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The Situation Room

DOJ: Trump Team Likely Hid & Moved Docs To "Obstruct" Probe; Justice Dept.: 100 Plus Documents Seized In August Mar-a-Lago Search; Water Crisis In Mississippi's Capital Enters Third Straight Day; Biden Renew Focus On Trump Ahead Of Crucial Midterms; Rep. David Cicilline, (D-RI), Is Interviewed About President Biden; Biden Vocally Supporting Law Enforcement As GOP Attacks FBI Over Mar-a-Lago; DOJ Rejects Trump's Claim He Cooperated With Investigation; FDA Authorizes Updated COVID Booster Shot Targeting Omicron; Serena Williams Playing Potential Final Singles Match Of Her Career Against World No. 2 Tonight; Princess Diana Remembered On 25th Anniversary Of Her Death; NASA Chief On Saturday's New Artemis Moon Launch Attempt. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 31, 2022 - 17:00   ET



STACY BRADY, SCIENCE TEACHER, CASA GRANDE UNION HIGH SCHOOL: So while districts like Castle grand are trying to get creative to fill those gaps, it's getting harder to avoid packing students into massive classrooms like these. Kasie.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Dave Cohen (ph), thanks very much for that report.

And I'm Kasie Hunt in for Jake Tapper. Thank you so much for being with us this afternoon. Don't go anywhere. Our coverage continues now with THE SITUATION ROOM.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Happening now, we're standing by for Trump attorneys to respond to a bombshell finally from the U.S. Justice Department. Prosecutors are accusing the Trump team of trying to obstruct their investigation, saying they likely concealed and remove documents at Mar-a-Lago.

And in Jackson, Mississippi, a third straight day of misery there, the water supply and prices tonight as emergency distribution measures struggled to reach the city's 150,000 residents. I'm going to get an update from a key FEMA official this hour you won't want to miss.

And we're also following a major milestone in the COVID pandemic. The FDA has just authorized the first updated booster vaccine targeting the Omicron variants. Americans could get the new shots as soon as Friday.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Pamela Brown and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Let's get straight to the latest developments in the Mar-a-Lago investigation, the Trump legal team under deadline to respond to last night's explosive new filing from prosecutors. I'm told by source familiar that they are expected to meet that deadline.

I want to bring in our Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez. He has been on the story around the clock, shall we say, Evan? Trump's attorneys have until 8:00 p.m. to file their response. The Justice Department is accusing the Trump team of trying to obstruct an investigation and they're using a photo to help make their case.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Pamela. That photo certainly was a bombshell. What it does is it shows the number of documents that were clearly marked as classified. You can see on some of those documents, including the one right up in front, you can see clear markings that indicate they have sensitive information about human confidential intelligence sources, some of the most closely guarded secrets in the U.S. government.

And this is all, obviously, they found more than 100 documents, 100 clearly classified documents that were found in 13 boxes during the search in August 8. This is after a June meeting during which a Trump attorney certified that there were no more classified documents, no more documents with classification markings to be found on the former president's property. This is why one of the biggest things you see emerging from this document last night is this allegation that what the former president and his legal team were doing were obstructing this investigation.

I'll read you just a part of what the Justice Department said in this filing. It says that "The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the storage room, that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government's investigation." That's an explosive charge that they're making against the Trump team saying that documents were removed from the storage room where they were allegedly were being held and where they were told to make sure that documents were being kept.

There's another part of this filing where the FBI says that, you know, despite the fact that they went there in June and removed about 38 classified documents, they found additional ones. Here's what they say, "That the F dot the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as a diligent search that the former president's counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious questions that the representations made in the June 3 certification and cast doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter."

Clearly what the Justice Department is saying, Pamela, is that the president's legal team were not being honest about exactly what was to be found there. And this idea that they've been very cooperative is not true.

BROWN: Yes, I mean, finding more than 100 classified documents even after that subpoena had been issued months earlier. A lot to discuss here. Evan Perez, stay with us. I also want to bring in our Senior Political Correspondent Abby Phillips, CNN Counterterrorism Analyst Phil Mudd and the State Attorney for Palm Beach County, Florida Dave Aronberg.

All right, Dave, I want to start with you because this filling is incredibly revealing, right? DOJ went further than it really had to go and it goes point by point correcting the record on what it says are Trump's meritless accusations and inaccurate narrative. Just how comprehensively does DOJ refute Trump's claims?

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: Very comprehensively, Pamela. This is yet another self-inflicted wound by Trump's legal team. I mean Trump could have kept that damaging affidavit sealed but he went publicly and said, hey, let's be transparent and then his lawyer said nothing in court and then it came out.


Now you have this motion for a special master that opened the gates for the DOJ to respond with a 36 page missile right into the heart of Trump Tower. I mean, you've got this response that decimates Trump's claims that his team was fully cooperative the whole time. Actually, it lays out a case of obstruction.

And obstruction here is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. It's the big whammy here. The things that have already been said about the fact that the lawyers for Trump misled the Department of Justice, saying they returned all the classified information, refusing to allow the people to review the boxes, Trump's lawyers wouldn't allow the feds to look into the boxes for documents.

So, this is really damaging stuff. And again, it's an unforced error. And the biggest person who's at risk here is Christina Bobb, Trump's lawyer, I suggest that she looks into hiring her own criminal defense lawyer because she's the one who signed that misleading letter.

BROWN: Yes. And in your view, how concerning is that for her? I mean, how concerned should she be for legal exposure here?

ARONBERG: You know, it's never a good idea when you're a lawyer and some other lawyer hands you a letter that the other lawyer draft in that you sign it. That's what happened here. Evan Corcoran, Trump's other lawyer drafted this letter, but he wouldn't sign it himself. So he had Christina Bobb sign that, she did. And now she's on the hook for potential obstruction charges.

This isn't good. I mean, the penalty for obstruction here is up to 20 years in prison. That's twice the penalty as the espionage statute. So, yes, she's in some trouble. At the very least, she's a witness here, so she needs her own lawyer.

BROWN: So Phil, bringing you in here from a national security perspective, right, and all the implications on that front, I want to put up this photo on the screen. As someone --


BROWN: -- who worked at the CIA and FBI, how alarming is this? MUDD: Well, let me give you a book end, when we started this and I was speaking with you, Pam, I got this wrong, I downplayed this because I assumed when the government was talking about classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, this was an oversight. Maybe some confidential stuff, maybe even some secret stuff was wrapped up in the haste to close down the Trump White House. And I'm having my head spin, especially at that photo last night.

Let me give you two categories of stuff that is at the opposite end of secrecy from just confidential and secret. The two categories are you'll see acronyms there like TSS CI, that typically is going to refer to intercepted communications, which is one of the highest classifications in the U.S. government. Because if it's released, the other government is immediately -- the government you're targeting is immediately going to realize this is where they're listening to us, let's shut it down.

The other is Evan has said repeatedly is called H.S., human sources, that's an informant in a place like let's say North Korea or Iran or where if that human report gets out, that government is going to find that person and most likely kill. So you go from what I initially thought confidential, and let's get over it, to some of the most sensitive stuff the U.S. government gets, that's what you're seeing on the ground there, Pam.

BROWN: And Abby, on that note, some of these documents, three were in the drawer of a desk in the former president's office. So, turning into these personal details connecting Trump himself to the mishandling that we're learning from this filing, what stands out to you?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the detail about the office drawer is really important in a lot of ways, because, first of all, that's a place that documents would be if Trump himself put them there. That's the first thing.

It also seems to suggest that it would have been in a place where Trump was regularly and would have seen them on a regular basis. And if you look at that photo that you were just talking to Phil about, it's not -- it's obvious, it's very clear that these are classified documents. It's not easy to overlook these documents because they're labeled by color, they're labeled on their cover sheets, in bright letters and large letters, what they are.

And so, it seems to indicate one big question about all of this, which is, you know, the oversight alibi of it all, did Trump just not know that maybe he had put the documents in the box with his time magazine cover? I think the answer to that question, at least in part, is no, that he was probably dealing with some of these documents on a regular basis or at least seeing them on a regular basis because they were located in a place that he would have put them and that he would have access them on a regular basis. And that's a really troubling set of facts for this whole situation because it seems to indicate that even while it's -- you know, the government spent months trying to get these documents back, Trump knew he had them and he knew he wasn't giving them back. BROWN: And a Trump spokesman is arguing, Evan, that this finally has nothing to do with crimes, that the former president did nothing wrong and he accuses the FBI of staging a photo op. What does that say about how the Trump team may respond tonight?


PEREZ: What it appears is a continuation of what they've been doing. Essentially what they're doing is, if they're talking past what the Justice Department is alleging they're not confronting it, they're essentially raising a totally different set of claims with the idea that maybe they'll get a judge to listen to those claims and ignore these very serious allegations that the Justice Department is making.

Look, the former president has some valuable things here, right? I mean, he could argue that this -- that the search was unreasonable, that it was overly broad.

But one of the things that's interesting to me, Pamela, is if you look at the subpoena that was served in May, it is served, it is directed to the former president himself. And so he's on the hook for this. He is responsible for turning over all of these documents that the grand jury subpoena says he is required to turn over. And these are documents that -- you know, they have classification markings and the subpoena lists the specific markings that they're asking for. So, he didn't turn them over, therefore, it's a violation.

BROWN: All right. Thank you all so much. Really important context for this unfolding story. We'll wait for that filing deadline, again, tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

And coming up, we're going to get an update on the Jackson Mississippi water crisis from a key FEMA official, as 150,000 residents suffer for a third straight day. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BROWN: Tonight, 150,000 people in Jackson, Mississippi are still without a safe water supply, the third straight day of a growing crisis. CNN's Ryan Young is on the scene for us in Jackson. So, how bad is it there today, Ryan?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, these stories really stick with you. It's still 91 degrees here. It's so very hot. People have been waiting in line for hours to get this water.

You see the distribution happening right behind us, it just started about three minutes ago. The first person in line, Ms. Green (ph), she had been here since 1:00 local time. And they started giving out the water around 4:00. That's how desperate people are.

Each one of these cars is going to get two of these right here. So they'll leave here with 48 bottles of water. But you understand how desperate this need is when they're willing to sit and wait. Look back this direction, we've been able to track back this line for almost a mile and a half. Now there has been some good news and update in the last half hour or so, the mayor saying that a new pump has been installed. In fact, we have a picture from the governor's office of that new pump that was installed sometime today. That will start providing some of the water to this desperately needed area in terms of just getting some of that pressure back into some of these houses.

We watched a woman across the street actually pour out brown water from inside her home. Take a look at this picture that someone shared with us and showed us what the bathtub looks like inside their home. This is America, this is brown water inside their home. And that's something they had to bathe their children to.

So people are upset, they're having to brush their teeth with this bottled water. The mayor gave his update less than an hour ago.


MAYOR CHOKWE LUMUMBA, JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: We were at 80 psi, but by mid-morning we were back down to 40 psi. The new pump and O.B. Curtis is in and it is pumping. So we are grateful for that addition to the treatment process. We are expecting pressure to start increasing by this evening.


YOUNG: Pamela, this is our seniors, this is our people who are just standing in line. They're putting the cars trying to open the windows to get some of the heat out of there. They just want this water.

And in fact, at this site, they had to open this area around here just to have the cards turned around to be able to get this water. You understand their frustration right now. It's with the governor, it's with the mayor, but people understand this has been a long term problem. They've been boiling their water here for almost three months.

So as people come up to us and asked us when it's going to stop, they also hope the Biden administration hears them. They want some more of that infrastructure money to start fixing things around the city. But you can understand, with this heat, with this pressure of no water and schools closed, you can understand why they're so upset.

BROWN: No, absolutely. They have every reason to be this upset. CNN's Ryan Young, thank you for bringing us some reality on the ground there in Jackson, Mississippi.

And let's get more on the response to the Mississippi water crisis from FEMA Regional Administrator, Gracia Szczech. Thank you for coming on the show.

So, first off, can you tell us exactly what FEMA is doing on the ground right now to help these residents of Jackson during this water crisis?

GRACIA SZCZECH, FEMA REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR: And thank you, Pamela, and good evening.

So last night, as you know, President Biden approved the governor's request for an emergency declaration. And that declaration authorizes the reimbursement for emergency protective measures such as temporary repairs that, as you heard, the pump that they brought in. We can reimburse that. And also for water distribution, for setting up those sites for the replenishing reimbursing the water that is going to those sites. And that is at a 75 percent federal funding for a period of 90 days.

And the local governments within Hinds County which includes the city of Jackson are eligible to apply for that assistance. But also FEMA is authorized to sign missions to other federal agencies based on Mississippi's requests when the state and local governments may not be able to contract for the work. And we have a real opportunity with this declaration to provide that technical assistance to help the city and state find solutions.

So currently, we are deploying people on the ground, you know, into Jackson. We've had a liaison officer at the state emergency operations center up in Pearl, Mississippi. And then we -- federal coordinating officer should be on the ground any moment now can help and coordinate those recovery efforts.


BROWN: Gracia Szczech, thank you.

Up next, President Biden kicks off his midterm campaign. Could the fallout over classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, give him a political opening?



BROWN: Well, the White House today said President Biden quote, "is not going to shy away" from criticizing lawmakers he thinks are guilty of dangerous rhetoric. This after he rebuked pro Trump Republicans yesterday for attacking the FBI, calling those attacks sickening.

CNN White House Correspondent MJ Lee joins us live.

MJ, does the presidency a political opening year?

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, if you consider the fact that tomorrow the President is going to be delivering not just any prime time speech but a speech that the White House says we'll be on the theme of a democracy and the continued battle for the soul of the nation, which of course, was a key pillar of his 2020 campaign, yes, it is absolutely clear that the White House and President Biden they do see a political opening here. And that is to cast midterms as not just a choice between Democrats and Republicans but against Trump Republicans, MAGA GOP, extremists and anti-democratic actors.

And I think we got a pretty forceful preview yesterday when the President was again in Pennsylvania when he used the issue of law enforcement to again paint the GOP as simply unacceptable. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The idea you turn on the television and see senior senators and congressmen saying, if such and such happens, there'll be blood in the street. Where the hell are we?

There's no place in this country, no place for endangering the lives of law enforcement.


LEE: And ahead of the President's speech tomorrow, I did just ask White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, whether the President believes that some of these threats to democracy that he saw several years ago and that prompted him to run for president in the first place, whether he believes those are still at large or whether he sees progress, and what Jean-Pierre told me was it's not stopping, it is continuing. So that just gives you a little sense of the kind of tone that we will, again, probably hear from the President tomorrow.

I will of course note, too, that tomorrow is going to mark the second of three visits to the state of Pennsylvania for the President in the course of a week or so. So just gives you a sense of how much the political calendar and those dynamics are ramping up, Pam.

BROWN: Certainly is. MJ Lee at the White House, thank you.

Joining us now to discuss is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island. He served as an impeachment manager for the second impeachment of Donald Trump. And he's the author of the new book "House on Fire."

Congressman, the White House has repeatedly assured Americans that President Biden is steering clear of this DOJ investigation. So, I'm wondering what you think, is the President undermining that by using this as a political talking points?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I don't think the President is using it as a political talking point. I think the President has made it very clear that the Department of Justice will operate as an independent agency of the federal government, unlike his predecessor who saw it as his own kind of political -- his own law firm and allow them to follow the law and the evidence and make judgments consistent with their responsibility to uphold the law.

But what the President is saying that -- we now have Republicans who are saying if the former president is held accountable under our law and we enforce the rule of law, and we've said for so long from the founding days of this country, no one is above the law, and if in fact, the former president is held accountable, that there's really violence in the streets, and that is terrible to hear from elected officials. That is classic authoritarian language, that there will be violence to achieve a political objective. Donald Trump is not above the law. And if he violated the law, he like every other citizen in this country must be held accountable.

Merrick Garland has made it very clear he's going to make judgments based on the evidence and the law. And we all expect him to do that. But we expect our colleagues to support the rule of law and support the men and women in law enforcement. And attacks have already begun against the FBI because Republicans are saying things like defund the FBI or the FBI planted evidence, all nonsense, but it is stirring up violence and rage in the same way they stirred up violence and rage on January 6 that led to the death of police officers, the maiming of other police officers and the brutal attack on our Capitol in an effort for Donald Trump to stay in office, even though he lost the presidential election.

BROWN: When you say --

CICILLINE: So this is deadly serious.

BROWN: -- stirring violence, what do you mean?

CICILLINE: Well, they're saying things like the -- Senator Graham said, if Donald Trump is charged, there'll be blood in the streets. That's a terrible thing to say.

We want everyone in this country to have confidence in the rule of law, to understand no one is above the law. Donald Trump broke the law. He like everyone else must be held accountable.

BROWN: Right. I just want to be clear that --

CICILLINE: And people who have leadership position should be not stoking or encouraging or suggesting that it will be OK if people respond that way, they should condemn it. These are the same folks who still haven't condemned the violence of January 6. Some of them have even called it a tourist visit. So this is a real problem in the Republican Party.


You know, while we're busy delivering to the American people on the important priorities, they are defending an authoritarian lawless former president who continues to think that rules don't apply to him, that he can do anything he wants including steal classified documents, take them home, and present a real danger to the national security of the the United States and the men and women who serve in the intelligence community who collect evidence to keep us safe. It's an outrage, and everyone should be condemning it. And Donald Trump should be held fully accountable for what he's done.

BROWN: And we should know not every Republican has come out to defend him. But certainly, there have been what --

CICILLINE: No, of course.

BROWN: -- that have come out to his defense trying to keep the attention on the Justice Department. And the Justice Department for its part is essentially defending itself and what it is done in this explosive filing that was made late last night. The former President Trump presented a, quote, inaccurate narrative about the FBI search, and that there was likely an effort to obstruct the investigation. What do you think about this? I mean, how serious are the implications of this both for the rule of law and for national security?

CICILLINE: Well, they're deadly serious. Look, the president -- former president was in possession of 33 additional boxes of evidence. That where a judge found probable cause to issue a warrant for the seizure of that evidence. The president of the United States claimed that he had returned all of the classified materials, that was a lie. He was still in possession of a considerable amount of classified and top- secret material.

And in the pleading stage, Department of Justice said there's reasonable cause to believe if those documents were disclosed, it could have endangered the national security of the United States, and they were not secure. He had no right to take them. That was a violation of law. He didn't secure them. That's another violation of a different law. And then he refused to produce them and return them when demanded to be done so by the appropriate authority.

So this is deadly serious. This is a former president, who is by his conduct, potentially endangering the national security of the United States. We obviously need to let all the facts come out. But if you look at the filing today, by the Department of Justice, it completely debunks the claim that oh, the Trump lawyers were fully cooperated. That is not true. They were resisting, and obstructing and trying to prevent the United States from getting back those documents which belong to the people of the United States. They don't belong to Donald Trump.

And they're necessary to secure them to protect the national security. And people collect intelligence that keeps Americans safe here and around the world. And so, this is deadly serious. I encourage people to read that filing today. And I think everyone should be alarmed that again, this former President doesn't think the rules apply to him. It's why I wrote my book, "House on Fire" to alert everyone that protecting our democracy has to be the priority in this midterm election.

We have one party that has become the party of chaos, and corruption and confusion, and QAnon and Marjorie Taylor Greene and insurrection and the big lie and protecting this former president at all costs. We have another party that's delivering for the American people, the Democrats. But this election is about whether we're going to live in a democracy or not.

BROWN: All right, Democratic Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island, thanks for coming on the show.

CICILLINE: Thank you.

BROWN: And just ahead for you tonight, updated COVID-19 booster vaccines targeting Omicron variants, could be available in the U.S. as soon as Friday. We're going to get the latest from our Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Plus, Serena Williams in the spotlight tonight and what could be the final singles match of her legendary tennis career.



BROWN: Well tomorrow, the CDC's vaccine advisory group is scheduled to vote on authorizing an updated COVID-19 vaccine booster that targets Omicron variants of the virus. The boosters from Pfizer and Moderna were approved by the FDA today.

So let's get some details in our CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Hi, good to see you, Sanjay.


BROWN: So the first question we're all kind of wondering here is who should get this updated booster? How long should people wait between a previous booster dose or COVID infection and this updated shot?

GUPTA: Well, so the first part of the question is, you know, this is now going to be sort of a serving two purposes. It's a bivalent vaccine, so it's going to be in part. The original vaccine plus part of the vaccine targeting these new variants BA.5 in particular. So that's what's new here.

It's also going to be available to people under the age of 50. You remember, these boosters are really approved for authorized for people over the age of 50 before. So for the Pfizer one, anyone over the age of 12, for Moderna, anyone over the age of 18. And it's should have been at least two months since your previous shot. If it's too close to your previous shot, you may not get the same effectiveness by getting the booster to close or you may have a higher risk of actually developing something known as myocarditis and inflammation of the heart muscle.

So at least two months but now younger age groups potentially eligible for this. We'll see what the CDC says about this tomorrow. There's going to be another vote as you know, Pamela, authorization from the FDA, recommendation from the CDC. That vote takes place at 4:30 tomorrow.

BROWN: So even though, younger people can get this shot, 12 and up, you know, should they -- if you're young and you're healthy and you don't have a comorbidities, should you get this booster shot in your view?

GUPTA: Well, this is one of those things where it does obviously offer more protection. You know, it's -- we will see what the overall level of protection is by age groups. But we do know that, you know, going into the fall, one of the concerns is that there'll be even more viral spread.

[17:40:08] We also know with BA.5, this variant that we're talking about, it does tend to cause more sort of upper airway, you know, issues, which can be more problematic for young people. I think if you've had vaccines, if you get in the primary series, the good news is you're still very well protected from severe disease. But to get additional protection, potentially, this booster again with the specificity towards this variant BA.5, could offer even more benefit. That's the thinking here.

So yes, I think, you know, people of that age group who've not had that protection, especially if it's been several months since you received a shot, there's a good chance the antibodies that you had have waned. So that's the real benefit here.

BROWN: Several months that you've had a shot, what about infection though? I just want to be clear on that.


BROWN: And a lot of people who've recently been infected, including myself for the second time.

GUPTA: Yes, I think, so with either the infection or the vaccine, what we know is that you can get protection from either, but also with either overtime, the benefit can sort of wane, the antibody sort of wane. So exactly what period of time that occurs. It's a little bit hard to say. But we also know that BA.5, this variant that is now the predominant variant, for example, if you had COVID, from one of the earlier variants like BA.1, it's probably not offering you as much protection against this. It's different enough where that protection is not going to be as good.

So if it's been a few months, since either you've had the vaccine or you've had an infection, it's probably a good idea to go ahead and reup those antibodies.

BROWN: All right. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, such helpful information. Thanks so much.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

BROWN: Well, Serena Williams is back on the court at the U.S. Open tonight in her second round, as fans follow what may be the final tournament of her iconic tennis career. CNN's Sports Correspondent Carolyn Manno is working the story for us. So Carolyn, how tough is this match tonight?

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, it's going to be a tougher test than Monday night, that's for sure. I mean, she's facing an experience two seed in Anett Kontaveit, who when is in form, return serve better than most players in the game. There's been some question marks around how vulnerable she could potentially be that she might not be in top form. But for Serena Williams, this always comes down to her serve and managing the moment.

That was the case on Monday night when the crowd was overwhelming here. And it's going to be the case again tonight. When she's serving well, it calms her down. And she's able to really dictate what she does on the court. And, you know, that's going to be the key for her, it can make life very, very difficult for her opponent, when she gets into that rhythm because her serve is so hard to read.

But I fully expect the crowd to be in her favor again. This is her home slam. And so if she comes out ready to go and finds a little bit of weakness in Anett Kontaveit, this could be a magical run that continues into the rest of the week.

BROWN: Yes. And she really is getting quite a sendoff. Assuming this is her last tournament, what she's very vague about, but tell us more about that, the kind of reception she's been getting from fans and the crowd.

MANNO: Well, this is the toughest ticket in town, I can tell you that. I mean, it is just impossible to get in here. More than 30,000 people, you know, at Arthur Ashe around the stadium, just kind of waiting to get a glimpse of her. The practice courts has been packed. You know, close to 2 million people, Pamela, watch this match on TV Monday night, that's quadruple the rating at the same time slot last year.

So the pressure is immense. And even though Monday night felt more like a boxing match than a tennis match, I think Anett Kontaveit might garner a little more respect once this gets underway. I think that it'll feel a little bit more like a tennis match because of the quality of the opponent. But it's still going to be an experience very cultivated around making her feel comfortable.

The crowd is going to ride that wave with her. They're going to be so loud screaming for her. We love you, Serena. You're the goat Serena. You know in between points, in between game. And then when she needs them to be quiet, I imagine that they'll do that as well. I mean, on Monday night, you could hear a pin drop when she was serving and then the crowd just went crazy every time she win a point.

So I imagine that kind of atmosphere again here. And if she does win tonight, I'm told by her coach that she will play doubles as well tomorrow. So we're looking at potentially a very busy week for her heading towards the end of the week if she can get it done tonight.

BROWN: All right. She's going to be surrounded by love and adoration tonight. That's for sure.

CNN's Carolyn Manno, thank you so much.

Well, today marks 25 years since the world was shocked by the death of Princess Diana in a car accident in Paris. She was just 36 years old and known as the people's princess for her compassion.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Jim Bittermann covered that story for us then, and he joins us now. And Jim, you were there. You were in Paris 25 years ago, reporting on the tragic news of Diana's death. How is she being remembered today?

[17:45:00] JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think tonight, we were certainly seeing a lot of tourists around here but this evening is eerily similar to what it was like 25 years ago here. There weren't any tourists around, of course, but they were all up and down the tunnel entrance here which goes on to the tunnel that goes under this square.

Journalists lined up taking photographs, trying to get a picture of the bashed-up Mercedes that had run into the 13th pillar of the armored tunnel. And the -- for us, the journalists, it was almost impossible to get information from the police. They knew who was in the car, they realized right away that Princess Diana was far above their pay grades. And so they clammed up.

And then we had to wait until they had gotten the ministers involved. I mean, this was the end of August, a lot of the ministers and whatnot were outside of Paris. So getting the government ministers involved, they had a tough the British before they released any information. So the information flow was next to impossible.

But we could see information being extracted from the paparazzi who were following Diana's car, and some people said contributed to the crash. In fact, they were being questioned by police. They were never in the end legally blamed for contributing to the crash. But they certainly had some responsibility there because they had chased the car through the tunnel.

And for me, the thing that was sort of striking was the next day they kept the tunnel close to traffic. And we can get on with the camera as people go down and laying flowers we're not -- and we got down there and I could see on the pavement. I could see the chalk marks that police had circled the skid marks or the Mercedes, and the skid marks were very faint, and were separated by some distance, indicating to me that as his car went down the tunnel, it was literally flying with very little traction to be had.

They estimated the speeds of a car anywhere between 45, 50, 65 miles an hour and more maybe even higher than that. And of course, in the end, it turned out to be after two lengthy investigations and cost millions of dollars both in the U.K. and in France, it turned out that it was just a mundane accident caused by a drunken driver who -- and the Princess Diana have not been wearing her seatbelt. But an evening, quite a bit like this one, Pamela.

BROWN: Just remember the overwhelming sadness I felt 25 years ago we learned she passed. CNN's Jim Bittermann, thank you.

Coming up for you, is NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission finally ready for launch this weekend? I'm going to ask NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, what are the agency has been able to fix that engine issue plaguing its next generation rocket.


[17:52:08] BROWN: This Saturday, NASA will once again try to launch its next generation moon rocket, a crucial first step and the mission to return Americans to the lunar surface for the first time in 50 years. For more on that, I'm going to bring in NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. Great to have you on the show.

All right, so let's get that update on where things stand with the Artemis rocket tonight. Has the launch team been able to address the engine issue that prevented this rocket from lifting off on Monday?

BILL NELSON, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: They're pretty sure that it is a faulty sensor. All the other indicators are that it's a go. And the only thing at this point that would hold us back is the weather. Because August in Florida, you never know when that rain storm is going to pop out.

BROWN: So on that note, then, as we know earlier this week, NASA said there was a nonzero chance that it would be able to launch on Friday at that point. How confident are you that this launch will be a go on Saturday?

NELSON: It's test flight, but we don't fly until it's safe and it's ready. And all the systems are go. And let me point out that this test flight is stressing and testing this vehicle before we ever will put humans on top of it. And that's the purpose of the test flight.

Main objective of the test flight is that the heat shields got to work, because it's coming in hot and fast. It'd coming in at 32 mark which is 32 times the speed of sound about 25,000 miles an hour. And it's coming in so hot, Pamela. It's going to have to dip down into the Earth's atmosphere a couple of 100,000 feet and then pull up to bleed off that speed down to about 23 mark and then it can come on in. And so this is a test flight. But that's what you do before you put humans on the top of a rocket like this.

BROWN: Absolutely, makes total sense. A lot is at stake, though, for this launch to happen by early next week. Because our understanding is if it doesn't, it would have to be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for retesting, right? I mean, how much would that delay this program, or how much pressure do you feel to get this launch happening by early next week?

NELSON: Well, I'm telling everybody, no pressure. We launch when it's ready. If we have to roll back and then launch in early October, so be it. But this launch team is just incredible. You know, I stay out of this.


These are all professionals that know exactly what they're doing. You ought to see the complicated launch center where all of the data is on display headed. By the way, the launch director is a woman. And it is just an incredible team. Once it clears the launch tower, then Houston takes over, on the flight.

And it will get up with a second stage, we'll put it on the trajectory going to the moon. The second stage will drop off. And then it's Artemis. And it's lunar modules, support module that is a European support module, providing all of the systems, the oxygen and so forth for the actual capsule, which is the spacecraft called Orion.

And by the way, I'll let you in on a secret.


NELSON: You know the mascot is Snoopy.


NELSON: Snoopy in his astronaut suit will be the zero-g indicator. And so the camera inside the spacecraft, you will see Snoopy floating there in front of the camera showing you the zero-g.

BROWN: Breaking news right there.

NELSON: Snoopy is always there.

BROWN: All right, thanks for that little tidbit. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, we appreciate it.

NELSON: Thanks, Pamela.

BROWN: And coming up, we're waiting for the Trump team's response to the bombshell Justice Department accusation that has been trying to obstruct the Mar-a-Lago investigation. New details up next.