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Don Lemon Tonight

President Biden Slams Republicans for Refusing to Help Raise Debt Ceiling; Facebook Whistleblower Set to Testify to Congress; Florida Leaving $2.3 Billion in School Funding on the Table; COVID Cases, Hospitalizations and Deaths Trending Down in the U.S.; White Man in Oregon Charged in Fatal Shooting of A Black Man Who Spoke to the Suspect's Girlfriend. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 04, 2021 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testifying on Capitol Hill today, saying she is coming forward because she says Facebook knows its platforms are used to spread hate and misinformation, but she alleges the company hides that evidence.

And is this the end of the COVID pandemic? Is it the end in sight? New cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all trending down, but what about the upcoming holiday season? We're going get some answers from our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

First, I want to bring in now CNN senior political analyst Kirsten Powers and John Avlon. Good evening to both of you. Good to see you. Mr. Avlon, you are first. So the country is facing the potential of its first default in our history. Republicans know that this could be catastrophic, but they're still refusing to blink. Do they care about what this could do to the country or do you think is all about making Democrats look bad?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as Mitch McConnell said in the previous debt ceiling and default crisis, this is a hostage they're willing to ransom. But that itself, of course, is a very dangerous game by its nature.

Here we are tricycling towards a fiscal cliff yet again. Default would be disastrous not just to our economy, but the world economy because we're the world's reserve currency. And we're the only nation in the world, major industrialized nation in the world that does this to ourselves.

This is a self-inflicted crisis. We need to get rid of the debt ceiling and stop this polarization of it. We've raised the debt ceiling 31 times under Republican presidents since 1980.

Mitch McConnell has voted for debt ceiling increases dramatically under the debt. This is designed to pay for things the Republican Congress already allocated under President Trump. So stop this gamesmanship, stop holding the American economy hostage for partisan political games.

LEMON: Yeah. Kirsten, we talked about it before. I think the term you like to use is owning the libs, right? That's why --


LEMON: -- most Republicans are doing what they're doing. We're talking about paying bills, as John just pointed out, that have already been approved to be spent. I mean, this isn't, you know -- this isn't mainly Trump's debt that the GOP is refusing to pay.

POWERS: Yeah --

LEMON: It is mainly his debt. I said that wrong. It is mainly Trump's debt --


LEMON: -- that they're refusing to pay. Let's get that right.

POWERS: Yeah, but the bottom line for them is they don't want to do anything that could possibly be helpful to Joe Biden, even if it's in the country's best interests. Instead, they're willing to put us on this sort of collision course with financial wreckage.

And this in light of the fact that we've had this really awful period in our history where, you know, obviously it's been terrible because of all the people that have died. It's also been very difficult financially for a lot of people and the economy took a huge hit from it.

So the idea that you would just be toying around with the economy and toying around with raising the debt limit to score political points is pretty outrageous.

LEMON: John, President Biden is calling republicans. He says they're hypocritical and dangerous for not helping to raise the debt ceiling. But, I mean, this could pass with just democratic votes if the filibuster wasn't in the ways. Is this another problem that could have been avoided? I see you shaking your finger at it.

AVLON: That's the key point, the whole deal. I mean, you know, Mitch McConnell is here saying look, you know, Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. But, you know -- and Joe Biden voted against the debt ceiling in 2006.

But there is a world of difference in voting against the debt ceiling which, by the way, is not a stand of fiscal responsibility because as we said, it is just things that the Congress has already voted to spend, and filibustering it.

That is what Republicans are doing, which requires getting 10 republican votes. And in this circumstance, that's virtually mission impossible unless they back down. We've had democratic senates raise the debt ceiling for Republican presidents, including for President Trump. So this is -- it is hypocritical, it is dangerous, and it's not remotely normal. Don't get fooled into thinking it is.

LEMON: Yeah. Kirsten, it is not just -- we're not just talking about the debt ceiling here, the debt ceiling standoff. Biden's entire agenda is in jeopardy tonight. Two sources tell CNN that Biden told House progressives that the cost of the social safety net package needs to come down between $1.9 and $2.2 trillion. Do you think they're going get on board with this?

POWERS: You know, I have been an optimist throughout this entire situation, and I do think that they are going to get to that number. I don't think --

LEMON: I thought you were going say except for tonight.

POWERS: No, I know. I think -- I don't believe that progressives really have ever thought or think that the number is going to be 3.5. So, they understand that the number is going to have to come down.


POWERS: And I do believe that everybody recognizes, whether it's the moderates, whether it's the progressives, they recognize the stakes here, and the stakes are huge. The stakes are huge for the country and the stakes are huge for Joe Biden in terms of being able to get things done because, you know, if things go the way people think they're going to go in the midterms, then this could be his only chance.

LEMON: Yeah. President Biden is admitting, John, that this all hinges on two people, and we know who we're talking about, Manchin and Sinema, senators Manchin and Sinema. Is it a smart strategy to single them out like this -- excuse me, I can't get my words straight tonight -- to single them both out?

AVLON: Well, that's where the problem is right now. I mean, look, Manchin we know now laid out a pretty clear outline of his proposals to Senator Schumer in July. Senator Sinema though has been completely opaque. I mean, she leaves Washington this week to visit a foot doctor and have a meeting with her donors.

At this point, you've got to say what you're in favor of. I mean, if the White House is signalling they're going to reduce this bill by over a trillion, it should be a big win if their concerns are actually fiscal responsibility. If they're matters of actual policy, let's hear it. Let's hear it in public and then find a way to raise it together.

Biden is being patient because he realizes that process doesn't matter in the eyes of history. Getting the ball down the field and getting a big bill passed does. And the window is shrinking, though. This can't be done forever. And so those folks need to, particularly Kyrsten Sinema, frankly, needs to put forward what her priorities are and then vote for bill that includes it (ph).

LEMON: Yeah. Thank you both. I appreciate it. By the way, (INAUDIBLE) Biden and Kyrsten Sinema on SNL this weekend.

AVLON: Yeah.

LEMON: I was like, wow, they got them down. Thank you. I appreciate it.

I want to turn now to the controversy over Facebook with CNN correspondent Donie O'Sullivan and legal and national security analyst Asha Rangappa. Good evening to you two as well. So, let's see. Donie, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is testifying before Congress tomorrow. You have been going through her prepared testimony. What can we expect?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Yeah, Don, she says very clearly that she knows that a trillion dollar company like Facebook, she says in her words, could destroy her. They could try and, you know, totally discredit all the accusations that she is levelling against them.

But what she lays out, I think, quite eloquently in their opening statement which we'll hear tomorrow morning is really this idea that the idea that Facebook is putting out to the world, that to have a platform where you upload photos and where you share stories and stay in touch with your family, that to have that platform for free, that you have to also, you know, possibly be exposed to misinformation and hate and everything else that we know is on Facebook and Instagram.

And she is making the point pretty clearly that that doesn't have to be the case that Facebook is making choices here, and the choice, she says, is that they're choosing profit over safety.

LEMON: Donie, Facebook and other sites it owns, Instagram and WhatsApp, were all offline for almost six hours today. It was really quiet. I kind of enjoyed it -- don't tell anybody -- for six hours today. It was a mess that impacted billions of users worldwide. Is this just a massive coincidence that this happened hours after this whistleblower's bombshell interview?

O'SULLIVAN: That certainly seems to be what Facebook is suggesting. I wanted to show you a statement they've just released in the past few minutes. I'll read it slowly so we might try and understand it. It is a lot of technical jargon.

They're saying that their engineering teams learned configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted communication.

Basically, what they're saying there is that Facebook's computers in their data centers, some form of setting change, configuration change stopped these computers from being able to communicate effectively with each other, and that is what caused the outage.

So they're saying here it seems -- they're saying it's a glitch, not an attack. But still, they are being pretty slim on the details. One thing they did stress in this statement is that so far they have no evidence that any user data was exposed of. But you're right, Don, I mean, the timing of this is very interesting, and it will of course -- the company will have to investigate it.

LEMON: It was interesting. I think one of the most interesting posts I saw afterwards was Instagram/Facebook, hurry up and come back up because I'm not an influencer nor a model nor (INAUDIBLE) unless you're up. I thought about how the world has changed.


LEMON: There are people who simply made their living on being Facebook and Instagram influencers and models and actors and promoters. It's interesting.

O'SULLIVAN: I had no place to post my selfies for six hours.

LEMON: Or your food or whatever it is.

O'SULLIVAN: Too much.

LEMON (on camera): So, Asha, you know, here is part of Frances Haugen, what she said on "60 Minutes" last night.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: One of the consequences of how Facebook is picking out that content today is it is optimizing for content that gets engagement, a reaction. But its own research is showing that content that is hateful, that is divisive, that is polarizing, it is easier to transpire people to anger than it is to other emotions.

UNKNOWN: Misinformation, angry content --


UNKNOWN: -- is enticing to people and --

HAUGEN: It's very enticing.

UNKNOWN: -- and it keeps them on the platform.

HAUGEN: Yes. Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, they'll click on less ads, they'll make less money.


LEMON (on camera): Interesting. So, Asha, in your experience, does this result in the kind of echo chamber where people can easily be recruited if they are being fed a steady diet of hate and anger based on what they might initially click on?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, Don. I mean, we have seen that in spades with the COVID misinformation, which was, you know, a lot of the top performing posts on Facebook's site.

But the bigger issue here is that what this whistleblower is describing is that Facebook as it is currently designed and currently managed to maximize engagement and maximize growth is really incompatible with democracy.

Democracy requires deliberation. It requires evidence-based argument, reasoned debate, reaching consensus on the shared reality, if not an outcome. And what Facebook wants its users to be in is in a perpetual state of outrage and division. And that's how they make their money. And they also need their base to believe, their user base to believe that is actually what reality is. So they project that out into the world.

So, you know, I think we're facing kind of a choice here in terms of what values do we want and can we get Facebook, if not on their own through regulation, to maximize democratic values rather than their own profit.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, listen, we could speak on and on and on about this. This is fascinating. But our time is up for now, for now. We'll talk more. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

I want to bring in now CNN global affairs analyst Max Boot. Max, hello to you. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. So let's talk about the politics of what we've been discussing in the segment before this one as well.

You have a piece titled "The GOP has Become the Stupid Party and Proud of it," proud of being stupid. What is that all about? Talk to me about that.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, this was sort of inspired by a press release that Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado sent out a couple of weeks ago calling on Congress to "imeach" Biden. It was supposed to be impeached but she had "imeach" Biden in giant letters across the top.

So, you know, I thought it was kind of symbolic where the GOP is today, both in the combination of political fanaticism and extreme partisanship, but also in this content not just for political norms but for spelling norms and kind of basic rules of grammar.

You know, this is something that Donald Trump perfected where, you know, his Twitter feed when he had one was notorious not just for all sorts of lies but just really stupid, obvious misspellings. People even thought that he was putting that in there on purpose because he was signalling contempt for elites who care about things like spelling.

I mean, on one level, this is just absurd and laughable. But there is a serious point here, Don, which is when I was growing up in the 1980s, the Republican Party actually had a reputation as the party of ideas. And under Donald Trump's leadership, it's really reclaimed an older reputation as being the stupid party.

And for a lot of Republicans and populists in the republican ranks, that's not something that they're ashamed about. That's not something that they're embarrassed about it. They're proud of it. They're proud of being known as the stupid party because they're signalling contempt for education, for elites, for knowledge, that they think they're standing up to common man by just uttering inane and ignorant opinions. And that's a very dangerous position for one of the two major parties to be in. LEMON: Yeah. Well, that's like people who wrote on Twitter -- I think it was -- maybe it was Facebook, "Don Lemon, you're -- you are -- you are a moran. M-O-R-A-N.

BOOT: Yeah, right. I get those all the time. Of course, you expect -- I mean, you expect things like that from like random trolls or random people out there.


BOOT: I mean, the examples in my column, it's all members of Congress who are saying this stuff, all this nonsense about like Louie Gohmert talking about, you know, birds burning up over solar panels or Marjorie Taylor Greene who says she doesn't believe in evolution but does believe in Jewish space aliens.

LEMON (on camera): Can I play some examples for you? Ron Johnson, first up. Let's hear.

BOOT: Yeah.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): We do not have an FDA-approved vaccine being administered in the U.S.

BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: Could you ever get behind a vaccine mandate for everybody?

JOHNSON: No, not unless there is some incredibly deadly disease. I mean much higher infection mortality rates we have with COVID.


LEMON (on camera): Okay. So, 700,000 Americans have died from COVID. There is also Elise Stefanik praising Medicare and Medicaid in a tweet, adding, to safeguard our future, we must reject socialist health care schemes. How does that Harvard grad not see the contradiction here?

BOOT: Exactly. I mean, this is actually a common republican trope. Let's protect Medicare from socialist health care. Wait a second, who provides Medicare? I mean, it's just amazing that they can't add up one and one. I mean, this is not rocket science here, Don, or, you know, like Ron Johnson claiming that COVID, which has only killed 700,000 people, making it the worst pandemic of the century, that's not serious enough to have vaccinations?

Again, at some level, this is just absurd and laughable and ridiculous. But this is serious. I mean, these people actually have power.

LEMON: Yeah. And I do have Marco Rubio calling Biden's economic plan Marxism. Some of these lawmakers have very impressive degrees in academic accomplishments. So is this stupidity all just an act or are they really just that stupid? I don't know. BOOT: I think for some people, it is an act. I mean, you have to believe Elise Stefanik probably knows better because she actually went to Harvard. A lot of them, it's not an act. I mean, they're --

LEMON: Marco Rubio is an educated man as well. Many of them are. I just don't --

BOOT: Yeah.

LEMON: Yeah.

BOOT: He should know better. At some point, it really doesn't matter. Do they know better? Are they actually as dumb as they appear or are they just acting dumb? But even if they're just acting dumb, that tells you something about who they're appealing to, what the Republican Party is about when even the brightest lights have to pretend to be dim bulbs. I mean, that itself is a fairly damning commentary on the state of the Republican Party today.

LEMON: Max Boot, the new piece is titled "The GOP has Become the Stupid Party and Proud of it." Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

BOOT: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you. One single state is leaving billions of COVID relief on the table and students will be the ones to suffer.

Plus, President Biden has just about had it with Republicans refusing to do their jobs and pay America's debt, even though they've done it time after time after time before.




LEMON: They're leaving $2.3 billion on the table. Florida the only state in the entire country to not apply for a third round of funding from President Biden's American Rescue Plan. And now the Education Department is asking why the state missed multiple deadlines and if they want the money.

Joining me now is Anna Fusco. She is the president of the Broward Teachers Union, the second largest school district in Florida. Thank you for joining us. Did I pronounce this -- because I know some people are Fusco and some are Fusco. I'm not sure exactly how you say yours.

ANNA FUSCO, PRESIDENT, BROWARD TEACHERS UNION: It's either way, but everyone calls me Fusco.

LEMON: Fusco.

FUSCO: How you doing tonight, Don? Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. I'm glad you clarified that. I have a friend who is Joe Fusco but you are Fusco. So thank you. So listen, is Governor DeSantis playing politics with your students' futures?

FUSCO: Yeah, he is extremely reckless. It's definitely politics. He is a governor that has come out real clearly that he is planning on running in 2022 against Biden. So there are some, you know, conversations that are happening. Is this a way to say that I'm just going to keep pulling back and doing my own thing to show that I can take charge and have total power?

So that's one piece. And the other piece is that, you know, he's just, you know, looking to defund public schools. You're not looking to come up with a plan, meet a deadline for the hundreds of thousands of students across the state of Florida that are in public schools that need to have, you know, lots of resources and actual physical bodies in the schools to take care of our students. It says a lot. It's just wrong.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen. This is how the governor responded to the Education Department's request for a funding plan. I quote here. "At this time, no district has articulated a need for funding that cannot be met with currently available resources. Whenever this may change in the future, the state of Florida will coordinate with the USDOE to ensure Florida students and educators have all the resources they need."

So, how would you like to respond to the governor?

FUSCO: I just cannot believe that no district has, you know, reached out and said that they need every dime to meet the needs of so many things that have just happened over this whole COVID era. It's just unbelievable. I would like to see proof.

And I'm going to personally ask our own district tomorrow when I'm down at school board headquarters for a board workshop and a press conference that we're having so I can just clearly ask -- you know, I know we're always saying that we're underfunded and every dime will definitely help with the resources.


FUSCO: And so many different things have happened in just Broward County School District alone, where I see it in our schools, I see it with not enough bus drivers, not enough teacher assistance, not enough teachers, not enough guidance counsellors, not enough social workers, not enough family counsellors.

All of these needs that need to meet our students that have been home, going through COVID, that their social and emotional component, you know, filling that achievement gap, our schools that need better air quality, HVAC systems, roofs. You know, all these things need to be done for him to say that no district has reached out is just really something that's unbelievable.

LEMON: And particularly those that need help, the underserved communities, right? This money could help schools in underserved communities that might not have the funds to make pandemic-related improvements, right, or start extra support programs.

FUSCO: That itself has been a plan of Broward County public schools, has put in motion of all of these extra wraparound and extra support services to meet the needs of our students that need to fill in those gaps, which is let's start with the social and emotional piece, that in itself, reaching out to our students that we're trying to figure out how to get back physically into schools and making sure that they are safe.

All of these little components of the resources, you know, besides having actual physical resources, we need actual bodies there, in our schools, which we are seeing all around, as I mentioned earlier, are such need of every single person and a different department that we just, you know, struggling to get.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, Anna Fusco, thank you so much. Best of luck to you and we appreciate you appearing on the program.

FUSCO: Well, thank you. I hope Ron DeSantis changes his mind and releases the plan so we can get the money. Thank you.

LEMON: A looming economic catastrophe staring America right in the face as Republicans refuse to budge on raising the debt ceiling. President Biden is telling the GOP, get out of the way.




LEMON: President Biden is slamming Republicans for refusing to join Democrats in raising the nation's debt ceiling. He is calling their actions hypocritical, dangerous and disgraceful. He is also accusing Republicans of playing Russian roulette with the U.S. economy.

Congress now is facing a deadline of October 18th, two weeks from tonight, to increase the country's borrowing limit or the nation could default on its debt for the first time in history.

So let's discuss now. Paul Krugman is here. He is the columnist for "The New York Times" who is also the author of "Arguing with Zombies." Paul, good evening. Thank you for doing this. I appreciate you joining us.


LEMON (on camera): So, let's talk about the president, how he is slamming republicans over the debt ceiling and saying this, then we will talk. Here it is.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The media is headed to crash into our economy. Democrats are willing to do all the work stopping it. Republicans just have to let us do our job. Just get out of the way. If you don't want to help save the country, get out of the way.


LEMON (on camera): So, Paul, if the U.S. defaults on our bills because, as you have put it, Republicans are committing political sabotage, what's going happen to our economy and Americans' pocketbooks, for that matter?

KRUGMAN: Well, it's kind of scary. Actually, of course, nobody knows. But it's not just that the U.S. government suddenly finds itself without enough cash to pay its bills. The dollar is special. U.S. government debt is special. The whole world financial system is built on using U.S. treasury bills as collateral.

So, all of the sudden, you have taken the world's safest asset and made it, you know, not something that is meeting its obligations. So nobody really knows. It is definitely a very scary prospect.

LEMON: You know, CNN is learning that President Biden told -- today told -- excuse me, progressives that the social safety net package needs to come down between $1.9 and $2.2 trillion.

Now, you recently wrote -- I've have been wanting to speak to you about this column -- how the progressive wing is advancing popular policies while the conservative wing is willing to risk blowing up the president's agenda. And you describe it as Biden versus a rip van winkle caucus. You say Democratic moderates need to wake up. Talk to me about that, Paul.

KRUGMAN: Yeah, I mean, there is still a group -- moderates, I hate that term. Basically, if there is a good term for it, it's actually the corporate wing of the party, the ones who are listening to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce instead of the public.

But they're acting as if it's still the 1990s when you could make deals with Republicans, when we were just not at all in this kind of situation. But they're also acting as if the kinds of things that people believed in the 1990s, low taxes lead to higher growth, government is bad, the era of big government is over, were still relevant.

And at this point, you know, what the progressives are asking for, even the full $3.5 trillion is not a huge thing. It's 1.2 percent of GDP over the next decade. It's a medium-sized initiative of stuff that has lots of good economic analysis saying that it's actually going to be highly productive.


KRUGMAN: So, saying that we need to scale this back, that we need to kind of think that it's 1993 again is -- or 1999 again, that's a really -- where have these people been for the past 20 years?

LEMON: Well, how do you see this -- does this correct itself? I mean, what should the president do or the Democratic Party or what should happen in order to correct this?

KRUGMAN: Well, you know, it is this crazy thing where the Democrats have a zero margin. They have to have every single senator. And so we're down to kind of, you know, analyzing the psychology of Sinemanchin, as some of my friends call it.

But the way forward is you get a deal that is good -- as good as you can but you definitely don't allow, you know, the -- what corporate wing of the party wants to do is have just steel and concrete and nothing else.

LEMON: Yeah.

KRUGMAN: And that's not just acceptable. That's a total failure because the fact is it's the human investments that are the thing that will do the most good. And if it falls short, progressives originally wanted $6 trillion, if it ends up being less than $3.5, I'll be unhappy, but at least let it be significant.

LEMON: Yeah. Paul Krugman, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

KRUGMAN: Okay. Take care.

LEMON: Positive signs in the fight against COVID. Are we on the other side of what could be the last major spike? Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me next.




LEMON: We're on the road to recovery in our fight against COVID. Cases are down almost 35 percent from a month ago, hospitalizations down around 30 percent for the month, and deaths down almost 10 percent from a week ago.

So I'm going to discuss now with CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also the author of the new book, "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One." Dr. Gupta, thank you so much.

Listen. I hope I'm not ahead of myself --


LEMON: -- when I said we're on the road to recovery. So it was a brutal summer, as we know. Some parts of the country on the COVID front. But now, cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all trending down. Is the end of this pandemic in sight or -- I don't know. What about the upcoming holidays?

GUPTA: I think it could be in sight. And, you know, I've been very cautious. I think we've got to be humble here, Don. We've got look at the positive trend lines and read into them. What I've been doing throughout this pandemic is trying to look at what's happening here, what's happening around the world, what's even happened historically.

And you're right. I mean, people say hey, weather is going to get cooler and dryer and that's when these respiratory viruses like to spread. To that point, let me show you 2009 what happened, Don. What you see at that point is that there is a surge, that big surge, that second peak is right now, that's October of 2009, and then the numbers go down as we're seeing it happen now, and they stay down. That's what happened at this point.

If you go back even further, more than 100 years to the 1918-1919 flu pandemic, again, the biggest surge of the entire pandemic, there were really three or four different waves there, but the biggest one was again right about now, and then it came down, and then you get a little surge again going into the spring the following year.

But for the most part, this was the worst of it in both those pandemics previously. Part of it, I think, Don, you got people vaccinated, and part of it also is because it's such a contagious virus that people have -- a lot of people have been exposed to this and developed some natural immunity.

We don't know how long that natural immunity last and that's going to be a big question mark in terms of future surges. But right now, as you point out, all trend lines look pretty favorable.

LEMON: Sanjay is out with a new book. I told you it was coming. It's called "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One." I'll let you in on a little secret. It's supposed to come out tomorrow, but I found a book seller who put it out early against Sanjay's wishes. But what are you going to do? I won't say what it was. But what was the inspiration?

GUPTA: You know, Don, it's funny. Doing television, I think that the amount of information and knowledge that I'm sort of trying to absorb even to do a few minutes with you every night is probably twentyfold to one. I've taken 20 times more information.

I got to show you all these papers. I've just been taking these notes and doing all these things, and I felt like there were so many lessons that I had learned. I talked to scientists all over the world. And the thing that kept coming up over and over again is that it is possible to essentially make yourself pandemic-proof.

Emerging pathogens, they're going to keep happening, these emerging viruses. But the idea they turn into a pandemic, it's very much within our control. We kind of knew that. But some of the ways we do are surprising, even when it comes to our own individual health. I mean, 80 percent of your immunity -- if I say, Don, you need to improve your immunity. What does that even mean? How would you do it?

Eighty percent of your immunity is actually in your gut. It's also a big source of your serotonin, by the way, your mood, very related to your gut. How do you transform your body into one that can better fight this virus or at least not get so sick from it?

[23:44:56] GUPTA: Also, Don, let me just show you, in the United states, we know that citizens here are much more likely to have the risk factors that set them up for severe disease, whether it be obesity, whether it be diabetes, whether it be chronic kidney disease, all these types of things.

They are the diseases of affluence. They happen in wealthy countries. Wealthy countries got hit hard, Don, by this pandemic. Usually you think of a new infection, a new outbreak you think poorly developed countries are going to be hit harder. Not the case here. It was almost the reverse. Why? Part of it is what you see on the screen there.

So the idea that we could come better prepared even for the next few months, but also for the next several years and decades, I think, is very much within our power. And I wanted to have a real prescription on how to get there.

LEMON: Yeah. Listen. There are a lot of factors like we need to take care of our obesity problem in this country, which is a contributing factor. I'm sure you will agree. I want to ask you this, though, Sanjay, because you're talking about your gut, when you're talking about your gut. You also specifically touch on the importance of -- is this what it is called microbiome? Is that what you're talking about?

GUPTA: The microbiome, yeah. The microbiome. So that is this sort of universe of organisms that live inside our gut and are very responsible for our immunity and for frankly many functions. They call it the second brain in the body.

And I just -- I have always known about this. I wasn't taught in medical school, but I learned it on my own over the last decade or so. And it's very interesting, again, going to this idea that what you -- I'm going exaggerate a little bit. But what you had for breakfast this morning could influence how much you be affected by the disease tonight because of your microbiome.

It is that specific. And there are ways to really put yourself in the best possible position not only to help diminish some of those diseases you just saw on the screen, but to make it less likely you're going get sick of COVID if you get it or a future pathogen.

That part is really striking. Again, there are countries around the world, just to show you, South Korea versus the United States, I don't know if we have this, I always use this example because the first patients were diagnosed --

LEMON: It is up on our screen now.

GUPTA: -- on the same day. Don, look at that. Blue is South Korea. Red is us. I mean, they're 1/6 the size of us, but how do you explain that? We're all human beings. What did they do so different that we have 43 million confirmed cases in the United States and they had 300,000?

There is something there. There are real lessons and they're going to be important because, again, there will be more emerging pathogens. These viruses keep jumping into humans. They don't have to turn into pandemics. We can be the blue line next time around. And that's why I really wanted to write the book.

LEMON: Well, I can't wait to read it. I had the opportunity to get it. I didn't. There it is on the screen. I said hey, this book doesn't come out until next week. But anyway --

GUPTA: Thought it was bootleg.

LEMON: Yeah, I thought it was a bootleg, so I didn't buy it. But anyway --

GUPTA: I'll send it to you.

LEMON: Don't worry about it. I'm going to buy it. "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One." I'm going to buy it, Sanjay. You're in the business of selling books. When I did my book, everyone wanted the book. I'm like, buy it. I'll sign it but --

GUPTA: I bought yours.

LEMON: Thank you, Sanjay. Best of luck. We appreciate it.

GUPTA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: And we'll be right back.




LEMON (on camera): Tonight, a murder case in Oregon is sparking outrage. A Black man shot to death after allegedly complimenting a white man's girlfriend. The suspect is now facing six charges, including murder.

Here's CNN's Omar Jimenez.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): No justice!


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Familiar chants for what some see as a familiar story, this time playing out in Bend, Oregon. A Black man, Barry Washington, Jr. was shot and killed allegedly after complimenting a white woman. No evidence of the compliments being inappropriate, according to the local district attorney, who also says Washington was then confronted by the woman's boyfriend, Ian Cranston.

UNKNOWN: He said some words to Mr. Washington. Mr. Washington said words back. There were some pushing, some jostling, some punches thrown. But then it calmed down. It was not going to get out of hand. Then Mr. Cranston pulled a gun out of his waistband and shot and killed Mr. Washington.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Cranston's attorney disputed that account and wrote to CNN, in part, before Ian Cranston ever drew his weapon, Barry Washington had assaulted him without provocation, resulting in head injuries that required the police to take Mr. Cranston to the hospital where a brain scan and other procedures had to be performed.

Cranston was initially arrested on a single charge of second-degree manslaughter and had been released on bail before a grand jury returned an indictment on Thursday that added second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, and unlawful use of a weapon.

Friday, a judge ordered him held without bail. District Attorney Hummel has said this was a homicide with no justification.

CROWD: Black lives matter!

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Meanwhile, a community and family is left looking for answers as race is hard to ignore.

UNKNOWN: We just want justice the right way like the rest of the world would if their loved one killed in cold blood just like this.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): It is a dynamic not lost on the district attorney.

JOHN HUMMEL, DESCHUTES DISTRICT ATTORNEY: There's a reckoning with race. That needs to happen in Central Oregon. And it needs to happen now. Justice will be done in this case.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): And after the initial charge against Cranston was filed, he even wrote, in part, it's important his family feels our community saw Barry, that we see them, and that we believe Barry's life, their lives, and the lives of all Black people matter.

He is not, however, seeking a hate crime charge as of now, citing there isn't enough evidence. Cranston has a plea hearing set for early December.

Omar Jimenez, CNN.


LEMON (on camera): Omar, thank you so much for that. And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. The lawyer for Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen joins us tonight on the eve of her testimony before Senate subcommittee. And perhaps it was just a coincidence, but today, the world's largest social network went down.