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New Day Saturday

Hurricane Watch Issued For Puerto Rico; Migrants Flown To Martha's Vineyard Sheltering At Military Base; Justice Department, Files Appeal In Mar-a-Lago Documents Case; Mourners Waiting Hours In Line To See Queen Lying In State; Homebuying Slows As Mortgage Rates Ruse, Home Prices Remain High. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 17, 2022 - 07:00   ET



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

WHITNEY WILD, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Whitney Wild. The White House is slamming the busing of migrants to democratic-led states as a cruel political stunt. The defiant response from GOP governors and how this could factor into their own the November midterms.

SANCHEZ: Plus, sticker shock. Mortgage rates jumping to the highest level in more than a decade. What that means for buyers and what it says about the housing market?

WILD: A hurricane watches up for Puerto Rico as Tropical Storm Fiona closes in. When conditions will start to deteriorate and the potential impacts to the island?

SANCHEZ: Plus, procrastinators take notes, was this headline written for me? Why travel experts now say this is the time to book your holiday flights.

WILD: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Saturday, September 17th.

SANCHEZ: Whitney, you feel that? It's, it's the weekend.

WILD: It is the weekend, and it's the almost, almost the end of summer.

SANCHEZ: It is. We're grateful --

WILD: This whole lying down.

SANCHEZ: We're grateful, we're grateful to have you here with us this morning. We're grateful that you're making us part of your Saturday. Up first, a lot to get to, but we start with a political battle over immigration heating up. Florida's governor doubling down on his plan to relocate migrants away from the southern border. Governor Ron DeSantis arranged for about 50 migrants to be flown from Texas to Martha's Vineyard unannounced. Local residents rushed to help the unexpected visitors.

WILD: The migrants have been taken to a U.S. military base where they're receiving shelter and humanitarian aid. Some say that they didn't know where they were going.


YANG PABLO MORA, MIGRANT (through translation): Well, we didn't know until the last minute our destinations such as New York where our relatives reside, he says. We came with, as I say, the idea of reuniting with them.


WILD: As the community they're scrambled to make accommodations, the White House is blasting DeSantis and other GOP governors.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These were children. They were moms. They were fleeing communism. And what did Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott do to them? They use them as political pawns, treated them like chattel in a cruel, premeditated political stunt.


SANCHEZ: Not only Governor DeSantis is vowing to relocate more migrants, he says he's just getting started.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): These are just the beginning efforts. I mean, we've got an infrastructure in place now, there's going to be a lot more that's happening.


WILD: As for the political fallout, CNN Senior, Senior National Correspondent Ed Lavandera takes a look at the divide among some immigrant communities.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: While residents of Martha's Vineyard, hugged and cared for a group of about 50 Venezuelan migrants sent to the island from Texas on chartered planes, courtesy of Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, a group of Venezuelan and Latino activists gathered in Miami to lash out.

ADELYS FERRO, DIRECTOR, VENEZUELAN AMERICAN CAUCUS: He has to stop. We demand him to stop using our pain, our suffering, and our desperation for his political games.

JUAN CARLOS PLANAS, FORMER FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: This was a publicity stunt, that that is the lowest common denominator of human decency.

LAVANDERA: Juan Carlos Planas is the son of Cuban exiles and a former Republican State Representative from Miami. He says, at this point, it's not clear yet, if DeSantis has angered the reliably Republican political base of Cubans and Venezuelans in Florida.


PLANAS: From what I've heard on Cuban radio today, they haven't mentioned it, which is probably the fact that they don't know how to deal with it. So, there probably will be a, a negative side to this. This may be the step too far.

LAVANDERA: Governor DeSantis vows to keep as many migrants out of Florida as possible through his relocation program.

DESANTIS: I got 12 million for us to use. And so, we are going to use it, and you're going to see more and more, but I'm going to make sure that we exhaust all those funds.

LAVANDERA: Florida is home to the largest populations of Cuban and Venezuelan immigrants fleeing socialist dictatorships, but there are deep political divisions in these communities.

PLANAS: There are, you know, Venezuelans who are hardcore Trump supporters. They're called the MAGA's Wayland. And, and basically, these are folks that that believe that there should be a hard line on everything.

LAVANDERA: For several months, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has put more than 11,000 migrants on some 250 buses, with some going to cities with Democratic leaders like Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New York. Texas Division of Emergency Management figure show it has cost the state more than $12 million.

Abbott has repeatedly appeared on Fox News to showcase the busing program.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Most of America has not really understood the magnitude of the problem that we have on the border until we started sending these buses up to New York.

PONCHO NEVAREZ, FORMER TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Or any politician that uses this issue in the way these two gentlemen have, it is the worst kind of cynicism that we have in politics today.

LAVANDERA: Poncho Nevarez is a former Democratic state representative from the Texas border town of Eagle Pass. His home, overlooks the Rio Grande into Mexico. Nevarez says, if there's a political price to pay for these political stunts, Abbott and DeSantis haven't experienced it yet.

There are a lot of people who criticize Abbott and DeSantis and say what they're doing is inhumane and not right, but do you think for the average voter out there it matters?

NEVAREZ: I think it, it may not.

LAVANDERA: A University of Texas and Texas Politics Project poll this week found that Abbott's busing of migrants has about 52 percent support among Texas voters, including 50 percent support among independent voters.

NEVAREZ: The response that they got was exactly what they wanted, which is what are you doing? Why are you sending them here and it's looks like the border town. That's what they wanted, and they got it.

LAVANDERA: And the governors of Texas and Florida say, they will continue to do more of the same. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.


SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Ed for that report. We should note later this morning, we're going to have a Republican congresswoman from Indiana on who's on a subcommittee on immigration to discuss this issue and others so stay tuned for that. Also, this morning, the U.S. Justice Department is asking that parts of an order relating to documents seized from former President Trump's home be put on hold.

WILD: The request filed last night asks the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to exclude classified documents from the Special Master's assessment and to allow its criminal investigation to go forward.

So, CNN's Annie Grayer joining us now. So, Annie, this is a complicated topic, but just boil it down for us. What does the public need to know about what happened last night?

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: So, the Department of Justice filed this appeal because currently it's not allowed to move forward with its criminal investigation into the classified documents that the FBI seized from Donald Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, and that was a ruling from lower court that the DOJ is now appealing. And the Department of Justice says any further delay in this investigation is a threat to national security, because of the sensitivity of these more than 100 classified documents that were found.

And this filing in the 11th Circuit is in response to a lower court from Florida Judge Aileen Cannon, who said that a -- not only that, must this investigation be paused that a third-party known as a special master should be allowed to review all of the documents including the classified documents, and that special master should be allowed to have until November 30th to review those documents.

So, in this filing last night, DOJ also says that the special master and Donald Trump's team should not be allowed to view these classified documents because they argue it's part of the government's property. And specifically, Donald Trump's team shouldn't be able to view this because they say that his, him and his team might be potential witnesses are involved in this criminal case that's currently ongoing. So, this was a late filing last night. It's now with the 11th circuit, and it could go all the way up to the Supreme Court.

WILD: Yes, and you make you make a really good point about what DOJ is arguing about the impact of the delay here, because what they've said, and I know that, you know, this is that they can't continue the risk assessment because it's in, you know, inextricably linked to the criminal assessment. And so, as you point out any delay there, they think, actually does present a material security risk.

GRAYER: Absolutely.

WILD: Yes. All right. Annie Grayer, yes, I know -- it's a compli -- thank you so much. It's a really complicated topic, Annie Grayer, you explained it as very thoroughly for us. Thank you.


GRAYER: Thanks.

WILD: All right. Now, joining me now is Paul Callan, he's a former New York Prosecutor and a CNN Legal Analyst. So, Paul, my first question for you is, do you think that DOJ is actually going to be successful in, in getting this appeal? Do you do you think they should get it? Do you think that they will get it?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think they have a very, very strong case to make to the appellate court. And I think they should be successful if the appellate court applies the law. I mean, you know, this is a case, Whitney, where a judge, Judge Cannon, is trying to interfere, really, with an ongoing criminal investigation that has national security implications.

And that's really a major interference by the judiciary in the right of the executive branch to investigate crime. And picture, what would happen if around the country, local judges all of a sudden started to say, well, you can't continue with this investigation. Remember, nobody's under arrest here. This is just a civil action that's been brought. So, I think DOJ is very worried about the precedent that would be set if we allow judges to interfere in preliminary investigations.

WILD: How far do you see this going? Do you think this is going to run all the way up to the Supreme Court?

CALLAN: Oh, yes, I think there's a strong likelihood that it would go that far. The Trump, people, really think it's very, very important. And for some reason, you know, they want to stall this thing as long as possible. And certainly, the Department of Justice has a strong interest here in protecting classified documents.

Remember, the documents, these 100 documents that are in question here include something called SCI documents, which are the most sensitive intelligence documents and contain information like maybe who are spies are in other countries, there could be references to nuclear weapons in these documents.

It's very important that the intelligence people have a chance to look at it and the DOJ has to find out have they been moved from one place to another from Mar-a-Lago, say to Bedminster where the former president also has the residence. There are a lot of important principles at stake here.

WILD: I'm wondering when you read the opinion from the opinions from the judge the, the rulings from this judge, what you think she finds is the most compelling argument for, you know, ruling in a way that she's ruling? I mean, you know, agreeing that there should be a special master and then putting these specific restrictions on the Department of Justice. What is, what is the key argument from the Trump team that you, that you think she is working from?

CALLAN: What -- I don't see any argument from the Trump team that's compelling enough for her to grant an order as sweeping and as aggressive as this order? You know, you're -- to get a preliminary injunction, you generally have to prove two things: one, you have a strong likelihood of winning this case.

The Trump people don't have a strong likelihood. Now, just to give you one example. They kind of hint that maybe documents were declassified and that these now belong to Trump because he declassified them and took them to Mar-a-Lago. Well, you want to know something? There's not a shred of evidence that's been submitted to this judge that these documents were declassified.

Where's Trump's affidavit saying, explaining how he declassified them? Who did he give the order to? Was it in writing? Does anybody know about it? Or was, is it just something that's going on in his head? This is the kind of thing that you would have to establish to prove that there were classified or declassified documents involved.

They don't do that. They just throw this accusation up into the year. And I think when an appellate court looks at this, they're going to say, where's the evidence that Donald Trump has a personal interest in these national classified documents? I don't think appellate judges are going to find that he has a personal interest in these documents.

WILD: So, you anticipate the appellate court siding with DOJ just to put a finer point.

CALLAN: Yes, if they follow the law, yes, they should go with DOJ.

WILD: All right, complicated, complicated path here. Paul Callan, thank you for explaining it all for us. We really appreciate it.

CALLAN: Thank you, Whitney.

SANCHEZ: So, this morning, British officials are warning people they could wind up waiting more than 14 hours to see the Queen lying in state, a time that just shortened up a bit during the last hour. Still, people keep lining up, waiting patiently for their chance to pay respects to the late monarch. Let's take you to London now, and CNN's Nada Bashir, she is with that massive crowd that's marching at Westminster Hall. And Nada, you've been speaking to people there that are braving the elements of cold morning, what are they sharing with you?

NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: Braving the elements, indeed. Boris, the day is pretty chilly, quite cold this morning, and it has been for the last three days. But still, we are seeing people in their thousands joining this queue as an opportunity for them to pay their respects to the Queen.

And we're just by the London Eye, and there is still a while ago for them before they Westminster Hall where they will be able to pass by the Queen coffin which is laying in stage, will be laying until early Monday morning which is the day of her funeral, of course.

And despite the cold weather, despite hours and hours, these people being quietly waiting overnight, some of them many have told us that they are simply to be part of this history. This isn't they wouldn't want to talk to people quite a bit is that they've made friends along the way and it does seem to be moving quite in an orderly way quite quickly.

Now I have to say during morning hours, there were a significant police officers volunteers who've got ambulance staff dotted around so they're volunteers supporting those in the queue throughout the night. They're not on their own but they're not able to bring a lot of supplies with them they're only allowed small bags.

But we've been speaking to people up and down this queue. Very upbeat. A couple of hours to go still, but this is the moment they simply wouldn't want to miss.

SANCHEZ: Nada Bashir reporting from London. Thank you so much. Stay tuned to CNN, our coverage is going to continue from London as the world mourns Queen Elizabeth II, ahead of her state funeral on Monday. The coverage will go all day. It begins at 5:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

WILD: Mortgage rates once again ticking back up they are now at levels we have not seen since 2008. What that means for potential buyers plus, the owner of the Phoenix Suns suspended over allegations he used racially insensitive language. We're joined by a former team executive for his reaction and the action he'd like to see the league take.



WILD: Well, new this morning. Mortgage rates have jumped above six percent for the first time since 2008. That is significantly higher than what they were nine months ago. More than double what they were a year ago. There has there had been just a little bit of a dip earlier in the summer. But then recent comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell coupled with recent economic data have pulled investors' attention back to the central bank's fight against inflation and that hiking up the mortgage rates.

So, to talk about all of this to explain this all is Chief, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun. Lawrence, I got to tell you, if you're a prospective buyer, you just feel like you're getting squeezed on both fronts because you're at the top of the market for prices, and you're at the top of the mortgage market for the mortgage rate. I mean, how is this affecting potential buyers? Are they saying they're just going to wait it out?

LAWRENCE YUN, CHIEF ECONOMIST FOR THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS: The affordability is a major challenge. So, what we are seeing is that with each one percentage point rise in mortgage rate, that translates into about 12 percent increase in monthly payment. So given that three percentage point, I mean, what is looking at 36 percent rise, plus rise in home prices. So, this is creating a challenge for the homebuyers. We have seen a noticeable decline in home sales, home prices are still holding on. But there is definitely a shift in the market.

WILD: Do you think that mortgage rates are going to go back down to what they were a year ago? Or was that -- I mean, does it does it hurt a lot now because that was such a remarkable low? Do you? Where do you see this finally settling?

YUN: So, definitely the mortgage rates of the past two years were historically low. Once in a lifetime opportunity, those people were locked in congratulations. But for recent buyers, six percent by historical standard is about average. So, it's not anything drastic, higher. I mean, certainly when my parents purchase their home, 15 percent mortgage rate. But one of the great things about America is that, people can always refinance downward when the mortgage rate goes down, because we know that it goes up and it goes down, fluctuate a bit. I think for the next year, it's going to settle at around six percent.

WILD: What do you think it takes to get this, you know, get it cooled, get a cooled to a place where it feels stable, and then also get homebuyers into a place where they appreciate that this is kind of just going to be the norm.

YUN: So, I think that six percent will at least be the norm for the near term over the next 12 months. I mean, it could go down a couple of years from now. But by that time, home prices could be much higher. So, those are the trade-off that potential homebuyers need to look at. But overall, you know, people who are buying even at higher mortgage rate, again, the great thing about America is that they can always refinance downward when the market or the mortgage rate begins to descend lower. So, is there a particular product you think works on a mortgage product you think works best in this environment? I mean, isn't an adjustable-rate mortgage the best option, 30-year fixed, what, what kind of products, do you think, work in this kind of environment?

YUN: The 30-year fixed has been the most popular but given that there is a little bit of a spread meaning that the five-year Adjustable-rate Mortgages are little more interest rate. So, those people who are thinking that maybe they buy a starter home, and in five or six years they will trade up, at least for the first five years, their monthly payment is absolutely fixed. It's not changing. Now, we have to remember the rents are rising every single year.

WILD: Yes.

YUN: So, for five years to have fixed payment, I mean those are attractive conditions.

WILD: It's a little bit of a gamble but in the short term could you know could really pay off.

YUN: For people who do not foresee that will live in their home forever. They see it as a starter home and we're thinking about trading up later. I think it will be an ideal product.

WILD: All right. Lawrence Yun, thank you.

YUN: Great. Thank you.

WILD: Appreciate your time.

SANCHEZ: The owner of the Phoenix Suns is facing calls to resign. The NBA finding Robert Sarver created a hostile work environment with allegations of racism and sexism.


Next on NEW DAY, I sit down with a former Phoenix Suns executive who says he should lose his team.


SANCHEZ: We've got some top stories to share with you this morning. The death toll from Pakistan's floods has risen to more than 1500, including at least 500 kids. Almost 13,000 people have also been injured. In the last 24 hours alone, more than 36,500 houses have been partially or fully destroyed from the flooding. A humanitarian disaster is unfolding.

WILD: UNICEF says about 16 million children have been impacted by Pakistan's super floods and at least 3.4 million remain in need of immediate life-saving support due to disease or malnourishment.

A storm is -- switching gears now -- a storm is heading towards Northern California's mosquito fire today heavy wind from the storm may cause the flames to jump containment lines. However higher humidity and rain throughout the weekend could help keep this under control.


The Mosquito Fire is the largest fire in California this year. It is now burning more than 71,000 acres with only 20 percent of it contained so far.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Yes. If you use Uber for food or rides, you should listen to this. The FBI is assisting the ride sharing company in investigating an alleged hack of their network.

A hacker recently shared supposedly proof with journalists that Uber's internal systems had been hacked. The company says there's no evidence any sensitive customer data was accessed. And all of Uber's business units apparently remain operational. Remember, this isn't the first time that Uber has been targeted. Hackers stole data on 57 million driver and rider accounts back in 2016.

WILD: Broadway's longest running show now closing its doors. Phantom of the Opera will play for a five more months before the final curtain call on February 18th. That is the month after the show's 35th anniversary.

Ticket sales for the production slowed down during the pandemic. They dropped by almost 70,000 weekly attendees over the last four months. But luckily, for people who are big fans of The Phantom of the Opera, international productions of the show are going to continue.

You can see it in places like London, Australia, and even China.

SANCHEZ (on camera): An NBA owner is facing calls to resign and sell his team after the league published a report detailing his racist and inappropriate behavior.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): After a year-long investigation, Robert Sarver, who owns the Phoenix Suns and Mercury was hit with a $10 million fine and a one year suspension from the team, a punishment many in the league do not think is enough. Including the Suns' vice chairman, the head of the players' association, superstars like LeBron James, and reportedly PayPal, which is threatened to end their sponsorship with a team unless Sarver resigns.

The report outlines his use of the N-word when recounting statements, sexually related comments, and inequitable conduct toward women; among other accusations, which Sarver has previously denied.

SANCHEZ (on camera): I got a chance to speak with a former Suns' executive this week, who says he witnessed several of the incidents detailed in the report. Amin Elhassan is now with Meadowlark Media, appearing on the "Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz". Here is part of our conversation.


SANCHEZ: I mean, a one year suspension, a $10 million fine; a lot of folks don't think that's enough. The team's vice chairman is calling for Sarver's resignation. In your eyes, what would have been the appropriate punishment?

AMIN ELHASSAN, ANALYST, NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION: Yes, Boris. The problem with an issue like this is appropriate, does not necessarily fall within the purview of Commissioner Sarver's powers. $10 million was the maximum amount of fine. He could have fine Robert Sarver, that's in the NBA charter. That's something that was pre- agreed upon by the 30 NBA owners in the league itself years ago.

As far as the one year suspension, I don't know how much more he is allowed to suspend the guy, given that one year is pretty much the standard that they suspend owners for these types of infractions. And the reality is, a big part of this is that Robert Sarver would accept that punishment, because if he fought back, you get into lawsuit territory, you get into discovery, and now you start to have a bigger problem than just one guy who's being disciplined.

SANCHEZ: Yes. So, last year, they come out, Sarver and his team and essentially say that he would never use the N-word, that this behavior is inaccurate and egregious.

And yet, here we are a year later, essentially, he says he disagrees with some of the particulars in the report. We're getting also apologizes. Right? He says that he takes full responsibility. What do you make of that?

ELHASSAN: I just think it's the case of you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar.

I can't help us think that this is all outright lies. Boris, if I am accused of vandalizing a house, and they come to me with a plea deal, I will say, absolutely not, I never came near that house. I never -- I was never there. I'm innocent, we go to trial. And that trial, they have eyewitness account after eyewitness account of me bashing windows, of spray painting graffiti on the side of the house.

Do you think the plea deal is still going to be on the table for me? Or does the judge throw the book at me, because I denied something that clearly I actually did. That's what's frustrating people, and it's good to see sponsors like PayPal threatened to pull out.

Jahm Najafi, the vice chairman of the team, saying that -- calling for Sarver's resignation. These things matter, because without them, the new cycle just swallows us up and we go on as business as usual.

But I think the media needs to focus on that. We can't forget these people categorically denied everything.

The other thing and I think this is pretty important that there are people responsible for some of the conduct in that workplace that go beyond Robert Sarver.


ELHASSAN: And again, talking to many of my colleagues both former and current over at the Suns, that's the thing they can't believe that Robert Sarver is the only one who gets -- who gets a kind of a slap on the wrist, if that.

But there are other people who were responsible for this kind of stuff that's -- that stood by and didn't do a thing about it, even though they were in positions of power and influence and control.

SANCHEZ: So, I mean, you've been in or close to the NBA across the decades. The stories about Sarver have been out there for almost 20 years. Are you concerned, or other owners or officials within the NBA that have problematic behavior that just hasn't gotten now, and that the NBA hasn't addressed? ELHASSAN: I don't have any concrete proof, but my gut says yes, because this is a case of rich people thinking that the laws and the rules don't apply to them.

Part of this issue, I believe, is because if you press too hard from a league standpoint, from a punishment standpoint, onto Robert Sarver, it forces him into a place, and wait, wait, wait, wait, do you think I'm the only one who's made off color jokes. I'm the only one who's made remarks about how people look or their appearance? Because I guarantee, there's a bunch of other billionaires who don't operate with the same kind of decorum or mores of society.

And once we get into discovery, now everything is on the table. When you go into discovery, you'll find things. And you'll find things about people who are minding their business.

If you're an NBA owner, you are probably thinking look, let's keep this contained to the Suns organization, because once we start getting pulled in, now they might find things that I don't think are objectionable, but in the light of day many people might have a problem with.


SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Amin Elhassan of the "Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz", and our regards to Stugotz if anybody can find him.

WILD: Right now, Puerto Rico is under hurricane watch as the island braces for Tropical Storm Fiona. We have that track, coming up next.



A hurricane watch has just been issued for Puerto Rico as Tropical Storm Fiona closes in on both Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

SANCHEZ: Yes, this says another storm, the strongest Alaska has seen in over a decade takes aim at that state. CNN's Allison Chinchar, joins us now live from the CNN Weather Center.

Allison, there is a lot to get through this morning.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST (on camera): Yes, there is. Good morning to both of you.

And we will start with the Alaska storm. And again, Alaska, it's a big state, it's the biggest state. So, that really puts it into context when we talk about the size of this storm.

This is what you're looking at. This is a visible satellite image right through here, it took three hours for the visible satellite image to show the full sunset going across this storm.

Again, just to show you how large of a system this actually is. And it's having pretty widespread impacts. You've got very strong winds. We've already had a wind gusts as high as 80 miles per hour reported along the western coast of Alaska, others in the 60 to 70-mile per range.

And a lot of those high wind gusts are still expected as we go through the day today, gradually dropping back down by tonight. Now one of the more long term concerns is actually going to be the coastal flooding because some of these places may not even peak until tonight or even early Sunday morning.

And it's also going to be slow for that water to recede. So, you're going to have a lot of that water standing for prolonged periods of time until we really get through the rest of the weekend.

Now, another system that we are keeping an eye on, this is Tropical Storm Fiona. Right now, a lot of those showers and thunderstorms really kind of focused over Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis starting to make its way over towards the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eventually Puerto Rico, as we go through the morning today.

Winds right now 60 miles per hour, we do anticipate that they will get a little bit stronger. And that's why you do have this pink right here. That's a hurricane watch. It does include Puerto Rico and portions of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The blue that you see here is tropical storm warning, but some of those may also be adjusted as we go through the day today.

The National Hurricane Center does forecast this storm to strengthen over the next 24 to 36 hours by the time it gets to Hispaniola. It is anticipated to be a Category 1 hurricane, and then, it will gradually start to make that shift a little bit more of a right hand turn to the north.

That's good news for the U.S. taking it a little bit farther away. But at this point, it's still close enough, you're likely still going to have some areas of rip currents and a little bit of some higher surf along the Atlantic coast of Florida.

In the short term though, rainfall is going to be the biggest concern, especially across the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Widespread, you're talking four to six inches, but there will be some of those areas, especially in some of those heavier outer bands that could pick up eight, nine, even 10 inches of rain.

And also some gusty winds. Storm surge also likely to be about one to three feet throughout the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

SANCHEZ: And it's the time of year in a hurricane season with the storms start to peak. So, we'll be watching it.

Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

Oh, the holiday season only a few months away. I think it's like 90 something days until Christmas.

WILD: Yes. SANCHEZ: But if you plan on traveling, you probably want to book those flights right now.


We'll explain why, in just moments.


SANCHEZ: So, CNN is learning that the United Nations is planning to get involved after the discovery of a mass burial site in Ukraine. The U.N. says its human rights investigators will go to the site in the city of Izium as soon as possible.

A U.N. source tells CNN that war crimes investigators may soon follow.

WILD: The White House called the discovery horrifying and repugnant. While Ukraine now says some of the bodies discovered show signs of torture.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): There is clear evidence of torture, humiliating treatment of people. Moreover, there is evidence that Russian soldiers whose positions were not far from this place shot at the buried just for fun. The world must react to all of this.

Russia has repeated in Izium what it did and Bucha. And now, we have just begun to learn the full truth about what has happened in the Kharkiv region at that time.


WILD: Zelenskyy repeated his call to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. The site was discovered after Ukrainian military offensive in the Kharkiv region.

Making a promise to families of detained Americans overseas --

SANCHEZ: The White House is saying that President Biden is not going to let up on getting Americans, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan released by Russia.

CNN's Brian Todd has that story for us.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden's first ever face to face meetings with the families of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, since they were detained in Russia. A move White House officials say was intended to let the families know Griner and Whelan remain, "front of mind" with the president.

White House officials are frustrated that an offer the Biden administration had made to the Russians for the releases of Griner and Whelan, didn't, according to the White House, bring a serious response back from the Kremlin. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And Russia should take this offer. It is a substantial offer.

TODD: Sources have told CNN, The White House has offered convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the releases of Griner and Whelan.

But one administration official tells CNN, the U.S. has gotten a repeated demand back from the Putin regime for something the U.S. is incapable of delivering on.

EVELYN FARKAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE MCCAIN INSTITUTE: Their Russians are masters at, you know, asking us to do things that we cannot do. That may indeed be something where they think the U.S. controls something that they don't control.

TODD: Meanwhile, CNN has learned, independent negotiator Bill Richardson was in Moscow this week, meeting with Russian leadership. Administration officials expressing open frustration that Richardson has apparently been working outside official channels.

JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Our message is that private citizens should not be in Moscow at all right now. And that private citizens cannot negotiate on behalf of the United States government.

TODD: Griner, detained by the Russians in February for carrying cannabis oil in her luggage, pleaded guilty to drug charges, but said she accidentally packed the drugs.

Whelan has been held for more than three years on espionage charges that he has denied. Could the Ukraine war factor into their fates?

FARKAS: The Russians are back on their heels. They are looking very weak because of their war effort. They're looking weak internationally, Putin is looking weak domestically. He may have an additional incentive for making a deal right now.


TODD (on camera): Analyst Evelyn Farkas says she's certain there is more going on behind the scenes in the Griner and Whelan negotiations than anyone in the administration is letting on.

And that it's possible that Bill Richardson may not be working quite as independently as it seems. Neither Richardson nor his team have commented at all on his trip to Russia. Boris, Whitney.

SANCHEZ: Brian Todd, thank you so much for that report.

At NEW DAY, we want to take a moment to remember a colleague and member of the CNN family. Legal analyst and frequent guest Page Pate passed away this week. WILD: Sadly, he died in an accident off the coast of Georgia. He was very sadly swept up into a rip current while swimming with one of his sons.

He was an excellent lawyer, he was such a value for CNN. I mean, he was a trial lawyer for more than 25 years. He was one of the founders of the Georgia Innocence Project. They hailed him as a fierce advocate for the criminally accused and unjustly convicted.

They added that, "Above all else, we will remember Page's kindness and generosity, always willing to give anything he could to help, whether it be a personal matter or professional, and never asking for anything in return."

SANCHEZ: And we relied on his expertise to break down complex legal topics. He was actually on the show speaking with my colleague, Amara Walker just last month.

On a personal note as a nervous reporter, trying to make a name for myself at the anchor desk. Page was incredibly gracious and kind and a reassuring presence.

A memorial service for Page is scheduled for this afternoon in Brunswick, Georgia. He survived by his wife and two sons. Our thoughts are with them this morning, and we'll be grateful for everything he did for us.

We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: As this year's holiday season quickly approaches, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby is calling on the federal government to hire more air traffic controllers amid a major shortage in staffing.

Kirby says it's a top concern that's led hundreds -- led two hundreds of travel disruptions.


SCOTT KIRBY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, UNITED AIRLINES: When you have air traffic control, close a center down or closer a region of the country, it leads to hundreds of delays and cancelations. And there's just nothing else -- there is no other rocks that are anywhere close to the size of that.


WILD: For months, airlines like United and federal officials at the FAA have gone back and forth about who's -- you know, whose fault this is.

SANCHEZ: Right. WILD: Because it's been a really big mess. Again, the FAA runs air traffic control. So, United says it's their fault, there have been so many delays.

Data shows that more than 57,000 flights have been canceled since the start of the Memorial Day weekend. So, if you're planning to fly during this holiday season, you should probably start thinking about booking, try to get that best rate,, get locked in early.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Travel analysts are warning that plane ticket prices are going to keep climbing compared to previous years. CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean walks us through it all.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Whitney, Boris, you know the summer travel rush just ended. But the new warning from travel experts said you should already be thinking about traveling for the holidays, especially since the latest outlook says this will be the most expensive holiday season for travel of the last five years.


MUNTEAN (voice-over): These predictions are just out from travel site Hopper it says domestic and international airfare over Thanksgiving could cost 22 percent higher compared to 2019.