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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Massive Winter Storm Intensifying With Plunging Temperatures, High Winds, Blizzard Warnings And Thousands Of Flight Cancellations; Full Report From January 6 Committee Yet To Be Released; Plunging Temperatures Could Leave Migrants Vulnerable On El Paso Streets; Thousands Of Migrants Waiting At Southern Border With Title 42 In Limbo; Kremlin: Neither Pres. Biden Nor Zelenskyy Showed "Willingness To Listen To Russia's Concerns" After Zelenskyy's Historic Visit To Washington; Bill Gates On Covid And Face Masks. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 22, 2022 - 20:00   ET


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: State media is ignoring the scenes we've shown in this story, but for much of the pandemic, Chinese state TV was showing America's overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums repeatedly. The message was, look at China's low death toll in comparison, it is proof that China's system is superior.

But even after reopening, China is still claiming the death toll is low, that less than 10 people have died of COVID this month in total. So amid skepticism over that number, the government says it has changed the way it counts COVID deaths. Their method, it goes against the World Health Organization's guidelines and will severely underestimate the true death toll -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Selina, thank you very much. Incredible images, those car lines with dead bodies.

Thanks so much to all of you for joining us. AC 360 begins now.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The forecast: Wretched. The timing: Even worse.

A once in a generation winter storm and this one they say is going to be very, very dangerous. John Berman here, in for Anderson, already nearly half the country's population is shivering under Windchill Alerts or has seen temperatures drop as much as 70 degrees overnight.

Just take a look at this. This is Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You know it's cold there when the falls at Sioux Falls stop falling because they're frozen solid. You know just how widespread this Big Chill could get when places as far south as Tallahassee in Florida are now forecasting lows in the low 20s. And if that weren't enough, we're already seeing countless Blizzard Warnings and Watches, Flood Watches, Wind and Ice Advisories, and of course 1000s of flight cancellations, nearly 2,400 already today, that's according to FlightAware, and more than 2,000 for tomorrow already.

All of this smack dab in the middle of the Christmas travel rush. More now from CNN's Omar Jimenez in Chicago.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's not just snow, it is wind and cold as part of a huge winter system descending onto the US just days before Christmas.

Over this week, more than 80 percent of the country's population will see at or below freezing temperatures. Some places way below like Denver, where the temperature dropped nearly 40 degrees in just an hour hitting negative 15 by Thursday morning, or Wyoming where a State Trooper took this video, zero visibility and temperatures 60 degrees below zero.

Elsewhere, parts of the Midwest are doing what they can to keep up.

JIMENEZ (on camera): One of the biggest concerns in a winter system like this is the roads and this dome is part of what it takes in a city like Chicago. You're looking at 50,000 tons of salt inside that crews come in and out of over the course of the day to try and help keep these roads somewhat manageable.

JIMENEZ (voice over): The city has about 400,000 tons of salt and more than 300 vehicles in its arsenal to fight back on this second official day of winter.

COLE STALLARD, COMMISSIONER, CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF STREETS AND SANITATION: The goal is to keep up with it but we're going to be fighting that wind. If you can have a conversation with those young drivers, you know, every one of those first time drivers, kids coming home from college, trying to get home, just have that conversation with those young drivers because this is a little different type of event.

JIMENEZ (voice over): Cold temperatures and snow are nothing new to places like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Buffalo.

MAYOR BYRON BROWN, BUFFALO, NEW YORK: Some meteorologists are calling this a once in a generation event.

JIMENEZ (voice over): Even Atlanta is forecast to have windchill in the negatives, Friday.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Communities across the state are about to see temperatures that they haven't experienced in a decade or more.

JIMENEZ (voice over): The message is the same even for places used to dealing with bad winters. It's the combination of snow, wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour, and the demand to get home for Christmas. That could mean disaster especially on the roads where AAA estimates the majority of those traveling this Holiday week will be driving.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not like a snowy day, you know when you're a kid. It would be dangerous and threatening. This is really very serious weather alert here.


BERMAN: Bad, bad timing, and getting worse.

Omar Jimenez is with us now.

Omar, what's the concern in the next few hours where you are?

JIMENEZ: Yes, I mean, the concern is right now, you can see the snow falling and you can see me while everything looks pretty good, maybe not me as much as the snow, but I'll just say everything looks good for right now. The concern is as the temperature drops overnight, and the winds begin to pick up, all that pretty snow behind me is going to get pretty ugly and fast and especially is going to be significant when it comes to the road.

And talk about all of those factors coming together, one of the biggest in all of this is the demand to try and get home for Christmas. And as I mentioned, the majority of those people are going to be trying to hit the roads and the fear is that officials see people look at snow like this and be like oh, we've seen this before, and maybe get a little bit too confident when they wake up and try to make some of those journeys -- John.

BERMAN: Omar Jimenez, proven you can be cold and handsome at the same time. Thanks so much, Omar.


BERMAN: And if there were ever a time to check in with CNN's Derek Van Dam in the Weather Center, this is it, because there is so much that people need to know right now.

So Derek, what can we expect overnight?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, a lot of places have started out as rain, but with the arctic air that's going to settle in and the temperatures dropping 40 degrees in a matter of six hours, you're going to have what is called a flash freeze. That means some of that unfrozen precipitation on the ground rapidly freezes, and that makes, of course, travel just nearly impossible. That's the concerns here.

Major two extreme impacts anticipated across the Great Lakes, especially downwind of Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. Those are some of the bulls eyes for the heaviest snowfall.

So the cold front, right about there. The National Weather Service highlighting Indiana and Southern Michigan for the next few hours for the potential for snow squalls that could reduce physical visibilities under a quarter of a mile.

So as we zoom in, you know that popular Interstate 80, well, it is getting hammered by heavy snow right now. There is the location of the cold front, Fort Wayne. Cincinnati, you're next into my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, getting clobbered by heavy snowfall as his storm system wraps up and continues to strengthen and draws in the extreme arctic blast of air settling in behind. It's got the eyes set on the East Coast as well -- John.

BERMAN: You know, Derek, it's hitting such a wide area and you know, some grizzled polar veterans in the northeast, but a lot of places that aren't used to this kind of cold. So, how dangerous are these conditions?

VAN DAM: It doesn't take long for you to get frostbite in these types of conditions as well. The National Weather Service highlighting 45 below, that's the exposed wind temperature on your skin, it takes five minutes to get frostbite from that and we have realized these numbers and some for places like Casper, Wyoming. They had a windshield reading of negative 76 degrees this morning, and these advisories stretch from the north all the way to the South into the Gulf of Mexico.

Some places like Jackson, Mississippi will stay below freezing for the next three days, more the same for Birmingham, as well as Houston and Dallas. So not only do you want to protect your family and yourselves as you step outside, but you also want to protect your home, cover up your pipes if you can tonight.

Look at this, in Atlanta, you have got a huge temperature swing coming your way within the next six hours as our cold front settles in. Nashville to Atlanta, your temperatures will drop, get this, 30 degrees in the coming hours.

BERMAN: Some of these numbers just extraordinary. Derek Van Dam, thank you very much.

Again even those who are not feeling this directly in the form of dangerous weather are experiencing the impact especially in the form of canceled flights. And upended travel plans.

CNN's Pete Muntean now with more from the frontlines in some of the country's busiest airports.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The biggest pre-Christmas travel day is meeting a major snowstorm threatening Holiday travel plans nationwide. Blizzard conditions are forecast here at Chicago O'Hare where the airport was expecting Thursday to be its busiest.

PERRY HUN, TRAVELER: Confirmation number.

MUNTEAN: Perry Hun (ph) rescheduled his Christmas trip to California to leave early.

HUN (voice over): We thought it'd be best to escape and get out just a little bit before to avoid the weather.

MUNTEAN (voice over): A forecasted. 2.9 million passengers flying through Chicago are being met by 350 pieces of snow removal equipment and 400,000 gallons of de-icing fluid for taxiways and runways. MUNTEAN (on camera): Here at United Airlines Operation Center in

suburban Chicago, they are meeting nearly every hour about the weather, but they know delays and cancellations are inevitable.

It seems like a lot of collaboration.

JOE HEINS, VP OF OPERATIONS, UNITED: A lot of collaboration.

MUNTEAN (voice over): VP of Operations, Joe Heins says United is preparing for the most passengers it has seen since the start of the pandemic.

Customer Solutions Teams are now scrambling to save trips by rerouting passengers through other connecting airports.

HEINS: I wouldn't use the term meltdown, but it will be very, very challenging, but I can tell you we have the best team working on it. So if customers are out there and they see themselves delayed, no one understands it, we look at each and every customer.

MUNTEAN (voice over): Nationwide, AAA says one in three Americans will travel this Holiday, 102 million will be driving on top of the seven million who are flying, but the weather could throw it all off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there's going to be some pretty a pretty severe number of delays and cancellations.

MUNTEAN (voice over): Last Christmas rush, airlines canceled 5,000 flights amid a coronavirus surge and staffing shortages. Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg has been coming down on airlines for the disruptions they can control, but they cannot control the weather.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, US SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: We have major weather events hitting hubs that affect major airlines, so unfortunately, a lot of travelers are in for some disruption.


BERMAN: And that was CNN's Pete Muntean reporting, so blame him.

Next, new reporting on why the House January 6 Committee is still not out with its full and final report and what is inside the latest teaser they released tonight.

Later, on the Southern border, we will introduce you to migrants, some of whom are trying to enter the country lawfully with immigration law in flux in Washington and temperatures dropping where they are.



BERMAN: So where is it? That's the question. We certainly know when and where this huge winter storm is hitting tonight. No such certainty though for when the House January 6 Committee will release its final report. It was forecast to arrive yesterday, then today, now, it's anyone's guess.

That said, the Select Committee tonight did release another snippet of it, more testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson and there is plenty to talk about there.

CNN's Jessica Schneider joins us now with the very latest on the missing report and the latest new pieces of it. So, Jessica, what's going on with the release here?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's what everyone at least here in Washington, John, wants to know because this report is now nearly two days delayed. We were expecting this around noon on Wednesday, and here we are really just hours from Friday.

So what we've heard so far, in particular from Committee member, Zoe Lofgren, she was on our air earlier tonight. She says the holdup, John, quite simply appears to be typos.

So this Committee staff has been painstakingly going through this report. We understand that it hovers around 1,000 pages and between the fact that there are typos that needed to be fixed, and the fact that they have to send this to the Congressional printing office, that is the holdup.

So we keep expecting that this report could really come out at any minute, but at this point, John, it's really anyone's guess to forecast here.


BERMAN: I mean, if anyone understands typos, it's me, but I figured, they'd be better than me about this kind of stuff.


BERMAN: So what more can you tell us about the Cassidy Hutchinson transcript because there really does appear to be so much in there?

SCHNEIDER: Yes. You know, this is the most lengthy and illuminating testimony that we've seen so far released from the Committee. It really details this intense pressure campaign from her Trump world attorney, Stefan Passantino to repeatedly say in her testimony with the Committee that she didn't recall certain events or conversations around January 6th, and it also shows how in her perspective, Trump World kept dangling possible job opportunities in front of her every time she was about to testify to the Committee, perhaps to influence her.

So Cassidy Hutchinson in her testimony that was released, this was sort of just a few months ago with the Committee. She said that Stefan Passantino said this to her saying: "I want to make this clear to you," she said, "Stefan never told me to lie. He specifically told me, 'I don't want you to perjure yourself, but I don't recall isn't perjury,' They don't know what you can and can't recall."

And then she said, he summed it up by saying, "The less you remember, the better." So Passantino, that's what Cassidy Hutchinson says that he told her, but you know, he told our team earlier this week that he believes he was ethical when he represented Hutchinson, of course, she later got rid of him, and he believes that her initial rounds of testimony were truthful and cooperative. But of course, she did ditch him in favor of nonpartisan attorneys.

But John, really, her testimony just shows how much pressure she felt to not betray anyone from Trump's orbit especially because initially, they were paying for her legal representation. In addition to Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, we've also seen several other transcripts released throughout the day into tonight, and it includes one from Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews. She detailed how the former President Trump tried to get then Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, to hold press conferences in the wake of the election about fake claims of fraud, tied to Dominion Voting Machines. Of course, she refused. Those were fake claims of fraud.

But all of this, all of these transcripts we are now seeing, and of course, waiting for the report. It just punctuates the months of testimony that we've heard publicly, and it adds maybe drips of new evidence here, John, as the Committee gets prepared to really sunset its Committee, and then the Justice Department, of course, decides whether and who it might charge in relation to January 6th, including former President Trump.

So all the waiting game here, including for the final report, and then ultimately what DOJ decides to do here -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Jessica Schneider for us in Washington. Jessica, appreciate it.

With us now, CNN Chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; also CNN senior legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Elie Honig.

And Gloria, we are going to talk about the substance of what has come out so far, but I first still want to talk about the timing of this release, mostly because this Committee has been so adept at managing their message, and frankly, managing the way it is seen by the public. This seems a little bit like a miss.

I mean, this is now going to come out on you know, nearly Christmas Eve, people in the middle of trying to get where they are. What do you think's happening?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Let's blame it on the weather, except it's not the weather. Look, they have a problem, as Jess was pointing out with the printing office. They also, I might add, have no staff. Now, a lot of their staff has left, gone to other jobs, gone home to see their families. And so this this is a miss.

But when you talk to somebody in the Committee, as I did, they'll say, look, our big show was Monday. Monday, we criminally referred a former President of the United States, and they also say, look, we released 150-page executive summary. That doesn't sound like a summary to me, it was pretty long, but they said that's the bulk of our work. And so yes, they've missed these deadlines here, but the country isn't

really paying attention to that, it is paying attention to the weather, and they believe their clear message got out on Monday.

BERMAN: So Elie, the substance of the transcripts that we have seen, Cassie Hutchinson, specifically, talk to us about the language that has been released. What exactly matters here?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So there's a lot of gray area here and a lot of what is happening is sort of playing in that gray area, but let me tell you one thing that jumped out to me, that is not in the gray area, that is over the line.

Cassidy Hutchinson testified that she told her lawyer about the incident with Donald Trump and the Secret Service in the SUV, and her lawyer at that point said you can say, I don't recall. They don't know what you do and don't recall, so you can say I don't recall. That is not okay.

If it happened that way, if it demonstrably, provably happened that way, that is suborning perjury, because you cannot just say, I don't recall if you do recall and so taking Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony at her word, that is going to be a big problem.


BERMAN: Especially if she told him, but I do recall.

HONIG: Right. Exactly. I don't recall is not some just magic words you can incite in order to get out of anything. You can't just say that if you do recall.

BERMAN: Now, he could say, if you don't recall 100 percent, if that was the substance of what he said, that is different.

HONIG: Yes, lawyers say all the time, listen, don't testify to anything that you're not sure of, that you don't know for sure. But if she said, yes, I do know, then you can't tell her to say I don't.

BERMAN: So Gloria, these transcripts between Cassidy Hutchinson and also Sarah Matthews which Jessica gave us a taste of, what jumps out to you?

BORGER: Well, the courage and the personal agony of these two young women. I mean, just imagine this. They are young staffers. They are the folks who stand around on the wall of the Oval Office when there is a meeting or sit in the back of the room when there is a Cabinet meeting.

And you know, early on in this, I was told by a source on the Committee, don't pay attention to the bright shiny objects all the time, because that's what I was asking. He said to me, pay attention to the people whose names you don't know, who were listening to conversations, who were in on conversations and that is Cassidy Hutchinson and Sarah Matthews. I mean, Cassidy Hutchinson had to fire a lawyer and hire someone. She

had no money. She was afraid of what Trump World would do to her. And Sarah Matthews quit on January 6th, because she knew what was going on was wrong and she couldn't live with it. That's what really came out to me in these transcripts, these two women.

BERMAN: And there was fear there.

BORGER: Absolutely.

BERMAN: There still is fear.

So, Elie, one of the things that we read in the Cassidy Hutchinson transcript also was conversations that she testified to with Kevin McCarthy, that the former President, that Donald Trump would acknowledge McCarthy said that he had lost at times, but then waiver on it. What's important here?

HONIG: This tees up such a crucial decision that the Justice Department is now going to have to make, which is how hard do they push to get testimony from Kevin McCarthy. The January 6 Committee subpoenaed McCarthy, he brushed them off, and they did nothing. They referred him to the House Ethics Committee. Nothing's going to happen there. Who cares?

But DOJ has grand jury subpoenas and think of how much crucial testimony -- if Kevin McCarthy was not representative, perhaps, someday soon, Speaker McCarthy. If he was just regular guy, Kevin McCarthy, you would subpoena him in two seconds flat, because we know he talked to Donald Trump as January 6th was happening, as the attack was happening.

Now, we have this testimony as well from Cassidy Hutchinson, so he is a crucial witness and we'll see how hard DOJ goes after his testimony.

BERMAN: That would be a big step though. So Gloria, Trump World, how are they preparing for this release of the final report whenever it does come?

BORGER: They have a lot of fish to fry these days, don't they? They are incredibly busy. Look, they're going to be dismissive as they were on Monday as Donald Trump was of the criminal referrals. I don't think it's going to be any different when you get the final report.

But one thing that is interesting to me and Elie knows more about this than I do, when this report comes out and you have all these transcripts, the Trump lawyers are going to be able to read them and they will know what was testified to before the Committee. It gives them a hint at what the DOJ may be asking and there could be problems.

What if the DOJ gets a different answer from someone than someone who testified that the Committee got? You know, in a way, they think this could work to their advantage.

BERMAN: Yes, it will be a full employment act for lawyers reading these transcripts. BORGER: It always is.

BERMAN: Gloria Borger, Elie Honig, have a wonderful Holiday.

BORGER: You too.

BERMAN: I hope you both get to where you're going.

Still ahead, thousands of migrants at the Southern border tonight will face freezing temperatures. CNN's David Culver spoke with some who are hoping to get into the United States. We have their story, next.



BERMAN: A potentially dangerous situation is unfolding right now in El Paso and the big winter storm system playing a role. Temperatures are dropping, and there is an influx of migrants who are here without any papers, which prevent them critically from getting inside some shelters.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is on the ground there alerting us to what's going on. Ed, why don't you tell us what you're seeing?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, a few hours ago, we noticed that the number of migrants on the streets of downtown El Paso were much larger than we have seen in recent days, and this is of course of great concern. Temperatures are expected to reach overnight to about 19 or 20 degrees, highly dangerous temperatures in a dangerous situation.

This, as the shelter capacity is simply overwhelmed. This is the door to the Sacred Heart Church where they are prioritizing tonight, women and children and families. But there are still many more that will not be able to get in.

They are expanding tonight and for the next four nights from 130 people to 200, and that's still not enough.

This is what we're going to see more of here tonight in El Paso, people lining up, cannot get into shelter space. And you mentioned, the other dynamic that has changed here is that as we've talked to people throughout the afternoon, there are many more people here in El Paso who have not been through the Border Patrol processing system.

So they do not have the paperwork to get on some buses, to get into some of the shelters for example, to get into the City of El Paso Convention Center. You have to have those documents to be able to get in there.

A city official told us that that is a matter of Federal and State Law and that there is nothing they can do about it. But you can see the scene around me here, as people are going to be preparing for an incredibly, brutally cold night here in El Paso, and the director of one shelter told us a little while ago that right now, his greatest fear is that one of these migrants might not wake up tomorrow morning -- John.

BERMAN: Look at that line and the temperature is dropping fast. Is the city taking any other measures, Ed, to help the people who will be on the streets tonight?

LAVANDERA: Well, they have had, as they've had for the last week, Emergency Management Teams going around, trying to convince people. They know where all the shelter spaces available trying to get people if space pops open, to put them in vans and get them to locations.


But it's probably not going to be enough to get the vast majority of these people off of the streets here tonight. And it's just really significant because for some reason and we just don't know the answer to this tonight. There just seems to be far more people on the streets tonight that we've seen in the last few days because Customs and Border Protection had been reporting that there had been a reduction, you know, last week it was about 2,500 people a day being apprehended. That number had dropped to about 1,500.

But remember, flights and buses are just backlog. It's very difficult for people to move on to other locations as they have the paperwork. And now we're discovering that many of these people don't have the paperwork, so it makes it even more difficult for them to travel elsewhere into the U.S. So that is the very intense situation that is unfolding here tonight.

BERMAN: Yes. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for alerting us to the situation you're seeing. Please keep us posted.

Similarly, on the other side of the border, officials are also warning migrants to stay in a shelter or stay home due to the extreme cold. Many are waiting, hoping to eventually cross and request asylum. Some have been waiting for weeks, living on the streets and abandoned homes or in large makeshift camps. That's because the Supreme Court is still considering the fate of the Trump-era immigration policy, Title 42.

Let's get more from CNN's David Culver who spoke with two migrants who were stuck at the border after making a dangerous journey. This is his report.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are those who cross illegally streams of people every day, every hour. And then there are those who watch, wait and face the unknown. Here in Ciudad Juarez. This is what the U.S. looks like for Ulexi Fernandez and Lucy Bastillas (ph). We're not criminals, we're good people, they stress. The two met while serving in the Venezuelan military. In October, they started their trek north, fleeing political turmoil, hiking through jungles rafting, murky waters, riding a train from on top. So close to their final destination until policy and this halt their journey.

Before sunrise Tuesday, we watch as Texas law enforcement mobilize sealing off this popular access point to American soil, one of the state's efforts to stop the flow of migrants. But it only reroutes them a short distance down river, creating a new bottleneck for illegal crossings and a tense standoff.

The setting sun utters in freezing temperatures. By nightfall, migrants settle in on the U.S. side of the river, building campfires to keep warm. Hours later, some rush another border entry point about a mile away. Under Title 42, they can still be immediately expelled on the grounds of COVID prevention. Lucy and Ulexi, determined to enter legally. She wants to do it the right way, she tells me, and knows exactly where she wants to go.


CULVER (voice-over): Far from their Big Apple dreams, unable to return home, stuck in international purgatory. I'm here with my partner, she says. Discriminated against, they say, because they're migrants, they're women and they're a couple to be safe, they avoid public displays of affection and traveling groups. Another reason they want to get to the other side?


CULVER (voice-over): When we're there, we're going to help all of our family, she says. The very mention of family triggers emotions Lucy's carried since leaving Venezuela. Lucy missing her mom and siblings. Ulexi, her ten-year-old daughter. We hurry across traffic, about a half mile from where we first met the couple and arrive at this local shelter with nowhere else to go, families line up, hoping to escape the freezing cold.


CULVER (voice-over): Lucy and Ulexi among the fortunate. This is home, at least for now. We meet some of their new friends, fellow migrants from all backgrounds.


CULVER (on-camera): And how many people altogether are usually in here at night?

ELIAS RODRIGUEZ, DIRECTOR, HOPE CENTER SHELTER: Altogether, 135 has been our greatest number. We don't have the capacity for the demand.

CULVER (voice-over): The church group that runs this shelter, bolstered by locals donating their time and food. And much like border cities in the U.S. Ciudad Juarez is feeling the strain from this migration surge. The city has always been very generous to migrants, but in this case, with so many people, it's difficult. The city isn't prepared for this influx, he says.

Back in the shelter, Ulexi struggles with having left her daughter behind, telling me, I don't know when I can give her my love again, because right now I'm just trying to provide for her. Lucy saying the hardest part in this moment right now is being so close and not being able to cross. But echoing from their phone a familiar song that chronicles a migrant journey, brings back smiles and hope.



CULVER (voice-over): We're going to make it with that, we're going to make it, she says.


BERMAN: And CNN's David Culver joins us now from the U.S.-Mexico border. David, what a perspective you just gave us. It clear why there are some people waiting to be processed, even as others are clearly getting in?

CULVER: You're right, they are getting in. Thousands are getting in fact, really in two different parts. You have some who are sneaking in, going in under the radar, and then you have folks who are still crossing illegally, like the ones behind me, because they go over the Rio Grande and then they line up to be processed going into the U.S. but John, that does not guarantee they can stay in the U.S. And so, that's the fear that folks like Ulexi and Lucy have is that they will potentially get in, be processed and then be deported.

We're talking about being expelled to places much farther than we are right here over the border in Ciudad Juarez, places that would then basically force them to relive what was a very long, treacherous journey. So that's why they're hoping Title 42 comes down. They'll have a chance to claim asylum the legal way. John.

BERMAN: David Culver at a very active border tonight. Thank you, David.

Still ahead, there has been an outpouring of positive reaction today in both the U.S. and Ukraine after Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's historic visit to Washington last night. But his visit has prompted a different response in Russia. The latest on both, next.



BERMAN: Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi displayed the now framed Ukrainian flag that was given to her by Ukraine's President Zelenskyy during his address to Congress last night. The flag was signed by Ukrainian troops on the front lines in Bakhmut. President Zelenskyy today thanked President Biden for his assistance and leadership and said he is returning home with, quote, good results, results that will really help.

A different tone, of course in Moscow, a Kremlin spokesperson warned that the United States supplying patriot missile systems to Ukraine would prolong people's, quote, suffering, which rings hollow considering the almost continuous Russian missile strikes on civilians.

Joining us now is CNN national security analyst and former CIA chief of Russia operations, Steve Hall.

So, Steve, that response from Russia, the varied response that you've heard from Russia and the Kremlin here, do you think that this meeting Zelenskyy's trip has changed Russia's calculus here?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I don't really think it has, John to the extent that Russia has a calculus that we can figure out. It is, of course, you know, all viewers should understand the obvious, which is that it's absolutely ridiculous for Russia to say, hey, we've invaded another country, and now people need to take into consideration our concerns, which is what they said. But you know, there's a really interesting good propaganda line that the Kremlin is starting to develop. And if you read some of the stuff that's coming out of the Kremlin, they're saying things like, the United States is waging an indirect war against Russia down to the last Ukrainian life. So that's clearly pointed at the Ukrainian people who are suffering terribly this winter as a result of Russian aggression.

BERMAN: Yes, propaganda to effect in Ukraine as opposed to the U.S. voting population. Back to one of the words you brought up there that Putin and others complaining that Ukraine and the U.S. aren't willing to listen to Russia's concerns. What a word here? Concerns that Russia has from the country that invaded Ukraine, that bombs Ukraine, that kills Ukrainian civilians.

HALL: Yes, no, it really is, on the surface, exactly what you're describing. It's ridiculous. So, Russia invades a country and then says, wait a minute, we've got concerns that everybody needs to focus on. But I think one of the things that Zelenskyy did really, really well in that speech, in my view to Congress, was is it, he said something that I'd really like to hear more out of American politicians. And that is when you ask the valid question, how come billions of dollars are going to Ukraine when my school system or bus system or infrastructure isn't getting paid for here in the United States? Why is that worth it? The answer is because this is a fight for democracy. This is something that benefits the United States globally when democracies win over autocracies like Russia. It's a valid question, but Zelenskyy addressed it directly, saying, we're not asking for donations. We're asking for an investment in your own future. And that's absolutely correct, in my view.

BERMAN: Some more words from Vladimir Putin today that they're bare (ph) looking at more closely. Sooner or later, any party to the conflict will sit down and negotiate. And the sooner those opposing us realize it, the better. So, Steve, talk to us about the contours now of what talks could look like and whether they really are proximate in any way.

HALL: Well, it's fascinating to hear the Kremlin, and specifically Vladimir Putin now saying, well, we really need to discuss diplomacy and discussing. You'll recall, remember at the beginning of the war, it was, we're going to go in and do a quick decapitation in Kyiv and it's all going to be over. And so, now I think the Russians are seeing how much more difficult this is going to be. And so, they're talking about negotiations. Now, I mean, you know, oftentimes wars do end in negotiations, but it's quite clear that the Ukrainians are saying, yes, those times have not arrived yet because there are still invaders on our territory. And until our territory is secured and we have expelled all of them, only then can those talks begin. And I think that puts the Kremlin in a really difficult position, because are they going to try to continue this very long, difficult war, or are they going to go ahead and keep pushing for diplomacy?

BERMAN: Steve Hall, thanks so much for being with us tonight. Safe travels if you're on the move.

HALL: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Up next, Bill Gates and his wish for 2023. He shares with Anderson what his foundation is doing to save lives around the world.



BERMAN: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has a wish for 2023. He shares it in his annual year and letter The Future Our Grandchildren Deserve. Gates says he is excited to become a grandfather in the new year. He writes quote, when I think about the world my grandchild will be born into, I'm more inspired than ever to help everyone's children and grandchildren have a chance to survive and thrive. He's the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He's also the author of How To Prevent The Next Pandemic, and he recently spoke to Anderson about that and more.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (on-camera): Let me ask about the pandemic. I mean what do you think worked well and what didn't? I mean I keep wondering now about the whole closing of schools. Was that, you know, given the ripple effects of it on education levels, on all sorts of things, was that the right thing to do?


BILL GATES, CO-FOUNDER, MICROSOFT: Well probably be debating that for a long time. Once we get the vaccine and we have a full understanding that those at risk are mostly people over 60, at that point, we probably should have opened the schools back up more than we did. The degree to which this was a disease of older people and you popped possibly could say, OK, the teachers who are older, they don't have to come in, but make that division that really wasn't done. It was like, if any teachers at risk, then we should just have the entire school shut down.

And so, it would have been a more subtle approach to help the teachers all get vaccinated and then say that below a certain age they should come in and that the teaching was not so risky as to give up the benefits of having the kids in school.

COOPER (on-camera): What do you think -- do you wear a mask still?

GATES: Now, I was actually in Doha and saw that basically no one was wearing a mask. And I was asking people about that. I have to admit, when there are other people wearing masks, I don't, you know, if I knew I was anywhere near an older person who for some reason was particularly at risk, I probably would by default wear a mask. You know, If I'm going to be in groups, I'm still testing every day. But I think that's in the minority on that. If you're fully boosted, the risks are not gigantic, and people absolutely should stay completely boosted.

COOPER (on-camera): In terms of developing vaccines that are more effective, I mean is there -- that clearly there's room for improvement. I mean, the vaccines I think people were surprised that they weren't as effective as some had believed they were, as we'd been led to believe they were. Obviously, they're better than nothing. What's the road for better vaccines?

GATES: The main surprise is I'd say twofold. One is that they wear off. The older you are, the quicker they wear off. Some people say if you're above 70, you should even get boosted every four months or so. So, duration we want to work on. The other thing is that the vaccines don't prevent you from getting infected. They do for a bit, reduce the chance of infection, but then infection itself, because that requires antibodies up in your nose, that's not where the vaccine succeeds. It's more protects your body, your lungs, which is where severe disease and death come from.

So, we're trying to modify we may have one of the doses of the vaccine be an inhaled vaccine, which causes the immune system to focus on protecting the upper respiratory tract. And because we're not infection blocking, the benefit to other people of your taking the vaccine is not as high as it would be if were completely infection blocking, like a lot of vaccines are. And it'll be a few years, though, before we get that new feature.

COOPER (on-camera): You've put another $20 billion into the Gates Foundation endowment this year. And for those people who don't know as you say in your annual letter. The foundation is really, you say, designed to help poor -- to help people in poor countries stay alive, help them not die because they shouldn't die, and especially children. The childhood death rate has been cut in half since you started the foundation in 2000. How does that get cut even more?

GATES: Well, we're inventing new vaccines. You know, we have a partnership with Pfizer for two new vaccines that will get out in the next three years. We do better malaria work and that went backwards during the pandemic, so it went back up from about 400,000 to 500,000 deaths. We've got some amazing TB drugs coming along. And so, you know, the goal is to cut it in half again. We were hoping to do that by 2030, but with all these setbacks, it'll be more like 2035.

COOPER (on-camera): But you really think by 2035, you can help cut the childhood death rate? Because I think, what, 4 million children die each year whose lives could be saved? GATES: That's right. And the goal is to get that all the way down to 2 million. Once you get there, you're getting pretty close to the kid born in a rich country is only about twice as likely to survive as a kid born in a poor country. So that's pretty good. You know, that's -- you know, when we got started, it was eight times as more likely to die.


COOPER (on-camera): I mean, it's an incredible I don't think people appreciate or really understand. I mean what's incredible accomplishing all the stuff the foundation has done. I just want to run through a couple of things, because I was optimistic after reading your letter. Obviously, there's a lot of things which are not going great. But you actually think there could be a cure for HIV AIDS within ten to 15 years?

GATES: That's right. This gene therapy, which today is only done for rare diseases and costs several million dollars, we've got to change that so that it costs more like $1,000 to $2,000 one-time. We have a collaboration of some amazing scientists that are trying a variety of approaches, and we're making good progress, so you'll know it'll be more than a decade's work. Both sickle cell and HIV, we should be able to do one-time lifelong cure using that gene therapy.

COOPER (on-camera): That's incredible. I mean that's --

GATES: It will be.

COOPER (on-camera): Bill Gates, I always enjoy talking to you. Thank you.


BERMAN: Some reason for hope right there. And we'll be right back.



BERMAN: The news continues, so let's hand it over to Laura Coates in "CNN TONIGHT."