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Governor Andrew Cuomo Accuser Speaks Publicly For The First Time; Health Authorities Warn Of More Variants To Arrive; Thousands Evacuated As Wildfire Rages In Greece; Major Afghan City Falls To The Taliban; Interview With Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX); Final Day Of 2020 Tokyo Olympics; Wall Street Awaiting Effects Of Delta Variant On Job Market; A Stranger's Sketch Going Viral. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 8, 2021 - 17:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. And the woman who filed a criminal complaint against embattled New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, is speaking out publicly for the first time.

Until now she's only been known as executive assistant number one. Referenced that way in the New York attorney general's bombshell report which found Governor Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women. Her personal and now public account comes as the governor adamantly denies the allegations against him, along with resisting calls to resign.

I want to get straight to our Polo Sandoval in Albany, New York near the governor's mansion. Polo, who is this woman and what is she saying?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, ultimately, Jim, as you said, the governor remains defiant here, rejecting those calls for -- to set down. It was just yesterday that his attorney in an interview with our Pamela Brown, said that she isn't aware any of potential plans for him to actually resign. And then back to that woman, she did step into the public eye today, into the public light. And in an interview have said that the governor basically broke the law.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): New York Governor Andrew Cuomo facing what will likely be another trying week. On Monday, legislators on the state's judiciary committee return to Albany where they are expected to meet with independent investigators to review evidence related to the governor's impeachment probe.

With Governor Cuomo's sexual harassment investigation by lawmakers nearing completion, he has until this Friday to offer evidence in his defense. An opportunity Cuomo's personal lawyer insist was not provided by the New York's State A.G. before the release of a (inaudible) of unwelcome and non-consensual touching as well as making comments of a suggestive sexual nature. Adding to the governor's troubles, the possibility of criminal

charges. The Albany County sheriff's department confirmed it's investigating a complaint of behavior from Governor Cuomo that was sexual in nature.

CRAIG APPLE, SHERIFF, ALBANY COUNTY, NEW YORK: I had a female victim come forward which had to be the hardest thing she's ever done in her life and make an allegation of criminal conduct against the governor.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Known in the report only as executive assistant number 1, that female victim is speaking publicly for the first time, together with Albany's "Times Union," CBS News previewing their upcoming conversation with Brittany Commisso, one of the governor's current staffers who is coming forward to defend her account without blurring to protect her image.


JERICKA DUNCAN, CBS NEWS HOST: And just so I'm clear again, being held accountable to you means seeing the governor charged with a crime?

COMMISSO: What he did to me was a crime. He broke the law.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Rita Glavin, Governor Cuomo's attorney insists Commisso's claims are untrue. In her Saturday interview with CNN, Glavin did admit the governor may have touched another accuser, a state trooper on the governor's protective detail. The A.G.'s report alleges he ran his fingers down her back while standing behind her in an elevator.

RITA GLAVIN, GOVERNOR CUOMO'S ATTORNEY: One thing I will say about this particular trooper is that I do know that the governor has tremendous respect for her, believe she has been an excellent member of her detail and to the extent that she believes and felt he did anything that violated her or was inappropriate, he feels very, very badly about that. That I do know, and I know he's going to address this.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Exactly when that will be remains unclear. The governor has, however, apologized to a handful of women who he recognized were made to feel uncomfortable because of behavior he insists was well intentioned.

GLAVIN: He does slip at times. He's not perfect. But yes I get it.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: He does slip? When you say he does slip, what do you mean by that?

GLAVIN: Oh, he said it in his video -- he said it in his video statements, which is that, you know, he does make the mistake. He will say darling. He will say sweetheart. He does ask people questions about their personal lives. He didn't think that that was improper.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SANDOVAL (on camera): In light of Commisso comments, we reached back out to the governor's office again today. They declined to do comment -- declined to comment any further here. Now, in terms of what the governor's potential future is in office, his fate is in the hands of lawmakers here in Albany.

Jim, as we mentioned, this week really going to mark a significant steps towards an impeachment vote that could potentially happen after this coming Friday.

ACOSTA: All right, Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.


For more on this, I'm joined by CNN political commentator Errol Louis and also CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers. Jennifer, what's your reaction to what we just heard? This former employee who has come forward.

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's huge, Jim, because it means that they can, if they choose to do so to proceed -- --

ACOSTA: Current, I should say, current employee -- current employee. Just want to make sure I get that clear (inaudible).

RODGERS: Correct. It's really important because it means that the D.A. in Albany can if he decides to do so, proceed with the case against the governor.

Previously, without a willing complainant who is willing to publicly come forward and go forward with that complaint, there's no way any prosecutor would proceed, even though technically they can.

Now, with someone -- Ms. Commisso -- willing to do this, to pursue these charges, to appear publicly, to press this case, if they choose to do so, the Albany D.A. can do that. Now, he still has a lot to think about. It's a different standard of proof. He has to make sure he has beyond a reasonable doubt evidence.

He has to think about what other evidence from all of this allegations is admissible. It will be less than the investigators who wrote the report considered, but he at least can proceed now and that's a big change from a couple of days ago.

ACOSTA: And Errol, the full interview with the accuser Brittany Commisso will air tomorrow, the same day state lawmakers are meeting on impeachment. And when it comes to the impeachment, are further claims a moot point? Is Cuomo's fate sealed, do you think?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the assembly leadership has made clear that they don't think he has enough votes to survive an impeachment vote. It's a simple majority of the 150 members of the assembly that would be required to impeach him.

And unlike federal impeachment that we learned about with Donald Trump, in New York, if there's a simple majority vote, the governor is immediately suspended and the lieutenant governor steps in. And then there's a trial and so forth down the road.

But effectively, the governor would be removed from power almost instantly and that could happen in a matter of days. He does not have the votes to survive an impeachment vote. The leadership has made that pretty clear. There is something like 40-plus members of the governor's party, the Democrats, who have said they want him to resign. You start adding in some of the republicans and you very quickly get to 75-plus.

And so the governor politically speaking, is in a very, very perilous place and it has almost nothing to do with new information from accusers. A lot of the assembly members have seen what they need to see and they've pretty much made up their minds.

ACOSTA: But the weight of new revelations could add pressure to the governor, no question. And Jennifer, Governor Cuomo's details -- denials, I should say, hinge on intent that he didn't intend to make someone uncomfortable. What do you think about that?

RODGERS: I don't think it carries much weight, Jim. I mean, first of all, you really have to think about what's being alleged here and what was credited by the investigators. And if they're right, then his intent really doesn't matter. I mean, look at some of the things that he did.

And second of all, you know, impeachment is its own animal. You don't have to prove specific legal standards there. It's about what leadership you want and whether the governor has abused his position of trust. And creating the environment that the report found he created there and doing the things that even the governor admits that he did, that's impeachable.

You know, he abused the trust of his office. He created this atmosphere. He put the state in jeopardy in terms of civil liability. He's done all sorts of things. He violated the internal procedures of his own office, his own rules by covering up the complaint by Charlotte Bennett.

There are so many things even that he admits that he has done that are impeachable and he doesn't have a lot of grounds to stand on here.

ACOSTA: And Errol, the governor called for an independent investigation into these allegations. He then got one. Now, he sounds like he's using Donald Trump's witch hunt playbook, you know, accusing it of being biased and trying to discredit the accusers and so on. How does this hold up?

LOUIS: Yes, after a few months into the investigation, I guess the governor got wind of the kind -- didn't like what he was hearing and began to adopt a more defiant tone, began to question the motives of the people who are investigating him.

They have unimpeachable legal credentials and so it hasn't really gone very far. What he's done though is bring out his own lawyers and tried to nitpick particular accounts and continue to throw out this idea that there's somehow a political conspiracy against him.

It doesn't really survive much scrutiny, Jim, because, you know, we've got every Democrat at every level of government who knows anything about this, up to and including President Biden, all saying it is time for you to go. This is over. But the governor has a legal right, I guess, to continue to fight the battle. But the outcome of it is really not in doubt at this point.


ACOSTA: And Jennifer, the governor seems like he's trying to have it both ways, framing himself as an ally to women who come forward, but calling out his accusers. Doesn't that throw cold water on this idea that, you know, he's there, you know, defending the rights of women in all of this?

RODGERS: Well, and Jim, even in his video denial that he issued the other day, he said one of the things they were going to make sure to do was to increase training on sexual harassment. I mean, that's a joke. The notion that the governor having been found what he's done here is going to increase sexual harassment training, for whom? For him?

You know, that was, I think, really insulting. So, I don't think it carries any weight here. I do though, think the assembly needs to be careful about making sure that the due process rights the governor has in this procedure, which could lead to his removal, are protected.

Because what I don't want to see is his impeachment removal and then protracted litigation over whether his due process rights were violated. So they need to allow him to participate in a meaningful way and do this the right way.

ACOSTA: All right. Errol Louis and Jennifer Rodgers, thanks so much for those insights. We appreciate it.

Up next, warnings from top medical experts that if we don't get COVID spread under control, more dangerous variants could be coming. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM



ACOSTA: Right now in almost every part of this country, COVID cases are surging as the delta variant spreads by and large among unvaccinated Americans. The average daily case load is now nine times what it was just in early July.

ICU's are nearing capacity nationwide with hospitalizations back to February levels. The highly contagious delta variant accounts for 93 percent of all cases in the U.S. Of course, it didn't have to be this way. We have the ability to move past this pandemic with the help of vaccines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: We would not be in the place we are right now with this delta surge if we had been more effective in getting everybody to take advantage of these immunizations. And now we're paying a terrible price as the cases go up quickly.


ACOSTA: Let's drill down on this with Dr. William Schaffner. He's a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Schaffner, thanks so much for being with us. AS you know, only 50 percent of the country is fully vaccinated. What would our lives look like right now if that number stood at 70 percent or 80 percent?

WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, DIRECTOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Well, the higher the better, Jim, because this is, as you were saying, such an extraordinarily contagious variant. We would be much more at ease and we would be much more relaxed about sending our children back to school.

You know, we really need as many people as possible to be vaccinated to reduce the spread of this virus in our communities. Until we do that and the vaccines are effective in doing that, but until we do that, it will continue to spread. And as you have reported, there are institutions, hospitals around the country now that are filling up with COVID patients.

ACOSTA: Just incredible that that would happen at this stage in all of this. And I'm so glad you're on to talk about this variant because I want to listen to something that Dr. Fauci said. He issued this warning earlier today.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: But if you give the virus a chance to continue to change, you're leading to a vulnerability that we might get a worse variant and then, that will impact not only the unvaccinated. That will impact the vaccinated because that variant could evade the protection of the vaccine. So people who are unvaccinated should think about their own health, that of their family, but also the community responsibility to crush this virus before it becomes even worse.


ACOSTA: That sounds pretty scary, doctor. What do you think about that? Are we going to see more and more of these variants, more lethal variants if Americans don't get vaccinated?

SCHAFFNER: Well, Jim, I think Tony, as usual, is right on the mark. The virus will mutate when it multiplies. It multiplies when it infects a new person. The more new people it infects, the more it multiplies, the more it can mutate, the more there is that a chance that a new variant will crop up that can evade the protection of our current vaccines. Then what we would have to do is create a new vaccine. We have the

technology to do that, but we'd have to start all over and vaccinate everybody else again. Nobody wants to do that. We can stop this virus, to use Tony's term, we can crush this virus if we all get vaccinated right now.

ACOSTA: And doctor, the delta variant, this is just so disturbing, is infecting children at an alarming rate with child and teen cases up 84 percent in a week. That is stunning. What is your advice to parents right now who are very worried especially those parents -- and I just got an e-mail about this from a worried parent down in Florida, about children who are unvaccinated because they're not old enough to get the vaccine yet.

SCHAFFNER: Well, for sure that's a continuing concern. Those children, when they're out and about with other children, particularly indoors, need to be masked. We absolutely need to make our schools as low risk as possible.

All the adults associated with schools, teachers, school bus drivers, custodians, people who work in the cafeteria, they should all have been vaccinated by now. And everyone, all those children, age 12 and over, are eligible for vaccine. Let's vaccinate them. That will help ensure very low risk schools.

ACOSTA: And former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said today that for immunocompromised people, the FDA decision on COVID-19 booster shots could come too late.


Do you share that concern? Do we need to get those booster shots out there for the immunocompromised?

SCHAFFNER: That's under intense discussion by the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC. I hope we'll see some action on that pretty soon so that those immunocompromised people who never responded initially would get an additional dose. It's like a three-dose series to help them get up to, we hope, where the rest of us are with our vaccinations.

ACOSTA: And we just learned the NBA Summer League game between the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers has been postponed due to COVID- 19 health and safety protocols. Do you see a scenario where professional sports might have to get shut down again like last year? What are your thoughts on that? That, obviously, would not go over well with a lot of sports fans.

SCHAFFNER: Wouldn't go over very well with any of us, really. If there are people out there still unvaccinated on the teams, surrounding the teams, please, get vaccinated as quickly as possible. That's the best protection.

ACOSTA: Yes. And you hear these quarterbacks, some of these professional athletes talking about the vaccine like it's optional and they don't want to take it and it's just not setting a good example. But Dr. Schaffner, you are setting a great example and thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it. Thanks for coming on this afternoon. We'll see you next time.

SCHAFFNER: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, take care. Coming up, parts of Greece are ablaze as a large wildfire ravages towns. Firefighters are struggling to contain the inferno. That's next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: You have to see this terrifying video out of Greece which looks like an apocalyptic movie scene right there on your screen. Hundreds of people from the town Limni, north of Athens, boarding a ferry to escape a wildfire closing in on them.

Right now hundreds of wildfires are tearing through Greece, destroying homes and businesses as the country faces one of its worst heat waves in more than 30 years. Just stunning video there. And Greece's prime minister is calling the worsening situation there a nightmarish summer.

We're also following breaking news out of Afghanistan where the Taliban has reportedly seized control of Kunduz, the first major city to fall in the region as U.S. and NATO troops complete their pullout.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is following this for us. Nick, Afghanistan has swiftly descended into violence and there are even fears that Kabul, the nation's capital, could also fall. Of course, this is coming very close to the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Give us the latest.

NICK PATON WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, it's been (inaudible) bad 72 hours for Afghanistan. For its government there, nothing like it in the last 20 years, Jim. Make no mistake. Certainly Kunduz is the largest city to fall to the Taliban.

Temporarily, the insurgency have twice in the last six years moved in and then been kicked out by Afghan Security Forces. And there's fighting still going on now, but it's not happened to the backdrop of the kind of things we've seen in the last few days.

On Friday, the Taliban took their first provincial capital, a kind of city hub of some of the regions in Afghanistan. That was in Zaranj on the border with Iran, and then they since have taken two, possibly three other provincial capitals over the last 72 hours.

It's that sense of momentum that has many deeply concerned, I think, because the insurgency have always had sway in the rural areas of Afghanistan where they have a lot of control, but always struggled to move into the cities.

U.S. Air strikes held them back and also many of the population there and the security forces simply wanted nothing to do with them. That seems to be changing. And it's changing exceptionally quickly, too. And these aren't the only fights happening in Afghanistan right now.

There is an intense battle going on for the city of Lashkar Gah and the south in Helmand where many Americans lost their lives, many NATO soldiers too, over the last 20 years. That could be decisive.

And so the fear, Jim, is that we're seeing Afghan Security Forces that President Joe Biden talked highly of being able to hold the insurgency back, but they're possibly being overstretched now. They simply don't know which fire to put out. They are having to choose to give cities up, it seems, to the Taliban.

And some of these cities, in fact, seem to have fallen with less of a fight simply because the security force there weren't getting the backup they needed. Where are we going to go from here? Well, it will be decisive to see what happens in Lashkar Gah, whether or not Kunduz can partially be reclaimed.

It's going to get bloodier. There have been accusations from the insurgents, the Taliban, who were appalling and their (inaudible) track record of civilian casualties. That some of the air strikes over recent days hit civilian targets. You're going to see more civilians, unfortunately, caught as this fighting moves into urban areas.

Kabul, many doubt that the insurgency have the muscle or the will, frankly, to tackle that enormous city in a geographical bowl in the mountains of 6 million, 7 million people. So, that's a separate question, but the largest cities around it now appear to be viable targets, sadly, to the insurgency.

The peace discussion that the U.S. government persistently talks about, that's certainly put on hold. Critics calling it frankly, a farce and essentially Joe Biden's decision which some said was inevitable, America eventually had to leave or some said was brash to pull forces out, all gone possibly within the next three weeks according to the deadline.


That is having an impact many feared it would, the insurgency gaining ground, security forces losing ground. And now a feeling of momentum that nobody wanted, everybody dreaded, and many thought, frankly, was inevitable behind the insurgency, Jim.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. An alarming situation that's getting worse. Nick Paton Walsh, thanks for that update.

And joining me now is a member of the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees, Democratic congressman, Joaquin Castro of Texas. Congressman, thanks for being with us this afternoon. Let's start with Afghanistan. Critics pointed to the advances being made by the Taliban that Nick Paton Walsh was talking about a few moments ago and saying this is why President Biden should not have pulled troops out the way he did. How do you respond to that?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): Well, I support the president's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, and the United States had a decision to make, which was whether to leave a permanent presence in Afghanistan and really a permanent parallel government.

Or whether to do everything that we can after spending $2 trillion to build up the country to work with their security forces to the tune 300,000 security forces to do everything to build them up and give them the best chance of holding the country. Obviously, the advances of the Taliban are alarming, but I don't think that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is inevitable.

ACOSTA: All right. And I want to switch gears to former President Trump and these new revelations about how close we all came to witnessing a coup of some sort in this country. Today, the Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin spoke about an interview his committee just conducted with the former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen. Let's take a listen to that.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Just how directly, personally involved the president was, the pressure he was putting on Jeffrey Rosen, it was real. Very real. And it was very specific. This president is not subtle when he wants something, the former president. He's not subtle when he wants something. And I think it's a good thing for America that we had a person like Rosen in that position who stood -- withstood the pressure.


ACOSTA: Congressman, what do you make of these latest revelations, and how intense was this pressure that the president and other members of the administration were applying on the Justice Department and the acting attorney general?

CASTRO: Yes, it's interesting. You know, I was part of the second impeachment trial of the Senate trial, and throughout that time, I kept wondering and I said a few times to team, you know, why aren't we calling this an attempted coup?

We were referring to it as an insurrection, which we continue to do, but really it was an attempted coup. And those folks that stormed the capitol were trying to stop the United States government, the Congress, from accepting the presidential election results.

So the only question that was open was, we knew that there was an attempted coup. The open question is how much did Donald Trump and his administration participate? And the things that have unfolded in the last few weeks make it clear that Donald Trump was actively pressuring people in the United States government to help him with this coup.

And so, I hope that whoever is responsible, from the former president on down to folks in the Department of Justice, if they were trying to actively overturn the will of the American people, that they be prosecuted if there are appropriate -- basically criminal codes that will allow for that.

ACOSTA: And does that include Trump himself? CASTRO: Oh, absolutely. I don't think anybody should be immune from

this. This is, you know, basically the largest betrayal in a democratic society that you could have, would be for somebody that has the ultimate power of the presidency, the most powerful office in the country and really in the world, to try to overturn the results of his own election.

If he -- it looks like that's what he was trying to do and he had a legion of people that were helping him do that, if they can be prosecuted under a statute, we don't need to make any statutes up or anything like that. If they can be prosecuted under an existing statute, they should be.

ACOSTA: And I want to talk to you about the pandemic because it is hitting your state so hard there in Texas. And so many of us were struck by this story, and I'm sure you heard about it, congressman, from your state, of an 11-month-old child with COVID who had to be flown 150 miles away because there were no available hospital beds for her in Houston. As a father and a Texan, what's your reaction to that?

CASTRO: Well, it's heartbreaking to watch the tragedy that's unfolding in places like Texas and Florida and a handful of other states where you've got governors like Greg Abbott and DeSantis in Florida who are actively trying to keep people from wearing masks.

In Texas, for example, the governor declaring the schools can't come up with their own policies on requiring masks. And we've got less than 500 ICU beds available in Texas.


In Travis County in Austin, yesterday I think they mentioned that they only had six ICU beds left. And that's a major American city in the second largest state in the nation. And so this is a governor and Greg Abbott who is actively harming the people of Texas and leading to more suffering and ultimately to more death.

ACOSTA: And before we go, I want to talk to you about Fox's Tucker Carlson. We hate to give him any publicity, but he made this bizarre trip to Hungary this past week where he's been gushing about the autocratic leader there, their authoritarian government, and held up Viktor Orban's hardline immigration stance. Let's take a listen, and I want to get your comment on that.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: In the face of great international pressure, they call him all kinds of names. The E.U. called what he was doing illegal, but he did it anyway. He built a wall. We said to a Hungarian minister who was standing there, it's hard to believe that's your policy when you come here illegally, you're just escorted out politely? And he said, "We're a serious country." How embarrassing to be an American in a conversation like that.


ACOSTA: What do you think about that, congressman?

CASTRO: Well, Tucker Carlson is a bigot and he's in this class of people who intellectualize racism. And in many ways, they are more dangerous than other folks because there is an agenda to their racism. And Tucker Carlson going to Hungary, he is aligning himself with somebody like Victor Orban who is anti-Semitic, white supremacist, harshly anti-immigrant, fascist authoritarian.

So, it's scary that a major news network in the United States, an American corporation would endorse what one of their main anchors is doing by going over there and embracing that kind of fascism and basically suggesting we should import it to the United States.

ACOSTA: All right. Congressman Joaquin Castro, thanks so much for joining us. Hope the COVID situation gets better in your state. It seems to be heading in the wrong direction like everywhere else, but thanks for your time this afternoon. We appreciate it, as always.

CASTRO: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Thanks, congressman.

Three thousand years. Three major faiths. One city. Here's a preview of tonight's brand-new episode of the "CNN Original Series "Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury."


PUNKNOWN: Djemal Pasha was sent by the Ottoman's to become the governor general of Jerusalem thinking that this would be an important battleground and that they needed a military man to be in charge.

UNKNOWN: Pasha served a major part in the Armenian genocide. He's known to be somebody with very little mercy and does not look favorable at any sort of dissent.

UNKNOWN: He was very brutal as a general. Everywhere he goes, he left behind him trails of assassinations and executions.

UNKNOWN: Djemal Pasha executed so many people that his nickname was Djemal the Slaughterman. That's not a nickname of a peaceful man.


ACOSTA: Be sure to tune in. "Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury" airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Only on CNN.

Coming up, after a year-long delay, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are in the history books. We'll bring you the latest on the athletes' perseverance, determination, and kindness with the eyes of the world watching. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:40:00] ACOSTA: It was an Olympics like none other. Overshadowed by the pandemic, but that didn't stop America from continuing a streak dating back to 1996. Team USA coming home with more medals than any other team at the Summer Games, winning more gold medals this year than any other team.

CNN's Will Ripley is live in Tokyo for us. Will, it was an eventful last day at the Olympics. Walk us through some of the key moments. It's really finishing strong over there.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. And it was a down to the wire medal finish for the U.S. because China was leading for most of the last two weeks. But in the last day, you had some incredible showings. And it was actually women's volleyball that pushed the U.S. over the edge for that gold medal count, which is cool because it's the first time that they've actually won a gold medal.

So, 39 gold for Team USA, 113 total. China came -- coming in with 38 and 88 total. And a great showcase for Japan with 27 gold medals, their most ever. It was also a great day for Team USA basketball. Both men and women taking home the gold. For the women I think it's now their seventh consecutive Olympic games, so since 1996 they've been winning gold every single time, but they delivered once again on the final day.

And then there was the closing ceremony which was spectacular, particularly, you know, people who love the drones really probably loved the dazzling light show. The Olympic rings that you could see in the air, and I was watching because I wasn't in the stadium, no spectators, and I thought, how did they do that?

There's lots of little mini drones. No, Jim, it was a made for T.V. special effect, unfortunately.

ACOSTA: Oh, goodness.


RIPLEY: So, anybody who was actually sitting in the stadium didn't see anything, but we got to see the light show.

ACOSTA: That is so cool. And, Wil, wasn't just about going for the gold this year. Acts of empathy and remarkable sportsmanship were on full display. Some calling it the kindness Olympics. What were your favorite moments?

RIPLEY: You know, that is really something that has been such a positive takeaway from these games. These athletes who came here knowing that they were entering a country where the majority of Japanese didn't even want the Olympics to happen.

They really banded together and so you see these images of athletes picking each other up if there was a fall. Embracing each other, even if they were, you know, rivals, you know, when they were playing. The badmin (ph) -- the USA and China badminton players exchanged their shirts as a symbol of respect. And then you have an American swimmer named Annie Lazor who embraced

her competitor from South Africa who won the gold. So this competitor beat here, but set a world record. And I asked her about that.


ANNIE LAZOR, TEAM USA BRONZE MEDALIST, SWIMMING: To have someone right next to me break the world record. Just as a fan of the sport in general, that's something that's pretty amazing to happen to you.

RIPLEY: Given that there were no spectators and you were in this bubble in the middle of a pandemic, do you think that brought the athletes closer, this experience?

LAZOR: Definitely more of a sense of, we're just really happy that this is happening. Really happy to be here.


RIPLEY: The Olympic bubble did hold, Jim. Only a few hundred cases tied to the games and very few of those athletes. But outside of the bubble with Japanese gathering in groups, including outside of the Olympic stadium to watch the closing ceremonies and stream it on their phones, you have case numbers exploding to their highest levels of the pandemic here in Japan.

But were the games a super-spreader event, it would depend on how you would categorized that because it's certainly spreading a lot in Japan, but not within the Olympic bubble itself.

ACOSTA: All right. And congratulations to all of our athletes overseas and great job covering the Olympics, Wil. Thanks so much for that report.

Coming up, why a man's sketch of a total stranger at the airport is going viral.


EMMA KEANE, SUBJECT OF VIRAL PORTRAIT: He starts staring at me and drawing and staring at me and drawing. Then I'm like, is this creepy or is this awesome? I decided it was awesome.


ACOSTA: But first, will the delta variant impact the U.S. job market. That's what Wall Street wants to know. CNN's Julia Chatterley has this week's "Before the Bell" report.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Jim. The good news is the delta variant hasn't hurt the jobs market, at least not yet. The U.S. economy adding back 943,000 jobs in July. That's actually the biggest gain since last August. It also means the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent.

The big question, of course now, is whether the delta variant shows up in future jobs reports. But for now at least, the economic recovery is chugging along. And one byproduct of that recovery is higher prices. And we'll be getting more data on that front this week.

Reports on consumer and producer prices for July are due and both indexes have climbed in recent months. Interestingly, though, inflation fears have actually eased a bit on Wall Street. Strong second quarter corporate results are also offsetting worries about the spread of the delta variant. In New York, I'm Julia Chatterley.



ACOSTA: A teenager's views moment turned out to be an artistic flop and the internet is loving it. CNN's Jeanne Moos has the whole story.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know all of those botched art restorations in Spain that are always good for a laugh? Well, imagine you're the one being restored, waking up from a nap at Minneapolis airport early in the morning and seeing a young guy seated across from you

KEANNE: He starts staring at me and drawing and staring at me and drawing. Then I'm like is this creepy or is this awesome? I decided it was awesome.

MOSS (voice-over): 18-year-old Emma Keanne was on her first cross country trip alone, waiting for a connecting flight to Los Angeles. She admits she fell flattered and even hammed it up for the artist.

KEANNE: I was posing. I was posing

MOSS (voice-over): After about half an hour the guy approached.

KEANNE: And hands me this.

MOOS: Emma says she had been hoping for something along the lines of Titanic --

UNKNOWN: Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls.

MOOS: But instead --

KEANNE: I was getting drawn like a South Park character.

MOOS (voice-over): The guy who signed the sketch, Joe, told her --

KEANNE: I'm sorry if this is weird, but I drew you.

Immediately, I was just like, oh, oh wow, okay.

MOOS (voice-over): But to her admirer she said --

KEANNE: I want to thank you. That's so sweet of you. You did a good job.

MOOS (voice-over): Emma, who is studying psychology and neuroscience, says it was like Napoleon Dynamite inviting Trisha to the dance by drawing her.

UNKNOWN: Took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip.

KEANNE: I was angry. I was --

MOOS (voice-over: Emma objects to a mask, drawn as if she weren't wearing it over her nose when she says she was. Her messy hair and that blob of a body.

KEANNE: I was humbled.

MOOS (voice-over): They spent 40 minutes talking before their flight left for L.A.

KEANNE: He ended being like a very sweet boy.

MOOS (voice-over): Since the drawing went viral, Emma has received other portraits to compensate and the original is chilling on the fridge.


KEANNE: It was my dad's idea. My family thinks it's hysterical.

MOOS (voice-over): It may have been a failed pickup ploy, but at least she can't complain that he didn't get her good side. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


ACOSTA: And that's the news. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here next Saturday at 3:00 p.m. eastern. Pamela Brown takes over the CNN NEWSROOM live after a quick break. Have a good night.