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U.S. Migrant Crisis; Bill Introduced in Texas Would Grant Individuals Authority to Apprehend Migrants; Three States Near Historic Deal to Conserve Water from Colorado River; Supreme Court Clears Twitter of Responsibility for Content Relating to Terrorism; Debt Ceiling Showdown; Interview with Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi; Lack of Youth Umpires Nationwide Due to Hostile Parents. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 18, 2023 - 10:30   ET



SARA SIDNER, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: CNN's Nick Valencia is following this story for us. This quite a move to say that regular everyday civilians are going to be suddenly take on law enforcement capabilities. How -- I mean, what are the chances this bill might pass?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Sara, great question. And there's a lot of anticipation that they're -- it's likely to pass and that it'll get the two-thirds majority it needs to be passed. State Democrats there in Texas and civil rights group have been fighting iterations of this legislation for weeks. They are concerned about this Border Protection Unit for a variety of reasons, but perhaps most concerning to them is what they perceive as a lack of accountability or oversight.

You would not have to be a law enforcement officer to be a member of this unit. In fact, it makes it very clear in this legislation that the Border Protection Unit chief would have the discretion to decide who they want to be part of this unit, leaving the door open to potential vigilantes to "Repel" migrants if they cross into the state unlawfully. It's very concerning for the Texas civil rights project. The Border Protection Unit would not have the authority to use lethal force. They would be tasked with the authority of nondeadly use force.

And to be very clear, federal immigration authorities are still going to enforce federal immigration law. But this legislation leaves it open for this Border Protection Unit to go after migrants who cross on private property. The legislation also goes on to say it would be up to the individual counties to decide whether or not they want these units in their jurisdiction.

It is not the final language of this legislation, but it is working its way through the Texas legislature, as you mentioned this morning, Sara. It's at a Senate committee hearing on border protection. And we don't exactly know when this vote on the legislation will take place but I just got an update a little while ago and there is a chance that this could be voted on as early as today. Sara.

SIDNER: All right. Nick Valencia, thank you for explaining all of that.

All right. We're going to go now to Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: It's being hailed as a historic deal, and it's a critical one for a huge portion of the western United States. Aimed at protecting the water supply for tens of millions of people. Three states now, California, Arizona and Nevada, they're expected to accept measures that would conserve a major portion of their water from the Colorado River in exchange for about billion dollars in federal funding.

But there's a whole lot more to this. Bill Weir is here to help -- to walk us through.


BOLDUAN: Hello, my dear.

WEIR: Good to see you.

BOLDUAN: This is all about this crucial water system teetering on the point of disaster.

WEIR: Absolutely crucial. Not enough water, too many people is the recipe out west. About 40 million people in seven states and Mexico depend on to Colorado River right now. And if you look at the water levels as they have fallen over the last couple of years, so this time last summer, Lake Mead, Lake Powell, those are our big reservoirs of life, they are about a quarter full. And as you can see, the top line is 2021, you can see it going down.

BOLDUAN: So wild.

WEIR: Look at how many feet it dropped there, 25 feet from year to year. But this year, see, it's coming up thanks to all that record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada's and the Rockies right there. Actually, the Sierras don't feed the Colorado but the Rockies got a lot of snow. So, they're hopeful that that's going to go up there. But in the meantime, this took the pressure off of the negotiations.

BOLDUAN: Because this has been going on for years.

WEIR: It has been going on.

BOLDUAN: They've been fighting about who gets what, how much do they get, and who's got to conserve more.

WEIR: Exactly. You've got the seven -- the four upper basin states, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, that's where all the snowpack is.


WEIR: But California and Arizona primarily use most of the water. Nevada's done a great job of conserving right now. But they finally came together. For a while, it was basically California against everybody else, because they are first line. So, they have rights to irrigate way more before Denver or anybody else can pull from that water.


WEIR: So, right now, it looks like California, Arizona, and Nevada have coalesced around this deal. Like, we'll leave water in the reservoirs, about 13 percent over the next few years in exchange for $1 billion. But we don't know if everybody's going to go along with that.

BOLDUAN: That's what I was going to say. It's not a done deal yet -- I mean, so this can still fall apart. I mean, they need to figure something out.

WEIR: They absolutely have.

BOLDUAN: Hasn't the government said, if you don't, we're going to decide for you?

WEIR: And they've blown by two deadlines so far. And the reporting, from "Washington Post" at least, is there's tension between the states. And, look, we can figure this out. We don't want to answer to the interior secretary. The Feds are saying, you guys haven't figured this out at all. We need to come up with emergency measures that if we do have to cut allocation because it's gotten so bad, here's the way forward.

But right now, there's a little bit of relief thanks to all that snowpack out there. And at least, there's some talk.


WEIR: The old saying is, whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting out west. And at some point, if you fight too much, the whole thing is going to break. The whole system is going to crash.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

WEIR: So, it's good to see some movement.

BOLDUAN: When then leads us back to the whiskey.

WEIR: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Bill. Thank you so much.

WEIR: You bet. You bet.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEWS CENTRAL CO-ANCHOR: All right. We do have breaking news. The Supreme Court has just issued a ruling involving Twitter and terror-related content.

CNN's Jessica Schneider has the details here. And Jessica, this could actually extend, I imagine, beyond terror issues as well. Tell us what happened. [10:35:00]

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. Actually, two big cases really shielding tech companies at large. The Supreme Court just coming down with two decisions, connected cases, one involving Twitter, one involving Google. Basically, saying that all of these social media and tech platforms are not responsible for terrorist content created on line.

Now, the first case that was released was against Twitter. It was based on the Anti-Terrorism Act, families who had relatives killed in a terrorist attack in Turkey had sued Twitter and other social media platforms, saying that they were in part responsible for the terrorist attack. The Supreme Court now saying that under the anti-terrorism act, no, these tech companies are not responsible for the content that is posted online that may lead to a terrorist attack.

And, John, in connection to that, there was also another related case involving Google. It was the family of an American student, Nohemi Gonzalez. She was 23 years old. She was killed in the Paris terror attack in November 2015. They sued Google because owns YouTube and there had been ISIS videos that had been posted on YouTube repeatedly. They said that that contributed to the terrorist attack, that Google YouTube should then be held responsible. But the Supreme Court, essentially, dismissing that case because of the resolution that they came to in the first case.

So, the take away from all of this, John, is a big win for social media companies. There was a lot of concern among these companies that if the Supreme Court found that they were liable, it could really change the landscape of the way the internet is run because, of course, now people can post what they want. These internet companies are not liable, that will continue to be the case based on what the Supreme Court just decided moments ago. John.

BERMAN: Yes, huge rulings on two cases. Thank you for saying that. Not one, but two case. Huge rulings here with wide ranging implications for these social companies, Twitter and Google, and now others as well. Jessica Schneider, thank you so much for that.


SIDNER: Little league baseball is getting under way, but a shortage of umpires or referees could put the season in jeopardy. Find out why many of them say, no way, we're fed up.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy appearing more positive about the debt negotiations, you learned that this morning, with two weeks to go until the U.S. could default on its debt. Can a deal be reached in time?



BERMAN: Just a few moments ago, a potentially important development in the debt limit standoff between the White House and House Republicans. Our Manu Raju just reported moments ago that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy indicated that there has been some positive movement in these negotiations. This is really they first time that Speaker McCarthy has expressed anything close to optimism.

Now, Congress has only 14 days until June 1st, that is the day that Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, says the U.S. could default on its debt. While meeting with allies in Japan, President Biden was asked about that looming deadline.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bottom line, Mr. Prime Minister, is that when our countries stand together, we stand stronger. Now, I believe the whole world is safer when we do. So, thank you again for having me here today, and we look forward to the next several days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can you guarantee allies that the U.S. won't default?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go. Let's go.


BERMAN: So, no guarantee there from the president whether the U.S. will default.

With us now, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, Mark Zandi. Mark, great to see you. Let me get you on the news first, optimism of a sort from Kevin McCarthy, our Manu Raju reports that for the first time Kevin McCarthy seemed to indicate he thinks discussions are going in the right direction. How much do you like that?

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Well, John, I like it. I'll take it. I mean, obviously, I want to see lawmakers get it across the finish line and there's a lot of work, I'm sure to be done. But you know, it feels good. And I think the guidance from both the president and senator -- and Speaker McCarthy is a positive development, so good news.

BERMAN: So, you heard President Biden there not answering when asked by reporters a little earlier this morning, can you guarantee that the U.S. will not default? How would you answer that question?

ZANDI: Well, John, I don't think they will default. I mean, at the end of the day, a default would be just a real mess. And the longer the default goes on day by day, the economic damage would accumulate. And not -- it's not just in the very near term, and it's not just pushing us into a near term recession, the cost to us as a nation in longer run would be quite serious in both economically and geopolitically.

So, the -- you know, the stakes here are so high. It's just -- I -- it's just hard to imagine that they would go down the default route. I just can't believe that they would do that. So, at the end of the day, I expect them to. But having said that, you know, there is a non-zero probability that, you know, that they can make a mistake.

BERMAN: So, the optimism, whatever it was from Kevin McCarthy moments ago, that withstanding -- notwithstanding, I should say, there's been a disconnect, I think, between what we're hearing from political reporters and some on Capitol Hill that they are not close to a deal, right? That they could very well default. There's a disconnect between that and what the stock market seems to have priced in.


The stock market does not seem to have priced in, at all, a default. They seem pretty sanguine about all of this. Why is there that disconnect?

ZANDI: Yes. So far, you're right. I -- you know, I think investors, stock investors think they've seen this movie before and they know the ending. You know, we've been down this path so many times, and so many times lawmakers create a lot of drama, a lot of political theater. And at the end of the day, you know, right before the X date when the treasury runs out of cash to pay everyone on time, they pass a piece of legislation increasing the limit.

So, I think we're all unnerved to it. There may also be some this crisis fatigue, John. I mean, goodness knows, we've been through a lot in the last several years and people are just, you know, tired. But, you know, having said that, I think if we come back next week this time, you ask me to come on a week from now and there's no deal, and lawmakers are not talking nice like they are today, then I do think we're going to have some really ugly days in the stock market. And at the end of the day, that maybe what's required to put pressure on lawmakers to, you know, get it together and finally ultimately pass a piece of legislation increasing the limit.

BERMAN: Really ugly days, you say. How ugly if there's no deal by June 1st?

ZANDI: Oh, well, by June 1st, that's a breach. That's really ugly. I mean, that means, you know, you go back to 2011, the last time we had this kind of very difficult drama and the stock market fell 17 percent. I mean, just -- we had a couple of days where it was down five percent, just put that into context in the current stock market. That means that Dow Jones Industrial average would be down 1,500 points in a given day, that's pretty ugly. And that'll, you know, that'll accumulate very quickly over a few days and push us into the recession.

BERMAN: Mark Zandi, always a pleasure speaking with you. Thanks so much for coming on. Appreciate it.

ZANDI: Sure.


BOLDUAN: It is great to hear from him.

John, stay here because let's talk some baseball. Scenes like this, we want to show you right here. It seems like there's a breaking out at little league games. More and more parents lashing out from the stands, things getting violent. I mean, it's -- actually just ridiculous, I'm just going to say that. And now, these unacceptable outbursts are having a real and lingering impact on the game. We're going to talk about it, that's coming up.



SIDNER: Out of control on a little league baseball field. No, not the children but the parents. There are no major league scouts at little league games but someone needs to tell the parents. Parents are screaming at coaches and umpires, and worse, physically fighting them. So, who is stepping up to the plate to take the job of the little league umpire? Fewer and fewer people, it turns out. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has the story.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): It's one of America's favorite past times.

JACK WOOD, LITTLE LEAGUE PLAYER: Baseball is just like -- it's very fun.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): But the kids' fun is being ruined by --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is happening?

YURKEVICH (voiceover): -- Adults. Around the country, brawls are breaking out at youth baseball games.


YURKEVICH (voiceover): A coach coming after an umpire at a little league game in Alabama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We already heard you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to forfeit the team.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): Parents aggressively yelling at an umpire in Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel fine. Do you feel OK?

YURKEVICH (on camera): I can't understand what could get someone so upset at a children's baseball game.

JOHN DUGAN, PRESIDENT, RAMSEY BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION: I don't -- I'm with you. I don't understand it either. There's an expectation that, you know, every game is do-or-die for their kids' future in this sport. YURKEVICH (voiceover): The physical and verbal abuse by parents is having a dramatic impact, an umpire shortage. Since 2017, the number of youth umpires in the U.S. has dropped. And at the high school age, there are nearly 20,000 fewer referees across all sports than before the pandemic. But with signs, those numbers may tick up this year.

DUGAN: We have suspended people from the park and --

YURKEVICH (on camera): Suspended parents from the park?


YURKEVICH: For how long?

DUGAN: Usually it's one game, two games to begin with, and then if it becomes worse than that then we ask them not to come back.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): On this picture-perfect evening in Ramsey, New Jersey, the Robins are playing the Orioles. 21-year veteran umpire, Carl Kearney is calling this little league game.

CARL KEARNEY, LITTLE LEAGUE UMPIRE: That was low ball floor.

I'm the boss out there, no doubt.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): He's a calm boss.

KEARNEY: All right. Here we go.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): Which works in his favor.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How have parents been in recent years?

KEARNEY: Some can be louder than the coaches. Some vulgarity at times, but I let the parents say what they're going to say. If they continue, then you have to then tell the coach, you know, you have to, kind of, manage the parents. If you don't calm that down, I'm going to have to ask you to remove them.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): Mike Wood has gotten his fair share of arguments with umpires.

MIKE WOOD, FATHER OF LITTLE LEAGUE PLAYER: It has been suggested, maybe I should I leave the game, but --

YURKEVICH (on camera): Suggested by who?

M. WOOD: -- but we never got to that point.

YURKEVICH: Suggested by who?

M. WOOD: By the umpire. The umpire said, look, I mean, if you don't like the way I'm calling the game, you can leave. I'm not going to leave, and it doesn't I have to enjoy the way that you're calling the game, you know.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): But his son, Jack, catcher for the Orioles, and Evan, catcher for the Robins, see it from a different perspective.

J. WOOD: The umpire is, like, the top tier man. And like, you have to respect him.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Do you think it's appropriate for parents to be so involved, yelling things at the umpire?

EVAN PETERFRIEND, LITTLE LEAGUE PLAYER: They should be excited and, like, focused on the game. Bu, like, when they, like, talk to umpires and, like, yell at the calls and stuff, I think that's a little unnecessary, maybe.

YURKEVICH: Unnecessary because why?


PETERFRIEND: Because like -- it's like a kid's game and it's just, like, little league. So, the kids are just trying to have fun.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): When adults behave badly, the kids lose.

KEARNEY: I have to stop the game and nobody wants that. I can also understand that a parent, you know, wanting their child to, you know, to succeed but not at that price.

YURKEVICH (voiceover): In the end, the Robins beat the Orioles for first place. But really, everyone's a winner. It was a clean game by the kids and the parents.

KEARNEY: Good game. That Was a great game. Great game. Great game. Great game.


SIDNER: That umpire seemed very sweet. And I love what the little boy said. The little boy teaching his parent a lesson. All of this fighting is unnecessary. Is this happening just in baseball or are we seeing this in other places?

YURKEVICH (on camera): Widespread, unfortunately, in soccer games, softball games, basketball games. What one parent told me, which I thought was so interesting, was that the reason that parents sometimes get a little aggravated is because they put a lot of money into these sports for these kids. And for some reason, they think that, basically, gives them the right to act this way towards umpires. Umpires make between $45 and $60 per game, they do it for the love of the game. They really don't deserve this from the parents.

SIDNER: They really don't.

John, I hope that you are one of those parents that is so kind and just clapping instead of screaming your brains out.

BERMAN: Let me tell you how pervasive this is, the leagues that my sons used to play in, they used to have, you know, every few weeks have silent Sundays where parents weren't allowed to open their mouths at all. They made everyone take a vow of silence. And if you said anything --

SIDNER: You're out.

BERMAN: -- you get tossed. But they had to do that because it is such a disaster, right?


YURKEVICH: It's bad.

BERMAN: Awful. Just awful.

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