.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Brynn, thank you.

So, coming up, the major disappointment on jobs numbers. And it was a jolting number to hear, millions are on the brink of losing unemployment benefits as well. We'll talk about it. Stay close.



PAUL: Was a pretty disappointing August jobs report. It shows the surging Delta variant has become really a major roadblock in the nation's path to economic recovery.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Right. Only 235,000 jobs were added last month when economists were expecting more than 700,000. Still, President Biden tried to strike an optimistic tone.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: While I know some wanted to see a larger number today, and so did I, what we've seen this year is a continued growth, month after month, in job creation.

Today's report shows that the steps we've taken, passing the rescue plan and vaccinating 175 million people make our economy capable of growing and adding jobs even in the face of this continuing Delta surge.


SANCHEZ: CNN's Chief Business correspondent Christine Romans has more on how the rising number of COVID infections has stalled the job market.


Call it the Delta drag.

ROMANS (voice-over): Jobs growth slowed in August as the Delta variant surged. After a very strong hiring in June and July, August was the slowest job growth since January.

ROMANS (on camera): And the very sector that drove so much of the job gains this year stalled.

ROMANS (voice-over): Hiring and leisure and hospitality was flat. Employment in that sector is still down about 10 percent from before the pandemic. Job losses last month toward retail stores, bars, and restaurants.

ROMANS (on camera): Even without renewed lockdowns, economists say Americans are turning more cautious about going out as the variant spreads and hospitals fill up.

ROMANS (voice-over): There was strong hiring in professional services. Think architects, engineers, computer systems design, scientific research, gains in manufacturing and transportation warehousing.

And notable, the jobless rate fell to the lowest of the pandemic, 5.2 percent as households reported stronger jobs growth there.

Now, big picture, 17 million jobs have been added since the crash in the spring of 2020.

ROMANS (on camera): The economy still down 5.3 million jobs since the pandemic began. Boris, Christi.

SANCHEZ: Christine Romans, thank you so much for that.

Let's discuss the jobs report further with CNN global economic analyst Rana Foroohar. She's here with us now. She's a global business columnist, and associate editor for The Financial Times as well.

Rana, good morning, and thank you so much for spending part of your weekend with us.

Let's take a look at a chart showing where jobs numbers have been over the last several months because it really illustrates just the waves that we've seen in the economy, depending on how COVID infections are ebbing and flowing.

This is the first jobs report where we've seen the full effect of the Delta variant. What's it going to take for the economy to get back to the growth that we saw in June in July, for example?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST (on camera): Well, Boris, the chart is really hitting the nail on the head every time you see a new surge of the virus, you get a hit to the labor market.

Now, the good news is that every new surge has been a little less damaging than the previous one. You know, we had that initial job's hit of 22 million losses. We still have over 5 million jobs to go to get rid of that. But it's all about Delta.

And businesses are -- you know, battening down the hatches, again. They don't know what's going to happen. There are some worries that things are going to get worse before they get better that we may see another week. September jobs report that viruses caseloads may hit a peak in October.

So, there is just that anxiety amongst businesses that they don't know what's going to happen. They don't know how bad it's going to be.


SANCHEZ: Right. And so, you noted that this report likely means some pressure is taken off the Fed. They won't pull back on the amount of cash that they've been injecting into the economy.

The White House is also pushing for this massive spending: $3-1/2 trillion reconciliation bill. Is there a point where that influx of cash and government spending creates concerns for you about inflation?

FOROOHAR: Well, absolutely. You know, I've been sound -- for some time. And even more than inflation, I've been worried about the divide between Wall Street and Main Street. You know, you've got stock prices are still pretty much at record highs.

FOROOHAR (voice-over): At the same time that we have this new Delta variant, we have, you know, a real mainstream economy that as many people know, certainly doesn't feel very good could get worse before it gets better.

But all that money pouring in from central bankers has kept Wall Street at record highs, even though there's all this pain on Main Street. So, that divide and that those bubbles in the asset market are very worrisome to me.

And it puts the Fed in a strange position. Because even though things look great in the stock market, there are a lot of worries on Main Street. So, what's going to happen? Are they going to pull back on that bond-buying program? Are they going to raise interest rates at some point to try and curb inflation to try and get those asset bubbles popped a little bit, you know, before they become more serious? That's the big question.

I think the weaker numbers are going to mean that you are not going to see the Fed acting in September. You might still see a move later in the year, maybe in November, but I think this does give them a little more breathing room to make that decision.

SANCHEZ: Rana, I quickly want to sneak in a question about the unemployment cliff that's looming where federal enhanced benefits are set to run out in just a few days. Reporting indicates that there's this internal debate in the White House over whether to extend them. What happens to the economy if these benefits lapse next week?

FOROOHAR (on camera): You know, a lot of people have been very worried about that. I'm less worried and I'll tell you why. There is still labor shortages in some areas of the economy.

You know, before this latest surge of Delta, you had businesses having trouble finding workers in transportation and logistics, in travel and tourism. So, as the benefits rollback, and people are saying, hey, you know, I really do need to go back to work, school is starting, you might see some of those pressures abating.

So, I'm not so worried about that effect. I think you're also going to see Democrats, in particular, really pushing for that infrastructure bill and help with things like child care benefits, education to be pushed through in lieu of those benefits.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it's going to be a very busy September up on Capitol Hill.


SANCHEZ: With major implications for the economy. Rana Foroohar, thank you so much for the time. We appreciate your insight.

FOROOHAR: Thanks, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Up next, Sir Richard Branson's trip to the edge of space is now being investigated by the FAA. We'll explain why, next.

PAUL: Of course, we're all heading back to school and the work and school districts and businesses are reopening across the country.

So, whether you're heading into the office, or you're working remotely, we want to help make sure you've got what you need, the tools, and the products that will help you be successful because your success is important to us here.

So, for that, we want to turn to our team at "CNN UNDERSCORE".

PAUL: (voice-over): This is a team of editors. They find products and services to improve your life and help you make informed decisions before spending your money, because you've earned it, right?

PAUL (on camera): So, let's talk to Mike Bruno. He's the editorial director for "CNN UNDERSCORED". Thank you so much for being with us.

MIKE BRUNO, CNN UNDERSORED EDITORIAL DIRECTOR (on camera): Thanks for having me.

PAUL: I love that you have done a lot of work to make sure that these are what you need, what people need. So, it's very personal to you in that regard. How do you determine -- what criteria do you use to pick some of these products that you say are the best of the best?

BRUNO: Yes. So, our team does -- primarily, there's two different methods for determining what the best products are. One is kind of basic, old-fashioned journalism, calling up experts. We may call up a dermatologist to find out about the best facial moisturizer, or we may call up some shoppers at high fashion outlets to talk a little bit about what are the trends for men's shorts. So, that's one way.

But the primary way, and the way that we determined the products that I'm going to talk about today is through just testing, rigorous testing of products.

PAUL: And since we're talking about school and work and remote work, we have to look at computers.


BRUNO: Yes. We have the MacBook Air. That's the gold one there. That's a beauty. The gold colors new this year.


PAUL: It is pretty too.

BRUNO: It is -- it is pretty.

PAUL: For those people who care about a pretty computer.

BRUNO: It is. It's a beautiful computer. It's also -- it has the new Apple M1 chip. It's the Apple chip that they started to put into in --


PAUL: Yes, as opposed to the Intel.

BRUNO: As opposed to Intel.


BRUNO: And I'll tell you it's a game-changer. It's going to change everything. This M1 chip, we were able to do in thousand dollar computer. You can get a little bit less. You should also its worth noting check student discounts. There's a lot of student discounts through Apple, Best Buy, and some others.

This is about $1,000, sometimes you could get it a little bit cheaper. This M1 chip held up as well as Intel chips of your -- that were twice the price of this computer.

PAUL: OK, so, talk to me then about Windows here.

BRUNO: Yes. So, Windows we have the Dell XPS 13. That's running Intel chip. There's three different versions of it. You could start at about $950 with the entry-level chip, that's the i3 three.

We recommend you go up to $1100 and get the i5, you get a little bit more power. That's a beautiful computer.

This is an arctic white, you can also get it in silver. I will note, the arctic white is an extra $50, but that's a splurge we actually do recommend because she's really pretty. The bezels --


PAUL: I like how you call the computer, she.

BRUNO: The bezels around the edge of it are very thin. BRUNO (voice-over): It's a gorgeous bright screen, you can up that screen to a 4k if you want. You're going to pay a couple of $100 extra for that. We think that the high res screen that comes with is just fine.

Very good computer, springy nice keyboard, great trackpad. As far as Windows go that Dell is a -- is a great pick.

PAUL: That's the one. OK.

BRUNO (on camera): Yes.

PAUL: So, we can't discount the Mac Pro.

BRUNO: So, the Mac Pro, if you're doing a lot of video editing, real heavy video editing, you probably do want to consider the Pro a couple different reasons. The air does not have a fan. It runs the M1 very efficiently, it doesn't have a fan. It doesn't need it. We were able to do everything on it and didn't have a problem.

They did put a fan on the Pro, it's a little bit heavier duty machine.

BRUNO: (voice-over): It has also an M1 chip, but it has a higher graphic -- a higher level graphics card in it, just able to render video a little bit faster if you have multiple things open.

I think it's a future-proof choice as well. Over time, as applications get more complex and things get bigger, the extra power on this thing is going to get you a little bit further.

PAUL: Mike, thank you so much for doing the homework.

BRUNO (on camera): Well, thank you.

PAUL: That takes so much time for us to do, and that's why we like (INAUDIBLE)


BRUNO: That's what we're here for. That's what we're here for.

PAUL: We appreciate it.

BRUNO: Thank you.

PAUL: By the way, you can learn more about all of these products, and a lot of other things at



PAUL: So, the FAA is investigating now billionaire Richard Branson's flight to the edge of space. I mean, this has grounded his company Virgin Galactic.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Officials say the rocket-powered jet veered off course during its ascent back in July.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): CNN's Kristin Fisher has more on exactly what happened.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Virgin Galactic is now acknowledging that it went out of its designated FAA airspace for about one minute and 40 seconds as SpaceShipTwo was returning, gliding back down to earth after its historic flight.

FISHER (voice-over): Now, Virgin Galactic is saying that at no point was the crew in danger, at no point was anybody on the ground, or in any other aircraft in danger. Remember, this took place in a very remote part of New Mexico.

But the FAA is investigating and the reason this is so significant and potentially problematic is because, just think if you're a pilot, commercial or private pilot operating in normal airplane, and you go out of your FAA designated airspace.

So, you're caught flying at an altitude higher or lower than where you should be, you could get into a ton of trouble. And so, essentially, that is what the FAA is accusing Virgin Galactic of doing, and Virgin Galactic now acknowledging it.

So, it appears what happened is, during the ascent -- SpaceShipTwo's ascent, and this is according to the journalists who broke the story who wrote the book on Virgin Galactic, Nicholas Schmidle.

He is reporting that two warning lights in the cockpit came on a red light and a yellow light. And the two pilots on board were faced with a choice: abort the mission or take over the controls manually and try to change the trajectory. And in doing so, that is what caused the spacecraft to go out of its designated airspace.

And so, this is all coming at a time that is very problematic for the company because they are now grounded by the FAA until this investigation is complete.

But on Thursday, Virgin Galactic announced that it was planning to send its first flight of paying customers into space later this month, or in October.

So, this is certainly not the kind of news that any company wants to have. But especially a company like Virgin Galactic, who is right on the cusp of truly opening up space tourism, potentially to the masses.

FISHER (on camera): And really sending those first paying customers in the space. Kristin Fisher, CNN, Washington.

PAUL: Kristin, thank you so much.

So, we now have an updated number of the people who have died from the historic flooding in the northeast.

[07:54:18] PAUL (voice-over): And we have live reports for you from that area as well as Louisiana coming up next. Stay close.


ANNOUNCER: "FOOD AS FUEL" is brought to you by noom. Noom is based in psychology for lasting health and weight loss results.

PAUL (on camera): So, food from the freezer is unhealthy? CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard has the answer in today's "FOOD AS FUEL".

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER (on camera): When you freeze fruits and vegetables, you actually help lock in nutrients, especially vitamin C.

HOWARD (voice-over): So, if you've got extra fruit you might not eat right away, freezing is a great choice. In fact, you'll often get more nutrients out of the food if you freeze it when it's fresh than if you let the produce sit in your refrigerator.

A University of Georgia study found that after five days, most fresh produce loses vitamin content, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. Freezing is a way to push the pause button. So, keep your freezer full of fruits and veggies to enjoy and smoothies or a side dishes.

And you don't have to do it yourself. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables is a healthy choice too. Frozen peas or spinach may contain more vitamin C than their counterparts that have been sitting in the produce section for days.

But not everything in your freezer is healthy. Remember those pre- prepared frozen meals may be high in fat and sodium.

HOWARD (on camera): So, read your labels carefully.