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Surgeon General Warns of Social Media's Impact; Video of Child Falling over Border Wall; FAA to Give Airports $100 Million; WSJ Reporter Hearing in Russia. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired May 23, 2023 - 09:30   ET





Our top story this hour, a man is in custody after crashing a U-Haul into a barrier near the White House multiple times. Officials say this is what happened on the north side of Lafayette Square at 16th Street. That's part -- that part is directly across -- that park is directly across from the White House. During a search of that truck, officials found a flag that appears to show a swastika. They also found a backpack and duct tape among other items. Officials say the man was arrested on several charges, including threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or family member. Much more to come on this.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, this morning, TikTok is taking Montana to court. The company filed a federal lawsuit over Montana's new law that would ban the Chinese-owned app. TikTok says, among other things, the move violates the U.S. Constitution, including the First Amendment. Starting in 2024, the law would impose a fine of $10,000 per day on TikTok or app stores that make it available to personal devices within that state. Supporters are worried that the Chinese government could use the app for spying purposes. Legal and technology experts say there are challenges for Montana or any state to enforce such a ban, even a law -- if the law is allowed to stand. The way the internet functions, the way that this stuff works is it makes it impossible to keep TikTok out of the hands of users.

So, this morning, a new warning from the surgeon general that social media creates a, quote, profound risk of harm for children. Those stark words come in a 25-page advisory that examines the mental health impact of social media.

CNN medical correspondent Meg Tirrell is with us now.

Profound risk of harm. Those are pretty - pretty stark words.

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they really are. And this report details the concerns that the surgeon general has been talking about over mental health for kids and their use of social media. He said basically parents are looking for answers here and there's not enough data to say this is safe for kids.

And it's scary when you think about the ubiquity of social media among kids and teenagers. Ninety-five percent of kids age 13 to 17 say they use social media. And even through 13 is the minimum age to get on many of these platforms, the study says that 40 percent of kids down to age eight are using social media. And so while they do say there are some benefits like creating communities, particularly for marginalized kids, they point to a lot more potential risks, like anxiety and depression. Kids not getting enough sleep, experiencing abuse or harassment online and, of course, low self-esteem where we've seen a lot of studies as well.

So, they're calling on policymakers and technology companies to step up here more. And particularly for the tech companies to share more data about what they're seeing.

BERMAN: What do the tech companies think about this?

TIRRELL: Yes, so, you know, we haven't really heard a lot from them yet this morning but, of course, they've already said they've made moves to try to, you know, provide more guidance to families about what to do here. So, creating guides for parents, saying that there's controls for kids, things like that. But the pressure is continuing to mount.

BERMAN: I mean there are some controls for kids. I mean I - you know, look, I'm a parent and I know you can do certain things with the apps but you can't do everything. So, what are parents supposed to do?

TIRRELL: Yes, exactly. So the surgeon general actually has young kids himself.


He was saying, they're delaying use until their kids go into middle school or actually into high school. So not even in middle school.

But he said more broadly, you know, creating a family plan, trying to have tech-free zones, particularly around maybe dinnertime or especially when kids are supposed to sleep, and modeling social media good behavior ourselves, putting our phones down and, you know, really using them the right way.

BERMAN: That actually makes a huge difference.

All right, Meg Tirrell, thank you very much for that.


BERMAN: And we should note that the surgeon general will be on CNN tonight with Erin Burnett at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Kate. BOLDUAN: This morning, new video showing the moment a four-year-old child was dropped over a border barrier in San Diego, California. Here we're going to show you -- we're going to put it up full to make sure you can see it and we're spotlighting it there. You can see a child being pushed over the wall, hanging on for a moment, and then falling to the ground. Another child then tries to help and - help them up. Then another individual climbs over and picks the child up. But there's a lot more here.

Let's go to CNN's Rosa Flores. She has much more on this.

We're hearing more from border officials about this Rosa. What more are you learning about what happened?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, that video is very dramatic but it doesn't tell the full story because there is no audio. It's surveillance video.

So what we've learned from Customs and Border Protection is that the border agents and the San Diego Fire Department who responded to help this child, this four-year-old boy, they came under fire from the Mexican side. So much so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air Marines operation, they responded via helicopter to provide cover while these first responders were trying to render aid to this child.

Now, we don't have a lot of details about this four-year-old other than from a tweet. The Border Patrol chief saying that this child is OK, but, of course, we've asked about the condition of the child and also the location of the child to see if there were any updates. And there are no updates at this point, Kate. But we do know that Customs and Border Protection continue to investigate with the help of Mexico. Mexico is also investigating because the gunfire was coming from the Mexican side.


BOLDUAN: That is a wild part of this. As you said, there's so much to this than just this surveillance video that we're seeing.

Overall, though, Rosa, I wanted to ask you, the reports have been recently that migrant encounters at the southern border have dropped significantly. Are those numbers still down? What are you learning about this?

FLORES: You know, they are. The latest that we've learned is from a tweet from the border patrol chief, Raul Ortiz. Now, he just tweeted that border encounters are at about 3,000. Now, Kate, that's about a 70 percent drop from the 10,000 migrant encounters that they were seeing in the lead up to the end of Title 42.

Now, of course, the big question is why. Why are these numbers still dropping? And what I'm hearing from sources and contacts, there's a few things. First, that the Mexican law enforcement has upped enforcement in Mexico. They're returning migrants deeper into Mexico. I'm also hearing that migrants are still waiting on the Mexican side. A lot of them waiting for that CBP 1 app, to get an opportunity to go into a port of entry. And also that there is a spread on social media of the kind -- legal consequences of crossing the border.

And, Kate, you and I have discussed this, that includes a five-year bar of re-entry into the country. And so the big takeaway here, Kate, is, will we see more of these cases of more extreme risks taken by migrants.

BOLDUAN: That's a - that is a --


BOLDUAN: That's an important question.

Rosa, thanks for the latest.


BERMAN: Kate, a court in Moscow expected to hold a hearing for jailed American journalist Evan Gershkovich. A new chance to assess his appearance and condition.



BOLDUAN: Another member of Russia's government has died of unknown causes. He was the country's deputy minister of science and higher education. And according to the ministry, he fell ill on a plane flight Saturday and died. His family said that his death may have been related to a heart condition, but an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. A journalist who says that he'd been in touch with the minister, though, says that the minister feared for his safety in Russia and that he called the war in Ukraine a, quote, fascist invasion. He was returning from a business trip to Cuba at the time of his death.

UNICEF says that more than 1.9 million children are at risk of dying from severe malnutrition in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The United Nations - the U.N. agency says that it is an unprecedented large-scale crisis of hunger that is unfolding before our eyes. And it also claims that the climate crisis is making the situation worse as these areas have suffered one of the worst droughts in 40 years.

Now, millions of people in Mexico, they are keeping a very wary eye to the sky because of this. They may be forced to evacuate as the country's most dangerous active volcano roars back to life once again. The volcano, which is in the central part of the country, has been spewing ash over several nearby towns since last week. And the ash has caused flight delays in Mexico City and caused authorities to close schools in dozens of towns. About 25 million people live in a 60-mile radius of the volcano.


BERMAN: New this morning, 12 airports across the country are getting a major bump in federal funding. The FAA is awarding $100 million to a dozen airports that have projects aimed at curbing runway incursions. CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean is with us.

What's this money going to do, Pete?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Runway incursions, John, known as near misses on or near the runway. And this is a huge issue according to the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, which is holding a roundtable on this very subject right this moment.


The National Transportation Safety Board says with regulators and labor unions and industry that they must get to the core theme of this issue because this has been a huge problem since the start of this year. Six runway incursions involving commercial airliners at major airports under investigation in 2022, JFK, Burbank, Austin, Boston, Honolulu and Sarasota. It is a huge issue for the industry. So much so that the FAA held this emergency safety summit back in March. It's been trying to really tackle this issue, not only through that summit, but also through an independent review board, and now announcing this $100 million bump in grant money to airports that have some of these issues baked into the design of the airport, be it taxiways that are too close to runways, places where pilots simply can't see around corners very well, also upgrading lighting, things like technology at airports.

National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy just spoke to me and she says, the whole point of its roundtable is to try and really get at the core here and make it so that this is simply not talk.


Oh, it appears we don't have that sound byte from Jennifer Homendy.

But one thing to point out here, John, is that the other issue that goes beyond this, Homendy tells me, is that this is really about the safety of flights because of the shortage of air traffic controllers. That is another huge problem here. And the Department of Transportation, Secretary Buttigieg, just said that there's a shortage of 3,000 controllers. And she says that that is a safety issue because many times controllers have really caught these runway incursions in the act from turning into catastrophe. And that issue at JFK, the controller there, when a Delta flight was lining up for takeoff, and an American Airlines flight was crossing the runway, they received an alert in the control tower, stopped disaster from happening, she tells me.

BERMAN: Pete, I'm with you, runway incursions, that phrase sanitizes it. Near misses, much better. And you know what, they're bad.

MUNTEAN: They are.

BERMAN: So, it's a good thing that they are focusing on this right now.

MUNTEAN: No doubt. BERMAN: Thanks so much for your reporting. I appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: Also at this hour, wrongfully detained "Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich is expected to appear at a hearing in Russia. The American journalist was arrested in March, as you'll remember, on allegations of spying. The Biden administration and Evan's family, quite frankly, are adamant the charges are unfounded.

CNN's Kylie Atwood, she's with me now with much more on this.

Kylie, his case is back before a Russian judge today. What is expected to happen?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so what this is focused on is, as you said, extending his pretrial detention. And, interestingly enough, about a year ago this time we were at this same spot with Brittney Griner's trial, going through, you know, what are the loops that the U.S. -- these Americans were wrongfully detained have to go through in the Russian legal process.

But this comes on the heels of Evan Gershkovich being denied consular access, that's access by U.S. diplomats in the country, twice over the course of the last few weeks. And also just about a month ago his appeal to serve this pretrial detention time at home, on house arrest, was rejected by the court. And so that's why he has been in jail.

What we're watching for today is to see what kind of access journalists are given to this court trial. We don't know if there are going to be journalists who are allowed inside. Last time cameras were allowed inside so they could see him. We could see him speaking. We could see him actually understanding the Russian saying he didn't need translation because he's fluent in Russian.

And the other thing we'll be watching for is if they allow the U.S. diplomats to be in the courtroom as well. We know they'll try and show up, but there hasn't been, obviously, much of a great relationship between Russia and these diplomats in recent weeks and there's a lot of tension there. U.S. officials really pushing to have access to Evan Gershkovich.

And then you have Paul Whelan, that other American who's wrongfully detained in Russia, he just spoke exclusively earlier this week on the phone with CNN, and he said that he's confident that U.S. officials are pushing for his release but he is really asking them to push along more quickly because he wants a deal to secure his release and, of course, Evan Gershkovich's release as well.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and until he has these consular visits, I mean, that's a real -- there's no good sign really until he starts having at least this very minimal thing that --

ATWOOD: Basic requirements.

BOLDUAN: Yes, an obligation if you're held - ATWOOD: Yes.

BOLDUAN: If you're being held that they have yet to do. It's good to see you, Kylie.

ATWOOD: Yes, you too.

BOLDUAN: Thanks for being here.


BERMAN: Is a 20-year reign about to come to an end? LeBron James dangles the possibility of retirement after getting swept out of the playoffs. What we are hearing this morning.



BERMAN: It could be the end of an era. After 20 years in the NBA, LeBron James hinting that maybe possibly he could leave the game for good. He mentioned this after his team got swept out of the western conference finals by the Denver Nuggets.


LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELS LAKERS FORWARD: We'll see what happens going forward. I don't know. I don't know. I got a lot to think about to be honest. I've got a lot to think about to be honest. And, just for me personally, going - going forward with the game of basketball, I've got a lot to think about.


BERMAN: Ooh, I've got a lot to think about. I don't know.

CNN's Coy Wire with us now. Decipher that for us.

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, that would put a lot of pressure on you as an organization, wouldn't you, if you have roster decisions coming up. But, look, LeBron's still got it. I mean he became the league's all-time leading scorer this season. He just put up 40 points in the western conference finals at 38 years old, John. A lot of 38-year-olds get winded just taking their groceries back to the house. He's absolutely unreal.

It's important to remember that just two weeks ago LeBron said that his goal is still to play with his son Bronny, who jut committed to play at USC. And he's exhausted.


Mentally and physically. He didn't come off the court last night. He played all 48 minutes. And he said afterwards that this was not fun for him. He doesn't get a kick out of not making it to the finals. LeBron's won it all four times. He's been to the finals 10 times. That's more than 27 of the 30 NBA teams. So, despite putting up a stellar season statistically, better than most hall of famers, you can hear his frustration.

Now, the questions over LeBron's future, they're overshadowing this fantastic performance by the Nuggets. They're headed to the NBA finals for the first time ever. Two-time league MVP Nicola Jokic had 30 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists. It's his eighth triple double, which breaks the great Wilt Chamberlain's record for the most in a single post-season.

But LeBron, he would have a chance to send it to overtime. Aaron Gordon would say that denial is not just the river in Egypt. Coming up with a huge block there. Denver denying any comeback attempt, winning 113-111 to complete the series sweep. Those nuggets, they're now going to get the winner of the Eastern Conference finals. The Heat can sweep John Berman's Celtics with a win tonight. Tip-off's at 8:30 Eastern on our sister channel TNT.


BERMAN: Grim. That's all I can say. It is looking grim.

Coy Wire, thank you very much.

Look, LeBron James is so good. I think we would all enjoy seeing him play a little bit longer.

WIRE: Uh-huh.

BERMAN: Thanks so much.


BOLDUAN: When it comes to the Celtics, what you're saying is, there's still a chance.

BERMAN: There's still a chance.

BOLDUAN: What? Slim.


BOLDUAN: All right, coming up for us, an historic deal is reached to save the Colorado River. How California, Arizona and Nevada are being compensated now for cutting down on water usage over the next four years and what it means for the rest of us.

And a man is facing charges right now after police say he crashed a U- Haul into a security barrier near the White House. He has also now been identified just this morning. What was found inside the man's truck that is so concerning today.