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New Day Saturday

FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Booster Shot For Ages 65+; CDC Meets Next Week To Determine Final Approval Of Booster Shots; U.S. Military Apologizes After Kabul Drone Strike Civilians; DHS Warnings Of Potential Violence Before Right Wing Rally Today; U.S. Military Admits 10 Civilians Killed In Kabul Airstrike; Petito Family Attorney Says Brian Laundrie "Is Hiding" Not Missing; SpaceX Set To Splash Down Later Today After Three Days In Orbit. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 18, 2021 - 07:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY here. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez. People over 65 and those at risk for severe illness could soon be eligible for COVID booster shots. Why that recommendation, though, falls short of the White House's initial plans to get booster shots to everyone?

PAUL: And Washington, D.C. on high alert today, there's a rally in support of insurrectionists and it's stirring fears of violence at the Capitol. We're going to take him to the Hill. You're going to hear from officials who are taking some extra precautions to avoid a repeat of January 6th.


GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, U.S. MARINE: As the combatant commander, I am fully responsible for the strike in his tragic outcome.


SANCHEZ: Just a tragedy. The U.S. military admitting it killed 10 civilians in a drone strike in Kabul last month, including seven children. How this deadly mistake happened and the questions it now raises about so called over the horizon strikes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're really proud to share this experience with everyone. We know how fortunate we are to be up here.


PAUL: The (INAUDIBLE) cruise. SpaceX's latest mission set to splashdown later today, what we know about the crew and the purpose of what's happening today.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Saturday, September 18th. Great to be with you. Great to be with you as well, Christi.

PAUL: Oh, it's always so good to see you, Boris. So happy weekend, everybody here. Listen, the FDA advisors voted yesterday, as you may know, to recommend emergency use authorization of COVID-19 booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine, six months after full vaccination. This is for specifically people 65 and older, and for any of you who are at high risk of severe illness.

SANCHEZ: Right and the CDC is meeting next week with its vaccine advisors to figure out final approval for those shots, but with only 54 percent of the U.S. population fully vaccinated. The most glaring issue prolonging the pandemic is the overwhelming number of unvaccinated Americans that are filling up hospitals and ultimately dying from the virus

PAUL: Such as in West Virginia. Cases there have reached nearly 30,000. Governor Jim Justice pleading with people to go get their shots.


GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): The only thing that I have in my arsenal that will make this get better is for you to get vaccinated. That's all I've got. We're going to run to the fire and get vaccinated right now. Or we're going to pile the body bags up until we reach a point in time to where we have enough people that have natural immunities and enough people that are vaccinated.


PAUL: It's a bit (INAUDIBLE) to hear that isn't it? West Virginia, by the way, is only vaccinated about 40% of its population and that is one of the lowest in the country.

SANCHEZ: And another state Idaho also struggling to keep up with its surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations and that is now impacting some neighboring states.

PAUL: Yes, we know health officials say Washington state for instance, the hospitals there as far as West Seattle are getting requests to take in sick patients from Idaho because facilities there are so overwhelmed. Here's CNN's Dan Simon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are being absolutely crushed by COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am scared. I'm scared for all of us.

DAN SIMONS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Idaho, health care workers are beginning to triage the worsening covid 19 crisis. We are going to have to start and are starting ranking how things are being done. State officials say hospitals are now allowed to ration treatment in order to meet an overwhelming surge of unvaccinated COVID patients.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We get the question if my husband if my wife if my son if my daughter had been vaccinated with this had happened? And the answer, of course is no.

SIMONS: The influx is forcing providers to make unimaginable decisions determining who gets care and who must wait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we are currently able to tread water it's going to decline. Simply because a caregiver can't get to a patient fast enough.

SIMONS: Everyone from cancer patients to people on a transplant list can see delays in treatment as resources are diverted to urgent COVID cases.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A new Delta variant is spreading twice as fast.

SIMONS: Despite a month long push up public service announcements like these from the state health department.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Protect yourself and others. Get vaccinated today.


SIMONS: Barely 40 percent of the Gem State is fully vaccinated, nearly 14 points less than the national average. A statistic health care workers blame on misinformation.

And in a state where some residents and their children staged a fiery mass protest in March, there were still no statewide mask mandate. There is a strict mask mandate just across the border in Washington State and frustration is spilling over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get the damn shot. We need to be safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Healthcare is not an unlimited resource.

SIMONS: As some of Idaho's patients arrive at Spokane and Seattle area hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are just counting on Washington hospitals to be available to them while their own hospitals are overrun to rely on our state and our state's hospitals is the backup plan just as really unacceptable.

SIMONS: The Idaho Hospital Association says some 400 healthcare workers are out this week due to COVID exposure worsening a dire situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the only thing that could make things worse is to act like this is not happening. If you went out and got a vaccine today, it's not going to help us for, for weeks, but it would be a start.


SANCHEZ: Thanks to CNN's Dan Simon for that report. At this point, the trend is undeniable: hospitals in areas with low vaccination rates are struggling with shortages in resources, staff, bed space, and the impact is especially being felt in the southeast. Listen to this: the top medical official in Alabama says the number of hospitalizations in the state are actually declining. And that sounds like good news, but it's not. It's not because fewer people are catching COVID or because patients are improving and leaving the hospital. It's because so many hospital patients are dying. Listen.


DR. SCOTT HARRIS, STATE HEALTH OFFICER, ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: There are two ways people leave the hospital and one of them is not very good. And while we're having digit numbers of deaths today that certainly in part accounts for the declining number of hospitalizations we're seeing.


SANCHEZ: There's a similar story playing out in Georgia. 96 percent of the state's 3100 ICU beds are occupied. The vast majority of COVID patients, unvaccinated. Anna Adams joins us now she's the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the Georgia Hospital Association. Good morning, Anna, we appreciate you coming on to talk about the challenges that you're facing now. You said that ambulances with patients are essentially part waiting for space inside your hospitals. Take us inside what does that look like for patients and for your staff?

ANNA ADAMS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, GEORGIA HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION: I think the important thing to think about in this scenario is that this is impacting all patients, not just patients who have COVID-19. And so when you call an ambulance, because you're having chest pain, or you think that your grandmother is having a stroke, and 911 dispatch, send an ambulance to your house and they take you to the hospital, the hospital is full, the emergency room is full, the inpatient beds are full, the ICU beds are full. And so in order to bring that patient into the facility, we have to find a place to put that patient. And from a bed space capacity, we can put a bed anywhere, but we don't have the staff to treat these patients, and it's terrifying.

SANCHEZ: Anna, I'm glad you mentioned the folks out there that are seeking medical assistance for non-COVID issues that are having a hard time getting care because not far from where you are, there is the story of one man raid ammonia. He was a 73-year-old man from Alabama who was having heart issues. And I want to read you part of his obituary because his family is putting out this message: "In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, and an effort to free up resources for non COVID related emergencies. Due to COVID-19 local emergency staff contacted 43 hospitals in three different states in search of a cardiac ICU bed and finally located one in Mississippi. He would not want any other family to go through what his did. Doctor, what would be your advice for someone that needs basic care yet is struggling to get it right now.

ADAMS: I think this is not a new scenario. And it's something that we've been talking about since the beginning of COVID. If you have an issue if you think you have COVID, contact your primary care physician and reserve the hospitals for only those patients who are truly experiencing an emergency situation. This is the favor that we can do to the rest of you know Georgia men, Georgia constituents in Georgia citizens, reserve those resources for those who truly need them.

SANCHEZ: And in an effort to get more people vaccinated because we've shown the graphic I'm sure we can put it up again, the vast majority of people that are hospitalized are unvaccinated. What's your message to those that may still be out there in your community that are hesitant?

ADAMS: The vaccinated message from a Georgia Hospital Association standpoint is you know, we want you to try The science if every scientist in the world has been focusing their attention on developing a vaccine and they feel that it's safe and trusted, you can trust in that science. There are treatments for COVID-19. Right now, the monoclonal antibodies are doing great things and keeping patients out of the hospital. But please remember that those medications also have an emergency use authorization.

So, don't let the EUA for the COVID vaccine be the reason that you're not getting it know that these other medications are just as new and just as potentially dangerous and aggressive. And so, we would rather keep you out of the hospital with the vaccine very much in the same way that you wear a seatbelt when you get in the car. It's not going to stop you from having a wreck, but it could potentially save your life.


SANCHEZ: And that's such an important point that a lot of these alternative therapies that people are seeking out, are also having the same level of approval. They come from the same companies that the vaccine does. So, what's the hesitation with just getting the vaccine? Right?

ADAMS: Right.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Anna Adams, thank you so much for the time. We appreciate you sharing your story with us. Thanks so much.

ADAMS: Thank you.

PAUL: So, I want to talk about what's happening in Southern California right now because a 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck the area last night. This is according to the USGS. This was a quake that was felt throughout Los Angeles through that area and surrounding cities and some people reported feeling a jolt that ranged from a moment to as much as 10 seconds. So far, no immediate injuries or significant damage had been reported, thankfully. But the Los Angeles Fire Department says they are in earthquake emergency mode right now. They're patrolling the area with vehicles and with helicopters in case they do come upon any emergencies.

SANCHEZ: Coming up on alerts, law enforcement officials in Washington bracing for a far right rally in support of the January 6th riders will tell you how they're preparing.

Also, the US military apologizes after a drone strike in Kabul. That went horribly wrong. 10 civilians are dead, including children and an aid worker. We're going to tell you what the Pentagon saying about how this happened.



PAUL: So this morning, law enforcement officials are on high alert. The Capitol looks like a fortress right now ahead of what's been billed as the Justice for J6 rally. It's an event meant to show support for the rioters who were arrested for storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

SANCHEZ: So, the organizer of the rally or former Trump aide says it will feature quote a largely peaceful crowd. But it really only takes one person right. As DHS warns of online chatter about potential violence, police are taking every precaution. CNN's Ryan Nobles has more.



CHIEF TOM MANGER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: The leadership of the U.S. Capitol Police Department has been preparing working to ensure that we don't have a repeat of January 6th.

NOBLES: The U.S. Capitol Police are preparing for the worst, establishing a massive security presence.

MANGER: We're not going to tolerate violence and we will not tolerate criminal behavior of any kind. The American public and the members of Congress have an expectation that we protect the Capitol. And I'm confident with the plan we have in place that we're going to be able to meet that expectation.

NOBLES: This security presence is akin to that of a major event, like a state of the union or inauguration. It includes a massive security fence that wraps around the entire Capitol, and all hands on deck force of officers backup from local police and the National Guard and specific training and tabletop exercises for a worst case scenario.

The Pentagon confirming they are ready to provide help if needed.

JOHN KIRBY, SPOKESPERSON, PENTAGON: The task force will only be deployed upon request of the Capitol Police to help protect the US Capitol building and congressional office buildings. By Manning building entry points and screening individuals that are seeking access to the building. They will be unarmed.

NOBLES: It will be the U.S. Capitol Police though tasked with the bulk of the responsibility and the same officers who are on the frontlines on January 6th, and Chief Tom Manger said he and his leadership team took time to meet with each individual officer to make sure they were ready.

MANGER: We're trying to get in front of every single police officer in the US Capitol Police Department. And the reason was to brief them on our plan. And the whole purpose behind that was to instill confidence that that the department has prepared.

NOBLES: While the Capitol is the focus. Law enforcement leaders are also concerned about the city at large. A number of festivals and sporting events are scheduled throughout Washington DC and the Metropolitan DC police chief promises his officers are prepared.

MANGER: We expect it to go on and then people who attend are going to enjoy themselves again. We're prepared. We have contingency plans for any possible disruptions. Chief major couldn't provide an estimate of how much this massive and quick security scale up would cost. But said more than anything It was designed to practice for threats.

Bigger than the one they anticipate this weekend. He also predicted this won't be a regular occurrence.

MANGER: I think that we're going to use it when it needs to be used and but 99 percent of the demonstrations we handle are handled without this kind of planning.

SANCHEZ: We have Jonathan Wakrow. With us to discuss he's a CNN law enforcement analyst, a former Secret Service agent and a corporate security consultant Jonathan Good morning. Thanks for joining us. Preparations for this rally significantly different than what we saw on January 2. There's fencing up around the Capitol 100 dc National Guard members standing by given everything that you've seen, how would you assess the security threat and also the preparations that have been made to try to meet that threat?


JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, good morning. And listen, I think that the, the preparations that have been made to date or appropriate, but first, let's talk about the threat and the seriousness of it. Department of Homeland Security, other law enforcement entities have put out a series of warnings and those warnings should not be taken lightly. Why? Because while we've seen a majority of online discussions by individuals who are attending this event, really centered around paranoia and conspiracy theories, there's been a lot of people talking about this event being a false flag or an FBI honeypot event. That's just noise.

What law enforcement is keying in on, are those messages and conversations that by individuals and groups talking about raising violence and those postings around violence are the justification for the actions and mitigation that we're seeing today. That coupled with this really unmitigated, toxic political environment that really fuels extremist beliefs, all leads to, you know, there being a potential for individual actors to engage in violence today. So what we're seeing in terms of the mitigation is appropriate for what we anticipate the threat may be, you know, moving throughout today. SANCHEZ: Jonathan, I'm glad you mentioned the, the individual actors aspect of this right, the so called lone wolf scenario, because even if the vast majority of these protesters are peaceful as the organizer states, someone that wants to cause harm could potentially do so. How does security officials navigate, trying to ensure the lone wolf doesn't have easy targets? Given that, for instance, that person that tried to bomb several different places in D.C. on January 6th is still out there, they haven't been caught?

WACKROW: Well, Boris, the way that I look at this, this is pretty simple. You know, human threats, and this is what we're talking about today, human threats will take the past path of least resistance and surrounding the Capitol today, we have a large mobilization of law enforcement officer's backup of military, we have fencing. So, that path of least resistance is not the US Capitol today. And that's the challenge for law enforcement, because what they have to be, you know, looking for is individual actors, these lone actors who can mobilize to violence with little to no warning, not necessarily at the Capitol.

But as Ryan Nobles just reported a little while ago, there are a lot of other events, there are counter protests, there are festivals, there's a lot of other things going on in D.C. So law enforcement has to be hyper vigilant, looking for those lone actors or small groups working in concert with each other, who may want to cause harm. And I think you had said it earlier, it only takes one person only takes one person, you have to spark that violence, and then you can get into a contagion event where multiple other people, people start transcending from your protest into civil unrest. And that's the concern for law enforcement today.

SANCHEZ: Right. And of course, the concern is with counter protesters as well, who may encounter these folks around town. I want to ask you something regarding what the assistant Capitol Police Chief who was in charge of intelligence operations on January 6th, told reporters the department use to primarily receive intelligence from outside agencies Capitol Police, right since January, they've apparently stepped up the ways that they process and share intelligence. What difference does that make? How big of a change does that mean on a day like today?

WACKROW: Well, it makes a significant difference in what they're talking about there is the process of ingesting intelligence reports. And how does the U.S. Capitol Police then process that to make strategic decisions and disseminate information to their officers? That's what we saw was, was lacking on, on January 6th, we know that this wasn't a failure of intelligence, the intelligence was there. It was a failure to action off of that intelligence.

Today, thankfully, that paradigm has been flipped. We're seeing that the U.S. Capitol Police law enforcement officers are very transparent about the intelligence that they have, and the action steps that they're taking. There's been an increased public awareness of the potential threats and a lot of communication. You know, they're over indexing on this communication about what law enforcement is doing. Why? Because they have to. They have to show this show of force today, because we have this unmitigated threat that's out there from violent extremists since January 6th that we know will cause harm, they have the means, opportunity, and intent to cause harm against individuals and groups in asset locations.

So, they have to show this this this force today. It's completely appropriate, predicated upon the threats that they have. They're doing a good job in preparation. And hopefully, this is a, this is a non- event but they have to be prepared for every contingency.

SANCHEZ: We hope it is a non-event and as you stated that it becomes a deterrent for any potential future actors to see that officials are ready, in case anybody decides to do something stupid. Jonathan whakaaro, thank you so much for the time appreciate it.

WACKROW: Thanks, Boris.


PAUL: Listen, coming up, this was news that it was shocking. And it is heartbreaking. The U.S. military saying a drone strike in Kabul meant to kill ISIS fighters killed 10 civilians instead, including children. We're talking about a family here. How did this happen? What does it mean for U.S. strategy going forward, we'll talk about that. Stay close.



PAUL: Well, the Pentagon says it will conduct a thorough review of the investigation into that drone strike that turned out to be really just a horrible tragedy.

SANCHEZ: Now, the head of U.S. Central Command admits that 10 civilians were killed in the strike in Kabul in late August, including seven kids.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): General Kenneth McKenzie says the U.S. struck what it thought was an ISIS-K target. It was actually an aid worker and his family.


GEN. KENNETH F. MCKENZIE JR., COMMANDER, UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND: This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport. But it was a mistake. And I offer my sincere apology. As the combatant commander, I am fully responsible for the strike in this tragic outcome.

While the team conducted the strike, did so in the honest belief that they were preventing an imminent attack on our forces and civilian evacuees. We now understand that to be incorrect.


PAUL: I mean, likely, obviously, to add to the criticism here, President Biden and the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. So, we want to get some insight from CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser, staff writer for The New Yorker.

Susan, it is so -- it is so good to have you here as we go through a lot of this. Colonel Cedric Leighton, retired Air Force colonel told us earlier this morning that this didn't have to happen that it appears to be a systematic -- it is appear to be systematic of a hastily planned withdrawal.

What's your assessment, not just of what happened, but of the political reverberation for this president?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST (on camera): Well, look, first of all, it's a reminder of the sort of false lure, if you will, of antiseptic warfare. There is no such thing, and drone warfare has come with civilian casualties, not just in the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, but throughout the U.S. war in the region. For the last 20 years.

This has been a tragic consequence of the kinds of techniques that are meant to minimize risk and harm to U.S. forces on the ground become at this, you know, great potential cost of misreading things.

I think it's also an important reminder of the importance of having eyes and ears and intelligence on the ground. By the way, journalistic intelligence as well as U.S. and military intelligence.

Part of the reason why this investigation happened and came to the conclusion it did, is because of great investigative reporting by the New York Times, and other news outlets who were able to interview survivors and the family on the ground.

PAUL: So, we know 70 percent of Americans who are polled say that they believe pulling out of Afghanistan was the right thing to do. The U.S. was not alone in this fight. You know, we had NATO allies in this the NATO alliance, Germany, the U.K. had troops there as well, everybody pulled out.

The Taliban is recognized as a terror group, though. Why do you think -- and I know that there's fatigue and frustration, but why would the world essentially walk away from Afghanistan knowing the potency of this group?

GLASSER: Well, I think what you heard consistently from the Biden administration is an assertion. And that's all it is right now is an assertion that al-Qaeda, ISIS-K, and the Taliban itself, are terrorist groups that pose no immediate threat to the U.S. harm -- into the U.S. homeland, and that the nature of the terrorist threat has morphed, and changed, and moved on to other geographic locations.

And they assert -- again, it's -- you know, just an assertion for now that they can maintain counterterrorism capabilities without having the boots on the ground force that the president has now withdrawn.

I think there's a great concern among the experts with whom I've spoken, that you're going to see al-Qaeda resuming its close relationship with the Taliban, that it never really was severed, and that the terrorist threat has gone up inevitably, as a result of this. You even heard the CIA director Bill Burns, you know, make that acknowledgment.

So, I think the risk factor is there. And then, there is the question of what are the tools that the U.S. has maintained for dealing with it. And these drone strikes suggest, one of the limits of trying to deal with a threat emanating from a country with which you no longer have a relationship, even a diplomatic relationship.

PAUL: And what's glaring here, too, is the -- is the question of the solid intel that can come out of Afghanistan at this point, as well.

I wanted to ask you about your latest article in The New Yorker. You talk about President Biden's administration in COVID, COVID vaccinations, Afghanistan, the U.S. alliance with Australia and the U.K., and here is what you write. "As I was writing this column, I received an e-mail from one Donald J. Trump. The subject was Biden's vaccine mandate. I totally oppose this liberal overreach that requires Americans to be vaccinated, Trump wrote. The left is working overtime to control you, friend, he warned. Biden, he added, doesn't care about you or your freedoms."


PAUL: Now, CNN had a poll this week that said 78 percent of Republicans who were polled do subscribe to the big lie that Trump touts that, that President Biden is not a legitimate president. He wasn't legitimately elected. We're watching the second rally, of course, today in D.C., and we're a year out from midterms.

I mean, Susan, prognosticate for us the Trump factor as we enter this critical 12-month period before the elections.

GLASSER: Well, first of all, I think, you know, talking about international politics and national security threats like terrorism, the United States, there's a strong argument to be made that the biggest national security threat that we face is here inside the United States, in our own division and the weakening of American democracy as being probably the driving geopolitical factor, not just now, but for the last any number of years.

The Trump-run Republican Party, as you mentioned, 78 percent, in the CNN poll this week, saying they don't believe the president of the United States has been legitimately elected as a result of a completely unfounded lie.

These numbers are as high, and in some surveys, even higher than they were on January 6th, when the original insurrection at the Capitol occurred. And in many ways, to me, that suggests that the political climate in the country has worsened and not improved in the first nine months in the Biden administration.

Why do I say that? In part, because, you know, it could have turned out differently in the immediate aftermath of January 6th. You could have seen Republicans reject former President Trump systematically. You could have seen Republicans in Congress, for example, decisively, not moved to support his challenge to the election, decisively say he has no place in our party, they did not do so. And the result as you see is opinion inside the Republican Party, those who remain in the Republican Party is hardening against the election. This is unfortunately, maybe not a shocking development, but it is a very, very problematic one from the point of view of American democracy.

PAUL: Yes, Susan, I know about you. One of the things I have learned in life is that silence is indeed an answer. Susan Glasser, we so -- we so value your perspective. Thanks for being with us.

GLASSER: Thank you for having me.

PAUL: Of course.

We'll be right back.



PAUL: 42 minutes past the hour. Here are some of the top stories we're following for you this morning. First of all, local and federal authorities now say they are looking for Brian Laundrie. He's the man who returned from a cross-country trip without his fiancee. His fiancee had been with him when she was then reported missing.

PAUL (voice-over): There she is. If you have any tips, of course. Laundrie's family, there he is, says that they haven't seen him since Tuesday.

Now, the family of 22-year-old Gabby Petito is still desperate for answers. As you can imagine regarding where she is and what may have happened to her.


JIM SCHMIDT, STEPFATHER OF GABBY PETITO: All that matter is finding her, bringing her home. We're still trying to get the word out there, you know, and try to find that one person that might have some details that we need.

We've been analyzing everything as much as we can and, you know, your mind races in a million different directions when you're -- when you're trying to put something like this together. And it's -- we're just still trying to get a full grasp on the whole situation.


PAUL: Gabby disappeared last month while traveling across-country with Laundrie. Again, take a look at them there please, and thank you for doing so. He did return to Florida without her, refused to talk to police at that point, and in a statement to CNN, Petito's attorney says her fiance "is not missing, he is hiding".

SANCHEZ (on camera): Two of California Governor Gavin Newsom's four kids have Coronavirus. His office said in a statement that they tested positive on Thursday even though the family has been following COVID safety protocols.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): The governor, his wife, and their two other kids have since tested negative. You may recall, Newsom prevailed in a recall election earlier this week, which was centered on his handling of the pandemic.

SANCHEZ (on camera): A deputy to then-President Trump's acting defense secretary also called his Chinese counterpart. This is really important information came just two days before the now controversial call by Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): And the revelation undercuts criticism faced by the top U.S. general, after reporting in a new book, saying that he reached out to a top Chinese military leader during Trump's final months in office. He reportedly made that call to reassure China that the United States would not launch a surprise attack.

Still coming up, SpaceX making history as the first all tourists space mission returns to Earth. The crew, just hours away from landing. Stay with us.

PAUL (on camera): Of course, we're all heading back to school and to 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.


PAUL: So, for that, we want to turn to our team at CNN Underscored. this is a team of editors, they find products and services to improve your life, and help you making formed decisions before spending your money because you've earned it, right?

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 a -- 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: OK. So, talk to me about the water bottles first because --


BRUNO: Water bottles.

PAUL: These are big, this is a big deal.

BRUNO: They are big. And water bottles are meant to keep things cold or hot. That's called thermoregulation, a fancy way of saying keep stuff cold or hot. But there's a lot of other things to them.

This is the Yeti Rambler. It's about $39. It comes in 14 different colors.

BRUNO (voice-over): It's definitely a pricey bottle, but very, very rugged. The thermoregulation was excellent. The thermoregulation on many of them was excellent. So, we started to look to some of the more intangible things. This has something called a chug cap, were very wide, nice, easy to sip.

BRUNO (on camera): But that cap also comes off, so very easy to fill with ice.

PAUL: Awesome.

BRUNO: Beat the heck out of this one, held up. Yeti is a great brand. Even at $39, we definitely recommend this one. This is a 26 ounce for $39.

PAUL: OK, excellent. And then, what's the little mini (INAUDIBLE)?

BRUNO: And this little cute guy here is the Healthy Human. It comes with a nice little clip, this came out of the box. This is a 16- ouncer. It was only about $17, so, a much cheaper.

PAUL: OK. Mike, thank you so much for doing the home work.

BRUNO: Well, thank you.

PAUL: That takes so much time for us to do, and that's why we like what you're doing.

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

PAUL: We appreciate it.

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


SANCHEZ: After three days in orbit, the world's first all-civilian mission is set to return to Earth.

PAUL (voice-over): Yes, the SpaceX rocket, soared into space, carrying four people. Here they are. None of whom, by the way, are professional astronauts. CNN's Kristin Fisher has more.


AMERICAN CROWD: Three, two, one,

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take mission and liftoff.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The crew of SpaceX's Inspiration4 lifting off from historic launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, the same launchpad that was used by NASA astronauts for decades during the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.

But not one of the four people inside this Crew Dragon capsule is a professional astronaut.

JARED ISAACMAN, INSPIRATION4 CREWMEMBER: Few have come before and many are about to follow. The door is opening now and it's pretty incredible.

FISHER: Jared Isaacman, the 38-year-old billionaire entrepreneur and pilot who funded the whole flight believes that this first all- civilian mission to orbit will change perceptions about who gets to go to space.

29-year-old Haley Arceneaux is a pediatric cancer survivor with a prosthetic leg, which would have immediately disqualified her from becoming a NASA astronaut.

Sian Proctor applied to be a NASA astronaut in 2009, and was a finalist, but didn't make the cut.

And Chris Sembroski is an engineer who always dreamed about going to space, but didn't think he had the right stuff to actually be an astronaut.

CHRISTOPHER SEMBROSKI, INSPIRATION4 CREWMEMBER: It is an incredible thing to see someone like me be thrust out here in the middle and now I'm the one down centerline, really trying to inspire people to understand that we are on that path of opening space to everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There they are, our first all-civilian crew.

FISHER: A few hours before launch. The crew walked out of a SpaceX hangar to crowds of cheering SpaceX employees. They took Tesla's to the launch pad, which SpaceX now leases from NASA.

And NASA's director of commercial spaceflight says the government space agency had nothing to do with this mission safety. PHILIP MCALISTER, DIRECTOR, COMMERCIAL SPACEFLIGHT DIVISION, NASA HEADQUARTERS: We don't have a very big role here. This is SpaceX's show and we're really happy for them.

FISHER: It's a milestone years in the making as the government's decades' long monopoly on human spaceflight ends.

MCALISTER: This is now the first time in human history that you can buy a ticket from a private company and fly to space. So, this, I think, will mark an inflection point in human spaceflight. And we're going to see a real renaissance of people flying to space.


FISHER (on camera): And so now, we quite literally wait for the crew to splash down somewhere off the coast of Florida. The Crew Dragon capsule will be re-entering the Earth's atmosphere before splashing down around 7:06 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday. Then, the crew will be transported back to the Kennedy Space Center, the very first all- civilian crew to go to orbit.

Kristin Fisher, CNN, at Cape Canaveral.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER (on camera): Long before there were refrigerators, people all over the globe were fermenting food to preserve it. The first humans were fermenting food as early as 6,000 BC.

HOWARD (voice-over): Fermentation usually results in strong and slightly sour flavors. And that fermentation process also produces lots of good bacteria or probiotics that can be good for your gut.

A healthy gut helps you digest food better and absorb nutrients more efficiently. That can also help your immune system too. So, what are some of the foods to add to your diet?

Well, you could have some kefir or for breakfast. Kefir is a liquid milk beverage that has less sugar than yogurt and contains about three times more probiotics. And Kombucha tea is a fermented black or green tea, which has the same health benefits as tea with an added dose of probiotics and yeast.

And then for lunch or dinner, try two popular fermented cabbage snacks. Sauerkraut is great added to a sandwich. Or try some kimchi, a popular Korean dish.

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