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New Day Saturday

Affidavit Reveals New Details About Mar-a-Lago Search; Dow Sinks After Fed Chair Warns Of Some Pain To Tame Inflation; Migrant Family Trekked Across 10 Countries To Seek Asylum In U.S.; Nearly Half Of All States Have Banned Or Restricted Abortion Access. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired August 27, 2022 - 07:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Buenos Dias! And welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Amara Walker. Former President Trump again calling for a special master to intervene after a judge unsealed documents regarding the search of his Mar-a-Lago home. The latest in this legal battle and what we're learning about those classified government secrets.

SANCHEZ: Plus, Friday freefall. Stocks plummeting after Fed Chair Jerome Powell promises "forceful and rapid action to try and tame inflation." He says to expect more economic pain ahead.

WALKER: Also, CNN rides along with the so-called water police in California. Their creative ways to keep homeowners from wasting water amid the devastating drought.

SANCHEZ: And we're going to introduce you to a very special 17-year- old soaring into the record books after flying solo around the world. He'll join us live. NEW DAY starts right now.

WALKER: Hello, everyone! Good morning and a warm welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Saturday, August 27th. Hello there, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Amara. Great to be with you as always. Up first, we start with Donald Trump renewing his call for a special master to review documents from the search of his Mar-a-Lago residence. Trump filed a response last night to a judge's request for more information, but he did not explain what role of special master would play. As for the affidavit, authorizing the search of his residence, he says, it raises more questions than answers.

WALKER: We are learning new details from that affidavit. The heavily redacted document reveals that classified material found at the resident includes some of the country's most sensitive secrets according to the filing. The FBI said the search at Mar-a-Lago would likely find evidence of obstruction. It also said authorities have probable cause to believe that classified national security materials were taken to unauthorized locations at the former president's estate and that the FBI found 184 classified documents in the 15 boxes retrieved in January.

A legal brief explaining the redactions in the affidavit also raises concerns about possible threats to potential witnesses.

SANCHEZ: Let's get more now on what exactly we're learning from the affidavit with CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Startling new details about the hundreds of pages of documents former President Trump kept at Mar-a-Lago for months as the National Archives tried to get them back.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: The top secret stuff and compartmental can get people killed. It is completely alarming.

SCHNEIDER: The now-unsealed affidavit revealing 14 of the 15 boxes the archives retrieved in January 2022 contain classified information, 184 unique documents in all, 67 marked Confidential, 92 marked Secret, and 25 marked Top Secret. Prosecutor said, of most significant concern was that highly classified records were unfolded, intermixed with other records, and otherwise on properly identified. Plus, some documents had HCS markings particularly alarming to intelligence experts.

STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA CHIEF, RUSSIA STATION: HCS stuff basically means that there's information in those boxes in the basement at Mar- a-Lago that pertain to or possibly came from human sources. They usually get imprisoned. And if it's in a place like Russia or any other authoritarian society, they're oftentimes simply executed. That type of information is just incredibly sensitive.

SCHNEIDER The Justice Department redacting pages of information from the affidavit in order to protect witness information and other key details from the ongoing criminal investigation into classified material at Mar-a-Lago. In particular, prosecutors writing in their legal memo to the judge, information in the affidavit could be used to identify many if not all of these witnesses.

If witnesses' identities are exposed they could be subjected to harms including retaliation, intimidation, or harassment, and even threats to their physical safety.


ROBERT LITT, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: At the end of the day, this is probably a net plus for the government. The judge has found that they have excised all information that would compromise sources and methods that the Justice Department would be concerned about.

SCHNEIDER: But left unredacted is an email Trump attorney Evan Corcoran sent to the National Archives in May claiming Trump had the authority to keep the papers at his Florida home after he left office saying Trump has absolute authority to declassify documents and presidential actions involving classified documents are not subject to criminal sanction.

But DOJ investigators weren't deterred. There was probable cause to believe that additional documents that contain classified NDI or National Defense Information or that of presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at Mar-a-Lago. And there is probable cause to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found.

HALL: What is a good explanation for why really anybody but certainly former president included in that group would want this stuff or have this stuff, you know, stored in the basement?

SCHNEIDER: And just about half of that 38-page affidavit is redacted. And that's because the Justice Department's criminal investigation into these classified materials is still moving forward. Prosecutors have already revealed they're looking into violations of the Espionage Act, concealment of government records, also obstruction. So, the next question is, will anyone ultimately be charged? And if so, who? Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


SANCHEZ: Jessica, thank you so much. Let's dig deeper now with CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Peter Licata. He's a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent. Peter, we're grateful to have your expertise this morning. When you go over this affidavit, does any of this read to you the way that the former president is describing it like a fishing expedition or a witch hunt?

PETER LICATA, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Good morning. No, it doesn't. And when you look at the non-redacted portions of the affidavit, which there aren't much, but it is very telling, it wasn't just a random search of any and all documents that may or may not be classified. There was a specific number. There's 184 documents which are broken down into, I believe, 67 Confidential, 92 Secret and 27 Top Secret documents.

And moreover, there was a specific location that was addressed in that affidavit, which was the pine hall, which I believe is a foyer inside the residence. So, again, very specific to what was -- what was being searched for and to the location of which witnesses reported that information was.

SANCHEZ: So, a lot of the affidavit, as you noted, is pretty heavily redacted. What kind of specifics can you glean from the details about the documents that they knew about, material that was marked no foreign or FISA or others?

LICATA: Right. It's key to understand what those caveats mean. Those are -- so, a document can be classified, but what is its compartmentalization? Who's allowed to see it? Basically, it's always on a need to know. So, when we talk about no foreign, that's really important. That means not releasable to any foreign government unless there's a caveat that would say, no foreign at rel, R-E-L, which is releasable to let's just say the United Kingdom, FISA, which is Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is information or -- information or intelligence that's gleaned from basically wiretaps of foreign operatives in and around the United States.

And then what was mentioned in that news piece from Jessica is the HCS, which is protecting human confidential sources throughout the world. That's really important. As a former FBI agent, we relied on human sources. We've protected them. We protected the information they were providing us, and we protected their identity so they would not be persecuted, found, executed, murdered, or arrested in that foreign country where they're releasing that information.

SANCHEZ: So, what would it mean if a foreign adversary say China or Russia has plant someone that has access to Mar-a-Lago and could easily grab some of these documents from a hallway? What kind of danger could the United States and its intelligence apparatus be in?

LICATA: It's a potential what's in that information? So, what did those documents actually say? It's always a danger. That's why the information is classified to begin with, Confidential through Top Secret, so somebody thought it's important enough that information is significantly sensitive. And then you put those caveats on there like no foreign or FISA or HCS or special intelligence, or SI, which is where the information was derived from.

So, again, very important -- again, who knows what's on those documents, but it was -- the caveats are important enough that we wanted to protect information from foreign operatives.


SANCHEZ: Sure. And what about a reasonable explanation? Is it possible that Trump has a good reason for holding on to these documents the way that he did?

LICATA: No, not unless he had a prior approval, and moreover, a proper storage facility within Mar-a-Lago. We call it a SCIF. It's basically a secure compartment where you can store classified information or even talk about classified information. So, really, no politician has a need, in this case, especially a former politician to have those documents on their possession or in a not carded storage facility or Tupperware box at all.

SANCHEZ: And Peter, this caught my eye in the affidavit that apparently there were all sorts of newspaper clippings and handwritten notes, just kind of detritus random paperwork mingled in with classified top secret information. What did you make of that?

LICATA: Let's just say that is not the way classified documents are supposed to be stored. It seems like it was -- it was just things that were taken from a specific room somewhere within the White House or somewhere where the Trump administration had access as they were packing up the White House to move stuff to Mar-a-Lago, and it was just a hodgepodge of no diligence about taking things without actually examining them, looking at them, and making sure they were stored properly, or asking if we can remove them to have them stored properly.

SANCHEZ: So, we learned that the FBI told the court the search would likely find evidence of obstruction. But it appears that all of that actual evidence remains redacted in the affidavit. How do you read that?

LICATA: Well, there's probably a good chance in this case they're actually protecting the witness or witnesses, or in this case, the government source, right, so the HCS, the Human Confidential Source or witness that is reporting about this. And not only reporting about the documents, but the potential for things that would relate to obstruction. So, it's just a matter of protect -- protecting the witnesses.

Now, if this ever did go to trial, if it was ever decided that there would be an indictment passed down in a trial where to take place was to say, then those witnesses would be revealed in a court of law, but not until that time.

SANCHEZ: Peter Licata, we appreciate your insight. Thanks for joining us.

LICATA: My pleasure. Thank you.

WALKER: Still ahead, Friday freefall. Stocks plunging after Fed Chair Jerome Powell says Americans can expect more economic pain as government works to tamp down inflation. His blunt message to investors and the rest of the country next.

Plus, a hopeful sign of where we are in the Coronavirus pandemic. What the CDC expects when it comes to both deaths and new infections over the coming weeks.

Plus, cracking down on water wasters. Meet the so-called water police patrolling the streets of California handing out real penalties to people violating water restrictions.


SANCHEZ: The Dow plunged more than 1000 points yesterday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell vowed that the Central Bank will continue to fight inflation. And he warned Americans we should expect more economic pain.

WALKER: Powell went on to say the Federal Reserve would continue its historic pace of interest rate hikes for the foreseeable future, and that it would likely result in some weakening of the U.S. economy and labor market.


JEROME POWELL, CHAIR, FEDERAL RESERVE: Reducing inflation is likely to require a sustained period of below trend growth. Moreover, there will very likely be some softening of labor market conditions. While higher interest rates, slower growth, and softer labor market conditions will bring down inflation, they will also bring some pain to households and businesses. These are the unfortunate costs of reducing inflation. But a failure to restore price stability would mean for greater pain.


WALKER: The Federal Reserve will decide how much to increase interest rates again when they meet next month on September 20 and 21st. New this morning, Governor Kathy Hochul is requesting that President Biden take executive action to allow migrants arriving in New York from Texas to receive work permits.

SANCHEZ: Officials say that as of this week, more than 7000 migrants are seeking asylum in New York City, including at least 1100 children. CNN's Polo Sandoval spoke with one migrant family that traveled across 10 countries just to be here. They say they are ready for work.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To get merely an idea of what many of the people stepping off these border buses in New York City have experienced, just look at the images they're willing to share.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (text): We're resting here in order to continue our journey.

SANDOVAL: This video taken by Chrisman Urbaez his partner Annabelle Gonzales earlier this summer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (text): It's May 17, 2022.

SANDOVAL: The young Venezuelan couple kept a video diary during their two month, 10 country journey from Lima, Peru to New York City. They carry only a few belongings on their backs and occasionally their 6 and 9-year-olds as they track through the infamous Darien Gap linking South and Central America.

It's a place where the northerly path for many migrants often ends in tragedy, but not for this family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (text): We made it! We made it alive! We made it, thank God!

SANDOVAL: During the rest of their journey north, they swaddled their dog Max, still a pup at the time, like a baby to sneak him onto buses and into hotels fearing that they would be separated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (text): There goes Sebastian and Criszanyelis.


SANDOVAL: But the actual blood, sweat, and tears were all worth it for this moment as they recount, the day they waited across the Rio Grande and onto U.S. soil for the first time officially requesting asylum. After a brief stop in Texas, it was onto a bus and the three day drive to New York City where they wait for their asylum cases to be heard.

What was your first impression of New York? Annabelle tells me reality set in once they reach the urban jungle

that is their new home, that as much as they want to start earning a living, they can't. You see, they're among the thousands of recently arrived migrants who have to petition for a work permit after submitting asylum applications. It's a process that is taking up to a year according to New York City leaders.

Chrisman says he hopes the government can help him be a better provider for his family. But more than anything else, he's pleading for the federal government to free his hands of the red tape that's keeping him from working legally.

MANUEL CASTRO, COMMISSIONER, NYC MAYOR'S OFFICE OF IMMIGRANT AFFAIRS: Most of the families that I've spoken to, they want to get to work. They don't want to stay in shelters. They want to contribute to society.

SANDOVAL: Immigration Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro, an immigrant himself, echoing calls for a fast track solution.

CASTRO: Immigration advocates across the country are calling on the federal government to make it easier and make it quicker for asylum seekers to obtain their work permits. That's by far the biggest obstacle.

SANDOVAL: The Urbaez family says they won't risk their asylum cases by working off the books. They'll have to depend on the city's already strained shelter system until they can get the government's green light to start living their American dream. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


WALKER: Abortion will now be out of reach for millions of women as new restrictive laws are now in effect in three states. A look at the post-Roe landscape after the break.



WALKER: A positive trend in the COVID pandemic.

SANCHEZ: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicting the number of daily COVID-19 deaths will begin to decline in the next few weeks. There have been more than 470 deaths a day for the past two weeks, but experts say that figure is likely going down. The number of new COVID infections is also dropping.

WALKER: There were fewer than 100,000 new cases a day for the first time since May. Meanwhile, the FDA is expected to authorize Pfizer's updated COVID-19 booster, one that protects against the newest Omicron variant on or before September 1st. Moderna also submitted an application this week to the FDA for emergency use authorization of its updated COVID-19 Omicron booster.

SANCHEZ: As the Coronavirus, mutates and evolves, though the number of effective treatments against the new variants have dwindled.

WALKER: CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Amara, Pfizer says that only two percent of people who have COVID and take their drug Paxlovid experience rebound. But certainly, we have heard story after story of people who've had rebound, and it really does make you wonder if that two percent is right.

So, let's take a look at what the latest study. This is a big study from the National Institutes of Health says about people who have COVID-19 take Paxlovid and experience rebound. This study says that actually 5.4 percent experienced rebound within a month. Now, that's certainly higher than two percent, but again, in many ways, just anecdotally, it seems like it's even higher. Let's take a look.

So, President Joe Biden, he had COVID-19, took Paxlovid, experience rebounds, so does his wife, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Stephen Colbert. The list goes on. Dr. Peter Hotez, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, both familiar faces, doctors you see often on CNN. They both experienced rebound after taking Paxlovid.

One of the reasons that people say this could be happening is you only take Paxlovid for five days. Now, the FDA has asked for more studies, perhaps people need to take it for longer. Now, having said that, there are some people who really could benefit from Paxlovid even if they do get rebound. It could be worth the risk.

So, the people who would benefit the most from Paxlovid, it's people who are 65 and older, people who are immunocompromised, and people who have underlying conditions such as diabetes, or heart disease. Now, there's no question that there are people who've benefited from Paxlovid. For example, there was an Israeli study that looked at elderly people and it compared to people who took Paxlovid and those that didn't. What they found is that without Paxlovid, people were four times more likely to end up in the hospital with COVID 19.

So the bottom line is if you're at high risk from becoming severely ill with COVID-19, then Paxlovid really might be worth the risk of having rebound. Rebound might be OK. If indeed the drug saves your life. For people who are younger, people who are healthy, it might not be worth the risk of getting rebound. Amara, Boris?

WALKER: All right, very interesting. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

President Biden met with state and local officials at the White House Friday to mark Women's Equality Day.

SANCHEZ: They discussed actions to protect women's access to abortions and reproductive health care. President Biden said the fate of abortion rights lies in the hands of voters now.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The court got Roe right for nearly 50 years. And Congress in my view should codified Roe for once and for all. Right now, we're short a handful of votes. It passed the House but in the Senate we're short. And the only way that's going to happen is the American people make it happen to November.


SANCHEZ: Notably, President Biden's comments come as another round of abortion trigger laws go into effect.

WALKER: Nearly half of all states have already either banned or restricted abortions or are expected to do so.

CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look at some of those so-called trigger laws.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Texas has a tough new code of the West. Abortions are now outlawed from the moment of conception with no exception for pregnancies that come from rape or incest.

A doctor can provide an abortion but only if it appears a mother will die or be seriously impaired without one. In some cases, providing an illegal abortion could be a first-degree felony. And in the Lone Star State, the penalty for that can be life in prison.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 50 years ago, in 1972, abortion was just as illegal in Texas as it is -- as it is now today.

FOREMAN: Tennessee has gone a similar direction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We expect a lot to be followed.

FOREMAN: With legal protection for fetuses starting at fertilization. No exceptions for rape or incest. And for doctors the same tough rule. An abortion is legal only to save a mother's life or prevent serious medical issues, a standard some critics find hopelessly vague.

ASHLEY COFFIELD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF TENESSE AN MISSISSIIPI: The law will make doctor second guess their medical training and expertise, when choosing a treatment plan, or risk a felony of criminal conviction.

FOREMAN: And then, there is Idaho. Rape or incest can legally justify an abortion under the new law there if it is reported to the police. But for doctors, the only legal excuse for abortion is to save the mother's life.

Any abortion done to prevent injury or illness to the pregnant patient could wind up in charges against the doctor. That distinction moved to federal judge to put that part of Idaho's law on hold since Federal law says emergency room care must also consider protecting a patient's health even if she is not in mortal danger.

(END VIDEO CLIP) FOREMAN: It's all evidence of the rapid pace at which many red states are seeking to implement new laws against abortion, Stiffen the laws they already have and impose the harshest penalties on those who still think and act as if abortion is a nationwide right.

SANCHEZ: Thanks to Tom Foreman for that report.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): A crackdown in California. The state's suffering from an extreme drought and now officials are scouring neighborhoods for people violating strict water restrictions.

Take a close look at the device that could force the biggest culprits to cut back when we come back.



WALKER: All right now to the record breaking drought in Southern California. Look, it is so bad that some cities are paying people to replace their green lawns with drought resistant plants.

SANCHEZ: And the water police is out there on the front lines, looking out for people that aren't following water restrictions. That turns out, you may not be surprised some A-list celebrities are among the biggest violators. CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.


CASON GILMER, SENIOR FIELD CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE, LAS VIRGENES MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT: When it's in our face, and the sprinklers are going off at noon on a Wednesday, it's an easy target for us.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sunny day in Southern California, likely means someone is violating drought restrictions.

This street, in particular, was very, very green two months ago.

ELAM: Here in northern Los Angeles County, residents are only allowed to water one day a week, and only eight minutes for each set of sprinklers. So, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District is on the lookout for anyone breaking those rules.

GILMER: A little bit of runoff there.

ELAM: and there's some runoff down there. Yes.

We rode along with Cason Gilmer as he looked for water where it shouldn't be. Waste he and his team have captured on video. And with outdoor watering making up to 70 percent of most customers usage, Las Virgenes says cutting down on water waste outside can have a huge impact.

The water district gets its water from the state water project, which pipes run off from the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains to Southern California.

But the snowpack was just four percent of normal at the end of winter, forcing unprecedented restrictions. Las Virgenes is only getting five percent of its requested water supplies this year.

MIKE MCNUTT, PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, LAS VIRGENES MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT: We're having to supplement the water that we have been getting from the state water project with this water that you see behind us, which is considered our storage account.

ELAM: Sure. Sometimes they find those abusing the rules, sometimes 1,000s of dollars.

MCNUTT: And we have a lot of celebrities, we have a lot of musicians, we have a lot of athletes.

ELAM: But the affluent haven of Calabasas inside the water district's territory is home to many A-listers with deep pockets. Some of whom use far more water than they should have, according to recent data.

Big names like Kevin Hart, Dwayne Wade, and according to the Los Angeles Times Kourtney Kardashian, as well as sister Kim.

MCNUTT: Those specific celebrities have been working very closely with the district. They want to do the right thing in order to achieve a much more efficient water usage tier.

ELAM: The water district has learned that for some of its users losing water seems to have more impact and losing money.


GILMER: That really gets the attention of the people that are ignoring the drought.

ELAM: After a customer uses more than 150 percent of their water allocation four times, they'll be in line to get a simple but effective flow restrictor installed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This particular restrictor will give you around one gallon a minute.

ELAM: And what do people normally get?

GILMER: Normally, three quarter inch meters, 25 to 30 gallons a minute. With a restrictor and your sink works fine, your shower works OK, your irrigation will not work.

ELAM: Here is water flowing normally.

And here it is with the restrictor.

MCNUTT: It's not meant to be punitive, it's meant to tell people his drought is incredibly serious. And what we need you to do is do your part.


ELAM: CNN reached out to the stars we mentioned, but have yet to hear back.

However, Dwayne Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union told the L.A. Times that they have "taking drastic steps to reduce water usage in accordance with the new city guidelines, and have since we moved into our home."

Overall, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District says about seven percent of its customers are in lined to get a flow restrictor if their usage doesn't go down, but they say they make sure those customers get ample warning before that happens.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.

WALKER: All right, Stephanie, thank you for that.

It is a journey that spanned 52 countries and five continents.

WALKER (voice-over): Up next, we're going to speak to the 17-year-old pilot, who just landed in the Guinness Book of World Records, and how breaking records this a family affair.



WALKER: This week, 17-year-old Mack Rutherford became the youngest person to fly solo around the world. During the track, Mack flew an ultralight aircraft to 52 countries across five continents.

WALKER (voice-over): He landed Wednesday in Sofia, Bulgaria, right where his journey began. And guess what? We're in for a treat, because Mack Rutherford joins me now to talk about this incredible achievement.

Congratulations, Mack. It's great to see you.

I first have to ask you how you feel. I mean, it's been a few days now for this record breaking trip to settle in. When you took off in March, did you really believe that you'd be able to fly solo around the world?

MACK RUTHERFORD, YOUNGEST PILOT TO FLY SOLO AROUND THE WORLD: It was -- that was definitely quite difficult to imagine. The thing is with this trip, I took it very step by step.

It wasn't -- I wasn't thinking oh, in two months I finish. I was thinking tomorrow I should be in Sicily, I'll be in Crete. That's sort of how you have to approach it. But there were definitely many points in my trip where it was very difficult to imagine me actually being able to finish my journey.

WALKER: Yes. Tell me about some of those moments then, because there were some hairy situations that you encountered. And one I read about that, that forced you to sleep on a runway on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean? What happened?

RUTHERFORD: Yes. So, when I was flying from Japan to the U.S., I had to do a very long 10 hour flight, because I couldn't fly through Russia. So, I took off from Japan. 10 hours later, I flew over the -- well, I flew over the Pacific Ocean.

10 hours later, I arrived on at Attu Island, which is a tiny, uninhabited island in the North Pacific. And it was done yet quite dark. There were low clouds, it was raining. So, the overall, the weather wasn't too nice. But I managed to land.

And on the side of the runway, I see this small shed. And I pulled up next to it and stayed there for the night, because there's nowhere else to stay. And so, that was -- that was really a special experience, very different to anything I'd ever had before.

But no, the next day I woke up, I looked around the island a little bit. It was a very nice Island, and then, carried on with my journey.

WALKER: You're incredibly brave. I'm sure I would have given up, you know, within the first few minutes because I'm just a horrible flyer.

Look, Mack, you're making history. And you're what, only 17 years old. But you made history when you were just 15 because you were the youngest pilot in the world, then when you got your license. And also, talk about this being a family affair. Your sister is the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.

And I understand that she was giving you advice or while you were on route. How did that work out? And what did she tell you?

RUTHERFORD: Yes. So, in January, she finished her trip around the world. So, you got an Angus woman to do so.

And when I thought that was an amazing idea, and I will try to do something similar. And basically, throughout my journey around the world, she would help me, give me advice. And like follow me around individual flights, but also gave me advice for just the general route.

So, her biggest piece of advice to me was, don't get yourself into a situation that you can't get yourself out of again.

So, if there's a valley say, make sure you can always turn around if I don't know, the clouds get bad or something like that. Just never get yourself into a situation where you're stuck.

Always have wiggle room. And that was the most important piece of advice.

WALKER: Yes, and I'll take that advice just in life for me in general. Look, you've accomplished so much more than, than most 17 or 70. Year olds, I should say. What's next? What do you hope to do in the future?

RUTHERFORD: So, well, actually in the near future, back to school. So, school starts in about a week's time. So, no one finds rest at all. And just going to have to try and catch up as much as possible because I've missed quite a bit of school in my five month. Yes.

WALKER: Yes, I bet.

What's your favorite subject, quickly?


RUTHERFORD: Well, I -- because I go to school in the U.K., I only do three subjects. So, history, biology, economics, and I'm honestly not sure my favorite subject is. There, I chose all three subjects because I liked them, and they all have the good qualities.

WALKER: Fantastic. Well, Mack, it's great to see you on the ground, in one piece and smiling. Thank you for talking with us and congratulations, Mack Rutherford. Thanks.

RUTHERFORD: Yes, thank you very much.

SANCHEZ: An impressive and brave young man. Speaking of flying, cancelations have caused chaos at airports across the country all summer.

Up next, CNN is sitting down with the head of United Airlines for an exclusive look at how the airline is addressing the problem.



WALKER: We are just days away from the Labor Day travel rush and it appears the summer of travel pain is not over yet. Monday, marked one of the worst days for flight cancelation in months.

SANCHEZ: Yes, those cancelations are often caused by staffing shortages and they've made flying just a nightmare this summer. CNN's Pete Muntean sat down with the CEO of United Airlines for an exclusive look at how they're attacking this issue.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another week of air travel pain across the country is turning up the pressure on airlines to perform with the Labor Day rush fast approaching.

This past Monday alone, more than 1,400 flights were canceled nationwide, the fourth highest of the summer. Both Southwest and American Airlines delayed more than 40 percent of all their flights.

SYLVIA IBARRA, PASSENGER: My flight was canceled.

MUNTEAN: Yesterday.

IBARRA: Yesterday. Now we're back again today. It was canceled this morning, and now, we're back again.

MUNTEAN: United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby says hiring here at its training center in Denver has made its pandemic recovery quicker than others. Since the start of this year, United has hired 1,500 new pilots in hopes of alleviating staffing shortages and canceled flights.

In total, U.S. Airlines have canceled more than 44,000 flights since June.


MUNTEAN: In an exclusive interview, Kirby put some of the blame back on the federal government.

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration said a shortage of air traffic controllers delayed flights into Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia by up to two hours.

KIRBY: Frankly, the bigger challenges are not the airline's themselves. They're all the support infrastructure around aviation that hasn't caught up as quickly.

MUNTEAN: Let me push back on that, just a tiny bit, because United has had 5,000 cancelations this summer. What do you say to somebody who does see this as an airline issue rather than some other cause?

KIRBY: Well, first, I would say we're doing everything we can to get the airline running reliably. We know that's the most important thing for customers. It's our number one priority. When the FAA says you can't land airplanes at the airport, you're going to have delays and cancelations.

MUNTEAN: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, insists air traffic control issues do not account for many cancelations this summer.

In a letter to airline executives, Buttigieg says, "The level of disruption Americans have experienced this summer is unacceptable." And is telling airlines to review their customer service commitments to passengers.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: I'm calling on the airlines to step up their game before we have to do even more

MUNTEAN: For United, that starts with training that focuses on quality. Something I got to try in a Boeing 737 simulator.


MUNTEAN: I feel like that was a little hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, that was good.

CAPT. MIKE BONNER, PILOT, UNITED AIRLINES: Our growth plan, the most aggressive growth plan of any airline in the history of aviation is really the driver behind the need for our pilots.


MUNTEAN: With the Labor Day travel rush around the corner, United Airlines is expecting big numbers. 2.6 million passengers on United Airlines alone. Two big tips if you are traveling. One, ditch the check bag and carry on. That leaves you more flexibility.

And two, ditch the connections from your itinerary and fly non-stop. More connections only opens you up to more opportunities for delays and cancelations.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Denver International Airport.

WALKER: Yes, but if your flight is canceled, and the only plan available is to connect, then you don't have a choice how to get do that. But it's been -- it's been a heck of a year with traveling. And yes, I don't ever check in my bags if I don't have to, right?

Anyway, this morning, parts of the Gulf Coast are bracing for some potentially dangerous flooding in the coming days.

SANCHEZ: Our CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is standing by at the CNN Weather Center. Allison, where are we going to see the most rain?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Unfortunately, in a lot of the places that have already seen too much rain just in the last week. You have flood warning still in effect across portions of Mississippi and Louisiana.

And now, most of that isn't necessarily from the rain coming down now, but it's from the rivers, the creeks, and the streams. Because those things take time to crest in peak. Take for example, the Pearl River at Jackson, still currently at moderate flood stage. It is forecast to get up to major flood stage, but not likely until month -- late Monday and into early Tuesday.

And that's assuming you don't get any more rain from what we have now. And they've had plenty.

Look at this from -- this from now up to this point, since last Sunday, widespread areas of six inches, but we had several spots that picked up eight, nine, even 10 inches of rain, and now we're going to add more on top of it.

The bulk of the heaviest rain will actually be over towards areas of Florida. But you'll notice right here all along the Gulf Coast region, you could still pick up an additional one to two inches.

Know that number alone isn't likely to cause major problems. But when you already have that saturated ground, it's just going to exacerbate a lot of the ongoing flooding concerns.


So, you still have a flood threat for all of these areas you see here in green along the Gulf Coast. Another area is going to be into the Midwest. Where not only do we have the chance for flooding, guys, but we also have the potential for some strong to severe thunderstorms including some damaging winds.

SANCHEZ: Yikes. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much. Your next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.