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California COVID Cases Make Biggest One-Day Jump Of 2021; Arkansas Nurse Urges Others To Get Vaccine After Unvaccinated Mom Dies From COVID-19; Interview With Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA); Simone Biles Withdraws From Vault And Uneven Bars Finals; Spectators Watch The Tokyo 2020 Triathlon Relay Despite Ban; Hundreds Of Thousands Protest Mandatory Health Pass In France. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 31, 2021 - 16:00   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Phil Mattingly in Washington. Jim Acosta is off today.

Some sobering numbers just in on the pandemic. John Hopkins University is reporting nearly 194,000 new COVID cases, and 890 new COVID deaths in just the past 24 hours, much higher numbers that we've seen recently really over the course of the last several months, but please keep in mind, these high numbers are due almost entirely, in large part at least, to Florida's weekly reporting, which was put out on Fridays. Important context.

Things in Florida are particularly bad right now, as the rate of new COVID cases continues to increase. It's an evolving situation. The Biden administration has been clear. While they were certainly taken action, they won't return to more lockdowns, but they are taking steps to boost vaccination rates.

The CDC this weekend recommending that once again even vaccinated Americans in viral hotspots should be wearing masks indoor. And this renewed concern was sparked by an alarming new report from the CDC that underscores how the Delta variant leaves the unvaccinated so vulnerable. But it does show vaccines have been literal lifesavers.

The CDC report estimates that vaccines reduce the risks of severe disease or death tenfold or more, meaning effectiveness reaches at least 90 percent. Now the report also shows that vaccinated people can still spread the virus, though to be clear, the unvaccinated are driving most of that spread.

And it is spreading rapidly. One expert saying it travels just like smoke from a cigarette. With just under half the U.S. population fully vaccinated, experts caution there is plenty of room for the situation to get much, much worse.

Now CNN's Paul Vercammen is falling the Delta variant concerns in California.

Paul, the state of California reported more than 10,000 new cases yesterday. That's the biggest one-day jump in new cases this year. What are officials saying is the reason for that jump?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're pointing at what you pointed out, Phil, the Delta variant. 10,000, as you put it, new cases. That means we also had more than 40 deaths. We also have a 6 percent positivity rate now in California. And the hospitalizations are jumping, more than 4,000.

So here I am in front of Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana. This is a medium sized hospital, and almost all of the patients here for COVID reasons, according to the head of the ICU, are unvaccinated. And in fact remarkably they lost an unvaccinated patient earlier today when a 49-year-old woman said the virus is fake. She had been administered oxygen to help her breathing. She just plain walked out. Dr. Thomas (INAUDIBLE) saying that such statements are just not the right thing to do.


DR. THOMAS YADEGAR, DIRECTOR, PROVIDENCE CEDARS-SINAI TARZANA MEDICAL CENTER: There's nothing heroic or patriotic about wearing a mask or not wearing a mask or not getting the vaccine. The only thing that you're doing is you're helping this virus spread, you're helping this virus become stronger and kill more people and cause more death and misery.


VERCAMMEN: And the ICU director saying for those cases that some call breakthrough cases, he calls those expected cases. He says that getting the vaccine just dramatically lessens the effect of the virus. He says it is not much more than just getting mildly sick, whereas these unvaccinated people are winding up in the ICU.

Back to you now, Phil.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, Paul. That's an extremely important context. You look at some of the numbers, we've seen 164 million people vaccinated. CDC saying less than 0.1 percent have been infected, and of those 0.001 percent have been died, .004 percent have been hospitalized. The numbers don't lie, despite what we have seen.

Paul Vercammen, great reporting as always, my friend. Thank you very much.

In Arkansas, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country right now, coronavirus cases are surging, and so are hospitalizations. And every single county in the state is reporting high-level of community transmission. The reality is the virus has the upper hand at the moment. Something we didn't think we are going to be saying just a few months ago. Not just in Arkansas, but nationwide.

And families who have lost a loved one are now urging the rest of the country to get vaccinated while they still can. Kim Maginn was a 63- year-old mother, grandmother, elementary school teacher, from Little Rock.


She died earlier this month after a hard-fought battle with COVID. Her daughters urged her to get vaccinated, but she chose not to. Kim's daughter Rachel Maginn Rosser joins me now.

And Rachel, I just want to start with kind of the obvious. You know, I'm so sorry for your loss. How is your family doing right now?

RACHEL MAGINN ROSSER, LOST MOTHER TO COVID-19: First, thank you for having me. I think that we are slowly letting this set in. It just didn't feel real for a while but it's slowly setting in and we're figuring out our new normal.

MATTINGLY: Yes. It's the tragedy that so many families have had over the course of the last 15 months.

Rachel, you know, it's interesting, you're a nurse. Both you and your sister pleaded with your mom to get vaccinated, but she said no. I think one of the interesting elements here is people kind of talk from a 30,000-foot level, is why are people not getting vaccinated. It's not monolithic, right? There are any number of different reasons why people have decided not to. What was your mom's rationale in this case?

ROSSER: Her main reason was that she said, Rachel, it's already been around for a year. If I was going to get this virus, I probably would have already gotten it, so I'm not going to get the vaccine. She thought that since she hadn't gotten it yet, that she wasn't going to get it.

MATTINGLY: And when your mom found out she had COVID, it was too late for the vaccine. Do you think she would have changed her mind, given what you're saying, if she knew that it was a possibility that she could still get sick?

ROSSER: I think that she may have changed her mind. I told her, even if you get the vaccine you could still get sick. There was one moment when I was visiting her outside her ICU room, and she said, why should the get vaccinated if you can still get this virus? And I just told her pointblank it's because then you're not in the situation that you're in right now, on high-flow oxygen, possibly getting ready to be intubated any day.

You may still get the virus but hopefully you won't end up in the hospital. And that's what we're seeing is that you're not in the hospital on the verge of being intubated and put on a ventilator.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it's the primary takeaway. And it's notable where there's been a lot of information, concerning information over the course of the last several days. Your grandmother, Kim's mom, passed away from COVID last October. Your family has had a visceral experience, personal experience with this virus.

What would you like people to take away, who are watching this right now, from your family's story? ROSSER: I would just encourage people, if there's people in your

family that have not yet been vaccinated and they're old enough, above the age of 12 and older, to get vaccinated. Just keep gently -- keeping that line of communication open and urging them to get vaccinated.

The vaccine is safe, it's free, it's readily available, and this virus, especially this new variant doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter if you're old or you're young or you're healthy or you're not, you could still get it, and still get really, really sick and possibly even die.

MATTINGLY: Have you seen -- you know, one of the interesting things we've seen over the last couple of days is there has been a jump in vaccinations in Arkansas. It almost doubled over the course of the last couple of weeks. And I know you're not the state public health official, but anecdotally, are you seeing people more open to this right now? Do you have any kind of sense of why that might be happening in your state given where it had been in the vaccination numbers?

ROSSER: I do see people being more open to it. I think -- I mean, we've had a lot of media coverage in Arkansas because we had such a low vaccine rate and such a high number of cases. And so I think that that is helping getting the word out. And I know personally from the hospital that I work in right now, I work in Arkansas Children's Northwest, that we've seen an increase in the demand for children to get vaccinated that are of age.

So I think just spreading correct information, instead of false information, and getting the word out there has helped in the last couple of weeks. People are scared because we have a lot of cases right now.

MATTINGLY: Yes. No question about it. And you sharing your story, as tragic as it is, is also a key element of that.

Rachel Rosser, we want to thank you for taking the time and being willing to do it. We're very sorry for your family's loss but are enormously appreciative of you coming on and sharing what your family has been through. Thanks so much.

ROSSER: Thank for you having me.

MATTINGLY: All right. Coming up, stunning notes taken by the third man in a phone conversation between former president Trump and the acting attorney general. They literally spell out Trump's intention to lie about the election and his demand that the Justice Department help him do it.



MATTINGLY: Former president Donald Trump is hitting back against reports he pressured his acting attorney general to declare that the election which Trump lost very fair and square was corrupt. According to newly released handwritten notes of a December phone call between Trump, then acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, and Rosen's deputy, Trump said, quote, "Just say that the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me and the R," Republican, "congressmen."

Today Trump tried to bizarrely claim that the notes proved he was exposing that non-existent fraud. Got it.

I'm joined now by Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar. He's on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attack.

Congressman, we last spoke outside the West Wing of the White House. I want to ask you about that at the very end if we've got some time. But first I want to talk about your reaction to the notes that we saw from the Justice Department official. It's this weird moment where you read that, and you're not really surprised anymore, given everything we've seen over the course of the last several months. And then you think about what it actually says. What was kind of your read on it when you saw it?

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Well, it didn't surprise me. Like you said, Phil, it's not surprising that he would want to cast doubt, the former president, want to cast doubt on an election that he lost by subverting democracy.


I mean, that's exactly what he has done and what he planned to do. And clearly in December, he was having those conversations with that in mind.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Still, it seems like more comes out every single week. I want to turn to the Select Committee because I know one of things that you guys have been trying to figure out, I think you guys met yesterday, just members, you've been trying to kind of walk through how this is going to play out.

And I think one of the main elements is, how are the subpoenas going to work? It's very clear they're coming. And I know you guys are kind of strategizing how that's supposed to lay out. What kind of status and scope are you considering with those subpoenas?

AGUILAR: Well, the status and scope is laid out in the House resolution that we passed. And our task is simple, it's to get to the truth of what happened on January 6th, who funded it, who funded the insurrection, who helped to guide it, what happened leading up to January 6th in the days and minutes, leading up to the attack on democracy and the attack on our Capitol building. And so that will be our charge. That will be our mandate.

This is not bipartisan, although there are Democrats and Republicans, this is nonpartisan. And so we're going to get to the truth. We're going to follow the facts, then we will utilize subpoenas in order to compel individuals and organizations to provide us the documents that we need in order to seek the truth. MATTINGLY: The chairman of the Select Committee just told my

colleague, Jeff Zeleny, a little while ago that they were hoping -- he hopes subpoenas out by the end of August, nobody would be off limits.

Is that timeline seem plausible to you? I know he's the chairman so you have to say yes. But is that timeline seem plausible to you? And when he says nobody is off limits, what does that mean? Are we thinking President Trump? Are we thinking Republican colleagues? How does this all work?

AGUILAR: I'll let the chairman speak to the timing and the tactics, but yes, no one is off limits. Our mandate is to seek the truth, and so we're going to be guided by that. And there could be a series of steps involved. Individuals who we may want to talk to down the line may be a little different than the individuals who we want to seek to have conversations with on the front end.

But nobody is off limits. There will be a timeline, there will be a plan of action. And our sole focus, and that's why I appreciate everyone around that table, because our sole focus is all about protecting democracy and making sure that this doesn't happen again. And so the conversations are thoughtful, they're deliberate, but they're all guided by that single focus to chase the truth and find out what happened.

MATTINGLY: Now on the DOJ phone call I was talking about a short while ago, the former president described Congressman Jim Jordan as a, quote, "fighter." This week Jordan was pressed about these conversations with former president Trump the day of the Capitol attack when he was on Spectrum News. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you speak with President Trump on January 6th?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Yes, I mean, I speak -- I spoke with the president last week. I speak with the president all the time. I spoke with him on January 6th. I mean, I talk with President Trump all the time. And that's -- that's -- I don't think that's unusual.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: On January 6th, did you speak with him before, during or after the Capitol was attacked?

JORDAN: I'd have to go -- I spoke with him that day after, I think after. I don't know if I spoke with him in the morning or not -- I just don't know. I'd have to go back -- I mean, I don't -- I don't know -- when those conversations happened, but what I know is I spoke with him all the time.


MATTINGLY: Congressman, that was the second time in recent days that Jim Jordan has been, I'll gently say, a little shaky about his conversations with the former president on January 6th. What do you make of that when you see a response like that? AGUILAR: I mean, nothing surprises me when it comes to that

individual. It sounds like he's developing his story while he's on air, quite honestly. But he caught himself and said he'd have to -- you know, almost like he was going to say that he was going to check the records. Well, there's ways to do that, too.

And so -- but, you know, if there are individuals, as we have said, if there are individuals who have knowledge and information about what went on, on January 6th, what delayed the help and the support, and what motivated the individuals to come attack our democracy and attack the U.S. Capitol, we're going to seek those answers.

MATTINGLY: Congressman, my last question, I want to shift the focus for just one minute because you were meeting with President Biden in the Oval Office just a couple days ago. This is, you know, the legislative focus on the agenda that you're trying to move through Congress right now. The meeting was related to immigration and trying to ensure that immigration policy ends up in this kind of sweeping economic package that Democrats are going to try and move in the weeks and months ahead.

What's your sense right now? I know you feel confident that it will end up in the proposal, what's your sense right now that you could get it across the finish line?


That a pathway to citizenship for millions will be included in what the president signs at some point related to this package?

AGUILAR: The strategy is simple. We're going to use every available tool. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been clear about that. Every available tool to help our communities. And whether that's standalone legislation, it doesn't seem like the votes are there, and the Republicans keep moving the goal posts in those discussions. So we're going to avail ourselves of the option to use reconciliation because the Republicans used immigration changes and reconciliation in 2005.

They opened the door to some of these changes and so we're going to try to have a path to citizenship for individuals who know of no other country but the United States as their home within this reconciliation package. So farm workers, individuals with DACA status, temporary protected status, and essential workers, who keep our economy moving, they deserve an opportunity to have a path to citizenship. And we're going to encourage the president and did encourage the president in the Roosevelt room to continue to be vocal and support that plan.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And the president made clear, he supports it. You guys are going to have to work with the Senate parliamentarian now, for sure, to go a little bit down the set of procedural rabbit hole.

Congressman Peter Aguilar, thank you as always for your time, sir. I really appreciate it.

AGUILAR: Thanks, Phil. MATTINGLY: All right. Coming up, gymnastics superstar Simone Biles

pulls out of two more Olympic final events. Her reason and what it means for encouraging athletes to speak out about their own health, next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



MATTINGLY: Gymnastics icon Simone Biles is withdrawing from two more events at the Tokyo Olympics. Biles has dropped out of the vault and uneven bars finals as she continues dealing with what she calls a case of the twisties. It's described as a mental block that can cause a gymnast to lose track of her location midair.

CNN's Will Ripley joins me now from Tokyo.

Will, it's been fascinating and slightly terrifying to learn what the twisties actually are right now. Enormous amount of respect for gymnasts who are able to deal with it. But I guess the big question right now is, is this the end of the competition to these games for Biles, or is there a chance we could still see her compete?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the chance is dwindling, Phil, because it's just two more events that she could potentially compete in, the floor and the beam on Monday and Tuesday. And given what she's been posting on Instagram, talking about the twisties, this disconnect between the mind and the body, which could be very dangerous for a gymnast who's doing aerial movements, it doesn't seem like -- it doesn't seem like she's going to be coming back unless there's some sort of dramatic recovery.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it's also a pretty good check on those who are questioning why she decided to pull out in the first place.


MATTINGLY: Well, the Olympics Committee put a ban on spectators this year, obviously we all know this, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn't stop some fans from breaking the rules today. Can you walk us through what that was actually all about?

RIPLEY: They seem to be having a hard time, Phil, controlling the crowds along race routes. So the triathlon course is actually directly beneath where I'm standing right now. We were out there as journalists covering it, and saw thousands of spectators lining the streets. Here's what one of them had to say.


JOSH NORRIS, 2020 TOKYO TRIATHLON SPECTATOR: Yes, I was going to go to the road cycling last weekend in Yamanashi. I read the please don't come report, and then during the week, I saw so many people there, so I thought I'm going to have a go myself to this venue. (END OF VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: This is obviously concerning given that COVID-19 cases are exploding here in Tokyo and across Japan, to the highest rates of transmission that they've seen so far this pandemic. And yet people are still coming out. But the cases are not coming from inside the Olympic bubble. There's still just a couple of hundred or so cases, and most of them are not athletes, but staff members tied to the Olympics.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Important numbers right there. Will Ripley, I don't actually think you've slept over the better course of the last two or three weeks. Thanks so much, my friend. I appreciate it.

All right, protests are breaking out across France over the government's decision there to mandate a so-called COVID health pass, which shows proof of vaccination or a negative test, and will soon be required to enter most places. In Paris, three police officers were injured today amid a third weekend of national protests.

CNN's Phil Black is live in London for us. And Phil, these protests come as French officials try to stifle a surging Delta variant that obviously we in the U.S. are facing. What more are you learning about what's actually going on on the ground right now?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, the numbers turning out for these protests are huge. 194 separate protests across France today. More than 200,000 people on the streets, according to the French government. This is the third weekend in a row we have seen these big, angry crowds, marching, confronting police. These are people who are upset over the linking of some of their personal freedoms to their ability to prove their COVID-19 or health status.

This health pass showing either full vaccination, a recent negative test, or recovery from natural infection is already necessary to access a range of public spaces, and crucially that's soon going to include bars, restaurants, cafes.


This was always going to be a controversial policy in a country with deep historic and cultural ties to the concept of personal liberty.

But its goal is to slow the spread of the virus without resorting to lockdowns while, at the same time, encouraging people to get out there and get vaccinated.

You're right, the Delta variant is surging and vaccination rates have been pretty sluggish.

There's already evidence that it's reasonably popular, despite the protests and opponents, and effective. Opinion polls show there's a clear majority among the public supporting the policy.

More than that, ever since the policy was announced, there's been a clear spike. Millions more people very quickly registering to take part in the vaccination program.

It turns out threatening to deprive French people of easy access to good food is a powerful motivator, a useful and effective tool in the country's fight against the pandemic -- Phil?

MATTINGLY: Phil Black, the White House has been very wary going down the road. This is a window why the tension that exists between public health and politics.

Phil, thank you for the report. Appreciate it.

Coming up, Disney calls a lawsuit from one of its top stars callous. The battle over a blockbuster, next.



MATTINGLY: Two of Hollywood's biggest names are going head to head. Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for the simultaneous release of her movie "Black Widow" simultaneously on the streaming service Disney Plus and in theaters.

The actress claims Disney promised her financial compensation that would be based on the movie's box office performance.

Her suit alleges the film's release to Disney's streaming service violated that contract.

Disney is aggressively firing back, saying it fully complied, and that Johansson is showing, quote, "callous disregard for the effects of the coronavirus pandemic."

This summer, CNN is bringing you a special presentation, a series of all-new CNN film shorts.

Over the next two weekend, the documentary short films will spotlight people striving to build different kinds of communities across America.

Featured in the lineup, the "SUPER REVIEWERS, RATE, REVIEW, REPEAT." It's a film that introduces us to a group the strangers from around the country all looking to build a sense of belonging by sharing product reviews online.

Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the time I started, my rate was 44,000. Four months into the program, I rose to 10,000. Then to eventually 1,000. Once I broke the top 10, it was a point of pride.

Because once you break the top 10, you get this extra badge beside your name that says Hall of Fame reviewer. It was like, oh I'm famous, but only on Amazon. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Joining us now, one of the directors of "Super Reviewers, Rape Review, Repeat."

I've got to say I watched this preview a couple days ago, and within 10 seconds, I thought it was amazing. I can't wait to watch this.

We've all read online reviews, but what makes someone a Super Reviewer?

YU GU, CNN SHORT FILM CO-DIRECTOR: Right. I think that's exactly what Arianna and I, the co-director, went in thinking.

We actually realized through our research that less than 2 percent of people who actually read reviews write the reviews.

These super viewers are people who are so prolific in terms of spending time writing reviews. It's something they do every day of their life.

They have written hundreds, thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of reviews, and they're very passionate about it and it plays a huge roll in their life.

MATTINGLY: It's fascinating, too. Those are the reviews I gravitate toward. I don't want to see somebody who's only done two or three reviews. I want the super reviewers. I just never knew what went into that.

It's pretty clear how the reviews help other. Advice on what to eat, what to watch, what to read, so on and so on.

What's in it for the reviewers? What are they getting out of this?

GU: Right. That's exactly what this film, you know, endeavors to tackle, really looking at why they're motivated to do what they do.

I think for each character, we have three different characters of three different ethnicities, difficult ages all over the U.S. They come from this angle in a very different way.

I think for one of them, Tony, a Yelp reviewer, he is an Asian- American immigrant. And he found it gave him a voice, this sort of power and influence that he didn't feel he had just growing up, feeling invisible and sort of erased in this country.

Then you have Denise, who travels around the country in an R.V., and doesn't have a physical community. But she finds a huge community of Google Maps reviews.

And Antoinette who is on Amazon. She is one of the top-10 reviewers in the world. She's unable to hold down a regular job. But this reviewing gives her a sense of purpose and place in the world.

MATTINGLY: I love the depth of this. Hold on, your codirector, Ariana LaPenne, joins us right now.

Ariana, thanks for being here.

The "Super Reviewers" you interviewed had mixed experiences with the review process, right? What are some of the down sides, when you're bringing this intensity to reviewing?

ARIANNA LAPENNE, CNN SHORT FILM CO-DIRECTOR: I think the down sides to reviewing are the same with any kind of online life, right? Like, we are all striving to find some kind of balance between our online life and our IRL, in real-life life.


And I think reviewing is a form of social media, like any other.

The validation you get from other people liking what you write or share can be addicting. We're all human beings who want to be loved and valued.

I think reviewing strikes a chord in that same way than any other kind of form of social media does.

To complicate that further, the corporations that create online platforms are aware of that. They would like people to use their platforms because it increases businesses.

So they're able to cater the product to increase user activity.

MATTINGLY: It's complicated.

I have, like, a million questions. But I guess I could you wait and watch the entire thing.

One thing, Arianna, I did want to close with, did making them film change how you read online reviews? And what should people keep in mind?

LAPENNE: Yes, how could it not? This was an idea I thought about for a long time. I had come across online reviews, like anyone did.

In your everyday life, it's constant. Everybody reads reviews. We want to know the best place to get a sandwich or the best hair dryer, whatever it is.

But I started to notice reviews could be very unusual. There's a lot of personality in them, a lot that people were sharing. I wanted to know who was behind it.

I think when we made this film, it was an amazing dive into who is behind a review.

We're all -- any one of us could be a Super Reviewer. This is their form of self-expression.

I think all people want to express themselves in some way, whether it's art or writing, politics, journalism. This is their vehicle.

So, you know, you get to know these people, connect to them, and the things that move them in their life.


LAPENNE: So I will never review reviews the same way.


MATTINGLY: No, I can't even imagine.

Thank you so much for taking the time.

Obviously, I work here, but I'm not being told to say this. I cannot wait to see this and watch more of it.

I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me and walk through it all.

Be sure to tune into the all-new series of CNN film shorts, featuring "SUPER REVIEWERS, RATE, REVIEW, REPEAT." That kicks off tonight at 9:00 p.m. beginning with "58 HOURS, THE BABY JESSICA STORY."

An orca that got stranded on a rocky beach in the Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, Thursday is now free.

The killer whale was discovered by a crew of a vessel passing by the island, according to a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The sailors were able to use a seawater pump to keep the whale wet and the birds away.

Look at those pictures. They're incredible.

The orca was able to refloat as the tide came in. Officials are looking at photos to determine if the whale was injured. This is 60 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska.

You can reach out and touch Spencer Glacier. Getting there will take trains, trails and kayaks, all part of the adventure in this week's "OFF THE BEATEN PATH."


ILLYA PEKICH, GUIDE, CHUGACH ADVENTURES: Everybody is like, wow, it's breathtaking. We're at Spencer Glacier in south-central Alaska.

Once we're out here, we're away from everything. It's a place that's a hidden gem, so it makes it difficult to get out here, but it's really worth it.

NICHOLAS WRIGHT, RANGER, U.S. FOREST SERVICE: You can't get here by car. You have to get in the train to make your way out here. It's an exciting combination of being very accessible while also being remote. Spencer is, though much smaller than it used to be, really a large

glacier. And as it has retreated, it has left behind this huge lake.

So people come up here both to hike out to the view point but also to paddle on the lake.

You have a two-mile paddle across the lake to get to the base of the glacier.

You have all these big, beautiful icebergs choking the lake itself. And we get onto the ice, you put the crampons on and we get to look at the cool features on this glacier.

I'll be looking for some crevasses, blue ice features, some deep ice.


Yes, It's a cool glacier. It's pretty darn special.



MATTINGLY: The first group of evacuated Afghan interpreters who risked their lives to keep American troops safe is now on American soil.

On Friday, about 200 Afghans seeking refuge arrived at Ft. Lee, Virginia, as part of a special immigrant program.

They, like so many others, have faced death threats from the Taliban for providing U.S. support during the war. Now they're hoping for a chance to keep their families and themselves safe.

CNN's Kylie Atwood has more.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): If I don't go out of Afghanistan, I'm counting down my end of life.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every day the Taliban control surges in Afghanistan, the situation grows more deadly for Afghan interpreters who are trying to flee the country after working alongside U.S. troops and diplomats.

Three interpreters who have applied for special immigrant visas to the United States, or SIVs, spoke to CNN and described just how urgently they must get out of the country.

Because after years of putting their lives on the line next to U.S. soldiers, the Taliban are hunting them down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): We really need to get out of the country. They are looking after us. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Our future will be dark. They're going

to cut our heads, too.

ATWOOD: He's referring to a recent report of the Taliban beheading Afghans who worked alongside U.S. troops.

These Afghans fear for their families, as well as themselves.

CNN is concealing their identities to keep them safe.

One of them, Nayab (ph), is particularly concerned about what will happen to his daughters if the Taliban take over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): They will destroy the schools, and they'll prevent my girls to go to school.

ATWOOD: All three men we spoke with have faced terrifying threats.

One of them, Ramish explained what happened to him earlier this month when the Taliban knocked on his door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): My family hide me and told them Ramish was gone somewhere. Then, they searched our house, and I was hide inside the oven in my yard.

They burned my house. And nothing remained to us. All our materials burned by them.

ATWOOD: They burned your house?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes. They burned my house.

ATWOOD: After that, Ramish (ph) snuck out of his hometown in the middle of the night, embarking on a dangerous journey to Kabul, where the Taliban are not in control.

Army Captain Sayre Paine worked with Ramish in Afghanistan and encouraged him to flee to Kabul under the cloak of darkness.

CAPT. SAYRE PAINE, U.S. ARMY: Today, it's the -- it's the comrade in arms, and an indelible duty to not betray them. You put these people into on a tier with your own family.

ATWOOD: Paine says the United States could not have done the job on the ground without the interpreters by their side. He feels angry, thinking about the ones who may not make it out.

PAINE: To allow, and fully know, all of these people signing up for this promise, to come, literally, to the promised land, and to just let it go, is a betrayal to those people.

ATWOOD: About 20,000 Afghans have applied for the SIVs. Seven hundred of them will fly into the United States in the coming weeks and wait at a U.S. military base while their visas are finalized.

Yet, the total processing time can take years. President Biden has promised --

BIDEN: We will stand with you, just as you stood with us.

ATWOOD: But the United States government has not yet laid out a comprehensive plan to get these Afghans out of the country before the complete U.S. troop withdrawal next month.

Due to the urgent and vast nature of this challenge, many individuals, like Paine, have taken it upon themselves to contribute.

Janis Shinwari, a former Afghan interpreter living in Virginia, set up a nonprofit to help SIVs, based on his own experience.

JANIS SHINWARI, FORMER AFGHAN TRANSLATOR: When I came here, at the airport, I realized that the government is not taking care of us, and I was on my own.

And from that time, I thought that I have to build something to help these SIVs when they are coming to the United States, and they don't know anybody.

ATWOOD: Earlier this month, he waited at the airport to welcome an Afghan SIV recipient and his family to the United States. Janis's nonprofit paid for their flights.


ATWOOD: It's an emotional and hopeful scene. But a glance at his phone offers a reality check. Hundreds of messages, all Afghans, pleading with him, to help them get out.

(on camera): Each of these Afghan SIV applicants that I spoke with has children. One of them has five children.

And I tell you that to underscore the fact that it's not just these 20,000 SIV applicants who are trying to get here because they feel their lives are in jeopardy. It's also their larger families.

Kylie Atwood, CNN, Washington.


MATTINGLY: Such an urgent and important story.

All right, actor, Bob Odenkirk, is updating fans after collapsing on the set earlier this week. The star of "Better Call Saul" tweeted he suffered a, quote, "small heart attack" while filming the hit show's final season.

The health scare prompted an outpouring of support from fans and friends, including "Breaking Bad" co-stars, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.

Odenkirk said he will did not have to undergo surgery but will be taking some time to recover.


Novak Djokovic will not be taking an Olympic medal home from the Tokyo games. The world's top-ranked men's tennis player lost in the bronze medal match to Spain.

At one point during the match, Djokovic threw his racket into the empty stands. Then he smashed another racket into the net and tossed it into the photographers pit. We've all been there.

Up next, quote, "I should have gotten the damn vaccine." Those are some of the last words of a father of five who lost his fight with COVID at 39 years old. His fiancee joins me live next hour to tell his story and what her message is for others.