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Special Master Hearing Ends With No Ruling From Judge; Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) Is Interviewed About Classified Documents Seized In Mar-a-Lago, Special Master; Trump Attorney Compares Classified Docs To "Overdue Library Book"; Serena Williams Advances To 3rd Round At U.S. Open In Thrilling Win; Jackson Suffering From Fourth Straight Day Of Water Crisis; Americans Could Get Updated COVID-19 Boosters As Soon As Tomorrow If CDC Panel Greenlights Vaccine Tweak; U.N. Inspectors Make High-Stakes Visit To Ukrainian Nuclear Plant. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 01, 2022 - 17:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Yes she is and she takes the court again tonight with her sister Venus Williams who is 42 years old herself. They're among a very elite club of athletes over 40 who played at the top of their game. And as Serena goes for her 24th Career Grand Slam, she is also turning 41 later this month. What an icon.

I'm Kaitlan Collins in for Jake Tapper. Thank you so much for joining me today. And our coverage continues right now in THE SITUATION ROOM.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Happening now, the courtroom showdown over Donald Trump's request for a special master. And the Mar-a-Lago investigation has just concluded without a decision from the judge. Trump attorneys are making their case comparing his retention of classified documents to a, quote, "overdue library book."

Also tonight, President Biden is heading to Philadelphia for a primetime address on threats to American democracy and what the White House is calling a battle for the soul of the nation. This hour, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is already in Pennsylvania and set to make his own remarks slamming President Biden or calling some Americans semi fascist.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Pamela Brown and you're in the Situation Room.

Our top story tonight, a hearing on former President Trump's request for a special master has just concluded without a ruling. CNN Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez is tracking the Mar-a-Lago investigation for us.

So, Evan, both sides were battling it out in court today, but as of tonight, no decision from that judge. Give us the latest.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Pamela. Judge Aileen Cannon says that she's not ruling today, not immediately, at least. But she seems inclined to grant former President Trump's request for a special master, a third party to review some of the documents that the Justice Department has in his hands as a result of this FBI search of the former president's home.

One of the things that happened today was during the arguments in court, Jim Trusty, one of the former president's lawyers, he compared the dispute over these classified documents that were taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. He compared it to a dispute over a -- overdue library book. Of course, you can look at the pictures there of those classified documents. The Justice Department says that there are over 300 different documents that were marked classified that were been -- that had been recovered from Mar-a-Lago beginning in January and taken back to the National Archives.

At this point, the judge says that she is inclined to perhaps have the intelligence community be able to do its assessments, its damage assessment of those documents to see whether or not there's any sources and methods that may have been harmed as a result of the documents being held in that unsecure location. She also said that if she grants this request for a special master, she may temporarily not allow the Justice Department prosecutors from being able to access those documents. So that is something that obviously the Justice Department would try to appeal perhaps to another judge. Pamela.

BROWN: And the Trump team is also arguing, Evan, that executive privilege justifies the need for a special master. What exactly are they claiming?

PEREZ: Well, they're claiming that because this is not such settled law, that this is something that the judge should consider. And she seems inclined at least right now, the Justice Department was saying, because the Trump is no longer president, he really does not have this claim to assert executive privilege on documents for the sitting president and his executive, you know, officers, including the Justice Department. She's seems to be saying, what's the harm in having someone, a third party, adjudicate those issues, Pamela? The Justice Department said that if she does grant that they want to make sure that they're able to appeal that issue to a higher court.

BROWN: All right, Evan Perez, standby. I also want to bring in CNN Senior Legal Analyst, Preet Bharara, and CNN Legal Analyst, Jennifer Rodgers.

So, Preet, this is now in the hands of Judge Cannon. What does it say that this hearing ended without a ruling? Should we read into that?

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: No, I don't think so. And one must be careful about reading into the comments that a judge or a panel of judges makes in connection with the proceeding. Often they're asking questions to probe the arguments of either side. We have seen judges change their minds or issue rulings that are not completely aligned with the way they seem to have been thinking about the case because they'll have a chance to reflect to deliberate, talk with their law clerks. Once you put pen to paper sometimes, you know, that focuses the issue a little bit.

And by the way, I think this whole issue of the special master, it's not unimportant, but it's not really central to the case here. What's central to the case ultimately is on the question of whether or not President Trump violated law have to do with things other than the special master and whether or not one gets imposed. It may lead to some delay, but it's not -- I don't think it's going to change the ultimate trajectory of the case whether it's towards indictment or not.


BROWN: It's interesting, though, Jennifer, because Trump's attorneys today in its filing and in court seem to be trying to keep the focus just on the presidential record deck trying to make this claim that, look, this is just a back and forth between the former president and NARA. This is like an overdue library book. They don't want the focus on these potential national security and obstruction violations at seats.

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, they certainly don't. They don't at all. And they keep talking about there's no enforcement mechanism for the Presidential Records Act, which is OK, because that wasn't the basis of the search warrant. They cited -- DOJ cited three criminal statutes, not the Presidential Records Act when it went into Mar-a-Lago to retrieve these documents. So, you know, they want it to seem like a library book.

You know, my favorite line from their response the other night was that this is the -- what happened between the Trump team and the National Archives was the regular give and take when presidents are putting together their presidential libraries or something like that. That's not what we have here. I think DOJ has made that very clear to the judge and to the public in their filings. And of course, ultimately, if they do charge a criminal offense, it will not be an offence based on the Presidential Records Act.

BROWN: Right. And that's why there's no enforcement mechanism with the Presidential Records Act. But Preet, this judge said she'll consider allowing the damage assessments to continue even if she appoints a special master and temporarily blocks DOJ access to these documents. Do you think that would be a reasonable compromise here?

BHARARA: Yes, I mean, look, there are a number of things that are going on here. One that most people are focusing on and I understand why is the potential criminal liability of Donald Trump and the people around him. The other, which is not a criminal issue but an intel assessment, risk assessment issue is separate, they may play into each other and it may be relevant if there was a tremendous damage done to sources and methods and other sensitive information, and that might be relevant in a potential trial.

But whatever happens with respect to criminal liability indictment or no, the intelligence community in the United States government and the commander in chief need to be aware of how much damage there was and how to mitigate that damage. And I think it's completely reasonable to allow that to continue. And it doesn't prejudice -- I don't see how it prejudices Trump in a potential criminal matter in any significant way. BROWN: All right. I want to show a video here, we have video of Trump's attorneys leaving the courthouse today. Chris Kise just recently added to Trump's team, former solicitor general there in Florida involved in GOP politics and Jim Trusty as well. So, Evan, how notable is it that Trump's lawyers never repeated this claim that we had heard previously that these documents had been declassified?

PEREZ: Yes, I mean, they have yet to actually make that assertion in court, they -- as the Justice Department pointed out in their filing the other night, they never actually raised that back in June when they were there, and so they pointed that out. The other thing that they have not really confronted, Pamela, is the allegation from the Justice Department, the prosecutors, that there was -- that there's -- that they have evidence of obstruction. Keep in mind that, you know, there was a subpoena that was served to the former president in May. And they were told to turn over all documents that are marked as classified or have classification markings. They did not do that when they turned over documents in June.

And according to the Justice Department, you see that picture that we keep showing, they found, you know, over 100 documents when they went there in August. So clearly, they did not comply with that subpoena back -- from back in May. And so the question that I think they have yet to confront is, how do they explain that, right? What exactly is their answer to that question? And we'll see whether a judge actually makes them have to answer that question.

BROWN: Right, because we know that there was nothing on those documents indicating that they had been declassified.

PEREZ: Declassified, yes.

BROWN: It is really notable. So, Preet, just how much have we learned this week from the Justice Department? And what does it say about whether we'll ultimately see any charges stemming from this investigation?

BHARARA: I think we've learned a lot. And we learned a lot in part because the Trump team engaged in this, you know, sort of thin gambit for the provision of a special master, which allowed the Justice Department to put in a more expansive, you know, set of facts before the court that otherwise would not have. On the other hand, we've learned very little that's reasonable and sensible and logical of what the defenses are going to be if we go down the road towards indictment.

The thing I was asked last week on the show, if I was disappointed with anything with respect to the affidavit being unsealed? And the thing I was disappointed not to see was confirmation of "New York Times" reporting that there was in fact a written certification by lawyer for the president saying that everything that had been asked for, all documents with classification markings had been turned over. We now know from the government submission this week further to your question, that there was a letter and it was certified.

[17:10:20] And I was waiting to see in submission by the Trump team last night how they would respond and how they would explain away the fact that there was a sworn declaration that everything was returned and it wasn't. You know what they did? They avoided answering the question. They actually have one of the most amazing footnotes I've ever seen in a legal proceeding.

And Jennifer, I'm sure will agree with this, where they say we are not going to now address the factual assertions in 11 pages of the government's brief and they mentioned one example about mischaracterizing a meeting on June 3, they completely ignore the facts, the narrative, the things that are in the record from the government. So we've learned a lot from the government, very little about how Trump is going to reasonably defend against it.

BROWN: Jennifer?

RODGERS: Oh, I agree. I agree.

I mean, and part of the problem is, you know, they really shouldn't be tipping all of their defenses now, but the client, Donald J. Trump, is out there spilling all sorts of stuff all over the place. So, you know, the lawyers, I'm not saying they can do this, but really, they ought to try to get a handle on their client because they want to sit down and figure out their best defenses if and when an indictment comes and provide those in a in a reasonable manner that's persuasive. And they can't do that with Trump all over the place with all these different stories.

PEREZ: Good luck with that.

BROWN: There you go. Good luck with that. All right. Thank you all so much.

And for more on the Mar-a-Lago investigation, let's bring in Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

So, Congressman, what is your reaction to hearing Trump's lawyers compare these highly classified documents to overdue library books?

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): Yes, here's one of the differences. Some of these documents were marked TS SCI, top secret, sensitive compartmented information, that's top secret. What we're taught from the first days of meeting and members of the Select Committee on Intelligence is unauthorized disclosure would cause, quote, "exceptionally grave damage to the national security." So if I didn't return a library book for five years and then found it, gave it to somebody else, nobody's going to get hurt. This is dangerous stuff.

And the fact that it was whether or not the president declassified or not, which I don't believe he did, really matters less than the fact that he has imperiled national security, he has imperiled sources and methods that which keep us safe now and in the future.

BROWN: Considering the unprecedented nature of the search and all of this, frankly, would a special master, an independent arbiter be helpful to bolster public confidence in this investigation as Trump's lawyers argue?

QUIGLEY: I think what it does is help the president delay this process, which is, you know, part one of what he's trying to do throughout. The fact of the matter is the public has to appreciate the fact that this has already been done with the filter team, the taint team, if you will.

Second, is he is no longer the president of United States. If you let presidents -- former presidents exert privilege, you're opening up a whole can of worms and a lot of problems.

And finally, the fact that you know, exerting that there's attorney client privilege, well, obviously, if the issues and there's been probable cause by a magistrate to say so of obstruction, you know, he's not going to have those either. So, the fact of matter is the president of -- the former president imperiled your safety and the people who keep us safe on an ongoing basis. And everything else is kerfuffle trying to camouflage the real problem here.

BROWN: You're saying he's not be able to claim attorney client privilege if there is obstruction charges involving his lawyers? Was that your point?

QUIGLEY: Absolutely. And you know, look, there's three -- there were three counts in which they found, one was espionage, the other one was, you know, how these documents were handled.

BROWN: Right.

QUIGLEY: That has nothing to do with whether these were classified, whether a magistrate will do that. And again, finally, this is redundant. It's been done before by this tank team.

BROWN: All right. Congressman Mike Quigley, thank you.

And coming up --

QUIGLEY: Thank you.

BROWN: -- we are standing by for dueling speeches. President Biden will give a rare primetime address tonight, warning about threats to democracy. But House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is speaking this hour and expected a call on the President to apologize for calling some Americans semi-fascist.



BROWN: A battle for the soul of the nation, that is the theme of the rare primetime speech President Biden is giving tonight, as he's warning about the threat of what he's called MAGA extremism and semi fascism ahead of the midterm elections. CNN Chief National Affairs Correspondent Jeff Zeleny is in Philadelphia for us. So Jeff, what more are you learning about the message the President hopes to convey in tonight's address?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, we are learning that President Biden is going to be delivering what is described as a somber and a grave speech, indeed about the future of democracy. And you can see where he's doing it, behind me here Independence Hall, really the cradle of democracy in Philadelphia. He will use this setting as a place to make the point that he believes, I'm told, that democracy is under assault in the United States. Of course, he's been talking about this for some time, taking aim at the former president, but he's going to escalate his remarks and draw a sharper -- a contrast with Republicans.

Now he's been under some criticism for MAGA Republicans using that phrase, essentially to throw all Republicans into one basket. The White House officials say, no, he's not talking about all Republicans, simply the ones who have followed the suit of the former president. And he's been watching primary elections throughout this season here, watching election deniers be elected for Secretary of State positions, governor positions across the country, and that is one of the things that is driving this speech.


But also of course he is going to be talking about the midterm elections. Sixty-eight days remain before the midterm elections really determined the course of the second half of his first term in office. And it'll be trying to draw a sharp contrast with Republicans, of course, trying to deflect away from any criticism about the economy and inflation to try and point the arrow back at the former president, of course, and Republicans, Pamela.

BROWN: And he's going to be walking a fine line, right? I mean, on one hand raising the alarm about threats to democracy, but also trying to sound optimistic about the future.

ZELENY: Right. And that will be the challenge, of course, trying to sound optimistic about the future of the country, and aid say he will deliver an optimistic tone. But that is not something we've necessarily heard in speeches he's delivered in recent days. He was in Pennsylvania earlier this week talking about the assault weapons ban, but also talking about Republicans and using a very stark language there, but he will strike an optimistic tone. The White House officials are saying and near the end of his speech, trying to really try and, you know, get independence and even Democratic voters back into the fold here. But look, that certainly is one of his challenges.

He's really not wanting to dwell on the former president throughout the course of his presidency, but now with Donald Trump back in the news nearly daily, often hourly, the White House believes this is an opening to, again, draw that contrast. So Pamela, in many ways, it feels like deja vu here in Pennsylvania. A sense that Biden once again is running against Trump. Pamela. BROWN: Yes, that's how the White House is framing it, that the midterms are about Trump as well. CNN's Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is waiting to hear what the President will say. He's about to give his own remarks countering Mr. Biden's recent criticism of some of former President Trump's supporters and from President Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, no less. That is where Kevin McCarthy will be speaking.

CNN Congressional Correspondent Jessica Dean is working that part of the story for us.

So, Jessica, what do we expect to hear from McCarthy tonight?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, we are getting excerpts now from what we expect to hear from him confirming what source told me earlier that he's going to call on President Biden to apologize for calling some Americans fascists. I'll read you part of that excerpt that we're getting. He's expected to say, quote, "When the President speaks tonight at Independence Hall, the first lines out of his mouth should be to apologize for slandering 10s of millions of Americans as fascists."

Again, that's just an excerpt of what we're expecting to hear from House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, who was really here to draw the contrast, he wants to really paint a nice speech by the President as divisive. We expect him to really try to craft that message and say that the President is dividing Americans, not bringing them together. We also know that McCarthy really wants to bring the issues back to what GOP members want to be talking about as they head into the midterms in the fall, things like inflation, crime, issues that they want to be talking about that they hope will allow them to take back control of the House and also the Senate.

And of course, for House -- for GOP leader, Kevin McCarthy, there's a lot in the balance. He certainly has his eye on the speaker's gavel. And depending on how things shake out, that's going to affect his chances.

And also what kind of margin Republicans might have if they take back the House for a long time. It's been expected that they were going to have a pretty massive victory in the fall. And now, it appears that that may not be the case, that it might be a much smaller margin of victory as Democrats have made some progress over the summer. And the abortion issue has really caught a lot of Independence and really fired up a lot of Democrats.

But again, Pamela, what we expect to hear tonight is McCarthy really setting the tone for what's to come in the months ahead as we head to these midterms. Pamela.

BROWN: And both the House leader and the President are in Pennsylvania tonight. That is no coincidence, right?

DEAN: That's right. That's right. That's exactly right. And we're told that McCarthy has been traveling around, he's in 20 states in the last month. I'm told, this is his 21st state. And again, we're right here outside of Scranton, President Biden's hometown. And that message is pretty implicit. Pamela.

BROWN: It certainly is. CNN Jessica Dean, thank you so much.

Well, up next game set match, a stunning win by Serena Williams at last night's match and what could be her last professional tournaments of her legendary career. We're going to take you to the U.S. Open up next. You're in the Situation Room.



BROWN: Tennis legend Serena Williams shocked fans at last night's U.S. Open by upsetting the world's second best player and what could be one of the last professional matches of her career.

CNN's Carolyn Manno is right outside Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. So, I imagine the energy there is palpable, Carolyn.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It has been all week. I mean, she set a new attendance record every time she stepped on the court. And if you want to see her play on Friday in person, it's going to cost you at minimum 500 bucks. I mean, the ticket prices skyrocketed after that win last night.

And when we got here this afternoon, there was a line wrapping around the entrance behind me that lasted, I want to say, a half a mile. I mean, I've been coming to this event for a long time, but I can't remember such a stereo early on in the tournament.

But all that pressure doesn't seem to be affecting her at all, Pamela. I mean, she is embracing this moment. And she's been able to manage the macro story, which is enormous, with the micro story which is putting together these wins. I want to play a little of what she said after last night's win.



SERENA WILLIAMS, 23-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: I don't have anything to prove, I don't have anything to win, and I have absolutely nothing to lose. And honestly I never get to play like this since '98, really.

Literally, I've had an X on my back since '99. So it's kind of fun. And I really enjoy just coming out and enjoying it. And it's been a long time since I've been able to do that.


MANNO: Pamela, that's the key to absolutely everything here. That's why you're seeing her come on the court and serving well. I mean, all of that mental pressure in a career that has spanned three decades and five American presidents. I mean, she has outlasted the likes of Michael Jordan and Tom Brady. And she's in the pantheon of all-time greats, but she's allowing herself to feel the crowd and enjoy that.

And I think that's very freeing for her. That's a very important point of all this. And that's why she's been able to make this run so far. And, you know, she can continue to do that and serve well and move well like we've seen her do. I don't see that ending anytime soon. I don't see that ending in her next match.

BROWN: Yes. And she'll be playing again tonight, right? She will be playing doubles with her sister. What do we expect on that front?

MANNO: Yes, that's right. I mean, you know, these two getting back together, I think just delighted, all tennis fans, and there's also a lot of significance for tennis fans and having the first ever first round doubles match in primetime tonight on Arthur Ashe. We've never seen anything like that before. But that's the effect that the Williams sisters have and have had.

So, you know, this is a winnable match for the two of them. This was Serena's idea to get together and play doubles. Venus told us the other day, she's the boss. She said it. And, you know, I've been talking a lot with Serena's coach over this week. And she said it's very important for her to play both. So as she goes in singles and kind of continues to progress, she is committed right now to also continuing on that doubles path.

Venus has been very mum about what her future holds. A lot of people think that she's contemplating retirement as well that she can very well retire with Serena in doubles at the U.S. Open, which would be really kind of poetic as they came into this sport and not the doors off of this sport together that they would leave together and ride off in the sunset in that way. But they could make a deep run here too.

From what we've seen so far, you never count out the greatest of all time, especially with this mentality that Serena has. And Venus has a little bit of that mentality as well. So it can be very exciting. And that starts tonight.

BROWN: All right, we'll be watching. Carolyn Manno, thank you so much, right outside the U.S. Open there.

And let's bring in Veteran Sports Broadcaster and CNN Contributor Bob Costas. Hi, Bob. So you have covered some of the biggest --


BROWN: -- sporting events of our time. Is Serena Williams run at this U.S. Open going to go down in history?

COSTAS: Well, to some extent, yes. The last image even if she doesn't get to the semifinals, even if she doesn't win it and it seems far- fetched that she would win it, the last images are victorious images, even if she should lose the next time. What she did last night and electrifying that crowd is a final image. Derek Jeter, for example, and that's a team sport, but Derek Jeter was not the great player he had been through most of his career in his final season in 2014. But the last image of him is delivering a bottom of the ninth, walk off dramatic hit at Yankee Stadium. They went to Fenway Park after that, and he had an infield single that was actually his last at bat. But the last image is that one.

So you have those things occasionally, but most careers, even the greatest of them and with something closer to a whimper than a bang. There are exceptions. Michael Jordan in 1998 not only wins the sixth championship and for the sixth time, when the Bulls made the finals, he was the Finals MVP. But he ends it with as dramatic and theatrical play as possible, taking a one-point deficit, turning it into a one- point lead and victory. And that really is the last image for the American public that matters of Michael Jordan. Even though a few years later, he came back and played for the Washington Wizards.

John Elway won two Super Bowls back-to-back and then retired on that. Most of the time, and maybe what you have here with Serena, isn't that she is at a championship peak, but maybe it's more like the Country Music lyric. I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was. And if you can capture one of those moments, that becomes part of what's in the memory bank of fans.

So Serena has plenty of that, she's already won 23 majors. But even if she goes out before the final here, she's left a lasting and appealing final image. Although she leaves the door open just a crack to come back. She won't fully commit that she's done after this.

BROWN: Yes, she says she's been intentionally vague. So we'll have to wait and see. So --


BROWN: -- it was interesting, in her post-match interview last night, she said she's finally able to just enjoy the tournament, feel the love basically, after feeling like she had an X on her back for more than 20 years.


BROWN: You know, big picture, is that often the case that when an athlete simply plays for the love of the game, they're at their best. What did you make of that?


COSTAS: Well it's liberating for her, obviously. It's liberating. She doesn't have to win and she doesn't have all that much to lose. If she lost in the first round, what's anybody going to say? That takes her down a notch in history? Absolutely not.

She had a sometimes controversial career. There were issues swirling around her because of her pioneering status and Venus along with her. And so with all the success on court, which is quantifiable, there were all these other things, which he had to navigate. So there was a lot in front of her, a lot of pressure, athletic pressure and personal pressure.

But now she's triumphed over all of that. The weight of public opinion is so strongly behind her, and statistically, it speaks for itself with the record 23 majors. Now she can just play for the fun of it and the sheer enjoyment of it. And at least in short bursts, you can see flashes of who she was.

BROWN: Certainly can. Bob Costas, thank you so much.

And just ahead --

COSTAS: Thank you, Pamela.

BROWN: -- we're going to go live to Jackson, Mississippi for an update on the city's water crisis now in its fourth straight day with no end in sight. Plus, a panel of CDC advisers is debating whether to give the green light to updated COVID boosters. When will Americans finally be able to get the new vaccines targeting the Omicron variants?



BROWN: Mississippi's capital city is suffering through a fourth straight day of a water supply crisis and officials there are admitting they still don't have a long-term solution to the emergency. Let's go live now to Jackson where CNN National Correspondent Ryan Young is on the scene for us. Ryan, you have been there for days now. Is there any relief in sight for residents of Jackson tonight?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we are seeing some better operational moves today. The National Guard is in place. We're at the fairgrounds here in Jackson. And if you look behind me, you can see the National Guard has set up two lanes, is quite different from the scenes we've been showing you the last few days. Folks are driving in and they're getting out within about 10 minutes of being in line. So no more of the long lines and weighing that we've seen over the last few days where people are waiting for hours.

The other bit of good news here is the mayor and the governor now working together on this situation and a new pumps been installed. So a lot of positive movement in the last 24 hours, Pam.

BROWN: And Ryan, business owners are among those being hit particularly hard by this crisis, right? You've been speaking to some business owners.

YOUNG: Yes, you really have to think about this. And your heart goes out to these people who've held on during COVID and everything that's happened. I mean, they have not always had water in this area. And today, we went to a business, the Iron Horse that is trying to hold on, they have some 90 employees. And as you can imagine, several people are not showing up to eat there because they're worried about the water situation. They said their water is safe, because they're trucking a lot of it in.

Listen to this business manager talk about the expense and going through this day by day.


STAR WINGER, KITCHEN MANAGER, DOWNTOWN DAIQUIRI AND PIZZA: It has been really hectic, frustrating, costly.

ANDY NESENSON, GENERAL MANAGER, THE IRON HORSE GRILL: It certainly had a negative impact on our business. I mean, from guests' confidence that are walking in and trying to, you know, make sure that can you come to Jackson and have a great meal. We're very independent driven, so that we don't have a lot of tourism here. So a lot of the locals are just deciding to stay at home.

And it's a real challenge because many of our employees, we have 90 employees, many of whom are bartenders and servers that rely on tips. And so without guests, they don't have gratuities or tips. And so it's really having a negative impact on them. And so how do you convince these people to hey, look, it's going to be OK. Give us more time. The challenge is this has been going on since July 29th.


YOUNG: Yes, think about that. This has been going on for five weeks. So if you're counting on tips and you're counting on the idea of making some money. And people are canceling some big-time events at restaurants all through Jackson, because they don't want to deal with the water situation.

And one of the things they were really harping on here, it's a lot of the single moms are being impacted because schools close so they can't count on their kids to go to school. So now they're having to stay home and call out. And you understand the frustration when you're working check to check, they are worried about the long-term effects on people in this community in terms of being able to pay rent and bills.

And let's not forget some people are still having to pay a water bill. So you see the cascading effects here. And so many people are worried. They're hoping more aid comes in. Today is a great first step. But this is only one location. So you have to wonder if the greater Jackson area is getting the water they need. Pamela?

BROWN: They certainly do. Really important reporting there that you're bringing to us from the ground there in Jackson, Mississippi. Thank you, Ryan.

And turning now to the COVID pandemic and the updated booster shots many Americans are eagerly awaiting to receive. I want to bring in CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joining us with some important new details. So Sanjay, hi there. CDC vaccine advisers, they are meeting right now to determine whether to recommend these updated boosters. What more can you tell us about what's going on inside that meeting?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the bivalent booster that we've been talking about. So the shots that we've been hearing about thus far up until now have been shots vaccines against that initial strain, the ancestral strain as it's called. In the past, they've talked about having a sec a booster that included a current variant. But this would be the first time that they're actually -- the FDA is now authorized that and this meeting that's happening right now is to determine what the specific recommendation is going to be.

So we know that the shots themselves have already started shipping out to various pharmacies. They probably could be available to people even as soon as tomorrow, but we got to see what the specific recommendation is going to be for who should be getting this.


We think it's going to be people over the age of 12 for Pfizer's shot. People over the age of 18 for Moderna shot. But we also want to get a better understanding of what interval, what time period people should be thinking about getting the shot, as compared to when they may have received their last shot as well. So that's some of the discussion that's happening right now.

BROWN: Is there any reason to wait a month or so before getting this updated shot to just try to like maximize its protection through the winter months?

GUPTA: Yes, that's a really good question. And, you know, I mean, I think that's been part of the discussion today as well. Let me tell you just generally speaking, if you just want to look at the protection overall, with vaccinated versus unvaccinated, that was part of the discussion today. You've seen these numbers, but unvaccinated people have 14 times the risk of dying as compared to people who've had two or more boosters. This isn't people age 50.

If you've been vaccinated, and you've had one booster already, which is a lot of people, you still have three times the risk of dying as compared to people who've had two boosters. The real question I think that you're asking is how long does the protection last from your last shot? And again, that's part of what's being discussed today. But if you look at the different age groups, and you say, OK, I got the shot, four months ago, five months ago, six months ago, what you find is that around four or five months, the effectiveness against what we call symptomatic infection, getting an infection where you have some symptoms at all, does start to go down.

That's a complicated graph there, Pamela --


GUPTA: -- but I can just tell you that at about four or five months, it's about 33 percent roughly of what it was when you first got the shot. So the answer to your question, I think, is really when did you last get a shot? We know that fourth shots were only approved for people who are 50 and older. So if you're someone under that age, younger than that age, you probably be -- would be well within the range now to get this shot. There's really probably not a lot of sense in waiting. Part of the reason they're having this discussion now as opposed to thinking hey, let's wait until October, November is because the modeling suggests if they get boosters into the population now, some 130,000 hospitalizations can be rented and some 10,000 deaths. So that's why they want to act sooner rather than later.

BROWN: Yes, that's not a small number. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you for that.

And coming up, U.N. inspectors brave heavy shelling as they finally pay a visit to Ukraine's troubled nuclear power plant. CNN is there on the ground and we're going to give you an update right after this quick break.



BROWN: In Ukraine tonight, U.N. inspectors are finally inside that embattled nuclear power plant. The top nuclear watchdog at the United Nations says officials were able to access the facility despite heavy shelling. So let's get an update now from CNN Senior International Correspondent Sam Kiley. He's in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine for us. So Sam, what is the head nuclear inspector saying?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very remarkable trip that he conducted. He led the trip since emerged. He's left five inspectors though, still in the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant because he says he wants to establish a permanent presence there whether that is personnel, which he strongly hinted would be or just the CCTV monitoring that is in most other and was in that nuclear power station remains to be seen whether or not they can actually stay there, whether the risks are possible for them because they did face he says shelling a machine gun fire on the way in.

But the nature of the shelling, the nature of the machine gunfire thing is very significant. Let's take a listen to what he said.


RAFAEL GROSSI, IAEA DIRECTOR GENERAL: This morning is what was -- the situation was pretty difficult. But as I said, having come this far, I was not going to stop. And with my courageous team, we moved in. There were moments where fire was was obvious. Heavy machine gun, artillery mortars at two or three times with really very concerning.


KILEY: Now, if he's talking about machine guns and mortars, there are no Ukrainians within mortar or machine gun range of that nuclear power station. So that could only have been Russian troops. If it was artillery, then it could have been either side. So he's adding a bit of grist to the mill there for the Ukrainian position that it's the Russians who are causing the violence around the nuclear power station. We know that they're also using as a firebase. The Russians, of course, flatly deny this. He said that they'd seen damage to the plant there with his own eyes. He didn't point fingers as to who he said was responsible for that. And he also said that he's been able to speak to Ukrainian and Russian experts at the Nuclear Power Station pay tribute to their work.

He's now got to report back to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President and go back to his headquarters to prepare his report. It'd be very interesting to see what he says because he's in this delicate position of needing to negotiate continued presence there to try to deescalate the whole situation. Of course, the Ukrainians are demanding as indeed as much of the rest of the international community, at least the demilitarization of this nuclear power station. Never before in history has a nuclear power station, been in a war zone, let alone literally on the front line. Pamela?

BROWN: Yes. And those Ukrainian workers there have been just working around the clock under just immense pressure. Sam Kiley, thank you very much.


And coming up for you tonight, a judge is now weighing former President Trump's request for a special master in the Mar-a-Lago investigation. Details of the hearing and the arguments Trump's team's lawyers made comparing classified documents to a, quote, overdue library book.


BROWN: Happening now, another day of courtroom drama in the Mar-a-Lago investigation. A hearing over whether to grant Donald Trump's request for a special master as wrapped up without an answer from a federal judge.

Also tonight, we are standing by to hear from the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sets deliver a free bundle this hour the President Biden's primetime speech on growing threats to American democracy.

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.

Well good evening, everyone. You're looking at live pictures we're showing here.