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New Day Saturday

Crucial Vote Process Begins Today on Democrats' Economic Bill; Crucial Vote Process Begins Today on Democrats' Economic Bill; Fifty Five Million-Plus Under Heat Alerts in the U.S. This Weekend; Towns in Eastern Kentucky Buried in a Foot of Mud. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 06, 2022 - 06:00   ET




AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone and welcome to your New Day. I'm Amara Walker.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Phil Mattingly. A crucial day on Capitol Hill as Democrats get ready to advance President Biden's massive economic bill teeing up what could be a major win for the White House. We're going to take you live to Capitol Hill and tell you what's in it, will it pass?

WALKER: Also overnight, a major blow to abortion rights advocates, Indiana becomes the first state in the country since Roe v. Wade was overturned to pass a law banning abortions in most cases, will tell you when it goes into effect.

MATTINGLY: Plus, it was a week of dramatic twists and turns in the courtroom, now a jury has ordered conspiracy theorists Alex Jones to pay it up to the parents of the Sandy Hook shooting victim.

WALKER: Hi, everyone, it is Saturday, August 6, and thank you so much for waking up with us, especially you, Phil. I'm glad your alarm clock went off.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, my big question right, I was just looking at my phone, are my kids are awake yet, is everything is the circus fully started in my household? Has it started in yours yet, Amara?

WALKER: Mine almost did, actually, when my alarm clock went off at almost three o'clock. No, not three o'clock, two o'clock. My son was crying for me. So --

MATTINGLY: That's it, you know.

WALKER: I think the sort -- yeah, but you know what, I got to take him out of bed and stick him in bed with my husband and leave the circus there and get out of there.

MATTINGLY: That's perfect.

WALKER: You deal with it.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Well, there's plenty going on at home. But we're going to begin with a crucial test for the Biden agenda, voting process is set to begin in the Senate today on the Democrats major economic and climate bill.

Now, the bill has the support of Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema, who demanded several changes to the tax provisions which he got. Now, Sinema support is essential as Democrats push for passage of the bill under, we'll call it a convoluted procedural process, but one that allows passage with a simple majority.

WALKER: Yeah, convoluted as right. Here is a snapshot of what is in the bill. It includes $369 billion to combat climate change, the largest investment in U.S. history. It also gives Medicare, the power to negotiate some drug prices. It caps Medicare out of pocket expenses at $2,000. And it extends the Affordable Care Act subsidies for three years.

MATTINGLY: Now, CNN Capitol Hill Reporter Melanie Zanona joins us with more. And Mel, I don't want to wander everybody too far down the rabbit hole here. But walk us through the process of what Democrats are using this weekend to try and get this major piece of legislation across the finish line.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yeah, I'm going to try to not put your viewers to sleep. I know it's early. But the process that Democrats are trying to use is known as budget reconciliation. It's this special budget process that will allow Democrats in the Senate to pass a bill strictly along party lines, so they won't need the help of Republicans. But that Bill has to comply with certain budget rules. And so the Senate parliamentarian is going to make a determination about whether the package complies with all of those rules so they can pass the bill. Once we get a final ruling about that, they will move to the first pitch procedural vote here in the Senate, they only need a simple majority. And then there's a maximum of 20 hours of debate. It really depends on whether both sides use up all their time. But at that point, the Senate will move to what's known as a vote-a-rama, it is an unlimited voting process. That could take hours, it's unclear how long it could take. But once that is done, then they can move to final passage. We've already learned that the House is planning to come back on Friday so they will clear it. So if all goes according to plan, this could be on President Joe Biden's desk by the end of next week.

WALKER: Melanie, you and Phil know quite well how the sausage is made, right? But again without putting our viewers asleep, I mean, what is a vote-a-rama anyway, explain how the process works and what it's designed to do?

ZANONA: So any one senator can offer an amendment vote but really, the minority party uses this as an opportunity to craft politically difficult votes for the opposing party. Just take a listen to how GOP Senator Lindsey Graham described it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: So what will vote aroma be like? It'd be like hell. They deserved this, as much as I admire Joe Manchin and Sinema for standing up to the radical left at times, they're empowering legislation that will make the average person's life more difficult.



ZANONA: Now, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer dismissed concerns about any politically tough votes he said in the end, the passage of this bill is going to outweigh anything difficult that his senators have to do. But it is going to be a long night. So, you know, people already talking about busting out the cots and ordering the late night pizza, because it's going to be a long weekend.

WALKER: All right. I'm sure you'll be watching it closely. Melanie Zanona, thank you so much. I appreciate that. So after months of setbacks and false starts, the Biden administration is celebrating some major wins on multiple fronts.

MATTINGLY: And those victories they come at a crucial moment for the President and his party. CNN's Kevin Liptak is live at the White House. Kevin, I believe is less than 100 days to the midterm elections. But the country is still dealing with soaring inflation, the White House whoever's having signs of a strong economy. What are you reading right now?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah. And that jobs report that came out yesterday from July was certainly lending some fuel to the White House fired this week alone, 528,000 jobs, unemployment rate, ticking down to three and a half percent, that's a 50 year low. And what this did was really kind of bolstered the White House's arguments that the economy is not heading into a recession. And you had heard them making that argument throughout the last couple of weeks because the jobs market was so strong that the economy wasn't headed towards a recession, despite negative growth, despite high inflation. And so this really kind of lends some fuel to that argument, you did hear President Biden come out yesterday to the Blue Room balcony, and really kind of take a victory lap. Listen to what he said.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: We're almost to 10 million jobs -- almost to 10 million jobs since I took office. That's the fastest job growth in history. Today, there are more people working in America than before the pandemic began. In fact, there are more people working in America at any point in American history.


LIPTAK: Now, the President also mentioned in there that there would be a lot of Americans that didn't necessarily feel a strong economy, maybe because of high prices, because of high inflation. And that, of course, has been the defining messaging struggle for this White House is, how do you convince Americans that the economy is doing well, when so many say they just don't feel it in their everyday lives. The President mentioned that in there. And the other sort of downside to this jobs report is what the Federal Reserve will take from it, do they see an overheated economy and take more steps like raising interest rates to try and rein in inflation.

But this was just the latest in a series of victories for the President over the last week. He started the week by announcing the death of that terrorist leader in Afghanistan. He had some positive news in midterm votes on Tuesday, he got Kyrsten Sinema all the Democrats on board on that reconciliation bill on Wednesday. So certainly there's something about pep in the step of the President, as he heads into this weekend. Phil, this jobs report was so key because it showed all of the job losses that came from the pandemic have now been regained.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, a critical marker for them. Kevin Liptak live on the North Lawn, not wearing the aviators just yet. We'll see if that happens a little bit later. Thanks, Kevin.

All right, and here with us now to discuss the political implications of this major economic news, a big week for the president in the White House, political White House Reporter, Daniel Lippman. And Daniel, you know, we just heard President Biden touting that July jobs report, but he also acknowledged Americans might have a hard time appreciating the job creation when inflation is as high as it's been in the last 40 years. But again under 100 days to the midterms, you know, this White House, you know, the people inside of it very, very well. What's your sense right now of how they're looking at the state of the economy?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, they feel pretty good. And obviously, privately, they would say that they wish the jobs numbers have been lower, to avoid the Federal Reserve continuing to tighten on prices and feeling the need to do that. But Democrats feel like, you know, what recession is on the horizon if you're going to have 500,000 jobs created every month. And so obviously, they're worried about inflation. But they feel like Biden hasn't gotten enough credit on building and helping build this economy that is really doing gangbusters in terms of the actual numbers.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, I mean, the recovery particularly you compare it to the 2008, 2009 crisis, the recovery is dramatically different, dramatically faster. However, inflation obviously standing in the way, you know, Daniel, we're not surprised by much in this town. You surprised me often with your personnel scoops that annoy me and cause me major problems on a regular basis. But when Joe Manchin --

LIPPMAN: I try my best.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, I know, I'm tired. You take a day off or two, but when Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer struck the deal on the economic and climate bill, that was a stunner for a lot of people. However, I think what people are trying to get their heads around right now is, is this going to matter in the midterm elections. This is going to change the dynamics right now with kind of Republicans with winds at their backs, what's your read of things right now?


LIPPMAN: Well, it used to be that people were always concerned about getting into swing voters and persuading the middle. And of course, that's still important for getting some voters in major swing states. But a lot of the game is turnout of your own base. And this is where that bill helps, because a lot of Democrats were really angry with the President, they felt like they elected this master of the Senate, and he couldn't even get anything passed. And so this is something that they can go to their voters and energize -- and get them energized to campaign, to volunteer to donate money, because for many Democrats, climate change is the number one issue. And they feel it as an existential issue for their kids, for their grandkids. And so now you have the biggest piece of legislation ever on this specific topic. And so that really helps Democrats to feel like, hey, we put Biden in. And this is what we got. We didn't -- no one is remembering that COVID response relief bill like, you know, a year and a half ago.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, no, I mean, there's actual results now, quietly, several major pieces of legislation have moved through, you know, one of the questions in this weekend, obviously, Democrats can pass this with the simple majority in the U.S. Senate. Republicans have made clear, they're not going to let it pass without a fight. I think Lindsey Graham, saying he's going to make the process this weekend, "hell." How do you expect the process to play out over the next 48, 72 hours?

LIPPMAN: Well, obviously, they're going to try to embarrass Democrats, and particularly people who are up for reelection in the next few days with these tough amendments, they're still kind of crafting exactly what to embarrass Democrats on or to make tough boats. But I think with Sinema's support, you know, recently, you know, to say, hey, as long as the parliamentarian, the all-important parliamentarian approves most of the stuff that she is onboard the train, they basically nailed this deal. And so, you know, Sinema is not going to vote for some amendment that is going to take this bill, and so Democrats and Schumer are going to be popping the champagne pretty soon. And there's going to -- of course, there's going to be a huge White House ceremony, where Biden is going to be beaming, and he's going to be out of COVID. So that'll be good for him.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, and definitely rocking those aviators as always. This is like Republican ledge staff and ledge counsels dream over the course of the next 72 hours. One thing I definitely wanted to get to so much big news this week, but Kansas voters this week rejected a measure that would have let state legislators pass laws effectively banning abortion. I'm always wary of extrapolating out state results, particularly not on major election nights. But do you expect the issue of abortion rights to drive Democratic voters to the polls in November?

LIPPMAN: Well, it definitely had the potential in reality of that's what it did earlier this week. And so this is just another issue that is if a wind of the backs of Democrats, Republicans don't want to talk about abortion, they'd rather focus on rising prices. But Democrats feel like, hey, this is a personal right at stake that was taken away by the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court said, you know, this should be left to the states. But even when you have the most conservative state of Kansas, saying, hey, we can't -- we don't want to allow this. We don't want to go back to the 1950s in terms of how women were treated, and what rights women had. That's kind of a clear signal that Democrats might try to use that to their advantage in terms of Michigan and other states where they can put these referendums or they can try to get this enshrined in their state constitutions, and kind of reminded me of the opposite of what happened in 2004, where Republicans used gay marriage referendums to drive turnout on their end, this is going to be another social issue that Democrats feel pretty good about where the majority of Americans are on their side.

MATTINGLY: Yeah. And Democrats have been saying this might be the case Republicans have been kind of dismissing it. A lot of Republicans had their eyebrows raised when they were looking at turnout numbers over the course the last couple of days. Daniel Lippman as always, my friend, I really appreciate it.

LIPPMAN: Thank you, Phil.

WALKER: An enlightening conversation, Phil, and Daniel, thank you. Well, Indiana has become the first state to pass an abortion ban since Roe v. Wade was overturned. The bill would provide exceptions for when the life of the mother is at risk and for fatal fetal anomalies. It would also allow exceptions for some abortions if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.

Now, Indiana currently allows abortions up to 20 weeks after fertilization. Protestors filled the halls of Indiana State Capitol as lawmakers voted on the measure. The new law will go into effect on September 15.

MATTINGLY: And this week, a Texas jury ordered Alex Jones to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of a six-year-old boy killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. But how much money will they actually get from the conspiracy theories, that's coming up next.


And a flood watch for Eastern Kentucky is now in effect until this evening, just ahead, we'll show you how residents are starting to clean up after the historic floods.

WALKER: And later CNN's exclusive interview with Republican Congresswoman and January 6 Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, does she think the Justice Department should prosecute Donald Trump for his role and insurrection? That's coming up.


WALKER: Last night, jurors ordered Alex Jones to pay over $45 million in punitive damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook victim. That is on top of the $4 million awarded and compensatory damages on Thursday. Now, the right wing talk show host has lied for years spewing conspiracy theories about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, saying the shooting that Hill 21st graders and six adults was a hoax and that it was staged by crisis actors.


With me now is CNN Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson. Joey, if you will, we will, let's start with the money because the parents had to endure. I mean, these torturous lies for so many years and the money is really the best and only way to get Alex Jones to pay up literally and figuratively. They had asked for $150 million of parents, right? They got 45 million, is that a big win? Why do you think the jury settled on that number?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, so it's huge, and good morning to you, Amara. So what happens is, to be clear, is that there are a number of phases here. We know that there was a default judgment issued in October. What does that mean? It means that he would not provide discovery and information to the other parties, he would not participate in the litigation. And as a result of that a jury could not make a determination on the merits, because he really was not all in, right? So with that said, then he was deem to be liable by default, then the case moves on to the damages portion. The first instance the jury has to determine, Amara, compensatory damages. What does that mean? Those are damages that are designed to compensate you, for your out of pocket losses and expenses. They came back that is the jury and they made the determination yesterday that they would be 4.1 million, excuse me, the day before yesterday.

Subsequent to that, they then have to decide from a punitive damages measure what you're designed to punish you. Punitive damages are designed to send a message that we don't like your conduct. We think your conduct was willful, what you said was wrong, it was inappropriate. It just was beyond the pale. But what we have to keep in mind is that although the jury awarded that amount in punitive damages, there is a statutory cap, Amara, in Texas, and that statutory cap limits the damages to $750,000 per, right, plaintiff. And so ultimately, it'll be 1.5 million different jurisdictions very briefly, have issued what's called tort reform, because jurors in essence, send messages, those messages can bankrupt businesses. And so some jurisdictions throughout the country, limit the amount of damages notwithstanding what a jury would otherwise impose, as has Texas done here.

WALKER: But Alex Jones could be forced to pay up more, right? Because there is a similar defamation suit against him in Connecticut. It was supposed to stand trial he was in September. But of course, that's on hold while those bankruptcy proceedings go on. And an economist testified yesterday that Jones withdrew nearly what was it $62 million last year, he's accused of using shell companies to hide his wealth. Do you think that the judge is going to be able to find, you know, get access or figure out how much money he has access to?

JACKSON: Yeah, so a couple of things going on here. The one thing to be clear about is that this is not the end of the road. This is one particular case, there are other cases pending in Connecticut, and those families certainly deserve relief. Important point, yes, we have a First Amendment right in this country, but that fails and falls when you defame someone when you say things that are false that didn't pair and affect their reputation that affect them emotionally. And so that'll be dealt with. And I would suspect that those jurors will, right, analogous to this jury -- these jurors here conclude that they realize and that those families deserve compensatory damages to compensate them and punitive damages as well. And then in addition to that, you raise the issue of the bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws are designed to protect companies and individuals in the event that there are issues in paying debtors, right, debtors and creditors. You're a debtor, excuse me, if you owe the money. The creditors are owed the money. So you can get bankruptcy protections.

But they're not designed, Amara, in a way that you can otherwise fraudulently convey, and otherwise encumbered monies that were meant to pay people. And so although he's using the bankruptcy laws to protect himself, he's doing it in a way to dissipate assets and hide assets, laws don't like that, courts don't like that, right? And as a result of that, I think ultimately those assets will be gotten. It may delay the process, but you cannot fraudulently convey assets in order to get under and out from, you know, behind issues when you owe money, so look for that.

WALKER: And just a few seconds that we have, I have to ask you about those, that's surprising turn in the trial, where we saw Alex Jones' lawyers inadvertently send the lawyers of the Sandy Hook parents, two years' worth of his Texas cell phone records. And now, of course, you have federal state investigators in the January 6 committee who want those lawyers to hand over these records. Does he face more legal trouble on that front then?

JACKSON: I really do think so. I think he faces legal trouble with respect to perjuring himself. In this particular case, I think he faces legal trouble for January 6. He was called before the committee, we should remind everyone in January, he pled the fifth, right, saying I can't answer that because it will incriminate me 100 times.


And let's see what investigators find as it relates to these emails or excuse me text messages where he said, hey, I didn't send any texts about January 6. Oh, really? You've been doing it for two years. So there's trouble in paradise for him with the Department of Justice to be clear and potentially local authorities in Texas as well.

WALKER: Yeah, he definitely was a central player on January 6, he attended that rally at the ellipse but did not storm the Capitol with the rioters. Joey Jackson, we're going to leave it there. Thank you so much. We're right back after this.

JACKSON: Thanks.


WALKER: CNN has learned former President Trump's attorneys are in direct talks with the Justice Department about its criminal probe into the January 6 insurrection. The talks are focused on just how far Trump can take his claims of executive privilege and shield conversations from federal investigators that he had while president.


MATTINGLY: Now, this news comes as the January 6th Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney says if the facts and evidence are there, the DOJ should prosecute the former president for his role in the insurrection. CNN's Kasie Hunt sat down for an exclusive interview with the Republican congresswoman.


KASIE HUNT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that the Biden Justice Department is going to stop him from becoming president again?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I think that the Justice Department is going to follow the facts and the evidence. I think that they clearly seen significant activity in terms of, you know, the individuals that they now have testifying in front of the grand jury in D.C., and I think they're taking their obligation seriously.

I think we've certainly seen in our hearings when you have the former attorney general, former White House counsel, former acting attorney general, former deputy attorney general. And you have individuals who served Donald Trump who were nominated by him and who served at the highest levels, you know, who have testified in front of the committee and made clear, for example, as did Pat Cipollone, that President Trump didn't want people to leave the Capitol.

Now, Mr. Cipollone made that point, trying to protect executive privilege, but I don't think anybody had any doubt what he was saying. And so, I think the Justice Department is, from what I can tell, from the outside, committed to following the facts and following the evidence and they're taking it seriously.

HUNT: Some have expressed concern that prosecuting former President Trump would turn him into a martyr, and potentially add to his political strength with a base that follows him pretty rapidly. Do you share that concern? Do you have any concern that a prosecution would strengthen Donald Trump's political hand?

CHENEY: I don't think that it's appropriate to think about it that way, because the question for us is, are we a nation of laws? Are we a country where no one is above the law? And what do the facts and the evidence show? And certainly, I've been very clear, I think he's guilty of the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in our nation's history.

You've had a federal judge in California say that it's more likely than not that he and John Eastman committed two crimes. So, you know, I think that we're going to continue to follow the facts. I think the Department of Justice will do that. But they have to make decisions about prosecution, understanding what it means if the facts and the evidence are there, and they decide not to prosecute, how do we then call ourselves a nation of laws. I think that's a very serious balancing. HUNT: It sounds like you think that the evidence is there, and that if

they don't follow that evidence, that's a dereliction of duty on their part.

CHENEY: Well, the committee has been, I think very thorough in laying out much of what we know. There's much more that we have not yet shared in hearings and that we anticipate we will share in the Fall. But -- and we will also make decisions about criminal referrals, and ultimately, the decision about prosecution is up to the Justice Department. But I would anticipate that the committee will have an opinion on that.

HUNT: CNN is reporting that the Pentagon texts from January 6th are missing. This is of course after the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service seemed to have lost texts. Do you think there's malicious intent behind the Pentagon's deletion of texts related to that day?

CHENEY: I don't know that that's the case. I haven't seen evidence of malicious intent. I do think, though, that it's concerning that you have text messages apparently -- and this is based on the news reporting, that text messages apparently of some of the senior officials, people like Kash Patel, apparently not available. Now, certainly, as a committee, we'll go get to the bottom of that.

We've been working with Secret Service, and the situation has been reported where text messages are not available or were erased off of phones. But we've received hundreds of thousands of documents from the Secret Service, and significant information from them, that the committee is going through and will use in our investigation and as we conduct interviews of additional Secret Service agents.

HUNT: How much would you say you have learned that was unexpected? I mean, you obviously have a lot more information than the general public does in your head about what happened that day. But when you started these hearings earlier this year, did you have any idea how much you would know at this point?


CHENEY: It's been more information and a more sophisticated and broader reaching effort than I understood coming into it. I think all of us on the committee have had that same reaction, which is that there's so much -- there was so much more that was happening in, you know, multiple different areas, whether it was the pressure on state officials or the pressure on the Justice Department or, you know, the attempt to corrupt the pressure of the vice president himself.

So I think that we've just -- there's -- the volume of information has been more than I expected. And certainly, obviously, came into this very concerned, and the information itself has not lessened my concern at all.

HUNT: Are you in contact with the former Vice President Mike Pence as you're learning this new information? CHENEY: No, we've had discussions with his counsel obviously about,

you know, his interactions with the committee, but not with him personally.

HUNT: What's your assessment of how he's handling potentially running for president? Because he's out there kind of opposing the former president, but unlike you, he's not out there criticizing former President Trump.

CHENEY: You know, what I would say is that Vice President Pence was a hero on January 6th, and that it's very clear that there was tremendous pressure from a number of different places on him and he did his duty, and he didn't succumb to that pressure. And if he had succumbed to that pressure, things would have been very different.

And so, I think that we owe him gratitude for how he conducted himself, and for his refusal to do what Donald Trump wanted him to do, which would have been illegal and unconstitutional.

HUNT: Do you think he'd be an ally in the fight to keep Trump out of the Oval Office?

CHENEY: Let me just leave it where I did. I think that his actions on January 6th are ones for which the nation should be grateful.

HUNT: There's been a lot of speculation about how the committee is or isn't making an impact with the American people, especially when it comes to this question of whether Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee and eventually, potentially president of the United States again. Do you think the committee's work is moving the needle politically?

CHENEY: I don't -- again, I don't think about it that way. I think about it more, and because I think it's important that the committee's work not be viewed through a political lens, and that's not how I think about that. I think about it in terms of whether or not we're reaching people who understand how serious the threat was and continues to be. And I think in that regard, you know, we have done the job --

HUNT: Do you think --

CHENEY: That I'm proud of.

HUNT: Do you think there are enough people out there in the country who share these concerns that you have, and that many people who are also at the Capitol on that day have? Are there enough Americans out there to move the needle?

CHENEY: I think that the vast majority of Americans understand how important it is that we have peaceful transitions of power. And that at the -- sort of at the heart of who we are as Americans and at the heart of our republic is a peaceful transition of power. And no matter what your party affiliation is, you have to have a president who will guarantee that, and Donald Trump did not.

And so, I do think that as more and more facts become known, people are paying attention and understanding how serious the threat is.


MATTINGLY: It's a fascinating conversation. And coming up in our next hour, more of that exclusive interview with Congresswoman Cheney. We asked her about her tough primary fight in Wyoming and her political future. And a quick programming note, join Anderson Cooper Sunday night for a new investigation into what really happened in Uvalde, Texas. Watch the special report tomorrow 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.



WALKER: We are talking about extreme heat again. It is going to be a scorching weekend across much of the U.S. Fifty five million people expected to be under heat alerts as above temperatures reach from the Pacific Northwest to the east coast where temperatures will be 10 to 15 degrees above normal. The oppressive temperatures are blamed for at least 14 deaths in Oregon this week.

MATTINGLY: And a new flood watch is in effect for eastern Kentucky today. Now, President Biden and the first lady will travel to Kentucky on Monday to see firsthand the damage done by that deadly flooding.

WALKER: Thirty seven people are dead, but that number could rise as officials continue searching for the missing. CNN's Dianne Gallagher filed this report from eastern Kentucky where entire towns have nothing left. People are still without power, and everything is buried in a foot of mud.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not -- we're not victims here. We're survivors.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the people of eastern Kentucky dig out of the mud, they're praying for a miracle in the form of donations, good will, and dry weather.


Volunteers lined up at the Apple shop in Whitesburg to sort and attempt to salvage hundreds of soaked but priceless pieces of Appalachian history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything is worse.

GALLAGHER: Just across the river, another piece of Appalachian culture caked in mud after the floods ripped through this downtown distillery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First, you're just heartbroken, and then it's just try to fix it back, you know, get it back as fast as we can.

GALLAGHER: Running water, electricity, communications hard to come by. Community touchstones destroyed. Schools, pharmacies, fire departments and grocery stores, nothing spared in these tiny towns.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think of it as a store, but it's actually a gathering place for everyone.

GALLAGHER: While Hindman volunteer firefighters were doing boat rescues, their department flooded, a fire truck swept away. But it's the human toll that the chief can't shake. The majority of the flooding deaths happened in Knot County including the four siblings who died.

PRESTON HAYS, FIRE CHIEF, HINDMAN, KENTUCKY: Just no one else, people, it's heartbreaking. This is our community, it's our town, it's our home.

GALLAGHER: For those who survived the flood, surviving its aftermath now brings new challenges, which for many becomes more difficult by the day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's nothing left. Everything's destroyed.

GALLAGHER: The rural nature of the region coupled with the water crushing roads and bridges made rescues and resources difficult to come by, with the National Guard coming in by air, and neighbors by "ATV". Survivors helping survivors in places like Wolf Coal --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Neighbor helping neighbor, that means love.

GALLAGHER: And Fleming-Neon where nearly every home and business was affected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, it was like a war zone --

GALLAGHER: Leaving the people there stranded, forced to lift themselves out of the mud, unable to seek outside help for days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't help but cry, you can't help but cry, but it's going to be all right. We're going to be OK. We'll be back.

GALLAGHER: Survivors like the Letcher Fire chief who hung on to the top of this tanker for 15 hours while the floodwaters rose around him, say to really recover, they'll need more than repairs.

WALLACE BOLLING JR., FIRE CHIEF, LETCHER COUNTY, KENTUCKY: (INAUDIBLE) and I kind of wondered about things, how to go forward, but you know, I've got to fix myself first.

GALLAGHER: Most who escaped with their lives had little else left behind when the water receded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you can see the mud running here --

GALLAGHER (on camera): Yes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the window? Now, that's how deep this water was. GALLAGHER (voice-over): Gary Click says most of his possessions were

ruined like many in this region, he didn't have flood insurance because he doesn't live in a flood plain.

GARY CLICK, SURVIVED FLOODING: I've never seen water like that. I mean, it's like a dam burst or like a tsunami --

GALLAGHER: Gary lived by Troublesome Creek for most of his life, but he's not sure if his community, ever independent and resilient can ever be the same.

CLICK: This is literally the end of this little community.

GALLAGHER: Admitting he'll never be able to shake the fear of another flood.

CLICK: I believe we're seeing the effects of climate change right here. Just given time, if we don't turn it around, just given time, it's going to get worse. People are going to see life as we know it change dramatically. I've seen it. I've lived here 40 years.

GALLAGHER: Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Hazard, Kentucky.


MATTINGLY: It's tough to even comprehend the devastation there. And for more information about how you can help victims of the Kentucky flooding, go to We'll be right back.



MATTINGLY: Well, finally, mercifully, the NFL is officially back. And that, of course, means a visit to Canton, Ohio, where this weekend, there will be a celebration of eight of the game's greatest inducting them into the pro football hall of fame.

WALKER: And with that in mind, Coy Wire joining us now to share the story of the woman leading the league off the field and into the future. Good morning, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Amara and Phil, you're going to hear some of these legends, and I talk about standing on the shoulders of giants. And in my nine-year NFL career, some of the most memorable moments were those in which I could give back, and that's in large part because of trailblazer Anna Isaacson.

She grew up giving back, now she's the NFL's Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility, leads initiatives like My Cause, My Cleats, Salute to Service, the NFL's cancer platform crucial catch. And we talked about her impact on communities over her 16-plus years in the league.


The NFL has always been about community and sort of elevated it and allowed us to dive in deeper and take these campaigns to the next level. So they're all awesome in their own way. I think seeing how our fans and our communities react to them has really been some of the most moving experiences for me, right?

Getting letters from people who said, thank you, if I wasn't watching the game, if I wasn't at the game, I wouldn't have been reminded to get a mammogram, and that helped save my life.

WIRE: You are a woman just leading in a league comprised of a lot of guys. For all the young women out there, what's your message to them as they seek to reach the top?

ISAACSON: You know, there's a lot of women in the NFL now doing unbelievable things. There's more women at the top than there were 15 years ago, 10 years ago even. And I would just say like, we have a voice, right? Use it. Don't be shy to use it. I always try to tell people, you know, when I get into a room or a seat at the table, to use my words wisely, but use them, right? Be there and have a voice and have a message, and if you feel confident in doing that, people might listen to you.

WIRE: We're seeing so many more female coaches in the league as well. What does the league look like 10 years from now?


ISAACSON: I see women GMs, tons more women coaches. We just had our third female official join the ranks. So, I think the sky is the limit to be honest, and I think there's a welcoming attitude towards that. I don't really see any issue going on there. I think, you know, women are already all throughout the league office, and I think we'll see them more at clubs. Ownership continue to grow. But yes, I think the football side is going to be pretty exciting to watch.


WIRE: Smashing the status quo, helping to change lives around the world. Anna inspires change, the league's social justice campaign recently renewed 21 grants for nonprofits, increasing Inspire Change funding to more than $244 million, that's 98 percent of their 10-year commitment to social justice causes in programming in just about four years. So pretty inspiring stuff, no doubt from Anna --

WALKER: I need some Anna in my life. Can I get her number after this? She's really amazing --

WIRE: Yes, I mean, one of the suit-up in playing, play for her team now. She's pretty dynamic.

WALKER: Totally. Great stuff --

MATTINGLY: Yes, great conversation. And Coy, I'm going to be honest, kind of look training camp ready. You're about ready to go back? What's going on there, man?

WIRE: Yes, if you can see me from the waist down, I'm in my shorts and in my pants with pats on and cleats. I'm ready to go, Phil.

MATTINGLY: Perfect. All right, Coy Wire, it's a great report, great interview. Thanks man --

WIRE: Thanks.

MATTINGLY: All right, Senate Democrats will be on Capitol Hill today to start debate on what would be a major legislative victory for President Biden. Up next, we'll tell you what's in this version of their economic bill and what didn't make the cut.