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House Democrats To Finalize Biden's Big Agenda Win After Senate Vote; Photos Of Torn Documents In Toilet Suggest Trump Tried To Flush Them; Urgent Search Under Way After Four Muslim Men Killed In New Mexico; House Dems To Finalize Biden's Big Agenda Win After Senate Vote; Ukraine Warns Of Huge Consequences If Nuclear Plant Hit By Shelling; Inside Haiti's Crisis Of Gang Violence, Hunger And Political Collapse. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired August 08, 2022 - 18:00   ET




WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, as the House prepares to seal a crucial win for President Biden, he's touting the Democrats' economic package as a game-changer for Americans. But will it help his party overcome serious challenges in the midterm elections?

Also tonight, new photos show ripped-up notes in toilets. New evidence of then-President Trump's reported habit of destroying presidential documents by flushing them.

And an urgent search is under way in New Mexico right now as investigators believe the killings of four Muslim men may be connected. I'll ask the Albuquerque mayor about the case, the motive, and the fear in his community right now.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in The Situation Room.

Tonight, President Biden has started trying to convince voters that a much-needed victory for his agenda is a win for them as well, the Senate approving the Democrats' flagship economic package.

Let's go to our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlin Collins. Kaitlan, final passage is expected in the House of Representatives later this week and it will be a very big moment for the president.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It absolutely will, Wolf, because it's been a very tough few months for this White House. So, this is a welcome change of pace for many of the officials, including President Biden as they are now cruising into what appears to be the passage of this major piece of legislation. You're right, going to the House later this week and then the White House hopes on to President Biden's desk for his signature.

And while the bill is very different from what Democrats were negotiating over just last summer, Wolf, it is still something that is welcome in this White House, that once thought it was unlikely to happen.


COLLINS (voice over): With the Senate passage of a major climate and economic package, President Biden is on the verge of victory.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Do I expect it to help? Yes, I do. It's going to immediately help.

COLLINS: the president one step closer to securing a big legislative win and salvaging key parts of his domestic agenda, which he says will help Americans' bottom line.

BIDEN: That's a big deal, it change people's lives. There's a whole range of things that are really a game-changer for ordinary folks.

COLLINS: After a year of infighting, Senate Democrats passed the bill now known as the Inflation Reduction Act.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It was a long night. It was a long month. It was a long year. But we got it done.

COLLINS: While it falls far short of the Build Back Better proposal, this bill includes more than $300 billion for energy and climate reform, including tax credits for electric cars and energy efficient homes, allows Medicare to directly negotiate the price of prescription drugs for the first time, and creates a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations making at least a billion dollars in income.

The bill goes to the House after passing because of a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris after no Republicans supported it, instead attacking it as a tax increase that empowers the IRS.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Hiring 86,000 more IRS agents, if that makes you feel better, you've missed a lot. They're coming after waitresses, Uber drivers and everybody else to collect more taxes.

COLLINS: The moment marks a major victory for Biden who warned about the need to combat climate change as he toured flood damage in Kentucky today.

BIDEN: We've suffered a consequence of climate change, a significant number of weather catastrophes around the nation.

COLLINS: Tomorrow at the White House, Biden will sign legislation aimed at boosting the U.S. semiconductor industry, and then on Wednesday signs a bill expanding health care access for veterans exposed to toxins, as Democrats celebrate a string of wins they hope will help in the midterm elections.

SCHUMER: The last six weeks have been one of the most productive six weeks in legislative history in decades.


COLLINS (on camera): Wolf, Democratic lawmakers are obviously not the only ones enthusiastic about this, so is President Biden, as the White House is hoping it will boost his poll numbers, whether or not it does remains to be seen because, of course, the chief problem that he still has is right in the name of this bill, the Inflation Reduction Act. That is a change from when it was once called the Build Back Better proposal.

And so that is still something that the White House is hoping to deal with and hoping to change, of course, so they can change voters' minds ahead of the November midterm elections.

BLITZER: Kaitlan, I want you to stay with us. I also want bring in CNN Senior Commentator John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio, and CNN Political Commentator Van Jones, a former Obama administration official.

Van, this is truly a huge moment for Democrats, but communication hasn't always been the White House's strong suit.


How important is it for President Biden to explain to Americans now how they benefit from this bill?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think it's very important. But here's the deal. This has been a dizzying six-week turnaround. He was trailing behind Jimmy Carter in terms of public opinion and that sort of stuff, and now he's racing past Barack Obama.

Just on the climate side alone, Barack Obama had $80 billion in the stimulus package of 2009. That was a shocking number. This is four or five times bigger just on climate alone. The idea that you're not going to have to pay more than $2,000 for your medicine in this country, the idea that you're going to be able to have lower health costs for people. So, there's so much good stuff in this package, he's going to have to explain it. But there's a lot of good to explain.

And I think a lot of Democrats, we are so used to hearing bad news from this White House, it's hard for us to realize, you put all his accomplishments together now, you've got something you can go into the midterms with loud and proud as of this week.

BLITZER: Governor Kasich, Americans still feel pessimistic about the economy. But when you look at the string of Democratic victories, as Van just pointed out, does that sway voters heading into the midterm elections?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't want to rain on the president's parade. He's got a big package passing, and they did get some very, very good job numbers on Friday. But, Wolf, 70 percent of the public believes that the country is headed in the wrong direction, and they are absolutely fixated on inflation.

This package, for its name, the inflation, whatever it is, nobody who's a scorekeeper down there, the joint tax committee, nonpartisan, none of them say that it's going to do anything about inflation. So, what they have to be concerned about is baked into people's minds, when you get towards the end of June, they kind of make up their minds about how they think the economy is doing.

Look, this happened to George Bush the First, when he kept saying the economy is getting better but people didn't recognize it and Bill Clinton won. I think the problem Democrats have is that there's a lot baked in, people seeing it going the wrong way and this inflation is so significant to them that, look, the Senate is in play, there's no question about that. But I believe the House is going to go Republican by a pretty significant margin and a lot of it is based on this.

BLITZER: Let me let Van respond to all of that. Go ahead, Van.


VANCE: Well, it is, in fact, the case that people are pessimistic about the economic numbers. But I also think that when you're talking about the midterms, the question is, are Democrats so depressed, so distressed and so upset with Democratic failure in D.C. that they don't get off the couch and go vote? I think that starts to change now because now you've got some real wins here.

And you look back, look, past year, Democrats have fallen down the stairs, falling off each other, no coordination, the message was terrible. But as you come around Labor Day, you're going to have Democrats say, look what we have been able to get done. And this stuff is historic and you start bringing back some of this confidence to Democratic voters and I think you can stanch some of the bleeding and over the time get the economy back and 2024 looks very different than it does right now.

BLITZER: So, Kaitlan, how does President Biden now plan to sell these accomplishments?

COLLINS: Well, they wait for the House to deal with it, of course, they're expected to take it up later this week, Wolf. And assuming they don't make any changes, then it will quickly go to President Biden's desk for him to sign.

And then after that, we are told by White House officials you can expect to see President Biden on the road selling this bill. And I do think that will be the test for the White House because it's a pretty encompassing bill. It's got several different major pillars in it, as were just talking about, when it comes to climate change, when it comes to that minimum tax, when it comes to prescription drugs. Some of those are not going to go into effect immediately.

And so that aspect of President Biden dealing with that is these are very popular proposals, including the one about letting Medicare for the first time directly negotiate these prices. That's a very popular proposal, Wolf. And you've heard Republicans criticize it and say they think it's going to hurt innovation but among voters it's broadly popular.

And so the question for President Biden will be selling it on the road and talking to voters about it so they know what's coming, even if they are not seeing the effects immediately. And I also think naming it the inflation reduction act, people are going to expect it to live up to that name and they want to see changes, because this is also a White House that they listened to say inflation was transitory and temporary for so long and it obviously was not, Wolf.

And so that will be the pitch that you're going to see President Biden make but it's a pitch the White House is certainly eager to make to voters.

BLITZER: Van, what does it say to you that even amid these big legislative wins, some Democrats are publicly distancing themselves from President Biden, refusing to say even if he should run again in 2024?

VANCE: Well, it just shows his poll numbers are really bad, that's all. If his poll numbers were ten points higher, they'd all be hugging him and loving him. That's politics. But the reality is that you've got -- that's just how it works. But the reality is that if you are staring down the barrel of this midterm election, you've got to be able to reach in your pocket and show people something.


Now, you're going to be able to talk about gun safety reforms that have been passed, historic climate stuff, historic medical costs. You can actually start screaming back into the maelstrom coming at you on inflation with things that are going to make your life better even as the economy begins to heal.

And so, listen, with poll numbers this low, people run away from him.

BLITZER: Governor Kasich, I want you to respond, go ahead.

KASICH: Well, look, I mean, again, people are not optimistic about where we're going. And the thing you have to keep in mind on all this legislation is, is this something people are talking about on Main Street? I don't hear a lot of people talking about it. What I do hear them talking about is the cost of everything and that creates a real problem for them.

So, you've got to remember that at the end of the day, it is the pocketbook. And I think, again, a lot of these voters have made up their minds now. I think Van makes a good point. Will Democrats get out, will they be more enthusiastic? Yes, I think that's a possibility. But I think you're going to see a significant number of Republican wins in the House of Representatives. Senate, up for grabs. Why? A lot of bad candidates on the Republican side.

BLITZER: All right. John Kasich, Van Jones, Kaitlan Collins, guys, thank you very, very much.

Just ahead, the new photos that back up previous reporting about former President Trump flushing presidential documents down the toilet.

And we'll also remember the singer and actress, Olivia Newton-John, after her death at age 73.



BLITZER: First on CNN, new reporting on the January 6th investigation. We've learned that two years of text messages sent and received by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have now been turned over to the House select committee.

CNN Political Correspondent Sara Murray is working the story for us. Sara, explain why these text messages from Alex Jones are of interest to the select committee.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think everyone knows that Alex Jones was a key figure in the run-up to January 6th. And I think what the committee wants to know is if these text messages are going to shed any new light on his activities. He was on the Capitol grounds. He was riling up supporters. But we also know from what attorneys have said in the Sandy Hook case that Alex Jones was also in touch with Roger Stone.

And these are two people who have really been black boxes for the January 6th committee. They weren't able to get information out of Alex Jones. They weren't able to get information out of Roger Stone. So, it's possible these texts could shed light on their activities. The big unknown is we just don't really know what range of time these texts are going to cover or how ultimately how consequential they're going to be.

BLITZER: We've also learned, while I have you, Sara, that the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania has now been called to appear before the select committee, what, tomorrow?

MURRAY: Yes, tomorrow. And as you might imagine, this is not necessarily someone who is eager to appear before the select committee. This is the big ally of former President Donald Trump. We're told that he is going to show up virtually but it could be a pretty short appearance, because Doug Mastriano's attorneys are still at odds with the committee.

What Mastriano wants is to be able to either make his own recording of the interview or have access to the committee's recording, and the committee is not willing to go along with that. So, it's possible, as soon as they get to the swearing in and agreeing to tell the truth part, that this could be the end of the interview.

But this is another person who was in contact with the former president in the run-up to January 6th and could potentially give them information if he answers questions.

BLITZER: If, that's the key. Thanks very much, Sara Murray reporting for us.

Let's now turn to newly revealed photos of torn notes in toilets and what they reveal about former President Trump's handling and mishandling of presidential documents. We're joined now by CNN Political Analyst Maggie Haberman. She is the senior political reporter for The New York Times. She's also the author of a brand-new book that's coming out in the coming weeks entitled, Confidence Man, the Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America. It releases in October. There's the cover right there. Maggie, thanks so much for joining us.

You're publishing these pictures of documents in toilets in your new book. What can you tell us about these documents? Do we know who flushed them and why?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So, Wolf, I got these pictures recently after I had reported based on research that I was doing for Confidence Man that Trump had been flushing things down toilets. They were clogging White House residence toilets, and this was a source of discussion and some consternation among some aides and, again, reported that previously.

Again, this is Trump doing it, as I have been told by multiple sources. Initially, it was described as people believing he had done it. Others described it with more certainty. One of these photos is from the White House. One of these photos is from a trip overseas. Both of them are very visibly his handwriting, if you blow them up.

BLITZER: It's interesting, because in a statement to Axios, a Trump spokesperson insinuates that this reporting that documents were flushed down toilets is a fabrication. What do you say to that?

HABERMAN: I say I stand by the reporting. And I say that Donald Trump and his aides have a very long history of saying things that are not true, as we have gotten to see through the January 6th hearings, including some of my reporting displayed there.

BLITZER: Outrageousness aside, Maggie, the issue here is about presidential record keeping, which is a law, as we all know. We know the former president flouted record keeping laws, didn't he?

HABERMAN: Look, there's a lot more in my book, Wolf, about how former President Trump handled documents, and people can read about it there. But, certainly, we have all reported that this is something that he had a problem with or an issue with or that was a challenge for his staff over the course of four years. He was known by many, many people to tear up documents. Staff had to follow him around trying to tape them back together. This is something that the National Archives discovered as they were getting materials sent to them, and this has come up in some of the House investigations.

So, this is -- to your point, people are going to see photos like this and they're going to laugh, but the issue itself is not funny. If this was a fireplace, if this was a shredder, we would be having the same conversation because presidents are supposed to keep and preserve documents they generate or receive, no matter how inconsequential some people might think they are.


And this is a Watergate era innovation that has been honored by other presidents and which this president struggled with.

BLITZER: Do you have a sense, Maggie, how often the former president would actually rip up presidential documents, official documents, and try to flush them down the toilet?

HABERMAN: I don't have a clear number on the flushing. How often he would rip them up was quite frequent. What I know about the flushing, it was more than one occasion. It was on at least two foreign trips and it was described to me by others working there as throughout the presidency.

BLITZER: But as you point out, he has a long history of not protecting official presidential documents, right?

HABERMAN: Correct. Correct.

BLITZER: Maggie Haberman, thanks very much. And the new book is entitled Confidence Man, the Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America. There's the cover right there. We're all looking forward to the book that's coming out soon. Maggie, thanks for your excellent reporting, as usual.

Coming up, grief and fear in Albuquerque, New Mexico, right now following the killings of four Muslim men. We'll have a closer look at the victims and the urgent investigation.

And the iconic Australian singer and actress Olivia Newton-John Has died at age 73. More on her life, her today career and her valiant battle against cancer, that's next.



BLITZER: The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is in shock tonight over the ambush-style shootings of four Muslim men. Authorities now say they're looking into whether the killings are connected.

CNN Correspondent Lucy Kafanov has the latest on the investigation and the victims.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight in Albuquerque, a manhunt is underway after a brutal killing of another Muslim man, the latest victim in a string of what officials describe as targeted killings that police suspect may be linked.

MAYOR TIMOTHY KELLER, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO: We're very concerned that these are obviously tied together. They're obviously targeting Muslim men.

KAFANOV: Police identifying a vehicle of interest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you see a dark-colored four-door sedan, Volkswagen, Passat or Jetta, we encourage you to call the police. KAFANOV: The latest victim identified to CNN by his brother-in-law as 25-year-old Naeem Hussain was gunned down on Friday. Hours earlier, he attended a funeral for two other murder victims, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain and Aftab Hussein, and had expressed fear about the shootings.

TAHIR GAUBA, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, ISLAMIC CENTER OF NEW MEXICO: He was like, hey, what's happening? I said, times are crazy, just be very careful, you know. Don't leave your house in the dark if you don't have to. And who knew he would be dead the same day.

KAFANOV: 27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain was killed last Monday.

REP. MELANIE STANSBURY (D-NM): Muhammad was an amazing, gentle, kind, caring, loving, excited, passionate person.


KAFANOV: His brother showing CNN where neighbors told him Muhammad was gunned down and shot at multiple times.

HUSSAIN: I'm scared to go outside of my apartment. I'm scared to sit in my balcony. I'm scared to go get something in my car. My kids do not allow me even to step out of my apartment. It's scary.

KAFANOV: 41-year-old Aftab Hussein was shot and killed on July 26th. All three were from Pakistan, and all, according to police, were ambushed and killed with no warning.

Authorities are also investigating the unsolved 2021 killing of a 62- year-old Mohammad Ahmadi, a Muslim man from Afghanistan. The FBI now assisting Albuquerque police to see if they are all connected.

The violence rocking the tight-knit Muslim community, shaken by grief and fear.

AHMAD ASSED, PRESIDENT, ISLAMIC CENTER OF NEW MEXICO: Incredibly terrified, panicked. Some people want to move from the state until this thing is over. Some people have moved from the state. Businesses are closing. They're closing businesses early. Students won't leave their homes.


KAFANOV (on camera): Wolf, as the manhunt continues, New Mexico's governor vowed justice, sending more state police officers to Albuquerque. President Biden tweeting over the weekend that he was saddened and angered by the attacks. There is now also a $20,000 reward for any information that might lead to an arrest. Wolf?

BLITZER: Lucy Kafanov reporting for us, Lucy, thank you very much.

Joining us now, the mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tim Keller. Mayor Keller, thank you for joining us during this very, very difficult time. What impact are the killings of these four Muslim men having on your community, and are there any new developments you can share with us tonight?

KELLER: You know, right now, we're in a state of shock and grief and outrage that this could occur in our community. And there are obviously lots of questions, open-ended questions that we all wish we had answers towards.

But we do have some serious leads. Folks have heard about the vehicle we're looking for and we are chasing some other leads that have come in through crime stoppers. And so we have marshaled all the resources we can, every single law enforcement agency from the state all the way down to local, as well as the FBI is on this. And we are going to demonstrate that this person will be held to justice. And we're going to make sure that people feel safe again in our city and that's also what we're focused on.

So, look, we've got extra police patrols at every mosque during prayer time.


We're delivering meals to folks who are afraid to come out of their homes. We're providing trauma services for folks also in their home or at their mosque for what they're going through, because, right now these are very, very trying times for this community and our city.

BLITZER: Are police confident, Mayor, that this so-called vehicle of interest is going to lead them to the killer or killers?

KELLER: You know, we are. At this point, that vehicle has been heavily linked to a couple of the scenes, and so there's obviously a small likelihood of a coincidence. But everyone believes that that vehicle is very key to what happened in at least two of the shootings. We also have shell casings that we're able to tie together through the national database, the (INAUDIBLE) database.

So, that is giving us some confidence but we may have a long way to go. It depends obviously on what the perpetrator is doing right now, whether they're trying to flee or whether they're hiding or whether they're up to something much worse.

BLITZER: What additional steps, Mayor, are you taking right now to protect the Muslim community while the killer or killers for that matter remains at large?

KELLER: You know, we've been in close contact with them, even starting last week before the second shooting. And we're providing first off a visible police presence at mosques to make it clear that we are there and we are watching.

We're also -- there are certain areas of town that have a higher population than others, and so we're adding patrols there. And we're doing that in coordination with the state police and others so that we have the resources. We also have air units explicitly focused on these certain areas and even some of the businesses that are owned and are predominant in the Muslim community. So, that's number one.

But we're also concerned school starts in Albuquerque this week, in fact, tomorrow and Wednesday. And so we're in close coordination with our Albuquerque public school police and the University of New Mexico police. And they're putting together public safety programs for Muslim students. And we even have a mobile command center set up at one of our high schools in the international district, which has a large Muslim population.

So, we're trying to be extremely visible and we're also working one- on-one. We are fortunate to have a community safety department. It's the department of social workers, that's cabinet level, as well as cabinet level equity and inclusion department. And they have been working almost 24/7 literally person by person, in-person or on the phone with members of our Muslim community throughout these last few days.

BLITZER: Mayor Tim Keller of Albuquerque, New Mexico, thanks so much for joining us. Good luck in the search for answers. We'll stay in close touch with you. Thanks so much for joining us.

KELLER: Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead, after Olivia Newton-John's death, we're remembering her legacy in music and on film, including her most memorable role in Grease.



BLITZER: Tonight, Olivia Newton-John is being remembered by her Grease co-star, John Travolta, for having an incredible impact on so many people's lives.

CNN's Ana Cabrera has more on Newton-John's life and her death at age 73.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Olivia Newton-John shot to stardom office (ph) to John Travolta in the musical blockbuster Grease. It was 1978. She was 29 years old but played an innocent teen in love with a boy from the other side of the tracks.

Newton-John first won over devoted fans as an award-winning singer in the early '70s.

Let me be there earned her a Grammy award for best female vocal performance and her 1974 chart topping hit I Honestly Love You won the record for Grammy for record of the year.

Over the course of her career, Newton-John sold more than 100 million albums, scored multiple number one hits, including magic from her Box Office Xanadu, and one that showcased her sexier side. Born in England, Newton-John moved to Australia at the age of five. By the time she was a teenager, she was already performing on Australian T.V. shows, like Bandstand.

In addition to her singing, Newton-John was well known as a tireless advocate for breast cancer research and early detection. She was diagnosed with the disease in 1992, and her successful treatment inspired her to help others.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, ACTRESS: I'm really thrilled that now I can give back in some way and try and help other women who are going through that experience because it's a very difficult thing to go through alone.

CABRERA: The Australian singer faced another crisis in 2005 when her boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, went missing during a fishing trip off the California Coast. He was never found.

NEWTON-JOHN: The pain will always be there. I'll always miss him. I love him, I miss him, but I can't do anything about it. We don't know what happened and I don't know if I'll ever know what happened. But I've tried to go forward and do something positive with it by creating music for myself and for others.

CABRERA: And she never stopped, performing into her 60s during a three-year residency at Las Vegas' Flamingo Casino.


Newton-John's breast cancer returned in 2013. In 2017, she was diagnosed with spine cancer. Despite life's challenges, she always remained grateful.

NEWTON-JOHN: I don't think I'd change anything because I've had such an amazingly interesting life and done so many things. And I never planned on any of them really except singing, because that's all I could do.


BLITZER: That was CNN's Ana Cabrera reporting. Olivia Newton-John, may she rest in peace, and as we say, may her memory be a blessing.

Coming up, are House progressives satisfied with the Biden agenda bill that just passed the Senate? I'll ask a key member of the caucus. Congressman Ro Khanna is standing by live.



BLITZER: The House is set to vote on Friday, and Democrats are expected to give final approval to the economic package approved by the Senate over the weekend. But some progressives aren't necessarily thrilled by the legislation.

Let's discuss with the deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressman Ro Khanna of California.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

Senator Bernie Sanders said he was disappointed that this bill goes nowhere near far enough, but he still voted for it. Will progressives in the House do the same? Will they all get behind this bill as written?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): We will, Wolf. This bill is like a down payment on a house. It makes significant progress. It is the largest investment in climate in the history of this country, probably the history of any country.

It's going to mean more solar manufacturing in the United States, battery manufacturing, more steel because there's a buy American component for a bonus. So it has a lot of good things in it.

BLITZER: I know you actually worked with Senator Joe Manchin to get these negotiations back on track.

After more than a year of stalling, how did this ultimately come together?

KHANNA: Well, I talked to Senator Manchin on New Year's day of 2022. He had called me. And I knew this about Senator Manchin, that he was for the innovation portion. He was for the investment to make sure things are made in America. He just wasn't for the sticks.

Now, I believe in some of the sticks as well and there are social programs that I would have rather have had in there like child care, universal preschool, but I knew on climate, we could get in there and that's ultimately the deal that we got.

And I was proud that I continued to work with him and he was negotiating in good faith.

BLITZER: Do you believe that President Biden can actually sell this deal to midterm election voters who are facing much more immediate problems right now, like record high inflation?

KHANNA: Yes. If he goes to the factory towns -- I was just in Anderson, Indiana, in Janesville, Wisconsin. Here's what he should say. We realize tomorrow of our jobs went offshore. We couldn't make masks in this country.

You know why things are expensive? Because we have to ship them from China and Taiwan and they are costing $14,000 on containers instead of $2,000. This is a bill about making stuff in America. We're going to bring production back. That's going to make us more self-sufficient and lower costs.

And I think if he goes out there to the heartland, to factory towns, to Black and Brown communities, he can sell this but he has to get out there and not stay in Washington.

BLITZER: How long do you think it will take, Congressman, for Americans to actually feel the benefits of this bill?

KHANNA: Well, they'll immediately start to feel the benefits on prescription drugs. I mean, that Medicare negotiating will lower prescription drug costs. Many will feel the benefits of the increased subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. The premiums are going up and this will help.

For the clean technology and those jobs, we need to make that clear that these are going to be jobs in communities that have been left out and it's the beginning of bringing those jobs back. And people will understand that that is going to take more time, but that is going to have an impact on their communities.

BLITZER: Congressman Ro Khanna, as usual, thanks so much for joining us.

KHANNA: Wolf, always a pleasure.

BLITZER: Just ahead, there's increasing concern right now over recent fighting near a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The head of the United Nations condemning the artillery and rocket fire, calling it, and I'm quoting now, suicidal.



BLITZER: Tonight, the United Nations is condemning the, quote, suicidal fighting near a Russian occupied nuclear power plant in Ukraine. This as the Ukrainian government lashes out over a report by Amnesty International which accuses Ukraine's military of putting civilians in harm's way as they fight off Russian troops.

CNN's senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt takes a closer look at the backlash from the report.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This is a boarding school for visually impaired children in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, its windows blown out and two huge craters outside from Russian missile strikes. We visited in early July, just a few hours after the attack and saw at the entrance to the school Ukrainian soldiers moving out, carrying boxes into a truck.

The school in a residential neighborhood wasn't housing any students at the time. The soldiers told us they had been staying there, but after the strike they decided to leave. Now, a firestorm has erupted after Amnesty International reported on the Ukrainian forces use of civilian buildings like schools and hospitals as bases.

The report says that has made those buildings targets for the Russians and endangers the Ukrainian population. The head of Amnesty International said in the report being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law. The backlash was immediate. President Zelenskyy and other top

officials slammed the report. Zelenskyy on Friday said it shifts the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim. He called it immoral selectivity that amnesty is Russia.

The next day, we spoke with Amnesty International.

DONATELLA ROVERA, SENIOR CRISIS ADVISER, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: We understand military necessity, and we understand that, you know, military especially in the case of the Ukrainian military, they are in a defensive position. They have to make difficult decisions, but there are measures that they can and must take.

MARQUARDT: As anger grew, they apologized, saying: While we fully stand by our findings, we regret the pain caused.


Nothing we documented Ukrainian forces doing in any way justifies Russian violations.

Russian state TV has gloated, pointing to the report as evidence Ukraine is violating international law. Amnesty International initially rejected the Ukrainian criticism that their report was feeding Russian propaganda.

ROVERA: It really takes away from the focus, which should be what can be done to increase the protection of civilians. That's really what this is about and what it should be about.

MARQUARDT: Amnesty has repeatedly criticized Russia for its conduct in Ukraine. Last month, another report from Human Rights Watch said both sides are unnecessarily endangering civilians and however unjustified and brutal Russia's war is, they say, Ukraine needs to do better.

BELKIS WILLE, SENIOR RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Just because the other side that you're fighting against is breaking the rules doesn't mean that you should break the rules, and in fact, if you do, you're going to kill more civilians, and that's exactly why these rules are in place to begin with.


MARQUARDT (on camera): And another sign of how divisive this report was, after it came out, the local head of Amnesty's Ukraine chapter, she promptly resigned. She said it didn't take into account the local context, meaning the realities on the ground of what Russia is doing to Ukraine.

Now, the critics of Amnesty are not denying that this happens but they say this report was one sided, clumsily written, and creates false equivalence between Russia and Ukraine -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Alex Marquardt reporting for us, thank you, Alex, very much. We're also following the worsening situation right now in Haiti. The

country is facing skyrocketing inflation, gas shortages and increasing child hunger as gangs are taking control of more of the Capitol.

CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh is on the scene for us there tonight.

Nick, so what are you seeing in Haiti?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yeah, Wolf, deep concerns here in Port-au-Prince. Gangs are slowly growing in their footprints and their ability to influence life here in Haiti's capital. We saw ourselves the work police SWAT teams are doing trying to push into areas that gangs control, that unit coming under fire. We saw injured civilians being carried out by police there. But this comes, frankly, after really troubling weeks here in the capital.

In a ten-day period in July alone, according to the United Nations, a bid by one of the gangs here, the G-9 to take more territory off a rival gang, that's just over there from where I'm standing, caused 470 people to die, be injured or go missing. Extraordinary numbers for such a short period of time.

And also, during those clashes, gangs were reported to use bulldozers to demolish homes of rivals and even raze to the ground some of those homes as well. So, staggering levels of violence here. This led one security force to suggest that perhaps at this point, as we see the gangs control the port over there, the road to the country south behind me, and areas in the east and north, they may control or influence possibly 3/4 of the capital here.

That's a large number that the police chief we spoke to pushed back against, but a sign of why people here are certainly on edge -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So, Nick, how bad is the situation right now in the capital itself?

WALSH: I mean, it's a confluence of a series of separate crises, politically we have since the assassination of President Moise, we have a prime minister who initially was supported by the international community on the premise he would introduce elections but has been accused of great inactivity over the past months. And in this current climate of violence, elections frankly seem a very far shot away, even if you showed the inclination towards that.

Inflation analysts say at 30 percent. The United Nations warning the entrance in the area controlled by gangs may suffer possibly from starvation as their parents can't get out to get food aide. We've seen people fleeing, living in the opening in parks here.

The security situation is slowly, possibly beginning to unravel. The police here, one of the remaining institutions of government that seem to be functioning here but struggling to fight against gangs that are often much better equipped than them, seen now to be significantly better organized than they have been in the past, too. And all these separate moving pieces appear to be coming together to leave many worried in the capital here.

Each time they hear gunfire, we've heard it a number of times standing out here, they might be slowly heading towards some sort of collapse potentially here in Haiti.

I have to remind you, Wolf, an earthquake a year ago, this political crisis is all happening simultaneously to put people deeply concerned about literally the weeks ahead -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll have much more of these developments coming up. Thank you very, very much for that.

There's some breaking news we're following right now. The FBI has executed a search warrant today at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort down in Palm Beach, Florida. The former president confirms all of this to CNN. We'll stay on top of this story. Much more coming up on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT".

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.