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New Day Sunday

Borrowers Await Biden's Decision On Student Loan Payment; TX And AZ GOP Governors Bus Migrants To NYC And DC; Puerto Rico Facing "Absolute" Climate Emergency. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired August 14, 2022 - 06:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Boris. I'm Amara Walker.

New details in the FBI's search of former President Trump's residence. Sources say an attorney for Trump told the DOJ two months earlier there were no classified records left at Mar-a-Lago. What does that mean now for the next steps in the investigation?

SANCHEZ: And acclaimed author Salman Rushdie hospitalized after a stabbing attack. The latest on his condition and what we know about the suspect.

WALKER: And a surge in migrants leaves New York struggling to keep up as buses arrive in the city. How the immigration battle between Texas Governor Greg Abbott and New York Mayor Eric Adams is heating up.

SANCHEZ: And caught on camera, a loud boom heard across parts of the West this weekend potentially caused by a meteor. Details on that and more just ahead.

Welcome to a new week. We are grateful that you're starting it with us this Sunday, August 14th. Good morning, Amara.

WALKER: Good morning. Yes. It feels like the week went by really fast and we're already at a new one. Well, we've got a --

SANCHEZ: A ton of news, right?

WALKER: Yes, a lot of news. You just took the words out of my mouth. We begin this morning with the unfolding questions after the search of former President Trump's residence and the recovery of top secret classified documents by the FBI. Sources telling CNN that one of Trump's lawyers stated back in June that there was no more classified information being kept at Mar-a-Lago. But the FBI searched the former president's Palm Beach home and seized 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were marked top secret.

SANCHEZ: Meantime, on Capitol Hill, both sides of the aisle are calling on investigators to release more information on exactly what led to the search. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has asked the director of National Intelligence for a security damage assessment on all the documents that were removed from Mar-a-Lago. They want to learn what the fallout might be of all these classified documents being out there.

Republicans on the committee meantime are demanding FBI director Christopher Wray deliver a briefing to detail the reasons for the search. Listen to this.


REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): We are demanding disclosure to this committee, what was the national security basis that was an apparent immediate threat requiring this action opposed to all the other actions that they could have taken.


SANCHEZ: CNN senior crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz has the details for us.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Good morning, Boris and Amara. Two months before the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, a lawyer for Donald Trump attested in a letter to the Justice Department there were no classified records to be found on the property, CNN learned on Saturday. But despite this claim, when investigators seized the boxes this past Monday in this criminal investigation, they found in 11 different places records still marked as classified. That included records at three levels of classification, even ones labeled TS/SCI, those are types of records that would require the most strenuous provisions for secrecy around them in the federal government, like being kept only in secured facilities.

These new details now flush out the timeline that was leading up to the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago. We learned just earlier this week of a meeting Trump's attorneys had in June and a subpoena for the return of the records before the search. But this letter from Trump's lawyer also adds to our understanding of why federal prosecutors may have seen no other way to resecure the records than to go to the beach club grounds for themselves on Monday. They weren't going to be given back by the president's team, that much is clear.

Now, Donald Trump and some of his advisers have claimed he declassified all the records he had at Mar-a-Lago when he was president. But when you look at what is being investigated here, obstruction of justice, criminal mishandling of government records, the Espionage Act, the classification status of these records may be immaterial. What matters as the Justice Department continues to investigate is how potentially harmful it was to have these records out of the control of the federal government for the last year and a half.

All of what happens in June is likely to become important facts if there are criminal charges that do materialize here. And investigators try to narrow down who exactly mishandled these documents if that indeed occurred. Boris, Amara, back to you. SANCHEZ: Katelyn Polantz, thank you so much. After the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago, the agency says that its agents and properties have been confronted with more threats than they have ever seen before.


A law enforcement source tells CNN that the personal information of FBI employees is being posted online, including agents that were listed as being involved in the search. Let's discuss now with CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd.

Phil, grateful to have you bright and early on a Sunday morning. You've dedicated much of your career to public service and national security. I'm curious to get your reaction to these threats.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: To me this is a numbers game and it's a numbers game that involves not only FBI offices and FBI employees across America, but it involves members of Congress. The numbers game is simple, Boris. When I faced extremists around the world, there is a fringe of extremists who will believe when they receive a message from leadership that violence is acceptable.

So with the groups I followed overseas were told violence is acceptable to oppose American intervention overseas. Groups in America are being told maybe you should consider defunding the FBI, and opposing the FBI, because of what happened at Mar-a-Lago. My point is that in a country of 330 million people, a fringe of people who are energized and we saw that on January 6th, we saw that a few days ago at Cincinnati, will say -- might interpret that message to mean I've got to attack an FBI office or an FBI employee.

Let me cut to the chase, Boris. I don't care political leaders say they don't intend to motivate someone to violence. If they say oppose the FBI and the FBI is your enemy and the FBI did something inappropriate at Mar-a-Lago, what I'm saying is a fringe percent will interpret that to say it's OK to do something. The rhetoric is going to do a lot of damage here, Boris.

SANCHEZ: And, Phil, unlike other officers in the U.S. intelligence community who operate mostly undercover, a lot of FBI employees use their own names. Their information is relatively easily accessible. That makes them more vulnerable, doesn't it? Shouldn't that change?

MUDD: By far. I mean, for example, when you're an FBI office, one of 56 offices across the country, you have a responsibility for interacting with the community, that's everything from dealing with companies, in business districts like Manhattan to talk about cybersecurity, that happens all the time.

There are things called citizens academies. The FBI brings in citizens to explain -- common every day citizens to explain to them this is how things like DNA collection works. So there is interaction every day. You have informants come in and talk to the FBI about what they're seeing on things like white collar crime.

When I worked at the FBI headquarters, J. Edgar Hoover Building, I'm walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, Boris, from the metro station. So people are exposed and when you see something that happens in a place like Cincinnati, if I were still taking that walk down D.C.'s Pennsylvania Avenue, if you're doing that, or if you're in a restaurant in Cincinnati with your family, you got to look over your shoulder.

I didn't anticipate it when al Qaeda was coming after us. Now Americans are coming after us and you got to understand one of them might be coming after you. This is unprecedented in my experience.

SANCHEZ: Phil, what do you make of the call from some Republicans for the FBI director Christopher Wray to come forward and justify the timeliness of this search? Is that something you think he should do?

MUDD: He should -- I would be extremely uncomfortable doing that if I were him. There's a couple of reasons for that. First of all, we keep going back to a common principle. I realize this is a unique case, but American citizen deserves privacy.

This person hasn't been indicted. This person hasn't been accused formally of a crime. So as soon as you have the weight of the Federal government go out and say Person X, whether that's Boris or whether that's the president of the United States, is now going to be the subject of an FBI briefing, that person is under tremendous scrutiny.

I would also say you've got to remember if you're the FBI -- if you're the attorney general, the law of unintended consequences. You open the door by starting to talk. Remember the attorney general didn't open the door on the documents, on the search warrant, the president did.

As soon as the attorney general starts talking about the case, people start saying, we need updates. We need to know when the case closes. We need to know why you did this additional search. I think there's a lot of downside to him speaking and not a lot of upside.

SANCHEZ: Phil Mudd, as always, appreciate your time and your expertise.

MUDD: Right.

SANCHEZ: Thanks for joining us. So after a brutal attack, the agent for author Salman Rushdie says that he has started to speak again.

WALKER: Yes, that's good news for now. He was on a ventilator after several hours of surgery after being stabbed more than a half dozen times at a speaking event in western New York. His agent also tells "The New York Times" Rushdie has liver and nerve damage and also may lose an eye. He has faced death threats for more than 30 years over a book he wrote that angered Muslim extremists.

SANCHEZ: The man charged in the stabbing, Hadi Matar, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder in the second degree and other charges.


His public defender says that Matar has been very cooperative and communicating openly.

WALKER: According to a newly released forensics report, the gun used in the fatal shooting on the "Rust" movie set last October could not be fired without pulling the trigger.

SANCHEZ: Apparently FBI testing showed the gun had to be partially or fully cocked before firing. The report also noted that it may not be possible to re-create the circumstances which led to the gun firing without pulling the trigger.

Keep in mind, last year Alec Baldwin told "ABC News" that he never pulled the trigger of the gun that killed director of photography Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. CNN reached out to a representative for Baldwin for comment but we've yet to hear back.

WALKER: Coming up, an American family is among those injured in a shooting attack in Jerusalem. We're going to have the latest on the investigation.

And millions of Americans waiting to see if President Biden will take action on forgiving student loans. But time is running out as the repayments kick in on September 1st.

SANCHEZ: And later, California facing a stunning drain on its water supply. We have details on the governor's multibillion dollar plan to fix it, when NEW DAY returns.



WALKER: We have new details in the shooting attack in Jerusalem that injured at least seven people.

SANCHEZ: CNN has learned that four of those injured are U.S. nationals and they were shot while on a bus near the Old City. We're told that the suspect initially fled, but since has turned himself in and the weapon that he was allegedly carrying was seized by police.

Let's take you now to Jerusalem, and CNN's Hadas Gold who is live for us there. Hadas, what can you tell us about this suspect?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, what we know is around 1:30 a.m. local is when the shooting attack took place at a bus stop and parking lot right outside the Old City walls, one of the main entrances for both religious pilgrims and for tourists to go into the Old City, into the holiest sites of the Old City. From what we understand the shooter attacked a bus while people were loading and unloading as well as another location in the parking lot injuring at least eight people. Several of them are in critical condition including a woman who was pregnant. She had to deliver her baby by emergency C-section. Both her and the baby are in serious condition right now.

We also know that at least four potentially now five of them are American citizens, some of them were American tourists. We know that for sure. And some of them may have been dual nationals, American and Israeli citizens. The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem has confirmed that American citizens were among those injured but they said they are not providing further detail while they gather information. The U.S. embassy says that they are shocked and saddened by the actions and condemn all acts of terrorism and actions that exasperate tensions.

Now the shooter initially fled, this set off a massive manhunt across Jerusalem that included helicopters and hundreds of police and military forces, but in the early hours of this morning he actually turned himself into the police. The police now say they have his weapon.

Now, a security source telling CNN that the suspect is from east Jerusalem and holds Israeli citizenship. Israeli media is saying he is a Palestinian. Boris.

WALKER: And, Hadas, I just want to ask you, I know we're still getting information in, but do we know if there might be any connection to the recent violence in Gaza?

GOLD: Yes, this is coming less than a week after that recent escalation in Gaza lasted almost three days, saw Israeli air strikes targeting Palestinian Islamic Jihad sites in Gaza, more than a thousand rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel, leaving dozens of Palestinians dead. And while the cease-fire has been holding, as far as we know this suspect, as far as we understand, has no connection to the militant groups. Although, the militant groups in Gaza such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad did release statements celebrating the attack. Amara.

SANCHEZ: Hadas Gold reporting live from Jerusalem, thank you so much. Some financial relief could be coming for about 45 million Americans if President Biden takes action on student loans. What are the chances he'll erase the debt? An important conversation on the way.



SANCHEZ: So this week President Biden is set to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law. And this is timely. It is the latest in a string of wins for his administration, as Democrats are trying to convince voters to let them keep control of Congress in the midterm elections.

WALKER: In a tweet, Biden hailed the passage of the bill on Friday saying in part -- quote -- "The American people won. Special interests lost."

CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak with us now. And, Kevin, as you know, last month this bill was not going anywhere fast. Now it is likely going to be a big part of Biden's and Democrats' pitch to voters.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, it certainly will. And Democrats feel pretty good that they now have kind of an affirmative message to take out to the American people. And, as you mentioned, the president will sign this into law next week. That will probably be kind of a low key ceremony.

Biden is out of town. Most members of Congress are out of town. And then in September he'll bring everyone together for sort of a bigger celebration at the White House.

But the work is really just beginning on telling the American people what is in this bill, how it will benefit them. And what White House officials say is that the president, the vice president, members of the cabinet will start fanning out across the country, telling the American people what's in here, what they benefit from.

Now that might sound a little familiar. This is probably the fourth or fifth time that the White House has said that the president will be getting out into the country to sell his vision to the American people. He's always been kind of waylaid with events back in Washington, but they really do describe this as the most intensive push for the president's agenda so far. And Democrats really do hope that this can become kind of a turnaround moment for them.

You know, it was exactly a year ago that the fall of Kabul happened in Afghanistan that really sort of precipitated the drop in President Biden's approval ratings. Of course, high inflation fueled that over the last year or so. And now, Democrats really do feel like they have something to use on the campaign trail to push back against those arguments against President Biden. So look for that in the coming months and weeks before the November midterm elections.

SANCHEZ: And, Kevin, obviously dominating the headlines former President Donald Trump, the search at Mar-a-Lago, the waiting for him to declare that he's going to run in 2024, how much of Biden's messaging do you think going into the midterm elections is going to involve the former president?


LIPTAK: Yes. And I think this is so complicated for President Biden because he has tried to keep himself at such a removed from the legal proceedings. And particularly over this past week you've seen the White House really be very hands off about what is going on with President Trump. And in a way, it is kind of overshadowing what they're trying to sell. And you saw that sort of play out in real time on Friday.

Just as this bill was going through final passage in the House was when that warrant got unsealed and it started dominating the headlines. And so that is something that the president has always kind of struggled to break through the noise that surrounds former President Trump.

I think on the whole, Democrats do feel pretty good that when voters are reminded of this chaos that always surrounded Trump that they will come out looking a little better, but President Biden, I think, cannot necessarily go out on the campaign trail and say that because he needs to keep himself at such a distance from these events. And so what Democrats and what White House strategists say is that the president will instead go after what he calls the extreme MAGA agenda, framing Republicans as extremists, and Democrats as looking out for the American people and American families through this new piece of legislation. Boris.

WALKER: We will see if that messaging works. Kevin Liptak, great to see you this morning. Thank you.

But there is one issue that millions of Americans are waiting for President Biden to take action on and that is student debt. An estimated 45 million Americans owe a staggering $1.75 trillion in Federal and private student loan debt. The average amount comes in at just under $29,000 per borrower. And right now repayments of those loans remain on pause but only for a few more weeks as a pandemic freeze is set to expire at the end of August. What the president will do next is still unknown, even as the White House says President Biden is on track to reveal his plans soon.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president understands how student loans could affect a family, and how the pressure of that can really be a lot and put a lot of weight on a family's purse or economic situation. So we understand that. He is making -- he is going to make his decision on this and when he has something to say, we will share that.


WALKER: Natalia Abrams is president and founder of the Student Debt Crisis Center, whose mission is to spark policy change to end student debt. What a great mission you have. Thank you so much for joining us, Natalia.

So you just heard the White House press secretary there saying President Biden understands the financial burden of these loans. I do as well. I mean, I was saddled with, you know, tens of thousands of dollars of debt out of university. But you say that even as officials have met -- they met with activists and advocates like you, but you're saying what is needed is a meeting between the president and actual borrowers. You think that will make the difference?

NATALIA ABRAMS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, THE STUDENT DEBT CRISIS CENTER: Yes, so as the press secretary said, you know, the president says he understands but we want to make sure he knows it to be true. The common themes that we're hearing from borrowers is uncertainty, anxiety and guilt.

There are so many questions surrounding this payment pause ending at the end of this month, We're one period away from payments resuming and I just -- you know, if he -- he either needs to make the decision now or meet with borrowers to make the correct decision. Because, Mr. President, we need you to cancel student debt, to go bold, to be automatic, and have no applications or cumbersome process for borrowers to jump through. WALKER: I want to talk about debt cancellation in just a minute, Natalia. But I want to hear more about what some of these students and these borrowers have told you about the debt burdens and how it impacts their daily lives and what exactly is it that they want, debt cancellation, but in terms of an extension, I mean, how much longer would help?

ABRAMS: We have been polling borrowers all throughout the pandemic and borrowers are just not ready to pay. Some say they'll never be ready to pay. I don't know how long.

Every month it gets more difficult with inflation. I know this month was a little better, good, but with the price at the gas pump, the price of groceries -- and let's be clear, borrowers are using this temporary pause to pay off debts, to buy groceries, to pay for their children's medication.

I don't know of student loan borrowers going on lavish vacations and, you know, abusing that privilege. They need to have some clarity. We have had, I believe, six extensions now and the payment pause extension is not policy.


We need lasting meaningful policy, so people can move on with their lives.

WALKER: Policy meaning canceling debt. So how much debt, and how do you apply it in a fair way that, you know, anyone who has debt can feel like it was meaningful. Because, you know, there are some who have -- who went to private school and have, you know, a six-figure debt versus those who only have only in quotations, you know, $15,000 debt.

ABRAMS: Right. I know, it said that we say only with 15. We need to cancel as much debt as we possibly can. And while income limits may seem fair, they cause applications. And that application process, as we've seen time and time again with repayment programs, with public service loan forgiveness, with the Corinthian College students, they fail borrowers all the time, especially borrowers that need it the most.

WALKER: What about tackling the cost of college? When I was in college, many years ago, it was expensive. But I mean, nowadays, I mean, you know, I'm sitting down with my husband planning our children's future, and we're doing the math on how much it would cost even for them to go to a public university and it's mind-boggling. Should we be talking about lowering the cost of college or, you know, making it free in many more cases?

ABRAMS: Yes, absolutely. That's the next step. First, we're going to cancel student debt, then we need to tackle the cost to college, or else we'll be in this issue or this $2 trillion -- almost $2 trillion crisis again. So, both need to happen to solve the student debt crisis but this is the one that's first step. WALKER: Have you gotten any sense of from the people you've been talking to, you know, what President Biden will decide in terms of at least the extension?

ABRAMS: Well, we have heard reports -- I think we're all hearing the same reports that the student loan juggernaut or system has not been turned on yet. Borrowers have not been notified about repayment. So, reading between the lines or reading the tea leaves, it seems very unlikely. But I can't say that and give people comfort. The President has to come out and say that. That's the only way borrowers are going to have comfort. And trust me, the tears and the fears are palpable from the borrowers we speak to in the last few weeks saying -- the very first question is what is going on September 1st?


ABRAMS: Do I have to take money out of my account?

WALKER: Yes, for sure. I mean, that uncertainty has to be unnerving for sure Because, you know, it's your livelihood. Natalia Abrams, we're going to leave it there. Thank you.

ABRAMS: Thank you, Amara.

SANCHEZ: Texas Governor Greg Abbott is bussing dozens of migrants to New York City. He's not the only Republican governor doing it. We'll tell you what Democrats are doing to respond. More on that ahead.



WALKER: Officials in New York are pushing back against Texas and Arizona's apparent campaign to draw attention to the influx of migrants crossing in from Mexico.

SANCHEZ: Since April, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been putting undocumented migrants on buses headed toward New York City and Washington D.C. Arizona's Governor Doug Ducey recently joined that effort. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez has the details.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): This is the scene in Washington D.C. as migrants arrived to the city from the U.S.-Mexico border. Republican governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona, both fierce critics of Biden's immigration policies, began sending migrants to the nation's capital earlier this year, as an affront to the administration. Now, Abbott is also sending them to New York City.

ERIC ADAMS, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: It's just a mean and cruel thing that he's doing.

ALVAREZ: Migrants are placed on buses without plans for what happens when they arrive in these cities. It's led to a difficult humanitarian situation on the ground that's largely being addressed by shelters and nonprofit groups. Tatiana Laborde is the managing director of SAMU First Response, an international organization with offices in Washington D.C. The group has been trying to shore up resources to keep up with the pace of arrivals.

TATIANA LABORDE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SAMU FIRST RESPONSE: We don't have the capacity to read every bus but we try to at least a half or more. We read them, we give them a warm meal, we give them hygiene kits. We give them guidance on how to get to their next destination. We have shelter for up to 50 people. We prioritize women with children and that then we're able to do tickets for a percentage of them.

ALVAREZ: Migrants on the buses have already been processed and are released in the United States while they go through their immigration proceedings. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has called in additional resources, including she hoped the deployment of the National Guard.

MURIEL BOWSER, MAYOR, WASHINGTON D.C.: We have a growing humanitarian crisis that we expect, that the federal government expects is going to only worsen.

ALVAREZ: But the Pentagon declined that request, arguing it would negatively impact the readiness of the Guard. The day's long journey originates from different points along the U.S.-Mexico border. 37 buses have been sent to Washington D.C. from Arizona carrying nearly 1400 passengers. And more than 100 buses have arrived to watch to D.C. from Texas. Abbott just began sending migrants to New York City last Friday.

Is the city under strain?



ALVAREZ: D.C. councilmember Brianna Doe says the district has assisted immigrants for years. But Texas and Arizona have overwhelmed the system.

NADEAU: Truly this is a federal issue that's being played out through political gamesmanship by Republican governors on the border states.

ALVAREZ: Abbott maintains his actions are in response to the administration's poor handling of the border. Adams has condemned the Texas governor's actions and recently issued an emergency declaration to procure shelter and other services.

ADAMS: I don't think anything is more anti-American than shipping people on a bus 45-hour trip without any of the basic needs that they have or direction or coordination.


SANCHEZ: Or thanks to Priscilla Alvarez for that report. We should note, in a statement, the White House said that it's in regular contact with Mayor Adams and his team and they are working to provide FEMA funding and other support to New York City.

So, Puerto Rico's coastline looks a lot different these days because of climate change. It's feeling devastating beach erosion. The promises from officials and the skepticism from residents when NEW DAY heads to Puerto Rico after a quick break.



WALKER: This summer's unprecedented heat has triggered numerous wildfires and severe drought in many parts of the country.

SANCHEZ: In California, for example, experts are saying the state could see a 10 percent loss of water over the next 20 years. Now, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a multi-billion dollar plan that would help preserve the state's diminishing water supply. CNN's Mike Valerio has more.

MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Amara and Boris, good morning to you. You know most of this plan is about saving water, conserving it, and building more storage space rather than channeling water out of California and Southern California. That's one of the reasons why we wanted to show you this spot in the L.A. River. We have miles of concrete infrastructure that's built to channel water out to the ocean.

Just looking south right here, this goes on for 20 miles. And what Governor Newsom is proposing here is to build storage space, cisterns reservoirs to keep water in California rather than sending all of it out into the ocean. So, to put up his bullet points of what exactly he's proposing, four million acre-feet of storage space, again, reservoirs, cisterns to keep water in when it rains sometimes heavily across California in the winter months.

Also recycling wastewater. The water that goes in your neighborhood drains and comes out here to rivers, channels like this he also wants to recycle. And the third point, taking salt out of ocean water, desal, taking water -- I should say, taking salt out of brackish water to drink. Listen to him on that point.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This technology is much older than I. It's much older than each and every one of you. And the reality is we need to be more creative and we need to be more aggressive in terms of not just promoting this technology, but delivering on its promise. Moreover, delivering on its potential.


VALERIO: So, it's about creating new sources of water but preserving the water that we get. Right here in August, we just have a few inches of water in the LA River. But Amara and Boris, in the winter months, this channel would be raging, feet and feet of water flooding in the winter months. The goal here is to capture the water and save it for years to come. Amara and Boris, back to you.

SANCHEZ: Mike, thank you so much.

Puerto Rico is facing a climate emergency. Officials say that beaches are eroding at an alarming rate because of destructive hurricanes, flooding, and of course, rising sea levels.

WALKER: CNN's Leyla Santiago has more.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Of the tropical waters of Puerto Rico --

Do you see this as an emergency?


SANTIAGO: Ernesto Diaz of the Puerto Rico Climate Change Council warns beach erosion is destroying the island of enchantment at an alarming rate. In fact, the very ground we walked on here was gone the next day.

This was all connected. We walked from here to over here with sand underneath our feet and coastal erosion has taken it away, leaving this house very vulnerable on the beach. And that makes the point that the people in Puerto Rico need something done now.

The local government has deemed this neighborhood an emergency zone for 25 homes because of coastal erosion. It's the latest crisis on an island caught in the crosshairs of climate change. Destructive hurricanes, sea level rise, flooding, extreme heat, the results of a planet that is warming.

DIAZ: Small islands like Puerto Rico do not emit much of the greenhouse gases that are causing the problem. But we're the first ones that feel the impacts.

SANTIAGO: Climate change, what does that mean to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we believe in it. We've seen it.

SANTIAGO: Edwin Coto lives further east in Louisa, a town where roughly half of the population lives in poverty according to the U.S. Census. He's watched the beaches shrink, the sidewalks crumble in front of the home he's lived in for 60 years because of the coastal erosion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One storm, it will wipe this road out.

SANTIAGO: Down the street, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently built this rock barrier designed to prevent erosion, but Coto will not benefit from that protection since his house falls just outside the project's boundary. So, you've had politicians, decision-makers, government officials come

here and you've shown them all of this. Do you feel like they're --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all -- we all had shown them.

SANTIAGO: Do you feel like they're listening?

EDWIN COTO, RESIDENT, LOIZA, PUERTO RICO: Like I say, they tell you that they're listening. They sound really, really nice. They said a lot of stuff but don't come up with nothing.


MICHAEL S. REGAN, ADMINISTRATOR, EPA: I would say to him that after these conversations, I'm going back to Washington D.C., and my staff will be following up in a matter of weeks.

SANTIAGO: That's the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Administrator Michael Regan. He visited Puerto Rico as part of his Journey to Justice tour, an effort to shed light on environmental issues that disproportionately affect people in marginalized communities.

REGAN: I know that these people have faced systemic racism. I know that these people have faced environmental injustice. And I know that we have to do something about it.

SANTIAGO: Part of the solution he says resources from the bipartisan infrastructure law, more than $50 billion in funding that can tackle issues like flooding. But on the island repeatedly battered by climate change, an island where the government said more than half of its beaches are experiencing erosion even before Hurricane Maria, skepticism remains.

COTO: We want to hear the specific. When are you going to do something? When? We don't even care what. When are you going to start doing something? Because anything they do is better than nothing?


WALKER: That is correct. I mean, Boris, I see these stories and I feel like we've been talking about extreme heat, monsoon flooding, droughts, I mean, extensively, right? And climate change is here and it's nerve racking, just watching what's happening in so many places. And you're from Florida, I'm from California. We know that these are areas where, I mean, they're really impacted by climate change.

SANCHEZ: And sadly, something that you find around the world is that it's most often communities that are marginalized, that are disadvantaged, that are going to bear the brunt of all that's to come with climate change.

WALKER: Yes, yes.

SANCHEZ: It's so unfortunate.

WALKER: It's scary.

Moving on now to a loud boom heard across parts of Utah and Idaho. It surprised some residents on Saturday.

SANCHEZ: Yes. It turns out it was likely a meteor that is caught on camera shooting across the sky. This high-altitude Meteor blew up. You see there very briefly across your screen. It hit the atmosphere and burst into smithereens.


SANCHEZ: There were doorbell and home cameras that recorded the sound for about two minutes. Watch this.




WALKER: Look at the -- look at the shock in her face. My gosh, I would be scared.

SANCHEZ: My sentiments exactly. I would have probably run inside.

WALKER: Right.

SANCHEZ: That would have been the thing to do there. Utah's Governor, Spencer Cox, confirmed it was not an earthquake. In all likelihood, it was that Meteor.

Hey, before we head to commercial break, I want to give you a quick reminder. Don't forget, there's an all-new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" tonight. Here's a preview.


W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: What do you feel like are the most harmful stereotypes that tourism create and support about indigenous folks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been villainized. We've been objectified. We've been feticide, man.

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like, I got to get out there and dance. I got to get out there and play the flute. You know, we've been lied about the idea that indigenous nations are primitive and that we didn't manage this whole continent. That is the stereotype is that we need somebody from outside of us to save us. These are sacred lands. We need to make a move here in the Black Hills. But we fell for a trick there. That doesn't mean that we stop there.

BELL: As a Black American, I know we fall for some tricks too so -- oh, I say it and I say again, you've been had. You've been took. You've been good hoodwinked, bamboozled. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BELL: Let it straight, run amok. This is what he does. Some people call this hate teaching. All right, I'll stop. That's my Malcolm X spill for the day.



SANCHEZ: An all new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

NEW DAY continues in just a moment.



WALKER: Even though it's preseason, the first full weekend of NFL football is upon us.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Coy Wire has been waiting for this since February since the Superbowl, practically. He joins this morning's 'BLEACHER REPORT."

WALKER: Look at that big smile.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Good morning, Amara and Boris. These games don't officially count but there's so much riding on them, right? Some younger players are going to see their NFL hopes and dreams come true. Others are going to see there's crashing down. But even established stars are tuning up. The Chiefs four-time pro bowler quarterback Patrick Mahomes picking apart the Bears yesterday. Tuning up to the tune of 60 yards including this nifty touchdown pass to Blake Bell on KC's opening drive. And how about former Stanford standout Justin Reid? He's proven his worth beyond the Chief's starting safety spot. He kicked an extra point in the closing seconds of the first half. He had a 65-yarder in practice last week.

Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett couldn't have had a better ending for his very first game in the NFL. Tied at 25 in the fourth against Seattle, time running out, Pickett whips it to Tyler Snead who dives in for the game-winner just three seconds to go. Pittsburgh winning 32-25. Pickett making his case to replace longtime starter Ben Roethlisberger.

Finally, feast your eyes. We had some french fries on the field mid- game two coats off offensive lineman testing to be teammates. Rookie Wesley French and Will Fries going viral just for standing next to each other. And they're super-sized six-foot-four, 307 and six-foot- six, 309. Hopefully, you'll get an endorsement deal for those big fellows coming in the near future.

You have the Vikings and Raiders later today but also six WNBA games with only two playoff spots on the line.

WALKER: I'm still stuck on 307 and 309. That's insane.

SANCHEZ: A lot of French Fries.

WIRE: Yes.

WALKER: Right. Coy, thank you. And the next hour of NEW DAY starts now.